ON the Road to Calm

April 27, 2020

“Very little grows on jagged rock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are.

You’ve been stony for too many years. Try something different. Surrender.”

- Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks -

 

   

After my sister and her husband separated, she began collecting heart-shaped stones on her daily, indispensable walks. There was no plan and very little communication between the two of them. As the pile of stones grew next to the front door they had shared for many years, they both entered an individual time of darkness and introspection. Their stony stories began to crumble. They sought out co...

March 23, 2020

". . .There are times we lose hope.
Times when our eyes tells us
we’re fools to believe beyond
what we see here now. . . ."

- Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, from "This Desperate Week the Orchid Reminds Me" -

In the last few days of these unprecedented times, three doorways opened for me: I read Rosemary's poem about orchids; I remembered the chapter on courage in my book; and several friends sent messages about the seemingly non-action of stopping and hunkering down—in the new lingo of COVID-19, to shelter in place even as huge waves of the unknown wash over us. The unknown, in its countless guises, has always lurked around...

February 28, 2020

“. . . when the Light of the World shattered, it fell into all events 

and all people, past, present, and future. . . . We are here to find the hidden light in all people . . .

it is not about doing something huge . . . it is about healing the world that touches you.”

- Rachel Naomi Remen, quoting her grandfather -

I’ve been feeling a great grief in the air, laced with anger and melancholy. Visiting our property today, the first line of this poem began singing in my head. The saguaros stood rooted with arms outstretched. The line kept singing, then turned into this poem. 

May we find the compassion, strength, and wis...

January 26, 2020

“Photography is the art of observation.

It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” 

- Elliott Erwitt -

Driving down the twisting road on Mt. Lemmon, we stopped at an overlook. The huge mountain-ringed valley where Tucson nestles was in full spring bloom, a chartreuse yellow blanket flowing over the washes, hills, and flatlands.

I pointed to the northeastern-most corner of the valley and declared, “That is where I want to live.” Barry looked at me. “Really?”

The next day I drove around by myself, writing down street names. I wrote our realtor and gave her the boundaries...

December 27, 2019

"The winds of grace are always blowing, but it is you who must raise your sails."

- Rabindranath Tagore - 

I feel the turbulence and confusion out in the world, and have been feeling an underlying exhaustion from the end-of-year hectic pace. Yet I am also feeling strangely exhilarated in these last days of 2019. Curiosity gets me moving—a curiosity that wants to experience the undefinable power Tagore and so many others identify as Grace. Grace is thankfully much larger than my imagination, and its undeniable presence reminds me to nurture any clarity (however tiny), accept the tired feelings, take small steps...

November 24, 2019

“Who we are in the present includes who we were in the past.”

- Fred Rogers, a.k.a. Mr. Rogers -

I have heard from several friends this month about how the sharing of old stories can lessen their weight upon our bodies and psyches, and with awareness and staying close to all the feelings that arise, be transformed into a deep and powerful compassion for others and for ourselves. 

Maybe it was because I watched the new movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” last night . . . for whatever reason, I woke up in the hour just before dawn, the time of day called la madraguda in the Spanish language, knowing that the poem I...

September 21, 2019

“We must risk delight . . . We must have the stubbornness

 to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.” 

- Jack Gilbert, from Refusing Heaven -

My mother Elinor Davis Erni passed away September 3rd, seven years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Only days before she died, my sister described our mother in these poignant words —"She remains fragile, tenacious and courageous.”

Alzheimer’s is a wicked disease. My mother faded over these past years from a funny, smart, beautiful woman whose outlook was invariably sunny, to a soul whose body and mind had abandoned her, bit by excruciating bi...

August 29, 2019

“Who knows as we go 

which way the path will lead...”

- Sarah Jean Webb -

Over twenty years ago I went on a modern-day vision quest with a Mayan shaman in the middle of Mexico. We would start each day with her writing down the personal stories and facts of my life as we sat outside a small café sipping coffee and eating huevos rancheros

I remember each recounting of an event or experience made me feel like a caterpillar, ever-so slowly climbing an immense hill, then tumbling down the other side, only to sense in my squirmy self yet another seemingly insurmountable uphill slope, the long tumble . . . 

Climb. Tumble. Climb...

July 27, 2019

let go of your hold

to your former selves

allow the river to carry you

this new trust

is the undercurrent

holding up your bones

float

- AKU_MATU* -

Four months have passed since I’ve written a blog. I found myself having nothing to write, as I took the March blog’s quote to heart and let the river of life carry me, trusting that my bones would be held and that I would indeed float.

I can’t say the last four months were easy. The turbulence was strong, and from what I’ve heard from friends and can sense in the air and in others’ eyes, I don’t imagine it’s been so calm for many of you either. 

Yet allowing myself to trust that tu...

March 25, 2019

let go of your hold

to your former selves

allow the river to carry you

this new trust

is the undercurrent

holding up your bones

float

- AKU_MATU* -

Since last month's blog we've traveled a big circle from Colorado to Arizona to California and back again, heading for the southern deserts to escape cold weather and meet up with friends. Soaking up the warmth for a few days, two days of big rain and the sight of the Tucson valley ringed by snow-topped mountains surprised our heat-seeking bodies. With the return of the sun the deserts erupted into brilliant spring blooms cascading down hillsides and blanketing valley floors....

Please reload

JUST PUBLISHED!

Sitting with Hope and Courage

March 23, 2020

1/3
Please reload

January 26, 2020

December 27, 2019

November 24, 2019

September 21, 2019

Please reload

RSS Feed

NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE