It’s been awhile since I last posted.
I hope it offered some benefit.
It’s been awhile since I last posted.
I hope it offered some benefit.
Yesterday’s work day began later than usual
For one thing, I had an appointment to keep in the morning.
And when I see things like this, I feel compelled to pause & laugh & take a photo to send to a loved one
You know, Share the delight
I’m a fan of moving slower
& not a fan of rushing
(Though zippy-doodle will at times occur…)
By the time I arrived at the farm
The weekly seeding was nearly done
– Attended to by four capable hands.
As their workday soon ended, mine just began.
So I set to transplanting two flats of broccoli & early cabbage
As I worked, I began to notice myself in a state of worry.
familiar weather, worry.
The worry du jour was about the amount of time I take to do things.
In particular, at the farm
I try to be efficient, and find that I do get into a groove once I get going & practice the method necessary for the task at hand.
A system that works for this body is found & my movements become more effortless
Granted, when I pause to get more soil or more pots or go to pee, a photo might be taken…
– Like this early Spring view from just outside the greenhouse.
(Aaaaand all the following photos…)
Although I’ve received a blessing & go-ahead to take photos here at the farm through the day, a habitual groove of thinking gets going…
So I paid attention to the broken record spin of worry that was playing in my mind,
and by paying attention,
could see/feel that consequently,
my breathing became shallow & I stopped seeing what was in front of my eyes
Like being blinded by an internal sandstorm of worry So to remedy this, here was the practice du jour:
Whenever my mind went from an awareness of things at hand
to the thinking & spinning mind of worry,
I would keep taking deep breaths, and really turn my attention to what I was doing & feeling,
Instead of the loud thoughts in my head
Returning, returning, returning.
Being able to distinguish between awareness & thinking feels like a big step for me.
Take notice of the slightly yellowing seed leaves (or cotyledons) on the cabbage seedlings (below & above)
“Pleeeease pot me up!!!”
When roots find their way to the far edges of their potting soil world, it’s either time to pot up (transplant into a larger container) or transplant into soil out in the bigger world.
Since two seeds germinated in this cell, & both plants are healthy, they are gently pried apart
And set into larger pots which have some fresh potting soil in the bottom
Then more fresh potting soil is added up to where the cotyledons attach to the stem
And gently pressed down to settle in the plant a bit, but not so much that it compacts the soil
Once a tray is filled, it is watered under a fine spray of water
Which further settles the soil around the roots – and allows for the contact roots and soil want together.
75 Broccoli plants & 80 Early Cabbage plants were potted up.
155 plants in all.
It took me 3 hours to do that.
Izzy was intrigued by my hands after coming (housesitting) home from work
And she didn’t mind that it took me three hours to transplant 155 plants.
Bob seems to be patient & tolerant of my pace, but I still sometimes question if I really “fit” at the farm.
*Plagued by Doubt*
– no doubt, triggered by a mere (yet impactful) comparing thought.
A friend said to me today, “cats are unapologetically themselves”.
Even plants grow at the pace that they grow.
At the farm, moving at such a slower pace than all the others, it takes an amount of mind-effort to not apologize for myself.
To honor the animal that I am & just do my work.
A part of me thinks: o there’s something wrong, maybe I should leave, try to find a place where I fit in better.
But maybe the lesson is right here, to practice “standing inside myself”, and to learn something from just this.
Not become caught up in my own tangle of comparing my relative snailing pace, to just let that wild-bird-thought fly through.
I guess if I trust the wisdom of the unfolding of my life, & attempt to keep my eyes open to what is right here, I’ll get the opportunity to learn whatever it is I’m supposed to learn.
These are the steps where I slipped as I rushed down them one snow-covered-icy morning in February 2012 which shifted my life
This being one of the numerous incidents where I’ve thought privately or said out loud “but it wasn’t supposed to be like this”
But really, who am I to argue reality or try to control such things…?
I’m trying to integrate the unfolding of things, trying to relax…
I’ll finish this post with a poem by Marie Howe
Death comes as a surprise sometimes
And something is felt in the heart
What is it?
Is it the connection that seems to live there like thin, strong layers of Braille embedded in the tissue…?
For the close-ones left “behind” here on Earth…
My heart and mind seems to turn towards them
And reflecting on how my life has been braided up, & impacted in countless ways by a family…
And reflecting on this man who is no longer embodied
A very kind, and generous man
Recently, someone commented on how they saw my thinking about death as something which sort of colors my life.
I don’t think it was meant as a positive noticing.
But keeping death in mind had me call the person & his wife now and again
To check in, throughout the year
To let them know I was thinking of them
To find out how his treatment was going
To let them know how grateful I am for the times we’ve shared together, and how they positively impacted my life.
Life & death are inseparable.
