Space

Central Wyoming

I am here in this space.

The sun is warm, the wind soft.

I open in this space.

Everything is here now.

I am this space.

Flow Like a River

“May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing 
and no holding back, the way it is with children.” 

~Rainier Maria Rilke

When I get impatient with myself or the world, I try to pause long enough to remember the river, the flow of the river that I love so much.  When life does not instantly present me with the exact and perfect outcome – the perfect and glorious outcome I had all planned out in my head in excruciating detail – at those times, I try to remember to just breathe and flow with how things ARE, rather than how I wish they would be.

Resistance is futile; life is NEVER perfect. And life unfolds in its own wild and wonderful way, no matter how hard I kick and scream and struggle and fight against what IS, trying desperately to get the exact future I had imagined and dreamed of.

Sit and breathe. And breathe some more…
until I can stop whining and fighting against what is unfolding right here and now in front of me.

How horrible to miss out on today because it doesn’t look exactly like my dream of it yesterday!

Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is.
The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”

~Virginia Satir

River Love

The Path Home
The Path Home

One of the many things I love about living in Lyons, CO is the pathway that follows the St. Vrain River.  This river is why the town of Lyons was placed in this spot. It’s a special place where 3 creeks converge  into one and form the St. Vrain River.  Water is valuable here in the foothills of the Rockies; it is absolutely required for human life, and the dry climate can make it quite scarce.  The Ute Indians knew this – the tribe lived in this area for generations. And  in the 1800’s, when the white guys arrived, they looked around and decided this place by the river looked like the perfect spot to stop and settle down. I agree with them – it’s a bit of paradise.

Even in the heat of July, the riverbanks of the St. Vrain are wet and green with growth. The open grasslands around here are yellow and dry, but the banks of the river overflow with green growth. And the temperature literally drops 5-10 degrees within the shade of the trees lining the river.  That’s probably why the  path that follows the St. Vrain as it meanders through town is a favorite spot of mine for walks with my hubby David and Dog Goddess Brigit.

Rivers are a natural travel route for humans and other hairier mammals as well as birds, reptiles – it seems every form of life is drawn to the river. Dog Goddess Brigit has a field day sniffing her way down the path every morning.  I wonder if she can distinguish which animals came by the night before? I wouldn’t doubt it – dog noses are amazing!

Today I am grateful to live in a home that is within walking distance of the St. Vrain River and its gorgeous, green riverbank trail.

☾☽

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. 
I am haunted by waters.”  

– Norman Maclean,
A River Runs Through It

Instructions to the Cook

What I’m reading now: Zen lessons in working with whatever life presents

I found this little gem of a book 10-15 years ago. Time for another read!

AND…

What I’m eating as I read this fabulous book… a mixed greens salad with left-over beef tossed in and drizzled with Newman’s Own Tuscan Italian dressing. I’m sipping on a strawberry margarita, made with the last few strawberries in the house.

(Can you tell I didn’t need to cook for my hubby and daughter this evening?!)

Watery New Moon

Renewal Time

☾☽

Tomorrow is the new Moon in the water sign of Cancer.

Dwell on nurturing yourself.

Gently water yourself and your dreams with love.

☾☽

A Walk in the Woods

“Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine,then keep on going.”
~Mary Oliver

I went for a walk in the woods a few days ago. I love paths that are a bit wild and natural even in the middle of town. On this particular day, I am on one of my favorite trails; it meanders through  a dense patch of woods next to a big wide creek. The path has been left untouched for decades in many places and I love wandering there. But walking into some sections of this trail brings to mind Dorothy hesitantly walking into the dark scary woods with the scarecrow on her journey to Oz. Or maybe it’s Gretel wandering in the forest with Hansel, looking for her way home. Either way, the path can be a bit unnerving. I find myself humming that old Lou Reed song, “Walk on the Wild Side”, as I walk.

