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Posts Tagged ‘healing’

AND THEN...

And Then, last page of The Dinner Party: A Symbol of Our Heritage, 1979, Doubleday, from artist & writer Judy Chicago, Droid Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



And then all that has divided us will merge
And then compassion will be wedded to power
And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind
and then both men and women will be gentle
and then both women and men will be strong
and then no person will be subject to another's will
and then all will be rich and free and varied
and then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many
and then all will share equally in the earth's abundance
and then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old
and then all will nourish the young
and then all will cherish life's creatures
and then all will live in harmony with each other and the earth
and then everywhere will be called eden once again


—artist & writer Judy Chicago, from The Dinner Party: A Symbol of Our Heritage, 1979, Doubleday


-posted on red Ravine Monday, September 12th, 2011

-related to posts: A Moment Of Silence – September 11th, 2011, 9:02am, Remembering – September 11th, 2008

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In 1997, Toltec nagual (shaman) don Miguel Ruiz published a small book called The Four Agreements. The book laid out in practical terms four agreements one can make with oneself, a code of conduct to live by to transform one’s life. The idea is that these four agreements would replace or at least augment the many agreements we’ve carried with us since we were children—many harmful to our well-being—about our self-worth, our abilities, and life in general.

I learned about the book in 2000, after a particularly difficult year. I was on the brink of leaving my career. I was struggling in my marriage and with being a mother. I was unhappy and didn’t know what to do about it. My boss at the time, with whom my relationship was all but broken, gave me the book. She had just returned from a short sabbatical from work. She seemed transformed and credited the change to the wisdom of Ruiz. She handed out copies of the book to members of her staff, and then within a matter of a few weeks or months, she retired.

I remember when she gave me the book, at first I saw it as an olive branch. I had at one point before my boss left on her sabbatical become so enraged at her over matters at work that I let loose with a verbal assault that surprised even me. In my younger days I had the mouth of a sailor, but I rarely let my emotions get out of hand. Not so that year. I dropped the F-bomb on my boss like it was going out of style. In hindsight, it was amazing that she didn’t fire me for insubordination. That she could give me any gift at all seemed hugely generous.

Later, when I opened the book and saw what it contained, I took the gift as an insult. A category tag on the back of the book identified it as Personal Growth / Self-Help. I felt my former boss was trying to tell me that that I needed help; I was immature enough then to believe that I was perfectly fine and that she was the one who needed help. Reluctantly I read the book.


Fast forward to 2010. I think about my former boss now and again. I know now that not only did I in fact need help those many years ago, The Four Agreements was exactly the right kind of help. Had I been living them at the time, I would not have made the assumption that my former boss was giving me the book as way of trying to tell me something.

Recently I had the opportunity, thanks to the generosity of my good friend Patty, to see don Miguel Ruiz in Albuquerque and hear him and his son, don Jose Ruiz, talk about a new book they jointly wrote called The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery. This was the first time I’d seen either Ruiz in person. I didn’t take notes during the packed talk. I sat in the back of the Unitarian church where they spoke. I listened with an open heart. After the talk, the elder Ruiz left (we learned he had only partial heart functioning after a near-fatal heart attack in 2002) while the younger stayed in the church and signed books.


don jose ruiz and pattydon jose ruiz and roma

light and love, photos of Patty (left) and Roma with don Jose Ruiz, emanating light and love, May 19, 2010, Albuquerque, photos © 2010, all rights reserved.




Don Miguel Ruiz came from a family of healers. His mother was a curandera and his grandfather a nagual. From the book jacket of The Four Agreements, “The family anticipated that Miguel would embrace their centuries-old legacy of healing and teaching, and carry forward the esoteric Toltec knowledge. Instead, distracted by modern life, Miguel chose to attend medical school and become a surgeon.”

After nearly losing his life in a car accident, Ruiz devoted himself to becoming a nagual. He has passed on the knowledge to his son, Jose Luis, and together they are promoting The Fifth Agreement. I am reading The Fifth Agreement now, and already it has hit home for me the wisdom and power of that original small book.

