Taking Care, And a Few CoVid Resources

Where I live, like it is in many places, there is a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Directive. I’m glad for leadership offered by those tracking the bigger picture of CoVid, and it’s impact on systems failure — be they health care resources, unemployment support, manufacturing and distribution challenges, or a whole host of other things that are likely to be everything from wobbled to collapsed. Where I live, it feels like waiting for a CoVid storm, and watching it play out with huge heartbreak in other cities within this country and in other countries.

So, I remain, like many others, trying to make sense of things. Trying to pay attention. Trying to grow the limits of what I can pay attention to. Trying to be present. Trying to be helpful. With self, other, and this place (both my virtual communities and my local geography).

I’m reminded of a story Meg Wheatley told years ago that anchors some simple todos that I find myself reaching for in these times. Meg tells of working at a school, I think it was for elementary kids. On the day that she was there, there was a fire alarm. All the kids and staff proceeded outside in pretty structured ways. On that day it had rained a bit outside. The school yard was muddy. It meant that when the kids came in, it was a lot of muddy shoes. By the time Meg made it back in, what she saw was rows of shoes left at the door. Not muddy hallways with janitor racing for mop.

As Meg shared this story, she highlighted three practices that she saw in the experience with shoes, and three practices that are good grounding for these times.

  1. Take care of yourself.
  2. Take care of each other.
  3. Take care of this place.

I find myself needing to remember these kind of stories right now. I find myself grateful for a simplicity that creates values-based actions within complicated, complex, and chaotic times.

There are a few CoVid resources I’ve particularly appreciated lately. I’ll just list them, and a reason they’ve felt important. 

Charles Eisenstein, The Coronation — this is a long one, 9,000 words, but I find Charles to be wonderfully honest and thoughtful. He can refreshingly stay in the questions.

The Point Magazine, Quarantine Journal — because I need something that is not just statistics. They just started this within the last couple of weeks. Because, it’s good to know data. It’s also good to know human interest stories.

Shawna Lemay’s Blog, Transactions with Beauty — I love her humanness, her sharing outloud ability to witness her journey and what she sees in others. Her recent post, “And Yes” was the one that caught my attention in a CoVid way. 

So, wishing each of us the best we can in taking care. And in perusing resources. But also in just leaning in to this remarkable time of redirected urgency. For some — in my circles it’s health care professionals, teachers, and faith community leaders that are so on the front line. Urgency is mass effort and fatigue and worry and presence.

Thank you. Self. Each other. This place. Thank you.

For others, this urgency needs to be steered to a much more surrendering willingness to go to the deepest pools within one’s psyche. To the emptiness. To the loneliness. To the fatigue and worry that is so present in many. It would be crazy to miss this urgency also. I know, which probably ought not to be called “urgency” but rather “surrender” to what is I hope in me, others, this place, an evolution of who we can be as people together — not just waiting it out, hoping not to die, and then chasing the old ways.

Thank you. Self. Each other. This place. Thank you.


Pray For Peace (Thank you Shawna LeMay and Ellen Bass)

Spring has sprung where I live. Crocus have come and gone. Daffodils are plentiful. The first tulips have appeared. Grass is greening. Last year’s lettuce and kale are boldly returning. Trees are flowering, like this one in my front yard. These blossoms are abundant now — pinks and whites waking to the season.

I can find in me the dimension that is seeking waking. And synergy of beauty.

Every now and then I peek into Shawna LeMay’s site and blog, Transactions With Beauty. I quite love her writing. I quite love her thinking. I adore her photos — just noticeably good shots of flowers that move me instantly.

Recently Shawna posted a poem by Ellen Bass, Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. The poem is called, Pray For Peace. I love it’s breadth. I love it’s earthiness. I love it’s invitation to the simple and the involved.


Waking. Beauty. Prayers. Peace.


Pray for Peace

by Ellen Bass

Pray to whomever you kneel down to:
Jesus nailed to his wooden or plastic cross,
his suffering face bent to kiss you,
Buddha still under the bo tree in scorching heat,
Adonai, Allah. Raise your arms to Mary
that she may lay her palm on our brows,
to Shekhina, Queen of Heaven and Earth,
to Inanna in her stripped descent.

Then pray to the bus driver who takes you to work.
On the bus, pray for everyone riding that bus,
for everyone riding buses all over the world.
Drop some silver and pray.

