Commonplace Book V

Only birth can conquer death — the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new. Within the soul, within the body social, there must be — if we are to experience long survival — a continuous ‘recurrence of birth’ (palingenesia) to nullify the unremitting recurrences of death.
– Joseph Campbell

The transformation of the heart is a wondrous thing, no matter how you land there.
– Patti Smith

It is time for a rebirth; for the skin of the old life can no longer contain who we are.
– Leslie M. Browning

Love is Life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because of Love. Everything is, everything exists, only because we Love.
Everything is united by Love alone.
– Leo Tolstoy

You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame;
how could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes?
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Start the Music

Be in a place where words come,
like a night hill above all the wash of lights
where you can lie on your back and make
your own constellations, where it’s so quiet
you can hear the sky turning on its axis,

or the middle of a Bach Brandenburg Concerto,
where you imagine yourself the cello,
and arpeggios resonate in your chest
and counterpoint embroiders the air,

or an early morning walk, when your steps
set the rhythm and a symphony of birds
set the melody, and only you and they know
what secrets the sun kept all night,

or a Coltrane sax solo growling in your ear buds,
a new animal birthed from the bell of his instrument
that carries you away on harmonics like a wisp
of smoke in that club where he used to play,

or your spring garden, where you sit under
your wisteria that’s overripe with purple
clustered flowers, and the bees buzz
above you like some divine machinery.

Wherever it may be, it can only be your place,
and only your words can know how to get there.

– Bruce W. Niedt

The witchery of living
is my whole conversation
with you, my darlings.
All I can tell you is what I know.

Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for the eyes.

It’s more than bones.
It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It’s more than the beating of the single heart.
It’s praising.
It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.
You have a life – just imagine that
You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe
still another.
– Mary Oliver
from To Begin With, the Sweet Grass

Do you ever feel like you have known people long before you have met them? It is as if you have crossed paths with them some time, maybe a lifetime ago, or somewhere maybe a light year away and you wish to find them in every turn of page, whether as a human or a wildflower or a stardust, you hope to be with them.
– Selina Pamarang

Please let me keep this memory, just this one.
– Joel Barish, from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


Friend, I know you are hurting.
I know you are scared.
I know old horizons have fallen from view,
and the days seem long.

I cannot save you. I do not have the answers.
I struggle myself sometimes
with the weight of incarnation.

But know that I am here for you.
Know you always have a friend.

Weep, and I will not judge you.
Cry out. I will not shame you.
Tell me your secrets. I will not run away.

Even if we don’t agree,
I offer you the sanctuary of my presence.
Even if you lash out, even if I have to take space,
even if we do not speak, or see each other for a time,
I will not withdraw my love.
You cannot destroy my love.

I am a holding space, you see,
a womb, and you my child,
kicking and screaming now inside.

And I know this is all leading to birth.
And I know there will be blood, and crying.
And I know we may not get through this unscathed.

But I see your goodness. Your power. Your strength.
I see the light in you. The same light I see in myself.
I see your longing for Truth. Your wide open heart.
Your brilliance. Your courage. Your beauty.

This love is not easy.
No. It is forged in the fires of grief.
And joy. And rage. And misunderstandings.
And coming together. And falling apart.
And listening.
And not being able to hear each other sometimes.
And trying.
And trying again.

And letting go of the old ways.

And feeling our feet on the same ground.

And laughing sometimes at our strangeness.

We, the ones who survived.
The ones who never gave up on each other.

– Jeff Foster

The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Wendy Xu
I had put down in writing my fear of the war
I too pined for pastoral description
The blue of the water was the blue of the world
Newness does not, for me, equal satisfaction
A finite number of concentric rings I push out into space
A tedious fabric moving through time without malice
An act of oration, rebellion, inventory, fantasy
The sound of the earth closing its one good eye over me
Imagine: you reach out towards the margin’s white hand
You do what your poems want and are clean
When you lay down your thorns you will be done
You do not take up arms against anyone

What we are given in dreams we write as blue paint,
Or messages to the clouds.
At evening we wait for the rain to fall and the sky to clear.
Our words are words for the clay, uttered in undertones,
Our gestures salve for the wind.

We sit out on the earth and stretch our limbs,
Hoarding the little mounds of sorrow laid up in our hearts.

– Charles Wright

Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.
– Albert Camus

…Let us remember within us
The ancient clay,
Holding the memory of seasons,
The passion of the wind,
The fluency of water,
The warmth of fire,
The quiver-touch of the sun
And shadowed sureness of the moon.
That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the Earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.
– John O’Donohue

We are all more than we know. Wholeness is never lost, it is only forgotten. Integrity rarely means that we need to add something to ourselves; it is more an undoing than a doing, a freeing ourselves from beliefs we have about who we are and ways we have been persuaded to “fix” ourselves to know who we genuinely are. Even after many years of seeing, thinking, and living one way, we are able to reach past all that to claim our integrity and live in a way we may never have expected to live.
– Rachel Naomi Remen

The only book worth writing is the one we don’t have the courage or strength to write.
– Hélène Cixous

Poems get to the point where they are stronger than you are.
– Ted Hughes

Things are so hard to figure out when you live from day to day in this feverish and silly world.
– Jack Kerouac

If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.
– Thomas Merton

It is far more important to build a life than a resume… Try to do the right thing, despite the odds.
– Tom Tierney

There is more wisdom in your body
than in your deepest philosophies.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.
– Zelda Fitzgerald

Luckily, life is an inexhaustible reservoir of possibilities and always contains the seeds of transformation.
– Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D.

Rushing into action, one fails.
Trying to grasp things, we lose them.
Forcing a project to completion,
will ruin what was almost ripe.
Therefore the wise take action
by letting things take their course.

Remain as calm at the end
as at the beginning.
Attached to nothing,
there is nothing to lose.
The wisest desire is non-desire.

Learn to unlearn.
Simply remind people
of who they have always been.
Caring about nothing but the Tao,
one thereby cares for all things.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

I know that everything you say, Oh my soul, is also my thought. But I hardly live according to it. The soul said, “How; tell me, do you then believe that your thoughts should help you?” I would always like to refer to the fact that I am a human being, just a human being who is weak and sometimes does not do his best. But the soul said, “Is this what you think it means to be human?” You are hard, my soul, but you are right. How little we still commit ourselves to living. We should grow like a tree that likewise does not know its law. We tie ourselves up with intentions, not mindful of the fact that intention is the limitation, yes, the exclusion of life. We believe that we can illuminate the darkness with an intention, and in that way aim past the light. How can we presume to want to know in advance, from where the light will come to us?
– Carl Jung, Red Book

If the boundaries of the self are defined by what we feel, then those who cannot feel even for themselves shrink within their own boundaries, while those who feel for others are enlarged, and those who feel compassion for all beings must be boundless. They are not separate, not alone, not lonely, not vulnerable in the same way as those of us stranded in the islands of ourselves, but they are vulnerable in other ways. Still, that sense of the dangers of feeling for others is so compelling that many withdraw, and develop elaborate stories to justify withdrawal, and then forget that they have shrunk. Most of us do, one way or another.
– Rebecca Solnit

It’s important to meet people where they are, not where we want them to be.
– Jeff Brown

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
– Mark Twain

Be an unpopular harbinger, an endangered one;
a tender,
firmly sprouted sentinel of the rhizome of archaic revival.
Do not take a seat.
She is ready for you.
The soul of the world will see you now.
What have you come to give her?
– Melissa La Flamme

i am here — amidst a cacophony of abstractions and a din of distractions.
– Andrew Kent Hagel

You are not alone because all the time there are numberless buddhas and bodhisattvas surrounding you, everywhere loving you, guiding you, that is what they do.
– Lama Zopa Rinpoche

For the more we are, the richer everything we experience is. And those who want to have a deep love in their lives must collect and save for it, and gather honey.
– (From the Letters of RMR)

Oh, yes,
let’s bless the imagination. It gives
us the myths we live by.
– Philip Levine

he began to clutch at scraps of memory, as though their cumulative weight might bring him back down to earth.
– Salman Rushdie

Courage is a word that tempts us to think outwardly, to run bravely against opposing fire, to do something under besieging circumstance, and perhaps, above all, to be seen to do it in public, to show courage; to be celebrated in story, rewarded with medals, given the accolade, but a look at its linguistic origins leads us in a more interior direction and toward its original template, the old Norman French, Coeur, or heart. Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work, a future.

To be courageous, is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences…

Whether we stay or whether we go — to be courageous is to stay close to the way we are made.
– David Whyte

My real self wanders elsewhere, far away, wanders on and on invisibly and has nothing to do with my life.
– Hermann Hesse

“There” is not your dream, “here” is.. To create it, to become it and to live in it. The journey of your triumphs and setbacks are apart of the process now,stop getting ready to get ready and start living in the essence of your movements NOW.
– Nikki Rowe

We do not have to be ashamed of what we are. As sentient beings we have wonderful backgrounds. These backgrounds may not be particularly enlightened or peaceful or intelligent. Nevertheless, we have soil good enough to cultivate; we can plant anything in it.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Nature knows that people are a tide that swells and in time will ebb, and all their works dissolve … As for us: We must uncenter our minds from ourselves. We must unhumanize our views a little and become confident as the rock and ocean that we are made from.
– Robinson Jeffers

There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves.
– Thomas Merton

Often we must go outside society to confirm that we live inside the continuum of creation. One seeks solitude to know relatedness.
– Joan Halifax

The poet is an embodiment of resistance: resistance against universal apathy, mediocrity, conformity, against institutional pressures to make everything look and become alike. This is why he is so involved with contraries.
– Stanley Kunitz

Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends, I to my own heart, I to seek among phrases and fragments something unbroken — I to whom there is not beauty enough in moon or tree; to whom the touch of one person with another is all, yet who cannot grasp even that, who am so imperfect, so weak, so unspeakably lonely. There I sat.
– Virginia Woolf

“You remember too much,” my mother said to me recently. “Why hold onto all that?” And I said, “where can I put it down?”
– Anne Carson

Whatever old fights we have kept alive in our minds, our bodies carry them — and our bodies can help us let them go.
– Eckhart Tolle

Maybe all pain in the world requires poetry.
– Sandra Cisneros

Ars Poetica
Poesie pentru când
eşti miop eşti obosit eşti
tocit până la urzeală
scrisă cu bidineaua pe zid
vizibilă şi pe întuneric
aşteptând să crească
undeva cândva
generaţia spontanee a nuanţelor
– Loana Leronim

Ars Poetica
Poetry for the time
when you are short-sighted, tired
worn threadbare
written with a thick paintbrush on the wall
visible even in the dark
waiting for some subtleties
to emerge somewhere, sometime.
– translated by Sujata Bhatt

We must constantly encourage ourselves and each other to attempt the heretical actions that our dreams imply, and so many of our old ideas disparage. In the forefront of our move toward change, there is only poetry to hint at possibility made real.
– Audre Lorde

To have access to literature, world literature, was to escape the prison of national vanity, of philistinism, of compulsory provincialism, of inane schooling, of imperfect destinies and bad luck. Literature was the passport to enter a larger life; that is, the zone of freedom. Literature was freedom. Especially in a time in which the values of reading and inwardness are so strenuously challenged, literature is freedom.
– Susan Sontag

To me, literature is one way of shrinking the distance between individual experiences and helping us to understand each other as human, making the fact of another’s humanity felt and unmistakable, making it harder to ignore, harder to forget for our own comfort or convenience. I believe that’s an essential part of any effort toward social justice.

Eighty-three problems
There is a story of a man who came to see the Buddha because he had heard that the Buddha was a great teacher. He had some problems in his life, and he thought the Buddha might be able to help him straighten them out.

The Buddha listened patiently to the man as he laid out all his difficulties and worries, and then waited for the Buddha to say the words that would put everything right for him.

The Buddha said, “I can’t help you.”

“What do you mean?” said the man.

“Everybody’s got problems,” said the Buddha. “In fact, we’ve all got eighty-three problems, each one of us. Eighty-three problems, and there’s nothing you can do about it. If you work really hard on one of them, maybe you can fix it – but if you do, another one will pop right into its place.”

The man was furious. “I thought you were a great teacher! I thought you could help me!”

The Buddha said, “Well, maybe it will help you with the eighty-fourth problem.”

“The eighty-fourth problem?” said the man. “What’s the eighty-fourth problem?”

The Buddha said, “You want to not have any problems.”
Buddhism Plain and Simple
– Steve Hagen

You have obstacles only because you have not realized the emptiness of the eons. Genuine wayfarers are never like this; they just dissolve their history according to conditions, dressing according to circumstances, acting when they need to act, and sitting when they need to sit, without any idea of seeking the fruits of buddhahood.
– Lin Chi

…I’m even grateful to problems.
They woke me up from my illusions
and led me to the path of compassion.
I would not trade them for anything.
– Anam Thubten

We lose ourselves in what we read, only to return to ourselves, transformed and part of a more expansive world.
– Judith Butler

There are other words and other worlds…You have taught me that.
– Ruth Ozeki

What you are is far superior to what you want to become
– Tara Singh

Where was this silence learned, / Heart, whose one care it was / To wall each day up in words?
– Philip Larkin

Through one word, or seven words, or three times five, even if you investigate thoroughly myriad forms, nothing can be depended upon. Night advances, the moon glows and falls into the ocean. The black dragon jewel you have been searching for, is everywhere.
– Dogen Zenji

The truth is, going against the internal stream of ignorance is way more rebellious than trying to start some sort of cultural revolution.
– Noah Levine


You wander mountain passes
with your crook in hand

a welcome spring breeze
tugging your beard.

The wild-self burns brightly
in your eyes. At night

the moon lights a hare
in a ploughed field.

– Heath R. Thompson

When I was a boy by Hans Holderlin

When I was a boy
A god often rescued me
From the shouts and the rods of men
And I played among trees and flowers
Secure in their kindness.
And the breezes of heaven
Were playing there too.

And as you delight
The hearts of plants
When they stretch towards you
With little strength

So you delighted the heart in me
Father Helios, and like Endymion
I was your darling,
Heavenly Luna.

0 all you friendly
And faithful gods
I wish you could know
How my soul has loved you.

Even though when I called to you then
It was not yet with names, and you
Never named me as people do
As though they knew one another

I knew you better
Than I have ever known them.
I understood the stillness above the sky
But never the words of men.

Trees were my teachers
Melodious trees
And I learned to love
Among flowers.

I grew up in the arms of the gods.

I am no longer a wanderer because I have a path and I don’t have to worry anymore. My path is the path of stopping, the path of enjoying the present moment. It is the path where every step brings me back to my true home. It is the path that leads to nowhere. I am on my way home. I arrive at every step. I am taking my steps with leisure because I don’t have to hurry. That is my life; that is my practice.
– Thich Nhất Hạnh

The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.
– Barbara Kingsolver

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.
– Margaret Atwood

Taking responsibility comes down to that loyalty to listening, to actually dare to let that happen which is supposed to happen. That is not to say that everything is laid out, because in every moment we have the choice of love over fear, of truth over the lie. The moment that we choose truth, then walking strongly in that truth becomes our radicality.
– Aisha Salem

Walking and talking are two very great pleasures, but it is a mistake to combine them. Our own noise blots out the sounds and silences of the outdoor world…….the only friend to walk with is one who so exactly shares your taste for each mood of the countryside that a glance, a halt, or at most a nudge, is enough to assure us that the pleasure is shared.
– C.S. Lewis

What she liked was distance. A good long view towards the sunset, or at a certain soft hour at home, towards an empty intersection, and if you got a glimpse of something more it would be the way the hills blurred off into blueness beyond the last of the flashing roofs. You would feel small then, in a way she found comforting.
– David Malouf

The hardest thing is to keep your horizons open, to keep exploring the green growing edge. As I tremble there, I find myself wondering, “What do I love more than I fear? How can I motivate myself by what I love?”
– Dawna Markova

This moving away from comfort and security, this stepping out into what is unknown, uncharted, and shaky — that’s called liberation.
– Pema Chodron

Happy are those who know:
Behind all words, the Unsayable stands;
And from that source alone, the Infinite
Crosses over to gladness, and us –
Free of our bridges
Built with the stone of distinctions;
So that always, within each delight,
We gaze at what is purely single and joined.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

If you learn to use a perfect afternoon
in a perfectly useless manner,
you have learned the meaning of life.
– Lin Yutang, “The Importance of Living

Go out in the woods, go out. If you don’t go out in the woods nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Your main task is to allow your original first-born self to be manifested through you with less and less interference.
– Thomas Moore

In Buddhism, we take refuge in what is called the three jewels: Buddha, Dharma, & Sangha. We place our bet there rather than simply trying to achieve a comfortable life style.
– David Nichtern

Movement is good for the body and stillness is good for the mind.
– Sakyong Mipham

It is not so easy to recognize our “negative” habitual patterns and perhaps even harder to change them. They are often deeply ingrained in our mind, our emotions, and our body. In Buddhist practice, renunciation is considered to be the important first step – creating the intention to abandon that which creates confusion and pain for our self and others.
– David Nichtern

If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.
– Vincent van Gogh

We’re bound together by the mystery of it all. We’re bound together because, not only can we not figure [life] out, but we’re coming to understand that that’s actually the point; that when you are in a space where life is completely beyond you, you feel most at home, and most yourself, and you can appreciate your life and your friends, fellow practitioners the most.
– Reggie Ray

Respond, open, soften, love, all at any cost.
– John de Ruiter

Sometimes we feel that we’re not sure why we meditate; we’re not quite certain why we make this journey and do all these things that we do. But one thing that we can safely say is that the entire journey of meditation in this lineage is about coming to a deeper sense of what our inner voice is and what our heart is telling us, and then developing the wherewithal to act on it.
– Reggie Ray

Put away the book, the description, the tradition, the authority, and take the journey of self-discovery.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

The mind toggles back and forth between details and the big picture, minutiae and openness. I’m trying to learn how to make that back and forth more and more fluid.
– Ethan Nichtern

I agree with William Schulz. If we don’t take the time to savor the world, we are unlikely to have the motivation to save it. Which is why as a humane educator, someone dedicated to providing people with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be conscientious choicemakers and engaged changemakers for a peaceful, just, and healthy world, bringing reverence-building and wonder-inducing activities to people — especially children who are growing up in a mediated, screen-based world — is essential.

The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.
– Ben Okri

Come back to your center!
Everything is just a matter of waves;
learn to ride them
by resting your heart-mind
in its ancient ground.
When you realize you are infinite
you will see there is no time.
The challenges of the ancient-future
are solved by the richness of the ancient-past.”
–words my teacher said once
when she hit me with her samurai fan.
It wasn’t violence.
It was a Rinzai ‘thwack’…a wake-up call.
– Wandering Cloud

I was always listening, listening, and listening.
– Lydia Davis

she will come to you.

she will come to you if she sees that without any thought of an audience
you are there on the ground with your ear to the earth, listening.

just listening.
listening so faithfully and with nothing left to prove.

– Belle Heywood

the Indian sage, Padampa Sangye said:
Listen to the teachings like a deer listening to music;
Contemplate them like a northern nomad shearing sheep;
Meditate on them like a dumb person savouring food;
Practise them like a hungry yak eating grass;
Reach their result, like the sun coming out from behind the clouds..

I have phrases and whole pages memorized,
but nothing can be told of Love.
You must wait until you and I are living together.
In the conversation we’ll have then …
be patient … then.
– Rumi

In our western societies we are seeing more calls for a return to native wisdom, but we cannot live by the worldview of other cultures, which are rooted in lands and histories that have little relationships to that of our own. And yet so often we try to; we look for our spiritual practices to the East- to Taoism, for example, and to Buddhism; we look to the West for guidance on how to live in harmony with the land- to indigenous stories and traditions from the Americas. But fine as all of those traditions are, we don’t need to look to the myths of other cultures as role models,or for guidance on how to live more authentically, in balance and harmony with the planet on which we depend. We have our own guiding stories, and they are deeply rooted in the heart of our own native landscapes…they show us what we might once have been, we women, and what we might become again if we choose. ‘The world will be saved by western women,’ the Dalai Lama once said. And, if we stand with our powerful and inspiring native sisters from around the planet, together we might just all have a chance.
– Sharon Blackie

Now, all these myths that you have heard and that resonate with you, those are the elements from round about that you are building into a form in your life. The thing worth considering is how they relate to each other in your context, not how they relate to something out there – how they were relevant on the North American prairies or in the Asian jungles hundreds of years ago, but how they are relevant now – unless by contemplating their former meaning you can begin to amplify your own understanding of the role they play in your life.
– Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss

We must do all that is humanly possible to usher in a more altruistic, united and cooperative society.
– Karuna-Shechen

I wish that I could put up yesterday’s evening sky for all posterity, could preserve a night of love, the sound of a mountain stream, a realization as it sets my mind afire, a dance, a day of harmony, ten thousand glorious days of clouds that will instead vanish and never be seen again, line them up in jars where they might be admired in the interim and tasted again as needed.
– Rebecca Solnit

The desire to go home that is a desire to be whole, to know where you are, to be the point of intersection of all the lines drawn through all the stars, to be the constellation-maker and the center of the world, that center called love. To awaken from sleep, to rest from awakening, to tame the animal, to let the soul go wild, to shelter in darkness and blaze with light, to cease to speak and be perfectly understood.
– Rebecca Solnit


Last night
the pinion smoke
inhaled me

I set over
the mountain tops
A glow fading

I diminished
As the stars
And moon

The Rock
A geisha
her head
Tilted slightly

The stone path
The air brisk

Blue constellations

A small thought
Of being
– Michelle Haynes

Go out to the rainy woods, leaving
all the weary eidolons of the spirit and your
wayward thoughts at home in the warm and dry.
Bring only your camera and notebook,
yourself, if indeed a self you have or are.
Leave that self somewhere among the
earthy wetness and the old trees.

Sit quietly with the drenched leaves,
these birds, that flowing stream, and
wait for them to speak or sing in the green
and wordless language that you share.
Know there are atomies vast and
teeming with life in everything you see.

Return home at the end of the day,
yourself a leaf, a stone perhaps, or a star
– kerrdelune


Come down drenched,
at the end of May,
with the cold rain
so far into your bones
that nothing will warm you
except your own walking
and let the sun come out
at day’s end
near Slievenaglusha
with the rainbows doubling
over Mulloch Mor
and see your clothes
steaming in the bright air.

Be a provenance
of something gathered,
a summation
of previous intuitions,
let your vulnerabilities
walking on the cracked,
sliding limestone,
be this time,
not a weakness,
but a faculty
for understanding
what’s about to happen.

Stand above
the Seven Streams,
letting the deep down current
surface around you,
then branch and branch
as they do,
back into the mountain,
and as if you were able
for that flow, say the few
necessary words
and walk on,
broader and cleansed
for having imagined.
– David Whyte

Sidney Wade

The great blue
song of the earth
is sung in all
the best venues—
treetop, marsh,
desert, shore—
and on this spring
day in the wetlands
where, under
a late sun,
we stand alone
and in love
with each other
and the passing day
we watch a cormorant
whose eye is ringed
in blue diamonds,
a shimmering lure,
and we love this blue
and this dark bird
and this deepening sky
that pinks and hums
in the west, and then

the bird opens his beak
and flutters his throat
and the late
afternoon light
the inside tissue
of his mouth
which is as blue
as his ocular jewelry,
as blue as the bluest
ocean, as blue
as the sky in all
its depth, as blue
as the back of the small
and determined beetle
who struggles to roll
his enormous dung ball
in his own breeding bid
to enchant another
small blue miracle.

I loaf and invite my soul, I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
– Walt Whitman

Chen Chen:
i love smelling like summer—
grass, pointless melancholy et cetera

I started out in silence, writing as quietly as I had read, and then eventually people read some of what I had written, and some of the readers entered my world or drew me into theirs. I started out in silence and traveled until I arrived at a voice that was heard far away –first the silent voice that can only be read, and then I was asked to speak aloud and to read aloud. When I began to read aloud, another voice, one I hardly recognized, emerged from my mouth. Maybe it was more relaxed, because writing is speaking to no one and even when you’re reading to a crowd, you’re still in that conversation with the absent, the faraway, the not yet born, the unknown, and the long gone for whom writers write, the crowd of the absent who hover all around the desk.

Sometime in the late nineteenth century, a poor rural English girl who would grow up to be a writer was told by a gypsy, “You will be loved by people you’ve never met.” This is the odd compact with strangers who will lose themselves in your words and the partial recompense for the solitude that makes writers and writing. You have an intimacy with the faraway and distance from the near at hand. Like digging a hole to China and actually coming out the other side, the depth of that solitude of reading and then writing took me all the way through to connect with people again in an unexpected way. It was astonishing wealth for one who had once been so poor.
– Rebecca Solnit

Abiding faith does not depend on borrowed concepts. Rather, it is the magnetic force of a bone-deep, lived understanding, one that draws us to realize our ideals, walk our talk,and act in accord with what we know to be true.
– Sharon Salzberg

There are different wells within your heart.
Some fill with each good rain,
others are far too deep for that.

In one well
you have just a few precious cups of water,
that “love” is literally something of yourself.

It can grow as slow as a diamond
if it is lost.

This love
should only be offered
to someone
who has the valor and daring
to cut pieces of their soul off with a knife
and then
weave them into a blanket
to protect you.

There are different wells within us.
Some fill with each good rain,
others are far, far too deep
for that.

– Hafiz

All of my favorite friends
Are the people who move
In and out
They derail

They derailed
The mind is not the rational
It is the irrational

It is the irrational
That is worth living for
You think that knowledge is ordered
But you are sadly wrong

Knowledge is the divine
Unordered thing
– Dorothea Lasky

To begin to understand the gorgeous fever that is consciousness, we must try to understand the senses – how they evolved, how they can be extended, what their limits are, to which ones we have attached taboos, and what they can teach us about the ravishing world we have the privilege to inhabit.
– Diane Ackerman

I don’t think we ever solve the larger issues of our lives – nor do I think that is our task on this earth. The most valuable work we do – opening the heart, celebrating the present with our devoted attention to it, expressing our love in action, answering the world as it summons our help – none of this valuable work actually solves anything, really. What it does, rather, is to heal our disconnections – our scar tissue against the world – in order that our entire being might attune to its living mystery; for that attunement, when it happens, nourishes both being and world. Life wounds us, often when we least expect it, and scar tissue builds up – but the heartaches that we face are at the same time revelations of our deepest loves: our love of life: our love of shared moments with others; our love of the sky and the green green earth. It is only love that makes heartache possible; heartache in its way is a resounding and unforgettable affirmation of our love. In this way, it might ultimately serve as our deepest attunement.
– Philip Shepherd

Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.
– Epictetus

We should use our opinions to start discussions, not to end them.
– Madeleine Albright

Funny to complain about silence when one has aspired to it for so long. Words are the only thing for me and there’s not enough of them. Now it’s as if I’m just living in a void, waiting. Even my country house is lonely when I’m not writing.
– Samuel Beckett

The impulse to create begins — often terribly and fearfully — in a tunnel of silence. Every real poem is the breaking of an existing silence.
– Adrienne Rich

My Beloved is the mountains,
The solitary wooded valleys,
The strange islands,
The roaring torrents,
The whisper of the amorous gales
– St. John of the Cross

Jack Collum – Ecology
Surrounded by bone, surrounded by cells
by rings, by rings of hell, by hair, surrounded by,
hair-is-a-thing, surrounded by silouette, by honey-wet bees, yet
by skeleton of trees, surrounded by actual, yes, for practical
purposes, people, surrounded by surreal
popcorn, surrounded by the reborn: Surrender in the center
to surroundings. O surrender forever, never
end her, let her blend around, surrender to surroundings that
surround the tender endo-surrender, that
tumble through the tumbling to that blue that
curls around the crumbling, to that, the blue that
rumbles under the sun bounding the pearl that
we walk on, we talk on; we can chalk that
up to experience, sensing the brown here that’s
blue now, a drop of water that’s surrounding a cow that’s
black and white, the warbling Blackburnian twitter that’s
machining midnight orange in the light that’s
glittering in the light green visible wind. That’s
the ticket to tunnel through the thicket that’s
a cricket’s funnel of music to correct & pick it out
from under the wing that whirls it up over & out.

I sometimes imagine that I AM my ancestors. That as I write I am speaking what my ancestors spoke or would speak through me . . . It’s not something of which I am intellectually aware. That’s not the best of it. It is something of which I’m instinctively aware, I think . . . I think sometimes that my voice is the reincarnation of a voice from my ancestral past. Not only when I write but when I lecture, and even when I speak on a one-to-one basis, I sometimes have that feeling, and I think, ‘Yes, this voice of mine is proceeding from a great distance in the past’. . . When I have this awareness that I am speaking from an ancestral point back in time, I feel very peaceful. I have the feeling that I have entered into the flow of things.
– N. Scott Momaday

But perhaps these are the very hours during which solitude grows; for its growing is painful as the growing of boys and sad as the beginning of spring.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke

She was lost in her longing to understand.
– Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.
– Jonathan Safran

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.
– Emily Brontë

The pieces I am, she gather them and gave them back to me in all the right order.
– Toni Morrison, Beloved

For poems are like rainbows; they escape you quickly.
– Langston Hughes

One must be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.
– Cassandra Clare

It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.
– J.K. Rowling

…it’s pointless to build walls between you and words.
– Alda Merini

Oh you who mixed poetry’s melody in me
And made my poems so fervent
You kindled such a feverish love in me
You made certain my poems would smolder…
– Forough Farrokhzad

For those who know only the world of words, silence is mere emptiness. But our silent heart knows the paradox: the emptiness of silence is inexhaustibly rich; all the words in the world are merely a trickle of its fullness.
– David Steindl-Rast

You begin to suspect, as you gaze through this you-shaped hole of insight and fire, that though it is the most important thing you own – never deny that for an instant – it has not shielded you from anything terribly important. The only consolation is that though one could have thrown it away at any time, morning or night, one didn’t. One chose to endure. Without any assurance of immortality, or even competence, one only knows one has not been cheated out of the consolation of carpenters, accountants, doctors, ditch-diggers, the ordinary people who must do useful things to be happy. Meander along, then, half blind and a little mad, wondering when you actually learned – was it before you began? – the terrifying fact that had you thrown it away, your wound would have been no more likely to heal: indeed, in an affluent society such as this, you might even have gone on making songs, poems, pictures, and getting paid. The only difference would have been – and you learned it listening to all those brutally unhappy people who did throw away theirs – and they do, after all, comprise the vast and terrifying majority – that without it, there plainly and starkly would have been nothing there; no, nothing at all.
– Samuel R. Delany

Gee whiz it’s all fucking heart-
– Alice Notley

It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.
– Anne Frank

It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane.
– W. G. Sebald

A poem can be made of anything.
– William Carlos William

What is ‘out there’ is a world, a landscape. I don’t know what could be more unfashionable just now than the whole ‘idea’ of landscape, but at times, for me, the world is a landscape, and I think of my own poems as if they were landscapes, or as if I could refer to them by virtue of their places.
– Larry Levis

I think there’s just one kind
Of folks. Folks.
– Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

In the same way there is much, much in all of us, but we do not know it. No one ever calls it out in us, unless we are lucky enough to know intelligent, imaginative, sympathetic people who love us and have the magnanimity to encourage us, to believe in us, by listening, by praise, by appreciation, by laughing. If you are going to write, you must become aware of this richness in you and come to believe in it and know it is there so that you can write opulently with with self-trust. Once you become aware of it, have faith in it, you will be all right. But it is like this: if you have a million dollars in the bank and don’t know, it doesn’t do you any good.
– Brenda Ueland

I have always been more attracted to interesting questions, than well defined answers. It is the nature of good questions, the important ones, the ones that always return, to be more grounding and life affirming then an answer that is pat and settled, corked up and put on the shelf.

“There are questions with no answers,
Answers never the point,
Owl-like and watchful, gliding in from the dark
Whispering , “who, I wonder and why.”

There are questions that abide deep under the ground,
Resting like field mice, that sleep with no shame,
Because some kinds of growth only happens with time,
In the safe quiet rooms, of the soft secret heart.”

– Carrie Newcomer

The answers that can never be found are precisely the ones we must treasure the most. We ask not to find answers, but to find questions. Futile questioning one might argue, but unattainable answers are those that manifest in our lives in the form of poetry.
– Hune Margulies

Take care of the person next to you. It might be your spouse, your child, your parents, or it might be a stranger. It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t matter who it is and it doesn’t matter if they have nothing to give you; you just do it because it is there to be done…That is the bottom line for me: Once you take care of the delusion of separateness, then everything else is taken care of.
– Tetsugen

Chogyam Trungpa ~ Belief in anything is simply a way of labeling the mystery

… no religion is necessary although the path may start from one. It begins with questioning.
– Patty de Llosa

The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.
– Zadie Smith

The rare moment is not the moment when there is something worth looking at but the moment when we are capable of seeing.
– Joseph Wood Krutch

You were forever finding some new play.
So when I saw you down on hands and knees
I the meadow, busy with the new-cut hay,
Trying, I thought, to set it up on end,
I went to show you how to make it stay,
If that was your idea, against the breeze,
And, if you asked me, even help pretend
To make it root again and grow afresh.
But ’twas no make-believe with you today,
Nor was the grass itself your real concern,
Though I found your hand full of wilted fern,
Steel-bright June-grass, and blackening heads of clovers.
‘Twas a nest full of young birds on the ground
The cutter-bar had just gone champing over
(Miraculously without tasking flesh)
And left defenseless to the heat and light.
You wanted to restore them to their right
Of something interposed between their sight
And too much world at once–could means be found.
The way the nest-full every time we stirred
Stood up to us as to a mother-bird
Whose coming home has been too long deferred,
Made me ask would the mother-bird return
And care for them in such a change of scene
And might out meddling make her more afraid.
That was a thing we could not wait to learn.
We saw the risk we took in doing good,
But dared not spare to do the best we could
Though harm should come of it; so built the screen
You had begun, and gave them back their shade.
All this to prove we cared. Why is there then
No more to tell? We turned to other things.
I haven’t any memory–have you?–
Of ever coming to the place again
To see if the birds lived the first night through,
And so at last to learn to use their wings.
– Robert Frost

If you would look at a flower, any thought about that flower prevents you from looking at it. The words the rose, the violet, it is this flower, that flower, it is that species keep you from observing. To look there must be no interference of the word, which is the objectifying of thought. There must be freedom from the word, and to look there must be silence; otherwise you can’t look. If you look at your wife or husband, all the memories that you have had, either of pleasure or pain, interfere with looking. It is only when you look without the image that there is a relationship. Your verbal image and the verbal image of the other have no relationship at all. They are nonexistent.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.
– Iris Murdoch

The career of flowers differs from ours only in inaudibleness,” she wrote. “I feel more reverence as I grow for these mute creatures whose suspense or transport may surpass our own.
– Emily Dickinson

Just at the nonliterary level it’s such a fantastic planet, and, as Annie Dillard says somewhere, since we’re here we might as well have a look around. And if you’re having a look around, you tell people about places where you’ve done the looking.
– Geoff Dyer

Modern education with its focus on material goals and a disregard for inner values is incomplete. There is a need to know about the workings of our minds and emotions. If we start today and make an effort to educate those who are young now in inner values, they will see a different, peaceful, more compassionate world in the future.
– Dalai Lama

Your body, for as long as it possibly can, will be faithful to living. That’s what it does.
– Matthew Sanford

the corrective of all thinking is the body.
– Kenneth Burke
Towards a Better Life

Authenticity is not just a word. It’s not just a trendy concept. It’s not just a way to sell product. It’s a heartcore path. It’s a perilous path. It’s a way of being that is not influenced by political considerations, not concerned with how it will be judged, not souling itself out for the mighty dollar. An authentic being bows down before nothing untrue. (S)he owns her truth no matter the consequences. (S)he is inspired from the inside out. It’s time to reclaim the word ‘authentic’, before it becomes as disingenuous as the words ‘enlightened’ and ‘spiritual’. It ain’t authentic unless its nakedly true.
– Jeff Brown

No. All poets are political. We are political by our noise and by our silence.
– Kwame Dawes

What would it take to give political life psychological depth and layered and nuanced vision?
– Thomas Moore

Compassion is probably the only antitoxin of the soul. Where there is compassion, even the most poisonous impulses become relatively harmless. One would rather see the world run by men who set their hearts on toys but are accessible to pity, than by men animated by lofty ideals whose dedication makes them ruthless. In the chemistry of man’s soul, almost all noble attributes—courage, honor, hope, faith, duty, loyalty, etc.—can be transmuted into ruthlessness. Compassion alone stands apart from the continuous traffic between good and evil proceeding within us.
– Eric Hoffer

Just because you feel you are right, doesn’t mean they are wrong. This is a world of multiple perspectives, multiple values and multiple priorities. All conflict comes from imposing our perspectives, values and priorities on others. All resolution comes from understanding the perspectives, values and priorities of others. This is known as connection before correction, listening before telling, and seeking to understand before wanting to be understood. It leads to the shift from “my truth” to “our truth”. When we have the patience to authentically engage with others, to understand, empathize and harmonize with them, the outcomes are far more beautiful and beneficial than anyone could have imagined.
– Nithya Shanti

The mind of compassion knows no bitterness nor judgment.
No good nor bad, no right nor wrong, no true nor false.
Only the wish for all beings to be happy.
– Guanyin

Do not pretend that you are some kind of powerful god. When you feel helpless, just accept the helplessness. You are not anything other than equal to all other sentient beings—vulnerable and helpless. Being helpless exposes our hearts to suffering. It develops our tenderness, increases the rawness, awakens our wisdom minds, and helps us understand and appreciate things we never thought we would appreciate, such as suffering and the causes of suffering. It is when you find out the causes of suffering, and can connect the causes of suffering to the suffering itself that you uncover an incredible sense of compassion. That is the beginning of turning from a samsaric person to a person on the path, a person who could actually do something for others. That is why we say that suffering is the direct cause of compassion, and compassion is the direct cause of the aspiration for enlightenment. True compassion is beyond ‘idiot compassion’, beyond ignorant mind; true compassion understands suffering in a purer way.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, from “Heart Advice”

In older philosophies the mind is tucked into the larger category of spirit, part of that urge in us to transcend the material life and our ignorance through knowledge, power, and experience. The deep soul points in a different direction: It is the focus of our humanity and individuality, our emotions and memories, our fears and desires. The soul is especially concerned about those things that make us secure and give us a sense of belonging: home, family, love, place, friends, and work. While the spirit often prefers solitude and detachment, the soul comes alive in community and attachement.
– Thomas Moore

We each have to find our “hole in the sky,” our opening to the infinity of meaning that surrounds us, our highest self.
– Thomas Moore

Everywhere people ask: “what can I actually do?” The answer is as simple as it is disconcerting: we can, each of us, put our inner house in order.
– E. F. Schumacher

See with every turning day,
how each season wants to make
a child of you again, wants you to become
a seeker after rainfall and birdsong,
watch how it weathers you to a testing
in the tried and true, tells you
with each falling leaf, to leave and slip away,
even from the branch that held you,
to go when you need to,
to be courageous,
to be like that last word
you’d want to say
before you leave the world.
– David Whyte

Believe me, you will find more lessons in the woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you what you cannot learn from masters.
– Bernard of Clairvaux

You know your holy place. Your field, tree, chapel, cushion, cathedral, mat, temple or ocean wait for you. Go there often, without any agenda. And let your heart sing the lullabies of its longing to keep itself awake.
– Deborah Anne Quibell

…Listen. Every molecule is humming
its particular pitch.
Of course you are a symphony.
Whose tune do you think
the planets are singing
as they dance?
– Lynn Ungar

And my dear memories are heavier than rocks.
– Charles Baudelaire

One can’t write directly about the soul. Looked at, it vanishes.
– Virginia Woolf

Yes, that’s what he wanted: just a quiet afternoon of nothingness.
– Colum McCann

True friends are those rare people who come to find you in dark places and lead you back to the light.
– Steven Aitchison

Being tethered to their solidity, knowing that they had my back, allowed me to pursue a creative path.
– Justine Delaney Wilson

Silence is also a form of speaking.
– Herta Müller

Believe that the world is an ethereal flower, and ye live.
– Jack Kerouac

Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
– Dylan Thomas

The poet must have a continuous curiosity.
– Ezra Pound

Poetry can remind us of all we are in danger of losing.
– Claudine Rankine

Essays are what change the world.
– Michel Houellebecq

Trying to get rid of habitual states of mind without having seen into your own nature is like trying to get rid of a dream while asleep. The desire to dispel the dream is just part of the dream. Knowing that it is a dream is also just part of the dream. It doesn’t matter how much you search for something in a dream, you will never find it.
– Bassui

It is never too late for the illumination of wisdom. It does not matter how long the darkness has lasted.
– Jack Kornfield

To live in this world wisely, we have to go beyond the extremes of being numb to desire and being lost in desire.
– Jack Kornfield

How we open or close to the reality that we never arrive at safe enduring stasis is the matter, the raw material, of wisdom.
– Krista Tippett‏

I think it’s just that British poets are more cowardly.
– Allen Ginsberg

Who am I, standing in the midst of this thought traffic?
– Rumi

A wealth you cannot imagine
flows through you.
Do not consider what strangers say.
Be secluded in your secret heart-house,
that bowl of silence.
– Rumi

Saturday Morning Satori
When the mind is exalted, the body is lightened, the Chinese say,
Or one of them said,
and feels as though it could float in the wind.
Neglecting to say like what, I think it might be like a leaf,
Like this leaf in careless counterpoint
down from an unseen tree,
West wind deep bass line under raven shrill.
No, it’s a feather,

One thing in a world of images.
It’s not a question of what we think, we think too much.
It’s not a question of what we say, we say too much.
A thing is not an image,
imagination’s second best,
A language in which the heavens call out to us
each day in their gutturals.
– Charles Wright

Everything should be noticed. Watch the water, watch the birds, watch the sky. The real lessons in life don’t come from words, they come from paying attention, from observing.
– John Lundin

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.
– R. D. Laing

…a poet wants you to learn his or her poem by heart. They want you to copy it. They want you to steal their work. There’s no greater pleasure than knowing that somebody has taped your poem to the refrigerator door or sent it to five friends. That’s the greatest joy in poetry, having it passed around and read and heard.
– Marie Howe

Although from the beginning
I knew
the world is impermanent,
not a moment passes
when my sleeves are dry.

~ Ryokan
from Sky Above, Great Wind

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels…
– Albert Einstein

From the place where we are right
Flowers will never grow
In the spring.
The place where we are right
Is hard and trampled
Like a yard.
But doubts and loves
Dig up the world
Like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
Where the ruined
House once stood.
– Yehudi Amichai

When patterns are broken new worlds emerge.
– Tuli Kupferberg

At any moment, you have a choice, that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it. Be free where you are.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet.
– Nisargadatta

And we pray, not for new
earth or heaven, but to be quiet
in heart, and in eye clear.
What we need is here.
– Wendell Berry

Thoughts are just like people. They react when they are judged, and they let go when they are listened to.
– Mary O’Malley

Get yourself out of whatever cage you find yourself in. There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.
– John Cage

As we grow higher in consciousness,
we find that it is more important to be the
right person than to find the right person.
– Ken Keyes, Jr.

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.
– Herman Melville

The quilts that she made are magnificent. And they are far more magnificent than they need to be.
– Liz Gilbert

Although my parents didn’t send me on an official spiritual or creative path, they were both of those things.
– Liz Gilbert

During the past era our focus has been on a transcendent, often disembodied spirituality. As a result we have forgotten the very practical nature of our true self. In the dimension of oneness everything is included. There is nothing higher or lower, nothing that is not sacred. Spiritual knowledge belongs to the whole of life, to each cell of creation. The soul is present within the whole body of each of us and also within the body of the earth. Spiritual principles offer us a very practical way to work with the energies of life.
– Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Just devote yourself
to something small and simple.
– Jamie K. Reaser

Only the moon
and I, on our meeting-bridge,
alone, growing old
– Kikusha-ni

Beat doesn’t mean tired or bushed, so much as it means beato, the Italian for beatific; to be in a state of beatitude, like St. Francis, trying to love all life, trying to be utterly sincere with everyone, practicing endurance, kindness, cultivating joy of the heart. How can this be done in our mad modern world of multiplicities and millions? By practicing a little solitude, going off by yourself once in a while to store up that most precious of goals: the vibrations of sincerity.
– Jack Kerouac

Never has the individual been so completely delivered up to a blind collectivity, and never have men been so less capable, not only of subordinating their actions to their thoughts, but even of thinking. The collective is the object of all idolatry. In the case of avarice, gold is the social order. In the case of ambition, power is the social order. Meditation on the social mechanism is, in this respect, a purification of the first importance. To contemplate the social is as good a way of detachment as to retire from the world. Society is the cave. The way out is solitude.
– Simone Weil

There are passages in the works of some authors that in a way lie outside the frame of their writing, passages where you suddenly feel the man talking is not the literary worker So and So, but the human being, high above all “literature” clear, deep, good — but also with a wild tone, flying through the soul like the scream of a bird above a desolate ocean bay.
– Vilhelm Ekelund

So many gods, so many creeds, so many paths that wind and wind; while just the art of being kind, is all the sad world needs.
– Ella Wilcox

Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

In this woman the earth speaks.
Her words open in me, cells of light
flashing in my body, and make a song 

that I follow toward her out of my need. 

The pain I have given her I wear

like another skin, tender, the air

around me flashing with thorns. 

And yet such joy as I have given her

sings in me and is part of her song. 
he winds of her knees shake me

like a flame. I have risen up from her, 

time and again, a new man.
– Wendell Berry

Out Where The West Begins

Out where the handclasp’s a little stronger,
Out where the smile dwells a little longer,
hat’s where the West begins;

Out where the sun is a little brighter,

Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter,

Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter,

That’s where the West begins.
Out where the skies are a trifle bluer,
Out where friendship’s a little truer,
That’s where the West begins;
Out where a fresher breeze is blowing,
Where there’s laughter in every streamlet flowing,
Where there’s more of reaping and less of sowing,
That’s where the West begins;
Out where the world is in the making,
Where fewer hearts in despair are aching,
That’s where the West begins;
Where there’s more of singing and less of sighing,
Where there’s more of giving and less of buying,
And a man makes friends without half trying —
That’s where the West begins.
– Arthur Chapman

The Blue Boat
How late the daylight edges
toward the northern night
as though journeying
in a blue boat, gilded in mussel shell

with, slung from its mast, a lantern

like our old idea of the soul
– Kathleen Jamie

Yes, where poetry is liberative language, connecting the fragments within us, connecting us to others like and unlike ourselves, replenishing our desire. . . . In poetry words can say more than they mean and mean more than they say. In a time of frontal assaults both on language and on human solidarity, poetry can remind us of all we are in danger of losing—disturb us, embolden us out of resignation.
– Adrienne Rich

The tree frog pauses
and listens for an answer
from the other world

– Clark Strand

I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and you laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Wherever you go, you meet part of your story.
– Eudora Welty

For a day, just for one day,
Talk about that which disturbs no one
And bring some peace into your
Beautiful eyes.
– Hafiz, Sufi poet

Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still. The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then return to the Source. Returning to the Source is stillness, which is the way of Nature.
– Lao Tsu
Tao Te Ching

I don’t want the sacred temple of the mind to be overcome with sensory pleasure. I want it to be overcome with the self-aware energy of consciousness. A healthy body doesn’t sit and watch soccer. It goes outside and plays. A healthy mind doesn’t sit and listen to music. It takes music lessons.

And when I do listen to music my mind must be active and aware, not mired in passive pleasure. When the music affects me, I must take the next step and ask, “Why?” The answer might be as reductive as “shift to minor key.” Or it might be what Shostakovich was for me when I first heard him: a shift to a whole new level of consciousness. But in either case I can only fully appreciate what I learned from the piece by carefully studying its effect on me.

But all this demands concentration. Why not just sit back and relax? “Unbend the bow,” as Nietzsche says. Nietzsche mercilessly ridicules the bourgeois, too intellectually tepid to produce culture himself, who must pay underlings to do it for him. As a child I had a profound psychological aversion to television. Now I understand why.
– Peter Capofreddi

I believe that everyone is my brother and my sister. I believe that the animals and the birds, the trees and the plants are my cousins. I believe that the mountains and the rivers and the oceans are my ancestors. These are core beliefs for me – not mere words to which I pay poetic lip service. This is the belief that orders and directs the actions of my life.
– John Lundin

People who do not see their choices do not believe they have choices.
– Gil Fronsdal

Bioluminescence is one of the oldest and most prevalent languages on Earth—and one that is largely alien to us. Despite our fantasies and mythologies, the truth is that there’s nothing supernatural about living light; it has been a part of nature for eons.
– Jabr Ferris

Poetry in my view is a defense of the individual against all the forces arrayed against him. Every religion, every ideology and orthodoxy of thought and manner wants to reeducate him and make him into something else. To sing from the same sheet is the ideal. A true patriot doesn’t think for himself, they’ll tell you. I realize that there’s a long tradition in poetry of not speaking truth to power and, in fact, of being its groveling apologist. I just don’t have it in me.
– Charles Simic

One thing I hope that someday we learn, as a people, is how to question confused ideas, without demonizing people. It’s not the person, ever. It’s always the confused visions of reality that have taken root in a person’s mind which cause problems. At the same time, we really DO need to get a lot better at questioning bad ideas. Like, before November, 2016
– Ethan Nichtern

Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and, therefore, the foundation of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.
– J.K. Rowling

Zen is the practice of nothing special or extraordinary.
– Gregory Shepherd

You can develop a rich inner life by being unusually receptive to the outer world.
– Thomas Moore

We all feel unhoused in some sense. That’s part of why we write.
– Andrea Barrett

That’s what turns young men and women into writers—the happiness you discover living in books.
– Paul Auster

The momentary ripeness of this flesh,
The short space of this breath,
Quickly withered,
The beauty is missed
If not lived.
– Leslie M. Browning

Sometimes the pain of the world seems incomprehensible. And if there’s anything that balances it, it’s wonder at the world, the amazingness of people.
– Sylvia Boorstein

I wonder if the decline of walking will lead to a decline of the creative process.
– Malcolm Cowley

Walking is man’s best medicine.
– Hippocrates

Practically speaking, a life that is vowed to simplicity, appropriate boldness, good humor, gratitude, unstinting work and play, and lots of walking, brings us close to the actually existing world and its wholeness.
– Gary Snyder

When writing a poem, I feel like I’m translating. And when I’m translating, I feel like I’m writing.
– Peter Cole

It’s all in the ear.
– William Carlos Williams

The world is churning, not just warming, but at times on fire; at the same time, melting ice caps cause the sea to rise. People become disoriented as well as dispossessed as the churning stirs deeply repressed fears and angers, and conflicts and delusions appear on the global stage. Amidst such massive disorientation one of the few ways to find purpose and meaning in life is to follow the thread of genius set within our souls. What keeps being lost is the uniqueness of the individual soul and the genius self which originally brought us to life.
– Michael Meade

I dream by night the horror
That I oppose by day.
The nation in its error
And by its work and play

Destroys its land, pollutes
Its streams, and desecrates
Air and light. From the roots
It dies upwards, our rights

Divinely given, plundered
And sold by purchased power
That dies from the head downward
Marketed hour by hour

That market is a grave
Where goods lie dead that ought
To live and grow and thrive,
The dear world sold and bought

To be destroyed by fire,
Forest and soil and stone.
The conscience put to hire
Rules over flesh and bone

To take the coal to burn
They overturn the world
And all the world has worn
Of grace, of heath. The gnarled

Clenched and forever shut
First of their greed makes small
The great life. Hollowed out,
The soul like the green hill

Yields to the force of dearth.
The crack in the despot’s skull
Descends into the earth,
And what was bright turns dull
– Wendell Berry

Look, anyone seeking ontological meltdown can easily find it in the attempt to write.
– Jonathan Lethem

From tiny experiences we build cathedrals.
– Orhan Pamuk

Intense nostalgia breeds stories.
– Barry Hannah

If you don’t appreciate—or even notice—the simple and abundant gifts life offers you every day, where did you lose your soul and how can you get it back?
– Mary Oliver

The more we tap into our bodies and begin to listen to our bodies, the more we start to realize that a lot of what goes around in this culture is actually insane. Some of the indigenous teachers I’ve worked with have said to me, “modern culture is in a state of social-psychosis” – meaning that our version of reality is completely out of touch with what’s really going on in our selves, in our relationships, in our world.

So, a very important part of the work is to question a lot of things we assume are true. Humans cannot integrate experience that is inconsistent with their belief system. The only way they can do it is by changing what they believe. In Tibetan Buddhism this is called developing the view, and what it means is that we are going to be considering different ways of considering our world, ourselves, how we go about things, and what it means to be human.

– Reggie Ray

We write out of revenge against reality, to dream and enter into the lives of others.
– Francine du Plessix Gray

Machines don’t have a worldview.
– Richard Pevear

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
– Mark Twain

I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use — silence, exile, and cunning.
– James Joyce

… if contempt and disregard for our fellow human beings are the bane of our problems, empathy and kindness are the balm.
– Trudy Ludwig

Those who don’t feel this Love
pulling them like a river,
those who don’t drink dawn
like a cup of spring water
or take in sunset like supper,
those who don’t want to change,
let them sleep.
This Love is beyond the study of theology,
that old trickery and hypocrisy.
If you want to improve your mind that way,
sleep on.
I’ve given up on my brain.
I’ve torn the cloth to shreds
and thrown it away.
If you’re not completely naked,
wrap your beautiful robe of words
around you,
and sleep.

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
– Frank Lloyd Wright

How do you disempower a corrupt system? By empowering yourself.
How do you awaken a sleeping population? By awakening yourself.
How do you heal a toxic society? By healing yourself.
– Neil Kramer

All fear based systems need to grow up. All love based systems need to show up.
– Nithya Shanti

If you expect solutions only from others, if solutions don’t originate from yourself, you will have problems everywhere.
– TT Rangarajan

Birds tug at the mind and tug at the heart with a strange intensity. Their ability to flock elegantly, as the snow geese do, where a thousand individual birds become one great organism, and their ability to navigate over great stretches of what is, for us, featureless space, are mysterious, sophisticated skills.
– Barry Lopez

Over the years, one comes to measure a place, too, not just for the beauty it may give, the balminess of its breezes, the insouciance and relaxation it encourages, the sublime pleasures it offers, but for what it teaches. The way in which it alters our perception of the human. It is not so much that you want to return to indifferent or difficult places, but that you want to not forget.
Journeys on the Threshold of Memory
by Barry Lopez

Maybe wisdom is: learning to see our habits and thoughts with such clarity that we know how to grow into a better version of ourselves through them. Perhaps taking the time to get to know our neuroses a little better helps us become more flexible adaptable beings. It seems to me that we do not have to feel limited by the experience of them, but rather they allow for us to realize and derive a better knowing of which direction to head and grow into by learning how to fully see the experience of those emotional states.
– Aric Parker

Nature, the gentlest mother,
Impatient of no child,
The feeblest or the waywardest, —
Her admonition mild
– Emily Dickinson

Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.
– Salvador Dalí

The ad read:
‘Floating garden orb circling a sun.
Help us build a heaven here.
We need one more volunteer’.
So I said that I would come.

I was asked when I applied
to name some service I could bring.
I think service should be joyous,
so I said that I would sing.
– Kirtana

Poet, teacher, activist, and filmmaker Drew Dellinger:

Hieroglyphic Stairway by Drew Dellinger
it’s 3:23 in the morning
and I’m awake
because my great great grandchildren
won’t let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?

surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?

as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?

did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?

what did you do

I’m riding home on the Colma train
I’ve got the voice of the milky way in my dreams

I have teams of scientists
feeding me data daily
and pleading I immediately
turn it into poetry

I want just this consciousness reached
by people in range of secret frequencies
contained in my speech

I am the desirous earth
equidistant to the underworld
and the flesh of the stars

I am everything already lost

the moment the universe turns transparent
and all the light shoots through the cosmos

I use words to instigate silence

I’m a hieroglyphic stairway
in a buried Mayan city
suddenly exposed by a hurricane

a satellite circling earth
finding dinosaur bones
in the Gobi desert
I am telescopes that see back in time

I am the precession of the equinoxes,
the magnetism of the spiraling sea

I’m riding home on the Colma train
with the voice of the milky way in my dreams

I am myths where violets blossom from blood
like dying and rising gods

I’m the boundary of time
soul encountering soul
and tongues of fire

it’s 3:23 in the morning
and I can’t sleep
because my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the earth was unraveling?

I want just this consciousness reached
by people in range of secret frequencies
contained in my speech

Music imprints itself on the brain deeper than any other human experience. Music evokes emotion and emotion can bring with it memory. Music brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.
– Oliver Sacks

Isn’t that the way all love affairs run—from dream and cloud-journey to earth-firmness?
– Leon Edel

Inner peace of mind occurs on three levels of understanding. ‘Physical quietness’ seems the easiest to achieve, although there are levels and levels of this too, as attested by the ability of Hindu mystics to live buried alive for many days. ‘Mental quietness’, in which one has no wandering thoughts at all, seems more difficult, but can be achieved. But ‘value quietness’, in which one has no wandering desires at all but simply performs the acts of his life without desire, that seems the hardest.
– Robert M. Pirsig

I discovered deep wells of compassion and peace of mind, when I learned to assume that almost everyone has no idea what they’re doing.
– Brendan Myers

You can measure the depth of a person’s awakening by how they serve others.
– Kobo Daishi (774–835 CE)

The Buddha never portrayed happiness as a consumer product.
– Mu Soeng on what the Buddha really taught

Modern mass culture aimed at the ‘consumer’, the civilisation of prosthetics, is crippling people’s souls, setting up barriers between man and the crucial questions of his existence, his consciousness of himself as a spiritual being.”
– Andrei Tarkovsky

I guess I don’t worry about my poems so much. I worry about me.
— Eileen Myles

Sometimes, you have to change your whole life to write what you love, the way you want to write it. Sometimes, you have to scrape by and let money troubles and insecurity and instability and anxiety in to your life and lie down with those poisonous pests and hug them because they’re part of this fantastic choice you made.
– Ada Limón

When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us.
– John O’ Donohue

Ultimately, there can be no complete healing until we have restored our primal trust in life.
– Georg Feuerstein

The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.
– Michio Kaku

Not tonight, Radiohead

Please, my love, perhaps not Radiohead tonight
Right on the pulse of our lives it may be
But it’s dark, so dark, and I need to feel light

I work all day to keep up the fight
To smile in the face of that creep misery
So please, my love, perhaps not Radiohead tonight

Now I know that light can be taken for trite
(Or something much worse which also rhymes tight)
But sight can play tricks and you might never see
How in darkest of dark, you can so need light

And we may love truth with all our might
But at times less pain can set us free
So please, my love, perhaps not Radiohead tonight

Instead joyous sounds, so hot they ignite
Disco or banjo or sweet harmony
When it gets this dark, it’s not wrong to need light

I don’t want a fake promise, it’ll be alright
I’m not stupid, you know, just a little weary
So please, my love, perhaps not Radiohead tonight
In the dark, cruel dark, give me light, warm light
– Rachel Fox

Today I’m flying low and I’m not saying a word. I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep. The world goes on as it must, the bees in the garden rumbling a little, the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten. And so forth. But I’m taking the day off. Quiet as a feather. I hardly move though really I’m traveling a terrific distance. Stillness. One of the doors into the temple.
– Mary Oliver

I find that when you investigate the way you are in world, you will find that you are actually afraid of the necessary central conversation –and it’s because it leads to some kind of disappearance or death, a kind of falling away of what is extraneous and an emerging of a kernel that is not yet fully known inside of you.…And the interesting dynamic is that sometimes you only understand your conversation through exile and feeling really far away from yourself and your world.
– David Whyte

We must gather our inner Kingdom – our one-eyed hags, our bright heroes, our drowned magicians, our sleeping Queen, our depressed artists, our accountants, and our ecstatics – and prepare a feast. Not for peace or any simplistic notion, but to get all the troublemakers under one roof. If we peer at them for a moment or two, they start to look like a family. And that one there, serving the drinks, dressed in white, first on the dance floor? That’s Death. Death in service to Life.
– Martin Shaw, from A Branch from the Lightening Tree


It’s all right if this suffering goes on for years.
It’s all right if the hawk never finds his own nest.
It’s all right if we never receive the love we want.

It’s all right if we listen to the sitar for hours.
It doesn’t matter how softly the musician plays.
Sooner or later the melody will say it all.

It doesn’t matter if we regret our crimes or not.
The mice will carry all our defeats into Asia,
And the Tuva throat-singers will tell the whole story.

It’s all right if we can’t remain cheerful all day.
The task we have accepted is to go down
To renew our friendship with the ruined things.

It’s all right if people think we are idiots.
It’s all right if we lie face down on the earth.
It’s all right if we open the coffin and climb in.

It’s not our fault that things have gone wrong.
Let’s agree it was Saturn and the other old men
Who have arranged these series of defeats for us.

– Robert Bly

Regain your senses, call yourself back, and once again wake up. Now that you realize that only dreams were troubling you, view this ‘reality’ as you view your dreams.
– Marcus Aurelius

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.
– Lao Tzu

The only way you know that something’s legitimate is if it cuts through, it cuts through you. If it’s your imagination and something you’re coming up with and you’re having a great time with it that’s the ego, that’s spiritual materialism.
– Reggie Ray

Mother is both a noun and a verb. Some people had great mothers but lost them, some had or have mothers who never mothered them or stopped mothering them for some reason, treated them as adversaries or as worthless, and Mother’s Day can be a punitive day for all those for whom this is true. The other half of the question of what there is to celebrate is what mothered and mothers you, how you mother yourself, how you celebrate and recognize what cares for you and takes care of you, and what you care for in return.

I remember once looking at the Pacific Ocean, to which I often reverted in trouble, and thinking “Everything was my mother but my mother.” Books were my mother, coastlines, running water and landscapes, trees and the flight of birds, zazen and zendos, quiet and cellos, reading and writing, bookstores and familiar views and routines, the changing evening sky, cooking and baking, walking and discovering, rhythms and blues, friends and interior spaces and all forms of kindness, of which there has been more and more as time goes by.

And of my own mother I wrote, in The Faraway Nearby: Like lawyers, writers seek consistency; they make a case for their point of view; they do so by leaving out some evidence; but let me mention the hundreds of sandwiches my mother made during my elementary school years, the peanut butter sandwiches I ate alone on school benches in the open, throwing the crusts into the air where the seagulls would swoop to catch them before they hit the ground. When my friends began to have babies and I came to comprehend the heroic labor it takes to keep one alive, the constant exhausting tending of a being who can do nothing and demands everything, I realized that my mother had done all these things for me before I remembered. I was fed; I was washed; I was clothed; I was taught to speak and given a thousand other things, over and over again, hourly, daily, for years. She gave me everything before she gave me nothing.

May you locate the ten thousand mothers that brought you into being and keep you going, no matter who and where you are. May you be the mother of uncounted possibilities and loves.
– Rebecca Solnit


When we are frightened it can feel like we are trapped under water, under ice. The mythic directive in such a moment is unusual. It says this: go deeper. Attend to the Goddess underneath the unfolding. There’s no restoration without courtship. Don’t smash your nuckles raw on the ice, but dive down further – seemingly the opposite of what everyone on the surface wants you to do. But of course, the diver swims down not just with their terror, but with their stories, their artfulness, their skill. Most importantly, most wonderfully, their love. Ironically, only by diving deeper can the ice melt. In such times, attend to your soul-ground. And that is not some interior – unless everything is interior – it radiates out to a related field of kiddies, sickly elms at the edge of a motorway, the distracted young mum at the food kitchen, the galloping ecosystem of your nightly dreaming.

We are living in a time when every one of us is going to have to make that descent. All of us. Not in some inflated way, but “with the grandeur of our ordinary tears”, because it is what defines us as true human beings. It is simply the right way to behave. If we can’t find our mythic ground, then we have little ground. When you swim down to Sedna you are in the business of alchemy: the tributary of your own fears meets the ocean of your artfulness and suddenly you are giving a gift, not seduced by your own wound. It is quite wonderful. We could learn the home-making skills again to welcome such stories back into our lives. We can’t stick plasters over the Fisher Kings wound.

Loyalty to your soul-star is the beginning of your nostos, your great voyage home. …
You are beautiful, and only here for a short time. God has blessed you, so rise up. Find out what you love. Speak it. Be it. Steward it. Nothing else will quite fill your soul, or make such deep purchase in your heart. It will make you kind. It’s not the only way, but it has claimed me, and I will put my shoulder to its service while I’m here. …
it brings you back into the realm of the senses, the sensual, with a fierce network of connective tissue to the heart and psyche—the star and the soul.
– Dr. Martin Shaw

You swallow my words
but do not chew the fiber
—owl pellets remain.
– Mimi Gorman

A Kite for Aibhin

After “L’Aquilone” by Giovanni Pascoli (1855-1912)

Air from another life and time and place,
Pale blue heavenly air is supporting
A white wing beating high against the breeze,

And yes, it is a kite! As when one afternoon
All of us there trooped out
Among the briar hedges and stripped thorn,

I take my stand again, halt opposite
Anahorish Hill to scan the blue,
Back in that field to launch our long-tailed comet.

And now it hovers, tugs, veers, dives askew,
Lifts itself, goes with the wind until
It rises to loud cheers from us below.

Rises, and my hand is like a spindle
Unspooling, the kite a thin-stemmed flower
Climbing and carrying, carrying farther, higher

The longing in the breast and planted feet
And gazing face and heart of the kite flier
Until string breaks and—separate, elate—

The kite takes off, itself alone, a windfall.

– Seamus Heaney

“Each one of us is responsible for our own life, and for helping and giving love and understanding to those who are closest around us.” ~ Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo ~ “Our family, our children, our partners, our parents – they are our practice. They are not an obstacle to practice. They are the ones who need our loving-kindness, our compassion, our patience, our joyous effort. Our wisdom. It’s not so difficult to sit and meditate on loving-kindness and compassion for all those sentient beings out there somewhere on the horizon. But the sentient beings for whom we really have to generate loving-kindness and compassion are the ones who are right in front of us, especially those for whom we are most karmically responsible. They are our objects of practice.”

I go to seek a Great Perhaps.
– François Rabelais

Perhaps above them all there is a great motherhood, in the form of a communal yearning. The beauty of the girl, a being who (as you so beautifully say) “has not yet achieved anything,” is motherhood that has a presentiment of itself and begins to prepare, becomes anxious, yearns. And the mother’s beauty is motherhood that serves, and in the old woman there is a great remembering. And in the man too there is motherhood, it seems to me, physical and mental; his engendering is also a kind of birthing, and it is birthing when he creates out of his innermost fullness. And perhaps the sexes are more akin than people think, and the great renewal of the world will perhaps consist in one phenomenon: that man and woman, freed from all mistaken feelings and aversions, will seek each other not as opposites but as brother and sister, as neighbors, and will unite as human beings in order to bear in common, simply, earnestly, and patiently, the heavy sex that has been laid upon them.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Women are the wisdom-storehouse from which every being has come, including the Buddha and Bodhidharma. If, from childbirth, man is already woven-in with the feminine, his violent denial of it later shows an utter lack of enlightenment.
– Ikkyū Sōjun (1394-1481), renegade Zen master and poet

…We see you, see ourselves and know
that we must take the utmost care
and kindness in all things
breathe in knowing we are made of
all this, and breathe knowing
we are truly blessed because we
were born, and die soon within a
true circle of motion,
like eagle rounding out the morning
inside us
we pray that it will be done.
In beauty. In beauty.
– Joy Harjo

It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.

It could you know. That’s why we wake
and look out–no guarantees
in this life.

But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
like evening.
– William Stafford

“Yuugen” is an awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses that are too mysterious and deep for words.
– Joan Halifax

The only way to
forget the ocean is to
walk in the forest.
– Mimi Gorman‎

The will to act is our natural resource.
– Al Gore

I swapped a story for a canoe at one point.
– Annie Proulx

Life is circling + linking our paths in a way that’s unpredictable.
– Conor Michael

I know that I can’t get along without writing.
– Jorge Luis Borges

At home
in the mts
aimless joy
– Joan Halifax

We’ve lost, are losing, our language—or a language.
– Gordon Lish

A writer needs his poisons. The antidote to his poisons is often a book.
– Philip Roth

We are matter, kindred with ocean and tree and sky. We are flesh and blood and bone. To sink into that is a relief, a homecoming.
– Krista Tippett

In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
– T.S. Eliot

The universe is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.
– Albert Szemt

Journeys bring power and love
back into you. If you
can’t go somewhere,
move in the passageways of the self.
They are like shafts of light,
always changing, and you change
when you explore them.

– (Djalal Ad-Din Rumi)


By Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh (From the book Interbeing)

Thich Nhat Hanh
Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.

Do not think the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to receive others’ viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.

Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrow-mindedness.

Do not avoid suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering, including personal contact, visits, images and sounds. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.

Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of your life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.

Do not maintain anger or hatred. Learn to penetrate and transform them when they are still seeds in your consciousness. As soon as they arise, turn your attention to your breath in order to see and understand the nature of your hatred.

Do not lose yourself in dispersion and in your surroundings. Practice mindful breathing to come back to what is happening in the present moment. Be in touch with what is wondrous, refreshing, and healing both inside and around you. Plant seeds of joy, peace, and understanding in yourself in order to facilitate the work of transformation in the depths of your consciousness.

Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people. Do not utter words that cause division and hatred. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things of which you are not sure. Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.

Do not use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit, or transform your community into a political party. A religious community, however, should take a clear stand against oppression and injustice and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.

Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. Do not invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to live. Select a vocation that helps realise your ideal of compassion.

Do not kill. Do not let others kill. Find whatever means possible to protect life and prevent war.

Possess nothing that should belong to others. Respect the property of others, but prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.

Do not mistreat your body. Learn to handle it with respect. Do not look on your body as only an instrument. Preserve vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realisation of the Way. (For brothers and sisters who are not monks and nuns:) Sexual expression should not take place without love and commitment. In sexual relations, be aware of future suffering that may be caused. To preserve the happiness of others, respect the rights and commitments of others. Be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world. Meditate on the world into which you are bringing new beings.


It is said that when we begin practicing the sublime Dharma, negative forces create obstacles, and their “blessing” causes our faith to diminish. Signs that the demons have entered us are that we find fault in the spiritual friend, our teacher; we see defects in Dharma practitioners in general; we keep the company of ordinary people; we have less diligence in the practice; we indulge in pleasure heedlessly, without any moral principles; and our devotion and respect for the Three Jewels fades.

How can these be prevented? Reflecting on the excellent qualities of the teacher, the Three Jewels, and your spiritual companions, develop pure perception and respect for all who practice the Dharma. Tell yourself that seeing bad in other people is a sign that you yourself are impure: it is as if you were jaundiced and perceived conch shells as yellow. Remind yourself of the defects of the pleasures of the senses, and avoid befriending ordinary people. Recognize that a decrease in faith is a demon. As we read in theTranscendent Wisdom:

Mara the demon comes in front of beginners and diverts even the devoted. He turns back even those practicing the activities of the Bodhisattvas.

The particular characteristics of faith

What are the particular characteristics of having faith? When one has faith, one is like a fertile field, in which the shoot of bodhichitta will sprout and grow. Faith is like a great ship crossing the river of cyclic existence. It is like a reliable escort protecting us from our enemies, the afflictive emotions. Like a good mount taking us to the land of liberation. Like a wish-fulfilling jewel accomplishing everything we desire. Like a mighty hero annihilating all that is nonvirtuous.

Faith is thus a sublime quality, and for this reason it is the first of the seven noble riches. People who have faith are especially exalted, and yet they are extremely rare, as the Sutra of the Precious Lamp points out:

Faith gives birth to delight in the Buddha’s teaching,
Faith points the way to the city of happiness and excellence.
Faith banishes lack of opportunity, it is the best of all freedoms.
Faith turns one from the path of the demons,
Faith is what makes one attain Buddhahood.
Among the hosts of ordinary beings,
Rare are those who have such faith in the Dharma.

The fault in not having faith

People who lack faith are deprived of the good fortune of being able to practice the Dharma, and their not having faith is therefore an immeasurable defect. Just as a rock on the bottom of the ocean will never appear on the surface, without faith it is impossible to reach the dry land of liberation. Just as a ferry without a helmsman will never reach the other
shore, without faith it is impossible to traverse the great river of suffering.

Without faith, it is as impossible to nurture good qualities in one’s being as it is for someone with no hands to pick up anything even if he were to find himself on an island of gold. Without faith, it is impossible for the shoot of bodhichitta to grow, for nothing can ever sprout from a burned seed.

Without faith, one is like a blind person who finds himself in a temple: it is impossible to see the light of the Dharma.

Without faith, however clever one is, one is trapped in the deep pit of cyclic existence: everything one does becomes an action that leads to cyclic existence, and it is impossible to ever attain the freedom of enlightenment. As the Sutra of the Ten Qualities puts it,

From roasted seeds
No greenery will sprout.
In those who have no faith
No virtue will appear.

The benefits of cultivating faith

There are boundless virtues in cultivating and increasing one’s faith. It is the foundation for all virtuous practice. It clears away all the sufferings of cyclic existence and is the first step on the path to liberation. As a result of
your faith, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will constantly keep you in mind.

You will have a sense of shame, a sense of decency, and wisdom. In all your lives, as soon as you are born, you will meet a sublime teacher, the sacred teachings, and spiritual companions, and you will thus be able to practice the Dharma. You will be protected by those gods who delight in virtue.

Falling asleep peacefully, in your dreams too you will have pleasant visions of encountering your teacher and the Three Jewels and practicing the Dharma, and you will wake in a happy frame of mind. You will accomplish all your wishes and die peacefully, guided by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

You will have none of the terrifying experiences of the intermediate state. You will be reborn wherever your aspirations lead you, and uphold the lineage of the Three Jewels. Swiftly, you will attain Buddhahood. Such are the infinite benefits of having faith, as we read in the Sutra of the Precious Lamp:

Though for kalpas one might venerate beings
Numerous as the atoms of the universes in the ten directions,
Bringing them every kind of happiness,
In comparison, nothing is more sublime
Than the merit of faith in this Dharma.

