After Witch

Some random thoughts on the anniversary of a cruel day:
I’m an evolved enough person that I did not write a poem today titled “The Henchwoman of the Patriarchy.”
I’m unevolved enough that I went ahead and wrote that last sentence.
It’s one thing to put on a gracious public face.
It’s another thing not to cage up the ravenous rodent of bitterness inside where it gnaws its way out.
Anyone who hurts you and then tells you that in their prayer closet they saw a vision of you flying free is heaping spiritual abuse upon injury.
One of the hardest parts of certain kinds of trauma is the silencing.
Someone I know wrote, “The Bible says Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” and meant me.

I was ducked and I did not drown.
I suppose that really does make me a witch.
I’ve known that for decades.
In the midst of trauma, kind humans save the day.
Today’s not just Traumaversary.
It’s my Witching Day.

Gratitude List:
1. All the strong wise women I know, and all the teach me
2. This goofy goofy cat trying to get Jon’s attention
3. Making cordage of nettle, dogbane, and milkweed
4. People who gather in Rumi’s field (you know the one I mean)
5. There truly is Beauty everywhere we walk
May we walk in Beauty!

“Buying a book is not about obtaining a possession. . .but about securing a portal.” —Laura Miller

“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” ―Shannon Hale

“I can promise you that women working together―linked, informed, and educated―can bring peace and prosperity to this forsaken planet.” ―Isabel Allende

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” ―John Muir

“When we went to jail, we were setting our faces against the world, against things as they are, the terrible injustice of our capitalist industrial system which lives by war and by preparing for war.” ―Dorothy Day

“What is not acceptable is silence in face of oppression. Boycott if you want, or participate if you want. But do not remain silent in face of injustice.” ―Omid Safi

“When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.” ―John O’Donohue

“Beauty is an experience, nothing else. It is not a fixed pattern or an arrangement of features. It is something felt, a glow or a communicated sense of fineness. What ails us is our sense of beauty is so bruised and blunted, we miss all the best.” ―D. H. Lawrence

“Poems are maps to the place where you already are.” —Jane Hirshfield

“Be still, and the world is bound to turn herself inside out to entertain you. Everywhere you look, joyful noise is clanging to drown out quiet desperation. The choice is to draw the blinds and shut it all out, or believe.” ―Barbara Kingsolver

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.” ―Hermann Hesse

“I miss the 20th century but we’re not supposed to say it out loud.” —Doug Coupland

The Three of Swords

Today’s prompt from Robert Lee Brewer was to write an animal poem. That, and an article I read in The New Yorker about philosopher Agnes Callard’s ideas about marriage, sparked this poem. I did like her ideas about marriage as an aspirational state, a pairing in which two people draw each other toward developing themselves into better people–individuals working on becoming more evolved themselves, and their relationship being a space which nurtures them both to imagine themselves as better than they are. But she seemed to see aspiration as the highest goal, negating contentment as a stagnating force to be avoided. I think a strong marriage lies somewhere in the paradox of those two poles: aspiration and contentment. In the end, as important as it is to me that my partner be someone who stimulates and challenges me intellectually (which he does), I don’t think the mystical-emotional aspects of marriage can be explained in intellectual terms. In much the same way that theology can cudgel living poetic spirituality to death, philosophically explaining marriage deadens the poetic aliveness of the magic of the pairing.

Here I am, trying to confront her ideas with philosophical structures of my own. And really, my poem does not disparage intellectual exploration of ideas–but it does call for integrating intellect with heart and soul and body.

Gratitude List:
1. The lasting pink! The cool weather and minimal rain have kept the pink on the trees much longer than usual. It would now be fine with me for us to get some good intense rains.
2. Integrating heart and mind and body and soul.
3. Personal day tomorrow. Rest and catch up on work.
4. The perfect temperature for my body’s comfort.
5. My current mantra: Restoring, re-energizing, rewilding. How the repetition of a mantra makes it grow inside me.
May we walk in Beauty!

