My Commonplace Book III

To Margaret, the Librarian

It was a librarian
who first showed me
how to properly

open a book.
The rest

is all my fault.

– Sam Hamill

Here’s to mountain-and-forest feelings flourishing…
“On Returning to My Mountains, for the Ch’an Abbot Clarity-Deep”
I heard the unborn inner pattern young
but we rarely follow mind’s deep impulse: this life’s rugged path is often full of dust.
Now, back to old canyons in my twilight, I find myself a neighbor to Clarity-Deep.
Amid forests, rejoicing in kindred spirits, we sit perfecting the mat’s jewel together, contemplate this drift on seas of suffering, teachings lost in a surging swelling world.
Using dharma’s subtle mystery, you guide us into that crystalline purity of origins, where karma’s travail ends in tranquility, mountain-and-forest feelings flourishing.
I come at dawn asking after some answer, and by dusk our talk touches clarity whole, like your dark brush exhausting ancient truths, its words startling human realms.
– from The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-jan, translated by David Hinton, Archipelago Books

Experience
Stop.
Go out.
Be the explorer of nights;
the inspector of storms;
the witness of the dawn.
You’re breathing
but how much of this life
have you actually seen?
– L.M. Browning

So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.
– Paulo Coelho

Words cannot begin to describe the beauty, richness, healing power, joy and nourishment of – say, for example, a cloudy morning, the wind, a friendship, kind parents, great teachers, the existence of music or the shades of color we call green.
– Jason Espada

Yes, my Other, this is how
I always recognize you
upward-reaching and glad
within wing’s wind of a Great Song.

There is speech that, burnished,
aspires to poetry which,
if lyric and true, longs to
dissolve in wordlessness, since
Silence is the Voice of G_d.
– Yahia Lababidi

Love: the skillful audacity required to share an inner life.
– Gertrude Stein

The writer is by nature a dreamer—a conscious dreamer.
– Carson McCullers

Magic
Take a pen, and decide it is a magical pen. Take paper, and decide it is magical paper. Take some time, and decide it is a magical time. Find a nice place, and decide it is a magical place. Now write down the most glorious, magical, beautiful, pure, powerful, creative, inspiring and Divine intention for your life and for your world. Let every word be clear and positive and dripping with the nectar of love and what feels true to you. And once you feel complete then put the pen down and relish the magical feeling as though this has already happened for you and enter a state of deep and perfect fulfillment and gratitude. Finally surrender this vision to the highest, the essence, to the creative source of everything, and relax, release, let go. Put this paper away in a safe place with love. Nothing more needs to be done. Life takes care of the rest. You will be amazed by what happens next, by how your life will be guided. Enjoy every step of the journey now.
– Nithya Shanti

The greatest gift of life on the mountain is time. Time to think or not think, read or not read, scribble or not scribble – to sleep and cook and walk in the woods, to sit and stare at the shapes of the hills. I produce nothing but words; I consumer nothing but food, a little propane, a little firewood. By being utterly useless in the calculations of the culture at large I become useful, at last, to myself.
– Philip Connors

May I not squander the astonishments.
– Jorie Graham

Getting started, keeping going, getting started again — in art and in life, it seems to me this is the essential rhythm not only of achievement but of survival.
– Seamus Heaney

An endless stream flows out of mind
whichever way is down never up
where it rests and moves doesn’t matter
reaching the sea it all becomes waves
– Stonehouse

Field Guide
by Tony Hoagland

Once, in the cool blue middle of a lake,
up to my neck in that most precious element of all,

I found a pale-gray, curled-upwards pigeon feather
floating on the tension of the water

at the very instant when a dragonfly,
like a blue-green iridescent bobby pin,

hovered over it, then lit, and rested.
That’s all.

I mention this in the same way
that I fold the corner of a page

in certain library books,
so that the next reader will know

where to look for the good parts.

The object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed. It exists fully only in the act of being read; and its real home is inside the head of the reader, where the symphony resounds, the seed germinates. A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another.
– Rebecca Solnit

At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.
– Toni Morrison

For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy.
– Plato, Theaetetus

I would now rouse women’s essence, spirit, to rise as birds in flight over fields, leaving swiftly earth’s dust, that they may speedily cross the frontier into the great world of light and brilliance. I desire that they be leaders, awakened lions, advance messengers of learning and intelligence; that they may serve as rafts crossing cloudy ferries; as lamps in dark chambers.
– Qiu Jin
Poet, revolutionary, feminist and writer
1875-1907

Any time you find somebody today who’s afraid of the word ‘revolution,’ get him out of your way.
– Malcolm X

If your goals aren’t synced with the substance of your heart, then achieving them won’t matter much.
– Danielle LaPorte

The nature of our society is such that we are prevented from knowing who we are.
– Ralph Ellison

Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.
– Kurt Vonnegut

People are just wonderful as sunsets if I can let them be. In fact, perhaps the reason we can truly appreciate a sunset is that we cannot control it. When I look at a sunset as I did the other evening, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a little on the right hand corner, and put a bit more purple along the base, and use a little more pink in the cloud color.” I don’t do that. I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds
– Carl Rogers

Poetry is essentially the discovery, the love, the passion for the name of everything.
– Gertrude Stein

Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.
– Mary Oliver

Even if you can’t sing well, sing. Sing to yourself. Sing in the privacy of your home. But sing.
– Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Remind us again, / brave friend. / What countries may we / sing into? / What lines should we all / be crossing?
What lines might we dare to cross, and what songs might we hear, that can deepen our days?
– Paul Robeson

The human heart
is a labyrinth.
One more reason
to explore it.
– Gregory Orr

The possible’s slow fuse is lit by the Imagination.
– Emily Dickinson

Ah, to be one of them! One of the poets whose song helps close the wound rather than open it!
– Juan Ramón Jiménez

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ When the world is an open inquiry it’s not samsara anymore

Our journey is about being more deeply involved in life and yet less attached to it.
– Ram Das

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ When, like the Buddha, we begin to question that things may not be as they seem, we join a lineage of people–a culture of truth–who aspire to transcend a limited view of reality.

I bow to the sky,
seamless and blue,
the mystical sunlight
filtering through
my church in the pines
here by this creek
with rocks that can sing
and devas that speak
a secret language beyond sound
in praise of hallowed ground.
– Kirtana

My song will sit in the pupils of your eyes,
and will carry your sight into the heart of things.
And when my voice is silenced in death,
my song will speak in your living heart.
– Tagore

God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

your love
.
it is you who imbues
this morning with meaning –
your light allows me
to see with new eyes –
your love has infused
every mote of my being,
and given me back the sky —
.
– E.M.

My debt to you, Beloved,
Is one I cannot pay
In any coin of any realm
On any reckoning day.
– Jessie B. Rittenhouse

Learn silence. At least with your friends, with your lovers, with your family, with your fellow travelers here, sit in silence sometimes.
Don’t go on gossiping, don’t go on talking. Stop talking, and not only on the outside – stop the inner talk. Be in an interval.

Just sit, doing nothing, just being present to each other. And soon you will start finding a new way to communicate. And that is the right way.
Start communicating through silence sometimes. Holding the hand of your friend, sit silently. Just looking at the moon, feel the moon, and both feel it silently. And see, a communion happens – not only communication, but a communion.

Your hearts start beating in the same rhythm. You start feeling the same space. You start feeling the same joy. You start overlapping each other’s being.
That is communion. You have said without saying anything, and there is no misunderstanding.
– Osho

When I look at my life and its secret colors, I feel like bursting into tears.
– Albert Camus

He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: that was the thing.
– Sherman Alexie, The Toughest Indian in the World

Amidst the great disturbances affecting both nature and culture turning inward, is necessary to balance and retune to our own souls. When we tune back in to the song of the soul we become more able to contribute to the healing of the world. As the poet Rumi reminds us, we don’t have to save the world; what we must do is tune to our souls, become our own unique note and join the great song of creation ongoing.
– Michael Meade

If we would have new knowledge, we must get us a whole world of new questions.
– Susanne Langer

As true of people as it is of life’s graces:
“Step back, that you may be approached.”
– St Augustine

We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of horizontal thinking. We move along the surface of things going from one quick base to another, often with a frenzy that wears us out. We collect data, things, people, ideas, “profound experiences,” never penetrating any of them…But there are other times. There are times when we stop. We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.’
– James Carroll

To confront a person with his own shadow is to show him his own light.
– Carl Jung

Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are, let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it.
– C. Assaad

May all beings everywhere
Plagued by sufferings of body and mind
Obtain an ocean of happiness and joy
By virtue of my merits.

May no living creature suffer,
Commit evil, or ever fall ill.
May no one be afraid or belittled,
With a mind weighed down by depression.

May the blind see forms
And the deaf hear sounds,
May those whose bodies are worn with toil
Be restored on finding repose.

May the naked find clothing,
The hungry find food;
May the thirsty find water
And delicious drinks.

May the poor find wealth,
Those weak with sorrow find joy;
May the forlorn find hope,
Constant happiness, and prosperity.

May there be timely rains
And bountiful harvests;
May all medicines be effective
And wholesome prayers bear fruit.

May all who are sick and ill
Quickly be freed from their ailments.
Whatever diseases there are in the world,
May they never occur again.

May the frightened cease to be afraid
And those bound be freed;
May the powerless find power,
And may people think of benefiting each other.

For as long as space remains,
For as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world.
– Dalai Lama

Hippies are like ferrets— they sound cool in theory, but they’re a pain in the ass to live with. My opinion of hippies has been forever tainted by several months in my early twenties of listening to bizarre spiritual ego battles and house-wide feuds over which specific kinds of organic vegan foods are permitted in the cooking area, while nobody in our share house was actually buying groceries except me. Like all movements, the original kernel of truth in the zeitgeist of the sixties has gotten lost in the shuffle of time, and now it’s essentially just an identity people pin on themselves when they like pot and spiritual escapism.
That said, the aforementioned kernel of truth was very much a real thing. Something very real happened in the organic arising of the hippie movement, and they were very right about some things. That’s what I’d like to talk about here with you today, dear reader. I’d like to take a brief pause from making fun of the Washington Post and talking about what a ridiculous turd waffle Wolf Blitzer is and give myself permission here to kind of zoom out and talk about what all these political fireworks look like from a bigger-picture perspective as I see them.
So here’s the thing, if you’re still with me: those goofy hippies were right. There is indeed a great awakening in the mail. It’s taken a bit longer than they thought it would take, and it sure as hell doesn’t look anything like what they thought it’d look like, but it’s coming, and, unlike the initial spark of truth which appeared in their movement, this one can’t be shut down. No amount of cultural backlash or Nixonian drug wars or Reaganite yuppyism is going to get this cat back in the bag, because its carrying agent is so radically decentralized. The great awakening is not coming by means of psychedelic drugs as so many early hippies foretold, nor by communism, nor by the spread of eastern philosophy and Transcendental Meditation. It’s coming through the internet.
– Tim Foley

Last year ,I was foolish monk.This year ,no change.
– Ryokan

when the torah speaks of loving god “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your will”, it is saying that true love is a deed of the whole-being. the love we feel inside is the love we do outside. the love of the whole-being is always a radical call. it transforms a human being into an “instrument” for deeds of peace and compassion. what else should we wish for the new year other than to be blessed with even a measure of such wonderful a transformation? yes, we will be betrayed. and yes, not always we will be reciprocated for our work of gifting creation and healing. but challenges we face, are also opportunities to practice equanimity and compassion. in a sense, what else should anyone wish for the new year but to be grateful for the goodness received and the goodness given. and, yes, should that be the case, may we also have the strength to practice compassion in the face of hurts and disappointments. may we always learn to forgive, it is important. and as the poet martin buber said, we must always choose to love powerfully! may this be my wish for a happy new year to all.
– hune margulies

And sometimes I have kept my feelings to myself, because I could find no language to describe them in.
– Jane Austen

I saw that you were perfect, and so I loved you. Then I saw that you were not perfect and I loved you even more.
– Angelita Lim

I love you the more in that I believe you had liked me for my own sake and for nothing else.
– John Keats

i love you so dearly, dear
forgetful one.
come and walk in the dusk
there is no wind anymore
the world ended yesterday.
– Belle Heywood

Because of you I’m talking to crickets, clouds,
confiding in a cat. Everyone says,
Come to your senses, and I do, of you.
Every touch electric, every taste you,
every smell, even burning sugar, every
cry and laugh. Toothpicked samples
at the farmer’s market, every melon,
plum, I come undone, undone.”
– Dean Young

Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.
– C.S. Lewis

What’s happening to music?
There is a lot to this question. Every time I try to look at it I see so many different points of view at the same time. The idea that musicians should be able to copy a product and sell each copy for a hefty price is a relatively recent one. It didn’t exist for Mozart and it may well not exist again soon. Despite how it may affect me and a lot of people I know and love it may actually be for the best. The people who benefit most from this system are not the people who can go out in front of an audience with their instrument and entertain them for a couple of hours.

Music is everywhere. Lifts, shops, hotel lobbies, everywhere. You see people walking in the country with headphones on. In rural Ireland 100 years ago hearing music was a rare treat. Music is being devalued at a rate of knots. The best sax player on the planet could busk in Cork city and lots of people would walk by without a glance unless they were told who he was and why they should listen. You can hear and see the best musicians in the world everyday for free on YouTube. You could sit in a pub in the evening while the barman turns off the Eagles ‘Hotel California’ on the sound system so a guy with a guitar and a backing track can sing a far inferior version of the same song. A decision has been made that this may get more people into the bar. That’s all that’s at stake. The connection between money and music is working much better for money than it is for music. There are thousands even millions of people who don’t play music, but work hard everyday to make as much profit as possible from it.

Music is a bangle for your wrist, a fashion accessory, a way to join a club, a badge.
But music as life changing, reach into your gut, give you hope, love, life, joy, that’s what shapes my world. Music as beauty, music as truth.
I started to answer a blog and ended up here, going in all directions.

– Declan Sinnott

i clipped and put together a few lines from a meditation by the great brazilian poet vinicius de moraes.

you don’t have to be a man, it’s enough to be human, it’s enough to have sentiment, it’s enough to have heart. you have to know how to speak or be quiet, more than anything you have to know how to listen. you have to like poetry, dawn, a bird, the sun, the moon, the song of the winds and the music of the breeze. you must have love, a great love for somebody, or feel the void of not having that love. you must… respect the pain the passer-by carries with him… you don’t have to be pure, nor totally impure, but you shouldn’t be vulgar. you should have an ideal and fear of losing it and, in case you are not like that, you should feel the great vacuum which that leaves…your principal objective should be to be a friend. you should feel pity for sad persons and comprehend the immense emptiness of the lonely… look for a friend…who is moved when called a friend. who knows how to converse about simple things, the dew, the great rains…you need a friend so as not to go mad…you should like deserted streets, puddles of water and wet roads, the edge of the street, the countryside after the rain, to lie down in the grass. one needs a friend who says it’s good to live, not because life is beautiful but because he has a friend…one needs a friend to stop crying…in order not to live leaning on the past in search of lost memories. who slaps us on the shoulder smiling or crying, but who calls us friend in order to know that we are still living.
– Hune Margulies

My Kingdom is spread all over the earth, and you do not see it.
– Jesus the Nazarene

The difference in a teacher and a mentor is that a mentor is interested in our soul.
– Robert A. Johnson

The object of life is not happiness, but to serve God or the Grail. All of the Grail quests are to serve God. If one understands this and drops his idiotic notion that the meaning of life is personal happiness, then one will find that elusive quality immediately at hand.
– Robert A. Johnson

The real relatedness between two people is experienced in the small tasks they do together: the quiet conversation when the day’s upheavels are at rest, the soft word of understanding, the daily companionship, the encouragement offered in a difficult moment, the small gift when least expected, the spontaneous gesture of love.
– Robert A. Johnson

To suffer one’s confusion is the first step in healing.
– Robert A. Johnson

The only hope for healing is to offer a better form of ecstasy, to upgrade so the addict will give up the stupid one.
– Robert A. Johnson

Someone observed darkly that it is always two A.M. when one is in the ‘dark night of the soul.
– Robert A. Johnson

The question isn’t what will happen. It’s what we will make happen.
– Rebecca Solnit, December 2016

I thought poetry could change everything, could change history and could humanize, and I think that the illusion is very necessary to push poets to be involved and to believe. But now I think that poetry changes only the poet.
– Mahmoud Darwish

Not Anyone Who Says
Not anyone who says, “I’m going to be
careful and smart in matters of love,”
who says, “I’m going to choose slowly,”
but only those lovers who didn’t choose at all
but were, as it were, chosen
by something invisible and powerful and uncontrollable
and beautiful and possibly even
unsuitable —
only those know what I’m talking about
in this talking about love.
– Mary Oliver

Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.
– Jane Kenyon

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.
– Lucille Ball

…Spare me from bitterness
and from the sharp passions of
unguarded moments. May
I not forget that poverty and
riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not,
may my thoughts and actions
be such as shall keep me friendly
with myself.

Lift up my eyes
from the earth, and let me not
forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others
lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of
the world, but walk calmly
in my path.

Give me a few friends
who will love me for what
I am; and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity
overtake me, and I come not within
sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful
for life, and for time’s olden
memories that are good and
sweet; and may the evening’s
twilight find me gentle still.

– Max Ehrmann

…I miss the old temples where you could hang out with God.
Still, we have pet pounds where you can feel love draped in warm fur,
And sense the whole tragedy of life and death.
You see there the consequences of carelessness,
And you feel there the yapping urgency of life that wants to be lived.
The only things lacking are the frankincense and myrrh.

We don’t build many temples anymore.
Maybe we learned that the sacred can’t be contained.
Or maybe it can’t be sustained inside a building.
Buildings crumble.
It’s the spirit that lives on.

If you had a temple in the secret spaces of your heart,
What would you worship there?
What would you bring to sacrifice?
What would be behind the curtain in the holy of holies?
Go there now.
– Tom Barrett

Philippians 2:4
Let each of you look not to your own interests,
But to the interests of others.

This river is a mighty one;
I have to trust its flow
But if you asked me where it’s taking us,
I wouldn’t say I know.
But I will go there willingly;
she’s never led me astray.
And I’ve only be bruised
when I’ve refused to get out of my way.

So, I wouldn’t stop the rain.
No, I wouldn’t stop the rain.
What good would it do?
And I wouldn’t trade the pain,
or mess with the math that created the path
that eventually led to you , my love.
I give you my love.

And when I say love
I mean a love that will stay love
through every change that could betray love
and the vicissitudes of time.
I mean mature love,
unconditional and pure love.
The kind of love I feel with your love,
I want you to feel with mine.
– Kirtana

We are happy when for everything inside us there is a corresponding something outside us.
– W.B. Yeats

The mind deals with optimism in an analytic way; it analyzes the data and then decides “I’m optimistic or pessimistic.” The imagination, on the other hand, considers all the data and reinvests itself again in hope. The imagination believes in its own power to see what it’s never seen before. It’s not constrained by analysis.
– Barry Lopez

I took refuge in Buddha,
And I found a teacher
Who discovered a way to end suffering;

I took refuge in Dharma,…
And I found teachings and practices
That lead to suffering’s end;

I took refuge in Sangha,
And I found a community
That works together to end suffering.

Then I started giving away what I had taken…

And I found an end to suffering.

– Fa Hsing Jeff Miles

The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others.
– C.G. Jung

A miraculous healing awaits this planet once we accept our new responsibility to collectively tend the Garden rather than fight over the turf.
– Bruce H. Lipton

where shall I pour my dream from here?
– Lola Ridge

My poems and the wild mint
bear messages and perfumes.
Don’t let them create a riot with their wild singing.
My heart is greener than green,
flowers sprout from the mud and water of my water.
Don’t let me stand, if you are the enemies of Spring.
– Simin Behbahani

When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.
– Martin Buber

At the core of what C G Jung called Shadow work and what shamanism calls Underworld soul work:

This, from Adyashanti: A mature emotional life is when all the different parts of yourself emotionally are joined back together.

Nothing is put outside, nothing is denied, nothing is hidden.

Nothing is unacknowledged.

Turtle Mountain Reservation
BY LOUISE ERDRICH

For Pat Gourneau, my grandfather

The heron makes a cross
flying low over the marsh.
Its heart is an old compass
pointing off in four directions.
It drags the world along,
the world it becomes.

My face surfaces in the green
beveled glass above the washstand.
My handprint in thick black powder
on the bedroom shade.
Home I could drink like thin fire
that gathers
like lead in my veins,
heart’s armor, the coffee stains.

In the dust of the double hollyhock,
Theresa, one frail flame eating wind.
One slim candle
that snaps in the dry grass.
Ascending tall ladders
that walk to the edge of dusk.
Riding a blue cricket
through the tumult of the falling dawn.

At dusk the gray owl walks the length of the roof,
sharpening its talons on the shingles.
Grandpa leans back
between spoonfuls of canned soup
and repeats to himself a word
that belongs to a world
no one else can remember.

The day has not come
when from sloughs, the great salamander
lumbers through snow, salt, and fire
to be with him, throws the hatchet
of its head through the door of the three-room house
and eats the blue roses that are peeling off the walls.

Uncle Ray, drunk for three days
behind the jagged window
of a new government box,
drapes himself in fallen curtains, and dreams that the odd
beast seen near Cannonball, North Dakota,
crouches moaning at the door to his body. The latch
is the small hook and eye.

of religion. Twenty nuns
fall through clouds to park their butts
on the metal hasp. Surely that
would be considered miraculous almost anyplace,

but here in the Turtle Mountains
it is no more than common fact.
Raymond wakes,
but he can’t shrug them off. He is looking up
dark tunnels of their sleeves,
and into their frozen armpits,
or is it heaven? He counts the points
of their hairs like stars.

One by one they blink out,
and Theresa comes forth
clothed in the lovely hair
she has been washing all day. She smells
like a hayfield, drifting pollen
of birch trees.
Her hair steals across her shoulders
like a postcard sunset.

All the boys tonight, goaded from below,
will approach her in The Blazer, The Tomahawk,
The White Roach Bar where everyone
gets up to cut the rug, wagging everything they got,
as the one bass drum of The Holy Greaseballs
lights a depth
charge through the smoke.

Grandpa leans closer to the bingo.
The small fortune his heart pumps for
is hidden in the stained, dancing numbers.
The Ping-Pong balls rise through colored lights,
brief as sparrows
God is in the sleight of the woman’s hand.

He walks from Saint Ann’s, limp and crazy
as the loon that calls its children
across the lake
in its broke, knowing laughter.
Hitchhiking home from the Mission, if he sings,
it is a loud, rasping wail
that saws through the spine
of Ira Comes Last, at the wheel.

Drawn up through the neck ropes,
drawn out of his stomach
by the spirit of the stones that line
the road and speak
to him only in their old agreement.
Ira knows the old man is nuts.
Lets him out at the road that leads up
over stars and the skulls of white cranes.

And through the soft explosions of cattail
and the scattering of seeds on still water,
walks Grandpa, all the time that there is in his hands
that have grown to be the twisted doubles
of the burrows of mole and badger,
that have come to be the absence
of birds in a nest.
Hands of earth, of this clay
I’m also made from.

A Poem by Ed Skoog
Looking for Work

In the city no tree is too small
to escape the human alphabet
and yet one without a job
is kind of invisible. What job.
What tidy bit of formal activity.
I float into all the windows,
follow all cars home and inhabit
the secrets my neighborhood carries
When you’re unemployed in a plaza,
you have entrée to the multiple affairs,
the entreaties, the escapes, the wrapping-up,
the years-later. I used to sit at a counter
and dust the classifieds with my toast crumbs
drawing circles like one deciphering glyphs
by lantern in a tomb, and walk away cursed.
Under the weight of their credentials
my leg broke in five places. Over here,
their statue of the Buddha, over there,
the open letter, and probably nuclear
submarines glide under the sunset,
one might guess from the short life span
glowing around each of us. Meanwhile
a stranger plays the gold piano she wheeled
under the lindens. Gold is its own concordance.
I play the most delicate balalaika, and bike
all night with a samovar balanced on my handlebars.
I think I remember work, stifled yawns,
how a rivet pulls the metal sheets together
like near-strangers clutching at last call.
My advice is to be survived by a hymn.
Put allegories in charge and wait for loss.

People have always been good at imagining the end of the world, which is much easier to picture than the strange sidelong paths of change in a world without end.
– Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.
– Noël Coward, Blithe Spirit

We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment, but it is transient. It is a little parenthesis in eternity. If we share with caring, lightheartedness, and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other. And then this moment will have been worthwhile.
– Deepak Chopra

Let us take the temple of illusions down. When imperial power becomes the ultimate caricature dressed in her finery—when the foundations of the house are rotten—what else is there to do? The the robot queen of Babylon has to be dismantled—imaginatively. Not though blind and violent revolution but through inner conversion.
– Andrew Sweeny

I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life. They seek position, marriage, reputation, outward success of money, and remain unhappy and neurotic even when they have attained what they were seeking. Such people are usually confined within too narrow a spiritual horizon. Their life has not sufficient content, sufficient meaning. If they are enabled to develop into more spacious personalities, the neurosis generally disappears.
– C. G. Jung

The likelihood that your acts of resistance cannot stop the injustice does not exempt you from acting in what you sincerely and reflectively hold to be the best interests of your community.
– Susan Sontag

But hope is not about what we expect. It is an embrace of the essential unknowability of the world, of the breaks with the present, the surprises. Or perhaps studying the record more carefully leads us to expect miracles – not when and where we expect them, but to expect to be astonished, to expect that we don’t know. And this is grounds to act.
– Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche ~ Through simmering in the raw discomfort of our tendencies, we can gain victory over our aggression and experience the confidence and well-being that come from patience.

What makes us rise up? It is forces: … [psychological, spiritual,] physical, and social forces. Through these forces we transform immobility into movement, burden into energy, submission into revolt — renunciation into expansive joy.
– Georges Didi-Huberman, curator of Soulèvements

To free your mind
to submit, holy embodied
to the fire, the one
oddly kindled
by your glowing fears, the fears that
keep you from realizing —
I mean fully realizing —
that so-called reality
is a pre-fab construction
by what poet, Diane di Prima, calls the Metal Men;
the ones who pull the levers
to keep you enslaved, paying taxes,
ingesting poison,
consuming, shushing
your Dreams and killing
the earth.
What the f#ck, right?…
And then, there is
the fear that you might go
bat-shit
crazy if
you are free.
Yes? But listen:
these fears are the allies
of the Metal Men.
They count on you
to feed them.
Do not.
When you’re ready
enough,
reach up
through the rubble with your
dusty, blood-stained hand, and
with all you got,
answer the call
from the Code Breaker.
Soft like honey you will become, sweet and potent,
companioned by Vulnerability and Courage,
flanked by No-choice
but to dive hard into your artistry,
your freaky-true way of serving —
serving your soul and others — severing
with a sharp, large blade
your familiar, habitual, and
outmoded ways
of being accepted by others,
but not loved
by yourself.
If you take this way,
you will know
it is the one you can wholeheartedly choose;
the only one that wants to ravish you
open;
take you apart, scare you sacred,
shake you
down,
make you
human to re-member
you
came here
to be free.
– Melissa La Flamme

For many of us, the moment when we experienced something we could not share with our outer world, because our outer world had given us no “word” to acknowledge it, was the moment that impelled us toward poetry. And poetry was a struggle with the given language, to make it give us better words than ‘unlikely’ for what had fallen out of this world’s likelihood.
– Alan Williamson

A PATH IN THE WOODS FROM A NEW NAME
I don’t trust the truth of memories
because what leaves us
departs forever
There’s only one current of this sacred river
but I still want to remain faithful
to my first astonishments
to recognize as wisdom the child’s wonder
and to carry in myself until the end a path
in the woods of my childhood
dappled with patches of sunlight
to search for it everywhere
in museums in the shade of churches
this path on which I ran unaware
a six-year old
toward my primary mysterious aloneness
– Anna Kamieńska

Under adversity, under oppression, the words begin to fail. The easy words begin to fail. In order to convey things accurately, the human being is almost forced to find the most precise words possible, which is a precondition for literature.
– Rita Dove

Suicide is, after all, the opposite of the poem.
– Anne Sexton

I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.
– Henry David Thoreau

As the fabric of life loosens and the veil between this world and the otherworld becomes thinner and more permeable, we can begin again to align ourselves with the luminous ground of imagination, the inherited territory of the human heart and soul. Our minds can learn again to serve the deepest longing of our hearts and draw upon the wisdom hidden in our souls. Just as time seems to be running out on everyone, the eternal tries to slip back into human awareness. Things become both impossible and more possible at the same time. Amidst the theories about how it all might come to an end, the unseen thread of the eternal can be found again. For, we are all held by the threads of dreams and secretly tied to the cosmos. If we allow it, we are pushed by the inspirations of genius and pulled on by the stars.

The answers to the overwhelming problems and daunting global issues we all face cannot simply come from the limited consciousness of abstract reasoning and scientific attitudes that currently dominate the world. The problems run deeper than the simple facts of the matter; the answers must be found in deeper places as well. There is an increasing need for psychic balance, for both deeper intelligence and greater imagination that might reveal more of the ways we are each woven to the earthly realm and connected at the same time to the stars. Both at the quantum level and the mythic levels of understanding, we all remain connected to the dream of the cosmos and the wonder of the world.
– Michael Meade, from The Genius Myth

The long silences need to be loved, perhaps
more than the words
which arrive
to describe them
in time.
– Franz Wright

Rumi’s wise answers to questions put to him…

What is poison?

Anything which is more than our necessity is poison. It may be power, wealth, hunger, ego, greed, laziness, love, ambition, or anything.

What is fear?

Non-acceptance of uncertainty. If we accept the uncertainty, it becomes an adventure!

What is envy?

Non-acceptance of the goodness in others. If we accept the goodness, it becomes inspiration!

What is anger?

Non-acceptance of the things which are beyond our control. If we accept, it becomes tolerance!

What is hatred?

Non-acceptance of others as they are. If we accept them unconditionally, it becomes love!

Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.
– BKS Iyengar

Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.
– Pema Chodron

The supreme blasphemy is the denial of the indestructible essence within us.
– Schopenhauer

Essences are not capable of annihilation. Attributes, however, can be annihilated… When the Divine will in regard to a man becomes subsistent, his will is annihilated and his personal initiative disappears.
– Al Hujwiri, Sufi

…What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.
Pour yourself out like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.
Every happiness is the child of a separation
it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming
a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

The most important thing in all human relationships is conversation, but people don’t talk anymore, they don’t sit down to talk and listen.
They go to the cinema, watch television, listen to the radio, read books, update their status on internet, but they almost never talk.
If we want to change the world, we have to go back to a time when warriors would gather around a fire and tell stories.
– Paulo Coelho

Faith is based on genuineness, trusting in yourself and your vision. You are not faking anything, and you are not trying to impress anybody. Faith inspires discipline, which is not based on punishment or arbitrary rules and authority, but rather on becoming thoroughly gentle and genuine. Discipline guides you and shows you how to live in the warrior’s world. With this unwavering discipline, the warrior takes joy in the journey and joy in working with others. This joy is like music, which celebrates its own rhythm and melody. The celebration is continuous, in spite of the ups and downs of life.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Rest in your heartbeat,
where you have no enemies,
where no one is to blame,
where the journey has not begun,
and even prayers for peace
do not need to speak.
Disperse into what you are
before you breathe,
smoke of sage in desert air.
Burn away and remember,
your body is made of stars
that vanished eons ago.
Friend, rest here
in your own rhythm,
where motion is stillness.
This is the secret.
A nest inside an egg.
A mother’s womb that carries
her own savior.
Be the seed of whatever
you are seeking.
Flower on a Winter night.
– Fred LaMotte

The birds are in their trees,
the toast is in the toaster,
and the poets are at their windows.
They are at their windows
in every section of the tangerine of earth –
the Chinese poets looking up at the moon,
the American poets gazing out
at the pink and blue ribbons of sunrise.
The clerks are at their desks,
the miners are down in their mines,
and the poets are looking out their windows
maybe with a cigarette, a cup of tea,
and maybe a flannel shirt or bathrobe is involved.
The proofreaders are playing the ping-pong
game of proofreading,
glancing back and forth from page to page,
the chefs are dicing celery and potatoes,
and the poets are at their windows
because it is their job for which
they are paid nothing every Friday afternoon.
Which window it hardly seems to matter
though many have a favorite,
for there is always something to see –
a bird grasping a thin branch,
the headlights of a taxi rounding a corner,
those two boys in wool caps angling across the street.
The fishermen bob in their boats,
the linemen climb their round poles,
the barbers wait by their mirrors and chairs,
and the poets continue to stare
at the cracked birdbath or a limb knocked down by the wind.
By now, it should go without saying
that what the oven is to the baker
and the berry-stained blouse to the dry cleaner,
so the window is to the poet.
Just think –
before the invention of the window,
the poets would have had to put on a jacket
and a winter hat to go outside
or remain indoors with only a wall to stare at.
And when I say a wall,
I do not mean a wall with striped wallpaper
and a sketch of a cow in a frame.
I mean a cold wall of fieldstones,
the wall of the medieval sonnet,
the original woman’s heart of stone,
the stone caught in the throat of her poet-lover.
– Billy Collins
The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems

Your own view isn’t necessarily the way things really are.
– Dogen

The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds and makes of all political and social life a mass illness. Without this housecleaning we cannot begin to see. Unless we see, we cannot think.
– Thomas Merton

There’s only one way to proceed. Go inside yourself. Explore the reason that compels you to write; test whether it stretches its roots into the deepest part of your heart, admit to yourself whether you would have to die if the opportunity to write were withheld from you. Above all, ask yourself at your most silent hour of night: must I write?
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Emerging
A man says yes without knowing
how to decide even what the question is,
and is caught up, and then is carried along
and never again escapes from his own cocoon;
and that’s how we are, forever falling
into the deep well of other beings;
and one thread wraps itself around our necks,
another entwines a foot, and then it is impossible,
impossible to move except in the well –
nobody can rescue us from other people.
It seems as if we don’t know how to speak;
it seems as if there are words which escape,
which are missing, which have gone away and left us
to ourselves, tangled up in snares and threads.
And all at once, that’s it; we no longer know
what it’s all about, but we are deep inside it,
and now we will never see with the same eyes
as once we did when we were children playing.
Now these eyes are closed to us,
Now our hands emerge from different arms.
And therefore when you sleep, you are alone in your dreaming,
and running freely through the corridors
of one dream only, which belongs to you.
Oh never let them come to steal our dreams,
never let them entwine us in our bed.
Let us hold on to the shadows
to see if, from our own obscurity,
we emerge and grope along the walls,
lie in wait for the light, to capture it,
till, once and for all time,
it becomes our own, the sun of every day.

I believe in two simple
spiritual principles:
that we matter
and that everyone else matters.
– G. K. Chesterton

If war is caused by a clash of ideas, can peace on Earth be created by the alignment of ideas? Connecting one-by-one to like minds around the world, will we soon recognize our biological and mental similarities? Most of us share the same dreams and aspirations. Most of us want more peace, love and harmony in our lives. Most of us share a common compassion for those who suffer. In fact, this compassion for life–all life on Earth–draws us together like a gravitational force, and it may help us create a critical mass for our rapid evolution.
– Alexia Parks, Rapid Evolution

So long as you write it away regularly nothing can really hurt you.
– Shirley Jackson

We were all born with an authentic, jewel-like mind, simple and relaxed. But, as we go through life, gritty, dirty, endless complications shroud that jewel, covering up the grace and elegance it naturally contains. We grow clumsier and more awkward, constantly focusing on the grit and grime – the seemingly important things in life – all the while neglecting the precious jewel. We are fortunate, because the Buddhist path gives us a way to uncover the jewel of the mind, and a way to clean and polish it. We start by cultivating inner strength and inner well-being through meditation practice. At the same time we practice letting go of the grit and grime – the outer, unimportant things. This way, we can begin to relax and feel connected to life, to every moment of every single day. And graceful elegance slowly pierces the veil of our awkwardness.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Heart Advice

The true light never hides the darkness but is born out of the very center of it, transforming and redeeming. So to the darkness we must return, each of us individually accepting his ignorance and loneliness, his sin and weakness, and, most difficult of all, consenting to wait in the dark and even to love the waiting…
– Helen M. Luke

No one wants to read poetry. You have to make it impossible for them to put the poem down–impossible for them to stop reading it, word after word. You have to keep them from closing the book.
– Muriel Rukeyser

Each of us literally chooses, by way of attending to things, what sort of universe he or she shall appear to inhabit.
– William James

I think people don’t place a high enough value on how much they are nurtured by doing whatever it is that totally absorbs them.
– Jean Shinoda Bolen

I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve.
– Montesquieu

The poet is much more the one who inspires than the one who is inspired.
― Paul Éluard

Syrian poet Dima Yousf:
Oh, if only the years were edible,
so that the starving would chew them,
and spit the bitter taste in our faces.
Oh, if only The Lord would see
the protruding bones of children,
and would do something,
anything,
so that we wouldn’t lose faith.
Oh, if only my heart were a god.

Poetry confronts in the most clear-eyed way just those emotions which consciousness wishes to slide by.
– C. K. Williams

But the law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.
– Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

After Loki I was the first to borrow Freyja’s cloak of falcon feathers. I flew to you. Flew across centuries and oceans. I could not bear the separation and so, not finding you quickly enough, I consulted the Thrice Burnt Thrice Born, the she-witch Gullvieg. She spoke:

I am sorry but there is nothing I can say that would not perchance dismantle, denude, destroy the careful contrivance you call “your life.” And so I laid down on pine bow bed, wildflower, arch of bones, Viking feast in the halls of Folkvangr. I practiced the sex magic of the old Norse: dwarves painted on the sides of barn timbers,
the deep pull of ancient wells,
the sorcery of touch wood,
skin bag, ermine gloves.

Due to my being a man, she would not at first see me. But she was Freyja’s sister and so I told her it was of you. I knew she would understand the backward way of love; I told her you are my household. I told her that without you I have no poetry. She laughed like lunacy. “Love’s unknowings outweigh human contrivances,” she whispered.

She burnt plants: henbane, mushroom, pine sap.
She unmade man-ness, took away gendering.
She went to her loom, loosened a knot in the woof,
the ways in which you were hidden were undone.
She tied a knot, the enemy was bound.
She made me a finder of futures and pasts.

That unsane sister tied the words ‘yours’ ‘mine’ to colored thread and wove them into the community of messengers – the bird headed females called envoys of sagas. Then and there I unbecame and became again. Now, unlike that odd species called “men,” I am not endangered (or engendered) by womanly freedoms….

Now when I die I will go with the half who journey to Freyja; let the men who only know battle go to Odin.
– Traktung Khepa

Be around truth. Here’s why. Mystics claim (especially Sufi), that when we are surrounded by lies it creates so much activity and nervousness in our head in some subtle way we can’t properly enter our own bodies. Hence the need for friends where truth is a given, anything can be said, nothing need ever be concealed. We lose touch with our wingspan when we hunch.
– Martin Shaw

Not to listen is to be like a pot turned upside down. Not to be able to retain what you hear is to be like a pot with a hole in it. To mix negative emotions with what you hear is to be like a pot with poison in it. The upside-down pot: when you are listening to the teachings, listen to what is being said and do not let yourself be distracted by anything else. Otherwise you will be like an upside-down pot on which liquid is being poured. Although you are physically present, you do not hear a word of the teaching. The pot with a hole in it: if you just listen without remembering anything that you hear or understand, you will be like a pot with a leak: however much liquid is poured into it, nothing can stay. No matter how many teachings you hear, you can never assimilate them or put them into practice. The pot containing poison: if you listen to the teachings with the wrong attitude, such as the desire to become great or famous, or a mind full of the five poisons, the Dharma will not only fail to help your mind; it will also be changed into something that is not Dharma at all, like nectar poured into a pot containing poison.
– Patrul Rinpoche, Words Of My Perfect Teacher

Usually we shun difficult situations. But like peacocks that thrive on poison, Bodhisattvas thrive on adversity. Bodhisattvas have made a commitment to themselves to without interruption work for the happiness of everyone, regardless of how they are treated.
– Barry Kerzin

Ultimately we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. The more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world.
– Written by Etty Hillesum during her time in a concentration camp, 1943

When by a teacher you are given medicine/blessings/instructions/sacred items of protection and any tool/remedy for purification-clearing-healing-balancing- use them.
Be humble enough to understand that you really need them- don’t wait or hesitate- take them- and keep on using these medicines until they are finished and or you receive different instructions/medicines and or more.
Don’t presume the medicines are ornaments or mementos. And don’t kid yourself that you are fine and don’t need it. They have been given to you to take/take up.
– Belle Heywood

Some people feel that the world’s problems are so pressing that social and political action should take precedence over individual development.

They may feel that they should sacrifice their own needs completely in order to work for a larger cause. In its extreme form, this kind of thinking justifies individual neurosis and aggression as purely a product of a troubled society, so that people feel they can hold on to their neurosis and even use their aggression to try to effect change.

According to the Shambhala teachings, however, we have to recognize that our individual experience of sanity is inherently linked to our vision for a good human society.

So we have to take things one step at a time. If we try to solve society’s problems without overcoming the confusion and aggression in our own state of mind, then our efforts will only contribute to the basic problems, instead of solving them.

That is why the individual journey of warriorship must be undertaken before we can address the larger issue of how we can help this world. Still, it would be extremely unfortunate if Shambhala vision were taken as purely another attempt to build ourselves up while ignoring our responsibilities to others.

The point of warriorship is to become a gentle and tamed human being who can make a genuine contribution to the world. The warrior’s journey is based on discovering what is intrinsically good about human existence and how to share that basic goodness with others.

There is a natural order and harmony to this world, which we can discover. But we cannot just study that order scientifically or measure it mathematically. We have to feel it – in our bones, in our hearts, in our minds.

If we are thoroughly trained in the disciplines of warriorship, then by invoking the drala principle, we can reawaken that intimate connection to reality. That provides the ground to work with others in a genuine and gentle fashion.”

– Chögyam Trungpa, Sacred Path of the Warrior

I read them a poem by Phillip Lopate that someone once sent me, that goes:

We who are your closest friends feel the time has come to tell you that every Thursday we have been meeting, as a group, to devise ways to keep you in perpetual uncertainty frustration discontent and torture by neither loving you as much as you want nor cutting you adrift. Your analyst is in on it, plus your boyfriend and your ex-husband; and we have pledged to disappoint you as long as you need us. In announcing our association we realize we have placed in your hands a possible antidote against uncertainty indeed against ourselves. But since our Thursday nights have brought us to a community of purpose rare in itself with you as the natural center, we feel hopeful you will continue to make unreasonable demands for affection if not as a consequence of your disastrous personality then for the good of the collective.
– Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

If we are not regularly deeply embarrassed by who we are, the journey to self-knowledge hasn’t begun.
– Alain de Botton, The Course of Love

Every song is the remains of love.
– Federico Garcia Lorca

O love,
I who am lost and damned with words,
Whose words are a business and an art,
I have no words. These words, this poem, this
Is all confusion and ignorance.
But I know that coached by your sweet heart,
My heart beat one free beat and sent
Through all my flesh the blood of truth.
– Kenneth Rexroth

A heart is not itself.
It no longer dwells inside
the dull drum of some chest.
It wants to hide, quiet as quail,
beneath mesquite & ocotillo,
to rest like a feathered
borla para upon powder,
nervous muffle
against the ground.
– Greg Sellers

You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart.
– Franz Kafka

…Who knows who I am? I change and change. But it is the boundary of my transformation, its pure rim: if it radiates love to you, deeply, good: then let us both believe in it.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Loren Eiseley wrote in The Immense Journey that human beings are denied the dimension of time, so rooted are we in our particular now. We cannot in person step backward or forward from our circumscribed pinpoints. I cannot touch a leaf encased in ice—nor can I feel the calloused hands that stacked these walls. Yet we make our lives among relics and ruins of former times, former worlds. Each of us is, too, a landscape inscribed by memory and loss.
– Lauret Savoy

Real maturity is the integrity of inhabiting that “immortal longing” that always calls you to new horizons.
Your true longing is to belong to the eternal that echoes continually in everything that happens to you.
Real power has nothing to do with force, control, status, or money.
Real power is the persistent courage to be at ease with the unsolved and the unfinished.
To be able to recognize, in the scattered graffiti of your desires, the signature of the eternal.
– John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes

Chogyam Trungpa ~ A balanced state of mind depends on the way you do things, the way you pour a cup of tea… It may seem like a really insignificant thing, but it means everything

Become a prayer-maker. Why? Because what you face in your life is bigger than you can handle. It is. Go to a place with shadows and privacy, and just start talking. There is some ancient Friend that wants to hear from you. No more dogma than that. Use your simple, holy, words. Then sit. Listen. Go for a walk. Let in.
– Dr. Martin Shaw

Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.
– Arundhati Roy

In contemplative meditation we use our thinking mind to develop insight and to focus on positive qualities like love and compassion. Thinking in the form of anxiety, worry, calculating, regret, guilt, paranoia, pride, envy, aggression, and craving etc. can obviously be a waste of energy, but thinking can also be creative, to the point, and oriented toward a process that is beneficial for ourselves and others.
– David Nichtern

In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be.
– Mary Oliver, Upstream

To oppose something is to maintain it…You must go somewhere else; you must have another goal; then you walk a different road.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.
– Joan Didion

Dreaming, waking or in between
in any part of the multiverse
in any body, in any life
you are invited to play
a memory game.

Whatever world you are in
the trick is to remember
the other worlds you inhabit
where you are dead and more alive
and the self that is dreaming you.
– Robert Moss

Sam Hamill: Approaching Winter Solstice

A bitter wind out of the north,
gulls frozen to their icy perches,
and a lone tug inching its way
across the bay. On the eastern horizon,
the great mountain in a robe
of new snow, the sky turquoise blue.

I have come far enough to know
the snows that bury dreams and wishes,
the blizzard in the soul that cries
for the warm embrace of love
in the harshest season. But the world
remains silent, but for moaning winds
and the faint drone of mindless traffic
in the distance. Who am I now,
old and weathered, almost worn out,
but still that hunger, that faint light burning?

I am a seeker, a wanderer in a world
I never imagined. A soul seeks itself
in a kindred soul, the need for a touch,
a knowing glance that makes the fire roar.
Smoke and ash and an old man’s
merciless hunger. May the gods
chew my gnarled bones when that time comes,
but in this soul there still is a story
waiting to be told, still a mystery
to unfold, still a spark in the tinder
of unknowing.

Nuthatch Logic

Today, in the wood, I decided to converse
with nuthatch. “Nuthatch,” I said, “the
world seems upside down.”

And, nuthatch squeaked in the way
nuthatches do, and replied:

“I can see how you would see it that way.
I don’t understand how you people get
around the way you do,

All that blood going to your feet. It must
be hard to think.”

And, I could say no more.
– Jamie K. Reaser

To make bread or love, to dig in the earth, to feed an animal or cook for a stranger — these activities require no extensive commentary, no lucid theology. All they require is someone willing to bend, reach, chop, stir. Most of these tasks are so full of pleasure that there is no need to complicate things by calling them holy. And yet these are the same activities that change lives, sometimes all at once and sometimes more slowly, the way dripping water changes stone. In a world where faith is often construed as a way of thinking, bodily practices remind the willing that faith is a way of life.
– Barbara Brown Taylor

You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.
– Alan W. Watts

Bees
Jane Hirshfield

In every instant, two gates.
One opens to fragrant paradise, one to hell….
Mostly we go through neither.

Mostly we nod to our neighbor,
lean down to pick up the paper,
go back into the house.

But the faint cries—ecstasy? horror?
Or did you think it the sound
of distant bees,
making only the thick honey of this good life?

On fighting fascism:

The first and possibly most important thing we can do is to resist accepting narrow definitions of everything. Let the nuances of supple understanding infect ideology. If carried out on a mass scale, this will force the government to deal with our stupendous diversity, which makes us far less easily manipulated.

Every facet of our understanding can synapse with those of other people and a much denser mesh work of connectivity forms in our collective body when we think deeply about what’s happening. But it’s the energy of love, flowing pervasively through the network, that really brings vitality into that network.

Projecting ideology onto us is a very invasive form of violence that reduces the “neural” complexity of the world-organism we can develop. What we’re doing now is an egregiously violent suppression of the human will. The most important role for future government is to provide scaffolding that supports the formation of deeper networks that can respond to every world issue thoroughly and efficiently. That loosens the release valve of the human will and lets it find coordinated integration into the Network-will.
– Joshua Wine Morriston

We cripple ourselves by only gazing from within our caves of reflection. If we would see with the eyes of freedom, we must be as open and as unceasing as the Sea.
– Susie Motz

Intimacy is seeing the other as they truly are. We make it so very difficult, shrouded in games and avoidance and so much noise. A masquerade ball masquerading as a complex interplay. But it’s so bare and so real and so bloody simple. It’s meeting each other where we live, below it all. No expectations. No mechanisms. No armor. True nakedness. Here I am. Here you are. Here we are.
– Jeff Brown

Our most profound prayers hardly reach our lips; they are made with our entire being.
– Yahia Lababidi

Every one of us is called upon, perhaps many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job…And onward full-tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another–that is surely the basic instinct…Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is.”
– Barbara Kingsolver

…In this light we hunger for maturity, see it not as stasis
but a form of love. We want the stillness and confidence
of age, the space between self and all the objects of the world
honoured and defined, the possibility that everything
left alone can ripen of its own accord,
all passionate transformations arranged only
through innocent meetings, one to another,
the way we see resin allowed to seep into the wood
in the wood’s own secret time. We intuit our natures
becoming resonant with one another according
to the grain of the way we are made. Nothing forced
or wanted until it ripens in our own expectant hands.
But for now, in the busy room, we stand in the child’s
first shy witness of one another, and see ourselves again,
gladly and always, falling in love with our future.
– David Whyte

Sensations, from the beginning, involve a sort of doing. This means that, in an important sense, it is your doing self that brings your core self into being. You are responsible at the very deepest level for what it feels like to be you. But then, for your next trick, well, how about spreading some of that soul dust onto the things around you? Remember, too, that it is your mind that projects phenomenal qualities onto external objects. If you only knew it, you yourself are responsible for the feel of the world.
– Nicholas Humphrey

From a third-story window above the Parc du Portugal,
I’ve watched the snow come down all day.
As usual, there’s no one here. There never is.
Mercifully, the inner conversation is canceled by the white noise of winter.
I am neither the mind, the intellect nor the silent voice within.
That’s also canceled.
And now, gentle reader, in what name – in whose name –
do you come to idle with me
in this luxurious and dwindling realms of aimless privacy?
– Leonard Cohen

My religion is to seek the truth in life and life in the truth, even knowing I’ll not find them while I live; my religion is to fight incessantly and tirelessly with mystery.
– Miguel de Unamuno

I cannot live without books.
– Thomas Jefferson

We have to do something about the “crude” factor in society: self-education, better language in speaking and writing, kindness.
– Thomas Moore

Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form. – Rumi
an absent lover returns as many others,
a nation forsaken in the shape of a new life;

poems might take the place of mothers
and friends gone come back as a wife.

If Love were not always a step ahead
how would it ensure we kept up the chase?
– Yahia Lababidi

How admirable!
to see the lightening and not think
life is fleeting.
– Basho

…In that realm

heavenly music

is played continually

six times during the

day and night

mandarava flowers

rain down from the sky.

– Amidakyo Sutra

QUEST
Take me past
the guarded place
in you
where confusion
covers itself
in unrelenting confidence
then marches on
In lively steps
Take off the façade
let it fall away
into nowhere
Turn around and face me
I search the infinite depth
where beyond all entrenchments
I find your thirst
to be met
and understood
the sadness in your bones,
the want of your silent cries
to be heard
and be known—
abiding within those
unseen landscapes
is a world of precious
dreams
Let me touch where
the battle wounds
lie quietly healing—
Buried beneath
an armored sheath
rests a lifetime of love
and loneliness,
blame and triumph,
honor and defeat
Within this blended web
of scars and treasures,
glistening with honesty,
there you are—
I found you,
beneath the soldier’s plated heart
So loosen the knots around my own
see all its agony bared and mending
and in between each open space
we’ll breathe upon the frailty
All the wishful longings to be had
bring to me yours
as I meet you there with mine.
– Susan Frybort, Hope is a Traveler

WHAT YOU ARE FOR
by Melissa La Flamme
To imagine the impossible is deeply human.
To re-member every
thing is alive,
dreaming, intelligent,
coming for you
to ravish you awake
is your inheritance.
To muster the heart
to stretch to the edge of what beckons you
is your ticket to ride.
This is what you are for.
Your cellular capacity to imagine —
unbound —
is a subversive technology,
altering
every thing
through an evolutionary,
fractal spin,
juicy with
elemental creativity.
Dangerous.
This is what you are for.
Let your self be
claimed
by darkly-feathered
unchained hands,
servants on a mission,
come to take you
hard
down to the wet caves
of what flushes your delicate skin,
dampens your palms,
wakes you like a raging
dream
into shimmering
forces
unknown.
Here, you will know
you have no choice.
Finally
free,
you submit
to the way that has called you
before speech.
This is what you are for.
Let this Trouble
take you
to your knees.
With your sweaty, full attention,
wrapped in the limbs of the sacred,
kiss
the plump, pink lips
of your tender
soul.
But wait.
This is not about you.
You are being used.
By every thing.
This is what you are for.
Now, draw into
your being
the throb
of the one way of belonging
that is yours to make matter.
This is what you are for.
The broken-hearted,
glistening hum of
your taut, tangled
body will give
off a fragrant, unruly
intelligence beyond the Machine’s measure
of right, wrong, reason.
This is what you are for.
Have you come here to make Trouble
for Assurances and Security?
For Greed and Convention?
For Routine and Predictability?
For Comfort?
Good.
Those are the Killers of
what you are for.
The planet is
erupting with
Uncomfortable.
The earth is writhing in pain.
Feel her suffering in your blood, your bowels, and
you will know what you are for.
Taste compassion for the sacrificed,
the slaughtered and
you will love like the Milky Way.
Shatter your old ways, and
show me how
your soul blushes
alive with arousal.
This is what you are for.
Be an unpopular harbinger,
an endangered one;
a tender, firmly sprouted
sentinel of
the rhizome of archaic revival.
Do not take a seat.
She is ready for you.
The soul of the world
will see you now.
What have you come to give her?

There is a Gold Light in Certain Old Paintings
Donald Justice
I
There is a gold light in certain old paintings
That represents a diffusion of sunlight.
It is like happiness, when we are happy.
It comes from everywhere and nowhere at once, this light,
And the poor soldiers sprawled at the foot of the cross
Share in its charity equally with the cross.
II
Orpheus hesitated beside the black river.
With so much to look forward to he looked back.
We think he sang then, but the song is lost.
At least he had seen once more the beloved back.
I say the song went this way: O prolong
Now the sorrow if that is all there is to prolong.
II
The world is very dusty, uncle. Let us work.
One day the sickness shall pass from the earth for good.
The orchard will bloom; someone will play the guitar.
Our work will be seen as strong and clean and good.
And all that we suffered through having existed
Shall be forgotten as though it had never existed.

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
– Henry Longfellow

I like for you to be still
It is as though you were absent
And you hear me from far away
And my voice does not touch you
It seems as though your eyes had flown away
And it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth
As all things are filled with my soul
You emerge from the things
Filled with my soul
You are like my soul
A butterfly of dream
And you are like the word: Melancholy

I like for you to be still
And you seem far away
It sounds as though you are lamenting
A butterfly cooing like a dove
And you hear me from far away
And my voice does not reach you
Let me come to be still in your silence
And let me talk to you with your silence
That is bright as a lamp
Simple, as a ring
You are like the night
With its stillness and constellations
Your silence is that of a star
As remote and candid

I like for you to be still
It is as though you are absent
Distant and full of sorrow
So you would’ve died
One word then, One smile is enough
And I’m happy;
Happy that it’s not true

– Pablo Neruda

These nights are gifts
our hands unwrapping the darkness
to see what we have.
– Carol Ann Duffy, December

And the night smells like
snow.
Walking home for a
moment
you almost believe you
could start again.
And an intense love
rushes to your heart,
and hope. It’s
unendurable, unendurable.
– Franz Wright

… the heart slips backward, remembering, remembering.
– Anne Sexton

I believe in the soul. I can’t tell you what it is, but I can feel it, it’s a sort of a presence and sometimes it vibrates very strongly. Years ago someone told me that Flaubert said the objects we are drawn to are not haphazard, they are material expressions of something intangible but vital that our soul wishes to bring to our attention, they are clues, in other words, and we should decipher them as such.
– Claire-Louise Bennet

However this much I know: dissatisfaction with one’s self, and dissatisfaction with the world, is necessary–it is one of the prime things that keep the artist going on–that drives him [or her]–happiness, as such, must come in between times, as best it can.
– Clarence John Laughlin

One Last Thing
by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Let us lace our words with light—

the fragrant light we carry in our flesh.

Even the darkest words can be said

with light, can be spoken with a seam

of radiance, spoken as if the whole world

depends on us finding that inner shine

and sharing it.

Real seeing requires a flair for the unseen; real listening, a flair for the unspoken.
– Dennis Lewis

A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination.
– Percy Bysshe Shelley

When thinking leads to the unthinkable, it is time to return to simple life. What thinking cannot solve, life solves, and what action never decides is reserved for thinking. If I ascend to the highest and most difficult on the one hand, and seek to eke out redemption that reaches even higher, then the true way does not lead upward, but towards the depths, since only my other leads me beyond myself. But acceptance of the other means a descent into the opposite, from seriousness into the laughable, from suffering into the cheerful, from the beautiful into the ugly , from the pure into the impure.
– C. G. Jung

where I listened
.
in the weave of her voices
was the weeping of women,
whose babies had grown
into wasted lost men –

in the thrum of her hearts
I heard waterful laughter,
bubbling everywhere
up from the earth,

falling forever
on time-tempered jewels,

sculpting the planet
with giggling chisels –

in her touch,

through her hands

I felt millions of children,

yearning through time
for loving withheld,

and showers of magic
calmed my furious waters,

heartstorms forgotten, bestilled –

in her feminine heaven
slow petals unfurling

opened and offered their ovum to angels –

in the morning her heart
had the sun shining through it,

and all women were with me,

in that place where I listened

– E.M.

For this work, rely on venerable Nature because from Her and through Her and in Her is our art born and in naught else; and so our way, our “magisterium,” is the work of Nature and not the invention of the worker.
– Rosarium Philosophorum (Rose Garden of the Philosophers), 16th-century alchemical text

The Apple Tree
Wendell Berry
In the essential prose
of things, the apple tree
stands up, emphatic
among the accidents
of the afternoon, solvent,
not to be denied.
The grass has been cut
down, carefully
to leave the orange
poppies still in bloom;
the tree stands up
in the odor of the grass
drying. The forked
trunk and branches are
also a kind of necessary
prose–shingled with leaves,
pigment and song
imposed on the blunt
lineaments of fact, a foliage
of small birds among them.
The tree lifts itself up
in the garden, the
clutter of its green
leaves halving the light,
stating the unalterable
congruity and form
of its casual growth;
the crimson finches appear
and disappear, singing
among the design.

What the kitchen witch said

Begin at the tips: the tops
of stems erecting
their cities in the blue spring.
Things have to be clipped
at the seed-head, at the bud:
like witches,
plants must be kept down.
Correct the bolt,
unpick the stalk –
parch it to a wand
on the hot sill –
twist off the stamen,
wash its peppery stain
from your hands.
Save the blooms.

If you’re not on your knees,
you should be: level
with deadhead and bee-path
in the garden’s stained-glass
nave. See how the earth
made you; the way
it laid fat tears of rain
in the Lady’s Mantle.
Everything damp: cut
any plant and it will bleed.
Your lungs are like two
charmed hands, open
to the stink of sage,
to dill, the clean
bright peal of mint.

To seal the charm, you dig.
First a seed dib, then a pothole,
soon a pit. This
is the part where you get
what you want:
the things you’ve wasted,
lost. First, roots,
their shapes like tongues
and hands cut off.
The small, brown teeth
of seed. Keep
going: pull back
the curtains of soil,
put down the strong,
white ladders of your hands.

Hit the shocked
mirror of water,
and go on.
Hit bedrock, break it,
get buried alive.
It’s there alright:
a land that has
yet to be mapped,
a darkness unlit,
a nation not yet brought
before your good,
clean God.
Keep going. I know
that if anyone can take it,
it is you.

my heart a white flag lost among the snowdrifts.
– Deborah Digges

Chogyam Trungpa ~ We do not have to be ashamed of what we are. As sentient beings we have wonderful backgrounds. These backgrounds may not be particularly enlightened or peaceful or intelligent. Nevertheless, we have soil good enough to cultivate; we can plant anything in it ~ The Sanity We Are Born With: A Buddhist Approach to Psychology

Will you use your voice to seek advantages for yourself? Or will you use your voice to bear witness to the truth? Will you use your eyes to delight in beautiful things? Or will you use your eyes to see the suffering of the poor and oppressed?
– Peter Capofreddi

Will you use your voice to seek advantages for yourself? Or will you use your voice to bear witness to the truth? Will you use your eyes to delight in beautiful things? Or will you use your eyes to see the suffering of the poor and oppressed?
– Peter Capofreddi

Making things well is more important than making them.
– Antonio Machado

Inside every orator of our time there is always a clumsy journalist. The important thing is to speak well: with liveliness, thought, and grace. The rest will be given us as a gift.
– Antonio Machado

One could say that “the world” exerts tremendous pressure on the psyche, collective opinion terrorizes the soul; the demands of the world obsess the pysche, and the world and its attractions offer to use up all the time available. Each person needs then, early on, to go inside, far enough inside to water the plants, awaken the animals, become friends with the desires, and sense what Machado calls “the living pulse of the spirit,” start the fire in the hearth, and close the door so that what is inside us has sufficient power to hold its own against the forces longing to invade.
– Antonio Machado

Now I am quietly waiting for / the catastrophe of my personality / to seem beautiful again, / and interesting, and modern.
– Frank O’Hara

Remember the landscape of your birth. Love your body and its memory of this place. Know true north and follow the red cord of passion. Listen to tree talk, water words, the voice of raven and hummingbird, and trust these at least as much as human speech. When the trees drop their leaves, let go of all you have outgrown. When the earth lies cold and still, rest. Blossom in season. When they tell you that you must kill for your country, or pay for the killing, talk back. Be faithful to what you love. Celebrate beauty every day.
– Lorraine Anderson

Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.
– Edna St. Vincent Millay

When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep.
Praise God for those two insomnias!
And the difference between them.
– Rumi

Three points for an authentic spiritual practice:
1) You need some shut up time. If you’re making noise all the time it is hard to pay attention, hard to notice the lessons and the lesson.
2) You need some regularity. Doing it once might open your heart and eyes. Has happened. But most of us need to return and return and return.
3) You need someone to check you. The brain is a great liar. We tell ourselves all sorts of stories about what we need and deserve, only some of which are true. Also along the spiritual way we have lots of experiences. Mostly of limited or actually no value on the way. Someone who has walked the way before you, who you have some trust in, and who is willing to say the hard truth now and again, is worth their weight in gold.
– James Ford

Young men, don’t put your trust
into the trials of flight,
into the hot and quick.
All things already rest:
darkness and morning light,
flower and book.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

When profound delicateness meets profound delicateness, with almost nothing happening, everything that matters most is happening: the exquisiteness of meeting.
– John de Ruiter

Chogyam Trungpa ~ The practice of meditation is a way of unmasking ourselves, our deceptions of all kinds, and also the practice of meditation is a way of bringing out the subtleties of intelligence that exist within us. ~ The Path Is The Goal.

We wanted to unite all the people who were writers, who were musicians, who were artists, to demonstrate that the West and the United States was devoted to freedom of expression and to intellectual achievement, without any rigid barriers as to what you must write, and what you must say, and what you must do, and what you must paint, which was what was going on in the Soviet Union. I think it was the most important division that the agency had, and I think that it played an enormous role in the Cold War.
– Tom Braden (Internal Organisations Division, CIA)

What’s it like to lose your only comrade
what’s it like on that side of the screen
what comes in with the whisper of the morning
when the signal from the highlands comes in clean
lift your eyes
find a voice
tell the truth
make a choice
announce it is not as it may seem
only then will a spirit touch you lightly
and tell you you’re the keeper of the dream
there’s a sound at the highest point in reason
then a flash to figure out how far
there are ways to navigate your freedom
the angle that matches to your star
take it down
please believe there is more to perceive
in the darkest hour of fear
the secrets born into your story
understand an epiphany waits near
there are hearts you don’t even know can hear you
watching out, keeping safety prayers alive
there are minds who can touch you over distance
walk your dreams with a sacred loving drive
lift your eyes
find a voice
tell the truth
make a choice
sing out what you mean
in the seed of your deepest inspiration
remember you’re the keeper of the dream
– Amy Marie Keller

The ancients mirrored nature to find their wholeness, and that is what we need to do to find ours as well. When we move closer to wholeness, we feel stronger about who we are, we know better what we love, and how best to offer that in service to the world…
– Valerie Shively

I am not an advocate of suffering to become the best version of yourself. The best version of yourself is healthy and happy. The best version of yourself loves to be active, play in the sunshine, and create beautiful, wholesome meals.
– Mark Hyman, MD

ours is a beloved world
a sacred blessing and gift beyond ideology
ineffably beautiful
truly mysterious
not fully comprehended
everything cooked from the same kitchen of creation
inexorably powerful
a mother, a destroyer
we’re all born of her womb
and ineluctably returned to her bosom at graduation
welcome to the living and dying mystery we call
this life
– unknown

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…
– Dr. Seuss

The tasks that have been entrusted to us are often difficult. Almost everything that matters is difficult, and everything matters.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Solstice is a good time to resolve to be close to the rhythms of nature in the coming year—to learn from them how to be.
– Thomas Moore

In the point of rest at the center of our being, we encounter a world where all things are at rest in the same way. Then a tree becomes a mystery, a cloud a revelation, each man a cosmos of whose riches we can only catch glimpses. The life of simplicity is simple, but it opens to us a book in which we never get beyond the first syllable.
– Dag Hammarskjöld

So long as I have questions to which there are no answers, I shall go on writing.
– Clarice Lispector

Our ideas and opinions and words only matter in so far as they are in service of repairing the soul of the divine world. Otherwise, we are as lightly here and as insubstantial as snowflakes.
– Andrew Sweeny

I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life.
– Jean-Michel Basquiat

Somewhere In Space there’s music you haven’t heard yet, art you haven’t seen, people who want to meet you, & at least one better day coming.
– Brendan Myers

The River
Hardly a ghost left to talk with. The slavs moved on
or changed their names to something green. Greeks gave up
old dishes and slid into repose. Runs of salmon thin
and thin until a ripple in October might mean carp.
Huge mills bang and smoke. Day hangs thick with commerce
and my favorite home, always overgrown with roses,
collapsed like moral advice. Tugs still pound against
the outtide pour but real, running on some definite fuel.
I can’t dream anything, not some lovely woman
murdered in a shack, not saw mills going broke,
not even wild wine and a landslide though I knew both well.
The blood still begs direction home. This river points
the way north to the blood, the blue stars certain
in their swing, their fix. I pass the backwash where
the cattails still lean north, familiar grebes pop up,
the windchill is the same. And it comes back with the odor
of the river, some way I know the lonely sources
of despair break down from too much love. No matter
how this water fragments in the reeds, it rejoins
the river and the bright bay north receives it all,
new salmon on their way to open ocean,
the easy tub returned.
– Richard Hugo

Ravens Hiding in a Shoe
There is something men and women living in houses
Don’t understand. The old alchemists standing
Near their stoves hinted at it a thousand times.
Ravens at night hide in an old woman’s shoe.
A four-year-old speaks some ancient language.
We have lived our own death a thousand times.
Each sentence we speak to friends means the opposite
As well. Each time we say, “I trust in God,” it means
God has already abandoned us a thousand times.
Mothers again and again have knelt in church
In wartime asking God to protect their sons,
And their prayers were refused a thousand times.
The baby loon follows the mother’s sleek
Body for months. By the end of summer, she
Has dipped her head into Rainy Lake a thousand times.
Robert, you’ve wasted so much of your life
Sitting indoors to write poems. Would you
Do that again? I would, a thousand times.
– Robert Bly

If you are in shock at the loss of an illusion, remember that your former ignorance was not as good as you remember it.
– Thomas Moore

Thoreau’s disobedience is disobedience as refusal. I won’t live in your world. I will live as if your world has ended, as indeed it deserves to end. I will live as if my gesture of refusing your world has destroyed it.
– Curtis White

BEING A PERSON
Be a person here. Stand by the river, invoke
the owls. Invoke winter, then spring.
Let any season that wants to come here make its own
call. After that sound goes away, wait.
A slow bubble rises through the earth
and begins to include sky, stars, all space,
even the outracing, expanding thought.
Come back and hear the little sound again.
Suddenly this dream you are having matches
everyone’s dream, and the result is the world.
If a different call came there wouldn’t be any
world, or you, or the river, or the owls calling.
How you stand here is important. How you
listen for the next things to happen. How you breathe.
– William Stafford

How strange that the story is most true when it falls silent.
– David Hinton, Existence: A Story

Now I am the simple who rose up and lived; each day a blank, each night a catacomb.
– Ruth Stone

BENEDICTION
BY JOSEPH FASANO
Because it is still possible to whisper yes
another hour, wander out through wintering
awhile. Wade out through the deep snow
of the pastures, the lost ones in the small skiffs
of their shadows, the moon’s coins in the shallows
of their palms. Lie down on the frozen drum-skin
of the reservoir, in the immensities of the absences
of the grasses, in the perfect ignorance of the wind.
You have had to begin over. You have had
to empty your life of astonishing things,
to give up what the lost cannot be given.
You have had to hand your vengeance to the great
gods. Come, now: it is after
every hour. You have leaned down to your losses’
hearts like yearlings, their little shoes of iron
for the voyage. You have salvaged them in darkness
and done harm. Come, now: it is after
every after. In the lost’s songs, in this ruin
that has loosed you, be there to listen to it
happen: the winnowing, the wilder wings
departing, a radiance arriving
through night air. Be there
to listen to them open: the wild wings
in the cold air far above you, the doomed moon
in the tatters of her splendor, the story
in the winter’s bitter stars.
In the wind, in the bitter hands
of winter, be there to listen to it
whisper: the one word, the world’s song
you have not sung, the one song
you can only be, not sing of;
the one song in the night air,
in the high pines; its singing,
which, in winter, as it plays
you, as you play out through the fading
of the radiance, as your changing
takes its place among that radiance,
may have grace to make you almost what you are.

