Harbin – My Body Remembers

There is a gentle mist standing where the smoke and fire once raged, creating a mirage of what was, this cooling sister of smoke. Both cloaked and revealed, the mountains surrounding Harbin are dotted with charred, bare trunks, and bright green grass and brush shooting up all around them. It’s hard to bring forth tears for the destruction when so much growth and life is clearly following. Resilience.

In the drive to the gate, I have to blink myself awake because there is something so lullingly familiar, and a feeling of no time past at all. A re-seeding in my heart, and my body remembers the relax that this drive means, the nourishment it is about to receive. The hills remind me of all the life and death that have happened since I last drove this road. I press my eyes towards the green grass and black trees, wet and enveloped by the gently creeping fog, to bring this feeling closer.

My body remembers. The steps and their level out of the pool (I trip on the top step – presumably the only one with a level change as the pool decks were re-done). My body remembers just how to gingerly descend into the hot, allow the stinging to subside and welcome the waters to work their magic. How to follow the curve around to the cold plunge. The way Kwan Yin washes me with love and compassion. She is there, shining, loving, still, peaceful, as if nothing at all raged around her, or it did and it didn’t matter because all of it is love anyway and she knows just how to sit completely with all of it.

A soft rain fell intermittently throughout the day, kissing our faces and welcoming us home. Each guest arrived in a slow stroll, looking about them, expressions of sadness, wonder, relief, grief, joy, discovery. Everything is the same and different. A familiar feeling delighted in my bones, and yet, so much newness to uncover. Aren’t we always cycling through these layers of new and familiar. By closing time, wide, cheek-hurting grins were plastered on all of our faces, our hearts pouring out of our eyes in gratitude, in nourishment, in connection, in arriving home again. An unspoken conversation among us all, a silent recognition dropping deep within us, of what we have been without, of what we get to be with  again. In every cell, our bodies remember.

Last night I dreamt of two homes, they were both mine. One, the spacious, organized, clear and clean home I live in here in waking life, and another small room in a house down the hill. Four walls, warm yellow light bathing cluttered shelves stacked with books and stuff and things. It was a mess in there, but a happy, warm mess. A mess that reminded me of who I was – alive with the life I was living. A mess that let all of the things out in the open, instead of tucked, hidden and obscured in various cabinets and closets. There was a joy in me as I planned to sit in that room and carefully, lovingly, organize it and clean it. It wasn’t overwhelming, there was no shame in the mess, it was just the work that needed to be done, and I was excited to do it. The spacious clean home on the hill felt relaxing to retreat to, but in some ways, the relax was not what my spirit was calling for. Thank you Harbin, for nourishing me so so deeply again, that I can turn to the beautiful mess of my life and lovingly, whole-heartedly sort through her, and tend to the ever-growing green shoots.

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