Chatter and Silence

One child woke up at the same time as I did this morning, and he woke up loquacious. My brain, full of fog, and just wanting to take the morning slowly, couldn’t keep up. I tried to be present to him, but all the chatter about video games and the differences in the hand controller thingies and whether it makes sense to buy a bundled package of two games that are really similar began to feel like waves crashing over me. He’s gone upstairs now to play some video games instead of talking about them, and I am finally here in silence.

I kept thinking about those pictures of the kids when they were little, how they pierce my heart with their beauty but also with the sense that I wasn’t Present enough, that I could have been more There somehow. We can’t go back and recapture the moments of their childhood, like this morning’s delightful chatter, which was in its own way exhausting, but also beautiful and tender.

It’s that bowl of the heart again. All the things go in together, both the longing for silence and reflective time, and the longing for the presence of the chatty child, all at once. The pain of the lost past, and the treasuring of its marvel and mystery.

At the same time that I wanted to tell this boy that he needed to be quiet a while so I could spend some time in my own head, I could see myself, ten years from now, longing for the sound of his voice in the silence of an empty nest. So much of life is never either/or. The tension is to feel the bright joy and the piercing ache together, and not let either lessen the impact of the other.

Gratitude List:
1. The chatty morning child
2. The silence when he gives me some space to be in my own head
3. We saw our first monarch of the season
4. The allure of this pollen-filled season, honey-smooth scent of catalpa blossoms, sparkle of sun, tender lullaby-call of oriole. I enjoy as much as I am physically able, though I sequester myself inside, away from the pollen, for much of the time.
5. Creative projects, and time to work on them
6. Yesterday, I did one of my Impossible Tasks, something that has been hanging over my head, making it hard to stay in the present.

Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly–in Beauty.

“The Wild Mother whispers, ‘Have you noticed? I left the gate open just for you.'” —Anonymous

“Now more than ever, we must catch glimpses of that which lifts us up.
Now more than ever, we must notice the rarely noticed miracles happening right under our nose.” —Rachel Macy Stafford

“I dream of lost vocabularies that might express some of what we no longer can.” —Jack Gilbert

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” —Rumi

“Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.” —Rumi

“I know I walk in and out of several worlds each day.” ―Joy Harjo

Andrew Harvey:
“All mystical systems are addicted to transcending this reality. This addiction is part of the reason why the world is being destroyed. The monotheistic religions honor an off-planet God and would sacrifice this world and its attachments to the adoration of that God. But the God I met was both immanent and transcendent. This world is not an illusion, and the philosophies that say it is are half-baked half-truths. In an authentic mystical experience, the world does disappear and reveal itself as the dance of the divine consciousness. But then it reappears, and you see that everything you are looking at is God, and everything you’re touching is God. This vision completely shatters you.

“We are so addicted, either to materialism or to transcending material reality, that we don’t see God right in front of us, in the beggar, the starving child, the brokenhearted woman; in our friend; in the cat; in the flea. We miss it, and in missing it, we allow the world to be destroyed.”

Gratitude and a Rule for Parenting

Gratitude List:
1. Glorious Lady Magnolia tree on 462 across from the Red Rose. Oh goodness! Can a tree be traumatized from witnessing humans kill each other?
2. I changed the cutting head on the string trimmer all by myself. It took a lot of figuring to get the old one off, but I managed.
3. Open House at my school tonight. Nice to spend time with colleagues, and to get a chance to show off the school to prospective families. It was lovely to see a few students again, too.
4. Baked oatmeal for supper. Comfort food.
5. How doing art makes you see the world differently.

May we walk in Beauty!

A Rule for Parenting:
Never simply say, “Don’t lick your brother’s food.”
You have to also say,
“Don’t tell your brother you licked his food, even if you didn’t. Especially if you didn’t.”
“Don’t lick the packaging that your brother’s food is in.”
“Just don’t lick or talk about licking your brother’s food.”
I probably should have included more permutations, but I was getting just a little cranky (momspeak for VERY GROUCHY). This parenting gig can be hard.

