Getting to the Next Story

The Bird Watcher

In last night’s dream: I am trying to find my way to the second floor of the building I am in, but the stairs are really hard to negotiate. They a metal rail stair/ladder that starts four feet off the ground. If I can scramble up onto them, I’ll have to squeeze through a tiny little hole in order to get to the next story.

(Huh. Getting to the next story, eh?)

After I search all over, I finally find an elevator and stand there waiting with some others, and it suddenly hits me–within the dream itself–that this is a constant pattern in my dreamtime: I am very often trying to find the next level, the next story, and I am thwarted by challenging climbs and claustrophobic entrances. Occasionally, there are broad and wide staircases, or hidden safe passages, and there’s the occasional elevator that might just take me anywhere.

I wonder if I am experiencing a period of disjuncture between my heart and my head, unable to find my way safely between the two? That’s got a dream-worker’s reasonableness to it, and I will definitely explore that as an ongoing theme in my life with such a powerful symbol recurring again and again and again.

Or perhaps I feel myself and my world in a time of transition between one thing and the next, and the route from point A to point B feels particularly treacherous and difficult.

That last certainly suits my sense of the times. Here we are on this level where we’ve always done things a certain way (which has for so many, been tragic and deadly), and we need to make it to that next level. We need to climb and crawl and wriggle into the next story. In the case of our national dream, people’s lives depend upon it. We must get to the next story, and we’re going to have to help each other reach that ladder way up there, and when we get to the top, each of us is going to have to deal with our own discomfort and anxiety as we wriggle through the birth passage into the next reality.

Can we do it?


Gratitude List:
1. All the anti-racism resources for learning and growth that are floating around social media right now. Quite a lot of the books on the lists were already on my list to read, but I will make extra time for them this summer, and I am going to compile some lists to post in my classroom.
2. I don’t like taking allopathics if I can help it. I have, as usual, been trying all the herbal and other remedies and therapies for my allergies, but every once in a while, I just need something huge to calm down my body’s hyperactive response to defend me from tree pollen. I’m glad I have that option. My body has definitely shifted out of crisis mode for the moment.
3. The hospitable strangers of the Swann Street Siege. While a twisted tableau of faux faith was occurring down the way, Rahul and his neighbors–whatever their belief system–were acting in the way that The Good Teacher asked humans to act toward each other, harboring people who were frightened and harmed, feeding them and tending their injuries, and managing the boundaries of their homes to keep their guests safe. Hospitality has been a sacred trust between humans in many cultures around the world since first we knew ourselves human.
4. I am grateful for statements and resources being offered by institutions that I love and belong to. Mennonites as a group got it so wrong in the 50s and 60s, holding back, not speaking out (except for individuals). To read the Mennonite Church USA statement yesterday, supporting those who are demanding racial justice and explaining why All Lives Matter is tone-deaf and inappropriate was satisfying. My school has put out a statement of solidarity and a list of resources. The church I attend has formulated a statement of support as well. Yes, we have to put our feet in the story, too, but statements are like signposts for people to follow.
5. Lots of windows. I am on a critical lockdown at the moment, keeping the house closed and not venturing outside while the trees are in the height of their pollen-producing time. Still, I can look out and watch the squirrel with the excessively long tail, the chonky chipmunk, and all the wingfolk flashing by.

May we walk in Beauty! And Solidarity.


“We will not know our own injustice if we cannot imagine justice. We will not be free if we do not imagine freedom. We cannot demand that anyone try to attain justice and freedom who has not had a chance to imagine them as attainable.”
―Ursula K. Le Guin


“Each 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 because each of us is more alike than we are unalike.” ―Maya Angelou


TS Eliot:
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”


“Authentic spirituality is always about changing yourself. It is not about trying to change anyone else.” ―Richard Rohr


“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” ―L.M. Montgomery


“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” ―Jorge Luis Borges

How the Light Enters

I don’t like questioning people’s spirituality. We all believe what we do for various reasons. Still, I have become incredibly curious about the folks who are making policy in this country, about the supporters of the current raft of laws and bills that further marginalize the poor, that block people fleeing terror from reaching safety here in the US, that put so many in danger of losing their health care. I know that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and many of their comrades call themselves Christians, and I do hesitate to call people’s faith into question, but. . .  Yes, but I think that there is an appropriate time to do so.

I think someone needs to ask these guys how their faith informs their politics. I would like to ask these folks about what they see as the message of the Prince of Peace. I would like to ask them what it means to them to follow the way of Jesus.  I would like to ask them what they do with the Sermon on the Mount, how they interpret the Beatitudes, and even how they answer to some of the Old Testament prophets who called down gloom and doom upon a nation that would not see to the needs of the poor.

Again, normally I would consider it bad form to question someone’s faith, but this is the kicker: So many people in this country who also call themselves Christians are following their plans, supporting their ideological architecture of greed and graft, that they have more to answer for than their own faith. They have become the preachers and the prophets of a style of Christianity that I want to repudiate and distance myself from. I want to know how they carry that weight on their souls. Or perhaps, if they do not feel that weight, I would like to show them the weight that they carry.


“Do anything, but let it produce joy.” ―Walt Whitman
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“Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.” ―Madeleine L’Engle
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“I believe that if I can sit out there long enough those crows, the trees and the wind can teach me something about how to be a better human being. I don’t call that romanticism, I call that Indigenous Realism.” ―Dr. Daniel Wildcat
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“The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.” ―Carlos Santana
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“Take for joy from the palms of my hands
fragments of honey and sunlight,
as the bees of Persephone commanded us.”
―Osip Mandelstam
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“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”
―Martin Buber, “The Legend of the Baal-Shem”
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“It’s no wonder we don’t defend the land where we live. We don’t live here. We live in television programs and movies and books and with celebrities and in heaven and by rules and laws and abstractions created by people far away and we live anywhere and everywhere except in our particular bodies on this particular land at this particular moment in these particular circumstances.” ―Derrick Jensen


Gratitude List:
1. A long fun day with the family at Legoland yesterday. We came back exhausted and happy.
2. Today’s Work
3. Good sleep
4. Anger, rage, grief: these, too, are teachers, unwelcome as they often are.
5. My friend’s yard sale: Last year, and this year, I went to her yard sale and found the basic clothing that I will need for the coming year. No need to make a big shopping trip to search for clothes that fit and might or might not look like me.

May we walk in Beauty!

Summer Rains

Reminiscing: Eight years ago

“Choose to be in touch with what is wonderful, refreshing, and healing within yourself and around you.” ―Thich Nhat Hanh
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“Someday, somewhere―anywhere, unfailingly, you’ll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life.” ―Pablo Neruda
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“Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.” ―Meister Eckhart
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“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.” ―Thich Nhat Hanh
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“No matter what the fight, don’t be ladylike! God almighty made women and the Rockefeller gang of thieves made the ladies.”
―Mary Harris Jones


Gratitude List:
1. The shining children in my week. Laughter, mischief, earnestness, wonder. . .
2. Morning storm. That mucky wet air is feeling crisp and clean again
3. Just doing the hard stuff. I submitted a short story and some poems yesterday. I really do want to publish, but the work of finding the right place for the right poem or story is a little daunting. It took me hours to settle on which pieces I wanted to send where. I have to get better at that.
4. The birds who are out there singing in the rain.
5. Ah well. My house is messy and cluttered again, but it’s filled with love and laughter.

May we walk in Beauty!