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I was thinking about how much I love Pema Chodron, David Whyte, Buddhadarma magazine, anything India or Hindu or yoga related, my energy healing school… why don’t I just join a religious order someday?

I can’t speak for someday. I may hit a yoga retreat or an ashram or visit a Christian religious order just to clean up or get new clarity. I want to visit (almost) every place of worship with every loved one who will invite me, from the Hindu temple with Vidya for puja back to Christchurch in Rugby or Epiphany with my mom. Maybe I’ll take the Art of Living course for my birthday.Maybe I’ll go back to work for some difficult, bureaucratic, profitless agency that lets me help people and stresses me with the hardships of our clientele and staff.

But I could not just walk away permanently. I realized that I love this world, and that is why the answer is no. Spiritual practice must not be something that just sits off to the side waiting for an acceptable time. It is where the rubber hits the road– when someone pisses me off, when I am afraid, when I am celebrating, when there is injustice, mendacity, thoughtlessness, hurt, waste, pain, violence whether in words between family or warfare between nations– that tests what I believe and what I am growing to be.

My Tassajara would be a bed and breakfast where travelers can find family meals from my own garden and welcome and comfort. My 29 Palms is the beach at my Mom and Dad and Grammy’s house, Kim’s back patio looking out over the little lake, or Station Camp in Big South Fork, until such time as we can afford that second home in West Virginia near Granny’s house. I find so much to be grateful for each day, I just have to remember to see it and be grateful.

I don’t need a retreat. I need to be mindful. I can find a walking meditation counting flowers as cars roar by on the smelly city street that is the way to and from my child’s school. I know wine shrinks your brain but ‘this is the blood shed for thee’, and I love to taste it and cook with it. I can find a meditative joy in cooking mindfully, trying to nourish my family with healthy food, swimming upstream against the food industry. I can find a meditation in cleaning and organizing and FitTV. There is so much music to enjoy on YouTube or alternative radio or someday when we have a babysitter again in clubs.

I have about ten vocations… for one of them I might learn Buddhist counseling methods– just read a wonderful article about that in Buddhadarma magazine. I’d love to do that with a fat helping of Jungian study in San Francisco and Kabbalah from the School of Healing Arts in Nashville. I don’t have answers any more than anyone else does… and the answers are right within us, within our values and hopes and need and dreams. And this is our life, our kingdom come.

I love this world. Some parts of it hurt– people do nasty crappy things here in LA, as I know they do everywhere (though maybe not quite so often or willingly!). I think about losses and griefs. I screw up, judge, feel anxious, get irritated. I struggle with giving up unhealthy behaviors– all legal, but not healthy. Travel has forced me over and over again to reframe in a way that has been hard but good for me. How I handle these is constant opportunity for meditation without abandoning daily life. Spirituality can be a retreat, an abandonment of real life… I will never retreat. Meet me right here.

In that spirit, with my usual dedication to reverence and irreverence, here’s one of my theme songs. Stop right here if you don’t like ugly words.

The Bill O’Reilly Dance Remix used to give me a much needed laugh and relief from tension when I was working at the library. Okay, we don’t live in Darfur or anything, but outside of that… simple daily things were so hard I cannot describe it. F* it! I can’t do it! What a joy to have Bill express how I felt so eloquently every single day. I laughed my head off no matter how many times I watched it.

Now the video still gives me great joy– Kim R. just posted it on her fb page this morning and I’ve watched it about five times already and will probably watch it five more. But now the line that speaks to me is F* it! We’ll do it live!

Doing it live…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j2YDq6FkVE

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Tuesday May 5 at 4pm, The Governor’s Square Library Kids’ Club will embark upon their exploration of the fine artworks of the Picturing America series.

Kids 5-12 are invited every Tuesday at 4pm, and parents are asked to donate their time, healthy individually wrapped nonperishable snacks, water, or juice boxes.

Discussion questions will help kids reflect on and remember┬áthe women– mothers, grandmothers, relatives, older sisters,┬áteachers, church friends and others– who nurture them, create a positive environment for living, learning and growing, and help to build our community.

Our stepping off point will be Dorothea Lange’s poignant portrait Migrant Mother.

blog post photo

Learn more about this important work of American history and art at the Library of Congress website: http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/128_migm.html

Please bring a child aged 5-12 Tuesday May 5 at 4 pm for snacks, thought provoking discussion and as always a little bit of fun.

See you Tuesday!

if you want your wife [significant other] to wish [him-]herself home again, unfettered by matrimonial [cohabiting, relationship] claims, you just stay in bed and let her [him] get up in a cold room, go through several cold rooms to a cold kitchen: find no wood or kindling , and have to go to the back yard and bring it in all soaking wet, and try to cook…

Page 26, “1902-1911: Rafters of the Home/ Woman’s [Partner’s] Work” in Times Down Home: 75 Years with Progressive Farmer edited by Mary Elizabeth Johnson, published 1978 by Oxmoor House in Birmingham.

What a treasure! I can’t resist it. I’m a nut for stuff like this. This is a wonderful Book.

I had to insert words like “significant other” and “him” and “partner” in brackets because families are changing, stressed by pressures that are different and yet the same. They need to be supported, from within and from without, in totally new ways we (okay I) haven’t quite gotten right yet.

And these days, the imbalance of care and interest in one’s mate’s day and work can definitely go both ways– can even be hurtful and isolating for one spouse or partner in some areas and hurtful and isolating for the other partner or spouse in others.

MEJ (now MEJ Huff) will be at my library on Saturday 9th May along with many other wonderful local authors. She has done some amazing, beautiful more recent books documenting quilts as well– quilts by ordinary folk, like the Gee’s Bend ladies, not MOMA or RISD textile artists.

I can’t wait! The job part of my job is sometimes absolutely AWESOME.

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