Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Moldavite Muse

Birds in bushes bristle and burrow

But resist dwelling in sorrow 

Taking flight into tomorrow

Music is a language from beyond

and if our people are using this

with wise intention

we must heed the call of musing

hold the meaning in the moment

with aligned action we must leave

the bush and fly too 

Feel it and know

Be with it and go 


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Cardinals and Birthdays and Love

I am thinking of you (and Nanie) on your birthday, Grampie. And I think this has meaning beyond the calendar

Yesterday, on the eve of your 101st birthday I took a walk. I was a bit distracted with follow up for work and not really paying attention to my experience or surroundings. I had finally just put my phone away and decided to mindfully enjoy the rest of my rail trail stroll, when a bird came blazing straight toward my face. It was brilliant and red of course when it veered off into the tree next to me, I confirmed it was a Cardinal. And then I thought of you Grampie. When I see Cardinals I always do. Then, I remembered it was the day before your birthday, and smiled until a rustling grabbed my attention, sort of like Nanie might do, "Ummm, hello? I'm over here?" And there, I spotted your female mate perched nearby, slightly above and more settled in a regal sort of way. Of course. Hi guys! I marinated in this moment full of peace and contentment and a feeling of certainty I was with you both. 

Today, on your birthday, as I dropped Remy off at my sister's house to do her remote learning, I stepped out of the car while still groggy and a red blur whizzed past, waking me up fast.  Yes, it was another male Cardinal, patiently waiting for me to take notice. And so I did. I promptly shared it with Remy, reminding her of his birthday and then Marley and then Meghan too. Once we had all had a glimpse they were off again. Happy Birthday indeed.

Cardinals are not entirely uncommon, I realize this. And yet there is significance here. Nanie loved them. She had pins and mugs and wall hangings and all sorts of other doo-dads. I regret not ever talking to her about where this fondness originated, but after she died it was evident in a more pronounced way and I recall keeping a few things to remember her by with this special symbol. Years later, when it your time to pass Grampie, you were truly so ready. It was hard saying goodbye but also so deeply moving to see a life so complete. You had missed Nanie dearly (I can imagine you saying it just this way) and it was time to move on. 

Grampie, you were pragmatic as hell, and I remember accompanying my dad after to collect the attire for the wake, only to learn that YOU HAD SELECTED IT for yourself much prior. You it hanging just so, and it was specified elsewhere that this would be the outfit. When I saw it, I immediately began crying. Grampie you were well known for your penchant for plaid on plaid and bolo ties. I loved these bolo ties and felt proud of your unique style. On this occasion it was the bolo tie that called out to me. It almost flew to my eyes, much like my Cardinal sightings these last few days. It was a cardinal on your bolo tie. I had NEVER seen this one before. I asked my dad about it and he said "Well that makes sense. My mother loved cardinals." 

Grampie, you are incredible. You dressed up to meet your mate again, just as I had thought...You wanted to make her happy.  

Cardinals are always found in pairs. My grandparents were a pair unbroken through death and I believe to be reunited in peace. I enjoy believing it's them that I spot Cardinals and to be honest, it is always in moments of significance (if I am paying attention and reflective enough to see the connection or the offering of support). 

In fact, I will never forget pulling into the parking lot on the day of my interview for the school I currently serve. The position felt truly special for some reason and I was hopeful I would be found as the right fit. As I drove in with nervousness and hope, a beautiful Cardinal swooped right across my windshield and my nerves lifted away with the birds. I said thank you. And I got the job.  And I said thank you again.

Yesterday and today's sightings are reminders that there is always more. No feeling is final, and ultimately our lives are not final. We live on in energy and gratitude and hope and truth and in faces and characteristics and big moments and challenge and memories and inspiration and change. We cycle through these things and in one another over and over and over. On this day, I am grateful to have come to truly know that to live on this way is to never truly die. Thank you to the Cardinals for these lessons. 

Happy Birthday Grampie. We miss you and Nanie. Thanks for the wisdom. 


Saturday, February 20, 2021

on seeing and being

snow on tree branches calls out

clinging yet without extending effort

bouncing with a weight defying measure

and in this simple act of being 

I am seeing my mind

unfettered and free, 

aware of the path and my ability

to return each time attachment

and longing pulls me into ego traps-


the paralysis stumps me 

the seeing mind trumps me

the being mind waits for me


suddenly the smallest of gusts

arrives and clears several branches 

and a silent and serene storm sways 

into morning's first light and as these 

tiny delights awaken me, I think 

"Oh my goodness I get to see this-

Everyone, LOOK!"


and the truth is we all get to see 


we can really see it so much that

these moments of insight tuck right

inside of us forever-

dwelling within, helping to soften

all that feels daunting and terrible

into a more balanced world 

one that invites us to witness

the wonder and the joy

 

please sit and look at the branches

and tell me something different


What's the point?


