Self-Deception

Found a Poem

Gratitude:
It turns out that the feral tortoiseshell bobtail cat in the neighborhood is a female. Yesterday, we watched her in the front drive and yard. When we opened the door and called to her, she startled and moved off toward the barn, but then stopped and looked back. I suppose I am reading too much into it, but it sure did seem that she was asking us to follow. Josiah did, and discovered the box in the barn where she’d gone to nurse her three ginger bobtail babies.

This kid is loving the idea of taming a cat and kittens this summer. We’ll be looking for homes, of course. Oddly, a friend of mine has been asking me to help her find a kitten or kittens, and here they suddenly are. We’re hoping to be able to catch Mathilda (Joss has named her) by the time the kittens are old enough for families of their own, so she can at least be fixed.

May we walk in Tenderness and Beauty!


“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” ―Pema Chödrön


“Morning is the best of all times in the garden. The sun is not yet hot. Sweet vapors rise from the earth. Night dew clings to the soil and makes plants glisten. Birds call to one another. Bees are already at work.” —William Longgood


“Elsewhere the world may be blustering or sleeping, wars are fought, people live and die, some nations disintegrate, while others are born, soon to be swallowed up in turn—and in all this sound and fury, amidst eruptions and undertows, while the world goes its merry way, bursts into flames, tears itself apart and is reborn: human life continues to throb. So, let us drink a cup of tea.” —Muriel Barbery, “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”


“There is ecstasy in paying attention.”
—Anne Lamott


“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.” —Clarissa Pinkola Estes

A Day of Mourning and Reflection

Here is an Interdependence Day piece I wrote a few years ago. For years, I felt uncomfortable on July 4th because I believed we had broken our ideals and our pact of humanity and equality, but now I realize that we never truly lived up to them. Some days, I still hope that we can become the Good Force that we have sort of thought we were. I recognize that this is a painful conversation for some of my beloveds, that to question the root truth of the nation that you have given your lives and your families to feels like a terrible betrayal. I only ask that you consider that the whole idea of the nation has been a terrible betrayal for those we enslaved since before we even became a nation, and for those who lived here in the Before, who were decimated and tortured, whose land we stole in order to make a nation at all.
***
I recognize that today is the United States independence day. It’s always crunchy for me.

I don’t celebrate war and war “victories.”
I don’t celebrate a freedom that was borne on the backs of slaves.
I don’t celebrate the genocide that wiped out, marginalized and impoverished the people of the first nations.
I don’t celebrate a freedom that ignores our slave-owning and genocidal history to proclaim us all-good and all-powerful, evidence to the contrary.
I don’t celebrate the increasing calls to close us off, to keep out those who seek sanctuary in our borders.
I don’t celebrate throwing candy to the rich while grabbing bread from the poor.
I don’t celebrate the rush to destroy this beautiful part of the Earth, to call her gifts “resources” that must be maximized and used until she is played out.
I don’t celebrate the fear-mongering that I see, the use of fear to keep people in their places, afraid of each other, afraid of their own freedom.
I don’t celebrate “America First.”
I struggle to celebrate when the country itself is in crisis, when those who were chosen to administer our ship of state have instead chosen to rule like the king we thought we had freed ourselves from those centuries ago.

I can celebrate human community.
I can celebrate the spirit that longs to break the bonds of tyranny for all peoples.
I can celebrate the spirit of that statue that stands in our harbor, her lamp held high in welcome for all who seek refuge.
I can celebrate the strong spirit of resistance to tyranny that continues to pull people to demand rights for ALL of us.
I can celebrate the beautiful diversity of us, and the way we find connecting points, the way we so willingly wear each others’ stories.
I can celebrate the music, the foodways, the arts, the dialects, the histories, of us in all our many colors and shades and tones and temperaments.
I can celebrate inTERdependence.
I can celebrate the hope that we will stand up to the greed-mongers and the fear-mongers and the hate-mongers, that we will work to create a nation where all can be free, where all can expect justice.


Gratitude, today,
for the awakeners,
for the story-sharers,
for the truth-speakers,
for the one who walk into the fire,
for the ones willing to change and to make change.

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty!


“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” ―Lao Tzu


“The heart is the house of empathy whose door opens when we receive the pain of others. This is where bravery lives, where we’ll find our mettle to give and receive, to love and be loved, to stand in the center of uncertainty with strength, not fear, understanding this is all there is. The heart is the path to wisdom because it dares to be vulnerable in the presence of power.”
—Terry Tempest Williams


“You are something that the Whole Universe is doing, in the same way that a wave is something that the Whole Ocean is doing…” ―Alan Watts


“You are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly, more dearly than the spoken word can tell.”
—Roger Whittaker


“It’s a matter of discipline. When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend to your planet.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery in “The Little Prince”


“To cope with losing our world requires us to descend through the anger into mourning and sadness, not speedily bypass them to jump onto the optimism bandwagon or escape into
indifference. And with this deepening, an extended caring and gratitude may open us to what is still here, and finally, to acting accordingly.” —Per Espen Stoknes


. . .if truth is to be taught, then teaching and learning must take the shape of truth itself–a community of faithful relationships. Education in truth must bring teacher and student into troth with each other, into the very image of the truth it hopes to convey.” —Parker J. Palmer


“No matter what they ever do to us, we must always act for the love of our people and the earth. We must not react out of hatred against those who have no sense.” ― John Trudell


“I celebrate independence anywhere it happens. The question here is how. When a diversity of peoples is destroyed or diminished in a holocaust of outrageous proportions for independence, does this truly result in liberty, justice and freedom for all? In a few generations indigenous peoples of America have been reduced to one-half of one percent. Imagine Africa with one-half of one percent Africans. We have been essentially disappeared in the story of America. Our
massive libraries of knowledge, rich cultural and intellectual gifts have been disparaged, destroyed and broken by interloper religions and a hierarchical system of thought in which indigenous people exist only as savages. What then does this say about liberty and justice in this country?

“For healing the wound needs to be opened, purged and cleansed. Our stories need to be allowed. Our traditional ways and languages need to be honored. This country needs to
apologize and reparations must be made. We all need to come together, every one of us to make a true plan for liberty and justice for all. As long as indigenous peoples are disappeared and disparaged, or surface only in Hollywood movies like The Lone Ranger, this country will remain as a child without parents, who has no sense of earth, history or spirituality.” —Joy Harjo

We Bleed

For the past few years, I’ve been working in this book I found a few years ago. My found poems were pretty limp and predictable. I think novels offer better variety for found poems.

Here’s a poem from 2017:

We Bleed
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Indeed, Mr. President, we bleed.
There is blood coming out of our ears,
blood coming out of our noses,
blood coming out of our eyes,
blood coming out of our wherevers.
There is blood coming out of our faces,
our faces lifted long in anger,
our faces we have raised in rage.

We bleed, you see. We bleed.
We bleed, and yet we do not die.
Blood pours from our angry eyes.
Blood flows from our vaginas
(there’s the real word for it,
if you would care to know.
We’ll take it back, if you please–
and even if you don’t).

Women’s blood is our revolution.
We’re bleeding rivers of blood,
the blood of life and death–
menstrual blood, flowing
from our red tents, flowing
down the river valleys of this nation
to where you sulk and natter
in your great white house.

Your mother, too, gave her blood to these rivers,
when she gave you birth. And your wives
gave their blood to bring children to life.

Our blood flows down the wide and gentle Susquehanna,
down Columbia, Patuxent, down Delaware and Myakka,
down the Dan, the Mississippi, the Arkansas, and Conestoga,
down the Flat, the Tar, the Eno, down the gentle Shenandoah,
down the Snake, the Hoh, the Wabash, and the blue Atchafalaya.

