Monthly Archives: February 2010

Source (updated from Feb 2005)


(I blogged this three years ago, but Rambling Taoist is posting on this book today, so thought I would repost this here).

Wellspring of energy
Rises in the body’s core
Tap it and be sustained.
Channel it, and it will speak.

The source of all power is within yourself. Although external circumstances may occasionally hamper you, true movement comes solely from within yourself. The source is latent in everyone, but anyone can learn to tap it. When this happens, power rises like a shimmering well through the center of your body.

Physically, it will sustain and nourish you. But it can do many other things as well. It can give you gifts ranging from unusual knowledge to simple tranquility. It all depends on how you choose to direct your energies.

We cannot say that a person will become enlightened solely by virtue of having tapped this source of power; energy is neutral. It requires experience, wisdom, and education to direct it. You may gain power from your meditations, but it is possible for two people with the same valid attainment to use it in two different ways, even to the extremes of good and evil. Finding the source of spiritual power is a great joy; deciding how to direct it is the greatest of responsibilities.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

I wrote this in 2005:

I don’t really have a lot to say about spiritual power today. It is a wonderful feeling when you feel it, and when that energy is flowing within you things seem to become effortless. I can’t keep mine flowing consistently but then i don’t tend to spend a lot of time in meditation. My energy source is definitely lying coiled and resting today. Perhaps I’ll push myself along to yoga later and get the juices flowing again… yawn. First maybe a dip in the spa and a long hot shower to get moving…

Five years later, a lot has changed for me. I would say that I flow very well from within my source, my life is fairly effortless these days. But I am beginning to feel the power rising; I do not yet know where and how it will be channeled. I’ve been sustained for a long time now and haven’t felt the need to do much, other than my political efforts, which I’m told have been very powerful at inspiring others, and my pet therapy work, which I hear the same about. I don’t actively try to inspire or create action these days; I mostly move with the Tao and allow myself to be a channel for whatever creative force wants to flow through me. This is hard to explain to people sometimes, but I don’t actually try to force my own will so much as I go along with whatever seems to need to be done at the moment. It is rare that I will tell people no if they ask something of me.

So I don’t always know exactly where I am headed, or even what the day will bring. I prefer not to bring my expectations to the day anymore, but rahter to let myself move along with whatever the day may bring. I’m not always able to do this, of course, and do get out of sorts, but I don’t expect everything to just flow to me either. It’s not about the law of attraction, it’s about the law of following for me. I don’t so much attract what I want — I turn it around to want what is attracted to me. It’s a different attitude, but it leads to a great deal of happiness and fulfillment.

Get it done already!

I’ve been watching the healthcare summit this morning, and observing how calmly Obama handles the Republicans. I sure couldn’t do it. I yell at them just listening to them, they are so inane. Same talking points over and over, and it is obvious they don’t really care about anyone. The Sunlight Foundation has been doing a wonderful live coverage with blogging and showing the campaign contributions of each speaker from, and it’s very revealing. The most adamant speakers against healthcare reform have huge contributions from the healthcare industry. I suppose that’s to be expected, but seeing it live as they are talking is so refreshing. I wish our mainstream media could be this open and honest.

With this kind of coverage available on the Internet, is it any wonder mainstream media is fading? We want to be able to interact with our world, both to share what we know and to learn new things. We want to be able to directly tell our legislators what we think, and not being able to do that real time is so frustrating. Twitter users were twittering CNN to stop talking over the speakers. This is what we want — to get our messages out to the media, to the big corporations and to our government. It comes out from the right wing in stupid ways, but the anger they express is just as real on the left — we all want to be listened to and responded to. I think the healthcare summit, and the kind of coverage and interaction I’m seeing today (also chatting with people on twitter and facebook about this) is the real future of our public interactions. I hope that healthcare reform passes soon, and I know it is not enough — but what I’m seeing today is very encouraging — not just on the political side, but also on the side of those working in the Internet media to really reform how we interact with our government and corporate agencies.

