Saturday, November 01, 2008

drop your ballot

If you're from around here and haven't mailed in your ballot yet, King County has introduced ten ballot drop boxes throughout the county to provide absentee voters with another way to securely return their ballots without the cost of postage. Ballot drop boxes will close at 8 p.m. on Election Day, November 4.

The address links below open up cute little photos of each site! When we dropped ours off today in the University district, we saw a lot of other citizens approaching down the sidewalk with their ballot envelopes in hand, and watched as one of the staff inside opened the box and gathered up a big pile. Yay!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

microblogging (and my secret superpower)

Working at home, my head in the sunshine and my screen in the shade, I have an hour before my next phone meeting, and think, "maybe that's enough time to finally write that little blog post that's been percolating in my mind for a while, in the more-than-two-months since I've posted anything..."

And then, instead of writing, I glance through the new issue of Wired magazine that came in the mail yesterday and discover that they wrote my blog post for me. Click through to read it - it's really not very long! - it starts off, "Kill Your Blog. Still posting like it's 2004? Well, knock it off. There are chirpier ways to get your word out," and goes on to talk about how even (especially) early famous bloggers are putting more of their time and thoughts and photos and videos onto Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, etc. They're talking about me! 

Well, except for the early and famous parts. 

I started blogging in 2004! I've been neglecting my blog in favor of tweeting and facebooking and flickring!

(Hey! This is my secret Superpower: I always swerve right into the belly of the Zeitgeist - or, that is, right in the middle of the road, right in the middle of bell curve, right with the crowd on the cresting wave. Or maybe just a little little bit behind. My brother-in-law Eric has pointed out to me that it is theoretically a valuable talent to be able to pick out the song on any album that the masses of everyone else would like the best too. Or maybe not valuable, but a talent nonetheless.)

(Actually, I am pretty sure that I have other genius superpowers like that, but for some reason I have forgotten what they are.)

So, what I was going to write, even before I read that little article in Wired, was that I haven't been spending any time thinking about my own blog (and not a lot of time reading other people's blogs, not even my favorite ones) because the scant amount of time I have for online connecting is all being used up by what I'm thinking of as minimicroblogging, which only takes a couple of minutes at a time. Twitter's 140-character limit per post is an opportunity to compress the infinite moment into one intensified droplet - or to simply pull a single thread from the fabric of experience as it passes through us, unremarkable except for having been caught in words.

 At this moment, it feels just right, and enough, to do that. I like that my tiny haiku blogettes (Thomas and I were talking on Saturday about Twitter as fertile haiku practice) criss-cross with those of the people whose tweets I follow or who are fb friends. I originally started blogging in order to have one place where I could store all the inspiring words and thoughts and images I encounter, and I think I will still use it for that - though I use for some of the same purpose, and have that linked to my Facebook page... 

And: now that I'm at the end of this post - well, I didn't finish it before my phone meeting, the sun set before I had a chance to get back to it, and it took more than a few minutes to write it all down and set all the links. I'm going over to the other playgrounds now - for 5 minutes max! Maybe see you there sometime soon?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

tenderness only breaks open the earth

Another beautiful offering from Panhala's daily listserv.

Poet and translator Jane Hirshfield will be in Seattle on March 12 as part of the Seattle Arts and Lectures 2008-2009 Poetry Series (which will also feature W.S. Merwin and Gary Snyder)

Standing Deer

As the house of a person
in age sometimes grows cluttered
with what is
too loved or too heavy to part with,
the heart may grow cluttered.
And still the house will be emptied,
and still the heart.

As the thoughts of a person
in age sometimes grow sparer,
like a great cleanness come into a room,
the soul may grow sparer;
one sparrow song carves it completely.
And still the room is full,
and still the heart.

Empty and filled,
like the curling half-light of morning,
in which everything is still possible and so why not.

Filled and empty,
like the curling half-light of evening,
in which everything now is finished and so why not.

Beloved, what can be, what was,
will be taken from us.
I have disappointed.
I am sorry. I knew no better.

A root seeks water.
Tenderness only breaks open the earth.
This morning, out the window,
the deer stood like a blessing, then vanished.

~ Jane Hirschfield ~
(The Lives of the Heart)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

party favors

Last year when my brother-in-law Eric turned 40, he took some friends out to dinner and also gave them each a bag containing his Top 5 Favorite things (special cashmere socks, his favorite wine, a CD of his favorite drum solos, Sugar hand lotion, and I forget the 5th thing but maybe it had to do with donuts or bagels).

