Good Trouble

John Lewis, who is a sterling example of thoughtful and compassionate and fierce and determined political leadership in this country, called repeatedly for the people to stir up Good Trouble. What Good Trouble will you make in his honor today?


Gratitude List:
1. All the people who are making Good Trouble. Keep it up, soulkin! You are making a difference.
2. Exercise. This has never been a priority of mine, but as I notice the current effects of aging on my body, and think about where I want to be in ten, twenty years, I have chosen this mantra: limber, healthy, strong. I’m trying to get a long walk or a long bike ride in every day, sometimes both. I definitely feel stronger.
3. Wise friends.
4. Smoothies with lots of fresh fruit.
5. My tiny tribe of succulents. I repotted everyone a couple days ago, and they’re looking so much happier now. I am trying to start a few new ones with leaves that I culled as I was repotting.

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty!


“Some say you’re lucky
If nothing shatters it.

But then you wouldn’t
Understand poems or songs.
You’d never know
Beauty comes from loss.

It’s deep inside every person:
A tear tinier
Than a pearl or thorn.

It’s one of the places
Where the beloved is born.”
―Gregory Orr


“And the wood is tired, and the wood is old, and we’ll make it fine, if the weather holds. But if the weather holds, then we’ll have missed the point. And that’s where I need to go.” ―The Indigo Girls


“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” ―Joseph Campbell


“Friendship … is born at the moment when one says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
― C.S. Lewis


“There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”
―Thomas Merton


“To say ‘I don’t know’ is an unparalleled source of power, a declaration of independence from the pressure to have an opinion about every single subject.
It’s fun to say. Try it: ‘I don’t know.’
Let go of the drive to have it all figured out: ‘I don’t know.’
Proclaim the only truth you can be totally sure of: ‘I don’t know.’
Empty your mind and lift your heart: ‘I don’t know.’
Use it as a battle cry, a joyous affirmation of your oneness with the Great Mystery: ‘I don’t know.’
(To revel in this reverie can be a respite, a vacation. Any time you feel ready, you can return to the more familiar state of ‘I know! I know! I know!’)” ―Rob Brezsny


“Declare amnesty for the part of you that you don’t love very well. Forgive that poor sucker. Hold its hand and take it out to dinner and a movie. Tactfully offer it a chance to make amends for the dumb things it has done.

And then do a dramatic reading of this proclamation by the playwright Theodore Rubin: ‘I must learn to love the fool in me—the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool.'” ―Rob Brezsny


“We all receive water from her, we receive food from her, we receive air from her, anything that is received as a gift from the Earth and from nature has to be a commons, it cannot be privatised, that is why privatisation of life forms through patents or water through privatisation schemes driven by the World Bank, or the privatisation of the atmosphere and the air through carbon trading and emissions trading are all illegal and illegitimate in a legal framework based on the Earth’s rights.” ―Vandana Shiva


“The tyrant grinds down his slaves and they don’t turn against him; they crush those beneath them.” ―Emily Bronte


“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.” ―Susan B. Anthony


“To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world.” ―Rudolf Steiner

Limber, Healthy, and Strong

The ferns remember. . .

I’m not moving my body enough. I can feel almost the gears and cogs gumming up, getting crochety. It’s easy to put off yoga or walking because I have one more task at the computer that MUST be done. Everything is on the screens now.

So I set the intention of getting up and moving every hour. At school, I’m at least pacing around my classroom, walking to the office (and then speed-walking back to my classroom and back to the office again because I forgot something), even walking to and from the car. Here, I can ignore the pauses “between,” miss the chances to stand up and walk around.

I’m including ten deep outside breaths every morning (as my sister-in-law prescribed), and greeting the Beings in the hollow. I need to find patience for yoga and other exercise. Walking is good, because by the time I start to thinking, “Ugh. I have so much to do on the computer,” I am half a mile away from the house, and I still have another half mile to walk back.

So. Here’s the intention: Get up and walk around the house at least once and hour–maybe us and down the steps. I’ll keep up the walking every day or two. And once or twice a day, 15 minutes of yoga.

Truth be told, the yoga has been demoralizing. For years, I have had a balance series that I did, and over the past six months, I have noticed that one of the more challenging pieces has been getting harder and harder, and I can no longer actually do it–my left hand can no longer reach behind me and grab my left foot. I love that stretch, so sometimes, I sidle up to a wall so I can push my foot into my hand. But it’s no longer the easy flow that it used to be.

I just need to redevelop a new routine, one that still challenges me, that includes some of my beloved balance poses, but one that also stretches my back and legs, one that strengthens my core, one that allows me to shift away from some of my expectations and lets me be in the moment.

