Gratitude, Mandala Series, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2016, photo © 2016 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
Posts Tagged ‘end of the year rituals’
Posted in Art, Gratitude, Holidays, Mandalas, Personal, Practice, Seasons, Silence, Spirituality, Structure, tagged creating mandalas, end of the year rituals, giving thanks, inspiration, making a Gratitude List, seasonal rituals, Thanksgiving, the practice of gratitude on November 28, 2016| Leave a Comment »
Posted in Animals & Critters, Body, Bones, Culture, Death, Family, Gratitude, Holding My Breath, Holidays, Life, Life In Letters, Love, Nature, Obituaries & Epitaphs, Personal, Photography, Place, Practice, Relationships, Seasons, Wake Up, tagged black-eyed peas, December, end of the year rituals, fathers, glass half full, historical places, hope, James J. Hill House, Kiev, letters as healers, letting go, Lily & Hope, looking back, looking to the light, making light of the dark, Mr. StripeyPants, Phoebe Snow, pre New Year's, Riverview marquee, Riverview Theater, Ruth Stone, say goodbye to tungsten lights, shadows & light, the things I carry, the things I leave behind on December 31, 2011| 12 Comments »
Say Goodbye To Tungsten Light, Golden Valley, Minnesota, December 2011, photo © 2011-2012. All rights reserved.
I burn the Christmas lights long after the day has passed. The soft warm glow of tungsten soothes me. I grew up on film photography, old school, and loathed florescent and LED. Say goodbye to tungsten; the last 100 watt bulb rolled off the assembly line in December 2011. We lost poet Ruth Stone in 2011 and singer-songwriter Phoebe Snow. They leave behind a rich legacy–their poetry. We lost Hope, the world’s most famous black bear, to the long arms of a Minnesota hunting season. Did they choose their lives, or did their lives choose them?
Goodbye December, January awaits. I look forward to the New Year. In setting goals for 2012, I can’t help but think of the things I will leave to 2011. I never heard back from my father, yet I feel glad I wrote the letter. It is one less thing I have to wonder about. Mr. Stripey Pants had surgery on Monday, December 12th. Bone rubbed on bone in his lower jaw when he chewed his food. We tried to be upbeat that morning, saying he was on his way to breakfast at Tiffany’s (the name of his surgeon). A few weeks later he is almost back to normal. The scar tissue that had formed around a puncture wound near a back tooth has been removed; it was not cancerous. I am grateful for good vet care and the resources to pay for it.
Minnesota leaves behind the 86 inches of snow from last Winter, an unfair trade for the tawny grasses and 50 degree days in the Twin Cities last week. I don’t miss the shoveling, but wonder how the Art Shanty Project will take place on Medicine Lake in January. Where is the frozen Minnesota tundra of 2011? I leave behind a broiling sweaty Summer where I did little gardening. The cedars look limp and brown. Fall 2011 was one of the driest on record. Rain, rain, come and play, don’t wait another day. I have grown to miss the rain.
I leave behind a year of no travel, unusual for me. My large extended family lives in Pennsylvania and Georgia, so I often plan vacations around flying back East. I missed visiting with them. In 2011, I attended no out of state writing workshops. I did not take a vacation outside of Minnesota. There was one trip to North Dakota, but not for pleasure (though it had its moments). I leave behind all the angst and sorrow created by the greed and selfishness of others. You sometimes learn the most about people when things go awry. It’s not over yet. The law requires patience, and the resources to carry through over the long haul.
Dear December, there were days you left me nostalgic and somber. But I vow to enter 2012 with optimism and gratitude. I will long carry the joy of my brother’s visit to Minnesota the week before Thanksgiving. I carry two healthy cats, Kiev and Mr. Stripey Pants. I carry the love of a caring partner, close friends, and family. I carry excitement at the prospect of celebrating Liz’s birthday in January, and a trip to Wisconsin for a self-propelled writing retreat in February, what used to be the dead of Winter. I leave behind anger, resentment, regret; I release what is no longer helping me be the best person I can be. What people, places or things do you leave behind?
The pantry is stocked. The black-eyed peas soak in the pot, ready to bless the place I call home with good luck and cheer. I am grateful for those who stick with me in times of uncertainty. I am grateful for those who come to the aid of all sentient beings in this world, not just humans. I am grateful that we do not inhabit this planet alone, that there are ancient burr oaks, Southern live oaks, slithering snakes, hairy spiders, playful black bears and white winter squirrels. I am grateful that the decisions that matter most are not left in the hands of humans.
