Gratitudes, Musings

The Quickening

Continuing to give away a thing a day during Lent. I’m beginning to feel what my friend Katrina Lefever calls “that space and lightness inside” that comes from jettisoning the stuff that clutters my life. I have a long way to go, but I’m energized. Each thing that goes brings me a new burst of energy.


Gratitude List:
1. Coffee with friends
2. Clearing the Clutter
3. The Quickening: Morning birdsong has been decidedly spring. Some of the neighborhood regulars are gearing up.
4. The Quickening: The sap is rising in the trees in Flinchbaugh’s orchards–If you look closely, you can almost see the life force rising.
5. The Quickening: The aconite are up and opening.

May we walk in Beauty!


The quickening is the time of seeing life and growth. When a woman is pregnant and first feels the movement of the child, we say she feels the quickening–she becomes aware in a new way of the life inside her. The Season of Brigid is a time of quickening. Rodents begin to awaken from hibernation, peeking out from their winter-bound burrows. Aconite and crocus poke shy tips above the soil. Bramble and tree show the red and yellow of rising sap.

The sky today is gray and shadowed, pregnant with the snow that will soon blanket the ground again. Still, the Earth is quickening, feeling the new life stirring inside her. Look around you, and you’ll see it. Listen for the change in the song of the birds. Smell the difference, even in the snow-bound air. Persephone is preparing to return yet again.


Some quotations for today:
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” —Etty Hillesum
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“If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.” —Richard Rohr
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“The speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.” —Audre Lorde
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“We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and should not be trained.” —Nikki Giovanni
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“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”
―Maya Angelou
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“Rage—whether in reaction to social injustice, or to our leaders’ insanity, or to those who threaten or harm us—is a powerful energy that, with diligent practice, can be transformed into fierce compassion.”
―Bonnie Myotai Treace
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“Anger is useful only to a certain point. After that, it becomes rage, and rage will make you careless.” ―Lauren Oliver
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“Take that rage, put it on a page, take the page to the stage, blow the roof off the place.”
―The Script

Gratitudes

Vanguard of Spring

oakleaf

Gratitude List:
1. Kuub: My new favorite game. We played for a couple hours today. You set up blocks in your yard and then throw stuff at them to knock them down.
2. I don’t have to go to work tomorrow.
3. Beeeeeeeeees
4. Aconite, snowdrops, speedwell: the vanguard of spring
5. It really is all about love.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

Outrage

seaglass-and-sun

I feel like I keep writing the same thing–balance, balance, balance. Reminding myself to keep centered in the midst of complicated emotions.

I’m letting outrage rattle around inside my Bowl of Feelings these days, trying to get a sense of how it looks, how it feels, what it does in there. There’s a certain surge of energy that feels really righteous and powerful and effective in the moment of outrage. It drives me to write postcards and make telephone calls and to put try to get the word out there. I do believe that it has its place. I had been on the verge of writing that I would be rejecting outrage, when that last sentence happened–I think it really is outrage that fuels those good and effective works.  But outrage also has some strange backfires:

* Feeling it and letting it energize me can make me feel as though I have made effective responses when I have actually done nothing.
* When the energy drops off, it drops WAY off, leaving me a depleted husk.
* It leads to incredible self-righteousness.
* When I do manage to sustain the energy of it over time (and the events of these weeks make that easy), it can lead to an overpowering sense of despair.  Or, on the other side of that coin: numbness.

When I get a bad headache, I tend to avoid painkillers for as long as I can stand it. It’s like I want to feel the message my body is giving me, to try to understand what it is saying. After both of my C-sections, I found myself refusing the painkillers I was offered. Perhaps it was partly because after the pain of those long labors, nothing felt painful anymore, but again, it seemed like I needed the messages of pain to inform me of my physical limits.

I think that outrage is sort of like those pains. It’s the call to wake up and listen, the urging to pay attention. We can’t let ourselves get capsized by it. Keep at least some painkillers handy–good music, conversation with loving friends, meditation, a good escapist book, prayer, pictures of otters–so that when the pain takes you out of yourself, you have something to bring you back.

