mayacama mama


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Living in Between

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This morning I slipped out of the house while Grandmom was reading Charlotte’s Web to Zoey. The boys were down by the shed. I walked over to the lake, sat down at the picnic table on the dock, and watched the wind moving across the water. The sun was shining, there was blue sky, and a cool breeze. Time appearing to stand still or at least passing more slowly.

The last time I wrote on my blog, I wrote about my struggle to survive the demands of my job. I was reminded of the constant change of life as I watched the wind blow across the lake, seeing the ripples expand. There is much to do when you are young, and I imagine the meaning of the doing becomes less important as you age. Doing my paperwork, doing the laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen, etc. All that truly matters now and ever matters is the being. As I look at nature all around me, the lake just is, the flowers just are, the trees grow where they stand. Nature teaches us what we have forgotten as we advance our minds and forget our bodies and spirits–we are living and breathing beings–we are of nature and a part of nature. Our greatness and value is that we are, not that we do these amazing things that set us apart from other creatures on earth.

There is such beauty in life. I need constant reminders and moments like this morning to reawaken to what it means to be human. I have not yet been able to welcome and embrace suffering like the flowers and trees who accept the fading of their days with grace. We humans may be smart but we are often foolish in spirit, forgetting the wisdom of our ancestors and fellow earthly creatures. I think to be human is to be one with the earth. We who are capable of deep knowledge, we all have a call to service and to care for one another and the earth we live on. But we too must rest and follow the rhythm of the seasons. As I near my middle years of being, doing takes up much of my time, balancing family life and work life. And somehow living in between. And I hope as I advance in years, the wisdom of the flowers and trees will stay with me and teach me how to be more as I am able to do less. And that I will recognize the value of my being even as my spirit and body fade back into the earth.


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Finding My Way

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I find myself in a state of listlessness or of acedia as the Christian monks would have called it. My inner rhythm has been thrown off since returning to work. For quite some time, I held on to the vision that I would be a runner and enjoy running, but I never did. I would get stomachaches every time I tried to run (except perhaps when I was playing soccer because I’d have rest periods). And then I discovered yoga a little over 10 years ago, and I fell in love with the slower pace that let me breathe deeply but also got my body moving and stretching in challenging ways.

I realized the other day that my present work feels like I’m running everyday. And it only dawned on me after going to Zoey’s school for a parent meeting in the middle of my day. We sat down around Zoey’s circular lunch table to felt little mice for our children for Christmas. We talked and shared ideas and thoughts about gift giving and there was a sense of stillness and rest. And then I returned to work and felt the difference in the energy at my office. We should be a place of healing. We work with children who are traumatized, yet the energy feels frenetic, agitated, and restless. What kind of healing place is that?

About a week after Thanksgiving I was called to my supervisor’s office to explain why I was late on several reassessments for clients which resulted in lost billable hours (meaning our agency lost money). Last month was rough. I got sick for about a week, Zane was sick for a week. I took almost a week off for Thanksgiving. And as much as possible, I try not to do office work at home. As much as I would like to think I could turn my office work into a yoga rhythm, the truth is that I would just fall further behind in my billing, and would feel the need to keep running to catch up.

I recently finished reading Circle of Stones by Joan Dahr Lambert. Towards the end of the book, she writes this paragraph that seemed to sum up how I feel, but on a larger scale seems to also reflect the condition of our world: “There will come a time of imbalance when the dark will blot out the light, when the strong will brutalize the weak, when men will rule over women, force Akat upon them and make them bear young they cannot feed. In all that I have created, there has been a balance, between strength and weakness, between predator and prey, between that which is female and male, between the coming of new life and the resources to nurture that life, between the joy of birth and the release of death. But when the Mother’s ways are lost, the balance will die with them. So terrible will be the imbalance that the earth will no longer be able to renew itself but will strangle in its own decay. All of you to whom I have given life will be trapped in a chaos of your own making.”

I think it comes more naturally for women to be more in tune with daily rhythms and monthly cycles, but often women, too become disconnected from those rhythms. To work non-stop from morning to night without breaks feels more like imbalance to me than balance. My inner Wild Woman called out to me, so I started rereading yet again Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. She writes: “Don’t be a fool. Go back and stand under that one red flower and walk straight ahead for that last hard mile. Go up and knock on the old weathered door. Climb up to the cave. Crawl through the window of a dream. Sift the desert and see what you find. It is the only work we have to do. You wish psychoanalytic advice? Go gather bones.”

The bones I’m gathering tell me what I’ve already known–the best part of living is talking to others, soul to soul talking, sharing meals/breaking bread with others, digging down deep in the earth, moving my body, making something beautiful with my hands, breathing deep, sitting still, and listening. This is what I want–in addition to some really good loving–I mean body on fire, tingling loving.

I haven’t found my way yet, but I’m hunting with my nose to the ground.


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A Perfect Rainy Sunday

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After breakfast this morning, we headed out for a Sunday morning walk, before the rain came, which turned into a long hike around our property. Zoey and I stopped to eat some ripe, red manzanita berries while Stephen was up ahead carrying Zane. All of our mud boots/rain boots earned their name today with all the mud we trudged through. I had to pull Stephen’s rain boot out of the mud on one hill because he had his hands full with Zane, and I could barely pull it out with two hands.