Real love is one that triumphs lastingly, sometimes painfully, over the hurdles erected by time, space and the world.
– Alan Baidou

Sweet love, renew thy force.
– Shakespeare

Ultimately, America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.
– Robert F. Kennedy

May we all grow in grace and peace,
and not neglect the silence that is printed
in the centre of our being.
It will not fail us.
– Thomas Merton

Very sensitive, creative people have experiences of an extraordinary nature. Their quiet and passive openness allows fine energy to enter them. They use this energy to produce great works of creative expression, but their mechanism may not be strong enough to take in this refined energy in quantity. It accumulates, until it becomes strong enough to tear them apart. It is possible to determine in an abstract way the creative potential of a human being as a function of their physical strength and sensitivity. Sensitivity allows them to absorb a refined energy; strength enables the integration of that refined energy into the physical structure. But neither is useful without the other.
– Rudi

Something that remained astonishing in this year of the greatest excitements, upheavals and disappointed expectations in his life was his capacity for concentration, his openness to intellectual matters, and the harmoniousness of style in his letters. There was in him a store of profound serenity – only poorly described by the word stoicism – that remained untouched by the awkward situations in which he found himself at that time and the upheavals designed to throw his existence off course.
– Erdmut Wizisla, Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht: The Story of a Friendship

ROBERT WRIGLEY
Arrowhead
to my children, an explanation of Idaho
Foolishness, to think it could be explained anymore
than Massachusetts or Maine. But know this:
that its boundaries, like theirs, are imaginary and political.
That it resembles Montana and spoons
its eastward front thereto is, in truth, mostly incorrect,
or that it imagines itself what it was,
which was, before it was, almost no one’s
but the ravens’, who outnumber its people
even today. What has come to be
known as Utah is a growth upon its rump,
or it is, upon Utah’s narrow head,
a tumor fed by methamphetamine, beer,
and The Church of Latter-day Saints.
That I have never known a Mormon
I did not like immensely, except certain senators.
This can be explained. It is history.
That Idaho has in its history elected
senators of considerable greatness,
but not for a long time, not, at least,
for most of my life here and none of yours.
That the state is an embarrassment and a joy.
It has been dragged into the century
before this one now well under way,
its notions of liberty circumscribed
by fearful ideas of stricture and malignity,
usually religious, which in this republic
have not, will not, and cannot be explained.
That its rivers are among the purest
and most beautiful in the same republic.
That it was established by the republic
it hardly seems to want to be a part of anymore.
That it has a town called Dixie
and a river called the Secesh, short
for secessionist, but also a Yankee Fork
of the Salmon, and that the Salmon is its greatest river,
named for a noble anadromous fish
most wild examples of which are gone from it.
That this is in part the fault of the republic
it once prided itself on belonging to.
That it is not universally but all too abundantly
racist. Neo-Nazis and Confederates
walk its occasional streets believing Hawaii
is a nation on the continent of Africa.
Its huckleberries are unparalleled,
its mountains spectacular, and deer
are its most numerous citizens.
Some of its human citizens would rather
deer vote than anyone who is not white.
That television was invented here,
for which the state will neither be given credit
nor forgiven. That at its least elevations
the temperature will reach 120 degrees
every summer, and at certain of its summits
the snow, until recently, never went away.
That its hot summer afternoons are indolent
and perfect, winter nights cold
and often ridiculous with stars. It lies
athwart the Rockies, it is desert and peak,
tundra and valley, prairie and canyon and forest.
Its beauty can afflict you like a virus.
That much of its populace is poor and that it is
determined to keep it that way. That it is
for sale and boasts more millionaires
per capita than any other state.
That its potatoes are peerless and most
Americans cannot place it on a map,
believing it must, like the other “I” states,
be Midwestern, and that is a good thing
in many ways. That its name means nothing
but scans the same as Illinois, where
I was born and one of you were,
which can be explained, though Illinois cannot.
That Idaho, like all the other states, is history
and toil, that massacres occurred here too.
That most of its people are kind,
like most people everywhere. That I have
for most of my life been in the employ of it
and been made to feel all the while
something very like an enemy of the state.
That for some reason I cannot leave,
though my own parents are aging or infirm
many miles away. This can be explained
but not to my own satisfaction. I feel filial guilt.
Two of you have happily left the state
already and the other aspires to. That of
the forty-two people named Robert Wrigley
in the republic, I am the only one in Idaho.
There are probably more Wrigleys in Chicago
than Johnsons in Idaho. That Chicago
cannot be explained. There are 242
Dick Johnsons in the nation, five in Idaho.
That the name Dick Johnson consists of two
euphemisms for penis, and that such
a diminutive as Dick, when your surname
is Johnson, can in this way be explained. That nothing’s
in a name and wild roses are even now
budding out everywhere around me. There is
a domestic rose called Crepuscule,
while these are wild and called Rosa woodsii. That one
of you is named Jordan, a name your mother,
when she was pregnant with you, spotted
on a lawyer’s office door
in Salmon, Idaho. That you are the only
Jordan Wrigley in the republic, that your
older brother is one of only five Philip Wrigleys
and that Philip Wrigley was one of the richest men
in the nation the year of my birth. As for Jace,
the youngest of you, he is the only one
anywhere—thus once you were all the only Philip, Jordan,
and Jace Wrigleys in Idaho, as I am the only Robert.
This can be explained, this too is history,
which, like the boundaries of Idaho,
is imaginary and political to the extent
that every polity is a political construct
and therefore imaginary, with the force of law.
That law is itself imaginary and if not
universally agreed upon nevertheless occasionally enforced.
There was, until overturned, a law forbidding
a man marrying another man here, or a woman
another woman. And there was once,
and not all that long ago, a law forbidding
the marriage of a Mormon to a non-Mormon,
also one forbidding the harvesting of fish
with electrical current or dynamite.
That this, all of it, can be explained.
There are cedar trees on this mountain
older than Chaucer and pine trees older than Whitman.
That the state, though it might claim otherwise,
does not care for schools and teachers.
That in its Platonic way, the state
also does not much care for poets,
and that in this regard it is like the others.
That the only true city in Idaho has a river with trout.
That the state’s trout should be foregone
for the trout of other places, and that this
is explainable and entirely selfish of me.
That sometimes the moon risen
over the mountain summit to the East
can bring me almost to tears. The most
beautiful place I have ever been is here,
and I would pinpoint it for you
but not in this particular document,
lest others, in light of my selfishness, should go there.
That I do not understand this impulse
to explain that which cannot be.
It is possible you might have been
better off, had you been raised elsewhere,
though I do not think this is true,
beyond certain measures economic and cultural.
There are things that cannot be explained
which are vastly superior to those that can.
This document is in some way my form of prayer,
and I pray most often to certain trees.
Seeing a mountain lion when you are alone
in the woods is a terrifying benediction.
I hope you remember the afternoon
we watched from our porch above the river
twelve bald eagles circling in the sky above us.
The sound of a wolf howling is a miracle
many in the state would exterminate.
That it seems I cannot help myself.
As one of you has said, living in the state
is like living in an abusive relationship:
there is always the hope it will get better.
A woman once said to your mother
raising children in this place is child abuse.
That we understand ourselves to be lucky somehow.
There is a place we hunted for arrowheads
and hunting for arrowheads is illegal.
We did not know this, and I found a white one..
We were lucky. A man came from upriver that day,
walking along to shore to reach us.
“How’s it going?” he asked, and I told him we were
hunting arrowheads and extended my hand,
the white one in my palm. He looked away,
out over the river. “Hunting arrowheads is illegal,”
he said. He said, “No, what you’re looking for is flint.”
That guns outnumber people here
is the pure product of America, which is crazy.
That allusions are how writers congratulate themselves.
Arrowheads are made of flint: quartz, obsidian,
jasper, or chert. That making an arrowhead
requires two tools, a hammerstone and a billet,
usually antler. Also enormous patience and skill.
There are likely thousands in that place along the river,
lost among chips, fragments, and pebbles.
Today I am in the little building I built
almost entirely by myself, though each of you
helped me some. That what I mean to say, is that
love is undertaken, and borne, that it is
beyond explanation and not worth living without.
A snail’s glister trail across a leaf
is a beauty that might be transmitted
but not explained. That I have met
every governor of the state since I’ve lived here,
save one, who was interim and is now
a senator, about whom the less I say the better
(cf: lines 15–20 above). That sometimes
when I’m fishing I understand a cutthroat trout
is more distinguished than any man
who ever lived, certainly me. That I am by turns
misanthropic and generous,
and this is something I might explain.
That I have been awakened in one-man tent
by the howl of a wolf, that I have been
awakened in a one-man tent by a bull moose
splashing in a mountain lake, that I have been
awakened in a one-man tent with a desperate
need to pee, and that soon I stood peeing
at the edge of camp and looked up to see
a bear risen manlike on its hind legs—
it seemed hypnotized by a swirl
of yellow butterflies just above its nose.
That it ran when it saw me there.
It leaped a fallen log as gracefully as a steeplechase
thoroughbred and made no sound at all.
That the central Idaho wilderness
is where God lives, which is to say, nobody.
That the central Idaho wilderness is larger
than many eastern states. That Connecticut
cannot be explained. Nor most especially
Rhode Island, not being an island at all.
That according to current actuarial charts,
I have just sixteen more years to live in Idaho.
That I have found a pound of morel mushrooms
this spring, and on one mushroom hunting trip
I also found a perfect whitetailed buck’s skull,
with smooth antlers not the least gnawed by mice,
and later on, in the same draw, I saw a doe lick the caul
from her newborn fawn until it rose
unsteadily and followed her into the brush.
That the Nimi’ipuu called this part of what is
now known as Idaho “Tat-Kin-Mah,” meaning
“place of the spotted deer.” That Tatkinmah
is also the name of the property owners’ association
of which I am a member in good standing.
This can be explained, it is meant
as homage, it is history. It is also
a species of historical rapaciousness
that makes me uneasy. That I like to walk
in the woods at night, because it is impossible
not to be a little frightened by the dark.
There are very few darknesses in the republic so deep
as those we may seek out and abide in here.
The man from the electric company
thought I was crazy, when I asked
that the dusk-to-dawn yard light be removed.
That by darkness I mean nothing metaphorical,
and that by metaphorical darkness I mean
such darkness as is universal, historical, and political.
Also that the measure by which I love hating money
is the obverse of how much I like having it.
That “In God We Trust” is on our currency
and this can only be explained ironically.
I do not know what liquidity has to do with money.
This is something I wish I could explain.
The song of the brown-headed cowbird
is sweet and liquid, and the many-noted
call of the meadowlark makes me entirely glad.
The bugle of a bull elk is ethereal,
and the scream of a mountain lion
primal, and once at a bar, given the choice
of being killed by a grizzly bear
or dying in a head-on collision, I said
bear, and this is explainable. I am now
recovered from such romantic nitwittery.
Your mother would rather sleep outdoors
than in, and that her elegance mystifies
those who know this mystifies me. That for me this is
only explainable in terms of Idaho.
That the female great horned owl’s hoo
is deeper and more masculine-sounding
than its mate’s. Years ago I glanced up
from a page to see out the window
a bald eagle, holding its place in the air,
in the midst of a snowstorm on the Clearwater.
It was most surely not the case it turned
to look at me, though it seemed to,
before it slanted and soared back down
to the river. Sometimes on my walks
along the shore, I used to lie next to the shallows,
just so that I could see how the current
in the middle was several feet above my head.
That I have killed a dozen rattlesnakes
for straying into the yard you played in,
and that I have skinned one and hung its skin
on the wall above my desk, for which I will not be forgiven.
Once I found a dead calf moose
so festooned with ticks it looked scaled
instead of furred. That I have found
nearly every animal in these parts dead, except the raven.
That I have imagined myself dead
in the woods and not been dismayed by the thought.
That, as you know, I collect bones
and make widgets and bird perches from them.
This spring there has been a raven
who likes to sit on the porch rail of my shack,
and I thought for quite a while
he was watching me, before I realized
it was his own reflection that fascinated him.
The fascination of birds is magical.
When the deer here are fatting up
in the fall, I can hear them chew
the withered, nutmeg-smelling dry blossoms
of the shrub called oceanspray.
That in winter I will often have an apple
with my lunch and toss the core
toward the usual two or three does
who take shelter in the thicket just west of the shack.
There are fewer people in this vast imaginary
polity than in the miniscule borough of Manhattan.
That all of this is meant as explanation of here,
this place, which is called Idaho, green and golden,
and I am in the mercy of its means.
Fern Hill Road is a scant twenty miles
from where I sit today, on Moscow Mountain,
and these few acres where I am are called mine,
upon which—I tried to count them once—
there are more than four hundred trees.
They are red fir, juniper, aspen, and hemlock,
but they are mostly yellow, or ponderosa, pine,
and the wind in this yellow pine forest
sounds oceanic though it’s miles from the nearest sea.
These yellow pines’ millions of needles
are reeds, they are literal woodwinds, a thousand-acre
weather-breathed bassoon. That it seems
what is most beloved in Idaho is what is also most resented:
that it is America, and American. This
too can be explained; it is history, which is political.
That everything American is political,
even its trees: the immense cedars older than Chaucer,
these hemlocks and pines. Seconds ago
an enormous crack of thunder came, though the sky here
is clear. The storm is out of sight,
north of the mountain, but as its hard wind comes on,
it sounds like no other wind in the world.
And that, my dears, may not be true, but it can be explained.
That unlike me the trees here know only here
and do not hear their music. The wind
is bound for Montana heedlessly
and without knowing how or why. The sky
is its apolitical upper state and one of its clouds
can weigh more than the mountain’s Chaucer-old cedar.
There is a mathematical formula
to calculate the weight of clouds, but there is no formula
to measure love (not even mine for you, though
it seems more than the planet itself) nor for this place,
where I have, as we say, put down roots.
Know that this is a metaphor, as the state, being both imaginary
and literal, is in some ways as well, in which case
Idaho is Idaho, its pan and handle, its forests and mountains,
its deserts and canyons and rivers,
its metaphorical backwardness and its literal encirclement
of the largest expanse of wild country
remaining in the lower republic: that this is why it is what it is,
and where you have each, in your time,
come of age, as I did too, but belatedly, a grown man,
midway through the first half of my life:
I’d fallen asleep on a long, flat shelf of stone on the edge
of a high mountain lake and awoke to see
three coyotes watching me, no more
than twenty feet away, wondering
if I might be dead or dying, probably hoping so.
I opened my eyes and there they were.
Wind riffled their fur, their black noses twitched.
When I lifted my head they ran away,
and when I rose to a sit I saw a trout seize a fly
from the surface of the shallows
just as the reflection of a many-tonned cloud passed
overhead. This is simply what happened,
but it may also be why. I fell asleep on that rock
because I was exhausted from the hike in.
I had never been so weary in my life before.
I was alone and very lonely, only one
of you was yet born and he was still a baby.
Nevertheless I vowed that you, then you, then you,
would see and know such things as these in your lives,
that they might be a counterweight
against the other, outer, imaginary and all-too-real
nowhere such a nowhere could survive in.
Just remember: that in another history, someone else was here.
That some mountain lakes and certain rivers
are hardly different now than then, when someone
shaped this perfect white arrowhead from quartz

Dust
by Dorianne Laux
Someone spoke to me last night,
told me the truth. Just a few words,
but I recognized it.
I knew I should make myself get up,
write it down, but it was late,
and I was exhausted from working
all day in the garden, moving rocks.
Now, I remember only the flavor —
not like food, sweet or sharp.
More like a fine powder, like dust.
And I wasn’t elated or frightened,
but simply rapt, aware.
That’s how it is sometimes —
God comes to your window,
all bright light and black wings,
and you’re just too tired to open it.

You’re searching, Joe, for things that don’t exist; I mean beginnings. Ends and beginnings – there are no such things. There are only middles.
– Robert Frost

Ode to Fire Ode to Heat
Half my wintertime life, or so it seems,
I spend standing beside our old Round
Oak stove—which stands at the center
of our house—hands behind my back,
resting on my butt, palms out, warmth
of the fire in the woodstove working its
way into my body. Then turn around and
bake the other side. Too hot? Just move
a step or two away. It’s so simple, easy.
And all you’ve got to do is work all year,
sweat and heave and groan
to make this little moment happen.
Oh, now I sing praises to a wood fire,
to the heat this smoky burning liberates,
the heat that keeps us warm all winter.
Oh, praise this primordial fire, praise heat
in its most basic form:
the blessed warmth that comes from
our old, wood burning, Round Oak stove.
– David Budbill

One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.
– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

I would wrestle with the dark angel until he dislocated my hip. For he is also the light and the blue sky which he withholds from me.
– Carl Jung

When You Return
Ellen Bass
Fallen leaves will climb back into trees.
Shards of the shattered vase will rise
and reassemble on the table.
Plastic raincoats will refold
into their flat envelopes. The egg,
bald yolk and its transparent halo,
slide back in the thin, calcium shell.
Curses will pour back into mouths,
letters un-write themselves, words
siphoned up into the pen. My gray hair
will darken and become the feathers
of a black swan. Bullets will snap
back into their chambers, the powder
tamped tight in brass casings. Borders
will disappear from maps. Rust
revert to oxygen and time. The fire
return to the log, the log to the tree,
the white root curled up
in the un-split seed. Birdsong will fly
into the lark’s lungs, answers
become questions again.
When you return, sweaters will unravel
and wool grow on the sheep.
Rock will go home to mountain, gold
to vein. Wine crushed into the grape,
oil pressed into the olive. Silk reeled in
to the spider’s belly. Night moths
tucked close into cocoons, ink drained
from the indigo tattoo. Diamonds
will be returned to coal, coal
to rotting ferns, rain to clouds, light
to stars sucked back and back
into one timeless point, the way it was
before the world was born,
that fresh, that whole, nothing
broken, nothing torn apart.

Love demands a complete inner transformation, for without this we cannot possibly come to identify ourselves with our [neighbors]. We have to become, in some sense, the person we love. And this involves a kind of death of our own being, our own self. No matter how hard we try, we resist this death: we fight back with anger, with recriminations, with demands, with ultimatums. We seek any convenient excuse to break off and give up the difficult task.
– THOMAS MERTON, THE WISDOM OF THE DESERT

The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love, passion.
– Nadia Boulanger

When you understand interconnectedness, it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying.
– Robert A. F. Thurman

It’s my way of trying to figure out why it’s so hard for people to be good to each other. I believe the problem is conditional as opposed to being something inherent in mankind. The media has affected everybody’s consciousness much more than most people will admit. Because of the media, the way the world is perceived is as a place where resources and time are running out. We’re taught that you have to grab what you can before it’s gone. It’s almost as if there isn’t time for compassion.
– George Michael, New York Times, September 16, 1990

Two Jungian Reflections on The Shadow:

Spiritual warriors accept the existence of The Shadow within their own psyche. It’s Jesus’ Lucifer. It’s Buddha’s Mara. These weren’t entities outside of their own minds. If you’re really working deeply with the path, you learn to make your Shadow an ally. You have to make room for it, learn its language, relate to it, learn from it. If you don’t, if you disavow it, it will become a bull in the china shop of your outward life. The Shadow is juicy stuff. It’s a living reality that is part of you but you can only have a peripheral understanding of it. This is why paying attention to your dreams, writing your dreams down, working with your dreams, and bringing the insights of your dream-awareness into your daily life as a practiced second-attention might even save your life someday.
– Kuma-Sensei

The Shadow is a part that looks like you. It’s shaped like you. It has your shape. Your friends can see it but you can’t. It’s quite small at noon. It gets longer during the day. Often by 5pm or 6pm your Shadow is really quite wild, and you’re ready to fight anybody. At night, it becomes so big and so long you become your Shadow. So, there’s a sunlit part of you and that’s what we prefer to be. That’s what we call ‘I’. I like roses. I like you. That’s the Sunlit One. After sunset, it’s up for grabs as to which one you are. By midnight, it’s clear. The sunlit part of you, the one you’re so proud of, is so exhausted by lying all day it has to go to sleep. It’s been trying to put up this front that you’ve been asking it to put up all day, it can’t do it anymore. It falls asleep. At night, then, the Shadow creates the dreams. It corrects your daytime intelligence. You see, your Nighttime Person overhears what your Daytime Person says. If you’re New Agey and overly optimistic, the Shadow has a helluva lot of work to do at night. There are two things that are quite interesting about Zen masters, men and women, who reach 60 and 65 and a certain level. They don’t defend themselves anymore. They just laugh. And, they don’t dream. They have ceased telling these optimistic lies during the daytime, so there is nothing to correct at night.
– Robert Bly, excerpts from The Shadow

I, who even as a child had been so distrustful of music (not because it took me out of myself more powerfully than anything else, but because I had noticed that it did not put me back where it had found me, but left me deeper down, somewhere in the heart of things unfinished.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

My poems are more my silence than my speech. Just as music is a kind of quiet. Sounds are needed only to unveil the various layers of silence.
– Anna Kamieńska

All that was needed was
a series of victories over
your own memory.
– George Orwell

To gain your own voice you have to forget about having it heard. Become a saint of your own province and your own consciousness.
– Allen Ginsberg

We name us and then we are lost, tamed
I choose words, more words, to cure the tameness, not the wildness.
– Alice Notley

Here’s to the mountain,
here’s to the sky,
here’s to the who
and the what, and the why
– Wendy Videlock

That the interior landscape is a metaphorical representation of the exterior landscape, that the truth reveals itself most fully not in dogma but in the paradox, irony, and contradictions that distinguish compelling narratives – beyond this there are only failures of imagination: reductionism in science; fundamentalism in religion; fascism in politics.
– Barry Lopez, Crossing Open Ground

We are so attached to our way of life that we turn down wonderful opportunities simply because don’t know what to do.
– Paulo Coelho

I always wrote. I wrote from when I was 12. That was therapeutic for me in those days. I wrote things to get them out of feeling them, and onto paper. So writi…ng in a way saved me, kept me company. I did the traditional thing with falling in love with words, reading books and underlining lines I liked and words I didn’t know.
– Carrie Fisher

It’s the children whom the world almost breaks, that grow up to save it.
– Raymond Reddington

This old Chippewa I know – he’s about seventy-five years old – said to me, “Did you know that there are people who don’t know that every tree is different from every other tree?” This amazed him. Or don’t know that a nation has a soul as well as a history, or that the ground has ghosts that stay in one area. All this is true, but why are people incapable of ascribing to the natural world the kind of mystery that they think they are somehow deserving of but have never reached?
– Jim Harrison

Listen—something else hovers out here, not
color, not outlines or depth when air
relieves distance by hazing far mountains,
but some total feeling or other world
almost coming forward, like when a bell sounds
and then leaves the whole countryside waiting.
– William Stafford, closing strophe to “Is This Feeling About the West Real?”

To all appearances, the artist acts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out to a clearing.
– Marcel Duchamp

This is where we are at right now, as a whole. No one is left out of the loop. We are experiencing a reality based on a thin veneer of lies and illusions. A world where greed is our God and wisdom is sin, where division is key and unity is fantasy, where the ego-driven cleverness of the mind is praised, rather than the intelligence of the heart.
– Bill Hicks

I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me – shapes and ideas so near to me – so natural to my way of being and thinking… I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.
– Georgia O’Keeffe

If you want your dreams to come true, don’t oversleep.
– Yiddish Proverb

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots…
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
– Mary Oliver

I think it is very important not just to wait for the external buddhas and teachers. We also need to understand that we have an inner Buddha or an inner teache…r. That means we need to be the ones who make the effort. We need to create the opportunities, or produce the good energy, without always waiting for someone to arrive and intervene from the outside. I think it is very important to produce this by yourself, because, actually, you are the Buddha. Not such an effective buddha, perhaps, but… a buddha, a small Buddha. Our Buddha is like a child, not yet grown up enough to do more, so we need to nurture our inner Buddha, our child Buddha.
– Karmapa

Even when hatred burns hottest and the tug of tribalism is at the most primal, we must resist the urge to turn in. We must resist the urge to demonize those who are different. The sacrifice made here, the angst of war, reminds us to seek the divine spark that is common to all humanity.
– President Obama, Pearl Harbor Memorial with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. December 27, 2016.

Freedom of the heart is not found by looking up , it is right here – woven beneath our feet.
– Thomas Merton

Your breakthrough begins where your excuses end.
– Anon

Perhaps the history of the errors of mankind, all things considered, is more valuable and interesting than that of their discoveries. Truth is uniform and narrow; it constantly exists, and does not seem to require so much an active energy, as a passive aptitude of the soul in order to encounter it. But error is endlessly diversified; it has no reality, but is the pure and simple creation of the mind that invents it. In this field the soul has room enough to expand herself, to display all her boundless faculties, and all her beautiful and interesting extravagancies and absurdities.
– Benjamin Franklin

Rough as the road ahead is likely to be, we need to lead with joy and optimism. The first job of activists is to inspire people. Winning or losing is not all that’s at stake. The key to victory lies in how we answer the question of who we will become in the process of struggle.
– Scot Nakagawa

It has been my experience that the one that families call the “crazy one” is often the sane one. This is particularly true in very dysfunctional families where ideas of healthy functioning are turned upside down. In these families, members often repress their authentic feelings and turn against anyone who reminds them of their unresolved issues and patterns. As a result, the truth-speakers, the ones who refuse to contain their feelings, those who challenge and humanize the toxic status quo, are often scapegoated and vilified, made to feel crazy by those who lack the courage and insight to see beyond the family’s madness. If you have been labeled the ‘crazy one’, take heart. You are truly not alone. Most great creators and paradigm shifters were met with fiery resistance by those afraid to grow. Whatever you do, do not allow your voice to fade away in the face of their messaging. Your voice, your vision, your ways of being, live at the heart of your unique soul’s journey and are the key to collective transformation. No one has the right to bury them under a bushel of shame. No one! And remember- what is crazy to an unconscious person is often brilliantly sane to one who is awakening. Without you, we are lost. Blessed be the ‘crazy’ ones!
– Jeff Brown

Relationship is not a project, it is a grace. The difference between these two is infinite, and since our culture prefers to make everything in life a project, to be accomplished with effort and understanding, to be judged pure failure when it doesn’t arrive at an expected conclusion, it is not easy for us to treat intimacy as grace… The soulful relationship asks to be honored for what it is, not for what we wish it could be. It has little to do with our intentions, expectations, and moral requirements. It has the potential to lead us into the mysteries that expand our hearts and transform our thoughts, but it can’t do that when our primary interest is in pursuing our cherished ideologies of love, family, marriage, and community.
– Thomas Moore

Look carefully around you and recognize the luminosity of souls. Sit beside those who draw you to that.
– Rumi

Let no young man delay the study of philosophy, and let no old man become weary of it; for it is never too early nor too late to care for the well-being of the soul.
– Epicurus

All of our karma has to be met. And yet, no one is given more than it can bear to carry. We are given the time we need to turn away from selfish ways and return home like the prodigal son. Reincarnation is not a way to avoid responsibility. It is a way to allow us enough time to correct our mistakes.
– Edgar Cayce

Until you can admit you’re part of the problem, no solution you propose will be worthwhile.
– Brad Warner

William Stafford: Cutting Loose
for James Dickey

Sometimes from sorrow, for no reason,
you sing. For no reason, you accept
the way of being lost, cutting loose from
all else and electing a world
where you go where you want to.

Arbitrary, sound comes, a reminder
that a steady center is holding
all else. If you listen, that sound
will tell where it is, and you
can slide your way past trouble.

Certain twisted monsters
always bar the path—but that’s when
you get going best, glad to be
lost, learning how real it is
here on the earth, again and again.

The New Song
W. S. Merwin
For some time I thought there was time
and that there would always be time
for what I had a mind to do
and what I could imagine
going back to and finding it
as I had found it the first time
but by this time I do not know
what I thought when I thought back then
there is no time yet it grows less
there is the sound of rain at night
arriving unknown in the leaves
once without before or after
then I hear the thrush waking
at daybreak singing the new song

Like dreams, myths are productions of the human imagination. Their images, consequently––though derived from the material world and its supposed history––are, like dreams, revelations of the deepest hopes, desires and fears, potentialities and conflicts, of the human will––which in turn is moved by the energies of the organs of the body operating variously against each other and in concert. Every myth, that is to say, whether or not by intention, is psychologically symbolic. Its narratives and images are to be read, therefore, not literally, but as metaphors.
– Joseph Campbell

A spirit that lives in this world
And does not wear the shirt of love,
Such an existence is a deep disgrace.

Be foolish in love,
Because love is all there is.

There is no way into presence
Except through a love exchange.

If someone asks, But what is love?
Answer, Dissolving the will.

True freedom comes to those
Who have escaped the questions
Of freewill and fate.

Love is an emperor.
The two worlds play across him.
He barely notices their tumbling game.

Love and lover live in eternity.
Other desires are substitutes
For that way of being.

How long to you lay embracing a corpse?
Love rather the soul, which cannot be held.

Anything born in the spring dies in the fall,
But love is not seasonal.

With wine pressed from grapes,
Expect a hangover.

But this love path has no expectations.
You are uneasy riding the body?
Dismount. Travel lighter.
Wings will be given.

Be clear like a mirror
Reflecting nothing.

Be clean of pictures and the worry
That comes with images.

Gaze into what is not ashamed
Or afraid of any truth.

Contain all human faces in your own
Without any judgement of them.

Be pure emptiness.
What us inside that? You ask.
Silence is all I can say.

Lovers have some secrets
That they keep.

– Rumi

Somebody once told me the definition of hell:
On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.
– Anonymous

Dreams give you a glimpse into your myth, your life collapsed into now, a picture of where your soul is tonight.
– Thomas Moore

For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, that color of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away. The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go.
– Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

We come into human form so open, so trusting, so vulnerable. And then we shut down to stay alive. And then we confuse our adaptations with our authenticity, our armour sticking to us like crazy glue. As complex as the process of de-armouring is, in a way it’s quite simple. We are just trying to open again. We are just trying to surrender to who we really are. This is the work of all truth-speakers and heart-lifters- to remind us of our misplaced magnificence, to raise our authenticity to the rafters of consciousness, to get real again. May we continue to support this intention in each other long after the clock strikes 12. Joy to the inner world!
– Jeff Brown

The Winter to Be-
Many steps the journey
From Joshua to Ponderosa
It is at times, an arduous path
I reform my attachments
The sorrow of detachment
How strong must be the bonds
To hold the hands of my blood
And walk to the mountain.
Knowing there will be a deep snow.
Everyone must pass fully through each his own Liberation Gate.
To read these lines is to meet me on this path.
Am I a familiar face or a faceless stranger?
We will always know one another.
– Prabhasa Muktika

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.
– Blaise Pascal

A commitment to ethics begins with recognizing that everything we do makes waves. These waves begin in body, speech, and mind, and ripple through our lives and the lives of those around us. Although we often think of ethics as rules, choosing an ethical way of life is also an expression of deep interconnectedness.
– Michael Stone

A single word can brighten the face
of one who knows the value of words.
Ripened in silence, a single word
acquires a great energy for work.

War is cut short by a word,
and a word heals the wounds,
and there’s a word that changes
poison into butter and honey.

Let a word mature inside yourself.
Withhold the unripened thought.
Come and understand the kind of word
that reduces money and riches to dust.

Know when to speak a word
and when not to speak at all.
A single word turns the universe of hell
into eight paradises.

Follow the Way. Don’t be fooled
by what you already know. Be watchful.
Reflect before you speak.
A foolish mouth can brand your soul.

Yunus, say one last thing
about the power of words —
Only the word “I”
divides me from God.

– Yunus Emre

A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.
– Crazy Horse

The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
– Joseph Addison

It only takes one person to start a culture of sanity, and the language used is one of open-hearted bravery.
– doña Río de Gracian

Consider the lilies of the field,
the blue banks of camas
opening into acres of sky along the road.
Would the longing to lie down
and be washed by that beauty

abate if you knew their usefulness,

how the natives ground their bulbs

for flour, how the settlers’ hogs

uprooted them, grunting in gleeful

oblivion as the flowers fell?
And you – what of your rushed
and useful life? Imagine setting it all down –
papers, plans, appointments, everything –
leaving only a note: “Gone
to the fields to be lovely. Be back
when I’m through with blooming…
– Lynn Ungar

The heart has its own needs that may not fit neatly with life’s structures. Move slowly, thoughtfully, with imagination.
– Thomas Moore

You’ll never find rainbows If you’re looking down.
– Charlie Chaplin

For a limited time: the poet, who wants to stay true to that principle of freedom that announces itself in the rhyme, now has to turn his back to the rhyme. Away from the border — or across it, off into the borderless!
– Paul Celan

To those who do not know the world is on fire, I have nothing to say.
– Bertolt Brecht

It may be the nature of the state to rule and to contain its patriots, but it is not the nature of the writer to be ruled. And our imagination must have no limits.
– Toni Morrison, 1986 PEN Congress event, Alienation and the State, Part I

I want to taste the glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

There are three lessons I would write-
Three words, as with a burning pen,
In tracings of eternal light,
Upon the heart of men.

Have hope! though clouds environ round,
And gladness hides her face in scorn,
Put thou the shadow from thy brow,
No night but hath its morn.

Have love! not love alone for one,
But man as man thy brother call,
And scatter like the circling sun,
Thy charities on all.
– Friedrich Schiller

In 1993, Toni Morrison, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, delivered her acceptance speech at the Nobel ceremony in Stockholm. “For our sake and yours,” she implored her audience, “forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light.”

I thank You God for most this amazing
by E.E. Cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

they need your time –

your un-distracted time –

your dogs – your horses –



your animals –

so often – too often –

no matter how sweet the special moments,

we disconnect from these good hearts

that love us so well –

these hearts so full of ready play

and childy-doggy-happy wishes –

love that knows no boundary –

pure and kind as honey –

remember how big they are –

how big their hearts –

they need, your heart –

the real one –

and you –

you need theirs —

– E.M.

You might say a poem is a semicolon, a living semicolon, what connects the first line to the last, the act of keeping together that whose nature is to fly apart. Between the first and last lines there exists–a poem–and if it were not for the poem that intervenes, the first and last lines of a poem would not speak to each other.

Would not speak to each other. Because the lines of a poem are speaking to each other, not you to them or they to you.
– Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack and Honey

The books may not sell, but neither are they given away or thrown away. They tend, more than other books, to fall apart in their owners’ hands. Not I suppose good news in a culture and economy built on obsolescence. But for a book to be loved this way and turned to this way for consolation and intense renewable excitement seems to me a marvel.
– Louise Gluck

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.
– Mary Oliver

That we are no longer this poor little stranger and afraid in a world it never made. But that you are this universe and you are creating it in every moment… Because you see it starts now, it didn’t begin in the past, there was no past. See, if the universe began in the past when that happened it was now; see, but it’s still now — and the universe is still beginning now, and it’s trailing off like the wake of a ship from now, and that wake fades out so does the past. You can look back there to explain things, but the explanation disappears. You’ll never find it there… Things are not explained by the past, they are explained by what Happens Now. That Creates the past, and it begins here… That’s the birth of responsibility…
– Alan Watts

Keeping Things Whole
by Mark Strand

In a field
I am the absence…
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

Convalescing
by Jack Gilbert
I spend the days deciding
on a commemorative poem….
Not, luckily, an epitaph.
A quiet poem
to establish the fact of me.
As one of the incidental faces
in those stone processions.
Carefully done.
Not claiming that I was
at any of the great victories.
But that I volunteered.

There’s nothing to hold onto but friendship.
– Hafez

Aesthetics demands hiddenness and rewards it, ethics demands disclosure and punishes hiddenness.
– Paul Celan

It is in troubled times that it becomes most important to remember that the wonder of life places the medicine of the Self near where the poison dwells. The gifts always lie near the wounds, the remedies are often made from poisonous substances, and love often appears when deep losses become acknowledged.
– Michael Meade

Reality Rules. What is, is here, right now, whether you like it or not.

The question is, do you have the power to invite what is – in the next moment, or are you a victim to life in every moment?

Do you get to contribute to the next now, or is it always beyond your creation? You get to choose. what you live right now. What you choose to create with your vibration right now, invites the next moment, every moment, what you are holding and resisting is contributing to the next now.

Freedom comes when you let go on control. Freedom comes when you become open to your own inner greatness. Freedom comes when you feel the aliveness of what is really true for you in each moment. Then the next now, is what you are and what you invite, on purpose, and what you have co-created with the one source creator of all reality.

Reality rules. You are reality. You are choosing and co-creating with the force of life in each moment. Learn to resonate in your truth and this power will expand and grow in each new moment.

This is how we cultivate beauty with our life…
– Dustin Eliah

First fight. Then fiddle
(Gwendolyn Brooks, from The Womanhood, 1949)
First fight. Then fiddle. Ply the slipping string
With feathery sorcery; muzzle the note
With hurting love; the music that they wrote
Bewitch, bewilder. Qualify to sing
Threadwise. Devise no salt, no hempen thing
For the dear instrument to bear. Devote
The bow to silks and honey. Be remote
A while from malice and from murdering.
But first to arms, to armor. Carry hate
In front of you and harmony behind.
Be deaf to music and to beauty blind.
Win war. Rise bloody, maybe not too late
For having first to civilize a space
Wherein to play your violin with grace.

Incantation
(Czeslaw Milosz, 1968, trans. the author and Robert Pinsky)
Human reason is beautiful and invincible.
No bars, no barbed wire, no pulping of books,
No sentence of banishment can prevail against it.
It establishes the universal ideas in language,
And guides our hand so we write Truth and Justice
With capital letters, lie and oppression with small.
It puts what should be above things as they are,
It is an enemy of despair and a friend of hope.
It does not know Jew from Greek or slave from master,
Giving us the estate of the world to manage.
It saves austere and transparent phrases
From the filthy discord of tortured words.
It says that everything is new under the sun,
Opens the congealed fist of the past.
Beautiful and very young are Philo-Sophia
And poetry, her ally in the service of the good.
As late as yesterday Nature celebrated their birth,
The news was brought to the mountains by a unicorn and an echo,
Their friendship will be glorious, their time has no limit,
Their enemies have delivered themselves to destruction.

And I think that’s what our world is desperately in need of – lovers, people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people behind the issues they are concerned about.
– Shane Claiborne

There is no way to re-enchant our lives in a disenchanted culture except by becoming renegades from that culture and planting the seeds for a new one…. The enchanted person is a “mirror with a voice” giving an expression to the voice heard in nature and deep within the heart.
– Thomas Moore

Opening
When the breath
gets knocked out of you

breathe a deep breath
from the other world
that stands alongside
this one.

Your citizenship there
is fully intact.

Though there are forces
that seek to
revoke your access,
drown your light,
own and harness
what is true
and beautiful
and original in you,

they cannot quiet
the ancient whale songs
in your bones

they cannot tether your soul when she becomes
the dark-eyed falcon at dawn.

What enemy can defeat the stardust spinning in your cells?

What snake-oil salesman can deceive you with your Great Eye open?

Depart
the warm cocoon
of slumber.

Enter the cold air
of midnight darkness.

Wander for a time
as an exile if you must.

Even that is good for you.

But eventually
out on the edge of town
where followers of The Way master the art of leaving,
a choice will have to be made.

Turn your back
on the world of rust
and enter
the fertile darkness for good…

or turn back toward town
and seek out The One
who can help take off
your invisible bandages.

There is no wrong decision
even if you are presented
with another glowing apple
by the hand of Eve herself.
– F.O.

The Legend of Bees

You look for them everywhere you go
Every day
In every shop window or cafe that you pass…
Hoping you might catch sight of them
And they you
And that something might begin again
Every room you enter is missing them

May that part of your heart
Cracked open by all those who have gone
The ones you left behind or who left you
For another life, for other lovers, for other friends
Or for that distant land about which we would pay all we have for the rumour of a story
May that part of your heart that never seems to heal
And that you’re not sure you want healing to come to
May that bitter, sweet and fertile soil
Catch a seed in the wind
That couldn’t have landed had your heart been the still growing, beautiful and intact heart of youth

Unexpected

A flower of ecstatic beauty
The Sun’s reason for rising every morning to catch a glimpse of her
The cause of the Moon’s heartbreak in setting to lose sight of her
The cause of gentle breezes and the winds fight to be closer to her
The unexpected prize of your heart
Showering its seeds on all the broken hearts around you
As her roots make a basket to hold together
All that you’d lost the will to

May your heart be the flower bed
Of this wild one
This flowering face of beauty
The legend of bees
Spoken of in hushed whispers in their hives.
May you taste the honey they make of her flowers
Before you die
– Tad Hargrave

Everything about yesterday has gone with Yesterday
Today, it is needed to say New things
– Rumi

It is better to be unprepared or unable than to be afraid to be unprepared or unable.
– Stephen Jenkinson

Such is the way of influences, I suppose. They imprint themselves on our consciousness as light does a photograph, or trauma the psyche, then slowly seep into us, syncopate with our hearts’ beating like a disease or an incessant prayer. They become the blueprints from which we map our own works of art, our own narratives, our own heartbreaks.’
– Melissa Febos on why Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body is the best book of 1993.

To be a writer is to only live in this world some of the time.
– Robert Kaplan

I greet you from the other side of sorrow and despair
With a love so vast and shattered it will reach you everywhere.
– Leonard Cohen

Perfectly selfless, the beauty of it, the butterfly doesnt take it as a personal achievement, he just disappears through the trees. You too, kind and humble and not-even-here, it wasnt in a greedy mood that you saw the light that belongs to everybody.
– Jack Kerouac

Shantideva:
Whatever joy there is in this world
All comes from desiring others to be happy,
And whatever suffering there is in this world,
All comes from desiring myself to be happy.
But what need is there to say much more?
The childish work for their own benefit,
The Buddhas work for the benefit of others.

Dear Oblivion, I love
your old song. Let a spinning wheel be
my fireplace, the lit-up nerves of jellyfish
my universe. The greatest indication of truth
is laughter and maybe now I’m ready
to talk to my mother and father. This morning
I have the distinct impression my house
is about to crumble so let rubble be my crown.
Release the hound! What a joke, she’s about
a hundred years old and when you look into
her almost-no-one-home eyes, you come to a river
and when you come to that river, float.
– Dean Young
from How to Glow

TO THE NEW YEAR
With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible
– W. S. Merwin

Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.
– Göran Persson

Remember the Angels of Bread
by Martín Espada
This is the year that squatters evict landlords,
gazing like admirals from the rail
of the roofdeck
or levitating hands in praise
of steam in the shower;
this is the year
that shawled refugees deport judges
who stare at the floor
and their swollen feet
as files are stamped
with their destination;
this is the year that police revolvers,
stove-hot, blister the fingers
of raging cops,
and nightsticks splinter
in their palms;
this is the year that darkskinned men
lynched a century ago
return to sip coffee quietly
with the apologizing descendants
of their executioners.
This is the year that those
who swim the border’s undertow
and shiver in boxcars
are greeted with trumpets and drums
at the first railroad crossing
on the other side;
this is the year that the hands
pulling tomatoes from the vine
uproot the deed to the earth that sprouts
the vine,
the hands canning tomatoes
are named in the will
that owns the bedlam of the cannery;
this is the year that the eyes stinging from the poison that purifies toilets
awaken at last to the sight
of a rooster-loud hillside,
pilgrimage of immigrant birth; this is the year that cockroaches
become extinct, that no doctor
finds a roach embedded
in the ear of an infant;
this is the year that the food stamps
of adolescent mothers
are auctioned like gold doubloons,
and no coin is given to buy machetes
for the next bouquet of severed heads
in coffee plantation country.
If the abolition of slave-manacles
began as a vision of hands without manacles,then this is the year;
if the shutdown of extermination camps
began as imagination of a land
without barbed wire or the crematorum,
then this is the year;
if every rebellion begins with the idea
that conquerors on horsebackare not many-legged gods, that they too drown
if plunged in the river,
then this is the year.
So may every humiliated mouth,
teeth like desecrated headstones,
fill with the angels of bread.

…What I know
I could put into a pack
as if it were bread and cheese, and carry it
on one shoulder,
important and honorable, but so small!
While everything else continues, unexplained
and unexplainable. How wonderful it is
to follow a thought quietly
to its logical end.
I have done this a few times.
But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing
in and out. Life so far doesn’t have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.
If there’s a temple, I haven’t found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass
and the weeds.
– Mary Oliver

I exist in two places.
here, and where you are.
– Margaret Atwood

I’ll receive silence from you
as though it were a letter.
– Carole Satyamurti

My shadow has put me in my place.
– Roberto Juarroz

It’s an art as simple as drinking water
from a tin cup; of loving that moment
at the end of autumn, say, when the air
holds no more promises, and the days are short / and likely to be gray.
And there, just when you’re feeling your weakest, / it floods you completely,
leaving you weeping as you drive your car.
– Joe Salerno

NEW YEAR’S DAY
by Billy Collins

Everyone has two birthdays

according to the English essayist Charles Lamb,

the day you were born and New Year’s Day—
a droll observation to mull over
as I wait for the tea water to boil in a kitchen
that is being transformed by the morning light
into one of those brilliant rooms of Matisse.
“No one ever regarded the First of January
with indifference,” writes Lamb,
for unlike Groundhog Day or the feast of the Annunciation,
this one marks nothing but the passage of time,
I realized, as I lowered a tin diving bell
of tea leaves into a little body of roiling water.
I admit to regarding my own birthday
as the joyous anniversary of my existence
probably because I was, and remain
to this day in late December, an only child.
And as an only child–
a tea-sipping, toast-nibbling only child
in a colorful room this morning–
I would welcome an extra birthday,
one more opportunity to stop what we are doing
for a moment and reflect on my being here on earth.
And one more birthday might be a consolation
to us all for having to face a death-day, too,
an X in a square
on some kitchen calendar of the future,
the day when each of us is thrown off the train of time
by a burly, heartless conductor
as it roars through the months and years,
party hats, candles, confetti, and horoscopes
billowing up in the turbulent storm of its wake.

There’s a book of revelations in everyone’s life.
– Anne of Avonlea

Calm down, little brother,
Time heals all wounds.
No matter how much one is weeping,
The moon always follows the sun.

Eat your bananas and fresh leaves,
And don’t cry anymore,
Because forever and ever
The moon will follow the sun.
– Traditional poem/song from Congo

I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.
– Emily Dickinson

The world allured me & in an unguarded moment I listened to her siren voice. From that moment I seemed to lose interest in heavenly things. Friends reasoned with me & told me of the danger I was in. I felt my danger & was alarmed, but I had rambled too far to return & ever since my heart has been growing harder.”
– Emily Dickinson

But where is what I started for so long ago? And why is it yet unfound?
– Walt Whitman

No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the amplitude of time.
– Walt Whitman

When you reach the end of what you should know, you will be at the beginning of what you should sense.
– Kahlil Gibran

The reality of the other person lies not in what he reveals to you, but what he cannot reveal to you.
Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says, but rather to what he does not say.
– Kahlil Gibran

I am overcome by my own amazing sloth….Can you please forgive me and believe that it is really because I want to do something well that I don’t do it at all?
– Elizabeth Bishop

New Year’s Day
by Kim Addonizio
The rain this morning falls
on the last of the snow

and will wash it away. I can smell
the grass again, and the torn leaves
being eased down into the mud.
The few loves I’ve been allowed
to keep are still sleeping
on the West Coast. Here in Virginia
I walk across the fields with only
a few young cows for company.
Big-boned and shy,
they are like girls I remember
from junior high, who never
spoke, who kept their heads
lowered and their arms crossed against
their new breasts. Those girls
are nearly forty now. Like me,
they must sometimes stand
at a window late at night, looking out
on a silent backyard, at one
rusting lawn chair and the sheer walls
of other people’s houses.
They must lie down some afternoons
and cry hard for whoever used
to make them happiest,
and wonder how their lives
have carried them
this far without ever once
explaining anything. I don’t know
why I’m walking out here
with my coat darkening
and my boots sinking in, coming up
with a mild sucking sound
I like to hear. I don’t care
where those girls are now.
Whatever they’ve made of it
they can have. Today I want
to resolve nothing.
I only want to walk
a little longer in the cold
blessing of the rain,
and lift my face to it.

New Year
By Bei Dao
Translated by David Hinton
a child carrying flowers walks toward the new year…

a conductor tattooing darkness
listens to the shortest pause
hurry a lion into the cage of music
hurry stone to masquerade as a recluse
moving in parallel nights
who’s the visitor? when the days all
tip from nests and fly down roads
the book of failure grows boundless and deep
each and every moment’s a shortcut
I follow it through the meaning of the East
returning home, closing death’s door

I Broke the Spell That Held Me Long
by William Cullen Bryant
I broke the spell that held me long,
The dear, dear witchery of song.
I said, the poet’s idle lore
Shall waste my prime of years no more,
For Poetry, though heavenly born,
Consorts with poverty and scorn.

I broke the spell–nor deemed its power
Could fetter me another hour.
Ah, thoughtless! how could I forget
Its causes were around me yet?
For wheresoe’er I looked, the while,
Was Nature’s everlasting smile.

Still came and lingered on my sight
Of flowers and streams the bloom and light,
And glory of the stars and sun; –
And these and poetry are one.
They, ere the world had held me long,
Recalled me to the love of song.

Piano
by D. H. Lawrence
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

Sometimes a quote can wake us up to a truth. And I think that whenever we wake up to a truth it feels like we’re newly recognizing something, but in my experience what that usually means is it’s something that you already know. That maybe, for whatever reason, it hasn’t risen to the surface, you’ve denied it, or you want to pretend that isn’t the truth.”
– Cheryl Strayed

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
– Charles William Eliot

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
– James Taylor

The heart has its own needs that may not fit neatly with life’s structures. Move slowly, thoughtfully, with imagination.
– Thomas Moore

It’s not that I have a way with words; it’s that I have no way without them.
– Tony Tulathimutte

The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides.
– Jules Verne

Writing is an ongoing fascination and challenge, as well as being the only form of spirituality I can consistently practice. I started as a poet and will always return to poetry—both reading and writing it—for that sense of deep discovery and communion I find there. There are only two useful rules I can think of for aspiring writers: learn your craft, and persist. The rest, as Henry James said, is the madness of art.
– Kim Addonizio

Be careful, you are not in Wonderland. I’ve heard the strange madness long growing in your soul. But you are fortunate in your ignorance, in your isolation. You who have suffered, find where love hides. Give, share, lose—lest we die, unbloomed.
– Allen Ginsberg

You are what you think about all day.
– Allen Ginsberg

I believe that we are put here in human form to decipher the hieroglyphs of love and suffering. And, there is no degree of love or intensity of feeling that does not bring with it the possibility of a crippling hurt. But, it is a duty to take that risk and love without reserve or defense.
– Allen Ginsberg

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche ~ The human mind’s greatest potential is the ability to wake up, to free itself from ignorance and benefit beings. No one had to give you this ability; it is yours by virtue of your precious human birth- and the willingness to be present.

when you open your window late in the dark afternoon
(something i do sometimes as a sign of protest)
know that nothing at all will ever come in
and everything inside will escape.

the morning sun will fill your room again
but what has left you is now far behind the moon
then the starry night comes
and you will open your window again.

– hune margulies

There are hardly any exceptions to the rule that a person must pay dearly for the divine gift of the creative fire.
– Carl Jung

My heart is moved by all I cannot save: so much has been destroyed I have to cast my lot with those who age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.
– Adrienne Rich

and I ask myself and you, which of our visions will claim us which will we claim how will we go on living how will we touch, what will we know what will we say to each other
– Adrienne Rich

When we read a story, we inhabit it.
– John Berger

If I am a story teller, it is because I listen.
– John Berger

Where do we find ourselves? In a series of which we do not know the extremes, and believe that it has none. We wake and find ourselves on a stair; there are stairs below us, which we seem to have ascended; there are stairs above us, many a one, which go upward and out of sight. But the Genius which, according to the old belief, stands at the door by which we enter, and gives us the lethe to drink, that we may tell no tales, mixed the cup too strongly, and we cannot shake off the lethargy now at noonday. Sleep lingers all our lifetime about our eyes, as night hovers all day in the boughs of the fir-tree. All things swim and glitter. Our life is not so much threatened as our perception. Ghostlike we glide through nature, and should not know our place again. Did our birth fall in some fit of indigence and frugality in nature, that she was so sparing of her fire and so liberal of her earth, that it appears to us that we lack the affirmative principle, and though we have health and reason, yet we have no superfluity of spirit for new creation? We have enough to live and bring the year about, but not an ounce to impart or to invest. Ah that our Genius were a little more of a genius!
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The poem seeks not
to depict a place
but to become one–
– Franz Wright

This is perhaps the most noble aim of poetry, to attach ourselves to the world around us, to turn desire into love, to embrace, finally what always evades us, what is beyond, but what is always there – the unspoken, the spirit, the soul.
– Octavio Paz

I do travel a lot, because I need oxygen, I need to go to places to meet people who aren’t upset at me because I’m asking for peace.
– Sandra Cisneros

If you know two cultures and two languages, that intermediate place, where the two don’t perfectly meet, is really interesting.
– Sandra Cisneros

Possibility Dwellers of the World, Unite!
***
I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –
Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –
Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –
– Emily Dickinson

Ode to the Fish
Ellen Bass
Nights when I can’t sleep, I listen to the sea lions
barking from the rocks off the lighthouse.
I look out the black window into the black night
and think about fish stirring the oceans.
Muscular tuna, their lunge and thrash
churning the water, whipping up a squall,
storm of hunger. Herring cruising,
river of silver in the sea, wide as a lit city.
And all the small breaths: pulse
of frilled jellyfish, thrust of squid,
frenzy of krill, transparent skin glowing
green with the glass shells of diatoms.
Billions swarming up the water column each night,
gliding down at dawn. They’re the greased motor
that powers the world. Shipping heat
to the arctic, hauling cold to the tropics,
currents unspooling around the globe.
My room is so still, the bureau lifeless,
and on it, inert, the paraphernalia of humans:
keys, coins, shells that once rocked in the tides—
opalescent abalone, pearl earrings.
Only the clock’s sea-green numerals
register small changes. And shadows
the moon casts—fan of maple branches—
tick across the room. But beyond the cliffs
a blue whale sounds and surfaces, cosmic
ladle scooping the icy depths. An artery so wide,
I could swim through into its thousand-pound heart.

Into the silence, which was also at times a roar, of my thoughts and questions forever returning to myself to search there for an explanation of my life and its purpose, into this concentrated tiny hub of dense silent noise came the cackle of a hen from a nearby back garden, and at that moment that cackle, its distinct sharp-edged existence beneath a blue sky with white clouds, induced in me an intense awareness of freedom. The noise of the hen, which I could not even see, was an event (like a dog running or an artichoke flowering) in a field which until then had been awaiting a first event in order to become itself realisable. I knew that in that field I could listen to all sounds, all music.
– John Berger from his essay “Field”

Oh Rilke, I want to sit down calm like you
[…]
I have circled your books for years
like a wave combing
the green hair of the sea
kept it with me, your name
a password in the alley.
– Michael Ondaatje

We must go out and re-ally ourselves to Nature every day. We must take root, send out some little fibre at least, even every winter day. I am aware that I am imbibing health when I open my mouth to the wind. Staying in the house breeds a sort of insanity always. Every house is in this sense a hospital. A night and a forenoon is as much confinement to those wards as I can stand. I am aware that I recover some sanity which I had lost almost the instant that I come abroad.
– Henry David Thoreau

I do not believe in an action that does not begin with a prayer, and I do not believe in a prayer that does not end with an action.
– Marshall Rosenberg, founder, Nonviolent Communication

Wendell Berry on stewardship:

No settled family or community has ever called its home place an “environment.” None has ever called its feeling for its home place “biocentric” or “anthropocentric.” None has ever thought of its connection to its home place as “ecological,” deep or shallow. The concepts and insights of the ecologists are of great usefulness in our predicament, and we can hardly escape the need to speak of “ecology” and “ecosystems.” But the terms themselves are culturally sterile. They come from the juiceless, abstract intellectuality of the universities which was invented to disconnect, displace, and disembody the mind. The real names of the environment are the names of rivers and river valleys; creeks, ridges, and mountains; towns and cities; lakes, woodlands, lanes roads, creatures, and people.

And the real name of our connection to this everywhere different and differently named earth is “work.” We are connected by work even to the places where we don’t work, for all places are connected; it is clear by now that we cannot exempt one place from our ruin of another. The name of our proper connection to the earth is “good work,” for good work involves much giving of honor. It honors the source of its materials; it honors the place where it is done; it honors the art by which it is done; it honors the thing that it makes and the user of the made thing. Good work is always modestly scaled, for it cannot ignore either the nature of individual places or the differences between places, and it always involves a sort of religious humility, for not everything is known. Good work can be defined only in particularity, for it must be defined a little differently for every one of the places and every one of the workers on the earth.

The name of our present society’s connection to the earth is “bad work” – work that is only generally and crudely defined, that enacts a dependence that is ill understood, that enacts no affection and gives no honor. Every one of us is to some extent guilty of this bad work. This guilt does not mean that we must indulge in a lot of breast-beating and confession; it means only that there is much good work to be done by every one of us and that we must begin to do it.”
― Wendell Berry

I wanted to read or hear the narrative of someone else – a woman and a poet – who has gone here and been there.
– Eavan Boland

At first, I saw you everywhere.
Now only in certain things,
at longer intervals.
– Louise Glück

I have to tell you what I’ve learned, that I know now
what happens to the dreamers.
They don’t feel it when they change. One day
they wake, they dress, they are old.
– Louise Glück

I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.
– Georgia O’Keeffe

One thing you learn working with good writers: The easier it was for you to read their story, the harder it was for them to write it.
– Jonny Geller

When we find enlightenment in the body, self-doubt is not an issue.
– Reggie Ray

The Night Watchman
Love is not real estate
expansive as flood plains
intimate like silt
destructive and constructive
it is not for those who role play
or get lost in the night
led astray by bright lights
and flesh turrets
maidens with drawn out hair
beefy knights.
Love is insomnia of the soul
and you are always watching
it is more satisfying
than breathing a little
call that a life?
to watch over, to be there,
to suck out the poison
to break down delusions
delicate as spiderwebs
surf the tsunami
cradle the fragile skull
like a Fabergé egg.
Nursery rhymes house more truth
than any ideology.
Humpty Dumpty’s great fall
makes martyrs of us all.
Let us be grateful
for the gargantuan effort
it takes to stay awake
– Kate O’Shea

In the book of life every page has two sides: we human beings fill the upper side with our plans, hopes and wishes, but providence writes on the other side, and what it ordains is seldom our goal.
– Nizami

The Layers
There are thoughts
we call through
on our own.
The melodies from
The Old Book of Pondering Songs
are good for those.
Then there are the thoughts
that rumble through as teachings —
from ancestors
the unborn
the earth around you.
Best just to sit in silence
for that impending cascade.
There are also the ones
that lodge themselves
inside our bones
when we enter a place.
Be very careful with those.
All that is uttered
and all that remains yet unsaid
sticks to the walls just the same.
Then there is The Spirit of Longing
which moves across the land
and through the towns and cities.
She can set up
a moon-watching tent
inside anyone’s aura
even the adepts and
Clear-Sighted Ones.
She stirs questions in the heart like:
How did we become so lost?
When did we cease truly seeing
those who are right in front of us?
– Frank LaRue Owen Jr

A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.
– Charles Spurgeon

Wisdom lies
neither in fixity
nor in change,
but in the dialectic
between the two.
– Octavio Paz

Curiosity is the right companion of change. It is an attitude that we must elect to hold. As I embrace an attitude of curiosity and wonder, change brings me growth and renewal. It is the key of curiosity which opens the gate to my greater unfolding.
As I open my mind and heart, subtle blessings are revealed to me. Life gains new and unexpected graces, colors, textures and benefits. Curiosity empowers me to explore new dimensions. Curiosity brings me optimism and hope during difficult times.

Today, I embrace my curious nature. I allow curiosity to lead me forward in positive ways through adversity and hardship. My curiosity seeks and discovers buried gifts in all experience.

– Julia Cameron, Transitions: Prayers and Declarations for a Changing Life

Leave a space in your iron-clad, serious, unquestioned certainties for the lived experiences of others. They may be different. And it is of such sutures, sutras, such different threads, that the world is woven and its tears repaired
– Fred Erwin

Adios
by Naomi Shihab Nye

It is a good word, rolling off the tongue;
no matter what language you were born with…
use it. Learn where it begins,
the small alphabet of departure,
how long it takes to think of it,
then say it, then be heard.

Marry it. More than any golden ring,
it shines, it shines.
Wear it on every finger
till your hands dance,
touching everything easily,
letting everything, easily, go.

Strap it to your back like wings.
Or a kite-tail. The stream of air behind a jet.
If you are known for anything,
let it be the way you rise out of sight
when your work is finished.

Think of things that linger: leaves,
cartons and napkins, the damp smell of mold.

Think of things that disappear.

Think of what you love best,
what brings tears into your eyes.

Something that said adios to you
before you knew what it meant
or how long it was for.

Explain little, the word explains itself.
Later perhaps. Lessons following lessons,
like silence following sound.

I’m in the camp that believes all poetry is inherently political. I believe aligning yourself with wonder in a time that actively conspires against it is political. Affirming the sanctuary of the psychic life is political.
– Kaveh Akbar

By poverty, i.e. simplicity of life and fewness of incidents, I am solidified and crystallized, as a vapor, or liquid by cold.”
– Henry David Thoreau

…History says, Don’t hope
on this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
the longed for tidal wave
of justice can rise up,…
and hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
on the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
and cures and healing wells.

Call the miracle self-healing:
The utter self-revealing
double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is hearing
the outcry and the birth-cry
of new life at its term.
– Seamus Heaney

Poetry is a revival of the mind. Our capability of reaching simultaneously inward and outward. Creative intelligence is slipping toward extinction; poetry is the defiant resistance against the numbing of the mind. It asks for nothing; yet it offers everything. It prevails whether you understand it or not. Whether you buy it or not. Whether you even like it or not. And it will always be there for you, when you’re ready for it.
– Irina Ratushinskaya

There are significant moments in everyone’s day that can make literarture. That’s what you ought to write about.
– Raymond Carver

The Only Poem
Leonard Cohen

This is the only poem
I can read

I am the only one

can write it

I didn’t kill myself

when things went wrong

I didn’t turn

to drugs or teaching

I tried to sleep

but when I couldn’t sleep

I learned to write

I learned to write

what might be read

on nights like this

by one like me

The problem is that the self that you became convinced was the real you is a phantom that exists only as an abstraction in your mind – animated by the conflicted emotional energy of separation. It’s about as real as last night’s dream. And when you stop thinking it into existence, it has no existence at all. That’s why it is false – which begs the question, who or what is the real you?

At the core of the false self is a void of deficiency derived from an essential turning away from one’s own divinity, either out of natural development, despair, or simply by succumbing to the trance of the world with all its masks of deception and harsh obligation to conform to its insanity. The false self orbits around this vacuous abyss at its core, in silent terror of its nameless, faceless threat of oblivion.

The false self is both an obstacle and a doorway through which you must pass on your way to awakening to the dimension of being. As you pass through the void of self, the identification with self dies, either temporarily or permanently, and you are revealed (reborn) to be a presence. Presence is not a self in any conventional sense. It has no shape or form, no age or gender. It is an expression of universal being, the formless substance of existence. Presence is not subject to birth or death; it is not of the world of “things.” It is the light and radiance of consciousness in which entire worlds arise and pass away.
– Adyashanti

Trees
glitter like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creekbed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain – not a single
answer has been found –
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.
– Mary Oliver
from First Snow

HAIKU
~
Another log goes
in the stove: am I feeding
the fire or the cold?
– Clark Strand

a stand of leaves whispers as if
to suggest something tender yet potentially heart robbing
– C. D. Wright

Hazel wind of dusk, I have lived so much.
– Franz Wright

I believe there is a song that is stranger than wind, that sips the scald from the telling,
– Karen Volkman

In the mornings I peel off my sadness
& hang it up to dry.
– Fatimah Asghar

It is true that life is full of misfortunes, but fortunate is he or she who knows how to utilize the ideas which can make them creative. Time is the greatest of all filters, and ideas are the best of all wealth.
– From “Living with the Himalayan Masters” by Swami Rama

I was sand, I was snow—written on, rewritten, smoothed over.
– Margaret Atwood

A man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time.
– Homer, The Odyssey

You have carried a branch of tomorrow into the room / Its fragrance awakened me.
– Robert Duncan

Love life first, then march through the gates of each season; go inside nature and develop the discipline to stop destructive behavior; learn tenderness toward experience, then make decisions based on creating biological wealth that includes all people, animals, cultures, currencies, languages, and the living things as yet undiscovered; listen to the truth the land will tell you; act accordingly.
-Gretel Ehrlich

I’m telling you: Every single emotion has this beautiful energy inside of it, veiled only by the labels we give to what’s appearing. I am confident in your ability to stop believing in the idea of having to escape whatever is appearing, and instead, travel to the center of every emotion and soak in the sweetness of perfection. Either label your experience and run from that fictitious label, or travel beyond the words and taste the purity of God in everything.
– Bentinho Massaro

Our errors are surely not such awfully solemn things.
In a world where we are so certain to incur them in spite of all our caution, a certain lightness of heart seems healthier than this excessive nervousness on their behalf.
– William James

…Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.
– Mark Strand

My temple is the Temple of Sun, Mountain, and Blue Sky, and this earth is my campground.
– Sodō Yokoyama

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.
– Henry David Thoreau

What the physical plane offers that other levels do not is stability. Or maybe “slowness” or “density” are better words. The fact is that forms hold their shape on earth; there is none of the fluidity of matter and form that one finds in the invisible realms. Participation in the physical realm forces beings to slow down relative to their native state. This makes their qualities simpler and easier to connect to and hold. It is simply easier for a consciousness to engage with …all the elements of a system because the nature of this realm holds those elements in place and supports the existence of the system. A certain amount of coherency is imposed by the laws of nature that define the physical realm, for instance. A chair in my living room will remain a chair and will not morph into something else beneath me as I sit in it. This is not always true in my experience on the subtle worlds. I may be visiting with a being, but if I cannot hold my consciousness steady in its presence, I may suddenly find myself somewhere else entirely, with that being nowhere in sight.

This is why it is a privilege to come here. There is a grace inherent in the stability and constancy of the physical plane that allows us to concentrate on the essential issues, such as learning to master love and compassion, without also having to devote awareness and energy to keeping our environment and our connections stable and coherent in their forms as well. I can focus on loving my wife and children and creating a home, for instance, without also having to think about ensuring that walls remain walls, floors remain floors, and furniture retains its shape. I am confident that because of a momentary change of thought or lapse of concentration, we won’t find ourselves suddenly in the middle of the ocean when a moment before we were on land.

Of course, I overstate this a bit to make a point. But the truth is, at least in my own experience and perspective, that the World Soul sacrifices itself to habit and a certain rigidity—the laws of nature—in order to give us a steady and consistent platform on which to stand and learn the arts of holopoiesis, love and compassion.

– David Spangler, An Ecology of Consciousness (An E-mail Trialogue Between William Irwin Thompson, David Spangler and Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, Autumn 2009)

This world is like a mountain. Your echo depends on you. If you scream good things, the world will give it back. If you scream bad things, the world will give it back. Even if someone says badly about you, speak well about him. Change your heart to change the world.
– Shams Tabrizi

It is time for us to take off our masks, to step out from behind our personas — whatever they might be: educators, activists, biologists, geologists, writers, farmers, ranchers, and bureaucrats — and admit we are lovers, engaged in an erotics of place. Loving the land. Honoring its mysteries. Acknowledging, embracing the spirit of place — there is nothing more legitimate and there is nothing more true. That is why we are here. That is why we do what we do. There is nothing intellectual about it. We love the land. It is a primal affair.
– Terry Tempest Williams

The outer path we take is public knowledge, but the path with heart is an inner one. The two come together when who we are that is seen in the world coincides with who we deeply are. As we grow wiser, we become aware that the important forks in the road are usually not about choices that will show up on any public record; they are decisions and struggles to do with choosing love or fear; anger or forgiveness; pride or humility. They are soul-shaping choices.
– Jean Shinoda Bolen

…Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe. I heard her singing Kiowa war
dance songs at the corner of Fourth and Central once.
Remember that you are all people and that all people are you.
Remember that you are this universe and that this universe is you.
Remember that all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember that language comes from this.
Remember the dance that language is, that life is.
Remember.
– Joy Harjo

I have always found that actively loving
saves one from a morbid preoccupation
with the shortcomings of society.
– Alan Paton

Look again at that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
– Carl Sagan

Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence.
– Osho

A good preparation for a creative life is to become well acquainted with the visual, musical and literary art of the world.
– Thomas Moore

What will the mindful progressive movement be called? There are more of us and the situation is urgent, so we need something more than a weak “tea.”
– Ethan Nichtern

POEM WHITE PAGE WHITE PAGE POEM
Poem white page white page poem
something is streaming out of a body in waves
something is beginning from the fingertips
they are starting to declare for my whole life
all the despair and the making music
something like wave after wave
that breaks on a beach
something like bringing the entire life
to this moment
the small waves bringing themselves to white paper
something like light stands up and is alive
– Muriel Rukeyser

You grow old.
You love everybody.
You forgive everyone.
You think: we are all leaves
dragged along by the wind.
Then comes a splendid spotted
yellow one—ah, distinction!
And in that moment
you are dragged under.
– Mary Ruefle

Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans and myself from the community of sinners.
– Miroslav Volf

There is a world which poets cannot seem to enter. It is the world everybody else lives in. And the only thing poets seem to have in common is their yearning to enter this world.
– Mary Ruefle

Something unpronounceable followed by a long silence points out my life is becoming a landscape.
– Mary Ruefle

a living
BY ALEX DIMITROV
I watched you row us back, into the distance of human familiars.
And the bees gathered as if to become more than one sound.
In the city, when late, I want even the well-behaved strangers
at boring parties. They exhaust me.
All small talk and posture; (come here and exhaust me)
and what is the mind?
Even you. The leaves. In their temporary dying,
give a rich background to people taking each other to bed.
Why would I give up the physical world?
Today, it is all I believe.
And whatever addictions it sells me
(the first open mouth on my own teenage mouth)—
I am shy but impressed.
I am living and badly. The oars hit the dock,
the plates cling to their places,
look at all that has come here and gladly
to rot. A handful of flowers and vinegar.
Leather and silk. Cancer and love.
I don’t even need to be promised fidelity now.
Someone’s lowered his hands to a place without speech.
The pelting on the window is rain.
My tongue, I have found, is warmer
than any sentence I’ve wanted to feel.
And what I have wanted, I should try to forget.
So I stay;
don’t you think so—where else would we go,
what is open this late? I have waited all day just to see you.
In the darkest part of the water.
I see you in the darkest part of the water and swim.

While in no way repudiating the deserts through which his language has passed, he rehydrates them, irrigates them—one wants to say that he lays down new nerves and blood vessels.
– An excerpt from Bernard-Henri Lévy’s book, The Genius of Judaism

Natural Theology says not only look up and look out — it also says look down and look in, and you will find the proofs of the reality of God in the depth of your own nature.
– Christopher Dawson

What are we here for, if not to open each other’s hearts wider, and expand each other’s perspectives? Stop… listen…. more….
– Maia Duerr

Doubt is easy when it is not a matter of survival: we are as skeptical as we can afford to be, and it is easiest to be skeptical about things that do not fundamentally sustain us. It is easy to doubt the existence of a table; it is hell to doubt the legitimacy of love.
– Alain de Botton

The origins of poetry are clearly rooted in obscurity, in secretiveness, in incantation, in spells that must at once invoke and protect, tell the secret and keep it.
– Mary Ruefle

Not everything has a name. Some things lead us into a realm beyond words.
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The language of poetry specializes in doubt. Without the doubters, everyone is cut off at the first question. Poetry does not presume to know, but is angling to get a glimpse of what is gradually coming into view; it aims to rightly identify what is looming; it intends to interrogate whatever is already in place. Poetry, whose definition remains evasive by necessity, advocates the lost road; and beyond speech–waiting, listening, and silence.
– C.D. Wright

We should not force ourselves to change by hammering our lives into any predetermined shape. We do not need to operate according to the idea of a predetermined program or plan for our lives. Rather, we need to practice a new art of attention to our inner rhythm of our days and lives. This attention brings a new awareness of our own human and divine presence. A dramatic example of this kind of transfiguration is the one all parents know. You watch your children carefully, but one day they surprise you; you still recognize them, but your knowledge of them is insufficient. You have to start listening to them all over again.

It is far more creative to work with the idea of mindfulness rather than with the idea of will. Too often people try to change their lives by using the will as a kind of hammer to beat their life into proper shape. The intellect identifies the goal of the program, and the will accordingly forces the life into that shape. This way of approaching the sacredness of one’s own presence is externalistic and violent. It brings you falsely outside your own self and you can spend years lost in the wilderness of your own mechanical, spiritual programs. You can perish in a famine of your own making.

If you work with a different rhythm, you will come easily and naturally home to your self. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has a map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of your self. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more importantly it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey. There are no general principles for this art of being. Yet the signature of this unique journey is inscribed deeply in each soul. If you attend to your self and seek to come into your own presence, you will find exactly the right rhythm for your life. The senses are generous pathways which can bring you home.
– John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

I want out of the labels. I don’t want my whole life crammed into a single word. A story. I want to find something else, unknowable, some place to be that’s not on the map. A real adventure. A sphinx. A mystery. A blank. Unknown. Undefined.
– Chuck Palahniuk

Liminal space is characterized as that space brought about by a destabilizing rupture of what was once a place of solid grounding for the ego; it is that dimension “betwixt and between” the now-disoriented ego and the as-yet discovered new footing. It is that initiatory moment when the known shore disappears from view and the new horizon has yet to appear—liminal space is the unknown sea that psyche must navigate.
– KD Farris

Would be awesome if Mother Earth had a rambunctious twitter account with 17 million followers. Climate change might get some coverage then.
Unfortunately, Mother Earth is not a narcissist so it would never happen.
– Ethan Nichtern

Wait. You cant know yet. You cannot know yet whether what you see is what you are looking at or what you are believing. Wait. Wait.
– William Faulkner

When I was a Poet
no need to know it

Each word the word
revealing the word
I’d trace it like shooting stars

Each letter luminous
& liminal

& auratic w/ shimmer
to put them together
in the flow of flux was deluxe
swam in it
the light made seeing possible.

– David Meltzer

This is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.
– John Cage

Beauty, is the sole business of poetry.
The rest’s diversion: those holy or noble sentiments, the
intricate ideas,
The love, lust, longing: reasons, but not the reason.

– Robinson Jeffers

… your name still drags
Its luminous syllable like a lure

My heart still swallows, open-mouthed
and hungry,
Its barb of light irresistible …
– Tom Sleigh

I must see new things and investigate them. I want to taste dark water and see crackling trees and wild winds. I want to gaze with astonishment … I want to experience them all …
– Egon Schiele

Sweet sentence, what will stay

of all this wayless weeping, as the sick
tear-shaped leaves slip, whisper, news of how
silence whitens every bright array.
– Karen Volkman

What to do, if the words disappear as you write—
what to do

if they remain,
and you disappear.

– Franz Wright

Keep night company.
Sing to her as she turns the pages.
The better your song the more lovely the light
She offers in return
– David Meltzer

What if all our thinking […] were a search through underbrush and mud. Trying to decipher the forest without artificial light. The rustlings of language give us the illusion of a deep dimension. But our equations don’t net the unknown quantity. We’re only as good as our words.”
– Rosmarie Waldrop

Old thread, old line
of ink twisting out into the clearness
we call space
where are you leading me this time?
– Margaret Atwood

I hope
you will not listen to teachers
who say never paint in black.

Paint in black, bathe in black,
wear black at your wedding,
something so moral it resonates

you into Gothic thunder and
everyone blinks, and cannot
believe anything they knew

before. Send them into the cave
of their hearts, my heart, send
them into the deep, deep dark.

– David Swanger

There are silences made just for us.
– Roberto Bolaño

At night all the yards look alike, by day the impression is different, as if desires were channeled through the plants and flower beds and climbing vines.
– Roberto Bolaño

Poetry: ‘The rhythmic, inevitably narrative [or lyrical], movement from an overclothed blindness to a naked vision’
– Dylan Thomas

poems are
unsaid
not said
[…]
but it’s what’s not there
that’s there”
– David Meltzer

And I no longer ask for all the solitude in the world, but for time.
– Roberto Bolaño

Taiga Trails: A Galaxy of Trees

I chanted your name
in the temple of thought
and it echoed back
as the beacon of a lighthouse
mirrored by the sea. .

The echo whispered
“There is you
and there is You.
There is us
and there is no me…”

The echoed words didn’t make any sense to me
and I had no surplus
for mysteries and guesswork,
at this time
I couldn’t focus on anything else
than the fact that our sky had fallen.

I looked up with a deep sigh
to crystal-gaze at the broken sky’s
crashing air-castles
and I beheld old memories float by, aimlessly
debris of the past fixed in outer space.
I took you in my arms
and together, on my legs
we ran away from the world.
We sought refuge in the nearby Taiga.
In the free-spirited
wild-at-heart green zone of nature.

I recall when I ran away from home, many years prior
that is, all the times I ran away from myself
to try and become someone else.
Even though I had a place to call home, I felt homeless still.
I didn’t feel at home in myself. I felt like a stranger
living in a stranger’s house.
But this was different, certainly
this was a different kind of running away.

I was exhausted and battered
by falling patches of astral blue.
And you had been hit
by a large piece of falling sky
and you had not woken up since.

Now, in the green halls of nature
I resorted to track the rumor of a spell
that could lift the sky and make it whole again.
Although I knew somewhere in myself
that it was nothing but a fairytale
I told myself to keep hope alive and to keep going
without having to face the trial of letting the old world go.
I had always thought the grass would be greener in the Taiga
and it was, it was
– and the wilderness was the thicker.

Some jasmine flowers beyond a thorny field
catapult a soft trail of scent into the morning air,
their aphrodisiac aura swift on feet of light
as they slowly parachute at dawn
vowing to take flight in the breeze, the flowers
as though fireworks exploding in slow-motion
an aubade welcoming the warm incoming caravan of kisses
trekking the ice-blue desert.

I can’t shake the feeling that I need to shed my limitations
a nagging feeling
that I need to shed what holds me back.
Meanwhile, I gaze at the trees
to distract myself from the feeling.

The trees stand proudly
crowned guards helming the sky.
Foamed by the raw vermilion of the hatching horizon
fanned flames like deer sticking out their bright tongues
to lick on aerosol dunes of salt
that tumbleweed by at the will of the playful wind.

