Tag: beauty

“You Can Do This Hard Thing”: The Odd Road to Tougher

A firefighter told me yesterday that when he started working with me on his resilience he was excited because he thought that he was going to come out of it tougher, stronger, better able to just push through the hard things. “And I was wrong about that,” he said.  “I’m softer now than I think I’ve been since I was a kid.  And I’m happier, and I do my job better, and I think I’ll be able to do it for longer.  But you didn’t make me tougher.”  Except that I did.  This is the paradox of resilience and vulnerability.  That from

How to Eat Love

Love is going out to kill a turkey in 20-degree weather so that your wife can tend other things.  And love is still liking the man who is grinning and handing you a large turkey to pluck in 20-degree weather, and it is the rueful smile in return.  Then it is catching each other's eyes over the table, biting into turkey but also into the body memory of cold fingers touching, the grin, the rueful smile, the puppies wrestling over feathers, the bucket steaming from the boiling water, blood in snow, the times a turkey attacked our daughter and another chased the

The Sermon of Lorca’s Animals

When I was asked to speak again this year for the St. Francis-inspired sermon of animals, my first thought was, “What if I said everything I had to say last year!”  Last year's sermon of animals was a flow coming from multiple places of animals in the life of family and field, forest and farm, and it was very broad spectrum — all the species, all the roles, all the interaction between creatures and family and land. But there is always more about animals.  So this year, it’s not the macro, but the micro — three short portraits.  I want to

Profanity for Children

I refrained from swearing near my young children, not precisely for their sakes, but as much in love for the cherished Lutheran couple next door who, already feeling sorrow for our unsavedness would be further dismayed to hear the Lord’s name taken in vain. Perhaps, too, it wasn’t really my genius, lacking early conviction. We sea kayakers were ever the less salty dogs. Later, I did offer the kids three-score Elizabethan epithets for the self-indulgent entertainment of hearing the snarls across the game board — “Gleekish wraith-borne ambsace!” “Beslubbering sheep-biting hedgepig!” World across, we each choose the obscenities that most shock our own inner alien — the sacred, the sexual, the emissions, the

Ignite Your Creativity

Teaching is about information and understanding. Coaching, however, is for intuition and implementation.  Here's a 2-minute video if you're all about firing up creativity and implementing what feeds your life! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsm1wZgDB40 How much creativity could your life stand? Ray Bradbury said, "I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting.  I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans.  I get out of bed to trap them before they escape." We have a tendency to see creativity as being in play for making art.  And it is.  But creative impulse that is stuffed

Radical Awakeness: Living Among Animals

Spoken to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman for the Blessing of the Animals... I was invited to share today in part because my life and my work has become embedded in so very many animals.  Our river farm is and has been home to homing pigeons, white doves, Icelandic sheep, pigs, dogs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, honeybees, rabbits.  It is also home to great horned owls who called as I wrote this, nesting kestrels and red-tailed hawks, eagles, magpies and snipe, woodpeckers and Eastern kingbirds, snakes and mice, porcupine, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, trout, turtles and whitefish, and the occasional moose, bear

Adventures in “Deathbed” Conversations

A story and an invitation and a challenge.  The story is here in this short Pecha Kucha video. This was about people playing with courage... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th9KqjiXSL8 So the invitation and challenge is a game, an experiment I play, composed around freedom and courage and the awareness of mortality. The project had its roots in the letter writing workshops that I led over years.  I taught people to be more open and fun and colorful in the letters that they put into the mail, but I also started inviting people to write the amazing letters, the life-changers, the kind that are powerful in the lives of

This I believe.

We are all together on this ship and some of us will die sooner.  Some young.  I will grieve again, and comfort.  It may be me.  Those of us who are lucky will know ahead of time and not be incapacitated by pain and exhaustion and messes we have not cleaned up.  If we are luckier this heightened awareness that is the gift of death may be seized  by us periodically and good and great things and moments will be brought into the world as a result. What do I want to have been in my life with my mothers?  my

On living on the right side of the tapestry.

Death. Love. Emergencies. Sheep. Cleaning. Gardening. Paperwork. Phone calls. Making things. These are all steady players in a season, gardens sometimes excepted. And all of them are lived through a metaphor -- held up in my mind to an old, half-completed piece of embroidered tapestry tucked in a basket on a high shelf. It doesn't matter what it shows, though I believe there is a pond, a distant house and some small horses. The silk colors were lovely. I may never finish it. But its value lies in