1. Housecleaning. It’s not something we do with great regularity or relish here, and it’s very hard to clean a room with Legos strewn across the floor. Today, I got them to clean up the Legos and the techie junk that’s been cluttering up the whole downstairs for quite some time, and I vacuumed like a wild woman. I like to sit in the livingroom now.
2. Meeting a goal
3. Cool days
5. Good people working for good.
It’s not the clearest photo or the best composition, but you get the idea. Mama is on a nest. Stay away, coyotes and foxes and raccoons. May she and her nest be safe.
Some quotations for your day:
“When you teach your daughter, explicitly or by passive rejection, that she must ignore her outrage, that she must be kind and accepting to the point of not defending herself or other people, that she must not rock the boat for any reason, you are not strengthening her prosocial sense; you are damaging it—and the first person she will stop protecting is herself.” —Martha Stout
“I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write… and you know it’s a funny thing about housecleaning… it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectabilty) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
―Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
“In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.” ―Henri J.M. Nouwen
My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.
“Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of beginning. Probably that’s why we decide we’re done. It’s getting too scary. We are touching down onto something real. It is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong comes out.” ―Natalie Goldberg
“The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.”
―Rainer Maria Rilke
“That story you writin’ just might save the world. That poem you throwin’ down, could end wars.” ―York Poet and Shining Woman Christine Lincoln
saw me and said,
I showed up,
Wipe your tears
and be silent.
I said, O Love
I am frightened,
But it’s not you.
Love said to me,
there is nothing that is not me,
“Be here. Let your wild self fly free.” ―The Crows
A caution, from 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.”
A found poem I put together a year ago.
1. Cleaning and shifting in order to make room for Christmas. Changing up the routine. Even Mzee Fred, the old man cat, changed his routine: we couldn’t bear to kick him out last night–he looked so peaceful sleeping under the tree–so we left him there, and he didn’t come yowling up the stairs at 3:30 in typical fashion. I woke him up this morning.
2. Taking a day’s break from the news. I may do it again today. Only a few moments at day’s beginning and day’s end. . . Bringing the Contemplative and the Activist into balance.
3. Pattern and texture and line. I have started exploring the meditative possibilities of Zentangles and doodles again, and am loving the way it helps me notice things, to pay attention. It can get obsessive, as it did the other day when a girl with amazing braids walked into my class–I wanted to sit down and draw them. She had braided several little strands of fishtail braid and then she braided those together. Layers of line and texture.
4. Mercy. Like dawn, like light streaming in, illuminating the dark corners.
5. How we grow together in wisdom. One of us says something, and it sparks a new idea for the other. Together we refine and develop and grow and share. Isn’t it lovely how that works? Thank you for being open to working new wisdom together.
May was walk in Beauty, in Mercy, in Wisdom.
Before I had children, no one told me how sneaky I would have to become as a parent. How, in order to keep the house from folding in on itself from all the doodads and detritus and general junk accumulated at an alarming rate by the wee ones I would need to make regular trips through the house when the children are away or asleep in order to gather up bits and pieces and odds and ends to toss or give away. How the sound of that sweet little wonder-filled voice in the breezeway next to the giveaway boxes would strike frustration to the core of me: “Oh! I remember this!” This being a hard plastic Garfield tchotchke with a head that rotates on some sort of spring mechanism, only the spring part is broken, and the nameplate on the base has begun to wear off, leaving the letters “arf.” (Please don’t dig any deeper in that bag, please. . .)
So what a surprise today when we were cleaning and tidying, and all of a sudden my gadget-obsessed seven-year-old was handing me his entire collection of broken calculators, and the four-year-old gave away all the Angry Birds kitsch he scored at a birthday party two weeks ago.
These kids are so often little walls of resistance, using every tool they can create to define their own parameters, to make their choices their own. I am finding that there’s an exquisite balance here–to nurture and bless their autonomy while also giving them the boundaries they need in order to thrive. Sometimes my refusal to budge creates greater walls, creates defiance. And sometimes their resistance is simply rote reaction, and all they need is a little push from me.
I don’t like to be forced to give up my stuff either, but occasionally I would be glad of a little gnome wandering through my house at night and packing off a handful of projects that haven’t seen the light of day for months or years. She just needs to get them out of the house before I wake up and see them: “Oh! I remember this!”
1. Being considered for the job, even if it’s not my skill set.
2. Cleaning out
3. Clearing up
4. Seed Catalogs
5. Nothing is Written in Stone
May we walk in Beauty.