QUESTIONNAIRE by Wendell Berry

  1. How much poison are you willing
    to eat for the success of the free
    market and global trade? Please
    name your preferred poisons.

  2. For the sake of goodness, how much
    evil are you willing to do?
    Fill in the following blanks
    with the names of your favorite
    evils and acts of hatred.

  3. What sacrifices are you prepared
    to make for culture and civilization?
    Please list the monuments, shrines,
    and works of art you would
    most willingly destroy.

  4. In the name of patriotism and
    the flag, how much of our beloved
    land are you willing to desecrate?
    List in the following spaces
    the mountains, rivers, towns, farms
    you could most readily do without.

  5. State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
    the energy sources, the kinds of security,
    for which you would kill a child.
    Name, please, the children whom
    you would be willing to kill.

In many ways, autumn is a season of declaring. Summer’s sliding out can feel like a second New Year, a crisp finale of color before hunkering down for the winter. The last quarter before the tumble of anticipated resolutions come January.

  Making a declaration to myself can feel scary. It can also feel natural, liberating. It takes a hazy floating desire—or in some cases, an under-attended need—and grounds it in my view. The power in declaring, I’ve found, is in saying it out loud. Embodied declaration, so the cells know too.

  The catch: there is no need to have the answers as to how the declaration will materialize. My mind likes to pounce on the logistics, but it feels richer to let a declaration just be itself: awareness and proclamation. Declaring is an invitation to relax to the mystery of life, an opening to expanded possibilities that are just waiting for us to say, “I see you!” The figuring out happens later, usually in a clumsy (sometimes graceful!) step by step sort of way.

Sometimes a declaration is of an intention, calling in the nourishment we need:
When I am taking steps outside of my comfort zone and fear rears its powerful head, I choose to give myself a big hug and meet fear with compassion instead of criticism. A gentle “I’m here. This is really hard.”

It can also be a declaration of release, removing oneself from dynamics or beliefs that feel heavy and wrong, no matter the reason:
I am letting go of being nice and accommodating, and I am stepping into deep kindness. I choose deep kindness even when it requires uncomfortable boundaries, disappointing people, and standing alone in my view. 

And declarations can be playful, obvious, and eager to spring into being!
I choose to celebrate today’s fullness and messiness simply as a gift of being alive.

Here is mine for the next couple weeks:
I am letting go of the hamster wheel of doing,
the hamster wheel of rushing and busyness,
of displacing power in subtle ways,
of forgetting how much bellies love deep breaths,
and neglecting innate luminosity through grinding self-doubt.
I choose life-giving, value-led, vision-inspired Being
I choose expansion, again and again,
as I savor an ever-widening heart

What declaration in your life is waiting to be embraced? 

Yours in daring declaration,
Maggy

Just a little shout out to gentleness. And being gentle to ourselves as a devotion. Not just when things are rough or go south or anxiety steals the wheel (then too of course, that's the practice) but also gentleness for showing up for this life that is a FULL experience — on top of a social, political, and ecological state that reflects so much tragedy.

I wrote a bit on private declarations as an act of gentleness, so that we can show up in wider ways. Kind of like resolutions but without feelings of obligation, and whole lot more inner-referenced gusto. It's over on my (infrequent and inspiring!) newsletter, which can be found here:

https://regardingdew.us17.list-manage.com/subscribe?id=3ef4d9323a&u=51b841c3ebcde542c94d098cf

Impeccable Relaxation I

As I’ve been integrating a hard stop time at 5:30 everyday for all work (let’s see if this can stick once classes start) and it’s been extremely helpful to keep a list of activities that fall under the category of impeccable relaxation. Each one of these can be experienced as a mindfulness practice, an integral part of practicing relaxation deeply. Here’s to relaxing our nervous systems, giving time to our desires, cultivating joy, and returning home to ourselves:

* Take a winding forest walk

* Design your ideal home

* Mindfully cook a recipe that you’ve been wanting to make

* Knit a friend a hat

* Make a video diary

* Attend to the eroticism or sensuality of life, whatever that looks like for you

* Take herbal tinctures

* Put on a facial and sing (this is mine lately)

* Unearth that article that was saved months ago and enjoy reading it with a cuppa

* Tara Brach meditations

Salt and Glass

From a wonderfully short and inspiring book, Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg puts out the challenge to write two three-lined poems (a loose definition of Haiku…) to the words Salt and Glass. No editing ~

Salt:

sand glazed gums

an abhorrent floss

I appreciate the variance in flavor

Glass:

Will you wipe the cloudy film from yourself?

