The Gifted Self

March 17th, 2008

“Natural objects — living things in particular — are like a language we can only faintly remember. It is as if creation had been dismembered sometime in the past and all things are limbs we have lost that will make us whole if we can only recall them…. the reception of objects reveals that the gifted self is a thing that breathes. Their entrance is itself the lesson. We are not sealed in clacium like the clam. Identity is neither “yours” nor “mine”, but comes of a communion with the world. “Ever atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”… Identity is specific, sexed, time-bound, mortal. It is drawn together and then dispersed. The self is more enduring… the self takes on identity through its reception of objects — be they perceived lilac leaves or the atoms of the physical body — and the self gives up identity as it abandons these objects. It is the process (the breathing) or the container (the lung) in which the process occurs. ”

“… there is a middle phase in the process of the gifted self: between sympathy and pride, between the reception and the bestowal, lies a moment in which new identity comes to life as old identity perishes…. Old identity breaks to receive the new. The new may simply replace the old or.. old identity may fuse with the outer object, a marriage, a new flesh…”

“The self that identifies with a cycle of gifts takes its own activity as its identity — not the reception of objects, not the bestowal of particular contents, but the entire process, the respiration, the give-and-take of sympathy and pride…”

“The self becomes gifted when it identifies with a commerce of gifts and the gifted self is prolific. In nature the Osiris-force is the resurrection of the wheat; in a commerce of gifts it is the increase; in the gifted self it is creativity, and for a poet, in particular, it is original speech.”

– Lewis Hyde, The Gift

loose ends

February 21st, 2008

Sensing the changes impending
My thoughts are diffused by despair
I feel like I’m swimming straight up
Underwater
Desperately racing for air
I’m racing for air.

And the chords struck at birth
Grow more distant
Yet, we strike them again and again.
And we plead and we pray
For a glimmer of day
As the night folds its wings
And descends
Exposing the loose ends….
– Dan Fogelberg, Loose Ends

Winners never know the worth of losing
Til the prize has slipped right through
their hands

Love will take a heart of its own
choosing

And break it if you try to understand.

– Dan Fogelberg, Love Gone By

Once in a vision
I came on some woods
And stood at a fork in the road
My choices were clear
Yet I froze with the fear
Of not knowing which way to go
One road was simple
Acceptance of life
The other road offered sweet peace
When I made my decision
My vision became my release.

– Dan Fogelberg, Netherlands

The Broken-Hearted Warrior

January 11th, 2008

Why then, have to be human?
Oh not because happiness exists,
Not out of curiosity…
But because being here means so much;
because everything here,
vanishing so quickly, seems to need us,
and strangely keeps calling to us… To have been
here, once, completely, even if only once,
to have been at one with the earth –
this is beyond undoing.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

“It is only through letting our heart break that we discover something unexpected: The heart cannot actually break, it can only break open … To live with a broken-open heart is to experience life full strength … When the heart breaks open, it marks the beginning of a real love affair with this world. It is a broken-hearted love affair, rather than the conventional kind based on hope and expectation. Only in this fearless love that can respond to life’s pain as well as its beauty can we be of real help to ourselves or anyone else in this difficult age. The broken-hearted warrior is an essential archetype for our time.”

“We set out on a path that is continually surprising — learning to be ourselves, yet also more than ourselves. As Zen master Shunryu Suzuki points out, “When you are yourself, just yourself, through and through, you are the universe. You are not this conditioned person anymore.” Then, though we may dedicate ourselves to helping this world, our well-being will not depend on the outcome. For we are becoming one with that force in the universe that is forever creating itself anew.” — John Welwood, Love and Awakening

“The soul that rises within us,
our life’s star,
cometh from afar
and hath elsewhere its setting.”

– Wordsworth

the corner in which the ultimate mystery of things…

August 24th, 2007

As hard as Krista’s work is, I’m glad she is so devoted to it. We need more Kristas in this world….

Experiencing psychosis is a difficult thing, recovering from it even more so. But finding those people willing to stick by you during it, even those willing to walk into your life at that point – that’s just so special. Thanks, Krista, for all you do. I hope you can stay strong with all you are going through.

