Thursday, December 08, 2011

Evolution :)

Adaptations of "the scream,"
image overlays
to happy moments of carefree
thoughts as clouds drifting
in a blue sky.
You and I are drifting, often wordlessly
dancing slowly, smoothly,
effortlessly in a gentle spin of time,
weaving a web of what will also be
shining strings of light to guide each of us
further in our own time

Thursday, December 01, 2011

If you want peace, first Know Thyself.

When we think about what we want out of life, in life, we all have wants and goals, a need to love and be loved, to create. We need to express ourselves. Throughout history we have carved our names, symbols of our presence, of what we can see and what we, as a mind, are trying to understand.  We want to go beyond where we have been.

We start as an infant, pulling ourselves up.

During Thanksgiving I saw my four-year-old niece, who fancies herself a Cinderella for now – and she is a princess. She is charming, pretty, and has a presence, a sense of herself in the world as being entitled to all that is within her magical kingdom – everything she can imagine can be delightful and pleasing, exciting beyond description. She has her questions too. Shoes are not living things, she says with a big smile to her brother, Jack (13), when he tells her his shoes have names and talk to him.

We want life to make sense. As I listen to the news I hear the many ways we are trying to put the pieces of the puzzles of our collective lives together. Along with the heroes, large and small, there are shadows of princes and princesses, kings, queens, jesters, wannabes.  Sex abuse among young boys, kidnapping of girls, trying to pin down the “truth” of our affairs, integrity, character, harassment, courage, strength, love. Getting to a new true level of peace and understanding requires that we understand ourselves better, more deeply, more simply so that we can accept and acknowledge the complexity of our creation as we experience our physical lives.

I’ve been reading Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. He quotes Jobs: “It takes a lot of hard work to make something simple, to truly understand the underlying challenges and come up with elegant solutions.” (343) Jobs’s self-described “spiritual partner,” Jony Ive, described his design philosophy this way: “Simplicity … involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simply, you have to go really deep. … The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it’s manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential.”

Why don’t we do this more with our “human design”?  I’ve also been reading Paul Johnson’s book, Socrates: A Man for our Times. Socrates, as I relate to the personality shared, always operated using his intuition, as Jobs strived to do, yet also was inspired and guided to understand the philosophy of how men (especially, yet also women and children) thought, what motivated men to think, speak, act as they did. The delight of life is in the living. Creating as its own activity, the constant nature of us as human energy beings, began with thinking. Sharing our thoughts and feelings is one of our greatest gifts – as sensory beings, and also as a collective being. As a society we are most moved by the personal triumphs we experience – overcoming adversity to triumph through sharing love, in the form of food, listening, services, experience. This IS sharing the love and truth from our heart and the wisdom of our soul, beyond the sharing of physical possessions or needs. These gifts accumulate within us as love, as the Ethical Values which enhance every other experience we share as human beings.

I’ve been studying Spiritual Philosophy for most of my adult life. I was taught religious philosophy as a child, and encouraged to use my mind, to learn, to eagerly anticipate all of the opportunities life has to offer. I love to hear, to learn, how other minds respond to and create opportunities to live and learn (such as Steve Jobs). When I examine my life of 49 years, I can clearly see many of the cycles of complexity I’ve lived to get to the simplicity of “knowing thyself.” Knowing thyself continues to unfold its eternal beauty with each day that passes, as I am open to its exploration and discovery.  As I know myself, I am more open to others and how they experience life.

While at my brother’s family’s home for Thanksgiving dinner, they invited each of us at the table to share what we are thankful for. I had not been at their home for Thanksgiving dinner before, and I was happy to be there, to appreciate how they spent the day which has always been a day of happiness and being together for our family. I loved listening to each person express how they felt and thought in that moment of appreciation.  These moments go beyond our “everyday moments” to raise our consciousness of each other and the value of carving time in our busy lives to acknowledge the gifts of sharing life and love and how we learn.

