Commonplace Book XI

Your mind is a sponge.
Built to absorb what’s around you.
Creativity depends on there being a box
Of ideas and sounds, images and emotions
Stored away in your brain
That you can call up at will
To reshape in your own vision,
To mold some sense from this
Rubble and noise.
Open your mind wide enough
To let the world come in.
Make it a practice, a habit.
Because without it, your artistic and human desires are
Leaning against a wall that’s not there,
Trying to squeeze water from
A dry sponge.
– Darden Smith

We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.
– Santosh Kalwar

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
– Psalm 46:5

A common misconception is
The belief that thinking
Is the creation of thought.
Rather, it is
The reception of thought from
A source which has no name
And from a place that cannot be found.
Since one can’t decide to think
Nor can one decide
Thought’s contents,
Why does one
Claim their ownership?
Is every sound Wu Hsin’s because
He can hear them?
– Wu Hsin

We all laugh at cats chasing laser dots,
yet we spend a lifetime chasing thought!
Who looks silly now?
– Shinzen

The entire Dharma world is wondrously complete.
In one breath, you can get it all.
– Zen Sand

Spend more time thinking about what to focus on. It is much more important to work on the right thing than it is to work many hours.
– Sam Altman

It was the sun I prescribed for you, not the moon: we’re not owls, for heaven’s sake.
– George Sand to Gustave Flaubert

The first thing to realize, if you wish to become a philosopher, is that most people go through life with a whole world of beliefs that have no sort of rational justification, and that one man’s world of beliefs is apt to be incompatible with another man’s, so that they cannot both be right. People’s opinions are mainly designed to make them feel comfortable; truth, for most people is a secondary consideration.
– Bertrand Russell

It’s so difficult to be a human being. There are so many reasons to give up. To retreat into cynicism or despair. I hate to see that and I want to do something that makes people feel safe and loved and capable.
– Barry Lopez

Writing is making sense of life.
– Nadine Gordimer

The beginning is always today.
– Mary Shelley

Barry Lopez said we are pattern makers, and if our patterns are beautiful and full of grace they will be able to bring a person for whom the world has become broken and disorganized up off his knees and back to life.

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 Lopez

I am working on the vocabulary of my silence.
– Muriel Rukeyser

To Learn From Animal Being

Nearer to the earth’s heart,
Deeper within its silence:
Animals know this world
In a way we never will.

We who are ever
Distanced and distracted
By the parade of bright
Windows thought opens:
Their seamless presence
Is not fractured thus.

Stranded between time
Gone and time emerging,
We manage seldom
To be where we are:
Whereas they are always
Looking out from
The here and now.

May we learn to return
And rest in the beauty
Of animal being,
Learn to lean low,
Leave our locked minds,
And with freed senses
Feel the earth
Breathing with us.

May we enter
Into lightness of spirit,
And slip frequently into
The feel of the wild.

Let the clear silence
Of our animal being
Cleanse our hearts
Of corrosive words.

May we learn to walk
Upon the earth
With all their confidence
And clear-eyed stillness
So that our minds
Might be baptized
In the name of the wind
And the light and the rain.
– John O’Donohue

As the Rain Comes Down Harder

by Carl Phillips


That what you want
won’t be at all what the gods deliver.
Worse, that there are no gods,
there’s only intention—
what else explains
the power with which the escaped
falcon pulls skyward (but as if
through water, behind it) its bells
and jesses, its hood
for calming the fears that vision
always, it seems, brings
with it?

Or does fear, instructional
at last, clear a way
for vision?


He believes in heaven, what he calls
The Halo Bar—now and then, Club Halo.
He says sea foam’s more a mood, really, than a color.
He believes there’s a landscape inside the body that contains
the self, what gives to the body its own distinctiveness. Says
this accounts for how some people, seeing an abyss, see one more
thing to practice falling into, while others instead set up camp
beside it. Hard not to love that way of thinking,
or him, to be honest. When I actually told him so, once—
the part about him, I mean—he stayed quiet, at first; then he said
Each face wears fear differently. As if that were an answer. And maybe it was.
He says where he comes from the sign for peace can also mean
a swan, sleeping: he makes a fist with his left hand; with his right, he covers it.

December 24th

The world tonight is clear,
if only for an hour

Orion’s belt encircling us,
the far indigo ocean
thundering near

and I remember
rain the alley
no shortcut home.

– Rose Styron

Everything you can imagine is real.
– Pablo Picasso

There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.
– Mark Twain

Wings are freedom only when they are wide open in flight. On one’s back they are a heavy weight.
– Marina Tsvetaeva

The true depth of your Dhamma understanding can always be found in the quality of your ordinary life.
May all beings be happy.
– Michael Kewley

We may still encounter the adversities of karmic patterns calling us back to cultivate or maintain the continuum of a mundane samsaric view. It is essential to develop a confidence that can withstand the constant, magnetic quality of this karmic impulse.
– Khandro Rinpoche

by Tony Hoagland
I feel as if we opened a book about great ocean voyages
and found ourselves on a great ocean voyage:
sailing through December, around the horn of Christmas
and into the January Sea, and sailing on and on
in a novel without a moral but one in which
all the characters who died in the middle chapters
make the sunsets near the book’s end more beautiful.
And someone is spreading a map upon a table,
and someone is hanging a lantern from the stern,
and someone else says, “I’m only sorry
that I forgot my blue parka; It’s turning cold.”
Sunset like a burning wagon train
Sunrise like a dish of cantaloupe
Clouds like two armies clashing in the sky;
Icebergs and tropical storms,
That’s the kind of thing that happens on our ocean voyage —
And in one of the chapters I was blinded by love
And in another, anger made us sick like swallowed glass
& I lay in my bunk and slept for so long,
I forgot about the ocean,
Which all the time was going by, right there, outside my cabin window.
And the sides of the ship were green as money,
and the water made a sound like memory when we sailed.
Then it was summer. Under the constellation of the swan,
under the constellation of the horse.
At night we consoled ourselves
By discussing the meaning of homesickness.
But there was no home to go home to.
There was no getting around the ocean.
We had to go on finding out the story
by pushing into it —
The sea was no longer a metaphor.
The book was no longer a book.
That was the plot.
That was our marvelous punishment.

Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind snow, should numb and cover them. But they were a part of me. They were my landscape.
– Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.
– Leo Buscaglia

We are leaving the sweet fields and the frontiers of our country:
we are fleeing our country: you, Tityrus, idling in the shade,
teach the woods to echo ‘lovely Amaryllis’.
– Virgil, Eclogue 1

…so as not to miss this transformation of life–everyday life–into literature. I’m always listening for it, in every conversation … a “fragment of literature” may sparkle into sight at any moment, even in the most unexpected places.’
– Svetlana Alexievich, tr. Bela Shayevich

Is it possible to see a new beauty in what is vanishing?
– Walter Benjamin

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the Love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them…
– Hebrews 6:10.

by Catherine Johnson
You can’t quite see it yet—so small
it could be a chemoton—
but it claims to have hope, it claims
to know things you don’t,
if you could only find it
maybe this camping trip was worth it after all
even the tent not quite anchored—
a missing stake
after so many years in the basement—
even your telescope outdated
heavier than it needs to be—
but you point it at the stars hoping
to see the first conjunction
of Saturn and Jupiter in eight hundred
years as if to pretend
you’re not still quarantined
if you can see something
that doesn’t depend on anything
you can do but simply
is itself, marvelous and constant,
whether you are here or not. Finally,
it appears—and you think you can even
see the four moons around Jupiter’s
rings. You congratulate yourself—
you’re Galileo! And later, when you find
the rogue stake lodged underneath
a box of vinyl records you wonder
it if imagines itself as a needle
on a flat earth
playing everything at once.

Song of Hope
by Charles Bertram Johnson

Day is at the gate,
I am risen late;
Clouds laze in the air,
Clouds sleep on the grass;
I have song to spare
Till the shadows pass.

Day is at the noon,
No thread of bow or moon;
Rain is in the air,
Drenched and limp the grass;
I have song to spare
Till the shadows pass.

Day is at the close,
Faith no logic knows;
Rain-clouds blur the air,
All the world is dun;
I have song to spare
Till to-morrow’s sun.

Intellect and love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and
risks everything.
Intellect is always cautious and advices:
‘Beware too much ecstasy’,
whereas love says: ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’
Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.
– Shams Tabrizi

Love Songs

Spawn of fantasies
Sifting the appraisable
Pig Cupid his rosy snout
Rooting erotic garbage
“Once upon a time”
Pulls a weed white star-topped
Among wild oats sown in mucous membrane
I would an eye in a Bengal light
Eternity in a sky-rocket
Constellations in an ocean
Whose rivers run no fresher
Than a trickle of saliva

These are suspect places

I must live in my lantern
Trimming subliminal flicker
Virginal to the bellows
Of experience
Colored glass.


At your mercy
Our Universe
Is only
A colorless onion
You derobe
Sheath by sheath
A disheartening odour
About your nervy hands


Heavy with shut-flower’s nightmares
Curled to the solitaire
Core of the


Evolution fall foul of
Sexual equality
Prettily miscalculate

Unnatural selection
Breed such sons and daughters
As shall jibber at each other
Uninterpretable cryptonyms
Under the moon

Give them some way of braying brassily
For caressive calling
Or to homophonous hiccoughs
Transpose the laugh
Let them suppose that tears
Are snowdrops or molasses
Or anything
Than human insufficiences
Begging dorsal vertebrae

Let meeting be the turning
To the antipodean
And Form a blur
Than to seduce them
To the one
As simple satisfaction
For the other


Shuttle-cock and battle-door
A little pink-love
And feathers are strewn


Let Joy go solace-winged
To flutter whom she may concern


Once in a mezzanino
The starry ceiling
Vaulted an unimaginable family
Bird-like abortions
With human throats
And Wisdom’s eyes
Who wore lamp-shade red dresses
And woolen hair

One bore a baby
In a padded porte-enfant
Tied with a sarsenet ribbon
To her goose’s wings

But for the abominable shadows
I would have lived
Among their fearful furniture
To teach them to tell me their secrets
Before I guessed
— Sweeping the brood clean out


Midnight empties the street
— — — To the left a boy
— One wing has been washed in rain
The other will never be clean any more —
Pulling door-bells to remind
Those that are snug
To the right a haloed ascetic
Threading houses
Probes wounds for souls
— The poor can’t wash in hot water —
And I don’t know which turning to take —


We might have coupled
In the bed-ridden monopoly of a moment
Or broken flesh with one another
At the profane communion table
Where wine is spill’t on promiscuous lips

We might have given birth to a butterfly
With the daily-news
Printed in blood on its wings


In some
Prenatal plagiarism
Foetal buffoons
Caught tricks
— — — — —
From archetypal pantomime
Stringing emotions
Looped aloft
— — — —
For the blind eyes
That Nature knows us with
And most of Nature is green
— — — — — — — — — — — —


Green things grow
For the cerebral
Forager’s revival
And flowered flummery
Upon bossed bellies
Of mountains
Rolling in the sun


Shedding our petty pruderies
From slit eyes

We sidle up
To Nature
— — — that irate pornographist


The wind stuffs the scum of the white street
Into my lungs and my nostrils
Exhilarated birds
Prolonging flight into the night
Never reaching — — — — —— — —

Ideas are substitutes for sorrows; when the latter change into ideas they lose part of their noxious action on our hearts and even at the first instant their very transformation disengages a feeling of joy.
– Marcel Proust, Time Regained

Part of Me Wanting Everything to Live
This New England kind of love reminds me
of the potted chrysanthemum my husband
gave me. I cared for it faithfully,
turning the pot a quarter turn each day
as it sat by the window. Until the blossoms
hung with broken necks on the dry stems.
Cut off the dead parts and watched
green leaves begin, new buds open.
Thinking the chrysanthemum would not die
unless I forced it to. The new flowers
were smaller and smaller, resembling
little eyes awake and alone in the dark.
I was offended by the lessening,
by the heap renewal. By a going on
that gradually left the important behind.
But now it’s different. I want the large
and near, and endings more final. If it must
be winter, let it be absolutely winter.
– Linda Gregg

Stories do not give instruction, they do not explain how to love a companion or how to find God. They offer, instead, patterns of sound and associations, of event and image. Suspended as listeners and readers in these patterns, we might reimagine our lives. It is through story that we embrace the great breadth of memory, that we can distinguish what is true, and that we may glimpse, at least occasionally, how to live without despair in the midst of the horror that dogs and unhinges us.
– Barry Lopez

To inquire into the intricacies of a distant landscape, then, is to provoke thoughts about one’s own interior landscape, and the familiar landscapes of memory. The land urges us to come around to an understanding of ourselves.
– Barry Lopez

I could not give up either of these worlds, neither the book I am holding nor the gleaming forest, though I have told you almost nothing of what is said here on these grim pages, from the sentences of which I’ve conjured images of a bleak site years ago. Here in this room, I suppose, is to be found the interior world of the book; but it opens upon a world beyond the windows, where no event has been collapsed into syntax, where the vocabulary, it seems, is infinite. The indispensable connection for me lies with the open space (of the open window ajar year round, never closed) that lets the breath of every winter storm, the ripping wind and its pelting rain, enter the room.
– Barry Lopez

I made myself pay attention to places where I thought nothing was going on, and then after a while, the landscape materialized in a fuller way. Its expression was deeper and broader than I had first imagined that at first glance.
– Barry Lopez

Experience—mystifying, overwhelming, conscious, subconscious—rolls over everybody. We try to adapt, to learn, to accommodate, sometimes resisting, other times submitting to, whatever confronts us. But writers go further: they take this largely shapeless bewilderment and pour it into a mould of their own devising. Writing is all resistance. Which can be a handsome and even a useful, activity–on the page. But, in my experience, turns out to be a pretty hopeless practice for real life. In real life, submission and resistance have no real shape.
– Zadie Smith

He could quote many wise men; if only he had been wiser when it came to her.
– Greg Sellers

You think you will never forget any of this, you will remember it always just the way it was. But you can’t remember it the way it was. To know it, you have to be living in the presence of it right as it is happening. It can return only by surprise. Speaking of these things tells you that there are no words for them that are equal to them or that can restore them to your mind. And so you have a life that you are living only now, now and now and now, gone before you can speak of it, and you must be thankful for living day by day, moment by moment, in this presence.

But you have a life too that you remember. It stays with you. You have lived a life in the breath and pulse and living light of the present, and your memories of it, remember now, are of a different life in a different world and time. When you remember the past, you are not remembering it as it was. You are remembering it as it is. It is a vision or a dream, present with you in the present, alive with you in the only time you are alive.
– Wendell Berry

An Era of Emergencies is bearing down on us. At the heart of the lifework of many artists I have known is a simple but profound statement: ‘I object.’ I have studied what we have done to the planet and I object
– Barry Lopez

Poets build circuit that generates clean, limitless art from language.
– Gregory Betts

Addressing climate change requires *whole systems* to shift, not just one piece.

That means individual actions, alone, aren’t enough.

But that’s *also* true of national policies — alone, they aren’t enough.

Changing policy alone won’t address climate change either.

For entire systems to change, we need changes at *all the levels* of a system — including individuals, communities, businesses, and policy (especially at local scales, driven by coordinated national direction).

That’s why individual actions, business shifts, activism, and actions across local / state / national level *all* matter.

It’s a system. And systems change means the whole thing changes, not just one piece.
– Dr. Jonathan Foley

all programmes minimised
the blue sky of my screen-saver
prompts me to look
out there


morning yoga: when I bend into triangle, a star slides into view


the pleasure of painting a narrow white line across the Buddha’s eyelid


the morning after all those conversations, I awake early with my head swirling. did I miss anything? did I do okay?

– Satya Robyn, a small stone

A poem is an interruption of silence, whereas prose is a continuation of noise,” the poet Billy Collins once said. Poets and lyrically minded prose writers see the written word rather as Quaker worship sees the spoken word: they think it more powerful if it emerges out of and is separated by silence. Writing and reading online, we struggle to find this silence out of which words can materialise and be contemplated. There is too much speaking and reacting, and not enough listening and reflecting.
– Joe Moran


Last thing at night
he steps outside to breathe
the smell of winter.

The stars, so shy in summer,
glare down
from a huge emptiness.

In a huge silence he listens
for small sounds. His eyes
are filled with friendliness.

What’s history to him?
He’s an emblem of it
in its pure state.

And proves it. He goes inside.
The door closes and the light
dies in the window.

– Norman MacCaig

Ah! Sun-flower

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done.

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

– William Blake

From My Window

An old man leaning on a gate
Over a London mews — to contemplate —
Is it the sky above — the stones below?
Is it remembrance of the years gone by,
Or thinking forward to futurity
That holds him so?

Day after day he stands,
Quietly folded are the quiet hands,
Rarely he speaks.
Hath he so near the hour when Time shall end,
So much to spend?
What is it he seeks?

Whate’er he be,
He is become to me
A form of rest.
I think his heart is tranquil, from it springs
A dreamy watchfulness of tranquil things,
And not unblest.

– Mary Coleridge

Not allowing people to go through their pain, and protecting them from it, may turn out to be a kind of over-protection, which in turn implies a certain lack of respect for the integrity and the intrinsic nature and the future development of the individual.
– Abraham H. Maslow

Good does not become better by being exaggerated, but worse, and a small evil becomes a big one through being disregarded and repressed.
– CG Jung

The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.
– Marcus Aurelius


I will continue to clench my jaw
I will continue to see
a horse in all things
I will not be able to ride the horse
it is wild
it knows better
than to take the bit.

– Kyla Houbolt

Searching for the Friend
By Lalla

I wearied myself searching for the friend
With efforts beyond my strength
I came to the door
And saw how powerfully the locks were bolted
And the longing in me became that strong
And then I saw that I was gazing from within the presence
Only after that waiting and giving up all trying
Did Lalla flow out from where I knelt

Gently I weep for my mind,
caught in its illusion of ownership.
Mind, you’re not who you think you are.
You’re dancing over a pit.
Soon you’ll fall through,
And these things, you’ve valued
And collected will be left behind.

Find out what makes you kinder,
what opens you up
and brings out the most loving, generous,
and unafraid version of you—
and go after those things
as if nothing else matters.
Because, actually, nothing else does.
– George Saunders

To a large extent, the problems of poets are the problems of painters and poets must often turn to the literature of painting for a discussion of their own problems.
– Wallace Stevens

Song Out Here
by Juan Felipe Herrera

if i could sing

i’d say everything you know

from here on the street can you turn around

just for once i am here

right behind you

what is that flag what is it made of

maybe it’s too late i have

too many questions where did it all come from

what colors is it all made of everything

everything here in the subways

there are so many things and voices

we are going somewhere but i just don’t know


but i just don’t know


do you know where that is i want to sing

so you can hear me and maybe you can tell me

where to go so you can hear me and just maybe

you can tell me where to go

all those hands and legs and faces going places

if i could sing

you would hear me and i would tell you

it’s gonna be alright

it’s gonna be alright

it’s gonna be alright it would be something like that

can you turn around so i can look into your eyes

just for once your eyes

maybe like hers can you see her

and his can you see them i want you to see them

all of us we could be together

if i could sing we would go there

we would run there together

we would live there for a while in that tilted
tiny house by the ocean rising up inside of us

i am on the curb next to a curled up cat

smoking i know its bad for you but

you know how it is just for once can you turn around

a straight line falling behind you it’s me i want to sing

invincible bleeding out with love

just for you

Moreover, the Moon —
by Mina Loy

Face of the skies
over our wonder.

truant of heaven
draw us under.

Silver, circular corpse
your decease
infects us with unendurable ease,

touching nerve-terminals
to thermal icicles

Coercive as coma, frail as bloom
innuendoes of your inverse dawn
suffuse the self;
our every corpuscle become an elf.

Avoid bad people. And also avoid good people. These are one and the same.
– Violet Zen

Gregory Mansfield:
The vulnerability of disabled people is not merely an outgrowth of disability.

All too often, it is a consequence of ableism.

We do not need allies who are more devoted to order than to justice.
– Dr. Martin Luther King

People think mathematics is complicated. Mathematics is the simple bit. It’s the stuff we can understand. It’s cats that are complicated.
– John Horton Conway

Every failed projection is a quantum of energy, our energy, an agenda for growth or healing, and a task that has come back to us. Can we bear to take the step to own the projection, see that its agenda may not be realistic, may be infantile?
– James Hollis

Come to me now: loose me from hard
care and all my heart longs
to accomplish, accomplish. You
be my ally.
– Sappho

Antidotes to Fear of Death

Sometimes as an antidote
To fear of death,
I eat the stars.

Those nights, lying on my back,
I suck them from the quenching dark
Til they are all, all inside me,
Pepper hot and sharp.

Sometimes, instead, I stir myself
Into a universe still young,
Still warm as blood:

No outer space, just space,
The light of all the not yet stars
Drifting like a bright mist,
And all of us, and everything
Already there
But unconstrained by form.

And sometime it’s enough
To lie down here on earth
Beside our long ancestral bones:

To walk across the cobble fields
Of our discarded skulls,
Each like a treasure, like a chrysalis,
Thinking: whatever left these husks
Flew off on bright wings.

– Rebecca Elson

Please be careful with the temptation to despair. Choose people to be around who believe we are not looking at The End now, dark though the skies are. We are looking hard at new alternatives.
– Natalie Dickter

Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.
– Brad Henry

earnest tweet: there is absolutely nothing i envy and feel an unlived nostalgia for more than people who find a home in their families. whew.
– Marissa Higgins

A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
– George Bernard Shaw

The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.
– Lee Iacocca

Nick Ripatrazone:
When asked what our culture most needs, Barry Lopez once said: “We’re afraid to be in love. We’re afraid to be in love with each other, afraid to be in love with the earth, in love with God.

Publication was a form of punishment.
– Enrique Vila-Matas

The poem is not the heart’s cry
(Though it seems to be if you have craft enough)
The poem is made to carry the heart’s cry

– Lew Welch, For Joseph Kepecs

It is not enough to be busy… The question is: what are we busy about?
– H. D. Threau

Barry Lopez interview by Bill Moyers:

I interviewed him in 2010. Barry Lopez is someone whose curiosity about the world, and pursuit of it, have set the gold standard for all of us whose work it is to explain those things we don’t understand.

I’m not writing about nature,” he told me. “I’m writing about humanity. And if I have a subject, it is justice. And the rediscovery of the manifold way in which our lives can be shaped by the recovery of a sense of reverence for life.

On the Purpose of Writing
June 1, 2011

For most of my writing life I’ve been driven, like other writers and artists, to explore. The shape this took from the start was geographical, bibliographical, and conversational—I traveled widely, read voraciously, and sought out stimulating conversation. Central to the ideas I developed about what it means to be a writer was the need to remain conscious of the voices I encountered while traveling, reading, and conversing. The voices from two communities, in particular, held my attention: the circle of artists and writers with whom I felt the greatest creative camaraderie, and the group of people—family, friends, mentors, professional colleagues—to whom I felt most beholden. This latter group eventually came to include readers interested in the sorts of things I was trying to illuminate, people with whom I imagine I share a common fate.


A dangerous bit of American folklore is that our social, environmental, and political problems, which grow more ominous by the day, call for the healing touch of a genius. They do, but if we’re intent on waiting for some such remarkable individual to show up we can count on disappointment. The solution to what threatens us, however, is already here, in another form. It’s in our diverse communities. Most often we recognize the quality of genius in an individual man or woman; but the source of that genius lies with the complicated network of carefully tended relationships that sets a vibrant human community apart from a solely political community.

What this has meant for me as a writer, in the simplest terms, is that if you want to be of use in the world, it’s good to pay attention to what others already know.


If I were to offer any advice to young writers, it would be this: be discriminating and be discerning about the work you set for yourself. That done, be the untutored traveler, the eager reader, the enthusiastic listener. Put what you learn together carefully, and then write thoughtfully, with respect both for the reader and your sources.


In conversations over the years with other writers and artists about what we’re actually supposed to be doing, I’ve been struck by how often, deep down, the talk becomes a quest for the same mysterious thing. Underneath the particular image in question, the particular short story or musical composition, we’re looking for a source of hope. When a conversation about each other’s work doesn’t pivot on professional jargon or drift toward the logistics of career management, when it’s instead deferential and accommodating, we’re sometimes able to locate a kind of rosetta stone, a key to living well with the vexing and intractable nature of human life. If any wisdom emerges in these conversations, it offers sudden clarification. It’s the Grail shimmer. You feel it, and you can’t wait to get to work.


It’s a cliché, certainly, to say an artist or a writer should lead a questing life. It’s less often acknowledged, however, that in pursuing such a quest, a person frequently leaves behind a trail of at least minor injustices. I believe an artist has to remind herself or himself, in other words, that when you write or paint or compose music, you draw in mysterious ways on the courtesy and genius of the community. It is this sensitivity to gifts welling up unbidden, this awareness of the fate of the community, no matter how ego-driven or self-absorbed a writer or artist might become, and no matter how singular the work, that divides art from commerce.

In traditional communities all over the world, this ethic of communal reciprocity, in my experience, is what separates acts of selfishness from the work of leadership. The role of the artist, in part, is to develop the conversations, the stories, the drawings, the films, the music—the expressions of awe and wonder and mystery—that remind us, especially in our worst times, of what is still possible, of what we haven’t yet imagined. And it is by looking to one another, by attending to the responsibilities of maintaining good relations in whatever we do, that communities turn a gathering darkness into light.

Stars have a secret.
They are always falling
into orbits of glory.
They do not attempt to fly.
Darkness itself is their wing.
If you don’t believe me
you are still trying
not to sink.
Plunge more deeply
into the womb of night
and you will draw very near
to the radiance
of your Birth.
– Fred LaMotte

A mystery so profound that none of us really seems to grasp it until it has indisputably grasped us, is that some force transcendent to ordinary consciousness is at work within us to bring about our ego’s overthrow.
– James Hollis

Yes, the sky is entangled with the soil, so that to scratch the ground a little is to unearth more sky. And this confusion, this tragic gift, affords us a chance to be humbled, to fall to earth, and find treasures in places we never knew to look.
– Bayo Akomolafe

My poet-self is a protective pawn
put before the King, who is Shams,
whose light changes every being to an ocean, and every body to a coral reef.
– Rumi

If not ignored, nature will cultivate in the gardener a sense of well-being and peace. The gardener may find deeper meaning in life by paying attention to the parables of the garden. Nature teaches quiet lessons to the gardener who chooses to live within the paradigm of the garden.
– Norman H. Hansen

By my intimacy with nature I find myself withdrawn from man. My interest in the sun and the moon, in the morning and the evening, compels me to solitude.
– Henry David Thoreau

Beata Solitudo

What land of Silence,
Where pale stars shine
On apple-blossom
And dew-drenched vine,
Is yours and mine?

The silent valley
That we will find,
Where all the voices
Of humankind
Are left behind.

There all forgetting,
Forgotten quite,
We will repose us,
With our delight
Hid out of sight.

The world forsaken,
And out of mind
Honour and labour,
We shall not find
The stars unkind.

And men shall travail,
And laugh and weep;
But we have vistas
Of gods asleep,
With dreams as deep.

A land of Silence,
Where pale stars shine
On apple-blossoms
And dew-drenched vine,
Be yours and mine!

– Ernest Dowson, Verses (1896). “Beata solitudo” may be translated as “blessed solitude.”

Something no more miraculous than a cup of coffee is enough transcendence for one day.
– Wallace Shawn

Soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day … we become seekers.
– Peter Matthiessen

I know nothing else but miracles …
To me every hour of the light and dark is
a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth
is spread with miracles,
Every foot of the interior swarms with miracles.
– Walt Whitman

He is conducting the affairs
Of the whole universe
While throwing wild parties
In a tree house – on a limb
In your heart.
– Hafiz

Billia Croo
by Alec Finlay

culture is richest where there’s
the greatest ratio
land : coast
– After Barry Cunliffe

this patch of the western
ocean’s coruscating garden

recalls my favorite song
(mishearing) the sea’s very hum-

drum … — but no, there’s not
one ocean, not when such an

infinite mix of blues can
outshine the map’s cerulean

the sea is there for a solan
to push his wings against

or plunge in, reinventing
the medium — when the light

comes right through them
the waves let slip wrack

and tangle, pitching round
until they go breaking on

the boulder beach, crashing
under Row Head, hassling

brittlestars and urchins, or splash
near the shelducks dozing

on their green sun shelf — 
there’s no need to worry

that any wave is wasted
when there’s all this motion

along the bay there’s
the promise of a new world

from each new device connect-
ed to the cable that runs

out under the wild rocks,
into the diamond space

inside those three buoys — 
this is where the metal

gets salt-wet: and that’s
the only true test — the problem

is elastic: what kind of roots
will grip fast with moorings

subject to ebb, flood, flux,
in a surge of such force?

what’s solid was once liquid
as with rock and sand

which nature divided — 
like us — these waves were

tugged and formed, in
slowness, slowness that

we’ve lost, for there’s no
way to relearn the tide’s

happy knack of infinitesimal
growth, except by sloshing

around, or waiting, stranded,
on the heave of the moon

The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.
– Okakura Kakuzo

jane shi:
A chat with a pal the other day reminded me that visibility is not freedom, that creating content for big tech apps isn’t a sustainable or desirable way to be creative.

The “higher” you vibe, the more you shape your environment.

The “lower” you vibe, the more your environment shapes you.

– Inner Practicioner

Janel Cubbage:
Resilience as a concept often places too much onus on an individuals perceived shortcomings to deal with the outside world. We attempt to help people “adapt better” to an unjust and cruel world rather than trying to improve the world and make it a place worth living

It is with freedom from dogma, I think, that the meaning of the words “the celebration of life” becomes clear.
– Barry Lopez, Of Wolves and Men

Simple ideas from a simple person are often ignored

Simple ideas from an ‘important’ person are hailed as genius

We should always pay more attention to the message

Not the messenger.

– Success Theory

Brennan Bestwick:
Kate Bush’s voice saying, “I just know that something good is gonna happen. I don’t know when, but just saying it could even make it happen” on a loop, in my head, this entire, challenging year.

This Is Not a Small Voice
by Sonia Sanchez

This is not a small voice
you hear this is a large
voice coming out of these cities.
This is the voice of LaTanya.
Kadesha. Shaniqua. This
is the voice of Antoine.
Darryl. Shaquille.
Running over waters
navigating the hallways
of our schools spilling out
on the corners of our cities and
no epitaphs spill out of their river mouths.

This is not a small love
you hear this is a large
love, a passion for kissing learning
on its face.
This is a love that crowns the feet with hands
that nourishes, conceives, feels the water sails
mends the children,
folds them inside our history where they
toast more than the flesh
where they suck the bones of the alphabet
and spit out closed vowels.
This is a love colored with iron and lace.
This is a love initialed Black Genius.

This is not a small voice
you hear.

People think mathematics is complicated. Mathematics is the simple bit. It’s the stuff we can understand. It’s cats that are complicated.
– John Horton Conway

An Era of Emergencies is bearing down on us. At the heart of the lifework of many artists I have known is a simple but profound statement: ‘I object.’ I have studied what we have done to the planet and I object.
– Barry Lopez.

Robert Reich:
My thoughts on cancel culture:

Let’s start with student debt, rent, for-profit health care, the Electoral College, the death penalty, and billionaires.

It is really not so repulsive to see the poor asking for money as to see the rich asking for more money.
– G. K. Chesterton

For the whole modern world is absolutely based on the assumption, not that the rich are necessary (which is tenable), but that the rich are trustworthy, which (for a Christian) is not tenable. You will hear everlastingly, in all discussions about newspapers, companies, aristocracies, or party politics, this argument that the rich man cannot be bribed. The fact is, of course, that the rich man is bribed; he has been bribed already. That is why he is a rich man.
– G. K. Chesterton

Do you know who reads my books? Not the academic people, oh no, they think they know everything already. It’s ordinary people, often quite poor people. And why do they do it? Because there’s a deep need in the world just now for spiritual guidance…
– C.G. Jung


Jung encouraged his patients to induce visions in a waking state as he had learned to do in his experiments in consciousness. He even suggested to some of them that they could produce their own Red Books. Christiana Morgan, who consulted with him in 1926, recorded Jung telling her:

I should advise you to put it all down as beautifully as you can – in some beautifully bound book…When these things are in some precious book you can go to the book & turn over the pages & for you it will be your church – your cathedral – the silent places of your spirit where you will find renewal. If anyone tells you that it is morbid or neurotic and you listen to them – then you will lose your soul – for that book is your soul.

– Carl Jung, July 8, 1926 analysis notebooks in Courtway Library of Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Some days it feels like a foreign language
I’m asked to practice, with new words
for happiness, work, and love. I’m still learning
how to say: a cup of tea for no reason,
what to call the extra honey I drizzle in,
how to label the relentless urge to do more
and more as poison. And how to translate
the heart’s pounding message when it comes:
enough, enough. This morning, I search for words
to capture the glimmering sun as it lifts
above the mountains, clouds already closing in
as fat droplets of rain darken the deck.
I’m learning to call this stillness self-care too,
just standing here, watching goldfinches
scatter up from around the feeder like pieces
of bright yellow stained-glass, reassembling
in the sheltering arms of a maple.
– James Crews

We have a fictional “I” that we try to love and protect. We spend most of our life playing this futile game. “What will happen? How will it go? Will I get something out of it?” I, I, I—it’s a mind game of illusion, and we are lost in it.
– Charlotte Joko Beck

If you can act your way out of it, it’s class. If you can’t, it’s caste.
– Isabel Wilkerson

what opened your eyes, what first broke through the lies? shocked you into a new awareness of systemic corruption, made you realize it goes deeper than you’d thought?

were you very young? or was it just recently? sometime in between?

did you get to have a period of innocence? how many years or decades did it last for?

did your race ‘protect’ you from seeing the truth? your class, gender, able-bodiedness, ability to pass as straight and/or otherwise compliant with the standards by which people are granted social and economic power?

is it a process of revelation still unfolding for you?
– Lauren Worsh

As I look back on my life, there is one thing I have consistently despised: abuse of power. Abuse of parental power, abuse of economic power, abuse of spiritual power, abuse of political power. I don’t care if it comes from the right, or the left, or the centre. Abuse of power is always a crime against humanity. And there is no chance that we will heal the rifts between us, or co-create the inclusive world I long for, until it becomes extinct.
– Jeff Brown

I’ve dropped my Brain — My Soul is numb —
The Veins that used to run
Stop palsied — ’tis Paralysis
Done perfecter on stone

Vitality is Carved and cool.
My nerve in Marble lies —
A Breathing Woman
Yesterday — Endowed with Paradise.

1088, 1865

– Emily Dickinson

I took your silence as I took the anguish in your face,
as part of the effort to move—
It seemed I stood forever, holding out my hand.
And all that time, you could no more heal yourself
than I could accept what I saw.
– Louise Glück, Seated Figure

No writer should have to endure the life of a writer.
– Gabe Hudson

If your heart is volcano, how shall the flowers bloom?
– Khalil Gibran

Writing is, literally, brain surgery.
– Mark Leyner

That we think of life as a series of substantial happenings hanging from a historical timeline is a fantastic cognitive hallucination. Roger Ebert’s last words…seem to describe it most appropriately: ‘This is all an elaborate hoax.’
– Bernardo Kastrup

Do you ever worry you might be a narcissist? Then you probably aren’t. Narcissists aren’t very self-reflective. So don’t worry, you’re probably just an asshole, a jackass, an asshat, maybe a beeotch, or quite possibly, a jerkface. Luckily these are treatable conditions.
– Andre Duff McDuffey

Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.
– Steve Maraboli

Love Dogs
One night a man was crying,
Allah! Allah!
His lips grew sweet with the praising,
until a cynic said,
“So! I have heard you
calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?”
The man had no answer to that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage.
“Why did you stop praising?”
“Because I’ve never heard anything back.”
“This longing
you express is the return message.”
The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.
There are love dogs
no one knows the names of.
Give your life
to be one of them.
– Rumi

My dear Marianne,

Forgive my long silence. I have not even spoken to myself.

– Leonard Cohen, letter to Marianne, February 15, 1961

Mathias Svalina:
Word just told me to change “polyrhythmically” to “polyrhythmic ally.” And so I did.

Michael Barone:
I’ll choose character, heart,
Spirituality, integrity, & humility
Over materialistic items
Every single time.

Be aware of the words you use. Each word carries its own energy. Use the power of words and their positive energy to increase your vibrational frequency.
– Divine Conscious

Yolo Akili:
Big hearts require even bigger boundaries.

I write in part to change myself, to get ideas off of me. I don’t believe in them after writing them because I’ve already moved to a new conception of things.
– Susan Sontag

Writing is lonely, it’s an intimate talk with the dead, with the unborn, with the absent, with strangers.
– Rebecca Solnit

Visions alone don’t produce results, but we’ll never produce results that we can’t envision or that we don’t like when we do envision them.
– Donella Meadows, What Would the World Be if There Were No Hunger?

Bruce Cockburn:
They wake up suddenly in the night
There is light
Figures dancing in the sky
Clothed in more colours than the world can contain
All the silences of the night leap in song
Like that of a river cascading from the wild mountain to the slow human plain
Gloria! Gloria in the highest!

Capitalists will tell me Socialism is an unattainable fictional utopia and then describe a completely fabricated idealized version of capitalism that has never existed.

Andrea Gibson:

In any moment
on any given day
I can measure
my wellness
by this question:

Is my attention on loving
or is my attention on
who isn’t loving me?

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
Designing an economy to produce profit and hoping that economy will produce health seems a little simple minded to be honest.

David Ulin:
I like every book to include its own refutation, but hidden. … I like it to include what denies it, to self-destruct.

Kathy Flaherty:
You have the right to say all kinds of things. With that right comes the responsibility to deal with the consequences. Those consequences will vary, depending on what kinds of things you’ve chosen to say. A tough, but important, lesson to learn.

If I have some important thing to say,
I hope I live here long enough
To say it gracefully…
In the space between seasons,
Which is one night in a life,
The corn beats inside its stalks…
The clouds become enormous and have names.
⁠- Lucie Brock-Broido

How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s 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.
– Barry Lopez

Winter had layered /
his mind, had layered hers, too, /
Drifts no spring will thaw
– Greg Sellers

Lying cheek against the warm slump of her biceps, I am perceiving myself as she sees me,
– Walker Percy

I also am other than what I imagine myself to be. To know this is forgiveness.
– Simone Weil, Void and Compensation

Grace is always present. You imagine it as something high in the sky, far away, something that has to descend. It is really inside you, in your heart. When the mind rests in its source, grace rushes forth, sprouting as from a spring within you.
– Ramana Maharshi

The waters that I give shall be a spring inside you bubbling up into everlasting life.
– John 4:14

If you live your life out of memory, you live out of your history. That’s what once was. If you live out of your imagination, you live out of your potential. That’s what can be.
– Unknown


I’m set to go, here at last.

Pack up my beleaguered brain, fill myself

with glories of going home.

Just as my ancestors, I’m starting in the east

coldhearted and coast-lonely,

to cross fields and plains,

come up again to that mountain. I will

find my people inside, all coffee and dominoes,

smiling to tell me that the pansies

have sprouted in this fine spring weather.

And here is my father, resplendent in his overalls,

soft in his work gloves. His ruddy skin,

rough from years of work and sun,

smells of cinnamon and dirt and books.

Kissing his cheek is like singing a hymn.

His hands are so big, he circles fingers around my wrist

and cups my own hand against his hollowed palm.

And where is my sister? The wild eyed warrior

whose blonde hair stood in nests as a girl?

I cannot feel my feet until she is squeezing me tight

telling me my face is droopy from the journey.

We’ll pick up the conversation we’ve left off-

the one started as children in the deep night.

And what of the sisters and brothers never born?

No nicknames for the ones unsat on picnic blankets.

Maybe they’re meeting down by the creek at dusk,

playing ghost games with the hickory sticks

we’ve long since abandoned.

On the shelf, with the pewter creamer,

Piles the dust of the deaths we’ve collected,

the names kept safely under tongues

to stitch through our grief songs.

And joining, maybe, each columbine

that didn’t pace with the garden bed.

This is my Thanksgiving.

Did you think it would be an autumn poem?

No. It is a family poem, an earth poem…

it’s the truest poem I know how to make.

It bristles my heart and sings the wounds there.

This poem goes on and on forever,

there’s no proper way to end it.

My life is tied up inside it all and so I won’t say here finished

but rather, until you return with grass blades on your feet…

– Lydia Renfro

A humming exodus is now underway – snaking its way through flatlands of despair, prairies of joy, and swamplands of uncertainty. We are exiting the regimes that were built on our sweat and limb; the systems that silenced the melodies of a shared meal; the mass culture that taught our children that they were never enough; the ideologies that made us replaceable parts of an anonymous quest for frozen freedom; the trickle down politics of pyramid schemes and distant gods.

Our journey is urgent, and so we have placed the swift and the strong at the back…and the frail, the toddling, the elderly, the slow, the ‘uncultured’, the ‘unfettered’, ahead of us – for we’ve long realized that, unlike the exodus of that legendary age, our quest is not for ‘new lands’ flowing with milk and honey. Our quest is for new ways of noticing. And unlike that ancient collective, our form is not a stretching line, but a dancing circle. In our stuttering, bovine steps, we will unravel new continents beneath our feet, subtle worlds with wild treasures; in festivities of love and spontaneous surrender, we will dance new worlds into our reckoning. A humming exodus is now underway, and our home lies in the shimmering distance: the kind traversed with an embrace.
– Bayo Akomolafe

If we want to save the world, we’re going to have to stop working.
– David Graeber

The way to love anything is to realise it might be lost.
– G K Chesterton

honestly, friendships rooted in some shared hatreds (alongside shared loves) have such a strong, wild energy
– Chen Chen

Life is a process. We are a process. The universe is a process.
– Anne Wilson Schaef

I’d rather be in the mountains thinking of God,
than in church thinking of the mountains.
– John Muir

Few things in this world are more predictable than the reaction of conventional minds to unconventional ideas.
– John Anthony West


Self-inquiry is a spiritually induced
form of wintertime.
It’s not about looking for a right answer
so much as stripping away
and letting you see
what is not necessary,
what you can do without,
what you are without your leaves.

In human beings,
we do not call these leaves.
We call them ideas, concepts,
attachments, and conditioning.
All of this forms your identity.

Wouldn’t it be terrible
if the trees outside
identified themselves by their leaves?
These are very flimsy things
to be attached to.


This is what Leonard Cohen said about his song:

It was called the traitor, about the feeling that we have of betraying some mission that we were mandated to fulfill and being unable to fulfill it
and then coming to understand that the real mandate was not to fulfill it
and that the deeper courage was to stand guiltless
in the predicament in which you found yourself.

The impossibility of ‘fellow feeling’ is itself the confirmation of injury. The call of such pain, as a pain that cannot be shared through empathy, is a call not just for an attentive hearing, but for a different kind of inhabitance. It is a call for action, and a demand for collective politics, as a politics based not on the possibility that we might be reconciled, but on learning to live with the impossibility of reconciliation, or learning that we live with and beside each other, and yet we are not as one.
– Sara Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion

The river is a vein of mountainblood
in love with the great heartbeat of the sea,
a mirror of the river in the sky,
a lasting geomorphic artery.
The forests are intestines that extract
whatever nourishment is chancing by.
The clouds are like great lungs that swell and fill
with rarefied earthblood to energize
the body of the land. The mountains bare
their haughty old gray matter to the sun,
while roundabout the fat, breadbasket plains
consider all the things that must be done.
And here in this immense anatomy
I celebrate the gift this life can be.
– George Gorman

Elegy for a Year
Before I watched you die, I watched the dying
falter, their hearts curled and purring in them

like kitfoxes asleep
beside their shadows, their eyes pawed out by the trouble

of their hunger. I was
humbling, Lord, like the taxidermist’s

apprentice. I said
yes, and amen, like the monk brushing

the barley from the vealcalf’s
withers, the heft of it

as it leans against his cilice.
Winter, I have watched the lost

lie down among their bodies, clarified
as the birdsong

they have hymned of.
I have heard the earth sing longer than the song.

Come, I said, come
summer, come

after: you were the bull-elk in the moonlight
of my threshold, knocking off the mosses from its antlers

before it backed away, bewildered, into foliage.
You were thin-ribbed, were hawk-

scarred, were few.
Yes, amen, before I heard you giving up

your singing, you were something stumbling hunted
to my open door; you were thinning with the milkweed

of the river. Winter, Wintering, listen: I think of you
long gone now

through the valley, scissoring
your ancient way

through the pitch pines. Not waiting, but the great elk
in the dark door. Not ravens

where they stay, awhile, in furor,
but the lost thing backing out

among the saplings, dancing off the madness
of its antlers. Not stone, not cold

stone, but fire. The wild thing, musk-blooded, at my open
door, wakening and wakening and

wakening, migrations
in the blindness of its wild eyes,

saying Look at them, look at how they have to.
Do something with the wildness that confounds you.
– Joseph Fasano

The only way someone can be of help to you is in challenging your ideas. If you’re ready to listen and if you’re ready to be challenged, there’s one thing that you can do, but no one can help you. What is this most important thing of all? It’s called self-observation.
– Anthony de Mello

Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.
– Alan Watts

Some say you’re lucky
by Gregory Orr

Some say you’re lucky
If nothing shatters it.

But then you wouldn’t
Understand poems or songs.
You’d never know
Beauty comes from loss.

It’s deep inside every person:
A tear tinier
Than a pearl or thorn.

It’s one of the places
Where the beloved is born.

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.
– Rilke

A woman may crave to be near water, or be belly down, her face in the earth, smelling the wild smell. She might have to drive into the wind. She may have to plant something, pull things out of the ground or put them into the ground. She may have to knead and bake, rapt in dough up to her elbows. She may have to trek into the hills, leaping from rock to rock trying out her voice against the mountain. She may need hours of starry nights where the stars are like face powder spilt on a black marble floor. She may feel she will die if she doesn’t dance naked in a thunderstorm, sit in perfect silence, return home ink-stained, paint-stained, tear-stained, moon-stained.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Very rarely do you hear anyone say they write things down and feel worse. It’s an act that helps you, preserves you, energizes you, in the very doing of it.
– Naomi Shihab Nye via Krista Tippett, On Being

Presence —
no belief or dogma needed.
– Shinzen

Unbreakable Links
I would say that there exist a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one. The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list. The pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and ourselves – we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a sustainable world together. We are each other’s destiny.
– Mary Oliver

Among Tibetans there is a saying
that a person who thinks he is better
or above others because he is wiser,
more capable, more knowledgeable
or learned is like someone
sitting on the highest peak
of the highest mountain.

And what is it like
on the peak of that mountain?
It is very cold there.
It’s very hard.
It’s very lonely and nothing grows there.

On the other hand,
the person who cultivates humility
and puts himself in a lower position to
is said to enjoy living
on the fertile land of the plains.

– Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche

The status quo is dead: Rebecca Solnit on America after the coronavirus

Disasters shake us up. I’ve called them a crash course in Buddhism. You’re suddenly aware of ephemerality and interdependence, the fleetingness of all things, and the connection of all things. Often that connection is a deep empathic, emotional connection for their neighbors and people undergoing the same experience that people don’t necessarily feel at other times. We often experience everyone around us primarily in terms of their differences rather than the commonalities. A disaster changes that in an instant.
– Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell

Life is a long lesson in humility.
– James M. Barrie

Perhaps I told you I was
leaving because it was the
only way you would
notice my absence.
– @RudyFrancisco

Our way to practice is one step at a time, one breath at a time.

It is when your practice is rather greedy that you become discouraged with it.

– Shunryu Suzuki

The winter has not killed us again!
– Leonard Cohen

To put your hands in a river is to feel the chords that bind the earth together.
– Barry Lopez

So society has strangled in its asylums all those it wanted to get rid of or protect itself from, because they refused to become its accomplices in certain great nastinesses.
– Antonin Artaud

For a madman is also a man whom society did not want to hear and whom it wanted to prevent from uttering certain intolerable truths.
– Antonin Artaud

Validating oneself: an exhausting digression.
The punishment felt in a life:
a grief-stricken parade that doesn’t endure.

Only the love endures –
like quantum entanglements
that nothing can separate,
where feelings speak as they listen,
and time is so much more
than agreed-upon forms of control.

Where loving your freedom
and freeing your love
are the only things that never go away.

– George Gorman

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
– Anatole France

When I’m really done, I leave in silence

I only fight when I care

– Chelsea Gomez

i just think people can be so kind it makes my heart so soft
– @softlilheart

Once you know who you are, you don’t have to worry anymore.
– Nikki Giovanni

And her light
stretches over salt sea
equally and flowerdeep fields.
– Sappho

Accept suffering and achieve atonement through it — that is what you must do.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

All I can stand reading anymore is Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu
– Nicholas Pierotti

The Garden Year
January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

March brings breezes, loud and shrill,
To stir the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children’s hands with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots, and gillyflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.

Warm September brings the fruit;
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

Fresh October brings the pheasant;
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast;
Then the leaves are whirling fast.

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.

– Sarah Coolridge

Many of the problems we face today relate to an imbalance in the way we develop our hearts and minds. Too often the emphasis is on developing a powerful brain despite the fact that as human beings we have the potential to develop warm-heartedness. Common sense tells us that we can be happy, even if we are poor, if we are also warm-hearted, whereas being wealthy and self-centred leaves us miserable.
– Dalai Lama


༄༅། །རྣམ་རྟོག་མུན་སེལ་བཞུགས་སོ། །
Dispelling the darkness of wrong views [a poem by Rangjung Neljorma – Natural Yogini – Khandro-la]

ཚུར་ཉོན་དང་བརྩེ་བའི་གྲོགས་མོ་ལགས། །
Listen here my dear friend,
ཚུལ་མིན་ཡིད་བྱེད་ཀྱི་རྣམ་རྟོག་བསླུ་བྲིད་འདི། །
These conceptual thoughts distorting reality are misleading,
མཐོ་དམན་སུ་ཡིན་ལོང་བ་ཆགས། །
They blind everybody – high and low.
རང་སྐྱོན་མི་མཐོང་གཞན་སྐྱོན་འཚོལ། །
Not seeing one’s own faults, looking for faults in others,
བདེ་བ་འདོད་ཀྱང་སྡུག་བསྔལ་སྒྲུབ། །
One creates suffering in spite of longing for happiness.
སེམས་ཅན་ཀུན་གྱི་དུག་ཆུ་རེད། །
Such is the poisonous drink of sentient beings,
འདི་ཡི་རྩ་བ་མ་རིག་པ། །
And its root is ignorance.

མ་རིག་ལྷན་སྐྱེས་གཞན་དབང་གིས། །
Under the sway of innate ignorance,
རྟག་ཏུ་འཁོར་བ་འབའ་ཞིག་འཁོར། །
They only circle in samsara always.
ལས་སྨོན་ཚད་མས་འགྲོ་དྲུག་ངེས། །
Because karma and aspirations are valid, the six realms of migrating beings arise;
ཡུལ་ངན་འདི་ལ་བདེ་བ་མེད། །
There is no happiness in such an unwholesome place.
བདེ་འབྲས་མྱོང་ཚོར་ཡོད་ཙ་ན། །
Even the experience of pleasant results itself
དེ་ཡང་མི་རྟག་སྡུག་བསྔལ་རྒྱུ། །
Is impermanent, the cause of suffering.

མཐོ་བ་སྲིད་པའི་རྩེ་མོ་ནས། །
From the highest peak of existence
དམའ་བ་མནར་མེད་ཡན་ཆད་ལ། །
To the lowest hell without respite,
བདེ་བ་རང་མཚན་ཡོད་མ་ཡིན། །
There is no genuine happiness.
སྲིད་པའི་ཕུན་ཚོགས་གང་བཟང་ཡང་། །
However wonderful the pleasures of samsara might be,
མི་རྟག་སྡུག་བསྔལ་ངང་ལ་ངེས། །
They are for sure impermanent and painful.
གཟུགས་ལང་ཚོ་རེག་བྱ་གང་མཛེས་ཀྱང་། །
However beautiful the touch of your youthful body might be,
མཐའ་མ་མི་རྟག་དུར་སའི་རོ། །
In the end, impermanent, it’s a corpse in the cemetery,
མཐོང་ཡང་སྐྱུག་གི་གནས་ལ་ངེས། །
No doubt, nauseating is the mere sight of it!

གཟུགས་ལང་ཚོར་ཆགས་ན་བསླུ་བྲིད་མོད། །
Being attached to one’s youthful body is deceiving indeed,
རིན་ཆེན་མི་ལུས་གསེར་ལས་དཀོན། །
But a precious human life is more rare than gold,
དོན་ཆེན་འགྲུབ་པའི་དཔའ་བོ་ཡིན། །
Heroic is the one [using it to] accomplish the great purpose [of enlightenment]
ད་མི་ལུས་ཆུད་ཟོས་མ་གཏོང་འཚལ། །
Now please do not waste this human life!

དགེ་སྡིག་གི་བླང་དོར་འབྱེད་པར་འཚལ། །
Please distinguish what to uphold and what to discard, virtue and wrongdoing!
དགེ་སྡིག་ལྟ་སྤྱོད་ཉིད་ལ་ངེས། །
Virtue and wrongdoing are determined as view and conduct.
ལྟ་བ་རྟེན་འབྱུང་ཡིན་པའི་མུར། །
In the sphere of the view of dependent origination,
བདག་འཛིན་བདེན་འཛིན་རྡུལ་དུ་རློག །
Grasping at self and grasping at inherent existence are reduced to dust.
རང་བཞིན་སྒྲིབ་བྲལ་མཇལ་བ་འཚལ། །
Please observe the nature free of obscurations!

སྤྱོད་པ་འཚེ་མེད་ཡིན་པའི་ངང་། །
In the sphere of the non-violent conduct,
རང་དོན་དོར་ལ་གཞན་དོན་འབད། །
Discard selfishness and strive for altruism!
ཚད་མེད་བཞི་ཡིས་རྒྱུད་སྦྱངས་ནས། །
Purify your mind stream with the four immeasurable thoughts
བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་དཔའི་ཤུལ་ལ་གཤེགས། །
And follow the footsteps of the bodhisattvas!
ཕྱི་ནང་སྡུག་བསྔལ་རྐྱེན་ངན་ཀུན། །
All the negative circumstances – outer and inner suffering –
ཕར་ཕྱིན་དྲུག་གིས་སྡུག་བསྔལ་བཤིག །
Are destroyed by the six paramitas.
རང་བྱང་སེམས་སྐྱེ་པའི་གེགས་གཙོ་བོ། །
Your main impediment to generate bodhichitta
འགྲན་སེམས་དང་ཕྲག་དོག་ང་རྒྱལ་སོགས། །
Is competitiveness, jealousy, pride and so forth;
བདག་མེད་ལ་བདག་འཛིན་སྒྲིབ་གཡོགས་མོད། །
Clinging to self indeed obscures selflessness.

འཇིག་རྟེན་བཟང་ངན་ཤེས་རབ་དང་། །
Worldly wisdom of “good” and “bad”
སོ་སྐྱེའི་སྙིང་རྗེ་དགེ་ཚོགས་ཀུན། །
And all the compassion and collections of virtue of ordinary sentient beings
ཐར་པའི་རྒྱུ་ལ་འགྲོ་མི་ནུས། །
Cannot become causes for liberation.
དམིགས་མེད་སྙིང་རྗེ་མ་འཁྲུངས་ན། །
If you fail to give rise to non-observing compassion,
ཐམས་ཅད་མཁྱེན་པ་གད་མོའི་གནས། །
Omniscience remains a joke.
ང་དང་ང་ཡི་མཚན་འཛིན་སེམས། །
The mind clinging to the identity of me and mine
སྡིག་སྤོང་དགེ་སྒྲུབ་གང་བྱས་ཀྱང་། །
Might abandon negativity and accomplish virtue,
སྲིད་པའི་ཕུན་ཚོགས་བདེ་འབྲས་ཙམ། །
But will only bear the fruit of the happiness of the pleasures of samsara,
སྤང་རྟོགས་ཀྱི་ཡོན་ཏན་ནམ་ཡང་མེད། །
Never giving rise to the qualities of abandonment and realisation.

འཁོར་འདས་ལ་དམིགས་མེད་མ་ཤེས་ན། །
If you do not know the non-observation of samsara and nirvana,
ནང་པའི་ཐར་ལམ་མི་ཚུད་དོ། །
You haven’t entered the Buddhist path of liberation.
སེམས་དམིགས་མེད་དེ་ལ་ནན་ཏན་མཛོད། །
Exert yourself in the non-observation of the mind!
བཟང་ངན་ཐམས་ཅད་རྟེན་འབྲེལ་རེད། །
“Good” and “bad” are all interdependent;
རྟེན་འབྲེལ་ཡིན་ཕྱིར་དམིགས་མེད་ངེས། །
Since they are interdependent they are definitely unobserved.
རྟེན་འབྲེལ་རྒྱུ་མཐུན་ཚད་མ་ངེས། །
Interdependence and concordance of causes [and results] are ascertained to be true;
ཚད་མ་ཡིན་ཕྱིར་བདེ་སྡུག་མྱོང་། །
And since they are true, we experience pleasure and pain.

འགྲོ་དྲུག་སེམས་ཅན་ཕ་མ་རེད། །
The six realms sentient beings are our parents,
ཕ་མའི་བརྩེ་བས་བསྐྱངས་པ་འདི། །
Our parents who have cared for us lovingly,
དྲིན་ལན་ལོག་འཇལ་མ་བྱོས་ཨང་། །
Do not repay their kindness with ungratefulness!
ལྟོ་གོས་གཏམ་གསུམ་ཕ་མའི་དྲིན། །
Food, clothing and reputation stem from our parents’ kindness;
བྱང་སེམས་སྙིང་རྗེ་ཕ་མའི་དྲིན། །
Bodhichitta and compassion stem from our parents’ kindness;
དགོས་འདོད་ཀུན་འབྱུང་ཕ་མའི་དྲིན། །
All that we ever wish for stem from our parents’ kindness;
བྱམས་སྙིང་རྗེ་དེ་ལ་ནན་ཏན་མཛོད། །
Exert yourself in love and compassion!
རང་གི་ལུས་ལ་དཔེ་བླངས་ནས། །
Taking your own body as an example,
མ་རྣམས་སེམས་ཅན་དེ་འདྲ་ངེས། །
Ascertain that all mother beings are exactly like you!
བདེ་བའི་བཙན་ས་འཛིན་འདོད་ན། །
If you wish to reach the safe shore of happiness,
བདག་གཞན་བརྗེ་བའི་སྙིང་པོར་བརྩོན། །
Strive at cultivating the essence: exchanging oneself with others!

འདུས་བྱས་ཐམས་ཅད་མི་རྟག་རེད། །
All compounded phenomena are impermanent.
ཟག་བཅས་ཐམས་ཅད་སྡུག་བསྔལ་རེད། །
All contaminated phenomena are suffering.
ཆོས་རྣམས་རང་བཞིན་སྟོང་པ་ཡིན། །
The nature of all phenomena is empty.
སྟོང་པས་རྟེན་འབྱུང་འདྲེན་ནུས་དགོས། །
Emptiness should trigger [the understanding of] dependent origination.
རྟེན་འབྱུང་སྟོང་པ་དཔྱད་ནུས་དགོས། །
You need to be capable of analysing dependent origination as emptiness.
ལེ་ལན་ཐམས་ཅད་འདི་ན་གདའ། །
Blame it all on just this!

རྟེན་འབྲེལ་བརྗོད་བྲལ་རྟོགས་ནུས་ན། །
If you are able to realise dependant origination beyond words,
སྙིང་རྗེ་སྐྱེ་བ་ཐེ་ཚོམ་མེད། །
Undoubtedly, compassion will arise,
རང་གི་ལུས་དང་དགེ་རྩ་རྣམས། །
Undoubtedly, you will offer your body and all your roots of virtue
སེམས་ཅན་ལ་འབུལ་ཐེ་ཚོམ་མེད། །
To all sentient beings;
སེམས་ཅན་མྱང་འདས་མ་གྲོལ་བར། །
And as long as sentient beings are not liberated in nirvana,
བདག་ཉིད་སེམས་ཅན་བྲན་གཡོག་འབུལ། །
You will offer yourself as a servant to sentient beings.
ཅི་འདོད་ཡིད་ཚིམ་སྨིན་པར་ཤོག །
“May I ripen as [a jewel] fulfilling all their wishes!”
སྨོན་ལམ་བཞིན་དུ་འགྲུབ་པར་ངེས། །
For sure, you will accomplish the meaning of such prayers.

བླ་མ་སངས་རྒྱས་ཞབས་ཏོག་རྣམས། །
Of all the services offered to the Guru-Buddha,
འདི་ལས་ལྷག་པ་ཅི་ཞིག་མཆིས། །
Is there any that surpasses this one?
དུས་གསུམ་སྐྱབས་གནས་རྡོ་རྗེ་འཆང་། །
May we please Vajradhara, refuge of the three times,
མཉེས་ནས་ཐུགས་ཡིད་འདྲེས་པར་ཤོག །
And merge our minds with his holy mind!
འཁོར་འདས་མཉམ་ཉིད་ཆོས་སྐུའི་ཀློང་། །
The equality of samsara and nirvana, the vast expanse of dharmakaya,
འོད་གསལ་རིག་སྟོང་བླ་མ་ཉིད། །
The clear light void of rigpa-awareness is the Lama himself,
ཐུགས་རྗེའི་ཀློང་ནས་དགོངས་མཉམ་ཀློང་། །
From the vast expanse of enlightened compassion, the vast expanse of the great equality of wisdom [- the Buddha nature of sentient beings and enlightened beings -] arise,
ཀུན་ཁྱབ་ཀྱི་བླ་མ་འདི་ཁོ་ན། །
The all-pervasive Lama is no other.
འབད་མེད་དུ་གཞན་དོན་ལྷུན་གྲུབ་ཤོག །
May the welfare of others be accomplished spontaneously without effort!

Lama, essence of emptiness,
ཁྱེད་མ་གཏོགས་སྐྱབས་དང་རེ་ས་མེད། །
I have no refuge or hope other than in you!
ཁྱེད་མ་གཏོགས་ཡིད་ཆེས་བློས་འགེལ་མེད། །
I have no trust or reliance other than in you!
བདག་སྤྲང་མོའི་སྨོན་ལམ་སྒྲུབ་པར་ཤོག །
May my prayer, the prayer of a beggar, be fulfilled!
བླ་མ་པད་དཀར་རྡོ་རྗེ་འཆང་། །
Lama of the White Lotus, Vajradhara,
ཅི་གསུངས་བཀའ་བཞིན་འགྲུབ་པར་ཤོག །
May I accomplish all your advice!
ཐུགས་ཡིད་གཅིག་ཏུ་འདྲེས་པར་ཤོག །
May your holy mind and my mind unite as one!

སྨོན་བྱ་སྨོན་བྱེད་སྨོན་ལམ་སོགས། །
The act of praying, the one praying, the prayer itself and so forth,
དམིགས་མེད་སྤྲོས་བྲལ་ངང་དུ་ཨ། །
[Dissolve] into the non-observation free from elaborations: A!
བདེ་སྟོང་འོད་གསལ་གྱི་བཀྲ་ཤིས་ཤོག །
May the auspiciousness of the bliss and voidness of the clear light arise!
སྐྱེ་འགྲོ་ཀུན་རྣམས་བཀྲ་ཤིས་ཤོག །
May all be auspicious for all migrating beings!
བྱམས་སྙིང་རྗེ་སེམས་རྒྱུད་གང་བར་ཤོག །
May the auspiciousness of our minds filled with love and compassion arise!
གནས་སྐབས་མཐར་ཐུག་གི་བཀྲ་ཤིས་ཤོག །
May all be auspicious temporarily and ultimately!

The Buddha:
Nothing real is meant by the word Bodhisattva. Unproduced is enlightenment and unproduced is a being. There is no trace of them anywhere.

Never mind likes and dislikes;
they are of no consequence.
Just do what must be done.
This may not be happiness,
but it is greatness.
– George Bernard Shaw

What would America look like if we loved our own people more than we hate our enemies?

Think of how much of the U.S. economy has been based on protecting us from foreign enemies while 335,000 Americans have died of COVID. While we crouched in fear of foreign foes, our worst dangers have come from inadequate healthcare, housing and wages at home. People who were shivering in fear of Saddam Hussein and other such manufactured threats, now face the very real possibility of shivering in the cold as mass evictions and bankruptcies threaten to spread across the richest nation on earth.

I don’t know how many Americans died as a result of the fanaticism of ISIS but, whatever that number is, it doesn’t hold a candle to the number of Americans who will die for lack of healthcare, suffer medical bankruptcy, or lose their housing because of the indifference of Wall Street to the plight of everyday Americans.

Judy Melinek is an American MD who speaks of her culture shock when witnessing how New Zealand cared more about its people than about its economy, “The hard-and-early New Zealand strategy was able to work as effectively as it did only because government administrative managers asked public health scientists what they needed, and then supplied and funded it… Competition as a driver for high achievement and societal success might work when you have unlimited resources and an even playing field, but it will fail in the face of a pandemic — and when it fails, disadvantaged groups will suffer disproportionately… Market-based health care and its competition for limited resources has brought us the worst peacetime catastrophe we have ever faced as a nation.”

Just because someone comes from a different culture does not mean they are your enemies. Just because someone comes from the same country does not mean they care whether you live or die. We must stop listening to those who tell us we are extremists to say housing, healthcare and a livable wage are human rights. Caring for the earth and its people is the very “center” of political sanity. Don’t let the apathy of plutocrats convince you it is extremist to want our whole species to prosper and survive.

– Jim Rigby

Scarcity implies illiquidity.

If you can divide something an infinite number of times as value remains the same, it’s not illiquid, and as such not a reason to be bullish.

You can be bullish for other reasons.

Not that.

– Michael A Gayed

And it seems one is somehow expected to apologize
for being an artist,
as though it were not entirely human to notice these fine points.
– Louise Glück – Orfeo

Symbolism and religious experience

With respect to the mystical tradition, one can divide the world into two great groups: one to the west of Iran, which includes the Near East and Europe; and the other, to the east of Iran, which includes India and the Far East.