I carry you
through the days.
I listen to the body-language of your heart,
your bare arms are travelogues
combed by the cool green humidity of the fauna,
full of memories, they take me back…

… Back to days we spent in Venice
under the shimmery welkin,
the gondolas encircling the sinking city.
Remember?
The day, the mining
of bright blue sunshine
and the skimming fire-milk
in the big airborne cobalt coal mine.
I remember, looking up to see
an aquamarine scarf getting carpe diem’ed
by a sudden gust, and an arm
dressed in a flaming ruby sleeve
reaching up as if for a warm memory
on a cold winter night,
for orange sparkles in the sky, hearts neck-deep
in the words of oracles
speaking to the naked eye.

In Venice too, we were searching
searching the cold trail for slivers of heat,
for what the future held, and what the past had claimed
already, for long lost love songs
and for a voice
to sing.
While looking for our own voices
we sang from each other’s lips, and we listened
through each other’s ears.

And it takes me back further, to what seems another life,
shedding our insecurities and falling, falling
like snowflakes for each other in Seoul…

…Remember
How the clear, whole sky’s silky ayurveda gowned your skin
in downtown Seoul. The hours relentlessly
rushing us by with the people in them,
like incessant metros. The streets vivid
You could almost see them move on their own
below the constant march of feet. The tapping karaoke of footsteps
and conversations, electric lights and neon
merging in a strange symphony of aliveness.
And we stood there, feeling timeless
for a while, and You had an air
about you, a subtle hum of wings
and sorcery, an ethereal je ne sais quoi.

As the sun lay its head to rest
on the ocean’s lap
you touch me
in the way rain touches scorched earth
and your touch burns
and soothes at once, and the moon
the moon knows naught but to gown and tux
all the night’s flowers in the silvery pollen of its soul.

O! To climb the hidden latter
to the sun
which has poured
its yellow beacons of hope
on doomed villages
shrouded
in dark-blue phantoms.

Your finger is on my lips.
“Shhh…”
Then you gaze
into my soul
and I disappear
into yours, into all
the beginnings and endings.

And the language
spoken in here
has no words
but that of which
burning oases
in deserts of dark
are composed.

We each gathered
a handful of seeds
in each other’s chests
and carefully planted them,
as though sacred prayers, or
synonyms for God —
to have them sprout and fledge
and rise
like miniature suns
on the skylines of each other’s lips.

The flames in me
licks your wounds, my blood
is a feverish storm, as you whisper,
“I can hear your bones grow..”
Your voice wipes the rust
off of my spine. And I can feel,
I can feel my arteries run on legs
like rivers away
from my ocean – and pumping
red-hot lava of my deep
into the vast, open turquoise torso.

On days
it rains inside my body
when I look at you,
and it’s alright
it’s good!
It’s a warm rain, one
that showers the cracked, dusty
spaces in me.
The craters in my chest
mended with the moon-fire
which you carry
outside your body,
inside yourself.
An empire of portals
that lead to places, places
where violet trees
have roots deep in sienna sky.

And our chests, beloved
were like continental plates.
Every time our hearts moved closer
and our energy fields merged,
there was an earthquake
throwing os off of our feet.
Do you remember?
I say out loud. But you do not respond.
Still you lay
unconscious in my arms.

… Back in the Taiga, the snow forest
I felt the Taiga’s Chi pulsating, vibrating, and so
I asked the trees for advice and I followed their roots
to their source, to a small wellspring where we could drink.
Again and again, I strayed from my path
so we could stay on our course.
To find food and survive in the Taiga
– on berries, nuts and edible leaves, mostly.

I recount my memories of Venice and Seoul, only strangely
they are not memories of something that occurred, again
that strange feeling of having memories of the future
emerges in my chest –
making my heart beat faster.
The inside of my heart a memoir,
its fourfold chambers, a hall
in which beats of all kinds has left their marks.

The wind whistles and I turn my attention
to the gospel of the fourfold wind
its many accents
from soft-spoken breeze to Pegasus and furious hurricane
quietly trickles and chimes
in the pamphlets of the tantrically entangled greenery,
browsing
through pages
in the library of leaves, the long
swirling stairs skyscraping into the vast continuum.

Holding a candle tight in the Taiga that at nightfall
turns into an arctic shadowland, the blotted sky
hovering above like a big sawdusty soap bubble, quickly
covering up my footsteps.
The snowflakes of erupting clouds
fill up the wooden night-air
and the old flame crackles
with promises
to be kept.

As I carry you further into the Taiga
I continuously get the feeling that I have ventured
into the deep end of a pool
and that I must find my gills swiftly
before the magnet at the bottom of the sea
draws out the iron of my will.
The waves are cold and harsh, but my lifeblood
is still warm, and so is your body,
so is your breath when it falls unto my chest.

I carry you in the winter. As the sky has summoned
clouds that shape as though
the wings of a giant benevolent archangel
which the shy sun has hid its blushing face behind.
Each day in this life is a forest of its own. Some are dark and gloomy
and easy to get lost in.
Some are enchanted and full of tree-hugging
forest elves, magic and elementals.

Lessons are lost and refound, anchors
are sunken and sails unwound. Our souls drunken
on the faith radiating from the stars, in hands
the deep full space, gentle touch on scars.
In life, we are immortal for moments.

The light breathes deep between the branches.
The crowns of the trees – a green cosmos of leaves.
Stellar heads rest on brown-grey dull gold spines
with roots in the old loam of asteroids.
And we are awash among the kingdom of stars.
I still carry you. I carry you for the life of me. After all
what am I without you?
A hologram?
A silhouette?
A reflection?
A ricochet of thoughts I have thought
and feelings I have felt.
An empty bottle adrift on the sea
swallowing saltwater to not feel so empty.

~

We were all born. In other words:
Our Bodies were born. We are eternal energy
becoming self-conscious of ourselves
through our temporary human experience.

… We adhere to the mist of galaxies
and as is with clouds, when our bodies dissolve
the water flows back to whence it came, back
to the endless sea.
We are only human for a lifetime
but we are dreamers, timeless dreamers
waking up beyond time.
I lean in and whisper into your sleeping ear:
I have always left a door open in my heart
in case you ever need a place to feel loved,
a place to call home when the world is a foreign language.

The Northern Lights
immodestly blaze its way throughout the sky
like an emerald soulgasm flooding a spirit
a deluge above the boreal deep,
the house of pine and spruce, larch and birch
and the hidden light
the magic underneath the trivialities of time
whispers, echoes
in the heartwood of all the trees –
and the trees
quiver
in turn
inside my body
and I can feel the roots,
the indulgent nature
of my heart
blossoming
among the seemingly distant stars.

And I can feel the stars, their mantras
chanting in syllables of firelight
and through the windows
in their houses of bright
the frequency
claimed by eternity
dancing in my blood, their crown-chakras
opening like a thousand waterlilies to the touch of rain.

The flames of longing rise
just underneath the skin
and my blood radiates
outward, now;
There are comets
soundlessly
shooting
from my fingertips.

~

I stop in my track
there’s an usually big elemental of a tree
standing before us
right in the middle of our path,
a verdant deity
with roots deep in scarlet earth,
in blueberry
purple flesh, roots
that grow through stone walls.
Blood that flows
through veins
of the moon’s pearly marrow,
the days that dream timeless dreams
and that flux and wake
in the ribcage of the ages.

My heart is a forest
crowded with dreams that set roots
and that sprint as though tributaries from the beat
rhythmic water in the mouth of the sky,
splashes in the breast of fire, lucid
breaths in the lungs of the earth
and a rush in the burning,
overflowing almond
milk of the moon,
in the woods
of the sun
and in the trees
of the infinite second
that run with the wolves of the wind.

The raindrops plummet like heartbeats
from the air-thin heights
we take ourselves to
in search of something elusive at the top.
In the sea
the fish come together
just below the surface
and they almost, almost
pierce the veil.

And when we look into each other
the veil catches flames,
we pierce through
to the unbound
and we do
indeed
untie;
Unfold unseeable wings
and we do take flight in secret ways.

We do penetrate the surface, our spirits –
and our spirits
does not catch the sky, no
our gathered spirit is itself the sky
in which our souls may soar, limitlessly.

And there is
the undeniable sense
that we are travelers
from somewhere else,
another place than here, and there
is a sense that we have met
and that we meet
knowing and without knowing
in formless airports and on planes,
in trains and in pockets of time
again and again, on the way,-
the road and in the wilderness.
A sense that we meet
among the tall trees, to touch in flocks
of stars, and in the deep seas
in swarms of heartbeats
and shoals of clouds brimming with light.

Suddenly, you reach out and you take my hand
and I can feel your heart beating…
Then it slows, your heartbeat, and without thinking twice
I let go of your hand, and you disappear
in my hands, like water you run between my fingers
gone like all the time that past,
in the way of a mirror-image, or a ghost
the ghost of my old self, that I have carried and cradled
like a second world, second to none.
It dawns on me that I was alone in the Taiga all along.
What a strange dream, I say under my breath
and how strange, that my old self resolved to die away
in the hands of who I am now, and that my old self
was the skin I needed to shed.

Then something inexplicable happens, accompanied
by a deep-seated vibrancy to the likes of Tibetan long horns
whose sound reverberate through mountain vales.
The sky begins to reverse, to unfall. Tipping back the scales
as gravity goes up in air. And piece by piece,
blue block by blue block the sky reassembles itself
in the way of a collapse in rewind. Each patch of heaven
summoned back to the body, as though
beats gathered to complete a heart.

~

Now I think of You
and I finally know the difference
of which the echo told
the difference between the one I was
and the one I am with you.

Above my path
the sky has reincarnated.

And if You could see me now
you could see my tears
flow to and from
my body
quietly
trembling
before the sunrise, before
my soul’s calling
in your eyes.
You could see the tears
of solace
but I do not cry.

You could feel the quiver
if you were to touch
upon my skin
in this moment, small waves
upon greater waves
of vibration
washing ashore.
You could feel
the quickening of your touch.

Do you hear
the silent voice
and do you see
the music that you hear?

Do you catch
the mystic breath of the divine lung
the all-pervading,
the endless
dance of souls and systems?
Now
do you see
the loud longing behind my eyes, now
can you finally see me
beyond my body, the waves
that oscillate
far past the shores of the ocean?

I think of you
being
out there.
And when I do
I know
in myself
that I am not alone.

And just as the horizon
where the sky meets the sea
there is no telling us apart.

Then I open my eyes..

Outside much of the world
is still fast asleep.
Yet, despite dreaming
with my eyes wide open
I feel in my heart
that I am awake,
that I am alive
and that the love
I’ve been craving
from someone else
has been in me all along.

And oh, if you only knew
how much I love,
how I love you, how
I am you.

– Thomas Skov Olsen

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.
– Mother Teresa

Money is a form of energy that tends to make us more of who we already are, whether it’s greedy or loving.
– Dan Millman

Smart phones are brilliant. Holders of knowledge. Oracles of thought. They keep relationships alive. They record your life. Be grateful.
– Ellis Paul

(Psalm 4)

Because I call
You answer
For you are fitting
Because I am small
You enlarge me
For you are gracious
You hear my song

(Psalm 90)

You have always been a refuge to me
Before the mountains, before the earth, before the world
From endlessness to endlessness
You are

You turn me around
You say
Return child

Happiness? I never saw a dumber word, invented by all those northeastern girls out there.
– Clarice Lispector

Some moments
Hold their grace in ways
That seem more
Than momentary though the solitary
Believe this to be true
More often than it really is
Up late & talking
With old friends I haven’t
Seen in years
I know fewer of those moments
Still penetrate
The past & if those friends
As they sometimes do
In all sincerity & confusion ask
How I am these days
I simply say: Think of me as
A truck with broken
Gauges driven a few times
To hell-&-back
By a man a lot like me …
– David St. John

We think the fire eats the wood.
We are wrong. The wood reaches out
to the flame. The fire licks at
what the wood harbors, and the wood
gives itself away to that intimacy,
the manner in which we and the world
meet each new day. Harm and boon
in the meetings. As heart meets what
is not heart, the way the spirit
encounters the flesh and the mouth meets
the foreignness in another mouth. We stand
looking at the ruin of our garden
in the early dark […], hearing crows
go over while the first snow shines coldly
everywhere. Grief makes the heart
apparent as much as sudden happiness can.
– Jack Gilbert

The cosmology of the industrial revolution gave us an ethos to productivity at any cost. The cosmology of corporate capitalism pushes an ethos to consumption at any cost. The cosmology we seek to find should produce first and foremost an ethos that honors harmonious biological health in the individual and in the matrix of the most harmonious biological health of the environment. In order to co-create this cosmology we can no longer rely on a single mind. The complexity and w…ith it the responsibility of what we have to mind in the world and life is too great to bear for only one person. The only way to get it together is together.

I plead for research that would, discover what it takes to enable us to operate in webs of consciousness in mind networks. At least for a small group of prepared minds to seek to merge dreams and behold visions. These people would serve as our psychonauts and contact minds on other regions. We are quite underdeveloped in this area. We have very low ideas of how groups really work. While there is immense sophistication in the technological area of military systems and lethal Weapons of Mass Destruction we are very low in our understanding how we need to handle conflict resolution. Much research needs to be done to help us to optimal social and political harmony and this cannot wait. What do we need to do in order that there be that cultural revolution that is now urgently needed? I have often challenged educators to plan the curricula for handling information with ecological wisdom,For the formation of character,For education of the heart,For raising the emotional IQ for teaching skills of cooperation that would produce the Adepts, saints, Zaddikim, rishis, Bodhisattvas and shamans which we will need at this time.
– Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Roundtable Talk with the Dalai Lama (Vancouver BC, on April 20, 2004)

What are the upaya, the skillful means, needed to lift cultural trance and launch the awareness of the emerging cosmology?. Current consensus mind leads us to ever greater crises. We must do the miraculous work of altering millions of people’s awareness. We must go deeper and deeper in to regions where we cannot use muscle effort , where only awareness can shift awareness which is as one of my friends remarked changing the tires while the car is moving – moving fast. We need… so to update the inner resources of our spiritual traditions that once worked well but which were associated with flesh rejecting monastic asceticism. If your suggestions for my spiritual practice exceeds 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening I will not do them and the old traditions demand more time than I can afford.
– Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Roundtable Talk with the Dalai Lama (Vancouver BC, on April 20, 2004)

Apparently the reality map we have at this time is not correct. Our sense of the direction to which the possible harmonious life matrix points demands that we change that map. Creativity does not reside in the way we are imprisoned to repeat precedent. It is in daring – to be outrageous, to play with the least probable possibilities, the ones more weird and spiritual where we may find answers. These possibility forms dance before the mind’s eye and from that vision there emerges an unexpected form with its creative proposal and therefore new way to understand and map reality. We need to learn this process of questing in order to discover – and this is urgent – to co-create with the integral -planetary mind -the cosmology we have to have in order to approach the healing of the planet.

Analysis of artists consistently shows not only the strength of the creative impulse arising from the unconscious, but also its capricious and willfull character.

The biographies of great artists make abundantly clear that the creative urge is often so imperious that it battens on their humanity and yokes everything to the service of the work, even at the cost of health and ordinary human happiness.

The unborn work in the psyche of the artist is a force of nature that achieve…s its end either with tyrannical might or with the subtle cunning of nature herself, quite regardless of the personal fate of the man who is its vehicle.

The creative urge lives and grows in him like a tree in the earth from which it draws its nourishment.
– Carl Jung

Our earliest poets were shamans. Today, as in the earliest times, true shamans know the power of song and story to teach and to heal. They understand that through the play of words, the magic of the Real World comes dancing into the surface world. The right words open pathways between the worlds.
– Robert Moss

Against this golden calf in the wilderness where all come to buy and sell, the honest currency of art offers quite a different rate of exchange. The artist does not turn time into money, the artist turns time into energy, time into intensity, time into vision. The exchange that art offers is an exchange in kind; energy for energy; intensity for intensity; vision for vision. This is seductive and threatening. Can we make the return?
– Jeanette Winterson

Milkweed
by James Wright
While I stood here, in the open, lost in myself,
I must have looked a long time…
Down the corn rows, beyond grass,
The small house,
White walls, animals lumbering toward the barn.
I look down now. It is all changed.
Whatever it was I lost, whatever I wept for
Was a wild, gentle thing, the small dark eyes
Loving me in secret.
It is here. At a touch of my hand,
The air fills with delicate creatures
From the other world.

Lakota Instructions for Living:

Friend do it this way – that is,
whatever you do in life,
do the very best you can…
with both your heart and mind.

And if you do it that way,
the Power Of The Universe
will come to your assistance,
if your heart and mind are in Unity.

When one sits in the Hoop Of The People,
one must be responsible because
All of Creation is related.
And the hurt of one is the hurt of all.
And the honor of one is the honor of all.
And whatever we do effects everything in the Universe.

If you do it that way – that is,
if you truly join your heart and mind
as One – whatever you ask for,
that’s the Way It’s Going To Be.

– White Buffalo Calf Woman

Soul is the source of change and the hidden connection between things. Through soul we connect to the most ancient knowledge as well as to the most immediate aspects of life.
– Michael Meade

I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of non-feeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.
– Sylvia Plath

Your life stories can be a rich source of insight, but the usual stories you tell can also keep you stuck.
– Thomas Moore

As long as you do not know how to die and come to life again, you are but a sorry traveler on this dark earth.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The most advanced stages of the UnderWorld Initiation require very subtle changes within the bloodstream. [Arousal of the Blood:]

The dichotomy is a matter of human perception, which is self-limited by various sets of barriers. Each of these barriers may be broken down by the experience of the UnderWorld; some people find that the liberation progresses by stages, while others experience the dissolution of groups of barriers in rapid succession.
. . .
The esoteric psychology which suggests that these bizarre images are in fact catalytic keys to new orders of awareness.
. . .
What is offered is change; disintegration; and radically altered awareness.
. .
A religion always commences with individual absorption into the group-entity; the Mysteries always commence with individual separation from that entity. Both ways reach the same goal if they are effective; but the UnderWorld is a shortened way in which major alterations of consciousness are gained within one lifetime, or a period of seven years.
. . .
Understanding of initiation is not gained by reading books, though intellectual clues and stimulus are useful, but a change of direction. When the life energies are solely directed to ends within the outer world, the un-self, the personality of modern psychology, is strengthened and made rigid. When the same energies are turned within, this false self or mask is weakened and dies.
. . .
In initiation lifetimes of gradual experience are encapsulated into dynamic episodes; this is the true purpose of magic.
. . .
The magical teachings are clear upon the subject; we must encounter and be transformed by the lower cycles before we are able to relate truly to the higher octaves
. . .
It is in the Name of the Goddess that we can approach the Guardian, for he serves Her as Keeper of Her Animals. We must also be aware that he does not partake of the solar nature of the deities, nor entirely of the UnderWorld nature of the dark gods: he stands between the two.
. . .
This boundary-keeping role is a reflection of a greater or macrocosmic function maintained by the great Saviours or Anointed Ones, who stand over the Great Abyss as Bridges.
. . .
The hidden traditions assert that the Earth or Land is the highest state of all, that in which all conflicts are to be resolved, all actions purified, and all barriers to true enlightenment lifted. All this, IF you know how to pass the Guardian.
. . .
The Guardian is that energy or entity between psychic and metaphysical states which turns us back upon ourselves. He forbids the passage of any being unable to operate in new dimensions.
. . .
The Guardian stands at the Gateway where we are made fully aware of our own limitations. We debar ourselves from truth by refusing to undergo the changes essential to pass within.
. . .
With one hand, the Guardian protects the Mysteries from penetration and imbalance, while with the other he protects the individual from contact with energies that he or she is unable to bear. To pass him you must solve all the riddles, but the answers are not words or tricks, they are yourself!
. . .
One of the more noticeable occurences during a genuine magical or innerworld experience, is a fear that rises from within. This is not the commonplace fear triggered off by an exterior energy, but the reaction mentioned in religious texts as ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.’ [Job 28.28, Psalms 111:10, Proverbs 1:7 (quickening)] It often reacts through into the body, and operates from deeper levels of consciousness than those of mere emotion or discomfort.
. . .
This uncontrollable reaction denotes the presence of the Guardian. In the older Mysteries, we are taught what to be in the presence of the Guardian, and the fear is transformed and passes away.
. . .
The ancient Christian Mysteries were a higher harmonic of the pagan Mysteries, and were linked to them by a direct channel of established magical and spiritual enlightenment.
. . .
All modes of consciousness are offered paths of realignment and re-balance.
. . .
The effectiveness of magic relies upon an inter-relationship between consciousness, and various ‘worlds’ or modes of perception.
. . .
As the Guardian, or apparent barrier to liberation, and the Saviour or bringer of redemption are merged as One within the UnderWorld, it is in the UnderWorld that humankind finds freedom from illusion, or gains salvation.
. . .
The mediating factor is our physical body; but only when it is transformed by energies released within the UnderWorld.
. . .
The key lies in our perception, for if we alter our pattern of perception, the worlds are changed by it.
. . .
The divine Crown, the Keystone of the Arch of Creation, is inherent in the physical body. If it can be brought to full awareness, it calls and attunes all other modes or Spheres instantly to its immaculate nature.
– R. J. Stewart, The UnderWorld Initiation

Poems are porous constructs: here life flows and seeps in and out, incalculably strong-headed, recognizable and in the most foreign shape.
– Paul Celan, Microliths

Poetry and the poet’s craft: two realms, I believe, different from each other, even though bordering on each other, and of which the second can be considered as the foothills of the first. Because the poem can never be the result of the mastery of the given poet, no matter how great and proven this mastery may be. The idea that the poet is before all a master of his language, may come closest to the reality of the poetic, while only laying open one of the access points. Beca…use the language of poetry is also always already the other language, the first word of which pulls the poet into a new language-occurrence, to which he entrusts himself more or less unconsciously. Even the most intense introspection does not permit a remainderless overview of this occurrence — and thus puts the concept of overviewable experiences into question. Possibly in such a way that the poem puts up with the shared cognizance of the one who “produces” it only as long as is necessary for its coming into existence. For each poem necessarily claims uniqueness, unrepeatability; in each poem reality is checkmated once and for all, the whole of reality is constricted to a hand’s width of earth, and in this — royal! — constriction that is not only of space but also of time, it is given the chance to assert itself in the face-to-face with the poetic word (in which moreover all of language, i.e. language as possibility and as questionability, is simultaneously contained). No poet who would not again be released from this uniqueness would ever dare to write a second poem.
– Paul Celan, Microliths

The word in the poem is only partially occupied by experience; another part the poem occupies with experiences; a further part remains free, i.e. occupiable.
– Paul Celan, Microliths

The conjunction of the words in the poem: not only a conjunction, also a confrontation. Also a toward-each-other and an away-from-each-other. Encounter, dissent, and leave-taking all in one.”
– Paul Celan, Microliths

It is part of poetry’s essential features that it releases the poet, its crown witness and confidant, from their shared knowledge once it has taken on form. (If it were different, there would barely be a poet who could take on the responsibility of having written more than one poem.)
– Paul Celan, Microliths

Poems are paradoxes. Paradoxical is the rhyme, that gathers sense and sense, sense and countersense: a chance meeting at a place in language-time nobody can foresee, it lets this word coincide with that other one — for how long? For a limited time: the poet, who wants to stay true to that principle of freedom that announces itself in the rhyme, now has to turn his back to the rhyme. Away from the border — or across it, off into the borderless!
– Paul Celan, Microliths

True poetry is antibiographical. The poet’s homeland is his poem and changes from one poem to the next. The distances are the old, eternal ones: infinite like the cosmos, in which each poem attempts to assert itself as a — minuscule — star. Infinite also like the distance between one’s I and one’s You: from both sides, from both poles the bridge is built: in the middle, halfway, where the carrier pylon is expected, from above or from below, there is the place of the poem. From above: invisible and uncertain. From below: from the abyss of hope for the distant, the future-distant kin.
– Paul Celan, Microliths

Process, event in the poem

descriptions — static
hence no actual “theme” possible.




prose line to the end
poem line —
the omitted
man remains an interlocutor though you have to know how to captivate him

if from naturalism or through it there is a way to lyric poetry —
torn-offness

Not Rilkean enjambment!!

He who catching his breath between two lines of poetry looks around for comma or conjunction, misses out.



Re-membering
also pre-membering, pre-thinking and storing of what could be.
– Paul Celan, Microliths

If you’re lucky, at some point in your life you’ll come to a complete dead end. Or to put it another way: if you’re lucky you’ll come to a crossroads and see that the path to the left leads to hell, that the path to the right leads to hell, that the road straight ahead leads to hell and that if you try to turn around you’ll end up in complete and utter hell. Every way leads you to hell and there’s no way out, nothing left for you to do. Nothing can possibly satisfy you anymore. Then, if you’re ready, you’ll start to discover inside yourself what you always longed for but were never able to find.
– Peter Kingsley, In the Dark Places of Wisdom

You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Robert Frost once wrote, “We sit in a circle and suppose, but the secret sits in the center, and knows.”
– from What Matters Most, Sir James Hollis, Jungian gentleman-of-letters

how to you create community?
i do not know
a hundred ways
a thousand ways
how do you kill community?
be self-sufficient.
always have enough
always have it together
always be a giver…
always have all the tools you need
never need to borrow a sewing needle
never need a cup of sugar
never tell anyone you’re breaking down
never need anyone
you
needing our help
being unable to continue without it
you
not knowing
how to do everything
creates the occasion
for the village to reconstitute itself
and know itself again

– Tad Hargrave

Won’t You Celebrate With Me
won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.
– Lucille Clifton

They were all in their early thirties. An age at which it is sometimes hard to admit that what you are living is your life.
– Alice Munro

I have to tell you what I’ve learned, that I know now
what happens to the dreamers.
They don’t feel it when they change. One day
they wake, they dress, they are old.
– Louise Glück

But why think about that when all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see?
– Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Zen wants us to acquire an entirely new point of view whereby to look into the mysteries of life and the secrets of nature. This is because Zen has come to the definite conclusion that the ordinary logical process of reasoning is powerless to give final satisfaction to our deepest spiritual needs.
– D. T. Suzuki

Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.
– Alan W. Watts

LOVE OF THE WIND

We’ve spent a lot of time keeping some old men alive.

I don’t think you should criticize us for that.

Even old sailors keep their love of the wind.

We know so little of our neighbor’s sorrow.

He never told us what happened to his son.

What can it mean that Jesus had no sister?

We’ll never know anything better than a dog.

It doens’t matter how deeply he sleeps.

The sleeping dog leaves all the world for the floor.

It’s all right if the family gathers together at night

And sings like sailors when the wind rises.

The roof of the house will last the night.

I’ve never been an old friend to the wind.

Don’t expect me to be happy about haystacks

Scattered in a storm or blown-down barns.

Don’t expect me to talk about the Spanish armada

Getting into trouble off the Galway coast.

Even old sailors keep their love of the wind.

– Robert Bly

January
Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.
– William Carlos Williams

I seem to have inexplicably slipped into another reality in which the colors are brighter and the birds sing symphonies. I’m immersed in wonder. I feel a bizarre sense of oneness with everything around me, as if I’m the universe looking at itself, amazed by its own beauty. I’m utterly happy for no reason at all. I feel certain beyond doubt of the goodness of all that is.
– Tim Freke

If you have the words, there’s always a chance that you’ll find the way.
– Seamus Heaney

Only those half-crazy insomniac lovers will break the code of the world, only those who will run headlong into the pit. For if we remain in the cesspool of worldly logic, drowning in the news feeds, lifanning the fires of disappointment, we won’t taste the sweet fruit, only dream of it. Will you sew your eyes shut for your creature of comfort? A fruit must be ripped open with two hands not your thoughts; the braids of the world are undone by your very hands not your tin trumpet; geopolitics of thigh bone are conquered by erotic acts not by clever subterfuge. Use language to serve the heart not the muffled ideologies, the living beings not the stuffed corpses. Do you know how lonely she is in her chaste towers? Do you know how her oil fires burn?
– Andrew Sweeny

We’re in a free fall into the future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast. And always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. But all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective . . . Joyfully participate in the sorrows of the world and everything changes.
– Joseph Campbell

There is a difficulty with only one person changing. People call that person a great saint or a great mystic or a great leader, and they say, ‘Well, he’s different from me – I could never do it.’ What’s wrong with most people is that they have this block – they feel they could never make a difference, and therefore, they never face the possibility, because it is too disturbing, too frightening.
– David Bohm

If you really want to be free, you’ve got to be prepared to lose your world — your whole world. If you’re trying to prove your world view is right, you might as well pack your bags, and go home. If you want to wake up and find, “Hallelujah! I was right about it all,” just go on vacation or back to work, and don’t drive yourself crazy on spiritual matters. But if it’s slightly appealing to think about waking up and realizing, “Oh I was totally wrong, I was totally wrong about myself and about everybody else. I was totally wrong about the world,” you might be in the right place.
– Adyashanti

The girl was a labyrinth to him; only by chance and error did he ever stumble blindly into her heart.”
– Michael Chabon

Here is what I love about the brain: How it remembers.
How it sews what soft it can into a blanket
for the nights when I am cold with trouble.
– Sean Patrick Mulroy

My loyalty to the past–my most dangerous trait, the one that has cost me most.
– Susan Sontag

This loneliness is decades deep and cannot be filled by the descending snow. Nor by the few cars that seem to move through it,
– Mark Cox

What I call for is a literature that craves the conflict and owns the destruction, a split-mind literature that features fear and handles shock, that keeps self-evident ‘reality’ safely within the quotation marks. Never should we assume the sun will rise tomorrow, that America cannot be a fascist state, or that the nice-guy neighbor will not be a murderer because he gives out candy at Halloween.

America, including its literature, is now in ruins, and the next four years will be far worse than anyone can imagine. Which is why we must keep imagining them as we struggle to survive them. To write in and of America, we must be ready to lose everything, to recognize we never had any of it in the first place, to abandon hope and embrace struggle, to fight in the streets and in our sentences. It will not be even close to comfortable. Those who survive the unknowable future will be rewarded with an unimaginable experience.
– Aleksandar Hemon

Love words, agonise over sentences. And pay attention to the world.
– Susan Sontag

Humanity today is like a waking dreamer, caught between the fantasies of sleep and the chaos of the real world. The mind seeks but cannot find the precise place and hour. We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology. We thrash about. We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.
– Edward O. Wilson

How much do you see that those things that matter to you very much are the illusory nature of appearances?
– Khandro Rinpoche

The art of ellipsis is absolutely essential. It requires that one always go directly to the heart of things. In this connection, I always think of a Czech composer I have passionately admired since childhood: Leoš Janáček. He is one of the greatest masters of modern music. His determination to strip music to its essentials was revolutionary. Of course, every musical composition involves a great deal of technique: exposition of the themes, their development, variations, polyphonic work (often very automatic), filling in the orchestration, the transitions, et cetera. Today one can compose music with a computer, but the computer always existed in composers’ heads—if they had to, composers could write sonatas without a single original idea, just by “cybernetically” expanding on the rules of composition. Janáček’s purpose was to destroy this computer! Brutal juxtaposition instead of transitions; repetition instead of variation—and always straight to the heart of things: only the note with something essential to say is entitled to exist. It is nearly the same with the novel; it too is encumbered by “technique,” by rules that do the author’s work for him: present a character, describe a milieu, bring the action into its historical setting, fill up the lifetime of the characters with useless episodes. Every change of scene requires new expositions, descriptions, explanations. My purpose is like Janáček’s: to rid the novel of the automatism of novelistic technique, of novelistic word-spinning.
– Milan Kundera

Don’t get me wrong,
I yearn for the light –
the way it highlights, discerns,
reveals and creates insight;
the way it allows me to see your eyes.
But oh
how the dark invites the all of me,
welcomes every soft crease and rough edge,
embraces each anger and each love
without discrimination;
the way it says, “You can rest now,
come dream your way home.”
– David Bedrick

On the Pulse of Morning
by Maya Angelou

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers–desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot …
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours–your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

One Today
by Richard Blanco

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.

One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.

Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.

One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.

One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together.

The Gift Outright
Poem recited at John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration
by Robert Frost

The land was ours before we were the land’s
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she will become.

When is a person ready?
Preparedness is not a safety net
Contingency plans fail
When will you be ready?
Ready for the next chapter of your life?
The next big love
The bigger conversation
Which threatens the small identity
Where you’ve found safe harbour
All these years?
When will you be ready?
To say goodbye to it all?
The picket fence, the faded dreams
The certainty of yourself
The confident stride
On your way to Everest

It’s your limp, your poverty,
Your brokenness, your humility
The lines around your eyes
And the fact that you still say yes
When you finally realize
You’ll never be ready.
– Rachelle Lamb

Not Even Close

It’s a hard day, but not the only day
The things we love,
Like one another,
Like our dogs and kids,
Like the way the ground smells after it rains,
Like the silence after the last note of beautiful song,
Like a newly discovered spring of unexpected laughter
Like the poem or the book or the image that changed everything
Like lighting bugs and a gibbous moon
Like the memories we will take to our last days saying,
“Yes, oh yes, that was fine”,
Like babies doing that bouncing baby dance they do,
Like tender green buds after a long hard winter,
Like the way that water eddys around stones in the river,
Like a good apple and homemade soup
Clean sheets and a warm sweater
Like the birds that gather in murmuring flocks,
Like the hills and valleys of this place
That were here before I arrived into this world,
and will be here long after I am gone.
Like the patterns of tree limbs and roots
Which look like the branches of our lungs
Which look like the rivers and streams
Reaching in from the coastline into heart of the land.
Like the elegant way a butterfly opens and closes itself
Like the round little wooly worm,
Nibbling leaves and dreaming of wings.
Like the seasons, one following another,
Each filled to overflowing with purpose.
Like how far we’ve come,
And how there will be honor in the work yet to do.
Like the light on the morning pond
And the glow in the evening sky
Like the ache of longing and the joy of returning,
Like the hand that lays it’s hand upon yours
Saying, “All will be well, and “I will never ever leave you.”
All these things
And so much more,
Everything beautiful and unbroken
Life giving and life sustaining
Are not out there somewhere.
It’s all right here,
Within us
Between us.

It is a hard day
But not the only day
Not even close.

– Carrie Newcomer

We find ourselves
in a royal pause and then we go on

asking what’s next. We fall
toward sorrow and we forget.
– Steve Scafidi

I wish I could say I was the kind of child
who watched the moon from her window,
would turn toward it and wonder.
I never wondered. I read. Dark signs
that crawled toward the edge of the page.
It took me years to grow a heart
from paper and glue. All I had
was a flashlight, bright as the moon,
a white hole blazing beneath the sheets.
– Dorianne Laux

…We remember it all.

We remember, though we are just skeletons
whose organs and flesh
hold us in.
We have stories
as old as the great seas
breaking through the chest,
flying out the mouth,
noisy tongues that once were silenced,
all the oceans we contain
coming to light.
– Linda Hogan

I am a writer and my faith in the world of art is intense, but not irrational, nor naïve – because art takes us and makes us take a journey beyond price, beyond cost, into bearing witness to the world as it is and as it should be. Art invites us to know beauty and to solicit it, summon it, from even the most tragic of circumstances.
– Toni Morrison

As a writer, if someone falls in love with my work, I know they have fallen in love with my mind. Having no idea what my face looks like, they chose my mind.
– Nayyirah Waheed

How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?
– Nina Simone

You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.
– Angela Davis

The world doesn’t end in revolt and revolution…it ends in apathy.
– Nick Shamhart

Not a word passes between us, not because we have nothing to say, but because we don’t have to say anything.
– Khaled Hosseini

Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.
– Alice Walker

Anything we love can be saved.
– Alice Walker

A writer’s heart, a poet’s heart, an artist’s heart, a musician’s heart is always breaking. It is through that broken window that we see the world…
– Alice Walker

I’m so tired of waiting, aren’t you, for the world to become good and beautiful and kind?
– Langston Hughes

The function of freedom is to free someone else.
– Toni Morrison

A world is to be fought for, sung, and built: Love must imagine the world.
– Muriel Rukeyser

I am not interested really in talking to you as an artist. It seems to me that the artist’s struggle for his integrity must be considered as a kind of metaphor for the struggle, which is universal and daily, of all human beings on the face of this globe to get to become human beings. It is not your fault, it is not my fault, that I write. And I never would come before you in the position of a complainant for doing something that I must do…

Most people live in almost total darkness… people, millions of people whom you will never see, who don’t know you, never will know you, people who may try to kill you in the morning, live in a darkness which — if you have that funny terrible thing which every artist can recognize and no artist can define — you are responsible to those people to lighten, and it does not matter what happens to you.

You are being used… It is impersonal. This force which you didn’t ask for, and this destiny which you must accept, is also your responsibility. And if you survive it, if you don’t cheat, if you don’t lie, it is not only, you know, your glory, your achievement, it is almost our only hope…
The trouble is that although the artist can do it, the price that he has to pay himself and that you, the audience, must also pay, is a willingness to give up everything, to realize that although you spent twenty-seven years acquiring this house, this furniture, this position, although you spent forty years raising this child, these children, nothing, none of it belongs to you.

You can only have it by letting it go. You can only take if you are prepared to give, and giving is not an investment. It is not a day at the bargain counter. It is a total risk of everything, of you and who you think you are, who you think you’d like to be, where you think you’d like to go — everything, and this forever, forever.
– James Baldwin

…But the miracle had come simply
from allowing yourself to know
that you had found it, that this time
someone walking out into the clear air
from far inside you had decided not to walk
past it any more; the miracle had come
at the roadside in the kneeling to drink
and the prayer you said, and the tears you shed
and the memory you held and the realization
that in this silence you no longer had to keep
your eyes and ears averted from the place
that could save you, that you had been given
the strength to let go of the thirsty dust laden
pilgrim-self that brought you here, walking
with her bent back, her bowed head
and her careful explanations.
No, the miracle had already happened
when you stood up, shook off the dust
and walked along the road from the well,
out of the desert toward the mountain,
as if already home again, as if you deserved
what you loved all along, as if just
remembering the taste of that clear cool
spring could lift up your face and set you free.
– David Whyte

Do you know what I want of life?
That I can be with you, you, all of you,
And if life repeated a thousand times,
Still you, you, and you again.
– Forough Farrokhzad

We’re praying with our feet.
– Rabbi Heschel on marching with Dr. King

Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.
– Kahlil Gibran

He would lie in the bed and finally, with daylight, he would go to sleep. After all, he said to himself, it is probably only insomnia. Many must have it.”
– Ernest Hemingway

Going Down
Jonathan Bracker

Going down the escalator
of the subway, I glanced across
and saw on the escalator’s partner
rising up
someone who looked a bit like you but with hair
not so soft and clean and warm as yours
brushing against mine
on those rare occasions
when inadvertently our foreheads
neared, making me wish it to stay.

We were not physical lovers
and never could have been.
But we were close. Moved three states away,
married happily or not, you are now
only a person I may hope to meet
momentarily, and not really then: merely
in my mind, because of what I chance to see.
But I am not unhappy about this
or think that I am not. Because of your hair.
Because of your beautiful hair.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
– Abraham Lincoln

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
– Oscar Wilde

Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star…
– e. e. cummings

Basho says the reason for travel isn’t to see famous places, but to learn to accept the kindness of strangers.
– Sam Hamill

The way to find your voice is to use it on behalf of someone else.
– Marianne Williamson

Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?
– Rumi

Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.
– Juvenal

Transformation literally means going beyond your form’
– Wayne Dyer

I shall be the wild park in the midst of the nightmare of perfection, the still, unshakable dream in the midst of frenzied activity, the random shot on the white billiard table of logic, I shall know neither how to weep nor protest, but I shall be there always in absolute silence to receive and to restore.
– Henry Miller

Water has its own archaeology, not a layering but a leveling, and thus is truer to our sense of the past, because what is memory but near and far events spread and smoothed beneath the present’s surface.
– Ron Rash

Oh my ways are
strange ways and
new ways and old
ways. And deep
ways and steep
ways and high
ways and low. I’m
at home and at ease
on a track that I
know not. And
restless and lost
on a road that I
know.
– Henry Lawson

So we must fly a rebel flag,
As others did before us,
And we must sing a rebel song
And join in rebel chorus.
We’ll make the tyrants feel the sting
O’ those that they would throttle;
They needn’t say the fault is ours,
If blood should stain the wattle.
– Henry Lawson

For those interested in what it means to be a consumer society.

etymology of consumer “one who squanders or wastes” also “one who sleeps” close to the french word sommeil

also from the latin consumere (transitive)
to be exhausted
– Andrew Sweeny

Incantation
BY CZESLAW MILOSZ
TRANSLATED BY CZESLAW MILOSZ
Human reason is beautiful and invincible.
No bars, no barbed wire, no pulping of books,
No sentence of banishment can prevail against it.
It establishes the universal ideas in language,
And guides our hand so we write Truth and Justice
With capital letters, lie and oppression with small.
It puts what should be above things as they are,
Is an enemy of despair and a friend of hope.
It does not know Jew from Greek or slave from master,
Giving us the estate of the world to manage.
It saves austere and transparent phrases
From the filthy discord of tortured words.
It says that everything is new under the sun,
Opens the congealed fist of the past.
Beautiful and very young are Philo-Sophia
And poetry, her ally in the service of the good.
As late as yesterday Nature celebrated their birth,
The news was brought to the mountains by a unicorn and an echo.
Their friendship will be glorious, their time has no limit.
Their enemies have delivered themselves to destruction.
Berkeley, 1968

The most we can do is dream the myth onwards and give it a modern dress.
– Carl Gustav Jung

To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.
– T.S. Eliot

It took me forty years to realize that Buddha’s discovery was happiness & bliss.
– Robert Thurman

‎Non-aggression doesn’t mean that you’re not supposed to get angry; it doesn’t mean that you’re not supposed to set boundaries; it doesn’t mean that you’re not supposed to be sharp; it doesn’t mean that you don’t have neurotic upheavals and meltdowns. What it does mean is that we have to keep letting go – until we are naked with ourselves, and we are making room for the person we actually are. And it’s the exact same process with other people. We have to let go, let go, let go . . . Until we see and we are seen.
– Reggie Ray

There are no love stories anymore. And yet women want them, and so do men when they’re not ashamed of being tender and sad like women. But men are all in a hurry to make money, and to die. They beget children in order to survive, or else when they forget and talk to themselves as if they weren’t talking to themselves, in the midst of pleasure in its absence. They’re always taking planes, high-speed metros, high-speed trains, space shuttles. They don’t have time to look at that pink acacia stretching out of its branches toward the clouds and the strips of sunlit blue silk in between, the pink acacia with its tiny quivering leaves and the light fragrance that the bees turn into honey.
– Julia Kristeva

It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility; they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.
– Charlotte Bronte

Self is the interiorization of the invisible God beyond. The inner divine…(but) it’s still a transcendent notion, with theological implications, if not roots. I would rather define self as the interiorization of community. I would be with myself when I’m with others. I would not be with myself when I ‘m walking alone or meditating or in a room imagining or working on my dreams. In fact, I would be estranged from myself.
And others would not include just other people, because community, as I see it, is something more ecological…A psychic field. And if I’m not in a psychic field with others – with people, buildings, animals and trees – I am not.
– James Hillman

zen teacher harada sogaku (1870-1961) wrote this poem: “for 40 years i’ve been selling water by the shores of a river. ha! ha! my labors have been wholly without merit.” indeed. the zen idea that there is nothing to teach, therefore there are no teachers and no students, is also at the foundation of the dialogical ideal of the meeting of an i and a thou. but this ought not to be confused with the religious error that there is no-self and therefore there is no-other, for it is in the between of dialogue that we awake our true-self and create all meanings. in a genuine dialogue to ask who teaches and who learns, is as senseless as asking in love making who gives and who receives. you and i are one, but only when you and i are two with each other. that is to say: if we wish to awaken our true self we must commit to awaken the rights and freedoms of our neighbors. in other words: it is always true, but it is also urgent at these difficult times in history: a religion that doesn’t actively fight oppression is a religion that needs to be actively fought.
– hune margulies

Chogyam Trungpa ~ Boredom is important because boredom is anti-credential, anti-entertainment – and as we develop greater psychological sophistication, we begin to appreciate such boredom. It becomes cool and refreshing, like a mountain river. That very real and genuine boredom, or “cool boredom,” plays an extremely important role. In fact, we could quite simply say that the barometer of our accomplishment in meditation practice is how much boredom we create for ourselves. Cool boredom is rather light boredom: it has its uneasy quality, but at the same time it is not a big deal. Cool boredom is like what mountains experience. With cool boredom, thought processes become less entertaining – they become transparent. Cool boredom is hopelessness at its most absolute level. ~ The Path of Individual Liberation

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ An open question involves looking at the world without reaching conclusions, or trying to find a static truth. Listen. Be open. Life is constantly teaching you things. Don’t close down in trying to become secure in a conclusion.

To rise into love you must descend into your wounds.
– Robert Bly

Simply hearing your spiritual teacher’s practical instructions and knowing how to explain them to others does not liberate your own mindstream, so you must meditate. Even if you spend your whole life practicing a mere semblance of meditation – meditating in a stupor, cluttering the mind with fantasies, and taking many breaks during your sessions due to being unable to control mental scattering – no good experiences or realizations will arise. So it is important during each session to meditate according to your teacher’s oral instructions.
– Lerab Lingpa

Final Sentence of ‘I Stand Here Ironing’ by Tillie Olsen:

Only help her to know—help make it so there
is cause for her to know—that she is more than this dress on the
ironing board, helpless before the iron.

One of the rocks in my soulbag, a little grey rock that I had picked up on a certain day in a certain place in the hills above the river in the Silver Time, a little piece of my world, that became my world. Every night I took it out and held it in my hand while I lay in bed waiting to sleep, thinking of the sunlight on the hills above the river, listening to the soft shushing of the ship’s systems, like a mechanical sea.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

… Ah, poems amount to so little when you write them too early in your life. You ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness for a whole lifetime, and a lone one if possible, and then, at the very end, you might perhaps be able to write ten good lines. For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences.

For the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning. You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn’t pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else—); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet, restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along high overhead and went flying with all the stars, and it is still not enough to be able to think of all that.

You must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the scattered noises. And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves—only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

When I am the lone listener to the antiphony of crickets
and the two wild tribes of cicadas and let my mind
wander to its bogs, its sloughs, where no endorphins fire,

I will think on occasion how all memory is longing
for the lost energies of innocence.
– R. T. Smith

Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Stephen Mitchell

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

I dream of a world where the truth is what shapes people’s politics, rather than politics shaping what people think is true.
– Neil deGrasse Tyson

Every object rightly seen unlocks a new faculty of the Soul.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Acts of bravery don’t always take place on battlefields. They can take place in your heart, when you have the courage to honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations, and yes, your soul by listening to its clean, clear voice of direction instead of following the muddied messages of a timid world.
– Anna Quindlen

The journey of descent to soul has largely been forgotten in mainstream culture, but there is nothing more essential in the world today. The experiential encounter with soul is the key element in the initiatory journey that culminates in true adulthood. And true adults — visionary artisans — are the generators of the most creative and effective actions in defense of all life and in the renaissance and evolution of generative human cultures.
– Bill Plotkin

Each transition requires that you end one thing—a mind-set, a lifestyle, a trade—before beginning another, and as such these transitions involve both fear and elation, terrible anxiety and tremendous freedom, the freedom to make new choices, to redefine your life. At some point you simply have to make a leap of at least some distance. But you also have to be gentle with yourself. Big transitions are by their very nature dramatic and effortful, and growth always in some sense violent and disruptive. Treat yourself as if you were in a cocoon, not a padded cell. On the other hand, do not be so easy on yourself that you cheat yourself out of changes you really need to make.
– Gregg Levoy

If “suffering is holding on to our story” as Roshi Joan Halifax has said, then perhaps one aspect of freedom is trusting, and loving, our inherent nature that knows how to die in order to live fully and in alignment with a constantly changing world.
– Meredith Little

In those years, people will say, we lost track
of the meaning of we, of you
we found ourselves
reduced to I
and the whole thing became
silly, ironic, terrible:
we were trying to live a personal life
and yes, that was the only life
we could bear witness to
But the great dark birds of history screamed and plunged
into our personal weather
They were headed somewhere else but their beaks and pinions drove
along the shore, through the rags of fog
where we stood, saying I.
– Adrriene Rich, In Those Years

Weariness is also a state of love. Calamity is also a face of the divine. The ‘Holy Spirit’ as she was once called is relentless. ‘Faith’ as He was once called is not for the light, where no faith is required, but for dark times of denial. The dark shell that holds the world soul is broken, not by laughter but by tears. But now, as a bard once said, is not the time for your tears. Now is the time for the anger that is pure and incisive, unaffected by emotionalism – anger beyond anger. The soul of the world is in danger. She needs to be protected. On the other side is the dawn horse. She comes swiftly. Help is on the way.
– Andrew Sweeny

Samurai Song
When I had no roof I made
Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.
When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.
When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had
No mother I embraced order.
When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.
When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.
When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.
Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.

About your vision, or your grand theme–forget all that. Write about what matters deeply to you, what moves you, what frightens you to death, even what makes you angry or sorry, but do it with the viscera, the nerve-endings, get into it beyond your opinions about it and beyond what you think you know about it, and be CLEAR, make it count in the reader’s nerve-endings. And everything else will take care of itself.
– Richard Bausch

Your soul is rooting for you.
– Danielle LaPorte

Love
can pick
you up
from where
you’ve fallen
to pieces
and speak
to you in the
language
you have not
heard before.
It does not
ask you
not to fall
again.
it reminds
you not
to be afraid
of falling
so that by
falling you
will learn how
to rise the
way a seed
mixes with the
earth and rise
again from
the ground.
– Guthema Roba

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off — they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.
~ William Stafford, “When I Met My Muse”

We are at best a thinly woven tapestry
of broken things….
broken dreams, broken hearts, broken
plans, broken promises, broken desires,
broken ideas, broken thoughts, broken
prayers, broken truths, broken faiths,
broken doubts….
tiny jagged pieces threaded together
by hope, by happen stance, by design,
by fury, by love…
– Eric Cockrell

Participation. That’s what’s gonna save the human race.
– Pete Seeger

What if we were relentless, indomitable, fatally devoted to an inscrutable tenderness? Could we conquer and destroy the cruel titans of alternative reality? It isn’t really a question. It is a certainty.
– James Scott Smith

If by “lefty,” you mean someone who cares about the *entire* human race and the planet on which we very precariously live, then I am that. But if that’s what you mean, then what exactly is a “righty?”
– Ethan Nichtern

My blissful Mother exists fully through every creature!
Meditate, O mind, on the mystery of Kali.
Use any method of worship you please,
or be free from methods,
breathing day and night her living name
as the seed of power
planted by the teacher in your heart.
Consider the simple act of lying down to sleep
as devoted offering of body and mind to her.
Allow your dreams to become
radiant meditations on the Cosmic Mother.
As you wander through countryside or city,
feel that you are moving through Kali, Kali, Kali.
All sounds you hear are her natural mantras
arising spontaneously
as the whole universe worships her,
prostrates to her, awakens to her.
The Goddess, who is unitive wisdom,
constitutes the letters of every alphabet.
Every word secretly bears the power of her name.
The singer of this mystic hymn is overwhelmed:
“Wonderful! Wonderful! My blissful Mother
exists fully through every creature!
O wandering poet,
whatever food or drink you receive,
offer as oblation in the sacrificial fire of your body
and dissolve your mind
into her all-encompassing reality.
– Ramprasad Sen

How can the laws of nature be ruptured for you
so that miracles result,
while you, for your part,
have yet to rupture your bad habits?
*
People praise you for what they suppose is in you; but you must blame your soul for what you know is in it.
*
Hope goes hand in hand with deeds;
otherwise, it is just wishful thinking.
– Ibn ‘Ata’ Illah

The advantage of poetry over life is that poetry, if it is sharp enough, may last.
– Louise Glück

Deep down inside me a tiny voice was calling. At first scarcely audible, it persisted until I could no longer ignore it. It was the voice of the wild places, and I knew that it was now part of me forever.
– Percy Fawcett

I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?
– Ernest Hemingway

A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.
– Flannery O’Connor

The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus

In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.
– Jalaluddin Rumi

Jean Cocteau said mystery exists only in precise things–people in their situations, situations in people. Because I believe the visionary life has nothing to do with a necessarily transcendent existence, I like most of the poetry I read. I believe most poets know this is the world; and when you try to lead a special life or write a special poetry, you are dancing with an imaginary partner at a meaningless dance to which you have invited yourself and no one else.
– Frank Stanford

Places that hold meanings for people result in the construction of unique ‘memory maps,’ yet many memories manifested in the landscape leave little, if any, physical trace. A pile of water-worn cobbles on the riverbank to mark the time and place when you first learnt to swim–the autumn floods that year would have removed those. The tree bark or bus shelter where we inscribed the initials of our first love–the tree’s new growth will have erased most traces, and bus shelters are repainted or replaced. A first pet buried in a garden, or offerings put into the ground to commemorate a family member’s death–most are unlikely to survive the rigours of time. […] At Malin Head in Donegal, thousands of beach pebbles spell people’s names, signing themselves on to the landscape through a physical act. In many cases, the names within soon become illegible, the pebbles displaced by the feet of subsequent visitors, or re-used for new acts of commemoration. The ways in which people choose to mark space and commit events to memory suggests that similar, small-scale practices in the past may also have been transient or overwritten, with the vast majority not visible in the archaeological record at all.
– Adrian M. Chadwick & Catriona D. Gibson

We were working on the long pattern of our life, drawing out what lay buried deep in each other, things that wouldn’t have emerged, we believed, unless they expected to survive.
– Harvey Fleming, Traveling with Bo Ling
(Resistance by Barry Lopez)

The Roots

There’s a little boy that I’ve been
watching,
all dressed in white linen,
on his knees,
digging,
desperately seeking The Roots.

He’s finally found them,
fingers raw and blooded by
perseverance,
but there they are –

long residing at the base of
Rumi’s lamenting reed.

Cut off from our ancient lineage
we cannot but cry out
for a vision of Home –

Though the meaning of the
deep inner wailing may
elude us for many generations,

And the masks we take up
make us unrecognizable even
in our own mirrors,

We cannot deny the sound
emanating from our own
severed soul.

It’s the one that constantly
tells us that we don’t belong here,

that we have been forsaken,

and that we have forsook.

Rumi’s reed longed for a heart
so that it could explain
the pain of its yearning
to return to its roots.

This I have.
Like the fledgling thrown
from the nest,
thinking its tending parents
now want it destroyed
on the hard ground below.

Like the Autumn leaves
torn away by winds before
they had conversed
long enough to learn the
names of all the other leaves
on all the other branches.

Like the rock rolled down
the mountain slope
in the wash of heavy winter rains,
never again to know the
boulder in which it was
brought forth from the belly well
of the inner Earth.

This is the power of Love,
I am told:

To dare to risk your offspring
so that they may learn to fly.

To make offerings of yourself
to the Holy that nourishes
you from above and below.

To surrender to the pull of gravity
as a humble act of coming
onto the knees of all Creation.

To dig until the melancholy fingers yield
the droplets of bloodlines
that have departed across entire
Oceans of destiny.

I am the last.

The last child has been taken
from me by the jealous hunters,
and so it stops with me.

I am the last.

I am the last to be the cut reed
and the reed cutter,

The oppressed
and the oppressor.

I am the last to forsake
the Truth
and be forsaken by
the story my lineage
construed to keep us
women safe.

Now is the time that
we must return to our
power,

That we must reclaim
the connection to our Earth-deep
roots and grow forth
again with a ripeness
that when savored
seeks only to unite.

But how?

Acknowledgment.

Acknowledging the suffering
of every reed cut
and of every reed cutter
who has been chased by
the fear of his own death.

Honoring.

Honoring the fleshy sacrifice of the reed
and the soul loss of the
reed cutter,

and the gift of shelter that they
somehow managed to
co-creatively manifest.

Learning.

Learning to hear the reed’s
cry in my own voice,
and yours,
and too in the voice of the
reed cutters within.

Learning that the sound
most needed now is one
of joy.

Re-membering.

Re-membering how to find
the way back to the Earth
through dark passageways,
carrying with me every
incense-infused gift
that my ancestors have passed down
in the wrappings of the prayers that
someday,
this day,
I would take up
the alchemical bundle
called Love
and return with it to my roots.

And so I anoint that little boy
and his Mother
with the purest essence of belonging,
praying that they will no longer
feel disconnected, lonely, and unloved.

And down the matrilineal line
this too I receive.

The hungry ghosts will find that there
is nothing left here on which
to feed;

I can again draw nourishment
from who I am.

I am the black bird with a heart
who remembers the holy song
of the forgiving flute
made out of sacred reed.
– Jamie K. Reaser

To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.
– Osho Rajneesh

There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.
– John Lennon

No such thing as innocent by-standing.
– Seamus Heaney

I do not believe things will turn out well, but the idea that they might is of decisive importance.
– Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Towards a New Manifesto

Orchard and Road
In the traffic of our days
may we attend to each thing
so that patterns are revealed
amidst the offerings of chance.

All things want to be heard,
so let us listen to what they say.
In the end we will hear what we are:
the orchard or the road leading past.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.
– George Orwell

Like Punk Never Happened
by Oz Hardwick

Let my inspiration flow: a vinyl incantation
spun in bedrooms lined with books, walls weighted
with bright prints –- Hawkwind, Hillage, Grateful Dead –-
charts of dreams beyond school walls, and smoke
breathing itself in jasmine incense and candleglow.

I folded burning summers behind me, patched my jeans
with rainbow threads, shrugged on my grandfather’s coat,
manned stands in the concrete city winter, restless
for change, for truth, for life, for all I didn’t know
I needed, searching for the spark, for love, for a light in the sky.

And in midnight basement coffee bars, I played pinball
with words, thrilling to the flash and clatter, the judder of connection,
high scores rung against graffitied walls, flipping
meanings with purple tie-dye fingers, with lips
open to the spirit of the age, tasting the moment forever.

THE NIGHT HOUSE
Every day the body works in the fields of the world
Mending a stone wall
Or swinging a sickle through the tall grass –
The grass of civics, the grass of money –
And every night the body curls around itself
And listens for the soft bells of sleep.

But the heart is restless and rises
From the body in the middle of the night,
Leaves the trapezoidal bedroom
With its thick, pictureless walls
To sit by herself at the kitchen table
And heat some milk in a pan.

And the mind gets up too, puts on a robe
And goes downstairs, lights a cigarette,
And opens a book on engineering.
Even the conscience awakens
And roams from room to room in the dark,
Darting away from every mirror like a strange fish.

And the soul is up on the roof
In her nightdress, straddling the ridge,
Singing a song about the wildness of the sea
Until the first rip of pink appears in the sky.
Then, they all will return to the sleeping body
The way a flock of birds settles back into a tree,

Resuming their daily colloquy,
Talking to each other or themselves
Even through the heat of the long afternoons.
Which is why the body – the house of voices –
Sometimes puts down its metal tongs, its needle, or its pen
To stare into the distance,

To listen to all its names being called
Before bending again to its labor.
– Billy Collins

Wasn’t there a spell for making yourself happy? Somebody must have invented one. How could he have missed it? Why didn’t they teach it? Was it in the library, a flying book fluttering just out of reach, beating its wings against some high window?
– Lev Grossman

Prayer is the effort of wresting words
not from silence,
but from the noise of other words.
To penetrate heaven, we must reach
what breaks in us.
The image haunts me:
the double swaying
of prayer on the trains.
– Anne Michaels

A rush of love as soft as my slippers
drives sleep from my heart. Here among furniture
I see the moon has been ignored
because [someone] left the lights on, forgetful.

We musn’t forget to put things right,
turn off what isn’t needed to turn on what is.
One can eclipse love by mistaking
the forgetfulness of [someone] for the moon.
– Landis Everson

As I Grew Older
It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun—
My dream.
And then the wall rose,
Rose slowly,
Slowly,
Between me and my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky—
The wall.
Shadow.
I am black.
I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Above me.
Only the thick wall.
Only the shadow.
My hands!
My dark hands!
Break through the wall!
Find my dream!
Help me to shatter this darkness,
To smash this night,
To break this shadow
Into a thousand lights of sun,
Into a thousand whirling dreams
Of sun!
– Langston Hughes

The human heart is the first home of democracy. It is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole beings, not just our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions? And do we have enough resolve in our hearts to act courageously, relentlessly, without giving up—ever—trusting our fellow citizens to join with us in our determined pursuit of a living democracy?”
– Terry Tempest Williams

I think of empathy as a set of cumulative effects, ideally – that it can be a force shaping your habits, shaping where you put your attention and then – if you’re hard on yourself, in good ways – pushing you to translate that attention into action, on whatever scale.
– Leslie Jamison

To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe — to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it — is a wonder beyond words.
– Joanna Macy

Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do , Something you are, And something you give away.
– John Lennon

The ones with a broken heart are the most interesting. When your heart breaks, that’s what allows the love to come through strong.
– Joanna Macy

I try to imagine a world without words, a world without language, and the world collapses. It’s nothing. It’s chaos. Language is the thing that makes the world, and it’s the thing that makes the world disappear. Writing is a kind of ongoing struggle to renew the world.
– Karl Ove Knausgaard

Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.
– Ludwig van Beethoven

It is time we stop trying to listen to the small voice of reason among Trump’s supporters and begin listening instead to the pain of his victims. It is time we stop retreating into fear and rise up in solidarity to stop the destruction of our ideals, for through rising up we might find our strength and foster our visions, but most importantly now, we will protect our freedoms.

Stopping Trump may be the fight of this generation. If we fail to find the strength to resist now, we may look back on it as the last generation of American freedom. Certainly, we are likely to find ourselves struggling uphill to regain the rights, the safeguards, the supports, and the culture of diversity now under threat.

Everyone can resist in their own ways. Some will draft articles, some will write letters; some will protest, while others challenge friends; some will organize and some cheer on. You can resist with art and music, with humor and philosophy. The resistance can be beautiful and bold and inspiring; and it can be calm and strong and grounding.

Let’s use this as a chance to discover something new in ourselves and better in our culture. I welcome you all to join me in using this crisis as an opportunity to clarify the most meaningful things for which we stand and to do so in ever-deeper and more beautiful ways, so that through our resistance we rediscover those things that allow us to open and flow like a raging stream, making its way to the ocean.

For most people, liberalism is as liberalism does; so let us do beautiful things in meaningful ways, and in so doing create something so irresistible that even our most fervent opponents will dream of joining.

– Theo Horesh

Chogyam Trungpa ~ When a person sits and meditates, it is a special situation, a sacred act. In meditation, even the most impure, crude, or confused thoughts are regarded as sacred. You may fall asleep on your cushion or feel that you have not actually meditated at all. Even daydreams on the cushion are important. You should have the attitude that you are involved with a system and a tradition that is valid and has its roots in solid thinking. Meditation is a definite approach, an extremely valid thing to do.

There are such things in the world as human rights. They rest upon no conventional foundation, but are external, universal, and indestructible. Among these, is the right of locomotion; the right of migration; the right which belongs to no particular race, but belongs alike to all and to all alike. It is the right you assert by staying here, and your fathers asserted by coming here. It is this great right that I assert for the Chinese and Japanese, and for all other varieties of men equally with yourselves, now and forever. I know of no rights of race superior to the rights of humanity, and when there is a supposed conflict between human and national rights, it is safe to go to the side of humanity.
– Frederick Douglass 1869 speech in Boston, challenging US citizens to accept Chinese immigration

Questionnaire by Wendell Berry
How much poison are you willing
to eat for the success of the free
market and global trade? Please
name your preferred poisons.
For the sake of goodness, how much
evil are you willing to do?
Fill in the following blanks
with the names of your favorite
evils and acts of hatred.
What sacrifices are you prepared
to make for culture and civilization?
Please list the monuments, shrines,
and works of art you would
most willingly destroy.
In the name of patriotism and
the flag, how much of our beloved
land are you willing to desecrate?
List in the following spaces
the mountains, rivers, towns, farms
you could most readily do without.
State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
the energy sources, the kinds of security;
for which you would kill a child.
Name, please, the children whom
you would be willing to kill.

A poet is made of a thousand poets.
– Darwish

My Brother the Artist, at Seven
BY PHILIP LEVINE
As a boy he played alone in the fields
behind our block, six frame houses
holding six immigrant families,
the parents speaking only gibberish
to their neighbors. Without the kids
they couldn’t say “Good morning” and be
understood. Little wonder
he learned early to speak to himself,
to tell no one what truly mattered.
How much can matter to a kid
of seven? Everything. The whole world
can be his. Just after dawn he sneaks
out to hide in the wild, bleached grasses
of August and pretends he’s grown up,
someone complete in himself without
the need for anyone, a warrior
from the ancient places our fathers
fled years before, those magic places:
Kiev, Odessa, the Crimea,
Port Said, Alexandria, Lisbon,
the Canaries, Caracas, Galveston.
In the damp grass he recites the names
over and over in a hushed voice
while the sun climbs into the locust tree
to waken the houses. The husbands leave
for work, the women return to bed, the kids
bend to porridge and milk. He advances
slowly, eyes fixed, an animal or a god,
while beneath him the earth holds its breath.

If you spend enough time reading or writing, you find a voice, but you also find certain tastes. You find certain writers who when they write, it makes your own brain voice like a tuning fork, and you just resonate with them. And when that happens, reading those writers – not all of whom are modern . . . I mean, if you are willing to make allowances for the way English has changed, you can go way, way back with this – becomes a source of unbelievable joy. It’s like eating candy for the soul. So probably the smart thing to say is that lucky people develop a relationship with a certain kind of art that becomes spiritual, almost religious, and doesn’t mean, you know, church stuff, but it means you’re just never the same.
– David Foster Wallace

What The World Is Hoping For
by Tad Hargrave
This world is not hoping you will, one day, make a difference.
It is hoping, against hope, that you will learn
To walk through it knowing you already do.
And if you don’t see how
That you will keep looking
On your hands and knees
Close to the ground
That you will learn to read the signs.
Everywhere.
There is your footprint
Pressed into the soft soil
And the one behind it.
They seem to go on forever.
There is the branch you broke
As you ran so carefree
Through this world.
There are the ripples in the lake
Where you tossed your stones.
There are the hearts you’ve broken
As you ran so carefree
Through this world.
There are the lives you’ve saved
With a kind word.
Not knowing.
Not knowing.
There it all is.
It’s heartbreaking to see it
You thought you were so small
So inconsequential.
You were so dedicated to being somebody
That you never heard all of the names being given to you already.
Everything you do
Is of such immense consequence
Every action an imprint
On this soft world
That refuses to make a ghost of you
By refusing to let itself be touched by you.
Everything is different because we are here
And we often don’t see it until
On hands and knees
Later in life.
We look back and see it all
The beauty of everything we made and planted
The wreckage of everything we destroyed
Not knowing
Not knowing.
Both of them done in this quest to mean something
To a world
That meant something when it fashioned us
That isn’t what we expected.
This world doesn’t want you to try to be so small that you are of no consequence
This world doesn’t want you to try to be big and successful.
This world is whispering to you everyday
Of the depths of your unintended consequence
This world is hoping you might throw your shoulder to the wheel of culture-making
And hoping you’ll learn that your shoulder
Pushing that wheel
And the mark that wheel leaves
What that wagon is carrying
How it got put there
The hole it left
Knowing the immense cost of it all
To all those who are not you
Is what all deep cultures have been made of.
There you are.
Looking forward.
Full of dreams that
One day
You might
Finally
Do something that matters.
While this world is whispering to you with her gravity
The affirmation of your substance
Holding you close
A mother’s love
Hoping you might crawl down low
And, for the first time in your life,
Resist the pull to look forward and
Look back
(Footprints)
Without shame or guilt
You didn’t know
You didn’t know
To end your childhood
Be heartbroken by all that you see that you can’t undo.
The poverty of our times is not that we don’t believe we are consequential
But that no one convinced us that we are
And we are left to discover it on our own
At so much cost
To so many.

TRY TO PRAISE THE MUTILATED WORLD
by Adam Zagajewski / translated by Clare Cavanagh
Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees heading nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the grey feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

If everybody became a poet the world would be much better. We would all read to each other.
– Nikki Giovanni

I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.
– Frederick Douglass

Sometimes the moment hits us just right and we are blown away by the room some call a coffee shop, some a sanctuary, some a second home.

I always looked upon the acts of racist exclusion, or insult, as pitiable, from the other person. I never absorbed that. I always thought that there was something deficient about such people.
– Toni Morrison

The sangha is the community of people who have the perfect right to cut through your trips and feed you with their wisdom, as well as the perfect right to demonstrate their own neurosis and be seen through by you. The companionship within the sangha is a kind of clean friendship—without expectation, without demand, but at the same time, fulfilling.
– Diana J. Mukpo

The storms of winter which so exalt and glorify the mountains are only emphatic words of nature’s love.
– John Muir

If you see the world as full of anger, you will fight fire with fire. If you see the world as full of love, you will trip balls. If you see the world as it is—neurosis, confusion, suffering, but too brilliance, kindness, innovation, promise—all on a foundation of fundamental goodness, then you can work and play in harmony with this life.
– Waylon Lewis

Anthropocene Blues
by Anne Waldman

sound de-territorializes
weather
and my love clings to you
sings to you
in the “new weathers”
within a tragedy
of the Anthropocene


nothing
not
held hostage
by the hand
of Man

can we resist?
will we fail?
to save our world?

we dream replicas of ourselves
fragile, broken
robotic thought-bubbles

inside the shadow
a looming possibility
this new year
to wake up

could it be?

an anthropoid scared
from the forest
slow in development
now infantilized
much like us

stressed yet
perhaps
ready to resist
this scenario?

the forest made the monkey
& the cave & steppe: the human
and now
what makes us suppler
more human?

climate grief?
a fierce tenderness toward
the destruction of our world?

questions
or actions?

[my love for you
sings for you, world
I’ve got those Anthropocene….
Anthropocene….
blues…..]

I do not write every day. I write to the questions and issues before me. I write to deadlines. I write out of my passions. And I write to make peace with my own contradictory nature. For me, writing is a spiritual practice. A small bowl of water sits on my desk, a reminder that even if nothing is happening on the page, something is happening in the room – evaporation. And I always light a candle when I begin to write, a reminder that I have now entered another realm, call it the realm of the Spirit. I am mindful that when one writes, one leaves this world and enters another.
– Terry Tempest Williams

The collapse of civilisation does not engender noble poets and heroes, but it may reveal the already existing ones – hidden in the archetypes. The real poet and true hero is born in the unconditional, in the space of the real – not in the reaction, not in the sundry games of the world. He is ready to help when called for but he does not seek the mob. If there is water to protect he protects it – out of sympathy and duty to the hidden spirit of the water or of the stone. He protects his own constituents and those of his human and animal friends, their dwellings and ecologies, not out of abstraction, not out of self preservation. For such a one is not found in hysterics or in the land of fears.
– Andrew Sweeny

nonideological ordinariness – and friendliness … t.k. answering someone who asked “I would like a way of life in 3 words.”

Art’s job is to destabilize, is to confront, is to ask questions.
– Robert Buck

I know that
hope is the hardest
love we carry.
– Jane Hirshfield

I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.
– Robin Williams

What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.
– Werner Heisenberg

The true warriors on the planet are those who have had to overcome tremendous hardships with very little or no support. The real super-heroes are those that have been so disillusioned by the world, so uprooted in their daily life, yet they find a way to get up in the morning and believe in life again. We want to co-create a society that elevates and supports these individuals. We want to co-create a world that pulls humanity close, that refuses to let anyone fall off the edge, that breathes individuals back to life when they lose all hope, that moves the way loves makes us move. In this world of divine possibility, we will never forget that we are all part of this human-nest. If even one is left out, the nest is empty.
Unity consciousness is not simply a beautiful vision of possibility- it is our best and truest hope. Until each and every one of us rises into fullness, the collective cannot actualize its wholeness. Until we all rush to the side of someone in need, we are all fractured beings. Until we all recognize that each of us is a magnificent reflection of the Godself, we are collectively blind. Until everyone has what they need to flourish, we are all birds with one wing. The measure of a healthy society is not how effectively it elevates its achievers, but how compassionately it supports those who have fallen. Our community is humanity. We rise or fall in unison.
– Jeff Brown

The image of this hexagram is that of a gentle wind dispersing storm clouds. A wind that changes direction often, even a very powerful one, will disperse nothing—it only stirs up the sky. The wind that causes real change is the one that blows consistently in the same direction.
– Brian Browne Walker

You still love the ones you loved
back when you loved them—books,
Records, and people.
Nothing much changes in the glittering rooms of the heart,
Only the dark spaces half-reclaimed.
And then not much,
An image, a line. Sometimes a song.
– Charles Wright

Here, I’m bound to heat and words of water,
because even as the world loosens its hold
on me, the rivers are slow to release.
What else is worth saying?
The days wind down, I drag my hand
through the moon’s golden scribble
on the river.
– Alison Pelegrin

The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.
– Ernest Hemingway

I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.
– Frederick Douglass

Every community needs a group of angelic troublemakers.
– Bayard Rustin

Some people react physically to the magic of poetry, to the moments, that is, of authentic revelation, of the communication, the sharing, at its highest level…
– Dylan Thomas

In a Dark Time
by Theodore Roethke
In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood —
A lord of nature weeping to a tree,
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks — is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.
A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is —
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
– Howard Zinn

The Second Going
BY PHILIP LEVINE
Again the
day begins, only
no one wants its sanity
or its blinding clarity. Daylight is
not what we came all this way for. A
pinch of salt, a drop of schnapps in our cup
of tears, the ticket to the life to come, a short life of
long nights & absent dawns & a little mercy in the tea.

I dash outdoors so I will know
a little more about the day –
I stride forth filled with the whiff.
What’s to know is always a little to the left,
deep in the vine-covered hole of a hedgehog down
by the mossy stump. If something is impaled down there
I want to know. I don’t mind throwing myself
into the cistern of the Middle Ages.
– Mary Ruefle

Read for yourselves, read for the sake of your inspiration, for the sweet turmoil in your lovely head. But also read against yourselves, read for questioning and impotence, for despair and erudition, read the dry sardonic remarks of cynical philosophers like Cioran or even Carl Schmitt, read newspapers, read those who despise, dismiss or simply ignore poetry and try to understand why they do it. Read your enemies, read those who reinforce your sense of what’s evolving in poetry, and also read those whose darkness or malice or madness or greatness you can’t understand because only in this way will you grow, outlive yourself, and become what you are.
– Adam Zagajewski

Art alone makes life possible – this is how radically I should like to formulate it. I would say that without art man is inconceivable in physiological terms. There is a certain materialist doctrine which claims that we can dispense with mind and with art because man is just a more or less highly developed mechanism governed by chemical processes. I would say man does not consist only of chemical processes, but also of metaphysical occurrences. The provocateur of the chemical processes is located outside the world. Man is only truly alive when he realizes he is a creative, artistic being.
– Joseph Beuys

Don’t think too much about wisdom teachings that are difficult to grasp conceptually. They are pointing to what is beyond concept. Focus on your practice in the moment. Then what is supposed to happen will happen and you will know it.

