Thursday Re-View — My Vacation Within

Royal Clipper
The itinerary of the 7-day cruise says I visited Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts, Iles des Saintes and Martinique.

I say I visited the bow netting on the clipper ship, the empty deck at night and the inside of myself. My own brand of vacation in the beautiful islands of the Caribbean. Into the islands of my Self.

This trip was not to sight see or interact with lots of people. This was to rejuvenate.

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The quarter moon barely lights the sky as the midnight hour approaches.
The stars, bearers of sparkling light, are thrown across the velvet blanket above.
The waves, dark as the darkest night, pound against the steel hull,
crashing in caps of white froth over and over again.

I sit alone, wind whipping hair across my face as the spray moistens my skin.
A baptism, of sorts, in this, my communion with the sea.

The ship pounds into the swells, up and down, then side to side
as the canvas sails slap and the rigging creaks and moans.
The ocean’s power reminds me of my insignificance as we surge across the wine-dark dark sea.
The ship upon the waves is but a small thing, and I am smaller still.

I sit alone, wind whipping hair across my face as the spray moistens my skin.
A baptism, of sorts, in this, my communion with the sea.

I am not thinking, only feeling.
Total peace and contentment, all alone in the night.
Nothing else exists in these elemental moments;
’tis but woman and the sea.

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In the busyness of those ordinary days, I close my eyes and imagine my Self back on deck.

I sit alone, wind whipping hair across my face as the spray moistens my skin.

The ordinary is now extraordinary. I am at peace. I am free.

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Thursday Re-View — “Walk On” by Jyoti

In my work with loss and bereavement, music is a powerful tool. It not only comforts the dying, but the living as well.

“Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying,” produced by Michael Stillwater and Gary Malkin, blends messages and music about life, death, forgiveness and acceptance, narrated by spiritual thinkers from a variety of faith traditions.

One of my favorites, which I use for myself from time to time to affirm my life journey, follows. Here, Jeanine Prevatt holds sacred her Cherokee lineage and her deep connection to the Earth. You can also find the accompanying music on iTunes if the words speak to your heart, as they do to mine.

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mocassans II

Walk On
~ Jyoti ~

Good morning, Grandfather.
I entered this life a ways back
and put skin on to walk two-legged on this Creation –
and what a glorious time it was.

It taught me about breath
and about sensing and feeling and caring through my heart.
And I walked on around that Red Road,
looking and trying to understand more
about the mystery and the secrets She holds.

And You spoke to me through the wind,
and You sang to me through the birds.
And You brought challenges forth so that
I might listen to the message You bring me more sincerely.
And I kept walking down this road.

And I came ’round the bend
at the middle of that curve in the road
and I began to find a secret in the Spirit of my Self…

And still I walked on, sometimes blind and deaf,
and sometimes with pain.
But I fought with my fears and I embraced my unknowingness –
and still I walked on.
And my children and my family stood with me
and we came to know each other in those later years more than we
had before – for some of our falseness had fallen away –
and still I walked on.

And I kept walking on this road towards You,
towards that other world that grew closer to me with each step.
And as the door of the Great Spirit world came closer
my fear loomed up inside sometimes…

But something called me forth –
the Morning Star rose with each day –
and my prayer became a centering – and still I walked on,
until I began to hear the Song of the Mother,
and Her arms embraced me so,
that instead of walking She carried me right to the door.
And as the door opened, I heard Her Song,
and Her Song lifted me up, so I could soar.

herondance.org

herondance.org

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Monday Meeting — Blind Man & Double Amputee Survive Together

 

blind

Sometimes a story comes along that cannot help but tug at the heartstrings. Any example of great achievement in the face of adversity deserves to be recognized – and that is exactly what we have here.

Jia Haixa and Jia Wenqi are environmentalist of a very unique sort. The former is blind, while the latter is a double-amputee. Together over the last decade, they have managed to use their symbiotic relationship to plant over 10,000 trees.

