Attuning to the Gorgeous Raucous of Summer

Mary Oliver’s last book, Upstream, is here at the top of the pile by my Blue Chair. Have you read it yet? I’m inspired by the declaration that she placed carefully on Page 8, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.” That placement was clearly very intentional on Mary’s part, so I sat up and took notice when I read it. I’ve thought a lot about attention over the years, and I feel the intensity of her writerly gaze leap up from the page there, for I have never thought of attention as devotion before. So holding the idea that attention is the beginning of devotion, I turned towards what has captured my attention of late. Summer, in all its warmth and glory has expanded my heart. The cycles inherent in life have been on my mind. I’m starting to see clearly that our very well-being is dependent on our developing effective ways to attune-to and work-actively-with the cyclical nature of the gorgeous raucous. Yes, and attuning is a sensitive activity. It is a series of often small, responsive moves that generate a life enhancing coherence. I dare say, it is the feminine in devoted action.

Summer is the fullest expression of the gorgeous raucous. Especially, here at the 45th Parallel North, we look forward to it all year and — just like with lottery winnings or rainbow money — we spend it many times over in our imaginations. The abundant apex of daylight hours that nature tenders to us all on the Summer Solstice (15 hours and 37 minutes) has a demanding invitation in it. “Grab hold of this! Enjoy this! Use it well!” The natural world splendidly orients toward responding to this invitation. In the clock-time trance of our linear calendars, the comfort of climate controlled four walls, and the tyranny of our checklists; we humans leave a lot of that warmth and sunshine out of consideration. This constitutes is a lack of attunement.

So as you hone your summer plans here a few questions to devote some attention to if you would like to attune to the gorgeous raucous:

  • Is there a seed-longing that I’m harboring that requires the warmth and sunshine of summer?

  • Is there an opportunity I’d like to seize?

  • Is there a new rhythm, ritual, or routine that I’d like to put in place with the buoyancy that summer affords?

  • Is there a “cat” I’d like to be sure hang out with in the sun?

  • What did I most enjoy about summer as a child, and how might I dip back into those experiences somehow this summer?

  • When the autumnal equinox rolls around — when the daylight hours have waned back to 12 hours and 7 minutes and the air has gone crisp — what might I regret about how I spent the summer that could be attended to now with a little planning and intentionality?

Looking back over my responses to the questions above , in what way can I attune my plans for the coming months to the invitation of summer?

The summer invites us to slow down and to seize the day all at once. It requires holding the exquisite polarity of claiming life and releasing our grip on it.

Devote yourself to splendid. You might find it will require being fierce about freeing your attention from the linear trance to whatever degree you can. In the gorgeous raucous splendid is splendid, however small or grand.

Please be brave enough to tune in to your deepest longings . . . And remember to make breakfast. Make love. Make some trouble on behalf of beauty, truth, and goodness.

And thank you for the precious attention you gave to reading this post! Lyedie

Finding the Star at the Center of the Apple - In Support of Science and Facts

Finding the Star at the Center of the Apple - In Support of Science and Facts

My longing for the truth often finds fulfillment in the territory where art is incontrovertible, and where astronomy delivers an astonishing explanation for vast connectivity. As a student of the great mystery, I often cut my apples the "wrong way" just so that I can see the star that is revealed there in the core. Science and facts are most compelling and necessary — It is just so hard to believe that we have reached a point where we have to march in support of them! So, here are two offerings in solidarity with all those who are marching for science today.

Daily Activism - More on that Morning Page

Daily Activism - More on that Morning Page

I just want to thank you all for your enthusiasm about the Daily Activist's Log!  The response has been far beyond what I expected.  Many have shared my original post and 1000s of activists have downloaded the morning page. If you are among those who are taking 10 minutes in the morning to reflect and align your energy and attention with this page, it may be heartening to know that you are not alone in this potent pause. If you are curious and you missed it click here.

Daily Activism - How do you start your day?

Daily Activism - How do you start your day?

How do you start your day? My day generally begins with a cup of coffee in my blue chair, and 10 minutes spent reflecting and planning with a morning page. In the last few weeks, my sense of being a citizen (a citizen of our nation and the world) has deepened and expanded. So much so that it caused me to update my morning page. I've started calling it my Daily Activist's Log, and for the next few weeks, I'm making it widely available here.

Soulcraft -Nearing the Winter Solstice

Soulcraft -Nearing the Winter Solstice

Today I started my day in meditation with a group I recently joined in Putney. I was up late last night and, to be honest, I had to will myself there. It would have been so easy to linger under the covers a little longer and to miss the crisp air and the new snow of the morning.  We always begin our meditation with a poem or a quote. Had I pushed the snooze button, I would have missed this one.

Gratitude 3.1 - Disarmingly Simple

This disarmingly simple practice will build your gratitude muscle. The Daily Gratitude 3.1 Practice is designed to build your pre-frontal cortex and to wire up the neural pathways between your brain and your heart.  The truth is we can accomplish goal after goal and never experience the joy of fulfillment if we haven't developed the ability to pause and experience gratitude.  Gratitude is one of the capacities on the grace side of the grace and grit continuum. It takes dancing the whole continuum to fulfill our longings. 

Those dilemmas that keep us up at night

I'm wondering if something other than thermal fluctuations is keeping you up at night? Perhaps you, like many others I've encountered recently, have a burning question or a dilemma that is churning? While I’m a big believer in giving things time to coalesce, sometimes we just get stuck in an indecisive loop that commandeers our attention during the day, and robs us of sleep at night. If you, or someone you know is up nights with a dilemma, perhaps I can be of help.

Your waning energy can be a marvelous invitation . . .

I'm wondering if something other than thermal fluctuations is keeping you up at night? Perhaps you, like many others I've encountered recently, have a burning question or a dilemma that is churning? While I’m a big believer in giving things time to coalesce, sometimes we just get stuck in an indecisive loop that commandeers our attention during the day, and robs us of sleep at night. If you, or someone you know is up nights with a dilemma, perhaps I can be of help.

Great Questions

One afternoon, way back when I was a young mother, I was busy putting groceries away and thinking about making dinner when my 7 year old daughter, Sara, burst into the kitchen with a burning question, “Hey Mom! What I want to know is, how come God doesn’t talk to me the way he talked to Noah?”  I knew it was a burning question because of her wide stance and the way she had her hands on her hips. I found out later that her teacher had just read Noah's Ark to the class in school that day.