The Art of Window Gazing

Pull your chair up close, prop your feet up on the sill and lean back. Start with what is close by, just on the other side of the glass, then slowly raise your gaze up to the middle ground. Notice the movement--snow falling, wind blowing. Take in the stillness of all that does not bend or dance. Watch as living things run or fly through the scene.

Let the focus of your eyes soften. Sit with the interior gusts, the metal patio furniture that resists rearranging in your mind. Your job now is not to change the scene, but to watch and wait--as if nothing is wrong here. As if seeing is easy when we slow down enough to look.

Move your eyes up to sky, wide like possibility and deep like mystery. When clouds meander and planes draw a steady line overhead, note how the world keeps moving even when you are sitting still. Remember that you do not spin this planet, with your toil or all your activity or angst. Listen as if the answers will someday find you. As if the silence itself can heal.

Read more January 2014 writings here.

Let Yourself Be Held

Jan 2014 Scan_Nevada B&B 1.jpeg

Maybe it's enough to wait until the house is quiet. Or to watch the sun rise without a pen in hand.

Maybe it's enough to light the candles and fill the tub and play the same songs again and again until you're ready to move on. 

What if you took the day, simply as it is handed to you, without trying to change a single thing?

Scrubbing the tiles could be your holy practice, putting everything in its place could be your prayer. 

When it is time to move on, you will know it.

But in the meantime, there is this day and likely many more beyond it.

What if the days and weeks and months could form a cradle?

Could you let yourself be held?

Read more January 2014 writings here.

a "great year"

Jan 2014 Scan_laundry.jpeg

She says, It's gonna be a great year, and it's not until I hear her say it that I realize how much I doubt it.

I'm longing for something quiet now, something docile, steady and sweet. Something just like this moment--under a heap of flannel-covered down, watching the treetops dance in the red morning light.

It's hard to believe that something quiet is enough, or even allowed--that it will not squander the good graces of the universe. But I am watching so many who are ever on display and noticing how unwell it is for their souls.

Every leap must be followed by a proportionate grounding. A time to sink back into the support of the earth, to let the tremble make its way out of my legs and make sure I don't lose myself in the midst of it all.

What if this quiet reaches far past the bounds of February, I wonder. Can I grant myself enough permission for that?

I must. I must.

Read more January 2014 writings here.

What Stillness Looks Like

 Elephant sea lions on the California coast, Horizon Perfekt, 35mm

 Elephant sea lions on the California coast, Horizon Perfekt, 35mm

Not knitting. Letting your arms drop and your hands release even this motion.

Going where the words cannot follow.

Listening to rhythms and melodies on repeat. Forgoing narrative and story long enough to find your way on the inside before having to explain yourself on the outside.

Dropping all the way into memory and emotion like a deep well. Gathering what there is to gather before coming up again.

Letting your face soften. Exhaling all the way. Trusting the ones you love to hold your frailty with gentleness and understanding.

Allowing the passage of time to be a medicine.

Patience while you find your way. Back to center. Forward to what's next (yes, of course--someday), but a long long spell of steady standing patience in between.

Thinking of so many things you could be doing and saying, Not Today.

Watching the sunrise. Doing what the day requires and no more. Ending the day under a blanket (by a fire if you're lucky) and repeating.

Read more January 2014 writings here.

Spaciousness

Jan 2014 Scan_plants.jpeg

It happened in late November. Five months of touring with Indie Kindred just wrapped, and after two quiet days I was already impatient that I wasn't feeling rested, bounced back and ready to get ON with it, already. That's when Jolie pointed out, You know, Jen, you've been going full-on since Justin broke his ankle and leg . . .  in February.

That's when I realized it was going to take more than two quiet days to do the trick.

There has been so much in these busy months. Both adventure and togetherness, as well as time apart. There's also been a lot of living with small margins. If you can imagine all the ordinary things that fall behind, you'll have a good idea of what I've been doing ever since. Domesticity has been the ruler of my days.

But slowly, oh so slowly. What I missed most is a sense of spaciousness--in my living spaces, and also in my pacing and rhythm. I'm not so adept at down-shifting into lower interior gears. Often the only way to slow down is to find zero and start from there.

My therapist reminds me that spaciousness isn't something we DO, it's a way of being. This season for me is about reconnecting with the sufficiency of being, the power of stillness, tending the home inside and out and finding sanctuary there. 

All the magic and invention and wonder begin here, in the quiet. This month I invite you to join me there.

It feels like

11180396474_23556578b5_z.jpg

It feels like when the heavy thunderstorm eases into a gentle shower, but you're afraid to say "the storm has passed" lest it hear you and unleash its downpour and thunder all over again.

It feels like when you've been holding your corner of the world together for so long and finally someone is there to hold you.

It feels like the clarity that comes after the fever breaks, like the discernment your eyes take on after a long time away from home. How suddenly you can see everything that no longer fits, how you want to purge it all (like, yesterday) but the vision and the gap are so overwhelming you keep needing to take breaks and lie down.

It feels like holding all you've done before gently, even though your heart has traveled miles and years in the interim. Like wanting to burn it all to the ground but knowing it may still have purpose and service to offer some.

It feels like a compounding of endings, not just of a project but of something greater. The milieu that brought you to now (in this version, in this very moment) is unraveling and leaving you in the great uncertainty where it first found you.

It feels like coming out of hiding and knowing there's no going back, not really, but also knowing you need to rest and regroup before diving all-in to whatever comes next.

I miss you. Tell me what it feels like in your world, right now.