That inspired me to think, if I were turning 50 today, what favorite things would I give to the friends I'm having dinner with tonight?

For a party favor bag, a sturdy, snazzy and re-usable one like the ones they give customers at Lululemon (and which they might give you without charge when you go in and ask how much they cost to buy without having made a purchase). Then I'd put inside a magazine or a book. Some flowers, and some color. And some oolong tea from the Teahouse Kuan Yin in the Wallingford neighborhood (my favorites are the flowery ones like the High Mountain Jin Xuan and the Wen Shan Bao Zhong) (and now the Shan Lin Xi Green, too, thank you to teahouse owner Marcus!)

I also thought about adding some of my favorite Maple Pecan cereal, but without the soy milk and spoonful of peanut butter it is an incomplete experience so I left it out this time.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

wosonos 2008 day three

I'm full! And haven't had sufficient time to digest yet. Luckily, Chris Corrigan has been his reliably and deeply thoughtful self and has posted a lot of fresh insights already.

Usually when I participate in any Open Space, there always seem to be some time slots when there isn't anything being offered that I prefer to the pleasure of just hanging out for a while, but this one has had too many that I didn't want to miss. Yesterday I went to sessions in all four time slots (oh, and see - yesterday already seems so long ago that I can't remember what those sessions were, without looking at my notes): Our feelings (not thinking) about the future and open space (convened by Brian Bainbridge); The possibilities for advancing the open space technosphere (Kaliya Hamlin); An open space arts building, what would it be like (Phelim McDermott); Living in open space as a family (Chris, Caitlin, Aine and Finn). 
Brendan, Brian, Larry
Today though, I didn't go to any, but flapped around a bit and then had a lovely standing-up chat with Chris talking about the characteristics of what space is like when it's deep, his ongoing exploration of the twin dynamics of love & power, and playing with the beginnings of "a pattern language of faith."

More than working on things and getting things done (though that happened, too), open space is for me primarily about being with the people who've showed up and sometimes it doesn't really matter to me what we talk about. Participating in convened sessions, sitting on the lawn at lunch, talking while doing very little aikido/tai qi movements, going for dinner with Jeff and Raffi and new friends Heidi, Michael, Brendan, Susan and James: all the same, all about little-by-little (but very quickly, actually) finding our common place in the group heart.
OK, I think that's all I can put into words right now - more after I've had some sleep!

pals Lisa Heft and Chris Corrigan

Thursday, July 24, 2008

wosonos2008 day one

3:30 pm: Raffi has been blogging the conference at Open Space World, and Chris Corrigan has already posted a characteristically thoughtful entry about a session he and his 7-year old son Finn co-convened today. I thought I would have written more by now but have been listening a lot and talking a bit the whole time (and a little picnicking too). The sessions I've participated in today were: Coffeehouses that Matter (that's not what the topic invitation was but that's what I ended up with in my notes); Combining World Cafe and Open Space; Open Space as Ancestral Space. I jotted down notes here and there and will transcribe them later (when it doesn't feel quite so much like nap time as it does now!)

9 am: Day one of the international Open Space on Open Space in San Francisco, taking place in a big and gorgeous room in the Presidio, with huge windows overlooking the ocean and tall evergreen trees and a sky of sun and fog, and a sailboat in the distance. Opening circle about to begin. (I left at home the cable I need to upload photos onto my computer so I'll add some later).

(hey, what's up with Twitter? I am not receiving twits from the people I am following...)

Friday, July 18, 2008

mr toad's wild ride!

Or, in other words, my past 6 months.

Co-teaching two new courses, synagogue interim board member, starting a part-time job as Bastyr's "university catalyst," intense relational processes and spiritual practices, training in the Art of Hosting and Medicine Without Form, transitioning clinic practice partners and taking on a new associate, our older son's high school graduation and younger son's bar mitzvah (which also meant parties and walks and long conversations with two dozen family members who lovingly came from all over the country) ...oh, and my mate was in Vietnam right in the middle of it all with his eight-graders, for 3-1/2 weeks.

At one point, driving to work, I glanced over to look in the mirror and was startled to see that my son was still in the car (snoring peacefully) because I had totally forgotten to drop him off at school first (and he wasn't in the back, he was right next to me in the passenger seat). I am very happy that I only came close, and did not actually, misplace anyone or burn the house down.

So, while I have been online a lot, it's mostly been for email and Google Doc-ing and researching, and I've done almost no blog reading, commenting, or writing. (I am afraid to look at my Bloglines page, and am tempted to just delete it all and start over.) But now that it is summer and so many of the plates I was spinning are happy back on their shelves (or else broken on the ground and swept up) I'm exploring online life again and am playing with Twitter and Facebook.

