Gratitudes, Musings, Poems

In the Dreamtime, Day 11

The traditional Twelve Days of Christmas last until January 6, Epiphany. Since I begin my Dreamtime walk on the solstice, I give myself a few more days in Dreamtime, and choose my images and words for the year from the soup of my Dreamtime stew on the sixth of January. Perhaps I throw things off by adding a few extra days to my high holy days of winter. The twelve days have particular cosmic significance, being the number of days’ difference between the lunar and solar years. The twelfth day itself is only a partial day. I suppose I could have my Epiphany tomorrow, and then I’d have committed myself to only twelve days of dreaming. But maybe I need a longer gestation period for my ideas and words and images.

This morning, I woke up with the word “Maferefun” in my head. I had been reading an article earlier in the day about religious traditions around the world, and Maferefun is the Yoruba greeting for the holy ones. It means something like, “I greet you. Praise be!” A nice word, I think, to greet the new year, and a reminder to myself that all about me is holy. All carries the spark and imprint of the Creative Mystery. It is our work to notice and to greet it as we see that livingness in the world and the people around us.

Elderly bench that holds me as I sit in the morning, I greet you. Praise be.
Purring cat who wakes me in the dawn, I greet you. Praise be.
Owl calling your family home from hunting, I greet you, Praise be.
Sun soon to rise over the ridge, I greet you. Praise be.

As Peter Mayer says in his sweet song, “Everything is holy now.”


Gratitude List:
1. Slow Starts–Today is Professional Development, and then two days of classes for the week.
2. Setting boundaries
3. Knitting and Crocheting: Making beauty from a knotted piece of string
4. The Enneagram, a thoughtful tool
5. Reading together as a family. Jon bought us a copy of Danny the Champion of the World to read to us this break because he remembered loving it as a child. I missed part of it while I graded yesterday, but I heard the beginning, and the tender ending last night before the children went to bed.

May we walk in Beauty! I greet you! Praise Be!


Words for Wednesday’s Slow Start:
“The Work. I am learning, slowly and in tiny little ways, to stop asking myself what I can get from each moment, but instead what my Work is here in the moment. And realizing, ever so dimly, that when I am really doing my Work (really doing my Work), I am also receiving what I need.” —Beth Weaver-Kreider


“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” —Peter Drucker


“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it will be a butterfly.” —Margaret Fuller


“Brew me a cup for a winter’s night.
For the wind howls loud and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I’ll toast our bright eyes,
my sweetheart fair.”
—Minna Thomas Antrim


“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” —T. S. Eliot


“How do we go on living, when every day our hearts break anew? Whether your beloved are red-legged frogs, coho salmon, black terns, Sumatran tigers, or fat Guam partulas, or entire forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, or oceans, or the entire planet, the story is the same, the story of the murder of one’s beloved, the murder of one’s beloved, the murder of one’s beloved.” ―Derrick Jensen, Dreams


ONE OR TWO THINGS
by Mary Oliver from New and Selected Poems: Volume One (Beacon Press)
1
Don’t bother me.
I’ve just
been born.

2
The butterfly’s loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves
delicately, and well enough to get it
where it wants to go, wherever that is, stopping
here and there to fuzzle the damp throats
of flowers and the black mud; up
and down it swings, frenzied and aimless; and sometimes

for long delicious moments it is perfectly
lazy, riding motionless in the breeze on the soft stalk
of some ordinary flower.

3
The god of dirt came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things, I lay
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
crow voice,
frog voice; now,
he said, and now,
and never once mentioned forever,

4
which has nevertheless always been,
like a sharp iron hoof,
at the center of my mind.

5
One or two things are all you need
to travel over the blue pond, over the deep
roughage of the trees and through the stiff
flowers of lightning– some deep
memory of pleasure, some cutting
knowledge of pain.

6
But to lift the hoof!
For that you need an idea.

7
For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then

the butterfly
rose, weightless, in the wind.
“Don’t love your life
too much,” it said,

and vanished into the world.

Gratitudes, Musings, Poems

In the Dreamtime, Day 9

It’s all been anxiety dreams again this night, at least what I remember. No visitations by interesting animals or night-time messengers. I suppose I shouldn’t simply ignore the anxiety dreams, but this is supposed to be my rest from teaching, and I’m tired of teaching all night in my dreams as well.

So instead of dreams, here is an image of three trees on a hillside. It felt like an archetypal image when I took it, and the digital distortions give it a dreamlike quality. Three trees on a green hill. Cat-claws slashes of jet trails across the sky. So many mystical traditions around the world, and through time, consider three to be an important number. Something in the human psyche responds to sets of three. Sets of three are dynamic, curious, energetic, satisfying. Three aspects of deity. Three wishes. Tragedies come in threes. Three guesses. Three days. Three challenges. Three trials.


Gratitude List:
1. Holy moments
2. Compelling images
3. Cornbread
4. Sleep
5. Family time

May we walk in Beauty!


Words for the Sixth Day of Kwanzaa:
Today’s Principle in the Kwanzaa celebration is Kuumba: Creativity.


