Seeking a Homeland

Posing

Handsome Sachs in a sunbeam. He has recently acquired the nickname Gunther.

“We are all of us seeking a homeland, even though we have only seen and embraced it from afar. We are all of us strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” —Frederick Buechner
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Love is not something you do; love is Someone you are. It is your True Self. Love is where you came from and love is where you’re going. It’s not something you can attain. It’s not something you can work up to, as much as something you allow yourself to fall into! It is the living presence of God within you, often called the Holy Spirit, or what some theologians name uncreated grace. You can’t manufacture this by any right conduct. You can’t make God love you one ounce more than God already loves you right now.” —Richard Rohr
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Danielle LaPorte: “You might have to face your own sadness and empty places as you wish for an other’s sadness and emptiness to be lifted. You will have to acknowledge your interconnectedness, which is particularly difficult when you are moving on. You will have to face your disappointment head on — and what you see might burn your eyes.”
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“Love is where you come from and love is where you’re going.” —Richard Rohr
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“I have two daughters.
Their names are Memory and Loss.” —Beth Weaver-Kreider (after Eavan Boland)
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Rob Brezsny:
“You and I and everyone else in the world talk to ourselves constantly. The conversation is mostly silent and covert, however.
As a result, we get away with abusing ourselves; we assail ourselves with mean thoughts that we’d be far less likely to fling if we actually spoke them aloud.
Now might be a good time for you to break this bad habit. In fact, I’m going to officially declare that it’s Speak More Kindly to Yourself Season.
For best results, shun the usual telepathic communion with yourself. Instead, say every word aloud as you carry on your dialogues.”
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Terry Tempest Williams. from Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert:
“I write to make peace with the things I cannot control. I write to create red in a world that often appears black and white. I write to discover. I write to uncover. I write to meet my ghosts. I write to begin a dialogue. I write to imagine things differently and in imagining things differently perhaps the world will change. I write to honor beauty. I write to correspond with my friends. I write as a daily act of improvisation. I write because it creates my composure. I write against power and for democracy. I write myself out of my nightmares and into my dreams. I write in a solitude born out of community. I write to the questions that shatter my sleep. I write to the answers that keep me complacent. I write to remember. I write to forget….

I write because I believe in words. I write because I do not believe in words. I write because it is a dance with paradox. I write because you can play on the page like a child left alone in sand. I write because it belongs to the force of the moon: high tide, low tide. I write because it is the way I take long walks. I write as a bow to wilderness. I write because I believe it can create a path in darkness….

I write as ritual. I write because I am not employable. I write out of my inconsistencies. I write because then I do not have to speak. I write with the colors of memory. I write as a witness to what I have seen. I write as a witness to what I imagine….

I write because it is dangerous, a bloody risk, like love, to form the words, to say the words, to touch the source, to be touched, to reveal how vulnerable we are, how transient we are. I write as though I am whispering in the ear of the one I love..”


Gratitude List:
1. Dreams full of cats. Tortoiseshells: fluffy ones, really short-haired ones, ones that are mostly white, with tortie spots, ones that have streaks of white here and there. Third night of animal dreams, each time remembering the dream because I am awakened by a small furry person licking my face or purring in my ear, or walking on my head. I think Thor is something of a Dream Companion for me. The first night he came to us, he awakened me from a nightmare.
2. A gloriously cool fall day
3. Going to the book sale and Steam-O-Rama with the family
4. Wise and compassionate friends who model thoughtful and respectful discussion
5. Layers. A glosa of a glosa. Harmonies with deeper harmonies. Fractalization.

May we walk in Beauty!

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Daily Feather

  
In the lower right, the original photo, of a feather in the clouds. The others are filtered through Dreamscope app. 

“In summer, the song sings itself.”
―William Carlos Williams
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“All we have, it seems to me, is the beauty of art and nature and life, and the love which that beauty inspires.” ―Edward Abbey
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“They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price.” ―Kahlil Gibran
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“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ―Pablo Picasso
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“Every breath is a sacrament, an affirmation of our connection with all other living things, a renewal of our link with our ancestors and a contribution to generations yet to come. Our breath is a part of life’s breath, the ocean of air that envelops the earth.” ―David Suzuki, The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature
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“Memory is an invitation to the source of our life, to a fuller participation in the now, to a future about to happen, but ultimately to a frontier identity that holds them all at once.” ―David Whyte
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“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
―not actually Benjamin Franklin, as the internet claims
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Lines
by Martha Collins

Draw a line. Write a line. There.
Stay in line, hold the line, a glance
between the lines is fine but don’t
turn corners, cross, cut in, go over
or out, between two points of no
return’s a line of flight, between
two points of view’s a line of vision.
But a line of thought is rarely
straight, an open line’s no party
line, however fine your point.
A line of fire communicates, but drop
your weapons and drop your line,
consider the shortest distance from x
to y, let x be me, let y be you.