I ache for the landscape behind you

maybe you were meant to be a wall

Mood boards

I love interior mood boards so much. It was one of my favorite hobbies growing up, to gather images from magazines and craft a dream space. Around age 14, I created ‘design binders’: meticulously collected and archived images in page protectors that I could use a references and clippings for creating these boards (this binder collection grew to occupy the entire top shelf of my closet). The hobby has found me again through an incredible discovery of Readymag, which essentially allows you to make online books or portfolios pieces (like a simplified photoshop or indesign). And it’s been a lifesaver without either of those programs on this ancient laptop!

I just posted up some beginning drafts of room concepts…next up are complete sketches! Trying to be more public (online and offline) about my creative joys and practicing sharing these while I’m still knee-deep in the process, instead of showing only the polished resolution.

Each current project includes a full on dreamy ideal of the room (studio, kitchen, and foyer), a more budget friendly version, and (soon to be) before and afters. The main point of this was to begin drafting concepts and crafting design notes, I’m still determining if/when the after shots will be published. Here’s where it stands now!

Studio: https://readymag.com/u71655956/1429329/

Kitchen: https://readymag.com/u71655956/1439395/

Foyer: https://readymag.com/u71655956/1439392/

If you’re reading this, thank you for witnessing my timid creative sharing…It might not seem like a big deal, especially with a background of sharing things constantly with undergraduate art critiques, but for me, sharing paintings was a comfort while I kept my other, private creative joys just that, private and hidden from others. I think that sharing creativity to be witnessed by others is inherently vulnerable and destabilizing — whether it’s a poem, a dance, or a sculpture — it’s a bearing of one’s soul for others to assess (whether in negative criticism or positive celebration). I’m navigating sharing for the sake of sharing and learning to do this with respectful disregard for the assessment. That, to me, is a creative act in itself!

That’s all to say that revisiting this passion of drafting up room concepts feels so deliciously inspiring and personal, and I'll be posting some of them here in case it sparks anything for anyone else: whether unearthing a buried joy or encouraging a bit of daydreaming and creative 'moodling'.

Journey of Inner Awakening

Clare Dubois is a force — and the Journey of Inner Awakening is just one exemplary facet. Her work is always powerful and one of the reasons that a portion of Regarding Dew’s profits support the mission of Tree Sisters.

Maurice Denis, 1891

Maurice Denis, 1891

I’ve had this on my list to do for about a year now, always putting it off because I wanted to really dive in and give it my full attention. Welllll it’s being launched again starting in about a week on the full moon, July 18. It’s free, it’s a beautiful community, and a rich pool of resources — the content that Tree Sisters puts out and their clarity of mission and impact is astounding. The program is supported by online resources of podcasts, videos, etc., a live monthly call on each full moon, and a private social media platform called the Nest (similar to Commune if you’ve used that)

If you’re reading this in time, I hope that you take it up as a divine nudge ;)

And if you’re reading this late, there is no ending date (from my knowledge), so feel free to dive in whenever if you feel hungry to replenish and reconnect with yourself.

https://femmiversity.treesisters.org/inner-journey-welcome/

“Gardens and houses are such whimsical things! This old house of ours had been so long untreated that it was fairly petulant and querelous when I began studying it. It asked questions at every turn and seemed surprised when they were answered. The house was delightfully rambling, with a tiny entrance hall, and narrow stairs, and sudden up and down steps from one room to another like the old, old house one associates with faraway places and old times.” - Elsie de Wolfe

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Also, how dreamy do these rooms sound??

