Saturday, July 16, 2016


"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch 
of grapes as if it had nothing else in 
the universe to do." 

-Galileo Galilei

Its mid-July and I am sitting on my front porch once again, having returned from 17 days on the East Coast.  It's warm and breezy, and the wind-chimes provide the perfect tinkling to accompany the wildly-brushing-against-each-other-leaves that cover the trees on our street.  My yard is shady at this time of day and the garden is dancing with busy bees and butterflies gathering nectar from the flowers my Sweetheart has been cultivating for our viewing pleasure.  The whispery rush of the wind in the trees is one of my favorite things about this porch in the heat of summer.

As I sit here, I can't help but notice the season of ripening has begun.  The limey green shoots of spring have been replaced with the emerald richness that heralds maturity.  Every bush and branch is dressed in its completed summer regalia. And while the flowers I mentioned earlier continue to bloom, many have already been replaced by the crunchy brown pods that hold the seeds of potential for another year.

I've always found it questionable that our modern society expresses winter as the time of hustle and bustle, while summer is considered a time of vacation and rest.  Nature's example is exactly the opposite.  Nature releases its need to bring forth life and, instead, rests in the fall and winter, slumbering under a blanket of cool stillness.  It works diligently in the spring and summer to birth new life, and to nurture that life into plump abundance.  (The impact of our living in opposition to Nature is something worthy of discussion on another day.  For now, I am focused on the ripening.)

In general, when fruit ripens, it gets softer, sweeter and more colorful.  There is little that can be done to speed up this natural process.   It takes time.  The best fruit is harvested when the perfect conditions (sun, water, etc) combine with a lack of bad weather or predators that might snatch the fruit from the vine before it is fully ready.

If we were to walk in harmony with the earth, now would be our time of ripening too - a time to get softer, sweeter and more colorful.  In this season, we spend more time outside in the sun, gathering together for picnics, family visits and other activities.  We seem to laugh more and show a bit more of our lively selves to the world.

Like fruit, our ripening can be halted by predators that pray on our soft, sweet core. For that reason, its a good time to be selective about who we spend our time with and to surround ourselves with those who are healthy of mind, heart and body.  Its a good time to visit with friends who have a positive and optimistic perspective on the "bad weather" of life (which we are all subject to at one time or another).

For the next few weeks, I'll be ripening...sitting on my porch, or maybe in my kayak, basking in the sun, enjoying this season and the sweetness it brings.   I'll be sharing time with darling souls who bring meaningful stories and vibrancy into my life, and i'll be marveling at the varied hues of our shared existence.  I'll be softening - allowing the shields I've used to protect myself to fall away so that the delight of living freely and joyfully can come to the surface.

It takes time to ripen fully.  If I can simply give myself the gift of this time, the ripening I'll experience will lead to tasty pleasures and nourishment in the harvest season ahead.

How about you?  Are you ready to ripen?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Intimacy and Ultimacy

"There's nothing more intimate in life than simply being understood. And understanding someone else.” 
― Brad MeltzerThe Inner Circle

For the past five days. we have been visiting friends on the East Coast.  We have driven to the homes of Dear Ones, brought in our bags, cooked meals together, sat around in our PJ's, watched the birds and wildlife interact in their yards , told stories of our adventures, and laughed at each other's jokes.  We have had real, from-the-heart, conversations...the kind that happen when there is plenty of time to let things unfold. The only word that seems to describe the experience is "intimate."  These moments have been so remarkably real and so connecting.

We have been loved and made to feel "at home" and I have had little desire to be online, much happier to share the sacredness of each holy moment, person-to-person.  I feel so honored to have enjoyed a peek into their have wandered their neighborhoods, and to have shared in the beauty they are surrounded by each day.  In some cases, I have been able to point out the loveliness they have come to take for granted.  In other cases, they have pointed out things in my life that seemed beautiful to them and which I no longer notice. It has been such a rich and meaningful time.

It is said that people seek two things in life - "intimacy and ultimacy."  We want to feel connected, and we want to understand what life is really all about.  I've been thinking about both of these topics.
Tomorrow, we head up the mountain to a festival called Spiritfire. (Actually, it's more like a hill if you are from Colorado - but don't tell anyone around here because perception is reality and it's a mountain to the locals).  We will gather with nearly 200 people from arround the Country who come together to share all-night ceremony around a sacred fire.  We will dance from dark to dawn, drum and chant, and care for each other (which can mean offering water and food to those who need nourishment,  listening to each other as things unfold, or even giving a footrub where needed.)    It is work - sacred work - and it changes people.  And while it can be exhausting, it is also ecstatic.

For four nights, we will gather in this way, sharing our deep hearts, our vulnerable spirits, our silly, mischievous, playful souls - and, when we are done,  we will return to our homes, transformed.  My friend Julie would say "it's intimacy on steroids!"

When we work together all night, the facades melt away.  We are immersed in the luminous glow of a spiritual flame, and slowly, hour after hour, the movement releases the layers of social identity that keep us separate.  In time, we come to dance as one body, sing as one soul, pray as one spirit -  prompted by the rhythm of the community pulse. As the sun rises, we look into each other's eyes and remember the ultimate truth of life.  We are here for each other -  here to experience such a deep interconnectedness with all of life that we realize who we really are.  The Divine Expression.

It is intimacy that leads to ultimacy.  When we risk letting the pretenses between us fall and show our unprotected hearts to one another, we encounter what some call Agape .... or  Unconditional Love. There is nothing more intimate than that.