Our menstrual blood is running in the deep, deep waters of the Deep,
down the Wissahickon, down the Schuylkill, Neuse, and Monoshone,
down the Cape Fear, down the Waccamaw, and down the Olentangy,
down Santa Ynez, French Broad, the Roanoke, Missouri,
down the Guadalupe, Anacostia, Blackwater, and the Pee Dee,
down Yadkin, Catawba, Nantahala, and Clatskanie.

Our blood courses down our grand unwalled Rio Grande,
down the Pullayup, Colorado, down Kanawha and Snohomish
down the fiery Cuyahoga, down the Brazos, and Skokomish,
down the Nooksack, the Nisqually, the Pecos, the Sammamish,
down Sciota, down Ohio, the Snoqualmie, and Duwamish.
We bleed down the chemical-drenched waters of the New,
and the Red, red as our blood, down the Elkhart and Potomac.

Even from Elsewhere, our rivers are everywhere:
the Moselle, the Mara, the Danube, the Afton, the Nile.
Our blood flows down rivers to the White House
where you tweet and twitter on your golden bed,
to the halls of power where dried up old white men,
withered husks with no blood of their own,
think that they decide our futures.

We write with our blood on the Earth.
We write, “Revolution!” We write, “Resist!”
We write, “Now you have struck the women,
you have struck a rock. Now you have entered a river.”

With our own blood, we write,
“We will not be trivialized.
nor delegitimized by insults
of an overgrown illbred bully-child.

Yes, we bleed, Mr. President, and our bleeding
will overwhelm your smug and violent ramblings.
We bleed from our faces, our vaginas, our wherevers,
and you will be washed in the rivers of our blood.
And justice will roll like the rivers we bleed.


Gratitude List:
1. The companionship of cats
2. Gentle morning birdsong
3. Finding poetry
4. Laughing with the family
5. This little air conditioner

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty!


“The best way for us to cultivate fearlessness in our daughters and other young women is by example. If they see their mothers and other women in their lives going forward despite fear, they’ll know it is possible.” —Gloria Steinem


“It is time for women to stop being politely angry.” —Leymah Gbowee


“The heart is the house of empathy whose door opens when we receive the pain of others. This is where bravery lives, where we’ll find our mettle to give and receive, to love and be loved, to stand in the center of uncertainty with strength, not fear, understanding this is all there is. The heart is the path to wisdom because it dares to be vulnerable in the presence of power.” —Terry Tempest Williams


“The heart that breaks open can hold the whole universe. Your heart is that large. Trust it. Keep breathing.” —Joanna Macy


“Peace is not something you must hope for in the future.
It is a deepening of the present,
and unless you look for it in the present,
you will never find it.”
—Thomas Merton


“To stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge—that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path.”
—Pema Chödrön


From Joy Harjo—
“Note to self today:
Do not feed the monsters.
Monsters are those thought threads that denigrate and disrespect self and others.
Some are wandering thought forms, looking for a place to land and live.
Some are sent to you deliberately or inadvertently. They can come from arrows or gossip, jealousy or envy. Or from just. . .thoughtlessness.
Instead, have a party.
Invite your helpers to the table. Give them something to do. They want to be helpful. And just celebrate.
Feed the birds.

Second note: A positive mind makes a light slippery surface and anything not of it, slides off.”


“Sometimes we must surrender our own will for the greater good to come through. We are called to make ourselves vulnerable for a time, without answers, sacrificing our priorities to perceive more mythic goals. The word sacrifice is not, as we’ve been taught, synonymous with suffering, but comes from the root ‘to make sacred.’ We take a step outside of time, renouncing our urgency, giving up our plans and allow ourselves to be danced, to be sung, to be told like a story in its most vulnerable arc.” —Dreamwork with Toko-pa


“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” —John Lewis

In the Hall of Mirrors

I keep seeing the faces of that couple standing in iconic pantomime on their lawn with their guns. He has the white-man deadpan I’m-in-control thing going on on his face. Don’t tread on me, or on my precious grass. Don’t let the Black people come too close to my massive white palazzo.

