The Glorious Mysteries

Today is the last day of National Poetry Month. It has been another marvelous month. I have felt like the Muse was active more days this month than not, for which I am grateful. I never know when I begin these things whether I am going to hit a wall by day ten and have to slog through to the end. I’m grateful that there was so much to find and follow this month.

I have four more weeks of school, and then I’ll hopefully have time to do some editing. I really want to commit to going through my work and pulling together another book. But I have said that several times in the past few years, so I need to find the Key in order to make it happen.


The rosary prayers go in a cycle of three sets: The Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the Glorious Mysteries. There is a fourth set that was added by Pope John Paul II, but I haven’t studied those. As I have been praying the rosary since August, I have been meditating on the mysteries as a Path of Initiation to Enlightenment. I believe we are repeating this cycle over and over again in our lives, and the three-day cycle of repetition in the rosary cycle offers a way to meditate on one’s current cycle of transformation.

The Joyful Mysteries are about hearing and accepting the call to transformation:
1. The Annunciation: Hearing the call, meeting the beloved angel being, saying Yes, consenting to the process
2. The Visit with Elizabeth: Mentoring, wise confidante, comfort and counsel
3. The Birth: Stepping onto the path, hatching, the seed bursts forth, the initiation
4. The Elder Blessing: Blessing and commissioning by the priest/priestess, they say: “I have waited my whole life for this!”
5. The Finding in the Temple: Finding the purpose, defining the vision of the initiation story

The Sorrowful Mysteries are about meeting the challenges of the enlightenment journey:
1. The Agony in the Garden: Facing betrayal and abandonment, anxiety about what is to come
2. The Flogging in the Temple: Pain, the reality of betrayal, enduring the torture
3. The Crown of Thorns: Being shamed and mocked, standing shameless in the face of taunting
4. The Bearing of the Cross: Picking up the work that must happen even in the midst of trauma and anguish
5. Death: Death, loss, symbolic death, end of old life and way of being

The Glorious Mysteries are about stepping into the truth of the new way:
1. Resurrection: Symbolic rebirth, restoration, revivifying, re-energizing, re-awakening
2. Ascension into Heaven: Stepping back onto the path with Enlightenment in sight
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit: Tongues of fire, new language, deep connection to Spirit, recollection of “This is my Beloved Child in whom I am well pleased.”
4. The Assumption of the Virgin: Taking up the priestessing role, putting on the mantle
5. The Coronation of the Virgin: The Summoning to the coronation of the Queen, living in the glory of the Mystery

This past summer, when I felt caught in cycles of unrelenting Sorrowful Mysteries, it was a comfort to meditate every three days on the process of meeting the challenges and then to remind myself that the Glorious Mysteries follow. And of course, while this is a linear telling, there’s also a layering quality, a sense in which we live all the stages at once.


Gratitude List:
1. Denise Levertov’s poetry
2. Writing practice. I long to have a writer’s life, but in the meantime, I can carve out time for a consistent writing practice
3. Circles of beloved community
4. The quiet misty green of the grove in the morning
5. Always new things to learn
May we walk in Beauty!


“Things aren’t so tangible and sayable as people would have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are world of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life.” —Rainer Maria Rilke


“We don’t think ourselves into a new way of living. We live ourselves into a new way of thinking.” —Richard Rohr


“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.” —Georgia O’Keeffe


“Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal… To hope is to give yourself to the future – and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.” ―Rebecca Solnit


“The child’s hand
Folding these wings
Wins no wars and ends them all. “
―Thomas Merton


“I never sanction violence. Never. But I wonder how we got to the point when destruction of property deserves greater coverage and a greater portion of our attention than the destruction of human life. Since when do shattered windows matter more than shattered spines, shattered voice boxes, and shattered dreams? When did we become a people who mourn the destruction of things over the destruction of lives?” —Omid Safi

What You See

Today was Lancaster’s Race Against Racism, a couple-thousand-person 5K, in which the community works to raise money for the anti-racism efforts of the local YWCA. I haven’t walked it in six years. Last time, I walked/ran with my then-8-year-old. Today my husband and I walked while the kid, now 14 and a tall leggy runner, ran. He did it in a little over twenty minutes. Jon finished in just over an hour, and I was about ten minutes behind Jon. I walked with a friend who is also somewhat short, and we had a rich conversation while strolling through the city.


A couple days ago, Robert Lee Brewer’s prompt was to write and anapodoton poem. An anapodoton, according to Wiktionary, is “a rhetorical device in which a main clause of a phrase that is not mentioned is implied by a subordinate clause that is mentioned.” I didn’t write one then, but today’s prompt to write about something you see, offered me the “What you see” phrase.


Gratitude List:
1. Lancaster and York Cities and their Races Against Racism. Such important work.
2. Good friends and good conversations
3. My siblings
4. My parents
5. The green glow of trees breathing
May we walk in Beauty!


“To love, my brothers and sisters, does not mean we have to agree. But maybe agreeing to love is the greatest agreement. And the only one that ultimately matters, because it makes a future possible.” —Michael B. Curry


“The path isn’t a straight line; it’s a spiral. You continually come back to things you thought you understood and see deeper truths.” —Barry H. Gillespie


“Immature people crave and demand moral certainty: This is bad, this is good. Kids and adolescents struggle to find a sure moral foothold in this bewildering world; they long to feel they’re on the winning side, or at least a member of the team. To them, heroic fantasy may offer a vision of moral clarity. Unfortunately, the pretended Battle Between (unquestioned) Good and (unexamined) Evil obscures instead of clarifying, serving as a mere excuse for violence — as brainless, useless, and base as aggressive war in the real world.” —Ursula K Le Guin


“There is room for you at our table, if you choose to join us.” —Starhawk, The Fifth Sacred Thing


“For beautiful to happen, the beautiful has got to be seen.” —from the musical “Ordinary Days”


“You will be found.” —from the musical “Dear Evan Hansen”
****”
“How do you become the person you’ve forgotten you ever were?” —from the musical “Anastasia”


“The universe is not made up of atoms; it’s made up of tiny stories.” ―Joseph Gordon-Levitt


To all the children
by Thomas Berry

To the children who swim beneath
The waves of the sea, to those who live in
The soils of the Earth, to the children of the flowers
In the meadows and the trees of the forest,
To all those children who roam over the land
And the winged ones who fly with the winds,
To the human children too, that all the children
May go together into the future in the full
Diversity of their regional communities.


Carl Jung: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”


“Do not be satisfied with the stories that come before you. Unfold your own myth.” ―Rumi (Barks)


“You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend, or not.” ―Isabel Allende


“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ―Bréne Brown, Wholehearted

On the Willfulness of Poems

After several false starts today, I just wrote about the difficulty of catching a poem.


Gratitude List:
1. That moment in Math class when we were doing a division drill, and a student suddenly looked up with wonder in her eyes and said, “I get it! This is just the opposite of multiplication!” Yes, oh yes, oh yes! It doesn’t matter that I had already said it and pointed it out over and over and over again–until her brain was ready to make the connection, it didn’t make sense. But today she got it. On her own.
2. Spring rain. I was chilly all day. Still, it feels like this is how spring is supposed to feel.
3. Support systems, webs, communities of care
4. Book sales! Kreutz Creek Valley Library began its sale today
5. All the colors of green
May we walk in Beauty!


“The great affair, the love affair with life, is to live as variously as possible, to groom one’s curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred, climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day. Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding, and, despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours, life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length. It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.” —Diane Ackerman


“I take literally the statement in the Gospel of John that God loves the world. I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love. I believe that divine love, incarnate and indwelling in the world, summons the world always toward wholeness, which ultimately is reconciliation and atonement with God.” ―Wendell Berry


“A crone is a woman who has found her voice. She knows that silence is consent. This is a quality that makes older women feared. It is not the innocent voice of a child who says, “the emperor has no clothes,” but the fierce truthfulness of the crone that is the voice of reality. Both the innocent child and the crone are seeing through the illusions, denials, or “spin” to the truth. But the crone knows about the deception and its consequences, and it angers her. Her fierceness springs from the heart, gives her courage, makes her a force to be reckoned with.” —Jean Shinoda Bolen


“Go as far as you can see; when you get there you’ll be able to see farther.” —Thomas Carlyle


“At the end of the day, I’d rather be excluded for who I include than included for who I exclude.” —Eston Williams


“Free me. . .from words, that I may discover the signified, the word unspoken in the darkness.” —Byzantine Prayer


“Father, Mother, God,
Thank you for your presence
during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.
For those who have no voice,
we ask you to speak.
For those who feel unworthy,
we ask you to pour your love out
in waterfalls of tenderness.
For those who live in pain,
we ask you to bathe them
in the river of your healing.
Dear Creator, You, the borderless
sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the
world that which we need most—Peace.”
—Maya Angelou