Here’s a found poem. I put it together from strips of paper and glued it to yesterday’s painting. I was loving it, and so I put Mod Podge on it to seal it, but instead it stayed white and gloopy. It was a disaster. I pulled off the pieced and mostly salvaged the painting, but the poem strips were destroyed.

One morning before dawn
in the thick of that month,
the trees still heartrendingly asparkle,
the women’s laughter,
as dark as bitter chocolate,
lodged in the house of
beautiful magnificent wings.

They halted at the woods,

Passage through the wilderness
was not a simple matter
to escape a forest without shade,
We have to ascribe to femaleness
the audacious, the math, the order.

Below, the alligators
are sleeping in the grass
awaiting the rain.

When I look up, you look up,
and we know.

Eight Candles

Gratitude List:
1. People who cry when they read the sad parts in books. I am thinking of a particular student wiping her eyes as she finished the last pages of her most recent book.
2. Cherry blossoms
3. The tight fists of buds in the Flinchbaugh orchards. Some tiny blooms, too.
4. This parenting gig. Birthdays remind me how precious it all is, and how fleeting.
5. People are still talking about the Senior Presentations. During Tuesday’s final group, the rooms were packed, the energy was high, and the support was evident. People were pronouncing blessings on their fledglings. I love to hear students speak of how much they appreciate their teachers–it gives me a new and deeper appreciation (already deep) for my colleagues.

May we walk in Beauty. May we shower each other with Blessings.

Sun and Sunflowers


This river keeps rolling
rushing beneath me
even when my small boat
rests still on the water
quiet and open

Gratitude List:
1. Good Parenting is alive and well. Yesterday at Hersheypark, in the claustrophobic middle of the masses, where exhausted, grouchy parents are trying to deal with exhausted, grouchy children, I did not expect to so consistently witness such tender and attentive parenting. The whole point of going to an amusement part as a family is to have fun together, and mostly I saw adults eagerly sharing and creating a fun experience for their children.
2. Watching a child conquer his fears by going on a slightly scary roller coaster. “Let’s do that one again!”
3. Oak and sycamore and larch. The beautiful old trees at the park.
4. Seeing the world from high above. Perspective.
5. Doing the inner work. There is always a new challenge, a new practice, a new perspective to incorporate.

May we walk in Beauty!

Parenting as a Spiritual Path

I caught him in the middle of conversation. He always has quite a lot to say.

Remember that boy that I brought to tears the other day because of the homework? Last night he finished the project, and got most of the daily homework done, too. Trust the child to find his way, Mama.

It’s just that he reminds me so much of myself, I think. I have always struggled with deadlines, and the stress of the last minute. Still, it is partly the looming deadline itself that brings the fire of inspiration for me–why should it be different for him?

Parenting is a spiritual path, isn’t it? It requires self-awareness in spades.  Self-control. Patience. It brings deep love and gratitude at every step. I keep feeling like I am getting it wrong, begin to feel that shame of inadequacy (and what shame is worse than the shame of letting another human down?), and then suddenly grace appears, and mercy, and whole new rooms open up.

Gratitude List:
1. Pawpaws
2. Getting the work done
3. Last night was Back-to-School Night at school, where the parents walk through their students’ schedules. I think it was just too hot for lots of people, but I did get to have some wonderful conversations with many parents. I love to talk to the parents about their students.
4. The sunrises have been so beautiful. Magenta and violet, gentle and heart-opening.
5. Friday.

May we walk in Beauty!

Luna, Hen, and Living in the Village

2013 August 270 2013 August 274

Gratitude List:
1.  Luna Moth
2.  Halo of morning sun around a black hen on dewy grass coming to greet me in the morning.
3. The parenting village–we don’t have to do it all alone, don’t have to figure it out all alone.
4.  Dissatisfaction and satisfaction: a two-sided coin.  Right now, I am exploring dissatisfaction as a means to avoid complacency and getting-stuck-in-a-rut-ness.
5.  Ellis is reading Calvin and Hobbes cartoons to Joss.

May we walk in Beauty, fly in Beauty.