Her face is a lot harder to interpret. Is it anger? Is it fear? Her mouth has the petulant cast I have seen on children who are trying to convince you of their fierceness. She seems to be play-acting, her hand on the trigger of her little chrome-plated pistol, her eyes darting around. Is she dangerous? Or comical? Or pathetic? Or tragically sad? Why am I so obsessed with figuring her out?

I think it’s because she is a caricature of a caricature of something that is also me. Her angry/pathetic/frightened stance there on her lawn is the ultimate caricature of the Karen–the entitled white woman who uses her social power and connections to white patriarchal power to raise her own personal power. She’s the semi-comic (and terribly dangerous) end result of the remora of white female attachment to the shark of white male power, drawing a sense of strength and protection from her connection to the perceived most-powerful agent in room. She calls the police. She calls the manager. She notifies security. She feels unsafe. She feels ridiculed. She feels powerless. So she pulls the strings of white patriarchy to increase her own sense of empowerment.

In Ms. McCloskey’s case, that shark was pretty indiscriminate, pointing his machine gun at her on his way to aim at the protesters he claimed were about to burn down his home and happiness. That’s a whole other issue to unpack–the Karens are really only marginally more safe than the masses they are so desperate to separate themselves from, the black and brown people they would disempower in order to increase their own social standing. The shark has its own agenda at all times and no one is safe if his power is threatened (as it is in these times of change and transformation).

I like to deny that I have any Karen in me. I don’t remember a time when #smashtheatriarchy hasn’t been my rallying cry. I want to completely destroy the power of the patriarchy–in religion, in politics, in economic systems, in governance, in relationships. I think that is necessary in order to create a just future. Still, I cannot deny that my life has been privileged by the threads that connect me to white patriarchal systems. And those systems try to demand allegiance from those who benefit at any point up and down the power structure. I may not be explicitly accepting those connections or “calling the manager,” but I benefit in myriad implicit ways simply from my perceived connections to the shark.

My work is to keep finding those threads and disconnecting them, cutting them away so they hold no power over me and my sense of belongingness and wellbeing in the world, to find ways to connect whatever threads of power are bequeathed to me by my race and culture and education to those who were bequeathed fewer of those threads but who deserve them as vitally and as certainly as I.

It’s ugly. To call myself one of them. To see that petulant set of the lips, that situating herself in the context of the patriarch’s emblems of violent maintenance of power, and say that there’s something of me in there too, in the pathetic, comic, tragic, furious face of a white woman grasping for power. Knowing that in the system she fights for, she too is expendable, that the only way she survives in the patriarchal system is to play their pantomime along with them, to do their dance.

No, of course I am not her. But yes, I am her, in some strange and twisted distant reflection. She is a caricature of a caricature of a caricature. . .that somewhere weaves very close in the tapestry to me. If I am to participate in this movement for justice for all people, for true equality, for the destruction of the white patriarchy, I need to recognize that connection and learn to face her in the hall of mirrors.

My wise and thoughtful friend Chris of Soulence has written a really powerful piece on doing this work of untangling these threads through unconditional love and doing deep inner work. She offers a grounding chakra meditation. You can find that here.


Gratitude List:
1. Working at Radiance again. It’s wonderful to spend time with Sarah and Laura, to be out in the world, to shape the sweet river grass baskets from Ghana and feel a sense of connection to the women who made these spherical containers. When I got home, I walked into the room with Josiah, and he said, “Mmmmm. You smell like Radiance again.”
2. A day ahead to sew and poem and tidy and create and cook.
3. Cucumbers are in season. I think my lunches for the next couple weeks will be cucumbers and cheese.
4. Tomorrow, time with beloveds.
5. I’m feeling a little fired up to begin designing my courses for the fall. I’m glad to get that energy now instead of on August 15.

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty!


