Notes from a Grateful Dead concert:
Where do our spiritual roots lie? What had them grow there, in that way? And what keeps them growing yet today?
61 seems old to me, I know that it’s old enough to have cycled through ‘thinking I know’ and then recognizing that I don’t, more than a few times, in decades-long cycles. Lately I’m in one of those times where it is a struggle for me to keep my spirit alive, fresh, vibrant.
When this happens I look for signs, for guidance, for what might be strong enough and potent enough for me to ‘wake up’ into, to break the resignation, to open my heart in a way that is true not just in the moment, but in all of the moments that are ‘me’, yet not so grounded in ‘me’ that there is no room for the ‘me’ that is becoming, the ‘me’ that is yet to be.
So I’ve been looking for my roots, because it’s time I moved along in this cycle. As I look back, and consider what is deeply spiritual for me, I find love, I find kindness, I find community, I find service. All religions, all paths that I know of honor these qualities, these aspects of life and connection to others.
And where did I first discover them? Where did they set down to grow into such vital components of a life I would call worth living?
Yes, I’m sure they were there in what little religious school I attended. But when I look back, I know that these qualities were baked into who I became as I danced. “Oh, oh what I want to know is, are you kind’? We danced, we smiled and we shared. It was safe, people looked at other people we’d never met before, and it was clear that we were ‘all the same’. Love permeated the music, it seeped into the crowd, the food, and the dancing. We were bathed in love, and given the chance to love. The Grateful Dead are the roots of my spiritual life.
A life that made yoga studios accessible to all, that brought forth a commitment to bring cooking skills into healthcare, that insists that I honor and balance heart and profit with each act of commerce I participate in.
Spirit is irreplaceable in a life well lived. Spirit is there, in music, in meditation, in preparing great food, we only need to stop, to listen, to look with eyes that can see not just what is there in that moment, but also what was there, and what will be there.
When we look for our spiritual roots (everyone’s are unique), nurture and, honor them we find the strength to grow a strong trunk, powerful branches, and leaves that will bring life to all.
Out of which root does the spiritual tree of your life grow?
Surely, family, siblings. Church, temple or mosque?
Education. Experience. Hurts. Joys. Random moments. These form our unique roots.
But then fate, life, or our unique journey brings us somewhere that is distinct from all that.
All that, but not that.
Life is lived with so much spinning around us, yet we struggle to find where ‘us’ begins and ends.
Search for the root from which your own tree grows. Feed it, breath into it. Nourish it. Share the shade of your tree.
Shade that is there because deep down you have roots.
Honor your roots. Allow yourself to be the person that your roots call you to be.