Most of the time the universe speaks to us very quietly
in pockets of silence
in the shape of clouds
in forgotten memories
in moments of solitude
in small tugs at our hearts.
~ Yumi Sakugawa, Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One With the Universe
The nutcracker sits under the holiday tree, a guardian of childhood stories. Feed him walnuts and he will crack open a tale…
~ Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
I’ve been sitting here looking at photos from last month that I finally got around to uploading. It’s kind of funny when I think back to my first digital camera and how I swore I wouldn’t let photos sit in the camera for weeks or months at a time. I didn’t understand how people could do that. I always want to see, as soon as I can, what I’ve captured. And yet… that’s what I’ve been doing this year. Memories sit, waiting for me to remember them and move them to a place where I can pull them out and look.
I almost sort of like this method of wait and see. The photos from last month are actually quite in sync with the current season. We had a photo shoot, the Little Wookie, the Little Peanut, and I. My lovely daughter-in-law wanted a portrait for Christmas cards. Well, you probably know the way of it when it comes to little boys. Getting a shot of them together was nearly impossible. They insisted of creating space between them, too much space for the portrait lens I was using. One would smile or laugh while the other frowned or looked suspiciously at the camera as if it was going to bite. Or there was this:
I think their father, M the Younger, probably managed to catch the best shots of them with his phone. I’ll have to wait for my copy of their Christmas card to be sure. Most of my shots were of the fun and funny variety, perhaps not Christmas-card worthy. I love them, even the blurry ones.
There were other adventures stored in the camera. Sunsets at the Point. My birthday visit to Assateague Island. The full moon rising last Wednesday. There are pictures stored on my phone, too. I use that more often than the big camera these days. It’s easier to carry and usually in my pocket when I go out on walks.
The practice of deep listening is the practice of open inquiry, without assumption or judgement.
~ Sharon Weil, ChangeAbility
The Winter Solstice, or what I think of as the beginning of the new year, is coming up. It will soon be time for a new word or theme for the year. As you might recall, my word for this year was (or still is, since the year isn’t over yet) Listen or Listening. It was an amazing word. 2019 has, for sure, been a year of listening. The universe, in its usual wisdom, conspired and helped me along with this word, providing lots of opportunities for me to listen (and learn, some of that learning involving learning how to listen). Just look at how the year started with a course I took, The Art of Self Care, and the partner work in which we were instructed to listen to our assigned partner for 10 minutes, no commenting, just listening, once a week (and then to reverse it and talk for 10 minutes so that we could, in turn, be deeply listened to). The word and the practice led to a lot of deep listening throughout the course and continued throughout the year with others, with friends, acquaintances, and strangers, but especially with those close to me.
There was a lot of listening to Nature over this past year, too. I established a morning ritual of leaning into the sunrise with my ears rather than my eyes, absorbing the sounds of the seasons. There is also a kind of listening with the whole body that comes into play during this ritual. From spring peepers to the late autumn calls of loons and geese, from neighbor Lloyd’s rooster to the convention of crows, from wind to rain to the melting of frost, this year has been filled with sounds. The past month involved a homework assignment (as part of the Yoga Darsana class I’m taking) to sit by and listen to water. As you might guess, this kind of assignment is right up my alley. (We’ve moved on from water and are now sitting with earth and trees.) You can learn a lot just by listening.
I am tempted to continue on with the word Listening for another year or ten. But as with words from the past, this word will continue to teach me whatever it is I need to learn from it.
I was given the above oracle deck for my birthday (thank you, lovely daughter-in-law!). It’s beautiful. I especially love that it’s flower and plant related. As I shuffled through the deck, glancing at the cards, these three cards jumped out. I went looking through the deck for Surrender, to see if it was there. Of course it was. Surrender is a word that’s been on my mind a lot lately. Periwinkle and White Pine, Intertwining and Wisdom, came along for the ride. In the case of periwinkle, it was almost literally true about the ride. M and I were coming back from the grocery store Saturday morning, driving down the lane past the cemetery, and I saw this tiny spot of blue hiding under some vines. I went back later to have a look and there was a periwinkle blooming out of season. The White Pine is something we planted several of on the property in NE Ohio. They’re beautiful trees, and have grown so big that I hardly recognize them whenever we go back there. Wisdom would be a good thing to have and to practice.
I keep coming back to Surrender. I’m not sure why. It is a word I’ve avoided as a word/theme of the year. It feels BIG, as if it will come with hard lessons. That doesn’t have to be the case, does it? I suspect it could come in smaller, softer ways if I learned to trust the possibilities. I think one of the reasons Surrender keeps popping up is because it takes a certain amount of surrendering in order to deeply listen to anyone or anything. I’m already part of the way there with this word.
So, we shall see. In years past I thought I had a word and then another came along and picked me.
I reckon that’s about it from me on this cloudy, sometimes rainy, Monday. Thank you so much for visiting and going on another meander with me. I’m not making any promises but I am thinking that the pendulum swing that took me away from blogging might be getting ready to swing back the other way. Like my word or theme for the year, we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, let’s go out to the Point and see what’s going on. It’s somewhat chilly and it might continue to be cloudy but you never know what will happen on days like this. The clouds and sun could get together and make it a colorful evening. Sunset is scheduled for 4:45 PM. I’ll be there early, as usual, so I can take a walk and have a look around.
Be good, be kind, be love. ♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,191) Wild horses, and a world where wild horses live. 1,192) Sparkles on water. 1,193) The way the sun and clouds have been taking turns today, light and shadow playing across the landscape. 1,194) Learning how to listen. 1,195) Sitting with trees.