December, I say goodbye to you tonight with gratitude and anticipation. I am thankful for your rituals. It’s the night before the New Year. What will my yearly practices be? It will be around the last fire of 2011 that I choose goals for 2012. Thank you, December, for having the courage to let go.
-posted on red Ravine, New Year’s Eve, December 31st, 2011
Posted in 25 Things, Bones, Family, Gratitude, Laughing, Life, Love, Mandalas, Personal, Photography, Practice, Relationships, Spirituality, Wake Up, tagged circle of life, end of the year rituals, making a Gratitude List, prosperity, tea roses, the ABC's of Gratitude, the power of Gratitude, the practice of gratitude, the value of introspection, ways to start the New Year, Wheel of Life on January 2, 2009| 22 Comments »
Summer Tea Rose, from our summer garden, forms a perfect natural mandala, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
I try to end the year with a Gratitude List. I find it a good practice to honor having lived another year. And to equally honor the people, places, and sentient beings who make life rich and worth living.
Last year, I used the ABC’s as a format for a 2007 Gratitude List and liked that structure, so I’m going to continue with it this year. I kept it simple, and I’m sure have only touched the surface. If I’ve forgotten anything or anyone, please know you are in my heart.
What are you grateful for? For many, 2008 was a hard year financially, emotionally, and physically. I find that a belief in something bigger than me, and faith, keep me going in the down times. I want to try to remember to live one day at a time.
On the 2nd day of 2009, it is sunny, blue, clear, and I woke up to exactly 0 degree temperatures, a perfect circle — the best of winter in Minnesota. Winter is all whites, blacks, blues and grays and makes me feel alive. And, for some reason, Winter always reminds me of the color of Spring.
A – Afterglow – making Art, making love, walking in the sun, glistening humidity on the face of a July Savannah day
B – Building & Blooming – a writing life, a life together, a community, a garden, a studio space, a spiritual foundation
C – Chaco, Cravings, Creating – creating anything: a photograph, a piece of writing, a mandala, a clay set of Runes, a painting, a community, a blog. Chaco — I’m so grateful he is alive to take us into the New Year, our little miracle. Cravings – what do you crave? That’s where your passions lie.
D – Death & Dying – the threat of death wakes us up; the death of dry summer flowers makes way for next year’s Spring blooms; the death of one career makes space for the life of another; the death of a loved one or pet leaves us grieving, sad, yet appreciative at the miracle of one more day.
E – Eating! – food, food, food, all kinds of food. Don’t like to cook but love to try new foods and savor the old Family Recipes.
F – Friends & Family & Fathers – circles of closeness, moving out from center. Different levels of intimacy, all important to a thriving life. It would be lonely without family and friends. Fathers — I have had quite a few. I’m thankful for what they have each brought to my life, and the chance to rebuild broken bridges.
G – Gratitude – humble gratitude for others, those who came before us, those who run parallel, the children of the future, all teach me perspective
H – Humility & Home – it’s a gift to be alive. Humility helps me remember — Do not waste this precious life. Home is the place that holds history, the place I feel safe.
I – Introspection — most comfortable in the cave of Bear, what I learn there can make me a wiser, better person when I go back out into the world
J – J. & January – I’m grateful my brother walks with us into another year after spending time last summer in the ICU. It’s always scary when family members are gravely ill. January offers the promise of a New Year.
K – Kindred Spirits – those who travel beside us. They change faces from time to time, but that is to be expected. Endings lead to new beginnings.
L – Love & Liz – sappy, I know, but love is a wondrous thing. It heals many wounds. Was it in Bucket List where the narrator said, “We are not the things that love us; we are the things we love.” Giving is better than receiving. Love lost brings the opportunity to love again. You never know when you will fall in love.
M – Mothers & Grandmothers – mothers continue to provide much of the nurturing in this world. My mother is my biggest fan and offers loving support to me in this crazy writing life. Thanks for traveling with me and continuing to answer my endless questions about family history. Thanks for believing in me. And for instilling into your children permission to follow their dreams. Thanks to my Grandmothers who walk with me every day.
N – Noses – medium, broad, ski-jump, upturned, and small. Noses hold glasses close to the eyes. Smells are the best connectors to memories. Think of your favorite smells. A keen sense of smell leads to a keen sense of detail.
O – Optimism – I tend to see the glass half-full. I am of the belief that setting positive intention creates cairns that guide through the tough times. Right or wrong, it helps me through sadness and grief and is the philosophy I live by.
