Saturday, October 29, 2011

solitude is blessed.

live now what others will only live in the future

For lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless
and lonely is healing if you make it.

Cause if you're happy in your head then solitude is blessed and alone is okay.

:: Tanya Davis ::

Thursday, October 27, 2011

things are changing.

Things are shifting. Change is afoot, waiting to make its mighty entrance.

I can feel it.

Can you?

The sun is in Scorpio now and my cells must be remembering when I first came alive, under this sun and during this season, almost 24 years ago now.

It is remembering.

Last week I decided to take myself for a long walk through the sunny woods, and as I was making my way up the hill from the field beyond my parents' house, I nearly stepped on a massive garter snake, frozen in the leaves. Time stood still and he stared up at me with bulging, beady eyes and as soon as I screamed and tried to change my step just an inch to the right (almost falling over), he slithered away through the dry leaves and vanished. As soon as I recovered from the fright (I can't remember the last time I ever saw even a tiny garter snake in this yard), I had a good laugh. I went inside, flung open my copy of Animal Speak, and read this:

           Anytime a snake shows up as a totem, you can expect death and rebirth to occur in some area of your life. This rarely reflects an actual death but rather a transition. Look for a change in conditions and a movement to new life. . . . . It can also reflect that your own creative forces are awakening. The stimulation of the kundalini usually has physiological as well as spiritual consequences. Physiologically it can activate the sexual drive, bring more energy, etc. Spiritually it can stimulate greater perception of how to apply your insight and intuition. Your own vision and and intuition will become more accurate.

Of course. Of course. Transition, rebirth, new life, applying intuition. Of course.

The desire for recalling my gratitude for the previous days has strengthened. Somehow, it feels extra important right now to be remembering these things, these tiny little slivers of everyday life that are actually huge, revolutionary moments to be stored away in my brain. This feels SO important.

Two days ago I forgot to write these things down in my journal, and instead listed them mentally as I fell asleep. The next morning at work, a father of one of the children in my classroom gave me this: (Ashley, my coworker, received one also)

And with this heartfelt (and so random!) thank-you note, we each got a gift card for coffee and apparel from the university where he works.

Talk about being grateful and getting more in return, eh?

The Universe is just astounding me these days. Things are changing. Things are shifting. Things are moving.

Things, good things, are coming.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

gratitude journal

From Friday, October 21st:

1. Walking in the woods wrapped in a sweater and a scarf.

2. The smell of woodstove smoke.

3. The calling of the crows outside.

4. Serendipitously leaving my cell phone at home all day long, just after I thought seriously about cutting back on technology time!

5. Chats with coworkers about first kisses.

6. The silence surrounding the pond, deep in the woods.

7. This song (oh my gosh, this song!) :

Saturday, October 22, 2011

inklings of consciousness.

In South Africa, I awoke.

I had been in a deep sleep, one of those slumbers where the entire world can't touch you, where you're oblivious to the sounds of doors closing and people shouting outside your bedroom and someone at your bedside snatching your favorite book from your nightstand.

I didn't hear any of it.

But even though these slumbers can be so deep and all-encompassing, all it can take is a breeze to brush against your hair or a change in temperature or a whisper in your ear to slowly bring you to consciousness.

Consciousness. That's it, isn't it? The stuff of life?

After living in South Africa for four months almost four years ago, I began to come to. I began to feel the bed beneath my body and the blankets covering me and the pillow supporting my head. I wasn't wiggling my toes or opening my eyes and I still had no idea where I was and I surely wasn't moving about, but I heard the whisper.

"Enough, Ruth. It's time to wake up."

moonlit trek down lion's head, south africamoonlit trek down lion's head, south africaoverlooking the city bowl from table mountain, south africakwazulu-natal, south africa

My mind couldn't comprehend. I had been tossed (quite voluntarily) into this deeply broken country which was in the midst of years upon years of healing, and the disparity was just too much to make sense of.

Gated mansions to my left, corrugated metal shacks to my right.  

No. This couldn't be.

I have seen destitution before. I have spent a year working in an inner city public school and have traveled to Haiti with an immersion group. In Hartford -- the poverty didn't nearly compare. In Haiti -- there was zero wealth to compare the poverty to.

South Africa felt totally, totally different.

learning to drive on the other side! cape point, south africabo-kaap, cape town, south africamy students and metownships, cape town, south africa

It was also my first time living far away from home, on my own. I needed to be present enough to take care of myself. I needed to fly 22 hours there. I needed to obtain very foreign currency from my US bank account. I needed to get myself to class. I needed to be on my own in a first grade classroom, where Xhosa was the  main language. I needed to live in a house with ten strangers. I needed to be away from everyone, and everything, I knew, while navigating spotty internet and expensive cell phone service.

To be dead asleep while trying to manage these things is incredibly difficult.

Which is why I needed to wake up.

seven sisters, from lion's head, cape town, south africaatlantic ocean over lion's head, cape town, south africakwazulu-natal, south africakwazulu-natal, south africain the drankensberg mountains, kwazulu-natal, south africadrakensberg mountains, south africa

Slowly, bit by bit, without even being aware of it, consciousness crept into my mind. Table Mountain mesmerized me. The wild, natural landscape of KwaZulu-Natal inspired me. My two very best friends I had made supported me. The people of Cape Town taught me of their journeys.

And also, anxiety became a regular companion. A natural companion, amidst the disparity and confusion and just-awake stupor. As I came into being, birthing myself into this new world, my mind was trying so hard to keep up.

But something shifted. Hugely.

The thought of ever returning to South Africa brings immediate pangs of nervousness and anxiety and churning, and yet --

it calls to me, like a birthplace.

