this blue

Neighboring emails in my inbox yesterday:

1) This week's BrainFood newsletter from Shane Parrish, which included in its "5 For the Weekend," a fascinating article (even though it's full of chemistry) in Bloomberg about "The Quest for the Next Billion-Dollar Color." It's really about the millenia-long search for a stable and not-poisonous true red but, in the meantime, is the story of a material sciences professor's accidental discovery of a stable and intense beautiful blue, called YInMN. The first new blue pigment created in 200 years!

YInMN Blue

YInMN Blue

Perhaps inspired by the same article but maybe not, and in any case serendipitously appearing right next door in my inbox, was 2) "Two Hundred Years of Blue," Maria Popova's latest Brain Pickings digest. This week's posting consists of carefully chosen excerpts of "Cerulean splendor from Goethe, Thoreau, Virginia Woolf, Vladimir Nabokov, Rachel Carson, Toni Morrison, and other literary masters." A long, dreamy, beautiful "...dwelling on the color blue and the way our planet’s elemental hue, the most symphonic of the colors, recurs throughout our literature as something larger than a mere chromatic phenomenon — a symbol, a state of being, a foothold to the most lyrical and transcendent heights of the imagination."


Horace-Bénédict de Saussure’s cyanometer, circa 1760.

Horace-Bénédict de Saussure’s cyanometer, circa 1760.

Then this morning, a glimpse of tender blue peeking through shadows and the overcast.

This morning's blue

This morning's blue

And then this, this too, appeared today:

In Spring

I'm out with the wheelbarrow mixing mulch.
A mockingbird trills in the pine.
Then, from higher, a buzz, and through patches of blue
as the fog burns off, a small plane pulls a banner,
red letters I can't read—
but I do see, over the fence,
a man in a sky-blue shirt walking his dog to the beach.
He says he missed it, will keep an eye out.
Four barrows of mulch around the blueberry bushes,
I'm pulling off gloves, and he's back, beaming.
Are you Martha?"

by Rosie King, from Time and Peonies

transmutation time

What a long long time since I've been distracted from here!

Partly because all I seem to have enough concentration for is to pluck out a few ideas that especially interest me, set them next to each other, and hope that I'll remember to come back someday. So far, the coming back part is pretty rare.

So rather than continuing to wait until I get around to growing them up, I think I'll just start throwing down the sparky little seeds, seedy little sparks, that I've been collecting. And see if maybe they'll bloom into flame, if they get some quiet air.

* spent a bunch of minutes sharpening some of the many colored pencils that i've been collecting from around the house, from dusty corners and under the furniture. what am i sharpening them for? curious to find out.

* kintsugi: michael m mentioned having intuitively suggested a ritual smashing of pottery to his friend grieving her husband, and then did some research and found it was an indonesian funereal tradition. i in turn mentioned the art of "kintsugi" to him (having seen it pictured on connie's fb page recently), and he mused that maybe that can be a next step in the grief process...later, much later, but i am only guessing.

* this: mark morford

2013: The Year Women Abolish God

* plus this: len wallick, planet waves:

Your Mission: Changes of Venus and Mars:  "...theory was that the interval of irregularity, ending in 2060, corresponds to an era of when the relationship between women and men will be undergoing transmutation."

* and this: v-day,

one billion rising

* cracks and fissures, mars and venus, gold and colors (drawing in color) (drawing together), rising, mending, cultural healing, transmutation - now's the time (it's always felt like time) (and now is time for me to go to sleep, though i feel on the verge of waking up)

top photo: By Haragayato - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,


Gematria for Nachash (nun chet shin) = 50 + 8 + 300 = 358

Gematria for Meshiach (mem shin yod chet) = 40 + 300 + 10 + 8 = 358

Nachash is Serpent

Meshiach is Messiah

"Nachash is the guide that tempts us to incarnate. Meshiach is the teacher that leads us to wholeness. Two sides of the same door.

"All experience of pain comes from separation. All experience of joy comes from (re)union. In order to have the chance to re-member (-->joy) we need to choose to first forget." - Rabbi Ted Falcon

I am going through my notebooks for the past more-than-ten years, choosing to remember after a long time of forgetting. These notes are from 2002.

I am going through my notebooks for the past more-than-ten years, choosing to remember after a long time of forgetting. These notes are from 2002.

seeing essence

More on essence:

"I think of what Doris Lessing wrote in The Four-Gated City: 'In any situation anywhere there is always a key fact, the essence. But it is usually every other fact, thousands of facts, that are seen, discussed, dealt with. The central fact is usually ignored, or not seen.' And a sentence of Yukio Mishima's in Spring Snow: 'To live in the midst of an era is to be oblivious to its style.'" - Michael Ventura, in We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World's Getting Worse by James Hillman and Michael Ventura.

