Harvesting from the Dreamtime

The Dreamtime this year has been. . .dreamy. We have Covid in the house, so we cancelled all our plans to attend family holiday gatherings this year. It was definitely sad, and yet we’re all homebodies, so we’re fine, other than feeling like we missed out, and missing our families.

And although it has been dreamy, we have been getting stuff done. I’ve been knitting and crocheting, painting, organizing, learning a lot of Swahili. Jon’s been spackling and painting and fixing stuff. Josiah has been getting his room ready to repaint.

Yesterday, I finished going through files from my previous job: I let that be a ritual of release. Whoosh! It’s out the door, into the trash, out of my life. I kept a few things–poems, articles, notes of encouragement. So, of course last night in the dreamtime, I was finding space for myself in buildings, and trying to negotiate what my feelings should be in the context of other people.

Here’s the dream: I am going to a funeral with a friend. I think that she was probably closer to the one who died than I was, so when she decides to wait in the hall before our group goes in to sing, I wait out there with her. But she looks bored, like she doesn’t really care about what is happening. I long to be in the service, so I leave her with some others in the hall and go in. When we get up to sing our special music, the man who is holding the hymnal for a couple of us in the singing group keeps shifting it away so I can’t see it. I keep shuffling to get a better view and he shifts it away again. I think we must look ridiculous to the people in the audience, so I just shift into the back row and ignore hymnal-guy. He’s left standing awkwardly alone in the front row.

In the second half of the dream, I am finding office/living space in the basement of the church where the funeral was. There’s a lovely big heavy curtain walling off my personal area from the rest of the basement, giving me privacy. Someone is concerned about the smell of shrimp. We discover five or six large (lobster-sized) peeled shrimp lying around my space. They smell strongly–not rotten, just shrimpy. The dog has been chewing on them, but doesn’t really like them. I think maybe we can clean this stuff up, and hope the odor doesn’t last.

Perhaps I am hoping that the “odor” of the really negative energy that still remains will not mar my new experiences. I not only have to rid myself of the old files and things, I still need to deal with the lingering bad energy. In the early morning, I found myself dreaming–again–of explaining carefully to someone why I was forced to resign my job.

I’m glad that I made decisions during the funeral part of the dream to do what I needed to do instead of being led by others’ notions, to let myself be emotionally involved in letting go instead of sitting outside, to step out of the dance of someone else’s manipulations.

This year, I am not feeling the desire to choose a single word or theme for the year. Usually I end up with layers of themes anyway. A week ago, I had a moment with a friend when the words Curious / Cure / Curator came into focus together. I’ve been playing also with the connection between Curative and Creative. And there’s another one to add: Connective.

So maybe this year does have an overarching theme after all: Harvesting and Foraging for words and ideas that suit. It’s a free association process, following the bright trail of words and images, expanding the dreamtime from the high holy days of late December and early January to the whole year. I’ve started painting cards with some of the words. Perhaps I’ll stop after ten or fifteen. Perhaps I’ll do a word a day for the whole year. Maybe I’ll end up with my own personal oracle deck.

Curious curiosity cure curator curative creative creator envision vision embolden bold badass connective secret spaces wonder welcome belonging wildness winsome wisdom widen spiral. . .


Gratitude List:

  1. Holding a little house finch in my hand as it came back to awareness and life after hitting the window. How its heart beat against my fingers. How its eye shifted around to find me. How it settled into the warmth of my hand. How it suddenly lifted and flew off. Such perfect feathers. Such lightness of being.
  2. Rumination time
  3. How prayer and magic connect us
  4. Zoom. Even though Covid kept us from family, we could still participate in some important conversation
  5. Dreaming myself into the cure
    May we walk in Beauty!

“Beauty is not a luxury but a strategy for survival.” —Terry Tempest Williams


“Your suffering needs to be respected. Don’t try to ignore the hurt, because it is real. Just let the hurt soften you instead of hardening you. Let the hurt open you instead of closing you. Let the hurt send you looking for those who will accept you instead of hiding from those who reject you.” —Bryant McGill


“Contrary to what we may have been taught to think, unnecessary and unchosen suffering wounds us but need not scar us for life. It does mark us. What we allow the mark of our suffering to become is in our own hands.” —bell hooks


“I came from a family of repairers. The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and repairs it.” —Louise Bourgeois


