Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Good Day

Here's a lovely reminder about the power of gratitude from Brother David.
Enjoy your beautiful day.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Oh, so happy to be stuck at home this weekend. Haven't seen any cars on the road today. Perhaps we'll venture out on a walk later, but for now I'm so grateful to have a weekend to hibernate, to rest deeply.
(For more winter pictures, check out Rodg's wonderful photos here)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Six word story 5

My eyes love city skyline photographs.
(Thanks to Rodg for this photo from our fall Chicago trip)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mulatu Astatke

I re-watched a favorite Jim Jarmusch film the other day, Broken Flowers, and was intrigued to be reminded that Winston and his family are Ethiopian. Now, Aunt Lizzy has a wonderful reason in her life to be drawn to all things Ethiopian and when I learned that the fabulous music in the movie is Ethiopian I knew I had to learn more. It turns out the arranger/musician is Mulatu Astatke and as you can hear in these clips, he's another master of the vibes, to my amateur ears right up there with my beloved Bobby Hutcherson.

And here he is playing with some folks we used to know in Boston:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Swell Season

The other day I cracked myself up at Target when I saw what I'd bought: yoga pants, a yoga mat, rechargable batteries, and the new Swell Season CD. I thought, yep, I'm one of those women:) I read Jen Lee and Jen Gray's blogs religiously and I'm saving money to go to Squam. But there are worse stereotypes to be:) And these were all great purchases. After a year of doing Jon Kabat-Zinn's yoga routines for mindfulness/stress I've admitted that maybe some equipment would help and am loving the comfort and support of the pants and mat. And I can't stop listening to the CD. Swell Season are likely best known for the movie Once that I love and totally identify with a wonderful visit with Kath:) Here's a trailer for that movie in case you missed it:

And a video from their new album, Strict Joy. Watch out, it's addictive!

And more here:

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Vogels

Years and years ago I saw an article, I believe in the Smithsonian magazine, about a postal worker and a librarian, Herb and Dorothy Vogel, who had amassed an amazing contemporary art collection, which they were donating to the National Gallery of Art. It's always stuck with me as an outrageously cool thing, especially since I'm a librarian and someone who loves to collect art. Recently I learned that a documentary had been made about them, Herb & Dorothy, which you can borrow from Netflix. We watched it the other night and it was delightful. I highly recommend checking it out!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"It's a difficult business, being human."

It can be a difficult business being human, as Kentucky farmer/writer/advocate Wendell Berry says in this fascinating interview, but if you have his books as your companion they will make it much more rewarding.

Posting one of Mr. Berry's poems yesterday got me thinking about how much I owe him. In the early 90s I was introduced to his work by a friend who recommended one of Berry's books: The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture. Well, I loved it and my memory is that I quickly gobbled up any other essays of his I could find at the BPL. Once I'd exhausted the essays I turned to the Port William novels. Holy moly! That is some of the most soul-nourishing fiction I've ever read. So I devoured those wonderful books. And then there was just his poetry left...

Now, I wrote a little poetry myself as a kid. A very little. And in school I somehow saw the poetry that would show up in my literature textbooks as being optional. Not sure how I justified that. But I really read as little of it as possible. I think my biggest issue was that I would get into the form, the rhythm of it and be unable to connect with the content, what the poem was really saying. De dun de da dunda da da, de dun de da dunda da da... But I really was desperate for more Wendell Berry, so I checked out the library's copy of his Collected Poems. And I fell deeply and irrevocably in love with his poetry and then poetry in general. It totally opened up a whole world to me. I'm still no good with rhyming poetry, but the rest of it seems to me to be the mystical wing of literature. So I have Mr. Berry to thank for enriching my life through poetry. I even ended up memorizing a number of his poems to pull out when my soul needs a little pick-me-up. I highly recommend such a practice if it appeals to you.

