"What soul was his, when, from the naked topOf some bold headland, he beheld the sunRise up, and bathe the world in light!"
Walking the boys home from school on Wednesday, I found this lying on the sidewalk. Seemed a most appropriate poem to find on the first day of spring.
There were moments on that day - between bouts of blustery, cold, winter wind - that our world seemed to be bathed in light. How it does awake the soul!
Grateful thanks to the soul who dropped it.
"For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land." --Song of Solomon, chapter two (from Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott)
Here's a great quote for the first day of spring. I am starting to feel this way. That winter is past and the rain is gone (or at least going....) and the time of singing birds is come. It's time to come out of hiding, slough off our winter weight and dance in the new grass.
"Whatever the circumstances, it is better to love, create and construct than to hate, undermine and destroy." --Helen & Scott Nearing, The Good Life
book was a Christmas present and I finished reading it back in January,
but didn't make the time to "collect" the quotes from it until a few
days ago. I almost didn't. Two months on I wondered if what struck me
back in January was even relevant today, so quickly does time seem to
move these days. But I was wrong.
The wisdom in this
book (some of it from books published in the 1800's) is as relevant
today as it was when Helen and Scott Nearing were homesteading on farms
in Vermont and Maine in the 70's and 80's.
They have much to say about conservation, the economy, hard work and leisure time that we need to hear in 2013. It makes me want to run away to the country even though I know I wouldn't last a year.
It does have me thinking though, about how to do things differently today…
"You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a care or grief. But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound." --Kahlil Gibran, quoted in the Opening to Ecstasy newsletter
"If you can't think something nice, don't think anything at all." --My take on Thumper's Law, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all."
I am reading Anne Lamott again and her books always make we want to weep at the hopelessness of our situation and at the same time inspire me to be better in the face of all this hopelessness. It is a fine line she walks between utter despair and blissful transcendence and I always enjoy the ride.
One thing I am noticing this time is that she always says at least three good things about the people she loves when she describes them in her books.
"I'm a little bit of everything all rolled into one. I'm a bitch. I'm a lover. I'm a child. I'm a mother. I'm a sinner. I'm a saint. I do not feel ashamed....So take me as I am." --"Bitch" by Meredith Brooks
Sometimes you hear a song without really hearing it. And sometimes, at just the right moment, you can hear it all.
Driving in the car this weekend, "Bitch," by Meredith Brooks came on the radio and it was like I was hearing it for the first time. I don't think I know a better song as an anthem for spiritual practice and the path we are all on.
As Pema Chodron puts it, "Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better, it's about befriending who we already are."
It's about befriending who we already are - the Bitch. The Lover. The Child. The Mother.
Whoever you are today, make friends with yourself. Love yourself. Embrace who YOU ARE right now.
"Give yourself a rest, a break, and some space. Do only what you
absolutely have to and take the rest of the time to either do nothing or
to do something that nurtures the instinctive part of you. We could
even say that this is an instinctively centered day and it is OK to
spend it in an instinctive way." --The Power Path, advice for today, Monday, March 11, 2013
I have been immersing myself in Pema Chodron lately. Taking the Leap is on my nightstand. The Three Commitments on my iPod. Pema's voice in my head when I sit down to meditate. (I have even been experimenting with an "eyes open" meditation technique, completely anathema to me in the past.)
One of the things I have learned - and am practicing - is what she calls "the 90-second thing."
This technique comes via Jill Bolte Taylor (whose brilliant TED talk "My Stroke of Insight" is in the top twenty of most-watched TED talks ever) a brain researcher who studied herself as she had a stroke. One of the things Dr. Jill observed was that her emotions, when not fueled by thoughts, lasted only about 90 seconds and then dissipated.
In The Three Commitments, Pema shares this discovery as a technique to use in your spiritual practice. As a way to train in being present, in resisting what she calls shenpa (atta…
"The truth is, there is ALWAYS hidden value in every moment of life. It just might take us some time to discover it." --Wandering Earl
In preparation for a trip to Japan this summer I am starting to surf the web for things to do, accommodation, and travel tips. As these things always do, one thing led to another and I stumbled upon this quote on the website www.wanderingearl.com.
Wandering Earl took off from his home in the USA in 1999 and hasn't had a permanent residence since. And while I am not sure I am suited to this kind of a life permanently, I do love to travel this way.
No itinerary. No plan. No reservations. Just a basic idea of where I am headed and when I might (or might not) get there.
"No one cares what you think. No one is interested. They are going to do what they are going to do." --Anne Lamott, speaking in Seattle April 2010
Last night I had a dream in which my sister-in-law told me she was moving in with an old friend of hers. I immediately stated that this was a very bad idea and proceeded to list all of the reasons why.
I didn't get more than halfway into my list before she got pissed off and walked away. I was stunned. I was just trying to help. But it didn't matter. She didn't care what I thought. She wasn't interested. She was going to do what she was going to do.
As soon as I woke up I knew what this dream was showing me. It was a mirror.
Yesterday afternoon someone had done something very similar to me and I had reacted unfavorably. I was pissed and ranting to my husband. "I didn't ask for HER opinion. I JUST needed a Yes or No answer. How ARROGANT can you be?" Etc., etc. [I also sent an email response that was …
"...it's not all random. if it really was all random, the universe would abandon us completely. and the universe doesn't. it takes care of its most fragile creations in ways we can't see. like with parents who adore you blindly. and a big sister who feels guilty for being human over you. and a little gravelly-voiced kid whose friends have left him over you. and even a pink-haired girl who carries your picture in her wallet. maybe it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end. the universe takes care of all its birds." --R.J. Palacio, from her novel Wonder
A few weeks ago we finally bought our kids iTouches. I was not sure that this was a good idea, but they had been asking for months (if not years) and finally for the older one's birthday, I gave in.
Last week I was sitting on the couch doing my morning meditation when my younger son's iTouch went off. I wasn't sure what it was (his alarm sound is Chewbacca growling) so I opened my eyes and looked around briefly.
His iTouch was sitting on the end table right next to me and I could see that a reminder had come up for him. It read: be awesome. now!
My heart melted.
So often I can see my bad parenting in them so clearly. When they struggle with anger. When they give into hopelessness. When they rail against someone's unjust behavior instead of finding compassion.
But there are also moments when I know I am having an influence on them that is positive and this was one of those moments.
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disap…