Special Edition: 2021

Hello Friends,

(Note: This entry was prepared on Saturday, but ‘time’ constraints kept me from  completing the entry recording. Persistent troublemaker, all for Good,, this time.)

Time may be an artifice, but it’s a persistent one.

New Year’s celebrations are a collective ritual, one allowing us to turn the page, end a 365 day chapter, and begin a new one.  As the species that creates, experiments, controls, New Year’s allows us a ‘new beginning,’ the conceit of ‘out with the old, in with the new.’

Like Christmas, our New Year’s ritual is not ‘real’ in many senses  — that is, the years, decades, millennium are constructs that are loosely, sometimes awkwardly fashioned around what already exists, nature’s rhythms, then labeled (e.g., the Gregorian calendar) and transformed into a useful measuring tool onto which we give meaning.

Marking the end of one full rotation around the sun is a superb reason to party in Times Square, but that’s not why we party in New York, Tokyo, Rio, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Sydney, or stay up late to watch the clock turn past midnight.

I’m guessing that the bigger need — the one driving the ritual — is a need to cyclically, collectively let things go and invite possibility.

The journey into solstice becomes the door of renewal. In the dark, New Year’s celebrations ritualize spring’s perennial possibilities, as minute by minute the days fill again with sun.  (I’m referring to the Northern Hemisphere, and I’m not certain how this metaphor extends in our lower half without poking around on the interwebs, which is beyond this entry.)

Speaking for myself, our collective exhalation of the previous year usually translates into a big, palpable feeling of psychic lightness, a feeling that everyone’s stopped, breathed, reset.

The ritual gives felt energy.

Can you feel the collective exhalation of 2020?

This year the exhalation feels big and etheric.

Big.

Etheric.

And this entry coincidently marks a shift in my personal and creative choices, and how I’ll be moving ahead on this site.

Today’s reflection is personal, sometimes raw, uncensored, reconciling, and the first in a new format: for the next few months, I’ll be posting once a month, at the month’s beginning, and intermittently as inspired.

To join the space, click here:

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Rhaina Cohen’s must-read Atlantic essay, What If Friendship, Not Marriage, Was at the Center of Life? 

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Jamie K. Reaser’s poem ‘Resolutions’ is a lovely New Year’s meditation. Reaser gave me permission to post it in full here, but WP is unforgiving to poetry, and I couldn’t publish it without slaughtering the author’s spacing.  Click this link to read “Resolutions.”

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‘If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to Her face?
If you were faced with Her in all Her glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?
And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make Her way home . . . “

 

Special Edition: Solstice

Dear Friends,

Happy Winter Solstice.

We’ve a special edition today, in which Keith Jarrett, the state of the Union, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and solstice come together.

And there may be more, as things move freely here.

The gift and pleasure of a lifetime is to be with all of you on this journey.

Thank you.

To join the space, click here:

 

Callanish Stones, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Photo free to use by Gordon Williams on unsplash.com

 

 

Special Edition: Gratitude

“Gratitude is the wine for the soul.
Go on. Get drunk.” ~ Rumi

 

Hello friends,

Today’s entry goes a little deeper than Thanksgiving — we dive into gratitude to anchor us in Being on this holiday during a singular time.

We hope you will join this special edition ‘Gratitude’ meditation.

Today’s entry was sponsored by an appreciative listener. With thanks.

To listen and join, click here:

 

A brief but insightful essay by Br. David Steindl-Rast: Are You Thankful Or Are You Grateful?

One Cold Day       2020 © Julia Haris

Happy Diwali

Hello friends,

Today is the last and highest day in this year’s Diwali celebration.  From Wiki:

“Diwali is a festival of lights mainly celebrated by HindusOne of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.”

I was pleased to see that our President-elect and Vice President-elect issued a joint statement on the holiday.  You may read it here:  Joint Statement by President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris On Diwali, the Festival of Lights.

I enjoyed this paragraph:

‘Diwali is ultimately a reminder of the light that’s within us all to hope and dream, and to overcome our differences and keep the faith in each other. That’s the light we see shining on this day and that will guide us through the darkness with knowledge, science, truth, unity, and compassion.’

Today is also  the new moon. Perhaps Diwali’s light will converge with the moon’s dark face for a special dance of light and dark in the mystery of uncertainty.

I will be posting irregularly until the New Year, and in December I’ll know what lies ahead here.

With much love, until next time.

Peace.

Photo free to use on  Unsplash by Udayaditya Barua.

Special Edition III: Lhabab Duchen

Greetings from Maine,

Wait, what? No post-election entry you ask?

This, my friends, is it

So if you’re now wondering what Lhabab Duchen is, confused about what it has to do with the election, and if you want to learn about the “Great Conjunction,” join this week’s space.

Click here:

 

 

“Saturday, 7th of November [was] Lhabab Duchen – one of the four most auspicious days on the Buddhist calendar.

