?

Log in

It's Morning!

I've been here at Live Journal since October, 2005. I started it to keep in touch with family and friends as I went through cancer treatment. Caringbridge didn't exist at the time. The word "blog" was completely new to me. The concept was puzzling. I don't pay because I'm giving content. Hmmmm! I don't know how many times my son explained it to me. I have come to understand.

Many friends left LJ when it was bought by the Russians but I understood the servers were still here. I was also hoping for a world of peace where such a change wouldn't be an issue, but things have changed. The servers have moved to Russia and their idea of censorship is different than ours, or at least different than ours was since this last election which is quickly changing everything.

I am surprised to feel how sad it is for me to consider leaving LJ but it seems a statement my conscience needs to make. I have now set up a Dreamwidth account though even there I realize how much has changed in me, for me. It asks for my interests - music, books, movies. I love books and maybe that's enough to say. Who am I now? Do I want to be categorized when I feel myself changing day to day, moment to moment?

I haven't felt the impulse to post here very often these days. Perhaps no one will even read this. What is the identity I want for Dreamwidth? What do I want to say?

I think of the names - Live Journal - when I began, I wanted to live. Live Journal - Live Journal - I said it both ways with the I both long and short. I still want that living, but now I am invited into a new way of thinking and expanding, Dream Width. Hmmm! Both are both founded by the same people so I start to feel excitement at the change in name, at a change in locale. Who knows how quickly I'll jump but I've opened the ground for planting and so here I may come.

The question now is do I go back through what is here and delete what doesn't seem worth transferring over to LJ. They would take the whole mess, almost twelve years worth but does that make sense, and do I feel like going back through what is here, and if not, and hmmmm. My sons want me to keep it all and I am stunned at why this feels like such a big deal. I guess it reinforces my huge disappointment in this election. Seeing the dismantling of what I believe in - clean air, water, schools for all, parks, nature, the environment, literacy, courtesy, care for all beings. I suppose that's why I haven't been posting here. I am in pain.

The sun is shining!

Where I live the sun is shining and the buds have popped out so the plum trees are waving white. We've had months of rain, record breaking rain and nobody complained because we are so grateful to be out of drought but yesterday I walked outside, and the kitties lay in the sun, and we all reveled in the feel of sunlight on skin and psyche. The night before I'd seen one of my cats seemingly worshipping at the unseen moon, a moon one day from full and obscured by clouds, and yet my cat seemed to know it was there and sat attentively looking up.

In this new-found freedom of breath, I take John O'Donahue's wonderful book, To Bless the Space Between Us, out onto the deck and open to this blessing. We are all artists on how we live. Let's not forget and let's inspire on the light inside as it reaches to meet the light that might seem to be outside but really there is only one Light.


For the Artist at The Start of Day

May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source.

May this be a morning of innocent beginning,
When the gift within you slips clear
Of the sticky web of the personal
With its hurt and its hauntings,
And fixed fortress corners,

A morning when you become a pure vessel
For what wants to ascend from silence,

May your imagination know
The grace of perfect danger,

To reach beyond irritation,
And the wheel of repetition,

Deep into the call of all
The unfinished and unsolved

Until the veil of the unknown yields
And something original begins
To stir toward your senses
And grow stronger in your heart
In order to come to birth
In a clean line of form,
That claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard,
That calls space to
A different shape.

May it be its own force field
And dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the light

To surprise the hungry eye
By how deftly it fits
About its secret loss.





Ataraxia!!

Last night the word of the day in my Toastmasters club was Ataraxia, which means “a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety”. Ataraxia is tranquility. It sounds so exotic, that word, and I read on Wikipedia the word is a Greek term and was used to describe the ideal mental state for sending troops into battle. Hmmm! I’m making this my word for today. Ataraxia.

My intention is to be tranquil, serene and open to meet what comes and in that I sing because I’m reading that chanting raises my vibration, so I’m singing, chanting and humming Ataraxia in a multitude of ways.

