Friday, December 26, 2008
I can choose DELIGHT!
I see or hear
that more or less
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
It was what I was born for –-
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world --
to instruct myself
over and over
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant –
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab.
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these –
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?
-- Mary Oliver
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
As I continue the ever-unfolding journey from darkness to light, this treatise on where we're at in our collective history and where we may go spoke directly and deeply to me, and screamed to be shared with kindred spirits far-and-near:
SOLSTICE INVOCATION FOR TRICKSTER ALLIES
by Caroline Casey
This is the midnight hour of the year, and of 8,000 years of Empire in which humans ceded authority (Saturn) to socio-pathic dingbats. Until now!
This Solstice poses the question: "What must we die to, within and without, lest we die from."
The I Ching chimes in: 24. The Turning Point -- Winter Solstice
"After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There is movement but it is not brought about by force. Societies of people with a unifying vision are formed. But since these groups come together in full public knowledge and are in harmony with the time, all selfish tendencies are excluded, and no mistake is made. Everything comes of itself at the appointed time."
"From deep stillness comes replenishment and the gathering of strategy and wits. Not striving, but calm and merriment.
"The Winter Solstice has always been celebrated as the resting time of the year. In winter the life energy is still underground. Movement is just at its beginning; therefore it must be strengthened by rest, so that it will not be dissipated by being used prematurely.
"The return of health after illness, the return of understanding after an estrangement; everything must be treated tenderly and with care at the beginning, so that the return may lead to flowering."
Now more than ever.
All of Creation is holding its breath at this deep time, anticipating the birth, within each human heart, of wonder and a willingness to cooperate with everything. May we kindle the warm glow of Trickster kindness, within us all, transform our emotional default setting to one of "Woof Woof, wanna play!?!" Each moment awaits our imaginative dedication.
So let's toss all that is neither beautiful nor useful into the roiling cauldron of re-birth, that Time is so kindly providing us. Let's compost all past patterns of self-sabotage, personal and collective, for starters.
And let's bow at the threshold of this New Year, to release and redeem all that we do not wish to take with us through the door. Remorse is said to be the highest of the negative states, the closest to clarity --because we see and feel all those times when we didn't respond to life's "woof woof wanna play?!" When we fell for the compelling illusion of separateness, and forgot that we are all in one large, pulsing, shape-shifting-according-to-collaborative-
The Sufi, and we with her, gently pats her heart and whispers "estafirahlah" "forgiveness of self and others." And may "forgive" mean "to give energy for change."
The protoplasm of reality is particularly susceptible to imprint now, by the power of word, language, story and metaphor. Allowing ourselves one true hyperbole: Never before has the power of human story-telling been so essential in determining what dies and what lives.
Let us dedicate ourselves to animating the desirable story. (To do otherwise would be complicitous with the evolutionary dead-end of empire.) We suck the chi of our complicity from that which is dying, and exhale into the blooming of dynamic collaborative kinship. We are here to re-dedicate ourselves to the responsibility of dreaming the desirable world into being.
Saturnalia:(*) Deeper Dedication is the anti-dote to fear, as feeling useful is the anti-dote to depression. There -- that's handled.
So, let's visualize and dedicate, wherever we are around the Solstice time, and journeying on into this powerful Winter, that we are offering our unique and necessary Medicine, into the collective cauldron brew, and ladling ourselves a cup of All-Heal.
Trickster Medicine is really the sine qua non that brings all the other medicines into bubbling accord to produce the elixir of Dynamic Reverent Ingenuity.
(*)Saturnalia is the feast with which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn, which was on 17 December. Over the years, it expanded to a whole week, to 23 December.
Saturnalia became one of the most popular Roman festivals. It was marked by tomfoolery and reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters ostensibly switched places.
I so loved what I saw on Caroline Casey's "Coyote Network" that I decided to subscribe to the newsletter. Here's the e-note that came upon completing the process:
"Your desire to be on our Coyote Network News e-mail list is hereby confirmed with enthusiastic woof!
"Our aspiration: You will not be barraged or made grumpy, only encouraged and informed, as we forge the necessary alliances of reciprocal blessing during this wild historic ride." LOVE IT!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
My continuing passion is to part a curtain, that invisible veil of indifference that falls between us and that blinds us to each other's presence, each other's wonder, each other's human plight.
-- Eudora Welty, 1909-2001 (Pulitzer Prize winner for The Optimist's Daughter)
Oh -- such an apt and lovely image for my journey in this world..."parting curtains" ~~
~ of veils of indifference that blind us to the *other's* presence
~ of sadness, that sinks us into a place of isolation and fear
~ of conditioned behavior, which keeps us in the *box* of boring, mundane sameness
~ of the will's weakness, to become a determined and committed spiritual warrior
~ and, with adjusted perceptions, enjoying the Mad Tea Party of this crazy, topsy-turvy life
~ parting the mist, and dissolving into the shining Self within!
