Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Celebrating Rejection

Today I got my first rejection*. I've faced rejection in countless way--anger, fear, tears--and today I did something else with it. I smiled.

Rejection comes from the courage accept both success and failure. I am reminded that I am a beginner, and I can't wait to do it again tomorrow.

Is there a place where you are hiding your rejection, fear, or anger for a failure. Bring it out and love it today!

Inbox Re: Please
Nearly canned for spam
And served with toast and eggs
Quick breath
Eyes squeezed shut
Now wide open
Click of a mouse
Courage sent
Courage opened
Re: Re: Please
"Thank you."
I have another
To send tomorrow

*Thank you to Truth and the Little Patuxent Review for letting me down easy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday's Grace

As people shop for Black Friday deals and gain the advantage with pepper spray, I am cleaning out THE SCARY ROOM, also known as the office. I shredded a huge box of very old paper work, free-cycled like crazy, and can see the floor and the top of the desk. I think the last time that happened was when we painted.

How did you celebrate the day after thanks and giving? If you were feeling a bit overwhelmed by the frenzy consider taking a breather with a White Friday (or Saturday)...clean something, give something away, or let go of an item you haven't used in a really long time. How did it go? Were you happy, were you breathing deeply in a way you forgot you could, were you sad?

Friday's Grace
On this day best deals, credit cards, and pepper spray
I spent the day a different way

Celebrating cat hair, dust bunnies, and criss-crossed paper shreds
I started chore I avoid with dred

The recycling bin's full of boxes, bottles, and the like
Last year's Christmas cards found--what a hype!

The livingroom's a disaster with pretties and books
No longer loved and searching for a new nook

The floor I can see, shining red oak beneath
You won't see my grief

For the dust bunnies, pretties, or boxes
I am dancing circles in my socks-es!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fall's Reveal

This morning before the west wind blew winter in, we took a stroll down by the river. We walked over a suspension bridge and were greeted by a chorus of whistles and calls from the birds. In the summer, when we tipped our head up, we were  lucky to glimpse a tail or the flash of a wing in the canopy. Now that fall's nearly over, we pointed up at which birds were calling one another.

Fall reveals what we don't normally see. I've been feeling a bit naked this week, and it's not all pretty and neat. I'm very aware of my selfishness and my unwillingness to consider my own actions in the judgement of others.  The word "humble" has come up more than once, and I could buy a black kettle to go with my cast iron pot.

In the Chinese tradition, the law of the  five elements, fall is a time of letting go, of grieving, and of dying. (Have I said that already?) Melanie at Journey to Wildness offers death (and fall) as the time we stop to reflect on the life of plants and the people around us.

Here I am naked, uncomfortable, reflecting, and letting go.

Take a few minutes to see what fall is revealing to you. Light a candle, ring a bell, play a song, love it, cry, and embrace the last breath of fall to let it go.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanku, Thanku Very Much

Once of the simplest forms of acknowledgement we can gift is saying thank you.

This week spin a few verses of your own in the form of a Thanku. The Thanku was coined by  The Thanku is a little twist on the Japanese poetry from the Haiku. Thankus are three lines following a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. A Thanku is themed with something you are thankful for. So if you are up for the challenge, write one Thanku or a million this week!

Thankus for my contemporaries at the Writersvibe
(Yes, you give me wings and I'm flying)

Gifts abound we all have
Found. If not for you, my write
Still lost underground

Encouragement here
Fear shed in flight, presence known
Now trimmed when overgrown

Thankus for my neighborhood family:
Neighbor adoption
You see, this lucky girl will
not be late to eat

Or for company
Of laughing friends, licking pups,
Brined turkey, red wine

Stuffing prepped the day
Before, french onioned green beans
Please, I will take more
Naked Red 'tators
Cut and boiling in the pot
Mashed with cream. Yum! Yum!

Apples in my bag
Fresh-picked from Maryland's trees
What a pie you'll be

Pecans and jack daniels
Butter and chocolate make
Sweet end post turkey

Please share with us here, share around your Thursday table, or share with our friends at the Teaching Authors. The teaching authors will be rounding up Thankus and the like between now and November 30th to share on their blog.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gifts of the Loyal Guide

I have a friend who's promise to us and to the universe to show up as a loyal guide. Yesterday, in two minutes, I listed my gifts to you. Today in two minutes, I listed her gifts to me. Her list is easier.

