Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Junko's birth-day

Circle Dance

My mother birthed us into this life
Her daughters birthed her into death.
Now she carries us again in her spirit-body,
her wisdom flowering out 
filling the spaces and gaps, closing the arc
begun as a tentative love
 now ripe, stretched,
this time in surrender to the light
the one-longing
hers, mine, ours - since the beginning.

Sunday, May 14, 2017


Punkin, Spec, and Wally
Yesterday some men came and stole our mango crop. They penetrated the fence the furthest side from the house into the north orchard where a deer lived a protected life. We don't know what happened, whether they tried to catch the deer or taunted him, but the deer escaped from our refuge by ramming a hole through the wire mesh fence. The terrible force caused internal injuries. We discovered him in the yard at the gate, in shock, bleeding from the nose, his head and horns battered. Our young dog, Punkin was curled up next to him, clearly empathetic. 

This morning the deer was still there, but gone.

My emotions traveled the range of wanting to booby trap the perimeter of the farm to shooting at the feet of the violators, making them dance in terror. I wanted the perpetrators, yesterday, today and tomorrow, to bleed too. But then, in my journeying around hate I came to an impasse.

Blessed are the peacemakers. 

I'm too sad and riled to think of peacemakers as defeated martyrs. I don't want cruelty to make me cruel. I want to be a peace-able, human being to spite cruelty and stupidity. I want to become genuinely free so that in the midst of violation, loss, persecution, whatever - they cannot find me anywhere - whered'd she go?! Talk about liberation! Can a slow distillation of these terrors and turmoils of life turn my journey into one of transformation? 

The wabi sabi is that there is sense to what looks senseless but you have to look and keep looking. We can see the pattern everywhere and in everything in this material, earthly world and even in ourselves:  birth, life, death and then something else. I believe the pattern was incarnated to bring the reality home to us. "I am the resurrection and the life"- it's the same thing! The catalyst is love, the love remains and the love is the spark of what follows. The pattern will continue to unfold ever wider and deeper until, until, until everything is HOME.

One day our grown up deer-seed- huanacaxtle

Wally journeyed his grief by digging a generous, commodious hole. He positioned the deer-seed with a view to the ocean and we covered him with dirt. Wally's words were simple: Go back to the garden...  

He circled the place with rocks and a huge wreath of almond leaves, and planted a young huanacaxtle tree at it's heart. 

Peace -able

Saturday, March 18, 2017

More scenes from my kitchen...

Lucy waiting on lovin in the oven...

It's a surprise to realize I haven't blogged in over a year... Just goes to show that sometimes the current is swift as we allow the river of life to carry us.

Today is baking day - the best day of the week for me. Tomorrow is market day. I put the satellite radio station on the music of Hildegard de Bingen and cross myself, asking the kitchen Virgin to bless these hands as I mix love into the flour and sugar. I'm not waxing poetic, I'm serious. The things I create come from the flow of God. I breathe in God and breathe out cake, or something for art's sake. What a magnificent economy that the Creator would perpetuate creative evolution by making us creators too...that's the flow I try to move in. How can it not be glorious when you throw in butter and chocolate - that feels like cheating.

It's Spring and the iguanas are wooing. The sounds on the roof are dramatic and exciting. Large bodies are scrambling and power-lunging themselves with nary a care of the slope, pitch and slickness of the roof. The sounds make the dogs howl and the chickens jump and squawk. This energy charges the kitchen.
Wooing dragon energy
Re-arrangement for love

When I came up the steps to my kitchen on the third story, an iguana dressed as a dragon flew from the landing to the veranda wall and climbed the coils to the top of my freezer. Oh great, I think as I ponder that enormous tail and the pottery carefully arranged to adorn its top. I get the stepladder and with my face inches from the amorous dragon I remove as many clay pots as possible.  Already, he has swept off a lid and a ceramic ball.  Stuff I'll save for a mosaic or mobile. Even the creatures are making stuff for art.

Where is St Francis when you need him - out mending a hole in the fence to keep the new chicks from becoming food.

Friday, November 13, 2015

All souls and stuff

An altar in our kitchen
All Souls Day, the Day of the Dead has passed. We drank, ate, laughed and cried with the company of all souls. The cemetery was filled was a cacophony of people, children, dogs, boom boxes and roving musicians. Graves were piled high with flowers and tables were laden with food and drink, braziers wafting the smoke of roasting meat. In the late afternoon, mass was celebrated. People gathered to sit on graves and to stand in groups awaiting the part where their beloved's name would be spoken. For many of the elders, the names read out loud are as familiar as the backs of their hands. Here, everyone knows one another for a lifetime. There is a complex interconnection of marriages and relationships so that the corporate memory is exponentially broad, wide and deep.

