Shouldn’t Be Surprised

Why am I surprised? Why am I always surprised?

After four years of watching people I thought were philosophically and spiritually interested in wisdom and truth and justice cast off their moral and ethical clothing, shed their philosophical and ideological grounding, I shouldn’t be shocked at the callousness and cruelty, the active denialism and cult-like disengagement with humanity. But I am. I expected people to be better, and I keep holding out hope that the cruelty and denialism have just been glitches.

But I don’t think so.

People who railed against the “holocaust” of children represented by the seed of life in a zygote have been shrugging their shoulders when born children are torn from their parents’ arms and locked in cages–ill-fed, cold, untended, subject to sexual abuse.

People who spoke fervently and passionately about a fertilized egg’s right to life are actively fighting against programs which offer health care and living wages to the families of born children.

People who called themselves pro-life, who dogmatically claimed to stand for the tiniest little possibility of living humanity in a fetus, saying, “It’s only old people who are dying.” Refusing to wear a mask because it somehow infringes on their rights, when wearing that mask could be the difference between life and death for someone they expose.

People who seemed like educated, thoughtful adults absolutely denying the science and the demographics and the numbers of a disease that is killing thousands of people every day, actively passing on the outright lies.

People who talked about a gospel of “Good News” for all the world, ignoring the suffering of a world in the grip of a global pandemic. Laughing at people who take it seriously, scoffing at mitigation efforts, actively encouraging others to behave in dangerous and irresponsible ways.

I have known that there were nominal Christians who fought for power and wealth and white supremacy instead of Goodness and Love and Peace. That’s nothing new. And there are plenty of Christians who are acting like they care about Jesus, who are standing for justice and caring about life. I guess I just thought there would be more who, when confronted with real life-or-death situations–with a global pandemic, with a profane president, with a world of suffering–would actually decide to walk humbly with Jesus, to do justice, and to love mercy.

Unsettled

The pholiota limonella at the center of the Wheel of the Year have gotten expansive. I have given them names, but they’re the names of some elven folx who appeared to me in a dream, and in the fairy tales it’s kind of rude to use the truenames of the fae, unless you’re trying to keep them at bay, so we’ll call them Meadow and Chief for now.

In last night’s dream:
I am reading a poem, by Whitman or Sandburg or someone like that. I see the lines on the page as the images of the dream unfold.

A small girl is walking a path home to her cabin in the full moon light. (Why are small children always out at night in these stories?!?)

As she is passing a field which was a battlefield in the Civil War, she comes upon an old man, dressed in the tattered remnants of a soldier’s uniform, sitting on a stump in the moonlight. She listens politely while he tells her his story of woe and bitterness.

After his telling, she makes her way home, where her mother bolts the cabin door behind her. She tells her mother (the narrator of the poem) about the old man, and they look out the window to see him sitting there, way in the distance, in the moonlight. As she finishes telling her mother the story, suddenly the old man is in the cabin with them.

The poem (dream) ends with the mother reflecting on how sitting in the bitterness of old battles can turn a person into a vampire.

I think it’s a dream about the danger we’re in right now, with a bitter old soldier who lost his battles, stewing in his rage. He’s always been an energy vampire, and now he’s been mostly ignored for days. He’ll be hungry. Telling his story to each other only feeds him.
In the dream, the girl did not invite him in, but he came in anyway, perhaps taking her polite listening as a tacit invitation. Let’s draw our boundaries tightly now, and refuse to let ourselves be drawn in to the old battles again, refuse to listen to his story. We’re in a new place now, a safer place than we were, but we need to be vigilant and aware in order to truly make it safe.

I think that part of what startles me about this dream is that in the fairy tales, you’re supposed to be polite, supposed to listen to the elders, supposed to offer assistance to the poor. This was so clearly not that. Her politeness was all the invitation he needed to enter her space. The time for passive politeness is past. White people, especially, have allowed such evil to blossom through passive politeness, through our lack of confidence in confronting lies and abuse.