I have in small but perceptible ways been transformed by Ruiz’s four agreements. They’re not easy to live by. Some are harder than others. Some I recall daily. Here they are, with a short excerpt about each:



be impeccable with your word


Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.



don’t take anything personally


Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.



don’t make assumptions


Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.



always do your best


Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.





Perhaps you are familiar with don Miguel Ruiz and his books of wisdom, or maybe this is the first time you’ve heard of any of this. In either case, reflect on the four agreements and think about what they mean to you. Write each agreement at the top of your notebook and then do a 10- or 15-minute Writing Practice on each one. If this is your first exposure to this Toltec wisdom, buy the books or check them out from your local library and take the time to learn more about them and their author. Let us know if your writings about the agreements resonate with the writings in the books.

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By Buzz
for Rich, September 23, 2009








Hoops



Pass the ball Kansas
bend it low
like wind
hoops wheat

twin soles thrash old grain
splash window see the floor
cold ash burns with pain
twist sap from maple core

pour-sugar-brown syrup down
cough up crack in tree
shinny-slick draw-and-kick
school those milk-fed feet

don’t bubbachuck that shot
jack-brick hoes shuck corn
shoot silk breeze smooth round knees
rim-blown dust bowl storm

plain people use the back-door
farmers sense the rain
screen spills from its spline
but still the spine remains

drive faded Chevy off the blocks
pick-and-roll crash paint
sweat cuts thick in thin socks
gnashed gears slash years change lanes

lace sneaks between hard lumber
post sets wing on high
stolen prayer banks on glass
no free throws paid in life

juke the movie cowboy
look inside for dimes
slip time’s string past tin ring
thread the needle through the pine

score your game in limestone
spin leather seam from rock
drop it soft as chalk Jayhawk
echoes dribble out our clock




Chevrolet, photo © 2009 by Linda Lupowitz. All
rights reserved.




Shoes Homework, drawing © 2009 by Max Lupowitz.
All rights reserved.





Buzz is a healer, husband, father, and friend, etching ethers in New Mexico’s Rio Grande Valley since 1979. He wrote this poem in the fall of 2009, as a birthday gift to his good friend and fellow basketball player Rich Jamison. Buzz had this to say about the poem: Rich asked me to write a poem for his birthday. The poem is about basketball, which we both share a love for. It’s about the pass, not the shot. While the shot carries the glory, the pass, or the assist (“dime”) gives the game its rhythm. So it’s also a metaphor for healing, where the practitioner assists, steps back in the shadows, and allows life to flow.

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American Green Tree Frog, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

American Green Tree Frog, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Is green Envy’s hue?
Or simply bumps on the skin
of a scared tree frog.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Post Script:  Can’t seem to get moving this week. After we had to let Chaco go last Thursday, the only thing that seems to sooth me is Nature. Hence, the American Green Tree Frog. On Summer Solstice, Liz accidentally brushed this little guy off a glass table filled with blooming plants; she thought it was a leaf. When she screamed, he suddenly leaped off the tip of her palm and on to the deck. After the initial shock, I caught him in a glass coffee mug so I could safely let him go in the garden.

 

Eye To Frog Eye, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Eye To Frog Eye, Minneapolis, Minnesota,
June 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey.
All rights reserved.

 
 

The Frog Moon came late on the heels of a dry Spring. I think Frog is one of Liz’s totems. I rarely see them in our yard or gardens. But Liz seems to bump into them everywhere. It turns out our little green friend may be with us for a while — the average lifespan of a frog is 4 to 15 years.

 You can listen to the American Green Tree Frog and read Weird Frog Facts at Frogland: All About Frogs.

 

-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

-related to posts: WRITING TOPIC – TOADS & FROGS, A Celebration Of GREEN On red Ravine…, What Is Your Totem Animal?, Cracking Envy (Or How I Learned To Stop Romancing A Deadly Sin), haiku 2 (one-a-day)

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Black-Eyed Susans, St. Simons Island, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Black-Eyed Susans, Rudbeckia hirta, near a memorial on the former Hamilton Plantation, St. Simons Island, Georgia, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.










tabby walls of shell
constant circles bloom and grow
acres lost in time












-posted on red Ravine, Friday, September 5th, 2008

-related to posts: haiku (one-a-day), WRITING TOPIC – NAMES OF FLOWERS

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Susquehanna River, Central Pennsylvania, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Susquehanna River, Central Pennsylvania, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.







old brown river winds
444 miles
to Chesapeake Bay



mile wide and foot deep
current flows to family
then turns South again



for J. and diddy
who love the Susquehanna
rest gently and heal








Bridges, Central Pennsylvania, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Bridges, Central Pennsylvania, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Bridges, Central Pennsylvania, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Bridges, Central Pennsylvania, July 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
 


-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

-related to posts:  haiku (one-a-day) , Out Of Chaos Comes Hope, and Vote For Punxsutawney Phil!

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By Teri Blair

It’s been 40 days since the 35W Bridge collapsed. Today, a sunny Fall day, I’ve come down to view the site…the first day (since the first fitful days of August) that I’ve been here. I’m writing this from the 10th Ave Bridge. I stand close enough to the collapse site to see everything, practically close enough to touch the pillars, the crushed railroad cars, the twisted steel. It looks smaller than I expected, like that feeling I have when I go back to my elementary school and the rooms seem little.

As in early August, a huge crowd gathers. We stand in respectful silence and awe. Seeing. It sinks in, one level deeper. In the river there are 5 barges, the ones used for clean up. They bob slightly in the muddy Mississippi, and I wonder how the divers found anyone. The river is dark, even with the midday sun. Two of the barges have cranes several stories high perched on them, and I don’t see the flags at first. I can’t see much at first. There is too much to look at, and all I can do is stand there. Absorbing it into my cells. But then I see it; a flag is flying against the blue sky, the Minneapolis skyline in the background. I instantly remember seeing the flags flying at Ground Zero, and I have the same rush of faith and patriotism and tenderness for what has happened. I look around, and see flags everywhere around the collapse site. There are 8. On the cranes, the barges, the trailer where the demolition crew takes their breaks. And I know someone thought that through. It was the way someone showed up for what happened here.

I walk the length of the bridge. Slowly. When I get to the end and turn to walk back, women begin to pass me wearing cotton dresses and white bonnets. And then their men come. The single ones clean-shaven, the married with beards. My attention turns from the bridge to the Mennonites, and I realize they are curious, too. Then, quite suddenly, the group of 50 clusters near one of the lookout points and forms a choir. They begin to sing a cappella hymns in 4-part harmony. Their voices are gentle, soothing, the music floating over the site and the people viewing it. I am singing the lyrics with them in my head—all familiar songs from my early upbringing in the church. A Mennonite man approaches me with a CD of their music. I accept it. He tells me they have driven up from southern Iowa to sing on the bridge. A 5-hour trip. They sing 7 songs, and continue across the bridge.

I continue walking. An artist paints the collapsed bridge with her oils, an easel set up. Parents quietly explain to their children what they’re seeing. The voices are mainly those of the children, innocent questions about how people drown, would the choo-choo train be okay; one cries when he thinks his big brother has a better view.

I came here today simply because I needed to. I came without expectations. It was time. What I didn’t plan on was the feeling of tremendous unity. Everyone tries to make sense of this, and brings what they have. The Army Corps of Engineers brings their flags; the Mennonites bring their music, the artist her palette. A feeling of deep peace permeates the crowd. And I can see somehow (as the Mennonites have sung)…It is well with my soul.


