I’m writing this bundled up in a hammock on a cliff-side perch above a crystal clear fast flowing river far out in the wilderness. Civilization is at least a half hour drive away, I have no shelter other than trees towering above and I am the only human here. It is very dark and the sky is dotted with thousands of stars. I’ve slept the last couple nights hanging between two trees. The nights are cold (40F/5C degrees) and the only interruptions to the silence are birds, animals, and the wind. I heard large animals communicating with grunting sounds at about 4:30 am… guessing deer or elk. Hammock Over the River

The thought actually crossed my mind: “I should be more scared…” What if there are bears or mountain lions or mean people? It’s interesting that when I typed that and the images floated through my psyche I felt quite scared… How peculiar our mind can be. Though, now thirty seconds later, I don’t have any fear at all: peaceful in the forest by myself, but not alone at all.

There is something very special that happens through the knowing that all is well. By “All is well” I mean: Everything Is exactly how it Is. Period… anything else we add is just a story.

More and more I see that as I let my beliefs and disbeliefs fall away and live fully engaged, but without any preconceived idea of how things should be: All the unimaginable possibilities that were there all along bloom into the magnificence that already is.

For years it has felt like we have to be open to all the possibilities in order for them to occur. This doesn’t appear true to me anymore. It appears that unimaginable possibilities are happening all the time, it’s just that we are judging things as good or bad, or we think we know how it is supposed to be. So we struggle. We often are so preoccupied that we miss the magnificence that is happening right beneath our nose.

Here is a cute and interesting short story that just happened and sweetly illustrates this knowing and trust (and involves brief nudity- reader beware!!):

After being in the dusty woods for a couple of days I wanted to clean up. I walked down the hill to the river with soap and a towel. A clean face and clean feet would be such a treat. The river is very cold and the sun was already behind the trees.

While standing in the river, just ankle deep, I washed my face: Brrrrr it was cold! Then I washed my feet, but noticed I had dirt and dust up to my knees. So, I took a couple steps down the steep bank to get in a bit deeper. The bank was covered with algae… I slipped and slid right in. Yikes! Arctic water!!!

Now I’m standing in the river and the only parts not submerged are my shoulders and head. “Ha! I’m taking a bath!” I thought comically. My soap still in hand, I slipped my bathing suit off, threw it up on the bank and took a very refreshing bath in the crystal clear snow melt water of the Cascade Mountains.

It was one of the quickest baths I’ve ever taken, but also probably the most refreshing of my life! I washed, rinsed and climbed back up to the grassy shore sporting my birthday suit. Within minutes I was back up at camp dressed in a few warm layers and feeling amazing.

As I was walking back I realized how beautiful that experience was and how it was a microcosm of all of life. A feeling of gratitude washed over me as I realized the drastic shift I’ve experienced in the last several months. I had no plans to go more than ankle deep in the river, though without a thought there was a profound and sweet surrender to what already was: I was taking a bath. Some might call it meant to be, I now see it as what Is.

Not long ago, I probably would have thought: “Great! Now I’m cold and wet” or “why did this have to happen?” or maybe I’d have fallen in and then thought “Well, I’m here now. Guess I’ll take a bath.” None of that crossed my mind. It was a childlike glee and a bath in a river- nothing more. The most gorgeous part of my bath tonight was realizing after the fact how simple and amazing life has become.

What if everything really just Is?

What if life is flowing and the only thing there is for us to do is to continue to follow our inclinations and surrender to what is? Many may read that and think “Yeah, but there are really bad things that happen in life. That was just a little slip in a river.” I hear you and yes: I too sometimes get caught up and wonder if this is really true, especially in situations that don’t seem to be fair.

One such scenario that pops to mind is my mom living with serious stage four cancer. That’s not fair. How can anyone surrender to that? Though, she is flowing beautifully through the experience with such grace and ease. Just over a year ago she called quite excited to share with me that she knows why she is still alive years beyond what doctors predicted. Here is what she said:

“I am still alive, because I’m not afraid to die.”

