To The Sea

Sometimes when you start to ramble
or rather when you feel you are starting to ramble
you will say Well, now I’m rambling
though I don’t think you ever are.
And if you ever are I don’t really care.
And not just because I and everyone really 
at times falls into our own unspooling
—which really I think is a beautiful softness
of being human, trying to show someone else
the color of all our threads, wanting another to know 
everything in us we are trying to to show them—
but in the specific, 
in the specific of you
here in this car that you are driving
and in which I am sitting beside you
with regards to you 
and your specific mouth
parting to give way
to the specific sweetness that is
the water of your voice 
tumbling forth—like I said 
I don’t ever really mind
how much more 
you might keep speaking
as it simply means 
I get to hear you 
speak for longer. 
What was a stream 
now a river.

Anis Mojgani

Once a month I have a Zoom call with a dear friend who lives near the sea. She and I have known each other for several years, a decade at least, maybe two. We’ll check in with each other and then see where our conversation takes us. Always into depth and meaning, relationship and emergence. Always held within a container of love and deep regard for each other. Always remarkable the interior landscapes we can traverse in an hour.

This poem arrived the morning after our most recent conversation. I love it for so beautifully capturing, despite being written by a man, the way my friend and I ramble together, often saying, just as the character in the poem, “Well, now I’m rambling,” and just like the poet’s response, “I don’t think you ever are.” Inevitably, because of the container we’ve created, one where vulnerability is welcome, curiosity cherished, and questions allowed to rest without answers, I come away with clarity, the results of which often show up in these posts.

Once in another Zoom conversation, this time with other dear women friends who live by the sea, I came to know that perhaps this way of talking with each other is simply, particularly, the feminine way of being with each other and in the world. A couple of years ago during early pandemic days, the day after that call, I emailed them:

Many times it seems my thinking is foggy and lazy, that it isn’t “cogent” or coherent, that I can’t put together a compelling argument of defense. And then it came to me, this is the feminine way – to feel my way through a depth of complexity that is dark and foggy, that isn’t necessarily, yet, cogent nor coherent...You wrote to me, gifted me, once with the invocation that I recognize with increasing vividness that I know what I know, that find myself less and less inclined to self-doubt, meekness and hesitation.

This rambling, vulnerably feeling one’s way through the depths of complexity and uncertainty is the “unspooling” described by Anis Mojgani, that “beautiful softness/of being human, trying to show someone else/the color of all our threads, wanting another to know/everything in us we are trying to to show them.”

I love that I can be this way with another, because it helps me be this way more with myself – soft, vulnerable, vivid and alive in the unknowing, the curiosity, the questions.

May we each have in our lives such persons with whom to ramble.

Much love and kindest regards, dear friends.

A Burst of Light

a fluke becomes magic on Erg Chebbi, Morocco’s sub Sahara

“I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love, and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do. I am going to write fire until it comes out my ears, my eyes, my noseholes – everywhere. Until it’s every breath I breathe. I’m going to go out like a fucking meteor.”

– Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light and other essays

When I read this quote earlier in the month, I thought, “That’s a powerful manifesto… just what I need to claim for myself for my birthday and beyond.”

I’d been home a week from my three weeks in Morocco, basking in the full sensory experience that IS Morocco. I had enjoyed myself immensely – a feeling that’s lingered now a month, delighted with my decision to have returned. I felt deeply content with how I’d shown up – not by bringing the best of me, but by bringing all of me. I used my skills to navigate some tricky dynamics, to ask for what I needed, and to offer what I could, including having “an answered prayer” in a room mate, simpatico were we in many ways. (Not everyday do you have a room mate who suggests we meditate daily.)

morning meditation, Errachidia, Morocco – photo credit Kimberly Wise Tyrrell

Travelling solo meant I needed to stretch beyond several comfort points, and while I had some inevitable moments of anxiety, scared even the final morning in Marrakech when my driver never showed, I tended to myself with care, regularly checking in, quietly reassuring myself. My boundaries were intact, yet flexible.

I’ve learned over years of travelling that my creative practices – photography and journaling with the occasional small painted vignette – give me both wonderful personalized memories and in the moment help ground and grok the rich day to day experiences. As I’ve upped my photography skills in the last year, my journal entries lapsed. So this week I filled them in using ticket stubs, brochures, business cards and photos to prompt my recollections. A touch of water colour to brighten the text heavy pages already embellished with washi tape.

In short, I came home, to use a somewhat passé, admittedly overused description, feeling empowered. Ready to keep on living the rest of my life until “I go like a fucking meteor,” just as I’ve long imagined myself coming in.

Much love and kindest regards, dear friends.

