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.
It’s the second day of December. At 5:00 in the morning, it’s still dark and I’m out with the stars. I reflect on the number of people I know who’ve passed away this year and looking up at the stars lighting the sky, I feel peace. It’s a month where people move even more deeply within as we light candles and come together to celebrate another year, a year of transformation, a celebration and honoring of the cycles of birth, growth, learning, and death.
As Annie Dillard writes:
Living, you stand under a waterfall. You leave the sleeping shore deliberately; you shed your dusty clothes, pick your barefoot way over the high, slippery rocks, hold your breath, choose your footing, and step into the waterfall.
Yesterday, in honor of Native American Heritage Day, I watched the 1970 film “Little Big Man” which I recommend.
Earlier, I walked and sat by the bay with a friend. We talked about the practice of Tonglen, a practice of “taking and sending”. In Tonglen, we visualize taking in the pain of others with our in-breath, and sending out whatever will benefit them with the out-breath. In that, we begin to feel love for ourselves and others.
On Tuesday evening we were the “victims” of a costly scam. No, we weren’t victims. Yes, we lost some money but we three agreed it was clever, and a learning experience, and we’re glad and grateful we don’t have to make a living by lying. We toasted the five men for giving us the gift of knowing even more clearly we don’t need to live like that. They gave us a gratitude tonic.
I feel compassion for those who think they gain something by cheating others. I feel grateful for what I learned, the joy in knowing I can’t be taken advantage of because all is one and shared. I’m complete in myself, and that can’t be taken from me. That awareness brought expansiveness in all areas to me, and I felt relief over conflicts I’d been agonizing over. It was gone, a positive and powerful affirmation of the value in release and trust in knowing it’s about how we meet what comes. Don’t hold on. Flow with the tides and streams. Be one with the sky.
Today I learned of a friend’s horrific family tragedy. Her husband was driving home with a pecan pie for Thanksgiving on Highway 99 when his car was hit by a car crossing a double yellow line. That person is essentially unhurt but my friend’s husband is in critical condition with severe brain damage.
Where does one put it?
How does one breathe into and expand around that?
Today in a Sensory Awareness workshop, we experimented with the power in a gesture.We held the right hand up at shoulder level, palm out, with fingers upright and joined, like some statues of the Buddha, showing a Mudra representing “Fear not!”
It’s a day to gather within ourselves and with others and give thanks. My father used to chop the celery and onion by hand the night before and cook down the giblets, but now with the aid of a food processor, I rise at five and do it in the morning. Click, zip, whiz, and now the turkey is stuffed and roasting in the oven.
Yesterday I saw four river otters playing in the bay. I also sat in the rock garden at Flamingo Park near me. The rocks are decorated by families in the neighborhood. Gifts abound.
This is the week designated for gratitude. The light spreads its rays as though we are meant to climb out of ourselves into connection with a wider world. We can also be grateful for who and what we are, this wonderful assemblage in time and space.
What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.
I woke this morning with Tiger tucked alongside me and realized he’s been grieving the passing of his sister Bella, and today it seems we both came to peace.
I thought of the words of Albert Einstein: “Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another,” and so Bella is here in another form.
Robert Bly has passed away at the age of 94. What an amazing man. I remember being at Asilomar for a workshop and I walked by his workshop that was intended for men, but he waved his hand and invited me in.
I love his translation of Basho’s poem, and today with his passing though the temple bell has stopped, “the sound keeps coming out of the flowers”.
Having two sons, over the years there have been various girlfriends, and an exchange of gifts, which as sons and girls moved on, those gifts were left here. One gift was a four foot tall creature, something well-known it seems in certain worlds, though not mine. I’ve been trying to give it away for years but finally had it sitting in the entryway to give to one person when a neighbor came by and fell in love. She left here holding it treasured in her arms. It was such an example of what we keep to ourselves rather than letting it circulate. It’s been sitting in our basement for years, obstructing energy flow and the new coming in, and now it’s carried to a new home in the arms of someone in love.
And again today I drive south to be with family, and check out homes. It’s my route of the moment, the immersion in change.
As I drive, I’m with these words of Shozan Jack Haubner, from “Consider the Seed”.
There’s a natural balance, a dance, between embracing and releasing: turning your surroundings into yourself, like the tree that absorbs carbon dioxide, and turning yourself into your surroundings, like the same tree releasing oxygen. This is what Buddhists call the Middle Way.