Tuesday, November 29, 2016

7:30 BELLS: Nightingale in the Mosque

" . . . unless the nightingale sings in the mosque, prayer is of no use." --Marie Louise von Franz

I love this comment von Franz made in her commentary on the fairy tale The Nightingale Gisar. You can find that on page 179 of her book Individuation in Fairy Tales. And, I might add after mosque, the temple, the church, the heart, the Self...

As I sit nursing my bronchitis, staring out at the green wood, I'll muse on that line like a melody.

I hope to be back with more 7:30 BELLS next week.

Meanwhile, may you be well--and listen for the nightingale!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Stack of Butter, Stack of Books

When I was ten to twelve years old, sometimes I'd go with my Dad to his shop on Capitol Hill in Seattle. I'd hang out there until my ballet lesson at Cornish. He'd give me a dollar, and I'd walk around the corner to a cafe. As soon as the waitress saw me coming, she'd yell back to the cook, "Stack of Butter!" Those three beautiful words meant toast.

I sat at the counter under her watchful eye and pulled out my book. Toast and a good book--what more could you want? I've always loved to eat while I read. Kids today are glued to their phones during meals. I was glued to my book. (Now some would say this is not "mindful" eating. I would say their is more to the experience of eating than the food that goes into your mouth.)

So in this holiday time of delicious foods, I ask you this: What book would you read at Thanksgiving dinner (if your parents or spouse or family would let you!) and why? Or perhaps break your meal and books into courses, like pairing wine with food. What book would you read with the stuffing? Which with the pumpkin pie?

This would be a fun assignment for kids.

Wishing you a Thanksgiving surrounded by everything you love--family, food, and books of course,


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

7:30 BELLS: Then and Now, and Still The Same

For twenty years, this was the tiny view I had from the writing window of my house on Tacoma. On December 12, 2012 I posted this poem about it:

A Room With No View

If you see only rooftops—
christen each shingle.

If you see only crows—
tickle their feathers.

If you see only wires—
join their crackling gossip.

If you see only clouds—
ask where they’ve been.

If you see only cages—
slide down the light on the bars,
and you will be free.

Dia Calhoun 12/2012

Where we live now on the Nisqually, we just had these windows and doors (trim covering!) installed. Now I have a room with a big view. This is my backyard. The light through the trees is where the river runs. And I love it.

But I'm still cultivating the same attitude expressed in the poem. Because I believe that if your inner view is large enough, even a room with no window will look out upon immensity.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

7:30 BELLS: Trailing in the River

An alder tree, bare now of leaves, leans out over the river--swift and deep in November. But only one branch trails in the current. It reminds me of a swimmer dipping in a toe to test the water.

This makes me think of myself. I’m leaning toward the river, too. Each night I enter it when I dream. Each morning, awake, I trail one finger, trying to remember the dreams. Like the branch on the tree, my reach is shallow compared to the depth of the river.

Now the trailing branch catches a leaf. Sometimes I catch one luminous symbol rising toward the surface and turn it in my grateful, wondering hands.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

7:30 BELLS: When You Love Enough to Change Your Skin

Have you ever heard of a corn frog? I haven’t. But we found this frog in our corn patch. There aren’t any other corn patches nearby. So either this frog took an incredible journey, or he’s a chameleon, able to adapt the color of his skin to his surroundings. Looks quite at home, doesn’t he?

The chameleon gift is supposed to be a survival mechanism. Maybe so. But I think this frog loved the corn patch so much, he became as much a part of it as he could. Like me in my green shoes. I love the woods so much, I’m becoming part of it.

For more on the story of the green shoes--how a dream in the night turned into a real pair of shoes--and for ideas on working with your dreams, read the Creative Conversations interview I had with author Janet Lee Carey on her blog.

Meanwhile, consider this: what do you love so much you’d change your skin to be part of it?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

7:30 BELLS: Rain: Embodied in the World

Record rain fell here in October. When I embrace the rain as an element, I can find its magic. I did today when I walked down the river trail. The rain softened the woods—the grey Douglas Fir trunks, the branches gloved in lichen green, the rushing water. And the rain brightened the woods, too. Wet golden maple leaves shone on the ground. Black rocks shone in the river.

The rain became embodied in the world. I want to live like that. I’ve begun to think about and practice being fully embodied in the world. That means living less from my head. It means being more aware of everything around me, and how my senses, my skin, and my moving body experience it. Like the softness and shine of rain.

The more I walk through the world fully embodied, the more  of it I can hold. And the steadier the bells ring.