Just now, I find myself craning toward evidence of light. I find it in our slowly lengthening days. I feel it in individual interactions; the simplest human interchange with a patient who encounters relief or the smile on the face of someone cleaning our streets when I acknowledge his or her work and care. I hear it in the voice of an acquaintance practicing law who’s found renewed dedication, since early November, conviction in her work for the under-served. I find light in our togetherness. I see gestation and birth, even here in the depths of winter. This past Saturday, I participated in a unique birth as I officiated a wedding at one of the Monroe prisons where I regularly support incarcerated men with meditation instruction.
It didn’t just happen overnight, the wedding. Back in early summer, the fianced prisoner asked me to officiate. We shared several months of pre-marital counseling with he and his fiance, logistical hoops with appropriate approval and signatures (all 23 steps of the DOC scripted process), and after a tender journey of dialogue, excavating history and planning the future, Saturday a new union was born. And in that birth, I felt a very unique and beautiful light.
You see when asked to officiate, I had my share of concern and doubt. However, it became quickly apparent that this couple was approaching the covenant more clear eyed than many, more aware of exactly what they are signing up for. I have walked away from every counseling session, as I did from the ceremony, my heart flooded with warmth and awe at how love can arise and sustain and grow in even the most unfathomable circumstances. By love I mean not just that initial surge of hormones that result in sweaty palms and heart palpitations. I mean human beings drawing together to become larger, deeper, wiser, gentler, more powerful together than they are alone.
This human life is so rarely about our solo endeavors and pursuits, and so much more about the fabric of relationships we weave over our lives. Relationship between ourselves and those most intimate. Relationships with healers and mentors who support us. Co-workers and friends who challenge and sustain us. Ultimately, we can’t do any of this alone. The marrow of this human life is one lived in relationship to everything around us, dependent on, empowered and nourished by our human village. When one rejoices, we can all rejoice. And when any of us is suffering, we all suffer. And there are a lot of us suffering right now. Where are you finding the light? Within and without? Where are you finding support for yourself? And when supported how can you reach out to share that light with the human family around you?
Full Day Meditation Retreat
Sunday January 29th, 9:30-4:30pm
Give yourself this chance to pause, to soothe the hyperactive nervous system, the frenzy of our minds, and provide calm and focus to support our emotional stability and sense of groundedness. There are currently 5 spots left in this retreat. Please contact me by email or phone (206.920.9929) with questions or to register before it fills.
The day long retreat will include:
- Instructions and support appropriate to the group.
- Alternating sitting meditation (periods 25 minutes) and walking meditation
- Simple, gentle movement bringing ease to the body.
- Lunch shared in silence (BYO sack lunch) with guidance about how to experience eating with more awareness and joy.
- Late afternoon tea and treats.
- A short talk to support and direct intention and effort in meditation. Q & A discussion toward the end of the day
I offer the weekly meditation on Mondays at no cost. I request donations for half and full day retreats. I do not set a fixed price so they are accessible to all. As people often ask, historically individual donations have ranged from $20-$150. For info about how meditation influences stress learn more here. And for those of you geographically far away, you can always access a variety of valuable resources on my website under Meditation & Stress Management. Spring meditation retreat will be April 9th, Intro Class starts March 13th. See here for details.
New Website Updates
I’ve added a few new paintings and moved the artwork to under the ‘About’ tab. Not heaps post worthy in the painting studio, but keep checking back. I continue to add and modify files on the Meditation and Stress Management Section. In the autumn I added How to Make Daily Practice Happen which outlines suggestions for integrating meditation practice as a routine, a ritual. More recently I added a practice helpful for those struggling with more acute anxiety. Listening Meditation can be an alternative to basic breath meditation for those who are already too aware of their racing heart and sweaty palms. Give it a try. I always welcome feedback.
I myself will be away at the Tahoma One Drop Zen Monastery training 2/9-2/25, so please contact me soon if you’re needing care before I go. I will have reception support for scheduling and rescheduling while I’m away. I welcome comments and reflections on this writing. And I’ll conclude with words from a leader whose eloquence and vision continues to inspire generation after generation. May we be inspired by his reflections, his exhortation as we ourselves step forward into the unknown. I hope to see some of you at Judkins Park on Saturday.
with tender care,
“Now I am aware of the fact that there are those who argue that we stand amid the most ghastly period of our nation’s history…they would argue that we are retrogressing instead of progressing. But far from representing retrogression and tragic meaninglessness the present tensions represent the usual pains that accompany the birth of anything new. It seems to be both historically and biologically true that there can be no birth and growth without birth and growing pains. Wherever there is the emergence of the new there is the recalcitrance of the old…We must find our defense in the inherent power of unity and courage.”
Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957
(full text at the KingCenter here)
Photos my own, meditation calligraphy found on the web years ago and never again.