After the festivities of mid winter, there can be a feeling of emergence. Like a bear coming out of a cave after hibernation, standing tall and stretching out, sniffing the air and squinting in the light. Maybe a feeling of waking up in the morning, some distant recollection of a dream, the residue of feelings that surfaced, still lingering. As we resume our ordinary life there can be a sense of relief, enthusiasm, worry or something else. I love how a dear friend recently described this time as a ‘re-framing’ a sort of getting back into the framework of ordinary life. The framework that underpins our day to day experience. An invisible structure that can support living. Like our framework of bones we call ‘skeleton’ it is an alive structure of support!
Slipping back into familiar frameworks can be like a coming home, or diving into our love of life. When our framework supports a full and free life, that allows us space to change and flourish, it is alive. When our frameworks feel complicated or constrictive, maybe some different perspective or even some pruning is needed! Tree and rose reveal their frameworks in the depths of winter. This is a good time to see the whole supporting frame and prune out and tie in parts of the plant, to create a new framework. Dead branches are blown down in strong wind, or fall by themselves. This pruning supports the life of the tree more fully. Keeps it free of disease, lets in light and air. This type of ‘surgery’ can feel quite shocking! We remove a big old rose bough that has become a hindrance and there seems to be a gap, easy at this point to doubt our actions.
When in the summer we see that space filled with new vigour, beautiful blooms, we are glad. A fresh new bough grows and we weave it into the frame.
In this mid-winter time out, I invited in a new framework of self-retreat into my life and home. For a week I followed a schedule of meditation, yoga, walks, and other practices. This schedule aligned to familiar rhythms of sleeping, eating and energy. I was surprised and grateful at how readily our home supported this practice, soon becoming a place of retreat like those I have stayed in. Wool, wood, vegetables and grains, metal and ceramic worked together to soothe, inspire, comfort and sustain us. The silent framework of retreat was alive and supportive, allowing space and moments for us to dive deeply and fully into practice.
These frameworks of our lives are always changing, in planned and unplanned ways. Subtle changes ripple out and are felt in other parts of our life unexpectedly. Bigger shifts also happen. It can be painful, or joyful, or something else. Sometimes the whole framework vanishes altogether. It is never fixed. Life frames and re-frames over and over. A frame of a film is a moment in time. On its own it has no movement, no life. In a beehive the frames are empty before bees fill in the space with wax comb, honey, pollen and brood. A frame is a support for growth, emergence and freedom. Life is what weaves in-between the framework, pulses through it, jumps through the spaces, reaches for the light.
In the words of John O’Donohue, ‘We live between the act of awakening and the act of surrender. Each morning we awaken to the light and to the invitation of a new day in the world of time; each night we surrender to the dark to be taken to play in the world of dreams where time is no more. At birth we were awakened and emerged to become visible in the world. At death we will surrender again to the dark to become invisible. Awakening and surrender: they frame each day and each life; between them the journey where anything can happen. The beauty and the frailty.’