I fell so in love with Wendell Berry's writing that it starting influencing the artwork I was doing at the time. I had all these little cigar boxes around that I enjoyed decorating the inside of. And so I found myself filling one of the boxes with a lot of the imagery I was reading about in Mr. Berry's books. When I was done I thought there was only one person who would appreciate this besides me and so I tracked down some kind of mailing address for him, I think through the University of Kentucky? In any case, one of my most prized possessions is this letter (proven by how easily I put my hands on it when I thought to show it here):

I can connect Wendell Berry's influence to my life in two additional ways. While being interviewed for my current job, the topic of poetry came up and my now-boss asked what poets I liked. When I immediately said with great enthusiasm, "Wendell Berry!" he nearly fell out of his chair. Not the answer he was expecting from this transplanted Northerner! I might have gotten the job even if I hadn't given such a stellar answer, but who knows?:)

And in addition to feeding my spirit and helping me secure meaningful work, Wendell Berry's books were an important encouragement to make a connection that has literally fed me, by my becoming a shareholder in a CSA. Several years ago, I was reading an article in the local alternative paper about a new way of getting fresh veggies through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). A bell went off for me that I had to support something like this, that if I'd learned anything from Mr. Berry through the years, I had to join right up. And it has been one of the best things I've ever done. We've been proud shareholders in the Bugtussle Farm CSA since their very first season, back in 2002. It has enriched our lives in so many ways to have this connection to a piece of land and to be friends with that land's devoted caretakers. The website Local Harvest can help you find local farms near you. If you're interested I can't encourage you enough to find a farm near you and make this connection. You'll eat better and it will feed your soul to have this relationship to the land and your farmers.

Thank you Wendell Berry! It may be difficult business being human, but you've made my life so much richer and more meaningful.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Dark

To Know the Dark

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

-Wendell Berry
(Click on the listen tab on his site for a real treat)

Friday, January 22, 2010

21 Days

I'm honestly not sure how I stumbled upon 21 Days, but I'm glad I did. It started on January 15th and is in week two, but no reason not to tune in now and get caught up if it strikes your fancy. So far my favorite day is "just pootling". Here's more information from the website about the project:

21 days is a daily practice, a series of posts over three weeks. One week each for mind, body and spirit. Starting on 15th January, following a New Moon Solar Eclipse, each day will bring a different theme to consider.

You can join in!

There’s a daily journal prompt – you may like to blog about this or write privately in your journal. It’s up to you.

Or you may want to take a photograph that represents the theme for you.

You may wish to work on the theme for just one day or some themes may require deeper contemplation.

21 days is an accompaniment to a series of the whole self workshops called the end, the beginning and the source.

If you'd like to join in, you can start any time. Start at the beginning or start where you feel inspired.

The whole self is about my journey to understanding that creativity is a route to the source, the soul, to god, to divinity. It started several years ago although I had no idea at the time. I came up with the name the whole self as something holistic and with a vague idea about teaching creativity. I wrote course content, researched, worked with a life coach but there was a gap and I didn’t know how to fill it.

2009 was a year of transformation. The whole self was nudging me again. It had been on a back burner all this time. My notes were still in a folder on my laptop. But this time it was different. Creativity was important but it wasn’t about teaching creativity. It was about using it as a tool. Once I understood that, the flood gates opened. Every book I picked up told me more. Websites were all about the same theme. I was being guided by unseen hands all the time. Some days it reached almost ridiculous proportions as I’d pick up book after book only for them to be saying exactly the same thing. I was on a steep learning curve and I was most definitely being educated. There were nights when I’d spend hours at my computer reading site after site, each one linking me through to the next. What I was discovering wasn’t new. In fact, many people already knew what I was discovering (Deepak Chopra, Julia Cameron, Wayne Dyer to name but a few).

21 days is the next step in the journey.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I still miss Andrew Hill

We've been listening to a lot of Andrew Hill lately, which Rodg gave some great commentary about in his playlist this past Saturday. It was sort of shocking to me to see that he'd died in 2007, since this feels like a fresh loss to me. I hope you'll enjoy getting to know him a little in this video if you're not already familiar with his beautiful music.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Six word story 4

Listening to creeks, I feel free.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Great day!

