over here now:
“Breath, dreams, silence, invincible calm, you triumph.”
― Paul Valéry
Current mantra: to triumph, which, i guess, is more bright than to survive. Triumph: the evolution and the less solemn, more gregarious relative of survival. Also remembering and forgetting to practice asana, take nothing personally, be open and permeable, steady. To be cooking up invincible calm, and to love, like the verb. Just those things today and then again tomorrow.
Also Swiffering the floors.
So the usual, all of it.
This picture was in nyc.
The winnipeg rivers are not yet fully frozen. We’re on the edge, holding our breaths, rolling the dice.
What’s the point of winter, if not to feel at the mercy/in awe of nature as it wilds its way through the city, anyway? (Except to be reminded that nothing is predictable, even winter, even in winnipeg, even though you love it.)
I’ll tell you the most comforting qualities for me: humility and steadiness, together. Winnipeg has them both. Many people do. I strive to, but fall short/am still practicing, frequently:)
Today, when i awoke, a little off-kilter from all of the unpredictable, loosely-spun holidaze and craving some ritualistic daily grind. I put on my sturdiest boots and two scarves and walked into the heart of downtown winnipeg with my little orange friend, and we walked and walked and coffeed and walked and got grittiness on our feet and enjoyed the clean prairie sky that you can breathe even in the most densely-buildinged parts in this humble, little city. I felt surrounded/held/thank-goodnessful for the smallness/strength of quiet brick, big sky.
Walked home, heavy boots/happy. These are not opposites for me, but don’t they sound like they are?
This really beautiful day happened today.
It started out all normal-winter, but unprairiely warm for the second day in december. The sky was empty, like it always is at this time in the year, except for the naked branches reaching everywhere, and the air was clear and crisp. On a stormless day, you can see everything and forever in the mid-morning in winter.
Halfway through my walk, the empty sky glazed over and the air got thick and there was fog in my eyes practically and if fog had a smell it would have filled up everything, but it doesn’t, and my sense of smell is what picks things up first for me, so the glaze and the thickness caught me incredibly off-guard. It enchanted me too. There is nothing so beautiful as a surprise foggy day.
I have nothing to report except for all the normal fog-inspired feelings and reactions:
+watching little orange Portman run into it happily and unquestioningly and feeling happy to know her
+remembering how beautiful it is to walk into the thick weirdness of low-visibility; to feel dizzied by it, but curious and smiley
+being taught so many millions of times and laughing about the forgetting about how, of course, the places that are least clear are also most magical
The other neat thing was that i had a class to go and teach in an industrial kind of area with big, clanking buildings and unused train tracks that wind into other buildings and little sprouts of trees growing sparsely. I had a spare ten minutes when i got there (which never happens), so instead of going right in, i crossed the street into the creepy, beautiful fog, and yielded.
I have nothing in particular to report except maybe that that moon was pretty neat last night.
And that trying to be good is important. And by trying to be good i mean acting in a way that aligns with what the heart knows is true.
And that that takes work because first you have to check what your heart says and then you have to check if you are aligning with it and then you have to not be lazy.
Do you know this word? I just learned it. Isn’t it strong and sturdy? -the quality of having strong moral principles; honesty, decency. I would pitch my apple wagon to that word any day. The neatest part is its root in the french word ‘prouver.’ To prove.
Like probity isn’t just integrity. It’s being proven to have integrity. Like integrity doesn’t exist unless it’s been tested.
Integrity is illuminated by challenge.
The moon this weekend. Masked and mysterious and covered in the shadow of the earth.
I feel happy about all of the people who walked to the end of their sidewalks to stand forever with fellow humans/strangers and stare at the moon. Where did they get that patience? Or are they waiting for something wild to happen?; the moon and its redness and the eclipse, these things have often whispered of the end of the world haven’t they? My friend said: why don’t we all stare at the moon more often; i feel like i know it better today? I think that’s a good question.
Still. I don’t believe in the end of the world.
I am being shown how to believe in the hard work of living daily and well and in taking tiny steps to live a life and to have it be one that i can sleep at night about.
