live in the paradox between soft & wild

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The things that matter most in our lives are not fantastic or grand. They are moments when we touch one another, when we are there in the most attentive or caring way. This simple and profound intimacy is the love that we all long for. These moments of touching and being touched can become a foundation for a path with heart, and they take place in the most immediate and direct way. Mother Teresa put it like this: “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”….Jack Kornfield

we are forever ruined when staring into the deep abyss of the dark wood, the skyline like blue eyes, the rain that sinks into the heart like mist……thank God and the stars and the great mystery for this…..

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived………Henry David Thoreau

move like trees…

A reverence for life is a reverence for wildness. A reverence for life beyond your control. Something you don’t dominate. That is the native habitat of new ideas. Of real humanity—to expose yourself to things beyond your control. And just ride out the consequences. That is what I seek and want to protect. Elements that are beyond our control……..Doug Peacock

give it all up to a charismatic world

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How many now will seize not just the day (which Carpe Diem signifies) but every moment, second, hour, in every way, beyond how all our drudgeful habits make things seem?

How many will take our lives out to a place we do not know, will just be crazy for the hell of it and to the wind all caution throw, then watch our earthquake epicenters grow?

Microsecond madness is sublime. Trust me. That’s how I’ve vowed to live my briefsome life through every day and all the wholesome time.

What’s your excuse?

Maybe when you’ve witnessed Mars and Jupiter, and put some glinty little stars inside your pockets for a rainy day, you’ll realize that play is more important than the work you use to excuse your lack of enthusiasm and other things with which you build that jumpless chasm running wide between your heart and all the things you’d love to do if lack of spontaneity didn’t have its deathly grip on you.

What’s your excuse?

And so, when midnight comes, don’t bore me with “I have to go to sleep before I turn into a pumpkin,” or make me weep by saying that the weather’s bad or you’ve forgotten what the meaning is of words like glad or joy or letsjustliveeachmomentasitcomes.

For life is shorter than we think, and we’ll be gone before we’ve even time to blink our way to blindness.

For where there’s love, there’s will. And where there’s will, there is a way.

So join me by my side and savor life, where tides and moon and mystery and knightly tales of gallantry and swordsmanship (a metaphor) your heart will grip.

…..Alan Morrison

we question our limited lives at times so that we may reposition our sacred intentions…..how can we see our potential with clear perspective? how can we get excited again? it seems that beauty and the fire that burns the beauty are both necessary for renewal….

Show me how to be brave. How to be made of still and steady ground instead of waves, or rocks instead of fire, and flickering, dying flame. How to walk in the storm and not be swallowed by wind, or how to breathe when your throat feels as though it’s rapidly tightening, and closing in…Guide me on how to be wrong. How to knock on a door and apologize, how to listen hard to feedback, how to nod and agree when I should simply go along.

Help me unlearn what I’ve learned, unravel what shouldn’t stay tied, and walk away, even when it will never feel comfortable, gentle, or right……Victoria Erickson

how to be clear

Each person becomes a wanderer again and again in the course of life, as we find our true self by becoming lost. Each person carries a “story that could be true.” Each crossroad in life secretly asks the question: Who are you really?….. Michael Meade

to kiss the muse

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Make visible what, without you,

might perhaps never have been seen.

….Robert Bresson

 

our brief time here begs the opportunity to be full and free an to live how we are meant to be….yet this is so rare and so ensconced in narrow tunnels and limiting beliefs….may the alchemy of soul belly up the truth that is felt and held and longed for……

Creative expression opens the door to the inner world of our imaginations. It is here that we make meaning of our lives. It is here that motivation takes root. The more creative we are, the more capacity we have to imagine what’s possible and make those visions real.

1. Our lives have meaning.

All life is interconnected and full of purpose. There is, as teacher and philosopher Parker Palmer says, a hidden wholeness in each of us waiting to emerge. Discovering our unique purpose is one of the great adventures of life.

2. We are all creative.

Creativity is not found just in the chosen few who exhibit artistic talent. It is a force that flows through every single one of us, allowing us to dream things up and make them happen.

