Good Trouble

John Lewis, who is a sterling example of thoughtful and compassionate and fierce and determined political leadership in this country, called repeatedly for the people to stir up Good Trouble. What Good Trouble will you make in his honor today?


Gratitude List:
1. All the people who are making Good Trouble. Keep it up, soulkin! You are making a difference.
2. Exercise. This has never been a priority of mine, but as I notice the current effects of aging on my body, and think about where I want to be in ten, twenty years, I have chosen this mantra: limber, healthy, strong. I’m trying to get a long walk or a long bike ride in every day, sometimes both. I definitely feel stronger.
3. Wise friends.
4. Smoothies with lots of fresh fruit.
5. My tiny tribe of succulents. I repotted everyone a couple days ago, and they’re looking so much happier now. I am trying to start a few new ones with leaves that I culled as I was repotting.

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


“Some say you’re lucky
If nothing shatters it.

But then you wouldn’t
Understand poems or songs.
You’d never know
Beauty comes from loss.

It’s deep inside every person:
A tear tinier
Than a pearl or thorn.

It’s one of the places
Where the beloved is born.”
―Gregory Orr


“And the wood is tired, and the wood is old, and we’ll make it fine, if the weather holds. But if the weather holds, then we’ll have missed the point. And that’s where I need to go.” ―The Indigo Girls


“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” ―Joseph Campbell


“Friendship … is born at the moment when one says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
― C.S. Lewis


“There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”
―Thomas Merton


“To say ‘I don’t know’ is an unparalleled source of power, a declaration of independence from the pressure to have an opinion about every single subject.
It’s fun to say. Try it: ‘I don’t know.’
Let go of the drive to have it all figured out: ‘I don’t know.’
Proclaim the only truth you can be totally sure of: ‘I don’t know.’
Empty your mind and lift your heart: ‘I don’t know.’
Use it as a battle cry, a joyous affirmation of your oneness with the Great Mystery: ‘I don’t know.’
(To revel in this reverie can be a respite, a vacation. Any time you feel ready, you can return to the more familiar state of ‘I know! I know! I know!’)” ―Rob Brezsny


“Declare amnesty for the part of you that you don’t love very well. Forgive that poor sucker. Hold its hand and take it out to dinner and a movie. Tactfully offer it a chance to make amends for the dumb things it has done.

And then do a dramatic reading of this proclamation by the playwright Theodore Rubin: ‘I must learn to love the fool in me—the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool.'” ―Rob Brezsny


“We all receive water from her, we receive food from her, we receive air from her, anything that is received as a gift from the Earth and from nature has to be a commons, it cannot be privatised, that is why privatisation of life forms through patents or water through privatisation schemes driven by the World Bank, or the privatisation of the atmosphere and the air through carbon trading and emissions trading are all illegal and illegitimate in a legal framework based on the Earth’s rights.” ―Vandana Shiva


“The tyrant grinds down his slaves and they don’t turn against him; they crush those beneath them.” ―Emily Bronte


“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.” ―Susan B. Anthony


“To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world.” ―Rudolf Steiner

Daily Feather and Gratitude

Your Daily Feather

I didn’t have time to write this morning before I left for work.
Gratitudes:
1. Last night, we saw a bat flying between the barn and the sycamore tree. Bats are some of my favorite people.
2. Tonight on our walk, we saw a frog on the road. When I reached to try to move it from the road, it suddenly zig-zagged between my legs and off toward the creek.
3. Working in the Herb Room today. I might be an airy-fairy sanguine personality and a fiery Leo birth sign, and have a special affinity for Mama Ocean, but when it comes to herbs, the things that gets me most excited is the roots. Earth seems to be my medicine: roots and stones.
4. Kittens! Have I mentioned the kittens? I love little kittens. And their mama.
5. Cucumbers. They’re refreshing.

May we walk in Beauty!


