on heatwaves and birthdays and songs that are always worth singing

windows down, fans in full force. finding respite in shady places and icey teas. the constant salty skin, the way the mind loses all sense of time, heat of moments just melt one into another.
fresh peaches and plums, wild blueberries and cherries. baking at midnight, napping afternoons away. max and his wolf suit, piano on the record player, scent of fresh laundry being blown around on the breeze.
chocolate cake under the oak tree, smores around the fire. the way a sister sings, unashamed, giving courage, permission, to join in the chorus. indian food and cherry pits, strangers around a breakfast table. a bird who bathes himself with lemon rind.
waking up to poems that resonate in deep places. the strong legs of a small gymnast, the creak of a bicycle seat. letterpress and guitar strings, birthdays and remembrances. noodles in the park by the big lake. fresh baked olive bread on the shores of the river. comfort and gratitude. these hands that are always ready to hold you.
the days are unstoppable. i welcome myself to another year of living. the road is ever-winding. i’m going to keep walking. my pockets are heavy with lessons learned, treasures found, bits of stories that still hang around. i’m not as afraid as i used to be. it’s okay if you don’t understand. i’m unfolding anyways. it’s not heartless, it’s honest, though even the truth can feel muddled sometimes.
my feet feel lighter. something inside me feels freer. maybe what’s necessary doesn’t always come easy. there’s a path, and i think i’m on it, though i don’t know anymore where i want it to lead. happy wanderer. forgive the bumps along the way. there are too many gifts to worry over the weight of the bruises.
protect your skin. keep it tender, keep it tough. drink plenty of water.
breathe.
the moon is rising, and somewhere else, the sun too.
you’re not alone here, dear girl.
every moment is something new.
listen to the song he sings,
heart to fly, hopes to rise, simple every day
just keep going…

early in the morning, when the church bells toll

1. orchestra of song birds singing the sun up outside my bedroom window

2. sad news on morning radio

3. the stillness of a dark room

...

...

considering the sparrows.

Five Sparrows

Five Sparrows

grey skies. tired bones. long road.

but, wait

a persistent robin. breathing room. strength enough for today.

Friends

Friends

beauty in excess.

love undeserving.

faith biting at the heels of fear.

Bouquet

Bouquet

trusting the road will lead to somewhere good.

the lilies are clothed. the sparrow is fed. the robin rebuilds her nest.

Three Little Birds

Three Little Birds

hands open. heart open. keep walking.

Together

Together

( all of the beautiful bird paintings are by Geninne . so wonderful. )

we all have our things that keep us sane

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i take walks and dig in the garden and drink earl grey tea with a bit of milk. i read mary oliver or linford detweiler or listen to shane koyczan rant. i rearrange rooms and purge my house of things. i eat scones or ovaltine biscuits.  i wander through thrift stores. i write words. i sing along with patty griffin and dance to old al. i drive to my favorite beach. i find quiet places where i can catch my breath. i follow the sun with a picnic blanket under my arm. i sift through old things and try to find the stories. i use my hands to  make things. i hold close the people who help hold me feet to the ground.  i root through the chaos and try to find a glimpse of calm. sometimes i have to search really hard.

sometimes i have to search really hard.

i don’t give up.

everything that happens from now on.

bon iver

bon iver

my soundtrack for a working winter afternoon

dizzy

Dizzy

Soft gaze, Quiet Mind by Kate Longmaid

Soft gaze, Quiet Mind by Kate Longmaid

I wonder how long it would
Really
Take
For my mind to quit spinning
And rest awhile

– L. Detweiler

open your eyes

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i started my morning staring at this painting, chewing on these words…

“if you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief,

your body fills up with light.”

i’m still staring…

i’m still chewing…

the neutral witness

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“This paying attention to the ground of the mind is like observing the sky rather than the things in it. We may notice a bird flying through the sky, but certainly the sky does not become smudged from this movement. Today it is rainy, but somehow the sky does not become wet. Tomorrow it is sunny, but the sky doesn’t ignite into flames. The next day there is an exciting show of thunder and lightning, yet no one rushes around trying to repair the sky. In the same way, when we have the discipline to stay with our practice, we insist on remaining identified with our own neutral witness, the part of us that stays the same regardless of the passing show.”

~ Donna Farhi

“When I first read the quote above, I breezed right through it. Sky… got it. Birds… got it. Practice… got it. But this quote somehow found its way into my head, and I found myself thinking about it all the time. In the shower… Driving my car… Playing with my daughter… The more I thought about it, the more true it rang. For me, these simple words somehow shed light on the whole idea of being still and watching. On not getting involved and attached to each thought and emotion that rides through our minds. And not letting our stories take us over. It made me stop and try to identify with my own neutral witness periodically. And keep coming back to that over and over. Practicing gently. And I thought that was a beautiful thing.

And so I was inspired to share this beautiful thing I discovered by creating a piece of art and an animation that sort of illustrated the idea. The woman is sitting. Not in meditation or an asana, but just casually cross-legged. That, for me, is where I challenge myself to live my yoga — off the mat in everyday life. And everything flows through her in her stillness. She can still be seen faintly as birds pass, the wind blows clouds in and a storm comes up and finally blows over. She is the neutral witness.

Watch this:

she is the neutral witness

I hope you enjoy it and might think of it occasionally as a reminder to connect with the part of you that stays the same regardless of the passing show.”

~ Penelope Dullaghan, artist

pi_site_index

Check out Penelope’s beautiful work:

http://thisjoyride.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/30-penelope-dullaghan/

http://penelopeillustration.com/

Words + Photos + Credit

Unless otherwise noted, all original photography and text are property of Raechelle Kennedy. If you see or read something here and feel inspired to share it somehow, please be considerate and give the artist (me!) credit, or even better, drop me a note and make sure I don’t mind.
Thank you!

Here + There

Secondhand Sainthood and the gift of losing it all – Topology Magazine, December 2015

Ten Things Made – Topology Magazine, December 2015

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