Gracious Gratitude
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Gracious Gratitude

Digest: Days 250–258

The more things change the more they stay the same, right?

Nope.

The more things change, the more they change.

Full stop.

There are a few words that begin to describe the last week of my life. What’s that Cathy? Only a few words? Okay, truth. You know how I love words. Yes, there are myriad delicious collections of sounds and phrases rolling around in my mind and across the edges of my tongue. I’m going to stick, however, with the ones carrying most weight, most import … the deepest flavors and resonance to truth.

Transformative. Revelatory.

Yeah, those two pretty much sum it up.

For those of you who missed the memo, this little ditty and then this one will catch you up. Go ahead and take a gander, they’re both short reads, so we’ll just wait for you here.

Ah, you’re back. Good. Now where was I? Oh, right. My return from revelation to reality.

To say that I’d be able to encapsulate my experiences from the last week at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico in a mere paragraph or two would be folly. More to the point it would be impossible. I spent a substantial amount of time while away on my utterly unplugged and delightfully digital free retreat not only with pen to paper but sitting in stillness with thought. You’d think with all that time that I found tons of answers. A few, yes. It’s more that I clarified the questions I was asking, and feel more solidly on the path to knowing … Knowing what, you ask? Ah, well that will be the source for topics that unfold in the coming days.

Today’s post is merely the move to reinsert that digital umbilical cord. Plug back in and reignite the rhythm of my daily discourse with you all. I’ve collected the digest of Gracious Gratitude items from the week (they’re all below) and I also include a small gallery of images. For the most part I was shooting with my “real” camera (partly so as to avoid the temptation to upload right away and partly because it just takes damn good photos). I’ve not edited those yet so when I do and get the gallery up I’ll share that here too.

Themes that arose:

  • Truth and what that means to me.

There’s more but that’s a good start.

So buckle up. The coming weeks shall be filled with some interesting things. At least I think they’re interesting. :)

It’s also no longer April. That means it’s no longer National Poetry Month. With the volumes of remarkable poetry I love, compounded by all the superb work continuously slipping across my path, one month just doesn’t allow enough sharing. So I’ve made an executive decision in the company of me. While it may not be nationally recognized, for me, every month will be poetry month. Not sure whether I’ll do it weekly, every other week or on some random rotation, but you can be sure that there’s more poetry goodness coming here.

The one I share today comes from a book that came on my journey.

The trip from Las Vegas to Santa Fe pulled me across a variegated tapestry of desert — each transition shifting in color, texture and energy. The shades, the shadows and the light evolving and morphing as I made my way eastward and upward. While at the Upaya Zen Center I had myriad conversations about the desert and her power. Stating the name of the City where I live got more than one double take. Many of the people with whom I crossed paths were not from this part of the country (or world) and so their views of Las Vegas were cast solidly in stereotype. I found myself swelling with pride, sharing my own views and stories, and on more than one occasion I pulled out Jennifer Battisti’s Echo Bay and shared this poem.

When No One Is Looking
If you live long enough in Las Vegas
you will not learn to count cards.
You will learn to count triple-digit-days.
You will learn, this state is a broken tooth —
our city, the sharp tip
meant to shred inhibitions
into puréed pleasure.

While everyone else bolsters worth
in booths and bottles,
we have the best view
of her celebrity cerulean swirl
tangerine-silk carpet she unfurls
every day at dusk.

While heaps of pedestrian —
one-moving-organism, glides across the Blvd
being transported, up escalator,
moving walkway, monorail, roulette,
cabana and cocaine —
our mountains howl, backed by wild burro
and barbed beavertail, above rows of bulldozers,
their raised shanks like scorpion.

From Calico Basin to Death Valley
We only wager on the desert —
on cacti-blooms, unhinged moonflowers
bursting at midnight. When no one is looking,
when everyone else is trying to find their way out
of the casino labryinth
symphony of slots that sing stay.

The blossoms like white stars veiled in twilight dust
will be wilted by morning —
an implosion of the idea
that stacked-chips and swizzle-sticks
could ever bluff the Mojave.

The house, guarded by endless Joshua leaning in counsel,
always wins.

Some images from the week:

Gracious Gratitude — Day 250

  • 8 delicious hours of sound sleep

Gracious Gratitude — Day 251

  • Wind through pine trees (yes again)

Gracious Gratitude — Day 252

  • My first full day as a “guest practitioner” at Upaya

Gracious Gratitude — Day 253

  • Feeling welcome and part of

Gracious Gratitude — Day 254

  • Lavender lemonade after a long hike

Gracious Gratitude — Day 255

  • Sitting in discomfort, pushing through it and experiencing the beauty of release

Gracious Gratitude — Day 256

  • Finding the top of my mountain

Gracious Gratitude — Day 257

  • A smooth, uneventful drive home

Gracious Gratitude — Day 258

  • Seeing someone realize they have crossed a huge barrier of fear and accomplished great things

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