I Voted for Love

11/8 – morning

My polling place is the historic Church of St. Martin in the Fields. After voting in the parish hall, I like to slip into the sanctuary. Four years ago, the organist was practicing, filling the soaring space with sounds of sunlit joy, velvety depth and pure comfort. As I listened, I felt all of the love that had been conjured over time within those architecturally stunning walls – baptisms, weddings, stories, choir voices calling in blessings for all.

I’m excited to vote for love.

11/8 – afternoon

Today, after voting in the parish hall, I slipped into the sanctuary per usual. I was greeted with a large standing frame containing the outline of a red heart. Parishioners had tied pieces of fabric into a metal grid to fill in the shape. I was completely alone in the quiet space, but I could still see the love, hear the echoes of love and feel the love that has been called forth and shared over decades.

We are creatures of love – that’s our natural state – and today love is breaking out of these sacred walls and spreading far and wide. Today I voted for love.

As I was walking home I dropped my phone and broke the screen into a perfect spider web. The pictures of the fabric heart were trapped inside, inaccessible no matter how hard I swiped.

11/9

The sunlit skies of yesterday are gray today. My new phone arrived and the big red heart re-emerged, unfazed by the sudden shatter. Love doesn’t disappear, it’s always there waiting for us to find a new way to see it.

I’ll always vote for love.
fabric-heart-vote

Soul Liberation: The Trail Not Taken

Sometimes we feel like we’re at a crossroads.

AT sign in HF
We check in with our head and our heart.

We quiet our mind and try to hear the small, still voice that guides us in a way our brain may not understand.

Often that yields an elegant and true feeling answer.

But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes we need to detach from the either/or, the this/that, the right/wrong.

Maybe there is no wrong.

Maybe we should be looking for a third option.

frozen canal in HFA new avenue.

One that may appear treacherous at first glance. Impassible. Risky.

But gorgeous in its simplicity. Easy on the soul.

It’s foreign and familiar at the same time.

It’s a leap. But if you land with grace, it might turn into a smooth skate.

Or there might be an opening.

ducks in canal in HF close

To meet new friends. To find a new community.

Feel warmth amidst the crunchy ice.

To bathe in a small pool that promises nourishment and freedom.

To feel home again, in harmony with ourselves.

Embrace the Mystery

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. – John Muir

The Ramble 1

 

 

 

“[The Ramble was intended to be an] intricate disposition of lights
and shadows [to] create a degree of obscurity not absolutely impenetrable, but sufficient to affect the imagination with a sense of mystery.”
– Frederick Law Olmstead, co-designer of New York’s Central Park

 

 

 

 

The earth has music for those who listen. – George Santayana

The Ramble 2

There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.
– John Lennon

Are you ready to receive the messages whispering from the
beauty that’s around you?
Are you listening to the music of your life?
Be where you are: receive, listen, embrace the mystery.

Magic Gardens, Magic Night

Art should not be segregated in museums; it needs to live free among us.
– Isaiah Zagar (creator of the installation that is Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens)

circle small
The wound is the place where light enters you. – Rumi

statue small

To a dull mind all of nature is leaden. To the illuminated mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

bottles small

Without vision, execution is delusion. – Thomas Edison

No delusion here. Pure light-filled visions of heart-tweaking beauty and soul-spinning grandeur.

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

Kairos: will you drive through it?

opening in sky 3

Kairos: an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment. A moment of indeterminate time when something special happens. A passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved. (paraphrased from Wikipedia)

sky 3

Kairos: A time when the conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action; the opportune and decisive moment (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

opening in sky

Kairos: Will you recognize it? And if you do, will you drive through it?

Wisdom Via Dementia

I had the honor of driving an elderly woman 1.5 hours to the airport so she could go visit her sister. She talked the entire time, telling me stories (the same ones over and over with slightly different variations) and capping each one with what she had learned. By the time we arrived, she had repeated each of the following lessons numerous times. I realized I was being given some valuable advice from someone who had lived well. I hope she’s having a wonderful time with her sister.

  1. You teach others how to treat you. (Dr. Phil adopted this but she learned it from her parents.)

  2. Treat your body well. (“Don’t get sunburned.”)

  3. Let your children know you have their backs. Be their advocate.

  4. Stick up for what you know is right, and respect others in the process of doing so.

  5. Treat your home with respect and don’t allow others who are in your home to be disrespectful.

  6. If you can’t get along with the other children, go find another group to play with.

  7. You’re never too old to find true love.

  8. Having a garden, even a small one, is one of life’s pleasures.

  9. Nature is revitalizing to the spirit.

  10. Don’t ever be violent, with your children or anyone else. Make them sit in a chair and think about what they’ve done. Then talk about it.

and my favorite…

  1. Trees are their own special thing.

trees

wavy tree

We Are All Holy Creatures

My neighbor’s feisty young cat attacked my old girl numerous times over several years.  I have scars on my arm from where the offender jumped up and clawed at me as I threw water on the battle to break up a fight.  Our time outside was guarded and tense, never knowing when an attack might come.  Vet bills racked up.

Christmas Eve 2012.  I pulled into the driveway at 11:30 pm after attending a candlelight service.  The bad girl was sitting in the slushy snow at the end of the driveway; she stared at me solemnly.  In the spirit, I wished her a Merry Christmas and told her to go home where it was warm.

She disappeared two days later and hasn’t been seen since.

The weather is warm now and my girl and I frequently perch in the sun on a lounge chair.  But I can’t totally relax, my nerves on habitual alert.  I feel angry that our lives were so disrupted, and I feel sad that my 21-year-old girl had to endure pain and fear.  Still, I pray for the terror-inducing feline – may she be warm in someone else’s home, not torn and bloody from being ravaged by a fox.  She’s a holy creature, just like we all are.

Be sad.  Be mad.  But please don’t let hate and fear settle into your heart.

Detail of Assemblage with Painted Frame by Simon Sparrow

Detail of Assemblage with Painted Frame by Simon Sparrow

(This piece is included in Great & Mighty Things: Outsider Art
at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through 6.9.13)

You’re Right

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, and forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.

– Maya Angelou

I say “you’re right” way more than I used to.  Why?  Because now I really listen to what people are saying and try to put myself into their mind so I can understand their perspective. I’m less attached to being right or asserting my own agenda as soon as they take a breath.

My world expands as I stay present in the conversation.  My opinions change.  And the speaker feels my attention and interest; they feel respected.
I still get frantically excited sometimes during an inspiring chat, but I take a couple deep breaths and focus back in.  I hold the connection, reverently.

trees 2