The Silent K » Blog Archive » the corner in which the ultimate mystery of things…

For those of you who aren’t familiar, psychosis is an experience that people have where they see and/or hear things that other people do not, and have unusual beliefs that other people don’t hold. Essentially it is a chasm between internal reality and shared commonly accepted reality.

There are times where it seems the families accessing our services are deepened and transformed by the experiences of distress and healing that are happening to themselves and their respective relatives. It is beautiful, moving, and humbling to see families on this road supporting someone, and learning and growing themselves in the process. This job blows my mind everyday. When I decided to take this job on I am not sure I recognized the major life shift it would cause in me, in my personhood, in my outlook on life.

I worked in mental health before too, but it was a different, lighter job in many ways. My heart didn’t hurt as much working there.

In this job, I feel infused with spirit, and deeply connected to the work with such intensity that it creates a very real vicarious ache. The work creates fertile ground for my spiritual practice, but as awe-inspiring it can be, lately it has left me feeling extremely emotionally spent.

There are times when the theoretical/philosophical aspect of the work enraptures me so completely. It feels like my mind is a magnetic sponge absorbing, retaining, and reverberating the vast knowledge and experiences of others who’ve spent their lives studying, writing about, and/or living these unexplainable experiences of the mind.

Fish Heads !

July 9th, 2007


And mousies!
YouTube – Fish Heads

Fish Heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads, fish heads, fish heads, eat them up – yum!

Japanese New Year

January 2nd, 2007

Japanese New Year – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Typical nengajō greetings include:

kotoshi mo yoroshiku o-negai-shimasu – 今年もよろしくお願いします – I hope for your favour in the coming year.

akemashite o-medetō-gozaimasu – あけましておめでとうございます – New Year’s congratulations

kinga shinnen – 謹賀新年 – Happy New Year

shoshun – 初春 – literally “early spring”

The New Year traditions are also a part of Japanese poetry, including haiku and renga. All of the traditions above would be appropriate to include in haiku as kigo (season words). There also haiku that celebrate many of the “first” of the New Year, such as the “first sun” (hatsuhi) or “first sunrise”, “first laughter” (waraizome — starting the New Year with a smile is considered a good sign), and first dream (hatsuyume). Since the traditional new year was later in the year than the current date, many of these mention the beginnings of spring.

Along with the New Year’s Day Postcard, haiku might mention “first letter” (hatsudayori — meaning the first exchange of letters), “first calligraphy” (kakizome), and “first brush” (fude hajime).

More good stuff from JustKristin here, on “First Dreams”.

Try to Remember…

September 1st, 2006

The 1st of September – Jeremiah Pearson Hardy

Try To Remember
by Patti Page

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh, so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow
Try to remember and if you remember
Then follow, follow.

Try to remember when life was so tender
That no one wept except the willow
Try to remember the time of September
When love was an ember about to billow
Try to remember and if you remember
Then follow, follow.

Deep in December It’s nice to remember
Although you know the snow will follow
Deep in December It’s nice to remember
The fire of September that made us mellow
Deep in December our hearts should remember
And follow, follow, follow…

from Wikipedia:

September is the ninth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of four Gregorian months with 30 days.

September begins in western tropical astrology with the sun in the sign of Virgo and ends in the sign of Libra. Astronomically speaking, the sun actually begins in the constellation of Leo and ends in the constellation of Virgo.

In Latin, septem means “seven”. The origin of the name may also be attributed to Vedic culture. In sanskrit, Sapta refers to “seven” and Ambar means “sky”. “Sapt-Ambar” referred to the seventh sky or month in the Vedic culture. September was also the seventh month of the Roman calendar until 153 BC.

Let’s just start the week with cat blogging

July 17th, 2006

Mideast up in flames
China drowning in monsoons
America broiling

This is one of those weeks I know I’m going to hate even thinking about the news… with our California wildfires and 100 degree temperatures, most of us here are starting the week hot, tired, and irritable (plus I’ve been PMSing like crazy).

At least Comicon is this week, offering some relief. My sister-in-law and her husband will be here, so it should be fun. The kids always really enjoy the convention, and we’ll be seeing the symphony performing music from Lord of the Rings.