Be diligent. Avoid being a philosopher. Be a practitioner.
– Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.
– Percy Bysshe Shelley

I think the great poet, who is going to come, is going to be the poet who can see in a single grass blade—a single surviving grass blade —heaven and earth, or the lost paradise. There are not going to be that many more grass blades. The animals are going, the trees are going, the flowers are going, everything is going. So the poet who is going to be the great poet of the future is going to be that poet who can tell us what that last grass blade, popping up through the cement, means—really.
– James Dickey

The process usually takes place the other way around, but if I had to give a young writer some advice I would say to write about something that has happened to him; it’s always easy to tell whether a writer is writing about something that has happened to him or something he has read or been told. Pablo Neruda has a line in a poem that says ‘God help me from inventing when I sing.’ It always amuses me that the biggest praise for my work comes for the imagination, while the truth is that there’s not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality. The problem is that Caribbean reality resembles the wildest imagination.
– Gabriel Garcia Marques

Child, if you speak beautifully but behave badly, you become the worst of practitioners.
– Padampa Sangye

Honestly, there is only one solution: set your buttocks down on the meditation cushion and train in how to be free. As far as I am concerned, that is the only way.
– Tsoknyi Rinpoche

Ode to the Joyful Ones
‘Shield your joyful ones.’…
—from an Anglican Prayer
That they walk, even stumble, among us is reason
to praise them, or protect them—even the sound
of a lead slug dropped on a lead plate, even that, for them,
is music. Because they bring laughter’s
brief amnesia. Because they stand,
talking, taking pleasure in others,
with their hands on the shoulders of strangers
and the shoulders of each other.
Because you don’t have to tell them to walk toward the light.
Because if there are two pork chops
they will serve you the better one.
Because they will give you the crutch off their backs.
Because when there are two of them together
their shining fills the room.
Because you don’t have to tell them to walk toward the light.

An old idea suggests that the world inside us is greater than the world we see around us, that each person is a cosmos with all the stars hidden inside. The individual soul can be seen and held as a microcosm, a little world and realm unto itself. If penetrated deeply enough, it might turn inside out and become the living thread to the soul of the world. Amidst the current speed of life and rush towards the future, the presence and value of the individual soul is easily lost…. The soul’s natural horizon is the cosmos yet the modern world tends to become smaller and more horizontal as it loses the vertical dimension and the grounding depths that the soul brings to life.

In losing the soulful ways of connection, we risk losing what relates us to great nature on one hand and the eternal realm and touch of the divine on the other. Soul is the secret glue of the world and the connecting agent of existence. Soul is found where life deepens us, where meaning calls to us, where trouble deters us, wherever and however we slow down in the midst of the rushing and racing at the surface level of life. Amidst the modern fascination with newness and things that move faster and faster, there is something older and wiser trying to catch up with us. Only if we can manage to stop in time and “slow downwards” can the old soul within us catch up and help find a way through the growing darkness.
– Michael Meade

I Love You Sweatheart
Tom Lux
A man risked his life to write the words.
A man hung upside down (an idiot friend…
holding his legs?) with spray paint
to write the words on a girder fifty feet above
a highway. And his beloved,
the next morning driving to work…?
His words are not (meant to be) so unique.
Does she recognize his handwriting?
Did he hint to her at her doorstep the night before
of “something special, darling, tomorrow”?
And did he call her at work
expecting her to faint with delight
at his celebration of her, his passion, his risk?
She will know I love her now,
the world will know my love for her!
A man risked his life to write the words.
Love is like this at the bone, we hope, love
is like this, Sweetheart, all sore and dumb
and dangerous, ignited, blessed – always,
regardless, no exceptions,
always in blazing matters like these: blessed.

Music is outer meditation: meditation is inner music. They go together, hand in hand, embracing each other.

It is one of the greatest experiences of life when music is there surrounding you, overwhelming you, flooding you, and meditation starts growing in you — when meditation and music meet, world and God meet, matter and consciousness meet. That is Unio Mystica — the mystic union.
– Osho

From an important and timely essay by Bonnie Nadzam:

What I really want to say is that all of these things happened to me, that none of it was okay, that I didn’t deserve any of it, and that I have nothing to be ashamed of. But the truth is it has all diminished me, silenced me, terrified me, and shamed me. We know, don’t we, that men, especially those in positions of power, try to hurt, tame and control what they fear, and cannot or will not try to understand. And we trust that… women, individually and especially together, are tremendously powerful. If ever there was a time to disregard those who won’t believe our stories, now is the time to speak very plainly about the behavior of those men who assume we’ll be swept away by their poetry, or politics, before we understand what’s happened. Says James Baldwin: ‘The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim…she has become a threat.’

It’s not enough for us to try to root out evil and ignorance at the level of any single office or position of power—we must root it out at every level. It may be that we don’t overcome in the way we hope to, but we will be turning on small lights that can never be turned off again. If you have a story, tell it. In particular, all you women? Tell all the other women, everything, now. Because let me tell you: you may think the picture is finally coming into focus, but you don’t know the half of it.

The writer, unless he is a mere word processor, retains three attributes that power-mad regimes cannot tolerate: a human imagination, in the many forms it may take; the power to communicate; and hope.
– Margaret Atwood

Good nutrition isn’t just about what goes into the body. It’s about everything that flows forth from heart and soul, and how we feed and nourish the world.
– Marc David

Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes – every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man.
– Orison Swett Marden

Take me to those days again,
where afternoons lasted forever
and sunset paused long enough
to bless everything in sight,
It was almost too much,
the world holy and golden,
our laughter incense in the air.
– Alison Pelegrin

The final lesson a writer learns is that everything can nourish the writer. The dictionary, a new word, a voyage, an encounter, a talk on the street, a book, a phrase learned.
– Anais Nin

The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.
– Atisa

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ Human beings are creative and destructive, cranky and kind, joyful and miserable…it’s impossible to pin down a human being. We are always a “work in progress.” So when we judge others (or ourselves) we are objectifying or seeing them in a one-dimensional way. There is a closing down around a negative idea and simultaneously there is a non-acceptance of the “fullness” of who they are. This is why, when we judge others, we experience the negativity of our own mind first and foremost.

The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.
– Carl Gustav Jung

Your willingness to look at your darkness is what empowers you to change.
– Iyanla Vanzant

I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.
– Anaïs Nin

The poet or the revolutionary is there to articulate the necessity, but until the people themselves apprehend it, nothing can happen … Perhaps it can’t be done without the poet, but it certainly can’t be done without the people. The poet and the people get on generally very badly, and yet they need each other. The poet knows it sooner than the people do. The people usually know it after the poet is dead; but that’s all right. The point is to get your work done, and your work is to change the world.
– James A. Baldwin

How love came in I do not know,
Whether by the eye, or ear, or no;
Or whether with the soul it came
(At first) infused with the same;
Whether in part ’tis here or there,
Or, like the soul, whole everywhere,
This troubles me: but I as well
As any other this can tell:
That when from hence she does depart
The outlet then is from the heart.
– Robert Herrick

As you sleep and count the planets, think of others- there are people who have no place to sleep/As you liberate yourself with metaphors think of others- those who have lost the right to speak./And as you think of distant others- think of yourself and say- I wish I were a candle in the darkness.
– Mahmoud Darwish

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
by Wendell Berry
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

ON THE BACK ROADS
by Melissa La Flamme
Wisdom ways say,
don’t tell.
Show.
Embody.
Smell.
Move.
Breathe
fire.
Sing honey
rising
from the wellspring.
Notice strong
what residue
lingers
on your damp soul,
what releases
a perfectly
discordant note
off the chart
of your everyday
transactional reality.
What surprising riff
alights
psyche’s
true
musk;
incites
a rumble
of courage
in you, as you,
crashing on waves
of ancient anger
running pure
now as protest
to overthrow
everything about you
not authentic,
not of soul.
A revolution
you are,
down and dirty
on some wholly, holy
quest
to call in,
reclaim,
protect
and cultivate
all of you,
your one messy life.
Ruthless in its terrible
Beauty.
Discerning,
calling home
your true nature
from every
other
contortion
is what you do
til you don’t;
til Mystery
unhinges you,
frees you
from daylight’s
mind-chains,
til the trap door to
crazy-wisdom
creaks open
and chaos
wafts
on ancestral winds,
revealing
abandoned buildings
strewn with
burnt-out bodies
of old lies,
waiting for release.
Ask Impossible
questions,
the real ones
you’ve avoided
til now.
Ask those Others
who meet you
when you’re not looking.
The Ones
on the back roads
dusty with wander,
harbingers of a dangerous
liberation—
rare animals with attitude,
fringe creatures,
sovereign,
free of answers.
..
– Melissa La Flamme

That’s all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones.
– Raymond Carver, from “On Writing,” Call If You Need Me

I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.
– Anne Frank

Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now.
– Audre Lorde

If you want to be a real human being – a real woman, a real man – you cannot tolerate things which put you to indignation, to outrage. You must stand up. I always say to people, ‘Look around; look at what makes you unhappy, what makes you furious, and then engage yourself in some action.’
– Stephane Hessel

Do not confuse peace of mind with spaced-out insensitivity. A truly peaceful mind is very sensitive, very aware.
– Dalai Lama

Do you know what you are? You are a manuscript of a divine letter. You are a mirror reflecting a noble face. This universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you are already that.
– Rumi

He (or she) that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our friend.
– Edmund Burke

Whatever happens to the initiate during the threshold ordeal is half-determined by the individual, half by the natural environment. the Quality of the environment changes as the candidate changes, or stagnates as the candidate stagnates. This ‘mirroring” of self by nature and nature by self is the basic eco-psychological function of the fall shield. If nature mourns, I mourn. If I mourn nature mourns. the soul-soul bond between human and nature is the cradle of true maturity.
– Steven Foster

Real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts and suffer change and stretch consciousness. Real courage is risking one’s clichés.
– Tom Robbins

There are names,
Such as Buddha, God, or Heavenly Way:
But they all point to the mind
Which is nothingness.

Live always
With the mind of total nothingness,
And the evils that come to you
Will dissipate completely.

Not doing zazen,
Is no other than zazen itself;
When you truly know this,
You are not separate
From the way of Buddha.
– Zen Master Bunan

I need the sea because it teaches me.
I don’t know if I learn music or awareness,
if it’s a single wave or its vast existence,
or only its harsh voice or its shining one,
a suggestion of fishes and ships.
The fact is that until I fall asleep,
in some magnetic way I move in
the university of the waves.

– The Sea by Pablo Neruda

Tell me whose side are you really on? The people of America or the cynics and predators at the very top who would climb atop the ruins of the republic for a better view of the sunset?
– Bill Moyers

The Holy Hoop of Life, does not understand ‘Us and Them.’ It has no comprehension of ‘Us and Them,’ it is not in its design, it is nowhere in its functionality. The Holy Hoop of Life only understands ‘WE.’ This Creation, this construct that we live in, is an extraordinary design of Inter-Relation, of Inter-Dependence, of Inter-Action, and Inter-Being. Truly, the complexity of how it is interconnected is far, far beyond our comprehension. All life, each form of life has been granted the tremendous honor of having a place on the Sacred Hoop, including The Five-Fingered-Ones, the Two-Leggeds. Our kind is not the whole Hoop, but only holds a place on the Hoop. Every member of this Hoop, of this community, must uphold its part of the Hoop, or the Hoop begins to fail. Right now, my kind, human beings, are not upholding our part of the Hoop. Our species is suffering very deeply from a disease that disrupts this harmonious, vast, interrelational design whose primary activity is creating and furthering Thriving Life. Instead, our species is suffering from the disease of The Illusion of Separation. Our species is not living as a ‘WE.’ Our kind has come to allow thousands and thousands of versions of ‘Us and Them’, more and more erupting daily. And so, because this way is exactly opposite to the inherent construct of where we exist, humans are no longer Thriving, and are causing the Hoop of Life to struggle in its ability to Thrive as well.
The remedy, it seems, is for the Five-Fingered-Ones to come back into harmony, back into WE. Within our own being, with each other, and with the other members of the Sacred Hoop. All the other members have been and are staying true to their design, to uphold their place and participate fully in this Creation/construct as a Community of Thriving Life. And the Truth is, we also have a perfect Design to enact to participate fully and interrelationally as well. The goal then must be for humanity to come back into a WE, across all Nations: Black, Red, Yellow, White, Women’s Nation, Men’s Nation, and All across our Holy Spectrum.
Today, some of us are coming to a place where we feel the need to defend certain things. We must defend Water, we say. We must defend Women, we say. We must defend Our Brothers and Sisters of different races, cultures and religious beliefs, we say. We must defend Wolves, Polar Bears, Buffalos, we say. Yes. Somehow, we must do this. But here is our dilemma:
How do we defend, resist, rise up, speak out, without pushing our primary goal of Moving into ‘WE,’ further out, and further out into the future?
Life itself depends upon us meeting this goal of WE, and soon. For some time humanity has been content ‘to buy now and pay later’ by allowing ourselves to Other, and by justifying fighting that which is Other, pushing any chance for becoming WE out for another day. The deeply Inter-Connected Holy Hoop of Life, has done its best to accommodate this direct violation to its integrity and design for all this time. This Mother Earth has supported us through these anti-Life activities all She can, but She has come to the end of Her ability to support this from us. Pure Cause and Effect. Time’s up.
Every time we take a swipe physically, verbally and even energetically, we can know that it will not end there. War is a boomerang. War can be said to be hitting a rubber ball against a wall: it consistently comes right back, and with all the force and velocity with which it was sent out. If we manage to wrestle The Other to the ground, and given them a good kick so they can be sure to know they are defeated, and so they will never forget it, that is exactly right: they will not forget it. Nor will their children or grandchildren. One day, they’ll be back. Every time we choose this course, we delay our task of coming back into WE that much longer. Indefinitely. Meanwhile, all of our other relatives, The Swimming Ones, The Flying Ones, The Creepy-Crawly Ones, The Four-Leggeds, The Standing Nation (trees), The Stone People, The Waters, The Soil, everyone who holds their place on the Sacred Hoop, suffers. It is said there is now a ‘mass extinction event’ occurring all around us now. Everything suffers when we refuse to uphold our part of the Hoop.
So do we not have the ‘right’ to defend ourselves, our homes, that which we know to be Sacred? Yes, of course, we do. We participate in sacrilege if we do not. And, it does not, cannot, change the fact that if by doing so, we destroy our urgent purpose of coming into WE, we also continue to imperil the Holy Hoop of Life.
Our kind, The Five-Fingered-Ones, has known some spectacular examples of non-violent direct action. In fact, the only times in our recent history, that I’m aware of, that we have had rapid paradigm shifts, consciousness shifts, and societal shifts, moving from the disease of the illusion of separation toward Thriving Life,has been with the application of non-violent direct action to address violations of the inherent principle of WE.
In India, Gandhi, an imperfect human, was able to inspire a deep tenacity to the principle of WE in thousands and thereby, ultimately caused the British Empire to change their course of action and alter their goals.
I picture the hundreds of people standing, facing the soldiers, unarmed. Unarmed not just in the fact that they did not carry a gun or clubs or knives, but they were unarmed in their minds as well, in their emotions, in their spirits, in their speech, in their posture. Refusing to recede, or acquiesce, perhaps even without words, they said: We cannot allow you to enact these activities, for your sake as well as ours. If I did not come here today, I would be participating in these activities with you, and that would be wrong for me to do. That would violate my integrity, and that I am not willing to do. Neither can I violate you to stop you, or that would again create a violation of my purpose, our purpose, and of my integrity for which I am forever accountable. What you propose, this cannot be. This must not be. It would violate humanity’s part on the Sacred Hoop of Life. That is why I have come here today to stand, facing you. To remind you, and to answer for the part of the Hoop that I hold. See me. See that I do not agree. See that we have yet to come to harmony, to One Mind, to WE.
The Empire (substitute any empire’s name here), never having been met in this way, mistakenly believe that they have met a meager opponent. The order goes out, the soldiers advance. First fifty or a hundred unarmed go down, reload, advance, next hundred go down. Maybe their women run out to attend to them. Women are shot and go down. Now maybe their children run out too. Soldiers are shooting, they watch children fall. The advance is ordered, they are stepping on bodies now. The unarmed stand without fighting back. Soldier after soldier begins to wake up. The heart that was planted into their chest starts roiling and revolting – humanity is inherently designed to be WE after all. The unarmed continue to send their message without words: We cannot participate, we claim peace, we cannot harm you, you are me, and WE are WE. The soldier gets ready to strike, looks up, looks into those eyes, they are absolutely without violence/violation, armed only with resolute and inherent integrity. The soldier feels himself now, feels his violation of himself, of another, of the inherent WE. He cannot continue. He finds himself with the same words in his chest, in his heart, mind, and hands: I cannot participate, I claim peace, I cannot harm you, you are me, and WE are WE. He throws down his weapons, turns and walks away, as do his peers. ‘For every action, their is an equal, and mirroring re-action.’ The battle has ended. It ends without leaving any need for retaliation, in fact, the way it ended precludes thoughts of retaliation, which would only lead to drinking more self-created poison. Dr. King also was able to create this same circumstance. As have defenders of water at St@nding R0ck.
At this time, it may be that we cannot use the exact same methods of Gandhi or Dr King. The offense against the non-violent disarmament methodologies has been hard at work. Those who give the orders do not need to confront the results of their actions. Hand to hand confrontation is avoided in most situations, with flyover attacks and the guiding of unmanned dr0nes. Our children are inoculated with hours and hours of the retraining of their nervous systems, and neural and emotional pathways to desensitize them to violence and harming, and to their inherent WE, with video ‘games,’ television and movies. But the return of soldiers from modern warfare, with their crippling PTSD difficulties, tell us that even with all these attempts to deceive our separation disease, we are still holding, deeply, tenderly, irrevocably, the inherent healthy, Thriving Life WE, even so…
WE, The-Five-Fingered-Ones, Holy Earth-Surface Walkers, are inherently Honorable. Our very existence is imbued with Honor and Holiness. We must not forget this. Just like a child who is told he is ugly, stupid, mean, a monster over and over and who comes to believe these abusive lies, he will also begin to believe he is only capable of ugly, wisdomless, monstrous acts. The first harmony we must return to is within ourselves. We return to Original Beauty. We recognize the Beauty in others, as we recognize it in ourselves. We have limitless compassion for another as we have it for ourselves. The POWERFUL Force of Forgiveness is placed into our hands for others as we forgive ourselves. To love unconditionally, we love ourselves, without conditions. To treat others as you would have them treat you, first we treat ourselves in that kind, loving, generous way. In our place of Beauty Restored, we more easily turn away from the false opportunity of revenge, and retribution. WE become WE within. Then WE become WE with out. Then WE recognize the WE that has held US all along: The Holy Hoop of Life, in all its amazing, Sacred Diversity. Thriving Life jubilantly receives us into its Mystery Dance. The Hoop is Whole-Holy-One, again.”
We were born into Beauty,
As Beauty,
For Joyful Life…
Beauty is restored
Beauty is restored
Beauty is restored
Beauty is restored… once again.
– Pat McCabe

The Flavor of Water
Whatever’s left of me.
These fragments I have
more than the void.
Floes holding clusters of
floating ice.
My name a vestige of
identity, that falsehood
forever cocooned in mystery.
How far away my heart’s heart –
my home & final destination,
my other mother murmured.
I glimpse a verdant island there.
Attempt to see nomad wind
as it haunts these leaves & grasses.
See myself untied.
At this moment
I wish to rise awakened
but this stolen boat
holds me by the spine.
Wooden boards
won’t let go of me.
Sudden waft of hyacinth –
scent of purple scent of pink.
Everything is melting.
Buildings trees people.
In which world do I walk
without ceasing?
A little prince
on my own planet.
A white-haired woman once
attempted to instruct me –
“Life is relationships.”
Still can’t grasp it.
Don’t believe her.
For me, poetry –
which is forbidden to
discuss in a poem –
is a planned flâneurie.
Unnamable
city of silence.
There are sounds,
but they take no form
inside this inchoate mind.
In these shattered
rooms of mirrors
I am nothing –
silhouette seated
at a cleared table.
What is separation but
a split from everything one
has ever known?
But I enjoy this strangeness
called ‘alone.’
Means a blur of wine time longing & song.
Cocaine & countless cigarettes with
strangers on a sidewalk bench.
Supposed poet
porting an awkward guitar, secretly stealing
Napoleon’s pointed black hat,
symbolizing being
the self-crowned emperor of
performers.
I know good people at first sight,
seeing sapphire in their eyes –
then “Cast a cold eye
on life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!”
Carved on the king of the
Celtic Twilight’s tomb.
In his heavy lifetime tome
he reveals
what all conceal –
“There’s no fool
can call me friend.”
Who am I?
Don’t know.
I press a strange tongue
against my palate,
& pretend to be.
This is the flavor of water.
– David Leo Sirois

How can I begin anything new with all of yesterday in me?
– Leonard Cohen

Chogyam Trungpa ~ SELF-RESPECT
You should have a sense of self-respect and self-comfort throughout your life. When you walk down the street, don’t rush. Just take a nice walk. Be yourself, appreciate yourself. Even appreciate your subconscious thoughts. Appreciate that you are a human being in one piece. Then you will begin to feel that you are doing your real job. It’s not even a job, but you are actually being what you should be. Everything comes from that basic sense of being and wholesomeness.

You must improve yourself on a higher level if you are to be able to help people, and not just weep over them.
– Idries Shah

Intentionally addressing what is unseen in us has a noble heritage: It is the vocation of poets, priests, artists, and seers. Active imagination consists of deliberately talking to un-lived aspects of yourself to alter the invisible patterns that shape your experience. In active imagination you observe the images and voices that rise up from your unconscious and create a dialogue with them. You examine their premises and intentions. This is the most powerful way to deal with complexes.
– Robert A. Johnson

Let us consider letters – how they come at breakfast, and at night, with their yellow stamps and their green stamps, immortalized by the postmark – for to see one’s own envelope on another’s table is to realize how soon deeds sever and become alien. Then at last the power of the mind to quit the body is manifest, and perhaps we fear or hate or wish annihilated this phantom of ourselves, lying on the table. Still, there are letters that merely say how dinner’s at seven; others ordering coal; making appointments. The hand in them is scarcely perceptible, let alone the voice or the scowl. Ah, but when the post knocks and the letter comes always the miracle seems repeated – speech attempted. Venerable are letters, infinitely brave, forlorn, and lost.
– Virginia Woolf

Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you,
At incredible speed, traveling day and night,
Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents, through
Narrow passes.
But will he know where to find you,…
Recognize you when he sees you,
Give you the thing he has for you?
– John Ashberry

If you are lost, may you understand that we are all lost, and still we are guided—by Strange Angels and Sleeping Giants, by our better and kinder natures, by the vibrant voice within the beat. May you follow that voice, for This is the way— the life worth living, the reason we are here.
– Elizabeth Lesser

God is really only another artist, he made the elephant, giraffe and cat. He has no real style but keeps trying new ideas.
– Pablo Picasso

There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality… the idea of the object will have left an indelible mark. It is what started the artist off, excited his ideas, and stirred up his emotions. Ideas and emotions will in the end be prisoners in his work.
– Pablo Picasso

VOWS
I feel my failure intensely
as if it were a vital organ
the gods grew from the side of my head.
You can’t cover it with a hat and I no longer
can sleep on that side it’s so tender.
I wasn’t quite faithful enough
to carry this sort of weight up the mountain.
When I took my vows at nineteen
I had no idea that gods were so merciless.
Fear makes for good servants
and bravery is fraudulent. When I awoke
I wasn’t awake enough.
– Jim Harrison

You fling the window open and the room is instantly flooded with this outer, pearl-laden haze, which is part damp oxygen, part coffee and prayers.
– Joseph Brodsky

How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be.
– Elizabeth Lesser

Qu’est-ce que l’amour ajoute au désir ? Une chose inestimable, l’amitié.
– Albert Camus, “Carnets III (1951-1959)”

What’s that love adds to desire? Something priceless, friendship.
– Albert Camus, ” Notebooks III (1951-1959)”

you go for a walk inside the mist of a five am green field. a peacock hops her way to a fruit. kingfishers boast their deep blue chests. in the field across cows eat yummy grass and farmers slowly till the land for spring onions and purple spinach. the breezes are fresh and enticing as the sky becomes slowly lighter. and then you stop to look at the new day sun smiling broadly in his orange face. your best friend smiles and hugs you. some say there are no words to describe. i say there are as many words as five am stars in the misty sky of malar. i’m just trying to say with words what grace is. see? it is amazing.
– hune margulies

The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the coloured arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.
– Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Someone asked me what home was and all I could think of were the stars on the tip of your tongue, the flowers sprouting from your mouth, the roots entwined in the gaps between your fingers, the ocean echoing inside of your ribcage.
– e. e. Cummings

And in the end, we were all just humans…drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

What if I bade you leave
The cavern of the mind?
There’s better exercise
In sunlight and wind.


I never bade you go
To Moscow or to Rome,
Renounce that drudgery,
Call the muses home.

Seek those images
That constitute the wild,
The lion and the virgin,
The harlot and the child.

Find in middle air
An eagle on the wing,
Recognize the five
That make the muses sing.
– W.B. Yeats

I believe in being a poet in all moments of life. Being a poet means being human. I know some poets whose daily behavior has nothing to do with their poetry. In other words, they are only poets when they write poetry. Then it is finished and they turn into greedy, indulgent, oppressive, shortsighted, miserable, and envious people. Well, I cannot believe their poems.
– Forough Farrokhzad

When you start to crack open, don’t waste a moment gathering your old self up into something like you knew before. Let your new self splash like sunlight into every dark place and laugh and cry and make sounds you never made & thank all that is holy for the gift….
– Brian Andreas

You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid… You refuse to do it because you want to live longer… You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take a stand.
Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you’re just as dead at thirty eight as you would be at ninety. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

At the same time, you have to find the right distance between people. Too close, and they overwhelm you; too far and they abandon you. How to hold them in the right relation?
– Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.
– Goethe

I think most artists create art in order to explore, not to give the answers. Poetry and art are not about answers to me; they are about questions.
– Lucille Clifton

I found god in myself and i loved her fiercely.
– Ntozake Shange

NEW MILKY WAY

Can you imagine how long they’ lived
Kant, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle


still alive are Doctor Zhivago
and Anna Karenina, and many others
whom we do not meet on the streets

I am a descendant of old wise men
I am lost between two constellations
and my name is not found in any written records

all wise men are born the same way
first they impose wisdom, then they send it to people
their knowledge lives within people and is written in many books
I will vainly go through all the written and the unwritten
including the eternally unfinished book of wise men

they buried me with my great-grandparents a long time ago
in some deserted books and geographical atlases
where the desert winds blew
making dunes on which
the gold sun and silver moon beamed
creating a new Milky Way between galaxies never ending

never ending because we will meet halfway
between here and there

I will not mention your names in the sand
that would not rise above the poem
– Ibrahim Honjo

I’m writing poems about miracles these days, divine transformations. All my life, I’ve caught glimpses of another world, fragments of strange music. At night, as a child, I used to watch Figures crossing my room between realms. And I want to tell you: this other world is very close.
– Kiki Petrosino

Emotional armor is not easy to shed, nor should it be. It has formed for a reason- as a requirement for certain responsibilities, as a conditioned response to real circumstances, as a defense against unbearable feelings. It has served an essential purpose. It has saved lives. Yet it can be softened over time. It can melt into the tendernest at its core. It can reveal the light at its source. But never rush it, never push up against it, never demand it to drop its guard before its time. Because it knows something you don’t. In a still frightening world, armor is no less valid than vulnerability. Let it shed at its own unique pace.
– Jeff Brown

An artist is only an artist on condition that he neglects no aspect of his dual nature. This dualism is the power of being oneself and someone else at one and the same time.
– Charles Baudelaire

What has happened to our ability to dwell in the unknowing, to live inside a question and coexist with the tensions of uncertainty? Where is our willingness to incubate pain and let it birth something new? What has happened to patient unfolding, to endurance? These things are what form the ground of waiting.
– Sue Monk Kidd

Underneath all we are taught, there is a voice that calls to us beyond what is reasonable, and in listening to that flicker of spirit, we often find deep healing. This is the voice of embodiment calling us to live our lives like sheet music played, and it often speaks to us briefly in moments of deep crisis. Sometimes it is so faint we mistake its whisper for wind through leaves. But taking it into the heart of our pain, it can often open the paralysis of our lives. . . . the best chance to be whole is to love whatever gets in the way, until it ceases to be an obstacle.
– Mark Nepo

… whoever loves must try to act as if he had a great work: he must be much alone and go into himself and collect himself and hold fast to himself; he must work; he must become something!

For believe me, the more one is, the richer is all that one experiences. And whoever wants to have a deep love in his life must collect and save for it and gather honey.

To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.
– Paulo Coelho

When I went to Venice I found that my dream had become —incredibly but quite simply— my address.
– Marcel Proust

I try to stay human, and I think if we can manage that, we radiate something important to the people with whom we’re in contact.
– Dianne Seuss

Wholeness is not achieved by cutting off a portion of one’s being, but by integration of the contraries.
– CG Jung

When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.
– Paul Hawken

More poets fail from lack of character than from lack of talent.
– Ezra Pound

Love, too, a leveler, a dying all its own,
the parts left behind not to be replaced,
a loss ongoing, and every day increased,
like rising in the night, at 3:00 am,
to watch the snow or the dead leaf fall,
the rings around the streetlight in the rain,
and then the rain, the red fist in the heart
opening and closing almost without me.
– Stanley Plumly

… I’m wintering
over to you.
– Paul Celan

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.
– Albert Einstein

Walt Whitman, Camus cast this powerful and tender constellation of thoughts:

The breeze is cool and the sky blue. I love this life with abandon and wish to speak of it boldly: it makes me proud of my human condition. Yet people have often told me: there’s nothing to be proud of. Yes, there is: this sun, this sea, my heart leaping with youth, the salt taste of my body and this vast landscape in which tenderness and glory merge in blue and yellow.

Love Song
Denise Levertov ISSUE 27, WINTER-SPRING 1962
Your beauty, which I lost sight of once
for a long time, is long,
not symmetrical, and wears
the earth colors that make me see it.

A long beauty, what is that?
A song
that can be sung over and over,
long notes or long bones.

Love is a landscape the long mountains
define but don’t
shut off from the
unseeable distance.

In fall, in fall,
your trees stretch
their long arms in sleeves
of earth-red and

sky-yellow, a little
lop-sided. I take
long walks among them. The grapes
that need frost to ripen them

are amber and grow deep in the
hedge, half-concealed,
the way your beauty grows in long tendrils
half in darkness.

The Man with the Blue Guitar
I
The man bent over his guitar,
A shearsman of sorts. The day was green.
They said, “You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are.”
The man replied, “Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar.”
And they said then, “But play, you must,
A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,
A tune upon the blue guitar
Of things exactly as they are.”
II
I cannot bring a world quite round,
Although I patch it as I can.
I sing a hero’s head, large eye
And bearded bronze, but not a man,
Although I patch him as I can
And reach through him almost to man.
If to serenade almost to man
Is to miss, by that, things as they are,
Say it is the serenade
Of a man that plays a blue guitar….
– Wallace Stevens, Cantos I & II

Fall Song
I am home.
It is a dark fall day.
The earth is slightly damp with rain.
I hear a jay.
The cry is blue.
I have found you here again.
Is there another word for “divine”?
I need a song that will keep sky open in my mind. If I think behind me, I will break.
If I think forward, I will have lost now.
Forever will be day like this
Strung perfectly on the necklace of days.
Slightly overcast
Yellow leaves
Your jacket hanging in the hallway
Next to mine.
– Joy Harjo

When You Are Old
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
– WB Yeats

Write if you will: but write about the world as it is and as you think it ought to be and must be—if there is to be a world. Write about all the things that men have written about since the beginning of writing and talking—but write to a point. Work hard at it, care about it. Write about our people: tell their story. You have something glorious to draw on begging for attention. Don’t pass it up. Don’t pass it up. Use it. Good luck to you. The Nation needs your gifts.
– Lorraine Hansberry speech, To Be Young, Gifted and Black (1964)

Mystics and Parents
It may seem strange to equate mysticism with parenting. The one seems so transcendent and pure while the other seems so mundane and — with four kids at least — messy! But mysticism for me is not only giving one’s attention to transcendence, for the love and creativity that is at the heart of the sacred is not found only in some higher, numinous realm. It is found all around us, waiting to be recognized and nurtured, and a mystic seeks to find these qualities and the presence from which they emerge, in the places and people that make up our world. A mystic to me is someone who aligns with the transcendental in order to serve and assist the incarnational. A mystic seeks the presence of God not to escape the world but to be more present in the world in a loving and empowering way. And nothing draws you into the world in a loving and empowering way more than learning to be a good parent.
Of all human relationships, surely parenting is one in which we are called upon to re-create the primal universal dynamics of co-creation and emergence, love and adventure, discovery and delight, caring and compassion. It is the relationship in which we are most expected to embody the presence of the Beloved.
It is a path of resonating with the primal spiritual forces that wrought the universe into being.
It is possible to find that path in some solitary mountain cave or in the midst of a monastery. But I have found it by being a parent.
– David, Spangler, Parent as Mystic, Mystic as Parent

You squander and lose what is meant to be your own if, before you are totally permeated by the infusion of the Holy Spirit, you rashly proceed to pour out your unfulfilled self upon others. The person who is wise, therefore, will see his life more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, and then discharges the overflow without loss to itself. Today there are many in the world who act like canals; the reservoirs are far too rare. So urgent is the charity of those through whom the streams of heavenly teaching flow to us, that they want to pour it forth before they have been filled. Infusion should precede the effusion. First be filled, and then control the outpouring. I cannot see myself being enriched by your wasting of your powers! For if you are mean to yourself, to whom will you be good? Help me out of your abundance, if you have it; if not, then spare yourself the trouble.
– St. Bernard of Clairvaux

As the voice of the poet becomes stifled, history loses its meaning and the eschatological promise bursts like a new and frightening dawn upon the consciousness of man. Only now, at the edge of the precipice is it possible to realise that ‘everything we are taught is false’. The proof of this devastation utterance is demonstrated every day in every realm: on the battlefield, in the laboratory, in the factory, in the press, in school, in the church. We live entirely in the past, nourished by dead thoughts, dead creeds, dead sciences. And it it the past which is engulfing us, not the future. The future always has and always will belong–to the poet…. The future is all his, even though there will be no future.
– Henry Miller

WHETHER YOU LOVE WHAT YOU LOVE // OR LIVE IN DIVIDED CEASELESS / REVOLT AGAINST IT // WHAT YOU LOVE IS YOUR FATE.
– Frank Bidart

For there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.
– Milan Kundera

I loved my country, but I could not respect it, could not, upon my soul, be reconciled to my country as it was. And I loved my work, had great respect for the craft which I was compelled to study, and wanted it to have some human use. It was beginning to be clear to me that these two loves might, never, in my life be reconciled: no man can serve two masters.
– James Baldwin

It’s no good pretending that any relationship has a future if your record collections disagree violently, or if your favorite films wouldn’t even speak to each other if they met at a party.
– Nick Hornby

Sometimes I think that it is enough to say that if we don’t sit down and shut up once in a while we’ll lose our minds even earlier than we had expected. Noise is an imposition on sanity, and we live in very noisy times.
– Joan Baez

A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.
– Carl Sagan

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.
– Anna Quindlen

The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.
– Michael Pollan

I shall hope to see you with the sparkle and exhilaration of the mountains in your eyes.
– John Muir

My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.
– Rumi

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
– Henri Nouwen

Question all the time. However, a critical attitude doesn’t mean being hateful of yourself. All your polarities are equally valid, whether weakness or strength. Nothing is regarded as irrelevant. Whatever happens in your life, both your neurosis and your enlightened state of being are functioning simultaneously, all the time. There’s no point in picking and choosing. There’s no point in splitting your basic being into several parts and trying to suppress certain parts and cultivating others. That’s the attitude of poverty.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

The most powerful theme I see

throughout and within all beauty

is precision –

– Elijah Morton​

Measure yourself against the various stages of the path; see if you can bear sufferings such as illness, being undermined, and despised. To be unable to do so is to be ordinary, a sign you have not completed the path.
– Khenpo Gangshar

Don’t underestimate how basking quietly in your own peace and well-being is just as valuable a contribution to these times, just as much an act of conscious resistance to those seeding dis-ease, discord, division, and dysfunction. Whirlwinds of disharmony eventually turn-in on themselves. Though windswept and battered, the mountains and rivers remain.
– Saizan​

Let it be said, that we did not submit to
ignorance and intolerance, but that we
fought, with our last breaths, for love!
– Eric Cockrell

Wayfarer – We are like two cups of water – That God poured in a vase…
– Hafiz–The Gift

Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
– Theodore Roosevelt​

Develop the mind of equilibrium. You will always be getting praise and blame, but do not let either affect the poise of the mind: Follow the calmness, the absence of pride.
– Buddha​

Sometimes the house of the future is better built, lighter and larger than all the houses of the past, so that the image of the dream house is opposed to that of the childhood home…. Maybe it is a good thing for us to keep a few dreams of a house that we shall live in later, always later, so much later, in fact, that we shall not have time to achieve it. For a house that was final, one that stood in symmetrical relation to the house we were born in, would lead to thoughts—serious, sad thoughts—and not to dreams. It is better to live in a state of impermanence than in one of finality.
– Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

You are wildly absent, yes, and everywhere.
– Sue Goyette​

The mystic sits inside the burning.
– Rumi​

Sierra del Norte
Stephen Hollaway
These old mountains with soft shoulders
shrug under their blankets….
Who knows? they ask. The snow may melt tomorrow.
Why do you care? It’s not your land.
Nevertheless, come and see where piñon and cedar meet,
walk ruddy trails which remain at ease,
unashamed but taking on the color of blood turned dust.
From the low hill see the high ones
who surround us.
We have not forgotten we are surrounded.​

Oranges
by Gary Soto
The first time I walked
With a girl, I was twelve,…
Cold, and weighted down
With two oranges in my jacket.
December. Frost cracking
Beneath my steps, my breath
Before me, then gone,
As I walked toward
Her house, the one whose
Porch light burned yellow
Night and day, in any weather.
A dog barked at me, until
She came out pulling
At her gloves, face bright
With rouge. I smiled,
Touched her shoulder, and led
Her down the street, across
A used car lot and a line
Of newly planted trees,
Until we were breathing
Before a drugstore. We
Entered, the tiny bell
Bringing a saleslady
Down a narrow aisle of goods.
I turned to the candies
Tiered like bleachers,
And asked what she wanted –
Light in her eyes, a smile
Starting at the corners
Of her mouth. I fingered
A nickle in my pocket,
And when she lifted a chocolate
That cost a dime,
I didn’t say anything.
I took the nickle from
My pocket, then an orange,
And set them quietly on
The counter. When I looked up,
The lady’s eyes met mine,
And held them, knowing
Very well what it was all
About.

Outside,
A few cars hissing past,
Fog hanging like old
Coats between the trees.
I took my girl’s hand
In mine for two blocks,
Then released it to let
Her unwrap the chocolate.
I peeled my orange
That was so bright against
The gray of December
That, from some distance,
Someone might have thought
I was making a fire in my hands.​

We need a Soul Protection Agency (SPA) to keep our citizens deeply alive, thoughtful and awake.
​- Thomas Moore

As the voice of the poet becomes stifled, history loses its meaning and the eschatological promise bursts like a new and frightening dawn upon the consciousness… of man. Only now, at the edge of the precipice is it possible to realise that ‘everything we are taught is false’. The proof of this devastation utterance is demonstrated every day in every realm: on the battlefield, in the laboratory, in the factory, in the press, in school, in the church. We live entirely in the past, nourished by dead thoughts, dead creeds, dead sciences. And it it the past which is engulfing us, not the future. The future always has and always will belong–to the poet…. The future is all his, even though there will be no future.
– Henry Miller​

When the degenerate age of this aeon arrives, people are their own deceivers, their own bad counsel, the makers of their own stupidity, lying to and fooling themselves. How sad that these people have human forms but possess no more sense than an ox!
– Guru Rinpoche

As light departs to let the earth be one with night,
Silence deepens in the mind, and thoughts grow slow;
The basket of twilight brims over with colors
Gathered from within the sacred meadows of the day
And offered like blessings to the gathering Tenebrae.

After the day’s frenzy, may the heart grow still,
Gracious in thought for all the day brought,
Surprises that dawn could never have dreamed:
The blue silence that came to still the mind,
The quiver of mystery at the edge of a glimpse,
The golden echoes of worlds behind voices…
– John O’Donohue​

Passing an Orchard by Train
Grass high under apple trees.
The bark of the trees rough and sexual
the grass growing heavy and uneven.

We cannot bear disaster like
the rocks-
swaying nakedly
in open fields.

One slight bruise and we die!
I know no one on this train.
A man comes walking down the aisle.
I want to tell him
that I forgive him that I want him
to forgive me.​
– Robert Bly

I want to be like the great masters, completely without hope.
– Phakchok Rinpoche

We may still encounter the adversities of karmic patterns calling us back to cultivate or maintain the continuum of a mundane samsaric view. It is essential to develop a confidence that can withstand the constant, magnetic quality of this karmic impulse.
– Khandro Rinpoche

This is really the fundamental discipline of dharma: non violence that does not come from observing a code of behavior, but from deep within, from being able to put yourself in the shoes of other sentient beings, who have the same wish to be happy.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Bohatch Ireland, 2015

An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.
– Martin Buber

We are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire – often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them.
– Anaïs Nin

Never belong to a crowd; Never belong to a nation; Never belong to a religion; Never belong to a race. Belong to the whole existence. Why limit yourself to small things? When the whole is available.
– Osho

Stephen Dobyns
Stars
The man took the wrong fork in the road….
It was out in the country. They saw
no signs. It was getting dark. They began
to blame each other. Should they keep
going straight or should they turn around?
They drove past farms without lights.
The man said, If we reach a crossroad,
we can just turn right. His wife said,
I think you should turn around. The man
was driving. They kept going straight.
There’s got to be a road up here someplace,
he said. His wife didn’t answer. By now
it was pitch black. In their lights, the trees,
pressing close to the road, looked like people
wanting to speak, but thinking better of it.
The farther they drove, the farther they got
from one another, until it seemed they sat
in two separate cars. Who’s this person
next to me? This thought came to them both.
They weren’t newlyweds. They had children.
He’s trying to upset me, thought the woman.
She thinks she always knows best, thought
the man. They were on their way to dinner
at a friend’s farmhouse in the country. Now
they’d be late. It would take longer to go back
than to go straight, said the man. The woman
knew he hated it when she remained silent
so she said nothing. The woods were so thick
one could walk for miles and never get out.
The stars looked huge, as if they had come down
closer in the dark. The woman wanted to say
she could see no familiar constellations,
but she said nothing. The man wanted to say,
Get out of the car! Just to make her speak!
Where had they come to? They had driven
out of one world into another. They began
to recall remarks each had made in the past.
Only now did they realize their meanings,
hear their half-hidden barbs. They recalled
missing objects: a favorite vase, a picture
of his mother. How foolish to think they had
only been misplaced. They recalled remarks
made by friends before the wedding, remarks
that now seemed like warnings. Ice crystals
formed between them, a cold so deep that only
an ice ax could shatter it. Who is this monster
I married? They both thought this. Soon they’d
think of lawyers and who would get the kids.
Then, through the trees, they saw a brightly lit house.
They had come the long way around. The man
parked behind the other cars and opened the door
for his wife. She took his arm as they walked
to the steps. They heard laughter. Their friends
were just sitting down at the table. On the porch
the man told his wife how good she looked,
while she fixed his tie. Both had a memory
of ugliness: a story told to them by somebody
they had never liked. As he opened the door,
she glanced upward and held him for a second.
How beautiful the stars look tonight, she said.​

The swarm of words
and little stories
are just to loosen you
from where you are stuck.
– Shitou Xiqian​

We learned the Whole of Love—
The Alphabet—the Words—
A Chapter—then the mighty Book—
Then—Revelation closed—

But in Each Other’s eyes
An Ignorance beheld—
Diviner than the Childhood’s—
And each to each, a Child—

Attempted to expound
What Neither—understood—
Alas, that Wisdom is so large—
And Truth—so manifold!
– Emily Dickinson

If realization does not dawn from within, dry explanations and theoretical understanding will not bring the fruit of awakening. To put it simply, unless we blend our own mind with the Dharma, it is pointless merely to adopt the guise of a practitioner.
– Longchenpa

Peace may sound simple–one beautiful word–but it requires everything we have, every quality, every strength, every dream, every high ideal.
– Yehudi Menuhin​

Most of us live in a world where more and more places and things are signposted, labelled, and officially ‘interpreted’. There is something about all this that is turning the reality of things into virtual reality. It is the reason why walking, cycling and swimming will always be subversive activities. They allow us to regain a sense of what is old and wild in these islands, by getting off the beaten track and breaking free of the official version of things.
– Roger Deakin from ‘Waterlog’​

If we were to lose the ability to be emotional, if we were to lose the ability to be angry, to be outraged, we would be robots. And I refuse that.
– Arundhati Roy

Many people have accused me of having a romantic view, whereas I personally feel sorry for those who have lost romance in their lives.
– Arundhati Roy

And I realized that certain forms of ecstasy and intensity often mistaken for insanity are not expressions of madness but revelation. It is not despair which births them, but an intoxication with what is lucid and pure, absolute, recurrent and irrefutable as the bones of the earth.
– Kate Braverman​

I long for the imperishable quiet at the heart of form.
– Theodore Roethke​

The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small.
– Mother Teresa

It doesn’t matter to me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
abandoned.
If you know despair or can see it in others….
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequences of love and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.
– David Whyte

Time teaches us to be
more deeply involved in life
and less attached to it.
– Ram Dass​

The Way it Is
One morning you might wake up
to realize that the knot in your stomach
had loosened itself and slipped away,…
and that the pit of unfilled longing in your heart
had gradually, and without your really noticing,
been filled in–patched like a pothole, not quite
the same as it was, but good enough.

And in that moment it might occur to you
that your life, though not the way
you planned it, and maybe not even entirely
the way you wanted it, is nonetheless–
persistently, abundantly, miraculously–
exactly what it is.
– Lynn Ungar

Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.
– Pablo Casals​

My solitude doesn’t depend on the presence or absence of people; on the contrary, I hate who steals my solitude without​, in exchange, offering me true company.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Just as individual adulthood results in the end of physical growth accompanied by an intellectual and emotional maturity that allows one to recognize the consequences of one’s actions, humanity must also reach a collective adulthood that allows us to bring forth a civilization no longer reliant on perpetual consumption and growth.
– ADULTUM, by Joseph Senft​

Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience you must find yourself at war with your society.
– James Baldwin

Judgmental criticism is one thing; judicious criticism is actually a gift. That’s why the Buddha never formulated a precept against talking about other people’s faults or errors, because there are times when you have to speak up against harmful behavior.
– Thanissaro Bhikkhu

If you’re down, be good to yourself and listen. If you’re up, be good to others and share.
– Waylon Lewis​

There are those of us who are always about to live. We are waiting until things change, until there is more time, until we are less tired, until we get a promotion, until we settle down / until, until, until. It always seems as if there is some major event that must occur in our lives before we begin living.
– George Sheehan

Listen kid,
You have to do things
for yourself before you
do things for other people.
Love yourself,
then love other people.
Trust yourself,
Then trust other people.
Be kind to yourself.
Be good to yourself.
When it is time for other people,
It will be time for other people
But right now you have to save
Yourself before you can save
Other people.
– R.M. Drake

People don’t realize how a man’s whole life can be changed by one book.
– Malcolm X

To have access to literature, world literature, was to escape the prison of national vanity, of philistinism, of compulsory provincialism, of inane schooling, of imperfect destinies and bad luck. Literature was the passport to enter a larger life; that is, the zone of freedom. Literature was freedom. Especially in a time in which the values of reading and inwardness are so strenuously challenged, literature is freedom.
– Susan Sontag

To survive you must tell stories.
– Umberto Eco

Especially in a time in which the values of reading and inwardness are so strenuously challenged, literature is freedom.
– Susan Sontag

Chogyam Trungpa ~ YOU NEED BOTH HEART AND BRAIN
How to be in your life is meditation practice; how to understand your life is scholarship. That combination comes up in ordinary life as well. For instance, eating food is meditation practice, and talking about how to cook that food is scholarship. So those two factors work together and both are important, both the heart and the brain.

Life becomes much easier when you accept that some questions can’t be answered. Let go of the need to know. Liberate yourself.
– Timber Hawkeye

For in the co-arising nature of things, the world itself, if we are bold enough to love it, acts through us. It does not ask us to be pure or perfect, or wait until we are detached from all passions, but only to care to harness the sweet, pure intention of our deepest passions, and, as the early scripture of the Mother of the Buddhas says, “fly like a Bodhisattva.
– Joanna Macy

What I like about the trees is how
They do not talk about the failure of their parents
And what I like about the grasses is that
They are not grasses in recovery
And what I like about the flowers is
That they are not flowers in need of empowerment or validation. They sway
Upon their thorny stems
As if whatever was about to happen next tonight
was sure to be completely interesting
– Tony Hoagland

We’re only here for a short while. And I think it’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention. In some ways, this is getting far afield. I mean, we are – as far as we know – the only part of the universe that’s self-conscious. We could even be the universe’s form of consciousness. We might have come along so that the universe could look at itself. I don’t know that, but we’re made of the same stuff that stars are made of, or that floats around in space. But we’re combined in such a way that we can describe what it’s like to be alive, to be witnesses. Most of our experience is that of being a witness. We see and hear and smell other things. I think being alive is responding.
– Mark Strand

I am thinking—talking—in images. I don’t know how to write them down. Every feeling is physical.
– Susan Sontag

Only the poems remained,
scrawled on the rocks and trees,
Nothing’s undoing among the self-stung unfolding of things.
– Charles Wright

The state of inspiration doesn’t depend on ‘presence’ but a certain absence. It happens in those moments between moments, when we are abducted by an alien, so to speak. Actually the real extra-terrestrial is our ordinary identity; this visitor is paradoxically our real nature and home, which sometimes visits us in dreams. The inspired being seems alien-like because she is so unlike our ordinary identity. We cannot will this ‘alien’ genius into being — our discoveries of her so often appear to be an accident. The conscious work is in creating context for the mothership to land, to clear the space, rather than impose ourselves on reality. We have to become transparent to be that container of brilliance, allowing the already present one to be born inside of us.
– Andrew Sweeny

Art is born of humiliation.
– W. H. Auden

Rilke transl. by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows
“Not by Grasping”
Learn to forget you sang like that. It passes.
Truly to sing takes another kind of breath.
A breath in the void. A shudder in God. A wind.
– Sonnets to Orpheus I,3

The open path is a matter of working purely with what is, of giving up altogether the fear that something may not work, that something may end in failure. One has to give up the paranoia that one might not fit into situations, that one might be rejected. One purely deals with life as it is.
– Chögyam Trunpa

May God break my heart so completely the whole world falls in.
– Mother Teresa

The pattern of her traverses from one day to the next gave her a sense of the vastness in which she lived; she was aware not only of the surface of each street but, simultaneously, of the tunneling below, which carried water mains and tree roots, like the meandering chambers of gophers. And ranging above, she knew without having to look, were tiers upon tiers of human life, the joy and the anger and curiosity of creatures like herself.” — from “The Open Lot” in Field Notes by Barry Lopez

I read my books with diligence, and mounting skill, and gathering certainty. I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life.
– Mary Oliver

…But life holds mystery for us yet. In a hundred places
we can still sense the source: a play of pure powers
that – when you feel it – brings you to your knees.

There are yet words that come near the unsayable,…
and, from crumbling stones, a new music
to make a sacred dwelling in a place we cannot own.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

I Am Medicine
by Tad Hargrave

you are not alone in this city.


you think you are out
lost and alone
wandering the streets

past the shuffling rags
the pulled up pea coats against the cold wind
but
you are at home
and your light is on
late at night
you are typing out words of sadness and beauty
you are that strange light
in that strange building
on that strange hill
in that strange city

that never goes out
that no one can fail to notice

find it

and you will know that
all the people wandering the streets
are looking for you

find it

and you will know
for certain this time
that you are not the wounds you have received
you are medicine that flows from them

you are not alone in this city.
you are at home
and your light is on
late at night
you are typing out words of sadness and beauty

unlock your door
for the guests who will be arriving soon

you are not alone in this city.​

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.
– Mother Teresa

It always felt to me — a wrong
To that Old Moses — done —
To let him see — the Canaan —
Without the entering —

And tho’ in soberer moments —
No Moses there can be
I’m satisfied — the Romance
In point of injury —

Surpasses sharper stated —
Of Stephen — or of Paul —
For these — were only put to death —
While God’s adroiter will

On Moses — seemed to fasten
With tantalizing Play
As Boy — should deal with lesser Boy —
To prove ability.

The fault — was doubtless Israel’s —
Myself — had banned the Tribes —
And ushered Grand Old Moses
In Pentateuchal Robes

Upon the Broad Possession
‘Twas little — He should see —
Old Man on Nebo! Late as this —
My justice bleeds — for Thee!

– Emily Dickinson

The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For—put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and You—beside—
The Brain is deeper than the sea—
For—hold them—Blue to Blue—
The one the other will absorb—
As Sponges—Buckets—do—
The Brain is just the weight of God—
For—Heft them—Pound for Pound—
And they will differ—if they do—
As Syllable from Sound—
– Emily Dickinson

And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see—it is, rather, a light by which we may see—and what we see is life.
– Robert Penn Warren

This reality cuts across my mind like a wound whose edges crave to heal, but cannot. Thus, one of the great sins, perhaps the great sin, is to say: It will heal, it has healed, there is no wound, there is something more important than this wound.
– Whittaker Chambers

I first loved you
Second to your gentleness
Like the blind who
Divide their lives into
Dark and dark I
Have you and your gentleness
As a detail in a painting frames that painting
In the often
Memory, your face
Is surrounded by your eyes
Unafraid
Of the grays of gentleness
– Bill Knot

I didn’t read much — watched the sun go down — just a plain yellow sunset and one star came out — I wanted you when the yellow light came in and it was all so quiet — the day had been very windy — just to be quiet by you — while the sky turned from yellow to cold white moonlight —
– Georgia O’Keeffe

Like standing water, the day generates its own fauna.
– Conrad Hilberry

See I’m stuck in a city
But I belong in a field
– Julian Casablancas

throw roses into the abyss and say: ‘here is my thanks to the monster who didn’t succeed in swallowing me alive.’
– Nietzsche

The nature of awakening is not transcendence. It is not detachment. It is not leaving our bodies. It is not dismissing our shadow. It is not disparaging the ego. It is not feigned positivity. It is not bashing our story. It is not new cage mysticism. The nature of awakening is inclusivity. It is connectiveness. It is shadow and light. It is enheartened presence. And presence is not to be found on the skyways of self-avoidance. Presence is to be found right down here, in our aging body temples, sole to soul on Mother Earth. Awakening requires that we show up for all of it. The great in-wakening. The holy wholly.
– Jeff Brown​

We must understand love; we must be able to teach it, to create it, to predict it, or else the world is lost to hostility and to suspicion.
– Abraham Maslow

Only one thing remained reachable, close and secure amid all losses: language. Yes, language. In spite of everything, it remained secure against loss. But it had to go through its own lack of answers, through terrifying silence, through the thousand darknesses of murderous speech. It went through. It gave me no words for what was happening, but went through it. Went through and could resurface, ‘enriched’ by it all.’
– Paul Celan

To experience poetry is to see over and above reality. It is to discover that which is beyond the physical, to experience another life and another level of feeling. It is to wonder about the world, to understand the nature of people and, most importantly, to be shared with another, old or young, known or unknown.
– Ai Weiwei

Water has everything to do with change—in virtually every culture it’s a symbol of change. In Shakespeare … water is symbolic in terms of crossing a rubicon, and of transformation. In a lot of cultures it’s where you go to meet the gods, because they come out of water.
– Mary Zimmerman

Child, if grasping obscures your view, don’t be timid about cutting it away.
– Padampa Sangye​

Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe…till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, This is…
– Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Pictures of You
by the Cure

I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they’re real
I’ve been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are
All I can feel

Remembering
You standing quiet in the rain
As I ran to your heart to be near
And we kissed as the sky fell in
Holding you close
How I always held close in your fear
Remembering
You running soft through the night
You were bigger and brighter and wider than snow
And screamed at the make-believe
Screamed at the sky
And you finally found all your courage
To let it all go

Remembering
You fallen into my arms
Crying for the death of your heart
You were stone white
So delicate
Lost in the cold
You were always so lost in the dark
Remembering
You how you used to be
Slow drowned
You were angels
So much more than everything
Hold for the last time then slip away quietly
Open my eyes
But I never see anything

If only I’d thought of the right words
I could have held on to your heart
If only I’d thought of the right words
I wouldn’t be breaking apart
All my pictures of you

Looking so long at these pictures of you
But I never hold on to your heart
Looking so long for the words to be true
But always just breaking apart
My pictures of you

There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to feel you deep in my heart
There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to never feel the breaking apart
All my pictures of you

However capable and skillful an individual may be, left alone, he or she will not survive. When we are sick or very young or very old, we must depend on the support of others. There is no significant division between us and other people, because our basic natures are the same. If we wish to ensure everyone’s peace and happiness we need to cultivate a healthy respect for the diversity of our peoples and cultures, founded on an understanding of this fundamental sameness of all human beings.
– The Dalai Lama

Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.
– G.K. Chesterton

I am waiting for the medicine to kick in.
The claws of 63 jaguars tear at this pain.
Like so many, I prefer your side effects.
– J. K. McDowell

It doesn’t change when we stare at it from across the room. It doesn’t change when we (only) sit in prayer and imagine good things. It doesn’t change when we skirt the edges of the shadow. It changes when we cross the sacred battleground willing to die to our truth. It changes when we look the lie in the eye until it has nowhere left to hide. It changes when we pick up the sword of transformation and cut the falsity until it bleeds. The era of the sacred activist is upon us. Not the warrior run amok, but the benevolent warrior who ‘fights’ for ‘our’ right to the light. Some ‘battles’ are worth fighting.
– Jeff Brown

You can run all you want
but one day
someone is going to take
a hold of you
and find you
and maybe they will even
run with you.
And who knows,
maybe they will stick around
for longer than usual
and make things harder
to run away from
– r.m. drake

Rain Moving In
The blackboard is erased in the attic
And the wind turns up the light of the stars,
Sinewy now. Someone will find out, someone will know.
And if somewhere on this great planet
The truth is discovered, a patch of it, dried, glazed by the sun,
It will just hang on, in its own infamy, humility. No one
Will be better for it, but things can’t get any worse.
Just keep playing, mastering as you do the step
Into disorder this one meant. Don’t you see
It’s all we can do? Meanwhile, great fires
Arise, as of haystacks aflame. The dial has been set
And that’s ominous, but all your graciousness in living
Conspires with it, now that this is our home:
A place to be from, and have people ask about.
– John Ashbery, A Wave

There is no more important work human hands can do than to hold a child with a fierce tenderness that says, in a way words never can, ‘You are loved, you are safe, you can trust.’
– Parker J. Palmer

Mountains have a dreamy way of folding up a noisy day. In quiet covers cool and grey.
– Leigh Haines

What is asked of one is not what is asked of another.
A sweater takes on the shape of its wearer,
a coffee cup sits to the left or the right of the workspace,
making its pale Saturn rings of now and before.
Lucky the one who rises to sit at a table,
day after day spilling coffee sweet with sugar, whitened with milk.
Lucky the one who writes in a book of spiral-bound mornings
a future in ink, who writes hand unshaking, warmed by thick wool.
Lucky still, the one who writes later, shaking. Acrobatic at last, the
sweater,
elastic as breath that enters what shape it is asked to.
Patient the table; unjudging, the ample, refillable cup.
Irrefusable, the shape the sweater is given,
stretched in the shoulders, sleeves lengthened by unmetaphysical
pullings on.
– Jane Hirshfield

My advice for people is to love the world they are in, in whatever way makes sense to them. It may be a devotional practice, it may be song or poetry, it may be by gardening, it may be as an activist, scientist, or community leader. The path to restoration extends from our heart to the heart of sentient beings, and that path will be different for every person.
– Paul Hawken

one cannot be lead to faith, nor be led by it. we make our faith as we dialogue with the paths of our lives. face to face, and, as the poet machado said, blow by blow. for we need to remember: prayer and poetry were not meant to protect us from dismay and despair. but it might help us understand the ways in which pain and despair, sometimes, can protect us too.
– hune margulies

Every one rushes everywhere and into the future, because no one wants to face one’s own inner self.
– Michel de Montaigne

A poem is this:/A nuance of sound/delicately operating/upon a cataract of sense/…the particulars/of a song waking/upon a bed of sound.
– William Carlos Williams

I do strongly feel that among the greatest pieces of luck for high achievement is ordeal. Certain great artists can make out without it, Titian and others, but mostly you need ordeal. My idea is this: the artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he’s in business: Beethoven’s deafness, Goya’s deafness, Milton’s blindness, that kind of thing.
– John Berryman

Deep measure,
deep measure that runnels beneath the bone,
That sways our attitude and sets our lives to music;
– Charles Wright

All afternoon the rain has rained down in the mind,
– Charles Wright

And I?
I drink, I burn, I gather dreams.
– Hélène Cixous

After all everybody, that is, everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves in order to tell what is inside themselves. That is why writers have to have two countries, the one where they belong and the one in which they live really. The second one is romantic, it is separate from themselves, it is not real but it is really there.
– Gertrude Stein

What power has love but forgiveness?
– William Carlos Williams

…Find your hope, then, on the ground under your feet.
Your hope of Heaven, let it rest on the ground
underfoot. Be it lighted by the light that falls
freely upon it after the darkness of the nights
and the darkness of our ignorance and madness.
Let it be lighted also by the light that is within you,
which is the light of imagination. By it you see
the likeness of people in other places to yourself
in your place. It lights invariably the need for care
toward other people, other creatures, in other places
as you would ask them for care toward your place and you.
No place at last is better than the world. The world
is no better than its places. Its places at last
are no better than their people while their people
continue in them. When the people make
dark the light within them, the world darkens.
– Wendell Berry

Art isn’t a popularity contest; it’s a solitary practice, a conversation between self and self. You play with ideas and patterns and try to find a complexity of structure and nuance missing from everyday life.
– Douglas Glover

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.
– Shirley Jackson

I want to make / something imagined, not recalled?
– Robert Lowell

I love humanity, truly. They are strange and wonderful animals. I am dismayed, however, by their tedious illusions. These are difficult to navigate without risking quick violence, and the, well—even our most seasoned sentient species analysts cannot believe that these primitives can have become so sophisticated in their savagery, with so few being able to comprehend anything beyond it—so few.
– E.M.

Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.
– José Ortega y Gasset

When we go to visit our deep imagination, it knows things that we don’t know. And this to me was one of the stunning things that I came to see about the imagination: that it knows who we are, it knows what has happened in our lives, it knows where our injuries are, and it knows how to heal those.

In the work that I do what I’ve seen is that the deep imagination has a very definite function in our lives, and that is to bring us back – in whatever way it can – into our original wholeness. And this is the thing we have gotten away from…thinking that our job is to train children, or to educate them, especially to make them so extremely verbal, and conceptual, as if this is the only knowing that has any kind of depth or meaning in our lives. But we are born knowing, the aliveness that we are knows things and has always known things, and our aliveness goes back for millions of years, and so, the deep imagination can carry us into that kind of knowing, but it is a carrying not in terms of thinking, but in terms of experiencing…
– Eligio Stephen Gallegos in conversation with Joanna Harcourt-Smith, “Aliveness nurtures Aliveness”

Even morning asks is there wilderness
that calms. If so, why. What is it exactly.
What in the sky that cools the land it stirs.
– Bruce Bond

Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.
– Jean Rhys

The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.
– Carl Jung

So many of us struggle not because of things that happened that shouldn’t have but because of things that never happened but should have.
– Tad Hargrave

Writers are not here to conform. We are here to challenge. We’re not here to be comfortable—we’re here, really, to shake things up. That’s our job.
– Jeanette Winterson

The whole question boils down to whether we regard society as sacred.
– Chogyam Trungpa

When we try to protect ourselves from the inevitability of change, we are not listening to the soul. We are listening to our fear of life and death, our lack of faith, our smaller ego’s will to prevail. To listen to your soul is to stop fighting with life–to stop fighting when things fall apart; when they don’t go our away, when we get sick, when we are betrayed or mistreated or misunderstood. To listen to the soul is to slow down, to feel deeply, to see ourselves clearly, to surrender to discomfort and uncertainty and to wait.
– Elizabeth Lesser

Community is when human beings come together in the shelter of each other. We are a community of beings acknowledging the dual intention of working on ourselves as an offering to others, and working with others as a way of working on ourselves. Our lives are training sessions to turn ourselves into instruments of true kindness and compassion.
– Ram Dass

I need to write about love. I need to think and think and write about love-otherwise, my soul won’t survive.
– Paulo Coelho

Dreams
Wisława Szymborska
Translated from the Polish
by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak

Despite the geologists’ knowledge and craft,
mocking magnets, graphs, and maps—
in a split second the dream
piles before us mountains as stony
as real life.

And since mountains, then valleys, plains
with perfect infrastructures.
Without engineers, contractors, workers,
bulldozers, diggers, or supplies—
raging highways, instant bridges,
thickly populated pop-up cities.

Without directors, megaphones, and cameramen—
crowds knowing exactly when to frighten us
and when to vanish.

Without architects deft in their craft,
without carpenters, bricklayers, concrete pourers—
on the path a sudden house just like a toy,
and in it vast halls that echo with our steps
and walls constructed out of solid air.

Not just the scale, it’s also the precision—
a specific watch, an entire fly,
on the table a cloth with cross-stitched flowers,
a bitten apple with teeth marks.

And we—unlike circus acrobats,
conjurers, wizards, and hypnotists—
can fly unfledged,
we light dark tunnels with our eyes,
we wax eloquent in unknown tongues,
talking not with just anyone, but with the dead.

And as a bonus, despite our own freedom,
the choices of our heart, our tastes,
we’re swept away
by amorous yearnings for—
and the alarm clock rings.

So what can they tell us, the writers of dream books,
the scholars of oneiric signs and omens,
the doctors with couches for analyses—
if anything fits,
it’s accidental,
and for one reason only,
that in our dreamings,
in their shadowings and gleamings,
in their multiplings, inconceivablings,
in their haphazardings and widescatterings
at times even a clear-cut meaning
may slip through.

The world knows three kinds of revolution. The material has strong results, the moral and intellectual are infinitely larger in their scope and richer in their fruits, but the spiritual are the great sowings.
– Sri Aurobindo

When friendships are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest things we can know.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the past, changing the self and changing the world were often regarded as separate endeavors and viewed in either-or terms. But in the story of the Great Turning, they are recognized as mutually reinforcing and essential to one another.
– Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone, Active Hope

One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.
– Leo Tolstoy

Compassion is the path not only out of empathic distress—it’s also the path out of the toxic aspects of the other five edge states: pathological altruism, burnout, moral suffering, and horizontal hostility and vertical violence. Why? Because compassion calls forth our best human capacities—attention, concern, insight, and action—in a way that no other response does.
– Joan Halifax

See the sun,
how it shifts the light of its attention
gradually, from one thing to the next
Be like it –
don’t fixate.
– Yahia Lababidi

Even to know that you are confused is a kind of clarity. Clarity abounds. All is well.
– Nithya Shanti

Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.
– E. Ozan

Great masses of people these days live out their lives in a dull and loveless stupor. Sensitive persons find our inartistic manner of existence oppressive and painful, and they withdraw from sight… I believe what we lack is joy. The ardor that a heightened awareness imparts to life, the conception of life as a happy thing, as a festival… But the high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy.
– Herman Hesse

Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.
– Annie Dillard

Each of us … constructs and lives a ‘narrative’ and is defined by this narrative.
– Oliver Sacks

IF YOU GET THERE BEFORE I DO
Air out the linens, unlatch the shutters on the eastern side,
and maybe find that deck of Bicycle cards
lost near the sofa. Or maybe walk around
and look out the back windows first.
I hear the view’s magnificent: old silent pines
leading down to the lakeside, layer upon layer
of magnificent light. Should you be hungry,
I’m sorry but there’s no Chinese takeout,
only a General Store. You passed it coming in,
but you probably didn’t notice its one weary gas pump
along with all those Esso cans from decades ago.
If you’re somewhat confused, think Vermont,
that state where people are folded into the mountains
like berries in batter . . . What I’d like when I get there
is a few hundred years to sit around and concentrate
on one thing at a time. I’d start with radiators
and work my way up to Meister Eckhart,
or why do so few people turn their lives around, so many
take small steps into what they never do,
the first weeks, the first lessons,
until they choose something other,
beginning and beginning their lives,
so never knowing what it’s like to risk
last minute failure . . . I’d save blue for last. Klein blue,
or the blue of Crater Lake on an early June morning.
That would take decades . . . Don’t forget
to sway the fence gate back and forth a few times
just for its creaky sound. When you swing in the tire swing
make sure your socks are off. You’ve forgotten, I expect,
the feeling of feet brushing the tops of sunflowers:
In Vermont, I once met a ski bum on a summer break
who had followed the snows for seven years and planned
on at least seven more. We’re here for the enjoyment of it, he said,
to salaam into joy . . . I expect you’ll find
Bibles scattered everywhere, or Talmuds, or Qur’ans,
as well as little snippets of gospel music, chants,
old Advent calendars with their paper doors still open.
You might pay them some heed. Don’t be alarmed
when what’s familiar starts fading, as gradually
you lose your bearings,
your body seems to turn opaque and then transparent,
until finally it’s invisible – what old age rehearses us for
and vacations in the limbo of the Middle West.
Take it easy, take it slow. When you think I’m on my way,
the long middle passage done,
fill the pantry with cereal, curry, and blue and white boxes of macaroni, place the
checkerboard set, or chess if you insist,
out on the flat-topped stump beneath the porch’s shadow,
pour some lemonade into the tallest glass you can find in the cupboard,
then drum your fingers, practice lifting your eyebrows,
until you tell them all – the skeptics, the bigots, blind neighbors,
those damn-with-faint-praise critics on their hobbyhorses –
that I’m allowed,
and if there’s a place for me that love has kept protected,
I’ll be coming, I’ll be coming too.
– Dick Allen

I Remember, I Remember
Mary Ruefle
I remember being so young I thought all artists were famous.
I remember being so young I thought all artists were good, kind, loving, exceptionally interesting, and exemplary human beings.
I remember—I must have been eight or nine—wandering out to the ungrassed backyard of our newly constructed suburban house and seeing that the earth was dry and cracked in irregular squares and other shapes, and I felt I was looking at a map and I was completely overcome by this description, my first experience of making a metaphor, and I felt weird and shaky and went inside and wrote it down: the cracked earth is a map. Although it only takes a little time to tell it, and it is hardly interesting, it filled a big moment at the time, it was an enormous ever-expanding room of a moment, a chunk of time that has expanded ever since and that my whole life keeps fitting into.

Instructions for Stopping
Dana Levin

Say Stop.

Keep your lips pressed together
after you say the p:

(soon they’ll try
and pry

your breath out—)



Whisper it
three times in a row:

Stop Stop Stop

In a hospital bed
like a curled up fish, someone’s

gulping at air—

How should you apply
your breath?



List all of the people
you would like
to stop.

Who offers love,
who terror—

Write Stop.
Put a period at the end.

Decide if it’s a kiss
or a bullet.

We can all work ourselves into fevers of indignation. But the only antidote to these deep and understandable anxieties is the truth. We are the people of the United States. Our great nation is in a perilous moment, and the world is watching with great unease. We want the truth. We demand the truth. We can handle the truth.
– Dan Rather

Tsewa can take many forms, but in itself it is very simple. It is an open heart, it is a warm feeling towards others, being in solidarity with others for their wellbeing. Their concerns being your concerns, their worries being your worries, their needs being your needs, their achievements being your achievements. That is the orientation of the open heart. This is what we call solidarity.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Bohatch Ireland, 2016

The true shape of anything isn’t what it looks like but what it is as an activity of life. You do not have a word for this. It is something’s function, yes, but also how life moves and flows within and around it, and the intentionality that powers that movement. You might use a word like “spirit” but it is not truly the spirit of something. Rather it is the moving pattern that the spirit imparts. We call this the anwa.
– David Spangler, Conversations with the Sidhe

The Elusive Ones
They’re lovers again: Sugar dissolving in milk.
Day and night, no difference. The sun is the moon:
an amalgam. Their gold and silver melt together.
This is the season when the dead branch and the green
branch are the same branch.
The cynic bites his finger because he can’t understand.
Omar and Ali on the same throne, two kings in one belt.
Nightmares fill with light like a holiday.
Men and angels speak one language.
The elusive ones finally meet.
The essence and the evolving forms
run to meet each other like children
to their father and mother.
Good and evil, dead and alive, everything blooms
from one natural stem.
You know this already, I’ll stop.
Any direction you turn it’s one vision.
Shams, my body is a candle touched with fire.
– Rumi, Ghazal (Ode) 810
translated by Coleman Barks

Even though meditation practice simply restores our connection to awakened heart, we would most likely lose that connection without it.
– David Nichtern

Rest With Your Dream Inside My Dream
by Pablo Neruda

Already, you are mine. Rest with your dream inside my dream.
Love, grief, labour, must sleep now.
Night revolves on invisible wheels
and joined to me you are pure as sleeping amber.
No one else will sleep with my dream, love.
You will go we will go joined by the waters of time.
No other one will travel the shadows with me,
only you, eternal nature, eternal sun, eternal moon.
Already your hands have opened their delicate fists
and let fall, without direction, their gentle signs,
your eyes enclosing themselves like two grey wings,
while I follow the waters you bring that take me onwards:
night, Earth, winds weave their fate, and already,
not only am I not without you, I alone am your dream.

Ordinary people do not question the commonly accepted version of reality. They conform to the standard values of subduing enemies and cherishing friends and family. Materialism, ambition and mundane achievements are the worldly hallmarks of success. We experience the phenomenal world and our minds as solid and truly existent. Very few people doubt these assertions and question their validity. Yet, the process of disbelief is the first step on the spiritual path.
– Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

my heart woke me crying last night
how can i help i begged
my heart said
write the book
– Rupi Kaur

Hope

Hope’s not quite as it seems;
it’s slimmer than you’d think
and less steady on its feet

Sometimes, it’s out of breath
can hardly see ahead
and cries itself to sleep

It may not tell you all this
or the times it cheated death
but, if you knew it, you’d know
how Hope can keep a secret.

– Yahia Lababidi, Balancing Acts

Not that I would not, if I could, be both handsome …and well-dressed, and a great athlete, and make a million a year, be a wit, a bon-vivant, and a lady-killer, as well as a philosopher; a philanthropist, statesman, warrior, and African explorer, as well as a ‘tone poet’ and saint. But the thing is simply impossible…Such different characters may conceivably at the outset of life be alike possible to a man. But to make any one of them actual, the rest must more or less be suppressed. So the seeker of his truest, strongest, deepest self must review the list carefully, and pick out the one on which to stake his salvation. All other selves thereupon become unreal…
– William James

The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.
– Sophie Scholl

We are such strangers to the Mystery that we mistake any depth of feeling for sadness, any sense of the unknown for fear, and any sense of peace for boredom.
– Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

People should not persecute one another whilst they are all upon the road to eternity.
– Mary Veal

Dear White Men,

When I read our words, it seems that everyone in the world needs to become less sensitive. Except us.

– Tad Hargrave

Just Now
– by W.S. Merwin from The Pupil (Alfred A. Knopf).

In the morning as the storm begins to blow away
the clear sky appears for a moment and it seems to me
that there has been something simpler than I could ever
believe
simpler than I could have begun to find words for
not patient not even waiting no more hidden
than the air itself that became part of me for a while
with every breath and remained with me unnoticed
something that was here unnamed unknown in the days
and the nights not separate from them
not separate from them as they came and were gone
it must have been here neither early nor late then
by what name can I address it now holding out my thanks

Winter, Spring
by Jim Harrison

Winter is black and beige down here
from drought. Suddenly in March
there’s a good rain and in a couple
of weeks we are enveloped in green.
Green everywhere in the mesquites, oaks,
cottonwoods, the bowers of thick
willow bushes the warblers love
for reasons of food or the branches,
the tiny aphids they eat with relish.

Each year it is a surprise
that the world can turn green again.
It is the grandest surprise in life,
the birds coming back from the south to my open
arms, which they fly past, aiming at the feeders.

It is the stillest words that bring on the storm. Thoughts that come on doves’ feet guide the world.
– Nietzsche

There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.
– Dalai Lama XIV

But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea.
– Jane Austen

Love is made up of space just as the earth is made up of water.
– Waylon H. Lewis

I was never aware of any other option but to question everything.
– Noam Chomsky

If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him.
– Gautama Buddha

If you don’t *see* the white-washed world, you live inside the white-washed world.
– Victor Lewis

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ Hearing the teachings provides us a road map so that we can engage our own inquiry. It points us in the right direction. When we hear the teachings we can then begin our inquiry.The Buddha said, “examine my teachings like a goldsmith examines gold; don’t just accept them as true.” In other words, you need to bring them to experience and see if they are true in a personal way. This is the creative part. It is not that we are to look at them with skepticism…but rather with an open mind, a curious mind. It’s like a big experiment…or I suppose it could be like starting a new painting. You don’t know what will happen but you just start working with the paint on the canvas. For instance, “what happens when I think only of myself…and what happens when I extend to others?”

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ Whatever we can do to serve others, at any moment, in any situation, is the path of bodhi, or awakening.

The most heartbreaking thing of all is how we cheat ourselves of the present moment.
– Pema Chödrön

Happy International Women’s Day. I’m trying to remember whether it was Akhmatova or Tsvetaeva who said, “If you want to change the world, you must learn to see it through the eyes of women.” Good advice in any case. Quoted this and commented on it as re poetics in my A Poet’s Work essays years ago.
– Sam Hamill

I could not be a poet without the natural world. Someone else could. But not me. For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple.
– Mary Oliver

I want a poetry of knowledge and of thought, not of opinion–and not of belief, which is merely dead thought. Poetry is the musical density of being, but sometimes it is silent, and sometimes that silence is musically still.
– Robert Bringhurst

I’ve never aspired to be more than a dreamer. I paid no attention to those who spoke to me of living. I’ve always belonged to what isn’t where I am and to what I could never be. Whatever isn’t mine, no matter how base, has always had poetry for me. The only thing I’ve loved is nothing at all. The only thing I’ve desired is what I couldn’t even imagine. All I asked of life is that it go on by without my feeling it. All I demanded of love is that it never stop being a distant dream. In my own inner landscapes, all of them unreal, I’ve always been attracted to what’s in the distance.
– Fernando Pessoa

Good morning misery,
goodbye belief,
good Lord the light
cutting across the lake
so long gone
to ice—

There is an under, always,
through which things still move, breathe,
and have their being,
quick coals and crimsons
no one need see
to see.

Good night knowledge,
goodbye beyond,
good God the winter
one must wander
one’s own soul
to be.

– Christian Wiman

He could not tell you why,
he loves the place so much—and
love’s a word that he would never use …
– Francis Harvey

I want a god who stands mute with me
a long, dull night on a hill, very still, without reaching.
– Katie Ford

My new religion
is solitude, its miracles forever unfolding–
– Alison Pelegrin

As for the Republicans — how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.
– H.P. Lovecraft

The laughter of women sets fire
to the Halls of Injustice
and the false evidence burns
to a beautiful white lightness

It rattles the Chambers of Congress
and forces the windows wide open
so the fatuous speeches can fly out

The laughter of women wipes the mist
from the spectacles of the old;
it infects them with a happy flu
and they laugh as if they were young again

Prisoners held in underground cells
imagine that they see daylight
when they remember the laughter of women

It runs across water that divides,
and reconciles two unfriendly shores
like flares that signal the news to each other

What a language it is, the laughter of women,
high-flying and subversive.
Long before law and scripture
we heard the laughter, we understood freedom.
– Lisel Mueller

When I enter that higher-order space that’s required to write, I’m a better human. For whatever my writing is, wherever it’s ranked, it definitely is the one place that I get to be beautiful.
– Junot Diaz

Yes, I hold that male colonization of our imaginations—a calamity while ever we were unable to give shape to our difference—is, today, a strength. We know everything about the male symbol system; they, for the most part, know nothing about ours, above all about how it has been restructured by the blows the world has dealt us. What’s more, they are not even curious, indeed they recognize us only from within their system.
– Elena Ferrante

Women need to become literary criminals, break the literary laws and reinvent their own, because the established laws prevent women from presenting the reality of their lives.
– Kathy Acker

I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.
– Audre Lorde

I learned a world from each
one whom I loved.
– Allen Ginsberg

Descent starts with disillusion and ends with dissolution. There is no escaping the process, and it can be hard. The Descent is a time of helpless wandering, of grief, rage and alienation. There is no quick way through. But the destruction which takes hold of us is required to initiate us into the mysteries, to set in motion the long, difficult game of transformation. In staying with the dark, we gather the strength which we will need to find the way back to our path and to face the rest of the journey ahead of us. In that place of destruction, gestation and rebirth, we begin to learn the answer to the biggest question of all: if we strip away everything we are told we must be in the Wasteland, what is left? When everything we once valued is taken from us, what then do we become?
– Sharon Blackie

It will take all your heart, it will take all your breath
It will be short, it will not be simple.
– Adrienne Rich

Workers need ‘poetry’ more than bread. They need that their life should be a #poem. They need some light from eternity.
Religion alone can give such poetry.
Deprivation of this poetry explains all forms of demoralization.
– Simone Weil

We are here to witness the creation and abet it. We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other. We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us. We witness our generation and our times. We watch the weather. Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house.
– Annie Dillard

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is. I met her
in a bar once in Iowa City.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems…
– Joy Harjo

The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.
– Adrienne Rich

Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the divine.
– Ludwig van Beethoven

This body’s like a bubble, floating on a stream,
Our very breathing like a candle in the wind.
Those best friends of ours, they seem like children of the gods,
But once we’ve left them behind, they can never be by our side again.
We may have stacked up wealth and possessions the size of a mountain,
But not even a single needle can we carry with us.
– Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro offered these words of heart-advice to Khandro Tsering Chodron, his spiritual consort.

Time and space. In the desert there is space. Space is the twin sister of time. If we have open space then we have open time to breath, to dream, to dare, to play, to pray to move freely, so freely, in a world our minds have forgotten but our bodies remember. Time and space. This partnership is holy.
– Terry Tempest Williams

When we contemplate the Buddha’s teachings we are actively trying to interrrupt our own system of confusion.
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

I have seen many storms in my life.
Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather,
to exercise the art of patience and
to respect the fury of nature.
– Paulo Coelho

Pretend you have roots and be still, despite the urge to run, and things that are alive will find you.
– Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

The only people who can handle power are those who have made journeys through powerlessness. Most others seem to abuse it. This wisdom comes from universally practiced male initiation rites. “Uninitiated” males, who too easily acquire power, invariably use it for their own purposes of advancement, seldom for the common good. Only love can safely handle power.
– Richard Rohr

Too sweet is earthly drink
Too tight the nets of love
Sometime let the children read
My name in their lesson book
And on learning the sad story
Let them smile shyly. . .
Since you’ve given me neither love nor peace
Grant me bitter glory
– Anna Akhmatova

I put down the cup and examine my own mind. It alone can discover the truth. But how: What an abyss of uncertainty, whenever the mind feels overtaken by itself; when it, the seeker, is at the same time the dark region through which it must go seeking and where all its equipment will avail it nothing. Seek? More than that: create. It is face to face with something which does not yet exist, to which it alone can give reality and substance, which it alone can bring into the light of day.
– Marcel Proust

Unless you stop rehearsing your worry, you won’t feel how life is lifting us. When unencumbered, we can sense where we belong.
– Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

Mind, which is like lightning, a breeze, or passing clouds, is coloured by its various thoughts of everything under the sun, but when examined thoroughly is found to lack a basis or origin. Just like a mirage on the horizon, it is devoid of essential nature. While being empty, it appears; and while appearing, it is empty.
– Mipham Rinpoche

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world
– Walt Whitman

Whatever we are facing now we need to have a root system embedded in weather patterns, the presences of animals, our dreams, and the ones who came before us. Myth is insistent that when there is a crisis, genius lives on the margins not the centre. If we are constantly using the language of politics to combat the language of politics at some point the soul grows weary and turns its head away because we are not allowing it into the conversation, and by denying soul we are ignoring what the Mexicans call the river beneath the river. We’re not listening to the thoughts of the world. We’re only listening to our own neurosis and our own anxiety.
– Martin Shaw

NAMES OF THE ANCESTORS

We are moving backward in the granary of our ancestors’ names.

When we speak them, wheat fields harvested three thousand years ago

sway again in winds gone on to other galaxies.

Somewhere on that track are all the hands that met mine in the night
and the spoken love word hovering like a hummingbird at the lip of the abundant flower.

The wisdom of sleepers forms a tradition along the arc of generations,

anointing the slippery head of the newborn rising from the sea

and the yellow skull of the corpse set out to dry in the desert.

Now we are touching his twenty layers of embroidered robes.

– from Keeping the Star, New Rivers Press, copyright 1988 Thomas R. Smith

Life is too fragile and short and precious to cling or to fight.
– Belle Heywood

Hypothesis: Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you and who have no agenda for your reform.
– Rob Brezsny

With friends of the heart you fly with your wings.

Without them, you are merely a single fallen feather.

Flying with your wings you master the world.

A single feather-the wind makes you wander aimlessly.
– Rumi

The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters.
– Sue Monk Kidd

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
– John Keating, Dead Poets Society

If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary
in human life, it would be like hearing
the grass grow or the squirrel’s heart beat,
and we should die of that roar
which is the other side of silence.
– George Eliot

The serpent of my heart
has shed its skin.

I peer at it between my fingers,
It’s crammed with hurt and honey.

Where is all that thinking
that hid in your folds?

It’s just cheap wrapping
that has oppressed
a brilliant inner-star.

Maybe I should place you
on the high tips of the pine tree,
so you can know of the songs
the nightingale
gives to the dawn.

– Lorca
translated by Martin Shaw

My vision spreads out over a vast plain of
Emptiness, grooves in the sidecars of my soul
Take in the terrain.
Something fathomless and faltering has shifted
And the sands of time recede and descend
I’m unsure, now, where my home is or should be,

Or where hope resides – I’ve become an
Insect on the plate glass of love
At 90 miles an hour.
But some things don’t change – I still
feel the stillness as words whisper between the
Sheets of existence, I still grasp, that within
The ordinary – something extraordinary
and formless
Is taking shape,
Right now.
– Claire Boyce

You Haven’t Texted Since Saturday
by Michael Robbins

You haven’t texted
since Saturday,
when I read Keith Waldrop’s
translation of Les Fleurs du mal
on a bench by whatever
that tower is on the hill
in Fort Greene Park
until you walked up
late as always and I do
mean always
in your dad’s army jacket
and said “Hi, buddy”
in a tone that told me
all I needed to know …

Many of the faults you see in others, dear reader, are your own nature reflected in them.
– Rumi

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed…
– Wallace Stegner

OF writing many books there is no end;
And I who have written much in prose and verse
For others’ uses, will write now for mine,-
Will write my story for my better self,
As when you paint your portrait for a friend,
Who keeps it in a drawer and looks at it
Long after he has ceased to love you, just
To hold together what he was and is.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

You are the only beauty in this
Celestial torture I will call my own.
– Lucie Brock-Broido

Your voice is gone now; I hardly hear you.
Your starry voice all shadow now
and the earth dark again
with your great changes of heart.
And by day the grass going brown in places
under the broad shadows of the maple trees.
Now, everywhere I am talked to by silence
so it is clear I have no access to you;
I do not exist for you, you have drawn
a line through my name.
– Louise Glück

A great poet is one who makes me small when I write, and great when I read.
– Mahmoud Darwish

Child, concepts are wild and stubborn, so remain mindful at all times.
– Padampa Sangye

Flowers
by Wendy Videlock
They are fleeting.
They are fragile.
They require
little water.
They’ll surprise you.
They’ll remind you
that they aren’t
and they are you.

I with my sackful of dreams my heart never puts down.
– Frank Stanford

I know what love is and it is friendship set afire: kindled until it warms us both.⠀


Love is easy. Love is chemistry—a laboratory. Love is as simple as connecting this together with that. Her brilliant eyes and my heated heart.⠀

But this is not love.⠀

Not yet.⠀

Genuine love resides only in the present moment. Genuine love is everyday. Genuine love feels no need to entertain the space away. Genuine love is up, genuine love is down and yet genuine love never wavers.⠀

Love is something else entire. It is caring. It is arguing with curiosity—it is giving an inch when the other seems certainly wrong—it is teasing, it is empathy, it is respect, it is a moment of quiet smiling admiration each morning.
– Waylon Lewis

Sometimes, there’s no need to tell someone you love them, you can simply make sure they have no reason to think otherwise.
– via Orly Zirinsky

I wanted to feel, smell, hear and see, but not see with my eyes and my mind only.
I wanted to see with CANTE ISTA – the eye of the heart.
– Lame Deer, LAKOTA

So when I said at the beginning, I don’t belong to any tradition, I want to make one little adjustment to that. I do belong to a tradition and that is the tradition which could be called simply, “the Heart.” And don’t try to decipher it again through any “isms” or spiritual traditions, because the experience of the Heart transcends all traditions. And the time has come when we have to transcend those traditions that calcify to themselves…
– Igor Kufayev ~ Vamadeva

Our attraction to thoughts and words keeps the ever present dimension of freedom, connectedness and flow veiled. Ever available, yet just out of reach. Because we are more interested in describing and understanding life than simply being quiet and one with it.
– Nithya Shanti

But when people stopped wandering and began to build towns and cities and lived without taking long walks together they began to have ideas that everybody’s Inner Reality should be the same, and they argued about it rather than respecting that every person has a unique experience in their Inner Reality.

They began to think that Inner Reality should be as consistent as Outer Reality. This was their great mistake, for then the inner richness of every person began to be eroded, worn down, compared and argued about. And occasionally a strong leader would appear in a city or town who would insist that there was only one Inner Reality and that everyone should see the same thing in it. This was the greatest assault ever upon the most creative roots of the individual person.

You see, this began to destroy the very glue that held people together and that enriched the entire community. The Outer Reality held people together only when there was danger or when people were in need and had to cooperate in order that everyone would be fed and could survive. But the Inner Reality was the source of each other’s gifts and when they were properly shared with each other there was tremendous abundance in the community.

– Steve Gallegos, Dream Visits

I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny, invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man’s pride.
– William James

The great crises and predicaments of our time are not due to bad luck, evil people, or a fatal flaw in the human species.

They are, rather, due to unhealthy human cultures. And unhealthy cultures are not the result of a defective species, but of a species brilliantly designed by Mystery —with a sacred wound as an essential ingredient of its journey and its promise and destiny. But that’s another story…

Healthy, mature cultures emerge from — and have always emerged from — nature, from the depths of our individual and collective psyches, from the Earth’s imagination acting through us, from the mythic realm of dreams or the Dreamtime, from soul, from the soul of the world, from Mystery.
– Bill Plotkin, Ph.D.

Bodhisattvas should become adept at examining the two kinds of phenomena that have no self. Neither beings nor dharmas have a self. As the grasping and attachment of such senses as the eye to form give rise to consciousness, bodies, houses, and the world of objects, perceptions of one’s own mind are fabricated and manifested from one’s own projections. They change and disappear every moment like a river or a seed or a candle or the wind or a cloud. Restless like a monkey, attracted to impurities like a fly, insatiable like a wind-blown fire, they move like a waterwheel through life after life and bodily form after bodily form, impelled by habit-energy without beginning, like figures produced by some sort of magic trick or spell or mechanical device. To be skilled in the knowledge of such appearances means to know that beings have no self. Through the power of imagination, fools give rise to erroneous projections, but not the wise because they transcend mind, the will, and consciousness. Bodhisattvas who become adept at seeing no self soon gain an insight into the freedom from projections.

Fools let their thoughts wander among the names and appearances of convention to which they are attached. As they wander among the multitude of shapes that appear, they fall prey to views and longings concerning a self and what belongs to a self and they become attached to excelling. Once they are attached, they are blinded by ignorance and give rise to passion. Once they are inflamed, the karma produced by desire, anger, and delusion accumulates, and as it accumulates they become enveloped in their own projections, like silkworms in cocoons, or submerged in boundless states of existence in the cycle of birth and death, as if they were on a waterwheel.
– The Lankavatara Sutra (400 CE), Red Pine translation

The first thing a writer has to do is find another source of income. Then, after you have begged, borrowed, stolen or saved up the money to give you time to write and you spend all of it staying alive while you write, and you write your heart out, after all that, maybe no one will publish it, and if they publish it, maybe no one will read it. That is the hard truth, that is what it means to be a writer.
– Ellen Gilchrist

Friends disappear
or they are powerless.
This is what misfortune means
an acid test of friendship.
I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
– Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides

To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary.
– Edgar Allan Poe

Had I gone looking for some particular place rather than any place, I’d have never found this spring under the sycamores. Since leaving home, I felt for the first time at rest. Sitting full in the moment, I practiced on the god-awful difficulty of just paying attention. It’s a contention of my father’s—believing as he does that anyone who misses the journey misses about all he’s going to get—that people become what they pay attention to. Our observations and curiosity, they make and remake us.
– William Least Heat-Moon

To place you in my heart may turn you into thought
I will not do that.
To hold you with my eyes may turn you into thorn.
I will not do that.
I will set you on my breath , so you will become my life.
~ Rumi

Animals remind us that all beings who walk, stand, swim, crawl, or fly are radiant, mysterious, and unique expressions of the Source. Every species, every culture, has it’s own genius.
– Linda Bender

Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
– Albert Einstein

Never separate the life you live from the words you speak
– Paul Wellstone

The secret is to stop caring
about some things
and care more
about others, the things that are every thing
and everything
– Robert Kaplan

The soul reaches so deep, beyond emotion and thought, that you encounter it as another—you and not you.
– Thomas Moore

Talent develops in quiet places; character in the full current of human life.
– Goethe

When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.
– Paulo Coelho

While we cannot close our eyes to what is happening around us, it is important for each of us as individuals to refuse to hate another human being and commit to compassion, love. peace and nonviolence in the world. In becoming aware and resistant to evil, we cannot allow ourselves to become part of the evil ourselves.
– Laurence Overmire​

Laughter is carbonated holiness.
– Anne Lamott

to help accomplish human aspirations we must design our living spaces in configurations that enable human encounters and facilitate dialogue between people and with nature. the capitalist city was built precisely to accomplish the opposite: to promote insularity and discourage physical contact. but this is the paradox of space and dialogue: space does not insure dialogue, but there can be no dialogue if there is no space of encounter. think of this simile: two bodies together do not love-make, but there can be no love-making without two bodies together.
– hune margulies

Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we meditate upon them: *the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.* I do not seek or conjecture either of them as if they were veiled obscurities or extravagances beyond the horizon of my vision; I see them before me and connect them immediately with the consciousness of my existence.
– Kant​

It seems to me that we have become more unforgiving to one another online in places like Facebook these days. Maybe it’s that information and situations can feel frozen in time, making it easier to react harshly to. Maybe it’s that our humanity and the complexity of being human can’t be fully held in this two-dimensional space, so we treat each other smaller. Maybe we live a bit too much in echo chambers and it’s hard to let go and listen. Maybe it’s that we’re collectively hurting so much that we lash out with certainty, righteousness, and without mercy. Maybe we sometimes hate the way we act and can’t stand to see it in others. I’m not sure, but I do feel it more and more these days. What’s great is that in this same online space, I can write and share this openly. Accountability is necessary. Empathy, acceptance, and the willingness to listen is also necessary, to me anyways. Doing so is definitely not easy and I find it takes me a lot of effort many days. Being human is hard, y’all!
– Ryan Oelke

Sometimes there is no way, whatsoever, to put things in words.
– Belle Heywood

These are the days to read…
So I might as well write
Down the predicament of my heart.

But I will only write it
When it is worthy of my mouth.
– Parveen Shakir

What you know doesn’t fade unless you look away from it…it has only the power you give to it. If you give it all your power then that knowing in you is all-powerful. You’re the regulator.
– John de Ruiter

These candles, our bodies, see how they burn.

How many hours will they last—days, months,
years?

Look at the warmth and comfort we can give
to each other or to anything that comes close.

One of the components of lasting art is a spirit
flame within the created

that can ignite inspiration and hope, and survive
time’s ways.

– ♡❀ A Year with Hafiz

We write by the light of every story we have ever read.
– Richard Peck

Work is the thing that stays. Work is the thing that sees us through.
– Ellen Gilchrist

You get a strange feeling
when you leave a place,
like you’ll not only miss
the people you love,
but you’ll miss the person you are
at this time and place
because you’ll never be this way again.
– Azar Nafasi

I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.
– Khaled Hosseini

The things that used to define you/are no longer adequate to do so. There is no need to cling to them./The closets of your mind can be cleaned/of ideas no longer needed./When the time to depart is at hand,/you will be ready./When something new arrives,/you will have room.
– The Sage’s Tao Te Ching

That’s my principal message to writers: for God’s sake, keep your eyes open.
– William S. Burroughs

Deep in your roots there is a wisdom that speaks rock, soil, rhythm, a song that grooves on pulsation, creation, and community.

In your heart there is a court of law that responds to listening, not demand, collaboration, not fight, boundary, not suffocation.

In your womb there is a galaxy singing lullabies to your mind.

Go there.
Breathe in. Rest down.

(We need you.)

– Devorah Bry

Often, we have this sense that everything we have to do in order to change the world, in order to disrupt the systems that would have us not love each other across lines of difference, and even across lines of sameness, has to do with what we have to do out there, but these practices have the capacity to disrupt the disconnect that lives inside of us…as long as that separation, that disconnect lives inside of you, you will continue to uphold structures of division and separation unconsciously, or you’ll simply learn to ignore them.
– Kyodo Williams

After the Winter
By Claude McKay
Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
And against the morning’s white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
Have sheltered for the night,
We’ll turn our faces southward, love,
Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire the shafted grove
And wide-mouthed orchids smile.

And we will seek the quiet hill
Where towers the cotton tree,
And leaps the laughing crystal rill,
And works the droning bee.
And we will build a cottage there
Beside an open glade,
With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,
And ferns that never fade.

Without doubt we will need to lighten up from time to time and recognize the irony of our self-created imprisonment and our sometimes awkward attempts to liberate ourselves.
– David Nichtern

Drop the idea that your realization is supposed to look or feel like anyone else’s.
– Nithya Shanti

When we are angry, when we are excited, when we are depressed, when we are elated, we are completely submerged in and identified with those thoughts and feelings. This is why we suffer. We suffer because we are completely identified with our thoughts and feelings and we think this is me. This is who I am.
– Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

Birth is when and how you are given a body. Incarnation, however, is the lifelong process that follows.
– Kuma-sensei

Without fear, we are able to see more clearly our connections to others. Without fear, we have more room for understanding and compassion. Without fear, we are truly free.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Any ordinary favor we do for someone or any compassionate reaching out may seem to be going nowhere at first, but may be planting a seed we can’t see right now. Sometimes we need to just do the best we can and then trust in an unfolding we can’t design or ordain.
– Sharon Salzberg

As I get older, I realize that the thing I value the most is good-heartedness.
– Alice Walker

Compassion takes imagination.
– Jennifer Beals

Writing is a way to salvage life, to give it form and meaning.
– Jhumpa Lahiri

…it is almost always the case that whatever has wounded you will also be instrumental in your healing.
– Robert A. Johnson

Nothing will see us through the age we’re entering but high consciousness, and that comes hard. We don’t have a good, modern myth yet, and we need one.”
– Robert A. Johnson

Romantic love always consists in the projection of the soul-image. When a woman falls in love it is animus that she sees projected onto the mortal man before her. When a man drinks of the love potion, it is anima, his soul, that he sees superimposed on a woman.
– Robert A. Johnson

In the forty minutes I watched the muskrat, he never saw me, smelled me, or heard me at all. When he was in full view of course I never moved except to breathe. My eyes would move, too, following his, but he never noticed. Only once, when he was feeding from the opposite bank about eight feet away did he suddenly rise upright, all alert – and then he immediately resumed foraging. But he never knew I was there.

I never knew I was there, either.

For that forty minutes last night I was as purely sensitive and mute as a photographic plate; I received impressions, but I did not print out captions. My own self-awareness had disappeared; it seems now almost as though, had I been wired to electrodes, my EEG would have been flat. I have done this sort of thing so often that I have lost self-consciousness about moving slowly and halting suddenly. And I have often noticed that even a few minutes of this self-forgetfulness is tremendously invigorating. I wonder if we do not waste most of our energy just by spending every waking minute saying hello to ourselves. Martin Buber quotes an old Hasid master who said, “When you walk across the field with your mind pure and holy, then from all the stones, and all growing things, and all animals, the sparks of their souls come out and cling to you, and then they are purified and become a holy fire in you.
– Annie Dillard

The empty blue sky of space says:
‘All this comes back to me, then goes again, and comes back again, then goes again, and I don’t care, it still belongs to me’
– Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

So, if you are too tired to speak, sit next to me for I, too, am fluent in silence.
– R. Arnold

O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
– Percy Bysshe Shelley

Shake out your qualms.
Shake up your dreams.
Deepen your roots.
Extend your branches.
Trust deep water
and head for the open,
even if your vision
shipwrecks you.
Quit your addiction
to sneer and complain.
Open a lookout.
Dance on a brink.
Run with your wildfire.
You are closer to glory
leaping an abyss
than upholstering a rut.
Not dawdling.
Not doubting.
Intrepid all the way
Walk toward clarity.
At every crossroad
Be prepared
to bump into wonder.
Only love prevails…
– James Broughton

A RECOGNITION
I don’t know you, and you don’t know me; we discover each other in the Unknown. It is possible that we met five billion years ago at the formation of a star and have been drawn back to each other by some kind of divine loneliness, God’s mad yearning for himself.
Loneliness is not a negative thing, it is the gravity of love, a brilliantly intelligent nostalgia which pulls lovers back to each other, keeps them on the path and prevents them from settling for less than the kind of love that endures five billion years of burning.
Forgetting, remembering, forgetting, like breathing, like the tides going in and out. I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, but we recognise each other, here in the Vastness.
– Jeff Foster

As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment,
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered. …
Old men ought to be explorers.
– T.S. Eliot

I used to think that the top global environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change I thought, that, with thirty years of good science, we could end these problems. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy. To deal with these we need a spiritual and cultural transformation, and we scientists don’t know how to do that.
– Gus Speth, Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

The lure of trying to illuminate the sadness in the world only led to a fetish for sad books, sad movies, sad songs. Once writers begin cataloging sadness, they see it everywhere.
– Jaime Clarke

Great masses of people these days live out their lives in a dull and loveless stupor. Sensitive persons find our inartistic manner of existence oppressive and painful, and they withdraw from sight…I believe what we lack is joy. The ardor that a heightened awareness imparts to life, the conception of life as a happy thing, as a festival…But the high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy.
– Herman Hesse

There is a yearning that is as spiritual as it is sensual. Even when it degenerates into addiction, there is something salvageable from the original impulse that can only be described as sacred. Something in the person (dare we call it a soul?) wants to be free, and it seeks its freedom any way it can. … There is a drive for transcendence that is implicit in even the most sensual of desires.
– Mark Epstein, M.D.

The good that we did not do, the love unspent,
the people we meant to become and did not, yet,
…these are the things that weigh us down.
– Yahia Lababidi

Perhaps today is not a day for answers and unshakeable certainties, it is a day for birdsong and staying close to questions as they walk with you down familiar paths on spring mornings…
– Jeff Foster

Moon Rise

How the moon rises,

She is yet burning with love for
this world that has largely abandoned
her to the solemn sky and which neglects
the instructions she gives with her body, what
we need to know if we are to grow and thrive,
but there are gadgets on and children starving,
and I wish I knew how to say, “Look! There
is the moon. She has arisen!” And, get the people to
remember that guidance is in the heavens.
– Jamie K. Reaser

The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficult it is to remain just one person,
for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors,
and invisible guests come in and out at will.”
– Czesław Milosz

When our communication supports compassionate giving and receiving, happiness replaces violence and grieving.
– Marshall Rosenberg

Talk health. The dreary, never-ending tale
Of mortal maladies is worn and stale;
You cannot charm or interest or please
By harping on that minor chord, disease.
Say you are well, or all is well with you,
And God shall hear your words and make them true.
– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.
– Hermann Hesse

Every person, from the first hunter to the meditator, is made to search. That is our basic human act.
– Deng Ming-Dao

I thought perhaps she was crazy, but she was only highly intuitive.
– Carl Jung

Transformation is an endless process meant to be lived. It cannot be captured or possessed; you can only participate.
– Baron Baptiste

Because you read it in a leathery book
with gold-edged, onion skin paper
does not mean it is true –

in fact, it may very well be a clear sign
that it is fiction in its purest
most manipulative form –
– E.M.

Wouldn’t it be nice to walk together
Baring our souls while wearing out the leather
We could talk shop, harmonize a song
Wouldn’t it be nice to walk along

I’ll show you houses of architectural renown
Some are still standing, some have fallen down
Farm houses buried under Canada’s snow
Spanish villas on the Boulevards of Mexico

And I’ll learn to tell the ash from the oak
And if you don’t know I won’t make no joke
We’ll climb to the top to view the world from above
Or carve our initials in the trunk like teenagers in love

And when we get hungry we’ll stop to eat
Gotta think of our stomachs and rest our feet
If we get thirsty we’ll have a drink or two
In a mountain top bar with a mountain top view

And when we get tired we’ll stop to rest
And if you still want to talk you can bare your breast
If it’s winter and cold we’ll take a rooming-house room
If it’s summer and warm we’ll sleep under the moon

And we’ll talk about the sports we played
‘Bout the time you got busted or the time I got laid
We’ll talk blood and how we were bred
Talk about the folks both living and dead

This song like this walk I find hard to end
Be my lover, be my friend
In sneakers or boots or regulation shoes
Walking beside you I’ll never get the walking blues.
– Kate and Anna McGarrigle

Everything preaches the dharma—nuclear waste, skunks, flowers, grass—and does so fully and completely.
– Roshi Nancy Mujo Baker

Everything in Paris is gay, said Ignatius Gallaher. They believe in enjoying life–and don’t you think they’re
right? If you want to enjoy yourself properly you must go to Paris. And, mind you, they’ve a great feeling for
the Irish there. When they heard I was from Ireland they were ready to eat me, man.
– James Joyce, Dubliners

Your longing for me is my message to you. All your attempts to reach me, are in reality my attempts to reach You.
– Rumi

Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep.
– William Shakespeare

O wind, why do you never rest
Wandering, whistling to and fro,
Bringing rain out of the west,
From the dim north bringing snow?
– Christina Rossetti

Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.
– Terry Pratchett

From the pen of Phil Rockstroh:
The same is true regarding a sense of humor; a yearning and pursuit of knowledge; possession of a generous heart; a love and gift for language; a passion and respect for the complexity of life as opposed to an obsessive demand for simplistic, binary explanations.

Imagination allows one to embrace confusion; to open oneself to the counsel of Angels of Ambiguity; to laugh outright in the pinched faces of demons who trudge in circles in the hellscape of certainty.

Imagination allows me to view my wounds as a womb; my scars as braille that reveal the code of empathy; my laughter and the laughter of others as the glee of the souls of solid, silent things — rocks, dry bones and wood, mountains, and collapsed stars — that have slipped free from the bonds of solidity. And the same principle applies to weeping.

Imagination allows me to let go, as, all the while, I retain a tight grip on my humanity.

In his indispensable poem, Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour Wallace Stevens captures the essential truth at the blazing heart of the matter.

Light the first light of evening, as in a room
In which we rest and, for small reason, think
The world imagined is the ultimate good.

This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous.
It is in that thought that we collect ourselves,
Out of all the indifferences, into one thing:

Within a single thing, a single shawl
Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth,
A light, a power, the miraculous influence.

Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves.
We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole,
A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous.

Within its vital boundary, in the mind.
We say God and the imagination are one…
How high that highest candle lights the dark.

Change is often hard because it actually causes your body to go into a state of chemical imbalance. This feels uncomfortable. Most prefer to avoid the change and return the body to a state of balance and return to a comfortable feeling. They can’t get past the short term discomfort to gain the long term benefits.

Conversely, those who are apparently ‘spiritual’ and shun empiricism tend to become fools, lost in emotionalism and different kind of experiences. Certainly, a pure scientific method can be applied the invisible world, once one has admitted that such a world exists. In fact if one doesn’t admit that such worlds exist, one is highly superstitious: believing ardently in ideas of positivism, materialism, existentialism, post-modernism, historicism —whatever — and commits all the sins of reification of the deity though belief rather than evidence. The deity today is quite obvious material science. And yet if one doesn’t apply the same rigour and curiosity and questioning to the spiritual world, as a scientist does to the atomic world — then both the invisible and the visible worlds will elude us.
– Andrew Sweeny

Fight with all the strength at your disposal against the idea that you are nameable and describable.
– Nisargadata

Hold an integrity within yourself–in that place lives and breathes compassion, wisdom, humility, and knowledge. Go to the water, the trees, the plants, that which is of the Earth, and they will show you.
– Joy Harjo

When you’re missing a peice of yourself, aching, gut wrenching emptiness begins to take over. Until you find the link that completes your very soul, the feeling will never go away. Most people find a way to fill this void, material possessions, a string of relationships, affairs, food…I bare my soul, with words, for all to see.
– Jennifer Salaiz

I think you are wrong to want a heart. It makes most people unhappy. If you only knew it, you are in luck not to have a heart.
– L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Perhaps this is what the stories meant when they called somebody heartsick. Your heart and your stomach and your whole insides felt empty and hollow and aching.
– Gabriel García Márquez

The right way to wholeness is made up of…fateful detours and wrong turnings. It is a longissima via, not straight
but snakelike, a path that unites the opposites in the manner of the guiding caduceus, a path whose labryrinthine
twists and turns are not lacking in terrors.
– C.G. Jung

How tread this weary desert through
That awes the brave and tires the strong?
– Anne Bronte

A monk asked Yun Men, “What are the teachings of a whole lifetime?”
Yun Men said, “An appropriate response.”

Morning
by Frank O’Hara

I’ve got to tell you
how I love you always
I think of it on grey
mornings with death

in my mouth the tea
is never hot enough
then and the cigarette
dry the maroon robe

chills me I need you
and look out the window
at the noiseless snow

At night on the dock
the buses glow like
clouds and I am lonely
thinking of flutes

I miss you always
when I go to the beach
the sand is wet with
tears that seem mine

although I never weep
and hold you in my
heart with a very real
humor you’d be proud of

the parking lot is
crowded and I stand
rattling my keys the car
is empty as a bicycle

what are you doing now
where did you eat your
lunch and were there
lots of anchovies it

is difficult to think
of you without me in
the sentence you depress
me when you are alone

Last night the stars
were numerous and today
snow is their calling
card I’ll not be cordial

there is nothing that
distracts me music is
only a crossword puzzle
do you know how it is

when you are the only
passenger if there is a
place further from me
I beg you do not go

Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.
– Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.
– Frida Kahlo

Take this longing from my tongue,
All the useless things my hands have done,
Let me see your beauty broken down,
Like you would do
For one you love
– Leonard Cohen

Taking delight in things as they are is Genuine Humor
– Chogyam Trungpa

The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I have been lavishly gifted a pain
as thick and rich as oil paint

By pushing it around the page
I have learned to make art
– Yahia Lababidi

This grand show is eternal.
It is always sunrise somewhere:
the dew is never all dried at once:
a shower is forever falling, vapor is ever rising.
Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming,
on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn,
as the round earth rolls.
– John Muir

The traveller has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end.
– Rabindranath Tagore

In the age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still.
– Pico Iyer

Know complexity but hold to simplicity.
Know sound but hold to silence.
Know action but hold to stillness.
Know knowledge but hold to innocence.
Know the manifestations but hold to the mystery.
– Lao Tzu

You came into my life
with just what you had:
things made of
the light and bread and shadows
for which I waited.
And I need you that way.
I love you that way.
And to those who will hear this tomorrow,
they can read here what I will not say.
But let them keep their distance today,
for it is still early for such arguments.

Tomorrow we will give them only
a leaf from the tree of our love, a leaf
dropped on the earth
as though it had been made by our lips
as though it were a kiss that had fallen
from unfathomable heights
to show the fire and the tenderness
of a love that is true.
– Pablo Neruda

Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.
– Plato

Part of the beauty of love was that you didn’t need to explain it to anyone else. You could refuse to explain. With love, apparently you didn’t necessarily feel the need to explain anything at all.
– Meg Wolitzer

Why did I write it down? In order to remember, of course, but exactly what was it I wanted to remember? How much of it actually happened? Did any of it? Why do I keep a notebook at all? It is easy to deceive oneself on all those scores. The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle. Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.
– Joan Didion, On Keeping a Notebook

Love is like a tree: it grows by itself, roots itself deeply in our being and continues to flourish over a heart in ruin. The inexplicable fact is that the blinder it is, the more tenacious it is. It is never stronger than when it is completely unreasonable.
– Victor Hugo

The one whose prayer’s
words are like light for me
O God, even if I am extinguished,
give light to him.
– Noshi Gilani

You were never poor as long as you had something to love.
– L.M. Montgomery

A spirituality that is only private and self-absorbed, one devoid of an
authentic political and social consciousness, does little to halt the suicidal
juggernaut of history.
On the other hand, an activism that is not purified by profound spiritual
and psychological self-awareness will only perpetuate the problem it is
trying to solve, however righteous its intentions.
– Andrew Harvey

I am thirsty for odors and laughs,
I am thirsty for new poems,
poems with no lilies or moons,
and no love affairs about to fail.
– Federico Garcia Lorca

The great risk in life has always been the work of becoming one’s true self amidst the uncertainties of existence. Thus, each crisis can become a crucible in which we are pulled and stretched by an unseen force that was in us all along. At each turn in life we have another chance to hear the call, follow our calling and be emboldened by the roots of our souls.
– Michael Meade

If you’re a writer, you’re sort of spending your life trying to figure things out, and you put your figurings on paper, and other people read them. It’s a very odd thing, really. You do this your whole life, and yet you know that you fail. You don’t fail all the way, or anything, it’s still worth doing—I think it’s worth doing, anyway. But it’s like this coming to grips with things that you can only partially deal with. This sounds very hopeless. I don’t feel hopeless at all.
– Alice Munro

You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.
– Ray Bradbury

Each of us has our own rhythm of suffering.
– Roland Barthes

Did it matter then, she asked herself, walking towards Bond Street, did it matter that she must inevitably cease completely; all this must go on without her; did she resent it; or did it not become consoling to believe that death ended absolutely? but that somehow in the streets of London, on the ebb and flow of things, here, there, she survived, Peter survived, lived in each other, she being part, she was positive, of the trees at home; of the house there, ugly, rambling all to bits and pieces as it was; part of people she had never met; being laid out like a mist between the people she knew best, who lifted her on their branches as she had seen the trees lift the mist, but it spread ever so far, her life, herself.
– Virginia Woolf

When you’re a writer, you’re never quite like other people — you’re doing a job that other people don’t know you’re doing and you can’t talk about it, really, and you’re just always finding your way in the secret world and then you’re doing something else in the ‘normal’ world.
– Alice Munro

I CAN’T EXPLAIN
If I cried, could you hear
My voice in my poems,
Could you touch my tears
With your hands?
Before I fell prey to this grief,
I never knew songs were so enchanting
And words so paltry.
I know there’s a place
Where you can talk about everything;
I feel I’m close to that place,
Yet I can’t explain.
– Orhan Veli

Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.
– Epictetus, The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness

Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free.
– Starhawk

To be an artist means: not to calculate and count; to grow and ripen like a tree which does not hurry the flow of its sap and stands at ease in the spring gales without fearing that no summer may follow.
It will come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are simply there in their vast, quiet tranquility, as if eternity lay before them.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

May we honour each other’s unique wisdoms.
May we commit to looking for each other’s beauty.
May we make way for the emergent feminine in each other.
May we forgive each other’s mistakes.
May we know our own strength and support our sisters to find theirs.
May we know that we are cells in the same body.
May we feel our roots in the earth.
May we gather, unite, rise and call forth a new way.
Together.
– Clare Dubois

Love is a thing that is full of cares and fears.
– Ovid

Poetry is impossible. Therefore, we do it.
– Dean Young

There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
– Thomas Merton

From Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind: If your mind is related to something outside itself, that mind is a small mind, a limited mind. If your mind is not related to anything else, then there is no dualistic understanding in the activity of your mind. You understand activity as just waves of your mind. Do you understand the difference between the two minds: the mind which includes everything, and the mind which is related to something? Actually they are the same thing, but the understanding is different, and your attitude towards your life will be different according to which understanding you have.
– Shunryu Suzuki

The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart
How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind’s labor.
Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not language but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.
― Jack Gilbert, The Great Fires

Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness.
– Harold Kushner

In martyrship, with song on lip,
Five hundred Welsh bards died;
Not one was mov’d to say he lov’d
The tyrant in his pride.
– Janos Arany, The Bard of Wales

Gratitude to Old Teachers
When we stride or stroll across the frozen lake,
We place our feet where they have never been.
We walk upon the unwalked. But we are uneasy.
Who is down there but our old teachers?
Water that once could take no human weight-
We were students then-holds up our feet,
And goes on ahead of us for a mile.
Beneath us the teachers, and around us the stillness.
– Robert Bly

My therapist says our shame,
though misguided, is actually trying
to take care of us.
She says we learn to blame ourselves
so we can believe the world is a safe,
or would be safe, if only we
had done things differently.
It’s kind of sweet actually,
what each of gives to believe
in the beauty: our own good names,
our own good hearts,
our own wisdom and happiness all traded
for a galaxy that wouldn’t hurt a fly.
– Andrea Gibson

THE LIMITS OF TRANSLATION
The limit of translation is the range of equivalent words.
But the equivalent words are seldom exact. Sometimes they’re not even metaphorical.
English words like a freight train and we’re supposed to follow one train of thought at a time. Chinese words are like overlapping scenes—you can wander in every direction in that landscape.
Metaphors are supposed to be equations, hopefully delightfully so, but engineered to reveal. Chinese words are gates to vast realms. That’s even true in the words themselves: English letters invariably march left to right, the sentences read the same way. A Chinese word is there. Frontal. To be opened or else stay closed.
It’s like being in a long corridor of gates that you decide to open or not. And that corridor has no set direction and there are no special divisions or distinctions to those gates.
So how do you enter the classics? By entering the words as dimensions, and journeying through them until absorption comes.
________
Poem Written in a Boat on the Wu River, 1095.
– Mi Fu (1052–1107)

If you find me not within you, you will never find me. For, I have been with you, from the beginning of me.
– Rumi

I love you with what in me is unfinished.

I love you with what in me is still
Changing
– Robert Bly

As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that. … That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life… Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.
– Anthony de Mello

Can you conceive it- that this queer bundle of sound and pain will come to know love, anxiety, prayer, suffering, creation, metaphysics, death? He cries; he has been so long asleep in the quiet warm womb of his mother; now suddenly he is compelled to breathe, and it hurts; compelled to see light, and it pierces him; compelled to hear noise, and it terrifies him. Cold strikes his skin, and he seems to be all pain.
– Will Durant

I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.
– Frida Kahlo

Beauty, far from being a superficial concern is essential, and can be a turnstile that leads us from the visible to the invisible world.
– Yahia Lababidi

Language is a bizarre inheritance…
– Sam Sax, Learning to Breathe Water

SACRED EXHAUSTION Your tiredness has dignity to it! Do not rush to pathologize it, or push it away, for it may contain great intelligence, even medicine. You have been on a long journey from the stars, friend. Bow before your tiredness now; do not fight it any longer. There is no shame in admitting that you cannot go on. Even the courageous need to rest. For a great journey lies ahead. And you will need all of your resources. Come, sit by the fire of Presence. Let the body unwind; drop into the silence here. Forget about tomorrow, let go of the journey to come, and sink into this evening’s warmth. Every great adventure is fueled by rest at its heart. Your tiredness is noble, friend, and contains healing power… if you would only listen…
– Jeff Foster​

If you align yourself with your own commitment to the path and you simply continue on the journey, there are blessings and help and assistance and magic that come. Trust me, unbelievable help [will arrive in your life to help] you fulfill that commitment and deepen as a person.
– Reggie Ray​

I wear my loneliness lightly, like a little plastic
poncho.
– Catherine Pond​

Good science and good art are always about a condition of awe … I don’t think there is any other function for the poet or the scientist in the human tribe but the astonishment of the soul.
– Derek Walcott

I work best when there’s a safety trampoline of kindness.
– Ruth Negga

What he said was always the same, expressed in the same words. The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely connected with an inability to think, namely, to think from the standpoint of somebody else. No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against the words and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such.
– Hannah Arendt

Refuse to be an accomplice. Don’t lie—don’t keep your eyes shut.
– Simone Weil​

My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.
– Neil Gaiman

Tears are the truth of our hearts.
– Reggie Ray

Inside the word “emergency” is ’emerge’; from an emergency new things come forth. The old certainties are crumbling fast, but danger and possibility are sisters.
– Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger.
– Muriel Rukeyser

Each day asks this of us. That we live it. That we breathe while there is air to float upon. That we move while there is earth to hold us. That we not grieve our too crooked paths. That we not shirk from the beauty of being.
– Thomas Lloyd Qualls

The way to maintain one’s connection to the wild is to ask yourself what it is that you want. This is the sorting of the seed from the dirt. One of the most important discriminations we can make in this matter is the difference between things that beckon to us and things that call from our souls. To choose just because something mouth-watering stands before you will never satisfy the hunger of the soul-self. And that is what the intuition is for; it is the direct messenger of the soul.
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Responsibility to yourself means that you don’t fall for shallow and easy solutions–predigested books and ideas… It means, therefore, the courage to be “different”…The difference between a life lived actively, and a life of passive drifting and dispersal of energies, is an immense difference. Once we begin to feel committed to our lives, responsible to ourselves, we can never again be satisfied with the old, passive way.
– Adrienne Rich

Be not the slave of your own past. Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are each and all the dispossessed if one child stands at our gates unwelcome.
– James Scott Smith​

I used to judge people who didn’t want to work on their ‘issues’ and patterns. I questioned their emotional courage, their fortitude, their depth. To be sure, many of us- myself included- could do a better job of dealing with our stuff head on. But, at the same time, I now recognize that we cannot know how courageous someone else is by looking at their lives from the outside. Perhaps they are carrying around so much unresolved emotional material- their own, even that of the collective- that they do not have any energy left over for process. Or perhaps they are working in the deep within in ways we cannot begin to imagine- healing their unresolveds, quietly building the egoic foundation necessary to take on the next level of inner work. It’s so hard to know where courage lives​.
– Jeff Brown

Don’t try to be original. There is no such thing. Just rearrange things in a way that feels authentic and true.
– Nithya Shanti​

On life’s every page, let the heart see
Stories of your love and loyalty.
– Faiz Ahmed Faiz

We are trying to get ourselves in the center of our soul, in the ground of our being and in the midst of the myth trying to live through us. This won’t solve all the world’s problems, but it makes life beautiful, deep and rich, giving us the right kind of longing and helping others as well.
– Michael Meade

Patches of snow linger on my front lawn.
Crows caw from tree to tree.
Having left the affairs of men many moons ago, I have learned to entrust myself to the seasons.
Countless thoughts cross my mind, like clouds in the sky,
yet none linger as I sit alone….
Who can understand this upright sitting, being in this world, but not of it?
– Shinzen​

Good science and good art are always about a condition of awe … I don’t think there is any other function for the poet or the scientist in the human tribe but the astonishment of the soul.
*
I have no nation, now, but the imagination.
– Yahia Lababidi

Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.
– Carl Sagan​

And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had more of a tendency to look for people who live by kindness, tolerance, compassion, a gentler way of looking at things.
– Martin Scorsese

Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.
– Carl Sagan​

I have never separated the writing of poetry from prayer. I have grown up believing it is a vocation, a religious vocation.
– Derek Walcott​

We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
– Carl Sagan

Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The poet existed
among the cave men
he will exist
among men of
the atomic age.
– Saint-John Perse​

Cloudless Snowfall
by Franz Wright

Great big flakes like white ashes
at nightfall descending…
abruptly everywhere
and vanishing
in this hand like the host
on somebody’s put-out tongue, she
turns the crucifix over
to me, still warm
from her touch two years later
and thank you,
I say all alone—
Vast whisp-whisp of wingbeats
awakens me and I look up
at a minute-long string of black geese
following low past the moon the white
course of the snow-covered river and
by the way thank You for
keeping Your face hidden, I
can hardly bear the beauty of this world.​

I’m the crazy one who thinks that words reach people.
– Anne Sexton​

Language subverts any of our efforts to make boundaries. Our very greatest human thing…is wild. Uncontrollable. It is impossible to put boundaries on your words.
– Brenda Hillman

Raw emotions turn into fear/aggression. They need cooking through reflection, education, intelligent conversation, love/respect.
– Thomas Moore

SLOW DOWN, FRIEND

There is no urgency. Summer does not rush towards autumn. One tiny blade of grass is not trying to grow faster than its neighbour. The planets spin lazily in their orbits. This ancient universe is in no hurry.

But the mind, feeling so divided from the totality, wants answers now, wants solutions today, wants to know so badly. It wants to reach its precious conclusions. And, ultimately, it wants to be in control.

But you are not the mind. Mind is an aspect of the whole, but cannot capture the whole.

So slow down, friend. Take a deep and conscious breath. Trust the place where you are, the place of ‘no answers yet’, the precious place of not knowing. This place is sacred, for it is 100% life. It is full of life, saturated with life, dripping with life, drenched with life.

Don’t try to rush to the next scene in the movie of ‘me’. Be here, in this scene, Now, the only scene there is.

Now is the place where questions rest, and creative solutions grow.
– Jeff Foster​

As our metal eyes wake
to absolute night,
where whispers fly
from the beginning of time,
we cup our ears to the heavens….
Avid, we are listening
on the volcanic lips of Flagstaff
and in the fields beyond Boston
in a great array that blooms
like coral from the desert floor,
on highwire webs patrolled
by computer spiders in Puerto Rico.
We are listening for a sound
beyond us, beyond sound,
searching for a lighthouse
in the breakwaters of our uncertainty,
an electronic murmur
a bright, fragile I am.
Small as tree frogs
staking out one end
of an endless swamp,
we are listening
through the longest night
we imagine, which dawns
between the life and time of stars…
– Diane Ackerman​

Reading a book for the sake of having read it, is a bit like living life for the sake of having lived it.
– Peter Capofreddi

Many of the faults you see in others, dear reader, are your own nature reflected in them.
– Rumi

If your understanding of the Divine makes you kinder, more empathetic, and impels you to express sympathy in concrete acts of loving-kindness, this is good theology. But if your notion of God makes you unkind, belligerent, cruel, of self-righteous, or if it leads you to kill in God’s name, it’s bad theology.
– Karen Armstrong

Healing Presence

Sometimes, when someone is sharing their struggles with you, don’t think of what to say. Don’t think of perfect answers or advice or quotes or books or cute distracting stories and jokes.

Sometimes, when someone is sharing their struggles with you, just be inwardly quiet and innocent. Feel the warmth of your care for this person. Allow this silent presence and warmth to radiate, embrace and saturate this person and space between you. Until there is no separa…tion and all that remains is this awakened presence.

This is the art of shifting from the head to the gleaming center of the heart. This is what it means to be a healing presence.​
– Nithya Shanti

I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.
– Johannes Kepler​

Make an altar in your heart for the bird that has flown away.
– Martin Shaw

That soul is incomplete, the heart
forever pilgrim,
this he did not doubt
– John Burnside

Demeter to Persephone
Alicia Ostriker
I watched you walking up out of that hole
All day it had been raining
in that field in Southern Italy
rain beating down making puddles in the mud
hissing down on rocks from a sky enraged
I waited and was patient
finally you emerged and were immediately soaked
you stared at me without love in your large eyes
that were filled with black sex and white powder
but this is what I expected when I embraced you
Your firm little breasts against my amplitude
Get in the car I said
and then it was spring

When I look at an MRI of my brain, I do not believe in the soul. I love mornings because of the coffee & the possibilities. I continue to believe that poetry contains revolutionary power. Small talk is an art & best performed in the small hours with another naked in bed. I believe the most beautiful thought is that of a holy transfiguration.
– Carolina Ebeid

… One thing is certain. We must grow beyond the tight grip that thinking and language have had on us. Thinking and language are but one way of knowing, and we have to learn that other ways of knowing are at least of equal value. Thinking and language have to learn that it is but one window on reality, and that it must grow into partnership and participation with the other ways of knowing. The true value of thinking and language needs to be acknowledged but it must not be allowed to place its own structure in a binding manner on the other ways of knowing especially when it has never bothered to explore and fully understand those other ways of knowing!

So thinking and language must go on a journey, on a vision quest, not on a language quest; must explore beyond itself, into realms unthought of, into chambers for which there is and never will be a description, yet domains that do exist and are a part of this awesome Universe, dimensions that we carry within our being and beyond our body. The body is a great gift, just as the maternal womb was an awesome place of beginning. But it is not a destination; it is a passageway. And a passageway wherein we are to develop certain potentials, and for these potentials to develop our own participation is paramount. While in the maternal womb we were primarily passive. In the body womb we need to be much more deliberately active.
– Eligio Stephen Gallegos, Imagination Education

When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.
– Ernest Hemingway

Come all who need rest and light, bending and breaking with overwork, leave your profits and losses and metallic dividends and come a-beeing. Follow the bees and be showered with blossoms; take a baptism and a honey-bath and get some sweetness into your lives.
– John Muir

Ahimsa: Nonviolence in its dynamic condition means conscious suffering. It does not means meek submission to the will of the evil-doer, but it means the putting of one’s whole soul against the will of the tyrant. Working under this law of being, it is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save his honor, his religion, his soul and lay the foundation for the empire’s fall or its regeneration.
– Gandhi

THRESHOLD

Swallows streaking in and out through the row of broken
panes over the front door went on with their conversation
of afterthoughts whatever they had been settling
about early summer and nests and the late daylight
and the vacant dwellings of swallows in the beams
let their dust filter down as I brought in my bed
while the door stood open onto the stone still smoothed to water
by the feet of inhabitants never known to me
and when I turned to look back I did not recognize a thing
the sound of flying whirred past me a voice called far away
the swallows grew still and bats came out light as breath
around the stranger by himself in the echoes
what did I have to do with anything I could remember
all I did not know went on beginning around me
I had thought it would come later but it had been waiting

– W.S. Merwin

Silencing
Our behavior is a function of our experience. We act according to the way we see things. If our experience is destroyed, our behavior will be destructive. If our experience is destroyed, we have lost our own selves.
– R.D. Lang

From Chapter 1 – Silencing

There is a language older by far and deeper than words. It is the language of bodies, of body on body, win on snow, rain on trees, wave on stone. It is the language of dream, gesture, symbol, memory. We have forgotten this language. We do not eve remember that it exists.

In order for us to maintain our way of living, we must, in a broad sense tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves. It is not necessary that the lies be particularly believable. The lies act as barriers to truth. These barriers to truth are necessary because without them many deplorable acts would become impossibilities. Truth must at all costs be avoided. When we do allow self-evident truths to percolate past our defenses and into our consciousness, they are treated like so many hand grenades rolling across the dance floor of an improbably macabre party. We try to stay out of harm’s way, afraid they will go off, shatter our delusions, and leave us exposed to what we have done to the world and to ourselves, exposed as the hollow people we have become. And so we avoid these truths, these self-evident truths, and continue the dance of world destruction.
As is true for most children, when I was young I heard the world speak. Stars sang. Stones had preferences. Trees had bad days. Toads held lively discussions, crowed over a good day’s catch. Like static on a radio, schooling and other forms of socialization began to interfere with my perception of the animate world, and for a number of years I almost believed that only humans spoke. The gap between what I experienced and what I almost believed confused me deeply. It wasn’t until later that I began to understand the personal, political, social, ecological, and economic implications of living in a silenced world.

The silencing is central to the workings of our culture. The staunch refusal to hear the voices of those we exploit is crucial to our domination of them. Religion, science, philosophy, politics, education, psychology, medicine, literature, linguistics, and art have all been pressed into service as tools to rationalize the silencing and degradation of women, children, other races, other cultures, the natural world and its members, our emotions, our consciences, our experiences, and our cultural and personal histories.
A Language Older Than Words pp.1-2

Tilting Toward Winter
Okla Elliott
The air is gray and quiet as the sea’s
wet-dying warmth. A blackbird
screams out from memory and, pleased
with its sour chirping, keeps at it undeterred
by the browning season. I have everything
I could wish for —this air, this sea, this night.
We tilt toward winter, though the sand is spring
sand, erotic and youthful. Spirits are light
as May lasciviousness. But blood swells
to shore in cool disintegrating waves—
gone summer and gone winter aren’t real.
I walk into the unwarm froth, say farewell
to my selves that have died and pray for those still
to die — their wet wombs, their thick-salt graves.

Nothing I force myself to write about ever turns out well, and so I’ve learned to wait for the voice, the incident, the image that reverberates.
– Louise Erdrich

Once you stop clinging and let things be, you’ll be free… You’ll transform everything… And you’ll be at peace wherever you are.
– Bodhidharma

In the meantime, it also isn’t the time to keep quiet. There is music to make. There are poems to recite. Books to write. Communities to build. These things—not the Democratic Party—are the opposite of fascism.
We’ve got work to do.
– Theodore Richards

Nevertheless, She Persisted:
She was truthful when lying was the common speech of men; she was honest when honesty was become a lost virtue; she was a keeper of promises when the keeping of a promise was expected of no one; she gave her great mind to great thoughts and great purposes when other great minds wasted themselves upon pretty fancies or upon poor ambitions; she was modest and fine and delicate when to be loud and coarse might be said to be universal; she was full of pity when a merciless cruelty was the rule; she was steadfast when stability was unknown, and honorable in an age which had forgotten what honor was; she was a rock of convictions in a time when men believed in nothing and scoffed at all things; she was unfailingly true to an age that was false to the core; she maintained her personal dignity unimpaired in an age of fawnings and servilities; she was of a dauntless courage when hope and courage had perished in the hearts of her nation; she was spotlessly pure in mind and body when society in the highest places was foul in both—she was all these things in an age when crime was the common business of lords and princes, and when the highest personages in Christendom were able to astonish even that infamous era and make it stand aghast at the spectacle of their atrocious lives black with unimaginable treacheries, butcheries, and beastialities.
– from Mark Twain’s “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc”

Now welcome, somer, with thy sonne softe,
That hast this wintres wedres overshake,
And driven away the longe nyghtes blake!
– G.Chaucer

Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.
– Benito Juárez

The fourth perfection is wholeheartedness, or showing up for what we do with enthusiasm and joy, while at the same time, living life as a compassionate imperative.
– Joan Halifax

Disrespect is a violation of beneficence, of caring, of what it means to hold all in equal regard. Disrespect is harm toward self, other, society, and the environment. To not harm others and ourselves, to be warm, tender, caring, and to trust in the heart, we live by vow. We also live by wisdom and openness, stepping out of our story, and into the space of connection.
– Joan Halifax

Respect builds healthy empathy and integrity; it also lends dignity and depth to our human relationships and our relationship with the planet. It is the basis of love and justice, and the path for transforming conflict into reconciliation.
– Joan Halifax

I will not allow my life’s light to be determined by the darkness around me.
– Sojourner Truth

The charms of these mountains are beyond all common reason, unexplainable and mysterious as life itself.
– John Muir

A dream hangs over the whole region, a brooding kind of hallucination.
– John Steinbeck

The Call of the Wild

Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there’s nothing else to gaze on,
Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the binding sunsets blazon,
Black Canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley with the green stream streaking through it,
Search the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence? Then for God’s sake go and do it;
Hear the Challenge, learn the lesson, pay the cost.

Have you wandered in the wilderness, the sage-brush desolation,
The bunch-grass levels where the cattle graze?
Have you whistled bits of rag-time at the end of creation,
And learned to know the desert’s little ways?
Have you camped upon the foothills, have you galloped o’er the ranges,
Have you roamed the arid sun-lands through an through?
Have you chummed up with the messa? Do you know its moods and changes?
Then listen to the Wild – it’s calling you.

Have you known the Great White Silence, not a snow-gemmed twig aquiver?
(Eternal truths that shame our soothing lies.)
Have you broken trail on snowshoes? mushed your huskies up the river,
Dared the unknown, led the way, and clutched the prize?
Have you marked the map’s void spaces, mingled with the mongrel races,
Felt the savage strength of brute in every thew?
And though grim as hell the worst is, can you round it off with curses?
Then hearken to the Wild – it’s wanting you.

Have you suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down, yet grasped at glory,
Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?
“Done things” just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story,
Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul?
Have you seen God in His splendors, heard the text that nature renders?
(You’ll never hear it in the family pew.)
The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things –
Then listen to the Wild – it’s calling you.

They have cradled you in custom, they have primed you with their preaching,
They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase; you’re a credit to their teaching –
But can’t you hear the Wild? – it’s calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There’s a whisper on the night-wind, there’s a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling . . . Let us go.

– Robert Service

Empty me of the bitterness and disappointment of being nothing but
myself
Immerse me in the mystery of reality
Fill me with love for the truly afflicted
that hopeless love, if need be
make me one of them again —
Awaken me to the reality of this place
and from the longed-for or remembered place
And more than thus, behind each face
induct, oh introduce me in —
to the halting disturbed ungrammatical soundless
words of others’ thoughts
not the drivel coming out of our mouths
Blot me out, fill me with nothing but consciousness
of the holiness, the meaning
of these unseeable, all
these unvisitable worlds which surround me:
others’ actual thoughts — everything
I can’t perceive yet
know
know it is there.
– Franz Wright

When a culture loses its interiority, when the tiny flame of contemplation in the heart of civilization goes out, chaos and death take over.
– Kenneth Rexroth, 1966

My culture comes from everywhere. I’m sick of this notion of nationality, that if you’re brought up in the same city or same country you’re the same. Even three kids brought up in the same family with the same genes, they are not the same. Just consider a human a human.
– Marjane Satrapi

Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours.
– Hermann Hesse

Papa taught us from the time we were small children that all creatures have feelings and troubles and joys just like people, and that we must always remember that fact and be considerate of them.
– Helen Muir

Now all of the individual ‘things’ or ‘beings’ into which the world is wrought are sparks of the Divine Soul variously clothed upon with flesh, leaves, or that harder tissue called rock, water, etc. Now we observe that, in cold mountain altitudes, Spirit is but thinly and plainly clothed. As we descend down their many sides to the valleys, the clothing of all plants and beasts and of the forms of rock becomes more abundant and complicated. When a portion of Spirit clothes itself with a sheet of lichen tissue . . . , we say that is a low form of life. Yet is it more or less radically Divine than another portion of Spirit that has gathered garments of leaf and fairy flower and adorned them with all the colors of Light, though we say that the latter creature is of a higher form of life? All of these varied forms, high and low, are simply portions of God radiated from Him as a sun, and made terrestrial by the clothes they wear, and by the modifications of a corresponding kind in the God essence itself.
– John Muir

Art is not a luxury, and it is not dispensable. It is the oxygen of the mind, spirit, and heart, the work table on which new thought and feeling are hammered into being. The NEA’s grants are often small, but they are seed beds of the possible, creating the kinds of futures that can only open when the not yet envisioned, not yet made, not yet discovered are invited in.
– Jane Hirshfield

Zero Circle
Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
to gather us up.
We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.
So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.
– Rumi

If I am not for others, what am I?
And if not now, when?

Take care of yourself — you never know when the world will need you.

Whosoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whosoever that saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.

That which is hateful to you, do not unto another: This is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary — go study.
– Rabbi Hillel the Elder
(110 BCE – 10 CE)

In theory, for example, sleep is a negative thing, a mere cessation of life. But nothing will persuade me that sleep is not really quite positive, some mysterious pleasure which is too perfect to be remembered. It must be some drawing on our divine energies, some forgotten refreshment at the ancient fountains of life. If this is not so, why do we cling to sleep when we have already had enough of it; why does waking up always seem like descending from heaven upon earth? I believe that sleep is a sacrament; or, what is the same thing, a food.
– G. K. Chesterton

I looked at the stars, and considered how awful if would be for a man to turn his face up to them as he froze to death, and see no help or pity in all the glittering multitude.
– Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Definitions of basic historical concepts: Catastrophe—to have missed the opportunity.
– Walter Benjamin

The act of love and the act of poetry
Are incompatible
With reading the news at the top of one’s voice.
– André Breton, The Road to San Romano

Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
– Don Miguel Ruiz

It was through her actions of reciprocity, the give and take with the land, that the original immigrant became indigenous. For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children’s future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer

I’ve got the guts to die. What I want to know is, have you got the guts to live?
– Tennessee Williams

When he was 21, Tennessee Williams (born March 26, 1911) was a struggling writer with a job he hated at the International Shoe Company. Determined to succeed, he wrote a story every single weekend for three years.

Let yourself become living poetry.
– Rumi​

Wholeness does not mean perfection. It means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.
– Parker J. Palmer

WE ARE NOT EACH OTHER’S MIND-READERS

If I want or need something,
I can always ask.
I have the right to ask. …
Asking is not selfish, unkind or narcissistic.
Asking can be an expression of love, too.
A way to connect through our vulnerability.

I don’t expect anyone else
to read my mind,
to magically know what I want, need or feel,
to automatically satisfy me,
without my having to speak up.

I won’t confuse love with mind-reading.
(This is a deep wound from childhood).

I can always ask.
Asking is not the same as demanding.
(No matter what we were taught).
In asking, I give the other person freedom
to provide what I want, or not.
To listen, or not. To take me seriously, or not.
To be empathic and loving, or to shame me for asking.

In asking, I discover the other person.
I get to know them more deeply.

In demanding, there is the threat of punishment.
In demanding, I make the other person my slave.
In asking, there is space.
Room for the yes and the no.
In asking, there is friendship, respect, trust.

And I don’t pretend to be a mind-reader myself!
I don’t pretend that I can magically know
what someone else is feeling, wanting or needing.
Instead, I can ask them.
Respect them by asking them.
Or give them the space to speak up for themselves.
Either way, I can listen to their wishes.
Even if they trigger discomfort in me.

And I accept
that I may sometimes be stuck
in my own projections.

I am not a mind-reader.
So I never have to feel guilty
for not fully comprehending
someone else’s experience.
However much I genuinely care.

And nobody else is a mind-reader.
So I don’t have to punish anyone,
or try to make them feel bad,
for not seeing me, knowing me, fulfilling me.

What a relief.
To be fully responsible
for my own happiness.

And to speak truth.

And to be fully open
to receiving it.

– Jeff Foster​

I am not really all that impressed by what car you drive, how big your house is, or even what your titles and degrees are…

What matters to me is, can you sta…y looking me in the eyes while we are making love…

When your friends are suffering, do you go to them…

When there is tragedy in the world, do you let your heart break…

Can you find compassion, empathy, and forgiveness for those who have harmed you, including yourself…

Does it matter to you to ease the suffering of others, including those you don’t know and may never be praised by…

Can you look into the eyes of the dying without flinching…

Can you see the beauty and mystery all around you and do you ever drop to your knees in gratitude at the unbearable wonder and awe of it all…

Do you allow life to break you open, do you laugh often, love fully, and cry freely…

Can you dance or pray until ​YOU have dissolved and all that is left is LOVE…

– Tina Benson

Whatever is magical in the world, whatever brings color and sound and light and joy, was brought into the center of living by those people curious enough–perhaps angry enough–to go to the edge of town, the forest, the river, and see what else was in the world. Someone recognized the boredom, the waste of sitting in the dark and merely living and invented the story and the song.
– Tennessee Williams​

You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion, or challenge the ideology of a violet.
– Hal Borland​

At the same time, you have to find the right distance between people. Too close, and they overwhelm you, too far and they abandon you. How to hold them in the right relation?
– Hanif Kureshi, Intimacy

Give me a world, you have taken the world I was.
– Anne Carson​

A life without inner contradictions is only half a life…destined only for angels. But God loves humans more than angels.
– CG Jung

The artist must forget the audience, forget the critics, forget the technique, forget everything but love for the music. Then, the music speaks …
– Mstislav Rostropovich ​

Real poverty is the belief that the purpose of life is acquiring wealth and owning things. Real wealth is not the possession of property but the recognition that our deepest need, as human beings, is to keep developing our natural and acquired powers and to relate to other human beings.
– Grace Lee Boggs​

There is a permanent amnesia planted in us, which just as we keep forgetting our dreams, we sometimes keep on forgetting our reality.
– Isaac Bashevis Singer​

In spite of it being invisible to the naked eye, love is far more real, far more concrete, than the immediacy of the physical world.
– Peter Himmelman​

Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. Privacy, then. A place apart – to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.
But just as often, if not more often, the interruption comes not from another but from the self itself, or some other self within the self, that whistles and pounds upon the door panels and tosses itself, splashing, into the pond of meditation. And what does it have to say? That you must phone the dentist, that you are out of mustard, that your uncle Stanley’s birthday is two weeks hence. You react, of course. Then you return to your work, only to find that the imps of idea have fled back into the mist.
– Mary Oliver

So the avenues we walk down,
full of bodies wearing faces,
are full of hidden talent:
enough to make pianos moan,
sidewalks split,
streetlights deliriously flicker.
– Tony Hoagland

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social enviroment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.
― Albert Einstein, (Essay to Leo Baeck, 1953)

Here, everything is slow. Thoughts collide against the dark tree-line and return to the soul, floating and grey.
– Jérôme Sessini

The night and the book are equally long
and maybe that is a kind of luck.
– David Romtvedt

You polish words in rue-scented libraries,
and I live in bamboo-leaf gardens, a recluse

wandering each day the same winding path
home to rest in the quiet, no noise anywhere.

A bird soaring the heights chooses its tree,
but the hedge soon tangles impetuous goats.

Today, things seen becoming thoughts felt:
this is where you start forgetting the words.
– Meng Hao-jan

This is of two worlds–the one diurnal men know and that other world where lunar mottled eels stir like dreams in shallow forest water.
– Christopher Dewdney

Language is like looking at a map of somewhere. Love is living there and surviving on the land.
– Simon Van Booy

Books, like landscapes, leave their marks in us. Sometimes these traces are so faint as to be imperceptible – tiny shifts in the weather of the spirit that do not register on the usual instruments. Mostly, these marks are temporary: we close a book, and for the next hour or two the world seems oddly brighter at its edges; or we are moved to a kindness or a meanness that would otherwise have gone unexpressed. Certain books, though, like certain landscapes, stay with us even when we have left them, changing not just our weathers but our climates.
– Robert Macfarlane

An outburst of anger near the road, a refusal to speak on the path, a silence in the pine woods, a silence across the old railroad bridge, an attempt to be friendly in the water, a refusal to end the argument on the flat stones, a cry of anger on the steep bank of dirt, a weeping among the bushes.
– Lydia Davis

how many times have I
held two things in my hands

and thrown the wrong one away
– Bethany Schultz Hurst

We are trying to get ourselves in the center of our soul, in the ground of our being and in the midst of the myth trying to live through us. This won’t solve all the world’s problems, but it makes life beautiful, deep and rich, giving us the right kind of longing and helping others as well.
– Michael Meade

As it happens, human beings are hard-wired for connection. We are designed for it. We are living, breathing participants in an elegant, intricate dance of life, and we’ve evolved in concert with that dance since the beginning. Our eyes, ears, hearts, opposable thumbs, and enormous brains have been shaped over millions of years in co-evolving concert with all of life. No part of us can be made separate.
– Will Scott

I will will the whole time to you:
– Allen Grossman

For Kafka, books were “the axe for the frozen sea within us”; for Carl Sagan, “proof that humans are capable of working magic”; for James Baldwin, a way to change our destiny; for Neil Gaiman, the vehicle for the deepest human truths; for Polish Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska, our ultimate frontier of freedom, falling closest to Galileo, who saw reading as a way of having superhuman powers.
– Maria Popova

The Real is something you always find at the same place. However you mess about, it is always in the same place, you bring it with you, stuck to the sole of your shoe without any means of exiling it.
– Jacques Lacan

No matter where you stay, be it a busy place or a solitary retreat, the only things that you need to conquer are your mind’s five poisons, and your own true enemies, the eight worldly concerns – nothing else.
– Chatral Rinpoche

(Five poisons: Ignorance, attachment, aversion, pride, jealousy.)
(Eight worldy concerns: Hope for happiness and fear of suffering. Hope for fame and fear of insignificance. Hope for praise and fear of blame. Hope for gain and fear of loss.)

