Spirit of 60 Road Trip: Conclusions

So fellow travelers, I can think of no better way to end a road trip than a day of visits with friends. My trip concluded with two days of such joys and I headed homeward filled with gratitude and a haiku in my heart

20170716_221645croppedHugs lunch and laughter

Tales of music grandkids dogs

Blessings of friendship

I arrived home in time to take my dog for a sunset walk.  It was good to be home, carrying a journal of notes and a portfolio of photos to sort through. Fodder waiting to form what became this series.

 

Writing and discovering the feelings embedded in the images I take helps me process my experiences. It is extremely difficult for me to weave together the narrative which creates the essence of the experience without sounding pretentious or full of hollow platitudes and trite banalities.

Take for example my experience with the Buddha at Chuang Yen Monastery.  When the experience began to crystalize into thoughts I could communicate I struggled with finding the words to do so.  I write often about seeking peace, finding joy, embracing hope and the Zen moments when I feel Light within me responding when I find them.  Honestly those moments are as fleeting and transient as the Light which inspires my photography.

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Most of the time I stumble through the commonplace pitfalls of getting through a day. Often I get stuck simply trying to get out of my own way.  Oh there have been periods of serenity and balance, times of joy and deep contentment;  I am blessed that they are becoming more frequent and inspiration is less elusive. Still a profound moment of near transcendence as I lived in the hall of the Great Buddha at Chuang Yen Temple is an exceedingly rare gift, something genuinely beyond description. I hope I did it justice.

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On the last morning of my road trip, which was a Sunday, I attended morning worship at Rupert United Methodist Church where my friend Tom Atkins is minister. It is a beautiful church with a small congregation of kind hearted people who are even more beautiful. Tom’s sermons are more spiritual encouragement and thoughtful discourse than exhortations for repentance.  If you have read any of his blog posts* which I have shared here, you have a sense of his honesty,  deep reasoning and lively sense of humor. He brings all that and more to his services at Rupert UMC.

By grace and good fortune, his talk that Sunday focused on the parable of seeds, a fitting reflection on the many kernels of insights I had gathered on my road trip.  The biblical narrative tells of seeds, scattered on different ground,  some landing on rocks, others on dry soil, others sprout but are choked by weeds and some land in just the right conditions to sprout, grow and bear fruit. Tom spoke about applying these analogies to our own spiritual environment. I saw rocks as hard and unrelenting anger, weeds as the habits which crowd out our potential and dry ground as fear which kills before inspiration can take root.  Tend to the condition of your spiritual dirt, Tom said, and you will find the seeds scattered your way will bring a plentiful harvest.  He had a flat of bright red salvia plants, end of the season “discards” from a local garden shop which he encouraged us to take home to plant as symbols of our committment to attending to our inner gardens.

Now I have several plants tucked in special spots around my pond and in my little herb garden, reminders of the gifts of friendship and the simple wisdom in the parable of the seeds. I sense there are many seeds gathered into my inner garden which will bear harvest throughout the coming year. There will I hope be much to share. Thanks for reading.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

*Editors note: You can follow Tom’s blog on wordpress here.

 

 

 

Leading Edge of the Storm

So fellow travelers, this is my view as I head to the morning rally at the Federal Building downtown. 

Ours is one of hundreds of rallies and marches in support of the Womens March on Washington DC. All over the world, people of all genders, ethnicities and faiths are gathering in support of women’s rights, civil rights, Human rights.

Some gather at great risk in countries where peaceful protest is forbidden. Yet I am mindful of that legislators in five states of our own country have introduced laws to endanger the right to peaceful demonstration.

Not on my watch. 

Today hearts and hands join in peace and unity for liberty and justice for all . Tomorrow the real work of moving forward begins.

Walk gently on on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready. 

Stand Up

We believe kindness cannot sit down simply because anger has stood up.”  Penzeys*

So fellow travelers, recent dialogues on various social media forums has given rise to much conflict.  There’s been some collateral damage, fractured relationships and unraveling of connections. Yet within my own circle of close friends and family, we seem to have weathered the storm of uncertain times. I’ve been pondering why.

