Inspirations/Winter

January 20

“…here comes the sun…”

–Beatles

Below is a tribute to poet Mary Oliver and to the promise that 2019 holds.

…do you think there is anywhere, in any language,

a word billowing enough

for the pleasure

that fills you,

as the sun

reaches out,

as it warms you

as you stand there,

empty-handed–

–Mary Oliver, from “The Sun”

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Thankful today for messengers and messages…

January 19

On this birthday

you would be 36 in earth years.

Who knows how old

in eternal time,

…traveling around in a

whirling circle

of spirit years?

A talisman, St. Michael,

arrived today across the miles

to protect me

while I’m still here

without you

and suspended on a silver chain,

it rests in love and light

against a heart

that beats and waits…

…to understand it All.

On Messages and Messengers,  January 19

Today I am thankful for Messenger and email–for electronic emoji hearts that come from Judy and Julia, from Ellis, Natalie, and Gina. I am thankful for Jess and Emma, for Nancy and Nicole, for Ben and Alex.

Yesterday I saw this inspiring quote by Cheryl Richardson on Mark Funkhouser’s FB page:

In teaching, writing, and working with local StoryCorps–and in simple and complex day-to-day living–I have found that healing does happen when others listen to us and understand.

Sometimes we think our voices–our thoughts, thanks, prayers, pleas or anguish–remain unheard. But is it not miraculous when the universe receives what we say in darkness and responds in light via angels on the ground?

This week, gifts, messages and talks have lifted me from gloom (thank you Ana, Robin, Kelly, Kara, Jamia, and others). We do need to be heard to heal.

And in return, we need to give the gift of listening to others, too.

Namaste…

January 12

The first real snowfall of the season hurries to coat and cover all impurities, and the clean, swift flakes remind me that even with pure, white new vistas, roots and rust rest beneath this beauty. Just as I treasure the pristine present, I pay homage to all that has come before to make this peaceful scene in which the rolling snow cleanses everything.

There are piles of chipped clay and rusting metal pots resting under the undulations outside my window. Most pots will have to be replanted–no annuals will return. Much of what was beautiful in last season will not come back.

Plants and trees that have the benefit of deep roots and time will sprout again and bear a different beauty from last year’s, last season’s, last decade’s.

Give me patience to wait for re-emergence that might be different from what has bloomed before; give me patient eyes to see the present time of beauty, peace, and rest.

December 31, New Year’s Eve

I like new beginnings and resolutions, the latter of which I sometimes keep.

But in these past years, I have become more intimately acquainted with the fragility of permanence as we imagine it to be. How can we say we have 365 days to complete a task: to eat better, manage our money, make and keep an exercise plan, develop a habit of gratefulness? We can never say for sure.

So this year I will make only one or two New Year’s Resolutions, promises to myself that will take some time…because who knows what time we have? I will opt instead for daily promises–resolutions if you will–ones I can celebrate or bemoan at the end of each day, ones I can renew in the morning if need be.

And I will try to be more aware of the gift of another day, another beginning.

Happy 2019 to each of you…

December 22

I have decided to attend the Christmas Eve service at a nearby church that sent a flier suggesting that at this time of year, whatever our beliefs, we might come closest to merging our secular lives with the sacred. In addition, the flier said, if this doesn’t work out, you are invited to sit close to the door…further suggesting no judgments for leaving.

This sense of humor–and openness to offer an intersection with all I hold in my deepest heart–appeal to me, and so I think I will go.

And I will try to enter the last days of this Christmas season with the same invitation to others: You do not have to believe exactly as I do to be wrapped in arms of acceptance and love. I am going to give this promise my best effort.

And if something we are or say or do together brings us closer to some holiness, let us rest there in hope and light.

December 15

Finally the ice and rain have ended, the skies have cleared, and red birds fly in pairs across a sky so blue and calm, all seems filled with reverence and joy.

But even in this time of respite, we hear about the beautiful young mother taken by cancer, leaving young children. We recall those we know who are in pain, housebound, despairing. All this in a season meant for peace.

We remember people trapped in physical, financial, or literal prisons. We have friends who were with us last Christmas, now gone. There is nothing to be done but to offer sensitivity, kindness and understanding to everyone within our sphere. That is what we are called to do once we realize peace is so fragile that we must join hands to hold it in place for those with burdens, which I’ve come to understand includes us all.

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December 8

December holds the Winter Solstice, Advent, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, the Prophet Muhammed’s birthday, and Christmas day. For believers and non-believers, for the holy and the secular, December provides opportunity for joy and reflection.

Already the ground has taken on a permanent dappling–unraked leaves topped with snow, like frosting. Just enough white falls each day to keep the coloring pure, a gingerbread brown with unmarred icing. I am crunching through icy leaves and thinking of another holiness that comes in the quiet outside. Consider this: Even for those who cannot travel out, the scene through any window is a prayer for the pantheist.

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December 1

 (especially for Sharon)

Imagine having a study in your house, a place for contemplation and reading, quiet and learning. Does anyone have a study anymore?

We could all create such a space–away from noise, near books and coffee or tea, and, of course, near a window. There might be a desk or an easy chair, a photo of someone inspirational, a favorite pen and stationery. (Does anyone have stationery anymore?)

And what would be the good of going to the trouble of creating such a space? In a season when the days shorten and the weather forces us more and more into a contemplative mode, a study or library reminds us that we are more self-sufficient than we believe, that we each have a passion we can wrap around ourselves, knowledge we could consider, notes we could keep for ourselves or send off by letter or email to a kindred spirit. And isn’t that the gift the universe gives us if we work to keep relationships intact…at least one soulmate who would understand the thoughts we have gathered?

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