Sunday, October 23, 2011

That's Life...

With all that has been transpiring in the world this week- the death of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, the on-going and growing demonstrations by the Occupy Wall Street movement in our country, the long-awaited announcement by President Obama that our troops will be out of Iraq by the end of this year- and so, so much more, I was still able to carve out a place of serenity and peace for some reflection and writing on Thursday. Being gifted by dear friends with the use of their "studio" for this endeavor, I spent several wonderfully quite hours at Healing Ground, with candles lighted and soft music playing as my invitation to the wind of the Spirit of Creation and Creativity to blow through that place, to blow through me.

When I have this "alone-time", I usually look back over some of my journals, to reflect upon my reflections...and lest this sounds like so much naval-gazing, let me tell you that I am often amazed by what I find...at words I wrote a year ago or two or three...and I find small gems tucked away in pages long since forgotten. Like these words of Diane Ackerman in her wonderful book, Deep Play:
"To the (Australian) Aborigines, geography is memory. Every mile sings, every mountain speaks of their ancestors' journeys. Nothing is irrelevant, nothing is lost to death. All things partake of life's spirit and vitality, the land is vigorously alive, unseen forces flourish, and all have a special site (or Dreaming Place) that is a spiritual place for them and their ancestors."

...which led me to think about places which have fed my spirit over the years...
  • Sam S. Lewis State Park, just outside of Wrightsville, PA, where, high on the hill overlooking the Susquehanna River, I took my three children in the middle of the night many years ago to watch the total eclipse of the moon...
  • Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, the site of the Anasazi nation, an advanced civilization closely parallel to the Aztecs which build amazing structures in the southwestern desert and suddenly, completely disappeared, leaving only the ruins of those beautiful structures behind...
  • the isle of Iona, off Scotland's northeastern coast, cradle of Celtic Christianity, and home of the Iona Community, its wild and rugged beauty barely touched by the encroachments of civilization and alive with the spirits of those gone before...
  • Well of Mercy retreat center in Harmony, NC, a place of serene beauty and nurturing comfort begun by two Sisters of Mercy and staffed by incredibly giving and gifted people...
  • the winter beach almost anywhere, when the wind and water and waves all combine in a symphony which rivals any written by my favorite Mozart...
  • the Masaai Mara, that incredible landscape of every imaginable shade of brown, beautiful in its scope and alive with its animals, it takes the breath away.
  • And, of course, Healing Ground, with its beauty in every season, its wide-open welcome, achieving that alchemy of power and peace.
The Masaai Mara


Heading home at twilight

...which I hope will lead you to think about places which feed your spirit, places to which your memory returns again and again for nourishment and comfort. For as Askerman said, geography IS memory...or so I've found.

And while I was letting the winds of the Spirit blow through, I found myself composing words which I now keep in the front of my notebook, as I prepare again and again to write.

prayer before writing...
Holy One, Creative & Creating Light,
   hold and nurture and comfort me this day.
Breathe into me a bit of creative energy,
   that i might write from my heart and soul,
   from my depths- the ocean inside.
You are my Source, my Hope, my Peace,
   my Standing Place.
From you i draw strength, power,
   imagination, creativity, wonder,
   comfort.
And though i can neither understand
   nor explain your presence,
   i know it...feel it...welcome it...
      embrace it.
   i gather it close to myself,
      let it enshroud mt...
   i lose myself in its wonder, its reality.
   i dive into its depths, enthralled by
      both darkness & light,
      buoyed by the sense of rightness,
      of holiness, of wholeness.
And as i permit myself to float on the tide
   of your ineffability, as i breathe in the
   sweetness of your reality, all of life
   becomes a YES.

And if i may share yet another quotation from Diane Ackerman, one which hits very close to the bone of this sometime writer/poet:
"...poetry is a kind of knowing, a way of looking at the ordinary until it becomes special and the exceptional until it becomes commonplace."

seeking truth
Poets speak what has been
forgotten...the deep inner

truths we come into this
world knowing but which

slip from our infant grasp,
replaced by other grasping

as we reach out for life,
for learning, for all we're told

is of importance-
only to spend our lifetime

yearning, seeking for
those illusive, ethereal

truths which hover on the edge
of vision & awareness like
wisps of eternity.                                                                                                                                                                                

looking up
We are a vertical species, we humankind.
Not only in our posture, our way to meet the world-
     upright, standing as we do on our own two feet-
but in the way we raise our eyes skyward,
seeking something far beyond ourselves.
 
Our ancestors climbed the tallest trees
in search of safety…and we build high-rise
towers- though safety there is more
     illusory than real.

