a fretful balance between life & living


The soul lives contented

by listening,

if it wants to change

into the beauty of

terrifying shapes

it tries to speak.

That’s why

you will not sing,

afraid as you are

of who might join with you.

….David Whyte

we’re in it now…..

In the popular European myth of the Holy Grail, the young man, Parsifal, goes out into the world to seek life’s deeper meaning- his soul (which is what the Grail ultimately symbolizes). His travels take him to the castle of the sick Grail King (who, as in most myths, symbolizes the old story, the ego’s old and fortressed way of being in the world). The only cure for the king is for an unknown knight ( a Wanderer) to come along and ask the king two specific questions. But Parsifal’s mother had taught him that questions were foolish or rude, and so Parsifal does not ask. Consequently the castle (and the vision of the Grail) vanishes, and Parsifal finds himself in a great wilderness through which he must wander for many years, until he has learned enough, through the trials and losses of life, to be ready to ask the right questions. The first question is, ‘Lord, what ails thee’ By asking ourselves (our egos) that question- and living it- we, like Parsifal, develop understanding and empathy for how we co-create many of our ailments and how those difficulties teach us what we need to learn. We begin to uncover our sacred wounds. We develop compassion for ourselves, learning to appreciate our mistakes, failures, and wounds as much as our talents and successes. The second question is, ‘Whom does the Grail serve?’ By asking, ‘Whom does my soul serve?’ we learn to turn our attention to the deeper purposes of what we do. We enlarge our vision of what’s possible and gradually learn to root our actions in soul. The answer will have two parts to it, like two sides of a coin: we serve the specific purposes of our souls and we serve our people, and we do one by doing the other. By living the question, ‘Whom does the Grail serve?’ we come to know our true destiny and the identity of our people. By staying attuned to the question of meaning, we learn to sanctify life. The Jungian analyst Robert Johnson writes, ‘To ask well is virtually to answer.’ When an answer does arrive, it does so not by way of the ego but by way of the soul….Bill Plotkin

there’s this wiggle room in the psyche….a discomfort away from our fidgety gifts into comfort and complacency…..but the deep soul will not allow it….find out where this leads….call to it in the night if you dare to be free and aware and insanely whole…..

And something ignited in my soul,

fever or unremembered wings,

and I went my own way,


that burning fire

and I wrote the first bare line,

bare, without substance, pure


pure wisdom

of one who knows nothing,

and suddenly I saw

the heavens


and open.

….Pablo Neruda

6 thoughts on “a fretful balance between life & living

  1. This is one of my favorites by PN……….because it calls into realization that which we struggle so hard not to see (to touch without touching – to know without knowing). Years ago, when giving encouragement to a fellow writer, I commented that you had to write about what you know (there are no travel books written from the couch). To know the amazing, we must dare to reach into it. Even if with held breath and fragile anticipation, we must dare to give name to that without name.

    My dreams can only take me where I am unfraid of going. Love this, Blue. May your day be filled with ventures into the sweet! ~ Love, Bobbie

    • Accepting that we need to learn so much is a beautiful embodiment of life I think….it wraps our sensitivities around the heart and we fly…..PN knew this and helped us open to the fire…..love your daring to live in the wide daisy fields! Pick armfuls and revel in their dance……blessings Bobbie

  2. In the movie The Fisher King, Robin Williams recounts a tale about a King and his knights quest for the grail. His knight learns of the king’s grave illness and returns to his bedside. As he lay dying he asks his knight for a drink of water. When the knight hands him the chalice, the king exclaims – The Grail! Where did you find it? To which the knight answers – I did not find it, I only knew you were thirsty …
    Perhaps the symbolism is the same …
    May your cup be filled, and your thirst be quenched this day …

    • I had forgotten about that movie……yes, it would seem that this is the trick to disavowing the ego of its tight constraints…..a little heart trickery to find our truth in being…..I see your chalice as a mug o’ joe on your writing desk…..mine is an old, very large and heavy pottery mug with green tea (rose in the pm), sitting on a pile of books…..drinking from my books….wishing you poetic coffee breaks g.f.s….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s