Deep dark untamed woods hold big, scary, archetypal energy for me and lots of other people; all those wild, uncivilized natural spaces where we might just meet something bigger and hungrier than us on the path. It is exciting and and enticing and scaryall at once. I think this is why our ancestors spent so much time trying to tame Mother Nature. Generation after generation of Americans have spent huge amounts of time and energy trying to corral and control Mother Nature;  e.g. clearing away the forests that once covered the northeastern US like they were tidying up a closet by throwing almost everything away. Or The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging and straightening and pushing around the Mississippi river decade after decade – we all saw how well that worked out for New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina made mincemeat of the Corps’ dykes.

Even logical and reasonable adults plant grass over mile after mile of suburban neighborhoods, then burn thousands of hours of free time and gallons of gasoline every weekend mowing their lawns down with military precision until the grass is a socially acceptable “tidy” length that resembles some perfectly green and uniform man-made carpet. We humans cannot seem to leave Nature to her own devices, can we?

Mother Nature scares the crap out of most humans. Mostof us either hide away in man-made homogenized boxes and pretend Nature doesn’t exist or we head out loaded for bear to try and kick Mother Nature’s butt and make her our bitch. In the end, neither way works very well.

I go visit an old tree every time I walk this path. Her diameter is larger than my wingspan. I remember the golden mean ratio – exactly how tall does that trunk diameter mean she is?  And how many rings does her trunk hold? Her rings must carry the wisdom and the history of this place at the edge of the path, this spot that she has anchored for at least 80 years . This tree has been here at the edge of this path for many, many years; she has seen all this human silliness before.

That’s where true wisdom comes from, being silent and still like an old tree; just absorbing what happens in whatever place I find myself today. And in taking the time to make the connections between what happens today and what happened yesterday on my path – and 2 years ago and 200 years ago. I need to remember to stop; get still, watch and listen to everything happening around me. And to take the time to reflect; to remember and store that longview of history like an old tree does.

I leave grandma tree and move on down the path. As I wander, I look up at the sky and realize that a storm is rapidly brewing on the horizon; it’s time to head for the safety of my house. Once home, I sit by the window in my study and watch the wind and rain thrash at the trees. Lightning splits the skyagain and again. Mother Nature is flexing her muscles. Even my tame garden seems a bit scary now. I watch the storm from a safe perch inside.

The path I choose again and again is not tame and civilized like a perfectly groomed suburban lawn. But it’s also not a solitary cabin surrounded by wilderness; I don’t require a life so wild and scary that I quiver with fear like the cowardly lion every time I venture out into the world.  I seem to constantly be searching for the middle path; in my mind I picture land on the boundary between wild woods and tame suburbs. That feels like the space where I belong.  It is the space where I feel most at home.

There has to be a way of living that is more in synch with my own inner nature. I want be find that way, to dig in and explore that middle path. I wonder if it is possible to live in way that is engaged with Mother Nature, fascinated and respectful of her powers rather than trying to subdue and mow and bend her to my will? And at the same time, can I develop a connection with Mother Nature so deep that I’m not left feeling completely helpless in her storms?

What is the middle path through this landscape? How do I become an actual friend and ally of Mother Nature? There are a thousand different opinions out there about how to walk softly on the earth; go vegan, buy local, grow your own, buy a hybrid, solar power… But I am wondering about diving deeper and making choices where I work with Mother Nature rather than doing things to her.

Whatever I choose has to come from my heart truly connecting with the natural world.  I wonder what will my life look like if I open up and deeply connect with Mother Nature? What would it look like to be close friends with this Earth? This feels like a shiftin my path… like rounding a bend on a trail and seeing a whole new vista opening up in front of me. And just like any great adventure, this new terrain is exciting and a little scary, but not too scary…

Sitting

I sit in Ridgen shrine room

I sit, I breathe

I scrawl words on paper

I feel happy and peaceful

I sit, I breathe

It begins to snow outside

I sit, I breathe

I write word after word

I feel sad, so sad

an old wound exposed

Snow falls

I sit, I breathe

Machinery hums outside

out of sight but still with me

I sit, I breathe

My hip aches, my nose is numb

I sit, I breathe

and wonder, why numb?

the pitch of a roof outside

catches my gaze

I sit, I breathe

My hip aches

I breathe with the ache

the hum, the roof

Snow falls

I sit, I breathe

I feel hungry

the hum, the ache

and the roof go on.