“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.” ―Dietrich Bonhoeffer


“You say you care about the poor? Then tell me, what are their names?” —Gustavo Gutierrez


Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” —Roald Dahl


History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
—Maya Angelou


“Doors closing, doors opening. Doors closing, doors I’m opening. I am safe. It’s only change. I am safe. It’s only change.” —chant (I don’t know the author)


Vine and branch we’re connected in this world
of sound and echo, figure and shadow, the leaves
contingent, roots pushing against earth. An apple
belongs to itself, to stem and tree, to air
that claims it, then ground. Connections
balance, each motion changes another. Precarious,
hanging together, we don’t know what our lives
support, and we touch in the least shift of breathing.
Each holy thing is borrowed. Everything depends.
—Jeanne Lohmann, ‘Shaking the Tree’


Parker Palmer: “The only way to become whole is to put our arms lovingly around everything we’ve shown ourselves to be: self-serving and generous, spiteful and compassionate, cowardly and courageous, treacherous and trustworthy. We must be able to say to ourselves and to the world at large, “I am all of the above.” If we can’t embrace the whole of who we are—embrace it with transformative love—we’ll imprison the creative energies hidden in our own shadows and flee from the world’s complex mix of shadow and light.”


“It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” —Mae Jemison

Simple Solstice

In our house, pizza is a good symbol for the fire of Solstice, how basic ingredients laid together on bread are transformed by heat. Also, pizza makes joy.

Today is Summer Solstice, the beginning of the season of learning our passions, tending our fires, meditating on our energies.

What fires you up?
The ancient Greeks called the Fire nature within us our choler, so people who have a lot of fire are often called choleric. We’ve simplified that complicated idea in modern days to mean quick to anger, but it’s also about passion and energy.

When it comes to emotional responses, I can be choleric–quick to get angry, quick to get excited, quick to respond. And I often sustain those passionate emotions over time, burning coals. Physically, I tend to be more phlegmatic, less able to sustain energy over the long haul, preferring to sit quietly and read or make things than to be up and doing.

What makes you angry? What is your trigger for the rage-fires? How can you use that energy to help you bring about change and transformation? Fire transforms landscapes, not only destroying with fierce and random abandon, but creating spaces for new life to grow, new structures to be built. Will you pledge to learn about your anger, how to control and direct it so that it burns down old and tired and unjust systems in order to make way for new and love-filled ways of being that have space for all to breathe?

Do you tend, like me, to the sedentary life: quiet, still, and restful? How can we use this season of fire to feed us the energy to move our bodies, to revel in the fire of muscles moving, of our bodies in motion? Use this season of fire as a time to revel in the way your body moves. Careful now–it’s not a time to hate and despise the bodies we’re in because they’re bigger or slower or flabbier than we want them to be. Let’s live this season of fire to exist in the joy of being in these bodies we’ve chosen, to marvel in the senses, to move, to stretch, to learn speed and strength and limberness.

Summer Solstice is a time, too, to think about what sparks joy. Justice and joy are not things we need to choose between. They feed each other, if we let them, if we keep our hearts focused on their flames. Where do you see Beauty? (I usually capitalize Beauty because I believe it is the Holy One’s middle name.) What fills you? How does your love of Beauty feed your flames of desire for justice?

What ideas and images catch passionate fire in your brain? Flash of birdwing, the shade of red in that quilt, the way those words sound together, the crinkle at the corners of your beloved’s eyes. How can you feed the coals of those fires that fill you with passion? Fire season is the source of the energy of creation, of making, of designing, of appreciating Beauty. Give yourself to those fires. Feel the way they make you sizzle and roar to life.

A Blessed Solstice to you!


Gratitude:
The fires of justice, of love, of making, of delight, of transformation.
May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in Beauty! Blessed Solstice!


“We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers.” ―Bayard Rustin


“Bless the poets, the workers for justice, the dancers of ceremony, the singers of heartache, the visionaries, all makers and carriers of fresh meaning—We will all make it through, despite politics and wars, despite failures and misunderstandings. There is only love.” ―Joy Harjo, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems


“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.” —Howard Zinn


“It all matters. That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the windblown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says good night, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing. What is most beautiful is least acknowledged. What is worth dying for is barely noticed.” —Laura McBride


“Love lit a fire in my chest, and everything that wasn’t love left.” –Rumi


“Developing your feeling takes time, especially if it has been systematically discouraged in you. There may be an initial layer of numbness or anger you have to move through and, beyond that, a backlog of grief. But as you make the seemingly bottomless descent, it helps to remember that grief is the downpour your soul has been thirsting for. Like rain, the more excellently and prodigiously you grieve, the more growth and fertility you can expect. There is a future beyond the spiritual aridity and meaninglessness of our time, teeming with life. If each of us has the tenacity to retrieve the elixirs of our discomforts, our combined medicine will heal the collective wound.” —Toko-pa Turner

Beltane Eve

I know all about rainy days and Mondays, and a long string of wet grey weather can make me sad, too. Still, a crisp and breezy drizzly morning feels to me like adventure, like sea change, like a new thing blowing in. Something in me starts to wake up on days like this.