Waiting in line for the movies, for the ATM,
for your latte and croissant, offer your plea.
Make your eating and drinking a supplication.
Make your slicing of carrots a holy act,
each translucent layer of the onion, a deeper prayer.

To Hawk or Wolf, or the Great Whale, pray.
Bow down to terriers and shepherds and Siamese cats.
Fields of artichokes and elegant strawberries.

Make the brushing of your hair
a prayer, every strand its own voice,
singing in the choir on your head.
As you wash your face, the water slipping
through your fingers, a prayer: Water,
softest thing on earth, gentleness
that wears away rock.

Making love, of course, is already prayer.
Skin, and open mouths worshipping that skin,
the fragile cases we are poured into.

If you’re hungry, pray. If you’re tired.
Pray to Gandhi and Dorothy Day.
Shakespeare. Sappho. Sojourner Truth.

When you walk to your car, to the mailbox,
to the video store, let each step
be a prayer that we all keep our legs,
that we do not blow off anyone else’s legs.
Or crush their skulls.
And if you are riding on a bicycle
or a skateboard, in a wheelchair, each revolution
of the wheels a prayer as the earth revolves:
less harm, less harm, less harm.

And as you work, typing with a new manicure,
a tiny palm tree painted on one pearlescent nail
or delivering soda or drawing good blood
into rubber-capped vials, writing on a blackboard
with yellow chalk, twirling pizzas–

With each breath in, take in the faith of those
who have believed when belief seemed foolish,
who persevered. With each breath out, cherish.

Pull weeds for peace, turn over in your sleep for peace,
feed the birds, each shiny seed
that spills onto the earth, another second of peace.
Wash your dishes, call your mother, drink wine.

Shovel leaves or snow or trash from your sidewalk.
Make a path. Fold a photo of a dead child
around your VISA card. Scoop your holy water
from the gutter. Gnaw your crust.
Mumble along like a crazy person, stumbling
your prayer through the streets.





Some Glad Morning

When I’m traveling and working, often my morning time (my preferred writing time) is very diminished. It’s filled with other good things, like design for the day to host a group. It’s filled with checking in with teammates to share how each other is doing. It’s filled with last minute clarifications.

What I still do, and love, is to check in on some others that write. Their words will often spark me. I need to hear beautiful words from others. I’m so grateful for those that continue to share.

I’ve shared Shawna Lemay’s writings before. Today I just thank her again, for her post that included the poem below, Some Glad Morning, by Joyce Sutphen. This one relaxes my body’s entire breath, as comfortable as collapsing into bed for such satisfying rest.



Some Glad Morning
by Joyce Sutphen

One day, something very old
happened again. The green
came back to the branches,
settling like leafy birds
on the highest twigs;
the ground broke open
as dark as coffee beans.

The clouds took up their
positions in the deep stadium
of the sky, gloving the
bright orb of the sun
before they pitched it
over the horizon.

It was as good as ever:
the air was filled
with the scent of lilacs
and cherry blossoms
sounded their long
whistle down the track
It was some glad morning.

Between the Divine and the Divine — Shawna Lemay

Oh, there are times, when someone get’s it just right!

Thank you Shawna Lemay for your blog, Transactions with Beauty, and for your post, Between the Divine and the Divine. I love her writing. Her tone refreshes. Her photos are divine.

I need and welcome reminders like this that turn me to, “Oh yah, that.” And that wake me up to spacious generosity again. To the rhubarb growing in my garden. To the dog next door that so often offers me a smile and welcomes a scratch to his ears. To the pause in the sunshine to feel it deeply on my face.

All too often, I stress and default to my list for which there just isn’t enough time, or that, let’s face it, there just is too much to.

Excerpted from Shawna’s blog...

There’s not enough time left to become famous. So I’m just going to sit in my backyard this summer and learn to breathe again. I’m going to hang out in that spot between the divine and the divine. 

If I wanted to become famous (whatever that is), I’d have to readjust everything about myself for that to happen. I’d have to go back deep into the childhood forest and stop trying to empty my mind among the birch trees. I’d have to give up learning to speak to the animals. Horses, deer, various birds. 

I’d have to go back in time and tell myself to give up poetry. Maybe I could have saved myself from obscurity as late as when I entered university when I was 23.