[Lhabab Duchen] is a celebration of Budddha’s descent from Tushita heaven, where his mother had been reborn. To repay her kindness and to liberate her, and also to benefit the beings there, Buddha spent three months teaching in this celestial realm before returning to earth.

It is said that on this auspicious day, the effects of positive or negative actions are multiplied ten million times. . . . ‘

(Source: White Tara on Facebook)

November Trees      2020 © Julia Haris

Special Edition II: Election Day

Dearest friends,

Today, in faith and hope, let’s join with millions and millions of our brothers and sisters who are praying, meditating, visualizing, chanting, practicing, binding, and bending their entire beings toward compassion and healing.

Last Saturday, we shared a (w)holē space together, and we continue by spiritually supporting the hands on work we’ve done to protect our democracy.

Isn’t it beautiful how last week we completed our Intentionality series, leading into this time?

I’ve lit a candle this morning, and it will burn all day, holding the Intentions of renewal and peace and safety and vision and hope.

Today’s edition is posted early, so if you wish to spend time together focusing on possibility today, you may do so.

Thank you for being Present.

Thank you for being here.

And if you can’t listen to the entry, I invite you to stop every so often during the day, open your heart, and ask for Peace.

Photos are from this morning’s alter space, and a photo of our guiding Goddess, who gleefully found her way to shores, our democracy’s Great Mother.

I’ll reach out ‘on the other side.’

Click here to join today’s space:

 

 

Photo free to use by tom koe — from  Unsplash.com.

Special Edition

Hello friends,

Today’s entry is an election focused healing practice.

Although I wrote on Tuesday that I’d be taking today off, today’s convergence of the full moon and the upcoming vote invites meditation.

Today is said by those who watch celestial movements to be powerful — a portal of transformation because of the planetary placements aligning with this moon’s energy.

It’s also the beginning of Samhain, when the veil between the seen and unseen is thin. I happened to read this lesson by Richard Rohr during my quiet time this morning.  Oddly, the lessons in Rohr’s book aren’t dated; this entry’s subject as my reading today was a coincidence:

“LIMINAL SPACE — What some call “liminal space” or threshold space (in Latin, limen means a threshold, a starting line in a race, or a beginning place) is a very good phrase for those special times, events, and places that open us up to the sacred. It seems we need special (sacred) days to open us up to all days being special and sacred; we need special and sacred times to universalize to all time. (It is only some forms of late-blooming Protestantism that never recognized this need.) Even ancient initiation rites were intensely sacred time and space that sent the initiate into a newly discovered sacred universe. What became All Saints Day and All Souls Day (November 1–2) were already called “thin times” by the ancient Celts, as also were February 1–2 (St. Bridget’s Day and Candlemas Day, when the candles were blessed and lit). The veil between this world and the next world was considered most “thin” and easily traversed during these times. On these days, we were invited to be aware of deep time—that is, past, present, and future time gathered into one especially holy moment. On these pivotal days, we are reminded that our ancestors are still in us and work with us and through us; we call it the “communion of saints.” The New Testament phrase for this was “when time came to a fullness,” as when Jesus first announces the Reign of God (Mark 1:15) or when Mary comes to the moment of birth (Luke 2:6). We are in liminal space whenever past, present, and future time come together in a full moment of readiness. We are in liminal space whenever the division between “right here” and “over there” is obliterated in our consciousness.”

That we have a transformative moon and a thin veil preceding this election is — interesting. For those who read and listen to these entries, you know that the moon, her symbolism, and her association with the Divine feminine  are celebrated here in a loose, informal way. I’m not tethered to astrological beliefs, because astrology is problematic and not science. But I do ‘feel’ things, the moon and thin veils are often psychically unshakable — heightened sensitivity, insights, otherwise inexplicable experiences.

As we respect the larger shifts that we’re going through, today’s portal, if you will, is a perfect meditation time preceeding the election. It’s a time to align our selves for the greatest good — for ourselves, our nation, our planet.

If you’d like to join, I invite you to clear a space and connect with your Self.

We’ll be giving ourselves to a prayer, a portal, an invitation for (w)holēness to come like a wave — this is not a space of political posturing, but a trusting time to deepen love, to embrace life, and to understand that our thoughts, actions and words change the world.

So if you’d like to engage your heart and mind beyond counting the vote totals, click here:

 

Transitions II     2020 © Julia Haris

The Good Dad

Hello friends,

Big days in America, huh?

Last Saturday’s finale took a large chunk of time, so I’m taking this Saturday off.

Between now and the election, creating spaces that nurture our souls, our selves, and possibility will serve  us well, no matter the outcome.

Those spaces require quiet and what some might call ‘prayer.’

I’m considering a new series on ‘Perception,’ and how we change, bend, and move reality through perception, and how mindful perception changes us as well.

The topic will build on our previous explorations, but circle in different colors and textures.

Let me know what you think.

Today I’m hand delivering my ballot for the Good Dad, Joe Biden

I do so much more happily than I ever thought I could. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to read this NYT opinion piece Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and the politics of unconditional love by Marcia Hesse.

