Another December View

Immersed in writing and revising. Letting love and patience move the river of my dreams. For now images of the view from the river.

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30 Stories with Magpie Girl

Rachelle Mee-Chapman. Providing soulcare to artists and wanderers is my passion. Spiritual misfits, recovering evangelicals, and people with gremlin problems are my specialty. My motto is, “There ain’t nowhere to go, but together.”

You know those times when you’re mindlessly surfing because you want to stave off the pile of work in front of you? Well, that’s what I was doing one afternoon not too long ago when I ran smack dab into Magpie Girl. At least it felt that way as I watched her latest video blog on creativity. Her warmth and sincerity drew me further into her blog where I found intelligence, insight, humor, integrity, compassion and a treasure box full of knowledge.  The time I spent exploring Magpie Girl that day was more than worthwhile and I returned to my work inspired. As a member of Flock and a regular visitor to Magpie Girl I’ve felt understood and valued.

 

So when the opportunity presented itself to ask Rachelle any question I wanted to and she would create a whole post around it I said sign me up! Because nature plays a role in my spirituality,  I asked how nature fit in to her spiritual perspective, and that I was also curious about why she had a “soft spot for pagans.” Her thoughtful answer is here. If any of you find yourself with a “hybrid spirituality” or if you are struggling trying to fit the ideas of your traditional religion with new insights you are discovering, you’ll find in her answer particularly interesting. Go. Read. She’s an amazing woman.

Posted in Connection, Spirituality | 1 Comment

Local Friends

Getting some finishing touches done on Dreaming In Spanish. I’ll be back here soon!

Until then meet a couple of my local friends – one’s a chatter box, the other a little timid – but my shoulders automatically loosen when they drop in.

Posted in Connection, Dreaming In Spanish, General, Photography | 3 Comments

Yoga Witness


During yoga practice my mind frets over how I look doing yoga, even with no one else around, and to berate me for “looking ridiculous in the poses” – telling me yoga is for “skinny” people.

But then, wandering through a thrift store, I saw her sitting on a shelf surrounded by craft projects gone wrong and kitchen spoons. With that crooked smile she invited me to see her, to truly see her and I found a reflection of myself- my heart opened, my mind hushed. Now she’s home with me ready to be a witness to my yoga practice, to remind me that I am beautiful just as I am. So are you!

In the movement of yoga my mind and spirit begin to open – just a bit at a time. And it helps so much to have the support of a kind and compassionate teacher showing the way. Without yoga I might have missed her smile.


Posted in 30 Days Yoga, Connection | 13 Comments

Cybany Ann July 31,1974- February 3, 2007

I love you.

Cybany Christmas Eve 2004 with Zoey (her baby!)

1976

1990

Posted in Connection | 7 Comments

*8 Things Thursday

Rachelle over at Magpie Girl asks: “What makes your family get-away iconic? Whether it’s a favorite camp spot, Camp Wanatakee, or something in between; give us your  *8 Things Family Cabin list and take a walk down memory lane.”

This week *8 Things helps me reconnect with my roots in Argentina. I spent most of my childhood living with my Italian grandmother in Buenos Aires. Sometimes we went on family trips to the beach in the Summer, but that’s not what I remember the most. It’s the Sunday family get together’s that happened all year-long, but were especially wonderful in the summer. I want to scan the old pictures soon.

1. The long wooden picnic table that sat in the courtyard under my grandfather’s grapevines loaded with food.

2. Bread crumbs from delicious fresh-baked Italian bread stuck to the tablecloths and our clothes.

3. My grandmother’s ceramic Nativity sitting in the window facing the courtyard. (Summer in Argentina is December – February.)

4. Peaches and little arms sticky with their juice.

5. The sound of the of men laughing and the sound of their Bocce balls hitting the dirt.

6. Spirals of citronella burning to keep the mosquitos away.

7. Accordion music and the voices of children singing with abandon. Grown-ups too.

8. Old fashioned glass and medal seltzer bottles and rows of my grandfather’s homemade wine.

Posted in *8 Things, Argentina, Childhood | 8 Comments

I Found My Spare Head

{Yawn. Big stretch.} Hi. With a little help from Dream Lab I’m feeling renewed and refocused. A bit of kindness, rest and play can go a long way.

I was commenting to someone how it felt like I had a whole new head, clear of clutter and the inconsequentials I tend to collect. The next afternoon I ran into this sign hanging from a janitor’s closet door. It cracked me up. We all need a closet like that!

More soon.

Posted in Dream Lab, General | 3 Comments

Dancing With the Whole

Storm Over Biloxi

Even as I focus on play, rest and kindness, other things vie for my attention. Some are just pesky flies I can bat away and forget about. But other things sit on the edges of my awareness in the midst of a silly string extravaganza because they’re a part of who I am. My deepest sorrows are there and they need their time too. If I try to dismiss them my play and rest turn into escapism, my kindnesses to myself and others turn into distractions and excuses. So sometimes I need to sit awhile with the memories of my daughter. And there’s the time and attention I need to give to what’s happening to our planet. It’s easy to go to far the other way. To let the sorrow and grief I feel for what we’ve lost become the center of my days, to get caught up in the enormity of our problems and find myself angry and exhausted. I’m always dancing in the continuum between the two.

