Terrified and hopeful

Recently, driven by a restless yearning for thinking of substance and concern for the future of this country I call home, I've been drinking in great gulps of Terry Tempest Williams' "The Open Space of Democracy."

It started because I’ve been trying to stay present and engaged in the events of this world and that’s tumbled me like a river stone and deposited me into a space both terrified and hopeful. I’m qware of systems - natural, social, and political - collapsing. I can smell the salty tang of evolution in the wind.

My wild she-who-remembers-her-interconnectedness self understands what’s happening. My indoctrinated-in-separateness human self wants to panic.

When I take several steps back and look from the outside, this divisive and chaotic mess looks like the decay it is. In our collective ecosystem, diseased old trees are beginning to fall. Space in the canopy is being cleared for sunlight to reach through. Soil is being made. Fertile places are being prepared for new systems to set their roots. It’s death so rebirth can happen.

Seen through the eyes of one fragile human who depends - or thinks she depends - on the collapsing systems for survival, it's hard to remember this. Hopelessness and apathy stalk me, snarling softly.

So I turn to the words of one who has walked this trail before me, finding both solace and warning.

"Expect anything.
Patience is more powerful than anger. Humor is more attractive than fear.
Pay attention. Listen. We are most alive when discovering.
Humility is the capacity to see.
Suffering comes, we do not have to create it,
We are meant to live simply.
We are meant to be joyful.
Life continues with and without us.
Beauty is another word for God."
- Terry Tempest Williams "The Open Space of Democracy"

Image credit: Unsplash


Work-at-home-nomad

Work-at-home nomad

I’ve become
a work-at-home nomad.


No longer
desk sitting
(at least not exclusively)


traveling
to the places
where I feel
the land calling


places where
my body’s presence
pulls me to
wild communion


body leading -
mind and heart
passengers,
scribes illuminating
muscled semaphore


making wordscapes
from a wordless
commingling
of Place and
Presence.

© 2013/2019 Tracie Nichols

Sometimes

sometimes
riding life's
currents requires
a wider stance

a lower center
of gravity

spacious
fluid
joints

sometimes
rubbing along
life's twists is as
comfortable as
tender new skin
abruptly meeting
sharp, shifting
gravel shards

sometimes life's
molten, shaking growth
spurts ask us to be
something we've never been

that's OK

every mountain
and river and valley
was once a flat and
easy walk

think how glorious
they are now...

sometimes - © 2018 Tracie Nichols

Poet's Rebellion

Despite having blogged fairly prolifically over the past decade, lately I haven't wanted to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) in that way. I mean, the aversion has been almost visceral. I haven't even wanted to journal. And though I've never been wildly consistent about journaling, it's always felt like home.

Trusting my voice, my internal guidance system, has been an unfolding and daily practice throughout my life. So, it took a bit for me to realize that I wasn't just being lazy or crazy, or avoiding writing. My body wisdom was adjusting how I move through my days to meet my emerging, changing creative rhythms as a crone. I didn't want to write the way I had been writing because my writing needs to take on a different cultural role.

An oh-so-wise pre-crone friend reminded me that, as crones, we've moved outside the confines of patriarchal attention and expectation. We've been dismissed, therefore we're off the radar. Which is bullshit, yes. Their loss, definitely. And...it also offers us maneuvering room those still being tracked don't have. We're in a position to be uniquely subversive.

When I finally wrote again this morning, what flowed from my heart to my fingers was a poem I've called Poet's Rebellion. Because confining my words to well-regulated structures? Yeah. Not happening.

constraining my
wet-from-the-muse-womb
words to structures
breaks me a little
each time

to confine them in boxes created
by a culture gone mad
with categorizing and naming and
keywording and tagging

I
simply
cannot

each word
each breath-infused
syllable
is a tiny fragment
of livingness

and yes life,
she has rhythms and
patterns and
life-giving structures
that teach unfolding
generations how to
create life anew

but - oh my aching heart -
they are life-giving structures
not the stranglehold of
stagnating expectations found
in so many corners
down so many virtual alleys
in this conform or
be shunned culture
in this conform
and die slowly
society

to type letters
and coalesce them into
wordscapes meant to free
is both smile-inducing gift
and shoulder-bowing responsibility
to give them life
then shackle them to
the weight of “musts” and
tangle them in the bindweed
of “isms”

I
simply
cannot.

Poet’s Rebellion © 2019 Tracie Nichols

The Answer to Upheaval

Spring - any seasonal or life transition really - brings it's measure of chaos. 

Facets of life are being shuffled and redistributed. Whether by your hand or by the fine fingers of the Universe.

Chaos, while productive and essential, can become frustrating…annoying…exhausting. Sometimes, you just need the craziness to give it a rest.

I get that…so much right now.

When I need life to give it a rest, I plunk myself down in the middle of the mess, take deep breaths (lots), and counterintuitively open my heart wide. I become a well of stillness and compassion in the middle of the spinning life facets. I just refuse to spin with them anymore.

And then I listen for the rhythms, synchronicity, patterns that will weave everything together into it's new form.

Once you see the pattern it's much easier to deal with the lolloping looniness. It may not all settle into the pattern(s) you've discerned, but you know it will. And that helps. A lot. (For me, anyway.)

You are not at the mercy of anything

You are not at the mercy of anything

The most interesting stuff happens when I’m showering. In my head, I mean. This morning, for example, this cloud of mosquito thoughts dodging around the periphery of my brain came together finally and handed me this insight:

No matter what I think has been happening lately … I’ve been acting like a victim. In my life, and in the relationship I have with my business. (I can’t tell you how many time the phrase “at the mercy of….” has shown up in my journaling and during the hundreds of silent conversations I have with myself throughout a day.)

Applying nature’s wisdom to social change work

Applying nature’s wisdom to social change work

I have these groovy cards (kinda like flashcards) from Toby Lynn Herzlich of Biomimicry for Social Innovation.

They talk about applying nature’s wisdom to our social change work.

To restructuring leadership and organizations as living systems so they are more effective.

To making organizations function as living systems based on the principles of life so they are creating conditions conducive to life for all life. Human, more-than-human. All of us.

Why do things feel so.. off?

Why do things feel so.. off?

Cicadas are singing again, here in the edge-of-wild suburban ecosystem where I live. The thunderstorms are wild. Breezes are more water than air. Heat lays in visible-to-the-eye curves over soft hills and valleys.

In the northern hemisphere, summer is nearing her mid-point.

The ferocious growth rush of spring and early summer is settling into a long, lazy wander toward full fruiting and harvest.

In response to nature’s signals, I can feel lulling energy pulling at me. Thoughts curl in lazy spirals. Doing has less meaning. Being centers itself in my awareness.

Facing Reality

Facing Reality

Looking at my inbox this morning there were two more.

Two more emails from wise, compassionate people talking about ways to survive the intensity of the world while still doing our work and living our lives. I’ve lost count of how many similar emails I’ve received (and sent, over the years).

Admittedly, the capacious number is down to both the kind of community I’ve built and the expanding number of incomprehensible events slamming into our collective awareness almost daily.

In the borderlands among aging and body-wisdom

In the borderlands among aging and body-wisdom

I’d recently finished a really big project for my business. Always an energy expensive thing to do, I was expecting to need a bit of extra restorative time. Some deeper self-care.

But when I landed on the other side of the project, I found myself not only deeply tired, but also feeling like the fire in my belly that’s always been my guide had burnt itself out.

And that was disconcerting. Very disconcerting.