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And when great souls die, 

after a period peace blooms,

slowly and always

irregularly.  Spaces fill

with a kind of

soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never

to be the same, whisper to us. 

They existed.  They existed. 

We can be. Be and be 

better.  For they existed. 

 

~ Maya Angelou

Filling the Well

 

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I just spent the past week filling my well, soaking and savoring in all of the things I crave, good conversation, beautiful sights, delicious food and soul filling silence.  I was reminded of the importance of making time for renewal, for being refreshed.  I was reminded in a very visceral way that in order to live a nourished life we must not only give, but freely receive as well.  

So my friends, soak it all in, the joy, the grace, the beauty, the love… it is all there waiting for you.  

Embrace it, fill yourself up until you overflow and from that overflow continue to serve others. 

 

Filling the Well

by Dorothy Baird

Sometime the day comes
when you have given everything
in your attempts to be everything to everyone.
You will know this day
when your small bird cannot flex
it’s wings against the wind.
When you’re sun cannot heave itself
over the horizon, when you lower
your bucket into the well and hear it
thud against the clay.

When this day comes you must take off
the smile that is no longer truly yours
and batten down your heart
that now betrays you with its giving.

You must hold your hands about your ears
for their voices are the siren calls that will bind you to them
and you must walk or limp or run
through the door you can barely see
into the darkness of a lonely room
into the ocean of an empty moor
into the wild arms of the forest.

and sit or walk until from deep within
a trembling starts to pulse
and your diviner’s hand sense
what the oak tree and the sycamore
and the worm that flicks its tail
all know; the source
is the same source
you are thirsting for. Drink deeply
Be still. Be slow. The world can find its way

without you. For you must drink
until your well is filled, until your feathers
plump, until a new sun rises
in the winter of your eyes. Then,
and only then, may you return,
and when they see you, lush
against the light, let them
stand back a little further than before
and be amazed.

Hands…

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I have always been fascinated by and in awe of hands.  

They can hurt or heal, create or destroy- they are capable of so many things.  I have long collected photos of hands, and I will often find myself looking at people’s hands when in meetings or standing in line at the grocery store.  There are so many stories in people’s hands… I am especially intrigued by the less than “perfect” hands.  The ones with little scars that tell a story, the ones with a little dirt underneath the fingernails letting me know they aren’t afraid of a little hard work, the ones that have wrinkles that make me wonder what they created in their lifetime. 

“I’m looking at my hand right now as we talk. It’s got a lot of wrinkles ‘cause I’m 81 years old. But it’s linked to hands like this back through the ages. This hand was shaped by when it was a fin in the mother seas, where life was born. This hand is directly linked to hands that learned to reach and grasp and climb and push up on dry land and weave reeds into baskets. It has a fantastic history. Every particle and every atom in this hand goes back to the first — what Thomas Berry calls ‘the primal flaring forth,’ the beginning of space-time. We’re part of that story.”

 

Joanna Macy

 

Having created a lot lately with my hands, first crocheting scarves and other presents for Christmas and now getting back to beading I am reminded how satisfying it is.  To have a skill- as a result of a story… I remember learning from my grandmother and great aunt how to crochet, sitting for hours in the basement chaining away the length of the basement several times over.  

“To have the skill of knitting, to have the skill of crocheting, of felting, makes it possible for us not only to make something but it makes us skilled in general. The use of the hands is vital for the human being, for having flexibility, dexterity. In a way the entire human being is in the in the hands. Our destiny is written in the hand. And what do we do in our modern world with our hands? You know we move the mouse, we drive and so on. We feel plastic most of the time. The hands are relegated to very little that’s actually bringing dexterity to our times. So we have come ever more estranged from nature and from also what other human beings are doing. The whole social element comes into play as well because if I make something then I think ‘Hmmm, how was that yarn made?’

