Day begins. I feel so peaceful this morning. The theme of our weekend sensing was kindness. It was not necessarily a chosen theme, though perhaps it is always there. It is what emerged. It is so simple really. We are kind to ourselves, to all our little cells bouncing and thriving within. We allow them to respond to the pull of gravity and bounce back up again, like trees reaching for sky. Kind to ourselves, we are kind to others, and they feel that, and they respond like happy, little cells. We share the bounce. So note today when you are kind to you, and reflect that kindness outward. Be present with what comes your way and respond. Each of us may have difficulties in our lives and it is how we choose to respond.
I think there will be even more spring scent in the Bay area air today. Enjoy!!
I woke this morning thinking of the earth, sun, and moon all in their orbits and connected. We have freedom, yes, and we are also connected in a shared orchestration of space and time. May your orchestration inspire new notes, far-reaching trills today.
My poem to Charlotte Selver is in the Sensory Awareness newsletter this month. She was 103 when she died. I can't remember now what motivated this poem but I wrote it after she died. She died in 2003.
Don't use your eyes like forks,
Charlotte used to say,
wisely sweeping past
one hundred years to stir
a century and more
in her probing,
Through her, my eyes became bowls
and the world, food.
There is no need for utensils
when there's nothing to pick apart.
Enjoy softness in your eyes today, open focus, receiving.
Run your fingers around your eye sockets. They are huge.
Reach with your toes and see what answers within.
I saw a bumper sticker recently that went like this.
Your body may be a temple. Mine is an amusement park.
My response - Both, All!
Jane is in France, so I am bouncing this morning on an hour of time that is usually spent with her, and today, so far, is spent looking out on this beautifully changing sky and revelation of green. What is without is within, so the light is increasing inside, and my leaves and roots reach toward what grows in January. The world tastes sweet. I am ease.
Ruth Denison in this article speaks about the delight of breathing. I give you the last two paragraphs. Ruth was the first Buddhist teacher to lead an all-women's retreat. She was a student of Charlotte Selver, and the first teacher to use movement and dance to instruct her students in mindfulness. She runs Dhamma Dena Meditation Center in the Mojave desert. She is 85. I have put in bold the words that most strike me.
Back to the breath: Breath is the food on which sensations live - on which aliveness lives. When the sensations are fed they come out of their dullness. It's not simply the air, it is the force of movement. Breath is the switch that turns on the lights of the sensations. When they come to life, they flicker and they shine, just like the stars at night. Now, you can be a romantic about it. I hate it actually. We get so quickly into these superlatives. But there is some truth in this. In traditional mindfulness practices, breath is presented as the preeminent object on which to focus our attention. For 2,600 years the Buddha's teachings - and other teachings, the Hindus were very advanced too - have been focusing their attention on breathing. Breath and sensations, these oceanic forces, hammer away at the flimsy breakwaters of our resistance. The posture of meditation turns the body into a channel or conduit through which these forces can run deeply. Breathing is a joyous and precious event, therefore. It is here for the taking, free to all of us that have a hunger for nourishment. Every breath you take could be a joyous act, a deep surrender to the mystery of life in all its potency and force. Let breath become an act of surrender to the urgency of the life force just as giving the weight of our body and mind is an act of surrender to the potent pull of gravity. You don't have to force deep and full breathing to activate an awareness of the whole body. All you need to do is surrender to this most powerful bellows. Breath wants you. Breath wants to breathe you.
Rejoice in coming to your breath and allowing it to touch you all the way through. When it is not interfered with a thought or any comment, when it is left alone in its natural rhythm, then you are in good hands, and you are sure to attain and actualize the dream of your lifetime.
One ought every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.
I set intention for this.
Certainly the birds today are singing their songs for me to hear. There is a little trill outside my window right now that is ecstatically sweet!!
Karen read the blog this morning and the article by Ruth Denison in the Sensory Awareness newsletter and she responded to a different section. Here is what resonates most prominently with her. We each find our place to land, again and again.
Breath and body are two sides of the same coin and the condition of one directly affects the condition of the other. If the breath is shallow or constricted, sensations are weak and dull and indistinct, because we have no access to our life force. When the breath becomes full or fluid, or we can say deep, sensations become once again vibrant and present. By sensations I mean aliveness: we feel light, we feel vibrant and energetic. Breathing activates all this and it comes to us as an experience, a tactile experience. It is important that what the breath does is not just breathing air. It is an active force coming in with motion and touching us. Not that we cannot activate sensations by scratching and massage and all, but when the breath comes in, it activates that which we are on a very cellular level.
As Charlotte Selver would say, "Who likes it?"
Bella walked out onto the deck and immediately flipped over and lifted her underside to the sun. She knows how to absorb the warmth we have been missing. It is quite a day!!
I walk down to my local grocery store to provision for dinner. I discover that it is closing today at 4, so there are bargains galore. It will re-open tomorrow around noon under new ownership. I am glad I am walking so I can only gather what I can carry, and that is all I need.
I see my neighbor and she informs me the new grocery store owners, are only going to put long-time full time employees on part time. Our favorite cashier doesn't know how she is going to pay her mortgage on part-time. She has cheerfully womaned the express lane for years.
I come home to try and figure out where I should write my letters of complaint. In searching the Marin IJ, I see that a Tam High teen-ager committed suicide over a week ago. He has a lovely life, was well-loved and well-liked. He left a note to his parents saying they were great and it was not about them. And yet how does one live with the grief, and it sounds like there are a multitude who are grieving.
On Sunday, in the group I was in, people shared what was going on or had gone in, in their lives. There is some rough, tough stuff out there, and yet, some make it through. Most survive.
My sister-in-law sent me something this morning about response. If you cook a carrot in water for twenty minutes, it becomes limp. If you cook an egg in hot water, it becomes hard. If you cook coffee beans in hot water, they flavor the water and create a lovely brew. The idea is to live like coffee.
I don't know what to think or say about a child committing suicide. I can only bow my head and pray.
John Clare is considered England's greatest poet of childhood. He remembers childhood and knows and writes of the power of the child's imagination.
Reading this poem reminds me of the card table we used to cover with a blanket to make a tent, and the kitchen chairs that lined up to make a train. John Clare lived from 1795-1864.
Read his words and re-visit your childhood imagination. Return today.
Our fancies make us great and rich,
No bounds our wealth could fix,
A stool drawn round the room was soon
A splendid coach and six;
The magic of our minds was great
And even pebbles they
Soon as we chose to call them gold
Grew guineas in our play.