Interlude: The Story Of A Sunflower II

Hello Friends,

Some of you may remember my entry The Story Of A Sunflower.

I’ve completed my lotuses and thought I’d share them for today’s entry.

They’re on their way to the Rubin this week.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have the golden dust from a sunflower in my Maine garden finding its way into a New York museum exhibit.

Transformations, indeed.

If you’d like to make your own lotuses, there’s still time — the exhibit is open for all submissions and ongoing until January. More information can be found here: The Lotus Effect

I look forward to spending time with you this Saturday.

Until then, peace and sunflowers.

(The photo with the Roy quote was taken a couple of weeks ago from down the road.)

Photo: Down Bt The River 2020 © Julia Haris

Intentionality VI

 

Hello friends,

Today is the first time I’ve been a full day late with an entry — but as you’re a generous and small group, I trusted that you knew I wouldn’t be a no-show.

Yesterday was a glorious autumn day here in Maine, incomparable. I wasted not a minute in soaking in the sun’s mild warmth, luxuriating in the opening of foliage fanfare, breathing in air from the clear blue skies, and reverencing my body’s health with a long walk while grooving to Santana’s mystical musical magic. It was a singular day.  As I wrote yesterday:

Perfect blue sky, the trees dopple fires of orange and yellow and red on the skyline. I could paint the world these colors, and then stumble into another world and do it all over again.

It was a surrender to the moment’s gifts in a world that’s screaming and yelling at us to be afraid, be discouraged, be overwhelmed.

Not today fear, and not for myself, but for the love of and for Everything.

But by four, after flu shot, errands, work in the garden, and the various details that punctuate our days, I decided to comfortably sink into myself. This quote serendipitously appeared in my Facebook feed, and it was what I went with:

You must have a place to which you can go, in your heart, your mind, or your house, where you do not owe anyone, and where no one owes you – a place that simply allows for the blossoming of something new and promising. — Joseph Campbell

Today’s hat photo is my first birthday gift, from a devoted fan. (I still can’t believe I have fandom — it’s all too much.) So shout out and huge thanks to my dear generous friend who graciously gave me what I said I wanted when I saw this hat online. Not only did its perfectly timed arrival make my heart explode into a million luminescent pieces, but it’s also perfect protection from the sun, better than sunglasses.

The photos below are from this week, the trees once again reminding us that surrender is a beautiful act.

I hope you’ll join us in this week’s space; I think it’s going to be special.

To listen, click here:

 

Ruby Today  2020 © Julia Haris
The Front Yard 2020 © Julia Haris
Royal Robe  2020 © Julia Haris
Renewal 2020 © Julia Haris

Interlude: The Equinox Edition

Photo free to use by Henry & Co. on Unsplash.com.


****

Hello friends,

This morning at about 9:30 a.m. eastern time, the autumn equinox arrived.

The relative balance of light and dark, though the world may not seem like it’s in a balancing act these days. To honor this uncommon equinox, I’m offering an impromptu meditation, because there’s material  that’s given itself for one on this Holy Day.

I believe that during these days, Love’s inviting us into a deep burrowing into itself, as it unfolds itself in new ways, new Epiphanies.

We’re creating the trust and playfulness of creation, born from our inner worlds and knowing. The space of deep Intention.

You’re welcome to join the mediation.

Please contact me if you’re enjoying this space; I have more ideas waiting.

Onward.

Peace and play.

To listen, click this link:

 

****

An excerpt of the Rohr email read in the reflection. The email in its entirety can be read in the following link, and it’s worth your time:  Some simple but urgent guidance to get us through these next months.

From the letter:

“ . . . . All else is tearing us apart, inside and out, no matter who wins the election or who is on the Supreme Court. We cannot abide in such a place for any length of time or it will become our prison.

God cannot abide with us in a place of fear.
God cannot abide with us in a place of ill will or hatred.
God cannot abide with us inside a nonstop volley of claim and counterclaim.
God cannot abide with us in an endless flow of online punditry and analysis.
God cannot speak inside of so much angry noise and conscious deceit.
God cannot be found when all sides are so far from “the Falconer.”
God cannot be born except in a womb of Love.
So offer God that womb.

