the vulnerability of kindness

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~out on the ocean

With five miles to go
of open ocean
the eyes pierce the horizon,

the kayak pulls round
like a pony held by unseen reins
shying out of the ocean

and the spark behind fear,
recognized as life,
leaps into flame.

Always this energy smoulders inside,
when it remains unlit,
the body fills with dense smoke.

….David Whyte

introspection serves……when we cannot connect to inner awareness, we cannot offer calm to others…..synchronization, self-reflection, sensual grace……may we stream into ceremony with kindness…..

So in seeking goodness, one seeks that inward thing which is not a thing, but a feeling: an empathy, an understanding of our mutual helplessness in the face of difficult lives and the inevitability of death. It becomes a question mark that moves through life with us; a constant reexamination of one’s own intentions and motives, a willingness to see oneself not through one’s own eyes, but through the eyes of others. This goodness does not consist of doing what is right because it is good; it consists of doing what is good because it is right…..Lee Van Laer

finding encouragement to be brilliant

Blue Mind~ pertaining to the mildly meditative state characterized  by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general satisfaction with life in the moment……Sarah Greenman

beauty & the quantum leap

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A human being is part of a whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty……Albert Einstein

this thing, concept, desire we call beauty is a calling….a connection to the sacred will, an inner renewal, and a path to wholeness…..it is good to remember that beauty is not about “pretty,” but about real, earthy, gritty “realness”……

Our hearts yearn for beauty. In the Kabbalah, beauty, called tiferet, is where spirit and form meet and the human and divine are in balance. Linked to compassion and harmony, beauty is at the very center of the Tree of Life. In Wim Wenders’s eloquent film Wings of Desire, an angel falls in love with a beautiful airborne trapeze artist and chooses to become a man, at the same falling into life and delighting in its substantiality. Despite his wisdom, the angel has never known what  it is like to experience the joy and suffering of physical existence. Once he lands on earth, he finds life immediately different than he has imagined, and in the film the elegant black-and-white of eternity becomes the brash color of our time. In his first moments as a human, he bleeds and exclaims that blood has taste, he feels the weight of a stone, he breathes in the cold air and rubs his hands together to warm himself. He identifies the color red and excitedly confirms his discovery with a passerby. So many things we take for granted are strange and wonderful to him, and with exuberance and innocence he begins to figure out how to make the transition from witness or participant. In the wholeness of human experience he praises love, “true in the day and true in the night.” By falling in love with a woman, the angel has fallen in love with the beauty of the world……J. Ruth Gendler

when the angels come

 The human soul is hungry for beauty;

we seek it everywhere,

in landscape, music, art, clothes,

furniture, gardening, companionship,

love, religion, and in ourselves.

No one would desire not to be beautiful.

When we experience the beautiful,

there is a sense of homecoming.
…..John O’Donohue

heart fire

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“Human beings construct meaning as spiders make webs,” observes writer Catherine Bateson. “This is how we survive, our primary evolutionary business.” We are both meaning seekers and meaning makers. We try to discover the purpose of our lives and to make sense of our experiences. “What we are looking for on earth and in earth and in ourselves is the process that can unlock for us the mystery of meaningfulness in our daily lives, Jungian psychologist Alice O. Howell counsels. “We can only see half of anything. The other half is the meaning we give to what we see. In every tree, apple, flower, there is an aha! waiting!” Significances beckon at every turn. To see them, we must be attentive, open, and hospitable. “Meanings,” according to Victor Frankl, “are inexhaustible. We need to develop our intuitive sense that allows us to smell out meanings hidden and dormant in life situations.” “Spirituality lets meaning flow into daily life,” Brother David Steindl-Rast adds. As a result, we are constantly weaving new constellations of meaning through our search for truth, our struggle for justice, and our acts of love. In the end, as diarist Anais Nin reminds us, “There is not one big cosmic meaning for all. There is only the meaning we all give to our lives, an individual meaning.” Find that meaning and share it with others……..Frederic & Mary Ann Brussatt

our prayers light up like fireflies when we offer them with intention, with grace, and with honesty…..may the night dance around our soul knowings, where fireflies ask sparkly, kind-hearted stars for the next go-round…..

I often dream I am a tightrope walker. I climb the rope ladder slowly, carefully, adjusting to its wrigglings. The wooden slats mutter to me all the way up. The rungs my right foot stands on say “If you are afraid of falling, you will fall,” and the rungs my left foot presses say “If you believe you cannot fall, you will fall.” Eventually I arrive on the little platform at the top. I strip off my track suit and am revealed in all my sequinned glory. I look out and down at the upturned eyes, sparkling brighter than my costume. Then the spotlight pins me, and I hear its mocking tones. It says, “And probably in the end you will fall anyway.” And in my dream, I always listen politely and know it is true, and then I go out sparkling, flashing and dance on the void. That is the challenge, the moment of hope: to dance as near the edge of destruction as possible, to be willing to fall and still not fall. And the audience cheers, because it is beautiful and because they know that this time I may indeed fall and because they know that that is precisely why it is beautiful, and I have made it beautiful……Sara Maitland

the word has inspired

We are travelers on a cosmic journey,

stardust, swirling and dancing

in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity.