Also, when I am creating intentions to move more and exercise more, I have a tendency to fall onto the tracks of the weight-loss train. This is a danger zone for me. I need to want this for my health and my strength and my mobility and not for my weight. Somehow that sneaky little trick always happens and I find myself starting to pull out the scales, starting to plan another dietary tactic. So the spiritual/emotional discipline in this will be to keep my focus on keeping limber, healthy, and strong. There’s my mantra.


Gratitude List:
1. My yeast came! Thanks to my friend Joan, who sent me yeast in the mail. This morning I set another dough to rise with my wild yeast (the last attempt, on Tuesday, resulted in a chewy flatbread), and this afternoon, I am thinking of making a dough with Joan’s yeast for a calzone or something for supper. The wild yeast needs me to let it be experimental for now and not have too high an expectation
2. Cats in the classroom. Cats are good people to have around.
3. Poetry. This month has been another period of poetic breakthrough for me, and I am grateful. I think my writing deepens when I’m fighting my way through the woods of anxiety and grief. Also, an accountable writing community helps.
4. Intentions.
5. Watching the green appear, and anticipating oriole.

May we walk in Beauty!


“‪Good morning. There is a small, but meaningful thing you could do today in the service of your long term goal. Do that thing and then celebrate your progress with wild abandon. This is how we cultivate our dreams with a gardener’s gentle diligence.‬” —Jarod K. Anderson, The Cryptonaturalist


“Most lives are not distinguished by great achievements. They are measured by an infinite number of small ones. Each time you do a kindness for someone or bring a smile to his face, it gives your life meaning. Never doubt your value, little friend. The world would be a dismal place without you in it.” —Lisa Kleypas


“Decide to rise.
Lean in. Listen up. Closely.
It’s your soul speaking and she says,
Get UP! I need you. I want you. I am you. Choose me.
Lean in. Listen up. Closely.
Decide to rise.” —Danielle LaPorte


“What you are comes to you.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Poetry, indeed, has always been one of humanity’s sharpest tools for puncturing the shrink-wrap of silence and oppression, and although it may appear to be galaxies apart from science, these two channels of truth have something essential in common: nature, the raw material for both. To impoverish the world of the birds and the bees is to impoverish it of the bards and the biologists.” —Jane Hirschfield


“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” —Helen Keller


“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
―Jalaluddin Rumi


“We Are…
our grandmothers’ prayers,
we are our grandfathers’ dreamings,
we are the breath of the ancestors,
we are the spirit of God.”
―Ysaye M. Barnwell

Limber

imag1908
Becoming. . .

Several years ago in mid-September, I was sitting in the parking lot at Temple Beth Israel with boxes of vegetables for our CSA pick-up. During the hour and a half that I was there, at least thirty monarchs floated southward above my head. Like the birds and the dragonflies, monarchs are migrating now, too.

We used to go to the beach at this time of year, when most people have gone home for the summer. No crowds to get in the way–only warm water, cool breezes, and all the wingfolk flying south: flocks of a thousand swallows, and dragonflies and monarchs. The Wetlands Institute at Stone Harbor, NJ has a Monarch Migration Festival every September.

It’s the hummingbirds and the monarchs that really get me, such tiny and vulnerable little bodies sailing out over the Gulf to Mexico, to South America.  Dragonflies look like little machines, like helicopters built for the distance, but even they are vulnerable to weather, far out over the Gulf.

Now is the season for refueling, preparing for the leap into the blue, water and air. What will I risk in this space of my life? What void will you leap into?  Like those orange butterflies, we can trust that the long journeys of the past and the knowledge of the ancestors that lives in our own wings will inform our own flight.

Orange wings dip in farewell–
monarch catches a breeze
and wings toward the Gulf.

(I don’t really have a seasonal word as such in this haiku, but the second part of it is about the migration, so that gives the clue.)

Gratitude List:
1. Limber. Jon used this word yesterday to express something to do with fluid thinking. I like that word, especially as I am more and more aware of how the aging process demands more focused work on keeping the body limber. I like to think that my mind can also be limber if I keep it exercised.
2. Clouds: In yesterday’s sunrise, the clouds were first tangerine and indigo. Magenta. Then ivory and indigo and gold against a Maryblue sky. Clouds of mist hung low over the fields, pooling around the ankles of the cows. Clouds hung low over the River. Layers of clouds filled the sky.
3. Monarchs. Yesterday I took a walk and found four large caterpillars munching on milkweed behind the greenhouse. Eat well, little ones.
4. Janelle’s bees. The Middle School Science room has a hive right in the room. The Queen was quietly holding court, the larvae were squirming to get out of their little chambers, and the workers were dancing directions to each other.
5. This year’s Silhouette staff. That’s the school literary magazine. We had our first meeting yesterday, and they are so eager and willing to get right down to work. I think it’s going to be a really great year.

May we walk in Beauty!