Keeping death in mind, for me, supports me reaching outside of myself, stretching…
That is, it helps this often-fearful being find courage
A kind of motivator.
Because death and love go hand in hand in my mind
Or, as a friend said to me a while back,
Love and grief walk hand in hand…
Because if you love someone or something, there is the awareness of the tenuousness of life, and things do change, and death will come, and with that – grief.
Intellectually I know things are constantly changing
But emotionally, when things DO change, there is an impact
I’m watching grief come and go in waves
Perhaps it has a sort of function
I don’t know.
I keep catching myself wondering when it’ll all pass & I’ll “feel better”
This is me rushing, again
The habit of trying to get away
And so I will continue to practice, albeit imperfectly, to stay.
Winter gives way to Spring
Spring gives way to Summer
Summer eases into Fall
and so on.
every thing changes.
but but but
there is still in me this *thing*
like an assumption
which is a curious word
in and of itself.
this day has come
and it will go
each breath comes in, then goes
the people i love, this body i’m inhabiting, even the beliefs i hold about those i do not love…
i watch how i live my life – and i see how i try to hold on to things
at times, so often, so graspy.
at times, now and again, with grace.
and just like that
don’t get me wrong – i appreciate things that are built to last
older buildings being my favorite examples of such things…
or the telephone which sat on the table and was heavy and had the long curly cord attached to it…
people who are courageous, who vow to walk their lives together till death comes for one… signing up for that depth of future-grief.
i guess it’s simply unsettling, still,
this sort of being-ness
like walking a fine line
which always feels like some being-in-between
and the dance of acceptance & effort is a delicate one
i watch the longing – and then i try to practice settling in, or settling down – somewhere in the heart region.
the image that comes is leaning back, into a sort of low & very comfortable chair.
then my eyes, which are often quite alert & tense, relax.
20 years ago this month, (a baffling thing to write) i moved to New York City to begin my formal studies of Shiatsu.
and for a while, i practiced… mostly part-time, and a stretch of years full-time after getting my NY state license to practice massage.
now i only practice every now and again
and find that i mostly enjoy offering it in a casual way – as needed.
“spot work” – and it has taken a long time to drop the judgement of not doing bodywork in that full-on professional way any longer.
when i was 23 i thought i’d be practicing bodywork forever.
and at 34 at the farm i thought i’d be there forever.
so as i look around now at my life
in this present day – there is the feeling of “forever”, and there is the awareness that this too will change.
Blessings on the day.
so i began to blog because i fell in love with someone last Winter.
someone who i loved in a way i didn’t really understand
in a way that called me to be a way i didn’t know i could be.
strange, easy connection.
it didn’t unfold in that capital R relationship-y way
we were, and are friends
and i’m happy for him that he’s found someone with whom there seems to be a quite wonderful connection between the two of them
this is the best of things.
i began to blog.
because i had stopped farming
and this relationship-connection where sharing occurred was no longer there…
because i felt i had to do something
the energy had to go somewhere
i began to blog.
not because i think i have “something to say”
it came more out of a sort of need
i don’t write much about relationship (or Relationship)
but find that i think about relationships a lot.
not just in that “longing” way, but just thinking about it.
i’m in relationship with everyone
all the time.
i feel sad, grief i didn’t expect to feel
upon seeing images of a beloved teacher who just passed away.
someone who was very warm, very present, and very kind.
and even though we didn’t share a lot of time out side of the school
there is something in me that feels a great grief in knowing that she’s not embodied any more…
i’d often drive by her house, & every time i would think fondly of her
even though i had only been there once.
i knew it was her house, her home
and memory is a funny and wonderful thing
i feel lucky, fortunate, to have shared some time with this very kind, earthy, strong woman.
and i guess it just brings home
that this time we are here is very short
and we all know that things can change on a dime
the truth of that kinda freaks me out, and i’m feeling it today.
feeling a kind of achy love feeling inside
for the people & critters in my life today…
thinking of her family, and those close with her…
feeling the web of connection today…
one of the (specific & numerous) reasons that kept me from wanting to go, was that
what i had heard from a recently married friend of mine was
that a person who was going to be on retreat tried to break up my friend’s recent marriage.
(yes, i’m intentionally being vague)
i didn’t know the details
i still don’t
and heading into the retreat, i could feel a sort of shield up
ideas fixed & hard
(one of the many, various heart-shields)
with a particular one towards this particular person.
i was polite, and (re)introduced myself before the silence began
they didn’t remember me from the wedding
(i wear my invisibility cloak a lot here in town…)
and through the retreat
even though there are no words, and a lot of silence
i could feel my heart starting to tenderize
there’s a deeper getting-to-know-you which occurs there… in the silence, even without words.
something in me began to melt
with the realization that their own life is unfolding in mysterious ways
reflecting on the complexity of life.
and how it’s so easy to hold on to a fixed idea about something, or someone…
finding myself questioning and challenging the hard shield of beliefs and assumptions that i held regarding this person.
