Taking Risks

My own words will not do tonight because I found these and they spoke to me. And it always feels wrong not to share the things that move me, even at the risk of making myself vulnerable. Our impermanence is what drives me to expose myself, my heart…. and to soak up anything I can find that shows me how. Otherwise, those words inside could die with us. After being mute for so long,  I’m no longer willing to let that happen. So while I wait for those words to come, I will keep reading things that remind me why I started writing in the first place.

“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.”
Terry Tempest Williams, Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert

Keeping it Holy

Cleaning the wax off the Sabbath candle holders tonight, I couldn’t remember the last time I had had seen them shiny. I had forgotten how beautiful they were, the words, “Holy Land”  carved above little houses built into the hillside. “Is it Friday?” one of the kids asked when they saw what I was doing.

“No, it’s Saturday,” I said. Normally we light the candles on Friday but I’m not all about rules. Because if we aren’t keeping the Sabbath in our heart, then we aren’t really keeping it. The point is, if it isn’t meaningful, why do we just go through the motions? It’s what we do, I suppose, go through the motions sometimes when we get tired, lazy, bored. I’m as guilty as anyone. I’ve been on autopilot for years, it seems…. just going through the motions. But I’m done with that. Like the years of wax I cleaned out of those candle holders tonight, I have remembered that I can shine too. It calls to mind a poem by Marge Piercy, If They Come in The Night. I forget that’s what we are meant to do and then when I come back to center, I remember.  When I look at my children, my husband… when I connect with others in a meaningful way and remember the divinity in our humanity…..I remember.

If They Come In The Night – Marge Piercy
Long ago on a night of danger and vigil
a friend said, why are you happy?
He explained (we lay together
on a cold hard floor) what prison
meant because he had done
time, and I talked of the death
of friends. Why are you happy
then, he asked, close to
angry.

I said, I like my life. If I
have to give it back, if they
take it from me, let me
not feel I wasted any, let me
not feel I forgot to love anyone
I meant to love, that I forgot
to give what I held in my hands,
that I forgot to do some little
piece of the work that wanted
to come through.

Sun and moonshine, starshine,
the muted light off the waters
of the bay at night, the white
light of the fog stealing in,
the first spears of morning
touching a face
I love. We all lose
everything. We lose
ourselves. We are lost.

Only what we manage to do
lasts, what love sculpts from us;
but what I count, my rubies, my
children, are those moments
wide open when I know clearly
who I am, who you are, what we
do, a marigold, an oakleaf, a meteor,
with all my senses hungry and filled
at once like a pitcher with light.

 

A 7-year-old’s Answer for Your Existential Dread

Yesterday I woke up to discover my 7-year-old had “texted” me from an app on her iPad.

Don’t tell me the children don’t pick up on every level of what is going on in the larger world.

When I picked up my phone to read my morning news feed, this is what I found….

Minnie text 1:29:1017

Sometimes I just need a reminder, as all of us do. Today it’s in the form of a 7-year-old’s

run-on stream of consciousness . You are not alone so do things with Love today, she says.

So that’s what I’m gonna do.

Abundance

web-in-the-rainThe spiders web that has been on my patio for weeks I thought was abandoned, is in fact inhabited. I’ve been watching it for weeks and have been so taken with it that I even snapped a few pictures of it in the rain the other day because I love the way the drops of water cling to the silk, but the whole point is that I was surprised to find him in the web and I watched him wrap up his dinner. He flipped it over and over, wrapping it in silk with each revolution and then for a moment I thought he had dropped it but he had made a little backpack of his dinner. He dragged it it higher and then climbed the summit of his web where he tucked himself into a cozy corner to enjoy his meal. In my abundance I had forgotten that some don’t come by their food so easily.

Standing Still

picsart

Progress is slow. At times it feels as if we move backward or in circles.  Actually I know we do. We can call it many things — retrograde, regression, repetition. Today I’m calling it,  returning.  I forget sometimes that movement is not forward. Returning means coming back to where we once were. But from the ruts we have run with our incessant circling, it is impossible to see without climbing out.

We went to Home Depot yesterday because the kids are psyched about Christmas- they are bubbling with spirit and it tickles my face the way it does when you take a sip of something effervescent. Like bubble water- our favorite.

When I got out of the car, the kids were already inside with Daddy because I told them to go ahead.     I move slowly these days. As I stepped out of the car, just out of reach of the rear tire was a snail, poking along on the asphalt. I watched him for a moment and wanted my daughter to see him so I left him there knowing at his pace we would be back before he would even make it past the parking space markings.

We gathered our Christmas things and checked out, made our way back out to the car. I had already forgotten about the snail, but Minnie spotted him as soon as she rounded the corner to open the car door.

“Look, Mommy! It’s a snail!”

“Oh my gosh I almost forgot about him!” I told her. ” I saw him on the way in and wanted you to help me move him to somewhere safer.”

He hadn’t made it but a few inches from when we went inside. So she scooped him up and we took him over into the grass. I named him Gary and we went home. Some days are like that.

And today is a complete standstill. A pause where we stop the world and say thanks and so I’m grateful for the slow pace of today. And I’m grateful that even a snail eventually reaches it’s destination. I’m grateful for those who have traveled alongside me…  those who waited for me when I fell behind. It taught me to be patient and to ask for help, help which I have been graciously heaped upon me hundred-fold by the people I love. So this is only to say thank you for what each of you bring to my life and to the world. I’m simply happy to be alive on this crisp fall day.

The Journey

The Journey by David Whyte
The Journey by David Whyte
The Journey
by David Whyte

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

Learning to Be

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It’s been a million years since I’ve written. Summer came and went and now school is well underway and I’m no further than I was at the end of last year. I’m running to stand still, but inside I am anything but still.  Last night was the first night of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, or as my daughter likes to say “Happy Jew Year!” So I have returned to that which brings me back to my center and reminds me why I’m here. It is these times when ritual brings us back to the beginning, when we are given a chance to start again.  Last night I washed my tashlich down the drain because I couldn’t make it to the ocean or a lake. I cast my bread crumbs down the bathtub drain, making sure to crush each piece into dust so it would wash down without incident. As I cast the last crumbs into the running water, I prayed that each one bring me closer to who I’m supposed to be. I watched the water run for a while making sure my crumbs didn’t stop up the drain when this year’s mantra came to me:  The way to do is to be.