Autumn

The days continue with soft light.  I enjoyed a walk along the marsh yesterday, watched the birds and fish, and the tide as water moved in to fill exposed niches.  A surprise as I rounded a path upwards was a Black-Crowned Night Heron resting on a branch of a tree.  Nature delights.  

Snowy Egret and Gull

Roses at the Communal Garden

A Hollowed Tree

And here, she or he is, among the tangle of branches and green

Gratitude

I’m with gratitude this morning, enjoying sitting and watching the day come to light.

Yesterday, I watched Elizabeth Strout talk about her writing, specifically her two books on Olive Kitteridge.  Book Passage brings authors right into our home.  

Strout said she’s always been interested in other people, in how they see the world.  What does it feel like to be another person?  She said novels help us with this.  We enter the life of another.  She said, “Wherever there’s a person, there’s s story.”

Her earliest friend was the physical world.  There were no  kids around where and when she grew up in Maine.  She went to NY, a place she loves, but then left to return to the light of Maine.  

I’m with the light here, especially this time of year.  I revel in it.  We are light after all.

Strout spoke of point of view and how with Olive, she gives us how different people perceive Olive with all her imperfections.  In her writing, she just records life with its imperfections.  She wrote the second book on Olive after seeing a woman in Oslo who reminded her of an older Olive.  She knew Olive was back.

I was also introduced to Dorothy Hunt yesterday.  This brings me peace. 

 

Opening

When I see it’s November 20, I feel the holidays begin, that slide into celebration which will be more quiet this year.  I’ve never been the raucous sort, but Thanksgiving day will be Steve and me cooking our favorite turkey delights. We’ll see other gatherings on computers and other devices.

I’m not quite sure why this day, November 20, strokes and strikes me so, but it does.  The light is soft, and trees are radiant with red and gold.  Leaves fall like snowflakes and birds twitter with joy.

Trump is holding on, and he will go.   He and his daughter will be indicted for state crimes.  He has to face reality or destroy a nation that affects the world.  I saw a Star Trek episode where a petulant alien with the emotional capacity of an un-nurtured child was threatening to destroy the world, and we see that now.  For many of us, Trump’s behavior is alien to how we were raised.

I trust we will survive this, as we become even more aware of the preciousness of shared breath.

A neighbor of my grandson re-arranges hundreds of rubber duckies each day to deliver a message. Wednesday was “Believe”. This is only a portion of the display.

What Ducks Say

Does It Interest You?

This morning I was tucked cozily in bed, one cat at my feet.  It was silent and then the wind blew in bringing the rain we welcome and need.

I contemplated why I was so content just lying there. Wasn’t it enough?  What would motivate me to rise from bed while it was still dark?

What is it with this list of “shoulds” most of us carry, especially now, in this world of complexity and need for change.

I remembered back to my Rosen training.  In one class with Marion Rosen, Hans Axelson, founder of Axelson Institute in Sweden, and Frank Ottiwell from Alexander Technique, each of us walked individually across the floor between two groups of people who analyzed our walk.   What did it say about how we meet, greet, and move through the world?

I was self-conscious at first, and walking very carefully and studiously, and then, Marion said, “Walk as though you’re meeting your lover”, and everything changed.  I lifted and floated easily and quickly across the floor.

We also worked with activating and using our “Marilyn Monroe” muscles, muscles located in the back close to the sacrum.  Again, I was self-conscious to swing so loosely but I played with dancing with my shadow and it was fun.

I rose with all of this in mind, seemingly floating out of bed when the words of Charlotte Selver came to me.  “Does it interest you?”

I realize that’s how we navigate our list of shoulds.  Life is short and precious.  With interest as guidance, we know our path.

Mark Twain said it well: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

It’s true of all we do.  It’s how to meet the world, with soft, open chest and face and back of neck and back of knees.  So light life can be.  

I’m floating now secure in knowing I’m pulled forth with ease by what interests me, and I offer this to you.  Meet the world as though you’re meeting your lover because you are.

Filoli : orange sculptures lying to the left in the grass as the world lights interest in change.

Language

In the Sensory Awareness retreat this weekend, one workshop was titled “Beyond Boundaries and Borders, Inside and Out”.

The word “limit” was used a few times in the leading, or maybe more.  I didn’t notice but one man did, a Black man who is a leader in the work.  Like me, he has been studying and practicing sensory awareness for many years.  He was triggered by the word, “limit” which for him, brought up White Supremacy.

I’m glad he said it.   We discussed language, and how we use it, and what may come up for each of us in our individual experience.  

Later in the day I was asked how the workshop was, and I responded “Perfect!” which, for me it was, whatever that means to me, since I also know perfection is static.  I know there is no “perfection”, that we’re always moving etc. but for me it was the lovingly offered and careful balance of what I needed, and in that moment, the word seemed to fit.

