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Bald eagle in flight
We Are Beloved

Eagle Season

Mar 12, 2024

Beloved friends,

It's eagle season here on the ridge. On our first day here last winter we saw a pair circling and it felt like a blessing. Most mornings now we see one or two, sometimes three or four, bald eagles riding the thermals behind the house. Sometimes they pass right over us; one skimmed the skylight above the sunroom couch as I lay there writing. James loves to shout out to me: EAGLES! when he catches a glimpse and involuntarily did so during a meeting last week, which led to some amusing conversation. The wisest birder I know is my neighbor Beverly, a great wildlife photographer, kindly answered my query on this and said that she thinks this is because they are defending their nesting territory in this season.

Next week is the Vernal Equinox, the crossing of the annual threshold into days with more light than darkness. This week Daylight Savings has begun, a shift which often feels cumbersome and wearying. Building a bridge from the sudden, cultural change of the light-and-darkness to the slower, cosmic change of the light-and-darkness can bring a hint of gentleness and sacredness to this transitional week. I invite you to consider cherishing darkness and rest this week as your body adjusts; wrapping this change in the story of the turning of spring and greater light. Darkness offers rest, dream, and the stars. You might tuck into bed a little early and call it a treat, or join me in lighting a dawn candle on these darker-again mornings.

Joy Harjo's "Eagle Poem" is a powerful invitation to this kind of connection. This poem has been tucked into a little pocket in my heart since I first read it in 1990. Perhaps I've shared it with you before; it has been an opening invocation at many events for our community. You could hear Joy read it if you like; she has a powerful cadence.

Eagle Poem

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

Hanging with Dahlia

Morning Series Yoga
I've got one opening in my online Early Spring Morning Series, from the Vernal Equinox/March 21 to Beltane/May 1. We meet Monday & Wednesday 7-8:15am Pacific. Someone in the current series said “Your yoga is helping me integrate my physical experience with how I show up in the world. Especially with remote work, it's easy to feel a bit more like a brain than anything.” We aim for a strengthening practice. Considering? Come join a session as my guest to see how it lights up your day. Folks often stay in this class for years. Thanks to Ashley Gremel

Reading Circle
Last week we got about halfway through the last chapter of the first section of Braiding Sweetgrass, Learning the Grammar of Animacy. We were all on fire with Robin as she suddenly grokked why 70% of Potowatomi words are verbs while only 30% of English words are:

"...the verb wiikwegamaa--to be a bay--holds the wonder that, for this moment, the living water has decided to shelter itself between these shores, conversing with cedar roots and a flock of baby mergansers. Because it could to otherwise--become a stream or an ocean or a waterfall, and there are verbs for that, too. To be a hill, to be a sandy beach, to be a Saturday, all are possible verbs in a world where everything is alive."

We'll be looping back a bit to read this breakthrough again as our starting point on March 12 from 7-8:30. You're welcome to join us; no preparation is required, and the Reading Circle is freely given. Donations are warmly welcome.


A Joyful Noise
You know how sometimes a friend sends you some music that hits the sweet spot and you feel so seen by them? This Spotify playlist riffing off Marmara - Ulises Remix has been that kind of gift for me. Every time I play it James says Oh my gosh what is this?! It's my mainstay in yoga class right now, too, and folks are loving it. Thanks to Scott, who sent it to me.

Peaceful Quiet
Loop earplugs were originally created and marketed with dance culture in mind, but these gorgeous, comfortable, effective earplugs have been embraced for all sorts of reasons by all sorts of folks. Loop now has several models with varying degrees of noise dampening so that you can choose and use them for dancing, sleeping, better focus in an open-plan office, or to take the noise of the children down a couple notches. Like lots of healing artists, I've got a super sensitive nervous system; I'm very affected by noise – and finicky about what it feels like to stuff something in my ear. I adore these.

You Become What You Repeat

Springing into Movement
Exercise research is always inspiring, and there have been some incredible findings lately. I hope these might support the natural inclination toward more movement which comes with spring. I'd love to see you at yoga if that calls to you!

Moving expands our creative capacity
“When performed regularly, aerobic activity can trigger structural changes, such as increased brain volume, particularly of the hippocampus, which benefit many aspects of cognition, such as working memory, attentional control and information-processing,” says Amir-Homayoun Javadi, a reader in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Kent. “This gives the brain more potential to be creative.” Thanks to Aimee

Moving improves our mental health
"Physical activity is 1.5 times more effective at reducing mild-to-moderate symptoms of depression, psychological stress, and anxiety than medication or cognitive behavior therapy, according to the study’s lead author, Dr. Ben Singh." This is an important finding generally, but relevance will vary individually. Some psychiatric medications are essential always; others can be incredible tools in times of crisis. I support you in whatever you know is bests for you. It is vital to discuss potential changes in medication with your doctor or pharmacist, as some require slow shifts to be safe.