Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dispelled illusion

As the sun rises, the morning whisper, 'Take off the collar. Don't be like the leashed dog that thinks he is free because he can run. He thinks he is free until he reaches the end of his leash. The dog cannot and his master will not unhook the leash. I give you my light, a new day and strength so you can see how to unhook the collar and leash. Then you can reach inward. Then you can reach out.'

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Leaf rain

I chose to go walk by the park lake in the thunder and rain. It was a solitary walk, save for the fish jumping, a Nuthatch, Robin and two I know not their names.  At times only the curtain of rain then a quick change to the steam of the heated earth.  I walked in the silence of a heart unheard. The thunder echoing the plea'd pain beating within.  For some reason I sat upon the grass and knew the touch of rain upon the earth.  A leaf hitched a ride on a raindrop and landed on my arm. A gentle touch. A whisper without words.  I knew my heart was not alone in her plea'd pain.  And the thunder rolled.


Have you ever considered how roots, buried deep within the earth, most never ever seeing the sun, nurture and hold upright a tree they likewise will never see? Their shapes, bark, and direction of reach totally opposite but both dependent and trusting upon the nurturing, strength, and faithfulness of the unseen roots. And should adversity damage the tree, the roots can transform into the trunk of the tree they have never seen.  Roots simply accept and answer the call to be what they are, never worrying to remove the topsoil to make sure the tree is growing.  They unfold and embrace their truth of being knowing the tree will likewise grow.

Sweet Hands of Life, the grace to have the trust and release in my spirit's heart akin to roots and trees.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Forgetting the Giver

I gently bathed the bamboo's leaves, refreshed her water, then giggled and gave her a complete shower. My fingers thought they felt her joy to be so immersed, droplets still cling to her leaves. Was it her joy or my own? I remembered the waterfall I stood beside, the beauty and sound inimitable, knowing how deeply body, mind and soul wanted to lay down and feel the current. I shall next time. But what if there is not another? Not only would my hesitancy have deprived my own spirit of such joy, but what of Life that stood waiting to giggle as she bathed me? So often I view things I miss, lose or refuse to accept from my own eyes, forgetting the eyes and heart of the One who stands waiting to give.

Cold River Covering

Sweet soul of mine, forgive me
I can offer not one excuse.
I heard your voice, felt your need
Accepted the gratitude not the desire.
June 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Unedited Peace

Readmitted to the hospital, a flurry of doctors and orders attend to her.  They cannot stop the pain or nausea, venting the tube that feeds chemical food no longer helps.  It was her greatest fear, that the end would be ugly, the two year fight spent devoted to laughter and joy of the moment. Her partner writes, “They have to stop the pain and nausea. She must let go in peace.”

Writers, poets, artists and sculptors spend hours, days even months perfecting their craft, each sentence, word, stroke and pause.  I would not think the birth of the heart’s pouring ever made it untouched, perfected and edited to those who would behold.  I giggle to think of the Christian creation story where God created the world and humanity, and pronounced, “It is good.”  God did not say perfect.  From birth, like the birth of the heart’s creativity, we feel perfection is the standard and edit, retouch, throw away, scrap, rewrite our lives to conform to that anonymous standard of perfection.  We forget that precious moment of birth when with the first cry, the newborn is recognized by heart, body, soul and mind as ‘simply perfect.’  We lose that moment and parents, child, society and institutions begin to edit.

With ports, shunts and god knows what else, she swam with the dolphins, dove into the sky from a plane with her brother holding her hand, she flew in a side car to sit by the waterfalls, friends four-wheeled her wheel chair to Lake Superior’s shore with a handmade grabber so she could gather agates, she planted perennials and trees that will not sprout til next year.  She did not edit neither has she allowed the cancer to edit.  Each moment, each pause, word and painted stroke perfect in itself.
Hiiiii, thiiiis iiis my stuttre hadn taht yiiii do not see. Thiiiis iiis teh way my eys see adn my hadns wriiiet befoer Iiiii work throuuiiihg teh iiiniiital scriiihces of my heart to leaaev hre for any taht may seee.”

An unedited offering to the Sweet Hands of Life, naked and unshielded, that Annie may have her peace and that her courage to live unedited will continue in the lives she has touched. I take my stutter hand from its closeted pocket where it is hidden, and take yours in mine, Annie.  As you said, ‘We all have our cancers.’  “Lettiiiinng go iiiin peaec…….unedddiiiiide.”

Monday, June 25, 2012

Creative celebration

How is it possible to look at something every morning and throughout the day and yet not see?