“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
—Leonard Bernstein


Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.”
—Mary Oliver


“If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” —Harper Lee


“Some days, you don’t know whether
you are stepping on earth or water or air.
Place each foot carefully before you
and offer your weight gratefully to
whatever it is that holds you.”
—Beth Weaver-Kreider

And So

Usually during a poetry-writing month, I start to lose steam at around the 15th. This month, I have had one or two days that felt like toss-offs, like today, but mostly I have staved off the fretfulness this month. I’ve abandoned the daily prompts at Write Better Poetry more often than not, but I feel like this is a stronger batch than sometimes. Now I’m just going to need to do some editing this summer. Ugh. I say that every summer.


Gratitude List:
1. Catnaps
2.Beads
3. Crochet
4. Chocolate macaroons
5. Anticipating summer
May we walk in Beauty!


“You know you’re on the right path if your capacity for holding paradox expands, your sense of humor broadens, your commitment to justice deepens, your compassion for and protection of life grows, and your love of people transcends race, color, creed, tribe, religion, politics and sexual [orientation].” —Rabbi Rami Shapiro


“It’s not fair,” Linus said, staring off into nothing. “The way some people can be. But as long as you remember to be just and kind like I know you are, what those people think won’t matter in the long run. Hate is loud, but I think you’ll learn it’s because it’s only a few people shouting, desperate to be heard. You might not ever be able to change their minds, but as long as you remember you’re not alone, you will overcome.” —excerpt from The House in the Cerulean Sea, T.J. Klune


“As truly as God is our father, so truly is God our mother.” —Julian of Norwich


“Had I not created my whole world, I would certainly have died in other people’s.” ―Anaïs Nin


“Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher.” ―William Wordsworth


Forever Oneness,
who sings to us in silence,
who teaches us through each other.
Guide my steps with strength and wisdom.
May I see the lessons as I walk,
honor the Purpose of all things.
Help me touch with respect,
always speak from behind my eyes.
Let me observe, not judge.
May I cause no harm,
and leave music and beauty after my visit.
When I return to forever
may the circle be closed
and the spiral be broader.
―Bee Lake (Aboriginal poet)


“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.”
―Joseph Campbell


“I can’t tell you why your story is important, only that it is.” ―Mara Eve Robbins


“Time is like dragons.
They are both imaginary, yet can eat you anyway.” —The Cryptonaturalist


Heather Havrilesky:
“The antidote to a world that tells us sick stories about ourselves and and poisons us into thinking we’re helpless is believing in our world and in our communities and in ourselves.”


“Whatever happens to you, don’t despair.

Even if all the doors are closed, there will be a secret path for you,
that no one knows.

You can’t see it yet, but many paradises are at the end of this journey.” —Rumi

How the Dream Rises

The prompt was to write a dream/reality poem. I’ve never been a fan of poetic lines centered on the page, but somehow this one asked for that. You have to begin reading at the bottom, and rise to the top.


Gratitude List:
1. How dreams wake us up
2. Hot tea on a chilly night
3. Sorting out the feelings
4. Dawnsong in Spring
5. Anticipating Oriole’s Return
May we walk in Beauty!


“An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. I think that is true of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians. As far as I’m concerned, it’s their choice, but I CHOOSE to reflect the times and situations in which I find myself. That, to me, is my duty. And at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when every day is a matter of survival, I don’t think you can help but be involved. Young people, black and white, know this. That’s why they’re so involved in politics. We will shape and mold this country or it will not be molded and shaped at all anymore. So I don’t think you have a choice. How can you be an artist and NOT reflect the times? That to me is the definition of an artist.” —Nina Simone


“A loving silence often has far more power
to heal and to connect than the
most well-intentioned words.” —Rachel Naomi Remen


“The secret to waking up is unscrambling the word earth.” —anonymous


“I have come to regard with some suspicion those who claim that the Bible never troubles them. I can only assume this means they haven’t actually read it.” ―Rachel Held Evans


“What a comfort to know that God is a poet.” ―Rachel Held Evans


“Geometry is the archetype of the beauty of the world.” —Johannes Kepler


“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” —John Keating (Robin Williams in Dead Poet Society)


