IMG_6620Summer is a glorious time indeed, exuberant, light, upwelling.  I love looking out my window to the Red Beech tree that has grown all the way up to our 12th floor abode;  love seeing the leaves dance in the sunlight, hear them whisper with the wind.

Yet in August, especially after such dry weather as we’ve had, one can begin to notice the leaves starting to fall, the full bloom giving way… fading, softening….  Something else is whispering… changes are afoot.  Feeling these subtleties this morning,  I am inspired to speak about subtleties I’m noticing in my own unfolding.

For a full three weeks in July I had the pleasure, and challenge, of being with both my children and their families (nine of us in total!) on vacation in Austria, Italy, and Corsica. IMG_7222

I could tell about the wonderful times we had — the way we function well together, the swimming, the water play, IMG_6526jumping from cliffs, visiting old towns, exercising, playing games, making music, creating nutritious and beautiful food for all… oh, and surviving the HEAT!  It was unseasonably hot, and we panted together and made the best of it.   And there were of course the little glitches, some disagreements, different priorities, kids being kids…  the usual.  But that would be the surface of it, and I want to take this opportunity to go deeper.IMG_7334

In early July, I attended a week-long Waking Down retreat.  (I spoke about some insights from this in Cosmic Algebra:  Being Divinely Human.)  My vision and goal for the retreat had been to tap more deeply into some of the subtle dimensions — humans have been gifted this stunningly mysterious capacity, eh?!  I wanted to grow in my experience of the Loving nature of the universe, and to deepen my experience of Onlyness — the paradox that we are both finite, individual, limited, and also mysteriously one with all creation: deep and real non-separateness.  Oh my.  I am grateful for the teaching and the holding, the opportunity to take these “deep dives.”

One of the real “ah ha” aspects of tuning in, paying attention to my experience at a subtle level is not just how the world opens and expands…  An example:  preparing a salad for our gang with my son, I could feel the heat, register the beads of perspiration, the glow all over my body; notice the sweet pleasure of working  side-by-side with my grown son, who lives very far away;  taste the salty olives we had gotten fresh from the local store; look up to take in the beauty of the Corsican light, the reflection of sun off the aquamarine water and feel the energizing zip of the earlier dip…

What wonder to feel and take in the breadth of sensations, feelings, emotions.  Just to notice, to sense, to be aware, to be here.   That’s amazing in itself, and expands my experience.   My life becomes fuller, I am more alive — tuned in, and bringing awareness to at least some of the infinite number of dimensions unfolding in every moment.  Miracle of miracles!

imagesStill, what I’d like to point to here is that tuning in also lets me hold paradox in a way that can be illuminating and deeply rewarding.  When I can notice and stay with the subtleties of my experience, the results are both ordinary and extraordinary.

To take the same example a bit farther:  I feel my gratitude for family, good food, the pleasant anticipation of eating together, the pleasure of being, our shared activities; and I also sensed the contraction of my annoyance that the kids weren’t helping, that we are all so addicted to electronics, that the heat was stifling and enervating, that we don’t connect on deeper levels, but sometimes pass like ships in the night… i.e., the limitations and pain of existence.  Usually one flavor would predominate:  the choice to focus on a glass half full or half empty, one could say.

But I can drop down to a subtler level and hold at all — feel the expansion, of love and goodness, and the contraction and pain of judgment and discomfort, expectations and limits.  Both/And.  It’s all there, it’s all present, it’s all me, it’s all changing, unfolding…I am the mystery, the dynamism.  images

The kicker is that I don’t realize or have the opportunity integrate this unless I tune in, and notice the subtleties, the manifesting, the mystery of being…  When I do, it’s almost at a cellular level, and deeply humbling and illuminating; an incredible gift.

If you are interested in pursuing this further, I highly recommend a talk by Sandra Glickman, a Waking Down teacher.  It is called Subtle Dimensions of Self: owning non-separateness through Real and Embodied often Invisible but Powerful Aspects of Yourself.

images-1Perhaps you will resonate, or be inclined to look inward — to reflect on the summer, a vacation, a retreat, a trip, a gathering…  I would be pleased to hear more about your experience of tuning in, noticing, unfolding, growing, integrating soul and spirit into daily life.

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-) 

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