What does it mean to “cultivate”? Well, it could mean to prepare the soil for planting, or to acquire or develop something such as a skill or quality. Whatever it is you are cultivating, that’s the first step– then once you’ve cultivated, you’re ready to plant and tend, and eventually reap the harvest of the … Continue reading 12 Tiny Things: Cultivate
The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of the land, not potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are biological kin, not resources; … Continue reading Earth Day in a New Story
At 4:30pm on most weekdays, I walk up the steps from the basement where my office is, fill the kettle with water and put it on the stove. The dial gets turned to the number 7, and while the water heats up, I open the cupboard to get a ceramic mug with a moose painted … Continue reading Ceremonies of the Ordinary
Root to Rise. What comes to mind when you think about what it might mean for you to “root to rise”? In the 12 Tiny Things community group, the last 12 months have been spent moving through different areas of life: From home to work to spirituality to creativity to food to community, we’ve taken … Continue reading Root to Rise
Rabbi Rachel Timoner said, “..forgetting is the single biggest obstacle to living the life we intend to live. Think about how we learn or improve ourselves: We observe our behavior and imagine a better way. We set an intention. We apply our will. But then time passes. We are busy. Our minds are pulled in … Continue reading On Forgetting
What does it mean to “nourish our roots?” That question could be answered in myriad ways, but one constant is that to effectively nourish, said ‘nourishment’ must often be ingested in small bites. When I water the garden in the summer, the plants do much better when I give them a steady, small stream of water over time rather than if I just dump a whole bucket on at once. And interestingly (and not surprisingly) when I meditate I get a lot more out of five minutes than I do out of an hour. Because when I try to do an hour? It doesn’t last. But five minutes? That I can handle, even days at a time. Tiny doesn’t have to mean insignificant. Tiny can actually mean commitment and impact, if we let small things be enough. Because when enough builds, we find that we have a strong root system. A foundation that won’t crumble. A sustainable way of operating in the world. Less overwhelm in a culture that often feels out of control. Continue reading “12 Tiny Things”
Here we are at the end of another December. A time for looking back over the past year and looking ahead into the new one. Some of us will indulge “one last time” before beginning a strict diet on January 1st. Some of us will set lofty goals to exercise 6 days a week at the gym that we hate. Some will get out a blank journal with the intent of getting up early every single day to write down three positive thoughts. New years resolutions come in many forms, and sometimes they even stick for awhile. Benefits have been seen by setting one’s sights on making change with the turn of the calendar year.
But. So often it’s the same old same old every year. The diet starts strong and tapers off by February. It turns out we still hate the gym enough to stay home more often than not. “Thinking positive” starts to feel like pulling the wool over our eyes and avoiding the root issue. New years resolutions can be useful in setting a path forward, but they also fail a large percentage of the time. They don’t do what we really want them to do. They don’t change what we want them to change.
Do we throw in the resolution towel then? Stop setting goals since we just fail at them over and over again? Embrace our negative thinking since that’s what feels real?
Maybe. Actually, I propose we do all of those things.
When I hear the words “the blue of longing,” I am transported to a dusty red four-speed Toyota that doesn’t have air conditioning, and I’m driving west across South Dakota. It’s August and there’s a cassette tape playing since no radio stations will tune in without static. After miles of corn fields give way to miles of grassy pasture; after the Missouri river valley gives way to rolling tall grass prairie; after I cross through the barren beauty of Badlands spires reaching toward the sky, after the signs for Wall Drug say, “wait, you missed it!”……after all of that I finally come to the place where the Black Hills loom in the distance, and I marvel at the sudden change in the horizon. There is a reason these mountains are called what they are – when they appear in the windshield, it is like looking into layer upon layer of coal colored refreshment against the brightness of a late summer sky. I am astonished at the majestic expanse that commands my sight lines and the welcoming darkness of what lays ahead. Surely there is myth and magic to be found once I arrive at this oasis. And then at some point as I continue on the westward journey, it’s gone. Once I reach the point where identifying individual hills and trees is possible, the black has vanished and only the landscape remains. They are just hills, now – beautiful and sacred as they always were, but the mystery that came with the space that was once between me and the place I sought is as gone as the distance that was closed to nothing. And when I look up and out past the place where the hills give way to grasslands again, I can see hints of the next place that I seek, and the color that tints that desire to arrive. The myth and magic remains just around the next corner. Continue reading “The Blue of Longing”