We had a wonderful party this weekend with our terrific group of friends, and spent tonight watching some Japanese videos with a couple of them and learning Japanese. We’re into our third session of Japanese classes and finally getting to the point where it’s making more sense and coming a little more easily – except now, we also have to learn the Chinese characters. It seems with any language there is always so much more to learn.

I feel there is nothing I can say to add any understanding at all to the world situation – it is such an insane mess this week. The attacks and escalation in the middle east – Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, and in Iraq, are nauseating and somewhat infuriating, really. Of course the U.S. is a great part of this huge problem, and does nothing to help resolve it. The G8 statement was a complete joke. And our president can do nothing more than make jokes about eating pigs, infuriating both the Jews and Muslims at once – nice job there!

Honestly, it all seems so surreal sometimes, like a really bad Tom Clancy novel. “Beyond credibility”, as he himself said about 9-11. And just when you think it can’t get worse, it does. Every. Damn. Week. Until Bush and his assinine kind are gone, this is what we get.

So hey, let’s enjoy my cute little kitty, Selena, and her affection for my sandals. At least the simple pleasures are still available to us. And let’s enjoy our friends, our family, and the good things in life that can still entertain us and help us to cope. Because it’s all so crazy, and all so out of our control. And hope, pray, meditate, chant, or whatever it is you do to help bring any tiny bit of peace to this world. Take care of yourself, and let’s take care of each other.

Dona nobis pacem – Grant us peace….

Jonathan Coulton » Mandelbrot Set

May 5th, 2006

Jonathan Coulton » Mandelbrot Set

Pathological monsters! cried the terrified mathematician
Every one of them is a splinter in my eye
I hate the Peano Space and the Koch Curve
I fear the Cantor Ternary Set
And the Sierpinski Gasket makes me want to cry
And a million miles away a butterfly flapped its wings
On a cold November day a man named Benoit Mandelbrot was born

His disdain for pure mathematics and his unique geometrical insights
Left him well equipped to face those demons down
He saw that infinite complexity could be described by simple rules
He used his giant brain to turn the game around
And he looked below the storm and saw a vision in his head
A bulbous pointy form
He picked his pencil up and he wrote his secret down

Take a point called Z in the complex plane
Let Z1 be Z squared plus C
And Z2 is Z1 squared plus C
And Z3 is Z2 squared plus C and so on
If the series of Z’s should always stay
Close to Z and never trend away
That point is in the Mandelbrot Set

Mandelbrot Set you’re a Rorschach Test on fire
You’re a day-glo pterodactyl
You’re a heart-shaped box of springs and wire
You’re one badass fucking fractal
And you’re just in time to save the day
Sweeping all our fears away
You can change the world in a tiny way

Mandelbrot’s in heaven, at least he will be when he’s dead
Right now he’s still alive and teaching math at Yale
He gave us order out of chaos, he gave us hope where there was none
And his geometry succeeds where others fail
If you ever lose your way, a butterfly will flap its wings
From a million miles away, a little miracle will come to take you home

Also be sure to check out Chaotic Utopia’s Friday Fractal.

We are all so precious…

March 3rd, 2006

Coloring is FUN! And some old poems, just for fun. Hey, it’s Friday….

Friendship


To you my friendship,

To you my love and support,

To you my warm touch.


From you your friendship,

From you your feelings and touch,

From you your warm fire.


In us there is fire,

In us there is warmth and love,

In us there is strength.

Across the Distance


Across this river that separates us

I build a bridge to try and reach you,

I cannot stop the river from flowing,

But I can build my bridge safe and strong.


Across the time that spans between us

I tell a story that is timeless,

I cannot turn back the hands of the clock,

But I can make your story endless.


Across this space that divides us

I reach out my hand to hold you.

I cannot close the gap between us,

But I can hold your hand across it.


Across the cold night air between us,

I send my love to try and warm you.

I cannot lift the chill of the evening,

But I can feel your fire across it.