Renate Hiller

 

 

There is a pride that is created from holding something in your hands that you have created.  But recently I have even been feeling that same sense of pride and excitement from watching others create.  I have been enjoying immensely a series called Craft In America.  (You can watch the videos here.)  It is beyond beautiful and feeds my soul on so many levels.  And this little video came to my attention yesterday where they interview Renate Hiller- A World Through The Hands.  

It seems that I have been reminded at every turn of the value, the gift of creating, of craft, of story, of sharing our own gifts. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There are always themes that tend to emerge when I pay attention.

Right now it has been the significance of small kindnesses, the need, both physical and emotional of so many that is so evident at every turn,  AND the flipside, of the ability of all of us to meet those needs at various times and in various spaces and how so often when it is right it takes so little effort.  Also, this idea that I am called to meet those that I can, but also to trust that others will step in as well, and to learn to discern when, where and how to step in, to fix, to let things be, to release.

In paying attention I have been reminded of many things:

I have been reminded that not every problem is mine to solve,

I have been reminded that I have a lot more to give than I realize,

I have been reminded that kindness- no matter how large or small- can transform moments, individuals and lives,

I have been reminded of the power of presence,

I have been reminded of the gift of being present,

I have been reminded that I am much happier when I pay attention to where my joy, my love, my kindness overflows and giving from that space,

I have been reminded that I need to include myself in the grace and kindness I offer.

In this interview, Krista Tippett from On Being interviews Nadia Bolz-Weber: Seeing the Underside and Seeing God:  Tattoos, Tradition, and Grace .  Pastor Bolz-Weber talks about the idea that we are here to be a community to one another, that we are here to help carry the burdens for each other, and to offer grace.

“And so it’s like this thing like I don’t think faith is given in sufficient quantity to individuals necessarily. I think it’s given in sufficient quantity to communities. The same with that whole thing like God will not give you more than you can bear. I don’t think God will give you more than a community can bear. And we’ve individualized this thing of faith so much.”

And ever since hearing this interview I have had many things from it that I have been pondering and playing with.  One is how many times I have been taking on things that are not my own, letting the heaviness weigh me down and missing out on being present for those who are here in front of me who I am called to be there for.  I have been missing the grace that is present in so many ways.   And secondly, the freedom that is granted when we can rely on each other to help shoulder the burden.

Currently one of the families that I love and cherish is going through a difficult time, and seeing the community rally around them, seeing the love that is shared, the prayers that have been sent, the ways that they have been held has only reminded me that we are that community.  We are here to offer grace, to offer love, their burden is too much to carry alone, but together, together we will walk through it.

That word,

GRACE

has been showing up in my reading, my conversations, my thoughts and prayers a lot lately.

So I am paying attention.

Grace, the power of it, the spaciousness in it, the lightness of it.  It is something that has been fun to play with, to continue to ponder.

And so I ask you.  What have you been paying attention to lately?

 

Joy and Fulfillment…

If you haven’t ever done it before head over to see the pure awesomeoness that is Danielle LaPorte, brilliant and straight to your heart her words simply shimmer.  And her latest post did what it always does and hit me straight in my heart.

We need to know about your joy. (And other conversations of fulfillment.)

We need you to tell us your good news. Tell us how deeply in love you are. Tell us how your life is rocking. How free you are these days. Tell us how wonderful your family is. How many opportunities are coming your way. How great it feels to make your work in the world. How lazy, luxurious, or revitalizing your holiday was. Tell us how fulfilled you feel in your job. How sexy you felt on the dance floor, on your bike, in the interview. Tell us how well you’re being loved. How delicious your dinner was. How healthy and sturdy you are these days. Go ahead, tell us how lucky you are.Do you feel so utterly blessed at times that it blows your mind? Ya? Tell us about it. Please.

Even if you have to stretch to find the one golden thing in your existence right now, accentuate that. And give it to us.

We need you to light up our realities. Don’t shrink from sharing the story of your good fortune. Give us examples of well-loved living. Give us evidence of the rewards of courage, that it pays to hold out, or to go wild, or to burn prayer candles.

