Wednesday, December 31, 2008

ring out the old, ring in the new

what about what's good,
what's true from those days?

- carry me ohio, sun kil moon


as i travelled by train today, i started writing a gratitude list for the outgoing year. this is a work in progress. i'll be adding more as i recall them...

in absolutely no order of relevance whatsoever, these are things i was and am grateful for:

+ cookie making with sylvia and zoe
+ lying in the hammock with Asher in my arms
+ beautiful day trips to beautiful places: mount lemmon - first time on a ski lift; the desert museum, tucson; Bizbee
+ the 2008 procession of souls, tucson
+ms c's and an epiphany that i longed for a cowboy to do the two-step with but that i'll line dance with those cowgirls anyday
+ watching Matthew teach his kids to play poker.
+ Nadia getting her liturgical sleeve tattooed
+ conversation with that beautifully tattooed lady
+ finding my commitment-to-myself ring
+ Mackenzie.
+ being licked in the face by Duchess Haworth
+ the grand canyon
+ the advent retreat
+ sharing "our birthday" with my soul sister, julie lee
+ learning new games (backgammon, poker, chess, and the gift that was cribbage)
+ that Jayne survived her surgery in one piece
+ the gift of hospitality, friendship
+ that Mark and Sara found each other
+ welcoming Sara to the community
+ Beth moving to NI
+ seeing the scan photos of my nephew-in-becoming
+ civil partnership in NI
+ hearing my neice say my name
+ getting to know Peterson and jazz like conversation that ensued
+ greenbelt 08 - the deep blessing that was julie, aaron, whitni and nathan's presence and their enthusiasm for community. and their music.
+ sharing in deep real conversation and bizarre moments with Sarah
+ dorothy day dark - for testing my discernment and me not screwing it up
+ cathy simon's stage productions
+ late night conversation with Jared & Jaime on the porch
+ falling asleep to Speaking of Faith
+ dinner with Joel Dark
+ two blissful weeks in julie's little cottage...
+ and getting to be neighbour with the Darks.
+ forgiveness
+ my fellow Inner Path alumni at Cottonwood de Tucson. for their deep bravery and solidarity.
+ for the horses
+ Everything is Broken at Vanderbilt
+ a Christmas Day with good friends
+ a knee buckling kiss
+ a night of chocolate porter and presence
+ cross country skiing with my brother
+ no longer having a fear of flying
+ seeing Greenland, 1st march 2008 from 30,000 feet. breathtakingly beautiful.
+ gin blossoms at Hotel Congress
+ Padraig's poetry recital at greenbelt
+ the confetti explosion at the end of the sigur ros gig, phoenix, AZ
+ jayne pulling me from my bed and making me eat on the darkest day the year

and so it will go on...


so much of this year has been about life being suspended like scales, in the words of Gibran. our joy is our sorrow unmasked and sorrow our joy...

i have known the depth of my hurt by the times i have had to pray for compassion to thwart my desire for revenge. too many moments, hours, days, weeks, months were marked by the weight of sorrow pulling at the joy... of sorrow's inescapability...

May 2009 bring a shift in the balance... may be it be known by the mindfulness and attentiveness to the "and joy" that is present in every moment and breath... may i rediscover the greenness of living...

as i learn to trust, may i also keep learning to forgive & live only with compassion for the wounded soul in each of us... grateful for the many small mercies that were known by their life giving light...

there is so much to be thankful for and tonight, safe in the knowledge that one of the cruelest weeks i've known in any year is safely the past however much it grasps still at my heels, and that the future will come what may, i will celebrate the present in the company of some dear friends, and think fondly of those far, and those gone...

goodbye old year... you have taught me much and i am letting you go...

come new year... i have so much farther to go and much more yet to learn...

have a good new year, wherever you are. may you be safe.


Sun Kil Moon - Lost Verses

my song of the year.

deep wistful fragile melancholy remembering that is best said as kozelek-ey pulls longing and anxiety like fraying thread through the veins. and then as tears are choking, hope comes from the shadows with defiance and quietly half-smiles triumphant...

this man has been the soundtrack to my year. has said everything i couldn't on the days when coping is the best we have to get us through... and as has he has done for so many years now, set a benchmark for truthfulness in art that most in any medium fail to come close to... i don't know how he does it but i hope he never stops...

comes from April, my album of the year. not gonna make you smile much with chipper glee, it's not charming, and it's not adorable. but i beleive it's the real deal. go buy it. preferably direct from Calo Verde records.

Monday, December 29, 2008

what half dark, half light place this?

sitting in a bitterly cold dublin with a wifi link working at crankshaft speed, attempting for the umpteenth time to write something on these pages, or indeed on any page...

is the passing of one year into the next an ending, or a beginning or a going on?

it almost seems cruel to have to pass over from one to the next when the days are at their darkest, only just past solstice and lighter, greener days merely a promise rather than a reality...

so many days in this year have felt like this... and if there is one characteristic of this darkness then it is its power to overwhelm... one has to be mindful that it is not all encompassing. to tell ourselves that there can be a time again, just as there have been days before, not marked by deep sadness or regret... that hope is something constant. even when we can't feel it. some days we are called to hope in hope itself and prayer looks like asking that it will do the seeking and find us...

the path out of this valley is not one that can be faked... you can't dress up depression in new clothes and pretend it's joy...
only kindness to the soul truly heals... this damned frustrating practice of daily resurrection, of feeling gratitude at being alive when in shadow, is a craft that needs constant attentiveness... to see the possibility in each moment... to hold this fragile, broken nest of the heart with tenderness... to believe in light even when light seems far off...

this year began by putting my nest out on a new limb, trusting in sentiment that proved momentary rather than lasting... words that should be meant for promises and longevity but used with feint intention... what should have been life bringing left me feeling as much deceived, confused, fearful... so many moments have been a battle to live with compassion over resentment, especially towards myself... to not let myself harden... to find a truthful voice to express painful feelings... i have failed myself many times... and all too often hollowed myself out with silence rather than living in the wholeness of my truth...

my prayer for this approaching turn of year is that hope will seek me out... make itself known... sing only a tune of truthful intent... and that my heart would learn to listen deeply... to mature into protective discernment so that i might once more regain a belief in trust... and find an inner energy, a persistent will, to keep on keeping on... to be mindful that one does not walk alone... and the creativity to repair my broken nest with all the woven colours that i am... that i would learn have the courage to be warm home to myself...

for this journey cannot go on from anywhere other than where we are in the present moment...

come hope. come and come. and come. and i will watch and listen for another day yet...


Monday, December 08, 2008

the promise of Peace

wishing you an advent marked by the expectation of and witness to that which is coming near...

and praying what's coming near will find us and bless us all...

what's on the inside...

i loved this.
Beauty and the Beast gets a serious reworking for the 21st century and the result is a delightful fable.
made me smile with joy.

Penelope (2006)

that's all. enjoy.

Friday, December 05, 2008

simple name and rhyme

Just as F is for Feathers
and Forgiving
and Fragile
Or as
N is for Naming
and Nest

for all that is tender
so here will i letter
the thing that
the birds know the best...

that though L is for Losing
it's also for Loosing
and Loving and Living and Leaves

just as B is for Broken
but also Beginnings
like Birthing and Blessed and
to Breathe...