The “instant gratification” concept that we are so accustomed to (such as the brawling seen by some in the black Friday rush) is what we know we must go beyond. Such chaos is not acceptable to a collective that consciously aims toward “peace, love, and understanding.”  Reading Kathy Oddenino’s Love, Truth &Perception this morning, I marked this: “Our soul and spirit seek acknowledgment.  We can only give and receive that which we are conscious of as real within ourself and our life.” The energies of love, nurturing, caring, support are an art unto themselves. I’ve taught my intellect to analyze life, experience, information. I understand how this teaching is only one level of learning. There is an end to that road, when the intellect is controlled by ego beliefs that have accumulated throughout my soul experience. Without love, we create conflict which leads to war, in the same way that roadblocks begin in our internal energy grid (nervous system) which can lead to disease. Then we must dig deeper, through the complexity to get to the simplicity of our design. Our design is the energy of Ethical Values – the courage to push on, the joy of sharing life and love in its minutiae, the laughter of a princess whose world is her pearl. To know thyself as I know another in the moment of truth – the best self invites the best self from another, and our best self, our spirit, is always loving. I’m grateful for learning, for all who teach me, every moment.

Reading Carl Zimmer's review of Steven Pinker's new book prompted me. The Better Angels of our Nature? Why not write a Ph.D. thesis on human nature? If we want to know peace, first Know Thyself.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bones, Whitaker, Wall Street, and Our Collective Memory

As I watch the news report constant images of the changes, and the challenges of and to change, every day in our world, I think about how we create collective images of ourselves through our cultures that are part of our personal and therefore social identity.  If you’re a fan of the show Bones, as I am, you may remember Dr. Temperance Brennan, the scientist on the show whose passion, among others, is anthropology – the behavioral patterns of life, of course including human life.  She defines people’s behavior in anthropological ways – such as when Booth’s girlfriend gives him a tie, Brennan explains to him that she has entered into a new level of relating to him, i.e., entered into a “social contract.”  I love the script for this show and the dynamics of the cast of characters because they’re an interesting and very different bunch of personalities who manage, through their work, to unite with the same focus of solving mysteries that lead to catching criminals. Solving of mysteries requires an open mind, and a passion for discovery, for new knowledge. The characters display this well, and often in a humorous way. Knowledge can be “heavy” (challenging) for us at times when our mind has been accustomed to dessert, snacks, rather than the art of the whole meal and its many benefits (internal/external interactions).  I love a good laugh, and I also love knowledge. I appreciate the way different personalities develop and share laughter and knowledge. As the evolution of television shows and advertisements show too, we are constantly seeking to stimulate our minds, our multiple senses. But what are we learning and how are we using this knowledge? As I heard one young man say in recent news from “Occupy Wall Street,” we as a country have gotten off track of focusing on being our best selves not just for our own selves but as a country. (paraphrasing).

Because my mind has always has a place for certain types of trivia, I “automatically” remember and relate to certain cultural references that are part of my conscious memory bank.  I remember scenes from the Poseidon Adventure film which we saw as kids as vividly as if it were yesterday. I remember lines from films that I enjoyed watching 25 years ago. I have favorite commercials on television that change as new cycles of marketing change. I don’t forget the ads though. They remain in my fond-memories bank. As I’ve learned more about memory and what memory means to us as a human being (eternal energy), I think about different memories of my family, all those I love. Scenes, senses expand as different memories are stimulated in my memory nodes in my brain. I remember the scent of frangipani leaves in our back yard when we were children in Nigeria, the bright blooms and the silky white leaves. I remember expressions on our pet monkey’s face. I remember the handle of the machete that our gardener used. I remember the bloodshot eyes of the friend we called Carpenter.  I remember balling my finger into a fist as I lay in the crib, squinting my eyes into shimmering shades of light as I awoke from sleep.  So much to remember once we begin to appreciate memories and share in the thrill of what they mean to us as evolving energy beings. While watching Piers Morgan interviewing Michael Moore and many others “Live from Occupy Wall Street,” I heard Moore say if you’re a citizen you have to be involved. That’s the job of a responsible citizen. To add the word “responsible” ought to be redundant, but I understand more clearly than ever that our lessons in any given life create for us opportunities to learn to love – ourselves, others, life, growth, change, evolution.  

I’ve also listened to several interviews with Mark Whitaker, Managing Editor of CNN Worldwide, on his new book, My Long Trip Home.  What a fascinating story.  I especially appreciated how he explained going back and interviewing, talking to, people from his early life and family, asking questions about events and people. Initially many of the answers he got were things like, I don’t really remember that.  As he continued asking questions, details began to emerge. Memories revive as we are prompted to think, to remember.  A friend told me recently that she heard someone say People just don’t want to think! As she thought about this comment, she said her experience shows that it isn’t that people don’t want to think, but that we don’t necessarily know how to think. Questions prompt us to think as we remember the lives we have lived. The Ethical Values which make up our human design as spiritual beings are the grid of energy that guides us once we open our mind to learning and appreciating the absolute power of energy as our potential to create through love and the often challenging dynamics of growth and change as a human family. “Living in the moment” doesn’t mean forgetting what has gone before or what will come next – to me it means becoming ever more conscious of All That Is!