What's the point of a snowstorm

that dumps endlessly if you're not

going to walk in it at night

and marvel at the way it sparkles in the

street lights before wistfully 

joining the blanket hugging the ground 

which whispers

"we are magnificent" 

to absolutely no one 


and still, she is 


What's the point if you don't

wrestle on layers of snow gear 

contorting and shifting and 

sweating to prep with proper

measure just in case the 

sledding is so thrilling

and consuming you need to

be well equipped to just 

Let It Ride


Snow is for playing in, hard


What's the point of having

a life that you work so hard at

buffering out challenge or difficulty

if the real truth is that when 

Travesty strikes you actually 

finally feel like the truest version

of yourself 

Navigating loopholes while 

clarifying Values and Vision


What does it feel like to be 

without a toothache?


No one fucking knows


What they know is the pain

and they know the reality of

what pain teaches them and

what next best steps it tells

them to walk 


And that's the whole goddamned point. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

On Knowing and Growing

A collective push to "go back" because

Well, "back" is where we belong

Yet it feels like reciting the lyrics

Without the melody inside of the song


And there is resistance, sharp and mighty 

In this, some dark underlying hues

Stay open, look and listen closer

I think we can garner some clues


Education as a whole is what?

Is it reading levels, facts and tests?

Is it curriculum over connection?

Is it expecting our personal bests?


What is our end goal for students?

To deposit an arbitrary amount of info?

To create robots who consume and produce?

To imply to know means more than to grow?


This pandemic sure has thrown us-

"Schooling" cracked open and wide

There was so much failure before this too

Can we dare to step inside?


The school to prison pipe line is as real

As the institutional response to query

Get in line, do this, do that as such 

Does it surprise us our vision is bleary?


It seems that creating life long learners

Would be one of the essential goals

So we must back up to find this path

Releasing square pegs from round holes


We have all the buzz words and concepts

Yet we neglect to apply it so well

We are missing the forest through the trees

Denying wisdom that our stories can tell


Our system is predicated on production

Creating consumers supports status quo

Are any of us interested in a system

Where to wonder is better than to know?


I ask all these questions today because

If we don't discuss it now, then when?

What didn't work then, won't work next

We have a chance here to begin again


So yes of course, we must all "go back"

But what will this look like to do?

Can we hold the trauma and shades of fear

Are we ready to try something new?


Each class has always deserved two staff

One to inspire, engage and teach lessons

Another to temperature check the room

Supervise and provide small check-ins


Essential is this right here, right now

For teachers both on zoom and in person

Attendance, reading levels and oh ya, feelings

Without this, we'll continue to worsen


Yet with more students and less space I question

Will protocols simply loosen and give way?

Do we try it and then wait to see what happens?

Or perhaps try a therapeutic new way?


Hire more staffing, we need adults who care

And bring in more counselors and people to play

Keep class sizes small, make schedules freer too

Rotate in large spaces and hear what they say!


I believe that logistics can handle what's next

Remember that playfulness heals and repairs

Consider what do YOU hold fondly from school?

Not rules and silence, straight lines on the stairs


You remember the outside the box stuff

The times you truly felt truly seen

You recall when you found a true strength

And with mindful work you did glean


You remember the offhanded personal stories

Your teacher may not even recall they told

You recall how true connection made you feel 

You learned authenticity could not be sold


You learned serious hard skills like science,

Math, literature and history as well

Soft skills like perseverance and empathy

Or flexible thinking a much lesser sell


And this unrealized message sticks with us

Please just shut up and listen to me

Your truth and experiences are irrelevant

Get the work done, spare individuality


We cannot keep going on like this

We have a chance before it's too late

We need to inspire our children now

Educators who teach and participate 


Let's remind our students how to laugh

Deeper still, because learning is fun

To be truly alive and immersed in a moment

It will be here that the real work is done


We are ALL life long learners you see

I learn this from children each day

If we take a deep breath, put agendas aside

Bravely we'll find a new way


We will follow their lead and listen

We can teach them the sound of their voice

Understanding education can be so much more

Our students deserve to have more of a choice


It is their future they seek to inherit

We wish them to have happiness and smarts

But we need to discuss how to define these

Let us begin to teach to their hearts


I know that this prose is flowery 

I realize there is not lots of concrete

I encourage us to walk a different path

I am happy to sit down and meet


If you hear my intention and urging

If you see what I mean and agree

Will you take a chance and will you go there

Will you wander to wonder with me?


