“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...
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.
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....
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.
"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....
“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...
"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...
I am short on words today after handing in The Book of Calm manuscript to my publisher this week, and am sharing others' words to express what I have been thinking and feeling during February (and here it is, March). They are wise words, thoughts to ponder and consider, to compassionately embody during these paradoxically turbulent and grace-filled times.
First is a line from the movieArrival,spoken by the main character Louise:
"Despite knowing the journey, and where it leads, I embrace every moment of it."
Back in March I read a review of a book with a title much too similar to the working title of my own book. My first reaction was a nauseous feeling in my stomach, accompanied by the thought, “Well, that’s it. Might as well throw it in the trash.” The next day a friend’s questions led me to talk about my work. The finality of the “throw it in the trash” thought disappeared as I spoke to her with energy and excitement about coaching and writing. Feeling thankful for the conversation and relieved to once again connect with the foundational inspiration of all I do, we said our goodbyes.
Flowers as they are / in the lotus pond: / My offering to the spirits. - Basho Matsuo.
I write, learn, and hopefully grow wiser from what I call "open doorways"—experiences, words, images, or dreams that show up in daily life and give me a glimpse of something that makes me re-imagine or remember what is important. One such doorway appeared two weeks ago when I left on a trip to visit family and friends.
"The roar of the lotus." This is the phrase I suddenly saw in my mind's eye years ago in a meditation. The phrase has come to me often and without warning through the years, and always it sings of a place whe...