an act of faith || week 48

“Someone once told me that writing is an act of faith. Another person told me that forgiving is also an act of faith. That’s true. I think both heal, both are arts. What a fine thing it is to do both at once.” 
― Kaye Gibbons, Ellen Foster

the week is full of planned out escape routes, 
that fight or flight syndrome, kicking in big time. 
i wallow inside for a time, hibernating with the dog beside me
until it dawns on me, once again, that this is a rerun that i am tired of, 
and i have the power to change it. 

"Time unused and only endured still vanishes, as if time itself is starving, and each day is swallowed whole, leaving no crumbs, no memory, no trace at all.” 
― Elisabeth Tova Bailey, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

a close friend calls to iron out the details on an upcoming gathering,
and says these two words to me. . . 
"things change" and somewhere deep inside of me a light radiates. 
i decided right then and there that i can either relive the past over and over
or live right now. . .
the choice is obvious. 

“Survival often depends on a specific focus: a relationship, a belief, or a hope balanced on the edge of possibility. Or something more ephemeral: the way the sun passes through the hard, seemingly impenetrable glass of a window and warms the blanket, or how the wind, invisible but for its wake, is so loud one can hear it through the insulated walls of a house.” 
― Elisabeth Tova Bailey, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

three things :: 
i read this in 24 hours and now am on the lookout for a snail
i take some photos of some friends for their Christmas cards and understand i am not a people photographer
i wrap up thirty days of gratitude and decide to keep it going. . . 

“I liked the sound of the word 'snail' every time I said it; the word was as small and simple as the creature itself.” 
― Elisabeth Tova Bailey, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

i recognize that this space contributes to my dilemma;
the close examination of the moments of my life
on a daily, ongoing basis wrecks havoc at times.
but the brightness of life always wins, the creativity i find behind
my camera lens, helps me walk through dark times. 
my job is not to stop but to seek balance, 
and to live with my whole-being, 
so here i am. . .  

“It occurs to me that being in the fog does not have to mean being altogether lost.” 
― Joan Anderson, A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman
“I think it was Thomas Merton who said that the easiest way to rid yourself of neurosis is to surround yourself with nature, or more specifically trees.” 
― Joan Anderson, A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman

it feels like snow. . .  
how was your week? 

three on tuesday || no right way

“I made cranberry sauce, and when it was done put it into a dark blue bowl for the beautiful contrast. I was thinking, doing this, about the old ways of gratitude: Indians thanking the deer they'd slain, grace before supper, kneeling before bed. I was thinking that gratitude is too much absent in our lives now, and we need it back, even if it only takes the form of acknowledging the blue of a bowl against the red of cranberries.” 
― Elizabeth Berg, Open House

on thursday i will welcome december,
while reflecting on november's month of gratitude.
acknowledging the birds at the feeders, 
a warm home and clean sheets, but
also aware that there is so much more.
gratitudes, i can feel but can't put into words,
yet. . . but i am aware and learning. 
i come away with the understanding that
there is no right or wrong way to notice
and give thanks, other than just doing so. 
every. single. day. 
making it a habit, a constant, a necessity,
for a full life.   

light switch || week 47

“Quick, make a wish.
Take a (second or third or fourth) chance.
Remake the world.” 
― Jandy Nelson, I'll Give You the Sun

the week is full of grocery shopping, emotional ups and downs, 
long morning conversations with him before we even get up,
and dog walks. . .  
the dog walks save me. 

“Who knows if, maybe, destiny is just how you tell yourself the story of your life?” 
― Jandy Nelson, I'll Give You the Sun

i seek new gratitudes, trying to fill the month up with more
than giving thanks for clean, running water, and my health.
i deliberately slow down,  take a few breaths, 
and i am reward with calm and a clearer
perspective, but also a few conflicts. . .  

“It kicks the breath out of me, kicks bright light into me.” 
― Jandy Nelson, I'll Give You the Sun

i find happiness in tiny things, 
the dog's new toy, a walk in the rain, 
Gilmore Girls and soup. . .  
i let go, cry a bit, and come out the other side
comfortable in my own skin. . .  for now.  

“What if I'm in charge of my own damn light switch?” 
― Jandy Nelson, I'll Give You the Sun

three things ::
we talk about going camping soon ( i hope we do it)
i decide December is a good month to eat up all the food in the pantry
(only buying perishables) 
i pay my library fine

“Maybe we’re accumulating these new selves all the time.” Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things.” 
― Jandy Nelson, I'll Give You the Sun

i wake up today, still full from the carb-overload, 
i wake a bit wiser and a bit more confident,
i wake, and let go
and reach out to grab what is up next. . .   

“It’s time for second chances. It’s time to remake the world.” 
― Jandy Nelson, I'll Give You the Sun

how was your week? 

three on tuesday || something better

“If we stay where we are, where we're stuck, where we're comfortable and safe, we die there. We become like mushrooms, living in the dark, with poop up to our chins. If you want to know only what you already know, you're dying. You're saying: Leave me alone; I don't mind this little rathole. It's warm and dry. Really, it's fine.

When nothing new can get in, that's death. When oxygen can't find a way in, you die. But new is scary, and new can be disappointing, and confusing - we had this all figured out, and now we don't.

New is life.” 
― Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

Sleeping in the Forest
by Mary Oliver 

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.


walking back into my life || week 46

“Walking shares with making and working that crucial element of engagement of the body and the mind with the world, of knowing the world through the body and the body through the world.” 
― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

the week unfolds with a trip up to see the kids, 
a quick visit and Thai food out
i take in every moment,
while my camera lay nestled in my bag
we girls get new lip balm
and we firm up holiday plans

“Live today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Just today. Inhabit your moments. Don't rent them out to tomorrow.” 
― Jerry Spinelli, Love, Stargirl

come monday i wrap myself inside a gentle cocoon.
i head to my yearly mammogram, 
allowing the fear live inside of me, no self-scolding, just permission 

"My breasts are so low now I can have a mammogram and a pedicure at the same time."
~ Joan Rivers 

later the dog and i walk along the river,
slow and with purpose, him sniffing
while i look for light and diversions, 
they call to tell me they will see me next year
i walk back into my life with gratitude . . .  

"Walking is good for solving problems - it's like the feet are little psychiatrists."  
-   Pepper Giardino

three things :: 
i buy a new phone app
i watch this
i buy a new cookbook

"There's humble recipes and more sophisticated recipes, and there's a story that connects that ingredient to my life, or my history, or my region in some way." ~ Vivian Howard

i decide to move through this mindfulness class
a second time, understanding a few nourishing practices
serve me better than trying something new every few months. 
i feel centered and happy. . . 

“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.”
– Sylvia Boorstein

“The sea is a body in a thousand ways that don't add up, because adding is too stable a transaction for that flux, but the waves come in in a roar and then ebb, almost silent but for the faint suck of sand and snap of bubbles, over and over, a heartbeat rhythm, the sea always this body turned inside out and opened to the sky, the body always a sea folded in on itself, a nautical chart folded into a paper cup.” 
― Rebecca Solnit, Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics

how was your week?