It's a wonder sometimes how questions position themselves in my mind, seeming to emerge from the depths of me Am I seeking something truer than the breath I draw or the smell of a flower? More real than the purring of a cat beneath my hand? Perhaps the answer can be found tucked inside the pages of a book, years after having been put there. Is it as true now as it seemed then? Is it a measure of trust that gives us the strength to stand and take the next step forward? The answers are so much less important than the questions, which are themselves nothing more than whatever you need them to be. Everything is of a moment. The more appreciated moments you have, the less you need to question, the less you need to be seeking answers, the more the answers will reveal themselves.
Night Voices and Visions
Our minds at night continue the path we have walked during the day. Our sense may be that the mind sleeps as our body does, refreshing and renewing itself. Alas this isn't quite the way it works. When first settling into rest what follows may be Reflections on this Day, often accompanied by an accounting and judgments about what went well and what did not. It's a review written by the mind sometimes focused on particulars, other times offering a more general take away. How we move on to letting go the thoughts to allow sleep the room it needs depends much on our emotional attachment to such evaluations. Sleep comes and sleep goes. At times awakening occurs several hours later maybe for some physical sensation that interferes or perhaps the ending of a dream. Whatever causes the shift back to conscious sensing the return to sleep may take a pause, stirring the Midnight Voice to alertness and then it's off and running. This is the voice that targets our most vulnerable parts, telling us you can't or you're not or how are you going to... Perhaps it's the emergence of some longing unfulfilled. Whatever direction it takes consumes the space that sleep requires. We may be left struggling with unfulfilled efforts where we pretend to be asleep. Or at some point the Midnight Voice fades to permit sleep to take its rightful place. The mind continues it's night journey awake or asleep, begging not to be controlled. It resists our efforts to direct or censor. When we return to wakefulness and if we are not propelled immediately into the day When we are allowed to linger in a liminal space, we may be treated to an Early Morning Retrospective. This is the mind's slow walk among the shadows and embers of our past lives. Unfolding itself scene by scene, moving from one episode to the next, we may choose to stop and hang out with one or another. Sometimes I wonder if this Early Morning Retrospective happens only when you've reached a certain age, having accumulated enough material to shift the balance between time past and anticipated future time. Dear reader, can it be that I have now revealed more about my age than I intended...
Filed under Uncategorized
Inclining the Heart
A phrase captures my attention and before I can register the intention behind it My mind carries it off to places I didn't ask to go to "Inclining the heart" is one such phrase. I expect that my mind will make up a story to embellish the phrase and yet I am convinced that this is not the mind's business. Inclining the heart happens when the whole body leans into, pivoting to lend the weight of our core to the task or issue at hand. The mind just needs to quiet itself and be present to what's happening. Most important is that the heart need only begin with a softening toward. A full-court press is not required. You needn't wait until all your ducks are in alignment. Turn toward and allow. You can tell when this happens because the chatter dissolves, along with the judgments, the stories and the what ifs. They don't stay away forever. And should they intrude and distract, which they will, claim your heart space as your center. Take a deeper breath, lean in and see what happens.
The Stories We Inhabit
We all have stories. Some of them are true. Many of them are real but not necessarily true. Taken together they make up who we hold ourselves to be - in the past, in anticipating the future, and as we breathe in and out in this present moment. These stories don't exist independently from us. We are the ones who keep breathing life into them. We are the ones who offer them power. Oh these stories are such a burden. Oh this story brings such guilt and shame. Oh how to escape my past. Oh why can't this be like it used to be. Not all are dark and shadowed. Some indeed are light and uplifting, but have you ever noticed how shadows often obscure the sun? This question I would pose to you - How might we meet these stories head on? Do we invite them in to take a seat? Do we let them hide in the closet and come out whenever they choose? Naming them is a way to shift your perspective, create some distance and make some space around the story. You can acknowledge a story but set limits on when it can intrude and when it needs to back off. This is more than a delicate dance. It can be a way to interrupt the pattern of responding that keeps a story alive. And if you don't quite understand what I mean by "story" - Well then, that's another story...
