SACRED SILENCE TRAINING DAY #20

Looking out over the lake during a summer rainstorm with my dawg by my feet during self imposed silence – is absolute magic. Although, not exactly conducive to light hearted comedic thoughts, which I’m painfully aware I need more of in my writing. (‘Cause I’m freaking HILARIOUS!) Today is probably more suitable to creating a cheesy storyline for The Hallmark Channel. “A lonely man sits in silence with his dog by his side as the rain cascades over the childhood cottage, painfully reminding him of losing his mother and the faith of his youth. The liquid courage he needs just to begin a new day, slides down his gullet as easily as the earth quenching water finds it’s way through the downspouts and into the dry, cracked soil. Almost as if it knows this route all too well. His mind flashes back to Vietnam… ” (Queue Cheesy 80’s Elevator Music)

Since I need to practice typing what I see during my time on The Camino, let me try to paint a word-picture for you. For those of you who are wired like me, this will be far too arduous a task to endure. (Pop-ups & scratch and sniff pages really are the bestest!)

In the morning, my ears always open first. The eyes lag far, far behind my ears. I was awakened this morning by the comforting drone of rain only a few feet above my bed, falling on the roof of the small wooden cabin I sleep in. My loft, accessed by a tightly wound spiral staircase tucked in the corner of this inconspicuous structure, sits up amongst the raw, unfinished pine beams. The cabin was built upon a rock shelf and tucked in amongst the giant White Pines, close to the water’s edge. The rare canoeist paddling by would barely know of it’s existence thanks to the concealing cedar tree line. (How am I doing? You see what I’m seein’?)

There’s something about rainy mornings that make my body unexplainably heavy and hard to move. So I didn’t. Instead, I suppressed the foreboding “sleeping in guilt” and allowed myself to drift in and out of consciousness. It’s in this almost euphoric hypnogogic state that I vacillate between conscious thoughts of “need to dos” and “great ideas”. The latter usually end up retreating into the forgettable haze of subconscious dormancy.

Eventually, I summon the desire to reach up and grab a hold of the ski-rope handle hanging from the enormous wooden beam directly above me in the apex of the knotty pine ceiling and attempt my morning ritual. Pull-ups suck when you’re 240 pounds, but they are a necessity at this point in my life. I used to hurt only when I hurt myself. Now, I hurt myself by sleeping! I used to be able to sleep in forever. Now, I wake up because of pain. Ego is no longer the motivation for exercise. Necessity is.

Speaking of ego – here’s something I probably shouldn’t share. (But remember, I’m practicing painting with words, so allow me to paint by number.) There ain’t no plumbin’ in this here cabin. However, there is a very nice soft pink and cream antique porcelain washbowl and pitcher set from the 1800’s. After I complete my feeble number of chin-ups, the NUMBER ONE thing I do is open the window and empty that there fancy bowl.

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Then I make my way down the spiral staircase and grab a pair of shorts that I’ve left up here since the 80’s (They’re short. Like Magnum P.I. Short!) and as I put them on I suddenly realize that this is the day I’ve set aside for silence. Good thing my mouth lags behind the eyes, which lag behind the ears. Eventually the brain kicks into gear and the engine begins to start firing on all cylinders. (Usually by then, it’s time to go back to bed!) I’m sure that morning people receive many blessings from… morning stuff. At least that’s what I keep hearing from this group of over-achievers.

Speaking of over-achievers… I’m not quite sure what to do with the guilt that swims around me when I think about taking a five month break in order to read and write and think and go for a long walk. There’s this really wealthy guy I know who has walked The Camino numerous times, and I found myself irritated at the fact that this guy gets so much time off just to “contemplate”, which is sometimes synonymous with “escaping reality”. The Camino USED to be a route walked by beggars forced to rely on the kindness of strangers and criminals as penance for their crimes. Now, people seem to have all sorts of time to eat, pray and love! (Sorry Julia, my true first love! 🙂 What about the guy who can’t even get an extra day off work just to go fishing with his kid? What about the woman who can’t even get an hour to herself because she’s responsible for her autistic son? What about the family who is drowning in debt so badly that even the kids have to work to avoid getting evicted from their apartment? And those are just the people I know. What about those who live in such dire poverty that Bono can’t even help them? WHO AM I TO TAKE FIVE MONTHS OFF WORK JUST TO READ & WRITE & GO FOR A LONG WALK? There’s something very narcissistic about walking The Camino. “I need time to figure out some stuff.” It’s on my bucket list.” “I need a break from life.” “I’m not in a good place.” “I’m hoping to find God.” “I need to recalibrate my soul.” BULLSHIT! I call BULLSHIT on all of that – ON ME – especially when I think about everyone else who just can’t stop life/work. 

The sky cleared so Tucker and I went out for a kayak, before I went Loonie! 

THIS WEEK’S CONFESSION(s): I pee in an antique pot / I feel guilty about taking so much time off work just to read, write, think and walk / I still have clothes from the 80’s

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