Gratitudes, Musings, Poems

Loosening Attachments

A few somewhat random thoughts, some drawn from yesterday’s discussions:
* Just as I want to loosen my attachment to the physical stuff that bogs me down and overwhelms me, I want to loosen my attachment to my sense of the infallibility of my perceptions. Admitting that my own perceptions may be fallible does not mean that I am relinquishing my core beliefs.
* About that loosening of attachment to stuff: Tidying, de-cluttering, un-hoarding, relinquishing–all this allows me to actually deepen my delight in the Beauty that surrounds me.
* In much the same way that loosening my attachment to stuff allows me to see Beauty more clearly, perhaps loosening my attachment to my righteous rage might allow me to see the complexities inherent in moments of injustice.
* I learned about Anonymous Collective Rage from a friend yesterday. I think I knew what it was, but I didn’t know it had a name. While I would never join those who write threatening letters and who call for violence against the young men from that school, my own immediate rage was part of the collective pile-on. I feel some shame at my quick leap into the fray. Still, that rage is born of a sense of justice and a desire to bring change.
* There are not two sides to racism or misogyny, or to mistreatment of elders. While events like the one that occurred in DC on Saturday might be more complex than they first appeared, disrespectful treatment of others based on their age or their race is unacceptable. Always.
* Could people who are experts in restorative conversations, in rebuilding peace in tense situations, offer to help moderate conversations between those boys and Mr. Phillips and his group? This could be a time for real healing and learning.
* I think that the time of Catholic boys’ schools is pretty much over. Time for a new model. They seem to simply be training schools for the patriarchy.

Gratitude List:
1. Yesterday’s time off. I needed the rest. I always need the rest.
2. Tidy drawers with clothes folded so I can see everything at once. Now I look forward to getting dressed instead of hating putting clothes on. I hope I can sustain it.
3. The lines of tree-shadow cast by the morning’s moon
4. That red eclipse
5. This is going to be a really busy semester for me–I have more preps than is ideal, but I love the classes I am teaching, and I love the kids in them. Last year was my first year teaching Speech, and although it wasn’t bad, I just didn’t quite have a handle on it. This year, I feel like I am much more able to pin down the perfect resources. Of course, I am only one week in, but already the course is taking shape with greater liveliness and interest.

May we walk in Beauty!


fire and flight

“In writing, and perhaps all endeavours, there must be a way which doesn’t simply do as men before us have done, but turns to its own erotic authority. The feminine voice comes from the body’s knowing. It is the writing of aches and ragged breath and dirty fingernails from climbing out of the underworld. It is the sonority of our words which is primary, not their definition. This voice is the howling of a child for its mother before language is even learned. It strives not for the objectivity which is removed from feeling, but rather sinks us deeper into the muck of it. It takes things personally. And it gives personally in return. There is no such thing as impartiality when you live in a body. And it speaks from the flesh and bone rhythms of that first belonging.” —Toko-pa Turner


“A noise annoys an oyster, but a noisier noise annoys an oyster more.” —Anonymous


“…The green earth
is your cloth;
tailor your robe
with dignity and grace.”
—Rumi


“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” —Thomas Jefferson


fire and flight

after the fire
has kindled
within you
patient gestation
of coals beneath
your heart
between
your ribs

fire within you
fire in the earth
fire in the fruit
the egg
the seed

flames will burst forth
and you will rise

you will know
your wings
you will
open your feathers
catch the breezes

the old world
of magic and monsters
will fall away
below you

you will dance
on pillows of cloud
you will swim
in rivers of air

you will hear your
true name
in the voice
of the wind
—Beth Weaver-Kreider

Gratitudes, Musings

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!
*****

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.
*****

“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

Gratitudes, Musings

Good People


Gratitude of Resistance Three:
Good people doing good work. ASSETS Lancaster, and organization which trains and mentors and invests in small businesses. RAICES provides legal services for immigrants and asylum-seekers. The people who are traveling into Honduras to meet with and comfort and aid the asylum-seekers who are traveling north right now. The canvassers and door-knockers who talk to people about what they really want. You, doing your good work, smiling at your neighbor, picking up trash, writing letters, making change, believing in the best version of us all.


