December 22nd, 2007

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Good Morning!!

I was awake in the night, entranced with the moon and the stars.  I realize some people call the winter solstice, the longest night, and others say the shortest day.  What I noticed in the night was that the moon and the stars were so bright that it was light as in some days.

I am in grocery shopping and cooking mode again today.  Yum, and Fun!!

Here is Rilke:

The Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XII

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself out like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of a separation
it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.

Rainier Maria Rilke

Ah, Awe, Rilke - The light returns!!

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Peace -

As I read the barbs tossed back and forth between the presidential candidates and their staffs,  I think the greatest Christmas present they could give us all is to take a break.   We don't deserve this.  It is enough.  I declare a week break from campaign rhetoric and attack.  Enough!

Maybe we should say we will vote for the one who keeps his or her mouth shut the longest, so we can stop and think, without distraction, about who might be the best person for the office.

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A wand!

A poem by Wislawa Szymborska

I'm working on the world,
revised, improved edition,
featuring fun for fools,
blues for brooders,
combs for bald pates,
tricks for old dogs.
Here's one chapter: The Speech
of Animals and Plants.
Each species comes, of course,
with its own dictionary.
Even a simple "Hi there,"
when traded with a fish,
make both the fish and you
feel quite extraordinary.
The long-suspected meanings
of rustlings, chirps, and growls!
Soliloquies of forests!
The epic hoot of owls!
Those crafty hedgehogs drafting
aphorisms after dark,
while we blindly believe
they are sleeping in the park!
Time (Chapter Two) retains
its sacred right to meddle
in each earthly affair.
Still, time's unbounded power
that makes a mountain crumble,
moves seas, rotates a star,
won't be enough to tear
lovers apart: they are
too naked, too embraced,
too much like timid sparrows.
Old age is, in my book,
the price that felons pay,
so don't whine that it's steep:
you'll stay young if you're good.
Suffering (Chapter Three)
doesn't insult the body.
Death?  It comes in your sleep,
exactly as it should.
When it comes, you'll be dreaming
that you don't need to breathe;
that breathless silence is
the music of the dark
and it's part of the rhythm
to vanish like a spark.
Only a death like that.  A rose
could prick you harder, I suppose;
you'd feel more terror at the sound
of petals falling to the ground.
Only a world like that.  To die
just that much. And to live just so.
And all the rest is Bach's fugue, played
for the time being
on a saw.
~ Wislawa Szymborska ~
(Poems New and Collected, trans. by S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)

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Sensory Awareness -

Here is an excerpt from the book Reclaiming Vitality and Presence.

Charlotte Selver - Breathing as Teacher

    "Just as our heart beats, breathing can happen without effort, without being directed.  The air exchange happens all by itself. When the exhalation wants to become deeper, let it become deeper.  Don't direct it.  Even the slightest attempt to breathe is unnecessary.  It happens by itself.

    Do you feel your heart beat right now?  You may want to use one of your hands to feel it.  You don't have to tell your heart, "beat."  It beats by itself.  Wonderful!  My heart beats!   Enjoy it!  Here is is, a sign of life.  You have no duty;  it beats anyhow.

    You can even feel how it's easiest for your heart to beat just by being peaceful, feeling the natural movements of your own heart which you don't create.  How do you have to sit, for example, where is it easiest for your heart to beat?  Some people slump and that's not easiest.  Some people straighten up, and that's not easiest.  Where is it easiest for you?  Just you.  This one person in the world which is you.

    In the same way, you could be permissive to breathing.  As I look out the window right now I can see a tiny breeze outside.  Perhaps one or the other of you can see the fine way in which the breeze moves the curtain.  The muscles inside are like that curtain, if you permit it.  Like the curtain is moved by the wind, so we are moved inside by our breathing, without doing anything for it.  If you gently give up doing it, you will experience that it comes all by itself.  We should not be the educators of breathing.  Breathing should teach us how it wants to be without our admonishing it."

    I love the idea of my muscles inside being like curtains moved by the wind, the breath.
    Christmas cards continue to come and some contain sad news.  How could it be any other way, I suppose, when we hear from family and friends, sometimes only once a year, and so, I take in the sad and the glad, and balance, hold hands, with care. 

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William Stafford -

The moon is bright tonight, welcoming, present.

You Reading This, Be Ready


               Starting here, what do you want to remember?
               How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
               What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
               sound from outside fills the air?

               Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
               than the breathing respect that you carry
               wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
               for time to show you some better thoughts?

               When you turn around, starting here, lift this
               new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
               all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
               reading or hearing this, keep it for life ~

               What can anyone give you greater than now,
               starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?


                            - William Stafford