Discover more from Songs of Forgiveness
June 6/First Quarter Moon
Bringing in some details, local feedback, William Morris, trial and error.
Sometimes they call the first quarter moon the half moon, because that is what it looks like in the sky. The crescent shape transformed into its new gibbous form on its way to round, to fullness. Sometimes I call this phase of the moon the trial and error phase. The guideline of the phases is just a rough outline of time. You may trial and error during the new moon and the waxing crescent up until this point. You may trial and error all the way into the full moon. Sometimes trial and error is the theme of the whole lunation. Or maybe you’re someone who gets things on the first try. I bow to you. I need a lot of trial and error. I am an experiential learner. Even to learn that about myself took much trial and error. So I need the first quarter moon to remind me to use my new moon pauses and change things as necessary.
I once went to a seafood boil with a big group of people. The woman cooking the meal was the host and I was meeting her for the first time. I was amazed how she could fall into conversation with me and other guests, some new like me, others longtime friends, and still track all she was doing. It was an intricate dance of when to put what in the pot, directing us to do the things we could help with, and staying with all her different tasks happening at once. Big table getting set, questions and answers, greetings, big fire under a big pot getting filled with veggies and seafood, all the while kids and dogs in the kitchen and yard underfoot.
She told me when I asked, that noticing smells played a big part of knowing what went in next. Years later I read this article about supertasking (I think this is an updated version as I’m sure it was earlier then 2018) where the author describes being in a kitchen watching a similar scene play out. From the article linked above:
You need to be flexible and go back and forth between multiple things without obsessing about completing each thing first. Although my friend’s dinner came together swiftly, she would not have cooked the food so well had she not continuously sought feedback — prodding the chicken, checking on the casserole. Without feedback, your brain loses track of its own results. That makes multitasking more difficult.
Supertasking is the new word for the misnomer of multi-tasking. You’re brain can’t do more than one thing at a time, but it can remain flexible and agile and move between perspectives and tasks. I was taken by this article and the meditation protocol it seemed to spell out. The author makes the distinction between local feedback, taking the time to consider a task you just accomplished, vs global, ticking off items on a whole to-do list. This idea of local feedback, pausing and giving yourself feedback in the moment, seems to me like mini-meditations throughout busy times. The article describes it as pausing to “stop and think about what you just did and how it relates to what you have to do next.”
Despite the fact that this article was really influential, providing this new way of thinking of daily work, the words felt inadequate to what it was really trying to describe. That somehow there was something left out of the pause itself.
Finally I feel like I know what it is. The pause itself requires a global approach. The whole body is used in the pausing and input from all of the senses must be noted. When you pause, you take stock and when you include your body in the processing of tasks in this way, there is a necessary equanimity involved. You take the data in an evaluative way, but also free from wanting it to be different. With full recognition that it’s not done yet, it is only small piece of a larger process, from an observer’s distance.
This is an artist’s stance. By taking the time, these small embodied moments, to feel and process all of the information that is there, a spaciousness evolves. Tasks are ventilated by a mini-meditation so that you can experience how everything is connected. This local feedback, in the moment, around the single task, takes on a global aspect as you repeat this again and again throughout your day, throughout the weeklong intermediate phase of the waxing gibbous, or the whole lunation. It has a kind of dance aspect to it, using your body to know how your life is playing out.
Poetry was what was missing. Using your senses to be able to get more done for more people even while taking good care of yourself. Pure art. So that is all to say, it is the first quarter moon today and you are to take your intention into your life.
And perhaps it is also the other way around. You are to bring your daily life tasks into your intention and that practice is the trial and error stage of the lunation.
Switching topics to writing about my recent travels
This comes around too, I promise.
I went to visit the William Morris Museum in London. I have to thank Josh for that suggestion. I went before he got to London and he never got to go. It was my first double decker bus ride out to Walthamstow and a beautiful park that describes Morris’ design career and life, 1834 - 1896. He was a textile designer that greatly influenced our local designer Bradstreet. He was also a poet, novelist, a printer, a conservationist, and a socialist activist, he basically did it all. He was a privileged person who recognized himself as such and was deeply concerned with the way he saw the world changing. He felt that industrialization was separating people from nature and beauty with overcrowded towns and cities, slum housing, epidemic disease, and environmental pollution. I went to his museum on the first day I got to London and the following day I wrote about him in “The Green Dining Room” of which he designed in the 1860s at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Both museums are free to go to due to The National Trust in the UK that was created about 20 years ago to make entrance open and accessible to all. So for many reasons, I will thank Morris and his work.
Morris said, “What I mean by socialism is a condition in society in which there should be neither rich nor poor, neither master nor master’s men, neither idle nor overworked…in which all men could be living in equal condition and could manage their affairs unwastefully.” So the reason I am sharing about him here is because he reminds me of the honorable harvest, bringing my intention into this post.
Another quote: “How can I ask working men passing up and down these hideous streets day to day to care about beauty?”
And finally this one is about the first quarter moon topic of feedback where this newsletter began: “The true secret to happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” Of which I believe whole-heartedly. And my grandma would say so too. And without attention to details there would not be an honorable harvest at all.
More soon. Update on Wednesday again.
Much love, Tina