It is with a deep sense of humility that I bring my thanks to those of you who have donated recently. Kate Rannells, the genius artist whom I’m so glad to call a friend. Thank you. Jennie McDonald, another erudite friend who helped me with the initial editing of this site. Thank you. Kristen Wolf-McDonald, a childhood friend and college roommate whose sparkly spirit has always encouraged me. Thank you. And Chris Codding, a profoundly generous friend and artist whom I’ve had the pleasure of many years of examining her work and sitting with cups of tea philosophizing at her table. Thank you in particular for doubling my fundraising efforts. Your generosity leaves me somewhat speechless. Which is a good thing. Generosity that stops you in your tracks is another kind of wake up call.
This morning as I write this post I am feeling an immense sense of freedom. With the stark contrast of events at airports, my fellow planet Earth citizen’s freedoms being challenged by the very American shadow whom we are forced to call President of this dying country, I am experiencing an expansion of spirit. I could feel guilty about it and try to hide it but honestly, what a cowardly thing to do. Honestly. What I now understand is that it is my responsibility to bring it to the collective table. To share it. I think that we are living in a time where we are witness to a big death. It’s so big that it is hard to see. We see aspects of it and point a finger, “look over there, there goes that species”, and “there goes that forest/coral reef” and the horror of the violent exterpation of human cultures. But the death is bigger yet. The upheaval that humanity is in the midst of is an expression of the very Earth’s changing. Change is death. Change is also rebirth.
In Mitsugi Saotome’s book Aikido and the Harmony of Nature he says, “As you study the thin edge between life and death, your senses will expand and sharpen.” He speaks about how stress and panic must be faced and overcome again and again and it must be done by taking the physical body to the limits of endurance and beyond. Yesterday I ran my longest training run before the race. 36 miles. I had felt some fear in the days leading up to it, all the “what ifs” presenting themselves. I started my run with a little prayer, a calling in of the elements for support with the understanding that I am just a representation in human form of the elements. With gentle focus I banished fear for the time being and guided my mind to stay with the idea that I am water, air, earth and fire. My body got the message. I flowed like water. I whisped along like an air current. I was steady and strong like earth. And I sparked like fire. The run was a 6 hour dedication to healthy life for all beings. I’ve come to understand that through sharing this training story publicly and conversing with friends privately I have been learning about my values at their core. What a freeing thing! To have fear lead you to your deepest values.
In The Book of Joy (I’ve been reading a lot!) the Dalai Lama says, it is important that in our daily meditation we think about our own mortality…impermanence happens because of interdependency-nothing exists independently…compared to human history an individual’s lifespan is quite short. So if we utilize that short period to create more problems on this planet, our life would be meaningless. Our life is short. We are guests here on this planet, visitors who have come for a short time, we need to use our days wisely, to make our world a little better for everyone.” Running is how I embody to this concept. It is my gift to share.