I have to forgive the trees every fall.  It’s okay.  I know. You can’t help it.  Now I can even work on being excited for them.  Hey, next step! Transform!   Let’s move on!  These are not sentiments that come easily to me.  I love deciduous trees.  I love the fluttering of their leaves, and the network of branches making a spread perfect in unity and variety.

I went up to a monastery for four days over the summer.  My days there would make a terrible story.  I didn’t go up for anything in particular.  I didn’t have any great revelation.  I didn’t go looking and find something.  At this point, my religious practice is more about listening.  I went to be quiet and listen.  I went to practice and focus.  Practice: prayer three times a day, meals with others, telling stories.  I slept a lot.  I stared a lot.   I read.

My body enters fall and winter fearfully.  I’ve felt more in touch with my cave man nature the last couple of years.  Boy, that sounds crazy, but it’s true.  I feel like my ancestors’ fear of change and fear of surviving the winter remains, on an emotional level, rather than a physical one.  On an emotional level, it’s fear of losing people, places, situations, the emotional framework of your life.  Although I seem to be in no danger of that, the subconscious doesn’t care.

I have always dreaded January and February.  Losing light isn’t too bad.  I get a lot of sunlight at work.  I love my huge windows.  I finally got a humidifier, so I don’t feel physically dried out.  Exercise helps with the cabin fever.  And the hot tub at the gym can get my core temperature back up.  My hands and feet will get thoroughly, deeply warm there, and it helps.

I hate not knowing if things will happen, if the weather will go nuts and cancel stuff, or trap me at home.  The main thing I miss is fresh air on my skin.  I love that in the spring.  It’s like all winter, your skin and the outdoors are quarreling, and some time in March, they fall in love again.  Come on out!  Let’s be together!

Spiritual practice teaches that, as Bobby Brown said, “This world is a trick.”  Whatever you think is bothering you from the outside is always an inside, deep-down problem that can be pacified with patience and cheerfulness and acceptance.

So winter is a trick.  It’s just outsides.  Winter sets up false traps, fake compartments, like the box for sawing the lady in half.  The lady is fine.  She is perfectly safe.  From the outside, it looks like a dangerous situation.  It’s dramatic and gorgeous and threatens violence.  She’s really all right, though.

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