Monday, January 18, 2016

Forgivenesses #1

Since I am one of those strange folk who has no appreciation for the taste of coffee, I begin nearly every morning with tea. I have been using brands that have the teabag version of fortunes attached to them. I refer to these as Teabag Tarot. Today I got these two which echoed each other's message. The cornerstone: forgiveness.

Pausing as I sip the near-boiling brew, my mind trips from one scene to another. It begins with moments where I felt left out: laughter gathering between my parents and brother; friends choosing sides for baseball and I'm the odd number out; schoolmates chatting about the upcoming prom and I have no date; walking into a room and feeling a hush begin. Knowing everyone feels this way, I can often settle my personal anxiety and move on.

Who do I need to forgive in each of these scenes? Who has added to the anxiety? I find that what helps me heal and move on is to forgive ~ forgive my family who simply found the same things funny; forgive the friends who didn't want a non-athletic person on their baseball team; forgive the schoolmates who didn't know I wasn't going to prom. Most of all, forgive myself. Forgive myself for letting these things matter, for letting them define me, for letting them create the pattern of sadness in my life. When I have forgiven, I feel lighter, more buoyant, happier.

When have you felt left out? How has that happened? What have you done about it? Have you forgiven those who left you out, on your own? Have you forgiven yourself? How did that work out for you?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New Moon in Capricorn 2016

Yesterday was the peak of the first New Moon of 2016: the January New Moon in Capricorn. This Earthy New Moon is about reaching for our dreams, bringing them forward into the new year, and grounding them. It also brings forward balance ~ like the Mountain Goat that Capricorn represents. The ability to walk upon the Earth in a steady manner will be important in the coming month and year. Be aware of, and honor, what creates structure in life: buildings, families, heritages, education, employment ~~ whatever aids by providing form and strength.

With the other forces bubbling up at this time, balance is a big watchword in play. Where do we need to relax our freedom? Where do we need to grasp that free choice and step into our power? When do we need to leave our power in low gear? What clues us in to the timing?

The New Moon in Capricorn encourages behaviors that follow the structure of life and the universe ~ including duties, rights, virtues ~ all choices made by determining what is needed in the moment and what best fits the structure of the situation as well as personal internal resources. Within that structure also lie consistency and constancy, necessary to keep the structure solid and grounded.

This is also the time to do reality checks and face any issues and out-of-balance places in relationships, monetary situations, integrity and values. It is about creating solid, whole foundations for moving forward into the year ~ and into life.

What foundations are in need of repair in your life? What are you willing to do to repair them? How will you balance the variety of choices in your life? What dream are you hoping to manifest this year? How will you form the foundation to sustain it?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Poetic Summary

To continue my reflections on the past year, and my movement into the new one, I'm following the suggestion of a friend to write a lune. [The lune (rhymes with moon) is a very short poem, similar to the haiku. The difference is the haiku has a 5/7/5 syllable pattern while the lune has a 5/3/5 syllable pattern.]

Role change emerges
in manner 
heretofore unformed.

I enjoyed playing with this previously unknown format. Several attempts, lots of taps on table and knee, thesaurus checking ~ all entertained me as I worked with it. Meditation, daydreaming and memory-play each shared a place in the recollection of the past year. Various focal points surfaced. The one that endured through every iteration of the lune was role change.

My role continues to change. Things shift slightly, then slightly more, then a new role blossoms and it continues to open into something as yet undefined. Perhaps undefinable. I marvel at its movement.

Have you attempted to summarize an entire year in 13 syllables? or 19, for that matter? What would happen if you tried? What word or phrase arises within you when you reflect on the past year? or the past season/three months? Does the word or phrase change you? How do you define yourself when you recognize it?

Monday, January 4, 2016

First Thaw

After the first snow, quickly in my neighborhood, comes the first thaw. Looking out the window, I watch the snow melt rain down from the branches. Not so long ago, three hours perhaps, these branches sagged inches lower with the snow and ice coating them.  As their load lightens, branches reach toward the thin-growing-stronger light of the sun.

Memory rolls back.... Sitting in the teachers' lunchroom of a school sometime in my first month. Many prior lunches were spent eating alone in my classroom, doing paperwork or writing lessons or rearranging furniture. This day I had forgotten my lunch at home. I recall thinking about skipping the meal altogether, then realizing I was hungry. So I followed a couple of other teachers in the direction I knew was the students' lunchroom, hoping they were going to the teachers' lunchroom. Chatter everywhere around me as I stand in line to buy my lunch. I feel frozen and weighed down. I am the 'new kid on the block' in this setting. How do I fit in? What do I say? I take my tray and sit at a table as yet unoccupied, believing it would be safer to have people join me rather than the other way around. Teachers crowd in to the other tables, taking a chair from my table, then another. I feel myself shrinking inward, wondering if I will ever come to this lunchroom again. As with that ray of sunshine starting the dripping thaw, when another teacher sits beside me, I feel my limbs lighten up. He smiles as he introduces himself, says what he teaches, and asks me if I'm enjoying the school. I know the feeling of that first thaw, the gentle warmth inviting a lifting and opening. And it is enough.

When did you feel yourself frozen? What started the thaw? How did you recognize the shift in yourself? What did it mean for you? What circumstances bring you back to that sense of freezing? How have you recognized another's frozen moment? How have you assisted in the moments of thaw?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

First Snow

We had our first snow of the year today. In my particular neighborhood, not much to it. Yet the streets are ice-covered skating rinks for driving. And the freezing rain continues to fall atop the dusting of white fluff. All-in-all, a great day to stay snuggled indoors, sipping hot chai, writing and watching the cat curl deeper into the comforter in his sleep.