“glamping” in Erg Chebbi, Morocco’s sub Sahara – photo credit: Rebecca Sugarman

Wisdom Without Words

Birthday celebrations over, and I’ve got one foot in the other out of the season. April in Alberta is like that. So warm and dry this past week that the county opened all the outdoor pickleball courts last week, but snow is forecast early this week. Buds and blossoms are slowly making their appearance through skiffs of snow and mounds of dried and dead leaves. Yet with one or two sunny, warm days and like the Easter miracle, they are risen. I’ve laundered and stored my winter down and blanket coats, those super warm Hestra mitts, and winter Blundstones, but still have wool toques ready to wear during the morning chill and nippy northern winds. Too, I washed Annie’s coats and mitts as her natural coat is plenty warm, too much so during our nearly 10,000 step walk today. Despite an old pattern of switching over my clothes closet from fall-winter to spring-summer Easter weekend, my bones are saying wait at least another week.

“I’m coming, but be patient,” Spring scolded. “You know Winter
likes to take her sweet, snowy time leaving. A bit slow and sluggish.
Likes to dig in her heels when she feels my push to get
going and growing.”

excerpt from my poem, “Call Me Caprice”

I wish I’d heeded that visceral nudge last week, when finally overcoming what I thought was inertia, I went to replace the outdoor winter wreath – a faded resplendence of red amaryllis, holly berries and evergreen – with the similarly faded spring circle of forsythia and willow. Laying the winter version on the carpet in the hallway while I placed the spring wreath on the door, I noticed Annie sniffing intently and gently nosing into it. Putting it inside its storage bag, I noticed on the carpet an egg, exactly the size and colour of those Easter mini eggs. At first glance and baffled I thought it was one, but where would a mini egg have come from? Then, taking the wreath outside and exploring, I discovered hidden within a masterfully constructed sparrow’s nest, camouflaged with sprigs of cedar just like the wreath’s own. No sooner had I carefully pried it out, when I replaced it, and the egg, hoping against hope for an Easter miracle. In hindsight, I had noticed two birds in the nearby tree paying close attention to me, but hadn’t put together that my actions around the wreath were worrying them. And Sig said he’d seen on the security cam, sparrows flying by the door for several days prior. While not the wisest place to build a nest – on the door that is our main entrance – I felt sad for having interfered. And several days later, when the temperature dropped below freezing, and I’d not seen the parent birds since, I ventured a look and found the egg cold, beyond hope. It now rests on my alter, inside its nest, with other found nests, sea glass and stones, dragonflies…each reminders of nature and the elements and seaons, and this time, the price paid for over-riding that visceral nudge.

Last night, the reverse. Pulling into our driveway, I noticed in the dark a neighborhood cat skulking in the hedge in front of my car. I got out, shooo’d and out it came with something in its mouth, whimpering softly. Not a mouse, but perhaps a baby rabbit? This time I didn’t interfere, knowing even if the cat had dropped it, given another cold night, where would I put the tiny being to ensure its survival? I felt sad.

Interfering. Not interfering. Who’s to say? Just as there is a wisdom deep in my bones that says “Too soon your spring-summer clothes (granted a small thing),” I trust there is deep and old wisdom among those more than human that asks of me to pay attention, to witness, and yes, to feel sad.

Earlier today I read “Spring Renewal, Rebirth, and the Purifying Activity of Grief,” this week’s e letter from oft cited therapist-contemplative, Matt Licata. I had actually finished this post when I felt the nudge to re-read his words:

…”There is no lasting, embodied, visionary renewal without passing through the portal of grief, which requires us to slow down, come into the earth and the ground, and honor all that we’ve lost. It requires that we provide a home for shattered ones and for the integration of the dying pieces of an old dream. 

…It’s a process where we collect the shattered pieces into a holy place and place them onto an altar in front of us, where we can enter into relationship with the shards of soul that must move on without us. And we can participate with a whole heart with the death of an old dream, and the way we were so sure that it was all going to turn out. 

The nature of this altar and this vase will be different for each of us, with calligraphy, engravings, colors, and in a shape that is crafted for our unique soulprint. We don’t design the vase ourselves, at least not by way of ordinary ego-consciousness. The vase is outside our deepest hopes, fears, desires, and unfolds apart from our personal sense of will. 

It is given to us by the transpersonal Self, by the Divine, however we come to conceive of that and is ours and ours alone – no one else can perceive or apprehend it, or design the vase on our behalf.

…The vase, the altar, and any aspect of the soul wanting to come into our conscious experience will present itself in unexpected ways, through our dreams, out in nature, in a moment of intuitive knowing, or even through a disturbance in our mood or emotional activation.”

Something about altar and vase… coming to us in unexpected ways… out in nature… through a disturbance in our mood… resonates deeply, and inexplicably for the time being. That old and deep wisdom within my human bones and the more than human. A wisdom without words.

altar and nest-vases, heart stones, dreams and peace

Much love and kindest regards, dear friends.

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