Wildflower

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Wildflower

uniquely beautiful
strong and resilient
so often underappreciated
despite her majesty
as she sways amidst
the wild grasses
where her energy focuses
on the warming sun, and
soaking in the nourishing rains
that she may stand tall
surrounded by kindred spirits
in her grand garden,
the vast, open prairie

 

Are you a wildflower? I didn’t always realize it, but I am, for sure. From here, I wonder why I spent so many years trying to become a cultured rose, perfectly colored tulip, or brilliant dahlia. I’ve found so much freedom when I’ve embraced my true essence!

This post was inspired by my first prairie harvest when I joined a friend who is in training to become an Iowa Master Naturalist. We collected grasses and wildflower forbes, from which seeds would later be harvested to create another prairie in another part of our county. I had not fully appreciated the beauty of wildflowers, especially as they die off for a winter break, nor the diversity of flowers that grows amidst the prairie grasses here in Iowa. Thank you, Ginny!

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* All photos were taken at F.W. Kent Park in Johnson County, Iowa.

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until we live it

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“It so tempting to want the answers before we begin the journey. We like to know our way. We like to have maps. We like to have guides. But we are more like a breathing puzzle, a living gab of pieces, and each day shows us what a piece or two is for, where it might go, how it might fit. Over time, a picture starts to emerge by which we begin to understand our place in the world.
Unfortunately, we lost a lot of time seeking someone to tell us what life will be like once we live it. We drain ourselves of vital inner fortitude by asking others to map our way. At the end of all this stalling, though, we each have to venture out and simply see what happens.”
Until We Live It by Mark Nepo

This excerpt is from The Book of Awakening: Having the Live You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have, another book that I find very inspiring and have read multiple times. Each time I read it, I take away something new, something deeper.

I confess. I am definitely one of those people who feels more comfortable when I have some idea about what I might expect. Yet, I also have this inner knowing that it is the mystery in life that speaks to my soul, that makes me come alive, that opens me to joy.

 

* I took this photo in San Vincente de la Barquera on the Cantabrian coast of Spain.

may i

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May I 

May my heart and mind be open
May I see what is true
May I have clarity of purpose and seek the greater good
May I be kind and open with others, and myself
May I be intentional in my choices and actions
May I feel alive and filled with joy and gratitude
May I be courageous in facing my fears
May I have the strength to live in integrity with my values
May I be filled with hope
May I hold positive expectations and possibility
May I move through my day with grace
May I bring a calming heart presence to wherever I am

I first posted this poem on Mostly My Heart Sings  in January 2017. I had forgotten about it until I was searching my blogs for posts that had been inspired by Rolf Gates (he inspired last week’s post). It still fits so beautifully and I feel invited to start my day with these intentions.

 

* I took this photo on the Amalfi Coast of Italy.

aligning our will and our heart

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Day 49, Right Intention and Right Effort
Meditations on Intention and Being: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga, Mindfulness, and Compassion
by Rolf Gates

“Something happens when we align our will and our heart. Our efforts become an unstoppable force for good. The joy that we take in this kind of action is not the pride of achievement, nor is it the joy of possession, for it does not belong to the realm of the separate self.  The joy that is felt when our will soars on the wings of our heart is too big to belong to any one aspect of creation. It is a joy that belongs to all of us. The strength we embody is the strength of us all, the kindness, the wisdom, the grace, the wit, the poetry, the vision, the courage, the beauty that we love and create — all of this belongs to us all. For a moment we are the hand of creation, thh voice of creation, the heart of creation. The ancients called this “vivid true knowledge” or “direct knowledge of the soul.” and it is enough for any heart. The only reward we ever need for such an experience is to be given the opportunity to serve once again as the hand of all of us.”

 

Rolf Gates’ writing has been inspiring and guiding me for well over a dozen years, since my friend Celeste gave me a copy of his first book, Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga, which I have read cover to cover at least five times. That’s 5 years of my life listening and feeling Rolf’s wisdom. What a gift!

Other posts inspired by Rolf:

 

* I took the above photo on my vacation to Italy. This tissue paper heart sat on the steps just outside the Duomo San Giorgio in Modica, Sicily, just after it been thrown with joy upon a newly married couple. Below is an image of the cathedral and the many steps leading up to it. Modica Duomo.PNG

let it go

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Let It Go
By Danna Faulds

Let go of the ways you thought life
would unfold; the holding of plans
or dreams or expectations- let it
all go. Save your strength to swim
with the tide. The choice to fight
what is here before you now will
only result in struggle, fear and
desperate attempts to flee from the
very energy you long for. Let go.
Let it all go and flow with the grace
that washes through your days whether
you received it gently or with all your
quills raised to defend against invaders.
Take this on faith: the mind may never
find the explanations that it seeks , but
you will move forward nonetheless.
Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry
you to unknown shores, beyond your
wildest dreams or destinations. Let it
all go and find the place of rest and
peace, and certain transformation.

A friend recently shared this poem with me. I loved the invitation to let go, to rest and allow transformation. I enjoy Danna Faulds poetry and was delighted to find a poem that I had not seen before. What a beautiful gift.

* I took this photo at sunset from Llucalcari, Mallorca, Spain.

on the other side of fear

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As with last week’s post, this week’s post is in celebration of the 7-year anniversary of my mastectomy. I wrote the poem below for my husband, Jim, after my surgery. He is an amazing partner who loves me completely, for all that I am, however imperfect that might be – and who I love more than anything.

