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While hiking, I came upon a side trail where once before I had stumbled upon deer. I took the detour hoping to catch sight of some. As I walked, I thought, oh heart; let’s call deer with our heart instead of seeking only with our eyes. Although I held an image and sense of deer within my heart, I didn’t see any on the detour.


When the path joined the main trail, all of a sudden, I noticed a deer alongside me. She was on the shoulder where the trail merges into woods. I stopped walking and the deer and I gazed at each other. How long had she been there, beside me, while I crunched the gravel path holding her in my heart? She then crossed barely a meter in front of me and went into the woods on the other side of the path. There, she munched on honeysuckle, still eyeing me. This made me chuckle because I have an affection for honeysuckle. I watched the deer, flooded with gratitude and wonder.


Did the deer hear my heart invite or did my heart invite align with the deer’s path? Does the heart prepare the eye for seeing? For synchronicity? How do we walk with our heart, knowing what we seek is already alongside us?


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Updated: Sep 3, 2022

The sturdy stalks seek the sun as leaves like spread hands spiral up the stalk spine. The creamy white five petaled flowers emerge from leaf stems. They are only in full bloom a day or so. Then the okra pods begin to develop. As okra lengthens, they gently twist the flowers closed. Eventually flowers wilt into tiny caps at the end of pods before falling off.


I took a picture of an okra flower for this post yesterday. Today I realized it didn't do the plant justice and when I went to take another photo it was too late; the flower had already become a cap. What is the point of such a flower with its silky slightly ridged petals, vibrant maroon interior, such luscious detailing? What's the point of such artful ripening, particularly when it is so fleeting?


Okra are self-pollinating, which is to say, they perpetuate themselves through beauty. What's more, their fluttering petals and lush interior draw pollinators eager to cross pollinate, thereby spreading beauty. Okra thrive through beauty. Would that we could understand we do too.


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I woke up, panicked.


What am I doing with my life? Where am I going? Will I achieve any of what I dream of? What often alleviates the panic is being barefoot in my garden naming what I am grateful for until calm surfaces. This morning, I felt the grass beneath my feet, the breeze caress my body, felt the nascent heat even at 5 am. I heard crickets and cicadas. I watched zinnias sway. I marveled at the tree across the street, mesmerized by how beings in the natural world are themselves. This tree is fully tree; squirrel is; cardinal is utterly cardinal. Each being in nature articulates, fully, wholly, as itself.


Then there was a loud crack of thunder, unleashing rain like Black Friday shoppers when the doors open. I resisted the instinct to dash back inside. Instead, I savored the cool water hitting my bare arms and legs, saturating my hair, slicking my dress to my body. I looked up so rain could percussion my face. I felt happy-no-gleeful, my body drinking in rain just like my plant friends. Happy too because, for them, rainwater beats hose water any day. I felt my younger selves inside my heart delight in the rain pelting our body, the sound of the storm. I then had an impulse to lay in my hammock and look up into the rain as it began to ease up. I could hear a voice in my head saying don’t do that, you shouldn’t, the neighbors will think you’re crazy. You’re a grown ass woman. Besides it’s gonna be wet and uncomfortable.


Ugh.


This is how adventure and pleasure get drowned out. I walked around to the back of my house, enjoying the cool slippery grass underfoot, passed my strawberries, corn, and squash imagined them perking up in this downpour. I said hello to the lamb’s quarters, my most recent plant crush. Yes the wet rope of the hammock was initially uncomfortable against my back body. I laid back and looked at the grey sky, rocking back and forth, pleasure at the rain pattering my face, legs and arms outwitted discomfort. Rain offered me an unexpected array of bodily sensations this morning which I gladly received. No, seized, as an opportunity to experience the moment, to experience my body, to delight in the moment.


I am grateful for the immense capacity for joy and pleasure hardwired in our bodies, grateful for the immense privilege I have to take this time on an early Thursday morning to experience communion with this elemental life force, rain. To allow unexpected pleasure in my body, to experience myself pursuing my own pleasure beyond the admonitions in my head.


Then to come inside-to have an inside to enter-and peel off my sopping dress, feel the initial chilly discomfort eased by the embrace of a warm towel, my hair raining on the wood floor waiting a turn with the towel. How restored to myself I feel after this feast of bodily sensations, after this rainy adventure. How grateful I am.


And isn’t that our soul purpose? Our sole purpose? To be fully articulated as ourselves in this lifetime? What is my soul’s expression as Mary Silwance? Maybe other beings have this consciousness instinctively: you are here as an expression of Soul, of Divinity. We are here for joy.


I woke up panicked. I had fallen out of my Maryness.


The rain washed me back to myself. What more can I ask for? Only this: to create a world where we all can access pleasure, be nourished by delight and be restored to ourselves, our bodies, our purpose, in joyful ways.

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dissolving distances between self & other 
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