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Today is the day. Let us join together in ceremony and prayer. Let us do our cleansing and find our space on this Sacred Earth. Let us light our fires and make our offerings. Let us sing our songs, dance our dances, drum our drums and open our hearts. Let us Honor those who died at Wounded Knee, naming the names. Let us find connection with All Our Relations. Let us embrace those who have gone before us. Let us find compassion and healing as we move forward in a Sacred Way. Let us make a better place for our descendants.
Thank you for participating.
I was thinking this month was my 3 year blogging anniversary. I actually started blogging in 2011! Typical of me.
My “history” has never been strong on the numbers. I often don’t even know how old I am. (I’m not willing to do the math.) My children keep track, and I’ll ask them if I need a number. Orion is happy to tell anybody how old I am. Not sure I appreciate that as much as I could.
I was 23 for 3 years. Really, it was a number I could remember and an age I believed in. I even had an argument with my ex about it. I was filling out a form, or he was, and needed my age – 23. We went back and forth at some volume in public. He finally turned to me calmly and said, “Which one of us knows how old we are?” ooops.
Blogging is getting harder to do. I am not looking forward to writing the way I was at the beginning. I often find myself struggling for a topic. I don’t think I’m ready to give it up, but in this next year I may be more willing to take an occasional break. Maybe not. I’ve been surprised before.
Readers have come and gone. Not many of you comment, and so sometimes I wonder if I’m making sense. On the other hand I continue to get more likes and followers. I’m really grateful for my readers. It’s been delightful getting to know those of you who take the time to write little notes. It’s been encouraging to see small shifts in readership.
Blogging has been part of my daily practice routine. Writing it requires being aware of what is happening in my life. It requires being willing to step back and refine those moments, magical and mundane, into words. It requires being challenged to open up and share my actual thoughts and feelings. It requires being vulnerable and present.
I hope that I have, at least occasionally, succeeded.
Thank you for reading!
I posted my first blog on July 26 2011. That makes this the one year anniversary week for the blog! Yea!!! I haven’t acquired thousands of rapt followers, a long list of blogging awards or international acclaim. But then, that isn’t why I started blogging in the first place.
My first post was under 400 words. (I average somewhere in the 500 range.) It’s a very optimistic little ditty about Spirituality and daily living. Well this blog has certainly been that, and much more. I think what I envisioned a year ago was some sort of little weekly sermonette on very grand topics of spirituality and spiritual practice. I’m SO glad that’s NOT what this has become.
Instead this blog has been an exercise in opening. I’ve had to learn to express myself in an honest and sometimes very vulnerable way. Hopefully doing that while still being (at least marginally) entertaining and readable.
In the last year I’ve covered a huge range of topics from very personal to political (in the sense of civil rights) and thrown a good chunk of Spirituality in there to boot. I’ve blogged about the things that have touched my heart. This hasn’t been a journal in any sense, but it has been an exercise in focusing on where I am in the moment. Occasionally it’s even been a plug for the work I’m doing with writing a book and presenting workshops on Spiritual practice.
What I’ve found it that you can develop real friendships on the internet. I’ve found that I feel incredibly supported by my friends who follow my blog and especially by those who write encouraging comments. I have found that some of the hardest things to share are the most important. I’ve found that speaking from the heart is the only way to truly have an impact on others.
So on the anniversary of my blog I will write another very short little post. This time rather than visions of grander I offer my humble thank you. Thank you, to all my dear and treasured readers for finding and following my journey. May we all continue to grow and thrive in all our endeavors in the coming year.
I got a notice from Word Press congratulating me on my blogging anniversary. Go figure. I can’t imagine going into this with any hope of writing for 7 years, this is my 338th post. Funny how time flies when you’re having fun.
To celebrate, I had coffee and scones with a friend rather than actually posting this. Hoping when I do get around to it it’s still Monday. Lol
I’ve been doing quite a bit of out and about in the last week. Karina had me over for breakfast. I spent the weekend with my parents. Did some cooking and shopping with them. The cooler weather has made a difference. They get the new furnace/air conditioner in later this week.
