Whatever you are doing right now, it probably has something to do with family and friends. So many stories, so much love, longing, regret, and joy. I love the cold and the coming of the light. The stars’ light falls on us all. We are all touched by the beauty of the dark and light surrounding, contrasting, memorializing all we experience. It feels as if there is more quiet, more smiles, more shared music.
When I think about what’s important, what feels right in my heart I am grateful for those who help me understand who I am and grateful to myself for taking up the challenge.
From Brene Brown:
“Vulnerability isn’t good or bad. It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
May you gather support from all you feel, from all you touch and are touched by.
May your dreams come gladly to you and leave quietly.
Let light be your angel and the dark your comfort.
There is a morality joke about walking down a street and falling into a hole. Walking down the same street and falling into the hole. Walking down that street and waiting to fall into the hole. Yep. Walking down the street and looking for the hole to fall in to.
We get used to our patterns. They are more than familiar. They are comfortable. We get good at breathing through the stranglehold they have over us. Of course it’s our stranglehold. My strangle, myself.
The teaching is to walk down another street. Or to get agile, unattached and aware.
Paying attention is helpful if it’s part of a willingness to change. My late and ex-husband, in an attempt to loose weight, used to count calories and write down everything he ate. He had small notebooks filled with copious amounts of food usually counting upwards of 5000 calories in a day. It may have made him aware, it never helped him lose weight. Knowing the enemy is not strategic.
Knowing yourself is.
It’s possible if those notebooks had contained how he felt before and when he ate, he might have been healthier. He would have to accept responsibility for the eating instead of choosing to feel helpless and doomed.
Above the temple at Delphi is written, “Know Thyself.” Still the best strategy for any move. With self knowledge it doesn’t matter if I trust you – if I trust me. It doesn’t matter so much where I walk, I can take the terrain or step away. Knowing myself can allow me to feel calm and slow time so I can give myself a choice that works for me.
My nephew David’s son David is a 17 year old whiz at slowing time. I watched this video of him and could feel the time span out so he was in complete control, making it look easy.
He does this because it’s all he’s doing at the time and he’s gained confidence and trust in himself. He’s in the moment, not zoned out doing the same thing. He’s not phoning it in, he’s right there, right now. Full disclosure is he’s been on a motorized vehicle since before his 3rd birthday. That gives him a good 10 + years of experience and an edge on most of us.
“Your value to those around you hinges upon only one thing: your personal alignment with Source.” Abraham via Esther Hicks
After he became the person we know as Buddha, Siddhartha was welcomed as a wise man and story teller. He travelled far and wide at a time when speaking was what there was; we were years from leaflets, books and blogs.
The story in the symbols atop Buddhist monasteries ( I took this in Bouda, one of the Buddhist sections of Kathmandu) is that Siddhartha meditated to study the wheel of life and when he was able to find words for all he had learned, the deer were the only creatures who would listen.
These sweet creatures helped him hone his mind and heart, gave him courage to be who he was, as connected as he was. No more, no less, just as they are. Siddhartha was able to realize his own nature in the study of the natural world. He couldn’t expect the deer to understand or go forth with his lesson. He couldn’t blame them for not or praise them for what they were doing. He could recognize them for who and what they were. And he could do the same for himself.
Basically that’s it. The beginning and end of Buddhist philosophy. Simple and really really hard – lots of attention to what is present, no making up stories, check your facts over and over with your heart, say only what is true and useful. The useful bit implies intention. If you notice your intention, you probably won’t hurt anything and the deer will want to be with you.
Please let me be the person my dog thinks I am.
Saying “I love you” is the least
balanced thing I do. In order
to bring the words to mind, nevermind
to mouth, I have to distance myself from
you and the rainbow inside of me who want
everything perfect and resonable and true.
I have to make up lines as I go along, assuage
the person in my right who says I’m wrong,
give the person that I see who is you a chance
and not look too closely through it all.
And way more important than anything
is not to look too closely at me -
just get close enough to it all to feel
the warmth we share, then open my mouth:
I love you.
In the field there is the tree I call “The Singer.” She is so out there, so full. Each of her years is a display of prosperous and prodigious longevity. Her limbs have fallen several times, she has no discernable trunk, no core, she’s all out to her edges. Still and evermore open to the winds and covered with apples when it’s her time to be in fruit, same for blossoms. She is a tree to emulate. A tree for the future.
