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We Are Beloved

In Like a Lion

Mar 5, 2024

Beloved friends,

Welcome to We Are Beloved, the newest incarnation of my newsletter. If you've received this by email you either signed up or have previously asked to hear about my teaching. If weekly feels too frequent, you can hit unsubscribe or ask me to do it for you – and find the newsletter on my new website when you wish. My aim is to offer resources that support you in whole-hearted living. This began during the pandemic when I was living aboard my sailboat Rejoice in Mexico and urgently wished to be of help in coping with the shock and trauma of lockdown, and it continues as a way to stay connected in our living and loving. Each week I share a little about what's up in my teaching practice and some things that I think you'll cherish: poetry, science, music, resources for helping ourselves and one another.

My tremendous thanks to the folks who have signed on as paid supporters this week. Thanks to you, the annual hosting fees for my website are now covered for this year. It truly warms my heart to feel appreciated in this way for the effort that I put into this endeavor. If you signed up for Supporter+, I'll get in touch with you this week about how you can schedule your 1:1 session with me! You can read about becoming a supporter here. If you're new to the site, you will be prompted to sign in first — follow the instructions and then come click this link again.

I've been cherishing the aphorism that "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb" as our weather reels back and forth between 50 degree days and the winter wonderland you can see above. I feel so aware of being upon the turning Earth in my new home! This is the farthest north I have lived, so the dark is longer in winter and the light longer in summer. The change from the big dark to big light means the speed of change in the length of the days and nights is faster than I've ever known, and oh goodness, I can feel the light changing from day to day. This sense of the season galloping forward is a beautiful thing in this liminal time where I've begun to hunger for spring. I've found a patch of nettles up the road and after I send this I'm going to go for my first late winter foraging expedition.

A little housekeeping note: the schedule and Zoom link that used to end this newsletter are no longer there because you can find all you need now at Ahhhhhh. Thanks to James. Endless thanks to James.


With Compassion
A couple of years ago James and I took a class on using Nonviolent Communication techniques in responding to racism. It was simple, brief, inexpensive, and transformative. Both of us felt tremendous positive impact from better skills in the difficult conversations about systems of oppression which the course addresses, increased skill at seeing and uprooting our own internalized biases, and more able to be present in curious, compassionate awareness in all communication: in our work, personal relationships, and marriage. The class was taught by Itzel Hayward (who is my friend, teacher, and student; you may have met her as a fellow student in my offerings!) and her teacher Kathy Simon. The course begins anew this week: Responding to Everyday Racism at the NVC Academy.

Reclaiming Your Attention
Last week's resources included the invitation to join me in shifting your phone to grayscale during March. Circling back makes me realize I forgot for a couple days! I've added rubberband to my phone to remind me of this new habit. Thanks to Lizzy for permission to share her response as inspiration:

Thank you for this reminder. I forgot about this feature, and LOVE it. It feels immediately softer on my brain to look at my phone. In the past when I've gone back to color, I can feel an immediate, mild, headache.

Threads of Connection: Living and Dying
I've just finished Stephen Jenkinson's incredible Die Wise and recommend it warmly. A gentle note to hang in; the first half of the book could be more concise, but holy stars is it worth carrying through for his full vision, which enriched how I feel about dying and living. The publisher's description is excellent: "Die Wise does not offer seven steps for coping with death. It does not suggest ways to make dying easier. It pours no honey to make the medicine go down. Instead, with lyrical prose, deep wisdom, and stories from his two decades of working with dying people and their families, Stephen Jenkinson places death at the center of the page and asks us to behold it in all its painful beauty... Dying well, Jenkinson writes, is a right and responsibility of everyone... a moral, political, and spiritual obligation each person owes their ancestors and their heirs. Die Wise dreams such a dream, and plots such an uprising. How we die, how we care for dying people, and how we carry our dead: this work makes our capacity for a village-mindedness, or breaks it."

Accommodation in Lovingkindness
My spring offering, Lovingkindness: A Course on Meditation & Living, began this week. Registration remains open, and I wish to offer to all accommodations that I have made privately to people who were interested but concerned about being able to manage during a difficult time.

Loved Before
This one is a gem, environmentally sound and heart-warming: Loved Before calls themselves a "sustainable soft toy adoption agency". They clean and repair donated stuffed animals for resale. In a great Washington Post profile (gift link), Charlottle Liebling shares that “When I first started doing this, a woman in her 80s handed me her teddy bear because she was going into end-of-life care,” Liebling said. “She wanted to be sure her bear would be loved when she wasn’t here anymore.” There are so many ways to be a force for good in the world, and this little one is a sweet opportunity for greener gift-giving.

Oh, California
Golden State Naturalist is a podcast that calls itself "a love letter to California's ecological past, present, and future." One episode explores TEK (Traditional Ecological Knowledge / Indigenous Ecological Knowledge) with Frank Lake; another explores Mythologizing Place with Obi Kaufmann, whose California Field Atlas series are books beloved by many of us. A great companion to our Reading Circle. Thanks to Alicia

Reading Circle
We have read Braiding Sweetgrass through Chapter 3, The Gift of Strawberries. Robin asked us, "How, in our modern world, can we find our way to understand the earth as a gift again, to make our relations with the world sacred again?" and noted that "A great longing is upon us, to live again in a world made of gifts." I am over the moon to say that we had three generations of people present at last week's Circle, from the white-haired to the teenaged. All are welcome; this is a book that can be enjoyed in dropping in at any point. Details and the current page are always on my website.

Toward Simplicity
A surprising way to nurture experiencing the world as a gift is to own less, which somehow makes space to cherish more. I learned this deeply in letting go of most of what I once owned to head to sea. Simplifying your wardrobe is a common place to explore this – if you've been to yoga with me since I came to land, you may have noticed that I either wear black leggings or black flared pants, because I have two pairs of work pants. If you've seen me out at anything fancy in the last decade, there's a 50/50 chance I was wearing my favorite black dress as a base:

Clockwise from top left: housewarming party, going to a fundraiser for the local hospital, fancy dinner night at an annual campout, meeting a baby who was named in our honor, and plunging into the sea with James at our 20th anniversary vow renewal in my black dress.

There are lots of articles around about folks who have adopted a simple way of dressing, a capsule wardrobe, or a uniform. I love the way that Anne Kadet speaks about how she dresses herself herself in this one, though I don't love the fast fashion aspect. My dress is from the lovely Kirsty Ross's Muguet Milan shop on etsy; tell her I sent you if you pop on by and YES, I am the kind of person who thinks you, too, should buy my favorite dress if you want.

And Sang
If you come to practice this week, here is the poem I'm weaving into everything:

I Worried
Mary Oliver

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.