We had old friends of Gray's visit us this weekend...I only just met them a couple of years ago, but Gray has known them forever. I find when friends come to visit, one of the first comments is how this house feels so complete and peaceful...from the mouths of all of us old hippies...it's got good vibes.
And amongst the million things we talked about, is how during the seventies we were into Castenada, yoga, herbs and meditations, and practicing spirituality really hard. Then the children came along, and we all, with few exceptions, got caught up in different rhythms of life. I suppose we sometimes remembered how we used to approach each day, as we worked and brought up children, but it was vague and hazy. And then the old joke...if you remembered the sixties and seventies, you weren't there...would rear up. You'd giggle a little, feel nostalgic for what you remembered was the best time in your life, mourn a little for a different cadence that once surrounded us, and move on.
But we all remember those times, and learned our lessons well. What we practiced so many years ago is coming back to the forefront of our memories. We have the time now, our children mostly grown, and we remember spiritual journeys taken wayyyyyy back then. I love it when I revisit a place, a retreat within myself, where I drew comfort in my early adulthood. The good energy I drew on never dissipated. I had just forgotten it was so easily accessed. It is wonderful to remember that little nugget, and to re-experience it.
And so I have become a spiritual traveller, revisiting those old, almost forgotten ways of youthful idealism. The difference is that I have learned a measure of wisdom I didn't have in the seventies. Applying that wisdom to youthful ideals gives me a broader, much more experienced vision of life's lessons, but the background of the sixties and seventies produced a fertile field on which to grow.
It seems, too, that in the second half of my life, I am finding those people who have the same outlook and beliefs I have. The majority of Gray's friends are mountain climbers...people who faced very extreme conditions many times in their climbs. This experience had an impact on their youthful spirituality, an impact which would continue throughout their lives. It's fascinating to hear the climbing stories. These climbers, experienced as they were, were no strangers to fear. But they faced it over and over.
The more I hear those hair-raising stories, the more I realize that when they climbed, they felt alive, attuned to all the different nuances of nature. They were aware. Their intent was to reach the summit, of whichever mountain it happened to be. Their knowledge of the mountain gave them power and strength. And they had to be, by necessity, the best they could be on the face of those mountains. Other people's lives depended on it.
A difficult path, mountain climbing. And so is life, whether it's the tiniest seed that grows to a huge sunflower or the infant that learns to face his fear over and over as he grows to maturity and beyond.
I went backwards in time a little, this weekend. It's good to remember that I once practiced a new and different way for the times. It makes it so much easier this time around.