“You are the Ground of all being
the Well-Spring of time
Womb of the earth
the Seed-Force of stars.
And so at the opening of this day
we wait
not for blessings from afar
but for You
the very Soil of our soul
the early Freshness of morning
the first Breath of day.”
—John Philip Newell


“Be wary of any influence in your environment that dismisses or judges your enthusiasm. Without it, you would become anaesthetized to life itself. Anyone who demands this smallness of you is in danger themselves and may have contracted this insidious, deadening monotone. Enthusiasm is the vitality of spirit, expressing itself through us, and its grace in our voice should be welcomed and cherished. The word originates in the early 17th century, from the Greek enthousiasmos meaning ‘possessed by god.’ Now, more than ever, the world needs your enlargement, your weirdness, your fiery crescendos of rebellion from boring.” —Toko-pa Turner


“Grief is normal. It’s not like you’ll have a life someday with no grief. Life is all about loss, but grief is the medicine for that loss. Grief is not your problem. Grief is not the sorrow. Grief is the medicine. The people that have grief cultural awareness are always turning all of their losses into beauty in order to make more life instead of just trying to get through it and then forget about it.” —Martin Prechtel


“The only weapon we have is our bodies, and we need to tuck them in places so wheels don’t turn.” —Bayard Rustin


“My turn shall also come: I sense the spreading of a wing.” —Osip Mandelstam, Russian poet and essayist


“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” ―Washington Irving


“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” —Louise Erdrich


” The best teachers are those
who show you where to look,
but don’t tell you what to see.”
—Alexandra K. Trenfor

When It All Goes. . .

I’m not sure where this one came from. My brain is a little fried from a day of really hard work. Sometimes that’s when it’s easier to unhitch the brain’s horse and let it run free to do what it wants.


Gratitude List:
1. Finishing a long, hard procrastinated project, almost on time.
2. A day of being silent and alone
3. Lemon poppyseed muffin
4. An altar with a pathway of shining stones
5. The prospect of sleep: soon, soon, soon
May we walk in Beauty!


“People have said to me, ‘You’re so courageous. Aren’t you ever afraid?’ I laugh because it’s not possible to be courageous if you’re not afraid. Courage doesn’t happen without fear; it happens in spite of fear. The word courage derives from ‘coeur’, the French for ‘heart.’ True courage happens only when we face our fear and choose to act anyway, out of love.” —Julia Butterfly Hill


“Where is our comfort but in the free, uninvolved, finally mysterious beauty and grace of this world that we did not make, that has no price? Where is our sanity but there? Where is our pleasure but in working and resting kindly in the presence of this world?” —Wendell Berry


“Every country should have a Ministry of Peace” —Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire


“Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.” —Tom Robbins


“I never want to lose the story-loving child in me. A story that meant one thing to me when I was forty may mean something quite different to me today.” —Madeleine L’Engle


“‪‪Imagine the tiny percentage of your body that is directly involved in reading this sentence. Now, consider the oversized percentage this conscious part of you occupies in your concept of yourself. So? What does this discrepancy mean? Is our “who” different from our “what”?‬‬” —Jarod K. Anderson, The Cryptonaturalist


“Where you ache to be recognized, allow yourself to be seen.” —Toko-pa Turner

The Dance

I’ve started ignoring the prompts and just doing my own thing. It’s nice to know the prompts are there when I need them to give myself a jump start. I spent the day doing school work and then went to a play this evening. I decided to work on a haiku on the ride home.


Gratitude List:
1. Sitting under a pear tree on a golden spring morning, sun sparkling through the thousand new leaves
2. As I walked down the road in the morning, a young red-shouldered hawk called my name, then leapt from the branch and circled in blue sky above me three times before wheeling out over the valley and up the far ridge
3. Gifted young actors and singers and dancers–the show miraculously went on during a power outage in a lobby lit by emergency lights
4. Breakthroughs–breaking out of mental blocks
5. Always there are new things to learn
May we walk in Beauty!


Earth Day Words:
“The world is, in truth, a holy place.” —Teilhard de Chardin


“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” —Henry David Thoreau


“You are your own cartographer now.” —Ralph Blum


“If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.”
―Rainer Maria Rilke


“Every creature is a word of God.” ―Meister Eckhart


“The forest for me is a temple, a cathedral of tree canopies and dancing light.” ―Dr. Jane Goodall


“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” ―The Onceler (Dr. Seuss)


“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” ―Rachel Carson


William Stafford: “I place my feet with care in such a world.”


