Mississippi Moments

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I may not have a job, but I am WORKING.--EMR, p.1. "Leave that Alone. Come Sit With Me. Just Sit. It'll Do Us Good."

I have found a new rhythm. It's temporary, but it is allowing Work to be chosen. To be completed. To be Seen. This is scary stuff. This is what I wanted. And the teachers/means are showing up at exactly the right time. So is the San Giovese for that matter.:)

We are reading "The Invitation" by Oriah Mountain Dreamer for Book group. I have "read" this before and scoffed at it. When I was in the throes of denial. Not anymore. I have just finished reading and writing some notes about Chapters 3 and 4: Fear and Sorrow. Here is some of what she writes that resonates. Chewable. really...for me anyway.

"I have learned that doing things the hardest way provides NO CURRENCY to be traded for greater future rewards."-p. 29

"I am afraid that if I stop, if I slow down and rest, I'll never amount to anything."-p.31..."What if I told you that everything you are ever going to amount to, you are right now?"--p. 31

"We are not offered guarantees. What we are offered is knowledge of life and ourselves, and if we are awake, glimpses of the wisdom held in the story our life is telling the world."--p.32

Then she challenges some of the participants in a workshop she is facilitating to surrender 7 things they hold precious....I immediately began to write without thinking ...and when I came to the end of the list, came to realize that I already have laid them down. And am looking at them with Love and Grief and some Fear. It has already happened...and someone asked her "For WHY" WHY would we do this? She answers-For freedom. Not Love and Freedom. Just Freedom.

Then she writes in a later chapter, that she has not learned to be with another's pain without feeling an impulse and a responsibility to "fix" it or do something just as she has not learned to be with her own...,a deep responsibility to ease others' pain...-p. 35. So, she teaches what she needs to learn.
And she writes that she is a good student and a very tired woman. And then she goes on to describe the exact kind of debilitating migraine experiences that I had. And what happened when she quit trying to avoid the pain, change it, or medicate it. She found Her Breath. That's what happened to me. And the green of leaves. I found elderberry. And little pears. And the quiet of hummingbird wings. The wisp of clouds. The brown and warmth of a puppy's body as I sat---Breathing.

Now I am Breathing and Grieving the surrendering. I have laid down seven of my most preciousnesses. Getting used to what that feels like. These are how I have defined myself and my Life all these years. I mean ALL THESE YEARS. They don't apply anymore.The"pile" is "WHO" I have been all this time. The labels. The action. The Job. How I have perceived others have perceived. What I have always accepted as what the "good, responsible, rule-abiding" girls do. And the bills still have to paid. The food found, etc. And there are no rules. There are no guarantees. There is no trail breaker. I do have something and Someone who is always there. Always here. His scarred hands and Heart the size of All Creation Hold all the Wisdom there is. I picture Him looking at this pile of precious "stuff" lying there in the sand and dust. It doesn't look like much when I look at it. He bends down. With a smile, He carefully places the pile in a basket His Mother made and puts it at the bases of the Cross. And He laughs and asks how I feel now? Then we walk together and go get a milkshake because it's really a little too early for SanGiovese. To sit under an elderberry and look for hummingbirds.

... and when I am not working that way, I am learning to make zucchini bread, working on subbing and other teacher applications, looking at grad programs for what I want to do next, getting rid of more stuff around here, practicing the harp more, helping a friend move her stuff, and reveling in the fact that the ants seemed to have moved on. And wondering what it will be like next week...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Joy is the way. Joy in the morning. Joy throughout the day. Joy at twilight. Joy in our dreams, waking and sleeping. For so long we believed that our joy depended on specific outward circumstances on a particular situation being a particular way,or on the presence or behavior of a particular person. While getting what we want and being with those who we love can add to our joy, we have learned another kind of love, a deeper kind of joy. A joy that abides and carries us through....Joy comes from living in harmony with ourselves each moment of each day."--Melodie Beattie, Journey to the Heart, p. 211

And another thought...
"If we refuse to touch the places of sorrow or confusion within ourselves or others, we cannot cultivate the ability to be completely present in our moments of joy...Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Invitation, p. 7

Mine is in the sound of the rain today. Removing the "special" object Porter brought in and put on my bed (I have no idea what it is.). Slicing up a very ripe cantaloupe and savoring its scent in the kitchen. Looking at the stack of transcripts and knowing that I will make a lovely cup of tea later this morning and then sift through and record that data for the state applications the way I do reading test scores to make sense of all the numbers and then take action accordingly. There will be a walk in the rain for sure. And learning how to make zucchini bread with zucchini specially grown from Claddagh Farms. Maybe even Murray will come over to play.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Teacher Dreams or Crows with Bedfeathers...