P – Passion & Peace – do they go hand in hand? Maybe not. It’s hard to believe the things people do to each other out of passion. It makes it hard to keep the peace. Still, I believe it is possible.
Q – Quagmire – one of my favorite words. noun: a soft wet area of low-lying land that sinks underfoot. What would life be without the uncertainty of sinking quagmires that eventually lead back to solid ground.
R – red Ravine – so grateful for the community who visits here. And for the creative practice that has developed around red Ravine. Every day offers new surprises. Thanks for dropping by, for what you have given to creating this space.
S – Summer — the longer I live in a Winter climate, the more I appreciate Summer and the Southern roots I grew up with. When I lived there as a child (and now when I visit) I never stop sweating!
T – Teachers & Time – the gift of time. Every moment is a gift. The next could be our last breath. Or something could happen that changes our lives forever. There is no way to prepare except to honor each moment. Teachers, mentors who are wiser than I am. If only I would remember to keep listening.
U – Underwear – it’s a simple thing, isn’t it, underwear? Some people don’t wear it but I can’t imagine not having it. Cotton, all cotton, please, and I only wear Jockeys For Her. More expensive but they last longer. So worth it!
V – Vacations – oh, how I long for another vacation where I sit on a beach somewhere and do nothing. No writing, no thinking, no work, no nothing. Simply being still and silent and listening to the ocean, Zen heartbeat of the Universe.
W – Writing & Art Buddies – they take many forms. Writing Practice groups, community on red Ravine, writing retreat friends, local writers, regional writers, artists who inspire, writers and poets who have written books that changed the world. It’s too lonely to try to do this alone.
X – X-Treme Living – life goes on with or without us. It can be an extreme act of grace to make it through another day.
Y – ybonesy – I couldn’t do this without her. The creative collaboration of red Ravine has led down many fruitful, winding roads. And it all started that day in Taos after a writing retreat with Natalie Goldberg. I have so much gratitude for Natalie who taught me about the practice of writing and helped me believe in myself.
Z – Zest for Life – passion and doing what we love keep us from becoming complacent. Please, don’t let me take life for granted. (Plus, Zest is a fun word to say!)
Rose Mandala, Raindrops On Roses, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
-posted on red Ravine, Friday, January 2nd, 2009
-related posts and to read more about the practice of Gratitude: Feelin’ Down For The Holidays? Make A Gratitude List, The ABC’s Of A Prosperous 2008 – Gratitude, I Am Grateful For The Alphabet 😉
Posted in 13 Moons, Animals & Critters, Body, Bones, Dreams, Fotoblog, Gratitude, Haiku, Nature, Photography, Seasons, Silence, Spirituality, tagged Bear medicine, caves, end of the year rituals, hibernating animals, monks of the animal world, Nature's secrets, promise of Spring, Secrets of Hibernation, the power of Introspection, The Void, winter habits of Bears, Winter Solstice, Yule fire on December 30, 2008| 23 Comments »
Bear circles Yule fire
drumming sunrise to sunset
gift of tobacco
cool blue snow cave hides
monks of the animal world
long sleep of Winter
cubs born in hibernation
lean fat of the land
Winter Solstice past
contemplative Void lingers
the promise of Spring
Cool Drums, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winter Solstice, December 21st 2008, all photos © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
Promise Of Spring
New Year’s Eve approaches. Black-eyed peas are soaking in a pot on the stove, awaiting the bone of ham. Taking a much needed rest, I’m reminded of the hibernation of Bear. We learned on a wind chilled, -18 degree Winter Solstice that bear cubs are born during hibernation in the black cold of January.
After the Winter cave of silent dreams, we move into 2009 with the promise of rebirth — Spring.
The Bear Facts
To learn more about the winter habits of Bears and other hibernating animals such as squirrels, groundhogs, chipmunks, bats, rattlesnakes, and hedgehogs, visit these links:
- Secrets of Hibernation by Peter Tyson on PBS Nova Online — with University of Minnesota graduate student and bear expert, Lynn Rogers
- Ask A Wildlife Biologist: Do Bears Really Sleep All Winter? By Sean Farley — Alaska Department of Fish & Game, Division of Wildlife Conservation
- Ursus Americanus — American Black Bear — University of Michigan Museum of Zoology – Animal Diversity Web
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game – Brown Bear (Ursus Arctos)
-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, December 30th, 2008, with gratitude to my friends Carol, Susan, and Gail
-related to post: haiku (one-a-day)