Dragon Smoke and Still Small Voices

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Like tendrils of smoke from a dragon’s nostrils, the steam rose from the surface of the heated onsen bath. Under the brilliant cornflower blue skies, golden aspens and gnarled pines I sat naked, soaking in the embrace of the warm, healing waters for my morning meditation.

Self-care. Attention to one’s deep soul-longings and desires. Loving one’s self. Feeding the feminine first. It is from this place of homecoming that I wish to walk into the world on a daily basis. It is from this place that I learn to listen to the “still small voice”.

That weekend at Ten Thousand Waves in New Mexico was a gift. The previous weekend, a “work” trip to Ventura, California, ended up being three days spent in the Santa Barbara mountains on a 1400 acre private property at the edge of the National Forest. For three days I was bathed in unconditional love, held by spiritual sisters in an unexpected initiation. The weekend ended with a breakfast in Ojai with a new friend that felt like a homecoming.

Trusting that we are held and that everything unfolds according to Divine plan is such a relief. Knowing that every choice we make will lead us to precisely where we need to be at that moment in time is a relief. We cannot make a mistake, because even our mistakes take us down a path laden with opportunity and learning if we choose to see it that way.

I have so much gratitude for the twists and turns of my life, and as I learn to tune in even more closely to my inner voice, I see and hear every single bit of guidance I need, moment by moment.

Not that I always listen. There are definitely times when the voice of my fear screams so loudly that I cannot hear the small one.

But I am learning to re-center myself. To get still. To ground myself by taking a walk or even just looking up at the sky and really seeing it. It is an exercise of my faith muscle that gets stronger with each repetition. It is opportunities like the gift of those past two weekends where I have the luxury of the time to be more deeply quiet.

On my way out of town on that transformative sojourn to Santa Barbara, I was dictating a text to a friend. Siri spelled her name Tammy, not Tami. My perfectionist self, of course, could not send a text with a typo.

As I picked up my phone at a red light to make the correction, that ever-knowing, ever-present, still small voice said, “Be careful. You’re going to get a ticket.”

As the light changed, the familiar red and blue lights flashed and I had to laugh. Traffic school, here I come.