Tag Archives: presence

A tale before supper of sunrise, caterpillars & ghosts

Sunrise over Huron Bay

Sunrise over Huron Bay

Ohmygoodness!   I’m feeling a creative high lately.  After at least two months of ho-hum suddenly I’m wanting to blog every day!  (Don’t worry, it probably won’t continue to happen, although you never know, she said with an evil grin.)

You wouldn’t believe what a lovely day it is in the Northwoods.

A perfect, end-of-summer, beginning-of-autumn day.  Oh, the world feels like tepid bathwater.  Oh, the world feels like it exists just to make you happy.  Oh, you can sit on the deck and read books whilst sipping tea again.  Oh, may this never end.

I shall tell you a quick tale before you eat supper.

A tale of sunrise and longing and thoughts and caterpillars and ghosts.

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Learning how to be friends

Helping each other

Helping each other

Elisa and Nicole got me thinking about friendship today.

About the work of deepening into friendship.  The time it takes to really know another person.  The challenging of really ever getting to know another person.

It seems that we speak the same language, doesn’t it? Yet, so often we don’t speak the same language.  A word that means something to you means something different to me.  Our beliefs are different.  We can each be using totally different words and concepts to express the same thing.  Or maybe we’re using similar words and concepts but we’re light years apart in understanding.

What births a friendship?  Two people seem to like one another.  There’s a spark, a similarity  perhaps a recognition.  The two feel intrigued.  They want to learn more.

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The holiness of Santa, Merlot and angel pink spoonbill wings

Holy river of ice from sky

Holy river of ice from sky

I don’t know a lot.

Years ago–exactly at age eleven, sprawled out on the scratchy orange and black upholstered chair in our family room–I remember thinking very assuredly, “I know everything there is to know.”

That little preteen really thought she knew everything.  This 55-year-old mama, however, sitting on this velvet green upholstered computer chair, is more and more convinced that she knows very little.

She is convinced she knows one thing.  Well, she’s fairly convinced she knows one thing.  She’s almost certain that it’s true from what she’s glimpsed in deep meditation and when yellow and blue symphony skies  steal breath from the heart.

All of life is holy, my friend.  All of life is holy.  All of life is whole.

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The possibility of grace and freedom

Last week, before the thermometer dipped to 22 degrees (-5.6 C) and it began to snow…

Blessed warmth shines from blue sunny skies.  We’ve forgotten what sun looks like.  We’ve forgotten how cheery we feel when sun streams warmth across the backs of grazing deer in the yard.  We’ve forgotten how bright the woods look when illuminated.

In the drowsy warmth of afternoon I creak open the windows.  The screens are long put away, stored in absent Christopher’s basement bedroom.  On our last day of wood splitting last weekend bark separated from log to reveal an amazing inner pattern.  “The secret life of bark,” I think, and attempt to photograph the hieroglyphic lines, the hidden labyrinth in a busy world.

Inner world

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Aligning with our deepest values

Hints of self

One of the things I pondered during the recent retreat from blogging and computer and caffeine and other distracting activities was this:  how can we more deeply align our daily activities with our deepest beliefs and values?

Where are we putting the gift of our attention?  Is it really aimed at our deepest wishes, or is it aimlessly drifting in other helter-skelter directions?

What do we want to be doing with our one precious life?  What is the core, the honey, the hidden treasure, the Holy Grail?

In what ways am I just coasting through the day, sugar-coating or filling the hours with distractions?  In what way is attention scattered into pursuits that really lead down dead-end streets?

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Presence

This.

Do you sometimes practice Presence?

Listening to birds sing in trees, feeling sandals on gravel, seeing shades of green thimbleberry leaves.

When thoughts arise, watching them.

Sometimes, if a thought snags you like a thistle burr, you label it “thought” and relax in what arises, again and again.

Sometimes Barry drops me off up on Townline Road when he goes to work.

In the 7 o’clock hour I walk, feet, feet, chickadee, daisy, black-eyed Susan, distant logging truck, feet, feet, hands in pocket, mama and fawn on the road.

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Preciousness of life

Blossoms

Sometimes the world seems like a dismal place, a sorrowful place, a filled-with-suffering place.

Tornados roar and hundreds die.  Wars gun down thousands.  Hurricanes strike.  Earthquakes rumble and swallow.  We humans bemoan health care or politics or dozens of other subjects.  We worry.  We stress.  Our days seem dismal and challenged.

Yet–for all this suffering–for all that burdens our hearts–for all that darkens our days–I think that, when it’s time to leave this green and blue and golden earth–we’ll be thankful to have experienced this precious spinning life.

Life itself is such a gift.  Even with the challenges, we listen to robins sing.  We feel light rain on our cheek as we walk outside.  We smell Spring’s sacred return.  We dig our hands into the soil, planting seeds.

We witness tiny trees taking root in the woods.  We watch grandfather trees fall in windstorms.  We glimpse a bluebird, flitting like a jewel near the spruce.  A rose-breasted grosbeak soars between the budding maples.

Life in this instant, raw life, beautiful life, sacred life–what a gift.  This moment is precious beyond breath, and so is the next one, and the next one after this.

Precious

I am happy to be alive this Memorial Day weekend.  Amidst all the imperfections of life, perfection exists here, now.  I will not allow thoughts of worry and despair to cloud over this beautiful experience.  I will continually turn toward the divine, the sacred, the infinite possibilities.  I will try to continually open my heart to inclusion, to allowing, to understanding, to love.

Wishing you the best as you embrace your own lives in imperfect perfection.  So grateful for your presence on this earth~~the very special gift of presence that only you can share with us.  My heart overfloweth.  Thank you for all of you.

Footsteps in the sand of life

Are you authentic?