Life is eternal.

We have stopped for a moment

to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.

This is a precious moment.

…..Paulo Coelho

the kindness of clarity

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The moment
between before and after
is called Truth.
…..Katagiri Roshi

when it’s been a long day and the next day is unclear and the mud is thick….this is the perfect time to remember that clarity is not about having the answers to ‘down the road’ but to be rooted in this moment, in this truth……

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man. I am satisfied with the mystery of life’s eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence — as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature…..Albert Einstein

the edgy mist

The path of the spiritual warrior is not soft and sweet. It is not artificially blissful and pretend forgiving. It is not fearful of divisiveness. It is not afraid of its own shadow. It is not afraid of losing popularity when it speaks its truth. It will not beat around the bush where directness is essential. It has no regard for vested interests that cause suffering. It is benevolent and it is fiery and it is cuttingly honest in its efforts to liberate itself and humanity from the egoic ties that bind. Shunning strong opinions in the name of spirituality is anti-spiritual. Spirituality that is only floaty soft is a recipe for disaster, allowing all manner of manipulation to run amok. Real spirituality is a quest for truth, in all its forms. Sometimes we find the truth on the meditation cushion, and sometimes we find it in the heart of conflict. May all spiritual warriors rise into fullness. This planet is lost without them……Jeff Brown

 

our existential wisdom

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This is a central fact

of the human existential dilemma.

In order to see ourselves,

we must rely on reflection.

….Stephen Cope

soul reflection requires no work….revisits old patterns and revisions them…..renews and rekindles self-seedlings……may it be so…..

Projecting is easier than owning. What we see in the other is, in fact, in us, or we would not see it. For me, coming to terms with projections has been the edgiest part of self-revelation. It has also been the most valuable. In recognizing the edges of self-responsibility for projections, I have begun to let go of blaming another for my feelings. In practicing this, we can begin to let go of self-blame. Carl Jung suggested “we can be grateful for our enemies for their darkness allows us to escape our own.” Throughout my journey along the trail of self-revelation, I bump into appropriate projection screens. Whenever I am in the process of questioning and listening to myself, I seem to run into just the right person who will help me to see more clearly. Synchronicity again plays a role in discovery. If I am awake, if I turn to my body and say, “What’s happening now?” I will inevitably learn a great deal from each encounter…..Elissa Cobb

curl in toward the wave

Indeed it is the most difficult thing

in the entire human experience-

to claim your Self, your Life,

your Light, your Truth.

….Emmanuel

into the cleansing fire

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Promises~

I am going to start living like a mystic:

So when I look out the window I will see God in a leaf

pulsing with the rhythm of photosynthesis,

and I will catch the message

starlight delivers from the galaxy Andromeda.

I will eat my lunchtime sandwich

as though it were manna offered

straight from the hand of Yahweh.

I will kiss my mate as passionately as Jesus

praying with the disciples that night.

I am going to start living like a prophet:

I will never look away from the least beggar

on the grimy street, even if all I give is my eyes.

I will stop pressing down my tears,

let them leap from my eyes.

Their salt will flavor

what I write, what I do.

I am going to live what I know:

I will shout Thank You to the seals

and cormorants in the cold bay

and to the crooked maple tree on the road,

no matter what the newsmen say.

I will never stop welcoming

my fine erotic dreams.

I will learn to die starting now.

I will let the evening come.

…..Barbara Gibson

may we give in to the dreamy daydream, the turn of the sky, the heaven-scent rain……may we honor the passing of deep night, the heavy, drowning surf, and the tiny hurts that turn to stone…..may we feel the sacred healing in all of our soul tending…..

It is essential to human beings to fall apart, to fragment, disintegrate, and to experience the despair that comes with a lack of wholeness. To what can we turn, in this moment of crisis? I believe that it is at this critical moment that the possibility of creative living arises. If we can let go of our previous identities and move into the experience of the void, then the possibility arises for new forms of existence to emerge. Poiesis, the creative act, occurs as the death and re-birth of the soul. The integration and affirmation of the psyche are one and the same. But this new identity only lives in the actuality of the creative process. We are called upon to constantly re-form ourselves, to engage in what James Hillman calls “soul-making”…..The soul finds its form in art…….Stephen Levine

the divine in the palm of our hands

I am where I need to be.
Everything around me
includes and hides the sacred.
……Mary Mrozowski

the mesmerizing attunement

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Traveler, there is no path. Paths are made by walking.

….Antonio Machado

understanding art and our creative processes in ways that are not at all about what we create or being an artist or the ideologies of art……it’s about the life we offer…..it’s about the life we receive…..

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, “have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Live the questions now.” Discernment is about living and loving the questions of our lives, the unresolved places. The arts dwell in that space of the question by allowing us to honor the images and feelings without having to move to linear and logical thinking, the thinking that wants to find answers. Soul questions are those which speak to the deepest desires of our heart. They ask in different ways “How am I seeking to create a meaningful life?”…..Christine Valters Paintner

destiny & choices

Have you seen the clouds in their race

across the sky?