My friend gently reminded me that for her the word “perfect” is a trigger.  

In the Rosen work I do, language is called the “third hand”.  It’s also important in Sensory Awareness to try to put into words our sensations and share them since each of us has a different experience.  We learn from each other.

Today I’m with the power of sharing and connection, of being seen and feeling heard.  As we move toward a holiday of tradition, and try to work out how to meet, or not, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, a complex holiday as to origin, it’s increasingly important to understand and receive the impact of our words. It’s important to trust that when we share when we’re triggered, we know the response will be one of intention to understand with love and care. In each exchange, we’re touched and changed.

The rooster silent in the moment, the still weathervane



Meeting the Moment

Yesterday someone spoke of chipmunk mind rather than monkey mind and I could relate to that.  Muir Woods has many chipmunks, and I love to watch them scurry around and chip, chip, chip at food like busy little monks.

Reading Harold Gatty’s Finding Your Way Without Map or Compass, I  learn that people are asymmetrical.  98% of people are born right-handed and their right arm usually becomes longer than their left and their right shoulder becomes lower than their left.  The left brain directs the right hand so is larger in right-handed people than the left.  

Right-handed swimmers veer to the left without visual aids to guide them, and when they row, they veer to the right.

Also, one leg is usually shorter than the other which is why when we’re lost we tend to walk in circles.

Also, with a choice of two directions, we tend to turn right. Thinking about it, I realize when I enter an art gallery, museum, or grocery store, I do tend to turn right.  Notice; it’s fun.

In a sensory awareness workshop yesterday, I noticed how constricted I was, how held, and how I was allowing breath to have little effect.  I moved myself about to open up, but then when I simply stood and opened my arms out, I felt a shift.  Breath entered in.  I lifted my arms above my head, and power, joy, and breath joined in.  

Traffic yesterday was horrendous as though people are aware a new shut-down is on the way. The virus is spreading, and like this deposed president, won’t go away, and so raise your arms, and make faces, and sing and dance and hum.  We’re playgrounds; let’s play, as we stretch, sing, and dance to fully inhabit our space and enhance our day. 

The holidays come to Filoli . I root, shimmy, and grow, ever green inside!

Seasoning

The Dalai Lama says: Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.

It’s been eight months since our lives so dramatically changed.  For many of us, the place we’re exploring that we’ve never been before is to travel further within and see the stars sparkling there as we form constellations of our own making.

Our family is discussing the celebration of Thanksgiving.  Gathering requires the cooperation of the weather as we need to be outside.  I look at tents.  Maybe we could each be in our own tent, but then, there is the question of bathrooms and so I look at portable toilets, and then, I pause and look at the ripening sky.

I was thrilled to be soaked in rain yesterday. The wind blew and leaves flew. All cleansed.

My local grocery store has extended hours before Thanksgiving and on the day because so many people will be cooking. There’s something cozy in that, and yet, my son is clear.  Family gets together on Thanksgiving, and as my husband and I become more cautious with this, we say, “Yes, if we can be outside”, and now I scroll through tents and portable toilets grateful to be alive.

The Bay yesterday at noon

Embodied

I’m reading Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death, and Art by Rebecca Wragg Sykes.

I was proud when my brother shared that our genetic history showed 3% Neanderthal, but then, I learned that’s fairly common for those with my ancestry: German, Norwegian, English, Scottish.  

I hadn’t realized how adaptive the Neanderthal were, and how they survived in various landscapes and climates.  

What the book is giving me is even more appreciation for the use of my hands and the ability to form tools from the landscape I inhabit.  I find myself weighing my spoon this morning, noting the texture of oatmeal and fruit, wondering how I might have been led to form the shape of a spoon to hold in my hand.   

I love rocks and will look at them differently.  Could I make a knife that would lead to, and enhance, my survival?

How might I use my environment more creatively and wisely?

When I was a nature guide on Ring Mountain, we made a grocery list as we wound our way through the landscape where the Coast Miwok lived: acorns, quail, soap root, fish and clams from the bay. The Miwok made boats from tule reeds and paddled from Marin to San Francisco.  

We are creative beings, and now we come together to utilize the skills of each of us as we heal division, and embrace in a warmth that creates thermals on which to soar.   

Muir Beach yesterday
Looking up from the beach at a poetry retreat
What do we see in clouds?

Winter Light

The day comes to light, tender, soft.

I pause to feel the light within.  How am I touching the light, receiving what births from Source?

I plan a quiet day to renew and connect.

I’m guided by Rumi:

Every atom babbles the mystery —

Listen yourself, for I’m no tattletale!

Filoli Gardens decorates for the holidays
Imagine the magic of lights at night
Opening and closing the view