“A door made of little square panes of mirrors was placed where it would deceive the old hall into thinking itself a spacious thing...the woodwork was painting a soft grey green. Finally, I had my collection of old french costume prints set against the wall as a frieze...another little thing: i covered the handrail with a soft grey green velvet of the same tone as the woodwork and the effect was so very good and the touch of it so very nice that many of my friends straightaway adopted the idea.”

“The drawing room is a pleasant, friendly place, full of quiet color. The walls are a deep cream color and the floor is covered with a beautiful Savonnerie rug. There are many beautiful old chairs covered with Aubusson tapestry, and other chairs and sofas covered with rose colored brocade...I believe in plenty of optimism and white paint, comfortable chairs with lights beside them, open fires on the hearth and flowers wherever they “belong”, mirrors and sunshine in all rooms.”

"Perspective-shifting ZAP"

Grace Kerina’s old blog offers so much goodness. One of which (ahem…200…) are her Daily Creativity Prompts. Take a stroll, scribble them on scrap notes to hide and find later. Or pick one when you first wake up and have it guide your day.

Here are some of my favorites:

-What would you do differently if you had a thick skin?

-Rank possible solutions according to joy level.

-Dare to explore the dangerous shadows.

-Groan out loud theatrically until you laugh. Create from that place.

-Consider failure a beginning rather than an end.

-Whose rules are you playing by?

-List your beliefs about this issue. Consider them optional.

-Make every element more beautiful.

-Say out loud what you’d rather be doing right now.

-What’s throbbing at the core of this project?

-Brave a paradigm shift. Ask someone who’s wise and bossy which way you need to jump.

-Talk it over with a tree. Out loud.

-Pretend you’re doing this in a different decade.

-Trim the edges.

-Ask a child between the ages of six and nine for their advice. Be serious and grateful. (Then give them a treat.)

-Describe the outfit your muse is wearing.

-Double-dare yourself.

-Launch a trial and error extravaganza.

-What would a happy eight-year-old do at this point?

Regarding Dew Manifesto 

I’ve been doing behind the scenes work on a project that has sustained my interest in the last couple years, but has really gotten the back-burner in the midst of everything else…here is a working manifesto of what is to come.

Regarding Dew offers:

-Curated handmade and collected objects that aim to bring intentionality, gratitude and pleasure into the liminal moments of everyday. Online and in person

-Resources to open up life-giving conversations, within and without.

-A gift drive that serves local community during the holiday season through 1) acknowledging individuals that are in need of support with dignity and compassion and 2) to uphold the power of objects in our lives, particularly using handmade objects to empower experiences of gratitude and meaning in everyday life, as well as interconnectedness to the larger community. 

Mission:

-To normalize ecologically-conscious design

-To create peace by hand

-To make ecologically-conscious consumer practices accessible: informing social capital and effectively leading change in communities on micro- and macro-levels

-To increase small scale, networked, transparent businesses

-To serve home life as a key site of regenerative consuming and activities and the space in which it is sustained

-Ultimately, to spread deep beauty, a beauty that returns us to ourselves so that we may gracefully experience Doing as a natural effect of Being

Operative beliefs:

-Our vision of ourselves and the world is the strongest asset we have.

-Our deepest, right* passion is medicine and it is our greatest contribution to the collective

-When we create things, we create meaning; when we gift creations that were made with care and attention, we hope to equally attend to the recipient's individual creative spirit and worthiness.

-Selling and giving operate in partnership. Commerce as one significant engine of change.**

*A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. - Aldo Leopold

**William McDonough

Writing little bits on this blog was so satisfying last winter, but I dropped it because it seemed too vulnerable and too private at the same time (why not share these things on Instagram for wider reach, why share these things at all…). And this isn’t an admittance of self deprecation, but being genuinely curious about how our narratives subtly turn when we know that it’s being publicized, at any level. And what about when it’s being publicized in a more private space, instead of the only half-consensual algorithms of social media?