– Dudjom Rinpoche – A Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom – Shambhala Publications

The Child Angel

Let your life come amongst them like a flame of light, my child,
unflickering and pure, and delight them into silence.

They are cruel in their greed and their envy,
their words are like hidden knives thirsting for blood.

Go and stand amidst their scowling hearts, my child,
and let your gentle eyes fall upon them like the
forgiving peace of the evening over the strife of the day.

Let them see your face, my child, and thus know the
meaning of all things, let them love you and love each other.

Come and take your seat in the bosom of the limitless, my child.
At sunrise open and raise your heart like a blossoming flower,
and at sunset bend your head and in silence
complete the worship of the day.
– Tagore

I say we had best look our times and lands searchingly in the face, like a physician diagnosing some deep disease. Never was there, perhaps, more hollowness at heart than at present, and here in the United States. Genuine belief seems to have left us. The underlying principles of the States are not honestly believ’d in, (for all this hectic glow, and these melodramatic screamings,) nor is humanity itself believ’d in. What penetrating eye does not everywhere see through the mask? The spectacle is appalling. We live in an atmosphere of hypocrisy throughout. The men believe not in the women, nor the women in the men. A scornful superciliousness rules in literature. The aim of all the littérateurs is to find something to make fun of. A lot of churches, sects, &c., the most dismal phantasms I know, usurp the name of religion. Conversation is a mass of badinage. From deceit in the spirit, the mother of all false deeds, the offspring is already incalculable.
– Walt Whitman

This is our link with all those who have ever loved.
This genuine heart of sadness can teach us great compassion.

It can humble us when we’re arrogant and soften us when we are unkind. It awakens us when we prefer to sleep and pierces through our indifference.

This continual ache of the heart is a blessing that when accepted fully can be shared with all.

– Pema Chodron

No matter how strong
You are
No matter how wise
You are
It means nothing
If you are
Not humble
And tender.

– Belle Heywood

Behind the dust, meanwhile, under the vulture-haunted sky, the desert waits – mesa, butte, canyon, reef, sink escarpment, pinnacle, maze, dry lake, sand dune and barren mountain – untouched by the human mind.
– Edward Abbey

I am inventing a language which must necessarily burst forth from a very new poetics, that could be defined in a couple of words: Paint, not the thing, but the effect it produces.
– Stéphane Mallarmé

I take a deep breath and sidestep my fear and begin speaking from the place where beauty and bravery meet – within the chambers of a quivering heart.
– Terry Tempest Williams

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Now I know what I’ve been told
That you’ve been right here looking out for me
With a shower of blessings that you had to withhold
I’m not going to fight it anymore – let it be.

Sweet streams wash me down
Pour your grace over me
Lift me up to a higher ground
Where I can see.
– Kirtana

I was walking by. He was sitting there.

It was full morning, so the heat was heavy on his sand-colored head and his webbed feet. I squatted beside him, at the edge of the path. He didn’t move.

I began to talk. I talked about summer, and about time. The pleasures of eating, the terrors of the night. About this cup we call a life. About happiness. And how good it feels, the heat of the sun between the shoulder blades.

He looked neither up nor down, which didn’t necessarily mean he was either afraid or asleep. I felt his energy, stored under his tongue perhaps, and behind his bulging eyes.

I talked about how the world seems to me, five feet tall, the blue sky all around my head. I said, I wondered how it seemed to him, down there, intimate with the dust.

He might have been Buddha— did not move, blink, or frown, not a tear fell from those gold-rimmed eyes as the refined anguish of language passed over him.

– Mary Oliver, “Toad”

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze
that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house
and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,
a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies
seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking
a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,
releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage
so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting
into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.
– Billy Collins

A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.
– William Wordsworth

It is better to say, ‘I’m suffering,’ than to say, ‘This landscape is ugly.’
– Simone Weil

The person who helped you today may need your help tomorrow. Don’t ever forget life is a circle.
– Christine Elbert

Only when one is connected to one’s own core is one connected to others, I am beginning to discover. And, for me, the core, the inner spring, can best be refound through solitude.
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh

All of my creation is an effort to weave a web of connection with the world: I am always weaving it because it was once broken.
– Anaïs Nin

Have you ever thought
About where love letters
Come from ?

Go there.
Report back.

– Belle Heywood

there’s a fire
for freedom
from suffering
no need to find it
it will find you
these words are sparks
– Kashyapi Ando

The most common form of despair is not being who you are.
– Soren Kierkegaard

It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.
– Chuck Palahniuk

Every person, in the course of his life, must build – starting with the natural territory of his own self – a work, an opus, into which something enters from all the elements of the earth. He makes his own soul throughout all his earthly days, and at the same time he collaborates in another work, another opus, which infinitely transcends, while at the same time it narrowly determines, the perspectives of his individual achievement: the completing of the world.
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Technology does cut two ways: it facilitates a weird and sometimes useful intimacy, sure, but it also teaches us to conflate a curated identity with a real one, and, moreover, to work on perfecting our systems of curating rather than our actual selves. This becomes important, politically, when we can no longer read or understand the human character. Our present cultural climate discourages empathy—a stay-in-your-lane policing has been afoot for a while now—and demands the performance of absolute authority. The idea that a person could work to understand another, to assume their struggles and their triumphs, to question them, and to love them regardless, is the crux of any spiritually functioning civilization.
– Amanda Petrusich

We have a rich literature. But sometimes it’s a literature too ready to be neutralized, to be incorporated into the ambient noise. This is why we need the writer in opposition, the novelist who writes against power, who writes against the corporation or the state or the whole apparatus of assimilation. We’re all one beat away from becoming elevator music.
– Don DeLillo

An Instructor’s Dream
-Bill Knott
Many decades after graduation
the students sneak back onto
the school-grounds at night
and within the pane-lit windows
catch me their teacher at the desk
or blackboard cradling a chalk:
someone has erased their youth,
and as they crouch closer to see
more it grows darker and quieter
than they have known in their lives,
the lesson never learned surrounds
them; why have they come? Is
there any more to memorize now
at the end than there was then”
What is it they peer at through shades
of time to hear, X times X repeated,
my vain efforts to corner a room’s
snickers? Do they mock me? Forever?
Out there my past has risen in
the eyes of all my former pupils but
I wonder if behind them others
younger and younger stretch away
to a world where dawn will never
ring its end, its commencement bell.

The heart of every problem is resisting change. The heart of every resolution is embracing change.
– Nithya Shanti

We don’t just live in homes and places. We can also live in wonder, we can also live in hearts, we can also live in awareness.
– Nithya Shanti

A true healer does not heal you; she simply reflects back to you your innate capacity to heal. She is a reflector, or a loving transparency.
A true teacher does not teach you; she does not see you as inherently separate from her, or less than her. She simply reflects back your own inner knowing, and reminds you of the vastness of your being. She is a mirror, a signpost.
And love is the space in which all of this is possible; love heals, and we learn best in a loving field, no threat of failure, no punishment.
– Jeff Foster

I do not demand your faith; I am not setting myself up as an authority. I have nothing to teach you- no new philosophy, no new system, no new path to reality; there is no path to reality any more than to truth.
All authority of any kind, especially in the field of thought and understanding, is the most destructive, evil thing. Leaders destroy the followers and followers destroy the leaders.
You have to be your own teacher and your own disciple. You have to question everything that man has accepted as valuable, as necessary.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

After Morning Rain
A few small sails, barely moving,
dot Fidalgo Bay. As the sun burns away
the last pale clouds, a confluence
of robins descends to explore
my neighbor’s garden—
brown grass, muddy beds and the last
fading roses of the year.
It is September, the end of summer.
My backyard maples turning orange
and red and gold. From my high window,
the great mountain looks
painted on the horizon line,
small mountains at its feet, then
headlands and the Salish Sea below.
I can read no more today
about the agonies of this world,
its desperate refugees, the men
of arms and gold whose death tolls
are as numberless as the stars.
I’ve grown weary, impatient,
as I’ve grown old.
After this morning’s rain, I dream
only of a woman’s gentle laughter,
her fingers on my arm as we sip wine
in the evening, telling tales,
lighting the heart’s small fires
that will get us through the rains
of autumn and dark winter.
Alone at my window, I watch
a silent world and find it
welcome, my own silence welcome.
Longing has its own quiet place
in the human heart, but love
is sometimes rapturous, noisy,
almost uncivilized, and knows
no boundaries, no borders.
And what am I but its solitary
pilgrim—lost, found, lost again—
on the long journey whose only end
is silence before the burning
of my body, one last moment
of flame, a whiff of smoke
washed clean
and gone with the rain.
– Sam Hamill

In order to float an idea into your reality, you must be willing to do a somersault into the inconceivable and land on your feet, contemplating what you want instead of what you don’t have.
– Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

The mystic’s awareness does not sift reality, it bathes in it.
– Ivan M. Granger

It’s a serious thing just to be alive on
this fresh morning in this broken world.
– Mary Oliver

Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.
– Maya Angelou

I find what I always seek in a bookstore: space, light, and company.
– Pamela Erens

If not tomorrow, then a book!
If not a mountain, then a chapter!
If not a storm, then a verse!
If not an answer, then a sentence!
If not a sound, then a word!
If not today, then a book!
– Eric Cockrell

by W.S. Merwin

Naturally it is night.
Under the overturned lute with its
One string I am going my way
Which has a strange sound.

This way the dust, that way the dust.
I listen to both sides
But I keep right on.
I remember the leaves sitting in judgment
And then winter.

I remember the rain with its bundle of roads.
The rain taking all its roads.

Young as I am, old as I am,

I forget tomorrow, the blind man.
I forget the life among the buried windows.
The eyes in the curtains.
The wall
Growing through the immortelles.
I forget silence
The owner of the smile.

This must be what I wanted to be doing,
Walking at night between the two deserts,

A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.
– Dylan Thomas

The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away.
– Paul Strand

We have art in order not to die of the truth.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
– Maya Angelou

Though you want to flee from yourself so as not to have to live what remains unlived until now.But you cannot flee from yourself. It is with you all the time and demands fulfillment. If you pretend to be blind and dumb to this demand, you feign being blind and deaf to yourself. This way you will never reach the knowledge of the heart. The knowledge of your heart is how your heart is. From a cunning heart you will know cunning. From a good heart you will know goodness. So that your understanding becomes perfect, consider that your heart is both good and evil. You ask, “What? Should I also live evil?” The spirit of the depths demands: “The life that you could still live, you should live. Well-being decides, not your well-being, not the well-being of the others, but only well-being.
– C.G. Jung

My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.
– Jack Kerouac

My habit in December is to peel an orange
as I walk—bits of peel in my pockets—
pants that smell of Florida—and sometimes
approach a car at an intersection—
tap on the window—interrupt
the driver’s rapture of watching
for the green light of release—I’m sworn at
by most—flipped-off—or ignored
with the same passion I’m ignored by God—
but she rolled down her window
when I made the motion of a crank
with my hand—took the half I offered—
the sweetness of a warmer sky—
and ate the slices in front of me—with me—
as I my equal measure devoured—then left
our common life together—the only moment
of our eternal bond—the link
that will play out as a long string
between us, no matter what pleasure
is advanced by other days—we looked
at each other and ate bits of a world
making the most of the sun—of the light
that is blowing away into nothingness—
the moment so small, so precise,
it was easy to love everything
we knew of each other—I had a gift
and she had a desire
to accept that gift—we were whole—
we were cured—had advanced
the cause of being
ever so slightly along the path
it wanders with us, little bits of dust
caught in its hair.
– Bob Hicock

Every spring
I hear the thrush singing
in the glowing woods
he is only passing through.
His voice is deep,
then he lifts it until it seems
to fall from the sky.
I am thrilled.
I am grateful.
Then, by the end of morning,
he’s gone, nothing but silence
out of the tree
where he rested for a night.
And this I find acceptable.
Not enough is a poor life.
But too much is, well, too much.
Imagine Verdi or Mahler
every day, all day.
It would exhaust anyone.
– Mary Oliver

Not raised but found, this dancer, idling on trash,
abandoned in the compactor room,
fated to be smothered in a green bag,

seven blooms caught me, hot pink smiles
in deadpan weather, on the year’s shortest
day before the longest night. Gingerly,

sponging off ashes, eggshells, silvery
powder (talc, I hope), from its mossy planter,
I slide it toward high windows, and it changes

like fire: sherry to red-purple to magenta,
colors of blood, of beaujolais, of sin
and holiness, of saints on stained-glass panels,

light shining through, a diva’s fan.
Fuchsia, the color named for a plant
that must have jolted Leonhart Fuchs,

the botanist, when he discovered it
in the 16th century, my orchid’s
serious name is phalaenopsis,

for moths in flight. Its wingy blooms
blink, teasing, just out of eye’s reach.
Sunsets they turn the color of red ochre

mixed with manganese, powdered and blown
through reeds by the early cave painters, fearful
of beasts, to glitter from a bison’s frame;

I don’t know the exact shade of red-purple
the Phoenicians used to dye robes for kings,
but I think this was it, also the color

of a rose Yeats set afire to see its ghost.
In my mind the ancient Egyptian
who painted amulets inside a royal tomb

wished only for this sizzling fuchsia
to wake the beloved dead, as he mixed gypsum
with rose madder in futile passion.

Once as a child I wandered in the park
bordering my usual asphalt streets,
and saw a flower, red-purple on a stem

with wings. I called to it, my angel.
Now I give an orchid air and water,
turn down the lumière, stroke the crooked stem

that darts out to reveal wings whose vermilion,
burning against a window facing brick,
defies endings on this cold year’s end.

Poetry is the mathematics of writing and closely kin to music.
– John Steinbeck

The principle of art is to pause, not bypass.
– Jerzy Kosinski

Feeling sad and worried for our sick country, but I still think the mother will save us. And never be thanked. That’s what mothers do.
– Karen Maezen Miller

I’ve been called a folk poet. I think that’s kind of cool.
– Eileen Myles

Writers are not only writers, they are also citizens.
– Chinua Achebe

It’s that spirit of stubborn gladness that is at the basis of ahimsa.
– Liz Gilbert

It’s an universal law– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Listening is something we really have to practice. Our everyday spaces are not set up for listening. — KristaTippett

Community is not merely a gathering of individuals coming together. Community is an almost alchemical reaction that happens among all that we are capable of being and becoming.

Language is almost all we have left of action in the modern world.
— Marie Howe

Beauty isn’t about just niceness, loveliness. Beauty is about more rounded substantial becoming.
— John O’Donohue

Words are crafted by human beings, wielded by human beings. They take on all of our flaws and frailties.
– Krista Tippett

We turn and turn in the animal belly, in the mineral belly, in the belly of time. To find the way out: the poem.
– Octavio Paz

In the fields with which we are concerned, knowledge comes only in flashes. The text is the thunder rolling long afterward.
– Walter Benjamin

I’m a dirt person. I trust the dirt. I don’t trust diamonds and gold.
– Eartha Kitt

We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human beings as possible, because we are still each other’s only hope.
– James Baldwin told Margaret Mead.

I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.
– Pete Seeger

Man looks up at the starry heavens; the delight his soul experiences belongs to him; the eternal laws of the stars which he comprehends in thought, in spirit, belong not to him but to the stars themselves.
– Rudolf Steiner

‬Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbours worthy.
– THOMAS MERTON in a letter to Dorothy Day

Meditation is the art of stepping off the train of thought. The less we rely on thoughts for everything, the more the immense silent intelligence of life can take over. Then thoughts find their rightful place in support of life fulfilling itself.
– Nithya Shanti

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
– William Stafford

The important thing is this: to be ready at any moment to sacrifice what you are for what you could become.
– Charles Dickens

Any fool can get into an ocean
But it takes a Goddess
To get out of one.
What’s true of oceans is true, of course,
Of labyrinths and poems. When you start swimming
Through riptide of rhythms and the metaphor’s seaweed
You need to be a good swimmer or a born Goddess
To get back out of them
Look at the sea otters bobbing wildly
Out in the middle of the poem
They look so eager and peaceful playing out there where the
water hardly moves
You might get out through all the waves and rocks
Into the middle of the poem to touch them
But when you’ve tried the blessed water long
Enough to want to start backward
That’s when the fun starts
Unless you’re a poet or an otter or something supernatural
You’ll drown, dear. You’ll drown
Any Greek can get you into a labyrinth
But it takes a hero to get out of one
What’s true of labyrinths is true of course
Of love and memory. When you start remembering.
– Jack Spicer

We all have some responsibility to do one activity that leaps across the chasms of segmentation that afflict this country.
– David Brooks

Reasons to write:

To make something beautiful. Beauty does not have to mean prettiness, but can emerge from the scope of one’s imagination, the precision of one’s words, the steadiness and honesty of one’s gaze.

To make something truthful. ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty.’

To make use of what you have and who you are. Even a limited talent brings an obligation to explore it, develop it, exercise it, be grateful for it.

To make, at all. To create is to defy emptiness. It is generous, it affirms. To make is to add to the world, not subtract from it. It enlarges, does not diminish.

Because as Iris Murdoch said, paying attention is a moral act. To write truthfully is to honour the luck and the intricate detail of being alive.
– Charlotte Wood

By D.H. Lawrence

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.

And I, what fountain of fire am I among
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng
Of flames, a shadow that’s gone astray, and is lost.

Man, despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistications and many accomplishments, owes his existence to a six inch layer of top soil and the fact that it rains. – Unknown

Poetry leads us to the unstructured sources of our beings, to the unknown, and returns us to our rational, structured selves refreshed. Having once experienced the mystery, plenitude, contradiction, and composure of a work of art, we afterward have a built-in resistance to the slogans and propaganda of oversimplification that have often contributed to the destruction of human life. Poetry is a verbal means to a nonverbal source. It is a motion to no-motion, to the still point of contemplation and deep realization.
– A. R. Ammons

I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.
Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that’s wide and timeless…
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Listening creates a holy silence. When you listen generously to people, they can hear truth in themselves, often for the first time. And in the silence of listening, you can know yourself in everyone. Eventually you may be able to hear, in everyone and beyond everyone, the Unseen singing softly to itself and you.
– Rachel Naomi Remen

Chogyam Trungpa ~ ….. you need the struggle, otherwise there’s no journey

You can learn a great deal of psychology through studying books, but you will find that this psychology is not very helpful in practical life.
– Carl Jung

Human beings have the uncanny ability to know that they are in trouble before things actually happen, and yet persist in their folly.
They also have the unique ability to think up a million troubles that are quite unlikely to happen, and mess up a perfectly peaceful present.
And then once in a while they have the ability to completely sidestep their habitual inertia, shortsightedness and underlying anxiety to do what needs to be done and to envision and create magnificent outcomes for the delight of all. A force of nature, in touch with its own true nature.
– Nithya Shanti

Life holds a potential meaning under any conditions, even the most miserable ones…in some ways, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds meaning. What man needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.
– Viktor Frankl

Writer and Reader
When a poem has come to me,
almost complete as it makes its way
into daylight, out through arm, hand, pen,
onto page; or needing
draft after draft, the increments
of change toward itself, what’s missing
brought to it, grafted
into it, trammels of excess
peeled away till it can breathe
and leave me—
then I feel awe at being
chosen for the task
again; and delight, and the strange and familiar
sense of destiny.
But when I read or hear
a perfect poem, brought into being
by someone else, someone perhaps
I’ve never heard of before— a poem
bringing me pristine visions, music
beyond what I thought I could hear,
a stirring, a leaping
of new anguish, of new hope, a poem
trembling with its own
vital power—
then I’m caught up beyond
that isolate awe, that narrow delight,
into what singers must feel in a great choir,
each with humility and zest partaking
of harmonies they combine to make,
waves and ripples of music’s ocean,
who hush to listen when the aria
arches above them in halcyon stillness.
– Denise Levertov

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
– Constantine ‪Cavafy

The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise [wo]man.

Chogyam Trungpa ~ Healing our society goes hand in hand with healing our personal, elemental connection with the phenomenal world.

I know now, after fifty years, that the finding/losing, forgetting/remembering, leaving/returning, never stops. The whole of life is about another chance, and while we are alive, till the very end, there is always another chance.
– Jeanette Winterson

Passage Through the Center
– Laura Weaver
It’s like swimming across a river
with our eyes closed, this passage
through the center of life.
Sometimes we have to navigate
from the inside out~
when the stars hide their light
when we can not see the bank
on the other side, when the hounds
of our past bark on the shoreline
braying their mournful song of our leaving.
It is a stillness like the heart of the fire that guides
–the voice of some angel of mercy
who have been sending us missives
and when we look over one shoulder~
once, twice~
it is the fierce tiger of truth who howls,
You can not go back that place is gone now.
And for a moment we freeze in the river
sure we will drown, forgetting which way
is up and down and forward and back,
as the road of the tumbling currents
pour through us with all the questions
that we refuse to leave alone,
and visions of the many roads
bursting into flames behind us.
And then something remembers itself
lifts our shoulders above the swirling cauldron
of in between and we simply let go
of making our way, we let go of decisions,
and the tangle paradoxes flow on through
the river’s body, drawing us to the edge
of this new world that calls us to our knees
to give thanks for this fertile soil
seeded with dreams,
thirsty for our arrival.

I now see so clearly that it is less about building friendships based on what you might currently have in common at this moment, and more about embracing all that you do not, with laughter, with compassion and with kindness.
– Kirsten Arpajian

If you love someone, you are always joined with them–in joy, in absence, in solitude, in strife.
– Rumi

It’s not that poetry reveals more about the world, it doesn’t, but it reveals more about our interactions with the world than our other modes of expression. And it doesn’t reveal more about ourselves alone in isolation, but rather it reveals that mix of self and other, self and surrounding, where the world ends and we begin, where we end and the world begins.
– Mark Strand

socrates famously said that an unexamined life is not worth living. in contrast, the dadaist tristan tzara, argued in favor of the enjoyment of the “inconsistencies and contradictions of the unexamined life.” but there is a difference: while socrates was speaking in favour of philosophy, tzara was arguing against psychoanalysis (“psycho-banalyse” in his words). when dogen zenji famously said “to know yourself is to forget yourself”, he merged both socrates and tzara, and transcended both. socrates summarised his thinking by adding that after all the studying of philosophy, true knowledge is to know that we know nothing. on this issue, a. j. heschel went in a different direction. heschel argued that for the biblical mind, to know thyself is less important than to know thy god. the only examination we ought to engage in is our relationship with god. from a dialogical perspective the enactment of this relationship is nothing other than the embrace of the neighbor. and here’s an altogether alternative approach to the issue of wisdom: martin buber argued that the key is not what one knows, but how one knows it. we know through relationship. knowledge, here, is more than an epistemic issue, it becomes an ethical project.
– hune margulies

My ordinary life will sometimes tell
Me that I need to rush through dinner, or
Fill empty space with words or numb my mind
With movies, facebook, junkfood, or more wine.
And yet my ordinary life of snow,
Soup, fire, grass, sun, rabbit, cat, book, and sleep
Needs space in which to happen and be felt.
In breath, the being and the doing merge.

Like a Japanese tea ceremony,
A preparation and event itself,
All the moment needs is my attention
For each gesture to be graceful, to brew
A tea both delicate and bold, just as
Wholesome in the making as the taking.”
– Karolyn Kinane, “Ordinary Life” from The Poetry of Yoga, Vol. 1.

We are all connected. Joined together by an invisible thread, infinite in its potential and fragile in its design. Yet while connected, we are also merely individuals. Empty vessels to be filled with infinite possibilities. An assortment of thoughts, beliefs. A collection of disjointed memories and experiences. Can I be me without this? Can you be you? And if this invisible thread that holds us together were to sever, to cease, what then? What would become of billions of lone, disconnected souls? Therein lies the great quest of our lives. To find. To connect. To hold on. For when our hearts are pure, and our thoughts in line, we are all truly one. Capable of repairing our fragile world, and creating a universe of infinite possibilities.

There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.

I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled
this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.

I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light –
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it’s necessary
to talk about trees.
– Adrienne Rich

Reading is like thinking, like praying, like talking to a friend, like expressing your ideas, like listening to other people’s ideas, like listening to music, like looking at the view, like taking a walk on the beach.
– Roberto Bolaño

Sometimes you hear a voice through
the door calling you, as fish out of
water hear the waves or a hunting
falcon hears the drum’s come back.
This turning toward what you deeply love saves you.

– Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.
– Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

If you wrap yourself in the right story, the whole world makes sense.
– Stephen Graham Jones

Inspire me … and spin me a thread from the world’s beginning.
– Ovid (Metamorphoses)

I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.
– Dawna Markova

…To serve the angels
establish your Eden
in the crux of the world
Love lies dreaming
in the duties of the day
– James Broughton

I think the great artists (…) have always thought with the heart.
– Douglas Sirk

The lessons of official life go rumbling on.
We send inspired notes to one another.
– Tomas Tranströmer

I think we have to stand up against what is unacceptable, and to push the boundaries and reclaim a more humane way of being in the world, so that we can extend our compassionate intelligence and begin to work with a strengthened will and imagination that can take us into the future.
– Terry Tempest Williams

But once in a while the odd thing happens,
Once in a while the dream comes true,
And the whole pattern of life is altered,
Once in a while the moon turns blue.
– W. H. Auden

Between what I see and what I say,
between what I say and what I keep silent,
between what I keep silent and what I dream,
between what I dream and what I forget: poetry
– Octavio Paz

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 Tao better
should cultivate the poet in themselves.

– Deng Ming-Dao

But the love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need — if only we had the eyes to see. Original sin, the true original sin, is the blind destruction for the sake of greed of this natural paradise which lies all around us — if only we were worthy of it.
– Edward Abbey

A Song Sparrow Singing in the Fall
Somehow it has all
added up to song—
earth, air, rain and light,
the labor and the heat,
the mortality of the young.
I will go free of other
singing, I will go
into the silence
of my songs, to hear
this song clearly.
– Wendell Berry

A myth is a poetic description of an event that remains as vital as it is incomprehensible.
– Hune Margulies

The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

…older tribes used to use their meditation to communicate across distances.
– Lama Rangbar Nyimai Ozer

Why I Need the Birds
When I hear them call
in the morning, before
I am quite awake,
my bed is already traveling
the daily rainbow,
the arc toward evening;
and the birds, leading
their own discreet lives
of hunger and watchfulness,
are with me all the way,
always a little ahead of me
in the long-practiced manner
of unobtrusive guides.

By the time I arrive at evening,
they have just settled down to rest;
already invisible, they are turning
into the dreamwork of trees;
and all of us together –
myself and the purple finches,
the rusty blackbirds,
the ruby cardinals,
and the white-throated sparrows
with their liquid voices –
ride the dark curve of the earth
toward daylight, which they announce
from their high lookouts
before dawn has quite broken for me.
– Lisel Mueller

Perhaps love is my gently leading you back to yourself.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Bereft of contact with wildness, the human mind loses its coherence, the human heart ceases to beat.
– David Abram

No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.
– Alan Watts

Our foundation is not that humanity results from inherent sin or that earth is a penal colony where we work off eons of bad karma. In spite of our very real challenges and particular flaws…human life on Earth results from a primal call– which is not to penance; rather it’s to the sacred impulse we call Love.
– Drena Griffith

The world is too old for us to talk about it with our new words.
– Jack Kerouac

People love to recognize; not venture. The former is so much more comfortable and self-flattering.
– Jean Cocteau

I would like to see Harriet Tubman’s face on our policies and in our politics.
– Joan Halifax

…I look out
at everything
growing so wild
and faithfully beneath
the sky
and wonder
why we are the one
part of creation
to refuse our flowering…
– David Whyte

…Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;
I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
– Mary Oliver

There is nothing to practice. To know yourself, be yourself. To be yourself, stop imagining yourself to be this or that. Just be. Let your true nature emerge. Don’t disturb your mind with seeking.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj

However you think its going to be, its going to be something different.
– David Nichtern

After breakfast I wandered out—it was a particularly glorious September morning—settled myself on a stone seat with a large view in all directions, and filled and lit my pipe. This was a new, or at least almost-forgotten, experience. I had never had the leisure to light a pipe before, or not, it seemed to me, for fourteen years at least. Now, suddenly, I had an immense sense of leisure, an unhurriedness, a freedom I had almost forgotten—but which, now it had returned, seemed the most precious thing in life. There was an intense sense of stillness, peacefulness, joy, a pure delight in the “now,” freed from drive or desire. I was intensely conscious of each leaf, autumn-tinted, on the ground; intensely conscious of the Eden around me … The world was motionless, frozen—everything concentrated in an intensity of sheer being …
… Now, on this morning, as though on the first morning of Creation, I felt like Adam beholding a new world with wonder. I had not known, or had forgotten, that there could be such beauty, such completeness, in every moment. I had no sense at all of moments, of the serial, only of the perfection and beauty of the timeless now.
– Oliver Sacks

The soul knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.
– Caroline Myss

The important part of writing is living. You have to live in such a way that your writing emerges from it.
– Doris Lessing

When one lives with birds one sees how the noise level of the birds keeps up with the noise level of the house, with the wind that begins to whisper and whistle across the sidings, with each notch up you turn the volume dial on your record player. It is the rumble and rasping of the inert things that provokes the vocalization of the animals; fish hum with the streams and birds chatter in the crackling of the windy forest. To live is to echo the vibrancy of things. To be, for material things, is to resonate. There is sound in things like there is warmth and cold in things, and things resonate like they irradiate their warmth or their cold.
– Alfonso Lingis

There is, said Pythagoras, a sound
the planet makes: a kind of music
just outside our hearing, the proportion
and the resonance of things – not
the clang of theory or the wuthering
of human speech, not even
the bright song of sex or hunger, but
the unrung ringing that
supports them all.

Is the cosmos
laughing at us? No. It’s saying

improvise. Everywhere you look
there’s beauty, and it’s rimed
with death. If you find injustice
you’ll find humans, and this means
that if you listen, you’ll find love.
– Jan Zwicky
from Practicing Bach

There is something else we were born for.
I almost remember it.
– Naomi Shihab Nye

That’s what was hardest: what love did to time.
– Beckian Fritz Goldberg

It’s a moment that I’m after; a fleeting moment, but not a frozen moment.
– Andrew Wyeth

I visit the word world.
– Franz Wright

I still think the revolution is to make the world safe for poetry, meandering, for the frail and vulnerable, the rare and obscure, the impractical and local and small…
– Rebecca Solnit

I think I am probably in love with silence, that other world. And that I write, in some way, to negotiate seriously with it … Because there is, of course, always the desire, the hope, that they are not two separate worlds, sound and silence, but that they become each other, that only our hearing fails.
– Jorie Graham

Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability.
– H.P. Lovecraft

Your words, and the care with which you speak or write them, both reveal and shape who you are.
– Dennis Lewis

Which one’s
the field you can actually remember? And
which one’s the one you’re only imagining
now—standing inside it, staying there,
until it looks like home?

– Carl Phillips, from “Next Stop, Arcadia”

If you want to write
I’ll tell you what you need:
clean hair,
clean clothes,
a made bed,
cooked meals waiting
in fridge or freezer,
bills paid,
animals petted,
emails answered,
trash taken out,
library books
read and returned,
exercise taken,
birthday cards sent,
car washed and
gassed up,
prescriptions filled,
laundry folded,
appointments made,
dishes washed,
teeth brushed,
weeds pulled,
shopping done,
web surfed,
games played,
death delayed.
– “Sine Qua Non” by Lida Bushloper

You can’t order a poem like you order a taco.
Walk up to the counter, say, “I’ll take two”
and expect it to be handed back to you
on a shiny plate.

Still, I like your spirit.
Anyone who says, “Here’s my address,
write me a poem,” deserves something in reply.
So I’ll tell a secret instead:
poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.

– Naomi Shihab Nye

You’re invited to visit
A particular poem—
To go often enough
To become familiar
With each of its rooms;
To nose around in the attic
And explore its cellar.
Encouraged to arrive early,

And greet dawn
Through various windows;
To linger long enough
To watch the shadows
Arrive toward evening.

Only a guest, yet
Welcome to stay forever.
To stay as long as you want;
As long as it gives you pleasure.
– Gregory Orr

…Before I know it,
I’m walking again
In the city.
My stride’s jaunty,
My legs feel strong.

I’m an old man
Made young again
By the poems I love.

Reciting them as I saunter along.
– Gregory Orr

Untitled [A house just like his mother’s]
 by Gregory Orr 

A house just like his mother’s,
But made of words.
Everything he could remember

Inside it:

Parrots and a bowl

Of peaches, and the bright rug

His grandmother wove.

Shadows also—mysteries

And secrets.


Only ghosts patrol.

And did I mention

Strawberry jam and toast?

Did I mention

That everyone he loved

Lives there now,

In that poem

He called “My Mother’s House?”

The World I Live In
I have refused to live
locked in the orderly house of
reasons and proofs;
The world I live in and believe in
is wider than that. And anyway.
What’s wrong with Maybe?

You wouldn’t believe what once or
twice I have seen. I’ll just
tell you this:
only if there are angels in your head will you
ever, possibly, see one.
– Mary Oliver

Where is our comfort but in the free, uninvolved, finally mysterious beauty and grace of this world that we did not make, that has no price? Where is our sanity but there? Where is our pleasure but in working and resting kindly in the presence of this world?
– Wendell Berry

I try to imagine a world without words, a world without language, and the world collapses. It’s nothing. It’s chaos. Language is the thing that makes the world, and it’s the thing that makes the world disappear. Writing is a kind of ­ongoing struggle to renew the world.
– Karl Ove Knausgaard

The Layers
I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.”

They say the years are layers, laminae.
They lie. Our minds aren’t stuck together
like trees. We’re much nearer to a ball of snakes
in winter, a flock of blackbirds, a school of fish.
Your brain guides you away from sentences.
It is consoled by the odor of the chokecherry tree
that drifts its sweetness through the studio window.
Chokecherry trees have always been there
along with crabapples. The brain doesn’t care
about layers. It is both vertical and horizontal
in a split second, in all directions at once.
(first half only of the poem)
– Jim Harrison, Songs of Unreason

Brenda Hillman, 1951

The unknowns are up early;
they browse through the bronze
porch bells. Crows
call & late
apples blaze
toward western emptiness.
In your illness,
the edges hesitate;
like the revolt
of workers, they
will take a while…

Here comes the fond
mild winter; other
realms are noisy
& unanimous. You tap
the screen & dream
while waiting; four
kinds of forever
visit you today:
something, nothing,
everything & art,
greater than you are
& of your making—

Where is our comfort but in the free, uninvolved, finally mysterious beauty and grace of this world that we did not make, that has no price? Where is our sanity but there? Where is our pleasure but in working and resting kindly in the presence of this world?
– Wendell Berry

Creativity is born from the tumultuous marriage of curiosity, silence, audacity, invention and re-organization. A most naughty, adorable and confused child, with questionable ancestry and cosmic heritage. A wild flower, rescuing the world from its own seriousness.
– Nithya Shanti

What does it mean that the earth is so beautiful?
And what should I do about it?
– Mary Oliver

…Listen, whatever it is you try
to do with your life, nothing will ever dazzle you
like the dreams of your body,
its spirit
longing to fly while the dead-weight bones
toss their dark mane and hurry
back into the fields of glittering fire
where everything,
even the great whale,
throbs with song.
– Mary Oliver

The challenges facing our planet are not mainly technological or even financial, because as a world we are rich enough to increase our investments in skills, infrastructure, and technological know-how to meet our needs and to protect the planet. Our challenge is mostly a moral one, to redirect our efforts and vision to the common good.
– Bernie Sanders, speaking at the Vatican on 15th April

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estés

The inner revolution will not be televised or sold on the Internet. It must take place within one’s own mind and heart.
– Noah Levine

Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear;the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star…
– e. e. cummings

When changewinds swirl through our lives, they often call us to undertake a new passage of the spiritual journey: that of confronting the lost and counterfeit places within us and releasing our deeper, innermost self–our true selves. They call us to come home to ourselves, to become who we really are.
– Sue Monk Kidd

I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know

But all the while I sit and think
Of times there were before
I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Truly being here is glorious
– Rilke

If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.
– Thomas Merton

Always as it holds us in one place, the earth
Grows as it moves, exhaling
Its rooted joy. I stand on tracks
Where nothing starves. Vegetation, green blush,
You and I sail today
Through newly infinite
Space on this surfeited hillside. Complacency has its own force

Leafed-out with renewal. I cannot be anything
But alive, in a place as far

From the blank and the stark, as this.
– James Dickey

For example, the wind has its reasons. We just don’t notice as we go about our lives. But then, at some point, we are made to notice. The wind envelops you with a certain purpose in mind, and it rocks you. The wind knows everything that’s inside you. And not just the wind. Everything, including a stone. They all know us very well. From top to bottom. It only occurs to us at certain times. And all we can do is go with those things. As we take them in, we survive, and deepen.
– Haruki Murakami
Hear the Wind Sing

My faith is in the unknown, in all that we do not understand by reason; I believe that what is beyond our comprehension is a simple fact in other dimensions, and that in the realm of the unknown there is an infinite power for good.
– Charlie Chaplin

Why should poetry have to make sense?
– Charlie Chaplin

Use your life as a meditation, and all the events in it. Walk in wakefulness, not as one asleep. Move with mindfulness, and do not tarry in doubt and fear, yet reside in permanent splendor in the assurance that you are grandly loved.
– Neale Donald Walsch

When you study, study everything under the sun.
When you reflect, keep an open mind.
When you practice, do one practice and go deep.
– Jamgön Kongtrül, 1813-1899

Chogyam Trungpa ~ “We might complain about the government or the economy of the country or the prime rate of interest, but those factors are secondary.The original process at the root of the problem is the competitiveness of seeing oneself only as a reflection of the other. Problematic situations arise automatically as expressions of that.They are our own production, our own neat work. And that is what is called mind.” ~ Heart of the Buddha

The effect of one good-hearted person is incalculable.
– Oscar Arias Sanchez

There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

with a thought
I will not wave a human like a banner
in the air or wave him in your face and say:
“This is a godlike man!”
“Listen to his words.”
“They are holier than your own.”
“He is the mystery!”
“He is the cause.”
“He is “other.”
“He is a god!”
“Believe in him.”
I have met no godlike humans in my life –
Not even close –
Very fine specimens ∙
seeming noble and wise ∙
talented beyond measure ∙
so beautiful as to bring tears to the eyes –
yes ∙
brilliance enough to blind the heart –
but not godlike in any way –
troubled ∙ confused ∙
full of wishes and mistakes ∙
mostly lost, as am I –
mere, wonderful humans all –
but not one of them
could move an eyelash
with a thought —
– E.M.

Chogyam Trungpa ~ “Fearlessness is like a tiger, roaming in the jungle. It is a tiger who walks slowly, slimly, in a self-contained way. At the same time, the tiger is ready to jump-not out of paranoia but because of natural reflex, because of a smile & sense of humor. Shambhala people are not regarded as self-serious people. They see humor everywhere, in all directions, and they find beauty everywhere as well.” ~ Great Eastern Sun

You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.
– Jack Tapper

If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.
– Raymond Inmon

I do not accept any absolute formulas for living. As we live, we grow and our beliefs change. They must change. So I think we should live with this constant discovery. We should be open to this adventure in heightened awareness of living. We should stake our whole existence on our willingness to explore and experience.
– Martin Buber

While I’m writing, I’m far away;
and when I come back, I’ve gone.
– Pablo Neruda

Poetry is not a discipline. It is a hunger, a revolt, a drive, a mash note, a fright, a tantrum, a grief, a hoax, a debacle, an application, an affect. It is a collaboration: the bad news may be that we are never entirely in control but the good news is that we collaborate with a genius–the language!
– Dean Young

The scientist is very important to the poet, because his language is important to him.
– William Carlos Williams

All things want to fly. Only we are weighed down by desire,
caught in ourselves and enthralled with our heaviness.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

People who didn’t live pre-Internet can’t grasp how devoid of ideas life in my hometown was.
– Mary Karr

Out of the train window
In a small stream
Bubbling with the froth
Of waste and detergent
A lonesome bird
Stands one-legged
Staring at her own
Blank reflection
Think of that bird
When you wash your
Body, clothes and home
With the latest
Anti-life cleaners
For you adorn your world
With her hunger
– Nithya Shanti

On Falling (Blue Spruce)
Joanna Klink
Dusk fell every night. Things
fall. Why should I
have been surprised.
Before it was possible
to imagine my life
without it, the winds
arrived, shattering air
and pulling the tree
so far back its roots,
ninety years, ripped
and sprung. I think
as it fell it became
unknowable. Every day
of my life now I cannot
understand. The force
of dual winds lifting
ninety years of stillness
as if it were nothing,
as if it hadn’t held every
crow and fog, emptying
night from its branches.
The needles fell. The pinecones
dropped every hour
on my porch, a constant
irritation. It is enough
that we crave objects,
that we are always
looking for a way
out of pain. What is beyond
task and future sits right
before us, endlessly
worthy. I have planted
a linden, with its delicate
clean angles, on a plot
one tenth the size. Some change
is too great.
Somewhere there is a field,
white and quiet, where a tree
like this one stands,
made entirely of
hovering. Nothing will
hold me up like that again.

This orginary plasticity, which authorizes both metamorphoses and migrations, is so fundamental (the mutability of presence is older than presence) that there is perhaps no reason to talk of the plasticity of Being — as if plasticity were some kind of quality — but of saying that Being is nothing but its plasticity.
– Catherine Malabou

by Czeslaw Milosz

Love means to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills –
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend

Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness,
It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn’t always understand.

Just when we’re softened by the years,
when we have enough experience to see
for ourselves, our maps are torn from us.
This can be frightening, but there’s
divine timing in the dissolution of a
stubborn mind, the way an inlet waits
on the last rock to crumble so it can
find its destiny in the sea. Losing the
way set out by others is necessary so we
can discover for ourselves what it means
to be alive. Now we can burn the clothes
others have laid out for us, not in anger
but to light our way. Now we can let the
soul spill its honey on the unleavened life
we’ve been carrying. Now we can rise.
– Mark Nepo

I listened then, to that rarest of music,
the one played for no one. Every hesitation
and every step the haunting took across the sky
was let alone to touch its full eternal measure,
every note allowed to float beyond itself
to a world with no approaching end time.

There was no looking for the right beginning,
no search for the perfect close, and no listener
but the player themselves beyond all listening,
so I felt in that modal harmony of stone and grass
and mountain sky and the clear view across
the blue lake below as if I stood alone and entire
with a world held in place, as if memory were true,
and horizons held their own unspoken promise,
that grief could be its own cure, and in the last held
moment before the music stopped and left
the mountain to itself, and the final un-final note
slurred into the raptured air, as if even the sharpest pain
could be a long way to somewhere after all,
and of all things, a broken, barely open,
but listening heart, the one to serve me best.

– David Whyte, Glentrasna

If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven’t loved enough.
– Elif Shafak

Why ask art into a life at all, if not to be transformed and enlarged by its presence and mysterious means? Some hunger for more is in us – more range, more depth, more feeling; more associative freedom, more beauty. More perplexity and more friction of interest. More prismatic grief and unstunted delight, more longing, more darkness. More saturation and permeability in knowing our own existence as also the existence of others. More capacity to be astonished. Art adds to the sum of the lives we would have, were it possible to live without it. And by changing selves, one by one, art changes also the outer world that selves create and share.
– Jane Hirshfield

“belonging”, suddenly, is a strange word,
or a way of feeling, like “to be longing for”
– Aracelis Girmay

Go inside a stone
That would be my way.
Let somebody else become a dove
Or gnash with a tiger’s tooth.
I am happy to be a stone.
From the outside the stone is a riddle:
No one knows how to answer it.
Yet within, it must be cool and quiet
Even though a cow steps on it full weight,
Even though a child throws it in a river;
The stone sinks, slow, unperturbed
To the river bottom
Where the fishes come to knock on it
And listen.
I have seen sparks fly out
When two stones are rubbed,
So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;
Perhaps there is a moon shining
From somewhere, as though behind a hill—
Just enough light to make out
The strange writings, the star-charts
On the inner walls.
– Charles Simic

You grow up the day you have your first real laugh — at yourself.
– Ethel Barrymore

The things we long for are not distractions but guiding lights…
– Mike Medaglia

I had always been aware that the Universe is sad; everything in it, animate or inanimate, the wild creatures, the stones, the stars, was enveloped in the great sadness, pervaded by it. Existence had no use. It was without end or reason. The most beautfiul things in it, a flower or a song, as well as the most compelling, a desire or a thought, were pointless. So great a sorrow. And I knew that the only rest from my anxiety—for I had been trembling even in infancy—lay in acknowledging and absorbing this sadness.
– Hayden Carruth

The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew.
– Neale Donald Walsch

You need to be able to gather yourself to yourself and have a capacity for solitude before you can turn to someone else and really hear what they have to say. If not, you turn to someone else and you’re projecting onto them who you need them to be for you and you can’t hear who they really are.
– Sherry Turkle

You take a final step and, look, suddenly
You’re there. You’ve arrived
At the one place all your drudgery was aimed for:
This common ground
Where you stretch out, pressing your cheek to sandstone.
What did you want
To be? You’ll remember soon. You feel like tinder
Under a burning glass,
A luminous point of change. The sky is pulsing
Against the cracked horizon,
Holding it firm till the arrival of stars
In time with your heartbeats.
Like wind etching rock, you’ve made a lasting impression
On the self you were
By having come all this way through all this welter
Under your own power,
Though your traces on a map would make an unpromising
Meandering lifeline.
What have you learned so far? You’ll find out later,
Telling it haltingly
Like a dream, that lost traveler’s dream
Under the last hill
Where through the night you’ll take your time out of mind
To unburden yourself
Of elements along elementary paths
By the break of morning.
You’ve earned this worn-down, hard, incredible sight
Called Here and Now.
Now, what you make of it means everything,
Means starting over:
The life in your hands is neither here nor there
But getting there,
So you’re standing again and breathing, beginning another
Journey without regret
Forever, being your own unpeaceable kingdom,
The end of endings.
~ David Wagoner

Interpretation… is the work of thought which consists in deciphering the hidden meaning in the apparent meaning, in unfolding the levels of meaning implied in the literal meaning.
– Paul Ricoeur

We’re fascinated by the words, but where we meet is in the silence behind them.
– Ram Dass

I think poetry is a fundamental human activity, and must continue. I think the minute we stop writing poetry, or reading it, we cease being human.
– Mark Strand

It’s only in darkness you can see the light, only
From emptiness that things start to fill,
I read once in a dream, I read in a book
under the pink
Redundancies of the spring peach trees.
Old fires, old geographies.
In that case, make it old, I say, make it singular
In its next resurrection,
White violets like photographs on the tombstone of the yard.
Each year it happens this way, each year
Something dead comes back and lifts up its arms,
puts down its luggage
And says – in the same costume, down-at-heels, badly sewn
I bring you good news from the other world.
– Charles Wright
from Looking Around

‏Who Will Speak?

I do not see a delegation for the four-
footed. I see no seat for the eagles. We
forget and we consider ourselves
superior, but we are after all a mere
part of this creation. And we must
consider to understand where we are.
And we stand somewhere between the
mountain and the ant, somewhere and
only there as part and parcel of the

Oren Lyons: Iroquois UN Speech, Geneva, 1977 from Akwesasne Notes
V. Who Will Speak
If all the animals came from the hills,
if all the fish came from the rivers,
and the birds came down from the sky
we would know our lives,
somewhere between the mountain
and the ant.
We would see what we do pass by
and return
around Earth’s curve.
All I know are these rivers,
the air and wind
carving down the trees
with their invisible hands
until the trees are bent figures of old
and then only the empty space,
a longing that passes.
And that sorrow says,
the animals,
who will speak for them?
Who will make houses of air
with their words?
And the mouth of a man,
the tongue
that belongs to grass and light
and the four-legged creatures.
He speaks of tomorrow.
He gives voice to the small animals.
He gives a seat to the eagles.
Words for the fish.
The golden light of creation.
The world returns.
I do not want to break this spell.
I do not want the words to fall away.
I do not want to break this spell.
for Oren Lyons, 1978
– Linda Hogan

9th Duino Elegy

Why, if it’s possible to come into existence
as laurel, say, a little darker green
than other trees, with ripples edging each
leaf (like a wind, smiling): why then
do we have to be human, and keep running from the fate
we are made for and long for?

Oh, not because of Happiness —
that fleeting gift before the loss begins.
Not from curiosity, or to exercise the heart,
which the laurel could do too….

But because simply to be here is so much
and because what is here seems to need us,
this vanishing world that concerns us strangely —
us, the most vanishing of all. Once
for each, only once. Once and no more.
And we, too: just once. Never again. But
to have lived this once, even if only this once,
to have been of earth — that cannot be taken from us.

And so a hunger drives us.
We want to contain it in our naked hands,
our brimming senses, our speechless hearts.
We want to become it, or to offer it — but to whom?
We would hold it forever….But, after all,
what can we keep? Not the beholding.
so slow to learn. Not anything that has happened here.
Nothing. There are the hurts. And, always, the hardships.
And there’s the long knowing of love — all of it
unsayable. Later, amidst the stars, we will see:
these are better unsaid. The mountain wanderer
does not carry back into the valley a handful of earth —
that is unsayable — but a word, simple and clean:
the blue and yellow gentian. Could we be here, then,
in order to say
Apple tree

or, for loftier things — Pillar, Tower —
But to say them, in fact– oh, to utter them
as even the things never thought themselves to be.

Is it not the secret strategem
of our vanishing Earth
to have lovers taste her own delight
when she drives them into each other’s arms?
Are we here to say Threshhold? the little used threshhold
that lovers step over as they come so lightly
after the ancestors and before the future ones.

Here is the time for telling. Here is its home.
Speak and make known: more and more
the things we could experience
are lost to us, replaced
by mindless doing.

Between hammers pounding,
our heart exists, like the tongue
between the teeth — which still,
however, does the praising.

Praise the world to the angel: leave the unsayable aside.
Your exalted feelings do not move him.
In the realm where he feels feelings, you are a beginner.
Therefore show him what is ordinary, what has been
shaped from generation to generation, shaped by hand and eye.
Tell him of things. He will stand still in astonishment,
the way you stood by the ropemaker in Rome
or beside the potter on the Nile.
Show him how happy a thing can be, how innocent and ours,
as even a lament takes clear form,
becomes a thing, can die as a thing.
while the music, blessing it, fades.

And the things, which, even as they live, pass on —
understand that we praise them. Transient, they are trusting us
to preserve them — us, the most transient of all.
As if they wanted our hearts to transform them
into — o endlessly — into us. Whatever we are.

Earth, isn’t this what you want? To arise in us, invisible?
Is it not your dream, to enter us so wholly
there’s nothing outside us to see?
What, if not this transformation,
is your deepest purpose? Earth, my love,
I want that too. Believe me, no more of your springtimes are needed
to win me over– even one flower
is almost too much. Before I was named I was yours.
From the beginning you have always held the measure,
and, for something to count on, you give us death.

See, I live. On what?
Childhood and future are equally present..
Sheer abundance of being
floods my heart.

– Rilke ~ Translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

My vision for the future is that we can use food to build bridges and heal divides.
– Nikki Silvestri Henderson

I sometimes think that the act of bringing food is one of the basic roots of all relationships.
– Dalai Lama

No fast food in this Garden.
– Ethan Nichtern

I believe that today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it. We must search for fragments, splinters, toenails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and the soul.
– Henry Miller

A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.
– Thomas Carlyle

Don’t allow your wounds to transform you into someone you are not.
– Paulo Coelho

The most important things for a high quality life are (1) the quality of our attention and (2) the quality of our intentions. The rest self-organizes.
– Nithya Shanti

I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.
– Pablo Casals

It is usually the imagination that is wounded first, rather than the heart; it being much more sensitive.
– H.D. Thoreau

Knowing your value, to me, means knowing when to stand up, knowing when to speak out and knowing when to fight for yourself and to fight for the people you love.
– Elizabeth Warren

If you don’t understand yourself you don’t understand anybody else.
– Nikki Giovanni

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Waves of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

– John O’Donohue

Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened, and its deepest mystery probed?
– Annie Dillard

The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure…
– Tibetan proverb

Cicada shell:
little did I know
it was my life.

– Shuho, d. 1767

When I speak of poetry I am not thinking of it as a genre. Poetry is an awareness of the world, a particular way of relating to reality. So poetry becomes a philosophy to guide a man throughout his life…. [With poetry, one] is capable of going beyond the limitations of coherent logic, and conveying the deep complexity and truth of the impalpable connections and hidden phenomena of life.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

When life is spinning out of control: share the road home.
– Karen Maezen Miller

The practice of Buddhism is to get rid of the -ism

Streams and birds, trees and woods, all recite the name of the Buddha.
– The Amitabha Sutra

The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to ‪‎forgive‬. ‬
– John Green

I’m afraid I wasn’t much of a student, but my casual reading was enormous.
– Conrad Aiken

Older people have a special power – the ability to confer blessings.
– Norman Fischer

But when the melancholy fit shall fall/ Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud, /[…] And hides the green hill in an April shroud.
– Keats

Old memories are very easy to get, except that once you write about something, you’ve destroyed it. You no longer have the memory. You only have the memory of what you’ve written.
– Annie Dillard

There isn’t anything in the world that can’t be fixed by some combination of love and work.
– Dr. Hope Jahren

stare deep into the world before you as if it were the void: innumerable holy ghosts, bhuddies and savior gods there hide smiling. all the atoms emitting light inside wavehood, there is no personal separation of any of it. a hummingbird can come into a house and hawk will not: so rest and be assured, while looking for light, you may suddenly be devoured by the darkness and find the true light.
– Jack Kerouac

Soil that is dirty grows the countless things.
Water that is clear has no fish.
Thus as a mature person
you properly include and retain
a measure of grime.
You can’t just go along
enjoying your own private purity
and restraint.
– Vegetable Root Sutra

Whatever you hear from
the water, remember,
it wants 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.
– David Whyte

You have to go past the imagined image of (the sacred). Such an image of one’s god becomes a final obstruction, one’s ultimate barrier. You hold on to your own ideology, your own little manner of thinking, and when a larger experience of God approaches, an experience greater than you are prepared to receive, you take flight from it by clinging to the image in your mind. This is known as preserving your faith … I don’t have faith; I have experience. I have experience of wonder of life.
– Joseph Campbell

Working gets in the way of living.
– Omar Sharif

Time, time, time. Life should be abundant enough for each person to feel what it is to have their greatest pleasure in wasting time.
– Tony Conrad

If the life of the poorest being that crawls on the earth is not respected as a great and holy mystery, then it may be that humans go “free” of all limits, become disoriented, and are truly unable to find themselves.
– Wendell Berry

There’s something in us that knows we came here to give. The notion is the opposite of a consumer society. The consumer society says we came here to get, and we’re going to consume everything there is. But the old idea is that we came into the world gifted, and culture is our way of giving. That’s our way of being natural and participating in the natural world.
– Michael Meade

We don’t know what life will bring, so it is what we bring to life that matters.
– Patricia Campbell Carlson

If more older people were living their genius they’d be helping their community, they’d be helping nature, but they’d also become a model to the young people who are trying to find their genius.
– Michael Meade

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?
– Thomas Merton

The first thing that distinguishes a writer is that he is most alive when alone.
– Martin Amis

Your antenna must be out all the time picking up vibrations and details.
– Jan Morris

The river is famous to the fish.
The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.
The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.
The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.
The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.
The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.
The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.
I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.
I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.
– Naomi Shihab Nye
in Words Under the Words

It is love alone that leads to right action.
What brings order in the world is to love and let love do what it will.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Poetry is not a code to be broken but a way of seeing with the eyes shut.
– Linda Pastan

Poetry begins where language starts: in the shadows and accidents of one person’s life.
– Eavan Boland

You begin to string words together like beads to tell a story. You are desperate to communicate, to edify or entertain, to preserve moments of grace or joy or transcendence, to make real or imagined events come alive. But you cannot will this to happen. It is a matter of persistence and faith and hard work. So you might as well just go ahead and get started.
– Anne Lamott

There is time
to tell you
the only story I know.
A youth sets out,
a man or woman returns;
the rest is simply incident
or weather.
And yet what storms
I could describe
in every thumbprint.
– Linda Pastan

Go climb a mountain. Cool your head in the sky and then you will be calmer and see better your own and the world’s woes and how to help cure them.”
– John Muir

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
– John Muir

Our brains are sculpted in the context of our interactions with the people around us.
– Bessel van der Kolk

We climb the hill in the dark
and the children are finally
given back their iPhones
… mid-sentence, Kusra,
bravening, detaches
her humid paw
from mine, swept up
like a ripened copepod
in a current of complaint
and omniscient
App-light. To avert
the dirty, natural night,
they’ve cracked open
their phones like geodes:
dazzled we stream
through the wedged ruts
and cowpats, fishing
for a signal or satellite.
Mum, I’m safe, I’ve got
six bars! Shaniya
touched egg-blood! Miss –
get back into the line
of light! And finally
attempt to take pics
of the stars, of dark
country lanes, of the hot
perturbation of Sirius.
– Jen Hadfield


I fly fish in order to disappear, to go where there is nobody, to leave the familiar behind. It is my guide to the other world–the restless, teeming network of chaos and order that forms the matrix of creation.

For the same reason I search out wildness I fish: for the deliberate strangeness, that mindful twisting of fate.

Fly fishing is a way of hooking into the world, becoming the clouds, the riffle patterns on the water, the tall grasses bending towards pocket water; the chill, the sun, the quiet or the screech of hawks. A fisherman is all of these, alone, putting a bunch of shape-shifting elements together in a split second in order to lure a trout to hook. Hooking a trout lasts only a fraction of a second. Finding it may take years.”

– P.V. Beck

We must, just as Langston Hughes once threw his books to the sea, toss our smart phones to the sea, and live.
– Theodore Richards

Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.
– Charles Dickens

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.
– Martha Graham

We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of fellow…but this would be nothing if you really like him.
– Anne of Green Gables

Her dream had come true. She had become a folk singer.
– Forrest Gump

When you transform your mind, everything you experience is transformed.
– Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

I am not I. I am this one walking beside me whom I do not see.
– Juan Ramon Jiménez, Spanish poet

Mr. or Mrs. Nobody by William Stafford
Some days when you look out, the land
is heavy, following its hills, dim
where the road bends. There are days when
having the world is a mistake.
But then you think, “Well, anyway, it wasn’t
my idea,” and it’s OK again.
Suppose that a person who knows you happens
to see you going by, and it’s one of those days –
for a minute you have to carry the load
for them, you’ve got to lift the whole
heavy world, even without knowing it,
being a hero, stumbling along.
Some days it’s like that. And maybe
today. And maybe all of the time.

Our institutions are too big; they represent not the best but the worst characteristics of human beings. By submitting to huge hierarchies of power, we gain freedom from personal responsibility for what we do and are forced to do – the seduction of it – but we lose the dignity of being real men and women. Power corrupts; attracts the worst and corrupts the best. … Refuse to participate in evil; insist on taking part in what is healthy, generous, and responsible. Stand up, speak out, and when necessary fight back. Get down off the fence and lend a hand, grab a-hold, be a citizen – not a subject.
– Edward Abbey

Poetry is a necessity of life. It is a function of poetry to locate those zones inside us that would be free, and declare them so.
– C. D. Wright

Second Sight
Sometimes, you need the ocean light,
and colors you’ve never seen before
painted through an evening sky.
Sometimes you need your God
to be a simple invitation,
not a telling word of wisdom.
Sometimes you need only the first shyness
that comes from being shown things
far beyond your understanding,
so that you can fly and become free
by being still and by being still here.
And then there are times you need to be
brought to ground by touch
and touch alone.
To know those arms around you
and to make your home in the world.
just by being wanted.
To see those eyes looking back at you,
as eyes should see you at last,
seeing you, as you always wanted to be seen,
seeing you, as you yourself
had always wanted to see the world.
– David Whyte

The peace produced by grace is a spiritual stability too deep for violence–it is unshakeable, unless we ourselves admit the power of passion into our sanctuary. Emotion can trouble the surface of our being, but it will not stir the depths if these are held and possessed by grace.
– Thomas Merton

Rewilding is not going backwards, to live in the woods – superficial stuff like that. It’s reconnecting to that wildness dormant inside you; the amazing, rich thing that’s there waiting to be engaged with.
– George Monbiot

The best definition of love I ever heard: giving someone the power to destroy you and trusting they won’t use it.
– Simon Sinek

Where once I would apologize for my introversion and feel guilty for my need to be away, now I can recognize it for what it is: that still, quiet place inside me that needs refilling. I feel like I have a new ownership of myself and my time, and a steadier and more fulfilling relationship with the world around me. There is much freedom in recognizing what I can say, and may be even more in recognizing what I cannot. Respecting people’s distances and honoring others’ narratives and spaces has helped me validate my own.
– Kelly Quirino

…Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground. You cannot tell always by looking what is happening. More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet. Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet. Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree. Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden. Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar. Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses. Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving. Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in, a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs. Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen: reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in. This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always, for every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting, after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.
– Marge Piercy

If a person were to stop all his outer and inner movements at a given moment in order to see what is acting in him, he would nearly always feel a tendency which has about it something narrow, something heavy, something with a negative aspect that tends to be against, to be egoistic. All that is usually going on unseen. But if he tries to awaken to what is going on in himself, to be sincere, he will be able to witness, in addition to what could be called the “coarse” life in him, another life of another quality–much subtler, much higher, lighter–that is also part of himself.
– Pauline de Dampierre

Consumption is a social relationship, the dominant relationship in our society—one that makes it harder and harder for people to hold together, to create community.
– Juliet B. Schor

Basically all mental illness has to do with your being out of sync with your surroundings.
– Bessel van der Kolk

See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see.
– Wayne Dyer

When we fight for progressive policies with a hateful tone or approach, we aren’t really fighting for progressive policies ….Genuine progressives are kind. Even to those who don’t ‘deserve’ it. Because they’ve implemented the same policies in their personal lives that they want to see manifest in the wider culture.
– JT Buck

Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write!
– H. G. Wells

Based on my experience of life, which I have not exactly hit out of the park, I tend to agree with that thing about, If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. And would go even further, to: Even if it is broke, leave it alone, you’ll probably make it worse.
– George Saunders

Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.
Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.
Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous

Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
They said.

But be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.

– Alice Walker

A Kite for Aibhin
After “L’Aquilone” by Giovanni Pascoli (1855-1912)

Air from another life and time and place,
Pale blue heavenly air is supporting
A white wing beating high against the breeze,

And yes, it is a kite! As when one afternoon
All of us there trooped out
Among the briar hedges and stripped thorn,

I take my stand again, halt opposite
Anahorish Hill to scan the blue,
Back in that field to launch our long-tailed comet.

And now it hovers, tugs, veers, dives askew,
Lifts itself, goes with the wind until
It rises to loud cheers from us below.

Rises, and my hand is like a spindle
Unspooling, the kite a thin-stemmed flower
Climbing and carrying, carrying farther, higher

The longing in the breast and planted feet
And gazing face and heart of the kite flier
Until string breaks and—separate, elate—

The kite takes off, itself alone, a windfall.
– Seamus Heaney

Most of us have become Ecozombies, desensitized, environmental deadheads. On average, society conditions us to spend over 95% of our time and 99.9% of our thinking disconnected from nature. Nature’s extreme absence in our lives leaves us abandoned and wanting. We feel we never have enough. We greedily, destructively, consume and, can’t stop. Nature’s loss in our psyche produces a hurt, hungering, void within us that bullies us into our dilemmas….As we gain satisfaction from artificial substitutes for nature we forget that there is no known substitute for Nature, the real thing and its eons of intelligent, life supportive, experience. Each substitute we create falls short of nature’s balanced perfection, thus producing our pollution, garbage and relationship conflicts.
– Michael J. Cohen

Only when I do not worry and do not hurry am I able to feel how life embraces me and embraces everyone in every moment. Then I am able to sense that we are all valued and wanted for who we really are. Contentment comes close ready to enfold us in its ample arms.
– Gunilla Norris

Because the relationship between self and world is reciprocal, it is not a matter of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the Earth, the Earth heals us. No need to wait. As we care enough to take risks, we loosen the grip of ego and begin to come home to our true nature. For in the co-arising nature of things, the world itself, if we are bold enough to love it, acts through us. It does not ask us to be pure or perfect, or wait until we are detached from all passions, but only to care to harness the sweet, pure intention of our deepest passions, and, as the early scripture of the Mother of the Buddhas says, “fly like a Bodhisattva.”
– Joanna Macy

Relating a person to the whole world: that is the meaning of cinema.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

We have all been there once. Some, more than that.
They forced us all to visit one September.
But that was such a long, long time ago.
There wasn’t anything to marvel at.
The door was heavy. That I still remember.
Inside were many things I’ll never know.
– Joshua Mehigan

I do things like get in a taxi and say, “The library, and step on it.
– David Foster Wallace

…Return to the most human,
nothing less will teach the angry spirit,
the bewildered heart;
the torn mind,
to accept the whole of its duress,
and pierced with anguish…
at last, act for love.
– May Sarton

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices,
That, if I then had wak’d after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I wak’d,
I cried to dream again.
– Shakespeare

If you have a compass, smash it.
Nothing can point you to true anything, let alone true north.
Besides — and never forget this — you are trying to get lost.
– Rebecca Solnit

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.
– Jane Goodall

If we don’t try to make a difference, if we don’t speak up, if we don’t try to right the wrong that we see, we become complicit. I don’t want to be guilty of not trying my best to make a difference.
– Hedy Epstein

The words just jumped
into the quiet.
– Seth Hansford
Salting the Ocean: 100 Poems by Young Poets

Most of my life was spent
building a bridge out over the sea
though the sea was too wide.
I’m proud of the bridge
hanging in the pure sea air. Machado
came for a visit and we sat on the
end of the bridge, which was his idea.
Now that I’m old the work goes slowly.
Ever nearer death, I like it out here
high above the sea bundled
up for the arctic storms of late fall,
the resounding crash and moan of the sea,
the hundred-foot depth of the green troughs.
Sometimes the sea roars and howls like
the animal it is, a continent wide and alive.
What beauty in this the darkest music
over which you can hear the lightest music of human
behavior, the tender connection between men and galaxies.
So I sit on the edge, wagging my feet above
the abyss. Tonight the moon will be in my lap.
This is my job, to study the universe
from my bridge. I have the sky, the sea, the faint
green streak of Canadian forest on the far shore.
– Jim Harrison

It is not only that there is a spiritual world parallel to the physical world. It is not only a question of parallel universes or two worlds that sometimes cross in our experience. There is ultimately only one. They are actually never separate; they seem separate only because our mind sees them that way. And because our mind sees them as separate, we have two loves. But at the very depth of our heart, we love reality. We love the real, and the real is the unity of the outer and the inner, of your body and your soul, of the world and God, of the ordinary universe and the spiritual universe. These are like the front and the back of the same reality. This world is nothing but the front of reality. The spirit is the back of this reality. And you can’t take the back away from the front. It doesn’t work, for the front will always have a back, which is the spiritual nature.
– A. H. Almaas, The Power of Divine Eros

For Papusza

Don’t give your secrets away
in song. Music, a universal language, why muddle it with words? Words are stolen, like a photo steals a soul . Words,
Easily codified, shared.
You will be cursed and shunned.
Sing to the forest, the fire, the rivers, mountains, fields.

Elsewhere, you must hum,
send out only the vibration
of your story, leave the words
in guarded caravans.

– Debbi Kapp Brody‎

To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wildness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace. Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.
– Terry Tempest Williams

The Earth Is Waiting For You

The Earth is always patient and
She is waiting for you.
She has been waiting for you for the
last trillion lifetimes.
She can wait for any length of time.
She knows you will come back to her one day.
Fresh and green, she will welcome you
exactly like the first time, because love
never says “This is the last time,”
because Earth is a loving mother.
She will never stop waiting for you.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Sick of what it is called
Sick of the names
I dedicate every pore
To what’s here.
– Zen Master Ikkyū (1394-1481)

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.
– Jane Austen

The sweet small clumsy feet of April came
into the ragged meadow of my soul.
– E. E Cummings

Stop trying to fast-forward
the movie of your life,
chasing futures
that never seem to arrive.
Instead, bow deeply to yourself
as you actually are.
– Jeff Foster

You are song, a wished-for song.

Go through the ear to the center,
where the sky is, where wind,
where silent knowing.
Put seeds and cover them.
Blades will sprout
where you do your work.
– Rumi

Song surges from innate source, anterior to a concept, so purely as to reflect outside a thousand rhythms of images.
– Stéphane Mallarmé

We spent years somehow in the minutes we found
– Anna B. Sutton

Gullies, hummocks in swamps, swales in the middle of large fields, the springs, dense thickets on the tops of hills: like Bachelard’s attics, seashells, drawers, cellars, these places are a balm to me.
– Jim Harrison

Up the ridge, beneath tree line, the slope ripples down like waterfalls, as stone is water in slow time, geologic in its movements, glacial where the valley melts beneath foothills into blistering luster, a long husk of dusk, purpling the coastal hills. […] From the high country, the valley disappears into dots of towns that glow as embers, as firelight flickers at the edge of the lake, eliciting tales of constellations that we try to remember or make up, our own versions of origins, as if we could forget how to dismember or remember to forget. Stars spray the night as painted notches on trees and cairns lead us forward.
– Gretchen E. Henderson

To be conscious is, among other things, to be somewhere else.
– Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.
– Søren Kierkegaard

And one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

When he was no longer young, the great naturalist John Burroughs wrote, “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” I very much agree.

I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.
– Chaim Potok

Birdsong brings relief
to my longing.

I am just as ecstatic as they are,
but with nothing to say!

Please, Universal Soul, practice
some song, or something, through me!

– Rumi

my Mississippi Spring—
My warm loving heart a-fire
with early greening leaves …
– Margaret Walker

Heart-leaves of lilac all over New England,
Roots of lilac under all the soil of New England,
Lilac in me because I am New England.
– Amy Lowell

To know more, one must feel less, and vice versa… Nature, the soul, love, and God, one recognizes through the heart, and not through the reason. Were we spirits, we could dwell in that region of ideas over which our souls hover, seeking the solution. But we are earth-born beings, and can only guess at the Idea — not grasp it by all sides at once. The guide for our intelligences through the temporary illusion into the innermost centre of the soul is called Reason. Now, Reason is a material capacity, while the soul or spirit lives on the thoughts which are whispered by the heart. Thought is born in the soul. Reason is a tool, a machine, which is driven by the spiritual fire. When human reason … penetrates into the domain of knowledge, it works independently of the feeling, and consequently of the heart.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I can’t think of anybody…who knows the sum and substance of what I know and feel and cry about in my secret self all the time when I don’t feel strong, the sorrows of time and personality, and can therefore on all levels make it all the way with me.
– Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody

I dreamed vividly again, more in fact by day than at night. Images, pictures, desires arose freely within me, drew me away from the outside world so that I had a more substantial and livelier relationship with the world of my own creation, with these images and dreams and shadows, than with the actual world around me.
– Hermann Hesse

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
– Ansel Adams

[A]nd from the honeycombs of memory he built a house for the swarm of his thoughts.
– Walter Benjamin

Imagine I am
standing on the shore doing what most people do

on shores: wear two faces—
one for the horizon, one for the abyss.

– Annie Rudy

It is a misfortune, in some senses: I feed too much on the inward sources; I live too much with the dead. My mind is something like the ghost of an ancient, wandering about the world and trying mentally to construct it as it used to be, in spite of ruin and confusing changes. But I find it necessary to use the utmost caution about my eyesight.
– George Eliot

The Spring
(After Rilke)

Spring has returned! Everything has returned!
The earth, just like a schoolgirl, memorizes
Poems, so many poems. … Look, she has learned
So many famous poems, she has earned so many prizes!

Teacher was strict. We delighted in the white
Of the old man’s beard, bright like the snow’s:
Now we may ask which names are wrong, or right
For “blue,” for “apple,” for “ripe.” She knows, she knows!

Lucky earth, let out of school, now you must play
Hide-and-seek with all the children every day:
You must hide that we may seek you: we will! We will!

The happiest child will hold you. She knows all the things
You taught her: the word for “hope,” and for “believe,”
Are still upon her tongue. She sings and sings and sings.
Delmore Schwartz
in Last & Lost Poems

…Here I am, suspended
between the sidewalk and twilight,
the sky dimming so fast it seems alive.
What if you felt the invisible
tug between you and everything?..
– Ellen Bass

And I believe in the future
We shall suffer no more
Maybe not in my lifetime
But in yours I feel sure
Song dogs barking at the break of dawn
Lightning pushes the edges of a thunderstorm
And these streets
Quiet as a sleeping army
Send their battered dreams to heaven, to heaven
For the mother’s restless son
Who is a witness to, who is a warrior
Who denies his urge to break and run

Who says: Hard times?
I’m used to them
The speeding planet burns
I’m used to that
My life’s so common it disappears
And sometimes even music
Cannot substitute for tears

– Paul Simon
Cool Cool River

The dominant culture of the world teaches us that The Other is a threat, that our fellow human beings are a danger. We will all continue to be exiles in one form or another as long as we continue to accept the paradigm that the world is a racetrack or a battlefield. I believe that we can be compatriots of many different kinds of people, even though they are born far from our own lands and in other places and in other times.
– Eduardo Galeano

We Believe
by Staughton and Alice Lynd

We believe
Not only in the lengthening of days
And the return of springtime,
But in sudden reversals,

Unexpected triumphs.

We believe in the restoration
Of trust between friends,
And in the ability of ordinary folk

To puncture lies.

We believe in the way to be safe
Is not to enclose ourselves in walls
Of cash and property,

But to live in solidarity
With those who need us.

How can we give the Good
More chance to prevail?

What can we add
To the chemistry of change?

It is because of people like Natalya Gorbanevskaya, I am convinced, that you and I are still alive and walking around on the face of the earth.
– Joan Baez

Drop what you’re doing and study the Torah!