Let us focus on the West. Our religions come one and all from the Levant, from the Near East rather than Europe. Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are called the great religions of the world. In all of these, God made the world and God and the world are not the same. There is an ontological and essential distinction in our tradition between creator and creature.

This leads to a totally different psychology and religious structure from those religions in which this distinction is not made. The goal of Western religions is not to bring about a sense of identity with the transcendent. Their goal is to bring about a relationship between human beings and God, who are not the same. The typical attitude of the Levant, of the Near East from which our religions come, is the submission of human judgment to that power conceived to be God.

In the Western tradition, the divine is not within you. When you turn within, you find a human soul and that human soul may or may not be in proper relationship to its creator. The great world of the biblical tradition tells us that nature is corrupt and that a fall took place, whether you designate it as Original Sin or not. The whole concept of sin is involved here, because you have a responsibility to God to obey some kind of law that you conceive Him to have rendered.

How in this tradition do you get related to God? The relationship is accomplished through an institution. This we may term the first mythic dissociation in that it dissociates the person from the divine principle. The individual can only become associated with the divine through the social institution. Thus, in the Jewish tradition, God and His people have a covenant regarding their special relationship.

In the Christian tradition, Christ is the centre because He is true God and true Man. This is regarded as a mystery because of the unity of these two natures. It is no mystery at all in the Orient, where each of us is conceived to be precisely a piece of God.

Our Western religious culture is committed to these social groups and their various biblical and ecclesiastical claims, which, in the light of modern historical and scientific research, are brought into question. By this arrangement, however, we have been emptied of our sense of our own divinity. We have been committed to a social organization or hierarchical institution, which sets up a claim for itself. And now that claim itself is in question. This breeds what we term alienation—that is, an individual sense of estrangement from the religious institution through which we relate to God.

The God of the institution is not supported by your own experience of spiritual reality. This opens a gap challenging the validity of the human being. The first aim of the mystical is to validate the person’s individual human experience.

Experiencing mystery

As we have previously mentioned, the primary purpose of a dynamic mythology, which we may underscore as its properly religious function, is to awaken and maintain in the person an experience of awe, humility, and respect in recognition of that ultimate mystery that transcends every name and form, “from which,” as we read in the Upanishads, “words turn back.” In recent decades, theology has been often concentrated on a literary exercise in the explanation of archaic texts that are made up of historically conditioned, ambiguous names, incidents, sayings, and actions, all of which are attributed to “the ineffable.” Faith, we might say, in old-fashioned scripture or faith in the latest science belong equally at this time to those alone who as yet have no idea of how mysterious, really, is the mystery of themselves.

Into how many of us has the weight described by the physicist Erwin Schrödinger been born that “this life of yours that you are living is not merely a piece of the entire existence, but is, in a certain sense the whole; only the whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one simple glance. This . . . is what the Brahmims express in that sacred, mystic formula that is yet really so simple and so clear: Tat tvam asi, that is you.”

This is the basic insight of all metaphysical discourse, which is immediately known—as knowable to each alone—only when the names and forms, what I call the masks of God, have fallen away. Yet, as many have observed, including William of Occam, Immanuel Kant, and Henry Adams, the category, or name, of unity itself is of the mind and may not be attributed to any supposed substance, person, or “Ground of Being.” Who, then, may speak to you, or to any of us, of the being or nonbeing of God, unless by implication to point beyond his words and himself and all he knows, or can tell, toward the transcendent, the experience of mystery.

The question sometimes arises as to whether the experience of mystery and transcendence is more available to those who have undergone some kind of religious and spiritual training, for whom, as I have said, it has all been named completely. It may be less available to them precisely because they have got it all named in the book. One way to deprive yourself of an experience is indeed to expect it. Another is to have a name for it before you have the experience. Carl Jung said that one of the functions of religion is to protect us against the religious experience. That is because in formal religion, it is all concretized and formulated. But, by its nature, such an experience is one that only you can have. As soon as you classify it with anybody else’s, it loses its character. A preconceived set of concepts catches the experience, cutting it short so that it does not come directly to us. Ornate and detailed religions protect us against an exploding mystical experience that would be too much for us.

There are two orders of meditation: discursive meditation and ordered meditation. In discursive meditation, such as that advocated by Ignatius Loyola, you consider some religious scene—the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin or the story of the Crucifixion—arranging it as one would a stage set in the imagination. This is a protective prelude to one order of meditation. Another order of meditation is explosive because it carries you beyond all names, forms, and concepts. And then you cannot get back. If, however, you have engaged for several years in discursive meditation first, it serves as an intermediary state by which you can get back. In places in which meditation has been practiced for a long time—in contemplative orders, for example—this is well understood.

Let us find the way to mystery through a meditation on the birth, life, and death of Jesus. In this regard, the first century question, whether Christianity was a mystery religion or the mystery religion of which all the others were re-figurements is relevant. The many symbols, such as the animals of the Egyptian mystery religions breathing their spirit on the infant Jesus—the bull of the god Osiris and the ass of his brother Set, there in the manger—suggest their early understanding that this was indeed so. So, too, in the same nativity scene, the Magi wear the hat of Mithra as they pay homage.

It is clear that, in Orpheus and Christ, we have exactly the same archetype, with the motif of leaving the physical world, still symbolized with a cross in astronomy, for the spiritual. They leave the Earth, symbol of Mother, to go to the realm of the Father.

In the translation of a Neolithic fertility rite into a spiritual fertility rite, we see the death and resurrection of the grain refigured in the symbol of the death of the old Adam and birth of the new. As I have observed before, although I do not know how to prove it, the great insight of St. Paul on the road to Damascus was that the calamity of the death of this young rabbi, Jesus, was a counterpart of the death and resurrection of the saviour found in the classical mysteries. Paul also grasped that the Christian myth of the Fall at the Tree of the Garden and the Redemption at Calvary on the Tree of Redemption are the two aspects of the two Trees in the Garden of Eden. The first, the Tree of the Fall, represents passage from the eternal into the realm of time. The second is the Tree of the return from the realm of time to the spiritual. So that Tree is the threshold tree, the laurel tree, which may be seen in its two aspects, going from the sacred to the profane and from the profane back into the sacred.

When Man ate of the fruit of the Tree, he discovered himself in the field of duality instead of the field of unity. As a result, he finds himself out, in exile. The two cherubim placed at the gate are there representative of the world of the pairs of opposites in which, having been cast out of the world of unity, he is now located. You are kept in exile by your commitment to that world.

Christ goes past that—“I and the Father are one”—back into the realm of unity from which we have been expelled. These are mysteries. Here is an echo and a translation into another set of images of what we ourselves are experiencing. What comes forth now with the grain, as particles of that one life that informs all things, is the revelation of the spiritual unity in all its aspects. Here also is the revelation that one life can be personified as a Deity, as in the Christian tradition, and everything comes from the Deity. But the personification is not what is important. What we have is a trans-theological, transpersonified revelation.

When one is ready to see the eternal flashing, as it were, through the latticework of time, one can experience mystery. This is especially so in artwork that carries mythological symbols that speak to us still.

All this may be observed in the surface of an ancient two-sided vase. On one side, we see Triptolemus as an old man with Hermes before him with grains of wheat. Hermes is holding the caduceus. Turning the vase, we see that beyond this, Dionysos is led by a satyr with the chalice of wine. Triptolemus is associated with the bread, the grain, and Dionysos with the wine. These are the elements of the Roman Catholic sacraments of the Mass.

On a fifth century b.c. red-figured ceramic piece, one may see the goddess with the two powers, the serpent power and the solar power. The serpent power is the bite of death to ego that opens the eye and the ear to the eternal.

There are two orders of religious perspective. One is ethical, pitting good against evil. In the biblically grounded Christian West, the accent is on ethics, on good against evil. We are thus bound by our religion itself to the field of duality. The mystical perspective, however, views good and evil as aspects of one process. One finds this in the Chinese yin-yang sign, the dai-chi.

We have, then, these two totally different religious perspectives. The idea of good and evil absolutes in the world after the fall is biblical and as a result you do not rest on corrupted nature. Instead, you correct nature and align yourself with the good against evil. Eastern cults, on the other hand, put you in touch with nature, where what Westerners call good and evil interlock. But by what right, this Eastern tradition asks, do we call these things evil when they are of the process of nature?

I was greatly impressed when I was first in Japan to find myself in a world that knew nothing of the Fall in the Garden of Eden and consequently did not consider nature corrupt. In the Shinto scriptures one reads that the processes of nature cannot be evil. In our tradition, every natural impulse is sinful unless it has been purified in some manner.

In some artistic representations, one sees the Deity and at His right stand the three Graces. The muses are clothed because art clothes mystery. The final revelation is the naked mystery itself. The first of the three Graces is Euphrosyne, or rapture, sending forth the energy of Apollo into the world. The second is Aglaia, splendour, bringing the energy back. Then, embracing the two, we find Thalia, abundance. One recognizes that these are the functions of the Trinity in the Christian biblically based tradition in which these same powers are given a masculine form.

Finally, it does not matter whether you are going to name them male and female. Transcendence is beyond all such naming. This symbol refers to what might simply be called total meditation. Father is Thalia, the abundance who unites the other two. The Son is Euphrosyne, the rapture of love that pours itself into the world. The Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, is Aglaia, who carries us back. The energy itself stems from Apollo, who in the Christian tradition is the one Divine substance of which the three of the Trinity are personalities.

Remember my earlier statement that the experience of mystery comes not from expecting it but through yielding all your programs, because your programs are based on fear and desire. Drop them and the radiance comes.

– Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor

Like the trees and the leaves,
our souls are photosynthetic
though not to physical light
but oh they are porous
to music, poetry, beauty
in fact they need these kind
of square meals to survive.
If you want your life
to bear sweet fruit
you must feed it
– Chelan Harkin

Humanity must transform conquest consciousness to kinship consciousness.

(1) On the edge of many precipices, we are living in prophetic times, where the gifts of the ancestors are revealing possibilities for pathways forward. (2) At this turning of seasons, the broken parts of our world are being uncovered and uplifted so we can see differently, re-learn to be human and heal. (3) Yet, how do we intelligently and compassionately respond to the broken world and act in times of such turmoil? (4) The problems we are facing, from climate chaos to societal upheaval, are not causes but are symptoms of a deeper imbalance in our relationship to the Earth, ourselves and thus each other. (5) We end this war by listening to the wisdom and warnings of Indigenous leaders, including greater respect for Indigenous peoples’ distinct land-based sustainable practices. (6) Humanity must transform conquest consciousness to kinship consciousness. (7) The dominant worldview of conquest and greed must be transmuted to one of kinship, reciprocity, and generosity if we are to survive and thrive as human beings on a living Earth.]

– Melissa K. Nelson

You can’t answer all your questions about your path at once. You just can’t. And if you try to, you will end up answering none of them. And more confused then when you began. Because the questions have a certain order to them. They build upon each other. For example, you probably can’t answer the question of your ultimate calling, while you are still confused about how to heal from your trauma. It’s just too hard to see the path in its entirety, when there are still mountains of emotional debris in the way. First things, first. It’s fine to write all your life questions down, but stay with the question that truly matters right now. Stay focused on the stage you are at, before seeking to address the next stage of inquiry. If you do it this way, you will unfold precisely as you should. You will arrive at your own door, right when you are ready to open it.
– Jeff Brown

You don’t seek the way. The way seeks you.

No buscas el camino. El camino te busca.

– Kodo Sawaki

It’s the unsayability of what being is that drives the poet to speak and to speak, to make versions of the world, understanding their inevitable incompletion, the impossibility of circumscribing the unreadable thing living is.
– Mark Doty, The Art of Description

[T]he still life resides in absolute silence.
But no word will ever be spoken here, among the flowers and snails, the solid and dependable apples, this heap of rumpled books, this pewter plate on which a few opened oysters lie, giving up their silver. […] These things exist—if indeed they are still around at all—in time. It is the act of painting them that makes them perennially poised, an emergent truth about to be articulated, a word waiting to be spoken. Single word that has been forming all these years in the light on the knife’s pearl handle, in the drops of moisture on nearly translucent grapes: At the end of time, will that word be said? »

– Mark Doty, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon: On Objects and Intimacy

There is a famous story of a Tibetan monk who was very gifted. Each morning, all of the monks in the monastery were required to sit in meditation at 4:00 a.m. On the previous evening, this particular monk had experienced levitation. He was so enthralled by his experience that when he came to the morning meditation, instead of walking, he floated over the crowd. The other monks were very enthusiastic. Six months later, this particular monk was working in a circus. The moral of the story is that there is a time and place for everything, including the extraordinary.
– Rudi

A dreamer holds a dream
In his dreaming hand.
A singer, rich sound
Upon her lip.
The artist dips his brush
In the color of his heart,
Draws a broad stroke
The shade
Of the Creators Mansion.
A child opens a gift,
Mind full of the unknown.
But no thing
Can fill the dull or empty ache.
What is the meaning of existence, or being powerful or vulnerable
If not to express in the way of giving.
– Chandali Ishta

I only want to live in peace, plant potatoes and dream!
– Tove Jansson

And the Undervoice said: Stars you are mine,
you have always been mine; I remember the minute
on the birth table
when you were born, I riding with my feet up in the wide
silver-blue stirrups,
I came and came and came, little baby and woman, where
were you taking me?
Everyone else may leave you, I will never leave you, fugitive.
– Jean Valentine

I came to you / Lord, because of / the fucking *reticence* / of this world
– Jean Valentine

All my being is a dark verse
that repeats you to the dawn
of unfading flowering and growth.
I conjured you in my poem with a sigh
and grafted you to water, fire, and trees.
– Forough Farrokhzad

Love will not expire. There was never the instant when it was lifeless in the world.”
– Emily Dickinson

And you will disappear into your own rage
into your own insanity
into your own poverty
into a word a phrase a slogan a cartoon
and then ashes
– Poet and activist, Jayne Cortez

There are people who take the heart out of you, and there are people who put it back.
– Elizabeth David

It takes courage to say things differently: Caution and cowardice dictate the use of the cliché.
– Kay Boyle

In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen,
Snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.
– Christina Rossetti

Out on the pale criss-crossed sand, high stepping, fringed, gauntletted, stalked some fantastic leviathan.
– To the Lighthouse, Woolf

Fast forward and you flail out like my marionette. / Rewind, you ride right backward toward me out of that sunset.
– Dora Malech

Blessed are those
who break off from separateness

theirs is wild

– Jean Valentine

It is difficult to meet success
in the effort to insure
one’s own spiritual welfare,
even without seeking to benefit others.
If you seek another’s spiritual welfare
before attaining your own,
it would be like a helplessly drowning man trying to save another man
in the same predicament.
Therefore, one should not be too anxious
and hasty in setting out to save others
before one has, oneself,
realized Truth in Its fullness.
That would be like
the blind leading the blind.

As long as the sky endures,
there will be no dearth of sentient beings
for you to serve,
and your opportunity
for such service will come.
Till it does,
I exhort each one of you
to keep but one resolve:
namely, to attain Buddhahood
for the benefit of all living creatures.
– Milarepa

It’s like a dance.
And we have to give each being
space to dance their dance.

Everything is dancing;
even the molecules inside the cells
are dancing.

But we make our lives so heavy.
We have these incredibly heavy burdens
we carry with us like rocks in a big rucksack.
We think that carrying this big heavy rucksack is our security; we think it grounds us.
We don’t realize the freedom,
the lightness of just dropping it off,
letting it go.

That doesn’t mean giving up relationships;
it doesn’t mean giving up one’s profession,
or one’s family, or one’s home.
It has nothing to do with that;
it’s not an external change.

It’s an internal change.
It’s a change from holding on tightly
to holding very lightly.

– Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Into The Heart Of Life

Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.
– Catherynne M. Valente

Women need muscle, as much as they can muster. They need muscle to shield their light bones, and they need muscle to weather illness. And being strong in a blunt way, a muscleheaded way, is easier than being skilled at a sport. It is a democratic option, open to the klutzes and the latecomers, and women should seize the chance to become cheaply, fowzily strong, because the chance exists […]. Being strong won’t make you happy or fulfilled, but it’s better to be sullen and strong than sullen and weak. […]

What is wrong with looking muscular? Muscles are beautiful. Strength is beautiful. Muscle tissue is beautiful. It is metabolically, medically, and philosophically beautiful. Muscles retreat when they’re not used, but they will always come back if you give them good reason. No matter how old you get, your muscles never lose hope. Few cells of the body are as capable as muscle cells are of change and reformation […]. »

– Natalie Angier

Driving south across the wide wings of northern California. On my right, a thin fin of cloud ignited orange-rose by the sunset. On my left, the rising Moon irradiates the blue-gray sky near snowy mountains. Night escapes into the octopus ink of itself, as Mars shines setting in the west.
– Drew Dillinger

Stories are written and told by and for people who have been broken, but who have risen up, or will rise, if attention is paid to them. Those people are you and us. Stories and truth are splints for the soul.
– Anne Lamott

I’ve been thinking of a poet who is dying in New York,
how these days she reads her beloved Dante,
perhaps looking for something to frame
what is happening to her.
And whom, I wonder, do I turn to?
Whom in this century do I read
as if my life depended upon it?
– Joseph Stroud

Shards of Light
We’re only here for a minute.
We’re here for a little window.
And to use that time to catch
and share shards of light
and laughter and grace
seems to me the great story.
– Brian Doyle

I like the feeling of being able to confront an experience and resolve it as art.
– Eudora Welty

How are you going to trap reality without making an illustration of it?
– Francis Bacon

They talked very little, but they understood each other well.
– August Strindberg

My soul began its first sink into her, deep, heady, lost; like drowning in a witches’ brew, Keltic, sorcerous, starlike.
– Kerouac

If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.
– from a 1972 Interview with Seamus Heaney

Mind thinks in images but, to communicate with another, must transform image into thought and then thought into language. That march, from image to thought to language, is treacherous. Casualties occur: the rich, fleecy texture of image, its extraordinary plasticity and flexibility, its private nostalgic emotional hues–all are lost when image is crammed into language.
– Irvin D. Yalom

And Even Still the Blues
You told me blue is usually the last color given a name. Goethe called it the color of “enchanting nothingness;” the Assyrians simply borrowed the word for lapis lazuli and gave it the power to name water and sky. In Icelandic, blue and black share the same name, and when we traveled over that blue and black at night, descended above fingers stretching to the sea as the sun climbed, making a mirror of the pinks and reds; we drove and drove, circled the country too quickly, walked across the black of lava, peered across vast expanses to the blue. Now we look to the sky, the too-bright sun, with tired eyes; we live for dawn and dusk, those smog-emboldened brushstrokes. I used to paint heat, but now all the paint that’s left is blue, stuck in the bottoms of the bottles, so I have to spit to bring it back to life, to make it blue and blue and blue that I can squeeze onto these walls, to cover up this beige. And I painted with a brush until you told me you’d like nothing better than to live surrounded by the whorls of my fingerprints, forever.
– Kate Finegan

We work to find the ineffable—the holy—but what if we had it and simply didn’t recognize it?
– LM Browning

a lost love returns /
with each likeness in the crowd /
found walking away …
– Greg Sellers

Slowly I’m renewing my soul.
– Virginia Woolf

Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle:

You would begin talking to some poor devil who had worked in one shop for the last 30 years, and had never been able to save a penny; who left home every morning at six o’clock, to go and tend a machine, and come back at night too tired to take his clothes off; who had never had a week’s vacation in his life, had never traveled, never had an adventure, never learned anything, never hoped anything—and when you started to tell him about Socialism he would sniff and say, “I’m not interested in that—I’m an individualist!” And then he would go on to tell you that Socialism was “paternalism,” and that if it ever had its way the world would stop progressing.

And they really thought that it was “individualism” for tens of thousands of them to herd together and obey the orders of a steel magnate, and produce hundreds of millions of dollars of wealth for him […]. It was enough to make a mule laugh, […]; and yet it was no laughing matter—for how many millions of such poor deluded wretches there were, whose lives had been so stunted by capitalism that they no longer knew what freedom was!

The brain-disease model overlooks four fundamental truths: (1) our capacity to destroy one another is matched by our capacity to heal one another. Restoring relationships and community is central to restoring well-being; (2) language gives us the power to change ourselves and others by communicating our experiences, helping us to define what we know, and finding a common sense of meaning; (3) we have the ability to regulate our own physiology, including some of the so-called involuntary functions of the body and brain, through such basic activities as breathing, moving, and touching; and (4) we can change social conditions to create environments in which children and adults can feel safe and where they can thrive.”
– The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk

We need this individuality to resist the contagion of the negative states, and if there is anything I have observed in my visits to the colleges it was this combination of romantic and marvelous emotional openness to life, and occasionally this shadow underneath, a negative kind of rebellion—not liking what is, but never thinking about what must be done with this world to make it what you want it to be, nor even the strength of the creative will which says that one can make what is not there. And I’m not speaking only of the artist, because this starts from the making of a house to everything that we do in our lives. We need to see that the barriers are not there, that they are created by pragmatic reality and they are meant to be defeated by us.

The disease of our time is this loss of faith, because the individual was made to feel so helpless and was so imbued with the idea of an unchanging reality, that his mind was filled with negativity. Is it because we abdicated personal responsibility and personal orientation that we became passive in the face of destiny. We were overwhelmed by the great spaces opened by science and were overwhelmed by the machine, whereas everything could fall under our dominion and be a part of a creation. Without this individual resistance, this individual core and axis, we are subject to group sickness, we are subject to collective neurosis. For neurosis, after all, is only a word for negativity.

A Woman Speaks: The Lectures, Seminars, and Interviews of Anaïs Nin

…god is not the wholly-other. nor is god the wholly-same. god is the wholly-between…
– hune margulies

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
– Albert Einstein

The twelfth-century Zen Buddhist philosopher Dogen put it this way: ‘To advance your own experience onto the world of phenomena is delusion. When the world of phenomena comes forth and experiences itself, it is enlightenment.’ To see a wren in a bush, call it a wren and go on walking is to have (self-importantly) seen nothing. To see a bird and stop, watch, feel, forget yourself for a moment, be in the bushy shadows, maybe then feel ‘wren’…that is to have joined in a larger moment with the world.
– Gary Snyder

The biggest obstacle to a healthy ecosystem is an unhealthy egosystem.
– Swami Beyondananda

Sound is everything to me.
– Jean Valentine

So if you want to help an artist, give them some silence.
– Jean Valentine

The Way does not require cultivation – just don’t pollute it. What is pollution? As long as you have a fluctuating mind fabricating artificialities and contrivances, all of this is pollution. If you want to understand the Way directly, the normal mind is the Way. What I mean by the normal mind is the mind without artificiality, without subjective judgments, without grasping or rejection.
– Ma-Tsu

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

– Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

The café routine. After work, or trying to write or paint, you come to a café looking for people you know. Preferably with someone, or at least with a definite rendez-vous…One should go to several cafés—average: four in an evening.
– Susan Sontag, 12/29/56

Heavy Snowfall in a Year Gone Past
by Laura Jensen

Heavy snowfall in a year gone past
hammered the sudden edge
of the house foundations
to a rounder world
a whiter light after the end of day.
My favorite coat, lush sable
in color, a petty fake
that warmed me to the ears
hangs after the seasons
a beaten animal grinning buttons.
It became quite real to me
and now is matted on a hook.
How far away what mattered
has flourished without me,
along the tasty road in the wood:

clark, clark, the hidden birds call
or do wrong, do wrong, someone
do wrong, snapping apples
from out in the woodside, telling
their fathers names, pie cannonrude
barkwithfist brendanbe with cherries.

It is a vast field
where snow will fall again.
Is the vast field ownership
or a presence of mind?

While they are young
the old provide
the moon gets full and looks down judging
not the maze of anger
but the fury
at the wasted years,
at the waste of the tender snow.
Wasted, wasted, the birds crackle,
wasted on you.

Fitting in is a short-term strategy, standing out pays off in the long run.
– Seth Godin

She made beauty all round her. When she trod on mud, the mud was beautiful; when she ran in the rain, the rain was silver.
– C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

Not your dark poisons again,
White sleep!
This fantastically strange garden
Of trees in deepening twilight
Fills up with serpents, nightmoths,
Spiders, bats.
Approaching stranger!
Your abandoned shadow…
– Georg Trakl, Twenty Poems of Georg Trakl

The expression of beauty is in direct ratio to the power of conception the artist has acquired.
– Gustave Courbet

A change is coming. I can feel it in my spiritual bones. Can you? Something is about to happen, something good, something new. Sacred time is about to pass through everyday time. It will shift how we think about our future. A more hopeful set of possibilities will emerge, inviting each one of us to respond. The old-timers used to say they could feel the rain before it came, feel it in their bones. That’s what it seems like, as if there was a message hidden deep inside us, waiting to come out and bless the world. I think we should be alert these days. A change is coming.
– Steven Charleston, Choctaw and Episcopal Bishop

I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.
– Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

The Devil is a gentleman, and asks you down to stay
At his little place at What’sitsname (it isn’t far away).
They say the sport is splendid; there is always something new,
And fairy scenes, and fearful feats that none but he can do;
He can shoot the feathered cherubs if they fly on the estate,
Or fish for Father Neptune with the mermaids for a bait;
He scaled amid the staggering stars that precipice, the sky,
And blew his trumpet above heaven, and got by mastery
The starry crown of God Himself, and shoved it on the shelf;
But the Devil is a gentleman, and doesn’t brag himself.

O blind your eyes and break your heart and hack your hand away,
And lose your love and shave your head; but do not go to stay
At the little place in What’sitsname where folks are rich and clever;
The golden and the goodly house, where things grow worse for ever;
There are things you need not know of, though you live and die in vain,
There are souls more sick of pleasure than you are sick of pain;
There is a game of April Fool that’s played behind its door,
Where the fool remains for ever and the April comes no more,
Where the splendour of the daylight grows drearier than the dark,
And life droops like a vulture that once was such a lark:
And that is the Blue Devil that once was the Blue Bird;
For the Devil is a gentleman, and doesn’t keep his word.
– G. K. Chesterton

Humility is the one thing that no devil can imitate.
– St. John Climacus

For the second half of life, I’m putting 80% of my energy into utilizing my strengths and 20% into addressing my weaknesses. I’ve been doing the opposite for far too long.
– Andrew Duff McDuffey

The Call of the Open
Percy Bysshe Shelley – 1792-1822
Which yet joined not scent to hue,
Crown the pale year weak and new;
When the night is left behind
In the deep east, dun and blind,
And the blue noon is over us,
And the multitudinous
Billows murmur at our feet,
Where the earth and ocean meet,
And all things seem only one
In the universal sun.

But in all circumstances—adversity or advantage—we really have just one thing we need to do: focus on what is in our control as opposed to what is not.
– Ryan Holiday, The Daily Stoic

Memorial Day
by Chelsea Dingman

Not the storm, but the calm.
Not the flurry of attention
called to the sky.
Not the rumour of a hurricane on the horizon.
Not humidity, the mosquitoes rising
like smoke from the fields.
Not a history of revisions we call
love, or survival.
Not the children lost and discarded.
Not the borders that hostage them.
Not how we were once possible
under this tyrant
sky, the familiar sorrow of the fields.
Describe our self-importance.
This awareness that travels us like a siren.
Why the live oaks drown in brown pollen
gripping the streets.
Who else will wash this mess clean?
Laundry-damp, our houses.
Thick with spoiled food and loneliness.
In times of love and crisis, we’ve been
the most alone.
Planes take off without us.
Children flit between namesakes like wasps.
We miss what is ours while it is within reach,
along with the dim sound of thunder
in the distance, storm drains already chuffing.
Let any absence mean we are loved.
Let the rain come soon, and be done with us.

James Clear:

The ultimate test of an idea is whether it works in practice.

If an idea works for someone but disagrees with theory, then the theory is wrong.

If an idea works for someone but conflicts with research, then the research doesn’t apply.

Action sets the standard for truth.

The fault lies not with the mob, who demands nonsense, but with those who do not know how to produce anything else.
– Don Quixote

Be Kind
Not merely because Henry James said
there were but four rules of life—
be kind be kind be kind be kind—but
because it’s good for the soul, and,
what’s more, for others, it may be
that kindness is our best audition
for a worthier world, and, despite
the vagueness and uncertainty of
its recompense, a bird may yet wander
into a bush before our very houses,
gratitude may not manifest itself in deeds
entirely equal to our own, still there’s
weather arriving from every direction,
the feasts of famine and feasts of plenty
may yet prove to be one, so why not
allow the little sacrificial squinches and
squigulas to prevail? Why not inundate
the particular world with minute particulars?
Dust’s certainly all our fate, so why not
make it the happiest possible dust,
a detritus of blessedness? Surely
the hedgehog, furling and unfurling
into its spiked little ball, knows something
that, with gentle touch and unthreatening
tone, can inure to our benefit, surely the wicked
witches of our childhood have died and,
from where they are buried, a great kindness
has eclipsed their misdeeds. Yes, of course,
in the end so much comes down to privilege
and its various penumbras, but too much
of our unruly animus has already been
wasted on reprisals, too much of the
unblessed air is filled with smoke from
undignified fires. Oh friends, take
whatever kindness you can find
and be profligate in its expenditure:
It will not drain your limited resources,
I assure you, it will not leave you vulnerable
and unfurled, with only your sweet little claws
to defend yourselves, and your wet little noses,
and your eyes to the ground, and your little feet.
– Michael Blumenthal

by Lisa Russ Spaar

New Year’s Eve

Two sisters side by side,
benched at the gleaming fin

of the living room’s out-of-tune baby grand,
work out a mash-up, Adele’s “Hello”

& Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights,”
Hello, it’s me. . . , Heathcliff, it’s me, it’s Cathy,

voices by turns treble, then cemetery-dusked,
meandering, & hungry

as the sinew-tracks of moles
sponging December’s yard,

painted mouths of iced puddles,
branchless leaves snaring the window

with inhuman gale.
One swallows this heavy beauty,

rolls the mordent perfume
back to bloom as the other slips out

of autumn’s whalebone stave, descant.
They sing as if still girls. As if before

love’s scarlet evidence, & not, like the year,
the trees, already moved, moved through.

What are words?
Tears of silence.
What is darkness?
Womb of light.
Be the climax of your opposite.
Voluptuous hibiscus in an empty bulb.
Your grief bears joyful orphans.
The birth mother pants your true name.
You remember the mystery of Winter.
To see old stones in moonlight
sparkling with wounds of quartz.
Shake your fist all night
to the unknown God.
At dawn, take communion in your tomb.
Anger subsides.
You have learned how to look.
Root down in the hollow
where fur dreams stars.
You are here to undress the mind,
to discover the nakedness
that makes you dance.
See your Self in the eye of the raven.
Anger subsides.
You have learned how to look.
– Fred Lamottte

put your ear to the river you hear trees
put your ear to the trees you hear the widening
numerical workings of the river
– Alice Oswald

I liked this pact, I liked the sense that what the poem spoke was essential and also private, the message received by the priest or the analyst.
– Louise Glück (Nobel Prize Lecture)

Nobody else awake,
no one knocking on the door.
I must be many miles from the centre of my life.
– Bill Manhire

The clear sky has leant against the wall.
It’s like a prayer to the emptiness.
And the emptiness turns its face to us
and whispers
‘I am not empty, I am open.
– Tomas Transtromer

In this Glasgow balcony who pours such joy like mountain water? It brims, it spills over and over. How often will I think of you, until our dying steps forget this light, forget that we ever knew the happy glen, or that I ever said, We must jump into the sun, and we jumped into the sun.
– Edwin Morgan

A New Law
Greg Delanty

Let there be a ban on every holiday.

No ringing in the new year.

No fireworks doodling the warm night air.

No holly on the door. I say

let there be no more.

For many are not here who were here before.

Now I must wait and be still and say nothing I don’t know, nothing I haven’t lived over and over, and that’s everything.
– Philip Levine

For there are no light years. Years are heavy.
There is only light.
– Brenda Shaughnessy

I buy her books, I buy her books, and all she does is eat the pages.
– Mark the Husbine

On Compassion
Compassion for others isn’t an abstract feeling you cultivate in your heart out of nowhere.
When I see people speak about compassion in that way it’s usually denial, spiritual bypassing and a deep discomfort with being angry. Compassion isn’t a cause. It’s an effect. It’s not a phenomenon. It’s an epiphenomenon. It’s not the seed. It’s the the fruit.
Real compassion never begins with the decision to ‘be compassionate’. Real compassion usually starts with some level of anger or judgment about the actions of another. We see them as a perpetrator. We demonize them. We lable them. We write them off. We ask ourselves, “How could they have done that?”
And then comes the learning – almost always unasked for, almost always unwelcome. And what is the learning about? It’s about what they had to go through to get to where they are today. It’s about learning all the ways in which they were victimized by life and defeated by forces and institutions so much bigger than them.
Compassion sounds less like, “I forgive you,” and more like, “Fuck… you never had a chance. My God.” We ask ourselves, “How could they not have done that?”
Self-compassion comes from the same place. It begins with a fierce and burning self-hatred and shame for all the things you’ve done and not done and then, if you’re lucky, you come to realize that, given what was going on in your life, given what happened in the life of your parents and community, given what happened in the lives of your ancestors… you never had a chance either. And that is nothing but heartbreaking to see. You got let down by your culture. But it’s also a relief. You give yourself a fucking break for not being able to, all by yourself, stand up to the evils, poverties and oppressions of your day. This kind of learning is the breaking of the spell of competence (that you should always know what to do and do it well) and self-sufficiency (all by yourself).
Compassion doesn’t come from a decision to be compassionate. That’s where repression comes from. It comes from learning.
In seeing this all, you see what was missing and, in seeing this, the world has a chance to be different. You wake up one day and you see that you might have some role to play in changing those things. You might have a role to play in making sure the next generation has a better shot than you did.
– Tad Hargrave

Roshi Norman Fischer: The enlightened person is simply the person who isn’t selfish, who sees things as they really are, loves them, and acts out of that love.

Chögyam Trungpa ~ Frog Jumped, A Plop Sounded
Frog jumped, a plop sounded.
Mountain trembled, a roar was heard.
But it is difficult to hear the flicker of a candle.
It is possible to be both fool and wise man.
The laughter of a stone and the beauty of a crashing pine tree:
The notion of relativity.
So there is no room for poets.
If you say that space is penetrating
Then forget about the sharpness of action.
It’s more profitable just to listen to the whistling sound of grass.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Last night I turned off
the wi fi in my computer.
Then I turned off
the wi fi in my head.
Stopped hearing my thoughts
and listened to mist
settling on a pond.
The whisper
of naked attention
between raindrops.
A mouse
skittering through the empty bell
of this moment,
3 a.m.
A well tuned web of dew
plucked like a koto
by a single finger
of moonlight.
Transcendental tree frog
Croaking from a broken pot.
Sonic boom of a barn owl
breaking the speed
of darkness.
This is how you hunt at night:
send out silence
to bring home more silence
in the talons of listening.
– Fred LaMotte

I’m always trying to hear the sound of the words, and trying to take out everything that doesn’t feel alive. That’s my goal: to take out everything that doesn’t feel alive.
– Jean Valentine

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; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!”

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.” If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, “Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?” would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?
– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Book IV

Richard bach said: “you teach best what you most need to learn”. this is amazingly true. in a sense, the best teachers are the most ignorant. for that reason, to that which is truly worthless, we assign it a monetary value, but one who is truly wise, like old fool hakuin was, knows to call himself “the most useless man that ever lived”.

It takes about ten years
to get used to how old you are.
– Raymond Michel

It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.
– Hermann Hesse

The Ancient Greeks, writes Robert M. Pirsig […], saw the future as something that came upon them from behind their backs with the past receding away before their eyes. When you think about it, that’s a more accurate metaphor than our present one. Who can really face the future? All you can do is project from the past, even when the past shows that such projections are often wrong. And who really can forget the past? What else is there to know?
– Stefano Gualeni, Virtual Worlds as Philosophical Tools

I Recommend You Not Empty of Content

When I stood and tore rocks

from the front of our porch, you saw I was otherwise

empty of details, of spark. From words to cup

to hope to wake; you called for help.

From the edge of our porch, you saw I was otherwise

caught in the arch of defeat. No chances

to hope to wake. You called for help

that day. October was visible in every direction,

Caught in the arch of defeat. No chances.

How many times could we do this? I almost slid off

that day. October was visible in every direction,

taut then shaking. Was this on your heart?

How many times could we do this? I almost slid off

from the place we called home. Pity the riddle,

taut then shaking. Was this on your heart —

your sturdy going on, your exhaustion

With the place we called home? Pity the riddle,

empty of details, of spark. From words to cup,

your sturdy going on, your exhaustion

when I stood and tore rocks.

– Lauren Camp

Mid-Winter Days

Now is the time for the owls that come in evening.
They hold their own branches, their own trees,
never overcrowding the same space.
They only drop a feather when they are finished with it.
When they want to share the secrets of silent travel
and sight through the darkness. They say rest,
even though its a new calendar, don’t be entirely fooled.
Still, rest, still.

The creeks have lacy edges of ice
and the sun’s slant barely makes it through
bare branches in their silent wisdoms. The sun
is peering out from under for one minute longer,
then 2 then 3, but it is slow. Like we should be,
as we are nature, too. Be like our brethren the bear
who sleeps sound until spring. Dreams the world
fresh for us to discover. Seeds plant themselves
in this dream-world when we imagine, so dream big.

Dream the scent of roses and the boisterous ringing
of bells when a new president steps in. Dream the hands
of kindness and faces filled with the beauty
of a safe and sound world. Create it with
your favorite crimsons and lapis-blues.
Sculpt it with the words that make your tongue happy
every time they tumble past. Dream big, dream long.
It’s what the winter is for.

Row row row your boat
gently down the stream
merrily merrily merrily merrily
life is but a dream.

– Valerie A Szarek 12.31.2020

On the edge of this year, I feel compelled to point out that 2021 may be “better” for a select few of us, but it almost certainly will not be better for the natural world or for those humans who depend most directly on the natural world. Right now, dozens of species go extinct with each passing day, hundreds of acres of land are destroyed for agriculture with each passing hour, and more pollution and more poison is pumped into air, water, and soil with each passing minute. For the vast majority of life on earth, 2021 will only be better if we physically stop the forces destroying the planet.

I know that many people feel they need some hope for the future. That may or may not be true. Hope may or may not be a real “need.” But, it’s definitely true that more than you need hope, you need clean water, clean air, healthy soil, and a network of countless relationships formed by the other-than-human beings we share this planet with. We will not ensure these needs are met until we confront the horrific reality that the prospect of fulfilling these needs is rapidly vanishing.

Very dark times are ahead, friends. There’s no avoiding it. The pandemic is only one concern among many. There will be escalating violence, more political repression, more wars, more encroachment on wild lands. There will be less of the raw materials of life, less wildlife, less access to undeveloped land, less opportunity for more and more humans to build relationships with wild places and wild beings.

But, if we recognize the power we do hold, the power that comes through serious and organized resistance, and if we exercise that power to stop the destruction of the planet, then one New Year’s Eve, all of us might truly be capable of saying: Next year will be better.
– Will Falk

The last day of the year:
greylag geese are flying
in regular formation
along the shoreline, sky-shapes,
an image of poetry.
– Michael Longley

when did the future switch
from being a promise
to being a threat?
– Chuck Palahniuk

Existence has no better gift.

No amount of searching will find this.

A perfect falcon, for no reason, has landed on your shoulder, and become yours.

– Rumi

The separateness apparent
in the world is secondary.
Beyond that world of opposites
is an unseen, but experienced,
unity and identity in us all.
– Joseph Campbell

The incense burnt to ashes,
The candle dissolved in tears:
These are what our hearts are like, yours and mine!
– Wen T’ing-yun

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

These are the days that must happen to you.
– Walt Whitman

On that day, in my inscriptions,
That no city was destroyed by me,
no walls were breached by me,
That like a frail reed no land was crushed by me,
The singer will put to song.
– King Shulgi of Ur, 2000 BCE

[Jung’s Red Book] is full of pain, crises, despair & hopeful vision, reflecting the profound internal suffering of a man who was both a rational thinker & poetic visionary & who could not, for many decades, find a way of reconciling these opposites within himself.
– Liz Greene

A healed person wouldn’t intentionally traumatize you.
– Inner Practitioner

Woke up thinking, what if I just…don’t ever publish another book and retreat into an obscure life in the snowy woods of some Yankee state. That wouldn’t be so bad.
– Brandon Taylor

You are not an introvert. You are just being careful not to open up to mismatched vibrations.
– Inner Practitioner

How sad it makes one feel to sit down quietly and think of the flight of the old year, and the unceremonious obtrusion of the new year upon our notice! How many things we have omitted to do which might have cheered a human heart, or whispered hope in the ear of the sorrowful…
– Emily Dickinson

The universe supports you when you feel and heal, do inner and shadow work, do breathwork and grounding, do self-love and self-care, learn emotional intelligence, and enforce your physical, emotional, and energetic boundaries.
– Persistent Observer

In the face of any mysterious image, we may either stand mute and unaffected, we may slice & beat the image in order to make it fit our familiar patterns of thought, or we may delicately compare, search, and probe with an artist’s eye, teasing some significance away.
– Thomas Moore

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
– Martin Luther King, jr.

We are not facing a battle between the good guys and the bad guys because the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart.
– Joanna Macy, The Kingdom of Shambhala

One of Jung’s great contributions to art, and to religion in particular, is to demonstrate that images of tradition need not remain as lifeless, opaque hunks of matter. With imagination we can vivify them…
– Thomas Moore

Never forget that in psychology the means by which you judge and observe the psyche is the psyche itself.
– CG Jung

Psychedelics are beginning to get a fair hearing from science because neoliberalism is making everyone too crazy and depressed to turn the gears of the machine, so the machine is desperately looking for miracle cures to get the slaves functional again.
– Caitlin Johnstone

Kindness is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families, and nations.
– Paramahansa Yogananda

The process of writing the book has to somehow change me. I have to somehow grow into that writer-self that was ahead and then raise the bar again.
– Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi

An individual is not smart, according to our culture. An individual is merely lucky to be part of a system that has intelligence that happens to reside in them. In other words, be humble about this always. The real intelligence isn’t the property of an individual corporation – the real intelligence is the property of the universe itself.
– John Mohawk

Outrage is not the only emotion that political people should experience. Joy is a political emotion…If one is going to engage in this collective struggle over a period of years and decades, one must find ways to imagine a much more capacious political self.
– Angela Y. Davis

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

I think, I turn to you,
and fail, and turn

as the day widens
and we don’t know what to do
– Jean Valentine

O Small Sad Ecstasy of Love
I like being with you all night with closed eyes.
What luck—here you are
along the stars!
I did a road trip
all over my mind and heart
there you were
kneeling by the roadside
with your little toolkit
fixing something.

Give me a world, you have taken the world I was.

– Anne Carson

About 50% of politics is obnoxious inasmuch as it poisons utterly incompetent mind of the masses.We are on our guard against contagious diseases of the body, but we are exasperatingly careless when it comes to the even more dangerous collective diseases of the mind.
– CG Jung

Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.
– George Eliot

The hardest battle you are ever going to have to fight is the battle to be just you.
– Leo Buscaglia

Do not speak badly of yourself. For the Warrior within hears your words and is lessened by them.
– David Gemmell

Just give full attention to what in you is crude and primitive, unreasonable and unkind, altogether childish, and you will ripen. It is the maturity of heart and mind that is essential. It comes effortlessly when the main obstacle is removed — inattention, unawareness. In awareness you grow.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Even on the most exalted throne in the world we are only sitting on our own bottom.
– Michel de Montaigne

Don’t be distracted by the noise this week.
We are the story of this year.
We are renovating this nation.
We aren’t going backwards anymore.
– Pastor John Pavlovitz

Please bring strange things.
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
and the ways you go be the lines on your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing
and your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well loved one,
walk mindfully, well loved one,
walk fearlessly, well loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
be always coming home.
– Ursula Le Guin

O Small Sad Ecstasy of Love
by Anne Carson

I like being with you all night with closed eyes.
What luck—here you are
along the stars!
I did a road trip
all over my mind and heart
there you were
kneeling by the roadside
with your little toolkit
fixing something.

Give me a world, you have taken the world I was.

…put away
The unavailing outcries and the old bitterness
That empty the heart.
– W. B. Yeats

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.
– G.K. Chesterton

Dr. Jill Stein:
It wasn’t the year that was the problem.
It was end stage empire & predatory capitalism.

sven birkerts:
2021: The year they discovered that the “like” button was in large part responsible for the decline of civilization.

To be old and not to feel it is a gift.
To be supplanted and not to care. So be it.
The birds are not supplanted by the air,
the air, what’s left of it, by flood or fire.
The effort of a life, the wasted hour,
the kind word given to a stranger’s child
are understood as kin and disappear.
Time to be grass again. Ongoing. Wild.
– David Mason

by Joy Harjo

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.

If you know two cultures and two languages, that intermediate place, where the two don’t perfectly meet, is really interesting.
– Sandra Cisneros

I think there’s a whole area . . . suggested by Picasso, which in a way has been unexplored, of organic form that relates to the human image but is a complete distortion of it.
– Francis Bacon

Experience is a truer guide than the words of others.
– Leonardo da Vinci

My faith helps me overcome such negative emotions and find my equilibrium.
– Dalai Lama

It’s so important to refine who you allow in your close circle. When conflicting energies don’t align with your goals and where you want to be, it creates resistance and chaos as you are trying to step into your highest version of yourself.
– Ciara

We open our mouths. Drop our bullets on our tongues. Taste the metal and three of us cough up powder. One of us nods. All of us nod. And we bite. We bite our bullets with our back teeth, listen to the sounds of our sprouting bones cracking within our gums. We bite to strengthen our jaws. We bite to quiet our laughter. We bite to practice how to warp our words, how to tuck them within our bullets. We are girls in lace cradling bullets in our palms. Bullets stolen from our fathers’ guns, from their safes; souvenir bullets our grandfathers kept from the wars they relive in their sleep. We remember the stories of our grandmothers and mothers and wonder where their bullets are now. Two of us turn away from the circle, take aim at their targets in the distance. Four of us turn. Seven. Ten, taking aim with puckered lips. We aim at those who tell us to hush. At those who tell us to be good little girls. Pretty little girls. Silent and still little girls. All at once, we fire. We fire like our grandmothers and mothers. We fire our bullets encased in our words and wait for the sounds of impact.
– K.B. Carle

When you find what matters is what you feel
It arrives, and it disappears
– Jay Farrar

Each year I lived I watched the fissure
Between what was and what I wished for
Widen, until there was nothing left
But the gulf of emptiness.
– Galway Kinnell

Every love poem, I think, is a poem of grace. Because you can spend years in silence not knowing how to say I love you. Because you can spend years knowing what you need but not asking for it. Because you can spend years lifting, only to realize that you spent years lifting the wrong thing. Because someone’s hands can spend a lifetime in the blistered existence of the everyday only to spend a minute, years later, making calligraphy out of your skin. Because it only takes a second to be brought to your knees. Because it only takes a second for someone to lift you.
– Devin Kelly

In your gaze, beloved, I live between twin-green worlds.
The field has spots where we’ve lain this rainy morning.
Clouds will remember us this way:
pressed into grass like petals into pages,
our arms each other’s spines, if we were books.
Listening to wind sing a song it wrote and rewrote
long before it opened its mouth.
– Molly Kirschner, Etiquette of Trees

I can’t walk away from
myself, I know.
You, being everywhere,
can’t walk away from me either.
– Molly Kirschner, Listening In

People who feel empty never heal by merging with another incomplete person. On the contrary, two broken-winged birds coupled into one make for clumsy flight. No amount of patience will help it fly; and, ultimately, each must be pried from the other, and wounds separately splinted.
– Irvin D. Yalom

I took you for a friend and you held my trust like a child / holds a heavy vase or a large, ornate cake / in small arms the best it can.
– Molly Kirschner

At times I suffer from the strangest sense of detachment from myself and the world about me; I seem to watch it all from the outside, from somewhere inconceivably remote, out of time, out of space, out of the stress and tragedy of it all.
– H. G. Wells

For she had been wrong. She had said he was something he was not; she had felt familiar with him. Whereas he was apart all the while, living as she never lived, feeling as she never felt.
– D. H. Lawrence

Time Out
It took that pause to make him realize
The mountain he was climbing had the slant
As of a book held up before his eyes
(And was a text albeit done in plant).
Dwarf cornel, gold-thread, and maianthemum,
He followingly fingered as he read,
The flowers fading on the seed to come;
But the thing was the slope it gave his head:
The same for reading as it was for thought,
So different from the hard and level stare
Of enemies defied and battles fought.
It was the obstinately gentle air
That may be clamored at by cause and sect
But it will have its moment to reflect.
– Robert Frost, A Witness Treed

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
– Alfred Tennyson

And you, Helen, what should I give you?
So many things I would give you
Had I an infinite great store
Offered me and I stood before
To choose. I would give you youth,
All kinds of loveliness and truth,
A clear eye as good as mine,
Lands, waters, flowers, wine,
As many children as your heart
Might wish for, a far better art
Than mine can be, all you have lost
Upon the travelling waters tossed,
Or given to me. If I could choose
Freely in that great treasure-house
Anything from any shelf,
I would give you back yourself,
And power to discriminate
What you want and want it not too late,
Many fair days free from care
And heart to enjoy both foul and fair,
And myself, too, if I could find
Where it lay hidden and it proved kind.
– Edward Thomas

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: Poems

… imagination and reason have taught you all they can
and now you must learn to be wholly given
to the simple spiritual awareness of your self and God….

he told his disciples, who were loath to give up his physical presence
(just as you are loath to give up the speculative reflections of your subtle, clever faculties), that for their own good he would withdraw his physical presence from them, He said to them, “It is necessary for you that I go,”
meaning, “It is necessary for you
that I depart physically from you.”

St. Augustine, commenting on these words, says:
“Were not the form of his humanity withdrawn from our bodily eyes,
love for him in his Godhead would never cleave to our spiritual eyes.”
And thus I say to you, at a certain point it is necessary
to give up discursive meditation and learn to taste something of that deep,
spiritual experience of God’s love.

… always and ever strive toward the naked awareness of your self,
and continually offer your being to God as your most precious gift.

Inasmuch as this awareness really is naked,
you will at first find it terribly painful to rest in it for any length of time
because, … your faculties will find no meat for themselves in it.

Let them fast awhile from their natural delight in knowing,
It is well said that man naturally desires to know. Yet at the same time,
it is also true that no amount of natural or acquired knowledge
will bring him to taste the spiritual experience of God,
for this is a pure gift of grace.

And so I urge you: go after experience rather than knowledge.
On account of pride, knowledge may often deceive you,
but this gentle, loving affection will not deceive you.

Knowledge tends to breed conceit,
but love builds.

Knowledge is full of labor,
but love, full of rest.

– The Book of Privy Counseling, written anonymously in the fourteenth century

Everyone lives in his own fantasy world, but most people don’t understand that. No one perceives the real world. Each person simply calls his private, personal fantasies the Truth. The difference is that I know I live in a fantasy world. I prefer it that way and resent anything that disturbs my vision.
– Federico Fellini

The Bean Eaters
by Gwendolyn Brooks

They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
Tin flatware.

Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.

And remembering . . .
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that
is full of beads and receipts and dolls and cloths,
tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.

“Defund (And Redesign) Everything!” Our social institutions are relics of the past. We must redesign and replace all of our institutions, and make this decade the most creative and generative in human history.
– Jordan Hall

For almost
your whole existence
you’ve lived as a person –
now try being a rose-bed
In the field of God –
Be a pair of wings and
lift anyone who is ready –
be a swirling galaxy
and shine from
the night sky –
yes there are infinite
possibilities to be
yourself so that
what you touch
reveals a hidden
when you are
willing to be yourself,
you transcend all
– Guthema Roba

“Words are things, I’m convinced,” she said. “You must be careful about the words you use or the words you allow to be used in your house. In the Old Testament, we are told in Genesis that in the beginning was the word. And the word was God, and the word was with God,” she explained. “That’s in Genesis. Words are things. You must be careful. Care about calling people out of their names, using racial pejoratives and sexual pejoratives and all that ignorance. Don’t do that. I think they get on the walls, they get in your wallpaper, they get in your rugs and your upholstery and your clothes. And, finally, into you.”
– Maya Angelou

I’ve been talking with a lot of my friends recently — in private where they felt comfortable letting their guard down — about the dirty little secret no one is supposed to talk about.
The shame people feel when they can’t find a job…
…or pay their bills.
…or go to the dentist.
…or that they have to move back in with their parents.
…or they can’t afford to have children.
We are supposed to pretend, in this stupendously individualist culture, that it is our fault. The buck stops here. I am responsible for my failings in life.
Of course this is demonstrably not true. We are merely living through late-stage capitalism and our parents lacked the foresight to warn us about it. When a population explodes — as the human one did throughout the last century — eventually all manner of social institutions become over-crowded. From there, it’s simply a numbers game.
Want that awesome job? Stack your resume next to the hundreds of other people applying for it. Hoping to get into college? You’ll have to pay out the nose in student loans (if, that is, you were fortunate enough to get through admissions). Thinking of buying a house? You’re too busy paying rent in a skyrocketing market of housing prices.
But yeah, be sure to blame yourself. It’s obviously your fault.
Seriously though, we should have seen this coming. Build an economic system based on wealth hoarding and presumed scarcity and you’ll get what was intended. The system is performing exactly as it was designed to. That is why wages have stagnated in the West for 30 years. It is why 62 people are able to have the same amount of wealth as 3.7 billion. It is why politicians are bought by the highest bidders and legislation systematically serves the already-rich at the expense of society.
A great irony of this deeply corrupt system of wealth hoarding is that the “weapon of choice” is how we feel about ourselves as we interact with our friends. The elites don’t have to silence us. We do that ourselves by refusing to talk about what is happening to us. Fake it until you make it. That’s the advice we are given by the already successful who have pigeon-holed themselves into the tiny number of real opportunities society had to offer. Hold yourself accountable for the crushing political system that was designed to divide us against ourselves.
The mental disease of late-stage capitalism is shame, the devastating feeling that we failed ourselves in the Land of Opportunity.
This great lie that we whisper to ourselves is how they control us. Our fear that other impoverished people (which is most of us now) will look down on us for being impoverished too. This is how we give them the power to keep humiliating us.
I say no more of this emotional racket. If I am going to be responsible for my fate in life, let it be because I chose to stand up and fight — that I helped dismantle the global architecture of wealth extraction that created this systemic corruption of our economic and political systems.
Now more than ever, we need spiritual healing. As this capitalist system destroys itself, we can step aside and find healing by living honestly and without fear. They don’t get to tell us how to live. We can share our pain with family and friends. We can post it on social media. Shout it from the rooftops if we feel like it. The pain we feel is capitalism dying. It hurts us because we are still in it.
But those billionaires who rigged the game don’t get to tell me what I should or shouldn’t say to my friends. If I am struggling financially it is because the financial system is morally corrupt. This truth is a mantric elixir — repeat it to yourself every time the habits of your mind whisper that it is your fault.
You are not to blame for the wealth hoarding of others. That is one burden you don’t have to carry any longer. Be healed. Find your strength. Speak your truth. And let the cascades of change unfurl across society.
We cannot begin the work of building new economic systems until we take off the mental shackles of the old ones. So let your shame fall away. Remember your pride in learning and growing as a person, loving life and other people, being with friends, and pursuing your dreams. Then hold tight to these feelings as you set clear intentions about how the future must be different from the past.
We can do better. We must do better. It might be true that capitalism as we know it is going the way of history. I say good riddance. Whatever good it might have done is in the past now. Moving forward will be a grieving process — and each of us needs to pay close attention to the feelings inside of ourselves. We are the capitalist system right now. But not for long.
The pain we feel is like that tugging of skin for the serpent as it sheds an outer layer. Deep inside ourselves we are human beings, which is about so much more than the money we have in the bank or the things we buy at the store. As we shed ourselves of the immoral economic ideology of insatiable greed (that has made the elites around the world very sick indeed!), let us remember our true nature and begin to heal.
Onward, fellow humans.
– Joe Brewer

There’s a burning coal inside of us—the poet’s job is to unearth it.
– Edward Hirsch

Icarus should have waited for nightfall,
the moon would have never let him go.
– Nina Mouawad

Dreams “leak out,” they are not under control; no matter how innocent and simple a person is, there are dreams from which to get something if one can only catch any little tail that may be sticking out.
– CG Jung

That things ‘just go on’ is the catastrophe.
– Walter Benjamin

Aversion pushes
Attachment pulls
the Tao flows.
– Blunted Buddha

God says;
“Whomsoever you love more than Me,
I will take away from you.”
And He adds;
“Do not say; “I cannot live without him/her.”
I will make you live without him/her.”
And the season passes.
The branches of tree providing shade become dry.
Patience runs out.
The person whom you think as a part of you turns out to be a stranger.
Your mind startles.
Even your friend turns out to be your enemy, your enemy turns out to be your friend.
The person whom you love more than your life betrays you.
Such a strange world!
Whenever you think, “It never occurs”
It occurs.
You say, “I do not fall.” Yet you fall.
You say, “I do not get amazed.”
Yet you get amazed.
The most weird thing is this;
You keep on saying, “I died.”
Yet you live..
– Rumi

Thus, mystical encounter as embodied soul experience counteracts the exploitive practices exercised by institutional authorities and those with more status and power in society.
– Joy R. Bostic

The chemistry of mind is different from the chemistry of love. The mind is careful, suspicious, he advances little by little. He advises “Be careful, protect yourself” Whereas love says “Let yourself, go!” The mind is strong, never falls down, while love hurts itself, falls into ruins. But isn’t it in ruins that we mostly find the treasures? A broken heart hides so many treasures.
– Shams Tabrizi

The term sublimation derives from chemistry. It names the process by which a solid substance is directly transformed into a gas, without first becoming liquid. In art, sublimation refers to the psychological processes of transformation, in which base and unimpressive experiences are converted into something noble and fine — exactly what may happen when sorrow meets art.
– Alain de Botton, Art as Therapy

Suffering is the source of transformation for humans. However, the symbolic structuring of one’s personality occurs in the polar opposite with joy. There is no transformation without the union of suffering and joy.
– Maria Zelia de Alvarenga, The Grail, Arthur and his Knights

Advice from María Sabina, Mexican healer and poet:
Heal yourself with the light of the sun and the rays of the moon. With the sound of the river and the waterfall. With the swaying of the sea and the fluttering of birds. Heal yourself with mint, neem, and eucalyptus. Sweeten with lavender, rosemary, and chamomile. Hug yourself with the cocoa bean and a hint of cinnamon. Put love in tea instead of sugar and drink it looking at the stars. Heal yourself with the kisses that the wind gives you and the hugs of the rain. Stand strong with your bare feet on the ground and with everything that comes from it. Be smarter every day by listening to your intuition, looking at the world with your forehead. Jump, dance, sing, so that you live happier. Heal yourself, with beautiful love, and always remember … you are the medicine.

Magic Words
In the very earliest time,
when both people and animals lived on earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to and an animal 
 could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could happen—
all you had to do was say it.
Nobody could explain this:
That’s the way it was.
– Edward Field

Serotonin and its receptors are also deeply involved in temporal encoding, that is, an organism’s sense of time, whether it appears normal speed, or very fast, or incredibly slow…. Perceptual framework alters with time sense alteration. During slowing, the living can attend to incoming data with greater specificity and attentiveness…increasing its ability to adapt to meanings inside incoming data streams….

…the effect that the [early jazz] musicians were after from marijuana was a lenghtening of their sense of time, so that they would be able to put more grace notes into their music than if they simply followed the written score. Munch complained that a regular musician would just play a piece of music the way it was written, but that a musician who used marijuana would work in about twice as many notes, would “jazz” it up. (Pendell, Pharmako/poeia)

…the serotonin receptors…respond to environmental inputs by constantly shifting their degree of activiation. And no, this is not a reductive, mechanical process where we are simply a product of our chemistry. We are engaged in a complex conversation; it’s not a monologue. Most of our responses may be below the level of our conscious awareness, nevertheless iti’s a conversation filled with meaning. The meanings are crucial. It is not the chemical but the meaning inside it that puts the greatest pressure on the systems it touches. Our system analyzes the incoming meanings and then chooses how to respond. How we shift serotonin production and neural network structure is a choice; it is not imposed by a totalitarian, meananically controlled world.
– Stephen Harrod Buhner, Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm

Correction does much,
but encouragement does more.
– Goethe

This old calendar
Litany of reminders
From a broken year
– Jonathan Aylett

Wisdom without love is like having lungs but no air to breathe. Do not seek wisdom in order to acquire knowledge but in order to live and love more fully.
– Adyashanti

Gary Snyder:
wet rocks buzzing
rain and thunder southwest
hair, beard, tingle
wind whips bare legs
we should go back
we don’t

Asura’s Haiku:

Sylvia Plath
I thought everyone’s daddy
was a fascist

#senryu #haiku

The list of bad things

The list of bad things
is not hierarchical
so I shall desist

from naming them all
in proper order of sadness
and daily horror.

We are watching clouds
stall, sail and mount while yearning
for the rain that falls

where and when it likes.

– George Szirtes

Disabled people are experts in finding new ways to do things when the old ways don’t work. We are a vast think tank right in plain sight. A bottomless well of ingenuity and creativity.
– @riva_lehrer

One of my favorite British culture things that is just not a part of American kid culture, is that when kids don’t like to eat something here they say “I’m off of it.” And no one questions it. People just go, ok, they’re off of it! There’s no like or dislike.
– Allison Devers

Stepping into your power is not hardest thing. The hardest thing is to step in and remain grounded, humble and generous. Much of mundane training would have us believe we are inferior. If you begin a dedicated dance with Spirit you will start to see and feel your own power. It comes in brief slices in the beginning. Like shafts of light beaming down into the shady forest. We get a glimpse of who we are and what it feels like to be powerful. If we continue our dance with dedication a glimpse becomes a knowing. Along the path come opportunities to heal. In a perfect world our awareness would grow equally as our healing grows. But that is not always the case. It is possible to be powerful and broken. And that is an challenging combination. Don’t rush to power. Rush to healing. Rush to love. Rush to generosity. And a humble power capable of transforming the world will follow.
– Naraya Preservation Council

The Buddha is not to be sought
outside yourself.
– Zurchungpa’s Testament

Once one has found emptiness,
it is like the summertime,
when the earth becomes warm
and all the orchards and forests
start to grow naturally without effort.
When the nature of awareness
has been identified,
there is no longer any difference
between meditation
and the postmeditation experience.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

It is your duty in life to save your dream.
– Amedeo Modigliani

I was in a writer’s position—an observer, an outsider, with a foot in more than one world.
– John Edgar Wideman

Loneliness is the human condition.
Cultivate it.
The way it tunnels into you
allows your soul room to grow.
Never expect to outgrow loneliness.
Never hope to find people
who will understand you,
someone to fill that space.
An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception,
the very great exception.
If you expect to find people
who will understand you,
you will grow murderous with disappointment.
The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want,
and not let the cattle stand in your way.
– Janet Fitch

What is not possible in writing, however, may be possible in translation…
– Robert Kaufman and Philip Gerard

Connectedness is not a spiritual fantasy.
It’s a biological reality.
– Adyashanti

You must look closely in this dark month. Examine the backs of your hands and the movements of your fingers. Place your thumbprints on the edges of old bowls. Immerse yourself in ceremonies of the ordinary. Do not seek large issues. In January one needs ritual, not philosophy.
– Kent Nerburn

Deborah Williamson:
What is that one thing that you tell everyone you “don’t need to do” (ie, build that new website, open your yoga studio, record a new music CD, apply for a new job, etc)? What you are most afraid of is often just what you need to set yourself free. It is EXACTLY what you NEED to do. So ask yourself, “what is it that I don’t need to do?”, and then GO DO IT already.

Vince Fakhoury Horn:

I’ve been a Fakhoury shill, a New Age shill, a Rationalist shill, a Buddhist shill, an Integral shill, a Capitalist shill, a Transhumanist shill, a Mindfulness shill, and an Open Source shill. (List not exhaustive.)

What ideologies have *you* shilled for over the years?

Praise works with only three types of people; men, women, and children.
– Anonymous

Caitlin Johnstone:
What’s it going to take to get American progressives to understand that the Democratic Party is explicitly and deliberately rigged against progress? It’s simply not the tool for advancing progressive agendas. It’s like watching a kid try to open a can of beans using a sneaker.

by Jericho Brown

The water is one thing, and one thing for miles.
The water is one thing, making this bridge
Built over the water another. Walk it
Early, walk it back when the day goes dim, everyone
Rising just to find a way toward rest again.
We work, start on one side of the day
Like a planet’s only sun, our eyes straight
Until the flame sinks. The flame sinks. Thank God
I’m different. I’ve figured and counted. I’m not crossing
To cross back. I’m set
On something vast. It reaches
Long as the sea. I’m more than a conqueror, bigger
Than bravery. I don’t march. I’m the one who leaps.

Jung maintained that psychology must go deeper than the intellect because “the totality of the psyche can never be grasped by intellect alone.” Like it or not, “the psyche seeks an expression that will embrace its total nature.”
– Scott Hill

Alexandria Villaseñor:
I’m worried the cult of individualism will kill us all. The climate crisis is an empathy crisis.

A man sometimes devotes his life to a desire which he is not sure will ever be fulfilled. Those who laugh at this folly are, after all, no more than mere spectators of life.
– Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Rashomon and Other Stories

Resentment, which comes from the decision to go against one’s truth, embitters the self. It somaticizes in the body and takes on the burden of pain as if it were ours alone.
– Toko-pa Turner, Belonging

Shall we grieve today? How we begin our mornings. Crack
an egg on your pretty head and let the tadpoles suck
the runny yolk. I wake up everyday thinking I am dead.
– Muriel Leung, Paradise in a Fevered Dream

Men their rights and nothing more; women their rights and nothing less.
– Susan B. Anthony

It was impossible not to be affected by his poetry, yet it is still impossible to say exactly what the effect was.
– Seamus Heaney

I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice.
– Albert Camus

Deepa Iyer:
Our activism and engagement cannot be passing trends that get activated amid a crisis, and then set aside.

