ON the Road to Calm

July 22, 2020

"Out of a great need we are all holding hands and climbing. 

Not loving is letting go. Listen.

The terrain around here is far too dangerous for that."

- Hafiz -

July has been a study in paradox, once again full of the immense practice of embracing life’s incongruities and opposites. Truths that turn into fiction and fictions that turn into truth. The onslaught of emotion and information that shifts and turns, sabotages and surprises us each and every day. It is dangerous out there. It is also safe, when we connect with our eyes, our words, our laughter, our discernment and humanity. 

This practice has shown itself in three...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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....

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 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....

October 19, 2017

“Ambiguous losses are a particular type of loss that lack definition and lack closure . . .

hope lingers on, and it’s really hard to live in hope that is not met . . .

Humans don’t do uncertainty well.”

– Kelly Maxwell Haer, PhD.*

Similar to this moment in history, I grew up during the unsettled fifties, sixties and early seventies during years of nuclear threat, self-interested political leadership, ongoing war, social unrest, and the early years of environmental warnings. Within my own family, the silent unraveling of my parents’ marriage in my teen years, and my father’s sudden suicide when I was nineteen left me with...

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...

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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