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Cicada Song

(borrowed from Obviously Chloe

They're back, and they are mighty --- out in full force, showing off. Cousin to the leafhopper and froghopper, I hear. And while I listen, I am also tuning in to Jubilee Circle, the community church I attend (virtually, at the moment). The service began with a gentle piece on violin.

Via Positiva Theme: remaining open. Hearts wide open. One blink away from being fully awake (thank you, Pema Chodron). We need something to wake us up. Drumbeat, sage, find the four directions, and listen to the voices of the cicada. Most of the time it lives underground, growing for years into an adult.

Cicadas drink the sap from trees, and in large swarms cause destruction. This year is the once in 17-year mating cycle, according to Jason Slotkin of NPR. Cicadas mean summer. They are invested in mating. What is it, friends, that we are investing ourselves in? Does the soul stand a chance in this withering political climate? Have you heard of the cicada killer wasp? I …
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Today, I ventured out to the greenhouse and worked in there for about 20-30 minutes. Even with the small box window airconditioner and the ocillating fan that belonged to my mother, the heat was intense enough that I was covered in sweat in about 10 minutes. Surprisingly, I did not mind it. I felt, in fact, vigorously alive, purged, and ... well, like I was having a spiritual experience. I understood what it might be like to be in a sweat lodge except my version is a small forest of green humidity.

I have been reading My Experience in an Inipi Native American Sweat Lodge Ceremony -- and learning. The author, Michael Chary, mentions the "bogus sweat lodge ceremony in Arizona" where people died:

"A new age group outside of Sedona was running a large “sweatbox” with 50 to 60 people inside – about five times the number of people normally welcomed into a lodge. The “ceremony” took place at a for-profit resort without native sanctioning or supervision. A clear example of what…

"I Weep for Narcissus"

I've just started reading The Alchemist with a few colleagues in a virtual book club. The book opens with a story of how the lake pined for Narcissus when he was drowned. You know the story of Narcissus. He admired his reflection a little too well, for he was beautiful, and this led to his demise. However, the lake did not notice that he was beautiful. It grieved and yearned for Narcissus because when it looked at him, it saw the beauty in itself reflected in his eyes.

(Painting by John William Waterhouse)

There is also a flower called Narcissus, also known as daffodil or jonquil. I don't have any in my garden at the moment, but I can't think of jonquils without remembering Joanne Woodward's delightful performance of the mother (Amanda) in The Glass Menagerie. There's a scene in which she recalls her youth and a variety of gentleman callers, and how she had "malaria fever" but went out anyway, just taking quinine and carrying on. In those days, she gather…

Reaping What I Sow

That's the essence of karma, isn't it, and really the core of the golden rule as well: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you... because that's probably how it's going to work out. The hurt we caused years ago may come back to humble us in the form of a humiliating sting or a gaping heart wound today. We often reap what we sow, and it's great in the garden. It can be great in everyday life, in our spiritual work, too, if we are sowing good seeds full of grace and compassion.

(painting by Carol Wisniewski)

I don't know if you've ever caused any pain to other people, but I have --- and I've written about it before, and worked to forgive myself, and all those kinds of spirtual practices, but I still regret it. I've never understood when people say they don't have any regrets. I remember hearing a friend say that once in front of his wife, whom he had hurt terribly at one time -- to the point that they divorced, but later remarried. She c…

The Bloom is Off

The magnificent lily that glowed  and grinned like a tiger has dropped her blooms and hidden herself for the year. I have the plant, still healthy, and the memory of her beauty and presence --- and a bit of sadness. It is a similar sadness to the way I miss certain friendships that have faded. One I am thinking of particularly now has lingered on my mind of late. I long to be in touch, but when one loves, one waits and carries on. The other may have found new attachments, or distractions, or his or her own overwhelming circumstances, and the bloom is off the rose (or lily), so to speak. We feel forgotten. There's some chance we are, isn't that humbling?

There's a better chance we are remembered like the tiger lily who once shone so brightly in the life of our absent friend. We are like a softer painting of that lily now in memory., perhaps...

(painting by Judith Travis)
It's also possible that we flatter ourselves, and the ego says, "I want to be remembered."…


David has been warning me about snakes in my greenhouse and out in the backyard garden beds. Wear shoes, he says, and brings out mothballs. It's timely, then, that I'm studying Kundalini yoga today. Kundalini means "coiled," and the serpent/snake is revered.

(image borrowed from Meditative Mind
This banished creature (St. Patrick's work in Ireland?) is a subject of fascination for me, and one of my favorite poems is "The Snake" by D.H. Lawrence, in which the speaker engages with a snake at his fountain, experiencing admiration and revulsion in equal parts. Part of what makes the poem delightful is Lawrence's expert use of the "s" sound throughout. You'll want to read the whole thing, but here is the beginning:
A snake came to my water-trough On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat, To drink there. In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob tree I came down the steps with my pitcher And must wait, must stand and…

Sunrise Service Has "Gone to the Dogs"

Good morning, congregants and other lovers. I'm having an Easter sunrise service on the back deck with the dogs, God bless them. The sad old phrase, "Gone to the dogs" has a new delightful meaning to me. It usually means things turned out badly, or it referred to people such as criminals and "bad eggs" who were sent away to live among the "lower" creatures as the prodigal son of the Bible did. Here, however, these two beastie boys are my fine, royal guests at the Easter tea table and divine yoga mat designed by Marichit Garcia.

Look here ---  we're hurting all over the world today, but still we find love shining over us. My scripture reading this morning is from a book called For the Love of God: Handbook for the Spirit. This is from the chapter entitled "The Long Journey Home,”by Riane Eisler. The incredible jeweled lotus flower that the Buddha is holding was created by my dear friend Cat Brendel of Head Graffiti Studio: http://unsweetenedma…