Andrea Gibson:
I spent a lot of years flirting
with my expiration date.
It makes sense—to be wooed
by the finish line of sadness.
Infinity still sends me nudes
every day. I won’t deny
she looks amazing, but I’m taken.
My hand now promised
to writing every page of my story
except for its end.

Tonight I feel the starts are out
to use me for target practice.
– Yusef Komunyakaa

Only the Faintest Blue

Somewhere in the haunted desert
I hitched my callow life to a man

who thought I hadn’t suffered enough.
He might have said that very thing,

You haven’t suffered enough. Young
whiptail lizards lined the cottonwood

path to the river where I walked each
day to remember who I was: She

who had not suffered. My hands tanned
in the sage-green air, I walked until

I was softer, until clouds, until I could
tame my colors and go back and cook

a lazy dinner. Once, he insisted I ride
home with his friend who was clearly drunk

so he could make a call he didn’t
want me to hear, an ex, a lawyer, a dealer,

I don’t know. I knew I didn’t like his friend
who drove too fast after shots of tequila

at the roadside Mexican dive with fake
spiky cacti in the foyer like stage props.

Maybe this is suffering, I thought?
Am I suffering now? Or now?

I felt most myself by the river. Vast
sorrel river ready to flood or tear down

everything in its way, hard to cross,
rapid and legendary. The color of the earth.

I did not want to throw myself in. Instead
I’d watch the whiptails skitter in dust.

Sisters of the small quiet pleasure of edges
and disappearing to safety. I can still hear

that river in my mind, my teacher. I can still
remember that day I left him, the arguing,

the fight where I kept my head down
and packed like fury was a new smart skill.

But mostly I remember the flitting of lizards,
how they had felt like kin and kinship,

how later, I read that the New Mexico whiptail
is an all-female species, reproducing by

parthenogenesis, asexual and yet genetically diverse.
Yellow lines run the length of their gray bodies

with vibrant blue-green tails when they’re young.
And as they age, their scales, their whole body changes,

until only the faintest blue remains, and safer now,
they become the earthen color of the river.

– Ada Limón

For some poets—for me—writing is an archeological act, an archeological practice without landscape or time.
– Robin Coste Lewis

Therapy is completed when a child can play alone.
– D. W. Winnicott

Loving your people and loving questions are, I believe, the two most important qualities that an individual needs today to help create the new kind of politics we need to bring about fundamental social change in our country.

Even if the people of our respective communities or of our country are acting in ways that we believe are unworthy of human beings, we must still care enough for them so that their lives and ours, their questions and ours, become inseparable.
At the same time, we must love the questions themselves, first, because everytime we act on our convictions, we create new contradictions or new questions, and secondly, because we have no models for revolutionary social change in a country as technologically advanced and politically backward as ours.
– Grace Lee Boggs

… friendship is the most important element in the spiritual path. Everything else naturally flows from it.
– Norman Fisher

Joe Biden:
In America, politicians can’t assert, take, or seize power.
It has to be given by the American people.
We can’t ever give that up. The will of the people must always prevail.

Future medicine will be based on controlling energy in the body.
– Professor William Tiller, Stanford University

An era can be considered over when its basic illusions have been exhausted.
– Arthur Miller

Frank Ostaseski:

We habitually string ourselves together with various shiny ornamentations to shape a positive self-image, sometimes inflating our capacities or importance. Conversely, we may add fuel to the fire of a negative self-concept and exaggerate flaws or weaknesses. We know intrinsically that this construction we carry around and project to the world is not substantial or real, and yet we invest in it and come to mistake it for reality.

Here is the thing, “positive self-image” or “negative self-image”. It’s still an image. Let’s be real. the world needs our most real and essential self to show up in these troubling times.

Guthema Roba:
You see dear one,
If you take responsibility
for your feelings and
emotions, if you approach
your anger with kindness –
If you know how to handle
joy and sorrow without
being attached to them —
Then you are doing what
schools cannot teach you.
you transform hindrance
into possibilities –
you are fully participating
in the orchestra of life.

It’s always time to question what has become standard and established.
– David Bowie


I have a kidney bean blooming beneath my jeans.
As a child I feared watermelon seeds, but never kidney beans.

I can feel new growth, leaves entangling between my vertebrae
tender sprouting between by ribs,
a lattice of light green climbing up
my skeletal walls, coaxing the sunlight
out of my skin, glowing beneath my fingernails,
turning me green.

There is a delicate balance, as it
grows brighter, stronger,
larger, and I grow tired feeding
relentless nature with joy and self-made sunlight.

I never wanted to grow kidney beans between my breasts
and beneath my nerves. I do not know how
to remove roots, repot or nurture to maturity
the glowing inside me.

But now I have a kidney bean whose tendrils
caress my neck and help me find sunshine
and relief.

– Rachel Brown

Alina Stefanescu:
I find Celan using plunge to carry time, lightning as vertebrae of poetry, night & humiliation as forms of witness, dread as rejection of dialogue in favor of a stance which engages the sky, for stones can fly if the die decide it, branches growing upwards to get closer to moss.

What kind of person are you?
And what news can you share of our life here on this planet?
– Tolstoy

Starting from where you are now, you choose. And in choosing, you also choose who you will be. If this sounds difficult and unnerving, it’s because it is. Sartre does not deny that the need to keep making decisions brings constant anxiety. He heightens this anxiety by pointing out that what you do really matters. You should make your choices as though you were choosing on behalf of the whole of humanity, taking the entire burden of responsibility for how the human race behaves. If you avoid this responsibility by fooling yourself that you are the victim of circumstances or of someone else’s bad advice, you’re failing to meet the demands of human life and choosing a fake existence, cut off from your own authenticity.”
– Sarah Bakewell, At the Existentialist Café

A modern naturalist…knows a local flora and fauna as pieces of an inscrutable mystery, increasingly deep, a unity of organisms Western culture has been trying to elevate itself above since at least Mesopotamian times.
– Barry Lopez

Olivia Peers:
I admire you; I delight in you; I prize you; I respect you; I acknowledge you and all your potential.

The mind is an information-absorbing entity.

Hence, it’s always conditioned by its surrounding.

But you can break this conditioning and keep an eye on it through awareness, observation, and questioning.

Questions are the antidote to conditioning.
– @CrazyPolymath

All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 9.6

If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.
– Yogi Bhajan

We are dependent on the natural world for every breath of air we take and every mouthful of food we eat. But it’s even more that that we are also dependent on it for our sanity and sense of proportion
– Sir David Attenborough

Today in my heart
a vague trembling of stars
and all roses are
as white as my pain.
– Federico García Lorca

The discipline of the written word punishes both stupidity and dishonesty.
– John Steinbeck

Nicholas Pierotti:
I remember a green endless lawn going toward an Atlantic Sea and a sense of history.

The citizen who sees his society’s democratic clothes being worn out, and does not cry it out, is not a patriot but a traitor.
– Mark Twain

Just before you fall asleep,
Perform sanyama
on my smile.
Which means to glance
just for an instant
at my face in your heart,
then let it go.
I will fill your body
with the silent laughter
of the stars.
Think of me
only for a moment,
then drop me into your pool
of darkness
where your breath goes to fold
her wings.
Oblivion is a Kiss.
Whenever you gaze at the moon
or hear the midnight owl
tenderly calling to night itself,
I will be there,
and you will almost,
but not quite,

Sanyama is a subtle practice of not-doing described by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras: At the most refined level of thought, very near absolute silence, drop a seed of intention into the emptiness and let it go; and in that very letting go, you give it tremendous creative power.
– Fred LaMotte

Poem for a Strange Time

Sunday morning. January. Newspaper
filled with Herodish things, yet the sun rises
above the cold earth. Roots stir.
Somewhere there’s music.
I wrote this a few years ago.
How could the angel who left
the immensity of Always to whisper
in the ear of the girl child
go back to the old chorus
with the other angels?
So he stayed around watching,
living like us in before and after,
now and again humming
to himself a new song.
This year I’ve been thinking about this angel,
wondering how he’s getting along as he watches us
fumble along on our way. It must be hard,
but I don’t think he’s changed his mind.

– Nils Peterson

You just have to get started. You just put something down. Because nothing is more terrifying than the blank page.
– Barack Obama

If we do not cooperate, misery will be our lot.

I contend our purpose is to defeat hypocrisy within our selves…

Liberty’s math hides from us. It lies hidden between the seams that line our imagination…

Freedom’s freedom from tyranny depends upon you and me acting in belief that we are one..

Citizens daily living virtuously

– Jeffersonian Jeff

If you start playing the game
of being an “enlightened somebody,”
the true teacher is going to call you on it.

He or she is going to expose you, and that exposure is going to hurt. Because the ego will be there, standing in the light of Truth, exposed and humiliated. Of course, the ego will cry “foul!” It will claim that the teacher made a mistake and begin to justify itself in an effort to put its protective clothing back on. It will begin to spin justifications with incredible subtlety and deceptiveness.

This is where real spiritual sadhana (practice) begins. This is where it all becomes very real and the student discovers whether he or she truly wants to be free, or merely wants to remain as a false, separate, and self-justifying ego. This crossroad inevitably comes and is always challenging. It separates the true seeker from the false one.

The true seeker will be willing to bare the grace of humility, whereas the false seeker will run from it. Thus begins the true path to enlightenment, granted only to those willing to be nobody. Discovering your “nobodyness” opens the door to awakening as beingness, and beyond that to the Source of all beingness.

– Adyashanti, Fall/Winter Inner Directions Journal

The Burden
I don’t know the Latin names of flowers.
I know that there are cities wherein stars

Will labor to appear in bursts of as
Or under, will command the color green

To work with from or of or in in staves
And paragraphs, will demarcate the limits

Of the sky. I recognize the colors
Of acacia from paintings and poems.

I know a high wind carries rhyme across
The ocean. That smoke, it coaxes signals

From the fire. What words you speak I too
Have spoken of: of of, the turning back,

The opening beyond and up above us,
The movement forward and the reasoning

Behind. I know that the horizon falls out
Of perspective, that toward music the sea

Will harken back and find in language
No beauty save impermanence, a minor awe.

– Sara Nicholson

West Wind #2
You are young. So you know everything. You leap
into the boat and begin rowing. But listen to me.
Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without
any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me.
Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and
your heart, and heart’s little intelligence, and listen to
me. There is life without love. It is not worth a bent
penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a
dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a mile
away and still out of sight, the churn of the water
as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the
sharp rocks – when you hear that unmistakable
pounding – when you feel the mist on your mouth
and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls
plunging and steaming – then row, row for your life
toward it.
– Mary Oliver

If you can love one human being unconditionally, you can love the whole world.
– Byron Katie

It is not easy for students to realize that to ask, as they often do, whether God exists and is merciful, just, good, or wrathful, is simply to project anthropomorphic concepts into a sphere to which they do not pertain. As the Upaniṣads declare: “There, words do not reach.’’ Such queries fall short of the question. And yet—as the student must also understand—although that mystery is regarded in the Orient as transcendent of all thought and naming, it is also to be recognized as the reality of one’s own being and mystery. That which is transcendent is also immanent. And the ultimate function of Oriental myths, philosophies, and social forms, therefore, is to guide the individual to an actual experience of his identity with that; tat tvam asi (“Thou art that’’) is the ultimate word in this connection.

By contrast, in the Western sphere—in terms of the orthodox traditions, at any rate, in which our students have been raised—God is a person, the person who has created this world. God and his creation are not of the same substance ontologically, they are separate and apart. We, therefore, do not find in the religions of the West, as we do in those of the East, mythologies and cult disciplines devoted to the yielding of an experience of one’s identity with divinity. That, in fact, is heresy. Our myths and religions are concerned, rather, with establishing and maintaining an experience of relationship—and this is quite a different affair. Hence it is, that though the same mythological images can appear in a Western context and an Eastern, it will always be with a totally different sense. This point I regard as fundamental.
– Joseph Campbell

People get so grim about Buddhism,
They think to be Buddhist
they have to stare at a wall.
What I really like to talk about
is how to have more fun,
and being enlightened is more fun.
– Robert A.F. Thurman

Step back, that you may be approached.
– St Augustine

The thing allotted you will come in due time whether you welcome it or are averse to it.
– ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī, Mystic

In this order, I ask, first, for water,
which might mean mercy,

which might mean swing by in an hour
& I’ll tell you the rest.

– Hieu Minh Nguyen

Be open to creative pivots. They don’t have to be permanent or forever, but a way to listen and honor your creative voice, especially if you’re feeling stuck or not sure what to do next.
– Darien Hsu Gee

today i saw a kid running wild in the park. he was kicking stones, jumping on two feet, shouting with two lungs, laughing non-stop and furiously fighting his dog for the blessed stick. i saw him spill his water on the dog’s head, drop his hat on a puddle, ignore adult’s warnings and fall on the ground multiple times. i observed and said nothing. but i was truly delighted and deeply grateful to this kid for teaching me what a mind at peace looks like in an autumn morning.
– hune margulies

Against eternal injustice, man must assert justice,
and to protest against the universe of grief,
he must create happiness.
– Albert Camus

Protest that endures is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.
– Wendell Berry

learning how to relate to one’s own unique style of suffering simultaneously requires softness, and yields further softness as a result. Loving kindness is the soft method, and loving awareness is the soft result.
– Aric Parker

Our glory and our uniqueness and why we are as we are is because we are a plant-animal symbiotic species. Our state of nature, the way in which we existed ten thousand years ago was in a very tightly bound symbiotic relationship with plants.
– Terence McKenna

You must not leave the world as it is.
– Janusz Korczak

One of the hallmarks of the ungrounded spiritual movement is this statement: “There is only THIS moment.” It is often made by spiritual teachers who are dissociating from their unresolved history- self-avoidance masquerading as enlightenment. We can understand the value of this way of thinking- it calls us out of our worry mind, our habitual consciousness- and reminds us to be here, now. But it doesn’t work- at least not for very long. Because “this moment” actually includes and encompasses every moment before. The past is not behind us, as many of us wish it was- it is deep within us, encoded in our cells, somatized as memory and unresolved trauma. It fully informs our lens on reality. In most cases, the “power of now” is just a dissociative construct. Because most of us are still influenced, and ruled by, the power of “then.” The answer is not to pretend we are present, when all we have done is fled or momentarily suspended our past. That’s not true presence. That’s not true healing. The answer is to own, embody and resolve the “then”, so that our experience of the moment both honors our history and recognizes the ways our moment is informed by our past. It is to recognize that past and present are intrinsic to each other. The mystery begins with our history.
– Jeff Brown

The first and final thing you have to do in this world is last in it and not be smashed by it.
– Ernest Hemingway

We’re getting more and more distant, and I can’t do anything about it.
– Andrei Tarkovsky, The Mirror

Being in good health means, winding down, feeling tired, and falling into a deep sleep without much effort.
– The Circadian Code

Ancient maps of the world – when the world was flat – inform us, concerning that void where America was waiting to be discovered, HERE BE DRAGONS. Dragons may not have been here then, but they are certainly here now, breathing fire, belching smoke; or, to be less literary and biblical about it, attempting to intimidate the mores, morals, and morality of this particular and peculiar time and place. Nor, since this country is the issue of the entire globe and is also the most powerful nation currently to be found on it, are we speaking only of this time and place. And it can be said that the monumental struggles being waged in our time and not only in this place resemble, in awesome ways, the ancient struggle between those who insisted that the world was flat and those who apprehended that it was round.
– James Baldwin

That’s the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. ‘Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?’
– Mary Oliver

Each person, I think, finds their own way into an unknown world like this spinifex plain; we’re all by definition naive about the new, but unless you intend to end up alone in your life, it seems to me you must find some way in a new place—or with a new person—to break free of the notion that you can be certain of what or whom you’ve actually encountered. You must, at the very least, establish a truce with realities not your own, whether you’re speaking about the innate truth and aura of a landscape or a person.
– Barry Lopez

It has always seemed strange to me. The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding, and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism, and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.
– John Steinbeck

The Sixth of January

The cat sits on the back of the sofa looking
out the window through the softly falling snow
at the last bit of gray light.

I can’t say the sun is going down.
We haven’t seen the sun for two months.
Who cares?

I am sitting in the blue chair listening to this stillness.
The only sound: the occasional gurgle of tea
coming out of the pot and into the cup.

How can this be?
Such calm, such peace, such solitude
in this world of woe.

– David Budbill, Moment to Moment, Copper Canyon Press, 1999


Speak in a Soul Language
so that Everyone can hear.

Restore This Story of Humanity
with a
presence so precious,
no words could give it definition.

Practice loving, so deeply
that the word for tears
the School of Compassion
is this World’s Greatest Institution.

Let no one walk alone
on this journey that is
to share:

Speak in a Soul Language,
so that Everyone can hear.

– EM Claire

There were thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit. There were grief and the ruins, and you were the miracle.
– Pablo Neruda

Whenever there is tension, it needs attention.
– Dr. Gabor Mate

Obscurity and Empathy

The left hand rests on the paper.

The hand has entered the frame just below the elbow.

The other hand is in its service.

The left moves along a current that is not visible
and on a signal likewise inaudible, goes still.

For the hand to respond the ink must be black.

There is no watermark.

One nail is broken well below the quick.

The others filed short.
Or chewed.

The hand is drawn to objects.

In another’s it becomes pliant
and readily absorbs the moisture of the other’s.

It retains the memory of the smell of her infant son’s hair.

Everything having been written, the hand has to work hard
to get up in the spaces.

There is no tremor, but the skin is thin and somewhat

The veins stand out.

The hand has begun to gesture toward its ghosthood.
Though at times it becomes almost frisky.

The desk is side-lit.

The hand has options, but has chosen to stay
inside its own pale, thin walls.

It has begun to show signs of its own shoddy construction.

The hand is there to express shouts and whispers,
ordinary love,

the afterimage of everything.

From the outside what light leaks through the blind
is blue, blue-grey.

There is a dog.

There is a fan.

The fan is on the dog.

– C. D. Wright

Some people are unreachable. Inconvincible. Immovable.

There is no bar too low. No compromise too great. No means too objectionable.

(Whether they are redeemable is a question outside my expertise or discernment.)

That’s the culmination of my thoughts today. No searing insight; just a liberating recognition that our efforts aren’t impotent. Some people are simply too far gone—and they aren’t our responsibility.

– The Subversive Lens

Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.
– Ray Bradbury

So, if you are too tired to speak, sit next to me for I, too, am fluent in silence.
– R. Arnold

I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love, and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do. I am going to write fire until it comes out my ears, my eyes, my noseholes — everywhere. Until it’s every breath I breathe. I’m going to go out like a fucking meteor!
– Audre Lorde

There are a lot of assholes out there: Don’t be one. Never shit on the dreams or hopes of others. Share what you don’t need. That’s what I’ve learned.
– Maureen Stapleton

Empathy is like oxygen: If you don’t have it in your life, in your lungs, you die.
– Elizabeth Taylor

School is not important. Work is not important. Nothing is more important than stopping fascism, because fascism will stop us all.
– Fred Hampton

We only have control over our minds and our hearts–these are things we can actively and continually improve and enlarge and inspire. I’m always hearing people talk about improving the world and the theatre and the city and the people in their lives, and we have to begin with ourselves. If everyone worked on believing and living well, we would have all the things of which we dream, and we would have a society, a culture, a world, a theatre that reflected the believing, caring people we had become. I approach every person and I look for and I find the good person they are, and that is who becomes my friend, and I am never disappointed. And we have a lovely relationship. That’s where it starts–the student; the friend; the stranger on the street or the subway. It starts with love, of course. Love of that other person; love of the world; love of the self; love of what will come from all this love.
– Marian Seldes

No birth certificate is issued when friendship is born. There is nothing tangible. There is just a feeling that your life is different and that your capacity to love and care has miraculously been enlarged with out any effort on your part. It’s like having a tiny apartment and somebody moves in with you. But instead of becoming cramped and crowded, the space expands, and you discover rooms you never knew you had until your friend moved in with you.
– Steve Tesich

Are you understanding that appreciation and self-love is the most important tool that you could ever nurture, that the appreciation of others and the appreciation of yourself is the closest vibrational match to your Source energy of anything that we have ever witnessed?
When you are appreciating or when you are loving or when you are acknowledging the value of something, you are in that moment a vibrational match to the Source that is truly you.
– Abraham-Hicks

Oh, I’m tired of the noise and the turmoil of battle,
And I’m even upset by the lowing of cattle,
And the clang of’ the bluebells is death to my liver,
And the roar of the dandelion gives me a shiver,
Give me Peace; that is all, that is all that I seek…
– A.A.Milne

Harmonizing opposites by going back to their source is the distinctive quality of the Zen attitude, the Middle Way: embracing contradictions, making a synthesis of them, achieving balance.
– Taisen Deshimaru

Artistic ferocity and artistic tenderness necessarily have to go hand in hand.
– @KieseLaymon

If you don’t think of [plants] as kin, if you don’t think of them as people, if you only think of them as property and natural resources, then you are morally blameless. There is no guilt. So ‘it-ing’ the world does create a moral distance. It enables and gives permission for exploitation because it’s just stuff.

But there is this other way of putting your hands in the earth and getting to work and saying, ‘Yeah, we’ve made a lot of mistakes, but we can be healers, too.’ When the crops are a person, when the trees are a person, when that deer is a person, you can’t just take. You have to show respect to that person. You have to ask permission. You have to negotiate a trade. There has to be reciprocity.
– Robin Wall Kimmerer

When a people are spiritually disconnected from their ancestors, the land, and a sense of sacred practice, they feel banished, bereft. They live with a daily grief, though they may largely be unconscious to it. When a society does not provide authentic ways for men to become initiated, it leads to terrible problems. Uninitiated, and not feeling a sense of belonging, they will manufacture unwholesome ways of trying to achieve this.
– Malidoma Somé, Dagara (West African) shaman

…remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.
– Toni Morrison

I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.
– Elizabeth Alexander

Kristen Arnett:
not my olive garden

…I never can think of Judas Iscariot without losing my temper. To my mind Judas Iscariot was nothing but a low, mean, premature, Congressman.
– Mark Twain

In the end, it was the People of Color, who have been so systematically and violently oppressed, who carried us into a much more potentiated future.
– Jim Garrison

A persons life purpose is nothing more than to rediscover, through the detours of art, or love, or passionate work, those one or two images in the presence of which his heart first opened.
– Albert Camus

Art is a line around your thoughts.
– Gustav Klimt, Austrian painter

Soraya McDonald:

Can’t wait until “Stacey Abrams” becomes a verb.

As in, someone please come Stacey Abrams my home state of North Carolina so they stop sending would-be Nazis to Congress

Jon Ossoff:
Better days are coming.

If You Come Softly

If you come as softly
As the wind within the trees
You may hear what I hear
See what sorrow sees.

If you come as lightly
As threading dew
I will take you gladly
Nor ask more of you.

– Audre Lorde

While theoretical work, intellectual work, is extremely important, the work of the activist will determine whether or not we will move to a new stage. That’s why I often say…everyone should learn how to become an activist on some level, in some way.
– Angela Y. Davis, 1988

seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours
– Audre Lorde, Litany for Survival

So, complexes per se are neither good nor bad. What matters is how they play out in our lives. Or, very pragmatically, what do they make us do or what do they keep us from doing? To what degree, and in what specific moments of choice, does history govern?
– James Hollis, Hauntings

Vince Fakhoury Horn:

If you’re making value judgements, of any kind, you’re enacting hierarchies.

If you don’t make any value judgements, you’re enabling each and every evil running loose in the world.

Only egocentric sociopaths and post-modern philosophers seem to think the 2nd option works.

Rebecca Nagle:

This isn’t the culmination of the past four years.

It’s the culmination of the past five centuries.

Bruce Cockburn:
It’ll all go back to normal if we put our nation first
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse

Alina Stefanescu:
Watching the rise of fascism, Walter Benjamin compared the visuals to a mock revolution, the performance of revolutionary theatre that mobilized revolutionary demands “towards an epic feat of showmanship, which stages the power of the masses without granting them rights…”

But how many people are either reasonable or conscientious, and how many take the trouble to become so?
– C.G. Jung

Most of the world are living by
creeds too odd, chancy, and habit-forming
to be worth arguing about by reason.

If you are oppressed, wake up about
four in the morning; most places
you can usually be free some of the time
if you wake up before other people.
– William Stafford

Nietzsche scales staggering mountains, but he turns up ultimately in Tibet. He sits down beside Tolstoy in the land of nothing and Nirvana. They are both helpless – one because he must not grasp anything, and the other because he must not let go of anything. The Tolstoyan’s will is frozen by a Buddhist instinct that all special actions are evil. But the Nietzscheite’s will is quite equally frozen by his view that all special actions are good; for if all special actions are good, none of them are special. They stand at the crossroads, and one hates all the roads and the other likes all the roads. The result is – well, some things are not hard to calculate. They stand at the cross-roads.
– G. K. Chesterton

Om Mane Padme Hum.
The jewel of God is in the center of the lotus of the heart.
We tend to forget this.
– Fred LaMotte

Your regular reminder that evil isn’t an illness or disability.
– Sarah Luterman

Q: I would like to practice the highest teachings and have heard that would be Dzogchen and that you teach Dzogchen. Can you teach me Dzogchen?

t.k. – You cannot get to truth by fixating on lies and I am sorry to tell you you have been lied to, cheated. So much of religion is a great con …. Like this whole deceit that Dzogchen is the highest teaching. On the good side the lie has been perpetuated for good cause. Buddhas know that ego maniacs will only be attracted to the “highest teaching” and they also know that ego maniacs need Dharma so they took a basic beginning teaching and called it “Highest” so that such fools might be attracted to it.
Ok, joking aside you HAVE been cheated and deceived but only by yourself. Though it is true that the notion of Dzogchen as “Highest” is a deceit based on delusion and believed by deluded beings seeking ego gratification…. and it is most definitely true that people sell you goods based on the fretful ego buttressing con of this notion …. Only you yourself can gulp down the lie like intoxicating liquor. You are cheating yourself with fixation on ego games such as higher and lower. In falling for this self-made con, you miss the true import of spiritual life.
In truth – the very notions higher and lower are meaningless, utterly meaningless. In compassion – the static notion of a “Highest” teaching is not only a falsehood but a falsehood that harms beings. In practicality – the idea that Dzogchen is the “Highest” teaching is laughable example of reductionistic mechanistic thinking, A very low and unintelligent style of thinking.
Yes, I can teach you Dzogchen. I can teach you every method, rushan, trekchod, togal, dark retreat, postures for gazing whatever ……. I have taught them in America, who live in mountain retreat, and I have taught them on a mountain top in the sacred hidden land of Pemakö. I can teach them to you right now and I can also assure you that you will end up more befuddled than you are right now if you practice them……. and in the end, you will feel jaded and cynical.
It is not just the west either. Milarepa on hearing “Dzogchen is only for the most advanced.” Thought to himself “Oh!!! That’s me!” and gave it a try. After a few months practicing his Lama came and said “Well, nothing happening here.” and Milarepa had enough self-honesty to see the truth of that and seek out Marpa who was able to work with him in ways that actually brought about the transformation of his consciousness into wisdom awareness. It’s not just the west with its materialism and commodification of everything that does this. It is not West or East – it is human nature to be drunk on this sort of grandiosity.
Dzogchen is fine for what it is. BUT. The highest teaching, the most profound teaching, is the one you can understand and practice. In addition to this every part of Buddha’s sublime Dharma is so profound and holographic that it literally contains every other part. The Buddha’s teaching is a sphere of wholeness wherein every point is center and every point is circumference. In this wisdom sphere there is no higher or lower, in truth, there is only what benefits. The game of higher and lower belongs to deluded beings not Buddhas.
Every part of the Buddhas teaching also lives into every other part in an organic alive fashion. Each part leads to the next and lays the foundation for the next. It is not an assembly line. You are not a car. Give up this reductionistic mechanistic linear thinking with its mind set of dead matter. Instead enter into the living stream of wisdom and wonderment. Please don’t cheat yourself with fixations on ego games.
Consider the teachings with care and embrace the View, which is the reality of always already non-duality — which in and of itself does not admit to this higher lower duality. Engage the path which is the methods and meditations, contemplations which remove the obstacles and hindrances to realizing (making real in your lived existence) the View. Engage the conduct which expresses the beauty of every part of wisdom teaching at once – from the so called beginning to the so-called end.
Higher and lower teachings concept is a lie through and through. It is only perpetuated by those with something to sell or those who wish to buttress their egos. The path removes obstacles. Let’s start with honest self-observation and a consideration of what obstacles plague you. They are different in each person. The methods then address You as a human being, with your strengths and weaknesses. By considering the ego driven notion of wanting to start with the highest teachings we have already begun!
– t.k.

I have the right ideas, but my words are too… complicated. I need to simplify them, so that people won’t get lost in the dark when they see and hear them. I want them to shine like beacons of light in a world of overly complicated darkness. One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.
– Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

The world out there
will only make you
famous and miserable.
It is the husk.
You are the golden nectar inside.
To ferment the sweetness
in your silent core,
humble yourself through serving.
Do anything kind.
Become a leaf.
Kiss the sidewalk.
If someone with even
an ember in their gaze
holds out the palm of true wanting,
give them the weightless stars.
Even better, teach them
how their loss becomes a healing.
At least for this moment
remember to ache and yearn.
Your body is a stone in the meadow
glistening, fissured with crystal.
You’re a nurse-log of seedlings
caressed by the Winter moon,
a chrysalis on the ash twig
throbbing in darkness.
But your marrow is fire.
Your faith is green.
Feel every atom
as a tumult of patience
awaiting the feral Goddess breath
who comes at midnight
to brush her silken fur against
the flesh inside the flesh
under your breastbone.
All I have ever wanted
to share with you, friend,
is this sensation, this kiss
pressed on the Beloved’s mouth
deep in your emptiness,
the tremor of un-knowing
that is your soul.
– Fred LaMotte

There is something about poverty that smells like death. Dead dreams dropping off the heart like leaves in a dry season rotting around the feet; impulses smothered too long in the fetid air of underground caves. The soul lives in a sickly air. People can be slave-ships in shoes.
– Zora Neale Hurston, HOW IT FEELS TO BE COLORED ME.

My episodes of madness occurred, thank God, seven hundred miles up a jungle river in baboon assholia, but had it happened in Manhattan or something like that, it would have quickly set up ripples that would have inexorably complicated and made my life much more difficult.
– Terence McKenna

Coddling hate, fascism, and unhinged conspiracies is not “compassion.”

It leads to bloodshed and the destruction of hard-won multiracial democracy.

Fascism is first an assault on reality.

– Drew Dellinger

learning how to relate to one’s own unique style of suffering simultaneously requires softness, and yields further softness as a result. Loving kindness is the soft method, and loving awareness is the soft result.
– Aric Parker

I believe your soul is in a state of grace because you enjoy working and being alone despite the rain.
– George Sand to Gustave Flaubert

… for I had reached a point in my life when I came to view words differently. A closer look at language could reveal the secret of life.
– Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Our lives are a battlefield on which is fought a continuous war between the forces that are pledged to confirm our humanity and those determined to dismantle it…
– Kenyan writer & academic, Ngũgĩwa Thiong’o

Belief in yourself is more important than endless worries of what others think of you. Value yourself and others will value you. Validation is best that comes from within.
– Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

The condition of being good is that it should always be possible for you to be morally destroyed by something you couldn’t prevent. To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the human condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from its fragility.
– Martha Nussbaum

The ancient Irish had a saying: ‘You don’t give a man a weapon until you’ve taught him how to dance.’ In other words, a different kind of learning is required before someone can be truly trusted with social power and potent things like weapons. If a man does not know the wounds of his own soul, he can deny not just his own pain, but also be unmoved by the suffering of other people. More than that, he will tend to put his wound onto others. He may only be able to see the wound that secretly troubles him when he forcefully projects it into someone else, in forms of abuse or violence.

So in the old culture-making idea, in order to properly bear arms a person must first become disarmed, as in becoming vulnerable and connected to something meaningful and supportive of life. The idea of forging the temperament of young men took precedence over the idea of simply giving them weapons at a certain age. The tempering of the souls involved discovering what kind of anger each might carry and learning about the inner line where anger turned into blind rage. Becoming tempered also meant immersing in the sorrow of one’s life and thereby being in touch with the grief of the world.
– Michael Meade

Sun, if i could say
what you mean
my tongue would pour forth light

thank you.

(sunrise in CA.)

– Drew Dellinger

Goodness and hope can come out of…the smallest gestures: sharing some of your food, picking up litter, helping search for the lost, welcoming home the found.
– Anne LaMotte

You can’t lie your way to freedom. If you indulge in the big lie, if you act on the basis of a big lie you are not really free, you are the creature of someone else. And I think we have a problem in this country because we have defined freedom as just doing what you feel like doing and saying what you feel like saying whether it is true or whether it is false. But when you take part in these big false stories you’re not actually free.
– Timothy Snyder

You want freedom? Here it is: Drop your false ideas. See through people. If you see through yourself, you will see through everyone. Then you will love them. Otherwise you spend the whole time grappling with your wrong notions of them, with your illusions that are constantly crashing against reality.
– Anthony de Mello

The first and primary act of the poetic imagination is to create the person who will write the poems. The persona you create is a projection of your daily self, inseparable from it, but significantly greater, more purposeful.
– Stanley Kunitz

Stay steady in the Spirit. We knew these days would be difficult. We just did not know how difficult. But now we do. Now we see the level to which our society has fallen. And yet, we are not afraid. We do not look away. Why? Because that level is a measuring stick to show us how much repair work we need to do to restore our national family. So we are not dismayed because that is what we expected. That is why we are here. We are called to this moment to do the work that must be done, the work of healing. We come from many different faiths. We pray in many different ways. But we are all here for the same reason. We are here to help restore our national community, and by so doing, restore hope to the world. Stay steady in the Spirit.
– Steven Charleston

Everything is Different
translated by Pierre Joris
Everything is different from what you think, from what I think,
the flag still flutters,
the little secrets are still secret,
they still throw shadows, on this
you live, I live, we live.

The silver coin on your tongue melts,
it tastes of tomorrow, of forever, a road
to Russia rises into your heart,
the Karelian birch
the name Osip comes toward you, you tell him
what he already knows, he takes it, he takes it off you with hands,
you detach his arms from their shoulder, the right, the left,
you fasten yours in their stead, with hands, with fingers, with lines,

—what tore off, grows back together again—
you have them now, so take them now, you have them both,
the name, the name, the hand, the hand,
there, take them as your pledge,
he takes that too, and you have
again what’s yours, what was his,


push air into your lungs, you row
through the canals, lagoons, and grachten,
in wordlight,
no Why at the stern, no Where-to at the bow, a ram’s horn lifts you
like a trumpet blast above nights into day, the augurs

maul each other, man
has his peace, god
has his, love
returns to the beds, the hair
of the women grows back,
the inturned bud
on their breasts
rises to day again, toward life-,
toward heart-lines it wakens
in your hand, that rose along the loinpath,—

what is it called, you country
behind the mountain, behind the year?
I know what it’s called.
Like the Winter’s Tale, it is called,
it is called like the Summer’s Tale,
your mother’s Three-Year-Land, that’s what it was,
what it is,
it wanders everywhere, like language,
throw it away, throw it away,
then you’ll have it again, like
that pebble from
the Moravian swale
your thought carried to Prague,
to the grave, all the graves, into life,

it’s long
gone, like the letters, like all
the lanterns, you must
search for it again, there it is,
it’s small, it lies there,
[um die Ecke, da liegt er]

near Normandy-Niemen—in Bohemia,
there, there, there,
behind the house, in front of the house,
white it is, white, it says:
White it is, white, a water-
surge rushes through it, a heartsurge,
a river,
you know its name, the banks
hang heavy with day, like the name,
you scan it, with your hand:
– Paul Celan

The doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist.
– Hermann Hesse

To get closer to truth and right, we need a beautiful and soft heart.
– Shams Tabrizi

If the impurity of all sinful creatures
Were to be immersed but once
in that vast expanse,
It would not darken such a
timeless ocean:
Rather, the work of the world
…. would turn into Light!
– Sharafuddin Maneri

Only in distress can people understand how difficult it is to master their thoughts and feelings.
– Anton Chekhov

I was a design ethicist at Google, where I studied how do you ethically steer people’s thoughts? Technology steers what 2 billion people are thinking and believing every day. It’s possibly the largest source of influence over 2 billion people’s thoughts that has ever been created. Religions and governments don’t have that much influence over people’s daily thoughts.

Information that confirms our beliefs makes us feel good; information that challenges our beliefs doesn’t.

Technology is causing a set of seemingly disconnected things – shortening of attention spans, polarization, outrage-ification of culture, mass narcissism, election engineering, addiction to technology.

With our Paleolithic instincts, we’re simply unable to resist technology’s gifts. But this doesn’t just compromise our privacy. It also compromises our ability to take collective action.

Our online news feeds aggregate all of the world’s pain and cruelty, dragging our brains into a kind of learned helplessness. Technology that provides us with near-complete knowledge without a commensurate level of agency isn’t humane.

Magicians start by looking for blind spots, edges, vulnerabilities and limits of people’s perception, so they can influence what people do without them even realizing it. Once you know how to push people’s buttons, you can play them like a piano.

If one app or news site or friend gets your attention, that means something or someone else loses it. It comes out of our sleep, our time with family or our reflective time with ourselves.

Most notifications you get are because a machine is trying to get your attention. Those notifications aren’t built to help you live your life. They’re built to get your attention. If you’re an app, how do you keep people hooked? Turn yourself into a slot machine.

With its onslaught of never-ending choices, never-ending supply of relationships and obligations, the attention economy bulldozes the natural shape of our physical and psychological limits and turns impulses into bad habits.

I actually worry that we’re so mindlessly following the herd on privacy and data being the principle concerns when the actual things that are affecting the felt sense of your life and where your time goes, where your attention goes, where democracy goes, where teen mental health goes, where outrage goes.

We’re all vulnerable to social approval. The need to belong, to be approved or appreciated by our peers is among the highest human motivations. But now our social approval is in the hands of tech companies.

We’re going to need a new social contract with the tech world one that asks for consent, and one with transparent goals. Right now, the goals of technology are not aligned with our goals as humans. We need technology that empowers us to make the life choices we want to make.

– Tristan Harris, Our Brains Are No Match for Our Technology

The opposite of hunger
is not satisfaction, it is birth. It is what makes a man chisel a face into stone.
It is what drives the body to lie in the fresh snow. It is what quiets the world

when she pulls you in close.

– Hieu Minh Nguyen, Outbound

The one who
resists annihilation
cannot fly –
The one wants to
own the entire
world lives
in great poverty –
remember that
we are just visitors
Passing by.
we own nothing
and nobody –
that is the only
tree freedom.
– Guthema Roba

Quartet for the End of Time
Alison C. Rollins
After T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets”

If you play me then you
Play yourself.  That was
All the dead needed
To say. To get the better
Of time, we got better
With time. I left my body
And took on the look
Of a man. I made him
An honest woman.
A diagram of this
Sentence builds a
Structure made from
Wind. Inside of that
House is a box. Inside
The box is the head
Of a goat. Inside the
Goat: a knife’s quiet
Song. The blade of
Desire is the silver in
My teeth. My mouth
Has a certain ring to it.
I will take you now to after-
Life’s kitchen, where the salty
Girls cure meat with their tears.
Only through time is time
Conquered. Come correct.
Come prepared to sit at the table
Of contents. We bow our heads,
Count our blessings like
Little pigs, while the king-
Fisher waits for a shaft of
Sun. Sprint, said the bird,
For the foothills of  truth.
Stop, stop, stop, said the bird,
There is mischief  afoot. Then
We sat and ate with our hands,
An entire field of wild thyme.
When asked to choose a hill
To die on, we wanted to kill
The bird. To reconcile our pain
We made the stars into a bear.
Myth made all the difference.
If your wrist holds a five-
Nailed star, clock the T.
Who can open the door to night
And not see themselves in black?
Not I. For thousands of years,
I have sat on a milk crate.
Stationed at the crossroads, I sing:
Bone. Bone. Bone. Bone. Bone.
I don a yellow jacket and fox-
Gloves to push out the sun.
The morning is such a production.
A ghost—aghast at the sound
Of singe, a crowned knot of fire.
There is no sense to be had
In the country of our making.
This language a garden
Of strain. No limit
Soldiers, we marched
To the drum of empty
Cups and if a spoon fell
A woman was cursed.
When I was sold
Down the river,
God set down his book
In the shape of a tent.
That day I was born again,
My limbs—American letters.
The stairway to heaven is
Yellow-boned legs, antiqued
In their quadroon rust.
At the gate to eternity,
A lawn jockey grins, wide
As the science of mercy.
In his hands a badminton
Racket. He swats and we
See how they run, how
Crickets gallop in the
Dark like horseflies.
Heaven is a thousand
Chandeliers, every crystal
A single body, each head
A grizzly sparkle.

Were it to be the last
How infinite would be
What we did not suspect was marked
Our final interview.
– Emily Dickinson

Such will be a great lesson of peace, teaching men that what they cannot take by an election neither can they take it by a war; teaching all the folly of being the beginners of a war.
– Abraham Lincoln

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t.
– Mark Twain

Menace to
after June Jordan
Nightly my enemies feast on my comrades
like maggots on money. Money being my enemy
as plastic is my enemy. My enemy everywhere
and in my home as wifi is
a money for me to reach my comrades
and kills my house plants. My enemy
is distance growing dark, distance growing
politely in my pocket as connection.
I must become something my enemies can’t eat, don’t have
a word for yet, my enemies being literate as a drone is
well-read and precise and quiet, as when I buy something
such as a new computer with which to sing against my enemies,
there is my enemy, silent and personal.
– Taylor Johnson

What Do We Do—Now
Ellen Hagan
—after Gwendolyn Brooks
We mourn, we bless,
we blow, we wail, we
wind—down, we sip,
we spin, we blind, we
bend, bow & hem. We
hip, we blend, we bind,
we shake, we shine,
shine. We lips & we
teeth, we praise & protest.
We document & we
drama. We demand &
we flow, fold & hang
loose. We measure &
we moan, mourn & whine
low. & we live, and we
breathe. & some of the time,
we don’t.
Tonight, I am here. Here
& tired. Here & awake,
sure, & alive. Yes here &
still, still here, still & here
& still awake & still still

We have a responsibility to the words we employ, since, as poets, language is in our care, our keeping. I’m shocked by certain abuses of language.
– Edward Hirsch

Irish poet/philosopher John O’Donohue suggests. He writes, “What you encounter, recognize or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. . . . When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us.”
– Francis Weller, The Wild Edge of Sorrow

Imagine for a moment that anything was possible. Imagine, for example, that the laws of physics were suddenly replaced with the laws of the imagination. Well, that’s a very interesting meditation.
– Terence McKenna

I had not been prepared, I had not thought that magic ruled the world from top to bottom, side to side, atom to atom from first to last.
– Terence McKenna

If the expansion of consciousness does not loom large in the human future, what kind of future is it going to be?
– Terence McKenna

Liberate yourself from the illusion of culture. Take responsibility for what you think and what you do.
– Terence McKenna

They have the guns, we have the poets. Therefore, we will win.
– Howard Zinn

You can kill a thousand; you can bring an end to life; you cannot kill an idea.
– Shimon Peres

God created a number of possibilities in case some of his prototypes failed. That is the meaning of evolution.
– Graham Greene

Paradox emerges that in our suffering & symptoms are profound clues as to the meaning of the struggle, yet the path of healing is very difficult for the apprehensive ego to accept, for ego will be asked to be open to something larger than itself.
– James Hollis

Desire may even drive us to our knees from time to time until the beleaguered ego is finally forced to cry out, “What do you want from me?” Then the god Eros is once again invited to the celebration of life by incarnating through the individual.
– James Hollis

I have
Only my intermittent life in your thoughts to live
Which is like thinking in another language.
Depends on whether somebody reminds you of me.
– John Ashberry

Object Permanence
This neighborhood was mine first. I walked each block twice:
drunk, then sober. I lived every day with legs and headphones.
It had snowed the night I ran down Lorimer and swore I’d stop
at nothing. My love, he had died. What was I supposed to do?
I regret nothing. Sometimes I feel washed up as paper. You’re
three years away. But then I dance down Graham and
the trees are the color of champagne and I remember—
There are things I like about heartbreak, too, how it needs
a good soundtrack. The way I catch a man’s gaze on the L
and don’t look away first. Losing something is just revising it.
After this love there will be more love. My body rising from a nest
of sheets to pick up a stranger’s MetroCard. I regret nothing.
Not the bar across the street from my apartment; I was still late.
Not the shared bathroom in Barcelona, not the red-eyes, not
the songs about black coats and Omaha. I lie about everything
but not this. You were every streetlamp that winter. You held
the crown of my head and for once I won’t show you what
I’ve made. I regret nothing. Your mother and your Maine.
Your wet hair in my lap after that first shower. The clinic
and how I cried for a week afterwards. How we never chose
the language we spoke. You wrote me a single poem and in it
you were the dog and I the fire. Remember the courthouse?
The anniversary song. Those goddamn Kmart towels. I loved them,
when did we throw them away? Tomorrow I’ll write down
everything we’ve done to each other and fill the bathtub
with water. I’ll burn each piece of paper down to silt.
And if it doesn’t work, I’ll do it again. And again and again and—
– Hala Alyan

Benefiting Others

When we carefully and diligently
water our seed of tsewa,
applying all the wisdom and skillful means
we can gather, that seed will eventually grow into a magnificent tree bearing abundant fruit. This is the third metaphor
in Chandrakirti’s homage to the tender heart. The fruit manifests
as an ever-increasing desire
and ability to benefit others.

We can benefit beings in many ways—physically, emotionally, mentally—
and we should always take advantage
of any opportunity we have to help others.
But the greatest benefit of all,
the one we should set our sights on,
is to help others awaken completely
to the inexhaustible tenderness
of their own hearts.
When we can help people
achieve their full potential of tsewa—
when their tsewa reaches the stage
where it flows with the power
and grace of Niagara Falls—
we have benefited them
in the profoundest way possible.

To achieve our full potential
to benefit others in this way,
we first have to do whatever it takes
to open our own heart, further and further.
As my mother used to say,
“You have to make your heart so big
you could hold a horse race inside of it.”
When your heart is as big
as it could possibly be,
big enough to hold deep love
for every sentient being in the universe,
then you have reached the full blossoming
of your enlightened nature.
Because you have shed
every remnant of self-clinging,
your mind is completely
and forever free of delusion.
There is nothing to obscure
your understanding of how beings suffer
and how their minds can be transformed.
Like the Buddha, you have reached a state where you can be the perfect guide for others.

Becoming a Guide

This doesn’t mean that you will be able
to bring others to enlightenment
without their own effort being involved
and regardless of all other conditions.
As it is said, even the buddhas can’t transport sentient beings to higher states of happiness as if tossing up a pebble.
Everyone has their own impediments
and their own karma.
Even the most perfect guide can’t intervene
in someone else’s karma
and rearrange their life for them.
If that were possible, it would already
have happened for all of us,
because the buddhas and bodhisattvas
have no greater wish
than to bring all beings to enlightenment.

Reflecting on this will give us
a more realistic idea about what
we can do to benefit others.
If fully enlightened beings are limited
in this way, how much more limited
are we at this stage?
We have to come to terms with the fact
that we can’t immediately help others
to the degree and in the way we would like.
On the other hand, there is a lot we can do, even when our tsewa is still impeded
and our heart is not nearly as open
as it will be one day.

Just in itself,
expanding our own tender heart
brings benefit to others.
By cultivating impartial, free-flowing warmth, we automatically orient ourselves
to be in favor of anything
that enhances the well-being of others
and against anything
that causes them suffering.
The heart of tsewa naturally
and continually expresses wishes
on others’ behalf.
We can’t see, in any obvious way,
how and when these wishes
actually benefit other beings,
especially those who are far away. Nonetheless, our wishes do support them, especially when we wish for them
to experience tsewa in their own lives,
to be able to express their own warm heart
and to receive that tenderness from others.

When we think about beings
who are undergoing great suffering,
it is natural to feel helpless.
For example, what can we do
for a refugee family that has just
crossed the Mediterranean
on an overcrowded rubber boat
and is now facing a precarious future?
We could wish for these people,
who have lost everything
and gone through such a dangerous ordeal,
to meet kind people,
to find a nice home, and so on.
These are certainly good wishes to make,
but whether they come true
will also be based on many other factors
that will take a long time to play out.
On the other hand,
we can simply open our heart to them
and wish for them to have an abundance
of love and warmth in their lives
and in their minds.
We can further wish that this love
gives them the resilience
to overcome their challenges—
the strength, ability, and resourcefulness
to do what is necessary to live well.

Offering Merit

I believe that this kind of wish
has an immediate effect.
It is similar to when you tell someone,
“I’m thinking about you.”
When you’re going through a difficult time, knowing that someone is thinking about you touches you and gives you strength.
It makes you feel supported.
Of course, in the case of the refugees,
they’re not aware of our well-wishes.
Even so, when we express love to people
who are beyond the reach
of our communication,
there is some transmission
of the energy of our tsewa.
They do receive it,
and it does make a difference.
When we send tsewa to any beings
in this world, near or far, human or nonhuman, our warm, purely positive energy touches them. It gives them more resilience
to make it through
whatever they have to endure
and to overcome their karma sooner rather than later. When we make such a connection to other beings, they are no longer alone, no longer lost somewhere in the abyss of samsara, untouched by love.

We have the ability to send others
positive energy because
we have accumulated
a store of positive karma in our mindstream. Whenever we do anything on behalf of others, we sow a seed of positive karma
that remains latent in our consciousness
until the right conditions appear for it to ripen. First, the effect appears in our mind,
and then it shows up in our external world.
For example, when we act generously,
we develop an internal feeling of wealth
that is then reflected in our external world
as increased abundance.
In Buddhist terminology,
this positive karma is known as “merit.”
We accumulate merit
whenever our physical deeds, our speech,or our thoughts are oriented to the welfare of others. In other words, we accumulate merit
when our body, speech, and mind
are in sync with tsewa.

If we use the merit we have accumulated
to satisfy the self
that we cling to out of delusion,
our store will rapidly diminish,
and our heart will become tighter and tighter. This is because focusing on the singular, isolated self is the antithesis of tsewa.
The positive actions we have done in the past will continue to bear their fruit,
but if we don’t continue to keep our heart open to others, we will only accumulate negativity. Our precious merit will be wasted
on pleasant experiences
that are fleeting and ultimately meaningless.

Therefore, the best thing we can do
with our merit is to offer it freely
for the benefit of others.
Whenever you do anything meritorious,
no matter how small,
you can make a conscious wish
that the positive energy from your action
will have a vast effect,
like an acorn growing into a giant oak tree.
This is not a farfetched idea
when we contemplate
the interconnected nature of all things.
Everything we do or even think has endless, rippling repercussions.
For this reason, we don’t have to feel helpless about benefiting others.
We always have something to give.

By sending your merit to others,
you are not losing anything yourself.
On the contrary, the more merit you offer
to others, the more your heart opens;
the more your heart opens,
the more positive your actions become;
the more positive your actions become,
the more merit you accumulate
and are able to offer.
If we know how to work with merit,
it becomes an infinitely self-replenishing fuel that will eventually take us
and others all the way to enlightenment.

When we dedicate our merit to others,
however, we need to believe
that it actually reaches them.
This requires faith because
we can’t literally see the results of our wishes. We don’t know how or when
the effects take place.
It is said that only the buddhas
can see the vast workings of cause and effect. We who have a more limited view of karma
can only trust that our merit is helping others, without knowing all the specifics.

Having such trust is a much more positive attitude than thinking we can’t be
making a difference for others
unless we can see how cause and effect
are operating on a physical level.
That is an extremely limited vision
of what we can do.
Closing down to that kind of limitation
is also philosophically narrow-minded,
for how is it essentially different
from thinking that nothing in the world
exists beyond what we can see
with our own eyes?

The Power of Thought

We are often skeptical
about the power of thought.
This is strange because we are always struggling with our own thoughts.
Most of us are more scared of our own mind than of anything else.
We’re scared of our anger,
our reactions, our confusion.
To be scared of them,
we have to believe that they are powerful.
Yet at the same time,
we can be so skeptical about the power
of our good wishes and compassionate thoughts on behalf of others.
Even if miracles happen
as a result of our prayers,
we can keep insisting on our skepticism, finding other explanations.
This is how we tend to undermine
our strength and get caught up
in low self-esteem.

Your body is limited in where it can go and be. You may spend all day
within the walls of your workplace
and all night within the walls of your house. And within those walls,
there are few other sentient beings.
But your mind and heart have no boundaries. Our connections with others
are not limited by walls.
Nor are our responsibilities limited
to those we see in our daily lives.
It is true that we may have
more immediate responsibilities to our families and those who directly depend on us,
but if our bigger vision is bodhichitta,
the wish to attain enlightenment
for the benefit of all beings,
then our responsibility is to all beings.
While taking care of those who are close to us, we need to open our heart further
to those outside of this small circle.
In this life, we have a close karmic connection to some beings, while the overwhelming majority we never see or have any contact with. But if we keep in mind that all beings
are identical in wanting to be happy
and free from suffering,
we can diminish our habitual distinction between near and far.
In this way, we can keep strengthening
and expanding our feeling of being connected to everyone suffering in samsara,
until our longing to benefit others
becomes so powerful that it overshadows
all our self-centered or narrow-minded wishes.

As your heart opens
and your actions become more and more oriented to the benefit of others,
you will accumulate tremendous merit
that you can harness for the purpose
of benefiting individuals, groups of beings,
and eventually all sentient beings.
You should also dedicate your merit
for your own enlightenment,
so that you may swiftly become
the perfect guide to help others realize
their innate, selfless, tender heart.
By directing your positive karma in these ways, you will automatically create connections
and situations in which you will be able
to benefit others in the future—
if not in this life, then in future lives.
You will lay the groundwork
for being able to bring all beings,
one by one, to the full realization
of their enlightened nature.
This is the magnificent fruit of tsewa.

– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

I am a living reaction to my hurt,
a beginner cowboy trying to lasso
my traumas into the stable.

– Andrea Gibson

Love come quick
Love come in a hurry
There’s thieves in the temple tonight

They don’t care where they kick
Just as long as they hurt you
There’s thieves in the temple tonight

Love, if you’re there come save me
From all this cold despair
I can hang when you’re around
But I’m sure to die if you’re not there

There’s thieves in the temple tonight

– Prince

There are no small fascisms, there are no small, benign Nazisms. That is what I try to talk about in my books, the importance of remembering.
– Daša Drndić

The average man reflects after he acts. The wise man reflects before he acts.
– The Stoic Emperor

Someone dancing inside us
Learned only a few steps:
The “Do-Your-Work” in 4/4 time,
The “What-Do-You-Expect” waltz.
He hasn’t noticed yet the woman
Standing away from the lamp,
The one with black eyes
Who knows the rhumba,
And strange steps in jumpy rhythms
From the mountains in Bulgaria.
If they dance together,
Something unexpected will happen.
If they don’t, the next world
Will be a lot like this one.
– Bill Holm

Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End?

There are things you can’t reach. But
But you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God.

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

The snakes slides away, the fish jumps, like a little lily,
out of the water and back in; the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree —
they are all in this too.

And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world

At least, closer.

And, cordially.

Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold
fluttering around the corner of the sky

of God, the blue air.

1. Write everyday. It’s easier than it sounds. Make time everyday to write something. Even if it’s one line scribbled into a napkin on the subway or the bus, or a whole precious early hour in the morning. This practice lets the mind know that everyday we must be observant, that we are paying attention, always.
2. Learn poems you love. Read whatever poems you can get your hands on. Not just the classics, but those poets who are writing today. Pick up journals, magazines, and anthologies; search for the poems that break you open. Read those poems over and over again until you have them memorized in your mouth. Don’t worry about mimicking them, just accept them as your teachers and hold them close. Become an expert on the poems you adore.
3. Cultivate silence. Silence is essential in order to hear your own voice. Especially nowadays when we often have the television on, the radio on, or music playing all day long, it is essential to find some silence to listen to your own voice. Your own voice is the only thing your poetry needs.
4. Embrace revision. Revision might be the hardest thing that writers have to do, aside from battling our own internal demons, because it means admitting that we are wrong. Sometimes we are so wrong that we need to start all over again, and it’s embarrassing. Sometimes we only need to change a comma, but listen, every poem needs revision and every poet needs to learn humility.
5. Practice gratitude. Cherish those friends and colleagues who care enough to read and comment on your work. If you truly pursue writing, you will come to realize how enormously important these people are to your writing life and therefore to your making of a “real” life. Make sure you read their work with the same care and closeness they offer you. And buy them coffee and cakes when they return a manuscript with pencil marks on every page. It is a true act of kindness that should be greeted with great gratitude. And be thankful that you want to write at all, what a powerful art to devote a life to, how lucky we are to love such a wild untamable thing.
– Ada Limón

And you cannot build a home for your worth inside of another being.
– Victoria Erickson, Rhythms and Roads

Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.
– Euripides

Spend more time connecting with those who are sanctuary.

There’s enough stress in the outside world.

Cultivate peace in your personal relationships.

– Dr. Thema

There is no shame in knowing that you still have a lot of healing to work through.
– Pyramid Realm

You’re wishing I’d fall down,

I’m praying you get on your feet.

We are not the same.

– Wise Connector

Not far off,
you told yourself, you could
hear the music of eternity.

– Philip Levine, Leaves, The Last Shift

What is now proved, was once only imagined.
– William Blake

The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.
– Voltaire

Elisa Gabbert:
I like to think of an essay as an environment for thinking, a semi-contained space with some wandering-around room, a site where interesting thoughts can happen.

Jung tells us that the image of each man’s wholeness and potential lies in his own unconscious and not in the minds of others.
– Russell Lockhart, Words as Eggs

The world needs a wash and a week’s rest.
– W.H. Auden

You live most of your life inside your head. Make sure it’s a nice place to be.
– Unknown

Humility, metaphysically, implies the absence of any entity to be either ‘proud’ or ‘humble’.
– Wei Wu Wei

Sara Luterman:
Your regular reminder that evil isn’t an illness or disability.

norma young-white:
It breaks my thinking when these people on television say: They are Harvard grads, Ivy League scholars, they are smart”. Yes, they are educated in a system that perfects their thinking on how to oppress!

Now, the artist, no matter how he sounds, is by definition a religious man, believing that we can create and transcend all our gods, that it is entirely up to us – it is the work of human beings to make the world more human…
– James Baldwin

by Lucille Clifton

people who are going to be
in a few years
at the bottom of trees
bear a responsibility to something
besides people
if it was only
you and me
sharing the consequences
it would be different
it would be just
generations of men
this business of war
these war kinds of things
are erasing those natural
obedient generations
whose ignored pride
stood on no hind legs
begged no water
stole no bread
did their own things
and the generations of rice
of coal
of grasshoppers

for their invisibility
denounce us

How can we live with the unknown before us?
– Rene Char

I want a poet who cannot leave the Friend.
If he could, and still be always in love,
he would be a master, or he couldn’t.
Give us poets like that.
– Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor.
That is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary. Go, learn (it)!
– Rabbi Hillel

The night may be dark, but it’s generous and fertile… rest a while longer and then, just imagine the dawn!
– Robin Villaverde

Reading is as close as we have come as a species to telepathy.
– Rob Kiser

I read Dante and realized how much power a writer could have. A writer could put people in hell who weren’t even dead yet.
– Ishmael Reed

It is very human to believe if we do not hate our enemies we are condoning their abuses. For many, loving our enemies seems not only childishly unrealistic, but also deeply irresponsible.
I think it is important to approach loving our enemies not as a religious maxim, nor as a hopelessly altruistic injunction, but as a realistic pursuit of inner peace and the common good.
Our conversation today begins with the question, “do you want to be happy?” That may seem a stupidly obvious question, but lots of people choose paths that make them unhappy. They value something else over peace within their own hearts. It is possible to hate our enemies so much that we no longer seek our own highest good. So the first question is do we want to be happy?
Once we have said that we want to be happy, we may quickly notice we are happier when the people we love are also happy. At that point, our experience of happiness is no longer private, but is interwoven with those we love. At that point we are willing to sacrifice for others not because we are naturally unselfish, but because we now seek a greater kind of happiness.
At that point, we may discover we have been taught to experience the world as a kind of melodrama divided into friends and enemies. Without reflection, we may come to assume our friends are completely good and our enemies completely bad. At that point we may realize the world isn’t quite that simple. There is some bad in our friends and some good in our enemies. More importantly, we may come to realize that our friends and enemies are interwoven into a larger life. Whether people are good or bad we share a common life with them. At that point our love may become ecological. We may step out of the simplistic melodrama of friends and enemies and realize, whether we like each other or not, we are interlocked in a common destiny. We may realize that, in a sense, what we do to others we are doing to ourselves
Loving one’s enemy does not mean pretending they are friends. “Enemy” just means someone who is trying to hurt you or hurt someone you love. Protecting ourselves or others from a predator may require physical resistance, but it does not require hatred. In fact, if we become very aware, we may realize when we dehumanize others, we are probably losing touch with our own humanity as well.
The wonderful bell hooks has written of loving our enemies:
“I think this is what people misunderstand about Martin Luther King saying to love your enemies. They think he was just using this silly little phrase, but what he meant was that as Black Americans we need to let our anger go, because holding on to it we hold ourselves down. We oppress ourselves by holding on to anger.”
And perhaps it is fitting to give Dr. King a word here as well:
“Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
Loving our enemies does not necessarily mean liking them. Loving our enemies certainly does not preclude protecting the people they would harm. Loving our enemies simply means realizing hatred robs us of the happiness we seek and traps us in a melodrama where we are tempted to play the roll of good bullies replacing the bad, thus becoming the very thing we hate.
– Jim Rigby

Neale Donald Walsch:
Once you are ready to truly devote your days and times to what your soul came here to do, you will find your life unimaginably enriched.

Well, I know now. I know a little more
how much a simple thing
like a snowfall can mean to a person.
– Sylvia Plath

A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye of a poet.
– Orson Welles

One doesn’t always have to speak.
– Hannah Arendt

Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men but from doing something worthwhile.
– Wilfred T. Grenfell

Life is from the inside out. When you shift on the inside, life shifts on the outside.
– Kamal Ravikant

Riya Kataria:
Maybe this is a unpopular opinion, but I don’t *want* to unite. I don’t want to be associated with racist, sexist, all-around terrible people. All the rhetoric about unity/healing just shows that we’re ready to accept bigots as our own, as long as it isn’t inconvenient anymore.

We forget who we were then in the haste to succeed at anything. We forget who we loved and who we fucked over. The forgetting comes to animate our experience of what we next call art.
– Lisa Robertson, The Baudelaire Fractal

If you know that I am an unbeliever, then you know me better than I do myself. I may be an unbeliever, but I am an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for a belief.
– Pier Paolo Pasolini

Life within patriarchy is a sad, frustrating life, for everyone.
– Ziauddin Yousafzai

Ari Annona:
I am going to do a necessary deep dive into my painting and let the external world fall away for awhile.
Trying to explain why I do not support Trump is like trying to articulate what Love is. An impossible and frustrating task.
Better to just live the experience and express it through my painting.
As Rilke once said, “Love has no need for words…”
I’m there~

If you make, within you, the spirit-tree, the spirit birds and animals will notice, and … first … will come to investigate. Later, if the roots are good… you will become their home.
– Darin Stevenson

The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.
– Ernest Hemingway

People label themselves with all sorts of adjectives. I can only pronounce myself as ‘nauseatingly miserable beyond repair’.
– Franz Kafka, Diaries, 1910-1923

Art is the fatal net which catches these strange moments on the wing like mysterious butterflies, fleeing the innocence and distraction of common men.
⁠- Giorgio de Chirico

by Kristin Abraham

When he realized he could cause dreams, he started with his horse. Run, he said, and the horse stomped and pawed in its sleep. Fly, he said, and it twitched and shook.

This must be how God discovered himself. Then cry, he commanded his sleeping wife. She spilled out of the joints in her lids. Drown. She coughed, sputtered, head from side to side.

How power can stop accumulating, he could not be sure. All he could do was gather his breath, assume his role, do what I’m meant to do. So he clapped his hands and flakes of stone and clay turned to rain from his palms.

He made them dream death and penance, made them tie it around their wrists like balloons. I’ll teach them consequences. Then his life started to revolve around checking to make sure everyone was breathing.

When things are very bad,
make yourself into nothing.
How do you make yourself into nothing?
You close your mouth and your eyes,
and you are like nothing!
Sometimes you may feel overwhelmed
by the evil urge.
You are racked with confusion
and negative thoughts,
finding it impossible to overcome them.
You must then make yourself like nothing. Anyone can do this.
Close your mouth and your eyes
and don’t think about anything –
as if you have no mind and no thoughts.
You are completely nullified before G-d.

As the hand held before the eye
conceals the greatest mountain,
so the little earthly life hides
from the glance the enormous lights
and mysteries of which the earth is full,
and he who can draw it away
from before his eyes,
as one draws away a hand,
beholds the great shining of the inner worlds.
– Nachman of Breslov

Alina Stefanescu:
Do not forget the rich, unambiguous anti-semitism in the word “globalist.” Do not forget that millions of humans of all races and ethnicities continue to die because they lack “the appropriate paperwork” in a world obsessed with (and dominated by) inhumane citizenships.

at the trial of God, we will ask: why did you allow all this?
And the answer will be an echo: why did you allow all this?
– Ilya Kaminsky, Deaf Republic

Wisdom to Inspire:
It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf.

Yung Pueblo:
Double down on love. Not the superficial love that ignores reality or history, but the real love that is ready to move mountains. The type of love that is not afraid of action, change or personal growth. The type of love that wants the best for all people, including yourself.

What is a storm
but too much happening at once?
– Molly Spencer, First House

My Song
by Joseph Seamon Cotter Sr.

