While, with more reasonable (hi 80s low 90s) temperatures this month, the garden hasn’t been so challenged by heat, it turns out that I’m being more bothered by even this moderate level of hot than ever I used to be, sigh! The good news is that now, just about a year after my trochanter-cracking midnight fall last early August, I’ve actually been feeling safe and comfortable enough to be doing my twilight and night walks again. At dusk several evenings these past few week, I’ve walked the full length of the fire road trail overlooking the Valley. Instead of doubling back on the trail after dark, I’ve made the loop to home down on the town streets below the trail. It was during one of those early evenings on the trail that I witnessed the amazing rattlesnake mating ballet I wrote about in an earlier post.
I’ve felt sad, all these months, not being comfortable or ready to do my favorite evening walk. I kept hoping that someday I’d feel safe enough to resume that ramble but also understood that I might not, ever. Even though it felt like such a loss, there was no question of pushing my self. If it were going to come back into my life, I trusted it would come organically: one day I’d simply find my self on the trail at dusk. And, that’s just how it unfolded. Such a blessing.
For whatever reasons, I’ve not been inclined, most days, to drive the half hour to walk at the beach. Instead, during the heat of the days, I’ve hung out indoors under the fans or with the air-conditioner (in the worst of it) or else out in the hammock under the tree shade. I get the seed and humming bird feeding, the deadheading, picking and watering in the garden all seen to before the mornings heat up. Then, on the days when I’m not working, the hours slide by – I read, play with kitties, write, do paperwork, some email or web browsing, sometimes do a bit of exercise and yoga, listen to books on CD as I do household chores, drift and occasionally nap – all until it cools enough for an evening meander or errands. I cannot imagine ever again being able to live what passes for a normal life these days!
The garden is lately filled with an exuberant rainbow of zinnias and a profusion of red, white and pink sweet peas. Roses come and go but not, this year, in their usual abundance. Marigolds, nasturtiums and rudebeckia offer splashes of gold, orange and rusty red while the lavenders and lantana bring light purple touches around the edges. Shasta daisies and lovely, hearty lisanthus add white highlights to the mix. Cherry and beefsteak (at last!) tomatoes are thriving and a new crop of baby Persian cucumbers are incubating under umbrella-like leaves. Still an occasional lush strawberry to pick. Fresh plantings of lettuces, arugula and kales seem to grow as I watch them. Pulled up the last crop of lettuces – left to get to the bitter/going-to-flower stage because I’d been eating fewer salads lately – and brought a big sack full next door to feed the chickens. They were ecstatic (as always) with the bounty of greens that they welcomed quite noisily.
Work on the journaling book progresses in its own organic timing as Barbara and I – with the Grandmothers’ nudgings – move through ever-evolving re-visionings of how it wants to come together. At some early point this year, we had a vague notion that it might be ready to go to print in late spring or early summer. Then, early fall seemed more likely. But, it clearly has its own timing and trajectory, so we’ve let go of any ideas about when it might be ready to go to press. That feels comfortable and comforting to both of us. Deadlines inevitably seem to guarantee headaches and pressure. Neither of us wants that kind of stress. Instead we simply move slowly as we’re led/inspired so there’s room for all the magic that might happen as we go along. Reconfigurings that present themselves feel exciting and enlivening rather than – were we believing we had somewhere to get at a specific time – frustrating-because-they-slow-things-down.
Frequently these past couple of weeks – at the print shop, a restaurant, with my herbalist, at the post office, at Trader Joe’s – I’ve noticed how different everything feels for me (and for the people with whom I’m doing business) because I’m committed to neither being in a rush my self nor having to rush the people from whom I’m needing something. Just as with deadlines, rushing frazzles us. We get irritable, stressed, snappish and crazy. If I’m rushing, every bit of life’s random happenings feels thwarting, an obstacle perversely getting in my way. When I choose to allow more time than I might need to get where I’m going or onto my next errand, any untoward happening – a long line/wait, traffic congestion – just is whatever it is, not something to agitate me. Always having a book on CD in the car or a paperback in my backpack when I’m on foot guarantees that I can be amused and patient. Having the space/luxury to take this kind of time is the precious ongoing gift of the way I’ve come to live my life.
Committed for almost 40 years now to living a slow-lane life, I’ve felt blessed (and helped by Spirit) to know (and be able to act on the knowing) that I needed to choose not to have children, a spouse or a regular job-job. Absent such claims on me/my energy, there’s room in my days to easily move through them organically rather than being pressured to fit myriad things into an always too busy schedule. Some days I wonder how it was that I was ever able to juggle all the doings I juggled in the years before I turned 32 and left the too-busy life I’d been living. There’s no way the me I’ve become could ever do anything like that again. I marvel at the way some of my dearest friends manage (and clearly enjoy) their very full lives. Even if I could keep me focused on the thinnest-slice-of-now I could define, I suspect I’d feel overwhelmed by so many claims on my time and energy. I continue to be amazed at the support from the Grandmothers that has helped me, over these years, to craft a life that works so well for me.
It delights me that I can sit here at 2:30 AM writing this, having been drawn here on what I thought was my way to the hot tub two hours ago. Though I’m probably going to put this down for now, staying up this late unexpectedly is not a problem. With no particular agenda for tomorrow, I’ll likely sleep for my usual six hours before starting the day. According to conventional wisdom, I practice terrible sleep-hygiene: rather than going to sleep at a regular time and waking at a regular time, I go to sleep when I’m tired and wake up when I’ve had enough sleep. On the the six days or so a month when I have clients or self-care appointments starting around 10:00 AM, I do try to be mindful of getting to bed early enough to have those six hours. This often takes some negotiating with the Little One(s) inside when they have other things they’d rather do and don’t see why we/they have to go to bed because I need to get up in the morning. Mostly I’m able to get some cooperation, though at times it means I have to make do with a bit less sleep. I feel so privileged and grateful to be able to live this organic way.
