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.”

****

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

Intentionality IX

***

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.

Art!

(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.)

To join today’s space, click here:

 

 

*****

Gold Rush 2020 © Julia Haris

Interlude: Thank You

Hello friends,

We’ll enjoy our penultimate reflection on ‘Intentionality’ this Saturday.

I saw this poem by Jeanne Lohmann today, and I thought to share it.

Here’s a link to it and three other poems that should reorient your soul and steps, should you need a course change:  Selected Poems by Jeanne Lohmann

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.)

Until,Saturday.

 

*****

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

steaming surface of this bowl of vegetable soup,

my happy, savoring tongue.

***

Fade To Black And White    2020 © Julia Haris

Intentionality VIII

Hello friends,

Today is the eighth in our ten part series on ‘Intentionality.’

Click here to join the space:

 

Today’s photos were taken with the KaleidaCam app, a simple, multi-effect app for kaleidoscope pics. Simple and free, with no ads. There’s one .99 cent add on for a Fibonacci effect.

Highly recommended — stay hungry, stay foolish, and keep playing.

Peace and safety to you dear light bearers and heart warmers.

KaleidaCam I 2020 © Julia Haris
KaleidaCam II 2020 © Julia Haris
KaleidaCam III 2020 © Julia Haris
KaleidaCam IV 2020 © Julia Haris
KaleidaCam V 2020 © Julia Haris
KaleidaCam VI 2020 © Julia Haris
KaleidaCam VII 2020 © Julia Haris

 

Interlude: Sunflower Sutra

Hello friends,

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.

Until Saturday.

 

Sutra I 2020 © Julia Haris
Sutra II 2020 © Julia Haris
Sutra III 2020 © Julia Haris

*****

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.

 

Intentionality VII

“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

 

Hello friends,

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.

I watched a three part documentary by historian Bettany Hughes this week, Genius Of The Ancient World..

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.

Here’s the link to the Thich Nhat Hahn essay mentioned in the podcast: Suffering Is Not Enough by Thich Nhat Hanh. 

 

To join this week’s space, click here:

 

This week’s photo is from the garden, about two weeks ago; there are well over a dozen flowers now gracing this plant.

I’m Coming Up 2020 © Julia Haris

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