This isn’t a photo of my mother – it’s DeAnna Pellecchia from Paula’s company – but it is one of her dreams. Though never on the stage, she had a stage name. Paula Warren. Yes, it’s funny and that isn’t the only thing that she and Paula shared – Paula picked that name too – they shared a love of fabric and movement, placement of all things bright and beautiful. When something new would come into my life that my mother liked, she would say, “I bet Paula picked that out.”
Even though life with my mother wasn’t easy, she was fascinating and she enjoyed being difficult. I liked that about her and wrote this poem imagining a relationship with her that was less separate than the one we actually had. When in doubt, make it up!
No Dust In Her Eyes
Mother, I remember the sweet red smell of your Dentyne
As I sat in the backseat of the Roadster. You are always
In front of me, your hair flap-flying back from your face,
Cherry red lips and teeth so white clench an extendable gold
Cigarette holder. Smell of leather, gas and your Arpege, the wind
Whipping sitting up or quiet down along the seat. The fields swell before us,
The road snakes miles before a cross comes where you
Honk a warning and hope someone will see your dust.
Animals are so wise:
this one is called, “When I was pregnant with my mother.”
I think we are called to families where it is often hard to see why we are there. It’s a lifetime for me of wondering and awe how I came to make the choice I had to make to end up where I am.
All choices, all angles, all around.
As much as I always wanted to be somewhere else when I was young, I never could really fathom what that would be like and tended to cling to what I knew no matter.
What would I do in your family? No clue.
So I’ll take a moment to revel in mine. It does kind of fit by now. Yours too?
distance, when there are no words to fill the space, no time-lapse to give my heart some heat, is cold distance where the eyes are closed to the sound of love, where the mind hurtles into space free falling. love is distant. love is space. no heat in my heart.
This photograph of Eli yawning looks threatening to me. I’m not the only photographer who takes advantage of a thing looking like a thing but it isn’t.
I used the photo and wrote the text which made the wordle in this time of loving our daughter and not being able to do much. In my heart I think I know who she is and that she’ll come around, but looking at what is happening is scary and I am deeply affected.
Things like Wordle help a lot. So do friends and all the love there is – which is a lot.
I am love, love is what there is, and I know that’s the truth and the truth will out.
Have something to say.
I notice my dogs don’t say much until they need something. Then they do everything they can to get my attention.
Have an ear. Use it. Listen. You’ll know what to say next – i.e., how to respond.
Not good to be thinking about what you want to say next.
Tell the truth. Show up. Don’t leave without permission. Wag your tail.
When I first moved to Boston – just after the Red Sox had won the pennant and lost the Series – I lived in a duplex underneath the landlord who was in her 80′s and worried. It felt safe every night to sleep with my two young children because Mrs. Felton paced room to room upstairs all night long looking for trouble.
We did enjoy each others company and often she would ask me for help with some household thing. One time she complained to me how hard it was to light her gas broiler. She had one of those inconvenient ones at the bottom of the oven, a separate place to open that had to be lit at its top.
Kneeling down and then bending her body up to see the little hole where the match had to go was a hardship for her and staying there to make sure it was lit was further insult. It was for me too but I was 22.
I quickly showed her that if she put tin foil on the bottom of the boiler she could see the reflection and would only have to stoop to light, not twist to check the flame.
I remind myself that I was 22 and perhaps too quick about the whole thing but I could see her not wanting it to get better. I could see her wanting the problem to go away and yet being unwilling to do anything about it.
Since then I have witnessed my own process and that of so many others and I have always remembered that moment when a solution was discarded. Could I have said it better? Could she have been eased? Would she?
What does it take to “let freedom ring?”
Sometimes it’s a look around, noticing the yellowed wallpaper
Testing the windows to see if they open
Running our hand along the top or bottom
Listening for the hiss of a leak or the silence of a buildup.
Not really talking about your house. Talking about your bone, skin, blood and muscle house. In speaking with clients week after week – and with myself – I’m making a list.
And checking it more than once.
The list takes courage. Not a “certain” courage, not a little courage,
A Lot of courage. In the annals of courage there are a lot of small entries.
Times when something tiny wasn’t overlooked. Times when a weak voice was listened to. A small finger in a small hole saved a city. A small heart beats with the biggest.
I took this photograph of the sun setting. It looks fairly dramatic. It was just the sun setting as it does every day. Something not to be overlooked. It is a path.
Counting the days is not a path, noticing each day is a path.
Watching for something to happen is not a path. Watching what is happening is a path.