“A society is defined not only by what it creates, but by what it refuses to destroy.” ―John Sawhill


Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ―Rachel Carson


“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later year…the alienation from the sources of our strength.” ―Rachel Carson


“Few words are so revealing of Western sexual prejudice as the word Goddess, in contrast to the word God. Modern connotations differ vastly from those of the ancients, to whom the Goddess was a full-fledged cosmic parent figure who created the universe and its laws, ruler of Nature, Fate, Time, Eternity, Truth, Wisdom, Justice, Love, Birth, Death, Etc.” ―Barbara G. Walker


“Our vitality is inextricably bound up with creativity. Like a tree whose expression is fruit, giving our gifts is what keeps life pushing through our veins. It’s what keeps us feeling alive. As anyone who has strayed too far from their creativity knows, without it every corner of one’s life can fall prey to a terrible greying spread. As Kahlil Gibran writes about trees in an orchard, “They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.” —by Toko-pa Turner


“Come under the wing of the Spirit. All of you beneath a threatening sky, working in fields far from home, turn and come now, come under the wing of the Spirit. The protection of the sacred will shelter you. The strength of the holy will surround you. When the time comes, trust your own instincts, and come under the wing of the Spirit. There you can ride out the next storm. There you can renew your energy for the next call to prayer. These are the days for which we were made. This is the moment for miracles. When you hear a distant bell, come under the wing of the Spirit.” —Steven Charleston


That goldfinch out there.
Really—he’s like a little nugget of sunfire.
How can he shine so?
He must be lit from within.
—Moonbat


““What can a tree teach us about self-worth? How it grows only so big as its mothersoil can provide for, how it draws nutrients from her, but then expresses itself in leaves and fruits. How it kindly emits oxygen and purifies the air. How it offers itself as shelter, how it shades, how it sometimes lives to be ancient or not, but always offers its body back to the soil which grew it. How it becomes a nurse log upon which a whole new ecosystem can grow. Reciprocity is the only practice which can heal the alienation we feel from The Family of Things.” —Toko-pa Turner


“You are your own cartographer now.” —Ralph Blum

Mid-Month slump

I think I’ve hit the mid-month slump in poem world. I can’t seem to get into the poem zone. I feel like the last few have been toss-offs, but I’ve been startled how much I like them when I come back to them half a day or a day later. Here’s another. The prompt was love/anti-love:


Gratitude List:
1. Getting started on the challenging tasks
2. Bees! Jon’s friend came to the farm and caught a hive!
3. Layne Redmond’s album “Invoking Aphrodite.” I listen to it over and over and over in the car
4. Thomas Merton
5. Warm sweatshirt
May we walk in Beauty!


“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” ―Thomas Merton


“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ―Thomas Merton


“We see quite clearly that what happens
to the nonhuman happens to the human.
What happens to the outer world
happens to the inner world.
If the outer world is diminished in its grandeur
then the emotional, imaginative,
intellectual, and spiritual life of the human
is diminished or extinguished.
Without the soaring birds, the great forests,
the sounds and coloration of the insects,
the free-flowing streams, the flowering fields,
the sight of the clouds by day
and the stars at night, we become impoverished
in all that makes us human.”
―Thomas Berry


“All acts of kindness are lights in the war for justice.” ―Joy Harjo


“We have only begun to know
the power that is in us if we would join
our solitudes in the communion of struggle.” ―Denise Levertov


“There are two types of people. Avoid them.” —Mary Engelbreit

The Birth of Dragon

Brewer’s prompt for today is to write a The _________ of __________ poem. I’ve been working on some more ideas about dragoning after conversation with a friend about the women in stories (particularly family histories) who couldn’t seem to stay within the bounds set for them by the patriarchy, who lived in the shadows labeled heresy and insanity and breakdown, who challenged the stable status quo with questions and demands to know why things were the way they were. In my own story too, I have had to cross the hedge in order to maintain my own inner truth and balance.


Gratitude List:
1. The blooming trees!
2. How the trees are leafing out. Let’s leaf out, too. Let’s turn green.
3. The incredible community of people who donate to make sure that my school is available to as many students with learning differences as possible.
4. The dragon women who didn’t settle for the simple answers.
5. Sunday afternoon naps.
May we walk in Beauty!


