Sunday, January 27, 2013

Friday January 25, 2013

Every Friday we light candles.  
We light them for ourselves and for everyone.

This is now.  Don't
postpone till then.  Spend

the spark of iron on stone.
Sit at the head of the table;

dip your spoon in the bowl.
Seat yourself next your joy

and have your awakened soul
pour wine.  Branches in the 

spring wind, easy dance of
jasmine and cypress.  Cloth

for green robes has been cut
from pure absence.  You're

the tailor, settled among his 
shop goods, quietly sewing.

We tried a journaling idea.  

Since it's still January we took a minute to think about beginnings.  When does something really begin?  Can you tell when something really starts?   Sometimes you can and sometimes you can't.  And yet, true thresholds seem to be crossed at times.  To anchor the thought into our day to day, we spent a minute thinking about the start of our day.  Is there a time or a place when we leave the misty fog of dreamtime behind and cross into the clarity of the daylight?  What could be done at this threshold to say hello, to ourselves, to the day, to freshness and curiosity and wonder?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Celebrate :: Now

As I mentioned in a previous post, celebrate is my word for the year.  

Celebrate, as in to observe with ceremony, to keep with some element of festivity, and to notice, savor, and revere. 

Celebrate is often associated with high energy and parties.  The word tends to have a prom dress draw--toward eye catching flounce, general bigness, and bling.  And that's ok, friends who know me can attest to the fact that I do love a good dose of sparkle.  But sometimes, the bling can obscure the view.  This month, what I'm interested in is the idea of celebration as a frame, as a simple way of structuring a moment to help guide attention to the story as it is unfolding, a way to observe with intention.   Nothing special added.  

Paying attention with the frame of a photograph seemed a fine place to start.  Here is what I'm celebrating right now (or at least this past weekend ;-):

Monday, January 21, 2013

Friday January 18, 2013

Every Friday we light candles.  
We light them for ourselves and for everyone.

 "Not only are all men alike (generically speaking), but man by nature is a societal creature.  Aside from the strength and weakness found in homo sapiens, man has been working, from the beginning at the great adventure of 'community.' Whenever Cro-magnon man, under whatever strange impulse, put aside his stone and ax and decided to mutually cooperate with his caveman neighbor, it marked the most creative turn of events in his existence."

--Martin Luther King, Nashville Tennessee, December 27, 1962

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

One Little Word

Last year, inspired by my friend, Laurel, I signed up for Ali Edwards' online class called One Little Word.  I'm going to do it again for two reasons: 

I liked the experience of living with a word, and seeing how that single concept worked on me over the course of a year.  

And this class is all about getting visual with a word.  

Paying attention to the visual aspect of my life gave me a fresher more direct experience of my day to day.  

Here are a couple of my pages:

I'll be honest, this class wasn't easy for me.  I'm not a scrap booker by nature, and the monthly pace was more than I could keep up.  Even so, that visual prompt was so beneficial. 

Last year, in anticipation of a schedule that changed frequently until this past September, I chose the word flexible.   Working with flexible taught me that, for me, right now, I have to be firm to be flexible.  With the three girls at ages 8,6 and now 3, my days can feel reactive.  I  do better with some structure and systems, so that I know when I can be flexible.  A little structure also seems to help reduce the number of times a day I feel overwhelmed.

This year, my word is celebrate, as in to observe with ceremony, to keep with some element of festivity, and to notice, savor, and revere.  This will involve my role as a Lifecycle Ceremony Celebrant, experimenting with wearing that cloth a little more fully, and trying out for myself different kinds of simple ceremonies to help frame what is happening in my life right now.

Friday January 11, 2013

Every Friday we light candles.  
We light them for ourselves and for everyone.

"Every day is a new day.
The moment is what we have"

After some positive feedback about a journaling prompt in December, we will be experimenting with journaling prompts.  On Friday we started off with a New Year's prompt from Tara Mohr.  We percolated on whether or not this exercise inspired a word for the year or not.

I've included a few portions of Tara's New Year's prompt, to give you a taste.  What does it feel like to you to think of being more radical?  If you were going to be more radical what would you do?  I'm so curious!

"1. Because I wanted to make 2013 count, I…
4. Because the things that brought me joy in childhood still do, in 2013 I…
5. Because simple pleasures are so rich, in 2013 I…
12. Because I vowed to be more radical, in 2013 I…"

Monday, January 7, 2013

Parenting inspiration from an unexpected source

I got the chance to re-read To Kill A Mockingbird over this Christmas-break, and was struck by what an inspiring book it is for parents.  

High school readers instantly connect with Scout,  a precocious eight year old tom boy, who is trying to make sense of the increasing tension in her Southern town caused by a trial in which her father, Atticus is representing the defendant.  But it is Atticus Finch who, for me, became one my new parenting heroes in this re-read.

More than once when Atticus is questioned about the wisdom of taking on a case that was lost from the beginning he claims, "Right, but do you think I could face my children otherwise?"  Throughout the novel he expresses deep compulsion to do the right thing, based on who he wants to be for his children.

Along the way, he takes a number of miserable brow beatings from his proper sister for not sweating the small stuff, like appropriate dress and southern manners for Scout.  As a parent, I was really feeling for this fellow desperate parent--wanting to do right and be right, and teach his kids the right stuff, but meanwhile on the surface the kids are beating each other up, insulting the cousins, and failing to act normal at the dinner table.  Sound familiar?

Here's my favorite quote from this time around:

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.  It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."

Would love to hear your thoughts on this novel!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday January 4, 2013

Every Friday we light candles.  
We light them for ourselves and for everyone.

"The art of love is largely the art of persistence."
--Albert Ellis

Recently I realized that some people reading my blog weren't clear on who "we" are.  We are a group of women who practice seated meditation together on Fridays at 10AM.  We convened out of curiosity about meditation practice and the mutual need for a time and place to connect and settle.  We light candles, we sit and then we journal.  All in all it is a forty-five to fifty minute session.  The intention is to create a safe space for practice and for holding hopes and fears as they arise.

Wishing you a year of fresh encounters and warm connections.

It feels so good to sit again!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Experimenting with a new approach to resolution season

As we head into resolution season, I'm thinking about two things I have grown into believing:

Growth and development are our fundamental nature.


Love never fails.

To me, the picture above is a visual representation that life unfolds on its own.  That in the right conditions (especially if one of those conditions is love), baby feet grow into big feet without any effort at all.  They don't resolve to grow, they just do.

If it's true that love never fails and growth is inevitable, it seems to me that resolution season may be better spent listening for what love calls us to, and gently orienting ourselves in that direction.  

I experimented with this attitude last January and found that it helped me foster more of a growth mindset, in which I felt more comfortable taking new risks (like asking some friends if they would be interested in experimenting with meditation together--this was terrifying for me, but resulted in our Friday meditation group that we've been documenting one photo at a time).  I'm curious if this more gentle approach to new beginnings would support risk taking for others...  

Report back if you try it out!

Happy New Year!