On Autumn, Gratitude and Listening to your Soul
It’s been a crazy fall in terms of politics: provincially we have the ongoing legislature scandal and federally we have the election everyone is gobsmacked by.
I’d intended to blog about it all but Facebook memories reminded me ( as only the pervasive creepiness of Facebook can do), that two years ago Wedensday, Rafe Mair moved onto raise Hell in another realm.
Well damn. Enough time has passed that I forgot, but not enough time to keep me from feeling saddened at his departure all over again.
I found myself thinking about him and some of the things he had written while walking through the forest shortcut home after a meeting. It was chilly still and I pulled my sweater more tightly around me against the cold of the shade when the sun suddenly hit my face. I stopped, squinting my eyes as I tried to focus looking at the light, savouring the feeling of the welcome sunbeam squeezing between stately trees in the early cold of an island autumn… and then just stood there for a moment and let the warmth wash over me.
I suddenly felt the urge to stop and write, that very instant…so there I sat,writing in the forest on a massive stump, embraced by trees whose crispy leaves flutter like paper in the wind. Where sunlight streams through tree trunks like guiding lights, where the only sound was my lungs inhaling and exhaling air so cool I leave condensation on my reading glasses.
I read a blog recently written by the sister of a valued friend, in which she wrote:
” There are maybe a hundred unfinished pieces hiding behind this one. I sometimes worry that my thoughts scramble before they hit the page. But that’s what blogs are for, I think. At least this is what they are for me. A place to download, often quickly, the passing ruminations of a life well lived as I am able… I am often composing something as I move…”
I felt that,deeply. For each blog I rarely do post now, there are so many more I don’t. No matter where or what I do, I am composing in my mind, vignettes of life and thoughts and yet so little do I bother writing these bits down. Which is ironic because that kind of writing is what truly makes me happy.
Over years of blogging I inadvertently pigeonholed myself in terms of my writing. BC politics is what I love and what you wanted, but on the rare occasion I posted from my heart and soul, those posts attracted so many more readers. Why? Rafe knew. And in revisiting those posts and his comments, I laughed and smiled.. was this serendipity at work? And I knew that moment his words were what many need to hear right now, in the heart of this wretched and crucial election:
Fast forward many years and to my families move to the island, a northern girl at heart leaving the suffocating cloak of city living behind… rediscovering just how inherent a connection to the land is when you grew up dependent on it.
Rafe was one of a very few who ‘got’ the evolution I was going through, as a writer who had spent years documenting corruption and misdeeds of the BC Liberals ..but also as a parent…and as a woman…but most importantly as a British Columbian… his remarks always struck home in a big way, in two posts I have written in particular…
Written while living on a mountain, in between metro Van home and Comox Valley home, I bared my soul to readers, speaking to my re-connection with not just nature, but our reliance on it. And Rafe got it immediately:
“Laila, that was your soul speaking.
Rafe not only got what I was trying to say in that post, he got everything I was feeling that I did not write. He knew I was disillusioned with hateful, partisan politics…
It stuck with me profoundly because just a week earlier I had written this piece: https://lailayuile.com/2016/08/11/as-for-me-i-know-nothing-more-than-miracles-walt-whitman/
“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.”~ mevlana jelaluddin rumi
Since I read my first book of rumi’s writings and read this passage, I find myself reminded every time I find a luscious field in summer…. high with timothy or wild grass, rife with daisies bobbing their heads as they reach, reach for the sun… the wind blows lightly that rustling dry sound not unlike a million tiny wind chimes, delights the ear and cools the skin…I can’t help but walk, hands dragging lightly through the grass, the scent of summer in the air until a feeling of complete and utter peace overcomes me.This is the field I imagine rumi speaks of… one where we are free of judgment, free from conflict…where we are free from labels of left and right, gender or race, your way or my way and things get done because it’s the right thing to do, not because it serves any other purpose.Maybe one day, I’ll meet you there…”
And while some objected privately to my writing about things meaningful beyond politics, Rafe got why I wrote about it… and made me understand why and how it mattered when fighting for things that mattered, or trying to save things from destruction:
These wise words of Rafe, written two years ago but still so relevent now, are so important as we begin to elect our next prime minister…
The light is fading early now, as it does at in October. I’ve written off and on all day in the moments between my work. The sky is peach and will morph into pink, mauve and then the luminescent indigo that only happens right before the black of night . A thousand starlings are chirping in a crescendo that signals the imminent moment they are going take off to dance over the fields in an amazing display of murmuration. If there is one time that any person who was not raised to appreciate nature, would be able to reconnect with the land, it would be now, at dusk. The air is cool, but my cheeks are flushed with awe of all around me.To feel this experience I’m trying to put words to, is to understand how nature is intrinsic to our soul…and critical to changing the course of our path on this planet.
There is so much talk now of climate change. Of saving the world. Of zero waste, reusable bags and “sustainable” development. Which is all good and fine and I am right there always practicing and advocating for truly renewable and sustainable ways of moving this world forward….
But I think its no accident that Rafes words came back to me this week, which is why I am writing this. It’s perhaps as much for me, as for you and for his legacy. Do you love this world around us? I think you do. I just saw hundreds of thousands of people who listened to their souls and marched in the streets because they were finally moved to action and wanted those in power to listen.
Sometimes we don’t know what to do, or how to start, and fear of change can be paralyzing. But so many are taking a deep breath and moving through and beyond that fear,whether it’s in their own habits or whether its marching in the street. When we do this, we make it easier for others to grab their courage and do the same. Remember the power individual drops of water have together in a river…
I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. (Rafe would have, with some choice words 😉) That vote is yours, and yours only. Do not let people bully or harass you out of it.
I will however, ask you to do this: for once, listen to your soul before you vote. Yes, please do your research, and be wary of exaggerated promises, but consider Rafes words again :
“Until we understand that Industry controls our government and what little media is left, and that the oil industry controls industry, we will more and more be left to dream of what used to be.
We elect these cretins and then when we try to offset their evil by voting NDP or Green, but we find that they have no stomach for the fight assuming, it would seem, and perhaps correctly, that we prefer progress as defined by the oil industry because otherwise there may be sacrifices to make…
It’s one thing to be a peaceful people quite another to be supine…”
This system isn’t working. And some of these politicians have no soul, they only have agendas.
If we stop voting for those beholden to industry, and for those who greenwash industry to try and make you feel better about what they know is wrong, we might get back on track. Both the NDP and Greens are both showing they do have the fight now, and in a perfect world I’d love to see a government between the two, leaving Trudeaus crew and Scheers to sit in a long, much needed time out. Because those people are a helluva bigger reason why we are in the state we are in, than anything else.( remember Harper? Let’s not do that again!)
Happy Thanksgiving my friends. I’m feeling so much gratitude for the things that really matter this year, my family, my mobility and our health.
I am grateful for those of you who appreciate my rare blogs still. 🙏🏼 And I am grateful for this beautiful valley and island I call home. Hug your loved ones…and then hug them a bit longer. ❤ And try to find a quiet moment outside somewhere..just for a moment…and listen to your soul.