Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Standing Still

 But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing

in and out. Life so far doesn't have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.

If there's a temple, I haven't found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass
and the weeds. 
(Excerpt from What Is There Beyond Knowing by Mary Oliver) 

These days it seems wise to know what grounds me, what strengthens me, what nourishes and fills me, and to make of that my practice.

I've spent a lot of time wondering and worrying about purpose - my purpose to be exact. Wanting to be of purpose: to contribute and to help ... to heal and repair ... to inspire and support and of course, to fight the good fight.

It feels rather daunting right now. I suppose it has always been so and now there is some clarity in perceiving the immensity of the situation before us. Definitely the lid has been blasted off and we see clearly  (and painfully) the dark and ugly trends in our society, the gaps and the divide.

One thing that stands out for me is the tendency for helping out to evolve into mucking up. Each side of the political divide would argue for their intentions being The Good Ones. I'm not suggesting apathy or inaction, but I am taking this time to tend to that which is mine to care for: the hygiene of my spirit, my heart, and my home.  For if any real change is going to happen - and honestly, the change needed to course correct is epic, and it will require immense reserves of resilience and determination which for me demand a  stable inner foundation, and a clear and strong inner light. 

So what do I do right now? I walk. 

  I walk and I try to listen and learn. I try to understand the message of the trees shaking in the wind. I listen to the geese and the stories told by their wings as they beat overhead. I watch the muskrat glide across a pond and open myself to his wisdom of his life. I speak my prayers daily to my backyard bushes and grasses, birds and chattering squirrels. I bury the rabbit's legs (yes, two so far) retrieved by my dog and offered to me as great gifts, which they are. The leg bones picked clean, the delicately tapered feet left intact. Lucky rabbit's foot. Well, luck is a matter of perspective and time, but I am reminded that my daily practice puts me in a mindset to perceive and act upon opportunities of grace and good luck.

I try not to do so much as undo ... the fears, the overwhelm, the doubts, the I'm too small mindset and limitations. If ever there was a time to Be The Light, it is now. These days my spiritual practice (which can look a lot like a creative practice) feels like a daily load of laundry: soaking, washing, and spinning my inner field of thoughts and energies.  Each days there is gunk to clear out and parts of me to mend and strengthen. 

Yes, darning the holes in my soul.  Embellishing the elbow patches of my heart sweater. Doing what I can to support groups tackling the big causes and throwing myself into local action.  This past week I stepped up in my volunteer position, taking on a more edgy (for me) task. It felt good to stretch myself. I know the challenges ahead will demand more stretching, more pushing myself past my edge of comfort, and that the edge will continue to shift and move as I grow. So starting small is okay. Just start, right?

There is a young mother I see every week when I volunteer. She shows up for her son in ways that stretch my heart to the point of cracking. And yet, she often expresses feeling helpless and uncertain, frustrated and afraid. I get it. We all feel that feeling about some aspect of our lives right now. Work, community, the environment, teenagers ... the list goes on.  But I believe the way forward is what I hear inside my head every time I see this mom - Just Love. It sounds so trite, so banal. But past the sappy sentiments, Love can inspire fierceness (think of the goddess Durga.) it can motivate us to take action and stretch and grow in ways beyond anything we could imagine. I know I cannot imagine a possible solution to the woes before me ... but my heart does not think. It feels, it holds, and it transforms.  

My intention is to show up here to share this journey. It feels important to me to communicate and share where I find Light in my life and how I work to support it. I get lost when I think "Does this matter? Does this help in any concrete way?" I cannot control the outcome of any action ... I can only attend to the gesture itself, taking care to act from the truth of my heart. I cannot judge whether it will be enough I only know that  showing up for Love each and every day brings me in alignment with Hope and Possibility, and those are not small things.


  1. Without resorting to euphemism and triteness, I can honestly say that Love has carried me at times when everything else has failed. I know, for my own children, I have pushed myself farther and grown and changed in ways my twenty year old self would never have imagined. I probably never would have done that for myself, but for them? The world.

    So yes, love. Tending hearth and home and spirit. I truly feel as if that's the only sensible place to start...because if i think too far and wide, I'm crippled by the overwhelm.

    We mustn't underestimate the ripples cast from a well-tended heart. xoxoxo

    1. Yes! Facing the overwhelm and standing up to it! I wonder if that isn't the hidden agenda in so much of the rantings out there? Weary us? Ah, and then there is Mr. Whyte's line "Start close in ..." which is even more meaningful to me know. I know I feel the ripples from the north rocking and soothing me ... thank you my twin. xoxo

  2. This are not small things.

    That bottom picture especially, wow! I love the way you stitch together the practice of beauty, kindness, noticing, remembering, honouring. The way you love is such a beautiful work of art.

    1. Thank you Love. I should have told the story of the bottom square which is a prayer flag for Umberdove aka Kelly Clark as she undergoes new chemo treatment. It was so healing for me to turn from the news stories and social media posts to something tangible and doable ... sewing my prayers, mantras for healing and love for a person who has inspired me by her life. Making each gesture matter ... that is huge, I agree and hopefully drop by drop, it will grow and transform and shift things. All love to you and your tribe of wee and not-so-wee people! xo

  3. You speak my truth, dear friend! I, too, have been wrestling with my purpose. I feel compelled to change... Something... but I can't label what I need to change. I feel like there's so much to be done, and I am only one person, with a very small sphere of influence. How can I change all that needs to be changed?

    My dad used to tell me not to try to change the world, and I remember responding that I don't want to change the whole world, I just want to fix my little corner of it. That's what I think I need to do - fix my little corner. Keep feeding people. Keep loving my family. Keep showing up for my students, and loving them, and being their positivity in such a negative world. Keep knitting and giving it away. Keep sending out my positive energy to my little corner of the world, and believe it will change even a few hearts. Above all, as hard as this is for me, keep taking care of me, so I have enough of myself to share. (Remind me of that one occasionally, will you? That's the hardest part for me!)

    1. I WILL remind you :) In the Kundalini yoga tradition they have a saying "Keep up and you will be kept up." I see you lifting up so many and in turn being lifted up by tapping into all that beautiful love and power. I SEE you my friend and my heart is very full. xo

  4. I know at times I feel as if maybe my words/actions don't matter in the overall big picture. But you never know who
    might run across your space and what you've put out there was just what they needed to hear. Thank you for sharing
    your journey, it helps to know that we are not alone in this.

    1. And in turn, you remind me I am not alone and we feed this fire of love through our words and thoughts and actions. Thank you for continuing to show up for your life as it supports us all. xo