A Prayer for the Living
Break in me whatever needs to be broken.
Fix my hope of ever being fixed.
Use me. Draw every ounce of creativity out of me.
Help me live a radically unique life, forever forging a never-before-trodden path in the forest.
Show me how to love more deeply than I ever thought possible.
Whatever I am still turning away from, keep shoving in my face.
Whatever I am still at war with, help me soften towards, relax into, fully embrace.
Where my heart is still closed, show me a way to open it without violence.
Where I am still holding on, help me let go.
Give me challenges and struggles and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, if that will bring an even deeper humility and trust in the intelligence of life.
Help me laugh at my own seriousness.
Allow me to find the humor in the dark places.
Show me a profound sense of rest in the midst of the storm.
Don’t spare me from the truth. Ever.
Let gratitude be my guide.
Let forgiveness be my mantra.
Let this moment be a constant companion.
Let me see your face in every face.
Let me feel your warm presence in my own presence.
Hold me when I stumble.
Breathe me when I cannot breathe.
Let me die living, not live dying.
This prayer took hold of me and wouldn’t let go.
Rooted in presence and a complete and absolute trust in the unfolding source of life.
Facing with transparency and vulnerability whatever is before us.
Not a trying, but instead a deep acceptance of each present moment and ourselves.
Trusting that we will receive direction that births into knowing, and not knowing.
And in the not knowing, this fertile place of birth and creation, continuing to trust.
It just is.
Encompassing all landscapes, both inner and outer.
We call them dark times and light…..but they simply are now moments.
This is the intelligence of our life unfolding.
Finding the sacred in the ordinary.
Humor in the midst of seriousness and despair.
Wholeness in what appears to be broken.
Forever forging a never-before-trodden path in the forest.
Let me die living, not live dying.
Gaye Abbott, 6/3/19
“We are so thoroughly entangled in the web of the world that we are blind to the unfolding world there before us.” ~ John O’Donohue
As a child – whether I was cuddled in the branches of a tree, dipping my hands into the water surrounding entwined cattails to explore the ever surprising embodiment of a frog in pollywog stages, or lying in a meadow mesmerized as a hawk glides upon invisible air currents – I was at one.
Never separate. Always connected. I was nature and she was me.
For me, this relationship has never changed.
Yet now we see and feel the crises our planet is in because of humans forgetting this basic interconnected wholeness.
Underneath the global crises we all face we are being asked to focus on ways of living, thinking, stewarding and taking action woven with nature’s wisdom.
It takes an embodied artistry to travel these natural pathways back home to union with the natural world, and solid intentions to live and travel with our values.
Green technology partnered with the natural world is one way we can return to once again embodying this interconnection – lost or forgotten by so many a very long time ago.
The unfolding artistry of nature stuns with its deeply interconnected communion – perhaps the greatest masterpiece of all – a constant reminder of our aliveness…and our mortality.
Recognizing that we are not only the guest of nature – we are inseparable from nature!
In the lake district of Northern Italy, near Switzerland and above Lake Como, on a hilltop overlooking the little town of Drezzo, surrounded by Spina Verde Regional Park, one can find the artistry of sustainability at the Eco-B&B – Cascina Rodiani (https://cascinarodiani.com/) who offer what they call Green Hospitality.
From the first moment of driving up the winding cobblestone road to the top of the hill where the 400 year old Cascina rests, peace and a touch of magic might possibly reach into your heart and immediately create spaciousness to simply be.
The abundance of the natural world embraces you as her guest. You simply cannot ignore that connection immediately asked by some unseen forces to simply surrender your feeling of separation.
The statement “We are guests of nature” on the home page of their website speaks to the deeper vision and mission of the owners and managers of the Cascina – Samuel, Mimma and Ruth. Partnering the best of green sustainable technology with nature, and warm attentive Italian hosting sprinkled with beauty everywhere.
From the very first moments, you are welcomed into the family of the Cascina, who always place well being as a priority.
