Space

I’ve long been a fan of Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut.  He took his guitar onto the space station and favoured the world with a soulful rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity.

I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
For here am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

I was just listening to a program on CBC Radio.  Nicole Stott, a retired astronaut, was talking about space.  She thinks that most of her fellow space travellers have a spiritual life.  Something about seeing our little blue marble from the window of a spaceship.  One astronaut, Edgar Mitchell, had a spiritual epiphany while flying back to Earth.  As Nicole says, perhaps we should invite our political leaders to a space station vacation and see if a change in perspective rears its lovely head.

A few days ago, a Grade 6 girl, knowing of my reverence for Mr. Hadfield, lent me a book of his space photos.  Such lovely images and such a lovely thing to do.

Something spacious is calling me and Chris seems to be an instrument of my freedom.  There’s a loosening inside me, some epiphany of my own on the way.  I’ll look out into the vastness and may be very surprised by what I see.

A walk beyond my personal ship beckons.

Blinds Down

Here I am in the St. Thomas Public Library, plunked down in my favourite chair.  Across from me are five windows fifteen feet high.  I love looking out at downtown.  Except I can’t right now … five translucent blinds are pulled all the way down.  I see the vague basics of the heritage building across the street but the brick is a mystery to me.  Two men are in chairs in front of those windows and I’m choosing not to intrude, not to raise the blinds.

There’s a flatness inside of me.  I like long views.  I like expansiveness rather than feeling I’m inside of a cardboard box.  The world outside is tantalizingly close but its rich details are lost.  Now I’m looking inside some more.  I’m sad.  I want the light to shine in, to touch me.  I’m sitting quietly as I type, feeling the contraction.  On one level it’s all okay.  It’s just the phenomena of life saying hi.  But it’s not the phenomenon I want.

I love window tables.  I love sidewalk cafés.  I love the sun on my face … and on my food.

During my long meditation retreat in Massachusetts last fall, we had a late afternoon sitting in the hall as the sun was falling to the horizon.  More tall windows.  One day, I was thrilled to feel the sun as I sat with my eyes closed.  It slowly moved across my body, increasing in intensity, plateauing and then declining.  And then it was gone.  Ahh … like the journey of life.

A few days later, I had just sat down, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the sun.  Another yogi walked over and closed the blind.  I was devastated.  However, my Buddhist training had taught me to let people be, unless what they were doing was hurting others.  I couldn’t say that the closing of the blind was damaging me.  But I was sad.  Most days thereafter, one yogi or another would close that blind.  Only occasionally would the light and heat touch my eyelids.  (Sigh)

Little darling
I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling
It seems like years since it’s been clear

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun
 And I say, it’s all right