Then
by Muriel Rukeyser
When I am dead, even then,
I will still love you, I will wait in these poems,
When I am dead, even then
I am still listening to you.
I will still be making poems for you
out of silence;
silence will be falling into that silence,
it is building music.

I often come across homeless people who have not lived their lives all that differently from myself, with the main difference being that I have had the privilege of being brought up in a family that could help me out at key junctures and catch me when I fall.

I often come across people from poverty stricken autocracies, who have suffered unimaginable hardships for speaking their minds much as I do in my writings, with the only difference being that my legal system and civl society protect me from political persecution.

I often come across people who have applied themselves with the same discipline and vigor as I have applied to meeting my goals and achieving my dreams but lacked the same education and opportunities and have therefore fallen flat.

With great privilege comes great responsibility. And one of the greatest responsibilities involves making our privileges known so that those who do not enjoy them can see clearly that equal efforts and capacities do not always yield equal results.

Masking financial and political privilege assaults the dignity of the poor and marginalized, for it suggests they have failed in life, when really it is often only their fellow citizens and political leaders who have failed to provide them the opportunities they deserve.

Life is not fair, but we can make it fairer and doing so starts with recognizing our privileges and thinking systemically about how others might enjoy them as well. In so doing, we might be led to service or activism, writing or political philosophy.

And in being led to improve the lives of others, we come to see ourselves as their equals and in so doing feel ourselves united with all of humanity. It may not give to us the same piece of mind as spiritual practices like meditation and prayer, nor yield the same momentary sense of empathy, but neither does it lead to narcissistic withdrawal from the world and self-centeredness.

There are many paths to the good life, and at some point, grasping for that last increment of greater personal happiness starts to look as meaningless as building skyscrapers and running for president to show the world you are a winner.

We can thrive while working to improve the lives of others and are probably more likely to flourish when we stand in solidarity with them to make life better for everyone – so much the better if we compliment our advocacy and service with therapeutic work and contemplative practice.
– Theo Horesh

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched
open, you’d be paralyzed. Your deepest
presence is in every small contracting and
expanding, the two as beautifully balanced
and coordinated as bird wings.
– Rumi

where am i supposed to put all this sunlight?
love moves. and its moving creates patterns.
within itself. regioning. internal nexuses
of luminescing.
you are one such pattern, i am another.
it amuses ourself/s to one time be two;
another time be one. and yet another
outside the numbering game.
– t.k.

You can love someone for a long time without knowing how.
– Eugene O’Neill

I have lost my bearings

A fox barks and the door creaks
as though the wood
remembered the tree it once was.

I write this at a kitchen table
in the city, a plane passing
every minute, day and night.

It is time to go north. I want
to listen to silence and unpick its voices:
the wind that surges through pines

is only one of them, with the burn
that gurgles, chants, or roars in spate;
the buzzard mewing, wheeling overhead,

the oyster-catcher piping her way
across moorland, whisper of bog-cotton
surrendering to the wind. At Sanna

the machair will be bright with orchids.
Do you hear a humming, like fridge-song?
An emerald damsel-fly hovers above the burn.
– Anna Crowe

Blossom
There’s this life and no hereafter –
I’m sure of that
but still I dither, waiting
for my laggard soul
to leap at the world’s touch.

How many May dawns
have I slept right through,
the trees courageous with blossom?
Let me number them . . .

I shall be weighed in the balance
and found wanting.
I shall reckon for less
than an apple pip.
– Kathleen Jamie

When nothing whatsoever is conceptualized,
How could you possibly go astray?
Annihilate your conceptions,
And rest.
– Machig Labdron

A voice from the dark called out,
‘The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war.’…
But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can’t be imagined before it is made,
can’t be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.
A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.
– Denise Levertov, Making Peace

What do we have from the past? Art and thought. That’s what lasts. That’s what continues to feed people and give them an idea of something better. A better state of one’s feelings or simply the idea of a silence in one’s self that allows one to think or to feel. Which to me is the same.
– Susan Sontag​

A culture cannot evolve without honest, powerful storytelling. When society repeatedly experiences glossy, hollowed-out, pseudo-stories, it degenerates. We need true satires and tragedies, dramas and comedies that shine a clean light into the dingy corners of the human psyche and society. If not, as Yeats warned, ‘the centre cannot hold.’
– Robert McKee​

We have subtle subconscious faculties we are not using. Beyond the limited analytic intellect is a vast realm of mind that includes psychic and extrasensory abilities; intuition; wisdom; a sense of unity; aesthetic, qualitative and creative faculties; and image-forming and symbolic capacities. Though these faculties are many, we give them a single name with some justification for they are working best when they are in concert. They comprise a mind, moreover, in spontaneous connection to the cosmic mind. This total mind we call ‘heart.’
– Kabir Helminski​

To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.
– W. Somerset Maugham

the dharma that can be branded is not the true dharma.​
– Maia Duerr

I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky.
– Frank O’Hara

One morning after many dark nights of despair, an irrepressible longing to live will announce to us the fact that all is finished and that suffering has no more meaning than happiness.
– Albert Camus

When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.
– John F. Kennedy, Remarks at Amherst College upon receiving an honorary degree, October 26, 1963

The sweet small clumsy feet of April came into the ragged meadow of my soul.
– e. e. Cummings

Poem by Antonio Machado, translated by Kenneth Rexroth
It is not true, sorrow, that I have known you.
You are the nostalgia of a good life,
The solitude of a somber heart,…
A boat without shipwreck and without star.

Like a lost dog, wandering,
Sniffing and hunting aimlessly
For his road, without a road, ilke
A child on a holiday night.

Lost among the crowds,
The dusty air, the flickering
Candles, stunned, his heart drunk
With music and hurt,

So I go, drunk and melancholy,
Lunatic guitarist, poet,
A poor man in a dream,
Hunting for God in the mists.​

Originality an effort of will and intense observation.
– Gustave Flaubert​

If we have to chase love, it isn’t love. Love meets us halfway.
​- JEFF BROWN

Our century has often told us lies
imposing them on us like tolls and taxes.
Our ideas spread, as fast as dandelions,
blowing in the wind of our realities….
– Yevtushenko 1961 (From Monologue of the Beatniks, trans. Alec Vagapov)

There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.
– Irving Stone

Best to meet in poems.
– Eunice D. Souza​

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
– Galileo Galilei

We live in a materialistic world that pays insufficient attention to human values. We seek satisfaction in material things instead of warm-heartedness. But human beings are social animals. We need friendship and that depends on trust. Building trust requires concern for others and defending their rights, not doing them harm. Friendship is directly linked to warm-heartedness, which is also good for our physical health.
– The Dalai Lama

I have faith in women and their potential. Women, by their very nature, bring people together. It is time for women to take the lead. We need to give them every opportunity to be educated and have the chance to act on what they know is best for all humanity.
– Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish

I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody’s head.
– John Updike

I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth – and truth rewarded me.
– Simone de Beauvoir

I am going to try to pay attention to the spring. I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees. I am going to close my eyes and listen.
– Anne Lamott

HOPE by Lisel Mueller
It hovers in dark corners
before the lights are turned on,
it shakes sleep from its eyes
and drops from mushroom gills,
it explodes in the starry heads
of dandelions turned sages,
it sticks to the wings of green angels
that sail from the tops of maples.
It sprouts in each occluded eye
of the many-eyed potato,
it lives in each earthworm segment
surviving cruelty,
it is the motion that runs
from the eyes to the tail of a dog,
it is the mouth that inflates the lungs
of the child that has just been born.
It is the singular gift
we cannot destroy in ourselves,
the argument that refutes death,
the genius that invents the future,
all we know of God.
It is the serum which makes us swear
not to betray one another;
it is in this poem, trying to speak.

The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns.
– George Santayana

You need to be buried deep in the dirt before you can find your bloom.
– Roz Inga

To be great, be whole;
Exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is not you.
Be whole in everything. Put all you are
Into the smallest thing you do.
So, in each lake, the moon shines with splendor
Because it blooms up above.
– Fernando Pessoa

There is a sacredness in tears….They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.
– Washington Irving

What poetry can, must and will always do for us:
it complicates us, it doesn’t ‘soothe.’
– Jorie Graham

APRIL
How the light is sad.
How it will not leave us alone.
How we are tugged up staircases
by the way it angles across landings.
Or just our faces – tipped
to the clear, depleted sky.
How because of sunset, the imagination
headquarters in the west.

Spring in the north: all that
tawny grass and gravel and nothing
green to sop up the excessive honesty.

Outside our windows,
something like youth or promises.
How the wind blows right through them,
blossoming.  Fleet.
 – Jan Zwicky

I’d like to be buried way out on the plains somewhere till I feel better — Wouldn’t it be great if I could do that — What is it anyway that’s in me — that inability to fit myself comfortably into the sort of places other folks fit in —
– Georgia O’Keeffe

Do I believe in her? I cannot quite.
Beauty is more than my belief will bear.
I’ve had to borrow what I think is true:
Nothing stays put until I think it through.
– George Johnston

This poem is asleep. I
don’t want you yelling at it,
waking it up. Let it dream.
– Frank Stanford

Relating a person to the whole world: that is the meaning of cinema.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

Photographers use negatives to develop beautiful pictures…
Why should your life be any different?
– A. Nelson

When you think about it, poets always want us to be moved by something, until in the end, you begin to suspect a poet is someone who is moved by everything, who just stands in front of the world and weeps and laughs and laughs and weeps (the mysteries, said Aristotle, are the saying of many ridiculous and many serious things).
– Mary Ruefle

Good writers are monotonous, like good composers. They keep trying to perfect the one problem they were born to understand.
– Alberto Moravia

The more one is able to leave one’s cultural home, the more easily is one able to judge it, and the whole world as well, with the spiritual detachment and generosity necessary for true vision. The more easily, too, does one assess oneself and alien cultures with the same combination of intimacy and distance.
– Edward Said

Any self-actualizing human being is one,
who to some extent,
breaks-out of his culture.
– Aldous Huxley

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Politics in any country in the world is dangerous. For the poet, politics in any country had better be disguised as poetry. Politics can be the graveyard of the poet. And only poetry can be his resurrection.
– Langston Hughes

She was damn happy to be alive.
She didn’t have millions in the bank.
She wasn’t at the top of the
corporate ladder and still her deepest
dreams.. though she pursued them
hadn’t yet come true. But still
she was damn happy to be alive.

She had people to love; a roof over her head;
she had all the essentials for living;
water, gas electricity, food;
she could appreciate the flowers blooming,
the sun beaming and the skies blessing.

She had good books to read.
She spoke to the moon at night.
She often had a good sing in the shower.
And she lived her life with a touch of her own style.

The world’s mindless noise went quiet at the
sight of her relentless joy.
– S.C. Lourie

THRUSH
Snow began falling, over the surface of the whole earth.
That can’t be true. And yet it felt true,
falling more and more thickly over everything I could see.
The pines turned brittle with ice.

This is the place I told you about,
where I used to come at night to see the red-winged blackbirds,
what we call thrush here
red flicker of the life that disappears

But for me – I think the guilt I feel must mean
I haven’t lived well.

Someone like me doesn’t escape. I think you sleep awhile,
then you descend into the terror of the next life
except

the soul is in some different form,
more or less conscious than it was before,
more or less covetous.

After many lives, maybe something changes.
I think in the end what you want
you’ll be able to see

Then you don’t need anymore
to die and come back again.
– Louise Glück

In Praise of the Earth
by John O’Donohue
Let us bless
The imagination of the Earth,
That knew early the patience
To harness the mind of time,
Waited for the seas to warm,
Ready to welcome the emergence
Of things dreaming of voyaging
Among the stillness of land.
And how light knew to nurse
The growth until the face of the Earth
Brightened beneath a vision of color.
When the ages of ice came
And sealed the Earth inside
An endless coma of cold,
The heart of the Earth held hope,
Storing fragments of memory,
Ready for the return of the sun.
Let us thank the Earth
That offers ground for home
And holds our feet firm
To walk in space open
To infinite galaxies.
Let us salute the silence
And certainty of mountains:
Their sublime stillness,
Their dream-filled hearts.
The wonder of a garden
Trusting the first warmth of spring
Until its black infinity of cells
Becomes charged with dream;
Then the silent, slow nurture
Of the seed’s self, coaxing it
To trust the act of death.
The humility of the Earth
That transfigures all
That has fallen
Of outlived growth.
The kindness of the Earth,
Opening to receive
Our worn forms
Into the final stillness.
Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
For all our sins against her:
For our violence and poisonings
Of her beauty.
Let us remember within us
The ancient clay,
Holding the memory of seasons,
The passion of the wind,
The fluency of water,
The warmth of fire,
The quiver-touch of the sun
And shadowed sureness of the moon.
That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the Earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.

We must not wish for the disappearance of our troubles, but for the grace to transform them.
– Simone Weil

On the edge of the mountain a cloud hangs
and my heart
my heart
my heart hangs with it.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

… in the bottom of my soul, … there’s an intense and invisible grief, a sadness like the sound of someone crying in a dark room.
– Fernando Pessoa

Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. I am the oppressor of the person I condemn, not his friend and fellow-sufferer. I do not in the least mean to say that we must never pass judgement when we desire to help and improve. But if the doctor wishes to help a human being he must be able to accept him as he is. And he can do this in reality only when he has already seen and accepted himself as he is.
– C. G. Jung

The root of Dharma is your mind.
Tame it and you’re practicing Dharma.
To practice Dharma is to tame your mind,
And when you tame it, then you will be free!
– Dudjom Rinpoche

And there are many kinds of gurus, but among human gurus there are square gurus and beat gurus. Square gurus take you through the regular channels; beat gurus lead you in by means that are very strange indeed—they are rascals. Also, friends can act as gurus. And then there are gurus who aren’t people, like situations or books. Regardless, the guru’s job is to show the inquirer in some effective way that they are already what they are looking for.
– Alan Watts

… If, over time, you patiently hold your soul story within the context of your world story, at some point they will merge like a puzzle piece fitting into a greater mystery. Then you’ll experience more fully the unique role you play in the life of your community and, by extension, how your life is an essential part of the grandest story of all, the natural unfolding of a universe whose existence predates yours by an eternity and will outlast yours by an equal span.

When a sufficient number of contemporary people have reentered nature’s soulstream and become conscious contributors to the unfolding story of the world, industrialized nations might mature into sustainable, ecocentric, and soulcentric communities, inhabited by people who are wildly creative, imaginative, adventurous, tolerant, generous, joyous, and cooperative members of the more-than-human wold.
This is my prayer.
– Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

We used to think the universe was made…
We used to think the universe was made
of tiny invisible pin-points of energy, jostling
and tumbling and buzzing together, and so,
by whatever particular arrangement they took,
and the way in which they bounced off one another,
all sorts of physical matter could be produced.
Later we found the universe, in actual fact, is made
of tiny invisible threads of incredible length, and,

in the same way a violin string changes pitch
when touched at points along its measured span,
so all these interweaving loops and knots,
this tangle of quantum spaghetti,
as it flexes and line crosses line,
so it resonates throughout the whole bundle
a complex vibratory code that defines
any outward appearance and characteristic.

After which we discovered the likely reality
was of tiny invisible sheets, many layers
of infinitesimal thinness, each film
undulating at tremendous speeds;
multiple parallel oceans, their rippling surfaces
folding and flattening, wave-crests on wave-crests,
nudged at and nosed at, their lingering kisses
collected, expressed as specific material forms.

We were young, we were anxious to clutch at
whatever proof fitted. Still, humility liberates;
when it comes to matters of truth we’re not picky.
Ironing our numbers presented the ideal
of tiny invisible shapeshifting blocks that squirm
and bulge, interlock and uncouple, that rub,
knock, wobble, split, and so make up
the whole gamut of substances we take for granted.

All this was long ago. Our models had risen
to eleven-dimensional-space when
our application for further funding was rejected
and we were asked to vacate the premises.
We took it well, were optimistic for the future,
though that was hardly the crux of the issue:
just try transporting eleven-dimensional furniture
in an incontrovertibly three-dimensional van.
– J.O. Morgan

Over and over love wins. There was never any other option. When we succumb to our own neurosis, there was never any other solution but to love it in some way. We absolutely must love our experience, in order for it to stop causing us immense heartbreak.
The cycle of heartbreak continues to occur unless we choose to love our experience fully with powerful presence.
– Aric Parker

When people talk about poetry as a project, they suggest that the road through a poem is a single line. When really the road through a poem is a series of lines, like a constellation, all interconnected. Poems take place in the realm of chance, where the self and the universal combine, where life exists. I can’t suggest to you that going through a line that is more like a constellation than a road is easy – or that the blurring of the self and the universal doesn’t shred a poet a little bit in the process. The terrain of a poem is unmapped (including the shapes of the trees along the constellation – road). A great poet knows never to expect sun or rain or cold or wind in the process of creating a poem. In a great poem all can come to the fore at once.
– Dorothea Lasky

Outside the youth center, between the liquor store
and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;

overflowing with blossom foam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,

dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,

so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It’s been doing that all week:
making beauty,
and throwing it away,
and making more.
– Tony Hoagland

In my small way, I preserved and cataloged, and dipped into the vast ocean of learning that awaited, knowing all the time that the life of one man was insufficient for even the smallest part of the wonders that lay within. It is cruel that we are granted the desire to know, but denied the time to do so properly. We all die frustrated; it is the greatest lesson we have to learn.
– Iain Pears

Look Here
Next time you walk by my place
in your bearcoat and mooseboots,
your hair all sticks and leaves
like an osprey’s nest on a piling,
the next time you walk across my shadow
with those swamp-stumping galoshes
below that grizzly coat and your own whiskers
that look rumpled as if something’s
been in them already this morning
mussing and growling and kissing,
the next time you pole that raft of you downriver
down River Street past my place
you could say hello, you canoe-footed fur-faced
musk ox, pockets full of cheese and acorns
and live fish and four-headed winds and sky, hello
is what human beings say when they meet each other
—if you can’t say hello like a human don’t
come down this street again and when you do don’t
bring that she-bear, and if you do I’ll know
even if I’m not on the steps putting my shadow
down like a welcome mat, I’ll know.
– Pamela Alexander, in Inland

For it would seem – her case proved it – that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person. The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fibre of our being, threads the heart, pierces the liver.
– Virginia Woolf

And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.
– Erica Jong

When you feel that you are somebody, you have to practice zazen harder.
– Suzuki Roshi

Without tenderness, we are all in hell.
– Adrienne Rich

To those who will learn, this further lesson: That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained.
– Haile Selassie I

It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them—the character, the heart, generous qualities, progressive ideas…
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Though beauty is autonomous, there seem to be occasions when human presence can become congruent with her will. In creative work no amount of force or mechanical management can guarantee beauty. Suddenly, without expecting it, beauty is there. Yet ultimately beauty is a profound illumination of presence, a stirring of the invisible in visible form and in order to receive this we need to cultivate a new style of approaching the world.
– John O’Donohue

you can’t keep looking
for your past
in everyone you meet.
because not everyone

is going to hurt you

the way they did.
not everyone is the same.
you shouldn’t look
for ghost
in places
filled with so much
life.
– R.M. Drake

You can’t say to the spring: “Come now and last forever.”
You can only say: “Come and bless me with your hope, and stay as long as you can.”
– Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

When you are doing work of value, people will support you in a variety of ways, not just money.
– Toby Hemenway

In our dreams we have seen another world, an honest world, a world decidedly more fair than the one in which we now live. We saw that there was no need for armies; peace, justice and liberty were so common that no one talked about them as far-off concepts, but as things such as bread, birds, air, water, like book and voice.
– Subcommandante Marcos​

The ground of meditation practice is the same as in yoga — ahimsa — non-violence, non-aggression. We start with an open-hearted and gentle attitude. If we are filled with ambition and aggression, there’s not much space. But if we take a friendly attitude toward ourselves, as if towards another person, then we can explore and say “How are you? What’s going on? What’s your life like? What problems are you facing?
– David Nichtern​

while the scientist sees everything that happens in one point of space,
the poet feels everything that happens in one point of time.
– Vladimir Nabokov

It is never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn’t depend on how long it has been running; a s…hift in perspective doesn’t depend on how long you’ve held on to the old view. When you flip the switch in that attic, it doesn’t matter whether its been dark for ten minutes, ten years or ten decades. The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn’t see before. Its never too late to take a moment to look.
– Sharon Salzberg​

As we go through life, it is tempting to think that our search for meaning is a story that never delivered on its promise, or was somehow falsely designed, with many fatal flaws. But maybe the search is simply a force that propels. In truth, there is nowhere else to be than on this search. Everything brings God closer to us, even those things that seem to bring us further away. And the secret chord is ever illusive. It is like the Jorge Luis Borges story of a seeker in search of the one true word, finally discovering it only to hear another word spoken in its place a moment later. Maybe the secret chord that King David and Leonard Cohen sing of is the dawning knowledge that the word is different each time.
– Joshua Boettiger​

Poetic identity is a series of impersonations held together by a cunning, central intelligence.
– Richard Howard

beautiful loneliness is every man’s first, last, and always guardian angel
– [Kerouac in his Sept. of ’51 journal]

Men are free when they are obeying some deep, inward voice of religious belief. Obeying from within. Men are free when they belong to a living, organic, believing community, active in fulfilling some unfulfilled, perhaps unrealized purpose. Not when they are escaping to some wild west. The most unfree souls go west, and shout of freedom.
– D.H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature

Sure the world breeds monsters, but kindness grows just as wild….
– Mary Karr

Because this humble and homespun love
— just as you see it, simple, unadorned —
is what keeps our feet on the ground,
is what engenders the fruit of our nonconformity,
and throws us a lifeboard amidst the shipwreck….
Every so often our love blazes like thousands
of stars,
gets dressed up to go out and uncorks
bottles of effervescence, cases of laughter.
You see, every so often, when the moment
is right,
our love recalls that it is, like we are, a survivor.

“A Homespun Love”
by Alicia Partnoy​

If the success or failure of this planet, and of human beings, depended on who I am and what I do, then how would I be? What would I do?
– Buckminster Fuller

A poem is like a radio that can broadcast continuously for thousands of years.
– Allen Ginsberg

Anyone who attempts to do both, to adjust to his group and at the same time pursue his individual goal, becomes neurotic.
– C.G. Jung

A nemeton is a sacred place, a holy site which nourishes and replenishes the soul, offering both refuge and renewal through communion with nature and the divine…it is an experience of attentiveness, present-centredness, and overall communion with our life and the world in a fully engaged manner. In this way, any encounter has the possibility of being an abundant and fertile ‘nemeton experience’ and sacred awareness is no longer limited to just a particular holy place. Life itself is the nemeton, the sacred site that we commune with and which can nourish our soul. Slowly we come to the realization that, at every moment, our life is a pilgrimage to a holy place at which we are arriving.
– Frank MacEwen Owen



Who would then deny that when I am sipping tea in my tearoom I am swallowing the whole universe with it and that this very moment of my lifting the bowl to my …lips is eternity itself transcending time and space?
– D.T. Suzuki
*
Autumn chores, my sweet
mouth, gone up river. Time for
tea & poetry.

Perhaps the greatest addiction is self-centeredness: living like a piece of dark making everything dark, like an inch of me making everything me.
– Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.
– Kurt Vonnegut

I am too alone in the world, and yet not alone enough
to make every moment holy.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours

We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words.
– John Fowles

It is a fine thing to establish one’s own religion in one’s heart, not to be dependent on tradition and second-hand ideals. Life will seem to you, later, not a lesser, but a greater thing .
– D.H. Lawrence

Kilmartin Glen
I never saw the intricate connections
with quite this sunny clarity before,
such intimate revealing of relations
in brilliance, and at such an hour:
the West and Islands open to the sea
and Ireland, always seemed to be
alive with colour: bright blue waters,
emeralds and snow; but shapes and movement,
glacial striations, ox-bow lakes, tidal rivers,
hill-tops making patterns to each other –
all connect in vision as the art of men
and women finds its laws in natural
reciprocation: raindrops in a quiet pool
form expanding spirals on the bending plane:
an ancient brooch, the lanulae –
silver, gold: water, sunlight, eyes
to see the clearness of design. And this
takes place in mind, imagination:
across 10,000 years, while now
outside the car my father drives, the rain
drives down on grass and bracken, heather
rocks and hills and lochs and lochans,
midges and elusive little fish. The forestry
have camouflaged the earth’s wet dark
antiquity; the road between Kilmartin
and the ferry just approaching Oban is
impatient, twisty, a hard fast exit through
this valley of old ghosts. And yet the vision stays
perception, the clarity of sunlight’s
careful disposition, in
this undifferentiated time.
– Alan Riach

I have come to understand that although place-words are being lost, they are also being created. Nature is dynamic, and so is language. Loanwords from Chinese, Urdu, Korean, Portuguese and Yiddish are right now being used to describe the landscapes of Britain and Ireland; portmanteaus and neologisms are constantly in manufacture. As I travelled I met new words as well as salvaging old ones: a painter in the Hebrides who used landskein to refer to the braid of blue horizon lines in hill country on a hazy day; a five-year-old girl who concoted honeyfur to describe the soft seeds of grasses held in the fingers. When Clare and Hopkins could not find words for natural phenomena, they just made them up: sutering for the cranky action of a rising heron (Clare), wolfsnow for a dangerous sea-blizzard, and slogger for the sucking sound made by waves against a ship’s side (both Hopkins). John Constable invented the verb to sky, meaning ‘to lie on one’s back and study the clouds’. We have forgotten 10,000 words for our landscapes, but we will make 10,000 more, given time.
– Robert Macfarlane

A writer’s work
is with the insubstantial word,
the image that can only find
its being in another’s mind.
We work with water, with the wind,
we make and hold no thing at all.
All we can ever shape or sing
the tremor of an untouched string,
a shift of shadows on the wall.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

HIDING
is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear. Hiding is underestimated. We are hidden by life in our mother’s womb until we grow and ready ourselves for our first appearance in the lighted world; to appear too early in that world is to find ourselves with the immediate necessity for outside intensive care.

Hiding done properly is the internal faithful promise for a proper future emergence, as embryos, as children or even as emerging adults in retreat from the names that have caught us and imprisoned us, often in ways where we have been too easily seen and too easily named. We live in a time of the dissected soul, the immediate disclosure; our thoughts, imaginings and longings exposed to the light too much, too early and too often, our best qualities squeezed too soon into a world already awash with ideas that oppress our sense of self and our sense of others. What is real is almost always to begin with, hidden, and does not want to be understood by the part of our mind that mistakenly thinks it knows what is happening. What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence.

Hiding is an act of freedom from the misunderstanding of others, especially in the enclosing world of oppressive secret government and private entities, attempting to name us, to anticipate us, to leave us with no place to hide and grow in ways unmanaged by a creeping necessity for absolute naming, absolute tracking and absolute control. Hiding is a bid for independence, from others, from mistaken ideas we have about our selves, from an oppressive and mistaken wish to keep us completely safe, completely ministered to, and therefore completely managed. Hiding is creative, necessary and beautifully subversive of outside interference and control. Hiding leaves life to itself, to become more of itself. Hiding is the radical independence necessary for our emergence into the light of a proper human future.
– David Whyte

Yes, why, all the years, and places, and nights, have I / Wandered and not known the question I carried?
– Robert Penn Warren

When I look at an MRI of my brain, I do not believe in the soul. I love mornings because of the coffee & the possibilities. I continue to believe that poetry contains revolutionary power. Small talk is an art & best performed in the small hours with another naked in bed. I believe the most beautiful thought is that of a holy transfiguration.
– Carolina Ebeid

A Trace
You that give new life to this planet,
you that transcend logic, come.
I am only an arrow.
Fill your bow with me and let fly.
Because of this love for you,
my bowl has fallen from the roof.
Put down a ladder and collect the pieces.
People ask, Which roof is your roof?
I answer, Wherever the soul came from
and wherever it goes back to at night,
my roof is in that direction.
From wherever spring arrives
to heal the ground,
from wherever searching rises
in a human being.
The looking itself is a trace
of what we are looking for.
But we have been more like the man
who sat on his donkey
and asked the donkey where to go.
Be quiet now and wait.
It may be the ocean one,
the one we want so to move into and become,
it may be that one wants us out here
on land a little longer
going our sundry roads to the shore.
– Rumi

Making Peace
bY DENISE LEVERTOV
A voice from the dark called out,
‘The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war.’
But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can’t be imagined before it is made,
can’t be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.
A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses . . .
A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light—facets
of the forming crystal.

Recipe for the upbringing of a poet: ‘As much neurosis as the child can bear.
– W.H. Auden

Poetry, I have insisted, is ultimately mythology, the telling of the stories of the soul. This would seem to be an introverted, even solipsistic, enterprise, if it were not that these stories recount the soul’s passage through the valley of this life – that is to say, its adventure in time, in history.

If we want to know what it felt like to be alive at any given moment in the long odyssey of the race, it is to poetry we must turn. The moment is dear to us, precisely because it is so fugitive, and it is somewhat of a paradox that poets should spend a lifetime hunting for the magic that will make the moment stay. Art is that chalice into which we pour the wine of transcendence. What is imagination but a reflection of our yearning to belong to eternity as well as to time?

In an age defined by its modes of production, where everybody tends to be a specialist of sorts, the artist ideally is that rarity, a whole person making a whole thing. Poetry, it cannot be denied, requires a mastery of craft, but it is more than a playground for technicians. The craft that I admire most manifests itself not as an aggregate of linguistic or prosodic skills, but as a form of spiritual testimony, the sign of the inviolable self consolidated against the enemies within and without that would corrupt or destroy human pride and dignity. It disturbs me that twentieth century American poets seem largely reconciled to being relegated to the classroom – practically the only habitat in which most of us are conditioned to feel secure. It would be healthier if we could locate ourselves in the thick of life, at every intersection where values and meanings cross, caught in the dangerous traffic between self and universe.

Poets are always ready to talk about the difficulties of their art. I want to say something about its rewards and joys. The poem comes in the form of a blessing – “like rapture breaking on the mind,” as I tried to phrase it in my youth. Through the years I have found this gift of poetry to be life-sustaining, life-enhancing, and absolutely unpredictable. Does one live, therefore, for the sake of poetry? No, the reverse is true: poetry is for the sake of the life.
– Stanley Kunitz

Unlike a bomb, which costs millions of dollars, it costs nothing to be kind and considerate toward other people.
– Laurence Overmire

Yo os ruego que os defendáis, en la milicia de la vida, contra la mutilación de vuestro espíritu por la tiranía de un objetivo único e interesado. No entreguéis nunca a la utilidad o a la pasión sino una parte de vosotros. Aun dentro de la esclavitud material hay la posibilidad de salvar la liberdad interior: la de la razón y el sentimiento. No tratéis, pues, de justificar, por la absorción del trabajo o el combate, la esclavitud de vuestro espíritu.
– José Enrique Rodó, Ariel: A la Juventud de América

I urge you to defend yourself, in the military life, against the mutilation of your spirit by the tyranny of a single objective and interested. Don’t ever give the usefulness or passion but a part of you. Even within slavery material there is the possibility of saving the internal freedom: the right and the feeling. Don’t try, therefore, justify, for the absorption of the work or the fight, the enslavement of your spirit.
– José Enrique rolled, Ariel: to the youth of America

Society has become a promiscuous mosaic of tribal aggregates that form n fall with the ephemerality of seasons, temporarily welded together yet void of uniting …purpose. We are in a phase of transition, of evolving meanings n human-project reinvention, but the emergence of deep, ecological collectivity calls from beyond-horizon hiddenness and is the magnetic north of our possibilities.​
– Joshua Morriston

The water seems suspended
above the rounded gray and blue-gray stones.
I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same,
slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones,
icily free above the stones,…
above the stones and then the world.
If you should dip your hand in,
your wrist would ache immediately,
your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn
as if the water were a transmutation of fire
that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.
If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter,
then briny, then surely burn your tongue.
It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:
dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,
drawn from the cold hard mouth
of the world, derived from the rocky breasts
forever, flowing and drawn, and since
our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.
– Elizabeth Bishop, At the Fishhouses​

This morning
the world awoke in me.
I, bare knowing,
lending myself
to soft light warm,…
and soft light warm
lending me their names.
I, like an open window,
and the world
emerging full
of my emptiness
I, pure sensitivity,
becoming your face
and your face
giving me back
its borrowed form
and this evening
the world
will sleep in me
and I, in wakeful rest,
will hold it unborn
in myself.
– Rupert Spira​

What nobler employment can we engage in than having the thoughts of God in silence and solitude as best we can, where the manifestations of His power are barest, far from stupefying noises and vice, far from ourselves?
– John Muir​

The poet is on the side of undeceiving the world.
– Seamus Heaney​

Why do we still expect one another to show up to work as if our bodies never fail or our hearts never break?
– Courtney E. Martin on the pitfalls of creating a false division between life and work.

​We are all bound together in a tapestry that like the sea gives the impression of movement towards something but is actually just a maternal body of material…

The flowers buzz when the vibration of the bees stimulates their pistons and their molecules swell and their petals hum like cellos. Rocks are alive, the firstborn of the natural world, somber without will.

There is no freedom from this universe we were born into, because it is our vague source of sensation, our soul, the container of our guilt.

Skins liquefy in heat. And when a bald baby swallow dies on your palm, you feel warmth pouring over your skin, a kind of burning fountain that scalds you like pepper spray.

Do you think this is a sign of the spirit ripping its energy into you to carry to the other side? I do. There are no actual objects over there, no materials but unformed steaming clouds, colors that harmonize musically, no gravity exists but elasticity composed of invisible images.
– Fanny Howe

I see you everywhere, in the stars, in the river, to me you’re everything that exists; the reality of everything.
– Virginia Woolf

Silence
by Andrea Cohen

Not an absence
of blackbirds


singing, but
an abundance

of blackbirds
listening.​

We don’t find purpose and meaning analyzing the cause and core of our being. We find purpose, meaning, the richest love, and many, many gifts, in truly being.
– E.M.

I have lost my smile,
but don’t worry.
The dandelion has it.
– Thich Nhat Hanh​

She had no idea she would find her identity was more habit and will than anything more intrinsic.
– Dana Spiotta ​

FLEETING MOMENTS OF FIERCE CLARITY: Moving Mandala of the Soul
by L.M. Browning

Years spent defining this self
—carving out the edges of this mind—…
the channels of this spirit.

Now to take that sculpture of identity,
which over time becomes the mask,
and shatter it.

To achieve perfect knowledge
of the soul within—to experience
that fleeting moment
of fierce clarity.

Then to surrender.

To grasp the known
and then transform again
into the unknown.

The grains of sand
from the mandala of soul
that take one form

are scattered—swept away—

then regathered
to make a new form.

Definition and evolution.
Empowerment and surrender.
We come into knowing
then set back out as the student.

The child and the elder
are one and the same.

We are free
only when we allow ourselves
to be boundless.

Do not drive yourself insane
longing for the destination.
Live while on the journey.​

To do good is noble; to teach others to do good is nobler and no trouble.
– Mark Twain to the 26-year-old Winston Churchill

… We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines
When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear
When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.
– Maya Angelou​

The Vow

Everything’s like a shade
of brightness and dark…
like this new pad
I got
or my computer
or these doorways opening
one to the next
which is where I
began. Nothing is like
my dog eating an
apple core in bed
The sleeping
bag is read. It’s March
and it’s already
warm. I don’t want
you stepping on
my computer which is
where all my friends
are, some of whom are Nazis
I never thought I’d call Nazis
friends but I spend
at least an hour
a night w these ones &
then I wake up
and read about
the real ones on
Twitter. For days Rebecca
Solnit
& I struggled to be
facebook friends.
It was like we were
going to the gym
together. We worked
it out. I was visiting
her today looking
at her face. The heat
just rumbled. It’s not
even evening but I
thought I’d get
a little nazi
in early. I would die
for my country
if that included
everything, my friends,
and my dogs
and all the lakes
and ponds. I
am ready
for the struggle.​
– Eileen Myles

If we don’t preserve this paradise of a planet, the pattern of renewal and resurrection in nature and people will be over.
– Thomas Moore

The Discipline of Craft, Easter Morning

No use going hunting for angels,
for a Christ in the tree-mops,…
a Moses winding his way up the mount
into the fire of God’s fresh stubble.

There is just a serious rain,
a steady crutch for the air,
colder than any April should be.

I am up to my neck in chores:
the cat needs more food,
my daughter’s clutter piles up like ant hills,
I fold her little sleeves, ghost by ghost.
What melody springs from the heart so well?

These lone trees can’t be dazzled by sun today,
they have such tremors like the Pope’s.
Lost loons pitched into sky folds,
their crusty buds just blinking
as if to test how fierce the light is.

They sag and meander from their stems,
they bleed from transparency.
Needless or hopeless, as overused fountains,
they are my metrics, my fortitude;
plants with lemony grass spigots
that will never go dry.
– Judith Harris

Not Ideas About the Thing But the Thing Itself

At the earliest ending of winter,
In March, a scrawny cry from outside …
Seemed like a sound in his mind.

He knew that he heard it,
A bird’s cry at daylight or before,
In the early March wind.

The sun was rising at six,
No longer a battered panache above snow . . .
It would have been outside.

It was not from the vast ventriloquism
Of sleep’s faded papier mâché . . .
The sun was coming from outside.

That scrawny cry—it was
A chorister whose c preceded the choir.
It was part of the colossal sun,

Surrounded by its choral rings,
Still far away. It was like
A new knowledge of reality.
– Wallace Stevens

Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light.
– Theodore Roethke

after decades of torment the
fissure was healed by
a butterfly kiss and

a smile in her eastern eye —
– E.M.​

Solitary people, these book lovers. I think it’s swell that there are people you don’t have to worry about when you don’t see them for a long time, you don’t have to wonder what they do, how they’re getting along with themselves. You just know that they’re all right, and probably doing something they like.
– Helen Oyeyemi, Mr. Fox

This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings.
– Joanna Macy

I was fascinated by quotations and lists. And then I noticed that other people were fascinated by quotations and lists: people as different as Borges and Walter Benjamin, Novalis and Godard.
– Susan Sontag

Decline of the letter, the rise of the notebook! One doesn’t write to others any more; one writes to oneself.
– Susan Sontag

Just don’t seek from others,
Or you’ll be far estranged from Self.
I now go on alone;
Everywhere I meet It:
It now is me; I now am not It….
One must understand in this way
To merge with thusness.
– Dongshan Liangjie ​

Woke up early this morning and from my bed
looked far across the Strait to see
a small boat moving through the choppy water,
a single running light on. Remembered
my friend who used to shout
his dead wife’s name from hilltops
around Perugia. Who set a plate
for her at his simple table long after
she was gone. And opened the windows
so she could have fresh air. Such display
I found embarrassing. So did his other
friends. I couldn’t see it.
Not until this morning.
– Raymond Carver, All of Us

Once you wanted to be someone else
or another thing altogether: an iris in April,
or its pistil, just that, a prayer so small
it was only rumored. What can it matter?
You know now your own life doesn’t belong to you,
the way a child defects into his childhood
to discover it isn’t his after all.
– Mary Ruefle

I’ll just pray, until I run out of words, then I’ll howl.
– Ai, Fairy Tale

I’m thankful that life has broken my impatience beyond repair.
Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

Treat all things as if they were loaned to you without any ownership – whether body or soul, senses or strength, house or home…..everything.
– Meister Eckhart

Oh, for Christ’s sake, one doesn’t study poets! You read them, and think, That’s marvelous, how is it done, could I do it? and that’s how you learn.
– Philip Larkin

We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.
– Stephen Hawking

For some people, somewhere, you are completely normal and they just “get” you. For some people, somewhere, you are completely abnormal and they would rather forget you.
Find your tribe. Or walk alone.
– Nithya Shanti

Variation on a Theme
Thank you my lifelong afternoon
late in this season of no age
thank you for my windows above the rivers
thank you for the true love you brought me to
when it was time at last and for words
that come out of silence and take me by surprise
and have carried me through the clear day
without once turning to look at me
thank you for friends and long echoes of them
and for those mistakes that were only mine
for the homesickness that guides the young plovers
from somewhere they loved before
they woke into it to another place
they loved before they ever saw it
thank you whole body and hand and eye
thank you for sights and moments known
only to me who will not see them again
except in my mind’s eye where they have not changed
thank you for showing me the morning stars
and for the dogs who are guiding me
– W.S. Merwin

In The Moon Before Morning
I give thanks for arriving
Safely in a new dawn,
For the gift of eyes
To see the world,
The gift of mind
To feel at home
In my life,
The waves of possibility
Breaking on the shore of dawn,
The harvest of the past
That awaits my hunger,
And all the furtherings
This new day will bring.
– John O’Donohue

To Say Nothing But Thank You
All day I try to say nothing but thank you,
breathe the syllables in and out with every step I
take through the rooms of my house and outside into
a profusion of shaggy-headed dandelions in the garden
where the tulips’ black stamens shake in their crimson cups.
I am saying thank you, yes, to this burgeoning spring
and to the cold wind of its changes. Gratitude comes easy
after a hot shower, when my loosened muscles work,
when eyes and mind begin to clear and even unruly
hair combs into place.
Dialogue with the invisible can go on every minute,
and with surprising gaiety I am saying thank you as I
remember who I am, a woman learning to praise
something as small as dandelion petals floating on the
steaming surface of this bowl of vegetable soup,
my happy, savoring tongue.
– Jeanne Lohmann

Doubt is more intelligent than poetry, insofar as it tells malicious tales about the world, things we’ve long known but struggled to hide from ourselves. But poetry surpasses doubt, pointing to what we cannot know. Doubt is narcissistic; we look at everything critically, including ourselves, and perhaps that comforts us. Poetry, on the other hand, trusts the world, and rips us from the deep-sea diving suits of our “I”; it believes in the possibility of beauty and its tragedy. Poetry’s argument with doubt has nothing in common with the facile quarrel of optimism and pessimism. The twentieth century’s great drama means that we now deal with two kinds of intellect: the resigned and the seeking, the questing. Doubt is poetry for the resigned. Whereas poetry is searching, endless wandering. Doubt is a tunnel, poetry is a spiral. Doubt prefers to shut, while poetry opens. Poetry laughs and cries, doubt ironizes. Doubt is death’s plenipotentiary, its longest and wittiest shadow; poetry runs toward an unknown goal. Why does one choose poetry while another chooses doubt? We don’t know and we’ll never find out. We don’t know why one is Cioran and the other is Milosz.
– Adam Zagajewski

The Art Of Poetry
Jorge Luis Borges
To gaze at a river made of time and water
And remember Time is another river.
To know we stray like a river
and our faces vanish like water.
To feel that waking is another dream
that dreams of not dreaming and that the death
we fear in our bones is the death
that every night we call a dream.
To see in every day and year a symbol
of all the days of man and his years,
and convert the outrage of the years
into a music, a sound, and a symbol.
To see in death a dream, in the sunset
a golden sadness–such is poetry,
humble and immortal, poetry,
returning, like dawn and the sunset.
Sometimes at evening there’s a face
that sees us from the deeps of a mirror.
Art must be that sort of mirror,
disclosing to each of us his face.
They say Ulysses, wearied of wonders,
wept with love on seeing Ithaca,
humble and green. Art is that Ithaca,
a green eternity, not wonders.
Art is endless like a river flowing,
passing, yet remaining, a mirror to the same
inconstant Heraclitus, who is the same
and yet another, like the river flowing.

I went into the desert to forget about you. But the sand was the color of your hair. The desert sky was the color of your eyes. There was nowhere I could go that wouldn’t be you.
– Jeffrey Eugenides

It is my opinion that lives and places do not have stops; lives and places are indivisible multiplicities, vibrational unfoldings.
– David Lynch

We come from a place that has always been inside us. Our words migrate helplessly. The world reflects only itself. Which is why we have to create our own memories.
– Richard Jackson

Forgetting causes language to rise up in its entirety by gathering it around the forgotten word.
– Maurice Blanchot

What I want is something so true to itself it no longer resembles itself.
– Richard Jackson

What is love if it is not an unravelling

against the dark? In the moonless field
between house and river, remember

how you stood with your arms
wide to the night, under every tumid
star, waiting for one to drop.
– John Glenday

It seems as though what never happened before
is set to happen now
as though my heart will be lost
if this were not so
why would my heart leap
why would my breaths stop
why would my sleep escape me?
– Javed Akhtar

Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.
– Mary Oliver

There’s a space at the bottom of an exhale, a little hitch between taking in and letting out that’s a perfect zero you can go into. There’s a rest point between the heart muscle’s close and open – an instant of keenest living when you’re momentarily dead. You can rest there.
– Mary Karr, Lit: A Memoir

Never again psychology! …all these so-called illnesses, sad as they may appear, are facts of faith, efforts of people in distress to find moorings in maternal soil of some kind.
– Kafka, letters to Milena
*
A crisis of faith is the only crisis there is. We’re always having it… We mistake it for other things… my job, my marriage… You can’t fix your life if the ground of your being is unsure.
– Christian Wiman

Democracy is based on empathy, that is, on citizens caring about each other and acting on that care, taking responsibility not just for themselves but for their families, communities, and their nation. The role of government is to carry out this principle in two ways: protection and empowerment.
– George Lakoff

America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
– Alexis de Tocqueville

Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong.
– Daniel O’Connell

Mountain spirits are among humanity’s greatest allies in the changes that you face, tough you don’t yet realize it.
– David Spangler, Conversations with the Sidhe

As scientists, many of us have had profound experiences of awe and reverence before the universe. We understand that what is regarded as sacred is more likely to be treated with care and respect. Our planetary home should be so regarded. Efforts to safeguard and cherish the environment need to be infused with a vision of the sacred.
– Carl Sagan and 32 Nobel Prize winning scientists

From Seamus Heaney:
I think the poet who didn’t feel the pressure at a politically difficult time would be either stupid or insensitive.
[…]
Debate doesn’t really change things. It gets you bogged in deeper. If you can address or reopen the subject with something new, something from a different angle, then there is some hope. … People are suddenly gazing at something else and pausing for a moment. And for the duration of that gaze and pause, they are like reflectors of the totality of their own knowledge and/or ignorance. That’s something poetry can do for you, it can entrance you for a moment above the pool of your own consciousness and your own possibilities.

What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.
– Kurt Vonnegut

I take literally the statement in the Gospel of John that God loves the world. I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love. I believe that divine love, incarnate and indwelling in the world, summons the world always toward wholeness, which ultimately is reconciliation and atonement with God.
– Wendell Berry

We need something much deeper than just eco-psychology; it is not enough to do psychology, psychotherapy or healing in the context of nature or to do ecstatic dance in a concrete building, rather there may be a need to get on the land and listen to the land’s sentient intelligence.

When we sense some kind of intelligence in the land it may not just be us ‘projecting’ something onto the earth but rather the earth dreaming us, a larger force of nature communicating with us. We may need to consider what the land has to say. What does the land want from the human beings on it? What is the land’s greater dreaming? What new story for life on earth is the land trying to bring forth at this time?

We need to listen to the land’s dreaming intelligence, hear its stories and hear its vast and more than human voice. We need to hear the animals and plants, the otters, foxes, nightjars, sea trout, sunfish, curlews, herons, plantain, dog rose, pear blossoms, walnut trees, old growth copses, muddy estuaries, ancient dreaming forests and the mountain and the rivers speak.

A psychological perspective leads us to belief that myths, complexes and so on are inside us, but they are also to be found in our relationship with the land, in our interpenetration with the non-human intelligence of the earth.

It is not exactly that the earth and its spirits and non-human intelligences are ‘outside’ us either, rather there are innumerable ‘outsides’ and ‘insides’ which are interpenetrating or entangled with each other, or another way to look at it, there is one vast ‘inside’ which includes not just our psyche and body but also our community, world events, the hills and rivers, rooks and egrets nesting in willow trees and basking sharks ploughing through dark waters.

All our dreams are connected with our bodies, all our dreams are connected with each other, all our bodies are connected and our somatosensory awareness in relationship to others has the effect of dreaming each other and our culture into existence.

Political ideologies, illnesses, world problems, and ancestors, ghosts, demons, faeries, Gods and Goddesses, yidams and benevolent spirits are all embodied non-locally in us, in the land, and in our relationship, our disconnection or connection, with each other and with the earth’s dreaming intelligence.

If we want to bring more consciousness to our communities and repair our relationship to each other and to the earth then we need to bring more consciousness to these powers, especially to their more difficult, repressed, disavowed, oppressed, taboo, terrifying, problematic, aggression or grief-filled embodiments, as well as those that are full of joy, magnificence and pleasure.

We may need to go deeper into them, to enter their somatic embodiments, phenomenological states, movements, stories, myths and visions and allow them to be seen in council, in play, in ceremony, in conflict resolution and in ceremony.
– Jason Hine

When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or to someone else.
– Margaret Atwood

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ We will never find confidence in identity. Identity makes us awkward – it takes away our agility. We can’t be joyful and responsive…there will always be something to hold together or to project out into the world: “the maverick”, “the intelligent one”, “the victim.” We don’t have a clear relationship with the world when we cling to identity…it’s like walking in a room full of people and having that anxiety of not knowing where to sit. When we are not clinging to identity we can sit anywhere. We can sit on a throne if that is what serves, and we can sit on the ground if that serves the situation. We are flexible. No problems.

As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.
– Ernest Hemingway

Choosing the Hardest
These are the few ways we can practice humility:
To speak as little as possible of one’s self.
To mind one’s own business….
Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.
To avoid curiosity.
To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.
To pass over the mistakes of others.
To accept insults and injuries.
To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.
To be kind and gentle even under provocation.
Never to stand on one’s dignity.
To choose always the hardest.
– Mother Teresa

There is a rumour going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.
– Terry Pratchett

Do not be surprised that the return of the light lifts your spirits. Do not be surprised that warmth on your back calms you and makes you glad. Feel your spirits lift as the sun rises higher in the sky: This is part of you, this snaky gladness, part of who you have been for a million years. Find the warm places; do not expect them to come to you. When you find them, stay there and be still. Be still and watchful. In this quiet, taste the air. Lick up the taste of it. Listen. Listen with the full length of your body against the ground.
– Kathleen Dean Moore

Simple, genuine goodness is the best capital to found the business of this life upon. It lasts when fame and money fail, and is the only riches we can take out of this world with us.
– Louisa May Alcott

While it is important and healing to be grateful for what we have, it is even more important to be grateful for what we don’t have. It takes wisdom to recognize that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side. This recognition can really set us free.
– Nithya Shanti​

If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already — it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton o…f every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.
– David Foster Wallace​

At the heart of every addiction
is the attempt
to run away
from ourselves.


Meditation, then, dismantles the core addiction,
the addiction to ‘somewhere else’,
to ‘another moment’,
to ‘not here’.
– Jeff Foster​

Nothing says anything
but that which it wishes
would come true, fears
what else might happen in


some other place, some
other time not this one.
A voice in my place, an
echo of that only in yours.

Let me stumble into
not the confession but
the obsession I begin with
now. For you

also (also)
some time beyond place, or
place beyond time, no
mind left to

say anything at all,
that face gone, now.
Into the company of love
it all returns.
– Robert Creeley, For Love​

The failure of love might account for most of the suffering in the world.
– Marie Howe, The Map

I am not the type to mistake a streetlight for the moon.
I know our wounds are deep as the Atlantic.
But every ocean has a shoreline
and every shoreline has a tide
that is constantly returning…
to wake the songbirds in our hands,
to wake the music in our bones,
to place one fearless kiss on the mouth of that brave river
that has to run through the center of our hearts
to find its way home.
– Andrea Gibson​

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: “So through the eyes love attains the heart, for the eyes are the scouts of the heart. And the eyes go reconnoitering for what it would please the heart to possess. And when they are in full accord and firm, all three in one resolve, at that time perfect love is born from what the eyes have made welcome, to the heart. For as all true loves know, love is perfect kindness, which is born, there is no doubt, from the heart and the eyes.”
But the kind of seizure that comes from the meeting of the eyes, as they say in the troubadour tradition, and the purely personal, person-to-person thing, as far as I know it originates as an ideal to be lived for, with the troubadours.
this love is bigger even than death, than pain, than anything. This is the affirmation of the pain of life in a big way.
JOSEPH CAMPBELL: The heart is the organ of opening up to somebody else. That’s the human quality, as opposed to the animal qualities, which have to do with, primarily with self-interest. Opening up to that which is other is the opening of the heart, and that’s as the troubadours saw it, it is the opening of the heart.
BILL MOYERS: Well, it’s certainly true in life that the greatest hell one can know is to be separated from the one you love.
BILL MOYERS: So there’s joy and pain in love.
JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Yeah, there is. Love, you might say, is the burning point of life, and since all life is sorrowful, so is love. And the stronger the love, the more that pain, but love bears all things. Love itself is a pain, you might say, but is the pain of being truly alive.

RESTLESS MIND
If you just
take some time
off from your restless mind,
you will soon lose interest
in how things should go
or what is going to happen
next —–
then inside you a pure
space will emerge
for a garden to grow
and for roses to bloom,
for ten thousand moons
to shine —
and your whole being starts
flowering like a forest
in spring.
– Guthema Roba

Spring and all its flowers
Now joyously break their vow of silence.
It is time for celebration, not for lying low;
You too — weed out those roots of sadness from your heart.
– Hafez

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
– e.e. cummings

Even if you succeed in being the owner of a trillion worlds, unless you can curtail your plans from within with the feeling that nothing more is needed, you will never know contentment.
– Longchenpa

They say when we see through the eyes of another, the Great Spirit is stitching our hearts to hold the world together.
​- Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

But when people stopped wandering and began to build towns and cities and lived without taking long walks together they began to have ideas that everybody’s Inner Reality should be the same, and they argued about it rather than respecting that every person has a unique experience in their Inner Reality.

They began to think that Inner Reality should be as consistent as Outer Reality. This was their great mistake, for then the inner richness of every person began to be eroded,… worn down, compared and argued about. And occasionally a strong leader would appear in a city or town who would insist that there was only one Inner Reality and that everyone should see the same thing in it. This was the greatest assault ever upon the most creative roots of the individual person.

You see, this began to destroy the very glue that held people together and that enriched the entire community. The Outer Reality held people together only when there was danger or when people were in need and had to cooperate in order that everyone would be fed and could survive. But the Inner Reality was the source of each other’s gifts and when they were properly shared with each other there was tremendous abundance in the community.

– Steve Gallegos, Dream Visits​

RECKLESS POEM
Today again I am hardly myself.
It happens over and over.
It is heaven-sent.

It flows through me
like the blue wave.
Green leaves – you may believe this or not –
have once or twice
emerged from the tips of my fingers

somewhere
deep in the woods,
in the reckless seizure of spring.

Though, of course, I also know that other song,
the sweet passion of one-ness.

Just yesterday I watched an ant crossing a path, through the
tumbled pine needles she toiled.
And I thought: she will never live another life but this one.
And I thought: if she lives her life with all her strength
is she not wonderful and wise?
And I continued this up the miraculous pyramid of everything
until I came to myself.

And still, even in these northern woods, on these hills of sand,
I have flown from the other window of myself
to become white heron, blue whale,
red fox, hedgehog.
Oh, sometimes already my body has felt like the body of a flower!
Sometimes already my heart is a red parrot, perched
among strange, dark trees, flapping and screaming.
– Mary Oliver

THE MOUNTAIN
My students look at me expectantly.
I explain to them that the life of art is a life
of endless labor. Their expressions
hardly change; they need to know
a little more about endless labor.
So I tell them the story of Sisyphus,
how he was doomed to push
a rock up a mountain, knowing nothing
would come of this effort
but that he would repeat it
indefinitely. I tell them
there is joy in this, in the artist’s life,
that one eludes
judgment, and as I speak
I am secretly pushing a rock myself,
slyly pushing it up the steep
face of a mountain. Why do I lie
to these children? They aren’t listening,
they aren’t deceived, their fingers
tapping at the wooden desks –
So I retract
the myth; I tell them it occurs
in hell, and that the artist lies
because he is obsessed with attainment,
that he perceives the summit
as that place where he will live forever,
a place about to be
transformed by his burden: with every breath,
I am standing at the top of the mountain.
Both my hands are free. And the rock has added
height to the mountain.
– Louise Glück

Even if you succeed in being the owner of a trillion worlds, unless you can curtail your plans from within with the feeling that nothing more is needed, you will never know contentment.
– Longchenpa

They say when we see through the eyes of another, the Great Spirit is stitching our hearts to hold the world together.
– Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

But when people stopped wandering and began to build towns and cities and lived without taking long walks together they began to have ideas that everybody’s Inner Reality should be the same, and they argued about it rather than respecting that every person has a unique experience in their Inner Reality.
They began to think that Inner Reality should be as consistent as Outer Reality. This was their great mistake, for then the inner richness of every person began to be eroded,… worn down, compared and argued about. And occasionally a strong leader would appear in a city or town who would insist that there was only one Inner Reality and that everyone should see the same thing in it. This was the greatest assault ever upon the most creative roots of the individual person.
You see, this began to destroy the very glue that held people together and that enriched the entire community. The Outer Reality held people together only when there was danger or when people were in need and had to cooperate in order that everyone would be fed and could survive. But the Inner Reality was the source of each other’s gifts and when they were properly shared with each other there was tremendous abundance in the community.
– Steve Gallegos, Dream Visits

Things to Believe In
trees, in general; oaks, especially;
burr oaks that survive fire, in particular;
and the generosity of apples
seeds, all of them: carrots like dust,
winged maple, doubled beet, peach kernel;
the inevitability of change
frogsong in spring; cattle
lowing on the farm across the hill;
the melodies of sad old songs
comfort of savory soup;
sweet iced fruit; the aroma of yeast;
a friend’s voice; hard work
seasons; bedrock; lilacs;
moonshadows under the ash grove;
something breaking through
– Patricia Monaghan

FOR A COMING EXTINCTION
by W.S. Merwin
Gray whale
Now that we are sending you to The End…
That great god

Tell him

That we who follow you invented forgiveness

And forgive nothing
I write as though you could understand
And I could say it
One must always pretend something
Among the dying
When you have left the seas nodding on their stalks
Empty of you
Tell him that we were made
On another day
The bewilderment will diminish like an echo
Winding along your inner mountains
Unheard by us
And find its way out
Leaving behind it the future
Dead
And ours
When you will not see again
The whale calves trying the light
Consider what you will find in the black garden
And its court
The sea cows the Great Auks the gorillas
The irreplaceable hosts ranged countless
And fore-ordaining as stars
Our sacrifices
Join your word to theirs
Tell him
That it is we who are important

Song
Adrienne Rich
You’re wondering if I’m lonely:
OK then, yes, I’m lonely…
as a plane rides lonely and level

on its radio beam, aiming

across the Rockies
for the blue-strung aisles

of an airfield on the ocean.
You want to ask, am I lonely?
Well, of course, lonely
as a woman driving across country
day after day, leaving behind
mile after mile
little towns she might have stopped
and lived and died in, lonely
If I’m lonely
it must be the loneliness
of waking first, of breathing
dawn’s first cold breath on the city
of being the one awake
in a house wrapped in sleep
If I’m lonely
it’s with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore
in the last red light of the year
that knows what it is, that knows it’s neither
ice nor mud nor winter light
but wood, with a gift for burning.

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ The perfect teacher is whoever or whatever pushes you out of your fixations and toward experiencing the unbearable fullness of being.

I point to the moon, and you say: that’s not true because I saw the sun. But the sun and the moon do not contradict each other. They are just in different locations.
– Andrew Sweeny

We need a real awakening, enlightenment, to change our way of thinking and seeing things. To breathe in and be aware of your body and look deeply into it, realise you are the Earth and your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Yield and overcome;
Bend and be straight;
Empty and be full;
Wear out and be new;
Have little and gain; …
Have much and be confused.
Therefore the wise embrace the one
And set an example to all.
Not putting on a display,
They shine forth.
Not justifying themselves,
They are distinguished.
Not boasting,
They receive recognition.
Not bragging,
They never falter.
They do not quarrel,
So no one quarrels with them.
Therefore the ancients say,
“Yield and overcome.”
Is that an empty saying?
Be really whole,
And all things will come to you.
~Lao Tsu
Tao Te Ching, verse 22

We need to learn to empty ourselves so a larger intelligence can live through us. What larger intelligence? The same intelligence that makes seeds sprout, birds sing, planets spin and converts caterpillars into butterflies. The intelligence that converts soil into edible food and food into this body and this body into soil. What brought us here will also guide us home. It is anyway. The process just gets a whole lot easier and more enjoyable when we slow down, notice more, stop resisting and start appreciating.
– Nithya Shanti

Credo
I believe in
the gingerbread man.
Who wouldn’t run,
given the circumstances?
But not the Father,
not the Son.
I believe in
forgiveness.
But not in sin.
I believe in
communion;
bread wine
apples and us all
happy at table.
But not in saints.
I believe in
life. You have to,
don’t you, being alive?
But not everlasting.
Those immortelles, petals
fallen like yellow teeth
in the tomb, bearing the
form of flowers.
But not the scent,
not the breath.
– Fiona Farrell

Questions Before Dark
by Jeanne Lohmann
Day ends, and before sleep
when the sky dies down, consider
your altered state: has this day
changed you? Are the corners
sharper or rounded off? Did you
live with death? Make decisions
that quieted? Find one clear word
that fit? At the sun’s midpoint
did you notice a pitch of absence,
bewilderment that invites
the possible? What did you learn
from things you dropped and picked up
and dropped again? Did you set a straw
parallel to the river, let the flow
carry you downstream?

One night as he sat at his table head on hands he saw himself rise and go.
– Samuel Beckett, Stirrings Still

It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin. Let us, then, look to the great cause, and endeavor to preserve it in full force. Let us by all wise and constitutional measures promote intelligence among the people as the best means of preserving our liberties.”
– Founding Father James Monroe, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1817

EARTH DAY
I grew up in the woods, the earth under my nails, the grass staining my knees, the raspberries painting my fingers and teeth the color of a sleepy pink sun. I was always bleeding from running through the thorns that were protecting something beautiful. That kind of bleeding never hurts. I used to imagine I could sail the creek near the blueberry patch all the way to the Grand Canyon. I’d heard if I hollered my name into that canyon the canyon would carry it back. … I loved the idea of being named twice. Once by my mother. Once by the most wide-open place on earth. Somedays I’d spend all day watching the tadpoles not know they were not going to grow up to be tadpoles. Would one day I too be shocked by my sudden ability to do something magical like leap into the air? Each night the fireflies made a sky full of stars just a few feet from the ground. Their constellations were up to my chin. My head still an undiscovered planet. My body and heart all the wisdom I needed to live a beautiful life. Adulthood is a mason jar bragging about the holes in its lid. This year is the first year since childhood that I’ve been able to hear the earth breathe. One day I was walking up a mountain, sickened by something awful on the news, and suddenly the cottonwood had lungs, suddenly the juniper exhaled heavy into my ear. The heaviness both broke and gave faith to my heart. It was shortly after the election. I said to my friends, “It’s like the earth knows.” And of course the earth knows. “But don’t just yet call the heaviness in the breathing the sound of dying,” my friend said. “Call it the sound of the earth working harder than anyone can imagine.” Sweet planet, today and forever, may each of us be working as hard -and as softly- as you.
– Andrea Gibson

We have a whole life that wants to unfold and it’s already in us. And many of us feel a huge amount of pressure to do something, to find out who we are, to try to figure out why we’re here. All of that is our own life wanting to happen.
Our problem as human beings in the modern world is that the view of the human being is so degraded that it’s very hard for us to give birth to ourselves. And in fact much of what we do-particularly in our education system, but also in the wor…kplace, and even in families-is to develop techniques and strategies for forgetting who we are, for forgetting the inner creativity of life.
So the practice of meditation is temporarily pulling the plug on our continual effort to be somebody else. It’s really strange but that’s all we have to do. We have to figure out a way to not keep avoiding ourselves, to not keep running away. And the Buddha came up with it: the practice of meditation.
– Reggie Ray

The Water Protectors at Standing Rock began a global movement. Now we must all be Planet Protectors.
– Marianne Williamson

Let mystery have its place in you; do not be always turning up your whole soil with the plowshare of self-examination, but leave a little fallow corner in your heart ready for any seed the winds may bring, and reserve a nook of shadow for the passing bird; keep a place in your heart for the unexpected guests, an altar for the unknown God.
Then if a bird sings among your branches, do not be too eager to tame it. If you are conscious of something new—thought or feeling, waken…ing in the depths of your being—do not be in a hurry to let in light upon it, to look at it; let the springing germ have the protection of being forgotten, hedge it round with quiet, and do not break in upon its darkness.
– Henri-Frédéric Amiel

While we might not need a new religion, we do need a new sense of the sacred or an awakening of the most ancient one: a sense of awe, wonder, and respect for something greater than us. What could that something greater be? There is no need to theorize about it. What is greater than us is the earth itself – life – and we are folded into it, a small part of it, and we have work to do.
– Paul Kingsnorth

Deep down you know the truth. You must cross over the border.
You must take the step. You must inherit your life….
– Steven Foster

This earth day I’d like to remind us all that this mother we live in is like a petri dish. In fact, it may even be someone’s petri dish and we humans are the i…nfection. We can no longer blame each other and expect that to solve the problem. In fact, things are so fragile that any amount of animosity can bounce off the walls of the dish and cause our extinction. Far better for us all to recognize our own faults.
– Bodhivastu

Lama Rangbar:
The vows have power to manifest what you’re trying to do.

Provisions you need for the Path are being blocked by your fixation.
How could you get something big if you’re grabbing onto something small.

Children, I implore you
get out of the burning house now.
Three carts await outside

to save you from a homeless life.
Relax in the village square
before the sky, everything’s empty.
No direction is better or worse,
East just as good as West.
Those who know the meaning of this
are free to go where they want.
– Hanshan

But we are contrary beings, and even though we are convinced we would shun a life built on self-deception, we continue to maintain a strong grip on the habits that are the cause of countless delusions.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

However beneficial a practice appears to be, however politically correct or exciting, if it does not contradict your habit of grasping at permanence, or looks h…armless but insidiously encourages you to forget the truth of impermanence and the illusory nature of phenomena, it will inevitably take you in the opposite direction to dharma.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

What is wild cannot be bought or sold, borrowed or copied. It is. Unmistakeable, unforgettable, unshamable, elemental as earth and ice, water, fire and air, a quintessence, pure spirit, resolving into no constituents. Don’t waste your wildness: it is precious and necessary.
– Jay Griffiths

Yet I am
not
one who takes joy
in wounding.
Mine is a quiet mind.
– Sapho

Ask for nothing less than inspiration.
– Deepak Chopra​

Don’t just go for it- Grow for it! What else is there?​
– Jeff Brown

A poet’s work is to help expanded humanity’s literary and cultural dialogue, and to magnify and transform our mortal perceptions. We do so by engaging fresh forms and symbols and vocabulary. We create new languages describing the experience of life. We offer words, and in our imaginations try our best to capture the ineffable and intangible – tongues of angels and heaven.
– Ron Starbuck, Saint Julian Press ​

Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.
– Alan Watts​

Never be afraid to
turn up the volume
and dream away reality.
– Sarah Doughty​

In America the imagination is generally looked on as something that might be useful when the TV is out of order. Poetry and plays have no relation to practical… politics. Novels are for students, housewives, and other people who don’t work. Fantasy is for children and primitive peoples. Literacy is so you can read the operating instructions. I think the imagination is the single most useful tool mankind possesses. It beats the opposable thumb. I can imagine living without my thumbs, but not without my imagination.
– Ursula Le Guin​

REST
is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is the essence of giving and receiving; an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually but also physiologically and physically. To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right; to rest is to fall back literally or figuratively from outer targets and shift the goal not to an inner static bull’s eye, an imagined state of perfect stillness, but to an inner state of natural exchange.

The template of natural exchange is the breath, the autonomic giving and receiving that forms the basis and the measure of life itself. We are rested when we are a living exchange between what lies inside and what lies outside, when we are an intriguing conversation between the potential that lies in our imagination and the possibilities for making that internal image real in the world; we are rested when we let things alone and let ourselves alone, to do what we do best, breathe as the body intended us to breathe, to walk as we were meant to walk, to live with the rhythm of a house and a home, giving and taking through cooking and cleaning. When we give and take in an easy foundational way we are closest to the authentic self, and closest to that self when we are most rested. To rest is not self indulgent, to rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves, and to perhaps, most importantly, arrive at a place where we are able to understand what we have already been given.

In the first state of rest is the sense of stopping, of giving up on what we have been doing or how we have been being. In the second, is the sense of slowly coming home, the physical journey into the body’s un-coerced and un-bullied self, as if trying to remember the way or even the destination itself. In the third state is a sense of healing and self-forgiveness and of arrival. In the fourth state, deep in the primal exchange of the breath, is the give and the take, the blessing and the being blessed and the ability to delight in both. The fifth stage is a sense of absolute readiness and presence, a delight in and an anticipation of the world and all its forms; a sense of being the meeting itself between inner and outer, and that receiving and responding occur in one spontaneous movement.

A deep experience of rest is the template of perfection in the human imagination, a perspective from which we are able to perceive the outer specific forms of our work and our relationships whilst being nourished by the shared foundational gift of the breath itself. From this perspective we can be rested while putting together an elaborate meal for an arriving crowd, whilst climbing the highest mountain, moving a herd of sheep along a Cumbrian country lane or sitting at home, surrounded by the chaos of a loving family.

Rested, we are ready for the world but not held hostage by it, rested we care again for the right things and the right people in the right way. In rest we reestablish the goals that make us more generous, more courageous, more of an invitation, someone we want to remember, and someone others would want to remember too. ​
– David Whyte

Revolution doesn’t have to do with smashing something; it has to do with bringing something forth. If you spend all your time thinking about that which you are attacking, then you are negatively bound to it. You have to find the zeal in yourself and bring it out. That is what is given to you—one life to live. Marx teaches us to blame society for our frailties; Freud teaches us to blame our parents; astrology teaches us to blame the universe. The only place to look for blame is within: you didn’t have the guts to bring your full moon and live the life that was your potential.
– Joseph Campbell

The Great Mother has no ears and hallelujah
is the most impossible word in the language.
I can only say it to birds, fish, and dogs.
– Jim Harrison​

So, if you don’t fit in, if you feel at odds with the world, if your identity is troubled and frayed, if you feel lost and ashamed – it could be because you have retained the human values you were supposed to have discarded. You are a deviant. Be proud.
– George Monbiot

The Arrow and the Song

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight…
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow​

But once in a while the odd thing happens,
Once in a while the dream comes true,
And the whole pattern of life is altered,
Once in a while the moon turns blue.
– W. H. Auden

Hell is just resistance to life.
– Pema Chodron

Somehow now
I have begun to glimpse
The unexpected fruit
Your dark gift had planted
And I thank you
For your unknown work~
– John O’Donohue

I would rather wander the fields,
as the sun stumbles into darkness…
saying prayers to leaves,
listening forever for the wind.
the scent of passion on my lips,
my tongue burnt with hunger.
haunting shadows, tempting light,
having long conversations with Rilke,
without ever speaking a word.
– Eric Cockrell

Luckily, life is an inexhaustible reservoir of possibilities and always contains the seeds of transformation.
– Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D.

Do you have the discipline required to be a free spirit?
– Gabrielle Roth

As the world becomes more crowded and corroded by consumption and capitalism, this landscape of minimalism will take on greater significance, reminding us through its blood red grandeur just how essential wild country is to our psychology, how precious the desert is to the soul of America.
– Terry Tempest Williams

Our habitual way of living is to take things so much for granted. We always think there’s gonna be another day. We always think there’s gonna be another chance. In some sense, we think it’s gonna go on forever. And therefore, we don’t pay attention. This moment only happens once, in all of eternity. We think that time and eternity are two different things, but they’re not.
– Reggie Ray

I stood
at the doorway,
ridiculous as it now seems.

What others found in art,
I found in nature. What others found
in human love, I found in nature.
Very simple. But there was no voice there.

Winter was over. In the thawed dirt,
bits of green were showing.

Come to me, said the world. I was standing
in my wool coat at a kind of bright portal –
I can finally say
long ago; it gives me considerable pleasure. Beauty
the healer, the teacher –

death cannot harm me
more than you have harmed me,
my beloved life.
– Louise Glück

You are not just a mass of neurosis, you are a big beautiful light. You are a fantastic embodiment of divinity. And you came here to share gifts nobody else on Earth has. You are a unique divine presence, and you need to know that in your consciousness, you need to know that in your mind, and your body needs to know it. You need to love who you are, and you need to experience the Light that you are. My Native American teacher used to say ‘You are lightning in a paper bag’. It’s so important for that process to be there, that you open to who you are, but not just an infinite being, but as a particular expression of Divine Light. And a fabulous expression of Divine Light. Gorgeous, unique, gifted. I mean, every soul is so beautiful. You want to own that in your consciousness, and you want to own it in your body. And that Light in and of itself will dissolve many things.
– Cynthia Lane

Spiritual practice is often too personal. The whole point is to expand the self into community and be less focused on the self.
– Thomas Moore

We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from the another’s vantage point. As if new, it may still take our breath away. Come…dry your eyes. For you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes… and let’s go home.
– Alan Moore, Watchmen

And you don’t need to be a Zen Buddhist
To pierce the heart of this mystery
You only need to be willing to stop and see,
See what is still and free
You don’t need to be a whirling dervish,
Or study scripture or travel far
You only need to be still and ask who you are
Be willing to know who you are
– Kirtana

Our spiritual growth is meant to go in both directions, toward the fertile darkness and the glorious light, each of us having the opportunity to bridge earth and heaven—the underworld and the upperworld—through the trunks of our middleworld lives….
– Bill Plotkin

Ten Thousand Sutras (after Hakuin)
by Sam Hamill (b. 1943)…
The body is the body of the Buddha.
Like ice and water, the one is always in the other.