Insurmountable opportunities

“We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities.” — Walt Kelly, “Pogo”

“There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose.” — Kin Hubbard

“Imaginary obstacles are insurmountable. Real ones aren’t. But you can’t tell the difference when you have no real information. Fear can create even more imaginary obstacles than ignorance can. That’s why the smallest step away from speculation and into reality can be an amazing relief. ” — Barbara Sher

I’ve been confronted with many insurmountable opportunities lately to find new information and do new things, visit new facilities for pet therapy work, explore new people, etc. It’s been a distracting year so far but a fun one. I’m really hoping to get back to a more regular blogging schedule though.


“You are flawed, you are stuck in old patterns, you become carried away with yourself. Indeed you are quite impossible in many ways. And still, you are beautiful beyond measure.”
— John Welwood via Whiskey River

“The greatest work of all is to show up each day willing to not be “there” yet. So long as we believe we should be better than we are, we will be blind to our own light and resentful of the light of others. Our greatest error is to interpret failure to be present as evidence that we are irredeemably flawed. There is no way back to ourselves and to each other that does not begin with compassionate awareness that we’ve once again lost our way.” — Molly Gordon

An ancient gnarled tree:
Too fibrous for a logger’s saw,
Too twisted to fit a carpenter’s square,
Outlasts the whole forest.

Loggers delight in straight grained, strong, fragrant wood. If the timber is too difficult to cut, too twisted to be made straight, too foul-odored for cabinets, and too spongy for firewood, it is left alone. Useful trees are cut down. Useless ones survive.

The same is true of people. The strong are conscripted. The beautiful are exploited. Those who are too plain to be noticed are the ones who survive. They are left alone and safe.

But what if we ourselves are among such plain persons? Though others may neglect us, we should not thing of ourselves as being without value. We must not accept the judgment of others as the measure of our own self worth. Instead, we should live our lives in simplicity.

Surely, we will have flaws, but we must take stock in them according to our own judgment and then use them as a measure of self-improvement. Since we need not expend energy in putting on airs or maintaining a position, we are actually free to cultivate the best parts of our personalities. Thus, to be considered useless in not a reason for despair, but an opportunity. It is the chance to live without interference and to express one’s own individuality.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

Sabi by itself means “the bloom of time.” It connotes natural progression-tarnish, hoariness, rust-the extinguished gloss of that which once sparkled. It’s the understanding that beauty is fleeting. The word’s meaning has changed over time, from its ancient definition, “to be desolate,” to the more neutral “to grow old.” By the thirteenth century, sabi’s meaning had evolved into taking pleasure in things that were old and faded. A proverb emerged: “Time is kind to things, but unkind to man.”

Sabi things carry the burden of their years with dignity and grace: the chilly mottled surface of an oxidized silver bowl, the yielding gray of weathered wood, the elegant withering of a bereft autumn bough. An old car left in a field to rust, as it transforms from an eyesore into a part of the landscape, could be considered America’s contribution to the evolution of sabi. An abandoned barn, as it collapses in on itself, holds this mystique.

There’s an aching poetry in things that carry this patina, and it transcends the Japanese. We Americans are ineffably drawn to old European towns with their crooked cobblestone streets and chipping plaster, to places battle scarred with history much deeper than our own. We seek sabi in antiques and even try to manufacture it in distressed furnishings. True sabi cannot be acquired, however. It is a gift of time.

The Wabi-Sabi House: The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty

Can you celebrate your flaws, enjoy the sabi in your nature? Can you paint your cracks with gold, and learn that the flaws in your nature are what make you whole?

True Vows, and True Love

All the True Vows (via Hecate)
by David Whyte

All the true vows
are secret vows
the ones we speak out loud
are the ones we break.

There is only one life
you can call your own
and a thousand others
you can call by any name you want.

Hold to the truth you make
every day with your own body,
don’t turn your face away.

Hold to your own truth
at the center of the image
you were born with.

Those who do not understand
their destiny will never understand
the friends they have made
nor the work they have chosen

nor the one life that waits
beyond all the others.

By the lake in the wood
in the shadows
you can
whisper that truth
to the quiet reflection
you see in the water.

Whatever you hear from
the water, remember,

it wants you to carry
the sound of its truth on your lips.

in this place
no one can hear you

and out of the silence
you can make a promise
it will kill you to break,

that way you’ll find
what is real and what is not.

