Thirty-nine days in a camper van during a pandemic, election year, fires and social justice awakening is an adventure into wonder, curiosity, enchantment and astonishment. For 39 days I traveled solo across the country. I kept my distance from people by wandering parks, and sitting by lakes, rivers and oceans. It has been a time of nourishment.
Christine Valters Paintner captures many of the reflections and emotions I felt along this journey in her book Earth Our Original Monastery. At times, I did feel as though I was on a monastic retreat, yet I was never lonely or felt alone. The landscape really was,as she writes, my “soul friend”.
Sharon Blackie wrote in her book The Enchanted Life….”ultimately, to live an enchanted life is to pick up the pieces of our bruised and battered psyches, and to offer them the nourishment they long for. It is to be challenged, to be awakened, to be gripped and shaken to the core by the extraordinary which lies at the heart of the ordinary.”
As I sat by Lake Superior, walked in colorful leaves and looked up at the towering redwoods I felt enchantment. I was awakened, gripped, and shaken to the core.
Blackie concludes…”to live an enchanted life is to fall in love with the world all over again. This is an active choice, a leap of faith which is necessary not just for our own sakes, but for the sake of the wide, wild earth in whose being and becoming we are so profoundly and beautifully entangled”.
Familiar and new places helped me to fall back in love with the world as a whole, people and planet. I watched individuals, couples and families fall into the nourishment of the land across this country. I experienced the healing powers of nature for myself and for them. Together we fell back in love with life, living and the world.
I have returned to pandemic numbers surging, voting, and high political tensions. This week I’m going to draw on enchantment. I’m working on establishing a daily routine of cultivating a sense of wonder, enchantment and astonishment.
Scale is more important when I don’t have Lake Superior, Redwoods and waterfalls at my footsteps and fingertips. Yet, this morning I watched pelicans dive in the bay and coots run on the water. It is start to a daily observational and journaling practice of enchantment. I’m ready to be awakened, gripped and shaken on a daily basis.
Paintner concludes…”cultivating a sense of wonder, enchantment and astonishment is an act of resistance in an age of cynicism and despair”. I’ve lived this way for 39 days and I’m going to not let go of that way of thinking and being.
Where might wonder? enchantment? or astonishment fit into your daily practice?