Friday, October 21, 2011

What a Wonderful World, beyond the "Formidable Pause"

I am driven to go beyond the undeniable power of Pinter’s “formidable pause,” that is, to go beyond the power of the invisible menacing as the only force which carries us in the ocean of our living dynamic. This is a level of energy that we learn to recognize within us, and then to “harness,” consciously use as a power of Good. This is another image of the creative powers we’ve immortalized in our fables and comics and epics, theatre of life of all kinds. For me, this is one more description of the “shift in consciousness” each mind is seeking and is designed to grow into as its mature self, being its best consciously creative (Ethical) self. What a wonderful world this is! Cue Louis Armstrong  and one more version by Jenny and the Grayman Band. Why not love?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Suddenly I saw in one new moment
Of clarity
How each knot in my string
Has been made, which have held fast
To be and hold the beads
That bejewel me,
Which have unraveled,
Purposes untold or no longer needed.

I dreamed last night of
Another me, several interacting,
One a young thin man, tall with long blondish hair
And a trimmed beard to match. A collector,
One only recently used to opening
His doors to parties of interested
People who traveled his path,
Often not knowing what they were looking
For until proximity made itself known
And there, a right turn beneath some old flowering
Tree leaves, was the well-worn, ancient road
Now reopened for treasure-sharing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Going Gentle into Morning

Talking with my
Womb brother today, a seashell sound
Of whispering love in simple
Daily words like cars, school, soccer,
Beach, axle, poem-
oh, how cells sing when we let them,
hear them.
Post-hurricane here, high heat there,
Blue sky prevails, and, in Dad’s immortal words,
Time marches on!  Energy interweaving in rainbow
Colors even as flood waters rise in tv news,
Families coming together even as strangers
Find Nature’s awesome power beautiful,
Eternal. One Vermont woman slipped into what had been
A small creek, they said, and now was raging rapids. No one
Said how or why she slipped in, simply that her body was
Found downstream in the morning as assessments
Were made. I think of her, a stranger’s pull
as she changed her human energy form, water-borne.
Godspeed, and paddle well, the soul knows when to sleep
And what we are born for, family trees, the fruit of love.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Nature Principle

The nature principle
Applied when we went outside
And with those dull blades
To branches that seemed to ask for pruning.
We went, urged by our need to be
Outside, tending the grounds,
Disposing of scraps that
Feed other organisms
Into rich, sifting dirt,
And, as always, find other
Things to prune, to notice, acknowledge,
To appreciate, pick up. We’d been pruning
Some trees lately, and this time moved on
To the next in lateral line.
Each has revealed
Glittering lines
And substance, age
In a few rocks buried at the stem, root, trunk.
Each invites our excitement, sometimes
Movement, transplant. So exciting to feel that
Energy of Earth, from tree and intertwining
Branch and all succulent growth that grabs on
So much it tells me of my own succulent patterns
And blooms and weeding needs. It’s beautiful to know
The woodcutter’s strength too – what comes from
Foraging until the life is known, creeping, crawling, or the sheer
Energy itself of growth.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

What does "imperative" mean in relationship to change?

The word “imperative” came up last week in our Spiritual Philosophy “tutorial.” We were talking about what motivates us to change, and how we resist change until we reach our own internal urge or motivation – until we are “ready” for change.  I just looked up the word “imperative” in the dictionary, prompted by a friend when we talked about the meeting afterwards. The definition that gets my attention the most is “unavoidable.”  As I’ve studied Spiritual Philosophy for the last 20 years, I have come to understand and appreciate that the mind resists change until we expose ourselves enough to the experiences we create for ourselves to learn – AND we are satisfied and clear that we are learning in ways that are visible and that we are able to express, to articulate in our own unique and spontaneous ways. Words that relate to food, to senses on many levels come to my mind – we savor our learning, our experiences – like the slow taste of rich chocolate, say molten lava cake, when the temperature and texture are perfect, the taste is divine, and the memory seeps into our taste buds and cells and into our history forever.