My friend Anna reminds me to stand within my truth, leaning neither forward nor backward, to feel myself surrounded by a golden light. One of the many helpers who has appeared to me in a dream is an angelic being made of golden light, with great glowing golden wings, so I feel myself surrounded by my dream-friend’s light, like the golden glow of an autumn morning, when the mists are just rising off the fields and everything is awash with light. This standing in one’s truth, Anna reminds me, is like the essential core of nonresistant philosophy, to know what you believe, and to hold to that, not getting caught up in all the rages and distractions of those who oppose a vision of justice.

I am unsettled today. I feel like it’s time to stop celebrating and start looking around, keeping our noses to the wind, not losing our commitment to standing in the center of our own golden light of truth, but all senses alert to the dangers around us. It began with my dream, the sense that some attention paid to the tattered soldier has given him the “right” of entry. On one hand, I want to let the old ghost fade quietly away into the moonlight without giving it any more attention. On the other hand, I have a sense of impending doom settling on my shoulders this afternoon, a feeling of havoc about to be wreaked, chaos to be unleashed.

I know that is his pattern, to promise destruction and wreckage, and then watch in delight as all the worried citizenry gathers to put out the fires. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction. I think it’s time to let it go, to believe that someone is watching and ready to give warning out in the dark night, that everyone is positioned to do their very own job.

In the meantime, in the waiting, in the transition,
we give our attention to our work:
we continue to call for justice,
we keep rooting out white supremacy wherever we see it, especially in ourselves,
we dismantle the patriarchy,
we protect the vulnerable,
we care for the children,
we teach critical thinking and analysis,
we starve the vampire.


Gratitudes:
1. The golden light of autumn
2. The golden leaves of autumn
3. The golden pillar of energy that helps us to stand within our truth
4. The golden shine of the mushrooms in the Wheel of the Year mandala
5. The golden heart of you

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

Breathe and Pray

This morning, I wrote this:

Beloveds, I don’t really have much in the way of words to offer this morning, to wade through the bog of my own anxiety to offer hope or resilience. I’m here in my bog, listening. I need to be a teacher today, especially for students who are equally as enmired as I am.

Here in the anxious bog of me today, I sit like an angry old spider. I cast a line from me to you. Catch. Send out webs of your own. While we wait for things to ravel or unravel, we weave and spin and hold our own webs as steady as we may. We are stronger when we are together.

Black lives STILL matter.
Love is STILL love is STILL love.
Your name and pronouns STILL belong to you.
Your body is STILL your own.
You STILL have agency.
The Planet STILL needs us.
The elderly and vulnerable STILL need protection from the coronavirus.
STILL, nobody is illegal.
Justice is STILL important.


This morning felt so dire, so much a repetition of 2016. Jon and I both woke up at 2:30, and made the perhaps unwise choice to check the returns. My heart was racing, and I figured I wouldn’t get to sleep until I saw something to confirm or allay the anxiety. Look the wolf in the eye, they say. I felt in a visceral way how the anxiety and sense of tragedy of the 2016 election had lodged in my body, and how it replayed itself in the night four years later.

This afternoon, there are a few more reasons to hope. The morning, said Vassilissa’s doll in the Baba Yaga stories, is wiser than the evening. Today, the afternoon is wiser than the morning. Get some distance. Get some rest. Get some perspective.

It’s not over, and won’t be for a long time, but it doesn’t feel like we’ve completely shattered the Democracy quite yet. And the popular vote seems to be pretty definitely against the tyrant.

Here’s the one thing that sticks with me, however, like a grief: It wasn’t a clear and obvious win. My neighbors, good people and salt of the earth in so many ways, have not–by and large–passed the test, choosing instead to vote for white supremacy and patriarchy, for homophobia and transphobia, against the poor and the ill and the immigrants. And I do not know what to do with that.