Because I call the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and New Orléans home, the devastation Katrina left behind, and now the horrors of the BP oil spill, have intensified my feelings of sorrow and helplessness. Both rooted in human negligence and lack of foresight. My heart aches. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it all.

But tonight I don’t feel overwhelmed. I feel thoughtful. I’m aware of how important it is for me to take care with the words I use, or with my tendency to label and separate the parts of a whole situation.

I agree with the editors of Orion Magazine when they say: “It’s easy to call … the oil spill an ‘environmental disaster,’ the loss of jobs an ‘economic disaster’ and the eleven men who died when the rig exploded ‘a human tragedy.’ In truth, these are not different things, they are parts of a single reality our culture has created for itself.’

Yes. A single reality. None of the problems we face in our day-to-day lives or in our global life are isolated. Our mindsets and perspectives color all our decisions. The actions that come out of those decisions affect everything – our solutions need to be holistic. Safer rigs don’t address the problem of needing oil rigs at all. Economic stimulus that doesn’t address the harm to the environment and to the life (including humans) that depends on it is beyond irresponsible. Working to clean up the oil spill without learning the lessons this disaster brings – unconscionable. Yet that’s been the pattern repeated over and over again.

The horror in the Gulf is a microcosm of the situation the whole planet faces. Science has long since moved on from the days of single cause = single effect. It realizes the interconnectivity of every part of this planet, from the human to the soil beneath our feet. There is nothing we do that doesn’t have an effect on the whole. That’s a tremendous responsibility to embrace. It can feel uncomfortable and difficult to own. But it is reality. We are responsible for being thoughtful about our life here. I am responsible.

I’m responsible for the language I use to express my thoughts and feelings about it all.  An essay by Stephanie McMillan is entitled “Artists: Raise Your Weapons.” She writes about how artists can bring about change through “cultural weapons of resistance.” I agree artists of all types can bring about change, but the idea of art as a weapon makes me cringe. Makes my chest feel tight with a mixture of anger and fear. It makes me think of being in a constant emotional upheaval of aggressive thoughts and actions. I can’t. I won’t.

Sure, there’s lots to be angry about. I’m not talking about annihilating my anger – that’s just another “war” that leaves me wounded. Anger serves as a red flag that there’s something to pay attention to, that there’s something happening that shouldn’t be. And then it’s time to decide not only how to act, but from what place within myself to act from.

I can make changes in my own life. I can give my time, talent and treasure to support solutions, movements, research. I can be assertive and strong when I need to be. I can do all of that and stand rooted in love, hope, and peace. I know those words have been sentimentalized to the point that many of us roll our eyes when we hear them. Nonetheless, they are real, they are powerful and I choose them over fighting a war against anything or anyone. I have my moments when anger gets the best of me and I act from a place of resentment and fear. I don’t like the aftermath. Those moments are getting further and further apart as I learn to be mindful about my choices.

And then I don’t forget that there’s time for play and rest, for kindness and dreaming and for all those things that make my heart sing. They are a necessary part of the whole.  If everything we do affects the whole, spreading kindness and laughter is an essential and radical act!

Lorna Koestner said it well in her letter to Orion Magazine: “by rediscovering ourselves, our own souls, we are likely to produce radically different results in our lives on this planet.”

So while I’m making room for all the aspects of my life, I want to step back long enough to see the patterns I’m weaving. See where I need to do some mending, admire the gorgeous rows of daisy chains and unravel the parts that are out of harmony to reweave something that supports the whole.


Posted in General | Tagged | 8 Comments

Wordless Wednesday

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Yippee! Playmates!

A beautiful, intelligent woman has announced she is coming for a visit. It’s my daughter! And her husband (handsome and intelligent too. and brave. and a little off. we like him that way). These two have the quirkiest sense of humor. With their visits come belly laughs, laughing till we cry, and those moments in public where we have to choose between embarrassment or sliding down the nearest wall on to the floor while turning purple from lack of oxygen. If there is no wall then we just fall down. Paramedics come.

Melissa then

Now

She still speaks to me even though this happened. I cut her hair. That one time. She still shrieks and runs when she sees her mother with scissors in her hands. And the outfit. Well, mornings were tough with four kids.

She wants people to see it. It’s evidence. That she suffered. Greatly. Worse than when she turned her hair green with paint. She blamed her brother. And there’s no pictures. No evidence of my suffering. ;0)

And this is her husband Thomas. Not really. Officially really. But if you want to stay on his good side – not really. Melissa just calls him T.

If you see this man. Back. Away. FAST. Unless you are prepared to spew your iced tea out your nose while in a really fancy restaurant. Onto other diners. Almost.

Perfect visit for a summer of play! I will break out the Dream Lab play kit!

Who are your favorite playmates?

Posted in Dream Lab, General | 6 Comments