the following came into my life a couple weeks ago:
hold on to what is good, even if it is a handful of earth.
hold on to what you believe, even if it is a tree which stands alone.
hold on to what you must do, even if it is a long way from here.
I could probably stop right now, because those three lines are so full, so rich with wisdom and possibility, that what I can add is truly superfluous.
but I can't stop, because that's not who I am.
first I have to share this example of just how literally I take everything.
I read the second line, and thought, okay, I guess some people believe in trees. that they see a solitary tree, and feel the strength, the power, the rootedness, the deep spirituality of a single tree. okay, I get that.
it wasn't until perhaps my third or fourth reading of that line that the meaning sunk in: oh, they mean your beliefs may be standing alone, without support. that what you believe in may be criticized, negated, made small or even outlawed, that it may have no support from anyone or anything else. and that you must still believe, if that is what you are meant to believe.
sometimes I don't know where this literal thing came from; it's like a blanket I constantly have to remove from my back.
but it's the third line I love. no matter how far away it is, you must move toward it. you must hold on to it, you must remain the you who was placed here for a reason. no matter how very far away it may sometimes feel. for as far away as it may seem, it is within you, as well, which is as close as it can possibly be.
this Pueblo blessing ends with these two lines:
hold on to life even when it is easier letting go.
hold on to my hand even when I have gone away from you.
I often wonder why it is that Native American peoples expressed so much wisdom about life and our physical world. how did they retain their rootedness when so many other cultures moved away from that and placed their focus on less holistic goals and concepts?
perhaps my love of cycling helps connect me to the beauty of the earth, with its handfuls of dirt and solitary trees.
perhaps the miles and miles I cycle are moving me closer to where I will go to do what it is I must do.
perhaps my cycling has helped me to understand the importance of holding on even when it seems easier to let go.
and perhaps it is giving me the steadiness to remain upright even when that which I love moves away from me.
159 miles in this week: I am exceedingly grateful for this amazing, "Indian summer."
hold on to your own dirt, your own trees. and keep moving in the direction of what you must do.