Slow Food for Thought

 

blossoms

(beautiful art by Loren Webster)

 

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

– John O’Donohue

“Slow time” is a pair of words I like to linger within, when I can remember to slow down long enough to do so. It reminds me of a Japanese phrase- “mono no aware”- the heightened, yet transient ahh-ness of things. What comes to mind right away when I think about this are lifecycle moments: a peony at its peak, ready to drip its plethora of petals, a moist forest carpeted with the plums and browns of decaying leaves just before the snows come in, or a young fawn on spindly legs still speckled with the soft signs of just being born. I remember having just discovered the term “mono no aware” on a hot summer day in Palm Springs, California. Looking up at the sky for the first time with this new awareness gave me such a fresh perspective. It brought me immediately into a place of gladness, presence, and the present. How long would the sky remain that shade of blue? When would that cloud formation change into a new form? I didn’t know, but in that moment, I granted myself the time to appreciate every second before me- each tinge of perfection and change in its own current and unique state. I had somehow entered into “slow time”.

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Are you a falcon, a storm, or a great song?

Happy birthday Rainer Maria Rilke! Among the crystal cold awakenings we experience during the birth of winter in this month of December, I love to think about Rilke’s clarity of thought in lines like this one: “I circle around God, around the primordial tower. I’ve been circling for thousands of years and I still don’t know: am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song.” I’ve pondered this line more than once before, and was even asked by one of my teachers which one I would choose. How about you? Are you a falcon, a storm, or a great song? The adventure I take with this “Saint of Centers” in my book “Camino Divina”, is one of well, centering- “into the heart of things”. I invite you to come along. Enjoy!

The encaustic painting featured today is by Caterina Martinico, an artist featured on Etsy.

Medicine

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Medicine for Surgery:

 

Mindful view of glass-paned greenscape, incoming-

the gloss and black-masked glaze of a cedar waxwing,

floating onto a branch from the larger greyworld.

 

Rose honey- in a jar- “good for the heart” my visiting

alchemist said, “scientifically, not just metaphorically”,

the antiquing beige petals floating in a sweetness sea.

 

Words, words, words, words. Flowing through the

portals of Facebook and phone call- friendly chatter

cresting in a light crescendo of levitation, laughter.

 

Small, simple grace of an extra helping of sleep amid

cries from the deeper wound seeking to heal Itself

through pains of a red inner world unseen.

 

Music- Melody. Blood-red beets on a salad of flowers.

Appearances on the stages of dreams. Colors in my fingers

foraging forms from cuttings, crumbs of origami scraps.

 

Breathing. Baring. Bearing. Being

here now.

– Gina Marie Mammano

A Fresh Morning Perspective from a Friend

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I asked the whitebark pine

 

a question, and he said to me,

“aren’t you glad we don’t all talk?”

And in silence he spoke:

a million voices whining, droning in

each other’s ears like a carnival madhouse?

Each leaf, each tendril, each rooty spine spinning

sounds, yabba, yabba, yabba, yabba.

The quiet madness of the mosquito multiplied

more than a million times over?

Aren’t you glad some of us convey

by bark, by bearing, by Being?

Aren’t you glad some of us commune

in the quiet witness of Living?

 

and in Silence, I understood.

 

  • Gina Marie Mammano

The Gathering

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“Rothko Sunrise” by JohnTaylor Wildfeuer

Breakfast: a sip of blue and alpenglow, followed by a swath of mango-sky and mountain melt, then finished off with a sorbet of sunrise.

Mmmmm . . . couldn’t be better. To begin the celebration of midlife with this kind of smoothie seems the perfect antidote to the common middle-aged ideas of endings, closures, winding-downs, and finishings. This feels more like a great big beginning, with the natural world concocting some sort of eye tempting breakfast drink to start my day. To start my life. Before I gather with my co-conspirators in celebrating my second half, I will gather myself.

What have I collected in this body of mine over the past 50 years? This body of information, this body of experience, this body of work?

What poetry of life has been gathered into this one perfect being I call “myself”? (And I use “perfect” in the ever-complete-in-each-moment sense. Every moment is a chance to be once again perfect or complete. Anyway, I diverge).

What juicy phrases and phases, unique mixtures of life, love, work, wildness, and companionship have created this cocktail of me?

I will sip on this.

 

 

 

Time Out for a Tribute: David Bowie

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A Tribute to The Starman

David Bowie’s soul
floats like a giant orange nebula
across a creaking Cosmos,

luminous matter, morphing its way
past the scrape of starlight,

shocking rocky spheres of stellar
mass into sudden tufts of quiet stardust,

sending planets subtly, slowly
off their familiar tilts.

And a geomagnetic storm rages
somewhere now in the corner of
the Universe

and so does a voice,
ringing like
cosmic glass-

“there’s a starman waiting in the sky,
he’d like to come and meet us,
but he thinks he’d blow our minds . . . .”

Thank you, David Bowie

– Gina Marie Mammano

Swamp Lanterns

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Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we have a plant called, “skunk cabbage”. You may know it, as it sprouts up in other parts of the country as well. It appears as a yellow sconce of slick petals housing a small “wick” of seeds. It can be quite startling passing by a “barren” patch of a mud hole for most of the year, then seeing these “surprises” pop up as a roomful of yellow lights, populating the ground with color.

The other name for this plant is “swamp lantern”. I prefer this name. I think it represents the plant more elegantly, and truer to its form. A thing of beauty. A thing of brightness. The unexpected emerging from the thick and lightless.

For those of us who traverse often or not so often, through the mud, we are grateful for swamp lanterns as they appear- yellow and bright, a sudden burst of glow from seemingly out of nowhere. This metaphor can reach into so many corners. A loving, energizing phone call or email in the middle of the day. The peeking out of the sun, creating seams of light on hems of dark clouds. A kind gesture, simple and human.

May swamp lanterns appear in the muddy places throughout your week. And may you, yourself, be a swamp lantern as well.