A Jewish ethics class inspired me to read some writings about Jewish virtue ethics. One interesting concept is “perishut,” a Hebrew word meaning something like “separation.” The Halakhic scholar Bahya ben Joseph ibn Paquda, nicknamed “Gra” by his fans, recommends forsaking the world of pleasure for a “tent of wisdom”:

“The words of Torah will not be permanently acquired by a person who applies himself feebly, and not by those who study amid pleasure, food and drink. Rather, one must give up his life for them, constantly straining his body to the point of discomfort, without granting sleep to his eyes or slumber to his eyelids. … The Torah cannot be permanently acquired except by a person who gives up his life in the tents of wisdom.”

This is how Maimonides, another midrashist, puts it:

“Every Israelite has a duty to study, whether he is poor or rich, whether healthy or suffering, whether young or very old and in failing strength, even if he is poor and supported by charity or begs from door to door.”

Halakhists like Gra and Maimonides demand a life of Torah study, including deliberate separation from all distractions that might detract attention from the holy text.

Leave a boy alone with a piano, chances are slim he’ll develop an interesting repertoire. But teach him to read music, he’s on his way to composing symphonies. Leave a girl alone with a pile of components, it’s unlikely she’ll create a computer. But teach her to read schematics and solve Laplace transforms, you have a budding engineer.

In acquiring skills, we know it’s foolish to leave children alone without a guide. But when it comes to teaching children how to live, we have a very different standard. Unlike the pious Gra and Maimonides, we don’t try to persuade our children to read great wisdom literature from saints and sages of the past. We leave them in front of the television.

The cynical mother insists her boy will never have the discipline to read Torah, Dharma and Kerygma when he could be watching TV. As if piety had to be in the boy already, and it wasn’t a parent’s responsibility to inspire it. Her cynicism teaches the boy to be cynical.

Producers of television programming have different motivations from saints and sages. Producers don’t care so much about the effect of their programming on the impressionable minds of children. They’re not here to impart wisdom. They’re here to make money.

Television has taught us the wrong moral lessons. Advertisers try to incite the parts of the soul that have an appetite for things other than wisdom and virtue, precisely the parts saints and sages tell us must be suppressed.

The moral of the story: drop whatever you’re doing, and study—not just Torah, but great saints and sages of every tradition. We’re no more likely to figure out on our own how to cultivate virtue and wisdom than we are to compose a symphony or design a computer on our own. We need guidance from those who have come before us.
– Peter Capofreddi

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
– Chief Seattle

If someone told you that love is about setting each other free, allowing each other to soar to the greatest heights and travel to the farthest reaches of the world without the need for reciprocation and promise of one day returning, would you still give yourself up completely to it?
– Kailin Yong

Ever in my life have I sought thee with my songs.
It was they who led me from door to door,
and with them have I felt about me,
searching and touching my world.

It was my songs that taught me all the lessons I ever learnt;
they showed me secret paths,
they brought before my sight many a star on the horizon of my heart.

They guided me all the day long to the mysteries of the country of pleasure and pain,
and, at last,
to what palace gate have they brought me in the evening at the end of my journey?

– Rabindranath Tagore

Spiritual practice is not about being a better self but about being open to life and filled with it.
– Thomas Moore

Poetry, at its best, is the language your soul would speak if you could teach your soul to speak.
– Jim Harrison

He had been foolish enough to believe that as he recovered over the past few months the world might be recovering with him.
– Jim Harrison

After the passing of irresistible music you must make do with a dripping faucet.
– Jim Harrison

Dad said I would always be ‘high-minded and low waged’ from reading too much Ralph Waldo Emerson. Maybe he was right.
– Jim Harrison, The English Major

Zen is not some fancy, special art of living. Our teaching is just to live, always in reality, in its exact sense. To make our effort, moment after moment, is our way.
– Shunryū Suzuki

This is not a season
but a pause
between one future & another,
a day after a day,
a breathing space before death,
a breathing, the rain

throwing itself down out of the
bluegrey sky, clear joy.
– Margaret Atwood
from Rain
True Stories
i hear it in the deep heart’s core

Poetry is the liquid voice that can wear through stone.
― Adrienne Rich

You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.
― Adrienne Rich

There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.
― Adrienne Rich

We might possess every technological resource… but if our language is inadequate, our vision remains formless, our thinking and feeling are still running in the old cycles, our process may be “revolutionary” but not transformative.
– Adrienne Rich

It is not important to know a lot about spirituality and conscious living. What is important and beneficial is applying whatever little we do know with joy and gratitude. This much is enough to quench our thirst and cool our compulsions in a significant way. The rest will be organically and appropriately revealed to us as we go along.

This also prevents “spiritual constipation” – the disease of knowing a lot and understanding very little. Our practice feels light, well digested and true. There is ever increasing harmony in thoughts, words and actions. Synchronicities abound and lots of love and laughter are everywhere to be found.
– Nithya Shanti

Sliced Kiwi

Time never begins again,
only continues

The body anticipates
numerous things

To think,
there are other planets

An endless cloth pulled
from a magician’s hand

– Steve Pelletier

Resurrection of the California Condor
On great wings they soar, again,
from the brink of extinction,
from the underworld,
where lead bullet poison
had nearly exiled them.
Immense wings,
nine feet wide,
once more grace the sky.
Riding on thermals, they glide or
make their own billowing wind
as they fly.
Gentle birds,
keeping landscape clean of carrion,
harming no living being.
Devoted parents, mating for life,
only one chick, every other year;
six years to reach maturity.
For millennia, they flourished,
then became a feather’s breadth
from being no more.
Saved from the brink, but barely,
when only a remnant few
still remained alive.
Now, up a mountain pinnacle
I climbed,
making the steep ascent,
hoping for a glimpse of the ones
holding hope for the future.
My Achilles tendon was sprained,
walking was painful,but I persevered,
so great was my desire to see them.
On a rocky ledge, I paused to rest,
amid craggy peaks that rose like spires
from the valley, far below.
I gazed at the distant ridge
where I’d been told one had to go
to have any chance of a sighting.
It would be hours before I reached the top;
I wasn’t sure my injured foot could make it but
I was determined to try,
so great was my desire to see them.
I prayed I’d have a sighting.
A moment later, they appeared
out of the blue!
Rounding the rock wall,
two flew into view
right before me,
only a few feet away,
so close
the wind from their wings blew upon me,
fanned my flushed face,
the whir of their wing strokes
vibrating my ears!
Faawooosh, faawoosh!
A sound almost lost from the music of the sky;
almost gone forever.
To where I was standing, they had come!
I rejoiced!
Seeing these magnificent beings
was like beholding a god of legend:
Thunderbird, god of the sky,
the great purifier,
uniter of heaven and earth.
Feeling the wind from their wings,
hearing the swoosh of their wings,
my spirit soared
with elation and gratitude.
The pair sailed by,
alighted gently as clouds
on a nearby pillar of rock,
spread open the long, tapered fingers
of their black wings,
raised them to warm in the morning sun,
their naked heads glowing
like beakers of rose wine
raised in a toast.
I marveled in awe at their presence.
Condor, spirit of the sky,
may our leaden ways never harm you again.
Magnificent Thunderbird,
may you thrive!
May you grace the air with your beauty
for a thousand generations to come.
May your great wings help us
rise up from the underworld
of our foolishness.
May the wind flowing from your wings
blow humility into our hearts.
I watched them basking in the sun,
for a long while, so glad to be alive.
Humbled and grateful,
I made my way back down
the mountain.
– Andrea Freeman

New World
This moment says no to the next.
Now is quite enough for the gathering birds
in the tall willows above the irrigation ditch.
It’s autumn and their intentions are in their blood.
Looking up at these chattering birds I become dizzy
but statistics say old men fall down a lot.
The earth is fairly soft here, so far from the world
of cement where people must live to make a living.
Despite the New Covenant you can’t eat the field’s lilies.
Today I think I see a new cold wind rushing through the air.
Of course I stare up too long because I love cedar waxwings,
their nasalate click and hiss, their cantankerous joy.
I fall and the dogs come running. Mary licks my face.
I tell them that this is a world where falling is best.

A problem is a challenge to our intelligence that can be solved; a mystery is a reality so deep and subtle that you have to find your way into it and have your life changed by it.
– Thomas Moore

The one thing you really ought to be allowed to do is to choose your ancestors. We have a term for this in anthropology: mythical ancestors… They are spiritual and mental ancestors, they’re not biological ancestors, but they are terribly important.
– Margaret Mead

Inside the book between the lines, was a place to rest and absorb the magic

When you do nothing you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.
– Maya Angelou

…I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
– Wendell Berry

All good things are one thing. Sunsets, schools of philosophy, cathedrals, operas, mountains, horses, poems – all these are mainly disguises. One thing is always walking among us in fancy-dress, in the grey cloak of a church or the green cloak of a meadow.
– G. K. Chesterton

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.

You start with what you can. You start here and now, from your local position. Because your feet are on the ground. You have to start from yourself, from your ground, not to be in the air. That’s why struggle starts locally, and it expands, and it connects globally. You have to start locally from your soil, from your village, from your country, from your state. To liberate yourself.
– Nawal el Saadawi

My soul is a striving to remember who I am, to make who I am compatible with who I was born to be, to bring who I am into synch with who I will be. My soul is a temporal striving to fill the space of my body, a sense of self that clings to space so that it can complete itself in time.
– Steven Foster, We Who Have Gone Before

Those who want to follow the Way of Beauty must break away from cultural dictatorship and move out into no-man’s land where everything is new and unknown. They must learn to live outside of stereotypes and worn-out attitudes, and free themselves from any bonds – roles, ties, ideologies, interests, or habits – that might hold them back. They must learn all over again, without fear or hesitation, to be themselves.
– Piero Ferrucci

The Hand That Holds the Pen Can Rock the World
Written in Honor of the 2016 San Miguel Writers Conference
I believe in Writers.
Because we can speak softly and loudly
and not carry a big stick.
Because we can link arms and not bear them.
Because we keep our commadres and compadres beside us,
And not behind us.
We can stage a play and a rally.
We change diapers, genres and the world.
We pick up the tempo, the children and the phone.
We make dinner, metaphors, and commitments.
Because we can write a novel, a poem and our Senator.
It’s the artist way. Not either/or.
It’s and/and/and.
I believe in writers.
We know the way of snake and moon, which is to say, edit and revise,
shift and change.
Because we apply ourselves, lipstick, and narrative structure.
Because we can form a carpool, a sentence, a chorus and a committee.
Because we think big and start small.
We take heart, take hands.
Make meaning, make music.
I believe in writers.
Because if I have and you need.
I know to lend and you know to borrow!
Because we write mysteries and bills.
Because we think circles and families.
Not me and mine, but us and ours.
Because we know how to talk together,
To cut —to the chase, and not to the funding.
I believe in writers!
We’re the next generation, the Star Fleet,
making love and films.
Because we’ve always known to cry.
We’ve always known to sing.
Teachers and nurses. Gardeners and librarians.
The work left to writers will build the new world.
We are part Papa H, part Lorca and Rimbaud,
Octavio Paz, and Joyce C O.
A smidgen of Rumi, and Barbara K,
Salinger, Marquez and Austin – J!
Daughters of Mirabai and Emily D,
Sons of Cervantes, Rilke and Keats.
James Baldwin, Gertie S. and Luis U.
Machado, Morrison and Dr Seuss,
We’re Dickens, and Langston, and Pablo N,
Alice Walker and Hopkins and Allen G.
We’re talented and passionate and plain.
I believe in writers.
We’re the hope of the ozone layer,
Mother’s of the rain forests,
Brothers of the homeless, Children of peace.
I believe in writers. Writers can. It’s time. We must.
– Judyth Hill

All of my life I have been a poet: Somebody moving in the world by means of words: Somebody working to tell the truth, always: Somebody hoping to change, to transform, inertia and injustice, wherever I encounter these things, into equitable and loving circumstances for everyone to share. My means to these desired ends is the word, is poetry.
– June Jordan

When we bless others, we offer them refuge from an indifferent world.
– Rachel Naomi Remen

Superheroes are what happens when any of us link hands and say we care.
– Andy Lipkis, TreePeople

We must slow down to a human tempo and we’ll begin to have time to listen.
– Thomas Merton

“Then, sing a psalm of the outsider race –
an entire nation of us without borders,
a conglomerate tribe of exiles recognisable
by the same light in our same eyes.”
– Nicholas Samaras “Rebetiko Psalm”

To know something is not always to have analyzed it and understood it but to have become its companion.
– Thomas Moore

From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other— above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.
– Albert Einstein

There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.
– Sarah Dessen

The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.
– Maya Angelou

When you came back
I saw the mountains in your eyes.
Your arms swept out
like long full limbs of sugar pine,
glinting in the final sun. You sagged
on the step, lifting the laces
of your boots like cedar logs

from the forest floor, but still
your eyes spoke luminous heaven,
the miles and country they had seen
never to surprise again as now
received and known in secret.
you cannot tell me. I will not ask.
Your mouth tastes like melting snow.

– Paul Willis
Madulce Cabin: A Fantasy

Love so needs to love
that it will endure almost anything, even abuse,
just to flicker for a moment. But the sky’s mouth is kind,
its song will never hurt you, for I
sing those words.

What will our children do in the morning
if they do not see us

– Rumi

Interdependence is a fact, it’s not an opinion.
– Peter Coyote

There must be room enough for time – where the sun can calibrate the day, not the wristwatch, for days or weeks of unordered time, time enough to forget the feel of the pavement and to get the feel of the earth, and of what is natural and right.
– Loren Eiseley

It’s ok to admit you are heartbroken.
It’s ok to see tragedy for what it is and name it out loud.
It’s ok to be brought to the ground.
It’s ok to take as long as it takes.
It’s ok to not put a mask on.
It’s actually more than ok.
– Belle Heywood

If I am not for others, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Take care of yourself — you never know when the world will need you.
Whosoever destroys a ‪‎soul‬, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whosoever that saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.‬
That which is hateful to you, do not unto another: This is the whole ‪‎Torah‬. The rest is commentary — go study.‬

― Rabbi ‪Hillel‬ the Elder‬
(110 BCE – 10 CE)

Sending These Messages
Over these writings I bent my head.
Now you are considering them. If you
turn away I will look up: a bridge
that was there will be gone.
For the rest of your life I will stand here,
reaching across.
If these writings can bring a turn
or an echo that touches you — maybe
a face, a slant, a tune — you will stop
too and bend over them. When you
look up, your thought will reach
wherever I am.
I know it is strange. and there is no measure
for this. The only connection we make
is like a twinge when sometimes they change
the beat in music, and we sprawl with it
and hear another world for a minute
that is almost there.
– William Stafford

At every moment, behind the most efficient seeming adult exterior, the whole world of the person’s childhood is being carefully held like a glass of water bulging above the brim. And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them. It’s their humanity, their real individuality, the one that can’t understand why it was born and that knows it will have to die, in no matter how crowded a place, quite on its own. That’s the carrier of all the living qualities. It’s the center of all the possible magic and revelation.
– Ted Hughes

And that’s how we measure out our real respect for people — by the degree of feeling they can register, the voltage of life they can carry and tolerate — and enjoy. End of sermon. As Buddha says: live like a mighty river. And as the old Greeks said: live as though all your ancestors were living again through you.
– Ted Hughes

As adults, we try to develop the character traits that would have rescued our parents.
– Alain de Botton

I said to the almond tree: “Friend, speak to me of God,” and the almond tree blossomed.
– Nikos Kazantzakis

Asking the proper question is the central action of transformation- in fairy tales, in analysis, and in individuation. The key question causes germination of consciousness. The properly shaped question always emanates from an essential curiosity about what stands behind. Questions are the keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to swing open.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estes

When you have come to the edge of all the light you have and step into the darkness of the unknown. Believe that one of the two will happen to you, either you’ll find something solid to stand on or you’ll be taught how to fly…
– Richard Bach

I still read the poems of old zen masters
Haiku, waka, tanka, or free-verse
I’ll read them all!
But there’s still dust upon the sutra library
I shut the book and place it on the mantle
Yes, its true I love Ryokan, Issa and Han-Shan
but I don’t need to read a mystery from a ghost
to solve a thousand year old koan
or find the beauty in a sunset
My real flesh and blood zen poets
are still walking on the road
and everyday their words wake me up
– Kolya L Novakova

Many people try to find a spiritual path where they do not have to face themselves but where they can still liberate themselves–liberate themselves from themselves, in fact. In truth, this is impossible. We cannot do that. We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our real shit, our most undesirable parts. We have to see that. That is the foundation of warriorship and the basis of conquering fear. We have to face our fear; we have to look at it, study it, work with it, and practice meditation with it.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Wondering why, to so many of us, so many times, ideas take precedence over other humans.
– Carli Toswei

I am making a movie for you, it’s just a very low budget movie, on the page.
– Joyce Maynard

I’ve learned the virtue of asking better questions. The world now needs the most vivid, transformative universe of words we can muster.
– Krista Tippett

Our intention is to affirm this life, not to bring order out of chaos, nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply to wake up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord.
– John Cage

The world is full of busy people
well-versed in countless views blind to their true natures
they get farther from the Way
if they could see what’s real
they wouldn’t talk about empty dreams
one thought answers your prayers
revealing a buddha’s view
– Red Pine “The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain”

Independent bookstores are wonderful, magical places. Because each book will have been hand-selected you know all of them are jewels just waiting to be discovered. And if an independent bookseller presses a particular book into your hands, you know it will come recommended from the heart. If you have an independent bookstore in your town, use it, treasure it.
– Claire Fuller, author of OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS

We are nothing much without one another.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

Every child behaves like a creative writer, in that he creates a world of his
own, or, rather, re-arranges the things of his world in a new way which pleases him.
– Sigmund Freud, Creative Writers and Daydreaming

I’m just going to write because I cannot help it. . . . There is a voice, there is an impulse that wakens up that dormant power which smites torpidity I sometimes think dead. That wind pouring in impetuous currents through the air, sounding wildly, …
– Charlotte Bronte

The recognition of the sacred begins simply when we care about every detail of our lives.
– Chogyam Trungpa

So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes, yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in them.
– Sylvia Plath

Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.
– Sylvia Plath

The Heater in the Old Car
I remember so many times when we were
All together in the car—the children there
On the way to town—and the heater working
—Or not. We were poor, sort of, but mostly
Proud, because we had old cars
And young horses. So we sang.
We belonged to the new way. No one worked
For us, in the cold, and we did the horses
Ourselves, and we had no insurance.
Most people pretended not to notice
How much we enjoyed our old car.
The war was over, and we had some horses.
– Robert Bly

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Without a conscious descent to the roots of our humanness, we have little empathy for all that lives and breathes, from the sacredness of this blessed earth to our fellow human beings. It could be said that our willingness to journey to our depths is a measure of our willingness to embrace the richness, complexity and mystery that is life itself.

The words human and humble derive from the Latin word humus meaning earth or ground. Without growing down into the dirt and darkness of the inner earth of our psyches we become desperately, even dangerously, separated from our humanness and our humbleness.
– Luisa Kolker

Compassion is not condescension. It is getting beyond one’s arrogance and, through open-minded cathartic caring, remembering to give a sh*t!
– Waylon Lewis

Chogyam Trungpa ~ The only thing to do is quite painfully unmask.

Chögyam Trungpa ~ The premise of Shambhala vision is that, in order to establish an enlightened society for others, we need to discover what inherently we have to offer the world. So, to begin with, we should make an effort to examine our own experience, in order to see what it contains that is of value in helping ourselves and others to uplift their existence.
Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

We should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.

– Philip Larkin

Dear Scarecrow
I, too, wish to confer with the flowers.
I, too, wish to consult with the rain,
but I have spent so many years
learning that I’ve lost the ability
to speak and listen in these natural tongues.
Today I sat beside an old spruce tree
for an hour and never understood
wat it had to tell me. I tried.
Perhaps that is the problem, the trying.
I don’t know how to do it any other way.
Oh Scarecrow, I know too much.
Me and all my certainties. I’ve made walls
out of what I took as wisdom, and now
I cannot see around them. I made
stories out of facts and histories, and now
I cannot hear the spruce. I can barely
hear my own wild heart as it shouts
in some strange language I have
filed away or perhaps I never knew?
Oh this brain, how it costumes
everything else into terms of risks,
probabilities and rules.
How I long to listen clearly
to the flowers, to the rain,
to my heart, to the spruce.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha’s Words on Loving-Kindness

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful,
Not proud or demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born —
May all beings be at ease!

Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

The best advice I can give you is to practise being neutral, centred and grounded … We’re taught all our lives that if we try really hard we will succeed… what bollocks… Stop “trying”, practise doing not-doing – “we shape clay into a pot but it’s the empty space it holds that’s useful”, “the good traveller never leaves home”
– Ian Watt

There’s an obvious, elemental truth linking rain and creative genesis. We can’t live without rain; it is life-giving, life-sustaining, though too much or too little brings disaster. When artists run out of ideas, we say they’ve hit a creative dry spell. The converse is also true: When poets write about thinking, they often write about rain. It becomes a soundtrack that invites—or even in some way resembles—thought, and that thinking-through to the beat of sound is the seed of all poetry.
– Emily Setina

And if there is one here, it’s this: I am emphatically not an example of someone who first was too busy with her kids to write, and then finally wasn’t too busy with her kids to write; so wrote. I am an example of someone who was a complete self-sabotaging head case, blocked, miserable, wasting days, years, despairing, depressed, mistreating the people around me, mistreating myself, certain that in old age I would feel a regret so keen that I feared that emotion more than I feared eventual death.
– Robin Black

We all have a role to play in making the world a better place for everybody.
– Jody Williams

the spiritual life is just being hung out to dry for 10 or 20 years, to drip away in the sunshine.
– Robert Kennedy

Eleven benefits to practicing Metta
(loving kindness meditation:

1. You will sleep easily
2. You will wake easily
3. You will have pleasant dreams
4. People will love you
5. Devas (gods or angels) and animals will love you
6. Devas will protect you
7. External dangers, such as poisons, weapons, and fire, will not harm you
8. Your face will be radiant
9. Your mind will be serene
10. You will die unconfused
11. You will be re-born in happy realms

(from Anguttara Nikaya 11.16)

I was feeling happier than in years and years, since childhood, I felt deliberate and glad and solitary.
– Jack Kerouac

Roaring dreams take place in a perfectly silent mind.
– Jack Kerouac

You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of those things will have to do with forgiveness.
– Cheryl Strayed

Amidst the modern rush and confusion something ancient and primordial is trying to catch up with us, an inner wisdom that alone can decipher a path through the mind-boggling dilemmas presented by both culture and nature. Myths involve primordial thinking, through which original ideas present at the very beginning return in order to begin it all again, even as it seems about to end.
– Michael Meade, The Water of Life

Field of Moving Colors Layered

I’m not easily mesmerized.
But how can you not be drawn in by swirls,
angles and whorls brought together to obey
a field of moving colors layered, muted    …    
others bright that make you linger
Just look at those Carpaccio reds.

Right then my mind
leaps to Cezanne:
his dark-blue vest in Self-Portrait (1879–1880);
the Seven Bathers (ca. 1900) wallowing in blue;
his blue beyond in Château Noir (1904).

Consider now the three, or is it four figures
in Alberto Valdés’s Untitled (ca. 1965).
They are wayward energy, moving right
to left (the right one more sensuous than the rest)
about to dive
into the deep-blue waiting — call it the unknown.
I’d like to be there when they meet that blue abyss
head on.
Will they keep their shape, I wonder,
or break up and rearrange themselves
into a brighter, more memorable pose
…    into a bigger elemental thing?

I’m really asking this:
When they run into the landscape of  blue,
will these figures lose their logic of  luster?
Will they lose their lucid argument of color,
their accumulated wealth of geometry?
Will they still engage the entire me,
hold me,
keep me mesmerized?

Choosing to risk one’s own authority, to step into the fearful place, to realize that one will be supported by something deep within each of us, is what brings us home to ourselves.
– James Hollis, Ph. D.

Like the tender fires of stars moments of their life together, that no one knew of or would ever know of, broke upon and illuminated his memory
– James Joyce

a wisdom of stars and forests, landscapes and living creatures, a wisdom of the connection between all things.
– David Spangler Conversations with the Sidhe

To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance.
To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you.
To seek joy in the saddest places.
To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple.
To respect strength, never power.
Above all, to watch. To try and understand.
To never look away. And never, never to forget.
– Arundhati Roy

The marks of wildness are a love of nature, a delight in silence, a voice free to say spontaneous things, and an exuberant curiosity in the face of the unknown.
– Robert Bly

Regard language as a person – a friend – and you’ll have earned a mighty ally.
– Carli Toswei

Real poetry is to lead a beautiful life. To live poetry is better than to write it.
– Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694), unaffiliated Zen master

Poets are people who become utterly dedicated to the threshold where silence and language meet. One of the crucial tasks of the poet’s vocation is to find his or her own voice. When you begin to write, you feel you are writing fine poetry; then you read other poets only to find that they have already written similar poems. You realize that you were unconsciously imitating them. It takes a long time to sift through the more superficial voices of your own gift in order to enter into the deep signature and tonality of your Otherness. When you speak from that deep, inner voice, you are really speaking from the unique tabernacle of your own presence. There is a voice within you that no one, not even you, has ever heard.
– John O’Donohue

To pray, you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know that there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear
Can’t know, except in moments
Steadily growing
And in languages that aren’t always sound
But other circles of motion
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River
Circled in blue sky, in wind
Swept our hearts clean with sacred wings
We see you see ourselves
And know that we must take
The utmost care and kindness
In all things
Breathe in, knowing we are made of all of this
And breathe, knowing we are truly blessed
Because we were born and die soon
Within a true circle of motion.
Like eagle, rounding out the morning inside us
We pray that it will be done
In beauty, in beauty
– Joy Harjo

Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors
which it passes to a row of ancient trees.
You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you
one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth.
leaving you, not really belonging to either,
not so hopelessly dark as that house that is silent,
not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing
that turns to a star each night and climbs-
leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)
your own life, timid and standing high and growing,
so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,
one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

I just wasn’t made for these times.
– The Beach Boys

Perhaps real wisdom lies in not seeking answers at all. Any answer we find will not be true for long. An answer is a place where we can fall asleep as life moves past us to its next question. After all these years, I have begun to wonder if the secret of living well is not in having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.
– Rachel Naomi Remen

You’ve traveled up ten thousand steps in search of the Dharma;
So many long days in the archives, copying, copying.
The gravity of the Tang and the profundity of the Sung
Make heavy baggage.
Here! I’ve picked you a bunch of wildflowers.
Their meaning is the same
But they’re much easier to carry.
– Chan Master Hsu Yun

There is something stark and truthful in contentment. It is a fundamental acceptance of constant change, of loss and death as part of what makes for meaningful wholeness. Without that acceptance do we ever settle down into the wonder, the adventure and the grace of being alive?
– Gunilla Norris

For billions of years, billions of creatures
have made a home on this jeweled planet
of water and stone. Wild love affairs
— Sun and Earth; fungi and algae; bacteria
and mitochondria — preceded and spawned us,
our ancestral lineage recorded in the original eyes
of trilobites, in undulating muscle of jellyfish,
in ancient skeletal minerals sketched first
in the dark heart of stars.

Peering billions of years backwards in time,
we probe deep space and cosmogenesis,
decipher the unfurling story of life,
yet barely perceive the future hurtling
toward us, even as it’s shaped
by our ambitious grasping hands and filled
with the stuff of human imagination —
however impoverished or vast.

Billions of creatures already know
their perfect place in the cosmic dance —
their specific genius expressed in relation
to nectar or coral reef, sequoia or hawk.
Millions of unlettered species already answer
questions we have barely begun to ask —
the oldest mystery school apparent in ones
who commune without cults, communicate
without language, migrate without combustion,
or —without brains or hands— couple with the Sun,
birthing energy from endlessly streaming photons.

What must they think of us — hungry ghosts,
hooked up to plasma TV, gathering faraway food
in packages, drinking from bottles of plastic,
razing forests for scented tissue and catalogues,
slicing our own flesh for pleasure or perfection,
pouring poison into the faultless bodies of children,
loading the tender arms of young men and women
with bombs and guns, exploding their minds
with the dismembered bodies of their own kind
before they know how to wallow with a lover
in wildflowers, beneath the holy Moon
and burning eyes of the gods, before they know
what genius smolders in them, awaiting fire,
before they know how to pluck a columbine
and offer cool nectar to the lover’s tongue?

This is the way it’s always been:
Billions of creatures co—arising, fading in and out
of the irreversible cosmic symphony. Do they regret
living as they must, cued to primal harmonics
of tide and storm, phytoplankton
and oak, lion and vole?

And what of us?
In the last green flash of consciousness,
before we are swallowed by the great night sea,
will we wonder if we have left a wake of ruin
or of celebration — an offering
of reciprocal magnitude
to the billowing imagination
and wild cosmic womb
from which we first emerged
as spark, as seed,
as a fragile embryo
of possibility?

– Geneen Marie Haugen

Never mind.
The self is the least of it.
Let our scars fall in love.
– Galway Kinnell

I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. To stand for something, and to have made some difference that you lived at all.
– Leo Rosten

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.
– Abraham Maslow

All cultures and human beings are part of nature. We also remain, despite technical advancement and all of our progress, embedded in nature and dependent on it. Nature, though, is full of Mandalas, and thus it cannot be overlooked that in the truest sense of the word they are universal—the one in all the different expressions.
– Rudiger Dahlke, Mandalas of the World

The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention… A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.
– Rachel Naomi Remen

by David Whyte
What is precious
inside us does not care
to be known by the mind
in ways
that diminish its presence.

As technological civilization diminishes the biotic diversity of the earth, language itself is diminished. As there are fewer and fewer songbirds in the air, due to the destruction of their forests and wetlands, human speech loses more and more of its evocative power. For when we no longer hear the voices of warbler and wren, our own speaking can no longer be nourished by their cadences. As the splashing speech of the rivers is silenced by more and more dams, as we drive more and more of the land’s wild voices into the oblivion of extinction, our own languages become increasingly impoverished and weightless, progressively emptied of their earthly resonance.
– David Abram

Above all…make this your business: learn how to feel joy….
– Seneca

It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling…
– Aldous ‪‎Huxley‬

Chogyam Trungpa ~ What is needed is more Skillful Means and less Wisdom. If there is too much wisdom you loose your Skillful Means

You start dying slowly
if you do not travel,
if you do not read,
If you do not listen to the sounds of life,
If you do not appreciate yourself.
You start dying slowlyUP
When you kill your self-esteem;
When you do not let others help you.
You start dying slowly
If you become a slave of your habits,
Walking everyday on the same paths…
If you do not change your routine,
If you do not wear different colours
Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.
You start dying slowly
If you avoid to feel passion
And their turbulent emotions;
Those which make your eyes glisten
And your heart beat fast.
You start dying slowly
If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,
If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
If you do not go after a dream,
If you do not allow yourself,
At least once in your lifetime,
To run away from sensible advice…
– Pablo Neruda

Above all, don’t wish to become a Buddha;
Your only concern should be,
As thought follows thought,
To avoid clinging to any of them.
– Dōgen

The Map

You were the first time I didn’t settle
for less than a perfect dream
yours was the first kiss that made my heart melt
like a hollywood ending
even though my heart will twist
and turn the whole way through
please bare with me as it separates in two

Maybe it’s the cloud passing by the sun
maybe it’s the child that hasn’t come
but we’re travelers, and we’re weary, weary

As I sit here touching cities
on a map of New York state
the days not yet half over
but the darkness feels so late
you fold that map between us
wet and wrinkled from my tears
you’re doubting us in silence
until the darkness clears

Maybe it’s the cloud passing by the sun
maybe it’s the child that hasn’t come
or what the maker of the map has left undone

god only knows, that these cities can’t sustain us
just one twisted sign post
and you’re half a life away
but I am convinced, that this map was meant to join us
the roads are the clue, they branch out to meet you

Maybe it’s the cloud passing by the sun
maybe it’s the child that hasn’t come
but we’re travelers, and we’re weary, weary
Maybe it’s the cloud passing by the sun
maybe it’s the child that hasn’t come
or what the maker of the map has left undone

– Dee Carstensen

We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still.
– Carl Sagan

You have to lose a lot of other things that are not wisdom to come up with sanity.
– Stephen Jenkinson

To see the death of what you love and to be willing to continue to love it, when it’s not going to last, that itself is an act of love. That’s what you do. That’s your last great act of love, to see it down.
– Stephen Jenkinson

Silence. A silent mind. Beauty emerges as appearances …. a flowing river, the rise and fall of a wave. Without contradiction form and emptiness – neither two nor one. No one can give this to you. No one can take it away.
– t.k.

You are more than this beastly form.
Humanity is chivalry and grace.
It’s no great skill
To gain the whole world.
If you can … Love someone.
– Sa‘di, 13th-century Persian sage

The Word
by Tony Hoagland
Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,
between “green thread”
and “broccoli,” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”
Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend
and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,
and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing
that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds
of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder
or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,
but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom
still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,
—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.

If somebody is waking for the first time from a deep sleep, she might see the midnight stars. But if she waits long enough without going back to sleep, she will begin to see not only stars but the dawn, then the sunrise, and then the whole landscape being lit by a brilliant light coming from the sky. She will begin to see her hands, her palms, her toes, and she will also begin to see her tables, her chairs, and the world around her. And if she is clever enough to look at a mirror, she will also see herself. Similarly, the truth of the cessation of suffering is a personal discovery. It is not mystical and it does not have any connotations of religion or psychology. It is simply your experience.
– Chögyam Trungpa

Everything is perfect on the street again, the world is permeated with roses of happiness all the time, but none of us know it.
– Jack Kerouac

We should not feel embarrassed by our difficulties, only by our failure to grow anything beautiful from them.
– Alain De Botton

What I really wanted was every kind of life, and the writer’s life seemed the most inclusive.
– Susan Sontag

Beauty, and grace, and wit are rare;
And even intelligence:
But lovelier than hawthorn seen in May,
Or mistletoe berries on Innocent’s Day
The face that, open as heaven, doth wear —
With kindness for its sunshine there —
Good nature and good sense.

Walter de la Mare,
Inward Companion and Other Poems
(Faber and Faber 1950).

Despite everything, we are good people, who can hardly live in this world that continues almost entirely at our expense. The best thing is to keep on moving arms and legs, and watch the waves, almost as though moving forward. In this way, despair turns quickly over to happiness, and back to despair again. And, if you reach the beach, walk back across it like everything is fine, toward your family who would not like to see the abyss you have just swum over.
– Joanna Walsh

Just for the record being mean to people is not a form of social change. While we’re at it, demonstrating that you have dramatic emotions about bad things is not a form of social change even if you can prove you have more dramatic emotions than other people do. Many people who are not that dramatic are doing really good work right now.
– Rebecca Solnit

culture is richest where there’s
the greatest ratio
land : coast

- After Barry Cunliffe

We have to study with our warm heart, not just with our brain.
– Suzuki Roshi

Already one day has detached itself from all the rest up ahead.
It has my photograph in its soft pocket.
It wants to carry my breath into the past in its bag of wind.

I write poems to untie myself, to do penance and disappear
Through the upper right-hand corner of things, to say grace.
– Charles Wright

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
– John Burroughs, Leaf and Tendril

Is the spring coming? he said. What is it like?…
It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

… spring is over, but i can tell it hasn’t been gone for long. azaleas continue in bloom, wild wisteria hangs from the pine trees, and a cuckoo now and then passes by. i even have greetings from the jays, and woodpeckers that peck at things, though I don’t really mind-in fact, i rather enjoy them…fragrant southern breezes blow down from the mountain tops, and north winds, dampened by the lake, are cool…fireflies weave through the air in the dusk of evening, clapper rails tap out their notes-there’s surely no lack of beautiful scenes… i’ve worn out my body in journeys that are as aimless as the winds and clouds, and expended my feelings on flowers and birds. but somehow I’ve been able to make a living this way, and so in the end, unskilled and talentless as i am, i give myself wholly to this one concern, poetry…
– Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
from his letter titled “the hut of the phantom dwelling”

Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world.
The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same.
Every wonderful sight will vanish, every sweet word will fade,
But do not be disheartened,
The source they come from is eternal, growing,
Branching out, giving new life and new joy.
Why do you weep?
The source is within you
And this whole world is springing up from it.
– Rumi

If there are mountains, I look at the mountains; on rainy days I listen to the rain. Spring, summer, autumn, winter. Tomorrow too will be good. Tonight too will be good.
-Santoka Taneda (1882-1940)
wandering Zen priest, poet, lover of sake
via Frank Owen.

for a moment
the typewriters will stop clicking,
the wheels stop rolling
the computers desist from computing,
and a hush will fall over the city.
For an instant, in the stillness,
the chiming of the celestial spheres will be heard
as earth hangs poised
in the crystalline darkness, and then
Let there be a season
when holiness is heard, and
the splendor of living is revealed.
Stunned to stillness by beauty
we remember who we are and why we are here.
There are inexplicable mysteries.
We are not alone.
In the universe there moves a Wild One
whose gestures alter earth’s axis
toward love.
In the immense darkness
everything spins with joy.
The cosmos enfolds us.
We are caught in a web of stars,
cradled in a swaying embrace,
rocked by the holy night,
babes of the universe.
Let this be the time
we wake to life,
like spring wakes, in the moment
of winter solstice….

The First Green of Spring

Our walking in the swamp picking cowslip, marsh marigold,
this sweet first green of spring. Now sautéed in a pan melting
to a deeper green than ever they were alive, this green, this life,

harbinger of things to come. Now we sit at the table munching
on this message from the dawn which says we and the world
are alive again today, and this is the world’s birthday. And

even though we know we are growing old, we are dying, we
will never be young again, we also know we’re still right here
now, today, and, my oh my! don’t these greens taste good.
– David Budbill

The Four Winds of Scotland
My melodious, gentle breeze blowing from southward in my Summer
birchwood is she;
my ocean storm, with downpour sending in headlong spate each
burn for me;
the north wind with driving snow that makes beautiful the hills for me;
the wind that drives my Springtime muirburn up the slopes of glens
is she.

The leaves of Summer, the spate of Autumn, the snowdrifts and the
high Spring wind is she;
the sough of the woodland, the roaring of waterfalls, the freshness of
the snow and the heather ablaze is she;
mild pleasantness and melody, angry pride and courage, growth and
the pouring of the showers is she;
breath of my body, nurture of my understanding, my hands, my joints
and my soul is she.
All year long, each season through, each day and each fall of dusk
for me,
it is Scotland, Highland and Lowland, that is laughter and warmth and
life for me.
– George Campbell Hay

For the person open to self-examination, everything he or she touches turns to curing and medicinal goods. For the person who blames others, there are spears and halberds when his or her heart is stirred. The one opens up the road to all that is good; the other opens the springboard for all that is evil. They are as different as Heaven and Hell.
– Hung Ying-ming

They took to silence. They touched each other without comment and without progression. A hand on a hand, a clothed arm, resting on an arm. An ankle overlapping an ankle, as they sat on a beach, and not removed. One night they fell asleep, side by side… He slept curled against her back, a dark comma against her pale elegant phrase.
– A.S. Byatt

Solitude is my Treasure, the best thing I have. I hesitate to go out. If you opened the little gate, I would not hop away—but oh how I sing in my gold cage.
– A.S. Byatt

write to me, write to me, I love to see the hop and skip and sudden starts of your ink.
– A.S. Byatt

I would desire to have no other prison than a library, and to be chained together with as many good authors.
– Robert Burton

I apologize for my record of minuets to those who cry from the depths.
– Wisława Szymborska

Without you, I am like winter, tormenting everyone. With you, I am a rose garden in spring.
– Rumi

Use loneliness. Its ache creates urgency to reconnect with the world. Take that aching and use it to propel you deeper into your need for expression – to speak, to say who you are.
– Natalie Goldberg

If it counteracts negative emotions it is Dharma. If it doesn’t, it is non-Dharma. If it doesn’t fit in with worldly ways, it is Dharma. If it fits, it’s non-Dharma. If it fits with the scriptures and your lama’s instructions it is Dharma. If it doesn’t fit, it’s non-Dharma. If it leaves a positive imprint, it is Dharma. If it leaves a negative imprint, it is non-Dharma.
– Patrul Rinpoche

There may be no cure for heartbreak, but there are three reliable remedies: Bach, Bach, Bach.
– Maria Popova

I would vote for Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again. We would be bragging of course, but it is surely excusable to put the best possible face on at the beginning of such an acquaintance.
– Lewis Thomas

I can whistle almost the whole of the Fifth Symphony, all four movements, and with it I have solaced many a whining hour to sleep. It answers all my questions, the noble, mighty thing, it is “green pastures and still waters” to my soul. Indeed, without music I should wish to die. Even poetry, Sweet Patron Muse forgive me the words, is not what music is. I find that lately more and more my fingers itch for a piano, and I shall not spend another winter without one. Last night I played for about two hours, the first time in a year, I think, and though most everything is gone enough remains to make me realize I could get it back if I had the guts. People are so dam lazy, aren’t they? Ten years I have been forgetting all I learned so lovingly about music, and just because I am a boob. All that remains is Bach. I find that I never lose Bach. I don’t know why I have always loved him so. Except that he is so pure, so relentless and incorruptible, like a principle of geometry.
– Edna St. Vincent Millay

Language is one of the best data-compression mechanisms we have… Twelve words from Voltaire can hold a lifetime of experience.
– IBM’s Martin Wattenberg

Our kinship with Earth must be maintained; otherwise, we will find ourselves trapped in the center of our own paved-over souls with no way out.
– Terry Tempest Williams

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.
– Søren Kierkegaard, from a letter to his favourite niece, Henriette Lund, in 1847

Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure. Consider also the devilish brilliance and beauty of many of its most remorseless tribes, as the dainty embellished shape of many species of sharks. Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began.

Consider all this; and then turn to the green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half-known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!
– Herman Melville

The power of quiet is great. It generates the same feelings in everything one encounters.
– Maildoma Somé

Often have I seen them come together,
two old friends, two crofters,
who after a brief murmured greeting
will stand wordlessly together,
side by side, not facing each other,
and look out on the land whose
ways and memories unite them,
breathe in the air, and the scent of
tobacco and damp and lamb scour,
in the certain knowledge that talk
would hamper that expansive communion,
break in on their golden awareness
of all there is between them.
– translated by Meg Bateman

I open the curtains to watch earth / hold such pouring silver / until I forget I’m human.
– Wang Xiaoni

No heirloom of humankind captures the past as do art and language.
– Theodore Bikel

I see all of us reading ourselves away from ourselves, straining in circles of light to find more light until the line of words becomes a trail of crumbs that we follow across a page of fresh snow…
– Billy Collins
(Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems)

Compassion is a spiritual technology.
– Krista Tippett

Compassion is a piece of vocabulary that could change us if we truly let it sink into the standards by which we hold ourselves and others.
– Krista Tippett

I’m basically a poetry scholar, and I’m happier here in my studio with my row of Chinese dictionaries than I am, frankly, at Lincoln Center.
– Sam Hamill

What poetry does above all else is develop sensibility. And that’s what makes poetry so dangerous. That’s why poetry is so good at undermining governments and so bad at building them. There’s nothing harder to organize than a group of poets.
– Sam Hamill

Just as I wonder
whether it’s going to die,
the orchid blossoms
and I can’t explain why it
moves my heart, why such pleasure
comes from one small bud
on a long spindly stem, one
blood red gold flower
opening at mid-summer,
tiny, perfect in its hour.
– Sam Hamill

If only we could touch the things of this world at their center, if we could only hear tiny leaves of birch struggling toward April, then we would know.
– Sam Hamill

Poetry transcends the nation-state. Poetry transcends government. It brings the traditional concept of power to its knees. I have always believed poetry to be an eternal conversation in which the ancient poets remain contemporary, a conversation inviting us into other languages and cultures even as poetry transcends language and culture, returning us again and again to primal rhythms and sounds.
– Sam Hamill

When I was young the silk
of my mind
hard as a peony head
and wind bloomed the parachute:

The air-head tugged me
tore my roots loose and drove
high, so high

I want to touch down now
and taste the ground
I want to take in
my silk
and ask where I am
before it is too late to know.

– Archie Randolph Ammons

If your soul is your ultimate place in the world, and you need to live from that place to be fully yourself, then the world cannot be fully itself until you become fully yourself.
– Bill Plotkin

from ‘Poema 4’

But if you stretch out your body, suddenly in the
lugubrious shadow, your blood upwells into the
river of time and I hear
the whole sky cascading over my love
and you’re part of the wildfire that sparks my
whole lineage

– Pablo Neruda,
translated from the Spanish by Forest Gander

from Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda

Heart is hiding everywhere, and when I look without eyes, I fall immediately into that warm abyss – and then the concepts that were my crutch, the judgments that were my prison, the armor that was my skin disappears and the Heart hides nowhere, the Seeker ceases seeking, knowing Everywhere, Everywhere Heart.
– (‘Everywhere Heart’, Em Claire)

Monet Refuses the Operation
by Lisel Mueller, from Second Language

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

It strikes me that the depths of this world only reveal themselves to those who are willing to love it’s ugliness.
– Steve Pelletier

If you wish to be heard, speak gently. The same holds true in speaking to ourselves.
– Yahia Lababidi

Gentle speech expresses your dignity, as does having good head and shoulders. It would be very strange if someone had good head and shoulders and began to bark…If you want to communicate with others, you don’t have to shout and bang on the table in order to get them to listen. If you are telling the truth, then you can speak gently, and your words will have power.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

You must improve yourself on a higher level if you are to be able to help people, and not just weep over them.
– Idries Shah

If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it. If we cannot find a way to make our wounds into sacred wounds, we invariably give up on life and humanity.
– Richard Rohr

Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark.
– Kate DiCamillo

The Almanac of Last Things
From the almanac of last things
I choose the spider lily
for the grace of its brief
blossom, though I myself
fear brevity,

but I choose The Song of Songs
because the flesh
of those pomegranates
has survived
all the frost of dogma.

I choose January with its chill
lessons of patience and despair – and
August, too sun-struck for lessons.
I choose a thimbleful of red wine
to make my heart race,

then another to help me
sleep. From the almanac
of last things I choose you,
as I have done before.
And I choose evening

because the light clinging
to the window
is at its most reflective
just as it is ready
to go out.
– Linda Pastan

A lifetime may not be long enough to attune ourselves fully to the harmony of the universe. But just to become aware that we can resonate with it — that alone can be like waking up from a dream.
– Brother David Steindl-Rast

..A man ought to vote with his head and heart, his soul and stomach, his eye for faces and his ear for music; … If he has ever seen a fine sunset, the crimson color of it should creep into his vote. The question is not so much whether only a minority of the electorate votes. The point is that only a minority of the voter votes.
– Gilbert K. Chesterton

Singing Mice

I found a new grief today:

Scientists have discovered that
mice sing like birds, but we can’t
hear them.

I don’t want to be left out of life.

– Jamie K. Reaser

The emergence and blossoming of understanding, love, and intelligence has nothing to do with any tradition, no matter how ancient or impressive–it has nothing to do with time. It happens on its own when a human being questions, wonders, inquires, listens, and looks without getting stuck in fear, pleasure, and pain. When self-concern is quiet, in abeyance, heaven and earth are open.
– Toni Packer

Our personal journey is rarely easy, and our global journey is even less so. Because everything is interdependent, we have to work on both of these levels at once. Trying to change society without deeply understanding our heartmind won’t work. Your own road home can never be separated from society’s journey. We need a unifying theory and language that allow us to link the lessons of our personal journey with the situation facing our world. The important question then, a question laced with a gorgeous irony, is, “How do we get home from here?” Or, maybe more appropriate, “How do we get here from here?
– Ethan Nichtern

Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. … [Write] knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them.
– Edwidge Danticat

If you think about all of the various stories of the trail in the American West, they will break your heart. But in these stories of broken hearts, there is also healing and joy. And that joy and that healing has come from the land itself. And I don’t think we can forget that – that the land literally brings us back to a reverential state of mind where we realize that the health of the land is the health of the people. It is about Spirit. And in that Spirit are our seeds of joy, and that’s where I stake my claim in the future.
– Terry Tempest Williams
In Ken Burns’ “The West”

There is a difficulty with only one person changing. People call that person a great saint or a great mystic or a great leader, and they say, ‘Well, he’s different from me – I could never do it.’ What’s wrong with most people is that they have this block – they feel they could never make a difference, and therefore, they never face the possibility, because it is too disturbing, too frightening.
– David Bohm

What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.
– Nietzsche

The real question that Nietzsche is asking is whether there might be ONE single moment in our lives that makes it all worth it… that makes all of the bad still worth it…
and for me? that is a definitive YES.
– Ari Annona

The value of things is not the time they last, but the intensity with which they occur.
– Fernando Pessoa

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Though free to think and act, we are held together, like the stars in the firmament, with ties inseparable. These ties cannot be seen, but we can feel them.
– Nikola Tesla

If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes & shoddy furniture let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas & shoddy philosophies.
– Einstein

‘Living water’
The Hill Burns by Nan Shepherd
So without sediment
Run the clear burns of my country,
Fiercely pure,
Transparent as light
Gathered into its own unity,
Lucent and without colour;
Or green,
Like clear deeps of air,
Light massed upon itself,
Like the green pinions,
Cleaving the trouble of approaching night,
Shining in their own lucency,
Of the great angels that guarded the Mountain;
Or amber so clear
It might have oozed from the crystal trunk
Of the tree Paradisal,
Symbol of life,
That grows in the presence of God eternally.
And these pure waters
Leap from the adamantine rocks,
The granites and schists
Of my dark and stubborn country.
From gaunt heights they tumble,
Harsh and desolate lands,
The plateau of Braeriach
Where even in July
The cataracts of wind
Crash in the corries with the boom of seas in anger;
And Corrie Etchachan
Down whose precipitous
Narrow defile
Thunder the fragments of rock
Broken by winter storms
From their aboriginal place;
And Muich Dhui’s summit,
Rock defiant against frost and the old grinding of ice,
Wet with the cold fury of blinding cloud,
Through which the snow-fields loom up, like ghosts from a world of eternal annihilation,
And far below, where the dark waters of Etchachan are wont to glint,
An unfathomable void.
Out of these mountains,
Out of the defiant torment of Plutonic rock,
Out of fire, terror, blackness and upheaval,
Leap the clear burns,
Living water,
Like some pure essence of being,
Invisible in itself,
Seen only by its movement.

It’s never too late to restart, rebuild, or rethink.
– Neeraj Sabharwal

The ultimate reason for meditating is to transform ourselves in order to be better able to transform the world.
– Matthieu Ricard

Be that self which one truly is.
– Soren Kierkegaard

When one is pretending, the entire body revolts.
– Anais Nin

What makes us each unique and therefore genuinely human is more vital than any dogma or doctrine and more creative than any ideology or system of belief. For the ideas seeded in our souls from the beginning confound all the ideologies and trump all the abstract systems.
– Michael Meade

Listen, my child, to the silence.
An undulating silence,
a silence
that turns valleys and echoes slippery,
that bends foreheads
toward the ground.

– Federico García Lorca

For look, the whole is infinitely newer
than a cable or a high apartment house.
The stars keep blazing with an ancient fire
and all the more recent fires will fade out.

Not even the largest, strongest of transmissions
can turn the wheels from what will be.
Across the moment, aeons speak with aeons.

– Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

The soul has been given its own ears to hear things the mind does not understand.
– Jalalud’din Rumi

Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means to escape.
– bell hooks

Be still
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
To speak your


To the living walls.
Who are you?
Are you? Whose
Silence are you?

Who (be quiet)
Are you (as these stones
Are quiet). Do not
Think of what you are
Still less of

What you may one day be.
Be what you are (but who?) be
The unthinkable one
You do not know.

O be still, while
You are still alive,
And all things live around you
Speaking (I do not hear)
To your own being,
Speaking by the Unknown
That is in you and in themselves.

“I will try, like them
To be my own silence:
And this is difficult. The whole
World is secretly on fire. The stones
Burn, even the stones
They burn me. How can a man be still or
Listen to all things burning? How can he dare
To sit with them when
All their silence
Is on fire?”

– Thomas Merton


hiding in this cage
of visible matter

is the invisible

pay attention
to her

she is singing
your song

– Kabir

The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.
– Terence McKenna

Remember the quiet wonders. The world has more need of them than it has for warriors.
– Charles de Lint

That’s the thing about magic; you’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.
– Charles de Lint

A simple way to become more awake is to develop an active, thoughtful relationship with the sky, knowing its rhythms.
– Thomas Moore

We must remember how to honor and respect life with each breath, step, word, and thought. What you bless blesses you in return. This is the power of reciprocity.
– Sandra Ingerman

Which world are we trying to sustain: a resource to fulfill our desires of material prosperity, or an Earth of wonder, beauty, and sacred meaning?
– Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.
– Joan D. Chittister

These lines are not intended for those seeking truth in light but rather for those finding meaning in darkness.
– Greg Sellers

But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called—called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.
– Jack London

Chogyam Trungpa ~ If we see things as they are, then we do not have to interpret or analyze them further; we do not need to try to understand things by imposing spiritual experience or philosophical ideas upon them. As a famous Zen master said ‘When I eat, I eat; when I sleep, I sleep.’ Just do what you do, completely, fully. ~ Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

What good is it to inhabit this place
if you don’t inhabit your life?
– Jamie K Reaser

I believe in poetry as a way of surviving the emotional chaos, spiritual confusions and traumatic events that come with being alive.
– Gregory Orr

When there’s no aggression, there is natural passion ~the passion to be, the passion to hold up Head and Shoulders.
– Choygam Trungpa

Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry or savour their songs.
– Nelson Mandela

Hope is with you when you believe
The earth is not a dream but living flesh,
That sight, touch, and hearing do not lie,
That all things you have ever seen here
Are like a garden looked at from a gate.

You cannot enter. But you’re sure it’s there.
Could we but look more clearly and wisely
We might discover somewhere in the garden
A strange new flower and an unnamed star…

– Czeslaw Milosz

I’m old-fashioned and think that reading books is the most glorious pastime that humankind has yet devised. Homo Ludens dances, sings, produces meaningful gestures, strikes poses, dresses up, revels, and performs elaborate rituals. I don’t wish to diminish the significance of these distractions — without them human life would pass in unimaginable monotony and, possibly, dispersion and defeat. But these are group activities, above which drifts a more or less perceptible whiff of collective gymnastics. Homo Ludens with a book is free. At least as free as he’s capable of being. He himself makes up the rules of the game, which are subject only to his own curiosity. He’s permitted to read intelligent books, from which he will benefit, as well as stupid ones, from which he may also learn something. He can stop before finishing one book, if he wishes, while starting another at the end and working his way back to the beginning. He may laugh in the wrong places or stop short at words that he’ll keep for a lifetime. And, finally, he’s free — and no other hobby can promise this — to eavesdrop on Montaigne’s arguments or take a quick dip in the Mesozoic.
– Wislawa Szymborska

A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another.
– Rebecca Solnit

Love her, but leave her wild.
– Atticus Finch

The idea that there are two worlds or two rivers is found in many spiritual traditions. The first is the world of our day-to-day functioning with all its dogs of commentaries, opinions, ideas, as well as the emotions that move through us like the weather. The second world is completely different. It’s related to silence and seems composed of an entirely different order. This second world is always beckoning to us, but it is hidden behind the veil of the first world. Siddhartha describes this second world beautifully as “a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”
– Luke Storms

Meditation is the silence of the mind, but in that silence, in that intensity, in that total alertness, the mind is no longer the seat of thought, because thought is time, thought is memory, thought is knowledge. And when it is completely quiet and highly sensitive, the mind can take a voyage which is timeless, limitless.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti, “Talks in Europe,” Paris, April 1968

When you really pay attention, everything is your teacher.
– Ezra Bayda

An essential part of true listening is the discipline of bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting aside of one’s own prejudices, frames of reference and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker’s world from the inside, step in inside his or her shoes. This unification of speaker and listener is actually and extension and enlargement of ourselves, and new knowledge is always gained from this. Moreover, since true listening involves bracketing, a setting aside of the self, it also temporarily involves a total acceptance of the other. Sensing this acceptance, the speaker will fell less and less vulnerable and more and more inclined to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener. As this happens, speaker and listener begin to appreciate each other more and more, and the duet dance of love is begun again.
– M. Scott Peck, MD

Perhaps there are events and things that work as a doorway into a mythical world, the world of first people, all the way back to the creation of the universe and the small quickenings of earth, the first stirrings of human beings at the beginnings of time. Our elders believe this to be so, that it is possible to wind a way backwards to the start of things, and in doing so find a form of sacred reason, different from ordinary reason, that is linked to forces of nature. In this kind of mind, like in the feather, is the power of sky and thunder and sun, and many have had alliances and partnerships with it, a way of thought older than measured time, less primitive than the rational present. Others have tried for centuries to understand the world by science and intellect but have not yet done so, not yet understood animals, finite earth, or even their own minds and behavior. The more they seek to learn the world, the closer they come to the spiritual, the magical origins of creation.

There is a still place, a gap between the worlds, spoken by the tribal knowings of thousands of years. In it are silent flyings that stand aside from human struggles and the designs of our own makings. At times, when we are silent enough, still enough, we take a step into such mystery, the place of spirit, and mystery, we must remember, by its very nature does not wish to be known.

– Linda Hogan

We can choose life. Even as we face global climate disruption, world-encompassing nuclear contamination, hydro-fracking, mountaintop removal mining, tar sands extraction, deep sea drilling and the genetic engineering of our food supply, we can still choose life. We can still act for the sake of a livable world.

It is crucial that we know this: we can meet our needs without destroying our life-support system.

– Joanna Macy

It is highly valued: look at our politicians, they live by peddling it!
I find it to be the single largest impediment to open to a great experience of Self, and indeed diminishes the opportunity to move into the required energies of surrender, faith and trust, as well as love.

It creates separation and interferes with the natural flow of energies, including wisdom. I can work with anyone, yet if they are cursed with skepticism, I find that to be a barrier unlike any other.
– David Nelson

Once a day look at one soulless aspect of your culture and don’t participate.
– Thomas Moore

Mind Wanting More

Only a beige slat of sun
above the horizon, like a shade pulled
not quite down. Otherwise,
clouds. Sea rippled here and
there. Birds reluctant to fly.
The mind wants a shaft of sun to
stir the grey porridge of clouds,
an osprey to stitch sea to sky
with its barred wings, some dramatic
music: a symphony, perhaps
a Chinese gong.

But the mind always
wants more than it has —
one more bright day of sun,
one more clear night in bed
with the moon; one more hour
to get the words right; one
more chance for the heart in hiding
to emerge from its thicket
in dried grasses — as if this quiet day
with its tentative light weren’t enough,
as if joy weren’t strewn all around.
– Holly Hughes

Whatever it is that pulls the pin, that hurls you past the boundaries of your own life into a brief and total beauty, even for a moment, it is enough.
– Jeanette Winterson

The swarm of words
and little stories
are just to loosen you
from where you are stuck.
– Shitou Xiqian

Can You Imagine?

For example, what the trees do
not only in lightning storms
or the watery dark of a summer’s night
or under the white nets of winter
but now, and now, and now — whenever
we’re not looking. Surely you can’t imagine
they don’t dance, from the root up, wishing
to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting
a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly
more shade — surely you can’t imagine they just
stand there loving every
minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings
of the years slowly and without a sound
thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,
and then only in its own mood, comes
to visit, surely you can’t imagine
patience, and happiness, like that
– Mary Oliver

A Valley Like This

Sometimes you look at an empty valley like this,
and suddenly the air is filled with snow.
That is the way the whole world happened —
there was nothing, and then . . .
But maybe some time you will look out and even
the mountains are gone, the world become nothing
again. What can a person do to help
bring back the world?
We have to watch it and then look at each other.
Together we hold it close and carefully
save it, like a bubble that can disappear
if we don’t watch out.
Please think about this as you go on. Breathe on the world.
Hold out your hands to it. When mornings and evenings
roll along, watch how they open and close, how they
invite you to the long party that your life is.

– William Stafford

A revolution of love is sweeping the planet. Fear has material resources, but love has cosmic support. Ultimately, love will prevail because only love is real. – Marianne Williamson

Activism proceeds best when it is persistent, positive, respectful; filled with facts and hope.
– Billie Jean King


My friend is lodging high in the Eastern Range,
Dearly loving the beauty of valleys and hills.
At green Spring he lies in the empty woods,
And is still asleep when the sun shines on high.
A pine-tree wind dusts his sleeves and coat;
A pebbly stream cleans his heart and ears.
I envy you, who far from strife and talk
Are high-propped on a pillow of blue cloud.


Apples and Fire

As we entered
the dark winter room
there, shining on the table
were apples, gathered
in haste last September
– each one a small lamp.

Later, as the stove’s fire
carved into the cold
I began to understand
why fire was worshipped.

To share heat in winter
sweetness in winter,
is to know blessing.

– Moya Cannon


A high corner of the apple tree
as a thrush pecks and pecks at
one of the last apples.

The sun slants onto the thrush
and the apple
which has a crater in it.

This is what apples are for,
to be turned into song.

– Moya Cannon

All through the night
I listened to the autumn wind
In the lonely hills.
– Phil Cousineau

Give it a Rest

As I walk in the cold,
Love pulls on my clothes,
Asks me to give it a rest
And keep an old friend warm.

– Ryan Oelke

The farthest we’ll ever have to travel
is from our heads to our hearts.
If people start down this path
using just their head,
it can take a lifetime. Two lifetimes.
Three lifetimes. Four lifetimes.
But if people wake up to this path with their heart,
they don’t need to study with any teacher.
They are already there.
– Oscar Miro-Quesada

We must constantly look at things in a different way. Just when you think you know something, you must look at it in another way. – Robin Williams

We dream for our communities and our world, as well as for ourselves and those near to us. We can learn to do this as a conscious practice in the service of peace and healing. By bringing dreams into the lives of people around us, we can heal and revitalize all our relations, our workplace, our schools, our health care, and our communities.
– Robert Moss

Living by synchronicity isn’t merely about getting messages. It is about growing the poetic consciousness that allows us to taste and touch what rhymes and resonates in the world we inhabit, and how the world-behind-the-world reveals itself by fluttering the veils of our consensual reality.
– Robert Moss

We greet one another in a wild profusion of words
Wave farewell amidst the wonderment of air
In the laughing times, we know we are lucky
In the quiet times we know that we are blessed
And we will not be alone.
– Dar Williams, “Arrival”.

And we pray, not for new
earth or heaven, but to be quiet
in heart, and in eye clear.
What we need is here.
– Wendell Berry

What hope is there for individual reality or authenticity when the forces of violence and orthodoxy, the earthly powers of guns and bombs and manipulated public opinion make it impossible for us to be authentic and fulfilled human beings? The only hope is in the creation of alternative values, alternative realities. The only hope is in daring to re-dream one’s place in the world – a beautiful act of imagination, and a sustained act of self becoming. Which is to say that in some way or another we breach and confound the accepted frontiers of things.
– Ben Okri

Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways. – Dalai Lama

You have the unraveling of culture and the rattling of nature happening at the same time. One of the things I’m suggesting is that when the story out there is falling apart, that’s a good time to turn to the story inside. The good news is that inside everybody has access to the native inherent genius of their soul.
– Michael Meade

Be gentle with your words. Sometimes, that is all someone can see.
– Penn Street

Surely you remember

After they all leave,
I remain alone with the poems,
some poems of mine, some of others.
I prefer poems that others have written.
I remain quiet, and slowly
the knot in my throat dissolves.
I remain.

Sometimes I wish everyone would go away.
Maybe it’s nice, after all, to write poems.
You sit in your room and the walls grow taller.
Colors deepen.
A blue kerchief becomes a deep well.

You wish everyone would go away.
You don’t know what’s the matter with you.
Perhaps you’ll think of something.
Then it all passes, and you are pure crystal.

After that, love.
Narcissus was so much in love with himself.
Only a fool doesn’t understand
he loved the river, too.

You sit alone.
Your heart aches, but
won’t break.
The faded images wash away one by one.
Then the defects.
A sun sets at midnight. You remember
the dark flowers too.

You wish you were dead or alive or
somebody else.
Isn’t there a country you love? A word?
Surely you remember.

Only a fool lets the sun set when it likes.
It always drifts off too early
westward to the islands.

Sun and moon, winter and summer
will come to you,
infinite treasures.

– Dahlia Ravikovitch

The Peninsula

When you have nothing more to say, just drive
For a day all around the peninsula,
The sky is tall as over a runway,
The land without marks, so you will not arrive

But pass through, though always skirting landfall.
At dusk, horizons drink down sea and hill,
The ploughed field swallows the whitewashed gable
And you’re in the dark again. Now recall

The glazed foreshore and silhouetted log.
That rock where breakers shredded into rags,
The leggy birds stilted on their own legs,
Islands riding themselves out into the fog.

And then drive back home, still with nothing to say
Except that now you will uncode all landscapes
By this; things founded clean on their own shapes
Water and ground in their extremity.

– Seamus Heaney

There it is; the light across the water. Your story. Mine. His. It has to be seen to be believed. And it has to be heard. In the endless babble of narrative, in spite of the daily noise, the story waits to be heard.

Some people say that the best stories have no words. It is true that words drop away, and that the important things are often left unsaid. The important things are learned in faces, in gestures, not in our locked tongues. The true things are too big or too small, or in any case always the wrong size to fit in the template called language.
– Jeanette Winterson

Not just any talk is conversation; not any talk raises consciousness. Good conversation has an edge: it opens your eyes to something, quickens your ears. And good conversation reverberates: it keeps on talking in your mind later in the day; the next day, you find yourself still conversing with what was said. That reverberation afterward is the very raising of consciousness; your mind’s been moved. You are at another level with your reflections.
– James Hillman

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust in them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things — the beauty, the memory of our own past — are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have not visited.
– C. S. Lewis


And you wait. You wait for the one thing
that will change your life,
make it more than it is—
something wonderful, exceptional,
stones awakening, depths opening to you.

In the dusky bookstalls
old books glimmer gold and brown.
You think of lands you journeyed through,
of paintings and a dress once worn
by a woman you never found again.

And suddenly you know: that was enough.
You rise and there appears before you
in all its longings and hesitations
the shape of what you lived.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

A philosopher knows that in reality he knows very little. That is why he constantly strives to achieve true insight. Socrates was one of these rare people. He knew that he knew nothing about life and about the world. And now comes the important part: it troubled him that he knew so little.
– Jostein Gaarder

I slept before a wall of books and they
calmed everything in the room, even
their contents, even me, woken
by the cold and thrill, and still
they said, like the Dutch verb for falling
silent that English has no accommodation for
in the attics and rafters of its intimacies.
– Saskia Hamilton

Someday, sometime, you will be sitting somewhere. A berm overlooking a pond in Vermont. The lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. A seat on the subway. And something bad will have happened: You will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something at which you badly wanted to succeed.

And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for some core to sustain you. And if you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be.

I don’t want anyone I know to take that terrible chance. And the only way to avoid it is to listen to that small voice inside you that tells you to make mischief, to have fun, to be contrarian, to go another way. George Eliot wrote, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” It is never too early, either.

– Anna Quindlen

Waking at Night

The blue river is gray at morning
and evening. There is twilight
at dawn and dusk. I lie in the dark
wondering if this quiet in me now
is a beginning or an end.

– Jack Gilbert

I do not think I really have anything to say about poetry other than remarking that it is a wandering little drift of unidentified sound, and trying to say more reminds me of following the sound of a thrush into the woods on a summer’s eve — if you persist in following the thrush it will only recede deeper and deeper into the woods; you will never actually see the thrush (the hermit thrush is especially shy), but I suppose that listening is a kind of knowledge, or as close as one can come. “Fret not after knowledge, I have none,” is what the thrush says. Perhaps we can use our knowledge to preserve a bit of space where his lack of knowledge can survive.
– Mary Ruefle

Food, fire, walks, dreams, cold, sleep, love, slowness, time, quiet, books, seasons — all these things, which are not really things, but moments of life — take on a different quality at night-time, where the moon reflects the light of the sun, and we have time to reflect what life is to us, knowing that it passes, and that every bit of it, in its change and its difference, is the here and now of what we have.

Life is too short to be all daylight. Night is not less; it’s more.

– Jeanette Winterson

Of Time

Don’t even ask how rapidly the hummingbird
lives his life.
You can’t imagine. A thousand flowers a day,
a little sleep, then the same again, then
he vanishes.
I adore him.

Yet I adore also the drowse of mountains.

And in the human world, what is time?
In my mind there is Rumi, dancing.
There is Li Po drinking from the winter stream.
There is Hafiz strolling through Shiraz, his feet
loving the dust.
– Mary Oliver

None of us can truly know what we mean to other people, and none of us can know what our future self will experience. History and philosophy ask us to remember these mysteries, to look around at friends, family, humanity, at the surprises life brings — the endless possibilities that living offers — and to persevere. There is love and insight to live for, bright moments to cherish, and even the possibility of happiness, and the chance of helping someone else through his or her own troubles. Know that people, through history and today, understand how much courage it takes to stay. Bear witness to the night side of being human and the bravery it entails, and wait for the sun. If we meditate on the record of human wisdom we may find there reason enough to persist and find our way back to happiness. The first step is to consider the arguments and evidence and choose to stay. After that, anything may happen. First, choose to stay.
– Jennifer Michael Hecht

The Horses

spend nearly all day with
their necks down,
lips moving an inch above the ground as if
they are whispering to grass.

Even in the rain, with its soft drone,when their
coats darken to a slick sheen, you go out and
watch them, arms draped over a top fence-rail, one foot
up on the bottom board.

There is nothing ethical about them, but they
diminish the noise
in the landscape, calm it with
their elemental power,
which soaks like water into the hour.

The field is wide as a cloud.
It stops everything from hurting, and the
past begins to clarify itself like an old
seen from a distance of years.

Somewhere inside the horses,
secrets are stacked like plates in a
cupboard before a party, and the
guests are everyone you didn’t
allow to love you.

Big as dictionaries, their hearts contain
every word ever written,
as dusk bleeds down over the horizon of their
oily, reddened backs,
while a wren’s notes sexualize the air.

They will be out there all night, invisible
and snuffling in the dark,
even after you go inside and turn on the light, then turn
it off again, and lie down.
Why didn’t you allow them to love you?

But being is making; not only large things, a family, a book, a business; but the shape we give this afternoon, a conversation between friends, a meal.
– Frank Bidart


We were talking about magic
as we drove along a crowded
Sunday highway

when the whirl of wings
made me turn
and a flock of geese
flew over our car
so low I could see
their feet tucked under them.

For a moment the rustle
of their presence over our heads
obscured everything

and as they disappeared
you said,
“I see what you mean.”

Here at the end of summer
the heart talks to itself,
a thin stream braiding
over a lip of rock.

To go through a wall, then another—
galleries of silent, stone-ground light.
To go through, to that third room on the other side,
to empty the forest of your thoughts, the forest of your lungs,
this is where the heart goes in late summer,
the empty forest. Even the sunlight is alone.

In the third room, the heart sits on the floor
talking to itself. A little stream,
braiding over a lip of rock.
It is saying what it has said
from the beginning, no doors, no windows,
if anyone could hear.

– Jan Zwicky

Abraham Joshua Heschel, a very interesting rabbi and mystic, said he didn’t pray for faith; he prayed for wonder.

That is also my prayer. Wonder is the heaviest element on the periodic table; a tiny fleck of it stops time. My periodic table of the heart also has many other elements, still unidentified by science. One of them is unattainium. That’s the one that continues to drive us forward whether or not we expect to succeed.
– Diane Ackerman


I watched the arctic landscape from above
and thought of nothing, lovely nothing.
I observed white canopies of clouds, vast
expanses where no wolf tracks could be found.

I thought about you and about the emptiness
that can promise one thing only: plenitude —
and that a certain sort of snowy wasteland
bursts from a surfeit of happiness.

As we drew closer to our landing,
the vulnerable earth emerged among the clouds,
comic gardens forgotten by their owners,
pale grass plagued by winter and the wind.

I put my book down and for an instant felt
a perfect balance between waking and dreams.
But when the plane touched concrete, then
assiduously circled the airport’s labyrinth,

I once again knew nothing. The darkness
of daily wanderings resumed, the day’s sweet darkness,
the darkness of the voice that counts and measures,
remembers and forgets.

– Adam Zagajewsk

One breath taken completely; one poem, fully written, fully read – in such a moment, anything can happen.
– Jane Hirshfield, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry


It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.

Even in this
one lifetime,
you will have to choose.

That great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books–

Already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.”
– Jane Hirshfield

A Friendship Kit – Poem by Seema Chowdhury

A friendship kit can never be purchased
Neither be sold, nor be replaced
Because everything that comes with it
Holds value in every bit

So pick your friends who are dear
Mix in them some love and care
And add kindness in them too
And be always honest and true

Then put them in the friendship test
And let them take it with zest
Then whatever comes out of it
Store it in the friendship kit

For everything that is given to you
By a friend really holds value true
Because a friend is an extension of you
Without whom you feel incomplete too.

Friendship’s Meaning – Poem by Michelle Kafka

Friendship freezes misspoken or misinterpreted words.
Friendship melts the shadows of the heart.
Friendship’s soul swells rolling the emblazoned red carpet at our doorways.
Friendship is the bridge binding two islands.
Friendship is one fragrant blossom meeting the perfect ground.
Friendship is wild laughing by the swishing stream.
Friendship is watching leaves turn stunning colours.
Friendship is a golden chain with luck charms worn about the neck or wrist.
Friendship is the turquoise stone tucked away in the pocket or enveloped under the pillow.
Friendship is a frog sitting beside a bold bright yellow rose on a Sunday morning in August.
Friendship extends its magical arms for it is not the receiving but the giving.
Friendship is creating a mood positive and light.
Our friendship is the air, fire, earth, and water of the universe!

