Wherever You Stand

Gratitude List:
1. Anticipating a family day
2. Safety
3. Creative outlets
4. Pumpkins (Yes, even the spices that do with them–feel free to judge me.)
5. The ones who fight for justice

May we walk in Beauty!
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Wherever You Stand
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

“Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place.” –Rumi

Be the spark, the knowingness,
the mother of the moment,
be the dream, the home, and the hope.
Wherever you stand, be the stone
and the wind. Yes, be the wind
in the trees of the soul of a place.
Wherever you stand, be a memory,
a hope of the future remembering
how
once
we all lived together in peace.
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“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor—such is my idea of happiness.” —Leo Tolstoy


“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness. It’s right in front of me, if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” —Brené Brown


“You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them.
That is how prayer works.” —Pope Francis


“Allow dark times to season you.” —Hafiz


“Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!” —Mary Oliver


“I don’t have to figure it all out. I don’t have to be perfect for every moment. I just need to be Present. I just need to show up.” —Beth Weaver-Kreider (My past self is preaching to my present self.)


“The ego forgets that it’s supposed to be the little traveler with its bindle bag over its shoulder, following behind [not ahead] the radiant Soul who walks as more wise, more tender, more loving, more peaceful trailblazer throughout our lives.

Ego aspires sometimes to wear the garments of the Soul, which are way too big, making the ego trip over the miles of radiant robes it tries to wrap itself in, instead of following the light those robes give off. And tending to the Soul’s needs, the Soul’s directions.

Yet with Soul in the lead, and ego following the lead of the Soul, then we can fulfill the vision of the Holy People…” —Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes


“Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world are seeking one another.” —Teilhard de Chardin

Enter the Portal


Two crow feathers in one week. The world is full of messages, if we know how to look,
if we know how to read the text of the landscape.

Gratitude List:
1. Teaching the spectrum. I have begun teaching college-in-the-high-school courses this year, and I am loving the conversation, the determination, the bright-eyed desire to LEARN of these soon-to-fledge upperclassfolk. I also have much younger students just coming in as ninth graders, both the 101s, and the students coming into my Foundations class to get some more literacy skill-building to prepare them to succeed in high school. This latter group tends to be more shy, more uncertain about school, but they’re ready and shiny-eyed in their own way, and eager to learn. I saw stirrings of deep understanding in this group on Tuesday when I showed them Kendi Ibram’s speech about what it means to be an intellectual. My heart is full.
2. Monarchs. Every day on the drive to and from school, I can count 3-5, and sometimes more, flitting across the road or in the roadside wildflower buffet. Sun in their wings, dancing in the breezes, determined wings setting a course for the beach. My heart is full.
3. Joe the Duck and the Cat Clan. Now that school has started, we pick up ED every morning and drive down the road where Joe the Duck lives, and where a colony of half-feral cats lives. We pause at Joe’s personal paddle pool to say hello, and drive slowly through the territory of the cat colony. There are new kittens: black, ginger-and-white, and a greyish-tortoise-shell. My heart is full.
4. Learning New Messages. “I am an organized person.” Ellis and I are reminding each other of our Organized Person identities, and I’m at least beginning to override the old story I habitually told myself about being unable to remain organized. And I see him doing the same. My heart is full.
5. My children are excited about school. Ellis has been advocating for himself to take Spanish 2 when it looked like he wouldn’t be able to fit it into his schedule. In the end, he and three others got permission to take a computer course in the library during the time others are taking Spanish 1. He’s taking charge of his learning, and that makes me proud. Right now, he’s downstairs on a Friday night doing his Algebra homework. (I think he knows it’s Friday.) And Josiah had three extra days off this summer because of mold in the school district, and while that was exciting, he is chomping at the bit to get back to school. My heart is full.

May we walk in Beauty!


