Not only is it Groundhog’s Day, but it’s February 2, 2022, so 2-2-22.
And if we pause at 2:22 today, we’ll be in a lineup with twosas though entering an Ark.
And with that, I bring forth Pema Chodron’s words from This Sacred Journey:
My children met the Sixteenth Karmapa when they were teenagers, and I asked him if he’d say something to them. I said to him, “The children are not Buddhists, so is there something you could say to them with that in mind?” He just looked right at these young teenagers and said, “You are going to die. And you’re not going to take anything with you except your state of mind.” You die, but your state of mind continues. So how we work with our thoughts right now really matters.
And right now I’m thinking of the number 2 as a place of balance and harmony.
Today the Lunar New Year begins the Year of the Tiger. The tiger gives people hope and is associated with bravery, courage, and strength. It’s a time to wear red for good luck and to ward off evil spirits. It feels like Christmas to me, a time for birth and honoring our time on earth.
I’m with this quote of G.K. Chesterton:
What was wonderful about childhood is that anything in it was a wonder. I was not merely a world full of miracles; it was a miraculous world.
I invite that now.
One thing I’m noticing is the importance of looseness in the lips, shoulders, and armpits. Do we allow breathing under our arms, the flow out from the heart? Do we taste the freedom blooming there?
I came across a poem I wrote a few years ago and it guides me now, this early morning, as I rise to welcome this new day and year. I shine in the early morning dark.
Lighthouse to myself,
Armpits open to air, shine
Beacon inside out
When Thich Nhat Hanh and his followers walked in a Peace March, others passed them, as they were walking slowly and mindfully and being peace, but then, they were shown a shortcut, and they arrived first. Life can be like that, pure ease, when we embody interbeing, and live as a torch or lighthouse of peace.The moon is new; may we be too.
It’s a day to honor courage. The word comes from the French, couer, the heart.
We honor one man today, Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1957, he said:
“I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love.”
My intention for this new year is to listen, listen to myself, others, and the world.
I just finished reading Etel Adnan’s book, Shifting the Silence. An artist and writer, she was born in 1925 and passed November 14, 2021. This book looks at aging and loss. What is it when we lose someone to Alzheimer’s or death?
I’m struck by certain passages and sentences.
Bach’s music is the needle of the cosmic balance.
This has taken me into the core of a silence that underlines the universe: underneath the mesh of sounds that never cease there’s a strange phenomena, a counter-reality, the rolling of silent matter.
Silence is a flower, it opens up, dilates, extends its texture, can grow, mutate, return on its steps. It can watch other flowers grow and become what they are. We’re at the turn of the year, I have to invite somebody or something. The live thickness of the silence makes sounds free themselves and expand. The year is turning, has turned. 2018 is gone forever, gone into being the new year, people are dancing, 2019 has just entered, wide-eyed, utterly new.
Silence is the creation of space, a space that memory needs to use … an incubator. We’re dealing here with dimensions, stretching inner muscles, pushing aside any interference. We’re dealing with numbers, but not counting. Silence demands the nature of night, even in full day, it demands shadows.
She goes on to say: I consider the light that enters the room in the early hours of the day as a messenger of the sun, a direct voyager, a particle, a wave, who knows, but an object of sorts that left its solar source, covered miles, and landed on my skin. So the universe constantly visits us while waiting for us to reverse that itinerary.
Morning is still dark here this winter day, and I trust the turning, the turning that seeds, the silence that breathes and breeds in me.
I love books and as we continue to explore downsizing and moving, I contemplate, even as I treasure, which books might find their way to a new home.
We’ve been checking out open houses, often beautifully staged. In one, all the books on the white book shelf were covered in white. I thought of all the work that goes into a book and it’s cover, and there they were, whitewashed, stark and blank, the same.
I just finished reading State of Terror by Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny. Thumbs way, way up. It’s a “real” thriller, uncomfortably close to the truth.
State of Terror begins with this quote by Tom Peters:
“The most amazing thing that has happened in my lifetime is neither putting a man on the moon nor Facebook having 2.8 billion monthly active users. It is that in the 75 years, 7 months, and 13 days since Nagasaki, a nuclear bomb has not been detonated.”
As we watch autumn leaves fall to nourish the ground, may we live in cycling gratitude for adding days, months, and years to the continuation of that.
On Friday I was at Filoli Gardens. I looked at their library and then came home to appreciate mine. It was a sign. Like the falling leaves, it’s time to allow some of my books to find new homes, homes where their covers can shine and proclaim entry into magic, wisdom, majesty, and intent.
Transformation is so clear this time of year, well, every time of year really, every time of day, moment by moment. I’m not sure why I feel more alert these days but there’s something about the ripening of pumpkins that speaks to me, hollows me out with the rounding need to expand and stem.
Yesterday in a book by Flora Thompson, I read about a children’s game where the children find a place outside and touch the earth lightly, and bounce up and come down, singing, “We are bubbles of earth. Bubbles of earth. Bubbles of earth.”
I’m inspired to see myself as a bubble of earth.
Thich Nhat Hanh says that, “When we are able to take one step peacefully, happily, we are for the cause of peace and happiness for the whole of humankind.”
That seems especially key these days especially as thoughts are with the oil spill off Huntington Beach and all the creatures at risk.
The root of the word transform is “to move into beauty”.
This morning meditation called me, not as something on my to-do list but like food or water or the rising sun and setting moon. I meditated and went outside in the dark to water plants. The moon was still up in the west and now this first day of autumn, the sky is radiant with sun pouring through.
I honor the day with these words of Br. David Steindl-Rast:
In each of us there is a spark that can reverse the trends of violence and depression spiraling within us and in the world around us. By setting in motion the spiral of gratefulness we begin the journey toward peace and joy.