Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Exploding microwaves

This guy doesn't worry about icky microwaves.
A week or so ago (or maybe two or three), I had a microwave exploding incident. One of those where the whatever being heated took flight and covered the inside of the microwave. Now, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t such a major event. It wasn’t totally gross and didn’t interfere with the operation of the microwave. It just looked yucky. Three or four times a day it looked yucky.

Years ago Malcolm Gladwell popularized the theory of broken windows in his book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference explaining how small, unresolved incidents of crime leads to a breakdown in social norms and a mindset of crime. Broken windows became a symbol of minor disorder leading to a major issue.

I believe the metaphor extends to other areas of human behavior. I tolerated my dirty microwave day after day. Finally, I broke down and cleaned it. Suddenly, I could feel the difference. Without blowing it completely out of proportion, I felt cleaner, more in control of my world and my environment.

It surprised me how differently I felt about myself. I’m not a clean freak. My psyche doesn’t get a lot of self-worth from the cleanliness and orderliness of my environment. However, opening the now-clean microwave creates a visceral sense of well-being and control. I have to wonder if this is related to the outside world where wildfires are raging and I know I have zero control over them. Cleaning my microwave is within my sphere of control.

I’m not sure where this is going but just writing about it makes me want to get up and straighten the towel which is hanging akimbo on the oven rack. So far, I’m controlling the impulse.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Love Letters to My Life #37: Creative Turmoil


by Joyce Wycoff
(We know the day we were born, but most of us do not know the day we will die. This love letter to my life is written on the day I've designated as my Death Day: the 17th of every month, and which reminds me to be grateful for my incredible life.)   
Turmoil: a state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty and perceived as a negative word and experience. Searching my database of about 5,000 quotes didn’t turn up a single entry. That seems odd since into every life a bit of turmoil always falls; why aren’t the philosophers waxing poetic about how to deal with it?
Right now, I’m in a state of turmoil, a boil-and-bubble cauldron of uncertainty and confusion, stirred by a new course from David DuChemin. I’ve been learning from David for several years now and have come to respect his art and his approach to the creative life. (His podcast A Beautiful Anarchy is one of my favorite 15-minute creativity boosters.) 
Recently, David patiently guided me through a push-back to one of his messages. I was absolutely sure he was off-base, at least for me and my situation. He asked a few questions and made some gentle suggestions, which I rejected until I woke up one morning with an aha that what he was saying was exactly what I needed to hear.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

A Forest Walk with Kimberly Ruffin


Pedestrian walk-way over Hamilton Branch

My new favorite source for wisdom and stories is Emergence Magazine, especially their podcasts which almost always touch a deep place within. On my walk this morning, I listened to Kimberly Ruffin’s podcast, “A Forest Walk.” You can do this meditative walk in your back yard, a park, or in a forest if you happen to have one handy.

This morning was cool, sunny with a dotted, white cloud sky. As I walked along a route that has almost become routine, Kimberly’s voice invited me into different ways of engaging in what she calls a “walk of faith.”

From Emergence Magazine: Kimberly Ruffin is a Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide and author of Black on Earth: African American Ecoliterary Traditions. As a companion to Kimberly’s past Emergence essay “Bodies of Evidence,” she created a guided practice of walking through the forest. For Kimberly, faith is a continuous exchange of belonging, an experience that’s palpable among trees.

Click here:  A Forest Walk Podcast 

Along the walk she invites listeners to engage all their senses, witnessing the world around them. I felt a heart tug when she invited me to engage with all the life witnessing me and found myself pulled into words  …

I am water and stardust
walking through sky
treading on earth
receiving a cedar branch
receiving belonging

watching sunlight make sugar
in the graceful, bright Ponderosa needles
watching a bee gather nectar in a yellow flower

me witnessing him
he witnessing me.

When I sat in a small picnic area next to Hamilton Branch, I thought …

Time is not what the world wants.
It wants my attention,
my devoted, passionate attention.