And just because, leave your name in a comment, plus a way to reach you by email, and I’ll draw for a gift subscription to my literary patron, the Shambhala Sun magazine. Winner drawn next Friday, Oct. 23, rain or shine.
Posts Tagged ‘Mother’s Plunge’
October 16th, 2009 - 22 Comments
October 8th, 2009 - 5 Comments
October 6th, 2009 - 9 Comments
All wisdom is a matter of call and response.
The sun comes up, your eyelids flutter.
All struggle is resistance to response.
October 1st, 2009 - 11 Comments
Today I stuffed the envelopes and mailed the welcome letter for those attending next week’s Minnesota Plunge at Assisi Heights. It took half the day but it filled me with quiet wonder and glee. The Plunge will be marvelous, I’m certain now. It has shaped itself into a circle, as life always does, replicating my visit to the original Assisi 15 years ago.
Truly, every place is holy, and every place is home.
I’m ready to plan more Plunges in the places you live. But here’s the thing: there’s only one of me. If you are one of those who has asked me to come to your town, now I’m asking you to help me. I need the eyes in your head and your feet on the ground to locate the right venue for our group. I’ve written some short, snappy guidelines on how to spy the right spot. If you’d like to put things in motion for me, just shoot me an email at kmiller(at)turningwords(dot)com or leave me a comment with a way to connect. I’ll send you my one page instructions on “How to Get Wet: Having a Mother’s Plunge Where You Live.”
Cities on my to-do list are Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, Washington DC and anywhere in New York, New Jersey and New England. If you can help with any of those, or one of your own, I would love to hear from you.
Let’s make it rain.
September 30th, 2009 - 5 Comments
If you want time, give away your preoccupations.
If you want faith, give away your reasons.
If you want peace, give away your ideas.
If you want love, give away your fear.
If you want rest, give away your worry.
If you want a better future, give away your past.
If you want a home, give away your walls.
If you want fame, give away your contentment.
If you want money, give away your happiness.
If you want more, give yourself less.
If you want fulfillment, give everything away. (You’ll never run out.)
If you want the world, give yourself Minnesota.
September 11th, 2009 - 2 Comments
We were on the front lawn of the neighborhood school where all our kids and a good number of dads sprawled having summer’s last sandwiches and drinks. There wasn’t a trash can to be found.
“We don’t need a trash can because we have moms,” I said, and it was true, each of us with hands full of apple cores and bread crusts, totes of green waste and recyclables, water bottles sweating rivulets inside our stained handbags.
It takes a mother to spread a meal and make it disappear.
It takes a mother to clean up after.
It takes a mother to adapt, undo, invent and start over.
It takes a mother to heal a mother, a sister, a brother and a father, a nation, the world.
A mother to be a mother again.
I’ve given up thinking that the good old boys, with their bully monsters and toys, will get a damn thing done.
It takes a mother to make it better.
A mother first and a mother last in line.
I wish it wasn’t so, and it’s not always.
If you’re a father and you do all this, that’s how good a mother you are.
And I bet you have a sack of trash to prove it.
If you, your friend, your mother, husband, sister or brother are thinking about joining me at the Rochester Mother’s Plunge, now is the time to commit. If you have the means but not the time, consider funding a full or partial scholarship. I have mothers waiting for a fairy godmother to appear. Email me at kmiller (at) turningwords (dot) com to make a mother’s day.
August 27th, 2009 - No Comments
August 20th, 2009 - 4 Comments
August 10th, 2009 - 3 Comments
Mother’s Autumn Plunge
Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009
Assisi Heights Spirituality Center
There is a story about what brings me up so high this time, so far out there, beyond any place I’ve ever been or even seen on a map.
There is a story about how all of us – against odds, hope and reason – will come together for another day of effortless oxygen and quiet astonishment.
Listen. It is the story of your life.
About two years ago, I got an email from a complete stranger, the lovely writer Elissa Elliott. She had read a powerful essay by novelist and teacher Dan Barden, “Writer as Parent: No More Aching to Be an Artist,” in Poets & Writers magazine. Dan was another stranger to me, but he wrote convincingly about what my book had meant to him in the early confounding years of parenthood when ambition and opportunity seem forever lost.
Elissa read Dan’s words, and then mine, and in a flash, she let go of her well-founded fears about motherhood. “I believe I can do it,” she wrote to me.
I lost touch with her until a year ago this month, when I read about her adoption of Liliana, now three, from the Ukraine. We can always do the thing we are most afraid to do; indeed we must.
I’m humbled and awed at the mysterious force – wind, breath, words – that can release us from old fears and resistance. Awed, and yet it happens all the time. It happens when we exhale. And when leaves fall.
When Elissa wished off-handedly for a retreat in her northern neck of woods, I didn’t know where she lived. I only knew I could find it. I trust it’s on my way. More than that, I trust it is the way.
How lovely to see that Rochester has a 100-year-old tradition of healing. And that our retreat home, Assisi, recalls my own conversion experience to the unholy goodness of the whole wide world. How awfully kind that airlines are offering insanely low fares. I have my ticket to paradise.
