Gratitudes, Musings, Poems

To Have Enough

“The story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all.” –Frederick Buechner
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“Those who are willing to break a conspiracy of silence are guaranteed to meet with the disapproval of others. Having a dissenting voice naturally exiles you from the group, but this rejection is a validation of the bravery having such a standpoint requires. It’s also a marvelous training in originality and acts as an agent of attrition. It teaches you who and what is in alignment with your integrity, strengthening those affinities within and without. It’s important during such times of change to practice self-love, comforting the brave & terrified rebel within who doesn’t want to be alone and grieves those losses none the less.” –Dreamwork with Toko-pa
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“To make a living is not to make a killing. It’s to have enough.” –Wendell Berry
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“None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an afterthought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.” –Nanea Hoffman
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“God is love, without asterisks.”  –Father Stratis
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“Poetry is a life-cherishing force, for poems are not words, after all, but fires for the coal, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread for the hungry.” –Mary Oliver
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Written on seeing a photo of that circle bridge in Germany: “Always she went through her days with a feeling of being a half, an arc. The bridge of her spirit went out from herself to the world, most certainly, yet somehow all seemed partial, unfinished. There came a bright golden October morning when she looked outward to see the way her own story was reflected everywhere. In the flight of wren from stalk of goldenrod to quivering branch of sycamore. In the calling back and forth of the owls in the bamboo wood. In the branching willow withes reaching to touch the surface of the pond. And suddenly the circle was complete.” –Beth Weaver-Kreider
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“Poetry begins as a lump in the throat . . . a homesickness, a lovesickness.” –Robert Frost
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“Poetry seduces you and entices you into being a searcher for the Mystery yourself. It creates the heart leap, the gasp of breath, inspiring you to go further and deeper; you want to fill in the blanks for yourself.” –Richard Rohr
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“To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower.”
–William Blake


Gratitude List:
1. Golden mornings
2. How the light shines through
3. October
4. The table is Wide
5. Open hearts and arms

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes

Circle of Stories


The setting for a circle of stories.

“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
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“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
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“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” ―Joseph Campbell
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“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
― C.S. Lewis
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“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
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“I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind. And this is one: I’m going to tell it – but take care not to smile at any part of it.”
―Emily Brontë
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“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
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“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
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“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
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“The tyrant grinds down his slaves and they don’t turn against him; they crush those beneath them.” ―Emily Bronte
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“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
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“To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world.” ―Rudolf Steiner


Gratitude List/Examen:
(Questions based on the Examen of St. Ignatius)
1. (How have I encountered Beauty?) The pale glowing green of a large caterpillar who persists in entering the garage.
2. (What makes me grateful?) The way our stories weave themselves together. when you speak of your challenges and your delights, and I share mine with you, something magical happens, in which our stories become one great story–a vibrant, many-colored tapestry. I cannot overstate the power of a deliberate and compassionate and loving story-sharing experience. I come away empowered and energized to be my own best self.
3. (What is the texture of my feeling life?) There is deep joy in the presence of my beloveds, an upwelling of sadness at the declining well-being of a feline friend, that regular and well-known tugging of anxiety about my children, and a wide and flowing river of contentment in the world.
4. (What is the defining moment of the day past?) The stories. The children playing together in the dark. The children reluctant to end the day: “But we need more time to bond!”
5. (How will I walk into today?) Wrapped in the threads of story, in the words and the love of my friends. Breathing deeply.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes

A Circle of Beloveds


Interesting coincidence. I am in a hurry this morning, and I quickly found this photo to represent the feeling of being held in a circle of beloveds. Then I saw that I had used the exact photo on my blog on this day two years ago.

“God is not a celestial prison warden jangling the keys on a bunch of lifers–he’s a shepherd seeking for sheep, a woman searching for coins, a father waiting for his son.” ― Clarence Jordan
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“You think you are alive because you breathe air?
Shame on you, that you are alive in such a limited way.
Don’t be without Love, so you won’t feel dead.
Die in Love and stay alive forever.” —Rumi
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“Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself.” ―John Dewey
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“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” ― William Faulkner
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“O Earth, that hast no voice, confide to me a voice!
O harvest of my lands! O boundless summer growths!
O lavish, brown, parturient earth! O infinite, teeming womb!
A verse to seek, to see, to narrate thee.”
―Walt Whitman
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“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” ―Nelson Mandela
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“I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.” ―Stephen Jay Gould


Gratitude List:
1. A circle of Beloveds
2. The certainty of rain
3. Being ready to let go, but being given a little more time
4. Wisdom from the ages
5. A circle of Beloveds

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

Re-Integrating

tattoo

Quiet, thoughtful, tired today. So much to absorb from my three days of learning to keep circles. Now the work is to learn to apply and integrate the practice into my work, into my Work. And after three days of circling with twenty-five others, that specific circle itself must settle in like a seed and germinate within. And now, somehow, I must now reintegrate into the world outside the circle.

