Oh, America

Before we escape into more analysis…This time let us…

 

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sit in silence together

feel  it to the depths

until we know,

really know,

the place to which we have come. 

Then let us stand together and act.

 

RENEWAL

This post goes back a few years.  I was reminded of it now while much of the world is burning up from forest fires.  The earth does renew herself,  as witnessed in the terrain of Mt. St. Helens in Washington state, USA. If we renew our souls as faithfully as nature renews herself, there is hope for us.

Geography of the Soul

In an effort to protect our egos, we leave in our wake  a destructive landscape of regret.  Our acts of protection are as much an animal response as protecting their physical lives is for other animals.  The difference, of course, is that we can strengthen our egos sufficiently to withstand attacks and move beyond them for the sake of the common good.  The process of moving beyond ego creates a soul-landscape rich in variety.  Remnants of ego caught on jagged crags, conjure memories of lies to self and others; charred skeletons of timber stand in witness to courageous suffering endured, and hopeless suffering self-inflected.

Our soul’s geography resembles the terrain of active volcanoes years after they have exploded. Destructive lava flow has given way to affluent bursts of bold, bright, wildflowers- the acts of justice and compassion sown as seeds alongside germs of ego.  Patches of green miraculously inch their way through the bowl of impenetrable metamorphic rock.

Just as rock can be intrinsically altered by the flow of hot lava, so is the soul dramatically altered by the movement of the Spirit, and our response to her. If we trust the Spirit, and trust ourselves to grapple with our instinct to protect our egos, seedlings will dot the horizon.  Wildflowers, once extirpated by fear, will burst forth like fireworks on Independence Day.

I recommend frequent road trips through the terrain of our souls.

New Year’s Everyday

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Although we are not celebrating Rosh Hashanna today and the calendar may not mark the beginning of another year, I offer Marge Piercy’s poem to give us hope that every day is new and we can come back after immigrants are rounded up like cattle and congresswomen are told to go back to the country they were born in if they don’t like this one.

 

The head of the year

The moon is dark tonight, a new
moon for a new year. It is
hollow and hungers to be full.
It is the black zero of beginning.

Now you must void yourself
of injuries, insults, incursions.
Go with empty hands to those
you have hurt and make amends.

It is not too late. It is early
and about to grow. Now
is the time to do what you
know you must and have feared

to begin. Your face is dark
too as you turn inward to face
yourself, the hidden twin
of all you must grow to be.

Forgive the dead year. Forgive
yourself. What will be wants
to push through your fingers.
The light you seek hides

in your belly. The light you
crave longs to stream from
your eyes. You are the moon
that will wax in new goodness.

Marge Piercy

Meloncholia On The Borders

I simply have no words for the treatment of migrants at America’s southern border, so I rely once again on the words of poet Jack Gilbert and the sculpture of Albert Gyorgy to convey feelings intense enough to move us to action.

 

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THE ABANDONED VALLEY

Can you understand
being alone so long
you would go out in the middle of the night
and put a bucket into the
well so you could feel something
down there
tug at the other end of
the rope?

Jack Gilbert in Refusing Heaven

 

Wisdom from Parker Palmer

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It’s a soggy summer day in Seattle, folks, a day to silently drink in this pithy piece of wisdom and store it until the sun graces us with its presence again.

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Photo Credit: true self portraits https://www.newscientist.com/round-up/your-true-self/

Radiant Ripples

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This gift of wisdom came to me this morning and reminded me of a poem I wrote earlier.  I invite you to meander between the words, between the lines.

A clear radiant unselfishness at the core of your being is a vital source of power and influence. It spreads as surely as ripples on a pond when a stone is tossed into the center. A sincere reliance on your own integrity generates supreme good fortune.  I Ching 61 Centering in Truth

The Sideway Swing

 

Photo Credit:   

“SoulCards” by Deborah Koff-Chapin.  The technique Deborah has created is called “touch drawing.”  The  cards come in two decks of 60 images and can be used alone or with others as reflection tools.  They have enriched my meditation for years and have helped those I companion with.  www.soulcards.com

Used with permission from the artist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tribute To Tina

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Tina strolls leisurely along the lake boardwalk with her happy little dog whose pink satin bow bounces with attitude as she leads Tina. Someone has to lead because Tina is intensely focused on the book she is reading.

When I saw Tina in the elevator yesterday I felt a burst of radiant well-being emanate from her. Light showcased clear brown eyes highlighted by tastefully applied makeup. Her long auburn hair fell loosely around shoulders pulled straight by some unseen string from above. Tears of joy waited for release as the realization emerged- Tina was well.

Focusing on a book was something Tina couldn’t do very well when she first moved into my apartment building. I would see her strolling around the grounds with her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, sometimes twice in one day. She walked bent over, studying the ground as if expecting it to swallow her up at any minute. Her face was contorted and conversation resembled a rapid staccato frenzie of unrelated words.

Standing upright a year later, Tina has become for me an icon of what the human spirit can do. Witnessing her noble struggle has been a spiritual practice which reminds me how to reach down and pull out the strength to go on, the strength to survive and then to thrive. She is a monument to the art of letting go.

I am grateful to Tina, to my brave niece and to thousands of others, for showing me how to let go.

The Winds Of Change: A Spiritual Practice

 

 

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Photo Credits: https://utahstories.com/2018/12/a-short-introduction-to-utah-native-trees/

https://www.co.benton.or.us/sheriff/page/wind-storms

Pay Attention

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For the third time on these pages I post this poem with hope and a prayer that nonviolence will replace violence, that deep self will replace ego.  I share the poem today in response to the possibility of yet another war in the Middle East.

 

Continuous War Sabers

 

 

Photo Credit for flags:  wikepedia.org