“When you have an ancient heart and childlike spirit you must feel deeply, but go lightly. To trace and learn the language of waves. How all the seas carry secrets, yet still move freely. I am still learning how to be water.” —Victoria Erickson


“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” —Viktor E. Frankl


“We were made to enjoy music, to enjoy beautiful sunsets, to enjoy looking at the billows of the sea and to be thrilled with a rose that is bedecked with dew… Human beings are actually created for the transcendent, for the sublime, for the beautiful, for the truthful… and all of us are given the task of trying to make this world a little more hospitable to these beautiful things.” —Desmond Tutu
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“I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.” ―Anaïs Nin


Leave your windows and go out, people of the world,
go into the streets, go into the fields, go into the woods
and along the streams. Go together, go alone.
Say no to the Lords of War which is Money
which is Fire. Say no by saying yes
to the air, to the earth, to the trees,
yes to the grasses, to the rivers, to the birds
and the animals and every living thing, yes
to the small houses, yes to the children. Yes.
―Wendell Berry


“If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So like children, we begin again…

to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.”
―Rainer Maria Rilke


Martha Beck: “The important thing is to tell yourself a life story in which you, the hero, are primarily a problem solver rather than a helpless victim. This is well within your power, whatever fate might have dealt you.”


“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living. We live ourselves into new ways of thinking.

It seems that we Christians have been worshiping Jesus’ journey instead of doing his journey. The worshiping feels very religious; the latter just feels human and ordinary. We are not human beings on a journey toward Spirit, we are already spiritual beings on a journey toward becoming fully human, which for some reason seems harder precisely because it is so ordinary.” ―Richard Rohr


“What if nostalgia is not a fruitless dwelling on those irretrievable moments of the past, as we are taught, but an attempt by sweetness to reach you again?

What if nostalgia is really located in the present, like a scent or ambience which is gathering around you should you avail yourself to it.

As anyone who has been heartbroken knows, there comes a time when, long after loss has been well-lived with, a small melody of love always returns. And to your surprise, you may recognise the tone of that love as the very same love you believed you lost.

It’s then that you know that your love was always your love. And if you let yourself be unguarded to it, nostalgia may find its way back into the generosity of your presence.” ―Dreamwork with Toko-pa


“We often cause ourselves suffering by wanting only to live in a world of valleys, a world without struggle and difficulty, a world that is flat, plain, consistent.” —bell hooks

Pass It On

On the door of one of the buildings at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, a bronze wing serves as the handle. I took a photo, but the background, through the glass door, was messy and distracting. Running the photo through the Dreamscope App helps.

I am reposting the Layne Redmond quote because I want to see it next to the Natalie Goldberg quote–they resonate together somehow.

“All the eggs a woman will ever carry form in her ovaries while she is a four-month-old fetus in the womb of her mother. This means our cellular life as an egg begins in the womb of our grandmother. Each of us spent five months in our grandmother’s womb, and she in turn formed in the womb of her grandmother. We vibrate to the rhythm of our mother’s blood before she herself is born, and this pulse is the thread of blood that runs all the way back through the grandmothers to the first mother.”
—Layne Redmond
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“Whether we know it or not, we transmit the presence of everyone we have ever known, as though by being in each other’s presence we exchange our cells, pass on some of our lifeforce, and then we go on carrying that person in our body, not unlike springtime when certain plants in fields we walk through attach their seeds in the form of small burrs to our socks, our pants, our caps, as if to say, ‘Go on, take us with you, carry us to root in another place.’ This is how we survive long after we are dead. This is why it is important who we become, because we pass it on.”
—Natalie Goldberg
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“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” —Gwendolyn Brooks
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“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
― Nelson Mandela
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“War is not healthy for children and other living things.” —poster
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“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.”
― Paul Farmer
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“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”
—Mary Oliver


Gratitude:
1. I breathe in beauty, and I breathe out gratitude.
2. I breathe in solitude, and I breathe out gratitude.
3. I breathe in tenderheartedness, and I breathe out gratitude.
4. I breathe in the work of the coming day, and I breathe out gratitude.
5. I breathe in the Work that is before me, and I breathe out gratitude.

May we walk in Beauty!

Good Omens

skunker
Skunk is a good symbol of nonviolent resistance.

