This is me…

This is me not knowing what to write; knowing only enough to know that I should just start clacking away and see what happens; knowing that if I allow my current state of I don’t feel like writing to continue that I’ll suffer more for it.

This is me amid a much longer process of inner recallibration than I would prefer, wishing I could just be onto the next thing already – whatever the thing is – with this clunky awkward exhausting stage behind me as something I could point back to and say I came out better for it in the long-run.

This is me, a usually very decisive, action-based dame, being un-nerved by not knowing what the heck comes next in the book of my life.

This is me being antsy & agitated on my meditation cushion in the mornings  (but at least still sitting); missing my time spent as a hospice volunteer; missing my time spent as a super amateur drummer for a local African dance troupe; missing spending time with my friends; missing gathering people together for the sake of helping to foster the building of community; missing the attending of music shows; missing the places I used to go and realize now I took for granted pre-virus; missing….

This is me wondering if I have what it takes to actualize my husband and I’s shared long-held vision of building a mindfulness practice center here in our much beloved home state of Montana.

This is me wondering if perhaps I could use a long stay at Deer Park Monastery, my home away from home, to help me refuel and re-hydrate and re-balance.

This is me wondering what my future holds, as I step back and away from certain roles I’ve been invested in for a long long time.

This is me wondering what comes next.

This is me, being human.

 

 

 

Turning 41-years-old

This body –
my body –
of flesh, bones, organs,
a forever pumping heart and breathing lungs,
turns 41-years-old today.

I wonder if my mom and my dad,
each in their own separate states,
will travel back in time today,
thinking back to the day I was born.
Will they will reflect on what it means
to be the parent of a 41-year-old woman,
self-possessed, dwelling in the mountains
so many hundreds of miles away
from the land of her raising?

This day is not in celebration of me,
as though I were self-created,
self-propelled, self-contained.
Today I want to elevate my heart
in celebration not of me but of my parents;
my grandparents; my ancestors, blood and land;
my tribe of people near and far, past and present;
the wealth of resources and privileges
I’ve been so richly and generously afforded.

Did I mention I am filled to over-flowing with gratitude?
Did I mention that I try my very best
not to take it all for granted?

Have I mentioned that each day
when I rise, I form a smile of love
on my lips for the sheer joy
that comes from waking?

Fish, Birds, Fragrance, Goodness

When I think of rivers,
I think soon after of fish.
And if someone were to ask me
what kind I’d say trout.

When I think of the sky,
I think first of sun
then of moon
then of clouds
then of birds.
And if someone were to ask me
what kind I’d say crows,
my most beloved and favorite.

When I think of trees,
I flash straight away
to a great assembly of them,
a great choir of them
spanning acres and acres of land
in their brown and green attire,
rich with fragrance and teachings.
And if someone were to ask me
what kind I’d say pine.

When I think of people –
us collectively as a tribe of humans –
I think first and foremost of goodness,
and how each of us are showing up
the best way we know how.

Onward Ho

I imagine you’re wondering what this pic has to do with my post. Perhaps it’s even what lured you in.

The truth is: I just really like this photo. I find it hilarious. The way I see it: bigfoot’s facial expression just totally clinches this shot. I like to imagine he’s thinking: Well, whatareya gonna do, white girls be crazy. And then I’d be all like: Look here BF, bear dude started it.

I didn’t have any real plan in crafting this post. I figured I’d just start with the pic, start typing, and see what happened. What’s coming up for me now is this: for me, it’s important to play and have fun with no agenda in mind other than to play and have fun. To stay on the course of self-transformation, personal growth, societal engagement, and an aspiring agent of change for the betterment of all people and our planet the presence and practice of play & fun are a necessity to keep on keeping onward ho.

I often connect with how grateful I am that I have the opportunity to work closely with young children, as they’ve taught me, and continue to teach me, much of what I know in regards to play & fun. Kids are super masters at the art of play & fun so I get regular instruction in this regard by highly skilled teachers.

For me, my well-being is most supported and highly tuned when I am in balance with the following elements (in no particular order):

  1. Spiritual Practice
  2. Service
  3. Work
  4. Learning
  5. Rest
  6. Play/Fun/Creativity
  7. Connection/Relationship Building

So, this is me putting a plug in for having fun – simply for the joy of what it brings. As adults, we can often take ourselves and our lives too seriously. We can forget to smile and to laugh and to engage with humor and playfulness. There are hundreds of ways this can take shape too. Playfulness and having fun don’t just come in one package. What works for me in regards to practicing playfulness might not work for you. I’d like to encourage you to find your own pockets of joy and delight and to invest in them on the regular.

And maybe it involves taking a self-timer photo of yourself screaming back at a giant wooden growling bear statue – and, ya know, maybe not. :)

Origin Story (a poem)

Origin Story

This is me,
soon to turn 41-years-old,
just starting to properly familiarize myself with history
and educate myself on such matters as
how the heck did we get here as a nation?

