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One day I was walking along the bay, when the words came to me, “You have something to share with me?”

I found myself wondering what it would be like if with each person we meet, we suggest they have 30 seconds, or an hour, or whatever, to share something. What would that do to our lives?

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I am reading An Alter in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor.

She suggests “pronouncing blessings”. First we have to see what we are blessing. We can hold a stick in our hand, and look.

Barbara Brown Taylor:

If you look at the stick long enough, you are bound to begin making it a character in your own story. It will begin to remind you of someone you know, or a piece of furniture you once saw in a craft co-op. There is nothing wrong with these associations, except that they take you away from the stick and back to yourself. To pronounce a blessing on something, it is important to see it as it is. What purpose did this stick serve? Did a bird sit on it? Did it bear leaves that sheltered the ground from the hottest summer sun?

At the very least it participated in the deep mystery of drawing water from the ground, defying the law of gravity to deliver moisture to its leaves. How does a stick do that, especially one this size? Smell it. Is the scent of sap still there? There is no less than the artery of a tree that you are holding in your hand. Its tissue has come from the sun and from the earth. Put it back where you found it and it will turn back into earth again. Dust to dust and ashes to ashes. Will you say a blessing first?

Marion Rosen passed away last Wednesday night. She was a mentor for me, a teacher, a leader, a friend. She will be missed, is missed, and yet, I feel her opening windows for me, windows as in an Advent Calendar.

See this, and this: I’m free.

This poem by Jane Hirshfield guides me to feel her “largeness pass through me”.

The Supple Deer

The quiet opening
between fence strands
perhaps eighteen inches.

Antlers to hind hooves,
four feet off the ground,
the deer poured through.

No tuft of the coarse white belly hair left behind.

I don’t know how a stag turns
into a stream, an arc of water.
I have never felt such accurate envy.

Not of the deer:

To be that porous, to have such largeness pass through me.

– Jane Hirshfield

Yes

It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.

It could, you know. That’s why we wake
and look out — no guarantees
in this life.

But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
like evening.

~ William Stafford ~

(The Way It Is)

Today I came across the book “embrace your inner wild”. It is 52 Reflections from an Eco-Centric World and is by Mary Reynolds Thompson with photographs by Don Moseman.

I will give it to a friend, to many friends, and yet, I sit now with the wisdom within this book of precious photographs of Marin and words strung together like songs of friends.

Perhaps what touches me most is this:

A friend asks an indigenous elder from the rain forests of South America, “Are you ever lonely?”

Silence.

“There is no word for loneliness in his language,” the translator explains.

If you are looking for something to fill you so well there is no word for loneliness, this is the book.

Next to a photo of an orb weaver spider in a web at Muir Woods are these words:

“The deeper we go into our individual nature, the more we discover that we are part of the whole.”

I love this time of year. The Monarch butterflies arrive and the sun has a softer slant, even as it seems to touch more deeply to create vitamin D and preparation for the longer nights to come.

In Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance, she writes:

It seems to me that January resolutions are about will; September resolutions are about authentic wants. . . . The beauty of autumnal resolutions is that no one else knows we’re making them. Autumnal resolutions don’t require horns, confetti, and champagne. September resolutions ask only that we be open to positive change.

Open to positive change. I like that.

I feel the stirrings that drop leaves in the fall and reveal the structure of trees.

We, in the northern hemisphere, are turning toward fall, shorter days, longer nights, craving foods that are orange, rich with vitamin A, to nourish our eyes.

A bird just chirped outside my window with a message given and received. Time. Tier time.

My son and his wife are moving to England for a year, and I am aware of stretching the moments of this next 28 days, of building a scaffold of support.

I think now of the neck of the giraffe. The giraffe has seven vertebrae, as do we, and yet, each one of theirs can be over ten inches long. The giraffe’s heart is 2 feet long and weighs about 25 pounds. Its lungs can hold 12 gallons of air. In this moment, I’m envisioning myself as a giraffe with a long, flexible neck, a huge heart, and lungs moist with care. I find myself in tears these days, tears liquid with love.

My son is making a film and, through it, I feel myself in the workings of his mind, as he once was in me. I am touched, punctured perhaps, as with the song of the little bird this morning. And so this poem comes, brought from a bird, reminding me to trust and continuously build and replenish an inner nest.

Inner Nest

Bird drops notes outside my window,
ear cups thimble
air woven in tiers

Rainer Maria Rilke:

The inner – what is it?
If not intensified sky, hurled through with birds
And deep with the winds of homecoming.

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.

– Etty Hillesum

Just reading her words gives me space, changes my pace. I stop and notice, inhale, pause and savor. One long waterfall of love and light winds through my head and chest and out.

Each breath has hills to cradle the pause, the intention to rest.

I renew, with zest, as guest.

Steve Jobs in a commencement address said:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About this blog:

Cathy and Jane started writing together during Cathy's illness, and that writing became a blog, which then became a book!

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