And this is Beltane Eve, the halfway point between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. The Wheel turns. We might be living in a radically different world than we expected a year ago. But the Earth spins on. Here in the northern hemisphere, days lengthen, and despite the chilling breezes, the warm times are coming. The skies may be grey, but they’re clearer of pollutants than they’ve been for years. The waters are running clearer, too. Do the buds and blossoms of spring seem more vigorous, more filled with life force? Are the greens greener?

Beltane is about abandoning yourself to the experience of the life force that is burgeoning around you, being willing to risk losing yourself in the wild. And maybe finding yourself, too. Even if your existence is tied, these days, to a house, how can you celebrate yourself today (and this week and this season) as a being who belongs to the wild, who feels the life force within yourself as surely as the tree outside your window is feeling the sap rising from root to branch?


Gratitude List:
1. Wildness
2. Green
3. Wind
4. Energy
5. You

May we walk in Beauty! (Such, such Beauty!)


“Things aren’t so tangible and sayable as people would have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are world of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life.” —Rainer Maria Rilke


“We don’t think ourselves into a new way of living. We live ourselves into t anew way of thinking.” —Richard Rohr


“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.” —Georgia O’Keeffe


“Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal… To hope is to give yourself to the future – and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.” ―Rebecca Solnit


“The child’s hand
Folding these wings
Wins no wars and ends them all. “
―Thomas Merton

Words and Wilds

I’m getting a late start today, and I need to go get ready for school in a moment. This morning, first thing, I took a cup of my wild yeast, mixed in a cup of water, a Tbsp. of salt, and then added flour until I had a good kneadable dough. It’s rising now, covered by a damp cloth, for six hours. Then I’ll knead it again and form it into a loaf or two, let it rise another two hours, and see what happens!


Gratitude List:
Words I am grateful for today.
1. Winsome: curious, dreamy, innocent, fool-ish
2. Wild: untame, free, safe, creative
3. Weird: eccentric, magical, fate, unpredictable
4. Woods: inscape, numinous, serendipitous, shining
5. Windy: scouring, shriving, re-vivifying, inspiration

Walk Wildly!


“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

Searching for the Beloved

This morning, I found this image that I altered a year ago. That’s another thing about Mary Magdalene: she went out actually searching for the Beloved. Like Rumi and Hafez, she followed the trail of her longing. Thomas hid, Peter went back to work, the Emmaus travelers whispered their grief. Mary went searching, asking, into the cave itself and out again into the sunlit garden.

I love this series of stories, the Mary Magdalene story, the Emmaus story, the Thomas story, the Peter and the Fish story, and anticipate them with glee every year–Jesus, the Holy Fool, going from beloved to beloved with the Easter-eggiest of Easter eggs. Surprise! It’s me! Certain surprises are deeply heart-opening. The veil is suddenly torn down. The stone explodes from the entrance of the cave and light streams in. I love how Jesus sets up the epiphanies with the exact surprise each person needs: the gardener turning into the sunlight and speaking her name, the ghost-like appearance in a room where he had not been and the physical touch Thomas demanded, the wise comforter and breaker of bread for confused and grief-weary travelers, the stranger on the beach cooking fish to challenge and reconcile Peter. Everybody got what they needed in the surprises he gave them.

Springtime brings epiphanies and surprises: the sudden glimpse of a morel in the leaf-litter (I’m still looking for my first), the flash of red on a blackbird’s wing, the bursting of bloom on the dogwood that was naked just three days ago. The new and different slant of sun on the sidewalk, the particular springiness of the breezes and winds, the warmth in the air. May spring surprise you even during isolation. May your hear the Beloved calling your name. Remember: Even as you search, the Beloved is seeking you.


