Equinox

“. . . teach us to number our days, That we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom . . .”  Psalm 90:12

 

Hello, friends,

Today is equinox, and today the sun’s hours begin to outnumber the night’s hours in the Northern Hemisphere.

It’s the beginning of spring, a day of half light and of half dark.

Which is how I’m feeling today, full of light and dark.

First the light. Maine’s weather will be exquisite the next four or five days. Not too hot, not too cold. Just right. I’ll be reveling in this gift by getting some miles in.

Which leads me to another gratitude: getting my strength back.  For those of you who subscribe, know me, or have known me through social media, you’ve heard a bit of my challenges. Severe IT band issues, a fall down the stairs three years ago, an ice slip that left me with severe nerve damage two years ago (severe enough for foot drop, which has since healed) — in short, I believe I was stopped, because I needed readjusting, not by my will, but a Wiser will.

Most of my life, I’ve been at war with my body. Either eating disorders, binging and purging, over training, pushing through papers on little to no sleep, extremes of all kinds, some better than others. The raw food discipline for two years left me with great skills and insights — but my approach was still that of a warrior: fix this thing called the body. Inherently violent in my execution, if, like most things, well-intentioned in motive. Fixing “the thing” and her health.

I would add, as an aside, folks, please eat unprocessed or minimally processed  as much as possible: our so-called ‘food’ system is broken, and much like the American Taliban, it’s perverse, deadly, and based on woeful ignorance. Good takeaway from the raw food extreme, a better awareness of unprocessed food power.

But experimenting, pushing inappropriately, undertaking extremes to fix oneself physically, intellectually, spiritually, isn’t self-awareness, it’s often the false self blindly barreling through life, instead of letting herself being lived, received, and nurtured.

My COVID curriculum — what I’ve started learning this past year by staying at home, slowing down,  and reassessing  — has led me to advanced coursework in extreme self-love, understanding that my mind and body are one, as Thich Nhat Hahn teaches.

The joy of movement enlarges, the battle against one’s self for an arbitrary standard of excellence matters less.

Perhaps it’s that I’ve had enough recovery time, or perhaps my state of mind has transformed everything in new ways, but I started my Camino de Santiago challenge fearing that I’d never get back the movement I once had, but I seem to be growing beyond my fear fast.

The mind is a big old trickster, which we can use to our benefit. So rather than believe that I’d permanently trashed both knees, I just started moving slow and easy and breathing through the pain.  Stories on  The Conquerer Facebook group are shaking-up my slipping into giving-up, reminding me, again, how powerful our bodies and spirits are, and how resilient this beautiful gift I live my life in and through is. Breathtaking beauty, this body and its awareness.

So I’m grateful that I’m stronger than I have in a long time, and I’ll be taking full advantage of our weather — moving, breathing, being among the Maine trees.

Strong enough that sitting and writing this entry is difficult, because open roads wait.

The brighter the light, however, the darker the shadow.  Circling a theme we often visit here is ‘joyful participation in the suffering of the world,’ and this past week saw the American Taliban having a really bad day.

So eight people are dead, six Asian women.

As someone summarized on a Facebook post:

“Also watching the deplorable news coverage unfold , the excuses, and more than anything the intersection with evangelicalism and how the majority of white people are saying “but he attends church!” as if that is a reason he WOULDN’T commit mass killing instead of grasping it’s one of the main reasons he DID – because those churches are a sex-shame-vortex along with snakepits of racism and misogyny.“ (Source.)

The American Taliban, picking up his sacred gun when he’s having a really bad day.

According to the New York Times, here are the names of the Asian Eves, and their serpents, the temptresses that could not be controlled:

Soon Chung Park

Hyun Jung Grant

Suncha Kim

Yong Ae Yue

Delaina Ashley Yaun

Paul Andre Michels

Xiaojie Tan

Daoyou Feng.

Read it and weep.

I have no words. There is no confirmation yet on whether the American Taliban’s female victims were sex workers, but he thought so.

And here we get stereotypes of all kinds: Asians, Asian women, massage parlors, sex workers.  I suppose the sex worker tag grants the guy with an evangelically based addiction a get out of jail free card, because of temptation, so we’ll make it an Asian hate crime based on addiction. The women just magically disappear in this narrative. They always do. You probably know the name of the shooter, but not his victims. But playing the blame game isn’t that easy, because it’s not one thing, it’s all of them, and the root problem is Patriarchal religion and its erasure of women as full human beings.

(As I do my fact checking, I read that the shooter’s church has disowned him. Of course they did, because this is a cruel and terrible God, and they are saving their Evangelical backsides .)

What is important, though,  is that marginalized women who worked and ‘did what they had to do’ to support their families (this has been confirmed) were brutally murdered because . . .  Sex shaming, misogyny, racism.

There are a few books in this story, from where I sit, which is a different perch than most. Not books for this writer, though there are books, here.

But it’s easy to draw a line between the fundamentalism that sent me off to war against my body for most of my life, and the warfare the American Taliban waged against his victims this week.

The cause is the theologically bankrupt fundamentalist Patriarchal religion, and Its systemic erasure of women in deference to the male Evangelical God, the similar type of orthodox institutional animal that Jesus railed against, though it’s wearing a new coat.

