October 2010
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Archive for October, 2010

Literature That Lingers

I recently finished reading The Wisdom of the Donkeys by Andy Merrifield (2010).  It is not the kind of reading that one dashes through, rather like an exquisite truffle and a glass of fine wine, it is to be slowly savored.

A beautifully crafted work that leaves me wanting to have a donkey as a pet, and if not, then I want to befriend a donkey somewhere close by and visit regularly.

With a search for slowness and tranquility in mind, Andy Merrifield set out on a journey of the soul with Gribouille, a friend’s donkey, to walk for days amid the ruins and spectacular vistas of Haute-Auvergne in southern France.  While Merrifield contemplates literature, science, truth, and beauty, Gribouille surprises him with his subtle wisdom, reminding him time and again that enlightenment is all around us if we but seek it.  With a forward by acclaimed writer Elizabet Marshall Thomas, The Wisdom of the Donkeys  reminds us that observing, being mindful, and living in the moment are essential to leading a fulfilled life.”   This excerpt is from the back cover, and expresses very well how I feel about this book.

I invite you to into the journey with Merrifield and Gribouille.

The Even Day

The everyday routine is back after the odd-one-day hiatus; domestic chores, paper-work, grocery shopping, plant-watering, cat-caring, ironing (yes, I still iron) and raking leaves day.

But there is something I noticed yesterday that my odd and even days have in common:  The joy I feel experiencing  the life around me. 

The chickadees are migrating.   I love watching as many as ten at a time of the sharply marked little birds taking turns snatching seeds in a flurry of feathered feeding.  The red-tail hawks are back in the hood; and the intense spicy,  outdoor smell is intoxicating to me.  

The beauty of the clouds and the majesty of the surrounding hills;  fir-tree tops  peeking through the sensuous mist that engulfs them, that bathes them;  vineyards turning gold, stunning even in the cloudy light; early blooming Christmas Cactus.

And again, I give thanks for the cornucopia of abundance that dances and weaves itself  throughout the tapestry of my life!

The Odd Day

Yesterday was one of those odd days for me.  No appointments,  car in the shop, no pressing chores.  Plenty to do, but….

What I know about myself and the odd day is that when it comes along it shines a spotlight on my productivity and/or lack of same.  I did get things done yesterday.  But it seems when my schedule opens spontaneously, I get out of my structured rhythm.  It is not about what I do, it is about what I don’t do. 

Many years ago a woman commented to me that she was a much better housekeeper when she was working.  Chores had to be done on a schedule or you would spend your days off cleaning and catching up.  At first it didn’t make too much sense to me, but as the years passed I finally get it.

So, if you missed my blog yesterday, you now know why.  There wasn’t one. Blogging  went completely out of my mind, not returning til much later in the evening.

I am not getting on my own case, just entertaining my observing self and the insights provided.  Don’t know if I am going to do anything to change the odd day; don’t know if I want to. 

Odd days are kinda cool, like little mini-vacations. Enjoy one if it comes your way.

Fall

After a sound drenching ( 4 inches of rain in 24 hours) this past weekend, I find myself deeply breathing in the spicy smells of Fall;  rich, scintillating and earthy.  It is a smell that surprises me every year with its unpredictable appearance, and its thoroughly delightful and engrossing spell.

It will soon be Halloween and then Thanksgiving and their associated smells are already wafting through my consciousness.  And again, amidst the frenetic pace of  these times, I am reminded of  the simple elegance of  Fall and the many gifts of  abundance that surround me.

Potlatch

The Potlatch ceremony originated among the Indians of the Pacific Northwest.  Potlatch literally means, ‘to give away’ or ‘a gift’.   Usually a winter festival, one tribe would host another and the ‘gifts’ exchanged were blankets, food, dances and songs.  The potlatch is considered a redistribution of wealth.  I believe that, for the most part, it was a way to ensure survival for all during the winter months.  The potlatch was banned by Canada in the late 1800’s and by the US in the early 1900’s.

I am reminded of this tradition because I recently was gifted by a friend with some awesome hand-me-down clothing.  We dispose so much of  our wealth into landfills when there are so many ways to potlatch.  Passing on unwanted, and unused items to family, friends or the community at large is a wonderful way to recycle.

Although many people attach a emotional stigma to this kind of giving, it is a sensible and easy way to spread wealth.  So, next time you are cleaning out your closets, the garage, the pantry, think about doing some personal potlatching.