Looking through these photos from that trip soothes my soul, despite the anxiety. They remind me of how asleep I once was, how far I've transitioned out of that very basic survival mode, how much more conscious I am today. And how much more conscious I'll inevitably become tomorrow, and the day after that, and a year from now.

It's good to look back, and realize.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

i want the feeling.

himalayan salt rock light

I want to stand beneath the bright white light of a full moon 
and throw my arms and heart open wide and proclaim to the world: 
"Yes! This is it. This is my life! . . . . . And I'm happy!"

I want to be so bursting with life that I can't even contain it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

waiting and becoming.

"After nearly two years, I had absolutely nothing tangible to show for two whole years of my life.....I wanted my new life to start yesterday. So why was it taking so long?.....Have I mentioned that I'm really bad at waiting? I wanted to fast forward through the whole process and find out where I was going to BE. Which means (you guessed it), I was definitely not living in the moment.....I've since realized that those two years were critical, potent, fertile years of development, during which I planted all the seeds that are now blossoming.

I now call those two years my Waiting and Becoming years."

:: Dr. Lissa Rankin ::

Saturday, October 15, 2011

a horse-y photo shoot

A glimpse into my shoot last week for my dear friend Lauren and her mom, riding at a show at Independence Stable in Belchertown, Massachusetts.

lauren and ryanjane and 2soxwarming up before the showentering the show2sox, 46, and ryan, 482soxhuman legs, horse legsryan in afternoon light2sox at the meadow

There's something about documenting a person (or animal!) at their happiest, most natural state that makes me yearn for more of this.

I think I'll recruit my mother and little sister to be my next models.

Friday, October 14, 2011

as it was born to do.

sunny oak

"When a bird takes flight, we don’t study the way it looks, 
or how it flies, or if it should be up there, 
defying gravity and fear and perfection. 
It just is – a miracle, a bird flying as it was born to do. 
Just like you and me."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

note to self.


Good morning, dear readers.

Rain is falling and I have a hot mug of chai nearby and a dark, quiet house all to myself and finally a morning off from work

and things are looking brighter, today.

Yesterday, I walked down to the pond and stood at its edge, and spoke aloud of the things I want.  I told the Universe (or God, or Goddess, or Great Spirit, or what-have-you) that I intend to get these things, but that I need help. I then wrote down a lengthy list of all that I needed to do back at home that night, and then all of the things that I wanted to do, afterwards. (I always have such trouble distinguishing the two.)

That short little walk through the woods, after a really messy day, did wonders for my soul, I'm sure of it.

Note to self: Step into nature more often. It's more healing than you'd think.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

this mess of your life is your life.

this is your life

Jen Lemen once wrote:

"This mess of your life is your life."

And I remember feeling bowled over backwards, like I had been smacked in the face, only really I felt like I was falling uncontrollably forwards, towards something good, something healing.

Like I was diving into something true.

On days like today, when everything seems off-kilter and backwards and unbalanced and wrong and just plain messy, when I just want to go back to bed and do it all over and try, try so hard, for something to give and a lightbulb to go off in my head while I think, "Oh yes! That's it! That's what I needed to make this day right!" these kinds of days make me feel like my life is just a jumbled mess and forGod'ssake, get with it, Ruth.

And yet, this jumbled mess of my life is my life. This is it. In between the waking up late and the tired aching body and the irritating coworkers and the salad for lunch that went soggy and the wishinghopingpraying for a more satisfying kind of job and the growing list of tasks I keep stored in my brain as I drive and the snowball of guilt and regret that tumbles behind me on a regular basis and oh yes! the ever-present sadness of the death of my sweet, soul-companion kitty just days ago --

this is where it's happening.

And so I let it all in. It was around 11:00 this morning, and I decided to just give in. I didn't wallow, and I didn't self-pity, I just accepted it. I fell into it.

Yes, today life sucks. I'm feeling totally overwhelmed by it and just don't have the energy and support to pull myself up out of this hole. So I may as well sit and take a breather, while I'm here.

This acknowledgement, this owning of it, helps.

This mess of my life is my life.

But I'm coming to believe that it's in these messes where the real good stuff happens.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

hard as flint.

compassionate mornings
As for life,
I'm humbled,
I'm without words
sufficient to say

how it has been hard as flint,
and soft as a spring pond,
both of these
and over and over,

and long pale afternoons besides,
and so many mysteries
beautiful as eggs in a nest,
still unhatched

though warm and watched over
by something I have never seen—
a tree angel, perhaps,
or a ghost of holiness.

Every day I walk out into the world
to be dazzled, then to be reflective.
It suffices, it is all comfort—
along with human love,

dog love, water love, little-serpent love,
sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds
flying among the scarlet flowers.
There is hardly time to think about

stopping, and lying down at last
to the long afterlife, to the tenderness
yet to come, when
time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever,

and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves.
As for death,
I can't wait to be the hummingbird,
can you?
: Mary Oliver : 

Friday, October 7, 2011

today's the day.

Stella was introduced on this blog, and I feel like I wrote about her all the time.

And now I'll say goodbye on this blog.

Thank you, Stella.



Wednesday, October 5, 2011


prayer flags on the side of the road

"Maybe sometimes, we've got it wrong, but it's all right."

: Corrinne Bailey Rae, Put Your Records On :

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


(A few photos of life spinning by, in my blog absence.)

There's time to be awake and time to be asleep. Today, there was time to scrape by at work, fall in love with this post, take a hot shower, and write this post. Not much else. Except for sleep.

When I feel my menstrual cycle rolling in, my body craves sleep. The tiniest detail of life causes feelings of overwhelm and defeat to spring up, and so today, I'm thinking that my easiest possible solution is to give up on the resistance.

Good night :)