Thursday, May 31, 2012

Getting Going

"Wherever you go
Wherever you are
You are a blessing"
Rabbi Janet Marder

I'm not feeling so much like a blessing today. I need to be out of the house in an hour. It's not even seven and my shoulders are doing pushups toward my ears. Pick two things I tell myself. How can you be a blessing if you're anxious? Next thing you know you'll be angry. Next thing you know you'll be having a shitty day. Take a deep breath. Pick two things to do today, and I strongly suggest the first thing on your list is to be a blessing. You figure out the other one.

Baruch ata adonai, thanks for this early morning pep talk. I feel calmer. Amen

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Staying Gentle with Myself

"We cannot escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures....Take a risk a day--one small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you have done it." --Susan Jeffers

A year ago, I had no idea I would continue to write morning prayers or create a blog to share them with others, or finish a book of prayers and drawings, or enjoy learning to paint on big canvases, or look at my doodles as an art form others would enjoy. Each began with a huge intimidating learning curve, then when I could see my way ahead, a mountain to climb, and along the way muscles to develop, wounds to heal, and a mind set to change. No small achievements.

I think most of the prayers I've been writing have to do with thinking much bigger than I have before and knowing I don't have to know what I'm doing to do it. I can keep taking steps, keep reaching out to others who know what I need to know, and staying gentle with myself. Yes. Staying gentle with myself. The biggest achievement of all.

Baruch ata adonai, Thank you for bringing me to this point in my life. I am grateful. Amen

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Settling into Myself

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of an instrument of grace.
--May Sarton 
First a walk with my son to say hello to the forest and the lake, to see how the river is flowing. Then snow shoveling, making beds, checking to see if squirrels and mice found our cabin a dry winter refuge. Now our days will be filled with hikes at an ambling pace, kayaking in quiet mornings, lazy sunset strolls. I will be off the grid of clocks and calendars and computers. I will settle into myself. 
Baruch ata adonai, thank you for the life sustaining gifts of summer. Amen

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Time Will Come

"The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror..."
--Derek Walcott

Maybe it was somewhere in my early sixties. Maybe it was after I started writing, took challenging journeys on my own, and began to delve into Judaism. Even before that I wrote, went to Europe on my own when I was twenty and again five years later, but now my parents were gone, I was finished with day to day parenting, career striving, and all the milestones of growing up. Maybe it was then I began to grow in rather than up. Maybe it was then I joined up with myself and realized loneliness was no longer a constant companion.

Baruch ata adonai my courageous little self, split off from me so long ago, waited for me to understand I yearned to hold her hand. I am so very grateful. Amen

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Trust the feeling of returning home

"I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."
--F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.

The first time I entered that lakeside forest was like returning home. Maybe that first memorable feeling came from a long forgotten book I read as a child. A little girl goes into the forest and discovers a hidden glowing cabin. She goes in the door and begins to dust and wash and add her own joy, and the cabin glows even brighter. She can imagine herself living there forever. We are packing now for our annual return to the world we bought shortly after that first look. I've survived many winters with thoughts of this little place and the special friends we have there. Now with summer nearly here, twenty-four years later, my magical life begins again, and each time I drive down that road I am returning home.

Baruch ata adonai when I trust myself to listen to my inner yearning, when I recognize how important it is to act on it's pleading, I make decisions that reward me forever. Thank you. Amen

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Shake off Your Overwhelmed Self

"Sometimes the simplest and best use of our will is to drop it all...and just walk out from under the webs we've spun, the tasks we've assumed, the problems we have to solve. They'll be there when we get back, and maybe some of them will fall apart without our worry to hold them up." --Mark Nero

"This is a blank map that lets you go as far as you want in any direction, with no questions asked, but it's no help at all if you want to know if you're going the right way."--Storypeople

Some days I just have to put on my pink and red tutu, my chartreuse boa, my best tiara, the one I found on the beach with the green sea glass, lace up my purple ballet shoes, and put on Al Jarreau. My problems have nothing to do with me now. I move an arm gracefully to the side and put down a concern, and then the same with the other. I'm feeling good. I breathe and my whole being feels great. That surging beat fills me and I shake my body like crazy. Those problems belong to that other me who won't give herself a break.

Baruch at adonai,  I know you're shaking your head and saying, YES YES. You probably never pump your fist do you? I feel you filling me up. Thanks. Amen

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Who Knows What Works. Do It All.

"There are answers, easy to read, logical. I notice the pattern. But darn, they aren't the answers to my questions." --From one of my journals.

The past few days, I've been doing what works for me. Maybe it's adding meditation to the daily mix. Maybe it's deciding not to go to yoga yesterday but instead giving myself time to take care of those things that would have waited in the wings of my mind and jumped for attention in the middle of downward dog. Maybe last weekend was so much multifaceted satisfaction that its half life is still in effect. My plan for the day is to remain clam, and positive and up beat. No matter what.