Gratitude List:
1. Last year on this day, I wrote about the musical thrill when leading singing in church, of being in front of all those earnest and joyful voices. I miss that. There will be lots of singing in church in The After.
2. I have always been incredibly grateful for the way we work as a team at school—faculty, guidance, administration, staff—to support students and their families, and now, more than ever, I am deeply moved by the net that we create (we’re trying hard to create) together.
3. Mr. Redwing just puffed out his flaming sleeves from atop the feeder stand and whistled merrily.
4. While I have noticed that I am holding tension in my body in ways I never have before, I am also learning new ways to stretch and breathe in order to release tension.
5. I think today might be a grocery day. We’re trying to make the time Between last longer and longer, but these kid eat a thousand things and guzzle milk like water. And as scary as it is to send someone out and to bring things in, grocery day is a shift of the rhythm. And we’re out of yeast, just as I was hitting my stride on the baking jag, so maybe there’ll be yeast tomorrow. At least there will be more flour so I can consider starting my own yeast.

Take care of each other. Walk 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 person, 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

Leading the Monsters

I was an usher at a school production of Beauty and the Beast this weekend. There are wolves in the show. Actors dressed in toothy masks chase Maurice through the woods, and later the Beast chases the wolves away from Belle. I checked in with some of the kids in the audience about the wolves. Some of them thought they were scary. They all loved the wolves, scary or not.

One mama of a small child said, “A wolf ran past and growled in my face. I growled right back!”

I thought that might be a good way to deal with scary creatures. What a marvelous way to answer the things in my brain that scare me: growl back. I said I might try that in my dreams the next time I was confronted by a scary thing. I would growl back, right in its face.

The small child said, very matter-of-factly: “I wouldn’t do that. I use my candy.”

Candy? We pressed her for details.

“I leave a trail of wrappers for them to follow.”

Now I was getting confused. I thought we were talking about monsters. “Who do you mean by them?”

“The monsters,” she confirmed. “I want to see if they’re smart enough to follow the trail of wrappers.”

Instead of running from the monsters, instead of simply confronting them with their own growling attacks, this fearless child does psycho-social experiments on the monsters in her dreams. I’ve heard people say that one way to deal with the unknown, to respond to strong emotions, is to stay with your curiosity, to keep yourself in the place of wonder. This tiny person has worked that one out for herself in her dreams. Hmmm. How smart are these things, really?

Ask: “What would happen if I. . .?” And then engage. Instead of running away from the things that scare us, what would happen if we turned our curious minds to wondering about the fears themselves, and left a glittering trail of candy wrappers to see if they follow? How could I do this with my big worries: About the state of my country? About climate change? About the future for my children?

What if, instead of getting lost on the endless hopeless trails of anxiety about the unknown, I would simply walk forward toward whatever possible solutions the future might hold, leading the monsters behind me? Poke them. Prod them. Tickle them. What will they do?


Gratitude List:
1. Being in a show again. Along with my usual ushering duties, I sang with a small group in the pit, to boost the sound on the big chorus numbers. It was a delight and a joy to participate in a really small way.
2. The show is over. Wondrous as it was, I am glad to get back to a regular schedule.
3. Last night, I sent my application for a writer’s residency. Now I can let go of that. I’m a small fish in a big pool for this one, but even applying has been delightful, thinking about Edwidge Danticat (the judge) reading my writing.
4. The poetry of Julia Esquivel and Ernesto Cardenal, both Guatemalan poets. I’ve been reading her poetry in response to an article about her in Sojourners magazine, and last night I heard that Cardenal had died, so I have read some of his poetry in response. They both use their words to confront the violence of systems and empires.
5. I heard geese in the dawn a few minutes ago. It’s particularly haunting to hear them so early. I like haunting sounds, like geese in the dawn, like a faraway train whistle, like a solitary sparrow in a quiet hollow, like leaves rustling underfoot.

May we walk in Beauty!

