The Grove: The Sky

I try never to write about something on this blog that I haven’t experienced or that I am not willing to practice.  Yesterday, I invited us to make contact with nature somehow.  I hope you were able to try that.  My work days right now are filled with the stresses and strains of the last days of the school year at a large public high school.  Yesterday, I found myself hurrying from one building to another to get paper for a printer that I needed to make copies for a class that would be waiting on me within minutes.  That’s always when paper or ink seems to run out!  As I passed from one building to another, nature called to me (and that’s not a euphemism for the toilet!).  And it called again.  I didn’t have time to stop, I told myself.  Nature kept calling and so I stopped.  “Fine.  What? What is it?”  I stood in the sun and looked up at the most incredibly blue and clear sky, and for a moment, it was like I had never really taken a breath before.  I could breathe, big, clear, full breaths.

I still needed that paper.  The machine was still waiting on me.  The students were filing into my room, and so I moved on.  But that sky went with me.  The rest of the day, that sky was with me, inspiring me to breathe, filling me with expanse, taking what was happening on the ground and giving it a new context.

I have learned over the years the power of focusing on what is just at hand.  Expansive thinking (and worrying!) is something I seemed to grow up with, and so learning to take what is right in front of me and stay with it has helped me practice mindfulness and generally be more at peace with myself.  Yesterday, I was so mired in what was right in front of me, it felt like I couldn’t breathe, and then I made contact with the sky–or did the sky make contact with me?

The very definition of “the grove” in some languages takes its root from the word for sky, heaven and the abode of the gods.  The Grove is a space that is in part defined by an opening to the sky and to all that “the gods” might represent to us.  Making contact with the sky yesterday and allowing the sky to walk with me for the rest of the day reminded me that spiritual practice and finding meaning in the world is both about what is right in front of me and that great expansive space that surrounds everything I do–right now.

It’s another day.  Perhaps you want to step outside and make contact with nature.

Bob Patrick

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