— Peter Waldor

A boy looks at the night sky
one old light
took thirteen billion years
to pass the fence
of his eyelash
lifting at just
the right moment
to let the old light in

The young woman sewing by the window
hums a song I don’t know; I hear only
a few bars, and when the trucks barrel down
the broken walkway between our buildings
the music is lost. Before the darkness
leaks from the shadows of the great cathedral
I think I see her at work and later hear
in the sudden silence of nightfall wordless
music rising from her room. I put aside
my papers, wash, and dress to go out.
I have a small dinner at one of the cafes
along the great avenues near the port
where the homeless sleep. Later I walk
for hours in the Barrio Chino passing
the open doors of tiny bars and caves
from which the voices of old men
bark out the stale anthems
of love’s defeat. “This is the world,”
I think, “this is what I came
in search of years ago.” Now I can go
back to my single room, I can lie
awake in the dark and rehearse
all the trivial events of the day ahead,
a day that begins when the sun clears
the dark spires of someone’s God, and I
waken in a flood of dust rising
from nowhere and from nowhere comes
the actual voice of someone else.
– Philip Levine

I liked the solitude and the silence of the woods and the hills. I felt there the sense of a presence, something undefined and mysterious, which was reflected in the faces of the flowers and the movements of birds and animals, in the sunlight falling through the leaves and in the sound of running water, in the wind blowing on the hills and the wide expanse of earth and sky.
– Bede Griffiths

A key to depth of soul is to be in dialogue with the powers that live through us in creativity, conscience and intuition.
– Thomas Moore

How fragile we are, between the few good moments.
– Jane Hirshfield

I want to leave enough room in my heart
For the unexpected,
For the mistake that becomes knowing,
For knowing that becomes wonder,
For wonder that makes everything porous,
Allowing in and out
All available light…

So I will stay open
And companionably friendly,
With all that presses out from the heart
And comes in at a slant
And shimmers just below
The surface of things.
– Carrie Newcomer in A PERMEABLE LIFE

It’s so crazy that we have to remind ourselves to drink enough water, to walk each day, and to breathe.

There’s no alternative to quiet. It’s one of those things that keeps us sane in life—like clean air, it just takes some smog to remind us why we need it.

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.
– Søren Kierkegaard

Our words are powerful tools. Tools having an extraordinary ability to act as a catalyst for positive change. A catalyst to promote understanding and connection between people. An opportunity to learn from each other and experience shared humanity. An opportunity to exercise our creative energies, talents and gifts; to unite our world community. Our words nurture, heal and empower. There are no inferiors nor superiors, we all bring something to the table equally important.
– Lorraine Currelley

The wise man knows that it is better to sit on the banks of a remote mountain stream than to be emperor of the whole world
– Zhuangzi

The sound of water says what I think.
– Chuang Tzu

If you have never taken
The principles of the teachings to heart,
You have no basis
For awakening to the hidden path.
– Kuei-shan Ling-yu, Chan teacher

Calm yourself, quiet yourself,
Master your senses;
Look right into the source of mind.
Always keep it shining bright,
Clear and pure.
– Daman Hongren

There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Seek nothing outside of yourself.
– Miyamoto Musashi

Perhaps we are here in order to say: house,
bridge, fountain, gate, pitcher, fruit-tree, window . . .
To say them more intensely than the Things themselves
Ever dreamed of existing.
– Rilke

We keep each other alive with our stories. We need to share them, as much as we need to share food. We also require for our health the presence of good companions. One of the most extraordinary things about the land is that it knows this—and it compels language from some of us so that as a community we may converse about this or that place, and speak of the need.
– Barry López

It is the tender heart that has the power to transform the world.
– Chogyam Trungpa

If you’re having a hard time meditating, meditate for the well-being of someone else. It’s easier to meditate for someone else rather than yourself.
– Dr. Judith Orloff

Behind your image, below your words, above your thoughts, the silence of another world waits.
– John O’Donohue

You can tell a lot about a person by what they choose to see in you.
– Unknown

Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.
– Ernest Hemingway

The human heart is the first home of democracy. It is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole beings, not just our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions? And do we have enough resolve in our hearts to act courageously, relentlessly, without giving up – ever – trusting our fellow citizens to join with us in our determined pursuit of a living democracy?
– Terry Tempest Williams

When it hurts we return to the banks of certain rivers.
– Czesław Miłosz

No cure that fails to engage our spirit can make us well.
– Viktor Frankl

Dreams, Jung said, are the doorway to the personal and the collective unconscious, and the degree to which we achieve individuation (which is not as much about becoming an “individual” as it is about becoming whole) is equal to the degree to which we integrate the unconscious.

The story ends. It was written for several reasons. Nine of them are secrets. The tenth is that one should never cease considering human love, which remains as grisly and golden as ever, no matter what it tattooed upon the warm tympanic page.
– Donald Barthelme

The tasks that have been entrusted to us are often difficult. Almost everything that matters is difficult, and everything matters.
– Rainer Maria Rilke – Letters to a Young Poet.

For we human beings are used to inappropriate things; we are accustomed to the clatter of the incongruous; it is a tune to which we can go to sleep. If one appropriate thing happens, it wakes us up like the pang of a perfect chord.
– G. K. Chesterton

The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.
– C. JoyBell C.

When we listen to people, our language softens. Listening may be the cardinal act of giving…it is the source of peace.
– Paul Hawken

Three ways are open to a man who is in sorrow. He who stands on a normal rung weeps, he who stands higher is silent, but he who stands on the topmost rung converts his sorrow into song.
– The Kotzker Rebbe

Spaceship Earth doesn’t carry passengers, only crew.
– Marshall McLuhan

There is meaning in the natural rhythms of dying and living, winter and spring, bones and leaves. Even in times of bewilderment or despair, there is the steadfast ground underfoot—pine duff, baked clay, stone turned red in the rain. I am trying to understand this, the power of water, air, earth, and time to bring gladness gradually from grief and to restore meaning to lives that seem empty or unmoored.
– Kathleen Dean Moore

It Was Years Before I Could Say Thank You
But you got it all wrong,
I wanted to say to that gift horse.
You brought me what,
stubbornness, devotion and persistence?
What kind of gifts are those?
I wanted to be a poet.
The gift horse reared and ran off,
leaving me with a thousand thousand poems
to read, a pen that will never run out,
and a whole lifetime of blank pages
just waiting to be written.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Canada is a place of infinite promise. We like the people, and if one ever had to emigrate, this would be the destination, not the U.S.A. The hills, lakes and forests make it a place of peace and repose of the mind, such as one never finds in the U.S.A.
– John Maynard Keynes

The patterns of our lives reveal us.
– Mary Oliver

What if it’s all a hoax and we’ve created a better world for nothing?
– Naomi Klein

Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.
– John Lennon

The task is clear: to create a culture of caretaking in which no one and nowhere is thrown away, in which the inherent value of people and all life is foundational.
– Naomi Klein

When any of us meet someone who rejects dominant norms and values, we feel a little less crazy for doing the same. Any act of rebellion or non-participation, even on a very small scale, is therefore a political act.
– Charles Eisenstein

If there is no story in the mix and all that we’re left with is statistics, then we’re never going to fall in love.
– Martin Shaw, School of Myth & Story

You’ll see none of this clearly till later.
(There was your own looking, walking to account for.)
The pigeons, the horse, the crickets, the swamp-gums were just there,

scarcely visible,
secretly communicative in
every direction like a place where paths, meandering, at last meet.

(‘Late Western Thought’, from Summer)

– Martin Harrison

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.
– John Keating, Dead Poets Society

In my mid-teens,
my father, bored with his business,

used to take me driving with him on his
rounds across the north of England: he was
drumming up trade for his imported

Spanish wines – Alellas, rich Riojas, and my
still favourite green ones, vino verde or
verdelho. In the glove compartment, there

were the poets he’d always liked – Eliot, bitter
Larkin and the Welshmen, Vernon Scannel
and Thomas (R.S.). He took them out at

roadside stops. Back home at night, he jotted screeds
of ‘nature poetry.’ He called it doing the accounts.
Sincerely, he hoped I’d do more, with more success:

but “study money, not poetry” was his long-lived, bleak
advice. In his 80s now, his steady observation:
“I’ve given up making sense of things. Work only

for yourself.” A palimpsest is what’s scraped away:
a scraping which reveals a trace, a ‘beneath’ that’s covered
over with new scrawl. Are memories like that trace?

It could be so, but they are more like waves, a
patterning of dots, invasive, darting, spacious.
Like dominoes, they fit together, fall apart. Like

stories, too, you have to think them out, make them work.

(‘Letter from America’, in Summer)

– Martin Harrison

The Sacred is what unites.
– Gregory Bateson

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.
– Alan Alda

I reached deep in you and pulled out a cardinal which in bright red flew out the window.
– Dorothea Lasky, Awe

For light I go directly to the Source of light, not to any of the reflections.
– Peace Pilgrim

Pietak thanked God for every poem. He scribbled his thanks on the margins of his drafts. And he was an atheist.
– Anna Kamienska

I’ve learned to value failed conversations, missed connections, confusions. What remains is what’s unsaid, what’s underneath. Understanding on another level of being.
– Anna Kamienska

I imagine the gods saying, We will
make it up to you. We will give you
three wishes, they say. Let me see
the squirrels again, I tell them.
Let me eat some of the great hog
stuffed and roasted on its giant spit
and put out, steaming, into the winter
of my neighborhood when I was usually
too broke to afford even the hundred grams
I ate so happily walking up the cobbles,
past the Street of the Moon
and the Street of the Birdcage-Makers,
the Street of Silence and the Street
of the Little Pissing. We can give you
wisdom, they say in their rich voices.
Let me go at last to Hugette, I say,
the Algerian student with her huge eyes
who timidly invited me to her room
when I was too young and bewildered
that first year in Paris.
Let me at least fail at my life.
Think, they say patiently, we could
make you famous again. Let me fall
in love one last time, I beg them.
Teach me mortality, frighten me
into the present. Help me to find
the heft of these days. That the nights
will be full enough and my heart feral.

pleasure and pain are equal in a clear heart
no mountain hides the moon
– Ikkyu

Some Feel Rain

Some feel rain. Some feel the beetle startle
in its ghost-part when the bark
slips. Some feel musk. Asleep against
each other in the whiskey dark, scarcely there.
When it falls apart, some feel the moondark air
drop its motes to the patch-thick slopes of
snow. Tiny blinkings of ice from the oak,
a boot-beat that comes and goes, the line of prayer
you can follow from the dusking wind to the snowy owl
it carries. Some feel sunlight
well up in blood-vessels below the skin
and wish there had been less to lose.
Knowing how it could have been, pale maples
drowsing like a second sleep above our temperaments.
Do I imagine there is any place so safe it can’t be
snapped? Some feel the rivers shift,
blue veins through soil, as if the smokestacks were a long
dream of exhalation. The lynx lets its paws
skim the ground in snow and showers.
The wildflowers scatter in warm tints until
the second they are plucked. You can wait
to scrape the ankle-burrs, you can wait until Mercury
the early star underdraws the night and its blackest
districts. And wonder. Why others feel
through coal-thick night that deeply colored garnet
star. Why sparring and pins are all you have.
Why the earth cannot make its way towards you.
– Joanna Klink

Our heart wanders lost in the dark woods. Our dream wrestles in the castle of doubt. But there’s music in us. Hope is pushed down but the angel flies up again taking us with her.
– Jack Gilbert

We must be careful with our lives, for Christ’s sake, because it would seem that they are the only lives we are going to have in this puzzling and perilous world, and so they are very precious and what we do with them matters enormously.
– Frederick Buechner

There is nothing as immediate and as new as that which is most ancient, which is always in the process of becoming…
– Thomas Merton


I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that
feels a flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician —
nor is it valid
to discriminate against “business documents and

school-books”; all these phenomena are important. One must make
a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result
is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
“literalists of
the imagination” — above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, “imaginary gardens with real toads in them,” shall
we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.

– Marianne Moore

Do the poet and scientist not work analogously? Both are willing to waste effort. To be hard on himself is one …of the main strengths of each. Each is attentive to clues, each must narrow the choice, must strive for precision. As George Grosz says, “In art there is no place for gossip and but a small place for the satirist.” The objective is fertile procedure. Is it not? Jacob Bronowski says in The Saturday Evening Post that science is not a mere collection of discoveries, but that science is the process of discovering. In any case it’s not established once and for all; it’s evolving.
– Marianne Moore

The best-known connection between footfall, knowledge and memory is the Aboriginal Australian vision of the Songlines. According to this cosmogony, the world was created in an epoch known as the Dreamtime, when the Ancestors emerged to find the earth a black, flat, featureless terrain. They began to walk out across this non-place, and as they walked they broke through the crust of the earth and released the sleeping life beneath it, so that the landscape sprang up into being with each pace. As Bruce Chatwin explained in his flawed but influential account, ‘each totemic ancestor, while travelling through the country, was thought to have scattered a trail of words and musical notes along the line of his footprints’. Depending on where they fell, these foot-notes became linked with particular features of the landscape. Thus the world was covered by ‘Dreaming-tracks’ that ‘lay over the land as “ways” of communication’, each track having its corresponding Song…. To sing out was–-and still is, just about, for the Songs survive, though more and more of them slip away with each generation–-therefore to find one’s way, and storytelling was indivisible from wayfaring.
– Robert Macfarlane

I walked in the woods tonight among the cedars and the rain and it was heavenly sweet. There were just a few birds, my dogs and I. The rain dripping softly, the trees hanging low with the weight of the wet. Birds for the same reason flew low and heavily. The smells kept down too and were earthy and very sweet. The rain had beaten the bushes across the path and the stream was noisy and swollen.
– Emily Carr

I sat staring, staring, staring – half lost, learning a new language or rather the same language in a different dialect. So still were the big woods where I sat, sound might not yet have been born.
– Emily Carr

Be careful that you do not write or paint anything that is not your own, that you don’t know in your own soul.
– Emily Carr

Trees love to toss and sway; they make such happy noises.
– Emily Carr

God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, “Ah!”
– Joseph Campbell

There are no words, no paints to express all this, only a beautiful dumbness in the soul, life speaking to life.
– Emily Carr

The spirit must be felt so intensely that it has power to call others in passing, for it must pass, not stop in the pictures.
– Emily Carr

Cedars are terribly sensitive to change of time and light – sometimes they are bluish cold-green, then they turn yellow warm-green – sometimes their boughs flop heavy and sometimes float, then they are fairy as ferns and then they droop, heavy as heartaches.
– Emily Carr

It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw, not because she is Canada but because she’s something sublime that you were born into, some great rugged power that you are a part of.
– Emily Carr

Take this sinking boat
And point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice,
You have a choice
You’ve made it now
-excerpt from Falling Slowly
by Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglovávy

I’m thinking about three things this morning. The obstacle is the path. Today is a good day. And what comes is a gift.
– Satya Robyn

Do you know what people really want? Everyone, I mean. Everybody in the world is thinking: I wish there was just one other person I could really talk to, who could really understand me, who’d be kind to me. That’s what people really want, if they’re telling the truth.
– Satya Robyn, The Most Beautiful Thing

Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your Original Mind. A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be an invaluable treasure.
– Ikkyu

The first poetry is always written against the wind by sailors and farmers who sing with the wind in their teeth. The second poetry is written by scholars and students, wine drinkers who [have] learned to know a good thing. The third poetry is sometimes never written; but when it is, it is written by those who have brought nature and art together into one thing.
– Walter Inglis Anderson

You are the first and last indigenous Nintendo.
– Ben Lerner

As the pen rises from the page between words, so the walker’s feet rise and fall between paces, and as the deer continues to run as it bounds from the earth and the dolphin continues to swim even as it leaps again and again from the sea, so writing and wayfaring are continuous activities, a running stitch, a persistence of the same seam or stream.
– Robert Macfarlane

We have not been on good terms,
us and the sun.
For months she has been showing up late, slipping away early,
sulking for days behind ice-spitting clouds.
But I sighted her today across a green field,
low and pale but still fire after all
and I wanted to drop my papers
and dance to her like a crane over the grass,
all waving arms and long shadow, crying
come back, come back o beloved
you are still welcome.
– Zoe Mulford

And what is it, the heart?
It is the sound of the pine breeze in the ink painting.
– Ikkyu

Every man carries within himself a world made up of all that he has seen and loved; and it is to this world that he returns, incessantly, though he may pass through, and seem to inhabit, a world quite foreign to it.
– François-René de Chateaubriand

If we want there to be peace in the world, we have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid in our hearts, to find the soft spot and stay with it. We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility. That’s the true practice of peace.
– Pema Chodron

Earnestness is the key. Unconditional willingness. All you have to do is pay attention, be honest, and follow through. Truth is discovered when you simply refuse to lie to yourself anymore. Love is discovered when you stop indulging in self centeredness, fear, and anger. You don’t have to improve yourself; just sort through the contradictions. Your desire is to love and be loved, yet you use and hurt and alienate the ones you wanted to love the most. You want to be honest, but you find a million excuses for continuing the pretense, for self righteousness, for psychological defense. You want to be happy and at peace, yet you cling to competitive, erroneous, and hurtful views of things.

Do you really want to be happy? Just pay attention and be kind, unconditionally kind, on this breath alone. Forget about the future. Just this breath. No matter what the circumstances, just be kind. Friend, lover, family member, someone who seems to hate you, someone you’ve never met on the street, your own soft animal body. Just be kind, in whatever way is appropriate. Everything else will work itself out, and you will begin to sense your own Pure Heart everywhere. How amazing.

Very simple. Just be kind.
Only on this breath.

– Scott Morrison

The small ruby everyone wants has fallen out on the road. Some think it is east of us, others west of us. Some say, “among primitive earth rocks,” others, “in the deep waters.” Kabir’s instinct told him it was inside, and what it was worth, and he wrapped it up carefully in his heart cloth.
– Kabir

To Get our Bearings
On cold clear nights
We bundle up and walk the town
To refresh our spirits
And get our bearings
In this wheeling world
To locate in the glittering blackness
Of the star-spattered sky
Our old companions
Orion, the Pleiades, Cassiopeia
To taste the wet chilly air
And feel it work its way
Under our jackets and sweaters
To listen to the vivid silence
The leftover rain dripping from bare branches
A great horned owl
Hoo-ing in the oaks
And the faint chiming of midnight bells
From the tiny villages
Our breath makes
– Buff Whitman-Bradley

Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo.
– Basho

This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.
– Terry Tempest Williams

To bless whatever there is, and for no other reason but simply because it is – that is our raison d’etre; that is what we are made for as human beings. This singular command is engraved in our heart. Whether we understand this or not matters little. Whether we agree or disagree makes no difference. And in our heart of hearts we know it.
– David Steindl-Rast

Blessing the Boats
(at St. Mary’s)
may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that
– Lucille Clifton

The book of love has music in it. In fact that’s where music comes from. Some of it is just transcendental. Some of it is just really dumb.
– Peter Gabriel

Out of the cacophony of random suffering and chaos that can mark human life, the life artist sees or creates a symphony of meaning and order. A life of wholeness does not depend on what we experience. Wholeness depends on how we experience our lives.
– Desmond Tutu

Read the most useful books, and that regularly and constantly.
– John Wesley

You come and go. The doors swing closed
ever more gently, almost without a shudder.
Of all who move through the quiet houses,
You are the quietest.
We become so accustomed to you,
we no longer look up
when your shadow falls over
the book we are reading
and makes it glow.
– Rilke, from The Book of Hours

And I Can’t Stop Laughing


I wanted love to come to me,

today I choose

to love everything

in my path

– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

The travel writer Bruce Chatwin wrote that our nomadic past lives on in our ‘need for distraction, our mania for the new.’ In many languages, even the word for human being is ‘one who goes on migrations.’ Progress itself is a word rooted in a seasonal journey. Perhaps our need to escape into media is a misplaced desire for the journey.
– Maria Rodale

Every time we sit down to meditate, we enact our own ritual of renewal.
– Tracy Cochran

I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything — other people, trees, clouds. And this is what I learned, that the world’s otherness is antidote to confusion — that standing within this otherness — the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books — can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.
– Mary Oliver


There are perhaps no accidents,
no coincidences.
When we stumble against people, books, rare moments
out of time,
these are illuminations —
like the hunter’s moon that sails tonight in its high clouds,
casting light into our black harbour,
where four black turf boats
tug at their ropes,
hunger for the islands.

– Moya Cannon


Some of what we love
we stumble upon–
a purse of gold thrown on the road,
a poem, a friend, a great song.

And more
discloses itself to us–
a well among green hazels,
a nut thicket–
when we are worn out searching
for something quite different.

And more
comes to us, carried
as carefully
as a bright cup of water,
as new bread.
– Moya Cannon

It’s a long way from Boston to the hills of Caledonia…
– Ivan Drever

Many a time have I merely closed my eyes at the end of yet another troublesome day and soaked my bruised psyche in wild water, rivers remembered and rivers imagined.
– Harry Middleton

We call it “finding your own true north”– like on a compass. In production-driven societies, we’re tricked into believing that true north is outside of us. So we’re constantly looking outside ourselves to figure out if this is the right job, the right house, the right relationship, the right subject to be studying. But our true north is invariably inside us . . . if we do what we love to do, what we’re inspired to do, what we believe in, it creates an entirely different response.
– Julia Butterfly Hill

we lay down a path in walking.
– Francisco Varela

What’s magical, sometimes, has deeper roots
than reason.
I hope everyone knows that.
– Mary Oliver

Yehuda Amichai translated by Chana Block & Stephen Mitchell

Near the wall of a house painted
to look like stone,
I saw visions of God.

A sleepless night that gives others a headache
gave me flowers
opening beautifully inside my brain.

And he who was lost like a dog
will be found like a human being
and brought back home again

Love is not the last room: there are others
after it, the whole length of the corridor
that has no end.

Give us hearts that break
when we see how cruel the world can be
and hands that extend toward others.
Give us eyes that weep when we feel
the beauty of home, and
lips to speak love, to apologize.
Give us courage to say what must be said
and ears to hear what we’d rather not hear
and eyes that will not turn the other way
from anyone in need.
Give us brains that are wired
for helpfulness, compassion
and curiosity. Yes, let us ask for hearts
that break and break and grow
bigger in the breaking. Let us
love more than we think we can love.
And the cup of kindness, may we
ever remember to drink of it,
let us share it with each other.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

by Stephen Levine
Mother-of-us-all prays to free us
From our image of perfection
To which so much suffering clings.
When in the shadowy mind
We imagine ourselves imperfectly,
praying to be freed by enlightenment,
she refines our prayers.
Putting her arms around us
She bids us rest our head on her shoulder
Whispering, don’t you know
With all your fear and anger
All you are fit for is love.

Between where you are now and where you’d like to be there’s a sort of barrier, or a chasm, and sometimes it’s a good idea to imagine that you’re already at the other side of that chasm, so that you can start on the unknown side.
– David Bohm

Mary Oliver in Blue Horses
Meditation I have heard, is best accomplished
if you entertain a certain strict posture.
Frankly, I’ prefer just to lounge under a tree.
So, why do I ever think I could ever be successful?
Some days I fall asleep, or land in that
even better place—half asleep¬¬—where the world,
spring, summer, autumn, winter–
flies in and out of my mind in its
hardy ascent and its uncompromising descent
So I just lie like that, while distances and time
reveal their true attitudes: they never
heard of me, and never will, or ever need to.
Of course I wake up finally
thinking, how wonderful to be who I am,
made out of earth and water,
my own thoughts, my own fingerprints–
all that glorious, temporary stuff.

Early Rising
by Richard Tillinghast

At first you were famously not good at it.
You were coaxed, given cocoa, lectured a bit.
On the morning of a journey they would gather you up
And bundle you into the station wagon, asleep
Or pretending sleep, among pillows and soft voices,
While the car made its turnings through darkened places.

Later you found within yourself a scoutlike
Hardihood, and it became a point of pride
To be up and about before the world awoke,
Crossing in darkness an unruffled lake,
Cold air stiff in your face, the revved-up outboard
Full throttle, with a full day’s fishing up ahead.

Then it was books and mugs of tea and the search
For knowledge—the milk jug on the windowsill
Filling with snow, clock ticking, the scratch
Of a fountain pen that moved trancelike in your hand.
And from some far-off church the sound of a bell
Profound as the unplumbed depths of Walden Pond.

But now when you wake you are old. The years
Come crowding back. When you get up, the boards creak
Underfoot. You are the first to tread these floors
Today. When you switch on the light you take the clock
By surprise. You want a bell, but the air here is silent.
The only church is the church of early rising.

If you could find the book you want to read
Before the sky flames and the east goes apple green,
You would find in it the poem you want to write.
You would find there a bell, a lake, a boat,
The clarity of first light and first manhood,
The journey over still waters before dawn.

Don’t let me leave before my eyes become sensitive and responsive to the life unfolding around me. Don’t let me leave the life of this particular place that I now inhabit until it begins to enter into and take hold of me body and soul. Don’t let us leave before the luminous world becomes woven into the centre of our consciousness, our concerns.
– Douglas. E. Christie

The poem inside is perfect; I have a very clumsy retrieval process for getting it out.
– Carolyn Kizer

To be a soulful person means to go against all the pervasive, prove-yourself values of our culture and instead treasure what is unique and internal and valuable in yourself and your own personal evolution.
– Jean Shinoda Bolen

speed of communication cannot replace depth of communication.
– Martin Shaw

C.D. Wright:
It is a function of poetry to locate those zones inside us that would be free,” Wright once said, “and declare them so”; poetry was “the one arena where I am not inclined to crank up the fog machine.

I’ve flown as far as tern or heron fly,
clear to the polar waters, and returned.
I’ve run the roads of land and sea and sky
right round the earth’s horizons. So I learned
that there are two directions, out and back,
from the still center of the compass rose.
There are two places: home, away. I lack
a map that shows me anywhere but those.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

I woke up to the sound of Rhode Island
I went out just like yesterday
Ears still searching for a bird that would sing Sweet Caroline over my way

Oh I’m looking for home
I’ve searched every corner and every stone
But the rocks keep on shifting and I am just drifting

All of these faces and all of these rooms
Working hard on their grand debut
And I try to clap loud to assure the whole crowd
That my heart is in it too

Oh I’m looking for home
I’ve searched every corner and every stone
But the rocks keep on shifting and I am just drifting

Without a landing what type of wings would agree to fly
I feel a bit nervous, a bit empty inside
Cause it takes more than a moon, however old however bright
To make a room feel warm at night

Oh I’m looking for home
I’ve searched every corner and every stone
But the rocks keep on shifting and I am just drifting
by Kayla Ringelheim

When They Sleep
by Rolf Jacobsen

All people are children when they sleep.
there’s no war in them then.
They open their hands and breathe
in that quiet rhythm heaven has given them.
They pucker their lips like small children
and open their hands halfway,
soldiers and statesmen, servants and masters.
The stars stand guard
and a haze veils the sky,
a few hours when no one will do anybody harm.
If only we could speak to one another then
when our hearts are half-open flowers.
Words like golden bees
would drift in.

God, teach me the language of sleep.

My Favorite Coat by Deb Talan
my favorite coat
hangs in the hallway
waiting like a good friend
to keep me warm

i love my coat
its sturdy, and versatile
solving all my problems
nirvana in the rain

and its raining
and raining
been raining for weeks now
crying a torrent
and the rain is washing us clean
is washing us clean
me and my coat

in my coat i am a superhero
traveling through space and time
impervious to pain

while its raining
and raining…
been raining for weeks now
crying a torrent
and the rain is washing us clean,
is washing us clean

me and my coat
we are a symphony
blanketing the world outside
an oasis in the storm
an oasis in the storm

well its raining
and raining
been raining for weeks now
crying a torrent
and the rain is washing us clean
is washing us clean
and the rain is washing us clean
is washing us clean

me and my coat
by Deb Talan

A Last Look by WS Merwin

Even the words are going somewhere urban
where they hope to find friends
waiting for them

some of the friends will think of trees as pleasant in a minor
much alike after all
to us

some of the friends will never be aware of a single tree
they will live in a world without a leaf
where the rain is misfortune


I asked a hundred painters and a hundred poets
how to paint sunlight
on the face of life
Their answers were ambiguous and ingenuous
as if they were all guarding trade secrets
Whereas it seems to me
all you have to do
is conceive of the whole world
and all humanity
as a kind of art work
a site-specific art work
an art project of the god of light
the whole earth and all that’s in it
to be painted with light

And the first thing you have to do
is paint out postmodern painting
And the next thing is to paint yourself
in your true colors
in primary colors
as you see them
(without whitewash)
paint yourself as you see yourself
without make-up
without masks
Then paint your favorite people and animals
with your brush loaded with light
And be sure you get the perspective right
and don’t fake it
because one false line leads to another

And then paint the high hills
when the sun first strikes them
on an autumn morning
With your palette knife
lay it on
the cadmium yellow leaves
the ochre leaves
the vermillion leaves
of a New England autumn
And paint the ghost light of summer nights
and the light of the midnight sun
which is the moon light
And don’t paint out the shadows made by light

for without chiaroscuro you’ll have shallow pictures
So paint all the dark corners too
everywhere in the world
all the hidden places and minds and hearts
which light never reaches
all the caves of ignorance and fear
the pits of despair
the sloughs of despond
and write plain upon them
“Abandon all despair, ye who enter here”

And don’t forget to paint
all those who lived their lives
as bearers of light
Paint their eyes
and the eyes of every animal
and the eyes of beautiful women
know best for the perfection of their breasts
and the eyes of men and women
known only for the light of their minds
Paint the light of their eyes
the light of sunlit laughter
the song of eyes
the song of birds in flight

And remember that the light is within
if it is anywhere
and you must paint from the inside
Start with purity
with pure white
the pure white of gesso
the pure white of cadmium white
the pure whit of flake white
the pure virgin canvas
the pure life we all begin with

Turner painted sunlight
with egg tempera
(which proved unstable)
and Van Gogh did it with madness
and the blood of his ear
(also unstable)
and the Impressionists did it
by never using black
and the Abstract Expressionists did it
with white house paint
but you can do it with the pure pigment
(if you can figure out the formula)
of your own true light
But before you strike the first blow
on the virgin canvas
remember its fragility
life’s extreme fragility
and remember its innocence
its original innocence
before you strike the first blow

Or perhaps never strike it
And let the light come through
the inner light of the canvas
the inner light of the models posed
in the life study
the inner light of everyone
Let it all come through
like a pentimento
the light that’s been painted over
the life that’s been painted over
so many times
Let it all surge to the surface
the painted-over image
of primal life on earth

And when you’ve finished your painting
stand back astonished
stand back and observe
the life on earth that you’ve created
the lighted life on earth
that you’ve created
a new brave world

– from “How to Paint Sunlight” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

FOR A NEW POSITION by John O’Donahue

May your new work excite your heart,
Kindle in your mind a creativity
To journey beyond the old limits
Of all that has become wearisome.

May this work challenge you toward
New frontiers that will emerge
As you begin to approach them,
Calling forth from you the full force
And depth of your undiscovered gifts.

May the work fit the rhythms of your soul,
Enabling you to draw from the invisible
New ideas and a vision that will inspire.

Remember to be kind
To those who work for you,
Endeavor to remain aware
Of the quiet world
That lives behind each face.

Be fair in your expectations,
Compassionate in your criticism.
May you have the grace of encouragement
To awaken the gift in the other’s heart,
Building in them the confidence
To follow the call of the gift

May you come to know that work
Which emerges from the mind of love
Will have beauty and form.

May this new work be worthy
Of the energy of your heart
And the light of your thought.

May your work assume
A proper space in your life;

Instead of owning or using you,
May it challenge and refine you,
Bringing you every day further
Into the wonder of your heart.

The only way I have ever understood, broken free, emerged, healed, forgiven, flourished, and grown powerful is by asking the hardest questions and then living into the answers through opening up to my own terror and transmuting it into creativity.
– Sue Monk Kidd

Music… is a memory bank for finding one’s way about the world.
– Bruce Chatwin

Zen is really just a reminder to stay alive and to be awake. We tend to daydream all the time, speculating about the future and dwelling on the past. Zen practice is about appreciating your life in this moment. If you are truly aware of five minutes a day, then you are doing pretty well. We are beset by both the future and the past, and there is no reality apart from the here and now.
– Peter Matthiessen

You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.
– Sherlock Holmes

…The wider the web, the less we stop to take in the horizon. Our mind, our body, and our spirit require that solace that stillness brings in order to regulate our mental and physical health. – L.M. Browning

To love a place is not enough. We must find ways to heal it.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer

In some Native languages the term for plants translates to “those who take care of us.”
– Robin Wall Kimmerer

The word ecology is derived from the Greek oikos, the word for home.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer

there is a famous teaching by lao-tzu: if you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. if you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation. this teaching is part of the core philosophy of taoism, and in different forms it is also found in most other spiritual paths everywhere.
– Hune Margulies

All through autumn we hear a double voice: one says everything is ripe; the other says everything is dying. The paradox is exquisite. We feel what the Japanese call “aware”–an almost untranslatable word meaning something like “beauty tinged with sadness.
– Gretel Ehrlich

What would it feel like to be part of a family that includes birches and beavers and butterflies? We’d be less lonely. We’d feel like we belonged. We’d be smarter.
– Robin Kimmerer

The history of the meadow goes like this. No one owns it, no one ever will.
– James Galvin

Have we come all this way, I wondered, only to be dismantled by our own technologies, to be betrayed by political connivance or the impersonal avarice of a corporation?
– Barry Lopez

And for a minute, maybe longer… everything that threatens us, threatens to save us.
– James Galvin

There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions.
– Barry Lopez

How sweet the past is, no matter how wrong, or how sad.
How sweet is yesterday’s noise
– Charles Wright

Hurry ruins saints as well as artists.
– Thomas Merton

Withholding love distorts reality. It makes the people who do the withholding ugly and small-hearted. It makes the people from whom things are withheld crazy and desperate and incapable of knowing what they actually feel. Don’t be strategic or coy. Strategic and coy are for jackasses. Be brave. Be authentic. Practice saying the word love to the people you love., so when it matters the most to say it, you will.
– Cheryl Strayed in BRAVE ENOUGH

I believe that language and imagination, far from alienating us from nature, are our most powerful and natural tools for re-engaging with it.
– Richard Mabey

turning / toward / living
– John Cage

this might alter the local song
– Kate Fagan

The earth says
keep still
stay put & listen to the roar of silence
hold on & root deep for treasure
feel the sap rising through your bones
wait & see what happens

A beautiful mind is a mind that integrates everything, whether full sail or no wind. It can be buoyant despite conditions. It’s trained to be so. Our minds left untended are not careful. We have to be careful about what grows up in the garden of the mind; careful about what needs tending, feeding, and what needs cutting back. The quality of care is what makes a garden beautiful, as much as the particulars. Similarly, anytime you try to narrow things down to a particular definition—or when we try to make huge decisions—we get bogged down. It’s more beautiful to see with care how every small response is made, and how it makes a kaleidoscopic pattern.

Wisdom is bright, and does not grow dim. By those who love her she is readily seen, and found by those who seek for her. Quick to anticipate those who desire her, she makes herself known to them. Watch for her early and you will have no trouble; you will find her sitting at your gates. Even to think about her is understanding fully grown; be on the alert for her and anxiety will quickly leave you. She herself walks about looking for those who are worthy of her and graciously shows herself to them as they go, IN every thought of theirs coming to meet them.
– The Book of Wisdom 6:12-17

Contemplation is Life itself, fully awake, fully active, and fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness, and for being. It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being in us proceed from an invisible, transcendent, and infinitely abundant Source. Contemplation is, above all, awareness of the reality of that Source.
– Thomas Merton

The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating.
The paths are not to be found, but made.
And the activity of making them changes both the maker and their destination.
– Johnn Schaar

i hear it said about me.
and i like it!:
he is one in the likeness of a pilgrim.
something like a seeker.
a heart in thirst.

i hear it said:
“him, who is the son of perennial pilgrims”.
and i like that!
but i am not lost,
for i have never arrived.

i know this:
as long as i walk,
i cannot be lost.
if i find my destination
i found nothing at all.

for a pilgrim who arrives,
is lost for eternity.
when our walk ends,
we call it death.
or loneliness.

but the good god in the good-book says:
we must choose life.

this i did:
i walked and i saw.

every place was the land of promise.
until i stopped to enter.

every lotus flower an epiphany.
until i stopped to contemplate.

every voice a cantata,
until i stopped to listen.

i stopped and i was lost.
for a true pilgrim rests in his walks
and tires in his stops.
but we are never lost in our walks.
for the walk itself is our only arrival.

walking to arrive is never to have left.
for a pilgrim who arrives was not a true pilgrim.
have you ever seen a true pilgrim?
they build their beautiful homes
between the earth and their walking sticks.
– Hune Margulies

But start slowly, because direction is more important than speed.
Sit in another chair, on the other side of the table.
Later on, change tables.
When you go out, try to walk on the other side of the street. Then change your route, walk calmly down other streets, observing closely the places you pass by.
Take other buses. Change your wardrobe for a while; give away your old shoes and try to walk barefoot for a few days – even if only at home.
Take off a whole afternoon to stroll about freely, listening to the birds or the noise of the cars.
Open and shut the drawers and doors with your left hand.
Sleep on the other side of the bed. Then try sleeping in other beds.
Watch other TV programs, read other books, live other romances – even if only in your imagination.
Sleep until later. Go to bed earlier.
Learn a new word a day.
Eat a little less, eat a little more, eat differently; choose new seasonings, new colors,
things you have never dared to experiment.
Lunch in other places, go to other restaurants, order another kind of drink
and buy bread at another bakery.
Lunch earlier, have dinner later, or vice-versa.
Try something new every day: a new side, a new method, a new flavor,
a new way, a new pleasure, a new position.
Pick another market, another make of soap, another toothpaste.
Take a bath at different times of the day.
Use pens with different colors.
Go and visit other places.
Love more and more and in different ways. Even when you think that the other will be frightened, suggest what you have always dreamed about doing when you make love.
Change your bag, your wallet, your suitcases, buy new glasses, write other poems.
Open an account in another bank, go to other cinemas, other hairdressers,
other theaters, visit new museums.
Change. And think seriously of finding another job, another activity,
work that is more like what you expect from life, more dignified, more human.
If you cannot find reasons to be free, invent them: be creative.
And grab the chance to take a long, enjoyable trip – preferably without any destination.
Try new things. Change again. Make another change. Experiment something else.
You will certainly know better things and worse things than those you already know, but that does not matter. What matters most is change, movement, dynamism, energy.
Only what is dead does not change – and you are alive.
– Clarice Lispector

Today we need heroes of descent, not masters of denial, mentors of maturity who can carry sadness, who give love to aging, who show soul without irony or embarrassment.
– James Hillman

Now has come, an easy time. I let it
roll. There is a lake somewhere
so blue and far nobody owns it.
A wind comes by and a willow listens
I hear all this, every summer. I laugh
and cry for every turn of the world,
its terribly cold, innocent spin.
That lake stays blue and free; it goes
on and on.
And I know where it is.
– William Stafford

The world would never amount to a hill of beans if people didn’t use their imaginations to think of the impossible.
– Pete Seeger

Don’t go to business school.
– Paul Hawken

400 miles from my friends the apples they gave me for the journey
– Alan Spence

She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.
– Annie Dillard

I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them…
– Annie Dillard

Perhaps knowing one place intimately is to have a way of knowing all places.
– Richard Mabey

To be without trees would, in the most literal way, to be without our roots.
– Richard Mabey

The force of love, the force of reunion is unstoppable.
– Charles Eisenstein

So, if you don’t fit in, if you feel at odds with the world, if your identity is troubled and frayed, if you feel lost and ashamed – it could be because you have retained the human values you were supposed to have discarded. You are a deviant. Be proud.
– George Monbiot

Real creativity can only come from the earth. It can’t come from human ideas or projects or ambition. It’s only when we touch the the deep space; the origin of all things, and we learn how to wait – we wait out our impulsiveness. Then things arise, and if we see them and go along with them, that is genuine creativity.

So in working [with Earth Breathing and other bodywork practices] we become a vehicle of creativity. It’s not that “we” are creative because the ego isn’t. But you [learn to] increase our own sensitivity and translate that into activity. And certainly really creative people throughout history report experiencing this same process. Somehow they had a way of opening to deep space, waiting, and then letting work come through.

So, creativity comes. It can be everywhere. It can be in how you’re relating to a child. It can be cooking. It can be in the arts. It can be in simply talking to a friend. Literally any sphere of human activity can become the arena for a tremendously fresh and transformative creativity.
– Reggie Ray

As my prayer became more attentive and inward
I had less and less to say.
I finally became completely silent.
I started to listen
– which is even further removed from speaking.
I first thought that praying entailed speaking.
I then learned that praying is hearing,
not merely being silent.
This is how it is.
To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking,
Prayer involves becoming silent,
And being silent,
And waiting until God is heard.
– Søren Kierkegaard

Zen pretty much comes down to three things — everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.
– Jane Hirshfield

To Days of Winter
Not enough has been said
ever in your praise
hushed mornings
before the year turns new
and for a while afterward
passing behind the sounds
Oh light worn thin
until the eye can
almost see through you
still words continuing
to bloom out of yourselves
in the way of the older stars
your ancestors
season from before knowledge
days when the sun is loved most
– W.S. Merwin

Everybody needs beauty…places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.
– John Muir

The compact between writing and walking is almost as old as literature — a walk is only a step away from a story, and every path tells.
– Robert Macfarlane

Anyone who lives in a city will know the feeling of having been there too long. The gorge-vision that the streets imprint on us, the sense of blockage, the longing for surfaces other than glass, brick, concrete and tarmac….I have lived in Cambridge on and off for a decade, and I imagine I will continue to do so for years to come. And for as long as I stay here, I know I will have to also get to the wild places.
– Robert Macfarlane

As the pen rises from the page between words, so the walker’s feet rise and fall between paces, and as the deer continues to run as it bounds from the earth and the dolphin continues to swim even as it leaps again and again from the sea, so writing and wayfaring are continuous activities, a running stitch, a persistence of the same seam or stream.
– Robert Macfarlane

All travelers to wild places will have felt some version of this, a brief blazing perception of the world’s disinterest. In small measures it exhilarates. But in full form it annihilates.
– Robert Macfarlane

A basic language-literacy of Nature is falling from us. And what is being lost along with this literacy is something perhaps even more valuable: a kind of language-magic, the power that certain words possess to enchant our imaginative relations with Nature and landscape.
– Robert Macfarlane

This is what Joyce called the monomyth: an archetypal story that springs from the collective unconscious. Its motifs can appear not only in myth and literature, but, if you are sensitive to it, in the working out of the plot of your own life. The basic story of the hero journey involves giving up where you are, going into the realm of adventure, coming to some kind of symbolically rendered realization, and then returning to the field of normal life.
– Joseph Campbell

A Hiker’s Ode to the New Year
May your lung capacity increase,
Your smile lines deepen,
Your calluses grow
And your sense of wonder remain undiminished.
– Cam Honan

The Dipper

It was winter, near freezing,
I’d walked through a forest of firs
when I saw issue out of the waterfall
a solitary bird.

It lit on a damp rock,
and, as water swept stupidly on,
wrung from its own throat
supple, undammable song.

It isn’t mine to give.
I can’t coax this bird to my hand
that knows the depth of the river
yet sings of it on land.

I never thought Michiko would come back
after she died. But if she did, I knew
it would be as a lady in a long white dress.
It is strange that she has returned
as somebody’s dalmation. I meet
the man walking her on a leash
almost every week. He says good morning
and I stoop down to calm her. He said
once that she was never like that with
other people. Sometimes she is tethered
on their lawn when I go by. If nobody
is around, I sit on the grass. When she
finally quiets, she puts her head in my lap
and we watch each other’s eyes as I whisper
in her soft ears. She cares nothing about
the mystery. She likes it best when
I touch her head and tell her small
things about my days and our friends.
That makes her happy the way it always did.
– Jack Gilbert, “Alone” from Collected Poems.

That old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air … Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.
– Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

People take vacations. That’s their reward—the vacation. Why not the life?
– Jack Gilbert

The Pleasure of Serving
by Gabriela Mistral

All of nature is a yearning for service:
The cloud serves, and the wind, and the furrow.

Where there is a tree to plant, you be the one.
Where there is a mistake to undo, let it be you.

You be the one to remove the rock from the field,
The hate from human hearts,
And the difficulties from the problem.

There is joy in being wise and just,
But above all there is the beautiful,
The immense happiness of serving.

How sad the world would be if all was already done.
If there was no rosebush to plant,
No enterprise to undertake.

Do not limit yourself to easy tasks.
It’s so beautiful to do what others dodge.

But don’t fall prey to the error that only
Great tasks done can be counted as accomplishments.
There are small acts of service that are good ones:
Decoratively setting a table,
Putting some books in order,
Combing a little girl’s hair.
That one over there is the one that criticizes,
This other one is the one that destroys.
You be the one that serves.

Serving is not a labor just for inferior beings.
God, who gives fruit and light, serves.
His name could be rendered thus: He Who Serves.

And he has his eyes on our hands,
And he asks us at the close of day:
“Did you render service today? To whom?
To a tree, to your friend, to your mother?”

– Gabriela Mistral: Chilean poet-diplomat, educator and feminist

Prayer for Words

“My voice restore for me.”
— Navajo

Here is the wind bending the teds westward,
The patchwork of morning on gray moraine.

Had I words I could tell of origin,
Of God’s hands bloody with birth at first light.
Of my thin squeals in the heat of his breath,
Of the taste of being, the bitterness,
And scents of camasroot and chokecherries.

And, God, if my mute heart expresses me,
I am the rolling thunder and the rosts
Of torrents upon rock, the whispering
Of old leaves, the silence of deep canyons.
I am the rattle of mortality.

I could tell of the splintered sun.
I could Articulate the night sky, had I words.
– N. Scott Momaday

That place of true healing is a fierce place. It’s a giant place. It’s a place of monstrous beauty and endless dark and glimmering light. And you have to work really, really, really hard to get there, but you can do it.
– Cheryl Strayed

Our work, our job, the most important gig of all, is to make a place that belongs to us, a structure composed of our own moral code. Not the code that echoes imposed cultural values, but the one that tells us on a visceral level what to do.
– Cheryl Strayed

You discover yourself, not in isolation, not in withdrawal, but in relationship…
– J. Krishnamurti

Whatever anyone does,
anyone says, in the
past, now, everything, let
it bounce off the rock
. . . . . of yr gladness (yr mirror)
– Jack Kerouac
To drive out Angry Thoughts
Book of Sketches

poem by W. S. Merwin:

To the New Year

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.
– Neil Gaiman

I don’t think I could love you so much if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret. I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn’t revealed its beauty to them.

Therefore, dark past,
I’m about to do it.
I’m about to forgive you
for everything.
– Mary Oliver

Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of the light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.
– Brendan Kennelly

The best quotes don’t speak to one particular truth, but rather to universal truths that resonate— across time, culture, gender, generation, and situation— in our own hearts and minds. They guide, motivate, validate, challenge, and comfort us in our own lives. They reiterate what we’ve figured out and remind us how much there is yet to learn.
– Cheryl Strayed

In Japan we have the phrase ‘shoshin,’ which means ‘beginner’s mind.’ The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few. The most difficult thing is always to keep your beginner’s mind.
– Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;—
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;— a Fairy Tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The grounds for hope are in the shadows, in the people who are inventing the world while no one looks, who themselves don’t know yet whether they will have any effect…
– Rebecca Solnit

A Dream of Winter
Very often on winter nights the halfshaped moonlight sees
Men through a window of leaves and lashes marking gliding
Into the grave an owl-tongued childhood of birds and cold trees,

Or drowned beyond water in the sleepers’ fish-trodden churches
Watching the cry of the seas as snow flies sparkling, riding,
The ice lies down shining, the sandgrains skate on the beeches.

Often she watches through men’s midnight windows, their winter eyes,
The conjured night of the North rain in a firework flood,
The Great Bear raising the snows of his voice to burn the skies.

And men may sleep a milkwhite path through the chill, struck still waves
Or walk on thunder and air in the frozen, birdless wood
On the eyelid of the North where only the silence moves,

Asleep may stalk among lightning and hear the statues speak,
The hidden tongue in the melting garden sing like a thrush
And the soft snow drawing a bellnote from the marble cheek,

Drowned fast asleep beyond water and sound may mark the street
Ghost-deep in lakes where the rose-cheeked nightmare glides like a fish,
The Ark drifts on the cobbles, the darkness sails in a fleet,

Or, lying down still, may clamber the snow-exploded hill
Where the caverns hide the snowbull’s ivory splinter,
Fossil spine of the sea-boned seal, iceprint of pterodactyl.

Oh birds, trees, fish and bears, singing statues, Arkfloods and seals
Steal from their sleeper awake as he waits in the winter
Morning, alone in his world, staring at the London wheels.
– Dylan Thomas

We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.
– Ellen Goodman

li-po said “the birds have vanished down the sky. now the last cloud drains away. we sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.” how i wish li-po had bothered to ask the mountain. she would have said “only li-po remains”. and how i wish they’d both stop talking nonsense. here is li-po, and here’s the mountain, and in-between them there are no passings and no remainings, there is only presence.
– hune margulies

What would it mean to live
in a city whose people were changing
each other’s despair into hope? –
You yourself must change it. –
what would it feel like to know
your country was changing? –
You yourself must change it. –
Though your life felt arduous
new and unmapped and strange
what would it mean to stand on the first
page of the end of despair?

“Dreams Before Waking”
– Adrienne Rich

Into a bright blue January sky, I let the pale moon travel to its furthest extent. The wind zithers the strings that connect us.
– Mark Holloway

‘I am your own way of looking at things,’ she said. ‘When you allow me to live with you, every glance at the world around you will be a sort of salvation’.
– William Stafford


I resolve:

To spend more time
talking with trees;

To speak my Truth
and the Truth of those
who cannot speak
for themselves;

To let Nature set the
rhythm of my days
and nights

and the seasons of
my belonging to
this world;

To laugh with children
and some adults too;

To throw a wayward
starfish back
into the ocean;

To dance to the music
that moves me;

To mend a broken wing,
or someone else’s;

To shine as light in the darkness
and become an ever-truer
friend to my shadows
and demons;

To pick up my paint brushes again
and write songs that
I will never sing;

To learn the constellations
and share nights with friends
under starry skies;

To wear purple more often
and paint my toenails

and start contemplating
how I can become
one of those cool
old women when
the time arrives;

To make love,
honoring the sacred
and enjoying this embodiment;

To smile in pictures,
and smile when there
is no one around to notice
that I am smiling;

To find myself in awe of Life,
every day;

To hike in the rain more often,
splash in puddles,
and listen to streams;

To see gardening as co-creative process
and value the time shared
with the Mother;

To be fully present as I prepare my
meals and as I nourish my body,
savoring each bite;
To be of service in my Work
and play
and to play;

To meditate on abundance
and express gratitude
at least as often as I

To forgive as an act of
duty to my soul,
a means of
expanding my heart,

and the laying of a
stepping stone on the
path to a better world;

To build community
and mirror beauty
back to all beings;

To be courageously vulnerable
and hang out with uncertainty
as if we were childhood

To simply be enough


To love you,
because I can.

© 2011-2014/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in “Sacred Reciprocity:
Courting the Beloved in Everyday Life

Truly good people are like water, bringing help to all without picking and choosing. Not contending, not striving, not competing, going places others avoid, flowing like the Way, rooted in earth, minds like deep pools, helping with kindness, speaking with sincerity, governing with peace, working with skill, moving with time. No contention, no fault.
– Robert Meikyo Rosenbaum

Without a deep connection to nature, people drift, grow negative, and destroy themselves spiritually and physically. Deeply connected to nature, we see beauty everywhere, including within ourselves.
– Carol Schaefer

A very important Welsh word often sums up the nature of Druidry – awen. Loosely translated, it means flowing spirit or inspiration. Awen is that, but also so much more. It is that spark that encourages the seed to sprout; the point where two souls meet and touch; the flash of insight gained from a single drop of dew. Awen is life itself, living in the beauty of its own truth.
– Joanna van der Hoeven

quiet place by the river – a good day for haiku
– Alan Spence

autumn shower – taking shelter in a tea-shop
– Alan Spence

secondhand bookshop – my own books musty as the rest
– Alan Spence

the light fades the mountain turns a deeper blue
– Alan Spence

without thinking saying good morning to the mountain
– Alan Spence

it is in the shelter of each other that the people live
ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine
– Pádraig Ó Tuama

This is the place of my song-dream, the place the music played to me.
– ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ from The Wind in the Willows

In the second half of life, the questions become: ‘Who, apart from the roles you play, are you? What does the soul ask of you? Do you have the wherewithal to shift course, to deconstruct your painfully achieved identity, risking failure, marginalization and loss of collective approval?’ No small task.
– James Hollis

Oh what we see when we finally stop looking.
– T. K. Gregson

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
– Neil Gaiman

If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow-growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it…
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
here, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides, fields and gardens
rich in the windows. The river will run
clear, as we will never know it,
and over it, birdsong like a canopy….
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
the old forest, an old forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields.
In their voices they will hear a music
risen out of the ground….
native to this valley,
will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament. The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its possibility.

A Poem on the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
Trees are never felled . . . in summer . . . Not when the fruit . . .
is yet to be borne . . . Never before the promise . . . is fulfilled . . .
Not when their cooling shade . . . has yet to comfort . . .

Yet there are those . . . unheeding of nature . . . indifferent to
ecology . . . ignorant of need . . . who . . . with ax and sharpened
saw . . . would . . . in boots . . . step forth damaging . . .

Not the tree . . . for it falls . . . But those who would . . . in
summer’s heat . . . or winter’s cold . . . contemplate . . . the
beauty . . .

The Cry of the Dreamer

John Boyle O’Reilly

I am tired of planning and toiling
In the crowded hives of men;
Heart-weary of building and spoiling,
And spoiling and building again.

And I long for the dear old river,
Where I dreamed my youth away;
For a dreamer lives forever,
And a toiler dies in a day.

I am sick of the showy seeming
Of a life that is half a lie;
Of the faces lined with scheming
In the throng that hurries by.

From the sleepless thoughts’ endeavor,
I would go where the children play;
For a dreamer lives forever,
And a thinker dies in a day.

I can feel no pride, but pity
For the burdens the rich endure;
There is nothing sweet in the city
But the patient lives of the poor.

Oh, the little hands too skillful,
And the child-mind choked with weeds!
The daughter’s heart grown willful,
And the father’s heart that bleeds!

No, no! from the street’s rude bustle,
From the trophies of mart and stage,
I would fly to the woods’ low rustle
And the meadows’ kindly page.

Let me dream as of old by the river,
And be loved for the dream alway;
For a dreamer lives forever,
And a toiler dies in a day.

– John Boyle O’Reilly

Art thou not of the dreamer tribe?
The poet and the dreamer are distinct,
Diverse, sheer opposite, antipodes.
The one pours out a balm upon the world,
The other vexes it.
– Gregory Orr

Development line of language: the distinction between the magical and the mundane functions of speech is eliminated in favour of the latter. The sacred is closer to the mundane than to the magical. Tendency towards a language purified of all magical elements: Scheerbart, Brecht.
– Erdmut Wizisla. Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht: The Story of a Friendship

When I read, I don’t really read: I pop a beautiful sentence into my mouth and suck it like a fruit drop, or I sip it like a liqueur until the thought dissolves in me like alcohol, infusing brain and heat and coursing through the veins to the root of each blood vessel.
– Hrabal

We in the “developed” world seem to have many auditory strategies that insulate us from the presence of silence, simplicity, and solitude. When I return to Western culture after time in desert, mountain or forest, I discover how we have filled our world with a multiplicity of noises, a symphony of forgetfulness that keeps our won thoughts and realizations, feelings and intuitions out of audible range.
– Joan Halifax

Every day in every way,
It’s getting better and better
– John Lennon, 1980

Ye times of olde
Pagan Poetry was told
stories to uphold
– Mark Lummis‎

It’s too bad that philosophy has largely become so abstract and disengaged. We all need to reflect on the nature of things.
– Thomas Moore

The key to optimum health is to upgrade the unconscious maps and limiting beliefs that have been driving us to a toxic lifestyle and relationships.
– Alberto Villoldo

More and more I realize mountain forests are good for efforts in the way. Sound of the valley brook enters the ears, moonlight pierces the eyes. Outside this, not one further instant of thought.
– Zen Master Dogen

Place is found by walking.
– Andy Goldsworthy

Now and then one enjoys a little moonwalk, some little departure from tradition.
– James Merrill

How Would It Be
How would it be if everything that you thought you knew
Was turned upside down opposite from your point of view
How would you feel if the ground was really the sky
And all of this time you’ve been walking
When you could have been flying

If you run a thousand miles a minute you can expect
To wear out a few pairs of shoes
If you forget how to love and take it for granted
You can expect to wear out people close to you

What if all the birds were flying just to show us
And all the trees were really holding the sky up
Everything that you do matters somehow
What if heaven and hell was right now

How would it be if you really created your life
Stories you told the good and bad that they come alive
And how would it change if your words were like nails and wood
You build your house but you forget that it’s just a house
You can rebuild it

What if all the birds were flying just to show us
And all the trees were really holding the sky up
Everything that you do matters in the end
What if all of our mistakes are forgiven

What if love is a lot of listening
A little bit of time not pretending
We are caught up in a world of daydreams
What if loving what you have is everything

What if all the birds were flying just to show us
And all the trees were really holding the sky up
And everything that you do matters so much

How would you change your life
– Ellis

To the friends who stuck around
Go and hold them closer.
– Joan Shelley

Life is Change
How it differs from the rocks
I’ve seen their ways too often for my liking
New worlds to gain
My life is to survive
and be alive
for you.
– Jefferson Airplane

Why do I care how much it may storm,
I’ve got my love to keep me warm.
– Billie Holiday

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. – Frank Lloyd Wright

He who finds a thought that enables him to obtain a slightly deeper glimpse into the eternal secrets of nature has been given great grace.
– Albert Einstein

Love means to look at yourself the way one looks at distant things… Whoever sees that way heals his heart.
– Czeslaw Milosz

What the Trees Say
From Kyoto Journal 75:

Birds had stretched their wings for a while
knocked on trees, called from tree to tree
yawning with dawn peach-gold sifting
her way into our sleeping minds. Awaking
even the copper green sage lichen
leached into barks of tapering cedars
tall, stately, fragrant with longing.
I walked into a cathedral of trees,
where moss hung in filigreed strips,
where wood eaten by time
awaited the hymnal of its form,
before turning to red dirt. Or brown.
Trees were green with gloss; crowds filtered
into my little head while my feet longed
to curl up, be still from all this searching.
show less
When I have wandered into forests,
trees have held me, told me of their origins—
the miles they have traveled; Now, they show me
their enmeshed roots like our destinies
intricately criss-crossed before time revealed
our beginning and our endlessness.
I asked for these myriad roots to travel farther
through the core to other ends of earth
so each tree could know sister and cousin
so each tree could sustain earth layers, relatives.
And when time comes for the devastation,
I asked for trees of all genes and systems
to keep the dirt whole even if waters
spill over and when they dry in creeks.
I know they listened, for sap on my fingers,
a leaf twirled tracing the morning air
fell on my cheek; insects, birds called fiercely
from 11 directions. Even a butterfly
fluttered near me in an innocent twist of time.
Squirrel scoured broken trees for morning victuals.
All I could hear was the hum of beginnings
as wings brushed leaves lichen longing.
Our common destiny rests in damp earth deserts
rocks rivers whose skies remind with stories
old and new across borders lands planets cosmos
woven with grammar of divinity. When shall we
celebrate our skins filigreed with dirt? When awake?
As forests have done and we have ached for!
Is it true that we hunger for nourishment?
Do we have the food to salve our hunger?
To feed each other in bowls of gold before
time runs into its own cave, curls up, goes to sleep?
All Taoli-Ambika knows is to write what the trees say!
This time.
Is it not true that everyone hungers for nourishment?
Is it true that everyone hungers to feed another?


Without biodiversity
I’m nothing
It’s like I never

Without my home
With no reflection
I cease to exist
– Claude Stanton Willey‎

The cure for our modern maladies is dirt under the fingernails and the feel of thick grass between the toes. The cure for our listlessness is to be out within the invigorating wind. The cure for our uselessness is to take back up our stewardship; for it is not that there has been no work to be done, we simply have not been attending to it.
– L.M. Browning, Ruminations at Twilight:
Poetry Exploring the Sacred

When you make your next shamanic journey into your sacred garden, be aware that you can connect with the Sophia Herself, and knowing this, it is our suggestion that you turn your attention toward her and express your profound gratitude to her for your Life here on her beautiful world… and offer her your Aloha.
– Hank Wesselman

So uncommon is it for us to grasp the beauty and mystery of ordinary things that, when we finally do so, it often brings us to the verge of tears. Appalled by our own poverty, we awake in wonder to a splendor of which we had never dreamed.
by Belden C. Lane

I will not stand immersed
In this ultra violent curse
I won’t let you make a tool of me
I will keep my mind and body free

Bye, bye, minutiae
Of the day to day drama
I’m expanding exponentially
I am consciousness without identity

I am many things made of everything
But I will not be your bank roll
I won’t idle in your drive through
I won’t watch your electric sideshow
I got way better places to go

I will maintain the truth
I knew naturally as a child
I won’t forfeit my creativity
To a world that’s all laid out for me

I will look at everything around me
And I will vow to bear in mind
That all of this was just someone’s idea
It could just as well be mine

I won’t rent you my time
I won’t sell you my brain
I won’t pray to a male God
‘Cause you know that would be insane

And you know that I can’t support the troops
‘Cause every last one of them is being duped here
And I will not rest a wink
Until the women have regrouped

I am many things made of everything
But I will not be your bank roll
I won’t idle in your drive through
I won’t watch your electric side
– Ani Difranco

It is not a matter of thinking much, but of loving much. So do whatever most kindles love in you.
– Teresa of Avila

If tonight the moon should arrive like a lost guide
crossing the fields with a bitter lantern in her hand,
her irides blind, her dresses wild, lie down and listen to her
find you; lie down and listen to the body become
the promise of no other, the sleeper in the garden
in its own arms, the exile in its own autumnal house.
You have woken. But no one has woken. You are changed,
but the light of change is bitter, the changing
is the threshold into winter. Traveler, rememberer, sleeper,
tonight, as you slumber where the dead are, if the moon’s hands
should discover you through fire, lie down
and listen to her hold you, the moon who has been away
so long now, the lost moon with her silver lips
and whisper, her body half in winter,
half in wool. Look at her, look at her, that drifter.
And if no one, if nothing comes to know you, if no song
comes to prove it isn’t over, tell yourself, in the moon’s
arms, she is no one; tell yourself, as you lose
love, it is after, that you alone are the bearer
in that changed place, you alone who have woken, and have
opened, you alone who can so love
what you are now and the vanishing that carries it away.
“Testimony” by Joseph Fasano

The lover comes alive when he or she is loved, and the world is the same way. When we begin to realize that the world is alive just as we are and it knows us in a way that we don’t know it, and it wants to communicate with us, and it wants to be known by us which means; that it wants to be loved by us, then the whole practice of dharma changes.
– Reggie Ray

Practice awakens the dormant and often invisible interiors of mind, body, and heart in order to establish a more tender, responsive, creative, and active self.
– Michael Stone

Without practicing persistently, we cannot eradicate the habitual tendencies accumulated since beginningless time, nor maintain or stabilize the wisdom that we attained earlier. Therefore, we should spare no efforts in doing all positive actions, and listening, contemplating and meditating on the Dharma.
– Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche

You see Her as black because you are far away from Her. Go near and you will find Her devoid of all color. The water of a lake appears black from a distance. Go near and take the water in your hand, and you will see that it has no color at all. Similarly, the sky looks blue from a distance. But look at the atmosphere near you; it has no color. The nearer you come to God, the more you will realize that He has neither name nor form. If you move away from the Divine Mother, you will find Her blue, like the grass-flower.
– Sri Ramakrishna

It is not enough to have some nice ideas, some hip spiritual philosophies you must be able to live them or they are either not real or are not really yours. Enlightenment is not an inward state but a field of Wisdom-Love lived in and through all appearances.
Knowledge without love is ineffectual at best. Love without knowledge becomes ugliness. Either one without the ability to do is pointless. Love and knowledge in balance is wisdom and when combined with the ability to do blossoms as the fullness of enlightenment.
– t.k

The birds are in their trees,
the toast is in the toaster,
and the poets are at their windows.

They are at their windows
in every section of the tangerine of earth –
the Chinese poets looking up at the moon,
the American poets gazing out
at the pink and blue ribbons of sunrise.

The clerks are at their desks,
the miners are down in their mines,
and the poets are looking out their windows
maybe with a cigarette, a cup of tea,
and maybe a flannel shirt or bathrobe is involved.

The proofreaders are playing the ping-pong
game of proofreading,
glancing back and forth from page to page,
the chefs are dicing celery and potatoes,
and the poets are at their windows
because it is their job for which
they are paid nothing every Friday afternoon.

Which window it hardly seems to matter
though many have a favorite,
for there is always something to see –
a bird grasping a thin branch,
the headlights of a taxi rounding a corner,
those two boys in wool caps angling across the street.

The fishermen bob in their boats,
the linemen climb their round poles,
the barbers wait by their mirrors and chairs,
and the poets continue to stare
at the cracked birdbath or a limb knocked down by the wind.

By now, it should go without saying
that what the oven is to the baker
and the berry-stained blouse to the dry cleaner,
so the window is to the poet.

Just think –
before the invention of the window,
the poets would have had to put on a jacket
and a winter hat to go outside
or remain indoors with only a wall to stare at.

And when I say a wall,
I do not mean a wall with striped wallpaper
and a sketch of a cow in a frame.

I mean a cold wall of fieldstones,
the wall of the medieval sonnet,
the original woman’s heart of stone,
the stone caught in the throat of her poet-lover.
– Billy Collins
The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems

Soul work is not a high road. It’s a deep fall into an unforgiving darkness that won’t let you go until you find the song that sings you home.
– McCall Erickson

Give all your interactions, from intimate to business, the spirit of friendship.
– Thomas Moore

The one thing … that is truly ugly is the climate of hate and intimidation, created by a noisy few, which makes the decent majority reluctant to air in public their views on anything controversial. … Where all pretend to be thinking alike, it’s likely that no one is thinking at all.
– Edward Abbey

Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary.
– Edward Abbey

The cactus of the high desert is a small, grubby, obscure and humble vegetable associated with cattle dung and overgrazing, interesting only when you tangle with it in the wrong way. Yet from this nest of thorns, this snare of hooks and fiery spines, is born once each year a splendid flower. It is unpluckable and except to an insect almost unapproachable.
– Edward Abbey

All we have, it seems to me, is the beauty of art and nature and life, and the love which that beauty inspires.
– Edward Abbey- Edward Abbey

Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.
– May Sarton

By acknowledging such links between the inner, psychological world and the perceptual terrain that surrounds us, we begin to turn inside-out, loosening the psyche from its confinement within a strictly human sphere, freeing sentience to return to the sensible world that contains us.
– David Abram


How is it that the snow
amplifies the silence,
slathers the black bark on limbs,
heaps along the brush rows?

Some deer have stood on their hind legs
to pull the berries down.
Now they are ghosts along the path,
snow flecked with red wine stains.

This silence in the timbers.
A woodpecker on one of the trees
taps out its story,
stopping now and then in the lapse
of one white moment into another.
– Robert Haight

We are stratified creatures, creatures full of abysses, with a soul of inconstant quicksilver, with a mind whose color and shape change as in a kaleidoscope that is constantly shaken.
– Pascal Mercier

A sober and quiet mind is one in which the ego does not obstruct the fluency of the things that come in through our senses and up through our dreams. Our business in living is to become fluent with the life we are living, and art can help this.
– John Cage

Most of us have to go far before we find what is nearer than the neck vein, but the very distance draws one closer. For myself, Something Else no longer sets with the sun. Rather, the sun goes down in myself and I am lost in the twilight. O Forgetting, sustain my Remembering! Stay my feet, angels, upon the way, so that the seeker becomes the sought, and I , too, may be spied from afar as someone comes running to meet me …”
– Pamela Travers

A sacred illness is one that educates us and alters us from the inside out, provides experiences and therefore knowledge that we could not possibly achieve in any other way, and aligns us with a life path that is, ultimately, of benefit to ourselves and those around us.
– Deena Metzger

I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. ..The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room.
– May Sarton

Pausing is a wonderful and radical way of plucking myself out of virtual reality and discovering myself once again at the hub, awake, open, and here. A deliberate meditative pause helps us to savor the often-forgotten goodness and beauty that is within and around us.
– Tara Brach, True Refuge

I think it’s the responsibility of every human being, not just those who wear the identity of poet, activist, voter, religious person… it’s the responsibility of every person. Our responsibility is to use our intelligence as clearly and coherently as we possibly can.
– John Trudell

I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Meet your challenges today with creative defiance, focus, and thanks. If your job has been to worry endlessly and your all-consuming worries have yielded nothing of merit then get a new job! Gather your closest friends and loved ones around you and allow them to help you write a letter of resignation to all your fears and apprehensions. Look beyond the specter of sadness, betrayal, and heartbreak and open your eyes to the billions of beautiful people who would cherish and nurture you with kindness. Let every cell in your body explode with gratitude for them. Let every instrument in the grand orchestra of your soul go berserk. – Mohammed Fairouz

Teach us to care and not to care. Teach us to sit still.
– T.S. Eliot

Poetry may make us . . . a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.
– T. S. Eliot

How To Be a Poet
(to remind myself)


Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

The best thing about graduating from the university was that I finally had time to sit on a log and read a good book.
– Edward Abbey

An old man sits on a granite step.
He plucks a treasured guitar.
The strings throb with feeling.
He needs no audience to open his heart.

A boy enthusiastically wants to learn his style.
“Style?” asks the man slowly. “My style is
made of
The long road of life, of heartbreak
And joy, and people loved, and loneliness.
Of war and its atrocities.
Of a baby born.
Of burying parents and friends.
My scale is the seven stars of the dipper
The hollow of my guitar is the space
between heaven and earth.
How can I show you my style?
You have your own young life.”

Everyone has their own style in life. The old have perspective. The young have vigor. We can learn from each other, but we cannot have what the other generations possess. We are each shaped by our generations, and to transcend the limitations of our time is a rare occurrence indeed.


Yi clan of old man rest in sidewalk 1981

Hua Hu Ching

If you wish to
gain merit and become
one with the divine, then develop
your virtue and extend it
to the world.

Abandon fancy
theologies and imaginary
ideas and do some ordinary
daily work, such as

Let go of
all conflict and strife.
Practice unswerving kindness
and unending

following impulses
and pursuing ambitions which
destroy the wholeness of your mind
and separate you from
the Integral Way.

Neither become obsessed with
circumstances nor forego
awareness of them.

To manage your mind,
know that there is nothing,
and then relinquish all attachment
to the nothingness.

– from the Hua Hu Ching,
translated by Brian Browne Walker
To the source!

There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.
– Adrienne Rich


Reasons To Meditate
to practice noticing
to understand simple things
to give myself clarity
to face inevitable difficulties
to make a conscious choice
to welcome my feelings
to know pain
to experience the bliss of effort
to take gentle possession of my mind
to free my mind
to be aware of my sensitivity
to dip below superficiality
to brighten my eyes
to forget how i look
to stop moving
to let myself be how i am
to love deeply
to risk being myself
to sit upright like a pyramid
to stay still
to breathe in the air
to encourage a positive habit
to behave in the manner of one who woke up
to pursue freedom
to touch the ground to learn without words to unlock my heart to go beyond


In the World in the strange early morning half light we sit
in the cloudiness of our questioning we sit
in our madness and our clarity we sit
in the midst of too much to do we sit
in the warm arms of our shared sorrow we sit
in community and in loneliness we sit
in sweet exhaustion we sit
in the blazing energy of being alive we sit

here with the singing crickets
here with each electric birdsong
here with the rippling of breezes and the dry grasses
here with the cobwebs and the clouds
and the dusty road upon us

us in the sound and the sound in us
us in the world and the world in us

When you sit in a café, with a lot of music in the background and a lot of projects in your head, you’re not really drinking your coffee or your tea. You’re drinking your projects, you’re drinking your worries. You are not real, and the coffee is not real either. Your coffee can only reveal itself to you as a reality when you go back to your self and produce your true presence, freeing yourself from the past, the future, and from your worries. When you are real, the tea also becomes real and the encounter between you and the tea is real. This is genuine tea drinking.

from People Close To You

She asks if she can sit on the bench & it is that kind of day in Santa Monica, slow & gentle so that when she sits, properly, like a teacher or the pudgy mother of a girl named Marilyn, in unison you raise your round faces. The wind hefts the voices of your deadlings. They are serious & sorrowful women, full of warnings, but today seem content to let you be, saying only, Child, be thankful, open your chest, that great cavern, to our other sister. & so you watch the sea.