Declare your fulfillment without restraint.

Create conversations of fulfillment so we can step away from the shadows of media madness and habitual, repressive, dampening complaining of the day.

Forget about arrogance and your britches. Never mind potentially envious reactions — envy can be a positive agitator. Yes, be gentle in the face of another’s lack, but still, let them know that certain happiness is possible — you’re living proof.

Tell us what’s good in your life so that we can believe in it for ourselves, so that we can reach out and join in.

Speak of your joy. Whatever it is. Often. twit bird We need to know about your joy. (And other conversations of fulfillment.)

Wise words from Danielle LaPorte
I have been thinking a lot about this concept lately.
I have friends struggling with some big things, medical issues, relationships shifting, cracking, adjusting to big changes in so many ways… and when you are in the midst of those deep shifts it can sometimes be daunting to see other people’s highlight reels… but there is another side to that.
When I see someone deeply reveling in their joy, when I see them fulfilled by their perfectly imperfect life it reminds me to do the same.  When I see someone celebrating the gifts they have in their life I receive it as a personal invitation to celebrate my own gifts that are waiting to be noticed, to be discovered, to be opened, to be shared.
It is good to be reminded that there is always another story to be told, one of abundance, of joy, of gifts… even in the midst of the darkest nights there is light to be found, peace to be shared, joy to be experienced…
So dear ones… tell me of the beauty you see before you right now, in this very moment.

Clearing…

 

It has been awhile since I found myself here.  In front of this glowing screen, contemplating what I want to share.  There have been many times that I have wanted to share, snippets of life, but as I found this poem today I realized that in many ways I was creating a clearing.  

A space for me to mull over some shifts and changes, to soak in summer, to take long naps, to watch the light play in the leaves, to feel the sun warm my skin, to sweat and find the Warrior within, to remember my love of the written word, to seek and soak in joy, to make space both within and without.  

 

 

     May you make space for a clearing in your life.

     May you remember what nourishes you and seek it out.

     May you play, laugh and delight in your life just as it is in this moment. 

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Clearing

 

by Martha Postlewaite

Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worthy of rescue.

Travel Light

If you only read one thing about the Boston Marathon let it be this:

If you are losing faith in human nature today, watch what happens in the aftermath of an attack on the Boston Marathon. The flood of donations crashed the Red Cross’s Web site. The organization tweeted that its blood supplies are already full. People are lining up outside of Tufts Medical Center to try and help. Runners are already vowing to be at marathons in the coming weeks and months. This won’t be the last time the squeakers run Boston. This won’t be the last time we gather at the finish line to marvel how much more we can take than anyone ever thought possible.

And watch this…

Although it seems unrelated I trust that you will understand how I see this as integral to ending violence…

if we were able to see the beauty in ourselves and each other we would never be able to do anything but love one another…

I sent this video to a group of my friends whose hearts I know will be bruised by all of the grief and the loss that happened yesterday at the Boston Marathon… a group who will seek to choose love over anger and fear.  And it is in these moments that I call out to each of them, to remind myself that I am not alone in braving the world with an open and vulnerable heart, that I am not the only one that believes that kindness and compassion are the only way to peace.

I hope that they are able to  see the beauty of themselves and others.   It takes a tremendous amount of courage and to go against the grain, against all of those who will rail with anger, gnash their teeth and present violence as a justified response to violence.

I choose to fight violence with beauty.

So yesterday and last night I purposefully sought out beauty, to share things that restored my faith in humanity, that remind me that I am surrounded by so many loving, kind, generous, beautiful, caring, committed people.

And I wanted them to know…

And dear reader, this is for you as well…

And when I think of you…

Beauty is one of the first things that comes to mind…

Beauty that shines through each of you, radiant kindness and amazing grace.

So thank you for your beauty, for your kindness and your grace.
Continue to shine like the stars in the midst of the dark night…

The world needs your light.

