Home in Seattle, rehearsing today, getting ready for a gig this coming weekend up in Victoria, BC. I'm going to take the Victoria Clipper, something I've always wanted to do, and in three hours, I'll arrive in Victoria for the gig that evening. God, but I love my job! For two hours I am on stage, pouring my heart out and getting such beautiful response. Whatever I've poured forth is returned two-fold, and thus, there is more in the chamber, more to rain down in evenings to come. It's a relationship, a conversation between my Self and the listeners.
And if I sing it right, on any night, miracles can happen.
I take a small walk every day, usually the same route, but, of course, it's always different if I pay attention. These are things I think about as I walk: Paying attention is my practice these days, as well as staying in the moment. As I walk, I chant this: Loving Kindness, Compassion, Equanimity, and Joy. These are the four unchangeable things I practice constantly. I catch myself judging others, measuring things by what I think is "right", and more and more, I am less and less interested in passing judgement. I am no more "right" than anyone and I have no right to be right. I have a right to breathe, to love this day moment by moment, to feel joy in the smallest thing, to be ok with how you are and how I am. I am not always successful in this, but I practice. I forgive myself for falling into judgement, and in so doing, I fall off that ladder where I was perched, pretending for a moment I was on higher ground. When I fall, I am reminded to keep walking, keep noticing things, stay where you are, and from there, appreciate that just like everyone else, I know next-to-nothing of the whys and wherefores of this life. I know that it is a Mystery. I am content with that.
At the top of our hill are some giant maples, two of which I have recognized and taken into my life in a way that moves me every day. I call them Embla and Ask, which are the names of the first woman and first man in Norse mythology. Embla is most assuredly female and Ask is likewise male. I stop and hug each of them, and put my cheek, right side and left, upon the bark of each, breathing their names and praying for strength. Ah, to be like a tree. People like me are called "tree huggers' with some derision. But, in that regard, I don't care about the judgement of others. I care about these trees and hug them like members of my family. That hug helps me every blessed day.
Happy Birthday, Gloria Steinem. I owe you so, so much. Blessings on us all as we move toward the darkest day of the year. May the Light be born anew in each of us. We are light. Let us shine.