I know what I am saying.
Time almost forsook me
and I looked again.

Seeing my reflection
I broke a promise
and spoke
for the first time
after all these years

in my own voice,

before it was too late
to turn my face again.

“Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you.” -– Marsha Norman

“The truth is, we are meant to be bountiful and live. The universe will always support affirmative action. Our truest dream for ourselves is always the Goddess’ will for us.” — Julia Cameron

You are just perfect the way you are, and you already have everything you want — you just have to say yes to it and open the door.

When you stop fighting against the flow, the flow stops fighting you, too.

Love is not giving in to all someone’s whims — love is bringing out the best in someone, teaching them to love what is difficult for them. Love what is difficult to love in yourself, and in others, and it will help you to bring out the best in yourself and in others, as well.


You are you. But somewhere deep down you want to become a Buddha or a Jesus and then you go around in a circle that will be unending. Just see the point of it — you are you. And the whole, or existence, wants you to be you.

That’s why existence has created you, otherwise it would have created a different model. It wanted you to be here at this moment. It did not want Jesus to be here in place of you. And existence knows better. The whole always knows better than the part.

So just accept yourself, If you can accept yourself, you have learned the greatest secret of life, and then everything comes on its own. Just be yourself.

There is no need to pull yourself up; there is no need to be a different height from what you are already. There is no need to have another face. Simply be as you are, and in deep acceptance of it, and a flowering will happen and you will go on becoming more and more yourself.

Once you drop the idea of becoming somebody, there is no tension. Suddenly all tension disappears. You are here, luminous in this moment. And there is nothing else to do but to celebrate and enjoy. — Everyday Osho

“To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself.” — Mark Twain

“A book should be luminous not voluminous.” — Christian Nevell Bovee

“The dancer’s body is simply the luminous manifestation of the soul.” — Isadora Duncan

“Life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning” — Virginia Woolf

“It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it.” — Arthur Conan Doyle

“Words become luminous when the poet’s finger has passed over them its phosphorescence.” — Joseph Joubert

“There is then creative reading as well as creative writing. When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

“In some photographs the essence of light and space dominate; in others, the substance of rock and wood, and the luminous insistence of growing things…” — Ansel Adams

“Thou dost not know thy own destiny and dost not know that it gets its worth from thee — otherwise the luminous ruby is only a piece of stone.” — Muhammad Iqbal

“Painting is by nature a luminous language.” — Robert Delaunay

“Strange to say, the luminous world is the invisible world; the luminous world is that which we do not see. Our eyes of flesh see only night.” — Victor Hugo

“Our dreams are luminous, a cast fire upon the world.
Morning arrives and that’s it.
Sunlight darkens the earth.”
— Charles Wright

“Luminous is this mind, brightly shining, but it is colored by the attachments that visit it. This unlearned people do not really understand, and so do not cultivate the mind. Luminous is this mind, brightly shining, and it is free of the attachments that visit it. This the noble follower of the way really understands; so for them there is cultivation of the mind.” — Anguttara Nikaya

Fueki Ryuko

Fueki Ryuko — ‘Constancy and change.’ The enduring patterns in the ever changing stream of nature. Sometimes understood to be the eternal truths that poets try to communicate.

permanence and change“,
synthesis between tradition and innovation
Fueki Ryuko 不易流行(ふえきりゅうこう)

fuga no makoto is a result or product of the dynamism of two colliding forces: fueki ryuko, which is another important teaching of Basho.
Fueki simply means “no change” and refers to values of a permanent and enduring nature.

Ryuko, on the other hand, means “changing fashions of the time” and refers to newness, innovation, originality or unconventional values that would break with old ways in a revolutionary manner.

For instance, Beethoven created new and innovative music, ushering in a new age and setting a new trend. However, he did not do so without first having been steeped in classical music of an old tradition. Thus he had fueki ryuko and left legacy of permanent value.
None of us is Beethoven, but all of us can become a little Beethoven! Fueki ryuko is an abbreviation of senzai-fueki ichiji-ryuko (eternal no-change and temporary fashion).

