Thursday, August 27, 2020
Frogs remind us to be alert. They sit in meditation almost all day long--except when they take a brief swim.
I wonder if i could sit in meditation most of the day. Walking meditation, sitting at the computer meditation, sitting and watching the frogs meditation.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Pink Queen Anne's Lace
This COVID summer, i've seen many things in the natural world that i haven't noticed before. This slowed-down summer has created space for my inner naturalist to bloom.
This coming slowed-down fall and winter offer opportunities for at-home retreats. I'm signed up for a silent concentration retreat in mid-October.
On retreat, i will probably see things i hadn't noticed before. Those seeings are called insight. I practice insight meditation.
The pink Queen Anne's Lace is stunning.
Monday, August 24, 2020
Quite often, Life gives us something beautiful, whether or not we recognize it at the time.
When i'm pulling out morning glory "weeds," in June and July, i have no idea what color they are going to turn into. I assume they are all purple, and then, in August, one surprises me--Venice Blue on this pole; white on another pole. Mother Nature creates beautiful and felicitous combinations.
Saying "Yes" to everything, just as it is, creates happiness--even when you don't know where this situation is going.
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Five chickadees arrived on my deck railing at the same time. I suspect it was Mother with 4 of her brood. Wow. Chickadees have a very different family culture than the one i grew up in.
First of all, they all talk at the same time, all the time. And they are loud! No wonder Mother wanted to kick them out of the noisy nest. In addition to calling each other "Sweetheart," they yell at each other constantly. These are my seeds. Go find your own. Or Get off my branch. I was here first. Or Mom! Then they all fly off together, so they obviously do love each other.
I love individual chickadees, but five at a time was eye-opening.
For those of us who are naturally quiet, for those of us who are conflict-averse, for those of us who give in easily, can we find our chickadee voices? Can we give voice to our authentic selves?
After all, the chickadees do call each other Sweetheart.
Friday, August 21, 2020
Back and Forth to the Compost Bin
Meanwhile, if i stop by a flowerbed, i fill up a 5-gallon bucket with deadheads and take that to the compost bin. Maybe i like the walk even though it's back and forth--sort of like walking meditation. Maybe i like filling up my compost bin.
A chore is something sort of unpleasant, something i need to do whether or not i want to do it. When meditation becomes a chore, it's time to lighten it up somehow. Make meditation interesting.
I love my compost. Maybe that's why taking kitchen scraps out to the compost bin is not a chore.
Thursday, August 20, 2020
Now. Today. The Only Now.
I regret to read that corydalis is a biennial. I wonder if it will propagate itself.
Ah, well, the future is just an idea i have. The future is an idea, and then i believe it.
Now is the only now. A now of pink and yellow corydalis.
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Unlike amaryllis, the leaves appear first--in the spring--then die back. In August, just as i've completely forgotten them, here they are, trumpeting their glorious arrival.
Once in a while, meditation feels like this. We put all this effort into green leaves, but after a while, maybe we forget to meditate.
Suddenly, one day we are surprised when the kindness or calmness of meditation blooms, right in the middle of a heated discussion.
It's a good thing to plant meditation in our lives every day.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Today, i am 72 years old, and i just rediscovered Lanice's blue gentian growing in one of my nursery beds.
Gentian is an herb--one of the ingredients in bitters, which settles the stomach.
Meditation settles our mind. Interestingly, gentian blue settles my heart. When i am wearing this bright blue, i feel safe.
Feeling safe, feeling a lack of fear, anxiety, worry and such, is one of the ingredients of loving-kindness and friendliness.
One of our challenges today is to feel friendly toward those who do not share our views and opinions. The first response of the amydala might be bitterness, but we are seeking the heart's response. How can you feel safe with "them"? And how might "they" feel safe with you?
Monday, August 17, 2020
My grandmother called her middle daughter Jenny Wren, so i have a deep, affectionate feeling for all the busy wrens in my gardens. These brave little birds sing loudly and beautifully, and they are not skittish around people.
In these times, we may be called on to be brave even though we feel small. We may be called upon to speak up or speak out, even around big bullies.
Open your heart and sing your very own song--like the wren.
Sunday, August 16, 2020
I particularly like the looks of the Redwing onion--a deep red northern onion.
Our local taco truck offers pickled red onions as a topping, so i've been pickling my own red onions. When a pickle jar is empty, i slice red onions into the pickle juice. That way, i always have my very own pickled red onions ready to chop into any salad.
Although we like to preserve things for the future, these things age and die, just as we do.
My onions will last until spring. Then they will sprout and be ready for their next incarnation.
P.S. Send me your favorite onion recipes.
Saturday, August 15, 2020
Fortifying the Mind
This spring, i staked out the squash bed and then ran string between the stakes until it looked like a cat's cradle. For extra protection, i added tomato cages all along the sides so deer would be deterred from sticking their noses through the tangle of string.
During these COVID times, we are setting up our own fortifying protections--some more than others. Masks, gloves, hand sanitizer. Some protections have been rescinded: i can now use my own bags at the food coop.
I'm already looking forward to my 10-day silent retreat in October--with the side benefit of missing out on 10 days of pre-election news. I'm protecting my mind from various news pests.
I have a bumper crop of winter squash setting butternuts, pumpkins, and Long Island Cheese (whatever that turns out to be). Ten days of silence will yield a beautiful harvest of calm.
Friday, August 14, 2020
Dragonflies in the Skies
The dragonflies fly at an altitude of about 30 feet, so i don't notice them unless i look up. Now i realize one more reason why we don't have mosquitoes in our yard. The dragonflies are patrolling the skies.
If we can open our minds to peripheral awareness--awareness of all the sights, sounds, senses that are happening every moment--we can patrol the sky of awareness even while watching the meditation object of a dragonfly or the breath, for instance.
If we rest in awareness, then we can catch those pesky mosquito thoughts before they cling to us and bite.
Rest in awareness like a dragonfly.
Thursday, August 13, 2020
In a Pickle
Then my acupuncturist told me that vinegar and honey tea is a remedy for acid reflux. Pickles are probiotic. So i started eating pickles again.
What do you sacrifice in order to get along with the person in your house? What do you sacrifice in order to not make waves with members of your family? What do you sacrifice in order to fit in with your community?
Sometimes we give up things that are good for us in order to not make waves, in order to "belong."
Belong to yourself first of all. Don't put your heart in a pickle Fit in with your own true heart.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Later May Be Too Late
Our friend Paul has a night-blooming cereus that blooms profusely every year. Last night i received an email: We have 7 blossoms tonight. I looked at my sweetie. "It's 9:15. Shall we go?"
We hopped in the car and drove the 15 minutes to the cereus extravaganza. Donning masks and social distancing our extrovert friends, we walked through their house, to the little solarium off the kitchen.
"Smell them," our hostess instructed. Which meant taking off our masks for a a few whiffs.
Sometimes we receive an unexpected message: She's dying now. Come quick or it will be too late.
It's so easy to think Later. But later may be too late.
The night-blooming cereus flowers begin wilting at dawn and are dead by sunrise.
Monday, August 10, 2020
A Catio for Your Cat
The catio is fenced both above and around the sides. Alfred can get his outdoor "fix" without running across the street or roaming among the ticks. He just hops out an open window into his catio any time he wishes.
You might say that Alfred looks caged, but another way to see it is that he is restrained.
We can restrain our own senses by not letting them run loose with the desire du jour. We can restrain our minds by not letting it run loose and continually refocusing it on the Dharma and on the divine emotions of kindness and compassion.
Alfred can meditate in his catio, and we can meditate on our patio.