I have called her The Old Woman since I first saw her.  I could not tell, with fall turning into winter, whether she was alive or not. Her stripped branches reaching upward, a reminder of days of glory, life and dance.  This afternoon my eyes that do not see, noticed a branch reaching out from her empty trunk. The Old Woman was very much alive.  It had gone unseen.  Immediately I saw a bush growing that threatened the only source of life that remained.  Throughout the afternoon I pondered the branch and the encroaching bush.  Finally I decided the bush had to go. With shears in hand I set out to defend the branch.  To my wonder, the bush was not a bush.  It was a banquet of life celebrating the Old Woman’s Fertility and Life. The bush was an explosion of life extending from exposed roots.  The branch I set out to defend was, in some ways, supported by the life reaching upward from roots that had been transformed into a new trunk.

Nature knows the pruning of life is creation and creativity.  What time, harsh seasons and who knows what had drained and taken, perhaps in greed, the creativity, the artist of renewal simply found another way to dance and celebrate. And with her wisdom, I sat beside her, whispering ‘Why would my life, my trunk and roots be any different?’  Sometimes, it just takes my eyes a little longer to see.  The shears are back in the garage and I celebrate Nature and her mentoring trees, bowing in wonder to The Old Woman.

Cooling relief

The house would not release the day's heat. Outside the night air much cooler.  I placed a wet paper towel upon my neck and felt my body's heat penetrate and absorb its cherished coolness.  The heat of my neck overcame the cool relief. I placed the towel, and its tiny remaining cool relief, inside my tank top, upon my chest and against my heart. It felt as if it exploded in cooling waters sending relief throughout my body. What had relinquished to the heat was renewed.

I look at life, our world and so so many needs, suffering, pain, lack and sorrow. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, what can one such as I do? This morning the simple little paper towel waited next to my coffee pot. It made me smile. Perhaps if I can do nothing else for the world, for you, my other me, I shall carry a cooling little paper towel and whisper, 'Not for the neck that supports the brain of thinking, place it upon your chest, your heart and feel the river of cooling relief.'

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Surrender without conquer

The hour and then the morning passed by unspoken. No need to speak, we knew what would be done. At the peak of the day’s heat, the house already stifled, I set out for my walk. No cool morning air upon my skin. A cloudless sun filled sky greeted my already weakened body.

Strength against strength. Will against will. There will be no victor no conquered. One can be neither a warrior nor a lover only in the cool of the morning when life is comfortable.  Sometimes one has to strike a surrendered determined stance of strength for strength and will for will. And with a tympani pounding beneath each temple, the sweat painting my back like an Etch-A-Sketch, the hill that is my reward at the end of the walk, and the sun eye to eye with my own, we each whispered ‘Namaste.’

 A crow began cawing loudly over my head as I bowed. And with my bow, next to my feet, Life added, “Well done.”

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Reflecting promise

Some nights  you cannot explain. Somehow the clock loses the rhythm and unlike yourself, falls asleep, refusing to move. 

 The glow of the moon, against the blackened night sky, is made possible by the sun's light reflecting upon her darkness. Her reflecting light upon the darkened moon is all I can see, I cannot see the source.   I wait and sit with the night's dawn. I know I will never see this dawn again. The dance of the sun and moon is constant, but never the same. For all the thousands of years they have danced, not one is like the other. And yet, with different strokes painting the blush, their canvas, their presence and their promise remain steadfast in their sameness as they unfold the night. The promised light for waiting and trusting the source.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Familiars.  A school of philosophy, even neuroscience and psychology talk about how we create familiars in our minds as a way to anticipate the world. When you consider the barrage of stimuli that bombard you every single second, familiars remove those stimuli from thought so we don’t have to think about them.  In psychology, when events occur that clash with our mental or perhaps emotional maps of familiars, conflict arises, like a GPS that is lost and constantly recalucating or telling you to take a U-turn. At their essence, familiars are designed to help us function in the world.

Familiars, however, have a down side. They simply become, well, familiar and unnoticed. Mark Nepo, in his book “Awakening” suggests you take something familiar out into the sunlight and just notice it, let it become ‘unfamiliar.’ Sitting here at my little porch table I pondered my coffee cup. The thread lengthened and I pondered how everything around me is an act of creation. Think about it. The pencil or pen you hold did not always exist. They are an act of creation in someone’s mind. The paper, computer, Post-it note, phone, the light in your office or kitchen, the car and all its multitude of parts, the TV, cell phone, the house (not a cave) and every item (including indoor plumbing!) have not always existed. Each is an act of creation, an idea, a tinkering here and there until it worked, and voila – what did not exist is now a familiar. Even your partner, husband or wife, co-worker, friend, security guard at work who greets you, the delivery person, the mail person, the stranger in the elevator or checkout line – they too did not always exist, they too are acts of creation, shaped by Life and their own tinkering here and there as they respond to life and develop their own familiars and voila – a human being, a person now exists. The thread really gets tangled when you pause and consider how everything around you is an act of creation – and then consider the creative acts required, the individuals, logistics required to make that act of creation available to you right now at this moment.  
Both the fragility and resilience, the softness and devastating power of Nature remind us of the act of creation – and the loss incurred when we rely too much on familiars.  Even GPS systems come with a warning to not simply obey the voice – you could end up in a corn field, lake or drive through a building.