I remember a book title from a million years ago (well, actually from 1957 and recently reissued): Where Did You Go? Out. What Did you Do? Nothing. It was about a childhood before scheduled enrichment activities became the way of enlightened parenting. Our world has become one in which this kind of drift and timelessness no longer has either a place or any perceived value. More’s the pity for us all. I suppose having a meditation practice provides some respite from the too-busyness but then, most of the time after a sit, people are drawn right back into the stimulus-overload that we’ve come to accept as the norm in these days of texting, social media and always being accessible/plugged-in from childhood on.
Of course, having access to Amazon did let me see if the book was still around and writing this on my MacBook Pro allows me to edit as I write without wasting reams of paper/trees. And, I wouldn’t want to trade Google for the incomplete set of The Wonderland of Knowledge encyclopedias I grew up with (Encyclopedia Britannica required a trip to the library). So, there’s much that’s wonderful and that I appreciate about all the technology. It’s the way that it seems to fill up our lives (sometimes even my own!) that troubles and perplexes my spirit.
I had an incredibly magical experience the night of the full moon this past week. I’d come off the freeway onto a major east-west thoroughfare in Ventura (on my route for my big-city errands) at just the moment when the huge, blazing orange sun in my rear view mirror was sitting at exactly the same distance above the western horizon as the enormous full (blue) moon sat above the eastern horizon out my front windshield. Breathtaking and gorgeous. It was one of those moments when you simply have to cheer or dance with joy, so I did whoop a bit in my little car. I’ve always thought (as apparently most people have) that so-called blue moons came when there was a second full moon in a single calendar month. Turns out that this isn’t the case. A blue moon comes when there is a fourth full moon in a season; usually there are only three each season. We won’t have another blue moon until 2015 (again information from the web).
Since starting the Compassionate Ink Facebook page and website in February, Barbara, my amazing-collaborator-in-charge-of-everything, has been gently and repeatedly encouraging me to consider writing shorter and more frequent pieces than the columns I’ve been writing monthly/six-weekly for the last dozen years. Of course, as usual, I moan and resist. First of all, it feels like too much work and I categorically refuse ever to do anything that feels that way. And, secondly, I love my periodic long meanders that start with garden reports and amble through the ways I walk my talk in the ordinary everyday unfolding of my life that month. Ever patient and persistent (acting on behalf of the Grandmothers), she’ll usually raise the possibility again in a little while.
One morning a month ago, it occurred to me that I could at least occasionally send Barbara quotes from my collection of quote collections so that she’d have something from me to post in the times between my longer columns. (Each Solstice-New Years since 2000-2001, I cull a group of quotes from those various collections to enclose with my annual card as Inspirations for the Year Ahead.)
Imagine my surprise when I realized I could even send her quotes from files of my own not-ever published writings. I found and sent her short pieces on re-framing how we can hold mistakes and how we can be gentle with our selves in feeling stuck times. Then another old piece about how growth really happens (as a spiral NOT as linear-ever-forward-onward-and-upward) turned up and was sent to her for posting. Re-reading that last piece led me to write a further piece reflecting on how we can more compassionately treat ourselves as we move along through the levels on the spiral. (This one should be going up soon.)
So, even as I continue to somewhat regularly write longer journal/blog columns like the one you’re reading now, I’m being moved, gently and tenderly into new territory as I now begin to supply Barbara with more frequent things to post on our Facebook page (compassionate ink) and website blogs (2013 Journal in the dropdown menu at forthelittleonesinside.com, Updates and Reflections in the More dropdown menu at compassionateink.com). Clearly, the Grandmothers have an investment in my writing more of these bits and snatches and apparently they’re being seen, read and shared by a goodly number of people. (We get to see traffic reports for the Facebook page and the websites.)
Barbara magically comes up with perfectly fabulous photographs to accompany or background these new bits and pieces. She takes them from both from her own and also more public archives. And, for these longer columns she makes delightful collages using my novice snapshot of my garden and the hummers. Our collaboration, instigated and nurtured by the Grandmothers continues to “grow corn” for both of us.
On the Facebook page and both the websites you’ll see that the interview with my old friend Justine Toms for New Dimensions Radio is scheduled to air on various NPR stations around the world (imagine that!) the week of September 4th through 10th. You can, if you chose, and for a fee of $1.99, download the interview at http://www.newdimensions.org/program-archive/bringing-unconditional-love-to-ourselves-with-robyn-posin/ or for information on accessing the free broadcast via radio stations, internet and podcast, you can check out the "How to Listen" tab on New Dimensions website: http://www.newdimensions.org/find-program/.
I’m quite delighted as I listen to this post-production version of the interview, even as I notice I have a few verbal ticks that I use without knowing that I do. So nice to notice that with absolutely no flickers of judgments or self-criticism. Mostly, noticing them made me smile endearingly at my self. It was such a joy to have this conversation with Justine, I’ve adored her since first we met in 1986.
That’s it for now. Keep tuned to the Facebook page or websites for the bits and pieces that may emerge between now and my next longer posting.