We come into lives with a blank slate of a mind simply because we are eager to learn, virgin in our design to always move forward in growth and change as a consciousness. Our minds are then patterned by our old beliefs and how we respond to the environment we have chosen for ourselves internally and externally. As we grow and expose ourselves to experiences beyond the womb, beyond the playground, and journey into the forest and field and skyscrapers of the world we have made, we can learn to sift as we learn to savor, to consciously choose as we know what feels good and why, in the best possible (most expansive) way. Energy is real.

For me, learning to celebrate love in its many expressions has been a great challenge and the greatest gift. As I’ve broken down my resistance to love (fear) by knowing myself more through the knowledge of our human design as energy and matter, I’ve felt the life of the world in ways I did not remember or may not have imagined in a way that was clear and “knowable.”

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nature takes its Course

So, as I, a human
On the wing,
As birds remind me,
From hummingbirds’
Tiny busy accelerated life,
To the furry birds just hatched
In the porch ferns...
Only a few clusters of days
And a black snake wraps
Around the porch post,
Slinks across and into the fern
Where the perfectly made
Little nest is nesting,
Makes a meal
And retreats.
I saw the lumps,
Admired the snake,
Then had to chase
And, sadly, kill it.
Nature takes its course.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday, June 06, 2011

You Go, Ellen (and thoughts on Energy, Big Waves, Family, Events)

I went to Houston for my (summa cum laude!) niece’s high school graduation this weekend and got a wonderful dip into the world of families and graduating seniors. The buzz of youth at that age and the excitement of their moving on is an infectious palpable energy. My niece is pretty AND smart, and we were proud of her and her classmates as they awaited their turn to walk across the stage and exit into another phase of life. The visit brought to mind my Dad’s mentioning many times that none of his family ever attended any of his graduations. Each time we went to such an event, he mentioned this, with a smile and with the pride of sharing such a time with the honoree. My nephew, in Alabama, graduated two weeks before. When I talked with him and asked how he feels about finishing high school and getting ready for college, he said, I’m definitely ready. I’ve only been waiting twelve years for this…  Each milestone we reach has its own significance for us. I remember high school graduation very well – it had more significance as an “event” than my graduation from college. Our class of 33 (at Hillcrest in Nigeria) was scattering to places around the globe.

I had four books with me in my carryon bag: Bridges of Consciousness (Kathy Oddenino); The Wave (Susan Casey); Industrial Evolution (Pittsboro local Lyle Estill); and Bird Cloud (Annie Proulx). An interesting combo platter, and I ate well from each one. I’ve long been fascinated by the ocean, big waves, and surfing, especially the big-wave surfing. Last year I read a fantastic book about the Atlantic, so when I saw The Wave it seemed a perfect follow-up. The personalities of the surfers and what they learn and know about the elements, particularly the wind and the waves and themselves, is fascinating to me, as is the history of the science of wave-studying. Waves seem so simple, yet they are the most complex pattern in Nature. I learned something while reading about the internal wave, which I got very excited about because this offers another image to me about the energy of us as living energy beings and the collective consciousness we create and live. Energy streams of us throughout time are always part of us, and we change them as we evolve as a consciousness. When conditions are exactly right, energy forces come together to create a freak wave – other wave patterns may be hidden until gathered by this Giant force to be released as a collective force which is stronger and more impressive than its smaller relations.  I’m no scientist, nor am I a surfer, but I love how our minds thread information into knowledge through experience, and the passion of those who feel the life within each experience that calls them. Spiritual Philosophy teaches us to Know Thyself, and each fascinating piece of information about wave dynamics, passion, and personalities in relationship to Earth elements, teaches me more about the reality of energy, which begins internally. More to come on Industrial Evolution, Bird Cloud, passion, and the Elements…

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Practical Arts of Living

I have always been fascinated with connections. Connections seemed automatic to me when I thought about anything, when I met people, when I listened to others tell their stories of a moment, a day, a life, when I read a sentence, when I watched a movie or television scene, listened to song lines, and more profoundly later, when I watched rain fall hard on dirt, making mud stools that looked like miniature castles, or red-headed lizards pop up and scrape on stone sculpted by time or blasting intention.  My mind was busy with connections – following them, questioning them, and wondering. James Burke, the science historian, was a mind I “connected” with when introduced first to his columns and books. His way of making and finding connections which showed the spiral nature of our creating as human beings fascinated me and seemed absolutely natural. This was an infinitely opening pattern, nothing ever closed – simply changing as one spark led to another.

