I’m working with my eyes, resting them and expanding focus and peripheral vision.
In that, I feel the center of my being vibrate like a spindle twisting threads of my life into the unique being I am, one of many, many of one. I round a carpet, a curving of time-space. The world may once have been thought to be flat but anyone watching a ship sail off to sea would see the drop, the rounding, the curve.
I follow the curve, a ship following the horizon, the curving meet of earth and sky like the ball of my eye, the perception of being.
Yesterday afternoon I sat on the couch enjoying the dance of the fog as it moved in and out. This morning we’re wrapped.
Last night I finished reading The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller. It was recommended and as I adventured in, I wasn’t clear why, and thenI was drawn in to life in the far northand how even in seclusion, politics and boundaries intrude.
The narrator lives and survives in the Arctic, near the North Pole. He has moved there in a search for solitude. He writes:
“At first I watched the weather obsessively, for it moved, changed, and spoke with something like the speed I expected from the society of man. But soon it became one seamless movement instead of a series of staccato events.”
“Now I merely took note of subtle changes. Minute shifts in scent and stone. I felt that Eberhard, (his dog) and I had found an even greater communion than ever, for now both of our minds were clear.”
He has read the classics before but, “Now my brain was a rock-pool at low ebb, empty and brackish and yet perfectly shaped to welcome the incoming tide.”
His house burns down. He builds a new one and says, “So the rock is abraded by storm, and thinks little of it.”
I’m reminded of this poem by Octavio Paz.
Wind and Water and Stone
The water hollowed the stone,
the wind dispersed the water,
the stone stopped the wind.
Water and wind and stone.
The wind sculpted the stone,
the stone is a cup of water,
The water runs off and is wind.
Stone and wind and water.
The wind sings in its turnings,
the water murmurs as it goes,
the motionless stone is quiet.
Wind and water and stone.
One is the other and is neither:
among their empty names
they pass and disappear,
water and stone and wind.
~ Octavio Paz ~
(Translated by Mark Strand, The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, 1957-1987)
John Muir wrote:
In every walk with nature, one receives far more than they seek.
I also believe that we need a social network of support.
From Writer’s Almanac today:
On this day, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, creating the Medicare and Medicaid programs. It was the country’s first national health insurance program.
I gather quotes like flowers, inhale, exhale, the freshness of words vibrating in spring air.
Hildegard of Bingen: “You are a flowering orchard.”
How clear that seems in spring. There’s one particular bird – a little guy who sings and chirps continuously from one tree and then another. His song wraps around me, entwines, dissolving what divides.
Carl Jung: Where insight rules beyond differences, all the pairs of opposites come together.
Rilke: Do not be bewildered by the surfaces – in the depths all becomes law.
Rumi: Open your hands if you want to be held.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning: He lives most life whoever breathes most air.
Marion Woodman: The crone is the maturing of the feminine, in both men and women.Here, there is no concern with power, nothing left to lose. The crone finds herself a tuning fork among others, bringing them into center.
Can this tiny singing bird be a crone?I centerin the sounds.
Annie Dillard asks, What does it feel like to be alive? And answers: Living, you stand under a 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!”
I periodically reread and refresh on And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran. He writes:
Because of my blindness I had developed a new faculty. The faculty is attention. In order to live without eyes, it is necessary to be very attentive, to remain hour after hour in a state of wakefulness, of receptiveness and activity. Indeed, attention is not simply a virtue of intelligence or the result of education, it is a state of being. In its truest sense it is the listening post of the universe.
Emily Dickinson may have been living the same way when she wrote: