The [redacted] Secret

By the time I got to the end of the second sentence, and saw the words “friend” and “Nazi” in successive lines, it suddenly became impossible for me to search out any other phrase than “Nazi friend” to end the poem, but the order was transposed. Sometimes people use arrows to make such a puzzle work. I decided to get out my little knife.

I woke up this morning with this phrase in my head: “Hymns to The Unknown Civilization.” I might have to create some sort of poetry/art project with that title.

You know that feeling when you wake up, and the cobweb of a dream is still clinging to your consciousness? I always try to maintain that dreamlike consciousness while I stumble downstairs so it stays fresh enough to write down. The dream flotsam offers myriad gifts. Sometimes it’s a stark image floating in my mind’s eye, asking me to look and consider and contemplate. I especially love when it’s word or a song. Sometimes the phrase is so surreal that I can’t weave it into the meaning of daytime reality and I just enjoy its oddness, its quirky presence in my day. Other times, I feel like there are distinct and specific messages in the words and images and stories that appear at the ends of dreamtime.


Gratitude:
The sounds of my walk yesterday: Greetings with friendly neighbors, the horses making that blustery horsey sigh, Barb’s goats calling greetings from up the hillside, bird twitterings in the trees, the deep glugging of the bullfrogs in the pond. Earlier, as I was riding my bike on the rail trail, I heard the wood thrushes calling across the path to each other.

May we walk in Beauty!


“If only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? 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


“A woman must be willing to burn hot, burn with passion, burn with words, with ideas, with desire for whatever it is that she truly loves.” —Clarissa Pinkola Estes


“Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.”
—Albert Szent-Gyorgyi


“I can’t offer justice so I offer just trees.” —Kilian Schoenberger (who photographs trees and woods)


Dalai Lama: “There are only two days of the year in which nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow. That means today is the ideal day to love, to believe, to create and to live.”


“We cannot assume the sacredness nor spiritual livingness of the earth or accept it as a new ideology or as a sentimentally pleasing idea. We must experience that life and sacredness, if it is there, in relationship to our own and to that ultimate mystery we call God. We must experience it in our lives, in our practice, in the flesh of our cultural creativity. We must allow it to shape us, as great spiritual ideas have always shaped those who entertain them, and not expect that we can simply use the image of Gaia to meet emotional, religious, political, or even commercial needs without allowing it to transform us in unexpected and radical ways. The spirituality of the earth is more than a slogan. It is an invitation to initiation, to the death of what we have been and the birth of something new.” —David Spangler


Rob Brezsny reflects on Fuller and Socrates:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality,” wrote Buckminster Fuller. “To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Socrates said something similar: “The secret of change is to focus your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Are they right? Or should we instead focus on unleashing our apocalyptic rage at the corruption and decay of the dying order?

A Very Simple Secret


Today’s prompt is to write a self-destruct poem:

When you are finished reading this poem,
it will self-destruct. The words
will fly outward, shards of ideas
exploding, lacerating skin,
feelings and notions piercing the soul,
shredding elevated egos
and mangling worn-out theories.
You will not be able to escape
into the house of another poem,
for all poetry is designed to explode,
to burst, to shatter into a thousand colors,
like the fracturing of light.


“The word is the making of the world.” —Wallace Stevens
*
“Through the empty branches the sky remains.
It is what you have.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke
*
“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” —Albert Einstein
*
“I must remind you that starving a child is violence. Suppressing a culture is violence. Neglecting school children is violence. Punishing a mother and her family is violence. Discrimination against a working man is violence. Ghetto housing is violence. Ignoring medical need is violence. Contempt for poverty is violence.” —Coretta Scott King
*
“When you feel the suffering of every living thing in your own heart, that is consciousness.”
—Bhagavad Gita
*
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
*
“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
*
“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….”
―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
*
“It is such a mysterious place, the land of tears.”
―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
*
“And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure . . . And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, ‘Yes, the stars always make me laugh!’ And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you…”
―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
*
“Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.”
―Naomi Shihab Nye


Gratitude List:
1. How dreams keep revealing themselves
2. How the leaves fly down from the sky
3. How children see things that adults miss
4. How the work gets done
5. How starlings move as a single bird

May we walk in Beauty!