Who knows what the woman beside you hears: there are so many languages in the world & your tongue is tied to this one. So you sip iced tea & lean a bit forward into them, your gone women, your sages, who seem to be stroking your head. You begin to imagine the ocean floor as a cup, the pouty lips of God, the soft foam, the salt as if food, tasting sweet & clear.
– Crystal Williams

Sit in a room and read — and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time. This realization of life can be a constant realization in your living. When you find an author who really grabs you, read everything he has done. Don’t say, ‘Oh, I want to know what So-and-so did’—and don’t bother at all with the best-seller list. Just read what this one author has to give you. And then you can go read what he had read. And the world opens up in a way that is consistent with a certain point of view. But when you go from one author to another, you may be able to tell us the date when each wrote such and such a poem—but he hasn’t said anything to you.
– Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers

Poetry is knowledge, salvation, power, abandonment. An operation capable of changing the world, poetic activity is revolutionary by nature; a spiritual exercise; it is a means of interior liberation. Poetry reveals this world; it creates another.
– Octavio Paz

What I thought I had left I kept finding again
but when I went looking for what I thought I remembered
as anyone could have foretold it was not there
when I went away looking for what I had to do
I found that I was living where I was a stranger
but when I retraced my steps the familiar vision
turned opaque and all surface and in the wrong places
and the places where I had been a stranger appeared to me
to be where I had been at home called by name and
answering getting ready to go away and going away

There are the yellow beads of the stonecrops and the twisted
flags of dried irises knuckled into the hollows
of moss and rubbly limestone on the waves of the low wall
the ivy has climbed along them where the weasel ran
the light has kindled to gold the late leaves of the cherry tree
over the lane by the house chimney there is the roof
and the window looking out over the garden
summer and winter there is the field below the house
there is the broad valley far below them all with the curves
of the river a strand of sky threaded through it
and the notes of bells rising out of it faint as smoke
and there beyond the valley above the rim of the wall
the line of mountains I recognize like a line of writing
that has come back when I had thought it was forgotten
— W.S. Merwin, lines from ‘Fox Sleep’

because a poem
is not just a poem


What objects are the fountains
Of the happy strain?
What fields or waves or mountains?
What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind?

– Percy Bysshe Shelley

One of the most important things we can do as people who live on this planet is to return our hearts and minds back to the land so that we can learn to listen again to what the land has to say. Such a practice doesn’t always make sense in a modern, technological society that grabs onto quick solutions, but truly, when we listen intently to the land, unpredictable insights begin to emerge and we remember the ancient truth that psyche is not only that which lives inside of us humans, but extends to all things: rock, river, and tree. The entire cosmos is alive and we are simply members in her vast community. If we all lived this to the fullest, imagine what the world would look like today.
– Betsy Perluss

The work we do in the world, when it is a true vocation, always corresponds in some mysterious way to the work that goes on within us.
– Elizabeth O’Connor

Don’t worry if you feel you can only do one tiny good thing in one small corner of the cosmos.
Just be a Buddha body in that one place.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

I climbed up onto a moonbeam once
and slid down the other side
it carried me far away from home
to the edge of the universe
where it seemed to arrive at nothingness~

and now I wander in the land

at the edge of the universe

with other imaginal beings I’ve found there

I’ve forgotten where home is
or if it ever was

dancing in the moonlight~
– Ari Annona

Paths That Cross
By Patti Smith

Speak to me
Speak to me heart
I feel a needing
to bridge the clouds
Softly go
A way I wish to know
A way I wish to know

Oh you’ll ride
Surely dance
In a ring
Backwards and forwards
Those who seek
feel the glow
A glow we will all know
A glow we will all know

On that day
Filled with grace
And the heart’s communion
Steps we take
Steps we trace
Into the light of reunion

Paths that cross
will cross again
Paths that cross
will cross again

Speak to me
Speak to me shadow
I spin from the wheel
nothing at all
Save the need
the need to weave
A silk of souls
that whisper whisper
A silk of souls
that whispers to me

Speak to me heart
all things renew
hearts will mend
round the bend
Paths that cross
cross again
Paths that cross
will cross again

Rise up hold the reins
We’ll meet again I don’t know when
Hold tight bye bye
Paths that cross
will cross again
Paths that cross
Will cross again


by Vashti Bunyan

Rose Hip November
Autumn, I’ll remember
Gold landing at our door
Catch one leaf and fortune will surround you evermore

Pine tree, very tall
Waiting for snow to fall
Mist hangs very still
Caught by dawn in castle moats around the sleeping hill

Now a pipe is heard
Happy is the shepherd
Shepherdess and dog
Father of the pastureland and mother of the flock

Rose Hip November
Autumn, I’ll remember
Gold landing at our door
Catch one leaf and fortune will surround you evermore


Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.
– Henry David Thoreau

Lord, as Rilke says, the year bears down toward winter, past
the purification of the trees, the darkened brook.
Only 4:45, and the sky’s sheer black
clasps two clear planets and a skinny moon
as we drive quietly home from the airport,
the last kid gone.
The time of preparation’s over, the time of
harvesting the seed, the husk, the kernel, saving
what can be saved – weaves of sun like
rags of old flannel, provident peach stones,
pies, pickles, berry wines to
hold the sweetness for a few more months.
Now the mountains will settle into their old
cold habits, now the white
birch bones will rise
like all those thoughts we’ve tried to repress:
madness of the solstice, phosphorescent
logic that rules the fifteen-hour night!
Our children, gorged, encouraged, have taken off
in tiny shuddering planes. Plump with stuffing,
we too hurry away, holding hands, holding on.
Soon it’ll be January, soon snow will
shuffle down, cold feathers, swathing us in
inches of white silence –
and the ways of the ice
will be narrow, delicate.
– Sandra M. Gilbert

A wealth you cannot imagine
flows through you.

Do not consider what strangers say.
Be secluded in your secret heart-house,
that bowl of silence.

Talking, no matter how humble-seeming,
is really a kind of bragging.

Let silence be the art
you practice.

– Rumi

I search instead for the others,
the ones left over,
the ones who have escaped from these
mythologies with barely their lives;
they have real faces and hands, they think of themselves as
wrong somehow, they would rather be trees.
– Margaret Atwood

It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion – its message becomes meaningless.
– Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

I was always a lone wolf, always against groups and stats and sects and cults and isms and so on.
– Henry Miller

How easy it is nowadays to forget about the body. Do we even know how to live as bodies anymore? We are nebulae of contemplation, memory, and longing.

What you realize after being forced to do all these core-to-life tasks is that working feels good. The paralysis of a life of leisure and body-ignorance begins to fall away. Numb spots in the brain and in the muscles of the body start to activate and remember how to work together. The body responds to integration. Empowerment starts to creep in. Working helps us remember our evolutionary potential—what these physical bodies were made for. And getting it right gives us the courage and confidence to keep trying.
– Lee Walker Warren

Alone is walking along a street, just you and your city, taking things in that you often don’t take the time to appreciate when you’re busy with other people. It is allowing your senses to be your company, talking to you with a million different voices of how good this smells or how wonderful that feels. It is taking the time to soak in your surroundings, instead of just existing blindly within them.

Lonely is seeing something so beautiful that you feel your heart cannot contain it all by itself, that it is going to burst from the radiance that it is longing to express. It is wanting to turn to someone, anyone, and say “Look at that. Isn’t that wonderful?” and realizing that, as with so many other memories of late, there is just no one there to share it with.
– Chelsea Fagan

Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.
– Henry David Thoreau

And it was at that age…Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.
– Pablo Neruda

We did not come to remain whole.
We came to lose our leaves like the trees,
The trees that are broken
And start again, drawing up on great roots;
– Robert Bly

We have many shelves of poetry at home, but still, it takes an effort to step out of the daily narrative of existence, draw that neglected cloak of stillness around you—and concentrate, if only for three or four minutes. Perhaps the greatest reading pleasure has an element of self-annihilation. To be so engrossed that you barely know you exist … What is it precisely, that feeling of ‘returning’ from a poem? Something is lighter, softer, larger—then it fades, but never completely.
– Ian McEwan

First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.
– Octavia E. Butler

I believe that all great art holds the power to dissolve things: time, distance, difference, injustice, alienation, despair. I believe that all great art holds the power to mend things: join, comfort, inspire hope in fellowship, reconcile us to our selves. Art is good for my soul precisely because it reminds me that we have souls in the first place.
– Tilda Swinton

If there is any wisdom running through my life now, in my walking on this earth, it came from listening to the Great Silence of the stones, trees, space, wild animals, and to the pulse of all life as my heartbeat.
– Vijali Hamilton

This is the strange way of the world, that people who simply want to love are instead forced to become warriors.
– Lauren Oliver

You have to be vigilant about keeping your own fire alive.
– Tift Merritt

I will walk by myself
and cure myself
in the sunshine and the wind.
– Charles Reznikoff

To speak, and to write, is to assert who we are, what we think. The necessary other side is to surrender to these things – to stand humbled and stunned and silent before the wild and inexplicable beauties and mysteries of being.
– Jane Hirshfield

The secret title of every good poem might be ‘Tenderness’
– Galway Kinnell

I realized it for the first time in my life: there is nothing but mystery in the world, how it hides behind the fabric of our poor, browbeat days, shining brightly, and we don’t even know it.
– Sue Monk Kidd

Seeing with clarity is not a solitary task, but involves a companionship so intimate it becomes transformation.
– Jane Hirshfield

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.
– Richard Bach

Be in love with your life. Be crazy dumb-saint of the mind. Believe in the holy contour of life. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition, don’t think of words when you stop but to see the picture better and struggle to sketch the flow which already exists intact in mind. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea. Accept loss forever. Be wild undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better.
– Jack Kerouac

All our language is composed of brief little dreams; and the wonderful thing is that we sometimes make of them strangely accurate and marvelously reasonable thoughts. What should we be without the help of that which does not exist? Very little. And our unoccupied minds would languish if fables, mistaken notions, abstractions, beliefs, and monsters, hypotheses, and the so-called problems of metaphysics did not people with beings and objectless images our natural depths and darkness. Myths are the souls of our actions and our loves. We cannot act without moving towards a phantom. We can love only what we create.
– Paul Valéry

In short, the greatness of nature, and the subtle and unspeakable care with which she works is a source of unending contemplation.
– Galileo

Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I am given unimaginable gifts;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end. Each condition I flee from pursues me.
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed…
– Jennifer Welwood

I wouldn’t be surprised if poetry—poetry in the broadest sense, in the sense of a world filled with metaphor, rhyme, and recurring patterns, shapes, and designs—is how the world works. The world isn’t logical; it’s a song.
– David Byrne

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
—Mary Oliver

A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.
– Madeleine L’Engle

Black Friday
by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Oh America, get out of the mall.
Get out of the box stores, the boutiques
and fast food drive thrus. I don’t know
where else you might go … a forest,
perhaps, or over to your friend’s kitchen
where there is a cup of tea and an empty chair
near the window where, if you look
out into the snow-filled yard you might just see
how lovely that light is as it escapes
one more time, one more time.

With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.
– Wordsworth

Tilt your head slightly to one side and lift
your eyebrows expectantly. Ask questions.

Delve into the subject at hand or let
things come randomly. Don’t expect answers.

Forget everything you’ve ever done.
Make no comparisons. Simply listen.

Listen with your eyes, as if the story
you are hearing is happening right now.

Listen without blinking, as if a move
might frighten the truth away forever.

Don’t attempt to copy anything down.
Don’t bring a camera or a recorder.

This is your chance to listen carefully.
Your whole life might depend on what you hear.
– Joyce Sutphen

Friendship might have been the first, as well as the best, teacher of communication.
– Eudora Welty

The care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.
– Wendell Berry

The great French philosopher Blaise Pascal said, “All of man’s troubles stem from his inability to sit in a quiet room alone.” Similarly, from the Buddhist perspective, the difficulty we encounter in life occurs because somehow we are bypassing our inner refuge. We’re seeking for resolution outside of ourselves. This seeking causes an inner tension, which becomes a loud inner churning, which manifests as impulsive, unskillful, and increasingly disappointing activity. The very foundation of moving forward on the path is the recognition that yes, the relative world is an amazing display, but ultimately it’s illusory and beguiling. We must recognize the ways we have unconsciously taken refuge in a conventional sense, and instead find a true home within our own inner experience, the very nature of which is our own innate wakefulness.
– Patrick Sweeney

have you ever heard a child crying…
for his daddy to find a job?
for his mother not to give up?
for something to eat?
for a place to sleep?
for a coat to keep his sister warm?
for morning to come?

do you really think it matters
what color he is?
what language he speaks?
what God he believes in?

i mean, really!

– eric cockrell

There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.
– Martha Graham

We are obliged to spread the news, painful & bitter though it may be for some to hear, that all living things on earth are kindred.
– Edward Abbey

The world is hard up for simple things. I don’t mean the artificial simplicity of politics, religion, or social argument. I mean things that naturally abound-exploding sunsets, rippling streams, the sighing of the wind, the chirping of crickets. Beauty. Mystery. Wonder. Essential truths that connect us, in an age of frightening greed and disregard to the core of life itself.
– Nancy Wood

Some days I see with new eyes the possibility of a different way of being — a way of moving in the world without resistance and suffering, in partnership with what is. Some days, stillness is my guide, leading me down the gentle middle way where decisions are not made but followed, life is allowed to unfold as it will, and my own confusions are met with compassion and understanding.
– Abby Pingree

Think of the world that you carry inside you.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Language is an integral part of our nature. The words we use can arise from many places in ourselves, including the noise of our inner reactions, which often creates agitation. When they arise from inner silence, however, they carry the silence with them and can help transform anyone truly listening. Notice as you speak and write from where your words arise.
– Dennis Lewis

You are developing renunciation of personal territory and small mindedness. Although the warrior’s life is dedicated to helping others, he realizes that he will never be able to completely share his experiences with others. The fullness of his experience is his own, and he must live with his own truth. Yet he is more and more in love with the world. That combination of love affair and loneliness is what enables the warrior to constantly reach out to help others.
– Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
– John Burroughs

One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.
– John O’Donohue

Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.
– Tao Te Ching

Mindfulness itself consists in a whole host of integrated mind-body skills in ethically directed action in the world. it’s not a neural network but how you live your life in the world.
– Evan Thompson

There was that one hour sometime
in the middle of the last century.
It was autumn, and I was in my father’s
woods building a house out of branches
and the leaves that were falling like
thousands of letters from the sky.
And there was that hour in Central Park
in the middle of the seventies.
We were sitting on a blanket, listening
to Pete Seeger singing “This land is
your land, this land is my land,” and
the Vietnam War was finally over.
I would definitely include an hour
spent in one of the galleries of the
Tate Britain, looking up at the
painting of King Cophetua and
the Beggar Maid, and, afterwards
the walk along the Thames, and
I would also include one of those
hours when I woke in the night and
couldn’t get back to sleep thinking
about how nothing I thought was going
to happen happened the way I expected,
and things I never expected to happen did –
just like that hour today, when we saw
the dog running along the busy road,
and we stopped and held on to her
until her owner came along and brought
her home – that was an hour well
spent. Yes, that was a keeper.
– Joyce Sutphen

The spiritual propositions, considerations, of the path are not mere intellectualisms, hip philosophy, good ideas but rather they are alchemical transformative power packaged in language.

Each consideration can be unpacked through alchemical contemplation in 3 stages. First clothe it in intellect, consider it, hold it in mind, chew on it and allow its impact to pervade conceptual processes. Next clothe it in emotive consideration. Hold it in feeling, allow the implications of its meaning to unfold across the felt quality of your life. Thirdly hold it within the core of beingness as contemplative silence allowing what one is and the proposition to combine.
Do this repeatedly until the proposition becomes a living force within you and then apply it to living’s actions.

Allow mechanical habit to be re-examined in light of the new force of contemplation. Bathe intellect, emotions and being in the force and implications of each consideration. Submerge mind again and again within the purificatory power of wisdom.

If you do this then a simple set of consideration such as the 4 thoughts that turn the mind to dharma will change the very foundation of your life. Precious human birth will erode latent nihilism, hopelessness, depression.

Impermanence will cut through procrastination and laziness. Considering karma will wear away self defeating self pity and resentment. The possible ceaselessness of suffering will jump start action.

Almost every obstacle to realization arises from not having internalized the alchemical force of the path’s beginning propositions allowing them to become living axioms of transformation’s geometry.
– t.k.

One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast… a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here.

So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.

Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators.

I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.

– Edward Abbey

we fall asleep
with one hand under our head
and with the other in a mound of planets
our feet abandon us
and taste the earth
with their tiny roots
which next morning
we tear out painfully
– Zbigniew Herbert

I’ll kindle my fires with the words
I can’t send you
And the roads I can’t follow
and the songs I can’t sing
I’ll wander alone on the sleighbells of winter
With the stars for a diamond and the world for a ring
– Townes Van Zandt, The Catfish Song

If you stand at the edge of the forest
and stare into it
every tree at the edge will blow a little extra
oxygen toward you

It has been proven
Leaves have admitted it

The pines I have known
have been especially candid

One said
that all breath in this world
is roped together

that breathing is
the most ancient language

Ancient Language by Hannah Stephenson.

Consider what would happen if security were not the point of our existence. That we find freedom, aliveness, and power not from what contains, locates, or protects us, but from what dissolves, reveals and expands us.
– Eve Ensler

You just go where poetry is, whether it’s in your heart or your mind or in books or in places where there’s live poetry or recordings.
– Joy Harjo

May I be a protector to those without protection,
A leader for those who journey,
And a boat, a bridge, a passage
For those desiring the further shore.
May the pain of every living creature
Be completely cleared away.
May I be the doctor and the medicine
And may I be the nurse
For all sick beings in the world
Until everyone is healed.
– Shantideva

Colum McCann’s Letter to a Young Writer

Do the things that do not compute. Be earnest. Be devoted. Be subversive of ease. Read aloud. Risk yourself. Do not be afraid of sentiment even when others call it sentimentality. Be ready to get ripped to pieces: It happens. Permit yourself anger. Fail. Take pause. Accept the rejections. Be vivified by collapse. Try resuscitation. Have wonder. Bear your portion of the world. Find a reader you trust. Trust them back. Be a student, not a teacher, even when you teach. Don’t bullshit yourself. If you believe the good reviews, you must believe the bad. Still, don’t hammer yourself. Do not allow your heart to harden. Face it, the cynics have better one-liners than we do. Take heart: they can never finish their stories. Have trust in the staying power of what is good. Enjoy difficulty. Embrace mystery. Find the universal in the local. Put your faith in language—character will follow and plot, too, will eventually emerge. Push yourself further. Do not tread water. It is possible to survive that way, but impossible to write. Transcend the personal. Prove that you are alive. We get our voice from the voices of others. Read promiscuously. Imitate. Become your own voice. Sing. Write about that which you want to know. Better still, write towards that which you don’t know. The best work comes from outside yourself. Only then will it reach within. Restore what has been devalued by others. Write beyond despair. Make justice from reality. Make vision from the dark. The considered grief is so much better than the unconsidered. Be suspicious of that which gives you too much consolation. Hope and belief and faith will fail you often. So what? Share your rage. Resist. Denounce. Have stamina. Have courage. Have perseverance. The quiet lines matter as much as those which make noise. Trust your blue pen, but don’t forget the red one. Allow your fear. Don’t be didactic. Make an argument for the imagined. Begin with doubt. Be an explorer, not a tourist. Go somewhere nobody else has gone, preferably towards beauty, hard beauty. Fight for repair. Believe in detail. Unique your language. A story begins long before its first word. It ends long after its last. Don’t panic. Trust your reader. Reveal a truth that isn’t yet there. At the same time, entertain. Satisfy the appetite for seriousness and joy. Dilate your nostrils. Fill your lungs with language. A lot can be taken from you—even your life—but not your stories about your life. So this, then, is a word, not without love, to a young writer: Write.

To the rational minded the mental processes of the intuitive appear to work backwards.
– Frances Nickes

If you’re reading this, if there’s air in your lungs on this November day, then there is still hope for you. Your story is still going. And maybe some things are true for all of us. Perhaps we all relate to pain. Perhaps we all relate to fear and loss and questions. And perhaps we all deserve to be honest, all deserve whatever help we need. Our stories are all so many things: Heavy and light. Beautiful and difficult. Hopeful and uncertain. But our stories are not finished yet. There is still time, for things to heal and change and grow. There is still time to be surprised. We are still going, you and I. We are stories still going.
– Jamie Tworkowski

I just try to teach my students how to hear the birds sing.
– Suzuki Roshi

Words for Love
Ted Berrigan
for Sandy
Winter crisp and the brittleness of snow
as like make me tired as not. I go my
myriad ways blundering, bombastic, dragged
by a self that can never be still, pushed
by my surging blood, my reasoning mind.
I am in love with poetry. Every way I turn
this, my weakness, smites me. A glass
of chocolate milk, head of lettuce, dark-
ness of clouds at one o’clock obsess me.
I weep for all of these or laugh.
By day I sleep, an obscurantist, lost
in dreams of lists, compiled by my self
for reassurance. Jackson Pollock Rene
Rilke Benedict Arnold I watch
my psyche, smile, dream wet dreams, and sigh.
At night, awake, high on poems, or pills
or simple awe that loveliness exists, my lists
flow differently. Of words bright red
and black, and blue. Bosky. Oubliette. Dis-
severed. And O, alas
Time disturbs me. Always minute detail
fills me up. It is 12:10 in New York. In Houston
it is 2 pm. It is time to steal books. It’s
time to go mad. It is the day of the apocalpyse
the year of parrot fever! What am I saying?
Only this. My poems do contain
wilde beestes. I write for my Lady
of the Lake. My god is immense, and lonely
but uncowed. I trust my sanity, and I am proud. If
I sometimes grow weary, and seem still, nevertheless
my heart still loves, will break.

When the World as We Knew It Ended

It was coming.

We had been watching since the eve of the missionaries in their long
and solemn clothes, to see what would happen.

We saw it
from the kitchen window over the sink
as we made coffee, cooked rice and potatoes
enough for an army.

We saw it all, as we changed diapers and fed
the babies. We saw it,
through the branches of the knowledgeable tree,
through the snags of stars, through
the sun and storms, from our knees
as we bathed and washed the floors.

The conference of the birds warned us as they flew over
destroyers in the harbor, parked there since the first takeover.
It was by their songs and talk we knew when to rise,
when to look out the window
to the commotion going on–
the magnetic field thrown off by grief.

We heard it,
the racket in every corner of the world, as
the hunger for war rose up in those who would steal to be president
to be king or emperor, to own the trees, stones, and everything else
that moved about the earth, inside the earth,
and above it.

We knew it was coming, tasted the winds who gathered intelligence
from each leaf and flower, from every mountain, sea,
and desert, from every prayer and song all over this tiny universe
floating in the skies of infinite being.

And then it was over, this world we had grown to love
for its sweet grasses, for the many-colored horses
and fishes, for the shimmering possibilities
in dreaming.

But then there were the seeds to plant, and the babies
who needed milk and comforting, and someone
picked up a guitar or ukulele from the rubble
and began to sing about the light flutter
and kick beneath the skin of the earth
we felt there, beneath us–

a warm animal, a song being born between the legs of her,
a poem.
– Joy Harjo


So many blessings have been given to us
During the first distribution of light, that we are
Admired in a thousand galaxies for our grief.

Don’t expect us to appreciate creation or to
Avoid mistakes. Each of us is a latecomer
To the earth, picking up wood for the fire.

Every night another beam of light slips out
From the oyster’s closed eye. So don’t give up hope
that the door of mercy may still be open.

Seth and Shem, tell me, are you still grieving
Over the spark of light that descended with no
Defender near into the Egypt of Mary’s womb?

It’s hard to grasp how much generosity
Is involved in letting us go on breathing,
When we contribute nothing valuable but our grief.

Each of us deserves to be forgiven, if only for
Our persistence in keeping our small boat afloat
When so many have gone down in the storm.
– Robert Bly

Fall Song
It is a dark fall day.
The earth is slightly damp with rain.
I hear a jay.
The cry is blue.
I have found you in the story again.
Is there another word for ‘‘divine’’?
I need a song that will keep sky open in my mind.
If I think behind me, I might break.
If I think forward, I lose now.
Forever will be a day like this
Strung perfectly on the necklace of days.
Slightly overcast
Yellow leaves
Your jacket hanging in the hallway
Next to mine.
– Joy Harjo

Spending time with your own mind is humbling and broadening. One finds that there’s no one in charge, and is reminded that no thought lasts for long.
– Gary Snyder

I think actually one of the few ways we can re-organize ourselves, and emancipate ourselves from habit and social structure, is art.
– Alva Noë

Like the little stream
Making its way
Through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly
Turn clear and transparent.
– Ryokan

The first step, then, is to fall in love with where we are, where we find ourselves immediately and to learn to let where we are speak to us and move us beyond.
– William Henry Searle

The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.
– Henry David Thoreau

In Breton
In Breton, they say
there’s a word that weaves between
green and blue, allowing for
haze, precipitation,
the burr of distance,
the welcome shock
of escaping light
warming your shoulders.
– Ian Stephen

Being out, deep in the centre of the wildest places can trigger the fire-wires of information that help me make sense of my feelings towards it.
– Colin Williams

What do I need? Seriously, I need silence, thought, solitude to enter into myself to see and touch reality, to live the contemplative life.
– Thomas Merton

Dysfunctional people, families and communities operate from a place of “what can I take, what can I get?”
Harmonious people, families and communities operate from a place of “what can I bring, what can I share?”
One leads to disconnection, isolation and valuing things more than people. The other leads to connection, belongingness and valuing people more than things.
– Nithya Shanti

Everything remembers something. The rock, its fiery bed,
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub
of watery fingers along its edge.

The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun,
gathering itself together for the fall.

The turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and under
its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down
the sand under the beaks of savage birds.

The tree remembers the story of each ring, the years
of drought, the floods, the way things came
walking slowly towards it long ago.

And the skin remembers its scars, and the bone aches
where it was broken. The feet remember the dance,
and the arms remember lifting up the child.

The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone
it loved, the heart cannot forget.
– Joyce Sutphen

An Instance of an Island
One way to erase an island is to invent
a second island absolved of all the sounds
the first one ever made. We don’t know
who concocted this one, where the triggerfish
and clowns fade to inky neon dashes under
a fisherman’s skiff. A few plastic pontoons
knock around makeshift slips. Dusk coaxes
from the shore the small, dull chime
of a spoon against a pot. And TV voices
flash slow across a cliff where two pink lovers
in matching swimwear kiss their glasses
at the edge of a blue pool built just low enough
into the hill so the couple can gaze into the sea
and think of infinity. Many, many years ago,
a great emperor wiggled his finger
and commanded his army to corral all the lepers
in his domain then pack them into a sailing ship
to be delivered to the missions on this cluster
of verdant volcanic rock. The emperor’s orders
to his captain were clear: if the monks refused
the ship’s freight, the skipper was to simply
dump the whole sick cargo far from any shore.
Other incurables followed in lots over time,
or trickled in, hiding from nearby tribes,
or banished from other lands to live among these
lush slopes of mahogany, papaya, and weeds.
Two women, Filomena and Josefa, arrived
within days of one another. By then, each had lost
most their toes, though they had ten
full fingers between them, each woman
with one hand still intact. No one is sure
how it began, but once a week the pair
would knock on the door of the scowling
Madre Clementina to borrow the hospital’s
only guitar, carved from jackfruit and cracked
pretty bad along the back. To these women —
no big deal, for Filomena once transcribed
the early moonlight serenades of the horny friars
in the Royal South for the brats of an Andalusian
duke. Josefa was the daughter of a carpenter,
a maker of tables to be exact. She learned
to play a harana’s tremulous melodies
on her mother’s bandurria at the age of three.
The pair of outcasts would stifle laughs, thrilled
to earn the crusty nun’s grudging Yes, then
amble out to low tide and find a flat rock to share
so they could prop the old guitar on both
their laps, the one bad wrist of each woman
unwrapped to their stumps, pulled for now
behind their backs as they looked past the bay
toward the violent waters that first carried them
here. And they jammed. Filomena with the five
deft hammers of her left and Josefa with her right,
thick-muscled — both blue-veined and furious,
scrubbing from the instrument all those wicked
rhythms from Castile to Nowhere on a fragile
scrap of furniture that could barely hold its tune.
They sat shoulder to shoulder and thigh to thigh,
their good hands brushing from time to time.
What they couldn’t remember, they made up,
and everything they made up disappeared
over the lagoon and over the ocean, every note
in every run, every lie and desire, every nick
and crack in the jackfruit, the fat harmonics
plucked from the old nun’s grunts, six taut strands
of gut whose chords skimmed the water
like night locusts in bursts of low clouds
and which bore everything in front of them and behind,
the brine of the women’s necks mixed with the salt
of the lagoon, the cliffs, the spoons, the bright
nimbus of the West dipping like a noose,
the future of pontoons and fake tits, the history
of nifty crowns pried loose of their jewels,
the jiggle of a little finger gone still.

One way to erase an island is to invent the waters
that surround it. You can name the waters
that will turn all the sounds the island makes into salt.
It will teach you to listen to everything you love
disappear    …    or you can invent a song so big
it will hold the entire ocean.
Josefa and Filomena
rocked in the dark, hip to hip, joined by that third
body of wood, which made sure there was
nothing left in the unbroken world
to possibly make them whole.

As you walk, talk, eat and move through your day, be aware of each moment. If you miss the moment, you will miss the best bit of your life.
– Ed & Deb Shapiro

And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the
– Seamus Heaney

If we are to restore the balance in our world, we need to go beneath the surface to heal the split between spirit and matter and help to bring the sacred back into life.

Now, a language is not just a body of vocabulary or a set of grammatical rules. A language is a flash of the human spirit. It’s a vehicle through which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world. Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind, a watershed, a thought, an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities.
— Wade Davis

So it’s imperative that you think deeply about the difference between the unreal work you do in life and the real work— the soul work that is closer to vocation, the work that connects you to your ancestors, your land, your community. The distinction is palpable and merciless. Unreal work burns you out; real work renews you. Unreal work conspires to make you repeat yourself or copy others; real work gives you the courage to create your own unique style.
– Phil Cousineau

There is a 100.00000000000% chance that all beings possess Buddha-Nature, according to statistician Nate Silver.
– Ethan Nichten

In POETRY by Sonja-Maria Teufel-Schmarsli

friends are precious and rare
like jewels on a mystical island that you are sometimes searching for in your clear dreams.

when you cry or feel sad and low out of the blue
friends cannot help but get up from their cushion and take you in their arms
to comfort you and make you feel shine again like sparkling rainbow lights.

when your mind circles tirelessly around yourself
entangled with the same old stories that hinder you from being happy and relaxed
friends cannot help but gently and with no doubt tell you to loosen the knots
of your selfmade tensions once and for all times.

when you sink deeply into moaning and lamentation
friends cannot help but show you the brighter sides of your life.

be sure –
there is always a brilliantly shining sun behind the darkest clouds
that will break through a heavy grey sky lightening up the spheres.

when you look gloomy and with melancholia into your ever same days
they give you a smile and tell you stories of wisdom and insight of their own experiences
as a hint for you to find back to your inner eternal knowledge of great bliss.

when you create mental concepts of yourself nourished by illusory apparitions
friends cannot help but show you who you really are and always have been to them
a wonderful and unique magical being since you were little and even before.

because you have always been perfect to them
because you have always been divine and precious to them
because they see you from their pure perception.

friends cannot help but love you –
as you in your natural beauty perfectly enriched with translucent stains and spots
are a reflection of their own virgin view.

appreciate your friends and be enchanted by their splendid gifts
be sure –
you cannot help but be a noble friend
some day you will find the mystical island solely filled with precious jewels.

Today as always, men fall into two groups: slaves and free men. Whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar.
– Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits

O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings: climb with me the steep,—
Nature’s observatory—whence the dell,
In flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
‘Mongst boughs pavilioned, where the deer’s swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the foxglove bell.
But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refined,
Is my soul’s pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.
– Keats

…Above, air sighs the pines. It was this way
when Rome was clanging, when Troy was being
when campfires lighted caves. The white
butterflies dance
by the thousands in the still sunshine. Suddenly
could happen to you. Your soul pulls toward the
and then shines back through the white wings to
be you again.
– William Stafford

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.
– Edna St. Vincent Millay

We brood about what we should have done differently or better or what we should not have done, because we are doomed to do so, but it does not lead anywhere. The disaster was inevitable, is what we then say and for a while, if only a short while, we are quiet. Then we start all over again asking questions and probing and probing until we have gone half crazy. We constantly look for someone responsible, or for several persons responsible, in order to make things bearable for ourselves at least for a moment, and naturally, if we are honest, we invariably end up with ourselves. We have reconciled ourselves to the fact that we have to exist, even though most of the time against our will, because we have no other choice, and only because we have again and again reconciled ourselves to this fact, every day and every moment anew, can we progress at all.
– Thomas Bernhard

Real closeness is not hiding co-dependently in
another’s presence. Real closeness is not getting so lost
in another that you no longer exist as a separate entity.
Real closeness is two sovereign beings far enough
back from each other to see a separate other, yet close
enough to bridge their hearts. Two interconnected
– Jeff Brown

Forget calories. Eat your food based on the amount of life-force it has. Any food that doesn’t have the vitality of life-force as part of it, snips away at your own.
– Kuma-sensei

What’s interesting about the new generation is they don’t just want to leave everything and go into a monastery and they don’t want to have a job that doesn’t reflect their spiritual values. Somehow they want to build these well integrated lives where they do work in the world but that work reflects their deepest sense of calling.
– Adam Bucko, The Power of Community – The New Monastic Movement

One expression of compassion or love is actually stopping- stopping those actions that are harmful for themselves as well as other people- in whatever way we can. And that’s the part of compassion that’s usually misunderstood.
– Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

I’m saying that the domain of poetry includes both oral & written forms, that poetry goes back to a pre-literate situation & would survive a post-literate situation, that human speech is a near-endless source of poetic forms, that there has always been more oral than written poetry, & that we can no longer pretend to a knowledge of poetry if we deny its oral dimension.
– Jerome Rothenberg

…all those years forgetting how easily you can belong to everything simply by listening. and the slow difficulty of remembering how everything is born from an opposite and miraculous otherness. silence and winter has led me to that otherness….and remember how as a child your arms could rise and your palms turn out to bless the world…all my body calls for something in this sleeping earth we call the spirit…exile is never easy and the journey itself leaves a bitter taste. but then, when you heard that voice, you had to go…
(selected disjointed fragments from different poems by david whyte)
– Hune at the Martin Buber Institute

The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenalin but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.
– Glen Gould

Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.
— Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Our practice is to see as clearly as we can. Not to ‘improve’ ourselves or calm ourselves but to liberate ourselves.
– Katherine Thanas

I know people don’t really fix things anymore, But if I ever break you I swear, I’ll put you back together again.
– Tinpan Orange

there is an inherant law written
in the human heart that is defined
by dignity, and respect.
it is fed by common interaction,
involvement, questioning, and
this law supercedes all man-made
laws, all religious laws, national
boundaries, and military or political
– eric cockrell

My eyes wandered from one end of the mountains to the other. ‘Do you think they go on forever?’

‘The mountains?’ Aritomo said, as though he had been asked that question before. ‘They fade away. Like all things.
– Tan Twan Eng

But today, in the company of an extraordinary and unconditioned soul – who moves like an invisible bridge between our contemporary world and something much more ancient and evocative – we were shown another way. Our original instructions are to listen to that cloud floating by and the wind blowing by. That’s poetry and prose in English but it is ‘wakahan’ in Lakota – it means to consciously apply mystery to everything – everything is alive and has its own consciousness.
– Justine Huxley

What would happen to our relationships, our experience of difference and conflict, to our faith, or our approach to social action – if we consciously applied mystery to all things? Can we breathe open spaces within the restrictions of our dualistic words and concepts? Can we re-envision our language so it helps us to live in harmony?

You watch a dream pause
over a pool in a forest
under a breeze rippling its
surface reflections of inverted
branches & a patch of sky where
one bird flies by, upside-down.
Let it slow down.

Gone. Wing-flap. Birdsong, tree-song, floated, tilted,
moving away on its own scrap of independent energy
where everything lives, however briefly,
beating its one small heart.
– Maurice Scully

There’s actually no such thing as an adult. That word is a placeholder. We never grow up. We’re not supposed to. We’re born and that’s it. We get bigger. We live through great storms. We get soaked to the bone. We realize we’re waterproof. We strive for calm. We discover what makes us feel good. We do those things over and over. We learn what doesn’t feel good. We avoid those things at all cost. Sometimes we come together: huge groups in agreement. Sometimes we clap and dance. Sometimes we look like a migration of birds. We need to remind ourselves – each other – that we’re mere breaths. But, and this is important, sometimes we can be magnificent, to one person, even for a short time, like the perfect touch – the first time you see the ocean from the middle. Like every time you see the low, full moon. We keep on eating: chewing, pretending we know what’s going on. The secret is that we don’t. We don’t, and don’t, and don’t. Each day we’re infants: plucking flower petals, full of wonder.
– Micah Ling

It is a mistake to believe that the crucial moments of a life when its habitual direction changes forever must be loud and shrill dramatics, washed away by fierce internal surges. This is a kitschy fairy tale started by boozing journalists, flashbulb-seeking filmmakers and authors whose minds look like tabloids. In truth, the dramatics of a life-determining experience are often unbelievably soft. It has so little akin to the bang, the flash, of the volcanic eruption that, at the moment it is made, the experience is often not even noticed. When it deploys its revolutionary effect and plunges a life into a brand-new light giving it a brand-new melody, it does that silently and in this wonderful silence resides its special nobility.
– Pascal Mercier

Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. …That is just being ‘in love’, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
– Louis de Bernières

Plunging into the ocean of words, roaming in the broad fields of the mind, climbing the mountains of the imagination. Just like the kid in the Carnegie or the student in Widener, that was my freedom, that was my joy. And it still is.
– usula K. Le Guin

…creation is an act of dis-covery, not one of invention. as the poet said, there is nothing new under the sun. all images that will ever be painted, all words that will ever be put into verses and the verses themselves, all sounds that will ever be composed into music, all art we have been given and will give to others, all of it, in its entirety and its details, has already been created by nature. our task is to pay attention to the world, find it, gather it to us and make a note of it. take chagall for instance: he never created anything, he just showed us the world as is. if you pay attention you will also see a herring playing the violin for lovers in your own village. my papa could clearly see it…
– from “the dialogue of art”, by hune margulies

We are each planted with a spark of light.
Each life is like a fire.
We must take care of that light.
Feed it.
Do not let passions for anything we find delight in

Rage and consume us

In any small or large manner

Or we will dim the fire.

It is made of the love of our parents

And ancestors.

It is lit by the Divine within everyone.

We must take care of it.

We each carry light into the world,

Every small and large being.

We share the light with every

Small and large act of compassion.

Laughter and joy make it dance
Beyond time.
What will we leave the day as a gift
Of remembrance and thankfulness?
Joy Harjo

Tim Liardet
I will not hijack your rainstorms
when you become the dark that fills the tall hotel.
I will not crash your soirée with the constellations
where they intensify the moment you lie back.
I will not gatecrash, nor chaperon, your love affair
with your end-of-summer crickets when they begin
to sing though they seem disembodied.
I’ll not shanghai your reverie, your private walk;
I will not ambush your swimming towards your God
nor barge the prayer each falling leaf answers.
I know the place you go to, where the noise of world
cuts out and the sun bleeds horizontal,
the woods eat their own echo, the whippoorwill
calls with a note so unendurable it is clean,
where the air, like the sharp grass, slits like a blade.
I’ll never haggle for your peace, I swear,
but will hear, I will see, through your taste-buds,
sticky with afterbirth, the fern unravel;
I will smell, through your dilated pupil, the asters,
the mulches of your Fall, the grass after rain.
– Tim Liardet

This poem is related to the song Thank You Good Night
Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I am grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.
It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.
Sunlight and blueberries,
Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain,
A good friend,
Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health,
My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry,
Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.
Decent coffee at the airport,
And your quiet breathing,
The story she told me,
The frost patterns on the window,
English horns and banjos,
Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat,
A new poem,
My library card,
And that my car keeps running
Despite all the miles.
And after three things,
More often than not,
I get on a roll and just keep on going,
I keep naming and listing,
Until I lie grinning,
Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder
At the sweetness of it all.
– Carrie Newcomer

My fiftieth year had come and gone,
I sat, a solitary man,
In a crowded London shop,
An open book and empty cup
On the marble table-top.
While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness,
That I was blessed and could bless.
– William Butler Yeats

Care for the planet is not an isolated form of compassion. Love for people and things is a prerequisite.
– Thomas Moore


Here lies our land: every airt
Beneath swift clouds, glad glints of sun,
Belonging to none but itself.

We are mere transients, who sing
Its westlin’ winds and fernie braes,
Northern lights and siller tides,

Small folk playing our part.
‘Come all ye’, the country says,
You win me, who take me most to heart.

With unfailing kindness, your life always presents what you need to learn. Whether you stay home or work in an office or whatever, the next teacher is going to pop right up.
– Charlotte Joko Beck

I have noticed that when all the lights are on, people tend to talk about what they are doing – their outer lives. Sitting round in candlelight or firelight, people start to talk about how they are feeling – their inner lives. They speak subjectively, they argue less, there are longer pauses. To sit alone without any electric light is curiously creative. I have my best ideas at dawn or at nightfall, but not if I switch on the lights – then I start thinking about projects, deadlines, demands, and the shadows and shapes of the house become objects, not suggestions, things that need to done, not a background to thought.
– Jeanette Winterson, Why I adore the night

Things fall apart
Tread the path with care
– Buddha’s last words

To be clear: to function in their deepest vocation, the storytellers/ teachers/ poets should stand in the ground of prophetic image, a scarecrow of words, pushed by invisible winds.
– Martin Shaw

The job of the elder is to be nuttier, more curious, occasionally fierce and more connected to the eccentricities of wildness than the youth ever dreamed. More than anything, the elder has seen some rough pattern to their life and knows how to express it through a story. This carries tremendous hope with it.
– Martin Shaw

A writer – and, I believe, generally all persons – must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.
– Jorge Luis Borges

The point in turning inward is not to turn away from injustice or ecological threats, but rather to turn to the abundance of spirit and soul hidden inside. To avoid despair and cynicism and to find purpose and meaningful work, it becomes important to be aligned with the natural abundance secretly seeded in each human soul.
– Michael Meade

The sisters said it best
I’ve always been
Lost in music
It’s never felt
Like a trap
It’s always felt
Just the right place
To wander loose
Off the track
Here I go now
Lost in music
I’m not sure if
I’ll be back
– Rachel Fox

Musical chores
Robert Plant helped with the ironing today
Kate Rusby gave a hand with the cleaning
A little bit of Bjork did the trick up till tea
And some Eels gave the dishes more meaning
Nina Simone is a wonder in the home
Any chore’s less a bore with our Nina
And when June Tabor sings, why my dishcloth has wings
No, I never shall be wanting a cleaner
– Rachel Fox

Someone who loves us can often see our soul potential more clearly than we can ourselves. When this happens, it has a catalytic effect; it invites and encourages dormant, undeveloped parts of us to come forth and find expression. Indeed, we are often most strongly attracted to those who we sense “will make us live—and die—most intensely… the experience of soul always contains this double yearning: to feel the meaning and beauty of our individual life, and to connect with the larger, universal currents of life flowing through us.
– John Welwood

…in my mind’s eye, all roads lead to you.
– Shawn Colvin

This morning as I woke up there was a spontaneous prayer to the earth, and to all the oceans, rivers, forests, trees, soil, animals, fish and birds…a prayer of apology on behalf of the human race, for mistreating it so and for treating it as a “resource” instead of as sacred, as our home, and all living creatures as our little brothers and sisters. I apologized for everything in my life that contributes to this and everything in our collective way of living and thinking that contributes to this disconnection and apathy. Now the heart is lighter, the mind is clearer and the resolve is greater to apply what I know and do what I can to be part of the solution.
– Nithya Shanti

I’ve burnt all the holy pages I used to carry
but poems flare in my heart
– Ikkyu

I Said That I Would Sing

I first heard about this place,
this little lump of clay
on a message board in space,
about a billion stars away.

The ad read:
‘Floating garden orb circling a sun.
Help us build a heaven here.
We need one more volunteer’.
So I said that I would come.

I was asked when I applied
to name some service I could bring.
I think service should be joyous,
so I said that I would sing.

Well, I guess I got the job.
And I don’t mean to complain.
But it’s not like they described
in that little classified
that I read before I came.

Had I somehow missed a turn?
Was this even the right place?
Had I fallen for a scam–
or was it more a fall from grace?

Oh, it’s beautiful alright–
how I love the desert sky.
And a quiet mountain lake
is enough to make me cry.
But I did not come prepared
for the density or strife,
for the cruel and inhumane
injustices and pain
that can pass here for a life.

So from a very early age,
I grew restless here because
of this longing to go home,
though I could not say
where home was.

Then in answer to my prayer
or more truthfully my scream,
my beloved self appeared,
come to wake me from this dream.

And with a diamond voice declared:
“Home is not some distant star,
or some heavenly reward
that your days are marching toward
but the truth of who you are–

An awareness so immense
it holds all of this inside…”
As she spoke my mind fell still
but my tears would not subside.

And from the arms of grace, I knew
that all suffering would cease
if we could yield to this embrace,
if we just trusted in this peace.

To even try to find the words
can be a sacrilegious thing:
So I’d just as soon be silent–

..but I said that I would sing.
– Kirtana

What possibilities remain for man in a world where the external determinants have become so overpowering that internal impulses no longer carry weight?
– Milan Kundera

I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
– Mary Oliver

This is not a modern, linear world of conflict and rising action, but rather one of harmony and eternal, cyclical action, in which order, ritual, and peace are beauty, and events spell, not excitement or progress, but disruption.
– Gish Jen

May the great revolutionary banner
Blow in the wind of peace.
May it blow in the wind of karma.
May it blow in the wind of fearlessness.
One’s own mind is revolutionized:
There is no need to conquer others. . .
– Chögyam Trungpa

It is magical thinking I want to identify and expose, in myself and everywhere I see it. As reality is grander and more beautiful than anything we can possibly imagine, so is reason.
– Elijah Morton

As long as you regard yourself or any part of your experience as “dream come true,” then you are involved in self-deception. Self-deception seems always to depend on the dream world, because you would like to see what you have not yet seen, rather than what you are seeing. You will not accept that whatever is here now is what is, nor are you willing to go on with the situation as it is.
– Chögyam Trungpa

I have met many American poets. Some are like coral snakes; some are frolicking deer; some are ripe apples; some are German shepherds who jump to conclusions whenever a sound is heard; some are squirrels minding their own business; some are peacocks who would like to display themselves but their feathers are falling apart; some are parrots who have no language of their own but pretend to be translators; some are bookworms killing themselves by eating more books; some are like mountains, dignified but proclaiming occasional avalanches; some are like oceans, endless minds joining sky and earth; some are like birds, flying freely, not afraid to take a bird’s-eye view of the world; some are like lions— trustworthy, sharp, and kind.
– Chögyam Trungpa

A solitary American monk named Thomas Berry writes that in our relationship to nature, we have been autistic for centuries. Wrapped tightly in our own version of knowledge, we have been unreceptive to the wisdom of the natural world. To tune in again, to have the “spontaneous environmental rapport” that characterized our ancestors, will take doing something that is perfectly delightful: reimmersing ourselves in the natural world.
– Janine Benyus

One cannot force or grasp a spiritual experience, because it is as delicate as the whisper of the wind. But one can purify one’s motivation, one’s body, and train oneself to cultivate it. Because we come from a culture that tells us there is always something external to be obtained which will lead us to fulfillment, we lose contact with our innate wisdom. As the Tantric Buddhist saint Saraha says in one of his dohas (poems expressing the essence of his understanding):
Though the house lamps are lit
The blind live on in the dark.
Though spontaneity is all encompassing
And close, to the deluded it remains
Always far away.
– Lama Tsultrim Allione

Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.
– Paulo Coelho

The Sudden Clarity of Fall
It’s too late to be ready.
– Dogen

what do you do when your heart is far away,
firmly rooted
in those you love,
and you try to call it home,
but it’s…
wandering without you?
what then?
– Ari Annona

Why even imagine a mystical experience when we’re born into one, submerged in one, day after day?”
– Marilynne Robinson

The practice of meditation could be described as relating with cool boredom, refreshing boredom, boredom like a mountain stream. It refreshes because we do not have to do anything or expect anything. But there must be some sense of discipline if we are to get beyond the frivolity of trying to replace boredom.
– Chogyam Trungpa

No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country
Is spent developing the mind
Instead of the heart
Be compassionate
Not just to your friends
But to everyone
Be compassionate
Work for peace
In your heart and in the world
Work for peace
And I say again
Never give up
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up
– Dalai Lama

A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world. That means trying to understand, take in, connect with, what wickedness human beings are capable of; and not be corrupted — made cynical, superficial — by this understanding.

Literature can tell us what the world is like.

Literature can give standards and pass on deep knowledge, incarnated in language, in narrative.

Literature can train, and exercise, our ability to weep for those who are not us or ours.

Who would we be if we could not sympathize with those who are not us or ours? Who would we be if we could not forget ourselves, at least some of the time? Who would we be if we could not learn? Forgive? Become something other than we are?
– Susan Sontag

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is this simple. We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable. This is true.
– Thomas Merton

When we put down ideas of what life should be like, we are free to wholeheartedly say yes to our life as it is.
– Tara Brach

When you are in the throes of an intense situation, contemplate the nature of samsara instead of feeling that you are completely to blame.
– Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

A life without ordinary, everyday magic is impoverished and ultimately ineffective.
– Thomas Moore

We don’t have much truth to express unless we have gone into those rooms and closets and woods and abysses that we were told not go in to. When we have gone in and looked around for a long while, just breathing and finally taking it in – then we will be able to speak in our own voice and to stay in the present moment. And that moment is home.
– Anne Lamott

Life is like Sanskrit read to a pony.
– Lou Reed

….all poets are. a tangle of wings / and hooves. trying to run in the sky / and fly on earth….
– mark nepo

Not just any talk is conversation; not any talk raises consciousness. Good conversation has an edge: it opens your eyes to something, quickens your ears. And good conversation reverberates: it keeps on talking in your mind later in the day; the next day, you find yourself still conversing with what was said. That reverberation afterward is the very raising of consciousness; your mind’s been moved. You are at another level with your reflections.
– James Hillman

What if you were a teacher but had no voice to speak your knowledge? What if you had no language at all and yet there was something you needed to say? Wouldn’t you dance it? Wouldn’t you act it out? Wouldn’t your every movement tell the story? In time you would be so eloquent that just to gaze upon you would reveal it all. And so it is with these silent green lives.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

I believe that a person who derives deep meaning and sustenance from art – one who can be transported and transformed by a painting, a sculpture, a photograph or by words alone, is equal to the artist who manifested the work.
Without an open and listening heart to receive it,
art is worthless
– Elijah Morton

For a long time, I worried there was something wrong with me as a writer, because I leaned so heavily on the thinking and writing of others. And further, that instead of wanting to hide that leaning, my impulse has often been to showcase it, to make this thinking-with-others, this weaving of mine and others’ words, part of the texture of my writing.

The flip side of this “leaning against” has been well put by Emerson, that sage of self-reliance, who famously said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” This is also good advice. “Leaning against” can’t be an excuse that saves one from doing the real thinking and writing. I still struggle with this balance. I’m not saying I always get it right. What I’m saying is that it can be a worthwhile and generative place in which to experiment, stumble around, live, and create.
– From Maggie Nelson’s “A Sort of Leaning Against” (Writer’s Notebook II) | Tin House

I do believe it is possible to create, even without ever writing a word or painting a picture, by simply molding one’s inner life. And that too is a deed.
― Etty Hillesum

Man must pass from the competitive to the creative mind; he must form a clear mental picture of the things he wants, and do, with faith and purpose, all that can be done each day, doing each separate thing in an efficient manner.
– Wallace D. Wattles

What is so remarkable about us is how hopeful we all are. We can endure all manner of trauma & still go on, even when the odds are utterly stacked against us. Even one persons smile on the bleakest of days can be a torch that lights our optimism for weeks. I believe that what keeps us going is our often unstated faith in the magnificence that lives within us. The light of our sacred purpose simply refuses to die.
– Jeff Brown

A wisdom is a wisdom only when its knowledge is blessed with one’s own true experience and unconditional love.
– Trungram Gyaltrul

You only arrive at the other shore when you finally realize that there is no other shore.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Simple by Martha Tilston
I remember how simple simplicity used to be
Before I tried too hard and chased it away.
It would float in, flow through and out of me.
Complication, well I rue the day.
I’m going to get right, right to the heart of it.
I was bigger when I was nothing at all,
Just another pilgrim marching to the sunset,
And it didn’t matter if I got there:
It’s the journey of it all.
And it didn’t matter if I got there
It didn’t matter if I got there
It never matters if you get there
It’s the journey of it all
Well I’m going to get back now, back to the heart of things.
I knew everything when nothing at all.
Just another pilgrim marching to the sunset,
And it didn’t matter if I got there.
There’s power in being small.

I don’t recall your cruelty. I only remember your smile. I’ve been hiding like a refugee in a self help aisle. I’ve been hiding like a book. If you want to know me, you’ll have to look…..
– The Nields

The Ideas That Have Lighted My Way Have Been Kindness, Beauty And Truth.
– Albert Einstein

After much effort, as names, definitions, sights, and other data of sense, are brought into contact and friction one with another, in the course of scrutiny and kindly testing by men who proceed by question and answer without ill will, with a sudden flash there shines forth understanding about every problem, and an intelligence whose efforts reach the furthest limits of human powers.
– from “Seventh Letter of Plato”

Inches From the Ground
by Rockwell Church
gather round these scattered stones
and spell your name out loud
i am ill at ease and incomplete
i’m buckled to this crowd
won’t you spell for me, spell for me
words are hard to find
you’re the god of all the good stuff
but you’re always so unkind
fly apollo
there’s a marathon of seasons in the
sky apollo
forget about your treasons wonder
why apollo
with a hundred thousand reasons
won’t you fly
for me
lay out on these stepping stones
don’t tell us who’ll be lost
all your prophecies are empty
’cause we all need help across
take my hand, take my hand
hold on tight
you’re the god of the good looking
but you never do what’s right
fly apollo
there’s a marathon of seasons in the
sky apollo
forget about your treasons wonder
why apollo
with a hundred thousand reasons
won’t you fly
for me
gather up these sticks and stones
and tell me what’s my name
i’ve no need for all your poetry
’cause i’ll write my own someday
you say we’ll find our temple in the mist
i hope god has got some answers
’cause i can’t take much more of this
fly apollo
there’s a marathon of seasons in the
sky apollo
forget about your treasons wonder
why apollo
with a hundred thousand reasons
won’t you fly
for me

Sitting in a well lit place
Keeping attention steadily
On that which is happening
Great learning can happen

Sitting in a perfectly dark place
Keeping attention steadily
On that which is aware
Profound unlearning can happen
– Nithya Shanti

As Tulku thgyen Rinpoche used to say, “To be a good meditator, you have to have hutzpah!” (Or a “bone in the heart” as is traditionally said in Tibet.)

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.
– Anne Lamott

Unforced Error
Once: those long wet Vermont summers.
No money, nothing to do but read books, swim
in the river with men wearing their jean shorts,
then play bingo outside the church, celebrating when we won.
Nothing seemed real to me and it was all very alive.
It took that long to learn how wrong I was—
over the rim of the horizon the sun burns.
Heidegger: “Every man is born as many men
and dies as a single one.”
The bones in us still marrowful.
The moon up there, too, an arctic sorrow.
I’m sorry, another Scotch? Some nuts?
I used to think pressing forward was the point of life,
endlessly forward, the snow falling, gaudily falling.
I made a mistake. Now I have a will. It says when I die
let me live. A white shirt, bare legs, bones beneath.
Numbers on a board. A life can be a lucky streak,
or a dry spell, or a happenstance.
Yellow raspberries in July sun, bitter plums, curtains in wind.

Modern life often herds us like cattle. To counter this we have to find opportunities to manifest our individuality.
– Thomas Moore

Our language can be seen as an ancient city: a maze of little streets and squares, of old and new houses, and of houses with additions from various periods; and this surrounded by a multitude of new boroughs with straight, regular streets and uniform houses.
– Wittgenstein

Who can be a wild deer among deserted mountains
satisfied with tall grass and pines.
If the realm of dust was an endless dream
how then did heroes reach the land of peaks.
– Han-Shan Te-Ch’ing (1546 – 1623)
Translation by Red Pine

Poetry isn’t lost in translation, it is translation.
– Peter Cole

This is how I want to spend my life — collaborating with forces of inspiration that I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor understand.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

The wealth of this world isn’t in the ground, it’s all around us.
– Dr. Grace Augustine

The mystic tends to start with the investigation into the nature of the Self. The artist tends to start with the investigation into the world. But both ultimately arrive at the same conclusion, that Consciousness is the fundamental Reality of the world, that Consciousness and Being are one.
– Rupert Spira

I have not a clue whether we humans will live for another 100 or 10,000 years. We can’t be sure. What matters to me is the fact we have fallen out of a very ancient love affair – a kind of dream tangle, with the earth itself. If, through our own mess, that relationship is about to end, then we need to scatter as much beauty around us as we possibly can, to send a voice, to attempt some kind of repair. I think of it as a kind of courting – a very old idea. This isn’t about statistical hysteria, it’s about personal style. Any other response is just not cool.
– Martin Shaw

Generally we waste our lives, distracted from our true selves, in endless activity. Meditation is the way to bring us back to ourselves, where we can really experience and taste our full being.
– Sogyal Rinpoche

All important ideas must include the trees,
the mountains, and the rivers.
– Mary Oliver

It’s like my whole world is coming undone, but when I write, my pencil is a needle and thread, and I’m stitching the scraps back together.
– Julia Alvarez

Compassion is the consideration we extend to a stranger. It is our attempt to understand another’s pains, even though we do not know their history. It is a blind sympathy given unto all beings, even before we know what their personal plight may be. It is a baseline respect for the worth of another’s life. It is the principle that says: We do not need to know someone before we are willing to extend some degree of love to them.
– L.M. Browning

Balance isn’t a fixed state. Your soul isn’t a piece of stone; it is a boat on an ever-shifting sea. Moments of imbalance arise. When they do, adjust the sails, steady the boat. Balance is a constant dance of realignment. Release yourself from the unrealistic standard of constant equilibrium or perfection. Nothing in life pulls that off.
– doña Río de Gracian

Each time you return to the breath, you’re taking one step away from addiction to discursiveness and fear and one step forward on the path of enlightenment.
– Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Freeing yourself from the addiction to your mind is like going off into the wilderness to a place you’ve never been before. It makes perfect sense that we want to stay attached to our suffering because it is so familiar. What we most fear is not darkness – we know the darkness all too well; what we are most afraid of is the light. The light of freedom shines from the unknown, undiscovered truths of compassion, kindness, appreciation, forgiveness, and the wisdom to respond with care and understanding to all beings.
– Noah Levine

Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.
– Orison Swett Marden

Don’t pretend to be what you are not, don’t refuse to be what you are.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj

Though it may seem that rationality is stable and emotion is unstable, the reverse is the truth. Deep emotion is much more stable than is rationality.
– Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

Change in ourselves and in the world in which we live may not take place in a hurry: it will take time. But if we don’t make an effort nothing will happen at all. Change will not take place because of decisions taken by governments or the UN. Real change will take place when individuals transform themselves guided by the values that lie at the core of all human ethical systems, scientific findings, and common sense.
– 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

People who develop the habit of thinking of themselves as world citizens are fulfilling the first requirement of sanity in our time.
– Norman Cousins

And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.
– Edward Hirsch

Sometimes we think a big event, a spectacle, a long-awaited encounter, a book, a deep conversation, or a rare experience will change our life, but even this moment will. Every moment changes the direction of your life, and you can choose the direction.
– Karen Maezen Miller

Tis the gift to be simple
Tis the gift to be free

– Shaker elder Joseph Brackett,
Maine, ca. 1850

The dharma is supposed to make our life lighter, it’s supposed to be the yeast in the heavy dough of everyday life, to let everything rise up. It’s not meant to be a backpack of heavy rocks that we carry around with us, terrified that if we don’t do our three hours of sadhana, somehow something horrible is going to happen to us.
– Jersunma Tenzin

Earth mirrors the human body. When it overheats it needs rest and liquids (water in our lakes and streams).
– Thomas Moore

Now is the time to know
That all that you do is sacred.

Now, why not consider
A lasting truce with yourself and God.

Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child’s training wheels
To be laid aside
When you finally live
With veracity
And love.

Hafiz is a divine envoy
Whom the Beloved
Has written a holy message upon.

My dear, please tell me,
Why do you still
Throw sticks at your heart
And God?

What is it in that sweet voice inside
That incites you to fear?

Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred.

This is the time
For you to compute the impossibility
That there is anything
But Grace.

Now is the season to know
That everything you do
Is sacred.
– Hafiz

Workman, Honeyeater
Yesterday I sat at my desk
and watched a honeyeater skip
along a thousand leaves like arrows,
closer to truth than I could hazard.
Its helmet of sleek feathers shook
in the long, fluid rain. These eaves
say nothing of Oppen’s culture
of fitting: quietly the roof lies
that the carpenter has finished. No-
this house was built without a level,
chambered and chiselled
to the rough designs of the heart.
The bird chitterscolds and darts,
carries the day in its wake.
– Kate Fagan, Australian Poet

That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coalbins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.
– Ray Bradbury
The October Country

Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
– Zadie Smith

by T S Eliot
Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?
Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again
Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice
And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us
Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.
Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
In the cool of the day, having fed to satiety
On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been contained
In the hollow round of my skull. And God said
Shall these bones live? shall these
Bones live? And that which had been contained
In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping:
Because of the goodness of this Lady
And because of her loveliness, and because
She honours the Virgin in meditation,
We shine with brightness. And I who am here dissembled
Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love
To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.
It is this which recovers
My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions
Which the leopards reject. The Lady is withdrawn
In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them. As I am forgotten
And would be forgotten, so I would forget
Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping
With the burden of the grasshopper, saying
Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Is inconclusible
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends.
Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other,
Under a tree in the cool of the day, with the blessing of sand,
Forgetting themselves and each other, united
In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye
Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.
At the first turning of the second stair
I turned and saw below
The same shape twisted on the banister
Under the vapour in the fetid air
Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears
The deceitul face of hope and of despair.
At the second turning of the second stair
I left them twisting, turning below;
There were no more faces and the stair was dark,
Damp, jagged, like an old man’s mouth drivelling, beyond repair,
Or the toothed gullet of an aged shark.
At the first turning of the third stair
Was a slotted window bellied like the figs’s fruit
And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene
The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green
Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown,
Lilac and brown hair;
Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind over the third stair,
Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair
Climbing the third stair.
Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy
but speak the word only.
Who walked between the violet and the violet
Who walked between
The various ranks of varied green
Going in white and blue, in Mary’s colour,
Talking of trivial things
In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour
Who moved among the others as they walked,
Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the springs
Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand
In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary’s colour,
Sovegna vos
Here are the years that walk between, bearing
Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring
One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing
White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.
The silent sister veiled in white and blue
Between the yews, behind the garden god,
Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke no word
But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Redeem the time, redeem the dream
The token of the word unheard, unspoken
Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew
And after this our exile
If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.
O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice
Will the veiled sister pray for
Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee,
Those who are torn on the horn between season and season, time and time, between
Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait
In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose
O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
And are terrified and cannot surrender
And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks
In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.
O my people.
Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn
Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings
And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth This is the time of tension between dying and birth The place of solitude where three dreams cross Between blue rocks But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away Let the other yew be shaken and reply.
Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated
And let my cry come unto Thee.

If it is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.
– Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough

Many life experiences have a musical form, like endings that are not final or themes that return with variation.
– Thomas Moore

Considering the ways in which so many of us waste our time, what would be wrong with a world in which everybody were writing poems? After all, there’s a significant service to humanity in spending time doing no harm. While you’re writing your poem, there’s one less scoundrel in the world. And I’d like a world, wouldn’t you, in which people actually took time to think about what they were saying? It would be, I’m certain, a more peaceful, more reasonable place. I don’t think there could ever be too many poets. By writing poetry, even those poems that fail and fail miserably, we honor and affirm life. We say “We loved the earth but could not stay.
– Ted Kooser

There is a still place, a gap between the worlds, spoken by the tribal knowings of thousands of years. In it are silent flyings that stand aside from human struggles and the designs of our own makings. At times, when we are silent enough, still enough, we take a step into such mystery. The place of spirit, and mystery, we must remember, by its very nature does not wish to be known.
– Linda Hogan

If you stare at too much concrete you forget the earth’s alive… everything is thunder under the celestial waterfall, you get close enough to real things – you don’t need your self at all.
– Bruce Cockburn

We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. And this has been based on the even flimsier assumption that we could know with any certainty what was good even for us. We have fulfilled the danger of this by making our personal pride and greed the standard of our behavior toward the world – to the incalculable disadvantage of the world and every living thing in it. And now, perhaps very close to too late, our great error has become clear. It is not only our own creativity – our own capacity for life – that is stifled by our arrogant assumption; the creation itself is stifled.

We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and to learn what is good for it. We must learn to cooperate in its processes, and to yield to its limits. But even more important, we must learn to acknowledge that the creation is full of mystery; we will never entirely understand it. We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe. We must recover the sense of the majesty of creation, and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.
– Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

In the words of Thomas Merton, “There is in all visible things….a hidden wholeness.” In the visible world of nature, a great truth is concealed in plain sight: diminishment and beauty, darkness and light, death and life are not opposites. They are held together in the paradox of “hidden wholeness.”
– Parker Palmer

It is quite normal for us to look for answers when we are at a critical juncture in our lives. Time and time again, we seek answers with the wrong attitude. Instead of searching somewhere else for answers, we should look within to find our own capacities and to identify the destructive forces hidden inside us, because external conditions are simply not as important
– Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche

We are all here on earth to help others.
– W.H. Auden

Discovering real goodness comes from appreciating very simple experiences. We are not talking about how good it feels to make a million dollars or finally graduate from college or buy a new house, but we are speaking here of the basic goodness of being alive — which does not depend on our accomplishments or fulfilling our desires. We experience glimpses of goodness all the time, but we often fail to acknowledge them. When we see a bright color, we are witnessing our own inherent goodness. When we hear a beautiful sound, we are hearing our own basic goodness.

If we are willing to take an unbiased look, we will find that, in spite of all our problems and confusion, all our emotional and psychological ups and downs, there is something basically good about our existence as human beings. We have moments of basic non-aggression and freshness…it is worthwhile to take advantage of these moments. We have an actual connection to reality that can wake us up and make us feel basically, fundamentally good . . . When you relax more and appreciate your body and mind, you begin to contact the fundamental notion of basic goodness in yourself. So it is extremely important to be willing to open yourself to yourself.
– Chogyam Trungpa

Once in a while
I just let time wear on;
Leaning against a solitary pine
Standing speechless,
As does the whole universe.
Ah, who can share
This solitude with me?
– Ryokan

a poem’s / a path / found / off-route
– Alec Finlay

The universe is wider than our views of it.
– Henry David Thoreau

There’s a reason you can learn from everything: you have basic wisdom, basic intelligence, and basic goodness.
– Pema Chodron

Songs are thoughts, sung out with the breath when people are moved by great forces and ordinary speech no longer suffices. Man is moved just like the ice floe sailing here and there out in the current. His thoughts are driven by a flowing force when he feels joy, when he feels fear, when he feels sorrow. Thoughts can wash over him like a flood, making his breath come in gasps and his heart throb. Something like an abatement in the weather will keep him thawed up. And then it will happen that we, who think we are small, will feel still smaller. And we will fear to use words. When the words we want to use shoot up of themselves – we get a new song.
— Orpingalik, Inuit poet and shaman

Buddhism isn’t about how to find a life that fits our deluded ideas of perfection. But it is about how to find the real perfection in the life you’re leading right now, no matter how ridiculously far it is from your ideas about what your life ought to be like. – Brad Warner

Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself. Give yourself peace of mind. You deserve to be happy. You deserve delight. – Hannah Arendt

We are not here for a purpose that you can put in words. We are here so that the torrent of life can flow through us, when we open ourselves unconditionally to our world – Reggie Ray

it’s a life project, poetry is really a life project.
– Mary Kay Rummel

The Darkling Thrush
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

A soul kind of meditation is inspired by the world: nature, gardens, art, cityscape, music, all sorts of beauty.
– Thomas Moore


is a mirror to presence and a testament to forgiveness. Friendship not only helps us see ourselves through another’s eyes, but can be sustained over the years only with someone who has repeatedly forgiven us for our trespasses as we must find it in ourselves to forgive them in turn. A friend knows our difficulties and shadows and remains in sight, a companion to our vulnerabilities more than our triumphs, when we are under the strange illusion we do not need them. An undercurrent of real friendship is a blessing exactly because its elemental form is rediscovered again and again through understanding and mercy. All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die.

In the course of the years a close friendship will always reveal the shadow in the other as much as ourselves, to remain friends we must know the other and their difficulties and even their sins and encourage the best in them, not through critique but through addressing the better part of them, the leading creative edge of their incarnation, thus subtly discouraging what makes them smaller, less generous, less of themselves.

Friendship is the great hidden transmuter of all relationship: it can transform a troubled marriage, make honorable a professional rivalry, make sense of heartbreak and unrequited love and become the newly discovered ground for a mature parent-child relationship.

The dynamic of friendship is almost always underestimated as a constant force in human life: a diminishing circle of friends is the first terrible diagnostic of a life in deep trouble: of overwork, of too much emphasis on a professional identity of forgetting who will be there when our armored personalities run into the inevitable natural disasters and vulnerabilities found in even the most ordinary existence…

Friendship transcends disappearance: an enduring friendship goes on after death, the exchange only transmuted by absence, the relationship advancing and maturing in a silent internal conversational way even after one half of the bond has passed on.

But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.
– David Whyte

No culture has yet solved the dilemma each has faced with the growth of a conscious mind: how to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in all life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s own culture but within oneself. If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.” [p.413]
Barry Lopez. 1989. Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire
Northern Landscape. Bantam Books, New York

I have been easy with trees
Too long.
Too familiar with mountains.
Joy has been a habit.
This rain.
― Jack Gilbert, Rain

Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.
– Lin Yutang

There is a spirit in all music, the spirit has the ability to conjure up thoughts even pictures of something that happened or you wished would happen or you anticipate happening. Music has the ability to create ideas in you and me. It has the ability to encourage us to be creative.
– Maya Angelou

For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.
— Hermann Hesse

A true warrior is never at war with the world.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

You cannot love life without loving diversity.
– Philip Shepherd

Lost in your calling? Make it a daily priority to learn more about the heroes in your fields of interest. Read their blogs, learn their stories, take time to investigate their projects.
– Esther Shanti

You have to live life to the limit, not according to each day but according to its depth. One does not have to do what comes next if one feels a greater affinity with that which happens later, at a remove, even in a remote distance. One may dream while others are saviors if these dreams are more real to oneself than reality and more necessary than bread. In a word: one ought to turn the most extreme possibility inside oneself into the measure for one’s life, for our life is vast and can accommodate as much future as we are able to carry.
– Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters on Life: New Prose Translations

Only when we have a plan for bringing meaning to our life will we make true progress.
– Sakyong Mipham

You have the need and the right to spend part of your life caring for your soul… To be a soulful person means to go against all the pervasive, prove-yourself values of our culture and instead treasure what is unique and internal and valuable in yourself and your own personal evolution.
– Jean Shined Bolen

This moving away from comfort and security, this stepping out into what is unknown, uncharted, and shaky — that’s called liberation.
– Pema Chodron

What the world needs now is a true conversation. Not a conversation between our adaptations, disguises and defenses. Not a conversation that hides our truth under a bushel of shame. Not a conversation about what doesn’t matter. Not a conversation that is politicized and rehearsed. But a conversation that is revealed, revealing, deeply genuine. Perhaps that is the key to most everything- true sharing from the deep within, nothing to hide, nowhere to hide it…
– Jeff Brown

Beyond diverse doctrines, religious interpretations, language, ethnic, cultural, and social variations, the one reality we all share in common is the human body. This is our ultimate common ground, a starting point from which to begin the search for a global spirituality.

“Why? Because we believe the next step in human evolution will flow from a maturing inner wholeness. But this will never occur unless each person’s inner struggle to grow can somehow be situated within the earth’s larger organic movement toward unity. The organism which best experiences these two movements together as a seamless whole is not our mind, but our body’s unique way of knowing and being in the world.

“There is felt truth, a felt meaning, a felt direction within our bodies that can guide us into this life of growing unity which we call–Spirit.”

– Peter A. Campbell, Ph.D.
– Edwin M. McMahon, Ph.D

I believe more in books than images. The image is an idol in an idolatrous world. In a book, there’s no idolatry, even if you can idolise the characters. I believe in the book; when you immerse yourself in a huge book, it’s like an event, an extraordinary one.
— Chantal Akerman

In old traditions those who acted as elders were considered to have one foot in daily life and the other foot in the otherworld. Elders acted as a bridge between the visible world and the unseen realms of spirit and soul. A person in touch with the otherworld stands out because something normally invisible can be seen through them. The old word for having a foot in each world is weird. The original sense of weird involved both fate and destiny. Becoming weird enough to be wise requires that a person learn to accommodate the strange way they are shaped within and aimed at the world.

