I’m sitting in the attic of my house. Currently one of my favorite places. The floors aren’t finished and the ceiling has steep slopes so you can’t fully stand in most of the room. I’m surrounded by art supplies that I’ve lugged across the country and back—finally able to spread out—and books, and my practice space, a little corner with my altar and meditation bench. I’m sitting in the middle of it all, at my computer, writing.

I’m writing because nothing else seems a satisfactory way to express the gratitude I’m feeling this morning. Last week I wrote about the complicated nature of my current practice. On Sunday night, I received an email from my grandmother in response.

{a little aside on my grandma: she’s always been important to me. from her i’ve learned a lot of things, but top among them is my craving for a spiritual and creative understanding of the world. she’s also always taught me that there is enough.}

Her email read:
dear summer, i was reading your web post, which was wonderful, as always, but would like to interject a few thoughts…why is it as americans we feel we must always be on a quest, or a path of some kind, we feel it is almost sinful to not be constantly seeking and doing in some way…i think there are times in our lives when we are given the gift of time and peace of mind, we do not have everyone clamoring for our attention and are able to turn that to ourself…accept the gift of quiet contemplation and just be…..and enjoy just being free and exploring your new space…love you always…gram

As soon as I read it, I was filled with the sense that I had been given a great gift. I often feel alone in the world. Not literally alone, of course, I love and am loved by many. But my quest for understanding, even in the communities I have searched with, has left me feeling just outside. My own Light, always a little different. Again, I know I’m not actually alone in this. I know that everyone feels this way. It’s one of the gifts really—that we humans can feel so clearly our own thoughts and emotions, can have our particular understanding of things.

To hear from my grandma in this way was a delightful surprise. It was the kind of surprise that leads to joy and ease. I was given permission to relax and refocus my attention. I felt a sense of support that really couldn’t have come from anywhere else.

Yesterday after practice I walked for about 3 hours, mostly along Bellingham Bay picking at rocks. This morning it started to rain and I knew my husband was walking to work. I left my practice to go and find him and drive him the rest of the way. These are the little things that have me feeling happy this morning, full of thankfulness. Ease can often lead to ease. After returning home and settling into my formal practice I was calm. I didn’t have a sense of great expectation or resistance.

Something happened. In the middle of practice I was jolted awake. I have no other words to describe what I felt. And I don’t need them.

Good or bad, we can’t become attached to the experiences we have in practice. It simply is. The highs and lows aren’t what matter. It’s the slow refining—uncovering might be a better word—of our Self. We can’t pinpoint the exact moments of change, but we look back over our work and can plainly see that we are different.


Searching for sea glass with my grandma on the Washington State peninsula about four and a half years ago.