We made it out to our morning coffee spot. Another 'regular' and growing-into-friend was there as well. His wife died Christmas morning and he has promised us who gather there that he will come for coffee every morning. We could not let him sit alone. So we went, sat in comfortable silence for awhile, chatted about the effect of the snow on cars, tires, bicycles, then parted ~ he, on to the remainder of his day; we, on to our crossword puzzling. Amazed and blessed that we could each and all show up safely.

When I returned home, I took my camera out, deciding to take a picture or two of the first snow fall. Crystal pellets of frozen rain tapped my head and hands as I focused my eyes and the camera's lens. The helleborus whose first blossom had popped through right before New Year's Day was covered with the wintry mix. I wanted to clear the snow out and leave the plant open, but did not do so, realizing the snow is a protective layer now ~ keeping the icy pellets away from the earth and roots. Will the delicate bloom survive this onslaught? The answer will com with the thaw tomorrow or the day after that. Since it's happened in the past, I remain hopeful.

As I stepped into the side yard, I was greeted by the faint, elegant tracks of a bird searching for seed or rest or shelter as it hopped around on the ground. Nothing else had disturbed the prints and I breathed my gratitude that, at least for the moment, the neighborhood ferals ~ cats, skunks, raccoons, dogs, coyotes ~ had not gotten it.

I am amazed by the beauty of the world coated lightly in white. Hope and joy accompany this first snow, though I have no explanation as to why that might be so. Yet there they run, across the backs of my hands and tapping out an electric rhythm on my ribcage. Everything glows with possibility and signs of life are radiantly visible.

How do you feel with the first snow? Or the first rain? What do you notice as it falls? when it ends? What signs of life show themselves to you? How do you see it? What feelings arise in you? How do they express themselves in your body?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Magic of Beginnings

Do you remember the first day of a new school year? Maybe your senior year in high school? Or the first day you met your best friend? Those days reach deep into our memories because they hold the magic of beginnings.

I recall not the first day of meeting my best friend in high school, but the first day of our friendship. We were freshmen, working in the library, shelving books. We were teasing each other ~ about what, I'm not sure exactly ~ just banter. As she shelved a book titled The Ugly American, she said to me, This is what you are. I retorted, You too. And she replied, Oh, no. I am not an American. I was born in Germany. Somehow, that precise moment began something deeper. The joking around stopped ~ at least temporarily ~ while we began a new conversation about the more intimate features of our individual lives.

Then there was the day I went to visit a particular college campus. Applying to that university was linked to that high school friend. She was planning to go there. I hadn't even considered it. Then I did. When I set foot on the quad and walked under the trees, across the grassy spaciousness, it felt like home. The irony was that I completed my undergraduate degree there; my friend never attended a single day.

Beginnings. As 2016 begins, I look back at those quixotic moments that led me to turn a corner or a page or .... whatever diverse object or subject set before me .... and my entire world shifted accordingly. Though I have no set resolutions, I have a practice of watching for changes bubbling the surface and creating patterns. If I pay close attention and trust the process, the magic will show itself.

What beginning moments do you most vividly recall? Can you describe them in detail? Where did each of those moments lead you? What magic occurred for you? What are you watching happen as 2016 begins?

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Day 2016

Once again, New Year's Day has come around. The wheel of the year turns. Celebrations abound.

My New Year's Days over the past several years have been spent looking back in order to move forward. In truth, I've done this most of my life, in various moments of awareness.

As 2016 begins, I sit and write. It's my passion. I feel more vital when I pour my life, my heart, my words onto the page. As my words flow, it's as though my heartbeats even out and I am content within.

Last year began with a ceremony of acceptance of my own personal power in the world. One thread that's woven throughout last year's tapestry is awareness. All of my past days have led me to this one. How often do I get the opportunity to recall this? How often do I take that opportunity in a good way?
Spring brought with it a new camera and explorations of my photographic eye. I played with pictures, took workshops, progressed closer to expressing myself as a photographer. How incredible to be blessed with beauty all around and have a way to capture some of it and share it!
Summer found me spending three weeks wandering Maine, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia with one of my dearest friends. Time flowed and paused and rushed throughout those days and weeks. We found a pace together. I relaxed into the new and familiar before returning to work. What an amazing, incredible blessing of time and presence!
Fall returned me to work, renewed and refreshed. New plans formed and played themselves out. New roles and new players blossomed into form. Days and weeks slipped quickly, quietly, noisily and freely by. It's wonderful to have a career that expands my world.
As the holidays approached, more changes arose. One who spent numerous holidays with me, could not this year. So I traveled again, spending time in a new place and finding peace there. Then returning home to finish the year with family and friends there. My personal circle often seems small in comparison to that of others, but it is the right and most beautiful size for me.

Ah. I don't trust that process of resolution-making and eventual resolution-breaking. Simple plans and hopes for the coming year include growing ever healthier by continuing to eat better and exercising more consistently; reading more and writing more; continuing to explore myself as a photographer, traveler, pilgrim. With luck and blessings, those things will bloom as the Light continues to return.

What about you? How do you pass from the old year to the new? What shows up when you check the year's rear view mirror? Where are you heading in the coming year? What do you want to increase in your life? to decrease? May beauty and joy bubble over you this New Year's Day.