being winter

She was tired of striving, striving to produce good fruit, as was expected of her if she were to be a good woman. Even the religion of her childhood had taught her that the state of her soul was somehow precisely measured by the fruit of her spirit, and somehow she couldn’t seem to unlearn her young definition of fruit as something tangible, weighable, tastable.  Surely if she were on an authentic  spiritual path, one of healing and whole-making, she would be producing plentiful yields by now. Yields that would nourish others, gifts for human consumption, some-thing.  Instead she held only nothingness.

Yes, she was tired of striving and never measuring up.

Gradually , or suddenly, depending upon where she looked, she realized that she could no longer live this way. This requirement of hers to meet the needs and receive the approval of others was at her own peril and , ironically, it was precisely her wholeness that summoned  to her from the depths of her soul.  She could divide herself no more. There were not enough pieces of her to go around in her attempt to be all things to all people. She was only One, and she could only Be Herself.

Perhaps she was no longer in a season of fruit-bearing, no longer needed to feed the masses, no longer ‘Lady Madonna , baby  at your breast, wonder how you’ll manage to feed the rest’. She was too weary for that anyway. Yes, she needed to let go, move at last into winter. Let winter be enough .. and everything.

She suspected that winter was rarely embraced in this way, so rarely entered into for its own merit. Rather it was usually appreciated only for its betweenness… between fruit and blossom, the fruit and the blossom being the valued commodities of course, the prized product of the no-thingness between. It was tolerated by most only for what it offered to the other ‘real’ seasons- a place for receiving and blanketing seeds and debris, the black yin of stillness, quiet, and nothingness to the white yang of movement, sound, and abundance.

But, what if no-thingness itself were the prize, the pearl worth selling all she possessed, the treasure hidden in the field of plenty and covered over, the pearl of great value. Not seed nor sprout nor blossom nor greenery nor fruit nor seeds again. Not humus-producing nor fallow-preparing nor even rest-from,  but this , just this. Space…in between, beneath, before, behind. Not even space into which the sacred might enter, but emptiness itself? Quiet. Still. Empty. Sacred. Space.  

And suddenly she realized, all of the filling her body with food, all of the filling her mind with distractions, all of the filling her pages with words, all of the filling her home with clutter, as an attempt to avoid the void. And all of her attempts at filling her life with purpose, with meaningful work, all her desire to name and to claim her tangible, manifest gifts were yet more attempts to avoid that great gaping chasm of no-thingness, of unknowing, of unnamable, Mystery.

‘The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao’, she read again for the first time.

The Emma that can be named is not the eternal Emma and all attempts at naming her fall short.

And so she avoids being named, by striving but falling short, never measurable,  never capturable  by an accomplishment or an image… the way indigenous persons avoid the camera.

And so she feels the despair, the emptiness if you will, of bearing fruit, for she is not at all the fruit with which she gets confused. When she confuses herself with fruit, it is then that she feels as if she is chewed up and spit out and, looking for herself in the pile of spewn contents, wonders where she has gone.

And so it is that she knows she cannot really satisfy the insatiable hunger by dividing herself,  or imagining herself to be a piece of fruit, when she is winter, and autumn and summer and spring and she is none of these. 

And now she knows that the hunger was never out there at all, but in here inside of herself; her ‘always-available’ in reality  her insurance of never being alone;  her fear of not being enough a fear of being unwanted….abandoned… empty… alone.  

But here in the winter, beneath and behind and before and between, she is truly Alone, completely empty, and all one.





3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. emmaatlast
    Jan 31, 2011 @ 17:00:57

    fruits of the spirit.


    yes, oh yes. oh yes.

    of course, there’s nothing tangible on the list!

    … so where oh where did i get the idea that fruits = activity, work, accomplishment, doing, getting results, providing for, doing for, or imparting something… my wounded ego, i guess.

    reminders for me:

    fruit is the how, not the what.

    my way of being is the fruit, not my way of doing.

    remaining in, abiding with, and staying connected to, sitting at the feet of (grounded in) Love is the one thing necessary.

    i can ‘do’ that.

    i do ‘do’ that.

    there is a huge difference between being in/with Love and striving.

    i am called to be secure in my Belovedness and so to be Lover.

    i am not called to strive relentlessly, constantly fearing that i am not doing enough, trying to prove my worth.

    ‘for if i speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, i am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. if i have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if i have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, i am nothing. if i give all i possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, i gain nothing’



  2. andie33
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 05:23:34

    Oh my gosh, I just discovered your wonderful blog. This post is so beautiful. It speaks to me, to all women, thank you. The beauty of winter, the necessity of winter, the importance of winter. I will read this post again and continue to reflect, and I will explore more of your postings.



    • emmaatlast
      Feb 04, 2011 @ 17:26:00

      thank you andie,

      winter is continuing to beckon me to be still, and yet january has slipped away somehow. one thing that i came upon today, which i hadn’t named before, was fear. fear of stillness somehow, as if i must ‘keep up’ perhaps or at least ‘keep something at bay’.

      i will continue to journal with it, i’m sure.

      all is well,



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