On Third Thought. . .

Today’s prompt is to write a second thoughts poem. Lately, I have been meditating on how my second thoughts actually tend to do me in, cause me to negate the need for healing conversation. I have worked so hard to avoid rushing into conflict with my Leo nature, roaring and biting and scattering the bullies and thwarters of justice, that I have slid into a passivity–especially when I am the one who has been harmed–that just wants to let it go and not make waves. But that’s not the answer either.

I think I need a confrontation,
need to stage an intervention,
offer explanations,
make a fuss, make a mess,
try to force a transformation.

On second thought,
you catch more flies with honey.
You can lead a horse to water,
but can you really make her drink?
Do you think it is essential
to stir the cauldron of community?
Better leave the sediment
to filter slowly to the bottom.

On third thought, however,
if we leave the bad behavior unremarked,
then bad behavior’s normalized,
and the bullies and their backers
and their frightened silent bystanders
are never called into account
for the harm they caused
or were to fearful to prevent.

First thoughts are too fiery,
often too filled up with passion
to bring about a change.
And second thoughts may look like peace,
but only lead us to repression in the end,
sweeping all the clutter
to the back of the closet.
Wait for third thoughts to arrive
and your heart will find the rhythm,
and the pathway to a resolution.
You’ll find that you can take
the fire of the first, mix it with
the modulation of the second,
and create a pathway forward
through the maze.


Gratitude List:
1. Remembering a good soul today
2. The generations who have come before
3. Third Thoughts
4. Naps
5. Wise elders
May we walk in Beauty!


Good advice from my friend Barb: “Find and wear your orange hat honey. There are 750,000 deer hunters in the yard today.”


“We have all hurt someone tremendously, whether by intent or accident. We have all loved someone tremendously, whether by intent or accident. it is an intrinsic human trait, and a deep responsibility, I think, to be an organ and a blade. But, learning to forgive ourselves and others because we have not chosen wisely is what makes us most human. We make horrible mistakes. It’s how we learn. We breathe love. It’s how we learn. And it is inevitable.”
—Nayyira Waheed


“Only those who attempt the absurd
will achieve the impossible.”
—M. C. Escher


Blessing for the Visitor
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

May you who wander, who sojourn, who travel,
may you who make your way to our door
find rest for your tired feet and weary heart,
food to fill your bellies and to nourish your minds,
and company to bring you cheer and inspiration.
May you find comfort for your sorrows,
belonging to ease your loneliness,
and laughter to bring you alive.

And when your feet find themselves again upon the road,
may they remember the way back to our door.


“A seed sown in the soil makes us one with the Earth. It makes us realize that we are the Earth. That this body of ours is the panchabhuta—the five elements that make the universe and make our bodies. The simple act of sowing a seed, saving a seed, planting a seed, harvesting a crop for a seed is bringing back this memory-this timeless memory of our oneness with the Earth and the creative universe. There’s nothing that gives me deeper joy than the work of protecting the diversity and the freedom of the seed.” —Vandana Shiva


“I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.” —George McGovern

Tangled Web

Today’s prompt is Conflict.

If forgiveness were an act of will
she’d have managed it by now.
It’s not a thing you can declare
and–poof!–the grace appears
and ushers everyone
into the next level of Enlightenment.

She stopped praying for her enemies,
stopped trying on the oversized robe
of forgiveness, not of her own designing.

Now she calls upon their angels
just to join her in her prayers,
to enter her circle and listen
while she says, “Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who have sinned against us.”
And, “Deliver us ever from evil.”

The ones who cause us harm,
through malice or through fear,
bind themselves to us,
entangling our destinies
as inextricably as love could ever do,
and forgiveness becomes not a single act,
but a long slow dance,
improvised at every moment,
a careful disentangling.


Gratitude List:
1. Sparkling morning sun
2. Doing things in my own time
3. Portals and doorways
4. The process of becoming
5. Warm boots
May we walk in Beauty!


“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” -Oscar Wilde


“Every minute can be a holy, sacred minute. Where do you seek the spiritual? You seek the spiritual in every ordinary thing that you do every day. Sweeping the floor, watering the vegetables, and washing the dishes become holy and sacred if mindfulness is there. With mindfulness and concentration, everything becomes spiritual.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh


“…when women speak truly they speak subversively–they can’t help it: if you’re underneath, if you’re kept down, you break out, you subvert.
We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.
That’s what I want–to hear you erupting. You young Mount St. Helenses who don’t know the power in you–I want to hear you.” —Ursula Le Guin


“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” —Muriel Rukeyser


“Oh to meet, however briefly, the greatness that lives under our surface. To summon enough bravery to be without armour and strategy, for the chance at meeting that irreducible power. Oh to make of our terrified hearts a prayer of surrender to the God of Love; that we remain safe in our quivering ache to be near that Otherness, even for a moment. To touch that ancient life who will never relinquish its wilderness, who lets instinct make its choices, whose knowing lives in bones and whose song is a wayfinder.” ―Dreamwork with Toko-pa


