Sydelle asked me where I came up for ideas for my blog...an excellent question! Here's my response to her, as today qualifies as one of those days where I'm not sure how to begin, but I want to write, because it is part of my spiritual practice.
"Some days I have no clear ideas and I start to worry, because I don't want to let anyone down by not writing, including myself. Then I have to remember that ideas, like blessings and stories are abundant. They are around us, inside of us in every moment, like seeds starting to sprout. If I become anxious and tighten up my mind then l risk choking the little seedlings. If I relax and just trust that they will grow, that trust seems to be all the encouragement they need. Then I just select the sprouts with the wispy branches and leaves that catch my fancy and begin playing and placing them into a pleasing form on my blog. Kind of like a flower arrangement. Sometimes it's a captivating story bouquet. Sometimes, not so much. But for me the important thing is trusting, playing , not grasping too tight and letting them grow. When the stories reach the eyes of readers like you, the light of love and appreciation feeds them and they begin to really blossom as they spark ideas and memories in your heart and mind too."
And now for something completely different!
This week at the Gnome Mound it's a party. A dog party. A big, 2 dog, doodle-poodle party at the Gnome Mound. Our friend Barbara is living it up in beautiful, sunny, warm, exotic, blue skies and bluer ocean Hawaii this week while we are enjoying our own private version of Where the Wild Things Are! Muncie, Barbara's golden doodle darling, who happens to be Ellie's favorite canine companion is here for a week of rambunctious doggie mayhem. And lots of serene naps. They are dancing, prancing, running, jumping, barking, scaring the you know what out of Chaya (our fraidy cat) and inspiring a plot to lure and smack unsuspecting doggie noses with claws cocked (from Nefi, queen kitty at the Mound). What lessons will unfold with an extra guest here to shift the typical flow of our A-typical home-life balance? I am curious to find out...to allow my observations of the dogs, cats and humans sharing space to be integrated into my mindfulness practice this week. At this moment the dogs are resting in tandem. One on my bed, one on the floor, bodies at the exact same angle. Gordon calls them yin and yang because Ellie is a dark color and Muncie light and they have a way of surrounding the person they bestow their love upon in the moment so that one is situated with her nose facing one direction and her companion's nose faces the other way, curving their bodies around the blessed human in a circle of protection. Can you tell I love the energy and presence of two dogs?
I am continuing to sit and meditate each day (and sometimes evenings too) and have started reading Pema Chodron's book When Things Fall Apart (as suggested by my teacher/spiritual director Rabbi Nancy Flam). The first chapter, page 1, begins like this:
" Embarking on the spiritual journey is like getting into a very small boat and setting out on the ocean to search for unknown lands. With wholehearted practice comes inspiration, but sooner or later we will also encounter fear. For all we know, when we get to the horizon, we are going to drop off the edge of the world. Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what's waiting out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it."
Like seeking a story to share from life unfolding, attempting to capture a fascinating photographic image, getting out of bed in the morning, the ride to the doctor's office or sitting still...anxiety, fear is lurking. What if it's not my best writing or a really boring story with no inspiring points of interest? What if I just can't find the perfect image, or I find it but can't seem to capture it with my little crappy camera? What if I have another exacerbation? What if the doctor tells me the lesions are worse again or I need to be on an even scarier medication? What if I can't sit still and my mind takes me to a story that is too captivating and I can't settle back in with my breath? All of these scenarios are possible. All are likely to occur from time to time. Sometimes we just have to have faith that we will be ok, even if the ground falls away beneath our feet. Sometimes we just have to trust that fear, like everything else, is temporary, and step into the place where the wild Thoughts are to see what will happen.
I just watched my tiny 7 lb white kitty Chaya peek her head out from under the dresser to touch noses in greeting with Muncie (I'm guessing Muncie is close to 55 lbs). Chaya was well protected by the bureau that Muncie can not get beneath. Chaya knew this, yet she risked stretching her neck out to come nose to nose with her great hairy fear looming directly in front of her. A few minutes later Chaya came out from her dark cave and sauntered (with some residual reservation) out of the room followed gently by a curious Muncie.
Lesson 1 As a Human Observing Cats and Dogs: Greet your fear nose to nose. It might follow you around for awhile sniffing your tail, but that's just life, so you might as well get used to it and step out from under the heavy antique chest of drawers and into that place where the wild thoughts are. Maybe we can learn to make friends with our big hairy fears.
and of course jan's 28 day meditation challenge