Ripples

This morning thoughts are with a friend.  His wife of many years has Alzheimer’s.  He’s trying to cope with loss and heartbreak and the stress of giving constant care.

What is this loss of memory?  How do we handle so much pain?

Another friend is going through radiation.  They have warm blankets.  

I read these words:

What we do now echoes into eternity.

   —Marcus Aurelius

Ripples circle from a rock thrown in the pond.  

Autumn – Leaves falling and floating, rustling with each other, playing with the ground

Integration

The fog is in today, a blanket enclosing a circulation of an ecosystem, our own, embodied in more.

Last night I learned of the passing of a friend.  I am with the words of Rilke:

“Death is our friend precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love.”

Redwood Tree rises in Fog

11-11-11

I pause to meditate and honor the Armistice, the end of WWI on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.

Snow Globes

Like snow globes, shaken

We rise and come to land, ground

Peace in poppied hands  

Veteran’s Day

Today we honor those who’ve served our country in the armed forces.  My grandfather served in WWI.  My father, uncle, and aunt served in WWII.

I honor and revere contribution, connection, and sacrifice.  On this day, where I am, sun beams peace.   

I round on this poem by Linda Hogan, “The Way In”.

The Way In

Sometimes the way to milk and honey is through the body.

Sometimes the way in is a song.

But there are three ways in the world: dangerous, wounding,

and beauty.

To enter stone, be water.

To rise through hard earth, be plant

desiring sunlight, believing in water.

To enter fire, be dry.

To enter life, be food.

~ Linda Hogan ~

(Rounding the Human Corners)

Morning Sky

Centering

Today I’m reading about the heart in the womb, its formation and beginning to beat between four and five weeks.

I honor the music of the beating of heart, my heart, connecting the cells in my body, bathing and nourishing the cells in a rhythm of growth and possibility.  I feel my roots in pelvis and feet, grounded on this planet we share.  I’m touched by the tiniest branches into which blood reaches, invites, and cleanses.

I’ve been in the South Bay checking out areas, climates, houses, and now I’m home.  It’s been raining and the smell of wood smoke fills the air.  It’s like when we moved here 44 years ago.  I feel nourished in my cells by moisture, gratitude, and growth.

At times, I feel overwhelmed with possibilities, and in this moment, I feel peace.  My heart has been beating and supporting me for many years.  I trust it knows what I need and what draws me forward as I meet what comes and comes.

Jiddu Kristhamurti: 

If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.

Anne Frank wrote during the Holocaust “Whoever is happy will make others happy.”

And so water sinks into soil.  

The Veil Is Thin

This is the time of year when the veil between the living and the dead, the physical and the non-physical, is thin,  though perhaps if we consider within us cells are constantly dividing and dying, this is always true, but it feels so much more clear with the increasing darkness, and here, for me today, rain.  The hills return to green. 

I’ve lit candles for this day, the honoring of those who’ve passed.  I feel them gather in one embrace, gather close as I pause to honor expansion and embrace.

Today I read this short story by Stephen Crane, An Episode of War.

May it be a reminder of turning these darkening days toward compassion, connection, and peace.

https://americanliterature.com/author/stephen-crane/short-story/an-episode-of-war

By the Bay

Expansion

Today I notice so clearly what the early morning darkness does to my need to go within, to look around my home with new eyes.  Yesterday our rugs were cleaned and a tree branch that fell in the storm cut into pieces and removed.  Both allow me to see a little more clearly as the rugs, still drying, leave the space open and spacious.  What do I put back?  And more light comes through the space opened by the removal of branch and leaves. How now do I arrange my life in these next weeks of increasing darkness before the return to more light?

In that exploration, I read about the controversy over Toni Morrison’s book Beloved.   I think back to reading Moby Dick in high school and Heart of Darkness.  Did I understand the depths of what was being said?  Probably not but surely I was affected and moved  into the study of literature in college.  I wanted to understand and experience more than what was tangible and directly evident in my life.

What is it to be threatened by what comes from “outside”?  When my son was a freshman in high school, the first Gulf War began.  His school and those he knew were against it but on-line he connected with people who were going there.  He learned other viewpoints.  I’m grateful for that.

I will re-read Beloved to sink into why it’s such a threat to some that it threatens a very important election in VA.  When I wrote postcards urging Democrats to vote in this election, I didn’t realize how much was at stake.  I can have compassion for those who so fear anything that might threaten what they’ve been taught to believe, and I can hope the ability to understand our relationships, responsibility, and perceptions expands with a Democratic win.

There’s beauty when a variety of flowers share a space

Morning Comes to Light

I wake and all is silent. I read Mary Oliver’s poem “When Death Comes” and then these words of Thomas Merton:

Let me seek then, the gift of silence and solitude, where everything I touch is turned into a prayer: where the sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer.

Emily Dickinson now comes to body and mind.  

To live is so startling that it leaves little time for anything else.

Guidance arrives and settles – lands, flows, flies.

Rain brings water to the mountain. The creek rises and flows, then lifts.

Nature

I’m reading The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain by Annie Murphy Paul.  I recommend it.  I’ve always understood my need for nature, and I also resonate to the chapter “Thinking with Built Spaces”.  

I was reminded of my time in Assisi a few years ago when I read that in the spring of 1954, Jonas Salk was stuck in his work trying to develop a vaccine for polio.  He was exhausted from working sixteen hours a day, seven days a week in a small basement laboratory.  He traveled to the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, a 13th century monastery.

He spent weeks there, reading, thinking, and walking. He experienced an intellectual breakthrough which he attributed to the buildings themselves.

“The spirituality of the architecture there was so inspiring that I was able to do intuitive thinking far beyond any I had done in the past.   Under the influence of that historic place I intuitively designed the research that I felt would result in a vaccine for polio. I returned to my laboratory in Pittsburgh to validate my concepts and found that they were correct.”

Less than ten years later, Salk with the architect Louis Kahn set out to design a space for scientists to work.  The inspiration for the design was the basilica at Assisi.   The result is the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA completed in 1965.

There’s natural light and unobstructed space.  When the scientists are in their studies, they view  the Pacific Ocean.

There’s a new field called “neuroarchitecture”.  I’m reminded of feng shui, the study of elements, movement, and energy.  I can feel the balance that nourishes me.    Where do I rest, trust, expand?  

The book goes on to discuss the importance of walls as opposed to the open concept work and study space.  I think of Virginia Woolf’s book, A Room of One’s Own, and how when I’m in a library I often head for a cubbyhole, a place to go within to reflect, cohere, and learn.

The chapter concludes that we need both social interaction and undisturbed solitude. Studies show we perform best in a space we’ve made our own.  We’re more productive and healthier when our space reflects and nourishes our self-image.  

I look around my room.  This isn’t clutter.  It’s who I am.  There are plants and I face a view of the ridge.  I feel safe here surrounded with my chosen books and gifts.  

I give thanks for a room of my own except when my grandson comes and I joyfully share my space with him and his crib.  After all, the point of creativity is adaptability, and our ability to respond.

And going back through memories, I remember when my son Chris and I took a mother-son trip to Yellowstone. On the return, we camped by a lake in Idaho.