“Keep strenuously toiling along this path,
do not rest until the last breath;
for that last breath may yet bring the blessings
from the Knower of all things.”
—Rumi


“A church that does not provoke any crisis, preach a gospel that does not unsettle, proclaim a word of God that does not get under anyone’s skin or a word of God that does not touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed: what kind of gospel is that?” ―Oscar A. Romero


“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering its a feather bed.” ―Terence McKenna


“Nature is alive and talking to us. This is not a metaphor.” ―Terence McKenna


“And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.”
—Raymond Carver


“Her imagination was by habit ridiculously active; when the door was not open, it jumped out the window.” ―Henry James


Orientation
by Maya Stein

Just east of certainty. A little south of courage. A hair’s
width from ease. Clicks away from ready. A turn
or two from acceptance. A shuffle from faith. A set of stairs
from achievement. A riverbed from happiness. A handspan from
peace. A wink away from freedom. A few lines until the poem’s
done. A highway, a night’s sleep, a phone call, a touch, a rotation
of gears away from that certain yes that tells you where you are is
exactly where you need to be. I know, the signs can look as if they’re missing,
and the map so distant and unclear.
But I’m telling you, you aren’t lost. You’re never lost. You’re always here.

Rants and Gratitude

Cloudbird. It was too big to fit in the frame, so its wings leak off the edges.

Just saying: If you don’t read the newsletters and internal memos and emails for the place you work for, and you miss something critically important, you can’t go around telling people you weren’t briefed. I mean, it’s happened to me. I’ve occasionally missed something important because I skipped over the newsletter, thinking I would come back to it later. And it was my responsibility to keep myself informed, not the responsibility of someone else to pull it out and mark it with a highlighter, and remind me to read it. And I am not the president.

With that sort of grouchy rant to start my morning, I suppose I should say something nice.
1. I’m going to work today at Radiance! That makes me happy and satisfied.
2. We thought that the things Jon planted were sort of a bust after the deer and groundhogs and storms raged through, but last evening, I harvested some wonderful zukes and cukes and beans, and Jon got a nice binful of broccoli.
3. Yesterday I took an online conference on Online Teaching, which is kind of the LAST thing I ever want to do again, but now I feel like I really might be able to do it, if it comes down to that.
4. That sky bird in the clouds last evening.
5. The people who ground me, who hold the strings when I go kiting off on a rant, who remind me to be nice.

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty!


“The only thing worse than the thought it may all come tumbling down is the thought that we may go on like this forever.” ―M.T. Anderson, Feed


‪”I just watched a mosquito sip my blood, hover in the air like a ruby with wings, then leave the circle of my porch light for the dark trees. That’s me, that crimson speck rising like a campfire spark. My blood will feel at home in those perfect woods and my goodwill goes with it.‬” —Jarod K. Anderson, the Cryptonaturalist


“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” —Alvin Toffler


”I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:

I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing—these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt—has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.” —Brené Brown


“Oh, what we could be if we stopped carrying the remains of who we were.” —Tyler Knott Gregson


“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.” —Wendell Berry

Finding Poetry

We met a fellow seeker on the paths at Sam Lewis last night.

I took an online class on Saturday morning on redacted and black-out poetry. While I have worked with this format in the past, this two-hour session really inspired me. I’ve broken through a bit of a wall in the Found Poetry realm in the past few days.

Gratitude List:
1. Finding poetry
2. Toads in the leaves
3. Going rambling with the fambly
4. Looking forward to an educational conference (online) today. I am becoming increasingly worried that Pennsylvanians’ refusal to just wear the mask will mean we have to teach online during at least part of the fall semester, and I don’t want to go into that kicking and screaming. This should provide me with strategies for teaching, no matter what happens. (And yes, that was a gratitude infected by a snarky dig.)
5.The little air conditioner. I don’t tolerate the heat/humidity nexus quite like I used to.

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty!


“We live by mystery, not by explanations.” —Cecil Collins


“For we have, built into all of us, old blueprints of expectation and response; old structures of oppression, and these must be altered at the same time as we alter the living conditions which are a result of those structures. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.

