Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I am struck dumb by my teacher, Mary Oliver --
Straight Talk From Fox
Listen says fox it is music to run
over the hills to lick
dew from the leaves to nose along
the edges of the ponds to smell the fat
ducks in their bright feathers but
far out, safe in their rafts of
sleep. It is like
music to visit the orchard, to find
the vole sucking the sweet of the apple, or the
rabbit with his fast-beating heart. Death itself
is a music. Nobody has ever come close to
writing it down, awake or in a dream. It cannot
be told. It is flesh and bones
changing shape and with good cause, mercy
is a little child beside such an invention. It is
music to wander the black back roads
outside of town no one awake or wondering
if anything miraculous is ever going to
happen, totally dumb to the fact of every
moment's miracle. Don't think I haven't
peeked into windows. I see you in all your seasons
making love, arguing, talking about God
as if he were an idea instead of the grass,
instead of the stars, the rabbit caught
in one good teeth-whacking hit and brought
home to the den. What I am, and I know it, is
responsible, joyful, thankful. I would not
give my life for a thousand of yours.
~ Mary Oliver ~
I poured over, and then posted on, my friend Sandras' blog about forgiveness earlier this morning: tinyurl.com/754rhbd Because of a rough period I've been traversing recently (as well as habits and behavior of a lifetime), reading, digesting, and responding to her heart's outpouring was not easy.
And then to segue to Fox's "straight talk" -- truly struck me dumb for a long spell, sending me into self-reflection. Since returning from the holidays month in California I've sunk into a shadow place that has been seemingly holding me captive (dumb I know, but that's how it has felt). The deeper I have sunk into the darkness, the more impotent I've felt. I don't feel the necessity of going into detail, but suffice it to say that the end result has been chaos in every part of my daily life.
I believe my lack of movement has been the major culprit in adding pounds to my body, and as I near 150 pounds, all the red lights and alarms have started going off, because that is the No-Woman's Land that I never want to enter again, a place in the downward spiral from which an increasing slide out of control has inevitably resulted. In the years since I've released the 203 pounds, and mostly "lived" close to 130 pounds, 140 has historically been the place when I'd again "get serious" about roping in my habits, but yesterday I was 148.7, a scary place that I want to quickly move away from.
Yesterday, a little gleam of light somehow found its way into my spirit and, dressing warmly for the 32 degrees morning, I jumped on my bike to cycle the five miles to campus. This is my second instance of *serious* movement (late last week I completed upper body strength training) since my Jan 7 return from San Francisco. These two victories may seem puny, but they feel very important in my battle with the dark side of my nature.
I need a many-pronged approach to begin the climb out of this dark place, and this morning's return to another session of strength training will be part of today's intention. So here's what today looks like~~
~ strength training
~ complete unpacking luggage (do I sense a lack of *grounding* here?) from Jan 7 return
~ store suitcases (is there some symbolism here?)
~ finish course assignments for tomorrow
~ complete two parts of job tasks
~ head into town for haircut and shopping
~ a large dose of joy!
...and VOILA! Here I am world, ready-or-not, beginning the climb once again into that "place just right:" tinyurl.com/7mruj47
UPDATE on this gray, rainy afternoon --
~ strength training and village chores completed
~ suitcases unpacked and stored
~ bed made with fresh flannel sheets
~ class work begun
~ job tasks being carried over to tomorrow through the weekend
~ tasty food prepared:
A kale and rainbow chard saute, heaped upon roasted potato, the greens bed topped with pinto beans, cottage cheese, and salsa, all heated, smashed avocado spooned on last.
And what about this for dessert: Fresh organic strawberries sliced into Fage 0% Greek Yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup and a handful of toasted organic walnuts thrown on top? Do I hear a resounding YUM? Now to begin tracking food again.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
I had it in mind to blog again when I have the last of the photos from my sojourn on the west coast, but this...THIS transcendent Oliver needs to be shared with my SparkFriends. I hope it bathes your soul in shimmering light as it did mine.
IN THE STORM
Some black ducks
were shrugged up
on the shore.
It was snowing
hard, from the east,
and the sea
was in disorder.
Then some sanderlings,
five inches long
with beaks like wire,
snowflakes on their backs,
in a row
behind the ducks --
whose backs were also
covered with snow --
they were all but touching,
they were all but under
the roof of the duck's tails,
so the wind, pretty much,
blew over them.
They stayed that way, motionless,
for maybe an hour,
then the sanderlings,
each a handful of feathers,
shifted, and were blown away
out over the water
which was still raging.
they came back
and again the ducks,
like a feathered hedge,
crouch there, and live.
If someone you didn't know
told you this,
as I am telling you this,
would you believe it?
Belief isn't always easy.
But this much I have learned --
if not enough else --
to live with my eyes open.
I know what everyone wants
is a miracle.
This wasn't a miracle.
Unless, of course, kindness --
as now and again
some rare person has suggested --
is a miracle.
As surely it is.
~ Mary Oliver
peacefullpresence.blogspot.com/ --such an amazing link!
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Do you think of them as decoration?
Here are maples, flashing.
And here are the oaks, holding on all winter
to their dry leaves.
And here are the pines, that will never fail,
until death, the instruction to be green.
And here are the willows, the first
to pronounce a new year.
May I invite you to revise your thoughts about them?
Oh, Lord, how we are all for invention and
But I think
it would do us good if we would think about
these brothers and sisters, quietly and deeply.
The trees, the trees, just holding on
to the old, holy ways.
-- Mary Oliver, from Evidence
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 ~
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