immersed in local politics
and global affairs
of the heart
when hands are grasped by greed
that swallows neighbors whole
down into the soles
and I look
for a place to rest
the eyes that want to sleep
I never before noticed the hissing sound the gas on the stove makes until the power went out last night and I had to cook dinner in the quiet absence of all electricity. Candles flickered in the darkness as we spent the evening playing a dice game at the dining room table, talking, laughing, losing, winning, spending time with each other instead of in the company of the television or computer. Flashlights guided us through the suddenly unfamiliar maze of the house. We camped out in the living room, a mattress on the floor, layers of blankets heaped on top. The curious cats massaged us with their feet, walking and sniffing and marveling at the movement and transformation of the everyday to the extraordinary. “A mattress on the floor?” they seemed to ask, and then, “A mattress on the floor!” as they bounded around and finally settled in. Heat from the fireplace kept our toes toasty while the encroaching cold nipped and numbed our noses. Sleep was easy to come by and deep in dreams.
Day 4’s small stone, written in the wee hours of the morning when the power was restored. It’s shocking, especially in the middle of the night, when everything comes back on, beeping and clicking and rumbling.
Last night happened to be one of the coldest of the season so far, and I was amazed at how quickly the house cooled down once the electricity was gone.
We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.
~ Nicholas Sparks
I took this photo when we were at the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado (altitude of 14,115 feet). We were, in some spots, above the clouds that day. I’m not sure what the couple in the photo could see from there as I didn’t walk down that far (and it was quite a distance from where I stood to take the photo). Perhaps they were just enjoying the bird’s eye view of the clouds and/or each other’s company.
I say that the strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.
~ George Eliot
I did a lot of indulging during our holiday in Colorado, eating foods and drinking drinks I don’t normally eat or drink much while at home. (Visit Life in the Bogs if you are interested in my adventures in Colorado.) One of the projects I’ve been working on this year is getting myself down to a healthy weight. I’ve done well but still need to keep making healthy choices to get the numbers down more. Indulging while in Colorado was not a bad thing. We did enough hiking and walking to work it off. I came home weighing less than when I left.
Somtimes I think healthy (or is it healthful?) choices are a little like the bucket of sunflowers I photographed at the farmers market in the Cherry Creek area of . There are so many beautiful things (foods, drinks) to choose from that it can be difficult to make a decision about one or two and resist the temptation to grab them all. Even healthful choices can be bad choices if you overindulge. For me those choices, whether healthful or not, are a matter of quality of life choices. I want to be able to walk, climb, hike, play with my grandchildren. In other words, keep blooming if I can. I know there will be a time to fade but I also know that our choices in life play a big role in our quality of life.
Those of you who have followed me here at Bountiful Healing for a while know that this was the place I came to in order to heal body, mind, and spirit. Not doing well physically led to not doing well mentally and spiritually. I think it was just before my mother was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer that I decided I didn’t need Bountiful Healing anymore and tried to shut it down. I was feeling good. Mission accomplished. Or so I thought. I reopened BH at the request of those who wanted to visit and revisit old posts.
Then, as you may or may not know, my mother was diagnosed with cancer which eventually led to her death on September 9, 2009. What an odd date. 09-09-09. I thought that at the time but haven’t thought about it again until just now, seeing it in type. Digressions aside for the moment, I felt the need to come back here on a semi-regular basis. As this first year since Mom’s death has passed, I’ve come here less and less even though there were times when I needed it more and more.
Lately I’ve realized that healing is something we do on an almost daily basis and it doesn’t always involve the serious stuff. It might involve something as simple as letting go of or getting over an unkind word from a stranger. What seems like eons ago, I watched an interview with writer and poet Maya Angelou and one of the things I remember her talking about is how the little things, the little hurts, are like being pecked to death by ducks. There are times when life brings you a duck or two trying to take a little piece of you. Even the little hurts and slights need healing.
BH is also the place I express my creativity, more so than at Life in the Bogs. The Bogs blog (as I frequently refer to it) was, at first, a place to record our adventures when M took a sabbatical and we moved to West Chester, Pennsylvania for almost a year. It then became the place to record daily adventures and vacations and NaBloPoMo themes and whatever else came to mind. But it has never been a terribly personal or creative blog to me even though I attempted to merge BH with the Bogs blog and have it all come together in one place. The Bogs blog is a record of my outer life. Bountiful Healing is a record of my inner and creative life.
So. Here I am again. Back at the beginning after quite a few endings. I think it’s interesting as well as pretty awesome that life circles and spirals, back and forth, inside and outside and even upside down (to badly paraphrase Dr. Suess and his “inside, outside, upside down”). It moves back and forth and can get a little bit crazy at times. Having a place to balance and center, to anchor, helps. This is one of those places for me. I am fortunate and grateful that I have other shelters and balancing places, within and without. I hope you have at least one such place too, because it is much easier to fly after a period of grounding, centering, and resting in one’s personal oasis of safety and peace.
Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.
(My lovely niece. Photo by Robin. July 2007)
Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.
~ Gail Lumet Buckley
(January 2007. Photo by Robin)
Before Enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water.
After Enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water.
— Zen saying
Washing dishes, my hands soak in the warmth and wetness of the dishwater. Washing dishes, I feel the steam from the water rising up my hands, my arms, breathing it in, soothing my sinuses on this dry winter day. Washing dishes, I listen to the bubbles popping and crinkling in the water, tickled as they burst on my arms and hands. Washing dishes, I delight in the feeling of clean. Washing dishes, I find a slow and graceful process of movement in the wiping, scrubbing, rinsing, and placing of the dishes in the dish rack. From right to left: wash, rinse, rack, wash, rinse, rack, wash, rinse, rack, until all the dishes are sparkling clean.
Washing dishes, the sunlight streams in through the window and warms me further. Washing dishes, I hear the sounds of traffic outside of our apartment building. The pattern of the traffic sounds begins to sound like waves, rolling in and out.
Washing dishes, I am thankful that my feet, legs, and back are all supporting me. Washing dishes, I am thankful for the floor, the building, and the earth that also support me. Washing dishes, I am thankful that I am right here, right now, washing dishes.
Washing dishes, I can see and feel my accomplishment, a job well done.
(Snow in the Bogs. January 2006. Photo by Robin)
“A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.” —Maya Angelou
Lying in bed, my head on my husband’s chest, nothing between us, not the sheets or the blankets or clothing of any kind. I feel the rise and fall of his chest, the silky-scratchiness of the hair on his body, the rhythm of his heartbeat, and the slight breeze of his breath whispering through my hair. I open my eyes and stare out the window and watch the silence of the snowflakes falling from the sky. My body is light. I am floating in a sea of peace, contentment, relaxation, and love.
Steel-cut oats with apples added at the last minute so that they’re still slightly crisp when you bite into them. The oats have a smooth crunchiness to them, hard to describe….a kind of snap occurs when you bite down. The scent of cinnamon wafting up with the steam from the oatmeal. The food is comforting, warm and filling. Perfect for this cold and snowy Saturday.
I sit at the table and the music from the radio washes over me. I’ve never been much of a fidgeter, but now I can’t sit still. The music moves throughout my muscles, into my blood and I find myself moving with it, slight movements at first. I rise out of my chair and dance my way to the kitchen to put my empty bowl in the dishwasher and clean up after breakfast.
I stand at the kitchen sink, once again watching the snow fall and flurry and whirl. I hear M laugh at something our youngest son just said. Youngest Son laughs with him.
I am frozen in this moment, stretching it out in order to experience every last little bit of it. It’s a moment of contentment and peace. A moment of family bliss.
I move to the kitchen counter, and begin making a grocery list. The pen is hard and cold between my fingers, the paper smooth. Pen scritch-scratching as the list grows. I’m thinking about making soup for dinner tonight. I came across a recipe for Thai Tomato Soup that intrigued me….ginger, basil, tomato juice, bok choy, cocount milk. It’s not a combination I’m familiar with and I’m looking forward to trying it.
I sip on a cup of yerba matte tea, enjoying the heat as it moves down my throat and into my stomach. The taste is peppery with a hint of bitterness. The drowsiness of the morning starts to lift as the tea does its thing.
Grocery list and tea finished, I get ready to leave. We’re going out to our new home today to install the baseboards. Fun with hammers and nails. I put on a few layers of clothing because we keep the heat turned down low at our new house. Besides, I might want to jump in the sled and slide down the hill while I’m out there.
I step outside into the cold morning and my eyes are assaulted by the blinding whiteness of the landscape. The snow is falling so heavily now that even the sky appears to be a bright shade of the purest white. I take a deep breath of the icy cold air and feel winter rush through me, invigorating me from the inside out. A gust of wind whips by and rustles the tree branches. Snow comes tumbling down the spruce tree like a mini avalanche.
I make my way carefully down the sidewalk and to the driveway. It’s slippery in spots and I do a little slide-skid thing every now and then. I reach my destination and climb into the truck which is filled with the lingering scent of the hot pizza my husband brought home for dinner last night. It makes my stomach rumble with hunger even though I just finished breakfast not all that long ago.
As I wait for my husband to join me, I watch a black squirrel speed across the snow, racing from tree to tree, occasionally stopping to dig in the snow and pull out some buried treasure — food put away in the ground during warmer days.
It’s a good beginning for a winter’s day.
(I wrote this a couple of years ago, when we were still fixing up our home in the Bogs.)