“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.” —Clarissa Pinkola Estés
*****
“A tree is beautiful, but what’s more, it has a right to life; like water, the sun and the stars, it is essential. Life on earth is inconceivable without trees.” —Anton Chekhov
*****
“They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.” —Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha)
*****
“I would like to think that everybody in America would think it’s wrong to spend all your time from a position of power vilifying people, questioning their patriotism, calling them enemies of the people and then suddenly pretending that you’re concerned about civility.” —Barack Obama, in Michigan
*****
“And then there are the cravings. Oh, la! ⠀
A woman may crave to be near water, or be belly down, her face in the earth, smelling the wild smell. She might have to drive into the wind. ⠀
She may have to plant something, pull things out of the ground or put them into the ground. She may have to knead and bake, rapt in dough up to her elbows.⠀
She may have to trek into the hills, leaping from rock to rock trying out her voice against the mountain. She may need hours of starry nights ⠀
where the stars are like face powder spilt on a black marble floor. ⠀
She may feel she will die if she doesn’t dance naked in a thunderstorm, sit in perfect silence, return home ink-stained, paint-stained, tear-stained, moon-stained.” —Clarissa Pinkola Estés
*****
“It’s a hard time to be human. We know too much
and too little.”
—Ellen Bass
*****
“Blessed is this, the new day of slowly uncovering fog, the echoing song of ravens praising a break in the rains, the moon somewhere still quietly ripening, the calm of always receiving another chance.” —Toko-pa Turner
*****
“When we went to jail, we were setting our faces against the world, against things as they are, the terrible injustice of our capitalist industrial system which lives by war and by preparing for war.” —Dorothy Day
*****
“You want to be human. Be angry, it’s okay. But not to practice is not okay. To be angry, that is very human. And to learn how to smile at your anger and make peace with your anger is very nice. That is the whole thing—the meaning of the practice, of the learning. By taking a look at your anger it can be transformed into the kind of energy that you need—understanding and compassion. It is with negative energy that you can make the positive energy. A flower, although beautiful, will become compost someday, but if you know how to transform the compost back into the flower, then you don’t have to worry. You don’t have to worry about your anger because you know how to handle it—to embrace, to recognize, and to transform it. So this is what is possible.” —bell hooks
*****
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” —Frida Kahlo

Gratitudes, Musings

The Path of Joy

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
―John Muir
*
“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.” ―Rumi
*
“The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.”
―Jack Kornfield
*
“Learning to live in the present moment is part of the path of joy.”
―Sarah Ban Breathnach
*
“Any feminist who has ever taken the high road will tell you the high road gets backed up.” ―Andrea Gibson
*
“Almost every woman I have ever met has a secret belief that she is just on the edge of madness, that there is some deep, crazy part within her, that she must be on guard constantly against ‘losing control’ — of her temper, of her appetite, of her sexuality, of her feelings, of her ambition, of her secret fantasies, of her mind.” ―Elana Dykewomon
*
“Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery.”
―Wendell Berry
*
“You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of one who gives and kindles joy in the heart of one who receives.”
―St. Seraphim of Sarov
*
It’s 3:23 in the morning, and I’m awake
because my great, great, grandchildren won’t let me sleep.
My great, great, grandchildren ask me in dreams
what did you do, while the planet was plundered?
what did you do, when the earth was unravelling?
surely you did something when the seasons started failing
as the mammals, reptiles, and birds were all dying?
did you fill the streets with protest when democracy was stolen?
what did you do once you knew?
―Drew Dellinger, Ph.D.
*
“At any given moment, we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” ―Abraham Maslow
*
“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
— Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)
*
“Never forget: Justice is what love looks like in public.”
―Cornel West


Gratitude List:
1. More powerful storytelling this morning
2. A nap
3. Rain. I love rain.
4. Gaining clarity through the fog
5. I love this little purring person who has to always sit on my lap.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

Daily Feather

  
In the lower right, the original photo, of a feather in the clouds. The others are filtered through Dreamscope app. 

“In summer, the song sings itself.”
―William Carlos Williams
*
“All we have, it seems to me, is the beauty of art and nature and life, and the love which that beauty inspires.” ―Edward Abbey
*
“They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price.” ―Kahlil Gibran
*
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ―Pablo Picasso
*
“Every breath is a sacrament, an affirmation of our connection with all other living things, a renewal of our link with our ancestors and a contribution to generations yet to come. Our breath is a part of life’s breath, the ocean of air that envelops the earth.” ―David Suzuki, The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature
*
“Memory is an invitation to the source of our life, to a fuller participation in the now, to a future about to happen, but ultimately to a frontier identity that holds them all at once.” ―David Whyte
*
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
―not actually Benjamin Franklin, as the internet claims
*
Lines
by Martha Collins

Draw a line. Write a line. There.
Stay in line, hold the line, a glance
between the lines is fine but don’t
turn corners, cross, cut in, go over
or out, between two points of no
return’s a line of flight, between
two points of view’s a line of vision.
But a line of thought is rarely
straight, an open line’s no party
line, however fine your point.
A line of fire communicates, but drop
your weapons and drop your line,
consider the shortest distance from x
to y, let x be me, let y be you.


