Opening In and Out

Yesterday I again left at 6:15 to drive down to take care of my grandson for the day but this week it was light whereas last week it was dark.  It feels miraculous, life and light changing on this planet we share.

Grandson is pure delight and we spent time running around, hugging, and looking up through trees.  One redwood hung down enough we could bounce the branches  up and down fanning ourselves and the tree.

Today I went to two museums, the Legion of Honor and then the De Young to see the Calder-Picasso exhibit.  What a treat!

I sit now listening to the wind chimes, the play of air and form.  

Receiving

When I went through chemotherapy, I learned that in receiving, I was giving. I didn’t have the energetic resources to give anything but reception and I saw the gift in that, the beauty of completing a circle of exchange.

Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about receiving things, which can be much harder than giving.
– Alexander McCall Smith.

Focus

There’s so much going on these days and so many places to put our attention that sometimes I pause and sit in the middle, center myself in quiet and all that’s swirling and whirling in and around me.  There’s nothing to do or even be.  

I receive these words of Jane Hirshfield:

We cannot let our ideas blind us to our unknowing.

Movement in May

This morning, my surroundings are stirred by bird song.  I’m lifted on movement and sound, stirred.

The name, May, allows me to unfold in a request.  May I open, trust, thrust.

The name comes from the Roman goddess Maia, a nurturer and earth goddess.  She is the goddess of growing plants.  

The word also comes from the Latin word majores, “elders” because elders were celebrated during this month.  It makes sense as our wisdom grows, softens, and blossoms in spring and falls in fall.  

I’m with movement today, movement within and around me, and I continue to be stirred as I read and absorb these words of Takuan Soho from “The Right Mind and the Confused Mind”.  

If the mind congeals in one place and remains with one thing, it is like frozen water and is unable to be used freely: ice that can wash neither hands nor feet. When the mind is melted and is used like water, extending throughout the body, it can be sent wherever one wants to send it.

May Day

I’ve been in a pause of silence.  I caught a cold from my grandson and that has pulled me into an inner landscape.  It’s odd to have survived the “pandemic” and then be caught up in the inner journey of contemplation and analysis of retreat that healing invites.

As a child, the evening before this day we made baskets of construction paper and filled them with candy and flowers, which early in the morning we hung on the doorknobs of our neighbors.

This morning I’m looking out on beauty, a half moon bright in a blue sky.  My husband and Friend Skunk met this morning and each calmly went their own way.  Two deer visit our yard in the early morning hours these days.

I’ve been thinking about impermanence.  A friend suggests writing quotes I love on a piece of paper torn in a strip and folded into a circle like a little boat.  Float the boat in water and watch the words and possibly paper dissolve.

I anchor that with these words of David Whyte:

Reality met on its own terms demands absolute presence, and absolute giving away, an ability to live on equal terms with the fleeting and the eternal, the hardly touchable and the fully possible, a full bodily appearance and disappearance, a rested giving in and giving up; another identity braver, more generous and more here than the one looking hungrily for the easy, unearned answer.

Orchid flowers again
The sky yesterday morning
Gardening on the roof at Slide Ranch
Monday morning beauty along the coast
Look closely to see a Woodpecker in my yard

Patience

I’ve come to a place of pause and trust, at least in this moment. May this continue as a knowing, honoring, and acknowledgment of the words of Rainer Maria Rilke.

“The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.”

Ridge in Mist

Gratitude

My son and his wife have two new rescue greyhounds.  Though both come from the same racetrack in Florida, the two are very different in personality.  Ebi is a cuddler, and Ginger romps and bounces with an abundance of rambunctious energy.

It says something about each of us, our own unique way of being in the world, and noticing what we need and how we respond.

I’m enthused about oxygen being made on Mars.  I feel our vision expanding outward as it did in the 60’s.  President Biden is offering vision and work that brings change.  We need that right now as the world begins to open up for some of us, and we each respond in our own unique way.

I read the following words of Robin Wall Kimmerer, and feel a shift in my being.  I want to live in a way that the Earth is grateful for me.  We try to keep our yard creature friendly and hospitable but I haven’t seen any deer this year.  A friend shares this with me. 

“I discovered tiny, twin baby fawns curled up by my water faucet three days ago. This morning a mother doe was here with her older triplets”.

Gratitude is most powerful as a response to the Earth because it provides an opening to reciprocity, to the act of giving back, to living in a way that the Earth will be grateful for us.
ROBIN WALL KIMMERER
Our yard

Lake Lagunitas

Earth Day

Today the fog is a wrap as I sit, contemplate, and appreciate the earth I am and the earth where I live.

Water rationing is beginning again so it will be a return to buckets in the shower to capture every drop.  I worry about the plants and explain to them that they, too, need to carefully utilize every drop.

I’m with Thich Nhat Hanh this morning.

We have a tendency to think in terms of doing and not in terms of being. We think that when we are not doing anything, we are wasting our time. But that is not true. Our time is first of all for us to be; to be what? To be alive, to be peaceful, to be joyful, to be loving. And that is what the world needs most.

Friendship

Change

It’s one step but Derek Chauvin’s conviction of murder for killing George Floyd sends a ribbon of fresh air through us all.   The world held its breath waiting to hear that murder would be punished, and now with the sentencing, it will.

Yesterday I went to Lake Lagunitas with a friend.  It was the first time in over a year I was in a car with someone other than my husband, but we’re both a month out from two vaccinations and felt it was safe.  

We went to the lake because there’s a bench there for my friend’s sister who passed away in an accident years ago.  It’s a peaceful place, and we hoped to see a river otter or two, and possibly a beaver or two.  We walked ¾ of the way around the lake and then sat waiting for what we might see, and then, right there – the magic of a little head and body as an aquatic friend swam by and into the reeds.

Lake Lagunitas
Lupine

A Home
Wild Iris
Grace
Breath
Stones
The moon rising in the afternoon sky

Connection

From Heather Cox Richardson today:

America today is caught in a plague of gun violence. 

It wasn’t always this way. Americans used to own guns without engaging in daily massacres. Indeed, it always jumps out at me that the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929, when members of one Chicago gang set up and killed seven members of a rival gang, was so shocking it led to legislation that prohibits automatic weapons in the U.S. 

Eighty-nine years later, though, in 2018, another Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 children and wounded 17 others. In response, then-President Donald Trump called for arming teachers, and the Republican-dominated Florida legislature rejected a bill that would have limited some high-capacity guns. 

Our acceptance of violence today stands in striking contrast to Americans’ horror at the 1929 Valentine’s Day Massacre.

My book group met last night to discuss In the Distance by Herman Diaz.  Yes, it has violence but my understanding is it’s meant to present both a mythical and more “true” view of the Wild West.  It’s a book about loneliness, not fitting in or knowing where one is, and yes, cruelty, injustice, and violence.  

The question becomes whether the violence in the book was exaggerated.  People felt it was unrelenting. It was certainly harsh but reading the news each day feels unrelenting too. 

The time period in the book is 1849 and begins with the Gold Rush in CA and moves through peripherally to the Civil War and beyond.  It is fantastical in one way, and it’s not always easy to read, and though the author struggled to write the scenes of violence, he’s making a point and looking at a piece of history in this country.  

Growing up in the 1950’s, I was taught how amazing we were as a country, and when I went to Bastogne in Belgium, I cried as I stood in the memorial and saw and felt what the U.S. had contributed to World War II.  I know that life is complex but we are having to face that this country was founded on violence.  Can we change it now?

Heather concludes her column today with this:

In 1997, the NRA’s challenges to the Brady Bill had made their way to the United States Supreme Court. Printz v. United States brought together the idea of unfettered gun ownership and Republican government. The court held that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to require states to perform background checks. This both freed up gun purchases and endorsed states’ rights, the principle at the heart of the Republican policy of dismantling the active government that regulates business and protects civil rights. 

We are in a bizarre moment, as Republican lawmakers defend largely unlimited gun ownership even as recent polls show that 84% of voters, including 77% of Republicans, support background checks. The link between guns, cowboys, race, and government in America during Reconstruction, and again after the Brown v. Board decision, helps to explain why.

F.M. Alexander, the founder of Alexander Method said to smile like you’re smelling a rose. 

That’s my practice these days as I look out on a new day coming to light.

Smile like you’re smelling a rose or jasmine, pittosporum, limbs of a tree, or even your own hand.  What draws you now into the wonderful workings of the organisms we are?