Renewal


Maybe it’s time

To begin anew …


Start a new chapter

Write a new book

Fresh characters

The mists of dreams


What we all seek

Is a new perspective

The different view

That sees everything

fresh, new, exciting


Makes us believe

We can change

We can grow

We are special


Love can do that

Joy can do that

We can do that…


So, tomorrow, start again

In a new space

For a new time

Take what is learned

And make it better.

Emeralds


I found the emeralds I searched for
In the depths of your green eyes
And in your eyes I saw reflected
The movements of the tides

And in the tides I saw the glow

Of life itself as it comes and goes

The spark and fire of all we are

From the earth below to the highest star



I watched the waves as they rose and fell

Knowing always all too well

That time and tide would never wait

We would be washed in the tides of fate



The spark that lingers on the shore

Lives in my heart forever more

Love never dies, it never ends

It lives in the eyes of our dearest friends



I found the emeralds I searched for

In the fires of your green eyes

And in my own you’ll see reflected

The kind of love – that never dies…

Choices


There isn’t black or white

Anymore today,

I suddenly woke up

To a thousand shades of gray.

I’ve lost the either/or,

And now forever more

I will know there is more

I have yet to explore.


I looked into your eyes

And I saw the past

And then I realized

It goes much too fast.

You’re not a child now

I’ll turn around and how

You’ll have grown

And have flown

And I’ll never have known.


I’ve got to find a way

To make this moment stay!

I’ve got to find the time

To really make it mine.

I look behind me and it’s gone

I’ve got to carry on

And find the path

That takes me back…


It’s there in your eyes

It’s such a surprise

To see the world again

As if it were new!

The joy that you show to me

Now you have set me free

And I see that at last

I can reach to the past.


And so I carry on

With the chores today,

But somehow now I know

There is more to say.

I’ll find my voice again

I’ll have a choice again

You have shown my how

I know even now.


That life is what you make it -

The chance is there so take it!

And when you turn around,

Then at last you’ve found

There’s an open door

Into nevermore …

But what you’ve done here

Will not disappear.

Conversations Overheard

February 18th, 2006

This week, in Chapter Seven of the Artist’s Way, “Connections”, Cameron talks about simply overhearing the voice of the creator and dictating what is heard. This reminded me of a poem I wrote back in my poem-writing phase, which I literally simply wrote down as a couple of people were talking one day at the Wild Animal Park. I happened to be journaling and when I overheard this conversation, it played directly into what I was feeling at the time – a friend who was drifitng away from me.

Conversation Overheard

“We grow and evolve,
And move away from things that
Used to captivate us.”

“It’s part of life…”

“I don’t really remember…”
“I don’t really want to know.”

“You’re so far beyond me…”

“Trade offs – “
“So what do you say
We move on…”

So why was this friend so special to me? He was the friend I was writing with, creating with. We used to visit bookstores, and one of the things we did was to make a space on the bookshelves for each other’s work. We would move books out of the way where the other person’s books would go, and imagine ours there.

And he wondered why I fell in love with him…

My Butt

December 16th, 2005

The day’s amusement from a Nike ad – Talk about your viral advertising, eh? Too bad they ain’t paying me – but they did make me laugh. I put it on the fridge with my “One day big butts will be in style” magnet

My BUTT is BIG
And round like the letter C
And ten thousand lunges
Have made it Rounder
But not Smaller
And that’s just fine.

It’s a Space Heater
For my side of the bed
It’s my Ambassador
To those who walk behind me
It’s a Border Collie
That herds skinny women
Away from the best deals
At clothing sales.

My butt is big
And that’s just fine
And those who might scorn it
Are invited to kiss it…

Fire and Ice

November 30th, 2005

Robert Frost (1874–1963)
Fire and Ice

SOME say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Heads up to this spectacular Antartic volcano explosion on Montagu island via Clive Thompson’s collison detection via scietech daily via nature.com.

Shauna at TBOP: What’s a Little Solfeggio Between Friends?

October 15th, 2005

The Blogging of the President

The poem which gives Japan its alphabetic, or more properly syllabic, order is known as the Iroha, after its first three syllables. The poem is a pangram–it makes use of all of the kana, and uses each one only once.

Iro wa nioedo
Chirinuru o
Wa ga yo tare zo
Tsune naran
Ui no okuyama
Kyō koete
Asaki yume miji
Ei mo sezu.

