The name change…
First of all, yes I can.
Next, yes you can. What are you doing in your life that you think you can’t change, “you said you would and what would they think if you…”
Well, I made myself a promise. I was going to do this project for 365 days and I am, but when your house burns down and you are flipped over on your head nothing looks the same. I have been having trouble getting here as often as I should to keep up because it just didn’t fit any more. Not the commitment to a 365 day project. I made myself a promise that I would not stop until I hit 365 days and I won’t but a few other things besides the alchemical changes the fire has wrought in my life have helped me make this decision…
1) I would sometimes like to write about other things that don’t fit with the project but are important for me to write about here so I am allowing the space to do just that. Mostly it will be the 365 days project but I will tuck other things in here and there.
2) I knew that mindfulness was a popular topic, and the practice has been around for millennia, and my own mindfulness practice has been in place for nearly 4 decades, but I had NO idea JUST how popular it was. Mindfulness is such a buzzword these days even I’m tired of hearing it because when anything gets parroted about that much it loses it’s meaning. People want to jump on the mindfulness bandwagon and start labeling themselves mindfulness this and that when they don’t even have a steady practice in place. I know real examples but I am not about to put them here. Suffice it to say that it is just too sacred to me to use this word just to fit in with the present popular milieu. I just won’t do it.
3) SARK has been mentoring me for almost 2 years. I have just sent the last 2 chapters to her because she is ending this program and I sent her a couple of entries from this blog. She has read others and liked them very much. What is the name of the book? Mindfulness For The Rest Of Us. You know, ordinary folks who aren’t going to put a picture of Buddha and a cup of tea on the cover of the book but are in the nitty gritty with it, hanging by their fingernails, barely able to hang onto a ragged edge of the present moment but they are trying. This is how I live, this is what I teach, and I’m sure as hell not going to get any medals for my practice but it is real and it is decades long and it is imperfect but it works and has stood the test of time so I could honestly use the word, and I have, but I have grown increasingly uneasy with it.
Most of my posts barely mention mindfulness as a practice with how-to’s but every single post is rooted in this life that has the practice as the bones of the life holding it up. Still, the more I look around at what people are offering up via mindfulness I see steps and how-to’s and that just doesn’t work for me. So I am changing the title. The posts really won’t be any different, essentially, except for one thing, and that has to do with the concept of “Being Present” and the fact that I take photographs like I breathe and as I do not live working with or talking to other people all day I often speak in photographs. More entries will be photographs with a few words. It is the way I am present in my life and it is a way I can be present almost daily here without not showing up because I feel like I have to write a long post. I am starting the HEALING A WOMAN’S HEART WORLDWIDE WOMEN’S CIRCLE & WISDOM SCHOOL, and I am already taking commissions and working on expanding THE 100 LADIES PROJECT. Inotherwords I have a LOT of work now to do, but this blog is my heart and this project is very important to me. This is the way I can keep up and keep all of my plates spinning.
4) To be alive is to be continually shapeshifting. If you are not, God help you. Breathing gently and going with the flow of the changes is what keeps me flexible in life. This 365 days project is a living, breathing thing. It is not, nor was it ever meant to be, given my bi polary days and whatnot, consecutive days straight through, but I do want to stay on track as best I can while still allowing this marvelous process to grow and change and be what it needs to be. Maybe it’s just me but this is how I roll. I believe absolutely anything is possible in life if you let it grow organically and find a way, or ways, to work that may not be how you first imagined it, but that is the exciting thing about life. Every single day, every single moment, are electric, literally, scientifically. Stasis =Dead. Allow everything, don’t say no to anything, learn to love surprises, and buy yourself an ice cream cone every time you get brave enough to just make the leap from one place to another even if no one around you understands. The right path is the one that works and makes you happy. Period.
Alright, moving on.
Just above is the bark of the tree at the top that is so very tall it reaches nearly up to the clouds. It is a very old loblolly pine and it is in the back yard of this rental house. When I met this tree I knew I would be okay here.
I am deeply connected to trees. You know this if you have been reading my posts for awhile because I have a deep love for and strong connection to the trees on my land at Dragonfly Cottage. I really miss them. I would wrap my arms around them, cry into their bark, let their branches hold me, kiss them, and gather their leaves solemnly, these leaves the real currency of my life. Here, post fire, bereft and still trying to heal, I stumbled out back with the dogs, crying so hard my eyes were swollen, just after we moved in here, and then I saw the tree, and I gasped. I stood up straight. I looked up and up and up. I nearly fell into the tree as into the arms of a mother and I wrapped my arms around it and held on tight and as the bark grew wet from my tears so too did I gain strength from leaning against it.
Some days now I walk out with the dogs and as they amble about I put my hands on the tree, close my eyes, and just breathe. I can feel the energy of the tree. My heart beats in rhythm with it. The day that I connected with this tree was truly the day the deepest healing began.
I want to ask you to do this. Look at the picture at the top of this post of the tree reaching up into the sky. Now, look at the closeup of the bark. How often do you find yourself as if looking up into the sky without ever seeing what is right in front of you? And when you look at the second picture remember that there is more than just the little details that you are clinging to as if they are the only thing that matters. There is something so much bigger than that. And the thing is, they both matter. We need both perspectives. Look up at the glory of the tree reaching toward the heavens. Remember that life is filled with potent possibility abundant farther than the eye can see, but never forget the small miracles that are right in front of you. If you can get those two things, and remember them, you don’t have to have a mindfulness “practice.” You will be living one.
I just put my hand on the tree and breathe. When I am in communion with the natural world I am plugged-in, I am healthy, I am strong, I know that I can do anything. When I forget I go outside and put my hands on the tree or my arms around it or my face against it and I wait. I have gone out in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. The trees tell me bedtime stories, they take me into their arms and cradle and rock me. To be held by a tree, so tenderly, is the only true lover I have ever known.
I have been really sick for 3 days. Unable to sleep at night because of the coughing. So tired I got teary, you know what I mean. And I went out today and just leaned against the tree and asked it to give me strength. I feel much better tonight.
I am looking to the future with tremendous excitement. I have so many hopes and dreams and plans, but tonight I am tired. I am going to sit here with pugs snuggled in close and doodle and draw and write in my journal. I am going to rest here a little, and tomorrow I will go back outside and lean against the tree and see what the day will bring.