Gratitude List:
1. Not feeling wretched. Sometimes it’s good to have a day of pathetic wretchedness in order to remember how wonderful normal feels. Is that weird? It just feels so incredibly good not to feel awful.
2. Driving Pippi Prius again. In the same vein as #1, I was incredibly grateful that my father let us borrow his car while Pippi was getting her battery cells fixed, and his car is wonderful, but it just feels so good to drive my car again. As a smallish person, I feel most comfortable and safest driving a little car.
3. Following #2, I am grateful that we did not have to replace the whole hybrid battery just yet. The local garage thought that would be necessary, but Sam the Prius guy was able to change the cells instead, and they were still under warranty. We’ll save the big expenses for another time.
4. Long weekend ahead. I have a lovely day of in-service ahead with my colleagues, and then three days of break.
5. The puppycat. Joss and Thorby are playing fetch all over the house.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Journey Downward and Inward


Leaving the old shell behind. Grasshopper transformation.

“Let us not make America Great again.That greatness they yearn for was rooted in death and oppression. Let us make America Good. For all, for the very first time.

Do not let it go without saying. If you and your family denounce white supremacy: say it. Let it be known. You are not how you feel or think. You are what you say and do.” –Glennon Doyle
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“Hate evil and love what is good. We have to be able to say that evil is evil. It’s not something that exists on many sides.” –Rabbi Jack Paskoff of Lancaster, PA
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“I repose in myself. And that part of myself, that deepest and richest part in which I repose, is what I call ‘God.'” –Etty Hillesum
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“THE JOURNEY DOWNWARD
Spiritual awakening is frequently described as a journey to the top of a mountain. In the process of discovering bodhichitta [the awakened heart], the journey goes down, not up. It’s as if the mountain pointed toward the center of the earth instead of reaching into the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward the turbulence and doubt. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear. At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of bodhichitta. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die.”
–Pema Chödrön
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“I invite you to think about your relationship to human beings who haven’t been born yet. What might you create for them to use? How can you make your life a gift to the future? Can you not only help preserve the wonders we live amidst, but actually enhance them?” –Rob Brezsny
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Lewis Carroll: “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backward.”
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“Some days,
you feel as though
you have been walking that knife edge
forever,
too afraid
to look to right or left.
And then one day,
you raise your gaze
and there before you
is the green valley
with a blue glass lake
and a silent island
that you have been seeking
in every dream
since you were born.” –Beth Weaver-Kreider
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“I demand unconditional love and complete freedom. That is why I am terrible.”  –Tomaž Šalamun
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“You want weapons? We’re in a library! BOOKS! The best weapons in the world.” –Doctor Who
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“A banjo will get you through times of no money, but money won’t get you through times of no banjo.”  –John Hartford


Gratitude List:
1. The voices of Amanda Kemp, Kevin Ressler, Rev. Forbes, Andrea Brown, Jim Amstutz, and others at the Lancaster vigil last night. I am so proud of Lancaster and York for turning out like they did.
2. The stately and friendly architecture of downtown Lancaster.
3. The little screech owl trilling in the hollow. And then the great horned owl all in the early morning.
4. Sachs came out from under the bed! (See how I changed the spelling there? He is a person of such grave dignity that Socks seems insufficient. Sachs, on the other hand, has a grandeur, and even a hipness, which is in keeping with the cat himself.)
5. One more week of summer schedule. I am going to make the most of it!

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!

A Little Satisfaction

deltadawnsundial

One of the words that came flying through the air to me while I was at the monastery was satisfaction.  One morning, I went out into the western cloister to write and watch the day.  I began brainstorming for a project that has been waiting within me like a seed, like an egg, like a cocoon.  The words and ideas started to come in a rush, then a flood.  I rode the wave for a while, and then I sat back and took a breath, and said, “This is so satisfying!”  Later that afternoon, it happened again as I was working on a series of collages.  I got so deeply involved in piecing images and words together that I stopped paying attention to what was in my head.  When I came back to myself, I again felt the word satisfaction bumping about inside my spirit.

What makes you satisfied? It’s not the same as happiness, I think–though being satisfied makes me happy.  For me, it’s the feeling of being in tune with my purpose, of being so involved in the moment that the voices are stilled, the voices that beg me to be this or that, to do more and better, to appear to be something I am not.

May some moment in your day bring you real satisfaction.  Let’s nurture those moments.

Gratitude List:
1. Memory
2. Dream
3, Vision
4. Aspiration
5. This Moment

May we walk in Beauty!

Little Sisters at Work

IMAG0392 IMAG0394

The Garden at Herbs from the Labyrinth.  The Little Sisters are happy in their work, and a baby elephant (Ganesha?) helps to keep the order of the labyrinth.

Odd dreams last night after I finally got back to dozing post-insomnia.  My cell phone appeared for the first time in my dreams.  I needed it to take pictures on the beach.  And I dreamed that my younger sister Valerie was actually older than I am and that we had another younger sister with a very different temperament than any of the rest of us.

The Poetry Prompt for today is to write a memory poem.
Here is a picture of me and Suzy and Jennifer before Jennifer went to America for repairs:
IMAG0400_1

On the Lakeshore I could look out and see
distant America where my grandparents
sat over breakfast every day thinking of me
in their light-filled Victorian house
with the wooden banisters and sliding doors.