This lovely stained glass seems related to these thoughts, somehow (detail from Laura Fuller's Tree of Life, photo by Amanda Painter of Planet Waves). 

Even if just because they both caught my attention this same day.

noise and chatter

"Essence doesn't mean a little part hidden somewhere in us, the little teeny kernel of essence. Essence means the totality, the whole thing. Essence means the truth of you as opposed to the untruth of you.

"Essence isn't a small thing, essence is an immense thing. The essence of you is everything you ever see, taste, touch, and experience. Everywhere you go, every step you take, every breath you take is actually happening by the essence, of the essence, in the essence, and to the essence. All the rest is noise and chatter." 

~ Adyashanti

Leaf essence, in the Arboretum

Leaf essence, in the Arboretum

inescapable interrelation

"All I'm saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we're caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. 
Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.
For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.
This is the interrelated structure of reality."

Dr. and Mrs King March 1956.jpg

drop your ballot

If you're from around here and haven't mailed in your ballot yet, King County has introduced ten ballot drop boxes throughout the county to provide absentee voters with another way to securely return their ballots without the cost of postage. Ballot drop boxes will close at 8 p.m. on Election Day, November 4.

The address links below open up cute little photos of each site! When we dropped ours off today in the University district, we saw a lot of other citizens approaching down the sidewalk with their ballot envelopes in hand, and watched as one of the staff inside opened the box and gathered up a big pile. Yay!


microblogging (and my secret superpower)

Working at home, my head in the sunshine and my screen in the shade, I have an hour before my next phone meeting, and think, "maybe that's enough time to finally write that little blog post that's been percolating in my mind for a while, in the more-than-two-months since I've posted anything..."

And then, instead of writing, I glance through the new issue of Wired magazine that came in the mail yesterday and discover that they wrote my blog post for me. Click through to read it - it's really not very long! - it starts off, "Kill Your Blog. Still posting like it's 2004? Well, knock it off. There are chirpier ways to get your word out," and goes on to talk about how even (especially) early famous bloggers are putting more of their time and thoughts and photos and videos onto Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, etc. They're talking about ME! 

Well, except for the early and famous parts. I started blogging in 2004, too! I've been neglecting my blog in favor of tweeting and facebooking and flickring, too!

So, this is my secret Superpower: I always beeline into the belly of the Zeitgeist--right into the middle of the road, the middle of bell curve, in with the crowd on the cresting wave. Or maybe just a little little bit brother-in-law Eric has pointed out to me that it is (theoretically) a valuable talent to be able to pick out the song on any album that the masses of everyone else would like the best too. Don't you think?

So, what I was going to write, even before I read that little article in Wired, was that I haven't been spending any time thinking about my own blog (and not a lot of time reading other people's blogs, not even my favorite ones) because the scant amount of time I have for online connecting is all being used up by what I'm thinking of as mini-micro-blogging, which only takes a couple of minutes at a time. Twitter's 140-character limit per post is (theoretically) an opportunity to compress the infinite moment into one intensified droplet - or to simply pull a single thread from the fabric of experience as it passes through us, unremarkable except for having been caught in words. For now, it feels like just enough, to do that. I like how tiny haiku blogettes can criss-cross with those of the people whose tweets I follow or who are facebook friends. I originally started blogging in order to have one place where I could store all the inspiring words and thoughts and images I encounter, and I think I will still use it for that - 

Unless I run out of time.

And now that I'm at the end of this post - well, I didn't finish it before my phone meeting, the sun set before I had a chance to get back to it, and it took more than a few minutes to write it all down and set all the links. Time to go over to the other playgrounds now - for 5 minutes max! ;-) Maybe see you there sometime too?

party favors

Last year when my brother-in-law Eric turned 40, he took some friends out to dinner and also gave them each a bag containing his Top 5 Favorite things (special cashmere socks, his favorite wine, a CD of his favorite drum solos, Sugar hand lotion, and I forget the 5th thing but maybe it had to do with donuts or bagels).

That inspired me to think, if I were turning 50 today, what favorite things would I give to the friends I'm having dinner with tonight?

