Knowing Ourselves

This morning my husband woke me to share about Rick Reilly and his book and talk on our Commander-in-Cheat.

When I rose from bed, I sat on a little stool placed next to the bed, placed so “Little Sweetie”, also known as Bella, can more easily get up on the bed.  She used to hop up on the roof from the deck railing.  Now, she needs a little help.

I sat there feeling into myself, wondering why anyone would want to cheat, and remembered a Sensory Session with Michael Atkinson on Saturday.   The sessions are on Zoom and free these days.

Michael spoke of being in a class Charlotte Selver was leading.  They’d been passing rocks back and forth within the class, and when they paused, one man, an extremely wealthy man, was weeping.  Charlotte asked if he wanted to share.  He said no one had ever given him anything before.

I remembered being in a class with Charlotte in Barra, Mexico, and a variety of rocks was spread out on the veranda floor.  One rock was huge and heavy but a small woman picked it up and carried it around.  She would not share that rock, would not pass it to another person in exchange for a different rock.

She shared that she had a problem with attachment, was still holding on to her ex-husband and a marriage that was over.  She needed to hold and carry that rock.  She knew what it meant and still couldn’t let it go.  

Often in a Sensory Awareness class we become attached to the rock we’ve chosen or been given to work with.  We see and feel its subtleties, its uniqueness.  There’s no other rock like this, and it’s true. There is no other rock like the one we’re holding, and then, passing along.  Just like each one of us, it’s unique.

It may sound silly but it’s amazing what you can feel when you spend time with one rock, and then, exchange.

In a workshop, we walk around the room, and when it feels right, and we meet another, we look into their eyes, and they into ours, and then we give them our rock, and receive their rock.  It’s a careful, mindful, touching exchange.

These are treasures we pass, but they are more than that.  They are how we give and receive.

Because the classes are now on Zoom, we are usually alone.  This Saturday we came to the screen with a rock we could hold in our hand. After coming to better know the rock, one we may have spent time with before, we passed our rock from one hand to the other.  We did this many times, in different ways.  Sometimes we dropped it and other times we let it fall from the tips of our fingers. 

I felt how giving and receiving are one.

The session has stayed with me.  I notice how now I come to my keyboard as though to a piano.  I’m sensitive from fingertips to toes, from front to back, and side to side.

There’s a Sensory Awareness retreat offered on-line this weekend.  It’s free and from 9 to 12 Pacific time on Saturday and Sunday.  Four phenomenal leaders will lead.  I suggest you check it out. It may change your life. It changed mine when I came to it in 1993. It affirmed what I knew in my core.

Check it out!

And here’s the link to Rick Reilly on the “Commander-in-Cheat”. It helps explain what we’re dealing with now, and why we must let him know, he’s seen for the cheat he is, and tell him it’s time to go.


Monday Morning

I feel like a washing machine this morning, so many things churning even as I trust in the power of cleansing and Love.

I remember back to childhood.  We’d visit my cousins in Indiana, and my father, a Democrat, and my uncle, a Republican would discuss the politics of the day, first taking one “side” and then the other.  There was respect in the discussion and different points of view.

Now we have lies saying this wasn’t a fair election and a refusal to turn over what’s needed for the transition.   It’s hard to stay with balance, and yet, I read in The Writer’s Almanac that on this date in 1989 the Berlin Wall came down.  The East German police and the West German police traded caps.

I also read there that it’s the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass (1938). “Hitler and Joseph Goebbels used the assassination of a German diplomat by a Polish Jew as an excuse to organize a “spontaneous” riot. Goebbels told an assembly of National Socialists that “the Führer has decided that […] demonstrations should not be prepared or organized by the Party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered.” Throughout Germany and parts of Austria and Czechoslovakia, Nazi Stormtroopers and Hitler Youth put thousands of synagogues, homes, businesses, and schools to the torch — and blamed the Jewish victims for the damage they caused. They smashed windows, looted shops, dragged Jews from their homes, and desecrated graves. The government gave instructions to firefighters not to intervene, and told local police to round up as many young Jewish men as their jails could hold. It was the first mass incarceration of Jews by the Nazi government, and so many people consider Kristallnacht to be the beginning of the Holocaust.”

How do we reconcile the two?

Diane Musho Hamilton offers this advice:

Rather than relying on a thin, idealized hope that we will all one day just get along, we can approach conflict resolution as an art form that we are privileged to develop and hone.