I don’t feel like I can muster appropriate Gratitudes today. Perhaps a couple Commitments might stand in:
1. I commit to not respond smugly if Biden wins. I will express relief and hope if it happens (because I am human and must live my emotions), but I will not be smug, and especially I will try to be open to the pain and confusion of people for whom that is frightening, even though I do not understand it.
2. No matter who wins this election, I commit to standing for justice and compassion, for Black and Indigenous People and other People of Color, for LGBTQ+ folx, for women, for immigrants, for poor and houseless people, for all who are harmed by our systems. I commit to pushing whoever is president for the next four years (and other elected officials) to do right by the people, especially whose who have not been truly free and equal.
3. I commit to harbor no illusions that the lesser of two evils is the savior.
4. I commit to walk this together with you, my Beloveds, and to ask for help when I am sinking.

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly. In Beauty.

Speaking Justice, Enacting Peace

Talking to myself. You may listen in:

Meet it All with Love
Have a care with your words.
Speak justice.
Speak truth.
Words ignite.
Words incite.
Words inspire.
Have a care.

Don’t be afraid.
To act is to risk.
To not act is to risk.
Weigh and measure.

Meet it all with love.
Find joy in every place you can.
Be a prophet.
Be a fool.
Step into the gap
and become a bridge.

Avoid vengeance.
Provoke for change.
Provoke to love.
Provoke for epiphany.
Be a gadfly
and a peace-maker.
Be a prophet and a lamb.
Wise as a serpent,
harmless as a dove.

Enact peace.
Overturn the tables.
Rage and heal.
Meet it all with love.


American Parable:
Once a shepherd brought his sheep back to the fold after a long day of grazing in the high fields. As they entered the fold, he carefully counted each one, until he reached 99.

Oh no! One short! He must have lost one somewhere on the mountain! What would the other shepherds think of him if he lost a sheep? How would he ever live it down?

He stood a while in thought, then said, “Meh. What’s one sheep when I have 99 others? It was probably old or sick or weak anyway. A loser sheep. It is what it is.”

He locked his gates and doors, ate a hamburger from a golden plate, and went to bed.

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

Finding Poetry

We met a fellow seeker on the paths at Sam Lewis last night.

I took an online class on Saturday morning on redacted and black-out poetry. While I have worked with this format in the past, this two-hour session really inspired me. I’ve broken through a bit of a wall in the Found Poetry realm in the past few days.

Gratitude List:
1. Finding poetry
2. Toads in the leaves
3. Going rambling with the fambly
4. Looking forward to an educational conference (online) today. I am becoming increasingly worried that Pennsylvanians’ refusal to just wear the mask will mean we have to teach online during at least part of the fall semester, and I don’t want to go into that kicking and screaming. This should provide me with strategies for teaching, no matter what happens. (And yes, that was a gratitude infected by a snarky dig.)
5.The little air conditioner. I don’t tolerate the heat/humidity nexus quite like I used to.

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


“We live by mystery, not by explanations.” —Cecil Collins


“For we have, built into all of us, old blueprints of expectation and response; old structures of oppression, and these must be altered at the same time as we alter the living conditions which are a result of those structures. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.

As Paulo Freire shows so well in “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, the true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations which we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us, and which knows only the oppressors’ tactics, the oppressors’ relationships.” —Audre Lorde


“Live in the center of your life.” ―Sark


“Cluster together like stars.” ―Henry Miller


“Now that you’ve awakened. . .immediately take a nap! Naps are when the angels come out to take special care of you.” ―Sark


“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
―Arundhati Roy


“Every child of ours needs to learn the simple truth: She is the energy of the Sun. And we adults should organize things so her face shines with the same radiant joy.” ―Rob Brezsny


“In mythos and fairy tales, deities and other great spirits test the hearts of humans by showing up in various forms that disguise their divinity. They show up in robes, rags, silver sashes, or with muddy feet. They show up with skin dark as old wood, or in scales made of rose petal, as a frail child, as a lime-yellow old woman, as a man who cannot speak, or as an animal who can. The great powers are testing to see if humans have yet learned to recognize the greatness of soul in all its varying forms.” ―Clarissa Pinkola Estés


