I am first to the church today. It is 9:00--I have been here since 8:30. I like to get here just to be in the space where in less than hour will be filled with the energy, sorrows, laughter, lives, personalities, rushing racing of the congregation gathering for worship. The quiet is my anchor...my cord running to my balance and godplace inside of me. Grounding here for a few minutes...is a grace I can offer to myself.
Breathing in, I breath in the singing of the birds... Breathing out, I release any tension to misty fog... Breathing in, I breathe in the cool breeze gently caressing my cheek.... Breathing out, I open up my heart to welcome more fully with Your grace, Your peace, Your love to those who come to meet You today. Amen.
So in honor of summer, please share your own beachy memories, plans, and dreams with a "Beach Trip" Friday Five.
1. Ocean rocks, lake limps? Vice versa? Or "it's all beautiful in its own way"? Ocean rocks, waves, yup. I have great memories of lakes from my childhood, but I really love the vast expanse of the sea.
2. Year round beach living: Heaven...or the Other Place? I probably would enjoy it. It's not something I yearn for, but I wouldn't pass it up. I would probably prefer mountains, but....
3. Any beach plans for this summer? Does going to Revere Beach count? The first public beach in America? To walk the dogs?
4. Best beach memory ever? Hmmm. The first time I saw the ocean was when I was in second or third grade. We drove to Oregon for a family reunion with my step-father's family and we all rented a giant beach house for a couple of days. My new cousins scared me about the undertow, but I was completely enamoured with the giant rocks and waves crashing and cooking out and it was grand.
5. Fantasy beach trip? Barbados, Figi, St. Lucia, Greece, or Portugal, in a private beach house.
So I was sleeping quite cozily and nicely until about 4:30 this morning, when the doggies, including toy poodles, began a barking frenzy. My beloved thought they just needed to go out. So out the back door they went. However, the barking continued, even louder. Even our new dog, Fenway, who doesn't bark at ALL, found her voice this morning. What the heck was going on? I decided to drag myself out of bed, since I figured we had awakened the entire neighborhood and thought I should start baking cookies or something to make amends, when I see my beloved out on the deck yelling and trying to shoo something out of the yard. It was a big, fat, stinky, stinky, stinky skunk. Now you need to understand, our backyard is an urban backyard...with fence all around, and bordering five other backyards. There is really no place this guy to go, except ballistic with his spray. I dragged the animals in, and of course, beloved, who says, "What, do they bite or something? I want it out of the yard!"
So, after things quiet down, I check from the basement window to look under the deck and he has burrowed in, for what I think is the entire day. I bang on the window, but that pretty much resulted in more lovely stink.
After dropping off my beloved at the train station, I got back home, and was putting some transplantings on the front porch, and I walked to the edge and saw something move under the hosta plant. Yup. Pepe le Phew. I snuck inside, and watched him waddle down the street a few houses, and into a neighbor's backyard.(this is a BIG skunk--the picture above is just an example, it isn't my skunk)
So, it is 8:30 a.m. and already one crisis arisen and averted for the day. What else is to come?
Everyday, Starting about 8:30, and lasting for about 20 minutes, the happiest grey bird comes to sing in our neighborhood. S/he sits on topmost peak of a very large, mature evergreen tree next door. I sit and watch this happy little singer as s/he offers a most beautiful concert of delightful, lovely, happy warbles. I have no clue what kind of bird this is...(I looked up but couldn't identify) but I am so happy s/he chose this neighborhood in which to sing. Reminds me of that cartoon, "I wanna singa, about the moona and the junah and the springa..."
I was listening to this story on NPR today, about women breaking stereotypes in male dominated culture of Karachi, Pakistan. One of the women interviewed is an architect, and college professor. She works for a land development organization that helps poor people dig their own sewer lines when the government won't help them. Working with government officials, at first was difficult. She notes that you can't go to them and say, "You do this, You do that" because sometimes the official doesn't have the power, and he will start to avoid you. Instead, her approach is, "We need your advice, please tell us what to do" and they are happy to have dicussion. She said, with any group, once you rise up horizontally you take every one with you. If you rise up vertically, you are alone. If you rise up horizontally, you take everyone with you.
What a vision for the world, huh?
picture from pakistaniat.com/.../Abro-Art-Woman-Pakistan.jpg
My friend Jess, amazing writer, and wonderful blogger left a beautiful comment on another post, which contained this phrase: "weeds of noise". What an image...and pulling out the weeds of noise so that the silence of beauty and abundance can deeply root and grow--well, it is a conscious undertaking.
I have been offered several garden images this week. Someone challenged me to stop weeding other people's garden and start tending to my own. That is something to chew on, too!
As for a real garden, I did plant two tomato plants, a pepper plant, and some catnip. They are coming along nicely.
At the suggestion of my teacher, I picked up a wonderful book of meditations by Jon Kabat-Zin, called "Arriving at your own Door: 108 Lessons in Mindfulness". The title itself is enough food for thought for a life time. More on that later. For today, my lesson is "heartfulness. Kabat-Zin reminds us that in Asian languages, the word for mind and heart is the same. So, in being mindful, perhaps we should hear "heartfulness". Living with heartfulness towards others is almost natural, for me. It is why I do what I do. It is my vocation, my passion...and certain call from God. I am not saying I always do it well, but I do think I get what it means. Living with hearfulness towards myself isn't as easy. I pray for presence and hearfulness today. Amen.