Hmm ... reminds me of life these days with a preteen.
I have been struggling to create some sort of rhythm for myself in these changing times. Summer, I need to remember, is a time of spacious uncertainty. The days may have a routine but it is frequently shaken up with vacations, camps, and the fluctuating moods and passions of an almost 12-year old girl.
My only constants have been patio time early in the morning. I light a stick of incense and read out loud prayers or poems to my garden ... and to mama mourning dove who has made her nest in the grape arbor by the side of our garden boxes.
I then find my own words. It is one thing to think my prayers - what is it I need to ask and to share with Spirit - but another to speak those thoughts out loud. Speaking, I realize how unclear my thoughts truly are and how this practice of giving voice to wisdom filtered through my heart is helping me to find clarity and understanding.
I was sitting with a group of dear mama-friends, each of us querying how to offer our children guidance in such challenging times. How do we teach them to anchor themselves in love? How do we mentor them in seeking and then honoring the wisdom of their hearts? To speak and act from that truth when all the world seems to shove us towards surface matters, to lock us in fear and doubt, doom and gloom? What do we give them to anchor and guide them?
Suddenly, it all seemed so obvious. Nature.
"This is really why I made my daughters learn to garden—so they would always have a mother to love them, long after I am gone." (Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass)
Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond. (Braiding Sweetgrass)
I have had Robin Wall Kimmerer's book by my side and reading it brings together so many strands of inquiry, practice and study. Her essay Alligience to Gratitude introduced me to the Haudenosaunee (or Six Nations) Thanksgiving Address and the past few mornings I have read out loud the version shared in her book. (A version of the same text can be found here.)
The words are simple, but in the art of their joining, they become a statement of sovereignty, a political structure, a Bill of Responsibilities, an edcuational model, a family tree, and a scientific inventory of eco-system services. It is a powerful political document, a social contract, a way of being - all in one piece. But first and foremost, it is the credo for a culture of gratitude.
...The Thanksgiving Address reminds us that duties and gifts are two sides of the same coin .... What is the duty of humans? If gifts and responsibilities are one, then asking "What is our responsibility?" is the same as asking "What is our gift?" It is said that only humans have the capacity for gratitude. This is among our gifts. (Braiding Sweetgrass)
Today I perched on the step from my backdoor to my patio. The narrow roof line overhead offered shelter from the rain, although a gentle breeze wafted a misty blessing of rainwater upon my toes and knees. I read out loud the Thanksgiving and allow the words and the teachings to seep into my soul, refreshing and nourishing my heart and spirit. I can easily get overwhelmed, so it is imperative I focus upon what is possible for me. Small, but honest attempts to connect, to remember, to heal.
I take this as a positive and encouraging sign.