Tuesday, June 26, 2012

in the wake of her energy again

Because of the perfect cocktail of pain-relieving drugs, the kitchen and the garden are once again her domain. There have been 2 weeks of reprieve for her (as well as for me) and I marvel at how quickly she reclaimed her domains, her pleasurable expressions of self.

I sat in her kitchen the other day, watching her measure and slice and stir, just as I have done my whole life. Her contentment and ease lie in the preparing of savory and sweet, while mine lies in close proximity and watchfulness. I did not know, could not have guessed, I would have the privilege of sitting in the wake of her energy again.

I thought as I watched, I should ask her how to do this and that~ here's my waning chance to capture her culinary knowledge. There are so many questions and tricks of the trade. Yet, I did not ask. I just wanted to be her child a moment or two longer, in this unexpected reprieve and live in the comforting world of her kitchen and her beautiful wake.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

a simple and meaningful life

There is contemplation, a need for silence and a somewhat steady flow of life evaluation. Not the evaluation that dips deep into past traumas and events~ I've already done that and may do it some more~but now, in the soft summer of little deaths and quiet beginnings, it is rather a realization of choices and the puzzle-picture they have shaped over the span of not yet 48 years.

I am seeing in a more refined way, internally and externally. Both ways of seeing have stilled ambition. I know not if the ambition will return. What is rising and welling is the secret inner life that lay wounded and wanting under the pressure, the minute-by-minute pressure of the dictates of society, employment, family, America, and the psycho-savvy media. Like an aging circus performer, I have little will left to walk the impossible rope. It is all too much and the tears are too much and the secret inner life has not wanted any of it anyway, all along.

If I evaluate my choices or simply skim the timeline of my life, a theme and a truth rise like vapors over the unruly sea of not yet 48 years~    I like who I am. I have resisted the jamming of my round peg into that uniformly square hole becasue I enjoy my own company and find sustenance in the web of my own thoughts that know unequivocally I am made of the same fluid and light as the orioles, the maples, the starfish.

I have resisted the dictates at great expense and I have come to love that expense, for in exchange I like who I am, more.

I have sought all along a simple, yet meaningful life. I have sought all along to help ease the suffering of others and I know now that need not happen at the expense of myself. I know now that the red sea of societal chaos and forced sublimation can be parted by the secret inner self having risen to the surface, declaring love. On that dry sea bed, free of chaos and dictates, I walk forward, uninhibited, with this truth~ that the only approval necessary to live a simple and meaningful life is my own.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wedding Flowers of June

blue dendrobium orchid,
purple calla lily,
ivory rose and foliage
teardrop bridal bouquet

blue dendrobium orchid,
white and ivory rose
bridesmaid bouquet

white stock, peach and coral roses,
coral spray roses with israeli ruscus
bridal bouquet

white stock, peach, coral and white roses,
with israeli ruscus bridesmaid bouquet

pink peonies, white alstromeria, white stock and roses
with lemon leaves bridal bouquet

purple stock, pink and white roses, pink peonies
with lemon leaves bridesmaids' bouquets

medium white calla lilies
with isreali ruscus bridal bouquet

...a little sampling of a very busy month.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hawk Creek Wildlife Sanctuary

great horned owl


 barred owl

barn owl

baby barn owl

alfalfa the dancing porcupine~ self choreographed
"who cares about the lazy foxes, he says,
 i'm the real entertainer"...

Hawk Creek Wildlife Sanctuary
3 legged otter, serval, lynx, bobcat,ocelot, fox,
 golden eagles, parrots, bouncing hornbill, condor
owls, vultures, hawks, falcons, snakes, et all.
Eat Aurora, New York

Sunday, June 17, 2012

At last and unexpectedly

From January 20th, 2012~

"I'm waiting for my owl. I see owls everywhere; on place mats, greeting cards, sleepwear, statues. But in this rare season of irruption from the arctic fringes, I am waiting for the real thing. I am waiting for the snowy owl.

I drive by farms and fields, head swiveling side to side ( a likely danger on the roads), scanning the rooftops and telephone poles for a burst of white feathers. As yet, I have no glimpse of the prize. And I may not be graced with a sighting before the weather turns and the owls head back to the tundra.

I will wait and I will keep my heart open with expectant gratitude, for the snowy owl already lives inside me. As an omen, he is only good. He is the call for patience and waiting for beneficial things to come into view. He is not about wasting energy, but about carefully preparing the self, inside and out, for taking advantage of opportunity the moment it arrives. In the light and in the dark. 

Timing is everything, says the owl, as is well-honed skill. There is no need for intimidation or wasteful nervous bluster. Go about your business, but pay attention. Your time will most definitely arrive. When it comes, act. Act from strength and the courage of having quietly developed your offerings. Let your inner wisdom come forth and shift your life. Be who you must be."
At last and unexpectedly, he arrived; the snowy owl on the cusp of summer. 6 months after I called to him, and almost, almost overlooked. But, just as his medicine implies, when the time is right, when we are internally ready, what we conjure alights in our lives~ usually in a form we did not expect.

