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!