And am reading Peter Block's book, Community: The Structure of Belonging. And getting ready to go to San Francisco for the Worldwide Open Space on Open Space, and to visit my mom and friends in Marin, next week. And thinking about how to spend my 50th birthday in a couple of weeks.

"`I wonder,' he said to himself presently, `I wonder if this sort of car starts easily?'

"Next moment, hardly knowing how it came about, he found he had hold of the handle and was turning it. As the familiar sound broke forth, the old passion seized on Toad and completely mastered him, body and soul. As if in a dream he found himself, somehow, seated in the driver's seat; as if in a dream, he pulled the lever and swung the car round the yard and out through the archway; and, as if in a dream, all sense of right and wrong, all fear of obvious consequences, seemed temporarily suspended. He increased his pace, and as the car devoured the street and leapt forth on the high road through the open country, he was only conscious that he was Toad once more, Toad at his best and highest, Toad the terror, the traffic-queller, the Lord of the lone trail, before whom all must give way or be smitten into nothingness and everlasting night. He chanted as he flew, and the car responded with sonorous drone; the miles were eaten up under him as he sped he knew not whither, fulfilling his instincts, living his hour, reckless of what might come to him."

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


"Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better: that we can become oak trees.~E.F. Schumacher
"Pech Merl Oak" by Floyd Stewart

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

everything is surprising

Oh, my, it is dusty around here. Darn! I have just enough time and attention available to turn the lights on for a second and toss this on the table where I'll be able to find it later:
"'To recognize that everything is surprising is the first step toward recognizing that everything is a gift,' says Steindl-Rast",
quoted by Margaret Wheatley,
in an excerpt sent by Nipun Mehta in the current Thought for the Week.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"stroke of insight"

Here is a stunning and intensely inspired TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) talk by neuroanatomist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, who
"...had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened -- as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding -- she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story of recovery and awareness -- of how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another."

The annual invitational TED conference gathers together 1300 "leading thinkers and doers" for four days of revolutionary and illuminating talks, presentations, performances and connection. Though registration application for 2009 is already closed for now (though if they don't decide to fill up with the current applicants for registration then maybe there will be room for you!) (note though that memberships start at $6000 per year), a lot of the talks and performances are posted on the TED site -- and every presenter (whether someone world-famous like Bill Clinton or Jane Goodall, or someone equally amazing but not quite as well-known like 3-D visualization technology architect Blaise Aguera y Arcas) gets 18 minutes.

is where you can download a massive pdf graphic record of TED 2008.

And here is where you can go to keep track of what's new, like the current excitement about Pangea Day, May 10, which intends to "tap the power of film to strengthen tolerance and compassion while uniting millions of people to build a better future."

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

light pouring into a promise

Another reminder of an ongoing exploration into what the process of ripening might be (from Panhala) ~

Ceres Looks at the Morning
I wake slowly. Already
my body is a twilight: Solid. Gold.
At the edge of a larger darkness. But outside
my window
a summer day is beginning. Apple trees
appear, one by one. Light is pouring
into the promise of fruit.
Beautiful morning
look at me as a daughter would
look: with that love and that curiosity:
as to what she came from.
And what she will become.

~ Eavan Boland ~

(The Lost Land)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

crowded inner space

Chris invited me along with a bunch of other blogger friends to post "eight things about myself that you probably didn't know". Which sounds fun except that I'm thinking about so many things right now that it has turned out to be harder than I expected. Anyway, I've thought of one thing so far (and maybe you do already know this about me, and in any case it will be just another demonstration of how crowded it is in my inner space these days) which is that I am a big slob and kind of, sort of, a pack-rat. One way that this is obvious is that I have around 4000 emails floating around in my gmail account (I'm using 19% of my available space!) -- and that it doesn't bother me.

The other way that it's obvious is that I just tidied up the space around my side of the bed about a month ago when we had company -- but this is what it looks like today.

And this whole pile is of stuff I consider that I am actively reading (or re-reading). Most of the books have pens or pencils in them as bookmarks, since the way I like to read best is by marking and drawing and cross-referencing in the margins. Then, sometimes I like to give books I've marked up to friends as gifts -- sort of like a letter from me as well as a whole book to read. But maybe that's a different post.

Time now to take one or two of these, a pencil and a glass of wine, and go sit in the hot tub.

