Last night, as I was strapping on my CPAP it felt like this was just another one of my many tethers. I’ve had it a month. It fits under my nose and pushes air into my lungs so that I can sleep – really sleep – through a long hose that attaches me to the machine part. When I roll over the hose follows me, keeping me tied to it. If I have to get up in the night, I have to remove it. My tether.

There are other tethers in my life. My cell phone that allows me to stay in touch with family and friends. Always seems to follow me around. If I forget it, the battery dies, I don’t hear it or just don’t answer, then there are messages – “Where are you?” “Call me.” Another tether.

And, Grace and Cooper are tethers. They have to be fed every night. If we are going away, then we have to find someone to take care of them. They follow me around the house almost like ducklings instead of schnauzers. Can’t just walk off and leave them.

I guess tethers are good. They anchor me to reality. The keep me in line. They give shape and form to my days. I guess…

I’d like to be free of some of these things – who wouldn’t prefer to be able to sleep and dream and wake refreshed without a machine to keep you breathing at night? Who wouldn’t like to be able to take off and go without worrying if 2 furry companions have food and water while you’re gone. Who wouldn’t like the idea of sometimes being able to go walkabout without the cell phone.

These early morning writing sessions help me to figure out which tethers are useful and life giving and which are restrictive life-sucking external bindings that need to go. Some days I know that the strongest tether I have is faith — and that is an internal, grounding line. It doesn’t tie me to a machine at night. By contrast, it grounds me wherever I am – I’m guessing that if I ever truly went walkabout, I couldn’t leave faith behind. For that matter, it might actually become more evident.

There are disciplines and practices that emphasize becoming centered or grounded. I’ve not always been successful at following them, but in the times where I start my day around being aware of these anchors, life surely seems more free. If I get the chance to start the day at mass, somehow things seems to fall into place. Or, if I get up and write and sort through the every present thoughts and feelings, the rest of the day runs so much better.

This journey is depending on my understanding the tethers – I’ve had a lot of frustration and anger at the church (RC and other), and yet when I start exploring, I find that the center of it all is my relationship a person – history calls him Jesus. But, I see that person in other people today, and I seek to see that person in all. That is the Way. Without that anchoring Way, all the other tethers become restrictive chains. References to the Goddess, the insights of myth, throwing out much of the traditional trappings of the church – I find that at the core, I’m back in that relationship with the Way.

So – here we are. I’ll have to figure out how to focus on the positive connototations of “tether” because at this point, I just don’t have the will or desire to cut them all and float free – hell, I don’t even seem to have the will to cut the ones I need to. But, that’s my next step.