We climb corporate ladders, rising to the top…
become top dog, king of the hill, high & mighty…
convinced that power
                         might
                         importance
                         transcendence
lie above us…somewhere…
forgetting – if we ever really knew-
that divinity lies deep within
    as well as above, around…
    that even from the mountaintop
    we see the world spread out at
     our feet waiting for our
    presence, our engagement,
    our caring, compassionate involvement…
                                       down in the trenches…
                                       getting our hands dirty…
                                       and falling on our knees to
                    feel the earth.

Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty: The accumulation of wealth of the people at the top of the unemployment ladder is linked to the poverty experiences by those at the bottom.

And all of this meandering is just to say, this is LIFE...with all of its frustrations and foibles, its joys and celebrations, its ongoing challenge to LIVE FULLY...whatever is happening. And if we can do that, my friends, we can know that we are well and truly alive.
May your day be filled with wonder and meaning...and may you dwell in the certainty that you are loved. love, linda

 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Writing about Writing...

I wrote the following words in my journal two years ago; they offer an explanation of why this blog exists. In my own words:

Writing is not arrogance; it is simply sharing my opinion, my experience; laying it out there for others to accept & resonate with or reject, as they will. No matter how scholarly a work, how well researched or footnoted, at rock bottom it is the thought and opinion of the writer...admittedly reached through process and consideration but his/her opinion nonetheless. And so, I must set aside my fear of rejection, my fear of being misunderstood and disagreed with, and JUST DO IT! It is not arrogance to put forth what I think/believe; no arm-twisting is involved but rather, an invitation is being issued...to be accepted or not by the other, by the reader. The path lies ahead...one foot in front of the other...walking is lovely but also difficult at times...it requires determination...it requires DOING IT! Breathe into me courage, strength, and wisdom, Creative Spirit. Let me dare & do...let me write with determination...and let someone hear. LET IT BE SO.

And so I'm sharing today some of the words I have written over the passing months, years, which speak from my heart to you, dear reader. Perhaps they will strike a chord, will resonate with your heart; perhaps you will turn away, unable or unwilling to walk my path with me for a little while. But whatever happens, whatever results, I lay my head and heart out there- and take the risk.
love, linda

rhyme or reason
While I so admire the way some poets
weave words and images together,
I admit I am also puzzled by them...
obviously they know where their words
are going but I cannot follow...
feel lost in a maze of imagery and
verbiage which seems labyrinthine
in its complexity.

I do not feel invited in, do not feel
included...the words so private,
so exclusive, that I am shut out-
though I am certain that is not
the poet's intent. Else, why write at all?

It is in the sharing, the connections,
that hope lies...the hope that my
reaching hand will touch yours,
that my tears will flow from your eyes,
that my heartbreak will break your heart
wide open, that my joy and laughter
will resonate from your mouth.

I write to express and connect...
with you and you and perhaps you, too.
There is no other rhyme or reason
       for it.

daylight savings time?
Isn’t it ironic that this idea, originally
conceived as a way of saving energy,
                                 of consuming less fuel,
is now being touted as a way to ramp up
the slumping economy, promoting retail
and gasoline sales?

And so we jump back on the same old
merry-go-round of BUY, SPEND, USE
so that- so the party line goes- stocks and
profits will go up. Of course, so will degradation
of the planet- but, oh well, what are a few
polar bears and emperor penguins?
They’re only animals, after all…not nearly
as important as we humans with our
perceived needs for comfort & convenience.

Human arrogance is truly frightening,
isn’t it? But I am part of the human family,
bear a share of the responsibility- so,
can I walk more softly in this world?
Leave a smaller carbon footprint?
Consume less?
Save more?
Waste less?
Live more responsibly and intentionally?
                                           Surely I can try. 


truth of a different color
What happens when one part
of the brain agrees with

something read or said
while another part cries out

in vehement denial? when
something rings both true

and false simultaneously?
when head nods in assent

while heart digs in its heels
as a thing feels less than

all right? And, if we're honest,
isn't much of life spent in

this schizophrenic place of
knowing and not knowing,

of certainty accompanied
closely by doubt, while truth

fades from stark black & white
to many shades of grey?



‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’- so goes the old adage. But isn’t it also a ‘gift’ to receive what is offered to us by another? To graciously open hands and heart when another person presents us with a part of his joy, a
part of her pain?

giving
We talk so much about giving-
and it is indeed a blessed thing
to do- to give our gifts, our talents,
time, to help another…
         to a good cause…
         to share our  bounty                       
                and our selves.

But isn’t it also a gift,
I wonder, to be open
to receive- another’s
thoughts, another’s pain,
another’s truth,
another’s gift?
O P E N
O    P    E    N
O        P        E        N
Open heart
open ears
open eyes
open mind
open life.
       Isn’t this also a precious gift
         we can give to another?
       Receiving what they have
                  to give?

 If we’ve ever been on the receiving end of an act of mercy that made
a difference in our lives, we have seen the face of God.
-Kathleen Norris

Friday, October 14, 2011

Making War...Random Thoughts...