Translation: As flowers are brilliant but [inevitably] fall, / who could remain constant in our world? [No one could] / Today let us transcend the high mountain of transience, / and there will be no more shallow dreaming, no more drunkenness.

1900

September 21st, 2005

If you are awake
Late enough
You can hear the planes come in
With the bodies
Of the dead
They will not acknowledge
Or let others see
Brought home, in the night…

Brokenness

September 19th, 2005

There Is A Brokenness
by Rashani

There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
A shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
Beyond all grief which leads to joy
And a fragility
Out of which depth emerges strength.
There is a hollow space
Too vast for words
Through which we pass with each loss,
Out of whose darkness we are sanctified into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
Whose serrated edges cut the heart
As we break open
To the place inside which is unbreakable
And whole.

“Hope floats . . . We are Unsinkable”

Covington artist Tammi Curtis-Ellis created this vision of New Orleans hope.

From the mailbag, Tammi Curtis-Ellis sends us an image of a painting showing the hope and determination of the New Orleans area.

“I am an artist from Covington, LA. While we had emormous damage to our community, it can not compare to the emotional and physical damage that the people of other areas suffered.

“During the days that I was travelling between my home and my children’s apartment in Baton Rouge, I completed this painting. My main focus was the hope and determination that is such an element of the people of the Gulf Coast.

“That is why I chose the scripture of Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”

“Also, the words “Hope floats and We are unsinkable” came to my mind while I was visualizing this painting.

“My heartfelt desire is that I can find a financial backer to supply the money for quality prints of this painting and marketing so that all the sale proceeds can go to Habitat for Humanity and CERF (Craft Emergency Relief Fund), an organization to assist artist in times of disaster.

“So many artist friends of mine from the Gulf Coast have been displaced, some losing everything. We cannot afford to lose the visual interpretation that they bring to the life of the coast. I hope I can be an artist helping artist, but I need assistance myself to make this happen, as my income relied on the New Orleans art market. I ask that this story receive attention and that we find a way to bring our artists home. The painting can also be viewed on the homepage of my website at www.tamiellis.ws. ”

Indefinite

September 12th, 2005


Monet, Autumn on the Seine

Spring was a time of swaggering declarations.
Reaching autumn, one finds few absolutes.
Life is mystery and ambiguity,
Toward winter, that now seems agreeable and comfortable.

When young, one makes heroic attempts. The world will surely bend to our will, we think, and we will surely make grand contributions. Social injustice will be righted. The big questions will be answered.

I once went to see a master writer. Long retired, white-haired and fragile, she nevertheless evinced a sharp and discerning mind. I was a novice writer. She had edited hundreds of great authors. I peppered her with all my anxieties and asked her all the questions that my teachers never answered. To most of my questions she would only answer, “Yes.” She knew all the answers, and she knew all the exceptions, and she knew the best thing that an older person could tell a younger person was “Yes.” Yes, the affirmative. Yes, as in keep exploring. Yes, as in there are no ultimate answers.

I used to push for an immediate resolution to daily problems. Now, I am not so anxious. Is science right about things, or is religion? Is there good and evil on a metaphysical level? Is there one god, or are there many gods, or no gods? A hundred answers exist for these questions. They are all known, but no one agrees. Today, I think it all very fine. Let there be a hundred answers with none of them entirely correct. The asking of the question is already enough.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.”
– Chuang Tzu

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad. ~Edwin Way Teale

Autumn

Walking outside tonight
Smelling that familiar scent
The one that says, “Autumn”
Thinking of you again,
My old friend.

How many Autumns has it been
Since that beautiful night
We climbed the stairway to the stars
Together for the first time?
A soft kiss joined us…

Ages and ages ago
You’re long gone from me now
We married other lovers
But that familiar scent of Autumn
Always brings you to mind.

– My own Autumn memories….

In San Diego, autumn usually brings a wonderful Indian Summer season that is warm and like a second spring, or even summer if it’s hot enough. I’ve seen 100 degree days in November here. But we do get the lovely cool autumn evenings with their glorious scent that just says so much to me this time of year.

