First of all let me apologize to any Dorothy’s out there for targeting you. You were not meant to be singled out!
One of my very favorite movies of all time is The Wizard of Oz. For whatever reason whenever I hear the word “surrender” I see the Wicked Witch of the West riding her broom in the sky with the words “Surrender Dorothy” miraculously spelled out of the cloud formations.
Little did this very naughty witch realize that “surrender” allows and precipitates all kinds of possibilities to come into our lives, as opportunities and allies that would never have emerged if we did not simply let go and find the hidden power in our own vulnerability.
These days the global pandemic affecting millions of people and economies, as well as planetary shifts, essentially demands that we surrender and acknowledge there is, at the deepest level, no control or certainty. For most this is a vulnerable place where our deepest primal fear of death resides.
We all have woven a tapestry of identity that is familiar, and for the most part comfortable for us. During challenging times part of the tapestry comes apart and normally we simply “repair” it and go on with our lives.
However, at this time you may have felt that someone pulled hard on one of the threads of your tapestry identity and it all came undone at once.
Dorothy in the Oz story ended up being empowered by surrendering to her own innate wisdom, intuition, resiliency and power, and that of her loyal companions. But it didn’t come without great disorientation and fear.
After all her entire identity and home space shifted all at once! She was forced to see her life from a different perspective and to join with other companions whom she grew to trust.
I see this happening now with so many doing acts of kindness, compassion and donating time and skills to others in need and to our planets health. A global community becoming more consciously connected and innovative.
The power to transform is embedded in challenges such as we are currently experiencing. Even within the ordinary daily ups and downs on the roller coaster of “normal” life. Where something seems to be taken away there is always a new possibility or opportunity for change that emerges in right timing.
Opportunities to surrender and let go seem to be so numerous these days it is easy to be overwhelmed. We are so intimately connected that a lot of what you may be experiencing is the global fear, grief and at times panic that is affecting us all at some time or another.
In other words, others emotions and energy. It is important to know this and release what is not yours, as well as face your own simply by acknowledging and then letting go, instead of “something to be worked on”. Allow this opening and release to transform your inner world and perspective.
Three weeks ago within a 2-day period I experienced a lay off from my job, a necessary move during sheltering at home, and a dear friend hearing her cancer had progressed.
In those moments I realized clearly that I had choice. Just a breath away was the potential for an active surrender – a dissolution of patterned boundaries and an emptying out.
This conscious decision, amidst all the inner voices directing to mobilize and attempt some control of the situations, allowed the unfolding of circumstances that could not have been planned for, or even seen the possibility of, if staying contracted in fear, doubt, worry, anxiety and re-action.
How does it feel to surrender control and certainty…..and trust the unfolding?
I now live on 20 wooded acres near to the South Yuba River in Nevada City, California, have been accepted for unemployment benefits, and my friend has heard more hopeful news since the day we talked about having a more intimate relationship with dying,
Yes, these are challenging times. Yes, they take all of who we are, and are becoming, to meet and navigate. Yet our world is ripe for a consciousness shift on so many levels and in so many domains. All within cooperative connection with others, and communing with the natural world through our senses.
With surrender comes opportunity partnered with vulnerability. This has the potential to transparently unlock possibilities for change and increased well being.
With letting go comes a new found strength and resiliency that has been there all along.
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
Free Audio Surrender Guidance: It is advised that you find a very comfortable space and position to listen to this guidance on surrender. Either lying down with support for head/neck and low back or sitting in a comfortable reclining chair that feels safe and puts you at ease, or a sacred space in nature. If you have an eye mask or a soft piece of cloth you can place over your eyes to relax them and block out distraction, then do so. Give yourself this gift of time devoted on behalf of your own well being, and that of others whose life you touch.
Copyright by Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 4/22/20
GAYE ABBOTT lives and thrives in Northern California in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains where she communes with hummingbirds, flowers, plants and wild things. Communing with nature is her favored activity along with ecstatic dance, Wisdom Healing Qigong at sunrise and sunset, volunteering in her community, laughing out loud and enjoying her family and friends with great appreciation and gratitude!
She is available for guidance/energy sessions via phone, Zoom or Skype. Contact via the “Contact” tab on this site. Two hands at my heart…..
Were you aware that picking too many flowers in the Spring from a fruit bearing tree will yield little fruit in the Fall?
Though common sense for most this is a metaphor for the senseless use and waste of our natural resources out of a deep discontent and unconscious egocentric gratification that permeates humans on this planet.
Take and use only what is yours – what you truly need – only what fills you with joy.
Gift the rest and appreciate it’s beauty from the flow of generosity.
When we gaze out into the world – outside of our own inner dialog, filters and standards – do we clearly see and embrace the blessings that contribute to what our life is now and always becoming?
Or do we gaze out from the contracted space of depletion and “not enoughness” always taking action from a scarcity consciousness that never, ever allows the sacred into our heart.
The Swedish proverb, “Enough is as good as a feast.”, reflects on contentment – whether as an individual or a nation – as pivotal to halt, reverse and shift consumerism, unconscious and short sighted use of our planets resources, and the ugliness of racial, ethnic and religious fanaticism leading to tensions, hatred and violence.
Finding contentment within one’s own sufficiency or “enoughness” is powerful. It is an inside job and a community intention.
The striving for more is replaced with compassion in action taken on behalf of the well being of all life – enough.
What a different world we would love in…..
….if we simply lived our life as enough.
Copyright Gaye Abbott, 9/19/19
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Lao Tzu
Is there ever a reason for hurrying through our life moments? Only to get to the end of our embodied time here having forgotten we are the artist immersed in our own creation.
In a recent painting class the teacher taught us to step away from the canvas, walk around the room for a bit, then come back and see with a new perspective.
The everyday pace of nature unfolds slowly and with purpose, though sometimes it seems to humans there are sudden storms, hurricanes, earthquakes,, fires, trees dying or species disappearing.
What we don’t perceive is the conditions for these changes have been slowly building and changing hidden from us as we focused our awareness away from natural cycles and rhythms.
Aging brings us the wisdom of slowing down, sometimes because our physicality demands it – but more often we notice the vast richness, depth and beauty of life is missed when our minds are caught in the web of a goal.
Natural unfolding – and the trust of it – reveals far more than goal orientation and hurry.
When a woman is in the first stages of giving birth, or a flower is still in bud, the natural unyielding laws of nature prevail.
Any attempt at hurrying those natural processes can destroy a life, or lives, waiting at the threshold to emerge.
If we merged with nature, as many indigenous humans have, and accepted her rhythms – instead of attempting to control, change or dominate – the natural cycles would carry us into the womb of life unfolding and the mystery and wisdom we seek.
Gaining trust never involves hurry. Relationships take time to evolve and unfold. They take attending to like an infant newly born or a tree just planted.
At some point as we rush through our life experiences focused on what is next we are faced with our own mortality.
Rushing something sooner than it is ready to be birthed means not listening to, or aware of, the innate impulses giving birth. Instead we exert our will and accept meeting others perceived expectations or our own – loosing ourselves and the precious moments of our life.
Life artistry never hurries. It always waits in the spaciousness of the moment….
before making it’s presence known. Be surprised!
Gaye Abbott, 7/14/19
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!