Looking and Not Talking

  I’m hanging in a wordless space, even as I write these words. Recently home from a family trip on the Oregon coast for the holidays, I’m savoring all I saw and heard there: my family, of course; and also blustery winds and rain; thundering waves; squawking seabirds; towers of sand; and fairy woodlands, waterfalls dashing amidst stones and trees adorned with moss, lichen and teeny mushrooms. People I love are still facing serious health crises and I’m silently holding them in my heart. Yesterday I gathered with friends as in creative silence we asked our personal dreams for 2019 to appear on vision boards. The visual storyteller Maira Kalman, when asked about her love of museums, spoke of the peace in “just wandering and looking…I think we have the opportunity to understand silence around us, and really looking all the time.  There’s always the opportunity. And there’s never a lack of things to look at, and there’s never a lack of time not to talk.” Looking and not talking. Yes, I’ve been in this space and do not want to leave it. So this month I offer a few pictures for you to look at and ponder if you choose, with some white space around them…                                                                   (The entire “On Being” interview with Kalman, sent to me by a dear friend, is fabulous and can be found HERE.)...

Playtime for a Full Heart

Life has been intense lately. Amidst the dark and cold and holiday hullabaloo (and provoking world and national news), many people I love are going through very tough experiences right now.  So I decided to give my sore heart a break with a little playtime. The result is the writing below and the drawing, both of which gave me a much-needed chuckle. I hope you get a chuckle out of them, too.   Counting Change   One is the loneliest number One-act play One day I won one! Hard one Hard-won Won over One after another One a day One by one Won by one One left?   Two heads are better than one It takes two to tango Two by two Two left feet To where? To dream To ache Can I have two? Tea for two Too much? Two choices Me too!   Three’s a crowd Third wheel Bad luck comes in threes Third time’s the charm Three coins in the fountain Three wishes What’s the third thing? Three-legged stool Seeing in 3D   “Four eyes” On four legs Four-poster bed It’s a four-door What for? For a song For a lark For a laugh For spite For a change For heavens’ sake! For or against?   FORE! Four way stop.   Did you find the four numbers hidden in the drawing?...

Gift from a Horse

Nearly three weeks ago I went to a daylong personal growth workshop with horses. Because horses are powerful, gentle and extremely sensitive they are used for confidence building with special needs adults and children, in leadership training and team building and in personal coaching. In personal growth work horses are not ridden; participants touch, lead and observe them. I had read that they are excellent mirrors  because they attune to what our bodies, emotions, thoughts and energy tell them and they detect and respond to any conflicting messages that we send. I’d been looking forward to the workshop for weeks—though I was also a bit nervous because I had no experience with horses and had always been rather afraid of them. The day of the workshop I woke feeling tired, spacey, weepy and fragile. And I was limping a little with a sore hip. Yet I had paid my fees and a friend was picking me up, so I went. We worked in an indoor ring with four male horses and their handlers doing a series of exercises, beginning with greeting each horse and deciding which one to partner with. In between exercises we met in circle to discuss our experiences and observations. During the course of the day we spent time breathing with “our” horse, listening for messages from the horse, and leading “our” horse on a path which represented a life challenge. I chose to work with one of the white horses, Shooter, because he seemed the most gentle. And I felt affection for him right away. Shooter taught me something during every activity (and everyone there experienced different...

Spinning My Wheels

I want to post a blog touching on one of my usual themes—wonder, creativity, humor—but today those feel a little scarce. Well, I do feel wonder as I sit today in this blizzard, the worst I’ve seen in many years.  And in mid-April yet. I know a few of you are living where spring has indeed arrived. I hope you are full of renewed energy. For us in the Midwest, not much has changed for the better in the outer world in the past two weeks, when I wrote about struggling to find my patience. Now that impatience–for spring, for positive change, inside and out–feels more discouraging than angry. I feel kind of muffled and mired, able to do all the necessary daily tasks but lacking the will and energy to do the many things that would probably lift my spirits and vitality. Or maybe just feeling tired of doing them all winter and wanting a change. Wanting the sensual contact with nature that spring brings. The grounding. The joy. I wrote this poem several years ago, but it feels appropriate today as I realize what’s missing right now (not all of which involves springtime): Groundless  For too many days now I have not danced, tickled spritish spirit with leaps and twirls, or dissolved, exhilarated, in sunshine splash, been pricked awake by gusty winds or cardinal call, clutched rainbow blossoms to my greedy nose, or burned to merge with musk and sweat.   Too many days since I have sought the dark, ventured in, with quiet breath, pen in hand, to listen and dictate whisperings wild.   begin—stop—veer—clunk! rattle!–turn back–...

Ants in the Sun

Don’t you love how when you’re really tired, that’s when you slam your hand in the car door, or trip and bruise your knees (or break a bone), or forget to make that important phone call, or burst into tears when your coffee cup dances off the table and smashes on the floor— Or when you roll over onto your glasses (glasses which you virtually NEVER take off), distorting and cracking the frame beyond repair. As I did last night. Every year the days of spring and early summer take me by surprise. I imagine they will be soft and delicate like the earliest spring blossoms, but instead they abound with splashy color– end of school celebrations and graduations, weddings, outdoor social events, and frenetic gardening… in addition to all the usual activities of daily life. While the flowers simply bask and stretch out luxuriantly in the warm sun, we humans run around like ants, as if the sun were a stick poking into our hill. I’ve also had travels, funerals and grief over world events, so I am too tired right now to write many more words. I hope you are not so tired. I intend to take the advice of this poem, The Word, by Tony Hoagland to heart, and perhaps you need it too: Down near the bottom of the crossed-out list of things you have to do today,   between “green thread” and “broccoli” you find that you have penciled “sunlight.”   Resting on the page, the word is as beautiful, it touches you as if you had a friend   and sunlight were a present he...

What Now?

How can we best navigate this difficult time in our country and the world? Yesterday, with that question in mind, I grabbed an old magazine, took a deep breath, and spoke this question aloud. Then I opened the magazine at random and ripped out the page under my hand. Quickly scanning the page I circled words and phrases that jumped out at me. Those words and phrases, arranged into a rough poem, answered the question this way: When clouds pass overhead, new incandescent beings are spotted all the time. Bioluminescent, they express themselves with light. A signal fire, helping us to find our location in the blackness.   Shimmering glow sticks, displaying intense cheek lights, luminous dappled bellies, glowing lures dangling from nose or arms, deep sparkling eyes   If met with a startle response, they can also match the color of moonlight.   Oh yes, I thought, let’s do all we can to shine brightly, so we can find each other, strengthen each other and dazzle the new world into being! (Or if necessary, glow more quietly like the moon.) Yet I was uneasy with this answer; I wondered if it glossed over too quickly the looming darkness… So I turned to the Tarot. Again I centered myself, asked the same question, and pulled a card from each of three tarot decks—and to my delight they worked beautifully together, affirming the message from the poem and putting it into a larger context. Here are the cards, along with what I heard when the cards popped up.   The 10 of Fire from the Gaian Tarot, a raging forest...