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.
I wake and stay in bed listening to a symphony of bird song, twitterings and tweets, caws, and turkey gobbling that percolates through all my cells. It’s morning in May and we celebrate the mothering that connects us all.
This quote from an unknown source comes my way today.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try doing it the way mom told you to in the beginning.”
Perhaps there’s a way to balance that, or perhaps not, but today I remember all the women in my life, related and not, who’ve enriched, guided, brightened, opened, and paved my way. I’m grateful for celebration and honoring, a day to be with the birthing that continues to transform and unfold.
Yesterday I emailed a friend and the email returned with what augments all her emails.
I offer it here.
Five Vows From Joanna Macy and the Work that Reconnects:
I vow to myself and to each of you:
To commit myself daily to the healing of our world and the welfare of all beings.
To live on Earth more lightly and less violently in the food, products, and energy I consume.
To draw strength and guidance from the living Earth, the ancestors, the future generations, and my brothers and sisters of all species.
To support others in our work for the world and ask for help when I need it.
To pursue a daily practice that clarifies my mind, strengthens my heart, and supports me in observing these vows.”
I sink into the truths of this mothered by the roots, branches, leaves, and fruits of trees.
On a day that is exquisite with trees filling space with buds and leaves, and birds singing and sweeping through the air, I read this from Heather Cox Richardson:
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed his state’s new voter suppression law last night in a carefully staged photo op. As journalist Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out, Kemp sat at a polished table, with six white men around him, under a painting of the Callaway Plantation on which more than 100 Black people had been enslaved. As the men bore witness to the signing, Representative Park Cannon, a Black female lawmaker, was arrested and dragged away from the governor’s office.
I put it with the news of a week or so ago. in a decree approved by Pope Francis, the Vatican said that priests cannot bless same-sex unions, describing such relationships as “not ordered to the Creator’s plan.”
The church said, “The blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered licit”.
In my lifetime, I’ve seen change, and then, these two things happen and I’m caught in a collision of what seems to be so obvious, evident and true – the need for equality and freedom for all, and then there’s these broken and disintegrating steps unaligned with what I believe the majority of people think and feel.
We can know this is a last gasp effort to leave control in the hands of a few, and still it’s hard, and yet, people are gathering in vigils of solidarity and peace. I focus there and on opening leaves and birds calling and building nests.
This morning I woke feeling myself sinking calmly into a pond, anchored like the lotus, content to sink into mud, and then, I thought of mushrooms and mycelium, mycelium running all through the earth, connecting, unseen, and then, I felt myself as that reproductive body, the mushroom, popping up and out with rain. We’ve had rain.
I should check my yard and see what’s growing there but now in this moment, sprouts rise and bloom from my heart.
I feel content these days. Garrison Keillor writes of that place. Perhaps it’s a Midwestern thing that signals connection with a few, and yet …
Ken McLeod in Reflections on Silver River writes this:
As my teacher once said, “If you could really take away the suffering of everyone in the world, taking all of it into you with a single breath, would you hesitate?”
And then he introduces Tonglen meditation as a way to begin.
Today I float up and down like a jellyfish trusting immersion in my environment and unfolding in and as what comes and goes.
The poet William Stafford, was a registered pacifist in the United States. From 1942 to 1946, during WWII, he worked incamps and projects for conscientious objectors. He was paid $2.50 per month for assigned duties such as fire fighting, soil conservation, and building and maintaining roads and trails. This poem speaks volumes to me.
LearningA piccolo played, then a drum.Feet began to come - a part of the music. Here comes a horse,clippety clop, away.My mother said, "Don't run - the army is after someoneother than us. If you stayyou'll learn our enemy."Then he came, the speaker. He stoodin the square. He told us whoto hate. I watched my mother's face,its quiet. "That's him," she said.~ William Stafford ~(The Way It Is)
I wake early today and go outside to look at the moon. The owls are hooting and now I know this is the mating call of the Great Horned Owl I’ve been hearing, and male and female are back, and if all goes well, we will have baby owls in late March. What an omen of Joy!
Yesterday I was watching the crows and the hawks screeching across the sky. Was it battle or play? It looked like play as though each was perfecting its flight and hanging out as our weeks of rain lead to sun today.
Nature shines through more clearly with the leaves fallen and coating the ground. Branches stroke the heart with their reach and bend.
I’m with this haiku by Issa this morning. This is one translation.
Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. – John W. Gardner
I wake to the sound of jays, not roosters, announcing the day. Last night the moon was a blaze, and she will get brighter and brighter until the Harvest Moon on Friday the 13th.
Yesterday I saw Obi Kaufman speak. It was like being in the presence of a young John Muir. If he doesn’t walk/hike 100 miles a week, specifically in CA backcountry, he gets depressed. He arrived outfitted in hat, jeans, and hiking boots.
I love his book The California Field Atlas. His latest is The State of Water. It’s smaller, more focused, and more accessible to all ages, specifically the youngsters we need to reach. His plan is to write a book on each of the elements, says we humans are fire, and yes, we know the positives and negatives of fire.
He says we should call it “climate breakdown” as there’s always been change but this is a breakdown. On the other hand, it’s not to panic, but to work with ourselves first, to bring ourselves to unity and peace. We are being divided by those who benefit financially from division and fear. Before we can address the environmental issues of the day, we need to address ourselves, as we too, are the natural world.
Therefore, find a stream, take your shoes off, and dip in to quiet, to the sounds and songs of birds, water, and trees.
The following is from his article “How to Get the Most Of Your Time Outside” from Sunset Magazine’s article WILD GIFTS.
First, get out of your car. “The more you look, the more there is. Nature is magic like that.”
Second, read a book. “Books are trails that uncover the nature of thought itself.” He lists authors to read.
Third, watch for patterns. “Widen the lens, investigate larger trends in the ecology around you.”
Fourth, join a Land Trust. Volunteeron a piece of land that matters to you.
The fifth comes first though. Don’t panic and add fear to the already frenetic energy of the world. Several times a day, rest in nature, your own nature, shoes off, breathing deeply. Recognize and honor that we ourselves are the natural world.
My mantra lately is this haiku by Issa. It allows me to slow, receive, and taste, each moment divided into petals even as it’s held in a bouquet.
This morning I rose, received the touch of feet meeting floor. When I slipped off my nightie, then allowed a blouse to flow over my head, shoulders, and arms, I was showered with bliss, and now I wear a magisterial cape. I am a law unto myself. I know how to live and integrate. I float, carried, a cricket, singing.