Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Seven of Pentacles

Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.
Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.
Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.
Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after
the planting,
after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.
~ Marge Piercy ~

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

from the Universe this morning

"The top 10 things dead people want to tell 
living people, Nicole, are:

1. They're not dead.
2. They're sorry for any pain they caused.
3. There's no such thing as a devil or hell.
4. They were ready to go when they went.
5. You're not ready.
6. They finally understand what they were missing.
7. Nothing can prepare you for the beauty of the moment you arrive.
8. Don't try to understand this now, but life is exceedingly fair.
9. Your pets are as crazy, brilliant and loving, here, as they were there.
10. Life really is all about love, but not just loving those who love you...

In their own words,
    The Universe

 They also wanted you to know that they really do show up as orbs in some of your photos, Nicole, but so does water. Quite a talkative bunch."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Lotus for You, Sea Turtle

Thank you, Shirley, for teaching me this song and for singing it with me. What a precious gift to have sung it with you.

Whenever I wake up
I feel happy,
aware of my eyes
I feel happy,
aware of my health
I feel happy,
because I have learned to look deeply.

whenever I walk 
I feel happy
whenever I sit
I feel happy,
whenever I rest 

I feel happy,
because I have learned to look deeply.

~words by Thich Nhat Hanh

from ~ A basket full of plums: Songs for the practice of mindfulness

 Shirley finishing up one of her sketches at Morgan's where we stopped to have tea and hot cocoa during our "Sketch Crawl" day in Monterey, December, 2005.
From my flickr journal, January, 2006: "My friend, Shirley, and I went to Pho King in Seaside last night for dinner. While we were waiting for our pho to arrive, I took out my ball point pen and began doing a contour drawing on the white paper placemat. I see white paper, I draw. At home, I colored it in with my colored pencils. The arc marks on her face are from my pho bowl."

 Shirley on the steps of the Osio Theatre on Alvarado St. in Monterey showing off our 2nd sketches of the day of a "Sketch Crawl", December 2005.
 Shirley, the ever-curious nature lover, botanist, with a fallen giant saguaro at Saguaro National Monument in Tucson on her trip to visit us (me, dog Yuki and cat Jesse) in Tucson, December, 2002.
L-R: Anna, Nicole, and Shirley in front of the President's Office at Monterey Institute of International Studies. Spring, 2005


Shirley and I met at a six-day Thich Nhat Hanh Meditation retreat in August of 2002. We were roommates at the retreat, and dharma sisters.

Shirley Tudor
September 1, 1962 ~ December 10, 2011

Hey there!

Teapot no. 56 (556) of my 6th Set of "100 Teapots"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beautiful soft rainy day today

We have thousands of opportunities every day to be grateful: for having good weather, to have slept well last night, to be able to get up, to be healthy, to have enough to eat. ... There's opportunity upon opportunity to be grateful; that's what life is. 
Brother David Steindl-Rast
(from today's Word for the Day, December 12, 2011:
* * * 

And as Thầy (Thich Nhat Hanh) always reminds us, let's be grateful for our non-toothache.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Contemplating Community

Building Your Bond Community

From Lynn McTaggart 

A task of the week to rebuild your own community

Group goals

  • Begin with a model of community unity—a society in which all members are working toward collective and unified good. Once you truly understand that you are all one, the decisions you have to make must always be for the good of all, and not simply for the people in charge, or those you like, or even those who think the way that you do.
  • Try to frame every decision in terms of its impact on your community and environment as a whole. If someone wishes to clean up something in the community, will it beautify the community as a whole? Does your work enhance or detract from your community? Are you educating your children to ‘give back’ or just ‘take’?
  • Create a list of each your group’s ‘Resources’ and ‘Needs.’  What talents, supplies or general resources do each of you have available to the community?  What specific needs do you believe your neighborhood or the community has? Can you see which talents and resources could prove most useful?
  • Invite different groups — doctors, members of your local police force, educators — to visit your group. Explore with them ideas of reinforcing the Bond.
  • Apportion a certain number of hours per week with your group toward working on improving your community. Volunteer to work in your local school, or visit other companies based in your community, exploring these ideas and how organizations can adopt them.
  • Study yourself and your true needs and invite your group members to do the same. How much do you really need? How many new gadgets, how many new cars? What else can you do with your money?
  • Vow as a group to avoid individual ostentation.  Take a leaf from the success of Roseto, which had one of the lowest heart attack rates in America.  Such was the sense of solidarity that ostentation was strictly discouraged and jealousy consequently minimized. Although rich and poor lived together, side by side, the rich did not flaunt it.  Roseto was flushed with a clear sense of common purpose.
  • Also vow to avoid competition with people in your community (unless on the sports field or bowling alley). Does it really matter if someone makes more money than you do? Chances are, they still face similar challenges to you. Also refuse to engage in schadenfreude—taking delight in someone else’s misfortune—and replace it with the Buddhist idea of mudita, or happiness in someone’s good fortune.