When fueki and ryuko collide and interact in a dynamic explosion of creative haiku writing, the result could be like a newly born baby taking after both parents but different from both. And there is a single ultimate value that lies beyond fueki ryuko, and that is nothing but fuga no makoto.

— Susumu Takiguchi

“”Fueki ryuko”… is one of the essential principles of what I call Basho’s dialectic poetics. It should be given much greater significance than was originally perceived. This is because it now applies to almost all aspects of modern Japan where the balance between fueki, or permanent values, and ryuko, or changes, is shaky. A similar situation is also seen elsewhere in the world.

The two words can be interpreted in more ways than one. Fueki, for instance, can represent unchanging tradition while ryuko can represent changing fashion. Since the two are contradictory there should be a kind of creative tension generated between them. This tension should keep haiku fresh, creative and interesting. If people cling to tradition and neglect newness (or atarashimi) inherent in fashion, then haiku could become stale, imitative and boring. If, on the other hand, people indulge in newness without tradition, haiku could become gimmicky, incomprehensible and nonsensical. Needless to say, fueki should be genuine fueki, and ryuko should be genuine ryuko. And here starts one of the most important arguments, “What makes fueki and ryuko genuine?”” — Susumu Takiguchi

When a haijin (a writer of haiku) writes a haiku about something wabi sabi she will often attempt to capture both its transient beauty and the abiding qualities within the beauty, what haiku masters in years past called, Fueki Ryuko. Such haiku stimulate feelings of favorable melancholy. The most successful haiku of this type produce a clarity of perception in which the reader sees the subject of the haiku for what it is. There is a release of any desire to repair or arrest the effects of time, experience, or age. Everything is just right the way it is, defects and all. — Richard R. Powell

More on fueki ryuko here.

Saying goodbye to an old friend

Our friend Gertrude at the Casa is gone, after 107 years. We’ll miss doing our pet therapy visits with her. But after leaving her empty room and wiping away the tears, in the very next room, we found a new Gertrude to visit. Somehow, it made Darwin and me feel better.

This article was written about Getrude last year.

107 Candles for Gertrude.

I reckon Gertrude Drais has lived through at least 20 presidential elections, and worn shirt waist dresses to chemises, bell bottoms to saggies. She shared her native Chicago with Al Capone and his pals, speakeasies, Prohibition – and its repeal. World Wars I and II, the Korean conflict, Viet Nam War, Desert Storm, and the current wars have kept her glued to the radio, then TV.

Mrs. Drais had seen a lot of history by the time of her May 14th – 107th –birthday blowout at the Casa de las Campanas.

One of Casa’s first residents, Gertrude and her childhood girlfriend signed up for apartments in 1984, moving in upon completion in 1988.

Gertrude still loves to travel, but now she restricts it to circumnavigating the wing where she lives, surrounded by her many souvenirs. For decades, she traveled all over the world. She can show her Trip Diary to prove it. It began in 1953 with a trip by train to Montana. Other times it was by car, or airplane. In meticulous penmanship, she journaled where she went and how, with whom, how much it cost, and highlights of the adventure. A favorite was to China.

Her parents immigrated to the US from Sweden in the late 1800’s. Gertrude and her brother were born in the windy city. She can recite some of the bible verses she learned in the Swedish Evangelical Church. Her philosophies are simple, “Remember what you’ve learned.” And, “We all worship the same God, whatever we call Him.”

Gertrude married in 1927, giving up her job as a secretary for the Nickel plate Railroad. Tragically, her only child died in early infancy. Gertrude and her husband traveled, and took up golf and bridge, the latter of which she still plays. Widowed in 1963, Gertrude followed close friends to northern California in 1967, when she remarried. The newlyweds traveled extensively until her second husband died while on a trip to Hawaii, just two years later.

Gertrude continued to travel alone and with small groups, including a trip to her family homeland – Sweden, in 1972. She met all her cousins who were surprised to hear her fluent Swedish. When a childhood friend moved to Seven Oaks in Rancho Bernardo, she decided to follow. So did about a dozen other of their school chums. When her girlfriend told her about Casa de las Campanas being built, the two went over and picked out their homes from the plans. “Life is good at Casa,” Gertrude says.