I think next time maybe I'll write about something I would like to know about me, and don't.

My friend Sheri came over to sit in the hot water with me, so instead of taking books we took two glasses of wine, and some chocolate, and talked about books we love -- including Pilgrim At Tinker Creek, and Emerson: the Mind on Fire, and Holdfast: At Home in the Natural World -- and listened to the robins sing.

Friday, February 15, 2008

the house of belonging

The other night I had the pleasure of going to what I think of as worship services with my friend Will. His sacred place of choice is the ecstatic dance community gatherings, which occur twice a week in a comfortable and warmly-lit dance studio on Capitol Hill. This week, being the night before Valentine's Day, the space was anchored by an altar draped in deep red cloth and devoted to images of a gorgeous and fiercely erotic Dakini of Compassionate Bliss in many guises.

After an hour and a half of dancing to world-beat music, moving as you like from dancing with other participants to being with
just yourself to being with the group heart as a whole, there's time for people to share some of their experience. In that ending circle, one woman passionately recited this poem by David Whyte (he is very popular around here!) -- I love the way that so many of his poems concern themselves with faith:


There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours,
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides,
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of baying seals,

who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water,

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant,
yet familiar figure,
far across the water
calling to them,

and how we are all
waiting for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except, it will
not come so grandly,
so Biblically,
but more subtly
and intimately, in the face
of the one you know
you have to love.

So that when
we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and everything confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don't,

because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years,
you don't want to any more,
you've simply had enough
of drowning,
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness,
however fluid and however
dangerous, to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

~The House of Belonging

Saturday, February 09, 2008

neighborhood caucus report

In our precinct, Obama got 4 delegates and Clinton got 1, and the precinct on the other side of the school gym we met in gave Obama 3 and Clinton 1. Reports from three other friends (all in different precincts in north Seattle) were similar, so it'll be interesting to see what happens in the rest of the city and state!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

there has never been anything false about hope

I've received dozens of email reminders in the past couple of days about the upcoming presidential caucus meetings beginning promptly at 1 and ending by 2:30 or 3 pm this Saturday all over the state; passion is running very high here. In Washington state, 100% of the Democratic party delegates will be assigned according to the caucus results (even though there is an expensive and useless primary happening later in the month). The Republican party delegates will be assigned 51% according to the primary results and 49% according to caucus results.

Here is a caucus-finder link, though I am not sure whether or not it will work if you're not registered to vote yet (and you can register in person at the caucus). I am glad to have learned that young people who are not yet 18 years old, but who will be 18 by the time of the election in November, are eligible to participate in their neighborhood caucus meeting.

The title of this post comes from a speech that Barack Obama gave in New Hampshire a few weeks ago. This video sets that speech to music:

Monday, January 28, 2008

art of hosting, after dinner

On the last evening of the Art of Hosting practice retreat, Ashley and I went up the little hill after dinner to snuggle heart to heart in the Whidbey Institute's cedar-scented sanctuary. I mentioned to her that if there weren't enough candles in there, I had two packs of 100 tealights each (Ikea! $2.99 per pack!) in the trunk of my car. There were plenty of big candles in the sanctuary, but when we went back down to the Thomas Berry hall, Ashley had an inspired idea to make a candle sculpture with the tealights.

Dumping 200 candles out
on the floor and shuffling them like mah jong tiles turned out to be an irresistable attractor, and very quickly a little circle of playmates formed, making up all kinds of games before settling on an intricate configuration of tiny flames. Chris played some lovely aires and Andy recorded a little video on his amazing small camera (Thank you, Andy!)

In it you can see Teresa glowing, and hear and see Chris fluting.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

art of hosting, storytime

Just back from 4 days in the embrace of the deep woods surrounding the Whidbey Institute, with Ashley and Chris and Jeff (and when are you going to go public with your blog, dear Sheri?) and more long-time and newly-discovered friends, for the Art of Hosting retreat.

I've got lots of stuff to share about it and will start with this, a reflection that came out of a storytime exercise, when we allowed ourselves to open into imagining our own lives with a mythic view. Here's my story of our time together:

Once upon a time, there was a heart wrapped in light and dark and colors, walking and sleeping in the wide world.

One day, she was invited into a circle of other hearts wrapped in light and dark and colors. She decided to say no thank you to the invitation because she thought that the cost to enter was too great.

Then she learned that some of the other hearts who would be present were hearts who’d already shared with her the memory of being all One Heart. And that reminded her that she already and always had more than enough to afford the cost of joining the circle.