Gratitude List:
1. The Imbolc sun rising this morning. Before the disk rose above the horizon, a single wide shaft of sun rose up into the higher cloud cover to east, a brighter magenta smudge on magenta and indigo clouds. Then, as we traveled eastward, the sunshaft shifted to tangerine, and then to golden. It felt like a good omen, that dawning.
2. The relief of a less grueling grading schedule this semester.
3. Harvest. Of word and image and story and idea. Picking the bits and weaving them together.
4. The loving resistance.
5. Venus. I am pretty sure that I have never yet seen a star or planet so brightly shining. This past month or so, Venus seems brighter and bigger, so big and shiny I could almost pack up my camel and go searching for a child of promise. And of course, it’s Venus, so that feels like a particularly good omen.

May we walk in Beauty!

Doorway to Winter

2013_october_110

Today’s prompt is to write a poem about a month. I will try an acrostic:

November
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Now we settle the fields for winter
Once the final harvest is gathered,
Verdant green of summer turning
Ever into autumn’s golden.
Morning sun sprinkles the hillsides
Before the chill of night recedes.
Enter the doorway to winter.
Rest in the womb of the dark.

Gratitude List:
1. A clean house. I didn’t get any grading done today, but my house is clean again, and I feel like I can live in it instead of just existing in it.
2. Water. Clean water. Wild water. River and stream water.
3. November. I still have much to learn from November. This is the third year that I am back to work, and November is no longer the gentle quiet slide into winter. I need to take care to give myself solitude and dreaming time in the coming weeks as we wander into the dark.
4. Many chances to practice. Practice nonattachment. Practice nondefensiveness. Practice nonviolence in word and gesture.
5. This cozy red fleece nightgown-thing that Sandra gave me last year.

May we walk in Beauty!

Bridge Week

DSCN8665 bridge2bridge Bridge3
Bridges. One across the Susquehanna (EWK photo); below it, a bridge in the Scottish highlands, a photo found on the internet, which some friends and I have used for a meeting of hearts; and on the right, two bridges across the Mill Stream at my school: on top, a photo from the school website of the footbridge, and below it the road bridge on Mennonite School Road, taken from historicbridges.org

This is the beginning of my final week of summer. It’s a bridge week, from the open rhythms of the summer to the formal rhythms of the school year, from a slow and contemplative pace to a quick and formulated pace. These are not value-judgement statements–I need the macro-rhythm of shift from one to the other, and I am looking forward to daily structure which someone else has created–I only have to fill in the outlines. While I will miss the freedom of the summer schedule, I long for the more formal rhythms and rituals of the school day.

I love that my school uses the bridge as its symbol. It offers a rich metaphor for reflction. As I contemplate the coming season during this last week before school, I wonder how I can make my work at school into a bridge, safe and sturdy, that helps to lead young people from their childhood into their adulthood, toward independent critical thinking, toward compassionate responses to the pain of those they meet, toward trust in their own instincts and ideas.

Gratitude List:
1. I am taking a Reiki class today. I’m very excited.
2. Bridges
3. Family time
4. Harvesting up in the fields just before sunset, when the clouds are big and towering. In the fields, we’re up out the hollow and can see the full sky, how the light from the nearly setting sun in the west hits the clouds to the south, shining golden and white, glowing magenta and tangerine.
5. Morning yoga–waking up the spine, feeling the stretch.

May we walk in Beauty!

Decisions and Vulnerability

Gratitude List:
1.  The way decisions grow and bloom.  You put that seed in the soil there and you say, “Hmmm.  Maybe?”  And then you come back to it a few days later, and–Lo and Behold!–something is growing!  And sometimes the bean you planted comes up, and sometimes something else is there.  Then you decide whether to uproot that or to tend it.  The year we began farming here, we planted watermelons in plastic planting trays.  As we were transplanting them out into the field, I came upon a little square where a tiny nettle was growing instead of a watermelon.  Nine years later, after that watermelon field has been tilled under and re-used for beans, for tomatoes, for squash, for peas, the nettle patch down by the parking lot is growing strong and lush.  Ah, decisions. . .
2.  The way, when you touch the wounded place and say
“This makes me feel vulnerable.  This makes me feel weak,”
the way that makes you real,
the way it makes me less afraid.
When you say,
“This is despair.  This is burnout,”
then all the rest of us can sigh,
then all the rest of us can say,
“So that is what it is.”
Then all the rest of us
can feel so much less alone.
3.  Orchard oriole in the back trees.
Baltimore in the the front.
4.  The bins are washed,
the market room is clean.
Today we harvest.
Today a new season begins!
5.  Possibilities.

May we walk in Beauty!