Gratitude List:
1. Not feeling wretched. Sometimes it’s good to have a day of pathetic wretchedness in order to remember how wonderful normal feels. Is that weird? It just feels so incredibly good not to feel awful.
2. Driving Pippi Prius again. In the same vein as #1, I was incredibly grateful that my father let us borrow his car while Pippi was getting her battery cells fixed, and his car is wonderful, but it just feels so good to drive my car again. As a smallish person, I feel most comfortable and safest driving a little car.
3. Following #2, I am grateful that we did not have to replace the whole hybrid battery just yet. The local garage thought that would be necessary, but Sam the Prius guy was able to change the cells instead, and they were still under warranty. We’ll save the big expenses for another time.
4. Long weekend ahead. I have a lovely day of in-service ahead with my colleagues, and then three days of break.
5. The puppycat. Joss and Thorby are playing fetch all over the house.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes

Mandalas


A filter manipulation of a bouquet of lisianthus and mint. Not a mandala, but yes, a mandala.

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”
—Mary Oliver
*
“Arm yourself with love and knowledge, and let’s work together for justice.” —Regina Shands Stoltzfus
*
“To be strong does not mean to sprout muscles and flex. It means meeting one’s own numinosity without fleeing, actively living with the wild nature in one’s own way. It means to be able to learn, to be able to stand what we know. It means to stand and live.” —Clarissa Pinkola Estes
*
“Prayer takes the mind out of the narrowness of self-interest, and enables us to see the world in the mirror of the holy. For when we betake ourselves to the extreme opposite of the ego, we can behold a situation from the aspect of God.”
—Abraham Joshua Heschel
*
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
― James Baldwin“
*
The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible — and achieve it, generation after generation.” —Pearl S Buck
*
“May the sun bring you new energy by day;
May the moon softly restore you by night;
May the rain wash away your worries,
May the breeze blow new strength into your being.
May you walk through the world
and know its beauty all the days of your life.”
—Apache blessing


Gratitude List:
1. This kid, who is taking days and days to transfer our photo files from the old hard drive onto the cloud. I just kept saying I would do it some day, and now it’s just getting done!
2. Storms. Good solid, soaking rain.
3. Meeting another mostly-FB friend, and finding a real kindred spirit
4. Mandalas
5. Looking at old videos of the boys when they were babies. Reminiscing.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes

A Woman Must Be Willing to Burn



“A woman must be willing to burn hot, burn with passion, burn with words, with ideas, with desire for whatever it is that she truly loves.”  —Clarissa Pinkola Estes
*
“Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.”
—Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
*
“I can’t offer justice so I offer just trees.” —Kilian Schoenberger (who photographs trees and woods)
*
Make it All a Prayer
Beth Weaver-Kreider

make it all a prayer
each motion, each thought, each step
feel the connection
that silver strand that pulls you
to the heart of another
*
Dalai Lama: “There are only two days of the year in which nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow. That means today is the ideal day to love, to believe, to create and to live.”
*
“We cannot assume the sacredness nor spiritual livingness of the earth or accept it as a new ideology or as a sentimentally pleasing idea. We must experience that life and sacredness, if it is there, in relationship to our own and to that ultimate mystery we call God. We must experience it in our lives, in our practice, in the flesh of our cultural creativity. We must allow it to shape us, as great spiritual ideas have always shaped those who entertain them, and not expect that we can simply use the image of Gaia to meet emotional, religious, political, or even commercial needs without allowing it to transform us in unexpected and radical ways. The spirituality of the earth is more than a slogan. It is an invitation to initiation, to the death of what we have been and the birth of something new.”
—David Spangler


Gratitude List:
1. Rain
2. Bluebirds
3. Fresh berry smoothies
4. Hear/reading people reminisce
5. My friend, the sycamore tree

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

Balancing

      
Doesn’t this just feed your soul? My mother’s windowsill. I passed it through a painting filter, which I like, but really, the beauty of the original colors is rather perfect.


This is not a joyful thing. Perhaps it is a gratitude of sorts. It’s more a simple relief. The man who caused the bus accident has turned himself in. It was an uncomfortable loose end that has been bothering me, not because I want revenge, but because it needed resolution.