And she changed her “no” to “yes”.

The circle was very bright, and light and dark. With the rhythms of poem and story, laughter and silence, breathing in and breathing out, the hearts began to remember everything, and to move in patterns of curiosity and courage and love.

Lucky hearts! To be held wide by soft-eyed heart defenders, tall deep trees, bird songs, moon and rock. All the languages of the world came in, feeling the welcome to be heard.

The circle of hearts grew such deep roots and such sky-tipped branches that the space in the middle opened its arms in every direction. In such a space the hearts grew ripe – full of seed and sweetness, tender and soft and succulent. Then some of the hearts broke open and the seeds spilled out. The patterns of curiosity and courage and love were very strong, and they caught the seeds and knitted the broken hearts.

Because hearts are like fruit, but they are not fruit.

Hearts can mend, to grow full and ripe and to break open again, and again. Some hearts stay hard all their lives, and some are soft, but they all break some time.

This heart learns in the end, and in the beginning and in the middle, that no cost is too great, to live in space shot through with the jeweled net patterns of curiosity, courage and love.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

with you always, in here

I have posted parts of this Rumi poem other times before, but the moon is very bright tonight, and it's both the birthday of my friend & rabbi, Ted Falcon, and the first anniversary of the passing of my friend & teacher, Bill Mitchell, and these verses are whispering again in my mind.

Be Melting Snow

Totally conscious, and apropos of nothing, you come to see me.

Is someone here? I ask.
The Moon. The full moon is inside your house.

My friends and I go running out into the street.

I'm in here
, comes a voice from the house, but we aren't listening.
We're looking up at the sky.

Lo, I am with you always means when you look for God,
God is in the look of your eyes,
in the thought of looking, nearer to you than your self,
or things that have happened to you
There's no need to go outside.

Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.

A white flower grows in the quietness.
Let your tongue become that flower.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

new moon and mercury

a few dream seeds
shine in the upturned palm of my hand.

they tremble and hum
and start to sing,
and I can glimpse the dream
of the worlds they want to be.

first, long and delicate roots unfurl,
thirsty for the dark and the cold.
then tender leaf and vast clouds form,
deserts shimmer and pray,
mountains rise and oceans pour,
from each seed
that you've dreamed alive,

and breathless, countless, stars.

the seeds go back to sleep for now.
you dream them stronger
and sweeter,
you roll them to a finer polish
with your elegant fingers
and make them ready for the light.

I tuck their memory
into a soft and very quiet place
and wait
for the old spells to break
and the new magic
to spill in.

moon and mercury photo credit

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

beannacht, embraced by beauty

I learned from the Panhala poetry listserv of the recent and sudden passing of Irish theologian - poet - philosopher John O'Donohue, the author of many books including Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, and Beauty: The Invisible Embrace -- Rediscovering the True Sources of Compassion, Serenity, and Hope. And of the following favorite blessing, sent out by Joe of Panhala yesterday:

[Last Friday, Barbara Knight Katz, a member of Panhala, wrote to inform me that John O'Donohue had died unexpectedly. In Barbara's words, "John's life was a blessing to all of us who knew and loved him, and to all who love his poetry and wisdom." His life was a blessing; the world needs all the divinely mad Irishmen it can get....]

"I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding."
-- John O'Donohue
On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

~ John O'Donohue ~
(Echoes of Memory)

John O'Donohue's dear friend, fellow poet and lover of Ireland David Whyte, wrote a warm and sad and loving tribute to his friend, which finishes as, it should, with a poem:
...John was a love-letter to humanity from some address in the firmament we have yet to find and locate, though we may wander many a year looking or listening for it. He has gone home to that original address and cannot be spoken with except in the quiet cradle of the imagination that he dared to visit so often himself. As a way of sending a love letter in return, I wrote this poem for him a good few years ago. I hope it can still reach him now, wherever he is to be found and that he finds it as good a representation as he did when he lived and breathed. I remember the bright, surprised and amused intelligence in his eyes when I first read it to him, sitting by his fire in Connemara. It brings him back to me even as I read it now, as I hope it does for you.

Looking Out From Clare
For John O'Donohue

There’s a great spring in you
all bud and blossom
and March laughter
I’ve always loved.

Your face framed
against the bay
and the whisper
of some arriving joke
playing at the mouth,
your lightning raid
on the eternal
melting the serious line
to absurdity.

I look around and see
the last days of winter
broken away
for all those
listening or watching,
all come to life now
with the first pale sun on their face
for many a month,
remembering how to laugh.

