Broken Hallelujah

If you’ve been following along here or on social media, you’ve likely noticed that poems have been the theme as of late, especially April.  Here in Minnesota, it was a cold spring, and I was at what would be the close of a very long struggle with persistent illness – not the sort of illness … Continue reading Broken Hallelujah

Year In Review: Really?

Yes, this is a post about 2016, a classic “year in review” run-down, a “hey look at me, this is what happened in my life” kind of post.  Because this is my website, so I can do this sort of thing.  If you have a website, maybe you can do the same.  If you don’t have a website, you could even do this on a piece of paper.  The point is to find the clarity in the messes, the good among the catastrophe, and the pattern that flows through the chaos.

Danielle LaPorte posed five questions to herself, and they seem like good ones to ask as I reflect on the past year.  So I’ll go ahead and borrow them — here they are: Continue reading “Year In Review: Really?”

A Thanksgiving of Unnoticed Gratitude

It’s Thanksgiving time here in the United States, and what a strange season we are in.  There’s a war being waged on peaceful indigenous people and their allies in North Dakota, people who are continuing to stand strong to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline from being completed (and eventually poisoning the Missouri river watershed.)  People in high office in this country seem to have missed the history lessons that taught us about the horrors that result from unchecked, systematic racism and the danger that lies in acting from fear, hate, entitlement, and greed. Work hours are long, jobs are lost, people are sick, the dog is getting old.  There are many things to lament.  But we might do ourselves a favor and take a break from the lamenting to give thanks as well.  Gratitude is always possible. Elie Wiesel wrote, “When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.” Continue reading “A Thanksgiving of Unnoticed Gratitude”

To Dance With Mountains

What would it be like to dance with mountains?  To sway with the majestic alpine wildflowers that dot the valleys, or to listen to the whisper of clear snowmelt as it cascades to lower ground over a bed of stones smoothed to perfection?  To kiss the pine needles, to breathe the scent of ancient bedrock mystery?  Or to walk in step with the peaks that have been stripped of life, or the valleys that have been clearcut and left for dead? The toxic rivers, the tundra fracked of life, the homeless topsoil that can’t hold on?  How do we love our failed expectations alongside our beautiful victories? How can our defeats, our poor choices, and our monsters co-exist with our grace, our goodness, and our love? How do we embrace them all and hear what they have to say?

Dance with mountains.
Continue reading “To Dance With Mountains”

Broken Open

The sorrow, grief, and rage you feel is a measure of your humanity and your evolutionary maturity. As your heart breaks open there will be room for the world to heal. 

~Joanna Macy

Politics.  Human decency.  Disrespect for women.  Self hatred.  Governmental control.  Fear. Complacency.  Planetary destruction.  Stealing.   Dishonoring sacred sites.  Destroying nations.  The despair of the poor.   The despair of the rich.  Outrage.  Ignorance.  Brushing it under the rug.  Dishonesty.  Hope.  Hopelessness. Wondering.  Paying the bills.  Running away.  Feeling stuck.

This list could continue on for some time.  The words that describe what’s happening on the planet earth right now are many, and they don’t always make you  want to jump for joy or sigh in relief.   Of course, there is goodness and that which is worthy of gratitude alongside the parts that make you want to scream in frustration or shake someone.  But sometimes it’s hard to notice the good stuff.  Continue reading “Broken Open”

A Hidden Wholeness

Five hours west of here, indigenous people from 300 tribes around the world have gathered in prayer and protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Each week more tribes announce their solidarity with the people of Standing Rock, offering up songs of healing and prayers for the protection of the earth’s water.  A fellow resident of the St. Croix Valley took her three young daughters to deliver winter supplies to those who have  put their regular lives on hold to stand in protection of this essential Missouri River watershed.  Others remain committed to oil and the short term promises it makes. Tension builds, and armed police continue to gather in opposition while the main steam media remains quiet.

The wind has been blowing the last few days, ushering in the colder air from the north to let summer know the time for blossoming and long days of outdoor warmth are over.  The forecast for tonight calls for a freeze, and I brought in all of the vegetables and fruits that still lingered in the fields.  The water from the hose I used to wash the leeks and potatoes felt like ice, and I moved quickly to get the job done.   Continue reading “A Hidden Wholeness”

Bits of Astonishment

An excerpt from Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth – available wherever books are sold. 

 

About a month ago, we pulled into the driveway after a great five days up along the north shore of Minnesota, still reveling in the tonic that is Lake Superior, anticipating a low key few days of unpacking before returning to the usual work schedule.  We ambled down the path from the garage, happy to be out of the car and walked into the house to a putrid smell and reports that the septic alarm had been going off for an indeterminate amount of time in our absence.  Awesome.  Turns out a little creature of some sort had chewed through the cord that powered the septic pump, shorting it out.  Could have been much worse.  All and all and easy fix for Nick, and we were back in business.  But the smell….remained.  For another day we pondered just what could be making the kitchen stink.  Eventually we followed some clues and found a decomposing mouse behind the fridge.  Again, awesome.  But we got rid of it, gave the cats a pep talk and life carried on.  Then I got a call that my credit card number had been stolen and there was someone in Texas trying to charge a trip to Thailand on my Visa.  And the grass needed to be mowed and the garden weeded.   Then the water heater broke, one of our indoor cats got out and was lost for a day and a half, and my retreat co-leader broke her foot and couldn’t come to the retreat we had been planning for several months.   And then the road construction workers cut the phone lines that run to our house and we were down phone and internet for several days…and still are, truth be told.  Not a big deal, really, except for when you work from home calling people and working on the internet.   (And that’s just what happened in my own little privileged bubble – the events happening in tandem with my own mini dramas in terms of racial inequality and war and planetary destruction would make this little list much, much longer.)

It’s been a rough month. Continue reading “Bits of Astonishment”