3. Creative expression empowers us.

Making art—when we’re not judging ourselves—supercharges our creativity, makes us happy, and heals our wounds.

4. We are good at heart.

At the core of each person is compassion and love for the world. Creative expression gives voice to our goodness.

5. Life is an adventure to be lived, not a problem to be solved.

Something quite different—and more creative—happens when we live life from the vantage point of possibility rather than pathology.

- Peggy Taylor and Charlie Murphy

play with naked soul

A piece of art is never a finished work.

It answers a question which has been asked,

and asks a new question.

……Robert Engman

grief & stone hearts

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The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see-  the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me-  our souls contained more scar tissue than life……. Katie McGarry

in our grief, we don’t seize answers…..we can’t get that far….for so long, we simply feel mesmerized by the rawness laid bare….there doesn’t seem to be a way to gently cover the wounds……breathe this life, breathe this gaping hole…….

There are many lists of trite advice you can read about grief, but they will only add to your confusion about why you can’t seem to sync your feelings with the grief map sanctioned by your culture.

This map is supposed to tell you what is normal, but that map was not made for you. It was made to keep the engine of our cultural machine running. It requires your numbness. Refuse, my friend. Refuse with all your might to be numb. have no trite advice for you. I have nothing prolific to say. I’m not going to tell you to get therapy or accept how life has changed. I offer you this in the spirit of “you-are-not-aloneness” and “there-is-no-scheduledom.” It isn’t true that you have to get over it. It isn’t even true that you have to want to. No one else can understand what you have lost. No one else can bear the burden of your tribute to a love, to a life, to an identity now gone. What a privilege it is to feel deeply……Alison Nappi

to grieve with grace

Dont run away from grief , o soul
Look for the remedy inside the pain,
because the rose came from the thorn,
and the ruby came from a stone.

…..Rumi

 

is it time to shift the ground beneath us?

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Only beyond the realm of expectation and consequence can our childlike spirit emerge like some turtle-angel from its shell. Only out of our shell in the the unscripted air can we feel real. Only through the connective tissue humility can we experience the Ultimate Reality. Indeed, there is an art to feeling real and it has to do with staying centered in how we see, think, feel, and act. Mostly, we are caught in a storm of continual activity, needing to break free of the impingements we react to and the false interests we chase. We all inhabit this spiral, an inner form of Odyssey in which we all take our turn as the warrior whose taste for the fight dissolves into a need for the ancient quiet. This is why each life is besieged by endless paths. So that we have any chances to grow, up through the deep, breaking surface like the lotus: to be rooted in the world, but not submerged by it; in it but not of it; our hearts upturned toward the sun, but our efforts rooted in the daily….Mark Nepo

there can be no regret in this space of pure delight and soul excavation…..each moment is stark and fallen…..nothing resists the day here……move into our truth…..

Ah, the theme I love most to explore in my own experience: the ways in which immanence and transcendence meet here in one small human being. We are each the experiencer meeting the world, others and the transcendent as Lover, as intimate guest, as two touching & knowing each other deeply……Oriah Mountain Dreamer

no more pretending

If you can’t see what you’re looking for,

see what’s there. It is enough.

…..Tu Fu

a practical healing

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Learning to Walk

Walked out this morning
into a broad green garden
with the rising sun in my eyes
and the first hint of the day’s heat
touching my face,
feeling as broad as the garden
and young as the day
and soaking up the heat
in my black tee-shirt,
walked straight forward
out of the gate,
through the wood,
along the river,
toward the mountain
and thought of the future
I could make in the world
if I walked toward it
like this,
with my face toward the hills
and my eyes full of light
and the earth sure
and solid beneath me,
walking on
with a fierce anticipation,
and a faithful expectation,
with the sun and the rain
and the wind on my skin…

….David Whyte

there is no waiting or weighing or sinking into the juxtapositions of this beautiful life and the aches that come with it…..it simply is……never is it so clear as the moment of choice between the remembering and the moving on…..take it slow, so slow, with each breath……

It is an attitude of life, a way of relating to all phenomena, whether of the world outside or of the world within. To contemplate is to look at and at the same time to reflect upon that which we see, with feeling as well as thought. There is no true contemplation without both detachment and involvement. For the most part people react partially to phenomena, to things, to others, to events, to themselves. Truly to look at and to see objectively, and to experience something it its wholeness, takes a very high level of awareness. All scientific observation demands long training and discipline, but this may be attained without involvement of the whole personality; not so contemplation, through which we may come to know fact and image, time and eternity, conscious and unconscious, in the smallest happenings of our lives. To put it another way: when we begin to contemplate, we are seeking to discern that which Jung called the Self, at the center of our lives, in place of the ego……Helen Luke

to hold, to see, to cry….