I made zucchini bread after lunch. Here’s the  zucchini bread recipe I found. I didn’t eat it because it has flour, and I didn’t put the chocolate chips in it, but the kids seemed to like it. We all took a nap except for Zoey, except she did lay down for about an hour reading and singing to Zane from the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. Once Zane finally fell asleep, Zoey and I did yoga together in the living room while the boys slept.

I’m waiting for our beef stew to finish cooking for dinner. I made these biscuits. I haven’t been writing much on the blog or just in general perhaps because my work week is spent typing on the computer when I’m not seeing clients. Documentation for Medi-Cal can be brutal. I try to avoid spending time in front of the computer as much as possible at night and on the weekends. But today I felt like writing again. Yesterday the kids and I went to the children’s museum that is an hour away because I had to pick up my glasses from Costco. They played outside climbing the cedar tree (anyone good at tree identification?) while I ate my lunch.

I’m taking Friday off for my birthday, which is Saturday. I’ll be 39. Zoey keeps asking–“which is older? 65 or 39?” Maybe depends on how you feel? I’m not sure how 39 is supposed to feel, but I’m happy to be alive to enjoy Sundays like today.


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Memories to Sustain You

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We took a mini-vacation over the weekend to go camping on the coast. We escaped the 100+ degree weather to experience the coastal mid-50 degree weather that chilled us. I love the beauty that surrounds us here on our land, but I am drawn again and again to the coast.

I think a lot these days about the work I’ve chosen to do. I was listening to Dr. Aviva Romm’s latest podcast Natural MD Radio and heard this quotation I wanted to share because it sums up my desire to change my attitude towards work.

“What if the word work was changed to dance with life? And instead of being viewed as an alternative to fishing or a way of paying our dues, it was seen as our own chance to meet creative new friends, discover your own untested potentials and unpolished gifts and open avenues for abundance to come pouring into your life.”

What if work was no longer a burden but a gift waiting to be unwrapped? Each day a surprise waiting to be discovered? I’m not sure I’m there yet. Meanwhile, I hold on to memories of our camping trip hoping one day I can feel that same sense of buoyancy at work that I feel when I’m sleeping under the trees.

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Summer Ennui and A Few Favorite Things

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Yesterday morning I suddenly remembered this feeling of lethargy that hit me last summer. Perhaps it’s the heat that drains me, but my desire to keep busy through the summer months wanes, and all I want to do is relax and kickback. Yesterday instead of doing the breakfast dishes, I went with Stephen and the kids on Big Red around the ranch to water the redwood, cedar, and silver linden trees we planted last fall. So far they all seem to be surviving.

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The grass is growing so tall, we are eager for the sheep to come and graze, but we’ve been waiting since April for their arrival and so far no sheep. Thankfully we had no surprise rattle snakes waiting for us in the tall grass.

 

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Zoey took this photo of Zane and me yesterday. The first shot she cut off our heads, but she managed to get us in the frame for the second. I’m all dried up and at a loss for words, so I might as well end this post with my favorite things for June. I found this new blog called Cooking With Toddlers. She has beautiful photographs and some recipes I’d like to try that look yummy. Check it out. And I’ve been listening to Brandi Carlile on Spotify, which has been giving me a little pep during these hot, summer days. May you all find ways to stay cool.


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Remembering the Joy of Weekends

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I completed my first week at work. I had forgotten how delicious weekends are when you’ve been working away from your home and family all week. Before returning to work, I looked forward to every day and being able to go outside whenever I wanted. I spent most of this week in front of a computer doing online trainings and reading client notes. It’s a big change not being able to be surrounded by nature all day. I’m thinking of making a poster of our ranch and hanging it up on the wall above my computer at work so I can glance at it periodically and feel like I am at home!

Last weekend we took a morning walk and noticed all the little wildflowers beginning to pop up.

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Have a wonderful weekend! I’m going to enjoy mine!

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The Rhythm of the Seasons

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This morning I awoke to the howling of coyotes. I remember when we first moved to our land, I heard a keening in the night that sounded like a bird was being ripped apart. Only now do I realize that keening was actually the sound of coyotes. They are not the bold coyotes that used to walk the streets at night in Calabasas where Stephen used to live when we were first dating. We never see them face to face. We’ve caught them on the game cam a few times, but they remain elusive except for their night howling.

I have been in a funk these past weeks. It didn’t help that I came down with the flu last Wednesday night. Yes, I was the only one in my family who did not get a flu shot. I usually do, but this year the months slipped by and hello flu. Today I drove an hour and half south to go see a Chi Nei Tsang practitioner. She described her work as feeding the organs. I feel as though I’ve gotten a tune up. Positive energy is flowing through me and I feel a lightness. It does help that the weather is warming up and the sun is shining today. I don’t remember feeling as connected to the seasons changing when we lived in Southern California compared to now. I realize our seasons here are in no way comparable to other parts of the country or world, but the slight shift in seasons, however mild, do seem to be affecting how I feel in my body. Perhaps it will take a few years for my body to adjust to the seasonal changes and make peace.

I was listening to the On Being podcast with Mark Hyman, James Gordon, and Penny George discussing “The Evolution of Medicine.” James Gordon shared how he learned that in the Qur’an there is a saying “when you do not have hope, you have to find it in the face of another.” It was a beautiful thought that inspired me once again to be that bright light for those around me. But also, to find that hope in the faces I look into every day.

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And to end on a brighter note, in the four year old news world, Zoey will be marrying Zane. She is getting an early start planning her wedding and would like to have her flower girl ride around on a horse.