About Teri:  Teri is a writer from Minnesota, living in Minneapolis. She went to the I-35W collapse site every day for several days immediately following the tragedy, but she was not able to see the bridge up close due to barricades blocking public access. Teri again visited the site this past weekend, where she did the writing practice “40 Days, 8 Flags, and 1 Mennonite Choir.” This post is a follow-up to “Thornton Wilder & Bridges,” a piece Teri wrote shortly after the August 1, 2007, bridge collapse.

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By mimbresman


Little place: (physical, the bike, the trailer, the country)
Big place: (culture, family, etc.; my head)

Everything has its place: food, water, extra clothes. It is Christmas Day 1997, and I am packing my bike for a 5-day bicycle tour in the backcountry of Big Bend National Park. The weather is cold for Big Bend, near freezing. The sky is overcast.

The previous night I have a great Christmas Eve dinner with Mike, his partner Jim, Jim’s wife, and Mike’s full-time RVer parents. All of us were crammed into a 5th wheel travel trailer. It was tight quarters, but it was the best meal I enjoyed that whole year.

What am I doing in Big Bend? I am escaping. I am running away from the cold weather of the Navajo Indian Reservation, I am running away from my immediate family. I am running away from my father’s death. I am running away from my own failure. I decided I’ve had enough! Enough moping and depression! Enough weirdness! It is time to get on with my life and I have decided to start it by doing my favorite thing at my favorite place.

To get to Big Bend, takes commitment. It is remote and isolated, some 8 hours southeast of El Paso, TX. Big Bend is named for the northward bend the Rio Grande takes on its journey south and east to the Gulf of Mexico. Within the park are the Chisos Mountains, the southernmost mountain range in the U.S. It is big country in the heart of the Chihuahuan desert. It is a spectacular contrast: green mountains, brown desert. It is a place where I find peace.

Zoom ahead to Day 2:
So much for escaping the weather…On the second day of my trip, I am dealing with snow flurries. I have every bit of clothing on that I packed. The desert is beautiful with the blowing snow.

At camp 2, I unload my bike, do a quick hike to Ernst’s Tinaja, return to my camp to get my bike and ride 10 unloaded miles down the Jeep road to the hot springs. I push my bike along the trail until I get to the edge of the hot spring pool. I am alone. I strip naked in the blowing snow and hop into the steaming water. The Rio Grande rushes past the wall that contains the hot water. Mexico is just a stone’s throw away, and I have the whole place to myself!

I am healing.


About this practice, mimbresman says: It’s about coming to terms with two big life changes. First, my dad’s death. My dad and I were close. He was a pharmacist and owned the local drugstore in our small town of Silver City, NM. Family time was important. He worked 7a to 7p most days. The store had a soda fountain, so as a family we spent a lot of time at the drugstore. Then he expected us to be home and ready for dinner when he got home around 7:30. He wanted to sit with the family and listen to what happened in our lives that day. On his few days off, he liked to explore the area around Silver City. I guess that’s where I got my appreciation of nature and of the natural history of where I was living.

The other loss in my life was the closure of my business. In 1993, after eight years of teaching, I had started a mountain bike clothing company called Mimbres Man. There was no such thing as mountain bike clothing then. Mimbres Man was a pioneer company and received positive press as being original. But unfortunately, I was not a great businessman and Mimbres Man folded in 1997.

As it often does, my mountain bike pulled me through. I’ve enjoyed bicycling since I was seven years old. I tried motorcycling but found them too noisy and felt like I was cheating. Bicycles are quiet and have been a great way of exploring, traveling, and getting out in nature around the Gila and beyond. I’ve been to amazing places because of mountain bikes.

I eventually went back to teaching, and I’m glad I did. Teaching is my main creative outlet, plus teaching brought me to Venezuela and my wife Tania. She is funny, and I enjoy being with her. (I read her my practice, btw.) We are so different yet we are connected. We sometimes don’t even need to speak to each other because we are thinking the same thing. Two cultures, two languages, two skin colors, but one love. Corny but true.


-from Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – A PLACE TO STAND

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