The Weasel

At the beginning of  Retreat Weekend each attendee picks a Medicine Card and the animal represented is their totem animal for the duration of the Retreat, (and beyond , if one wishes to work with the energy).

This year I choose the Weasel.  I was surprised as I usually chose a hawk, a fox, a panther, but never a Weasel or member of the mustelid family. However, when I read about Weasel in Ted Andrews fine work, Animal-Speak, I was duly impressed by how much I resonated with the book’s description.  I laughed out loud when I read, “Are you missing the obvious?”

I see complexities with astounding brilliance…but the obvious continually eludes me.  I am thankful for family and friends who unfailingly continue to direct my attention to the obvious. 

Animal totems can be very useful to us for the insight they provide into our own nature.  In many cultures the animal totem can be one of the most common forms of spirit guides. 

I gained a great insight into some aspects of my own nature through the weasel.  I invite you to look into the animal totem in your life.  It will be the animal you feel closely associated with during your life.

Rainy Day

When I commented that the storm door had opened early I didn’t think it was opening to this much rain.  This is a classic storm for January or February, not the week before Halloween.

We are pretty much ready in the physical sense.  The furnace has a new filter and the patio furniture is tucked away til spring, but my psyche is floundering around in the wash. 

Getting out the substantial rain gear, including shoes, gloves, hats and umbrellas, and then just being in out in the storm is feeling really odd.  There was no appreciable ‘summer’ here save for the unseasonably hot weather earlier this month.  I find myself unwilling to welcome the wind and the rain. Their appearance is premature.   I am not ready to don the gear; I am not happy getting wet as I venture out into the stormy days. 

And then in that quiet, unhurried moment, I turn my bare face upward toward the heavens and the rain splashes me.  I taste the water falling from the heavens, I feel it running down my neck, sneaking under my protective wear, tickling me.  In this moment I am wet, I am happy;  I welcome the rainy day.

Car Karma

Recently I wrote about getting ready for winter, focusing on the home.  Earlier this month I had to have tires and brakes all round, new shoes for my trusted transport.  Then yesterday I needed to have a jump to the battery when my car locked me out and the problem was not my Karr alarm system. 

An ensuing discussion with the quite affable knight from AAA about my car ended up on the subject of the timing belt.  As he described what happens when it breaks, I knew I better not put the work off any longer.

As the storm door has opened early here in Northern California, I realized I need to get some other things done; new windshield-wiper, anti-freeze, battery check, air-filter, and my timing belt appointment has been made.

It is so easy to overlook getting our car or truck ready for winter especially when you live in a mild climate.  However, it is so important and can save so much hassle especially in bad weather.  By paying attention and taking advantage of the reminder that the universe so kindly sent my way, I am confident I avoided some nasty car karma.

A Fine Line

I could say, ‘a fine feline line’.  We have a plus 20 year old cat who has lost her companion of as many years.  She is inconsolable; her cries of grief are so powerfully poignant that they bring tears to our eyes.

We are doing our best to comfort her.  However, she is quick to take advantage.  She has always been the ‘diva’,  the ‘queen’ of the realm.  She is able to keep up her vocal demands for attention for hours.  

I very much value her expression of her grief.  It is healthy.  I know that she will begin to heal, as we all will.  In the meantime, we talk to her, we pet her, she gets plenty of lap time.  It is a fine line. She already is demanding more and more.  So, we are giving her what she wants (she loves Doritos).

Just like we can trust that the pain won’t last at these levels of intensity, we also need to believe in our own capacity to heal.  I can extend this to her, knowing that she too will move past the pain and find her own capacity for healing.  We are walking the fine line together.

Generations

A beautiful granddaughter was born yesterday into the family of a best friend.  It is her second grandchild.  Everyone is full of joy.

This morning I found myself pondering the future of this coming generation and what wonders they will see.  My Grandmother witnessed the invention and production of the automobile; my Mother saw the development of radio and television for the masses; and I have been awed by cyber-technology and the Internet.

It is hard for me to phathom what will come next; successful ‘cold fusion’, teleportation, emancipation from fossil fuel technology?  All senarios that play around in my head. 

The real question for me is, what we humans will become.  Will the path of greed continue to grow until we reach anarchy?  Will the spirit in man be able to hang on to it’s nobility? 

This coming generation needs our guidance and our prayers, for much of that future is in their hands.