Follow Your Map

Quotations for today:
“Morning is the best of all times in the garden. The sun is not yet hot. Sweet vapors rise from the earth. Night dew clings to the soil and makes plants glisten. Birds call to one another. Bees are already at work.” —William Longgood
***
“Elsewhere the world may be blustering or sleeping, wars are fought, people live and die, some nations disintegrate, while others are born, soon to be swallowed up in turn—and in all this sound and fury, amidst eruptions and undertows, while the world goes its merry way, bursts into flames, tears itself apart and is reborn: human life continues to throb. So, let us drink a cup of tea.” —Muriel Barbery, “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”
***
“There is ecstasy in paying attention.”
—Anne Lamott
***
“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.” —Clarissa Pinkola Estes


Gratitude List:
1. I usually try to protect his privacy on my social media sites, but I just have to say that you have to love a man who sings to his cats.
2. And who delights in sharing the first ripe tomato. On toast. With mayo.
3. Reading with the children. Sharing stories together.
4. Maps and guides, which is to say, You. You and the stones and the rivers. And the Voice inside.
5. Therese Patricia Okoumou, who climbed to the feet of Our Lady Liberty to protest the criminalization of migrants. She inspires.

May we walk in Beauty!

What Shall Our Acts of Resistance Be?


So: What
–today–
shall our acts
of resistance
BE?

I will do my Work
with a will.

I will notice beauty
all around me.
I will bless
the passage of a bird across the sky.

I will create one thing of Beauty.

I will elevate my speech.

Going forward,
I will be the one in the room
who speaks up
when men of power
(or women)
turn the conversation
from the human course.

I will do battle with the big lie.


Doing battle with the big lie is a phrase that came to me in a dream a few weeks ago. Somehow it has been trailing me these past few days, knocking on my consciousness. What is the Big Lie? How do we battle it? Certainly in these days, the Big Lie is about white supremacy, about cultural and national superiority/inferiority.

May we all, on this MLK Day, commit to acts that strengthen our communities, that speak Truth to the lies. May we all increase our own work in our own circles to dismantle the system of white supremacy that continues to cripple our nation.


Quotations for MLK Monday:
“Beauty is a form of genius—is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation.” —Oscar Wilde (thanks to Ranita Hurst)
***
“Regardless of our beliefs, we all suffer from ignorance, and we all have projected our losses and fears onto each other in one way or another. This is my dream of the beloved community: that we can at least find a way to talk to each other, to talk past the fear, the separation, and find another way to live.”
—Sallie Jiko Tisdale, “Beloved Community”
***
Variation on a Theme by Rilke (from Denise Levertov)
A certain day became a presence to me;
there it was, confronting me—a sky, air, light:
a being. And before it started to descend
and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, granting me
honor and a task. The day’s blow
rang out, metallic—or it was I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can.
(thanks to Karen Salyer McElmurray)
***
“Satire is meant to ridicule power. If you are laughing at people who are hurting, it is not satire, it is bullying.” —Terry Pratchett (thanks to Craig Sottolano)


Gratitude List:
1. The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and all those who fought with him. We clearly have much work to do.
2. Beloved Community, in all its forms and variations. May we become ever more conscious of our connections.
3. This day. This hour. This moment.
4. This silence. My brain needs this silence.
5. Magic/prayer/intention: whatever it is that we place into the hands of the Great Mystery. Right now on my plate, it is an all-out call to stop the harm, to halt the destruction, to protect the vulnerable.

May we walk in Beauty!

Walking Back to Center

lace-bridge

Perhaps if I keep writing the same thing over and over again, I will find my way into a new story. I keep returning to what the balances are in these days. Contemplation and activism, destruction and building up, resistance and gelassenheit, staying awake and staying sane.

This morning, after I had posted yet another horrifying news blurb (this one about the WH stance on the press as the enemy) on Facebook, my friend Anna politely and respectfully asked me whether there might be a point at which the continued reposting of the outrages might actually feed the energy of the current administration. This makes a lot of sense to me. When I live in a state of high anxiety about the meanness or pettiness or rudeness of someone else, I hand that person power, I let the bully control me. When I name someone my enemy, I bind myself to that person in a powerful way, and then every move that person makes becomes something I need to react to.

So. Cut the bindings. I can’t let these news cycles control me, can’t let every new atrocity throw me out of kilter. Yet this sounds dangerously similar to dis-engagement, to willful ignorance, something my privilege might allow me to do, but something my conscience cannot allow. How can I keep from being battered about by every move of this bully giant we’ve brought into existence, but still keep close enough to lend my strength to the toppling of the giant?

This is the thing I keep re-writing, over and over and over again: How can I keep from being carried along blindly by the waves of outrage, and still stay awake to the very real dangers that this giant poses to my Beloved Community?  How can we live with a sense of peace and purpose in the midst of the storm? Resist AND persist?

I think that the next four years are going to necessitate a constant reassessment of that balance, and it may not be the same for every person.  Here are some things I am going to try:

1. Listen to my wise Beloveds. Like Anna. Like you.
2. Learn to ask tender gentle questions like Anna did for me. Little wake-ups that help bring people around to themselves.
3. Remember to call people by their truest name: Beloved.
4. Limit the news. I need it in order to stay awake, to know my Work, but I can’t let it control my emotional state.
5. Read the words of MLK. He found a balance.
6. Watch more videos of baby fruit bats with their expressive ears and eyes.
7. Don’t fall into the pit of thinking that action is better than prayer.
8. Don’t fall into the pit of thinking that the Work is done when the prayer is done.
9. Feed action with contemplation.
10. Go outside and look up. Feel the wind. Feel the rain. Absorb color like sunlight.

Gratitude List:
1. The voice of the travelers in the morning, high above. “You do not have to be good.” “What we need is here.” (Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry references.)
2. The way winter trees stand against the sky, letting the magenta or the Maryblue or the aquamarine slip through their branches and twigs.
3. Although it was a little scary to drive through it, the way that storm front moved through. The scary clouds are also beautiful and exhilarating. Is there a life lesson in that? Sounds a little like Little Red in “Into the woods.”
4. All my Beloveds. We can always widen our circles to contain more and more Beloveds. Our hearts have limitless capacity.
5. A small retreat I took today at Radiance, to write and meditate and make art based on the chakras.

May we walk in Beauty!

You Are Welcome Here

screenshot-2017-01-29-at-9-56-22-am
Available as a pin on https://www.zazzle.com/skunk_holler

Gratitude List:
1. Lancaster, PA. Hundreds of people stood on the four corners of Penn Square to support refugees from Muslim countries, to resist the Muslim Ban. I stood with Iraqi friends, with Syrian friends. There were teachers and students there from my school, people from church, people from the peace groups, babies and teenagers, elders and middle-agers. The trees were still wrapped in their holiday lights, and people were carrying candles and signs. There were pink hats and hijabs and shaved heads. Laughter and shouting and tears.
2. That bowl of a moon that smiled down on us, filled with a twinkling of Earthshine, there, next to bright Venus.
3. The scarf-bombers. On our way out, we passed through a gathered group of scarf-bombers, pixies out on the town, leaving warm treasures for those who need warmth on a cold night. I knew at least one student from my school in that group, too.
4. The World-Changers. I am filled with pride to think that at two different events in Lancaster tonight, one to show support for displaced people, and one to show support for homeless people–at both of those events were students from my school. I am awash in pride and wonderment at their determination to good in the world.
5. Respite. Retreat. Rejuvenation.

May we walk in Beauty!  So much love.