“March 10, 1859: I perceive the spring in the softened air…Looking through this transparent vapor, all surfaces, not osiers, and open water alone, look more vivid. the hardness of winter is relaxed. There is a fine effluence surrounding the wood, as if the sap had begun to stir and you could detect it a mile off. Such is the difference between an object seen through a warm, moist, and soft air and a cold, dry, hard one. Such is the genialness of nature that the trees appear to have put out feelers by which the sense apprehend them more tenderly. I do not know that the woods are ever more beautiful, or affect me more.” Henry David Thoreau.
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The writing is not polished. They are simply my rough notes.
I decided to stay home late afternoon after day two of an invigorating and interesting workshop. Initially, I felt pretty guilty of breaking the appointment I had for later afternoon. Suddenly, I knew I was to contact friends but could not find the email addresses. So, I called. How grateful I am to Universe to have helped me with awareness and the knowledge to “just do it.” We had a good talk and the measure of comfort that I could offer was well received. I still find it curious that I just know sometimes. But, from this summer’s “wax on-wax off” practice I’m better at responding to the “knowings.”
The polarized comments connected with the shootings in Connecticut are predictable. Only one other person seems to have “got it” when I said, “But for the grace of God go you and I.” I do not believe any of the people who have committed violent acts are inherently “evil.” (A term popularized by the second Bush administration and designed to create “us and them” feelings. That term needs to be retired.) Circumstances in people’s lives have accumulated and their resources diminished so they snapped and indeed did heinous acts. But, “unthinkable”? No. Just think about how we are bombarded with bad news in all media, how children are allowed to watch violent movies and TV shows and play violent video games, how politicians demean each other in public, how radio personalities swear and rant about what they do not like, how novels and non-fiction tomes explicitly describe crimes and how adults in institutions of all sorts push, shove, and bully workers and children. And, we think these acts are “unthinkable”?
I believe that answers have more to do with how we treat people each day than in more laws, more controls, more….
Our friends whose child died a number of years ago, echoed what just was spoken on TV by families in the UK who have experienced a similar tragedy as Connecticut: That grief is a long process, that people grieve in different ways, that the wound re-opens when a similar tragedy happens, that they appreciate being remembered because most people, “move on” and seem not to recognize that wounds are forever.
Today in class today, a table-mate shared from a previous class on grief that she had taken, that some random thought, piece of music, or event can create a “grief burst”. But, I try to keep in mind that while I (we) might remember, we do not have to relive the event. However, this takes time.
So, where am I? A colleague, in an email, provided helpful insight that I am practicing: “If you walk the labyrinth everyday you will know soon what your role is in assisting the healing in Ct. The labyrinth is who you are and what you do. Not to deny Reiki in any way.”
Today, before class I left Sisters Health Club early, bumped into a friend who is struggling with health, so tried to re-assure her, and then drove to the Regis Labyrinth.
The experience: I pulled the earth toned shawl over my head to shield from the raw SW wind. Damp and grey skies settled in. Temperatures in the mid-30s. I picked up a pebble by the entry – a modified Jewish and Christian tradition of putting stones and rocks on graves. Never looking at it, I walked with my feather and the pebble. The small bricks along the path caught my eye: Pray…Instruct…Patience…Comfort…Forgive. In the center I stood looking out over the tree line, the school building and up to the cross at Mt. Mercy University Chapel. Only when I placed the pebble did I notice it, picked it up again, and took pause as the message revealed itself. It was about a quarter inch thick and two inches wide, tan on the outside, rounded and sheared off on one edge. Inside were noticeable black and white crystals.
The Reflection: This pebble is worn, fractured. The other pieces are gone, never to be found again. It is incomplete. But, by being fractured, the interior is revealed. Only through experiences do we find elements within of strength, compassion that can help us find answers, move through, grow, share, and become more “whole” even in our brokenness. This thought seemed to be “an answer” and the “conclusion” . But, I am unsure about the middle, so will continue to walk as suggested.
“It is such a secret place, the land of tears.” The Little Prince. Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Let us move to compassion. “Be more kind than is necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle.”
What an honor to be invited to hear and see students’ presentations for the last class of the business administration KPACE class today. I worked with them and the CNA and Welding students this fall nudging them along with writing skills. They started hardly knowing the elements of a complete sentence and ended up being able to write pretty wonderful – as in “awful” -examples of poorly written sentences for the final test for others to have to “fix.” They are quite the group. I see them going places and being such support for each other. They ran the gamut of emotions today – happy to reflective to chiding to having us all in tears. Twice in one week I’ve cried in public. Heavens! So I know this if affirmation for me that indeed as Rich and I have talked over several weeks and as Universe has shown me in various ways, this – being aware of opportunities and then mentoring and linking – is what I am supposed to be doing now. Following is a summary of the students’ comments. Margee, the instructor for this part of their education, was outstanding sharing insights about their talks and encouraging them, too.
S. the Zombie aficionado: “Nothing new is easy.” Fear is the number one pitfall that she identified but added, “I want to get out of this box into a better box.” She showed self effacing humor, used eye contact and had subtle background for her PowerPoint. What a coup to juxtapose quotes from her favorite Sci Fi Galactic movie – Never ever give up – with one from the current movie Lincoln on being positive.
