In March We Make Choices

last March, I met Miriam Simonyan in Gyumri, Armenia. She decorates the wood in her woodpiles.

Miriam Simonyan’s firewood installation Gyumri, 2016

Midnight Writing about March

Because it is windy, I am awake.
Because I did not write in the morning as I usually do, I am writing instead of sleeping.
Because this website has been active since 2009, and I have had many significant things happen since that time, I am here.
Because I really don’t know what March 2017 will bring, except what it has delivered so far, which is being home, writing, doing yoga, celebrating my husband’s birthday, sewing one fine book, and meeting my daughter for lunch, along with teaching.

Mostly, because what has happened to me in the past week is I reached my saturation point with all the rough news that I read in the newspaper and online.

My mind is tired from arguing with my new President all of the time. He is a very bad conversationalist to have in your head. I have made many calls to my Congress people and I will continue to do so. But I cannot give hour upon hour to reading the news and let my days get sucked in to that particular vortex that is made up of the work of great journalists and then a whole bunch of really opinionated, angry people on Facebook.

Today, over lunch with my girl and two of her friends, we discussed what we are giving up for Lent. For reasons more personal than religious, we each decided to do things that would improve our abilities to be present. They made some really strong decisions about their phones. That is their story. I decided to take a break from posting anything on Social Media except things that relate to my work as a writer, artist, and teacher. This leaves me plenty of room to promote my events and classes, but keeps me out of the fray of political opinion and reactions to inflammatory comments by guys I went to high school with and have never seen eye to eye with, but somehow, I have this frail idea that we should all be friendly on Facebook.


Gyumri in the early morning March 2016

I read miles of books. I am deep in bell hooks’ book about her early writing life and just this evening I read a whole chapter about her religious upbringing and how she sought Spirit beyond church and how solitude is where she found it.

This thought is what made me get out of bed after an hour of trying to get to sleep.

I too meet Spirit in solitude.
And this month, I need more of both of these experiences rather than the eye-frying frenzy of Facebook.

I was not raised in a religious practice that focused on “giving things up for Lent.” But I am borrowing the practice this month, mostly because Catherine and her friends suggested we do something to disrupt habits that keep us from being present to what is real and in front of us. Like people. Like this windy moonlit night.

Last year at this time, I was in my first days in Armenia.
Two years ago at this time, I was producing Out of the Mouths of Babes for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.
Three, four, and five years ago, the same.

This year, I will savor those memories and make time for the new work that is emerging, like the next Out of the Mouths of Babes call for submissions. Maybe it is time for you to create something, to join this gallery of voices? Stay tuned for that post in the next week.

Until then, listen for what is calling you; what habit might you put down in order to make room for something you desire, that keeps you awake at night?

If you and I meet up on Facebook usually, just know I won’t be there much this month. Leave me a comment on this page to let me know your thoughts. And please share this post with your people because I suspect this question bears fruit in the answering.

Now I can go to sleep.
With love,

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Showing 15 comments
  • Julie Lambert

    love you, Suzi! I’m feeling this, too!

    • Suzi

      Thank you Julie! After a few days now, I feel my mind relaxing. It is a habitual move to jump in to the fray, but I am doing other things. How about you? What are you doing to take good care of your inner self? xoS

      • Julie Lambert

        Oddly enough, lots of on-line courses relating to relationships, so I’m focusing on better listening skills, ways to drop into more awareness in the body, and clear communication on what I want and need. Also, yoga nidra for perimenopause!! Great class with lots of local ladies – love gathering in a circle with women to share our stories and experiences. I know you do, too! Lots of love to you, Suzi!

  • Jeanene

    Yes. I appreciate your desire to stay in the present. Lent is a reminder of the time we can spend in solitude and reflect on the hope that Easter represents. And practice more yoga. More and more yoga.

    • Suzi

      Oh Jeanene, more yoga, please! Sometimes I think about you on your kayak and it just calms me right down. Have you ever read David Whyte’s writing? You might like his collection, Consolations. Much love to you! S

  • bam

    i too realized this week i’ve reached — as you perfectly put it — my saturation point. i feel drenched with the toxic drip. i’ve been sicker than sick these last two weeks, and the whole time i kept thinking it had to do with the constant uptake of news that was twisting my heart, splitting open my head, leaving me flat and gasping for air. pretty sure formula for sick-making. so i’m with you — trying to wedge open my heart for more than just the firehose of news. aiming for moments of solitude and fresh deep air. i love your spirit in the world, and i join hands with you in promising to make more room for life here in the month of the vernal awakening….