Two Ways

Musings…

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I gathered with women and men this morning from across the state of Minnesota to talk about moving a statewide plan to end violence forward.  Why this is necessary, why now… and one only needs turn on the news this afternoon to be reminded why.  In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombs yet again we are forced to choose our response as a nation, as a community, as individuals. 

So again, I make my choice. 

To radiate love. 

To stand in the midst of pain and darkness and declare my trust that love will overcome.  To comfort those who grieve, to hold the light for those who feel lost in this darkness.  

Perhaps this overcoming will not be in the timeline that I choose… I am willing to surrender my idea of a timeline, my attempt at gaining control over something so much bigger than myself.  I acknowledge that fear and anger are so corrosive… and yet… time and time again I have seen love shift hearts, I have seen how true welcome create community, I have borne witness to pain transforming into forgiveness, into healing, into love.  

I believe that the antidote to violence is community, caring for each other and setting compassion as our default emotion rather than fear and anger. 

I believe the antidote is connection- not distance.  

I believe the answer involves more vulnerability- not arming ourselves literally or figuratively. 

The most brave people I have known have slayed their own dragons, have stood strong through storms of doubt, and have continued to seek love even when it was difficult. 

To choose love when fear is the easy option, to keep your heart open when the easy choice would be to shut your heart down, to continue to risk even though there are no guarantees.  That is true bravery. 

 

 

So Much Goodness…

I remember reading a book by SARK when I was in college, and she talked about walking around with a little net where she would capture all of these little miracles.  She called it the “miracle moment collector”.  That idea stuck with me, and over the years, as I have collected quotes, art, poetry, bits of goodness here, there and everywhere I realize that I am doing it too.

And I have been reminded recently that it is both a learned behavior, but also an incredible gift.  And since I think the best thing to do with gifts is to share them I would like to start a new series on the blog when inspiration strikes where I will offer what has brought a smile, a tear, a laugh to my face, with the intent to pass along all the miracles that I have been collecting.  I cast my net widely, you will never know what you will get… there are so many miracles in the world, and so much goodness…

So for today these things:

The loveliest video I have come across in a long time.

What happens when strangers meet in a ball pit.

I love listening to the way children tell stories.  The way they breathe as they talk, the way they switch ideas midstream, the way that they giggle and guffaw.  There is something so magical about following the mind of a child.

The Scared is Scared

http://vimeo.com/58659769

This is a woman that I wish I knew, and I can only hope that my legacy will be as beautiful as hers.

Irene Ritter

hillside

Adventures in cardboard. 

I will admit, I now have a not so secret desire to hoard my cardboard boxes and come join them this summer.  You don’t think they would mind if I joined in?

Now go find some goodness.

Who are you becoming?

Bates

The other day I ran into a friend who had said he was thinking of me the other day because someone had asked a question and he knew I would love it.  As I have written about before I am a bit obsessed with questions.  I think they are pretty fantastic and often open up new ways of being, thinking and seeing.

Instead of “How are you?” his friend has started to ask “Who are you becoming?”

 

It was so exciting to me on two levels, one is because he knew that I would like it, and it feels good to be known, to be thought of, to be seen.  And isn’t that what friendship is?  To take note of something that another would like, to share bits and pieces of life and to say in ways big and small… You Matter To Me.

And two because it is simply a fantastic question.  One that opens up so many possibilities for conversation and for truly engaging more deeply in one another’s lives.

 

 

And I thought about the deepening of friendships, of getting to know people on a new levels and how that happens.  As I look at many of my relationships and how they have deepened over time and I look at ways that they have gotten stuck, ways that they have gone sideways, forwards and backwards I am reminded that friendships are living breathing things that need to be tended with love and attention.  Sometimes we need to see people in new ways, to be reminded of who they are becoming, and sometimes we need to remind ourselves of who we would like to become.

For today… give yourself permission, space and time to grow into who you are becoming.