I sang me a song, a tiny song,
A song that was sweet to my soul,
And set it a-float on the sea of chance
In search of a happy goal.

I said to my song: “Go on, go on
And lodge in a tender spot
Of some human soul where the fires of hate
And selfishness are not.”

My song went on but a little space
And hied it back to me;
And fell at my feet in a sorry plight—
The victim of cruelty.

I gazed a moment and quickly saw
Just how it had come about,
A cruel critic had caught my song
And probed the soul of it out.

O, poor indeed is the human mind
(And why was it ever wrought?)
That can thrive on husk in the form of words,
And not on a sturdy thought.

Joseph Massey:
Dear Overlords, I am a measly poet who lives in a basement and takes pictures of puddles. I hate politics. I’m a virtual unicorn who breathes glitter, too. Harmless. Spare me, please. Thank you.

In poetry, you don’t wait for the tone when you dial.

– Paul Celan trans. by Petre Solomon

…the flowers you loved were weeds.
– Marni Ludwig

If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The mind seems to grow fidgety and uncomfortable cooped up in a body 24/7. Mentally, dreaming is like taking off a pair of tight shoes at the end of the day: the liberated mind is no longer constrained by somatic sensory and motor processes. [D]reaming unfetters the mind from the world of matter; and, having vacated the body, consciousness is free to pandiculate, ponder and play. The dreaming mind stretches, yawns and reawakens in a strangely familiar place where it can time travel, dialogue with demons, get trapped in a mundane loop of doing dinner dishes or soar with angels.
– Rubin Naiman, In exile from the dreamscape

In some other life
I’ll stand where I’m standing now, and will look down, and will see
My own face, and not know what I am looking at.

These are the nights
When the oyster begins her pearl, when the spider slips
Through his wired rooms, and the barns cough, and the grass quails
– Charles Wright

What Would Root
by Katie Farris
Walking through a cathedral of oak trees
and bristlecone pines, scolded by squirrels
in their priestly black, their white collars
wagging with the force of their scolding, I
was struck, simultaneously, in both eyes,
by some sort of flying detritus—pollen or seeds—
and stopped to lean against a rock
to scrub it (I thought) away. It was May,

it was May, it was May, and the air was sweet
with pine and Island Mountain lilac. The squirrels,
I mentioned them already, etc, and the lizards
ran down the spines of rocks like a bad feeling. I
could see everything: red-headed hummingbirds
dipped their beaks into the little red hoods of penstemon,
and I, a redhead, could hear everything: a red-crested
woodpecker, who was not offended I did not know his name.

And I could see everything: it was all green, really;
even the red was anti-green, and though my eyes
ached from everything-seeing, I could taste the granite
in the spring (oh yes, I drank water from the ground; I
was wild, even then, though the squirrels scolded
me and tried to convince me I was not). Soon I crested
a rise; the land spread itself greenly for me and I
wished I had seed to toss into that green, just to see

what would root. My right eye would not close to this
view; why would it; but when I reached up to touch it, I
felt that there was a twig emerging, and another from my
other eye; that they were a part of my body I could not doubt;
they were living and enervated and jutting out. I
sat down, feeling the hairs on the back of my neck,
understanding for the first time they were not hairs, but roots.
I could see everything; it was all green; the twigs in my eyes

tasted sunlight with my mouth; the roots drew the salt
from my sweat into their vacuum, and I was no longer hungry:
my metamorphosis had rendered me perfectly self-sufficient. I
could see everything; the roots in my skull shifted and I
lay down beneath my own branches. I had to wiggle a bit to
find a place to lay my head; the rock was very hard,
and I needed softer ground—yes, a place for the top
of my head to come off, to nuzzle into the earth, to drink.

Don’t CBT me.
Don’t DBT me.
All that I want is for you
to see me.
– Lisa Wallace

Sun and Moon supply their conforming masks, but in this hour of civil twilight all must wear their own faces
– Auden

There are some people who could hear you speak a thousand words, and still not understand you. And there are others who will understand — without you even speaking a word.
– Yasmin Mogahed

For Hannah at Midnight Mass, Christmas Eve, 2008
by Ahmad Miles

Harold the Rector, hands clasped high, said
“God incarnate in a baby in extreme poverty”.
He said “I have absolutely no idea what that means”.
but it did show that God breathed in you too,
breathed in us all.
and that the many angels at the birth of Christ
were present at your birth.
and that you are witness to the miracles
because you are also “pregnant with God”.
you are unfolding into the mystery now
you do not have to wait, or ache, or stare
as if at a fast fading ship from your shipwrecked isle
you do not need to wring your hands in horror
or gaze on tragedy
just stay pregnant with promise
your ancient glittering eyes
on the long path leading home
and your heart at peace in the heart of Love

Listen to evening fall.
Listen to darkness come.
Listen to the stars.
Beyond the farthest faintest sound,
listen to silence.
Listening cleanses
the mind of thought,
awakens the sparkling grace
of the present moment…
What was that troubled dream
of the world,
swept away
by this breath?
– Fred LaMotte

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.
– Oscar Wilde

So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly arise and make them miserable.
– Aldous Huxley

He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.
– John Burroughs

From the doorsill of a dream they called my name….
It was the good voice, the voice I loved so much.

“~Listen: will you go with me to visit the soul? …”
A soft stroke reached up to my heart.

“With you always”…. And in my dream I walked
down a long and solitary corridor,
aware of the touching of the pure robe,
and the soft beating of blood in the hand that loved me.

– Antonio Machado

Life is like the still surface of a deep blue lake into which a stone is cast. Who knows how far, on what shores the ripples spread? But the stone, having been cast, has done its work. Let it sink, unnoticed and forgotten, into the blue, troubled depths. Until one day when the turmoil has ceased, we may gaze into the placid face of the water and see there, still bright and shinning, the stone lying at the bottom like a gleaming star.
– Frank Waters, The Man Who Killed The Deer

At long last, I found the answer; tucked away in a long forgotten book, on a long forgotten shelf.

I had sought this answer for years, in a quest that bordered on obsession.

But alas, I forgot the question.

I’m beginning anew; this time holding more tightly to the questions that arise—and more loosely to my need for certainty.
– Subversive Lens

Say goodbye to disaster. Shake hands
with the unknown, what becomes
of us once we’ve been torn apart
and returned to our future, naked
and small, sewn back together
scar by scar.
– Dorianne Laux

It’s important to critique the way we live, because America is a really frightening construct that’s eating people every day.
– George Saunders

But ideas can be true although men die,
And we can watch a thousand faces
Made active by one lie:

And maps can really point to places
Where life is evil now:

– Auden

One of the obligations of the writer is to say or sing all that he or she can, to deal with as much of the world as becomes possible to him or her in language.
– Denise Levertov

And yet who will deny, but that there are great multitudes of lucid Starrs even beyond the reach of the best Telescopes; and that every visible Starr may have opake Planets revolve around them, which we cannot discover?
– Richard Bentley (1692)

There is nothing rational about
love. Love stutters when it gets
nervous, love trips over its own
shoelaces. Love is clumsy, and
my heart refuses to wear a helmet.
– Rudy Francisco

Play the piano, become an artist, move to a different state or country, write a book, start a business, begin or end a relationship, make new friends, earn more money, get a house, go to college, learn to paint, clean your closet, bake a cake, make new friends, grow, change, become… One small step at a time turns thoughts, ideas and dreams (even those big, seemingly impossible ones) into realities.
– Begin with Yes

It is books that are the key to the wide world; if you can’t do anything else, read all that you can.
– Jane Hamilton

It takes no genius to destroy. The creators, the givers, the lovers, the healers – these are the heroes who know – the building up is so much more difficult than the tearing down.
– Laurence Overmire, New York Minute: An Actor’s Memoir

Poetry rumbles us.
Seeks our soft parts.

Tells us not to
listen to the words.

Asks us for a moment,
for the stillness
of the morning
before the sun says
it’s now.

– john zbigniew guzlowski

Mistrust all in whom the desire to punish is imperative.
– Goethe

The highest point a [person] can obtain is not Knowledge, or Virtue, or Goodness, or Victory, but something even greater, more heroic and more despairing: Sacred Awe!
– Zorba the Greek, written by Nikos Kazantzakis

…and I think–
this tree has been here
all this time, and I didn’t notice.
– The Tree of Fire, by Ada Limón

The most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people.
– Nicholas Sparks

Friendship, however, is a plant that cannot be forced – true friendship is no gourd spring up in a night and withering in a day.
– Charlotte Bronte

As I watched the seagulls, I thought: ‘That’s the road to take; find the absolute rhythm and follow it with absolute trust.
– Zorba the Greek, written by Nikos Kazantzakis

Never forget your real identity. You are a luminous conscious stardust being forged in the crucible of cosmic fire.
– Deepak Chopra

As I watched the seagulls, I thought: ‘That’s the road to take; find the absolute rhythm and follow it with absolute trust.’
– Zorba the Greek, written by Nikos Kazantzakis

Never forget your real identity. You are a luminous conscious stardust being forged in the crucible of cosmic fire.
– Deepak Chopra

It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
– Charles Dickens

Bruce Cockburn:
Everyday in the paper you can watch the numbers rise
No such event can over take us here, we’re much too wise

our actions since
you said too much poetry
I said too much war
– C.A. Conrad

I believe that melancholy is, in short, a musical problem: a dissonance, a disturbed rhythm.
– Alejandra Pizarnik

You cannot defeat fascism by tolerating it.
– Kelly Hayes

One day Dostoevsky threw out the enigmatic remark: “Beauty will save the world.” What sort of a statement is that? For a long time I considered it mere words. How could that be possible? When in bloodthirsty history did beauty ever save anyone from anything? Ennobled, uplifted, yes – but whom has it saved?

There is, however, a certain peculiarity in the essence of beauty, a peculiarity in the status of art: namely, the convincingness of a true work of art is completely irrefutable and it forces even an opposing heart to surrender. It is possible to compose an outwardly smooth and elegant political speech, a headstrong article, a social program, or a philosophical system on the basis of both a mistake and a lie. What is hidden, what distorted, will not immediately become obvious.

Then a contradictory speech, article, program, a differently constructed philosophy rallies in opposition – and all just as elegant and smooth, and once again it works. Which is why such things are both trusted and mistrusted.

In vain to reiterate what does not reach the heart.

But a work of art bears within itself its own verification: conceptions which are devised or stretched do not stand being portrayed in images, they all come crashing down, appear sickly and pale, convince no one. But those works of art which have scooped up the truth and presented it to us as a living force – they take hold of us, compel us, and nobody ever, not even in ages to come, will appear to refute them.

So perhaps that ancient trinity of Truth, Goodness and Beauty is not simply an empty, faded formula as we thought in the days of our self-confident, materialistic youth?

In that case Dostoevsky’s remark, “Beauty will save the world”, was not a careless phrase but a prophecy? After all he was granted to see much, a man of fantastic illumination.
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Some people make you feel better about living. Some people you meet and you feel this little lift in your heart, this ‘Ah’, because there’s something in them that’s brighter or lighter, something beautiful or better than you, and here’s the magic: instead of feeling worse, instead of feeling ‘why am I so ordinary?’, you feel just the opposite, you feel glad. In a weird way you feel better, because before this you hadn’t realised or you’d forgotten human beings could shine so.
– Niall Williams

You think you know the edges of your world, and then it turns out there’s all this dark matter out there. [You fall] out of orbit.
– Jodi Picoult

Beauty, is the sole business of poetry. / The rest’s diversion: those holy or noble sentiments, the intricate ideas, / The love, lust, longing: reasons, but not the reason.
– Robinson Jeffers

We all carry in our heads a model of reality put there by tradition, training, custom, and prejudice. When the events of life and the behavior of persons around us conform to this model, we are at peace; and when they don’t conform, we feel upset. Thus, what in truth upsets us is not those persons or those events, but the model we carry with us. This model is arbitrary and accidental. Realize that, and you will not feel upset anymore at anything.
– Carlos G. Vallés

As a young writer and—in fact, as a writer of any age—I think it is essential to find out what you can learn from other arts; your talent cannot exist in isolation any more than a human being can live healthily on one type of food alone.
– Teju Cole

Your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
– Charles Bukowski

by Clif Mason
Name, please, the ways
that living is not hysteria.
Yet mystery is everywhere.
Ask the wisteria,
the sugar maple.
Are these days’ putative needs—
hurtful urgencies,
hateful exigencies—
not desires bound up
within regrets
within desires?
Are they not incarnate
(& reincarnate) paradox,
part & parcel
of reason’s unreason
(for whatever reason) ensorcelled?
I turn instead to the jade plant’s
green cascade of flames.
To the red fox
surprised at 2 a.m.—
sparking, livest of live wires,
down our street,
fire-shock of tail trailing,
& ears & body ablaze.
It glanced—we roused
no fear. Flame leapt the street
& flared between houses.

Sometimes having a relationship with poets is challenging because we will think you said one thing and meant another or you said exactly what you meant.

Either way, there’s gonna be some line breaks and a whole lot of white space in that conversation.

– Airea D. Matthews

A disservice was done by early translators of Buddhism when they chose English names of emotions (especially “anger”) to translate destructive states of mind (kleshas).

Buddhism doesn’t view emotions as problematic in and of themselves.

We need to retranslate these terms.

– Ethan Nichtern

You know, when real trouble comes your humanity is awakened. The fundamental human experience is that of compassion.
– Joseph Campbell

In nearly all mythologies the Gods speak things into existence; the world is ensouled through the word. Instead of our abandoning the word, perhaps it is time we return to the word in a different spirit.
– Russell Lockhart, Words as Eggs

I think it’s often assumed that the role of poetry is to comfort, but for me, poetry is the great unsettler. It questions the established order of the mind. It is radical…it works at the roots of thinking.
– Alice Oswald

We’re all writing out of a wound, and that’s where our song comes from. The wound is singing. We’re singing back to those who’ve been wounded.
– Dorianne Laux

I invite you to embrace a new reality. It is not a matter of religion -it is a matter of fact, a matter of science, a matter of experiment & a matter of awareness. I invite you to awaken to the infinite life no matter what your worldview.
– Bob Thurman

Rockin’ hard and fast
on high keys of Eighty Eight
Feet lightly stomping
on a gym floor, shoes checked in
Half beat behind guitars sax drums
Feet sliding, bodies dipping
– Jerry Pendergast

There’s crying
and then there’s Crying.
Crying is the act of the true warrior
that deep grief that cleanses the heart,
that wrings out the ancestral line
of its ancient pain,
that reaches back to the beginnings
of every oppression
you’ve ever known
which shares a cord with all oppression
and finally kisses even that wound
with light,
Crying allows you to dive
into and beyond the dark
that has held back countless generations
from their gifts and desires
and truths,
Crying undoes the sickness
of secrets,
Crying no longer compromises
truth for comfort,
this Crying is the evolution of the soul,
it is the alchemy of energy,
it is undoing the body
from being cinched
to the past
in the corset of worn-out contracts
your soul never wanted to live in,
it is the embodied refusal
to go on serving what no longer serves you,
Crying is light
taking the shadow’s hand
and courageously walking
into the great unknown
trusting there’s wholeness
on the other side,
it is releasing once precious handholds,
it is forgoing control,
it is the time of the end
and the time of the beginning,
it dives you deep into new frontiers
that you may grab
a new handful of power,
it is surrendering deeply enough
all the structures you thought you knew
to rehome your soul in a more suitable
Crying moves inner mountains,
slays illusion,
Crying undoes and remakes anew
every way you’d come to
see the world.
– Chelan Harkin

Earth is a good place
to keep returning
until you become a horse,
a tree, the wind.
Let’s say a horse for now,
ambling through alfalfa,
swishing flies.
Then, after a long time,
dare to be a willow,
or carry the rain
in your breath.
Whatever lovely
perishing creature
you become patiently
practice the Four
Immeasurable Truths:
Sit like a mountain.
Stand like a lightning flash.
Move like a cloud.
Whisk bugs away
with your black
magisterial tail.
You are rooted by grace
in luminous bones
to honor the darkness
of loam.
– Fred LaMotte

Friend, today is a good day
to forgive yourself for everything,
most especially the thread
you could not convince to close your wounds.
If your wounds are still open, trust
they are doors to an answer and walk through.
You don’t have to be healed to be whole.
You don’t have to know where you’re going
to stop doubting what you’re made of.
I am made of a handful of borrowed buttons
and one lost and fuzzy sock. Pull the string
on my back and I’ll say I LOVE YOU
and mean it whenever you want.
– Andrea Gibson

Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.
– Les Brown

In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.
– Henri Nouwen

In troubled times, you have to be what you’re looking for. You must become the embodiment of the thing you want to be the beneficiary of. These are the times we’re in… As a rule nobody asks you to do your life’s work. More often, at least in the early going, you have to do your life’s work as a self-appointed task. And in the early going you’re not very good at it. It is a learning thing, expensive, demanding, relentless. That’s how it has gone for me at least, paring down the list of reasons I was born until only a few likely candidates were left standing.
– Stephen Jenkinson

In almost every major literature there are works that make you love being human, and make you love and revere the humanity of other people. That is the great potential of any art.
– Marilynne Robinson

The word Apocalypse literally means “the unveiling.”

In the myth of Calypso, she symbolically represents what is hidden, or veiled from consciousness. In Greek mythology, Calypso was a nymph who captured Odysseus for many years, before he finally managed to escape. She lived on the mythical island of Ogygia.

According to Homer’s epic, the Odyssey, when Odysseus landed on Ogygia, Calypso fell in love with him and decided to keep him as her immortal husband.

Thus, to have the truth hidden (or concealed from one’s consciousness) is in a sense to be trapped in the darkness of Calypso’s spell. (the ourobouric unconscious, undifferentiated feminine~ and this ISN’T about gender here, but consciousness…)

Odysseus (or Everyman) eventually escaped via the “apocalypse” or the unveiling of his own truth that he was *always free* to begin with… he just had to clear his clouded perception (develop reflective consciousness of his predicament) and choose differently.

William Blake also speaks to the cleansing of perception into the infinite~
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” (Calypso’s cave…)

“Revelation” is a revealing that always leads to a new beginning (Genesis), not LITERALLY but metaphorically, over and over again in our lives. it’s a chance to AWAKEN over and over again to the amazing experience that being alive truly IS.

– Ari Annona

As a writer, I have been struck since medical school by the pervasive trope of disease as enemy and medicine as warfare. We talk about battling cancer, fighting heart disease, treatments that are more or less aggressive, killer T-cells, silver bullets, the immune system’s defenses, screening as surveillance, malignant tumors as invasive… it goes on and on. Art therapists even encourage children to draw pictures of themselves attacking their cancers, depicting their antibodies and our drugs and radiation as soldiers and weapons. And who else but doctors and military commanders give orders?
I’ve always thought these metaphors limit our understanding of disease and constrain our approach to treating it. Whereas some traditions consider disease as an imbalance within ourselves or dis-harmony between ourselves and our environment, allopathic (Western) medicine sees disease as something other, something alien, and treatment tries to counteract it. There’s leakage into and from the political sphere: it’s always us and them, there’s always the dream of a wall with increased border security. And the ultimate tragedy is that death is unavoidably experienced as defeat. I’ve heard hospitalists say of a patient’s impending and inevitable death: “Not on my watch!” Fighting a war is a matter of pride, ego, prowess, strength, endurance and sheer will. No wonder then that doctors burn out – this kind of war is unwinnable. The death rate is and always will be 100%. In the end, I think changing the paradigm will have to come from outside medicine. From art, from science, from patients. Even from politics.
– Hugh Blumfield

An Old Story
We were made to understand it would be
Terrible. Every small want, every niggling urge,
Every hate swollen to a kind of epic wind.

Livid, the land, and ravaged, like a rageful
Dream. The worst in us having taken over
And broken the rest utterly down.

A long age
Passed. When at last we knew how little
Would survive us—how little we had mended

Or built that was not now lost—something
Large and old awoke. And then our singing
Brought on a different manner of weather.

Then animals long believed gone crept down
From trees. We took new stock of one another.
We wept to be reminded of such color.

– Tracy K Smith

you have never witnessed anything so unsteady, so uncertain, as my heart
– Goethe

I want to possess her only in her freedom!
– Søren Kierkegaard

No man really knows about other human beings. The best he can do is to suppose that they are like himself.
– John Steinbeck

Rebecca Solnit:
The middle ground is not halfway between Nazis and antiracists. The reasonable position is not a compromise between rapists and feminists, slaveowners and abolitionists, Natives and General Crook. The truth is not midway between the liar and the truthteller. That has to be a factor in all those calls for reaching out and unity. The murderer and his intended victim don’t have to agree on what’s right. The people who were harmed don’t have to reach out to those who did the harming. The people who told the truth don’t need to make liars feel better about themselves or what they said. Those who were targeted by this war don’t have to do all the peacemaking. If reaching out and finding unity is good, the haters and liars can go find some olive branches and apologies and do the work to leave their will to destroy the rest of us behind. Then it begins. The party of hate never had a mandate; they lost the popular vote last time and this time; they may think of themselves as the real American and the gatekeepers but we don’t have to, and we don’t have to enter their gates or play by their rules. We don’t have to hate them either, but we don’t have to protect them from the consequences of their choices or sell out our principles for their comfort. When you stand on the ground of truth and justice, let others find their way to you. If you stand firm, many will in the end. Not everyone will; that does not change what truth and justice are.

Even though we don’t consider ourselves
to be so desperate, and believe
that we are well educated, sane, and sober, when we see and feel
that everything truly exists,
we are behaving like the man in the desert.
We rush to find authentic companionship, security, recognition, and success,
or simply peace and quiet.

We may even succeed
in grasping some semblance of our desires. But just like the wanderer,
when we depend on external substantiation, eventually we are disappointed.
Things are not as they seem:
they are impermanent
and they are not entirely within our control.
– Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, What Makes You Not a Buddhist

Hiking – I don’t like either the word
or the thing. People ought to saunter
in the mountains – not hike!
Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word.

Away back in the Middle Ages
people used to go on pilgrimages
to the Holy Land, and when people
in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going,
they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre,’
‘To the Holy Land.’
And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains
are our Holy Land,
and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.
– John Muir

We are living in an age when people are disconnected from their true identity and this false perception is validated from every angle. Everyone is craving a perfect body and seeking it in others. For example, when you go to the grocery store you see magazines displaying pictures of men and women in a perfect and idealized youthful form. It is very difficult to resist these messages. They come from everywhere, all aspects of society, and they validate this sense of mistaken identity. They validate the sense that this body is who we really are. Given the tendency to establish a perfect idealized standard, many people suffer from pride, narcissism, arrogance, shame, guilt, and self-hatred because of their relationship with their body and their ability or inability to reflect this perfect standard.

Every morning when we wake up and look into the mirror there is a voice in our mind that is constantly judging us and others according to this standard. Have you ever noticed that? Our mind is always judging: “Oh, another wrinkle. She is too fat. He is strange looking. She is beautiful. He is handsome.” These judgments not only create a stumbling block on our spiritual path, they also create clouds of negativity in our consciousness and keep us firmly chained in the prison of duality. But there is no need to hold on to this. There is the possibility of transcending this identification with our body in each and every moment. It is only when we drop all of these judgments that we will recognize that everyone is divine in their uniqueness. Egoic mind is always comparing self with others because it believes itself to be a separate entity and it uses the body as the dividing line between self and others.

We are nonmaterial. We are insubstantial. We are not like a table that eventually breaks down. The very essence of who we are goes beyond the conditions of decay and impermanence. Yes, our body is impermanent but our true nature is not impermanent. Our true nature is deathless and divine, transcending all imperfections. Because of this we are all equal, we are all one. Nobody is better or worse than anybody else. When someone manifests their true nature, they live out of love, kindness, and joy. They inflict less pain on others. When we meditate, sooner or later we discover that this is not just abstract theory. This corresponds to the truth, to reality.What is our true nature if it is not this body? There are many words we can use to describe what our true nature is. The simplest word in Buddhism for that is Buddha Nature. The definition of Buddha Nature is that we are already enlightened. We are perfect as we are. When we realize this, we are perfect. When we do not realize this, we are also perfect. Our true essence goes beyond birth and death. It can never get sick. It can never get old. It is beyond all conditions. It is like the sky. This is not a theory. This is the truth that can be realized only in the realm of enlightened consciousness. This consciousness is surprisingly accessible to each of us.

When that awakening happens, there is no longer any desire to become someone other than who we are. Every previous idea of who we are vanishes and along with it the pain, guilt, and pride associated with our body. In Buddhism this is called no self. This is the only true awakening. Everything else is a spiritual bypass. This awakening is what we should be aiming for from the very beginning of being on the path. It will rescue us from falling into unnecessary spiritual traps. When we are openhearted and ready to drop our previous perceptions of self, then spiritual awakening can happen at any moment.

There is a beautiful analogy. Imagine a dark cave that hasn’t been illuminated for a million years. Then one day someone brings a candle into the cave. Instantaneously the darkness of a million years vanishes. Like that, when your true nature is realized there is no longer this “I” searching for anything else. The awakening has nothing to do with our background. It has nothing to do with whether we have been meditating for a long time or not. It has nothing to do with meeting impressive teachers or gurus. It is simply dependent on whether or not we are open to it. This opening, this receptivity, is basically related to our ability to resist arming the ego with concepts and ideas. A true spiritual path transcends all concepts and belief systems. It is not about reinforcing the mind’s illusion of self as an identity. It is not about being a Buddhist, a saint, or a better person.

It is really about deconstructing all of our illusions without any mercy.

We can realize the highest truth in each moment when we learn to see through the illusion of the self. Anam Thubten, in remarkably easy-to-understand language, provides teachings for doing exactly that, based on the wisdom of the Buddhist traditions. He illuminates the path of going beyond the misconceptions of the ego to experience the reality of our true nature, which is already enlightened. He communicates with clarity, humor, and refreshing honesty, lighting the way to a life full of love, compassion, and true satisfaction.
– Anam Thubten, No Self, No Problem: Awakening to Our True Nature

What have I learned during this life of falling often on a path that
offered me direction I did not take? The language of snails.

Why did I ignore the advice of those who had lived a long time?
So that I could embrace my own mistakes.

Who was willing to accompany me on my painful journey?
Myself alone, dragging along the shadows of experience.

What shall I give to those ready to embark upon an even steeper path?
An open heart. Resistance to despair. Laughter. Most of all,

The love of birds, animals, and spirits who watched my progress and said,
Though you have arrived, you are nowhere at all.
– Nancy Wood

A poem is a serious joke,
a truth that has learned jujutsu.
– William Stafford

The Pacific Is the Sky
by Raúl Zurita
Paris Review

The Pacific Is The Sky
So torrents of the Seventh,
Fifth and Ninth. Riverbeds of
Bach, Beethoven and Amadeus
rapids of the sky, peaks and pastures

Estuaries and waterfalls of the Fourth
tributaries and sounds
of air, organs, summits
of Michimahuida, Aysén and oceans:

—The Pacific is the sky

Torrents of the sons of Espolón
Yelcho, lake and surroundings:

—The sky of Chile alive,

The Pacific is the sky bearing themselves then the rivers
that love each other opening themselves

Like fans swelling until they smash down in the waves
of the ocean that shatters over the horizon They are the 
ancient rivers note the men looking at them No: they are
the tides of the sky answer the crests of the Pacific
squalls coming on among the clouds

In the foreground receiving the thousands of rivers
that once went to the encounter of those beaches It
is the ocean they repeat coming in No: they are the
beaches of the horizon it is the snow it is us rising

to find each other in the final torrent of all souls
the flayed of Chile scream revived among the waters
This is because I am the sky the Pacific repeats again
alive blue spuming with love above the mountains

– Translated from Spanish by Anna Deeny

You’re supposed to plan to help certain people

At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
– Deuteronomy 14:28-29

Between snatches of poetry and penitence you left
the brumal wood of men and women. Snow drove
the butterflies home. You must know
how it goes, known all along what to expect,
sooner or later…the faded cadence of anonymity.
Frankly my dear, frankly my dear, frankly
– C.D. Wright, Only the Crossing Counts

He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.
– Job 5:15-16

Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father which art in heaven,
Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious,

Hallowed be Thy name.
Adorable One.

Thy kingdom come.
Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present.

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Enable us to know, — as in heaven, so on earth, —
God is omnipotent, supreme.

Give us this day our daily bread;
Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections;

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And Love is reflected in love;

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
And God leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth
us from sin, disease, and death.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love,
over all, and All.

– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

by Khalil Gibran
It is said that before entering the sea
a river trembles with fear.

She looks back at the path she has travelled, from the peaks of the mountains,
the long winding road crossing forests and villages.

And in front of her,
she sees and ocean so vast,
that to enter
there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.

But there is no other way.
The river can not go back.

Nobody can go back.
To go back is impossible in existence.

The river needs to take the risk
of entering the ocean
because only then will fear disappear,
because that’s where the river will know
it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,
but of becoming the ocean.

Comprehending beyond good and evil opens the way to perfect skill. Experiencing the dissolution of duality, you embrace the highest view.
– Milarepa

There’s always room for a story that can
transport people to another place.
– J.K. Rowling

You cannot invite the wind but you can leave the window open…
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Zen Master Dogen:
Words can change the destiny of a nation.

I love the natural world. Therefore, I am opposed to all forms of industrial energy. This includes fossil fuels, wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal. One reason is that civilization (a culture based on the development of cities) requires control and domination of the natural world. This is currently achieved through industrial energy. Another reason is that humans do not actually need these energies to lead a happy and healthy life. Humans have existed for around 250,000 years in our current evolutionary form. And, for 249,900 of those years, humans did not need industrial energy. More importantly, the rest of the natural world has never needed industrial energy. So, building wind farms and solar fields is both unnecessary and immoral. It is unnecessary because humans don’t need this energy. It is immoral because you must destroy other beings and their habitats to facilitate the collection of industrial energy. I don’t believe you can claim to love the natural world while advocating for industrial-scale energy that destroy forests, plains, and mountains and that poison air, soil, and water.
– Will Falk

Rather than pass the time, one must invite it in.
– Walter Benjamin

The meaning of a communication is the result you get.
– R. Bandler

The Hollow Men
by T.S. Eliot

Mistah Kurtz-he dead
A penny for the Old Guy


We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

A Man’s World

He will surely take it out when you’re alone

And let it dangle between you like a locket on a chain.

Like any world, it will flicker with lights that mean dwellings,

Traffic, a constellation of need. Tiny clouds will drag shadows

Across the plane. He’ll grin watching you squint, deciphering

Rivers, borders, bridges arcing up from rock. He’ll recite

Its history. How one empire swallowed another. How one

Civilization lasted 3,000 years with no word for eternity.

He’ll guide your hand through the layers of atmosphere,

Teach you to tamper with the weather. Swinging it

Gently back and forth, he’ll swear he’s never shown it

To anyone else before.

– Tracy K Smith, Wade in the Water

On the Fifth Day
by Jane Hirshfield

On the fifth day
the scientists who studied the rivers
were forbidden to speak
or to study the rivers.
The scientists who studied the air
were told not to speak of the air,
and the ones who worked for the farmers
were silenced,
and the ones who worked for the bees.
Someone, from deep in the Badlands,
began posting facts.
The facts were told not to speak
and were taken away.
The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.
Now it was only the rivers
that spoke of the rivers,
and only the wind that spoke of its bees,
while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees
continued to move toward their fruit.
The silence spoke loudly of silence,
and the rivers kept speaking
of rivers, of boulders and air.
Bound to gravity, earless and tongueless,
the untested rivers kept speaking.
Bus drivers, shelf stockers,
code writers, machinists, accountants,
lab techs, cellists kept speaking.
They spoke, the fifth day,
of silence.

All writers have periods when they stop writing, when they cannot write, and this is always painful and terrible because writing is like breathing.
– Audre Lorde

Deep is this perfection of wisdom, hard to see, hard to understand, inaccessible to reasoning and discursive thought.
– The Buddha

Shame is the lowest vibration a human can exist in, whether you’re being shamed or receiving it. One of the gifts of vibrating at higher frequencies is that being shamed by others doesn’t work or stick, regardless of the toxicity that is spewed about or towards you. Keep rising.
– I Am My Best Today

Bring ego onto the path of dharma
– Chögyam Trungpa

I’m not in a leftwing bubble because it makes me feel good and safe or whatever, it’s because I’ve heard all the arguments on the other side my entire life including in popular media every single day and they all suck ass and hearing them further also sucks ass.
– Luke ONeil

There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless.’ There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.
– Arundhati Roy

Mason Mennenga:
i’m sorry but you don’t get to complain about cancel culture if you literally believe in hell

I miss going to a coffee shop to do some work and then completely wasting my time there.
– Adam Clay

I didn’t study poets, I memorized them.
– Elias Khoury

You didn’t come here to consume the culture of a dying world. You came here to create the culture to take its place.
– Pyramid Realm

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
– Lucille Clifton

If people can be educated to see the shadow-side of their nature clearly, it may be hoped that they will also learn to understand and love their fellow men better. A little less hypocrisy & a little more self-knowledge can only have good results in respect for our neighbor.
– Jung

I’m sitting here alone and sleepless
And wondering where you are
And wishing you were here
On the coldest night of the year
– Bruck Cockburn

I have never been so grateful for my dreams. I see so many of my friends and family and loved ones in my dreams. Enormous celebrations in bright saturated colors. I’m living two lives. And the pandemic is definitely over in my dream life. Also it is always spring or summer.
– Ada Limón

I want a poet at the inauguration again, more than just about anything else. The poet is the best part. Also, not having people get attached would be super!
– Allison Devers

We have a responsibility to the words we employ, since, as poets, language is in our care, our keeping. I’m shocked by certain abuses of language.
– Edward Hirsch

Fact: Across our country, military and police are now protecting us from the Republican Party.
– Bryce Tache

Everything will turn out right, the world is built on that.
– Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

It doesn’t end with an inauguration.

It ends when we dismantle white supremacy.

That begins with an unshakable multi racial, multi faith, multi generational coalition.

If you look around and don’t see that in your spaces, that is white supremacy and that’s where you begin.
– rafael shimunov

Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.
– Rene Descartes

I don’t understand how people can act so unaffected in a pandemic? Like how does all these people dying just not shake u to the core. How do you just move on from all of this so easily? How do u not care? I just don’t understand.

Sista moon:
Please stop feeling like being mad, angry, upset, sad, etc is lowering your vibration. It is not. These are human emotions. And you are living the human experience.

Solitude is like oxygen for me, it’s a must. I love connecting with people, but I love reconnecting with myself even more. Getting back in flow with my own rhythm, my true and authentic self without anyone else’s energy influencing me. It’s never personal, it’s self care.
– Umi

Dr. Samantha Joel:
I’m just a girl, standing in front of a mountain of work, asking for fewer world events to happen so I can get some of it done.

Manifest love with no trauma attached to it.
– Umi

There is a line of Verlaine that I will not be able to remember.
There is a street nearby that is widowed of my footsteps,
there is a mirror that has seen me for the last time,
there is a door that I have closed until the end of the world….
– Borges

…Among the books of my library (I am looking at them)
there is one that I will never open now.
This summer I will be fifty years old;
Death is wearing me away, relentless.
– Borges

There is Creation,
And there is Destruction.

If you focus on Creation,
You Create.

If you focus on Destruction,
You Destroy.

Apply this to everything,
But start with your opportunities.
– Will

Anis Mojgani:
Half the joy of rewatching Gilmore Girls is the ridiculous amount and physical presence of extras constantly in the background of this tiny town.

Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.
– Goethe

I’m cautious of constantly being reactive to what others say. When I’m focused on correcting others or wanting them to act right, I’m not in control of my own flow. I’m attempting to control / act upon their energy so I can go back to feeling good.
That’s not how it works.

I think at some point in my early twenties I just fell in love with the music of verse.
– Robert Hass

Goodnight, family.

I encourage you:

Let a love-centered, generationally-influencing FOR be your fuel.

Know what you are FOR.

Commit to BEING what you are FOR.

The FOR determines the focus, the fluidity and the fruit.

Against is a response.
FOR is a posture.
– Bernice King

like the mouth of a strange beast yawning
to suck us in, each night, like air. I denied it,
– Ada Limón, State Bird

We’ve been tricked into forgetting that people have the right to just exist and enjoy the wonders of this realm.

Mag Gabbert:
If u have friends with abandonment issues/trauma, u might’ve noticed them checking in a lot lately? For me, scary events + many ppl simultaneously (& understandably!) not having the spoons to be responsive = panic. It helps a lot to just say you’re ok but drained or need space.

Gregory Mansfield:

Disabled people need to be be represented in government.
Disabled people need to be in leadership positions in government.

If disabled people are not at the table, we will continue to be scapegoated, victimized and marginalized.

People don’t understand the psychological damage they can cause by intentionally hurting others and abandoning can take years to recover from heartbreak especially when you truly loved the person. Playing with people’s heart is playing with their life

Wonderful things start to happen when you dream outside of your sleep.
– Richard Wilkins

It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.
– John Baptiste Moliére

You’ll know your tribe by their vibe.
– Pam

Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you.
– Frank Tyger

In putting down all this material for analysis, I was in effect writing letters to my anima, that is part of myself with a different viewpoint from my own. I got remarks of a new character—I was in analysis with a ghost and a woman.
– CG Jung, The Black Books

I say constraints can be very useful, in life as in poetry. For instance, I’m currently wearing boots in an effort to keep myself from going back to bed.
– Melissa Crowe

The world is a complex, interconnected, finite, ecological–social–psychological–economic system. We treat it as if it were not, as if it were divisible, separable, simple & infinite. Our persistent, intractable global problems arise directly from this mismatch.
– Donella Meadows

If you mention a writer’s name without saying he’s the greatest writer in the world, you put him down.
– Philip Roth

Maureen O’Leary:
there isn’t enough yoga in the world to neutralize the stress the republicans are causing me i said what i said

Susan Orlean:
Lately (or not so lately) I am having this problem where I can’t keep my mind on a single thing for more than one nanosecond. I’ve never been more distracted/jumbled/jangled. Anybody with me?

tonight’s chinese: 温暖

pronounced wēnnuǎn, these together mean “warm.” 温 has 氵which is derived from 水, meaning water, as well as 日, meaning sun. 暖 also has 日, and 友, meaning friend. 温暖 has a very pleasant sound & often is used to refer to the perfect temperature

– Chen Chen

Anger is an appropriate reaction to racist attitudes, as is fury when the actions arising from those attitudes do not change.
– Audre Lorde

Come to me now: loose me from hard
care and all my heart longs
to accomplish, accomplish. You
be my ally.
– Sappho

Marcia Lynn Paul:
As writers, we are literally painting images in someone’s head. How cool is that?

The ability of the different characters to resist the Ring [in The Lord of the Rings] is directly related to their ability to put their own egos aside for something greater than themselves—that is, their narcissistic maturity.
– Pia Skogemann, Where the Shadows

Andrew Zaffina:
“you make me feel safe” a love language

Calligraphy of geese
against the sky–
the moon seals it.
– Yosa Buson, tr by Robert Hass

Love means to love that which is unlovable. Otherwise it is no virtue at all.
– G. K. Chesterton

I’m not a scholar. I just read the text as a reader, but a very attentive reader.
– Larissa Volokhonsky

If you hear river talking, write it down.
– Cheryl Boyce-Taylor

Gary Snyder:
Birds in a whirl, drift to the rooftops
Kite dip, swing to the seabank fogroll
Form: dots in air changing line from line,
the future defined.

Fiction is about people in trouble, because people are always in trouble.
– Allan Gurganus

I want to thank you, Lord, for life and all that’s in it. Thank you for the day and for the hour, and the minute.
– Maya Angelou

i hate being sent links to things. i don’t want to look at anything. i just want to eat soup.
– Chen Chen

If every head of state and every government official spent an hour a day reading poetry we’d live in a much more humane and decent world.
– Mark Strand

A mixture of gullibility and cynicism had been an outstanding characteristic of mob mentality before it became an everyday phenomenon of masses.”
– Hannah Arendt


As the societal mind continues to fall into disarray-

-Awareness is Your best defense.

As anger and frustration grow around you-

-it’s imperative to bring Awareness to What Is…

Peace always comes from within…

The older I get the more selective I am of who is in my tribe. I would rather have four quarters than a hundred pennies.

I divide the world into two types of people, those who want to control something and those who want to make something. I’m attracted to the makers.
– Henri Cole

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

Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.
– Theodore Roethke

However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.
– Stanley Kubrick

Those little flashes of surprise—between people and in the daily round—they assure the viability of hope.
– sven berkerts

Behind every argument is someone’s ignorance.
– Louis D. Brandeis

We are the same, you and I. We are images of light.
– Don Miguel Ruiz

I conceive of poetry not so much as a matter of serene and disinterested choice but of action, and the very heat of choice. I think of the poem as a kind of action in which, if the poet can participate enough, other people cannot help participating as well.
– James Dickey

Prescription For the Disillusioned

Come new to this day.
Remove the rigid overcoat of experience,
the notion of knowing,
the beliefs that cloud your vision.

Leave behind the stories of your life.
Spit out the sour taste of unmet expectation.
Let the stale scent of what-ifs waft back into the swamp
of your useless fears.

Arrive curious, without the armor of certainty,
the plans and planned results of the life you’ve imagined.
Live the life that chooses you,
new every breath, every blink of your astonished eyes.

– Rebecca del Rio

As If To Demonstrate An Eclipse
I pick an orange from a wicker basket
and place it on the table
to represent the sun.
Then down at the other end
a blue and white marble
becomes the earth
and nearby I lay the little moon of an aspirin.
I get a glass from a cabinet,
open a bottle of wine,
then I sit in a ladder-back chair,
a benevolent god presiding
over a miniature creation myth,
and I begin to sing
a homemade canticle of thanks
for this perfect little arrangement,
for not making the earth too hot or cold
not making it spin too fast or slow
so that the grove of orange trees
and the owl become possible,
not to mention the rolling wave,
the play of clouds, geese in flight,
and the Z of lightning on a dark lake.
Then I fill my glass again
and give thanks for the trout,
the oak, and the yellow feather,
singing the room full of shadows,
as sun and earth and moon
circle one another in their impeccable orbits
and I get more and more cockeyed with gratitude.
– Billy Collins

Fear kills everything. Your mind, your heart, your imagination.
– Cornelia Funke

Those with dualistic perception believe suffering is happiness.
It is as though they are licking honey from a razor blade.
– Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

Emotional sentience as ancient feedback signals:

At every level within a self-organizing system, the common self-regulatory task is to mediate the optimal balance between
internal and external realms—between “self” and the “not-self” environment, in order to maintain flexible boundaries (in both time and space) in the face of ongoing change. In living systems, this includes exploiting beneficial chaotic changes and minimizing damaging ones. In this context, hedonic qualia emerge as self-regulatory feedback signals, encoding simple rules that mediate the part-to-whole relationship within the self-system, aimed at regaining one’s own local balance in the face of destabilizing change.

In terms of evolution, in this new view, the qualitative structure of subjective experience begins with hedonic, or emotional qualia. While we pretend that animals have neither subjective experience nor sense of self beyond “instinct,” there would have been tremendous selection pressure for the ability of a living system to sense itself in its world, evaluate, and respond to its environment—these functional “self-regulatory” services all provided by emotional qualia.

Accordingly, our innate propensity for selfishness is neither due to “selfish genes” (Dawkins, 1989) nor original sin, but to a self-regulating genome constantly interacting within its local (physical and social) environment and adapting itself accordingly. In other words, within the paradigm of self-organization, the “self” as the fractal self-regulating agent—which is structurally an inseparable part and whole (an electron within a carbon atom, an amino acid within a DNA sequence, a gene within a genome, a genome within an organism, an organism within its external environment)—is a more primary and fundamental unit of evolution than the gene.
– Katherine Peil, Fractal Epistemology and the Biology of Emotion

You want something like a round-the-clock ecstasy. Ecstasies come and go, necessarily, for the human brain cannot stand the tension for a long time. A prolonged ecstasy will burn out your brain unless it is extremely pure and subtle. In nature nothing is at a standstill—everything pulsates, appears and disappears. Heart, breath, digestion, sleeping and waking, birth and death—everything comes and goes in waves. Rhythm, periodicity, harmonious alternation of extremes is the rule. [There is] no use rebelling against the very pattern of life. No particular thought can be the mind’s natural state, only silence. Not the idea of silence but silence itself. When the mind is in its natural state, it reverts to silence spontaneously after every experience or, rather, every experience happens against the background of silence.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Coming into contact with the Mother is coming into contact with a force of passionate and active compassion in every area and dimension of life, a force that longs to be invoked by us to help transform all the existing conditions of life on earth so that they can mirror ever more clearly and accurately her law, her justice, and her love.
– Andrew Harvey

Some Friday rambling:

It is okay to have a thinking mind. Zen practice is not to prevent thinking, but rather to see and acknowledge thinking when it arises. Once you see and experience thoughts as not you, anymore than a map of Paris is Paris, you will begin to wake up and see, but importantly, experience life more clearly.
– Shinzen

If we are to have another contest in the near future of
our national existence, I predict that the dividing line
will not be Mason and Dixon’s but between patriotism
and intelligence on the one side, and superstition,
ambition and ignorance on the other.
– Ulysses S Grant

Publishing is not important;
it’s not interesting.
It will be, when the fruit is ripe.
A bird or a beggar will eat the one that’s ready.
You miss the joy of making a poem
if you are thinking, ‘maybe it will go there,
maybe I will tell this person.’
It really is destructive for young poets
for whom the great joy of poetry is what gets lost,
because you’re never going to make
a billion dollars, you’re never going to be
a big star on Hollywood television,
but what it’s going to give you is a happy life
if you stay true to your work.
– Marie Ponsot

Envy is unavoidable, but it’s poisonous. Better to envy qualities, like discipline or energy or faith; ludicrous to envy success or talent, because both visit people with utter capriciousness.

I have lost far too many friends to envy–mine and theirs–and it is tragic. No one took anything away from me by having a success, but this is something I’ve come to believe far too late in my life.

Everyone has the cream, and everyone has the dregs. There is no entirely graceful way to drink from either cup, but you can wash up a friend’s disgrace with your company and your sympathy, and you can throw some confetti at his party.

I believed that Bill [Inge] was taking something from me, reaching into my very space and taking something from me. And I pushed him away.

I will regret this to the end.
– Tennessee Williams, Interview with James Grissom

I lost a friend. To envy. Envy, the battlefield we construct for ourselves

When I peel potatoes, I put my head down,
as if I am still following orders and being loyal
to my commander. I feel a connection across
time to others putting their heads down.
– Henri Cole

The Chinese believe that before you can conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful.
– Sarah Wilson

Look at the rainbow, and praise him who made it; it is exceedingly beautiful in its brightness.
– Sirach 43:11

Luminous Library: Happy Birthday Dr. King!

I saw Martin do things that truly made my flesh shake on my bones… That’s how I really got with him. I began to feel like he was a man who really was living what he preached. I’ve seen Martin, knowing how bad the Klan wanted him, I’ve seen him do things no normal man could do.
– Hosea Williams

I treated Art as the supreme reality
and life as a mere mode of fiction.
– Oscar Wilde

Whenever you are in awe of a great master, be in awe of your potential also.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

by Tracy K. Smith
There will be no edges, but curves.
Clean lines pointing only forward.
History, with its hard spine & dog-eared
Corners, will be replaced with nuance,
Just like the dinosaurs gave way
To mounds and mounds of ice.
Women will still be women, but
The distinction will be empty. Sex,
Having outlived every threat, will gratify
Only the mind, which is where it will exist.
For kicks, we’ll dance for ourselves
Before mirrors studded with golden bulbs.
The oldest among us will recognize that glow—
But the word sun will have been re-assigned
To a Standard Uranium-Neutralizing device
Found in households and nursing homes.
And yes, we’ll live to be much older, thanks
To popular consensus. Weightless, unhinged,
Eons from even our own moon, we’ll drift
In the haze of space, which will be, once
And for all, scrutable and safe.

By dedicating ourselves to peace, understanding, kindness and compassion, we do our part to heal the world.
– Laurence Overmire

We were told that we would see America come and go. In a sense America is dying, from within, because they forgot the instructions of how to live on earth. It’s the Hopi belief, it’s our belief, that if you are not spiritually connected to the earth, and understand the spiritual reality of how to live on earth, it’s likely that you will not make it.

Everything is spiritual, everything has a spirit, everything was brought here by the creator, the one creator. Some people call him God, some people call him Buddha, some people call him Allah, some people call him other names. We call him Tunkaschila… Grandfather.

We are here on earth only a few winters, then we go to the spirit world. The spirit world is more real than most of us believe.

The spirit world is everything. Over 95% of our body is water. In order to stay healthy you’ve got to drink good water. … Water is sacred, air is sacred.

Our DNA is made out of the same DNA as the tree, the tree breaths what we exhale, we need what the tree exhales. So we have a common destiny with the tree.

We are all from the earth, and when earth, the water, the atmosphere is corrupted, then it will create its own reaction. The mother is reacting.

In the Hopi prophecy they say the storms and floods will become greater. To me it’s not a negative thing to know that there will be great changes. It’s not negative, it’s evolution. When you look at it as evolution, it’s time, nothing stays the same.You should learn how to plant something. That is the first connection.

You should treat all things as spirit, realize that we are one family. It’s never something like the end. It’s like life, there is no end to life.

– Floyd Red Crow Westerman

There is no evidence to justify the continued promotion of one-dimensional theories such as ‘chemical imbalance’. The idea that one’s distress is primarily caused by a neurochemical deficiency that can be corrected by a drug is a fiction. […] [When people accept] a neurobiological explanation for their problems, they struggle against the dehumanising notion that their thoughts, feelings or behaviour [are] mechanistically caused. [But] psychiatric research doesn’t support the notion of simple cause and effect in mental health […].

The interviews show how [the neurobiological] account undermines the kinds of introspection and self-examination that can lead to meaningful self-knowledge. Mental health treatment needs to re-engage with the language of persons. This means suspending the detached, third-person stance toward patients, and attending to their actual experience and circumstances. And it means encouraging patients themselves to avoid this stance and draw on the normal ways that people make sense of their emotions and actions. Unlike the mechanical picture of a brain misfiring, this language permits a form of understanding that can bring unusual and challenging mental states into conversation with a person’s relation to the world.

Recovering this interpretive conversation means sharply circumscribing if not dropping [neurobiological] talk. It means seeking understanding, which is what people dealing with emotional suffering yearn for. An understanding as persons, embodied and situated in a life-world.
– Joseph E. Davis

Books have their idiosyncrasies as well as people, and will not show me their full beauties unless the place and time in which they are read suits them.
– Elizabeth von Arnim, The Solitary Summer

[L]ook at your surroundings. How easy is it for you to grab a book – paper or digital – and start reading? ‘The more frictionless [a habit] is, the easier it is to pick it up,’ says Clear. He recommends making changes to your digital and physical environments so that reading is easy and effortless – including making reading apps especially prominent on your phone, and placing books in the physical places that you most often frequent. ‘Being around books makes it very easy to pick them up and check them out. If you want something to be a big part of your life, make it a big part of your environment.’ […]

[H]aving laid the foundations for your new reading habit, the next stage involves creating new ‘action associations’, which in the context of books means reading often enough in the same situation until a strong, learned association is formed between being in that situation (or that time of day) and reading.

[T]he more specific you can be, the more likely you are to succeed. So, think about the specifics of when and where you are going to do the extra book reading, such as with your breakfast, on the train to work, with your midmorning coffee […] or after dinner. [D]oesn’t matter which, as long as this specific opportunity for reading happens consistently in your life. […]

Once you’ve found the moments in your daily life when you could conceivably begin a new book-reading habit, then keep reading in that same context as consistently as you can. ‘Action association is at the heart of a habit,’ says Gardner. ‘If you keep doing it, you keep reinforcing that association. And as that association is reinforced, so control over the behaviour passes from a kind of effortful reflective processing system to a much more automatic system. You go into the situation that triggers the association and you start doing it, without even thinking about what you’re going to be doing.’
– Christian Jarrett, How to read more books, Psyche Magazine

Some people make you feel better about living. Some people you meet and you feel this little lift in your heart, this ‘Ah’, because there’s something in them that’s brighter or lighter, something beautiful or better than you, and here’s the magic: instead of feeling worse, instead of feeling ‘why am I so ordinary?’, you feel just the opposite, you feel glad. In a weird way you feel better, because before this you hadn’t realised or you’d forgotten human beings could shine so.
– Niall Williams, History of the Rain

Guthema Roba:
Everyone tells you
carrying all the worries
of the world is the sign
of being kind.
that is not true.
surrendering all
your worries
is the kindness
you can give yourself
and everyone
you come in
contact with.
the realization
that the universe
knows how to
handle all your
concerns is

What a long time it can take to become the person one has always been! How often in the process we mask ourselves in faces that are not our own. […] In our culture, we tend to gather information in ways that do not work very well when the source is the human soul: the soul is not responsive to subpoenas or cross-examinations. At best it will stand in the dock only long enough to plead the Fifth Amendment. At worst it will jump bail and never be heard from again. The soul speaks its truth only under quiet, inviting, and trustworthy conditions. The soul is like a wild animal — tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.
– Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

“Indigenization” is about returning to our collective, original worldview before it is too late. It also means valuing place-based knowledge. And, of course, it is about defending Indigenous People against further destruction. Indigenous rights and cultures, while fully supporting their efforts toward regaining sovereignty. It is about being an ally that understands treaty violations and the repercussions of state policies. Such “Indigenization” is thus a collaborative effort to re-embrace sustainable, egalitarian relationships with all of life, focusing on those suffering the greatest damage.

– Wahinkpe Topa

We will never solve this riddle we find ourselves in with our minds, with the intellect.

That’s what keeps floating up from my heart, from my gut. It’s the way that our intellect keeps getting bound and gagged with diametrically opposing concepts. The all purpose, one size fits all “if this… then that…“ track keeps leading us to dead ends, and we become paralyzed, inactive, unable to decide or move forward. And yet this is the primary tool that we were told to sharpen, to develop. In fact we didn’t even have to be told that, it was the only option we’ve been given for some time. One way that this is playing out is, through intellect manufactured law, through intellectual economic overlay, other structures of regulation that were born of intellect.

But what seems clear to me, is that if everything that has been put together through the logic of these mechanisms on paper “have to“ be played out, “have to“ be fulfilled to the “letter of the (humans) law,” we will lose this Life.

So the question becomes, which is more important, to fulfill a limited, human, logic on paper that has followed a long, long trail of “if this… then that…“ until its common sense is gone? Or is it more important for us to take stock of what is left of the functioning Thriving Life plan, and no matter what is on paper, devote ourselves entirely to shoring it up, learning and acting on its relational, circular logic, and interrelatedness?

In a similar way to the logic of creating “transition towns“ we need mechanisms to help us transition from human law, regulation, and economy, to the Law of Life, to the Thriving Life plan and Economy of the Heart of Mother Earth.

I am asking myself, how do I transform my own life from the human law on paper, to the Law of Life? Where can I begin to “risk” moving from human, convoluted logic, to the tangible, embodied way of this Earth? Is it true that if I do it in my own life, it opens the way, and creates momentum for those around me who would do the same?

– Pat McCabe

When you lance a boil, it’s messy, it’s painful, it’s smelly,” he says. “But it lets the poison out. We need to let some poison out of the system for the process of healing.
– Father William Corcoran

From this low-lying valley; Oh, how sweet
And cool and calm and great is life, I ween,
There on yon mountain-throne—that sun-gold crest!

From this uplifted, mighty mountain-seat:
How bright and still and warm and soft and green
Seems yon low lily-vale of peace and rest!

– Lucian B. Watkins

Susie Crane has built the loveliest study for me, you ever saw. It is octagonal, with a peaked roof, each octagon filled with a spacious window, and it sits perched in complete isolation of top of an elevation that commands leagues of valley and city and retreating ranges of distant hills. It is a cozy nest, with just room in it for a sofa and a table and three or four chairs–and when the storms sweep down the remote valley and the lightning flashes above the hills beyond, and the rain beats on the roof over my head, imagine the luxury of it! It stands 500 feet above the valley and 2 1/2 miles from it.
– Mark Twain, Letter to Joseph Twichell

In such a polarized time, where land is being bought up and owned by fewer and fewer people who seem to be at war with each other, the most precious property in the world these days might just be ‘common ground’. May we all invest in finding it and squatting there a while until we sort things out.
– Tad Hargrave

The religion of Jesus makes the love-ethic central. This is no ordinary achievement.
– Howard Thurman

Todo lo que nos rodea es espiritual. Los animales tienen mensajes. También las plantas. Tenemos que aprender a escuchar. Cuando lo hacemos, sobrevivimos como especie. Somos uno con todo.

All that surrounds us is spiritual. The animals have messages. So do the plants. We have to learn to listen. When we do, we survive as a species. We are one with everything.
– Christi Belcourt, Métis (Canada)

Lament (O How All Things Are Far Removed)

O how all things are far removed
and long have passed away.
I do believe the star,
whose light my face reflects,
is dead and has been so
for many thousand years.

I had a vision of a passing boat
and heard some voices saying disquieting things.
I heard a clock strike in some distant house…
but in which house?…

I long to quiet my anxious heart
and stand beneath the sky’s immensity.
I long to pray…
And one of all the stars
must still exist.
I do believe that I would know
which one alone
and which like a white city stands
at the ray’s end shining in the heavens.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Love can’t be cure for loneliness and loneliness
If you don’t find yourself inside you, you
won’t find it anywhere else
– Shams Tabrizi

Something is loose on the surface of this planet that replicates information. Bees gather honey, human beings concentrate and gather and elaborate symbolic structures.
– Terence McKenna

… renounce aggression, oppression and the pride of power.
– Eddy

This prayer serves as a declaration of view:

I am not this body, nor the consciousness functioning through its brain.
I am not even the luminosity displayed as innumerable worlds.
They are not other than me, but they cannot set the limit.

I am, but I am not … a paradox resolved in bath of silence.
All of reality is a single organ of knowing by which the unutterable mystery knows itself.

Like a tree rooted by living streams, bearing fruit in its season.
Its roots are bound, its streams connected,
and its drops are based in the tikkun of the circle.

Bound with inscrutable honesty, clarity of intention, and radiant integrity. I will serve the work with every moment’s force of action,
to shape the meaning of this life.
– David Chaim Smith

Despite the collapse of the immediacy of mystery into the confines of history, this down-to-earth world is also a mythic place, an ongoing production fashioned and staged by eternity. Despite the pressing problems and mounting concerns, the issue is not so much saving the planet as saving humanity from itself again. When times become dark and difficult the issue for those on earth comes down to living authentically, to authenticating the purpose and meaning already present in each soul. The eloquence of creation and meaningful imagination continues to resonate and reverberate through the world and waits to be found where it has always resided in the heart within the heart, in the living stories that reconnect the mind and the heart as well as each heart to both heaven and earth.
– Michael Meade, Why the World Doesn’t End

she asked
‘you are in love
what does love look like’
to which i replied
‘like everything i’ve ever lost
come back to me.’
– Nayyirah Waheed, who, incidentally, calls herself the “quiet poet.”

Every day you have to abandon your past or accept it, and then, if you cannot accept it, you become a sculptor.
– Louise Bourgeois

A man is not idle, because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor.
– Victor Hugo

Take a plane to London.
From King’s Cross take the direct train to York.
Rent a car and drive across the vale to Ripon,
then into the dales toward the valley of the Nidd,
a narrow road with high stone walls on each side,
and soon you’ll be on the moors. There’s a pub,
The Drovers, where it’s warm inside, a tiny room,
you can stand at the counter and drink a pint of Old Peculier.
For a moment everything will be all right. You’re back
at a beginning. Soon you’ll walk into Yorkshire country,
into dells, farms, into blackberry and cloud country.
You’ll walk for hours. You’ll walk the freshness
back into your life. This is true. You can do this.
Even now, sitting at your desk, worrying, troubled,
you can gaze across Middlesmoor to Ramsgill,
the copses, the abbeys of slanting light, the fells,
you can look down on that figure walking toward Scar House,
cheeks flushed, curlews rising in front of him, walking,
making his way, working his life, step by step, into grace.
– Joseph Stroud, Of this World

I think it is possible to be militant and yet nonviolent. I think I’m militant. ‘Militancy’ means they’re persistent, to be demanding, to be insistent. And I think it’s possible to be militantly nonviolent.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Not all conversations worth having are happening in English.
– Mónica de la Torre, on the value of translation

My poems only come when I have almost lost the ability to utter a word. To speak, in a way, of the unspeakable.
– Anne Sexton

The Chinese believe that before you can conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful.
– Sarah Wilson

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
– Peter Drucker

Wouldn’t we tear
to get to
each other?
– Sarah Gambito, Grace

All good things must begin.
– Octavia E. Butler, journal entry

Terence McKenna:
Our culture takes us out of the body and sells our loyalty into political systems, into religions, into inanimate objects and machines, collections, so forth and so on.

Reclaim the felt sense of immediate experience.

As long as I am breathing, in my eyes, I am just beginning.
– Criss Jami

Cut off from metaphysical, and transcendental roots, a human is lost; all actions become senseless, absurd.
– Ionesco

One of the most powerful beliefs you can have is that given enough time, you can learn anything.
– Ed Latimore

Desensitization is the enemy of the human spirit. I’ve been thinking about that today — the task, the work, of remaining sensitive and open-hearted in a world where isolation is becoming normal, and information overload burdens even the most expansive minds.
– Joseph Massey

The Balrog is a being of pure fire. In all spiritual traditions, fire is a transformative element. Gandalf is forced to struggle with the Balrog in order to be transformed. He must go down to his deepest depths and struggle with the darkness he finds there.
– Robin Robertson

Rori Picker Neiss:
If you cannot articulate your disagreement with someone’s political or ideological position without attacking their body, their appearance, their age, their education, then the problem is with you not with them.

Stupidity lies in wanting to draw conclusions.
– Gustave Flaubert

So instead, we looked up at the unruly sky,
its clouds in simple animal shapes we could name
though we knew they were really just clouds—
disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.
– Ada Limón, What it Looks Like to Us and The Words We Use

Anecdotes don’t make good stories. Dig down so far that what finally comes out isn’t even what you thought it was about.
– Alice Munro

Gary Snyder

O Mother Gaia

sky cloud gate milk snow


I bow in roadside gravel

… my loneliness, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being.

the terrors of loneliness and exclusion, you can no longer be governed by your avoidance of them. In other words, you are on your way home.
– Toko-pa Turner, Belonging

To train myself, in the midst of a burning world,
to offer poems of love to a burning world.
– Katie Farris

Philosophy, art, and science are not the mental objects of an objectified brain but the three aspects under which the brain becomes subject.
– Gilles Deleuze

For Jung, ageing was not a process of inexorable decline but a time for the progressive refinement of what is essential. The decisive question for a man is: is he related to something infinite or not?
– Anthony Stevens, Jung

Bruce Cockburn:
Ozone on the midnight wind
Got me thinking of the sea
And the mercies of the currents that brought
Me to you and you to me
And in the silence at the heart of things
Where all true meetings come to be

Poetry is a principle of power invoked against our vanishing. The making of poems is a practice in which civilization has invested some part of its love of itself & the world. The poem is a trace of the will of all persons to be known &to make known & to be at all.
– Allen Grossman

Enduring Blessing

What I really want to tell you
is to just lay this blessing
on your forehead,
on your heart;
let it rest
in the palm of your hand,
because there is hardly anything
this blessing could say,
any word it could offer
to fill the hollow.

Let this blessing
work its way
into you
with its lines
that hold nearly
unspeakable lament.

Let this blessing
settle into you
with its hope
more ancient
than knowing.

Hear how this blessing
has not come alone—
how it echoes with
the voices of those
who accompany you,
who attend you in every moment,
who continually whisper
this blessing to you.

Hear how they
do not cease
to walk with you,
even when the dark
is deepest.

Hear how they
encompass you always—
breathing this blessing to you,
bearing this blessing to you

– Jan Richardson

The new always appears in the guise of a miracle.
– Hannah Arendt

Imagine that the world is made out of love. Now imagine that it isn’t. Imagine a story where everything goes wrong, where everyone has their back against the wall, where everyone is in pain and acting selfishly because if they don’t, they’ll die. Imagine a story, not of good against evil, but of need against need against need, where everyone is at cross-purposes and everyone is to blame. How are you supposed to fall asleep to this?
– Richard Siken

Some German words are so long that they have a perspective. Observe
these examples:

These things are not words, they are alphabetical processions.


Of course when one of these grand mountain ranges goes stretching across
the printed page, it adorns and ennobles that literary landscape but at
the same time it is a great distress to the new student, for it blocks up
his way; …
– Mark Twain, That Awful German Language, Appendix D of A Tramp Abroad

In her book Conflict Is Not Abuse, Sarah Schulman write brilliantly about this concretization of the mind and where it comes from:
“I have observed that people living in unrecovered trauma often behave in very similar ways to the people who traumatized them. Over and over I have seen traumatized people refuse to hear or engage information that would alter their self-concepts, even in ways that could bring them more happiness and integrity. For the Supremacist, this refusal comes from a sense of entitlement; that they have an inherent ‘right’ not to question themselves. Conversely, the unrecovered traumatized person’s refusal is rooted in a panic that their fragile self cannot bear interrogation; that whatever is keeping them together is not flexible. Perhaps because Supremacy in some produces Trauma in others, they can become mirror images. And of course, many perpetrators were/are victims themselves… The traumatized person’s sense of their ability to protect themselves has been damaged or destroyed. They feel endangered, even if there is no actual danger in the present… My conclusion from this experience of noticing the similarity of behaviour between the projecting traumatized person and the entitled self-aggrandized supremacist person is that not need and want dominance in order to feel comfortable… At the base of the demand to refuse information/knowledge/communication in order to maintain rigid control is the belief in one’s self as human, and of the other as not-human; a spectre or monster… Unfortunately, groups that rely on perfection, the good/evil dichotomy, and are motivated by a paralyzing fear of ever being wrong, often deny that mental illness/distorted thinking is in play.
– Tad Hargrave

by Maurice Riordan
Of  all sights, a new moon. Of  all smells, bread. Of  all surfaces, skin.
Of  all sweet sounds, the mourning dove and the sleeping child.
Of  all my journeys, the shortcut from school through Buckley’s Glen.
Of  all other journeys, the Greyhound bus at night into Manhattan.
Of  cities, Jerusalem. Of  modes of  transport, the pony and car.
Of   the neglected virtues, shyness. Of   the celebrated, hospitality.
Of   the harmless vices … the lie-in, the painted toe, the keepsake.
Of  solitary vices, the night out and a piss in moonlight.
Of   the social pastimes, gossip among cultivated friends.
Of   the cultivars, either the grape or the apple.
Of   the apples, the Wyken Pippin. Of  cults, the Eleusinian.
Of  all that delights the cultivated mind, letter-writing.
Of  all jokes, the one about the two thieves.
Of  practical jokes, the shoulder-tap (oldest and most cruel).
Of  all of  Job’s afflictions, maybe the boils.
Of   beverages, tea. Of  all that coarsens the palate, eating beef.
Of  ingenious devices, the search engine and the zipper.
Of  all that thrives among Satan’s noisome progeny, the rock drill and mosquito.
Of   the proofs of God’s love, the crow.
Of  all that testifies to the sway of evil, the white lie.
Of   the forgotten sins, calumny (which thrives).
Of   the erotic side-pleasures, the smile. And the text.
Of  rare and elusive flavors, sweet cicely and the chanterelle.
Of  domesticated creatures, the pig or goose.
Of  all times, the hour before sunrise. Of  all fears, the lump.
Of  all places, here and now. Of  sweet sounds to wake to, the mourning dove.

If you’re intelligent, and you live past forty, you will outgrow your culture. I mean, some people may do it sooner but you have to be a complete idiot to just buy-in at fifty-five, at sixty, at seventy-five, at eighty. What are you still going to be doing? Expressing homophobic views, voting Republican, and worrying about the A, B, and C’s of phony reality? I mean, most people get to a place where they just see: it’s a bunch of crap! The scandals are recycled, the philosophical issues are recycled, the technical innovations are recycled. Once you’ve been through about three cycles of this you realize that this is a media-created state of cultural involvement and reciprocal narcissism, only to be assuaged by the expenditure of money and that you can just walk away from it. It is unnecessary.
– Terence McKenna

Believe that we bloom upon this stalk of time;
and in this expansion, time too grows for us
richer and richer towards infinity.
– Muriel Rukeyser

“Truth suffers, but never dies.”

“La verdad sufre, pero nunca muere.”

– Sta. Teresa de Ávila.

by Jenna Borrelli

“I’ll take care of you, if you ask me to”

Listening to music is often a very visceral and personal experience. Sometimes I feel like songs are directly connecting to my soul, or at least memories I feel attached to my soul. Even if I don’t have anyone in particular to connect back to the music. The notes will lace their way around my ears, down to tighten the knot around my chest. When I hear a song and breathe – I feel the expanse of my lungs and the tightness of the knot. But it feels good because it feels like there is something there – something for just for me to feel.
Or I’ll listen for a theoretical wisp of a person. I can imagine what it feels like to listen to this song with you. And I start to swell, hoping my heart can bust the knot on my chest-bow.
I listen again. Trying to fool myself out of the visceral reaction. I simply can’t not think about anyone. There’s certainly a pot of soup where I take myself in my mind. There are certainly candles and chest-to-chest contact. There’s certainly love so expansive it will burst the chest-knot. It’s freeing as it swells again. I feel like I am being sung to – then I regurgitate the words to someone I love with the softness of my hands.
“… in a year or two…” – time is simply irrelevant in my mind.
But the soft ‘ba bas’ of the back up choir also warm my devouring soul.

I’m not sure I’m ready to move on to the next song. Please don’t let it feel heartbreak.

Why do we have wealth caps for disabled people but not for billionaires? One of these two groups need the wealth caps and it’s not disabled people.
– Shane Gentle

Paisley Rekdal:
Hoping the pandemic will do away with all standardized testing requirements. The only reason I have *ever* looked at someone’s GREs was to find out who among the poets can still remember how to add and subtract.

poetry is the opposite of escape
but makes this world endurable
– CA Conrad

A world is to be fought for, sung, and built: Love must imagine the world.
– Muriel Rukeyser

Culturally we are seeing far more of the infantile than the Great. To meet someone in touch with the Great Self is to witness beauty. Not the beauty of Hollywood, but something leathery, troublesome, and honestly wild.
– Martin Shaw, A Branch From the Lightning Tree

Bruce Cockburn:
In the absence of a vision there are nightmares
And in the absence of compassion there is cancer
Whose banner waves over palaces and mean streets
And the rhythm of the night train is a mantra

A poet hears an orchestra that sounds like the weather.
– Magic Realism Bot

The stars know everything,
So we try to read their minds.
As distant as they are,
We choose to whisper in their presence.
– Charles Simic

I have seen so many lands vanish in my wake, torn down like stage sets. What survives of them? An image as fleeting as a dream: whatever beauties I discovered, I already knew them by heart.
– Gérard de Nerval, To my Friend Théophile Gautier

But nature is too vegetable, too vapid. She has only sublimities and vastitudes and water and leaves. I begin to wish for firelight, privacy, and the limbs of one person.
– Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Every real revolutionary is challenged to be a mystic at heart, and anyone who walks the mystical way is called to unmask the illusory quality of human society.
– Henri Nouwen

He wanted to renovate language by what he asked it to see.
– Jane Hirshfield on Basho

We need to resist the prevalent idea that “the education system needs to keep up with technology”. Let’s discuss this. It may be the case that, on the contrary, schools need to stand aside and help society question whether the current trajectory of technological change is inescapable. Perhaps the real strength of our schools and universities lies not in their adaptability but in their stability—undisturbed zones from which one can soberly observe and reflect upon societal change.

The debate over new technologies therefore highlights a great flaw in our understanding of school and what it is for. […] Schools could serve as examples, and, by their very existence, remind us that some corners of society are allowed to remain disengaged from the dominant way of thinking, thus offering us a space in which to envision a different society.
– Roberto Casati

It is important to keep reminding oneself that human social behavior is designed according to the principle of negative feedback. That is, one is completely unaware that there is a system of controls as long as the program is followed. The only time one is aware of the existence of the social control system is when their behavior strays from the hidden program. It is also seen as superfluous to discuss the nature of the system as long as everyone is using the same system. […] Therefore, the great gift that the members of the human race have for each other is not exotic experiences but an opportunity to achieve awareness of the structure of their own system, which can be accomplished only by interacting with others who do not share that system.
– Edward Hall, Beyond Culture

Call them from their houses, and teach them to dream.
– Jean Toomer

Dream, rather than let yourself be dreamt
– Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche


Let us try what it is to be true to gravity,
to grace, to the given, faithful to our own voices,

to lines making the map of our furrowed tongue.
Turned toward the root of a single word, refusing

solemnity and slogans, let us honor what hides
and does not come easy to speech. The pebbles

we hold in our mouth help us to practice song,
and we sing to the sea. May the things of this world

be preserved to us, their beautiful secret
vocabularies. We are dreaming it over and new,

the language of our tribe, music we hear
we can only acknowledge. May the naming powers

be granted. Our words are feathers that fly
on our breath. Let them go in a holy direction.

– Jeanne Lohmann

We’re born into a dangerous time. You can consider it affliction .. or assignment.
– Stephen Jenkinson

The Cure at Troy

Human beings suffer,
They torture one another,
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted or endured.

The innocent in gaols
Beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker’s father
Stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils
Faints at the funeral home.

History says, Don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.

Call the miracle self-healing:
The utter self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.
It means once in a lifetime
That justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme​.​
– Seamus Heaney

Allegiance to ideas over experience is the essence and defining trait of patriarchy everywhere, and on all levels.
– Philip Shepherd

Most religion appeases the need for identity —
and a place to go upon death
…zen supplies neither.
– Shinzen

Somewhere on my front porch is a
beehive that I’ve never found. The
bees fly close but they don’t land
on me. I prefer it this way. What
keeps its distance is never killed.
– Dave Harris

Hospitality means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines. It is not to lead our neighbor into a corner where there are no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum of options for choice and commitment.
– Henri Nouwen

The narrator is well aware of how regrettable is his inability to record at this point something of a really spectacular order; some heroic feat, or memorable deed like those that thrill us in the chronicles of the past. The truth is that nothing is less sensational than pestilence and by reason of their very duration. Great misfortunes are monotonous. In the memories of those who lived through them, the grim days of plague do not stand out like vivid flames, ravenous and inextinguishable, beaconing a troubled sky, but rather like the slow, deliberate progress of some monstrous thing crushing out all upon its path.
– Albert Camus

Celan was dismissed in his lifetime … as being paranoid for saying that underneath that so-called Wirtschaftswunder, that great social democracy, there lurked all the old demons of fascism, of totalitarianism, of antisemitism, and he was exactly right.
– @pjoris

Eighteenth-century contributions to feeling vocabulary are “ennui, chagrin, home-sickness, diffidence, apathy, while the older words, excitement, agitation, constraint, embarrassment, disappointment, come to be applied to inner experiences…
– Marie-Louise von Franz

The work is here.
The work is offline.
The work is online.
The work is presence.
The work is strategic absence.
The work is in the streets.
The work is in legislative halls.
The work is in art.
The work is in policies.
The work is at the polls.
The work is wherever we are.
– Bernice King

You’re never wrong if you love and help people.
– Maxime Lagacé

The heart acts as translator between mystical experience & intelligence.
– Rumi

All night, I feel subtle energy as stars reflect back the love I’ve given others.
– Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge

Worlds emerge and transform, so metaphor uses birds to extend disrupted thought. / I want to learn from what generated the metaphor, the need.
– Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge

Do you ever feel … broken? […] I know you by heart. I can put you back together.
– Jodi Picoult, The Book of Two Ways

I have spent several decades now trying to explore and understand the basic principles of ecology. And I’ve come to the conclusion that you can summarize all these principles of ecology by saying nature sustains life by generating and maintaining communities. Community seems to be the key issue here, that we know that no living organism can exist in isolation….the central challenge is to build sustainable communities, to build communities that do not interfere with nature’s inherent ability to sustain life….If we can show that true happiness lies in human relationships rather than material consumption, in other words in community, then this is the biggest and most effective counter dose [to consumerism]….And in my experience, community is the most effective vehicle for transformative learning, learning as a learning community.” [And then he brings in ethics by adding that:] “…nature has sustained life by creating and nurturing communities. And natural selection has favored those communities in which the individual members behave for the benefit of the community as a whole. And in the human realm, that’s what we call ethics. But it’s common to all of life, behavior for the common good is ethical behavior. And that means ethics is always related to community.
– Fritjof Capra in a conversation with Daniel Christian Wahl

One easily forgets that human education proceeds along highly theatrical lines. In a quite theatrical manner the child is taught how to behave; logical arguments only come later. When such-and-such occurs, [the child] is told (or sees), one must laugh. It joins in when there is laughter, without knowing why; if asked why it is laughing it is wholly confused. In the same way it joins in shedding tears, not only weeping because the grown-ups do so but also feeling genuine sorrow. This can be seen at funerals, whose meaning escapes children entirely. These are theatrical events which form the character. The human being copies gestures, miming, tones of voice. And weeping arises from sorrow, but sorrow also arises from weeping.
– Bertolt Brecht, Brecht on Theatre

Attention is a resource; a person has only so much of it. And yet we’ve auctioned off more and more of our public space to private commercial interests, with their constant demands on us to look at the products on display or simply absorb some bit of corporate messaging. Lately, our self-appointed disrupters have opened up a new frontier of capitalism, complete with its own frontier ethic: to boldly dig up and monetize every bit of private head space by appropriating our collective attention. In the process, we’ve sacrificed silence — the condition of not being addressed. And just as clean air makes it possible to breathe, silence makes it possible to think. […]

Silence is now offered as a luxury good. In the business-class lounge at Charles de Gaulle Airport, I heard only the occasional tinkling of a spoon against china. I saw no advertisements on the walls. This silence, more than any other feature, is what makes it feel genuinely luxurious. When you step inside and the automatic doors whoosh shut behind you, the difference is nearly tactile, like slipping out of haircloth into satin. Your brow unfurrows, your neck muscles relax; after 20 minutes you no longer feel exhausted. Outside, in the peon section, is the usual airport cacophony. Because we have allowed our attention to be monetized, if you want yours back you’re going to have to pay for it. […]

I think we need to sharpen the conceptually murky right to privacy by supplementing it with a right not to be addressed. This would apply not, of course, to those who address me face to face as individuals, but to those who never show their faces, and treat my mind as a resource to be harvested.

– Matthew B. Crawford, The Cost of Paying Attention

Poem Excluding Fiction
by Noah Falck

We live in the most fortunate of times. And
who’s to blame? Our moods like the four
seasons in a tinted window overlooking a
bank robbery. Everyone is raising children
on cable television, on leashes, on the slot
machines that have become our elegies. We
live other lives in high school, college, on the
porch reading the obituaries. Say I miss you
into the mirror while shaving, brushing teeth,
plucking something meant to grow forever.

I will so trust that what is wild, is holy.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The art of life is more like navigation than warfare, for what is important is to understand the winds, the tides, the currents, the seasons, and the principles of growth and decay, so that one’s actions may use them and not fight them.
– Alan Watts, The Watercourse Way

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
– Shelley

Let’s not kid ourselves, we find mutual love only when we know how to love. And the best place to start practicing the art of love is with the self–that body, mind, heart, and soul that we can most know and change.
– bell hooks

People recover differently. Some change cities, some fall in love and some begin writing.
– Kanza Javed, Ashes, Wine and Dust

People want to challenge themselves. This is a big thing that people say all the time: ‘I want to challenge myself.’ These challenges are fake! Climbing a mountain is a fake challenge. You don’t have to climb a mountain. There are many things that people have to do and should do, that they don’t do, because they’re scared to do or because they’re bad at it—those are challenges. A challenge is something you have to do. Not something you make up.
– Fran Lebowitz, Pretend it’s a City

I must change my life so that I can live it, not wait for it.
– Susan Sontag

On the Road to Buddhahood
Ever plainer. Ever simpler.
Ever more ordinary.
My goal is to become a simpleton.
And from what everybody tells me
I am making real progress.
– David Budbill, From Moment to Moment, Copper Canyon Press

Jordan Green:
When I describe East Coast vs West Coast culture to my friends I often say “The East Coast is kind but not nice, the West Coast is nice but not kind,” and East Coasters immediately get it. West Coasters get mad.

Bruce Cockburn:
Ancient and always
The wheel’s ever whirling
Today I’m riding
Tomorrow I walk
Step through forever
into this very moment
The heart is pumping
and the heart rocks
It’s my beat
In my new town

We became uncompetitive by not being tolerant of mistakes.
– Roberto Goizueta

Because your language doesn’t follow just one thread, one course or one pattern, we are in luck.
– Irigaray, When Our Lips Speak Together

I’ve had a hard time getting used to the world again. Also, I’m just a plain bit tired.
– Hannah Arendt

Christina Strigas:
i’m obsessing over my unlived life again.

Gentleness invents an expanded present [..] It is the name of emotion of which we have lost the name, coming from a time when humanity was not dissociated from elements, from animals, from light, from spirits. At what point did human race become aware of it?
– Anne Dufourmantelle

We must hide our dark side from society in general, or we will be a bloody bore; but we must never try to hide it from ourself.
– Robert A. Johnson, Owning Your Own Shadow

Health is a human right, not a privilege to be purchased.
– Shirley Chisholm

Style for a writer, like colour for a painter, is a question not of technique but of vision. It is the revelation, which would be impossible by direct or conscious means, of the qualitative difference in the ways we perceive the world, a difference which, if there were no art, would remain the eternal secret of each individual.
– Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time

Last night and tonight I have observed for the first time the noise of the new Charing Cross Railway. […] I almost welcome the loss, which I had been groaning over, of my view of the Thames; hoping that the new building when it rises will keep out these sounds. No one who has not tasted the pure & exquisite silence of the Temple at night can conceive the horror of the thought that it is gone for ever. […] Silence and peace are fast going out of the world. It is not merely the torture of this new noise in a quiet place: but one knows that these are only the beginnings of such sorrows. Our children will not know what it is to be free from sound of railways.
– Arthur F. Munby, The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists

Tyrants always fear art because tyrants want to mystify while art tends to clarify,
– Iris Murdoch

Unreal friendship may turn to real
But real friendship, once ended, cannot be mended.
– T.S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral

Humanity, take a good look at yourself. Inside, you’ve got heaven and earth, and all of creation. You’re a world—everything is hidden in you.
– Hildegard of Bingen

Everyone should sometimes write by hand, to recall what it’s like to have second thoughts before the first ones are completely recorded.

Human beings have long wanted our technologies of writing to approximate as closely as possible the speed of thought: from writing on clay, to writing on paper, to writing some version of shorthand, to typing on a typewriter, to typing on a computer’s keyboard, to dictating to voice-recognition software — each technological development asymptotically approaches falling into step with our thinking. Rarely is the possibility considered that thought moves too quickly, and that matching our writing to the pace of the body’s movements may yield something, well, more thoughtful.
– Alan Jacobs, “Attending to technology: Theses for disputation

My father speaks Urdu
language of dancing peacocks
rosewater fountains
even its curses are beautiful.
He speaks Hindi
suave and melodic
earthy Punjabi
salty rich as saag paneer
coastal Kiswahili
laced with Arabic,
he speaks Gujarati
solid ancestral pride.
Five languages
five different worlds
yet English
before white men
who think their flat cold spiky words
make the only reality.
– Shailja Patel

Together we are the color of magnets,
and also their doing. Manganese, lodestone,
ores the light will not touch, so we touch the light–
– Natalie Diaz

I live my life. I have a colorful life. And I don’t really want people to know about my life..if they don’t have you…then you’ll be invented completely…I don’t necessarily believe you have to share intimate things with the world.
– Sade

A non-violent revolution
is not a program of seizure of power.
It is a program of transformation and relationships,
ending in a peaceful transfer of power.
– Mahatma Gandhi

The universe does not become religious through the human, but the human becomes religious through the religion of the universe. In other words I would say the universe is the primary religion.
– Thomas Berry

Those of us who undergo deep spiritual awakenings know that from that moment forward our lives are totally changed. On the one hand, we bear the legacy of our previous lives–outwardly conforming to the rules of society, paying our taxes like a good citizen, reaching out to contribute what we can as viewers of regular upheavals in our society, signing petitions, grieving when we find in the obituary columns another name we recognize, whether of friends or celebrities as another significant piece of our personal identity quilt unravels and drifts away.
Those who do not know of our secret, hidden life assume that we are the same person they have always known, someone who shares their own values, who can be counted on to discuss the latest volume of poetry or prose, the most recent political outrage as the country falls deeper into universal chaos.
But alongside this persona, the public personality, exists the shadow (hidden) self, the authentic being who constantly yearns for connection with another realm, the one that guides us into ever deepening waters of belief or experience, who directs us to embrace notions unknown to the world at large. Here we may speak with like minded others of such ideas as the divine human, evolution of human consciousness, even planetary initiation. These terms likely mean little or nothing to those caught up inmaya, the world of human affairs and universal social happenings––the doers and activists who dedicate themselves to human betterment in various ways. Our inner world cannot be satisfactorily described to others. It can be approached through diverse avenues, from meditation to chanting to rapture begotten by deep listening of ancient melodies. It can be a very solitary experience as through the thrill of Kundalini energies in the body, or communal, as by group approaches that invite the mysteries to appear. It demands intense concentration as one experiences evident shifts of consciousness that lead into another world, a kingdom of amazing transformation where love and beauty reign supreme.
Here one drops the mantle of dedicated citizen and becomes the universal seeker, the one who wants only connection with Source, ever undefinable but easily recognized when it occurs. How can one be both, active participant in the world’s external affairs and secret practitioner open to divine connection to a divine reality? No longer does the disciple seek refuge in caves and forests, immune to the chaos and confusion of the outer world. One partakes of the hustle and bustle of the marketplace, but one also engages in the greater project: redemption of the species through personal dedication to Source, the power that brought us here and tells us how to go forward, as we together, evolve into our next configuration as the New Human.
– Dorothy Walters

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity.
– William Wordsworth

The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and
uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born. That is why many of the earthly miracles have had their genesis in humble surroundings.
– Tesla

It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.
– Henry James

There’s magic in the world. There is. People will tell you there isn’t–they just want you to get back to work and be quiet and not ask questions. These are people who don’t know where to look or who were not blessed with eyes that could see magic. Magical eyes. If you have them, develop them.
– Tennessee Williams

Poetry ruptures and ameliorates. Hardly ever housebroken, it often acts as a breaker box for the incendiary currents coursing through us. Poems break hearts. They break the news, however difficult. Rarely garnering for their makers fame and fortune, poems may nonetheless embody—in their breaching and bridging of the large distances—a stroke of luck, a stroke of mercy.
– Lisa Russ Spaar

My thoughts and feelings about Hate groups in the city:

David & Goliath: A Healthy Respect for the Larger Troubles:

There seems to be a theme that continues to reoccur for me in my fears, and daily prayers. That is that a larger, dominating, ruthless, unethical, juggernaut, outnumbering, more heavily armed, better funded opponent which will stop at nothing will threaten to destroy everything I love, and care about.

Well when I say it like this, it’s clear to me that this theme pervades many of the larger troubles of our time.
Yet i see it expressed in the Martial arts world with the rise of MMA fighters, challenging traditional martial artists claiming that the techniques are useless. I see it in the desecration of the sacred, and the pillaging of the earth, and the systematic genocide of our indigenous peoples. I see it with China and Tibet, and the same devastating story of oppression that is happening and continues all over the world.

At the heart of it, I wonder if the traditional wisdom, magics, understanding, respect, ethics, and the medicines, and understandings is enough ? I think about the beautiful teachings, and traditions that were destroyed, some hidden and woven to fit in with their oppressors.

Writing about it, i realize i am not the only one who has been tracking this. I have read books, observed others, sat with shamans, medicine men, ritualists to try to understand what they knew. I take this approach because in earlier year, I would try to take these troubles head on. Violence with violence. What resulted in that was me eventually getting jumped at the mall, and me calling it quits after a friend who was killed in a drive-by shooting. I opted out of fear, and the desire to leave the cycle of revenge and hate.

Yet in listening to people, I understand why it’s necessary to stand up against hate groups on the rise trying to get a foothold in our city. People have exclaimed to me “my father drove a tank in WWII so those scumbags can’t take our freedom…” Sometimes you have to throw a stone to scare away the hyena’s. Sometimes you erect a wall, or wage a war. History has been filled with these examples. My life has been filled with those examples as for now as badly as I want to gather all of my biggest and colourful friends to stand up against this, I know that is not my place, or lesson right now. It is not my battle to fight, but it is a war I am invested in ending.

I know you could say that this is a luxury my choice, a priviledge. It is indeed, and it makes it extra confusing when my territories, my resources, my peoples, my community is all quite vague to me. What I have observed is that people will rise to what they feel called to. Including sitting with the fear of what they are afraid to take a stand for, and including understanding that this is not the best place for them to intervene.

Why did I sit with lamas, shamans, and ritualists and medicine people ?

Because to me, they have understanding and a respect for all things woven into the fabric of creation. They seemed to understand the consequence of banishment, exile and rejection. These energies kept coming back, bigger and stronger and in the long cycles of time, were not convinced these were good long term strategies.

I heard a mentor of mine tell a story within the West African Ifa tradition. Some bits about A large troubling energy. One deity went to stand up to it and got eaten, and so did the next. Another said something like, hey can we have tea, so I noticed you ate my friends, and something went on about and by the way, do you mind if we can have them back ?

I love hearing tales of a deeper understanding for a respect for all things and their place. Like ritualist Randy Jones says, having a healthy respect for the larger troubles and their place in the ecosystem.

My mentor went on to say something like this,
that it is described in the traditional teachings,

there are some troubles that you should never go to war with,
there are some that you will have to go to war with,
there will some that you should never run from,
and some that you should run away as fast as you can.

I believe the job of ritualists, are to tend the sacred balance of these forces. To pay respect and homage to the powers that be that unfold the grand story currently being told.

Not that we can always stop things from happening, as I see in history that despite how beautiful the medicines and deep the understanding this could not have been the case. Ritualists help to tend the sacred balance between the seen and unseen. Like Aikido founder O’sensei says. True budo is the protection of all beings with a spirit of reconciliation.

That meaning allowing the completion of everyones mission.

I see a grand story unfolding, people rising up in the best way they know how, championing what they have learned. Weaving a field of ancestrally backed protection that is the understanding of right relationship that goes beyond us and them, inner and outer. I don’t believe it’s a story that I will see complete in this lifetime, but I’m honoured to take part in it.

At this time, i’m excited to get together with other ritualists who understand the need to tend the unseen balance of the heart of this city, which is now being reflected by so many outward expressions of conflict. I am gratetul for the warriors on the front line who know they must do something.

I am grateful for having a glimpse of all the people working together in a myriad of ways in the amazon to create a web of protection, that threatens to desecrate the sacredness of the place.

This post is by no means complete, Just some musings before going to work this morning.

– Marcus Fung

Anger is loaded with information and energy.
– Audre Lorde

Human liberty excludes all idea of home and abroad. It is universal and spurns localization. The cause of human liberty is one the whole world over.
– Frederick Douglass

When Continents expire
The Giants they discarded – are
Promoted to endure –
– Emily Dickinson, 1321, 1874

My dreams fatigued me more than the severest labour; a whole creation, immobile, unknown, even to itself, formed a secret undercurrent of the life within me.
– Gustave Flaubert

—once one has seen god, what is the remedy?
– sylvia plath

Ignorance came by hearing and is dispelled by hearing. By words you have become bound and by words you can be free. Words are false, but their meaning is true. The illusion is needed in order to go beyond it.

Be ignorant to the world and knowledgeable to the Reality.

What you know today, what you are going to know tomorrow, is all the same. In the same way, knowledge never changes. Due to ignorance, the effects differ. When you place a cover over the light, then there will be darkness, and when you take off the cover, light returns.

When you wake up in the morning you feel fresh. During sleep, you have forgotten everything, including yourself.

By words you have become bound, and by words you can be free. Ignorance came by hearing and it must dissolve by hearing. Words are false and only the meaning they convey is true. When you understand that everything is an illusion, you will forget about it and realise that you are the Reality.

Whatever I say is false. I tell you! Words are false, but I speak for the Truth, for Reality. Words can never touch Reality. Forget everything, forget all words and without any delay you are That.

Remove the veil of ignorance which has come upon you. Take away the cloth in front of the light, and the light is there! In sleep one goes to this “end”. Go to the “end” and find your Self. Finding out means forgetting your mind, your thoughts and your individuality.

To remove ignorance, knowledge is necessary, but finally both dissolve into Reality. In Self, there is neither ignorance nor knowledge.

Nothing needs to be demolished. Why demolish anything? What are these things? Things don’t trouble you, but you go in and get troubles. This chair never says, “I am yours.” You say, “It is my chair.” So, who is at fault? Not the chair, but yourself. You have nothing to do with it. You should see the world that way.

You are beyond space and time. When you say, “I am”, then everything appears, what to do?

When you gain more energy within, use it for the right things, not for worldly things. All worldly things are an illusion, so why waste energy for nothing?
— Sri Ranjit Maharaj

I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul.
– Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

I see a beautiful… and brilliant people rising from this abyss and, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.
– Charles Dickens, A TALE OF TWO CITIES

If everyone helps to hold up the sky, then one person does not become tired.
– Askhari Johnson Hodari

Our leaders demand that for there to be peace, people must be moved and removed, borders redrawn, and population behavior controlled.  This is born of a belief that peace is established through rearranging physical circumstances. This approach never achieves peace. Any appearance of peace gained from rearranging physical circumstances is always short-lived because it’s born of control and sedation.
… Peace is a vibration that’s recognized through felt-perception. We don’t “do peace”  or “think peace”. It doesn’t need to be manufactured. Peace is in the midst of all chaos and conflict. We feel peace. Peace is.
– Michael Brown, The Presence Process

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since days of long ago.
– Robert Burns

The loss of symbolic connection to self or cosmos, Jung suggests, is the chief source of our illness. As he so often asserted, neurosis is suffering without meaning and the flight from authentic being.
– James Hollis

Poems are better built out of what we don’t understand.
– Jericho Brown

It’s near impossible to make a point in a universe that is a line.
– Bayo Akomolafe

Those who can’t read, won’t read, don’t read, can’t- be-bothered to read, think they’re are too busy to read, refuse to read, hate to read, pretend to read, and otherwise fail to read and assimilate REAL HISTORY/HERSTORY have resigned themselves, not only to abysmal, self-destructive ignorance and guaranteed repetitions of past evil, but make themselves easy prey to sound-byte Demagogues—well-dressed Traitors to Humanity—loquascious Tyrants, and other Malignant Charismatics, and to perpetual SLAVERY of mind, body, and soul.
– Elijah Morton

Mark Nepo:
To journey without being changed is to be a nomad. To change without journeying is to be a chameleon. To journey to be transformed by the journey is to be a pilgrim.

Clear quietness is the standard of the world.
– Tao Te Ching

You need to start living
as awareness itself –
not as body-mind.
When you live as body- mind
everywhere you see is body-mind –
the whole world is body-mind –
when you meet with someone,
you are only willing to see a gender
of a person, the shape of a person,
or the skin color or the race
of a person –
you cannot see beyond that.
The ego cannot see
beyond itself.
you cannot see the whole –
you can see only the fragment.
that is only halfway of living –
you miss what is real
and create the unreal-
and this has caused
so much suffering.
you’re like water captured
inside a pitcher –
remember who you are –
break the pitcher
and start spilling –
be a river without
boundaries –
shatter all dams
put on your path.
You deserve total
– Guthema Roba

Chance Morgan:
Isn’t it weird how we as a society arrived at “monetize all your hobbies to support yourself” before “rich people should pay their workers better”

Why Brownlee left, and where he went,
Is a mystery even now.
For if a man should have been content
It was him; two acres of barley,
One of potatoes, four bullocks,
A milker, a slated farmhouse…
– Paul Muldoon, Why Brownlee Left

Guys. It’s an actual weekend. Not insane tweets. No coups, no insurrection. Just… a weekend.
– Daniel Torday

The old stories have just as much philosophical import, just as much sophistication, just as much straight up magic–probably more than anything created since.
– Dr. Martin Shaw

Space is a sound too. It can be used very inventively.
– Prince

I have yet to determine where my innermost sympathies lie.

Sometimes I feel for the undead, sometimes the unliving.

– Srinkanth Reddy, Spring Term XXIX

I haven’t said anything very much, or given you any notion of the terrific high waves, and the infernal deep gulfs, on which I mount and toss in a few days. So does everyone. Up and down we go, violently, incessantly.
– Virginia Woolf; Letters

The idea of getting somewhere in Life is a trap of mind-

-because You’re always actually just Here…

– Ginormous Buddha

Every time I looked at her this evening she was beautiful in a different way. Especially in her listening.
– Rainer Maria Rilke writing of sculptress Clara Westhoff, whom he would later marry

Six Days
by Nardine Taleb
after election results
the children in my class are split in half like the nation.
One kid upon hearing the results draws the winner
and slashes him with X’s;
the other kid lies happily on the floor smiling like he’s high.
I have a civil war
in my classroom, among dr. seuss books and
crayons and
washable paint.
These nine-year-olds overwhelmed with passionate ferocity
seem to grow grey hairs.
They insult each other and then go dig holes together.
I just needed a win
because I’ve been holding for years
in my hand [something heavy]
In the streets with my friends
I rise [with my body]
I chaos [with my country]
I choir [with my children]
For a moment I forget [my fear]
my mother in a text: He won He won HE WON
she spells his name with a y
my mother in our living room: I’m always worried you will get attacked at the grocery store and I

feel lighter now
my mother
washing dishes my mother smiling at me
like good news my mother sorting the fruit
basket my mother who once removed a tumor
and told me years after
and said it was benign this time
my mother like a bonfire there in my kitchen
washing all my dirty dishes reading the holy book
going to bed her life never (is life ever?)
in my hands
these days my mother
asks over and over, surprised
why do you do that
I think she’s saying
why aren’t you like me
this country has had
a field day with you
my father on the other hand
pronounces bourbon as bur-bone
and he goes to work
and heals his patients
and asks everybody to call him George Clooney instead of Mo
Once he mentioned if he was born
here he could have
gotten into Harvard
Today he buys me the coffee machine I wanted
holds it proudly for me to take
do your thing he says
in the end you must be the one to love your life
I need to believe in something
because in the absence of faith I am not my parents’ daughter
I need to believe I have choices I need to believe
I make those choices myself I need to believe
(as my parents’ daughter I need to believe)
my life is not on a leash

Rodin gave up on art school because he couldn’t offer the letters of recommendation from famous poets I mean artists which his peers obtained through family or network connections unavailable to those outside the leveraged hallways. “Fellowship” is such a funny word.
– Alina Stefanescu

What if unity meant we came together to:

End poverty
Make the planet livable
Provide quality education to all
Guarantee healthcare to everyone
– Nina Turner

You’ve been leading me
Beside strange waters
Streams of beautiful lights in the night
But where is my pastureland in these dark valleys?
If I loose my grip, will I take flight?
– Bruce Cockburn

What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of the plague as well. It helps men to rise above themselves. All the same, when you see the misery it brings, you’d need to be a madman, or a coward, or stone blind, to give in tamely to the plague.
– Albert Camus

You go on by doing the best you can. You go on by being generous. You go on by being true. You go on by offering comfort to others who can’t go on. You go on by allowing the unbearable days to pass and allowing the pleasure in other days. You go on by finding a channel for your love and another for your rage.
– Cheryl Strayed

When you are weary of praying, and do not receive, consider how often you have heard a poor man calling, and have not listened to him.
– Saint John Chrysostom

even poorly planted
rice plants
slowly, slowly… green!
– Issa
[tr. David G. Lanoue]

The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers
and cities;but to know someone who thinks and feels with us,
and who, though distant,is close to us in spirit, this makes
the earth for us an inhabited garden.
– Goethe

God is the one goal of all our passions and emotions. If you want to be angry, be angry with Him. Chide your Beloved, chide your Friend. Whom else can you safely chide? Mortal man will not patiently put up with your anger; there will be a reaction. If you are angry with me I am sure quickly to react, because I cannot patiently put up with your anger. Say unto the Beloved, “Why do You not come to me; why do You leave me thus alone?” Where is there any enjoyment but in Him? What enjoyment can there be in little clods of earth?
– Swami Vivekananda

Blame none; if evil comes, know the Lord is playing with you and be exceeding glad.
– Swami Vivekananda

Is there any way we can purely touch the world again, the way
a salamander does, breathing through its skin? Can we
become the strands of this shrine we weave ourselves into
hoping to emerge into a world where – where what?
There is no end to desire, which means no end to regret,
no end to our need for an ending, so that even the sky refuses
our touch, that sky which, at its bluest, is the most empty.”
– Richard Jackson

“Monster” is derived from the Latin noun monstrum, “divine portent,” itself formed on the root of the verb monere, “to warn.” It came to refer to living things of anomalous shape or structure, or to fabulous creatures like the sphinx who were composed of strikingly incongruous parts, because the ancients considered the appearance of such beings to be a sign of some impending supernatural event. Monsters, like angels, functioned as messengers and heralds of the extraordinary. They served to announce impending revelation, saying, in effect, “Pay attention; something of profound importance is happening.”
– Susan Stryker

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

Nicholas Pierotti:
I don’t pretend to know Lincoln, but I know the feel of rain in wet Spring fields

Winter Into Spring
The trees, along their bare limbs,
contemplate green.
A flicker, rising, flashes rust and white
before vanishing into stillness,
and raked leaves crumble imperceptibly
to dirt.
On all sides life opens and closes
around like a mouth.
Will you pretend you are not
caught between its teeth?
The kestrel in its swift dive
and the mouse below,
the first green shoots that
will not wait for spring
are a language constantly forming.
Quiet your pride and listen.
There — beneath the rainfall
and the ravens calling you can hear it —
the great tongue constantly enunciating
something that rings through the world
as grace.
– Lynn Ungar

For there is in this world in which everything wears out, everything perishes, one thing that crumbles into dust, that destroys itself still more completely, leaving behind still fewer traces of itself than Beauty: namely Grief.
– Marcel Proust

When you are weary of praying, and do not receive, consider how often you have heard a poor man calling, and have not listened to him.
– Saint John Chrysostom

even poorly planted
rice plants
slowly, slowly… green!
– Issa
[tr. David G. Lanoue]

The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers
and cities;but to know someone who thinks and feels with us,
and who, though distant,is close to us in spirit, this makes
the earth for us an inhabited garden.
– Goethe

by Tarfia Faizullah

the falling paper flower

the plastic tree branch

the plight of reminiscing

the bureaucracy of kismet

the factories empty of logic

the bins to hold what’s done

the spaceship of butterflies

the video game of intimacy

the series premiere of strife

the discretion of the cosmos

the sharp wisdom of the young

O friend who reads in a cave w/o light

the comb detangling the scars

forward is not so far away

What frees you is not words, but rather someone’s presence, their actual being.

That is the scripture you must attend to.

The power that I am hoping to give
does not come into you by following a line of words across a page.
– Shams Tabriz

A great many internal and external portents…have caused us all to feel, more or less confusedly, that something tremendous is at present taking place in the world. But what is it?
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Renaissance of the Commons

Coexistence is a basic kind of consent. The consent in a living association, whether in a flock of blackbirds, a healthy coral reef, or a fulfilling human group, depends not only on beliefs but on shared feelings. These fields of shared resonance are the psychological ground of each associative environment. Our minds, like plants, attach themselves to the soils of our families, cultures and species. These consensual fields of the living cocreating associative commons depend on recognizing, and often respecting, the great differences existing between the living. Without the consent of participatory agreements there wouldn’t be associative commons by which very different beings coexist through shared fields of play.

Such associational patterns of identity need the common language of feeling-speech in order to form well and endure. When people are hanging around and talking or happily working on something together, you can see how they’re interactively feeling-with one another. With mutually attentive feelings continuously shaping the processes of a good conversation or cooperative endeavor, the living stay in touch with what is unspokenly going on with relevant associates. As you can tell when so-and-so is having a hard day and you cut him some slack. But when people keep forcing themselves or others to behave in certain ways, those deterministic controls benumb the resonant powers of empathy.

Modern human associations often don’t function as well as other aspects of nature, because the urge to control has dramatically obstructed our associative commons of feeling-speech. Which makes us more desperately dysfunctional. But we haven’t lost it. As we realize that this control obsession is not the answer, we are changing these destructive ways of being (as Jeremy Rifkin shows in great detail in The Zero Marginal Cost Society). For as Martha Nussbaum says in Poetic Justice, “Sympathetic emotion that is tethered to the evidence, institutionally constrained in appropriate ways, and free from reference to one’s own situation, appears to be not only acceptable but actually essential to public judgment.”

Since all social action throughout nature is based on felt agreements rather than automatic controls, such felt attentions are a basic condition for beingassociationally aware and cooperatively consensual. Which is why there is always some freedom of choice, some undetermined leeway in functional societies, while Nazi ways of “social engineering” don’t work well at all with the ways of the living. So it’s high time to grasp that this qualitatively coordinated nature of successful communication is the key to a truly democratic style of social organization. If we truly want to phase out old habits of exploitative behavior – treating some people and other creatures as mere things – then a more freewheeling approach to cooperative power is the only alternative.

When societies construct obstacles to free communication (along with the trust that enables it) human civilizations begin to break down. The same is true of the multicellular associations that make up our physical bodies. The cells in our bodies cooperate so well because of freely coordinated interactions throughout. And when these sympathetic fields of communion are disrupted, bodies suffer, as do social bodies. But even bacteria are finally being seen to freely use communication to coordinate their affairs, so there is hope for the human species. We may think that the entire universe is nothing but a bunch of deterministic rituals chained to compulsive processes, but if life is much more of a self-engendered adventure in which attentive interaction is the magical essence of living experience, then we need to jump back in with the freely agreed-upon cooperations that the living have been using from the beginning. Plus it really simplifies a lot to recognize that all living systems depend on voluntary influences and adaptations to achieve their optimal states.

Cast away your illusory discriminating knowledge and consciousness accumulated up to now, and keep on working harder.
– Mumon

Writing is the geometry of the soul.
– Plato

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.
– John Keats

The thing about the world is that most
of it is actually terrible, and believing that
every small town is imbued with quiet
dignity is a disservice to both people and
dignity. So let places be bad if they’re bad.
– Neil Hilborn

Silence is all,…

Silence is all, say the sages.
Silence watches the work of the ages;
In the book of Silence the cosmic Scribe has written his cosmic pages;
Silence is all, say the sages.

What then of the word, O speaker?
What then of the thought, O thinker?
Thought is the wine of the soul and the word is the beaker;
Life is the banquet-table – the soul of the sage is the drinker.

What of the wine, O mortal?
I am drunk with the wine as I sit at Wisdom’s portal,
Waiting for the Light beyond thought and the Word immortal.
Long I sit in vain at Wisdom’s portal.

How shalt thou know the Word when it comes, O seeker?
How shalt thou know the Light when it breaks, O witness?
I shall hear the voice of the God within me and grow wiser and meeker;
I shall be the tree that takes in the light as its food, I shall drink its nectar of sweetness.

– Sri Aurobindo

by Alan C. Fo
In Sisimiut, Greenland, today,
Inhabited for the past 4,500 years,
And now a town of 6,000 selves,
We visited a Lutheran church
Completed in 1775.
Our guide said there are only two houses left in town
With two separate entrances—
One for the conquerors, one for her people.
Isn’t it thus
For all of us?

If you see yourself in the correct way, you are as much extraordinary phenomena of Nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy…
– Alan Watts

Because with every action,
comment, conversation,

we have the choice to invite
Heaven or Hell to Earth.

– Rob Bell

I am not a hardcore, angry, perpetually cynical, sarcastic, native, woman. On purpose. I sometimes call myself “a radical bridger.” Consequently, in a world so fond of dualities, I am frequently alone in my views and efforts. I go through long periods of having no “friends” on either “side” followed by bursts of lots of praise and “likes” and etc. I live my life in a radical tide. I accept this. The voice I trust and follow, tells me, unequivocally, relentlessly, that this way serves what I most long to serve. I came to (re)propose Beauty. To everyone. To each one. Exactly like the Mother Earth is always doing/being, every, single, moment. I am to do what it takes to propel myself into the l-o-n-g view, into the over-view. I am to zoom out, and out some more, and even a little more, until I can see and feel and hold some aspect of the BIG STORY. Which is always a story of Oneness, of Interrelatedness, of The Interbeingness way of our sweet Mother Earth.

So I am puzzled by the devastation I feel at the prospect of a “nationstate” unwilling to uphold “law and order,” “constitution,” or even a sense of basic safety for “its members.” What am I, 5? Has not all the events of history not impressed upon me yet, the fraudulent character of the modern-world-paradigm, its cunning, its ruthlessness, its desperation of self-preservation at the expense of… children… elders… women… men, too… water… trees… mountains… the air we breathe…? What is this heretofore unknown reserve of naïveté, hope, trust, faith, in a nationstate version of humanity so fallen that it poisons itself in every way and calls it living, that still resides inside of me? I am weeping… ugghhh… I am weeping.

At this very, very late-hour of our kind’s precarious position on the Earth, I find myself weeping with my whole heart… I will rise again, to a new place I suspect, but for now, my Dreaming Heart is weeping tears of hot grief and disappointment, not for a “nation,” but for a species, given a Seat of Honor on the Sacred Hoop of Life, placed in a Paradise beyond imagining. This is just how far our own imagining, our staggering brilliance, our keen innovation can bring us. After all this time…

We are so deeply deceived, Trickster has played their hand, and we have lunged to grasp great mouthfuls of that lie, with
Beauty Above Us, with
Beauty Below Us, with
Beauty Behind Us, with
Beauty Before Us, with
Beauty All Around Us…

For the moment, I am stunned. And I won’t pretend that I am not. It seems to bring no relief or catharsis to deny it, only a continuous hum of nausea, and immobility. How far is far enough now, to find the BIG STORY? We will find out.
(And actually, the answer is “Yes.” Some part of me is 5, with a keen sense of justice. She is howling.)
– Pat McCabe

Consumerism is based on the assumption that the universe is a collection of dead objects. It is for this reason that depression is a regular feature in every consumer society. When humans find themselves surrounded by nothing but objects the response is always one of loneliness…But isolation and alienation are profoundly false states of mind. We were born out of the Earth Community and its infinite creativity and delight and adventure. Our natural state is intimacy within the encompassing community.
– Brian Swimme, The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos

For the most appalling quality of water is its strength. I love its flash and gleam, its music, its pliancy and grace, its slap against my body; but I fear its strength. All the mysteries are in its movement. I have seen its birth; and the more I gaze at that sure and unremitting surge of water at the very top of the mountain, the more I am baffled. But I don’t understand it. I cannot fathom its power.
– Nan Shepherd

No matter how clever, fast or secretive one is, it is impossible to cheat, run or hide from negative karma. If it is not purified, it will ripen into suffering.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

I wake from a dream in which I am
part of Trump’s team. I save him
from drowning in deep water, I fix his space suit.
Somewhere in my psyche, a strange
joining of opposites conspires to hold the center.
Maybe the CBD oil I take for insomnia is
gentling my nervous system, which these days is
like a wild mare with wide flaring eyes, on her back legs ready to
kick with horse screams before the presence of
predators. Our collective in an uproar.
And so I begin my day scratching my head in bemusement.
Options bubbling up from the depth of dreamtime, tea in hand,
my husband makes granola,
cats stretched out in the elongated, deflated pose of sleep.
I think it is okay, if I give myself a day to not read the news
to take a day off from the resistance,
a day to rejoin and walk under the glory of a winter sun,
greeting my tribe of oaks, pines, and neighbors with
their overjoyed dogs sniffing the trail, leaping into stream beds.
I will listen to what the water says today
and feel the gravity hold my body close on
the curve of this earth, her blue green body
silently moving through all this space, steadily
holding her course no matter what.
– Margo Stebbing

Somnambulist Ballad
by Federico Garcia Lorca
Green, how much I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship upon the sea
and the horse in the mountain.
With the shadow on her waist
she dreams on her balcony,
green flesh, hair of green,
and eyes of cold silver.
Green, how much I want you green.
Beneath the gypsy moon,
all things look at her
but she cannot see them.
Green, how much I want you green.
Great stars of white frost
come with the fish of darkness
that opens the road of dawn.
the fig tree rubs the wind
with the sandpaper of its branches,
and the mountain, a filching cat,
bristles its bitter aloes.
But who will come? and from where?
She lingers on her balcony,
green flesh, hair of green,
dreaming of the bitter sea.
—Friend, I want to change
my horse for your house,
my saddle for your mirror,
my knife for your blanket,
Friend, I come bleeding,
from the passes of Cabra.
—If I could, young man,
this pact would be sealed.
But I am no more I,
nor is my house now my house.
—Friend, I want to die
decently in my bed,
Of iron, if it be possible,
with sheets of fine holland.
Do you not see the wound I have
from my breast to my throat?
—Your white shirt bears
three hundred dark roses.
Your pungent blood oozes
around your sash.
But I am no more I,
nor is my house now my house.
—Let me climb at least
up to the high balustrade:
let me come! Let me come!
up to the green balustrades.
Balustrades of the moon
where the water resounds.
Now the two friends go up
towards the high balustrades.
Leaving a trail of blood,
leaving a trail of tears,
Small lanterns of tin
were trembling on the roofs.
A thousand crystal tambourines
were piercing the dawn.
Green, how much I want you green,
green wind, green branches.
The two friends went up.
The long wind was leaving
in the mouth a strange taste
of gall, mint and sweet-basil.
Friend! Where is she, tell me,
where is your bitter girl?
How often she waited for you!
How often did she wait for you,
cool face, black hair,
on this green balcony!
Over the face of the cistern
the gypsy girl swayed.
Green flesh, hair of green,
with eyes of cold silver.
An icicle of the moon
suspends her above the water.
The night became as intimate
as a little square.
Drunken civil guards
were knocking at the door.
Green, how much I want you green,
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship upon the sea.
And the horse on the mountain.
– tr. Stephen Spender and J. L. Gili

Romance Sonambulo
Federico García Lorca
Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento. Verdes ramas.
El barco sobre la mar
y el caballo en la montaña.
Con la sombra en la cintura
ella sueña en su baranda,
verde carne, pelo verde,
con ojos de fría plata.
Verde que te quiero verde.
Bajo la luna gitana,
las cosas la están mirando
y ella no puede mirarlas.
Verde que te quiero verde.
Grandes estrellas de escarcha
vienen con el pez de sombra
que abre el camino del alba.
La higuera frota su viento
con la lija de sus ramas,
y el monte, gato garduño,
eriza sus pitas agrias.
¿Pero quién vendra? ¿Y por dónde…?
Ella sigue en su baranda,
Verde came, pelo verde,
soñando en la mar amarga.
–Compadre, quiero cambiar
mi caballo por su casa,
mi montura por su espejo,
mi cuchillo per su manta.
Compadre, vengo sangrando,
desde los puertos de Cabra.
–Si yo pudiera, mocito,
este trato se cerraba.
Pero yo ya no soy yo,
ni mi casa es ya mi casa.
–Compadre, quiero morir
decentemente en mi cama.
De acero, si puede ser,
con las sábanas de holanda.
¿No ves la herida que tengo
desde el pecho a la garganta?
–Trescientas rosas morenas
lleva tu pechera blanca.
Tu sangre rezuma y huele
alrededor de tu faja.
Pero yo ya no soy yo,
ni mi casa es ya mi casa.
–Dejadme subir al menos
hasta las altas barandas;
¡dejadme subir!, dejadme,
hasta las verdes barandas.
Barandales de la luna
por donde retumba el agua.
Ya suben los dos compadres
hacia las altas barandas.
Dejando un rastro de sangre.
Dejando un rastro de lágrimas.
Temblaban en los tejados
farolillos de hojalata.
Mil panderos de cristal
herían la madrugada.
Verde que te quiero verde,
verde viento, verdes ramas.
Los dos compadres subieron.
El largo viento dejaba
en la boca un raro gusto
de hiel, de menta y de albahaca.
¡Compadre! ¿Donde está, díme?
¿Donde está tu niña amarga?
¡Cuántas veces te esperó!
¡Cuántas veces te esperara,
cara fresca, negro pelo,
en esta verde baranda!
Sobre el rostro del aljibe
se mecía la gitana.
Verde carne, pelo verde,
con ojos de fría plata.
Un carámbano de luna
la sostiene sobre el agua.
La noche se puso íntima
como una pequeña plaza.
Guardias civiles borrachos
en la puerta golpeaban.
Verde que te qinero verde.
Verde viento. Verdes ramas.
El barco sobre la mar.
Y el caballo en la montaña.

[Unbind my hair, she says. The night is white and warm]
by Jim Harrison
Unbind my hair, she says. The night is white and warm,
the snow on the mountains absorbing the moon.
We have to get there before the music begins, scattered,
elliptical, needing to be drawn together and sung.
They have dark green voices and listening, there are birds,
coal shovels, the glazed hysteria of the soon-to- be-dead.
I suspect Jesus will return and the surprise will be
fatal. I’ll ride the equator on a whale, a giraffe on land.
Even stone when inscribed bears the ecstatic. Pressed to
some new wall, ungiving, the screams become thinner.
Let us have the tambourine and guitars and forests, fruit,
and a new sun to guide us, a holy book, tracked in new blood.

We are ramshackle nobodies, no matter how many times we think we are something, no matter what the signs in our yards say, and it’s time we unite with all the other ramshackle nobodies to take life back, out of the hands of celebrity identity branding con jobs, for all the nobody and nothing lives left to live.
– Kristianne Gale

For love of she who is Muse to me
I have donned cold custom’s cloak again,
Have armed myself with the arts of men
To reclaim her ageless memory.
For love of she who is Witch to me
I have thrown the stone of vengeance down,
Have stolen far from the careful crowd
To become the beast at her word set free.
For love of she who is Love to me,
Who is all my heart can crave or shun,
I suffer my will to be all undone
To be cradled and bathed in her wine-dark sea.
By these unleashable powers three:
Spring of cunning contrivance bold,
River of shamanic lore untold,
And ocean of mindful ecstasy,
I stretch my life on the loom and weave
All the tangled threads of time.
For love of she who is one-in-three
I throb in body, heart and mind.
– George Gorman

We cannot change others. No matter how stubborn, insensitive, out of line, inconsiderate, un-reciprocal we may believe them to be. Oh, it’s tempting to try! But it simply will not ever work.

What we can do is take care of our feelings that come up in us when others don’t meet our needs or respond to us in the way we would like. These experiences can actually be tremendous opportunities for our own growth and evolution because when these situations happen (which they do so often!) when human relationships don’t do it all for us, our childhood wounds are triggered or brought forth to the attention of our consciousness. This is happening for a reason! This energy is saying, “take care of me that I may be released and new energy may come through to help you grow up!”
Typically, we go through our lives playing out our childhood wounds unconsciously, letting them drive us, edit our lives, repeat old limiting patterns, keep us safe which means in the familiar which means not growing too much.
When we’re ready (and our circumstances will keep providing us opportunities until we are!) we can go into the embodied experience of these feelings–feel them–cry through them and come out anew. When we do this, our energetic anchor keeping us stuck in old ways is released. Our perspective changes, our attachments to that other person’s behavior shifts, we become more personally and relationally resilient, space is opened for change personally and relationally. It’s dope.

So actually, we CAN change other people through changing our own energetic, emotional lock in with them. We are so intimately connected with each other on this level but we have to access those depths in ourselves and do that deep release work to be able to actually set this transformational process in motion.

Our minds, emotions, souls are transformed and evolved through the alchemical fire of moving old energy through and out. We can recycle ourselves into new beings. It’s pretty freaking cool. We simply need to stop shaming ourselves for having emotions and let them do their truly amazing auto-cleanse thing which returns to us a sense of agency in our lives again and transforms our circumstances. Easier said than done because our conditioning around all this hiding and avoiding, repressing, victimizing ourselves and blaming others is so deep! But, having this conceptual framework can help guide you when your time is right to begin diving in and changing your life. Shit gets cool when you begin this process.
– Chelan Harkin

Heal yourself with the light of the sun and the rays of the moon.
With the sound of the river and the waterfall.
With the swaying of the sea and the fluttering of birds.
Heal yourself with mint, neem, and eucalyptus.
Sweeten with lavender, rosemary, and chamomile.
Hug yourself with the cocoa bean and a hint of cinnamon.
Put love in tea instead of sugar and drink it looking at the stars.
Heal yourself with the kisses that the wind gives you and the hugs of the rain.
Stand strong with your bare feet on the ground and with everything that comes from it.
Be smarter every day by listening to your intuition, looking at the world with your forehead.
Jump, dance, sing, so that you live happier.
Heal yourself, with beautiful love, and always remember … you are the medicine.
– Maria Sabina

The artist has a kind of a window into the possibilities and expectations which we carry ’round in our dreams, and sometimes they come true.
– Yusuf / Cat Stevens

Do not encumber your mind with useless thoughts. What good is it to brood over the past and fret about the future? Dwell in the simplicity of the present moment. Live in harmony with the dharma. Make it the heart of your life and experience. Be the master of your own destiny.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

In Memory of W. B. Yeats
by W. H. Auden – 1907-1973


He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
By mourning tongues
The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living.

But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the bourse,
And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly accustomed
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.


You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
The parish of rich women, physical decay,
Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,
For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
In the valley of its making where executives
Would never want to tamper, flows on south
From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
A way of happening, a mouth.


Earth, receive an honoured guest:
William Yeats is laid to rest.
Let the Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.

In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.

17 The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
– St. Paul to the Ephesians

…happiness [is] but the occasional episode in a general drama of pain.
– Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge

Napping is like tundra—limitless, silent—and in that space I nearly always find answers, or more particularly, the right questions.
– Melanie Finn

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
– Margaret Atwood

Emotions like grief, anger and fear are not necessarily things that need to be transcended, grown beyond, or healed. The exact opposite maybe the case; the more that we can deepen into, hold, process and feel our grief or fear, the more real and the more connected to life, the earth and community we become.
The more we can hold and experience our grief the greater our praise for life is, the more whole we may become, the greater our love for life is. This process of deepening never ends…
– Jason Hine

A myth may invite you to consider who among the gods defends you, and who has it in for you. A myth may also be a living reality beyond the realm of facts, a source of truth that cannot be confirmed in a laboratory experiment but may be evidenced by the data of raw experience.
– Robert Moss

Go for a walk, if it is not too dark.
Get some fresh air, try to smile.
Say something kind
To a safe-looking stranger, if one happens by.
Always exercise your heart’s knowing.
You might as well attempt something real
Along this path:
Take your spouse or lover into your arms
The way you did when you first met.
Let tenderness pour from your eyes
The way the Sun gazes warmly on the earth.
Play a game with some children.
Extend yourself to a friend.
Sing a few ribald songs to your pets and plants –
Why not let them get drunk and wild!
Let’s toast
Every rung we’ve climbed on Evolution’s ladder.
Whisper, “I love you! I love you!”
To the whole mad world.
Let’s stop reading about God –
We will never understand Him.
Jump to your feet, wave your fists,
Threaten and warn the whole Universe
That your heart can no longer live
Without real love!
– Daniel Ladinsky, I Heard God Laughing – Renderings of Hafiz

Here I am, seated, with all my words,
like a basket of green fruit, intact.
The fragments
of a thousand destroyed ancient gods
seek and draw near each other in my blood. They long
to rebuild their statue.
From their shattered mouths
a song strives to rise to my mouth,
a scent of burned resins, some gesture
of mysterious wrought stone…
I look not at the submerged temples,
but only at the trees that above the ruins
move their vast shadow, with acid teeth bite
the wind as it passes…
But I know: behind
my body another body crouches,
and round about me many breaths
furtively cross
like nocturnal beasts in the jungle….
But I know only a few words
in the lapidary language
under which they buried my ancestor alive.
– Rosario Castellanos, Silence Near an Ancient Stone

A long time I have lived with you
And now we must be going
Separately to be together.
Perhaps I shall be the wind
To blur your smooth waters
So that you do not see your face too much.
Perhaps I shall be the star
To guide your uncertain wings
So that you have direction in the night.
Perhaps I shall be the fire
To separate your thoughts
So that you do not give up.
Perhaps I shall be the rain
To open up the earth
So that your seed may fall.
Perhaps I shall be the snow
To let your blossoms sleep
So that you may bloom in spring.
Perhaps I shall be the stream
To play a song on the rock
So that you are not alone.
Perhaps I shall be a new mountain
So that you always have a home.
– Nancy Wood, Many Winters

But we are so fond of life
that we have no leisure to entertain the terror of death.
It is a honeymoon with us all through,
and none of the longest.
Small blame to us if we give our whole heart
to this glowing bride of ours,
to the appetite, to honor,
the hungry curiosity of the mind,
to the pleasure of the eyes in nature,
and the pride of our own nimble bodies.
– Robert Louis Stevenson, Aes Triplex

Everyday I relearn the lesson:
I don’t have to control everything,
I just have to pay attention.
– Steven Goodheart

The secret my heart keeps
Flows into cracked cups.

No saucer can contain
This overplus of mine:
– Stanley Kunitz

Sometimes I reread my last note as if it were really the last. What
would it sound like then?

At times I think I jot down these scraps of thoughts and emotions
just waiting for that last sentence, the sentence that will reveal all.
– Anna Kamieńska

And one by one as the fireflies fade,
and a longing for them arcs
into an empty ache,
the view becomes nothing but darkness
waiting for something beyond
memory—a glimmer, a climb,
the night sky distilled in shine.
– Greg Sellers

Knowing no longer what it is I want,
flayed by the memory of what I wanted,
the possible, the uses of the hands,
the uses, later, deeper of the body,

I think of River Road turning to moonlight
beneath the lyric hissing of the tires,
moonlight becoming water, water woods,
everything turning much too deep to guess,

fragrance on all sides pinning us beneath it.
Sweet avenue to the nights stretched before us.
It may come down to this: one’s choice of route.
It may be that, at dusk, when the moon rises,

when, for the thousandth time, the dark begins
what it seems to know no end of beginning,
the stars strung in the branches, River Road
cut at an angle somehow penetrating

the countryside of all we dream and long for,
the heart of our location, of romance,

– Herbert Morris

You feed the flames; you feed them with all you’ve got:
Finger and forearm, torso,
Shoulders and hair … And the sparks
That rise, the cinders,
Rework you and make you new, burned to an ash.
– Charles Wright

Well, [memory’s] been a driving force in my work, certainly. It’s the most reconstructible and reconstitutable thing there is because it’s always out of kilter when you put it down. I mean it’s not ever quite what you think it was. That’s part of its pleasures, to me, because you think you can be as accurate, as descriptively accurate, as possible, and, in fact, you’re reconstituting just by the very act because you never quite remember the way it was. Now matter how convinced you are, you’re almost always wrong to some extent. Memory, after a while, is sometimes all you’ve got, and so it becomes a great, fertile piece of land to work[.]
– Charles Wright

You don’t get better on the days you feel like going. You get better on the days when you don’t want to go, but you go anyway. If you can overcome the negative energy coming from your tired body or unmotivated mind, you will grow and become better. It won’t be the best workout you have, you won’t accomplish as much as what you usually do when you feel good, but that doesn’t matter. Growth is a long term game and the crappy days are more important.
– George St. Pierre, The Way of the Fight

A Brechtian maxim: do not build on the good old days, but on the bad new ones.
– Walter Benjamin, Conversations with Brecht

Ice in the Mountain Well
by Otagaki Rengetsu

I shattered the ice
To draw water—
No matter, this morning
Frozen just as solid.

Our inner world grows through the discovery of analogs in the world outside. Words convey little when like infants, we use them merely as pointers. To communicate feelings and ideas — in short, to express ourselves — we use linguistic analogs, metaphors.

The child calls the typewriter a “woodpecker,” and we are delighted, delighted not only with the aptness of the image but with the key that he has given us to the emerging pattern within himself. We sense the establishment of pathways along which he is making the world his own; there is an echo in ourselves of the patterns he has grasped in nature.

Every modern language, we are told, is a dictionary of faded metaphors. We say “manage,” now thinking of a group of men who direct some enterprise, now of executive skill, now of muscular control, now of any means of achieving any end. When the word came into the English language it meant the training of a horse; its derivation is from Latin words for “hand” and “act.” We use the word today abstractly, divorced from the concrete image that originally gave it the power to mean something; [but] poets feel their metaphors very literally. We respond to poets because, through metaphor, they make words concrete once more, linking our inner being with the great world outside.
– Gyorgy Kepes, The New Landscape in Art and Science

He had developed a superstitious fear of the instant, that tiny hole through which all the time available to human beings must pass.
– César Aira, Varamo

[I spent] a cool half hour in Notre Dame. I love to sit in these majestic fanes, abstracting them from the superstition which does but desecrate them, and gaze upward to their lofty, vaulted arches, to drink in the impression of architectural sublimity, which I can neither analyze nor express. Cathedrals do not seem to me to have been built. They seem, rather, stupendous growths of nature, like crystals, or cliffs of basalt.
– Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands

Bruce Cockburn:
He tells me the future is not to be believed in
Don’t waste your wishes on what hasn’t already been
But like the strong arm policeman
He’s not sure what he means
All he knows is he can’t see what he will come to be

That’s why I’m not to be trusted.
Because a wound to the heart
is also a wound to the mind.
– Louise Glück

We are here to make another world.
– W. Edwards Deming

Gal Shapira:
I find it difficult to respect people who change their kindness according to social status and interest.

I wouldn’t do that to my Muse
– Stephanie Burt

That we do not know does indeed hurt us, and others, and has the potential to guide our choices in directions quite different from those the soul desires.
– James Hollis

The way through the world is more difficult to find than the way beyond it.
– Wallace Stevens

so that I had not eyes but
and, rising and turning,
through my skin,
there was all around not the
shapes of things
but oh, at last, the things

– Lucille Clifton

I love the necessary clarity of our mutual puzzle

– Darwish

My last take on stonk-related matters is that business journalism world depends on mysticism and obscure language to stop people from understanding this whole system is a shell game run by psychopaths who rake zen gardens at home while their money finances death squads abroad.
– Brother Q

All I do in my leisure time is read about Reagan for a couple projects and you guys: this is all Reagan’s fault.
– Michelle Dean

Rev Yearwood:
We need a new climate movement to meet a new climate moment.

Mara Wilson:
Never trust anybody whose *only* goal is making lots of money

Jared Yates Sexton:
The lesson of the past year is that our system is set up explicitly to perpetuate a feeling of alienation and powerlessness but when people remember they can come together that illusion gives way to potentially remarkable change.

Rudeness is the weak person’s imitation of strength.
– Eric Hoffer

folklore bot:
and when i felt like i was an old cardigan, under someone’s bed, you put me on and said i was your favorite

I will be walking in the middle of your soul.
– Oklahoma Cherokee love incantation

Dr. Sarah E. Myhre:
I really want the climate movement to be grounded in a trauma-informed practice.

Even if no salvation should come, I want to be worthy of it at every moment.
– Franz Kafka

When I’m riding my bicycle I feel like a Buddhist who is happy just to enjoy his mundane existence.
– Robin Williams

i don’t think i’ve ever found an answer to one of my questions online but somehow i keep trying

Your mind is a mad monkey trying to understand life which is unfair and crazy. Get used to it.
– Maxime Lagacé

Not sure how a bunch of people organizing in the open is not okay, but a few people colluding in private is.
– Sahil

Alina Stefanescu:
Rilke often worried about his lack of boundaries, how others’ pain spilled into, and immobilized, him–how he could not recover from the world’s cruelty and suffering. To be consumed by the world is to question the self’s relevance. The cure? Maybe write a Malte.