Growing up as a triplet in Nigeria to loving parents, who also were house parents to many other “children” through the years, was a perfect incubator for a mind delighted with the nature of connections. We grew up with people from all cultures and religions, and were exposed to diaspora influences. Traders came to our house when we were children – kneeling on the concrete as they spread carved or beaded wares on a cloth for display. They wiped some of the figures as we stared. I smelled the palm oil, wax, leather, and dust, and remember so clearly the weathered cloth hats and big shrouds of agbadas worn by many. Many were stern, many dazzling in their jocularity, their smiles and enjoyment of what the day might bring. I remember the smell of the frangipani flowers in the tree behind our house, the fresh crunch of a green guava just on the verge of ripening to yellow.  The enveloping and overlapping energies of life were abundant and ripe with the potential of human challenge and change.

Recently I’ve been thinking about the natural power and connection of friendship as an energy of love, challenge, and change. This of course includes the dramatic “art of communication” which I have learned is one of the primary energies of the Ethical Values of our spiritual design as human energy beings. Reading Mind the Gap, John Hays’ wonderfully eloquent story of finding his way into the constant unfolding within the world of us as Nature, reminds me beautifully - We are Human nature. I am awed by his search, his deep appreciation of the truth of life as constant change. The beauty is in the details – the silver glint and metallic blue of a needlefish whose deep color he describes as the color between parting thunderheads, the fish stranded on the beach, caught in warm water then stranded by too cold. He writes of Dry Hill at Cape Cod, the land he and his wife made their home, which taught them the eternal nature of Mother Nature, the impermanence of home and the fragility of our physical pursuit as conquest. We miss so much because of what we think we already know.

Hay writes about migration, and how some thought there was something very uninteresting and repetitious about the herring migration – only fish after all, without much choice in what they did. “That we too might always be doing the same thing is not what we like to think about, because that deprives us of the illusion of free will. …Still, for me, the real wonder of the herring lay in the ancient power of their mission, which, like birth itself, escaped any easy definition.  In essence, the migration, however simple it might seem to us, involved a coastline that was thousands of miles long. Each local stock moved in early spring to find ‘the home stream,’ where they had been hatched and started to grow.” (mind the gap, 68)  “The idea, in Nature, is to live again.” 

As I’ve learned to accept and celebrate over the years, our behavior, like the migrating fish, tells the story we’re constantly writing as we live. As I’ve thought about what it means to evolve as a consciousness, and to appreciate and learn to live the joy and beauty (Ethical Values) of who we are, I think back about friends and my definition of family throughout my life.  Many friends I knew while growing up mostly in Nigeria, where our parents were missionaries. A very few of those I’m still in peripheral touch with (and now, thanks to facebook, numbers more!).  Others I met over the years have come and gone, making imprints and impressions in my life and my memories.  Those I have known the most intimately in my adult life are friends with whom I study Spiritual Philosophy and explore the Art and Science of life and what it means to be a spiritual energy being. As we grow together, I come to know more of the physical details of their lives as they share them, but the focus upon growing and shifting our minds from fear to love came first. The words are so familiar that my eyes and many minds can run right over them (skipping the historical parts, as one of mom’s friends said when reading John Adam’s biography!); yet within the familiar phrases (energy, Ethical Values, spiritual beings, evolution) are the simple truth of my human story as an evolving consciousness. 
When I think of the person I imagined myself to be, and who I was, 25 years ago and more, I can go back to memory moments of insecurity, desperation, and also the measure of strength within me to go beyond where I had been before as an evolving soul of mind and emotions.  I am so conscious of the confusion and depression I lived, and the flashes of magnetism to the energy of people, concepts, places, sounds, pleasures which made me happy at times and gave me a jolt out of the energy bonds I’d created throughout time.  I cherished some friends – appreciated their patience, communication, understanding, humor, sharing, intellects, our shared joys and sorrows, shallow or deep as they were or as I imagined or believed them to be. I also resisted some of their attempts to help me move beyond where I was, which challenged my perception of “cherish” and friendship.  I did not yet know how I was using the energy of fear beliefs as a “shield” to keep me from change and from love. My mother’s story of when I was a child makes me laugh still – once she realized, she said, what my pattern of resistance was, she had few problems getting me to do what she asked. I would often say No! three times, but then would go ahead and do it.  When she pointed this out to me years later, I began to recognize that she was right.  I remembered the pattern, and sometimes find myself still doing it! We have infinite opportunities to get to “Know Thyself” when we open to the constant energy of interaction internally and externally.  With each opening I feel the fresh air of a window opening, and I have a profound sense of how long that window of thought perception has been closed, or when it was once opened for a Spring spell. What does it mean to love? I felt very loved as a child, in fact from the moment of my beginnings as a triplet, but I questioned “love” always, wanting to understand the truth of love as a conscious mind with the free will that creates happiness through the growth and change of experience as learning. 