When people stop to linger in memories the dead return to us in their essence. They rise again in a tender, more merciful re-collection. Death awakens us, hopefully, to live like everything we do and say matters, that the ripples of our lives continue forward in time like the ripples of the dead that move through us. We are imperfectly-holy saints abiding alongside those who have gone before us. When we think we are separate there can be no healing.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Nest and nester...

Lucy has a nose for chick-care
My husband, Wally's rough hands cup a chick.  The rainy season is a harsh environment for the little ones. He has brought the hatchling for me to keep warm and sheltered, to give her a chance of surviving this setback. We've done this countless times. Sometimes I put the little life in the front of my shirt in the space between my breasts and move about doing my chores as the little chick sleeps as if under a wing of different sorts. Sometimes I make a nest in the pocket of my apron with a torn piece of t-shirt to catch droppings - a chick diaper. 

The noise of the chicken yard is our soundscape. At times the chick I'm carrying responds to its sounds. Maybe she hears her mother's cluck or the cheep-cheep (pio-pio in Spanish) of her siblings. It's a good sign. Her low trilling is the sound of content like a baby's gurgle or the purring of a cat. She feels safe. 
I am a nest.

Caring for her is not just good for the chick, it's good for me too. I do things more slowly and finally sit to marvel for 20 minutes at the perfect markings on her wings and back, a collection of finest feathers that makes a unity of design in a rich array of browns accented with ink black calligraphy. If only I could decipher its message. Who says brown is drab? Brown becomes more than a color but an experience of velvet-soft darkness.  Brown becomes worthy of a long study into weightless, ephemeral, featherness. 

Are we any less a wonder? 

How much do we miss by hurrying?
Contemplative-worshiper-chick of the chicken species

My hands today are good for chick care and little else. Stung by hornets, my hands are like two inflated gloves on the ends of my arms. It's a reprieve from my chores, I can take ease without guilt. Like the chick, I let the full weight of my being rest in the shelter of this day, this place. It can be a gift to be small and helpless. I can still multi-task as nest and chick-care-giver, a contemplative-worshiper-chick of the human species.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Body theology...

Capable Flesh

The tender flesh itself
will be found one day
- quite surprisingly - 
to be capable of receiving,
and yes, full
capable of embracing
the searing energies of God.
Go figure. Fear not.
For even at its beginning
the humble clay received
God's art, whereby
one part became the eye,
another the ear, and yet
another this impetuous hand.
Therefore, the flesh
is not to be excluded
from the wisdom and the power
that now and ever animates
all things.  His life-giving
agency is made perfect,
we are told, in weakness -
made perfect in the flesh.
 - St. Irenaeus
adapted and translated by Scott Cairns

This message is brought to you by your body.  Your sensory system is calling for a sound check...can you hear this or are you ignoring your body's attempts at communication? 

We know the things you put into your ears and your brain and what comes out of your mouth. The hope is for a dependable connection from your head to your heart - that's why we make this appeal. 

Pay attention to your body.  It's talking to you.

Listening is something everyone assumes they already do, but just because you have two ears doesn't mean you hear.

You say that all things are connected and are a part of a great wholeness of one, that the universe with all its multiplicity is ultimately one essential reality. Do you really believe that? Your very own body is integral within that wonder-world universe. You have a part to play.  

It's basic.  When you ignore the messages of the body eventually things go a wry, disorder ensues and can spread faster than repair! You become lost in feeling bad. It can result in a paralysis, like an impassive response to the news of climate change, you do nothing.

This is not simple aging, and please, stop bemoaning it.  Of course there's wear and tear that comes with the years, but in fact, a large part is due to the natural consequences of regular neglect over decades.  To make things worse, you speak with such impatience of your body, the body that has served you faithfully and remarkably well.

This probably comes as a shock to your good opinion of yourself.  You think yourself a peace-maker but you act like a slave-driver to the body, making demands, never listening.  

It's time to make peace with your body.  This body wants to enlighten your soul, be a God-house, save your life for heaven's sake!

Be receptive. You already have everything you need. Listen to your body with your breath, not your ears. Breath is the basis of language and creation. In the beginning, God spoke the world into existence and breathed life into creation. Nature knows what to do. There is innate wisdom in every cell. It's a dynamic system! The maps of that wondrous circuitry are marvels of art. 

Minister, like a priestess or a doctor, loving intentions with your powerful, creative, healing imagination. That's what it's there for - it's part of the design. Attend the aches and pains with an intuitive probing. Initiate healing with an empathetic hand over the body's weakness. Repair is a reflexive response of each cell. Your body will know what to do. Be healer and patient, for who knows your body like you?

Practice this each day and you will begin to feel like your standing on the bright, red X of life again. Be thankful for all your parts and their service.  It's a body wonderland of love.  Give thanks to the kidneys and bladder, thanks to the stomach and intestines, thanks to the shoulders and wrists, hands and fingers, knees and toes.