Realignment

It is one of those glorious spring mornings, the dawn chorus almost deafening in the hollow, the sun beginning to chase away the deeper shadows as it tops the ridge.  It is spring, and the world is resetting itself, opening, shifting. This time between May Day and Summer Solstice is a good time to catch that energy, to examine our intentions and dreams and hopes and decide which passions need our whole-hearted focus.

In order to find this space for change and focus in my life, I am going to take a short break from social media and blogging.

You know those little puzzles that used to be so popular, with a picture broken up into sixteen or twenty-five squares and arranged on a five-by-five grid? In order to shift all the pieces into the correct order, one of the pieces has to be removed. Then you have to think several steps ahead of yourself to shift things, piece by piece, until the picture comes clear. That’s where I am at this moment. I am trying to shift and slide things into place, and I need to remove a piece for a time until I get things sorted out. My non-teaching computer time is that piece for now.

I am not going off in a huff, and I am neither sad nor angry. (No, that’s untrue. I am both sad and angry–but no more than usual, and still in the balance of delight and love and pleasure. And neither sad nor angry at my online community.) I will continue to write, to process, to contemplate and ponder. I am not sure how long this is going to take me. Probably a week or two. Perhaps until the end of May. I want to end my school year with a strong and healthy focus, and begin my summer with a new set of good habits.

Perhaps the thing that reminded me to step into the moment of this shift was that weaving in the photo. On Spring Equinox, I made myself a little prayer bundle/wish bundle of random papers and strings and fabrics. I was in a hurry and didn’t spend a great deal of time choosing and processing the items I put in the bundle–I just made sure that they represented the ideas I wanted to bring to birth in the next cycle of my life. I left the bundle in the elements, in my little faerie circle, where the ferns grew up around it in the six weeks that it waited. On May Day, I brought it inside and opened it up. Yesterday, I cut the fabric into strips and began a weaving, using the items from the bundle, and some extra yarns. As it started to take shape, I began to feel a sense of the first steps that I must take in order to find my way toward myself. (I wasn’t sitting in a quiet room with peaceful music for contemplation–I was at the table, where my husband and one son were making a diorama of a train in a landscape and the other son was creating props for a spoken word poem he is preparing for class. There was a lot of chatter, but at one point, all three guys were thoughtfully humming different things to themselves. This is the sort of space I have for contemplation these days, and I love it.)

That little puzzle game with all the pieces of the picture? Right now, I have several parts of the teacher to shift into place, while keeping the mom and partner pieces as steady as possible. The various writer pieces have been terribly scattered, never actually assembled into a cohesive whole. That’s the part I really want to shift into place. The reader and wild woman and farmer and monk-in-the-world pieces will shift and re-shift as I figure out what the final picture looks like. I trust them to know that they belong.

Perhaps you want to join me? You don’t need to drop the ethereal world of the internet to shift the picture. What are the elements in your own life that you want to reassemble? If there’s a habit piece that you need to set aside for a moment while you gather the others into focus, is it possible to set it aside, to make a fast from it for a time?

If you need to contact me during the month of May, you will need to email me at 4goldfinches@gmail.com. I have been terrible about keeping up with emails in the recent weeks, and my social media fast will help me to re-develop an efficient relationship to email.

Here is a poem I wrote last year. I think it might be my theme for the coming realignment:
You are the Dragon, You are the Cave
By Beth Weaver-Kreider

The thing you learn, of course,
before you strap your sword belt on,
is that the princess you pledged to save
is only yourself in another guise,
that the dragon you swore to smite
is simply your own roaring ego
belching flame in the mouth of the cave.

You are the villagers rioting in the streets,
and calling for the dragon’s blood.
You are the bells that pealed from the towers
when the dragon circled above the town.
You are the sword,
the shield, the very cave,
the small frightened mouse
trampled in the fray.
You are the village.
You are the mountain.
You are the day itself,
quiet witness to the story.

Some quotations for your Saturday:
“Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.” ―Stanley Kunitz
*
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
― Jane Goodall
*
“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
*
“The challenges in our world can’t be solved by individualistic thinking. These challenges must be tackled by groups of individuals who understand that collective strength and selflessness is the only way out. Sometimes the craziest ideas can give you the most impressive change.” ―Leymah Gbowee

And a Gratitude List:
1. Realignment
2. Intention and manifestation
3. These boys playing together
4. The way that leaf twirls gently down the spring wind
5. You. Always You.

May we walk in Beauty!

Send Down the Roots

Roots
(As is the way with internet searches, I found this beautiful piece of artwork with no reference to the artist.  If you know, please send me the information.)

Now is the time
to send down the roots,
fine little hairs feeling their way
spiraling into the moist darkness,
between clods and stones,
around the bones
of those who came before,
through the streams that run
deep beneath the surface.

Now is the time
to feed and nurture
all that lives beneath the surface,
all that searches for depth,
all that gathers strength
from the comforting darkness of earth.

Now is the time to bless
the part of the plant that seeks shadow,
that grows inward,
faithfully finding its way
by blind instinct
toward the center.

Gratitude List:
1. Tea with Marie and Benn, conversing and exploring puzzles with the beloved community.
2. How a puzzle on the table creates a perfect setting for making a new friend.  It fills up the awkward silences, gives you a shared task, and is itself an image of untangling and ordering creating a new thing.
3. Roots
4. Still a few more days of Christmas Break.  I feel myself opening, loosening, drawing toward my center.
5. Richard Rohrer.  Moving on from Cynthia Bourgeault’s deepening words of Advent, I have begun to work more intentionally with his daily words.  Today:

God’s life is living itself in me. I am aware of life living itself in me.
God’s love is living itself in me. I am aware of love living itself in me.

May Love live us.

Layers of Time

Making hay on the old farm
(Old Slabaugh Family Photo.  I’ll need to ask around to find out who they are.)

Layers of Time

Sit in this bubble
of now, and settle yourself
into the moment.
The past will wash over you,
and the future will rush in.

Gratitude List:
1. Were I on our custodial staff, I would hate it, so I feel a little sheepish saying this, but I love the way the leaves leaves track all over the floor at school on rainy days.  It’s like the trees are trying to come inside.
2. Our long-suffering and hard-working custodial staff.
3. One of my Chinese students made sushi for Advisory Group snack yesterday.  That was delicious.
4. Problem-solving.  Puzzles.  Conundrums.
5. Restorative Justice.  What if our schools and communities would start offering classes and workshops and trainings in restorative justice, in creatively addressing conflict rather than escalating it?  What if all prospective security guards and police officers were required to log 50 hours of restorative justice training (and anti-racism training) before they entered their jobs?

Blessings on your Beautiful Day!