“In” “Out” can become a mantra, a very powerful
word spoken by your whole being. This is a very
simple exercise, but its effects are tremendous.
It stops your thinking, which is quite a revelation.
Because we think too much, we think of this or that,
we think of many things, of the past, of the future…
and if we think too much we do not have a chance
to be in touch with life. We are not free of the thinking.
So you have to breathe in and out. This exercise brings
you back to yourself. You recover yourself.
You become your better self, already.
You don’t have to practice for 10 years to have the fruit
of your practice. You can have the fruit of your practice
in just a few minutes.
…..Thich Nhat Hanh

the unsettled & brittle spaciousness

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This is it for the state and temperament of the wavering, thinking mind.

The anxiety, the gnawing fear, the palpable, dark and messy resistance to being seen and being loved, is here to stay.

The cloud will always interrupt with its shadow, the shaky sensation of overwhelm, of not enough, of make it better, make it perfect, or at the very least, make it go away, is not a force to be reckoned with, but one to be accepted, one to be curious about, one to ride until it’s present becomes pure presence itself.

It means Stop. Stop chasing, doing, pushing and desperately seeking a way to improve, to find a way to break free of an emotion or an experience. To outsmart, outwit, out-drug the sensations of life, the duality of being alive, letting it be raw, real, vulnerable and exposed, just as it is.

What if all sources of light were, first and foremost, purveyors of darkness?…..Ali Van Putten

when we are exceptionally tired and distraught, it may happen to be that we forget to understand, forget to breathe deeply, forget who we are, forget why we are……it is here, that the numbness begins…..and the bravery is simply in being honest and present….blessed be….

The journey toward our beauty is a magnificent struggle. Achieving an integrity between what we believe and how we live is a challenge worthy of the gift of life. A thousand obstacles stand between ourselves and the honoring of our truth. A thousand distractions. A thousand ego-generated delusions. To dive down, find the beauty, nurture it, and offer it to the world is magnificent. Staying with your beauty, your truth, your integrity is difficult, but out of these things comes meaning, and meaning is all-transcendent……..Roderick MacIver

 through the sludge

That we go numb along the way is to be expected. Even the bravest among us, who give their lives to care for others, go numb with fatigue, when the heart can take in no more, when we need time to digest all we meet. Overloaded and overwhelmed, we start to pull back from the world, so we can internalize what the world keeps giving us. Perhaps the noblest private act is the unheralded effort to return: to open our hearts once they’ve closed, to open our souls once they’ve shied away, to soften our minds once they’ve been hardened by the storms of our day…….Mark Nepo

a pause in our stalwart bravery

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Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room……Cheryl Strayed

if the angels and the devils conspired to a truce, what would that look like? maybe that is what the heart looks like as it comes to terms with the challenges and dark times that plague us again and again…..

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions.

When did you stop dancing?

When did you stop singing?

When did you stop being enchanted by stories?

When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?

Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul.

Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.

…..Waylon Lewis – from The Four-Fold Way

what does it mean to be ok?

Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.

…….. Kurt Vonnegut

it is here, right where it’s always been

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If you wish to be a mine of jewels,

open the deep ocean within your Heart.
…..Rumi

when we can’t remember where we left our hearts, may we pause and not assume that others have lost theirs too nor that we have lost our way…..

