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Archive for the ‘Living’ Category

For 2009

Books

– May there be space in my life for books and poetry and art.

– May there be abundant health for the ones I love.

– May my heart expand fully to embrace our little one.

– May I become more aware of the earth, of humanity, of the spiritual.

– May my soul be at ease just enough to be able to write.

– May the richness of love and family pervade our home.

– May I be a good friend.

– May I always choose softness of heart.

– May I encounter beauty, peace, goodness, and hope in the world.

– May I be thankful each and every day.

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Winter garden,
the moon thinned to a thread,
insects singing

– Matsuo Basho

Outside:
Roses in apricot

And inside, winter fruit and poetry:
Mandarin oranges & poetry

Festive decorations:
Christmas 2008

Making more caps for babies in Haiti:
Caps for Mama-to-Mama Charity

Caps for Mama-toMama Charity

It’s that season when my heart turns inward a bit and longs for quietude and cozy evenings. I haven’t been posting regularly for that reason and because our days have simply been busy preparing for the holidays and for our baby boy’s arrival in ten weeks. I hope you’ll keep visiting despite my sporadic posts. May you have a peaceful, blissful holiday season!

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Newborn Cap for Mama-to-Mama Charity

I’m not a great seamstress, but I’m very excited about the new charity project Soule Mama has started: Mama to Mama.

This effort provides an opportunity for crafters to create with love and intention in order to make a small, positive change in another person’s life. Mama to Mama‘s first project is to send handmade newborn caps to Haiti to be distributed in Safe Birthing Kits. Here are some stats about Haiti from the Mama to Mama site:

In northern Haiti:

  • Just 1 in 5 women receives skilled medical care during childbirth.
  • Haiti has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the Western Hemisphere.
  • 1 in 40 women will die as a result of pregnancy complications, unsafe abortion, or obstetrical emergency.
  • Twelve percent of children die before the age of 5.

capbutton_3You are invited to dust off your sewing machine, dig up a few gently-used T-shirts, and join this beautiful effort to share with women and newborns in Haiti. A simple pattern, instructions, and a mailing address for your finished caps are available at Mama to Mama‘s web site. The deadline for the initial care package send-off is December 10, 2008.

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DSCF2408

Wendell Berry:

You need to realize something else: that you can lead a perfectly good and satisfactory life even if you’re not a writer. When I figured out that I could be perfectly happy and not be a writer, I became a better writer.

I don’t think you ought to let your happiness depend on writing. There are a lot of worthwhile things you can do. The unhappiest people in the world may be the ones who think their happiness depends on artistic success of some kind.

I’m working on my book again, and this quote echoes where I’m at in my thinking. I want to live my life, really live it, and out of that richness will come a river of words. That’s what I believe.

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Welcome

I’m back from a quiet, introspective summer interlude. I didn’t exactly mean to take a vacation from blogging, but books, a much-needed rest, and time shared with family and friends have filled our days.

I’ve been reading, for example, Wendell Berry’s collection, Given:

The exquisite poem “How to Be a Poet (to remind myself)” is included in this book. In it Berry says:

There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
I think the poet speaks wisdom.

Cut fruit

Certain concepts, no doubt influenced by my reading, are on my mind this summer: respect for life, natural rhythms, found beauty, ritual…. I want to live with intention, but also freedom; with words, but also people; with simplicity, but also richness. I want my home, my life, my interaction with others, this blog, to be a sacred space.

What are you thinking of this summer?

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Simplicity | Quotes

simplicity

The best things in life are nearest:  Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you.  Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.  – Robert Louis Stevenson

simplicity

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.  – William Morris

simplicity

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all. – Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House in the Ozarks by Hines)

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Nine Gates

After several months of intermittent reading and contemplation, I finally finished Jane Hirshfield‘s exquisite collection of essays about poetry-writing. I found the closing essay, “Writing and the Threshold Life” particularly profound, or at least, particularly meaningful to me at this point in time. In it, Hirshfield proposes that the writer must enter into liminality–a threshold between individuality and community, a constant state of inbetweenness, and a space outside of conventional relationship to language and society.

In Hirshfield’s threshold life, the writer becomes transparent, transient, empty of self, in such a way that she is opened to a deeper awareness of others. In this threshold connectedness, the writer identifies with all people, all things, and cannot help but speak on their behalf.

For the writer to write at all, he or she must cultivate a heart that opens in tenderness to all things.
– Jane Hirshfield, from “Writing and the Threshold Life,” Nine Gates, p. 211

This concept is further explored in Hirshfield’s poem, “Late Prayer.” Hirshfield says, “The poem is called a prayer because in writing it I was asking, during a time of difficulty, for such a mind and heart…. A writer cannot identify only with the rabbit, or with the hawk—standing squarely in the threshold, one must include both. A ruby is no more valuable than a nail; the sound of one in a shaken metal bucket is no different from the other. Both will be needed, if we want to include the world in our words. It is up to the writer to recognize everything that happens to her as gift, to love each thing that comes under the eye’s contemplation, inner or outer.”

According to Hirshfield, this idea of liminality is woven into the work and/or lives of writers such as Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Galway Kinnell, Pablo Neruda, ancient Japanese poet Ono no Komachi, and Henry David Thoreau. Of Thoreau’s journey to and from the threshold and Walden, she says this :

Entering the threshold is not a matter of going into literal woods, though that may help. It is a matter of mind, of leaving the trail of convention and norm, whether in the city or the wild.
– Jane Hirshfield, from “Writing and the Threshold Life,” Nine Gates, p. 221

Hirshfield is careful to differentiate between the writer’s life of liminality and a romanticized view of those forced to the fringes of society by unchosen paths such as poverty or mental illness. The life of liminality, she concludes, is one of reverence.

To speak, and to write, is to assert who we are, what we think. The necessary other side is to surrender these things—to stand humbled and stunned and silent before the wild and inexplicable beauties and mysteries of being.
– Jane Hirshfield, from “Writing and the Threshold Life,” Nine Gates, p. 221

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