This week I'll exploring the gifts of acknowledgement with more than a *.

For today, pick someone or something in your life (past or present) and spend two minutes make a list of the gifts you have received. Keep them handy.

Gifts of the Loyal Guide
Student of Life & Love
Listening ear
Audio books
Mother--from a new perspective
The drum as eyes (only the guide wasn't wearing a blindfold)
New food and restaurants
Distance healing
Letting go
Comfort in not knowing
Letting go of worry
Welcoming life as death
Life as gift
Welcoming generosity
Asking for help
Sameness and different-ness

Yesterday, our loyal guide took her last breath.

Last night I dreamt of being in a row boat with my son. Water and storm clouds as far as we could see. We were alone. I felt my heart beating faster and my breath getting shallow. The sun came out and a voice told me to look behind us. I took a deep breath and looked behind us. a rainbow filled the sky. "Look, look, a rainbow!" I said and I pointed. I turned around again and the water was filled with boats and people with their chins tipped up and fingers pointing toward the sky. My heart beat slowed and I found myself smiling and waving my arms so hard I almost tipped the boat.

Ever the loyal guide--even as her soul passes from this life to the next.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What's Your Gift?

Writing is one of my gifts. Here and the writersvibe is how I share it. I find that sharing myself nourishes my soul and creativity. Sharing our gifts takes courage and brings us together. This is how Charles Eisenstein shares his gift.

No how quiet or out loud our gifts are. They matter.

Today, take a few (yes two) minutes and as many of your gifts as you can. Acknowledge your gifts and how you use them to give love to your children, to your family, to your community, to your town, to your country, to your earth and how it changes both your gifts' recipients and how it changes you. Keep the list somewhere you will look at it everyday.

Gifts of Jules
I write
I remember seemingly useless bits of information
I'm not afraid to sew without a pattern or cook without a recipie
I get dirty
I clean up messes
I make messes
I can't draw a straight line
I don't know
I cry at the end of movies, even when they are happy
Details, details, details
I acknowledge mistakes
I'm a mum
I see the invisible

--that's my two minutes!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Last night we went through our puzzles. Spread out before us was an era of plane rides, smiles, floor time, accomplishments, tears, and firsts. I requested the letting go and let a five-year-old choose which puzzles were given a new home*. I hid a shadow of tears and a smile as he proudly set aside Thomas the Train puzzle we bought at Stausburg Railroad and Santa's gift three Christmases ago. These were both deemed "too easy" and ready for someone else to play, discover, and love

I grew up with puzzles. I remember being five or six and enamored with a an  500 piece astrology puzzle. I could tell you I was the Aquarius drawn with two lines bumpy lines and carried water. We would work on that puzzle for weeks at a time when the Arctic winds swooped over the prairie and took your breath away the moment you stepped outside. By the time I was twelve, I could do that puzzle on my own in a weekend.

Edges smooth face outside
Bumps all round sort by color
Then pieced together

Today as I comb my fingers through the pieces of a mandala, I smile at the little hands beside mine and tune my ears to bouncing chatter. Together: We are a moving meditation. Together: We are a knowing. There is place for every piece and a piece for every place. As one piece joins another, we celebrate. When we finish, we'll gaze in wonder and take as much joy in disassembly as assembly.  Some day we'll start this puzzling all over again.

I imagine my mother wore the same smile--a mix of wonderment, pride, memories--then as I wear now.

This week, piece together a own moving meditation. Here are a few suggestions: Take a walk, do a puzzle, wash the dishes, brush your teeth, cook your favorite meal, eat an apple. Let it be a moment (or moments) of complete indulgence and awareness. What does it feel, smell, sound, and taste like? Please share with us what happened!