…what their life was like when young…
…what their own marriage was like…
…considering where life is leading them…
i didn’t know these things, and so much more.
by the end of the retreat
i could feel a softening,
and a sincere respect for their life.
there’s no knowing, as much as i would like to know, how this whole interwoven confluence of living beings is at play.
sitting here, i’m really grateful for the reminder that my mind & heart can shift, soften, & forgive.
Nadia Boltz-Weber calls this a heart transplant.
i’m reminded of the blessing (& the curse) of this beautiful truth:
all phenomena changes.
how i worry that i’ll alienate myself for speaking one of a thousand opinions…
(so many opinions…)
(so little diplomacy…)
the creature with whom i felt most close with
died 7 years ago today
his name was/is Oni.
this is a photo of Oni doing his welcome-home-flomp-&-roll-in-the-sand-thing back when we lived in the Mojave desert.
must have been around 2004.
i see posts
on Facebook where people write that this or that person who was incredibly dear to them “would have been” such and such an age if he or she hadn’t died.
and i guess i just can’t relate to that.
i’ve never thought like that and i can’t quite wrap my mind around it.
it feels like a dis-honoring in some way.
Oni lived for 10 1/2 years.
he was indeed my best friend
but never once have i thought of how old he could have been.
because he lived his life. and then he died.
and wow it was a life-changer.
is his yortzeit, the anniversary of the day he died back in 2006.
i’m so glad he was around that first year back in Ithaca…
a chance to live life on a farm – lush & green & barns to explore & voles to hunt…
(view from the inside of the barn looking out)
to me is seems like a disregarding of a life to project it into the future – like a torture of some kind.
(i know plenty about mental torture)
i don’t feel ready to die yet, but that’s the trajectory when we come to this place…
welcome! happy birthday! now you are heading towards death!
it’s just the natural course of things.
and for some reason, it erks me whenever i see the “they would have been such and such an age” (had they not died)
but they DID
and that is part of a LIFE
and maybe i just wish people would say
o i miss them so & this is what i love/d about them…
it’s like there’s this inherent, subtle meanness – some sub subtext of “this is not okay” or “it would have been better this way”
which seems like a dis-honoring to me.
as if to say
just how this life was
was not enough
or not okay
just as it was.
i am interested
in honoring the arc of a life.
i suppose i might sound cold, heartless.
i suppose i’m not taking the time to explain or express the sort of connection that there was/is with Oni.
but that’s for another time.
(and for when i upload photos and drawings onto the computer…)
it’s an opinion
and honoring ones life
and how that’s a part of ones life
in all its honor.
a year ago today
this was the last day of my Yaya’s life.
i’ve been thinking of her all through this day.
this is the first time i’ve let the feelings get closer…
she was a very private person.
i find a crouching wondering worry –
“will this upset her to write about her…?”
i want to be respectful…
i used to love looking at and holding her hands.
she didn’t understand why – she never liked her hands.
i never understood why.
her spirit was embodied for 92 years
i miss her voice, being able to kiss the soft skin of her beautiful face, the sound of her laughing…
i’m glad that these memories still live in my mind enough that i can visit them.
i wish i knew about her life better
she started a number of businesses
designed interior spaces
had many friends
she was generous
“o my lands!” she’d exclaim when telling her something she found outrageous
Sunday was our talk day when i went away to college
and write letters to each other.
when i moved to California, we’d catch up on Wednesdays and Sundays.
we’d talk at least once a week until about a year and a half before she died.
with her memory in a state that was named dementia, and then Alzheimer’s,
words didn’t come so easy
and it was hard for me to know if she wanted to be on the phone.
i’d go be with her when i visited home – once a year at the very least.
there are two messages saved on my cell phone
from 2006 and 2007
i listen to them sometimes just to hear her voice.
(and save them and save them and save them…)
she didn’t know she was beautiful
which is baffling to me.
on her life
the Weekly Photo Challenge is about something that’s a Habit in our lives.
it can be anything.
anything from our everyday lives…
a place we go to regularly, a commute, a view, something we do, see – you get the point… ANYTHING that falls into the realm of Habit.
what has become a habit since 2009 is taking a Good morning photo every day, then posting it on Facebook, and now, WordPress.
(a couple people who aren’t using FB are sent personal Good mornings via dinky phone, which is how the photos are taken in the first place.)
(clicking the blue Good morning above or this next blue line of words will take you to the post about how the Good morning photos all began…)
i house sit often, so no matter where i am, i’ll take a photo in the morning.
here are a few that were taken pre-blogville
the next few were from when i house sat – this one further out in the country…
and then on Cayuga Lake
there are a number of sunny ones, but since living in the desert for four years, i now have this love affair with clouds.