I think that most poets labor joyously a long time to learn the language, to hear it, to speak it, to write it. It is also important to read poetry for me, to see how other men and women have used language during their time on earth.
– Larry Levis

Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you’re scared to death.
– Harold Wilson

Acquire all the voluptuous perfumes that you can,
then sail to Egypt’s many towns
to learn and learn from their scholars.

I don’t care if I know many things: I want to know things that I love.
– Jules Renard

Valzhyna Mort:
I weep as I translate a friend’s essay about Belarus. Words blur. I wipe tears. Type with wet fingers.

There’s a big world outside of the English language. It’s full of people who remain human in inhuman conditions. They have simple answers to the big questions empires ponder.

For me it was just red wine in my mouth and a pile of firewood.

Only truthful hands write true poems. I cannot see any basic difference between a handshake and a poem.
– Paul Celan

You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him learn it within himself.
– Galileo

They’re not academic; they’re a piece of my life-saving equipment.
– Audre Lorde describing her own prose writings in 1982

What I want from the river is what I always want:
to be held by a stronger thing that, in the end, chooses mercy
– Oliver Baez Bendorf

Bruce Cockburn:
Got no social graces
Never know my place
One thing I am sure of
You can’t judge a man by his race
Birth don’t come easy
Freedom doesn’t come cheap
Rules and worlds get swept away
While you waste your time in sleep

Earnestly discern the shining source in every minute event. Reeds will blossom under the bright moon while the ferryboat crosses the ancient passage. Follow the current and sail along naturally unbound.
– Hongzhi

I have decided to revel
in my insignificance.
I am nothing more than
anything else:
star dust,
a whisper in sacred space,
the glint in a buck’s eye
during spring rut,
a mountain turned to
sand after millennia
of dying the warrior’s
an ant carrying cut leaf bits
back to its family
of thousands,
the dry, outgrown skin of
a black rat snake hanging
loosely in the arc of long,
wind-blown grasses.
This is all.
And in this, I am free.
My once-raucous mind has no more need
of that which does not serve
the soul’s manifestation
of itself.
When the loyal soldier is honorably
relieved of his duties
and the long-wailing children
are nurtured,
a quietude sets in.
I walk among you having
put down my weapons
of charitlessness.
See me as nothing more than
your heart,
your prayers,
your revelation of beauty.
For, this is all I am.
I am this insignificant.
I am no better than anything
else in this exquisite
world that I wholeheartedly
share with you.
– Jamie K. Reaser

Today you wounded me.
Around us there was only silence,
only silence, and snow.
– Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger

I listen to the sacred primordial breath,
I hear the distant echo of buried thoughts.
In this wordless universe spreading from earthly dust to stellar confines,
I take place, eyes open and filled with a soundless song.
– Rabindranath Tagore

Bless the poets, the workers for justice, the dancers of ceremony, the singers of heartache, the visionaries, all makers and carriers of fresh meaning—We will all make it through, despite politics and wars, despite failures and misunderstandings.
– Joy Harjo

The books that help you most are those which make you think that most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.
– Pablo Neruda

The world: it is as if the ‘conscious Substance’ which is the Self had fallen into a state which would split it up in many different ways and would inflict on it endless accidents and infirmities; and in fact, the ego is ignorance floundering in objective modes of ignorance, such as time and space. What is time, if not ignorance of what will be ‘after’, and what is space, if not ignorance of what escapes our sense? If we were ‘pure consciousness like the Self, we would be ‘always’ and ‘everywhere’; that is to say we would not be ‘I’, for that, in its empirical actuality, is entirely a creation of space and time. The ego is ignorance of what is ‘the other’; our whole existence is woven of ignorances; we are like the Self frozen, then hurled to earth and split into a thousand fragments; we observe the limits which surround us, and we conclude that we are fragments of consciousness and of being. Matter grips us like a kind of paralysis, it imposes on us the heaviness of a mineral, and exposes us to the miseries of impurity and of mortality; form shapes us according to such and such a model, it imposes on us such and such a mask and cuts us off from a whole to which we are none the less tied, though at death it lets us fall as a tree lets fall its fruit; finally, number is what repeats us — inside ourselves as also around us — and what, in repeating us, diversifies us, for two things can never be absolutely identical; number repeats form as if by magic, and form diversifies number and must thus create itself ever anew, because the All-Possibility is infinite and must manifest its infinitude. But the ego is not only multiple externally, in the diversity of souls, it is also divided within itself, in the diversity of tendencies and of thoughts, which is not the least of our miseries; for ‘strait is the gate’ and ‘a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven’.
And since we are ‘not other’ than the Self, we are condemned to eternity. Eternity lies in wait for us, and that is why we must find again the Center, that place where eternity is bliss. Hell is the reply to the periphery which makes itself the Center, or to the multitude that usurps the glory of Unity; it is the reply of Reality to the ego wanting to be absolute, and condemned to be so without being able to be so… The Center is the Self ‘freed’, or rather that which has never ceased to be free—eternally free.
– Frithjof Schuon, Seeing God Everywhere

I’m trying to get something very basic over to you. The world in which we live is geographically one. And now we must make it spiritually one…. We are all involved in a single process.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

There’s a part of everything living
that wants to become itself–
the tadpole into the frog,
the chrysalis into the butterfly,
a damaged human being into a whole one.
That is spirituality.
– Ellen Bass

One way the internet distorts our picture of ourselves is by feeding the human tendency to overestimate our knowledge of how the world works.
– Michael Patrick Lynch

Can Humanity share something more noble than a pandemic?

Picture an immense glass of water. Someone climbs to the top of the slippery glass and drops in a crystal of salt. The water is now a bit salty, but it is still water. More and more people scale their way to the top and add in more crystals. The water is now saltier, but it still maintains the quality of water.
Finally, one more person struggles to the top and lets go of her crystal. In that very instant a critical mass is reached. The water molecules have been totally transformed.

Something like this is taking place in the hidden realms. Each time we are motivated by the Love of Humanity to pray or be present, a crystal is deposited. Every moment of Peace of Mind, every precious act of kindness is being stored and counted.
We don’t know where, we don’t know when, but on one glorious day a tipping point will be reached. And this grand miracle, this shift in Human Consciousness, will be, in part, made possible by our humble, steady little efforts.
– Paul Wolff

Many problems we face today arise from a failure to use our basic human nature and intelligence properly. We have to look into how to educate people. Just talking about money and power won’t work. Much more important is encouraging a sense of the oneness of humanity, a sense that we all belong to one human family.
– Dalai Lama

If you come to me and say
‘Rinpoche, I can’t meditate at all;
my mind is going everywhere:
here, there, past, present, future’,
I should give you a medal.

Finally you are meditating.
The whole purpose of this instruction
is to make you realise you cannot concentrate.

– Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse

She asks me to kill the spider.
Instead, I get the most
peaceful weapons I can find.
I take a cup and a napkin.
I catch the spider, put it outside
and allow it to walk away.
If I am ever caught in the wrong place
at the wrong time, just being alive
and not bothering anyone,
I hope I am greeted
with the same kind
of mercy.
– Rudy Francisco, Helium

The right understanding of any matter
and a misunderstanding of the same matter
do not wholly exclude each other.
– Franz Kafka

Do not look for the buddha other than your nature.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Real leadership is about getting to the table quickly before the whole harvest of horror and loss is reaped.
– John O’Donohue

We are more privileged than we ever realized. And the duty of privilege is absolute integrity.
– John O’Donohue

Call upon the holy, who you may be unfamiliar with, but who knows everything about you. Stay in that listening moment where you may at first hear nothing, but where something always begins. As you listen, know that the quality of your listening is also being heard. The invitational presence dilates the heart and it is through this aperture that the holy travels. As you remember, you are being remembered by that which belongs with you.
– Toko-pa Turner

Respect toward yourself is more significant than any respect from others because you know yourself better. When you practice patience, for example, you must know why you’re doing it and how it benefits you. If you value self-respect and do virtuous things that are unknown to others, you will naturally gain self-confidence, strength, and freedom from your neuroses. You will feel more and more inspired to develop your tsewa and shed the eight worldly concerns because of the benefit and freedom you personally experience by doing so. Your heart will be at peace, and eventually others will respect you as a person who has truly been transformed.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Peaceful Heart: The Buddhist Practice of Patience

“Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”

Attributed to the Nazarene

So it follows:

“Those that live by the LIE will die by the lie.”

“Those that prosper by fraud will perish by fraud.”

“They who prosper by theft will be impoverished by theft.”

“Those who seek to ruin by gossip, will be ruined by gossip.”

“Those who betray the people, the people will betray.”

“Those who exploit the gullible, the gullible will devour.”

Attributed to Little Horse the Barbarian, also known as:

– Elijah Morton

The deeper the sadness digs into your heart, the more joy your heart can contain.
– Khalil Gibran

If ‘normal’ is what brought us to crisis, then we ought to question the premises of this normalcy and think more ambitiously about how to free ourselves from its clutches.
– @DandiaAsad

… the only way to get at that inalienable grief is to disfigure song.

– Cathy Park Hong on Paul Celan, Doris Salcedo, and the limits of witness in the era of total recall

Of course we’re outgunned. But outnumbered? Not when you call in the myth world, not when you call to ancestors deserving of the name, not when you weft your life to the thinking of a hare or the open-shouldered stance of a midwinter beech. Make a stand for something small, specific and precious. Do it today. Amen and let it be so.
– Martin Shaw, Scatterlings

Wherever we find Indians and whenever we inquire about their idea of God, they tell us that beneath the surface of the physical universe is a mysterious spiritual power which cannot be described in human images that must remain always the ‘Great Mystery.’
– Vine Deloria Jr.

How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers.
– Gilbert K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

I am allergic to forms of optimism that taste more like bypass and naïveté than prophetic hope.
– David Bedrick

One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything’s fine today, that is our illusion.
– Voltaire

In Pursuit of Dawn
I have never heard America described as quiet.
Even street lights seem to pulse to some interminable heartbeat
beneath buildings endeavoring for the clouds.
Our purposeful words often laced in ample volume.
In such social engagements
all varieties of people run together—
words flowing, ideas pooling—
eager to share and just as soon to hear.
But have ideas—opportunities—collaborations
extending beyond the bounds of our borders
with reverberations felt through every city, capital, and country
ever began with silence and seclusion?

My stepfather created opportunity
from the destitute nothing he was dealt,
consoled only by the American dream
that came as whispers under snow-dappled stars.
And from these muffled mumblings
he bettered her situation.

He is one of America’s thousands,
evidence of excellence obtained by
those in pursuit of changing their fortune.
And as snow-ridden summits yield to streams
and torrid deserts to the placid waltz of grassy plains,
each of us—
guided by the compass of our will—
is free to climb, swim, or walk
to wherever we may choose.

All countries of ample years have a shadow beneath their flag
cast by historical iniquities amended too late.
But how it still catches the propitious wind!
Always endeavoring to fly higher and baste the somber shade beneath.
As it flutters, we stand reverently
for those who can no longer
and for those who can no longer
and for those who cannot yet.
The horizon an interminable stretch of past and future
we gaze upon it, in remembrance of what was,
yet trekking forward toward what can be.

We are a coalescence of voices,
each with unparalleled inflection,
yet our conglomeration of somber and elated tones
still manages to reach harmony.

The diversity of our country
—of opinions and cultures and beliefs—
as extraordinary as the vast, varying landscapes.
Some stand tall, imposing, confident as the Rockies;
the great height of their achievements
not formidable but inspiring.
Still others humble and hushed as the plains;
yet their voice embodied in the breeze touches all.
From formidable but inspiring.
Still others humble and hushed as the plains;
yet their voice embodied in the breeze touches all.
From mountains to marshes to mesas,
we are united in the embrace of the same two seas.
Invaluable are contrasting beliefs
bridged by curiosity and a command desire for betterment.
A miscellany not of problems but possible solutions are we.
Speak up, I implore you,
for in your voice we might find the answer.

The American dream—
one smile, one sunrise,
one decision to pursue an insatiable passion
for words, for equality, for science
—away from the American reality.

When hardships splatter like ebony ink across the skyline,
extinguishing the hues still smoldering from the former day,
pinpricks of hope still remain.
And in these celestial bodies we find solace,
arranging the stars against the somber background into
symbols and pictures of progress.
And beneath them we endure in pursuit of dawn.
– Mina King

Break My Heart by Joy Harjo

there are always flowers,
love cries, or blood.

someone is always leaving
by exhile, death or heartbreak.

the heart is a fist.
it pockets prayer or holds rage.

it’s a timekeeper.
music maker or backstreet truth teller.

baby, baby, baby
you can’t say what’s been said

before, though even words
are a creature of habit.

you cannot force poetry
with a ruler, or jail it at a desk.

mystery is blind, but wills you
to untie the cloth, in eternity.

police with their guns
cannot enter here to move us off our lands.

history will always find you, and wrap you
in its thousand arms.

someone will lift from the earth
without wings.

another will fall from the sky
through the knots of a tree.

chaos is primordial.
all words have roots here.

you will never sleep again
though you will never stop dreaming.

the end can only follow the beginning.
and it will zig zag through time, governments and lovers.

be who you are, even if it kills you.
it will. over and over again

even as you live.
break my heart, why don’t you?

The City is Peopled
The city is peopled
with spirits, not ghosts, O my love:

Though they crowded between
and usurped the kiss of my mouth
their breath was your gift,
their beauty, your life.

– H.D.

When I say that this aspen tree is a person, I mean it – so yes, this is a sentient being, a conscious being, a being with its own intelligence.

You know, Western science tells us, “Oh, you must not anthropomorphize.” I’m not anthropomorphizing, I’m botanizing.

That aspen is its own kind of person. It’s not like they’re human people. They’re aspen people.”
– Robin W. Kimmerer

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

– St. Francis of Assisi

She was learning, quite late, what many people around her appeared to have known since childhood: that life can be perfectly satisfying without major achievements.
– Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness

Felicity’s tiny baby is […] having fun, ears out, waving her little trunk around, charging an egret. It looks like the kind of charge an adult might use to scare off a lion. Part of the family’s role is allowing youngsters to explore and learn through their own experiences. Males youngsters tend to play pushing contests against each other. Females tend to play “I’m chasing enemies.” Felicity’s baby charges a couple more egrets.

Even full-sized adults sometimes play games against imaginary enemies. They might start running through tall grass, thrashing it, the kind of behavior they might actually use to chase away lions. “But the elephants are playing,” declares Vicki. “They know there are no lions. […] It’s easy to tell. A serious elephant faced with a real threat pays steady attention. Playing elephants run in a loose and “floppy” way, shaking their heads to let their ears and trunk flap and flop around. They are not making mistakes or giving false alarms. They’re running around as if highly alarmed but […] they all know they’re playing.”

When doing serious things in non-serious moments—staring over their tusks at imagined enemies in the wide-eyed display or shaking their heads before charging and running away in mock fright, in faked fear—playing elephants often seem to be going just for the humor value. And they’re all in on the game. Such blatant silliness must be—I am guessing—as close to hilarity as an elephant perceives; the elephants must be cracking themselves up. Clearly, they’re having fun. “Sometimes they put bushes on their heads and just look at you like that,” Vicki says. “Ridiculous”.

– Carl Safina, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

The image is indivisible and elusive, dependent upon our consciousness and on the real world which it seeks to embody. If the world is inscrutable, then the image will be so too. It is a kind of equation, signifying the correlation between truth and the human consciousness, bound as the latter is by Euclidean space. We cannot comprehend the totality of the universe, but the poetic image is able to express that totality.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

Words can’t really express one’s emotions. They are too inert.
– Andrei Tarkovsky

Let the poems breathe.
Let the story unfold.
Let the paint dry.
– @TheHellebore

Should I greatly yearn to be an athlete, it would be the same thing as my yearning to go to heaven and to be permitted to be as despairing there as I am here.
– Franza Kafka

In an essay, Rob G Macfarlane writes of a father & son capsized in the Gulf of Mexico.

They clung to the hull. At night, the air filled w/ dolphin song, & they realized they were in two concentric phosphorescent rings: the outer of sharks, the inner of dolphins, protecting them.

They survived. & I think about this story all the time, in fact. Concentric circles; there’s grace in it whether or not you believe in anything beyond what’s here on earth.

May we each have a ring of dolphins sparing us from a ring of sharks.
– Maya C. Popa

I stuck my head out the window and took deep breaths of the fragrant air. It was the most beautiful of all moments.
– Jack Kerouac

How beautiful the world was when one looked at it without searching, just looked, simply and innocently.
– Hermann Hesse

Clouds sink down the hills
Coffee is hot again. The dog
Turns and turns about, stops and sleeps.
– Gary Snyder

Johannes Göransson:
Whenever a foreign writer gets attention in the US, people ask why they werent ”discovered” until now. As if the whole world’s literature depends on a US

If a phrase sparks the gest of song memory endures longer — like the hum of a taut string in the dark.

…at times, the poet must be willing to be struck dumb — momentarily blinded before the gift.
– Jillian Tamaki interview with Yusef Komunyakaa, New York Times

You don’t have to move mountains. You will change the world just by being a warm, kind-hearted human being.
– Anita Krizzan

If you want to get old fast, eat alot of sugar. But, quit the sweet stuff and your disease risk, along with many common health complaints, aches and pains, will quickly shrink as well. And as a bonus, eliminating sugar will discourage the development of wrinkles on your face.
– Frank Lipman MD

And how could peace be built without some assurance of permanence with regard to our economic life?
– E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful

In our time, the Unconscious is as extinct, as a domain beyond the commodity world and independent of it, as nature itself.
– Fredric Jameson

Think with your whole body.
– Taisen Deshimaru

If you live,
you look back and beg
for it again, the hazardous
– Before, by Ada Limón

Water, like feeling and emotion, is an agent of change and movement, as it sets us in motion. Water causes matter to dissolve, and like feeling, it can make hearts of stone melt.
– Erel Shalit, The Human Soul (Lost) in Transition at the Dawn of a New Era

Detachment is necessary for peace, and peace is necessary for happiness.
– Naval Ravikant

just me, my chamomile tea, & my thoughts about everything in the universe growing farther & farther apart.
– Chen Chen

A field of lavender slashed its hair
and sent me a letter.
It read: This is the truth.
– Katherine Larson, Alone, Awake in That Field

Where there are gaps, how much can you invent and imagine what’s going on in the interior life? Can you allow yourself to do that at all?
– Hermione Lee

Poets Prescription:
Rub sunshine into sore limbs.
Use Mozart ear-drops regularly.
Taste a poem a day.
Always keep a breath of Spring handy.

Wash eyes in wonder
– Diana Hendry, Poet

the shift from….

look how much pain I can endure to… look how much pain I can prevent
– @ayanatheoracle

What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.
– C.S. Lewis

Friends, take the wins. They don’t mean the fight is over. But momentum builds step by step and you gain nothing (that I can see) by downplaying progress. Onwards.
– Jesse Jenkins

To end that eternal conflict between our self and the world… to unite ourselves with nature so as to form one endless whole–that is the goal of all our striving.
– Friedrich Hölderlin

Trauma disconnects you. Your self-disconnection becomes your self-rejection (shadow self). Your self-rejection becomes your projection. You unknowingly project outward what you reject inward. Healing reconnects you. Breathe. Feel and heal yourself. You deserve to be whole again.
– Inner Practitioner

We put so much energy into what other people are doing to us…we forget to check to see what we are doing to ourselves. We don’t have to tolerate disrespect and abuse. We have the choice to walk away. We have to become more responsible of the energy we attach ourselves too.
– Turtle Breeze

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.
– Hermann Hesse

I only want people who love themselves around me.
– Inner Practicioner

Your voice is gone now; I hardly hear you.
Your starry voice all shadow now
and the earth dark again
with your great changes of heart.
And by day the grass going brown in places
under the broad shadows of the maple trees.
– Louise Glück

Just what future the Designer of the universe has provided for the souls of men I do not know, I cannot prove. But I find that the whole order of Nature confirms my confidence that, if it is not like our noblest hopes and dreams, it will transcend them.
– Henry Norris Russell

When reading, only read. When eating, only eat. When thinking, only think.
– Seungsahn

Actual harsh writing advice: writing communities and peers will freeze you out and break your heart for shitty reasons. You will fall out with writers you deeply admire, who disappoint you, or who you disappoint. Undo the harm you’ve lived. Be good to people with less than you.
– @Vanessid

Exhale only love.
– Rumi

Adrian Ernesto Cepeda:
Writing advice: Support & champion unpublished writers and those struggling at the beginning of their careers. The true secret sauce is to share calls for submissions and give them empowering encouragement. We need all voices published to find their audiences. Write On!

To see things for what they are is to see with the eyes of the vastness itself.
– Suzanne Segal

By perseverance the snail reached the Ark.
– Charles Spurgeon

What I ask of [the writer] is not to ignore the reality and the fundamental problems that exist. The world’s hunger, the atomic threat, the alienation of man, I am astonished that they do not color all our literature.
– Jean-Paul Sartre

Plot and plan like all good generals.
– E.A. Bucchianeri

I set my star so high that I would constantly be in motion toward it.
– Sidney Poitier

A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.
– Michelangelo

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg:

Maybe, every so often, you are allowed to say to yourself:

I have done enough.

I am enough.

I am allowed to rest.

Red heart

– Shabbat Shalom

It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it.
– Amelia Barr

Dana Levin:
After a while, “Why?” is the least helpful question. You can get lost in it for years. It can impede the more crucial “What now?”

Nina Turner:
We can’t negotiate with white supremacy. We need to get rid of it.

Bruce Cockburn:
A mist rises as the sun goes down
And the light that’s left forms a kind of crown
The earth is bread, the sun is wine
It’s a sign of a hope that’s ours for all time.

reminder that the BMI scale was invented by a racist mathematician (not a doctor) for the purpose of eugenics and he himself even admitted later that it was and is not representative of health
– @saoirse_idk

Baldwin is so cool in his anger, so smart.
– Walter Mosley

Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I’m glad for that.
– Ally Condie

Our ideals are our better selves.
– Amos Bronson Alcott

Elisa Gabbert:
I don’t travel anymore, I just take days off so I can catch up on the discourse.

Sima Lee:
When I was growing up the elders called mutual aid “looking out for our people”. They would stuff money in your hand they took out their bra or bring you extra groceries or extra clothes. Whether they had political education or not they did this with kindness and love.

Maaza Mengiste:
Someone might need to hear this: Take care of yourself. Take care of your physical self. Be your body’s fiercest guardian.

We are all fragile beings. We have all been on the brink of multiple catastrophes. It takes a toll. Protect yourself. Protection also means gentleness.

The rain’s rather nice. It makes you feel good inside, elemental, just to listen.
– Sylvia Plath

Mental health cannot be separated from social determinants of health. To improve mental health on a population-level, we need to ensure that people have safe homes, jobs, food security, free medical care, and community connection. Structural change required.
– @AmandaButler__

As things get worse, poetry
gets better, because it
becomes more necessary.
– Eileen Myles

Megan Rebekah:
Just another reminder that in Welsh if you want to say ‘to calm my mind’ the traditional phrase directly translates to “to return to my trees”

New technologies won’t save the world. Change of the economy and social norms will.

Smart trash => more mining => Nature destruction

Why would we need “smart trash” when we can have NO trash!
– Isabelle Letell

Dr. Twyla Baker:
Possibly the most important thing we as Native educators teach our students is that they are loved, worthy, valuable, genius, and that the colonizer gaze is unimportant as far as their sense of self worth. We actively fight hundreds of years of indoctrination every single day.

Jason Hickel:
Given we know that rich people tend to lack empathy, it is astonishing that anyone would want them in charge of anything that involves making decisions about other people’s health and lives.

Bless the poets, the workers for justice, the dancers of ceremony, the singers of heartache, the visionaries, all makers and carriers of fresh meaning—We will all make it through, despite politics and wars, despite failures and misunderstandings.
– Joy Harjo

1) Let go of past fantasies.

2) Take it vibrationally, not personally.

3) Be in your heart because your ego cannot ascend, only your heart can.

– Inner Practitioner

Working out every day is mental therapy.
– @orangebook_

The possession of knowledge doesn’t kill the sense of wonder and mystery.
There is always more mystery.
– Anaïs Nin

Folk tales told well have the power to be tacit ritual. In other words they have the strength to put their arms around the whole room and create a container that for an hour you can cook in the images of the story. You can allow yourself, bidden or unbidden, to be provoked by the images. And somehow it is safe to go deep within it. So I think it’s partially to do with the way a room is held, the feeling that you’re in the presence of something ancient, which these stories are, and a readiness in the listener to allow themselves to just be carried by the power of the thing.
– Martin Shaw

I wonder what these people think
love with God is .
That God who created the Heavens
who created the earth
who made the universe appear
is His love gained so easily ?
That you come in
and sit before Him
you talk and you listen ?
Do you fancy
this is a soup kitchen ?
You come in
and you drink it down ?
Then you just leave?
– Shams Tabrizi

Unless the ecology movement encompasses the problem of domination in all its aspects, it will contribute nothing toward eliminating the root causes of the ecological crisis of our time. If the ecology movement stops at mere reforms in pollution and conservation control without dealing radically with the need for an expanded concept of revolution it will merely serve as a safety valve for the existing system of natural and human exploitation.
– Ecology Action East (1970)

What a Shame
by Kate Klim
What a shame that shiny apple
It was fine but now it’s rotten
Would’ve really loved to eat it
What a shame
What a shame
In the junk drawer
There’s a letter I’ve forgotten
Would’ve done me good to read it what a shame
What a shame, What a shame
What a shame that our footpath
Led us straight up to a mountain
Couldn’t find our way around it
What a shame
What a shame, you lost your center
Now you’re swinging wild without it
I won’t be here once you’ve found it
What a shame
What a shame, What a shame
What a shame when our story
Doesn’t go the way we planned it
Had an A-frame happy ending
What a shame
What a shame that we don’t get things
Based on how much that we want it
Could’ve loved you single-handed
What a shame
What a shame, What a shame

“He paid a debt He did not owe
I owed a debt I could not pay
I needed someone to wash my sins away.”
So began the song that I sang countless times throughout my childhood. I was born with a debt; born broken; born sinful. I was delivered deficient, with a God shaped hole in my heart.
I’m a “people pleaser”; at least that’s the way I’ve described myself through most of my life. I hate “in real life” conflict. I say “excuse me” when it’s not my fault, and if I’m walking towards anyone, I quickly get out the way.
“Why are you people pleaser?” I suppose it’s because I dislike conflict.
“But why do you dislike conflict?” I would imagine it’s due to my comfort zones and desire for people to like me.
“Buy why? Why is that so important to you?”
It hit me earlier this week, like a metric ton of bricks in the most vulnerable recesses of my wayward soul. I feel endlessly indebted; and I feel broken. Sure, such overt iterations rarely cross my mind, but I realize it’s been the ambient soundtrack of my life. The ever present visitor lurking in quiet shadows.
Even as it percolated in my subconscious these past years, unnamed and without shape or mass, I had begun to counteract its pernicious effect. I have tried to find my “no”; tried to disentangle my deferential behavior—from my innate worth.
I am not indebted to anyone.
I am not indebted to anyone.
I am not indebted to anyone.
I have a strong, moral foundation that informs the way I treat others and interact with my world, but I’m slowly uncovering that perhaps I’m not a people pleaser after all. Perhaps, I’ve been saddled with an indebtedness and a brokenness that was never mine to carry.
In fairness, my personality undoubtedly has genetic components and other contextual determinants, but as I navigate these incremental epiphanies, a weight is beginning to lift; a weight forged in shouted threats of eternal hellfire and brimstone.
I don’t owe anyone.
I don’t need to prove my worth by being overly gracious, overly accommodating, overly polite.
I don’t have any cracks that demand repair, any innate deficiencies that must be fortified.
I certainly have a desire for the growth that occurs on the other side of authentic introspection, and I have an irrepressible thirst for knowledge, for understanding, for wisdom. But I don’t owe that to anyone—except me.
As I rest in that liminal space between present and future, between being and becoming:
I’m whole.
– The Subversive Lens

You choose the future with your actions each day.
– James Clear

I was certainly influenced by Hemingway insofar as it was he who taught us a certain simplicity of dialogue and the importance of the little things in life.
– Simone de Beauvoir

A poet is emotional, yes, but rigid, too—they make their mess within a form, which is the only way people can stand them.
– Kelly Schirmann

The imagination is a dream factory of which realities are a by-product.
– Richard Wilkins

Women almost never become art monsters because art monsters only concern themselves with art, never with mundane things. Nabokov didn’t even fold his own umbrella. Vera licked his stamps for him.
– Jenny Offill

When we look at plants, we also see miracles of knowing. The apple tree ‘knows’ how to make roots, branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit. You say that the apple tree, having no intelligence, has no other choice. But your ribs, your glands, your backbone, have you created them with your intelligence? It is the work of ”knowing”, which embraces all, including our ability to think.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Get better daily. Don’t try to get it all done in a day.
– Shane Parrish

I’ve lost enough people through my healing and growth to know it’ll always be ok.
– Inner Practitioner

pull up a seat
on the sand
by the sea
(or lay in cozy repose)
under the star-filled night-time sky
meditate, ponder, reflect
relax, enjoy, rejoice
and be enchanted
by the crackling sounds
and soft flickering glow
of a warm seaside fire
cooled by coastal breeze
while the sounds of the Pacific surf
with its rolling waves
and foamy white froth
wash the shore
and soothe your soul
– akh

One cannot ask for a life, or two lives. One can only warrant the hope of an increasing potency in each man’s heart.
– Patti Smith

Wonders happen if we can succeed
in passing through the harshest danger;
but only in a bright and purely granted
achievement can we realize wonder.
To work with Things in the indescribable
relationship is not too hard for us;
that pattern grows more intricate and subtle,
and being swept along is not enough.
Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two
contradictions…For the god
wants to know himself in you.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone,
in the forest, at night, cherished by this
wonderful, unintelligible,
perfectly innocent speech,
the most comforting speech in the world,
the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges,
Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it.
It will talk as long as it wants this rain.
As long as it talks I am going to listen.
– Thomas Merton

In this dark I rest,
unready for the light which dawns

I need
more of the night before I open
eyes and heart
to illumination. I must still
grow in the dark like a root.
not ready, not ready at all.
– Denise Levertov

Martin Shaw:
Love derails world-weary strategy, loosens cynicism from your heart, laces every single one of your bones with a complete re-boot of wonder.
You guide your cattle through the Altai mountains in just one night and arrive at a green, slow-swishing Irish sea with moon-white sand between your toes. It is the greatest thing. Stay away from anyone that tells you otherwise. I mean turn around and walk away.
Love gives us our stories. So we could prepare well.
Wander your oak valleys, linger in ornate chapels at dusk, get thrown out of the tavern at midnight, be kind, kiss the wounded, fight injustice and protect, protect, protect all the trembling bells of delight that you notice out of the corner of your eye when everyone else is oblivious.
Value yourself, know yourself, don’t be naive, but don’t be afraid of love. Carry it.
If you are frightened, or tired, or sick in heart,
then let these words hold your hand in the dark.

It is naturally very difficult
for us beginners to see the teacher
as having exhausted all faults
and perfected all good qualities.
When the teacher is actually present, conditions can easily make wrong thoughts come up, and they may be very strong.
We might think, “This teacher is very short-tempered, he’s so tight-fisted,
he only likes new people . . .”
You must resist such thoughts and think,
“This is impossible, it is my own impure perception and way of seeing things.”
Part from your disrespectful attitude immediately, or within four hours,
or at least within twenty-four hours.
The Great Omniscient One has said:
Constantly dwell
on the teacher’s good qualities,
Don’t think of faults, and even if you see any, consider them as good qualities:
“They are surely my own perception,
for the teacher has no faults.”
Think this sincerely, and use the antidote
of parting and restraint.
Moreover, should you have
a disrespectful thought in a dream
with regard to the teacher’s conduct,
you must part from it as soon as you wake up, as is explained in the Display
of the Perfected Wheel:
If in the course of a dream
You see faults in the teacher,
Part from that the moment you awake.
Should you fail to part from it,
it will grow into
The cause for rebirth
in the Hell of Ultimate Torment.
If you hear others speaking
of faults in the teacher, do your best
to find a way to stop them,
and if you cannot do so,
block your ears with your fingers
and reflect on the teacher’s good qualities.
You should not keep the company
of such people or relax with them.
As the Source of Nectar Tantra says,
If they criticize the diamond master,
Stop them by peaceful means or wrathful.
If you do not have the ability,
Mindfully block your ears.
Do not associate with them or talk to them;
If you frequent them
You will cook in the lower realms.
Nowadays there are many people
who talk about the qualities of, say,
a good dog: they extol its fine pedigree
and loud bark, they claim how much fiercer
it is than the most savage carnivores,
and so forth; and they praise the excellence
of their horses and cattle,
saying how indebted they are to them.
But when it comes to the excellent qualities
of a master who teaches the Dharma,
rarer than a star in the daytime,
it seems, are those who think
about all the qualities their teachers have
and all the kindness they have shown.
Point at yourself, now, and think carefully:
we do not even have as much regard
for our teacher as for our horses
and cattle and dogs; how could we ever attain accomplishment that way?
Reflect and call to mind
even the smallest of your teachers’
good qualities. Think of their kindness —
even just a single verse of a scripture
that they have transmitted to you,
or a cup of tea, or simply an approving look.
By thinking about this, not just once,
but again and again, your devotion will grow.
In this manner, work hard
at the different ways to please your teachers:
by serving them with material offerings,
you will fill the measure
of the two accumulations;
by serving them with your body and speech, you will purify the obscurations of your body, speech, and mind; and, most importantly,
by serving them with your practice,
you will hold the teachings of the practice lineage. The benefits of so doing
are described in the Sutra
Requested by Maitreya:
Know that all attainment—
all the mass of perfect liberation
and vision of primal wisdom of the Listeners, Solitary Realizers, and Unsurpassable Buddhas — all of it arises from having perfectly followed a spiritual friend. Maitreya, you should also know that the benefit and happiness
of sentient beings all arises
from one’s own sources of good,
and those too arise from the spiritual friend.
In the Sutra Requested by Ratnacuda we read:
Child of the gods, by following and venerating
a spiritual friend, you will see everything
as a pure Buddhafield, you will obtain the supreme concentration of great compassion, you will never be without transcendent wisdom, you will bring sentient beings to full maturity, and all your hopes will be perfectly fulfilled.
And the Great Omniscient One says:
As a result, unbiased pure perception arises,
One is trained in loving kindness,
compassion, and bodhichitta,
Experiences and realization naturally grow,
One acts on an infinite scale for others’ good
And accomplishes all their wishes
in accordance with the Dharma.
And so on—all this is widely dealt with
in numerous texts.
This completes a brief account
of how to follow the spiritual friend,
who is the root of the path.
– Düdjom Rinpoché, A Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom

What Happened
(with apologies to Mary Oliver)
I once believed in the reality
of thinking things true
as proved by equations and
pronouncements by authorities.
Then one day
a surprise occurred
and indescribable bliss
went racing up to my head
and I fell into a trance
of love.
I quit trying to explain
all this to others: no one
understood and I had no real words, just
these rare and exquisite sensations
of lovemaking with the invisible.
Where were these unknown raptures coming from?
Was it angels making love with me?
Frankly, I wouldn’t believe any
of this strangeness,
if it had not happened to me.
– Dorothy Walters

I think that thoughts are so precious you can talk them away. You can lose them.
– V. S. Naipaul

We don’t become healers.
We are already healing. We are.
Some of us still catch up on what we are.
We don’t become storytellers.
But come as carriers of the stories that
We and our ancestors did live. We are.
Some of us still catch up on what we are.
We don’t become artists. We came as artists. We are.
Some of us still catch up on what we are.
We don’t become writers.. dancers.. musicians.. helpers.. peace. We came as such. We are.
Some of us still catch up on what we are.
We don’t learn to love in this sense. We came as love. We are love. Some of us are still trying to infect who we are.
– Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Why don’t you
just ripen,
burst open like
a pomegranate
and let all
the opposites
spill out?
They are your seeds.
The juice is more
important than
the form.
You include
the bitter
and the sweet,
the bloody
and the radiant.
Don’t you know
that every breath
is full of grace
because it is
– Fred LaMotte

attachment to impermanent things is a source of great despair. (so we are taught by many wisdom traditions). people are not “things” (“its”). therefore this principle does not apply to what’s most important in our lives.
– (hune)

no bird is ever silent.
(and no cricket, no squirrel and no fish)
they sing without stop
for silence is their only predator.
and ours too.
– hune margulies

a poem
every day there is a new god in town.
and every moon is a new moon.
everyone knows that!
you wake up in the morning
you meet the new god
and you start with him all over again.
hello god: what is your name?
nice to meet you.
i have a name too.
do you have any plans for the world today sir, god?
i really need your help with mine.
i told all about them to yesterday’s god.
and so you spend your new day
getting to know the newest god.
and you wonder if he has even noticed you.
you go on to your day and forget about god for a while.
you come home hoping to share with him a glass of wine. (or two).
then you sleep through the night and you dream of a better god tomorrow.
– hune margulies

[I feel too porous to read, and too empty to write]
Kelly Schirmann
I feel too porous to read, and too empty to write. In bed, I picture my whole body as a sea sponge—foamy and yielding, with big soft holes. I get angry with myself because this is not how a poet should be. A poet is emotional, yes, but rigid, too—they make their mess within a form, which is the only way people can stand them. I don’t know any forms and am drained of my feelings just from being alive. Still, supposedly, I want to be an artist. I eat buttered toast at the coffee table, thinking this over. When a tree is too slow to fruit, scientists invent new trees with quicker apples. This thought makes me scared, and emptier still. Who are the scientists? I wonder. What did a quick apple taste like?

There is a big difference between projections and hard-earned wisdom. All too often, people are accused of projecting when they make bold statements about human behavior. And sometimes this is true- our perspective can emanate from our own unresolved issues. We still have a chip on our shoulder, and that chip influences our view. But sometimes, our perspective is a reflection of what we have gleaned from our experiences. Sometimes we have learned a little something from all we have endured. So let’s not turn everyone’s wisdom into a mirror projection game. Because sometimes we are actually seeing through the veils to a truth that demands expression. Sometimes our insights are fully grounded in reality.
– Jeff Brown

Well, I don’t exactly know
What’s going on in the world today
Don’t know what there is to say
About the way the people are treating
Each other, not like brothers not like sisters
Leaders take us far away from ecology
With mythology and astrology
It’s got something to say
About the way we live today
Why can’t we learn to love each other
It’s time to turn a new face
To the whole wide world human race
Stop the money chase
Lay back, relax
Get back on the human track
Stop racing toward oblivion
Oh, such a sad, sad state we’re in
Do you recognize the bells of truth
When you hear them ring
Won’t you stop and listen
To the children sing
Won’t you come on and sing it to the children…
– Leon Russell

I desired always to stretch the night and fill it fuller & fuller of dreams.
– Virginia Woolf

Thoughts of lack manifest as limitation. Thoughts of abundance manifest as success and happiness. Failure and success are but two ends of the same stick.
– Ernest Holmes

If I could give you one thought, it would be to lift someone up. Lift a stranger up…The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well.
– Maya Angelou

In a nation of frightened dullards there is a sorry shortage of outlaws, and those few who make the grade are always welcome.
– Hunter S. Thompson

New Learnings
And it feels like the right thing to do:
let everything go, set
everything free,
things we think ours
but seem not, for eighteen
reasons, or too much thinking
things that want to leave us,
people, home,
the older I get, I say,
free everything,
and in so doing, I learn what is mine,
for the moment—–because other than
our spirit, and a post-body life,
a few things we know like blood
of our own, Mother, Father,
if we are the lucky ones;
children, if you have them;
and people who’ve stayed
over years, “siblings
that blood did not make”
—and family that feel
like friends, the few, few things
that time has proven, and God,
well, God is permanent, as our
spirits are, but the coat
you cannot find, or must throw out,
the ring you lost,
the one earring fallen off,
the temporary
love, how many of those
have we?—even the ones
we married,
one asks, “Oh, me, Oh, life
—of the questions of these recurring
—That you are here—that life exists.”
And in that existing, I will take it
by minute, by each of sixty seconds
in one, and that which stays— minute
upon minute upon a year
of minutes, a life of, is blessing;
and that which stayed
for a season,
is also; I say, and who am I
to say?—but I do, I say, release
expectation, the wish to find
your favorite scarf, that hangs
in your abandoned house, or to find
an old lover who has changed, or maybe
you have, the way days make everything
temporary, even the calendar does not stay,
even the day; the second rises and is gone,
what comes to your face and path, comes;
if you love it, let it in; never ask it
to stay, it will if it wants to—
if so, for a season, everybody loses
their favorite ring, person, thing—Everything
in flight, we are each a journey,
not merely the entirety of a life,
but the entirety of a day,
an hour, thus—every second, pregnant
with pause, or what comes to us,
and what comes our way, is
supposed to; maybe we should know
that, believe, but everything
is winged: Monarch, swallow, hawk
or crow, everything,
an eagle’s flight, fluctuations
of time and place, the in and out
of things, we should travel lightly,
on the kindness of strangers, or our own;
nothing stays anyway,
even when we want it
to; the temporary world,
and it is beautiful—
just today, a gift unexpected,
a moment
awakened, and rarefied,
clearly lived, as one
moment—take it, tuck it
in a pocket, grateful
it came, surprising,
and you know it;
we collect these
moments like mother birds collect
small sticks for nests, but only till
the birds are born, and strong enough
to wing—Everything flies—towards
and away, is colored:
green plover, blue heron,
amethyst starling, gems we form crowns with,
the lapwing, its “iridescent green
and purple back”—comes to us “seeking
shelter, instead
of fight”—let it in,
the way someone might
let us in, taking shelter, near
a human. Then, let it rise,
when it wants to,
because, often,
the best gifts swoop
in, before flight. That
is the moment meant
for keeping. Tuck them
in pockets, saved gems to set,
in a round around a ring:
translucent, clear—
stones, prismed, and shining,
or the opaque,
less clear, but rich—smooth to touch:
turquoise, jade,
larimar. Purple lapus
lazuli—Robert Henri taught,
we don’t have to stand
in front of what we love
to paint it, it nestles itself
inside our seeing,
our psyche, spirit, self;
it is always there,
an imprinted dusk
before its leaving.
– Marian Haddad

We are set down in Life with the resources for Life. Life is not foreign to us.
– Rilke quotes by James Hollis

If our nation can spend thirty-five billion dollars a year to fight an unjust, evil war in Vietnam, and twenty billion dollars to put a man on the moon, it can spend billions of dollars to put God’s children on their own two feet right here on earth.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Jamaal Bowman:
White supremacy isn’t theoretical. There are actual people, practices, organizations, and policies that uphold them.

Dismantle all of it.

Terence McKenna:
We are semi-conscious. This is our problem.

We’re like someone half-awake inside a burning building.

It is the second job of literature to create myth. But its first job is to destroy it.
– Kenzaburō Ōe

Without humility there can be no humanity.
– John Buchan


Aggression Does Not Work

The purpose of dharma art is to overcome aggression. According to the Buddhist vajrayana tradition, if your mind is overcome by aggression, you cannot function properly. On the other hand, if your mind is preoccupied with passion, there ar
e possibilities. In fact, artistic talent is somewhat related to the level of passion, or heightened interest in the intriguing qualities of things. Inquisitiveness is precisely the opposite of aggression. You experience inquisitiveness when there’s a sense of wanting to explore every corner and discover every possibility of the situation. You are so intrigued by what you’ve experienced, what you’ve seen, and what you’ve heard that you begin to forget your aggression. At once, your mind is at ease, seduced into greater passion. When you are in a passionate state, you begin to like the world, and you begin to be attracted to certain things-which is good. Obviously, such attraction also entails possessiveness and some sense of territoriality, which comes later. But straightforward, pure passion – without water, without ice, without soda – is good. It is drinkable; it is also food; you can live on it. It’s quite marvelous that we have passion, that we are not made purely out of aggression. It’s some kind of saving grace that we possess, which is fantastic. We should be thankful to the Great Eastern Sun vision. Without passion, nothing can be experienced; nothing can be worked on. With aggression, we have bad feelings about ourselves; either we feel tremendously righteous, that we are the only ones who are right, or we feel pissed off that somebody is destroying us. That is pathetic. It prevents us from seeing basic goodness.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

A mind filled with chaos looks for the solutions to its problems within the closed loop system of concepts, thoughts, crafty schemes. Sadly such machinations never bear the fruit of true peace – confined, as they are, by the in house domestic chaos of a system built on confused and deluded axioms.

The mind, in its functioning, needs to be constantly bathed in the benediction of total silence, stillness. Be still and silence itself becomes a knowing that is fresh – outside the closed loop of the past. The path, the meditative practices of prayer and contemplation, are an instruction manual for how to surrender into the flow of a knowing/gnosis that is inherent benediction.

In silence divinity becomes a homeland and tender hearted joy travels, from it – into world, through the senses. Then all touch, sound, sight, experience becomes a beatitude.
– t.k., talks last night

What will we do as the wisdom of our past bears down on our future?
– Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams

Sometimes the mountain
is hidden from me in veils
of cloud, sometimes
I am hidden from the mountain
in veils of inattention, apathy, fatigue
– Denise Levertov

Do silly things. Foolishness is a great deal more vital and healthy than our straining and striving after a meaningful life.
– Anton Chekhov

When we realize that the way we are experiencing things is mixed up with our own interpretations of things and our reactions to our own interpretations, we learn to refrain from taking our own representations for ineluctable realities, and thus reduce our susceptibility to compulsion and obsession. Within the calmness and stability this insight produces, we can distinguish between subjective projections and objective truths.
– Thomas Cleary

“I have no time for those things now,” we say;
“But in the future just a little way,
No longer by this ceaseless toil oppressed,
I shall have leisure then for thought and rest.
When I the debts upon my land have paid,
Or on foundations firm my business laid,
I shall take time for discourse long and sweet
With those beloved who round my hearthstone meet;
I shall take time on mornings still and cool
To seek the freshness dim of wood and pool,
Where, calmed and hallowed by great Nature’s peace,
My life from its hot cares shall find release;
I shall take time to think on destiny,
Of what I was and am and yet shall be,
Till in the hush my soul may nearer prove
To that great Soul in whom we live and move.
All this I shall do sometime but not now—
The press of business cares will not allow.”
And thus our life glides on year after year;
The promised leisure never comes more near.
Perhaps the aim on which we placed our mind
Is high, and its attainment slow to find;
Or if we reach the mark that we have set,
We still would seek another, farther yet.
Thus all our youth, our strength, our time go past
Till death upon the threshold stands at last,
And back unto our Maker we must give
The life we spent preparing well to live.
– Effie Waller Smith

Go Tim Cook!
“If a business is built on misleading users on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, then it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform.”

It is almost painful for me to know that I will never be able to find out what the matter and structure of the universe is made of. This would have meant being able to talk to a bird.
– Claude Lévi-Strauss

The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.
– Nikola Tesla

Gathering places have played a major role in building the relationships that have given birth to movement organizing. From coast to coast there are examples of thriving places that facilitate new levels of relationship building and community dialogue, places where voices are heard, spirit felt, and powerful new directions forged. Some spaces are a twist on the familiar; others are the result of radical revisioning of what walls and a roof can provide for the community.
– Claudia Horwitz

the god of the hebrew bible announced himself to moses and the people only through deeds of justice and liberation. not through theological algorithms. it was the freeing of slaves that god claimed as evidence of his existence and the reason for the observance of his commandments. we cannot know anything about god, of his nature or essence, but we can know his presence in the form of our own deeds of justice and liberation.
– hune margulies

Of all the things I have learned in my lifetime, the one with the greatest value is that unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly and most underrated agent of human change. Competition will improve quality and lower costs. Confidence will enable us to climb a mountain instead of a molehill. But kindness that catches us by surprise brings out the best in our natures.
– Bob Kerrey

The only tool sharp enough, impact-tough enough, precisely-tempered enough, stiff enough, hard enough, soft enough, flexible enough, rigid enough, long enough, short enough, wide enough, narrow enough, small enough, large enough to pry ourselves, our cultures, our planet, our solar system, our galaxy, our universe apart, so we, all of us, may, in learning, understand, and in understanding, survive and against all odds become something worthy of the epithet “Great.” The only tool that can do all that, is Truth.
– Elijah Morton

I’ll trust the science, when the science can’t be bought.
– Gareth Icke

What ever practice you take up, you’re also going to take your mind with you.
– Jack Kornfield

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
A little paradox for you:
To live within planetary limits the dominant culture needs to learn to recognize ‘enough.’
If you are a participant in that culture who is trying to change it, you therefore should practice recognizing when you’ve done ‘enough’ & worked ‘enough.’

behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern…all human beings…are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts…the words…the music…the thing itself.
– Virginia Woolf

next time
don’t be ridiculous—truth is no idea ·
no construct of imagination –
unworthy of, ignorant of, blind to –
unacquainted with Truth ·
no human will ever find its measure or define it –
Truth defines US, defines YOU, and,
mark my word, it’s no threat –
ignore me or listen –
Truth is not watching –
your failure as a human being is your own –
and every moment of every day,
Truth defines you –
consider my caution
next time your tongue splits in two —
– Elijah Morton

Damn—by email no less —
I’ve been thrown out—THROWN OUT!
Ostracized by BIOLOGY and GENES!!!
Once, admired! Extolled!!! Elevated!!!!
Now, now, an outcast –
If I knew how to whimper, I would –
Loneliness heaped on loneliness –
Oh, Neptune! Oh, Pan! Arggg!
hhhhh – I knew they envied me. I KNEW IT!
Thrown OUT! Begone, thou MONSTER!!!
Poll with the runches, Eli – shake it off –
I’ve been permanently expelled
from the League of Leprechauns
for being a centimeter too tall —
– Elijah Morton

Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.
– Harry Emerson Fosdick

Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs. – life is short.
– Charlotte Brontë

Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to reduce the number of classes that teach civics, democracy and American history?
– Michael Beschloss

Books read us back to ourselves… The escape into another story reminds us that we too are another story. Not caught, not confined, not predestined.
– Jeanette Winterson

My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.
– Aldous Huxley

God says, “Lay the hammer down.”
Which is really my own voice, make no mistake.
And it is your own voice, too.
So, “Lay the hammer down”
and put your hand to your lips,
or lay it against your heart, whispering
“Sweet forgiveness,”
though there is nothing to forgive.
All we do is try to love.
It appears as everything: anger, fear, and hurt of every kind.
But all we do is try to love.
There is nothing to forgive
lifting The Hammer again…
– Em Claire

What cannot be said will be wept.
– Sappho

A poet is a time mechanic not an embalmer.
– Jack Spicer

All the best essays are epistemological journeys from ignorance or curiosity to knowledge.
– Geoff Dyer

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

A sense of blessedness comes from a change of heart, not from more blessings.
– Mason Cooley

Jack Kerouac:
Everything fell apart in me. How are things with you?

Giving thanks for abundance is greater than the abundance itself.
– Rumi

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
– Gilbert K. Chesterton

The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.
– Neale Donald Walsch

Kelli Russell Agodon:
As an adult, I spend more time thinking about Charlotte’s Web than I need to.

What childhood book or memory still wanders into your brain? What references do you still find entering your work?

Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine.
– Buddha

Barbara Jane Reyes:
Reminder: Poetas, this is not a competition. Unlearn this capitalist, scarcity mindset. I am not competing with any of you. I want all of us to define and find our own success. We are here to build something together.

God simply crafts people in a particular way–a sublime way–and then this person is born into, shaped by a particular culture and particular people and something extraordinary emerges. Adulation, fame, and study naturally adhere to them. They are a great gift. It is pointless to envy them. One must enjoy them. They are lessons, like mountains and rivers and sunsets. They are lessons, like glorious voices in song, perfect sentences, and films that shape your mind. I was so happy to spend a bibulous evening with Pat Neal and learned that Gary Cooper did not disappoint: When the lights were turned off and the scripts put away, he was every bit as magnificent as I had wanted him to be, as she wanted him to be, as we all dreamed he would be. It was a bracing evening.
– Tennessee Williams on Gary Cooper, Interview with James Grissom

I’ve always thought people would find a lot more pleasure in their routines if they burst into song at significant moments.
– John Barrowman

It is easy for me to imagine that the next great division of the world will be between people who wish to live as creatures and people who wish to live as machines.
– Wendell Berry, Life is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition

A dream of tenderness

wrestles with all I know of history

– Adrienne Rich

… mornings are highly fragile, within a few minutes the day is decided, who knows, the future as well, if our future is this sequence of unattached days, independent of each other, but looking similar enough to qualify as contributing to the same life.
– Pierre Senges

Hardship is a blessing when it spurs effort and development; ease is a curse when it increases complacency and self-indulgence.
– Muso Kokushi

Just lying on the couch and being happy.
Only humming a little, the quiet sound in the head.
Trouble is busy elsewhere at the moment, it has
so much to do in the world.

People who might judge are mostly asleep; they can’t
monitor you all the time, and sometimes they forget.
When dawn flows over the hedge you can
get up and act busy.

Little corners like this, pieces of Heaven
left lying around, can be picked up and saved.
People won’t even see that you have them,
they are so light and easy to hide.

Later in the day you can act like the others.
You can shake your head. You can frown.

– William Stafford

The artist is, no matter how parodoxical it may seem, a secret laborer of love. Against all odds, love continues to tempt artists in exile as well, no matter how sarcastic is artist’s work …continue never-ending adventure and humanize shipwreck whenever it may be.
– Norman Manea

The just man is most free from disturbance, while the unjust is full of the utmost disturbance.
– Epicurus

Human maturity is neither offensive nor defensive; it is finally able to accept that reality is what it is.
– Richard Rohr

Artists are here to disturb the peace.
– James Baldwin

Does the soul care about the mightiness
of this love? No. The soul is a place
and love must find its way there.
– Linda Gregg

Maybe the hero’s journey has taken us far enough, and the time has come for a different mythic imagination to rise and offer multiple approaches to the many dilemmas and complicated problems. Whereas the hero’s journey tends to be conceived as a courageous search in distant lands, the genius myth involves a turn within that leads to a deeper sense of self, but also a return to the origins of our lives.
– Michael Meade

So if the ode is about getting in right relation to the powers that make us feel alive, elegy is about warding off, or transforming, the powers that want to kill us.
– Robert Hass

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.
– William Faulkner

But she goes back and forth remembering
gentle Atthis and in longing
she bites her tender mind
– Sappho

by Taylor Johnson
What was rampant in me was not wisteria. Perhaps decay, or loss of reflection.
No one like me gets old, or so I thought, even as I watched the days fade into each other.
Was I no one? Which phrase means a grown-up girl: mica-gilded; pure myth; gone?
Thoreau might say I was trying to find the door to nothingness, that the wild was already in me.
However, I walked out my bed to find my skin, only to return moondrunk, bramble-laden,
stripped to sinew, a broken syntax. No denying how I got here, I laid down among the tall grass
and came up a specter. I came up everywhere.

Sometimes I am taken for granite. Everybody is taken for granite sometimes but I am not in a mood for being fair to everybody. I am in a mood for being fair to me. I am taken for granite quite often, and this troubles and distresses me, because I am not granite. I am not sure what I am, but I know it isn’t granite. I have known some granite types, we all do: characters of stone, upright, immovable, unchangeable, opinions the general size shape and pliability of the Rocky Mountains, you have to quarry five years to chip out one little stony smile. That’s fine, that’s admirable, but it has nothing to do with me. Upright is fine, but downright is where I am, or downwrong.

I am not granite and should not be taken for it. I am not flint or diamond or any of that great hard stuff. If I am stone, I am some kind of shoddy crumbly stuff like sandstone or serpentine, or maybe schist. Or not even stone but clay, or not even clay but mud. And I wish that those who take me for granite would once in a while treat me like mud.

Being mud is really different from being granite and should be treated differently. Mud lies around being wet and heavy and oozy and generative. Mud is underfoot. People make footprints in mud. As mud I accept feet. I accept weight. I try to be supportive. I like to be obliging. Those who take me for granite say this is not so but they haven’t been looking where they put their feet. That’s why the house is all dirty and tracked up.
– Ursula K. Le Guin, The Wave in The Mind

Like a taper one must melt
in pursuit of learning,
Since without learning
…. one cannot know God.
– Shaykh Sa’adi Shirazi

Attachment is ego-love.

Detachment is self-love.

Attachment comes from the love of power.

Detachment comes from the power of love.

– Inner Practitioner

Sometimes the one who is running from the Life/Death/Life nature insists on thinking of love as a boon only. Yet love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back. Pain is chased away and surfaces another time. To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings- all in the same relationship.
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Every man has a man within him who must die.
– Christian Wiman

The intellectual
is always showing off –
the lover is always getting lost.
The intellectual runs away,
afraid of drowning;
the whole business of love
is to drown in the sea.
– Rumi

Art is too important not to share.
– Romero Britto

Barthes writes, ‘You are the only one who can never see yourself except as an image; you never see your eyes unless they are dulled by the gaze they rest upon the mirror or the lens (I am interested in seeing my eyes only when they look at you):
– Beth Bachman

Because this whole system is in fact one system, only divided by men’s minds and by the myopia which is called education, there is another simple term which synthesizes the degree to which an invention is creative and accomplishes a creative fitting. And this is the presence of health.
– Ian L. McHarg

If no one is pissed-off with you then you are dead but just haven’t figured it out yet.
– Tom Peters

When we came home together
We found the inside weather.
All of our love unended
– May Sarton, A Light Left On

Capture the moment
Carry the day
Stay with the chase
As long as you may…
– Fogelberg

Maureen O’Leary:
It’s interesting how sometimes I will learn something in my spiritual practice just in time for me to need that skill.

Jung once said that “there is no difficult that does not ultimately stem from ourselves. We are our own difficulty.”
– Marie-Louise von Franz, The Way of the Dream

The worst thing we ever did
was put God in the sky
out of reach
pulling the divinity
from the leaf,
sifting out the holy from our bones,
insisting God isn’t bursting dazzlement
through everything we’ve made
a hard commitment to see as ordinary,
stripping the sacred from everywhere
to put in a cloud man elsewhere,
prying closeness from your heart.
The worst thing we ever did
was take the dance and the song
out of prayer
made it sit up straight
and cross its legs
removed it of rejoicing
wiped clean its hip sway,
its questions,
its ecstatic yowl,
its tears.
The worst thing we ever did is pretend
God isn’t the easiest thing
in this Universe
available to every soul
in every breath.
– Chelan Harkin

It is easy for me to imagine that the next great division of the world will be between people who wish to live as creatures and people who wish to live as machines.
– Wendell Berry

To trust zen (shin zen) is not a religious or spiritual act. It is the lazy man’s way of eating when hungry,
sleeping when tired, laughing for no reason at all.
No need for long hours of zazen, no need to ignore it either. I set my pen down and stare out the patio window. Dark has blanketed the courtyard. A cool breeze forces me to close the window. Soon, it will be time for bed.
– Shinzen

Here on the edge of hell
Stands Harlem—
Remembering the old lies,
The old kicks in the back,
The old “Be patient”
They told us before.

Sure, we remember.
Now when the man at the corner store
Says sugar’s gone up another two cents,
And bread one,
And there’s a new tax on cigarettes—
We remember the job we never had,
Never could get,
And can’t have now
Because we’re colored.

So we stand here
On the edge of hell
in Harlem
And look out on the world
And wonder
What we’re gonna do
In the face of what
We remember.
– Langston Hughes

I still remember the things I love,
even if they don’t remember me.
Even if brains stop remembering,
there are traces in the blood,
places in between the lines of my fingertips
and in the intelligence of the gut
where my soul’s depths grip onto
the nature of mattering.

I still remember the most important things,
as a tree remembers the hard winter in its rings,
as a stone keeps hold of its secretive origin,
as a river retains the love between
the earth and the sky from which it sprang.

I do remember much more than I know,
but what I can’t just remember,
what only opens when it happens,
is riding the crest of making real love
when it comes.
– George Gorman

Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous. I want to be a writer who reminds others that these moments exist; I want to prove that there is infinite space…
– Anaïs Nin

are like hearts.
keeps the arteries
clear. Whatever
truth there is
to speak— speak,
or the heart
is destined to stop.
– Andrea Gibson

There are no chains like hate…dwelling on your brother’s faults multiplies your own. You are far from the end of your journey.
– Buddha

No amount of bio hacking and supplements will give you the vitality, energy, and life force that getting good sleep, exercising consistently, and eating clean will.
– Michael Paik

Stay in the spiritual fire. Let it cook you.
– Rumi

Let the valley teach you how to sing.
– Cynthia Gilbert

Any idiot can face a crisis; it’s this day-to-day living that wears you out.
– Anton Chekhov

Unfortunately, trauma can predispose us to overuse the dorsal vagus instead of the ventral vagus, which depends on social engagement to support us in times of threat. This reality will be exacerbated if we have had prior trauma, especially early-childhood trauma. The end result is a fight-flight state of arousal frozen beneath the death feigning response of the dorsal vagus.
– Rebecka Eggers & The Passion Path

You must react everyday to what is happening. But that is no way to write a book or a sentence.
– James Baldwin

How do you plan to survive spiritual warfare if you are surpressing your anger?
– @mikael_jibril

…the rental rate for this gift of being allowed to flourish and reside in this continuum with the rest of the world is that we do everything possible to be indigenously beautiful, promising that we make ourselves spiritually full and delicious so as to feed the next ones to appear in the ongoing river on the occasion of our passing
– Martin Prechtel, The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic

When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude.
– William Wordsworth

We are not good enough for ourselves because we don’t fit with our own image of perfection. We cannot forgive ourselves for not being what we wish to be, or rather what we believe we should be. We cannot forgive ourselves for not being perfect.
– Don Miguel Ruiz

Truly great work ages well. Hype erodes with time. Quality persists.
– James Clear

If you’re not a Buddhist you think there are Buddhists and non-Buddhists, but if you’re a Buddhist you realize everybody’s a Buddhist—even the bugs.
– Suzuki Roshi

Don’t be here now.
Be here now implies
that we should just be able
to snap into peace and presence
that we don’t have a millenia or more
worth of trauma
sitting in our chests
that we don’t have ancient, compounded
powerful escapist mechanisms
playing out constantly
in our deep, deep mind
hijacking said presence.
Be here now implies
there’s something wrong with us
for not being able to be here now.
Instead of being here now
let’s see if we can add tenderness
around out need to escape.
Let’s normalize that we’ve learned well
how to escape and for good reason.
Let’s acknowledge that it’s not actually safe
to be here now.
If we could all be here now
in a meadow of perfect peace and presence
if there were a switch to flip and we
could all be here now without
having to move through the mountain
of pain, rage and anguish
to get to that meadow, of course we would.
The thing is, when we enter the here and now
we first find tremendous amounts
of pain that we were never taught
how to be with and tend to appropriately
and that most in our world don’t have the faintest clue
about being with either
so if we were to be here now
in many cases, someone would probably
have us committed.
Hence addiction, hence distraction,
hence all of the things.
So, dear friends, don’t be here now.
Just know that your coping mechanisms
make sense
and were originally established
to protect you
in an unsafe environment,
not to destroy you.
And your addictions are still
working so hard to protect your
sweet self from more hurt.
The only goal I would hope
for you to have for yourself
isn’t to force your sweet, wise being
inorganically to be here now,
but to put love around all
the good reasons
why you’re not.
– Chelan Harkin

What a gift imagination is!
No imagination, no world.
What do I mean by that?
– Byron Katie

What we have loved, others will love, and we will teach them how; instruct them how the mind of man becomes a thousand times more beautiful than the earth on which he dwells…
– William Wordsworth, The Prelude

There will be people who say to you, ‘You are out of your lane.’ They are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don’t you let that burden you.
– Vice President Kamala D. Harris

In the Himalayan Buddhist tradition, the most precious quality a teacher can possess is a direct link back to the very source of his or her teachings.
– Dungse Garab Rinpoche

If you have all the knowledge in the world and you can’t transfer it to anyone, you are worth nothing.
– Gail Lynn

No, the only good in life lay in not being – or, if one had to be, then in being a tree, a stone, or even less than that, the grain of sand that cannot bleed beneath the grinding heel of a passer-by.
– Émile Zola, Germinal

Sometimes an agony has been lived with for so long, endured for so many years and lifetimes, that the only way for us to know it is to hear our own voice scream out with a grief cry that would sear the hearts of all who have become numb.
– David Bedrick

The experience of awe in itself is it’s own sort of healing tincture.
– Olivia Peers

The current world, troubled by one crisis after another and by one mistake after another, can make a soul weary. And there’s no amount of information or knowledge that can change that. The point of knowledge is not found in the knowledge itself. Many types of knowledge actually distance us from what we already know inside. Wisdom is intimate knowledge having to do with the core of our own being. Wisdom begins with radical self-knowledge before it ever becomes wise enough to be helpful to others. In this time when everyone is separated to one degree or another from each other, in this time when a descent is necessary, in this time when many people are feeling the deep splits within themselves, as well as suffering the deep splits and fault lines of the collective culture, what’s needed is not a series of simple binary choices. What is needed is not simply an accumulation of more information, but what is needed is a descent to interior places of wisdom.

One way of using the ancient wisdom stories as a map or guide for the times, when the outer world seems so beset with wild aggressions and big lies, is to consider that we have to look inside ourselves for a deep sense of creativity, wisdom, and the potential for renewal. If we consider the overly simplified current argument between opening up to save the economy, or continuing to distance in order to save lives, wisdom stories can help reveal how what we really need is not a false courage or lies that obscure what the true dangers are. What we need is more wisdom about how to do both things, keeping ourselves healthy and safe, while also finding wise and honest ways to return to the work and activity of society. Unfortunately, the most common way to deal with a persistent dilemma tends to be to dissociate from the issue by turning away or turning to the outer world of daily activity.

Many methods for opening intelligently and possibly wisely have already appeared in various places around the world. On a deeper level, the real issue involves whether we can, on a personal as well as on a collective level, become wiser and more creative about what to do when we find ourselves faced with such great crises.
– Michael Meade

All compounded phenomena is undergoing continuous change, and will one day come apart. Such as our body, possessions and relationships. The deeper that we can accept this fact of reality, the weaker our attachment will be. Therefore, the less suffering that we will have when it happens.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

Metaphors seem like a ruse
Like tricky pretenders
Words and languages too

God is the greatest metaphor
The champion of symbolic ideals

Instead of being the top dog
With the biggest metaphor
I’d rather not get stuck in the symbols
I have made of myself

Why authenticate the symbols
When you can authenticate the reality?

