Category Archives: What’s Important

Dear Corona

Dear Corona

“There are voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world.” —-Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Corona, I curled my hair today for you. For the second time ever, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church live-streamed services. Like everyone else, I stayed home. I curled my hair anyway.

Yesterday I cooked and froze enough food for four women; it will serve me well should you render me ill and unable to get out. The time for preparedness is now. It could happen.

We dash about in this country, seeking-what? Safety? Success? Money? Toilet paper? Entertainment? Inclusion? A Tribe? What we need now is to change our focus to something that provides a tiny reminder of where we place our faith. We eventually must choose what we cling to, fear, and things that will fade away, or something deeper, something sacred-like wonder.

To that end, I submit the below; please go to your respective happy places.

Does this seem right to you?

 

Shadow on the wall behind the altar at St Auggie’s, silently blessing us.

I learned a couple weeks ago from my Optometrist that I am a “half blinker.” Who knew there were half blinkers? What does this mean? Am I afraid I am going to miss the wonder, so I subconsciously refuse to give in to a full blink?  I think maybe so.

I wish I had the vision of a Mantis shrimp. According to a report by NPR, with sixteen cones in the retina of the eye, the Mantis shrimp sees more color than any living creature, colors we do not know, and cannot imagine. They are followed by butterflies with five cones, birds with four, we have three, and dogs have two.

Bubbles inside the humidifier, do ya see a wee shrimp in there?

 

From the grocery, when a bunny eats too many carrots.

Recently I was about to pass over a railroad track when I noticed a little bird sitting on the track. As I approached, he did not move. He looked about, left and right, and then he looked down. He did not take flight. He jumped down into that space between the concrete and the rail. He expanded his vision! I drove over, and he reclaimed his post atop the track.

This is perhaps why pigeons are sent on search missions, they are masters of vision and color detection! Birds are tetrachromats with four cones in the retina, which enable them to recognize the opposite sex, seeing colors we cannot, like ultraviolet. Some people have faulty or missing cones, which results in “color blindness,” a genetic predisposition. A select few humans are tetrachromats, like birds, and are able to see colors the rest of us do not.

Jerked a pie pan out from under, funnel flipped and landed!

 

Iridescent photo failure.

No matter our level of visual dexterity, we share an inner vision, spirit’s nudging, prompting, speaking to us. Let’s not permit insidious chaos and fear to pilfer our inner gifts of wonder, intuition, calm judgment, and faith. I am not suggesting adopting rose-colored Pollyanna vision, but vision based on maturity, experience, and on a new openness to multi-sensory perception.

Nora Gallagher, writer of the memoir, “Moonlight Sonata at the Mayo Clinic,” says, “Sometimes I think that faith is only about increasing our peripheral vision, our peripheral hearing.”  I agree.

Annual return of the most determined.

We increase our peripheral vision with immersion in prayer, meditation, contemplation, and journaling; we certainly have time now. This only requires willingness and focused engagement.

In these sequestered days, we can actively participate, engage, not sit about, and stew. Faith is born of engagement. The journaling, writing helps clarify everything. Uncertain what you think or feel about something? Write about it, and you’ll know.

Pumpkin seeds soaking, all up on tippie toes.

 

Cleaning the bathroom mirror, a smudge-man appeared.

We have time to let the sediment sink to the bottom, to clear the stream. All it takes is willingness to see differently. When we expand our view, there is so much to see! Spirit is constantly competing to get our attention, to aid our discernment, amuse us, calm us, and strengthen our resolve.

Trouble is, we let fear and lower-level thinking run ram shod. We stop noticing, stop seeing, stop recognizing, stop hearing, and stop engaging. Or, we can go ahead and curl our hair anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are We Willing to Risk Today?

What are We Willing to Risk Today?

 

In the spring while the cherry blossoms were showing off, I went to Alexandria Virginia to visit Pat, my dear friend, and spiritual director. We chat Thursday nights unless one of us is too pooped. Embarrassingly, it is usually me.

If you spoke with Pat on the phone, you would think you were speaking to a very spunky fifty-year-old, engaged, clever, opinionated, intelligent, and passionate. Pat drove me to catch the Metro so I could visit D.C, takes two flights of stairs routinely, and insisted on cooking for me each night. She is ninety-three and treasured.