And then someone left a comment on a post I shared which contained an article about a respected civil rights leader being discounted and belitted by another elected official. Up to that point I had considered it an act of kindness to quietly remove negative, ill-informed comments, which have thankfully been rare on most of my forums. To date, I simply removed those comments without responding, although it often left me wondering if people fully grasped what their negative comments reflected about them. I try to be mindful of “casting the first stone,” we all have our flaws.  

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Love is always there, sometimes we have to look closely.

It was not the negative tone of the comment which coalesced my thoughts. It was the willingness to post without regard for the truthfulness of their comment. Worse yet it came from someone I respected, someone I thought would know enough to vet their information more thoroughly rather than simply pass along an inaccurate “headline.”

I’m not against engaging in a thoughtful exchange of opposing ideas when the content is accurate and free from personal attack towards me, other individuals or groups of fellow humans. I feel it is important to note my circle does encompass a fairly broad range of ideological stances. I firmly believe understanding different perspectives is essential in embracing the wonderful diversity of human society.

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 How boring our world would be if we were all the same. Wall collage, Portland Oregon 

I was the subject of a fair amount of bullying as a “half-breed” kid in a very white neighborhood. I may have forgiven but rest assured I never forgotten the sting of those taunts. Now, as a mixed race, internationally educated woman who works with special needs students I strive for acceptance and tolerance. I do my best to keep a positive focus in what I publish here. I’m not trying to minimize the issues, indeed its quite the opposite.  In truth I feel there’s enough negativity to fill the Grand Canyon out there. My feeling is “Let’s not add to it here.”

I said the same on my Facebook page, which I also try to keep focused on positive perspectives and action with a healthy dash of irreverent humor. Heaven knows if we can’t laugh at ourselves from time to time we truly have lost our way.

So I felt the time had come to post some clearly defined boundaries on my page. I am deeply grateful the majority of friends in my social media circles don’t need those reminders. I asked simply for comments to be respectful, accurate and kind. If it’s not something one would say face to face to someone else, then it is not welcome on my feed.

Kindness matters, to me, to our society, to our world. Going forward I hope to see it expand and shine hope into an increasingly uncertain future.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

 

*The opening quote came from a post on Penzeys Spices web page.  The post goes on to say  “It’s simply not enough to point and say “Can’t you see what they’re doing here?” In the long run you have to offer people a better vision of the future, a vision they want more. ” and they walk their talk. I’m glad I found them.

the first present

So fellow travelers, on my annual holiday road trip to distribute gifts and hugs to my side of the family, we drove from windswept snowbound vistas through freezing drizzle in the Poconos arriving at last in not-quite-as-Sunny-as-the-show-claims-Philadelphia. Warm hugs, cheerful banter and hearty meals quickly dispelled the gloominess of grey skies. I woke this morning to find this post from my good friend Kate in my blog feed. This has been a holiday season with too many empty chairs at the table. It is good to have friends who keep the embers in our souls alive when the winds of change seem hell bent on extinguishing hope. As I read I could feel her rich tapestry of words wrap around me like a soft warm blanket. May peace and comfort bless us all.

Life With Horace

there are trees here too
grown out of deep soil pockets
heads above the hardy root dug
mountain friends of home
this gathered woody host a nest
to hold a house containing
every one I love
still sleeping as the light
creeps up all cloudy
through the rain
a christmas only minds eye white
with clear skied sunrise
catching tree tops
by surprise
red bronze briefly
glistened with strings of
love and memory
from those gone ahead
beams creak awake
almost the hour
for letting loose small bodies
counting moments since last night
behind me thumps and sighs
two sets of eyes meet mine
my patient dogs
the first gift of the day
belongs to them
and we are kitchen bound

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a small gift of words, a time filled with more love than things, christmas as it should be. my heart is very full.

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Solstice Circle

So fellow travelers, last night a good friend of mine from my Vision Quest years hosted a drumming circle to honor the Winter Solstice.

We  sent a big vibrant wave of energy out to enfold our world and all creatures living here.

Consider yourselves hugged.

You’re welcome.

 We all needed it, I know.

