I invite you into my mind, poetics, sermons and spiritual meanderings. May these words prompt your own words as we pay attention to life all around us.

Noticing

A little white dog, who noticed that his life was changing after about 10 years, began to call to me. Maybe he was calling to anyone out there who would notice his changing situation.

I heard. I don’t know what I heard. What I know is that in mid March I began to long for a small companion dog. Our dearest old dog had passed away of a good long life in October, and our zippy brown dog had made a happy home on a farm with a friend. But I noticed something in me, longing for a small dog.

I scoured adopt-a-pet.com and petfinders.com daily. Zeroed in on a couple of Havanese in Indy. Applied, was interviewed, references were interviewed. We were then give notice that they did not have a Havanese that was a match for our family at this time.

What????!!??? Rejected?

The following Saturday, I asked my hubs to go with me to the Help shelter here in town. We walked in and to our left, was a small white dog, whose name I “knew” was Alfred even though the sign said Ziggy (shelters and rescue groups name incoming pets alphabetically). He was forlorn, frazzled, and watching. We looked at all the dogs, then asked if we could open Ziggy’s cage and pet him. Once our hands were in the cage, he shivered and quaked and licked us, and looked terrified. I knew he was my dog. So, I pushed my way to the counter…there were a lot of people there looking for dogs…and let them know I was ready to adopt Ziggy. Paperwork done, they told us we couldn’t take him that day because he needed to go to the vet for shots and teeth extraction (6, yikes).

He came home to us 4 days later, to the unknown, the new, the foreignness of our home. We came home to him. It was a mutually calling to one another.

This is why I haven’t blogged on a Sunday morning since April from my blogging bench at Starbucks. I work all week and on the weekend I can’t bring myself to leave him yet again. He is sweet, and growing in his trust in us and his ability to communicate, and our respect in noticing his communication.

a cock of the head

a “ruff” and directional body language

a sneeze

a baleful look of “you’ve got to be kidding”

We named him Alfred, Lord Alfred, calling him Alfie most days. He helps Kurt with the acupuncture clients and he walks me every morning at the golf course.

He makes me notice. Notice and wonder. Notice and question.

I love this dog.

So, lets talk about noticing. It began on the golf course. Out on the fairway I saw a person, so I kept Alfie on the leash (normally he lets me free walk without the leash) only to discover that up close it was a flag.

Another time I was sure, as I looked from a distance, that someone was wandering around my car in the parking lot. I could see them move from back to front. Only to find that it was shadow and light and position of the one looking.

There was the time I called Alfie back to me with a little treat because I saw a delivery truck backed up to the clubhouse and didn’t want Alfie to go charging it. It was just the overhang of the porch (not to mention the clubhouse is permanently closed).

And last week, as I rounded one of the corners on the path, I noticed a tree. Tall, strong, and elegantly bent over. The under canopy a riot of branches, providing an umbrella of interest. How had I been walking underneath this beauty for 3 months and not ever noticed it? How?

Each time, with each faulty view, I saw something. What I saw spoke of an interior fear or anxiety, or battle ready posture against someone or something encroaching on my lovely morning walk with Lord Alfred.

Each time I was wrong.

Image result for blurry person

I began to apply this nascent learning to my human interactions. Maybe that facial expression doesn’t mean what I think it means. Maybe the words chosen by someone to express something don’t mean what I thought they meant. Maybe my assumptions and the opposing assumptions are both right at the same time. Maybe I need to look closer, longer, with a mind that is softer and open-er.

And what if I am right but someone has mis-noticed me? What is it in them that is keeping them from a wider understanding of me? Is it something I can change and offer?

O Wisdom that opens our eyes,

dilate our views

to see what is real

to detect what is fantasy

to get a hit of remembrance

of the inner state that we can change and grow and become.

Turn our noticings into knowings

our vision into multidimensional understandings.

 

To your eye sight, heart sight, in sight,

Amy

 

Free the Man

My friend, teacher, inspiration Elizabeth Keller witnessed to and wrote on how the patriarchy is harmful to men YEARS ago. Years.Ago. She was the first in my sphere of knowing to take this position and speak of it.