M. went on a bit, but she is the “go-to girl.” She dispenses advice, rags on the others, has a terrific laugh and admits her faults and celebrates her strengths. She introduced herself, used humor and is a stitch to listen to with her non-standard English. “I had the right answers for everyone else but not for me.” “You reflect on the past and make changes for the future.” Analyze…keep moving on…don’t give up.” “Ignore the negativity. Positive is right around the corner.” “We women are strong!”
Sh. had great graphics of light grey with pink letters. Listening to others’ stories inspires her and helps her realize her world is pretty simple. Just this fall she rode the city bus for the first time ever! And, was she ever proud of that accomplishment. Still, she wants to do something for herself for once. To finish what she starts. The others chimed in that they’d kick her tusch if she doesn’t. And, then the conversation merged to how they can support each other on the larger campus of Kirkwood.
JS who recently passed her GED, is separated from her husband, has three children and a full time job. The flood year of 2008 was a fresh start. She is trying to do it all and at one point she thought, screw the college stuff, I’ll just do GED. But, Mialisa Wright with the KPACE program called her out and, “From that day forward I have not taken ‘no’ for an answer, either.” She is an ambassador for the program, has spoken to United Way funders and the KCC Board. She has visited with Timothy Charles at Mercy Medical Center about partnerships with the CNA and Business Administration programs.
D. who successfully lobbied for glasses so she can see the board, who has lacked confidence and now is right there doing programs in front of people. She keeps and reads the Optimist Creed and “Promise Yourself” page I handed out to students in front of her each day. It’s amazing to me that several students referred to things I had them do in class or the support I offered as positives in their lives. Just like with the Making A Difference students a decade ago, the women need someone who believes in them. I can be that person. So, this was wonderful to be part of.
What is the reason to be so off balance the past several days? Seems to go beyond wearing “The Boot.”
Early season Prairie Labyrinth at Nature Center
“Regardless of the language, your intent will be manifested through the Word. What you dream, feel, really are will be manifested through the Word. “
“Whatever life takes from you, let it go. When you surrender and let go of the past you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment. Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.”
Speaking of dreams: Of late weird. Two men…hair color…TC at church helping me get to a room…missing medications. All in color and all with motion; some with sound, taste, and touch. Senses working overtime. Which author wrote that dreams and those with mental illness are closer to The Thin Veil and to seeing beyond. The author of the Harry Potter series used the Thin Veil.
The trip seemed serendipitous from the start. We left early under warm but comfortable skies and pulled into the Worth County park, Silver Lake, recommended by Dean Mueller. Totally unexpected a sweet little park on a lake next to a private campground. The lack of water actually made the stay! After looking around for a water source, I walked to the private park and visited with a man and woman who offered their water source and invited us back after dinner. We took them up on it and ended up having popcorn and a gentle conversation about this and that. Margaret, Darryl, and Dick are retired, come here for the summer and winter in Arizona. “Our little slice of heaven,” sighed Margaret a young 75 as she and the men recounted visits with family in the area. They knew of the ’08 floods, worked in mills in Michigan, and accurately and succinctly gave directions to the Interstate the back way! It was like visiting with long-time friends.
All night a soft breeze whispered and the stars overhead were beautiful until washed out by the bright moon. the only downside to the campground is a street light in the middle of a field lighting nothing and compromising the night viewing. A good source of money savings would be to take it out and also reduce the mowing. The next morning we headed out and had breakfast at Owatonna Family Restaurant just off the Interstate. Friendly staff and decent coffee make this a return eatery for us. Later Caribou Coffee in White Bear Lake proved just right, again off the Interstate which was only lightly traveled.
Well, I was impressed with the Grand Casino in the Indian Reservation and won some and promptly lost it. Ah…at least it took longer than it does in Iowa!
Into mixed pine and birches, scraped land from glaciers and then, we descended into the Duluth basin. The St. Louis River is large and the city is mix of industry and tourism. While active, we didn’t think the restored waterfront was particularly crowded. We took pix of the draw bridge where Nancy, at the OWAA conference there, accidentally left her newly acquired sweatshirt and then retrieved it successfully because the kindly bridge attendant remembered her and saved it back.
Driving the Lake Shore was really pretty and birches dominated, rivers tumbled into the Lake and rocks jutted out. An off shore wind kept the waves down, but the air was cool enough to be pleasant. An eagle dropped down and paralleled us for a ways going about 45 mph. We poked along and finally got to Lamb’s Resortin Schroeder. Check in was easy and site 57 was a pleasant 75 foot walk through Salmon Berry with ripe
berries peeking out from under the broad maple-type leaves. Clouds gathered. We walked the beach and met people who loved to talk about the rocks and water and agates. Then, as we were preparing supper, the skies opened and a “river ran through” our site. Fortunately we had our rain gear and the rain was warm. But, the front turned the winds to on shore and the riffles turned to swells turned to breakers crashing on shore for two days! And, to think this was a little storm. The lines of rocks tossed up on the shoreline from previous storms was impressive indeed. So, the next morning I went out in search of agates even though I know they are found more on the south shore as per information on line and from locals. But, I uncovered so many wonderful rocks: Some just right for stone massage so Hands In Harmony folks get dibs on them, others pretty lines and colors. Some of the basalt that comprises the majority of the rock in the area is heavy, dense and solid. Other volcanic rock is “incompetent” as geologists are fond of saying – breaks or crumbles easily.
