Here in the mountains of North Carolina we are experiencing the first days of spring. It’s been a long winter in so many ways and most people I talk to are breathing a giant sigh of relief that we have made it through. Of course there are still signs of the heavy snows, tree branches broken, an occasional patch of snow seen as you ride along the northside of the Blue Ridge Parkway. But our focus is on the green shoots popping up, daffodils blooming, birds chirping their song of renewal. We are an optimistic species in general who often get caught up in our stories of how things have been rather than what is new. And so we take purposeful action to find what is new and bright and possible. And thus we see more of it.
Chirping birds are beckoning us to the outdoors and that is where I hope you will spend your day, soaking up the first day of spring. It’s finally here! And with it new starts. Things that look like the past are just a memory. Things that you don’t recognize but notice are the present building upon the future. Pay attention to things you don’t recognize… (The image above is from my book “Dare to Dream“.)
I’ve been listening to Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader on Democracy Now. The interview by Amy Goodman started with Dennis Kucinich apparently is the deciding vote on the healthcare bill as it stands. What I understood from the interview is that Rep. Kucinich had little choice as there is no consensus in the congress to provide a public option within the bill, which I still don’t understand what that means. Kucinich has compromised his desire for a fair healthcare system in order to get the bill passed. Rather this bill than none, is his position. The conversation went into the war in Afghanistan and how we have become a society that accepts war as a natural course. Ralph Nader contends that we are being yet pushed aside for the bigger interest of corporations. He wants the American people to get angry and demand a system that provides healthcare for all. He wants us to take to the streets as the people in France do. Civil demonstration, peaceful demonstration, letting our voices be heard that we are not a society that wants war. We are a society that wants peace. We want love to be the dominant force in the world. I am in agreement that we must all take a stand personally. Begin with self. Let your desire for a peaceful and loving existence begin in your heart, your soul, your entire being. Be peaceful and loving. Peace and love starts right here.
The start of a new day, new week, new time zone and most importantly a slide into spring! Winter was a more difficult than most winters have been in the years I have lived in Asheville. But who wants to talk about snow when there are green shoots popping up in gardens, birds preparing their nests and a general feeling of “wooohooooo, we made it!” in the air? Let’s focus on possibilities. What is new today that wasn’t apparent last Monday? It seems we have learned that there is a time for every season. We’ve been strengthened by the more difficult moments, preparing to be all we are, through the restraint of being held captive through weather and economy. Think about the most glorious flower being groomed below the earth to grunt its way through the warming soil, soak up the nourishing rains to grow the bud and finally spring open and face the sun. It’s spring, y’all.
When I was in first grade, our reading workbooks were “Think and Do” books. “Dick and Jane, we look and see, we work and play, we come and go.” I just pulled this image off the internet. Did it really look so, well, 1950-ish? And the answer is of course, as it was 1950-ish. Oye, how time flies. Why I thought about Dick and Jane is this morning as I walked around Asheville, I saw a very defined and colored inside the lines print that said “Draw outside the lines.” While my friend and I puzzled at the depiction of such a directive, I immediately went back in time to the day that Sister Alice Mary smashed my little hands with a ruler and hung a sign around my neck that said “I am a dummy”. I had tired of coloring in the multitude of little leaves on the tree hiding Dick and Jane and friends faces and taken the broad side of my crayon and simply colored the whole tree (and spaces between) green. That day I learned to color strictly inside the lines. Note my very distinct black line art style. Good things do come from kinda icky things.
Sister AM’s message had a big effect on my life. Do not think and do on your own, but follow strict rules or experience pain and be labeled a dummy. My little 6 year old self bought that, as many little 6 year old selves did and do. We give our little ones messages that being who they are is not acceptable. Conform or lose. My mission in life is to counteract that message and encourage a new message that who you are is SO much more than enough.
So please. Let your little one (and that might be you) be who they are. Support and direct them to explore what that might be, who that might be. Watch them and learn for yourself how to live life with creativity and allowance.
This weekend was yoga training weekend. We spent some time on the throat chakra, the communication chakra that supports speaking the truth. It’s the deep truth, the one that we share with ourself. It is the knowing of who we are at the soul level. We sat in meditation for 45 minutes at the beginning of the day yesterday, practicing alternate nostril breathing. Somewhere toward the end, I noticed the quiet place of being inside this body. I noticed that no matter what the shape of this body is, I am there. I thought for a moment of someone who is inside a body that doesn’t work so well and the strength of their spirit, being of exceptional value to the world, large or small.
I am grateful for a very healthy and strong body. It has not yet reached its peak, though I am moving towards it. My work has not yet reached its peak and I am moving toward that. I am well supported in life, up or down. Lately the roller coaster of emotions has been active yet subdued. I’ve got an awareness that all is well, no matter how it looks. People who seek peace and love are becoming more vocal. It is becoming more and more clear that it takes us coming together with a common intention to get things done. People are partnering and re-partnering, becoming more aware of each moment. “Make today today.” (lyrics from a song by James Taylor) It’s another way of saying live in the moment. Make now now and not the next day or the day before.
Maybe you have noticed that I have been having difficulty writing every day for the last few weeks. Apparently I am in resistance to digging a little further into the truth. In these early weeks of 2010 I seem to be having an identity crisis. Who am I? Am I the person I think I am? When someone asks me what do I do, I respond with a clutch in my throat that I am an artist, a writer, a teacher, and finally that I make my living through graphic design. And I wait for some sort of etheric affirmation that doesn’t come clearly enough for me to believe I am right. And then how could I not be? The measure seems to be where does the money come from. I can only settle into the last part of the statement, making my living through graphic design. Kind of my blessed little fall back since I haven’t been able to slug through creating my living through what I believe is my purpose, my calling. And so I write my blog, I illustrate Verbal Remedies and post them, and offer them for sale. Hoping something sticks well enough to create traction. What does traction look like? Traction is the number of readers of this blog growing exponentially, sales of the product line taking off and supporting me, teaching gigs at least once a month, having a consistent partner to work with daily. “Where two or more are gathered, amazing things begin…”
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This weekend was full up with possibilities as the moon rose to full. Yesterday I went to Jubilee!, a “creation spirituality” church in downtown Asheville. I don’t go so much anymore, though when I do I am always touched either briefly or deeply. Yesterday was deeply moving. A friend I hadn’t seen in 6 years came up from Raleigh. When I knew him, he was sad because he wished his life to be full of love, a wife, a family. He came back yesterday with his family to celebrate his son’s 4 year old birthday. To see the peace and the joy on their faces filled me up with love like a rushing river of hope. Howard Hangar’s (the minister) theme for the day was magic. Seeing the magic. When we see the magic, we can have it. If we miss it, we cannot have it. Look for the magic this week. It is all around you.