Something we are both passionate about is voting. It is a privilege that was won, literally by the blood, sweat, and tears of other women. These are my heroines, not movie stars, politicians, beauty queens, TV personalities, not even great singers. Pat and I never take these women for granted. For years our Grandmothers, aunts, and her mother could not vote. Can you really imagine it?

                                          Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, April 2018

As I stood in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, I remembered a photo of the suffragists, the National Women’s Party in 1917, standing in the same spot holding picket signs. About two hundred women were arrested during those days, half of them sent to prison. Alice Paul, their leader, and others who went on hunger strikes in protest were force-fed. Those brave, determined, women fought and suffered, so I don’t have to.

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Meant for Better Things

Meant for Better Things

. . .we’re squeezed into uncomfortable things that pull, pinch, tug, choke, itch, hike up or down, and make the days of our lives miserable. We wear these creations of torture, we tell ourselves, in order to be agreeable to the rest of the world. But, why shouldn’t we find a way to make the rest of the world agreeable to us instead?”   —Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance

 

Back in the day, I was a “disco” dancer. A night of dancing was torture for your feet, especially in the shoes we wore back then. They were a cross between stilettos and the stacked heels girls wear today. John Travolta would have been proud.

I took a dance class to learn new moves. A guy named Kim, several years younger tossed me over his shoulder and expected me to land on my feet. It resembled a mis-fired double lutz. My feet never forgave me.

A few years ago I took all my high-heels to Goodwill. I could still wear them, but my “sensibilities” had changed; I was no longer willing to drink the fashion slave kool-aid.

Recently I heard a radio interview with a surgeon who stated: ”Once a week someone comes in wanting her feet surgically altered to fit a particular shoe.” It sickened me to think one would do this for a pair of shoes! It reminded me of the practice of foot binding forced upon young girls that took place in China.

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Trip to Crazyland, 2015

Trip to Crazyland, 2015

 

“Sometimes you have to say it like you’re not coming back,

and most likely won’t be invited.”

Pat Meeks

 

One of the twin beds was soft, the other was sheetrock firm; I bounced as I sat on it. The soft bed had a nice mushy pillow, like the one at home. It would do.

It was unusually chilly for July; a welcome change in Oklahoma, where temperatures soar into triple digits. I sat down, covered my legs with my hoodie, and adjusted the lamp next to my soft bed and leaned back against the mushy pillow.

Surveying my little nest, I thought about what brought me back to the Forest of Peace, this spiritual sanctuary. An enormous sigh of relief started at the tip of my toes and rattled all the way up my spine, pouring out of my body spontaneously as a knowing grin found its way to my face.

Here in this sacred place lush with vegetation, rocky hiking trails, blue sky, and a few other quiet souls, I knew I could begin to heal, and remember who I was. It was the eighteenth month of a journey through loss, grief, and gut-wrenching anxiety; I was finally feeling alive again.

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Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Grandmother God rose last night in the face of the full moon.

 I stood out in the still summer heat watching her.

How pale you look I said.

How hot you look she said.

We shared a smile.

Knowing God is seeing God where you find her.

–Stephen Charleston, Cloud Walking

 

Have you ever noticed that the everyday morphs into the rare and remarkable on closer inspection?

Taking photos is something I’m obsessed with, not great at it, but drawn to like a menopausal woman to chocolate. I want to look at the same places, same things, same people, and see something different. Something that will wake me up, stir my spirit into knowing I am alive, not just walking through a bland dream.

From my backyard, what’s left after the Clematis blossom fades.

It’s been suggested that I take a photography course, or at least buy a good digital camera with all the glickins. That would take the fun out of it for me, the spontaneity in seeing what I can produce with my little iPhone five. The blog most likely deserves better, but I am resisting as long as I can.

The bottom side of a mushroom, from my yard.

Revealing the spectacular in the ordinary does not disappoint. It is a meditative practice for me. What we seek cannot be found in our iPhones, television, Facebook, dinner out, or any other distraction “out there.” It is always here, inside us. If you slow down and resist being sucked into today’s negative drama you find an entire other world to concern yourself with, vastly more interesting and soul nourishing.

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