Saturday 9 May 2015 - Living Life - Bonnie L. Mohr

Life is not a race - but indeed a journey.
Be honest.
Work hard.
Be choosy.
Say “thank you”, “I love you” and “great job” to someone each day.
Go to church, take time for prayer.
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh.
Let your handshake mean more than pen and paper.
Love your life and what you've been given, it is not accidental - search for your purpose and do it as best you can.
Dreaming does matter.
It allows you to become that which you aspire to be.
Laugh often.

Appreciate the little things in life and enjoy them.
Some of the best things really are free.
Do not worry, less wrinkles are more becoming.
Forgive, it frees the soul.

Take time for yourself - plan for longevity.
Recognize the special people you've been blessed to know.
Live for today, enjoy the moment.

Saturday 2 May 2015 -- The Ball ~ Wislawa Szymborska ~

As long as nothing can be known for sure
(no signals have been picked up yet),
as long as Earth is still unlike
the nearer and more distant planets,

as long as there's neither hide nor hair
of other grasses graced by other winds,
of other treetops bearing other crowns,
other animals as well-grounded as our own,

as long as only the local echo
has been known to speak in syllables,

as long as we still haven't heard word
of better or worse mozarts,
platos, edisons somewhere,

as long as our inhuman crimes
are still committed only between humans,

as long as our kindness
is still incomparable,
peerless even in its imperfection,

as long as our heads packed with illusions
still pass for the only heads so packed,

as long as the roofs of our mouths alone
still raise voices to high heavens--

let's act like very special guests of honor
at the district-firemen's ball
dance to the beat of the local oompah band,
and pretend that it's the ball
to end all balls.

I can't speak for others--
for me this is
misery and happiness enough:

just this sleepy backwater
where even the stars have time to burn
while winking at us
unintentionally.

(View with a Grain of Sand, translated by S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh)

Sunday 26 April 2015 -- I AM: It Starts with You -- Rev. Naomi Fay

It starts with you.
It starts with you.
It starts with you.

What is it that you desire most?

It starts with you.

What is it that you seek?

It is nowhere else
But within
Your very hands
Your very breath
Your very feet.

The circle starts with you.
And as it
Ripples out
You will feel it in your heart.
It has its own song.
It is here.
You have started
At the beginning point.

The circle starts with you.
It has always started with you.

Stand in the center
Of your own light.

Stand
Sing
Embrace yourself
For it
Is everything
That you have
That you can change
That you can bend
And create.

The circle starts with you.

(Blessing of the Day: Wisdom for your Journey, Written by Rev. Naomi Fay with photos by Eileen MacAvery Kane)

 

Sunday 26 April 2015 -- Another Spring -- Kenneth Rexroth

The seasons revolve and the years change
With no assistance or supervision.
The moon, without taking thought,
Moves in its cycle, full, crescent, and full.

The white moon enters the heart of the river;
The air is drugged with azalea blossoms;
Deep in the night a pine cone falls;
Our campfire dies out in the empty mountains.

The sharp stars flicker in the tremulous branches;
The lake is black, bottomless in the crystalline night;
High in the sky the Northern Crown
Is cut in half by the dim summit of a snow peak.

O heart, heart, so singularly
Intransigent and corruptible,
Here we lie entranced by the starlit water,
And moments that should each last forever

Slide unconsciously by us like water. 

~ Kenneth Rexroth ~
(One Hundred Poems from the Chinese)

On meditation and daily practice… Headspace

 

Meditation always felt like a chore to me. Maybe it had something to do with waking at 5:30am and aiming to leave the house by 6:40 for work. Maybe it had something to do with not enough sleep. Maybe it was the cold winter. Maybe it was fear.

What I found helped was lying down on my back, lighting a small votive candle (scented… an extra treat), covering myself with a nice fleece blanket, setting a timer on my iPhone or a separate timer, and adjusting the time to a smaller amount if I was running late. I was aiming for 20 minutes a morning, but sometimes only did 5 or 1. Hey, it was something!

Lying down helped tremendously, and I did not find that I fell asleep, even with being a little groggy. However, the meditation sessions felt a little sudden and abrupt, and still like a chore.

That is, until I found Headspace. My friend recommended this app to me last summer, but I never downloaded it or tried it until this spring.

I downloaded the free version (“Take 10”) and what I discovered right off the bat was that this guided (mindfulness-based, secular) meditation brought me to a deep state of peace and well-being that I had previously only associated with or come in contact with during my meditation sessions at Ananda Ashram (the local yoga and meditation center I frequent). It was like I had discovered a new key to unlocking my depths that did not entail driving twenty minutes, parking, coordinating my schedule so I could be there for their 9am or 7:30pm group sessions. It was readily available to me. I ploughed right through all ten days (ten minutes each).

When the time came to decide whether or not to purchase (about $90 for the year), I pondered it for about three days, discussed with a friend, and came to the rather easy decision that this was too good to be true. And too useful to pass up. (Plus they offered a small incentive if I purchased within the week after completing the “Take Ten” - smart marketing.)

I completed a fifteen-days-in-a-row streak and got this sweet email from Headspace congratulating me and offering me a “Get Some/Give Some” incentive. The email included a gift code to share with a friend to give them one month’s free access.

I love the well-thought-out curriculum, the way they seem to run their business, the reasonable price. The guidance starts at the beginning, very basic, and builds on prior knowledge and experience. I’m currently in the “Stress Pack” and love the visualization of liquid sunlight pouring in through the crown of my head, filling up my toes and the rest of my body. Try it!

If you’re interested in trying Headspace, please let me know and I’ll share the gift code with you! Private message me on Facebook or send an email. Then friend me on the app and we can “nudge” each other on to peaceful awareness. Om shantih!

Saturday 25 April 2015 -- The Sabbath Poems, 1993, I -- Wendell Berry

No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And so you have become a sort of tree
standing over the grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.
 
~ Wendell Berry ~
(The Sabbath Poems, 1993, I)

Wednesday 15 April 2015 -- The Spring (After Rilke)

Spring has returned! Everything has returned!
The earth, just like a schoolgirl, memorizes
Poems, so many poems. ... Look, she has learned
So many famous poems, she has earned so many prizes!

Teacher was strict. We delighted in the white
Of the old man's beard, bright like the snow's:
Now we may ask which names are wrong, or right
For "blue," for "apple," for "ripe." She knows, she knows!

Lucky earth, let out of school, now you must play
Hide-and-seek with all the children every day:
You must hide that we may seek you: we will! We will!

The happiest child will hold you. She knows all the things
You taught her: the word for "hope," and for "believe,"
Are still upon her tongue. She sings and sings and sings.

~Delmore Schwartz (Last & Lost Poems)

Tuesday 14 April 2015 -- The Sacraments

I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel,
about the Sacraments - 
he got so excited

and ran into a hollow in his tree and came
back holding some acorns, an owl feather,
and a ribbon he had found.

And I just smiled and said, "Yes, dear,
you understand:

everything imparts
His grace.

-Saint Francis of Assisi