ON the Road to Calm

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....

August 19, 2018

"We owe the world our real presence."

- Michael Meade -

August 1st. July had come and gone while preparing the truck and camper for the camping leg of our adventure.

Driving from western Colorado and across Utah the skies were filled with smoke, the usual desert colors muted to eerie tones of gray. It was 100 degrees outside, with strong gusty winds. The descent over the winding steep pass down into the Great Salt Lake basin made my body tighten with anxiety—speed and heights are not my friends. Then we hit rush hour traffic in Salt Lake City.

We were on the road to calm, and we'd made a wrong turn. 

Finally the traff...

May 30, 2018

When asked to speak about something of which he was certain, Albert Einstein replied,

“Something is moving.”

We're on the road somewhere, at the beginning of a months-long sabbatical, and I'm pondering how fast things change, how everything has been moving and transforming as the last of our bags were packed, the last errands done, neat lists became unreadable, and we've zigzagged in and out of six time zones in the last five days. As I went through the last folders on my desk, Einstein's quote and Anna Akhmatova's poem I Will Not Die an Unlived Life fell into my hands, perfect reflections of w...

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...

January 21, 2018

As dark and crazy as the world currently is, something bright resides beneath the darkness—and it’s the light of a single awakening human soul, multiplied by tens of thousands, in many cities, towns and countries.” – Mark Borax.

I used the above quote to begin a blog five years ago. The first draft of A Ritual to Read to Each Other, William Stafford's* poem about staying awake during times of deep darkness, is dated June 23,1953 (pictured above**). The subject of darkness and light as metaphors about time is a timeless subject—be it geological, religious, political, philosophical, cultural, cosmological, quantum, or pe...

December 17, 2017

"The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why."

- Mark Twain

During the week of Thanksgiving, words were set aside in order to reconnect to my artist self. I spent sixteen hours in a Photoshop workshop called "Bird Woman" learning techniques to collage photographs, and transformed my human self into an Eagle Woman. It was both a creative stretching and a spiritual quest toward becoming larger than my habitual thoughts—to visually empower myself in ways I'd ignored or didn't know existed until a book insisted on being written, and an eagle's face beckoned....

September 19, 2017

After a substantial expenditure of energy—during times of crisis, a creative push, a pivotal choice needing to be made, a day gone suddenly topsy-turvy or just too busy, or the draining constancy of “things out of our control”—it’s easy to fall into any number of physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual states of depletion. Just as easily we can exhaust ourselves further by thinking this ‘feeling depleted’ is somehow wrong.

Which is what I’ve been doing to myself since The Book of Calm went to the printers almost two weeks ago. My concentration has gone subterranean, and inspiration is a barely glimpsed ghost of i...

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...

May 15, 2017

"Rather than the need to heroically save the whole world, the real work of humanity at this time may be

to awaken the unique spark and inner resiliency

of genius within each person."

- Michael Meade

I was sitting in my orange desk chair adding a few paragraphs to The Book of Calm before one more editing deadline closed, the door opened to a warm spring day, the breeze adding freshness to the air and my somewhat foggy brain. A loud caw-caw-caw suddenly filled the room and drew me outside. A large crow balanced on the tip of a twenty-foot bamboo stalk, squawking at me for a good half-minute before it flew off of its swayi...

April 9, 2017

It was a week of waiting for the proofread edit of my book, wondering at some of what I’ve written. Not the parts taken from actual experiences that have made me stretch and grow beyond limiting patterns, but the learning that has come about from times when no matter how sincerely I’ve shown up with everything available to me, things remained unsettled. 

Experience is experience, however it turns out, and sometimes people and situations aren’t going to come together in understanding or collaboration or even an agreement to disagree. Things just might stay tangled or confusing or messy or horrible....

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". . . as necessary for

today as breath . . ."

The Gift of In-the-Moment Connections

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NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE