ON the Road to Calm

June 29, 2020

“the more I wear this story 

of myself, the more 

it grows thin, ravels, 

a sweater filled with holes—

I fall through them.”

- Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer –

For John O. and Rosemerry

It’s oddly reliable how inspiration comes my way—poems, quotes, memories, and friends appear and nudge some part of me awake. Reading Rosemerry’s words I was struck by how they described the momentum of my life right now. 

I’ve been falling through the holes as we pack up to leave for the summer, a leaving shadowed by the smoke from the Bighorn Fire seen out our front door, still burning after twenty-three days, the pandemic shape-shiftin...

December 16, 2018

“. . . I’ve come to honor a deeply held assertion 

that ordinary everyday life is, in truth, extraordinary.”

- from The Book of Calm -

I came across Pat Schneider’s poem The Patience of Ordinary Things the other day and it moved me to tears and appreciation for the last six months—days and weeks of immersion into an unscheduled, come-what-may experience full of the extraordinary ordinary, and the time to reflect on the specific beauty of every day. 

I share her poem with you here as my end-of-year blessing, with gratitude for your continued readership, and wishes for a bright New Year.

It is a kind of love, is it...

December 1, 2018

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.

When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

- Ansel Adams -

Six months ago, I found myself driving a Ford truck with a camper trailer named Imagine2 hitched to the back. It was the beginning of an intentional adventure-sabbatical dreamed up by my husband and myself, a journey we named On the Road to Calm.

After thousands of miles, beauty beyond belief, melt-downs also beyond belief, and friendships rekindled, I've come to a rest stop—the clarity that I've been irrevocably changed by these months on the road.

Other than this blog, tak...

September 30, 2018

When my friend Cinda handed me this shell, she said, "This is a reminder for you to stay open to possibilities."

How had she known I needed to hear those words?

Now the shell is fastened to the tiny kitchen counter in our camper. It holds small items that need a place before we head out the next morning—a ring or watch, loose coins, a scribbled address for a new outing.

It also holds Cinda's blessing—that daily, no matter what, possibility surrounds us as we step out into the world—that this adventure is more a journey of faith and trust than anything else.

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •...

April 29, 2018

“Perhaps God made the world round so we would not see too far ahead."

- Isak Dinesen -

It is 5:50 am. My sleeping husband, the dogs snoring in their beds outside, and the silhouettes of the mesquite trees are bathed in a glimmering silver light of the full moon. Roosters are crowing in the distance, and I am wide awake, remembering an image of a clock where the word NOW replaces the numerals.

I am [surprisingly] more present with each moment than ever before as we prepare to hand over our home of eight years to its new owner. Our personal possessions are in a pile of boxes in the garage, a radical "lightening of our load...

March 31, 2018

“We think of time as passing, but to inhabit time implies to know it as breath and awareness.”

Katherine Thanas* -

For days it’s been insanely crowded in San Miguel de Allende, a town that draws thousands of people during Semana Santa (Easter week). This year Passover falls on the same day as Good Friday. So yesterday was not the best time, though necessary, to go shopping for some forgotten ingredients for my family’s special dinner.

The parking lot was full, aisles crowded, and checkout lines long. I’d read the Zen quote the night before. Suddenly remembering it, I stepped away from the entrance, and with deliberatio...

August 30, 2017

" . . . Be kind, but be fierce. 

You are needed now more than ever before . . ."

—Winston Churchill. 

I am not feeling particularly calm today, and so I am using the "Yes, and..." awareness practice from The Book of Calm

"YES, I am feeling extremely jaggedy today, AND I am grateful for everyone and everything in my life—near and far, wide-open to both the beauty and turmoil around me."

Once admitted to myself, I can sense the conflicting energies within. I remember that beneficial actions are an antidote to such unease and confusion. My action today has been to be vulnerable, courageous, and awake to how connec...

January 30, 2017

Querencia comes from the Spanish verb “querer” — to desire.

           

Querencia speaks of a safe place, where I gather strength, and therefore become stronger. Where suddenly remembering my true character in the midst of noise and confusion, I speak and act from that knowing. 

Querencia is the palpable, bone-tingling sense of "I'm home" that envelopes me in places as diverse as sitting at my dining room table, walking barefoot at the edge of the ocean, and hearing cello music in any form. It is also sometimes interpreted as "nest" — a place of retreat and reju...

June 29, 2016

"To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest." - Pema Chödrön

Traveling for the last four weeks has been a kaleidoscope of people, events and places— laced with family and friend reunions; spending precious time with my indomitable mother immersed in her increasing frailty, her laughter, and make-the-most-of-it attitude; a remarkably beautiful wedding filled with love and authenticity; and experiencing the diversity of nature from desert to ocean. It’s also meant we’ve been in a car for over 2,500 miles (one-way so far), and a spontaneous 2,000 mile round-trip detour...

November 23, 2015

 

The pilot’s voice sounded light-hearted as he announced, “Please fasten your seat belts. We’ve been advised there will be some turbulence on our descent into Houston.” Less than a minute later the plane jerked to the left, then to the right, then dropped just enough in altitude to make my stomach lurch. Bracing myself, with clenched hands around the arm rests and eyes squeezed shut, I tried to breathe away my panic. Suddenly a young boy’s voice filled the air.

 

“Papi! Velocidad máxima! Velocidad máxima!” ("Daddy! Maximum speed! Maximum speed!")

 

Over and over he repeated the same words in his excited, li...

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". . . as necessary for

today as breath . . ."

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NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE