I've written three books, each a part of my journey to elderhood. Now with this blog my intention is to give a moment to moment accounting of my life as it is now, and now, and now. I'm a leader and student of Sensory Awareness, and a practitioner of Rosen Method. I believe in the connective and collective power of Love.
Tonight is the full moon. I read that we sleep less the nights before the full moon. We’re more synchronized to the phases of the moon than we may realize. I’m going to notice from now on but Steve and I were both awake at 3:30 this morning, ready for a shiny new day.
I’m invited to a 100th birthday celebration, on Zoom, of course. Perhaps seven years ago now, this man was told he would die if he didn’t continue treatment for throat cancer. Since he couldn’t eat with the treatment, he was slowly starving to death, so he quit the treatment and here he is. 100 years of a very good life, and who knows how many more he has to go.
Inspired, I leap on the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
The world is opening up. I got my teeth cleaned yesterday and I’ll get a haircut today. Yes, we’re still wearing masks but there’s a little more space in these longer days.
I asked my dental hygienist how his children were doing with the pandemic. He said his seven year old daughter had been doing well and then a few months ago became hysterical and they couldn’t calm her down. She kept saying, “The hospitals are full.” They took her to a behavioral psychotherapist who through talking and having the child draw discovered that the child remembered when she was four years old and had respiratory failure and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Now, she feared it would happen again and the hospitals would be full and she would die. The therapist assured her she is older now and stronger and will be okay.
I think it’s good the memory of her trauma was uncovered, discussed and aired. I think of the healing in putting it on paper. In chemotherapy, I drew an image of my body, and the therapist analyzing it, pointed out what she saw and what I might not be seeing and feeling in my experience. I can’t remember what I drew, but I do remember how her analysis hit home.I walked out feeling “seen”, and of course, it was really me seeing myself.
I sit with how our children have been and are being affected by all of this. Yesterday, my hygienist put it in perspective. He said that though this may be hard on our children, it’s not like life in Syria. Yes, it’s true. And I wonder what they say.
I’m with words of Jane Hirshfield: “One breath taken completely; one poem, fully written, fully read — in such a moment, anything can happen.”
I’m with the fullness of the moment, the fullness of the breath as I assimilate and reflect. My passage expands like the twittering and flight of birds, a reverence ringing inside and out. I am the bell, the space, the lamp, the light, the chime.
An Angel of a friend has pancreatic cancer and has been given two to five years to live. He’s our age, Steve and mine, and our first thought was oh, no, and the second was two to five years. Wow! It goes with living every minute as though it’s our last.
A request to make a video tribute for my daughter-in-law’s 40th birthday led me up to the Headlands early yesterday morning. I wanted to catch the sunrise but then was content with this view – the sun’s radiant coming and the symbolism of sunrise and the Golden Gate Bridge and the passage out to sea.
When I was in 8th grade we sang the Hallelujah Chorus. I wonder how now as I listen to the range required.
I was inspired to listen when I learned in Writer’s Almanac that today is Handel’s birthday.
It’s the birthday of composer George Handel, who wrote the great oratorio Messiah, born in Halle, Germany (1685).
In 1741, he was asked to do a benefit in Dublin. He decided to write a new oratorio for the performance, and he worked on it zealously, often neglecting to eat or sleep. In 25 days, he’d created the score for the Messiah, which was composed of 50 separate pieces. When he was finished he said, “I think God has visited me.”
You can listen and then view pictures I took yesterday from the overlook in Muir Beach and further down. Music, Nature, Inspired!
In these times of complexity, balance, and change, I come to Mary Oliver’s book Upstream.
Out walking, she comes upon a hawk beginning the process of tearing apart and consuming a pheasant. Though she prefers to be a vegetarian, a craving for meat will strike, and she considers how the pheasant could be her dinner. Then, re-considering, she walks on.
“But I know how sparkling was the push of my own appetite. I am no fool, no sentimentalist. I know that appetite is one of the gods, with a rough and savage face, but a god all the same.
Teilhard de Chardin says somewhere that man’s most agonizing spiritual decision is his necessity for food, with its unavoidable attachments to suffering. Who would disagree.“
I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”
I’m now going to quote from an article in The Nation by Nathan Newman called “The Case for Blue-State Secession: It’s the only way to ensure equal representation for all.”
“Twice in the past 20 years, a GOP candidate who lost the popular vote took the presidency and 2020 came uncomfortably close to making it a third time. A minority of the population controlled the Senate for the past six years, during which, in combination with a minority-elected president, it packed the Supreme Court with a supermajority of Republican judges.”
“Democratic presidents have appointed just four out of 17 Supreme Court justices since 1970.”
“Thanks to the Senate’s bizarre filibuster rules, 41 senators – who represent as little as 11 percent of the population – can prevent any bill from even coming to a vote.”
In addition, blue states send more to the federal government than red states. Mississippi receives $2.09 in spending for every tax dollar it sends to Washington. McConnell’s Kentucky gets $2.89 and Lindsey Graham’s South Caroline receives $1.71.
Trump purposely sent aid to states that supported him and ignored California when wildfires raged.
Newman shows how all the people in this country would benefit from equal representation because then blue states could pressure red states for equality and fairness for all.
Let’s live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of our own unfolding.
Last night I watched the movie Nomadland. It’s available at hulu.com. You can sign up for a free month and then unsubscribe if it doesn’t appeal to you to stay. They offer a variety of movies and shows, but nothing really appealed to me so I signed up for the night and then unsubscribed.
I then started reading the book by Jessica Bradler that inspired the movie: Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-first century.
After the first housing crisis, a friend of mine lost her house and bought a van and fixed it up. Her work involved travel and she created a mobile home. One week I flew into Phoenix and she picked me up, and we camped on BLM land and stayed in a few campsites. Her place was small so I slept in a tent outside. I learned how to negotiate the traveling life.
The last night I sprang for a hotel so I’d have a shower for the plane ride home out of Albuquerque. A shower was lovely, of course, but the trip being outside cities in nature was exquisite.
The land – the beauty – at one point, there was a problem with the engine, and we hung out in a teeny-tiny town and got to know the men who fixed her car. It helped to understand different viewpoints.
Of course it was the best weather time, early October, and we traveled easily amidst incredible beauty through Arizona and New Mexico. One day, as in Nepal where I spent the day watching a river, I did that here too, just sat and watched birds sweep by along the river’s flow.
I recommend the movie and the book. It’s inspiring to see creativity in action and to know there are options. It also shows we need to expand our safety netand work conditions.
Frances McDormand plays Fern but many of the people are from the book. If you’re curious check out Bob’s website:
We know people who are doing this. They have jobs but can’t afford housing in our area. They’ve chosen what enriches their life. Perhaps it’s necessity that brings a person to it, but there’s also something in being outside to see the sun rise and set. As we know and continue to learn, it’s about how we meet what comes. Necessity is the mother of invention, and may it be necessity that leads us to provide for every single one of us. We all deserve to be cared for, honored, and respected for what we offer and are able to do.
NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars yesterday to explore the Jezero Crater, which four billion years ago was the site of a lake.
When it brings microfossils back to Earth, will it find signs of life? Will it record sound? I’m listening to the sound of rain, grateful I live here, in this time period, on this planet Earth.
Reading that each day in January, covid-19 killed an average of 3,100 people in the United States — one every 28 seconds, I’m even more grateful I’ve had the first vaccine.
Of course we need to vaccinate around the world, and some won’t take what’s offered, and yet I’m grateful my children didn’t have some of the diseases I did. We continue to move forward; we persevere.
I’m waiting to view the movie Nomadland but meanwhile I’ve ordered the book. We live in a country without a safety net for many. Meanwhile Ted Cruz flies with his family to Cancun. May that be the end of his career.
Rachel Carson in The Sense of Wonder writes: One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?”
Wow, and isn’t that always true? May we persevere in knowing what’s true.
I’m awake with waves of gratitude. My mother passed away on this date in 2005. I’m grateful to be her daughter, raised in such love and grace.
I’m also grateful for the vaccine. Yesterday was quite an experience as I drove to the Civic Center in a line of cars with my ID and appointment time checked multiple times. I stood in a line that wove back and forth like at Disneyland, and yet, all worked like clockwork, as people are vaccinated with no sense of rush and a clarity of purpose. A young man, Adrian, vaccinated me. A park ranger set up my next appointment. The county has called in all available workers to help with getting the vaccine to as many people as possible. We live in community.
I did have a reaction. I realize I had the virus and fought it off in the spring. My husband was exposed on February 3rd when he flew back from New York. For him, it resulted in covid fingers, and though he never tested positive, his doctor was sure he had it just not in the respiratory system. At the time, I could feel the symptoms so I paid extra attention to my lungs, and used sensing and the sun and rest to send the virus on its way.
I did that yesterday and now this morning I’m grateful to feel somewhat “back” but actually “back” differently as all of this brings a deeper awareness of connectivity. My breath is yours, and yours is mine. We share a world.
I’m not proud that I rejoiced when I heard Rush Limbaugh died. The damage he has done is incomparable. It’s not just him, of course, but he was a major force and we suffer from the lies he spouted, the hate and division he sowed. The people in Texas suffer today.
I just finished reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula le Guin. I’ve read it many times before and each time I receive it a little differently. This time I’m with the message of hope, the message that we each can go within to find and nourish our own knowing and connection. We each peel the onion of our lives, as we open to the soil in which we grow, the soil we share. Breathing in and out, circulating air and water, purpose and growth, we nourish on Love.
One son and his wife have been on the list for a rescue greyhound. They lost their beloved Senna last year, and now, a little girl greyhound rescued from Florida is in Denver, and on her way to them. We hope she arrives the Saturday after this. What a gift! Gifts abound!
I close with words from Albert Einstein:
Death really means nothing because the “distinction between past, present and
future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. The universe is a great thought,
expressing itself in energy and matter, ceaselessly changing places.
Steve had his vaccine shot yesterday and I have mine today and so I smile as I read the poem Garrison Keillor wrote after receiving his. Ours is at our Civic Center, where they hold the county fair in July, though not last year of course, and we’ll see how things are this year. Meanwhile ….
The clinic that offers vaccine
Resembles a well-run machine,
I got my shot,
Sat down, was not
Dizzy or hot or pale green,
Loss of reflex,
Skin wasn’t waxy
So I hopped in a taxi,
Went home to my wife,
Resuming my life,
Which still is, thank God, quite routine.
Isolated, as monks, but serene,
Trying to keep my hands clean.
And in this isolation, I spin round on the words of Thomas Merton:
One has to be in the same place every day, watch the dawn from the same window or porch, hear the same birds each morning to realize how inexhaustibly rich and diverse is this “sameness.”