Category Archives: Poudre River

Day of Rest

Learning to pause is the first step in the practice of Radical Acceptance. A pause is a suspension of activity, a time of temporary disengagement when we are no longer moving toward any goal . . . The pause can occur in the midst of almost any activity and can last for an instant, for hours or for seasons of our life . . . We may pause in the midst of meditation to let go of thoughts and reawaken our attention to the breath. We may pause by stepping out of daily life to go on a retreat or to spend time in nature or to take a sabbatical . . . You might try it now: Stop reading and sit there, doing “no thing,” and simply notice what you are experiencing. ~Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the magic of pausing, about what is worth pausing for. On our morning walks along the Poudre River, the mosquitoes are now out in full force. They are murderous with hunger and they also carry West Nile Virus, so we make every effort to not get bitten. This means we have to keep moving, go fast, and yet, there are many things worth pausing for. I offer the following as my list from the past few days of what was worth pausing for.

The rose bush next to my front door, which has gone mad with blooms this season.

This row of peonies, only half of what was planted along the front edge of this property and has made me revise my wish for three or four more plants in my front yard to THIS.

Mama turtle laying eggs next to the river.

Robin sitting on a fence in a sea of green.

Horses grazing.

Baby goose in the river.

Deer crossing the river, (there were two, but we spooked the other one back to the bank).

Twin baby deer. These were magic, because the place we saw them is an arboretum on campus at Colorado State University. Not in some far off wooded natural area, but smack in the middle of town.

Through the sacred art of pausing, we develop the capacity to stop hiding, to stop running away from our experience. We begin to trust in our natural intelligence, in our naturally wise heart, in our capacity to open to whatever arises. ~Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

Day of Rest

This is what the river looked like just two weeks ago. The water was low and filled with dark ash from last summer’s fires, green algae growing in the stillness, with a spot in the middle where the bottom was completely exposed, the trees at the edge reflecting off the quiet surface.

To see it this morning was a reminder that things change, ebb and flow, always arising and falling away, constantly shifting, beginning and ending.

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity. ~Gilda Radner

I woke up this morning in the still dark, two warm dog bodies smashed against mine, and I started to worry. I was thinking about all the things I needed to do today, all the things that needed done this summer, all the work and the projects and the play I keep trying to stuff into every minute of every day and how there is just never enough time.

sixpacks

Later on my walk with Dexter, feeling sad about his eventual death, wishing again that it’s easy for him, still anxious about having so little time, I realize three things, Three Truths coming to me a few days early.

1. Truth: That’s really all we ever want for anyone in the end, (including ourselves), for death to be easy.

2. Truth: Dexter carries no sadness about his own death, if he even thinks of it, has any awareness of it at all.

3. Truth: In every way that I am stuck, struggling, not free, I am my biggest obstacle.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small. ~Tara Brach

As I was walking, I was noticing shadow and light, the wabi-sabiness of the world, of life. Wabi-Sabi is a concept I’m a bit obsessed with right now. Essentially it is acceptance of that which is impermanent, imperfect, and incomplete, and beyond acceptance, being able to see it clearly, to understand it as beautiful, to love it even. This is the reality of our lives if we are brave enough to open our hearts to it.

This stump is wabi-sabi. It is what remains of a tree no longer alive in the way we understand that particular animation, and yet it is surrounded by life, anchored in it, present with it. In this sense, what does death even mean? Where do we begin, where and when do we truly end? If we are made of love, come from love, live surrounded by and imbedded in love, can we ever really be separated? Aren’t we always completely and utterly free?

I’d like to think so. My wish is to believe that, to trust it, to accept it — all of it, with open eyes of full awareness and an open heart full of compassion.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.
~Rumi

August Break: Day Four

As I mentioned, I spent yesterday at the annual retreat for the Colorado State University Administrative Professional Council (CSU APC, paid work duty). It was held at the Tamasag Conference Center, which is a really beautiful place. I took my camera because I write the APC newsletter and needed some pictures for the fall edition. I spent part of my time walking the grounds and taking pictures. There were hummingbirds, but they never stayed still long enough for me to capture an image. Here’s what I was able to get.

And these last ones are my absolute favorites, two of the Poudre River (which is still dark with ash and earth runoff from the fires this summer) and one a field with a view of the foothills.

*sigh*

I’m glad I had the chance to get out, because by the time I got back home, this is what the sky over my house looked like.