“Our true home is not in the past. Our true home is not in the future. Our true home is in the here and the now. Life is available only in the here and the now, and it is our true home.

Mindfulness is the energy that helps us recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives. You don’t have to wait ten years to experience this happiness. It is present in every moment of your daily life. There are those of us who are alive but don’t know it. But when you breathe in, and you are aware of your in-breath, you touch the miracle of being alive. That is why mindfulness is a source of happiness and joy.” — Thich Nhat Hahn 

 

After tonight, we’ve no below freezing (32 degree) temps here in Maine. Last year’s pansies are performing an encore. The robin family has returned, I cut the red chard and enjoyed it for lunch yesterday. I planted seeds — tomato, beet, chard, spinach, kale, broccoli rabe — for transplant last weekend. And I have three yards of loam, peat moss, and worm castings to mix, so that I can empty the beds and planters and fill them with quality growing soil,

Spring. The work, the joy, the rebirth.

The awakening,

Here is Kitschy, the peace sign bear, who found me at a yard sale. He’s gently reminding us that peace is within, to give ourselves only to that which serves the soul, and to breathe.

Peace Bearer 2020 © Julia Haris

Thank you for being part of the journey.

Until Saturday.

 

Kindness

Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

On poets.org

 

Quiet

Today’s been an effortless, serendipitous flow of spring cleaning, getting the upstairs patio ready for growing, starting yard clean-up, and quality time with a gardening friend.

The patio this evening seems limitless in calm and solitude — sixty-three degrees, clear skies, the river rushes in exuberant abandon, and the bluebird family has returned.

Here’s to life’s unfolding wonder, and spring’s arrival.

May our hopes quiet our fears, and may we hold those who circumstance has put into the frontlines of caretaking in our hearts. May they receive all that they need: support, safety, and the goodwill and conscientiousness of every person capable of right thinking and action.

May wise leadership emerge, and may we learn and listen in this time of transition.

Until next time.

Random Thoughts 4/21

For four or five years now, it’s always the same conundrum: I enjoy the beauty of my growing food more than eating its vibrant freshness. Lettuce, cabbages, chard, collards, and the entire bounty wear an effortless, nonchalant splendor that captivates me, makes my heart sing. Every year since I started putting seeds in soil. I face the dilemma between beauty and utility.

I’m not a good pragmatist, never have been. So I begrudgingly convince myself that the common gardening wisdom is true, and that plants ‘like to be cut.’ Plants, like people, grow better with pruning. So growers’ lore says, and it seems mostly true.

Here’s a photo of the red chard that’s growing in the planter upstairs, the stuff of a reluctant meal this week. The plants upstairs survived winter’s extremes, and they flourish despite our still below freezing night temps.

It seems a shame to cut them, and then eat them. They are pretty and proud, coming into their own well before the dandelions and crocuses bloom.

They seem to me more a testament to life’s resilience then foodstuff, a testament more important today than two or three months ago.

Perhaps, given their glory, I’ll wait another week. Or two.

Red Chard Charmer 2020 © Julia Haris

Improvisation X

“Dare to be naïve” — Buckminster Fuller

The finale in a ten part series. Click here to listen:

Please note: Tuesday’s “Interludes” and Saturday’s audio entries will be on hold for two weeks.  Until then, please stay safe. And breathe joy.

This week’s entry is sponsored by an anonymous Life & Poetry Enthusiast.

Improvisation IX

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” Thomas Merton

 

Audio reflection and meditation, click here:

 

 

On the Sunny Side of the Street
Walked with no one and talked with no one
And I had nothing but shadows
Then one morning you passed
And I brightened at last
Now I greet the day and complete the day
With the sun in my heart
All my worry blew away
When you taught me how to say
Grab your coat and get your hat
Leave your worry on the doorstep
Just direct your feet
To the sunny side of the street
Can’t you hear a pitter-pat?
And that happy tune is your step
Life can be so sweet
On the sunny side of the street
I used to walk in the shade
With those blues on parade
But I’m not afraid
This Rover crossed over
If I never have a cent
I’d be rich as Rockefeller
Gold dust at my feet
On the sunny side of the street
Grab your street

 

 

Esperanza Spalding’s 2016 White House performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQtXo4tiZxs

Interlude

 

Audio reflection, click here:

 

Improvisation VIII

“Forever is composed of nows.” — Dickinson

Audio reflection and meditation:

 

 

Interlude #InnerLight2020

Without going out of my door
I can know all things of earth
Without looking out of my window
I could know the ways of heaven
The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows
Without going out of your door
You can know all things on earth
Without looking out of your window
You could know the ways of heaven
The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows
Arrive without traveling
See all without looking
Do all without doing . . .
— George Harrison, ‘The Inner Light”

 

Audio interlude meditation:

 

“The Material World Foundation, created by George Harrison in 1973, is today donating $500,000 to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, Save the Children, and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) charities, which are providing much needed aid and care during this COVID-19 pandemic.”

Material World Foundation

Improvisation VII

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. — Lao Tzu

Audio meditation, click here: