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Drought

A few clouds at sunrise.

Mahmoud Darwish says:

As you prepare your breakfast — think of others
(don’t forget to feed the pigeons).
As you conduct your wars — think of others
(don’t forget those who want peace).
As you pay your water bill — think of others
(think of those who have only the clouds to drink from).
As you go home, your own home — think of others
(don’t forget those who live in tents).
As you sleep and count the stars, think of others
(there are people who have no place to sleep).
As you liberate yourself with metaphors think of others
(those who have lost their right to speak).
And as you think of distant others — think of yourself
(and say, I wish I were a candle in the darkness).
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A Monday meander: Thinking ahead

Net fishing in the creek. (Trough Creek State Park, Pennsylvania)

The innocent mistake that keeps us caught in our own particular style of ignorance, unkindness, and shut-downness is that we are never encouraged to see clearly what is, with gentleness. Instead, there’s a kind of basic misunderstanding that we should try to be better than we already are, that we should try to improve ourselves, that we should try to get away from painful things, and that if we could just learn how to get away from the painful things, then we would be happy. That is the innocent, naïve misunderstanding that we all share, which keeps us unhappy.

~ Pema Chödron

Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.

~ Henri Nouwen

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Writing

Ali (the deer who spent time in our garden last summer when her mother would leave her for the day). It’s easy to tell it’s her because she is smaller than usual.

The planet will never come alive for you unless your songs and stories give life to all the beings, seen and unseen, that inhabit a living Earth.

– Amitav Ghosh

As our world appears to spin more and more out of balance, what are the stories that speak to this darkening time? What stories are destroying us, and what stories are sustaining us, helping us to find a path that can return us to a point of balance, a place of belonging?

~ Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, Emergence Magazine

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A Monday meander: The greening

The Green Man has been at work.

We sat in silence, letting the green in the air heal what it could.

~ Erica Bauermeister, The Scent Keeper

Life itself is as much a long walk as it is a long conversation, and the ways along which we walk are those along which we live.

~ Tim Ingold, Ways of Walking

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A visit with the dogwoods

Yesterday’s sunrise.  If you had been standing outside with me at the time, you would have heard all manner of birds conversing and singing including a wild turkey who was hanging out in that liminal space between marsh and woods, gobbling.

Gratitude is most powerful as a response to the Earth because it provides an opening to reciprocity, to the act of giving back, to living in a way that the Earth will be grateful for us.

~ Robin Wall Kimmerer

There’s a song that wants to sing itself through us. We just got to be available. Maybe the song that is to be sung through us is the most beautiful requiem for an irreplaceable planet or maybe it’s a song of joyous rebirth as we create a new culture that doesn’t destroy its world. But in any case, there’s absolutely no excuse for our making our passionate love for our world dependent on what we think of its degree of health, whether we think it’s going to go on forever. Those are just thoughts anyway. But this moment you’re alive, so you can just dial up the magic of that at any time.

~ Joanna Macy

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A chilly Saturday in spring

Rooted on the dunes. (Cape Henlopen, Delaware.)

We have little needs and we have deeper needs.

We have fallen into the mistake of living from our little needs til we have almost lost our deeper needs in a kind of madness. Let us prepare now for the death of our present little life and the re-emergence in a bigger life in touch with the moving cosmos. It is a question practically of relationship. We must get back into relation, vivid and nourishing relationship to the cosmos and the universe. The way is through daily ritual and re-awakening. We must once more practice the rituals of dawn and noon and sunset, the ritual of kindling fire and pouring water, the ritual of the first breath and the last. To these rituals we must return or we must evolve them to suit our needs. For the truth is we are perishing for the lack of fulfillment of our greater needs. We are cut off from the great sources of our inward nourishment and renewal, sources which flow eternally in the universe.

Vitally, the human race is dying. It is like a great uprooted tree with its roots in the air. We must plant ourselves again in the universe.

~ D. H. Lawrence

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A Monday meander: Striving for perfection

Through the lattice

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.

~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird:  Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Perfectionism doesn’t believe in practice shots. It doesn’t believe in improvement. Perfectionism has never heard that anything worth doing is worth doing badly–and that if we allow ourselves to do something badly we might in time become quite good at it. Perfectionism measures our beginner’s work against the finished work of masters. Perfectionism thrives on comparison and competition. It doesn’t know how to say, “Good try,” or “Job well done.” The critic does not believe in creative glee–or any glee at all, for that matter. No, perfectionism is a serious matter.

~ Julia Cameron, Finding Water:  The Art of Perseverance

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