I really did try to find a service project to work on yesterday, but I couldn't find anything at Second Harvest (where I volunteered last year) and nothing else was a good fit. So instead I put some Happiness Project activities into practice and it was wonderful.

De-cluttered a cabinet:

And went for a beautiful walk on a carpet of mulched Christmas trees - heaven!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

I don't think I've ever seen the whole speech - powerful is an understatement. Happy belated birthday, Dr. King. Thank you for everything you did to make our world a better place. Still plenty of work to be done.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Year of Happiness Challenge

A friend at work mentioned the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, so I checked out the blog. It looks pretty great. And she just started "The Year of Happiness Challenge" with some good, common sense ideas. It isn't too late to join in! You can check out her overview in this video. See what you think...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Oh, Peace Pilgrim!

What fun to re-visit this amazing woman.

You can learn more about Peace Pilgrim here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dancing Lightly vs. Being Escapist: January's Capricorn new Moon

I love Lynda Hill's Sabian Symbols blog. The Sabian Symbols are lovely and evocative, one for each degree of the zodiac, produced by Elsie Wheeler in 1925. You can read more about their history here. And there's a list of the symbols here. I think you'll see the poetry in them.

So here's Lynda's description of the Sabian Symbols for the new moon today, the first new moon of 2010:

Dancing Lightly vs. Being Escapist: January's Capricorn new Moon

Posted using ShareThis

The picture is from Lynda's blog. You can read more about it here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Keep it simple, sister:)

I do say this to myself sometimes - I refuse to call myself stupid:) Recently I saw the phrase below on be present, be here and it's stuck with me, so I did my own version to share with you. Let's keep it simple.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday January 13 – Moon into Capricorn

Yasmin Boland's website said this about today. Completely resonated so I thought I'd share:) I bolded the section that really spoke to my heart.

Moon Meditation: "It's a `Philosopher' s stone kind of day of turning lead to gold…"

The Moon enters Capricorn taking us into the most fertile period of a Moon cycle. Remember even the largest oak tree comes from an acorn. As the Sun and Venus sextile Uranus, there could be unexpected but pleasurable surprises coming our way. Today, as the Moon conjuncts Pluto be very honest about what drives and motivates you. Lighten your load and get your priorities straight, as you enter this cycle. Focus on what brings you a sense of accomplishment, rather than society's definition of "success." Recognize a diamond in the rough. Your Stars today were written by Priya Kale.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Six word story 3

Imperfection is becoming a good friend.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Saw this video on the wonderful Susannah Conway's blog and knew it had to be shared here. What better way to start the week than with some fun!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Let Experience In

January 10, 2010
Tricycle's Daily Dharma
Let Experience In

The practice of compassion means letting experience in. A Japanese poet, a woman named Izumi who lived in the tenth century, wrote: “Watching the moon at dawn, solitary, mid-sky, I knew myself completely. No part left out.” When we can open to all parts of ourselves and to others in the world, something quite extraordinary happens. We begin to connect with one another.

- Joseph Goldstein, "Heart Touching Heart," Tricycle Winter 2007

For anyone not familiar with Joseph Goldstein, he cofounded the Insight Meditation Center with wonderful Sharon Salzberg. Dharma Seed offers over 30 pages of talks by Joseph Goldstein that you can listen to for free here!

He appears in the picture above with another one of my favorite people, Dipa Ma. Dipa Ma was an amazing Buddhist practitioner, lover of the dharma, who did a beautiful job of bringing meditation into a non-monastic life. If you feel at all drawn to learn more about her, there's a wonderful book: Dipa Ma: The Life and Legacy of a Buddhist Master. If you fall in love with her the way I have, there's even a lovely (rather long) video of her you can watch here.

Sharon Salzberg has published a lovely article about Dipa Ma on the Huffington Post website. See below for an excerpt. You can read the whole article here.