The attention to detail from breakfast served at a small table right outside your room on a sunny portico each morning; the tailored suggestions of how and where best to explore this stunning area and the means to get you there to include walking, electric bikes and/or electric cars; providing a picnic lunch for an outing; supplying a map of the multitude of trials for walking in the national park bordering the Cascina; surprises of Italian homemade delights and a selection of organic wines; firing up the wood burning sauna;
….or simply allowing the privacy and space to drink in the gifts of sustainable artistry… enjoying deep sleep within the stone walls of a 400 year old building, each room furnished with recycled material and old furniture.
You may even experience a moment in time as I did, while lying by the natural lake. Trickle of water moving, wind rustling the giant bamboo, a cuckoo bird singing out, church bells chiming the hour from the valley below…..and the sound of your breath connected with it all.
The artistry of sustainability at the Cascina includes thermal solar energy; a large biodynamic garden space and on going land stewardship; sustainable forestry; a green house where herbs & veggie starts dwell in the winter and lemon trees are protected; water recycling using a phytodepuration system which is inclusive of 100% drinkable water efficiency; a natural lake; home grown olives and pressed olive oil; beekeeping and the resultant honey; composting and recycling; fresh eggs from the chickens…and always an awareness and devotion to living sustainably with natural resources.
Just a 10 minute walk down the hill (everything is either down or up!) is the small down of Drezzo. One of my favorite memories of this trip outside of the Cascina, resides at the restaurant – Rossodisera – with it’s attention to artistic presentation, outstanding risotto, sparkling Italian wine, and of course the creme brulee studded with fresh berries.
One of the servers in the restaurant spoke some English and my Italian was not fit for consumption (even though I had taken online Italian lessons since January!), so the feeling of being single and alone had me in it’s grip.
All of a sudden an entire table of two families including two little girls turned around all at once, raised their glasses to me and said Saluti! with smiles on everyone’s face – turned around to confer with each other – then faced me again, raised their glasses and said “Cheers” which made my smile grow even larger…and my feeling of being alone vanish!
When the waiter came to me with a small red box and presented it as if it was the most treasured of gifts I actually thought they were giving me something special for being such a wonderful patron and enjoying my dinner so much.
Well, it was the bill, but surrounded with small dark chocolates to take home and enjoy later. And I did feel very special filled with the artistry of beautiful food and welcoming Italians.
Cascina Rodiani is only a 20 minute drive to Como resting beside beautiful Lake Como with stunning views of the Alps, lush gardens, open markets, cultural history and art, and travel up a hillside by tram to see the spectacular view from above.
Ferries will take you around the very large lake to whatever small town you would like to visit, perhaps to the spectacular Botanical Gardens at Villa Carlotta where I visited, or the “crowing jewel” of Lake Como – Bellagio – which I did not.
For those that wish to actively explore this diverse area filled with culture and history there is also the artistry of the Slow Lake Como guides who, through their story telling, take you on mini-adventures experienced with all of your senses – where the “normal tourist” does not go!
Though enjoying the small excursions I did take while in this area, it was so incredibly restful to return to the Cascina and drop back into the peace and stillness there.
It was difficult leaving Cascina Rodiani at the end of my stay there, though I know I always have an Italian “family” to come back to – and a resting place to restore in after a day walking in the Spina Verde Park, exploring small towns, or witnessing an area so rich with history, culture…..and beauty.
Arreviderci to Cascina Rodiani – Samuel, Mimma (and Ruth) – Molto Grazie!
When you make your reservations please let them know Gaye sends Molto Amore!
Gaye Abbott adores the adventure of travel and learning about the people, culture, language, history, landscape and artistry of an area through the road less traveled. She travels with her values, and most probably will be found out in nature, in the countryside, dancing, or in small towns and villages connecting with farmers, artisans, and anyone who tells unique stories, with a sense of humor….and are not afraid to transparently show up as they are!
The power of words – their energy and their contextual roots – reaching deeply into human psyche. Unraveling stories – coming alive to be lived now, yet straying into future and past.
How tightly we hold on to them, until they can only gasp for breath begging to be set free. Attempting to create meaning and security when all of a sudden they fly away and become something else entirely – casting into the depths, un-prying fingers and minds from around them.
To creation of worlds and words and feelings and sensations we have never experienced before, like a virgin opening to voluptuous sensual connection and animate life.
Come now, let me tell you a story that has never been told, so free of the contraction and constraints of our daily lived grind of sameness. Let us embark, set sail, like a first step without fear – diving deeply into the unknown beyond what we know
….. or think we know.
