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we mend (and love) what is within our reach

I’ve taken to daily mediation walks. It’s nourishing to my spirit and helps ground me to my purpose. I walk for 30 minutes then journal until I feel complete.  Here is today’s reflection:

A cat visits, twining itself around my legs for a while. I pet it and also just let it be , allowing it to enjoy the feeling of its fur on my bare legs (I enjoyed that too).

A little girl in a black, velvet dress rocks gently in a swing. The kind of swing with a back. She smiles. I tell her she looks peaceful. She nods.

Three older girls are playing on the hill above her. In the dirt. The kick it up then oddly dust themselves off. Then get dirty again. I want to tell them it’s okay to be dirty. To get dirty and messy and stay that way.

A hummingbird flies straight up into the blue sky. Like an elevator. I am in awe not only of their abilities but their ability to fill my heart with joy every time I see them.

This moment is saturated in peace and yet I want to leave. This is always true for me. I have such a restless soul. When something is peaceful and beautiful, I appreciate it but then want to explore something new.  I’ve come to accept this about myself.

I move a small snail off the pavement. It’s dry and would take a long time for it to reach the grass. It’s a small act of kindness.  It will die anyway. Maybe today. Maybe by a small child climbing the enormous cedar tree I placed it under.

But we do what we can, we tend to what is in our reach.  Reminds me of this quote by one of my favorite teachers:

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”  ~Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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yoga of vulnerability

The other day in yoga I was in “Happy Baby” pose and suddenly I felt very small.  And vulnerable.

I found myself saying, “It’s okay, sweetie.  I’m sorry that you were hurt.  I’m sorry that you were lied to.  I’m sorry that has made it hard for you to trust people.”

I started crying as I thought of all the people that I have loved. All the people that I haven’t treated as kindly as I wished.  And all the people who haven’t treated me as kindly as I wished.

I just let myself really feel that sadness.   Then I whispered, 

“It’s okay.  I forgive you.”

Then my body just relaxed and I felt something shift inside me.  Like a lotus flower opening.  I opened to that feeling of deep compassion for myself and others and awakened to the realization that we are doing our best at any given time.  It’s often only through a reflective practice that I realize that I could have done better.  And how I could have done better.  Even with that kind of practice, I still mess up, because I’m a messy human.

Continue reading yoga of vulnerability

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bricolage project day 22 [world]

bricolage_project_10-22-15
“has materiality and thus dimension”

The randomly-chosen word of the day is world from Stand Still Like the Hummingbird by Henry Miller.  I’m going to offer the entire paragraph that it came from because it’s so fantastic.  It will serve nicely as today’s quote:

Frankly, if we must play with this idea of saving the world, then I say that in making an aquarelle which pleases me–me, not you necessarily–I am doing my share better than any cabinet minister with or without portfolio.  I believe that even His Holiness, the Pope, little as I believe in him, may be doing his part too.  But then, if I include him I must also include such as Al Capone and Elvis Presley.  Why not?  Can you prove the contrary? (p. 83)

  • I cannot prove the contrary.  In fact, I think it’s true that we’re all doing our best, all learning from one another, all have our part to play in each other’s unfolding.  The world certainly doesn’t need saving but we do.  We need more love and appreciation and less condemnation.   More patience and tenderness.  More play and delight.

Continue reading bricolage project day 22 [world]

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bricolage project day 19 [be]

Today’s randomly-chosen word is be and comes from The Quantum and the Lotus by Matthieu Ricard & Trinh Xuan Thuan.  It’s a fascinating exploration of the intersection of Western science and Buddhist philosophy.   I cannot more highly recommend this book.  Turns out, I’m in good company:

The Quantum and the Lotus is the rich and inspiring result of a deeply interesting dialogue between Western science and Buddhist philosophy. This remarkable book will contribute greatly to a better understanding of the true nature of our world and the way we live our lives. —His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Conversations on the nature of life and what it means to be–to exist–are keenly interesting to me.  I personally often find that the world around me shifts somewhat dramatically depending on what I’m focusing on which enhances studies of this type.  The Bricolage Project, with its ephemeral nature, has led me to a greater awareness of my state of being on any given day.  Not surprisingly, when I was out with my friend the other night, he began telling me about his meditation practice, Vipassana.  The word means to “see things as they really are” and the practice is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation.  My friend recounted his time of going on a ten-day silent meditation retreat at a local meditation center and told me I would “rock Vipassana” because I have a way of seeing and experiencing things as they are that seems to align with the practice.  As he described spending several days focusing on his nose and upper lip, I found myself thinking of my upper lip and how I love it kissed or sucked on.  Then I looked at my friend’s lip and noticed that he has a kind of beard/soul pMannings Manhattanatch thing but not a mustache.  Then I would switch back to just being aware of the surface area of the lip and noticing my awareness there rather than a vision of it in mind.

Then I took a sip of my Manhattan.

Here’s the thing:  I am a very embodied creature.  I like sex.  I am lusty.  I love the smell of dirt.  I’ve had two babies.  I am a creature of the earth.   Yes, I am certainly the awareness that is poured into this form but they are one, not separate.  I find many spiritual traditions problematic in their rejection of the immanent aspect of life in favor of the transcendent.  To be is to live the embodied life, to feel, to play, to express, not just to notice.  I learned that as a new mother trying to learn how to meditate and walk a spiritual path as a householder.  I was a nursing mother who had to tend to my baby’s needs.  Such is the way of living the embodied life.  Even now, taking ten days off to go on a retreat is not something I can do as a single mother.  My child needs me to be here caring for her.  Motherhood taught me a lot about surrender.  To be is to surrender to the flow of the river of life.  It’s uncontainable and will pull you under and have its way with you.  As Laozi says:

Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.

I once took a Jungian class called The Divine Feminine.  One of the readings, The Unknown She:  Eight Faces of the Emerging Consciousness, penned by our professor, Hilary Hart, is a book of interviews with various modern-day mystics including a woman named Jackie who she quotes as saying:

Listening is an essential aspect of the feminine.  It refers to a dynamic receptivity to the life going on around us, an awareness of our own interconnectedness, and our responsibility to be open to what comes to us.

Feeling into, being with, listening in to the whispers of the world and not trying to make sense of it as much as just allowing it to unfold and flow–that’s what that kind of listening means to me.  Ms. Hart bluntly told me, “It isn’t your job to save the world.  It’s your job to be the power you are in the world.”

I think I’m finally getting a sense of what that means, of what it means to be.  Thanks for joining me on this wild ride.

Note:  The poem I’m reading on the video up there is Darest Thou Now O Soul from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.  It’s the poem from the joy! post the other day.  I wasn’t done with it.