This morning as all the lights and bushes by my little pond were being blessed with a sparkling coat of new snow, these words rose from the silence~

Drumbeats call hearts join

Let Peace and Light hug our world

Solstice Circle Song

 Blessings of the season to all.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.


… on the complexity of ‘all you need is love’

A Big Magic moment when creative hearts and minds connected and wove something of substance. Consider yourselves “Dingled” as we call it. It’s quite a gift.

just ponderin'

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Wind At Sea

Sailboats are more about knots than nets, so you’re going to have to bear with me.

The other day I was messaging with a friend in that very cool, smooth, to and fro way that friends who have invested in the creation of a history do.

At one point we were touching on some of the life stuff we were each seeing and feeling and she was half joking that she was going to write a ‘house on fire’ poem and I said I was half thinking about writing one about cults, but was having trouble finding words that rhymed with ‘cult’.

She offered a few close rhymes – dolt, colt, molt, volt.

I volleyed back that I was thinking of making up my own words.

Lult – as in I was lult into a false sense of security.

Mult – as in I multed under…

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Letting Ghosts Be

So fellow travelers, as I mentioned yesterday I am on an extended weekend trip visiting friends.

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Dawn at a rest stop

Taking a few days for myself at the end of the school year is something I’ve been doing for several years.  Whether I camp  at a favorite spot or take a quick road trip it’s my way of hitting the reset button. When I return home I am ready to tackle the substantial list of to do items which has accumulated during the school year. Yes, July and August are two reasons I love my job at our local high school.

For the past few years I’ve attended a bi-annual event where a growing number of people from a creative group gathered. Often we were meeting in person for the first time,  yet it felt as if we had known each other for ages.  That’s a tribute to what can happen when people are given a space to be open, honest and genuinely themselves.

There were of course the elements of darkness, which we all know are part of us, an inevitable piece of our flawed human condition. Over time the group fractured when the shadows grew too menacing and real to be ignored. My decision to leave came only after I had taken time to process my feelings and I was clear my reasons were a core decision not a reactive response.

Thankfully the friendships formed have remained intact, at least for me and several of those friendships are the reason I attended part of the events this past weekend. I meet with several of my friends for either lunch or dinner, wandered quiet nature spots and purchased beautiful treasures at the event’s art show. I was blessed to hear one friend give an inspirational sermon on Sunday morning and another read poetry from her book published just last year.

Yet there were echoes from memories of those I missed.  “There are ghosts here ” one friend said to me. Indeed. I knew there would be, which was why I went.

I went to meet those ghosts and make peace with what was both lost and gained. I was there because I believed connections forged from truth cannot be destroyed by lies. I stood knowing my faith in Light is stronger than my fear of darkness. Finally, I left thankful for the lessons learned and willing to let the ghosts be. They taught me well.

 

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Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Morning Grace

So fellow travelers, I woke this morning to birds songs and golden light in tall pine trees

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Such sweet melodies following a pre-dawn serenade of coyote calls would be grace enough to fill my heart with happiness.  Yet blessings abound this morning as I take in the joy of spending some time with my good friend Kate and her canine companions Horace and Aggie

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This visit is one we had in mind for awhile, which for one reason or another didn’t fall into place until this year. It’s timing is perfect coming a week after a major family  transition and right on the heels of a weekend filled with ghost wrangling (post pending on that matter.)

Sitting on her sunporch, second cup of coffee on hand, I can actually feel the breeze gently lifting heaviness from my soul.  As the wind dances through the trees  I’m taking in the cheerful twitter of goldfinches and warblers, grateful that things happen exactly when they need to on the path.  Let the ghosts rise and fall with the shadows on the walls. My spirit is ready to take in their lessons.

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Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Mother’s Day

So fellow travelers,  just some simple words and a gift from the garden this morning.

The opportunity to nurture life is the best gift.
To be nurtured by others is the greatest blessing.
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Whatever your reason may you celebrate this day with joy.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

A Blessing

So fellow travelers,  I’m on a quick road trip to visit family.
The early light created some simple words this morning

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Easter morning Light
Peace and blessings fill all hearts
Let Love grace your days.

I hope you celebrate Spring and new life in the ways which bring you joy.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.