Don’t Worry

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DON’T WORRY

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Don’t worry
If you are not
Where you want
To go.

If I say ‘‘empathy’’
Does your heart
Release
A few old scales?

If a dog
Happens to dance
A prayer for food
Do your eyes gleam?

I don’t know
My multiplication tables
But I can remind you
If you lost your song.

No longer do I ask
“Am I good enough?”
I AM which is
Indeed all there is.

Yesterday
I saw two black birds
Dipping and veering.
I gave them my attention.

That’s as good
As it gets I think;
Pay attention.
No expectation.

There is
No wrong road
Unless
You follow someone else’s.

Dipping and veering
In the hall of mirrors
Is the cost
Of character.

I’ve paid my dues
And then some
For the privilege
To know nothing.

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-Cathy Aten

No Distance

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My past experience of the approach of these holidays we are in has been so different.

I began to worry that my connection with what I call “The Sacred” was going to elude me.

The lights, the Solstice, singing, rituals I enjoy, deepening gratitude for family and friends, the pleasure of choosing and receiving gifts, the mysterious deep of the darkest night turning towards light again all presented themselves in my little life-movie as they have many times before

But this year I searched for the palpable communion symbolized well in the Sistine Chapel painting where man reaches for God.

Something was different. Very different.

My reach met with no thing/one to receive me. Was God gone?

The giddy effusion accompanying societal holidays eluded me.

On one level I felt grief as the pleasure of all that was not.

Then I saw that I have become The Sacred and am a carrier and need not wait for a book or holiday or choir or season.

Beloved family came to visit and we laughed and peaceably nurtured, communed, allowed, spoke, listened, learned, ate and drank our way to our kind of church.

I realized WE ARE IT after all is said and done and silence cradles us beyond any cacophony.

All the gift wrapping we need is a beating heart cloaked in the same muscles anyone else wears.

No one is more glittery than the next.

We have the same withdrawals..same approaches…same red colored blood.

I felt embarrassed for us humans as my family arrived Christmas Day and absolutely NOTHING was open anywhere to get something to eat..no restaurant save Chinese..no grocery store..

The world bent 100% toward Christianity

But where would the Jews and Buddhists get nourished or even noticed at all?

No room at the inn all over again.

For this new year I am setting my intention toward inclusion; so often I see light return to a closely held, guarded and weary fellow human on the street when I say an authentic “Good morning” as Emma and I roll by.

Light returns with the tiniest effort just to recognize another’s existence.

I beg you to loosen your heart muscles, notice another’s deep weariness or habit of distance and use the symphony of your one voice to let your brother or sister know you see them there.

Honestly, it feels like Christmas every day.

I value you. Each one of you.

Soft Skin

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In my lifetime as a painter, sculptor and textile designer I learned how to trust what I call “the gathering time.”

For so many years I freaked out if I was not feeling the urge to create.

We creatives are often counseled to “JUST PAINT!” “WRITE EVERY DAY!!”

And I know this is probably such a great idea.

But I never did my life that way.

I gather. I muse. I watch. I listen. I touch. I converse with myself out loud

And when I find myself interesting enough…I act.

This leaves swaths of emptiness and I worry about that; I’m disappointing my readers..I am a dry desert bed and I FREAKIN’ HAVE NOTHING TO SAY!

One of the great take-aways of a non-out-in-the-world-work-life

Is keeping my skin soft.

By that I mean the antithesis of “TOUGHENING UP” or “Cath..you gotta get a thicker skin on ya.”

A soft skin allows me to be moved.

If I keep my skin porous I can feel life, myself, others and have a chance at responding authentically whatever that might be; pretty or ugly.

When I gather (if I’m not worrying about whether I’m performing well enough to be considered a valuable citizen of the world)

Something intriguing slips in and starts laying down bread crumbs for me to follow.

And I’ve got the time to do just that

So I follow those crumbs and eat some along the way and there comes a time when I’m full

And then I WRITE!

So won’t you forgive my dry spells?

Most times there is no need for worry.

I think this part of me is irritating and perhaps irresponsible.

I have the supreme luxury of responding to those bread crumbs when they appear and sometimes they just don’t

And we all go hungry.

Which might just be good for all of us.

Dark Gift

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“If we are honest, I think we have to admit that we will likely try to sabotage any movement toward true spiritual freedom. If we really knew what we were called to relinquish on this journey, our defenses would never allow us to take the first step. Sometimes the only way we can enter the deeper dimensions of the journey is by being unable to see where we’re going.”

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-Gerald May

Cappucchino With Emma

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Tie One On

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I am a pagan celebrator of holidays.

It feels closer to my bones to let the essence of Mother Nature help us all forfeit our jive

So we can return to wisdom we seem to be bent on forgetting.

This season I made a feather tree on my front patio which is really Cathy’s version of a Tibetan Prayer Flag.

I left a nice box outside my place with an invitation to my neighbors and friends to choose a bundle of feathers from the box and, with a special prayer or wish tie the bundle onto the tree.

I have seen people in the cover of darkness tie their offering on the tree.

It is becoming so very alive and potent.

I stare at the wind ruffled bundles placed just so

And bow my head in communion.

The wind does Her thing and whips up the faith we all left there

And makes a recipe all Her own

We know not what

But we believe.

That Glowy Thing

dalai

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Things I find beautiful:

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My own perseverance.

Every damn thing about Emma.

The strength to keep loving, living, laughing.

The men putting up the Christmas garlands around town singing carols under their breath.

How God never seems to leave me.

The new PIRELLI CALENDAR.

Hot water when I want it.

My circle of loved ones who help me feel safe, lift me, feed me, entertain me, call me on my shit with love.

The smell of sweetgrass.

The fact that nothing ends up being as bad as I think it’s going to be.

Solitude.

Communion with people, Nature, color, shape, words, ideas, film, emptiness.

Saying: “Good morning” to strangers as I roll around town and watching for ‘that glowy thing’ that never fails to appear just from being recognized. Such a miracle to be ‘seen’.

All of you out there reading my offerings…Thank you.

The realization that the more I think I lose..the more space I seem to take up.

More ‘glowyness’ HERE.

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Listening

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In my own life I watch myself acting more like the tide coming in and the water fills up any space it encounters

Rather than the tide receding and leaving space and a vacuum for something to happen.

Both are necessary.

Here’s an example:
I am having some earrings fixed. I dropped them off over a month ago to a good jeweler in town. I got impatient and called only to find out the proprietor had been in an accident and was severely injured. Two weeks later (today) I was wheeling by and stopped in to ask about the earring progress (I want what I want when I want it..tide rolling in..ego..).

There sat my friend the jeweler in the lobby with a sling on his arm looking weary and worn.

My wantingness immediately turned to empathy as I saw him in his discomfort and I told him to forget about completing my earrings till after the New Year. I listened to his story with a soft heart, wanting nothing other than the communion we were sharing (tide going out leaving space for possibility).

I rolled on feeling rich, light, connected, grateful those earrings led me to such an encounter.

I was reminded of this very short video on LISTENING.

I wish us all peace.

Space.

Allowance.