Thursday, November 23, 2017

Shifting traditions

I went to church for Thanksgiving. 

Now, that might sound odd to those of you who are aware that I am more spiritual than religious, but I felt a really strong call to go to the Église Saint-Pierre yesterday evening and I listened to it, hurrying across the cobblestones as nights cape draped gently over my shoulders. 

When I walked first through the ornately carved entry, so many centuries old, and then pushed open the padded leather doors in place to protect the silence, I wondered if there would be that rush of relief that I had felt upon my first visit. Or had I been digging into dreaming, willing it so.

Clock-wise I moved from altar to altar. They had been so ornately painted. And now the patina fell away like shards. Yet the beauty pulsed from within. In the far left corner, in the chapel for the church's namesake, a woman sat praying in such stillness that she could have been sleeping. Sleeping peacefully with her God.

A communion.

After spending a few minutes marveling at the gilded nave rising, I turned and nearly ran into a priest with grizzled hair, who avoided my gaze, stepped aside to let me pass so that he could continue on his path towards the Confession box. 

I paused under a statue of Mary Magdalene, barefoot and draped in the simplest of clothing, before heading towards the exit, full-circle. I knocked gently at my heart. Yes, I felt connected again. To family, my own and of the world. I don't know what it is about this space that makes me feel so, but I acknowledged deeply my first springs of Gratitude for this Thanksgiving.

That was last night and admittedly, I had to push a bit to conjure up that feeling today upon waking, alone in my bed. Soon, I will get ready to go to my job - to return at midnight - and it is most likely that I will find out my schedule for December today and how many days I will be working through the holidays. 

Everything is different. But there are other scales that exist besides "Better" or "Worse." With today, and the festive days that lie ahead, I will have to figure out how to shift the traditions of the past so that they sing for me once more. Or anew. Perfection is nothing but a greedy shadow. 

The love that I feel...can take many forms...from having bought a tiny string of Christmas lights after leaving the the yoga that I am about to do for my body and spirit. All thank you's, all a Thanksgiving. 


Of course I am extending that Love to you as well. Thank you for your many ideas and emails about the possible blog title change. Please forgive me if I haven't responded. We'll see where things go.


Please be really kind to yourself today and - hopefully! - to those around you too.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sitting in seven

So I have been living in this space for seven years now. Some of you have been too. Seven years. It's a long span of time but of course it has passed so quickly, the beauty and the jagged all together. My heart is full.

Granted, you might be thinking, "Heather, you are baaaarely keeping this thing going." Et vous avez raison. I am not going to dwell on why, we have already crossed that Bridge of Sighs plenty of times together. But even when I am not actually offering up to you my words and photographs - Look! Look! Look! - I am with you still.

So, it is with that trust, strong like a golden wire, that I have a question for you.

Yesterday, I took the train to Arles to see some art. I miss my little town. So I sat on the banks of the Rhone and felt the 2500 years of history flow through me as the sun caressed my cheek. I climbed the worn stone staircases of what is now the Musee Reattu just as the Knights of Malta did and smiled as the floors creaked reassuringly under my feet. 

And I felt at home.

But then I started to do "the rounds," to visit those that I knew before. Every person to a one handled me so delicately, largely with well-intentioned pity. "How are you, Heather? Really? Comment ça va?" All with the same head tilt of concern. I felt so uncomfortable that I could not tell them that actually, I have a job now and my own apartment or that I am starting to make new friends in a different town. That pity hung heavy between us like a veil.

Because, we are not broken. And as beaten as I have felt during this past year, I was always and am still breathing, grateful. The Beauty of this Life is undeniable.

I am not the person I once was. But none of us are.

So I think that it is time to ask the question that has been brewing in me since the very beginning of January, maybe earlier.

If I am not "Lost" and definitely not "Lost in Arles" then who can I be? Because I don't feel Lost anymore. Struggling yes, often even, but not Lost. Everything, everything was and is completely meant to be.

This means that I no longer feel that the title of this blog fits. It is a hollow definition that is one of my last links to the past, but one that is starting to feel more and more like a chain holding me back from where I want to go.

As I am uncertain as to what that might be, I am turning to you. Community is always what I have celebrated on these anniversaries.

I am officially opening up the Suggestion Box for what new title this space may wear. Please feel free to leave a comment below or to email me at robinsonheather (at) if you prefer.

With much Love and Gratitude to you all,