From The Sacred Balance by David Suzuki:

"War is a social, economic and ecological disaster. It is totally unsustainable and must be opposed by all who are concerned about meeting the real needs of all people and future generations. The effect of war is most immediate for those who are killed or maimed or made homeless, but the social and ecological consequences reverberate for generations. Among the children who survive, we still don't know the full extent of the psychic damage they have suffered or the degree to which their problems are transmitted to successive generations. War is the ultimate atrocity that dehumanizes victor and vanquished alike; divorcing children from parents, separating families, smashing communities, it deprives its victims of their basic need for love and security in the company of their fellow human beings."

And to give you something else to "chew on", here are some facts and figures:
  • We (the U.S.) are spending $2.3 billion per week on the war in Afghanistan.
  • We (the U.S.) are spending $1 billion per week on the war in Iraq.
All of which comes to about $171,600,000,000 annually on these 2 wars- and this is over and above the regular military budget of $663.7 billion. And made possible by "special" appropriations passed by our Congress as needed. Contrast this with the $489 million we spend per week on ALL foreign aid, with a like amount spent on education. Oh, and don't forget the $42.7 billion we're spending annually on Homeland Security. Isn't there somethig wrong with this picture? Or am I the only who is horrified with the way my hard-earned tax dollars are being spent? And when will "we, the people" take our responsibilities seriously?


"it is a puzzlement"
We seek easy answers
                quick solutions...
always in a cultural, collective hurry
to find "the way", whether to
     lose weight or
     guard the borders or
     defeat terrorism or
     prevent teen pregnancy or
     fight breast cancer or
     raise children or
     end war...
 
When will we realize, do you suppose,
that each of us- each and every one
of us- is part of the solution?
not the whole- for no one person's
wisdom is that complete- but part...
each of us bringing our own small but
necessary piece to contribute to the
complex puzzle that is life together.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Morning

Ah! A cup of coffee
 steaming hot
fragrant with cinnamon
warmth seeping through

reaching out
Open, my eyes peer into darkness,
    the sun not yet risen
    on this sabbath morn.

Open, my heart dwells in darkness,
    beating out my life's seconds,

    even as it reaches out to
    welcome the light of compassion.

Open, my hands reach out
    to take the hands of those
    dwelling in my imagination,

    at a far distance, yet as near
    as my thoughts,my breath,
    my beating heart.

May your day be both blessed and beautiful, dear one, wherever you are. May it be filled with both strength and courage, both pathos and compassion. And, above all, may you know, truly know, that you are loved. love, linda 





Saturday, October 8, 2011

Morning Meanderings...

There is no such thing as a meaningless moment. -Joan Chittister

Time is nature's way of preventing everything from happening at once. -Anonymous graffiti

It is not your obligatio to complete your work, but you are not at liberty to quit it. -The Talmud

just wondering...
Wit and wonder-
are these the marks of being
truly human? Do other creatures
laugh? And do they question
why and how they came to be?
The light of the full moon
shines through my window
and I am filled with such a
yearning to walk its lighted path
to who knows where?
O Brother Squirrel, Sister Wren,
do you ever know such depth
of yearning? As you cavort
through branches high above me,
do you laugh at this earth-bound
creature? As you fly on your
daily round of feeders and feeding,
as you sing your preious song,
so you now delight?
Or are we two-legger earthings
the only ones possessed of
both the gift and the curse
of such awareness? And is
this what it means to be created
        in the image of God?

 a heart divided...
I am of two minds, it seems,
or is it just my heart divided,
parsed into pieces,
pulled to places far and wide...
for here I sit in my blue room,
a place of cheer and comfort,
a place secure where I can
spend long hours far from
traffic noise and people noise
(though barking dogs too often
add their noisy punctuation
to my day), surrounded by
small things I love and photos
of those I hold both near and dear...
while not so many blocks away,
those I do not know come to be fed,
come to be sheltered, come to
find the safety which their lives
do not provide...
while far away across the gobe,
those countless ones, know and
unknown to me, long to be fed,
long to be sheltered, long to
find the safety which their lives
cannot provide...
So, where do I put my deepest concern?
Where place the pieces of my
broke-open heart?
     And how do I fit it all
     back together again?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thoughts About Life & Death...


life & death...
Steve Jobs has died of pancreatic cancer,
and headlines scream and countless
words of acclamation have been
written, spoken, blogged, and tweeted...
more will surely follow, as the world
mourns the death of a technology
pioneer who changed the face of daily life
for countless numbers of us...
                AND
a child has died of starvation- and
another and another still...numbering
in the thousands daily, as headlines
stay silent and words of sorrow remain
unwritten...as the families mourn alone,
the death of one small child changing nothing
in the daily lives of countless numbers of us...
              or does it?
                  should it?
                  will it?

