"Fooling With Words" as I munched the nuts that were breakfast.
In the book, Moyers' first subject is poet Stanley Kunitz. He refers to Kunitz reading of his poem, The Lincoln Relics, at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. He quotes some lines that sent me looking for the whole piece. The Civil War, its monuments currently in question, also the subject of a recent inaccurate reference, always speaks to me.
This morning's experience has me vowing to begin my days with poetry, any amount, for even a taste, while a set-up for cravings, nourishes like nothing else. With poetry under our belts, we are no longer running on empty.
Here's the link, a connection to the poem and access to additional information.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
“Spiritual practices help us move from identifying with the ego to identifying with the soul. Old age does that for you too. It spiritualizes people naturally.” - Ram Dass
Word(s) of the Week: SPIRIT ENCOUNTERS
|Art by Lisbeth Zwerger.|
Ram Dass also said, "Treat everyone you meet like God in drag."
I have come to believe that all encounters, human and otherwise, are spirit encounters. Human to human, it is far too easy to slip into expectations, anticipating certain outcomes, making no allowance for the fact of spirits meeting - or colliding - and instead simply reacting.
Beneath the exterior, applied selves we may fashion to carry our often vastly different spirits from place to place are the grottoes, the hidey-holes where we truly live. Spaces secret and safe where there is no reason to be other than who we are. However deeply hidden, we are always at home within. It feels wildly essential to me that I try and remember this, remember that we and our exchanges occupy sacred ground, the conversations beneath, behind the spoken words.
I wonder after a night of vivid dreaming in which all visitors feel so present, whether others share that experience. There have been far too many of these dreams for me not to believe they, too, are spirit encounters. People long departed or perhaps merely distant arrive and I awake knowing we have spent those dreaming moments, during which much is always revealed, together. There is a sense of needing to send spirit emissaries to communicate without disguise or armor, that this is the only realm in which such honesty can occur. That I am capable of imagining these dreams are more than dreams I freely acknowledge, yet I know myself to be capable of recognizing the existence of unlikely events, of trusting what cannot be verified.
In spite of loss, pain, terror and occasional defeat, life is the on-going seance during which we become familiar with magic. As I've been typing, Hummingbird has visited my window twice, checking to see that amnesia hadn't overtaken me, confirming that I continue as a student of its message of joy, lightness and love shared.
Monday, March 27, 2017
|Poets Joseph Brodsky, left, and fellow Nobel Prize Laureate Derek Walcott.|
In cultures other than mine there are ceremonies to restore balance, refit missing pieces into the spaces left by their exodus. My absence from self has been an itinerary of comings and goings for which no estimated times of arrival or departure were known.
Before poetry - appreciated and even studied long ago but not absorbed, not inhaled, no door opened wide enough for habitation, accommodating the bulky goods with which it travels - caught me, I assumed that my once-absent segments had all flown home. Now I find that what I took for life in full measure was more a silhouette. Poetry has a way of poking its fingers into vacant corners, eyebrows raised with the question, shouldn't there be something here?
Poetry, if it wanted to, could beat any self-help manual senseless. A poem is a far more believable testimonial: I survived to write this. Poetry doesn't tell you, it shows you. How is it that, over not so many months, a literary form, an art, has become teacher, guide, source of wisdom and the voice that keeps me awake at night (in a good way)? Painful shards of memory that used to steal my breath now look like material.
There is study ahead, there is travel. My fragments could turn up anywhere. They arrive in daily emails, my heart lurching in recognition. They emerge in posts and comments, they step shyly forward from links that have a telling glimmer: look here.
In a culture thought by some to be without shamans we are not lost or abandoned. The poets rattle and drum, they chant and dance. We are redeemed by words, their incantations point the way.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
|Art by Michael Sowa.|
I assume we each retain possession of a child's delight upon receiving a gift, especially when it arrives as a surprise. What a bonanza this week when a friend sent not only the newest version of the FLOW BOOK FOR PAPER LOVERS (300 pages of paper-paper-and more paper, the subject of a future post) and her copy of SOWA'S ARK, a collection of creatures which inhabit the imagination of German artist Michael Sowa.
|One of Sowa's many rabbit illustrations.|
|A Sowa snail of intimidating size.|
If you are interested, the book is available from Amazon, here.