But most of all I love
the heft and weight
and swing of that sea
behind it all, some other tide
racing toward the shore,
or receding to the calmness
where no light or laughter
lives for long.

The way you surface
from those atmospheres
again and again,
your emergence seems to make
you a lover of horizons
but your visitation
of darkness shows.

Then away from you
I can see you only alone
on the strand
walking to the sea
on the north coast of Clare
toward the end
of an unendurable winter
taking your first swim
of the year.

The March scald
of cold ocean
even in May about to tighten
and bud you into spring.

You look across
to the mountains in Connemara
framing, only for now,
your horizon.

You look and look, and look,
beyond all looking.

David Whyte

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

everything reminds me of everything else

Actually, the title of this post ought to be: "everything reminds me of everything else, and then I forget what I came in here for." Or, "everything reminds me of everything else, and that's why I haven't been able to finish a blog post for such a long time."

It's like when you clean off one shelf or counter and then all of a sudden everything else looks so much worse and you end up cleaning everything, and not actually finishing the thing you were doing (writing) before.

This morning I had a middle-eastern/mediterranean kind of breakfast, with salad and olives and feta and oregano. I thought a ripe pear with some yogurt and honey would go nicely with the rest of my meal, except that we're out of both yogurt and honey. Which made me think of A Taste of Honey by Lizz Wright so I went to put that in the CD player, but I don't have it on CD, so I put a disc in my computer to burn and then (after I checked my email and tidied up my messy desk) went back in the kitchen to slice my pear. The juiciness of the pear reminded me of my lack of honey, which in turn reminded me of a post I read just recently (because I am also very behind on reading) by the chocolate lady that mentions "dark, winey, bamboo honey", which made me think of of agave syrup, because it's dark, and which I do have, so I put some in my tea (after putting the new CD in the CD player, and sweeping the floor), and it (the combination of "dark" and "honey") also reminded me of seeing a friend put honey in his coffee, which I haven't ever done. Thinking of him reminded me that we were joking the other day about a competition to see who could waste time most efficiently, and I suddenly noticed that my train of thought kept circling and looping me backwards, because going forwards feels a little bit like being perched on the the foggy brink of what might be a meandering slope but it might be a steep cliff and I am just on the verge of finding out which.

The train image reminded me of a book I want to read, called Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel, by Pascal Mercier, so I went on-line and put it in my shopping cart for later.

Ah! But what about that foggy brink? Just in the past few
weeks (after months of tilling-the-ground work), the six months between January and June '08 have lit up with great potential, and probable intense challenge.

Two weeks ago, Dr. Church, the president of the university where I teach part-time, invited me to take on a role there as a "catalyst," to shine a light on the gap between "our walk" and "our talk" and to help bring together the people in the community who care about invoking and embodying the university's highest purpose (well, that's how I'm describing the role today -- I imagine the description will change as I begin to actually live in to it). Lucky for me I am going to be able to participate in an Art of Hosting and Convening Conversations that Matter training at the Whidbey Institute at the end of January. (I am so looking forward to asking Chris Corrigan the many questions that I've already started accumulating like little shiny suitcases ;-)) The training is great timing for me and so well-related to the theme of "radical hospitality" that Dr. Church shared with the university community when he first joined us two years ago. My initial agreement with the university is to do this work for six months and then in June we'll decide whether it's been good or not.

On the same day two weeks ago, the executive committee of Bet Alef's board of directors resigned in frustration and anger. Later in the week, I was invited, along with half a dozen other members, to join the remaining directors on an interim board (again, January through June). There is a great opportunity to become very clear about the essence and purpose of the organization, as well as a great challenge to understand honestly what has gone awry.

I have also been extending invitations, myself. For one, I've asked my young colleague Joshua Leahy (who is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist, like I am) to join my clinic, with the idea in the back of my mind (OK, maybe it's not exactly in the back) of cultivating him as a practitioner to take on some or a lot of my practice (by June, of course) should I end up working more for the university. We went to a day on "Mentoring: Tending the Interdependence Between Generations," another rich offering at the Whidbey Institute, and I'll post some of my notes from that one of these days -- depending on where my train of thought and I end up going in the next few months. Do wish me luck!

Well, I thought maybe this would be my last post of 2007 but I didn't actually finish it till tonight, and so it's my first post of 2008 instead. May this year bring us all joy and health, inspiring challenges, and deep blessing.

Which reminds me! I meant to post this video that was shared on KarmaTube some time ago, but the beginning of a new year is a perfect time to watch and hear it again.