I get to imagine that this is a new chapter or heading for my book. I have fun with it. I have been on the road more than this body should be the last week. During those drives, when I am not Pottering myself, I am thinking, singing, musing, pondering, chewing, fussing, wishing, usually some more fussing, outright grousing, grieving, letting go, laughing some, and wishing I could write while I drive. I wonder if that's how Annie LaMott did it? Does it.

So here's the first random thought of the written day---why, when I spend careful minutes, cleaning, filling, and freezing Kongs and other wonder-chewies for this brat dog, does he crawl under and through the dust bunnies of a living room chair to gnaw at the moldy, gross, stinky kong that I lost two weeks ago instead of the balanced dogfood/organic chicken/onion-free gravy one that I put on his clean towel? I hope he continues to exhibit the guts-of-steel he seems to have been born with. Most shelties do not have this. They are a mess. Inside, outside, and all over. He has picked up one very Sheltie habit from his jaunt with Super Sheltie Issy--he now barks at everything, real and imagined at the windows. I have never noticed this before. And this is after a 5 mile walk this morning already.

I have been trying to get back to my up at o'crack of dark thirty risings and simple enjoyments. More successful than not lately. At least I can find my shoes, can make the coffee, and go walking in the predawn. Then I get to wake up gradually as the morning sky changes, the crows go off to their daily capers, a few Canadian geese honk off in search of better lake digs, and I revel in the moon waxings. Then as I continue to stagger around, the late crows, I imagine, with bedfeathers from waking up late, take off in the same direction, giving voice to their tardiness and aloneness in that dawn sky. I don't like to walk in the dark, but it takes me several weeks/months to accustom myself to the coming dark. I have learned this through living the seasons and living the seasons inside of me. I am at my healthiest and most balanced when I accustom myself to what is coming. Kind of like arsenic. Build up some kind of resistance. From another perspective, it is a kind of pseudo-control. Over nothing because I have learned that there is very little over which I have any authentic control. Choices are another thing entirely.

There are dreams and then there are Dreams and then there are DREAMS. This is about Dreams and dreams. The Dreams are coming in loud and clear through the dreams. Obviously, I still want to teach. My dear Mary J. and I chuckle at this time every year. Teacher Dreams. Involving students, learning settings of every variety, some aspect of unpreparedness or unimaginable expectations being expected or exhibited, attempts to correct the situations to no avail (usually) and to wake up because the dream is on auto-repeat. And the sense of no rest. And out of breath. And then relief to know that it was only a dream....only a dream. My latest ones are in a swimming pool. With lots of kids. And I am supposed to be teaching social studies and language arts while we are swimming. The creative thing about this is that I actually start coming up with ways to make this happen using the game MARCO? POLO! and document cameras and whiteboard technologies. And then another one--a panicked administrator calls for a last minute primary assignment with 30 plus kids. I say yes. I have one afternoon to put a classroom/learning environment together. So what do I do? Last night, in dream land, I had a ball planning reading and writing and art lessons using outdated materials--all the while thanking my mother for teaching me to use what was on hand. I learned that less is more. Leaves more room for what needs to be born now. And the world is pregnant. Pregnant for new life. (My brother's twins are due next week and the boy-baby is already over 6 pounds and the wee girl to be born is 5 11. Then there is Brigie's baby girl to be who already owns pink cowgirl boots).Pregnant for positive change. Pregnant for truth and letting go. Pregnant for feelings to have their "voice". (Letting certain feelings go unexpressed gives one migraines and vertigo and panic attacks. It does not last forever. Just as long as needed, then they sit down with tea between Fear, I Am Not Enough, There are People All Around Me and I am Alone, I am Getting Old, What Have I Done with My Life, What Will Others Think of Me and You Can Never Get Your Bathroom As Clean As Lydia Does, What Is Wrong With You..at least that's what my experiences have given me.) I am fighting back with toenail polish, some new mascara, longer walks, freedom to nap, working on something that I don't want to work on for a bit every day, making contact with friends once a week so I don't get overwhelmed, trying a new recipe every week or so, and making responsible choices NOT to listen or read too much news. Where was I? Oh, back to pregnant times. The birthing process is already in full swing by my observations, energetic and otherwise. That happens, too...we are already birthing and energetically things are already manifested. It is rather comical, delightful, and wispy-hairs-on-yer-arms-raising to get that ah-HA! reality that what is already IS. It has already happened for me. It looks like I am staggering around with a deer in the headlights look. Which is true some of the times. But it isn't what has been birthed. That seems to be fairly clear. I am just clearing and working to make manifest what already is. And that mostly seems to be just getting out of the way.