Biden wasn’t the candidate I wanted, but I’ve come to think he’s the one we need. And if he doesn’t win this, no other Democrat could.

As Maine has no laws against ballot selfies, here’s today’s photo. Oh, and you might note that we Mainers have RCV (ranked choice voting), which the Maine GOP failed to rescind, because we the people voted.

 

 

Whatever your spiritual practices, please include loving kindness and healing for yourself, our country, and the world as we move forward with the grace and dignity befitting our humanity, hearts, and lives.

Until next Tuesday.

 

The Buddhist Metta (Lovingkindness) Prayer

  • My heart fills with with loving kindness. I love myself. May I be happy. May I be well. May I be peaceful. May I be free.
  • May all beings in my vicinity be happy. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be free.
  • May all beings in my city be happy. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be free.
  • May all beings in my state be happy. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be free.
  • May all beings in my country be happy. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be free.
  • May all beings on my continent be happy. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be free.
  • May all beings in my hemisphere be happy. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be free.
  • May all beings on planet Earth be happy. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be free.
  • May my parents be happy. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be free.
  • May all my friends be happy. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be free.
  • May all my enemies be happy. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be free.
  • May all beings in the Universe be happy. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be free.
  • If I have hurt anyone, knowingly or unknowingly in thought, word or deed, I ask for their forgiveness.
  • If anyone has hurt me, knowingly or unknowingly in thought, word or deed, I extend my forgiveness.

 

Intentionality: Finale

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head     2020 © Julia Haris

Hello friends,

Today’s finale wraps up ten weeks of winding through ‘Intentionality.’

I’m not certain that I’ll do a new series.  I had thought to take the next couple of weeks off, but there are 10 days until the election, so I’m still undecided.

I’m undecided about the entries or series I may do, not about my vote.

I‘ll stop in this Tuesday for our regular get together, and I’ll let you know how things are looking.

Today’s photos unexpectedly presented themselves to me this week, and the moments they gave were extraordinary. I was returning from a walk, I happened to look down, and this leaf perfectly bedazzled in liquid crystals pulled me into itself. I whipped out my phone and caught the magic. I’m captivated by the effect of the small, pooled rain drops on a fallen leaf — the drops create a natural microscope, an arbitrary intentionality, a testament to the beauty hidden in transitions.

Small crystalline testaments to transitions of all sorts: the seasons, our politics, our creative work, our relationships, our ways of looking at the world when we’re being transformed from the inside out.

A whispering testament inviting stillness.

As we move into Election Day, and beyond, and for this finale, I offer the following from the official Facebook page of Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo that was posted this week:

“”Even if someone says all sorts of derogatory things about me, and proclaims them throughout the universe [that means puts it on the internet], in return, out of loving-kindness, to extol that person’s qualities is the practice of a bodhisattva.”

Continuing to explore virtuous states of mind, from the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva [in the above excerpt], Jetsunma has this to say, “If someone is saying something critical about us then the first thing to consider is whether or not it is true. Are they pointing out some hidden fault which we hadn’t noticed? In which case we can be grateful. Or, if it is totally untrue, so what? If it’s not true anyway one doesn’t need to keep defending oneself because the gossip will eventually disappear like dark clouds in the sky. In fact far from retaliating we are recommended, out of kindness, to extol that person’s qualities.

So when someone says something unkind about us, instead of returning that favor we speak everything we can think of that is good about that person, whatever truthfully are their good qualities. Not just pretending and over-inflating so that everyone knows really we are just gritting our teeth. But genuinely, out of loving kindness, from our good heart, we can appreciate that person’s good qualities. So instead of ending up as a battle, we can end the conflict by neutralizing it. If we have drunk poison we don’t administer another poison, instead we use an antidote.

The antidote to criticism would be to praise.

That response might also undermine their negativity because they are not expecting us to turn around and say nice things about them. So it might well be that when they get to hear about that they will start to change their opinion also. Then we can consider that although they might be difficult, still from my side I did not retaliate, I really tried to take that challenge on the path. I honestly aimed to think good things about that person since we all have good qualities as well as difficult ones and I tried to think and act as a genuine Dharma person should.

So prior to speaking nicely about that person we are cultivating our good thoughts about them, speaking from a mind of loving-kindness.”

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One doesn’t need to be a Buddhist to appreciate this teaching — and it resonates with the life and teachings of the Christ, as distinct from the culturally constructed Jesus.

It’s a teaching central to unearthing our authentic humanity, cultivating meaningful spiritual practices, and deeply connecting to Intentionality.

Finally, a friend sent me the link posted below this morning. Consider taking a moment or two to sink into its beauty.  Perhaps sink into it for the next ten days. Or perhaps longer:

Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address Greetings to the Natural World

To enter this week’s space, please click here:

Water, Paper, Pavement.    2020 © Julia Haris

Interlude: Perception

Hello friends,

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

 

 

A Window To My Soul 2020 © Julia Haris