As Paulo Freire shows so well in “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, the true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations which we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us, and which knows only the oppressors’ tactics, the oppressors’ relationships.” —Audre Lorde


“Live in the center of your life.” ―Sark


“Cluster together like stars.” ―Henry Miller


“Now that you’ve awakened. . .immediately take a nap! Naps are when the angels come out to take special care of you.” ―Sark


“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
―Arundhati Roy


“Every child of ours needs to learn the simple truth: She is the energy of the Sun. And we adults should organize things so her face shines with the same radiant joy.” ―Rob Brezsny


“In mythos and fairy tales, deities and other great spirits test the hearts of humans by showing up in various forms that disguise their divinity. They show up in robes, rags, silver sashes, or with muddy feet. They show up with skin dark as old wood, or in scales made of rose petal, as a frail child, as a lime-yellow old woman, as a man who cannot speak, or as an animal who can. The great powers are testing to see if humans have yet learned to recognize the greatness of soul in all its varying forms.” ―Clarissa Pinkola Estés


“A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except to be able to grow in rows” ―Doug Larson

Always Becoming

Every day is a new opportunity to begin again.
Was yesterday harsh or difficult?
Did you find yourself (like I did) complaining and grousing and expecting the worst of people?
Did you miss the chance to get outdoors and breathe fresh air?
Did you put more time into stuff and money than into people and ideas?
Did you forget to notice the green, the birdsong, the summer cast of sunlight?
Did you write or say something you wish you hadn’t?
Today is a new day, a fresh slate, a blank sheet of paper.
Choose your pathway with determination and lightness of heart.
Begin, begin, begin again, beloved.

Grateful for the always freshness of beginnings.
May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty!


“Always we begin again.” —St. Benedict


Thomas Merton: “There are only three stages to this work: to be a beginner, to be more of a beginner, and to be only a beginner.”


“If the Angel deigns to come it will be because you have convinced her, not by tears, but by your humble resolve to be always beginning; to be a beginner.” —Rainer Maria Rilke


“One does not ask of one who suffers: What is your country and what is your religion? One merely says: You suffer, that is enough for me.” —Louis Pasteur


“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” —James Bovard


“We must ask ourselves as Americans, ‘Can we really survive the worship of our own destructiveness? We do not exist in isolation. Our sense of community and compassionate intelligence must be extended to all life-forms, plants, animals, rocks, rivers, and human beings.” —Terry Tempest Williams


Jan Richardson:
did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?


“I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.” —William Stafford


“There are years that ask the question and years that answer.” —Zora Neale Hurston


“Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.” —Hafiz


“One puts down the first line. . .in trust that life and language are abundant enough to complete it.” —Wendell Berry


“Speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee.” —Job 12:8


“Sometimes the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” —Wallace Stevens


“Tell all the truth, but tell it slant.” —Emily Dickinson


“The contemplative stance is the third way. We stand in the middle, neither taking the world on from another power position nor denying it for fear of the pain it will bring. We hold the dark side of reality and the pain of the world until it transforms us, knowing that we are both complicit in the evil and can participate in wholeness and holiness.” —Richard Rohr


Clarissa Pinkola Estes on the Curanderisma healing tradition: “In this tradition a story is ‘holy,’ and it is used as medicine. The story is not told to lift you up, to make you feel better, or to entertain you, although all those things can be true. The story is meant to take the spirit into a descent to find something that is lost or missing and to bring it back to consciousness again.”

Finished!

Early in the summer, I agreed to create a Camp-in-a-Box for my school. I decided to do a camp on Zine-Making, which is something I love, and I got into the project with gusto.

A few things about me: I am a Leo, and I am a Seven, so when I get excited about a project, I can tend to go a little teensy bit overboard. Roar. But I can also get snagged on the tail end of a deadline. Sigh. The materials are due tomorrow at 9 am, and I just finished packing them up.

I thought it would be really fun to have all the instructions for every day in little Zines! And every day should have a sample Zine! And more instructional Zines! In the end, I wound up folding nearly two hundred Zines for this project.

But it’s finished now. On to the next thing!