In the middle of the lake
we long for a drink of water.

Adrift in Samsara
we dream of blissful Nirvana.

This body is the body of the Buddha,
this moment an eternity.

Saying I love you, the deed is done—
the name and the deed are one.

With you and without you
the line runs straight—

your body is the body of the Buddha,
there is light beyond the gate.

This love I give to you
is the love that comes from Kannon.

Every breath a sutra.
Going or returning, it’s the same.

Our bodies are the bodies of the Buddha,
our names are Kannon’s name.

No word can adequately say it,
yet every word must praise it—

in silent meditation
destroying evil karma,

in silent meditation
inhabiting the Dharma—

this body is the body of the Buddha,
your body is the body of the Buddha.

Open arms and eyes to Samsara!
Embraced by the thousand arms of Kannon!

In the perfect mind of vivikta-dharma,
the truth of solitude,

our body is a temple,
not a refuge.

Praise our body
even in Samsara,

our bodies are the body of the Buddha,
our bodies are the body of the Buddha.

Oh you who mixed poetry’s melody in me
And made my poems so fervent
You kindled such a feverish love in me
You made certain my poems would smolder…
– Forough Farrokhzad

From E. L. Allen (1950):

We may say that there are two outstanding human types, one the saint and the other the genius. Religion has tended to recognise only the first of these and to look askance at the other. … If we accept genius as a form of God’s self-expression equally with holiness, we must go on to question the assumption that humility is the basic virtue.

It’s time to live like your health depends on it. Whenever we eat, we make a choice. Whenever we choose a food we either improve the world or we make it less. It’s an act of courage and love to prepare healthy food for ourselves and for others and to speak out and educate people.
– John Robbins, Food Revolution Network

Empathy is really important… Only when our clever brain and our human heart work together in harmony can we achieve our true potential.
– Jane Goodall​

Hearing a story awakens the mythic story living in each of us. It places us in a “mythic condition” that reconnects us to the core imagination and living story at the center of our soul. Being touched by myth carries us to the center where the world is always ending and always beginning again. From there, meaningful changes and transformations can be precipitated in our lives, just as happens to the characters in stories and myths.
– Michael Meade​

The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.
– René Magritte

A poem can’t free us from the struggle for existence, but it can uncover desires and appetites buried under the accumulating emergencies of our lives, the fabricated wants and needs we have urged on us, have accepted as our own. It’s not a philosophical or psychological blueprint; it’s an instrument for embodied experience. But we seek that experience, or recognize it when it is offered to us, because it reminds us in some way of our need. After that rearousal of desire, the task of acting on that truth, or making love, or meeting our needs, is ours.
– Adrienne Rich

When language is no longer related to silence it loses its source of refreshment and renewal and therefore something of its substance…It is only in the language of poets that the real word, the word connected with silence, still sometimes appears. It is like a ghost, full of sadness that it is only a ghost and must disappear again. Beauty is the dark cloud in which such words appear only to disappear again.
– Max Picard, The World of Silence

Language today seems to talk automatically, out of its own strength, and, emptying and scattering itself, it seems to be hastening to an end. There is something hard and obstinate in language today, as though it were making a great effort to remain alive in spite of its emptiness.
– Max Picard, The World of Silence

In general, the American city is a place to do business, whereas a European city like Paris is, or at least was designed to be, a place to live—that is the difference. That is why in Paris the business centre—la Defense—is outside the city. And Paris belongs to a world prior to the automobile: that mechanical beast which makes it impossible to really live in any public space. Actually, Paris will only realize its real potential as a city, when it bans automobiles from its centre. For the automobile is a contradiction to the human scale of life here; the original intention of the city was to provide a space to be both in inside and outside, and to walk under the sky with people in a living environment.

In America, the dream is to take an automobile and drive towards an infinite horizon. That is because the cities are so oppressive and unliveable, no matter how shiny and prosperous they seem to be, and one must head for the hills in order to remain sane. One is always trying to escape oneself in an American city; whereas in Paris, there is, at least the possibility or potential, or remnant of a communal world. Not that Paris is immune to the dehumanization, which American culture brings to the entire world, but this is against its nature. The spirit here resists and contradicts, the inevitable encroachment of America.
– Andrew Sweeny

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.
– Thomas Jefferson

Always learn poems by heart. They have to become the marrow in your bones. Like fluoride in the water, they’ll make your soul impervious to the world’s soft decay.
– Janet Fitch

We don’t even ask for happiness, just a little less pain.
– Charles Bukowski, Letter to William Packard, July 1985

Vespers: Parousia
by Louise Glück

Love of my life, you
are lost and I am…
young again.

A few years pass.
The air fills
with girlish music;
in the front yard
the apple tree is
studded with blossoms.

I try to win you back,
that is the point
of the writing.
But you are gone forever,
as in Russian novels, saying
a few words I don’t remember—

How lush the world is,
how full of things that don’t belong to me—

I watch the blossoms shatter,
no longer pink,
but old, old, a yellowish white—
the petals seem
to float on the bright grass,
fluttering slightly.

What a nothing you were,
to be changed so quickly
into an image, an odor—
you are everywhere, source
of wisdom and anguish.​

In spite of everything the past ends up being / a brotherhood of wolves, melancholy / for a landscape skewed by time
– Joan Margarit

If we can handle our own suffering and be willing to look at difficulty everywhere, we will have a big view, a sacred view. We are looking at the scope of life altogether. Doing this in our practice is deeply nourishing.
– Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche​

in one of his poems, abraham joshua heschel wrote: “to unmask the god who disguised himself as world.” i ask: why is the world a disguise? that is to say: how is the world different from god? spinoza said that god is nature, and when i love nature i love god. abraham yitzhak hacohen kook wrote: “inner meditation is very demanding. it seeks to ascend without letting anything in the world disturb it.” i ask: but why is the world a disturbance? we meditate with the world, not ag…ainst it. and our deepest meditation is the embrace of a being. martin buber said it well: “to look away from the world, or to stare at it, does not help a man to reach god; but he who sees the world in him stands in his presence.” the world is not a disguise nor a disturbance, and neither is god. as dogen zenji said: “if you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?”. we should know this: nothing is itself a disguise nor a disturbance, for everything can become presence.
– hune Margulies​

I love this world,
even as I hear the great wind
of leaving it rising,

for there is a grainy taste I prefer…
to every idea of heaven:
human friendship.
– Rumi​

Dr. Kalam, late President of India, had a 110 year old best friend. A majestic tree he called Arjuna.
Dr Kalam would walk up to him every day and they would exchange their thoughts silently. No one knew what they communicated, in what language, but we all knew that they made each other wiser.
– Kanchana Rao

As If Hearing Heavy Furniture Moved on the Floor Above Us
by Jane Hirshfield
As things grow rarer, they enter the ranges of counting.
Remain this many Siberian tigers,
that many African elephants. Three hundred red egrets.
We scrape from the world its tilt and meander of wonder
as if eating the last burned onions and carrots from a cast iron pan.
Closing eyes to taste better the char of ordinary sweetness.

A CHILD IS SOMETHING ELSE AGAIN
A child is something else again. Wakes up
in the afternoon and in an instant he’s full of words,
in an instant he’s humming, in an instant warm,
instant light, instant darkness.

A child is Job. They’ve already placed their bets on him
but he doesn’t know it. He scratches his body
for pleasure. Nothing hurts yet.
They’re training him to be a polite Job,
to say “Thank you” when the Lord has given,
to say “You’re welcome” when the Lord has taken away.

A child is vengeance.
A child is a missile into the coming generations.
I launched him: I’m still trembling.

A child is something else again: on a rainy spring day
glimpsing the Garden of Eden through the fence,
kissing him in his sleep,
hearing footsteps in the wet pine needles.
A child delivers you from death.
Child, Garden, Rain, Fate.
– Yehuda Amichai

In all the aeons we have lost nothing, we have gained nothing – not a speck, not a grain, not a breath. The universe is simply a sealed, twisting kaleidoscope that has reordered itself a trillion trillion trillion times over.

Each baby, then, is a unique collision – a cocktail, a remix – of all that has come before: made from molecules of Napoleon and stardust and comets and whale tooth; colloidal mercury and Cleopatra’s breath: and with the same darkness that is between the stars between, and inside, our own atoms.

When you know this, you suddenly see the crowded top deck of the bus, in the rain, as a miracle: this collection of people is by way of a starburst constellation. Families are bright, irregular-shaped nebulae. Finding a person you love is like galaxies colliding. We are all peculiar, unrepeatable, perambulating micro-universes – we have never been before and we will never be again. Oh God, the sheer exuberant, unlikely face of our existences. The honour of being alive. They will never be able to make you again. Don’t you dare waste a second of it thinking something better will happen when it ends. Don’t you dare.
– Caitlin Moran

WHAT WE WANT
In a poem
people want
something fancy,

but even more
they want something
inexplicable
made plain,

easy to swallow –
not unlike a suddenly
harmonic passage

in an otherwise
difficult and sometimes dissonant
symphony –

even if it is only
for the moment
of hearing it.
– Mary Oliver

Listen. Who writes the great books? It is not we who sign our names. What is an artist? He’s a man who has antennae, who knows how to hook up to the currents which are in the atmosphere, in the cosmos; he merely has the facility for hooking on, as it were. Who is original? Everything that we are doing, everything that we think, exists already, and we are only intermediaries, that’s all, who make use of what is in the air. Why do ideas, why do great scientific discoveries often occur in different parts of the world at the same time? The same is true of the elements that go to make up a poem or a great novel or any work of art. They are already in the air, they have not been given voice, that’s all. They need the man, the interpreter, to bring them forth.
– Henry Miller

An artist has got to be careful never to really arrive at a place where he thinks he’s ‘at’ somewhere. You always have to realize that you’re constantly in a state of becoming, you know? And as long as you can stay in that realm you’ll sort of be all right.
– Bob Dylan

A mind fed on words such as heaven, earth, dew, essence, cinnabar, moonlight, stillness, jade, pearl, cedar, and winter plum is likely to have a serenity not to be found in minds ringing with the vocabulary of the present age – computer, tractor, jumbo jet, speedball, pop, dollar, liquidation, napalm, overkill! Who would thrill at the prospect of rocketing to the moon in a billion-dollar spacecraft if he knew how to summon a shimmering gold and scarlet dragon at any time of the day or night and soar among the stars?”
– John Blofeld

I stood
at the doorway,
ridiculous as it now seems.

What others found in art,
I found in nature. What others found
in human love, I found in nature.
Very simple. But there was no voice there.

Winter was over. In the thawed dirt,
bits of green were showing.

Come to me, said the world. I was standing
in my wool coat at a kind of bright portal –
I can finally say
long ago; it gives me considerable pleasure. Beauty
the healer, the teacher –

death cannot harm me
more than you have harmed me,
my beloved life.
– Louise Glück

Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.
– Paul Auster

Poetry can repair no loss, but it defies the space which separates. And it does this by its continual labour of reassembling what has been scattered.
– John Berger

We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late….We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on….There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect…These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest….
– Dr. Martin Luther King from his speech Beyond Vietnam A Time to Break Silence

Buddhist meditation should probably be called non-transcendental meditation. We don’t need more people to transcend this world – we need people to take care of it.
– Ethan Nichtern

Someday, emerging at last from the violent insight,
let me sing out jubilation and praise to assenting angels.
Let not even one of the clearly-struck hammers of my heart
fail to sound because of a slack, a doubtful,
or a broken string. Let my joyfully streaming face
make me more radiant; let my hidden weeping arise
and blossom. How dear you will be to me then, you nights
of anguish. Why didn’t I kneel more deeply to accept you,
inconsolable sisters, and surrendering, lose myself
in your loosened hair. How we squander our hours of pain.
How we gaze beyond them into the bitter duration
to see if they have an end. Though they are really
our winter-enduring foliage, our dark evergreen,
our season in our inner year–, not only a season
in time–, but are place and settlement, foundation and soil
and home.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, Tenth Elegy

Just as one spoils the stomach by overfeeding and thereby impairs the whole body, so can one overload and choke the mind by giving it too much nourishment. For the more one reads the fewer are the traces left of what one has read; the mind is like a tablet that has been written over and over. Hence it is impossible to reflect; and it is only by reflection that one can assimilate what one has read. If one reads straight ahead without pondering over it later, what has been read does not take root, but is for the most part lost.
― Arthur Schopenhauer

Run, my dear, from anything that may not strengthen your precious budding wings.
– Hafiz

We are not meant to stay wounded. We are supposed to move through our tragedies and challenges and to help each other move through the many painful episodes of our lives. By remaining stuck in the power of our wounds, we block our own transformation. We overlook the greater gifts inherent in our wounds – the strength to overcome them and the lessons that we are meant to receive through them. Wounds are the means through which we enter the hearts of other people. They are meant to teach us to become compassionate and wise.
– Caroline Myss

The creative person is both more primitive and more cultivated, more destructive, a lot madder and a lot saner, than the average person.
– Frank Barron

…and let us say: enough with holy books! a book can be a record of a holy encounter, but in-itself it is neither an encounter nor holy. ralph waldo emerson said it too: “make your own bible. select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.” let us love written expressions of our dialogue with the source of being as we perceive it. yes. but let us also write our own books of good. and better yet: let us strive ourselves to become the books of good we write…
– hune margulies

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.
– May Sarton

But where is what I started for so long ago?
And why is it yet unfound?
– Walt Whitman

Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter. Cold or warm. Tired or well-rested. Despised or honored. Dying . . . or busy with other assignments. Because dying, too, is one of our assignments in life. There as well: To do what needs doing. Look inward. Don’t let the true nature of anything elude you.
Only there, delight and stillness . . . when jarred, unavoidably, by circumstances, revert at once to yourself, and don’t lose the rhythm more than you can help. You’ll have a better grasp of the harmony if you keep going back to it.
– Marcus Aurelius

The real problem here is that we’re all dying. All of us. Every day the cells weaken and the fibres stretch and the heart gets closer to its last beat. The real cost of living is dying, and we’re spending days like millionaires: a week here, a month there, casually spunked until all you have left are the two pennies on your eyes.

Personally, I like the fact we’re going to die. There’s nothing more exhilarating than waking up every morning and going ‘WOW! THIS IS IT! THIS IS REALLY IT!’ It focuses the mind wonderfully. It makes you love vividly, work intensely, and realize that, in the scheme of things, you really don’t have time to sit on the sofa in your pants watching Homes Under the Hammer.

Death is not a release, but an incentive. The more focused you are on your death, the more righteously you live your life. My traditional closing-time rant – after the one where I cry that they closed that amazing chippy on Tollington Road; the one that did the pickled eggs – is that humans still believe in an afterlife. I genuinely think it’s the biggest philosophical problem the earth faces. Even avowedly non-religious people think they’ll be meeting up with nana and their dead dog, Crackers, when they finally keel over. Everyone thinks they’re getting a harp.

But believing in an afterlife totally negates your current existence. It’s like an insidious and destabilizing mental illness. Underneath every day – every action, every word – you think it doesn’t really matter if you screw up this time around because you can just sort it all out in paradise. You make it up with your parents, and become a better person and lose that final stone in heaven. And learn how to speak French. You’ll have time, after all! It’s eternity! And you’ll have wings, and it’ll be sunny! So, really, who cares what you do now? This is really just some lacklustre waiting room you’re only going to be in for 20 minutes, during which you will have no wings at all, and are forced to walk around, on your feet, like pigs do.

If we wonder why people are so apathetic and casual about every eminently avoidable horror in the world – famine, war, disease, the seas gradually turning piss-yellow and filling with ringpulls and shattered fax machines – it’s right there. Heaven. The biggest waste of our time we ever invented, outside of jigsaws.

Only when the majority of the people on this planet believe – absolutely – that they are dying, minute by minute, will we actually start behaving like fully sentient, rational and compassionate beings. For whilst the appeal of ‘being good’ is strong, the terror of hurtling, unstoppably, into unending nullity is a lot more effective. I’m really holding out for us all to get The Fear. The Fear is my Second Coming. When everyone in the world admits they’re going to die, we’ll really start getting some stuff done.”
– Caitlin Moran

Time passes without the strings of an orchestra,
without the exquisite French horn.
I realize what I’m asking for is something
I can never get back, something permanent.
Isn’t this where God comes in, the fix-it guy,
a solace of sunlight waving a wrench
through the trees? He cracks the veil
of mid-morning frost. But even
this is too much language to bear.
These days, I follow thoughts
through a sequence of doors opening out.
There are words I remember, of course.
Certain ones, particular as glass, cut both ways.
– Mitchell Untch

If only I’d been encouraged, as a child, to cultivate the ability to breathe like a wren, that shallow, barely discernible rise of its breast. Someone says transmutation. Or maybe its meet me at the station. Imagine each new footfall on the wooden platform, the wait for a lover who never shows, hoarse cries of steam engines. The moon is just another handsome face in the dark. How the stars endure its relentless betrayal. How the light loses itself in the sea’s wilderness. If only I could write letters to my other selves, the ones living their lives alongside mine. The ones whose presence, on cloudy days, I sense in the hastening of air against my cheek.
– Shivani Mehta

my life I love it
in the dark
under the water of my shadow music
– Frank Stanford

I want to leave
no one behind.
To keep
& be kept.
The way a field turns
its secrets
into peonies
The way light
keeps its shadow
by swallowing it.
– Ocean Vuong

Because in my hurry
to make her real, make her
here, I will forget to write
a bit of light into the room.
– Ocean Vuong

…The original instructions given to the First Peoples stressed that we “have to get along together.” We are all part of the same living wholeness, and only from a place of inclusion can we transform what has been desecrated by a sense of separation. There are of course many different ways to work towards ecological wholeness, from forming a community of urban gardeners, to developing new economic models based upon generosity and sharing rather than acquisition, such as “pay it forward.” And I firmly believe that, while some global initiatives are vital, like reducing carbon emissions, most initiatives should arise from small groups of people coming together. Governments and politicians are too bound to the idea of continued “economic growth” to commit to real change. Instead the world needs to be regenerated in an organic, cellular way, the way life recreates itself.

This is the challenge facing those of the millennial generation who sense that life is something more than the accumulation of “stuff,” who have heard the cry of the Earth, which is also the cry of their own soul. How can we help the world in this time of transition? How can we participate creatively in our lives and communities? There is much work to be done, a work founded upon the principles of oneness and unity, a work that recognizes that all of life is sacred and whole. Life is calling to us and it desperately needs our attention; around us are what Thich Nhat Hanh calls “bells of mindfulness,” which we need to hear and then respond to—hear with our hearts and respond with our hands.

There are many ways to participate, just as Rumi says, “there are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” It is for each person to find the community and initiative that speaks most to their nature, their unique offering. And central to this work is that we are here to help each other and to help the Earth—we are here to be of service. These are the spiritual principles that are the foundation of real work that endures, what the engaged Buddhist Joanna Macy calls The Work that Reconnects.

I also believe that it is important for anyone committing to this work to develop their own spiritual practice—especially helpful is a meditation practice that is done every day. It can be a mindfulness meditation, watching the breath, the Christian practice of centering prayer, or a Sufi heart meditation. It could also be walking in a sacred manner, being aware of our connection to the sacred Earth with every step we take. What matters is that our practice connects us to what is most deep and enduring within us, a Source beyond the illusions of the ego and the many distractions of the outer world. This practice can support and protect us, and inwardly guide us in our work.

If I have learned anything from my journey, it’s that what matters most is love. Love is the most powerful force in creation, and it is our love for the Earth that will heal what we have desecrated, that will guide us through this wasteland and help us to bring light back into our darkening world. Love links us all together in the most mysterious ways, and love can guide our hearts and hands. And the central note of love is oneness. Love speaks the language of oneness, of unity rather than separation.

Doing small things with great love, learning to live and act with love and care, with the true attention of our minds and hearts—these are the signs of the sacred, and the truest way to help life recreate itself. Yes, we have to relearn many of the sacred principles of life, the patterns of creation, to remember what our ancestors and all indigenous people know (what I have called the principles of Spiritual Ecology). But it is for this younger generation to bring these principles into form, into action, and then the future that is waiting can be born. It will not be easy. The forces of greed and exploitation are more entrenched than we realize, and environmental collapse is accelerating. This is the challenge for those whose hearts are young and energized, who care for the planet and for the souls of future generations. This is the next chapter of the story of our time that is waiting to be lived.
– Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Spiritual Principles in Action
A Story for a Younger Generation

Today I must be careful, today I have left my armour at home.
– Jean Rhys

Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, it beauties and ugliness; accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap… Now there are times when a whole generation is caught in this way between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence. Naturally, every one does not feel this equally strongly.
– Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun.
– Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Life is a verb. Life is not a noun, it is really ‘living’ not ‘life’. It is not love, it is loving. It is not relationship, it is relating. It is not a song, it is singing. It is not a dance, it is dancing. See the difference, savor the difference.
– Osho

Someone may be rich and powerful, but without trusted friends they will never be happy. Someone else may be poor, but if they are surrounded by steadfast friends they are sure to be happy. Therefore, taking care of others is the best way to fulfil our own interests. We are social animals-we need to be warm-hearted and to look after others. And if we are to do that we need a strong sense of the oneness of humanity.
– Dalai Lama

what

massacre

happens to my son

between

him

living within my skin.

drinking my cells.

my water.

my organs.

and

his soft psyche turning cruel.

does he not remember

he is half woman.

– Nayyirah Waheed

Americans… are forever searching for love in forms it never takes, in places it can never be. It must have something to do with the vanished frontier.
– Kurt Vonnegut

You hate America, don’t you?
That would be as silly as loving it,’ I said. ‘It’s impossible for me to get emotional about it, because real estate doesn’t interest me. It’s no doubt a great flaw in my personality, but I can’t think in terms of boundaries. Those imaginary lines are as unreal to me as elves and pixies. I can’t believe that they mark the end or the beginning of anything of real concern to a human soul. Virtues and vices, pleasures and pains cross boundaries at will.
― Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

So, like I said, these are a bunch of really sweet guys, but you wouldn’t want to share a Galaxy with them, not if they’re just gonna keep at it, not if they’re not gonna learn to relax a little. I mean it’s just gonna be continual nervous time, isn’t it, right? Pow, pow, pow, when are they next coming at us? Peaceful coexistence is just right out, right? Get me some water somebody, thank you.

He sat back and sipped reflectively.

OK, he said, hear me, hear me. It’s, like, these guys, you know, are entitled to their own view of the Universe. And according to their view, which the Universe forced on them, right, they did right. Sounds crazy, but I think you’ll agree. They believe in …

He consulted a piece of paper which he found in the back pocket of his Judicial jeans.

They believe in `peace, justice, morality, culture, sport, family life, and the obliteration of all other life forms’.
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: The Tertiary Phase

There are no boring people in this world
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko 1932-2017, translated by Boris Dralyuk

There are no boring people in this world.
Each fate is like the history of a planet….
And no two planets are alike at all.
Each is distinct – you simply can’t compare it.

If someone lived without attracting notice
and made a friend of their obscurity –
then their uniqueness was precisely this.
Their very plainness made them interesting.

Each person has a world that’s all their own.
Each of those worlds must have its finest moment
and each must have its hour of bitter torment –
and yet, to us, both hours remain unknown.

When people die, they do not die alone.
They die along with their first kiss, first combat.
They take away their first day in the snow …
All gone, all gone – there’s just no way to stop it.

There may be much that’s fated to remain,
but something – something leaves us all the same.
The rules are cruel, the game nightmarish –
it isn’t people but whole worlds that perish.

If you are lucky in this life, a window will appear between two armies on a battlefield. Instead of seeing their enemies in the window, the soldiers see themselves as children. They stop fighting and go home and sleep. When they wake up, the land is well again.
– Cameron Penny, 9 years old, Detroit, Michigan

We tend to look at the world as two-dimensional, overlooking its interiority, accessible through the spiritual imagination.
– Thomas Moore

The art of living is based on rhythm, on give and take, ebb and flow, light and dark, life and death. By acceptance of all the aspects of life, good and bad, right and wrong, yours and mine, the static, defensive life, which is what most people are cursed with, is converted into a dance, “the dance of life” as Havelock Ellis called it.

But the point is that, by the mere act of dancing, the elements which compose it are transformed; the dance is an end in itself, just like life.The acceptance of the situation, any situation, brings about a flow, a rhythmic impulse towards self-expression. To relax is, of course, the first thing a dancer has to learn . . . It is the first thing any one has to learn in order to live. It is extremely difficult, because it means surrender, full surrender.
– Henry Miller

LIFE
I’m not so good at life anymore.
Sometimes I wake up and don’t recognize it.
Houses, cars, furniture, books are a blur
while trees, birds, and horses are fine
and clear. I also understand music
of an ancient variety – pre-ninteenth century.
Where have I been?
Recounting flowers from the train window
between Seville and Granada, also bulls and olive trees.
I couldn’t sleep in Lorca’s room because it was haunted.
Even the wine I carried was haunted.
Spain has never recovered from this murder.
Her nights are full of the red teeth of death.
There were many who joined him. You can’t count,
up and down, birds and flowers at the same time.
– Jim Harrison

Rules of Recitation
What you need to know is that reading
is an act of worship
and the word is sacred.
More than meaning,
there are mysteries in the curve and sway
of the sound
and the sound lives in your breath
and you were born to praise.

Sit on the floor if you can –
anchor your body in the earth
as your heart is about to soar upwards
and tune in:
this is an old-fashioned
messaging experience – so much faster than instant
form the heart of the divine
into the pulse of your veins.

To read you must recite,
lean into the complex quarter notes
and find your way through the tapestry
of syllables unfurled before you.
Count the beats out on your fingers,
linger in the plush velvet of consonants,
turn the vowels over and over in the light of song;
the sacred demands such opulence.

What you need to know is that in
an impassioned recitation
letters will hum and trill through you,
words will lean and lock into one another,
a gathering of lustrous pearls.
Your lips will purse to conjure softest miracles
and part to sing the expanses of revelation.

To read, you must recite
your voice must distill the music
engraved into the words.
– Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

After You’ve Gone
After you’ve gone, the rhododendrons
of Anacortes remain fully in bloom,
the islands are still deep green
in their blue-green sea, and the gulls
wheel and turn in breezes that never die,
but I am alone like the shell
of a bombed cathedral, a precious ruin.
– Sam Hamill

We have subtle subconscious faculties we are not using. Beyond the limited analytic intellect is a vast realm of mind that includes psychic and extrasensory abilities; intuition; wisdom; a sense of unity; aesthetic, qualitative and creative faculties; and image-forming and symbolic capacities. Though these faculties are many, we give them a single name with some justification for they are working best when they are in concert. They comprise a mind, moreover, in spontaneous c…onnection to the cosmic mind. This total mind we call ‘heart’.
. . .
The heart is the antenna that receives the emanations of subtler levels of existence. The human heart has its proper field of function beyond the limits of the superficial, reactive ego-self. Awakening the heart, or the spiritualized mind, is an unlimited process of making the mind more sensitive, focused, energized, subtle, and refined, of joining it to its cosmic milieu, the infinity of love.
– Kabir Helminski

A traumatized culture comes up with this kind of idea and leaves its footprints everywhere until there is nowhere you cannot find them: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

A good life does not mean just good food, good clothes, good shelter. These are not sufficient. A good motivation is what is needed—compassion, without dogmatis…m, without complicated philosophy—just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and respecting their rights and human dignity.​
– Dalai Lama

Every wrong seems possible today, and is accepted. I don’t accept it.
– Pablo Casals​

We must dare again to dream the impossible and to romance the world, to feel and honor our kinship with all species and habitats, to embrace the troubling wisdom of paradox, and to shape ourselves into visionaries with the artistry to revitalize our enchanted and endangered world.
– Bill Plotkin, Wild Mind

Nature is an incomparable guide if you know how to follow her. She is like the needle of the compass pointing to the North, which is most useful…when you know how to navigate.
– C.G. Jung

To me, the ideal poem is one a person can read and understand on the first level of meaning after one reading. An accessible quality, I think, is important. Give them something to begin with. Something that seems plain and simple but has something strange—something about it that’s not quite ordinary, that will cause them to do repeated readings or to think about it. The ambition is that, each time they read, they will get to another level of the poem.
– Charles Simic

For me a poem is a place where one invites someone in. You build a little house, fix it up real nice. Inside you’ve got a painting on the wall, a new couch, some knick-knacks and souvenirs, a swell meal all laid out on the table, and you open the door and hope somebody comes in.
– Charles Simic

We can live as a shell waiting to crack or as a dove waking to its song.
– Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

Mistakes are tools for learning. Other countries are learning from ours. May we learn from them, too. And quickly!
– Ethan Nichtern

Mystics
are not themselves. They do not exist
in selves.
-Attar

It is true there is not enough
beauty in the world.
It is also true that I am not
competent to restore it.
Neither is there candor, and here
I may be of some use.
– Louise Gluck, October

WHAT GORGEOUS THING
I do not know what gorgeous thing
the bluebird keeps saying,
his voice easing out of his throat,
beak, body into the pink air
of the early morning. I like it
whatever it is. Sometimes
it seems the only thing in the world
that is without dark thoughts.
Sometimes it seems the only thing
in the world that is without
questions that can’t and probably
never will be answered, the
only thing that is entirely content
with the pink, then clear white
morning and, gratefully, says so.
– Mary Oliver

Just resolve to shine, constantly and steadily, like a warm lamp in the corner, and people will want to move towards you in order to feel happy, and to read things more clearly. You will be bright and constant in a world of dark and flux, and this will save you the anxiety of other, ultimately less satisfying things like ‘being cool’, ‘being more successful than everyone else’ and ‘being very thin’.
– Caitlin Moran

Every attitude we assume, ever word we utter, and every act we undertake establishes us in relation to others.
– Stephen Batchelor, Alone with Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism

If anyone – superior or inferior – comes to hinder your practice, you should be unshakable, like an iron boulder pulled by a silk scarf. It won’t do to be a weak character whose head bends in whichever direction the wind blows, like grass on a mountain pass.
– Dudjom Rinpoche

The whole landscape a manuscript
We had lost the skill to read.
– John Montague

Every day we cast the net, and only what is ours returns to us.
*
To enter each day with empty hands, trusting you will receive what you need—such is spiritual poverty.
– Yahia Lababidi

If you only walk on sunny days, you’ll never reach your destination.
– Paulo Coelho

The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air, the fragrance of the grass, speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain, the thunder of the sky, the rhythm of the sea, speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars, the freshness of the morning, the dew drop on the flower, speaks to me.
The strength of fire, the taste of salmon, the trail of the sun, and the life that never goes away, they speak to me. And my heart soars.
– Chief Dan George ​

Sooner or later people believe writers rather than the government.
– Gabriel García Marquez

sung by the Song, re-enchanting the human world…

His favorite occupation seemed to be strolling or sauntering about outdoors by himself, looking at the grass, the trees, the flowers, the vistas of light, the varying aspects of the sky, and listening to the birds, the crickets, the tree-frogs, the wind in the trees, and all the hundreds of natural sounds. It was evident that these things gave him a feeling of pleasure far beyond what they give to ordinary people. Until I kn…ew the man it had not occurred to me that anyone could derive so much absolute happiness and ample fulfilment from these things as he evidently did. He himself never spoke of all this pleasure. I dare say he hardly thought of it, but anyone who watched him could see plainly that in his case it was real and deep.

He had a way of singing, generally in an undertone, wherever he was or whatever he was doing, when alone. You would hear him the first thing in the morning while he was taking his bath and dressing (he would then perhaps sing out in full, ballads or martial songs), and a large part of the time that he sauntered outdoors during the day he sang, usually tunes without words, or a formless recitative.”

– Cosmic Consciousness: chapter 13, Walt Whitman , Richard Maurice Bucke​

Don’t join the book burners. Do not think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go into your library and read every book.
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That’s the essence of inhumanity.
– George Bernard Shaw

I would rather spend my miraculous life moving towards life, putting my attention on yes, investing in any and all experiments that make our species more compatible with this planet I love so much.
– Adrienne Maree Brown

The only words worth anything are words that you think of when you see a butterfly.
– Jack Kerouac-Letter, 1959

As a lamp, a cataract, a star in space
an illusion, a dewdrop, a bubble
a dream, a cloud, a flash of lightning
view all created things like this.
– Red Pine
May 11, 868: The Diamond Sutra, a book of Buddhist teachings, is thought to be the oldest surviving complete printed book that has a date of printing. Bill Porter, pen name Red Pine, is the author of a popular English translation.

Even the simplest piece of visual art holds the mysteries of what it is to be human. Study it and look deeply into it.
– Thomas Moore

GOD IS THE CONTAINER
Under a fluorescent sky
the stranger says,
conscious relationship
has its perils, novices
need not apply, and I
wonder aloud how
humans are newbies
in each coupling, and
what’s needed is a
container for love
and fear, to alchemize
the we and me and
perhaps only experience
can teach us that, and
after watching the guardians
of the universe traverse
our heavenly crucible
I suddenly realize that
God Is The Container,
and I dance around my
living room with satisfaction
until my mind asks, well
how does That work, and
my heart sighs and smiles.
– Randi Ya’el Chaikind

I never wish to be easily defined. I’d rather float over other people’s minds as something strictly fluid and non-perceivable; more like a transparent, paradoxically iridescent creature rather than an actual person.
– Franz Kafka

…since Mary is said to be mother of all things, and God is all things, then who misses heaven?
– Jack Kerouac

I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.
– Ray Bradbury

A great nation is like a great individual:
When they make a mistake, they realize it
Having realized it, they admit it,
Having admitted it, they correct it.
They consider those who point out their faults
As their most benevolent teachers.
They think of their enemy
As the shadow they cast.
– Tao Te Ching, 61 (excerpt)

EULOGY
By Sherman Alexie
My mother was a dictionary.
She was one of the last fluent speakers of our tribal language.
She knew dozens of words that nobody else knew.
When she died, we buried all of those words with her.
My mother was a dictionary.
She knew words that had been spoken for thousands of years.
She knew words that will never be spoken again.
She knew songs that will never be sung again.
She knew stories that will never be told again.
My mother was a dictionary.
My mother was a thesaurus,
My mother was an encyclopedia.
My mother never taught her children the tribal language.
Oh, she taught us how to count to ten.
Oh, she taught us how to say “I love you.”
Oh, she taught us how to say “Listen to me.”
And, of course, she taught us how to curse.
My mother was a dictionary.
She was one of the last four speakers of the tribal language.
In a few years, the last surviving speakers, all elderly, will also be gone.
There are younger Indians who speak a new version of the tribal
language.
But the last old-time speakers will be gone.
My mother was a dictionary.
But she never taught me the tribal language.
And I never demanded to learn.
My mother always said to me, “English will be your best weapon.”
She was right, she was right, she was right.
My mother was a dictionary.
When she died, her children mourned her in English.
My mother knew words that had been spoken for thousands of years.
Sometimes, late at night, she would sing one of the old songs.
She would lullaby us with ancient songs.
We were lullabied by our ancestors.
My mother was a dictionary.
I own a cassette tape, recorded in 1974.
On that cassette, my mother speaks the tribal language.
She’s speaking the tribal language with her mother, Big Mom.
And then they sing an ancient song.
I haven’t listened to that cassette tape in two decades.
I don’t want to risk snapping the tape in some old cassette player.
And I don’t want to risk letting anybody else transfer that tape to digital.
My mother and grandmother’s conversation doesn’t belong in the cloud.
That old song is too sacred for the Internet.
So, as that cassette tape deteriorates, I know that it will soon be dead.
Maybe I will bury it near my mother’s grave.
Maybe I will bury it at the base of the tombstone she shares with my father.
Of course, I’m lying.
I would never bury it where somebody might find it.
Stay away, archaeologists! Begone, begone!
My mother was a dictionary.
She knew words that have been spoken for thousands of years.
She knew words that will never be spoken again.
I wish I could build tombstones for each of those words.
Maybe this poem is a tombstone.
My mother was a dictionary.
She spoke the old language.
But she never taught me how to say those ancient words.
She always said to me, “English will be your best weapon.”
She was right, she was right, she was right.

You can see it with people who love the divine, or God — who miss what doesn’t even exist for anyone else. With people who want this or that, there’s always the risk that their wanting will be fulfilled. But when you want what’s so much greater than yourself there’s never a chance of being finally fulfilled. And yet something very strange happens. When you want that and refuse to settle for anything else, it comes to you. People who love the divine go around with holes in their hearts, and inside the hole is the universe.
– Peter Kingsley, In the Dark Places of Wisdom

Life is both sad and solemn. We are led into a wonderful world, we meet one another here, greet each other – and wander together for a brief moment. Then we lose each other and disappear as suddenly and unreasonably as we arrived.
– Jostein Gaarder

Do what you do more as play than as work, which does not mean that it is not serious … That is the real tragedy of war and weapons: the tragic false seriousness.
– Thomas Merton, Letters

Cherish the mind that is open and humble
– Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

Long enough have you dream’d contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light
and of every moment of your life.
– Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass​

If we are too are adamant it probably means we are wrong. If we have too many anecdotes and illustrative stories, it probably means we don’t grasp the essential meaning. We grasp at mythology and drama because we can’t get at the naked truth.
– Andrew Sweeny

Wholeness is not the same as unity or oneness. Wholeness comes from differentiation and maintains that differentiation to generate a flow of energy that supports interconectedness and organization. Its purpose is to enhance and promote emergence. Wholeness is created and maintained by the power to hold oneself in being and simultaneously to give oneself away. Wholeness emerges from a creative tension and engagement between the part and the whole. The universe unfolds from su…ch tension. Oneness, on the other hand, the unity of all that is, is the mystery on which all things rest. It is the rest state that complements the drive to create wholes.

The point is that the world, like you and I, exists in different states of beingness and relationship with its environment. Some of these states emphasize distinction and difference and others emphasize unity and oneness. None is better than the other. All are necessary. The partnership of the world with the cosmos occurs along all these avenues of relationship, and that is true for you and me in our partnership as well. There is the universal and the individual, the vast and the particular, and both are needed, both are real.
– Apprenticed to Spirit, David Spangler

When the superficial wearies me, it wearies me so much that I need an abyss in order to rest.
– Antonio Porchia

Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.
– André Gide

You must participate in a self in order to know what it is. But by participating you change it. In all existential knowledge both subject and object are transformed by the very act of knowing.
– Paul Tillich

At first silence had seemed a deprivation, a symbol of an unwanted isolation. … After a time I found that I could almost listen to the silence, which had a dimension all of its own. I discovered that I felt at home and alive in the silence: it had become my teacher.
– Karen Armstrong​

To speak of wilderness is to speak of wholeness. Human beings came out of that wholeness.
– Gary Synder

The knowledge of the heart is in no book and is not to be found in the mouths of any teacher, but grows out of you like the green seed from the dark earth.
– Carl Jung ​

David Spangler: When we think of subtle activism, the word “activism” draws our minds to dangerous, challenging, or difficult situations in the world. But really, the greater challenge lies in the brokenness of our human way of doing things. The violence and suffering in a place like Aleppo exists because violence is endemic in the ways we approach our world; it permeates our thinking and ways of behavior. It doesn’t always have to take physical form. Emotional and mental abu…se is everywhere. There is a tendency in modern society to treat people like things, and things can be discarded when they are of no further use or destroyed if they become an obstacle.

So opportunities for holistic activism—activism that draws on both our physical and subtle (i.e. our spiritual, mental, and emotional) aspects—are all around us. They are in our homes, in our jobs, in our places of shopping and entertainment. How much love, how much grace, how much blessing, how much compassion, how much goodwill and open-hearted listening and attentiveness do we bring to the others we meet, the others we work with, the others we live with? We are everyday through our physical and subtle actions shaping the subtle environments that affect us all. What world are we creating in our own backyards?

The true holistic activist knows that every day the world presents him or her with opportunities to heal, to mend, to bless, and to help, either physically or subtly, or best of all, in both ways. This is a discipline of daily awareness. It’s work, but it’s the only kind of work that will truly transform the world.

– Subtle Activism: An Interview with David Spangler (Part 4)
An Interview By Annabel Chiarelli​

It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield.
– W.B. Yeats

I’ve always had a theory that some of us are born with nerve endings longer than our bodies
-Joy Harjo, In Mad Love and War

Only by intertwining these two perspectives, the biological and the phenomenological, can we gain a fuller understanding of the immanent purposiveness of the organism and the deep continuity of life and mind.
– Evan Thompson, Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind

The greatest power one human being can exert over others is to control their perceptions of reality, and infringe on the integrity and individuality of their world. This is done in politics, in psychotherapy.
– Philip K. Dick, Philip K. Dick: The Last Interview and Other Conversations

All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.
– John Steinbeck

You cannot do a kindness too soon,
for you never know when it will be too late.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

…As if your place in the world mattered
and the world could
neither speak nor hear the fullness of

its own bitter and beautiful cry…
without the deep well
of your body resonating in the echo…
– David Whyte​

You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert​

I close my eyes and see


a seagull in the desert,
high, against unbearably blue sky.

There is hope in the past.

I am writing to you
all the time, I am writing

with both hands,
day and night.​
– Franz Wright

Please don’t let anything
in this world /your mind make you think that beautiful, wonderful, loving, generous, kind, helpful, amazing, stabilizing, genuine, positively life-changing things can’t or won’t happen.

They can and they do and they will.​
​- Belle Heywood

The Brain – is wider than the Sky –
For – put them side by side –
The one the other will contain
With ease – and You – beside –


The Brain is deeper than the sea –
For – hold them – Blue to Blue –
The one the other will absorb –
As Sponges – Buckets – do –

The Brain is just the weight of God –
For – Heft them – Pound for Pound –
And they will differ – if they do –
As Syllable from Sound –
– Emily Dickinson​

A writer can endure almost anything as long as his sense of creation is still alive.​
– Lyna Rose

I know now that we never get over great losses;
we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures.
– Gail Caldwell​

Writing is…. being able to take something whole and fiercely alive that exists inside you in some unknowable combination of thought, feeling, physicality, and spirit, and to then store it like a genie in tense, tiny black symbols on a calm white page.
– Mary Gaitskill

Poetry matters more than ever before, because we are more challenged than ever before. Poetry is the essential language that, endlessly branching, enables us to live deeply and envision what matters most.
– Arthur Sze

The Poet Of Ignorance
by Anne Sexton

Perhaps the earth is floating,
I do not know. …
Perhaps the stars are little paper cutups
made by some giant scissors,
I do not know.
Perhaps the moon is a frozen tear,
I do not know.
Perhaps God is only a deep voice
heard by the deaf,
I do not know.

Perhaps I am no one.
True, I have a body
and I cannot escape from it.
I would like to fly out of my head,
but that is out of the question.
It is written on the tablet of destiny
that I am stuck here in this human form.
That being the case
I would like to call attention to my problem.

There is an animal inside me,
clutiching fast to my heart,
a huge crab.
The doctors of Boston
have thrown up their hands.
They have tried scalpels,
needles, poison gasses and the like.
The crab remains.
It is a great weight.
I try to forget it, go about my business,
cook the broccoli, open the shut books,
brush my teeth and tie my shoes.
I have tried prayer
but as I pray the crab grips harder
and the pain enlarges.

I had a dream once,
perhaps it was a dream,
that the crab was my ignorance of God.
But who am I to believe in dreams?​

What history fails to mention is
Most everybody lived their lives
With friends and children, played it cool,
Left truth and beauty to the guys
Who tricked for bigshots, and were fools.
– Gary Snyder

One evening I lay down thinking
wouldn’t it be nice for once
to dream that one poetic image
which would liberate me to write.
As I slept, I dreamt of a huge black lake,
so big and so black it can’t be described.
I was unsure if this was a dream
or if I was really just sleeping,
not dreaming at all, so I felt
around on the banks of my sleep
for a smooth, flat stone to skip
across the surface in the hope
that the ripples, when they collided,
might form that image and tell me
this was the dream I had waited for.
But I couldn’t find a stone. The only
things on the shore were the feathers
of a shredded pillow. When I grasped these
one by one and threw them into the lake,
they flew away to form the stars.
– Kendall Dunkelberg

Guy Clark –
I got a woman I love
Shes crazy and paints like God
Shes got a playground sense of justice
She wont take odds
I got a tattoo with her name
Right through my soul
I think everything she touches
Turns to gold

If we ever make it home to our own universe, let’s vow to share the stories of what happened in this alternate one with love and caution.
– Ethan Nichtern

We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.
– David Brooks

W. H. Auden liked to divide humans into those that wished to return to Eden and those who sought a New Jerusalem. Auden longed hopelessly for Adam and Eve.
via Jaz Allen-Sutton

According to the Buddhist tradition, we are on a journey whether we like it or not, because we are always in a state of transition. Sentient beings are referred to as drowa in Tibetan, which means ‘migrating creatures’. This is because we can never be in a particular place without moving physically, psychologically or spiritually. Whether we are thinking or sensing or experiencing emotions, everything is constantly being propelled or drawn forward. Emotions are “emotions in motion”, because even a state of agitation is a form of movement.

However, if we are not in a state of transition, we could not talk about transformation. Our life would be a closed book, but according to the Buddhist teachings, our lives are not closed books because of this constant forward movement. If we feel that we are stuck, that is only our misunderstanding of what is really going on, for something is always happening even if we do not notice it.
– Traleg Kyabgon

…tradition is only useful insofar as it is a tool or set of tools to help others learn and thus evolve.
The problem with tradition for the most part is that it is not viewed this way but rather an inherently existent thing that must be protected and defended at all costs.
– Clarke Scott

Enlightenment consists not merely in the seeing of luminous shapes and visions, but in making the darkness visible. The latter procedure is more difficult and therefore, unpopular.
– Carl Jung

What does it take for the heart to explode into stars? One day we’ll wake to remember how lovely we are.
– Bruce Cockburn

ANCIENT
this is how my love
for you is ancient
and infinite, my precious

friend –

when someday your inner

and outer life decide

to marry each other,

I will be the first one

Who arrives to witness

this joy and to be
your best man.
– Guthema Roba

in simple words
to be courageous means
to live without fear and regret,
to love without doubt
and to laugh no matter
what happens
– Guthema Roba

FIERCE CLARITY
Being kind
to yourself
begins when,
instead of living
blindly, you start
seeing with fierce
clarity —
instead of following
the mob, you look inside
and follow the hints
sent to you from your
inner-most guidance.
– Guthema Roba

THE BROKEN OPEN REVOLUTIONARY SOUL
by Melissa La Flamme
Go with softness.
With warmth,
fiercely tender
enough
to invite you,
though afraid,
to bare the ground
of your being,
while earth-bound
drenched in humility,
wrapped in
the sort of solid,
yet vulnerable
affection
that reminds you
to keep an animal faith,
say an anima prayer,
dare to
roll around in the feeling
of your own
unshakeable
Goodness.
And with your heart
broken open,
feel
into your belly,
wildly vulnerable
to the danger
of being genuinely
loved.
Right there, yes,
soft, yet centered.
Trust in that.
Trust
in your own soul’s
knowing,
and there,
you will feel all
that is in the heart
of the many,
the heart
of a suffering
come to extract
and unleash
your natural-born
compassion,
calling you Home now.
Not to end with you here —
but to begin
with your own soul’s
courageous revolution
of tenderness,
a revolution so devout
as to help heal a culture
that has all but forgotten
how to love.

Riddles of gullies, hills, orchards
fat with apples, fields of melons
swollen in the sun. God
must be trying to win our attention
again with concrete things.
– Chris Forhan

Before we knew the world, we wanted to know the limits of the world.
– Al Maginnes

Once I lay on the grass and looked upward
To feel myself redeemed into
That world which had no meaning but itself,
As I, lying there, had only the present, no future or past.
– Robert Penn Warren

HOPE
(for Jeremy Corbyn)
Draw water from the well of hope.
How clear & pure it is.
You can never have too much of it.
& when you turn back home,
the stars sing.
– Jaz Allen-Sutton

Speed of Soul Thought
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about labyrinths. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is a symbol of life without meaning, it is an agent of confusion, deception with dead ends that lead you nowhere. But a labyrinth is a symbol of a life of deeper meaning, an on-going sacred journey leading us inward, outward and to greater wholeness. Albeit, there are times when walking in a labyrinth that we cannot see the clear path. It can be bewildering at times that we must return and revisit places that we thought we’d already left behind. The difference rests in the knowledge that there is always a way forward, there is always the next step that will lead us to the deepest center of our truest and most whole self. It requires a journey inward, but it is also a path outward, and a way to show up and travel in the world as a more whole and centered person. There are Labyrinths we walk that that will take a lifetime. It is the long journey that reminds us to trust that everything has lead us here and we are right were we need to be – and then step forward. There the ones we walk everyday, as we endeavor to integrate our inner and outer lives.
– Carrie Newcomer

A scholar tries to learn something every day;
a student of Buddhism tries to unlearn something daily.
– Alan Watts

What matters is this: void. The world alone. The river’s mouth.
– Federico García Lorca, Christmas on the Hudson

In the sky of the mind, the song of truth is a gentle breeze–
Refreshing, sweet, caressing, and good.
Having now received this basic human truth,
Cherish it like an ember of delight in this dark world of doubt.
When you feel scared, be gentle and don’t panic….
Wait a moment, touch your heart,
Feel vulnerable and strong—and then relax.
When you find yourself at the crossroads of genuineness and deception,
Be brave.
Proclaim your basic goodness, and do not forget that you are human.
Realize that the power of goodness is your birthright.
When you feel humble and confident,
You can kiss the sky and smile,
For this is the gift of humanity.
– Sakyong Mipham​

The poet is an embodiment of resistance: resistance against universal apathy, mediocrity, conformity, against institutional pressures to make everything look and become alike. This is why he is so involved with contraries.
– Stanley Kunitz

In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue.
– President Obama​

We are not extraordinary mental acrobats. We are not all that well trained. And even an extraordinarily well-trained mind could not manage many things at once—not even two. But because things are very simple and direct, we can focus on, be aware and mindful of, one thing at a time. That one-pointedness, that bare attention, seems to be the basic point.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

If grasping obscures your view, don’t be timid about cutting it away.
– Padampa Sangye

No one is obligated to feel spiritual remorse; yet, ‘it is written’ in the stars themselves that all must eventually pay for what they have done against themselves, or others. For Justice through balance is the great Law, enforced by a tireless, unfailing Love… whose final consolation is a pure heart no longer capable of inflicting pain upon another, or itself.
– Guy Finley

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world.
– The Charter for Compassion

It is easy to act enlightened and filled with gratitude when personal and surrounding circumstances are relatively fine. It is when tragedy strikes and loss, be…trayal, persecution and adversity come along that we recognize the mark of the mystic; for it is at those times that their light shines most brightly. The mystic moves in the eye of the hurricane and meets all situations and surrounding circumstances with the same equanimity while never losing his/her empathy and humanity.
– Rosamonde Ikshvàku Miller​

To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.
– George MacDonald​

The task of the magician is to startle our senses and free us from outmoded ways of thinking.
– David Abram

Oh, not to be separated,
shut off from the starry dimensions
by so thin a wall.

What is within us…
if not intensified sky
traversed with birds

and deep
with winds of homecoming?
– Rainer Maria Rilke​

Cono felt embarrassed by the thought that he might have been just another pitiful orphan trying to turn his friends into family, and that he might be blinded by this need, a need that colored his whole life, that ache to offer worth to someone.
– Victor Robert Lee, Performance Anomalies​

IF I COULD

If I could make you realise, what it meant being a part of you,
Or how it felt when l realise, that l long lost a part of me in you,
If l could make you understand, the sacred bond we shared,…
Or how strange it is to know ,that the bond never ended,

If l could make you believe, that you seemed to be always there,
Or how did l seem to know, that you unfailingly felt my presence somewhere there,
If l could make you feel the emotions, l cherished for you,
Or how l believed ,that those were always in constant search of you ,

If l could help retrieve and regain, your trust in me
once again,
Or how l regret to have lost it ,and aspired to win it back again,
If l could bring back, a few stolen moments from the nostalgic past,
Or how l continued to live, in the shadow of the haunting past,

If l could cast a magic spell, to transport us from the confines of wherein we survive,
Or how l felt that l wished, to break the numerous shackles and revive,
If l could help us find a way out, through the deceptive illusion,
Or how l wish there was an end , to all the troubles and delusion,

If l could continue walking on the path, so unique yet tortuous,
Or how l expect, the journey to be marvellous and continuous,
If l could implant, the image and memory, etched in our hearts,
Or how l felt ,when memories of you, continued to etch themselves in my mind,

If l could anticipate and search for, the reason of this everlasting desire,
Or how l think, it is impossible to attain as long as fate conspire,
If l could hope for a place, far superior than where we reside,
Or how l feel, this assurance of things, hoped for fulfil without a guide.

– SHALINI SINGH​

I wasn’t mad or disgusted
until much, much later.

(I was actually just *terribly* disappointed~)


It was the first time
I ever really *knew*
that I loved someone
*more* than my own self.
and
because I loved
this way
I did not realize
that
it was ME
who was not there.

I don’t really know what love is.

because I suffer
from a profound disconnect,
I make a lot of mistakes.

you have to learn
to glide across the razor bridge
without drawing blood
if you want to
be proficient
my teacher said.

the floor’s a mess these days
and I’ve departed through my feet.

ghosts’ dance
and
NOW
is gone.
but I’m still here~
bloody mess and all…
– Ari Annona

I was happy but happy is an adult word. You don’t have to ask a child about being happy, you see it. They are or they are not. Adults talk about being happy because largely they are not. Talking about it must be the same as trying to catch the wind.
– Jeanette Winterson

When all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful.
– Ruskin Bond​

The way out of a trap is to study the trap itself, learn how it is built. You can do this by taking the thing apart piece by piece. The trap can’t trap you if it has been taken apart. The result is freedom.
– Bhante Gunaratana​

It was the disturbance of the heart that really concerned me and that insisted on a language.
– Stanley Kunitz

All my days I have longed equally to travel the right road and to take my own errant path.
– Sigrid Undse

Every mother-being wants to be happy, just as a thirst-tormented person wants water. Most beings, however, have no idea how to secure happiness. Confused, they grasp at anything that they think will be rewarding. But they go about it in the wrong way—through grasping, attachment, obsession, or aggression. At best, they are chasing rainbows. At worst, they end up hurting themselves, like someone who tries to lick honey off the sharp edge of a knife.
– Tulku Thondup

To be on journey is to love your life enough to change it, to choose struggle instead of exile, to risk everything with only the glimmering hope you are on the right path.
– Andrew Kopkind

The Good News
They don’t publish
the good news.
The good news is published…
by us.
We have a special edition every moment,
and we need you to read it.
The good news is that you are alive,
and the linden tree is still there,
standing firm in the harsh Winter.
The good news is that you have wonderful eyes
to touch the blue sky.
The good news is that your child is there before you,
and your arms are available:
hugging is possible.
They only print what is wrong.
Look at each of our special editions.
We always offer the things that are not wrong.
We want you to benefit from them
and help protect them.
The dandelion is there by the sidewalk,
smiling its wondrous smile,
singing the song of eternity.
Listen! You have ears that can hear it.
Bow your head.
Listen to it.
Leave behind the world of sorrow
and preoccupation
and get free.
The latest good news
is that you can do it.
– Thich Nhat Hanh​

Learning is expensive. You have to pay with what you cannot afford to lose.
– Stephen Jenkinson​

It starts out young – you try not to be different just to survive – you try to be just like everyone else – anonymity becomes reflexive – and then one day you wake up and you’ve become all those other people – the others – the something you aren’t. And you wonder if you can ever be what it is you really are. Or you wonder if it’s too late to find out.
– Douglas Coupland

II
Two truths approach each other. One comes from within,
one comes from without – and where they meet you have the chance
to catch a look at yourself.
Noticing what is about to happen, you shout desperately: “Stop!
Anything, anything, as long as I don’t have to know myself.”
And there is a boat that wants to put in – tries to, right here –
it will try again thousands of times.
Out of the forest’s dark comes a long boat hook
that’s pushed through the open window
among the party guests who have danced themselves warm.
– Tomas Tranströmer

Who are we, if not a combination of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined? Each life is an encyclopedia, a library, an inventory of objects, a series of styles, and everything can be constantly reshuffled and reordered in every conceivable way.
– Italo Calvino

We must make some effort, but we must forget ourselves in the effort we make.…By the power of practice, the effort will become purer and purer.
– Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

Fiction and poetry are doses, medicine.
What they heal is the rupture reality makes
on the imagination.
– Jeanette Winterson

Two men looked out from prison bars, one saw mud, the other stars.
– Dale Carnegie

Practically speaking, a life that is vowed to simplicity, appropriate boldness, good humor, gratitude, unstinting work and play, and lots of walking, brings us close to the actually existing world and its wholeness.
– Gary Snyder

Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.
– Jack Kerouac

Chogyam Trungpa ~ The fruition of invoking windhorse is symbolized by the universal monarch with a broken heart. Such a person is also humble because of his broken heart. ~ Smile at Fear page 120

The Wayfarer and the Navigational System

What brings you alive?
What shuts you down?


You have to find,
And skill-fully use
The guidance system
Of the heart,
To answer
Such core questions.

Somewhere,
You know
How it works,
This central guidance system.

The ancients knew.
The sacred craft of the
Ancient Polynesian voyagers,
At sea,
Rowing in fog
Hovering over murky waters.

They observed
And followed
The wave patterns,
The water undercurrents,
Even the color of the water,
To inform them of
Lurking dangers,
and signs of approaching
Their island.

Your embodied heart
Works like this too,
And with it you
Can feel and sense
What is lurking in the unclear
Or invisible zones
of feeling,
And you can pick up on
The signals
Of a right way
Forward,
For yourself.

So let your attention
Drop down,
Beneath your brow
And throat,
Into the middle of your body,
Where the central
Navigational system
Resides:
A physical,
Warm bodied
Animal
Who knows how to
Self-Navigate.

I have discovered
My own inner direction
Source,
By paying attention,
To what I feel
Drawn toward,
and what I feel,
Drawn away from.

The way to the office
Is more efficient when
You take the toll road.

The way of adventure is
More rewarding,
But you must take time,
To drive the scenic,
Country roads.

Somewhere,
You know this.
You have entered the
Movie theatre.
You have searched for
Your seat,
Your place….
As you scan the
Auditorium,
Looking at the situation,
Contemplating
The possibilities,
Something in you,
In your body,
Feels drawn towards
A specific place,
A seat, location
That physically and emotionally
feels more right.

That manner of knowing
Is the use of the heart’s
Navigational system.
You don’t think, third row,
Second seat on the right.
That is the head’s way.
But the head has no idea,
What feels right.
Your heart and your body
Know.

Similarly,
Your head doesn’t really know
What you should do with your life,
If you should marry,
Who you should marry,
Nor does it know
What kind of career,
Or what kind of
Holiday you should choose.
It isn’t designed for that.
You have to listen
To your heart,
And find that.

Then, and only then,
Your head may become an ally,
A servant of the heart.

Then it can help you clear the way,
Set goals and remove obstacles,
And make the necessary
Plans and steps towards
Realizing
What the heart really wants.

Now imagine living
your whole life
This way.
It would become your true life,
That bliss-following that
Old Joseph Campbell talked about.

He also said that
Something within you
Tells you when
You are on or
Off the beam.
I call that something, simply
“The Navigational System,”
The “NGS,” for short.
It can be physically felt,
in the middle of your body.
Physically!

The best psychoanalyst or shaman
Cannot tell you what you should do.
They usually have some
problems of their own.
If you are lucky,
They can help you
Clarify what you want,
And help you see if you
Want to pay the price.

The best such professional
Knowledge can do is
Point you back to
The center
Your true core of desiring,
The place where your
Life Dream,
And the feeling of what you really want
Come from.

We all have the capacity for
Listening and saying back.
We all can resume
The central conversation,
A capacity we are each born with.

So take this capacity for a spin.
Use your NGS intentionally
For a while,
Let it lead you on some adventures,
Big and small,
And let us know,
How that coming alive
feels.
Bon Voyage.

– Mikkal, Fire Talk 101. Crows Nest France, 2010
Michael Smith​

To the Moon [fragment]
Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792 – 1822

Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing Heaven, and gazing on the earth,…
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,—
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

There Was a Time When I Loved Alone

There was a time when I loved alone
Without dream or friend


There was a time when your love was untrue
When I endured such torment that

I don’t remember anything now but
There was a river … or a villa …

You confused my heart so much
That love shrank to a riddle

Yet had I been the slightest bit disloyal
You would have taken my life

Time is like snakes
Devouring jasmine in my courtyard

Who can I tell, this sad evening
How bright the line of fate once was on my hand?

– Noshi Gilani​

Poetry is a rich, full-bodied whistle, cracked ice crunching in pails, the night that numbs the leaf, the duel of two nightingales, the sweet pea that has run wild, Creation’s tears in shoulder blades.
– Boris Pasternak​

Writing is…. being able to take something whole and fiercely alive that exists inside you in some unknowable combination of thought, feeling, physicality, and spirit, and to then store it like a genie in tense, tiny black symbols on a calm white page.
– Mary Gaitskill​

I many times thought Peace had come
When Peace was far away—
As Wrecked Men—deem they sight the Land—
At Centre of the Sea—
And struggle slacker—but to prove
As hopelessly as I—
How many the fictitious Shores—
Before the Harbor be—
– Emily Dickinson

The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see.
– Edward Abbey

Bowing: Some say it’s debasement. The ancients made it into spiritual intention, respect, and love.
– Deng Ming-Dao

How beautiful you must be
to have been able to lead me
this far with only
the sound of your going away.
– W.S. Merwin

I dream of lost vocabularies
that might express
some of what we no longer can.
– Jack Gilbert, The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart

The supreme good is like water
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people disdain….
Thus it is like the Tao.
In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.
– Tao Te Ching

You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

Never depend upon institutions or government to solve any problem. All social movements are founded by, guided by, motivated and seen through by the passion of individuals.
– Margaret Mead

Each man had only one genuine vocation – to find the way to himself….His task was to discover his own destiny – not an arbitrary one – and to live it out wholly and resolutely within himself. Everything else was only a would-be existence, an attempt at evasion, a flight back to the ideals of the masses, conformity and fear of one’s own inwardness.
– Hermann Hesse.

Breathing With Life
————————–
A kite
lifts through currents…

not struggling

to change the play

of no certainties

no sweet certainties.
A song bird responds
linking threads
through the distance,
without leaning on promises
that fruit will ripen
as blossoms fall.
Without need
to change
external conditions.
Drawing nourishment
from the Deep Well,
thoughts
like flames in a night fire
move together,
attuned
to the offering.
Without grasping
for rewards
a traveler
rising lotus-like,
opens at dawn
receiving
in the intimacy,
everything
found there.
We learn
what the teacher learned:
‘Nothing shows up
outside ourself
that does not turn us
back to the heart,
that cannot teach
who
we truly are.’
– Chandali Ishta

The more you can free yourself from your internalization of the gaze of others, the more liberated you feel.
– Thanissaro Bhikkhu

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Red Hawk
OLD AGE REQUIRES THE GREATEST COURAGE
The greatest courage is not needed for war,
but for ordinary people growing old.
Like soldiers, the aged are never very far
from death: many are called,
all are chosen. A soldier faces danger
then retreats, but for the old, going back
is not possible; they may hunger
for youth but pray for the luck
of a quick death. When one by one
the body’s systems fail, they must be brave
and face annihilation of the flesh and bone,
the Soul clinging like a shipwrecked sailor, to love;
finally, love is all we are given
to navigate between exhaustion and heaven.

Living is moving; time is a live creek bearing changing lights. As I move, or as the world moves around me, the fullness of what I see shatters. “Last forever!” Who hasn’t prayed that prayer? You were lucky to get it in the first place. The present is a freely given canvas. That it is constantly being ripped apart and washed downstream goes without saying; it is a canvas, nevertheless.

But there is more to the present than a series of snapshots. We are not merely sensitized film; we have feelings, a memory for information and an eidetic memory for the imagery of our pasts.

Our layered consciousness is a tiered track for an unmatched assortment of concentrically wound reels. Each one plays out for all of life its dazzle and blur of translucent shadow-pictures; each one hums at every moment its own secret melody in its own unique key. We tune in and out. But moments are not lost. Time out of mind is time nevertheless, cumulative, informing the present. From even the deepest slumber you wake with a jolt – older, closer to death, and wiser, grateful for breath.

But time is the one thing we have been given, and we have been given to time. Time gives us a whirl. We keep waking from a dream we can’t recall, looking around in surprise, and lapsing back, for years on end. All I want to do is stay awake, keep my head up, prop my eyes open, with toothpicks, with trees.
– Annie Dillard

The soul’s bliss and suffering are bound together.
– Jane Kenyon

THE HOLY LONGING
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
because the mass man will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.

In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you,
when you see the silent candle burning.

Now you are no longer caught in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher love-making sweeps you upward.

Distance does not make you falter.
Now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.

And so long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow, you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth.
– Translation, Robert Bly

Indians never try to explain the unknown. That’s why you hear us talk about the Great Mystery, which we treat with great respect. We always thought the white man was foolish because he claims to know everything about the unknown while knowing nothing about this life; in contrast, we Indians know everything about this life and nothing about what comes after.
– Russell Means

You should therefore cease from practice based on intellectual un-
derstanding, pursuing words and following after speech, and learn the
backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate yourself.
– Zen Master Dogen

We are each of us—every single one of us—meant to be a lens for truths that we ourselves cannot see. ‘The system cannot include the systematizer,’ Kierkegaard once said, a clunky but accurate formulation of a problem that applies even to people who don’t have a philosophical bone in their bodies. Our lives burn up, and our minds within them, and all that we have sought so hard to retain in art or durable projects or familial memory. But to live in faith is to live toward a truth that we can but dimly sense, if at all, and to die in faith is to leave an afterimage whose dimensions and meanings we could never even have guessed at. Something of us—something most us, and least us—is saved and made available for others. This is as true of the politician as it is of the poet, as true of the teacher or the preacher, the mother or the father, as it is of a Danish philosopher.
– Christian Wiman, A Million Little Oblivions

Stop thinking about art works as objects, and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences.
– Brian Eno

A window dribbles with a double tear.
– Douglas Dunn

I would like a simple life
yet all night I am laying
poems away in a long box.
– Anne Sexton

In the antigarden represented by the desert, the question accompanying the poet like her shadow under the sun is: Who am I to be so alone? Who am I if I am not with another? The demand for another is always mute but piercing. All these texts ask for another and all the poets ask for another language, even for a foreign language perhaps, because the essence of poetry is to find strangeness in language.
– Hélène Cixous

The simpler the object the vaster the dream.
– Charles Simic

Once I thought that to begin meant I knew where I was going,
– Richard Jackson

… and my whole being is aching for a green, silent spot …
– Kahlil Gibran

The poet places language beyond the reach of time: or, more accurately, the poet approaches language as if it were a place, an assembly point, where time has no finality, where time itself is encompassed and contained.
– John Berger

Dawn is a thin slit of illuminated
bowerbird blue along mountain lines
– Robert Adamson

Having the equilibrium of a poet, I kept falling in love.
– Frank Stanford

Color possesses me. I don’t have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour: Color and I are one. I am a painter.
– Paul Klee

When you give your heart, problems disappear.
– Shams Tabrizi

You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.
– Ursula K. LeGuin

Maybe forgiveness is just that. The ability to admit someone else’s story.
– Lidia Yuknavitch

A person who thinks only about building walls, and not building bridges, is not Christian.
– Pope Francis

Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No.
– Pablo Picasso

All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.
– Borges

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.
– Rachel Carson

Now the road I always take is detoured, which I curse until I see the heron glide across the small pond I didn’t know was there.
– Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

Looking back over a lifetime,
you see that love
was the answer to everything.
– Ray Bradbury

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Not loving is a letting go. / Listen, / The terrain around here / Is / Far too / Dangerous / For / That.
– Hafez

The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence. The writer is the man or woman who automatically takes a stance against his or her government. There are so many temptations for American writers to become part of the system and part of the structure that now, more than ever, we have to resist. American writers ought to stand and live in the margins, and be more dangerous. Writers in repressive societies are considered dangerous. That’s why so many of them are in jail.
– Don DeLillo

Sometimes Edith came into the room and sat on the bed beside him and they talked. They talked of trivial things–of people they knew casually, of a new building going up on the campus, of an old one torn down; but what they said did not seem to matter. A new tranquility had come between them. It was a quietness that was like the beginning of love, and almost without thinking, Stoner knew why it had come. They had forgiven themselves for the harm they had done each other, and they were rapt in a regard of what their life together might have been.
– John Williams, Stoner

The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.
– John Ruskin

I said: ‘You’re very harsh.’

‘But,’ He answered,
‘My harshness comes from goodness,
not from rancour, not from spite.

I strike down those who enter saying, “I…” –
for this is Love’s tabernacle,
not a cocktail party.

Rub your eyes…
behold the image of your heart!

– Rumi

When I consider that the nobler animal have been exterminated here – the cougar, the panther, lynx, wolverine, wolf, bear, moose, dear, the beaver, the turkey and so forth and so forth, I cannot but feel as if I lived in a tamed and, as it were, emasculated country… Is it not a maimed and imperfect nature I am conversing with? As if I were to study a tribe of Indians that had lost all it’s warriors…I take infinite pains to know all the phenomena of the spring, for instance, thinking that I have here the entire poem, and then, to my chagrin, I hear that it is but an imperfect copy that I possess and have read, that my ancestors have torn out many of the first leaves and grandest passages, and mutilated it in many places. I should not like to think that some demigod had come before me and picked out some of the best of the stars. I wish to know an entire heaven and an entire earth.
– Henry David Thoreau

Nothing makes time pass or shortens the way like a thought that absorbs in itself all the faculties of the one who is thinking. External existence is then like a sleep of which this thought is the dream. Under its influence, time has no more measure, space has no more distance.
– Alexandre Dumas

I alternate between thinking of the planet as home – dear and familiar stone hearth and garden – and as a hard land of exile in which we are all sojourners.
– Annie Dillard

At some point, one asks, “Toward what end is my life lived?” A great freedom comes from being able to answer that question. A sleeper can be decoyed out of bed by the sheer beauty of dawn on the open seas. Part of my job, as I see it, is to allow that to happen. Sleepers like me need at some point to rise and take their turn on morning watch for the sake of the planet, but also for their own sake, for the enrichment of their lives. From the deserts of Namibia to the razor-backed Himalayas, there are wonderful creatures that have roamed the Earth much longer than we, creatures that not only are worthy of our respect but could teach us about ourselves.
– Diane Ackerman, The Rarest of the Rare: Vanishing Animals, Timeless Worlds

If you’ve managed to do one good thing,
the ocean doesn’t care.
But when Newton’s apple
fell toward the earth,
the earth, ever so slightly, fell
toward the apple as well.
― Ellen Bass

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.
– Rachel Carson

The purpose of art is to stop time.
– Bob Dylan

We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness. In this exquisitely connected world, it’s never a question of ‘critical mass.’ It’s always about critical connections.
– Grace Lee Boggs

MORNING BIRDS
I waken the car
whose windscreen is coated with pollen.
I put on my sunglasses.
The birdsong darkens.

Meanwhile another man buys a paper
at the railway station
close to a large goods wagon
which is all red with rust
and stands flickering in the sun.

No blank space anywhere here.

Straight through the spring warmth a cold corridor
where someone comes running
and tells how up at head office
they slandered him.

Through a back door in the landscape
comes the magpie
black and white.
And the blackbird darting to and fro
till everything becomes a charcoal drawing,
except the white clothes on the washing-line:
a palestrina chorus.

No blank space anywhere here.

Fantastic to feel how my poem grows
while I myself shrink.
It grows, it takes my place.
It pushes me aside.
It throws me out of the nest.
The poem is ready.
– Tomas Tranströmer

As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.
– John Muir

Here the ways of men divide. If you wish to strive for peace of soul and happiness, then believe; if you wish to be a disciple of truth, then inquire.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.
– Aldous Huxley

When a man hears her voice, sweetness and thoughts
Of ways to serve others come into his body.
I say then, much praise to the first man who glimpsed her.
And when she smiles, for even a short time, there is a feeling
Of someone, I cannot speak of, nor keep in remembrance.
This is all some sort of miracle, fresh, amazing.
– Dante Alighieri

It is when we stop believing that religions have been handed down from above or else that they are entirely daft that matters become more interesting. We can then recognize that we invented religions to serve two central needs which continue to this day and which secular society has not been able to solve with any particular skill: first, the need to live together in communities in harmony, despite our deeply rooted selfish and violent impulses. And second, the need to cope with terrifying degrees of pain which arise from our vulnerability to professional failure, to troubled relationships, to the death of loved ones and to our decay and demise. God may be dead, but the urgent isssues which impelled us to make him up still stir and demand resolutions which do not go away when we have been nudged to perceive some scientific inaccuracies in the tale of the seven loaves and fishes.

The error of modern atheism has been to overlook how many aspects of the faiths remain relevant even after their central tenets have been dismissed. Once we cease to feel that we must either prostrate ourselves before them or denigrate them, we are free to discover religions as repositories of a myriad ingenious concepts with which we can try to assuage a few of the most persistent and unattended ills of secular life.
– Alain De Botton

In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference… Poised midway between the unvisualizable cosmic vastness of curved spacetime and the dubious, shadowy flickerings of charged quanta, we human beings, more like rainbows and mirages than like raindrops or boulders, are unpredictable self-writing poems — vague, metaphorical, ambiguous, and sometimes exceedingly beautiful.
– Douglas Hofstadter

And all you’re always trying to do is to make it visible again in some present way rather than having a recycled and processed version of the world, which you can get everywhere. There’s a million people who are going to give you what you’ve already heard a million times so the only thing I can do is my weirdness, my own particular strangeness might notice something that will make it visible to you as a reader in a way that you weren’t expecting, but that seems true to you. You can’t just say weird stuff, it has to be true. So that is always the challenge and that’s the joy of it when you get it right.
– Dana Spiotta

White Man came to this country and forgot his original Instructions. We Indians have never forgotten our Instructions . . . Our Instructions are very simple – to respect the Earth and each other, to respect LIFE ITSELF. That’s our first commandment, the first line of our Gospel.
– Mathew King

Peaceful is the one who’s not concerned with having more or less.
– Rumi

The inner — what is it?
if not the intensified sky,
hurled through with birds and deep
with the winds of homecoming.
– Rilke

Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.
– Anne Lamott

What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.
– Helen Keller

ANCIENT MELODY

I must be careful what I ask for,
I may just get it, and asking you


to call me by my full name,
to call me to my soul’s purpose

with each address, unexpectedly
brings a discomforting vulnerability

because the result of your respectful
response is that I feel seen and heard,

answering a lifetime of prayers, yet
now I cannot hide behind the skirts

of old myths for you are weaving
magical blessings into reality and

now electricity courses through my
body each time I hear my name,

binding me to the earth with the
familiar sounds of an ancient melody

that reminds me how to live, and as
this majestic beauty shakes me awake

the only choice I have is to fully step
into the beckoning warm light.
– Randi Ya’el Chaikind​

You know what’s better than getting everything you want in life? Not wanting it in the first place! Boy, that’s liberating! Think about it, most of our anguish is caused by unmet desires, cravings, and longing for so many things, people, or experiences. But if we train ourselves to be grateful for what we have instead of feeling deprived of what we don’t, then happiness is not about the glass being half full instead of half empty, it’s a result of being grateful that we have a glass in the first place! Try it out sometime, and you’ll see the smiling is inevitable.
– Timber Hawkeye

In the practice of our days, to listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.
– Mark Nepo

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. they will practise Indian yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet, learn theosophy by heart, or mechanically repeat mystic texts from the literature of the whole world – all because they cannot get on with themselves and have not the slightest faith that anything useful could ever come out of their own souls. Thus the soul has gradually turned into a Nazareth from which nothing good can come. Therefore let us fetch it from the four corners of the earth – the more far-fetched and bizarre it is the better!
– C. G. Jung​

Spring was like a call to me
That I could not answer,
I was chained to loneliness,
I, the dancer.
– Sara Teasdale​

Something about the brains of both progressives and people who meditate: it’s *way* too easy to make us feel hopeless. Especially when things are moving in a good direction.

