I’m not sure where this one came from. My brain is a little fried from a day of really hard work. Sometimes that’s when it’s easier to unhitch the brain’s horse and let it run free to do what it wants.
Gratitude List: 1. Finishing a long, hard procrastinated project, almost on time. 2. A day of being silent and alone 3. Lemon poppyseed muffin 4. An altar with a pathway of shining stones 5. The prospect of sleep: soon, soon, soon May we walk in Beauty!
“People have said to me, ‘You’re so courageous. Aren’t you ever afraid?’ I laugh because it’s not possible to be courageous if you’re not afraid. Courage doesn’t happen without fear; it happens in spite of fear. The word courage derives from ‘coeur’, the French for ‘heart.’ True courage happens only when we face our fear and choose to act anyway, out of love.” —Julia Butterfly Hill
“Where is our comfort but in the free, uninvolved, finally mysterious beauty and grace of this world that we did not make, that has no price? Where is our sanity but there? Where is our pleasure but in working and resting kindly in the presence of this world?” —Wendell Berry
“Every country should have a Ministry of Peace” —Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire
“Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.” —Tom Robbins
“I never want to lose the story-loving child in me. A story that meant one thing to me when I was forty may mean something quite different to me today.” —Madeleine L’Engle
“Imagine the tiny percentage of your body that is directly involved in reading this sentence. Now, consider the oversized percentage this conscious part of you occupies in your concept of yourself. So? What does this discrepancy mean? Is our “who” different from our “what”?” —Jarod K. Anderson, The Cryptonaturalist
“Where you ache to be recognized, allow yourself to be seen.” —Toko-pa Turner
A marvelous day today, beginning with a lovely hour in the grove. Then my Reiki 2 class with Sarah at Radiance. It was a lovely deepening, meditative day.
And the evening has been about getting reports finished for school. They’re due tomorrow afternoon, so I want to get some more done tonight before I go to bed. I’m just not going to shame myself for being a procrastinator. I wish I hadn’t cut this one so close to the wire. I always do. But feeling shame about it doesn’t help.
I think perhaps I’ll use some of what I learned in my Reiki 2 class today to try to shift some of that energy for next time. Break some unhealthy patterns by shifting energy instead of trying to shame myself out of them. I’m so done with shame.
Gratitude List: 1. Shifting energy 2. Sharing energy 3. Golden mornings 4. Wise teachers 5. Compassionate hearts May we walk in Beauty!
Happy Shakespeare’s Birthday: “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 (Barks, trans.)
“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
I failed 7th Grade Home Economics. I would like to say that it is because I was protesting. I was angry, after all, that in 7th grade, we were divided into two classes: girls to Home Ec, and boys to Mechanical Drawing. Really. It was assumed that girls needed this class in the “womanly” arts, and boys needed the heady realm of architecture and design. Sabotaging one’s own grade, however, in order to make a protest, is rather ineffective, not to mention that it never entered my mind. Perhaps it’s because I hated Home Ec so much? No, actually, I loved the crafts and the cooking then as much as I do now. Nor did I dislike the teacher. She was a gem, kind enough and firm enough. I failed Home Ec because I didn’t turn in my assignments. I procrastinated on the paperwork for the meals I prepared at home. I did most of the projects, but never followed through to hand in the necessary paperwork.
Here I am, forty-five years later, trying to function as an adult, and still stuck in the procrastination rut, still avoiding the paperwork, resenting the details that take me out of my butterfly brain. The little thing becomes a big thing, and the big thing gets spun together with strands of shame to become a BIG thing, and I just can’t even begin.
Is it an executive function issue? Belligerence? Depression? A poor self-concept? Laziness? Being in the wrong job for my temperament? Simply being human? The thing is, I never feel like I am out of the norm, or that I have a problem, until I’m out of it and back into functioning at a more-than-mere-survival rate. Then I look back and realize that I was in a bad space. I’ve not been diagnosed with depression or an executive functioning disorder. I tend to name it laziness more than anything, which is a bad tape to play on repeat.