Listen to the passions spoken so clearly Sourced by your body, heart and soul, following into the peaks and valleys of life where everything is “enough” – including yourself.
Trust the knowing, then letting go of even that in a free fall where the landing place reveals itself only in the now and now and now.
Be still for this is your life breathing….
(This piece was written on 12/25/18 in celebration of the writing muses coming actively back into my life once again after 2 years away (most probably on some exotic coastal island enjoying themselves!). Written on the Sonoma Coast of Northern California, it felt as if time stood still while the words flowed without any thought or struggle, blowing over the sand and sea on a gorgeous Christmas day…..Gaye Abbott, 1/6/19
Posted 9/2/18 on LifeAtWolfCreek.com,
We are showered every day with gifts, but they are not meant for us to keep. Their life is in their movement, the inhale and exhale of our shared breath. Our work and our joy is to pass along the gift and to trust that what we put into the Universe will always come back. “
~Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
In the Haudenosaunee native peoples Thanksgiving Address there rests a constant reminder that we already have everything we need. It recognizes the abundance that constantly surrounds us rather than scarcity – and is a pledge of interdependence and of gratitude for all that is given to us in every single moment, day, year…..lifetime.
What if we started our day with a Thanksgiving Address not only recognizing, but pledging to and being deeply grateful for, the constancy and blessing of earth, water, wind, animals, moon, sun, plants, trees, berries, fish, medicine herbs, birds….all life.
The first two paragraphs of this particular Thanksgiving Address are as follows, spoken aloud every morning at a school for Native children:
“Today we have gathered and when we look upon the faces around us we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living beings. So now let us bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People. Now our minds are one.”
We are thankful to our Mother the Earth, for she gives us everything that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she still continues to care for us, just as she has from the beginning of time. To our Mother we send thanksgiving, love and respect. Now our minds are one. “
…and it continues on.
Robin says “What would it be like to be raised on gratitude, to speak to the natural world as a member of the democracy of species, to raise a pledge of interdependence? No declarations of political loyalty are required, just a response to a repeated question: Can we agree to be grateful for all that is given?”
Isn’t it time for this pledge of gratitude to be a constant refrain of humans at this pivotal and challenging time we live in? How would it change the fabric of our days, the communities and countries we live in and the lives of the generations to follow us?
As I write this on my deck I drink in the animacy of the natural world embraced by the energy of all living beings. Lavender and healing plants communing with the brilliant pink, purple, red and orange of blossoms on their neighbors. Touched by the gentle sound of bees and hummingbirds who land to nourish their aliveness only to gift it elsewhere.
At times the sound of footsteps below the deck which could be the mama deer and fawn I have spotted recently or the wild turkeys that waddle their way down to the creek as a community – or the sound of the many birds that gather in this neck of the woods and that I awaken to each morning at sunrise.
The tree beings who are communing through their intimate community network above and below the earth. Each one with it’s individual characteristics. Whispering so softly that I have to drop into a deeper state of being to catch their messages – sustaining and protecting each other and at the same time gifting us with rich oxygen.
The creek below that is certainly not shy in voicing passage through the beds of rock, silt, plant life and tiny microscopic beings that dance within the sunlight reflected off of the flowing surface.
How can we live in a mindset of scarcity and separation when nature informs us every single moment that it is a false premise to live by….and one at odds with the survival of all living beings.
How can we forget that we live in an animate universe that is filled with energy enough for everyone, is interconnected – and with every act or word spoken from a place of separateness and not enoughness disconnects us from the very essence of all life breathing.
I invite you to create your own Thanksgiving Address to be spoken aloud before moving into each day, to share it with others and to live by it’s pledge every day of your life by your actions and words.
I know I will…..
Copyright by Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 9/2/18
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Life At Wolf Creek provides a space of sanctuary and peaceful reflection. A stopping place to refresh and renew. To remember what is vitally important in our lives and what is to be cherished in pure devotion.
This is where I thrive. Where I feel most at home. For this environment is the very soil of my being. Each breath amidst the family of trees below me and the flow of Wolf Creek in front of me brings me home. Home to all that I am. Home to all that everything is.
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