Just Don’t Forget

imag2280

I am so weary. It’s been a difficult day.

Today’s prompt is Call Me _________.

For some reason my brain went with doggerel tonight.

Call Me
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

You can call me Raging Heart,
Heart of Tiger, Heart of Flame.
You can call me Crushing Fury.
Just don’t forget my other name.

You can call me Quivering Spirit,
Cowering Critter, Anxious Mouse.
You can call me Wild-Eyed Worry.
Just find the doorway to my house.

You can call me Grieving Moonchild,
Weeping Willow, Wailing Place.
You can call me Wounded Creature.
Just remember how to see my face.

Gratitude List:
1. My family, spaghetti, coffee, and salted caramel ice cream. I held myself together long enough to make it home and take in this good medicine.
2. The deepening of colors on rainy days. Such rich color.
3. Community. All the pledges to hold each other, to love each other, to protect each other.
4. Resolve
5. How grieving builds empathy

May we walk in Beauty!

Blessing for Election Day and Beyond

JClabyrinth
I find myself doodling and drawing labyrinths again–it always seems to happen when I am thrown off-balance. Here is one of my favorite labyrinths, up at the Jesuit Center in Wernersville.

Today’s Poetry Prompt is to write an Activity Poem.

Blessing for Election Day and Beyond
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

May we be spinners of webs,
catching each other,
wrapping each other
in silken threads
to keep us all from falling.

May we be builders of bridges,
creating firm pathways
so all may walk safely
over the chasm
or meet in the middle.

May we be wanderers,
willing to walk in the wild places,
seeking each other
when distance has
broken our circles.

May we be dreamers
and planners, wishers
and makers, devising a future
where everyone
may find a home in love.

Gratitude List:
1. A pileated woodpecker sailing through the treetops and sunshine on the way down Ducktown this morning. It has been a long time since I have seen one.
2. Getting the grades in. What’s the old saying? “The wonderful thing about hanging by your fingernails is it feels so good when you’re done.” Yeah, that.
3. The promise of a warm and comfortable bed very soon. I admit it, small as that hour is, the time change is challenging for me. I always feel like I need extra sleep to handle it. I am off to bed VERY soon.
4. Jon Carlson’s thoughtful reminder in chapel this morning: The really important thing is Love. I will carry that with me like a shiny pebble into the day tomorrow, and the days that follow.
5. You, my friends. You keep bringing me back to center when I start to fray around the edges. What bright and brilliant community.

Hold on tightly. Breathe deeply. Smile at each other often. Get some sleep.

A Long Weekend

stones-or-eggs Eggs or stones?

Gratitude List:
1. Hooray! Pippi Prius can be fixed. It took a while to get the details worked out with the insurance company, and the damage was apparently almost equal to her value, but they’ve agreed to go ahead and do it.
2. My colleagues. Yesterday was an in-service day, and much as I always wish I could just have those days to decompress or catch up on work, I always come away feeling energized and inspired for the work ahead–also, grateful for the earnest, positive, playful energy of my colleagues.
3. Our school superintendent, Richard Thomas. Since he announced his coming retirement last winter, it’s been disconcerting to think of the future of the school without him. He has helped this school system to shape a vision of itself as a community, as a place where students and teachers and staff work to become our best selves, to create a place of shalom. Yesterday we had a chance to try to tell him a little bit about what he means to us.
4. The Search Committee, who had a huge task in a short time. They listened well, heard our concerns and our hopes for the future, and found someone who seems to have vision and determination and savvy enough to step into the superintendent’s role.  They have been careful to be confidential when confidentiality has been necessary, while staying as transparent as possible. Yesterday they carefully led us through their process of the past six months and shared the ways in which our new superintendent fits the values and ideals that we gave them.
5. Today. I can work all day to catch up. I didn’t get as much done last weekend as I wanted. I plan to go to school on Monday with no late grading hanging over my head.

Shalom.

Finding the Questions

imag1876
I spent last week quietly anticipating another walk of the Camp Hebron Labyrinth. On my Saturday morning walk own to the woods, I kept thinking how different the paths and the distances seemed in just a week. The thought appeared in my head: “It’s a different journey now.” Even though I am walking a similar path and toward a different destination, the journey keeps shifting and changing. Just moments after I had begun to ponder what I meant by thinking that, I arrived at the labyrinth to find that a tree had fallen across it.

