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.
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)
I feel that ice is slowly melting
It seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun
And I say, it’s all right