Which brings me to roots. The family funeral yesterday. For a relative who was my cousin and whom I have always perceived as and inwardly called "Auntie". I did not know her well. And yesterday's celebration and remembrance called her One of the most open-hearted, considerate, generous, consistent, loving hearts on this planet. From my experience, I cannot disagree. I am happy that she is free to continue her loving and living in Heaven. Oh, the power of that Love now. This is one of the few living links left of my grandparents on my mom's side. To see my mother and ALL of her siblings huddled together, talking, laughing, remembering, being together--roots. stuck in the ground. For all of my sibs who showed up because it was the right thing to do. For the cousins. For the children of the cousins. For the inmates who came. And the Banditos who provided a Harley honor-guard to the cemetery. For the country youngsters in shorts and flipflops, the older folk in flannel and suspenders, the proud mullets, the union jackets over crisply ironed clean jeans, the church ladies with four rooms of tables laden with homemade maple bars and apple pie....this lady was the daughter of my grandmother's sister. They owned an old-fashioned diner in Lacey for over 30 years, the kind where you are met at the door with "Hello and coffee?" and the spinning stools at the counter. They cooked for the inmates and staff at the the Olympia Jail for two-score years. It was on her farm that I rode my first horse and saw my first animal birthing. It was also there that I saw what happens to chickens. Yesterday, I was not called by my first name--I was called "You're Barb's oldest daughter?". Yes, I am. And I am of this stock. No amount of yuppie accoutrements or letters after my name from a university in the big city can negate that. Nor do I want it to. It comes down to doing good. Doing right. Doing when it's needed. Doing it period. Loretta Jean Nerney lived that. She still does.
Just like the tears and reconnections and tattoos and the dahlias. It all matters.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

From "Wisdom Teachers" by Caitlin Matthews

A truthful heart has no room for blame or revenge. It maintains its own living watch on what life sends, transmuting the toxins of difficult experience into a regenerating draught, siphoning away whatever cannot be changed.---p. 301, The Celtic Spirit

Friday, August 20, 2010

Got it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This is what is in my bathtub. Still there.
At least there are no baby birds fallen down the chimbley.
Had a great CPR/1st Aid/AED class today. Would highly recommend CPR Seattle on Stone Way.
We are off with pup to the ocean to hear the sis and brothers sing and to walk on the beach and to spend quality time with our aunt and her sweet little sheltie-girl. Dance was a pleasure tonight. I love challenging dancers to reach farther than they thought they could go, show how it can be done, and then actually, do it! Time to transfer the same to myself. :) NOt so hard...just uncomfortable in bits. Add a Blue Moon ale, a walk around the lake at twilight, and chats with other sheltie folks in the park...and tolerable day. Yes, indeed.
There is a spider the size of a coffee mug in the bathtub this morning.
How charming..will forgo shower before my first aid/CPR class today. Getting all my sub ducks in a row. Will do the paperwork today and tomorrow and then after school begins, go and introduce myself to school secretaries and leave a calling card with my info and a cute picture on it.

Been fighting ants. We have an infestation at Fair Isle. They got into the dog food. Had to throw out a couple of months worth. Sigh. But then the Universe kicked in and within two hours, we were gifted with two sealable dogfood tubs and a replacement bag of what Porter eats to get us through September. Auntie Lydia loves us! Thank you Auntie Angel. This is Porter's last play overnight at Camp Alice for awhile. We will have to work out tea/chat visits and dog play this fall.

Managed to kill/break the weed whacker yesterday but not until I had finished a big section of the side of the house. Been getting at the jungle some everyday for a couple of hours. I was digging comfrey and comfrey roots with Porter yesterday. They are tough. Embedded. Amongst all the broken glass, rusty nails, twisted screws, and beer caps (not mine)and porcelain chips, I dug up a golden heart bead! That ranks right up there with finding marbles and WWII era soldier-metal-action-figure-guys.

Had my first harp lesson with a different teacher. I am learning music theory. I am also learning to let go and just play intuitively. I rarely just PLAY with the harp...just mess around. I understand that this is a big part of learning to play. We shall see. I have some goals about, what else, Christmas carols.

Took down my wall of Celtic Yuletide posters yesterday. Still reeling from that. I need a barn. I plan to clean them up, laminate them, and put them up somewhere. For now, the wall needs to be cleared. Like everything else. I am planning to paint the kitchen. And scrape and paint the corners and niches on the outside of the house to match the siding.