The intention in keeping up with this blog is this: to provide useful and inspiring resources; to publicly document some things alongside private journaling for the sake of it; to share values that support a reality that I am committed to, hopefully sparking moments of compassion or insight for whoever is reading; and pragmatically, to hone my writing voice and ability to translate ideas informally. I think that it’s vital to share our voices and know that it’s safe to share who you are and the things that light you up, because there is a chance that it might light others up too. I think that the world can only benefit from that kind of content.
Anyway, here’s a poem:

The House of Belonging:

I awoke

this morning

in the gold light

turning this way

and that

thinking for

a moment

it was one

day

like any other.

But

the veil had gone

from my

darkened heart

and

I thought

it must have been the quiet

candlelight

that filled my room,

it must have been

the first

easy rhythm

with which I breathed

myself to sleep,

it must have been

the prayer I said

speaking to the otherness

of the night.

And

I thought

this is the good day

you could

meet your love,

this is the black day

someone close

to you could die.

This is the day

you realize

how easily the thread

is broken

between this world

and the next

and I found myself

sitting up

in the quiet pathway

of light,

the tawny

close-grained cedar

burning round

me like fire

and all the angels of this housely

heaven ascending

through the first

roof of light

the sun has made.

This is the bright home

in which I live,

this is where

I ask

my friends

to come,

this is where I want

to love all the things

it has taken me so long

to learn to love.

This is the temple

of my adult aloneness

and I belong

to that aloneness

as I belong to my life.

There is no house

like the house of belonging.

- David Whyte

©1996

 

Garden of Ordinary Miracles

A real Saturday morning treat to stumble across Robert Zakanitch’s incredible body of work.

Unfortunately because of strict image rules, I can’t share it here, but I highly recommend hopping over to check out his many series… “Night Desert Bloomings,” and the Celestial series are especially fun (but really it all is!)

Creative gestures

Smack in the middle of this potent year, a day after solstice and around Midsummer, it’s time to follow this thread of desire to blog and see where it leads. This whole yearning to share oneself online is a bizarre experience to pin down…it can be vulnerable enough to share oneself in person, and while writing online provides the comfort of deliberating on thoughts in privacy, how strange is it to press publish to an anonymous audience? Besides myself, who am I writing to?

Because of this, there has been so much hesitation about sharing my thoughts and expression online. It’s vulnerable, point blank. Let’s go ahead and make it more vulnerable by putting it all on the table and naming what the other hesitations are, they might just resonate with you too (whoever you are):

Judgement. Oh my god judgement....judging myself, my thoughts and writing ability and whether certain creative gestures are a solid use of time.

Fear of judgement from others. Strangely, the fear of judgement doesn’t come so much from any of the actual content that I might write, but instead the fear of having my writing critiqued and scribbled up with a red pen (What?? It’s true…)

It’s also fear of seeming self-indulgent (what makes rambling “worth” publishing) and silly.

I’m worried about sharing my passions into a vacuum. It’s vulnerable.

There it is. Fear has been in the driver seat for why I’ve kept from sharing myself fully in person, online, whatever. What I do know from sitting on so many ideas for so many years: the intention, the ‘Why’ with a capital W, is pure fuel for feeling connected, creatively liberated and ultimately, for being of service. It’s no secret that we’re in desperate need for all of these things. Writing this now and publishing it on this little corner of the web is one step to letting ‘Why’ try its hand at driving, and welcoming fear along for the ride in its proper place.

When it comes down to it, like so many creative gestures, the act of blogging or sharing thoughts in general is extremely low-stake even when it can make you feel naked. If you have also been sitting on a creative project for months or years now for fear of how the formal qualities will be perceived — whether it’s writing poetry or your technical ability in painting or sewing — may these words be a nudge to feel that block and take it along on the journey and the project that is waiting for you. We can expect typos and decisions that might make us cringe later, but I think that we are all so hungry to see people showing up for the things that really light them up, and to be doing it publicly when we feel like it, in all of our beautiful, imperfect figuring-it-outness.

Because it is medicine, and it will be medicine for yourself and the people that will have the gift of witnessing your creative expression and the -process- of deepening and expanding in that.

And if it feels like an idea is “not enough” in any way, it never has to be anything more than a creative gesture or iteration, just like this post.