Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bodhi and I enjoyed a date day together, while Owen and Shane enjoyed a ski day in Breckenridge.  It was magical, filled with laughter, art, cooking, sharing and play.  Bodhi decided he wanted to be a pirate, bake treasure cookies and "do a project" which involved turning an old box into a "real treasure box".  We drew a beard on his smiling face, baked some oatmeal-raisin-chocolate-walnut filled cookies and decorated a box to contain them.  Once this was finished we packed a picnic lunch and drove to the park with lots of blankets and warm jackets (the temperature took a swan dive into frigid waters).  After lunch I hid the treasure box and a little pirate book beneath a bush and gave Bodhi a clue:
"Beneath a bush where you cannot see,
There rests a gift for you from me."
He hunted with lots of "ARGHS" and "AYE matey's", until he found them.  He immediately ran into the midst of the playground trying to gather stray children to sit in a circle with him to open his treasure.  Of course this didn't work.  I convinced him to open it with me on our blanket.  As soon as he had the box of treasure cookies open he asked if he could please share them with his new "friends".  I told him to check with their parents and then share away.  He walked the playground for the next half hour eating his cookie and giving a cookie to every child whose parent said "Yes".  Only when the last child was finished did he put the box down to play again.
As we left he said, "God is in me.  It is me and you and the tree and them and the car and ...." 
I smiled, borrowing his certainty and leaning back in that truth, the truth of giving handed to me by a beard-smeared four year old who adores people with eager abandon.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hiking

I wish I could hike every day. It fills me with a peace that little else offers.  Unfortunately, I am also resistant to being cold. I wait for days like these when the thermometer warms and my boots beg me out of doors (plus Shane willingly watches the boys).
Here are a few photos along the way:



 And on my way home I stopped by an old chapel on a hill.  I love the ritual of lighting candles alone in a silent room.  Of course I am not a Catholic, but I feel the peace in removed spaces, like nature or quiet candle lit rooms, inviting me inward to the source of life living me.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Favorite Quote of the Week

"Fear is love under a different name! In letting fear arise without trying to get it to go away, it finally shows up as what it really is -- love. Let love choke you, let it throttle you, let it surrender you, taking the fight out of you. How? By letting fear be as it is, without analysis, without labels, without any agenda to be rid of it."
----Scott Kiloby

Monday, January 24, 2011

compassion

This is one of my favorite photos.  A heart shaped leaf caught up in the skeletal arms of a blossom gone by.  I look at this photo often, trying to understand what about it has won my favor.  Perhaps it is the beauty of transience.  A reminder that even in death there is unspeakable splendor to be found and experienced.  After rereading the recent poem post and the posts preceding, I had to chuckle.  How interesting to dedicate a year to happiness in one post and devote the following post to sadness.  It is perfect really.  The humor in it begs clarification for my dedication and apparent inconsistencies.  I don't consider happiness separate from sorrow, rather I think happiness may only be found in the peaceful acceptance of the "is-ness" of life.  Devoid of my beliefs and concepts of what life is, or should be, or could be, what is there.  When sadness arises in the "is-ness" of life, or "happiness" arises, wouldn't it be lovely to witness beauty within the transience.  Like a dried leaf caught in the arms of a dying bloom, a spaciousness of experience...an invitation for compassion.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pain

Sadness
Gag and cough
Swallow it down,
It stays,
Perched at the back of my throat,
Howling.
I clamp my teeth and
Smile,
Hold back the river.
Shake.

Fear
"It's too deep",
I say.
"I cannot swim",
I say.
"It will wash me away",
I say.

Anger
Bellows, raging
Curses at the dam,
"MOVE!"
Ssh.
I call,
Through gritted teeth,
Shh.

Silent
Presence watching,
Witness to it all.
The water fall keeps
Rising,
Til water covers all.
Present
Awareness holding,
Crying eyes confide,
Tears too deep to humble,
Now,
Floating at my side.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

sunday, love and snow

Bodhi and I have had a sweet day, just the two of us.  We shared breakfast, a little cartooning together, a snowy walk to our unchurch-church, a snowy walk to our neighborhood coffee shop to buy him a little slice of banana bread, a snowy walk home catching snowflakes and then lunch together.  At lunch, I asked him to say a prayer, he said "I don't know any".  I said, "That's okay, just open your heart and listen.  Maybe your heart will have something to say".  He closed his little eyes and grew quiet before his eyes flashed open again, "My heart said one word Mommy, LOVE".  I said "Love is the perfect prayer". 
Now he lies napping in his bed, growing so fast that my mama heart aches to hold him while I tend a warm crackling fire in the hearth.
To all of you on Sunday, I offer this prayer: "LOVE, Amen".

a beautiful quote for your weekend, with love


A Warm Embrace - Our Deepest Fear from R Smittenaar on Vimeo.

thich nath hanh blessing


A Warm Embrace - The Great Bell Chant (The End of Suffering) from R Smittenaar on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

happy birthday

My beautiful, beloved, amazing and fabulous god daughter is turning 13 this month.  Please join me in flooding her with blessings and love.  I didn't get to have a daughter amidst my two wonderful sons, so life smiled on me and sent this angel into my life.  My own God mother is a queen among women and I consider my role an honor indeed.
Happy Birthday Karuna!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

owen

 My beautiful boy and his beautiful dog.

a new year's dedication

When choosing a dedication for the new year, I often spend a lot of time reflecting.  This years theme seemed to barrage me from all quarters, in fortune cookies, in greeting cards, in notes and songs, in conversations and print.  I chose happiness because it is something I resist and eye with suspicion, like a shady thief whose brilliant smile coaxes me, time and again, into a modicum of trust only to rob me of its riches come morning. Obviously, a skewed view of joy, founded in a belief that transience bespeaks falsehood (a belief, by the way, that I don't seem to apply to suffering). I recently heard Adyashanti speak on a similar topic with a challenge to "Allow everything to BE as it is". Wow. It seems difficult until one acknowledges that everything IS already as it is and it is insane to try to resist it at every turn while drowning out the "now" with a chorus of dictates on how it should be, has been or could be. The Course in Miracles reads, "Would you rather be happy or right?". Interesting how often we choose to impress our "rightness" at the cost of joy, our beliefs at the cost of truth, our story at the cost of peace. When once I asked my kid brother how to sustain happiness he answered with the twinkling eyes of youth, "Well Sis, it's just like flying in Peter Pan, you think happy thoughts". Hmmm. That is easier said than done, since thoughts seem to flow through the river of mind at the level of consciousness.  Could a dedication to happiness raise the level of the water?  Or might it encourage a playful dance with the waters of life, choosing to float and trust our innate buoyancy.  This new year's dedication is an experiment really, asking what life might look like through the lens of joy. It's not a resolution, rather a north star pointing ever to this moment AS IT IS RIGHT NOW.

new year

We had a small New Year's gathering at mi casa on the eve of the anticipated day.  We chose to make it a gypsy theme and the kids hosted a fabulous candle lit parlour with divination, card reading and palmistry.  It was hilariously accurate and a thrill for each of them.  The feast included beans, roasted beets, steamed greens, a giant salad, chocolate cake, holiday cookies and sparkling pear, apple and cranberry spritzers.  The evening also included the annual reflection time...when all guests are invited to write down attributes, stories or illusions they would like to stop carrying around and then BURN them.  Next, we considered a dedication for the new year that came from the heart rather than the head.
It seemed natural for me to dedicate the year to happiness, catch the next post and I will tell you why.