29 April 2013

remembering how to walk.

Each season, my eyes learn something new. This spring, I learned that the papery leaves on the beech trees that last, miraculously, all winter-- get pushed off by these long spiny spiraled furls of new leaves. The old leaves are parchment. The new ones begin as dark red tips on gray brown twigs.

I walked. I walked in the woods.

In the old days, this would have been nothing to remark on. The walking I mean. The beech leaves would have been worth remarking any day.
But the walking. Remember how i used to walk? I hiked every day, or most days. I spent time outdoors every day. Sometimes in the garden. Sometimes in the hammock. But outside. looking long and far (sky and stars) or close at flowers and roots and dirt.
I walked and breathed fresh air and felt my muscles push me uphill, and slow me down on the descents.  I walked and walked and walked.
I walked.

I have missed it. OH how I have missed it.
Della and I climbed into the thicket beside the big overgrown apple tree, up behind the garage thingy that holds the tools for maintenance here at our apartment building. We made a hole through the branches of the tree, the branches of the bushes next to it, and suddenly were under the tree, a mystical umbrella of branches and sky. Oh loveliness.
Then up behind the tree into the woods.  Woods with tiny tiny pinecones. Woods with fallen branches to step over. Woods with fallen leaves. Woods filled with deer poop.  Woods that smelled like woods and dirt and life.  Up the hill toward the clearning I could feel by the light.  And to the edge of the back side of the golf course! What a surprise that was. I did not know that is where this property ended.  The rustic local course that feels like it is far away. I realize now, the roads fold back, and the clearing makes sense now that I know it. But it felt like a surprise, like I was expecting sheep up there. Not greens.  
We turned back and came downhill again, back under the tree, through the branches, and back into the small slice of grass before the parking lot.  It was a small walk, but a very big walk. I spent so much time thinking about it. How the woods have been there much longer than I have lived here (of course), and of course I look at them and look at them and look at them.  But then, that day, something shifted. The light maybe. My perspective. The woods, I realized, could be hiked through.... it was like an epiphany. And it felt *possible* for the first time. A walk! Yes, with Della. Yes, holding hands and lifting over logs and under branches, and no don't pick that up it's poo. And yes....

And up there, a beech tree. Parchment leaves littering the ground underneath, with a few still on the branches...and new furled leaves waiting.

Totally gratuitous Della photo and me, smiling, and leaning wayyyyyy over to compensate for the DellaGrande.  From friday at my Mom's.

17 April 2013


photo by the amazingly lovely Susan Mullen (www.susanmullenphotography.com)
Today we are celebrating 3 years of wedded bliss
(Thank you, my love. I would do it all over again.)

This has been such a hard week.
It is so hard to hold on to what is good and right in the face of horror and tragedy.
It is do hard to remember LOVE when fear and sadness are so very present.
It is so hard to dig down deep and stay connected to the very best in ourselves and each other.
It is hard work.
But it is, perhaps, the most important work we do.

Many folks have been much more eloquent than I can imagine being.
But I do wish with all my heart: Peace, healing, resolution.

11 April 2013

100 breaths, micro meditation

Hello loves,
I recently posted this over at Heartwork, but realized we could ALL use a bit of relief, so I am cross posting it here.  I am using it every day. Sometimes only for a breath or two, but sometimes for longer, and it really does help.

There are downloadables at the bottom.

100 Breaths: Experience the power of micro-meditation

Meditation can seem mystifying and mystical…  The benefits unattainable or something that can only be attained after years of practice and patience and… well…real life (for many of us) does not include easy access to that sort of space and time.
In the same way as nearly almost any other thing worth doing (even loving and allowing ourselves to be loved), practice does indeed help. But here’s a secret: hardcore intense practice is not necessary for you to experience some very real benefits of meditation. You can do it right now. No kidding.
Ready? Don’t overthink this, just give it a go- no preparation is required.
Simply watch your next breath come in and release.
Don’t try to change your breath, or force it, or hold it, or prolong it or even examine it. Just witness it. One breath, in and out.
Try witnessing two breaths. Breathe in. Then Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Just witness, don’t change anything except your attention.

Things that help:  Closing my eyes often helps me focus, but I just as often practice this with my eyes wide open.
For some of you, it may help to listen or hear yourself count (“1”, “2”, or say “inhale, exhale”). For some of you it will help to watch each number float in during the inhale, and float away during the exhale. For some, feeling your way around a string of beads or knots will help.