Keep your head up and your heart open​
– Ethan Nichtern

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.
– Henry David Thoreau​

Poem . . . A minute

A teardrop of loyalty
fell
In a moment of weakness…
in a moment of serenity
Echoes the Truth
frequency
It is time to meet
good bye
Each has known its way
The glasses of hope
are empty
the drink
the Mirage
Removed by the sun

realty
A teardrop of loyalty
fell
and shook
the Land of hypocrisy
lowered
the curtain
on fighting
on difference
on Agreement
a minute
now Everyone stands up
in a minute of truth
Minute of condolence
minute of clarity
– Poet/The Old Singer, Muhammad Ismail

Chogyam Trungpa ~ We often invent and substitute somebody else for ourselves, some mythical person who doesn’t even exist. Then we fail to find our own human quality, and we run into a lot of trouble. ~ Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery pg 95

When we are towards the end of ourselves, we begin to believe that we are only what we struggle with.
– Pádraig Ó Tuama

On the journey of the warrior-bodhisattva, the path goes down, not up, as if the mountain pointed toward the earth instead of the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward turbulence and doubt however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others, companions in awakening from fear.
– Pema Chodron​

Here is the heart of Twelve Step recovery – quit playing God.
– Rami Shapiro​

O my mind,
Worship the lotus feet of the Indestructible One!
Whatever thou seest twixt earth and sky
Will perish.


Why undertake fasts and pilgrimages?
Why engage in philosophical discussions?
Why commit suicide in Banaras?
Take no pride in the body,
It will soon be with the dust.

This life is like the sporting of sparrows,
It will end with the onset of night.
Why don the ochre robe
And leave home as a sannyasi?

Those who adopt the external garb of a Yogi,
But do not penetrate to the secret,
Are caught again in the net of rebirth.
Mira’s Lord is the courtly Giridhara.
Deign to sever, O Master.
All the knots in her heart.
– Mirabai​

Chogyam Trungpa ~ For students who see the world in a very naïve way and have naïve attitudes toward spirituality, goodness is the issue, peace is the issue, euphoric states of Samadhi are the issue; therefore, they try to cultivate those things. ~ The Truth of Suffering and the Path of Liberation pg 98

We can live any way we want. People take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience— even of silence—by choice. The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse. This is yielding, not fighting.
– Annie Dillard

What is magic? In the deepest sense, magic is an experience. It’s the experience of finding oneself alive within a world that is itself alive…. It is the experience of contact and communication between oneself and something that is profoundly different from oneself: a swallow, a frog, a spider weaving its web… Magic is that astonishing experience of contact and conviviality between myself and another shape of existence, whether that be a person, or an aspen tree, or a gust… of wind. It’s that sense of wonderment that arises from the encounter with that which I cannot fathom, with something that I cannot ever fully plumb with my thoughts or understanding. Many of my most intense experiences of magic have been encounters in the wild with other species, other shapes of earthly intelligence. From the meeting and exchange that one might call interspecies communication…

…a magician, really, is one…..who can communicate with the elements, or call a wild hawk down out of the sky — one who can understand something of the language of the other animals, or who can communicate quietly with certain plants and so is able to draw upon the particular powers of certain herbs in order to heal or alleviate illness…

The magician ….is someone who is adept at altering the perceptual field, adept at shifting others’ senses, or at altering her own senses in order to make contact with another shape of awareness, another entity that perceives the world very differently than we do — with a coyote, perhaps, or a frog. Or a whole forest, for that matter. things around us. For instance, when we speak of the behavior of other animals as just “programmed” in their genes, it deadens our ears to the all the birdsong going on around us. ‘Cause those birds, we assume, are not really saying anything; those are just automatic sounds, “programmed,” as it were. So our ears begin to close down — we become deaf to the living voices all around us. And our eyes, too, begin to glaze over. If we speak of the world as a mechanically determined set of processes, then there’s no real strangeness or mystery to engage the curiosity of our senses, and so our senses begin to shut down, and we come to live more and more in our heads.

The magician….. is someone who is adept at altering the perceptual field, adept at shifting others’ senses, or at altering her own senses in order to make contact with another shape of awareness, another entity that perceives the world very differently than we do — with a coyote, perhaps, or a frog. Or a whole forest, for that matter.
– David Abram​

Know how to live within yourself: there is in your soul a whole world of mysterious and enchanted thoughts; they will be drowned by the noise without; daylight will drive them away; listen to their singing and be silent.
– Fyodor Tyutchev​

Here
Kim Addonizio, 1954

After it ended badly it got so much better
which took a while of course but still…
he grew so tender & I so grateful
which maybe tells you something about how it was
I’m trying to tell you I know you
have staggered wept spiraled through a long room
banging your head against it holding crushed
bird skulls in your hands your many hearts unstrung
unable to play a note their wood still beautiful
& carved so elaborately maybe a collector would want them
stupid collectors always preserving & never breaking open
the jars so everyone starves while admiring the view
you don’t own anyone everything will be taken from you
go ahead & eat this poem please it will help​

I always find it weird when people disagree with an insight. It’s like saying, the night is more true than the day. Anyway, an insight is suppose to reveal more depth – not be a conclusion. Conclusions are very boring. A real though is a revelation not a conclusion. One can explore all kinds of angles of reality – sometimes we appear to contradict ourselves, but so what.
– Mathieu Thiem

If we are too adamant it probably means we are wrong. If we have too many anecdotes and illustrative stories, it probably means we don’t grasp the essential meaning. We grasp at mythology and drama because we can’t get at the naked truth.
– Andrew Sweeny

For unnumbered centuries of human history the wilderness has given way. The priority of industry has become dogma. Are we as yet sufficiently enlightened to realize that we must now challenge that dogma, or do without our wilderness? Do we realize that industry, which has been our good servant, might make a poor master?
– Aldo Leopold

The tactic of nonviolence is a tactic of love that seeks the salvation and redemption of the opponent, not their defeat.”
– Thomas Merton​

The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.
– Audre Lorde​

Jose A. Alcantara

VIOLACEAE

If we must have violence, then let it be
the violence of violets, how they burst
into spring, before most anything else—
vanguard of the voluptuous—
unravelling their petals, their leaves
to attract whatever will love them.
If we must rant and rave, then let us
do so as they do, inconspicuously,
close to the ground, in all the wet places
until something with a stinger comes
and mounts us, turning us inward
where we learn what it is to sweeten.​

So much of being a poet is looking other people in the eyes.
– Phil Levine​

No poem is intended for the reader, no picture for the beholder, no symphony for the listener.
​- Walter Benjamin, The Task Of The Translator

When a reader falls in love with a book, it leaves its essence inside him, like radioactive fallout in an arable field, and after that there are certain crops that will no longer grow in him, while other, stranger, more fantastic growths may occasionally be produced.
– Salman Rushdie

Painters have often taught writers how to see.
– James Baldwin​

Wang Wei (c. 700-761), who chose the art name Mojie, was a Tang Dynasty Buddhist painter, poet, musician, and statesman. He had a strong influence on a number of poets in his generation, but that influence extended forward in time to the famous Japanese haiku master Yosa Buson (1716-1784). In this book, 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, editor-commentator Eliot Weinberger gathers a single poem of Wang Wei’s that has been translated more than thirty times, and offers commentary …on each translation. Here are two of them:

No people are seen on this mountain.
Only voices, far off, are heard.
Light breaks through the branches.
Spread among the grass it shines green.
– Octavio Paz, 1974

Deep in the mountain wilderness
Where nobody ever comes
Only once in a great while
Something like the sounds of a far off voice,
The low rays of the sun
Slip through the dark forest,
And gleam again on the shadowy moss.
– Kenneth Rexroth, 1970​

We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Breath is the only medicine for fear.​
– Karen Maezen Miller

A Field Guide to Goodness

7 ways to identify and eradicate evil wherever you live:
1. Envy is cured by Kindness
2. Gluttony is cured by Temperance…
3. Greed is cured by Charity
4. Lust is cured by Self-Control
5. Pride is cured by Humility
6. Laziness is cured by Diligence
7. Anger and Hate are cured by Patience

– Source: The Bible​

Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
– James 5 NRSV​

A PAGE OF THE NIGHT BOOK
I stepped ashore one May night
in the cool moonshine
where grass and flowers were grey
but the scent green.

I glided up the slope
in the colour-blind night
while white stones
signaled to the moon.

A period of time
a few minutes long
fifty-eight years wide.

And behind me
beyond the lead-shimmering waters
was the other shore
and those who ruled.

People with a future
instead of a face.
– Tomas Tranströmer
translated by Robin Fulton

The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.
– John Berger

If you fulfil the pattern that is peculiar to yourself, you have loved yourself,you have accumulated and have abundance; you bestow virtue then because you have luster. You radiate; from your abundance something overflows. But if you hate and despise yourself – if you have not accepted your pattern- then there are hungry animals (prowling cats and other beasts and vermin) in your constitution which get at your neighbors like flies in order to satisfy the appetites which you have failed to satisfy. Therefore, Nietzsche says to those people who have not fulfilled their individual pattern that the bestowing soul is lacking. There is no radiation, no real warmth; there is hunger and secret stealing.
– C. G. Jung Nietzche’s Zarathustra: Notes of the Seminar.

What I know is this: when one hungers for light it is only because one’s knowledge of the dark is so deep.
– Terry Tempest Williams

Everything we do is part of our opus, the making of a soul—especially our job. So It’s good to consider how it shapes us.
– Thomas Moore

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ The minute we question the nature of suffering and whether things are really what they seem, we start to move toward the sacred world.

In Her Voice
Until you have been a caged bird,
you cannot truly appreciate the grace of flight,
nor know what it is in your heart to sing a song
from the branch of freedom.
Until you have been beaten down,
you cannot truly appreciate what it is to rise,
and to rise up on the behalf of others.
Until you can hold your fists when others let them fly,
Until you can let the tears come like angels to save
you from your own bitterness,
Until you can package your wounds in colorful wrappings
and glossy ribbons and give them away
to those who have nothing,
nothing,
Until then, you have not found your own longing.
So, keep going.
Let this world be your place of dark beauty.
Let your heart find its point of breaking.
Earn your joy.
Earn it with all the might of your soul!
But, never forget –
“Don’t you dare ever let me think that you have forgotten!”
It has been there all along.
– Jamie K. Reaser
For Maya Angelou, with deep appreciation for her gifts

I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful.
Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth!

I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.
– Nietzsche

Seated Figure
Louise Glück
It was as though you were a man in a wheelchair,
your legs cut off at the knee.
But I wanted you to walk.
I wanted us to walk like lovers,
arm in arm in the summer evening,
and believed so powerfully in that projection
that I had to speak, I had to press you to stand.
Why did you let me speak?
I took your silence as I took the anguish in your face,
as part of the efforts to move —
It seemed I stood forever, holding out my hand.
And all that time, you could no more heal yourself
than I could accept what I saw.

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ If we didn’t always try to capture or flee from our experience, we could be in love with everything.

The longing for things
that you could not have,
the yearning for places
you were not destined to arrive.
Wistful memories of what was not ever meant to be.
Regret for not being who
you thought you would become.
These hallucinations of the soul are agonizing prisoners
that must be pardoned and released.
Clear the room.
Open the door
and let them leave.
And in this space,
you’ll paint a glorious existence of being here with presence and contentment for what truly is a relevant and meaningful life.
– Susan Frybort

ALCAIC
This forest in May. It haunts my whole life:
the invisible moving van. Singing birds.
In silent pools, mosquito larvae’s
furiously dancing question marks.

I escape to the same places and same words.
Cold breeze from the sea, the ice-dragon’s licking
the back of my neck while the sun glares.
The moving van is burning with cool flames.
– Tomas Tranströmer
translated by Patty Crane
– Bright Scythe

It’s hard to be neurotic in a grove of trees.
– Thomas Merton

When people strive toward honorable goals, I give them my approval, and all the more when they apply themselves strenuously and do not let themselves be defeated or thwarted. I cry, ‘Better so! Rise to the occasion! Take a deep breath, and climb that hill—at one bound, if you can do it!’
“Noble spirits are nourished by hard work.”
— Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, 31.4–5

I followed the course
From chaos to art
Desire the horse
Depression the cart
– Leonard Cohen

Song of Samsara ~ by Milarepa
When you are young and vigorous
You never think of old age coming,
But it approaches slow and sure
Like a seed growing underground.
When you are strong and healthy
You never think of sickness coming,
But it descends with sudden force
Like a stroke of lightning.
When involved in worldly things
You never think of death’s approach.
Quick it comes like thunder
Crashing round your head.
Sickness, old age and death
Ever meet each other
As do hands and mouth.
Waiting for his prey in ambush,
Yama is ready for his victim,
When disaster catches him.
Sparrows fly in single file. Like them,
Life, Death and Bardo follow one another.
Never apart from you
Are these three ‘visitors’.
Thus thinking, fear you not
Your sinful deeds?
Like strong arrows in ambush waiting,
Rebirth in Hell, as Hungry Ghost, or Beast
Is (the destiny) waiting to catch you.
If once into their traps you fall,
Hard will you find it to escape.
Do you not fear the miseries
You experienced in the past?
Surely you will feel much pain
If misfortunes attack you?
The woes of life succeed one another
Like the sea’s incessant waves
One has barely passed, before
The next one takes its place.
Until you are liberated, pain
and pleasure come and go at random
Like passers-by encountered in the street.
Pleasures are precarious,
Like bathing in the sun;
Transient, too, as snowstorms
Which come without warning.
Remembering these things,
Why not practise the Dharma?
– Milarepa, The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa.

AN ODE TO MELODY
(For all those who feel that music existed before the Big Bang)
Music…
Ah!
It’s a whole new revolution
It’s a falling
Down
Through skies that have
Seen new constellations rise
It’s beyond time
Flowing through a thousand ages
And never coming back
Back to you and me
It’s a rising
Cold wet mist
On mountains that have
Aged
Suddenly
Of silent passages of time
That have witnessed
Heartaches and heartbreaks
And in weeping tears of pain
Risen again
Like a Phoenix
From the ashes
Of forgotten yesterdays
And skimmed the waters
Of a sea
Seething and churning
Emotions
And dipping it’s wings
Burnished gold
In a final salute
To all that was and will be
Flies back home
To you
Ah! Music
I salute you…..
– Anita Limbu Moktan

I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people that dream and support and do things.
– Amy Poehler

Do not mistake me for my mask. You see light dappling on the water and forget the deep, cold dark beneath.
– Patrick Rothfuss

Your love may lie lost and deep,
You may have to hire a water witch
To break a stick
And hunt for your love.
– Frank Stanford

Every being cries out silently to be read differently.
– Simone Weil

Happiness
Raymond Carver
So early it’s still almost dark out.
I’m near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.
When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.
They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren’t saying anything, these boys.
I think if they could, they would take
each other’s arm.
It’s early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.
They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.
Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn’t enter into this.
Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

Solve all your problems through meditation. Exchange unprofitable religious speculations for actual God-contact. Clear your mind of dogmatic theological debris; let in the fresh, healing waters of direct perception. Attune yourself to the active inner Guidance; the Divine Voice has the answer to every dilemma of life. Though man’s ingenuity for getting himself into trouble appears to be endless, the Infinite Succor is no less resourceful.
– Sri Lahiri Mahasaya

When an ecosystem is fully functioning, all the members are present at the assembly…and to consider the possibility of reactivating membership in the Assembly of All Beings is in no way regressive.
– Gary Snyder

Night bird by Yahia Lababidi

How night descends, enveloping us in its great sacred wings,
with the promise of a deeper silence than day dared to offer
Now, if only we can endure this tremendous stillness
we might still be restored to ourselves, once again
Tread lightly, cover the smiling mirrors and sullen screens
don’t let any spirit escape through the 1,001 trap doors
Listen, those are your own footsteps you hear approaching

Don’t look around, or move much, enemies of the holy hush
crouch nearby, ready to pounce. They want your attention
in pieces, smashed like a porcelain vase. The quiet majesty
of your mounting wholeness disturbs them more than anything else
Try, try with all your might, to make it last the night. As you tremble
and sweat, remember this triumph next time you forsake your oaths.

And while I stood there
I saw more than I can tell
and I understood more than I saw,
for I was seeing in a sacred manner
the shapes of all things in the spirit
and the shape of all shapes as
they must all live together
as one being.
– Black Elk

Love is a powerful tool, and maybe, just maybe, before the last little town is corrupted and the last of the unroaded and undeveloped wildness is given over to dreams of profit, maybe it will be love, finally, love for the land for its own sake and for what it holds of beauty and joy and spiritual redemption that will make [wilderness] not a battlefield but a revelation.
– T. H. Watkins

My soul tells me, we were all broken from the same nameless heart, and everything wakes with a piece of that original heart aching its way into blossom.
– Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

[T]he person who is normal in terms of being well adapted is often less healthy than the neurotic person in terms of human values. Often he is well adapted only at the expense of having given up his self in order to become more or less the person he believes he is expected to be.
– Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom

The pathetic superstition prevails that by knowing more and more facts one arrives at knowledge of reality. Hundreds of scattered and unrelated facts are dumped into the heads of students; their time and energy are taken up by learning more and more facts so that there is little left for thinking. To be sure, thinking without a knowledge of facts remains empty and fictitious; but “information” alone can be just as much of an obstacle to thinking as the lack of it.
– Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom

I went to a restaurant that serves ‘breakfast at any time’. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.”
– Steven Wright

The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.
– T.H. White

You’ve got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art.
– Aldous Huxley

The death of self of which the great writers speak is no violent act. It is merely the joining of the great rock heart of the earth in its roll. It is merely the slow cessation of the will’s spirits and the intellect’s chatter: it is waiting like a hollow bell with a stilled tongue. Fuge, tace, quiesce. The waiting itself is the thing.”
– Annie Dillard

You kept me out in the field.
Outside your room.
Outside, away from your feet and hands.
In total trust , I accepted.
Then,
One day,

Suddenly I knew,

It was so

I could find all that you are,

here in the daisies.
– Belle Heywood

The sage battles his/her own ego.
The fool battles everyone else’s.
– Sufi Poverb

3rd Chorus from Kerouac’s Blues

There is a song so tender
that if you were to hear it
your heart would burst

I heard it in a dream once
and I woke to the sound
of my heart breaking

And so I keep the strings tuned
and do heart work
and wait for this tender vision

The modern hero, the modern individual who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion of that presence with whom it is our whole destiny to be atoned, cannot, indeed, must not, wait for his community to cast off it’s slough of pride, fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding. ‘Live,’ Nietzsche said, ‘as though the day were here.’ It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. And so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal––carries the cross of the redeemer––not in the bright moments of his tribe’s great victories, but in the silences of his personal despair.
– Joseph Cambell

This is June, the month of grass and leaves … already the aspens are trembling again, and a new summer is offered me.
– Henry David Thoreau

Of Cascadia
I came here nearly forty years ago,
broke and half broken, having chosen
the mud, the dirt road, alder pollen and
a hundred avenues of gray across the sky
to be my teachers and my muses.
I chose a temple made of words and made a vow.

I scratched a life in hardpan. If I cried
for mercy or cried out in delight,
it was because I was a man choosing
carefully his way and his words, growing
as slowly as the trunks of cedars
in the sunlit garden.

Let the ferns and the moss remember
all that I have lost or loved, for I carry
no regrets, no ambition to live it
all again. I can’t make it better
than it’s been or will be again
as the seasons turn and an old man’s heart

turns nostalgic as he sips his wine alone.
I have lived in Cascadia, no paradise
nor any hell, but both at once and made,
as Elytis said, of the same material.
A poor poet, I studied war and love.
But Cascadia is what I’m of.
– Sam Hamill

How do you know if someone loves you? When they commit to your growth and not to your staying the same.
– Mark Nepo, The Way Under the Way

Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.
– Wendell Berry

I may have changed my mind on a lot of things. I feel much less sophisticated than I used to be.

What I am devoted to now is carved into my breastplate. It’s clear. I don’t want to take the long route to my own morality. I can’t. I have a lion living under my desk.

I’ve spent a significant amount of time recently living through deeply paradoxical situations; I think most adults do. And it certainly aids in the development of a sense of humour. But I won’t live in paradox to… the degree whereby the truth north of my own heart gets muzzled. Fuck that.

Yes, anything can get stale, I know that. You walk through the back of the wardrobe and there’s no Otherworld.

So dogma is the world’s worst cologne for a spiritual life. It’s useful to not wag the finger but rather attend to your own garden.

I try and remain curious and lively to what is unfolding around me; I look for mythic threads that gleam in the most mundane of scenarios. I try and rescue others’ thrown-away stories. I’m infinitely more invested in kindness than I used to be. Not niceness, but kindness. It is the most potent of alchemies.
– Martin Shaw​

Chogyam Trungpa ~ Insights come only when there are gaps in our struggle, only when we stop trying to rid ourselves of thought, when we cease siding with pious, good thoughts against bad, impure thoughts, only when we allow ourselves simply to see the nature of thought. ~ Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism – pg 180

I laugh and fall dreaming again
of the desire to show you to everyone I love
– Adrienne Rich​

Let us declare a peace with the natural world, where all of our activities support biodiversity and cultural diversity. Let’s establish a thoughtful, caring and tender way of being in and of the world. This ethic respects the prana of everyday life: bird prana, human prana, forest prana, river prana. The winds (prana vayu) are everywhere and in everything, sustaining every human perception, breath and… thought. If there were such a thing as spiritual ecology, we might be able to listen to the imbalance of prana and wonder how we can help bring the great winds of life back into balance.
– Michael Stone, Awake in the World​

Love that does not renew itself every day becomes a habit and in turn a slavery.
– Khalil Gibran

Sueyeun Juliette Lee:

To write and read a poem is to potentially shake loose the drapes over the machinery, to assist in sensitizing new reading and mindfulness habits that can allow us to see otherwise or through. … Those who take on poetry as their primary means for engaging the world are choosing to take on this central conundrum of sign, affect, and perception that shapes the consensual reality we inhabit.

The Blue Woman Army
by Norman Fischer

Here comes the blue woman army
This army of blue women
Promises a blue world …
no more brutality
no more blindly
Battering the barriers
erected against
the disaffected
These blue women promise
love they promise

Cool kindness promote
A floating ascendancy
Of the poem which will cover
Sky earth and sea
With its gentle
eroticism
Influencing all
To lift up those
who’ve fallen down

Even to pull up the socks
Of the wicked
All hail
The blue woman army​

When we read the Gospel texts carefully, we see that the only people Jesus seems to “exclude” are those who exclude others. Exclusion might be described as the core sin. Don’t waste any time rejecting, excluding, eliminating, or punishing anyone or anything else. Everything belongs, including you.”
– Fr. Richard Rohr​

The faster we run, the more determined is the Universe to slow us down. The more embedded our methods of self-distraction, the more agitating the truth-aches calling us back to authenticity. The more eagerly we race to the sky, the more intense the lessons that bring us back to earth. The Universe has no interest in our flight from reality. It wants us right here. Nowhere else… but here.”
– Jeff Brown, Ascending With Both Feet on the Ground​

There is still a window of time. Nature can win If we give her a chance.
– Dr. Jane Goodall​

Draw into yourself and look and if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful. He cuts away here, he smooths there. He makes this line lighter, that one purer. Cut away all the excess. Straighten all that is crooked. Bring light to all that is overcast. Labor to make all one glow or beauty and never cease chiseling your statue…
– Plotinus ​

As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens.
– Stephen Graham

Life can’t be about utility — it has also to be about emotion, it has to be about imagination, it has to be about things for their own sake, so that this journey of ours makes sense to us and is not simply something that we’re rather fretfully trying to get through another day, another week, another month — that pressure that we so often feel… Reading books really does take your hand off the panic button, it allows your breathing to return to normal, it allows you to occupy the space isn’t entirely ruled by other people’s demands and by utility.
– Jeanette Winterson

You are sky and earth,
day, wind-breath, night.
You are grain, sandal paste, flowers, water.
Substance of my offering,
You who are All,…
what shall I offer You?
– Lalla​

I spend my life working with thoughts. ​
– Abraham Heschel

The progressive agenda isn’t “left wing.” (Can anyone using the term even define what “left wing” means anymore?) The progressive agenda is America’s story — from ending slavery to ending segregation to establishing a woman’s right to vote to Social Security, the right to organize, and the fight for fair pay and against income inequality.
– Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

I thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes…
– e.e.cummings​, I thank you God for most this amazing

A good question is never answered.
– John Ciardi​

That is the way poetry feels to me, like petting a jaguar while it is leaping across the sky.
– Juan Felipe Herrera​

At the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond speech and it is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity… We are already one. But we imagine we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.
– Thomas Merton​

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.
– Thich Nhat Hanh​

Walking causes absorption. Walking interminably, taking in through your pores the height of the mountains, breathing in the shape of the hills for hours at a time. The body becomes steeped in the earth it treads. And thus, gradually, it stops being IN the landscape; it BECOMES the landscape. That doesn’t have to mean dissolution, as if the walker were fading away to become a mere inflection, a footnote. It’s more a flashing moment; sudden flame, time catching fire. And …here, the feeling of eternity is all at once that vibration between presences. Eternity, here, is a spark.
– Frederoc Gros, A Philosophy of Walking​

With an alarming breakdown of humane values worldwide, we can keep them alive and pristine in our own lives and communities.
– Thomas Moore

Teach a child, not the names of the
stars, but to name the stars.
– Eric Cockrell

THE UN-TEACHING

Friend, there is nothing more you need to know. You’ve already swallowed enough concepts, received enough second-hand ‘answers’. Even the spiritual teachers are lost, truly believing themselves privy to the solutions, pretending to be perfect and not pretending.

I have no answers for you, nothing to teach, friend. I lost my answers long ago.

But I have so much to un-teach you.

For wonder cannot be taught, only uncovered. Innocence cannot be given. And awakening is not a destination, but the opening of weary eyes, long searching for light in the darkness, when the light was always on.
I cannot give you your nature, only remind you where to look.

– Jeff Foster

If you want to change the world’s spirit, I will go so far as to suggest that only poetry can do this.
– Andrei Voznesensky

There is a Great Story
that binds us all together
and it’s not the one we grew up with.
There is a Great Story
that binds us all together
regardless of all of the other stories we tell ourselves.

– Wandering Cloud Poetry

Transformative learning involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions. It is a shift of consciousness that dramatically and irreversibly alters our way of being in the world.
Such a shift involves our understanding of ourselves and our self-locations; our relationships with other humans and with the natural world; our understanding of relations of power in interlocking structures of class, race and gender; our body awarenesses, our visions of alternative approaches to living; and our sense of possibilities for social justice and peace and personal joy.
– Edmund O’Sullivan

All things find themselves in and through one another. Once that flow begins, it never stops. You’re home, you’re healed, you’re saved—already in this world.
– Richard Rohr

Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.
– Frida Kahlo

The critic, the mimic and the comic all have one thing in common. They’re not doing the work. Pitching in requires a different kind of focus, and the generosity and humility to actually get something done. If they stop hiding, they might even produce something significant.
– Seth Godin

The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.
– Italo Calvino

There was more to this void than I initially realized. I keep seeking, or rather, finding absence. Perfect holes I perfectly fit into or at the very least, big enough to fall through.
– Sally J. Johnson

In the thickets of language every creature is wild.
– Ivan Vladislavić

i have seen trees, have
heard them at night being
dragged into the sky.
i know that they are very
real. i know they know.

love, i am not
a tree, you would
never mistake me
for one, my arid movements

for its flowing coolness. but
sometimes in the dark silken
air of this room

i feel that we are
a liquid jumble of trees
falling interminably away from
the land, its dry infinitude.
– Denis Johnson

It was midnight, the midnight
that has tried to myth us
into love or crime, deceive us
into not seeing it.
I wanted to decide what part of the dark
is chilling, the correct color
for desolate.
You were with me.
I was holding your hand;
at another time of my life
we could have walked into the sunset.
– Stephen Dunn

You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that. Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw–but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported. Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of–something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clapclap of water against the boat’s side? Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it–tantalising glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest–if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say ‘Here at last is the thing I was made for.’ We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work. While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all.
– C.S. Lewis

Where is it coming from, this echo,
this huge No that surrounds you,
silent as the folds of the yellow
curtains
– Margaret Atwood

We’ve taken each other in remembrance
– Anna Kamieńska

While we can force ourselves to become something we’re not, it never ends well.
– Mark Nepo, The One Life We’re Given

We never see any beauty but as the garment of some virtue.
– Henry David Thoreau

Folks keep waiting for someone who’s never caused harm to write about accountability and transformative justice. It will literally never happen. We’ve all caused harm, and we’ve all ducked accountability at some point. Yes, even you. Yes even survivors. Yes me. Now what? Banish everyone? Drag everyone? De-platform everyone? Make a detailed list of what harm “counts.” What harm makes one disposable or redeemable? Harm in the 1st degree? Harm in the 2nd degree? Maybe a tribunal of our peers can hand down judgement. Then we can create isolated communities where nobody ever speaks on harm for fear of being a hypocrite. Sound familiar? I don’t have the fucking answer but this clearly isn’t working. If you need me I’ll be in my cell.
– DiDi Delgado

To look for solace is to learn to ask fiercer and more exquisitely pointed questions, questions that reshape our identities and our bodies and our relation to others. Standing in loss but not overwhelmed by it, we become useful and generous and compassionate and even amusing companions for others. But solace also asks us very direct and forceful questions. Firstly, how will you bear the inevitable that is coming to you? And how will you endure it through the years? And above all, how will you shape a life equal to and as beautiful and as astonishing as a world that can birth you, bring you into the light and then just as you are beginning to understand it, take you away?
– from “Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words” by David Whyte

SEAGULLS
From Liezi:
A man who lived near the ocean loved seagulls. When he swam each morning, hundreds of gulls splashed around him in the water.
One day his father said, “I’ve heard that you swim with seagulls every day. I want you to catch a couple of them for me to have as pets.” The next day, the man went down to the sea as usual—but the gulls only wheeled away from him.
Thus it is said: “The best speech is rid of speech. The best act is no act. Such knowledge is complete wisdom. Anything else is shallow.”
***
As soon as your heart changes, all of nature knows. The Taoists advocate having “nonintention.” That means something beyond having nothing in mind. It means not having any selfish intentions, not scheming to get some advantage for yourself. That’s in opposition to so much of our contemporary mores, but, as Liezi concludes: “anything else is shallow.” Far better to have a whole heart without guile or greed.
– Deng Ming-Dao

Forget about grammar and think about potatoes.
– Gertrude Stein

I want to be clear about this. If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy.
– Nikki Giovanni

I think that in order to find reality, each must search for his own universe, look for the details that contribute to this reality that one feels under the surface of things. To be an artist means to search, to find and look at these realities. To be an artist means never to look away.
– Akira Kurosawa

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel ~ If we understand how the mind functions, we can have a sane relationship with the world.

All day I have been closed up
inside rooms, speaking of trivial
matters. Now at last I have come out
into the night, myself a center
of darkness.
Beneath the clouds the low sky glows
with scattered light. I can hardly think
this is happening. Here in this bright absence
of day, I feel myself opening out
with contentment.
All around me the soft rain is whispering
of thousands of feet of air
invisible above us.
– Wayne Dodd
Of Rain and Air
Sometimes Music Rises

I knew exactly what to do the whole way. A lot of the handholds feel like old friends.
– Alex Honnold

Sometimes one has to retreat from the world, in order to better understand it. Finding sanctuary, a sacred space where we can open our souls without fear, where we can simply be, is a glorious experience. It happens a lot less than we need in our lives…
– Joanna van der Hoeven

For all the toll the desert takes of a man it gives compensations, deep breaths, deep sleep, and the communion of the stars. . . .Wheeling to their stations in the sky, they make the poor world-fret of no account. Of no account you who lie out their watching, nor the lean coyote that stands off in the scrub from you and howls and howls.
– Mary Austin, The Land of Little Rain (1903)

Earth
by Derek Walcott
Let the day grow on you upward
through your feet,
the vegetal knuckles,
to your knees of stone,
until by evening you are a black tree;
feel, with evening,
the swifts thicken your hair,
the new moon rising out of your forehead,
and the moonlit veins of silver
running from your armpits
like rivulets under white leaves.
Sleep, as ants
cross over your eyelids.
You have never possessed anything
as deeply as this.
This is all you have owned
from the first outcry
through forever;
you can never be dispossessed.

Coming back to the breath is not a small matter. You actually have to let go of yourself to do it. It’s ingenious. It seems so unassuming. I mean, it’s so simple. “Just pay attention to your breath.” But when you think about it, the whole dharma is in that practice of coming back to the breath.
– Reggie Ray

When we enter life as a question to be lived rather than a problem to be solved, we can find our way in the world.

– Mark Nepo, The One Life We’re Given

Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
– Michael Pollan

To lose yourself: a voluptuous surrender, lost in your arms, lost to the world, utterly immersed in what is present so that its surroundings fade away. In Benjamin’s terms, to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery.
– Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

ONCE I pass’d through a populous city, imprinting my brain, for future use, with its shows, architecture, customs, and traditions;
Yet now, of all that city, I remember only a woman I casually met there, who detain’d me for love of me;
Day by day and night by night we were together,—All else has long been forgotten by me;

I remember, I say, only that woman who passionately clung to me;
Again we wander—we love—we separate again;
Again she holds me by the hand—I must not go!
I see her close beside me, with silent lips, sad and tremulous.
Once I Pass’d Through a Populous City
– Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Strive to become
the true human being:
one who knows love,
one who knows pain.
Be full, be humble,…

be utterly silent,

be the bowl of wine

passed from hand to hand.
– Ansari

Sometimes my pride sprinkles salt in the wine
And sometimes I swallow emotions
This loneliness sometimes grows violent inside
Dissonant silence ignites in my mind
And sometimes the fire keeps rising
– Jo Dowling

After all, a saint is someone who has been under-researched.
– Hanif Kureishi, The Nothing

The World soul is not a fixed or defined substance, but a living substance made out of the hopes, dreams, and deepest imaginings of humanity and of all creation.
– Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.
– Michel de Montaigne

Wander here a whole summer, if you can. Thousands of God’s wild blessings will search you and soak you as if you were a sponge, and the big days will go by uncounted.
– John Muir

Today from that God
I do not ask for anything
The only thing I want now
is to lower my head before you.
– Sayeed Quadri

You know after any truly initiating experience that you are part of a much bigger whole. Life is not about you henceforward, but you are about life.
– Richard Rohr

People say, ‘What is the sense of our small effort?’ They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.
– Dorothy Day

I was the place where you anchored. I was the deep water where you could be weightless.
– Jeanette Winterson, The Powerbook

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.
Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.
Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
– E. B. White

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come, to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
– John O’Donohue

Remember when the music
Came from wooden boxes strung with silver wire
And as we sang the words, it would set our minds on fire,
For we believed in things, and so we’d sing.

The birds are molting. If only man could molt also–his mind once a year its errors, his heart once a year its useless passions.
– James Allen

Things don’t have to change the world to be important.
– Steve Jobs

I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
– Maya Angelou

The universe is both self-organizing and self-correcting. There is a blueprint for divine correction in every situation. It’s ours to follow.
– Marianne Williamson

I recognize that I love—you—by this: that you leave in me a wound that I do not want to replace.
– Jacques Derrida, The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond

Given the scale of life in the cosmos, one human life is no more than a tiny blip. Each one of us is a just visitor to this planet, a guest, who will only stay for a limited time. What greater folly could there be than to spend this short time alone, unhappy or in conflict with our companions? Far better, surely, to use our short time here in living a meaningful life, enriched by our sense of connection with others and being of service to them:
– Dalai Lama

There was one thing that might have saved humanity: love, and three varieties of it in particular:
– Firstly, the love of the stranger; the capacity to see the other as like oneself and worthy of the same mercy and charity.
– Secondly, the love of the unborn: the concern for those who do not yet exist and whom one will never know but whose lives one is shaping in the selfish present.
– Thirdly, the love of the truth: the strength to resist illusion and lies and square up t…o uncomfortable facts of all kinds. **
We don’t need to be aliens of the future to understand all this. We can see the disaster scenario only too well right now. The fate of civilisation lies ultimately not in the law courts, at the ballot box or in the corridors of governments. It lies in our ability to master the most short-term, selfish and violent of our impulses active in the dense folds of organic matter between our ears; it lies in learning how fiercely to compensate for the flawed architecture of our minds.​

It is imperative to have uncertainty as a fundamental part of your inner nature.
– Richard Feynman

It is crucial that practitioners not simply adopt an intellectual approach to the dharma, but rather understand the immense importance of engaging in actions of merit and virtue. Each practitioner is encouraged to examine whether there is a meeting of the view of the dharma in one’s daily conduct and activities.
– Minling Trichen Rinpoche

Beware of those who cannot stand in their love but can only be swept away by it.​
– Joseph Fasano

What do we want most to dwell near to? Not to many people, surely, the depot, the post-office, the bar-room, the meeting-house, the school-house, the grocery where people congregate, but to the perennial source of our life, from whence we have found our experience to issue, as the willow stands near the water and sends out its roots in that direction.
– Henry David Thoreau​

I want to feel both the beauty and the pain of the age we are living in. I want to survive my life without becoming numb. I want to speak and comprehend words of wounding without having these words become the landscape where I dwell. I want to possess a light touch that can elevate darkness to the realm of stars.
– Terry Tempest Williams

There are days that come – and surely they have found you – when assuredness about the aim and the reasons for your life is the first casualty of the giddy good fortune of awakening again and heaving to uprightness and bringing anything in particular to mind. You are suddenly awash in wonder at the ordinary unlikeliness of your days and your place in them. It isn’t confusion, exactly, that comes round. It is more the entirely mandatory happenstance encounter with The Reign o…f Chance. You wake up once more, but all the habits of your mind have not yet done so, and you come to first light as an amateur again, bereft of order and the easy stride it grants. You have a lightness to your limbs and to your first contemplations, an imprecision you’d never seek, so much like ‘sudden nothing’ does it seem, like the end of the old purpose and of the old clarity, and the beginning of something older.
– Stephen Jenkinson​

Without struggle, no progress and no result. Every breaking of habit produces a change in the machine.
– GI Gurdjieff​

In times of uncertainty, the most difficult thing to do is to stop searching for detours. It can be tempting to act from the desperation one feels when an abyss opens around you, but all of the ego’s equipment is useless in these dark regions. Instead, consider this an invitation to deepen your trust, to renew your committed heart to its course. After all, every creation was first seeded in an absence.
– Dreamwork with Toko-pa​

What is needed to bring about the new life you yearn for, but devotion to its course? The calling is in your blood, like a vow that was made for you. Everything it requires is within the provisions of your being. The far-seeing of your eye, the stretch of your capacity, the willingness of your heart’s sacrifice – exhaustion and despair notwithstanding. All it asks is for your vow to be made back, through every small contraction and expansion, renewed in a continuous tendering of devotion.​
– Dreamwork with Toko-pa

Soul is not a thing, but a perspective. It’s the slow courtship of an event which turns it into a meaningful experience. It’s the practice of trusting that if one sits silently and long enough with the absence of magic, the miraculous will reveal itself. Nothing is sacred until we make it so with the eloquence of our attention, the poetry of our patience, the parenting warmth of our admiration.
– Dreamwork with Toko-pa​

The brain is wider than the sky.
– Emily Dickinson

National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.
– Wallace Stegner​

Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.
– Wayne W. Dyer​

You’re making the wrong mistakes.
– Thelonious Monk ​

Given that the human soul is the very core of our human nature, we might note that, when we are guided by soul, we are guided by nature. Both soul and greater nature do guide us in our individual development, whether or not we ask for this guidance.
– Bill Plotkin​

It is necessary to any originality to have the courage to be an amateur.
– Wallace Stevens

[Poetry] …reproduces the common universe of which we are portions and percipients, and it purges from our inward sight the film of familiarity which obscures from us the wonder of our being. It compels us to feel that which we perceive, and to imagine that which we know. It creates anew the universe, after it has been annihilated in our minds by the recurrence of impressions blunted by reiteration.
– P.B. Shelley, A Defense of Poetry

Only truthful hands write true poems. I cannot see any basic difference between a handshake and a poem.
– Paul Celan

There is religion in everything around us,
A calm and holy religion
In the unbreathing things in Nature.
It is meek and blessed influence,
Stealing in as it were unaware upon the heart;
It comes quickly, and without excitement;
It has no terror, no gloom,
It does not rouse up the passions;
It is untrammeled by creeds…
It is written on the arched sky;
It looks out from every star,
It is on the sailing cloud and in the invisible wind,
It is among the hills and valleys of the earth
Where the shrubless mountain-top pierces the thin atmosphere
of eternal winter,
Or where the mighty forest fluctuates before the strong wind,
With its dark waves of green foliage;
It is spread out like a legible language upon the broad face of
an unsleeping ocean;
It is the poetry of Nature;
It is that which uplifts the spirit within us…
And which opens to our imagination a world of spiritual beauty
and holiness.
– John Ruskin​

Zazen means taking leave of group stupidity.
– Kodo Sawaki​

A mountain keeps an echo deep inside itself.
That’s how I hold your voice.

I am scrap wood thrown in your fire,
and quickly reduced to smoke.


I saw you and became empty.
This emptiness, more beautiful than existence,
it obliterates existence, and yet when it comes,
existence thrives and creates more existence!

The sky is blue. The world is a blind man
squatting on the road.

But whoever sees your emptiness
sees beyond blue and beyond the blind man.

A great soul hides like Muhammad, or Jesus,
moving through a crowd in a city
where no one knows him.

To praise is to praise
how one surrenders
to the emptiness.

To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes.
Praise, the ocean. What we say, a little ship.

So the sea-journey goes on, and who knows where!
Just to be held by the ocean is the best luck
we could have. It’s a total waking up!

Why should we grieve that we’ve been sleeping?
It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been unconscious.

We’re groggy, but let the guilt go.
Feel the motions of tenderness
around you, the buoyancy.
– Rumi​

A life truly lived constantly burns away veils of illusion, burns away what is no longer relevant, gradually reveals our essence, until, at last, we are strong enough to stand in our naked truth.
– Marion Woodman

Essays, like butterflies, jazz (and God), move irregularly, not linearly.
– Edward Hoagland

On
the road to
realization you will
will often be thought crazy.
At times you may actually be…
crazy. Both phenomena are
best endured with
stillness and
humor.
– Wei wu Wei Ching, Chapter 62

There is no sin punished more implacably by nature than the sin of resistance to change.
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Our seeing shapes our being. Only as we see whole can we and our world be whole. So we open the eye of the heart and see: a world warmed and transformed by the power of love, a vision of community beyond the mind’s capacity to see.
– Parker J. Palmer, “To Know As We Are Known”

Music brings a warm glow to my vision, thawing mind and muscle from their endless wintering.
– Haruki Murakami​

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing.
– W.B. Yeats

It is said that we are known by the company we keep, and I wonder if English sharpened its verbal ax and lost the companionship of oaks and primroses when it began to keep company with capitalism. I want to suggest that we can begin to mend that rift—with pronouns. As a reluctant student of the formalities of writing, I never would have imagined that I would one day be advocating for grammar as a tool of the revolution.
– Robin Wall Kimmer in her article “Speaking of Nature…”

There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it.
– Gustave Flaubert​

— yet I am envied, and it is one of the greater sorrows of my life —
E.M.​

How do you talk with people who disagree with you? You allow in yourself a note of uncertainty, wonder, the possibility of change.
– Thomas Moore

When a society has flattened its cultural references as acutely as ours has, it requires two dimensional characters to affirm its progress. A continual lust for healthy bones, clean nails, and sound bites flushes much complexity out into marginal psychic suburbs, which then filter back in as confused dreams. When we look at initiation, we recognize that the decades of our lives pull on very different energies.

To remain fixated on the flush of youth stultifies the movement of the imagination as we age, and creates a reluctance to trust the slower, deeper currents that we sense pulling on our legs. It’s as though we’re being trained by the media to shorten the tempos of our creative life into tinier and tinier spans because we have only a whisker of time to be relevant, to feel deeply.

– An excerpt from “A Branch from the Lightning Tree” by Dr. Martin Shaw

OPEN AND CLOSED SPACES
A man feels the world with his work like a glove.
He rests for a while at midday having laid aside the gloves on the shelf.
There they suddenly grow, spread
and black-out the whole house from inside.

The blacked-out house is away out among the winds of spring.
‘Amnesty,’ runs the whisper in the grass: ‘amnesty.’
A boy sprints with an invisible line slanting up in the sky
where his wild dream of the future flies like a kite bigger than the
suburb.

Further north you can see from a summit the blue endless carpet of
pine forest
where the cloud shadows
are standing still.
No, are flying.
– Tomas Tranströmer

CLICHÉ
My life is an open book. It lies here
on a glass tabletop, its pages shamelessly exposed,
outspread like a bird with hundreds of thin paper wings.

It is a biography, needless to say,
and I am reading and writing it simultaneously
in a language troublesome and private.
Every reader must be a translator with a thick lexicon.

No one has read the whole thing but me.
Most dip into the middle for a few paragraphs,
then move on to other shelves, other libraries.
Some have time only for the illustrations.

I love to feel the daily turning of the pages,
the sentences unwinding like string,
and when something really important happens,
I walk out to the edge of the page
and, always the student,
make an asterisk, a little star, in the margin.
– Billy Collins

Poetry is my life, my postmark, my hands, my kitchen, my face.
– Anne Sexton

Woody Sez–
Love casts out hate.
Love gets rid of all fears.
Love washes all clean.
Love forgives all debts.
Love forgets all mistakes.
Love overcomes all errors and excuses and pardons and understands the key reasons why the mistake, the error, the stumble, the sprawl, the fall, was made.
Love heals all.
Love operates faster and surer than space or time, or both.

The health of the eye demands a horizon.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Am I really ‘in’ my life?
What am I inhabiting?
Are my days about new vistas of understanding
or am I being vanquished by illusions I’ve taken to be reality?
– Sazien Owen

The body wants to resolve trauma. You don’t have to go looking for trauma. Jung said, “unconsciousness seeks to be conscious”. And it’s kind of an abstract way of saying all of the unresolved tensions and issues and patterns and pain, it wants to become conscious; and the only way that we interrupt that process is with our thinking mind, by pushing things down all the time. When we are with our body, the body basically leads us through the healing process, and that’s why the somatic thing is so important.
– Reggie Ray

Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness, but come down into the green valleys of silliness.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

Positively, my social philosophy may be said to be enshrined in three words: liberty, equality and fraternity. Let no one however say that I have borrowed my philosophy from the French Revolution. I have not. My philosophy has its roots in religion and not in political science. I have derived them from the teachings of my master, the Buddha.
– Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar

I am in the middle of it: chaos and poetry; poetry and love and again, complete chaos. Pain, disorder, occasional clarity; and at the bottom of it all: only love; poetry. Sheer enchantment, fear, humiliation. It all comes with love.
– Anna Akhmatova, The Akhmatova Journals, Volume I: 1938-1941

Don’t say “I meditate”.
The “I” doesn’t meditate.
It doesn’t know how.
Only you can meditate.
Silently watching….
The eye of the “I”.

– Jeff Foster​

The thing is, nobody controls the narrative
anymore, as we free fall
into the sixth wave of extinction;

We follow the Rocky Mountain grasshopper,…
the woodland bison of West Virginia, the Culebra
parrots of Costa Rica.

We free fall into our rapid enlightenments, revolutions,
self soothing, and their instant disseminations
through social media.

The Pondicherry shark, the sociable lapwing, the
black rhinos. The polar ice caps, the melting permafrost.
We all hold hands on the red list and still the poet asks

‘what will you do with your one wild and precious life?’
While another poet asks:
How will you live on the edge between your denial,

and the tsunami of change that wakes you in the
middle of the night, that even crickets with their
singing wings sense, while frogs mutate their sex.

As the ghost of the Baiji dolphin whistles through
the eerie lapses, ringing hollow in the tired calls:
rally that thing with wings! But still we can’t

abandon what we once knew of life, even as
we live on the margins of a epoch
irrevocably drawing to a close. We are not

in Oz anymore, instead we live out our
cognitive dissonance somewhere between
the Emerald City and the great disappearance

of 200 species every twenty four hours. The
face of hope is aging as we become harvesters
of a new meaning eschewing tired platitudes

that no longer hold water, but urge us to find
hope not as a thing with feathers, but a thing
that must make way for the homecoming, the
return of its indigenous soul.

– Margo Stebbing ​

Be a warrior for love.
– Cheryl Strayed​

I will tell you one thing that will make you rich for life. There are two struggles: an Inner-world struggle and an Outer-world struggle…you must make an intentional contact between these two worlds; then you can crystallize data for the Third World, the World of the Soul.
– G. I. Gurdjieff

We use words to understand each other and even, sometimes, to find each other.
– Jose Saramago

I remember as well that in Navajo one of the greatest compliments is to say of another ‘he takes care of his relatives,’ where ‘relatives’ means not just other people but all aspects of creation… I offer, for instance, another part of the Bluehouse-Zion article, where they write about someone has has denied their ‘Navajo-ness’ by acting against Navajo teachings: “[This denial] is expressed in the maxim ‘He acts as if he had no relatives.’ A person who acts that way betrays… solidarity and kinship; he or she is not behaving Navajo, and may behave in a ‘crazy’ way.’ There are two different world emerging here. There is the world I am learning about, where people will consider someone crazy if, for instance, he denies his relationship with rocks, and there is my own world, where will will call him crazy as soon as he does start talking to them!
– Richard Ross, Returning to the Teachings

Friendship doesn’t have to be long and deep. Befriend the person you pass on the street. Practice brief friendship.
– Thomas Moore

Those who oppress the poor
insult their maker;
but those who are kind to
the needy honor him.
– Proverbs 14:31

I have such a problem with Christian white men who are influential or leaders complaining about “reverse racism”. Even putting aside all the questions about whether “reverse racism” is real or the justification for certain policies, white Christians complaining about “reverse racism” is completely unseemly and out of order. Jesus was very clear that among us, leaders were to be humble servants. Th…at those who sought to be first ought to make themselves last.

The Christian response to people saying that they can’t get a seat at the table ought to be to willingly give up your seat at the table for them. The Christian response to people saying that their voices aren’t being heard is to hand them a mike, even if it means your own voice doesn’t get heard. The Christian response to people who are decrying their lack of access to power is to use what power you have to empower them. Even if it means reducing your own power. The Christian response to the anger of those who have been oppressed and are suffering is to graciously forgive their anger, hear their cries, offer sincere apologies for their suffering and walk in camraderie with them, even if you aren’t personally in error.

I am appalled at the Christian people who are members of a dominant group who have taken a defensive, intellectualized and victimized position against those who are struggling to be heard, gain power, be seen, etc. It’s one thing for people outside the church to complain that they are being treated unfairly by those who have less power than themselves. But for a Christian to do so is unfathomable to me. We have certain standards that we are bound to by our faith. And those standards do not include “am I being treated fairly by those who are struggling to gain access to seats at the table, platforms to be heard, a portion of power”. Even if those people are rude and angry about it. Sorry. Defending yourself against the demands and accusations of the oppressed is contrary to the faith. If that doesn’t work for you, maybe find another religion to follow.
– Rebecca Trotter

Teaching is a compulsion to repeat what one hasn’t yet understood.
– Barbara Johnson​

Jumping over the brook
for water
not needed.
– Basho

Sunrise

What it says is this:

You are here….
Make the most of it.
I’ll offer you something,
but not much.
Lovely colors. A bright form.
An idea, perhaps.
You must be brilliant about it.
Make thoughtful observations.
Commit your heart.
Do something brave.
Make it an act of love.
You won’t get this day again.
– Jamie K. Reaser​

No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

…When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear…
What your heart would
Love to say.
A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.
May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.
May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.
– John O’Donohue​

My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.
– Jack Kerouac

..the history of everything we’ve seen together and separately has become a library in itself – The shelves pile higher – They’re full of misty documents or documents of the Mist-
– Jack ~Big Sur

Poem By Muriel Rukeyser

I lived in the first century of world wars….
Most mornings I would be more or less insane,
The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories,
The news would pour out of various devices
Interrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen.
I would call my friends on other devices;
They would be more or less mad for similar reasons.
Slowly I would get to pen and paper,
Make my poems for others unseen and unborn.
In the day I would be reminded of those men and women,
Brave, setting up signals across vast distances,
Considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values.
As the lights darkened, as the lights of night brightened,
We would try to imagine them, try to find each other,
To construct peace, to make love, to reconcile
Waking with sleeping, ourselves with each other,
Ourselves with ourselves. We would try by any means
To reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves,
To let go the means, to wake.

I lived in the first century of these wars.​

No matter how isolated you are and how lonely you feel, if you do your work truly and conscientiously, unknown friends will come and seek you.
– Carl Jung​

The gods weave misfortunes for men, so that the generations to come will have something to sing about. Mallarmé repeats, less beautifully, what Homer said; ‘tout aboutit en un livre,’ everything ends up in a book. The Greeks speak of generations that will sing; Mallarmé speaks of an object, of a thing among things, a book. But the idea is the same; the idea that we are made for art, we are made for memory, we are made for poetry, or perhaps we are made for oblivion. But something remains, and that something is history or poetry, which are not essentially different.
– Jorge Luis Borges

Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.
– Eckhart Tolle

Things keep their secrets – Heraclitus

We have been in search of a Moment.
We have been seeking a way into this unknown: a turning in the field of the world;… an echo in Being; a strange sort of homecoming.
And what have we have found?
That things do keep their secrets.
That what gleams darkly has been near, and in hiding, all along.
Because this is its nature: to come, like the wind, unbidden; to glow, like twilight, only for a short while; to leave and to leave behind.
Strange the way its absence stirs, the way its mourning shines.
The Moment moves, shudders, then grows still.
It breathes light into emptiness, shadow into light —
a dawn of what has already dawned, an afterglow.
The Moment comes like a wave, whispering from its own wake.
Poetry is the sound of its voice, its home, and its way.
The Moment calls, like the wind, returning to sea.
It becomes remembrance.
It becomes halo, the radiance of beauty reflecting oblivion.
Finally, it bestows absence, its memorial, its gift.

– The Evocative Moment: A Study in Depth Psychological Poetics
Chapter 6, Conclusion A dissertation submitted by Matthew Rodney Fishler to Pacifica Graduate Institute​

You have to find God, somewhere.

In my childhood, I found him in my Grandfather’s smiling eyes. In my youth, in the forests and streams. In my early adulthood, I found her in the Godjectification of women. At first, it was purely physical- their smiles, a gateway to divinity; their touch, an invitation to heaven; their bodies, proof that God existed. And then, it expanded far beyond the physical- their open hearts, a portal to providence, their wisdom, a reflection of his own; their compassion, God’s undying love. And finally, I saw God in the mirror, the last place I would think to find him. With the shame clouds dispersed, he appeared to me, as me. There she was, perfectly imperfect, readying for the next stage of wonder.

You have to find God somewhere. Everywhere, in fact.
– Jeff Brown

Poetry as an art form gives us practice caring about others, and accepting that their perspectives can be as valid and vital as our own.
– Tracy K. Smith

As we expand from the narrow viewpoint that the priorities in life are material and sensory wealth, to a greater view of life with spiritual purpose, then not only do we change in lifestyle habits and relationships, but we see the world differently. Our sense of community changes. Our family grows. We realize we are part of a global community, all brothers and sisters on a long journey, though on different paths.
– Swami Rama, Sacred Journey

Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them.
– Eudora Welty

Buddhists say that thoughts are like drops of water on the brain; when you reinforce the same thought, it will etch a new stream into your consciousness, like water eroding the side of a mountain. Scientists confirm this bit of folk wisdom: our neurons break connections and form new pathways all the time.”
– Caitlin Doughty

” seek the truth,” said the young monk. “Where is the entrance to the path of Buddhism?”
Master Hsuan-sha replied, “Do you hear the murmuring of that stream?”
“Yes,” the monk replied.
The Master said, “There is the entrance.

There’s a book called
A Dictionary of Angels.
No one has opened it in fifty years,
I know, because when I did,
The covers creaked, the pages
Crumbled. There I discovered

The angels were once as plentiful
As species of flies.
The sky at dusk
Used to be thick with them.
You had to wave both arms
Just to keep them away.

Now the sun is shining
Through the tall windows.
The library is a quiet place.
Angels and gods huddled
In dark unopened books.
– Charles Simic

THE ORDINARY LIFE
To rise early, reconsider, rise again later
to papers and the news. To smoke a few if time
permits and, second-guessing the weather,

dress. Another day of what we bring to it –
matters unfinished from days before,
regrets over matters we’ve finished poorly.

Just once you’d like to start out early,
free from memory and lighter for it.
Like Adam, on that first day: alone

but cheerful, no fear of the maker,
anything his for the naming; nothing
to shrink from, nothing to shirk,

no lot to carry that wasn’t by choice.
And at night, no voice to keep him awake,
no hurry to rise, no hurry not to.
– Tracy K. Smith
(U.S. Poet Laureate)
Ordinary Light

Once I knew, then I forgot. It was as if I had fallen asleep in a field only to discover at waking that a grove of trees had grown up around me.
“Doubt nothing, believe everything,” was my friend’s idea of metaphysics, although his brother ran away with his wife. He still bought her a rose every day, sat in the empty house for the next twenty years talking to her about the weather.
I was already dozing off in the shade, dreaming that the rustling trees were my many selves explaining themselves all at the same time so that I could not make out a single word. My life was a beautiful mystery on the verge of understanding, always on the verge! Think of it!
My friend’s empty house with every one of its windows lit. The dark trees multiplying all around it.
– Charles Simic
The World Doesn’t End

Theoretically there is no absolute proof that one’s awakening in the morning (the finding oneself again in the saddle of one’s personality) is not really a quite unprecedented event, a perfectly original birth.
– Vladimir Nabokov

What art should be about,’ they will say,’ is revealing exquisite and resonant truths about the human condition.’ Well, to be honest – no, it shouldn’t. I mean, it can occasionally, if it wants to; but really, how many penetrating insights to human nature do you need in one lifetime? Two? Three? Once you’ve realized that no one else has a clue what they’re doing, either, and that love can be totally pointless, any further insights into human nature just start getting depressing really.
– Caitlin Moran

All we want, whether we are honeybees, salmon, trash-collecting ants, ponderosa pines, coyotes, human beings, or stars, is to love and be loved, to be accepted, cherished, and celebrated simply for being who we are. Is that so very difficult?
– Derrick Jensen

Night (This night, agitated by the growing storm)

This night, agitated by the growing storm,
how it has suddenly expanded its dimensions—,
that ordinarily would have gone unnoticed,
like a cloth folded, and hidden in the folds of time.

Where the stars give resistance it does not stop there,
neither does it begin within the forest’s depths,
nor show upon the surface of my face
nor with your appearance.

The lamps keep swaying, fully unaware:
is our light lying?
Is night the only reality
that has endured through thousands of years?
– Rainer Maria Rilke

When I press summer dusks together, it is
a month of street accordions and sprinklers
Bleecker Street, Summer
– Derek Walcott

Rebecca Solnit: The tranquility of a quiet place, of quieting one’s own mind, of a retreat from words and bustle, is acoustically the same as the silence of intimidation or repression but psychically and politically something entirely different. What is unsaid because serenity and introspection are sought is as different from what is not said because the threats are high or the barriers are great as swimming is from drowning. Quiet is to noise as silence is to communication. The quiet of the listener makes room for the speech of others, like the quiet of the reader taking in words on the page, like the white of the paper taking ink.

Summer Solstice
BY STACIE CASSARINO
I wanted to see where beauty comes from
without you in the world, hauling my heart
across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
my pockets filling with flowers.
Then I remembered,
it’s you I miss in the brightness
and body of every living name:
rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.
You are the green wonder of June,
root and quasar, the thirst for salt.
When I finally understand that people fail
at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,
the paper wings of the dragonfly
aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?
If I get the story right, desire is continuous,
equatorial. There is still so much
I want to know: what you believe
can never be removed from us,
what you dreamed on Walnut Street
in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,
learning pleasure on your own.
Tell me our story: are we impetuous,
are we kind to each other, do we surrender
to what the mind cannot think past?
Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?
The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond
for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.
There are violet hills,
there is the covenant of duskbirds.
The moon comes over the mountain
like a big peach, and I want to tell you
what I couldn’t say the night we rushed
North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers
and the way you go into yourself,
calling my half-name like a secret.
I stand between taproot and treespire.
Here is the compass rose
to help me live through this.
Here are twelve ways of knowing
what blooms even in the blindness
of such longing. Yellow oxeye,
viper’s bugloss with its set of pink arms
pleading do not forget me.
We hunger for eloquence.
We measure the isopleths.
I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.
The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.
Fireflies turn on their electric wills:
an effulgence. Let me come back
whole, let me remember how to touch you
before it is too late.

Each of us is meant to serve as a unique, one-of-a-kind lens through which the Beloved sees and appreciates His and Her own beauty, truth and goodness.
However, we cannot pretend we are ANOTHER person’s lens. And we certainly cannot be the lens that someone else TELLS us to be. No, we must each discover the unique lens which WE alone are.
For this purpose, we need frequent times of silence and solitude in order to discover the true lens present as our innermost self. Wilderness is the perfect place in which to discover this lens-self, for there we are undisturbed by the superficialities and falsehoods of the social self.
In the wilderness, we come face-to-face with our Source and with the person we REALLY are . . .
– Stephen Hatch

Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot.
– Neil Gaiman

Yes, the mountains have always been my true home, the place where I am most myself and most in touch with the Beloved: both God and Sophia.
– Stephen Hatch

Down
into the dark
where my soul resides
Into the dark
that invites all –
no bright discriminating light
There
I find a home
I too often try to escape
Until
the weight of doing
the hope of trying
Drops away
leaving nothing
everything
– David Bedrick

Men must be born and reborn to belong. Their bodies must be formed of the dust of their forefathers’ bones.
– Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX

It is said that when we walk on the Earth, we are walking on our ancestors and our unborn children.
This is the relationship Native People have with the Earth. It is this relationship which gives insight into the Earth’s rhythm and heartbeat and creates the feeling of belonging.
– Meditations with Native American Elders

Poetry is perhaps this: an Atemwende, a turning of our breath. Who knows, perhaps poetry goes its way—the way of art—for the sake of just such a turn? And since the strange, the abyss and Medusa’s head, the abyss and the automaton, all seem to lie in the same direction—is it perhaps this turn, this Atemwende, which can sort out the strange from the strange? It is perhaps here, in this one brief moment, that Medusa’s head shrivels and the automaton runs down? Perhaps, along with the I, estranged and freed here, in this manner, some other thing is also set free?
– Paul Celan

Summer Solstice. At the height of summer, I want this world to cool down.
– Joan Halifax

If we are to have broad-thinking men and women of high mentality, of good physique and with a true perspective on life, we must allow our populace a communion with nature in areas of more or less wilderness condition.
– Arthur Carhart

There is a passion in me that doesn’t
long for anything from another human being.

I was given something else, a cap to wear
in both worlds. It fell off. No matter.

One morning I went to a place beyond dawn.
A source of sweetness that flows
and is never less. I have been shown
a beauty that would confuse both worlds,

But I won’t cause that uproar. I am
nothing but a head set on the ground
as a gift to Shams.

Midnight, but your forehead
shines with dawn. You dance as

you come to me and curl by curl
undo the dark. Let jealousy end.

There’s a strange frenzy in my head,
of birds flying,
each particle circulating on its own.
Is the one I love everywhere?
– Rumi/Barks

Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum…
Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it. I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream…
– Vincent Van Gogh

There is this crazy idea in this country that helping people makes them lazy. But we all know that the truth is that helping people makes them happier and safer and puts them in the position to help more people. It’s a karmic wheel. Compassionate action begets compassionate action. I grew up poor and addicted and people helped me. Feeling fortunate to have been helped, I want to help others. Meanwhile, people who “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps” often think others should have to suffer in the same way. Trauma begets trauma. Compassion begets compassion. It is so basic that it is hard to understand when people don’t get it.
– Colin Beavan

Find your eternity in each moment.
– Thoreau

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.
– Laura Ingalls Wilder

It all matters. That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the windblown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says good night, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing. What is most beautiful is least acknowledged. What is worth dying for is barely noticed.
– Laura McBride, We Are Called to Rise

You want empathy from a world that will most likely never understand you. From your fingerprints, straight through to your marrow, you’re wildly different. You’re not at all what we see, and if there was ever something to love about you entirely, it would be that. When the world hands you it’s rulebook, your eyes and heart wander. From the outside looking in, you’re stunning. But from the inside looking out, we both know it’s not always like that. You’re a rogue wave at times, and the furthest thing from honey; a complex mess of a girl with a knotted heart who’s determined. Not to be understood but for understanding. They’ll speak as if they know your journey better than you. They’ll judge your smile, your tears, and everything in between. As if everyone deserves your best. They don’t. You do.
– J.Raymond

[To live] a life slow enough to be always on the edge of tedium, but considered enough not to slip into it.
To live a life removed from emotions and thoughts, enjoying only the thought of emotions and the emotion of thoughts.
To stagnate, golden, in the sun like a dark lake surrounded by flowers.
– Fernando Pessoa

The Sunflowers
Come with me
into the field of sunflowers.
Their faces are burnished disks,
their dry spines
creak like ship masts,
their green leaves,
so heavy and many,
fill all day with the sticky
sugars of the sun.
Come with me
to visit the sunflowers,
they are shy
but want to be friends;
they have wonderful stories
of when they were young—
the important weather,
the wandering crows.
Don’t be afraid
to ask them questions!
Their bright faces,
which follow the sun,
will listen, and all
those rows of seeds—
each one a new life!—
hope for a deeper acquaintance;
each of them, though it stands
in a crowd of many,
like a separate universe,
is lonely, the long work
of turning their lives
into a celebration
is not easy. Come
and let us talk with those modest faces,
the simple garments of leaves,
the coarse roots in the earth
so uprightly burning.
– Mary Oliver

Because You Asked about the Line Between Prose and Poetry
by Howard Nemerov
Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle
That while you watched turned to pieces of snow
Riding a gradient invisible
From silver aslant to random, white, and slow.
There came a moment that you couldn’t tell.
And then they clearly flew instead of fell.

The Moose
BY ELIZABETH BISHOP
For Grace Bulmer Bowers- Elizabeth Bishop’s aunt

From narrow provinces
of fish and bread and tea,
home of the long tides
where the bay leaves the sea
twice a day and takes
the herrings long rides,

where if the river
enters or retreats
in a wall of brown foam
depends on if it meets
the bay coming in,
the bay not at home;

where, silted red,
sometimes the sun sets
facing a red sea,
and others, veins the flats’
lavender, rich mud
in burning rivulets;

on red, gravelly roads,
down rows of sugar maples,
past clapboard farmhouses
and neat, clapboard churches,
bleached, ridged as clamshells,
past twin silver birches,

through late afternoon
a bus journeys west,
the windshield flashing pink,
pink glancing off of metal,
brushing the dented flank
of blue, beat-up enamel;

down hollows, up rises,
and waits, patient, while
a lone traveller gives
kisses and embraces
to seven relatives
and a collie supervises.

Goodbye to the elms,
to the farm, to the dog.
The bus starts. The light
grows richer; the fog,
shifting, salty, thin,
comes closing in.

Its cold, round crystals
form and slide and settle
in the white hens’ feathers,
in gray glazed cabbages,
on the cabbage roses
and lupins like apostles;

the sweet peas cling
to their wet white string
on the whitewashed fences;
bumblebees creep
inside the foxgloves,
and evening commences.

One stop at Bass River.
Then the Economies—
Lower, Middle, Upper;
Five Islands, Five Houses,
where a woman shakes a tablecloth
out after supper.

A pale flickering. Gone.
The Tantramar marshes
and the smell of salt hay.
An iron bridge trembles
and a loose plank rattles
but doesn’t give way.

On the left, a red light
swims through the dark:
a ship’s port lantern.
Two rubber boots show,
illuminated, solemn.
A dog gives one bark.

A woman climbs in
with two market bags,
brisk, freckled, elderly.
“A grand night. Yes, sir,
all the way to Boston.”
She regards us amicably.

Moonlight as we enter
the New Brunswick woods,
hairy, scratchy, splintery;
moonlight and mist
caught in them like lamb’s wool
on bushes in a pasture.

The passengers lie back.
Snores. Some long sighs.
A dreamy divagation
begins in the night,
a gentle, auditory,
slow hallucination….

In the creakings and noises,
an old conversation
—not concerning us,
but recognizable, somewhere,
back in the bus:
Grandparents’ voices

uninterruptedly
talking, in Eternity:
names being mentioned,
things cleared up finally;
what he said, what she said,
who got pensioned;

deaths, deaths and sicknesses;
the year he remarried;
the year (something) happened.
She died in childbirth.
That was the son lost
when the schooner foundered.

He took to drink. Yes.
She went to the bad.
When Amos began to pray
even in the store and
finally the family had
to put him away.

“Yes …” that peculiar
affirmative. “Yes …”
A sharp, indrawn breath,
half groan, half acceptance,
that means “Life’s like that.
We know it (also death).”

Talking the way they talked
in the old featherbed,
peacefully, on and on,
dim lamplight in the hall,
down in the kitchen, the dog
tucked in her shawl.

Now, it’s all right now
even to fall asleep
just as on all those nights.
—Suddenly the bus driver
stops with a jolt,
turns off his lights.

A moose has come out of
the impenetrable wood
and stands there, looms, rather,
in the middle of the road.
It approaches; it sniffs at
the bus’s hot hood.

Towering, antlerless,
high as a church,
homely as a house
(or, safe as houses).
A man’s voice assures us
“Perfectly harmless….”

Some of the passengers
exclaim in whispers,
childishly, softly,
“Sure are big creatures.”
“It’s awful plain.”
“Look! It’s a she!”

Taking her time,
she looks the bus over,
grand, otherworldly.
Why, why do we feel
(we all feel) this sweet
sensation of joy?

“Curious creatures,”
says our quiet driver,
rolling his r’s.
“Look at that, would you.”
Then he shifts gears.
For a moment longer,

by craning backward,
the moose can be seen
on the moonlit macadam;
then there’s a dim
smell of moose, an acrid
smell of gasoline.

Thinking of others is the lion’s discipline. We are delighted to help others, because when we do, we can feel our heart rising above self-absorption. With that kind of delight, we are no longer lowly beings, caught in the valley bottom–hesitant, doubtful, not understanding the purpose of life. We are high on the mountain, knowing why we’re here and which direction to go.
– Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

As the Buddha instructs in the Majjhima Nikaya, “Develop a mind that is vast like space, where experiences both pleasant and unpleasant can appear and disappear without conflict, struggle or harm. Rest in a mind like vast sky.”
The only meaningful life is a life that strives for the individual realization–absolute and unconditional–of its own particular law…To the extent that a man is untrue to the law of his being…he has failed to realize his own life’s meaning.
– C. G. Jung

Bringing a dream to life means changing everything and change is most often accompanied by fear and resistance. Living a dream requires the courage to cross not only where others fear to go, but also to enter where we fear to tread. The dream that calls us to a greater life is also a bridge between worlds, and the depths of one’s soul must first be plumbed if the gold would be found. As a symbol a bridge stands for all that is separated and divided and opposed in us and in the world around us. And a bridge reminds us that some essential union is trying to be forged.
– Michael Meade

Anyone not capable of enjoying camp life in the mountains is in no condition for heaven. We forget nowadays what we were made for. The peace of Nature gets into your heart before you are aware, without effort.
– John Muir

What’s In The Temple?

In the quiet spaces of my mind a thought lies still, but ready to spring.
It begs me to open the door so it can walk about.
The poets speak in obscure terms pointing madly at the unsayable.
The sages say nothing, but walk ahead patting their thigh calling for us to follow.
The monk sits pen in hand poised to explain the cloud of unknowing.
The seeker seeks, just around the corner from the truth.
If she stands still it will catch up with her.
Pause with us here a while.
Put your ear to the wall of your heart.
Listen for the whisper of knowing there.
Love will touch you if you are very still.

If I say the word God, people run away.
They’ve been frightened—sat on ’till the spirit cried “uncle.”
Now they play hide and seek with somebody they can’t name.
They know he’s out there looking for them, and they want to be found,
But there is all this stuff in the way.

I can’t talk about God and make any sense,
And I can’t not talk about God and make any sense.
So we talk about the weather, and we are talking about God.

I miss the old temples where you could hang out with God.
Still, we have pet pounds where you can feel love draped in warm fur,
And sense the whole tragedy of life and death.
You see there the consequences of carelessness,
And you feel there the yapping urgency of life that wants to be lived.
The only things lacking are the frankincense and myrrh.

We don’t build many temples anymore.
Maybe we learned that the sacred can’t be contained.
Or maybe it can’t be sustained inside a building.
Buildings crumble.
It’s the spirit that lives on.

If you had a temple in the secret spaces of your heart,
What would you worship there?
What would you bring to sacrifice?
What would be behind the curtain in the holy of holies?

Go there now.

– Tom Barrett