Spiritual Philosophy has taught me the truth of love as our healing energy, and teaches me precisely how the healing energy of love comes through our natural divine design of constant change. Our body has a head, and within our brain is the energy center of our nervous system, which creates and sustains our life as an energy being. Without change we would not grow, and growth is our expansion of consciousness as a willful intent and choice to change, a celebration of change as life.  I’ve learned what our design is as human beings, and what it means to honor and constantly learn to support and celebrate this miraculous design of ours. Such a simple concept. There is no greater gift of love, to me, than this knowledge of truth as eternally evolving energy.

As John Hay wrote, the power of our mission, including birth, is what has compelled me through life, to find the core of knowledge that has brought me “home.” James Burke wrote, “The aim is to put learning into a context that makes it easier to see the greater relevance of people, ideas, and events—and to inspire new ways of thinking.”  Kathy Oddenino has been for me what Conrad and Mary Aiken were for John Hay – a mentor with a passion for living, teaching, and learning the spiritual art of healing, come what may. Now I call it, the “Practical Arts of Living.”  As I continue to learn, I am more and more confident in the courage inherent within us as human beings to Know Thyself and Be a spiritual being. There is nothing to fear from change in any form, only an invitation to stop, look, listen, and acknowledge the beauty of our internal and external environment as energy.  We are always invited to love, as the highest order of beings. With the foundation of my family’s teaching of love, expanded by the infinite teaching of Spiritual Philosophy (that to Know Thyself first means to know we are energy beings living in matter), I love how Nature teaches me consciously and constantly. Healing happens as I mold my own mind, compelled by this mission of coming home to expand the Universal knowledge of the privilege and choice of being Human as evolving consciousness. Love is a miracle of creation. We each choose our way in life, day by passing day. I’ve learned it’s not only okay but essential to “let go” of concepts, images of people, life, love, beliefs that once seemed permanent and essential. Change happens.  As we grow, we outgrow thoughts, beliefs, and relationships just as we do certain clothing, activities, likes, and dislikes.  We create new. ”Debt-free” means more than money and “karma” – it means I owe myself and others simply the gift of love as truth and equality as best I know it, choosing to always be open to the nuances of the perfection of change.  Responsibility means to find and support the energies that honor the best in us, which must include knowledge that feeds our beautiful minds.  Then growth happens, and growth, like Spring, always inspires happiness.  Spiritual Philosophy is the legacy of an inquiring mind in its quest to know itself as love, the Creator of life in its constantly fascinating expressions of experience.

At this moment, after awakening from a blissful sleep, I am caressed by the Spring breeze as the window invites it in, and I hear the sounds of birds along with the low grinding sound of what seems a constant lawn mower nearby.  Change is the only constant! How we connect the dots is determined by how much we’re willing to think, to explore, to grow, to know, to love, to change.  It’s a wonderful life.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Stars Fold In

Cookie dough,

Chips embedded,

Nuts enfolded,

The taste its own starburst,


The smile of every memory

That comes from such a taste.

THIS is the best

Ad, the best display,

The best memory,

Laughter, smile.

Show me, she says,

He remembers,

How you took that first bite,

That memory of innocence,

 That first slurp of such joy

 Of taste.

 Decadent? No, purely

 Richly, joy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Portraits from Dreamland

What could you want?

He smiled as he lay back into the deep sleep
Of rainfall and every fulfillment
Memory he’d pillowed with before.
Only love has true power,
The smooth flavor and taste of love.
The change is his growing up-
No more tying a shoe even without
Thinking of the leather lace, the loop knot,
The child’s head kneeling over,  determination
Intact and absolute.

