Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Morning view from the window at my computer
It stormed heavily last night, with an amazing light show thrown in to add to the drama of pounding rain and strong wind. This morning the sun is blazing on the earth and in my soul, the nip in the air is pleasant and I am "holding out my thanks" (see the Merwin poem at the end).
I've somehow dredged up the space within my psyche to work on myself in a special way between now and December 31, 2011. This blog of Coach Nicole's, 8 Amazing Goals You Can Achieve in the Next 8 Weeks, was just the shot-in-the-arm I needed:
From the goals Nicole listed I have selected these to assist and hold me accountable for the challenge:
~~ track food and exercise (I've been relatively consistent in tracking exercise, but I've resisted tracking food -- hmmmmm, could that have *anything* to do with the 10+ pounds weight gain since my mid-August return from South America???)
~~ exercise 10 minutes every day (instead of fretting about how to add daily aerobic exercise to my life, especially during winter, I'm committing to Just.This.Much -- by walking, a DVD, going to the fitness center, hopping on my bicycle when the weather permits, or *whatever!*)
My trusty wheeled steed is my first choice for aerobic activity. Friend and inspiration DDOORN included this image in a recent blog...and I loved it!
~~ master a new fitness challenge -- 100 push-ups by New Year's Eve is my aspiration; I'm also adding sit-ups to my every-other day strength training regime
~~ aiming to keep SAD at bay by chasing the sun, being jolly (fake it 'til I make it when necessary), practicing turning negatives into positives, etc.
Now...CAN I GET A WITNESS???
November 12, 2011
Not only did I get witnessed, but some wanted to join me, so...WE CREATED A TEAM! This will help us rally together to Make This Happen...for real!
Lightening Up As the Days Grow Darker:
A couple more morning photos:
The sun will soon warm up my beloved Dolphin
Can you see that the screened porch door is open, welcoming you to visit any ol' time?
I read this wonderful poem as the first rays of the morning sun lit up the day and I think it started the inner process,the inner storm having also blown away, that resulted in being able to offer this gift to myself:
In the morning as the storm begins to blow away
the clear sky appears for a moment and it seems to me
that there has been something simpler than I could ever
simpler than I could have begun to find words for
not patient not even waiting no more hidden
than the air itself that became part of me for a while
with every breath and remained with me unnoticed
something that was here unnamed unknown in the days
and the nights not separate from them
not separate from them as they came and were gone
it must have been here neither early nor late then
by what name can I address it now holding out my thanks
~ W.S. Merwin ~
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Embrace the core sadness of life without toppling headlong into it, or assuming it will define your days. The real trick is to let life, with all its ordinary missteps and regrets, be consistently more mysterious and alluring than its end.
-- Gail Caldwell, from Let's Take the Long Way Home: a memoir of friendship
Thank you dear SparkFriends for noticing my gloom and showering me with your loving thoughts. I continue to struggle. I'm oddly resistant to using the resources I've learned over the years of spiritual practices -- of being kind to myself -- though I WILL slosh through this. Please, please excuse my dearth of SparkParticipation.
This morning I completed preparation of a bountiful vegetarian stew, as well as sauteing a big skillet of kale and turnip greens in olive oil with onion and garlic. I also cut up a late-harvest watermelon a friend grave me from her garden. I have lots of salad fixins' in the frig as well. So I'm set with wonderful "medicine" for the body. I struggle with consistency in aerobic exercise which I still have to figure out, but have managed to continue my strength training streak.
I have also been remiss in feeding the mind via meditation, which I will slide back into easefully and gradually.
As for food for the spirit, Billy Collins lights up my "November heart" with the days growing darker.
Tahquamenon Falls, Lake Superior
After three days of steady rain -
over two inches said the radio -
I follow the example of monks
who write by a window, sunlight on the page.
Five times this morning,
I loaded a wheelbarrow with wood
and steered it down the hill to the house,
and later I will cut down the dead garden
with clippers and haul the soft pulp
to a grave in the woods,
but now there is only
my sunny page which is like a poem
I am covering with another poem
and the dog asleep on the tiles,
her head in her paws,
her hind legs played out like a frog.
How foolish it is to long for childhood,
to want to run in circles in the yard again,
pretending to be an airplane.
How senseless to dread whatever lies before us
when, night and day, the boats,
strong as horses in the wind,
come and go,
bringing in the tiny infants
and carrying away the bodies of the dead.
~ Billy Collins ~
Friday, October 28, 2011
The inner landscape of my heart and mind has been bleak of late and I don't have the inclination to share the current struggles. But share beauty in words and images...ALWAYS!
So here is an excerpt from the work of the late Taha Muhammad Ali, who defined art as taking "from life something real, then to build it anew with your imagination."
it has taken me
all of sixty years
that water is the finest drink,
and bread the most delicious food,
and that art is worthless
unless it plants
a measure of splendor in people's hearts.
-- Taha Muhammad Ali
So What: New and Selected Poems, 1971-2005, translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi, and Gabriel Levin
Joe Riley, who publishes the poetry site www.panhala.net/Archive/Index.html was privileged to hear Taha Muhammad Ali present his poetry, saying of Ali, "on hard soil, he keeps on planting hope...." www.panhala.net/Archive/Index.html
Here is a wonderful PBS article and interview with Ali: www.pbs.org/newshour/art/blog/2011/1
Monday, October 24, 2011
I try to ponder this daily and live my life based upon the wisdom --
What I Have Learned So Far
Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don't think so.
All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of -- indolence, or action.
Be ignited, or be gone.
~ Mary Oliver ~
(New and Selected Poems Volume Two)
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Do I *really* understand this important aspect of life?
There's this shape, black as the entrance to a cave.
A longing wells up in its throat
like a blossom
as it breathes slowly.
What does the world
mean to you if you can't trust it
to go on shining when you're
not there? and there's
a tree, long-fallen; once
the bees flew to it, like a procession
of messengers, and filled it
I said to the chickadee, singing his heart out in the
green pine tree:
The shape climbs up out of the curled grass. It
grunts into view. There is no measure
for the confidence at the bottom of its eyes -
there is no telling
the suppleness of its shoulders as it turns
Near the fallen tree
something - a leaf snapped loose
from the branch and fluttering down - tries to pull me
into its trap of attention.
It pulls me
into its trap of attention.
And when I turn again, the bear is gone.
Look, hasn't my body already felt
like the body of a flower?
Look, I want to love this world
as though it's the last chance I'm ever going to get
to be alive
and know it.
Sometimes in late summer I won't touch anything, not
the flowers, not the blackberries
brimming in the thickets; I won't drink
from the pond; I won't name the birds or the trees;
I won't whisper my own name.
the fox came down the hill, glittering and confident,
and didn't see me - and I thought:
so this is the world.
I'm not in it.
It is beautiful.
~ Mary Oliver
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