Gratitude List:
1. We’re trying to get one long walk or bike ride in every day. I’m loving making a habit of going to the local trails for a daily walk. There is so much beauty here!
2. Yesterday at High Point, we saw and heard several grasshopper sparrows, and two meadowlarks!
3. I’m done with that L-O-N-G project!
4. So many generous people.
5. Art and poetry.

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty!


Hold onto your hearts. Take Courage.
Here are some Thoughts for Friday:
Mother Teresa: “So often the problem is simply this—that we make the circle we put around our family too small.”


Chimamanda Adichie: “Stereotypes are not wrong; they are just incomplete.”


“We must ask ourselves as Americans, ‘Can we really survive the worship of our own destructiveness? We do not exist in isolation. Our sense of community and compassionate intelligence must be extended to all life-forms, plants, animals, rocks, rivers, and human beings.”
—Terry Tempest Williams


“It’s hardest to love the ordinary things, she said, but you get lots of opportunities to practice.” —Brian Andreas


“To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.” —Manly P. Hall


Be softer with you.
You are a breathing thing.
A memory to someone.
A home to a life.”
—Nayyirah Waheed


“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
―Howard Zinn


“Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” —Representative John Lewis


Antonio Machado:

“Traveler, there is no path.
The path is made by walking.

Traveller, the path is your tracks
And nothing more.
Traveller, there is no path
The path is made by walking.
By walking you make a path
And turning, you look back
At a way you will never tread again
Traveller, there is no road
Only wakes in the sea.”


“I don’t write out of what I know; I write out of what I wonder. I think most artists create art in order to explore, not to give the answers. Poetry and art are not about answers to me; they are about questions.” ―Lucille Clifton, who was born on this day in 1936


“Everyone is born with a set of sacred agreements to a higher authority than those of this world. Like a pole star, there is a divine Self which directs and shapes our lives into what we’re meant to become. Sooner or later, we must navigate by our star’s light, or risk being lost in the dark night of the soul.” —Toko-pa Turner


“To love at all is to be vulnerable.” —CS Lewis


“. . .without a sense of the sacred, all knowledge remains abstract.” —Rosebrough and Leverett, Transformational Teaching


“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” —William Butler Yeats


“We live in a world of theophanies. Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary. There are burning bushes all around you. Every tree is full of angels. Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb. Life wants to lead you from crumbs to angels, but this can happen only if you are willing to unwrap the ordinary by staying with it long enough to harvest its treasure.” —Macrina Wiederkehr


“The storm walked around the hills on legs of lightning, shouting and grumbling.” ―Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites


“most people don’t set foot outside their own heads much.” ―Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

Good Work

White Friends, this is difficult and constant work that we’re doing, that we must do, and continue to do. How can we really know how deeply we’ve been indoctrinated into this culture of white supremacy until we know it? And then know it more deeply? And then again. It’s not like a Bandaid that you rip off, and deal with the sting, and then everything’s fine. It’s layer after layer after layer.

And yes, it’s exhausting. And yes, it’s painful. But we have to do this work. Now. And always. It’s exhausting and painful for BIPOC folks to have to deal with microaggressions and explicit racism and systemic racism and inadvertent racism every day. We have to do this work. And keep doing it.

There is so much to learn on the way: new ways to articulate powerful ideas, new ways of exploring our own difficult feelings, new ways to see people and the world, new ways to experience the history of all of us, new ways to become more fully human.

I don’t quote many Bible verses here, but there’s one that fits pretty perfectly in this rhetorical moment. It’s in Romans 12: “Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world. Instead, be transformed by the continual renewing of your mind, that you may discern the will of the Holy One: what is the good and acceptable and perfect.” The patterns of white supremacy in this (US) part of the world are institutionalized and powerful. It’s going to take some intentional and constant work to break and transform those patterns.

