November 24th, 2009

Alan - yellow hibiscus

Gratitude Week -

In an ideal world, not a day should go by without each moment held like a cup of grace, and ...

This last week I've been dealing with another edit of the book on my experience with cancer. It is written with my good friend Jane. We speak every weekday morning and try to write. Mainly now, we deal with the book.

Yesterday, was the fourth anniversary of the day I began chemotherapy. I can feel a bit of the nausea even now, four years later. The memories are back or maybe I am bringing them back so I can let them go. I am amazed at how we humans carry on and carry through and then perhaps we take a pause to look at what has gone on.

This last go-through on the book I read it differently, read it as though I was reading about someone, about two people, a person going through cancer treatment and one in support. What was it like for each of them?

I could "give myself" that it was rough at times, could see the experience differently. I feel myself in a great deal of change, transition perhaps and yet perhaps that is not quite so. Perhaps it is a new way of honoring my way of being, and being it is. I love to be with being, whatever that means to me. It bothers me sometimes that we ask, that I ask myself, "What are you doing?" "What am I doing?" I want to be kinder to myself, gentler and say, "How are you being right now?" Are your eyes filled with grace? Is that what you transmit?

Yesterday I had a Rosen session with my dear friend Karen. I can feel there are spaces within myself as yet unexplored. I can't tell if they are empty or full, but I see that there is more to know and allow. I am in a curious place. I notice that the word curiosity is my word of choice lately. My sense is that curiosity is what lets us know we are alive. Who are you? Who am I? Can we each learn a little more about ourselves through this probe of the other? Can you let me know you, your thoughts, your hopes, your dreams? Better yet, can you let you know? Can you let yourself know you just a little better, do a little probe?

So, now, I am going to take an odd shift. We use cloth napkins with our meals. I read somewhere of how many trees I would save in a year by doing so and it requires no extra water as they are just tossed into the washer with everything else, but I am noticing, that just like with socks, I don't always get the same number back as I put in. Where do they go?

book lovers

Hitch your vehicle of choice to a star -

In the New York Review of Books, John Banville reviews Robert D. Richardson's book, First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process.

Emerson in his essay "The American Scholar" wrote:

"Meek young men grow up in libraries believing it is their duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries when they wrote their books."

Richardson points out that Emerson was a lecturer. "His writing was first speaking." In that, his writing is practical and applicable.


Richardson isolates a telling and wonderful example of Emerson's groundedness and commitment to the practical. We all know, though we might not really know the source, Emerson's piece of seeming cracker-barrel advice to "hitch your wagon to a star," which might be the title of a song from a Broadway cowboy musical, but which in fact has its source in the philosopher's interest in mills powered by the tides:

In Boston a dam was built between two points of land jutting out into Massachusetts Bay, and a tide mill was then situated in the middle of the dam to take advantage of the seven-to-nine foot tides in the area ... Emerson admired the skill behind the arrangement "which thus engages the assistance of the moon, like a hired hand, to grind and wind, and pump, and saw, and split stone, and roll iron."

Therefore the advice to hitch your wagon to a star - with, as Richardson observes, the emphasis on your - is no flight of soft-focus fancy but a thoroughly practical recommendation. "This unlikely combination of the high-flying and the down-to-earth," Richardson writes, "is pure Emerson."

So, notice the tides and use them and hitch your wagon, or vehicle of choice, to a star.

niki de saint phalle - real

Grace -

I renew on this quote periodically, believing it is essential we each know honor and bring forth what is ours to choose.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.

- Martha Graham