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” —Louise Erdrich

“To light a candle is to cast a shadow…”
―Ursula K. Le Guin

“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.” ―Claude Monet

“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” ―Malala Yousafzai

I called through your door,
“The mystics are gathering in the street. Come out!”
“Leave me alone. I’m sick.”
“I don’t care if you’re dead! Jesus is here,
and he wants to resurrect somebody!”
―Jalaludin Rumi (trans. by Barks)

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.”
―Jalaluddin Rumi (trans. by Barks)

“Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terror, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.”
―Anaïs Nin

“Everything has boundaries. The same holds true with thought. You shouldn’t fear boundaries, but you should not be afraid of destroying them. That’s what is most important if you want to be free: respect for and exasperation with boundaries.”
―Haruki Murakami

“All great spirituality is about what we do with our pain. If we do not transform our pain, we will transmit it to those around us.” —Richard Rohr

The Taste of Darkness

Today in my high school ELA class, we did a lesson on the nocturne, using Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night,” Yasmine Hamdan’s Tiny Desk Concert for NPR, and Ameen Rihani’s poem “Reflections.” The students then asked me to play Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” The contemplative mood of painting and music, and in the poetry in both Rihani’s poem and the Green Day song. Today’s prompt from Write Better Poetry is to write a poem about taste.

The Taste of Darkness, Silent and Alone
by Beth Weaver-Kreider, Mockingbird Chronicles

In the night, you can
taste the flavor of darkness,
savor loneliness.

In the city streets
at night, music drifts faintly
through the quiet dark.

In the countryside,
the train whistle can be heard
from ten miles away.

Loneliness is not
always lonely. Silence is
often filled with sound.

Gratitude List:

1. A kind police officer who knew who to call to take the baby raccoons that fell in the creek when the tree came down.

2. It looks like the electricity folks are going to try to get the power on tonight

3. Crank-powered flashlight that charges a phone

4. Such wonderful colleagues

5. Country silence

May we walk in Beauty!

“It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity.” —Cesar Chavez
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ―Frederick Buechner
“The words you speak become the house you live in.” ―Hafiz (translated by Ladinsky)
“Humans are the most intellectually advanced animal on the planet and yet, we are destroying our only home. The window of time is very small, but I refuse to believe that we cannot solve this problem.” ―Dr. Jane Goodall
“Memory makes the now fully inhabitable.” ―David Whyte
“Things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance even after the physical contact has been severed.” ―James Frazer
“Which world are we trying to sustain: a resource to fulfill our desires of material prosperity, or an Earth of wonder, beauty, and sacred meaning?” — Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” —John Steinbeck
“Crystals are living beings at the beginning of creation. All things have a frequency and a vibration.” —Nikola Tesla

Mid-Month slump

I think I’ve hit the mid-month slump in poem world. I can’t seem to get into the poem zone. I feel like the last few have been toss-offs, but I’ve been startled how much I like them when I come back to them half a day or a day later. Here’s another. The prompt was love/anti-love:

Gratitude List:
1. Getting started on the challenging tasks
2. Bees! Jon’s friend came to the farm and caught a hive!
3. Layne Redmond’s album “Invoking Aphrodite.” I listen to it over and over and over in the car
4. Thomas Merton
5. Warm sweatshirt
May we walk in Beauty!

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” ―Thomas Merton

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ―Thomas Merton

“We see quite clearly that what happens
to the nonhuman happens to the human.
What happens to the outer world
happens to the inner world.
If the outer world is diminished in its grandeur
then the emotional, imaginative,
intellectual, and spiritual life of the human
is diminished or extinguished.
Without the soaring birds, the great forests,
the sounds and coloration of the insects,
the free-flowing streams, the flowering fields,
the sight of the clouds by day
and the stars at night, we become impoverished
in all that makes us human.”
―Thomas Berry

“All acts of kindness are lights in the war for justice.” ―Joy Harjo

“We have only begun to know
the power that is in us if we would join
our solitudes in the communion of struggle.” ―Denise Levertov

“There are two types of people. Avoid them.” —Mary Engelbreit


It’s about halfway through the month and I have hit my first wall. I’m tired and cranky (not in an existential way, just in a simple way), and I don’t want to settle my brain into the poetry groove. And Brewer’s prompt today is to write a nerve poem.