Friday, March 17, 2017
|Jeong Kwan, a South Korean Buddhist nun, is featured in an episode of the series, Chef's Table.|
Word(s) of the Week: TEMPLE FOOD
I will allow the links and the chef herself to tell what moved me so deeply about this program. The most I can add is that my own sense of rightness about the world, a world in which peace, beauty, devotion, ceremony, sacredness, generosity, stillness, attention and love not only exist but are valued, perpetuated, feels greatly affirmed. If you, as I, have felt estranged from long-held truths, please permit yourself this accessible period of restoration. And the pure art of vegetarian meals, called simply temple food by the chef.
This will take you to a New York Times article about Jeong Kwan. Here is a recap of the series episode, available on Netflix.
To find the show, it is Episode 1 of Season 3 of CHEF'S TABLE, however you watch streaming programs.
Monday, March 6, 2017
|Art by Lisa Kaser.|
My family of origin was not much for saying, "I love you." I actually cannot remember it being said to me or among the five of us as my sister, brother and I were growing up. We siblings say it now, yes we do. The words are spoken between me and my friends, me and my son. Anyone who reads this blog or any FB posts knows that I love lots. Lots of people, things, weather, states of being, colors, creatures and love itself. I had a rubber stamp made, small, simple, that urges, "Fall in love with everything."
I was already thinking of this phrase for Word of the Week when last night I dreamed - for about the nine-hundred-and-forty-seven-thousandth time - of an old beau. In the dream I had to turn down an invitation to be his date at a car show, his yellow dream Chevrolet beckoning, as I was already going with someone else. The someone else said, "You know how much he's in love with you, don't you?" My answer was, "Yes, but he won't do anything about it." (Please excuse me for I know the dreams of other people are generally tedious.) The dream caused me to ponder more than four decades speckled with memorable, treasured blurts of affection. We are not growing younger, just like the rest of you. I grapple with the still-adolescent parts of my mind that think saying those words to a man who has been a friend, uniquely, to me for more than half my life has to be "going somewhere." What a twit I can be. It has always been somewhere, everywhere. It is a gift, as my sister might say, "A pearl beyond price," to have people we love, even better but not required if they love us back.
Friday, March 3, 2017
|All paintings by Stephane Dauthuille.|
I look at the art of Stephane Dauthuille, the heads or limbs of his richly-gowned women existing just outside the paintings' edges, and I do not wonder what is missing. I have no feeling that what these works say to me is an incomplete message. They speak fully. We are each allowed to interpret as we will.
The notion of a life in which nothing essential is missing is relatively new to me. Any of us of moderate means is capable of wishing for material goods or circumstances that could, we believe, make everything better. Depending on your definition of better.
A heart or mind that chases after the unattainable allows a sense of lack to cast shadows on what actually IS, obscuring, diminishing what we have. Contentment is not a product of merely having but of the awareness of and gratitude for what is present. As I write this, it sounds simplistic. Of course, everyone knows that, I chide myself. I can't say that I've always known it.
As the only story I can tell fully is my own and though I may write "we," what I mean is me/I. Historically, my greatest sense of incompleteness involves my relationship with myself, with a notion of insufficiency in every nameable category. Becoming our authentic selves, allowing that to be not only enough but desirable requires such traits as acceptance, faith/trust, the willing suspense of doubt and continually reviewing the situation.
I assume of others as I do of myself that we are all works in progress. I once believed that meant an endless striving to be somehow better than I was. I had no idea there could be something succulent about being miraculously ordinary, ordinary meaning just me being me. To be fully who we are, treasuring that profound and unique state without apology or asterisks to indicate missing parts, ah, there's a challenge. Within the boundaries of human life with its sorrows, we seem to have the option of being not only happy but complete. When our mother passed, my sister described her as dancing in heaven with her mother, now restored to two good legs. In the realm of spirit, measured by the heart, I believe I have what I need, two good legs and a great deal more.