photo by Adam Levine on flickr via CC
Me to my husband: Do you think that everything can be quantified and measured?
Me: Right, but give an example.
Him: How much do you love me?
Me: On a scale of one to ten? It goes “up to 11.”
Him: Why not 12?
I’m really good at self-righteousness, and I bet you are, too. It feels GOOD to be right, am I right? Satisfying. Important. Powerful. Like that time when my redneck cousin posted on Facebook that Planned Parenthood and people who support the organization (that’s me, monthly contributor here) are baby murderers. I posted an articulate take down of my cousin’s deeply misguided position. I made a passionate, principled defense of women’s rights to body autonomy. I presented well-organized, factual about information about what Planned Parenthood actually does. I’m a professional nurse specializing in women’s health, after all, an authority on the issue. I cited my sources. The result? My cousin and I are no longer Facebook friends, and I likely won’t be invited back to the next reunion of my staunchly conservative, “pro-life” family of origin. Continue reading “What I Know about Self-righteousness”
Our view from Austin of the super, blue, blood moon early this morning was clouded over, alas. But once the clouds cleared, I continued my monthly wildcrafted tea practice with cleavers. Here it’s called “sticky weed;” my children and their friends love to pick it and throw it at each other or stick it to each other’s backs. Other names for cleavers include “Velcro weed” and “backpacker’s colander,” since a bundle of it could be used as a strainer in a pinch.
Continue reading “January Super Blue Moon Tea: Cleavers”
In winter Central Texas cedar elms lose their leaves, revealing birds’ nests, ball moss, and mistletoe. The white-berried hemiparasite particularly plagues the cedar elm growing just outside our front door. While mistletoe performs some of its own photosynthesis, it draws most of its water and nutrients from the tree hosting it. Mistletoe flowers and produces white berries, which birds eat. They then disperse the sticky seeds via their beaks or excretions. Here’s one of our American species, Phoradendron tomentosum:
Phoradendron is Greek for “thief of the tree.” Continue reading “Burning Last Year’s Mistletoe”
At the beginning of a hatha yoga class that I attended, the teacher led a centering exercise. It involved lying supine and progressively relaxing each part of the body, fully surrendering our bodies to gravity, to the floor beneath us.
“You are in this body now,” the teacher crooned at the end of the guided exercise. My third eye shot wide open.
No, no, no, no, no, I thought. I am this body now.
These thoughts, the limbs heavy on the floor, the belly inside the ill-fitting sweatpants billowing up and collapsing with the breath, the pulse of salt and iron blood, that persistent pain in my left hip, the tension in my jaw, the big black saucer pupils dilated in the dim light, tympanic membranes vibrating with the rhythm of the teacher’s voice and my classmates’ breath. Not just present with these processes; I am they and what they do.
No ghost in the machine. I am this body now.
photo by Aniket Thakur on flickr
One of my New Year’s intentions is to celebrate each of the full moons of 2018 with a wildcrafted tea ritual. Aligning my spiritual life with moon cycles reminds me of the cyclic, rhythmic nature of life. Wildcrafting gets me outside and compels me to consider my relationship with green bloods and the rest of the world around me. Making myself tea is a simple, deeply nourishing act involving all five of the symbolic elements of life: the earth of the herb, the aroma carried on air, and the fire to heat the water. When I drink tea made in cooperation with the living land, I become the living land itself. Therein lies Spirit: embodied, interconnected, and immanent. Continue reading “January Full Moon Tea: Pine Needle”
The backyard compost pile is easily the most magical place of my family’s suburban home. We alternate layers of kitchen scraps with dry brown leaves, and in about a year the pile transforms our coffee grounds, onion skins, apple cores, and carrot tops into rich, dark brown compost, which I use to fertilize our herb garden or young fig trees. The compost pile is a very real, close, concentrated example of life’s most fundamental magic: fertility from rot, life from death.
Gulf Coast toad in our compost
Continue reading “Composting the Old Year”