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I meet her at the Peace Garden gathering

where she’s singing and dancing for peace.

It’s September 11, and her belly is round

and moon-ish. She has no wrinkles yet,

no flashes of gray in her hair.

She is so sincere as she recites poems,

as if with right words and right songs

and right moves she could help

create a peaceful world that her baby will enter.

She’s a month away from her due date

and I don’t tell her those cramps she’s feeling

are contractions. I don’t tell her

he’ll cry for a year. I don’t tell her

about how they’ll laugh too loud together

how they’ll both thrive in the small night hours,

how sixteen years later she’ll marvel

at how love rules her life

in the fiercest and most tender ways,

how the boy will have grown to six foot four,

how he will teach her about fast cars and graphic cards

and forgiveness and humility and apps.

Sixteen years later, she will be less herself

and more something larger, more

driven by love than ever, though it

is nothing she could have imagined.

No, I just say, Nice to meet you. You look familiar,

like a woman I used to know well.

And she smiles in a dreamy far off way.

She thinks she knows what will happen.

Yes, I remember that well.

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Have you ever wanted to be a SECRET AGENT??

Perhaps you’ve already joined Secret Agents of Change–perhaps this is your first inkling that such a covert organization exists, but in all cases:

My friend Sherry Richert Belul and I invite you to participate in a very special four-part mission: Operation Love. We’ll be hosting secret missions on the 11th of every month through the end of 2020. Here’s the bottom line: For every mission I will share a poem and Sherry will offer a heart-opening, simple, surreptitious prompt to send you out into the day with purpose and love.

We’re hosting an Emergency Secret Mission on Friday, September 11th and we hope you’ll don your agent’s badge and join us. The world is in need of your love, light, and stealthy way of adding doses of compassion wherever you go.There are two ways to participate: 1.  Live! Join a live Zoom call with me and Sherry on Friday morning from 7:30- 8a.m. PDT ( 8:30-9 a.m. MDT, 9:30-10 a.m., CDT, and 10:30-11 a.m. EDT) and we’ll not only share a poem and announce the mission, but we will also roll up our sleeves and get into action–together! Please join us live if you can; we’d love to see your beautiful Secret Agent faces and feel your stealthy, loving, ninja awesome agent energy while we are on live. Or, if you prefer to join audio-only or lurking-only, those are just fine, too!(Note: please bring paper or a pretty notecard and a pen.)  2.  Via Replay! We will post the 30-minute video and you can participate anytime on Friday or over the weekend. If you are on our secret agent mailing list (join here), then you will receive an email with the video link + we will also post it in our Secret Agents Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/SecretAgentsOfChange). (Note: the poem and mission will be in the first five minutes.)No matter which way you participate, you’ll report back in our Facebook Group to let us know how your mission went.No matter which way you participate, we love you and honor you!Zoom details down below our signature.Gratefully your Spymasters,Rosemerry and Sherry

PS: If you have friends whom you think would enjoy these kinds of missions, please have them sign up here: https://simplycelebrate.net/secret-agents-of-change. The more the merrier! We will notify everyone via email when the next Operation launches! Also, make sure you send them to our Facebook group if they want to join in Friday’s LOVE!How to join the live call: Topic: Secret Agents of Change:  Operation Love  2020Time: Sep 11, 2020 07:30 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)Join Zoom Meeting by computerhttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/84910769888?pwd=S28xZFBBSVBQUGd4M3FBUkIwUDNBUT09Meeting ID: 849 1076 9888Passcode: 438699Join by One tap mobile:+14086380968,,84910769888#,,,,,,0#,,438699# US (San Jose)+16699006833,,84910769888#,,,,,,0#,,438699# US (San Jose)Join by phone:Dial by your location        +1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)        +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)Meeting ID: 849 1076 9888Passcode: 438699Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kpcDeqeO9

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By the Numbers

Then let me measure my life

not in days, not in years,

but in how many sunflowers

grew in my gardens

and how many times

I stopped to notice

how beautiful they were.

Let me measure my life

in lines of poems

that slipped me

more deeply into the world

and in cups of earl gray tea.

Let me grow old

on belly laughs.

Let me know my true age

in kisses. And though

it is a finite number,

let me lose count.

In hug years,

let me be ancient.

In fist years,

let me always be young.

And let me measure my life

in songs that insisted I sing them.

May it equal the number of times

they were sung.

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Playing Family

for Grace

I’m too grown up now to play family,

says the six-year-old girl. But I hear

in her voice that part of her

still loves the game.

I long to tell her that now,

at fifty, playing family is still

one of my favorites.

I’m less wild about the version

where I’m the mom telling the kid

no, they can’t get the toy they want.

But I like the game when I sit on the couch

and say to my son or daughter,

Hey, come snuggle in, and they do.

I like it when we stand around the kitchen counter

laughing at whatever we’re laughing at.

I like when we’re driving in the car

and I say, Hey, sweetie, how was your day?

Sometimes, I play dress up in my own clothes

and wear what a mother would wear.

I even make breakfasts and lunches

and hide the M&Ms.

And I laugh to hear my own voice say

what a mother might say:

Clean up your room, please.

Time for bed now. Now.

You have got to be kidding me.

I love you. Oh my, how you’ve grown.

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Bargaining

Wholeness does not mean perfection. It means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.

—Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life

Brokenness, I am still learning

to embrace you. I would rather fix,

would rather mend, would rather solve.