I am discovering the power of 20 Mule Team Borax. I can never clean my house and get the same results as the Cleaning Fairy GodAuntie...she is sharing her secrets with me and I am going to learn. One funky thing about funky little homes with funky inhabitants and dogs--there is no way to get them clean and then to stay clean. Maybe that is another one of those juicy metaphors I will write about someday.

Off to check on that spider and go to class.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's hot out there, folks.
Keep the hydration going, stay out of the sun, and be sure your animal companions have plenty of the cool, clear stuff, too.
Had a busy weekend with a family wedding over at Point No Point. My partner and I sure love riding the ferry. Back and forth. The waiting isn't too bad either if you have something to keep you cool, a good book, a sister in the waitline two rows over, and a computer with HP and the Order of the Phoenix to carry you over those rough boredom spots. Never been to a wedding at a lighthouse, the Point No Point lighthouse. Very special place to our family. My mother's side has been camping there since the 1940's. The tradition continues to this day. The stories and drama and fun that could be retold here would require another blog entirely. The day, the blue sky, the wind, the boats, the kites, the fishing men and women, the families, the dogs, the picnics, the speedos, the seagulls, all the folks there to wish the new couple well, the walk on the beach after down to the launching dock where my grandpa and uncles would splash down on their way to catch salmon...I hope that such a special start portents a long and special journey together for the young couple.

I went to my first ice cream social at the park where Fletcher lives. There is a yurt there. From time to time, there are pancake breakfasts, evening potlucks, sports watching events, game nights, etc. The community comes together--the permanent residents and those who are just passing through (for a night, a week, a month). It is a chance to meet and greet folks from all over. This was no exception. There was a cake for Fletcher and me. And lots of congratulations. Fletcher says this is the most community-minded place he has ever lived in his life. He is getting to know my little section of Ballard. We are plenty community-minded, too. In a different way. We have way more stuff than in the 5th wheels and RVs.

Been learning what it is like to walk my dog after 7 a.m and p.m. Don't like the first one at all, learning to enjoy the second one as folks are out in their gardens and yards or taking their own walks. Last night, we returned books to the library and met a couple of puppies-a teacup chihuahua and a bichon mix something. Not over 3 pounds they were. And young. Porter had fun. I wonder how you would keep track of something that small. Saw last night, also, that Porter can indeed single jump it to the top of the woodpile going after a squirrel or some other creature in the pear tree. He did it several times. This means he could easily jump the fence. Thanks, Airedales, for teaching him that one!

Twisting and wringing the urge to go out and get full time teaching work. "(This) Force is strong in you, Luke." (use your best Obi-Wan voice there.) Gonna struggle until I quit or the urge subsides and I am going to rest. Whatever that means. Right now, it means naps everyday whether I want them or not. It means a restless heart and mind. It means that to make myself sit still I have to put myself in the bathtub (with or without water) and set the timer. Sitting still is not what happens at this time of year-ever. And it needs to happen now. The impulse is to empty everything out of this house. Empty it. And then stand around and enjoy the space and the lack of clutter.

Haven't had any more baby birds down the chimbley pipe. Let's hope it stays that way!

Friday, August 13, 2010

But, again, marriage has such a long history of changing with the ever-changing times, that the last thing we should expect from it is to stop growing and changing. We know today that marriage is not a rote ritual handed down by God to Adam & Eve and preserved verbatim for thousands of years. It is, rather, an expression of how each community, each culture, and each faith, chooses to celebrate the joining of loved ones who have decided to make a life together.--Archie Levine, This Is What I Think

**thanks Turi for sharing this one....eye opener that was an delightfully, provocatively written!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Apparently I have an effect on Fletcher. He can't remember how to hold his harp correctly anymore. T'ee.
And How Shall You Drink Today?
(found this in an old journal, pasted it in about 1995--did not cite the writer, wish I had. This was not written by me.)

And a question forms within me:
given the choice, what would I choose--
the ups and downs of life or the comfort of the womb?
My answer will tell
if I have what it takes to be born again.

I can do no more than be born again
than I could be born the first time.
But two things I can do.
One: I can give myself the nourishment I need.
A child that is born before being formed will perish.
I must stay in touch with the things,
the places,
occupations, persons
that bring me joy and love and beauty.
I drink deeply at these fountains now
with gratitude, without guilt.

Two: I can jealously preserve
my freedom and autonomy.
I must learn to hold on
to those fountains that I drink from
and not get stuck;
to enjoy and not possess;
seek nourishment and not sink roots.
For I must always be in readiness
to move when the time for rebirth comes.