And you can still be a rampant dragon
Or a lion passant

The value of memory
Explains all of the symbols but one

Unlike the rest
The metaphor with no limit
To its symbolism
Is a kiss
– George Gorman

We would rather be ruined than changed.
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.
– W.H. Auden

While awareness is not practically divisible by categories, behavior is. A behavior is an action that the psychology of life roots itself in through recognizable faculties of being. We use elective abilities every day to motivate ourselves, to remember, to imagine, to express ourselves, to make decisions, protect ourselves, interpret meanings, take pleasure in things, to be responsibly observant, and so on. And none of this happens without real dramas never entirely metaphysical, nor entirely physical. Every one living needs cognition, sense-action, and feelings as fluctual go-betweens. More than causative controls, all of the living need feelings for deciding what they’re doing, Even when the just avoiding running into one another, our own sentience is essential to coexistence. Thus very social animals, like bees and trees, are happily cocreating their purposeful patterns of behavior through the felt interplay of their passions. All fulfilling collective behavior develops from the ground up, as we do with community cooperatives and other group effort, as when people get just as “fired up” as some any social birds do when performing their tightly coordinated sky-dances coherently.
– George Gorman

Standing on a street corner waiting for no one is power.
– Gregory Corso

Why be miserable? After all, I am playing philosophy.
– Hassan Hanafi

We chased the sun,
its red hulked glow dipping into the mountains,
the river running high, and overcast,
spanning out at the place where the hills drift apart,
and we caught the sun, up on the dark curve of a hill,
over a field grown feral with winter stalks of queen-anne’s-lace,
just as the clouds burned a pink line above the hills,
and the grasses bent, golden, in the slow wind,
and, all at once, the light caught up below, pulled beneath,
revealing the first stars, high along the blue,
and we waited longer,
for the orange to fade,
until a single point burned through,
Jupiter and Saturn entangled,
so ancient a dance, not seen in thousands of years,
hovering above our own horizon,
and us, watching in awe, before it faded once again.
– Francesca G. Varela

Beyond a given point man is not helped by more “knowing,” but only by living and doing in a partly self-forgetful way. As Goethe put it, we must plunge into experience and then reflect on the meaning of it. All reflection and no plunging drives us mad; all plunging and no reflection, and we are brutes.
– Ernest Becker

I exist not to be loved and admired, but to love and act. it is not the duty of those around me to love me. rather, it is my duty to be concerned about the world, about man.
– janusz korczak

It’s always good to start off anything by breaking a rule.
– Susan Sontag

When you observe that today’s controversies often reveal not relevance but the clash of the untaught with the wrongly taught, and when you can endure this knowledge without cynicism, as a lover of humankind, greater compensations will be open to you than a sense of your own importance or satisfaction in thinking about the unreliability of others.
– Idries Shah

Living in a dream of the future is considered a character flaw. Living in the past, bathed in nostalgia, is also considered a character flaw. Living in the present moment is hailed as spiritually admirable, but truly ignoring the lessons of history or failing to plan for tomorrow are considered character flaws.
– Sarah Manguso

The machinery of compulsory equalization works against the finest trait of the human species, the fact that we recognize ourselves in our differences and build links based on them. The best of the world lies in the many worlds the world contains, the different melodies of life, their pains and strains: the thousand and one ways of living and speaking, thinking and creating, eating, working, dancing, playing, loving, suffering, and celebrating that we have discovered over so many thousands of years.

[…] No computer could count the crimes that the pop culture business commits each day against the human rainbow and the human right to identity. But its devastating progress is mind-boggling. Time is emptied of history, and space no longer acknowledges the astonishing diversity of its parts. Through the mass media the owners of the world inform us all of our obligation to look at ourselves in a single mirror.
– Eduardo Galeano, Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World

Advertising enjoins everyone to consume, while the economy prohibits the vast majority of humanity from doing so. The command that everyone do what so many cannot becomes an invitation to crime.
– Eduardo Galeano

In a culture that says bigger is better, it is subversive work to take tiny, lasting steps toward learning and growth.
– Ellie Roscher

A very important thing is not to make up your mind that you are any one thing.
– Gertrude Stein

I have a fever and it’s name is God
The nurses come in shifts
– GC Waldrep

I wish I started reading lit mags earlier. I wish more teachers taught students out of lit mags, with works they only just discovered themselves, works that are present-minded and alive, side by side with classics. I’d be 10 times the writer I am today if I had that exposure then.
– John Chrostek

Your deep pitched song finds your sisters,
your mother.
– Barbara Jane Reyes

When you speak,
don’t speak from
past experience.
speak form a place
of spontaneity –
from a vast field of
you came here to speak
a new language,
language of the heart
not to walk
on a tired road.
– Guthema Roba

When I was born, humanity was 95 per cent illiterate. Since I’ve been born, the population has doubled and that total population is now 65 per cent literate. That’s a gain of 130-fold of the literacy. When humanity is primarily illiterate, it needs leaders to understand and get the information and deal with it. When we are at the point where the majority of humans themselves are literate, able to get the information, we’re in an entirely new relationship to the Universe. We are at the point where the integrity of the individual counts and not what the political leadership or the religious leadership says to do.
– R. Buckminster Fuller

The wild mind of the planet blows through us all, ensconced as we are in the depths of this elusive medium. However, although it is our common element, every one of us experiences it differently. No two bodies or beings ever inhabit this big awareness from precisely the same angle, or with the same sensory organization and style. Since the body is precisely our interface and exchange with the field of awareness, a praying mantis’s experience of mind is as weirdly different from mine as its spindly body is different from mine; and the dreaming of an aspen grove is as different from both mine and the mantis’s as its own fleshly interchange with the medium is different from ours. It is our bodies that participate in awareness. Hence no one can feel, much less know, precisely how the big mystery reveals itself to another.
Here’s another way this might be said: each of us by our actions is composing our part of the story in concert with the other bodies or beings around us. Yet since we are situated within the story, dreaming our way through its voluminous depths according to the unique ways of our flesh, no one of us can discern precisely how the story can best be articulated by another. No human individual can fathom just how the encompassing imagination is experienced by any other person—much less by a turtle, or a thundercloud, or by a car door patiently rusting at the junkyard, its viridian paint flaking off in the desert heat.
Our carnal immersion in the depths of the Mysterious thus ensures an inherent and irreducible pluralism. And yet—and yet: although there is no single way to tell it, it is the same Tale that is unfurling itself through our gazillion and one gestures. It remains the same Eairth whose life-giving breath we all inhabit, the very same mystery that we each experience from our own place within its depths.
– David Abram

Beware the orphan’s tears;
God’s throne trembles when they fall…
– Saadi

The world is like a sheet of paper on which something is typed. The reading and the meaning will vary with the reader, but the paper is the common factor, always present, rarely perceived. When the ribbon is removed, typing leaves no trace on the paper. So is my mind — the impressions keep on coming, but no trace is left.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

To meditate, only you must smile.
Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy.
Even smile in your liver.
Practice tonight.
Not to hurry, not to try too hard.
Too serious, you make you sick.
You can calling the good energy with a smile.
– Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Who hits the target — misses everything else.
– Blaga

If you can make your ancestors real for yourself, learn their stories and who they were, your life – and death – will take on added meaning. You will see yourself in the Big Picture that includes all human life that has come and gone on the planet.
– Laurence Overmire, Digging for Ancestral Gold: The Fun and Easy Way to Get Started on Your Genealogy Quest

The world is little, people are little, human life is little. There is only one big thing — desire.
– Willa Cather

Rickety Spoke
by Rachelle Lamb
I don’t know why
If it was because
I’d made some mistakes
Or a general malaise
Had moved in with me
But I couldn’t find happiness
Maybe even hated myself
Like I was worthless
A human disease
Someone told me
I needed to learn
To love myself
So I signed up
I bought the books
I went to retreats
Sat silent for days
On a pillow and block
I hit a rolled up futon
With a baseball bat
Screamed my rage
I told my story
In a healing circle
I danced to African drums
Went to therapy
Had a soul retrieval
Journaled before bed
Cradled my inner child
Evoked my higher self
You can spend decades
And I did
And money equal
To the down payment
Of a house
And I did
And I learned this …
You only need to love life
And love the world
Not the crafted irreality
Forged from the iron age
That caused most
Of your woes and
Needs your compassion
But the world of
Sun moon star and earth
Forest leaf berry and feather
Fur claw ocean and gill
Fire stone sand and rain
Life and death intertwined
In ecstatic embrace
That wild and elemental one
Who wants you to fall in love
You only need to care
With a big C
That she will go on
Spinning on her
Axis of beauty
Because one day you turned
Towards the centre
Which was not you
And you planted
Some seeds
Sang songs for the Holy
Because you finally
Remembered that you are
A rickety spoke
Tethered to the
Great mystery
Watering those seeds
With your beautiful
Broken heart

Meditation Class
by James Crews

I paused in the rain outside the storefront,
though there was no sign, only the image
of a lotus on the steamed-over window.
Inside, rows of people crouched on cushions,
eyes closed, their legs folded beneath them.
Some were mouthing what I took to be
a mantra, a few words in Sanskrit meant
to make them hum as one with the universe.
I wiped the fog from the glass and saw
a statue of the Buddha on a shelf, laughing
at himself, laughing at me standing there
in a puddle, under a pine tree that kept
dripping on my head, keeping perfect time
with my heartbeat. The night seemed to slow
the longer I watched those students going
nowhere and doing nothing together—
until there were no more worries about
the rent, no sick parents or ex-boyfriends.
Only a car passing by on the slick street,
the sound of something being torn in two.

May every criticism of a characteristic that comes out of my mouth be one I have applied myself first. For ugly ways are in all of us and we must rid ourselves of them first.
– Amy Gigi Alexander

How few up to now have immersed themselves in the mysteries of fluidity.
– Novalis, The Disciples at Sais

Humour is an affirmation of dignity, a declaration of man’s superiority to all that befalls him.
– Romain Gary

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether this nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure.
– Abraham Lincoln

It’s about whether or not we will continue to be a peaceful and functioning democracy.
– Rep. Ilhan Omar

Following your own star means isolation, not knowing where to go, having to find out a completely new way for yourself instead of just going on the trodden path everybody else runs along. That’s why there’s always been a tendency in humans to project the uniqueness and the greatness of their own inner self onto outer personalities and become the servants, the devoted servants, admirers, and imitators of outer personalities. It is much easier to admire a great personality and become a pupil or follower of a guru or a religious prophet, or an admirer of a big, official personality – a President of the United States – or live your life for some military general whom you admire. That is much easier than following your own star.
– Marie-Louise von Franz, The Way of the Dream

Amor Fati

You should arm yourself,
not like a Caesar with a raised sword
against the world, but with the words:
Amor Fati — love your fate.

You shall make this axiom
your strongest liberator;
You have chosen your path in the thicket.
Don’t look sideways at other paths!

The pain, too, is your servant.
Paralyzed, crushed and rejected
you see that it reunites you
with what is required.

The fall and the betrayal, too,
will help you like friends.
Your defeats are rich
gifts placed in your hands.

Once, contented
by being worthy of your destiny
you shall know: This was my will.
All that happens to me happens justly.

Then say, when the green woods
of your joy for life has been wondered through:
I want nothing different.
I want nothing changed.

– André Bjerke,
(translated by Hossein Kashani)

When no one is looking,
I swallow deserts and clouds
and chew on mountains
knowing they are sweet bones!
When no one is looking
and I want to kiss God,
I just lift my own
hand to my mouth
– Hafiz

What most people call willpower is a negative force. Negative willpower is the use of fear, tension, and aggression to fight a habit.
– Marc David

Anger is the element that has destroyed more film sets, careers, marriages, friendships than anything else. We are all prone to anger, and I think–if we have any sensitivity or awareness–we know how damaging it has been. I don’t really care from where the anger springs: You may think you haven’t gotten the breaks you deserve; you may think everyone with whom you’re working is an idiot; you may think you were born in the wrong time. I’ve heard them all, seen them all, and all of them destroy talent, morale, and time. It’s easy to say that a person should be grateful and do the best work and hope for the best, but I really think–and you really asked–that this is the only sane way forward. I do believe–silly as it sounds–that talent prevails. I also think that good behavior prevails. I also think that there are permanent rewards for behaving well and positively. And I think that–barring time travel–this is the time in which you were born and make it work for you. That has been one of the hallmarks of everyone who has created work that has meant something to us. Make it your time.
– Sidney Lumet, Interview with James Grissom

I write out of a derivative of anger. And that derivative is care.
– Ocean Vuong

Just because something is difficult does not mean it is also not beautiful.
– Sejal Shah

If you pass a bill that’s supported by roughly 80% of all Americans, that is the definition of bipartisan support.
– Eric Folkerth

I love collaborations because they create a third hand that now belongs to each person in the collaboration. I have my two hands, but I am gifted with a third when I collaborate.
– Natalie G Diaz

Suppose you are faced with a situation and you don’t know what to do. Sit down and turn toward whatever you are feeling and wait. Wait without an agenda… Let yourself become quiet and then unbidden you’ll know what to do. The art is in the waiting.
– Robert Moss

It is difficult to retain your standards with the pressure of trying to make money, which always has its rules…I have to constantly re-identify myself to myself, reactivate my own standards, my own convictions about what I’m doing and why.
– Nina Simone

Teaching is about taking things apart; writing is about putting things together.
– Toni Morrison

Change begets change. Nothing propagates so fast.
– Charles Dickens

The most important chakra is the one located in the heart center, for the heart is the home of the subtle mind – the priceless treasure of all tantric practitioners.
– Lama Yeshe

whatever’s on your mind
whatever’s pushed or pushing
the light moves through some things
bounces off others
– Ali Jane Smith, Thorny, Juicy

In these fluid times, the soul has changed location: it is neither within…where our religious traditions mostly situated it nor without, among the wondrous and presumably determined order of the material world, where the natural philosophers hid it. It is between – in ecologies of weird bodies and howling sounds and throbbing membranes and secreting liquids and alien hues and nightly migrancies. The hallowed interior is broken; the mute exterior breached. The soul is at large, off the record, beside itself, always-to-come. And all we are left with is a gasp.
– Bayo Akomolafe

In life, you have to avoid three geometric figures: vicious circles, love triangles and overly square minds.
– Mario Benedetti

How consoling—that this stuff goes on and that you can keep thinking about it and making that into something on the page.
– Anne Carson

If there is a fatal notion on this earth, it is the notion that wider horizons will be fatal.
– Barbara Kingsolver

To know the spirit of a place is to realize that you are a part of a part and that the whole is made of parts, each of which in a whole.
– Gary Snyder

Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.
– Howard Aiken

In life, you have to avoid three geometric figures: vicious circles, love triangles and overly square minds.
– Mario Benedetti

Bruce Cockburn:
In grains of sand and galaxies
In plasma flow and rain in trees
In the sepia swell of silted-up surf
In the ebb and the flow of dying and birth
In wounded streets and whispered prayer
The dance is the truth and it’s everywhere

The heart sags. My footprints forget me.
I don’t think anything will ever be the same.
This is the edge of the cliff and you can’t move,
can’t jump. Everything is vertical. With binoculars
you can see where you’ll be in an hour. Raindrops
collect on the lens. A fine mist. It hides us.
It drifts into clocks. Gravity presses your hands.
Some hurts never get said. Some get smuggled.
– Richard Jackson

You cannot survive without loving
someone or something
more than yourself. Since if you fail
to, you cease
to have a self at all.
– Franz Wright

In real life
it’s the living who haunt you.
– Franz Wright

The poem seeks not
to depict a place
but to become one–

and loneliness …

Mute child-ghost
of yourself
at the screen door

– Franz Wright

What a relief, to relinquish ownership of un-ownable things.
– Barbara Kingsolver

Wonders happen if we can succeed
in passing through the harshest danger;
but only in a bright and purely granted
achievement can we realize wonder.
To work with Things in the indescribable
relationship is not too hard for us;
that pattern grows more intricate and subtle,
and being swept along is not enough.
Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two
contradictions…For the god
wants to know himself in you.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

If people can be educated to see the lowly side of their own natures, it may be hoped that they will also learn to understand and to love their fellow men better. A little less hypocrisy and a little more tolerance towards oneself can only have good results in respect for our neighbor; for we are all too prone to transfer to our fellows the injustice and violence we inflict upon our own natures.
– Carl Jung

The hailstones and I
are equally hardheaded
and so no one wins

Season Word: “hailstones,” summer / the heavens

– Clark Strand

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
– Luke 17:21

Lost in the Wilderness
Oh lovers!
Where are you going?
Who are you looking for?
Your Beloved is right here.
She lives in your own neighborhood.
Her face is veiled.
She hides behind screens calling for you while you search and lose yourself in the wilderness and desert.
Cease looking for flowers!
There blooms a garden in your home.
While you look for trinkets the treasure house awaits you in your own being.
There is no need for suffering.
God is here.
Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 47
Without going outside, you may know the whole world.
Without looking through the window, you may see the ways of heaven.
The farther you go, the less you know.
Thus the sage knows without travelling;
He sees without looking;
He works without doing.
Deep down in every man women and child is the fundamental idea of God.
– Rumi

Ask yourself, “Who can I make smile this morning?” This is the art of creating happiness.
– Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love

Orange groves lining the side of the road in the sun

faces are beaten by warmth that will not come undone, hollowed out cliffs will embrace them as we come to see her, and me and Jose will sing songs in the bar Roseleda. Oh Pedro once told me that he liked the old Glasgow rain, and he had a passion for songs that he`d sing again, and took his way down through the small streets of old Torreveja, and me and Jose would sing songs in the bar Roseleda.

Oh the streets of Denia would welcome you home in the rain, Fruitales will greet you so happy to see you again, and John Joseph Rush he would buy you a beer in Casada, and me and Jose would sing songs in the bar Roseleda. Markets would bustle with people from all around town, and stalls that are laden with shades of blue red and brown, and dusty old roads that would take you as far as La Manga, and me and Jose would sing songs in the bar Roseleda.

Snotty nosed kids round the playa Flamengo would dance, fireworks tossed in the air that would leave you entranced, and boats that would sail their way round the costa, and me and Jose would sing songs in the bar Roseleda. I`ll meet you again with Javier down at old los Fruitales, we`ll sit down together and we`ll share a beer in the sand, we`ll wander together through the old streets of old Torrevecia, and me and Jose would sing songs in the bar Roseleda.

So lay your heartbeat down, and take, take your memories home, and maybe I will see ya, one day in the bar Roseleda.

– Ivan Drever

We need the vision of interbeing – we belong to each other; we cannot cut reality into pieces. The well-being of “this” is the well-being of “that,” so we have to do things together.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Science and democracy are strongly interlinked – as they are both built on freedom of speech, independence, facts and transparency.
If you don’t respect democracy then you probably won’t respect science. And if you don’t respect science then you probably won’t respect democracy.
– Greta Thunberg

You are the person who taught me: a community can just mean two people.
– @monicasokwrites, to Ocean Vuong

someone is gonna
love you so well
you’ll find it impossible
to waste a moment
of your blessed life
resenting anyone
who ever loved you less.
– Andrea Gibson

8 yo just asked if The Indigo Girls were alive at the same time as Shakespeare.
– Lynn Steger Strong

There is no place not the reflection of another. It is the reflected place we must discover. The place within the place. I write at the mercy of this place.
– Edmond Jabes (trans. by Rosmarie Waldrop)

God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through.
– Paul Valery

– Adrienne Rich, Planetarium

If anyone tells you there is only one way, their way, get as far away from them as possible, both physically and philosophically.
– Jim Jarmusch

A person cannot approach the divine by reaching beyond the human. to become human, is what this individual person, has been created for.
– martin buber

The pertinent question is: What must the global population size be in order for all people to be well fed on or-ganic, diversif i ed, and mostly locally and regionally grown food, while also allowing terrestrial and marine space to be freed and rewilded?
Simply replacing industrial monocultures with organic production sys-tems, while promoting less polluting and healthier options, would not enable the reduction of land- use under cultivation.
– Eileen Crist

To become willing to challenge the trends of more and embrace an-other possibility of human life on Earth, we must also become will-ing (in the broader culture and environmental arena) to extricate our reasoning from the discursive knots discussed earlier: the widespread belief that “human nature” is causing the ecological crisis; the notion that wilderness (free nature) is a passé and/or culturally fabricated idea;
and the circulating ideology that conf l ates ongoing expansionism with increasing degrees of freedom for more and more people. A new imagi-nation is needed about who we are and who we can become. We need also to recall the original ontology of Earth as a planet that produces stupendous abundance of life- forms, populations of living beings, bio-logical processes, living phenomena, and diverse forms of conscious-ness, all scaling up to a shared experience of well- being, beauty, and transcendence.
– Eileen Crist

The eventual abolition of industrial agriculture is the sine qua non of a civilization that will embrace all life’s thriving—wild and free for the wild ones, cared for and respected for the domestic ones, nutrition-ally and ethically wholesome for the human ones. This implies em-bracing an agro- ecological food system: one that eschews chemicals and synthetic fertilizers, rejects large- scale monocultures, interfaces creatively with wild nature, and is primarily oriented to feeding hu-man beings locally and regionally (and only secondarily oriented to export markets).
– Eileen Crist

On limiting ourselves:
Are not limitations always called for in cultivating a beautiful and ethical life? Why would a beautiful and ethical life on the planet be an exception? We are profoundly aware of the need for limitations in relation to personal and social behavior—we know that “more” and “no boundaries” rarely serve. Too much stuff in the house-hold results in cacophonous clutter. Too much food brings sluggish-ness, obesity, and disease. And, to borrow an analogy Bill McKibben has made, while drinking one beer in the right place and at the right time can yield a good experience, drinking a six- pack never does. Why, then, are limitations regarding humanity’s relationship with the bio-sphere so widely seen as restricting human potential, when they mean precisely the opposite—enabling the full blossoming of human poten-tial within a beautiful and thriving world?
– Eileen Crist

Life is bewildering in its creative expressions, its beauty, strangeness, and unexpectedness, its variety of physical types and kinds of awareness, and its dynamic and interweaving forms of world- making. This unfathomable wealth and infinite source of well- being is what humanity is witlessly forfeiting in exchange for heading toward maximizing its population size and consumer spending power.
– Eileen Crist

Who we are is children of a living world. This universal knowing and its tropes of participation, reciprocity, gratitude, belonging, and love reside deeply within us. We can choose to cultivate and grow them into a beautiful human way of life.”
– Eileen Crist

Being envied is a solitary form of reassurance. It depends precisely upon not sharing your experience with those who envy you. You are observed with interest but you do not observe with interest – if you do, you will become less enviable. In this respect the envied are like bureaucrats; the more impersonal they are, the greater the illusion (for themselves and for others) of their power. The power of the glamorous resides in their supposed happiness: the power of the bureaucrat in his supposed authority.
– John Berger, Ways of Seeing

The strangeness that made everything sparkle came from me. Worlds rose out of my bottomless perplexity.
– César Aira, The Literary Conference

[Publicity] recognizes nothing except the power to acquire. All other human faculties or needs are made subsidiary to this power. {…] No other kind of hope or satisfaction or pleasure can any longer be envisaged within the culture of capitalism.

Publicity is the life of this culture – in so far as without publicity capitalism could not survive […]. Capitalism survives by forcing the majority, whom it exploits, to define their own interests as narrowly as possible. This was once achieved by extensive deprivation. Today in the developed countries it is being achieved by imposing a false standard of what is and what is not desirable.

[…] The spectator-buyer is meant to envy herself as she will become if she buys the product. She is meant to imagine herself transformed by the product into an object of envy for others, an envy which will then justify her loving herself. One could put this another way: the publicity image steals her love of herself as she is, and offers it back to her for the price of the product.

– John Berger, Ways of Seeing

Some people walk with the strength of the bear. Others carry the wisdom of owl. The loyalty of our canine friends is in many people as well. Each one of us carry the attribute of at least one very special animal that we are connected to. It is important to acknowledge that attribute and honor the animal who assists you in life.
– Tribal Whispers

Capitalism finds herself like a losing football team in the last quarter trying all types of tactics to survive.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

If a society abolishes poetry it commits spiritual suicide.
– Octavio Paz

Never forget that you have the power to step into another story. Of course this requires you to wake up to the fact that you are always living a story. If you don’t know that, chances are you are living the wrong story, maybe one strapped around you by other people’s expectations, definitions and disappointments.
– Robert Moss

If time is water, appearing and disappearing
In one heliotropic cycle,
this rain
That slucies as through an hourglass
Outside the window into the gutter and downspout,
Measures our nature
and move the body to music.

The book says, however,
time is not body’s movement
But memory of body’s movement.
Time is not water but the memory of water:
We measure what isn’t there.
We measure the silence.
We measure the emptiness.
– Charles Wright

The brain may take advice, but not the heart, and love, having no geography, knows no boundaries: weight and sink it deep, no matter, it will rise and find the suface: and why not? any love is natural and beautiful that lies within a person’s nature;
– Truman Capote

Like the vampire anima in a man, the animus in its negative form is a parasite. He personifies brutality, coldness & obstinacy & paralyzes a woman’s growth. To transform the animus involves tremendous suffering for it means forsaking old identity for new one.
– ML von Franz

An identity is questioned only when it is menaced, as when the mighty begin to fall, or when the wretched begin to rise, or when the stranger enters the gates, never, thereafter, to be a stranger.
– James Baldwin

Yes, to all the faces of a person. Yes,to all the scraps…
Yes to the sea, that tries & tries…
– G.C. Waldrep

As the lazy, pseudo-superior spiritualists hide behind their egoic badge of egolessness, the world burns. They imagine themselves above the problem, when in fact, their feigned aboveness is the problem. There is no difference between self-nullifying patriarchal spiritualists and soul-nullifying patriarchal capitalists. Meditation cushions, and board rooms… same bloody hustle. Meanwhile, the world burns.

If we want to save this bloodied species, we have to heal it. We have to do the individual work to heal and integrate our parts, and we have to do the collective work to heal and integrate every voice. Until then, we are nothing but lost. We are fragmented and fractured stumble bums, tripping our way to nothingness. There is no peace in that. There will only be peace when every single voice is heard and honored.

We may be frightened of this chaos, but it really is our only hope. Because we have been numbed to sleep for so long that only the trauma survivors can scream our hearts back to life. Only their cries will awaken us. The cries of the long forgotten, raging against the dying of their light. Let them rage. And let us rage right alongside them.

– Jeff Brown

Fortunately, somewhere between chance and mystery lies imagination, the only thing that protects our freedom, despite the fact that people keep trying to reduce it or kill it off altogether.
– Luis Buñuel, Surrealist filmmaker

Ignorance is the parent of fear.
– Herman Melville

Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.
– Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

I am a border ruffian from the State of Missouri. I am a Connecticut Yankee by adoption. In me you have Missouri morals, Connecticut culture; this, gentlemen, is the combination which makes the perfect man.
– Mark Twain, Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims

What is it all for, this poetry,
This bundle of accomplishment
Put together with so much pain?
Twenty years at hard labor,
Lessons learned from Li Po and Dante,
Indian chants and gestalt psychology;
What words can it spell,
This alphabet of one sensibility?
The pure pattern of the stars in orderly progression,
The thin air of fourteen-thousand-foot summits,
Their Pisgah views into what secrets of the personality,
The fire of poppies in eroded fields,
The sleep of lynxes in the noonday forest,
The curious anastomosis of the webs of thought,
Life streaming ungovernably away,
And the deep hope of man.
The centuries have changed little in this art,
The subjects are still the same.
– Kenneth Rexroth

I know what is hurting you –
the past you are holding
onto is hurting you.
the debris of the past
you carry with you
is hurting you –
you are not ready to let go.
you are not ready to be free –
you are addicted to
what is hurting you, my dear.
stop procrastinating –
and drop everything now
so that you can meet
God in this lifetime.
– Guthema Roba

The tragedy is simply this: that new meanings can only come from the creative depths of the life force within each individual; but the individual is the last one who believes in his right to develop unique meanings. He takes everything he needs uncritically from the society at large. As a result, man’s meanings, instead of being free and open, are in fact ‘instinctivized’–hardened into the mold of a standard social pattern.
– Ernest Becker

The Map
by Marie Howe

The failure of love might account for most of the suffering in the world.

The girl was going over her global studies homework

in the air where she drew the map with her finger

touching the Gobi desert,

the Plateau of Tiber in front of her,

and looking through her transparent map backwards

I did suddenly see,

how her left is my right, and for a moment I understood.

Universities we know do not exist in an idealized form. They can be problematic, repressive, reflecting societal problems and structural oppressions of every kind.

Universities often restrict and police what kind of learning can be done and by whom. Universities are not ideal.

Both can be true at the same time: universities can be a refuge, places of transformation, innovation, and dreaming, places that preserve and nurture knowledge, cites of oppression and exclusion, cites of exploitation and erasure.

Universities, like societies, are complex.

It is not a contradiction to want to be a part of a long history of learning, to want to be a part of a system that exists, at least conceptually, alongside regimes of all kinds; it is necessary to critique universities, to reform them from within and without, make them better.

We should recognize that in our late capitalist moment in the US, universities are inseparable from capitalist pressures and paradigms, that many university upper administration forget why we love(d) universities and endlessly chase the bottom line and discuss human capital —

— and it’s more than justified to walk away from modern US universities feeling that the dream does not exist, or has become so corrupt as to be worthless; and it’s more than justified to fight for a better future at our universities, and/or a better future for learning.

I am saying all this because earlier today, a prominent alt-ac coach who tweets as the professorisin (not linking) posted how people should never adjunct, and there was discussion of that. Look; maybe. I don’t know. I studied on three continents, under different political systems

I remember the joy of discovering, as an undergrad, languages that ceased being spoken hundreds of years ago. I remember researching, as an undergrad, medieval translations from Arabic and Hebrew into East Slavic and there was nothing better than this – still kind of isn’t;

…it’s not something that you can convert into capitalist productivity, it is not about incomes and retirement plans; and all I can say that I was an immigrant and I was very poor, and I could have done something very different with my life, but that joy will not ever be wrong.

I am concerned that that joy is not a thing anymore, that students are burdened with loans and stress and faculty (marginalized faculty especially) are embattled and stressed; and it all might not last, at least not for particular people, because late capitalism is terrible;

but tomorrow I will begin a new semester via zoom, because it’s the pandemic and I will tell my students about language trees, and kvetch that Indo-European is more researched than Proto-Afro-Asiatic and why –

– and we will learn about the ancient precursors to modern alphabets, and languages spoken thousands of years before late capitalism, and maybe it won’t help students get a job at a bank and save up for avocado toast, but knowledge is its own fierce joy.

Now I do need to say that I’m autistic, and there’s never been and will never be anything better than linguistics, except poetry, and certain prose, and it’s impossible to do all of it in a lifetime, and capitalism is not a joke and I am very, very tired.
But yes. Still love it.

Does any of this cancel any of the shit that goes on in universities, any of the oppression, pressure, erasure, marginalization? Heck no, the systems we have in the US are broken. And none of this also cancels the destruction of the public universities. But still.

– R.B. Lemberg

Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all.
– Dwight Eisenhower

Material success is found in Realizing the material world- is actually Spiritual in nature…

Focusing solely on material success- is to miss the entire point of existence.

What are the differences between Mark Zuckerberg and me? I give private information on corporations to you for free, and I’m a villain. Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he’s Man of the Year.
– Julian Assange

Looking at line after line of text is only a small part of reading; that I might need to write about a text before I could say that I had fully read it.
– Gerald Murnane, Barley Patch

Before you heal someone, ask them if they are willing to let go of the things that make them sick.
– Hippocrates

It did not feel like art.
It did not feel like a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
It did not feel like a broken wheel backwards into the sea
But it hurt me
– Hera Lindsay Bird, Wild Geese by Mary Oliver by Hera Lindsay Bird

The Buddha:
In the dharmic nature of dharmas there are no common people, nor anyone other than common people, no Buddhas nor anyone other than Buddhas.

Bruce Cockburn:
Sun coming up paints the snow all around
Rose on the roofs and the trees and the ground
And the stream
In my dream
Messenger wind swooping out of the sky
Lights each tiny speck in my human kaleidoscope
With hope

Terence McKenna:
Psychedelics do in fact enhance, accelerate and promote consciousness – they must loom large in the future history of our species. If consciousness is not a major part of the human future, it is not a human future.

Maslow claimed that ‘individuals capable of having transcendent experiences lived potentially fuller + healthier lives than the majority of humanity because they were able to transcend everyday frustrations and conflicts + were less driven by neurotic tendencies.
– Cleary

The universe only gives us what we think we’re worthy of receiving.
– Joe Dispenza

Mistrust all in whom the desire to punish is imperative.
– Goethe

Marianne Williamson:
America doesn’t just act like we have a war on the poor; we also act like we have a war on our young. Whether someone is 5 yrs old or 20 yrs old, doing what we can to help young people get into the game educationally & economically is the only way to create a sustainable future.

Marriage can wait, education cannot…
A society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated…
– Khaled Hosseini

Write something every day, she said,
even if it’s only a line,
it will protect you.

– Elaine Feinstein

On life’s journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.
– Buddha

Crys Tom:
I don’t need to be fixed, challenged, medicated, course corrected. Just supported, and given the space to do the work I’ve been doing my whole life. I don’t need help because I’m doing it wrong. I need help because it’s too much to bear alone.

God gave myself back to me, how that happened, is what I call love.
– Umi

The world is not falling apart in front of our eyes so much as it is falling into our hands. What will happen if we’re brave enough to catch the falling pieces?
– Mary Heglar

protip if it’s snowing gently as fuck outside your window as well: the whole mariah carey butterfly album, a joint, and composing a long-awaited letter to an estranged beloved
– @AngelNafis

Poetry on national television!!!

This should be a thing. Like before every event.
– @longleafreview

Whereas for Kant, reason was pure, for me reason is pharmacological, which means that we must distinguish between poisonous and curative uses of reason. It is impure.
– Bernard Stiegler, Restarting the World System

When teachers walk away from the profession, we’re not walking away because of kids. We’re walking away because of adults who uphold a system that hurts children. And that hurts us at the same time.

A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another, the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden. But if these minds get out of harmony with one another it is like a storm that plays havoc with the garden.
– Buddha

The wind is nosing
down the street. You can hear it
snuffle like a dog,

a sluggish bloodhound.
The gruff animal body
of winter lumbers

towards spring. Thin snow
blows across the field. It has
nowhere much to go

except the bare streets.
– George Szirtes

Very often during life, we are suddenly assaulted by a new part of our personality. We have new feelings or reactions which we have never had before, and very often, out of sheer habit, we hate the new experience. We don’t like to change.
– Marie-Louise von Franz

I’m so wary of white leftists who think all oppression will cease to exist if only we abolish capitalism.
– @photon_barrier

Don’t dispute with the authorities or with women. Beg. Be humble.
– @DailyKerouac

I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.
– Henry David Thoreau

Joseph Brassey:
I was not prepared for how many people are willing to let others die rather than suffer even a moment’s inconvenience.

Inner Practitioner:
I admire kind people who take no shit, humble people who are confident, and high vibrational people who are low-key.

Christina Strigas:
your words break me and make me whole at the same time

Peter Kalmus:
When I was young, I never expected to watch the planet melt and burn this fast, and not via social media. It is very strange.

so many dolorous selves in each of us dissolving into fog.
– Long Ago and the Cow Comes Back, by Ada Limón

Jason Hickel:
There is no such thing as “the poor”. There is the dispossessed, the exploited, and the dehumanized.

My head is a hive of words that won’t settle.
– Virginia Woolf

If you do not acquire good training in detachment, you may attach to all the wrong things.
– Richard Rohr

This is the strategy of the storyteller: to creep past watchful dragons that guard the conscious reason that excludes things as unbelievable; to open the back door of the heart when the front door of the mind is locked; to appeal to the wiser, deeper, unconscious mind.
– Kreeft

Gary Snyder:
Anything looked at with love and attention becomes very interesting.

Inner peace is like a clean and spacious room, empty of unnecessary, old, or broken stuff.
– Remez Sasson

Macro English:
What prepares us for totalitarian domination in the non-totalitarian world is the fact that loneliness, once a borderline experience usually suffered in certain marginal social conditions like old age, becoms an everyday experience of the ever-growing masses of our century.

Chelan Harkin:
Hafiz was generous.
I asked him for help with my poetry
and he stuffed my heart with a thousand suns,
for starters.
He poured a collection of instruments into my soul
and announced, “Play!”
He spit shined my inner eye
that it might see wild magic everywhere
winking back at it.
I asked Hafiz for help with my poetry
and he responded,
“It’s about time you asked!
I’ve been waiting with a stampede of muses
to unleash upon you.
I’ve been waiting with
a cosmos of roses
to hand to you
to bring forth
even the shiest part of your love
and get it dancing!”
I asked Hafiz for help with my poetry.
He said, “All poems already are,
like luminous birds in the spirit realm—
you simply must summon them.”
And he started wildly throwing bird food
directly into my soul!
There’s a secret trap door in heaven.
When you pull on that string
God topples down upon you.
I asked Hafiz for help with my poetry
and he pushed God out that door
to land right on top
of my heart.

My Father
by Francisco X. Alarcón – 1954-2016

translated by Francisco Aragón

my father
and I greet
each other

as if

a truce
on a

we sit down
to eat like
two strangers

yet I know
beneath it all
he too

that affliction
that folly

that nightmare

Mi padre
mi padre
y yo nos

como si

una tregua
en un campo
de batalla

nos sentamos
a comer como
dos extraños

yo sé que
en el fondo
él también

ese mal
esa locura

esa pesadilla

In the very age when communication theory and technique reached its peak, poets and artists were saying that men were in fact isolated and no longer communicated with each other.
In the very age when the largest number of people lived together in the cities, poets and artists were saying there was no longer a community.
In the very age when men lived longest and were most secure in their lives, poets and artists were saying that men were most afraid.
In the very age when crowds were largest and people flocked closest together, poets and artists were saying that men were lonely.
Why were poets and artists saying these things?
Was it because they were out of tune with the spirit of the modern age and so were complaining because the denizens of the age paid no attention to them?
Or was it that they were uttering the true feelings of the age, feelings however which could not be understood by the spirit of the age?
Nobody wants to hear about his unspeakable feelings. It is only when the feelings become speakable, that is, understandable by a new anthropology, that people can bear hearing about them.
– Walker Percy, The Message in the Bottle and Lost in the Cosmos

Tell all the truth
But tell it slant,
Success in circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm delight ..
The truth’s superb surprise,
As lightning to the children eased..
With explanation kind,
The truth must dassle gradually
Or every man be blind.
– Emily Dickinson

Praise the local, the organic, the small.
Look what springs up out of last year’s garbage.
Who needs a committee?
Who needs Republicans or Democrats?
Look what springs up out of
coffee grinds and worm dung.
Who needs capital letters after their name?
Praise the local, the organic, the small.
Who needs Goldman Sachs or the Federal Reserve?
Look what springs up out of
old broccoli crowns and yam skins.
Who needs a nation? Who needs an enemy?
You have a backyard full of neighbors in old hats.
Praise the local, the organic, the small.
Why waste energy being “against”?
The revolution is to breathe.
The radical act is being present.
Look what springs up out of your heart.
– Fred LaMotte

Democracy needs a ground to stand upon and that ground is the truth.
America needs the truth.
– Marcus Raskin

You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her soul.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Each person is a world, peopled
by blind creatures in dim revolt
against the I, the king, who rules them.
In each soul thousands of souls are imprisoned,
in each world thousands of worlds are hidden
and these blind and lower worlds
are real and living, though not full-born,
as truly as I am real. And we kings
and barons of the thousand potential creatures within us
are citizens ourselves, imprisoned
in some larger creature, whose ego and nature
we understand a little as our master
his master. From their death and their love
our own feelings have received a coloring.

As when a great liner passes by
far out below the horizon where the sea lies
so still at dusk. And we know nothing of it
until a swell reaches us on the shore,
first one, then one more, and then many
washing and breaking until it all goes back
as before. Yet it is all changed.
So we shadows are seized by a strange unrest
when something tells us that people have left,
that some of the possible creatures have gotten free.
– Gunnar Ekelöf, Etudes

Listen –
there is a silence
that wants to guide
you back to your
original place –
she might appear
as a moon or
a honeybird or
as a bee mistaking
you for a flower –
follow her
trust her fragrance.
leave aside
all activities
for they belong
to the mind.
listen. Listen
with every atom
and every particle
inside your body.
life does not need
your assistance.
she operates under
her own natural laws.
all you need to
remember is this –
anything that is
less than peace –
anything that is
less than love
does not require
your participation.
– Guthema Roba

I Go Among Trees
by Wendell Berry

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.

It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:
dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,
drawn from the cold hard mouth
of the world
– Elizabeth Bishop

All my life I have lived and behaved very much like the sandpiper just running down the edges of different countries and continents, looking for something.

All the untidy activity continues, awful but cheerful.

– Elizabeth Bishop

It is a poor arrangement that pits magic against the mundane, urging us to imagine both as estranged aspects on either side of an unbridgeable rift. This arrangement is harmful to both concepts – as if magic were consigned to the spectacular, the supernatural, the incredible, the unserious, the impractical – and as if ‘the ordinary’ were the painfully predictable motions of already determined things in their already determined orbits.

Magic is not the alien other of the quotidian but the resuscitation of the ordinary; the embarrassing excessiveness and mad intelligence of the world we presume we own; the crimson blush that fries the white face of assuredness. Magic is the unfinished-ness of things, the way things shrink away from being fully articulated and named; the way the resting surface of a taut drumhead still vibrates and spits quantum lyrics in defiance of our measuring instruments; the off-the-record-ness of an entangled and entangling world. To know magic is to touch one’s own bodies and realize that many universes curdle in the spell of that seemingly boring encounter. To know the ordinary is to be haunted by all the things it won’t say.

I think of Blackness as magic in flight, as an atmospheric queerness that unsettles the hard edges by which things are named, owned, and used. Indeed, magic might be a more promising site to situate a decolonial politics for our times – for what we need is more than a seat at the table or justice: we need cartographies of coming undone and falling apart together. We risk “being saved” if we gather within the imperialist categories that are already sites of capture, already modernist imperialist projects. We need a certain idea of becoming lost. And nothing feeds lostness like magic.
– Bayo Akomolafe

At any given moment
someone can judge you –
they can misunderstand you –
they can accuse you –
They can blame you –
Do any of these matter?
Not at all –
Don’t hold onto any of
their energy –
Don’t try to explain yourself.
Those who love you
do not need your explanations.
They will love you with all
of your imperfections.
– Guthema Roba

a poet
is not just
who has
beautiful words –
a poet is someone
whose heart
with a divine
river of love.
– Guthema Roba

I came to poetry because I felt I couldn’t live properly in the real world.
– Lucie Brock-Broido

I think of lovers as trees, growing to and
from one another, searching for the same light.
– Warsan Shire

The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this.
– Ryan Holiday

In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.
– Paul Harvey

There is something that is much more scarce, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognise ability.
– Robert Half

Polar Night
by Lewis Warsh
Maybe if you could see yourself
from a distance
you could see what people see
when they see you close up
they can see the canaries and the penguins
and the darts flying through air,
like missiles above a city
only the trajectory is all wrong.
Only the sonnet is wrong,
and the signature on the dotted line,
a pool of light in the puddle
at the bottom of the well.
Maybe if you abandoned the song
and the tubes of the radio went dead
you would rub the hands of a stranger
in the storm.
You would lie on a mattress
with broken springs and take your
swings with your foot
in a bucket.
If you close your eyes tight you
might recognize me if I touch
your skin. The tattoo of a flower
in the shape of a heart.

Be creative. Use unconventional thinking. And have the guts to carry it out.
– Lee Iaccoca

If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values.
– Martin Luther King

You have to create tension between reality and aspiration.
– Sumantra Ghoshal

Some will try to cast you in a role that will drain you.

Refuse to play the part.

– Dr. Thema

There is no absolute distinction between the alchemist and nature, between the inner and outer worlds. All are part of one creative, evolutionary process….It is not possible to participate in the Great Work of Nature without experiencing a self-transformation.
– David Fideler

Let not thy will roar when thy power can be a whispers.
– Thomas Fuller

Cells, like humans, cast votes to make decisions as a group. But how do they know what to vote for? Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute and King’s College London have uncovered how cells actively seek information in order to make faster and better collective decisions to coordinate the growth of new blood vessels. This provides a new basis for understanding intelligence in cells.
“The process of how cells precisely and quickly coordinate action when they create new tissue is complex. They must collectively decide which cells should take on specific jobs and ensure that not too many or too few cells are fulfilling each role.”
“In most biology textbooks, processes are set out step by step in a certain order. Molecule A binds to receptor B and causes movement C. In the case of this important collective cell decision, steps happen alongside each other rather than consecutively, as cells simultaneously move about while ‘deciding’ how to form new tissue.
– Kate Bentley et al, Francis Krick Institute, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society

God does not give you more than you can handle.” Really? Did you ask God yourself? Did she confirm your theory? Look, I get that sometimes we say stuff like this because we don’t know what else to say, or because we actually think it helps. We don’t want people to give up. We want them to keep on fighting to stay alive. But, honestly, it doesn’t help. Few survivalist mantras do. Because there is more to life than survival at all costs. There is more to life than armoring up and toughing it out in the heart of our suffering. There is also something to be said for healing our way to wholeness. For meeting each other in our woundedness. For embracing the possibility that our trauma is actually a lot more than we handle. So, next time you feel tempted to tell a trauma survivor, “God does not give you more than you can handle,” try something different. Say this, “Something tragic has happened. You should not have to handle it alone. How can I help you to grieve and to heal?” Remind them that God is a soft place to land. Remind them that God is compassion in human form.
– Jeff Brown

it is strangely liberating to realize your true status as a single node in a cooperative network. There is honor to be found in this role, and a certain dignified agency. You won’t be swallowed up by a hive mind or lose your individuality—you will retain your autonomy while simultaneously being profoundly interdependent and connected. In fact, sustainable systems cannot function without the full autonomy and unique expression of each independent part of the interdependent whole.
– Tyson Yunkaporta, Sand Talk

Chekhov writes from Moscow in 1886:

You have often complained to me that people “don’t understand you”! Goethe and Newton did not complain of that…. Only Christ complained of it, but He was speaking of His doctrine and not of Himself…. People understand you perfectly well. And if you do not understand yourself, it is not their fault. I assure you as a brother and as a friend I understand you and feel for you with all my heart. I know your good qualities as I know my five fingers; I value and deeply respect them. If you like, to prove that I understand you, I can enumerate those qualities. I think you are kind to the point of softness, magnanimous, unselfish, ready to share your last farthing; you have no envy nor hatred; you are simple-hearted, you pity men and beasts; you are trustful, without spite or guile, and do not remember evil…. You have a gift from above such as other people have not: you have talent. This talent places you above millions of men, for on earth only one out of two millions is an artist. Your talent sets you apart: if you were a toad or a tarantula, even then, people would respect you, for to talent all things are forgiven. You have only one failing, and the falseness of your position, and your unhappiness and your catarrh of the bowels are all due to it. That is your utter lack of culture. Forgive me, please, but veritas magis amicitiae…. You see, life has its conditions. In order to feel comfortable among educated people, to be at home and happy with them, one must be cultured to a certain extent. Talent has brought you into such a circle, you belong to it, but … you are drawn away from it, and you vacillate between cultured people and the lodgers vis-a-vis. Cultured people must, in my opinion, satisfy the following conditions:

1. They respect human personality, and therefore they are always kind, gentle, polite, and ready to give in to others. They do not make a row because of a hammer or a lost piece of india-rubber; if they live with anyone they do not regard it as a favour and, going away, they do not say “nobody can live with you.” They forgive noise and cold and dried-up meat and witticisms and the presence of strangers in their homes.

2. They have sympathy not for beggars and cats alone. Their heart aches for what the eye does not see…. They sit up at night in order to help P…., to pay for brothers at the University, and to buy clothes for their mother.

3. They respect the property of others, and therefore pay their debts.

4. They are sincere, and dread lying like fire. They don’t lie even in small things. A lie is insulting to the listener and puts him in a lower position in the eyes of the speaker. They do not pose, they behave in the street as they do at home, they do not show off before their humbler comrades. They are not given to babbling and forcing their uninvited confidences on others. Out of respect for other people’s ears they more often keep silent than talk.

5. They do not disparage themselves to rouse compassion. They do not play on the strings of other people’s hearts so that they may sigh and make much of them. They do not say “I am misunderstood,” or “I have become second-rate,” because all this is striving after cheap effect, is vulgar, stale, false….

6. They have no shallow vanity. They do not care for such false diamonds as knowing celebrities, shaking hands with the drunken P., [Translator’s Note: Probably Palmin, a minor poet.] listening to the raptures of a stray spectator in a picture show, being renowned in the taverns…. If they do a pennyworth they do not strut about as though they had done a hundred roubles’ worth, and do not brag of having the entry where others are not admitted…. The truly talented always keep in obscurity among the crowd, as far as possible from advertisement…. Even Krylov has said that an empty barrel echoes more loudly than a full one.

7. If they have a talent they respect it. They sacrifice to it rest, women, wine, vanity…. They are proud of their talent…. Besides, they are fastidious.

8. They develop the aesthetic feeling in themselves. They cannot go to sleep in their clothes, see cracks full of bugs on the walls, breathe bad air, walk on a floor that has been spat upon, cook their meals over an oil stove. They seek as far as possible to restrain and ennoble the sexual instinct…. What they want in a woman is not a bed-fellow … They do not ask for the cleverness which shows itself in continual lying. They want especially, if they are artists, freshness, elegance, humanity, the capacity for motherhood…. They do not swill vodka at all hours of the day and night, do not sniff at cupboards, for they are not pigs and know they are not. They drink only when they are free, on occasion…. For they want mens sana in corpore sano [a healthy mind in a healthy body].

And so on. This is what cultured people are like. In order to be cultured and not to stand below the level of your surroundings it is not enough to have read “The Pickwick Papers” and learnt a monologue from “Faust.” …

What is needed is constant work, day and night, constant reading, study, will…. Every hour is precious for it…. Come to us, smash the vodka bottle, lie down and read…. Turgenev, if you like, whom you have not read.

You must drop your vanity, you are not a child … you will soon be thirty.

It is time!

I expect you…. We all expect you.

I have this thing I call Smiling Practice.

No matter how rough things get. No matter how sad and broken things may seem.
Just Smile.
You’ll find that it lets a little Light into your Life.

Remember, you’re just a Heartbeat inside Iron Cliffs .

And that Heartbeat can soften the world into a glow of Peace that will carry you through.
– Nicholas Pierotti

all migrations begin as mothers as mimicry
a fish saw a tree and decided to stand
I do know I know the color of thirst
is not salt but cylinder leased to fire
to architect the ash into slab
– K. Ming Chang, A brief history of the orchid

There is a time in life when you expect the world to be always full of new things. And then comes a day when you realize that is not how it will be at all. You see that life will become a thing made of holes. Absences. Losses. Things that were there and are no longer. And you realize, too, that you have to grow around and between the gaps, though you can put your hand out to where things were and feel that tense, shining dullness of the space where the memories are.
– Helen Macdonald, from H is for Hawk

–contemplation often makes life miserable. we should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live.
– nicholas chamfort

Wanting something other than what is, we seem to stumble into cacti and stones. Not wanting at all, or wanting too much, we create wastelands where we become strangers that do no see the given as gift.
– Gunilla Norris

We feed on sorrows, on stories, on the spaciousness they open up when they let us travel in our imagination beyond our own limits, when they dissolve the boundaries that confine us and urge us to extend the potentialities of our imperfect, broken, incomplete selves.
– Rebecca Solnit

Your memory like a snowflake forms
out of the night and comes down like
a new star all the time
– William Stafford

They were all in their early thirties. An age at which it is sometimes hard to admit that what you are living is your life.
– Alice Munro, The Moons of Jupiter

Jason Garner:
Don’t try to clear your mind. Just notice your mind. One is an act of aggression. The other a gesture of intimacy.

Those with ‘something to fall back on’ invariably fall back on it. They intended to all along. That is why they provide themselves with it. But those with no alternative see the world differently.
– David Mamet

Dogs and daffodils alone retain their sanity.
– Virginia Woolf

I keep forgetting to forget that the America I was born in will not be the America in which I die
– Saeed Jones

Freedom. It isn’t once, to walk out
under the Milky Way, feeling the rivers
of light, the fields of dark—
freedom is daily, prose-bound, routine
remembering. Putting together, inch by inch
the starry worlds. From all the lost collections.
– Adrienne Rich

When Awareness Awakens to Itself, dystopia becomes Utopia…
– Samsara IS Nirvana

Bruce Cockburn:
What does it take for the heart to explode into stars?
One day we’ll wake to remember how lovely we are
Lightning’s a kiss that lands hot on the loins of the sky
Something uncoils at the base of my spine and I cry

Johannes Göransson:
Many people say poetry readings are “boring.” I have the opposite feeling. Having a body in a public space makes me uncomfortable, vulnerable to the sonic impact of poems. Even a poem I dislike on the page can be powerful when it’s read out loud and my body is in the room.

If you’ve never eaten while crying you don’t know what life tastes like.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What’s the tiniest step you can take? Do that first.
– Maxime Lagacé

Love comes quietly,
finally, drops
about me, on me,
in the old ways.

What did I know
thinking myself
able to go
alone all the way.

– Robert Creeley

Ilya Kaminsky:

And sometimes we need lyricism not as “protest poetry” but as protest against any reality there is.

And, sometimes, a short story is better than any poem.

Birds by Bruno Shulz, for example.

(And, no, I am not here to explain why)

Depression—anxiety, in particular—wear me out, and are artistic collaborators with me, longtime artistic collaborators. How do I keep writing when I’m really struggling? I would say frankly that I don’t. . . . When I’m really struggling, I am the work.
– Saeed. Jones

Kate Tuttle:
Apparently I’ve hit an age where I just want to call everyone “buddy.”

Out of intense complexities, intense implicities emerge.
– Winston Churchill

alina pleskova:
it’s my understanding that poets should be absolved of trifles like taxes, linear time, Email, coherence, schedules, bank accounts, most documents, social order, & whatever else isn’t in service of like fucking around w/ the muses………. & yet here we are, year after year

Karen Neverland:
I reject the word “normalize” in any context.

I can’t believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary.
– Lou Holtz

All poets, all writers are political. They either maintain the status quo, or they say, ‘Something’s wrong, let’s change it for the better.’
– Sonia Sanchez

I leave the house, I walk the streets, get melancholy, and come home again.
– Frédéric Chopin really nailing urban life during a pandemic in a letter to Tytus Woyciechowski (dated September 1830).

Peter Kalmus:

I have started saying “fossil fuel people” instead of the “fossil fuel industry.”

These are actual people who every day make selfish decisions to enrich themselves at the irreversible and deadly expense of all of us, future people, and the planet.

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin:
What I keep learning – for hard problems, try softening.

Anxiety causes us to develop a mentality of scarcity and to shrink ourselves into a life too small to fulfill us.
– Bud Harris

Bruce Cockburn:
Though you find yourself alone and stranded
With no friend to take your side
On the endless road afoot and empty-handed
Where the wild-eyed Cossacks ride
Don’t forget…
About delight

I want the world to be better because I was here.
– Will Smith

renée kay:
i know i have the right friends because nobody is talking about sports on my timeline & i am texting someone about dictionaries

Ross Showalter:
Why do people say they’re going to read your work and then just…don’t?

It can be a brutal world. We can become warped and broken in so many different ways. That’s why we need so many different tools to heal and put ourselves back together. It can take time to find the tools that help, but have faith those tools are out there.
– Zookmann

Alyssa Leader:
Because I’m seeing this conversation floating around, let me not miss an opportunity to say that the idea of “professional” dress/appearance is one more classist, racist, sexist barrier designed to limit who can exist in “professional” spaces.

Inner peace is like a clean and spacious room, empty of unnecessary, old, or broken stuff.
– Remez Sasson

Trust that a poem isn’t always what happens in the words but is the trace that the words leave inside you as it vanishes…
– Alice Oswald

Well, we all get caught up, from time to time,
in the temptations of this world.
Sometimes we think about prestige, book sales,
notoriety, even for something as
lowly and insignificant as a prize
for being a poet.

We all need, from time to time, a friend
to tell us, as a friend told me,
“This is, truly, a relief, because
reincarnated Chinese poets should
worry only about their gardens and where
their next poem might be coming from.”

Weed the beans. Pick the peas.
Hill the potatoes. Thin the chard.
Cu t more wood.
– David Budbill, From Happy Life, Copper Canyon Press, 2011

Than softly falling snow
Fussing over every flake
And making sure
It won’t wake someone.
– Charles Simic

If you don’t feel that you are possibly on the edge of humiliating yourself, of losing control of the whole thing, then probably what you are doing isn’t very vital. If you don’t feel like you are writing somewhat over your head, why do it?
– John Irving

Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken. ”
– C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

As part of my attempt to have a part in the holding back the tide of vulgarity that is overtaking our culture I think I’m going to try to expunge “fuck” from my vocabulary. And, yes, that means most of those other lovely Anglo Saxonisms, as well. As a child of the sixties this word is meant to be used in place of a comma. So, we’re talking well ingrained. And I know most of my friends think it is highly unlikely that I can pull this off. But I’m setting the intention out here. And, we shall see…
– James Ford

Opening our hearts is not something we do once or twice. It is a way of life. How quickly life does things that make us want to close off, wall off, shut down, go away. But our commitment to staying open has little to do with what life does to us. It has to do with how we decide we want to live. Open. Loving. Safe. We’re safe because we know our ability and our willingness to love comes from within us. It is the ultimate form of learning to embrace our power.
A long time ago when we were young, you may have told yourself it was risky to love, to trust, to feel. You told yourself that everyone you trusted would in the end betray your trust. Your belief has many times been proven true. But it’s time now to believe something else. It’s time to believe that the opposite is true. It’s time to believe that the opposite is true. It is risky to not love, not trust, not feel.
Your security doesn’t come from trusting others. Your security comes from trusting and cherishing your own heart. Don’t let life shut you down. Open your heart as often as you need.
– Melody Beattie, Journey to the Heart

Hold fast to the human inside of you, and you’ll survive.
– Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The less you say, the more weight your words will carry.
– Leigh Bardugo, Siege and Storm

All’s in this flower …
Times, seasons, losses, all the fruits of woe,
Beauty’s fragility, and death’s bare gain,
Pluck’d in passing by, five minutes ago.

All’s in this flower, the war of life and death,
God’s character and purpose written down,
The force of love, the proof and power of faith
All’s here, and all unknown.

– Frank Kendon, The Flower, The Time Piece

When the world seems to be falling apart, the rule is to hang onto your own bliss. It’s that life that survives.
​- Joseph Campbell

Is there any hope of forging a new and better human reality in the ferment of this Chaos? One that does not abandon but respects human values such as compassion, love, empathy, respect for Nature, and understanding of our place within it? I have to believe that there is. Giving into despair is not a solution. For years in my talks and public lectures I have been propagating the message that, if Humanity is to have a hope of saving ourselves and the planet, we must do two things: First, we must wake up; second, we must wise up.
– Dennis McKenna, View from the Far Side: A Visionary Blog

Just because a critical thought comes to mind doesn’t mean I have to speak it… act on it… believe it… or pass it on to someone I love. I can acknowledge that thought, and then let it go so something hopeful, helpful, or healing can take its place.
– Rachel Macy Stafford

The greatest joy of any apprentice is to find a question that will engage them for a lifetime. If the edges of knowledge are always beyond her reach, she can rest in the sweet humility of not-knowing while being continually enriched by the gifts of discovery.
– Toko-pa Turner, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home

The Wisdom of Grief
Grief is a cauldron that dismantles us, undoes and deconstructs us, leaving us naked and bare. As grief does its deep work breaking us open, I’m also finding that in that place, I can more fully embrace and embody Gratitude and Joy with my whole being.
– Bob Holmes

God does not take us at our word. He looks deep into our hearts. It is not the ceremonies or rituals that make a difference, but whether our hearts are sufficiently pure or not.
– Shams Tabrizi

Nothing kills the soul that commands to evil like seeing the beauty of the heart…
– Hazrat Shams-e-Tabrizi

Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change – it can not only move us, it makes us move.
– Ossie Davis

Deafened by the voice of desire (ego), you are unaware the Beloved lives in the core of your heart.
Stop the noise, and you will hear His voice in the silence.
– Rumi

On Time Tanka
June Jordan – 1936-2002
I refuse to choose
between lynch rope and gang rape
the blues is the blues!
my skin and my sex: Deep dues
I have no wish to escape
I refuse to lose
the flame of my single space
this safety I choose
between your fist and my face
between my gender and race
All black and blue news
withers the heart of my hand
and leads to abuse
no one needs to understand:
suicide wipes out the clues
Rollin out the Rolls!
Proud cheatin on your (Black) wife
Loud beatin on your (white) wife
Real slime open mouth
police officer-true-creep
fixin to burn black people
killin the song of our sleep
Neither one of you
gets any play in my day
I know what you do
your money your guns your say
so against my pepper spray
Okay! laugh away!
I hear you and I accuse
you both: I refuse
to choose: All black and blue news
means that I hurt and I lose.

Unfortunately, catastrophes or scandalous disclosures always have to happen before humanity realises that it is only its own mistakes that have led it into misfortune. These are all the more difficult to rectify, because in the main they have been made by the authorities, who will not commit suicide themselves, but in order to save their own skins, they would rather that all Life should perish before they acknowledge their errors.
– Viktor Schauberger

Hope is a thing I drag
out of storage when I
am done thinking.

– Neil Hilborn

To travel across the ocean of our afflicted mind to the enlightened state of a buddha, we need to study and practice.

Without study would be like having oars without a boat. And without practice would be like having a boat without oars.

– Chamtrul Rinpoche

What do you want a meaning for?
Life is a desire, not a meaning.
– Charlie Chaplin

It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you.
– EM Forster, A Room With a View

Ecological Economies

The economy of a living environment is structured and upheld by countless processes of work, exchange, restful, and playful ways of being at home in an ecosystem. But useful thoughts about the economical Arts of Work and Exchange focus on important differences that are happily shared for mutual benefit, as when trading local crops for those grown elsewhere. And since in this book I’m urgently considering what is commonly valued by people everywhere, this third verse of my same old song focuses on the economic relevance of our common interests. (Which could have been a book in itself, but you go figure, if you have the time.) In other words, the functional persistence of every ecosystem depends on the value-directed working coexistence of the personal economies of the living inhabitants of that associative organism. And while some have written about what an economy respectful of biological coexistence might look like, especially Jeremy Rifkin, this has not been looked at as much from the perspective of our sentient abilitites and how they work well. Highly specialized economical processes are pursued by every organism using the same biosentient powers that enable feeling-speech to be the basis of living coexistence.

Yes, the idea of gain, hopefully mutual, is always essential to the idea of working for something. But the nature of work should not be defined from the getgo as the performance of a purposeful activity for the sake of monetary gain. For the the living in general work has nothing to do with anything like money, except for domesticated animals who’ve surrendered to having to work for us for the sake of food and shelter, since they have no other choice. But for those of the living who are free, “work” means nothing more than doing what’s needed to accomplish what you want. For a free organism, what you want is most often nourishment, though it can be other possibilities. What it never is, is something of imaginary value that other organisms have compelled it to have to have in addition to one’s own natural powers. Whoops!

So why is money the dominant god of the modern world?

With missionary zeal, the white man has penetrated to the farthest ends of the earth, enducing nearly everyone to worship his most beloved “God,” which he rarely admits has been money for a long, long time. And, with the great power conferred on him by his god, he has reshaped the entire globe in its image and likeness. So it’s no wonder that many are having a hard time relating to the importance of living on a living earth when this is obscured by the ever-increasing financial boundaries of the most coercive of any god ever: money. And for those who doubt that money is the god of the age, let them try to disobey the moral law which commands that we give up the greater part of their waking lives in its service.

Domestication was a hard row to hoe. As Whitley Strieber writes in Jesus: A New Vision,

As the ice age ended, climate upheavals caused mass extinctions and diebacks. In areas such as the Middle East, humans had to abandon hunting and gathering and gathering and start growing food for themselves. That this was hard for us is revealed by the difference between the bones of hunter-gatherers and and those of early farmers. The farmers are smaller and show signs of diseases like rickets and arthritis that are not seen in the hunter-gatherer fossils.

But once upon a time, all humans lived in partnership with the living worlds of nature, and no one had to obey an upper echelon. Then, because of ownership and domestication, many people began having to work for the Lord of the land – a rich guy who was often good at leading war parties into battle. And these common people began to think that their enslavement was thorough. Eventually, they had to work for money – the best disguise ever for any controlling elite – and the people’s enslavement became even more thorough, since it was so insidiously covert. What better mask for the powers that enslave us than the distraction of a potential monetary gain that poses as a promise of freedom?

Healthy social action is based on free communications, rather than prefigured plots, in which there is always some freedom, some indeterminate leeway, in social situations. Thus social engineering is innately inert. Also the problem with modern economies: too much predetermined engineering. Way too little leeway for spontaneous interactions. Unlike The Lovely Land of the Living. And while my dear friend who invented the phrase “games of freedom” would say it’s impossible to practically name the full spectrum of those games – since freedom transcends all words – I respectfully suggest the path less taken.
– George Gorman

My way of expression is full of complications
and mystery because that’s my perception of life.
– Abbas Kiarostami

Don’t be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.
– Arthur Miller

It has often been said that we are living in an age of tribalism in which people the world over are retreating into safer and smaller identities. Racism, nationalism, and fascism are just a few of the resulting maladies. The blame is variously cast on the insults of inequality, the ambiguities of postmodernity, and the epistemological bubbles of social media.

