Compassion

10 Mar

The past few days I have been coming undone as the cloak of winter seems to have abandoned me. Spring has started showing her face in Wettenbostel.  Recently when talking with a friend back in the States on Skype, she shared her hesitancy for the end of winter.  She and I are in similar situations… both spending much time alone and both in transition.  She is in the rural Northeast after having lived many years in New Orleans… so the winter and solitude for her too has been an adjustment.  But like me, in some ways she found the forced solitude of winter was like a warm and comforting blanket.  She wondered if she would be ready for the change, the end of hibernation when the snow melted.  I can see what she means.

The good news about coming out of slumber is the beginning of feeling good.  Moving more…mentally, physically.  After being so still for so long.  Shivering in the cold.  And now, as the snow begins to melt and visitors and people speckle the world of the Seminar Haus, the shift for me is sometimes a little daunting.  I feel somewhat like a grumpy bear being woken from sleep.

That being said I see that I continue to grow.  Growth is such a funny thing… it brings one to a space of humility.  For me the humility lies in the fact that many simple things are challenging to me… and being with that and moving through it anyway.  Not stopping.  Taking another step.  And another.

The good news of this emerging spring is the development of strength.  Strength that starts in the physical but I can’t help but think it also extends to the mental, the emotional.  They are all connected.  Since the wake of my host bear from hibernation there has been an injection of energy and a request for more physical tasks to be done around Wettenbostel.  Recently he asked me to help with loading and unloading the lumber that was cut… even the “big” pieces.  And these past few days it has been digging up the garden from last year preparing it to be planted again.

I have to say that I am proud of the work I did these past two days in the garden.  For me, it was no small task.  There were three large patches of garden beds (big by my suburban eyes… not sure what my Canadian host in Germany would agree…) that I dug up and turned over the soil…with a shovel.  Step by step…until hours later … it was complete.  A few people stopped by to say hello while I was working and commented… did Michael (my host) help you out with some of that? Nope!  I said. I did it all by myself!

Being physical feels good right now and I think it is just what the doctor ordered.  But I am still mindful to be balanced and not push things too hard. I am finding my body is stiff and bristly in unexpected places and often my legs feels locked to the ground like led.  Digging in the dirt helps.

The benefits of my work and growth include simple things… like riding my bicycle down the street to visit my hosts and just feeling so good for that moment in my own skin.  And having that feeling ground and supersede any negative and toxic thought that wanted to brew in my mind.  And sometimes, that is enough.  Noticing these things is the gentle way that I love and nurture myself through my process of growth. The good days, but also the painful days. The awkward moments. Ah. Compassion.

So I am practicing the seeds of compassion with myself as I prepare the garden beds for the fertile grounds of Spring.  Happily receiving the gift of compassion from others here in Wettenbostel during some of the more challenging moments and days.  And… hesitantly… coming out of hibernation.

Photo by Michael Hartley

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