"Right Effort in Dipa Ma's case meant simply not giving up, while not deriding or disliking her experience. Sleeping, and sleeping, and sleeping more, and then one day waking up. Believing in her own capacity to be free, she was steadfast, and the fruits of her practice were extraordinary. In meditation practice, Dipa Ma transformed her grief into love for all. She understood so deeply the fragility of life, the times of loss and pain, and the fact that no one is exempt from these. I never saw her meet anybody with anything other than luminous love and compassion, no matter who they were. There seemed no such thing as exclusion from her heart, because there is no such thing as exclusion from vulnerability in life. Her own suffering taught her that."

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Another good foreign film (Danish this time), currently streaming on Netflix. Couldn't find a trailer with English subtitles on YouTube (although that's what you get on Netflix -- fear not!) but here's what I did find. I believe one has Spanish subtitles, one has Chinese subtitles, and one is dubbed (rather dramatically) into German. Enjoy!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Three cups of tea for you




Greg Mortenson is another profoundly inspiring person. If you're looking for an amazing book (and you haven't already read it), I can't recommend Three Cups of Tea highly enough.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What Matters Now

I learned about this amazing free e-book that Seth Godin put together from a blog I've recently started following called Kind over Matter. I've only skimmed the first couple of pages, but they blew me away and I ran over here to share it with you. You can download it by clicking here. Enjoy and love, and share!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What is a true person?

January 5, 2010
Tricycle's Daily Dharma
What is a True Person?

Insight can’t be found in sutras, commentaries, verbal expression, or —isms. Liberation and awakened understanding can’t be found by devoting ourselves to the study of the Buddhist scriptures. This is like trying to find fresh water in dry bones. Returning to the present moment, using our clear mind which exists right here and now, we can be in touch with liberation and enlightenment, as well as with the Buddha and the patriarchs as living realities right in this moment. The person who has nothing to do is sovereign unto herself. She doesn’t need to put on airs or leave any trace behind.

The true person is an active participant, engaged in her environment while remaining unoppressed by it. Although all phenomena are going through the various appearances of birth, abiding, changing, and dying, the true person doesn’t become a victim of sadness, happiness, love, or hate. She lives in awareness as an ordinary person, whether standing, walking, lying down, or sitting. She doesn’t act a part, even the part of a great Zen master. This is what Master Linji means by “being sovereign wherever you are and using that place as your seat of awakening.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh, "Simply Stop," Fall 2007 Tricycle

Monday, January 4, 2010

Six word story 2

Her feet were on the ground.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Meet Bill Strickland

Bill Strickland is a powerful force for good. You can learn more here.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sorry, one last post for today...

Streaming hit of the day:)

Dark eyes

Rodg has been taking some outstanding photographs of birds this weekend. Really, one of my big highlights of 2009 that I should have listed the other day was getting a Nikon digital SLR. It has been such a pleasure to see the amazing photographs my sweetie has been taking with it. And anyone who has spent any time in my company discussing birds knows that my most favorite bird is the titmouse, which he got a great shot of:

I was looking at it and once again going on and on about how these little birds just delight me, how they seem to have so much personality. Perhaps I've spent several lifetimes as a titmouse because it's kind of odd how incredibly fond I am of this humble little bird. Perhaps it is my animal totem, etc., etc. I can go on for hours like this, really. And Rodg said, "It's their dark eyes." And it kind of cracked me up, because I really do love dark eyes!

And then (welcome to my brain) it made me think of a favorite, favorite concert moment when Patti Smith and Bob Dylan sang "Dark Eyes" at the Orpheum in Boston a million years ago (this footage is from that same tour). You are in for a treat!

Silly good fun and streaming favorites

This rockin' romp with Rainn Wilson (Dwight from "The Office") may not be for everyone, but it was a hit with us as light New Year's Eve fare. See what you think:) Wish it were streaming on Netflix...

Here are some great films that are currently streaming on Netflix (not necessarily silly, but very enjoyable in their own ways).

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Here's to a 2010 full of joy and love!