Today, the hole in my security

is big enough to let fear blow in

like a strong winter wind.

I want a patch, want reinforcement,

want to stitch the seams closed.

And here I am, brokenness,

my needle and thread in hand.

Is it so wrong to want to repair?

My fingers are willing.

There is work to do. Here I am.

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Forecast

In two nights, the killing frost will come.

Because I know this, I wander the garden

and talk to the broccoli, the nasturtiums,

the cilantro. I thank the beets for their willingness

to grow. I tell the onions what is coming.

Tomorrow I will pick enormous bouquets

and fill the house with orange flowers.

Tomorrow I will sit in the garden

and try to store the beauty in my body

though I know it doesn’t work that way.

Please, just one more day, just one more month,

just one more life to try to get it right,

just one more chance to be as attentive

as I am when I know it is almost over,

the basil dark green, the marigolds crinkling with gold.

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Dozens of puzzle pieces suspended in the air.

All day, I’ve wondered why no one else

seems to see them—dangling as they are

on the hiking trail and in the kitchen this morning,

over the highway and at the birthday party.

All day, they appear with their knobs and inlets,

their gray backs and colorful fronts,

spinning like small bits of certainty.

Sometimes I feel one fit into place

in some larger puzzle I don’t actually see,

but when a piece slips in, I feel it

with my whole body—a snap, a link,

a small yes. I don’t know whose hand

is doing the work. I don’t know where

the pieces came from nor where they should go.

All day I wait for it, the feeling of being lifted

out of my life and placed back in

exactly where I belong.

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The Grand Embrace: Resistance & Willingness
September 13 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. MDT
$40-$100 sliding scale, no one will be refused for lack of funds


We are learning to stretch in so many ways, many of them very uncomfortable. Living right now can feel like being in a story with an unbearable amount of tension. If it were a book, we might be tempted to read ahead to find out what happens to relieve the tension. Well, we don’t get to skip ahead. And we don’t get to stick our heads in the sand. But we do have the chance to meet our resistance to the moment— our sticky, unadulterated top-to-bottom resistance. And we have a chance to practice being available to the moment. Join dharma teacher Susie Harrington and poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer for a day of exploring resistance and willingness through meditation and writing.

There will be meditation practice instructions, guided meditations and silent sitting. Poetry practice will include periods of instruction, time to write, and time to share what we have written and discovered. This combination of silence and discovery can be a magical process that leads us deep into ourselves and into the world. No previous experience in meditation or poetry is required to participate. We expect many will be more familiar with one of these modes of exploration than the other and this will be an opportunity to build on the experiences you bring.

If you have any questions please contact Lisa Allee at 970-570-7936 or lisaalleecnm@hotmail.com (call or text preferred). 
To register, visit https://desertdharma.org/retreats.html

*

Playing with Mindfulness & Poetry
October 2, 5-8 p.m. and October 3, 8-11 a.m. 
$95

It’s like recess for grownups—a chance to let your body and your mind have fun in a virtual playground. Poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer will offer playful word games and mischievous prompts for writing. Psychotherapist, yoga and meditation teacher Augusta Kantra will lead light-hearted creative movement and joyful experimentation. Play is for everyone! Leave feeling more deeply connected to the part of you who knows how to enjoy being alive. To register, visit https://calmlivingstudio.com/events/playing-with-mindfulness-poetry/
 

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer co-hosts Emerging Form, a podcast on the creative process. She also co-hosts Telluride’s Talking Gourds Poetry Club and is co-founder of Secret Agents of Change. She teaches poetry for mindfulness retreats, women’s retreats, scientists, hospice and more. Her poetry has appeared in O Magazine, on A Prairie Home Companion and in Rattle.com. Her most recent collection, Hush, won the Halcyon Prize. She is often found in the kitchen baking with her teenage children. One-word mantra: Adjust.

Augusta Kantra is a psychotherapist, a mindfulness and meditation teacher, and a yoga teacher. She and her husband, David, own and operate the Center for CALM Living and CALM Living Studio in Fairhope, Alabama. As a psychotherapist, she helps her clients understand and unravel the dynamics that trip them up. As a mindfulness teacher, she facilitates on-going Yoga Assisted Self-Discovery groups incorporating meditation, movement, and insight practices. As a teacher of yoga, she leads trainings at the foundational (200hr) and advanced (500hr) levels. And each week, she live-streams her fun, inspiring, and awareness-increasing yoga classes.

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Gift

            I’m sure there’s a blossom in there somewhere

And if all I can give you is silence,

then let it be the most beautiful silence,

a silence perfumed with mint and sage,

a silence that brings a quiet shine

to everything it touches.

Let it be the kind of silence

that opens into a deeper silence,

the kind that knows golden petals and sunshine

and the scent of rain unfolding in the meadow—

a silence that holds you so lightly,

the way candlelight might hold you

inside the dark. May it find you

in the morning, be waiting for you

before you rise. May you find it behind

and between every word you say,

the way sky supports the dark cursive

of starlings. And may you hear it, really hear it,

the deep silence. Like your favorite

song playing over and over again.

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Endurance

In the middle of my heart

is a meadow with tall golden grass

and a big blue blanket

spread out like an invitation.

I never fold it up.

Not ever.

It is always the right time

to meet you there.

The light is always golden.

The air is always sweet.

Even when I ache.

Even when my heart

ticks in my chest,

not like a clock,

like a bomb.

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