Children of One Blood


“It is often said that the first sound we hear in the womb is our mother’s heartbeat. Actually, the first sound to vibrate our newly developed hearing apparatus is the pulse of our mother’s blood through her veins and arteries. We vibrate to that primordial rhythm even before we have ears to hear. Before we were conceived, we existed in part as an egg in our mother’s ovary. All the eggs a woman will ever carry form in her ovaries while she is a four-month-old fetus in the womb of her mother. This means our cellular life as an egg begins in the womb of our grandmother. Each of us spent five months in our grandmother’s womb and she in turn formed within the womb of her grandmother. We vibrate to the rhythms of our mother’s blood before she herself is born. And this pulse is the thread of blood that runs all the way back through the grandmothers to the first mother. We all share the blood of the first mother – we are truly children of one blood.”
–Layne Redmond

*
“For it is the function of consciousness not only to recognize and assimilate the external world through the gateway of the senses, but to translate into visible reality the world within us.”
~ Carl G. Jung
*
The Call Away
by Robert Bly

A cold wind flows over the cornfields;
Fleets of blackbirds ride that ocean.
I want to be out of here, go out,
Outdoors, anywhere in wind.
My back against a shed wall, I settle
Down where no one can find me.
I stare out at the box-elder leaves
Moving frond-like in that mysterious water.
What is it that I want? Not money,
Not a large desk, not a house with ten rooms.
This is what I want to do: to sit here,
To take no part, to be called away by wind.
I want to go the new way, build a shack
With one door, sit against the door frame.
After twenty years, you will see on my face
The same expression you see in the grass.
*
“On this day, the Autumn Equinox, we are in perfect balance between light and dark. As we straddle this threshold time, you may be experiencing both an expanded sense of self alongside some painful contractions into a familiar darkness.

It may help to remember that sometimes we are plummeted into our darkest depths precisely because we have elevated our ceilings on Love. Our demons appear most ferociously when they feel threatened by a new attitude.

So please consider your contractions are actually validations of where you are bravely digging into your own substrate to unearth those limiting patterns and, in releasing them, revealing a greater capacity for belonging and joy.

Keep going,” Toko-pa Turner


Gratitude List:
1. Holding paradoxes. Leaning into ambiguity. (I stole this from last year’s list, but it’s apt.)
2. Tiny Toad
3. The village–fun and play, and support when things get tough
4. People who know what to do in a crisis
5. Cool evenings

May we walk in Beauty!

Morning Examen


Under the bridge.

“In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.” —Howard Thurman
*
“Teach your children poetry; it opens the mind, lends grace to wisdom and makes the heroic virtues hereditary.” —Walter Scott
*
“No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that caused it.” —attributed to Albert Einstein
*
“I feel we have to begin standing our ground in the places we love. I think that we have to demand that concern for the land, concern for the Earth, and this extension of community that we’ve been speaking of, is not marginal – in the same way that women’s rights are not marginal, in the same way that rights for children are not marginal. There is no separation between the health of human beings and the health of the land. It is all part of a compassionate view of the world.”
—Terry Tempest Williams
*
“Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”
—Mary Oliver
*
“All the eggs a woman will ever carry form in her ovaries while she is a four-month-old fetus in the womb of her mother. This means our cellular life as an egg begins in the womb of our grandmother. Each of us spent five months in our grandmother’s womb, and she in turn formed in the womb of her grandmother. We vibrate to the rhythm of our mother’s blood before she herself is born, and this pulse is the thread of blood that runs all the way back through the grandmothers to the first mother.”
—Layne Redmond


Gratitude List/Examen:
1. (How is the Mystery Present to You?) Sunlight sparkling on dew. A silent flock of crows winging over the hollow. The way people reach out to each other.
2. (What visions brought your spirit awake?) A doe and her fawn came to me in a dream last night. Dreams full of wanderings and portents, cautions and protection.
3. (What does your heart say?) I can keep laying down the need to be better, the desire for perfection, the wish to be other than I am at the moment.
4. (What goes deeper?) The silence. The solitude. The giving of myself to the quiet.
5. (Where do you take this?) Today, I will just do the next thing.

May we walk in Beauty!