The Soul, it sees by synesthesia
Tasting light caressed by song
A touch is like a descant fire
resonant and strong.
—Craig Sottolano


“I’m not as cooperative as you might want a woman to be.” —Carrie Fisher


“Who does Not Know the Truth, is simply a Fool… Yet who Knows the Truth and Calls it a Lie, is a Criminal.” —Bertolt Brecht


“The unconscious wants truth. It ceases to speak to those who want something else more than truth.” —Adrienne Rich


And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
—Raymond Carver’s Late Fragment, inscribed on his tombstone


Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation.
The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last.
All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
—David Whyte


“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
―Mother Teresa


“Walking. I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.”
―Linda Hogan


“This will be our reply to violence:
to make music more intensely,
more beautifully,
more devotedly than ever before.”
―Leonard Bernstein

What the Shadows Want

My sister-in-law is a wise woman. She gave this gentle advice last week for how to respond to anxiety. Look to your left and describe what you see there. Look to your right and do the same. Look in front of you and describe that. Then, look behind you, where the shadows and the unknowns are, and describe that–the physical space here and now. It makes the other unknowns, the ones that freeze and weigh on me, seem less unknown, less likely to pounce.

Every morning before I begin my round of prayers, I cast a circle. I speak of beauty at all the directions, then beauty above me and beauty below me, beauty within and beauty without, and now, I very consciously look to the beauty to the left and the right of me, to the beauty before me, and finally, with gratitude, to the beauty behind me, taking care to notice the safe beauty of my physical surroundings. Then I call upon the Earth which is Her body, the Air which is Her breath, the Fire of Her bright spirit, and the Waters of Her living womb.

Last year at this time, I felt so vulnerable, so unprotected, so endangered, even while I felt such a surge of love and support from my students and their families, from my own family and friends and church community. Now, I create protected space in that circle every morning. One of my prayers is: “Draw me into the dance, into the circle of your radiant loving arms, and protect and preserve me from those who would wish or seek or will or do me harm.” I am befriending the shadows of my anxiety, and also making boundaries to protect myself.


One of my favorite viral internet photos is of a grinning caiman with butterflies all over its head. I read that the reason the butterflies hang out on the caiman is to drink their salty tears. This morning I read of the discovery of the habits of the Gorgone macarea moth of Brazil, which sips the tears of sleeping birds at night.

Today’s prompt (Robert Lee Brewer at Writers Digest) is to write a shadow poem. Today I went a little more concrete in the sculpture of the poem. It’s not quite a moth, but not quite not.


Gratitude List:
1. The sounds of sheep and goats baaing in the field across the holler
2. Thermal delight and the breezes of springtime
3. What the shadows have to teach me
4. Good physical work and still energy to keep going in the day
5. The grass is full of violets and the holler is filled with the singing of birds
May we walk ever in Beauty!


“Let me tell you what I do know though…
I know mountains grow because of their fault lines. I know lakes turn that gorgeous shade of turquoise because of their silt. I know jewels are formed under pressure. I know trees can grow through rocks, and rivers can break canyons.

I know there are 120 crayola crayons to choose from, so you can color yourself any which way you like.

I know the earth smells fabulous after a hard rain, and I know she breathes. I know out of the destruction of forest fires, new and stronger ecosystems can emerge. I know there is life in the deepest depths of the ocean and her tides can soften stone.

I know there can be no shadows without light. I know the passion is in the risk.

I know time heals, and most things will be okay eventually. I know you are made of the star stuff, and I know out there somebody loves you; exactly the way you are, even if you haven’t found them yet.

I know all these things, and tell them to you — in case you forgot to remember.” —Jacquelyn Taylor


“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” —James Baldwin


“We have tried to create a watertight social system so that mercy is not needed, nor even attractive. Mercy admits and accepts that not all problems can be solved by our techniques, formulas, and technology. The ‘superfluous’ opening of the human heart that we call mercy is essential for any structure or institution to remain human and humanizing.” —Richard Rohr


“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”
—Anne Lamott


“Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends.” —Hafiz


“Now I see the secret of making the best persons, it is to grow in the open air and eat and sleep with the earth.” —Walt Whitman


“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.” —John Muir


“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” —Roald Dahl


“A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as she is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things she would not have thought of if she had not started to say them.” —William Stafford (but I have changed the pronouns to feminine)


“America stands for exactly what Americans will stand for. History doesn’t write itself. It must be lived and practiced.” —Jesse Williams