Charmed Living

Category: Field Notes (Page 1 of 3)

The Great Untangling

“The season has begun to pry at winter buds, loosening their tight knots, patiently untangling them into blossoms.” Mary Jo Hoffman

Sometimes our hearts are like buds, tight tiny knots. We hang onto those knots as hedges against uncertainty, ambiguity, fear, and loss.

The spring-flowering trees have been flamboyant this year, full of blossom and scent. But their beauty has been short-lived, nipped by freezing temperatures and stifling heat.

These swings between searing heat and numbing cold have been hell on blossoms. The forecast for the next 10-days is for more stable temperatures without the wild swings of seasonal disorientation. Now the late flowering crabs are coming into their moment. Will the moment last?

So much of life is about timing. Spring’s texture is more challenging for me to grasp than winter, summer, or fall. It’s both more ephemeral and less predictable. Its many texture changes from shivering cold to searing heat make me wonder whether spring is now endangered, a vanishing season.

Spring in my life has been the season of longing and restlessness. The time when all of nature sings of passion and I join in. There’s a feral-ness to spring I embrace. I want to play hooky, shedding adult responsibilities, the dependable productivity of my days.

Perhaps that’s springs purpose, to renew a spirit of exploration and adventure. Two friends write that they are playing with the spring muse. One is considering taking an art class, the other getting back in the saddle. One worries she may be a “bit late.” The other thrills that muscle memory lets her enjoy her time atop a horse. Age, she reports, is a “non-issue.”

Here’s the glory of this moment, whatever your age, flower where you are with the ideas ripening in your life. May your heart unfurl, untangle and release whatever is holding the budding potential.

May you blossom.

Lighting Hope’s Flame

Hope's Flame

When life is going well, I’m the kid with the ice cream cone, licking it all up, wanting more.

When life goes badly, I want to hurry along, believing, hoping, the future holds better days. Good or bad, I’m in a hurry, hungry for more, focusing on the future.

This year unhinged my usual tactics for dealing with life. Why hurry? I’m fine, right where I am. The future too uncertain to long for it’s coming. Each day holds enough joy and sorrow. In this slowed down enoughness, we face things as they are and recognize the impermanence of life, love, happiness. It is, it is not, it is.

As we wrap Christmas presents, I want to wrap us in bubble wrap protecting us against our fragility and hubris.

And yet I know life demands everything we’ve got and a bit more. Our happiness bubbles pop.

We step into a future and faith–less magical, smaller, and more real. It’s the size of the room we’re in right now. We’re going to need less faith and more practice. The practice of extending generosity to meet scarcity and sorrow, comfort to salve fear, meeting uncertainty with our witness and presence.

In this dark winter, may we light a candle of hope. In our sorrow may we open to our tenderness. May we face uncertainty with courage.

xo

Monday

Peony

Monday morning.

Lately small moments grab my attention and won’t let go.
This slightly wrecked peony with morning light filling the vase on my studio work table held my utter attention for 20 minutes this morning.
Look carefully. You’ll see the whole world here: loss, promise, grief, joy, hope, redemption, fear, fragility.

Transcendence.

Betwixt and Between

We hover in the very definition of liminal space. The time between “what was” and “next.”

Our stark reality, the “next”, as we conceive tomorrow, won’t happen for all of us. This is true now and always has been thus.

How do we react when we come hard up against the inescapable recognition of our own fragility?

Do we find meaning in clean closets, taking a walk, calling friends and family?

And what is meaning? Is it a search for purpose, connection, beauty or truth? Our search for meaning in the face of death leaves us like a new cosmos, floating alone as impenetrable centers of our own universe.

Faced with our mortality, and perhaps even more frightening, the mortality of those we love, there is hope.

Hope looks for the difference we make. Hope sees others’ courage: nurses, doctors, EMT’s, police and those stocking shelves, checking out our needed purchases. Those, in this moment, whose work is essential for the rest of us to survive. Hope is the sewers sewing masks from home for hospital workers. Hope is the call from a friend, the pleasant diversions at home. We pause in this self-emptying moment, this void.

Simone Weil says, “Grace (hope) enters and fills the empty space wherever there is a void to receive it.”

A prayer for the void of liminality:

Hope’s Contours

Let us rest and play
Make art and love
Let us listen deeply.

Let each of us,
according to our nature:

pray
lament
meditate
dream
dance
create
love
hope.

Once danger passes
let each of us,
according to our nature:

grieve
rejoice
mend
dream
dance
create
love
hope.

Celebrating Democracy

Win or lose today thanks to all candidates who ran for election. You’ve sacrificed comfort, pleasures, dinner at home with your family to be out on the campaign trail, working to make our democracy a more perfect union. Thank you for your effort and sacrifice.

Trusting those who do get elected will work hard, even compromise to make our city, state and country better!

Monday Morning Meditation

Just for this moment – right where you are – notice the Earth holding your body. Feel your pulse beat in your veins. Let breath clear your lungs. Surrender all intention, effort, purpose. Feel your humble heart beat. All is well.

Sailing High Seas of Imagination and Possibility

Imagine yourself sailing toward a horizon of possibility. Miniatures let us enter another world of magic, make-believe, and adventure. Miniatures have a strange evocative power to transform us from ordinary people standing in museums to pirates, or a wealthy heiress with a yacht at our command. What adventure do you imagine for yourself onboard this fine ship?

Part of the Door County Maritime Museum’s collection of ship models.

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