Light and shadow

Are you authentic?  And what does that mean to you?

I have been pondering “authenticity” recently.

What does it mean to be authentic?  Who is authentic?  Am I authentic?  Are you authentic?

Two weeks ago I would have said (with assurance):  “I am authentic.”

What would that mean?

It meant I am no longer afraid to speak my truth.  That I say things that are unique.  That I say things which are not necessarily culturally homogenous or expected. 

As a child, I looked at the big world and could not figure out how one fit in.  What must one say to be liked?  Every sentence was gauged for approval.  The world seemed scary and judgmental.  There must be a secret key which opened an invisible door into love, popularity, belonging.

Illumination

In 7th grade my fear and shyness became so acute that I basically quit speaking to everyone except the More Shy.  At age 15, suddenly, unexpectedly, a more confident self began to birth.  But it took many, many years before she flowered.

A teacher, around that time, confided to someone, “I think she has a split personality!”

Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to admit that I have a split personality.  It isn’t split two ways.  It’s split into hundreds of fragments.

And I’m here to suggest that you, too,  have a split personality. If you’re authentic.

We are complex beings.  There may be a shy part, an outgoing part, a happy part, a sad part, a vegetarian part, a mother part, a healer part, an addicted part, a saint part, a sinner part…OK, we could continue all day.  (Please visit this incredible website called Voice Dialogue International to learn more about the different parts of self and how to more full authenticate them.)

We are composed of different personalities, different likes and dislikes.  If we’re aware, we begin to see that we’re not a homogenous blob.  We actually have the capability of everything within us, even the parts of possibility which we’ve rejected.

So let’s return to the Authenticity angle.

What is a pertinent definition of “authentic”?

1.  true to one’s own personality, spirit or character ( read Authentic Blogger for a blogging take on this.)

But what is one’s own personality, spirit or character?  What if we recognize that we are more than a limited definition of personality, spirit or character?  Would authenticity, then, be what is arising in the Moment?

Authentic

We watch fascinating things arise in the Moment.  One moment it is silliness and the next it’s profound wisdom.  One moment it’s a historical observation and the next moment it’s nature pictures.  One moment it’s emotional angst and the next giddy happiness. 

Authenticity could mean:  telling the truth about what is arising in the Moment.

For years many people knew me as a spiritual contemplative.  Some defined me as quiet.  When I discovered blogging–and even blogged in a way that seemed inauthentic to their previous definition of who Kathy might be–it became disconcerting.

Do you think authenticity is related to the personality, or to what arises in the Moment?  Are we able to be true to what arises, or do we edit ourselves for acceptability?  And, as one wise woman suggested recently:  Is it a matter of balance?  Should we sometimes edit ourselves?  Especially if we’re angry, raging, off-balance?

Or should we allow our off-balance to be part of our authenticity? If it doesn’t hurt another person, should we sometimes express our darkness?  Should we only reveal the mature and wise and spiritual parts of ourselves to speak?  Or do we allow more complex parts to express themselves?

It can be scary.

More authenticity?

Let’s say we let a confused part of ourself speak in a public manner.  Everyone rushes in with opinions and judgments and ideas about how to “fix” the problem.  Yet perhaps the problem does not need to be fixed.  The confused part of self merely needed a podium.  She needed to express herself.  Hearing all these ideas about how to fix the problem may indeed help.  Yet it might also confuse more.  Because the authentic self is the confused self.  It just wants to be heard, too.

Listeners will often get confused when they hear someone share from a little-known part of self.  They may then assume that the confused part is a huge slice of the personality, when the confused part may be 2% of the personality.

Glory days...

 I have no answers about authenticity.  About how to live fully who we are.  I do know that authenticity can be messy.  It can speak its truth and then expect you to live its consequences. 

I like to let my silly side express itself–mostly because it causes me to laugh.  Yet, sometimes, the next morning the serious side appears with its assessment, “How COULD you let that one out again?  What were you thinking?  Let’s write wise blogs instead.  What is your problem?”

You then smile gently at the serious side and say, “Here you go.  Say what you want to say.  It’s your turn next.”

Another side pipes up and says, “Hey!  No!  I do not want to write a blog about authenticity!  Let’s post our photographs of the old Pequaming Community Hall.  Let’s talk about something historical.  Please don’t write this blog!”

Pequaming Water Tower

Sigh…authenticity.  It’s a challenge.  It’s also a gift.  I hope you enjoyed the photos of the Pequaming.  They are…authentic.  Aren’t they?

P.S.  If you want to read more about the historical aspects of Henry Ford’s model town you could read my blog from last November.  Click here or here.

Everyone is satisfied now, aren’t they?

Shadows and reflections

Reflections

When you look at the world, what do you see?

Do you see what is obvious?

Do you see what is hidden? 

Mirror reflections

Do you see reflections?

Shadows of lamp

Do you glimpse shadows?

Pink shadows

Do you see only that which looks solid, obvious, concrete?  Or do you see in between the physical manifestation into shadow, reflection, possibility?

Shadows of home

What does shadow show you?  What does shadow teach you?  Where do reflections point?

Can you learn from that which only hints, which only alludes, which only gestures?

What have you learned in the shadows and reflections recently?  What has Life taught you in a subtle way?

Turn around, bright eyes

Turning (photo by Susan D)

turn around, bright eyes

turn around, bright world

turn around, shadow river

turn around and sing your song, again and again, the melody of  river your bed and the sun overhead

setting and rising, setting and rising

turn around, bright eyes, this weekend soon turns to next

river wash us clean

in inspiration

trilling the heart which beats its morning drum

sings through the years

turn around, bright eyes

open palms

release all

except this precious day, this precious turning,

and even now it’s gone

onto the next turning

and the next

and the sacred next