Slow, steady, eclipse-illuminated hard work of really livin.
I love this life.
How is your heart?
For me, the most beautiful things in this world are the ones that are concealed. I like straight up pretty, too, but when i’m honest with myself, I love the work. I connect with things while discovering them. Does everyone?
I don’t want anything for free.
A friend recently sent me a little article about Bob Johnston (who produced Dylan and Johnny Cash!) that called art ‘the concealment of art.’ (It said a lot of other things too, but that’s for another story.)
Art is the concealment of art.
This riddle turned my brain inside out. So I took it into my body instead and there it started to unravel and unwind. (I still don’t know what it means, but it felt like something good.)
Is it that the most beautiful or feeling-invoking or thought-provoking things are wild and undelivered?
That art and life are most beautiful in funny, strange packaging that is ours to unwrap blindfolded, upside-down, backwards, with our feet?
I think so.
There are so many things that are better when you have to work for them:
A child, warming up to a new experience slowly, tentative at first, and then bursting in.
Apprivoisement (from the Le Petit Prince; the idea that something is just like every other something until you develop an intimacy with it and then it’s yours forever.)
Writing a story and not knowing what will come.
Detective work, my favourite game when I was a little-and now.
Tapping into, until you hear it a little more loudly, clearly, bravely, that voice in you that knows everything there is to know.
All the gods and all the mysteries of this wide universe.
Love, in all of its wretched, beautiful forms.
These are acts of faith; the exploration it takes by a certain brave heart to allow the unmasking of life.
So the other day, i asked that voice in my little heart that knows the answers a Big Question.
My habit is to waffle around between head and heart, never lingering anywhere long enough to actually get anything uncovered, except maybe some surface level fears and cravings and other red herrings.
But this day, i planted myself into the ground, and asked and wondered and willingly held the concealment in my heart until, after a terribly long time, it began its untangling of itself from the untruths and the half-truths and became just beautiful, honest. I looked up to discover the most enchanting blue feather, right where it shouldn’t have been, with no blue birds in sight.
Just kidding; nothing got unconcealed, no conclusions were handed over, but i really liked the concealment, so perhaps answers came anyway.
nothing much to report except these mundane and precious details of day-to-day life:
it’s spring; i live in a treehouse again. green is everywhere you look. except above, of course, which is pure sky.
restorative yoga- yes. doing things gently-yes. N.B. settle down/chill out.
there’s a tree-heart at coronation park.
i said yes! to teach at a yoga festival, because i’m a joiner sometimes, but almost never.
learning, learning, clumsy fumbling, learning.
and a few lucky breaks including a spot on portman being nothing after all, an ache in my body fixing itself, small communities, and love.
what’s new with you?
“put some honey and sea water by your bed.
acknowledge, that your being needs sweetness and cleansing,
that it is sore.
that you are, soft.”
-orishas (nayyirah waheed)
Photos of yoga mats, feet, dogs, food.
They’re all boring.
But i’m in the market for a little boring.
Or maybe it’s Summer speaking. Or the fact that this has been a period of big, hard labour.
I’ve been spending a lot of time Getting Shit Done and Making Lists and Thinking about the Lists and about Getting Shit Done. As fast and efficiently as i can. Always. It’s fun too, but equilibrium is where it’s at.
At the end of my days, I suspect that I will think happily of the times when I hung around with muddy feet, the taste of honey, and laughed my heart out.
My tendencies of late to quickly get shit done and make lists really are a craw in the side of the laughing and muddy feet. And joy. Soften up the edges a little, man.
And so i got a baby pink yoga mat. And a soft smile.
Accompanying the yoga mat and the soft smile are other things like quietness, opening, waiting, willingness and being sensitive. They didn’t even advertise those! This mat is so much better than the old green one.
One of the yoga students talked to me about leisure on Saturday after class.
She says that she suspects in the next ten years, exercise will become kind of eighties, and that leisure will be the next big thing. Here’s hoping. I’m going to make a little prayer for it and start now. From the pink mat.