She remembers her own dreamland,
So far from his, they never knew.
Who knows, until we remember,
And that absolute reminder of love,
The gentle velvet hammer of knowledge
Which knocks sometimes so gently on the door
And windows of our mind to say,
Hear me? Hey?
Awake?  Come play.
There is no way to know
The journeys a mind has taken
Without the adventure eventually
Becoming a part of that mind’s game,
And ultimate joy.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Series of Landscapes

Every character has his or her own mind. Yet the threads of time-after-time are interwoven within us as the beads on a necklace, the lace on a hem that rings the edge of a throat full of life and a landscape of flesh, the biggest organ we have, beautiful living beings.

Rush! The man inside the boy rushes on,
The blood-rush of every urge
And surge. What can this moment mean,
 the next, my life?
The hurtling speed, even then
The sensation of my feet pounding
Pavement, breathing labored
With the satisfaction then of stamina
Growing, endurance building
Into a bank I can depend on
In the strength
Of its cellular investment,
Time after time,
And on the verge of
Stock exchange.

I wish, I wish, I want..
He said in his dreams, a slight swing before dreamland
Actually, a verge, a lip of a line he liked to flirt
But had never crossed.
The line he crossed then was one he’d regret,
Until he learned that regrets are for fools who never learn.
Regrets are drips of rain that sometimes burrow,
Deep, but when roots are ready, soil and bloom
Will change and grow, become a smile to those who light
Upon seeing life, its burst through, into
Visible form.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Wild horses

Wild horses,

A phrase in my mind from
The beginning of time and
Patti Smith’s, a poet of song
And her own good time,
Her words unwinding
With clock and crucifix,
Images layering into
Of each little gift,
A ruby pendant,
A cotton shift,
The blue start of friendship
That never ends.
Dialogue on stage,
Identities forging
Into new days as nights
Pass and growth begins,
Like new beard on a young chin.
Love roots,
Passions rise and move
Like clouds through an endless sky,
Always creating,
Urging on, image after image.
Until death’s door a window, the weak
Hand still strong, loyal
To a love of life and holding on.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dark to Light

I began to learn how to let light shine into corners of my mind very early. The act coincided with using a flashlight to read under the covers at night, or when we had to use kerosene lamps to light a room or path. African sunsets had a way of infusing images into my mind, such intense beauty. A teacher reminded me that the way we open our mind to new thoughts, a real education, can be seen in the way we live our own history as humankind. Having sex, making babies, we did “in the dark” for centuries, both literally, banked by leaves or tangled in sheets, and not knowing how this “miracle of birth” happened, until our science caught up with our procreation practices and we illuminated the sperm/ovum, embryo to baby pathway. Wiping the sleep from my eyes as a child and peering into the beginning morning light, I remember the way objects came into view, how clarity happened. New questions and wonderings continued as my feet hit the floor and I began to move through the house, into the bathroom, the kitchen, out into the yard or gravel driveway, listening to all kinds of sounds.

The weight of our experience, as people, as cultures, as a society, hangs with us, creates shadows that can be seen and felt in our eyes, faces, our lifestyles, our silence and our speech. What keeps us up at night, or awakens us in the morning shows us where we have been, and what corners we may have taken, what hills we have climbed, what rivers we have crossed. “The Great War” is a reminder. My father had a beautiful brother killed when his ship was bombed. Men of a certain age, and growing older as we do, have the weight of all such experience as a collective that is tangible, though diminishing as they are dying, a species unto themselves. Their  women hold this too, though theirs is a different weight, a certain light it seems that honors the men, the time, the changes asked of them as a collective. I think of families, how they change as “life happens.” With my parents both dead, I too have a new view of change, as I sense their presence, as I remember moments – moments of laughter, moments of pure joy, moments of diminishing light and occasional storms, sometimes lingering for a few days, as grief passed through them. Always joy returned, and a steady, steely resolve which was fed from childhood, and a sense of life being eternal, the day-to-day work a gift of moving on, of seeing the days through from light to dark and light again with dawn. 

