Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

For the beauty of the earth . . . .

"For the beauty of the earth ..." is a hymn which was quoted at my Unitarian Church service this last Sunday by our amazing minister, Wendy Williams.

The words and tune are so stuck in my head, but it's a good sort of stuck. I have been accused of being a tree-hugger. I do hug trees, they sort of hug back if you take your time and feel their energy.
This week a violent storm came right over our house, and a huge branch from the very large maple in our backyard came crashing down - the tree had the kindness and grace to help deposit this branch exactly in between my garden (where it would have destroyed my squash, garlic, lettuce, and herbs) and our hot tub. There was a narrow alley of about ten feet, and here is where the huge branch landed.  No damage was done, gratefully.  Thanks to our majestic maple for this kindness.

It seems so obvious to me that we live in a system, that all of us are dependent on every other part to have the balance we need to thrive.   If we dirty our water and air and soil, our food is dirtied, our lungs and skin and cells are compromised.  If we keep making plastic and dumping it into the ground and the oceans, there must be a reckoning at some point.   It just seems so simple to me to pay attention, but it's about habits.  I tried for a whole year to not use ONE single plastic bag.  If I found myself in the store at the cashier without a bag, I made myself go back out to my car to get one. That was last year, and already this year, I have found my habit creeping back of accepting single use plastic bags instead of getting my reusable bag.  It's such a small habit, and if we all never used single use bags, it would have a huge positive effect on the oceans and landfills.

How do we stay intentional? How do we remember to be vigilant and thoughtful about not making any more bit of waste than we need to, to be thoughtful of consuming less, protecting the parts of the earth that need our protection?

When a species is extinct, it is gone forever. In our busy world of go go go, it's just easier to focus on the small daily tasks of living life. Saving the planet is too big a chore. But I am working at remembering, remembering that for the beauty of the earth, I owe my life, that the balance of all of us depends on all of us working as a team.

Today I get to go to a high mountain pass in the Rockies to meet a friend. We plan on walking to a waterfall, and decompressing from all the stress of life.  ( and I am aware that I am using fossil fuel to make this day trip.)  I hope I can pay back the beauty some how, and be a good steward.

For the beauty of the earth, I am so very grateful.

Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
For all our sins against her:
For our violence and poisonings
Of her beauty.
Let us remember within us The ancient clay,
Holding the memory of seasons,
The passion of the wind,
The fluency of water,
The warmth of fire,
The quiver-touch of the sun
And shadowed sureness of the moon.
That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the Earth Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.
--John O'Donohue

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Giveaway . . . .

So this is scary, but I am going for it.
I am asking via kickstarter to fund giving away 500 copies of my book. Here's the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/791806575/one-whale-of-a-tale

Because if you don't ask, you don't receive.
I am proud of my book, and would love to share it with the world, so go check it out and see if you want to help me do this.

"Love is the water of life.  Jump into this water."  --Rumi

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

As I age - thoughts when approaching a birthday.

In a few days I turn 53.
I know it's not popular to divulge one's age when it passes that multiple decades mark. But here I am, letting the world know.

Mostly in my life I have not worried about age, I was too busy getting on with it; school, marriage, 3 kids, work, moving numerous times, the wonderful and amazing world of connection and wonder I got to be a part of; after all, the internet was invented in my lifetime! Riding my bike around Paris 30 years ago, I dreamed of living in France, becoming a famous architect, working on an archeological dig, writing books, having a beautiful home with lovely, happy children, my husband and I settling into a life of creativity, travel, hard work and abundance. Some of those things have happened, some haven't. 

I will be honest and say it's been way, WAY harder than I imagined. I developed chronic illness late in my 20's, it took a huge toll, but went undiagnosed for about 15 more years. Now I know about Celiac disease, and how it has compromised my body. It's been a hard road of discovery, and one of continuing struggle, some days I am in pain and feel 80 years old, other days, it goes fine, and I can ask my body to do what I want, yoga, walking, cleaning, hiking, etc.

And here I am with many of my life dreams come true - I did become an architect, I did travel quite a bit, I did raise three amazing children and my husband and I did live in numerous places. We worked hard and dreamed big.
and there was suffering.
Agony and very real trauma and great loss in our lives. and many great joys, as well.

I just now woke up from a dream of riding my bike around Paris as a twenty-something. In the dream, I had the mindset I had thirty years ago, I woke up remembering so deeply that sense of invincibility, that notion that the world was mine for the taking, that I could do whatever I dreamed of. The way my body was so strong and powerful was quite vivid, it was hard not to feel the loss of that when I woke up.

Three months ago, I did a series of pages in my journal to re-evaluate my life, mostly my work life which had been floundering since we moved here to Colorado 5 years ago. "I want to use my art and writing skills to write a children's book," was one of the intentions I found. So I did! I worked on it, and it's done. It's over there at Amazon, if you want to check it out. http://goo.gl/QWvFPA and it feels like a nice milestone for me. I am happy with the accomplishment, and find it amusing that it took this long to find work that would be so well received by the world . . . but there it is.

I don't think I will ever ride my bike around Paris like that again, and I KNOW I will never have that huge sense of power and owning the whole world that I had in my twenties.

But I do have this - I can think of a project, dream it big, manifest it. and I can tell the world about it here. That's a really huge accomplishment, and one I never dreamed of thirty years ago. (I was still writing with my electric typewriter, and didn't dream then I could possibly ever be an artist, being an architect seemed much more plausable.)

All this, my life, my kids, my work, my house, my dog, my garden, my studio, I am so very grateful for this life. Am I grateful for the illness? the suffering? the trauma?   In truth, no, but would I be able to dream up a book that feels like one of my biggest life accomplishments, and then make it within a few months?

No.  I could not.

I could not have learned that without the troubles I have had. The struggles of our lives make us who we are, and they make the accomplishments all the sweeter.

I now know that at age -almost- 53.

I said: what about my eyes?
He said: Keep them on the road. I said: what about my passion?
He said: Keep it burning. I said: what about my heart?
He said: Tell me what you hold inside it? I said: pain and sorrow. . .
He said: . .  stay with it.
The wound is the place where the Light enters you. --Rumi