Rich fished his way upstream and later I followed. Meanwhile, some children and I engaged in conversation that went something like this: As I was digging in the cobbles a girl asked, “What are you doing?” “Oh, making popcorn.” “No you are not.” “Well, what does it look like I am doing?” “Digging.” “Yeah, well, you see the giant baby came by and lost his tooth and now is sad because he cannot put it under his pillow for the giant tooth fairy.” “Really?” “Sure. Will you help look for it?” And, she did and she found a pretty white rock that looked like a tooth. So, for us, it was! “Here it is!” “Great! Now we can get it to the giant baby.” Along comes brother who quickly joined in and found the giant baby’s “molar.” The children just simply and readily bought into the fantasy and make believe and shared it with the Dad who was also cool about it. Most adults are pretty dull (it is part of the word a dul t) and don’t get that we are make believing. A fun conversation.
Then, I stashed my rocks and wandered upstream taking pictures along the way. All the streams are low, so the rain of the night before was welcomed and soaked right into the ground.
During lunch we noticed a sailboat coming against the wind into the jetty. Later it tried to go back across
the Lake, but turned and came in. Only the next morning did the sailors take off. Even then, the waves and swells were pretty big. In the afternoon we took a short drive and a short hike. One of those, “You-would-think-we-don’t-know-anything-about-hiking” walks. Read – I was in sandals and we had no food or water or map or….but, the trail was right there, a group of Americorps students was near by. So….but, this is getting to be a ritual it seems. The views from the hillsides or Sawtooth Mountains, as they are called, are wonderful and inspiring. By summer all is well, but I can imagine winter. Cold. Dark. Windy. Exhilarating at times.
The evening we walked the beach, had some wine and watched a spectacular set of rainbows start to appear over the Lake. And, again, the moon over the water and the stars at night.
We put together some breakfast which included the famous rolls at the bakery right next to Lambs. Certainly, a must adventure for anyone visiting! Then, we moved camp down to number 51. Not a great site but will do for the night. Off to find Shawn Perich in Grand Marais (marsh) and then to get on the Lake. We mosied along finding falls, flowers, and an extensive ski area – did the chair lift and took the alpine slide back down. Fun! Grand Marais was active but by no means over crowded. Shawn and his business partner, Amber, visited with us about OWAA, the north woods, their writing and publishing and then we drove to Shawn’s home to hook up the boat and go on the Lake.
Sven and Ole’s Restaurant on the way back was crowded lively and just a hoot! I guess a wild rice and chicken pizza is worth one try. Their contest of asking questions of the clients kept up interest and conversation. To what country do the Canary Islands belong? (I got it right). Who was the first president born in the 20th Century? (I got it right). Who was the commander in chief of D-Day? (I got it right). What did I win? Nothin. Back after dark. Stars bright. Later a storm rolled in to the east and about dawn one descended on us so we scrambled, packed and left before 6 a.m. Breakfast at Judy’s Cafe in Two Harbors.
On down the road as day dawned. Past Duluth and out of the birch and maples into the pines and glaciated fields to the Twin Cities. Stop at Caribou Coffee, gas and on to Harmony, MN, and the Niagara Cave. What fun! No pix as my camera’s batteries are “exhausted.” Too bad, so sad. A nice get away. Back to Midwest corn and beans via Hwy 52 through the Driftless Area. All safe and sound at home.
From lay reader at Church: “The little space in our heart is as vast as the universe. What lies within is the here and now.”
Unexamined assumptions…inclusion…science…spirit. Invite in Doubt. Commit to what I know I can become.
We travel in trust with each other. Take advantage of the power of the flock.
How amazing to join three other people all who know each other and be welcomed and included right away as though we had known each other for many years. We immediately could talk about rather personal aspects of ourselves confidently and confidentially and feel OK about it. The workshop flowed easily without constraints and while there was a plan, the time was also flexible. Masculine and feminine energy flowed, support for each other, incredible warmth and heat. My hands surprisingly were like a furnace! Occasionally we all felt “the earth move under our feet” as energy transferred back and forth. Lunch together each day proved to be connecting. Went to Gemstone store on Mt. Vernon Rd. some random words that may trigger memories: Pendulum…”Epicenter of Love is the Pendulum Swinger.” (Indigo girls); crystals; Archangel Michael; descriptions in books resonated with us; the cards we randomly drew signified aspects of our lives; people observed my tattoo and were curious about its meaning; confidence in our touch; concentrating on conduit words – love, light, healing; our nutty “Lottery” numbers; sharing the sodastone bookends with Wahneta; warm touch; smell of the rocks still on a shirt; energized but not overly; wonder what the insecure feeling was later in the second day; …that’s enough for now.