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Jane and I will be at Book Passage at a “mini-literary festival” on November 10th from 1 to 4.

The theme is journeying and we will be talking about the Inner Journey, the Journey Inward.

It would be wonderful if you could attend.

There is so much going on in the world, that each of us must continue to come back to ourselves, to our breath, to noticing what is important to us. To do that, we must stop and go within. What simmers there, and guides?

I use these words in this moment, to guide this precious day.

For a day, just for one day,
Talk about that which disturbs no one
And bring some peace into your
Beautiful eyes.”

~ Hafiz

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?

Today I was walking along the water in Sausalito when I paused to observe the bay being dredged. A huge metal bucket dipped down to lift a shovelful of mud, then turned to deposit it on a barge. With each lift, water dripped out, as well as a great deal of mud. It wasn’t the most efficient operation, but mud was being cleared so boats wouldn’t get stuck.

Meanwhile I was thinking about the creatures who live in the mud. What is it like to be lifted up, held on a barge, and redeposited? How is it to fall back anew to where you were before? We each have degrees of movement and relocation each day. How is it to witness each lift and drop, each step, touch, breath? How is it to meet each moment new? Can I be open to the journey’s eye, the inner-outer beat?

I am one who believes in the pause. I inhale, pause, exhale, pause, and sometimes that pause can last a season.

Today, my eldest son is 38. I celebrate his birth, his coming into the world, and what that means to me. I go to Muir Woods and walk in past all people, to be alone with a creek and trees. I sit, feel the words holy, whole, and hole pierce through me. I stand and the sun lights me through trees. I wonder about sunlight through trees. Is there an extra noticing and appreciation, more awareness of how air is shared?

I am old enough now to qualify for a pass for elders. I pay $10.00 and can now enter any national park for the rest of my life. I show my driver’s license, which has a photo of me taken when I had long, blonde hair. “Beautiful tresses,” the man who takes my money and gives me my card, says. I say how different I am now, knowing I wouldn’t trade tresses for what I’ve learned and experienced in these last almost seven years for anything. Almost seven years, and still there is that tremble as the body remembers Fall, and celebrates Spring. Perhaps now the pause and seasons are in everything.

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?

I have now read Susan Cain’s book, The Power of Introverts, and watched her at Google and enjoyed her Ted Talk. People see me as an extrovert, and, at times, I am, and I know how much renewal time I need. I love solitude. I love reflective time. This is an excellent look at how each of us individually, and as a society, need to look at where we nourish. We need to work together. We need to work alone. We need to go to the wilderness, to go out and walk, and to honor the wilderness within, that beautiful place to cultivate and pull from the wildness that is uniquely our own.

It is Valentine’s Day and my heart is full, full of the joy that living brings. I look out on a tree, white with plum flowers. The buds are swelling on the Maple trees. It is Spring. I attended a conference on Aging on Sunday, a gathering of people interested in exploring, augmenting, and expanding, the next stage of life, one in my case, which may be another thirty years. It was a gathering at the Rosen Center, and I felt Marion Rosen, even in her passing, was there, watching what she brought to life and light, expand and spread.

The Heart is about Courage. It requires courage to love, because love risks loss, and loss can hurt. Those we love may die, and certainly they, and we, will change. We are constantly letting go. We too, die to an old self, and come to meet ourselves new. We do this over and over again. We live the seasons, the phases of the moon. We, too, have tides.

Rainer Maria Rilke wrote: “Take your practiced powers and stretch them out until they span the chasm between two contradictions… For the god wants to know himself in you.”

Whatever your image may be of “god”, know the heart is huge, as it stretches to know the contradictions, loves, and joys that bloom, fruit and flourish in you!

January is a month to reflect. Poetry opens the ion trail, the tracks. With thanks to Arthur Sze.

Comet Hyakutake
by Arthur Sze

Comet Hyakutake’s tail stretches for 360 million miles—

in 1996, we saw Hyakutake through binoculars—

the ion tail contains the time we saw bats emerge out of a cavern at dusk—

in the cavern, we first heard stalactites dripping—

first silence, then reverberating sound—

our touch reverberates and makes a blossoming track—

a comet’s nucleus emits X-rays and leaves tracks—

two thousand miles away, you box up books and, in two days, will step through the
invisible rays of an airport scanner—

we write on invisible pages in an invisible book with invisible ink—

in nature’s infinite book, we read a few pages—

in the sky, we read the ion tracks from the orchard—

the apple orchard where blossoms unfold, where we unfold—

budding, the child who writes, “the puzzle comes to life”—

elated, puzzled, shocked, dismayed, confident, loving: minutes to an hour—

a minute, a pinhole lens through which light passes—

Comet Hyakutake will not pass earth for another 100,000 years—

no matter, ardor is here—

and to the writer of fragments, each fragment is a whole—

This is the month we make New Year’s Resolutions for mental, spiritual, and physical health. It is also the month, in the Northern Hemisphere, that invites hibernation. Perhaps the two are one. Each morning, give yourself a little extra time to rise slowly. Imagine yourself as a bear waking up from a long sleep, stretch your arms and legs, curl and uncurl, reflect on what is most important to you, just for today.

Use a kind voice as you speak to yourself, just for today, kindness to you!

There is no greater jewel than kindness to you, each moment, each day.

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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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