The first night at Mount Madonna, I was delighted when Ruth Denison sat down next to me at dinner. She is a little sprite of a woman, and is now 85. I had read Sharon Boucher's book, Dancing in the Dharma, which is about Ruth. Ruth is a pioneering teacher of Buddhism in this country and the first to organize all-woman retreats. She is a spiritual teacher who wears cute hats, barrettes and pig-tails. She borrowed someone's little motorized cart and sped around the room so quickly it set the alarms off on the cart. She probably had more energy than any of us.
I was surprised when I googled her this morning to remind myself that she had supported the Nazis and was a teacher in Germany at that time. When the Allied troops came, she was repeatedly raped. I struggle to hold the picture of this tiny woman enduring such abuse and being such a little sprite now. Also, she worked with Charlotte Selver, a woman who had to leave Germany because of the Nazis, and there we were all gathered in a room, in a spiritual community that seemed to be oriented to Hinduism, though I saw Kwan Yin, who I thought was Buddhist. Now, I check her out. Indian Buddhism. Anyway, I love the combination of culture and religions coming together in one room, in one community, and how surely healing comes.
One woman led us in a dance of peace that is being danced in groups all over the world. I can't now remember the words, but the feel of the movement is with me, of hands held, and I must believe that filling the world with images of connection, and moving spaciousness will lead to peace.
It rains now here, and I look out on dripping green. This conference I attended was titled The Ground We Share, Opening to the Living World. I feel today like an anemone with tentacles joyfully exploring the texture of what surrounds even as I strongly root to bedrock within.
I spoke with Chris this morning, and he and Frieda are moving along, also joyfully, with their wedding plans. All is falling into place. They will be married in the midst of redwoods with one of them an albino redwood, one who can not photosynethesize, but lives off surrounding redwood friends. There are about thirty of them in the world. It is to consider how much each of us is lifted and supported in a loving, connecting flow.
For me, this workshop was about love, love for myself, inner and outer, and love for those around me, and all that surrounds me. We wrote a letter to ourselves and sealed it, and it will be mailed to us in three weeks, to remind us what we were feeling at the end of the conference. I felt love, and began my letter. "Dear Cathy, I love you!" How good to feel, know, and say that to ourselves. What a mantra it makes.
May you create time today to explore the wonders within. It doesn't take time. It can be each breath. Dive into yourself as into a sea. What we see without is reflected within, and what we feel within is reflected without. How gently then it is to lean to paint the lines of our lives and fill them in.
One leader, Lilly Nova, spoke of walking on the ground, of meeting it, as though we were walking on tissue paper. We practiced that and then considered the breath in its path of moving in and out. Do we allow it to touch us lightly, delicately, curiously, or do we shove it in and out without thought of nourishing and digesting each morsel like food?
Sensory Awareness is about working with and honoring the four dignities of man, Lying, Standing, Sitting, Walking. May you enjoy the paths your body-mind takes as you journey through your day.