We have separated matter and spirit and through the power of this collective attitude have starved the world.
~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Awakening the World
Once when I was younger I went out and sat under the sky and looked up and asked it to take me back. What I should have done was gone to the swamp and bog and ask them to bring me back because, if anything is, mud and marsh are the origins of life. Now I think of the storm that made chaos, that the storm opened a door. It tried to make over a world the way it wanted it to be. At school I learned that storms create life, that lightning, with its nitrogen, is a beginning; bacteria and enzymes grow new life from decay out of darkness and water. It’s into this that I want to fall, into swamp and mud and sludge and it seems like falling is the natural way of things; gravity needs no fuel, no wings. It needs only stillness and waiting and time.
~ Linda Hogan
The heat is on, as the old Glenn Frey song goes. Funny that I’m thinking of it as old. I also thought it was Huey Lewis and the News so I could be wrong about the idea of “old” too.
Last week was a bit tough on me. I love being with the boys but as I’ve written many times before, I’m at an age when it’s getting harder to keep up. M and I had a long conversation about our ideas and expectations when it comes to aging and being grandparents. Although some aspects are what I thought they would be (the love, for instance), some are not. That appears to be related to what I thought aging would be like. I didn’t realize I had expectations about aging, but there they are, hiding in plain sight.
Somewhere in my head or heart or soul and body-mind, I feel simultaneously young and old. M and I are very active people. We hike, we bike, we kayak, we do our morning yoga practices, we do all sorts of things it is not unusual for people our age to be doing. We also have acquaintances and friends our age (or just beyond) who have sort of settled in to being Old. They don’t do as much as they used to, tend to talk a lot about aches and pains and medical conditions, and who act almost elderly. If it sounds like I’m judging, I don’t mean to. To each his/her own. There are days when I feel like sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch and calling it a life. I know how tempting that can be.
On the other hand, I don’t want to fight age, either. I can run, jump, and roll around on the ground with the boys, but there is a limit to it. When I stretch the limit, I end up with my own set of aches and pains that, in turn, take me out of commission for a few days. It’s better to pay attention to where my edge is, to pull back, and I do try to do that. Over the weekend, for instance, I took a day off from everyone. I had intended to catch up on housework, laundry, and the yoga anatomy course I need to finish. Instead, I cooked, did about two loads of laundry, cleaned very little, and looked at photographs I have taken since we arrived in The Bogs. It was restful and it was what I needed.
Another thing I did, and very much enjoyed, was look more into the references to books and authors that have cropped up during the course I’m taking (A Deep Dive into Spiritual Ecology). I am familiar with some of the people mentioned (Joanna Macy, for instance), and others I’ve heard of but never read any of their books. Maybe an article or two, usually via Emergence Magazine. Although my stack of to-be-read books is big enough, I went ahead and ordered a couple of more. I’m still getting caught up on the recommended reading from the yoga class. I’d like to buckle down on that, too. Yet my mind and attention keeps drifting elsewhere. That is the nature of mind, but I think it is also the nature of the times we are living in.
Here is a list of the books I brought with me to read, in the order, I planned on reading them:
- The Inner Tradition of Yoga by Michael Stone (I am almost finished with this one.)
- Skill In Action by Michelle Cassandra Johnson (I started this one during the main part of the Yoga Darsana class and hope to finish it soon. It’s a small but powerful book about the work we need to do to dismantle white supremacy on both an inner and outer level. What is taking me so long is that I spend a lot of time working through the exercises that are included. The book is basically a mini workshop. The author was a guest speaker for one of the Yoga Darsana lectures, before the pandemic and before the murder of George Floyd, and what she taught was so appropriate for the times we’re in right now..)
- My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menaken
- Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
- The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
- Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown
- The Other Shore by Thick Nhat Hanh
You can probably see where some of the reading is leading me in terms of anti-racism work. I brought some other books with me to round things out (and perhaps with an overly ambitious attitude of thinking I could catch up on some reading). Some fiction for entertainment/escape and a couple of other non-fiction books about nature.
As is usually the case with my meandering posts, I have no point. Or if I had one when I started, I’ve forgotten it. There is so much going on in the world, in life, and even in the microcosm of my own life, that it’s difficult to have a point. Perhaps that’s always been the way of things. It’s just more noticeable now.
I reckon that’s about it from me for now. Thank you so much for visiting. We had a spectacular sunset last night after some thunderstorms rolled through. Clouds keep coming and going throughout the day and might make for an interesting sunset tonight. I’ll meet you out by the cornfield. Sunset is scheduled for 8:52 PM.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,481) M, always, for his love and his constancy and his sense of knowing what his role is in life. Not many of us do. Some of us flounder around, trying to figure it out. It seems to me M has always had a sense of who he is while remaining flexible in that role. I admire that greatly. 1,482) Learning how to be who I am, and learning how to just be. 1,483) The mirror of relationships. Our relationships are pretty much the only way we can truly see who we are (in our reactions and actions, in how things play out, in our emotions and judgments, and in many other ways). I didn’t need a yoga teacher training to discover that, but it helped clarify things for me. 1,484) Getting back into a routine this week. Maybe. We’ll see how it goes. 1,485) Tears, in joy and in grief.