Improvisation VII

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. — Lao Tzu

Audio meditation, click here:

 

Interlude

Audio meditation, click here:

 

Hello friends and visitors.

Several subscribers told me that they enjoyed last week’s ‘Interlude,’ and as I was thinking of adding a mid-week entry to my Saturday posts, I decided to continue these ‘Interlude’ entries for awhile.

For this entry, I’ve also collected the best supportive — learning — awareness — creativity resources sent to me this past week or so. So much good will and generosity is spilling out of the human heart in free offerings, that it can be overwhelming.

This list is my starting point, and I hope it offers you something useful.

Please take care of yourselves, stay at home unless absolutely necessary, and follow all CDC protocols.

Thank you for your presence here.

JH

*****

1.

For years now, Oprah and Deepak Chopra have collaborated to offer free, theme based 21 day meditations throughout the year.

Normally, the free meditations are available for only five days from the day of release; if you wish to continue after the five days, you must purchase the program.

This special series will leave all the meditations free thru May 5.

You can listen in your browser, or you may download the Chopra meditation app for your tablet or phone.

Click here for more information: Meditation Program: Finding hope in uncertain times Harness strength. Find peace. Create connection.

2.

Jack Kornfiled and Tara Brach have posted a full half-day at home mindfulness retreat.  Both teachers are exemplary, and if you have the time for a half-day retreat (a little over three hours, total), I encourage you to explore.

Full details at this link, no registration required:  LOOKING FOR REFUGE? Join Jack Kornfield & Tara Brach in a Free Half-Day At-Home Mindfulness Retreat

3.

Gratefulness.org is making their e-course library free (though I encourage you to send them 5 dollars if you have that in your pocket).  This is the smallest and humblest of the group posted here, but it’s perhaps the most powerful.

Gratefulness.org centers around the work of Brother David Steindl-Rast.

From their website:

“DAVID STEINDL-RAST was born Franz Kuno Steindl-Rast on July 12, 1926, in Vienna, Austria, and spent his early years there and in a small village in the Alps. He spent all of his teen years under the Nazi occupation, was drafted into the army, but never went to the front lines. He eventually escaped and was hidden by his mother until the occupation ended.

After the war, Franz studied art, anthropology, and psychology, receiving an MA from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and a PhD from the University of Vienna. In 1952 he followed his family who had emigrated to the United States. In 1953 he joined a newly founded Benedictine community in Elmira, NY, Mount Saviour Monastery, where he became “Brother David.” In 1958/59 Brother David was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University, where he also became the first Roman Catholic to hold the Thorpe Lectureship, following Bishop J.D.R. Robinson and Paul Tillich.”

I’ve taken several of these courses over the years, and Gratefulness.org has always been generous in allowing me to register for free, when I needed to.

To peruse the courses, click here: Learn With Gratefulness

4.

Emergence Magazine is offering a trove of reading, writing, and community interaction.

For those unfamiliar, here’s what Emergence is about): “Emergence Magazine is a quarterly online publication with an annual print edition. Each issue features a theme explored through innovative digital media as well as the written word.

It has always been a radical act to share stories during dark times. They are a regenerative space of creation and renewal. As we experience the desecration of our lands and waters, the extinguishing of species, and a loss of sacred connection to the earth, we look to emerging stories. In them we find the timeless connections between ecology, culture, and spirituality.”

Among the offerings in the link below: a nature writing workshop led by one of the magazine’s editors, several book clubs, transformational workshops, and several author readings.

These book clubs, workshops, and author readings are staggered into the early fall.

For more information on this surplus of good, click here: Emergence Magazine for support, creativity, and inspiration.

 

Improvisation VI

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.” — Emily Dickinson 

 

Dear Subscribers and Visitors,

Please take care of yourself and those you hold dear.

if you’re not able to listen to the audios, I encourage you to sit for a few minutes in silence. Focus on your breath and just sit. News free, social media free, phone free, text free, television free, music free, email free, just sit and observe.

if you’re able to, get outside.  We observed equinox this week, and spring moves quickly toward us this year. Don’t let circumstances rob you of the spring sun, its gentle warmth, and the promises of April and May blossoms.

Thank you for sharing yourselves with me —it’s an honor and privilege.

JH

For your stay at home pleasure, enjoy free, eight world famous museums, virtual visits, click here. 

 

Audio reflection, click here:

 

Audio meditation, click here:

 

Open Road, Blue Sky 2020 © Julia Haris

Interlude

“All shall be well. For there is a force of love moving through the universe that holds us fast and will never let us go.” — Julian of Norwich

Audio meditation, click here:

 

Used with permission of Lynn Ungar

 

This special midweek edition is sponsored by an anonymous Zen donor. 

Improvisation V

Our fifth in a ten part series.

An intersectional riff and grounding meditation.

Audio reflection, click here:

 

Audio meditation, click here:

 

 

These mediations are supported through gifts and gratitude. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me at julia@juliaharis.com.