Mind wandering? Getting lost? If you lose track, don’t panic. Just begin again at some number near where you think you left off to go wandering.
I find that I often exhale, yawn, or sigh around breath #9.
When I find my mind has wandered off (and it always does), I just bring it back to witnessing my breath, choose a number close to where I think I wandered off… and just simply come back to counting.
A gentle invitation: Today (right now?), start with one breath or two. See if you feel some unraveling, some release, or maybe a moment of unexpected quiet.
Next time, try witnessing ten breaths.
Each time you return to this practice, add a few more breaths—maybe 5 or 10… By the time you reach 100 breaths? Congratulations! You will be doing 10-15 minutes of mystification-free meditation.
Here's a link to a downloadable version of the piece.
And here is a link to an audio file.
copyright 2013, Kate Johnson

09 April 2013

near miss, hot damn

First, I'm fine.  I just wanted to put this out there for any of YOU who experience the same thing or anything even remotely similar. I want to offer some big squishy whole hearted compassion and a brand new sort of insight and awareness I did not have before.

Gosh darn.

"pea-sized mass, 9:00, left breast"

Ultrasounded, and got the all clear from the Radiologist on the spot, but it was 24 hours of a weird out of body terror, a terror-on-hold, a weird waiting.  The all clear was met by me getting totally choked up, and nearly losing it.
As if, I could not lose it before during the fear.
I wonder why we do that?
I wonder, but I think I also know-- there is a whole lot of DOING that has to happen, a process to follow, calls to make, appointments to show up for, cars driven, tests to undergo... and there is sort of this weird otherworldly thing that happens, a shock of sorts, that allows those pragmatic and logistical things to happen.
all clear means I can fall apart.
And think about the what ifs
and the scary family history I carry in my genes
and think about this time, how lucky I am, and this time, how smart I was to go get checked immediately and not wait to see what happens.
and how lucky I am that this time, the results were as awesome and perfect and wonderful as anyone could hope

"complex tissue" thank you very much.
I'll take complex tissue with no side of awfulness.

Again and again and again and again

07 April 2013

light, in three parts

Am sitting with sun coming in
tea warming me after an unexpectedly COLD shower (ug)
and just am trying to gather myself together.

I was going to be taking a goal oriented trip today, a solo trip. A long-ass drive trip. An all-day-in-the-car trip.  An at least one-part-shitty, one-part-maybe-healing kind of trip. But then I realized I was not ready, not really, and I am trying to be ok with that.  I try not to dwell here on shitty history, but sometimes it just is what I am dealing with. This year will be the 10 year anniversary of Jeff's death, and I realized, somewhat to my own surprise, that I was maybe ready to do some things I was not even able to think about a short while ago. One is to find a place to have a marker. A touchstone in the most literal sense. And this must be in the upper reaches of the state, in a place I know he loved. And I was going to go today to meet with a cemetery sexton to talk plot selection, etc. And it turns out, not surprisingly, that the place I picked from the map, upon further reflection, is not the right place. And yes, there is a right place. I have been there before, just long ago and far away. I will remember it when I see it. But I need to go, first. I need to go and look and feel my way toward the place I am remembering. And that will suck differently. Then I can talk plot and narrative arc and denouement. I was to leave well before dawn today to get there for a meeting time, then home again I hoped by dinner. Instead, I am here.


My beloveds are off eating pancakes, and I am needing to work since I can (I cannot when Della is here, our place is too small, and we are too interactive), and instead of diving into work I just played a bit with something I've been wanting to learn to do-- text along a curve

And I am stoked since it just simply worked.
Yes, I am an engineer by training, but I know no one more persistently thwarted by technology. So when I have success, it is like the biggest surprising YES ever, since my view of technology is that it should either be completely transparent (JUST WORK), or delight me. And this view persists, oh how it persists, in spite of my repeated experiences to the contrary.

So while I gather my expectations for the day while practicing more than a bit of self compassion, I wanted to write since I have been missing words here for a while. Sharing lovely images of Della is wonderful, (see below where Doug helps her look little for just a little longer), but words heal me differently and sometimes I forget that it is important not to hold it all back and down and hope it just magically resolves. There is healing when I let the light in.

another from easter

01 April 2013

sitting it out

April fool's day always exposes my penguins-flying gullibility, my easy hope filled heart, my wonder, my feelings of possibility... Since at least 3 of the 4 are fabulously entangled with the essence of me and worth preserving without ridicule and feelings of acute stupidity, I say:
Thank you April Fool's, but I am sitting this one out.