“To truly listen is to risk being changed forever”
“When was the last time you danced?”
-Question Put To The Sick By A Native American Medicine Man
We don’t sing. We don’t dance; two of the most primal things we can engage in as expressions of our bodies and hearts. We’re an odd culture, vacant of the rituals, ceremony and customs that bind us to others and to ourselves.
Today, I’ll find a moment to turn on the music and reacquaint myself with my body ~ perhaps find my voice.
I wrote a piece in a writing workshop last year exploring “What will I miss about my mother when she is no longer here?” I found one of those answers in this photo.
“Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down the dulcimer.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
- Maya Angelou - Phenomenal Woman
Morning is my time. I’ve always been a morning person. My husband teased me about creating a “morning baby” by getting up for the day at 4:00 a.m. when I was pregnant. True to his prediction, our infant-through-toddler-age son would awaken at 4:30 a.m. every morning, wide-eyed and ready to take on the day.
What I love most is the quiet of morning - time by myself, with myself and a cup of steaming tea. It’s a time of discovery, with no effort in that direction. Things simply unfold.
We live in the mountains, where the quiet has a voice all its own. This morning, I found a photo of some magnetic poetry that we put together on the refrigerator of a Mendocino Coast cottage, where we stayed several years ago. This is the gift that found its way out of the silence of 4:30 a.m. today.
“Whisper at the Moon, then Kiss the Sea”
I’m taking a lesson today from the pelicans I watched in flight this weekend. A short period of flapping of the wings and working on forward momentum, then effortlessly gliding; catching the draft of the air around and silently soaring.
“When she was growing up in rural Virginia she would be out working in the fields and she said she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape and she said it was like a thunderous train of air and it would come barreling down at her over the landscape. And she said that when she felt it coming – because it would shake the earth under her feet – she knew that she had only one thing to do at that point and that was to, in her words, ‘run like hell’ and she would run like hell to the house, being chased by this poem. And the whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper and pencil fast enough so when it thundered through her she could collect it and grab it on the page.”
- Elizabeth Gilbert at TED on a Conversation with American Poet Ruth Stone
What is this human thing we do in taking things for granted? The everyday living, breathing, fiber of our experience? Our years together have woven themselves into my fabric. Gratitude doesn’t begin to capture acknowledgment of the gift. It’s something beyond - perhaps prayer.
The First Dream
The Wind is ghosting around the house tonight
and as I lean against the door of sleep
I begin to think about the first person to dream,
how quiet he must have seemed the next morning
as the others stood around the fire
draped in the skins of animals
talking to each other only in vowels,
for this was long before the invention of consonants.
He might have gone off by himself to sit
on a rock and look into the mist of a lake
as he tried to tell himself what had happened,
how he had gone somewhere without going,
how he had put his arms around the neck
of a beast that the others could touch
only after they had killed it with stones,
how he felt its breath on his bare neck.
Then again, the first dream could have come
to a woman, though she would behave,
I suppose, much the same way,
moving off by herself to be alone near water,
except that the curve of her young shoulders
and the tilt of her downcast head
would make her appear to be terribly alone,
and if you were there to notice this,
you might have gone down as the first person
to ever fall in love with the sadness of another.
One of those uphill climb kind of days, when things are moving at a crawl and are more difficult than I’d like for them to be. At the bottom of the staircase, beginning the assent, where I can only see right in front of me. Slowly, deliberately, deeply breathing.
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, but forgiveness changes the way we remember.
Forgiving is first and foremost the healing of our own hearts.
~ Henri J. M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey