Flow and Letting Go

Today I’m reflecting on Gabrielle Roth and her five rhythms.   The five rhythms (in order) are Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness. The 5 Rhythms, when danced in sequence, are known as a “Wave.” A typical Wave takes about an hour to dance.

The fastest way to still the mind is to move the body.  My mind is active these days so clearly I need a little more movement, and yet, the rain and cold say “stay inside”.  

Today I intend to move a little more gracefully, receptively, and rhythmically through the wave of my day. 

Compassion

A friend sent me this story a few days ago and today I open it.  It’s “In the Belly of the Whale” by Patricia Hampl, perfect for this day.

I offer a few lessons from it to entice you in though they may seem stark without the story which is the point of stories.  We’re struck inside, touched and entertained as we’re changed.

The lesson begins to come home: at the heart of the refusal of mercy is not cruelty – but fear.

Cruelty belongs, then, to fear, and compassion belongs to justice. It is necessary to learn these relationships, to trace the integuments that bind us to our actions. 

But that’s the point: compassion is not a personal form of enlightened social welfare for everybody else. It is reality, it is how things fit together in the universe. To lack compassion is not merely to lack a human quality – it is to not quite exist, to be missing an essential working part of reality.

Compassion is the acknowledgment of connection, the refusal to see the world as divided into distinct units which can do without each other. It is, literally, a “suffering together with” (com/with + pati/suffer). It is primal union.

And so Dr. King taught, and so today, we remember and stretch to embody his teachings even more as they expand with his death. You can read the story here, as you salivate to digest.

Imagination

This is a beautiful talk on baking cookies, play, holding a snowball as it melts, and ushering in grief. Love ferociously! Live!

Honor the senses all the way!

Abundance

I woke in the night and rose to meditate.  My life has been busier than I prefer and I could feel the weight in the bone dwelling over my eyes. I stayed with the weight, sensing and touching the seven bones that come together to surround and support the orbit of each eye.  

I knew there were seven but this morning I check their names.  What a list.

  • Frontal bone.
  • Zygomatic bone.
  • Maxillary bone.
  • Sphenoid bone.
  • Ethmoid bone.
  • Palatine bone.
  • Lacrimal bone.

Knowing those bones come together to protect each eye, I sense all that goes on between my ears. I cleanse in the abundance I am, and offer intention for abundance to swell through the world like waves.

There’s more than enough for all.

Reflecting

Rain pounds down and enclosed, I repeat my journey through words that inspire me.

Birdwings

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror

up to where you are bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,

here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.

If it were always a fist or always stretched open,

you would be paralysed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,

the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated

as birdwings.

– Rumi

Be still like a mountain, flow like a river”

~ Lao Tze

At a certain point, you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening.

– Annie Dillard

Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.

– John Updike

Acceptance

The rain has come again.  This is a moist year.

I read about Bernd Heinrich, a scientist and naturalist who lives in a cabin in Maine and observes those with whom he shares the land and gives them to us in his books.

I choose among his books and order Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death.

There can be a richness to the aging process, this continually grateful reception of breath, each inhalation a gift, each exhalation a letting go, and merging with the wider world of which we are part.  

Each day, my intention is to sink more clearly into living as a beginner, as babies do.  

Old and young meet in the center, centered in gratitude, gratitude for living that is always new, as both accept, receive, release, and continue to transform.  

May we all be well in this process of expanding our ability to give and receive.

Looking up through branches, winter bare

Serenity and Splashing Joy!

I met with a friend yesterday and we discussed the aging process.  When I go in for my annual physical now, I have to draw a clock face, and then draw the hands to a time I am told.  It’s felt really silly to me until I read the poem below. I never recognized the complexity in “reading” a clock. I think I remember learning, and I remember teaching my sons.  I wonder what it is for children today that so much is digital. Maybe they can’t read a clock face. Maybe they “read” in other ways.  

I remember the first time I watched my young niece jump a unicorn in a computer game.  I could tell she understood the spatial aspects of the screen in a way I didn’t feel I ever could.

Yesterday my son, his wife, and I discussed screen time for babies and what it might do to do their brains.  It is suggested that a baby not view a screen for the first two years, and some philosophies say much later than that.  I enjoy Face Time with my grandson. Some say that isn’t screen time. Certainly there is a different response when he sees me in person.  All senses are involved, not just sight and sound. I’m round, dimensional, complex, complete.

Because I’m spending the night in Menlo Park, I participated in my grandchild’s bath time.  He kicked and splashed and the more we laughed and applauded, the more he laughed and splashed.  The feedback was clear. I am loved and I am love. In my immersion in air and water, playing with both, and these funny big people who think I’m the most marvelous being in the world which, and I take the narrative back, he is and we are.

Allow yourself to be as appreciated as raucously and vigorously as a baby in the bath.  Splash Joy!

The Clock
by Victoria Chang

The Clock—died on June 24, 2009
and it was untimely. How many
times my father has failed the clock
test. 
Once I heard a scientist with
Alzheimer’s on the radio, trying to
figure out why he could no longer
draw a clock. It had to do with
the superposition of three types.
The hours represented by 1-12,
the minutes where a 1 no longer
represents 1 but 5, and a 2 now
represents 10, then the second hand
that measures 1 to 60. I sat at the
stoplight and thought of the clock, its
perfect circle and its superpositions,
all the layers of complication on a
plane of thought, yet the healthy
read the clock in one single instant
without a second thought. I think
about my father and his lack of first
thoughts, how every thought is a
second or third or fourth thought,
unable to locate the first most
important thought. I wonder about
the man on the radio and how far his
brain has degenerated since. Marvel
at how far our brains allow language
to wander without looking back but
knowing where the pier is. If you
unfold an origami swan, and flatten
the paper, is the paper sad because
it has seen the shape of the swan or
does it aspire towards flatness, a life
without creases? My father is the
paper. He remembers the swan but
can’t name it. He no longer knows
the paper swan represents an animal
swan. His brain is the water the
animal swan once swam in, holds
everything, but when thawed, all the
fish disappear. Most of the words we
say have something to do with fish.
And when they’re gone, they’re gone.


The Clock” by Victoria Chang, from the forthcoming OBIT by Victoria Chang, copyright © 2020 Copper Canyon Press.