i think about all of this and it makes me feel more festive and connected. despite being cold down to my bones often, i made the best of the polar winds and the deep inward drive of winter. it's right for nature to wind down another cycle and i'm learning that it's also ok for me to take a deep pause. today is shivaratri, the hindu festival of honoring lord shiva. he the holder of both stillness and movement and the keeper of consciousness itself. i think of him each dark morning when i sit to meditate. it always begins the same way. i light incense and say a prayer for my personal evolution and that it might help those who are suffering. i feel my body and breath--so terribly, consistently present--and then my mind wanders and then i notice it's wandering and then i'm conscious of body and breath again and then i forget and then i can remember. i see now that it's all the dance of shiva. i forget so that i can have the joy of remembering. it's held in the container of the present moment, which i often cannot see because of the plans i am making, all that i want to fix about myself and the world. when i pause though--usually out of a desperate need to see past some suffering--the moment is there and it's full and i'm dazzled by it.
in honesty, i have a crush on shiva. he is powerful, the river ganges dripping from his dreadlocks and a the snake--representing the unconscious sphere--wrapped around his neck. to me he represents the ability to hold whatever arises with absolute strength. he is the transformer, the one who breaks down who we think we are so that our true nature can arise. his super power is alchemy. instead of destroying the poison of the world, he transforms it to nectar and sends it back out to those who need it. what was dangerous becomes useful, what is dead is reborn, and the cycle of consciousness goes on unbroken.
maybe i have some dreams of living in warmer climates and maybe they will some day come true. for now though, i am feeling strong enough to wrestle everything i want to resist--the cold, the inward pull, the loneliness knocking and the poison that arises from just being a human being. the more i practice, the more i see that the path of practice is so very challenging. it's hard to see so many things about myself that i want develop and habitual patterns that i want to cast away and yet still be gentle and grateful for all that i am. i have things to help--warm things, meditation practice, people i care about and even sexy deities that i get to celebrate once a year. most importantly though, i have this moment, right here, and when i get really still, i feel a truth that nothing is really wrong within it.