It’s felt a little like fall in the air. Maybe that’s why I’ve been thinking about Lammas. I’ll refer you to past posts and take a little anniversary vacation. Thanks for reading!
The only thing that is certain is that things will change. When I was up at my parents (see last week’s blog) one of the things I did was help my Mother send sympathy cards. Her brother’s father-in-law passed, not unexpectedly. Thing is my parents actually had a relationship with the in-laws and my Mom still hasn’t quite reconciled with being unable to physically show up when these things happen. And of course, given the age group, they happen with some regularity.
The other passing that warranted a response from her was the second husband and truly life partner of an old friend. Again, this was not an unexpected death. All the same it’s the first time I’ve ever heard my Mother admit, “I don’t know what to say.” The reason she doesn’t know is because she’s not there. My Mother always made a point to BE THERE for the people she cares about.
Last week another friend, my age, died suddenly and unexpectedly. This has left many people in my community reeling. I’m doing what I can to show up.
There have been plenty of times in my life when I couldn’t show up. Sometimes I’ve been physically unable to. I have lost friends because I didn’t show up when they needed me. My physical limitations (up to and including being in the hospital) apparently were not an adequate salve for the feeling of betrayal.
Occasionally I haven’t been able to show up because some obligations trump others. I’ve always been proactive about trying to make sure that there is either notice or some kind of substitute in place. I’m sorry, sick kids and other family needs have to come first. Everyone who knows me well has heard me bemoan being unable to hold a “real job” because I am on call to Orion’s medical needs. Still they are surprised and hurt when that same issue comes up and impacts “sure I’ll help you with that project”.
The thing about showing up for other people is that when you do what you can, when you can sometimes you get lucky. Grief is an odd thing, and it doesn’t just stop. Sometimes that card that gets sent months later comes in at exactly the right time. Sometimes the phone call, “I can’t be there because my own life is falling apart.” provides some distance, or perspective or just an opportunity for a friend to get out of their own head. Sometimes not being there in the moment has made me available for the long haul.
Last week my women’s group did an honoring of Frieda Kahlo on the anniversary of her death. That was 64 years ago and people are still being impacted. People still show up when they can. I believe it still makes a difference.
We, as a nation, are being buffeted about by hurricanes and firestorms, floods and droughts, protests and political manipulations. It’s a scary world out there. Today, September 11, is the anniversary of the fall of the Twin Towers in NYC. For many Americans, it was the day we learned what it was to be afraid.
In spite of all that, people persist. They stand up in the winds of change and hardship and continue on with their lives. This morning Orion listed all the people he knows, and there were a lot, who have birthdays today. Forever, their birthday is 9/11. How odd that must be to want to celebrate in a world determined to grieve and remember.
I know the other side too. I understand what it is to be overwhelmed with circumstances and appalled that the rest of the world doesn’t just stop alongside you. I know what it feels like to dig into a huge job, to work, eat, and sleep, and then come up for air and find you’ve lost days, weeks or even months.
Sometimes standing in the wind is taking an opportunity to use a public platform to call out bad behavior, racism, terrorism (thank you Miss Texas Margana Wood even when it might cost you a crown. Sometimes standing in the wind is choosing to skip a few meals this week to buy a birthday cake for your kid with food stamps. Sometimes standing in the wind is getting out of bed in the morning, getting dressed, and doing one of the 100 tasks that have been put off because it just seems too hard.
I know people who are on the front lines fighting fires in the western states. I know people hoping that they have homes to return to on the gulf. I know people who are in the streets day after day fighting against injustice in many forms, in many ways.
We have a culture (white culture) that allows us to take credit, take pride in the work other people are doing. We sit in front of our TV’s watching people standing in the wind and say, “Yes! They are US!” None of us can do all the work. No one can stand in all the storms at once. No one can stand again and again in all the storms. But cheering on the workers and having pride in what others have done isn’t enough.
How can we shift our culture, our attitudes in a way that allows us to truly stand, acknowledge our own storms, our own ability to survive and still reach out and honestly support others? Can we recognize our own work, with strength and pride, and still be grateful for the support we had that allowed us to stand there? Can we encourage people to celebrate and still recognize the work that needs to be done? Can we find a way to come together when the storms rage, and to stay connected when the storm is over?
