gifts of this week

A wide-winged monarch skimming over head along my bike ride

A young fox cavorting in the early dusk meadow

A hummingbird hovering at eye level with me for prolonged moments

A spirit bear of Lake Champlain stone washed to my feet during my morning walk

A lingering sunset turning from soft pink to fuchsia to deep peach across the hour

A peach tree laden with ripening rosy fruit, after a decade without

Row upon row of leafing sprouts just two weeks post-sowing

A hunting hawk winging on the updraft of an August afternoon

Abundant blueberries again and again

A lunch with my children en route to vacation

two sistersMy sister safely moved and settled into her new home

A cool river breeze covering me with a night’s deep sleep

a day without words

Words....

Words…. (Photo credit: jah~)

I want to recall that a day without words
is no kind of day – to miss the lilt, light
and lure, the laugh, the languor
of words flowing over, across lines
words sprouting abundant visions
their flavor unmistakable in hands
that savor, turn, weigh, sniff
both heft and determined breadth
of meaning, shape, form, desire –
their feel and song, unique place
in the parade of words stringing themselves
around each pearled moment,
easing into grateful abundance
for all that came before,
will follow.

swb

both . . . and

Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

Robert Frost’s ‘Fire and Ice’ begins, “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in  ice.” I have been thinking about fire lately. A lot. About the paradox of flame, how quickly it can shift from nurture to destruction.

At the extreme fire becomes the negative of what, in moderation, is its best feature. Which makes me understand better, deeper, again the problem with either/or thinking. ‘If you’re not with me, you are against me’ is a simplistic formula for polarization, leaving no room whatever for the very real shades of gray in which we in fact live.

Just because I may not share your opinion does not mean I am going to take action against you. A great illness in our private attitude and public discourse has, in recent years, arisen from this toxic formula for intolerance. It implies enforced homogeneity, an unsettling dismissal of the very melting pot of difference that has kept us strong, innovative, tolerant.

fire and ice

fire and ice (Photo credit: Jasmic)

The conscious feminine offers a simple antidote by holding the paradox of the both/and. This energy – available to men and women alike – says, ‘there is room for your belief AND room for mine.’ Difference does not equal wrong or bad. Difference is not a square extreme trying to fit into an either/or hole. Difference is just difference. If we could hold mutual respect in our hearts for the fact of difference absent judgment and labels, how much more civil our discourse; how much richer our resources of understanding, compassion, creativity. How much fuller our lives lived from abundant goodwill rather than the scarcity of ‘other is wrong/bad.’

where there’s intention there must be ‘no’

‘intention & choice’

Last night my friend reminded me: “No is the first word we learn and the first we forget.” So simple. Like the life I am trying to craft for myself in the midst of more, faster,  bigger. Though not necessarily better. Turns out she and I share an intention to open more space in our lives for our personal writing. It also turns out we share a life orientation to service, stepping up and in to leadership. Not necessarily because we choose to but because there is a need that chooses us.

Which is where NO comes in.  Another wise mentor has told me, more than once: “Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you NEED to.” This can be a challenging concept to someone with multiple interests, a deep reserve of goodwill and curiosity, boundless creativity and a desire to jump in when needed. Equally challenging is taking a moment to step back, reflect and ask: “Is this how I really want to spend my time? Is this going to serve my best interests and therefore those of the call to which I am responding?”

For some, this fine line of discernment runs the risk of sounding self-absorbed, reluctant, or possibly lazy. However, there comes a time when a simple “NO!” may be the best service you can perform. In setting the boundary on too much, you get to live with enough. And enough is the abundance required for a truly giving life – one that gives first to the self and secondly, to others. A lesson gratefully learned in a circle of wise wording women.