Yesterday in the rain while walking through Union Square park a huge flock of pigeons startled me as they all lifted up in flight circling round and round the statue that overlooks the center of the park. The birds broke into smaller formations, swirling this way and that. Some crossed each other's path, weaving back and forth as if riding air currents until slowly, gradually, they all landed on the ground in the center of the park. It was really quite a display and I wondered Was there a purpose to their flight? Or was it just for fun? Were they following a leader? Or rehearsing for a show? Should I have applauded? Or is it that since these New York City pigeons do not migrate, their DNA still nudges them to touch into their migratory skills now and then and show off to those of us who think we know all there is to know about pigeons in the park.
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Sweet Talk at COP27
If sweet talkin' be song we are definitely livin' it when we should be killin' it. Really. Here's how it goes... "You know I care about you I wouldn't do anything that would hurt you, and besides, you need me." This is the song that the Fossil Fuel Industry uses to keep us attached, keep us dependent and trusting of their so-called good will. This is the song that an abuser uses to keep his victim from rejecting the relationship. We are all victims of these songs, sung to us by the corporations who are invested in coal, oil and gas. How do you break away from an abuser? First you must stop believing he will realize the damage he does and change. Second you must accept you are not responsible for the lies and destructive actions he does. Third you must seek help from others who are aware of and share understanding of the situation. Fourth you must realize you have been and will continue to be manipulated if you do not end the relationship as it is now. And most importantly remember this is a situation where he has power over and nothing will change until that changes. This, sadly, describes our current relationship with the Fossil Fuel Industry. And if you didn't know, now you know.
Filed under Prose and Poetry
At the Expense of Your Vote
We are truly living in a time that challenges us to find moments of calm Sadly we find our focus is on issues that seem to grow big and weigh us down Our energy gravitates toward the divisions wrenching us apart Country vs country, state vs state, community against community, between family members around the kitchen table Fear and anger have taken up the space between people. Give yourself over to the energy of anger and fear and you give away your power to a point where you won't get it back Beyond not getting it back your power will be used against you by others with more power Remember that the ability to cast your vote and have it counted is a Right in this country A Right that we must hold with care or it will die at the hands of those who care nothing for your rights Why is this so hard to understand? **No photo here - you just need to VOTE!
Tous les Jours
Everyday the terrible news of gun deaths shatters us and once again we think this must be the moment that changes everything. Everyday more evidence emerges of the thriving systemic racism in our country and communities but we pretend it will end. Everyday the levers of power among corporations and politicians prevent us meeting the climate challenge and we pray science will save us. Everyday we must embrace the bigger picture of a greener more equitable world in whatever way we can. Everyday there are efforts to work toward these possibilities but they mostly escape our Twitter feed. Everyday we must take the next step even when we lose trust in the outcome. It's our hope for the future, depending of course on what we wish for the generations to come. Each of us must make that decision Everyday.
Filed under Prose and Poetry
Where’s the Map?
Often these days I find myself saying In our culture we are not prepared for aging and death. Ours is a culture that denies and denigrates growing old in so many ways. My lament, however, is about seeking a way to accept the aging process and inevitability of death. How do we go about living and dying at the same time? How do we navigate this end of life realm without direction? There are expectations of course. Most of them focus on an endless list of abilities lost. Where is the expectation that we gain wisdom and grace? How do we move past the invisibility of personhood that surrounds us? I've often offered to others that they trust the process, but this process requires a level of trust that exceeds what may have been needed before. Loving what is - this is the phrase that keeps nudging my mind Easing into what may come, Taking one step at a time. Slowing down and being more deliberate has its advantages. (aka the tortoise) Maybe less mourning the losses. More gratitude for the gifts. Expect transitions to last longer and let go your idea of what's to come. Spend more time appreciating the present. Maybe, just maybe, this has the beginnings of the map I've been seeking. Now let's see if I can keep from losing my way...
The weather notice on my phone is telling me "It's perfectly clear right now" So my mind responds - perfectly clear to whom? Not to me I'm afraid And exactly WHAT is it that's perfectly clear? When one is feeling overwhelmed with the political landscape, the climate crisis and the myriad daily issues percolating in front of me - it requires great effort to see what's clear Maybe what's clear is the background against which all of these issues are playing out Maybe it can be comforting to know that clarity can be seen behind the fast moving pieces I often find difficult to grasp Perhaps one can choose which to focus on Perhaps this background is the constant, a particular aspect of living one can trust and have faith in We do need some solid base from which to navigate, to take a stand, to rest in when we're overwhelmed and exhausted I suspect that it's from this perspective that clarity arises and gives us the energy we need to keep moving forward toward a day when it is perfectly clear.
Filed under Prose and Poetry