Sheltering in Place

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The other day, after a heavy rain, after a winter rough wind-blown night, I awoke to my family of deer grazing in the pasture. I say my because I’ve been observing this little clan since the kids were born, out from under the place where the big rock and oak tree meet to form a kind of shelter. Watching as the suckling fawn matured into young adults, foraging along with their mother. My husband and I have had the great privilege of watching many young deer, quail and bobcats come of age on our land and the neighboring national forest.

On this particular morning, after the downpour, the sky a clear blue, the deer were enjoying nature’s bounty – nibbling yellow wildflowers, drinking up dew drops from low hanging branches and leaves, taking advantage of what was available but not more than they needed. At dusk they settled in to the tall grass, their knees tucked neatly beneath them like hens. Sheltering in place.

I wonder what we might learn from the deer. How we might bring our attention to our surroundings in a new way, seeing with new eyes, listening with new ears, trusting that the earth will provide for us all if we can align, honor and share. How we might practice what Zen Buddhist teacher Deborah Eden Tull calls Relational Mindfulness.

She reminds us that we have the choice in each moment to heal the myth of separation. That slowing down is a revolutionary act. That there is great wisdom in turning our attention inward. That sensitivity is our strength. Presence our power. That through this crisis we might learn to better partner with each other. Nature. Technology. That we can take passionate responsibility in the face of global uncertainty. That we can sustain ourselves while becoming agents of change.

The deer show us it’s time to fill the well within. A time for deep listening and reflecting. Reflecting on where we’ve been and where we’re going. A time to re-charge, re-envision, re-spond and re-cover the lost aspects of ourselves and our world. Dare I say the holiest of times.

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