As I watch the news these days, with people infusing themselves with the contagious motivation and power of change, I marvel at the shadows that we cling to, and what urges us to make changes, sea-changes, when we do. We help each other as the tide builds. In my own world, as Spring begins (though today feels more like winter!), I watch the abundant birds and the heads of daffodils bobbing with the wind, and I feel so happy to know the changes that come, that they are a cycle of nature, including human nature. How do we, how do I best honor the changes that are designed and enfolded within as energy beings? One way is by listening, listening to all of the sounds and communication of life, such as the bird-song, the way the rain drips onto brick, the way even the plastic bag feels as we fill it with leaves and sticks and all matter of brush in our choice of clean-up. Memories fill me as I quiet my mind and let it soar, instinctively sinking into the warmth that love reminds as the chill outside persists, for this day, this hour, this moment. Knowing what moments of new thought mean to me is a gift, a bouquet which shines its beauty beyond just what my eyes can see, but to every memory I will ever know. Let the good live, shine.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ready to Live

Lately I've been reading Patti Smith's award-winning memoir, Just Kids. I've read it in pieces, dipping in here and there before bed mostly. With this book, and her style of expression, I can do this and thoroughly enjoy the dips. I've always been drawn to Patti Smith's bits of poetry, some of the stark images of her I've seen over the years. I never went further than reading some of her poems, but my memory of certain images and words prompted me to immediately want to read Just Kids when I first read about it.

Today I read an essay she wrote for Details in July of 1991, We can be heroes. The sub-head read, "Patti Smith on the poets and pop stars who rescued her from teenage hell." She studied carefully selected images in her mirror, along with her own. It was 1962, a time, she says, when "roles were rigidly assigned." Joan of Arc definitely made the mirror crew, the "tomboy who talked to God." Studying her face, Patti read, "ready to die," and shook her head. "Ready to live," she whispered. "For I desired, as Youth does, to be taken by the hand and hurled into the world. But who would do the hurling. And what would I wear?"  I love this. She learned, and knew inside, grew into knowing, that ultimately we are not seeking others to worship but to Know ourselves. What Bob Dylan and others gave her (along with the ability to choose just the right dark glasses) was the ability to fend for herself.

"Mine the quirks," indeed. I can relate to what Patti Smith writes about mirrors, about wondering, about words, to some degree about music, to art, and to the raw wonder of sharing a life. Last night at our Spiritual Philosophy meeting we talked about this lesson of self-sufficiency as human beings. With the word "sustainability" almost everywhere these days, self-sufficiency has its own expanding rewards, benefits, joys, and challenges. Today, in Japan, the Earth heaved, and continues heaving, shifting, as rubble gives way to shaking and the force of water. People gather in the streets, seeking shelter as they can, and wondering how life is, will be, now. People are shaken to their roots, and we who are far away send love, help, however we can or will. Each thought adds to others.

Being born one of triplets has given me a distinct experience and exploration of what it means to be "individual" and "three-in-one," one of three. This morning, the first bright blue-sky day in a week or so, I walked to the flower bed by the road where we've planted bulbs. Some were dug up as soon as they were planted by eager squirrels or maybe rabbits. The ones that held on are coming up, with the good rain and Spring urges. Purple tops with yellow centers, bright orange leaves with elegant tips, each showing its colors in a row of others. Each one is beautiful, and all together their beauty is more evident, more beautiful. 

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Love, love, love

There is nothing like the sense of Spring coming into being. For some reason (it can only be Love!), I have been thinking of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover as Spring has begun. It has been a very long time since I thought of those words, though I also remember scenes from film adaptations of Lawrence’s words (Alan Bates, figs, a spread of food on white tablecloth, outdoors, interactions of another kind of “boating party.”) How do brain cells remember? Sometimes in visions full-sprung, Venus on a half-shell, Adonis (not necessarily Charlie Sheen) beckoning to the gods of life and love.  Lady Chatterley is instructed by a rough-hewn man who knows of intimate joys of the body she has never contemplated. Ah, how we teach each other when we want to learn!
It is delightful to think of love. 

I once wrote a story about a young woman whose lusts for life were abundant.  She wore white cotton muslin gowns, simply layered over when cooler winds blew, and she wandered far and wide the countryside in wind, rain, and the splendor of sun. When once she came upon a young man asleep, with the innocence of a young girl, she bent slowly by him and with just a whisper of a finger’s motion moved aside his covering to see his manhood naked to the sun, to her eyes all new with such a view. She smiled endlessly as she let the covering return to its resting place, and blew the young man a kiss as she continued her wandering.  These vignettes of life are a pleasure, if trite and sentimental. As my brother told me when he reported to me of my niece’s latest favorite word: fabulous.  She always tries to use her favorite word in every possible sentence. And why not? he said, why shouldn’t she? What a great word! Innocence overtakes us as our minds expand into love. The profound difference between innocence and ignorance is the depth and energy of love leading us, willing “lovers,” into greener pastures, into laughter, into lighter forms of being, no matter the weight of our steps on a stairway.