I think it would be good for me, sometime in the next two months, to sit in circle with people who are planning to vote for Trump, people who are planning to vote for Clinton, and people who are voting for Stein or Johnson. Perhaps some non-voters should be in there, too. I could not be the Circle Keeper, but I think I would come out of such an experience a much healthier person, hopefully less anxious, less furious.

Gratitude List:
1. Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit
2. Autumn is in the air
3. The circles expand out and outward
4. Poetry, how it says things that cannot articulated in didactic words
5. We are more alike than we are different

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Poems

Dear Friends

I love this tree

Dear friends, dear friends,
Can I tell you how I feel?
You have given me such blessing.
I love you so.
(Sing to the old tune of “Soul Cake”)

Try this:
Sit in a circle at dusk with people you love.
Let it be when the swifts are flying.
Let there be a catbird with a whiskery voice in a spruce tree.
Speak your stories into the bowl of the space between you:
stories like a rich meal, the bitter, the savory, the sweet.
Let it get dark.  The darkness will listen, too.
You can hear people listening when you speak in the dark.
You may light a candle if you have a candle.
Laugh together.  Cry.
Let there be occasional questions,
occasional grunts, occasional exclamations of oh-I-hear-that!
Make a meal of the stories before you,
and eat your fill. Be nourished.
Be together in your stories.
Know that all these stories are your story, too.
Let there be a benediction,
words sung or spoken into the full dark,
accompanied by the chittering of bats,
good words to keep you always
in this circle where you belong.

Gratitude List:
1. Circles
2. Swifts and bats
3. Children obsessed with the game that they have created between them.
4. Stories.  All of them.  Holding them together. The inspiration of stories.
5. Circles.  Did I say circles?

Much love.  May we walk in Beauty.  May we walk in Love.
May we live in the center of our stories

Poems

Contradictions

Poem-A-Day Day 25 Prompt:  Write an Opposite Poem, a poem which is opposite to one which you have already written.  Really tough challenge today.

I’ll sit with Uncle Walt in the hall of contradictions,
contain my multitudes or let them fly outwards.
Did I say that the heart was a circle,
a singularity, a unit, contained?

No, the heart is a line,
straight and unswerving,
connecting any two points.

The geometer says,
Begin with a single point.
Notice, over there, a second point
and mark it carefully with your pencil.
Holding your pencil on that point,
line up your ruler between them,
and draw your line tenderly.

And if you are like Billy Collins, or me,
and falling in love is something you do
constantly and willfully,
those lines will ray outward from your center
like a glorious web, encompassing the universe,
like a circle.

 

Poems

And the Third Circle is the Heart

Day 7 Prompt: Write a circular poem.  This one is for my friend Saheeb.
“The eye is the first circle, the horizon which it forms is the second: and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

The heart, too, is a circle,
the horizon expanding to infinity
or contracting into a small black hole.

The work, you say, is to keep opening,
casting that radius wider
at every turn of the wheel,
to hold everything within its protective arc,
the bright flowers and the white-hot stones.

You looked through the windows
into the soul
and saw.

Saw the round bud of the heart opening,
itself a circle, the radius expanding.

When I begin to say
that I am you and you are I
then the pain that you wear
must wound me too.

This is the work,
to widen that horizon that lies within
to hold the world, if we must.

This is the burden we choose to carry:
To be a watcher, a weight-bearer,
to inwardly transmute these stones
we are given to bear
into gems of great value.
To keep soft,
to let the ego slip down
into a weightless place.

Speak your story.
Let it fall like a stone
into the quiet pool of my heart.
The circles expand out and outward,
not matter but pure energy,
more doors opening.

These are the doors we step into.
These are the circles we enter:

I see you.
I feel you.
I know you.
I recognize myself in you.

Namaste.