Wow, yes. Mom gets it. Life is just lifing and most people wouldn’t guess my mom has been living with such a grave diagnosis for quite a while. Last month we had the most amazing time: camping, hiking, and exploring in Oregon. Even then, she admitted that she really didn’t think she’d still be here all these years later. I didn’t either. I’ve witnessed her sweet surrender, deeper and deeper for years now. She takes everything in stride, it’s a beautiful thing to witness.

When most people think of surrender, they think of waving a white flag or bowing down in defeat. The surrender I’m referring to is quite different: instead it is being fully engaged in life, following the tickles of our soul, living beautifully, and being fully ok with what already Is. There is no ‘fight’ or regret or wishing you could have it another way.

What if the infinite symphony of all time has already been written? What if we can’t get it wrong? What if sickness, falling in rivers, pain, layoffs, parting of relationships, homes burning down, hunger… what if all that too was just what is?

I can tell you this for sure: Cancer looked real- it looked like awfully bad news… until I saw through my beliefs and disbeliefs to what is. Do I wish Mom didn’t have to go through chemo and all the rest she’s been through? Of course, but it just is. And even before I realized that it just is…. I already saw so many beautiful things that were born from this experience.

What it looks like to me right now is this: When we see that everything Is, our entire experience shifts to simplicity and ease. When the illusion that things should be different subsides: a knowing remains. This knowing provides for such a clear and peaceful state of mind. Within this space we can simply live while being present to our instincts and inclinations. In this space, no matter what is happening in the world around us, there is clarity that the symphony is grander than we can imagine.

Life knows when a cold bath is perfect… even that experience was so much more refreshing than I could ever have imagined possible. Life is clean: always.

What a refreshing reminder of what Is.

 

…until the next revolution

 

A short video filmed on location where this blog was born and just hours before it was written:

 

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In the silence of a new day being born, I sit on a lakeside perch under a layer of clouds lying low like a warm blanket covering us. “Us” meaning all of us: the lake, the trees, the bases of the mountains in the distance, the birds, the buzzing and curious bugs that seem so loud in the silence, the fish beneath the mirror of the water’s surface, and the chipmunk chirping across the reflection in the forest on a far shore.

Across the lake a large stretch of trees are brightened by the first rays of sun peeking through a hole in the clouds. I can almost hear the trees stretch and sigh a lovely sigh as they wake up to the day. Moments later the bright sun on their leaves lightens and fades until it’s gone. The clouds drift back together forming a soft and full cover again. The trees snuggle back in under their cozy blanket of clouds to rest once more on this lazy Sunday morning. Yes, it seems trees love a Sunday snuggle too.

 

I wrote these first two paragraphs while in a space of stillness and presence… that space that lies beneath all that we think and the noise that is our humanness. Now it is another day. I am outside with nature again, hoping that something flows through my fingertips and on to the screen… anything to continue the story I began under the blanket of clouds. I’m waiting and wishing… In a way, aren’t we all?

In the last few days I had conversations with two people who wanted the same thing. They both wanted: to feel free, at ease and in flow. Monks have been retreating to caves high in the mountains in attempt to reach this space for centuries. Extreme athletes often do what they do to be in a similar space. In essence we all want the same thing.

While wanting and waiting for the words to appear, I checked my email and clicked a link: It was a video with Anita Moorjani… I was listening to what she was describing and agreeing with pretty much every bit of it. Although, something she said struck me deeply.

In her unique way, she was describing what I also see to be true about life and the fact that everything just Is. Everything is perfectly orchestrated. Often we can’t see the entire tapestry when we are zoomed in and experiencing living the life of a single thread. I was listening to Anita and thinking: “Yes, that’s it. This is one of the best descriptions I’ve heard…” She was describing was the flow of life, which we are. We often have no clue why things happen the way they do because we can only “see” what we are experiencing- a finite note (our human life) in this infinite and beautifully orchestrated symphony (all of creation).

Then Anita said “We don’t know this while we are living life…” and it struck me like a blow to the chest (at 4:21 in the video) . Reason being: That statement doesn’t seem true.

What if we can know and experience the symphony while we are alive? What if we do get glimpses of the grandness of everything?

