It’s June here in the San Francisco Bay Area and there’s a tropical feel to the air. We’ve gone from a cold late spring into an early June of weird steamy atmosphere. I’m a little peevish because I moved here decades ago partially to escape the “dripping wet under the armpits” humidity of East Coast summers. But, you know, there’s always a silver lining – the raspberry bushes are loving this weather! With two beehives tending to their pollination, lots of moisture and overcast sun, the bushes in our garden continue to be heavy with beautiful, bumpy purple fruit.
In early afternoon today, I decided I needed some centering before immersing my mind in the process of dissertation editing. So, I went out to play in the garden. I said hello to the new crop of half-inch worms in the worm box, added our kitchen scraps to the compost, shared some of the more delectable scraps with the chickens, scratched my cat Bitty’s belly, and then turned my full attention to berry-picking.
Fully ripe raspberries, ones that are almost all juice held together by a delicate skin, are just waiting to “plop”. Looking closely, you can see how gravity is pulling the juicy weight off the stem, loosening it for freefall. With my berry bucket’s ribbon around my neck, I have both hands free for berry-catching. I wade into the bushes carefully and gently move bright green leaves aside so I can catch sight of the sweet gems they hide. About every ninth berry goes straight into my mouth, providing an eye-closing moment of sheer delight. I pick berries with one palm underneath, encouraging them with my other hand to drop without squishing. As I’m pulled into the flow of wading-revealing-plopping, I flash on an early memory of my relationship to berries. I’m about 4 years old and strawberries give me a belly rash so when my sisters take me to the big wild strawberry field, I’m strictly told to Pick but not to Eat. I learn the secrets of berry-hunting from them but I cannot resist the sweet rewards! By the time we leave, my face, hands and t-shirt give evidence of my happiness and I walk home already scratching at my tummy. Smiling at how little I’ve changed in some ways, I finish filling my little bucket and head into the kitchen to store my harvest.
The deeper I go exploring into the nature of collaboration, the more I realize the importance of our recognizing our relationships to everything in our world. If we can see our own collaborative relationships in tending bees that nurture and feed from berry flowers that in turn “plop” fruit into our hands, we are more prepared to create and participate in the flow of human systems. We are in no way estranged from the world in which we live. We only need to open ourselves to the truth of our connection.
From me to you with joy, Nika
Posted in Playful Practices, Sustainable Living
Tagged collaboration, daily practice, fun, human evolution, Leadership, lifestyle, peace, playful, simplicity, Slow Movement, sustainability
Life has been flowing strongly and I’ve been completely caught up in the tumbling froth. This past week, swirls and currents quieted, and I’ve coasted along in relative stillness. I’ve yearned to come back here and write in this simple form.
I like complexity, the rich dark chocolate of existence. And as time passes, I have re-learned to love simplicity as both relinquishing of the complex and embracing of mindful singularity.
Preparing for this morning’s free Monday tele-fun call, I realized that I wasn’t up for leading anything complicated. This could be simple. We could dig down and wallow around in the simplicity of stillness, silence, connection in the fullness of the moment. It was so wonderful to release my cleverness. What did we do together that was so simple?
Breathe and sigh. (Repeat throughout)
Put palm tenderly to your own cheek.
Stretch to the edges of your space, and then beyond the boundaries.
Hug yourself and recall all the embraces of a lifetime. Snuggle down and rest.
Share your experience in a few words.
Hold up your palm in silent witnessing.
As the Shaker hymn tells us, Tis a gift to be simple. As our times become increasingly complex, we benefit from learning to give that gift freely, to ourselves and others.
There’s a lot we might feel concerned about in our lives, and in our world right now. It’s good to be awake, paying attention, and feeling compassion for ourselves, others, and our planet.
It’s also good to take a break, let go and lighten up! This morning, participants on the free Wheeeee! tele-fun call gathered up their concerns, danced on behalf of them, and then released them into the morning light. Letting go is an act of self-care. Letting go doesn’t mean that we are selfish or don’t care. Letting go gives us the breathing space necessary to continue to care and to find the energy to take action on behalf of what we care about. If we don’t find ways to release our overwhelmed state, we risk burning out and no longer having the energy to pay attention or care.
Try what we did this morning…
- Breathe and sigh deeply; stretch and breathe again
- Put your palm on your forehead. If your mind has concerns, let them flow into your palm. Breathe & sigh.
- Put your palm on your throat. Let your concerns about speaking your truth flow into your palm. Breathe & sigh.
- Put your palm on your heart. Let your concerns about those you love flow into your palm. Breathe & sigh.
- Put your palm on your belly. Even if you can’t name the concerns in your gut, let them flow into your palm. Breathe & sigh.
Holding your concerns with respectful attention, lift your palm and let it dance. Let your hand move you around the room. Dance on behalf of all the concerns your hand now holds. Open your palm wide, move your fingers, and sense the concerns dancing right out of your hand and into the light around you. Let your hand lighten up – notice the lightness in your hand, body and mind.
Journal about what you notice from this experience.
Breathe and sigh……..and be well.
What does stillness offer you? This morning, during the Wheeeee! tele-fun conference call, we found how welcome stillness was for us. It’s an unusual experience to be on a telephone call in order to find some stillness and silence in our busy lives. But we discovered that it works! Bodies relaxed and voices deepened. We noticed that there was more information but less to say. Our group presence was tangible although virtual.
Stillness offers us presence, emptiness, release from overwhelm, chance to notice the smallest things, to be clearly awake and fully embodied. To pay attention.
Arms extended into our virtual circle’s center, palms up, we allowed our relaxed hands to cup the stillness offering it to ourselves, each other and the world around us.
Every Monday morning, I wonder how I will give you a taste of this nurturing experience. Try this:
- Breathe and sigh.
- Shake yourself all over.
- Breathe and sigh.
- Look at the flame in the picture to the right and say the words “The Miracle is You” out loud. Then close your eyes.
- Hand dance with 98% stillness.
- Pause and notice anything and everything.
- Hand dance with 98% stillness.
- Open your eyes and write and/or draw in your Journal.
- Determine how you will create this expansive space for stillness in your life this week.
[This activity powered by InterPlay]
Waking up into anger and violence. Gut clenches me into a curve. Vigilant adrenalin soldier takes her post.
I know that for people around the world, this is not an uncommon experience. All the innovative possibility of the human mind also extends to expressing our anger, fear, isolation and violence. Wars, murder, torture, abuse to our loved ones, poisoning water and earth – I’m sure you can add to the list from what you’ve seen, read, heard, hold in your heart and in your body.
We embrace expectations of what life will be like.
We desire to feel in control.
We are afraid when things don’t turn out as planned.
We may even sense our identity, reputation, credibility oozing away.
We are angry with anyone and anything we view as changemakers, but…
we often express that on anyone and anything that is within reach in this moment.
Find a little peace today. Take a breath. Create a little peace today. Take a breath. Share a little peace today. Take a breath together.