No Chair for Despair

Digital Variation on a drawing of a bird figurine from Marija Gimbutas’ Language of the Goddess

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” —Rainer Maria Rilke


Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word. It is the word “maladjusted”. Now we all should seek to live a well-adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities. But there are some things within our social order to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I call upon you to be maladjusted. I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to mob rule. I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism. I call upon you to be maladjusted to such things.” —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


“.. One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. ..” —Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ―Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” ―Alice Walker


“We were together. I forget the rest.” ―Walt Whitman


“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ―Henry James


“My continuing mantra: be gentle, be gentle, be gentle. Stand your ground, know your truth, but be kind.” ―Terri Windling (from her Myth & Moor blog)


“Reconciliation is like dressing a sore: You can’t bandage a sore without first cleaning it.” ―Leymah Gbowee


Gratitude List:
1. The eagle who flew above us as we were driving the bridge home across the Susquehanna last night.
2. My Speech class. In the past, I’ve struggled to set up safe classroom communities in Speech without it devolving into just play and goofiness. This class is so diverse in so many ways—seriousness and silliness, many nationalities, introverts and extraverts—and I was really worried. Yesterday in class, as they were doing simple introductory speeches, they started calling out, “You got this!” and “We’re with you!” as students walked up to give speeches. And it wasn’t snarky or patronizing, just supportive and sweet.
3. The light is returning. Every morning is a little brighter a little earlier. Every afternoon, the sun stays later.
4. Crows everywhere.
5. Rain in Australia.

May we walk in Beauty!

Beauty as Genius

May the seeds we sow today grow into strong and healthy plants.

Gratitude List:
1. How silence enters the body when you sit very still and watch it approach
2. Adaptability. The ability to adapt and change and transform.
3. That thing some cats do, where they roll over and pet their own faces. Sometimes a little face rub is just the thing to add a little stress reduction.
4. I stayed late at school after our staff development day on Monday to clean my unmanageable stacks. It’s much easier to actually work in my room now.
5. Today, all my classes are doing slightly longer personal introductions as community-building exercises. I love these moments of setting up the class connections. I need to remember how vital it is at the beginning of a semester to give a little serious time to helping them connect to each other and create a safe working group together.

May we walk in Beauty!


Quotations for the Day:

Oneiric: of or relating to dreams


“I am dogmatic in one way: I really do see no alternative than the cultivation of crazy loving humility—a visceral sense of ever-renewing wonder in the face of the Great Mystery.” —Rob Brezsny


“We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” ―John Dewey


“I’ve learned for a long time that, to heal my wounds, I had to have the courage to look at them. — Paulo Coelho


“In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churches stand on the sideline and merely mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. Here we are moving toward the exit of the 20th century with a religious community largely adjusted to the status quo, standing as a tail light behind other community agencies rather than a headlight leading men to higher levels of justice. The contemporary Church is so often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch-supporter of the status quo. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world?”
~Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham City Jail (1963)


“I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. The Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not… the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than justice.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963


“Beauty is a form of genius—is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation.” —Oscar Wilde


“Regardless of our beliefs, we all suffer from ignorance, and we all have projected our losses and fears onto each other in one way or another. This is my dream of the beloved community: that we can at least find a way to talk to each other, to talk past the fear, the separation, and find another way to live.”
—Sallie Jiko Tisdale, “Beloved Community”


“Satire is meant to ridicule power. If you are laughing at people who are hurting, it is not satire, it is bullying.” —Terry Pratchett

Marching, Marching

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.


“No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.” —Elie Wiesel


The New Colossus
by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


“In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.” —Wangari Maathai


“Language helps develop life as surely as it reflects life. It is the most important part of the human condition.” —Jane Yolen


“It is through beauty, poetry and visionary power that the world will be renewed.” —Maria Tatar


“And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”
—William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”


As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses
For the people hear us singing, bread and roses, bread and roses.

As we come marching, marching, we battle too, for men,
For they are in the struggle and together we shall win.
Our days shall not be sweated from birth until life closes,
Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread, but give us roses.

As we come marching, marching, un-numbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread,
Small art and love and beauty their trudging spirits knew
Yes, it is bread we. fight for, but we fight for roses, too.

As we go marching, marching, we’re standing proud and tall.
The rising of the women means the rising of us all.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories, bread and roses, bread and roses.
—James Oppenheim


Gratitude List:
1. Cornbread for breakfast
2. The process of re-balancing. There’s always a wobble or three. Sometimes abrasions and bruises. But the balance returns.
3. Blue sky through winter trees
4. The writings of Robin Wall Kimmerer
5. Planning. I love planning the shape of a class. The challenge for second semester classes is timeliness. I struggle to plan a class in July that I won’t teach until January, and when I do my planning so far in advance, the liveliness in it has died by January, and I have to rework and reassess again in the weeks before class begins. But this planning process is part of what brings the energy for the new thing emerging.

May we walk in Beauty!