Gratitude List:
1. Meeting a FB friend today who feels like some one I have known a long time
2. Small dogs and how they look so earnestly into your eyes
3. Trying new hard things and beginning to get the hang of them
4. Redbuds
5. Freshly mowed lawn in spring
May we walk in Beauty!

“First is the fall. Then we recover from the fall. Both are the mercy of God.” —Julian of Norwich

“Nothing is more beautiful than the uniqueness that God has created. You don’t have to create the beauty—you’ve already got the beauty. You don’t have to create the freedom—you’ve got it. You don’t have to create the image of God in you—you have it. You don’t have to win over God’s love—you have more than you know what to do with.” — Father Thomas Keating

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” —Henry David Thoreau

“Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” ―St. Francis of Assisi

“I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.” ― Mary Oliver

“Wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was an ephemeral truth in the end.” ―Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.” ―Ursula K. Le Guin

“True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” ―Franklin D. Roosevelt

“The world is remade through the power of fierce women performing outrageous acts of creative rebellion.” —Louise M. Pare

The Birth of Dragon

Brewer’s prompt for today is to write a The _________ of __________ poem. I’ve been working on some more ideas about dragoning after conversation with a friend about the women in stories (particularly family histories) who couldn’t seem to stay within the bounds set for them by the patriarchy, who lived in the shadows labeled heresy and insanity and breakdown, who challenged the stable status quo with questions and demands to know why things were the way they were. In my own story too, I have had to cross the hedge in order to maintain my own inner truth and balance.

Gratitude List:
1. The blooming trees!
2. How the trees are leafing out. Let’s leaf out, too. Let’s turn green.
3. The incredible community of people who donate to make sure that my school is available to as many students with learning differences as possible.
4. The dragon women who didn’t settle for the simple answers.
5. Sunday afternoon naps.
May we walk in Beauty!

The Soul, it sees by synesthesia
Tasting light caressed by song
A touch is like a descant fire
resonant and strong.
—Craig Sottolano

“I’m not as cooperative as you might want a woman to be.” —Carrie Fisher

“Who does Not Know the Truth, is simply a Fool… Yet who Knows the Truth and Calls it a Lie, is a Criminal.” —Bertolt Brecht

“The unconscious wants truth. It ceases to speak to those who want something else more than truth.” —Adrienne Rich

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’s Late Fragment, inscribed on his tombstone

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation.
The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last.
All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
—David Whyte

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
―Mother Teresa

“Walking. I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.”
―Linda Hogan

“This will be our reply to violence:
to make music more intensely,
more beautifully,
more devotedly than ever before.”
―Leonard Bernstein

What the Shadows Want

My sister-in-law is a wise woman. She gave this gentle advice last week for how to respond to anxiety. Look to your left and describe what you see there. Look to your right and do the same. Look in front of you and describe that. Then, look behind you, where the shadows and the unknowns are, and describe that–the physical space here and now. It makes the other unknowns, the ones that freeze and weigh on me, seem less unknown, less likely to pounce.

Every morning before I begin my round of prayers, I cast a circle. I speak of beauty at all the directions, then beauty above me and beauty below me, beauty within and beauty without, and now, I very consciously look to the beauty to the left and the right of me, to the beauty before me, and finally, with gratitude, to the beauty behind me, taking care to notice the safe beauty of my physical surroundings. Then I call upon the Earth which is Her body, the Air which is Her breath, the Fire of Her bright spirit, and the Waters of Her living womb.