Friday’s Meditations:
“Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I would like to see you living
In better conditions.” —Hafiz
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“When your world moves too fast and you lose yourself in the chaos, introduce yourself to each color of the sunset. Reacquaint yourself with the earth beneath your feet. Thank the air that surrounds you with every breath you take. Find yourself in the appreciation of life.” —Christy Ann Martine
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“Every word you utter to another human being has an effect, but you don’t know it. If people began to understand that change comes about as a result of millions of tiny acts that seem totally insignificant, well then, they wouldn’t hesitate to take those tiny acts.” —Howard Zinn
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“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” —Leonard Bernstein
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“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ―Elie Wiesel
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“All forms of racism must be rejected directly and openly.” —bell hooks and Cornel West
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“Our mission was to make a beloved community in the world where everyone would be free to live well.” —bell hooks

Moon-Ducking Sage

Dropping Keys
by Hafiz

The small woman
builds cages for everyone
she
knows,
while the sage,
who has to duck her head
when the moon is low,
keeps dropping keys all night long
for the
beautiful
rowdy
prisoners.

I like to read this poem and think of myself as the sage, dropping those magical keys for the beautiful rowdy ones. If I am truthful, I should also look at myself as the small woman, and consider the cages I build for others, for certainly I do. As a parent, as a teacher, I am an Enforcer of Rules, and as such, a cage builder. And also, I am one of those rowdy beautiful folk awaiting the freeing rain of keys. I suppose the important thing is to stay awake and aware to the ways in which I am each of these, and to ever seek the way of that moon-ducking sage.

Gratitude List:
1. The glowing yellow skin of that awakening willow tree
2. Six blackbirds in a row along a branch
3. Finding my way back to the country of sleep
4. Using our voices
5. Dropping the keys for the beautiful rowdy prisoners

May we walk in Beauty!

Opening Bundles and Boxes

In March, on the morning of Spring Equinox, I put a little bundle in my garden, made up of papers and beads and cloth and ribbon.  It was to represent the prayer, the magic, the dream I had of finding a job.  I put it out there as a way to work with some of the pretty serious anxiety I was feeling about how our lives were going to take shape in the coming year and years.  I try not to deny my anxieties because I know how they can percolate up through a life and flavor everything, but these anxieties were beginning to take a pretty firm roots.  Here is the bundle after six weeks in my little faery garden:

2014 April 014

I brought it inside on May Day and opened it up.  I let the weathered objects sit on a plate on my counter for a couple weeks, trying to think about how I was going to turn them into an art project.  This step was to further focus my intention and prayer for finding a job.  I really wanted something that would fire me up and get me excited, but I was willing to take whatever came along, to be adaptable and flexible and to learn and grow quickly into whatever role came my way.

I never got to the stage of making the piece of art before the job appeared.  The perfect job.  I am under no illusions–I know it’s going to be hard work, and that sometimes it’s going to be difficult.  But teaching high school English in a setting where I have some academic freedom is about as close to my dream job as you can get.

Yesterday, I made that piece of art with a deep sense of gratitude.  The prayer of it now is that I will be equal to the task.  If you need some of that energy, I send it your way now, too.  Much love.

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The poem is by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise
Someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a
Full moon in each eye that is always saying,
With that sweet moon language, what every other eye in
This world is dying to hear?

Gratitude List:
1. Opening boxes, exploring the ideas and assumptions I’ve been storing in there.  Sorting through.  Sending some things to the burn pile, some to recycle elsewhere, putting some aside to reuse, but perhaps in different forms and different ways.  Some of those old and treasured ideas get re-packed and put away again for later, with maybe a few new ones tucked in around the edges to fill it in.  Just like attics, hearts and minds need occasional sorting, I think.
2. This verse, from a hymn yesterday morning:
Joyful is the dark, spirit of the deep,
winging wildly o’er the world’s creation,
silken sheen of midnight, plumage black and bright,
swooping with the beauty of a raven.
3. The week ahead.  Who knows what might happen next?
4.  Making art with the children.
5.  This little fur-boy purring wildly in my ear.

May we walk in Beauty!