I recently found this piece of paper on which I wrote, in the summer of 2015, a series of examen-type questions. I think I probably have already written these in the blog, but I am going to put them here again so that I can ponder them this week. I wouldn’t use more than five of them a day, probably, and for similar ones, like the first four, I would spread them out over days, to see how the different ways of asking almost the same question evokes different internal responses.

How did Mystery encounter you today?
How did you encounter Mystery today?
How were found by Mystery?
How did God/dess seek you?

What awakened you?
What vision brought your spirit awake?
What nudged you? (Or nudged you forward?)
Where does your heart sit?
What gave you wings?
What do you take on your journey?
What do you tuck into the corners?

What quickened within you?
What brought your senses (or your heart, your spirit, your brain) alive?
What do you take deeper?
What do you take into prayer?

What is the weight that you carry?

And not that I am thinking about it again, I’ll add some more from today’s heart:
What itches? What makes you uncomfortable?
What feels unsettled?
What skin are you shedding?
What muscles are you stretching?

Gratitude List:
1. Bridges, and bridge-building language and actions
2. Gathered Community
3. Getting the work organized, making a plan
4. Treasuring each other
5. Waking up–I am struggling with the actual physical process this morning. How much more intense it can be to wake up in other ways. May we always be open to the pull to wake further, to bring our dreams into the wakeful spaces.

May we walk in Beauty!

Tiny Wonders

portrait
This is the family portrait that my friend Kris Miller (Art of the Brogue) took of our little family of hummingbirds. I love this photograph so much. It’s still hard to believe that such a miracle exists in the tree outside. It is such an honor that she chose our spot for her family.

Gratitude List:
1. Family
2. Community networks of prayer
3. Tiny wonders
4. Stories
5. The way the day always branches outward with so many possibilities

May we walk in Beauty.

Desire

luna

As you read, you can use your own name for the Great Mystery, the Force of Life, Beauty, Love:

Psalm of Desire
(14 August 2016, revised)

O God of Beauty,
God of Marvel,
God of Wonder,
the whole universe that you have made
is built upon desire:

the force that holds electrons in atomic orbit,
that keeps the planets in their dance around the sun,
and wheels the spiraled walk of galaxies
is that same force which holds us to the earth,
which pulls the tides up the beach and back,
and calls us from complacency
to yearn for something more.

Not only do we hunger for you,
but you are the very force of our longing,
the Magnet which draws us ever outward
from the limiting walls of our own egos
to seek your face in all that surrounds us,
to seek your heart in the hearts of our neighbors,
to follow the pathway that leads us homeward.
You are the Magnet which draws us, finally,
into the home of our deepest selves,
where we are most truly
what you have made us to be.

Our yearning for you is an echo
of your own yearning for your children.

May we carry the knowledge within us,
deep in our cellular constellations,
pulled with the tides of our blood,
that our own deepest longings
are the echoes of your voice
calling us to you.

Draw us ever closer to your Center,
as the sun holds the planets in constant orbit,
as a mother draws her child to her heart,
that our longing may lead us always to you,
our Truest Home.

Gratitude List:
1. Preparing the heart space. So much work remains to be done, but the work on the heart moves on apace. (I copied this from last year’s August 15 list.)
2. Memories of luna moth. I haven’t seen any this year (yet), but I love looking at photos from other years.
3. How Love will always trump dogma. Generous spirits.
4. The wise and loving community.
5. Feathers. Wings. Wind. Flight.

May we walk in Beauty!

Rhythm and Change

DSCN9011

Gratitude List:
1. Reassessing.  Watching someone have the courage to say, “This doesn’t work.  I am going to try something different.”  Because sometimes will and determination aren’t about perseverating and following through on that one thing despite all indications that it isn’t working.  Sometimes will and determination are about having the wisdom and grace to say that it’s time to find a different new thing.
2. How community forms naturally and organically when it is given the spaces and the rooms in which to thrive.
3. How there is always something more to strive for and to learn.  This sometimes looks pretty crunchy–I can feel like I am always inadequate, never quite up to the task, never quite the best best that I can be.  Or I can remember that I am never completely formed, never static, never done, but that there are always new ways to grow and develop and change, to transform.
4. Rhythms.  Things are always changing.  Things are always staying the same.  Like fractals, the patterns repeat endlessly with intricate variations that create complexity and beauty.
5. I hear phoebe calling this week.  Welcome back, Wing-friends!

May we walk in Beauty!

I wish for you

I wish for you,
when you lose your way,
a bright feather on your path.

I wish for you,
when your eyes are spangled with tears,
a shaft of shining light to prism you a rainbow.

