I am still engrossed in creating these “Morning Altars”. – and especially in the process of “letting them go”. Often they begin to be destroyed as soon as they are made – a puff of wind moves a feather or a leaf, a flower wilts before I finish making the altar, upon closer inspection one element is missing a leaf or has a black spot and on and on. This practice again and again confronts my need to control how things go!
Day Schildkret, the author of the marvelous book. MORNING ALTARS has this to say about the process;
“Impermanence is like the guest you never wanted. He enters without knocking, tosses all of your neatly placed things around, eats everything in your cupboard and leaves your home in shambles. No maker how much you try, this guest will somehow find his way inside and will have his way with all the things of your life. This is just how it is.” (from MORNING ALTARS by Day Schildkret The Country Man Press, pg. 192)
Well darn! That’s not the life I wanted! That’s not the life the gurus told me I could have if I just worked hard enough. That’s not the life I counted on. I counted on; order, plans, predictability, and a happy ending.
Letting my carefully planned altars “go” is something like I am feeling about letting the whole last year “go”. I finally managed to figure out how to cope with being isolated, and now I have to let that go and figure out how to re-engage. Everything about last year and now this has been a PhD in learning to let go! Even though I know in my head that “everything changes” – my heart seems to be lagging behind. In some cases, I seem to still want the safety of masks and 6 ft distances. I want the ready excuse not to attend committee meetings and other commitments. At the same time, I want to get on an airplane, eat inside a restaurant and go to a theater. Trade-offs are the hallmark of being alive I guess.
The lesson from the soul?? Day Shildkret goes on to ask; “But what if you didn't resist this guest? What if you not only invited impermanence in but even offered him the best seat in your home, the best food on your table, and treated his as the honorable guest you've been expecting. what if you treated him as a teacher who came to remind you that impermanence underwrites the very nature of your life and life itself?' What if impermanence arrives to teach us to deliciously, unabashedly, brokenheartedly fall in love with what is here right now because that’s all we have”. (from MORNING ALTARS by Day Schildkret The Countryman Press pg. 192)
To that I can only say. AMEN