He is the quietest member of a wildlife refuge, garnering no attention until the crowds moved on towards the end of the day. Suddenly, there he was sitting in repose on the floor of his enclosure, announcing to me his wisdom~ stay quiet and alert. Let the crowds pass by. What you seek will reveal itself in the silence of happy moments. Stay alert. 
When you are ready, wishes come true.
 If it hasn't come true, you are not ready.

Monday, June 11, 2012

unannounced and potent

northern oriole
{straight out of the camera/true colors}

yesterday, there were 6. 5 living, 1 not. 2 grace my backyard~ singing from prominent perches, dipping their beaks in the jelly jar, sparking sunshine off liquid feathers as the day's rays descend. they are everywhere for me this spring, like never before.

they are the promise that balance is always present, if we have but eyes and heart to see. they are solace and reward for the daily task of letting go. i am in tune with their oriole gifts of sunshine and relation, most eagerly the relation of the secret-side of self.

it is the large thrills that are unsustainable and leave me depleted in their wake. it is the small ones, those little thrills that come to me over and over, unannounced and potent, that sustain me through the nights.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Search Inside Yourself

my new meditation corner and new book

practice guides

lots of red underlining

the elusive buddha joins the meditation

These are days that have me thinking of relationships and life purpose and compassion. Surprisingly, and not, a book arrived in the mail that speaks to all of those considerations and more. Written by a Google engineer who found his life's goal in the pursuit of making the benefits of meditation accessible to humanity, the book is filled to brimming with insight and practical steps to increase inner happiness. And thereby effect world peace.

In attempting to highlight the important passages in the book worth remembering, I find my red pen is practically running out of ink. Inside the pages are huge "aha!" moments which all rest on the foundation of mindful meditation. From page 230~ "Meditation, at its simplest, is the training of attention. With enough meditative training...3 wonderful qualities of mind naturally emerge: calmness, clarity and happiness. Inner happiness is contagious."

Luckily, Chade-Meng Tan uses simple, practical guides to teach us how to meditate easily and peppers the practical with goof-ball humor. He teaches us to improve our relationships, both personal and business, through mindful listening, conversation and attention. He helps align us with self-awareness, self-confidence and empathy using science of the brain and ancient wisdom. He grew his inspiration of training and developing the mind to create happiness and compassion into a full blown course taught at Google University. His book now shares the Google course with the world.

Some of my favorite red underlined insights from Search Inside Yourself include:
  • Just giving each other the gift of total attention for 6 minutes is enough to create a friendship.
  • The only highly sustainable source of self-confidence comes from deep self-knowledge and blatant self-honesty.
  • Optimism is something that can learned. It starts with being realistic and objective.
  • Compassion is the cause for the highest level of happiness ever measured, and it's a necessary condition for the most effective form of leadership known.
  • Compassion requires engagement in real life with real people. 
  • Meditation practices cannot be perfected outside real life.
  • Our brains respond far more strongly to negative experiences than comparable positive ones.
  • For a marriage to succeed, there must be at least 5 times as many positive interactions in the relationship as negative ones. 5:1 ratio.
  • A 3:1 ratio is unreasonable.
  • It's not the stress itself that gets to you; it's the feeling of helplessness in the face of that stress.
  • Goodness is very inspiring, and it inspires in a way that changes people.
So, I've created a dedicated mediation corner in my home to help me achieve my definition of success and sustainable happiness. In that corner you will find candles, a blanket and books. Chade-Meng Tan's  Google-course-turned book, sits at the top of the pile.

Thank you, TLC Book Tours, for recommending this book to me!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Rainbow Soup

Because a mostly tear-filled weekend ended with a double rainbow, on the heels of a full moon/eclipse that promised to usher in a change of ways and being, I left my home early today, grocery list in hand. I returned with chicken, brown rice and vegetables (and bay leaves, because not surprisingly, upon inspection the jar in my cupboard had expired 11 years ago). I donned my favorite vintage apron, the one with the blue cat on the singular pocket, and I began channeling my not-so-long-deceased Grandmother. Together we made soup for my Mother.

Shockingly, it was delicious.

Let the culinary games begin.

{THIS is what it's all about.}

Sunday, June 03, 2012

tears in the broth

these are helpless days where  i search for inner strength and wish i had a worthy way with food like the other women in my family. i wish i didn't have such a demanding job. there are more important things to be doing.

like feeding her well and chasing away her anxieties and fears.

like getting rid of the clutter and carving out space for peace.

like letting go of the things, the things that simply don't matter and why have i thought for so long they do?

in these helpless days, I scour cookbooks to find something, anything that will build immunity and soothe, all the while plagued with the realization the task may be fruitless, and lament my life-long lack of interest in the culinary arts.  but, still, in the 11th hour, which i hope is only the 9th, no, the 7th if i am honest, i will try.

chicken soup for the soul. hers and mine. tears in the broth. and prayers.