life & death 2...
Staticticians tell us that
in two more decades,
more than twenty-five percent
of people in these United States
will be over sixty-five...
and though some of us will
no longer be here, others of us
will, our children and grandchildren
and even great-grands among
the younger generations responsible
for our care. And how will life
look then, I wonder, when more and
more of us are elderly? Will we,
the elders of the tribe,
to living,  cling tenaciously to living,
demanding that everything be done
to prolong life, regardless of the cost?
Will we expect that countless millions
be expended for our care & comfort,
simply because we have managed
to live so long? Or will we, in the
time-honored tradition of peoples
living close to nature, of tribal
peoples everywhere, wisely know
when our time has come to cede
our place to those who follow,
unafraid to make the final journey,
and instead of clinging to life,
travel that road upright & unafraid,
singing hallelujahs all the way?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Faith...Poetically



That is sanctity: the wholeness of giving the gift of all your self.
Not waiting till that self is fine and moral and healthy and
balanced enough to expose. -Rowan Williams


stripping down…
Over the years,
I have ejected lots
of spiritual “baggage:
which no longer
served me well.

I am trying to
“travel light”…to
shed the constraints
of tenets, creeds,
beliefs which only
bind, which no
longer fit.
 
Is there some
blessedness, I
wonder, in walking
around
        naked?

ass/u/me
Why do we so often assume
that people of faith never experience
     brokenness?
     discouragement?
     despair?
Why do we so often assume,
even in this modern age,
     that illness & misfortune are
     signs of lack of faith?
Why do we so often assume
that we know who has God's
     favor and who does not?
Why do we so often assume
that there are simple, straightforward
     answers to life' complex questions?
Why do we so often assume
that a great divide exists between
     what is sacred and what is secular?
                      and
Why do we so often assume
that we, we alone, know the
     mind and will of God for
     humankind?
I mean, isn't it dangerous
                 to ASS/U/ME?


mind-full…
Who are we humans,
that You are mindful of us? of me?
     A universe of stars, planets,
     unknowns exists out there, O God-
     but as mysterious as what exists
     in here, within me?
          a miniature cosmos with
          constellations of emotions and
          patterns of thought…
          shooting stars of pain and joy…
          each atom intricately intertwined
          with all others, as surely as we are
          connected with all other atoms
          everywhere and at all times,
               our cells bearing within the
               very energy of the stars-
          or so the quantum physicists,
          Your own alchemists, tell us.
How incredible!
How breathtaking!
How amazing!  Amen




Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Leaving Footprints...


In my early morning reading, I encountered these words from Mark Nepo: With our hands full of groceries, our heads full of things to do, our hearts full of memories, and our dreams full of plans, we tend to think that if we could only get away or finish crossing off the things on that list, if we could only undo what has been done or do what needs to be done, we might then live more completely, more perfectly. But we are human beings, flawed colorful beings that eat plans and memories for food.

Set me thinking, as these morning readings usually do, and the result is my question for today: how do I live fully? How do I live as a responsible, caring human being? How do I make an impact on the world I inhabit- not in the sense of fortune or fame but in the sense of touching other lives, though touching them lightly? Or is the task simply to BE, without much concern for legacy, for impact? In fact, to leave as light a footprint as possible...

For in the truly sacred moments of life, there is a sense of oneness with the Force, the Source I call God. And yet, in that oneness, in that unity and surrender, I do not lose myself...I am still I, a lovely, flawed, rare, imperfect human being, a cradle for the Divine which lovingly inhabits me so that I can lovingly share and express holiness in those moments when I permit it to shine through. May I shine that light for you today, dear one, and may you in turn pass it on to another and another, as together we light the world around us with our shared, interconnected love.

May your day be filled with beauty...may you find all of the courage, strength, and wisdom you need to live it fully...and above all, may you know that you are loved. love, linda

There is one world only,
the one to which we give ourselves
utterly, and to which one day
we are blessed to return.
-David Whyte

a  psalm  of confusion
Thoughts tumble over
one another…an almost
overwhelming cacophony
of voices from the soul’s
depth, crying out to
     be heard.
And over- or under- them all
is the quiet voice of despair
which whispers, ‘Not enough time…
     not enough time.’
The mature adult part of
my self knows that all learning,
all wisdom does not have to be,
cannot be accomplished in
      this lifetime.
But the child in me wants it
ALL- here…now!
O Spirit, help me not to let
the time I have slip through
my fingers. Let me make
it count in some way. Permit
me to leave an imprint of
my life for those who follow,
a sign that I have walked
       this way.
Grant me a glimpse, if you
will, of immortality. Let my
life make a difference…
an impact…an impression.
Open me to the holy paradox
of living life fully and letting go.
And bless me and every beloved one
with your presence & peace this day.
        Let it be so.