Jennifer, my doll with the golden hair
who had gone to America to be repaired
sat on their table and dined with them
longing for the day she would be home with me
and Ed Bear and Suzy in her red dress
who I carried under my arm.

Gratitude List:
1. Wise women.  Yesterday’s encounters with Phyllis, with Sarah and Julia.  If I had a daughter, I would send her to Sense of Wonder Camp.
2. Watching and listening to the bees, the Little Sisters, hard at work in the garden, zzzing through sunbeams like liquid light itself.
3. This rain, this moon, this strawberry rhubarb pie.
4. The will to begin.  And there’s an odd gratitude hidden under the rug of those words.  I am grateful for last night’s insomnia. During these bouts my brain functions in a circular fashion.  I am neither wholly asleep nor wholly awake.  I have a project hoard that has been feeling weighty, and last night my brain brought me back again and again to the question of whether the creative thought of someday getting to this work is a good thing, or whether it’s just another stress.  Last night when my mind circled back around to it, I started to imagine my life without this project in it, and I felt such a great relief.  I am going to have some big bags for Re-Uzit this week.  Ah, relief.
5. Burdock, curly dock, dandelion (sounds like a new version of duck, duck, goose)–I have roots of all three plants on my counter.  Today I will grate them and then dry them in the food processor, and use them in teas.  Researching them brought me again to some researches on wild greens, particularly two varieties of wild lettuce that grow on the farm.  I might start experimenting with them a little.

May we walk in Beauty!

Stones for Memory

Carin

Today’s prompt is to write a poem about memory.

I have always envied others their power of memory.  My own is so fickle, so capricious, unreliable.  My ability to concentrate and memorize poetry or lines for a play in the present moment are, I think, above average.  I’m nowhere close to having a photographic memory, but I feel like I understand the brains of people who do.  This has served me well in the short-term.  I can quickly learn a story, hold a lesson plan, memorize a poem, prepare for a play.  But my powers of remembering in the long-term are, I think, way below the average.  I can remember very few of the teachers in my growing up years.  Even college, even grad school, even my first years of teaching–all are receding, dragged backward out of my memory.  This has always been kind of painful for me.

What I tell myself is that I live in the present so completely, that the butterfly of my personality sits so completely in the now, that I do not take my mind back enough to pull out the pieces of past and examine them, and so they flow out and away.  Perhaps this is not exactly a defect in my personality, but it remains a deep and abiding pain.  I lose the past too utterly, and I do often feel it as a personal deficiency: if only I would get my flightly brain to concentrate more often on what has gone before, perhaps I could keep it, hold on to it.  Still, I cannot make myself hold memory.  My brain is wired for this moment.

I place in the hands of Time these stones:
the story of this day,
the people I have been near to,
the songs the Fates have whispered in my ears,
the colors that haunt me.

See how they turn to mist,
how they glow for a moment–
red, then golden, then blue–
then dissipate like ash blown by a wind
before I can register
that they have lost their substance.

Where does memory go
when it flows out with the tide,
when it slips down the drain,
when it is blown out with the morning fog?

I am still the child in the forest,
walking blind through the swirling mists,
under the shadows of the great trees.
With each forward step on the trail,
a little bird flutters from the pathway behind,
a bread crumb in its beak.

Gratitude List:
1. Memory
2. Longing
3. This moment
4. The shades of dawn
5. Small moments in which to breathe.

May we walk in Beauty!

Submerged

DSCN8708

I realized yesterday that if I sort of scrunch the meanings of a couple of my early November poems into the themes that Robert Lee Brewer suggests on his blog, I only have to write to extra poems to catch up to the Poem-A-Day thing.  I just can’t resist. I will get those two extras written.  Mockingbird reminds me that they don’t have to be super-poems.

Today’s prompt is to write a submerged poem.  I have been wanting to try the triversen form.

Beneath the surface of the dream
where tiny rodents skitter and run
I could feel the story rising.

There, where the memories yield their harvest,
where travelers wander deep in shadow,
I caught its scented breezes.

Inside the dreaming of the house
where rooms went on forever,
lay a village of self to explore.

Below the one about the baby
and the orphaned white kitten
flowed rivers of recognition.

What do you do
when the gods of the dreamings
offer you maps for the journey?

How will you answer
when the night-folk cry out:
“Give us the hope of our meanings!”

Gratitude List:
1. That pecan pie
2. Bridges.  Hope. Bridge of Hope
3
. Breathing
4. Dream-work
5. Writing poems

May we walk in Hope!

Pebbles

Wear today loosely,
like your grandmother’s shawl
or a hat that keeps blowing away in the breezes.

Wear it gently,
and hold it like you hold a kite
the moment before you release it to wind.

Walk through these hours
the way you waded through the creek
or up and down the beach that day,
picking up smooth and shiny pebbles,
pocketing them for later.

Tiny stones of moments
to sift through your fingers,
testing their weight
and feeling their coolness,
to place in a tray on the table.

This one, you’ll say.
This.  And this.

 

Gratitude List:
1. Naps
2. A Fabulous farm crew
3. Memories of winter
4. Echoes of laughter
5. Remembering and looking forward

May we walk in Beauty!