Unable to find jobs due to their impairments, and aware of environmental issues close to where they live, Haixa and Wenqi decided to do something quite extraordinary.

Working as one, they have become each other’s eyes and hands in the task of transforming a three-hectare stretch of riverbank in Yeli village, in north China’s Hebei Province. Planting the trees not only provides an income to feed their families, but it also helps prevent the flooding of nearby villages by strengthening the flood plains.

“I am his hands,” said Haixia in a recent interview with People’s Daily Online. “He is my eyes. We are good partners.”

The 53-year-old was born with congenital cataracts that blinded his left eye. His situation worsened in 2000 when he lost site in his right eye after a work-related accident.

Wenqi has lived with his impairment since he was 3, after losing both arms in an accident.

blind I

The two met in 2001. Both were unable to secure work yet desperately needed a way to earn a living.

Haixia speaks of how he wanted to provide for his family: “My son came home one day and said, ‘Dad, I smelled an orange when another kid was peeling it and it was like I could taste it’. I felt sorry for my son, that he couldn’t even eat his own orange.”

The words of his son stirred him on to succeed. “I had to live for him to have more.” Haixia said, “I had to work hard and focus on making money.”

So together, Haixia and Wenqi came up with a plan to combine their skills in whatever way they could.

This led them to the idea that they could plant trees; a move that would earn them the extra money they so badly needed.

They approached the local government to lease a large stretch of the riverbank near Yeli. In view of their poor living conditions the authorities decided to exempt them from paying rent.

And now ten years on, the two have planted nearly 10,000 trees.

Each day, they leave their home at 7am armed with a hammer and iron rod. Wenqi carries his blind companion across the fast-moving river to reach their portion of the bank.

blind II

Since they do not have enough money to purchase saplings, they have to manually collect cuttings, which isn’t easy considering their impairments.

Haixia, guided by his armless companion, slowly scales the trees to collect cuttings. He then returns to solid ground where he digs a hole and plants the new shoot.

Wenqi then takes care of watering the saplings.

It is a very slow process, however the two of them keep on going. “Though we did not accomplish much in dozens of years, we recognize the effort,” Haixia said.

Ultimately, they are independent. Haixia has been able to provide for his family against all odds, and together they are rightly proud of what they have achieved.

“We stand on our own feet,” Wenqi added. “The fruits of our labor taste sweeter. Even though we are gnawing on steam buns, we find peace in our hearts.”

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Thursday Re-View — Kaleidoscope

colors

You of magnificent beauty.

You soar, you leap, you create.

You allow molten tears to scald my heart,
to carve deep channels of pain and loss.

Yet those random channels follow a course as old as time…
No — older — pulled in a direction already known.

And so the tears flow, scarring my heart.
They sear into my soul,
then collect into a reservoir
carpeted in the velvet of midnight.

No movement. Into the abyss of despair.

Then a glimmer…faint.

No — silence; all is still.

Then, a swirl — a spiral —
of blues and turquoise, of teal and purple —
spearing the darkness with light.
Dancing, sparkling, shooting upward.

You glimmer and spark and shimmer
as you bounce across the heavens.
Moving toward the darkest of broken places,
leaving brilliant cascades of shimmering light
in Your wake.

Until each of those bursts of shimmering light
coalescence into a kaleidoscope of magnificent beauty.

I am struck. I gasp. I kneel, only to collapse.

My tears immerse me in baptism
until my heart explodes in a whirlwind of color,
and the love pours over me, through me.

Its wings envelop me,
and I soar toward that which is
almost painful to gaze upon.

I cannot look, but I must see.

Racing, longing, streaming toward the place of my creation —
of all creation — of oneness. Whole.

I left, only to return.

I wept, only to gasp.

I burned, only to temper.

The vibration. The fire.

I dissolve. I merge. I end.

I begin. I am home.

I am. Yours.

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