Breathing Up to Dragons

Spot the dragon.

Five or six years ago, a friend read my animal cards for me, to determine what animal energies exist at my personal cardinal points: horses at east, lizard at south, panther at west, and crow at north. Frog at left, ant at right, dragonfly below, butterfly above, and antelope within. I loved this reading, and it helped me immensely in my breathing meditations, in helping me to orient myself within a safe sphere.

A few weeks went by, and I felt sad because there was no owl in the reading. There was no bat. There was no honey bee. And I began to think about the cross-quarter points on the circle. Who stands at my southeast? My northwest? So I meditated a while, and filled those in.

Then one day as I was breathing and meditating, I decided that because the animal meditations had so enlivened my awareness of my personal circle and orientation, they might help enliven my chakra breathing and meditating, so I contemplated and meditated, and found animals for each of those energetic points as well.

I work with more than seven chakras, and until all was said and done, I had thirty energy points, on my body and in my surrounding sphere, that I began to check in with. I found that, in order to remember them and not have to check a paper while I was breathing and meditating, I began going through them in my head as I was falling asleep. This helped me memorize them, and it helped me get back to sleep if I woke up in the night.

At the time, I was working in a shop that sells precious stones, and I found that as I imagined breathing into the great tortoise who stands at my earth star chakra, I was picturing serpentine, that stone that appears to hold within itself a map of vast landscapes. So I added a stone at each point. A while later I added plants. I stopped there. With occasional doubling up (both elephant and whale exist at my lower heart chakra), that’s over elements to remember and work with.

All of this is simply to explain why seeing a dragon in the clouds on my walk yesterday was particularly satisfying. At the very top of the chakras that I breathe open in my meditations, in the soul star chakra, are dragons. So when I saw the dragon, I recognized part of my inner self in the outer landscape, and I breathed all the way up to dragons, without even meditating.

And in some ways, that’s the point of the whole thing. Encountering animals and birds and plants and stones out there in the world outside myself brings me to a grounded awareness of my inner spaces. Now the morning birdsong, while just as beautiful as ever, is also a subtle reminder to keep my voice strong because of the songbirds at my throat chakra. A deer crossing the field at dusk reminds me to consider my higher heart chakra, to open myself further to deep self-compassion and unconditional love. The inner and outer landscapes mirror and reveal each other. Even up to dragons.


Gratitude List:
1. Dragons in the clouds
2. Meditative practices
3. I have to say it: School is almost over for the year. I need this kind of school to be over now please. I will be able to prepare myself for online learning in the fall, if that is what we must do, but for now, I am really grateful that this school year is almost over. For me. For my students. For my family.
4. Small creative projects that I can fit into the day’s rhythms. I made five little one-sheet/one-cut booklets yesterday. I want to print out several of my little Songs of the Beloved to glue into them as I decorate them.
5. Yeast. I got a little overwhelmed last week with the care and feeding of my wild yeasts, so I tossed it into the fridge. Yesterday I was ready to play again, so I took it out to warm up, then fed it last night, and I am about to go mix and knead the dough for a loaf today. I have been marginally successful in the past couple of months, so this might be my last attempt. If today’s loaf is still too cakey, I am going to return my yeasts to the wild and just keep using bought yeast. Still, working with this particular force of nature is a deep joy, no matter the little frustrations.

May we walk in Beauty!


“A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.” —Terry Pratchett


“Oh, God, make me a hollow reed, from which the pith of self hath been blown so that I may become as a clear channel through which Thy Love may flow to others. I have left behind me impatience and discontent. I will chafe no more at my lot. I commit myself wholly into thy hands, for thou are my Guide in the desert, the Teacher of my ignorance, the Physician of my sickness.” —attributed to Abdu’l-Bahá


“Truth is an agile cat. It has more than nine lives.” —Joy Harjo


Silence

A day of Silence
can be a pilgrimage in itself.
A day of Silence
can help you listen
to the Soul play
in marvelous lute and drum.
Is not most talking
a crazed defense of a crumbling fort?
I thought we came her
to surrender in Silence,
to yield to Light and Happiness,
to Dance within
in celebration of Love’s Victory!
—Hafiz

Cast Aside the Jug


“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” ―Thomas Merton
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“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen” ―Robert Bresson
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“We have to learn to love people even if they are not giving you what you want… and then not take it personally. If you feel hurt, you have to recognize that they are not hurting you because you are you, but because they are them. You have to try not to be so hard on yourself.”
―Krishna Das
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“If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” ―Meister Eckhart
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“You will stand at the center of your story
and decide in this moment who you will be.
You get to decide how you will play your part,
and that will help to decide the outcome.”
―Beth Weaver-Kreider
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“And may the light shine out of the two eyes of you, like a candle set in two windows of a house, bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm.” ―Celtic Blessing
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“If you are doing the right thing for the earth, she’s giving you great company.” ― Vandana Shiva
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“The outward form of things passes away, but the essence remains forever. How long will you be besotted with the shape of the jug? Cast aside the jug, and seek the water. If you look too closely at the form, you miss the essence.” ―Rumi
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Or she:
“If the believer understood the meaning of the saying
“The color of the water is the color of the receptacle,”
He would admit the validity of all beliefs and
He would recognize God in every form and every object of faith.”
If the believer understood the meaning of the saying
“The color of the water is the color of the receptacle,”
He would admit the validity of all beliefs and
He would recognize God in every form and every object of faith.
~Ibn ‘Arabi
Ibn ‘Arabi
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Last Year’s Gratitude:
“How everything connects. Your heart and mine. The hummingbird and the vulture. Poems and stories and art. The thin spidersilk of prayer, spun out across impossible chasms.” ―Beth Weaver-Kreider


Gratitude List:
1. Lying on a bed with a cat snuggled up on either side of me.
2. My surprise 50th birthday dinner. My sisters and my mother took me out to John Wright Restaurant. I am so fortunate to have these incredible women in my life.
3. Crawfish Etouffee
4. Saturday afternoon naps (and waking up and realizing that the poison ivy covering every inch of my body was only a dream)
5. Walnut trees. The walnut by the barn is the last to get dressed every spring, and the first to disrobe in the fall, but the way she plays with the light in her leaves is the finest art.

May we walk in Beauty!