a july wind
July is the month of rebirth for me. It's a time of intentionality and change. Midsummer always feels like the start of something new for me. A new school year is too busy for me to change. A new calendar year is smack in the center of an old winter and I don't feel like resolution-ing just then. Lent? Well, that is around spring and certainly is a time of renewal, but not quite. Not quite like midsummer. Not quite like July.
July is the only month of the year that I don't work. "Yes, I hear myself," I said to my mother just recently, "The only month I don't work." First world problems. You're getting water in my champagne.
But this lack of forward propulsion in July is remarkable because I work two jobs, essentially, all year. I teach 2nd grade and I run The Winter House. And in sweet, sweet July I do neither. I take stock...I may even sell some stock (hehe) if I feel so inclined. But not really. Maybe? Eh. Hardly.
I go into myself in July. I harvest summer crops. Learn new things. Promise, promise, promise myself that I will (finally!) start drinking more water. And I listen to the echoes in my heart. The whispers of new things, new things I want to be. But change? It takes time. And, no, I don't want to overhaul my whole entire self. No way! But in all of our hearts we can find things we want to shave, to polish, to shine. I believe in that. I believe in following a soul's desire to refresh.
Leading up to this July, I was conscious of one thing with every beat of my steps: authenticity. I felt this shade of hollowness...as if at some point I had ceased to be authentic. Laziness, really.
I once knew a woman who spoke of "invisible audiences" being a stumbling block to realness. It comes from a lack of confidence, a need to perform. She said this was detrimental to one's sense of self because it stands in the way of truly being one with your own self. When I asked why?...how? She said, "Because if you have an invisible audience, then soon you are not living your life--you're acting it out."
And this? I get this. I don't have an invisible audience, but I did feel as if I was going through the motions. Being the "self" everyone knows--and that's awesome!--except that I wasn't engaged in it. It felt flat. Not sad or mad or desperate or anything. Just...eh. Tiptoeing around outside my life--same ol', same ol'--but not really diving in.
I found myself talking to an old friend, and looking at my truths from new angles. And they stand--they do. But they felt tired. Like there was some needling thing that was left undone. Some sort of balance that fit once, but now felt lopsided. Some bit of courage I never allowed myself to need or want.
And then, one day, I saw it. Out of nothing at all, out of a window I had been staring in the direction of, I saw it: WIND. A great bouncing display of it, too. How long it had been going on, I don't know. But it was there now. Like nature's little crazy-bouncy-haired muppets. Side to side, flopsy-mopsy, to and fro. A "look-at-me-I'm-right-here!" kind of wind.
The wind visits me when change comes. Oh, I know it's there all the time. But so is the sun and shadow and breath. But we all know that inner knowledge. That moment when there is some sort of natural, regularly occurring thing that is just for you. Angel numbers. God winks. A whole, great big world putting on a display for one single soul. And in one that moment, that soul is you.
To me, the wind is the Holy Spirit, bringing its courage, endurance, clarity, wisdom. These fruits--they are ours for the cherishing. And in that moment of absolute clarity, I knew what the wind was saying.
There is another fear to be fought and overcome. One I do not take lightly, nor do I particularly welcome. But the wind--it comes to get my attention. Change. Transformation.
The dragonflies were the first--darting around to catch my eye. The first book I picked up in a year--one whose title has been shouting at me from the bedside for two months--The Four Winds. A book about a woman who just kept working, kept working, kept working. Finding strength. Finding endurance. That's me. That's me, but it's not me.
Brene Brown, a popular name who I pay almost zero attention to (even though I suspect she is my spirit animal), "Choose discomfort over resentment"--an article I read even before I knew I was reading it. Praying to God for change, but the change is in me down a road I have avoided out of fear. Peace, yes. Also a desire for peace and to protect. But fear, mostly.
The next book I find at the library--The Tibetan Book of Heart Yoga. A slim, red volume lost in rows and rows of books, speaks of the "inner winds" that our thoughts ride upon like a rider on a horse. Take a burden from a loved one and into yourself, so say the Tibetans. And a love that big will banish the rest.
The book expresses a heart as a rose and a diamond is the great, bright energy that powers it. But I can only imagine a fern--my favorite plant!--and a quartz. Bright and common, imperfect and powerful quartz.
"No more," says Elsa in The Four Winds. No more.
I will stand up for what is right, for what is balance. I will not lose sleep, I will not lose faith. I will dedicate myself to discipline of mind and body. I will fill my thoughts and breath with good spirit. I will admit I am human--I will do myself that kindness. Courage is not "fear you ignore", but rather it is fear you link arms with and walk forward anyway.
I will not allow vengefulness in my heart, nor the root of anything like it. Guard the thought, as they say. So I plant my foot right here. Like a warrior, like the queen of swords. Saint Augustine said, "The truth is like a lion. You don't have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself."
I plant my foot right here. I plant my truth in every way. A thousand steps I have traveled down this road.
A thousand steps, but not a single step farther.
BDC Compass Rose
I call the Wind from the North, its cold carries the Courage for hard work;
I call the sun from the East, its rays of light bring Hope for each new day;
I call the heat from the South, its warmth carries Good Spirit to share with others;
I call the dark from the West, its quiet brings peace to the end of the day.