And here I squarely face my fear,
for it is fear that kills my freedom
and makes me cling.

I think how I shall drink of love today,
and joy
and peace
and pleasure.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Like billowing clouds,
like the incessant gurgle of the brook,
the longing of the soul can never be stilled.
It is this longing with which holy persons seek their work from God."--Hildegard von Bingen

I wonder, Hildegarde, if it isn't all people who have this longing and seek their work from God? I wonder, too, if it isn't people who want to be "wholy" who seek their work from God? Or who know somehow, instinctively, intuitively, that they are "wholy" and HOLY in work from God?

Made an apple saute and a vegetable soup today from scratch and from a recipe that I have had on my wall for over a year. We shall see what it is like for dinner.

I am tackling the home altar and the kitchen table. I want clear surfaces. No piles. No "tuck-ins" to be dealt with later. Clear. Clean. Sacred Space. Holy Space.
Off to put on my Hildegard cd while I work.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Platitude..Or Spiritual Homecoming?
"every moment and every event are part of life's journey--none are wrong.
Each one sheds new light on a personal story that is unique. A failure simply opens a new avenue to explore. To make a mistake is to build knowledge, to expand our horizons in different directions...this is why we can say our strength is shown through our weakness. You cannot rise down. You can only rise up.--Monks of New Skete, Rise Up With A Listening Heart

Had the first week of being"off"...and being "off" it was. Nothing felt "right". No rhythm was to be had. All new. All weird. All feeling like a deer in the headlights, I managed to break up and redistribute a pile of rocks, dirt, and concrete mixed with rusty nails and broken glass that those yahoos who worked and wrecked in my backyard last spring left for me to deal with when I "fired" them. The bamboo barrier on one side that they dug is managing to do the job for which it was intended. Shovel in hand and hauling water by hand for thirsty growing ones--happiest part of my week last week. And I am happy, contented more like it. Once I made the decision that New Mexico would have to wait. It will still be there. And I will be here for awhile. Until it is time to go.

Went for a canoe drift around Pine Lake yesterday. Came upon a heron resting on a dock edge. Thought it was a statue at first until it shook out its feathers, craned its neck to look at us, readjusted the one foot balancing act, and settled in as we slipped on by. The pup in the middle of the canoe biting at each paddle drip did not phase it in the least. Then we had the eagle pass over so low that we could count the missing tail feathers on the one side. hearing her calls pearl out to the twilight's edges gave that shivers up the spine sense that we were in something special. And we were. Just what we needed. Simple. Simple. pleasures and moments.

I like being married. I have my brother to thank for this one. This week, it has felt like I was standing in the traces next to my partner. We aren't yoked up yet and we haven't chosen the wagon or load, but we are whickering to each other, blowing air into each other's noses, flicking off flies and biting insects, showing each other the good mud patches for rolling, and enjoying the warmth of standing next to each other in quiet. Not going anywhere for the present. Just being--together. I am one lucky mare.

What will today bring? Certainly not a repetition of last week. I have begun to spin some webs, some plans, some quiet and meaningful pursuits. After coffee, a dog walk, and a workout. Rise up to...

Friday, August 06, 2010

Sacred Idleness.

That's what Sarah Ban Abundance calls it.
---"sacred idleness"--unexpected, melodic days of undoing to balance the discordant days of doing too much. Like grace, this blessing had come out of the blue."--Simple Abundance, August 6th

Seems to be the task at hand.
Seems more difficult to find this rhythm.
Seems like a good sleep and/or naps are key to this.
And an unfilled calendar.
And plenty of water.
And a sense of hope and healing.

Third baby bird released from the woodstove. Was not able to free one that fell down this weekend. Sad that was. Will be asking a bro-in-law for some help with that. He doesn't seem to mind heights. Little Feather gave me the heads up on the stuff we need to wrap the chimbley with so they won't fall through. The good thing is that every perchable surface in my front "cabin" room has been blessed by baby bird--including the big harp. Time for baby birds to bless from the outside.

I am so not used to sleeping in. 6:30 is so wanton.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Harp Camp was...magical.
Lots of good everything--music, lessons learned and lessons given, conversations, creativity overflowing, laughter, special moments, song--even special Hawaiian song and dance around the fire circle. And Monty Python. Next year, we will be ready with complete scenarios and ruddy music sequences.

Very special time with family and friends, of origin and of choice and of new acquaintance.

Came home to another baby bird in the woodstove, only this one was dead. MUST get that stove pipe covered completely tomorrow.

Porter is back.We are off for a long walk when I finish dishes in a bit.