 I pause and ponder all the familiars – physical, emotional, spiritual and those people and objects around me.  Oh, we need familiars to function. But perhaps that is the key – function. They allow us to function they make no claim they offer a life or living. Function versus being or being alive.  To be alive, I have to stop, notice, and appreciation the act of creation, make the familiar – unfamiliar.  The essence of sacred.
It’s not that unusual
When everything is beautiful
Just another ordinary miracle today.
~ Sara McLaughlin “Ordinary Miracle”

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Ineffective hands have dropped her twice, struggling to remove the small black plastic container. It was meant for transport only, to nurture a beginning not the being. The forgiving little cypress tree surrenders to my clumsy efforts, accepts my apologies and finally the container is removed. The earth around her roots is solid, packed not subtle or flowing like the earth, restricted having outgrown the beginning, unable to carry to the tiny fingered needles the nourishment she needs.  Propping her against the sink, so only my good hand will touch, I press against the hardened soil, loosen its binding trying to not break the roots. Her uncertain thin trunk and branches quiver and dance as I lift and place her in her new home. Fresh nurturing soil and room to grow. Water is added so she can hear the flow, feel the moistness and growth calling her boundness to shatter and reach. I place her back near the prism'd light with a gentle caress. 'Now you can breathe. Now you can grow.'

Returning I see the dirt filled sink and begin to clean. Amidst the hardened small clods of earth, I see tiny roots separated, broken yet even they have been freed. I look back at the little Cypress tree, her hardened roots free and her body stretching in fresh earth, water, and her being, reaching for the prism'd light. With sacred honor I gather the small clods and whisper to life, 'I surrender my bounded container. Yes, please, break my roots.'

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Statue'd gnomes

She wrote how odd to say good-bye to family and friends, joined together for the annual family reunion. You say good-bye every year, but for her, and for them, it was good-bye. She stared out the window and wrote that no matter how hard she tried, she could not keep them all in the back yard forever like statue’d garden gnomes. They are gone, but still, more importantly, their life remains. How different they would have celebrated, in years past, had they known today was near.

Rumi writes of a group of men who went to see another they heard had gone mad. The madman threw stones at them and away they ran. He calls out that 'See you are not friends!' Friends do not run from pain, even if inflicted by the other. “A friend is pure gold singing inside the refining fire.”  George Elliot wrote “Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

A simple thread, I readily confess my thoughts are odd.  But to not see others as statue’d garden gnomes, kept for their presence, unwilling to enter the fire or to sift the chaff from the grain. And then the thread tangles with another, that perhaps allows the first to become real. To awaken to the day, and with the same heart, whisper to Life, ‘You are my friend. Today is near’

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

And she soared- 2

I long for the solitude to be ended.  Her departure has not arrived. And so, I begin to make that, which is not wanted, sacred.

In the corner, the kite and the healing mountain and lake to keep her company. The kite dances with the breeze coming through the window. 

I still do not know how to fly a kite.  As before, I offer my acceptance of what Life has given, and in making it sacred, still, she soars.


I must go and remove all the seed from the ground and feeders. The store was out of sunflower seed and I had to buy a mix with berries and fruits. The ants have discovered the banquet and the birds and squirrels can no longer eat. Last night sweltered in the oppressive heat, no air conditioning to cool the body, my head exploded as I tried to make eyes that cannot see, read about ways to display my feathers. I have images but there will be no other hands to do what mine cannot, but I will get what I see. I hung some of my photographs, that make me smile and feel the sacredness of being, in plastic sheet protectors, taking several hours trying to hammer or hold a tiny nail with a hand that will not grasp. I laughed to feel my mother’s shame of not having picture frames.

A litany of ‘have not’ and ‘cannot’? No, each one is an invitation. With a hand that tremors I extend my list to you. The invitation is that your open hand extends yours to me.  Take not my list and withhold your own. Nor will I take yours and in silence keep mine.  It is the exchange, the invitation and offering that heals. Oh yes, the ants may still be there, the feathers remain undisplayed, but the invitation, the offering and acceptance is what transforms the have not and cannot into Life itself. That is the beauty of the souls walking together upon this sweet earth.  Together….to gather. 
In Lak'ech - you are my other me.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bookmark upon the horizon

Joseph Campbell’s words startled me and left a thread. “There are no horizons in space.”