    • Suzi

      Dear BAM, Barbara in Chicago, who is followed in this thread by Barbara in Portland,
      I hope that you are feeling better by the time you read this. I walked today in the woods and felt
      what I forget so easily-how being outside is one way I meet the Holy. You write so beautifully about this.
      The bluebirds were at our feeder today, so small and so very blue. I will stand with them this week, just being my full self, on my small perch, doing what is my next necessary thing. I know you are doing the same! With love, S

  • Barb Buckner Suárez

    Love it, Suzi.

    Often when I was a little bit more engaged in the doctrine of my religion (a much younger me!) I bristled at the idea of giving something up for Lent and instead began my own journey of working on my character and doing things that would enhance it – not deprive it.

    What you are doing this month (and the young women in your life) seems similar to me.

    For my part, this month I will also try to be more present – when my children speak to me, even at the most inconvenient times 😉, I will turn away from what I’m focused on and give them my full attention.

    I want to give my full attention to whatever, or whomever, deserves it in the moment.

    A struggle for sure in a world where so many unimportant things (and people) clamor for our attention – NOW!

    Thank you for getting up in the middle of the night to write this for me. I’d yet to articulate what this time of year needed to be for me (and I’m three days past and no ashes on my forehead! My parents would be scandalized!)

    What you do, and who you are, are examples of how and where I should be focusing my attention. This month, and always. XO

    • Suzi

      Dearest BBS, Following on our conversation today I read this comment slightly differently. Sometimes it takes this special effort that Lent offers, to sense the places that aren’t getting light, that aren’t part of what is good about me and my work and my general every day presence. I can give my full attention to others only when I have given it to my solitude, to the way that I pray, to the way I listen to Spirit. I know it is difficult to talk about spiritual matters publicly, but there is a thread that we all follow, with all our rainbow attributes, and for me, that thread is about light, kindness, and love. Here is much love to you and yours. Take care of your attention, okay? xoS

  • Darby Gwidsdala

    How timely! Last night I awakened and sleep eluded me. I picked up “rebel buddha” by dzogchen ponlop and quickly received an “aha” that distilled would be….discipline, mindfulness, and awareness. Today, I symbolically opened the door to a new life (using a key that is hundreds of years old). I am moving toward something much larger and amazing….and when the path gets a bit rocky…I will persist.

    • Suzi

      Oh Darby, I know you will! I miss hearing your writing in PKO. Thank you for commenting. I look forward to learning more about this new life, and the key. With love, S

  • Marisa

    Yes, I, too, am recovering from a spiritual flu that began in the later half of January. Even when the wind is bitterly blowing off of my southeastern Great Lakes region, I swear a walk – even a short one in intense weather – is very grounding. It is here. It is now. Finding comfort in your midnight musings, too. And it is Lent. And it is the season I was raised in to repent and reflect. And this year I am reflecting on how I am shifting from darkness into light.
    Blessings to you and yours,

    • Suzi

      Thank you Marisa! I picture you walking in that wind. One of my students Maggie, at the library has summered in your area on the Lake since she was a girl. Just this morning I poured maple syrup, a gift from Maggie and tasted the strong maple goodness, grounding in a way. I send you love for this season, and many blessings for your inquiry. See you in a few months! With love, S

  • Coleen Davidson

    Suzi, love your line -“what habit might you put down…?” Up here in Canada we are also inundated by the depressing craziness that is DT. As a political junkie I have reached my saturation point & am turning my focus back to my creative being and the coming and promise of spring. Love & light to you for your continued inspiration xo Coleen

    • Suzi

      Coleen! I was just handling that Chickadee card you sent me! It is next to be sewn in to a book with many birds in it. At Sacred Refuge yesterday, I was playing with a stencil of a bird, laid over a stencil of letters, and made a bird full of words for the cover. I will post when it is done. Here is much love and many stirrings of colorful inspiration for your days. With love, S