Last night I was outside enjoying the stars, the planet Jupiter, and the evening sky. Then one shooting star and then another shot brightly and seemingly slowly by. It was my father’s birthday. Born in 1921, he would have been 101. He passed away in 1969 when he was 47 and is still missed.
From Snow Leopard, Lama Govinda, The Way of the White Clouds:
Just as a white summer cloud, in harmony with heaven and earth freely floats in the blue sky from horizon to horizon following the breath of the atmosphere – in the same way the pilgrim abandons himself to the breath of the greater life that … leads him beyond the farthest horizons to an aim which is already present within him though yet hidden from his sight.
As I’ve shared, in preparing my eyes for cataract surgery, I’ve moved from 60 years of wearing contact lenses to wearing glasses so my eyes can return to their natural, and not a controlled state.
I’m realizing the gift of this as I sometimes view myself, as perhaps many of us do, as “fixed”, forgetting the movement and change we always are. The earth is not standing still, and neither are we.
In this change, I have more awareness of my eyes and my way of seeing. I understand the visual cortex is in the back of my head, by the occiput. Those with myopia as I have may focus more upward there, elongate, and so now I allow changes in my eyes, in my way of seeing, feeling, and being.
We also balance in that area, so as I change my ability to see and perceive, my interaction with depth perception, I, at times, feel disoriented, unbalanced, even discombobulated. Who am I with all these changes?
This is an exploration, and as I say a gift. I feel a return to when I went through chemotherapy, not as exhausting, painful, or demanding, but certainly it is awareness, observation, feeling the space within open and close, the bones in my head open and close, the connections all through me of oneness in this world we share.
I trust in the experience of each unfolding moment.
Lin Jensen, “Molting”:
Awakening arises in times of vulnerability and awkwardness between, before, and after where prior identities are canceled and anything is possible and nothing certain.
In Zen, mountains are mountains at first but then everything must fall apart before mountains can be mountains again.
I’ll watch the January 6 panel hearings again today as I contemplate photos from far out in space, looking back to near our beginnings.
Yesterday I found myself with gratitude, gratitude that where I live garbage is divided into three bins, garbage, recycling, and compost, and that I still have the energy and strength to pull these three cans on their turning wheels up to the top of my drivewaywhere they’re whisked away.
This morning I’m lifted and grounded on two quotes.
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles.
It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratitude that makes us happy.
I’m reading William Elliott’s book Tying Rocks to Clouds, a title I love. He interviews various spiritual leaders to find guidance for his own path. He asks them a series of questions about their beliefs and ideals.
As I answer for myself, I feel the purpose of life is for each of us to fulfill in our own unique way. I think of the sea star, the creature that eats by extruding its stomach out through its mouth to envelop a meal. When the food is digested, the stomach is drawn back into the body. It’s an image I can use to consider how I might meet another person or event, to more clearly expand how I listen, receive, and perceive.
On that note, Robert Hubbell has this to say.
The wife of a supreme court justice participated in an attempted coup. That fact is outrageous and should matter to every American and should remain on the front pages of every newspaper in America until the justice resigns or recuses himself from all election-related cases.
I say he should resign. He’s tainted in a multitude of ways and should never have been allowed on the Supreme Court.
It might seem easy to ignore Clarence and his wife in light of Heather Cox Richardson’s column today where she issues a warning that you might need to skip reading about the abuses in the Southern Baptists church.
And with that, on this beautiful day, I trust in balancing beams of love with shared awareness and care. We can’t heal what we don’t know, and the more we learn of abuse, the more we can focus on healing the wounds. May this be so!
I continue through my archaeological dig, what I’ve collected over the years.
I come to these wondrous words of William Stafford.
If you don’t know the kind of person I am and I don’t know the kind of person you are a pattern that others made may prevail in the world and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind, a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood storming out to play through the broken dyke.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail, but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park, I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy, a remote important region in all who talk: though we could fool each other, we should consider– lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake, or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep; the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe– should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
Birth is happening all around us. Mother Earth is springing to life. For those of us whose mothers have passed, there’s a bit of sadness in the weekend celebration and there’s also the knowing that life continues even as we release those we love.
I feel my ribs as they float the canoe of my being, heart stable and expansive in its ability to curve and flow pumping in and out.
I just finished a book by Jeanne Achterberg, Woman as Healer. From prehistoric times to the present, there’s been peace, growth, and prosperity when women were honored and revered for their role as healers and creators, as essential beings in this world we share. When they were held down, dishonored, and demeaned, there was war.
I’d not realized the numbers of women burned at the stake during the Middle Ages. Women were feared for their knowledge of herbs and healing, and destroyed.
A neighbor shares that ten monarch butterflies just hatched from milkweed she planted. What a gift as we honor and acknowledge we each have our own right to choose how we best serve, nourish and create.
In an article in the summer issue of Parabola Magazine, Benson Bobrick writes about his relationship with P.L. Travers who wrote Mary Poppins and studied with G.I. Gurdjieff. These quotes come from letters she wrote to him and his former wife.
“Let ideas just go into you.”
“By “standing under” I mean to let it come down upon you as you would if you were willingly and restfully standing under the rain. Or sunshine, if you like. Be defenseless. Do not ‘try’ so hard …. The trying can become merely muscular; the mind has muscular gestures as well as the body. Let the ladder, as it were, draw you up rather than forcefully putting your foot on each rung.”
What an image. Let the ladder, as it were, draw you up rather than forcefully putting your foot on each rung.”
I lift like Mary Poppins floating up into the sky.
Thich Nhat Hanh inspires reflection, exploration and contemplation with “Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile.”
Exhaling, I play with how deeply from within the smile comes.
How far does it extend?
Is there a bow of connection with in and out?
I’m reminded of the book Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel.
In archery, the hitter and the hit are no longer two opposing objects, but are one reality.
That brings me to Frederick Franck:
While drawing grasses I learn nothing ‘about’ grass, but wake up to the wonder that there is grass at all.
Frederick Franck: I know artists whose medium is life itself, and who express the inexpressible without brush, pencil, chisel or guitar. They neither paint nor dance. Their medium is Being. Whatever their hand touches has increased life…. They are the artists of being alive.
Ah, to be an artist of being alive, and with that, “breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile.”