At sunrise, the horizon is pulled taut

for a starting line.

They all line up,

elbowing each other

for advantage.

The gull sounds the call

and they are off,

racing towards the mountains.

We all stare from below in amazement

as they dash by us,

sending shadows to mark their advance.

They fly with sails fully open,

tumbling past one another,

even swallowing those in their way.

Who will be the winner today?

The fluffy one that threatens with its load of rain?

Maybe the one thing that stretches out

like taffy.

What strides it takes.

I’m rooting for the smallest one,

trying to dart and weave

to the finish line.

We won’t know who wins.

By the time they get to the mountains

we will see them all deep in slumber.

Draped over the peaks,

not even lifting their eyes

to acknowledge our passing.

….Pam McCauley

where the heart pulses into earth & sky

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Where are we really going? Always home.

….Novalis

becoming the mountain or the wave is the slipping away and the surrender to our raw and awakened self…..just listening…..just feeling…..all that, and then a little magic……

At dawn in summer, I carry my flute to the top of the slickrock mesa, where the undulating stone summit overlooks valleys, canyons, distant ridges, and peaks. I play the walnut flute as a way of beginning the day, greeting the world, offering melodies to rock, clouds, ponderosa, cottonwood in the draw below, grasses in the fields, meadowlarks, doves, finches, lizards. I play as if there are listeners. The music is simple, untrained. Sometimes I get lost in the rhythm of my breath moving through the flute body, emerging as music, and other times I am keenly aware of the Others, my companions in the dazzling world. I have been teaching myself this practice of offering small beauty in reciprocity to the world, a practice that is deepened each time I play as if creatures other than human beings might hear me. It is an enormous act of imagination to participate as if even stone hears and plays a apart in the land’s organs of perception. I want to inhabit a fully animate world- and sometimes I do, although not usually while paying bills or getting the tires rotated. In fact, the animate Earth seldom reaches me when I’m involved in the tasks of maintaining a 21st century life. But perhaps the world itself does not change; perhaps the anima mundi is always near and receptive; perhaps only the lens with which I perceive the world shifts or widens. The numinous, psychic atmosphere pulses with aliveness, crackles with curiosity…..Geneen Marie Haugen

the body listens to the light

The logos is the order of the kosmos, guiding alike the flight of the sparrow and the life of the sage.

…..Erazim Kohak

the real nature of things

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I must live about all in the present. My first thoughts are azure; there is a bloom and a dew on them; they are papillary-feeders which I put out, tender, innocent.

….Henry David Thoreau

our visions of simplicity and innocence remind us that we can inspire and be inspired by and with the same hand of the pulsating world around us…..we know the transparency of breath and sky…..

One might well object, that Thoreau’s paradisal vision is so fundamentally solitary and personal that it lacks value and meaning for the larger community. Or that its ascetic character is simply too severe. However, I think that it is possible to understand his vision of an innocent and simple life, a life free of anxiety, differently- as leading to a way of living that is open and responsive to the larger whole. Much like the early Christian monks, for whom anachoresis became part of a critical response to an acute social crisis, Thoreau understood his experiment at Walden Pond not simply as a personal gesture but as an effort to think through and work out in practice a different, and more sustainable way for society as whole to live. His profound examination of the sources of care and anxiety that prevent us from seeing and living in the world in innocence and simplicity was at the heart of this project. And like the monks before him, his alternative vision of the self in the world undercut many of the prevailing assumptions of what it meant to live in the world with meaning and purpose. This is a truly contemplative practice that seeks, through a steady relinquishment of attachment to things and of the anxiety that such attachment breeds, to discover what it means to live openly and responsively to the gift of the world…..Douglas E. Christie

an act of faith

I want to see if the light is really burning. I want to see the Lombardy poplars and apple trees and the posts supporting the woven-wire fence around the house where I lived in that boyhood, I want to see if they are glowing in the luminous world. I want things to be radiant and permeable. I want to be welcome inside these memories if nowhere else, and I think I was welcome as a child. I want the child who thought about the world and understood that he was welcome to have been correct. I want to have had that; I want the world to be that good….William Kittredge

nesting in big sky

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The more you know, the more you bend.

….an old Korean saying

do we really know what deep passion for life looks like? and who can sing our light out into the deep sky? and what can we give back?

That the heart can receive and hold anything and that the intensity of feeling so deeply is too much to bear is a paradox we can only live into. Under what is both unbearable and endlessly uplifting is the murmur of life. As a bluebird needs a small, enclosed house propped in the open where it can nest and give birth, the heart is our enclosed house propped in the open, in which the sol nests, as we wait for some small song within us to be born. Our most precious moments of aliveness arise when the heart, propped in the open, is brimming with more than it can contain. Our job is to be a trustworthy birdhouse for the hatching of mystery. This is how life awakens the soul……Mark Nepo

to discover our truth

I know what the cure is: it is to give up, to relinquish, to surrender, so that our little hearts may beat in unison with the great heart of the world…..Henry Miller