I wonder if I need a therapist. Or a life coach? Or a spiritual advisor? When I’m so overwhelmed by The Big Thing, the thought of adding an appointment to my schedule and expense to our tight budget feels like an Impossible Thing. But here I am now, on the other side of the most recent Impossible Task, and it’s a roof-don’t-leak-when-the-rain-don’t-come moment. And so I dither and pass it off. As difficult as it is, I feel like I need to keep telling myself the story of how bad it was so I don’t settle in to another new normal without getting myself the help that I need to keep from getting into that sort of hole again.
This past week, I did a little art therapy to keep me processing and pushing toward making a change, toward getting help. I recently opened a box in the attic and discovered the little embroidery project that I finished in that 7th grade Home Ec class, probably the only assignment I handed in for the class. A mouse had discovered it before me, and had eaten through the musical notes that Snoopy is playing. Had it been whole, I might have thrown it out, jettisoning things that no longer serve me. But something in me said, “Mend it!” And so I did, weaving embroidery thread through the mouse-chewed hole, and re-embroidering Snoopy’s pawprint eighth notes. It’s not perfect, and neither am I. The mend is visible, as are my own torn and shredded pieces, and mended pieces.
As I wove and mended, I wondered whether that was when it began, when I started playing the tapes in my head that I am inadequate to the task, that I am too flaky, too inattentive, too lazy to follow through? Perhaps.
Snoopy needed a little help to be restored, and now I will stitch the piece onto a bag or a blanket or a pillow. Or I will fold it carefully and keep it in a drawer, to draw it out when I need to remind myself that I, too, need help to get through a rough patch, to shift my process so that I can keep from falling into holes I create.
Gratitudes: 1. This morning’s sunrise: A dragon opening a heavy cloud-indigo eyelid over a tangerine iris, shooting burning rays upward, a sundog to the southeast. 2. Mending 3. Making plans, making progress 4. Seeking help 5. Such wise and merry people in my life
May we walk in Beauty!
“You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” —Brené Brown
“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for.” —Georgia O’Keeffe
“Nothing good comes of forgetting; remember, so that my past doesn’t become your future…” —Elie Wiesel
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” —Mitch McConnell, February 7, 2017
“They can shut me up, but they can’t change the truth.” —Elizabeth Warren, February 7, 2017
“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” —Harriet Beecher Stowe
“You have to impose, in fact—this may sound very strange—you have to decide who you are, and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.” —James Baldwin
“There’s still a lot worth fighting for.” —Dr.Jane Goodall
“You’ve heard it said there’s a window that opens from one mind to another, but if there’s no wall, there’s no need for fitting the window, or a latch.” —Rumi
“Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end preexists in the means, the fruit in the seed.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Whether through prayer, ritual, poetry, or song, gratitude solidifies our relationship with the living mystery. It rejoins us to the intangible wholeness from which we feel disconnected. As we remember ourselves to the holy in nature, we are forging our own belonging.” —Toko-pa Turner
“Stories surround us like air; we breathe them in, we breathe them out. The art of being fully conscious in personal life means seeing the stories and becoming their teller, rather than letting them be the unseen forces that tell you what to do. Being a public storyteller requires the same skills with larger consequences and responsibilities, because your story becomes part of that water, undermining or reinforcing the existing stories. Your job is to report on the story on the surface, the contained story, the one that happened yesterday. It’s also to see and sometimes to break open or break apart the ambient stories, the stories that are already written, and to understand the relationship between the two.” —Rebecca Solnit
“We will not know our own injustice if we cannot imagine justice. . . . “We will not be free if we do not imagine freedom.” —Ursula K. Le Guin
You know how a little task, left to smolder, grows and builds until it’s a raging, impossible fire? I let that happen this past semester with some of the grading that needed to get done. It just got out of hand. I can make all the excuses: the distraction of election and insurrection, winter depression, the frustration of trying to work with assignment submissions online and students who simply cannot seem to figure out how to submit so they email you or leave the documents in their shared folder. Still, it was me not getting it done.
