Thankful

“Be joyful because it is humanly possible.” ~Wendell Berry

I began the day journaling, feeling thankful.  Three pages of thanks for the moments and people and wonder in this life, and it makes everything feel possible.  To recognize the abundance that swirls around us, to live in the freedom of each moment as energy dances and manifests in so many different ways.

“Thank you” is the most expansive phrase I know.

Thank you

What are you thankful for?

Three Weeks, One Day

Three weeks, one day

He is smiling, growing, already over 10 pounds

It was yesterday that I felt the energy to get up, walk, process carrots and peaches, to enter again into the wider world

Before that, the womb of the yurt held us both

and we ate, slept, sang, cried, danced

still we do these things, but now I am here for a moment alone

while Waylon and Papa explore the woods

and I drink in the sounds of buzzing grasshoppers and singing crickets,

their rhythm quick like Waylon’s breath, their song pulsing like my own heart as I move into the world anew

Time no longer moves to the rules I once knew–

it expands, stands still, shrinks, strolls along, and changes as it pleases.

To be with a baby is to be with one who only knows the present

he has brought me further into this moment, right now, where the air vibrates with grasshoppers and crickets, the faint rolling of cars over pavement sound in the distance, and the short squawk of a bird calls out across the field.

Three weeks, one day

I am learning how to live honestly–

to do exactly what my body and soul needs to do,

which is the only way Waylon knows how to live.

To live pure and present

He shows me the depth of freedom we are all born into

Inward I Go

My energy is shifting, pulling inward towards quiet and rest.  I am peaceful as I move slowly, as I walk down to the greenhouse to seed and water, as I sit in the doorway and look out at the mountains.

Inward, inward I go, finding it harder to listen to the stories of others, feeling a need to speak only of my experience now, unable to graciously stay interested in conversations that shift to comparisons as friends and family tell me they know how I feel.  I don’t have the space for the stories of others–I am filled with baby now, and the only story I want to hear is one that is not yet written, one that moves without words and teaches me to speak with my breath instead: out and in, down and up, empty and full.  Each moment brings the lesson of contraction and expansion, quietly preparing me for the waves of birth.

 

The Day I Was Born

I was born into this world
twenty-six years ago today.
Imagine my mother:
full, ready
was she nervous? expectant?
They told her they had to cut
to pull me out–
my brother before me had been pulled
the same way.
She told me she did
go into labor–
that despite the doctor’s schedule,
it was in fact the day I decided to come.
 
It took twenty-three years
for me to be born naturally.
In a dream I held my mother’s hand
and breathed with her as she scrunched her face
and pushed me out
and the three of us were there together:
daughter holding mother holding daughter,
finally realizing the freedom of birth.
 
Now my own womb grows with life
and I understand how my mother is a daughter, too
and so will I remain
even as birth transforms
and this child makes its journey to greet the world.
 
 
 
 

Morning Manifesto

What does it mean to shape consciousness?  How are we all part of this action?

We choose our frame of being.  Our being connects with others’ being, and that interaction makes an impact—one we choose to accept or not.

I choose to accept all positive impacts into my life.

I choose to say no, thank you to all negative impacts in my life.

I choose to give love, because I am love, and the nature of love is to grow.

I choose to see all good things.

I choose to be open to the opportunities that arise, and to be thankful for them.

Everything is a choice.  Everyone has this power of choice.

I choose to live from the place where breath arises.

I choose to fill my body with breath.

I choose to smile.

We all have the power to decide what we will see.  The universe offers everything.  We have the gift of receiving or not receiving, to say yes or no, thank you.  We are all mirrors of what we choose to see.

Today I choose to see wildness, to see the green earth breathing in spring rains, to see smiles, to see love, to see the life around me dancing with joy.

 

Love Emerging

Now that I’m free to be myself, who am I?
Can’t fly, can’t run and see how slowly I walk.
Well, I think, I can read books.
“What’s that you’re doing?”
the green-headed fly shouts as it buzzes past.
I close the book.
Well, I can write down words, like these, softly.
“What’s that you’re doing?” whispers the wind, pausing
in a heap just outside the window.
Give me a little time, I say back to its staring, silver face.
It doesn’t happen all of a sudden, you know.
“Doesn’t it?” says the wind, and breaks open, releasing
distillation of blue iris.
And my heart panics not to be, as I long to be,
the empty, waiting, pure, speechless receptacle.
~”Blue Iris” by Mary Oliver
 
When I first read this, the lines that pulled me close were the last two: my heart panics not to be as I long to be

Now I come to the poem again, and another line shouts to me:

It doesn’t happen all of a sudden, you know.
“Doesn’t it?” says the wind, and breaks open…
 

Caught in frustration, I cling to the mantra that life is hard, life is work, what we want does not come easily enough.

Then in an instant my breath breaks open and says to me: love.

Love.  You already have everything you want. 

and I say nothing back, but I breathe in and then out, releasing a broken mantra.

In and then out, love emerging all at once all over again.

 

Be In Love

There are days when fighting for what you love just won’t do.  Even Edward Abbey, the great environmental writer, said no one can be full-time crusaders–you must take time to enjoy what you love.
 
Today is a day for enjoyment.
Today is a day for celebration.
 
So I snap on my skis and head into the forest with the dogs, gliding through two inches of new snow beneath a bright gray sky. 
 
Rumi said: Whatever you are, whatever you do, be in love.
 
That is where I am, in love.
That is what I am, is love.
 
I am in love with this world, and it goes far beyond romance.  Just as a seed is born bursting open with green shoots and flowers when it is called to do so, you and I, too, are able to burst into this world with our arms extended  and our hands open, smiling at the beauty of being alive.
 
For at this moment I am alive, and the earth is alive, and that is worth celebrating. 

Winter Love List

On December third, I came home with a headache.

I sat down to write and found I had no energy to relive the day or to ponder the frustrations that might come up later.

So instead I wrote a list.

“What I Love”

Fresh snow at the beginning of winter

Thin, translucent ice spreading across a pond

Cardinals, chickadees, squirrels

Chai

Nobee and Pebble, and their excited, wagging tails when we see each other

The smell of woodsmoke on a cold crisp day

Winter skies, night skies

Baking cupcakes

Eating cupcakes

Smiling

Love

Running

Milking goats by hand

The satisfied snorts of pigs as they eat

Edge

Mountain tops and emerging from treed trails onto a rocky peak

Skinny-dipping in lakes

Lake Massawepie 

Saunas in the winter

The quiet of a snow covered field in late afternoon

The excitement of young creatures

When I finished my list, I sat for a moment, and then continued:

There is so much in this world to celebrate.  May I see this; may I recognize these things; may my heart be lifted and my lips flutter into a smile.  Not everything has to be big.  May I find contentment in the small pieces of life and see each moment as alive, and may I know there is always a choice to be happy.  I am a being of love.  May I always live with this knowing.  

So today, I share with you these things I love.  May you see what you love also.

Message From A Stop Sign

There is a stop sign that makes me smile.  I pass it every day as I drive to work.  The first time I noticed its message I caught my breath and stopped for an extra moment, looking at it with wonder.  Two words have been spray-painted on the sign, transforming it from a street signal to a simple command that people seem to so easily forget:

NEVER STOP LOVING

In my hometown there are other spray-painted stop signs.  In high school I’d feel strangely justified when I’d pass the ones that read STOP BUSH.  Now that he is out of office, I’ve seen another sign that says STOP OBAMA, and I felt perplexed and a little sad.  It seems that whoever is President, someone wants to stop them.  There are those who put all there energy toward the things they do not want in this world, but I have found this practice only magnifies the problems at hand.

Edward Abbey, a great environmental writer, said in an interview with Mother Earth News that “No one should be a full-time crusader for anything.  I’ve found that it’s best to be a half-time crusader, a part-time fanatic, and to save the rest of the time to try to maintain my sense of humor and my emotional balance.”  He believed in enjoying what it is you are fighting for–if you want to save the wilderness, don’t forget to go out and enjoy it while you can; if you want to change the policies of the US, take time to enjoy the pieces that you love right now.  If nothing else, you will find a peace that comes with joy and the celebration of a thing you love.

This stop sign message is simpler than that, though.  It does not tell what to love, or how much to love, but just to continue to love.  It is the most powerful thing one person can do.

Sunday Comfort

Sunday.

It has taken me half the day to sit down and write.

I’ve made eggs, cardamom coffee cake, rinsed and re-soaked chickpeas, and started bread.  I’ve put laundry in the dryer, made a grocery list, and vacuumed up the cemeteries of flies that have been accumulating along the windowsills in my bedroom.

Before that, though, I woke up to the first morning light and snuggled into my love’s warm body.  When Edge got up, I laid in bed and read my book, Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver, and just as I began the last essay, Edge walked in with a fresh pot of chai for us to share.  While I finished my book and Edge began reading Home Cheese Making, we sipped the creamy spiced tea that marks the beginning of each of our days.

Now I find myself in the same feeling of comfort and calm that I began the day in.  Outside the air is still and the snow is piled heavier from last night’s storm.  Inside the house is warm from the woodstove and all our baking.  Snow slides off our roof as Edge makes granola and cooks the chickpeas for hummus, Jeff plays guitar, yogurt sets wrapped in a towel by the stove, and I sit upstairs by my bedroom window breathing in the sweet smells of maple and cinnamon that fill the house.

My mind is clear but for the immediate senses of the moment: hunger rising in my belly, the twang of Ralph Stanley now playing on the speakers, and the slight brush of air on my neck from the ceiling fan.

On a simple day like this I understand what Barbara Kingsolver means when she writes, “Maybe life doesn’t get any better than this, or any worse, and what we get is just what we’re willing to find: small wonders, where they grow.”  I am thankful for the wonders of bread rising, the creaminess of raw milk, the taste of cardamom, the plucking notes of the guitar found easily by my brother’s fingers, and the smile that arises in my whole being when my eyes meet Edge’s as we work together in the kitchen, moving always with the intention to live simply and eat deliciously.