Slow Food for Thought

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(beautiful art by Loren Webster)

 

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

– John O’Donohue

“Slow time” is a pair of words I like to linger within, when I can remember to slow down long enough to do so. It reminds me of a Japanese phrase- “mono no aware”- the heightened, yet transient ahh-ness of things. What comes to mind right away when I think about this are lifecycle moments: a peony at its peak, ready to drip its plethora of petals, a moist forest carpeted with the plums and browns of decaying leaves just before the snows come in, or a young fawn on spindly legs still speckled with the soft signs of just being born. I remember having just discovered the term “mono no aware” on a hot summer day in Palm Springs, California. Looking up at the sky for the first time with this new awareness gave me such a fresh perspective. It brought me immediately into a place of gladness, presence, and the present. How long would the sky remain that shade of blue? When would that cloud formation change into a new form? I didn’t know, but in that moment, I granted myself the time to appreciate every second before me- each tinge of perfection and change in its own current and unique state. I had somehow entered into “slow time”.

Saint Flannery

Saint Flannery. That’s how my daughter and her college mentor referred to her one day when I was delightfully listening in on their lively conversation. Sharp as a double-edged sword slicing the smallest sliver of light into the darkness with just a glimmer visible. That’s how I envision the work of Saint Flannery. She’s a good reminder to look closely at the beauty that spills out from the unseemly places. “I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing”, Miss O’Connor once said. What can you find today “with one eye squinted”? How about taking an “Adventure into the Surprising” and see what you come up with? What is now lurking in the most unexpected places? Enjoy!

The intriguing portrait shared today is by Ande Cook.

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The Web of Life

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February is a great month to contemplate the “web of life”. Many things are still buried in the ground, waiting for the impending “waking up” time as the ribbons and tributaries of under-life connect to one another, mostly invisible to our sight, but preparing to sprout up, spin out, weave together, and burst forth! Chief Seattle said, “Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it.” Let’s celebrate our part in the worldwide web (of life, that is) by noticing, with joyful humility, our place in the intricate weavings of it. Let’s take an “Adventure into Connectivity” this month by walking out Chief Seattle’s words. If you’d like, there’s an adventure awaiting you in chapter 11 of my book, “Camino Divina”! Enjoy

The colorful, beautiful piece on display today is by Vijay Sharon Govender.

Writing in Response to Our Times

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An Opportunity to Join Me in Port Townsend!

Writing in Response to Our Times
with Sarah Zale and Whidbey author, Gina Marie Mammano
Fridays, 1p.m. – 3 p.m.every other week (8 meeting times)
at The Writers’ Workshoppe located at 820 Water Street, Port Townsend, WA
Feb 10 & 24, March 10, 24, April 7 &21, May 5 & 19
Cost. $200.
Max. 10 participants.

Has the aftermath of the election affected you personally? Are you feeling the need to wrestle and rumble with your thoughts and emotions—as well as connect with others in reflective and transformative ways? In this writing workshop, you will explore your stories and feelings with two facilitators from eclectic backgrounds: poetry, Compassionate Listening ®, social justice theatre, meditation, and spiritual leadership. Participants will be invited to share their writing on a voluntary basis in a supportive environment; no experience is necessary. All writing styles welcome.

Sarah Zale teaches poetry and writing, social justice, and intercultural competence in Seattle. A certified facilitator of Compassionate Listening ® and facilitator of Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback, she brings the skills of deep listening and interactive theatre to her students. Sarah is a passionate believer in the power of poetry and the arts to transform and heal ourselves and the world. She has published two collections of poetry: The Art of Folding (2010), which was inspired by her travels to Israel and Palestine, and Sometimes You Do Things (2013, Aquarius Press, Living Detroit Series) which highlights the history of Detroit and celebrates its rebuilding.

Gina Marie Mammano: Inspired by the ancient spiritual practices of lectio divina and walking meditation, Gina’s book Camino Divina: Walking the Divine Way helps readers explore whole new worlds inside themselves. Gina is an award winning poet whose work has been published in journals and magazines such as the Dos Passos Review, Poetica, Pilgrimage Journal, Bearings, and Crucible. Her training as a spiritual director, work as a retreat leader, and experiences gleaned from the OpeniCng the Book of Nature program have allowed her the ability to create interactive and intuitive listening exercises both in the interior and exterior landscapes.

Are you a falcon, a storm, or a great song?

Happy birthday Rainer Maria Rilke! Among the crystal cold awakenings we experience during the birth of winter in this month of December, I love to think about Rilke’s clarity of thought in lines like this one: “I circle around God, around the primordial tower. I’ve been circling for thousands of years and I still don’t know: am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song.” I’ve pondered this line more than once before, and was even asked by one of my teachers which one I would choose. How about you? Are you a falcon, a storm, or a great song? The adventure I take with this “Saint of Centers” in my book “Camino Divina”, is one of well, centering- “into the heart of things”. I invite you to come along. Enjoy!

The encaustic painting featured today is by Caterina Martinico, an artist featured on Etsy.

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An Adventure Into the Familiar

It’s a good November day to think about author and poet Wendell Berry and things familiar- things to be grateful for- the miniscule, the often unnoticed. He once wrote: “The search withholds the joy from what is found” in his poem “Boone”. It seems like a great time peek around the corners of the everyday, the familiar, and utter a small or extra large helping of “thank you”, even though it may be hard in times like these. I’m in the city of Seattle as I write this, grateful for every person who opens a door for another, every smile given gratis, every face of every color and shade. Let’s keep opening the door for one another, and say “thank you” to every kindness or a glisten of light that comes our way today.

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Small Things that Reflect the Light

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A dear friend of mine and I were talking about the antidote to a toxic climate in this election. I’ve resolved to come up with one or two or more, much like the rriiiiipppping! sound of tearing off a prescription in a doctor’s office. My first prescription for myself was a poignant reading written by Richard Rohr on his “Center for Action and Contemplation” site.  My second one is this: small things that reflect light. What small things all around you are reflecting light today . . . including you?

Feel free to post a picture or description on this site- let’s share the love, and the light!