Stand as a sentry at the door of your senses for these coming months, so “the blood-dimmed tide” cannot make its way into your soul.

If you allow it for too long, it will become who you are, and you will no longer have natural access to the “really deep well” that Etty Hillesum returned to so often and that held so much vitality and freedom for her.

If you will allow, I recommend for your spiritual practice for the next four months that you impose a moratorium on exactly how much news you are subject to—hopefully not more than an hour a day of television, social media, internet news, magazine and newspaper commentary, and/or political discussions. It will only tear you apart and pull you into the dualistic world of opinion and counter-opinion, not Divine Truth, which is always found in a bigger place.

Instead, I suggest that you use this time for some form of public service, volunteerism, mystical reading from the masters, prayer—or, preferably, all of the above.

        You have much to gain now and nothing to lose. Nothing at all.
And the world—with you as a stable center—has nothing to lose.
And everything to gain. 


Richard Rohr, September 19, 2020”

 

Intentionality V

Hello friends,

I inadvertently hit the publish button when I was preparing this entry earlier today. My apologies.

Little sleep last night after hearing the news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. Not only did I publish this entry accidentally, I published a Facebook riff with her name misspelled. At least I misspelled it consistently. Gah.

And at least I caught that I wrote Luciano Pavarotti instead of Plácido Domingo in an early, teary draft; not sure I could have redeemed myself from that misstep.

I’m including that riff below, because I think many of us are processing complex emotions. Everything else, and now this. This riff was my way of transforming the news, of creating fierce hope from uncertainty, and spelling and names were less important than claiming something anchored in hope.

Today’s reflection offers a space to intentionally stay Centered, a space where we let our many griefs and fears float into the ocean of Trust

For those of us strongly empathic, we can feel the collective grief and fear deep in the bones, so we’ll honor the collective anxiety, and claim higher ways of being, in Being, and we’ll honor the spaciousness and hope freely given to us when we need it.

I hope you’ll join our circle, and contribute to its quiet, gentle, transformative power,

Today’s photo was taken yesterday from the upstairs porch.

We’re living in many transitions.

There’s beauty in the breakdown.

(Please note, there may have been mic problems, and you may experience some volume changes, though I think the problems were only with the headphone volume. — JH)

To join today’s circle, please click here:

 

Transitions 2020 © Julia Haris

 

******

“According to Jewish tradition, a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah, which began tonight, is a tzaddik, a person of great righteousness,” Franklin tweeted soon after the news of Ginsburg’s death broke.

NPR reporter Nina Totenberg explained the tradition on Twitter: “A Jewish teaching says those who die just before the Jewish new year are the ones God has held back until the last moment bc they were needed most & were the most righteous.”   . . .

It’s not the only point of significance. Because Ginsburg died Friday evening, her death occurred around the time Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, began.

“If one dies on any Shabbat they are considered a Tzadik …  more so when it’s on the new year,” Rabbi Andrea London of Beth Emet synagogue in Evanston, Illinois told USA TODAY.“ . . .

(Source: USA Today)

*****

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg received an honorary doctorate from Harvard the same year I was graduated with a Masters.

It’s a funny story, my oh-so reluctant Harvard graduation attendance, a tale for another day. I had a hard time, in Whitman’s words, ‘celbrat[ing] myself,’ but for all my self-indulgent feelings of being an outsider and a fraud, even though I earned Honors, it may have been one of the best days in the University’s history to attend commencement. The weather was perfect — clear blue skies, in the high sixties, and the slightest breeze kept the air moving around us, without any gusts.

It was an electric spring day, full of promise, made more electric by the ceremonies. When I filed into the yard wearing my cap and gown, I changed, and my world did as well.


It was a celebration of my work, too, not just everyone who was smarter or more gifted or who came from privilege. Here I was, crossing the finish line and receiving the gold medal of mastery in work I loved. Not bad for a poor girl from an uneducated family who lived in her imagination, loved reading, and loved putting big ideas into good strong words.

And then there was Ginsburg.

Yes, the perfect day to celebrate dreams and dreamers.

