Monday, June 24, 2013

The Best Presents (Presence)

On Thursday night, I had the privilege of being a listener on a conference call with one of my care-giving role models: Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.  Her talk was about making medicine whole again, through re-claiming healing elements of care-giving. Chief among those elements is attention, or presence - the practice of simply being with what is another person's experience in an open, non-judging, courageous way.

Dr. Remen's book, "My Grandfather's Blessings" is on my list of books to read over and over again. In it, her view of how medicine can be practiced as a healing art comes clearly through her words and stories. The conference call was full of such stories and lessons. You can download a recording of it here.

With the first days of summer, the "super-moon" has been visible here. According to the Farmer's Almanac blog,
"A supermoon is when a full or new Moon phase coincides with the Moon’s perigee, or closest point in its orbit to the Earth. A full supermoon can look up to 14% larger and be up to 30% brighter than a normal full moon...Even though the Moon won’t officially be full...waxing gibbous Moon will look full, and will also be exceptionally big and bright."
This event coincides with very low tides - one of my favorite things to enjoy in summer. Gregg and I took a walk on our beach Saturday morning in the sunshine. It was a perfect day.
Gregg with our neighbor's dogs on the sandspit
There were dozens of starfish and varieties of seaweed on the beach, in many shapes, textures and colors
This is the actual color - Mother Nature is astonishing!
Moon snails were digging in the sand and laying their eggs. I don't know if this starfish is trying to escape the sun, or eating a snail, but it doesn't quite fit into the shell it has chosen
The Evergreen State with blue sky is incomparably lovely
There is no place like home - especially in summertime
The best present, for me, is time spent together - preferably in nature, particularly on a beach. Every year around my birthday, for some time now, the gift I've requested from my family is a day hiking on the beach, followed by dinner at a favorite restaurant.

My sister-in-law, Caroline and I share the same birthday month. Though our birthdays are only one day (and eight years) apart, neither one of us makes a big deal of marking it, so we have never initiated a shared celebration. This year, I invited Jim (my brother) & Caroline to join us; they accepted, and David was able to take the day off from work.

As Jim & Cara live about an hour and a half to the east of us, they spent Saturday night in our home so that we could get an early start on Sunday. I made breakfast wraps and smoothies for us to eat in the car on the way to Port Townsend, and Gregg made sandwiches for our picnic lunch.

The weather changed overnight, so we were hiking under cloudy (but warm) skies. There were a few sprinkles of rain, but they served to cool us off, and actually felt good. Washingtonians know how to dress in layers.
Taking a little break during the 9+ mile hike
Gregg, me, David, Jim & Cara topping the day off with excellent Thai food and dessert
I'm thankful for a happy weekend filled with my favorite activities, and the best present of all - the presence of those I love!
P.S.: thank you for the sweet wishes - 
my birthday isn't until the 26th. 
We celebrated early due to work & tide schedules.


Elizabeth said...

Happy birthday, dearest Karen! Your photos and description of your beautiful home were really heart-warming -- those sea creatures are outrageous!

Karen said...

Happy Birthday, friend. I think I would choose to spend my birthday exactly as you do, if I lived there. It is wildly beautiful. Hope this year is full of good things for you.

Deb Colarossi said...

Happy Happy Birthday Karen! This post was balm to my soul this evening... thank you for sharing your life xo

Anonymous said...

Happy Be-lated Birthday Karen! So glad you could celebrate with Jim and Caroline!
Love, Carin

kell said...

And I thought I lived in a magical spot Karen! Love these photos, it looks like you've been having a beautiful time. Have a lovely birthday month and best wishes for your special day xx

Busy Bee Suz said...

What a beautiful way to celebrate being on this earth....but embracing our earth!
I can't get over those colorful sea creatures; gorgeous.

Jenna said...

Good morning Karen,
I love that concept of value over condemnation- I never thought of it that way. I love how your blog always includes such wise words and ways of viewing the world- as well as the beauty in your photos and in your writing. I was off the blogging world for a while, but I'm back now- and I was so delighted to see your kind comment on my blog from a few weeks back. It made my day!