May this day empty and fill, fill and empty with interaction, connection, communication, empathy, receptivity, grace, love, understanding and flow!

Breathing!!

Yesterday I participated in a sensory awareness workshop at Fort Mason in San Francisco. Though I wanted to arrive calm, I came agitated with the political news. What I noticed first was that my breathing was shallow, cautious, held. Then, I saw how limited my vision. My eyes weren’t drawn outside to look at the waves in the bay and the Golden Gate bridge. My focus was on the ache in my heart. I began to allow the breath to move in and out, to expand in its path of entering and exiting. How far could it enter, and how far could my personal exhalation reach out into the world?

In that, just that, breathing with more clarity and notice, fear began to release. Curiosity began to nuzzle inside and out. I settled into myself, this being that appears to be a separate individual, and yet is part of and interdependent with the environment and the world. The fear that had pulled me into a frightened, tight, and rigid ball, released. As I expanded out to become more aware of my environment, the muscles around my eyes relaxed and my vision expanded. Oh, there is a wider world to see and perceive and play with and interact with. Oh! This is fun. This is play! I walked and my hips began to sway.

I became more and more aware of the environment as part of me, of myself as part of the environment. I don’t end with my skin. Breath doesn't begin with the end of my nose or the opening of my mouth. Air is moving in and out everywhere. I am a process, breath and energy moving in and out. What is true of me is true of countries, of boundaries. Our vision expands when we are free to move in and out, to move freely and easily with the possibility of touching more deeply, more deeply ourselves and more deeply and completely, others. This is our guide. Touch. Breath. Air. Shared.

In that, giving and receiving are one. There is enough.

At the break in the workshop, each of us went outside and wandered individually around Fort Mason. I was surprised to feel so full and content that I didn't need anything. Though it was lunchtime, I didn't need food or flowers. I walked without temptation through the bookstore. I was pumped on exchange. I walked and absorbed. A woman was singing folk songs. A child was going up and down some steps. Though I wore wool, a young man strolled by in a pair of shorts. I looked at the water, listened to and watched gulls, and saw a huge container ship bringing in goods. The water flows in and out with the tides. Air is shared, and I expanded and released in being part of the energy and environment of Fort Mason, San Francisco, California, and the world. Each of us is one with a wider world and no one person is going to change that. Individually and collectively, we are one with a sky filled with stars, a luxurious harvest of more than we may see and absorb, and yet it is there when we open more fully to breath and the unity in connection, trust and touch.

And now a comment on trust. What is it to trust, to bring the breath in more fully to every crevice, hidden and not? What is it then to bring the depths of where that breath has now touched out into the world, swooshing and seasoning the air with a heart filled with love? Try it! It's free!
Yesterday my son and I enjoyed Hakone Gardens in Saratoga. I find the serenity of Japanese gardens soothing. Right now, the maple trees are bare, their slender outlines drawing patterns on the sky. The camellias are blooming; the waterfall is flowing. What a treat it is to sit on a bench in a quiet garden, well, not completely quiet as the gift shop is being redone and there is the sound of wood being cut which activates the knowing that sawdust falls in piles to the ground.

My son pointed out that the view from the decks is like the view from our home. We have native oaks and a redwood tree. In front of our house, a Japanese garden rises in the softness of winter light. Our maple trees are bare, gentle in mobilizing new buds and leaves.

Right now, many of us are pulled outside by the pounding and screeching of news, both factual and otherwise. I believe sometimes we need to pause and look at what is right here. For me, as I write this, it is early morning and the sky is coming to light. My insides feel rosy with absorption as I continue to digest food from The Bywater, a restaurant visit to New Orleans. In this moment, I am content with time to reflect. It is Saturday, and according to the Chinese calendar, it is a new year, the year of the rooster, the sign of dawn and awakening.