 

Improvisation IV

The fourth in our ten part series:

Audio reflection, click here:

Audio meditation, click here:

 

This morning‘s journal riff, edited:

Life 101: a fall always comes before a rising, an ascent. The deeper and harder the fall, the higher the following ascent. It’s the resplendent phoenix that we couldn’t and wouldn’t have imagined before witnessing the ashes of desolation.

It’s the dance of destruction and creation, death and resurrection.

Our great teachers and stories remind us that the light shines brightest in the darkness, they urge us to always hang on, keep on going, don’t give up, ‘don’t you let go.’

No, no, no, never give up, never let go.

This truth lives in our DNA, it may be our most precious survival mechanism, our wisest guide, our creative genius. Faith, hope, love: the gift of storytelling, myth, and the best of what what religion offers.

Who we‘ve been for too long is laid bare in this age of information saturation, confirmation bias, misinformation, and race baiting, gender hating, sex shaming, climate change denying, mother earth raping, planet plundering propaganda.

Who and what we’ll become, we don’t know.

But here in not knowing live courage, exploration, innovation, invention, and inspiration; uncertainty allows those things longing to come into being to enter the world.

So today I’ll walk on air, step by step, against my better judgement, as our collective soul’s dark night continues unfolding.

Walking on air isn’t hard, but it asks a price: letting go of what we’ve held as dear and true, and reimagining ourselves in an unknown world that we salvage, reinvent, create, and bless with our thoughts, words, choices, and actions.

We who practice air walking, well, some of us hold tight the foolish, sweet, delicious hope that we’ll one day we’ll fly. And if wings fail, then we believe that we’ll watch the soaring of those who follow our fragile, faltering attempts.

I’m playing long game, and it’s bigger and bolder and more beautful than an election.

Like every lover whose heart refuses to give in or give up or let go, I believe that one day the world, and her politics, will be forced to catch up.

The greater the fall, the more glorious the rising, though I might not live to see it.

***

Anne Lamott on Priorities and How We Keep Ourselves Small by People-Pleasing

Ani Trime’s Little Book of Affirmations: 52 Illustrated Practices for a Peaceful and Open Mind

You Are The Sky, Everything Else Is Weather  2020 © Julia Haris

Improvisation III

The third in our ten part series.

Audio reflection:

 

Audio meditation:

 

Meister Eckhart , from “Meister Eckhart’s Book of the Heart”

Miles Davis,

 

 

This week’s reflection and meditation were sponsored by an anonymous ‘Mindfulness’ donor.  Sponsorships make these entries possible.  Thank you.

Improvisation II

 

Second in a ten part series.

Audio reflection, click here:

 

Audio mediation, click here:

 

Graffiti, pen marks on page. 2019 © Julia Haris

If you’re enjoying these entries, I invite you to let me know at julia@juliaharis.com.

Thank you for visiting and listening.

This week’s entry is sponsored by a generous Zen donor.  

Improvisation I

“I start in the middle of a sentence and move both directions at once.”― John Coltrane

Audio reflection, click here:

Audio meditation, click here:

 

“There is never any end. There are always new sounds to imagine; new feelings to get at. And always, there is the need to keep purifying these feelings and sounds so that we can really see what we’ve discovered in its pure state. So that we can see more and more clearly what we are. In that way, we can give to those who listen the essence, the best of what we are. But to do that at each stage, we have to keep on cleaning the mirror.” John Coltrane

NPR: The Story Of A Love Supreme

Handwritten sheet music for John Coltrane’s religious suite A Love Supreme. Original author, John Coltrane. Reproduced from the archives of the Smithsonian. Source: Wiki Commons    

Meditation: Body V

Our last in the “Body” series, we aptly end with the idea of resurrection.

Recorded reflection, click here:

 

Recorded meditation, suitable to revisit during the week, click here:

 

 


“Resurrection” by Alma Thomas, 1966
Medium: acrylic and graphite

Painting credit: White House Collection/White House Historical Association

This acrylic and graphite on canvas painting was done by Alma Thomas, who was an educator and artist in Washington, D.C. for most of her career. She was a member of the Washington Color School. This painting was unveiled as part of the White House Collection during Black History Month 2015 and is the first in this collection by an African-American woman. This painting was acquired for the White House Collection with support from George B. Hartzog, Jr., and the White House Acquisition Trust/White House Historical Association.  Source: The White House Historical Association

“For a human being to possess true poverty, he or she must be as free of his or her created will as they were when they did not yet exist. … People should be as free of their own knowledge as when they were not yet, letting God accomplish whatever God wills. People should stand empty. … Following the way of my unborn being I have always been, I am now, and shall remain eternally. What I am by my [temporal] birth is destined to die and be annihilated, for it is mortal; therefore it must with time pass away. In my [eternal] birth all things were born, and I was cause of myself and of all things.” — Meister Eckhart

(From Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations (p. 146). New World Library. Kindle Edition.)

 

Our next series explores “Improvisation.”

Please join us for this ten part series.