I grew up with the Gulf and stayed as close to the water’s horizon as possible.  The horizon gently swells like a single hand moving beneath a silky sheet. The prairie’s horizon was ever so similar with its fields of corn. The wind would move the tall green stalks like the waves upon the gulf.  Now, my horizon is mountainous. No long a solitary hand beneath the sheet. The mountains’ rising, undulations, and sloping are like lovers beneath the silky sheets. The union of earth and sky.  No longer flattened, the horizon is segmented, broken, obstructed and forces me to look up not out. Horizons orient me. They ground me. They tell me where I am. To contemplate the absence of horizons is way too much for my little weary mind.

When George Schaller, the mentor of Diane Fossey (Gorillas Among the Mist) was asked how he ever was able to gather such intimate knowledge about the gorillas he simply replied, “It was easy. I didn’t carry a gun.”  He stepped outside his horizons of definition, labels, security, expectations and all he had been told and discovered a new world.

When you think of it, horizons are really a visual mirage.  That was the hurdle Columbus had to overcome and the crux of the charge of heresy and lifetime house arrest for Galileo. They stepped out without their guns of fear.  There are no horizons in space. The earthen ones I see are illusions. The ones I create are made of fear.  So what will ground and orient me or tell me where I am? Perhaps that is the lesson of the thread, the grounding, the orientation and direction come from the realization, belief and embracement – that there are no horizons of limitation.  And even better yet – it applies to everyone; it is not just for the enlightened.  A bookmark for later. My mind is weary and not so wise. But I shall go and look at the sliver’d moon and watch her dance like a child above my horizons.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Beauty waiting

I already had my walk when the heart whispered, ‘Yet one more.’  To the lake I returned and chuckled when I realized I had taken the wrong path from where I thought I would go. Standing by the lake, I felt my feet sink down into the mud. Another giggle and with the giggle my breath and heart stopped. There before me was a large Canadian Goose feather barely peeking out of the mud and wet algae like grass.  It was huge. Carefully I removed it, like a child opening a Christmas gift. Sweet tears were its first bath as I thanked the earth and her gentle creature for such a gift. 
Holding it against me I continued to walk, my stutter hand so careful and gentle in its cradle.  As I walk, another whispered, and another, until twenty five I had gathered. Some were buried in the mud, some were tucked beneath a rock like bookmarks.  Twenty five gifts, excluding those, with joy and laughter I cleaned in the lake and then tossed them upward into the wind to know flight once more.  Making my way back I looked to the lake. A flock of geese were leisurely swimming beneath the midday sun.  I do so love their take off but dared not draw near. They had gifted such wonder, an undisturbed stroll upon the lake was my heart’s small token of thanks.  I sat and watched, holding the treasures, and pondered all the miles they must have seen. What lakes, parks and cornfields had they visited? How many sunrises had they risen from the lake to ride the wind? I bid the flock a safe journey and that life would protect the mates.  The geese mate for life.  And why a tear always fall when I see only three in flight.

With careful hands I washed each feather and laid them out to dry.  It occurred to me the narrow band of feathers told me if its wing was right or left. Their textures were different, some silky others were coarse. I wondered if  you could really use the quill to write in ink. Oh would that not be grand- to write the word ‘Beauty’ with the quill and surround it with feathered beauty.  If I could read, so much I would learn. But for now they are my teachers, as are the other feathered gifts who bid them welcome.

Wasn’t sure I would write this.  I am silly sometimes and perhaps way too soft. But it occurred to me that one should not wash feathers alone, and so, in a small way, to share these gifts.  A bookmark to return to when I am more wise. For now, I know the right and left wing and the tapping sound of human tears upon a feather…and that even when eyes cannot see, when the heart is open even a wrong path with mud and algae offer beauty.  Beauty waiting.

Filling the absence

Somewhere the heart remembers feeling loved, all windows open, the sun and breeze flowing in and out. Somewhere the spirit remembers the unity of herself with 7 billion others and diversity was only the gifts we shared. Somewhere the voice and eyes remember the blush and soft rain, when they boldly painted the world with sweet gentle fragrances. Somewhere the body remembers the feel of the earth upon her back and the river between her fingers. Somewhere the soul knows worthiness knows no scale.

I search for threads that will lead to somewhere. In belief, I left one with the earth. A marker and promise to not forget that 'somewhere' is not 'there,' it is 'here.' I will not deny the gift. I will keep walking and re-'member' my presence within' somewhere' where fear created absence.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Unchanced grace

It caught my eye and bid me stay. I knelt and allowed my body to become quiet.  Venturing on, time to get back to the house, up the path I saw a woman approach.  I giggled. Her skin so white in such bright sun, shorts and a tank top, only her face was protected by her big floppy hat.  As we approached she bellowed “Hello!” I giggled out loud and bellowed back “Hello.”  