For a party favor bag, a sturdy, snazzy and re-usable one like the ones they give customers at Lululemon (and which they might give you without charge when you go in and ask how much they cost to buy without having made a purchase). Then I'd put inside a magazine or a book. Some flowers, and some color. And some oolong tea from Teahouse Kuan Yin (my favorites are the flowery ones like the High Mountain Jin Xuan and Wen Shan Bao Zhong, and new favorite Shan Lin Xi)

I also thought about adding some of my favorite Maple Pecan cereal, but without the soy milk and spoonful of peanut butter it is an incomplete experience so I left it out this time.

wosonos 2008 day three

I'm full! And haven't had sufficient time to digest yet. Luckily, Chris Corrigan has been his reliably and deeply thoughtful self and has posted a lot of fresh insights already.

Usually when I participate in any Open Space, there always seem to be some time slots when there isn't anything being offered that I would prefer to the pleasure of just hanging out for a while, but this one has had too many that I didn't want to miss. Yesterday I went to sessions in all four time slots: "Our feelings (not thinking) about the future and open space" (convened by Brian Bainbridge); "The possibilities for advancing the open space technosphere" (Kaliya Hamlin); "An open space arts building, what would it be like" (Phelim McDermott); Living in open space as a family (Chris, Caitlin, Aine and Finn). 

Brendan, Brian, Larry

Today though, I didn't go to any, but flapped around a bit and then had a lovely standing-up chat with Chris talking about the characteristics of what space is like when it's deep, his ongoing exploration of the twin dynamics of love & power, and playing with the beginnings of "a pattern language of faith."

More than working on things and getting things done (though that happened, too), open space is for me primarily about being with the people who've showed up, and sometimes (often) it doesn't really matter in the end what we talk about. Participating in convened sessions, sitting on the lawn at lunch, talking while doing very little aikido/tai qi movements, going for dinner with Jeff and Raffi and new friends Heidi, Michael, Brendan, Susan and James: all the same, all about little-by-little (but very quickly, actually) finding our common place in the group heart.

pals Lisa Heft and Chris Corrigan

wosonos2008 day one

3:30 pm: Raffi has been blogging the conference at Open Space World, and Chris Corrigan has already posted a characteristically thoughtful entry about a session he and his 7-year old son Finn co-convened today. I thought I would have written more by now but have been listening a lot and talking a bit the whole time (and a little picnicking too). The sessions I've participated in today were: Coffeehouses that Matter (that's not what the topic invitation was but that's what I ended up with in my notes); Combining World Cafe and Open Space; Open Space as Ancestral Space.

9 am: Day one of the international Open Space on Open Space in San Francisco, taking place in a big and gorgeous room in the Presidio, with huge windows overlooking the ocean and tall evergreen trees and a sky of sun and fog, and a sailboat in the distance. Opening circle about to begin. (I left at home the cable I need to upload photos onto my computer so I'll add some later).

Beautiful setting at the Presidio   

Beautiful setting at the Presidio


everything is surprising

Uh oh it's dusty around here. Darn! I have just enough time and attention available to turn the lights on for a second and toss this on the table where I'll be able to find it later:

"'To recognize that everything is surprising is the first step toward recognizing that everything is a gift,' says Steindl-Rast"

quoted by Margaret Wheatley, in an excerpt sent by Nipun Mehta in the current Thought for the Week.


"stroke of insight"

Here is a stunning and intensely inspired TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) talk by neuroanatomist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, who
"...had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened -- as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding -- she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story of recovery and awareness -- of how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another."

The annual invitational TED conference gathers together 1300 "leading thinkers and doers" for four days of revolutionary and illuminating talks, presentations, performances and connection. Though registration application for 2009 is already closed for now (though if they don't decide to fill up with the current applicants for registration then maybe there will be room for you!) (note though that memberships start at $6000 per year), a lot of the talks and performances are posted on the TED site -- and every presenter (whether someone world-famous like Bill Clinton or Jane Goodall, or someone equally amazing but not quite as well-known like 3-D visualization technology architect Blaise Aguera y Arcas) gets 18 minutes.

is where you can download a massive pdf graphic record of TED 2008.

And here is where you can go to keep track of what's new, like the current excitement about Pangea Day, May 10, which intends to "tap the power of film to strengthen tolerance and compassion while uniting millions of people to build a better future."

light pouring into a promise

 Another reminder of an ongoing exploration into what the process of ripening might be (from Irish poet and Stanford professor Eavan Boland, via Panhala) ~

Ceres Looks at the Morning
I wake slowly. Already
my body is a twilight: Solid. Gold.
At the edge of a larger darkness. But outside
my window
a summer day is beginning. Apple trees
appear, one by one. Light is pouring
into the promise of fruit.
Beautiful morning
look at me as a daughter would
look: with that love and that curiosity:
as to what she came from.

And what she will become.

~ Eavan Boland ~
(The Lost Land)