“A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except to be able to grow in rows” ―Doug Larson

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

Tend Your Spirit

Mending and tending

Stop. Sit still. Breathe in and out, in and out.
Now wiggle your shoulders and neck.
Shift and straighten your spine.
Drop your shoulders.
Unclench your jaw.
Breathe and breathe and breathe.
What was that about? What were you holding so tightly in all those spaces and crevices and pockets? Rage? Anxiety? Disappointment? Fear?
Name the Feeling People who inhabit your body. Ask them what they have to tell you about yourself in the world right now.

We need everybody’s voices right now. We need everybody working for change. Racism and white supremacy won’t be dismantled in a day. It’s been the defining principle for way too long, and people have been trying to break it for a long, long time. But there’s a movement afoot, and it need us all on deck, doing our parts. But you have to rest, too, sister. You have to tend your own tender spirit, brother. Now might be a good time to pick up a new spiritual practice that helps to anchor you in the midst of this transformative storm.

Pray. Make energy webs that knit and protect, that send along the message of change and justice. Meditate. Make art. Write poems. Pet a cat. Watch the birds. Drink lots of water. Stretch your body. Take intentional breaks from the streets, from social media, from thinking about it. You know you’ll get back to the work when you’re strong enough. Tend Your Spirit. We need you healthy and whole, working in whatever way you work best to help turn this massive ship in the direction of a just and safe future for all. It’s okay to look away for a little while, and breathe.


Gratitude List:
1. The young people who are galvanizing the movement.
2. Tens of thousands of people are in the streets demanding change. Don’t let the dominator’s narrative hide that fact. Let’s keep our language clear: This is not “The Riots.” This is a social movement demanding police accountability and an end to white supremacy. There are thousands upon thousands of people taking that word to the physical streets and to social media. That’s a great and marvelous thing.
3. Friends checking in with each other. Keep doing that. Keep making sure your friends are okay. Keep the network lively. Take care of each other.
4. All the resources! Books to read, wise thinkers to follow on social media, lists of black-owned businesses to support, ways to attack our own internal biases. Keep passing those around!
5. The graphic pattern of black and white on the back of that downy woodpecker, and the way his head is shining red.

Love Mercy. Do Justice. Walk Humbly–in Beauty.


“Words are events, they do things, change things. They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.” ―Ursula K. Le Guin


“People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.” ―Ursula K. Le Guin


“We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel. . .is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.” ―Ursula K. Le Guin


“Give yourself to love.” ―Kate Wolf


“So it turns out that the ‘blemish’ is actually essential to the beauty. The ‘deviation’ is at the core of the strength. The ‘wrong turn’ was crucial to you getting you back on the path with heart.” —Rob Brezsny


“For a breath or two, to have been inside this Ka‘ba of the heart,
praying from the inside.
Breathe in God, breathe out God.
The one who adores is the One adored.
The lover is the beloved, is love itself.
Bathed in light
Being with the one we love.” ―Omid Safi


“We become each other’s stories when we listen to each other closely.” —Mara Eve Robbins at TEDxFLOYD


“Come on Mr Frodo. I can’t carry it for you―but I can carry you!” ―Sam Gamgee (JRR Tolkien)


Glinda to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz: “You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”


“Each one of us has lived through some devastation, some loneliness, some weather superstorm or spiritual superstorm, when we look at each other we must say, I understand. I understand how you feel because I have been there myself. We must support each other and empathize with each other because each of us is more alike than we are unalike.” ―Maya Angelou

Protect Each Other

These days demand such centeredness within ourselves and our intentions.
There are malicious forces out there actively working to discredit and destroy.
Check out the organizers of the protests before you go.
Wash your hands.
Go to the protests.
Sit in the streets.
Wear your mask.
Social distance as possible.
When white people in the crowds incite violence, don’t trust them.
Protect each other.
Learn how to tend to eyes that have been pepper-sprayed.
Destroy white supremacy.
Amplify black and brown voices.
Admit when you’re wrong.
When you make a mistake, own it, and do better.
Stay on message: Black Lives Matter. No more police brutality. Justice for George Floyd.
White Supremacy is an evil beast, and it isn’t going down without a fight.
And when the marches and the protests are over, we still have more work to do, to overcome our own internal biases.


