The days are long with light. I’m continuously looking up into the sky. This morning I saw the moon and shining planets. My daughter-in-law’s father passed away at this time of Solstice, the sun so brightly overhead for those of us in the northern hemisphere. I feel it as a beacon for him as he releases his body and like a caterpillar leaving its chrysalis to become a butterfly moves on where we can’t see.
I’m with passage and grief, the heart overflowing with entry into what we can’t understand and yet we look upward and within, touched deeply with the meaning we sense and know is there.
Years ago I took a workshop with Anne C. Klein. Now I read her words from “Revisiting Ritual”.
Our mind wanders incessantly, but our body and senses are always in the present. To investigate our embodied experience is to investigate the living present.
I’m with what it is to investigate the living present, and in that to juice the sacred within, to feel the touch of lungs on heart swinging through like monkeys in trees, branching and expanding the roles we share.
The octopus has three hearts and nine brains, a central brain and one in each of its eight arms. We have ten fingers. What might we stretch and embrace to reach even beyond what we see?
On Juneteeth, we remember that157 years ago, white Americans enslaved African Americans because of the color of their skin.We remember and change.
I wake enchanted with how a child finds a branched stick and then a hole perfect for insertion, and then, trying different rocks finds two just right to create a story about a bird in a nest.
Yesterday we were talking about the problem of the homeless, the range of reasons. How do we help each one?
We begin with the children. We have the money to educate each child in the way that most nourishes their intellect and encourages their creativity. Don’t we have room for diversity in problem solving as we honor the abundance of ways each of us participates in our intake and outtake of the world?
The bunkers and tunnels in the Marin Headlands were once used for defense of the Golden Gate. Now, they provide views and a place to count hawks as they migrate.
Today we walked half-way across the Golden Gate Bridge on a beautiful day. We went up to Hawk Hill. Grandchild found a stick and a hole. Add two rocks and a home for a bird in her nest appeared. Life works like that.
What was said to the rose that made it open was said to me here in my chest.
Yesterday my neighbor invited some neighbors over for afternoon tea which actually was wine, sparkling water, and goodies, most perfect for “tea”. We were outside in the garden that her husband, even at the age of 86, maintains beautifully.
Today I had my dental cleaning and my dental hygienist was in the office alone with country western music playing. I remembered when I was in radiation and would lie down on the table and listen to the music of the day. One day it was “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” by Kenny Chesney. I relaxed so far into the table, they had to stop treatment and readjust me.
Life is good for me these days.
Terry Tempest Williams:
The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves.
Yesterday I was at the Legion of honor for the Guo Pei exhibit, a “Couture Fantasy” and a fantasy it was. Guo Pei was raised during the Cultural Revolution in China when everyone wore the same outfit in gray or brown. There was no display of creativity or uniqueness. She listened to stories from her grandmother of beautiful clothes and jewelry. From that her imagination grew and flowed and she says “Working to create something is like a religion to me.”
Guo Pei: “There is a Chinese saying: “One flower, one world: one leaf and one awakening.” For me, flowers express happiness, joy, and pleasure. When I was little, my maternal grandmother told me, “The bigger the tree, the more luxurious its roots.” What this means to me is that the parts of someone you see, like their successes, are due to really good development of their roots. The roots of a plant can sometimes be even more beautiful than what is visible. Many flowers fruit at the root or bloom underground. I tell my children that if you want to be very successful in the future, you have to cultivate, and you must cultivate downward and not upward. What people ultimately see of you – for example, my work – is only a tiny part of everything.”
I’m reading The Grieving Brain, The Surprising Science of How We Learn From Love and Loss by Mary-Francis O’Connor.
I’m struck by these words. She’s talking about penguins and how a penguin couple bonds. She then writes, “In humans as well, it is because your loved one existed that certain neurons fire together and certain proteins are folded in your brain in particular ways. It is because you loved one lived, and because you loved each other, that means when the person is no longer in the outer world, they still physically exist – in the wiring of the neurons of your brain.“
I love that.
I woke this morning aware of the complexity of flowers, and the beauty we share as they unfold, exult, and then, the petals fall away. Perhaps, each noticing of the change, this reception of cohering, inviting, filling, and letting go, also molds our brains to better hold even as we’re letting go.
We are on approach to the Solstice, the longest day of the year. I find it astonishing how early it is light, how late. Last night I was enveloped by the fullness of the Supermoon. This morning an owl was still offering a who-who-who even though day was coming to light.
I’m reading a book on how the brain harvests and processes grief. We can know the person has passed away, and still our “brain-map” feels them here. We are divided in one way, and expanded in another.
I’m with these words of Louise Erdrich from The Painted Drum. We are here to feel.
Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could.