An old idea suggests that those seeking for an elder should look for someone weird enough to be wise. For just as there can be no general wisdom, there are no “normal” elders. Normal bespeaks the “norms” that society uses to regulate people, whereas an awakened destiny always involves connections to the weird and the warp of life. In Norse mythology, as in Shakespeare, the Fates appear as the Weird Sisters who hold time and the timeless together.
Those who would become truly wise must become weird enough to be in touch with timeless things and abnormal enough to follow the guidance of the unseen. Elders are supposed to be weird, not simply “weirdos,” but strange and unusual in meaningful ways. Elders are supposed to be more in touch with the otherworld, but not out of touch with the struggles in this world. Elders have one foot firmly in the ground of survival and another in the realm of great imagination. This double-minded stance serves to help the living community and even helps the species survive.
– Michael Meade

For the life of me I can’t understand why people insist consciousness (or awareness) is nonphysical — a special entity or process separate from its embodied host. I’m genuinely trying to see it thier way but it just seems intellectually dishonest.
What’s to fear if our thoughts and experience are one and the same as our brain and neurological biology?
It seems to me the only reason we need concepts of disembodied consciousness (dualism) is palliative comfort and feeding our hunger for meaning outside our temporary organic self. -Andrew Kent Hagel

The men in rural places when
they stop to talk and visit will
not stand, for that would make it seem
they’re in a rush. Nor will they sit
on ground that might be cold or wet.
Instead they squat with dignity
on heels close to the ground and chat
for hours. And while they tell and answer,
or listen, hunkered out of wind,
they draw with sticks in dirt a map
to illustrate a story or
show evidence for argument.
They sketch out patterns, write on dirt
and doodle vague arithmetic,
who never will take up a pen
on page or slate or canvas. They
will absentmindedly make shapes
and figures of their reveries
and rub them out again complete
to give their art no status of
attention in the casual toss
of discourse, open forum of
community, out there on bare
familiar ground where generations
have squatted, called it ownership.
– Robert Morgan

But we have only begun
To love the earth.
We have only begun
To imagine the fullness of life.
How could we tire of hope?
— so much is in bud.
How can desire fail?
— we have only begun
to imagine justice and mercy,
only begun to envision
how it might be
to live as siblings with beast and flower,
not as oppressors.
Surely our river
cannot already be hastening
into the sea of nonbeing?
Surely it cannot
drag, in the silt,
all that is innocent?
Not yet, not yet—
there is too much broken
that must be mended,
too much hurt we have done to each other
that cannot yet be forgiven.
We have only begun to know
the power that is in us if we would join
our solitudes in the communion of struggle.
So much is unfolding that must
complete its gesture,
so much is in bud.
– Denise Levertov

Poetry is a delirium. The poetic is itself an act of transgression in the sense that it deals with invisible things on the planet, with invisible forces… This is why I say the true poet is marginal. And there is no experimental poetry without experimental life.
– Lucas de Lima

He is
my sister, this
beautiful Bedouin, this Shulamite,
keeper of sabbaths, diviner
of holy texts, this dark
dancer, this Jew, this Asian, this one
with the Cambodian face, Vietnamese face, this Chinese
I daily face,
this immigrant,
this man with my own face.
(Lee, “The Cleaving”)
– Jennifer Tseng

You don’t need to BE Einstein, but you need to READ him.

A human being is part of a whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest–a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.

Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.

Politics is a pendulum whose swings between anarchy and tyranny are fueled by perpetually rejuvenated illusions.

All our lauded technological progress — our very civilization – is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal.

The satisfaction of physical needs is indeed the indispensible precondition of a satisfactory existence, but in itself is not enough. In order to be content men must also have the possibility of developing their intellectual and artistic powers to whatever extent accord with their personal characteristics and abilities.

If the possibility of the spiritual development of all individuals is to be secured, a second kind of outward freedom is necessary. The development of science and of the creative activities of the spirit in general requires still another kind of freedom… Inward freedom…the independence of thought from the restrictions of authoritarian and social prejudices as well as from unphilosophical routinizing and habit in general. This inward freedom is an infrequent gift of nature and a worthy object for the individual.

We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.
– John Lennon

That Question, the One With No Answer

In a snowstorm, the yaks know to huddle together,
calves in the center. They press the bulk of their bodies so close
to each other that their breath forms a column of visible steam.

Elsewhere, in burrowed colonies, the yellow jackets
work in concert to forage for food, to feed the larvae,
to expand the nest and defend the queen.

It’s hardwired in us, this will to survive. Just look
at the yucca with its cascade of lemony petals
surrounded by tough, sword-shaped leaves.

Just look at you. Just look at me. See how we
like to hide behind our identities—lover,
loner, baker, runner, singer, prayer, biker, child.

As if we could use the list of our interests
and roles as a shield against our greatest fear—
the fear that we don’t know what we are doing here.

So we shout to each other like yodelers—here I am,
this is me, who are you? And we hold up invisible yardsticks
to ourselves, to each other, in an effort to learn our value.

And our egos rise and fall like yoyos in the hands
of a child who’s just learning to play. We think we’re someone.
We fear that we’re not. And what are we doing here anyway?

Is this why some choose solitude? Choose to live
beyond the shoulds and masks? Live like the yeti—
unknowable, unseeable, known only by stories and tracks?

Today, the hummingbirds are gone, and the waterfall is thin
in its plunge. The hours are warm though the sun is low—
and I can’t say that I know what we’re doing here,

but I think it has something to do with noticing the missing birds
and the thin waterfall and the timber in your voice when you tell me
you don’t know who you are. Me neither, friend, but whatever I am

fell in love with the way that the first morning sun today glanced
the frosted grass, and I could see dozens of columns of steam rise across
the whole field before the yellow jackets emerged from their nest.

– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Meditation, whatever method you are using, is simply getting to know your mind. It is not about meditating ‘on’ something or getting into a zone where you are blissfully removed from your mind’s contents. Instead, the actual meaning of meditation is more like getting used to being with your own mind.
– Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.
– Steve Jobs

When we begin to realize that language is far more than words, butterfly’s will begin to speak to us.
– Dino Delano

Behind me, field and meadow sleeping,
I leave in deep, prophetic night,
Within whose dread and holy keeping
The better soul awakes to light.
The wild desires no longer win us,
The deeds of passion cease to chain;
The love of Man revives within us,
The love of God revives again.
Ah, when, within our narrow chamber
The lamp with friendly lustre glows,
Flames in the breast each faded ember,
And in the heart, itself that knows.
Then Hope again lends sweet assistance,
And Reason then resumes her speech:
One yearns, the rivers of existence,
The very founts of Life, to reach.
All things transitory
Are but a parable,
Earth’s insufficiency
Here finds fulfillment.
The ineffable
Wins life through love.
The eternal feminine
Leads us above.
– Goethe

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits.
– Lao-Tze

What you are is far superior to what you want to become.
– Tara Singh

I love nature partly because she is not man, but a retreat from him. None of his institutions control or pervade her . . . In her midst I can be glad with an entire gladness. If this world was all man, I could not stretch myself – I should lose all hope. He is constraint; she is freedom to me. He makes me wish for another world; she makes me content with this.
– Henry David Thoreau

some seek silence, but nature seeks sounds. i’ve been to the forests, and especially at night, it is the noisiest place on earth. and not one sound you want to miss. some seek solitude, but nature seeks companionship. i’ve been to forests, and it is one of the most crowded places on earth. and there, every step is peace.
– Hune Margulies

Joy in the midst of suffering is the mark of the Ikkyū School.
– Ikkyū Sojun

You already have the precious mixture that will make you well. Use it.
– Rumi

As the cricket’s soft autumn hum is to us, so are we to the trees, as are they to the rocks and hills.
– Gary Snyder

You are not stuck where you are unless you decide to be.
– Wayne W. Dyer

You don’t earn someone’s trust by telling them what they want to hear. You earn their trust by demonstrating what you really believe in.
– Ethan Nichtern

Writing at least is a silent meditation even though you’re going a hundred miles an hour.
– Jack Kerouac

If you’re lucky, at some point in your life you’ll come to a complete dead end.
Or to put it another way: if you’re lucky you’ll come to a crossroads and see that the path to the left leads to hell, that the path to the right leads to hell, that the road straight ahead leads to hell and that if you try to turn around you’ll end up in complete and utter hell.
Every way leads you to hell and there’s no way out, nothing left for you to do. Nothing can possibly satisfy you anymore. Then, if you’re ready, you’ll start to discover inside yourself what you always longed for but were never able to find.
– Peter Kingsley

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.
– Danna Faulds

Where can you live safely then?
In surrender.
– Rumi

When one of us gets lost, is not here, he or she must be inside us.
There’s no place like that anywhere in the world.
– Rumi

For many years, my walks have taken me down an old fencerow in a wooded hollow on what was once my grandfather’s farm. A battered galvanized bucket is hanging on a fence post near the head of the hollow, and I never go by it without stopping to look inside. For what is going on in that bucket is the most momentous thing I know, the greatest miracle that I have ever heard of: it is making earth. The old bucket has hung there through many autumns, and the leaves have fallen around it and some have fallen into it. Rain and snow have fallen into it, and the fallen leaves have held the moisture and so have rotted. Nuts have fallen into it, or been carried into it by squirrels; mice and squirrels have eaten the meat of the nuts and left the shells; they and other animals have left their droppings; insects have flown into the bucket and died and decayed; bird have scratched in it and left their droppings or perhaps a feather or two. This slow work of growth and death, gravity and decay, which is the chief work of the world, has by now produced in the bottom of the bucket several inches of black humus. I look into that bucket with fascination because I am a farmer of sorts and an artist of sorts, and I recognize there an artistry and a farming far superior to mine, or to that of any human. I have seen the same process at work on the tops of boulders in a forest, and it has been at work immemorially over most of the land surface of the world. All creatures die into it, and they live by it.
– Wendell Berry

Walk Slowly
It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still, and just like that,
something in me settles, softens, makes
space for imperfection. The harsh voice
of judgment drops to a whisper and I
remember again that life isn’t a relay
race; that we will all cross the finish
line; that waking up to life is what we
were born for. As many times as I
forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I’m going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk
slowly into the mystery.
– Danna Faulds

We are born into this world not as exiles from our “true home”, not as students seeking to learn and then graduate to a better place, not as debtors working to pay off past obligations, but as generative sources of life, Light, and sacredness. We come in love to be caretakers and partners with the world to help foster her life. We come carrying a sacred flame within us to kindle the sacred potentials within the world.
– David Spangler

Whenever the light of civilization falls upon you with a blighting power … go to the wilderness. . . . Dull business routine, the fierce passions of the market place, the perils of envious cities become but a memory. . . . The wilderness will take hold of you. It will give you good red blood; it will turn you from a weakling into a man. . . . You will soon behold all with a peaceful soul.
– George S. Evans

The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.
– Alan W. Watts

Yes, it is a rich language, Lieutenant, full of the mythologies of fantasy and hope and self-deception – a syntax opulent with tomorrows. It is our response to mud cabins and a diet of potatoes; our only method of replying to… inevitabilities.
– Brian Friel

…It drifts in from somewhere far away – a mirage of sound – a dream music that is both heard and imagined; that seems to be both itself and its own echo; a sound so alluring and so mesmeric that the afternoon is bewitched, maybe haunted, by it. And, what is so strange about that memory is that everybody seems to be floating on those sweet sounds , moving rhythmically, languorously, in complete isolation; responding more to the mood of the music than to its beat. When I remember it, I think of it as dancing. Dancing with eyes half closed because to open them would break the spell. Dancing as if language had surrendered to movement – as if this ritual, this wordless ceremony, was now the way to speak, to whisper private and sacred things, to be in touch with some otherness. dancing as if the very heart of life and all its hopes might be found in those assuaging notes and those hushed rhythms and in those silent and hypnotic movements. Dancing as if language no longer existed because words were no longer necessary…
– Brian Friel

The plagues we wished upon ourselves
With aloe juice and cayenne
The planets we strained to reach
That was how being young tasted
Each of us a geode looking to be cracked open
And to crack each other open
Over and over
I am no longer young except to those who are older
In the way that youth moves along
The conveyor belt
At a consistent distance
I drink water now
I try to be gentle
The years crack you open enough
– Alicia Jo Rabins

Angels in Oversupply: Strange to hunt angels. All these round our feet. Odd to want god. All the good folk you meet. Bizarre that we can’t get by with what’s here. We seek help from elsewhere. We really are queer.
– Rachael Fox

There is a way of beholding nature which is a form of prayer, a way of minding something with such clarity and aliveness that the rest of the world recedes.
– Diane Ackerman

Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.
― Robin Wall Kimmerer

I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories from your life . . . water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estés

I’m a poet in deeds–not often in words.
– Ian Flemming

To see the fields and the river
It isn’t enough to open the window.
To see the trees and the flowers
It isn’t enough not to be blind.
It is also necessary to have no philosophy.
With philosophy there are no trees, just ideas.
There is only each one of us, like a cave.
There is only a shut window, and the whole world outside,
And a dream of what could be seen if the window were opened,
Which is never what is seen when the window is opened.
– Fernando Pessoa

Our mistakes, acknowledged and understood as such, can be the raw material of a good life.
– Thomas Moore

Going to Walden
It isn’t very far as highways lie.
I might be back by nightfall, having seen
The rough pines, and the stones, and the clear water.
Friends argue that I might be wiser for it.
They do not hear that far-off Yankee whisper:
How dull we grow from hurrying here and there!
Many have gone, and think me half a fool
To miss a day away in the cool country.
Maybe. But in a book I read and cherish,
Going to Walden is not so easy a thing
As a green visit. It is the slow and difficult
Trick of living, and finding it where you are.
– Mary Oliver

The outward work can never be small if the inward one is great, and the outward work can never be great if the inward is small or of little worth.
– Meister Eckhart

Like a fish in water, I live in music. (Saint Saëns)
Music comes on with the ignition,
bursts in on my days as I drive
between house and office,
office and meeting,
and like Escher’s fish in the stream
or his birds in the air,
background becomes foreground,
and foreground background,
and my element of papers
turns to rippling staves.
– Meg Bateman

There are pauses amidst study, and even pauses of seeming idleness, in which a process goes on which may be likened to the digestion of food. In those seasons of repose, the powers are gathering their strength for new efforts; as land which lies fallow recovers itself for tillage.
– J. W. Alexander

Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness.
– George MacDonald

A man doesn’t learn to understand anything unless he loves it.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.
– Henri Matisse

Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember nothing stays the same for long, not even pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.
– May Sarton

I cannot believe that the inscrutable universe turns on an axis of suffering; surely the strange beauty of the world must somewhere rest on pure joy!
– Louise Bogan

He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.
– Duke Ellington

Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything.
– George Lois

Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.
– Denis Diderot

Moonlight over Iona
Be a bright flame before me, O God
A guiding star above me.
Be a smooth path below me,
A kindly shepherd behind me,
Today, tonight and forever.
– Prayer of Columba

Solitude allows you to think. And to get to know who you truly are. With that awareness, you can elevate.
– Robin Sharma

I still need my job in the city, but I find it increasingly difficult to leave behind a natural way of life and enter an unnatural and at times cruel environment which demands such unnatural responses in the name of survival and industry. In an age that prides itself on its achievements in the fields of communication technologies, men and women are suffering from loneliness and solitude as never before, due to a simple lack of communication.”
– Lambros Kamperidis

I learned…that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.
– Brenda Ueland

When we meet people from different traditions, I believe we should make an extra effort to be considerate, curious and hospitable. If there is an Olympics for spiritual practice it will be won by those with the biggest view, the most open heart, and true concern for the well being of all.
– David Nichtern

The shape our life is in, career is in, relationship is in, body is in; is often largely reflective of the shape our mind is in.
– David Nichtern

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.
– J.K. Rowling

We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk.
– Thomas Moore

The clarity of our presence and the quality of our stories determines our resonance. We teach most through this silent resonance.
– Nithya Shanti

Whenever I read a poem that moves me, I know I’m not alone in the world. I feel a connection to the person who wrote it, knowing that he or she has gone through something similar to what I’ve experienced, or felt something like what I have felt. And their poem gives me hope and courage, because I know that they survived, that their life force was strong enough to turn experience into words and shape it into meaning and then bring it toward me to share.
– Gregory Orr

The way the word sinks
into the deep snow of the page.
– Gregory Orr

If we’re not supposed to dance, Why all this music?
– Gregory Orr

Somehow something has gone wrong with poetry in our culture. We have lost touch with its purpose and value, and in doing so, we have lost contact with essential aspects of our own emotional and spiritual lives.
– Gregory Orr

秋高く すべて不問に 付する午後
One autumn day
Feel I can forgive anything
Who cares what in such a beautiful afternoon

Often when I called Edinburgh
a grey town without darting sun,
it would light up your beauty,
a refulgent, white-starred town.
– Sorley MacLean

The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.
– David W. Orr

Excessive analysis perpetuates emotional paralysis. Identifying my issues and patterns never changed me. It just named me. The transformation happened by dropping below concepts and cleverness into the realm of deep feeling. The feel is for real.
– Jeff Brown

It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.
– Marianne Williamson

The more you are motivated by Love,
The more Fearless & Free your action will be.
– Dalai Lama

If I had been asked in my early youth whether I preferred to have dealings only with men or only with books, my answer would certainly have been in favor of books. In later years this has become less and less the case. Not that I have had so much better experiences with men than with books; on the contrary, purely delightful books even now come my way more often than purely delightful men. But the many bad experiences with men have nourished the meadow of my life as the noblest book could not do, and the good experiences have made the earth into a garden for me.
Here is an infallible test. Imagine yourself in a situation where you are alone, wholly alone on earth, and you are offered one of the two, books or men. I often hear men prizing their solitude, but that is only because there are still men somewhere on earth, even though in the far distance. I knew nothing of books when I came forth from the womb of my mother, and I shall die without books, with another human hand in my own. I do, indeed, close my door at times and surrender myself to a book, but only because I can open the door again and see a human being looking at me.”
– Martin Buber

Everyone must come out of his Exile in his own way.
– Martin Buber

The abyss and the light of the world, Time’s need and the craving for eternity, Vision, event, and poetry: Was and is dialogue with you.
– Martin Buber

To find the air and the water exhilarating…to be thrilled by the stars at night, to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring—these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
– John Burroughs

Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope.
Sometimes we cry with everything except for tears.
In the end that’s all there is:
Love and its duty, sorrow and it’s truth.
In the end that’s all we have — to hold tight until the dawn.
– Shantaram

Step by Step by Step
It’s a dead end, the road.
But that is only the road.
At the end is a trail
that will lead you past
t he waterfall, up through
the larkspur, waist high,
up past the turquoise
glacial lakes. And then
it ends, the trail. But
that is only the trail.
The mountains do not
end. There is the scree field
t o scramble on. Clamber
up to the ridge, and then there
is over the ridge, but it is not
over, this journey. Were you
hoping that it was done?
Looking for a reason to turn
around, retrace your steps,
go home? Look. No
matter which direction
you go, you are already home.
– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

(My heart) seems unteachable; it continues its dreaming.
– Sophia Scholl

We speak condescendingly of children who are “at-risk”; but what of our at-risk-civilization, -species, and -planet?

Even if you consume as many books
As the sands of the Ganges
It is not as good as really catching
One verse of Zen.
If you want the secret of Buddhism,
Here it is: Everything is in the Heart!

If you have an ounce of common sense and one good friend, you don’t need an analyst.
– Joan Crawford

The only solutions that are ever worth anything are the solutions that people find themselves.
– Satyajit Ray

Let the soul speak. Our diseases are connected with muteness.
– Julio Olalla

Can you? Will you?
Offer more light rather than blame and condemnation.
– Rumi

The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.
– Barack Obama

…The idea is to be independent,
Not involved,
Not glued, one might say, to others.
Thus one becomes ever more
Compassionate and friendly.
Whatever happens, stand on your own feet…
– Chögyam Trungpa

In the end there doesn’t have to be anyone who understands you. There just has to be someone who wants to.
– Anonymous

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?
― George Eliot

One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls.
– Jack Kerouac

As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth. They go back to the upper Paleolithic: the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times.
– Gary Snyder

I believed that I wanted to be a poet, but deep down I just wanted to be a poem.
– Jaime Gil de Biedma

There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe.
– Teilhard de Chardin

anyone can meditate /
in a meadow /
who can contemplate /
on a comet

I fell in love with Tibet because their essential mission was to keep a continual stream of prayer. To me they kept the world from spinning out of control just by being a civilization on the roof of the world in that continuous state of prayer. The prayers are etched on wheels, they feel them with their hands like braille and turn them. It’s spinning prayer like cloth. That was my perception as a young person. I didn’t quite understand the whole thing but I felt protected. We grew up at a time when nuclear war seemed imminent with air raid drills and lying on the floor under your school desk. To counterbalance that destruction was this civilization of monks living high in the Himalayas who were continuously praying for us, for the planet and for all of nature. That made me feel safe.
– Patti Smith

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.
– Etty Hillesum

Few people know how to take a walk.
The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes,
old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity,
good speech, good silence and nothing too much.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dwell as near as possible to
the channel in which your life flows.
~ Henry David Thoreau ~

…Kindness, sweetest of the small notes in the world’s ache, most modest & gentle of the elements entered man before history and became his daily connection, let no man tell you otherwise.
– Carl Rakosi

I have so strong a sense of creation, of tomorrow, that I cannot get drunk, knowing I will be less alive, less well, less creative the next day.
– Anais Nin

Man is sculptured into expression from imagination and thought molded into creation. The feminine gives him the ground from with he can stand.
– Dino Delano

Men who crush the feminine within them
are not fully alive –
not even close
– Elijah Morton

We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.
– Mother Teresa

Beautiful, authentic, vulnerable, naked words written by one of my brilliant students…”How very important are circles of friendship. I want to begin broadening mine by turning off my intensity so I don’t scare others away. I need to be in community and I need more than one community. I need many overlapping communities. There is no magic wand. Just the slow and tender dying of the fighting part of myself, however long it takes.
– via Eileen Pardini

I trust the mystery. I trust what comes in silence and what comes in nature where there’s no diversion. I think the lack of stimulation allows us to hear and experience a deeper river that’s constant, still, vibrant, and real. And the process of deep listening with attention and intention catalyzes and mobilizes exactly what’s needed at that time.
– Angeles Arrien

To avoid the consensus and settlement of a meaning which the audience fastens on like a security blanket, to be antic, mettlesome, contrary, to retain the right to impudence, to raise hackles, to harry the audience into wakefulness—to do all this may be not only permissible but necessary if poetry is to keep on coming into a fuller life.
– Seamus Heaney

What is a blessing?
A blessing is a circle of light drawn around a person to protect, heal and strengthen. …It is a gracious invocation where the human heart pleads with the divine heart. When a blessing is invoked, a window opens in eternal time.
– John O’Donohue

There is no other world.
There’s just another way to live.
– Jacques Mesrine

….in truth, however, the pure relation can be built up into spatio-temporal continuity only by becoming embodied in the whole stuff of life. It cannot be preserved but only put to the proof in action; it can only be done, poured into life. man can do justice to the relation to god that has been given to him only by actualizing god in the world in accordance with his ability and the measure of each day, daily. this is the only genuine guarantee of continuity. the genuine guarantee of duration is that the pure relation can be fulfilled as the beings become you, as they are elevated to the you, so that the holy basic word sounds through all of them. thus the time of human life is formed into an abundance of actuality; and although human life cannot and ought not to overcome the It-relation, it then becomes so permeated by relation that this gains a radiant and penetrating constancy in it. the moments of supreme encounter are no mere flashes of lightning in the dark but like a rising moon in a clear starry night.
– Martin Buber (“i and Thou”)

… spring is over, but i can tell it hasn’t been gone for long. azaleas continue in bloom, wild wisteria hangs from the pine trees, and a cuckoo now and then passes by. i even have greetings from the jays, and woodpeckers that peck at things, though I don’t really mind-in fact, i rather enjoy them…fragrant southern breezes blow down from the mountain tops, and north winds, dampened by the lake, are cool…fireflies weave through the air in the dusk of evening, clapper rails tap out their notes-there’s surely no lack of beautiful scenes… i’ve worn out my body in journeys that are as aimless as the winds and clouds, and expended my feelings on flowers and birds. but somehow I’ve been able to make a living this way, and so in the end, unskilled and talentless as i am, i give myself wholly to this one concern, poetry…
– Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
The Hut of the Phantom Dwelling

We are born with all the wisdom, playfulness, and imagination we need; we just sometimes need a reminder to return to our senses and get out of our own way. Let go of whatever fears, assumptions, distractions, resistance, and busyness may be hampering you. Allow yourself to think and feel and live that way.
– Marc Lesser

I think that the guidance will come through music. …
I believe that a musician will come and express the different essential states and the different gradations of reaching them through music. Others will come and express this through art, movement, diet, medical research, ecology. I see a whole caravan arriving and unfolding.
– Faisal Muqaddam

There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life – reciprocity.
– Confucius

Creativity is about having the courage to invent our lives.
– Nina Wise

If you want to study yourself — look into the hearts of other people. If you want to study other people — look into your own heart.
– Friedrich von Schiller

When you feel the urge to check email, first log in to your heart.
– Anushka Fernandopulle

Your Sentence Is Cold Mountain
And Han Shan welcomes you. All summer
you scratch in the dirt and the wind and rain erases
all of your words. The husky from down the road
digs a hole in your favorite poem. Each day
you leave and burn like a small sun. At night
you return among the aspens; green, golden, bare.
Time passes like an arrow over the ridge. It is
all boiling water and steam until you spill your tea
across the counter in liquid arguments. Han Shan
laughs at your inability to read the leaves. Your
penmanship diminishes as the water evaporates.
You go to bed tired, every night tired on this
cold mountain you have been climbing, climbing
in the star tipped sky, but heaven is just like any
other word. When the world sees poets it says
we are all crazy, not much to look at, dressed in rags
and the personas of four dozen other animals.
What I say is you cannot skip out on your sentence
in good conscience. It will eat you from the inside
out. If Cold Mountain calls you must try to make it.
They say it’s a foolish dream. But I say the Happy Valley
is a lie. My home was at Cold Mountain from the start,
rambling through words. Only from far away
can the world finally sink deep into your flesh,
and come out like five shadows, a storm cloud, pricks
of sleet blossoming on your raw flesh like daisies.
– Cameron K Scott

I cannot live without books. – Thomas Jefferson

In the monastery of your heart, you have a temple where all Buddhas unite.
– Milarepa

You need to be content with small steps. That’s all life is. Small steps that you take every day so when you look back down the road it all adds up and you know you covered some distance.
– Unknown

Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret,
for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.
– Robert Brault

Have I let at least one mystery
take hold of me?
– Jamie K. Reaser

Just sit quietly, connect with your breath, and pay attention to what happens. You will learn things.
– Tai Sheridan

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.
– Jane Kenyon

I need the sea because it teaches me,
I don’t know if I learn music or awareness,
if it’s a single wave or its vast existence,
or only its harsh voice or its shining
suggestion of fishes and ships.
The fact is that until I fall asleep,
in some magnetic way I move in
the university of the waves.
– Pablo Neruda, On the Blue Shores of Silence

I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.
– Steve Jobs

Tired and hungry, late in the day, impelled
to leave the house and search for what
might lift me back to what I had fallen away from,
I stood by the shore waiting.
I had walked in the silent woods:
the trees withdrew into their secrets.
Dusk was smoothing breadths of silk
over the lake, watery amethyst fading to gray.
Ducks were clustered in sleeping companies
afloat on their element as I was not
on mine. I turned homeward, unsatisfied.
But after a few steps, I paused, impelled again
to linger, to look North before nightfall – the expanse
of calm, of calming water, last wafts
of rose in the few high clouds.
And was rewarded:
the heron, unseen for weeks, came flying
widewinged toward me, settled
just offshore on his post,
took up his vigil.
If you ask
why this cleared a fog from my spirit,
I have no answer.
– Denise Levertov
A Reward
The Life Around Us

Philosophy, the very word, means love for wisdom, and they have nothing to do with wisdom at all.Wisdom happens only through meditation; it never happens by collecting information. It happens by going through a transformation. Wisdom is the flowering of your consciousness, the opening of the one-thousand-petaled lotus of your being. It is the release of your fragrance, the release of the imprisoned splendor. Real philosophy has nothing to do with thinking; on the contrary it has everything to do with transcending thinking, going beyond and beyond thinking, going beyond mind, reaching to the pure space of no-mind. Out of that space something flowers in you. You can call it Christ-consciousness, Buddhahood, or whatsoever you like. That is true philosophy. – Osho

This is what should be done by the man who is wise,
who seeks the good, and who knows the meaning of the place of peace.
Let him be strenuous, upright, and truly straight, without conceit of self,
easily contented and joyous, free of cares;
let him not be submerged by the things of the world;
let him not take upon himself the burden of worldly goods;
let his senses be controlled; let him be wise but not puffed up,
and let him not desire great possessions even for his family.
Let him do nothing that is mean or that the wise would reprove.
May all beings be happy and at their ease!
May they be joyous and live in safety!
All beings, whether weak or strong—omitting none—in high, middle, or low
realms of existence,
small or great, visible or invisible, near or far away, born or to be born–
may all beings be happy and at their ease! Let none deceive another, or
despise any being in any state!
Let none by anger or ill-will wish harm to another!
Even as a mother watches over and protects her child, her only child,
so with a boundless mind should one cherish all living beings,
radiating friendliness over the entire world, above, below, and all around
without limit.
So let him cultivate a boundless good will towards the entire world,
uncramped, free from ill will or enmity.
Standing or walking, sitting or lying down, during all his waking hours,
let him establish this mindfulness of good will,
which men call the higheststate!
Abandoning vain discussions, having a clear vision,
free from sense appetites,
he who is made perfect will never again know rebirth.
– The Buddha

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order – willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern.
– Annie Dillard

Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.
– Annie Dillard

Buddhism notes that it is always a mistake to think your soul can go it alone.
– Annie Dillard

I would like to learn, or remember, how to live.
– Annie Dillard

Listen hard, listen generously, risk making a mistake, risk being made uncomfortable, risk forgiveness. Learn from one another.
– Drew Faust

Contemplation is a very dangerous activity. It not only brings us face to face with God. It brings us, as well, face to face with the world, face to face with the self. And then, of course, something must be done. Nothing stays the same once we have found the God within…. We carry the world in our hearts: the oppression of all peoples, the suffering of our friends, the burdens of our enemies, the raping of the Earth, the hunger of the starving, the joy of every laughing child.
– Joan Chittister

I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.
– Lloyd Dobler

First, accept that life is hard, and that transforming our life—or our abilities, which amount to much the same thing—is very hard. For a thousand reasons, we all have a part that wants to believe the world was made just for us, and that the pearls of existence are our birthright. In a sense, they are, but we must dive deeply to find those pearls—down past our resistance and mechanical thinking and behavior, and that always involves hard, sustained, conscious, and disciplined effort. Few stumble across those pearls by fluke or good fortune, and if they do, they typically lose them just as fast. This course will head you in the right direction and even give you a stout push that way, but you must do the work.
Excerpt From: Ilgner, Arno. “The Rock Warrior’s Way:
Mental Training For Climbers.” Desiderata Institute

Creative artists … are mankind’s wakeners to recollection: summoners of our outward mind to conscious contact with ourselves, not as participants in this or that morsel of history, but as spirit, in the consciousness of being. Their task, therefore, is to communicate directly from one inward world to another, in such a way that an actual shock of experience will have been rendered: not a mere statement for the information or persuasion of a brain, but an effective communication across the void of space and time from one center of consciousness to another.
– Joseph Campbell

Liberation’s good qualities,
like an island of jewels –
If they aren’t known, there is no way
to begin to make efforts.
Having seen the advantage of permanent victory,

May I truly practice the sublime teachings.
– H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche

Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.
– Langston Hughes

What I want to tell you
is how life, small wonderful
bright yellow life how life
can happen if you watch and if you try
to write it down
– Matthew Septimus and Esther Cohn

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.
– Martha Graham

I think this is true of relationships, one’s own body, things like dishes, recycling and garbage, money management and business…pretty much anything.”How you do anything…is how you do everything.”
– Cheri Huber, Zen teacher,
author of When You’re Falling, Dive!

Maybe we’re here only to say: house,
bridge, well, gate, jug, olive tree, window —
at most, pillar, tower … but to say them, remember,
oh, to say them in a way that the things themselves
never dreamed of existing so intensely.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.
– Albert Camus

An honest smile can fix a system jammed by fear.
– Amy Marie Keller

And I have no right to this metaphor. But I use it to console myself. To give a fraction of meaning to something enormous and needless.
-Rachel Corrie

I can wash dishes.
– Rachel Corrie

Harry Chapin once wrote: Old friends, they mean much more to me than a new friend, cause they can see where you are, and they know where you’ve been (the rest of the quote goes: music has been my oldest friend, my fiercest foe, cause it can take me so high… and it can take me so low)

There are too many intellectuals in the world
Who’ve studied far and wide and know a lot of things
But they don’t know their own original nature
And thus are wandering far from the way
Even if they explain reality in great detail

Of what avail are those empty formulae?

If in one minute you remember your essential nature

The Buddha’s insight opens up to you.
– Han Shan, Poems from Cold Mountain

You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself.
– John Steinbeck

Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and don’t give up.
– Rachel Corrie

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.
– Henry Miller

So laugh when you say you are out of place
among all of these bickering goblins.
It only means you are an angel.
– Rachel Corrie

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Definition of a creative life: I’m talking about a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

While we have many ‘cozy’ ideas about bliss, if we look carefully, bliss is cessation of ignorance, of grasping, and having an active, intelligent mind to engage your life fully in all aspects. To this bliss we should have much affinity. Then we can also have that ‘other’ bliss, but without fixation!
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

If you trust in nature, in the small things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in your conscious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Moladh Uibhist

‘S e mis’ bhith fada bho thìr m’ eòlais
Being so far from the land I know

Chuir le bròn gu gluasad mi
Is what has stirred me in my sadness

Bhon tha an cianalas gam leòn
Because nostalgia wounds me

Gun eòlaich a bhith mun cuairt orm
Since there are none around me of the folk I know

Feuchaidh mi ri teud mo bheòil
I will touch the harp-strings of my voice

An cuir i ‘n òrdugh duanag dhomh
To see if it can fashion a little song for me

Air Uibhist ghleannach, ghorm an fheòir
About green, grassy Uist of the glens

‘S air pàirt de dhòigh an t-sluaigh a th’ ann
And something of the way of the people who live there

Mullach Langais nuair a chì mi
When I see the crest of Langais

Bheir i inntinn shuaimhneach dhomh
My spirits rise

‘S aotrom a ghearras mi sìnteag
My leap will be light

Dìreadh ris a’ ghualainn aic’
As I climb its shoulder

Nochdadh sìos ri tìr an aigh
Looking at the splendid land below me

‘S ri taighean blàth an t-sluaigh a th’ ann
With the houses of the warm-hearted folk who live there

‘S ri Eilean Mhorghaidh air an tràigh
Seeing Morghaidh on the strand

Ged ‘s tric muir-làn ‘ga chuartachadh
The island that the full tide so often goes ’round

‘M Paibeil far an do bhlais mi tràth
Paible was the place where I first

Air bàidh na màthair bhuanghradhaich
Tasted a mother’s unfailing love

Far am fàs an t-eòrna ‘s fheàrr
Where the best barley grows

Gu diasach, gràinneach, dualanach
Braided, full-eared, rich in grain

Dh’àraich iomadh laoch gun sgàig
The place that nutures many a valiant warrior

‘S na bàird a b’ fheàrr a chuala sinn
And the best bards that we have ever heard of

Bidh e tighinn gum chuimhne ghnàth
The warmth and kindness I found there

Gach coibhneas bàidh a fhuair mi ann
Ever come to my mind

Bu bhrèagha sealladh sa mhìos Mhàigh
In the month of May, it was a beautiful sight

Na raontan làn de ghruagaichean
To see the fields

Air an aghaidh fiamh a’ ghàire
Full of smiling girls

‘S air an gàirdean buaraichean
With spancels on their arms

Dol dhan bhuailidh leis na laoigh
Going to the cattle pen with the calves

Nì geum cho binn ‘s a chuala sinn
Who call most sweetly

An crodh gam freagairt aig a’ chuidh’
And to hear the great lowing of the cows

‘S gum b’ àrd a chluinnte nuallraich iad
At the fold as they answered them

An Cille Mhoire ‘n am an òrduigh
In Kilmuir at Communion time

‘S an àm nam bòrd a chuartachadh
When the Communion tables are being served

Dhìreamaid ri leathad Phòil
We would climb up Paul’s slope

‘S bhiodh sealladh brònach, truasal ann
And there would be a sad and sorrowful sight

Sean is òg a’ sileadh dheòir
Young and old weeping

Air tolmain bhòidheach uainbhratach
On beautiful hillocks, carpeted in green

‘S a’ smaointinn air luchd-dàimh nach beò
Thinking of loved ones no longer living

Bhith siud fo ‘n fhòd air fuarachadh
Lying there cold in the ground

Mnathan ciatach, tosdach, ciallach
Excellent, sensible, reserved women

Modhail, rianail, luathlamhach
Courteous, orderly, skillful

Càite nise ‘n cualas riamh
Could it be said that niggardliness

A’ spìocaireachd ri fuaite riu’?
Was ever found in them?

‘S minig a thaisbean iad am fialachd
Often did they show their generosity

‘S iomadh dhìomh le truacantas
In many an act of kindness

Gur tric thug iad don acrach biadh
Often did they give food to the hungry

Is àite-dìon bhon fhuachd thoirt dha
And a warm place to shelter in

Tìr mo dhaoine, tìr mo ghràidh
Land of my people, land of my love

Ged theireadh càch gur duanaidh i
Although others might say it is a dreary land

Cha do dhealraich grian air àite
The sun has never shone

Leth cho àlainn snuadh rithe
On a place half as beautiful

‘S ged nach fhaicear innte craobh
And though it is treeless

Gu faicear fraoch is luachair innt’
There are heather and rushes

Agus muran dubhghorm na raon
And the dark-green bent grass of the fields there

‘S iad taobh ri taobh gu cuaileanach
Growing in tresses side by side

Tha cuid sliabh mar bha iad riamh
Its sides are as they ever were

Gu fasgach, feurach, fuaranach
Sheltered and grassy and full of springs

Cnocach, gleannach, sgorach, grianach
With knolls and glens and crevices

Lusach, riasgach, cruachanach
Sunny, covered with herbage, tussocky and humped

Far am faigh a’ chaora dìol
Hillsides where the sheep finds abundance

‘S gun èis gum biadh i h-uan orra
And where she can feed her lamb without stint

‘S bheir iad daonnan don fhiadh
Hillsides that give food and drink

A dheoch, a bhiadh, ‘s a chluasagan
And pillows to the deer

Tha ‘n sealladh mu dheireadh den ghrèin
The last glimpse of the sun

‘S i ‘n dèidh gach speur a chuartachadh
After it has circled the whole sky

Air fhaicinn na mo dhùthaich fhèin
May be seen from my land

‘S i moch ag èirigh suas oirre
Just before it rises again on it

Crìochnaichidh mi ‘n diugh mo sgeul
I must cut short my account for today

‘S e tìm a ghèill san uair seo dhomh
Since my time has gone

‘S ged gheibhinn dusan saoghal fèidh
And even if I lived twelve times as long as a stag

Cha chuir mi ‘n cèill gach buaidh a th’ oirr’
I could not recount all the beauties of Uist

Stories nurture our connection to place and to each other. They show us where we have been and where we can go. They remind us of how to be human, how to live alongside the other lives that animate this planet. … When we lose stories, our understanding of the world is less rich, less true.
― Susan J. Tweit

Here they have no time for the fine graces
of poetry, unless it freely grows
in deep compulsion, like water in the well,
woven into the texture of the soil
in a strong pattern.
― Iain Crichton Smith

It’s a little embarrassing that after 45 years of research and study, the best advice I can give people is to be a little kinder to each other.
– Aldous Huxley

I’m fascinated how often and with what whole-heartedness people will risk their lives to perform acts of courage, sacrifice, and compassion for total strangers.
– Diane Ackerman

How often have we bought the lie that people are selfish, greedy, violent? There is more evidence to suggest the opposite. I can hear the voices of the scoffers ‘Oh that’s naive, look around you!’ Yes look around you! Are you really seeing? Are you perpetuating an unbalanced myth of human nature? Are you perennially mistrusting of others and questioning their motives? Are you unwilling to risk that perhaps the other is like you? Deeply caring and empathetic, rich with gifts to offer, wanting the truest of life that you want. Can we begin to tell a new story of what it means to be human or shall we replay indoctrinated tapes of ‘the selfish gene’ script?
– Tina Neher Owens

Some day, if you are lucky,
you’ll return from a thunderous journey
trailing snake scales, wing fragments
and the musk of Earth and moon.
…Eyes will examine you for signs of damage, or change
and you, too, will wonder if your skin shows
traces of fur, or leaves,
if thrushes have built a nest of your hair,
if Andromeda burns from your eyes.
Do not be surprised by prickly questions
from those who barely inhabit their own fleeting lives,
who barely taste their own possibility,
who barely dream.
If your hands are empty, treasureless,
if your toes have not grown claws,
if your obedient voice has not become a wild cry, a howl,
you will reassure them.
We warned you, they might declare,
there is nothing else, no point, no meaning,
no mystery at all,
just this frantic waiting to die.
And yet, they tremble, mute, afraid you’ve returned
without sweet elixir for unspeakable thirst,
without a fluent dance or holy language to teach them,
without a compass bearing to a forgotten border
where no one crosses without weeping
for the terrible beauty of galaxies and granite and bone.
They tremble, hoping your lips hold a secret,
that the song your body now sings will redeem them,
yet they fear your secret is dangerous, shattering,
and once it flies from your astonished mouth,
they–like you–must disintegrate
before unfolding tremulous wings.
– Geneen Marie Haugen

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

It requires great love of it deeply to read
The configuration of a land,
Gradually grow conscious of fine shadings,
Of great meanings in slight symbols,
Hear at last the great voice that speaks softly,
See the swell and fall upon the flank
Of a statue carved out in a whole country’s marble,
Be like Spring, like a hand in a window
Moving New and Old things carefully to and fro,
Moving a fraction of flower here,
Placing an inch of air there,
And without breaking anything.
So I have gathered unto myself
All the loose ends of Scotland,
And by naming them and accepting them,
Loving them and identifying myself with them,
Attempt to express the whole.
– Hugh MacDiarmid

If you can be aware of one thing, one day, it’s already a great practice. If you want to be aware of everything right away, it is not possible.
– Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

He came looking for something.
He thought it was elk
always the fresh air.
He found more.
Himself, or a part
he’d never known.
They met on Longs peak
again on Deer mountain
and Glass Lake.
In a stand of ponderosa
they shook hands
spoke in vanilla air.
Then one turned back
to the city, the other
to the wild.
Now he goes back
always deeper into the park
looking for his friend.
-Artist In Residence: Cactus May 1996

We are not here to fit in, be well balanced, or provide exempla for others. We are here to be eccentric, different, perhaps strange, perhaps merely to add our small piece, our little clunky, chunky selves, to the great mosaic of being. As the gods intended, we are here to become more and more ourselves. – James Hollis

Yes, I’m a romantic. I always have been and probably always will be, and I wouldn’t actually change that part of me. It’s the part that says, “I love you!” the part that says, “I believe in you!” the part that says, “I forgive you.” the part that says, “I’m so very sorry. Please forgive me.”, the part that says, “I’m so sorry you’re going through that. How can I help you?” the part that says, “walk with me and don’t look back.” the part that loves and gets hurt and then loves again, and I see that as a way for me to grow through the transformation of my heart.
– Brenda Feuerstein

To find new things, take the path you took yesterday.
– John Burroughs

Walking. I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.
― Linda Hogan

We dream of hope, we dream of change, of fire, of love, of death, and then it happens, the dream becomes real. And the answer to the quest, this need to solve life’s mysteries finally shows itself, like the glowing light of the new dawn. So much struggle, for meaning, for purpose, but in the end we find it only in each other. Our shared experiences of the fantastic, and the mundane. The simple, human need to find the kindred, to connect, and to know in our hearts that we are not alone.
– Heroes Season 1

There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.
― Linda Hogan

My loyalties will not be bound by national borders, or confined in time by one nation’s history, or limited in the spiritual dimension by one language and culture. I pledge my allegiance to the damned human race, and my everlasting love to the green hills of Earth, and my intimations of glory to the singing stars, to the very end of space and time.
– Edward Abbey

Dogen: Fukanzazengi:
Put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases, and learn to take the backward step that turns the light around and shine it inward. Your body and mind will drop away of themselves, and your original face will manifest. If you want to be in touch with things as they are, you – right here and now – have to start being yourself, as you are. You met the Buddha Way in this life – how could you waste your time delighting in sparks from a flint stone? Form and substance are like the dew on the grass, the fortunes of life like a dart of lightning – emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash. Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not doubt the true dragon. Devote your energies to the way that points directly to the real thing. Revere the one who has gone beyond learning and is free from effort. Share the wisdom of Buddhas with Buddhas, transmit the samadhi of ancestors to ancestors. Continue to live in such a way, and you will be such a person. This treasure house will open of itself; it is up to you to use it freely.

The journey simultaneously holds the contraries of solitary longing and relatedness to community, as Shaw tells us: “It’s an extraordinary, indigenous idea that to find an authentic center we have to wander lonely beaches and sleep under hedges, longing for something we know is lost. To make a place in us for a small, cultivated altar to the bird that flew away.” And, “This intensely mysterious experience is solitary in nature—a conscious break from society—but requires the warmth and subtlety of a return to community to help grow the seeds that can flower from such an experience.
― Martin Shaw

Everywhere transience is plunging into the depths of Being… It is our task to imprint this temporary, perishable earth into ourselves so deeply, so painfully and passionately, that its essence can rise again, “invisibly,” inside us. We are the bees of the invisible. We wildly collect the honey of the visible, to store it in the great golden hive of the invisible.
—Rainer Maria Rilke, writing to his Polish translator about writing the “Duino Elegies.

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.
–Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)

The Thoughtful Speech Of Stones

I’ve spent a long time learning the songs of wind and water,
the slow and thoughtful speech of stone.
I have asked the young stream that rises from the head of the valley–
Do you believe in the ocean?
and await its answer.

Every road that has ever cracked, turned to weeds and dirt,
every building that has crumbled to ruins, every
garden that has gone wild —
these are close and kin to me.

I’ve seen a river boil red with spawning salmon,
felt the howl of the wolf set my flesh afire,
watched, with the stone-still patience of the hunter,
the solar turnings of a year.

I have sought within the hollow where breast and arm meet
and on the dark undersides of river stones;
in the eyes of 30 years of lovers;
in dusty books and new books; and in the light that lingers
after the sun has set.

I’ve forgotten now what it was I was looking for —
a glimpse of eternity, the touch of the infinite?
There is no end, only the seeking and the road,
a hard and dusty beauty.

-Michael Adams

We need the tonic of wilderness, to wade sometimes in marshes where the dipper and the waterfowl lurk; to smell the whispering grasses. At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and water be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us. We can never have enough nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder cloud and the rain that lasts three weeks. We need to witness our own limits surpassed and some life roaming freely where we may never wander.
-Henry David Thoreau

Sometimes it seems that the world is full of opinions. But then you wake up and realize that the world is full of people . . . and animals, and trees, and flowers, and grass, and stones, and mountains and rivers . . . with no opinion in sight.
-Karen Mazen Miller

He that plants trees loves others besides himself.
– Thomas Fuller

The Pleasure of Serving
by Gabriela Mistral
All of nature is a yearning for service:
The cloud serves, and the wind, and the furrow.
Where there is a tree to plant, you be the one.
Where there is a mistake to undo, let it be you.
You be the one to remove the rock from the field,
The hate from human hearts,
And the difficulties from the problem.
There is joy in being wise and just,
But above all there is the beautiful,
The immense happiness of serving.
How sad the world would be if all was already done.
If there was no rosebush to plant,
No enterprise to undertake.
Do not limit yourself to easy tasks.
It’s so beautiful to do what others dodge.
But don’t fall prey to the error that only
Great tasks done can be counted as accomplishments.
There are small acts of service that are good ones:
Decoratively setting a table,
Putting some books in order,
Combing a little girl’s hair.
That one over there is the one that criticizes,
This other one is the one that destroys.
You be the one that serves.
Serving is not a labor just for inferior beings.
God, who gives fruit and light, serves.
His name could be rendered thus: He Who Serves.
And he has his eyes on our hands,
And he asks us at the close of day:
“Did you render service today? To whom?
To a tree, to your friend, to your mother?”

37 Reasons Why Trees Will Win the Coming Revolution
by Clark Strand

1. It is impossible to tell which one is leading the revolt.
2. The NSA will never know what they are thinking, because it can’t tell how they talk to one another.
3. You can’t kill their souls by cutting their trunks.
4. They understand reincarnation and renewal.
5. They fathom the true nature of things and are never deluded or deceived.
6. They make oxygen, and we don’t.
7. They feed the earth and its creatures freely and generously without taking thought for themselves.
8. Trees are the mothers of insects and the fathers of birds.
9. They get along with one another and cooperate well with diversity.
10. They carry no grudges.
11. They know the complete history of the Earth.
12. Their heads are in the Earth, not in the sky.
13. They were green before green became a marketing technique.
14. They have no part in the collective psychosis of modern humans.
15. Trees are steady and patient.
16. They aren’t restless—they can live for centuries in a single spot.
17. They don’t pick up and move when the going gets tough.
18. When you burn them or cut them, they just keep coming back.
19. They are the custodians of the planet’s ancestral wisdom.
20. They have the Goddess on their side.
21. The planet is on their side.
22. They are still undecided on the question of whether Homo sapiens were a good idea or not.
23. They don’t use money or weapons.
24. They are in league with the wind.
25. They aren’t afraid of storms.
26. They understand climate change in a way that humans never will.
27. More trees are the sign of a healthier planet, more humans are the sign of a disease.
28. The people in Turkey rose up to protect the last tree-filled park in Istanbul.
29. Unlike humans, trees can grow their own shade.
30. They don’t understand irony.
31. They know that Monsanto and monotheism are the same.
32. They never forgot the Divine Feminine—and never even needed to call Her that.
33. People worshipped trees before they worshipped God.
34. A tree’s religion does not rely on words.
35. The trees control the weather in ways that humans will never understand.
36. Their generals have minds that think too slow for humans to follow.
37. Their strategy and their climate are one.

path (after G.F. Dutton and Frank Fraser Darling):
a path should merge into the wild on either side
a path holds the foreground and assembles vision, just as far as the horizon
paths are interludes in-between episodes
a path is not static – it wanders past Time
a path is never straight, no matter how flat the country
trust a deer path over a human path
plan a path with broad feet & narrow eyes
– Alec Finlay

There Is Music in My Head
where before there was only silence.
  Strings being bowed and plucked.
Feet tapping. Hands knead
  against a board. A pounding staff.
Call and yelp. Water a-gurgle. There’s
  a music in my head like a clearing in the woods.
Do you hear it? Lips on the flute. Winding
  through the reeds. I was lost, so lost,
the path too thin to follow. It was dark.
  Couldn’t see a damn thing in those pines. But
now the blue-green day brings its sound
  of honeysuckle and mushroom. The slim trees
bend and beckon. The naked clover wants
  to be touched. Everything clusters and bursts.
The notes scale the hollow. The notes run
  to the ridge, then over they fall, water down
the rocks like a laughing, like a laughing.
  The bow goes over and under. A fiddling.
A fondling of butterflies in the hint of spring.
  The first bee in the clutch of the sweet. I am
singing my way out. I am singing my way out
  of the brickyards, from the stones.
Listen for me in the clearing. I can’t keep this
  to myself.
– Vievee Francis

The land had been made “wild” not by letting it be but by trampling it, not by the absence of humans but by their irresponsible presence. “Wild” land was land that would wash away in the next rain. “Quiet” land, by contrast, was land well cared for, loved and nurtured throughout the generations. – Priscilla Stuckey quoting an Australian aboriginal Yarralin man, Pulkara: in her book Kissed by a Fox

Ikea on a Sunday is for advanced bodhisattvas only.
– Ethan Nichtern

In summer, the song sings itself.
– William Carlos Williams

Every man should be allowed to love two cities — his own and San Francisco.
– Gene Fowler

Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…
– Timothy Leary

i don’t want words to sever me from reality.
i don’t want to need them. i want nothing
to reveal feeling but feeling—as in freedom,
or the knowledge of peace in a realm beyond,
or the sound of water poured into a bowl.
– Henri Cole, from Gravity and Center

It’s time we gave something back to the natural systems of order that have supported us, some care and tenderness, which is the most operative notion, I think— tenderness. Our isolations are gone in the West and everywhere. We need to give some time to the arts of cherishing the things we adore, before they simply vanish. Maybe it will be like learning a skill: how to live in paradise.
– William Kittredge

There comes a time in the spiritual journey when you start making choices from a very different place . . . And if a choice lines up so that it supports truth, health, happiness, wisdom, and love, it’s the right choice.
– Angeles Arrien

Some people meditate in order to try to get rid of unwanted thoughts and feelings. Some people meditate in order to try to make something happen. That’s known as spiritual materialism. Spiritual materialism is the ego trying to co-opt the spiritual journey. If we are trying to get rid of unwanted thoughts or feelings, that’s the ego trying to put ourselves in a more pleasant state. And that just sows the seeds for future negative experiences.
And if we are meditating because we’re bored and we want something to happen, that is also the ego trying to manipulate the situation…What we’re doing here is we are trying to follow the middle way between something is happening, and something’s not happening.
In the dharma we have it both ways. On the one hand, fundamentally there’s nothing happening. Nothing’s ever happened, it’s not happening now, and it’s never going to happen! [Laughter] On the other hand, surrender to that, and there’s always something happening. And it’s always either too much or too little. It’s never just right, ever. And because it’s never just right, it’s always just right
– Reggie Ray

So deep is our modern disembodiment, then, that many of us have no trust in the body whatsoever and content ourselves with disregarding it on every occasion and at every possible level. In all of this, not surprisingly, there is rarely a sense that the body, on its own and from its own side, might have something to offer us; that the body might, in some sense, be more intelligent than our conscious self or ego, or that the body might have its own designs from which–if understood–we might stand to benefit a very great deal.
– Reggie Ray

Forgive me for this introduction to computing, but I need to be clear: computers really do operate on symbolic representations of the world. They really store and retrieve. They really process. They really have physical memories. They really are guided in everything they do, without exception, by algorithms.

Humans, on the other hand, do not – never did, never will. Given this reality, why do so many scientists talk about our mental life as if we were computers?
– Robert Epstein

To return back into ourselves, there are three things needed, for which you don’t require a computer, television or radio: the first is a bit of stillness. Nothing can happen without a certain stillness. We also need silence. There is nothing so vocal and articulate as silence; all good language, all great words, are born of it. And the third thing we need is solitude. We need to acknowledge that solitude is an invitation to the soul to come alive. Solitude is utterly luminous if we lose our fears and begin to enter it more deeply.
– John O’Donohue

If we want to support each other’s inner lies, we must remember a simple truth. The human soul does not want to be fixed, it wants simply to be seen and heard. If we want to see and hear a person’s soul, there is another truth we must remember. The soul is like a wild animal – tough, resilient, and yet shy. When we go crashing through the woods shouting for it to come out so we can help it, the soul will stay in hiding. But if we are willing to sit quietly and wait for a while, the soul may show itself.
– from THE COURAGE TO TEACH by Parker Palmer

Dare to declare who you are. It is not far from the shores of silence to the boundaries of speech. The path is not long, but the way is deep. You must not only walk there, you must be prepared to leap.
– Hildegard of Bingen

Silence brings us back to basics, to our senses, to our selves. It locates us. Without that return we can go so far away from our true natures that we end up, quite literally, beside ourselves. We live blindly and act thoughtlessly. We endanger the delicate balance which sustains our lives, our communities, and our planet.
– from INVITING SILENCE by Gunilla Norris

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The earth is a living, conscious being. In company with cultures of many different times and places we name these things as sacred: air, fire, water, and earth.
Whether we see them as the breath, energy, blood, and the body of the Mother, or as the blessed gifts of a Creator, or as symbols of the interconnected systems that sustain life, we know that nothing can live without them… All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance: only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity.
To honor the sacred is to create conditions in which nourishment, sustenance, habitat, knowledge, freedom, and beauty can thrive. To honor the sacred is to make love possible.
– from THE FIFTH SACRED THING by Starhawk

This earth is my sister: I love her daily grace, her silent daring, and how loved I am, how we admire this strength in each other, all that we have lost, all that we have suffered, all that we know: we are stunned by this beauty, and I do not forget: what she is to me, what I am to her.
– Susan Griffin

There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.
– Barry Lopez in ARCTIC DREAMS

The greening spirit that is the shape of our sacred world is ever present, ever near to us. Our daily life can start to feel like a daily grind, causing us to forget this precious greening spirit of life. The Celtic Way banishes the heavy energies of a banal existence by sanctifying every moment with soul energy and purpose. Even the simplest tasks can be invested and imbued with sacred energy.
– Frank MacEowen

What we need are guardians — guardians committed to the middle path of mindfulness and dedicated to the enormous task of restoring and healing our ravaged planet. Guardians who have penetrated the anthropocentric notions of our civilization and who, as Aldo Leopold said, can begin to “think like a mountain” and acknowledge that we are only “plain embers of the biotic community.”
– Grove Burnett

We are here to do.
And through doing to learn;
and through learning to know;
and through knowing to experience wonder;
and through wonder to attain wisdom;
and through wisdom to find simplicity;
and through simplicity to give attention;
and through attention
to see what needs to be done.
– Ben Hei Hei

People remark that they feel “out of place,” “out of sorts,” “depressed,” or “bored” when a true moment of quiet descends on them. This is how fundamentally exiled we are from the natural texture of our own silence. As modern people we don’t know what to do with this great teacher of teachers. She can be an uncomfortable teacher and guide. Yet great power and healing wait in the folds of silence and solitude. Mirroring the creation of the universe, all great things have come forth from the ancient weave of silence.
– Frank MacEowen

Tomorrow I am going to give up
Scotch whisky and the pursuit of knowledge,
sex, sour wine, peanut butter,
all beliefs, religions and philosophies,
arguments, Gardeners’ Question Time,
overindulging in oranges,
and I’ll throw off
my torn blue Levi’s and my poet’s hat,
do something so mad and different that
I’ll leave my old ideas and habits
in my wake like yesterday’s clothes,
and whoop, and hardly know myself.
– Robert Wilkinson

The secret of life is to have a task. Something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is – It must be something you cannot possibly do.
– Henry Moore

Just when you seem to yourself
nothing but a flimsy web
of questions, you are given
the questions of others to hold
in the emptiness of your hands,
songbird eggs that can still hatch
if you keep them warm,
butterflies opening and closing themselves
in your cupped palms, trusting you not to injure
their scintillant fur, their dust.
You are given the questions of others
as if they were answers
to all you ask. Yes, perhaps
this gift is your answer.
– Denise Levertov

One Thursday Afternoon: Magdalena, Sonora, 1939

Baltazár went to the market and came home with a parrot.
Thursdays in this town were always just so:

What should have been four big potatoes and some white cheese
Came home in a cage filled with green feathers and two wings.

The mathematics of exchange in this world, the stomach or the heart—
Which of these, how much of one for the other,

Friday would have to sort out. On a Thursday afternoon
The world sang, a full dinner this way coming through the air.

Here is the road: the light
comes and goes then returns again.
Be gentle with your fellow travelers
as they move through the world of stone and stars
whirling with you yet every one alone.
The road waits.
Do not ask questions but when it invites you
to dance at daybreak, say yes.
Each step is the journey; a single note the song.
-Arlene Gay Levine

Come down Canyon Creek trail on a summer afternoon
that one place where the valley floor opens out. You will see
the white butterflies. Because of the way shadows
come off those vertical rocks in the west, there are
shafts of sunlight hitting the river and a deep
long purple gorge straight ahead. Put down your pack.
Above, air sighs the pines. It was this way
when Rome was clanging, when Troy was being built,
when campfires lighted caves. The white butterflies dance
by the thousands in the still sunshine. Suddenly, anything
could happen to you. Your soul pulls toward the canyon
and then shines back through the white wings to be you
– William Stafford

Night falls and the light fades
And still you won’t take off your sunglasses
I know what you’re thinking
You think the kids don’t care
And you’re defeated
And the rain comes
And the rain goes again
And you see this as some symbol of your pain
This hungry life won’t let you out whole
But you can change a thing or two
Before you go
This hungry life
Might not leave you with much
But you can change your story
And throw a hand up from the mud
Night falls and the rain comes
And the rain goes
And the moon is a stain when you’ve lost something
And you wait and you wait
And you wait
For the end or the girl or the song
Or the boy or the faith
Or the leader who won’t bring you shame
And you wait and you wait
And you wait
This hungry life won’t let you out whole
But you can change a thing or two
Before you go
This hungry life
Might not leave you with much
But you can change your story
And throw a hand up from the mud
This hungry life won’t let you out whole
But you can change a thing or two
Before you go
This hungry life
Might not leave you with much
Kick up some dust
Earn someone’s trust
Leave a few words behind you
If you must
Pick a good fight
And keep someone up all night
Change the story, change the story
-Tanya Donnely

Its beauty stirs the imagination, and I wonder if the last refuge of all that is truly wild lies not on earth but in light.
– Ellen Meloy

A map, it is said, organizes wonder.
– Ellen Meloy

Breathing, it seemed to me, was a proper attribute for the mountains… mountains that quietly functioned as a single thing with a rhythmic inhale-exhale I could feel…
– Ellen Meloy

Your exact errors make a music
that nobody hears.
Your straying feet find the great dance,
walking alone.
And you live on a world where stumbling
always leads home.
Year after year fits over your face–
when there was youth, your talent
was youth;
later, you find your way by touch
where moss redeems the stone;
And you discover where music begins
before it makes any sound,
far in the mountains where canyons go
still as the always-falling, ever-new flakes of snow.
-William Stafford

We live our lives of human passions,
cruelties, dreams, concepts,
crimes and the exercise of virtue
in and beside a world devoid
of our preoccupations, free
from apprehension–though affected,
certainly, by our actions. A world
parallel to our own though overlapping.
We call it “Nature”; only reluctantly
admitting ourselves to be “Nature” too.
Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,
our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,
an hour even, of pure (almost pure)
response to that insouciant life:
cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing
pilgrimage of water, vast stillness
of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,
animal voices, mineral hum, wind
conversing with rain, ocean with rock, stuttering
of fire to coal–then something tethered
in us, hobbled like a donkey on its patch
of gnawed grass and thistles, breaks free.
No one discovers
just where we’ve been, when we’re caught up again
into our own sphere (where we must
return, indeed, to evolve our destinies)
–but we have changed, a little.
– Denise Levertov

I too have prized it
in all its intimacies.
Its summer bloomings,
its nudities of winter.
Sometimes I sense a quiet
beneath the silence –
in the garden, perhaps,
the spreading hush
of the daffodils
and lilies,
or amidst those great trees
who have been here
for so long,
emissaries of the other realms,
saying, “peace, peace,
the world will endure
past all its losses.”
Often it is the ocean itself
that speaks in its roiling voice
its thunderous tongue.
What it is saying
I have listened to for years,
as it crackles and whips,
or whispers in its silken tones.
Even now I am not sure of its message,
its assaults of thrill and boom
shattering the rocks
into flares of light.
Something about Mystery,
something about uncontainable Love.
– Dorothy Walters

A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility what human nature is of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.
— Susan Sontag

Don’t just get ahead. Get a heart. Get wise. Then give of your knowledge, your compassion, your insight, your very Self. Awaken, dedicate, serve.
– Nithya Shanti

1. i build no altars anywhere, for i find nature to be sacred everywhere.
2. i do not worship, i do not bow and i do not light votive candles.
3. i do not worship for i intend all my deeds as sacraments.
4. i do not bow as my walk and even my fluffy dance i practice as bows.
5. i light no candles for the sun lights life every day without needing my help.
6. i believe in every god that ever existed and more so in the gods that will surely be born from the between of i and thou.
7. i believe in every prophet but in none of their prophecies. odes to the one who chooses to be a prophet. may it do much but say nothing.
8. i have known poets who taught me to remember words and believe in what they promise. i do. who am i to deny a poet?
9. i fully expect the day of redemption.
10. we have no human experience of anything being created, and we have never experienced anything being annihilated. in different forms nothing has ever began nor will it ever end. but to be eternal it is not enough to merely last.
11. in the within of an exuberant toll rain forest it is always very dark. the light is in the outside. in beautiful nature, whoever journeys only toward the within, will know there is light but will never see it.
12. words, like the air we breath, exist never within me and never outside of me, but always between you and me. as the poet sang: all real life is meeting.
13. i admit: it is all will and grace, and this is why i fully expect the day of redemption.
– Hune Margulies

Poets don’t draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently. The poet doesn’t invent. He listens.
– Jean Cocteau

I prefer to spend some time just listening for that special something that I’ve never ever heard like a new song to sing, another show, or somewhere entirely different to be…
– Van Morrison

I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

In an age of constant distraction from anything that really matters, just showing up becomes an act of revolution.
– Ethan Nichtern

There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees,
A quiet house, some green and modest acres
A little way from every troubling town,
A little way from factories, schools, laments.
I would have time, I thought, and time to spare,
With only streams and birds for company,
To build out of my life a few wild stanzas.
And then it came to me, that so was death,
A little way away from everywhere.
There is a thing in me still dreams of trees.
But let it go. Homesick for moderation,
Half the world’s artists shrink or fall away.
If any find solution, let him tell it.
Meanwhile I bend my heart toward lamentation
Where, as the times implore our true involvement,
The blades of every crisis point the way.
I would it were not so, but so it is.
Who ever made music of a mild day?
– Mary Oliver

Perhaps the goal
Is not to spend this day
Power skiing atop an ocean of multitasking.
Maybe the idea is to swim slower

Dive deeper

And really look around.

There is a difference between

A life of width

And a life of depth.
-Carrie Newcomer

I am my best work – a series of road maps, reports, recipes, doodles, and prayers from the front lines.
– Audre Lorde

The work of thought is one of the most ancient and useful activities of humankind. To generate thought is to create liveliness, community. Consensus isn’t important. What’s important is how the generative power of our thought makes life vivid and burns out the dead brush, dead habits, dead institutions.
– Michael Ventura

“How could I have come so far? (And always on such dark trails?) I must have traveled by the light shining from the faces of all those I have loved.”
– Thomas McGrath

How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?
– Vincent van Gogh

Poetry within the civilised area of history is the fragmented attempt to recreate a ‘healing song’ aspect of the shaman’s practice.
– Gary Snyder

What songs travel toward us from far away to deepen our days?
– Naomi Shihab Nye

Where is hame? Where bides yir hairt? Where lies yir mind’s eye, blinking in wonder?
– Blue Rose Code

Don’t idolize success. It’s easy to exploit. Instead, look for integrity and success, braided together. That’s rarer—it takes patience, cunning, strength, humor & compassion. All our best men are laughed at in this nightmare land.
– Jack Kerouac

So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute … Give your approval to all you cannot understand … Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years … Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts … Practice resurrection.
– Wendell Berry

I don’t think there is a way for those who work in service to the earth — for environmentalists, ecologists — to really woo our culture back into a reciprocal or sustainable relation with the land until we draw folks back to our senses, because our sensing bodies are our direct contact with the rest of the natural world. It is not by being abstract intellects that we are going to fall in love again with the rest of nature. It’s by beginning to honor and value our direct sensory experience: the tastes and smells in the air, the feel of the wind as it caresses the skin, the feel of the ground under our feet as we walk upon it.
– David Abram in an interview with Scott London

“I think that we’re beginning to remember that the first poets didn’t come out of a classroom, that poetry began when somebody walked off of a savanna or out of a cave and looked up at the sky with wonder and said, “Ahhh.” That was the first poem.
– Lucille Clifton

Stop somewhere, and begin the thousand-year-long process of knowing that place.
– Wendell Berry

Wonder is the heaviest element on the periodic table. Even a tiny fleck of it stops time.
– Diane Ackerman

Take a walk outside – it will serve you far more than pacing around in your mind.
– Rasheed Ogunlaru

By Dana Gioia
Whoever you are: step out of doors tonight,
Out of the room that lets you feel secure.
Infinity is open to your sight.
Whoever you are.
With eyes that have forgotten how to see
From viewing things already too well-known,
Lift up into the dark a huge, black tree
And put it in the heavens: tall, alone.
And you have made the world and all you see.
It ripens like the words still in your mouth.
And when at last you comprehend its truth,
Then close your eyes and gently
set it free.
(After Rilke) Interrogations at Noon, 2001


The world is not something to look at,
it is something to be in. – Mark Rudman

I look and look. Looking’s a way of being:
one becomes, sometimes, a pair of eyes walking.
Walking wherever looking takes one.
The eyes dig and burrow into the world.
They touch fanfare, howl, madrigal, clamor.
World and the past of it, not only visible present,
solid and shadow that looks at one looking.
And language? Rhythms of echo and interruption?
That’s a way of breathing,
breathing to sustain looking,
walking and looking,
through the world,
in it.
– Denise Levertov


Addictive day starts with the lit-up screen
against the backdropped window, while the street
still dark, the gray slate roofs oily with rain.
Distraction of four newspapers’ front page
clicked on to spiral into distant windows
and distant, virtual and dulled encounter.

Better to go down to the café counter
(above which, on a television screen,
the same heads talk) and watch, beyond the windows
a drizzly morning’s intersecting streets
that used to open into day, their pages
etched with the calligraphy of rain.

One more fall day, whose uncertain rain
is the most probable, least vexed encounter.
From left to right, from right to left, on pages
or posters, paravent or movie screen,
spectators are the spectacle, when streets
unwind their bobbins below open windows.

Addicted, then transfixed behind the window’s
barrier, slant light, slant fall of rain,
a mystery enacted on the street’s
begrimed and glittery parquet will counter-
act the dire pronouncements you can’t screen
out, the bad news on the daily pages.

You write what someone wrote on other pages
when lives were flexed and fixed in different windows,
a nightstand’s pile of books enough to screen
out anguish. Morning whispers through fine rain.
Upstairs, on the blue-tiled kitchen counter,
the coffeemaker waits. Perhaps the street’s

doubling for the discovery of streets
paced briefly or long-viewed on midnight pages.
Elsewhere’s tired eyes, an elsewhere you encounter
lowering the shades, turning from the windows
to walk downstairs and veer into the rain,
thrust your borrowed double through the screen.

Out of the rain, a cup chinks on the counter;
out there, the street’s, and here, the morning’s pages
fold like a screen. Time to open the windows.
– Marilyn Hacker

Sacred space is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.
– Joseph Campbell

Nazim Hikmet, 1902 – 1963
it’s 1962 March 28th
I’m sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
night is falling
I never knew I liked
night descending like a tired bird on a smoky wet plain
I don’t like
comparing nightfall to a tired bird
I didn’t know I loved the earth
can someone who hasn’t worked the earth love it
I’ve never worked the earth
it must be my only Platonic love
and here I’ve loved rivers all this time
whether motionless like this they curl skirting the hills
European hills crowned with chateaus
or whether stretched out flat as far as the eye can see
I know you can’t wash in the same river even once
I know the river will bring new lights you’ll never see
I know we live slightly longer than a horse but not nearly as long as a crow
I know this has troubled people before
and will trouble those after me
I know all this has been said a thousand times before
and will be said after me
I didn’t know I loved the sky
cloudy or clear
the blue vault Andrei studied on his back at Borodino
in prison I translated both volumes of War and Peace into Turkish
I hear voices
not from the blue vault but from the yard
the guards are beating someone again
I didn’t know I loved trees
bare beeches near Moscow in Peredelkino
they come upon me in winter noble and modest
beeches are Russian the way poplars are Turkish
“the poplars of Izmir
losing their leaves. . .
they call me The Knife. . .
lover like a young tree. . .
I blow stately mansions sky-high”
in the Ilgaz woods in 1920 I tied an embroidered linen handkerchief
to a pine bough for luck
I never knew I loved roads
even the asphalt kind
Vera’s behind the wheel we’re driving from Moscow to the Crimea
formerly “Goktepé ili” in Turkish
the two of us inside a closed box
the world flows past on both sides distant and mute
I was never so close to anyone in my life
bandits stopped me on the red road between Bolu and Geredé
when I was eighteen
apart from my life I didn’t have anything in the wagon they could take
and at eighteen our lives are what we value least
I’ve written this somewhere before
wading through a dark muddy street I’m going to the shadow play
Ramazan night
a paper lantern leading the way
maybe nothing like this ever happened
maybe I read it somewhere an eight-year-old boy
going to the shadow play
Ramazan night in Istanbul holding his grandfather’s hand
his grandfather has on a fez and is wearing the fur coat
with a sable collar over his robe
and there’s a lantern in the servant’s hand
and I can’t contain myself for joy
flowers come to mind for some reason
poppies cactuses jonquils
in the jonquil garden in Kadikoy Istanbul I kissed Marika
fresh almonds on her breath
I was seventeen
my heart on a swing touched the sky
I didn’t know I loved flowers
friends sent me three red carnations in prison
I just remembered the stars
I love them too
whether I’m floored watching them from below
or whether I’m flying at their side
I have some questions for the cosmonauts
were the stars much bigger
did they look like huge jewels on black velvet
or apricots on orange
did you feel proud to get closer to the stars
I saw color photos of the cosmos in Ogonek magazine now don’t
be upset comrades but nonfigurative shall we say or abstract
well some of them looked just like such paintings which is to
say they were terribly figurative and concrete
my heart was in my mouth looking at them
they are our endless desire to grasp things
seeing them I could even think of death and not feel at all sad
I never knew I loved the cosmos
snow flashes in front of my eyes
both heavy wet steady snow and the dry whirling kind
I didn’t know I liked snow
I never knew I loved the sun
even when setting cherry-red as now
in Istanbul too it sometimes sets in postcard colors
but you aren’t about to paint it that way
I didn’t know I loved the sea
except the Sea of Azov
or how much
I didn’t know I loved clouds
whether I’m under or up above them
whether they look like giants or shaggy white beasts
moonlight the falsest the most languid the most petit-bourgeois
strikes me
I like it
I didn’t know I liked rain
whether it falls like a fine net or splatters against the glass my
heart leaves me tangled up in a net or trapped inside a drop
and takes off for uncharted countries I didn’t know I loved
rain but why did I suddenly discover all these passions sitting
by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
is it because I lit my sixth cigarette
one alone could kill me
is it because I’m half dead from thinking about someone back in Moscow
her hair straw-blond eyelashes blue
the train plunges on through the pitch-black night
I never knew I liked the night pitch-black
sparks fly from the engine
I didn’t know I loved sparks
I didn’t know I loved so many things and I had to wait until sixty
to find it out sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
watching the world disappear as if on a journey of no return
19 April 1962 Moscow

Yesterday I wanted to speak of it, that sense above the others to me important because all that I know derives from what it teaches me.
– Robert Creeley

All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.
– E.B. White

Our ideal therefore, must be a language as clear as glass— the person looking out of the window knows there is glass there, but he is not concerned with it; what concerns him is what comes through from the other side.
— Elizabeth Bowen

You will learn by reading But you will understand with Love.
– Shams Tabrizi

Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.
— Alice Walker, Living By The Word

The heart is very trustworthy. When something difficult comes in spiritual life, it’s because it needs our loving attention.
– Jack Kornfield

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.
– Henri Nouwen

The Earth kisses the soles of my feet With each step, I bless her, Promise her healing
– Giita Priebe

Breath Prayer: Dear friend, I am grateful for your presence in my life. You are a free person. I will not seek to possess you. You are a unique person. I will not try to figure you out. Your journey is sacred. I will not judge or tamper with it. Be well, my friend. I am grateful for your presence in my life.
– Patricia Reilly

With reverence we can heal the Earth. We can heal our relationships. We can heal our conflicts. We can save all that is beautiful and sacred. We can make things right…just by being reverent.
– Eileen Pardini

Those hours given over to basking in the glow of an imagined future, of being carried away in streams of promise by a love or a passion so strong that one felt altered forever and convinced that even the smallest particle of the surrounding world was charged with purpose of impossible grandeur; ah, yes, and one would look up into the trees and be thrilled by the wind- loosened river of pale, gold foliage cascading down and by the high, melodious singing of countless birds; those moments, so many and so long ago, still come back, but briefly, like fireflies in the perfumed heat of summer night.
– Mark Strand

Stream of Consciousness
Passion must be placed in the heart that has
None moments spending time making sure
Things are fine sometimes they’re not and if
You haven’t got it you never will it’s hard to
Understand I’m learning still life’s so complex
We forget to feel but whose to say and what’s to
Feel a truthful eye knows what is real and we
May stop…
We may stop to dream
Believe in things we’ve never seen
Scattering dreams
Spinning in circles that never stop never end they
Just roll along in a stream of consciousness
Can’t forget those who have watched me walk
Through unknown fear living inside us all there
Is a dream to leave now and find a home with
No boundaries and no mistakes remaining
Consistent surrounded by change we move
Forward one by one to keep pace.
-Acoustic Junction

Dreams are our only geography—our native land.
– Dejan Stojanovic

I had a lot of hurts and confusions. You know, it’s hard when you’re a kid to be different. You’re all full of things, and you don’t know what it’s about.
– Janis Joplin

For a young person growing up in America’s alienated neighborhoods, there can be no greater empowerment than to dare to speak from the heart — and then to discover that one is not alone in ones feelings.
– Rita Dove

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach…. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely… To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both – are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity….Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
– Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The task of art is to transform what is continuously happening to us, to transform all these things into symbols, into music, into something which can last in man’s memory. That is our duty. If we don’t fulfill it, we feel unhappy. A writer or any artist has the sometimes joyful duty to transform all that into symbols. These symbols could be colors, forms or sounds. For a poet, the symbols are sounds and also words, fables, stories, poetry. The work of a poet never ends. It has nothing to do with working hours. Your are continuously receiving things from the external world. These must be transformed, and eventually will be transformed. This revelation can appear anytime. A poet never rests. He’s always working, even when he dreams. Besides, the life of a writer, is a lonely one. You think you are alone, and as the years go by, if the stars are on your side, you may discover that you are at the center of a vast circle of invisible friends whom you will never get to know but who love you. And that is an immense reward.
– Jean Luis Borges

It only takes a little effort, a little time, a little practice, a little fire, to turn everything you do into an art.
— E.M.

