I am the life of the universe. Tat Twam Asi. This is my core belief. Yoga and meditation -- turning inward -- have long been my way to that. This strange year of isolation, I remembered what I knew when I was small: turning outward. When the pandemic hit, we were in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, on Banderas Bay, Mexico. We decided to stay, and to isolate. I turned to the sky. This bay is a crater: round, ringed by mountains except where it opens onto the sea. It's the most astonishing feeling to live here, like the earth is cupping you in the palm of her hand. Living on the water's edge makes the whole thing feel like a bowl of sea and sky with a little rim of mountains holding it in.
Watching the star at the heart of our solar system spin past the horizon of the Earth is, for me... oh. Sunrises and sets are like kisses or kittens: all the same, all unique, inscrutable and perfect. Thank you, Sol, for shining. For saying mystery and majesty over and over.
I watched our moon, Luna, rising and setting, waxing and waning amongst stars and planets, at by day and by night. The sun says constancy; the moon says variation. They both say to me: Trust the rhythm. They say to me: Existence itself is dancing.
In the early weeks of quarantine we were not supposed to go outside even for exercise here, and as a safety valve we began to take midnight walks. As things opened a bit we sat under the skies and it felt so decadent. Summer here is like winter, the season in which the weather is dangerously intense and everyone huddles up at home to get through safely. A hundred degree heat index every day for months and months, 85% humidity, 95%, big electrical storms almost every night. We hunkered down. As autumn came, I ran at dawn and James began to run with me at dusk. Most gloriously, though, I paddled. I began to slip out onto the dock in the dark before dawn, to treasure star maps. I tucked a light into a drybag to make sure I was visible to the fishermen and began to bob around on the bay in the dark, looking up. In time, I began to sing; there's a bit of that to come.
James and I made the bay-and-sky our temple and our favorite restaurant. We paddled onto the water, walked to the beach, carried chairs onto the marina's breakwater to toast the dawn or the sing to the moonrise for my birthday, for the New Year, for the winter solstice, for the vernal equinox, for astronomical conjunctions, to wash away our grief in the beauty and to remember every time: I belong, we belong, we are the life of the cosmos.
On the morning of the US election in November, my friend LauraLee and I made a date to paddle and watch the sun rise. We've paddled the sun up twice a week ever since; together we've gone farther than previous versions of me could imagine, pointing out whales and dolphins, schools of little fish running across the surface of the sea on the tips of their tails, sea turtles, magnificent frigatebirds and pelicans and oh, the day that a fever of rays swam right beneath us, a vast golden-green web spanning down into the water like the surface of a pyramid, on and on, and our usual gentle babble of oh-my-gosh-life-weaving-stories grew silent and our eyes wide. Woven with the sea and the sky is this friendship, which has brought me great solace. Thank, you, dear one.
I want to share with you how the light dances on the waves and how the surface of the water swells, and how differently it does so. I want to let you hear to the waves lap lap lapping. Each of these is just a few seconds. The songs are at the end.
I call myself a devotional agnostic. If my little fancy-monkey brain cannot understand that time is not linear, and my perceptual apparatus cannot hear what dogs can hear or see what bees can see, how could I expect this brain to understand the wholeness of whatever what-is is? I love this: the mystery, life. I relish the not-knowing. I sing it prayersongs:
And love songs.
Tvameva Mata Cha Pita Tvameva
Tvameva Bandhu Cha Sakha Tvameva
Tvameva Vidya Dravinam Tvameva
Tvameva Sarvam Mama Deva Deva
Thou art my mother, my father thou art
Thou art my family, my friend you art
Thou art my knowledge, my wealth thou art
Thou art my all, oh light of all lights, thou art
I post a lot of skygazing and paddling adventures on my Instagram story; I'm @priestess_of_the_mystery if you'd like more.