Last year at this time, I felt so vulnerable, so unprotected, so endangered, even while I felt such a surge of love and support from my students and their families, from my own family and friends and church community. Now, I create protected space in that circle every morning. One of my prayers is: “Draw me into the dance, into the circle of your radiant loving arms, and protect and preserve me from those who would wish or seek or will or do me harm.” I am befriending the shadows of my anxiety, and also making boundaries to protect myself.

One of my favorite viral internet photos is of a grinning caiman with butterflies all over its head. I read that the reason the butterflies hang out on the caiman is to drink their salty tears. This morning I read of the discovery of the habits of the Gorgone macarea moth of Brazil, which sips the tears of sleeping birds at night.

Today’s prompt (Robert Lee Brewer at Writers Digest) is to write a shadow poem. Today I went a little more concrete in the sculpture of the poem. It’s not quite a moth, but not quite not.

Gratitude List:
1. The sounds of sheep and goats baaing in the field across the holler
2. Thermal delight and the breezes of springtime
3. What the shadows have to teach me
4. Good physical work and still energy to keep going in the day
5. The grass is full of violets and the holler is filled with the singing of birds
May we walk ever in Beauty!

“Let me tell you what I do know though…
I know mountains grow because of their fault lines. I know lakes turn that gorgeous shade of turquoise because of their silt. I know jewels are formed under pressure. I know trees can grow through rocks, and rivers can break canyons.

I know there are 120 crayola crayons to choose from, so you can color yourself any which way you like.

I know the earth smells fabulous after a hard rain, and I know she breathes. I know out of the destruction of forest fires, new and stronger ecosystems can emerge. I know there is life in the deepest depths of the ocean and her tides can soften stone.

I know there can be no shadows without light. I know the passion is in the risk.

I know time heals, and most things will be okay eventually. I know you are made of the star stuff, and I know out there somebody loves you; exactly the way you are, even if you haven’t found them yet.

I know all these things, and tell them to you — in case you forgot to remember.” —Jacquelyn Taylor

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” —James Baldwin

“We have tried to create a watertight social system so that mercy is not needed, nor even attractive. Mercy admits and accepts that not all problems can be solved by our techniques, formulas, and technology. The ‘superfluous’ opening of the human heart that we call mercy is essential for any structure or institution to remain human and humanizing.” —Richard Rohr

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”
—Anne Lamott

“Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends.” —Hafiz

“Now I see the secret of making the best persons, it is to grow in the open air and eat and sleep with the earth.” —Walt Whitman

“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.” —John Muir

“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” —Roald Dahl

“A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as she is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things she would not have thought of if she had not started to say them.” —William Stafford (but I have changed the pronouns to feminine)

“America stands for exactly what Americans will stand for. History doesn’t write itself. It must be lived and practiced.” —Jesse Williams

And Now for Something Completely Different

Robert Lee Brewer’s prompt today is to write an And Now For Something Completely Different poem, trying something you’ve never tried before. I’ve been delighting in deconstructing the shape of the poem this month, making sculptures of poems, inspired by the work of the brilliant CAConrad. Playing with lines has led to a certain new freedom in the placement of words and the structuring and de-structuring of sentences in poetic form.

So for my completely different poem, I decided to play with a couple of phrases one of my children said several years ago when he was just playing with the sounds of words as they came out of his mouth, and see what happened if I just followed the rabbit trail of that into the weeds.

It’s hard for me to unhitch the horse of the brain. Sometimes when I get a good flow of nonsense or newness in a poem or a sentence I am writing, my brain suddenly lights up with ideas about where to take it, how to do it again and differently. Kind of like the friend who was always interrupting the flow of imaginary play with a, “Guys! I have a great idea! How ’bout if we. . .?” Which was well and good and often provided hours of fun, but sometimes it was simply interruption upon interruption and it pulled us out of the essential imagination zone. My brain kept being that friend as I wound my way through this poem. I would get into a series of sounds and suddenly brain was inserting words that added sense. I’m actually kind of happy with the tension that created, the veering from sense to sound and back again.