If you live in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota or North Dakota, I insist you come. If you live in Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana or Michigan, I’m saving you a place. If you live north of the 32nd parallel, especially if you don’t even know what that is, let go and fall up to the Autumn Plunge. And tell your friends.
We’re blowing in the wind and diving into a golden pond of wonder. Turn everything that’s stopping you upside down.
July 6th, 2009 - 2 Comments
The incandescent Jen Lee asked me to scribble a line or two to introduce her newest collection Fortunes, and so I did, and here they are, almost ready to count and keep for yourself. You will want to keep one for yourself, and you will want to give away a dozen. What we give always comes back to us and thus fortunes multiply.
She returned the favor by giving me more profoundly blank pages of her Don’t Write journal, which has worked a kind of reverse osmosis on me. (Sorry, the magic is sold out.) The empty lines of that book have filled with more unfiltered prose than I ever didn’t write, and I’m looking there to find the finishing stroke for my second book this summer. Reverse osmosis generally takes a lot of pressure and is fairly slow, but it works.
I trust what Jen knows, and even more what she doesn’t, and she told me as much herself:
“My feeling about your book manuscript is that it is already written, somewhere inside you or outside of you. There’s just a good stretch of dictation left for you to take down. The hardest work is the way such projects rewrite us as they are gestating, and eventually born.”
The due date for my labors is Labor Day, naturally, and I’ve no doubt the baby will arrive on schedule. After that, I’ll be free to fall up north, plunging into a golden pile of overdue forgetting. The treasury opens by itself.
June 16th, 2009 - 24 Comments
Here’s a little story about spiritual pilgrimage for those of you who are traveling to my city of angels this weekend for the Mother’s Plunge – and those of you who aren’t. The extraordinary response to the first splash has me planning a countrywide tour of backward steps. Where should I bring the retreat next? Minnesota? Arizona? Kansas? Tell me.
Even the man at Marshall Field’s who had sold me the yellow travel umbrella had said it: “You must go to Assisi.”
Everyone, it seemed, had said it – You must go to Assisi! – and so the fifth day of a solo trip to Italy became the day for me to go the distance. It would require a car, which I obtained from a rental agency a few blocks from my hotel in Florence. It would require getting out of town, which I accomplished with an angel on the dashboard. And it would require a couple hours’ drive south on the Autostrada, which I high-tailed in the slipstream of the surging traffic.
“You will see it on the hill,” another advisor had told me rapturously. And I did, in a purple haze of trees and tile and imagination. I steered my little vehicle onward in the soldierly direction, ascending the hill and circling the top, passing the marked parking lots with all the beached buses, inching slowly alongside the streams of tourists who had come for the St. Francis experience, motoring up the wrong streets and down again until I mustered my purpose and pulled over on a narrow hillside shoulder. I angled in among the other likeminded pilgrims who were committing, I hoped, the pardonable sin of illegal parking.
I strode upward to the Basilica de San Francisco. It was big, too big, outsized for its namesake, and oddly uninspiring, I thought. Inside to more frescoes, more pews, more people, and decidedly more organization than in the other sacred spots I’d stopped. This, I could see, was a system.
I headed down into the crypts containing St. Francis’ tomb and there uncovered the day’s only treasure. “Scusa, scusa,” the ushers whispered to those, like me, who had barged in to bystand at the wedding ceremony underway in the underground chapel. I lingered in the shadows at the rear, charmed by the elaborate smallness of it. A local couple surrounded by local people, wearing uncomfortable new clothes for the biggest event of their lives.
Leaving, I wandered the winding medieval village. The heat had turned the streets into baking stones.
“You will feel it in the air,” another friend had confided. I felt stifling languor and epidemic disinterest. Wandering into an antique shop, my idle browsing did not disturb the mistress at the back watching American TV soap operas dubbed in Italian.
Then the divine message arrived.
Every place is holy.
It was my departing thought, a conclusion and a comfort, and I headed home, satisfied.
May 31st, 2009 - 5 Comments
The author Mary the poet Jena the joyful Myriam the faithful Chris the teacher Melinda the peacemaker Janet the mystic Melissa the first responder Nancy the traveler Sheryl the actress Holly the educator Jen the yogi Jill the artist Stacy the columnist Anissa the graceful Kathleen the singer Francie the manager Jody the gardener Amy the athlete Brenda the doctor Cassandra the cheerful Blue the leader Liz the writers the healers the cooks the scientists the coaches the doctors the lawyers the nurses the musicians the songwriters the sandwich-makers the crying the smiling the laughing the sisters the daughters the grandmothers the aunts the mothers the non-mothers the you that you haven’t yet met, just as you are.
Sixty women full of grace coming together at the Mother’s Summer Plunge on Saturday, June 20. The possibilities remain wide open, but registration closes this week. There is room for you; there will always be room for you and time for you in the company of mothers.