She was older than I first thought, at least my age or perhaps a bit older.  She asked if I would mind taking a picture of her “so she could see” and immediately struck a camera pose.  I giggled again, and asked if she would move to the right just a bit.  I wanted the full strength of the mountain behind her.  She moved and again struck a camera pose.  Yet another giggle, I bellowed to her “Now say ‘It is a glorious day!’” She returned my giggle, her shoulders dropped and relaxed as her hands lifted to heaven, lifting her face and big floppy hat. “It is a glorious day!”  The camera clicked.  Looking in the viewer, she said not a word, only a sigh.  My hands, for some reason, went to my heart and I bowed, “It is a glorious day. Enjoy.”  She looked at me, and with a sigh, her hands went to her own heart, and she bowed her head, “Yes, it is a glorious day.”  And we parted.

As I walked down the path I thought of the flower that bid me linger. Not really a flower, it was still a bud waiting to unfold.  If I had not paused, perhaps the lady and I would not have met.  I would have been off the path we traveled together.  I paused again and bowed to the earth and her rhythm.  Nature’s order. The gentle walk of the seasons.  To trust the pauses and then to walk… it is a glorious day…I bellowed. I may just have to buy me a big floppy hat.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Maybe Nike is right

Perhaps the losses have taken their toll, or the solitude too long. But do you not, just maybe, perhaps, even for a moment agree that at some point you have to stop reading, stop visualizing and maybe even stop believing.... and just get up and do it? 

I watch the Qi Gong instructor, on the DVD, standing by a river in a forest, the yoga instructor on the ocean beach, I read of the need to reconnect to nature and feel her heart beat synchronized with our own. Simple things. Gratitude. Quietness. Letting the monkey mind take a nap. Breathing and awareness. Don't you think at some point, you have to stop watching and become the picture itself?

Perhaps I am more odd than I thought, but the answer I got was 'yes.' And so to the lake I went, away from all others.  Beneath the sun, getting ready to kiss the moon good night, upon her heated mattress of rocks, I laid down and stretched my body. One has to relax to feel the rock's softness.  When my senses were filled, my body soaked in the sun, I stood and pretended to be the Qi Gong instructor, and pushed my hands to heaven.

So you can see

The base of my honor stone, Namaste, could not keep it upright.  Straightening it became a ritual, a chance to remember, and whisper yet again, ‘Namaste.”  Today, the earth gifted another as I walked pondering the seasons and time.  This one shaped like a heart.  As soon as I saw it, I knew where it belonged.  The soft gentle whisper of ‘Namaste’ written on the second stone, to honor the first that grew wings and then became a fish in the waters of life, needed a heart. 

Two stones, heavy and hard against the wall of adobe.  One offers honor.  The other gifts the hearth’s strength.  The earthen wall supports them both.  And feathered reminders of softness and flight.  Earth, stone  and sky.  Honor without heart cannot stand. Together, surrendered to the earth, they have wings.  Stones of life, so you can see the whispered painting of Life,  when I say,
"In Lak' ech".... you are my other me

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

And she soared

Sitting outside, it seemed even the coffee swirled inside the cup, the wind was so strong.  Holding those whose hearts are heavy upon my own, the whisper of ‘kite’ rode upon the wind.  I am 58 and have never flown a kite. I giggled and drank my coffee. ‘Kite’ the wind whispered as the neighbor’s sprinklers danced and bent.  This time I listened.
Off to the one store where I thought they might be, only one was left, waiting for me.  And then I became afraid.  My eyes are not good and my hand tremors and stutters and cannot grasp.  As the nice man took my money, with shy eyes I asked if he would help.  As I stuffed my stuttering hand back into my pocket, unseen, his face softened and he put it together and tied the string.

To the lake I went. Holding the kite against my body, my back to the wind, I unraveled the string. As I turned, releasing my grip I released the drowning, heaviness, death, and silence gathered around those faces upon my heart.  With a whoosh and jerk the kite soared, almost taking me with it.  I whispered “Please” to the sweet Hands of Life, “Hold still my hand, the wind and kite. One picture please to remember.”  And Life giggled back, as she drew the kite closer to her own heart.  “Two pictures my child. One for you.  And one for those who now fly into my embrace.”