I spent several days last week out sick with a summer cold. You know the kind you tell yourself is allergies until you can no longer deny you’re miserable through and through. As I’ve just past the two-year anniversary of my bariatric surgery, this was another opportunity to really notice how much has changed.
For starters, yes I was sick enough to not go to Gilda’s club. People dealing with cancer are often immune suppressed. They didn’t need to be exposed to whatever I was carrying. The decision to “tough it out” or not was a no brainer. What that meant is that I was taking care of myself from the beginning of the cold, rather than waiting until it totally knocked me on my ass to acknowledge it.
Then there’s the odd thing that happens with bariatric surgery and stomach flu. My whole body felt like I should be laying on the bathroom floor. But I wasn’t. In fact I never got that kind of sick. The physiology just doesn’t work that way anymore. What an odd feeling, especially for someone whose history is that once I got started I didn’t stop. No sore abdominal muscles. No cramps. No dehydration. No shear exhaustion from all that effort. More energy to apply to feeling better.
And most importantly there are all the things I did manage to get done last week. Orion got dressed, bathed, on and off the bus and fed regularly. Time cards got delivered, groceries were bought. I had my allergy shots. Orion had injections as well, and a tune up of his wheelchair and AFO’s. We had lunch and a visit with friends. I found time to do dinner with a friend. I had coffee with another, along with a walk to and tour Gilda’s Club – several blocks down the hill, and back up again.
There was laundry that got done, including bedding from our camping trip. There was a night the power went out, and all the clocks are set back where they belong. There was no “recovering” from our road trip to South Dakota. There is no feeling that I need another week to “catch up”.
Two years ago, last week would have looked like a “super mom” week. It would have taken me almost week to recover from a schedule like that in my “best health”. I couldn’t have imagined doing all that right after returning from a road trip camping with Orion, even without the summer cold!
People still ask me if I have any regrets for making the decision to have by-pass surgery. It hasn’t been all roses, but if I look at what I can do now that I couldn’t dream of doing then all I can feel is grateful.
I skipped my blog last week. No notice. No excuses. No nothing. Just didn’t write.
I hit that overwhelmed point. I had things to say. Too many things it seems. I couldn’t find a focus. I couldn’t find a focus in the rest of my life either. I missed a doctor’s appointment. I discovered I hadn’t gotten in my time card when no check came in the mail. I had laundry (and water) in the basement. I had boxes (empty) all over the house. I was a mess.
In all fairness, I’m probably still a mess, but it’s getting better. I got out the calendar and started writing things down (rather than relying solely on the cell phone, which seems to drop appointments for no good reason.) I let go of an obligation that was the “one thing too many” that sent me on this spiral. I got the boxes out of the middle of the living room and into a “staging area” so I can fill them one at a time and put them back.
I’m working on my sleep schedule. At least I’m sleeping, even if the hours are still a little odd. I’m putting away laundry and watering the poor, sad plants. I had my corn for Lammas* and decided I am not in a hurry to dig out the harvest season decorations. I’m trying to be kind to myself – one step at a time.
Last week I got a notification from WordPress saying “Happy Fifth Blogging Anniversary!” My goodness, has it really been that long? I spent some time this last week wondering if I was done, if I needed a serious blogging break. I decided that I’m still good, as long as my readers will forgive an occasional dropped post like last week.
Having a weekly blog is one of my touch points in a rather unstructured life. I need those now and again. Once a week is not so high pressure I can’t handle it. It’s not so infrequent it doesn’t matter. It holds me accountable to take time to reflect on my life, my choices, my spirituality, my vision. Those are good things.
So, dear reader, I may be a mess but if you’ll still have me I’ll still be around on Mondays.
*Previous Lammas posts:
The holidays are over, at least for most of us, and it’s time to get back to the daily grind. I suppose those New Year’s Resolutions are supposed to help with that. All those good intentions with the opportunity to put them into play. I don’t bother with them anymore. They seem to just lead to great disappointment when, by February, I’ve forgotten them completely.