Plácido Domingo also received an honorary doctorate, and he gave everyone there that day the treat of a short, impromptu performance. Before the day’s ceremonies, as I remember the story he told, Plácido found out that Judge Ginsburg was an opera lover. Opera was one of her personal passions, so he stepped in with a song, asking ‘permission’ right on the stage.

Of course, no permission needed.

Everyone went a little wild as he unexpectedly caressed the breeze with his voice, filling Harvard Yard with tenor notes, and Ginsberg seemed sincerely thrilled.

Plácido Domingo singIng made a perfect day even more so.

As ceremonies in the yard wound down, I watched an escort assist RBG down the aisle from Memorial Church toward Widener library. Even then she was as frail and delicate as a hummingbird. Tiny, I remember thinking how fierce she was to navigate the ceremonies, such invisible strength and power in a fragile vehicle of a body.

This was 2011.

For nine years she fought for us, a hummingbird with a lion’s heart. Some folks are questioning why she didn’t retire during the Obama administration to keep the court. She didn‘t. This is life.

An astute writer has mentioned that Ginsburg passed on the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. In life’s music, and the dance of stories and our telling of them, I don’t believe in coincidences. Time will tell us more.

There’s music and poetry in our lives when we look deeply, use our story telling to adroitly fashion our experiences, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg at my Harvard graduation is part of my story, one of the too-many-to-count precious gifts that life’s given to me.

Rest in power, Judge Ginsburg.

Thank you for your service, for showing that no matter how fragile a hummingbird might seem, it can be lion courageous and strong.

And thank you for being part of this woman’s story.

Keeping my eyes full of fierce, unrelenting hope.”

 

Interlude.5

Hello friends,

I’d hoped to record an entry today, but the painters are enthusiastically painting the house next door. (Nice guys, loud workers.)

So I’m offering two poems that gave themselves to me this weekend.

Today’s photos are Four O’Clock blossoms from the garden. I adore the painterly qualities of these blossoms. Not much editing, just some cropping, a bit of light to show the colors, and then the frames. No color enhancement.

It wasn’t needed; Mother Nature does magnificent work.

And I adore the pollen detail in photo number I.

Until Saturday.

Peace and hope.

Paint Job I     2020 © Julia Haris
Paint Job II    2020 © Julia Haris

*****

Walk Slowly

It only takes a reminder to breathe,

a moment to be still, and just like that,

something in me settles, softens, makes

space for imperfection. The harsh voice

 of judgment drops to a whisper and I

remember again that life isn’t a relay

 race; that we will all cross the finish

line; that waking up to life is what we

were born for. As many times as I

 forget, catch myself charging forward

 without even knowing where I’m going,

that many times I can make the choice

 to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk

 slowly into the mystery.

—Danna Faulds

 

****

Clearing

Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself to this world
so worthy of rescue.

—Martha Postlewaite

 

Intentionality IV

Wide Open Spaces 2020 © Julia Haris

Hello Friends,

We resume our exploration of ‘Intentionality’ with the fourth installment in a ten part series.

Thank you for your understanding about last week’s pause.

The photo kept pulling me in for today’s entry, against my better judgement.

Is it insensitive to celebrate this incredible view from a walk last week as the West Coast suffocates in smoke and ash?

Perhaps it’s the sense of promise that whispers to me, so I dedicate this entry to those on the West Coast, who are bearing an enormous and heartbreaking hardship.

May blue skies and peaceful days fill your days again sooner than you imagine.

And for the land, the flora, the fauna, and all life, may hope and comfort spring from unknown places, and generous aide arrive quickly.

To join this week’s space, click here:

 

Here are the YouTube Pema Chödrön videos mentioned in the mediation.

 

Interlude: The Story Of A Sunflower

Hello friends,

We’ll return to our ‘Intentionality’ series on Saturday.

Today, though, I share the short story of a Titan sunflower, a beauty which is now surrounded by handmade origami lotuses waiting for decoration.

 

After decorating, these paper lotuses will be mailed to The Rubin Museum of Art as part of their community installation, The Lotus Effect.  

