Today I’m offering a few quotes on perception that go along with this picture of my eye in direct sunlight. An odd photo, but I like it.
This is a modest entry before our final installment in the ‘Intentionality’ series, which you’re invited to join, here on Saturday.
Peace and be well.
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ― W.B. Yeats
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” ― William Blake
“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” ― Aldous Huxley
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer
“Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.” ― Marcus Aurelius
“No one else has access to the world you carry around within yourself; you are its custodian and entrance. No one else can see the world the way you see it. No one else can feel your life the way you feel it. Thus it is impossible to ever compare two people because each stands on such different ground. When you compare yourself to others, you are inviting envy into your consciousness; it can be a dangerous and destructive guest.” ― John O’Donohue
Today is our penultimate episode, and I believe a few things will come together in unexpected ways.
What a pleasure it’s been to dip my toe into uncomfortable waters, that is, exploring intentionality — and the circling has been a gift during all things Covid19.
Unintentionally related — or, rather, unconsciously related — I’ve reframed my website byline. A small but bold step, as small steps can be both revelatory and reorienting: “Julia Harris: The Life Of Art, Reimagined.”
Today’s photo is of the maple tree in the corner of the property, a lovely creature, its limbs hang over the far corner of the upstairs porch. Taken this week, the brilliant, shimmering gold against the clear blue sky offered a stunning contrast. It wasn’t an easy shot, I had to hang part way out of the window while balancing the phone in my right hand, as my left hung useless from a knife injury.
Not a shot for the balance challenged (read, accident prone), that is, me, but the golden waterfall wouldn’t let me go.
(Confession:: the Emerson quote graphic was pilfered from Google search. As it’s simple white on black with Emerson’s words, I took liberties. Thanks to the Source.)
The poem is used without permission, though I’m assuming the late Ms. Lohmann would be pleased to have her work shared if properly attributed.
Today’s photo is from two years ago. I’ve posted it before — unframed — but it was popular then, and today it strangely fits the mood circling Maine, wet cold, winter nipping at our heels. Something in the black and white, the splash of autumn-like color. This is a sunflower moving toward Thanksgiving. (And, happy coincidence, dandelions are members of the sunflower family.)
To Say Nothing But Thank You
All day I try to say nothing but thank you,
breathe the syllables in and out with every step I
take through the rooms of my house and outside into
a profusion of shaggy-headed dandelions in the garden
where the tulips’ black stamens shake in their crimson cups.
I am saying thank you, yes, to this burgeoning spring
and to the cold wind of its changes. Gratitude comes easy
after a hot shower, when loosened muscles work,
when eyes and mind begin to clear and even unruly
hair combs into place.
Dialogue with the invisible can go on every minute,
and with surprising gaiety I am saying thank you as I
remember who I am, a woman learning to praise
something as small as dandelion petals floating on the
We’’l have the eighth installment in our ‘Intentionality’ series this upcoming Saturday.
Last weekend, I cut the head from my Titan sunflower. I’ve grown many sunflower cultivars, and not all have oversized seed-heavy heads. This season, though, I seeded my first Titan. It thrived, bolted into a thirteen-foot mammoth, then burst into glory until the single, stately flower reached its end.
After all of the golden petals scattered, I reluctantly cut the head off. I thought as much of interesting black and white photos as the waiting seeds.
The weight and density of the head defies logic; the back looks and sounds and feels like a wax cast sculpture. This is majestic artifact that came into being in less than six months.
Trees take years to achieve this heft of being. Truly deep magic in these creatures.
As the growing season, and its sunflowers, ebb into winter’s nocturne, Ginsberg’s ‘Sunflower Sutra’ wound around in my mind as a celebration for today’s entry. Not until rereading Ginsberg’s poem did I realize what a happy creative coincidence my black and white photo edits were.
WordPress doesn’t seem to support proper alignment and spacing for much poetry — or at least I can’t figure it. So to read, or reread, Ginsberg’s ‘Sunflower Sutra.’ click here.
To hear Ginsberg read it, here’s the YouTube video.
“Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful. How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural–you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.”― Thich Nhat Hanh
Today is our seventh installment in a ten part series exploring intentionality.
Today’s entry unfolds in a quieter and softer manner than previous entries. As collective anxiety escalates at a breakneck speed, let’s smile at the transformation we’re living in with a gentle patience.
Highest recommendations. Hughes’ narrative construction around three paradigm shifting philosophers — Socrates, Buddha, Confucius — is more relevant now than when it first aired in 2015. All three thinkers were birthed, so to speak, from the waters of profound, multilayered social chaos, This chaos forced them to go deeper into examining what it means to be a fully realized human, each burrowing into unique inner discoveries as their outer worlds descended into greater and greater turmoil.
All three philosophers changed how we see the world and our place in it. Not because of academics, but thru rigorous personal practice, by radically examining the art of life, if you will.
In Hughes’ inspiring and sensitive construction, there are overlaps in many of their big ideas.
Hughes’ history is also compelling because we’re not being given a dry his-story of philosophy, but a unique and meaningful narrative construction from a ‘female’ voice and perspective.
Each episode is one hour, and I believe you’ll find they compliment our ‘Intentionality’ series in evocative and meaningful ways.
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.
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.
“ . . . . 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.
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:
“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.“ . . .
“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.”