Among Ravens and Redwoods

I recently retreated to the Northwest coast to bask in the company of the sea, towering redwoods and the scent of eucalyptus. I was experiencing the discomfort of transitioning between names and between seasons while also working with the daily grief that comes with tuning into the political and social climate. All of this culminated in emotional overwhelm and a creative slump. I began to doubt the importance of my creative work.  I was in need of a coastal recharge and a fresh landscape to inspire an internal shift.

Each morning and evening I communed with a coven of ravens soaring in and out of the tall pines behind my inn. Their presence felt like ancestral Crones offering wise invitations to listen into my heart with deepening courage.

My afternoons included excursions to the beach, soaking up salty air and softening into the rhythm of the Pacific. I felt my whole body ease into the white noise of the surf crashing and retreating along the shore. As the afternoon sun heated the beach, I sunk my feet deeper into the cooler layers of gritty sand. It was better than any spa experience, naturally exfoliating and soothing.

My weekend ended with a walk through the Muir Woods. It was as magical as I imagined— dappled light filtering through majestic redwoods onto a lush carpet of wood sorrel and ferns. Even with a number of visitors, the forest preserved a sense of quiet sacred. I sat in the cathedral of pines for a long while, bathing in the refuge of the old growth forest. I felt the echo of Muir's invitation, Come to the Woods, For Here is Rest and these words by Rumi returned to me:

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

— Rumi

Sometimes I allow anxiety and fear to consume my joy, leaving me feeling empty and lackluster. Sometimes I get lost in old stories about success, allowing shadows of doubt to consume my sense of purpose. Sometimes I forget that I can trust my inner wisdom which is deep, abiding and life-giving.  Sometimes it takes a retreat from the usual routine, to sit among ravens and redwoods in order to remember.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

This is the current force at work in my life. May the beauty of what I love continue to inform the work I put into the world. May it make a positive difference in some way. This is my song of praise, my song of hope, my offering of refuge.