April 26th, 2006

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Morning -


          I am asked again today about ordinariness, about what it means to me, and how I find such joy and contentment there.  Two quotes come immediately to mind.

          One is by Emily Dickinson. 

                    “To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”

          The other is by Franz Kakfa. 

                      “It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet.

          I live in stillness.  I need it to renew.  I feel the sky rest on the leaves of the tree.  I feel it held there on the limbs so the tree can breathe, and we, ourselves hold air on our limbs gently, and breathe, while gravity gives a tug of support at our feet.

          I remember when looking at a flower and feeling the place where the stamen and pistil meet was so strong in me I could barely stand the feel of those two fleshes reproducing in the ovary queen.  I have learned to stand now in that stimulation. 

          I have participated in the medical world for a time.  It has been my path. I have enjoyed learning about it, and I look forward to returning to the healing touch of the breeze and the trees, the sea and the beach, the mountains, valleys, and streams. 

          I love feeling my perspiration rise into the sky, and return through the rain to me. 

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more thoughts on "ordinariness"

Driving up to radiation, I think about Angeles Arrien and her discussion of the four addictions in American society, especially the addiction to drama.

Driving home, I notice the wisteria blooming on the fence next to the freeway. I will have to stop one day soon and inhale.

Angeles Arrien says this: "I think that we are highly conditioned in the American culture to the four addictions: intensity, perfection, the need to know, and to being fixated on what is not working rather than what is working. Intensity is the passion in the heart which has not been claimed. It goes into creating dramas rather than staying with the emotional nature. Rather than dramatize things, feel them. Perfection doesn't tolerate mistakes but excellence incorporates them and goes to another level of excellence. The need to know is based in control rather than trusting in wisdom. Instead of fixating on what is not working we need to be stratigizing how to trust wisdom. The mark of a visionary is being able to see both what is working and what is not working. This is the gift of vision: seeing the whole, all of the details and seeking creative solutions."

My sense of this is that we are in a constant balancing of our curiosity which led to evolution, the need to explore that brought us out of the trees, the complex of the brain which expands and sparks as we explore and navigate new mazes, and the need to sit and be the sun as it seems to rise and set, as we turn.

Yes, we need stimulation. I think it is important to feel stimulation and workings within, as well as without.

I sit now, quiet my mind, and feel myself form like a cake. The eggs and butter cream within. Flour, mixed with baking soda and powder, slides into the mix. Liquid slurps and holds it all together. I rise in the oven of my own appreciation, and ice my own cake, even as I sit with other cakes, and nudge and mix our fudgy, fluffy ripples of frosting and crumbs. We exchange textures, dense, smooth, light.

Have a lovely day, being a cake, and honoring the ordinariness of your day, even as you realize fireworks are bouncing and spraying all about. I know we have to weed to not be overwhelmed by it all, and, so, do that, too. Choose the excitement that is you, and pinwheel yourself all about, like the stars moving the sky. Observe. Respond. Fire your neurons, and catch the spark and draw with your eyes your deepest desires. Hearth in and out.
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Hope -

Hope according to Emily Dickinson is:

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all.
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The Peace Pilgrim!

Angeles Arrien offers this reflection on her web-site. It is advice from The Peace Pilgrim. The Peace Pilgrim is a woman who decided to walk for peace, and, then, walked 25,000 miles for peace. She has passed on, but her web-site is: http://www.peacepilgrim.com/

                            12 Symptoms of Inner Peace

1. Tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fear based on past experiences.

2. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

3. Loss of interest in judging the self.

4. Loss of interest in judging other people.

5. Loss of interest in conflict.

6. Loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.

7. Loss of ability to worry (this is a serious symptom).

8. Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.

9. Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.

10. Frequent attacks of smiling through the eyes of the heart.

11. Increasing susceptibility to love extended by othersas well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

12. Increasing tendency to let things happen rather than to make them happen.

                        Author: The Peace Pilgrim
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Poem -

"Of Many Worlds in This World"
by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (1623-1673)

Just like unto a nest of boxes round
Degrees of size within each box are found,
So in this world may many worlds more be,
Thinner, and less, and less still by degree;
Although they are not subject to our sense,
A world may be no bigger than twopence.
Nature is curious, and such work may make
That our dull sense can never find, but scape.
For creatures small as atoms may be there,
If every atom a creature's figure bear.
If four atoms a world can make, then see
What several worlds might in an ear-ring be.
For millions of these atoms may be in
The head of one small, little, single pin.
And if thus small, then ladies well may wear
A world of worlds as pendants in each ear.
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More on "ordinary" -

In thinking of what is ordinary, I was reminded of two books by Sue Bender. One is Plain and Simple, and the other is Stretching Lessons.  In Plain and Simple,  Sue, a Berkeley wife, mother, and artist, goes for a time to stay with the Amish to learn from them.   Here is something she learns.

"I never knew what to say if someone asked me at a party, "What do you do?" Artist, writer, therapist, wife, mother - I would be judged by the label I chose.  The Amish make no distinction.  No one is labeled cook, quilter, or housewife. In fact, standing out would be a false pride.  I remembered Miriam saying,

    "Making a batch of vegetable soup, it's not right for the carrot to say I taste better than the peas, or the pea to say I taste better than the cabbage.  It takes all the vegetables to make a good soup!"

Sue continues, "Maybe one of these days I'll be able to give myself a gold star for being ordinary, and maybe one of these days I'll give myself a gold star for being extraordinary - for persisting.  And maybe one day I won't need to have a star at all."  

May that be so for each of us, and when we don't need a star at all, perhaps we better see all the stars in the sky.

After all, as Masahide said,

    My house burned down.

    I now see better

    the rising moon.
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Rain this year -

I saw my elderly neighbor today, who informs me she keeps track of how much rain we receive on our street. According to her, we had 52 inches this year. What a delight it was to open windows today, and begin to pull the weeds. I attached a new hose and watered for the first time this year. What a treat!