Self-loathing, body shaming, desire controlling, mind numbing theology which promises heavenly ever after, but damn this life. The pro-life death cult that destroys men and women with a Bible in hand — cross reference 45’s theater of the absurd performance.

So I collect my connect the dot epiphanies, fold them up, tuck them into my pocket, hang onto the hope that each new day brings, and look forward to some good, long, loving, happy distances this week. I meditate on the sorrow, embrace fleeting joy, and hold these dear souls in my heart:

Soon Chung Park

Hyun Jung Grant

Suncha Kim

Yong Ae Yue

Delaina Ashley Yaun

Paul Andre Michels

Xiaojie Tan

Daoyou Feng.

 

All is impermanent, to be is to be grateful, and to be grateful beyond measure is to Be one with the life that carries you, however long or short that span,

Today’s picture was sent to me by a new subscriber, a new friend, and a devoted practitioner.

With deep gratitude for you, my dear circle, and the grace you give by Being.

Until next time, I’m counting the number of equinoxes that I may or may not have left, and holding that fragile number lightly, as I count the days before  me.

Peace, love, happiness. — JH

 

 

Dancing Into Equinox

Dear Friends,

First, I apologize for being tardy with my beginning of the month check-in.

Lots of good reasons, but bottom line is that I’ve been shifting focus and priorities.

As much as I miss our meditations, I’ve hit recording issues as well as time issues.

My pop filter for the mic ended up ruining the lamp it was attached to — the light company replaced the ruined lamp head, but it wasn’t until I attached the new part that I realized the pop filter clamp was the culprit that fried the wiring.

I’ve not yet figured out if I need to buy a mic stand to attach the filter, or find another way to use this filter. (A pop filter smooths the recording sound.)

Until I figure that out, I’m planning on going through our previous recorded series, grouping them by theme, and then linking them on the audio meditations page, an archive that can easily be accessed,

That bit of organization’s overdue.

In unrelated news, I thought I’d pass on a couple of discoveries:

First, there’s a fantastic company that features virtual walking challenges, The Conquerer Events. I’ve registered for the virtual Camino de Santiago  with them, but they have dozens of virtual challenges, including the Appalachian Trail, Route 66, Mt. Kilimanjaro, The English Channel, The Ring Road . . . I think you get the idea.

Your miles can be logged with walking, running, or any activity — they provide a conversion table. (If you join a group, the group may not allow conversions.)  You set your own pace, which is great for gradually working back into a routine, As you complete miles, you receive virtual postcards, and after crossing the finish line, you’re awarded a bright, shiny kitsch medal. A real medal, mailed to you. They have shorter routes too, even a ‘beginners pack.’ As I’ve long dreamed about doing The Camino, I was happy to do this version. The price is reasonable, and the Facebook group is phenomenally inspiring and positive.

And the medals really are fun — check them out. Seriously. Fun.

What a way to greet the equinox, recommitting to good health goals. After injuries and no training aspirations for several years, I’m thrilled to be trekking the Camino, virtually,

Second, I’ve been enjoying the online sangha at The Center For Mindful Living in Washington D.C. They have all kinds of offerings, and some superlative teachers. Great meditations.

Check out their calendar and see if something pulls on your heart strings.

It seems as though life is so breathtakingly expansive these days, it’s difficult to summarize a day except to say: awareness, love, and hope work.

Dig deep. Listen. Dream bigger.

Then take the first step.

Oh, and dance, remember to dance, no matter who’s watching.

In that spirit, I leave you with this bit of joy.

From my heart to yours, big, big love as we dance into the equinox, JH.

“From Brazil to Dublin to Cork the Redemptoristines and Redemptorists take on the Jesursalema Challenge. Well done to all. Enjoy!
Praying for our world in these challenging times.”

Nuns in Dublin take on Jerusalema dance challenge

 

Pause

Hello friends,

The world spins faster these days.

I’m not writing metaphorically, read here.

Everything’s connected.

In a time of rapid unfolding, enfolding, expansion, contraction, Big History, deep self-reflection, we weave the new as the old forms noisily, recklessly dissolve.

Last month, I’d planned on doing meditations once a month, but decided against one this week, as I’m being reoriented and reorienting.

I’m grateful for this Big History, in every way imaginable.

When we started our collective COVID19 curriculum last spring, I posted an Imogen Heap video of the song ‘Let Go.’

Who could have guessed how these things would ripple, inside and out?

‘There’s beauty in the breakdown,’ as the song says.

But there are huge prices that we’re paying, and there’s enormous suffering in the world. I’m aware of my privilege here in Maine, existing relatively safe, and with my needs met.

For this reason, I am again posting the Buddhist metta prayer. I will say it out loud when I publish this entry. I invite you to join me, if you can, as there is something in the saying of a thing that moves it into the world.

If you can’t say it out loud, but can say it silently to yourself, that’s okay, because holding things in the heart changes us, and we get to choose what we hold.

Meditation, contemplation, stillness, prayer, and the myriad of artistic practices centered in Source give us greater and greater awareness of what we’ve held, what we hold, and the possibilities in better choices, better holding, while building brick by brick our better worlds.

I’ll meet you here again, the beginning of March, if not before.

Peace, gentle souls.

 

 

  • 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.

May all beings everywhere, whether near or far, whether known to me or unknown, be happy. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be free.

 

 

 

 

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:

*****

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

*****

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.”

***

‘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