The more that falls away,
the more knit I am to things
before they speak; drawn into
the waters of silence. When I
listen carefully, I am drawn be-
low the words of those speaking,
into the current using them, as the
wind uses a reed to get animals to
stop chewing and widen their
eyes. I once followed sunset
into a purple marsh and
stepping on a fallen log,
the tangled brush tugged
the trees to sway. Hundreds
of cranes lifted and I was un-
done. I am now devoted to
the lost step that brings
us into the open.
we ask, what is courage?…..and how do we transform our lives into relationship with courage?……and how do we offer the safe space for others to lean into us?…..
If we want to create safe spaces that are safe for the soul, we need to understand why the soul so rarely shows up in everyday life. The poet Robert Bly offers one explanation: it is our powerful ego drive “to pull everything….into ourselves” and let “nothing live for itself.” Behind that drive is our disbelief in the reality and power of the inner teacher. Convinced that people lack inner guidance and think they need to know and how we think they ought to live. Countless disasters originate here- between parents and children, teachers and students, supervisors and employers- originate, that is, in presumptuous advice-giving that leaves the other feeling diminished and disrespected. In a circle of trust, we practice the paradox of “being alone together,” of being present of one another as a community of solitudes. To understand true self- which knows who we are in our inwardness and whose we are in the larger world- we need both the interior intimacy that comes with solitude and the otherness that comes with community. When the soul speaks through the intellect, we learn to think with the mind descended into the heart. When it speaks through the emotions, our feelings are more likely to nurture relationships. When it speaks through the will, our willpower can be harnessed for the common good. When it speaks through the ego, we gain a sense of self that gives us the courage to speak truth to power. Every human faculty, as it becomes more soulful, can help us negotiate the complex terrain of life. ~Parker J. Palmer
Our disasters come from letting nothing live for itself,
from the longing we have to pull everything,
even friends, into ourselves,
and let nothing alone.