In this and every life I pray that my connection to sublime wisdom dharma remain always pure, free from all boasting, politics, and worldly gain of any sort. May I never seem ‘cool’, special, because of the practice dharma. May I never use dharma – to stand out, separate myself from others, for arrogance, judgment, superiority, fame, status of any sort – worldly or so called spiritual. May I never chase ‘the big man’ or act in sycophantic ways but remain sincere and earnest practicing each day in a simple fashion without grasping after special moments, content in my faithfulness without seeking reward.”
– fragment from an old journal t.k

Stop listening to people telling us we need to hate each other.
– Hank Green

Everyone I meet is in my sangha. I don’t know if that’s the proper definition, but that’s the way I’m going to hold it in my mind.
– Jeff Bridges

If you want a true sense of ease in your life, you have to contribute to the enlightened structure of your life, and the lives of others. That is what Shambhala warriors exist for.
– Chögyam Trungpa

I will never regret the things I didn’t write, places I didn’t go, goals I didn’t set or dreams I didn’t daydream. I regret the pain I cause every day by wishing I was someone else with something more living somewhere better. – Karen Maezen Miller

There is no greater disaster than not knowing what is enough.
There is no fault greater than wanting to obtain more.
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
(new William Scott Wilson translation, Shambhala)

There is nothing under heaven as soft and pliant as water. The softest, most pliant thing in the world subjugates the strongest.
– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
(Balfour, The Taoist Canon, 1884, Shanghai)

I never tried to be anything other than a dreamer. I never paid any attention to people who told me to go out and live. I belonged always to whatever was far from me and to whatever I could never be. Anything that was not mine, however base, always seemed to be full of poetry.
– Fernando Pessoa

In the truest sense, the Buddha was the first psychologist. His path was one of diagnosing the shared condition of the heart-mind of humanity. But seeing clearly that which you are embedded within is difficult and takes a commitment to consistent practice.
– Kuma-sensei

Anyone who takes up the Great Matter is a Buddha-to-be, but the territory is boundless. Even words like Buddha and Dharma are limitations, corrals that can’t hold the wild horse of Zen. There is a reason Ikkyū didn’t want anything to do with temples.
– Kuma-sensei

Our path did not begin with words and sutras. Our path began with a gesture. Buddha held up a flower. His student, Maha Kasho (Mahakasyapa), smiled. The gesture was lost on hundreds of others gathered there, but Maha Kasho’s eyes filled with the light of understanding. Our path is about that light.
– Kuma-sensei

The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.
– Charles Bukowski

Many men need to let go of the lone cowboy ideal and discover purpose and joy in being an engaged, loving father.
– Thomas Moore

POVERTY One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”
” It was great, Dad.”
“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.
“Oh yeah,” said the son.
“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father. The son answered: “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”
From view on Buddhism

Between thought and expression lies a lifetime.
– The Velvet Underground

Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in eternal awareness or pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.
– Voltaire

The only interesting answers are those that destroy the questions.
– Susan Sontag

Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question
– e.e. cummings

Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace
– Buddha

Practice has a logic which is not that of the logician.
– Pierre Bourdieu

Friends do not live in harmony merely, but in melody also.
– Henry David Thoreau

I love the way you talk like a folktale.
– Tony Grant

The Whales
If I could stand the pressures,
if I could make myself strong,
I’d dive far under the ocean,
away from these merfolk
– especially the mermen,
moaning and wringing out their beards.
I’d discover a cave
green and ventricular
and there, with tremendous patience,
I’d teach myself to listen:
what the whale-fish hear
answering through the vastnesses
I’d hear too. But oh my love,
tell me you’d swim by,
tell me you’d look out for me,
down there it’s impossible to breathe –
-Kathleen Jamie

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.
– Malcolm X

Life-transforming ideas have always come to me through books.
– bell hooks

Fear will create our days as grim, small things. Love creates a different life. I hope that as we take up today we’ll let it be as simple as seeing the sunrise, the sick sparrow, the distressed turtle. Without knowing what to say or do, we could let ourselves be moved into our grand and tender home in the mystery of things. What do you say?
From “Turtles and Sparrows”
in Four Seasons of Zen Teachings
by Bonnie Myotai Treace, Sensei

Our visions begin with our desires.
– Audre Lorde

All happiness comes from the desire for others to be happy.
– Shantideva

There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.
– Audre Lorde

Action is the antidote to despair.
– Joan Baez

He who is different from me does not impoverish me – he enriches me. Our unity is constituted in something higher than ourselves – in Man… For no man seeks to hear his own echo, or to find his reflection in the glass.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The most important thing for anyone, I think, is to be engaged, whether you’re an artist or a journalist is to be engaged in the process at some level. – Billy Bragg

You cannot limit yourself to one area of specialized craft. Instead, regardless of craft, you have to charge all forms of expression that lead to the community, to other people, with meaning.
– Alexander Kluge

That’s all nonviolence is – organized love.
– Joan Baez

The work of an intellectual is not to mould the political will of others; it is, through the analyses that he does in his own field, to re-examine evidence and assumptions, to shake up habitual ways of working and thinking, to dissipate conventional familiarities, to re-evaluate rules and institutions and to participate in the formation of a political will (where he has his role as citizen to play)
– Michael Foucault

I have always preferred the reflection of the life to life itself.
– Francois Truffaut

Is the cinema more important than life?
– Francois Truffaut

Le cinéma — c’est un art.
– Agnès Varda

My working process I like to call cinéciture: I take my time to dream and to reflect. I do not follow theories but rather trust perceptions and feelings.
– Agnès Varda

In my films I always want to make people see deeply. I don’t want to show things but to give people the desire to see.
– Agnès Varda

I had a world. I don’t think I had a career. I made films.
– Agnès Varda

I think that every artist dreams of renewing the forms which came before, but I think very few can be considered to have achieved that. We are all dwarves standing upon the shoulders of the giants who preceded us, and I think we must never forget that. After all, even iconoclasts only exist with respect to that which they destroy.
– Peter Greenaway

I think that films or indeed any art work should be made in a way that they are infinitely viewable; so that you could go back to it time and time again, not necessarily immediately but over a space of time, and see new things in it, or new ways of looking at it.
– Peter Greenway

These days more films are going to people than people are going to films.
– Peter Greenaway

The film of tomorrow will be an act of love.
– Francois Truffaut

I’m more interested in what I discover than what I invent.
– Paul Simon

Let us consider the critic, therefore, as a discoverer of discoveries
– Milan Kundera

Sometimes you have to laugh at yourself, because you’d cry your eyes out if you didn’t.
– Indigo Girls

More wishes than a thousand hearts can count for you
More smiles than a merry-go-round
The sweetest ending to a bed-time story told
My love follows you where you go
More laughter than a kindergarten out to play
Sunday morning song that says it all
More summer than a California beach can hold
My love follows you where you go
Future like a promise – and you’re a city of Gold
Stubborn in your bones and Jesus in your soul
Seeing you stand there – staring at the unknown
I won’t pretend that it’s not killing me
Watching you walk away slow
Take forgiveness – take a prayer – take the deepest breath
Take the answers in your heart
When you wake up and the world is cruel and cold
My love follows you where you go
Future like a promise – and you’re a city of Gold
Stubborn in your bones and Jesus in your soul
Seeing you stand there – staring at the unknown
I won’t pretend that it’s not killing me
Watching you walk away slow
More freedom than a field of flowers in the wind
More beauty than a morning after rain
Up the steepest hill – a dark and crooked road
My love follows you where you go
Future like a promise – and you’re a city of Gold
Stubborn in your bones and Jesus in your soul
Seeing you stand there – staring at the unknown
I won’t pretend that it’s not killing me
Watching you walk away slow
– Alison Krauss

It’s amazing what some people read into songs.
– Richard Thompson

The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.
– Carlos Santana

Music is a great healer, a great diffuser of things like racism. It cuts through boundaries, and it’s a very positive force in the world.
– Richard Thompson

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
– Buddha

Art need no longer be an account of past sensations. It can become the direct organization of more highly evolved sensations. It is a question of producing ourselves, not things that enslave us.
– Angela Carter

Thought is more important than art. . . . To revere art and have no understanding of the process that forces it into existence, is finally not even to understand what art is.
– Amiri Baraka

Curiosity as restless questioning, as movement toward the revelation of something hidden, as a question verbalized or not, as search for clarity, as a moment of attention, suggestion, and vigilance, constitutes an integral part of the phenomenon of being alive. There could be no creativity without the curiosity that moves us and sets us patiently impatient before a world that we did not make, to add to it something of our own making.
– Paulo Freire

The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That’s what poetry does.
– Allen Ginsberg

I don’t want to know about evil. I only want to know about love
– John Martyn

Love in action has the answer.
– Julia Butterfly Hill

Jerry Garcia shouldn’t have said what a long strange trip it’s been; he should have said what a long strange trip it’s going to be.
– Bono

Any film that supports the idea that things can be changed is a great film in my eyes.
– Wim Wenders

The film drama is the Opium of the people…down with Bourgeois fairy-tale scenarios…long live life as it is!
– Dziga Vertov

Normally, we don’t so much look at things as overlook them.
– Alan Watts

Rarely has reality needed so much to be imagined.
– Chris Marker

We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.
– Bono

The more opinions you have, the less you see.
– Wim Wenders

Only when you are lost can love find itself in you without losing its way.
– Helene Cixous

You can’t live in the past, musically if you do, you are dead.
– John Martyn

My road is towards the creation of a fresh perception of the world. Thus I decipher in a new way the world unknown to you.” – Dziga Vertov

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
– Alan Watts

Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven.
– Walter Benjamin

What I wanted to hear didn’t exist, so it was necessary for me to go out and create it.
– Richard Thompson

All perceiving is also thinking, all reasoning is also intuition, all observation is also invention.
– Rudolf Arnheim

The line that describes the beautiful is elliptical. It has simplicity and constant change. It cannot be described by a compass, and it changes direction at every one of its points.
– Rudolf Arnheim

Dialectic thought is an attempt to break through the coercion of logic by its own means.
– Theodor Adorno

As sure as the tide comes in, communities will integrate. It is only propaganda that will stop it.
– Ken Loach

Opposing what’s wrong is a halfway measure at best. A rebel must also have a vision for something better, a strategy for moving toward that vision and a capacity to rally and join with others in achieving it. If the anger that drives rebellion is not transformed into the hope that inspires movement communities, it will do more harm than good.
– Parker J. Palmer

Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.
– Bertolt Brecht

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
– Soren Kierkegaard

People criticize what they can’t understand.
-Bob Dylan

It is my experience that the world itself has a role to play in our liberation. Its very pressures, pains, and risks can wake us up – release us from the bonds of ego and guide us home to our vast, true nature. For some of us, our love for the world is so passionate that we cannot ask it to wait until we are enlightened.
– Joanna Macy

there is no they anymore
never was.
no turbaned or skirted or crossed,
blessed or unblessed, saved or not,
techie, artist, poor or republican,
democrat, green, independent, not interested.
sane or insane (or both),
hetero or homo or no-no,
there is no they anymore.
never was. no our kind and your kind,
just kind and unkind (moments),
no them or those,
just us
and there is no there anymore
never was
no your side and our side or my
country or theirs, your church and
her neighborhood and their pollution,
HIV, poverty. no your problem. no their
martyrdom and their heaven and my god.
no there to throw away to or make it
go away to or just put them away to.
there is no there anymore. just here.
with us.
– valerie a. szarek

In the very end, civilizations perish because they listen to their politicians and not to their poets.
– Jonas Mekas

Instead of hating the people you think are the warmakers, hate the appetites and the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed, but hate these things in yourself, not in another.
– Thomas Merton

Immanent and transcendent experience are nevertheless connected in a remarkable way: by a change in attitude, we can pass from the one to the other.
– Edmund Husserl

Critical reflection on practice is a requirement of the relationship between theory and practice. Otherwise theory becomes simply “blah, blah, blah,” and practice, pure activism.
– Paulo Freire

What strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is only related to objects, and not to individuals, or to life.
– Michel Foucault

A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end… but not necessarily in that order.
– Jean-Luc Godard

The means to gain happiness is to throw out from oneself like a spider in all directions an adhesive web of love, and to catch in it all that comes.
– Leo Tolstoy

It’s better to feel too much than to feel too little.
– Cate Blanchett

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
– Carl Jung

Follow that will and that way which experience confirms to be your own.
– Carl Jung

When men stop believing in God, it isn’t that they then believe in nothing: they believe in everything.
– Umberto Eco

It’s a job that’s never started that takes the longest to finish.
– J. R. R. Tolkien

Little by little, one travels far
– J. R. R. Tolkien

I’d rather be in the mountains thinking of God, than in church thinking about the mountains.
– John Muir

The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived.
– Soren Kierkegaard

A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.
– Stanley Kubrick

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.
-John Lennon

Hope is the dream of the soul awake

Writing is really very easy. Tap a vein and bleed onto the page. Everything else is just technical.
– Derrick Jensen

Prayer does not use up artificial energy, doesn’t burn up any fossil fuel, doesn’t pollute. Neither does song, neither does love, neither does the dance.
– Margaret Mead

Do not adjust your mind… because there is a fault in reality.
– RD Lang

In this country we encourage “creativity” among the mediocre, but real bursting creativity appalls us. We put it down as undisciplined, as somehow “too much.”
– Pauline Kael

I was not looking for my dreams to interpret my life, but rather for my life to interpret my dreams.
– Susan Sontag

My idea of a writer: someone interested in everything.
– Susan Sontag

Books are funny little portable pieces of thought.
– Susan Sontag

Poetry is an act of peace. Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread.
– Pablo Neruda

There is a third dimension to traveling, the longing for what is beyond.
– Jan Myrdal

There are times to cultivate and create, when you nurture your world and give birth to new ideas and ventures. There are times of flourishing and abundance, when life feels in full bloom, energized and expanding. And there are times of fruition, when things come to an end. They have reached their climax and must be harvested before they begin to fade. And finally of course, there are times that are cold, and cutting and empty, times when the spring of new beginnings seems like a distant dream. Those rhythms in life are natural events. They weave into one another as day follows night, bringing, not messages of hope and fear, but messages of how things are.
– Chogyam Trungpa

How can one take delight in the world unless one flees to it for refuge?
-Franz Kafka

Don’t trace out your profile–
forget your side view–
all that is outer stuff.
Look for your other half
who walks always next to you
and tends to be who you aren’t.
― Antonio Machado

To Words and How They Live Between Us…
Praise be that this thin mark, this sound
Can form the word that takes on flesh
To enter where no flesh can go
To fill each other’s emptiness.
“To Us and How We Live Between the Words…”
And in between the sound of words
I hear your silent, sounding soul
Where One abides in solitude
Who keeps us one when speech shall go.
—Parker J. Palmer

Every heart is the other heart. Every soul is the other soul. Every face is the other face. The individual is the one illusion.
– Marguerite Young

Compassion is the basis of all morality.
– Arthur Schopenhauer

Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories.
– Walter Benjamin

The great function of poetry is to give back to us the situations of our dreams.
– Gaston Bachelard

Art is one step from the visibily known to the unknown.
– Kahlil Gibran

Art is an experience, not the formulation of a problem.
– Lindsay Anderson

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
– Thomas Merton

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.
– Thomas Merton

Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.
– Robert Bresson

Hope is a feeling that life and work have meaning. You either have it or you don’t, regardless of the state of the world that surrounds you.
– Vaclav Havel

“Small people, in small places, doing small things, can change the world.”
– Eduardo Galeano

Yes, one person can make a difference. Each one of us does.
– Julia Butterfly Hill

We can perhaps remember, even if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers; that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as we do, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.
– Robert F Kennedy

We work on ourselves in order to help others, but also we help others in order to work on ourselves.
– Pema Chodron

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
– Gandhi

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
– Tolstoy

Quotations in my work are like wayside robbers who leap out armed and relieve the stroller of his conviction.
– Walter Benjamin

Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferrals of information.
– Paulo Freire

Difficult people are, as usual, the greatest teachers.
– Pema Chodron

Hope is a natural, possible, and necessary impetus in the context of our unfinishedness.
– Paulo Freire

The stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own.
– Mary Oliver

Lower limit speech, upper limit song.
-Louis Zukofsky

Whisper words of reason to those without a song.

If, instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.
– George MacDonald

We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.
– Angela Davis

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do sir?
-John Maynard Keynes

Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we’re so deeply interconnected with one another. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is the supreme creative act.
– Ram Dass

When you tug at a single thing, you find it attached to the rest of the world.
-John Muir

Between the mind that plans and the hands that build there must be a mediator, and this must be the Heart.
– Metropolis

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
– C. S. Lewis

I am not
A poet
Yet this poem
I wrote
Made it up
Right on the spot
What poet sees
I can not see
What poet is
I can not be
Yet this brave attempt
May make angels smile
They may come to visit
The day I die
Instead of letting the bloke
Loose his way
Good humoured and friendly
Angels will say:
“This one may not have shown
Much obedience to Rome
But once made us smile
With his silly poem”
– Frank Walter Horvath

A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he’s walking on them.
– Leonard Louis Levinson

I used to live beneath a cold dark cloud; It never rained but poured on me……A little too stubborn and a lot too proud, wound up on my knees…On your knees is the perfect place to start over again…..You fall down, get up, and do it again.
– Albion Band

Well, I want to see the world wide open, open, full, and free. I want to hear that mocking bird fly up and say to me, these dreams are all you have you need them to come true, and I wouldn’t even mind if it’s only me and you, but I want to see the world wide open, hopeful, free, and full, and I want to say I’m sorry to everyone that I’ve done wrong, cause life’s to short… Well I’d like to see the lives of mine run on parallel lines. I’d love to Her God’s spoken word just if He had the time, and I want see the world wide open, hopeful, free, and full. Yeah, I want to say I’m with you in everything that you’ve been doing. This life is ours it’s yours and mine…
– a local band

Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress.
– Milan Kundera

Man’s creative struggle his search for wisdom and truth, is a love story.
– Iris Murdoch

If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.
– Thomas Merton

Is it really so that the one I love is everywhere?
– Rumi

An owl sound wandered along the road with me. I didn’t hear it–I breathed it into my ears. ― William Stafford

On What Planet
Uniformly over the whole countryside
The warm air flows imperceptibly seaward;
The autumn haze drifts in deep bands
Over the pale water;
White egrets stand in the blue marshes;
Tamalpais, Diablo, St. Helena
Float in the air.
Climbing on the cliffs of Hunter’s Hill
We look out over fifty miles of sinuous
Interpenetration of mountains and sea.
Leading up a twisted chimney,
Just as my eyes rise to the level
Of a small cave, two white owls
Fly out, silent, close to my face.
They hover, confused in the sunlight,
And disappear into the recesses of the cliff.
All day I have been watching a new climber,
A young girl with ash blonde hair
And gentle confident eyes.
She climbs slowly, precisely,
With unwasted grace.
While I am coiling the ropes,
Watching the spectacular sunset,
She turns to me and says, quietly,
“It must be very beautiful, the sunset,
On Saturn, with the rings and all the moons.”
– Kenneth Rexroth

A man walks in the mountains.
His hair is white as frost.
At his shoulder flies an owl,
a hare runs at his feet.
Seven wolves wait at a distance.
The man with the hair of frost is a Shaman.
He swings down the bundle of twigs from his back.
With a pinch of tinder and a piece of iron
he makes a fire and his face shines gold.
The Shaman looks around him.
There is one creature missing.
So he puts his fingers in his mouth and whistles,
and down from the mountains bounds a snow leopard.
Her fur is dappled with clouds.
She settles by the fire and wraps her long tail around herself.
A boy will come looking for this leopard,
and she will be his Cloud Cat.
The boy will become a Shaman too,
but he is reckless.
– Caroline Pitcher (The Shaman Boy)

The Heart of Evening
Day over. Wind gone.
No sound but an owl far away.
Let my careworn heart
take refuge in the heart of evening.
– David Budbill (Happy Life)

those I admire in no particular order: artists teachers lovers healers dancers poets children friends elders parents scientists thinkers storytellers mentors protectors. – Andrew Kent Hagel

What’s best in me lives underground, / rooting and digging, itching for wings.
– Stanley Kunitz

Border Song
Sometimes I like to read
the poets of the borderlands,
some in English, some to wrestle
slowly from their native tongue,
my scant Spanish failing at each turn,
the gists and piths of poetry.
There are images, there are tones,
that cross the rivers
of time and space and cultural bounds
to touch the heart of one
who struggles in the journey.
Poetry is made from flesh and bone.
What is a nation, what is our song,
and what is a man, a woman, but
a tear and a smile, un abrazo fuerte
por favor, tender and temporal,
wine in the cup, a song in the ear,
when the struggle itself is everything.
It is what we know and what
we have to work with—bare hands,
dreams that restore
big hungry hearts and minds
made whole by what we share:
mi pan, mi agua, mi canto amor.
– Sam Hamill

Poetry has nothing to do with who we are.
It cannot be explained by biography, e.g.
sickness, unhappiness. Poetry is a swart planet
with which we are in touch, from which
we receive at certain times messages.
Nor is it a black or emerald clock –
I think it is a voice which speaks to us
at night as unquiet trembling, or maybe
a curious arrangement of stones,
poorly random and yet sonorous,
a packet of crisps beside a Greek vase
on a day with a breeze flowing from the south.
-Iain Crichton Smith

Of all things, I liked books best.
– Nikola Tesla

What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.
― Neil Gaiman

Books, what should I do
without you.
I should face
the meagre coarse
board of the world.
But with you,
sombre and true,
I inwardly digest
the rich feast
of learning. Rust
is far from me
as eased by you
I travel through
land after land
in which the gods burned
and the trees rose
shaggy and muscular,
tall and voluptuous,
from whose fine leaves
our pages are made.
O I’m arrayed
in brave dresses,
I am king
when I sit down and bring
your words closer.
Plots, denouements,
stories and scents,
heroes and saints
these I always find
deep in these fond
gardens of yours –
all literatures.
Nor ever alone
am I, as down
the page my eye races
into your recesses.
Eternal fountains,
lovely philosophies,
brilliant legends,
and dry discourses.
Over-shadowing mountains,
my avid companions
who will not desert
me or my art
with your dry perfume,
calm autumn bloom.
I see my doom
as being always head-bent
over the page
to the very end l
ike a stone statue
which also has roses.
In the deepest crises
you comfort, you ease –
my allegories!
Tiny mirrors,
and miniature tombs,
you shine in my rooms,
unappeasable ones.
My loves, my true loves,
who will walk through the shades
with me, dear comrades,
without griefs, without griefs.
-Iain Crichton Smith

Zavattini an Italian scriptwriter stated, However great a faith I might have in imagination, in solitude, I have a greater one in reality, in people.

Sometimes a child will stare out of a window
for a moment or an hour—deciphering
the future from a dusky summer sky.
Does he imagine that some wisp of cloud
reveals the signature of things to come?
Or that the world’s a book we learn to translate?
And sometimes a girl stands naked by a mirror
imagining beauty in a stranger’s eyes
finding a place where fear leads to desire.
For what is prophecy but the first inkling
of what we ourselves must call into being?
The call need not be large. No voice in thunder.
It’s not so much what’s spoken as what’s heard—
and recognized, of course. The gift is listening
and hearing what is only meant for you.
Life has its mysteries, annunciations,
and some must wear a crown of thorns. I found
my Via Dolorosa in your love.
And sometimes we proceed by prophecy,
or not at all—even if only to know
what destiny requires us to renounce.
O Lord of indirection and ellipses,
ignore our prayers. Deliver us from distraction.
Slow our heartbeat to a cricket’s call.
In the green torpor of the afternoon,
bless us with ennui and quietude.
And grant us only what we fear, so that
Underneath the murmur of the wasp
we hear the dry grass bending in the wind
and the spider’s silken whisper from its web.
—Dana Gioia, Prophecy

It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work.
– Wendell Berry

Looking for purpose, consider that your life flows from your planet. Help it thrive and you find meaning.
– Thomas Moore

I will not praise God but I will praise the trees.
I will praise the strong grass and the catalog of ferns
and the names in each language for water.
– Bruce F Kawin

Who knows what we can do? When friends believe
In us, the chrysalis grows tight and splits
And, struggling out, we fly. Your basalt cliffs
Rose up that day like panic. I swallowed hard,
So scared, my two-day migraine slid away.
Yet when I grasped the chains, they were all muscle,
A warmth of linked hands. Then into an hour’s
Hauling, up and over-ing, inching downwards,
Toes socketing home, holdfasts to hand.
An afterwards, next year, that you’ll remember –
Kestrel leaning upon warm cliff-top air,
Nonchalant grasses, and the glittering Forth.
– Anna Crowe

Hide not your talents, they for use were made.
― Benjamin Franklin

Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it.
– Pema Chodron

I have found that people go to the wilderness for many things, but the most important of these is perspective. They may think they go for the fishing or the scenery or companionship, but in reality it is something far deeper. They go to the wilderness for the good of their souls.
– Sigurd Olson

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
-Twyla Tharp

The Lost Art of Letter Writing, by Eavan Boland An art is lost when it no longer knows How to teach a sorrow to speak, come, see The way we lost it: stacking letters in the attic, Going downstairs so as not to listen to The fields stirring at night as they became Memory and in the morning as they became Ink; what we did so as not to hear them Whispering the only question they knew By heart, the only one they learned from all Those epistles of air and unreachable distance, How to ask: is it still there?

LOST POEM—REWARD Last seen en route from heart to brain. Took off, just like that— Hasn’t been seen since. Oh, has run off before but always returned on its own. Is dearly missed— If found, send home. Reward promised. -Dave Goldenberg

You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score.You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all.
– Cheryl Strayed

I do my best, but I’m made of mistakes.
– Neko Case

C. G. Jung said, “I’d rather be whole than good,” and by “whole,” he meant authentic, real, messy, ensouled, deeply human, heart-flayed, genuinely mad. And not too precious about it. It’s time for a good yank of the boot straps as we go over the edge, and get uncomfortable.

A paradigm shift occurs when a question is asked inside the current paradigm that can only be answered from outside it.
— Marilee Goldberg

Develop a mind so filled with love that it resembles space.
-Sharon Salzberg

If only I may grow: firmer, simpler, quieter, warmer.
– Dag Hammarskjold

I need to be silent for a while, worlds are forming in my heart.
– Meister Eckhart

Healing depends on listening with the inner ear – stopping the incessant blather, and listening. Fear keeps us chattering – fear that wells up from the past, fear of blurting out what we really fear, fear of future repercussions. It is our very fear of the future that distorts the now that could lead to a different future if we dared to be whole in the present. – Marion Woodman

What is without periods of rest will not endure.
– Ovid

A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.
– Leo Tolstoy

To stop trying to understand, to stop analysing… To see ourselves as we see nature, to view our impressions as we view a field – that is true wisdom.
– Fernando Pessoa

It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.
– Rachel Carson

The Earth is your Mother and Grandmother. When you walk on the Earth, you are making a prayer to her.
– Burleigh Muten

It all matters. That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the windblown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says good night, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing.

What is most beautiful is least acknowledged.

What is worth dying for is barely noticed.

– Laura McBride

In Praise of Craziness, of a Certain Kind On cold evenings My grandmother, With ownership of half her mind- The other half having flown back to Bohemia Spread newspapers over the porch floor So, she said, the garden ants could crawl As under a blanket, and keep warm, And what shall I wish for myself, But, being so struck by the lightning of years, To be like her with what is left, that loving.
– Mary Oliver

Meditation and spiritual insight alone cannot transform ourselves or the world. From an Integral point of view, simply “Waking Up” isn’t enough. We are also being called to “Grow Up” (mature emotionally), “Clean Up” (engage in shadow work), and “Show Up” (embody our insight in our daily lives).
– Jun Po Roshi and Doshin Roshi

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.
– Anaïs Nin

If you haven’t cried deeply a number of times, your meditation hasn’t really begun.
– Ajahn Chah

Advice on living to 100 from the widow of Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi: walk every day; don’t hate anyone; have interesting conversations.

My heart is warm with the friends I make, And better friends I’ll not be knowing,
― Edna St. Vincent Millay

Lives unlike mine, you save me. I would grow so tired were it not for you. — Naomi Shihab Nye

The great lesson from the true mystics, from the zen monks, from the humanistic and transpersonal psychologists, is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s own back yard. This lesson can be easily lost. To be looking elsewhere for miracles is to me a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous.
– Abraham Maslow

there is an everpresent bride on an everpresent bridge where uncompromising truth and gentleness meet
– Belle Heywood

Don’t google your name. Ever.
Don’t “search” for yourself
on anything that glows in the dark.
Don’t let your beauty
be something anyone can turn off.
Don’t edit your ugly out of your bio.
Let your light come from the fire.
Let your pain be the spark,
but not the timber.
Remember, you didn’t come here
to write your heart out.
You came to write it in.
-Andrea Gibson

My wish now’s to sit in a cottage made snug
By a fire burning roozy and bright
With a Friend to make shorter short days by a Jug
And some Books for amusement at night
And could I enjoy such a peaceable lot
I’d ne’er cast on Fortune a frown
Nor would I possesing my Friend, Books, and Cott
Exchange ‘em away for a — Crown!
-John Clare

One grand boulevard with trees
with one grand cafe in sun
with strong black coffee in very small cups.
One not necessarily very beautiful
man or woman who loves you.
One fine day.
-Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Wallace Stevens (1879 – 1955)
The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night
Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,
Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom
The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.
The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.
And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself
Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.
(from “Harmonium,” 1923)

At night, when the objective world has slunk back into its cavern and left dreamers to their own, there come inspirations and capabilities impossible at any less magical and quiet hour. No one knows whether or not he is a writer unless he has tried writing at night. ― H.P. Lovecraft

I usually solve problems by letting them devour me.
— Franz Kafka, Letter to Max Brod

My library is an archive of longings. ― Susan Sontag

I wanted to bring you poems and toddies and peace of mind. – Kevin MacNeil

I have a coffee habit that could finance the new Dublin metro.
– Eleanor McEvoy

In today’s rush we all think too much – seek too much – want too much – and forget about the joy of just being. – Eckhart Tolle

When I get a little money, I buy books; if any is left over, I buy food and clothes. – Erasmus

Small Things
Anna Kamienska
It usually starts taking shape
from one word
reveals itself in one smile
sometimes in the blue glint of eyeglasses
in a trampled daisy
in a splash of light on a path
in quivering carrot leaves
in a bunch of parsley
It comes from laundry hung on a balcony
from hands thrust into dough

Learn to like what doesn’t cost much.
Learn to like reading, conversation, music.
Learn to like plain food, plain service, plain cooking.
Learn to like fields, trees, brooks, hiking, rowing, climbing hills.
Learn to like people, even though some of them may be different…different from you.
Learn to like to work and enjoy the satisfaction doing your job as well as it can be done.
Learn to like the song of birds, the companionship of dogs.
Learn to like gardening, puttering around the house, and fixing things.
Learn to like the sunrise and sunset, the beating of rain on the roof and windows, and the gentle fall of snow on a winter day.
Learn to keep your wants simple and refuse to be controlled by the likes and dislikes of others.
– Lowell C. Bennion

Our body is like a barrel — a barrel filled with pure water. What we eat and drink affects the purity of the water in the barrel.If what we take in is of The Way (fresh, pure, greens, filled with life-force and ultra-rich nutrients), what we ‘add to the barrel’ supports the purity of the water. This is called Life. This is called Harmony. This is called Health. It is the Dharma of Eating. If what we take in is not of The Way (empty lifeless calories, grease, sugar, bad fats, white flour, toxic chemicals, neurotoxins, pesticides and carcinogens from char-grilled food), namely all that is not in harmony with what the body needs, it offsets the pure water of the barrel.If this continues over time unabated, and it most certainly is cumulative, toxicity will become the majority and the pure water that sustains our health will be in the minority. The last pour that offsets the last drop of pure water from the barrel is called the tipping point. This is when the purity of our immune system comes crashing down. A cascade effect takes place, and the once-strong spirit of life within us fades. What we put into the barrel is up to us.
– Kuma-sensei from “The Dharma of Eating”

Water connects us. It changes our brains in the best possible way. It gives us a bluemind….Thinkers throughout history have spent time in nature and by water to think better, more profoundly, more creatively.
– Wallace J Nichols

Water is the only drink for a wise man.
– Henry David Thoreau

The poet’s habit of living should be set on a key so low and plain, that the common influences should delight him. His cheerfulness should be the gift of the sunlight; the air should suffice for his inspiration, and he should be tipsy with water.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

THE WAY IN Sometimes the way to milk and honey is through the body. Sometimes the way in is a song. But there are three ways in the world: dangerous, wounding, and beauty. To enter stone, be water. To rise through hard earth, be plant desiring sunlight, believing in water. To enter fire, be dry. To enter life, be food.
– Linda Hogan

There are ways in, journeys to the center of life, through time; through air, matter, dream and thought. The ways are not always mapped or charted, but sometimes being lost, if there is such a thing, is the sweetest place to be. And always, in this search, a person might find that she is already there, at the center of the world. It may be a broken world, but it is glorious nonetheless.
– Linda Hogan

Live in the present. Do the things that need to be done. Do all the good you can each day. The future will unfold.
– Peace Pilgrim

What the people of the city do not realize is that the roots of all living things are tied together.
– Chan Kin Viejo

When you really look at communication, every single person speaks their own language. I vow to learn as many languages as I can.
– Ethan Nichtern

That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.
– Doris Lessing

Anything one does every day is important and imposing and anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful.
– Gertrude Stein

Not to find one’s way in a city may well be uninteresting and banal. It requires ignorance — nothing more. But to lose oneself in a city — as one loses oneself in a forest — that calls for quite a different schooling.
– Walter Benjamin

I had the idea of sitting still
while others rushed by.
I had the thought of a shop
that still sells records.
A letter in the mailbox.
The way that book felt in my hands.
I was always elsewhere.
How is it to have a body today,
to walk in this city, to run?
I wanted to eat an apple so precisely
the tree would make another
exactly like it, then lie
down uninterrupted
in the gadgetless grass.
I kept texting the precipice,
which kept not answering,
my phone auto-making
everything incorrect.
I had the idea. Put down the phone.
Earth, leaves, storm, water, vine.
The gorgeous art of breathing.
I had the idea — the hope
of friending you without electricity.
Of what could be made among the lampposts
with only our voices and hands.
– Deborah Landau

If I can do anything, sing a song, talk, listen, I’m here.
– Joan Baez

I’m with her. She’s real.
– Sigourney Weaver (Avatar)

It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community, a community practicing understanding and lovingkindness, a community practicing mindful living. And the practice can be carried out as a group, as a city, as a nation.
– Thích Nhất Hạnh

Each human being is wrapped around an invisible, eternal thread; each a story breaking out of the wall of time to sing its own unfinished song.
– Michael Meade

..if you would and you could, straighten my new minds eye…brighten my northern sky…
– Nick Drake

In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.
– W.H. Auden

….I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in
singing, especially when singing is not necessarily
As for the body, it is solid and strong and curious
and full of detail; it wants to polish itself; it

wants to love another body; it is the only vessel in

the world that can hold, in a a mix of power and

sweetness: words, song, gesture, passion, ideas,

ingenuity, devotion, merriment, vanity, and virtue.

Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.

– Mary Oliver

You can have the other words-chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it.
– Mary Oliver

Grace is not something that pours down from the heavens. It is something that rises up between us.
– Jeff Brown

Traveler, there is no path. paths are made by walking
– Antonio Machado

Every step you take should be a prayer. And if every step you take is a prayer, then you will always be walking in a sacred manner.
– Black Elk

Roar ye as gently as any dove Paint your pictures with words When clarity is torn, right your wrongs With songs – Marry Waterson & Oliver Knight

If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.
– Maya Angelou

The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.
– Jon Kabat-Zinn

There’s so much beauty around you–and not just where one conventionally would look for beauty. In a flower, of course it’s there supremely, but even in places you would not be looking for it.
– Eckhart Tolle

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.
– Jean Shinoda Bolen

COME by Andrew Colliver
Every day I am astonished by
how little I know, and discouraged,
obedient as I am to the demand to
know more — always more.
But then there is the slow seep
of light from the day,
and I look to the west where
the hills are darkening,
setting their shoulders to the night,
and the sky peppered with pillows
of mist, their bellies burnt
by the furnace of the sun.
And it is then that I notice
the invitation didn’t say, Come
armed with knowledge and a loud voice.
It only said, Come.

Reclaiming the sacred in our lives naturally brings us close once more to the wellsprings of poetry. — Robert Bly

If we were always conscious of the fact that people precious to us are frighteningly mortal, hanging not even by a thread, but by a wisp of gossamer, perhaps we would be kinder to them and more grateful for the love and friendship they give to us. – Dean Koontz

Poems would be easy if our heads weren’t so full of the day’s clatter. The task is to get through to the other side, where we can hear the deep rhythms that connect us with the stars and the tides. – Stanley Kunitz

I always thought poetry was something from which I could always learn more. It was a country whose boundaries were never fixed, that always seemed to expand. My friends encouraged me in this. – Stephen Dobyns

I think there’s a kind of desperate hope built into poetry that one really wants, hopelessly, to save the world. One is trying to say everything that can be said for the things that one loves while there’s still time. — W. S. Merwin

The Bright Field
I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
– R. S. Thomas

I was sent here for a reason I have not yet been able to fathom.
I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive.
– Henry Miller 1934 The Obelisk Press

We cripple ourselves by only gazing from within our caves of reflection. If we would see with the eyes of freedom, we must be as open and as unceasing as the Sea.
– Susie Motz 1968

What a searcher searches for is like
riding the oxen in search of the oxen.
It is not the flag moving,
it is not the wind moving,
it is your mind moving.
Wind, flag, mind, movement…

As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.
– Martin Luther King Jr

For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.
– Carl Sagan

Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.
– Buddha

My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.
– Psalm 57:7

Is it really so that the one I love is everywhere?
– Rumi

Lose yourself, lose yourself in this love. When you lose yourself in this love, you will find everything.
– Rumi

and something started in my soul, fever or forgotten wings, and I made my own way, deciphering that fire
– Pablo Neruda

Clearing by Martha Postlewaite Do not try to save the whole world or do anything grandiose. Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life and wait there patiently, until the song that is your life falls into your own cupped hands and you recognize and greet it. Only then will you know how to give yourself to this world so worthy of rescue.

We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.
– Pema Chodron

Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
– Miyamoto Musashi

For the rest of your life to be as meaningful as possible, engage in spiritual practice if you can. It is nothing more than acting out of concern for others. If you practice sincerely and with persistence, little by little, step by step you will gradually reorder your habits and attitudes so as to think less about your own narrow concerns and more about others – and thereby find peace and happiness.
– Dalai Lama

Lost and Found: Lost when we disappear into our creativity and found in the expression of our action.

Intention is the capacity to stay in touch with what is of prime importance to you, from moment to moment, in your daily life.
– Phillip Moffitt

I want to say…
that I am waiting for
“a great and common tenderness”,
that I still believe
we are capable of attention,
that anyone who notices the world
must want to save it.
– Rebecca Baggett

Tale tuum carmen nobis, divine poeta,
Quale sopor fessis in gramine.
Thy verses are as pleasing to me, O divine poet,
as sleep is to the wearied on the soft turf.
– Virgil, Eclogæ, V. 45

I looked at everyone and wondered where they came from, and who they missed, and what they were sorry for.
– Jonathan Safran Foer

Forgiveness is a mystical act, not a reasonable one.
– Caroline Myss

See everything
and ourselves
in everything
healed and whole

I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you and I thank you
– Ho’oponopono mantra

This is what was bequeathed us:
This earth the beloved left
And, leaving,
Left to us.
No other world
But this one:
Willows and the river
And the factory
With its black smokestacks.
No other shore, only this bank
On which the living gather.
No meaning but what we find here.
No purpose but what we make.
That, and the beloved’s clear instructions:
Turn me into song; sing me awake.
– Gregory Orr

Just give me a little more time!
I want to love the things
as no one has thought to love them,
until they’re worthy of you and real.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

None of us can truly know what we mean to other people, and none of us can know what our future self will experience. History and philosophy ask us to remember these mysteries, to look around at friends, family, humanity, at the surprises life brings – the endless possibilities that living offers – and to persevere. There is love and insight to live for, bright moments to cherish, and even the possibility of happiness, and the chance of helping someone else through his or her own troubles. Know that people, through history and today, understand how much courage it takes to stay. Bear witness to the night side of being human and the bravery it entails, and wait for the sun. If we meditate on the record of human wisdom we may find there reason enough to persist and find our way back to happiness. The first step is to consider the arguments and evidence and choose to stay. After that, anything may happen. First, choose to stay.
– Jennifer Michael Hecht

I think what we owe each other is a celebration of life and to replace fear and hopelessness with fearlessness and joy.
– Vandana Shiva

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
– John C. Maxwell

Father, forgive this man.
He never listened to your song
till it was all but done
then found he couldn’t sing the words
so he spoke the tune.
– John Glenday

Imagining other worlds, you end up changing this one.
– Umberto Eco

I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.
– Arthur Rimbaud

When the known
crumbles away,
all that remains
is your burning heart.
This burning
is the only scripture
you’ll ever need.
-Matt Licata

But I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things. – Vincent van Gogh

I have abandoned the dream kitchens for a low fire
and a prescriptive literature of the spirit;
a storm snores on the desolate sea.
The nearest shop is four miles away —
when I walk there through shambles
of the morning for tea and firelighters
the mountain paces me in a snow-lit silence.
My days are spent in conversation
with deer and blackbirds;
at night fox and badger gather at my door.
I have stood for hours
watching a salmon doze in the tea-gold dark,
for months listening to the sob story
of a stone in the road, the best,
most monotonous sob story I have ever heard.
I am an expert on frost crystals
and the silence of crickets, a confidant
of the stinking shore, the stars in the mud —
there is an immanence in these things
which drives me, despite my scepticism,
almost to the point of speech,
like the sunlight cleaving the lake mist at morning
or when tepid water
runs cold at last from the tap.
I have been working for years
on a four-line poem
about the life of a leaf;
I think it might come out right this winter.
– Derek Mahon 1941

What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I’d done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do? What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything differently than I had done? …What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here? What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?
― Cheryl Strayed, WILD

On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars. Something good will come out of all things yet. And it will be golden and eternal just like that. There’s no need to say another word.
– Jack Kerouac

One can live magnificently in this world if one knows how to work and how to love.
– Leo Tolstoy

The Dancers Inherit the Party
When I have talked for an hour I feel lousy –
Not so when I have danced for an hour:
The dancers inherit the party
While the talkers wear themselves out and
sit in corners alone, and glower.
– Ian Hamilton Finlay

Work heart. Play heart. Rest well.
– Nithya Shanti

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.
– Wu-Men

Look in wonder, and give thanks for what you once knew, and what you are beginning to remember again.
– Sara Wiseman

NO JONAHS What do the whales say calling to one another on their extended wave-lengths? Why suppose that it is a language? It is pain searching for an echo. It is regret for a world that has men in it. Shadows are without weight in water yet bleed their litres to the harpoon. They have reversed human history, so that land is the memory of whence they once came. They are drawn to it to drown, as we are to the sea. Their immense brain cannot save them; can ours, launching us into fathomless altitudes, save us?
– RS Thomas

When I was alive, I aimed to be a student not of longing but of light.
– Maggie Nelson

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
– William Shakespeare

Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while a great wind is bearing me across the sky.
– Ojibwa chant

Expect Nothing Expect nothing. Live frugally On surprise. become a stranger To need of pity Or, if compassion be freely Given out Take only enough Stop short of urge to plead Then purge away the need. Wish for nothing larger Than your own small heart Or greater than a star; Tame wild disappointment With caress unmoved and cold Make of it a parka For your soul. Discover the reason why So tiny human midget Exists at all So scared unwise But expect nothing. Live frugally On surprise.
– Alice Walker

You’re doing your best, so what can go wrong? Cheer up and have a good time.
– Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.
– Haifz

Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.
– Doris Lessing

Just trust yourself….then you will know how to live.
– Goethe

Tis curious that we believe only as deeply as we live.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

O nobly-born, listen. Now thou art experiencing the Radiance of the Clear Light of Pure Reality.
Recognize it. O nobly-born, thy present intellect, in real nature void, not formed into anything as
regards characteristics or colour, naturally void, is the very Reality, the All-Good.
– The Tibetan Book of the Dead (tr. W. Y. Evans-Wentz)
I Scotlandwell
All summer long, I waited for the night
to drive out in the unexpected gold
of beech woods, and those lighted homesteads, set
like kindling in the crease-lines of the dark,
catching a glimpse, from the road, of huddled dogs
and sleepless cattle, mustered in a yard
as one flesh, heads
like lanterns, swaying, full of muddled light;
light from the houses television blue,
a constant flicker, like the run of thought
that keeps us from ourselves, although it seems
to kindle us, and make us plausible,
creatures of habit, ready to click
into motion. All summer long,
I knew it had something to do
with looking again, how something behind the light
had gone unnoticed; how the bloom on things
is always visible, a muddled patina
of age and colour, twinned with light or shade
and hiding the source of itself, in its drowned familiar.
-John Burnside from The Hunt in the Forest (Jonathan Cape, 2009)

Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.
– Goethe

You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music-the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls, and interesting people. Forget yourself.
– Henry Miller

When we finally can smile true to most passersby on the street, we know most of our demons have left us.
– Dino Delano

Wouldn’t it be great if we longed for “you time” as much as we longed for “me time?” Could happen, you know.
– Susan Piver

Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?
– Walt Whitman

The world reflects what you need to see… not only what you want to see.

If we ignore the details of daily life, things fall apart. But if we don’t ignore them, we may lose ourselves in those very details. Is there a middle way?

The inner garden of the soul sends forth shoots of imagination intended to take root in the world and become an anchor for the soul throughout life.
– Michael Meade

There is only one question: how to love this world.
– Mary Oliver

How monotonous our speaking becomes when we speak only to ourselves! And how insulting to the other beings – to foraging black bears and twisted old cypresses – that no longer sense us talking to them, but only about them, as though they were not present in our world…Small wonder that rivers and forests no longer compel our focus or our fierce devotion. For we walk about such entities only behind their backs, as though they were not participant in our lives. Yet if we no longer call out to the moon slipping between the clouds, or whisper to the spider setting the silken struts of her web, well, then the numerous powers of this world will no longer address us – and if they still try, we will not likely hear them.
– David Abram

Love it when I witness spontaneously intentional acts of kindness (no such thing as a random act of kindness after all).
– Ethan Nichtern

If we open our eyes, if we open our minds, if we open our hearts, we will find that this world is a magical place.
– Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.
– Walt Streightiff

Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly. let it cut more deep. Let it ferment and season you as few human or even divine ingredients can. Something missing in my heart tonight has made my eyes so soft my voice so tender my need of god absolutely clear. – Hafiz

Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years.
– Richard Bach

Happiness lies not in finding what is missing, but in finding what is present.
– Tara Brach

Many of us feel alone even when surrounded, not because we are so but because we overlook a great deal of those who offer themselves to us as companions. Even when dwelling as an outcast within the social circles of humanity we are not alone. Leaving behind the synthetic world constructed with toxic materials and filled with artificial people, we can return to the natural world to dwell in different circles. Look beyond to see the coursing heart of one who is akin beside us.
– L.M. Browning

Margaret Fuller * She carried books and chrysanthemums to Boston into a cold storm
– Lorine Niedecker

The universe has manufactured this moment with great love and care. Meet it gracefully, meet it gratefully, meet it fully. – Nithya Santi

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is “what are you doing for others?”
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one.
– Marianne Williamson

I never made any progress on the path when I compared myself to others. Someone was always ahead of me, and most of what I saw in them was projection anyway. I made real progress when I became my benchmark, when I compared my manifestation to where it was the day before- Am I little closer to where I want to be today? Have I become a little kinder, a little less distracted, a little more connected to my callings?
– Jeff Brown

Whether you and I and a few others will renew the world someday remains to be seen. But within ourselves we must renew it each day.
– Hermann Hesse

We are trying to shift a culture.
– Sakyong Mipham

Right now, with culture unraveling and nature being rattled to its core, there is little security to be found in existing institutions, and coherent stories are increasingly hard to find. The other place to find a coherent story is inside. That means going to the core of your own life and finding the story seeded within.
– Michael Meade

I’ll . . . disappear, from everyone, myself included, down in the grandest canyons of the soul.
– Edward Abbey

I came back to myself, To the real work, to “What is to be done.”
– Gary Snyder

I know of no other advice than this: go within and scale the depths of your being from which your very life springs forth.
– Rilke

You must go in quest of yourself, and you will find yourself again only in the simple forgotten things.
– Carl Jung

There is much beauty here because there is much beauty everywhere.
– Rilke

Silence the Colour of Snow Silence the colour of snow settles against everything we love – the late, startled flowers, the roadside stones – all edges softened, all calamities blurred. Why do you accuse me of never talking with you? You know, they used to say that if every tongue in the world were stilled at once, the common silence would translate itself to a snow that even our summer winds could never drive away. Hush now, not another word. Look! High over the frozen roofs, my answer hangs and falls, that six-fingered star.
– John Glenday

A labyrinth is an ancient device that compresses a journey into a small space, winds up a path like thread on a spool. It contains beginning, confusion, perseverance, arrival, and return. There at last the metaphysical journey of your life and your actual movements are one and the same. You may wander, may learn that in order to get to your destination you must turn away from it, become lost, spin about, and then only after the way has become overwhelming and absorbing, arrive, having gone the great journey without having gone far on the ground.
– Rebecca Solnit

A man of peace is not a pacifist, a man of peace is simply a pool of silence. He pulsates a new kind of energy into the world, he sings a new song. He lives in a totally new way his very way of live is that of grace, that of prayer, that of compassion. Whomsoever he touches, he creates more love-energy. The man of peace is creative. He is not against war, because to be against anything is to be at war. He is not against war, he simply understands why war exists. And out of that understanding he becomes peaceful. Only when there are many people who are pools of peace, silence, understanding, will the war disappear.
– OSHO Zen: The Path of Paradox, vol II

So I wait for you like a lonely house till you will see me again and live in me. Till then my windows ache.
– Pablo Neruda

We can’t hire out our own inner work, but we can do the manual labor with delight and decency.
– Sakyong Mipham

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.
– Carol Burnett

Inch by inch I conquered the inner terrain I was born with. Bit by bit I reclaimed the swamp in which I’d languished. I gave birth to my infinite being, but I had to wrench myself out of me with forceps.
– Fernando Pessoa

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit?
– Henry David Thoreau

Monks say, “To work is to pray.” Our work is spiritual when it is ethical, contributes to the world and expresses love.
– Thomas Moore

I’ve got a lot of things to change, a whole man to re-arrange.
– Mike Scott

Change you, that’s all you can do, and pray that everybody knows to do the same.
– Aztec Two-Step

We must achieve the character and acquire the skills to live much poorer than we do. We must waste less. We must do more for ourselves and each other. It is either that or continue merely to think and talk about changes we are inviting catastrophe to make.
– Wendell Berry

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

We avoid the things that we’re afraid of because we think there will be dire consequences if we confront them. But the truly dire consequences in our lives come from avoiding things that we need to learn about or discover.
– Shakti Gawain

Our very life depends on everything’s recurring ’til we answer from within.
– Robert Frost

It is the job of poetry to clean up our word-clogged reality by creating silences around things.
– Stéphane Mallarmé

Build gaps in your life. Pauses. Proper pauses.
– Thom Yorke

the poet derek walcott said: “to change your language you must change your life.” take this a step further: when we say “words cannot express” we should be saying: therefore i must change my life.
– Hune Margulies

While it may be difficult to change the world, it is always possible to change the way we look at it.
– Matthieu Ricard

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.
– Robin Williams

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
– John F. Kennedy

Our life is composed greatly from dreams, from the unconscious, and they must be brought into connection with action. They must be woven together.
– Anais Nin

I can’t make every minute holy. I don’t want to stand before you like a thing, shrewd, secretive. I want my own will, and I want simply to be with my will, as it goes toward action. And in the silent, sometimes hardly moving times, when something is coming near, I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone. I want to unfold. I don’t want to be folded anywhere, because where I am folded, there I am a lie.
― Rainer Maria Rilke

In your generous hours In the plantation of focus-grouped trees, allow the pine-marten, the bumbling mourning simple capercaillie, the cross-bill’s glip-glip, allow the lips, the licks of sea-lochs, the dribbling pouts of dams, allow the crime of the bramble, the nettle’s spite, give the light some latitude, snagging in your lungs (the coughers have coffers, the kissed their kist), allow to exist the ledge, as a place of flowers, allow, in your generous hours, by the substantiated cities, the suburbs, their off-the-hanger song, their greed to belong, to pretend to the lens and breath of the country, be friendly in dialects of body language telepathy, assume trust with credulous fish, with defactoried cattle, allow a little attar at the altar, stay confidential with your future to the limits of scanners (wipe the screen’s bleary plate), you better not be late for enjoying the making of things – make things (includes silence – ) you have a licence to treasure affection in the diving chamber, to welcome, partner, from our recovery slumber, our plural known as ‘lovers’, to discover the places that happened to grow you up in, the schools and the schemes, the smokes and the smacks, oh, you better relax, you’re attached to the universe by the tenderest of chances: make allowances. Allow me.
– Richard Price

By failing to read or listen to poets, society dooms itself to inferior modes of articulation, those of the politician, the salesman, or the charlatan. In other words, it forfeits its own evolutionary potential. For what distinguishes us from the rest of the animal kingdom is precisely the gift of speech. Poetry is not a form of entertainment and in a certain sense not even a form of art, but it is our anthropological, genetic goal. Our evolutionary, linguistic beacon.
– Joseph Brodsky, his opening remarks as United States Poet Laureate in October, 1991.

To lead the uncommon life is not so bad. There is an edge we come to count on when all the normal signs don’t speak, a startled vigilance that keeps us waking to watch the moon, the peculiar stars; the usual, underfoot, no more a solid comfort than a rock that might move as a turtle moves, so slowly only the nervous feel the sudden bump of the familiar giving way to unrequested astonishment. And for a small time, the sheer cliff of everything we never knew can rise in front of us like the warm dark, where starlight has its constant conception, where the idea of turtle blinked and was: a wry joke, an intricate affection.
– Marie Howe

It seems to me that, as a contemplative, I do not need to lock myself into solitude and lose all contact with the rest of the world; rather this poor world has a right to a place in my solitude. It is not enough for me to think of the apostolic value of prayer and penance; I also have to think in terms of a contemplative grasp of the political, intellectual, artistic and social movements in this world—by which I mean a sympathy for the honest aspirations of so many intellectuals everywhere in the world and the terrible problems they have to face.
– Thomas Merton

May I one day practice the dharma without trying to make an impression on others, and instead may I truly make the needed impression on my own heart.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

Ask yourself, “For whom am I practicing?” Up till now, your response may be: “I need certain freedom from this suffering.” Well, that’s good and undoubtedly true. But now here’s the next question you should ask: “What about everybody else?”
– Lama Jampa Thaye

We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.
– Sam Keen

feel the feelings, and drop the stories.
– Pema Chodron

The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.
– Walter Benjamin

So you see, imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.
– Brenda Ueland

Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.
– Anais Nin

Love is a friendship set to music.
– Joseph Campbell

If you were music, I would listen to you ceaselessly, and my low spirits would brighten up.
– Anna Akhmatova

The whole thing starts with big splashes of tea, it’s like some empty space inside the mountain.
– Slobodan Dan

Music is love in search of a word.
– Sidney Lanier

Sometimes people say that ‘words are just words and that if they are to mean anything we must put them into action.’ But some words are more than ‘just words’. Some words are music. Depending on their meaning, their source, and our ability to listen, they can awaken magic in our lives. In learning to listen to what words evoke beneath our superficial associations, to the often subtle ways in which they resonate not just in our thoughts but also in our feelings and sensations, and even in our muscles, we are already participating in the process of action, a process that begins and ends in ways we can barely comprehend.
– Dennis Lewis

If you don’t admire something, if you don’t love it, you have no reason to write a word about it.
– Gilles Deleuze

Truly to sing, that is a different breath.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Words are like nets—we hope they’ll cover what we mean, but we know they can’t possibly hold that much joy, or grief, or wonder.
– Jodi Picoult

A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

INVITATION Oh do you have time to linger for just a little while out of your busy and very important day for the goldfinches that have gathered in a field of thistles for a musical battle, to see who can sing the highest note, or the lowest, or the most expressive of mirth, or the most tender? Their strong, blunt beaks drink the air as they strive melodiously not for your sake and not for mine and not for the sake of winning but for sheer delight and gratitude – believe us, they say, it is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in the broken world. I beg of you, do not walk by without pausing to attend to this rather ridiculous performance It could mean something. It could mean everything. It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote: You must change your life.
– Mary Oliver

You don’t measure love in time. You measure love in transformation.
– Jeff Brown

If I couldn’t scale the mountains, I would sing of them from below.
– René Daumal

The best music… is essentially there to provide you something to face the world with.
– Bruce Springsteen

I cannot say what I think is right about music. I only know the rightness of it.
– Keith Jarrett

I never realized the effect of melodies until I began to change what I listened to. A simple melody that has helped me many days, is the melody of nature. When I am able to hear it outside from my swing, I often find myself becoming lost in the bird songs.
– Rev. Ashira Goddard

Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.
– Unknown

To speak a true word is to transform the world.
– Paulo Freire

Perhaps the World Ends Here by Joy Harjo The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live. The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on. We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it. It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women. At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers. Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table. This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun. Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory. We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here. At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks. Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

Do you think the porter and the cook have no anecdotes, no experiences, no wonders for you? The walls of their minds are scrawled all over with thoughts. They shall one day bring a lantern and read the inscriptions
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Silence is our deepest nature, our home, our common ground, our peace. Silence reveals. Silence heals.
– Gunilla Norris

Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.
– Martin Luther King Jr

Gary Snyder on Meditation Poetry “So there will never be some one sort of identifiable “meditation poetry.” In spite of the elegant and somewhat decadent Plain Zen ideal, gaudiness and novelty and enthusiastic vulgarity are also fully real. Bulging eyeballs, big lolling tongues, stomping feet, cackles and howls— all are there in the tradition of practice. And there will never be—one devoutly hopes—one final and exclusive style of Buddhism. I keep looking for poems that see the moment, that play freely with what’s given […]appreciating that so much can be done on this precious planet of samsara.”
– Gary Snyder

There is a meaning beyond words. You hear it in songs sometimes and if you are lucky, in poems, and luckier yet, in silence. And It’s perfect. – Rumi

It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love others. The more solitary I am, the more affection I have for them. It is pure affection, and filled with reverence for the solitude of others. Solitude and silence teach me to love others for what they are, not for what they say.
– Thomas Merton

Crazy, I know
by Patricia Sommer
Years ago while reading
My favorite gentle book
Struck by love
I heard in my ear
A voice really I did
That said “I am pleased”
Since I thought
It must be god
I ran to the corner
Of my room
To hide and sob
And I didn’t come out
Until I came to my senses
No voices anymore
But I still cry sometimes
When someone is kind
To me or
I am kind
To myself
It may not be god
But it feels that way

Poetry by Jamie Reaser:
She asked me how to describe the sound
of snow falling softly in the mountains.
I stood among the flurries until the tears came,
until I couldn’t stop them. Not even
if I’d wanted to,
and I didn’t.
And, after a good long while, I replied:
“You must let your heart break for want of love.
You must listen carefully when it does.
Whatever it is you hear then,
that is it;
That is the sound of snow falling,
in the mountains.
© 2014/Jamie K. Reaser
From “Snow Days: Reflections by Candlelight”
(a work in progress)

‘Shoulders’ by the Amazing Naomi Shihab Nye
A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.
No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.
This man carries the world’s most sensitive cargo
but he’s not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy’s dream
deep inside him.
We’re not going to be able
to live in this world
if we’re not willing to do what he’s doing
with one another.
The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.
( from her book ‘Red Suitcase’ )

Wherever we go we do harm,
forgiving ourselves as wheels do
cement for wearing each other out.
We set this house on fire,
forgetting that we live within.
– Jim Harrison, “To a Meadowlark”

Be a lamp, a lifeboat, a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd. — Rumi

No matter how serious life requires you to be, everybody needs a friend to act goofy with.
– Andy Rooney

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
– Leo F. Buscaglia

Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the guru.
– Charlotte Joko Beck

Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.
– Hafiz

“All wisdom is rooted in learning to call things by their right names…”
– K’ung-fu Tzu

It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.
– Agatha Christie

People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. A soul mate’s purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…
– Elizabeth Gilbert

The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That’s what poetry does.
– Allen Ginsberg

Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around us in awareness.
– James Thurber

Where words fail, music speaks.
– Hans Christian Andersen

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
– Howard Thurman

A better world is not a vision beyond reach, external or remote. But to see it first we have to be it. Our living is our vote
– Kirtana

When we see who is really in front of us, when we can glimpse a bit of their “secret history,” we don’t want them to suffer, and our circle of compassion naturally widens to include them.
– Tara Brach

A society has to have constellating images to pull together all these tendencies to separation, to pull them together into some intention.
– Joseph Campbell

I think that we can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do, by what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude. I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.
– from the movie Chocolate

Abandon a bad custom, even if it comes from your father or your ancestors. Adopt a good custom, even if it is practiced by your adversaries. Do not take poison, even from the hand of your mother. Gold, even given by an enemy, still has all its qualities… Some are not impressed when others carry mountains But consider a bit of wool a heavy burden for themselves!
– Gampopa

Root for the other team. Visualize someone who makes you envious — someone who squats smug as a toad in what is surely is your rightful place in the world. Think of them in all their irritating splendor, enjoying the perks and accolades you no doubt deserve. Then . . . wish sincerely that they get even more goodies.

No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.
– Alice Walker

For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid There is a country to cross you will find in the corner of your eye, in the quick slip of your foot–air far down, a snap that might have caught. And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing voice that finds its way by being afraid. That country is there, for us, carried as it is crossed. What you fear will not go away: it will take you into yourself and bless you and keep you. That’s the world, and we all live there.
– William Stafford

..Loving someone who does not love you may lead to writing impenetrable poems and/ or staying awake until dawn…
– Dean Young

The Moss Method Most lie low, flourishing with damp, harvesting sunlight, no commotion, moss mouse-silent, even through wind and hail, stoic through motors roaring fumes, through fat-clawed bears grubbing. They can soothe the knife-edges of stones with frothy leaf by leaf of gray-green life, and burned-ground mosses cover destruction, charred stumps, trees felled and blackened. Cosmopolitan mosses likewise salve sidewalk cracks, crumbling walls. They root in thin alpine air, on sedentary sand dunes, cling to cliff seeps beneath spilling springs. For rest, they make mats on streamside banks, for pleasure produce silky tufts, wavy brooms of themselves in woodlands for beauty, red roof moss for whim, elf cap, hair cap, sphagnum for nurturing. No fossil record of note, no bone history, so lenient they possess only those memories remembered. I believe they could comfort the world with their ministries. That is my hope, even though this world be a jagged rock, even though this rock be an icy berg of blue or a mirage of summer misunderstood (moss balm for misunderstanding), even though this world be blind and awry and adrift, scattering souls like spores through the deep of a starlit sea. –
Pattiann Rodgers


The snail moves like a
Hovercraft, held up by a
Rubber cushion of itself,
Sharing its secret

With the hedgehog. The hedgehog
Shares its secret with no one.
We say, Hedgehog, come out
Of yourself and we will love you.

We mean no harm. We want
Only to listen to what
You have to say. We want
Your answers to our questions.

The hedgehog gives nothing
Away, keeping itself to itself.
We wonder what a hedgehog
Has to hide, why it so distrusts.

We forget the god
under this crown of thorns.
We forget that never again
will a god trust in the world.

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
– Mary Oliver

Perhaps somewhere, someplace deep inside your being, you have undergone important changes while you were sad.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

What we most need to do is to hear within us the sounds of the earth crying.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The world without spirit is a wasteland. People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who’s on top, and so forth. No, no! Any world is a valid world if it’s alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and become alive yourself.
– Joseph Campbell

Happiness Writes White
So what good is it? Let’s be sad,
wear melancholy like an old brown sweater
patched at the elbows and smelling of our own funk.
The coffee cups pile up on the little table,
pages turn, electric lights come on—
it would be good to have a dog, you think,
one with grave eyes and an understanding of life,
it would be good
to go down to the docks and watch the freighters
idly listing in the oily water,
to smoke a cigarette and look out at the sea
and then walk home in the gathering evening,
at a measured pace, still hearing the voice of the sea
that speaks to you like a friend, of serious things
so simply and quietly
you barely notice the sky blanch after rain
or the woman coming out of the subway
carrying an immense bouquet of white lilac
wrapped in white tissue paper, like a torch.
– Katha Pollitt

The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estés

TRANSFORMATION It could be the letter never answered, the one in which you declared your love in such a tender way, admitting to every- thing. Or when the shell you brought all the way from the Philippines is dropped by some loud stranger you never wanted to show it to in the first place. It could all unravel the moment the shell shatters on your floor. Or on a summer bench, your eyes closed, your fear about to vanish, the heat bathing you as bees begin to fly. It could happen anywhere you linger too long, anywhere you stop hauling and counting, when your mind spills its tangle of lists. Often it comes with the relaxation of great pain. When the hip finally mends enough to step. Or your need to know is broken by a bird lifting into light. Or when succeeding in being something you’re not. Being influential when you’re shy. Or rugged when you’re tender. Or while watching an old tree slip into winter, like the one thing you won’t let go of dropping all its leaves. When the elements in all their beauty reshape our eyes, it is God’s kiss: gentle as erosion. When you could crumble in an instant—all your pain, salt waiting for a wave—you are close.
– Mark Nepo

When tears come, I breathe deeply and rest. I know I am swimming in a hallowed stream where many have gone before. I am not alone, crazy, or having a nervous breakdown. My heart is at work. My soul is awake.
– Mary Margaret Funk

I lost my way, I forgot to call on your name. The raw heart beat against the world, and the tears were for my lost victory. But you are here. You have always been here. The world is all forgetting, and the heart is a rage of directions, but your name unifies the heart, and the world is lifted into its place. Blessed is the one who waits in the travellers heart for his turning.
– Leonard Cohen

i want to speak to the one who cares about making their own mind a beautiful healthy garden of love and truth this is not fluffy talk or a new age theory i want to talk to the one who knows what integrity is and goes through the blood bath of their own misteps to find the clear path within and then keeps walking it.
– Belle Heywood

Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.
– Buddha

The Thing Is by Ellen Bass to love life, to love it even when you have no stomach for it and everything you’ve held dear crumbles like burnt paper in your hands, your throat filled with the silt of it. When grief sits with you, its tropical heat thickening the air, heavy as water more fit for gills than lungs; when grief weights you like your own flesh only more of it, an obesity of grief, you think, How can a body withstand this? Then you hold life like a face between your palms, a plain face, no charming smile, no violet eyes, and you say, yes, I will take you I will love you, again.

Serving the truth comes down simply to living life from the place of positive intentions. It means doing the right thing even when everything and everyone in society is telling you to ignore, suppress, or abandon the path of nonviolence, understanding and care.
– Noah Levine

At this point in my life I’d like to live as if only love mattered.
– Tracy Chapman

Reality takes on an enhanced quality when approached with the understanding that every moment, every circumstance, is offering a teaching. When we move from “how can I avoid this” to “how can I receive the seed of awakening embedded in this moment”, realization is possible.

Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition if we could only realize it.
– Pema Chodron

Robert Frost: “A Time to Talk” When a friend calls to me from the road And slows his horse to a meaning walk, I don’t stand still and look around On all the hills I haven’t hoed, And shout from where I am, “What is it?” No, not as there is time to talk. I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground, Blade-end up and five feet tall, And plod: I go up to the stone wall For a friendly visit.

If it’s wild to your own heart, protect it. Preserve it. Love it. And fight for it, and dedicate yourself to it, whether it’s a mountain range, your wife, your husband, or even (god forbid) your job. It doesn’t matter if it’s wild to anyone else: if it’s what makes your heart sing, if it’s what makes your days soar like a hawk in the summertime, then focus on it. Because for sure, it’s wild, and if it’s wild, it’ll mean you’re still free. No matter where you are.
– Rick Bass

Life is too vast to be contained by anything except a heart steeped in love.
– Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Never lose hope, my heart, miracles dwell in the invisible. If the whole world turns against you keep your eyes on the friend.
– Rumi

Oh my little brother, Don’t you know that I sing your song? I sing to the markings of your coat. Do you hear how I sing to your ears? How beautiful marked is your tail. You come along the trail. Oh my little brother. As you come you tear up the earth. Don’t you know that I sing your song. Oh my little brother? – Chan K’in Viejo

Mangurstadh I send you the hush and founder of the waves at Mangurstadh in case there is too much darkness in you now and you need to remember why it is we love
– John Glenday

Assurance: You will never be alone, you hear so deep a sound when autumn comes. Yellow pulls across the hills and thrums, or in the silence after lightning before it says its names-and then the clouds’ wide-mouthed apologies. You were aimed from birth: you will never be alone. Rain will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon, long aisles-you never heard so deep a sound, moss on rock, and years. You turn your head- that’s what the silence meant: you’re not alone. The whole wide world pours down.
– William Stafford

If the world is to be healed through human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear.
– Joanna R. Macy

i am not unique: only by encounter – if i am a god or a fool – i am consecrated, healed, freed by encounter.
– jacob levy-moreno

Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words. – Rainer Maria Rilke

Homecoming My heart started to heal the moment I sealed it with my name. When people tell you you aren’t good enough
to be their friend you begin to believe
that love died
when they left. That terrible crack
in the highway’s rock the way the children
threw their arms
up to the sky on the playground
in Hyde Park
when I first got here. That image never erased. Children speak to me
through their clear gestures
in the spring light Split open like an apple sliced
the core still intact As brave as those children on the train leaning out the window pushing through the doors
above the housing projects. Don’t tell me you know me. I know me. I brought myself home
– Lydia Field Snow

I wear my shadows where they’re harder to see, but they follow me everywhere. I guess that should tell me I’m travelling toward light.
– Bruce Cockburn

…look at what passes for the new. you will not find it there but in despised poems. it is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there…
– Wiilliam Carlos Williams

I am not watching the news. I am watching the starlings balancing on the neighbor’s rooftop. I’m watching the clouds. I’m noticing how the wind is turning the silver sides of the leaves up and how the neighborhood suddenly smells like toast and rain. Maybe it is denial. But if I take in all the pain of our heartbreaking planet today then I will be heartbroken too. And I think about all the monks and nuns who even now are on retreat high up in the mountains. They don’t know anything about these recent events. But they do know suffering intimately. They do meditate on death every day. And surely their peace is even now mending the world. I want to be more like them.
– Meg Hutchinson

Be a poet about it.
– Edie Carey

Speak a new language so that the world will be a new world.
– Rumi

Live loud enough in your heart and there is no need to speak.
– Mark Nepo

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?
– Henry David Thoreau

Lunar Eclipse by Kang Yeon-ho: For a long time I wandered about. Searching for you— who was not to be found anywhere in the world— this blistered life grew dark, as if it were the end. I cared nothing about who had hidden you away, and over the long-extended days, only lamentation increased. Always binding up my wounds alone, the sobbing that follows me ceaselessly I thought to be the sound of my own weeping. How was I supposed to have known? The thing that concealed you was my own shadow. You had always been behind me, weeping.