I think I am going to have to make this my spiritual practice for the coming years: to hold the coals of outrage in my hand in such a way that I can just bear it, so that it will keep me awake and aware, but to find my way to hold grace and lightness as well.

Gratitude List:
1. Hundreds of white gulls flying above the bridge.
2. The sun shining through the red tail of a hawk above me.
3. Sun shining through the golden petals of aconite.
4. Grace to help carry and mediate the outrage.
5. Good people. They’re everywhere. Let’s not get ourselves separated into camps–good folks are everywhere. Look for them.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes

February Walk

mantis dragon-egg

fred aconite

Gratitude List on a Warm February Day:
1. Mantis case: The Fierce Ones will be hatching in spring to help with the insects on the farm.
2. Imagination: We thought maybe a dragon had hatched in the fields near last year’s squash patch.
3. Even the Mzee (Old Man) went walking with us, though he only went part way up the hill.
4. Aconite: Too early by far, but beautiful, catching the rays of the sun.
5. Rambling with the family.

May we ramble in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Poems

Are You Dancing?

DSCN8962

“Are you dancing?” –greeting from my friend, Saheeb

Are you dancing?
Has your soul found its wings,
caught the rhythms that surround you,
felt the throb of waking earth beneath your feet?

Gratitude List:
1. aconite
2. crocus
3. that wren out there, hailing the morning
4. children playing in the sandbox for hours
5. voices of sanity among the clang and clatter

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes

Seeking Spring

IMG_0457 (1)

Gratitude List:
1. Friday morning hymn sing with my colleagues.
2. Blue, blue, blue, sky blue as Mary’s robe.
3. The way humor can sometimes make the bleak and difficult breathable.
4. My colleague Amanda, who helped me out of my February Funk yesterday by reminding me that February is the time to be actively seeking the minute indications that the season is progressing.  I came home and found one crocus bud and one aconite bud.
5. The tiny wing-person with the huge voice who is singing songs of spring.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes

Aconite and Crocus

Slides 097
A Shirati morning, circa 1970.  Todd is holding
an African Green Pigeon. 

Gratitude List:

1. That fog last night, how it swirled around the lamps on the bridge, how it turned the lamplight into a living, swirling thing.
2. Yellow aconite.  Violet crocus.  The boys say they have seen the bees.
3. Friends of Shirati banquet last night.  Old friends.  Lifelong connections.
4. Daryl Snider’s concert at the banquet, how every song seemed to be perfectly designed for the moment.  Here is one of the songs he sang last night, “Nou se Wozo,” about resilience.  This performance was from last fall when Sopa Sol (the singing duo of Daryl Snider and Frances Crowhill Miller) sang it with LMH’s Campus Chorale.
5. Dawn chorus

Gratitudes

Yes, More Snow Geese

2014 February 088

Gratitude List:
1.  Like snowflakes falling across the field, they settled.  Like they were choreographed.  Snow geese.  It always reminds me of the chilly winter day about 20 years ago when Jon and I were hiking on a ridge at Middle Creek and we looked out over the valley and the lake and it was suddenly like being inside one of those Japanese paintings, where petals or snowflakes or geese are settling downward so gracefully.  Today was no less magical.
2.  Dinner with good friends.  I just don’t want to say goodbye.
3.  Quest for a stone.
4.  The River.  Always this River and this Bridge.
5.  Spikes of crocus in the flowerbed, and sunny aconite abloom.

May we walk in Beauty.

Gratitudes

Chicken Feathers and Gratitude

2012 November 203
Pepita’s Feathers

Gratitude List:
1.  Ancestors and descendants
2.  Turning sideways into the light
3.  Yellow Aconites coming up in the garden (Thank you, Marie!)
4.  Sparkly Blue Tanzanian Zoisite
5.  Stories woven with stories
May we walk in Beauty!