If you hear a new thing that challenges and unsettles you–about white supremacy, or privilege or fragility, or about taking a new look at US history and ideals–I urge and challenge you (me, us) to not begin in defensiveness and argument, but to simply sit quietly a moment, and ask yourself (myself, ourselves) how it applies, how the integrating of this idea might be transformational and renewing. And then begin to rip off that bandaid.

There are doorways all around us, leading us to places where we can be more fully human and humane, and right now there are constant opportunities to see them, to walk through them, to learn and to grow. Let’s join the Good Work, beginning with ourselves.


Gratitude List:
1. So many good and challenging things to learn.
2. Watching a thunderstorm from the shelter of the pavilion by the River.
3. Good exercise. Moving my body. Healthy, limber, and strong: That’s my mantra for the summer. (It includes a lot of aches and pains on the way, but they’re the good ones.)
4. Toads. They’re such wise and ancient folk.
5. Finishing projects

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty!


“You are a pure Soul in darkened soil.” —Rumi


“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” ―Helen Keller


“What we need is here.” —Wendell Berry


“Million-to-one chances…crop up nine times out of ten.” ―Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites


“Know that joy is rarer, more difficult, and more beautiful than sadness. Once you make this all-important discovery, you must embrace joy as a moral obligation.” —André Gide


“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” —Ms. Frizzle


“We stand guard over works of art, but species representing the work of aeons are stolen from under our noses.” —Aldo Leopold


“It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you’re attempting can’t be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history.” ―Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites


“Hilta laughed like someone who had thought hard about Life and had seen the joke.” ―Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

Evening Encounters

My camera phone is pretty grainy, especially at distances, but if you look closely, you can see the spotty white breast of the wood thrush against the trunk on the lower left, and the curious deer in the trees on the upper right.

Last evening, we went for an evening walk up at Sam Lewis State Park. It’s easy sometimes to forget the glorious gems of we have in our own backyards. There is a series of walking trails through the woods around the crest of the ridge, over rock tumbles, through piney groves, along meadows, between mountain laurels and pawpaw trees. Massive oaks and maples stand sentinel at the edges of the woods.

I never really quite know where I am going when we set out on a trail at Sam Lewis. It’s probably no more than two or three miles of trails total, and they wind around and cross each other, and they’re all completely familiar. There’s no chance of getting lost, but I often think I am going to emerge from the woods at one point, and find myself at another point altogether. It’s not disconcerting or frustrating, partly because its so contained. It’s just a tiny bit mystical and dreamy. Probably it’s just me and my strange sense of direction, and maybe if I start walking up there several times a week instead of once every few months, I’ll develop an inner map of the place. I’m not sure I want to. I like the slight and utterly non-anxious disorientation, the sense of discovery.

It was a grateful and grounding walk.
It was St. John’s Eve, and I found a patch of St. John’s Wort at the edge of the meadow.
Down on the piney path near the big meadow, we encountered a wood thrush, who seemed completely unfussed at our presence, and sang a call and response with a friend further up the hill.
At one point, we were caught in currents that carried scent of pine, wild yarrow, and the freshly-opened buds of milkweed.
On a trail that wound around a group of giant boulders, we found some mountain laurel still blooming.
Around one bend in the trail, near one of the frisbee baskets, we met a deer. I’m not sure who was more interested in whom.
At the very top of the bald, where people like to go to fly kites, and where you can see the whole river valley laid out before you, evening breezes came tumbling up over the ridge.
The paths go from gentle ramble to strong and steady upward climb. My legs and lungs were glad of the exercise.

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty!


“Inside a moment, centuries of June.” ―Emily Dickinson


African proverb:, “When death comes, may it find you fully alive.”


“I think there ought to be a little music here: hum, hum.” ―Mary Oliver


“Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” ―Albert Einstein


“I do know one thing about me: I don’t measure myself by others’ expectations or let others define my worth.” ―Sonia Sotomayor


“Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine.” ―Buddha


“I have something that I call my Golden Rule. It goes something like this: ‘Do unto others twenty-five percent better than you expect them to do unto you.’ … The twenty-five percent is for error.” ―Linus Pauling