Take heart and take care of your link with life …
– Buffy Sainte-Marie

I am not to speak to you—I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake at night alone, I am to wait—I do not doubt I am to meet you again, I am to see to it that I do not lose you.
— Walt Whitman, Leaves Of Grass

A Quote by Sakyong Mipham: Within my mind I live on a small blue planet. Everyone seems far away, No one seems close. Everywhere is blackness, Yet abundant life consumes each moment. I wish and hope Everyone could see this blue fragile life Floating in the blackness– Next time they miss the bus, Next time they forget to look and smile. We are floating on a blue dot– We should all be frightfully concerned. No matter what you think, what I think, We will always be on this blue dot, Unless we are the masters of darkness Or the emperors of blackness. Look at each other– Be kind Stop Look up See blue. That color came from somewhere. It could be another color if we don’t play our cards right. Our worst enemies we should hold, Because even they love blue. – The Sakyong, Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche Paris, June 2002 on the occasion of a solar eclipse

You Who Never Arrived Rainer Maria Rilke You who never arrived in my arms, Beloved, who were lost from the start, I don’t even know what songs would please you. I have given up trying to recognize you in the surging wave of the next moment. All the immense images in me – the far-off, deeply-felt landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and unsuspected turns in the path, and those powerful lands that were once pulsing with the life of the gods – all rise within me to mean you, who forever elude me. You, Beloved, who are all the gardens I have ever gazed at, longing. An open window in a country house – , and you almost stepped out, pensive, to meet me. Streets that I chanced upon, – you had just walked down them and vanished. And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors were still dizzy with your presence and, startled, gave back my too-sudden image. Who knows? perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us yesterday, seperate, in the evening…
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Sweet Darkness by David Whyte When your eyes are tired the world is tired also. When your vision has gone no part of the world can find you. Time to go into the dark where the night has eyes to recognize its own. There you can be sure you are not beyond love. The dark will be your womb tonight. The night will give you a horizon further than you can see. You must learn one thing. The world was made to be free in. Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong. Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.
– David Whyte

It Is I Who Must Begin by Vaclav Havel It is I who must begin. Once I begin, once I try — here and now, right where I am, not excusing myself by saying things would be easier elsewhere, without grand speeches and ostentatious gestures, but all the more persistently — to live in harmony with the “voice of Being,” as I understand it within myself — as soon as I begin that, I suddenly discover, to my surprise, that I am neither the only one, nor the first, nor the most im portant one to have set out upon that road. Whether all is really lost or not depends entirely on whether or not I am lost.

For the New Year. With love. You Reading This, Be Ready Starting here, what do you want to remember? How sunlight creeps along a shining floor? What scent of old wood hovers, what softened sound from outside fills the air? Will you ever bring a better gift for the world than the breathing respect that you carry wherever you go right now? Are you waiting for time to show you some better thoughts? When you turn around, starting here, lift this new glimpse that you found; carry into evening all that you want from this day. This interval you spent reading or hearing this, keep it for life – What can anyone give you greater than now, starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?
– William Stafford

WHAT TO REMEMBER WHEN WAKING by David Whyte In that first hardly noticed moment to which you wake, coming back to this life from the other more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world where everything began, there is a small opening into the new day which closes the moment you begin your plans. What you can plan is too small for you to live. What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough for the vitality hidden in your sleep. To be human is to become visible while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others. To remember the other world in this world is to live in your true inheritance. You are not a troubled guest on this earth, you are not an accident amidst other accidents you were invited from another and greater night than the one from which you have just emerged. Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window toward the mountain presence of everything that can be, what urgency calls you to your one love? What shape waits in the seed of you to grow and spread its branches against a future sky? Is it waiting in the fertile sea? In the trees beyond the house? In the life you can imagine for yourself? In the open and lovely white page on the waiting desk?

Song For Yesterday by Ivan Drever
By the craigs through the fields
To the sand and the seals
And the sky when its unco and grey
And the gold o’ the crop
As it greets the raindrop
Like a friend from far far away.
Was the snow much whiter
Were the summers longer
And did the sun shine brighter
Or am I just getting older.
And the well beaten track
Took us over and back
Will the nest o’ the donter be safe
And the starling will sing
As the span o’ her wing
Takes her home tae her nest by the cave.
Was the snow much whiter
Were the summers longer
And did the sun shine brighter
Or am I just getting older.
By the craigs through the fields
To the sand and the seals
And the sky when its unco and grey
And the gold o’ the crop
As it greets the raindrop
Like a friend from far far away.
Was the snow much whiter
Were the summers longer
And did the sun shine brighter
Or am I just getting older.

I Hear Music by Laura Bilodeau

I hear music, oftentimes by myself,
In the quiet, in the space where I feel.
Past that fictitious boundary line,
A sense of pride in what is yours and mine,
Void of mechanical interludes,
Void of where you end and I begin.
I hear in winter, the music of gently falling snow,
As it cascades in airy tendrils,
down to a white and barren ground,
Decorating a bleak, hoary sky.
I hear music in the droplets of rain
that pitter-patter against my window,
sending puddles below me overflowing
into winding Streams,
settling quick and deliberately
into the crevices of the earth;
The city sidewalk streets.
I hear music in sunshine as it warms my skin;
as it shines down
Upon my bed-sheets on a quiet morning,
filled with the vibrations of life,
Filled with celebration,
the sunlight projecting slow-moving shadows
against My bare white walls,
inviting, like a blank canvas.
I hear music in a blade of grass,
in greenery in all of its forms,
like The ivy that grows strategically
around my window frame, decorating too,
The old tree in the alleyway,
silent and still,
a beautiful friend in harmony With any and all,
making peace with the black iron fence
its roots have grown around.
I hear music in the sky,
open and blue,
as a backdrop to the city
Skyline on a buzzing summer afternoon.
I hear music in the clouds,
feather-like, or stormy;
the ones like brushstrokes
that reminisce of art in nature,
like Monet, or like a million other masters,
many without names that too,
became lost in music: The music I hear now.
I hear music in the defiant cliff-sides:
in the rocky crags of land that perforate
the ocean depths with centuries of endurance;
an unyielding love affair,
the earth inviting the ocean to dance
indefinitely on its treacherous shorelines.
I hear music in the minnows
that crowd the pretty puddles, like basins,
like offerings from Nature to life itself –
to see birth and growth appear before my eyes;
to know that it will be here long after my time;
to know that I am just one part
of a magnificent whole.
I hear music in life
in all of its fantastic forms;
I hear music in celebration,
as celebration resonates within every life
and in every promise of life.
I hear music in my heart, eclipsed with oneness.
I hear music in life’s sounds,
thick with vitality, thick with energy.
I hear music in silence.

Did you imagine you could ever be so strong, Then watch your fear just turn into relief? Your sea of doubt become your own belief?
– Beth Orton

Love is a practice. Love is truly a practice.
– Thich Nhat Hahn

Master Ikku said: There is only one Koan – You. What is this?
– tk

All I really really want our love to do Is to bring out the best in me and in You too
– Joni Mitchell

To sit with someone you love without words, that is enough.
– Chuck Taylor

So build we up the being that we are.
– William Wordsworth

Maybe every day, in ordinary ways, we hold each other on; we keep each other here.
– Meg Hutchinson

Stories move in circles…So it helps if you listen in circles….And part of the finding is the getting lost. And when you’re lost, you start to look around and to listen.
– Deena Metzger

Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion.
– Barry Lopez

For so many centuries, the exchange of gifts has held us together. It has made it possible to bridge the abyss where language struggles.
– Barry Lopez, About This Life:
Journeys on the Threshold of Memory

If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.
-Barry Lopez

The story is not told to lift you up, to make you feel better, or to entertain you, although all those things can be true. The story is meant to take the spirit into a descent to find something that is lost or missing and to bring it back to consciousness again.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Look, I don’t know much,
but I know these things uncontrovertibly and inarguably:
One: stories matter waaaaay more than we know.
Two: all stories are, in some form, prayers.
Three: love is the story and the prayer that matters the most.
– Brian Doyle

Who says my poems are poems? These poems are not poems. When you can understand this, then we can begin to speak of poetry. – Ryokan

What is Poetry? “It is made of night-thought; if it can tear itself away from illusion it will not be disowned before the dawn . . .
– Lawrence Ferlinghetti!

Never give up on anyone or anything.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

The best thing to hang onto in life is each other.
– Audrey Hepburn

Help each other. Love everyone. Forgive.
– dialogue from Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life”

Stay close to any sounds that make you glad you are alive.
– Hafiz

Still I look for the beauty in songs to fill my head and lead me on…
– Jackson Browne

Blessings I have no Words for But I will try. Sometimes my heart trembles like a butterfly in a jar and I’m afraid to let it out. Yet there are days my heart is a mountain on which my life grows. Sometimes when deeply alone, I can hear the bead of silence renewing the beginning, a drop from nowhere enlivening each moment. This is where my questions live, in the quiet center that illuminates our eyes. I believe the heart-breaking music that pries us open is the sound of the world turning on its axis. I believe the souls kept in the heart become a tribe. They drum our memory of them into a sweetness that joins life and death. No matter the passage, trust the process you are in. Receiving the down-pour, we rise with the stream.
– Mark Nepo

Determination, energy, and courage appear spontaneously when we care deeply about something. We take risks that are unimaginable in any other context.
– Margaret Wheatley

You don’t think your way into a new kind of living. You live your way into a new kind of thinking.
– Henri J.M. Nouwen

One should never fall in love Only rise to the occasion.
– Nanci Griffith

Yoshi (A Pastoral)
Meet me in arcadia
the forest where I was born
under trees taller
than you can believe
and believe their invisible boughs
map the world for us
and believe their fruit
will sustain us forever
We’ll leap from branch to branch
like warriors who sail
through bamboo stalks
still earthbound but lightly
and I will devour everything
that wants to harm you
Even the deserts will bloom
with brilliant sand blossoms
and the mountain slopes will glitter
snow-clad through summer
And though I cannot consume
your ghosts or enter the ruined
palaces of your memory
beloved I will wait for you
always in the roadless shade
as proof of my devotion
Dearest friend return
to the place we first met
and I will be reborn
and reborn and reborn
-Hannah Faith Notess

Wander a whole summer if you can…If you are business-tangled and so burdened by duty that only weeks can be got out of the heavy laden year, give a month at least. The time will not be taken from the sum of life. Instead of shortening, it will indefinitely lengthen it and make you truly immortal.
– John Muir

I’m On Your Side
by Luka Bloom
Out on the street you don’t feel safe
In a crowded plaza you’re alone
In this life you love and you hate sometimes
A prisoner of glass and stone
You reach for smells and sounds
That hold you and earth you down
Your heart’s too fast and breaking inside
Your head spins you vicious little lies
Yeah, but I’m on your side
Yeah, I’m on your side

Black dogs and blues move on
You’ll head away for oceans once more
Where nothing is lost or is won
We lighten our load for the shore
The hope I sing rings true
Because in this world there is you
Like the ebb and the flow of the tide
You’ll take the blues in your stride
Yeah, and I’m on your side
Yeah, I’m on your side

I see a warrior who’s walking in light
I see poetry and songs sung true
I see courage in the darkest of your nights
I see armour of love draped around you
I saw you almost not go
I saw you breathe deeply and know
Black dogs whisper lies
You, you are ancient and wise
Yeah, and I’m on your side
Yeah, I’m on your side

I am so glad that you are here. It helps me realize how beautiful my world is.
– Goethe

The ultimate aim of soulwork is not happiness or being well-adjusted. It’s a fully transparent, undefended heart.
– Thomas Moore

Only a god could explain how I feel about the earth. The roomy air into which the raven glides and rises, gliding again, upheld by a hand of the good wind is where I, too, have my silence. And the stars in a Snowdonia night are an anagram for the Word.
– William Henry Searle

This is the entire spiritual life, Ananda, that is, good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship. When a person has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, it is to be expected that she will develop and cultivate the Path.
– The Buddha SN 45:2

One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.
– Hermann Hesse

We do not need to go to the edges of the earth to learn who we are, only the edges of ourself.
– L.M. Browning

We wander far to find home in our own heart.
– Meryl Steinberg

I’d cut my soul into a million different pieces just to form a constellation to light your way home. I’d write love poems to the parts of yourself you can’t stand. I’d stand in the shadows of your heart and tell you I’m not afraid of your dark.
– Andrea Gibson

We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.
– John F. Kennedy

Not Where She Wants To Be
There in the corner
is my friend
sitting alone.
Her legs want to roll
but I have too
many excuses.
I brake long before
she can get out the door.
Her gears could rust
from my idleness.
We have spoken of
this polarity,
I make promises for another day.
She offers strength
freedom and adventure.
I ignore her urges.
Ah she is a better friend
than I am a bicycle.
– Mimi Gorman

Old friend now there is no one alive
who remembers when you were young
it was high summer when I first saw you
in the blaze of day most of my life ago
with the dry grass whispering in your shade
and already you had lived through wars
and echoes of wars around your silence
through days of parting and seasons of absence
with the house emptying as the years went their way
until it was home to bats and swallows
and still when spring climbed toward summer
you opened once more the curled sleeping fingers
of newborn leaves as though nothing had happened
you and the seasons spoke the same language
and all these years I have looked through your limbs
to the river below and the roofs and the night
and you were the way I saw the world
– W.S. Merwin

Tending When a wood fire burns down and falls apart the fire in each log dies quickly unless burnt ends are tilted together – a moment’s touch, recognition; gold and blue flame wraps the singing wood.
– Moya Cannon

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
– Thornton Wilder

That morning I heard water being poured into a teapot. The sound was an ordinary, daily, cluffy sound. But all at once, I knew you loved me. An unheard-of thing, love audible in water falling.
– Robert Bly

Once during that year when all I wanted was to be anything other than what I was, the dog took my wrist in her jaws. Not to hurt or startle, but the way a wolf might, closing her mouth over the leg of another from her pack. Claiming me like anything else: the round luck of her supper dish or the bliss of rabbits, their infinite grassy cities. Her lips and teeth circled and pressed, tireless pressure of the world that pushes against you to see if you’re there, and I could feel myself inside myself again, muscle to bone to the slippery core where I knew next to nothing about love. She wrapped my arm as a woman might wrap her hand through the loop of a leash— as if she were the one holding me at the edge of a busy street, instructing me to stay.
– Kasey Jueds

For Those Who Walked With Us For those who walked with us, this is a prayer. For those who have gone ahead, this is a blessing. For those who touched and tended us, who lingered with us while they lived, this is a thanksgiving. For those who journey still with us in the shadows of awareness, in the crevices of memory, in the landscape of our dreams, this is a benediction.
– Jan L. Richardson

We are being cared for. We are being softly guided. We are loved.
– Anne Kilpatrick

Hold on to whatever is closest to you…..
– Luka Bloom

I’m Going to Start Living Like a Mystic
by Edward Hirsch
Today I am pulling on a green wool sweater
and walking across the park in a dusky snowfall.
The trees stand like twenty-seven prophets in a field,
each a station in a pilgrimage—silent, pondering.
Blue flakes of light falling across their bodies
are the ciphers of a secret, an occultation.
I will examine their leaves as pages in a text
and consider the bookish pigeons, students of winter.
I will kneel on the track of a vanquished squirrel
and stare into a blank pond for the figure of Sophia.
I shall begin scouring the sky for signs
as if my whole future were constellated upon it.
I will walk home alone with the deep alone,
a disciple of shadows, in praise of the mysteries.

Sing me fifty-five songs, love. I am starved for song. It’s been winters o long, so long and my ears are full of blue.
Sing me fifty-five songs, love, one for each finger and one for each toe, one for each rib and twenty-three more to wish on.
Sing me fifty-five songs, love. I don’t care if they are in tune. And if you forget the words, I will build a nest in your hum.
Sing me fifty-five songs, love. And I will tuck them into my hair and wrap them around my shoulders bare and toss them into the wind.
Sing me fifty-five songs, love. Start now but take your time. And I will weave jonquils between the notes to blossom each time you breathe.
Sing me fifty-five songs, love. And sing me fifty-five more. I am starved for song, the winter’s been long, and singing is what spring is for.
– Rosemerry Whatola Trommer

Leaving behind the country of the dead
where he must then return & die himself
he set his tired face due East
where the sun rushes up the North Atlantic
and where had paused a little the war for bread
& the war for status has ceased

forever, and he took with him five books,
a Whitman & a Purgatorio,
a one-volume dictionary,
an Oxford Bible with all its bays & nooks
& bafflements long familiar to Henry
& one other new book-O.

If ever he had crafted in the past—
but only if—he swore now to craft better
which lay in the Hands above.
He said: I’ll work on slow, O slow & fast,
if a letter comes I will answer that letter
& my whole year will be tense with love.
-John Berryman

Tribe by Luka Bloom

I hope the rain holds off just for today
I hope it doesn’t rain on your parade
Kick up your white heels and wave your flags around
Kick up your white heels parading in our town

Oh, where is my tribe
Oh, where is my tribe

All around the side streets, needles look for veins
Where bullets found their mark in old rebellions
Others stand saluting, saying this is who I am
A piece of cloth, a field, an island

Oh, where is my tribe
Oh, where is my tribe

Joyce lies in Zurich, Beckett lies in France
What anthem has the tune to their dance
Who is my tribe, is it only green
Or is it in the rainbow of my dreams

Oh, where is my tribe
Oh, where is my tribe

My tribe is the swallow, flying to be home
My tribe is the heron, who never feels alone
My tribe is in Pine Ridge, my tribe’s in Alice Springs
My tribe is in the heartbeat of all things

Home’s a place inside, I take it with me
I meet my tribe wherever I may be
It’s good to lay your head down outside
It’s good to dance around the tribe

Oh, where is my tribe…

A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.
– Joan Didion

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.
– Robert Frost

I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests.
– Pablo Neruda

It was an April morning: fresh and clear
The Rivulet, delighting in its strength,
Ran with a young man’s speed; and yet the voice
Of waters which the winter had supplied
Was softened down into a vernal tone.
The spirit of enjoyment and desire,
And hopes and wishes, from all living things
Went circling, like a multitude of sounds.
The budding groves seemed eager to urge on
The steps of June; as if their various hues
Were only hindrances that stood between
Them and their object: but, meanwhile, prevailed
Such an entire contentment in the air
That every naked ash, and tardy tree
Yet leafless, showed as if the countenance
With which it looked on this delightful day
Were native to the summer.–Up the brook
I roamed in the confusion of my heart,
Alive to all things and forgetting all.
At length I to a sudden turning came
In this continuous glen, where down a rock
The Stream, so ardent in its course before,
Sent forth such sallies of glad sound, that all
Which I till then had heard, appeared the voice
Of common pleasure: beast and bird, the lamb,
The shepherd’s dog, the linnet and the thrush
Vied with this waterfall, and made a song,
Which, while I listened, seemed like the wild growth
Or like some natural produce of the air,
That could not cease to be. Green leaves were here;
But ’twas the foliage of the rocks–the birch,
The yew, the holly, and the bright green thorn,
With hanging islands of resplendent furze:
And, on a summit, distant a short space,
By any who should look beyond the dell,
A single mountain-cottage might be seen.
I gazed and gazed, and to myself I said,
‘Our thoughts at least are ours; and this wild nook,
My EMMA, I will dedicate to thee.’
—-Soon did the spot become my other home,
My dwelling, and my out-of-doors abode.
And, of the Shepherds who have seen me there,
To whom I sometimes in our idle talk
Have told this fancy, two or three, perhaps,
Years after we are gone and in our graves,
When they have cause to speak of this wild place,
May call it by the name of EMMA’S DELL.
– William Wordsworth

Wander here a whole summer, if you can.
-John Muir

FIVE years have past; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.–Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
The day is come when I again repose
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view 10
These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
‘Mid groves and copses. Once again I see
These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines
Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms,
Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke
Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!
With some uncertain notice, as might seem
Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods, 20
Or of some Hermit’s cave, where by his fire
The Hermit sits alone.
These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration:–feelings too 30
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man’s life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world, 40
Is lightened:–that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,–
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.
If this
Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft– 50
In darkness and amid the many shapes
Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart–
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,
O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro’ the woods,
How often has my spirit turned to thee!
And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity, 60
The picture of the mind revives again:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years. And so I dare to hope,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
I came among these hills; when like a roe
I bounded o’er the mountains, by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led: more like a man 70
Flying from something that he dreads, than one
Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,
And their glad animal movements all gone by)
To me was all in all.–I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love, 80
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, nor any interest
Unborrowed from the eye.–That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur, other gifts
Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompence. For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes 90
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels 100
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear,–both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul 110
Of all my moral being.
Nor perchance,
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once, 120
My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; ’tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all 130
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e’er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms, 140
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance–
If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence–wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream 150
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Unwearied in that service: rather say
With warmer love–oh! with far deeper zeal
Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!
– William Wordsworth

The important thing is that we keep on walking towards a place that feels like home.
– Jeff Brown

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dar Williams said it best.. And I’ll act like I have faith and like that faith never ends But I really just have friends.

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.
In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.
To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:
stay together
learn the flowers
go light
– Gary Snyder

Arthur and his Sister
by Lisa Zimmerman

The girl who always wanted a brother
steers him now in the red canoe.
It edges from shore
and slips onto the sky
which the lake holds up
in its silver mirror.

The boy does not know
if he is a king but he feels royal
in the eyes of this sister.
And although she does not look like
a priestess in her baseball cap
she rows steadily, her long hair
a fountain of light down her back,
the boat skimming the wet scarf of sky.

This is not legend yet. There has been no battle,
no betrayal, no regret.
But it’s as if the girl is taking
the young king home to be mended,
the boat gently rocking,
oars dipping into the clouds, into the sun.

The poet dreams of the mountain Sometimes I grow weary of the days, with all their fits and starts. I want to climb some old gray mountains, slowly, taking The rest of my lifetime to do it, resting often, sleeping Under the pines or, above them, on the unclothed rocks. I want to see how many stars are still in the sky That we have smothered for years now, a century at least. I want to look back at everything, forgiving it all, And peaceful, knowing the last thing there is to know. All that urgency! Not what the earth is about! How silent the trees, their poetry being of themselves only. I want to take slow steps, and think appropriate thoughts. In ten thousand years, maybe, a piece of the mountain will fall.
– Mary Oliver

Finding a sanctuary, a place apart from time, is not so different from finding a faith.
– Pico Iyer

A Few Words to a Young Writer by Ursula le Guin Socrates said, “The misuse of language induces evil in the soul.” He wasn’t talking about grammar. To misuse language is to use it the way politicians and advertisers do, for profit, without taking responsibility for what the words mean. Language used as a means to get power or make money goes wrong: it lies. Language used as an end in itself, to sing a poem or tell a story, goes right, goes towards the truth A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.
– Goethe (and others)

Terence McKenna: Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering its a feather bed…

Three Gratitudes
This poem is related to the song “Thank You Good Night”
Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I am grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.
It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.
Sunlight and blueberries,
Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain,
A good friend,
Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health,
My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry,
Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.
Decent coffee at the airport,
And your quiet breathing,
The story she told me,
The frost patterns on the window,
English horns and banjos,
Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat,
A new poem,
My library card,
And that my car keeps running
Despite all the miles.
And after three things,
More often than not,
I get on a roll and just keep on going,
I keep naming and listing,
Until I lie grinning,
Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder
At the sweetness of it all.
– Carrie Newcomer

For a New Beginning
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered.
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
– John O’Donohue

The Rudra Vina
I don’t know what would bring me closer to you.
Maybe slowing down this music, maybe waking
In the middle of the night, maybe diving for the bottom.
Maybe silence. The speed of the soul leaping over fences
Brings the toe forward. At other times, a book resting
On my chest takes me backward into my mother’s arms.
The ache in the fold of my arm must be the old
Sadness that the newborn feels when he senses
That his father has come to claim him for this world.
Don’t ask me whether to take Plato’s side
Or Freud’s. Just come over here and help me
Burn my books so we can move to Argentina.
Go on, Rudra Vina, go on growling about God.
I am rubbing my big face against my little face,
Like a blackbird flying swiftly through the leaves.
The drum and the vina insist that the night we die
Will be a long night. The drummer’s hands say that
There is not enough suffering to last the night

Give me the old familiar walk, with this ever new self, with this infinite expectation and faith, which does not know when it is beaten.
– Henry David Thoreau

bringing the far in close, a reconciliation of opposites, that is what he said he was doing the white cloud, the dark branch connected on canvas, a meeting of what tumbles and what rises, though everything eventually falls and then rises, how could I not think of you and me a far and a close still searching for the frame that can hold us both Awake or Asleep Awake or asleep in a grass hut, I pray to bring others across before myself.
– Dogen, Zen Master (2013-07-23).
The Essential Dogen: Writings of
the Great Zen Master (p. 7).
Shambhala Publications.

the poet mary oliver asked: what good is a teaching if it does not help one change one’s own life? the poet unamuno all his life repeated and insisted that his one motivation for writing poetry and studying philosophy was his own personal existential anguished-filled need to find answers to that which is unanswerable. both poets were right.
– Hune Margulies

All Poets understand the final uselessness of words. We are chords to other chords to other chords, if we’re lucky, to melody. The moon is brighter than anything I can see when I come out of the theater, than music, than memory of music, or any mere poem.
– Joy Harjo

A man must be willing, with his last breath, to start over.
– Liam Clancy

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
– Gandhi

I’ve been a boulder
crushed, now I’m sand, I let go
of time, and I know
oh I know, this is a dream
of light and foam, so it goes.

Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all others were making ships.
– Charles Simic

And men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought.
– Saint Augustine

White Tara May today be auspicious And full of promise. May I encounter your friendly, Benevolent and gentle nature. From one who is upright and balanced, One who is exactly in tune
With the nature of reality. With you Tara as a star,
Illuminating my day, Be matchless in helping me
To conquer my habits and emotions. May today be dedicated
To rescuing, preserving and protecting
All beings in samsara.

In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all, is a kind and gentle spirit.
– Anne Frank

Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.
– St. Teresa of Avila

From Henry Miller: “Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source, there is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.

I am proud only of those days that pass in undivided tenderness.
– Robert Bly, A Little Book on the Human Shadow

My creed:
Precepts for the Wayfarer
I will walk every step of the way.
I will walk always for others and always with others.
I will take with me only what I need and keep only what is useful.
I will accept with gratitude and good will what is offered to me.
I will act with respect, kindness, and humility toward all beings.
I will reject nothing and cling to nothing.
I will keep heart and senses open.
I will allow myself to feel compassion for the suffering of all beings.
I will regard every situation as my teacher, every being as my friend and kin, and every
hardship as a chance to cultivate equanimity.
I will not waste this precious breath, this precious day, and this precious awareness.

To be a spiritual wayfarer is to be in that state of reliance, assurance, loving resonance where we feel ourselves enclosed in a loving embrace that is eternal and infinite and irrevocable, knowing the essence of reality to be not ambivalent but in truth compassionate, accepting, forgiving and nurturing.
– Pir Zia

..but I preferred reading the American landscape as we went along. Every bump, rise, and stretch in it mystified my longing.
– Jack Kerouac

Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.
– John O’Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

We should be able to judge a man much more surely according to what he dreams, than according to what he thinks.
– Victor Hugo

not all, that is.
Not even the majority of all,
but the minority.
Not counting school,
where one must,
or the poets themselves,
there’d be maybe two such people in a
but one also likes chicken-noodle soup,
one likes compliments and the color blue,
one likes an old scarf,
one likes to prove one’s point,
one likes to pet a dog.
but what sort of thing is poetry?
Many a shaky answer has been given to this question.
But I do not know and do not know and hold on
to it,
as to a saving bannister.
– Wislawa Szymborska

If you can not be a poet, be the poem. — David Carradine

The Role of Poetry in Society Posted on March 13, 2012 A poet friend, Stewart Warren, has asked for comments on The Role of Poetry in Society — Are poets guardians of truth and beauty, bell ringers of emerging consciousness, activists insisting on higher ideals, or children offering flowers to passersby? I have found an old essay by Kenneth Rexroth very helpful to me in answering this question from his book Bird in the Bush. “[Poetry] widens and deepens and sharpens the sensibility and overcomes that dullness to significant experience that the Jesuits used to call ‘invincible ignorance’. People are by and large routinized in their lives. A great many of our responses to experience are necessarily dulled. If to a certain extent they weren’t we’d all suffer from nervous breakdowns and die of high blood pressure at the age of twenty. The organism has to protect itself. It cannot be completely raw…. Poetry increases and guides our awareness to immediate experience and to the generalizations that can be made from immediate experience…Unorganized sensibility is simply irritability…The arts build in us scales and heirarchies of response.” I, too, believe, that poetry is filtered and guided and heightened experience. Our role as poets is to communicate as immediately and intimately as possible from one person to another. The role of poetry is not to persuade (although poetry that flows directly from the heart may well do that). That is the role of rhetoric. There is nothing wrong with rhetoric. Rhetoric can be powerful and moving. A great speech is a marvelous thing. But the role of poetry is first of all intimacy. It requires the courage to journey into the unknown. -Michael Adams

So here I hang between my past and my future–trying to fan a spark to flame–a spark which came as the final gift from my past. But this tiny spark of what I hope to be–this glimmer of gold which I’ve discovered at last in the midst of disillusions–this thing is what I’m going home now to nourish, and to build into something.
– Joseph Campbell

In the middle of the road of my life I awoke in the dark wood where the true way was wholly lost.
– Dante Alighieri

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. you must let it find you.
by David Wagoner, from Collected Poems 1956-1976

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.
Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.
Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.
After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.
-Wendell Berry

– The universe, say surprised astronomers,
has twice as much accumulated starlight as
can be explained by all the known stars and galaxies.
– Newspaper article, 1998.
We have twice as much starlight,
it seems,
as stars to explain it.
This can only mean
a hidden conflagration
burns in the cosmic whirl.
Where can it live, this occult fire –
not at the center
galaxies are escaping.
Not at the frontiers of space
where new suns are being pioneered.
Where does the pure pulse of light beat,
racing out of nowhere,
a night light switched on in the void?
There is evidence that deep in the spin
of atoms is a tiny sun, a heart of radiance.
In the same way,
I have lived through days
when there is twice as much love
as people around me to explain it.
– Rachel Dacus

Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us, not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing.
― Rachel Naomi Remen

Not that you didn’t recognize the dragonfly
dallying on the zipper of your backpack
or register the bulbous
black, compound eyes
and segmented abdomen as they dipped
and bobbed over the rapids.
You were expert at observing appearances,
the iridescent blue-green wings
fluttering, cantilevered above
the inky flow, ready to hover
or bolt in ten directions
and then the water at your feet
sheering into the tall creek grasses.
But you saw was what you added:
plunge and purpose, color flash and story,
the old narrative tick triggering
into motion the unending deluge
of desire.
Hear me out. You were drained
by looking, swiftly circulating
through dust off cliff face and trail head,
Maybe you never truly learned to sit
for one moment by the creek’s phototropic glimmer,
or hearing the sizzling grains
of sunlight craw through aspens.
Maybe you are the one I dreamed
would come some day,
the one smitten with the apocrypha
of measurable things,
the one almost ready
for emptiness
– Sigman Byrd

Until something transcendent turns up I splash in my poetry puddle.
– James Broughton In “Having Come This Far”

I don’t know yet what the content of American initiation will be, but I do know what it’s going to look like. It has to have a moment of separation from the family and the community. It has to happen in nature and be a genuinely challenging ordeal. Whatever the initiates feel before entering this cycle must be deepened to the point of transcendence, giving them the opportunity to feel whole. Finally, and most importantly, there has to be a strong community ready to welcome the survivors of the ordeal. This welcoming must be massive, not like a simple ceremony of giving a diploma, but a recognizable, wholehearted embrace and valuing of the initiates’ power to contribute to the community. In other words, this last stage must make the returning men and women want to maintain the pride of their community. This will fuel a continued sense of belonging, which is so much lacking in the heart of the modern youth. – Malidoma Somé

Maybe your world needed to be shaken. Maybe staying the path meant you were chasing your tail, keeping you dizzy and lame. Maybe your heavy hitting wasn’t appropriate. Maybe your control was just depreciating your assets. Maybe you were never actually doing any of it for you. And so your world started to shake. We got the intel. Mama cosmos lost her gnostic patience. At first she started with a nudge. In the place where you feel bad news. Shake it off. Hmm. Deploy cosmic bitches. Or Kali. Maybe an inner expansion of anger and resentment will do it? Nah, that’s just your personality. Or you’re older and more stressed. Okay, Darling — you have officially asked for her to take you by the hand. Or hair. Surrender. Perfect. You now qualify for VIP access to It All. Just Like That. Did you believe that you would be able to avoid inevitable change? Did you really believe that you could keep denying your soul the picture it wants to paint, in favor of the stuff that you intellectually deemed hotter- socially, financially, professionally? I guess you did. Even still… I hope you know how loved you are. I hope you know it in your marrow and in the space between heartbeats. I hope the weight of it crushes you. I hope it obliterates your preciousness and untruths. I hope you wake up and fucking see. Your fire. Your light. Needed by us and provided by you. Perfect isn’t real. What a charade. What a waste of a calling. Your soul will not stand for that shit any more. What was it that you were trying so desperately hard to perfect? Darling (said with love), I hope you know what the perfection quest actually is. It’s escapism. Perfectionism is not admirable in any sense of the word. It’s a trembling, fractured soul disguised in a knight’s gold plating. Perfectionism is running from what’s real. So stop running from your soul. The winds have changed and with them they have blown apart your act. A tender stroke on your cheek from the divine mother. A lip biting kiss from the dark goddess. And now you know, you can never put the paint back on. You’re kissed bare. Waiting for the paint stripper. The wild searing heat of fear comes and then the hurt… Be with it. Try to know it. And then, the light. You see darling? You never even laid your eyes on your own grain. Look at it. Look at her. Look at you. You know her. Sacred swirls and all. These winds. Blowing you apart. Bringing you home. She knew you would come back.
– Brooke Steff

It isn’t that one brings life together; it’s that one will not allow it to be torn apart.
– Muriel Rukeyser


Carrying a child,
I carry a bundle
of sleeping
future appearances,
I carry
my daughter adrift
on my shoulder,
dreaming her slender
I carry her
the window,
her moon lit
and close
like a tiny
each line
a path that leads
where I can’t go,
so that I read her palm
not knowing
what I read
walk with her
in moon light
on the landing,
not knowing
with whom I walk,
invisible prayers
to go on
with her
where I can’t
with so many
that must know her
more intimately
than I do.

And so to these
unspoken shadows
and this broad night
I make
a quiet
to the
great parental
to hold her
when I cannot,
to comfort her
when I am gone,
to help her learn
to love
the unknown
for itself,
to take it
a lantern
for the way
before her,
to help her see
where ordinary
light will not help,
where happiness has fled,
where faith
cannot reach.

My prayer tonight
for the great
and hidden symmetries
of life
to reward this
faith I have
and twin
her passages
of loneliness
with friendship,
her exiles
with home coming,
her first awkward
steps with
promised onward leaps.

May she find
in all this,
day or night,
the beautiful
of pure opposites,
may she discover
before she grows
not to choose
so easily
between past
and present,
may she find
one or the other
her gifts

And so
as I helped
to name her
I help to name
I bring
to life
what is needed,
I invoke
the help she’ll
these moonlit lines
into a future
by me but
by all
I call.

As she grows
from me,
may these life lines
grow with her,
keep her safe,
with my open palm
whose lines
have run before her
to make a safer way,
I hold her smooth cheek
and bless her
this night
and beyond it
and for every unknown
night to come.

My Daughter Asleep
River Flow : New and Selected Poems
© David Whyte and Many Rivers Press

I saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing.
I SAW in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it, and the moss hung down from the
Without any companion it grew there, uttering joyous
leaves of dark green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think
of myself;
But I wonder’d how it could utter joyous leaves,
standing alone there, without its friend, its
lover near—for I knew I could not;
And I broke off a twig with a certain number of
leaves upon it, and twined around it a little
And brought it away—and I have placed it in sight in
my room;
It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear
(For I believe lately I think of little else than of
Yet it remains to me a curious token—it makes me
think of manly love;
—For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there
in Louisiana, solitary, in a wide flat space,
Uttering joyous leaves all its life, without a friend, a
lover, near,
I know very well I could not.
-Walt Whitman

Range after range of mountains.
Year after year after year.
I am still in love.
– Gary Snyder

To be hopeful means to be uncertain about the future, to be tender toward possibilities, to be dedicated to change all the way down to the bottom of your heart.
– Rebecca Solnit

When I asked her what I/we could/should do, she took up her walking stick and walked expressively and purposefully across the room. Dipping a bit from side to side. She said: Live by the Word and keep walking.
– Alice Walker

If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?
– Stephen Levine

I love you, gentlest of Ways,
who ripened us as we wrestled with you.

You, the great homesickness we could never shake off,
you, the forest that always surrounded us,

you, the song we sang in every silence,
you dark net threading through us.

you began yourself so greatly
on that day when you began us.
– Rilke

Yet we need not fear.
What we need to heal ourselves still endures.
It flourished once before, in
the eras past —Before the great books were written
And the robes of priesthood
were woven—

When it was simply man and woman

And the other whom dwelt
beyond but near.


The lake
says nothing.
The pebbles are quiet;
its muck and soggy leaves
have taken vows of silence;

the water is t’ai chi-still

and the air—

for all its stirring up of song

—says only what the trees will let it,

so the world

will speak its name

– Jason Kirkey
Thoreau’s Cabin, ESTUARIES

My aunt once said that the world would never find peace until men fell at their women’s feet and asked for forgiveness.
– Jack Kerouac

My fiftieth year had come and gone,
I sat, a solitary man,
In a crowded London shop,
An open book and empty cup
On the marble table-top.

While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness,
That I was blessed and could bless.
– William Butler Yeats

If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me? I owe it so much.
– Helene Hanff

The coolness of Buddhism isn’t indifference but the distance one gains on emotions, the quiet place from which to regard the turbulence. From far away you see the pattern, the connections, and the thing as whole, see all the islands and the routes between them. Up close it all dissolves into texture and incoherence and immersion, like a face going out of focus just before a kiss.
– Rebecca Solnit

Listen: I am ideally happy. My happiness is a kind of challenge. As I wander along the streets and the squares and the paths by the canal, absently sensing the lips of dampness through my worn soles, I carry proudly my ineffable happiness. The centuries will roll by, and schoolboys will yawn over the history of our upheavals; everything will pass, but my happiness, dear, my happiness will remain, in the moist reflection of a street lamp, in the cautious bend of stone steps that descend into the canal’s black waters, in the smiles of a dancing couple, in everything with which God so generously surrounds human loneliness.
– Vladimir Nabokov

One day, tens of millions of years from now, someone will find me rusted into the mud of a world they have never seen, and when they crumble me between their fingers, it will be you they find.
– Jeanette Winterson

If I know what love is, it is because of you.
– Hermann Hesse

Watch a hundred-year-old tree breathe. Thank the tree in your mind for showing us how to grow and stay.
– Yoko Ono

I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.
– William Shakespeare

Nature is man’s teacher. She unfolds her treasures to his search, unseals his eye, illumes his mind, and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence.
– Alfred Nobel

Reason lost the battle, and all I could do was surrender and accept I was in love.
– Paulo Coelho

As surely as there is a voyage away, there is a journey home.
– Jack Kornfield

Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you ! Oh, God! it is unutterable ! I can not live without my life! I can not live without my soul !
― Emily Brontë, ‘Wuthering Heights’

Postcard to Emily

How the old mountains drip with sunset.
– Emily Dickinson

Dear Emily,

It was just as you said, tonight,
the mountains rose and blue,
and in the shallow reservoir,
the herons dripping, too –
I did not mean to startle them
as grayly there they stood,
but on hushed feet I stepped myself
into their solitude.
Wing after wing they rowed away
into muted dome
till all went dim–oh the abyss!–
and we were held as one.

– Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer from her new book The Less I Hold

Things that belong together have been taken apart….What you do is the only thing that you can do: you take two things that ought to be together and you put them back together.
– Wendell Berry

The Lament of The Wayfarer
When the day comes
and I at last clear this dense wood,
I shall meet you on the other side.
When the day comes
and my path comes back to the place it began,
we shall go on to that next place together.
When the dawn comes to this night
and I have seen you through the worst,
you will sit with me until I close my eyes
and I wake in my bed,
in that home I left so long ago.
When the day comes
and I can at last pull up
the moorings holding my soul in place,
I shall journey to you
and set fire to this vessel I dwell in
never to leave you again.
– L.M. Browning

The Jaguar’s Bite
The jaguar gripped my hand
in his wet and gnashing mouth.

Wounds are mysterious things;

How they can speak out so long
and loud
after new skin and new stories
tuck them
out of sight…

Sometimes it’s hard to put a
name to the old voice,

Mostly because there are so
many options:

Shame, grief, despair, anger, rage,

But it is a growl that is recognizable –

in the ear of memory,
or the pit of the stomach.

And, in the last breath of an addict,
the jingle of prison cell keys,
the door slamming on bruised and beaten hearts,
the moment that innocence is stolen.

And, in all the self-betrayals.

In every act of prey turned predator.

Unlike other cats, jaguars kill
with a bite to the head.

When he takes you by the hand,
it’s an invitation to go
to where you have always
had an invitation to go –

Where Light’s canine teeth
the Darkness.

It is here where wounds become
Sacred Wounds.

It is here where artists make vows to beauty,
musicians become composers,
poets transform poems into prayers,
prayers become a way of walking,
and the body begins to understand Love.

It is here where poison becomes medicine.

Follow this path,
this path,
though it twists and turns sharply downward,
though it leads to the lair
of everything you have been avoiding…

for a long, long time.

Follow this path,
though you realize:

You’ve already been here.

This is the cave of your dreams.

Yes, yes!

All those nightmares were
perfectly inscribed love notes
from the lily-scented Underworld,
always beckoning you to claim the
potential of this place,

Calling on you to honor
your blood –

The red thread embroidering
the edges of the tapestry
in which past, present, and future
are continuously being
woven together
in a circle.

Back to the jaguar:

I have found him to be a trusty guide.

And, odd as it may seem,

thanked him for the bite.
– Jamie K. Reaser

Today, from a distance, I saw you
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer’s retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.
– Ted Kooser

Don’t futuretrip. Take all that anxiety and do with it anything but making up terrible scenarios.

Write poems. Run. Watch Netflix. Make love. Eat huge quantities of foods you think you shouldn’t. Whatever.

Just don’t make up doomsday scenarios. One day at a time, friends.
– Kelli Russell Agodon

…nature teems with consciousness through and through. Matter itself tingles with the spark of spirit, and therefore nature, in all its forms and glory, is sacred to its deepest roots.
– Christian de Quincey, Radical Nature: The Soul of Nature

Our love was born outside the walls, in the wind, in the night, in the earth, and that’s why the clay and the flower, the mud and the roots, know your name.
– Pablo Neruda

Thus does everyday life become a social disaster. Sometimes disaster intensifies this; sometimes it provides a remarkable reprieve from it, a view into another world for our other selves. When all the ordinary divides and patterns are shattered, people step up—not all, but the great preponderance—to become their brothers’ keepers. And that purposefulness and connectedness bring joy even amidst death, chaos, fear and loss. Were we to know and believe this, our sense of what is possible at any time might change. We speak of self-fulfilling prophesies, but any belief that is acted on makes the world in its image. Beliefs matter. And so do the facts behind them. When it comes to human behavior in disaster, the gap between common beliefs and actualities limits the possibilities. Changing beliefs could fundamentally change much more. Horrible in itself, disaster is sometimes a door back into paradise, the realm in which we are who we hope to be, do the work we desire and are each our sisters’ and brothers’ keepers.
– Rebecca Solnit, A Paradise Built in Hell


Bursting red flowers

Invisible to the eye

Your beauty slays us

We lather our hands

And with only you in mind

Close ourselves from life

We listen for stars

For wind rapping at our doors

And discover peace

In our solitude

In the true present moment

It is all we have

It is all we need

Our essential bouquet

– Katherine Hastings

This Morning
Enter without knocking, hard-working ant.
I’m just sitting here mulling over
What to do this dark, overcast day?
It was a night of the radio turned down low,
Fitful sleep, vague, troubling dreams.
I woke up lovesick and confused.
I thought I heard Estella in the garden singing
And some bird answering her,
But it was the rain. Dark tree tops swaying
And whispering. “Come to me my desire,”
I said. And she came to me by and by,
Her breath smelling of mint, her tongue
Wetting my cheek, and then she vanished.
Slowly day came, a gray streak of daylight
To bathe my hands and face in.
Hours passed, and then you crawled
Under the door, and stopped before me.
You visit the same tailors the mourners do,
Mr. Ant. I like the silence between us,
The quiet–that holy state even the rain
Knows about. Listen to her begin to fall,
As if with eyes closed,
Muting each drop in her wild-beating heart.
– Charles Simic

Blanket Weaver
by Sandra María Esteves
weave us a song of many threads
weave us a red of fire and blood
that taste of sweet plum
fishing around the memories of the dead
following a scent wounded
our spines bleeding with pain
weave us a red of passion
that beats wings against a smoky cloud
and forces motion into our lungs
weave us a song
of yellow and gold and life itself
that lights a way through wildgrowth
burned in pain
aged with steady conviction
with bunions callouses and leathered hides
weave us into the great magnetic center
pulling your fingers into topaz canyons
a single lonely web glitters like a flash of thunder
your thumb feeling into my womb
placing sweatseeds of floral honey
into continuous universal suspension
weave us a song of red and yellow
and brown
that holds the sea and the sky in its skin
that holds the bird and mountain in its voice
that builds upon our graves a home
for injustice fear oppression abuse and disgrace
and upon these fortifications
of strength unity and direction
weave us a song to hold us
when the wind blows so cold to make our children wail
submerged in furious ice
a song pure and raw
that burns paper
and attacks the colorless venom stalking hidden
in the petal soft sweetness of the black night
weave us a rich round black that lives
in the eyes of our warrior child
and feeds our mouths with moon breezes
with rhythms interflowing
through all spaces of existence
a black that holds the movement of eternity
weave us a song for our bodies to sing
weave us a song of many threads
that will dance with the colors of our people
and cover us with the warmth of peace.

Seeing clearly, do not be fooled, and the ten thousand things cannot shroud you.
– Hongzhi

God Is Alive, Magic is Afoot

God is alive
Magic is afoot
God is alive
Magic is afoot
God is afoot
Magic is alive
Alive is afoot
Magic never died

God never sickened
Many poor men lied
Many sick men lied
Magic never weakened
Magic never hid
Magic always ruled
God is afoot
God never died

God was ruler
Though his funeral lengthened
Though his mourners thickened
Magic never fled
Though his shrouds were hoisted
The naked God did live
Though his words were twisted
The naked Magic thrived
Though his death was published
Round and round the world
The heart did not believe

Many hurt men wondered
Many struck men bled
Magic never faltered
Magic always led

Many stones were rolled
But God would not lie down
Many wild men lied
Many fat men listened
Though they offered stones
Magic still was fed
Though they locked their coffers
God was always served

Magic is afoot
God rules
Alive is afoot
Alive is in command

Many weak men hungered
Many strong men thrived
Though they boasted solitude
God was at their side
Nor the dreamer in his cell
Nor the captain on the hill
Magic is alive
Though his death was pardoned
Round and round the world
The heart did not believe

Though laws were carved in marble
They could not shelter men
Though altars built in parliaments
They could not order men
Police arrested Magic
And Magic went with them
For Magic loves the hungry

But Magic would not tarry
It moves from arm to arm
It would not stay with them
Magic is afoot
It cannot come to harm
It rests in an empty palm
It spawns in an empty mind
But Magic is no instrument
Magic is the end

Many men drove Magic
But Magic stayed behind
Many strong men lied
They only passed through Magic
And out the other side
Many weak men lied
They came to God in secret
And though they left him nourished
They would not say who healed
Though mountains danced before them
They said that God was dead
Though his shrouds were hoisted
The naked God did live

This I mean to whisper to my mind
This I mean to laugh with in my mind
This I mean my mind to serve ’til
Service is but Magic
Moving through the world
And mind itself is Magic
Coursing through the flesh
And flesh itself is Magic
Dancing on a clock
And time itself the magic length of God

– Leonard Cohen

as I am

the light that painted every eye

with ebullient joy is gone ∙

the flashing teeth · the open arms ·

the outpounding joy of life is gone ·

so, the tenderest peace is gone ·

beauty undefiled ·

unpolluted innocence — all gone,

and now — I go –

I pushed against the earth ·

against a world that loved me not ∙

a world that cares not, while I die ∙

that I · that I · a universe, alone, now die –

I strove against cruel time itself

and built a garden wall festooned with life

to feed the feral bees which in their turn fed me –

all comes to naught in the wasteland of chance –

I pushed hard against death ∙

pushed hard, and drove my stubborn flesh ∙

pushed my mates and offspring high ∙

pushed and pulled the loveless tides,

of love ∙ sweet love,

I have run dry ∙

but for you, my love remembered ∙

for you my love long dust ·

for you who loved me ∙ loved me,

loved me as I am –

– Elijah Morton

In a time of distance
by Alexander McCall Smith

The unexpected always happens in the way
The unexpected has always occurred:
While we are doing something else,
While we are thinking of altogether
Different things — matters that events
Then show to be every bit as unimportant
As our human concerns so often are;
And then, with the unexpected upon us,
We look at one another with a sort of surprise;
How could things possibly turn out this way
When we are so competent, so pleased
With the elaborate systems we’ve created —
Networks and satellites, intelligent machines,
Pills for every eventuality — except this one?

And so we turn again to face one another
And discover those things
We had almost forgotten,
But that, mercifully, are still there:
Love and friendship, not just for those
To whom we are closest, but also for those
Whom we do not know and of whom
Perhaps we have in the past been frightened;
The words brother and sister, powerful still,
Are brought out, dusted down,
Found to be still capable of expressing
What we feel for others, that precise concern;
Joined together in adversity
We discover things we had put aside:
Old board games with obscure rules,
Books we had been meaning to read,
Letters we had intended to write,
Things we had thought we might say
But for which we never found the time;
And from these discoveries of self, of time,
There comes a new realisation
That we have been in too much of hurry,
That we have misused our fragile world,
That we have forgotten the claims of others
Who have been left behind;
We find that out in our seclusion,
In our silence; we commit ourselves afresh,
We look for a few bars of song
That we used to sing together,
A long time ago; we give what we can,
We wait, knowing that when this is over
A lot of us — not all perhaps — but most,
Will be slightly different people

Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love.

Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.

If we turn our mind toward the good, it is impossible that little by little the whole soul will not be attracted thereto in spite of itself.

– Simone Weil

I can’t run no more
With that lawless crowd
While the killers in high places
Say their prayers out loud
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
A thundercloud
And they’re going to hear from me

Ring the bells that still can ring

Every heart, every heart to love will come
But like a refugee.

– Leonard Cohen, Anthem

Your psychology
cannot be divorced from your spirituality.
It is a package deal.

All of my teachings tie into the reality that there is a Seer seeing everything. We call it God, the higher power, or whatever. It is simply the Vast Self seeing itself creating itself. We humans perceive ourselves and the world around us as solid objects, as flesh and bone, sitting on a padded chair, or on grass-covered earth. But all these things, the flesh, bones, chair, grass and earth, are artifacts of one great collective act of perceiving in which all beings participate. What we perceive as solid, having dimensions and colors and other properties, are really just pulses of energy moving or vibrating, each in its unique pattern, so as to interact with our patterns, to excite our senses and create patterns of perception.
– Joseph Rael, Sound

Living and walking in the village each day was like walking into myself, as a loving plane of existence. I used to jog, run or walk through the village every morning just so I could get my loving pats from the village sites. There were the weathered pathways which wound their way among the adobe style structures, the open space in the center of the village, and the mountains in the distance. On early morning walks I used to enjoy breathing the familiar air. The fresh air, like a resonating intelligence hanging as a cover on the surfaces of the village, was delightful to drink into my lungs.

Yet, each day the experiences were interestingly different and spatially new. It was not uncommon for me to walk into alternate realities unexpectedly. I would gaze at the light reflected on the golden micaceous clay of the adobe structures, or notice the play of the wind during the different hours of the day. I would pretend to disappear into the shadows and ride the giant trees, or be aware of what people and what situations would present themselves each day and quietly listen to what all of that was telling us. The energy was always shifting, was always different. The resonating vibrations in the sacred sites were always changing so that the people in the village were always alive with energy. These sacred spaces, generating life sustaining powers, maintained our integrity as a group, orienting each individual toward the community’s highest ideals.
– Joseph Rael, Being & Vibration

I wanted to know people. I wanted to love.
But I didn’t realize how badly I had been hurt.
I didn’t realize that my habit of distance
had become so unconscious and deep
that I didn’t know how to be with another person.
I could only fix that person in my imagination
and turn him this way and that, trying to feel him,
until my mind was tired and raw.
– Mary Gaitskill, Veronica

What I recommend for people who truly seek insights is to take a walk. Just walk with strong intent for twenty miles, and go home. Then watch. The great insights will start coming; it has to do with walking.
– Joseph Rael, House of Shattering Light

What we need most in the world today is a great deal of supernatural support. I don’t think we have it now in the way that we used to because we have become too crystallised. We’ve become too stuck in the form. We’ve put a high value on form, and we think the form is what makes a thing work.
– Joseph Rael, House of Shattering Light

I feel so intensely
the delights
of shutting oneself up
in a little world
of one’s own,
with pictures and music
and everything beautiful.
– Virginia Woolf

In the time of the blessed uncertain,
we become the community
we needed to be all along.
Entwined in solitude,
we widen the space of compassion
to heal dis-ease with ease
and quench our thirst
at the well of grieving.
Tears are never false.
Trust in your tears.
Yet apart, share one breath.
Stranger, I breathe you,
dwelling in your body
as you dwell in mine.
Distance has been swallowed up
in Being.
You grow tired on your journey?
Rest here.
Your home is too far?
Stay with me.
You feel something break
inside you?
Pass it through
the flame in my heart
until it is whole again.
You yearn Self time,
the way an animal knows
it must curl to the circle
of its own fur,
rain-drenched under the fern?
Finally, we all discover
that Self-healing need.
I will not come too near.
From the majesty of my aloneness,
I bow to your aloneness.
– Fred LaMotte

And I said to him
Are there answers to all of this?
And he said
The answer is in a story
and the story is being told.

And I said
But there is so much pain
And he answered
Pain will happen.

Then I said
Will I ever find meaning?
And he said
You will find meaning
Where you give meaning.

The answer is in story
And the story isn’t finished.

The question is not where but now
there question’s never finished
or exhausted
and the answers in the asking
not the answer
the answer’s in the breathing of the question
in the love of holding onto
what was never whispered never seen
but what we dreamed of in the morning
then forgot while venus hid

the answer’s in the living not the knowing
the answer’s in the telling of the story
in half forgotten memory
and all unfinished stories

the answer’s in the showing time of senses
the answer’s in the question
in the learning
in the fading page of writing
in the letter sent to lovers
in the paying for the other
the answer is the generous

is the truthing

the absolutely truthful anger

and forgiving is the giving of what you don’t deserve
it’s what I’ll serve because you’re hungry
even though you may not know it

the answer’s in the living and the dying
in the trying for redemption on an empty hill of crosses
it’s the shoring up of hope and the gathering of losses
it’s the looking for companions in the hills and in the glens
it’s the waking up and walking up and starting up again
the answer’s in the living
and the trying.

And I said to the wise man,
what is the answer to all this
And he said the answer’s in the story
and the story’s just unfolding
– Pádraig Ó Tuama

“What is this place?” I asked the nosy wind –

The silence, thick as liquid, spoke:

“Oh, a poet’s cemetery,” said the lovely crone,

appearing, deep of eye, warm and cool, indifferent,

plaited round with tendrilled green,

crowned with mountains, snowy, clean –

“Strange,” I said, “I passed no sign or graven plaque,

you’d think there’d be a marker or something like that.”

Weary, I tucked my battered ruck

into a clot of roots and ‘rooms,

the crone rose up, a humming forest moon –

“Poets, huh?” I muttered, “Hmmm, poets · poets –

“Not many poets on this prison world.

Must be few and far between, these graves.

Where are the markers then?” I asked aloud,

then spread my arms like Icarus wings ·

reaching out from pole to pole,

fingers fountaining cold auroras

and breathing in the galaxy,

thinking I just might belong,

blessed the womanly worlds with silent song,

then traced the fleeing horizon

with feathertips of Martian ice, cirrus blue,

painting all with buttered music

from the heaven in my ribs,

exclaiming, shouting, singing with four voices:

‘beautiful · impossible ·

beautiful · real ·

beautiful · untouchable ·

beautiful – immortal change.’

Something snapped unpleasantly in my neck

and burned a dull red –

The hideous muse—now a kind-eyed whale,

big as Half Dome, rose up from the batholith –

to comfort, maybe,

or to hypnotize me before I really hurt myself,

maybe, I suppose.

The mammal mountain sang granitic opera:

‘There is no sign or path, thou witless gnome ·

thou unplanted seed · thou wad of chromosomes –

this place in neither lost or found ·

not a place at all,’ she sang, the whale, and not unkindly.

‘Come · come well – be welcome · rest ·

(I doubt ye can, ye restless man)

The great beast swelled and cracked,

and sneezed a fragrant plume of spicy brine –

“Leave your body here—it will be fine.”

The granite whale dissolved in wind

and through a million splitting cones, whispered:

“We are all here.”

(leaves quaked, winged seeds rained spiraling,

javelins of light loomed the eastern sky ·

the west boiled with atomic fire)

‘We are all, here,’ sang the quantum oracle,

low as the ring core of Jupiter –

(be silent, ye grasses, stop your shushing,

for I must hear this song)

‘no markers, crypts ·

no coffins, bones,

no single heart, or hearth or home ·

(the universe can never lie)

true poets,

(there came a lance, and terrible pain)

true poets, never die’ –

– Elijah Morton

Justin Luria:


If your spiritual understanding has come to via the west
(which is all of us, more or less)
Then you have learned well this modern spell:

That everything happens for a reason; and we’re on the dawn of a new golden age; that there are no wrong or bad choices, only lessons to be learned; and the individual experience and preference is hallowed.

And probably, you have taken those lessons deep into your heart, and relied on them as faithful truths to guide your path.

So it was that when you came upon the Rainbow Warrior prophesy, you delighted; for it corroborated what you already knew. And every Lion Portal and double digit activation is an opportunity for ascension, and, well, that’s a cause for celebration. Because we’re so nearly home.

But what happens when you listen to the old, the grown up children of cultures that were never cut from the land, that never severed the ties to nature and the song-lines of ancestry and inheritance of duty and reverence?

Are they saying “All is well” and “All will be well” and “What you dream comes into being” and the like?

As far as I know,

What they are doing, is warning.
For centuries and decades and years and months and weeks and days and right now, they are warning: all is not well. Danger is coming. It’s already here. It’ll get worse. The sickness of modernity, the insatiable hunger, the indifference, the cruelty.
All of that has already come, it came a long time ago, and we’ve been living it ever since
and that is why the device in your pocket comes from the labour of child slaves, and making it poisons the land.

(And, the Rainbow Warrior prophecy was created recently, by Christian missionaries. So, there’s that.)

And yet, it’s not too late. Not too late for you to learn new/old ways, to learn beauty and tender-treatment and devotional custodian-ing of the land, and your fellows, and your own sweet self
(although I caution not to be too self-reliant on that last one: that’s a community effort for sure. All of them are, really. I think that is what we’re discovering.)

You don’t need to hoard candles: you need to learn candlemaking. Because if there is a time to come, whether very soon or in your life time or the lifetime of your children, when candles will be needled, then that stash of tealights won’t last long, and you’ll need a candlemaker in your midst. Mightn’t you be that person? And, as fabulous as the post-apocalyptic outfits are (all BDSM equipment and gang markings and cyberpunk clubbing couture), if there is to be a collapse, you won’t last long by scavenging cans from the urban wilderness. You will need seeds, and you’ll need to know how to plant them, and nurture the seedlings, and how to harvest the crop, and save the seed, and prepare the produce, and preserve it.
Mightn’t that be you, too?

It’s certainly not too late to learn that.
Shall we learn it together?

Life now insists that we encounter groundlessness. Systems and ideas that seemed reliable and solid dissolve at an increasing rate. People who asked for our trust betray or abandon us. Strategies that worked suddenly don’t. Groundlessness is a frightening place, at least at first, but as the old culture turns to mush, we would feel stronger if we stopped searching for ground, if we sought only to locate ourselves in the present and do our work from here.
– Margaret J. Wheatley

Dear Spirit: I feel the fear, the bodies ailing and dying in the world around me. I also sense visioning, even excitement and hope for a new world.

Spirit: Time to come home.

Me: My heart is open to hearing more.

Spirit: Everyone climbs a mountain, runs a marathon in the ‘real’ world. That could be having a child, wrestling with injustice, grappling with trauma, tending to a suffering body, creating something magnificent, becoming oneself.

Everyone now must also locate their true home.

Me: Is that home inside of them, outside… is it a place, a family?

Spirit: Home is an experience. Certain conditions dream that experience into existence, but the conditions are never sustained. The experience always walks along right next to us.

Me: Must I leave the ‘real’ world to truly come home?

Spirit: Yes, at least for moments. Then, if you can, keep one foot, one toe, in contact with that experience.

Me: Are you home?

Spirit: It’s a secret.

Me: Why a secret?

Spirit: So that you don’t forget to look for me.

Me: That blows my mind.

– David Bedrick

I do not believe that anyone has the exclusive franchise on the truth. What we Jews have is a good approximation, for Jews, of how to get there. Ultimately, each person creates a way that fits his own situation. While there are differences between Jewish and non-Jewish approaches to mysticism in specific methods, observances, and rituals, there are no differences in the impact of the experiences themselves. When it comes to what I call the ‘heart stuff,’ all approaches overlap…

The major impediment to communication among our three religions is the dogmatic stance that we assume for the sake of the propagation of faith. We quote authorities who knew no more truly than we know but whose energetic assertions “snow” us. Their energy is the result of worldviews so dominated by their inner scene that they did not permit any of the doubts that are brought on by reality maps that did not match their dogma.

Against the refrain, “it ain’t necessarily so,” we bluff others who are not of our faith, and we bluff our own people – not deliberately as con artists, but out of desperation at the lack of hard evidence, and we bluff ourselves as a strategy against our own fickleness, our “crooked heart” as Jeremiah 5:23 calls it. Then again, acts of faith are not made on an empty heart. We have within it our soul, the most reliable teacher. As we watch the process in which the soul becomes thought or speech, we notice that many a time we ease ourselves into convenient clichÈs that have little of the new insight in them. Once more we are trapped by habits that are the dunghill upon which the creeds feed. It takes vigilance and humble courage to make acts of faith. After all, where faith is weak, there is an abundance of beliefs. With this in mind we may be more humble about our tradition and our sureness, yet also a bit more proud of the holy process in our inner being that keeps teaching and guiding us.

Besides the challenge of past history we also face the challenge of the present millennium. This era is empirical, experiential, humanistic, multioptional, fluid, mystical; it is existential, integrative, ecumenical, aware of nonverbal dimensions, with a view of God that is radically immanent, while at the same time utterly transcendental, non-anthropomorphic, and apopathic. Instead of being particularistic in regard to salvation and the conditions that make for it; it is universalistic and noninstitutional; heuristic and empirical. This view takes most seriously “by their fruits ye shall know them,” and the fruits are manifest in the realm of better human living and interaction. It demands to see the fruits in better and more harmonious relationships, and to see a consciousness that is higher, more integrated with the physical, multidimensional, centered, and ecologically aware. The new humanism wedded to trans-personal psychology has challenged all of us by presenting a viable and deeply religious option to the Bible religions…

There are few conversations in this universe as deeply satisfying to the heart as the dialogue of the devout. Unfortunately, such dialogue took place mostly among the people of each religion separately. If this profound sharing were to take place between tzaddik, saint, and dervish, monk, murid, and hasid, we would have a model of what one of the highest forms of conversation could be. One of the prime topics of that discourse would be counsel that would help the spirit gain the service of the flesh for the sake of the divine. This dialogue is a sharing of how best to surrender and conform to the divine will, how to receive divine wisdom for our guidance, how to read scripture for the sake of the spirit, how to emulate – imitate – divine attributes. The counsel gained in such dialogue helps the worshiper to worship, the meditator to meditate, the adorer to adore, and the virtuous one who wished to become a devotee to become a virtuoso of devoutness, a saint.

In this dialogue we need to share information. How does a Jew read the Bible? What are the canons of legitimate interpretation? How does the Christian come to an interpretation of the same text? In recent years teams of scholars have worked together in new and very helpful translations of the Hebrew Bible. Some Jews have made fine contributions to the understanding of the New Testament, bringing to bear parallel sources from the Talmud and the Midrashim. Other Jews have worked on the Koran and made worthy contributions quoted by Moslem scholars.

For all that books can offer us, the vital contact comes from studying texts together and getting to see with the eyes of the other. In this way I have come to a fair understanding of Roman Catholic and Neo-Orthodox Protestant hermeneutics. I have met a number of Christian Old Testament scholars who knew our hermeneutic of Tanakh, though I have yet to meet a Christian scholar of Talmud rabbinics.

What is it that we will not be able to agree on? What is it that we will have to learn to live with in each other? It seems to me that a Jew will have to learn to live with the following aspects of Christianity: the person of Jesus of Nazareth is bound to stay central and in the position of the Christ, the Messiah of the first coming. Both Jew and Christian will have to wait for the Shalom order to be instituted by the one who will complete history and fulfill the messianic expectations dealing with turning swords into plowshares and having lions living with lambs. The teachings of Paul concerning the Law will remain a shibboleth between us until the day comes when we all no longer see by looking through the glass darkly, and the Tree of Knowledge will have been supplanted by the Tree of Life.

With Moslems we will have to negotiate matters of the shariya and the issue of abrogation. On the matter of the Razulship of Mohammed, we may find accommodation. I pray that we learn to agree first on matters dealing with more practical issues and find a way for the children of Isaac and Ishmael to live in peace. I am convinced that learning Torah together is an important prelude to the kind of dialogue we will hold with each other when our eschatological expectations will have been fulfilled. I trust we each will find that we were right, though not quite in the way we thought we would be. Only by holding on to our shape and color do we form the mosaic in which we are God’s tiles…

What this calls for is a willingness to admit that all our formulations about God are nothing but tentative stammerings of blind and exiled children of Eve responding to the light deeply hidden in the recesses of their nostalgic longing for the untainted origin in which one needed not to look through the glass darkly but could see. This can even make us proud of our traditions and heritage as the storehouse of those stammering of the souls that were filled by God with the grace of that holy moment that defied definition and that was forced by ecclesiastical lawyers to be encapsulated in a stateable wording. The mistake that was made was to take the ecstatic exclamations of the overwhelmed souls and to make them numbered articles of creeds instead of acts of faith made in fear and trembling…

It then behooves the poor of the spirit of all creeds and denominations to support each other in the desperate acts of faith that we make in the face of the exile and the holocausts and enter into a dialogue among fellow servants and children of one Creator…
– Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

I am attracted to ellipsis, to the unsaid, to suggestion, to eloquent, deliberate silence. The unsaid, for me, exerts great power: often I wish an entire poem could be made in this vocabulary. It is analogous to the unseen…
– Louise Glück

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
– Aesop

She said, We don’t eat snakes. They are our sisters.
She said, I gave you my name — I called you.
And I watched her tongue like a whip of ink
write my name in the air.
– Natalie Diaz

I Won’t Live Long
by Jorie Graham
enough to see any of the new
dreams the hundreds of new kinds of suffering and weeds birds animals shouldering their
demise without possibility of re-
generation the heart in your tiny chest opening its new unimaginable ways of
opening and to what might it still
open. Will there still be
such opening. Will you dare. I will not be there
to surround you w/the past w/my ways of
knowing—to save
you—shall you be saved—from what—
home from fighting are you, remembering how he or she or they looked at you
while you both fed the machine or built the trough in dirt
where it will be necessary to
plant again—will it open—will the earth open—will the seeds that remain—will you know to
find them in
time—will those who have their lock on you
let the openings which are
chance unknowing loneliness the unrelenting arms of
form, which knows not yet the form
it will in the end
be, open and
form? Will there be islands. Will there be a day where you can afford to think back far
enough to the way we loved you. Words you said
for the first time
as we said them. Mystery your grandfather said one day, after saying shhh listen to the
birds & you sat so still,
all your being arcing out to hear,
and the bird in its hiding place gave us this future, this moment today when you can recall—
can you—his saying, there,
that’s a mystery.
And you said the word as if it were new ground to stand on,
you uttered it to stand on it—
mystery. Yes, mystery he said. Yes mystery you said
talking to it now as it
took its step out of the shadow into the clearing and there you
saw it in the so-called in-
visible. Then when the wave broke the first time on what had seemed
terra firma and you knew as he held your hand
insisting you hold your ground
that there was foreclosure,
there was oldness of a kind you couldn’t fathom, and there was the terrifying
suddenness of the
now. Your mind felt for it. It felt the reach from an elsewhere and a dip which cannot hold.
Splash went the wave.
Your feet stood fast.
Your hem was touched.
We saw you watch.
We felt your hand grip
but not to move back.
Can you find that now now, wherever you are, even a candle would be a gift I know
from there. Shhh he said so you could hear it. Pity he said
not knowing to whom.
Pity you said, laughing, pity pity, and that was the day of
your being carried out
in spite of your cold, wrapped tight, to see the evening star. And he pointed. And you
looked up. And you took a breath I hear even now as I go
out—the inhalation of dark secrecy fear distance the reach into an almost-touching
of silence, of the thing that has no neighbors and never will, in you,
the center of which is noise,
the outermost a freezing you can travel his arm to with your gaze
till it’s there. The real. A star. The earth is your
home. No matter what they tell you now and what program you input via your chip or port
or faster yet, no, no, in that now I am not there
in, to point, to take your now large hand and say
look, look through these fronds,
hold your breath,
the deer hiding from the hunter is right here in our field,
it knows we are too,
it does not fear us.
Be still. Wait. And we, we
will be left behind.
Except just now. If you still once.
That you might remember.
Now. Remember now.

Against statistics, one death is the end of a whole world:

Four billion people on this earth
but my imagination is as it was.
It copes badly with great numbers,
moved only by the singlular.
– Wislawa Szymborska

I remember as well that in Navajo one of the greatest compliments is to say of another ‘he takes care of his relatives,’ where ‘relatives’ means not just other people but all aspects of creation… I offer, for instance, another part of the Bluehouse-Zion article, where they write about someone has has denied their ‘Navajo-ness’ by acting against Navajo teachings: “[This denial] is expressed in the maxim ‘He acts as if he had no relatives.’ A person who acts that way betrays solidarity and kinship; he or she is not behaving Navajo, and may behave in a ‘crazy’ way.’ There are two different world emerging here. There is the world I am learning about, where people will consider someone crazy if, for instance, he denies his relationship with rocks, and there is my own world, where will will call him crazy as soon as he does start talking to them!
– Rupert Ross, Returning to the Teachings

And I was afraid.
She frightens me
because she can knock me down with a word.
Because she does not know that writing is walking
on a dizzying silence
setting one word after the other on emptiness.
Writing is miraculous and terrifying
like the flight of a bird who has no wings
but flings itself out and only gets wings by flying.
– Hélène Cixous, The Book of Promethea

of a great need
we are all holding hands
and climbing.

Not loving is a letting go.

the terrain around here
far too
– Hafiz

Music is the literature of the heart;
it commences where speech ends.
– Alphonse de Lamartine

Even if the hopes you started out with are dashed, hope has to be maintained.
– Seamus Heaney

My whole being is a dark chant
which will carry you
perpetuating you
to the dawn of eternal growths and blossoming
in this chant I sighed you sighed
in this chantI grafted you to the tree
to the water to the fire.
– Forough Farrokhzaad, Another Birth

I have lots of things to teach you now,
in case we ever meet,
concerning the message that was transmitted to me
under a pine tree in North Carolina
on a cold winter moonlit night.
It said that Nothing Ever Happened, so don’t worry.
It’s all like a dream.
Everything is ecstasy, inside.
We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds.
But in our true blissful essence of mind is known
that everything is alright forever and forever and forever.
Close your eyes,
let your hands and nerve-ends drop,
stop breathing for 3 seconds,
listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world,
and you will remember the lesson you forgot,
which was taught in immense milky ways
of cloudy innumerable worlds
long ago and not even at all.
It is all one vast awakened thing.
I call it the golden eternity.
It is perfect.
We were never really born,
we will never really die.
It has nothing to do with the imaginary idea
of a personal self,
other selves,
many selves everywhere,
or one universal self.
Self is only an idea, a mortal idea.
That which passes through everything, is one thing.
It’s a dream already ended.
There’s nothing from staring at mountains months on end.
They never show any expression,
they are like empty space.
Do you think the emptiness of space will ever crumble away.
Mountains will crumble, but the emptiness of space,
which is the one universal essence of mind,
the one vast awakenerhood,
empty and awake,
will never crumble away because it was never born.
The world you see is just a movie in your mind.
– Jack Kerouac

And you’ll always love me, won’t you?
And the rain won’t make any difference?
– Ernest Hemingway

after the rain
a spider mends its net
with a rainbow
– Nedeljka Lupis