Baruch ata adonai, something that needed to shift has shifted within me and I am grateful. Amen

Monday, May 21, 2012

Backed into Doing What Works

"You can use just about anything you want to give you joy and strength, but it should have two qualities to it. First it should be cleansing. Whatever it is you are using as a daily practice to stay strong must relieve you from the burdens of that day...Also, your practice must increase your capacity for you can tell the difference between your stuff and someone else's stuff, and so you know whether or not you're dealing with an actual crisis or just fear." --John Calvi

A few years ago, backed into a dark corner of life, I discovered the way out through daily prayer writing. Last week the roiling river of my mind mind returned me to mindfulness meditation. Following my breath for a few minutes began to sooth and smooth the maelstrom. I've meditated before. I remember after a month of consistent practice telling friends I couldn't ever stop because I felt so good. Then I stopped.

Baruch ata adonai melech ha olam, help me to meditate. Help me to observe my reactions to feelings as they come and go and to be patient enough and courageous enough to allow this practice to lead to knowing myself in new ways. Amen

Friday, May 18, 2012

"We become so preoccupied with what we are not able to address, what we are not able to mend, what we are not able to leave behind, that we forget that whatever we are in the light of day is slowly, but surely, healing the rest of us."     --Mark Nepo

My whirlwind mind reels off thoughts that dash away and are replaced in mid sentence. Yesterday I saw the outline of a face on a painting I haven't been able to resolve and realized it will become a portrait of my busy mind. Before I went to bed, I decided to dump a pile of thoughts on a yellow notepad and told them to stay put until morning. Of course by then they had forgotten themselves just as I'd hoped.

Baruch ata adonai who I am in the light of day heals what the rest of me struggles with in the dark of night. I hope this is true. Amen

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Except for the point, the stillpoint,
There would be no dance,
And there is only the dance.
   --T.s. Eliot

Next weekend we open our summer cabin at Silver Lake. Hikes and kayak paddles and food preparation and dropping everything to sit on a friend's deck to share the beauty of the lake are what we do. In between, times for naps, reading books and a serious study of squirrels circling trees fill out our days. For a few months in the fall, after we have closed everything down for the winter, photos help recapture still points and smooth out reentry months. By April, everyday is a countdown until our dance begins.

Baruch ata adonai, Thank you. I am filled with gratitude for this place which slows me down and reconnects me to my self. Amen

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Morning Prayer May 16, 2012

"Develop the heart. Too much energy in your country is spent developing the mind instead of the heart."
          --His Holiness the Dalai Lama

In the past few weeks my administrator has insisted I complete the tail end of two projects. "Get the projects finished and you have all summer to do art. Just one more week." I'm not sure I trust her. Once I would have pushed happily along until the job was done. Now finishing seems a heroic act. Meanwhile my studio is too clean. My heart needs me to make a mess. I can hardly sit here any more. That mess is so seductive.

Baruch ata adonai this morning my heart is winning. I am so grateful. Amen

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Morning Prayer Tuesday May 15, 2012

"The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too....A whole stream of events issues from the decision which no one could have dreamed would have come their way."
                        --W.H. Murray

I've been wanting to turn my growing morning prayer email list into a blog for a long time. Yesterday, full of trepidation, I began. You can see my typo filled attempt for the next few days. The  marvel of it all is that it wasn't until I was willing to jump in the deep end and flail away, swimming on my own, that I found someone to help me. My lifeguard will come on duty Sunday and make this blog a place you can comment on and find easily. And then who knows what will happen.

Last weekend I saw a little boy walking on his toes as if his angel wings are still intact and he isn't sure if he's going to take off and leave this place any minute. I feel like that little kid right now. Things are going to happen I haven't even dreamed of yet.

Baruch ata adonai thank you for dreams that come true and courage to step into the unknown. Amen

Monday, May 14, 2012

Morning Prayer Monday May 14, 2012

"How often--even before we have begun--have we declared a task impossible? And how often have we constructed a picture of ourselves as being inadequate?....A great deal depends upon the thought patterns we choose and on the persistence with which we affirm them."--Piero Ferrucci

I've used this prompt before when I was asked to do something that felt way too big for me, way out of my comfort zone, like swimming the length of a pool when I'm struggling to swim the width. Just sitting here, typing this first blog, my breathing rate has changed. "Take it bird by bird," Anne Lamott whispers, "and by the way, did anyone ask you to swim so far right off the bat? Is anyone sitting around with a stop watch?"

Baruch ata adonai I've done a lot of big projects. I imagine I can do this one too. Be with me as I imagine a new reality, as I find my blog becoming better and better as I learn how to do this first step and then another and the next after that. Amen