*Thank you to Jen, Doug, Will, and Julie for giving our puzzles new homes.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pull Up a Rock and be in Wonder

Last year in my leadership program we learned to sit.*

We learned to sit in the woods--still as stone--and look and listen for 30 minutes at time. Once we made ourselves part of the trees, the leaves, and the rocks, we saw and heard wonders we'd only dreamed about--the wings of a insect zooming by our ears, the rustle of the leaves as the wind blows, sparrows playing the underbrush so close we could hear the morsels in their beaks snap as they ate them.

* Thank you to David and Anne, teachers of how to sit and be unseen.
I haven't practice sitting for quite a long time. Today I did.

This week, when you have a minute or ten to yourself, find a place that suits you: a park, a stand of woods, a trail, a lake, a canyon, a mountain. Pull up a rock or a tree and sit for 10 minutes or for 60. Be still. When you shift or move, move with the wind. Bring your vision from telescopic to panoramic.

Sit and be in wonder. What happens?


Moon fades right, sun warms left,
Forrest ready front, Maple holds us all
A flick of a tail and red flashes by
Whoosh of a wing close behind
Ground rustling calls the squirrels from beyond sight
Rushing the proud oak
Running round and round and round then back down
All heard in the drum of running feet
Hawk screams somewhere east
Crows call north, fading south
Delicate taps shift west
Woodpecker needles the branches tree
Shift. Tap. Tap. Tap. Shift. Tap. Shift Tap. Tap.
Jay screams past in blue
Between the large trunked trees
Too big to hug, perfect for sitting
And becoming

Friday, November 11, 2011

Headless Worms

On a recent trip to the library, Box Turtle at Long Pond by William T. George caught my attention. It's another found-forgotten book I remember fondly from my childhood.* It was added to the top of our stack, the magical number seven. Box Turtle at Long Pond has been requested multiple times a bedtime and not for the amazing and detailed illustrations but for the headless worms. "As quickly as he can, the box turtle bites the heads off each squirming worm. Then he goes back to eat them, one by one."

I often write the softer side of nature. Beauty is also found in the brutality of survival and sometimes, as our box turtle learns when a raccoon eats his headless worms, in the brutality of defeat. Even still, the life of the box turtle is perfect as it is, and, by evening, he settles in to sleep with a fully belly.

Tonight find beauty in something you consider brutal, repulsive, or just plain mean. 

*Thank you, Mom, for those hours and hours of sitting together reading! I still love children's books the best.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time Lost

Time. I have an obsession with clock time. 40 hours a week. Time to get up. Time to go to bed. Time to exercise. Time to eat. Never enough time. Practice 30 minutes every day. Time and no ambition for the never ending to do list. I have a love/hate relationship with the clock. I stopped wearing a watch, and still I know the time. The small shuffling steps this morning at 4:30 AM is another reminder of the time:  Lost sleep and gained time.

Here's a song from the Shadowboxers that serves as a reminder to let go of time. Losing time can be quite pleasant.

Today, let go of time. Get lost in the woods or in your favorite thing (writing, cooking, puzzling, reading, people watching). Live by the rising and setting of the sun. Eat when you are hungry. Sleep when you are sleepy. What happens?


The sun turns
Yellow and red maples to gold
Leaves one by one fall
Buoyed like butterflies
On the shifting breeze
Covering the still green carpet below
Breath held
Suspends time
Delighting in your furrowed brow
Recreating Earth
By color
By number
By direction
Stream through seconds,
Full rotation in
Full rotation out
Breath regained

The clock's been wound

Closed eyes
Feel the warmed gold
in the day

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pajamas and a Purple Crayon

As we admired moon this evening, it followed us from our backyard to the stop sign at the end of the street. Only the lure of pajamas with buttons kept us from the night time wanderings to see how far the moon would follow. Is this the moon that inspired Crockett Johnson to create Harold's moon in the 1950s?

The new moon graced the sky last night

Tonight the moon blinds the star guides
Tonight the sun shines after setting the dark
Still hinting at the day's final blues

Tonight alluded colors bleed
From the tips of turning trees
In to white night

Tonight does the moon follow us
Or do we follow the moon?
Put on your PJ's tonight, grab a purple crayon, and draw the world that one no one has yet imagined by line, by word, by brush . Will you go with the moon, or will the moon go with you?