Sunday – practice

After a conflict:  The thing that feels so uncomfortable about waking up to behaviors and  speech,  feelings and needs —all of that— is maybe just knowing or thinking how I want to be in the world and not being able to match that in reality.  Not yet anyway.  I am aware of progress — no need to make more suffering by dwelling on what I did wrong.  I recall several wise and helpful behaviors and speech.
Today I am getting in touch with me, detaching from things the best I can; vipisana meditation is next up.   Thanks to NVC, I am much more aware of what and how I say things now but I can’t control how it lands.   Feelings are an individual responsibility.   And  launching defensive attacks after an apology, is taking advantage of vulnerability. And ultimately hurt us both.   Quiet evening last night.
Now, Sunday, making time for reflection and meditation.
What is life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
Crowfoot, Native American
At my studio desk, writing, watching the squirrels play in the sun on the snow.  shadows forming at noon.  Poetry.
Winter darkness is seeping  into my bones.
Our relationship this winter has not been as comfortable and comforting as previous winters when my night walk was like walking into a cocoon.  Now, I intentionally practice opening to a place of welcoming the present moment as I walk; it is not easy like before and I sort of miss it.  I practice detachment from the wanting of this other way, notice what is present and trust it will be enough.  This year the cold and dark feel overwhelmingly uncomfortable and familiar at the same time; I practice paying attention.
Alternatively are the moments of flashing hot!  Brief but welcome.  I no longer ‘hate’ my body when they happen.  I remember it is a temporary discomfort; this is self reassurance from my thinking brain, “the talker” as Michael Singer names it in The Untethered Soul.  Momentary fire within is a welcome change from bone chilling cold.  I can welcome change.
Watching Life:  critters, shadows and light,  slightly moving pine branches.
Earlier today sighted a yearling Goshawk, rare according to Audubon.    Wide horizontally striped tail and marled cream/brown breast, with a defined white eyebrow.
After meditation, I will. let go of more stuff.  Simplify.  Make space for space, not more stuff.  I want more space in my life, body, mind, and soul.  Its harder to explore when space is so tight.
Almost Winter Solstice — time of transformation for the earth and all beings.  Excited about what is to come.   A little fearful but mostly excited while staying present for what is here in my life today.  Self compassion, self empathy, and empathy.  Becoming wiser.  Practice in my own life.
Listening to Everlasting by David Whyte.

not perfect

Let me love what I love

Let judgements be damned

Let the world tick on

The best of me is here now, just as the moon and the stars are the best in each dark night.

Let me know what i know, feel what i feel, be.

rivulets of the mind

via Daily Prompt: Rivulet

A rivulet is a small stream.   A rivulet is to a river as a baby is to an adult.   a natural body of running water flowing on or under the earth.

Rivulets converge into rivers.  Its similar in the mind.  Tiny fibers join to carve paths, rivulets, and rivulets join to become even more powerful, even faster.  this is the basis for the notions of  “what fires together, wires together”  and mindless lapses.

thoughts, patterns, patterns of thought.  I will always be learning to see them.    Even now, do i really see my patterns as much as i think i do?

In this life,  I have created and abandoned many rivulets.  I know every time I repeat a behavior, it is reinforced.  that I am actively cultivating more automatic moves.  Mind is trying to adapt, help me out, let me become mindless [think: driving a car].  Mind aspires to efficiency and amuses itself practicing prediction, that feeds into establishing efficiency .  How can I harness that capability  for the life I am creating?  how to use with respect?  this is the fast, really fast, part of the human nervous system.  The part that gets its start with the details, loving the steps of the process, which almost seems like an oxymoron — the fast nervous system wiring is fueled at the start anyway, by details, following some sequence of steps.   It is not interested in the big picture.

Rivulets that allow us to function and appear as normal beings.  Aware even.  How is it then that i can read something i wrote 5 years ago, and not recognize it as mine?  Was i in a rivulet? or am i just somebody so unconnected to who i was 5 years ago?

Thinking:  I used to do yoga everyday, why did i stop?  I should do yoga today.  I think I will start again tomorrow.  I will start a new rivulet; maybe it is a reopening of a rivulet.

Each night unfolds as i realize i have been in the same automatic  rivulet again; disappointing myself.  I chose how to use each of the moments.  and then the disappointment and sadness rivulets start.  Tunnel vision.  I can only see what i have not done and what i have not done right.  I missed out on something i wanted.  the rivulets merge and then it is a really big river of feeling sad.  I will not quit.  I can start again.  Try again.  remember – it took hundreds of tries before the light bulb was invented.  Look at each rivulet development as an experiment.  Separate from me.

I am hopeful I can forge many new rivulets ahead.  I think its important to have an image of what life will look like, what i will feel, what rivulet am i going to cultivate?


Tuesday 1.10.16


Sunrise, Biddeford pool, 5 days ago, Beauty on a frigid January morning


Working on:

  • Week 1 of Heart and Soul with Olga Furman.  Great practice with portraits this week, honestly quite frustrating at times.  Sunday i sketched the people on the talk shows, only paused it a few times.  they actually look somewhat like the real people ))) and i pushed myself to move more quickly.  this is progress for me.


  • The Noah Webster Dictionary from 1940, a 5×4″ “Handy Edition”.  I love the Reference material at the end.  Correct English, rules for punctuation, and Mythological and classical names caught by attention this morning.
    • who knew Marsyas, God of nature, was flayed alive. 
  • Relaxing breathing technique and Presence
  • Classical stretch, PBS, Miranda White, Feels Wonderful!


Just hatched:

When looking for sunrise photo, saw this NY Times headline from 2012,


Self compassion is:  Mindfulness, self-kindness instead of self-judgements, and widening our lens to see our self as ‘like’ other people in that others suffer too.

From Kristin Neff’s Website:

We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time

When confronted with personal failings….You may try to change in ways that allow you to be more healthy and happy, but this is done because you care about yourself, not because you are worthless or unacceptable as you are.




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Very cold in Maine – below zero a few days ago, now in the 40’s and raining.  Such a great time to hibernate, write, and paint.  And lots of dog kisses.)))

What I found this week a.k.a. The Discovery Tour of Life


You Tube:  T.A.N.G.O.Dancing Mindfulness Style – a 6 minute taster by creator Jamie Marich.  Even if you have no interest in Tango-ing, its a great get-up-from-your-chair-and-move-for-5-minutes prompt with energetic Tango music.

School of  The School of Life is devoted to developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture. We address such issues as how to find fulfilling work, how to master the art of relationships, how to understand one’s past, how to achieve calm, and how better to understand and, where necessary change, the world.

I fully enjoy their videos even though I don’t always agree.  Most are less than 10 minutes.

Still painting, female figures, some nude, on abstract backgrounds in Abstract Painting 2, the online course with Pauline Agnew.  Fantastic teacher and class — I always get so much from her courses.