Kristie Dahlia Home
A lush pine-heavy forest and dramatic, cloudy skies.
We Are Beloved

Now, Being, Love

Jun 18, 2024

Beloved friends,

I knew when I moved here to the Quimper Peninsula that the days and nights would be longer and shorter than I had known before – because I would be farther north on the planet than I've previously lived. What I didn't yet understand was how much longer sunrise and sunset would last. The changing-colors-of-sky moments go on and on and on, with the long, low light rambling across the forest toward the sea or toward the house. I spend a lot of time these days watching the light change and marveling at how many shades of green there are in the sprawl of the forest – did you know that human eyes can perceive more shades of green than any other color? I am learning to bask in green.

For me, the rational and the spiritual meet at their deepest point, with deeply entangled roots. Watching the beauty of the light changing on the clouds and trees helps me think about why that happens, about being on a planet in a solar system. This connects me to my sense of the wider cosmos. That connects me to mystery, to vastness, to belonging-to-all-that-is. This also brings me comfort: yes, it is important that I do my best for myself and everyone else with this time I have in human form, but also... we are one tiny planet in a vast... universe? multiverse? which came from the Big Bang and before that... before that.... ? Mystery.

What keeps me from spiraling out into the vastness of space or mystery is love. I care about what happens. I care about everyone else. One of the things that helps me to not get lost in the pain of caring when there is so much suffering is this belonging to the larger context of life and the vastness of that. Between the finite and the bigger-than-I-can-imagine, between the known and mystery... here in the middle there is now, being, love. This is it.

After writing this, I tore off yesterday's page in my little Zen Page-A-Day calendar and found this for today:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes.

- e. e. cummings.

Yes. With a loving reminder that in my circles "mystery" and "life" are excellent words to hear when God is said if you find yourself tripping over the G-word.

"God is the name of the blanket we throw over the mystery."



How to Be

Bella DePaulo's viral Tedx Talk opens with, "I'm 63 and I have been single my whole life." She is a social scientist who studies single life. Single at Heart: The Power, Freedom, and Heart-Filling Joy of Single Life is her book on this topic. I encountered her via her interview with Sari Botton in Oldster Magazine, a substack I quite enjoy.

The Weirdness of What-Is
The vastness of what we do not know is a sweetness to me, a constant reminder of the mystery of existence, so I thrilled to read "Scientists Have Identified an Entirely New Form of Life in the Gut: Obelisks". An entirely new form of life! And isn't just me: "Other scientists are delighted by obelisks’ debut. 'It’s insane,' says Mark Peifer, a cell and developmental biologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 'The more we look, the more crazy things we see.'" There is so much to learn, so much yet to understand, so much at which to wonder; I find this a source of solace and hope.

Ancient Science
This conversation about plant domestication tilted the whole world a little upon consideration and made my heart sing. Thanks to Anastasia.

The Change We Need
This article by Positive News about lifestyle changes to slow the climate crisis is affirming and inspiring. It feels both familiar and radical, these proposals to opt out of social norms, and it sounds feasible and fun. It is powerful to be reminded that simple choices like buying refurbished electronics and using them as long as I can, choosing secondhand furniture and less furniture, wearing the beloved old dress to another special event instead of buying a new one... these matter. Opting out of newer, better, faster, more! matters literally and symbolically. When I rode my ebike to town this week strangers initiated a half dozen conversations about how I was carrying my groceries, where I was going with them, and why. Social inspiration is so juicy.

One of my favorite resources for both conservation and community-building is Buy Nothing, a network of local groups for giving and receiving. Our local BN is a sweet mutual aid kind of situation. I gave away the primroses I plan to replace with ferns from the forest to people who came with pots and shovels, gave the cabinets we didn't want to my dentist's receptionist, received a beautiful brand-new plush blanket for the temple from someone who got it as a gift and didn't care for it, a light fixture for the den from a neighbor who couldn't use it at her new home. People ask for food to tide them to the next paycheck, litter for the kittens they are fostering, help repairing something. We get it done together. The quality of local groups will vary, of course; worth looking into yours and helping to be a part of what can make one great.

Once Again, With Feeling
Gorgeous visuals and original music by Bon Iver grace this tiny film of Ross Gay's glorious "Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude". Oh yes, this is the only thing I've ever suggested three times here: first the poem, then the book; now the film because I realized surely there was footage of him reading and I went looking and found this treasure. It's a 15 minute poem. One of the top comments on the video is "I wept and I wept and I wept. If this isn't most goddamn beautiful thing I've heard."

It Helps to Give
Each season I donate 5% of my income. This week I made my spring tithe. As in winter I gave to a GoFundMe for Palestinian family in Gaza long-known to someone I trust. My hope is that giving to people directly maximizes impact right now. Heba and her family did successfully immigrate to Egypt! May it be so for those we support next. My friend Susie met her friend Ahmed Alhalabi when he taught her son Arabic for four years. Ahmed's elderly parents lost their home in the bombing. They have now been forced to relocate five times in 9 months. They are in makeshift tents and like most Gazans lack access to food, water, and medical care. Ahmed is trying to raise money to get his parents safely into Egypt. If you wish to join me or spread the word, please do. Everything helps.

Morning Series Yoga
Recently someone new joined my long-running Morning Series and in resubscribing for summer, said, "Count me in for another yoga series. It has been a great thing to add to my life." People who join my tend to stay for years – but right now we've got a flexible way to join! We meet 7-8:15 am Pacific Mondays & Wednesdays. We'd love to hear from folks interested in subbing as the long-timers travel; this is a great option for folks with irregular schedules. If you'd like to come sometimes but not all the time, subbing is a great way to go. If you'd like to stick a toe in the water, I'll be happy to gift you a session to see if it's a fit for you!