There is an audio recording of an exploration that dovetails this conversation beautifully. It’s a deep exploration of a poem by Rumi (a 12th century Sufi poet) by a group Coddiwomplers.  There were fourteen of us that met once a week to see more together about life and living from a space of the unknown, a place of peace and beautiful feelings. Take a listen, it is quite a unique and enlightening conversation.

“[This poem] speaks to me of that deep space we all share. The silence where no words can convey the feeling, where there is no-thing, but presence and healing and love and no words are necessary, where words are just a distraction. It reminds me of that moment in time we shared that space”. – Scott James

How might we know this while we are alive? What I’ve seen is there is a knowing (akin to a trust or a faith) there for all of us to live in. Sure, we are experiencing our life: a note in the symphony. Though the moment we become aware of more, there is a gentle shift. The symphony is infinite and beautiful beyond anything we can imagine.

What might happen when we surrender to what is? In surrender we can live a beautiful life as the note, yet We are the symphony? Could just the mere knowing that we are the symphony, takes us to places we could never dream of? …It seems to me the answer is yes.

What I’ve seen that has helped me experience more of the symphony is: surrendering to what already is, living in the ‘now’,  and knowing we can’t get it wrong.

We are all the symphony. When we live from this space, freedom abounds and we come alive. Take a listen to the group audio and hear what you hear.

Back to what I mentioned early on in this article (the two people I’ve spoken with in the last few days that wanted to experience this knowing more deeply): With one I had the treat of actually watching her sink into a place of freedom, peace and beautiful feelings. It was gorgeous…  What if that space of peace and beautiful feelings is closer than we think all the time?  It seems the more we see about life (the symphony) and how simply everything works, the simpler slipping in to that space becomes. It’s there all the time… even when we are alive.

The vastness of the symphony is unimaginable. It is all that Is: The birds, the buzzing bugs, the trees, the clouds and all that is beyond imagineation… everything.

Wouldn’t it be great to soak in that space more and more while we are alive?

 

… until the next revolution.

 

Treat Yourself

If you haven’t yet, give yourself the treat of listening to the Coddiwomple Audio. It is worth the listen and in the last 4 minutes we deeply explore living from this space and realizing we are ‘the symphony’… and how this all relates to knowing that we can’t get life wrong. This knowing changes everything.

 

Explore More

Would you like to join in and see more? The Coddiwomple Group Program has attracted people from all walks of life and the last group of the year begins in just two weeks: on August 20th. We meet 1 hour a week by video or phone for 10 weeks.

In the last group we explored many different topics (including the poem in the audio), but the point of each call is to continually expand our understanding of life and float deeper toward the space we are all looking for: More peace, freedom, joy and love… from this space there is so much possibility. Everything changes and how we experience life can all shift in an instant: relationships, finances, business, health, family, careers, retirement… every part of life. If you are curious, check it out… for the price of a pair of shoes, your life could change forever: Coddiwomple Group Program.

 

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This is a 20 minute excerpt from an hour long exploration in early April. A  group of Coddiwomplers discussed and explored how a poem by Rumi, a 12th century mystic and poet, relates to life today.

The excerpt begins with wondering about “You must ask for what you really want” and ends with a discussion around the freedom in knowing “You can’t get it wrong.”

Could life be unfolding perfectly even when it appears otherwise?

Enjoy!!

 

If you only have a few minutes, click the link below. In the last 4 minutes of the audio we discuss being completely human and how this relates to knowing we can’t get life wrong.

Abbreviated version (last 4 minutes only):

 

Here is the poem:

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”
doesn’t make any sense.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”

 

If you would like to join in and explore deeply too, the next group begins August 20, 2019. Check it out here:

The group is facilitated and organized by me, Kristy Halvorsen. Group size is kept very intimate so that everyone is uniquely involved and has the opportunity to connect deeply as well as speak their way into the group and a deeper understanding.

 

**This excerpt is being released with permission from those on audio 🙂

 

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Photo: Half Dome from the Valley- Yosemite National Park; 2019 By Kristy Halvorsen