I do think of autumn as a time for sowing as well as harvesting. I am often out planting a fall garden, although this year I think I’ll let things lie fallow for a bit. I may put in a few plants, but the gardening bug just hasn’t been with me this year.

I love the colors of autumn, the deep golds and reds, the light that gives everything sort of a golden glow.

And yes, things are indefinite at this time of my life, as I enter my own personal autumn. There are no ultimate answers, and it is enough to ask the questions. Those who seem too sure of themselves, too sure of their answers and their causes, are the ones who worry me now. The ones who don’t realize that life is full of mystery to explore, full of choices to make and options of different ways of living life to explore, and we will each fulfill them in our own way. Those who want to deny others the privilege of finding their own path by telling them how to live or what to do bother me most of all. They have the right to their own path, of course – but not to direct how others may live.

Consistency

August 15th, 2005

Without too much trouble,
One can keep on the main road.
But the people love to be distracted,
And perspective is difficult.

People constantly declare that they want to walk the road of Tao. They say that all they want is to reach realization. But this is not true. If it were, they would simply walk their road and attain enlightenment right away.

Instant realization doesn’t happen very often because people become distracted. It is not given to every person to pursue immediate realization. When enlightenment comes, the world becomes completely insignificant. Some of us still want to explore, be involved, amuse ourselves. That is all right, as long as you know that you are making up games and intrigues. In the final analysis, it is all right to be sidetracked a little bit, but one must always be cautious and come back to the main road without losing too much time or ground.

That is why a strong perspective is at the root of wisdom. One who follows Tao may appear to be going away from the goal, but such a person knows exactly when to pull back.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

– Robert Frost

I guess I don’t really see Tao as the “main road” — I believe it is the road less traveled by. Most people don’t want to fully explore spirituality, it’s true, and I think that is the main road most people take.

The side road of Tao is a personal path, not a major road. It rambles through hills and forests and “leads me beside still waters”. And yes, there are lots of enticing byways to explore, but they are ones that would never be found on the main road. They lead to places like art, and music, and theatre, and romance, and lust and golden retrievers and cats, lots of cats. And gardens, and searching for interesting clothing and new ideas, and exotic places and cultures and so much more. But these aren’t found on the main road. They are found while searching for the things that truly excite one in life, and make you feel alive and whole.

Perhaps when you come to full enlightment, the world does become insignificant. I wouldn’t know, and doubt I will ever get there. And somehow, I really kind of doubt that is what the true path of Tao is about, anyway. I believe we are here to experience the ten thousand things. When it is time to let go and pull back and return to the Tao, we can do that, true. But while we are here, let us enjoy.

And on to my other thoughts, tied to the picture above, on consistency….

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”
– Oscar Wilde

“Consistency is the quality of a stagnant mind” — John Sloan

“Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead.” — Aldous Huxley

“Consistency is the paste jewel that only cheap men cherish.” — William Allen White

“Emerson has said that consistency is a virtue of an ass. No thinking human being can be tied down to a view once expressed in the name of consistency. More important than consistency is responsibility. A responsible person must learn to unlearn what he has learned. A responsible person must have the courage to rethink and change his thoughts. Of course there must be good and sufficient reason for unlearning what he has learned and for recasting his thoughts. There can be no finality in rethinking.” — B. R. Ambedkar

“Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.”
– Bernard Berenson

“What, then, is the true Gospel of consistency? Change. Who is the really consistent man? The man who changes. Since change is the law of his being, he cannot be consistent if he stick in a rut.” — Mark Twain

Tao is about change, if it is about anything. The world as we know it is in constant change, in many different cycles. One of those cycles is political. Right now, the conservative right wing is at its prime in our country, dominating the discussion and the government. But, it is beginning to lose ground, in so many ways, large and small slips that begin to add up into larger changes.