I don’t mind telling you
it’s brutal as hell.

I don’t mind telling you
there’s part of me that is
wishing I had not opened
this door to our past.

I don’t mind telling you
to buckle up
to expect a different me
than you’re accustomed
in the wake of my learning.

My life is made
on the backs of Native Americans
African slaves
indentured servants
those who were painfully poor
immigrants looking for a better life
for their children.

Eyes that let in the light
can no longer feast on
the same darkness they once relied.

A heart no longer saturated
in its own will alone
pumps the blood of all those
whose lives were taken.

 

 

Resting Is Fuel For Engaging

from Everyday Peace Cards, 108 Mindfulness Meditations by Thich Nhat Hanh

Don’t you just love when things line up sometimes? For the past few days, I’ve been percolating on crafting a blog post on the power/importance/wisdom/practice/art of resting and this morning, I drew this card at random from my deck of Everyday Peace Cards to read and reflect on this week.

In case you’re not well-versed in the topics I routinely gravitate towards, I write fairly often about the art of resting. Two of my other regular writing threads center around cultivating joy and practicing gratitude – and all three are investments of time I place high on my list of priorities, as someone who is deeply called in the direction of spiritual living.

So this is me, putting out yet another plug for resting as a vital component of well-being.

My experience -both personally and from what I’ve seen in my friends & family – aligns with what TNH is saying in the card shown above: most of us do not know how to rest.

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Shades of Silence

There are different
and many kinds
of silence.

Some silence is like a fence
separating one thing from another thing –
and sometimes that thing is mere
possession of a fallow field
unintended for anything other
than ownership.

There are punishing silences,
liberating silences,
silences like a warm bed to fall into
at the end of a cold day.

Sunrise silence,
penetrating right into the heart of things.

Library silence,
enforced but pleasant.

Radio silence,
an indicator that something has gone wrong.

Sleeping baby silence,
a gift we give to someone else.

Weakening silence,
where a voice is stifled
by power over.

Preservation silence,
where a voice is snuffed out
by fear.

Don’t rock the boat silence,
a learned behavior over years
of lessening.

Swan Song silence,
the kind that marks the final
end of something.

Poetry silence,
the kind that lingers
long after the poem is done.

For vs. Against

On Friday, I attended a rally centered around the death of George Floyd here in Missoula, Montana, organized by the UM Black Student Union. Despite it being a quickly put together event, there was a good attendance and in large part a collective adherence to covid protocols (ie: mask wearing & social distancing).

Each time I am alerted to an organized gathering centered around a particular issue or matter in our lovely mountain town – this liberal oasis in an otherwise beet red state – I try my best to ascertain whether it will be a rally or a protest before I commit myself to attending. Similar to the Mother Teresa quote above, I myself am all for events that are pro/for-something but I am not likely to attend if it’s more of an against-something sort of event. A yes-event vs. a no-event, if you will.

I don’t consider myself an activist. I would never use that word to describe myself nor do I think it’s an apt descriptor to use should someone else try to pin that label on me. But please don’t get me wrong, I think activists are an important demographic of our population and I am glad there are many who gravitate in this direction. We all have our different callings – and thank goodness for that. There are a lot of worthy directions to travel in and each of us only has so much time and energy to devote in any given day.

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Antsy & Unmotivated

Feeling antsy and unmotivated is just a terrible mix, who’s with me on this?  My bio-rhythms are off – that’s how it feels anyway. Oddly, I feel exhausted and energized at the same time. Certain activities sound appealing and then when I go to do them I lose steam.

I got together with a friend yesterday and it was almost as though I’d forgotten how to interact. The effects of covid are real is what I’m saying.

This is me simply giving voice to what is alive for me today.

I’m crunchy; snarky; rough around the edges. I’m wearing thin by the daily grayness and ongoing, ever-present potential likelihood of rain. I miss my tribe. I miss the days before covid came to town. I miss who I was a few months ago.

Oh, right. Grief. Grieving. Loss. These things are also real.

Nothing is need of fixing or figuring out.

Some things (most things) take time.

_______________

In the wake of my recent
steppings down from roles
I’ve held joyously for years,
who am I now?

In the wake of covid cancellations
of activities and usages of time
I purposefully fill my days with,
who am I?

An unpublished, unprized, unscholarly poet
A woman writer with something to say
A woman invested in learning and building skill
and doing better – a little more each day –
to be a kind and useful human.

Funny how that sounds like both
a whole heck of a lot
and also not enough.

 

 

The Gift of Vision

pic I took last week at the Mission Lookout Tower in Swan Lake, Montana

This is me
at 5:28am on a Thursday,
gazing affectionately
at the morning sky,
and the pinks it’s dancing wide
on the horizon.

This is me
chewing on the gift
of having vision
and what it means to see.

This is me
casting a smooth round stone of gratitude
into the pool of today,
watching as the echo of my quiet joy
ripples out in all directions,
above and below.