Tat Twam Asi! (Thou Are That!)
Friday, December 19, 2008
I've finished the sweater season, adding several thousand miles to the 2001 long bed cargo van that has served me so well since I bought it new at the end of 2000. It has 150,000 miles on it, and I only used it each year for the approximate four months of sweater season.
I'm back in AR at Robert's house, my friend and former partner. I live in the back, have my own entrance and bathroom, sharing only the kitchen with him. The vibes of his lack of balance float in here and affect me, to some extent I suppose because we were partners for 16 years and I continue to care deeply about his well-being. It is clear to me that he exhibits classic bipolar symptoms, as well as the possibility of paranoid schizophrenia. The key for me to be emotionally well and thrive in this environment is to not ENGAGE, to remain DETACHED from him, while helping as I'm able when I'm able and enjoying his company when he is able to socialize appropriately.
This evening we are heading in to Little Rock for a holiday celebration. I hope it all goes well...I can really use some company and celebration! We are going to dine at a great Italian restaurant in the *hippest* part of the city and then take in a female jazz vocalist with her back-up group who have gotten good reviews. The venue is walking distance from the restaurant.
We are spending the night (one room, two beds!) there and then playing on Saturday...brunch, some Whole Foods shopping, an afternoon movie, and then a concert of black gospel music at the Hilton! We'll head home after that, hopefully full of holiday joy and enjoyment!
I have often been *glued* to the computer since getting back, somehow seeking *connection* through this device. Not good. I'm also eating poorly, basically in terms of portion control. I'm off-balance and need to move within, getting back to daily sitting and breathing practices as well as asanas and other movement (aerobic and strength training). I'm definitely feeling stymied and need to make a radical move...and continue in that direction!
May it be so!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
After 11 years with the project, I finished the last leg of the last shows trip for www.SweatersOverTheRainbow.com on December 9. During this period between the first of October and mid-December, I traveled serially with two men who I hired to help with the driving, the set-up and break-down of the booth, and with sales during the shows. We traveled through the heartland, into the south and over to the east coast. Neither are friends perse, although they are known to be upstanding and highly-principled men.
It was purty much a 24/7 level of relationship with these two men. We were thrown together by work, into an "in your face" intimacy. The cooperative paid for separate lodging this year, in contrast to past years when I reserved rooms with two beds and we actually shared rooms as well!
Oh my! the lessons that came to me in equinimity, non-judgment, control issues, releasing my independent spirit of "doing it all," giving without expecting the fruits of the action, and on-and-on! It was intense and, at times, very difficult. But there were occasional spells of real communion and fun as well, thank goddess!
I'm amazed at the profoundity for me in my personal reflections, of the Word for the Day that was in my In-Box this morning, after last night's arrival, finishing the three month tour. And in these reflections, I expand the GOOD vs. EVIL continuum to include:
highest intentions vs. egoically-driven intentions,
holy motivation vs. personal-gain motivation
selfless service vs. selfish service
I am aware that there is always that smear of self-serving in even the seemingly most selfless act. And at times I'm horrified at the judgmental nature of my thoughts and even the slightest hint of a "holier-than-thou" feeling that can taint a good deed. Thich Nhat Hanh said, "My actions are my true belongings. They are the ground on which I stand." Purity in thought, word and deed is my never-ending goal as I move from egoic to selfless behavior, trudging the spiritual path:
"The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. " -- Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago
Judging MYSELF isn't useful anymore than judging another. I will, though, celebrate the movement, any movement, TOWARD ever-greater purity of thought, word or deed, no matter how slight the change of position.
As I contemplate these Truths, Sri Easwaran's Thought for the Day arrived to my InBox. It is SO pertinent to my reflections, I need to add it, both for remembrance, and to share:
"A good action is never lost; it is a treasure laid up and guarded for the doer’s need (Calderon de la Barca).
"In Hinduism and Buddhism this principle is called the law of karma. The word karma has been much misunderstood, but its literal meaning is simply action, something done. So instead of using exotic language, we might as well refer to the “law of action,” which states that everything we do – even everything we think, since our thoughts condition our behavior – has consequences: not “equal and opposite” as in physics, but equal and alike.
"The comparison with physics is deliberate, for this is not a doctrine of any particular religion. It is a law of life, which no one has stated more clearly than Saint Paul: “Whatsoever we sow, that shall we also reap.” The working of this law, we should bear in mind, is not necessarily negative. If we sow mercy, we shall receive mercy in ample harvest. If we give love, we shall receive love; if we are kind and patient to others, others will be kind and patient to us."
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