Gratitude List:
1. Noticing the roadside plants as we walked along the road just before dusk: aster, mustards, bedstraw, chickweed, roadside penny cress, sorrel dandelion, purple and white violets, wild daffodils
2. The garlicky bite of penny cress, the bitter tang of dandelion
3. Vespersong: Field sparrows and red-winged blackbirds, robin, titmouse, chickadee, mockingbird. . .
4. Kind and thoughtful neighbors
5. Quiet contemplative time
May we walk in Beauty!

“My turn shall also come: I sense the spreading of a wing.” —Osip Mandelstam, Russian poet and essayist

“Be wary of any influence in your environment that dismisses or judges your enthusiasm. Without it, you would become anaesthetized to life itself. Anyone who demands this smallness of you is in danger themselves and may have contracted this insidious, deadening monotone. Enthusiasm is the vitality of spirit, expressing itself through us, and its grace in our voice should be welcomed and cherished. The word originates in the early 17th century, from the Greek enthousiasmos meaning ‘possessed by god.’ Now, more than ever, the world needs your enlargement, your weirdness, your fiery crescendos of rebellion from boring.” —Toko-pa Turner

“Grief is normal. It’s not like you’ll have a life someday with no grief. Life is all about loss, but grief is the medicine for that loss. Grief is not your problem. Grief is not the sorrow. Grief is the medicine. The people that have grief cultural awareness are always turning all of their losses into beauty in order to make more life instead of just trying to get through it and then forget about it.” —Martin Prechtel

“The only weapon we have is our bodies, and we need to tuck them in places so wheels don’t turn.” —Bayard Rustin

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” ―Washington Irving

“Gratitude is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. Gratitude is not necessarily something that is shown after the event, it is the deep, a-priori state of attention that shows we understand and are equal to the gifted nature of life.” ―David Whyte

“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, War Talk

“And this brings us back to the Hen Wife—that figure of magic who dwells comfortably among us, not off by the crossroads or in the dark of the woods; who is married, not solitary; who is equally at home with the wild and domestic, with the animal and human worlds. She is, I believe, among us still: dispensing her wisdom and exercising her power in kitchens and farmyards (and the urban equivalent) to this day—anywhere that women gather, talk among themselves, and pass knowledge down to the next generations.” ―Terri Windling

“‪Birds have a fascinating evolutionary history winding back to the dinosaurs. Except flamingos. Flamingos resulted from a child’s drawing brought to life by a birthday wish.” —Jarrod Andersen, The Cryptonaturalist

Prompt : Forgiveness

Now that I have finished my friend Tim’s seven Rilke prompts, I am heading back to Write Better Poetry, Robert Lee Brewer’s blog on the Writer’s Digest site. I like the old name of the blog so much better: Poetic Asides. Now all their blogs are Write Better _________. Bland and unpoetic. But Brewer is still a good one to follow. Today’s prompt is to write about forgiveness. Ever defiant, I chose to write about the opposite. Perhaps it won’t seem very spiritually evolved. . . I’m not too fussed.

Gratitude List:
1. Warm weather
2. We’re doing poetry by analyzing people’s favorite song lyrics right now. Everybody wants to participate. They’re clamoring to participate.
3. Crochet Club. Finally enough of them are beginning to get it that it’s getting to be fun. Soon, we’ll be making hearts and stars and evil eyes.
4. I seem to be through that last period of intense inflammation. I was again beginning to dread getting out of the chair to walk. Sleeping felt like a dangerous thing–I was waking up with neck aches and numb shoulders and back aches. Feeling SO much better now.
5. The dawn chorus these days is riotous!
May we walk in Beauty!