There are still leftovers in the fridge. The last of the sweets are around the house. The decorations get packed up this coming weekend. It’s cold, and dark, and a little bit sad to see all the sparkle go away. Resolutions don’t do it for me, but this is the time of year when I lean heavily on Daily
Daily Practice can mean a lot of things. A diet requires daily practice, as does an exercise program (or physical therapy). Most spiritual systems encourage some sort of daily practice. Writing, learning a new language, honing a skill all good candidates for daily practice. And I’ve done them all, at least for a while.
When it’s dark, and a little depressing I use daily practice to “prime the pump”. I find some very small thing that’s easy to do, even if I have to quick do it before I go to bed because I’ve forgotten or put it off all day. Then I just commit to doing it.
Lately my daily practice has been making the bed. This is not a hardship. I have a duvet (and right now an extra blanket/bedspread). There are no hospital corners involved. All it takes is a quick tidy. I can do it in less than a minute. There is no excuse not to make my bed. I just never did it before.
This one small thing doesn’t seem like a spiritual practice. It doesn’t look like much of anything, but it makes a huge difference in my day. Every time I walk into my room and see my bed made it makes me smile. It makes me feel special, like I care about myself. It makes me want to be better at all the other things that need doing.
It does exactly what I’m looking for from Daily Practice at this time of year. It gets me started on the right foot. It sets me up for a productive day. It primes the pump.
Please share these posts and encourage people to join us in ceremony, in ritual, in prayer on Tuesday December 29th, the 125th anniversary of the Massacre at Wounded Knee, at Noon in your own time zone.
Meditation on the prayer of “All My Relations”: The Native Americans pray “All My Relations”. This is a statement of humility, connection, and compassion. It is an acknowledgment of the Ancestors and a recognition of the Descendants. In doing this working, in joining the global prayer, in “Reclaiming the Heart of Our Humanity” we come to a closer understanding of what this prayer “All My Relations” really means.
That All My Relations is a statement of connection seems self-evident. But it doesn’t just honor or acknowledge relatives of bloodline. It calls to a connection with the whole tribe, the community. It makes it possible for us to connect, in an interfaith community, praying to heal our multi-generational wounds. It touches ancestors of the blood, ancestors of the heart and ancestors of the spirit.
It is also a statement of connection to those ancestors that are very different from us. It is a connection to our ancestors on BOTH sides of this massacre, and of any conflict. It is a connection to people we may not understand or approve of, but who are indeed our relations. It is a connection across race, or species because the bear people are our relations, the wolf people are our relations, the bird people, the fish people. The tree people are our relations. The stone people are our relations. The earth we dwell upon is mother to us all and we are all her people. All My Relations.
All My Relations is a statement of humility, because it recognized our human inability to determine the best possible outcome for all. We’re not even good at always finding the best possible outcome for ourselves! How could we know what would best serve the memories of our Ancestors and honor their work? How could we know what will best serve our Descendants? How can we know what the best possible outcome will be for the Animal people? The Plant people? The Stone people? The Earth? So we prayer to the good of All My Relations in humility for our own limited vision.
All My Relations is a statement of compassion. Every religion has some version of “do unto others” or “what goes around comes around”. Acknowledging a direct connection to the harm and benefit our actions cause shifts our awareness of the impact of those actions. When we harm our relations, we harm ourselves. When we damage our lineage, we damage ourselves.
The other side of that is that we recognize our capacity to stand where our misguided, confused, fearful Relations stand and make their mistakes. All My Relations includes both sides of the argument. All My Relations includes those who lash out in fear and anger. All My Relations includes those whose actions aim only to benefit themselves.
To truly heal our multi-generational traumas we must be willing to take in compassion All Our Relations. We must be willing to honor and acknowledge the fear, the hurt, the loss, the pain, the greed, the anger, the jealously, the hopelessness and meet those feelings with love. One hour of prayer, one anniversary of recognition is only the beginning of this work.
The invitation we were issued at the Parliament of World Religions also calls for us to move forward in a Sacred Way. That is the true working, for All My Relations.