“The deeper our faith, the more doubt we must endure; the deeper our hope, the more prone we are to despair; the deeper our love, the more pain its loss will bring: these are a few of the paradoxes we must hold as human beings. If we refuse to hold them in the hopes of living without doubt, despair, and pain, we also find ourselves living without faith, hope, and love.”
―Parker J. Palmer


“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.”
―Emily Dickinson


“One of my favourite teachings by Martín Prechtel is that ‘violence is an inability with grief.’ In other words, it takes skillfulness to grieve well, to grieve wholeheartedly. It requires us to bravely, nakedly come to face all that is lost, keeping our hearts open to loving just as fully again.
“When we make war, lashing out in rage and revenge, it is because we are unwilling to make this full encounter with grief. It is easy to enact the same violence which has taken so much from us―including towards ourselves―but the greater work is to let that which is missing enlarge your life; to make beauty from your brokenness.
“Whatever you hold in the cauldron of your intention is your offering to the divine. The quality of assistance you can generate and receive from the Holy is governed by the quality of your inner offering. When you indulge in fear and doubt, you are flooding the arena where love is attempting to work.” ―Dreamwork with Toko-pa


“Our true home is in the present moment.
To live in the present moment is a miracle.
The miracle is not to walk on water.
The miracle is to walk on the green Earth
in the present moment.”
―Thich Nhat Hanh


“An awake heart
is like a sky that pours light.” ―Hafiz (Ladinsky)


“There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.” ―Oscar Levant

In the Dreamtime, Day 7

I went to bed really late again last night, after a couple hours of writing. I was frustrated. I had just realized that the sweet and tender scene I had just written would completely through off the truth of another piece of the story that I am deeply attached to, so I have to rewrite a few pages, and make sure that one character is kept in the dark about her mother’s true identity.

Consequently, my dreams were fragmented and illusory. I cannot remember them. Perhaps I just slept well because of the late hour. So I have no dream images to add to my storehouse of images for the year.

I did do some meditation work yesterday, drawing upon three sets of images that have been in my mind. Pairs of images seemed to play with and inform each other. From this dance of images came three principles I will consider for the coming year:

* In crunchy and conflictual situations, instead of squashing my own feelings and needs or avoiding the stress of conflict, I will strive to be generous with myself and others while setting strong boundaries.

* In response to my weariness and exhaustion about picking up the Impossible Tasks (the looming work that gets bigger the more it gets avoided), I will create gentle life-giving personal rituals that ease me through the challenges and mark the little accomplishments along the way.

* For the sake of balancing my mental health, I will do something that I deeply love, which at this moment is writing. Deep down, I still long for a Writer’s Life, but I have a family to support, so I cannot simply leave my wonderful job to write. But my wonderful job ceases to be wonderful when it feels like it keeps me from doing what I love. If I am to maintain balance, I must make time to write. And it can no longer just be practice and place-holding, but seriously crafted Storymaking.


Gratitude List:
1. Messages
2. Sunshine
3. Homemade bread and soup
4. Following the trail of bread crumbs in a story
5. Twinkling lights and twinkling eyes

May we walk in Beauty!


Words for the Fourth Day of Kwanzaa:
Today’s Kwanzaa Word is one of my favorite Swahili words: Ujamaa. Cooperative economics. How can we create local systems that develop economic justice for all? How can we share our finances in ways that build up the community?


“Don’t let the tamed ones tell you how to live.” —Jonny Ox


“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


Mark Twain: “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”


Frederick Buechner:
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”


“A night finally came when I woke up sweaty and angry and afraid I’d never go back to sleep again. All those stories were rising up in my throat. Voices were echoing in my neck, laughter behind my ears, and I was terribly, terribly afraid that I was finally as crazy as my kind was supposed to be. But the desire to live was desperate in my belly, and the stories I had hidden all those years were the blood and bone of it. To get it down, to tell it again, to make something—by God, just once to be real in the world, without lies or evasions or sweet-talking nonsense. It was a rough beginning—my own shout of life against death, of shape and substance against silence and confusion. It was most of all my deepest, abiding desire to live fleshed and strengthened on the page, a way to tell the truth as a kind of magic not cheapened or distorted by a need to please any damn body at all. Without it, I cannot imagine my own life. Without it, I have no way to tell you who I am.” —Dorothy Allison, from “Deciding to Live”


Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov:
“Love all of God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.”


Antonio Machado, Border of a Dream: Selected Poems:
“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.”


Walt Whitman:
“Allons! whoever you are come travel with me!
Traveling with me you find what never tires.
The earth never tires,
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first, Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first,
Be not discouraged, keep on, there are divine things well envelop’d,
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.
Allons! we must not stop here,
However sweet these laid-up stores, however convenient this dwelling we cannot remain here,
However shelter’d this port and however calm these waters we must not anchor here,
However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us we are permitted to receive it but a little while.”


“A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Jeremiah 31:15