Image result for patriarchy

So, what I will be saying is not new. But it obviously needs to be said over and over and over.

Patriarchy as a cultural influence, puts men in a one-size-fits-all position of masculine domination. It is the cornerstone of the modern era where there was one voice speaking for all, one view imposed over all other views. And at the head, of course, is the male presumption of head-ship.

Folks, this is one way to live life. It is not the only way. It is not the best way. It puts all males into one mold. But oh, the males I know are like a funky wall of boxes of different sizes, shapes, temperaments, colors, perspectives, joys, gifts, skills. Some of the lead. To be sure! Some of them keep things going. Some dream and scheme the next great thing in a smokey backroom with low lights.

I want this for the men I know. I want for their freedom to celebrate their man-bun style or their Brooks Brothers attitude or their used-clothing-store-last-decade look. Who cares! I care. I care that each person, woman or man, gets to live out of their full expression of self and inner reality.

I have opinions about all of this. One that is the strongest is that by forcing all men into a patriarchal presumption, we have not taught how to know the self. That is a crime. A crime against the soul. A stifling killer of human uniqueness.

You matter. Your interior personhood matters. It matters so much that really there is no balance in the world until we are living out of our own unique and full expression. This is not narcissism. None of us has more worth than the other. But each of us has a worth that is brilliantly blinding when it shines.

And shine we should.

Men and Women. Beyond man and woman. Beyond the codes of determining that put you in a box for my convenience. Who do you say that you are? That is who I am acknowledging.

What comes next? I don’t think the opposite of patriarchy is matriarchy. That is its binary and modernist compliment and to move that direction seeking balance will just bring a different a different imbalance.

What if we explored Onearchy? I know this sounds ridiculous. I know it. Not the concept, but the word. Silly. But its the point that counts. So, in this social construct, the needs of society would be met by the gifts and skill sets of each person. Decided by each person. With equal worth placed on each need. So, CEOs and Maintenance Workers would be valued the same. Or maybe we would do away with a notion of a singular CEO and instead had CET (teams, not officers), like Ministry Teams.

As I write this, I see all the ways we’d sink right back down to where we’ve been. Let’s give this way of thinking up then. And perhaps the simplest is the best. And that is that whatever social and governmental structure we live in, we raise a revolution for inner strength and knowing. I will know who I am, stripped of old narratives and cloaks of mis-identification placed on me by others, and I will live as Amy. That might get me killed, or go unnoticed,or it might liberate another. But at the very least, I will be free and adding to the balance for another person to stand up and claim their own way in the world no matter how out of or in sync it might be with the norm.

Friends, I am already at work at this. I have clients who are moving closer to that personal knowing. Statements like “Yes, this is me! I’ve always known it to be true” happen in my spiritual direction room all the time. All.The.Time. My own personal work is ongoing, seeking out the best mentors, directors, who somehow see inside of me what I cannot yet see and they name it, keep naming it, until I can see it myself and I name it. Holy Cow the power in those moments. Moments often accompanied by tears, fears, anxious that if I actually live that truth out, others will not accept it. My experience is that the animal part of our brain that does so much for the human experience, responds positively and instinctively to the person who is standing in their rightful energy. And we say “yes, there they are.”

My last word is this: I see you, I welcome you. I care about the you you claim. You are a wonder. Tell me your story and I will believe it. Yes, there you are.

To your forward!

Amy

 

all images pulled from google, licensed for reuse

easter

 

my posture shaped by the chair I sit in

back straight, slightly tilted back

broad enough for my fullness to sit in half lotus

in front of the window

this easter morning

smell of sulphur lingers long after the smoke of a lit match

becomes one with the air

thousands of particles to breath in, land later, to rise to the occasion.

The Sacred breathes in, gathering all of creation

every last atom

in.

And Jesus lives

again

And we live

again.

I have seen it.

 

 

 

 

to your rising,

Amy

Equinox of a Care

Today we sit midway through movement

equal time of sun and moon, of day and night.