“I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” —Michelle Obama, Becoming


A string of beads has a thread running through all the beads, keeping them together. What we need is a thread too—of sanity and stability. Because when you have a thread, even though each bead is separate, they hang together.” —Sogyal Rinpoche


“The poem is not the world.
It isn’t even the first page of the world.
But the poem wants to flower, like a flower.
It knows that much.
It wants to open itself,
like the door of a little temple,
so that you might step inside and be cooled and refreshed,
and less yourself than part of everything.”
—Mary Oliver


“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”
(From the Talmud)


From “Dawn”
Lyla June Johnston
Dawn. It is dawn.
The sun is conquering the sky
and my grandmother and I
are heaving prayers at the horizon.
“Show me something unbeautiful,” she says,
“and I will show you the veil over your eyes and take it away.
And you will see hozho all around you, inside of you.”


Someone Should Start Laughing
A Poem by Hafiz
I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:
How are you?
I have a thousand brilliant lies
For the question:
What is God?
If you think that the Truth can be known
From words,
If you think that the Sun and the Ocean
Can pass through that tiny opening Called the mouth,
O someone should start laughing!
Someone should start wildly Laughing—Now!

Gratitudes, Musings

Fierce and Tender


This is a rock we found on the beach near Provincetown. Joss says he thinks it looks like a woodsy landscape reflected in a lake. Can you see it?. I ran it through a starry filter, and it looks like a night-time lake.


Gratitude List:
1. Fierce and tender friends. People who hold the world in their hearts, and hold our hearts in their hands. You know who you are, Friends, and if you think I am talking about you here, I probably am.
2. Stories that teach me not to start with rage, but to start with compassion.
3. Honesty. Truth-telling. Getting it straight and clear. Cutting through the fog of lies.
4. Water. Purifying and cleansing. Refreshing. Rain on dry earth.
5. The smell of the rain on dry earth. That scent of impending hope.

Holyholyholyhallelujah.


Tuesday’s Thoughts:
“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” ―Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
***
“In order to arrive at what you are not you must go through the way in which you are not.”
—T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets
***
“We grow spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.” —Richard Rohr
***
“Whatever gets in the way of the work is the work.” —Jason Shinder
***
“An agricultural adage says the tiny animals that live below the surface of a healthy pasture weigh more than the cows grazing above it. In a catalogue selling composting equipment I read that two handfuls of healthy soil contain more living organisms than there are people on the earth. What these beings are and what they can be doing is difficult to even begin to comprehend, but it helps to realize that even though they are many, they work as one.”
—Carol Williams
***
“All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” —Flannery O’Connor
***
“I don’t know about you, but I didn’t become an environmentalist because someone made a rational argument that convinced me that the planet was in danger. I became an environmentalist out of love and pain: love for the world and its beauty and the grief of seeing it destroyed. It was only because I was in touch with these feelings that I had the ears to listen to evidence and reason and the eyes to see what is happening to our world. I believe that this love and this grief are latent in every human being. When they awaken, that person becomes an environmentalist.” —Charles Eisenstein
***
“You can’t dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools.” —Audre Lorde
***
“The owl,” he was saying, “is one of the most curious creatures. A bird that stays awake when the rest of the world sleeps. They can see in the dark. I find that so interesting, to be mired in reality when the rest of the world is dreaming. What does he see and what does he know that the rest of the world is missing?” ―M.J. Rose, Seduction

Gratitudes, Musings

The Holy in the Mundane

“You watch. The time has come. Women are gonna take charge of society. And they couldn’t juxtapose a better villain than Trump. He is the patriarch. This [the Golden Globe Awards] is a definitional moment in the culture. It’ll never be the same going forward.” —Steve Bannon, according to Josh Green (Sounds about right. Let’s make it so.)
***
“Your job is to find the holy in the mundane, and, failing that, to create the holy in the mundane.” —Norman O.Brown (via Rob Brezsny)
***
“Real Presence is everywhere.” —Richard Rohr
***
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” —Henry David Thoreau
***
“There is an endless net of threads throughout
the universe. The horizontal threads are in space.
The vertical threads are in time.” —Rig Veda
***
“Beneath the snow and ice, the earth is waiting. In their beautiful little envelopes, the seeds are dreaming of you.” —Beth Weaver-Kreider


Gratitude List:
1. Masala Chai
2. Mysore Sandal Soap, how it makes the whole bathroom smell holy
3. The flour and rice aisle at the Everest Grocery–reminds me of the scent of little shops in Musoma
4. Kedi, the movie. I have fallen in love with the people of Istanbul. I think you should watch it, too. It’s a movie about cats, but it’s really a movie about people.
5. The mysteries that elude the religious people and the scientists, like the deep story of how a monarch finds its way to a place its grandparents left. Or whether there are planets out there somewhere that might harbor life.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Poems

Alignment

DSCN8674

here is how holy
in the center of waiting
there is a river
if you lift your eyes, listen
the moment will come to you

Gratitude List:
1. I love my job, but sometimes it’s just such a blessed relief to be on the outward arm of the week.
2. The little Zen garden my mother gave me years ago.  It’s been my kid bait.  They come up to my desk and make order in the universe while they talk to me, sometimes handing me golden nuggets of story while they work.  There’s one in each class who takes responsibility for tidying the Zen garden.
3. The satisfying alignment of planets in the mornings lately.  And Orion standing watch.
4. My Humans of New York Stories book came in the mail a couple days ago.  I would like to just sit in a little cocoon and pore through it.
5. Sugar maples.

May we walk in Beauty!