Shawl Weather

I love this time of year, well, maybe, all times of year, but today I rise at 4 to meditate, light a candle, and pull out my shawls.  The temperature has dropped 25 degrees, and I feel comfy and cozy with my shoulders wrapped in wool.  There’s a grace to it, and my heart gives thanks for the gentle weight saying I’m here.

Years ago I read and found support on the subject of aging in Florida Scott Maxwell’s book, The Measure of My Days.  Yesterday I refreshed on these words from her book.  She wrote in her journal that she was quiet and serene in her 70’s, and in her 80’s became more passionate and intense.  Our new president is an elder.  May this be true for him, and all of us moving up the wisdom ladder.  I hold the sacredness of this journey as a candle in front of me, a light, as I honor the phases of the moon, and the movement of the earth around the sun, grateful for her tilt that gives us seasons, and inspiration for change.

The moon in the sky this morning
A morning dance of clouds and moon playing with the veils

Keep Breathing!

  I was on a Zoom call election night where it was suggested that we mimic Dory in Finding Nemo, and instead of chanting “Keep Swimming!” chant “Keep Breathing.”  Notice your breath right now.  Maybe this will help.


Last night from 6:30 to 9:00, I was with the Upaya community on Zoom.  The idea was to report the numbers and celebrate, but the numbers were unclear and not what we expected.  Though the presidential race is still undecided as much as Trump tries to muddle that, the loss of the Senate is huge.

At one point someone quoted Norman Fischer: Our practice is to weep.  

I jotted down some notes, and have lost track of who said what but I’m with these words: How do we look deeply into the roots of suffering in our culture?

This country began by overriding the land and rights of the Native people.  We brought slavery here, and still torture these people.  Perhaps it’s time to atone.  

And then we’d return to the breath.  Over and over again, Roshi Joan Halifax brought us back to our breath, our body.  Notice the air we breathe.  We are breathing in the air of a digital universe.  Our opinions are reflected back to us.  Dopamine soars.  Now, we begin the practice of undoing the bias of the water we swim in.  

The wisdom of Rumi was read.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing

and rightdoing there is a field.

I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass

the world is too full to talk about.

The offering ended with these words. Speak truth to power. 

 It all boils down to Love, and developing the courage to not run away from all forms of suffering.  

Live with an open and soft front.  

My heart is tender today, wet with compassionate tears, compassion for us all, and how we meet now, and how we connect, and move and respond to what comes.

I mobilize now as I readjust to life as it is now.  What does this mean for me and my family?  Where do we roost now? 

Filoli Gardens – walk through the gates –

Clean Out!

Trump spoke of draining the swamp and instead we learned he was the swamp.  Today, our drains backed up and Roto Rooter arrived early, first one man, and now, two. They’re on the roof, under the house, in both bathrooms, and the garage. It’s quite a production. 

I’m hoping it’s symbolic.  Time to clean out what’s usually running unappreciated and unseen.  

As our pipes are cleaned out today, I’m grateful to know we’re removing blockages and moving toward flow.

As the Poet Joy Harjo wrote this morning, “Let truth be your walking stick.”   

Filoli Gardens – Reaching Up!

Election Day

We’ve been waiting for this day for four years.  I wake with the intention to stay and be calm, to nourish myself.  I’ll be with plants, walk by the marsh, eat comfort food.  I’m thinking it’s a day for chicken and mashed potatoes.  Maybe I’ll add some cranberry sauce in anticipation of a night of thanks.

So much is at stake.  I keep reading that poetry is the answer at a time like this.  Poems on Hope come my way.

Heather Cox Richardson keeps repeating in her column for today: Americans are voting in record numbers.

I’ve always voted, and I understand many had become disenchanted, felt the system was rigged, and that the two parties were the same.  We’re seeing clearly that the two parties are not the same, and also that every vote counts.

My heart is proud today, beating proudly, and as I nourish today, I trust that “good guys win”.

Emily Dickinson comforts me as I bring her words into the embodiment this day requires.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –


I’m offering as much time and space as possible right now to envisioning these words of Br. David Steindl-Rast.

Imagine a country whose citizens – maybe even its leaders – are brave, calm, and open towards each other; a country whose people realize that all human beings belong together as one family and must act accordingly; a country guided by Common Sense.

Trust the Climb!