Meditating this morning, I found myself focused on a round green light shining through my partially closed eyes. I realized it was the light of my computer informing me it was fully charged, but somehow what I saw and felt was that it was a star. A star. I thought of how what I perceive as a star in the sky might be a galaxy or a herd of galaxies. I thought of how my computer connects me to galaxies of knowledge and people. My circuits flow with thanks.

Yesterday my son requested he would like to see more personal reports on Facebook and less political rants. In that light, I share that I like to view my personal history as one of assimilation. I fully claim my small percentage of Neanderthal ancestry. In addition I claim my integration of East and West. My study of sensory awareness comes from Germany. My first teacher of sensory awareness, Charlotte Selver, had to leave Germany because she was Jewish, and Hitler in his insatiable need to rise to power by creating and denouncing an “other” was out to destroy diversity. My study of Buddhism comes from Asia. For me, Buddhism is an invitation to enter a land and world of same-same, and that allows me, at times, to disengage from a society driven by consumerism and the need to compare. I understand the word “great” has no meaning. Neither does the word “huge”.

That brings me back to Hakone Gardens and the sawing of wood to renew a gift shop. My intention these days is to allow the wood of my upbringing to spread apart like sawdust to protect and nourish a wider root system that is then reflected in a wider branch system and through that to the spreading and sharing of gifts. My intention is to spread myself more openly and in that to more openly connect.

Today my branches may be bare but I hear the sound of the rooster and other birds as they call the leaves to emerge from the trees, bringing the abundance of spring, summer, and fall to this planet we share. With gratitude, I bow and sip coffee, tea and chocolate milk. I love this world, all of it, and I give thanks for this pounding and chain-sawing that opens us to more awareness of nourishing more parts of ourselves with tenderness, love, generosity and care.

Peace, ease, and Happy New Year!!

Seeing with full-moon eyes -

There is much to consider these days. I see those for whom I care connecting in a new awareness of being awake, of wanting to walk for and proclaim their support of true values, values of love, compassion, connection and care. Today I am with this poem by Hafiz. Does it make a difference how we weave and wave the light that comes from and enters our lives? I believe it does.



With That Moon Language

Admit something.

Everyone you see, you say to them
“Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud:
Otherwise,
Someone would call the cops.

Still, though, think about this,
This great pull in us
To connect.

Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying,

With that sweet moon
Language,

What every other eye in this world
Is dying to
Hear.

– Hafiz

I love stones!!

It's the last day of 2016, a day of retreat for me, a day of renewal as dark becomes light, and light becomes dark.

I am with this poem by Charles Simic written in 1938. I plan this year to more clearly reveal the star charts written on my inner walls.

Stone

Go inside a stone
That would be my way.
Let somebody else become a dove
Or gnash with a tiger’s tooth.
I am happy to be a stone.

From the outside the stone is a riddle:
No one knows how to answer it.
Yet within, it must be cool and quiet
Even though a cow steps on it full weight,
Even though a child throws it in a river,
The stone sinks, slow, unperturbed
To the river bottom
Where the fishes come to knock on it
And listen.

I have seen sparks fly out
When two stones are rubbed.
So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;
Perhaps there is a moon shining
From somewhere, as though behind a hill—
Just enough light to make out
The strange writings, the star charts
On the inner walls.




It's Time!!

This comes from Writer’s Almanac today: It was on this day in 1890 that federal troops killed almost 300 Lakota men, women, and children in the massacre at Wounded Knee. One of the survivors was Black Elk, the famous medicine man, who was 27 years old at the time of the massacre. He wrote: “I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream. And I, to whom so great a vision was given in my youth, - you see me now a pitiful old man who has done nothing, for the nation's hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead."

Oh, these words strike bone in my heart. Terrible things have happened over the years. It is time to repair the sacred hoop, to replant the sacred tree and come together, each one of us knowing and nourishing the seeds of connection within and without.