In my advisory group today, one young man asked that we pray for the driver (before we knew he had turned himself in). This was the second or third time that this particular young man has asked for us to pray for someone who has done something wrong, or made a bad choice. I am moved by the layered depth of his compassion, and it leads me forward into hopeful spaces. May we all learn to love with such a sense of everyone’s humanity.


Today in an English 101 class, we were talking about the role of the Muses in the Greek pantheon, and one girl who had zoned out looked up and asked, “What about the moose?”

I think there needs to be a poem about the Moose of Poetic Inspiration.


Gratitude List:
1. Our Lady of the Flowers zipped past the window again today. I swear she paused in her humming for the briefest of moments and looked into the house at my boy in his red shirt.
2. Graces: I get teary when I talk about it, but it just needs to be said–All our children survived that accident. They likely have wounds that we cannot see, and some of them may experience flashbacks and anxiety. Others are still healing from physical injuries. But: They are alive. Every time I see pictures of that little bus on its side, I am astounded at the miracle of their survival.
3. The Administrative folks at my school. I think I have mentioned before how grateful I am for them, but today I had another chance to see the principals in action, responding to an issue with grace and firmness, holding the balances of accountability and tenderness. When there is harm, they name it, and then seek to care for those involved. They are true leaders.
4. Cobalt Blue
5. Following the pathway lit by the tender hearts of these young folks.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings, Poems, Poetry Prompts

The Opposite of Justice

Perhaps I could find my way to the doors of Justice
if only I could balance these tablets of Beauty and Rage,
could hear the wind in the trees while the harpies are shrieking.
Will I throw off the balance of nature if I listen to their song?
Or will it ruin the arc of the story if I shoo off the bird-women
and sit by the River with the wind in my hair?

What is the opposite of justice? Is it injustice or mercy?

On one side of the story is a silent horse, white as a ghost,
patiently waiting in tall meadow grasses. On the other side
of the river, of the fence, of the tale, three vultures in trees
open their wings to the sun. Between them, a poppy,
red as blood, sways in the morning breeze.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
In the old Norse story, Odin All-Father, ruler of the gods of Asgard, hung himself upside-down from the World Tree Ygdrassil for nine days and nights in order to gaze into the depths of the Well of Urd to learn the meanings of the runes, the ancient alphabet. He accepted no help from anyone, and hung in limbo between life and death until he had gained their secrets. Tomorrow, the Fool encounters the seeker for knowledge, the one who is willing to sacrifice comfort, to risk death, perhaps, in order to gain wisdom that will benefit the world. I never thought about it this way before, but Odin’s relentless search for knowledge reminds me of scientific thirst. What would you endure in order to gain wisdom and knowledge?

Gratitude List:
1. Poetry Read-Aloud Day in Creative Writing Class. There is a magic to the random collection of poems chosen by students. Suddenly a work by Robert Frost is informing the words of Tupac Shakur, or three students in one class all choose Langston Hughes poems. Magic.
2. Playing in the sandbox with a small person. If I am there and designing labyrinths and rocks gardens for my character (who happens to be a rather beat up truck), he takes up the burden of telling the story of the play that we are making up, his demolition derby cars zooming around the sandbox, knocking each other over the hills.
3. Springtime birdsong. My heart lifts and lifts. (Was I really that completely caught in the whirlpool of winter? Each day something new in me thaws.)
4. People of Peace
5. Problem-solving. Finding the language.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

A Hole in the Fabric

IMAG1844
And a blue true dream of sky

There’s been a change in my noticing, a small hole in the fabric of my attention. What used to be an alive and vibrant node in my awareness is now an empty expectancy.  I experienced a little zing every time I walked beneath the sycamore tree, even if I did not take the time to pause and look up, to find the tiny nest, to focus my aging eyes on the spot where two tiny birds were growing. Now the nest is only a shell, a remnant. It’s a wonderment all the same, that tiny house of cobweb, but it is empty.

Yes. Empty is a cutting word.

No, this is no grief akin to the great griefs. It’s just a little hole, a shift, an empty place where my attention and sense of wonderment flowed for weeks, but which is now an empty space like other empty spaces. There is other wonder to seek. There are other places for my deep attention to flow. The dog of my brain is sniffing the air for the next impossible beauty, the next whirring of wings, the next impossible thing that exists.

Gratitude List:
1. New ideas that keep the mind alive
2. The people who are welcoming the refugees
3. The people who stand up for justice
4. The voices of my friends the owls, calling from the bamboo forest
5. You. How we hold the world together, together. How our hands are joined across time and distance to form webs that carry and comfort, that heal and make whole.

Blessings on the Work!