I am 58 and still do not know how to fly a kite.  A stranger’s compassion became my hands.  My body turned to face the sun, the wind pushed me back and I loved with laughter and sweet tears…and Life accepted the gift.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Unclenched pillows

Some nights the pillow is softened with tears.  Some nights the pillow cups the waters of nature’s walks and brings such sweet dreams.  Our heads need pillows.  Even when none is present, we bend our arms beneath our head to keep the neck and spine straight so the energy can flow.  As I think of the earth and those now seeking their pillows as I leave mine, I ask for their pillows to be soft, accepting of any troubled hearts, tendered and fitting so many shapes and needs.

We need pillows.  And should there be those, whose arms are too weak to hold their heads, quietly I slip my hand between their weighted minds, weary eyes and their chin buffeted by the day’s blows.  We need pillows.  Our heads were not meant to be lowered and bent, save in the gift of honor and love, or perhaps to notice a blade of grass.  We need pillows.  And so, when I ponder the world, all the needs, wondering oh sweet Hands of Life, what can one little person like myself ever do, may I recall this scrich.  We need pillows.  My hands are small and gentle, and closing my eyes, when I see a face stressed, saddened, or head bent, to slip my hand between their head and the world, a soft whisper, ‘Quiet my friend, and know rest, my pillowed hand is here.’ 

Loo-li, loo-li, loo-li, lai-layLoo-li, loo-li, loo-li lai-lay Lay down your head and I'll sing you a lullabyBack to the years of loo-li lai-layAnd I'll sing you to sleep and I'll sing you tomorrowBless you with love for the road that you go….May you bring love and may you bring happinessBe loved in return to the end of your daysNow fall off to sleep, I'm not meaning to keep youI'll just sit for a while and sing loo-li, lai-lay~SECRET GARDEN - SLEEPSONG

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Time to ride

Together they went to arrange her funeral.  Wearily they returned home only to find, parked out front, a Harley with a side car and a classic Mustang convertible – top down.  Lifting her weakened body from the car, their friends carried her and then snuggled her in the Harley’s side car wing.  With goggles and blankets, a classic escort, she sprouted wings of her own and flew with the wind to sit with the waterfalls.

Such a simple act of grace, compassion, laughter and truth.  I, who confess I am a squirrel, forever stuffing treasures in my pockets, ask you sweet Hands of Life, for yet two more pockets (and perhaps a stronger belt to hold my pants).  To carry with me always, a pair of goggles and a side car.  Would it not be grand to imagine putting goggles on the faces of all those I see during the day and lifting them into a side car to let them fly and then sit by the waterfall?  Why should they have to wait?  And if they cannot believe, my arms will still carry.

Yes, my child, why do you wait?  Put on your goggles, time to ride……… My arms will still carry.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sneakered heart steps

An early morning walk. So silent one could not tell the difference between your heart beat and footsteps.  So early the heron’s breakfast was disturbed and fish that only rippled the surface, during the day, now felt the morning as they leaped out of their world for a moment before splashing back into the lake.  With each lap a tree went from black to brown then orange and then returned to its daytime color of gray.
As I walked, talking to and through my heart, the sun kissed the moon good night and drew the blush curtains across the sky so she could sleep.  And with a quick wink, left a whisper, ‘Don’t focus  on the change, just look to see the light.’  Perhaps a rephrasing of not being able to see the forest for the trees, or maybe just another bookmark to come back to when I am wise.  Or, perhaps, maybe, nothing more than just a quiet morning sunrise walk watching fish with wings, hearing the sound of the heart’s footsteps, a tree changing colors and a spill from the morning blush that happened to land on a tree.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Absent no soul

My brain is muddled and so when I go to walk the lake’s path, in my pocket I carry five stones.  With each journey around the lake a stone is moved from one pocket to the other.  I no longer have to doubt myself with a ‘was that two or three?’  As I walk, I draw to those upon my heart, the ripples and breeze dancing upon the lake and grass,  tickling the leaves, and the mountain rising as I crest the hill. 

Sometimes I get miffed, when the last stone has joined the others and I am making my way up the hill that is my reward, when suddenly I realize I have forgotten someone or some need.  As if I only had one shot to speak to the Sweet Hands of Life, and they will go untended.  And so, I now carry a sixth stone in the pocket of my heart.  It is simple and passes from my heart to the Sweet Hands of Life, after I have whispered, “So shall it be.”  A simple phrase…”Absent no soul from the light.”

And if you should see this simple little scrich of my heart, though I know not your name.  Know that this little stone “Absent no soul from the light” bears your name.
"In Lak' ech".... you are my other me

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Touch the water and rise

I remember my one and only experience gliding across the waves in a small sail boat.  I wondered how we could possibly get to where we were going when the wind was blowing straight on and against us. How could a sail gather the wind and glide us to where we wanted to be? 