“But it is over now; I have survived it.” —Rainer Maria Rilke

“I pray to the birds. I pray to the birds because I believe they will carry the messages of my heart upward. I pray to them because I believe in their existence, the way their songs begin and end each day—the invocations and benedictions of Earth. I pray to the birds because they remind me of what I love rather than what I fear. And at the end of my prayers, they teach me how to listen.” ―Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place

“Until we are all free, we are none of us free.” ―Emma Lazarus

“Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the Romance of the unusual.” ―Ernest Hemingway

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” ―Robert Frost

“What I have seen is the totality recapitulated as One,
Received not in essence but by participation.
It is just as if you lit a flame from a live flame:
It is the entire flame you receive.”
―St. Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022)

“We love the things we love for what they are.” ―Robert Frost

“You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts.” ―Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” ―Sarah Williams

“Resist much, obey little.” ―Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

“Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.” ―e. e. cummings

“If we do not mean that God is male when we use masculine pronouns and imagery, then why should there be any objections to using female imagery and pronouns as well?” ―Carol P. Christ

“Subversive language, however, must be constantly reinvented, because it is continually being co-opted by the powerful.” ―Carol P. Christ

Seeking the Holy Mountain

Today’s line from Rilke is the last of the series. On this spiritual journey, it can so often feel like I should have known this thing before, should be wiser already, should be more enlightened. I keep needing to remind myself that it’s ALL a journey. We never get to the holy mountain in this life. I want to be seeking it always, but we don’t reach it until we die, so there’s no hurry to finish the job of enlightenment.

Every moment is a learning moment. And yes, we’ve learned so much already, and sometimes today’s lessons seem an awful lot like last year’s lessons, or last decade’s lessons. But we’re at a higher level, learning the finesse of the broad lessons we experienced in our youth. And sometimes we need refreshers, too.

Gratitude List:
1. This weather. I don’t care if it makes me sneeze thirteen times in a row. I love this.
2. Poetry and image and dream, fairy tale and folk tale and wisdom tale–the side doors to spiritual inquiry. I’m not a fan of the theological doors that so many people seem to enter by. And there are so many people wandering through these side doors. There’s great company!
3. Making knots in yarn and ending up with a heart or an eye or a star.
4. One of my students who has been struggling with motivation got to work on a poem today, and then walked it around to several of his teachers to show it off. He was so proud, and I was so proud of him!
5. Have I mentioned the weather? Glorious!

“I love to write to you – it gives my heart a holiday and sets the bells to ringing.”
Emily Dickinson

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” —Rumi

I called through your door,
“The mystics are gathering in the street. Come out!”
“Leave me alone. I’m sick.”
“I don’t care if you’re dead!
Jesus is here, and he wants to resurrect somebody!” —Rumi

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” ―Rumi

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” ―Buddha
Some words on my River, from Robert Louis Stevenson:
“I have been changed from what I was before;
and drunk too deep perchance the lotus of the air,
Beside the Susquehanna and along the Delaware.”
―Robert Louis Stevenson

“. . .and as I saw, one after another, pleasant villages, carts upon the highway and fishers by the stream, and heard cockcrows and cheery voices in the distance, and beheld the sun, no longer shining blankly on the plains of ocean, but striking among shapely hills and his light dispersed and coloured by a thousand accidents of form and surface, I began to exult with myself upon this rise in life like a man who had come into a rich estate. And when I had asked the name of a river from the brakesman, and heard that it was called the Susquehanna, the beauty of the name seemed to be part and parcel of the beauty of the land. As when Adam with divine fitness named the creatures, so this word Susquehanna was at once accepted by the fancy. That was the name, as no other could be, for that shining river and desirable valley.” ―Robert Louis Stevenson

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” ―Elie Wiesel

Rob Brezsny:
Plato said God was a geometer who created an ordered universe imbued with mathematical principles. Through the ages, scientists who’ve dared to speak of a Supreme Being have sounded the same theme. Galileo wrote, “To understand the universe, you must know the language in which it is written. And that language is mathematics.”
Modern physicist Stephen Hawking says that by using mathematical theories to comprehend the nature of the cosmos, we’re trying to know “the mind of God.”
But philosopher Richard Tarnas proposes a different model. In his book “Cosmos and Psyche,” he suggests that God is an artist—more in the mold of Shakespeare than Einstein.
For myself―as I converse with God every day―I find Her equally at home as a mathematician and artist.