From The Rubin’s website:

“Lotuses grow in muddy, murky waters, rise to the surface, and unfold. They bloom untainted by the muck and serve as a reminder, albeit a temporary one, that moments of beauty can emerge from the toughest conditions. In Tibetan Buddhism this sacred symbol is associated with purity, awakening, transformation, and compassion, and it appears in works of art at the Rubin Museum.

For The Lotus Effect, we invite you to fold an origami lotus of your own and contribute it to a physical installation. The installation will serve as a community-built symbol of gratitude for the people and things that help us get through difficult moments.”

There are several ways to participate. The Lotus Effect page gives the details. 

I’ve posted the YouTube instructional video below.

After folding both the simple lotuses and the advanced lotuses, I think the simple ones are a good choice.  No need to feel “less than” if you participate with only a few folds. They’re striking as is.

Less is more. (Sometimes.)

Click here for today’s tale of survival, beauty, triumph — and a sunflower meditation:

 

 

 

 

 

Pause

Hello friends,

Unfortunately, I must post-pone our fourth installment on “Intentionality” until next week.

About 9 a.m. this morning, workers began blasting the old chipped paint off the house next door, and they have no idea when they will be finished. The paint job will be a welcome relief to the neighborhood, but there’s no way to record around the work.

I’m not sure what day might be best; I thought of waiting until next Saturday, but with Monday being a holiday, perhaps I’ll combine today’s entry with Tuesday’s entry on Monday.

Surprises keep us supple.

Until then, I hope you enjoy enjoy this poem from Mary Oliver. 

The photo is of a dwarf sunflower — just a foot tall — in the garden and getting reading to open.

Peace and beauty until we’re together again  — JH

 

 

Beginnings 2020 © Julia Haris

Interlude.3

Hello Friends,

Last Saturday, I recommended the American Masters documentary on N. Scott Momaday.

In that video, Momaday reads from a Navajo prayer. I googled the prayer, and there are several versions. What I’m posting below is what I thought to be the most reliable source and translation of the old Navajo prayer.

Respect and gratitude to the Navajo elders for their wisdom.

In a loosely related pivot, today’s photo was taken during my walk yesterday. Early in the afternoon, I grabbed my day pack, stuffed some journals and pens in it, and set out for my ‘zen bench.’ On the way, I inexplicably didn’t feel like going into the park, so  I kept walking.

A couple of miles down, an opening along the road grabbed my attention.

I sat roadside — I’m certain the few cars that passed thought I was a little nuts — and I started a new journal.

There’s nothing like starting a new journal. It seemed especially timely yesterday, because, while walking, I thought that the virus of fear has many morbidities.

The death of dreaming seems the m.o. of authoritarians, and, too often, those who would slay them.

As we explore intentionality together, let’s dream.

Dream big. Dream bold. Dream often.

The power of dreaming and imagination seems at least part of the Navajo prayer.

Until Saturday, I invite you to dream big, open yourself to possibilities, to beauty, and to unexpected sweetness.

Dream.

Consider writing your dreams down.

And by all means, let them soar.

***

Walking in Beauty: Closing Prayer from the Navajo Way Blessing Ceremony

In beauty I walk
With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me I walk
With beauty around me I walk
It has become beauty again

Hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shitsijí’ hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shikéédéé hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shideigi hózhóogo naasháa doo
T’áá altso shinaagóó hózhóogo naasháa doo
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’

Today I will walk out, today everything negative will leave me
I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body.
I will have a light body, I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me.
I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me.
I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me.
I walk with beauty around me. My words will be beautiful.

In beauty all day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons, may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With dew about my feet, may I walk.
With beauty before me may I walk.
With beauty behind me may I walk.
With beauty below me may I walk.
With beauty above me may I walk.
With beauty all around me may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
My words will be beautiful….   (Source:  TalkingFeather.com)

***

Dreaming By Water 2020 © Julia Haris

Intentionality III

“The highest human purpose is always to reinvent and celebrate the sacred.” — N. Scott Momaday

Our third in a ten-part series, we circle deeper into the source of our intentions, and create a space which allows them to flourish.

To join this celebratory space, click here:

Waiting 2020 © Julia Haris

Five American Masters, PBS