I wish for you,
when the load is heavy,
a gentle wind to lift you up.

May your roads be green.
May your stars shine brightly in the night.
May the valley ahead be filled with small hearth fires
and the sound of singing.

Gratitude List:
1.  Thoughtful, helpful,kind colleagues.  A healthy community of teachers can develop a healthy community of students.
2.  First days.  New beginnings.  In the autumn when I have not returned to school, I have often been jealous of the people who do. Clean slate.  Sharp pencils.  Possibilities.
3.  Trusting the net to appear.
4.  Meeting my children’s teachers and new principal.  The boys will be well cared for, and in a rich learning environment.
5.  Letting go. I am ready for the first day of school, but the last minute brought up all the thousand things that suddenly need to happen.  Right now!  I will not get all the thousand things done in the next two hours.  Still, I can let them go, and know that the day will happen as it happens.  This is the first lesson.

May we walk in Beauty!

Spider

Gratitude List:
1.  That spider whom I dislodged from a corner of a little-used bin yesterday.  As she scuttled away, I saw three swelling egg sacs.  I hung them carefully in an out-of-the-way place, and then found Mama Spider again and shooed her onto the egg sacs.  She immediately took up her guard there again.  Fierce Mama Protectiveness, even in Arachnia.
2.  New Computer.  I’ve been feeling a tiny little bit overwhelmed by the size of the technological learning curve as I prepare for school, but a little time playing and fiddling does go a long way toward making me feel comfortable in these new virtual rooms.
3.  Community Building.  I am pushing my getting-started classroom plans back a day or so in order to do some community-building exercises in my classes.  Before we talk about Narrative Structure in Literature, we’ll tell our own stories.
4.  Good conversations.  Thank you for being my village, friends.
5.  Even though I really loved that dress, I am incredibly grateful that it tore BEFORE I wore it to a day of school meetings rather than when I got there.  I’ll hem it up and make a shirt of it.

May we walk in Beauty!

Who is Pushing them in?

My father, a physician, used to give talks about healthy diet and lifestyle.  One story that he used to tell has really stuck with me.

Once there was a little town located beside a wide and perilous river.  Occasionally townspeople would rush to the aid of someone who had fallen in upriver.  At great risk to their own lives, they would mobilize and save a hapless stranger from drowning.  As time went by, and more and more of these rescues began to occur, the little town developed an excellent rescue aid society.  They had their own boats and equipment.  They held fundraisers to support the River Rescue Society.  Volunteers trained long hours.

Over time, more and more people came floating by, in peril of drowning, and the town’s rescue crew grew and grew.  They began to post watchers on the shoreline because the numbers of people in need of rescue had begun to increase monumentally.  It was all the little town could do to keep up with the work.  But they were proud of their River Rescue Society.

One night, at a town meeting, the topic on the table for discussion was (once again) the need for more money to fund the Rescue Society.  They were now in need of full-time watchers on the shore and more money for training and research into the best techniques for safely pulling people out of the river.  Finally a quiet woman who had been knitting in the corner stepped up to the microphone and asked, “Perhaps we ought to send someone upriver to discover who is pushing all these people in?”

Yesterday, I found out that yet another friend of mine has cancer.  Leukemia.  Two friends of mine are walking with their mothers through the rocky terrain of breast cancer at the moment.  I find it alarming and disconcerting, the way we just accept that cancer is a way of life for us now.  I’m glad that we’re working so hard on the rescue side of this story.  I am so grateful for the treatment options for my friends, for my friends’ mothers, for your friends and family members.  It seems to me that in recent years, the number of people floating down this particular river has increased rather dramatically.  What are we going to do about figuring out who is pushing them in?

We can start, I think, by letting the dandelions grow.  Refusing to put chemicals on our lawns and gardens.  Cleaning our houses with soap and water and vinegar instead of chemicals.  We can pay attention to the food we put into our bodies, where it comes from, what practices were used to grow it.  We can stop drinking out of plastic containers.  These things will not ensure that we don’t fall in the river ourselves, but they might begin to slow down the numbers of people who do.  We need to take a look upriver, and find out who has been pushing all these people into the river.

 

Gratitude List:
1. A lovely day yesterday with my mother-in-law
2. Singing together–I love that my son joins in with the hymns in church
3. Community–how it falls together sometimes, how we can also work to build and maintain it intentionally
4. Anticipation (as edgy as it can make me, I love having possibilities to dream)
5. Language and the gifts it offers to our reasoning brains

May we walk in Beauty!