There is no "going back", that's all gone now

There is only what lies before us ahead

There is possibility and hope if we see it

There is so much more to be said 


Let us be brave and go do it

Let us sit quiet and still 'til we know 

Let us share out our new wisdom boldly

Let us be proud when we reap what we sow










Friday, January 22, 2021

I Seek

I seek to live inside the sun 

where mind, body, soul

can undulate as one


I seek to dance upon the moon

hearing the stars as they sprinkle

laughter with tune


I seek to hide inside a wave

to locate my inner current

riding my soul to save


I seek to scream atop the mountain

and take up space wide, like water

moving through a fountain


I seek to sketch myself inside a cloud

making notice of my body

learning how to feel proud


I seek to settle into a stream

notice piercing not as pain

but beauty of a waking dream


I seek to fly inside a wing

align with the hawk's mighty grace

carrying me to what I bring


I seek to collapse into dirt

marinating in the texture of life's cycle

aware of what cannot hurt


I seek to travel by ray of light

walking with eternal faith 

my place in time, day or night


I seek this for me

I see this for you

I seek this in the name of all that is true










Thursday, January 7, 2021

Negative Space and Me

Tony told me the other day 

That often times in art

It makes "the most sense" to focus on 

The negative space 

In order to bring shape to 

what is

And while he admitted this is hard,

he concluded it to be where the

most power lies in creation.


Today, I sit sleepy eyed on my porch,

with a space heater, warming me

while I pandemically work from home,

the day after Trump supporters

stormed the capitol. 


This is reality. 

It is simply what is. 


I cannot control what is happening,

but I can always control my response.

And so I feel the weight of my coffee in a stainless

steel tumbler (so it won't chill quite as fast)

I breathe in, and exhale out with extension

Quiet is the truest companion.

I relish in the buttery softness of my leggings

clinging around my legs.

I hear birds and imagine myself inside their messages.


Without effort, I glance to the right:

Traffic, like shooting stars, comes and goes:

Destinations unknown, 

their backdrop a simple canvas of

muted gray, uninspired and plain.


Swiveling to the left I am struck

by that which often goes unnoticed. 

Streaming through a sliver of eastern window

Poking out like a surprise past my neighbor's

front porch:

the most breathtaking sunrise becoming born....


A beacon or a baton, it rises up fluidly

Trailing ribbons of pink and blue

Eventually cascading into an orange 

that bleeds out without caution or concern 

Azure clouds horizontally support the display 

I see their measure and I value their purpose,

They highlight simple excellence with dignity


I am sandwiched between plain ignorance

and a brilliant beautiful truth- 

A collision of consciousness of the

both/and phenomenon and 

I feel grateful for my ability to see

on both sides of me and appreciate. 

Simply SEEING what is there and 

being with it is an utterly useful way to

initiate a day. 


Taking in another sip of coffee,

I look to what lies directly before me,

Outside and straight ahead, additional pause. 

This is my inside as well. 


Several naked trees posing for no one-

Winterized and whole separate, yet 

somehow also joining together in my vision

Strong and dark on top of the white landscape

They are propped and unmoved at their base,

Inviting my eyes to continue to consume upward,

to take them all in, alone and collectively until

I land upon the tippity top the filaments fragile

yet carefully bending and giving way to the elements 

that threaten the exterior

Supported from the inside out and underneath,

a foundation that cannot be broken. 


I notice that this is where the negative space 

Calls out the loudest in a language we can all 

understand if we all were to make a choice:

To look, to listen, so that we may step into the world 

The one that sits patiently existing

Beyond what we see,

Beyond what we know to be true,

Beyond what is real and unreal.


We have a heart center that lives deeper.

It's here.

And we can not only be reminded of it.

It's here we can see it reflected.

It's here we can be energized anew.


It's here we can meet up with it

and be with it and in doing so

find our way to equanimity and fortitude, 

our guides.


Find our oneness. 


Find ourselves inside of tiny 

triangles dripping off of branches

See the way souls are simply

light that illuminates brightly

off of something else.


All of us. All of us. All of us. 


If we want to be okay, really okay,

we must come to recognize this in nature

so that we can return to our own true

nature and be with it. 

We can learn to accept what is with 

whole hearted awareness and without alteration.


When this wise view is really clear

we are free to cultivate our intentions

and actions and ultimately we can lead 

ourselves right on into our own redemption.

There is nothing negative about 

negative space, and for right now, it's

the only place I feel free. 


Won't you join me?