This morning I am with these words of Rainer Maria Rilke:

“Ah, not to be cut off,
not through the slightest partition
shut out from the law of the stars.
The inner - what is it?
if not the intensified sky,
hurled through with birds and deep
with the winds of homecoming.”


Some of us have been shaken by the changes in this last year, but if they can change one way, they can change another. It’s time to repair the hoop, to honor the center, and water, replenish and trust the deep sky that blooms joy, love and homecoming in the spinning web within.

Time -

Time seems to have slowed. It passes very slowly in the hospital and maybe I’ve changed pace. We woke early this morning and rose and I read a bit and picked up and still I have all the time in the world.

I’m with these words from Thich Nhat Hanh from his book At Home in the World.

The chapter is called Lotus Tea.

“Years ago in Vietnam, people used to go out onto a lotus pond with a small boat to put some tea leaves into an open lotus flower. The flower would close in the evening and perfume the tea during the night. Then, in the peace of early morning, when the dew was still glistening on the large lotus leaves, they would return in the boat with their friends to collect the tea. On the boat, they would take everything they needed to make delicious, fragrant tea: fresh water, a stove to heat it, teacups, and a teapot. Then in the beautiful early light of dawn, they would prepare the tea right there, enjoying the morning and drinking tea in the lotus pond. Nowadays we may have a lotus pond, but we do not seem to have time to stop and look at it, let alone to enjoy it by making tea and drinking it in that way.”


Since I read those words, I find myself pausing and imagining tea leaves resting in the night, soaking up the fragrance of the lotus flower. I pause now and inhale the scent, and in that both day and night lengthen in strength and wing the capillaries mirrored in my lungs.

Life -

At four A.M. on Christmas eve, I was at Jeff and Jan's home and I was awake. Steve was to arrive early but I got a text he was sick, really sick. He drove himself to the E.R. and was immediately rushed into the hospital where he's been until now. We just got home.

Oddly, the beauty and love we shared this Christmas is the greatest gift of all. Family mobilized and all bases were covered, as Jeff still needed someone with him and Jan needed to be with her family on Christmas day.

Will this be our greatest Christmas ever? Perhaps. We are all alive, healthy, breathing, grateful, close, embracing, embraced, and touched. Those who staff a hospital at Christmas are beyond amazing. Nurse Alan worked 12 hour shifts five days in a row so people could be with their families. Two guards were there for a prisoner from San Quentin. It was agreed the shackles would be removed so he could have a shower on Christmas day.

This morning a little boy ran into the hospital screaming "I want my mommy." Tears come even now as it was so clear there was nothing any of us could do to comfort this little boy being. His father was running to keep up. I know two babies were born yesterday while Steve was in surgery because they play a lullaby through the hospital speaker system when a baby is born. I hope that is why this little boy's mother was in the hospital. They didn't come to our floor but his screams resounded through the halls and elevator doors. I am so touched by this little boy and his pain as he so clearly missed, wanted and needed his mother. There is no way to explain to a child and maybe we are all children and want to scream but we are trained to restrain. I know this little boy brought tears to all of us who were there and he continues to bring tears to me now.

I wonder if I could have been anywhere else where so much was happening, so much that matters, so much that strokes the very core, and perhaps especially at Christmas when there is a pause and one notices that carols fill the hospital air.

At one point, there were so many emergencies that Steve was "parked" in the hall as we waited for a room. We joked that there was no room at the inn, and somehow amidst it all, each person felt holy and lit as though we were bound in the fire and light of one supernova star we shared for a time.

Beautiful bonding - beautiful sharing - Marin General Hospital is along an inlet of the bay and the tidal water is filled with birds. I sat with ducks this morning, egrets, coots, and gulls. Steve is home and I am grateful. He'll have surgery next week, a simple procedure and in this moment, and perhaps all moments, all is right with the world. The sun is shining and the cats and I are grateful to have Steve home. The best Christmas ever - yes I think so. My heart is wide and gratitude swells deep.