My friend Gloria says she’s read that incorrigible procrastination (my adjective) is related to low self esteem. I think I must have work to do there, and of course that feeds into the sense of depression and the further procrastination.
Last night, at about three, I finally put the first semester to rest. It’s a relief, but the chronic nature of my procrastination has now created a lingering sense of inadequacy that dogs me, makes it hard to celebrate joyfully.
But here is a breathing space: Today is Brigid’s Day. Brigid was a goddess of the British Isles, who became conflated with Saint Brigid. Notice her in whatever guise she calls to you–she is the Teacher I need for this moment. She calls for commitment to your purpose, calls for responsibility and accountability. Not a heavy and forced and angry accountability, but a joyful and purposeful walk into your destiny.
Like our friend the groundhog takes stock of shadows and light, of what will be needful for the next six weeks as we walk out of winter and into spring, today (this season) is for taking stock, for considering what inner and mental health resources we may have on hand, what we will need to search out in the coming weeks, in order to make it through.
So, on the night when so many of my friends were tending their hearthfires in honor of Brigid, and meditating on her healing and inspiration, on how she stirs the Earth and Her creatures to waken, I was finishing a task, slipping in just under the wire to be accountable to my work, celebrating this seasonal shift toward awakening with my own wakeful process, my commitment to my task, late and haphazard as it felt.
The wakefulness of this moment, when the Earth begins to stir beneath her blanket of snow, requires acknowledgement and tallying of the past, and striving and moving into the future. Commitment to make a change. I have been telling myself at the beginning of every semester that I will be on top of things THIS time. And still, I fall and I fail. Perhaps I need to get some help in this coming season. Our school, in conjunction with a local mental health organization, offers at least one free session with a trained counselor in a year. Perhaps my commitment on this Brigid’s day should be different than my usual bombastic “I can do this myself!” Perhaps it should be to seek help, find resources that will support me to meet my goals.
Gratitudes: 1. Resolve 2. Awakening 3. Wisdom of the Grandmothers 4. Snow Day 5. This cat Sachs, who is trying to rest in the circle of my arms as I type. He keeps putting his paw on my hand. He is purring. He likes snow days as much as I do.
May we walk in wisdom and Beauty!
Song for Brigid’s Day by Beth Weaver-Kreider
Do you feel how the world comes alive? How even underneath its coat of snow, inside the bright crystals of the ice, something in the Earth is stirring?
Within your own eyes I see it rising– in this breath, and now this one– the Dreamer is awakening.
The dawn has come, spreading its golden road before you, asking, “Will you step upon the pathway?”
As you move out onto the road, Brigid’s sun upon your face will trace your outline full behind you, defining you in the Shadow which will be your soul’s companion into spring.
“The human heart is the first home of democracy. It is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole beings, not just our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions? And do we have enough resolve in our hearts to act courageously, relentlessly, without giving up—ever—trusting our fellow citizens to join with us in our determined pursuit of a living democracy?” —Terry Tempest Williams
We are capable of suffering with our world, and that is the true meaning of compassion. It enables us to recognize our profound interconnectedness with all beings. Don’t ever apologize for crying for the trees burning in the Amazon or over the waters polluted from mines in the Rockies. Don’t apologize for the sorrow, grief, and rage you feel. It is a measure of your humanity and your maturity. It is a measure of your open heart, and as your heart breaks open there will be room for the world to heal. That is what is happening as we see people honestly confronting the sorrows of our time. And it is an adaptive response.” —Joanna Macy
“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” —Virginia Woolf
“Close your eyes and follow your breath to the still place that leads to the invisible path that leads you home.” —St. Teresa of Avila
“You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal, against hope, and without fear. I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.” ―Lauren Oliver, Delirium
“You can never leave footprints that last when you are walking on tiptoes.” ―Leymah Gbowee