Our lives do not always match the ways of the cosmos,

but the sun’s constant and predictable path offers cosmological metaphor that we can lay over our own issues and concerns, to map out our own shinings.

Close your eyes

…listen to the beat of your heart, match your breath to its rhythm

…breathe in the wisdom of the universe and breathe out through the heart of love.

In your settled state, what concerns rise to your awareness? On their movement from start to conclusion, where do you imagine your sun pauses?

At the equinox of a care, we have entered into it, reacted to it, begun to work solutions, and are sitting at the apex, ready to move toward its final days. Are you waxing toward this moment or waning past it? Is your life aware of the movement?

It is common to be so fogged in by the opening days/weeks/months of a concern (depending on its lifespan) that we don’t recognize when we’ve moved to a new place on the continuum. Each new place requires different attention, different attachment, different response and deliberate action.

The equal mark is a tempting place to be. Balanced. Neither coming nor going. We can see where we’ve been and where we are headed.

We can stay their a long time. To our detriment. A temptation to other forces to come and knock us off our safe perch.

It is a mind game we play with ourselves when we don’t want to be responsible for a situation or its outcome. Especially when it may be a tough outcome. So we wait for something else to ding us, and we can then blame it for any curvature in our process, point fingers at anything that derails the course.

The choice to sit tight can cost us. There are times when sitting tight is about deep breathing and recalibrating for what is to come. When sitting tight is an excuse to not face into the future, we give away the authority over our living.

In Spiritual Direction, we can work in all the spaces. The beginning awareness of an issue, the safe perch, the conclusion. With help, and space to imagine, and a kind yet clear companion, we move at a true pace.

The outcome is then one we lay out, stone by stone, built from the balance of the equinox, tipping ourselves toward forward process.

And that is what we want. To claim the process, shape it, craft it, detail it so that we have a new story to tell. A story of maturity making. A story of courage taking. A story of life creating. Pain, sorrow, discomfort, enlightenment, empowerment become the path.

And we simply….become. Become.

To your story making,

Amy

 

images from google, marked for re-use.

 

We flourish again

Have I told this story before? Likely. But its a good one and now there is a part two.

Two winters past, I was sleeping. It was January and in the midst of a deep, schockingly sharp cold below zero. I was awakened by the centuries old persimmon tree outside my window. It wasn’t a knock on the window by a branch. It was the tree calling to me. Like a dream state, but I was awake. I entered the interior of the tree, entered into its existence, invited by the persimmon. She had something to teach me through experience.

I felt the interior sap of the tree, deep in her center, a thick, sluggish cord of energy, hunkered together tightly. The limbs and branches extended with similar threads of energy, more like strands; fragile and tenuous.

The tree knew that it was a season of renewal and change. Some twigs would snap, some limbs would break off, some branches would be there, later.

I don’t know what the sap does in the winter. Does it go into the tap root? Does it abandon the outer reaches? I don’t know. But the tree knows.

In that sacred moment of treeness I understood her courage and fortitude. I understood the nature of Nature and the cycles of coming and going. This majestic tree is old. She and her siblings stand taller than our really tall house. We have felled one persimmon (a perfect laying down of a tree by a ragamuffin alleyway-door knocking-got any work me for kind of guy, who was a tree whisperer). We thanked it. We gathered it to us. And in the winter we released her energy into the house by way of the wood stove and combustion.

Part II

So, last night, the February winds were howling and whipping up from the north. Change. Change always comes when the wind blows strong from the North (Mary Poppins comes on the North wind). I watched my friend, the persimmon tree, outside my bedroom window, and as her limbs moved, and teeny twigs fell, I could fee the sap start to move.

Oh, I thank the Goodness of All Things for my teacher. I caught an understanding that my human mind knows, and my human body acknowledges, but it took me as tree to integrate.

We  hunker inward, if we are to reflect

We move if we want to get unstuck.

We let go when something is over.

We bend when its time for something to come.

We drop limbs and relationships and identities when they cannot receive energy to continue.

We nourish our sap for the next season of growth.

We flourish again.

So, I got up and moved.

Peace,

Amy

 

images from google, licensed for reuse