Gratitude List:
1. The people in the streets
2. New schedules. More spaces in the schedule with my name on them.
3. Books to read
4. People who do the right thing
5. Cool mornings mean cats are snugglier.

May we walk in Beauty!


“Sit quietly,
and listen for a voice
that will say,
‘Be more silent.’”
—Rumi


“All wizards, including writers, are extremely
careful about their spells.” —Ursula K.Le Guin


“We have always needed good art to sustain us, to strengthen us, even to console us for being born human. Where better can we learn to see through the eyes of others, to gain compassion, to try to make sense of the world outside ourselves and the world within ourselves? —Lloyd Alexander


“Language is the house of Being.” —Martin Heidegger


“And the women said feel the way we became campfire
how we ghost storied into this dangerous beauty.”
—Kelly Grace Thomas


“So often we armour ourselves thinking we are sparing others the burden of our pain, but the truth is that we are depriving them the opportunity to nurture. Our vulnerability is what brings out compassion in others. As Rumi says, ‘Where lowland is, that’s where water goes. All medicine wants is pain to cure.'” —Dreamwork with Toko-pa


“At the end of my life, with just one breath left,
if you come, I’ll sit up and sing.”
―Rumi


“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” —Helen Keller


“Run from what’s comfortable.
Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.”
—Rumi


“The soul of the Soul of the Universe is Love.”
—Rumi

Midwives of the Moment

Valerie Kaur’s speech. Breathe and Push.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this speech a lot lately. I don’t want to co-opt her brilliant language about breaking down racism and xenophobia for my own purposes, and yet I feel like the work we are doing now to bring a new reality to birth during this time of waiting and change is part of the same story. We are cocooning in our home-wombs, envisioning an After that will succeed for everyone in ways that the Before could only dream of.

I don’t think we are anywhere near transition in the story we are birthing. I think we have a long way to go. This labor is more like my labors were, long and protracted, going through cycles of intense and near-transitional waves of desire to push before settling back into the rocking rhythms of preparatory contractions. Rise and fall. Breathe.

What would happen to the world if we would all see ourselves as Midwives of the Moment? If we were all to use this time to envision, to re-orient, to wake up a little, to find ways to articulate the dream of the After?

I want my life in the After to continue to include the baking of bread.
I want our lives in the After to be like those first weeks of sheltering in place, when Mutual Aid was the word of the day. Remember that, before we started fighting about personal liberties?
I want our lives in the After to include safety nets, like health care.
I want our lives in the After to recognize the people who really make things happen. Not the billionaires, but the Workers.

What do you want to see in the After?


Gratitude List:
1. The brisk springy air flowing in the screen door. It’s travel-weather, although I am not traveling.
2. Envisioning a more just and humane future.
3. The people who keep the world running: the workers.
4. Anticipating summer.
5. Making things.

May we walk in Beauty!


“People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.”
― Terry Pratchett


“The historian deals with the past, but the true storyteller works with the future. You can tell the strength of an age by the imaginative truth-grasping vigour of its storytellers. Stories are matrices of thought. They are patterns formed in the mind. They weave their effect on the future. To be a storyteller is to work with, to weave with, the material of time itself.” —Ben Okri (The Mystery Feast)


“Love trumps dogma every time.” —Vincent Harding


“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.” ―Gandalf, (Peter Jackson)


“Maturity is the ability to live joyfully in an imperfect world.” —Richard Rohr


“Hey, even Santa Claus believes in you!”
—Floyd and Janis, The Electric Mayhem