In the absence of presence there is only that repetitive mental noise and part of that mental noise is the story of me. It’s the problematic story that is hoping that at some point in the future that it will no longer be problematic not realizing that what it calls ‘future’ has no actual existence……. Eckhart Tolle

listening with deeper care

How do we stop living an unexamined or overly examined life to discover the treasures of purpose? Stop betraying yourself. Allow yourself or start to be open to changing, doing, saying and thinking things that feel right. Put yourself into positions where you can feel, sense and connect with your self-worth and stop doing things that constrict, restrict and disconnect you from who you are. Allow yourself to feel valued without having to seek external approval. Allow yourself to not feel psychically and unhealthily drained by what you do in life. Every choice, every action will either drain or deplete your spirit, so choose wisely and intuitively — and know who you are doing what you are doing for. Recognize how you change and what has been revealed as a result of your efforts. Plus one, minus one. Two steps forward, one step back. Notice your resistance, your broken record and repetitive patterns that take you back and back and back. Keep inviting the possibility of creating space around thoughts and beliefs that make you feel restricted (relax your inner organs). Softly and gently surrender to the wisdom of who and what you are…..Tanya Lee Markul

only love remains

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Wait for evening.

Then you’ll be alone.

Wait for the playground to empty.

Then call out those companions from childhood:

The one who closed his eyes

and pretended to be invisible.

The one to whom you told every secret.

The one who made a world of any hiding place.

And don’t forget the one who listened in silence

while you wondered out loud:

Is the universe an empty mirror? A flowering tree?

Is the universe the sleep of a woman?

Wait for the sky’s last blue

(the color of your homesickness).

Then you’ll know the answer.

Wait for the air’s first gold (that color of Amen).

Then you’ll spy the wind’s barefoot steps.

Then you’ll recall that story beginning

with a child who strays in the woods.

The search for him goes on in the growing

shadow of the clock.

And the face behind the clock’s face

is not his father’s face.

And the hands behind the clock’s hands

are not his mother’s hands.

All of Time began when you first answered

to the  names your mother and father gave you.

Soon, those names will travel with the leaves.

Then, you can trade places with the wind.

Then you’ll remember your life

as a book of candles,

each page read by the light of its own burning.

…..Li-Young Lee

in honor of my minister who took her own life, I and those who cared for her hold fierce compassion for this woman of soul who graced so many with her big heart…..may the many unanswered questions and groundless despair find their way into the seeds of rebirth…the ancient way of becoming….

Entering into the deep darkness is like going into a cave that has been dark for a million years. Yet the light from a single match illuminates the cave and dispels the ancient darkness. This tearing open of the heart leaves us exposed to that which has caused us and our loved ones the pain of imagined separateness so often before. This experience of discovery that grief leads us to is, for some, like going below ground level to look at the roots of a tree whose branches and twigs, leaves and flowers were all you thought was meaningful. It is the tree of life, of your life. The foliage is like the personality, the outward manifestation of being, a by-product of being born you have always imagined to be you. You notice how the leaves appear, the flowers unfolding, and are proud or frightened, depending on how much their shape fits your model of how it should look to the world around. You have never seen the roots from which all this growth originates. You have carefully pruned and trimmed the tree to eliminate the painful, then magnify the pleasant. Life has become like an ornamental shrub. The living truth buried beneath layer upon layer of longing for things to be otherwise. But in grief there is no hiding. There is no choice or control and you are forced beneath ground level to the very roots out of which your life experience has arisen. You enter the dark holdings and the clamorings of the heart and find yourself torn open to the truth. You enter below what is usually accessible to awareness and see the immensity of this process of growth and being. You see what has conditioned the arising of so many traits and preferences, so many ways of acting in the world. Ways now recognized as inappropriate fro the communication of love and the opening of wisdom……..Stephen Levine

the limitless heart

By generating deeper levels of compassion, extending forgiveness toward ourselves and others, and engaging in positive actions and spiritual practice after a loved one dies, we will find that our bereavement can set us firmly on a spiritual path and enable us to connect more confidently and deeply with the innermost essence of our being- that fundamental goodness which illuminates and pervades our entire life. We don’t know how or when grace will arrive. Keep nurturing any memory of love you have, pray for courage and wisdom to grow within you, and open yourself fully, asking for blessings and love to fill your heart……Christine Longaker