A morning memory that led me back to this image and a smile. I remember how my friend stared into the sun, never a bad word was said, never a doubt. Only eyes fixed and his hand upon the wooden lever that turned the single sail. We glided with the wind blowing in the wrong direction yet sailing us to where we wanted to be.

Maybe to get to where I want to be, though the winds blow hard against me, I just need to let my feet touch the water and lift my wings to the wind...and rise.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Showers of choice

As the rain fell, I retreated inside. I shut the house windows, checked the car windows and told my little dog she would have to wait to go outside.  As the rain fell I watched the birds, absent during the heat of the day, gather around the feeders, and yes, even the sassy squirrel. I laughed to watch them bathing in asphalt pot holes and tiny little pools of water on the driveway.  A robin was having a particularly grand time.  They squiggled and fluttered and I wondered if birds giggle.

One creature of nature closing up the house.  Other creatures of nature gathering, bathing and maybe even giggling.  Both living beneath the same rain that fell. And I pondered the difference.  Is it because there are "things" in the house, like carpet and painted window ledges?  Outside, well, outside there are "things" but they know the fall of rain and drought, that one follows the other and so worry not. I am not so wise.  I only know the same rain created a need to close up and a need to play and giggle. Or perhaps not the rain, but choice.

Maybe I will go and buy a bird bath, a hose and figure out how to turn the water on for the outside faucets.  And, who knows, if I am successful, after the bird bath is filled, the hose might accidentally point to the sky and the channeled water can rain down upon me.  Then, maybe, wet and to the neighbors even odder than I am, I might learn as I sit, if robins giggle when they bathe.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Drop and roll

Originally, this would have been titled (assuming I dared to post it) “After the Fall.”  It would have gone something like this….
When was the last time you laid in the grass and felt the sod, like waves beneath a raft, vibrating and tickling your bare legs?  When was the last time you felt the warmth of the earth as you discovered a pig, a bird and a horse’s head in the clouds above you?  When was the last time you watched the clouds dance and the cottonwood tree puffs skate upon the breeze as you played the piano with your fingers tapping upon your stomach? When was the last time you stretched beneath the sky, innocent as a child and with an adult voice giggled, ‘Oh sweet mercy that was not good but this is, this is simply grand.”

And that would have been all I would have had to say.

No, the body told me she could not walk. I am stubborn. Also fearful if I give in one time the next will be easier and the next even easier, and so I walked.  And the grass to the side of the hill welcomed me, as did the clouds. The body said “enough” and the heart whispered back, “yes, but look and see….” And so I did.

I am old enough to remember the drop and roll drills in grammar school.  In case of a nuclear attack, we were supposed to jump under our wooden desks.  Even a child’s brain, perhaps not perfectly, could figure out that the little wooden desk was not going to save me.  Somehow, because we practiced, it made us feel safe. We knew how to drop and roll. Maybe there is a lesson there.  What we practice – whether we realize we do or not- becomes safe.  Some practices delude us into thinking we’re  safe, like the wooden desk in a nuclear attack.  After all, it’s what others told us to do and we listen. Other practices are more daring and take us ever so close to the Breath of Life.  Maybe if I practice seeing "falls" or when I try and think I’ve failed,  as a chance to stroke the earth and play with the clouds upon a raft of warm green grass, well….. who can call that "fall"?  Maybe it’s just a drop and roll to feel the earth’s tickle and a tiny glimmer of the Breath of Life.

Quivered stretch

A simple stretch , standing outside, the sun's fingers barely reaching for the moon-a breath kiss. Lacing my fingers, so my thumbs touch and with palms up, lifting my arms upwards as I gaze through the heart formed by my thumbs.  I could feel and see my arms quivering as they stretched upward. I did not think my body that weak. As the sun stretched higher painting the blush, I also continued to stretch, gazing through the heart formed by my hands. A gentle whisper, carried by the birds posed a question - "why do you think it 'weakness' when you reach and your vision is through the heart, and you feel it quivering and becoming alive?"

Monday, June 4, 2012


That which we have given value, declared precious, rare, to be sought after no matter what, lie deep within the earth.  We drill, mine and draw forth minerals and stones the diamonds, gold and oil.  Yet the trees which sustain us,  give us our breath, shade, hold fast the earth’s soil and shelter nature’s fragile creatures, stand naked and exposed.  They have no mountains to nestle inside.  The earth’s soil, for some, barely covers their roots.  Exposed to all the seasons they stand and give.  Even when stripped they have learned to survive, re-birthing the sap and leaves in the spring, to give, yet again.  Those that have fallen to the seasons or fire continue to give as they enrich the earth.  Without them, we would find it difficult, if not impossible, to exist.  They would die if hidden in a vault to protect their worth.

