My primary dream memories from last night are of storm, of rain and wind lashing the windows–of the house where I wandered, of the classroom where I was teaching. Classroom dreams are always anxiety dreams–and this one woke me up to lie and worry once again about my sense of constant insufficiency. And of course the storm was happening outside as well as in my dreams.
Somewhere near dawn, Mrs. Rochester began to walk about in the attic of my brain; whether invoked by dream or imagination, I am not certain. I was in a half-doze. Last night before bed, I finished The Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys’s exploration of the life of Antoinetta Bertha Cosway Mason Rochester. (There’s a name to sing.) Critics tend to agree that the madwoman in the attic was Bronte’s metaphor for the writer that women keep locked up inside themselves. If she is not allowed out to live in the real world, she is liable to burn the house down–figuratively, of course.
Yesterday, during my solitude, I let the madwoman out to play. Finally. I had kept her locked up so long that I had forgotten how much good material I had already written for the book that’s been churning inside my head. I’m going to trust her to walk about the rooms a little more in the daytime, and see what she can create.
1. Letting the madwoman out of the attic
2. Will and determination
3. Today is Friday, and I still have five more days of rest, if you count today
4. Rain and wind
5. The patterns made by leafless trees against a dawn-grey sky
May we walk in Beauty!
Words for the Third Day of Kwanzaa:
Today’s Kwanzaa Word is Ujima. Here is what a wrote a few years ago on this day:
“Collective work and responsibility. I love that it comes after kujichagulia, self-determination. When we each get our own house in order, our own mojo going, then we can work together to build and strengthen our communities.
“Here in these days of stillness as the earth is poised to swirl back into the Long Light, what a wonderful idea to contemplate: How can I carry my own energies into community-building in the New Year?”
This year’s addendum: And of course, Kwanzaa is an African American holiday, so the question for me becomes: How can I use the privilege I was born with to support and strengthen the community-building work of people of color?
“I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.” ―Anaïs Nin
Leave your windows and go out, people of the world,
go into the streets, go into the fields, go into the woods
and along the streams. Go together, go alone.
Say no to the Lords of War which is Money
which is Fire. Say no by saying yes
to the air, to the earth, to the trees,
yes to the grasses, to the rivers, to the birds
and the animals and every living thing, yes
to the small houses, yes to the children. Yes.
“If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.
Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.
So like children, we begin again…
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.”
―Rainer Maria Rilke
“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living. We live ourselves into new ways of thinking.
It seems that we Christians have been worshiping Jesus’ journey instead of doing his journey. The worshiping feels very religious; the latter just feels human and ordinary. We are not human beings on a journey toward Spirit, we are already spiritual beings on a journey toward becoming fully human, which for some reason seems harder precisely because it is so ordinary.” ―Richard Rohr
“What if nostalgia is not a fruitless dwelling on those irretrievable moments of the past, as we are taught, but an attempt by sweetness to reach you again?
What if nostalgia is really located in the present, like a scent or ambience which is gathering around you should you avail yourself to it.
As anyone who has been heartbroken knows, there comes a time when, long after loss has been well-lived with, a small melody of love always returns. And to your surprise, you may recognise the tone of that love as the very same love you believed you lost.
It’s then that you know that your love was always your love. And if you let yourself be unguarded to it, nostalgia may find its way back into the generosity of your presence.” ―Dreamwork with Toko-pa
“Language is very powerful. Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes.” ―Desmond Tutu
“We enter solitude, in which also we lose loneliness. True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One’s inner voices become audible. One feels the attraction of one’s most intimate sources. In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives. The more coherent one becomes within oneself as a creature, the more fully one enters into the communion of all creatures.” ―Wendell Berry