Bush ignores these slips at his peril. He is seen as uncaring, unconcerned about a grieving mother. He is seen as uncaring, unconcerned about the state of Iraq, about the state of the country, about those who are becoming more and more worn down in the war of the haves and the have-nots. And this will be the ultimate change in this country — when we become, once again, the great nation that cares about its people, the little people, not the people with power and position. This is what has always been great about America, and needs to be again. The Bill of Rights was driven by the concern for the common man’s freedoms. The Civil War was driven by state’s rights and the rights of all men to be free. The Civil Rights movement was driven by the need to recognize the rights of minorities. The Women’s Liberation Movement by the need to recognize the rights of women, a battle we still continue to fight. And the next great political movement?

I think it will be the resurgence of a populism that is lying dormant in America right now and beginning to spring back to life. It is very evident in the grass-roots movements — in my Move On group, in the progressive movement events I’ve attended, in the DFA organization, in Dean’s takeover of the Democratic organization. When this movement hits the Republican organization machine, and it will, they are going to be clueless about how to deal with it. But those on the bottom of the Republican dogpile are not going to be content to remain there for much longer, without their jobs, without their security, without some assurances that they will be cared for and their families provided for.

The Democratic organization is dealing with these changes now. The Republicans are failing to realize they are next, and won’t be able to continue buying everyone off with God, guns and gays forever. They will learn, eventually, that as Bill taught us, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Until Republicans are willing to provide for the common welfare, they have no business leading this country any longer. Bush may be enjoying his consistency of his little mind — but the only truly consistent thing is change.

Poetry

August 4th, 2005


Poetall, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

Anything is subject for a poem :
A catalog of boxing equipment, a collage of other poems,
Serpentine trail of incense, raised deer fur, old shoes pointed pigeon-toed,
Glass and steel cityscape, almond eyes of a saint, weeping tiny flowers,
Sunlight on whitewashed walls, blue shadows of stooped women,
A spring mousetrap, a trickle of blood in the gutter,
The homing swoop of a gull, chill whitecapped bay, scent of eucalyptus.
Green lawn of broken blades, clods of fat earth.
Anything is subject for a poem.

Even in sleep, write a poem.
When waking, write a poem.
While loving, write a poem.
Even voting, write a poem.
When angry, write a poem.
While dreaming, write a poem.

The sages say quite seriously that those who wish to know better should cultivate the poet in themselves.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. ~Leonard Cohen

Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away. ~Carl Sandburg, Poetry Considered

To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie -
True Poems flee.
~Emily Dickinson

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. Dead Poet’s Society

Breathe-in experience,
breathe-out poetry.
~Muriel Rukeyser

Poets aren’t very useful
Because they aren’t consumeful or very produceful.
~Ogden Nash

Percy Bysshe Shelley was born on August 4, 1792

“Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

On a Poet’s Lips I Slept
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

from `Prometheus Unbound’

On a poet’s lips I slept
Dreaming like a love-adept
In the sound his breathing kept;
Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses,
But feeds on the aerial kisses
Of shapes that haunt thought’s wildernesses.
He will watch from dawn to gloom
The lake-reflected sun illume
The yellow bees in the ivy-bloom,
Nor heed nor see what things they be;
But from these create he can
Forms more real than living man,
Nurslings of immortality!
One of these awakened me,
And I sped to succour thee.

I tend to write poems when I am sad or unhappy. Which means, I haven’t written very many poems lately, since it’s been a long time since I’ve been really unhappy or sad. If you want to view some of my past poems, they are posted here.

I suppose could write more poems about the Tao, but these days, it’s sort of like this posting says, everything is poetry. I look outside and the wind blows through the trees, and I will just watch the leaves shifting back and forth, the sunlight playing off them, and I think, “ah.” I admire the soft texture and colors of my golden retriever’s fur, and I think “ah”. I look at the smooth curved edges and the deep cobalt blue color of my teapot and I think, “ah”. It just never ends…

Next times things are bothering you and you think there’s no solution, just take a few moments to look at something that is beautifully made, either natural or artificial. The grain of wood on the desk you are sitting at, the beautiful lines of the chair you are sitting in, the wonderful mystery of your very own skin when you look at it closely. And think, “ah”.

Dog-flop Haiku

July 29th, 2005


Adho Mukha Svanasana, Downward Facing Dog, sculptor Louise M Peterson

Roxie in downward dog
Chance practices his dog-flop
Goldens love yoga