So much became possible as I leaned into my vulnerability. I found my way to the other side fear. The possibilities that awaited me were moments of deep love, interpersonal connection, immense peace and contentment, and even joy and gratitude.

Do You Know

Do you know
what it meant to me
to have you there in my most vulnerable moments
when I was afraid and uncertain about what I would see?

Do you know
what it meant to me
to hear you tell me I was beautiful
when I sat on the chair with the bandages removed?

Do you know
what it meant to me
to have you tenderly touch me
when I was so fragile and exposed?

Do you know
what it meant to me
for you to see me as pretty
when in front of me were wounds and scars?

Do you know
how truly important
your love was
to bringing me to the other side?

 

 

* We took the selfies in the opening photo collage during our 2018 summer vacation to Sicily Italy (Catania, Ortygia, Vendicari, Cava d’Ispica, Ragusa, Caltigirone, Cala Scibetta).

* I first posted this poem on my Mostly My Heart Sings blog

 

a parent’s love

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LOVE

They sit quietly.
They are calm, or so it appears.
They hold each other’s hands,
channeling their strength to each other.
They steal glances and kisses,
grounding themselves in the love that bonds them together.
They smile,
They speak softly, kindly.
They focus on being supportive.
They are here to give.
They continue to give.
It’s never-ending, a parent’s love.

Their precious baby girl.
A grown woman now.
A challenge along her journey.
They want to remove the obstacles for her.
Yet, they know, as they always have, this is her path.
She’s strong.
She’s spirited.
She can do this.
In her own unique way with grace.
And, how do they know?
The same way they knew she’d climb all the mountains before:
LOVE.
Their love.
It gives.
It continues to give.
It’s never-ending, a parent’s love.

My parents visited last month for about 10 days. I love that they can come in their RV and be our neighbors for awhile! It is way too long between visits, and always super special to be with them and to feel their love close up.

Last week was my 7-year anniversary of my mastectomy – I almost forgot! Amazing how it’s possible to integrate experiences into your life in a way that they are not something negative to dwell on, but rather a source of strength and possibility.

These two events inspired today’s post about my parents, which I wrote upon reflection of them sitting in the hospital waiting room prior to my surgeries.

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* The opening photos were taken a couple of weeks ago when my parents were visiting and we had lunch together in Iowa City. The closing photos are from my parent’s website – out dancing with friends in Texas.

* I first published this poem on my Mostly My Heart Sings blog.

 

Trusting

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Trusting

Let’s stand at the shore
naked and trembling in our vulnerability
together side-by-side.

Let’s reach our arms out wide
and open to the vast sea of experience ready to flow through us
allowing the light of the sun to warm our hearts.

Let’s invite our truth to speak honestly to us
as we take one small, strong, and ever-so-soft step forward
to live completely the life that unfolds before us.

I wrote this poem yesterday for a dear friend.

She shared with me that she had an abnormal mammogram and needs to have a biopsy. As I held her in my heart, we moved through the uncertainty and fear and touched the possibility that might flow from such experience. We spoke of the opportunity to create space for something we can’t see and don’t understand, to allow life to move through us, and to trust life and the unpredictable way that it often unfolds.

Unfolding is a related post that speaks to me today.

* I took this photo in Sagres, Portugal

Little morsels of joy

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In Memory of Kitty Hogan, 12/10/24 – 10/5/16

I’ve been away, travelling in the southeast USA visiting family and friends. The beautiful clan in the above photo (taken 9/8/18) includes me and my husband Jim (far left) along with his siblings and their spouses, along with a niece and her two girls. We were together to celebrate the life of their mother (and grandmother/great-grandmother) in Gulf Shores, Alabama, one of her favorite places.

 It is beautiful, isn’t it?!

I was inspired to write a poem for the occasion.  It is dedicated to my mother-in-law Kitty’s joyful spirit.

Little morsels of joy

Little morsels of joy
Pleasure in simple things:

Rabbits, birds, and precious pups
Pretty pink azaleas, and impatiens, too
Silver goblets and pressed pastel linen blouses

Chocolate chip cookies
Hershey’s chocolate miniatures
Angel food cake

Savage’s salt rising bread
Oyster and shrimp po-boys
John’s cornsticks and Demitri’s BBQ

Public radio from the fridge-top
A comfy sofa with a dose of TV
An endless supply of books

Pleasure in simple things
Little morsels of joy.

I wanted to draw a picture of her through a short list of things that brought her joy, at least in my experience of her. My hope is that by focusing light on small indulgences – those treats that brought her pleasure – we all might experience a moment of joy, in her honor.

I’ll close with a couple photos of this amazing woman – her coloring with her eldest great grand-daughter and one where she’s nibbling an elephant ear cookie in one of those lovely pastel linen blouses she loved (and which become her).

Rest In Peace, dear one.

abundant joy

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she teaches

in her simple way

to see how accessible it is

and to grab it

when it nibbles:

abundant joy

 

I spent 5 days last week at my friend Blair’s lake cabin in Minnesota, what’s become a delicious summertime tradition. Lola is Blair’s English Springer Spaniel and she joined us for this year’s adventure. Lola helps me tap into the special lessons that only a dog can teach.

She loves to swim and play in the lake. She can literally swim for hours. It’s mesmerizing to watch her gliding through the water. Something soothing about the repetition in her movement. An invitation to simply lean into a piece of joy and savor it.

 

Other related posts you might enjoy:

 

* The above photo is of Lola hoping it’s time to go down to the dock, anticipating more swimming joy. And because one photo is just not enough of this sweet girl, here are a few more! Lola ‘swimmin’ the life”!