This is a rock we found on the beach near Provincetown. Joss says he thinks it looks like a woodsy landscape reflected in a lake. Can you see it?. I ran it through a starry filter, and it looks like a night-time lake.
1. Fierce and tender friends. People who hold the world in their hearts, and hold our hearts in their hands. You know who you are, Friends, and if you think I am talking about you here, I probably am.
2. Stories that teach me not to start with rage, but to start with compassion.
3. Honesty. Truth-telling. Getting it straight and clear. Cutting through the fog of lies.
4. Water. Purifying and cleansing. Refreshing. Rain on dry earth.
5. The smell of the rain on dry earth. That scent of impending hope.
“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” ―Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
“In order to arrive at what you are not you must go through the way in which you are not.”
—T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets
“We grow spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.” —Richard Rohr
“Whatever gets in the way of the work is the work.” —Jason Shinder
“An agricultural adage says the tiny animals that live below the surface of a healthy pasture weigh more than the cows grazing above it. In a catalogue selling composting equipment I read that two handfuls of healthy soil contain more living organisms than there are people on the earth. What these beings are and what they can be doing is difficult to even begin to comprehend, but it helps to realize that even though they are many, they work as one.”
“All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” —Flannery O’Connor
“I don’t know about you, but I didn’t become an environmentalist because someone made a rational argument that convinced me that the planet was in danger. I became an environmentalist out of love and pain: love for the world and its beauty and the grief of seeing it destroyed. It was only because I was in touch with these feelings that I had the ears to listen to evidence and reason and the eyes to see what is happening to our world. I believe that this love and this grief are latent in every human being. When they awaken, that person becomes an environmentalist.” —Charles Eisenstein
“You can’t dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools.” —Audre Lorde
“The owl,” he was saying, “is one of the most curious creatures. A bird that stays awake when the rest of the world sleeps. They can see in the dark. I find that so interesting, to be mired in reality when the rest of the world is dreaming. What does he see and what does he know that the rest of the world is missing?” ―M.J. Rose, Seduction
“On teaching:…the job seems to require the sort of skills one would need to pilot a bus full of live chickens backwards, with no brakes, down a rocky road through the Andes while simultaneously providing colorful and informative commentary on the scenery.” ―Franklin Habit
“We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.” ―W.B. Yeats
“We’re all lovers and we’re all destroyers. We’re all frightened and at the same time we all want terribly to trust. This is part of our struggle. We have to help what is most beautiful to emerge in us and to divert the powers of darkness and violence. I learn to be able to say, ‘This is my fragility. I must learn about it and use it in a constructive way.'” ―Jean Vanier
“I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid, more accessible;
to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.”
Not so much a list tonight. A recognition, perhaps of the thrumming of the web, the sense of connection and holding spaces for each other. The warmth of face-to-face connections and eye contact. Twinkling eyes. The fierce protectiveness we feel for the ones in our care, and the sense of being cared for just so fiercely by others. The way lines on a page–a screen–can be drawn between us, so that we can come away with a sense that we Know each other, that we Belong in each other’s circles. That mystical sense of knowing that someone is
holding the light
on my behalf, on your behalf, on behalf of the world.
May you feel yourself upon the web.
I have been thinking about how to help my students develop confidence in their own strength, to help nurture a sense of self-worth that will help to protect them. I have noticed how the beauty trap persists for young women, the powerful desire to be seen by the eyes of others (especially boys) as beautiful, and how this feed into their own sense of their own worthiness or unworthiness to be loved. This poem needs lots of organizing and more thought to it, but it will hold the place for now.
Don’t be beautiful.
Be edgy. Be friendly. Be bold.
Be strong. Be quirky. Be wild.
Don’t be mild.
Be fierce. Be thoughtful. Be brave.
Be gracious. Be loving. Be You.
Don’t be cute.
Be happy. Be tender. Be funny.
Be raw. Be powerful. Be real.
I think I will begin doing one item or one paragraph for a little while. I am feeling an inner shift these days, a readiness for something new.
I am grateful for love: Love wins. Follow where the love goes. That’s where the answers are.
May we walk in Beauty!