Sweet hands of life, I was simply walking watching the wind bend the trees and make the leaves dance, when it occurred to me they have no shelter.  They have nothing  except what they have become and are…life rooted in the certainty of earth’s soil, reaching upward, sheltering and giving life.  Sweet mercy, do you think maybe we don’t have to dig and claw trying to find value, worth and meaning?  Maybe we just have to be what we are…rooted in the certainty of earth’s soil, reaching upward, sheltering and giving life.

Windbow eulogy

Sometimes the morning awakens such thoughts. Why I looked up the word "eulogy" I do not know. It is a speech or writing honoring or praising something or someone.

What if each footprint I leave upon the earth was read as my eulogy to the earth? What if each word I spoke to others was my eulogy to them? What if each action and choice I made, witnessed by others, was the eulogy they heard me give to life, peace, meaning, and sacred? What if I saw my life as a eulogy to all I hold dear? What would others hear? How would the sweet Hands of Life be praised?

And so, today, may every breath, like windbows in the sky, carry forth my eulogy.
What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life. - Walt Whitman

Sat nam
I bow to the essence of being 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A different earth

They were playing catch in a small stretch near the road. Not much space to throw the ball. A big brother and his much younger sister.  Outside the window I saw the yard that tries to defeat my body's strength and mocks my will to tend. Grass. Space.  I walked outside and offered the yard.  Now, as I sit, laughter fills the air. The snap sound of ball in glove.  The older sister has joined.  Play. Laughter. Joy. The earth will be different now, when I go to mow. My feet will feel laughter. As I push the mower up the hill my knees will soar like a well thrown ball of freedom. 

The Place I Want to Get Back To
is where
in the pinewoods
in the moments between
the darkness
and first light
two deer
came walking down the hill
and when they saw me
they said to each other, okay,
this one is okay,
let's see who she is
and why she is sitting
on the ground, like that,
so quiet, as if
asleep, or in a dream,
but, anyway, harmless;
and so they come
on their slender legs
and gazed upon me
not unlike the way
I go out to the dunes and look
and look and look
into the faces of the flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward
and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring me that could exceed
that brief moment?
For twenty years
I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
Such gifts, bestowed,
can't be repeated.
If you want to talk about this
come to visit.  I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named
~ Mary Oliver ~

Mindfulness without the "but"

I run hot water into the metal coffee thermos so the fresh coffee will be hot.  I do not put more than one filter in the basket, out of greed or fear of grounds.  Nor do I tear the filter into a little piece in fear I will run out and must make each one last in case there are no more.  I press the On button with no thought that the coffee may not be there.  I pour the coffee into the cup and doubt not that the cup will accept the pouring.  Mindfulness with a but….

Sweet Hands of Life, if I fear not scarcity, lack, and release all doubt with my morning coffee…help me to brew and pour this day in the same way.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fishing for joy

He jumped to his feet. If it were not for his mother's quick reaction, his joy would have dashed him to the rocks or into the lake.  His father reached for the fishing pole, bent with a fish.  He quickly squirmed away from his mother and reclaimed his pole from his Dad.  How could you not stop, watch and laugh to see such innocent joy. How could you not release a sweet tear of thanks, as his Dad showed him how to release the fish back into the lake and not a wrinkle of joy upon his face was lost. Walking onward, you could feel the anticipation and excitement as he sat watching and waiting for yet another leap. 

As life "educates" us, do we lose sight of the small gifts of wonder and joy offered to us? Can we no longer feel the childish abandon of leaping upward? Or do we see the gifts but no longer trust that sure hands will catch us if we dare to be so free?  Or perhaps we feel our joy can only come at the expense of others and so we sacrifice our own, not trusting the same sure hands to release to them the joy they need.  

I am not so wise.  Rumi said, "Don't go back to sleep." I wonder if when he wrote that he too, saw a small boy catch a fish, dare to leap, and sat with joyful mindfulness and attention, sure he would catch another.  Sweet Hands of Life, teach me to jump, trusting both the catch and the release.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Layered plea

 I walked and begged the sweet Hands of Life to stop the forest fires, to quench the fire’s hunger and save the sweet earth.  Her sweet Hands changed my words and in my asking, asked back another question to me.  I heard my voice, my plea, whisper “quench the fire’s hunger not in punishment but in love.”  Nature is not arbitrary.  It is the nature of fire to burn.  To feel anger or worse towards the fire is to deny a part of nature herself. 

Please sweet Hands of Life, embrace the fire.  Quench the fire’s hunger not in punishment but in love.  Stop the scarring of the earth.  

Perhaps, in this prayer and meditation, teach me, to do likewise with the fires burning the sweet earth of my soul. And then to join you in Love's embrace.