Yet, it is astonishing how seldom we recognize the antidote in wider and more expansive identities. As right-wing nationalists and fascists the world over wage war for our souls, they are reviving long moribund anti-racist and feminist movements. Hence, it is astonishing that there is no major movement urging people to embrace the widest circle of identity in the ancient tradition of cosmopolitanism.

Cosmopolitanism stakes its claim on embracing the whole of humanity. It reminds us, in the words of the playwright Terrence, that “nothing human is alien to me.” It tells us we are more than the accidents of our birth, more than the limitations with which we have been brought up. Rather, it reminds us we can freely express the full spectrum of human experiences, affirming our humanity while befriending the whole of humankind.

Cosmopolitanism counsels that it is normal to befriend others across racial, religious, national, and class boundaries. It reminds us, in the words of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, that we are like the upper and lower rows of a man’s teeth and that it is natural for us to work together toward shared ends. It is natural for us to work together to get things done in diverse organizations, and it is normal to cooperate across borders in a globalized world.

Cosmopolitanism insists that, first and foremost, we are citizens of the world. In so doing, it reminds us, in the words of Robert F. Kennedy, that “we breathe the same air, share the same water,” and we sink or swim as one species sharing the same biosphere. It is a critical reminder of the climate challenge we face and the responsibilities we bear for people on the other side of the world whose services keep our economies running. Yet, in an interconnected world that can no longer be teased apart without the whole thing crumbling to pieces, embracing our shared humanity means simply recognizing the reality in which we are living. If our identities cannot be drawn as wide as the forces influencing our lives, we will pass like shades through half-human lives in a world of strangers.

Of course, there are identities like skin color that we will carry to the grave and others like nationality that can elevate our voices in a national crisis. There are rights and duties of citizenship, and when we are born into oppression, we can use our experiences of it to help free others from it. But what good is an identity if you don’t know how to use it? Embracing an identity that serves no purpose is like taking on a meaningless job without pay.

We can embrace the religious commitments of Judaism or Islam, for instance, without closing ourselves off to most of humanity. So, why do we choose such small identities while defining them in such limiting ways? No doubt, we are all many things for the many moments of our lives. Hence, the philosopher and economist Amartya Sen reminds us that identities are constantly in flux. You can be a father one moment, a professor the next; an Indian in Delhi, and an American in the voting booth.

But identities should be more like clothing for the occasion to be thrown off when the time is right. No need to wear your suit to bed. No need to keep jabbering on about being white, black, yellow, man, woman, straight, gay, trans, alcoholic, introverted, extraverted, newly converted, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, or American—unless it serves some momentary higher purpose. As the Buddha reminded us, once you have crossed to the other shore, you don’t go around carrying the boat on your head.

Yet, whatever we might be in the moments in between, if we lack a wider identity in which we might house the whole wardrobe of our identities, we might as well be hacking off limbs. The world is interconnected: if we want to connect with the forces animating our lives, we had better choose an identity that embraces them all. The whole of humanity bears much the same set of capacities: if we want to access them all, we had better choose an identity that embraces them all. Meanwhile, if you don’t like tribalism, there are better and stronger medicines than moral equivalence. There is no contradiction between being something and everything at one and the same time.

– Theo Horesh, author of Convergence: The Globalization of Mind

Spirituality, in its deep sense,
begins when we see the futility
of endlessly trying to control experience.
If we don’t see that,
then we’ll use all of our spiritual practices
as a means to control experience.

– Adyashanti, The Heart of Spiritual Practice

At the end of an age, the denizens of the age still profess to believe that they can understand themselves by the theory of the age, yet they behave as if they did not believe it. The surest sign that an age is coming to an end is the paradoxical movement of the most sensitive souls of the age, the artists and writers first, then the youth, in a direction exactly opposite to the direction laid down by the theory of the age.
– Walker Percy, The Message in the Bottle: How Queer Man Is, How Queer Language Is, and What One Has to Do with the Other

Premise: the world and the mind are one,
With a single splendor. And to By the way a
Street looked, or the way the light fell in a canyon,
Is to realize the way time feels in passing, as

The will to change becomes the effort to remember,
And then a passive sigh. An eidolon
Constructed out of air, grown out of nothing,
Planted at the center of a space shaped like the heart
– John Koethe

You can’t reach old age by another man’s road. My habits protect my life but they would assassinate you.
– Mark Twain

Ethan Nichtern:
If you take a merely individualistic view of karma, you will constantly mistake social causes of suffering for personal failings.

There’s actually nothing crueler than this misinterpretation.

Marianne Williamson:
We’re phasing out of an entire chapter of our history, simultaneously giving birth to a new one. What lies before us isn’t predetermined; it will be the result of our collective decision-making as we choose between increasing authoritarianism and a repaired and rebuilt democracy.

Bruce Cockburn:
In the crashing chaos where stars are born
The strong get fed and the weak get torn
Look at that cosmos eating its tail
Circled like the lip of the holy grail

Intellectual elegance is a mind that is continually refining itself with education and knowledge. Intellectual elegance is the opposite of intellectual vulgarity.
– Massimo Vignelli

Rhythm, for me, is everything. Without rhythm, there’s no music. Without rhythm, there’s no cinema. …You can have the craft, the knowledge, the information, the tools, even the ideas—but if you don’t have rhythm, you’re fucked.
– Alejandro González Iñárritu

Fear is in your head, only in your head
So forget your head and you’ll be free
Fill Your Heart
– David Bowie

One cannot write poems about trees
when the forest is full of police.
– Bertolt Brecht

Books are the best means—private, discreet, reliable—of overcoming reality.
– Jhumpa Lahiri, In Other Words

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.
– D.H. Lawrence

Beauty matters. It is not just a subjective thing, but a universal need of human beings. If we ignore this, we shall find ourselves in a spiritual desert.
– Sir Roger Scruton

I’m Blank
Not like the wide open field
Full of details, of lichen and rock
Nor like the frozen pond
sealed off, glassy and clear
More like the shadow
That follows me in
Bright light as I make my way
Over and across the yard
A flat encompassing gray
Into which I disappear
A winter’s tale
Do you know it too?
My hungry eye
My hands clenched in thin gloves
I mistook this for erasure
But now I see an opening
– Shari Altman

Perdita Finn:
There is a famous story about a mountain climber who managed to rescue six of his teammates, each roped to the other, all of whom had fallen into a crevasse. With iron-willed determination and miraculous strength, the climber was able to hoist them all back to safety, one by one, pulling, heaving, straining, against gravity. Known in climbing lore as The Belay it represents a heroic level of personal power.
Unfortunately, a lot of people approach their ancestors feeling that they must rescue them all from the abyss of their dysfunction…or risk being pulled over themselves. They cannot cut themselves free…and they are impossibly burdened by the superhuman effort needed to do this lineage healing. They are being dragged down by family histories of abuse of abuse and addiction, violence and depression, sorrow and silence.
Except that the dead weigh nothing. They are freed of not just their bodies but the merciless idea of a single life that caused them so much misery. The dead see it all and hold the wisdom of the long story. They are no longer in any need of rescue. In fact, they are holding out their hands to us, they are the ones who are ready to guide us, protect, bring us back from the brink. We are dangling off the side of the mountain…and they are ready to belay us up it.

Those ancestors who have known miseries know exactly what we need. The grandmother who struggled with depression can help us find our way out of it. The uncle who died an addict is best equipped to keep us sober. The cousin who was abused will help us heal our own trauma. They know exactly where we are and know exaclty how to help us heal. The dead will rescue us if we let them.
The only burden we need to feel is that of our own healing. The dead, all of them, all of them, are standing ready to help.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
– W. H. Auden

Poets spend their whole lives
trying to think
of a better way to say,
“He loved a girl.”
– Atticus

We have reached a stage when nobody can afford to sit on the fence or take refuge in the ‘ambiguous middle’. One has to speak out and stand up for one’s convictions. Inaction at a time of conflagration is inexcusable.
– Gandhi

Many complain that the words of the wise are always merely parables and of no use in daily life, which is the only life we have. When the sage says: “Go over,” he does not mean that we should cross over to some actual place, which we could do anyhow if the labor were worth it; he means some fabulous yonder, something unknown to us, something too that he cannot designate more precisely, and therefore cannot help us here in the very least. All these parables really set out to say merely that the incomprehensible is incomprehensible, and we know that already. But the cares we have to struggle with every day: that is a different matter.

Concerning this a man once said: Why such reluctance? If you only followed the parables you yourselves would become parables and with that rid yourself of all your daily cares.

Another said: I bet that is also a parable.

The first said: You have won.

The second said: But unfortunately only in parable.

The first said: No, in reality: in parable you have lost.
– Franz Kafka

I’m suspecting there’s one poem in all of us we’re writing over and over again, and failing at, that’s actually someone else’s poem that imprinted upon us. As we try to make it our own, with pathological desperation, never able to, we waste precious time. If we can somehow honor it and keep it vivid within us, but turn to our own spontaneous and unfamiliar thought, we would be far better served. It is very hard to let go of the poem you want to write that is someone else’s. But if you do, you become the imprinter, not just the imprinted upon.
– Bianca Stone

Many people misunderstand the concept of safety. They think they can gain it by protecting themselves from other people or choosing safe people. Safety actually occurs when we learn to trust our ability to take care of ourselves.
– Mary MacKenzie


Imperfect men
Can make a lasting document
“We hold these truths….”
What hypocrites, we say
And hypocrites they were
Yet can we not praise
The words that sprang up,
Even their authors’
Cruel hypocrisies…
“We hold these truths….”
These words defined
History anew.
Imperfect, finite men
Can make
A lasting document
– Jack Foley

It is not what a poem says with its mouth, it’s what a poem does with its eyes.
– Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures

Thus, I am here where poets come to drink a dark strong poison with tiny shards of ice, something to loosen my primate tongue and its syllables of debris. I know all words come from preexisting words and divide until our pronouncements develop selves.
– Terrance Hayes

The danger of civilization,
of course, is that you will
piss away your life
on nonsense.
– Jim Harrison

Music is the emotional life of the most people.
– Leonard Cohen

Others brag of the books they’ve managed to write; I brag of the books I’ve managed to read.
– Jorge Luis Borges

News Feed posts
by Matt Licata
You don’t have to fix anyone’s problems. You don’t have to save them, heal them, or urgently get them to take on your favorite beliefs, theories, and techniques.
Just be there with them so that they feel felt and understood. When they look up at you, you are really there.
Listen, to the story they are telling you, of how they are making sense of their experience. Listen also to the somatic story, to the secret, sensitive language emerging from their body and their heart.
And also listen carefully to their story of safety and what makes them feel safe. This story is told in the language of the nervous system and will speak to you if you attune to it.
Momentarily bracket your beliefs, ideas, and systems of change. With the poetic beauty and power of your mirror neuron system, enter into the miracle we-space with them, where they can know for just one moment that they are not alone.
I’m with you. I’m here. I feel you. I understand you.
Extend to them a soothed nervous system, a sanctuary of holding, a field of permission where their experience can unfold without any pressure for it to shift, change, or heal. Remove the burden that they become someone or something else in order for you to stay close.
For just a few moments, resist the temptation to “teach” them, but instead “reach” them.
The mind will doubt if this is enough… but the body knows. The heart knows.
We are able to do this to the degree with are in touch with the orphans of soma and psyche that dance out our own unlived life – the unmet grief, the untouched sadness, the unmetabolized rage.
If we are not in conscious, embodied, and compassionate contact with these ones, we will not be able to recognize and hold them as they surge in the interactional field, and our friend will not feel safe to access, articulate, and integrate what is alive within them.
The Other – whether manifesting outside us or taking internal form – is not in need of new information, strategies, techniques, or beliefs, but longs and burns for you… your presence, your tenderness, your raw unfiltered being, your love.

The Fire
by Humberto Ak’abal
(translated by Miguel Rivera)

The fire
eases the sadness of the log
by singing to him
his burning song.
And the log
consuming himself
until he forgets
he once was a tree.

Clouds very high
not one word helped them
get up there.
– Ikkyu

If there be such a thing as truth, it must infallibly be struck out by the collision of mind with mind.
– William Godwin

It seems to have had an order, to have been composed by someone, and those events that were merely accidental when they happened turn out to be the main elements in a consistent plot. Who composed this plot? Just as your dreams are composed, so your whole life has been composed by the will within you. Just as the people who you met by chance became effective agents in the structuring of your life, so you have been the agent in the structuring of other lives. And the whole thing gears together like one big symphony, everything influencing and structuring everything else. It’s as though our lives were the dream of a single dreamer in which all of the dream characters are dreaming too. And so everything links to everything else moved out of the will in nature … It is as though there were an intention behind it yet it is all by chance. None of us lives the life that he had intended.
– Joseph Campbell

Sharon Salzberg writes, “Although love is often depicted as starry-eyed and sweet, love for the self is made of tougher stuff. It’s not a sappy form of denial. You still might feel rage, desire, and shame like everyone else in the world, but you can learn to hold these emotions in a context of wisdom.”

Here’s a challenge for the weekend: Show yourself some love, and when you feel some of those tough emotions, allow yourself to feel them, and do something small to move closer to self love and further away from self sabotage. Here are some ideas:

Rage: Take yourself on a solo walk or dance or journal to decompress after a long day – channel that anger into something beneficial.
Desire: Light a candle and mindfully enjoy a nutritious, delicious dinner – take pleasure in the gift of taste, smell and ambiance.
Shame: Reach out to a trusted person in your life – connection is a powerful antidote to shame.
– Heidi Barr


In this tough old time, I remembered something I wrote above love a few years ago. It was a moment far more dreadful for me than now, but I draw strength in it today. The book was called The Night Wages, and it’s really an extended conversation between a dad and his daughter. Wherever you happen to be, I wish you courage and good cheer.

There is an old Russian notion that very early every morning, the Firebird sweeps low through the forest, with her majestic, solitary head bent as if she is listening for something precious. I think her procession through the woods is the arrival of dawn itself. Some believe—okay, I believe—she remembers a time when humans used to offer loving, inventive and passionate words to her. She flies low to catch just a moment of such gorgeousness in her fine and praiseworthy feathers. As the years go by, her heart aches at the absence of such love-speech.

Well, I think some of us are a little like her. I do. Even after all the therapy, and divorces, and psychologising, the bracing cold showers of rationality, somewhere we remember the old coo-call, and we sweep through the lonely glades for even an echo of the sound. We want to be beheld in the old way, even—or especially—in a climate of absolute amnesia to such a deep yearning.

So dad asks daughter if she’s ever felt glimpsed like that. Why would such a thing matter? Then they talk about Firebird feelings, and flap their wings.

She also seems to know that she’s talking about something dangerous and alive. And that there’s a kind of contract with loneliness that is signed if you agree to take the shape that such things call forth in you. At least sometimes.

So he continues:

Some grown ups have become suspicious of romantic love. Yes, it’s very powerful. It has consequence.

But the gods forgive lovers. And so should we. Handled well, and given the tempering of time, it is an enormous gift to the world beyond this one. All the horses of your little heart will bend their head to fresh water when it arrives. Nothing else is quite the same. And there is more at stake than just the desire of the lovers. It can be a libation. That desire goes somewhere holy.

The gods absolutely adore it, like catnip, like an exquisite tequila, like you and I adore Aslan, like wood smoke on a crisp October day, like the melodious chant of bells at a summering Dartmoor wedding. It gives them delight. It’s an altar. So it’s for more than us for a start. That really changes the perspective. It can be devotional.

Love derails world-weary strategy, loosens cynicism from your bones, laces every single one of your gorgeous cow-like lashes with a complete re-boot of wonder. You guide your cattle through the Altai mountains in just one night and arrive at a green, slow-swishing Mediterranean sea with hot, moon-white sand between your toes. It is the greatest thing. Stay away from anyone that tells you otherwise. I mean turn around and walk away.

Love gives us our stories.

It re-opens us to a world in full disclosure, calls down angels and raggedy children and happy dogs and hot nights and blue moons. And yes, trouble too. It is an enormous invitation.

The “problem” is not the experience, it’s that we live in a time that has often forgotten the dance steps to approach such an invitation. It is an attempt to make us bigger, not smaller. A life already cooked in beauty and art, and helping other people and animals and glittering spirits of goodness tempers us to its magnificence, rather than attempts to neuter it.

People use this ghastly word “projection”. Scratch that. The word Jung used before he came up with that was much better: rapport.

It’s not what we smother them in from our own fevered imaginings, but what radiates through them from the Other World. What stands behind them. We behold, bear witness, not fantasise.

So prepare well. Cultivate your inner life whilst reaching out to the world. Wander your oak valleys, linger in ornate chapels at dusk, get thrown out of the tavern at midnight, be kind, kiss the wounded, fight injustice and protect, protect, protect all the trembling bells of delight that you notice out of the corner of your eye when everyone else is oblivious. Value yourself, know yourself, don’t be naive, but don’t be afraid of love. Carry it.

No one is complete. No one can absolutely provide everything you ever longed for. But that’s not really the point. It shouldn’t make them small, but rather, interesting.
– Martin Shaw

Letting go means you just let something be.
And it goes away on it’s own accord because conditions change.
All conditions of existence are constantly changing,
moving towards wholeness, or away from wholeness.
– Michael J. Tamura

…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, Beginners

I know now that man is capable of great deeds. But if he isn’t capable of a great emotion, well, he leaves me cold.
– Albert Camus

To be born an artist is a rare and a miraculous thing, because
we are the last alchemists. We reach out into thin air and we
grab your hopes, your dreams, your deepest desires and we turn
them into something that you can see, or hear, or touch, or
sing back to yourselves. We are with you from cradle to grave.
Orchestras and classical music occupy a rarified place in that
atmosphere, because they take a stick made of wood, made of
bronze, made of metal, a piece of skin, a bone or a mallet, and
turn it into the backdrop of Western culture. I’m extremely proud to be presenting in the Classical category.
– Mary McClure

Buddhist teachings are not exalted words and scriptures existing outside us, sitting on a high shelf in the temple, but rather they are medicine for our ills. Buddhist teachings are skillful means to cure our ignorance, craving, anger, as well as our habit of seeking things outside and not having confidence in ourselves.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

It’s insane to give huge subsidies to something that worsens climate problems.
– Greta Thunberg

The most helpful or harmful thing in the entire universe is not outside. It is the mind.
– Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche

blooming in winter
like cherished bank notes unspent —
the mitsumata

bright even at night
edgeworthia chrysantha —
a paperbush blooms

– Frank LaRue Owen, Hawk of the Pines

Spend less time reacting and more time creating.

Build what you want to see.

– Dr. Thema

Gregory Mansfield:

1 out of 4 people is disabled.

How long do we continue to
marginalize 25% of the population?

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything good.
– William Faulkner

The way to keep something is to forget it.
– Jenny George

It’s really interesting the different ways people write. That’s why when young writers want to know the “secret,” I’ll generally say there isn’t any. You have to find your own secrets.
– Octavia E. Butler

In the unitive way or life, the heart is taken over by God and inflamed with love.
– Michael Hansen

In Buddhism, I read that I’m supposed to let go of my attachment to the world. Only then will life begin to have meaning and death will make sense. But what if I want to cling to the world: […] to treasure the way that red wine makes me feel so fearless, to treasure the sunlight lying in the rust-colored leaves of an oak, to treasure the way bodies curl together after sex, spent and satisfied.
– Andrew Bertaina

Thus, all philosophy is like a tree, of which Metaphysics is the root, Physics the trunk, and all the other sciences the branches that grow out of this trunk, which are reduced to three principal, namely, Medicine, Mechanics, and Ethics.
– René Descartes

Sometimes I just want to turn to that poet on my TL and say: Don’t you ever share the work of other people? I get it, you publish everywhere. But what about your sense of community?
– Ruben Quesada, Ph.D.

People talk as if grief were just a feeling – as if it weren’t the continually renewed shock of setting out again and again on familiar roads and being brought up short by the grim frontier post that now blocks them.
– C.S. Lewis

Wayne Koestenbaum:
Prospero says, “Let us not burden our remembrance with / A heaviness that’s gone.” I like this theory of forgetfulness—relinquishment—dropping the parcel that holds the clustered woes.

I understand that we want people to feel motivated to create the life they want. To create a world where that is possible for everyone would be a beautiful thing. But, in order to create that world, we must also embrace the fact that not everyone can manifest their dreams. There are many casualties on the battlefield of life. And we must prioritize their care, just as we prioritize our manifestation. Because the world of our most beautiful imaginings must stand on humane ground. The actualization of human potential and the comforting of the fallen are threads of the same holy weave.

Those who have the least
are often offered up at a
crossroad. Those in need
are often slain in the dead
of mourning. Those in power
smile, name this a just fate.
– Porsha Olayiwola

Blessed be those who turn their pains into learning and their thorns into flowers.
Life is so much more than appearances.
What always stays, is the beauty that comes from the soul!
– Paula Monteiro

What Is To Arrive
There is someone I know who retrieves
love and puts it back in empty places,
who sees what a seed can become and
pours water upon the earth. I know
what it takes to birth such generosity
of spirit: a long, hard labor. But nothing
comes into this world without something
having great faith in what is to arrive.
And, you, are here.
– Jamie K. Reaser

Nothing is truly an original.
The delicate curl and color
of leaves write most of the poetry,
flowers write the rest.
Can I take credit
for celestial rascals
pouring buckets of light
down for me to capture
and bring to a space where
love can echo?
I often plagiarize deep breath,
who does most of the work,
and the collage of all those beautiful
eyes I’ve looked into,
her cheeks,
the way that tree arcs her longing,
the song of the world saying its last words
to summer’s soft face.
So who am I to credit these poems to?
Light doesn’t need to sign its name.
– Chelan Harkin

Dr. Jennifer Grotz:
I don’t see mention of this, how valuable it is to learn one or more foreign languages. It widens the aperture of your human experience, it exposes you to various familiarities and newnesses, and if you’re a poet, it helps you acquire or assume your craft.

A mind that can only destroy and critique is ill, no matter how clever it is.

Leah Callen:
The prairie sky was painted gently today.

Gods are unavoidable. The more you flee from the God, the more surely you fall into his hand.
– CG Jung, Liber Novus

Bruce Cockburn:
Each one lost is everyone’s loss you see
Each one lost is a vital part of you and me

If I could stop talking, completely
cease talking for a year, I might begin
to get well,” he muttered.
– Franz Wright

Nobody is going to pour truth into your brain. It’s something you have to find out for yourself.
– Noam Chomsky

Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that people don’t have to experience it.
– Max Frisch

we will only ever be
as much as we are willing to save of one another.
– Natalie Diaz

It takes a very long time to become young.
– Pablo Picasso

If desires are not uprooted, Sorrows grow again in you.
– Buddha

3 things in life that never comes back when gone:
– Time
– Words
– Opportunity
3 things in life that should never be lost:
– Hope
– Honesty
3 things in life that are most valuable:
– Love
– Faith
– Prayer
3 things that make a person:
– Hardwork
– Sincerity
– Commitment
3 things that can destroy a person:
– Lust
– Pride
– Anger
3 things in life that are constant:
– Change
– Death
– God
3 who love you and who will never leave you alone:
– The Father
– The Son
– The Holy Spirit
I asked God for these three things:
– To bless you
– To guide you
– To ALWAYS protect you

We are like books. Most people only see our cover, the minority read only the introduction, many people believe the critics. Few will know our content.
– Emile Zola

anxiety is the dizziness of freedom…learning to know anxiety is an adventure which every man has to affront if he would not go to perdition either by not having known anxiety or by sinking under it. he therefore who has leaned rightly to be in anxiety has learned the most important thing.
– soren kierkegaard

For the first time in this house I’m to be snowed in for the day. How exciting and moving that is, the exact opposite of an outgoing adventure or expedition! Here the excitement is to be suddenly a self-reliant prisoner, and what opens out is the inner world.
– May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

Hon or We have both traveled from the other side of some hill, one side of which we may wish we could forget
by Anis Mojgani

Love me stupid.
Love me terrible.
And when I am no
mountain but rather
a monsoon of imperfect
thunder love me. When
I am blue in my face
from swallowing myself
yet wearing my best heart
even if my best heart
is a century of hunger
an angry mule breathing
hard or perhaps even
hopeful. A small sun.
Little & bright.

I see men assassinated around me every day. I walk through rooms of the dead, streets of the dead, cities of the dead; men without eyes, men without voices; men with manufactured feelings and standard reactions; men with newspaper brains, television souls and high school ideas…
– Charles Bukowski

The equilibrium of our mind should not be disturbed by praise or blame, gain or loss. If we are attached to these things we will constantly be distracted from our spiritual practice.
– Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

This political season, everyone seems to be ‘right.’ Which means everyone is furious at someone who is ‘wrong.’ And in this climate of righteous anger, few seem rooted in the silence of listening, which is vast wholeness. Gaze into the face of the Lord of Uncertainty, and see the beauty that glistens in the dark Unknown. Are the stars right or wrong? Look into a bursting flower. Is there power in stillness? The revolution is to breathe. The radical act is being present. I’m going out to that field, beyond right thinking and wrong thinking, to drink wine with Rumi.
– Fred LaMotte

Remain calm in every situation because peace equals power.
– Joyce Meyer

We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgment;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness;
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet
the new neighbor.
We’ve built more computers to hold more
information to produce more copies than ever,
but have less communications;
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These times are times of fast foods;
but slow digestion;
Tall man but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It is time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.
– Authorship Unknown, Charles Eisenstein, Sacred Economics

Even the most thorough change happens once choice at a time.
– Charles Eisenstein

How beautiful can life be? We hardly dare imagine it.
– Charles Eisenstein

The financial crisis we are facing today arises from the fact that there is almost no more social, cultural, natural, and spiritual capital left to convert into money.
– Charles Eisenstein, Sacred Economics

Is it too much to ask, to live in a world where our human gifts go toward the benefit of all? Where our daily activities contribute to the healing of the biosphere and the well-being of other people?
– Charles Eisenstein

The more beautiful world my heart knows is possible is a world with a lot more pleasure: a lot more touch, a lot more lovemaking, a lot more hugging, a lot more deep gazing into each other’s eyes, a lot more fresh-ground tortillas and just-harvested tomatoes still warm from the sun, a lot more singing, a lot more dancing, a lot more timelessness, a lot more beauty in the built environment, a lot more pristine views, a lot more water fresh from the spring. Have you ever tasted real water, springing from the earth after a twenty-year journey through the mountain? None of these pleasures is very far away. None requires any new inventions, nor the subservience of the many to the few. Yet our society is destitute of them all. Our wealth, so-called, is a veil for our poverty, a substitute for what is missing. Because it cannot meet most of our true needs, it is an addictive substitute. No amount can ever be enough. Many of us already see through the superficial substitute pleasures we are offered. They are boring to us, or even revolting. We needn’t sacrifice pleasure to reject them. We need only sacrifice the habit, deeply ingrained, of choosing a lesser pleasure over a greater. Where does this habit come from? It is an essential strand of the world of separation, because most of the tasks that we must do to keep the world-devouring machine operating do not feel very good at all. To keep doing them, we must be trained to deny pleasure.
– Charles Eisenstein

Perhaps the deepest indication of our slavery is the monetization of time. It is a phenomenon with roots deeper than our money system, for it depends on the prior quantification of time. An animal or a child has “all the time in the world.” The same was apparently true for Stone Age peoples, who usually had very loose concepts of time and rarely were in a hurry. Primitive languages often lacked tenses, and sometimes lacked even words for “yesterday” or “tomorrow.” The comparative nonchalance primitive people had toward time is still apparent today in rural, more traditional parts of the world. Life moves faster in the big city, where we are always in a hurry because time is scarce. But in the past, we experienced time as abundant. The more monetized society is, the more anxious and hurried its citizens. In parts of the world that are still somewhat outside the money economy, where subsistence farming still exists and where neighbors help each other, the pace of life is slower, less hurried. In rural Mexico, everything is done mañana. A Ladakhi peasant woman interviewed in Helena Norberg-Hodge’s film Ancient Futures sums it all up in describing her city-dwelling sister: “She has a rice cooker, a car, a telephone—all kinds of time-saving devices. Yet when I visit her, she is always so busy we barely have time to talk.” For the animal, child, or hunter-gatherer, time is essentially infinite. Today its monetization has subjected it, like the rest, to scarcity. Time is life. When we experience time as scarce, we experience life as short and poor. If you were born before adult schedules invaded childhood and children were rushed around from activity to activity, then perhaps you still remember the subjective eternity of childhood, the afternoons that stretched on forever, the timeless freedom of life before the tyranny of calendar and clocks. “Clocks,” writes John Zerzan, “make time scarce and life short.” Once quantified, time too could be bought and sold, and the scarcity of all money-linked commodities afflicted time as well. “Time is money,” the saying goes, an identity confirmed by the metaphor “I can’t afford the time.” If the material world”
– Charles Eisenstein

We are not just a skin-encapsulated ego, a soul encased in flesh. We are each other and we are the world.
– Charles Eisenstein

Three or four agreements can change the world.
– Orland Bishop

I can’t be ruled by fear. I am love.
– @PyramidRealm

If we lack peace of mind, then what good does it do us to have youth, beauty, health, wealth, education, and worldly power?
– Tulku Thondup

To seek God (without a purpose)
is the ultimate of spiritual realization.
To achieve that realization,
we must come to that place in consciousness
where our whole heart and soul yearn for God,
and only for God, rather for any good,
any harmony, any healing,
or any peace that may come to us.
In that state of self-surrender we can say:
I seek nothing but Thee.
I must know Thee,
whom to know aright is life eternal.
Let me live and move and have my being
in Thee, with Thee,
and I can accept whatever else may come.
What difference, then,
will it make if I have a body
or do not have a body,
if I am healthy or unhealthy?
“In Thy presence is the fullness of life”
When consciousness rises
to that place of devotion
where God is God to us,
only for the sake of God,
that is when we have attained
The Infinite Way of Life.
– Joel Goldsmith

by Mark Jarman
They were all white, passing through their stages
In sheets and ladders, rivulets and falls,
White—a dream of color or an aftermath
Of color stripped to gauze and gossamer,
A white electric squall in half the sky,
Epiphany for the blind, and veils of tears.
Magdalene’s tears. The tears that Jesus wept.
What draws them forth? Mortality and laughter,
The sad and funny fact that you will die
And that you’ve made your children, they will die.
Do they hold that against you? My parents made me.
They went ahead and made me, child of love,
Child of a loving union, which would end,
But which I grew up thinking would not end.
The northern lights remind me of their love,
The drama of my growing up was love
As they performed it, everyone noticing,
The scintillating cosmic imagery
Of two who seemed to be made for each other,
As light is made for sheets of summer darkness,
As darkness in high summer accepts light.
Why did I ever think that they were gods?
But I didn’t. I thought that they were people,
And people love each other for a lifetime—
Gods are as fickle as the northern lights.
Don’t ever think of human beings you love
And need as like those shifting shimmerings,
No matter how liquescent memorable enduring
Against the immortal darkness of the sky.
The northern lights will break a heart and heal it
In the same motion, raveling and unraveling.
They are the background music of creation,
The song God sang while sinking into rest,
The song descended into, words and music,
Oblivious and yet ready to break hearts,
Heartbreaking and yet in the end oblivious.
So I have thought about a years-ago night,
The northern lights above a northern mountain,
And how the tears came down and why, forgetting
That there is nothing oblivion won’t forgive.

Quite simply, the desire to write is connected to the desire to evolve. Creativity is not an occupation; it is our birthright. It is a way for us to make meaning of our lives, to reframe our relationship to the world, to communicate the deepest aspects of ourselves.
– Al Watt

Gal Shapira:
Do not accept any opinion that limits your progress or mental state.

Toby Rogers PhD, MPP:
As society collapses all around us, I feel like a monk rushing to write down the truth and hide it a time capsule so that hopefully a future civilization can discover that we were not *all* crazy.

People who are like, well we can live with this, because x or y or z.

– Alison Drevers

These hags, these great beauties, these mermaids who taunt, who feast, who slash, these succubae who cannot rest, my mothers, my sisters, my unborn friends, my keepers, my guardians.
– Jenny Zhang, Hags

There is one emotion that has transformed my life: gratitude. As I’ve worked on feeling grateful more often, it’s changed my entire outlook. I’ve gone from paying attention to negative things to seeing the positive in almost everything. A lot has been written about the magic of this emotion
– Sadie Radinsky

A Few Reasons to Oppose the War
by Lisa Suhair Majaj

because wind soughs in the branches of trees
like blood sighing through veins

because in each country there are songs
huddled like wet-feathered birds

because even though the news has nothing new to say
and keeps on saying it
NO still fights its way into the world

because for every bomb that is readied
a baby nestles into her mother
latches onto a nipple beaded with milk

because the tulips have waited all winter
in the cold dark earth

because each morning the wildflowers outside my window
raise their yellow faces to the sun

because we are all so helplessly in love
with the light

I’m just a human being with a lot of shit on my heart.
– Jack Kerouac, Pomes All Sizes

Oh, Ann, you beautiful, rule-breaking moth.
– Leslie Knope

All novels are experimental.
– Anthony Burgess

That things ‘just go on’ is the catastrophe.
– Walter Benjamin

when I am in your presence I feel life is strong
and will defeat all its enemies and all of mine
and all of yours in you and mine in me
– Frank O’Hara

Someone said what they call you is one thing; what you answer to is something else.
– Lucille Clifton

every generation a new group of elites and self-styled “rational men” discovers the same old, trash ideas about the natural inferiority of their social lessers. it’s a cliche
– @jbouie

Anyone who enjoys inner peace is no more broken by failure than he is inflated by success.
– Matthieu Ricard

We carry inside us the wonders we seek outside us.
– Rumi

Let’s be owls tonight, stay up
in the branches of ourselves, wide-eyed,
perched on the edge of euphoric plummet.
– Midnight, Talking About Our Exes, by Ada Limón

aria aber:
maybe instead of tagging me on salty twitter threads about my poems which they think lack ability and intelligence, old white men should go for a walk? or come up with other oriental-sounding names to mask their whiteness. or, you know, maybe they could write their own poems? idk

Love is two people who decide to know more about each other.
More than they know about themselves.
– Shakespeare

In the middle, not only in the middle of the way
But all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble,
On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold,
And menaced by monsters, fancy lights,
Risking enchantment. Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

The houses are all gone under the sea.

The dancers are all gone under the hill.

– T.S. Eliot

Sarah Kay:
I hope you have love in your life. Platonic love, familial love, romantic love, self love, unspoken love, oft-spoken love, temporary love, endless love, love that you can release when it no longer serves you, love that is coming your way, that you can’t even imagine yet.

Then, you meet a soul
that breaks open the hard husk
you had come to think of as ‘you.’
– Frank LaRue Owen, Love Will Defeat You

The fastest way to heal trauma is slowly.
– Steve Haines

That student, who worked hard to learn, finished his studies, earned his uniform, and is now on his way to make a living.

The rose heard these words of God better than others, right in his heart.
– Rumi

You swallow my heart and flee, but I want it back now, baby. I want it back.
– Richard Siken

Facts are funny things. When they prove our beliefs, we love them. When they go counter to our most sacred commandments, we tend to become cranky and combative and ready for a moral crusade.
– Marc David

Where the bee sucks. there suck I:
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.
– William Shakespeare, The Tempest

One way or another, the world is going to be made a single, whole entity. It will be unified either in mutual mass destruction or by means of mutual human consciousness. If a sufficient number of individuals can have the experience of the coming of the Self – i.e. the reconciliation of the opposites within their own psyches – as an individual, inner experience, we may just possibly be spared the worst features of its external manifestation.
– Edward Edinger, Archetype of the Apocalypse

i believe in god, only i spell it nature” – frank lloyd wright / “my father believed in the god of spinoza and einstein, god not behind nature but as nature, equivalent to it.
– dorion sagan, (son of carl sagan). (hune)

Who knows that in the depth of the ravine of the mountain of my hidden heart a firefly of my love is aflame.
– Abutsu-Ni

I fall in love with peace, coffee, and sunsets. I fall in love with pizza nights, video games that keep me excited for hours and songs that my heart cannot help but to dance to. I fall in love with Septembers, the inevitability of spring after winter and clouds shaped like little puppies. I fall in love with hugs that last more than 5 seconds, friends who are warm like campfires for my heart and good memories. I fall in love with books with characters that remind me of me and how it makes me feel like I too can succeed and find a happy ending in real life. I fall in love with kindness, cheerful surprises, and things that give meaning to suffering. I find it so beautiful and liberating to fall in love with everything that can contribute to my healing.
– Juansen Dizon, Lover of Healing

No matter our color, gender or age,
it could be amazingly fine
if we could treat one another
with kindness and humbly ask
will you be mine, Valentine?
– Gunilla Norris

And maybe, to love, is not so strange
– Dan Fogelberg

Whether you’re deluded or awake depends on you. Make up your mind and you will be there.
– Ming-k-uang from his commentary on the Heart Sutra

It is pretty easy to tell the difference between superficial and profound thinking. The first question superficial thinking asks when confronted with a new idea is, “Do I agree or disagree?” The first question profound thinking asks is, “Do I understand?”
– Jim Rigby

We don’t have enough words
to say “love,”
so we use our hands.
We don’t have enough deeds
o do love,
so we use our tears.
We don’t have enough
tears to feel love,
but we have silence.
And there is not enough amazement
to contain love,
so we surrender.
Now soft morning rain is over.
The broken sun trembles at the tip
of every fern.
Stones grow soft with moss.
And with a mere question,
less than a song,
a rosefinch heals the world.
Fragrances of death return
as shades of blue.
If you understand this,
you’re thinking too hard.
Just let the sexual fury of the seed
become a glowing hyacinth.
Clever people search
for partners at the market.
All they find are lonely faces
in a crowded mirror.
I dance to a throbbing drum
and meet a crazy lover in my chest.
When I open my eyes,
the world is a kiss.
– Fred LaMotte

The heart is a vital organ, but also a great territory. The heart is where true imagination resides. Each approach to what the heart truly loves is likely to raise some level of fear. Fear and love are opposing energies, yet they are often found together. The struggle between fear and love is an old one; for one would separate where the other would unify. Meanwhile, that which we love is much bigger than anything the little-self understands. The ego-self formed around the earliest fears we felt and it continues to feel the way it did when we were small and helpless. The path of discovery will inevitably raise the exact fears that hold the heart captive.

An adventure becomes meaningful when it forces us to become ourselves. Sometimes that means going far out, sometimes turning deep within. Along the way we are bound to encounter old fears and infantile attitudes. A person must break several inner spells and awaken more than once in order to enter the gates of awareness. The problem involves our inability to truly trust what resides within us.

Courage is a heart word that derives from the Latin cor; it refers to the core of one’s deepest feelings and innermost thoughts. For the heart harbors thoughts and dreams as well as feelings and emotions. The heart can be mined for enduring courage and living imagination; yet we must often be driven there by fear or despair or loneliness.

Our deepest fears form at an early age and at a vulnerable time when the heart is naturally open and unprotected. Each child comes to the world with something golden to give; each soul is ready to shine in its own way and give of itself. Yet when the golden sense of self is rejected or met with fear or coldness, the heart begins to close around itself. The gold of the self is there, but surrounded by fear and guarded by stubborn walls.

When the time comes for the heart to open fully again, the old fears will awaken and the inner walls will tighten up. Although fear can become terrifying and paralyzing, what we most fear is where we must go. “Fear is the guide for the true direction of the heart,” they used to say when considering the courage required to become oneself. Our way of loving and healing is seeded within us, yet it takes more than one breakthrough to reach the inner treasure. A long road made of longing and self-discovery is required in order to re-open the heart and reveal the gold within it. Another old proverb states that “what the heart loves is the cure.” Life is the ailment and what we love provides the cure for what ails us.

– Michael Meade

Instead of fi ghting nation- state and corporate power for “privileges” invariably framed in power’s terms, a bioregional move-ment can show its backside to power by a performative politics of exo-dus from conventional society. Human beings everywhere can build another way of life by engaging “the exercise,” in Gary Snyder’s words, “of ignoring the presence of the national state,”102 while simultane-ously opting out of consumer culture and a fossil- fuel- based economy.
– Eileen Crist

A Sincere Heart will recognise The Great Path in a sea of illusions. A Corrupted Heart will see the Truth as a lie, even when confronted by it.
– Chen Zi

The knowledge of the heart is in no book and is not to be found in the mouth of any teacher, but grows out of you like the green seed from the dark earth.
– C.G. Jung

L’arbre qui fait ta joie jusqu’aux larmes, n’est pour d’autres qu’un objet vert dans le chemin.

The tree which brings joy to you to tears is for others only a green object in the path.

– William blake

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
– Maya Angelou

I know that each one of us travels to love alone,
alone to faith and to death.
I know it. I’ve tried it. It doesn’t help.
Let me come with you.
– Yannis Ritsos, The Moonlight Sonata

I would like to say: Nature recovers swiftly when we stop our plundering of Her bounty.
I would like to say: lift your gaze, humans.
I would like to say: we can learn from this, we can change.
– Paul Kingsnorth


I love you early in the morning and it’s difficult to love you.

I love the January sky and knowing it will change although unlike us.

I love watching people read.

I love photo booths.

I love midnight.

I love writing letters and this is my letter. To the world that never wrote to me.

I love snow and briefly.

I love the first minutes in a warm room after stepping out of the cold.

I love my twenties and want them back every day.

I love time.

I love people.

I love people and my time away from them the most.

I love the part of my desk that’s darkened by my elbows.

I love feeling nothing but relief during the chorus of a song.

I love space.

I love every planet.

I love the big unknowns but need to know who called or wrote, who’s coming—if they want the same things I do, if they want much less.

I love not loving Valentine’s Day.

I love how February is the shortest month.

I love that Barack Obama was president.

I love the quick, charged time between two people smoking a cigarette outside a bar.

I love everyone on Friday night.

I love New York City.

I love New York City a lot.

I love that day in childhood when I thought I was someone else.

I love wondering how animals perceive our daily failures.

I love the lines in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof when Brick’s father says “Life is important. There’s nothing else to hold onto.”

I love Brick.

I love that we can fail at love and continue to live.

I love writing this and not knowing what I’ll love next.

I love looking at paintings and being reminded I am alive.

I love Turner’s paintings and the sublime.

I love the coming of spring even in the most withholding March.

I love skipping anything casual—“hi, how are you, it’s been forever”—and getting straight to the center of pain. Or happiness.

I love opening a window in a room.

I love the feeling of possibility by the end of the first cup of coffee.

I love hearing anyone listen to Nina Simone.

I love Nina Simone.

I love how we can choose our own families.

I love when no one knows where I am but feel terrified to be forgotten.

I love Saturdays.

I love that despite our mistakes this will end.

I love how people get on planes to New York and California.

I love the hour after rain and the beginning of the cruelest month.

I love imagining Weldon Kees on a secret island.

I love the beach on a cloudy day.

I love never being disappointed by chocolate.

I love that morning when I was twenty and had just met someone very important (though I didn’t know it) and I walked down an almost empty State Street because it was still early and not at all late—and of course I could change everything (though I also didn’t know it)—I could find anyone, go anywhere, I wasn’t sorry for who I was.

I love the impulse to change.

I love seeing what we do with what we can’t change.

I love the moon’s independent indifference.

I love walking the same streets as Warhol.

I love what losing something does but I don’t love losing it.

I love how the past shifts when there’s more.

I love kissing.

I love hailing a cab and going home alone.

I love being surprised by May although it happens every year.

I love closing down anything—a bar, restaurant, party—and that time between late night and dawn when one lamp goes on wherever you are and you know. You know what you know even if it’s hard to know it.

I love being a poet.

I love all poets.

I love Jim Morrison for saying, “I’d like to do a song or a piece of music that’s just a pure expression of joy, like a celebration of existence, like the coming of spring or the sun rising, just pure unbounded joy. I don’t think we’ve really done that yet.”

I love everything I haven’t done.

I love looking at someone without need or panic.

I love the quiet of the trees in a new city.

I love how the sky is connected to a part of us that understands something big and knows nothing about it too.

I love the minutes before you’re about to see someone you love.

I love any film that delays resolution.

I love being in a cemetery because judgment can’t live there.

I love being on a highway in June or anytime at all.

I love magic.

I love the zodiac.

I love all of my past lives.

I love that hour of the party when everyone’s settled into their discomfort and someone tells you something really important—in passing—because it’s too painful any other way.

I love the last moments before sleep.

I love the promise of summer.

I love going to the theater and seeing who we are.

I love glamour—shamelessly—and all glamour. Which is not needed to live but shows people love life. What else is it there for? Why not ask for more?

I love red shoes.

I love black leather.

I love the grotesque ways in which people eat ice cream—on sidewalks, alone—however they need it, whenever they feel free enough.

I love being in the middle of a novel.

I love how mostly everyone in Jane Austen is looking for love.

I love July and its slowness.

I love the idea of liberation and think about it all the time.

I love imagining a world without money.

I love imagining a life with enough money to write when I want.

I love standing in front of the ocean.

I love that sooner or later we forget even “the important things.”

I love how people write in the sand, on buildings, on paper. Their own bodies. Fogged mirrors. Texts they’ll draft but never send.

I love silence.

I love owning a velvet cape and not knowing how to cook.

I love that instant when an arc of light passes through a room and I’m reminded that everything really is moving.

I love August and its sadness.

I love Sunday for that too.

I love jumping in a pool and how somewhere on the way up your body relaxes and accepts the shock of the water.

I love Paris for being Paris.

I love Godard’s films.

I love anyplace that makes room for loneliness.

I love how the Universe is 95% dark matter and energy and somewhere in the rest of it there is us.

I love bookstores and the autonomy when I’m in one.

I love that despite my distrust in politics I am able to vote.

I love wherever my friends are.

I love voting though know art and not power is what changes human character.

I love what seems to me the discerning indifference of cats.

I love the often uncomplicated joy of dogs.

I love Robert Lax for living alone.

I love the extra glass of wine happening somewhere, right now.

I love schools and teachers.

I love September and how we see it as a way to begin.

I love knowledge. Even the fatal kind. Even the one without “use value.”

I love getting dressed more than getting undressed.

I love mystery.

I love lighting candles.

I love religious spaces though I’m sometimes lost there.

I love the sun for worshipping no one.

I love the sun for showing up every day.

I love the felt order after a morning of errands.

I love walking toward nowhere in particular and the short-lived chance of finding something new.

I love people who smile only when moved to.

I love that a day on Venus lasts longer than a year.

I love Whitman for writing, “the fever of doubtful news, the fitful events; / These come to me days and nights and go from me again, / But they are not the Me myself.”

I love October when the veil between worlds is thinnest.

I love how at any moment I could forgive someone from the past.

I love the wind and how we never see it.

I love the performed sincerity in pornography and wonder if its embarrassing transparency is worth adopting in other parts of life.

I love how magnified emotions are at airports.

I love dreams. Conscious and unconscious. Lived and not yet.

I love anyone who risks their life for their ideal one.

I love Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

I love how people make art even in times of impossible pain.

I love all animals.

I love ghosts.

I love that we continue to invent meaning.

I love the blue hours between three and five when Plath wrote Ariel.

I love that despite having one body there are many ways to live.

I love November because I was born there.

I love people who teach children that most holidays are a product of capitalism and have little to do with love—which would never celebrate massacre—which would never care about money or greed.

I love people who’ve quit their jobs to be artists.

I love you for reading this as opposed to anything else.

I love the nostalgia of the future.

I love that the tallest mountain in our solar system is safe and on Mars.

I love dancing.

I love being in love with the wrong people.

I love that on November 23, 1920, Virginia Woolf wrote, “We have bitten off a large piece of life—but why not? Did I not make out a philosophy some time ago which comes to this—that one must always be on the move?”

I love how athletes believe in the body and know it will fail them.

I love dessert for breakfast.

I love all of the dead.

I love gardens.

I love holding my breath under water.

I love whoever it is untying our shoes.

I love that December is summer in Australia.

I love statues in a downpour.

I love how no matter where on the island, at any hour, there’s at least one lit square at the top or bottom of a building in Manhattan.

I love diners.

I love that the stars can’t be touched.

I love getting in a car and turning the keys just to hear music.

I love ritual.

I love chance too.

I love people who have quietly survived being misunderstood yet remain kids.

And yes, I love that Marilyn Monroe requested Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” to be played at her funeral. And her casket was lined in champagne satin. And Lee Strasberg ended his eulogy by saying, “I cannot say goodbye. Marilyn never liked goodbyes, but in the peculiar way she had of turning things around so that they faced reality, I will say au revoir.”

I love the different ways we have of saying the same thing.

I love anyone who cannot say goodbye.

Prayer has saved my life. Without it,
I should have been a lunatic long ago.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Today will you join me
in a sacred experiment?
Just for today, let’s stop pretending
that love is a snob
for whom we’ll never be good enough.
Today, let’s gift ourselves
the dark chocolate
of our shadows.
Let’s bring love down
from the mountain top
to flood our lowlands too.
Let’s cease making love a ravishing,
lofty destination
bring her down to earth
let her join us
in each ordinary step.
Today can we decide our imperfect heart
is worthy of love
right now, just as it is
without dressing up?
What if love desires more of a collapse
than a straight spine
more of a willingness to stumble
than a perfect step?
What if she’s offering
her hand to you now
before you’ve even learned the dance?
Darling, let’s stop perfecting our grapes
and today allow our acceptance
to crush us into wine.
Today remember we were born the sea
and we are the great, continual desire
of love that eager, ever flowing river.
Yes, just for today,
let’s see how that goes.
– Chelan Harkin

God is a bit of hoarder, really,
when it comes to love and beauty.
Have you taken a good, hard look
at her living room,
this earth?
It’s packed to the gills!
Beauty stacked from floor to ceiling–
you really can’t go anywhere here
without stepping on one of her trinkets.
And there’s no stopping Her–
She keeps collecting more stars,
gets a whole new order
of springtime
each year.
Darling, the point of this quirky poem
is to remind you that there’s no need
to be such a minimalist here.
Perhaps it’s time to stop this practice
of being so allergic
to having more than enough.
You should probably be warned though,
if you’re overwhelmed by Her stockpile
of goodness out there
before opening to Her greatest stash
inside the closet doors
of your heart.
– Chelan Harkin

Black radicalism is a negation of Western civilization.
– Cedric Robinson (1984)

Dear one,
we are all here on this earth
for the great work of love
and love is not
for the faint of heart.

If you are on this earth
you are a tall, mighty tree
inside of a small seed–
love is what breaks you open.

Love is the systematic destroyer
of every small self
and each small self yelps at its undoing
and each bigger self bows
before the Force that has undone
its old forms to make it what it has become.

Love is the only true
evolutionary force in this universe.
It’s the only thing we desire enough
to make us change, to grow,
the only thing persuasive enough
to take on that harrowing voyage
from bud to blossom.

Love is that tension
in our chests
beckoning us to yet again
break open,
the desire to climb
to another view
of ourselves
and this breathtaking world.

Love is a Kali
to every comfort
She is what germinates
the inside of heartbreak

and all this said
I hope you can let her in
to do her sacred, reckless, living thing
to the heart of your life anyway.
– Chelan Harkin

Even Though I Don’t Believe In You
by Tom Prasada-Rao

They say that no one’s given
More than they can take
That there is always hope
As long as you have faith
That the world will surely bend you
But you don’t have to break
And I’d like to think that’s really true
Even though I don’t believe in you

We went our separate ways
A long long time ago
You to the wild blue yonder
Me to the great unknown
And sometimes I hear you calling
Calling me back home
And I reply – thought we were through
Even though I don’t believe in you

I don’t believe in miracles
I don’t believe in karma
And I don’t believe in providence
Though I guess I oughta
Cause I can’t explain how I found
The other side of fear
And I still don’t know the reason
Why I’m still here

Did I throw out the baby?
Along with the kitchen sink
Lead me not unto the water
That I will never drink
Have mercy on the drunkard
Who shall forever sing
Hallelujah, hallelu
Even though I don’t believe in you

The difference between misery and happiness depends on what we do with our attention.
– Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

I don’t think we quite comprehend how much danger American democracy is in, on multiple, multiple fronts.
– Medhi Hasan

by Maurice Manning

One morning when the weather was strange
and haunted following a rain—
I believe a fog had settled like
a thought over the field and the sun
that peered through it troubled the thought—
I remember saying to myself,
for no one was around, it’s like
we’re living in a Turner painting,
a haunted cave of melody
so indistinct, almost unseen.
As if a painting could convey
its time and also imagine a time
after, but keep the original time
to let it heavily hang in the present.
The point is, something in the world
is timeless, beyond the measure of time,
yet we perceive the timeless in time,
aware of its weight and of its passing
lightly like a song through a voice.
It isn’t always beautiful,
the voice, the time, the foggy scene.
I said the fog had settled like
a thought over the field, but the thought
was mine. I wasn’t sure if the scene
was beautiful. Something was ghostly,
the spirit of something not alive
was there. But maybe it was alive,
a spirit passing through the night
now lingering over the field.
The sun, as cold as a cat-eye marble,
was out of place in the scene, but there.
We love the sweeter passages
of time, but never get it right.
The sense of time floating in time,
the effort to capture time in time,
in verse, in the ancient rhythm of verse,
not in my voice, but a timeless voice
haunted by a timeless voice
before it—rhythmic, keeping time
to the world of trees and fields and fog
resounding, as if a fog resounds—
that is the effort of my art.
Such as it is. It’s a plain thing,
as plain as a field in early spring
with two or three blurry symbols,
composed almost completely of silence,
because it’s there, the oldest art,
and that’s what Turner painted, silence.

On this day may you remember that while our culture privileges romantic and erotic person-to-person love over all kinds of other love, that it is not the most important. And that being in a romantic relationship is not the achievement all of us seek, for many of these relationships are destructive, and often I worry that people stick to them because of the mandate that you must not be single, otherwise there is something wrong with you and you are not achieving the success of this “primary” love. I actually wonder that if being single was more and more culturally acceptable, if fewer women would stay in violent relationships. The kind of love I understand is loving people and the long and arduous and joyful journey that that can be. I understand loving plants, the ocean, the sky, the planet, the universe and creatures big and small. I get loving society, principles, ethics, rights. I get spreading your love far and wide, casting it like a huge net, pitching it like a wide tent. I also get being lonely and not feeling like you get enough love or know how to love. I think of people who are lonely on valentine’s day and I always have. I think partly they are lonely because they have been fed the idea that to be loved and to love is to have some “body”, but you there are things to love everywhere and the ways to love are infinite. You are already loving things and perhaps you are finding new ways to love. Being a political activist is expressing love. Making someone lunch is love. Working to impeach Trump is a form of love. Smiling at the cashier is a form of love. Find new ways. Delineate new words to serve as buckets for larger ideas of love. Buckets you can carry around and fill until they are overflowing. Today my love letter to you is to find more words for and ways to love. To define yourself outside of the tiny box they’ve given you.

In 2018, Michelle Alexander argued that we are not the resistance; we are the revolutionary river they are trying to resist. This is a map of some of the routes the MIssissippi River had in the past, the famous Fisk map, and I’m pairing it with her words as a reminder that the future does not yet exist; the route to it is yet to be determined and there are many paths, not one. Where the river goes from here is not a given. Here’s the thing about rivers; they not only flow but they change routes, and so where the riverbed will be in four years and forty and four hundred is what we’re deciding now.

She wrote: Those of us who are committed to the radical evolution of American democracy are not merely resisting an unwanted reality. To the contrary, the struggle for human freedom and dignity extends back centuries and is likely to continue for generations to come. In the words of Vincent Harding, one of the great yet lesser-known heroes of the black freedom struggle, the long, continuous yearning and reaching toward freedom flows throughout history “like a river, sometimes powerful, tumultuous, and roiling with life; at other times meandering and turgid, covered with the ice and snow of seemingly endless winters, all too often streaked and running with blood.
– Rebecca Solnit

Love is the realm of true being, and it lies beyond the prison of culture, beyond the prison of ideology, beyond the prison of self-defined limitations.
– Terence McKenna

Our relationship to our culture is a very uncomfortable one.
– Terence McKenna

What I’m really driving at is that the transplanting of millions of Africans into the West was an environmental switch, but there wasn’t a simultaneous cosmological or worldview adjustment–the Black man didn’t adopt Materialistic Thinking as a mode of defining his world. Society in Africa was communal and nature was respected; but the West is competitive, aggressive, capitalistic, and nothing is sacrosanct. The only thing that is respected in the West is organized power–the ability to back up your position with dollars, people, and force if necessary. People who achieve in the West are doers concerned primarily with how they can manipulate the environment and other people to their best advantage, and it matters not how they do it–as long as they do it in a practical manner. The attitude which leads to success in the West is the same attitude which makes evil so profuse. There is no morality because the only criteria of good or bad is whether or not the individual succeeds.
– Sterling D. Plumpp, Black Rituals

Respecting yourself, scars and all, is the gateway to self love and the path toward healing.
– Heidi Barr

I too have sought
to be anything other
than the ashes of
another man’s sin.
– Dave Harris

No one ever
listened himself out of a job.
– Calvin Coolidge

There is an illusion about America… [and]this collision between one’s image of oneself and what one actually is is always very painful and there are two things you can do about it, you can meet the collision head-on and try and become what you really are or you can retreat and try to remain what you thought you were, which is a fantasy, in which you will certainly perish.
– James Baldwin

Every morning I forget how it is.
I watch the smoke mount
In great strides above the city.
I belong to no one.

Then I remember my shoes,
How I have to put them on,
How bending over to tie them up
I will look into the earth.
– Charles Simic

Emily Dickinson:
Awake ye muses nine, sing me a strain divine,
Unwind the solemn twine, and tie my Valentine!

Seeing people thriving inspires me, motivates me and makes me happy
– @amandaperera

All the problems of older times were scarcity… now they’re all abundance based.
– Naval Ravikant

Accept me as I am, so that I may learn what I become.
– Anonymous

I don’t love writing; I love having a problem I believe I might someday write my way out of.
– Sarah Manguso

Well, I think if there’s a major theme in my work, once we get past the love and loss of the early days, it is the impact of character upon character, how people rub against one another and alter one another.
– Carolyn Kizer

Societies never know it, but the war of an artist with his society is a lover’s war, and he does, at his best, what lovers do, which is to reveal the beloved to himself and, with that revelation, to make freedom real.
– James Baldwin

Don’t wait for the world to reveal itself as infinite being, and then treat it as such. Treat it as such and it will reveal itself as such.
– Rupert Spira

In ignorance we take an object for the subject of experience; in understanding we see the subject as an object. In love, the subject and object dissolve, leaving only the seamless, unnameable intimacy of experience.
– Rupert Spira

Happiness is not produced by relationships, situations or objects. It is the cessation of the resistance and seeking out of which the separate self is made that enables the ever-present but apparently veiled happiness to shine.
– Rupert Spira

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
– Marcus Aurelius

A Pang is more conspicuous in Spring
In contrast with the things that sing
Not Birds entirely — but Minds —
Minute Effulgencies and Winds —
When what they sung for is undone
Who cares about a Blue Bird’s Tune —
Why, Resurrection had to wait
Till they had moved a Stone —
– Emily Dickinson

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.
– Sophocles

The most tragic form of loss […] is the loss of the capacity to imagine that things could be different.
– Ernst Bloch, The Principle of Hope

Most of being an adult is loving your closest friends endlessly and then being exhausted because of everything else and just knowing you won’t die being in limbo
– Julia Cohen

tamara k. nopper:
I get having our writing resonate with those we identify with and politically care about. But this doesn’t mean it automatically lands. To use this as basis for work’s integrity can stifle ethical lines of inquiry and needed departures and also equate usefulness with likability.

Bruce Cockburn:
Sometimes a wind comes out of nowhere
And knocks you off your feet
And look, see my tears
They fill the whole night sky
The whole night sky

Let anything that is not us return.
– Elizabeth Jennings, In This Time

I have deep faith that the principle of the universe will be beautiful and simple.
– Albert Einstein

Emotional Support Canadians, mount up.
– @MizShannonS

I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.
– Arthur Rubinstein

A healer is that person who triggers within you, your own ability to heal yourself..
– @alkalineph20

True peace cannot be achieved by force or by merely invoking the word “peace.” It can only be attained by training the mind and learning to cultivate inner peace. Peace is a calm and gentle state of mind.
– 17th Karmapa

Christian civilization has proved hollow to a terrifying degree: it is all veneer, but the inner man has remained untouched, and therefore unchanged…Everything is to be found outside-in image & word, in Church and Bible. Inside reign the archaic gods, supreme as of old.
– CG Jung

All the words that I utter,
And all the words that I write,
Must spread out their wings untiring,
And never rest in their flight,
Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,
And sing to you in the night,
Beyond where the waters are moving,
Storm-darken’d or starry bright.
– W. B. Yeats

We are here, and we have to do something nurturing that we respect before we go. We must. It is more interesting, more complicated, more intellectually demanding and more morally demanding to love somebody, to take care of somebody…
– Toni Morrison

Habit is what destroys art.
– Jim Harrison

You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.
– Barbara De Angelis

When we disagreed with one another about the solution to a particular problem, we were often far more vicious to each other than to the originators of our common problem.
– Audre Lorde

Perform good deeds
between you and God in secret,
and do not allow even
your family to know about them.
– Sufi Sense

finding a good poetry/writing teacher feels like online dating or finding a therapist, there are so many random and bad things you settle for before you find the real deal, the one that makes everything click and reminds you of why you’re alive.
– aria aber

Love is a better teacher than duty.
– Albert Einstein

Dr. Thema:
Outlast disappointment and distrust. Find, create, cultivate delight. You deserve it.

The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality what we appear to be.
– Socrates

The way I remember it, things started going south when everybody turned against carbs.
– @duchessgoldblat

People go on and on about eating less sugar. Um, last time I checked sugar is happiness.
– @MauriceRuffin

Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Forge of Man:
Practice forgiveness, for it is a form of liberation.

How lucky we are to have an intimate relationship to language. It may be language of grief, it may be language of joy, in the end any relationshp to language is joy. It turns loneliness into solitude.
– Ilya Kaminsky

Don’t let the past steal your present.
– Cherralea Morgen

I always have written on that bridge between two places.
– Luisa Valenzuela

Every song is the
remains of love.
— Federico García Lorca

I don’t know

how to forgive

the animal you

broke inside me

– Cameron-Awkward Rich

I believe that Gandhi’s views were the most enlightened of all the political men in our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence in fighting for our cause, but by non-participation in what we believe is evil.
– Albert Einstein

If you are wholly perplexed and in straits,
have patience, for patience is the key to joy.
— Rumi

Does a poet live in space or in time? Our homeland is the shape of the time we spent in it.
– Mourid Barghouti

Friendly reminder that platonic love and community is just as wholesome and important as romantic love.
– @socializm_

Of all the many bad trends in film over the last 20 years, I can’t think of one more specifically disastrous to a genre than replacing real voice actors with celebs in animated movies.
– Chris Wade

I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because love liberates…
– Maya Angelo

Advice for Beginners
by Mipham Rinpoche

Kyeho! All activities within saṃsāra
are pointless and hollow—
Unreliable and fleeting,
like lightning’s streaking dance,
And there is no certainty
as to when death will strike.
Still, since death is certain,
limit idle plans and speculations,
Allow the teacher’s instructions
to hit home and strike a chord,
And, single-pointedly, in solitude,
seek perfect certainty of mind.
Mind, which is like lightning,
a breeze, or passing clouds,
Is coloured by its various thoughts
of everything under the sun,
But when examined thoroughly
is found to lack a basis or origin.
Just like a mirage on the horizon,
it is devoid of essential nature.
While being empty, it appears;
and while appearing, it is empty.
Left to settle, naturally, by itself,
mind arrives at a genuine state of ease,
And, when familiarity grows stable,
mind’s natural condition is seen.
If devotion to the teacher grows vast, blessings will enter and inspire the mind,
And when accumulations are gathered
and obscurations purified,
realization will dawn—
So take this practice to heart,
carefully and with constant effort!
When some beginners asked me for advice on practice, I, the one called Mipham, wrote this for their instruction. May virtue abound!
– Translated by Adam Pearcey

Amanda Gorman:
Self-love is revolutionary. We cannot fight for others when we’re fighting a war inside ourselves. Compassion is a power that we first bestow on ourselves & then give away through our actions—to people, to our planet. When we recognize this, that is when love becomes our legacy.

May a good vision catch me
May a benevolent vision take hold of me, and move me
May a deep and full vision come over me, and burst open around me
May a luminous vision inform me, enfold me.
May I awaken into the story that surrounds,
May I awaken into the beautiful story.
May the wondrous story find me;
May the wildness that makes beauty arise between two lovers
arise beautifully between my body and the body of this land,
between my flesh and the flesh of this earth,
here and now,
on this day,
May I taste something sacred.
— David Abram

Today, God
by Starr Davis

I am liberated and focused today
on what it means to govern myself.

I am not watching the news
or wearing a bra.

I will not question America
or ask where it was last night.

I went to bed with a cold fact
With no cuddling, after.

Today, God I want nothing
not even the love I have been praying for.

On the train, I won’t offer
anyone my seat.

No one ever moves for me
Some days, not even the wind.

Today, I will be like the flag
that never waves.

At work, I will be black
and I will act like it.

They will mispronounce my name
And this time I won’t answer.

I will sit at my desk with my legs open
and my mind crossed.

Intimacy, says the phenomenologist Gaston Bachelard, is the highest value. I resist this statement at first. What about artistic achievement, or moral courage, or heroism, or altruistic acts, or work in the cause of social change? What about wealth or accomplishment? And yet something about it rings true, finally—that what we want is to be brought into relationship, to be inside, within. Perhaps it’s true that nothing matters more to us than that.
– Mark Doty, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon: On Objects and Intimacy

Be careful of words, even the miraculous ones. For the miraculous we do our best, sometimes they swarm like insects and leave not a sting but a kiss. They can be as good as fingers. They can be as trusty as the rock you stick your bottom on. But they can be both daisies and bruises. Yet I am in love with words. They are doves falling out of the ceiling. They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap. They are the trees, the legs of summer, and the sun, its passionate face…
– Anne Sexton

If we were to become aware of our habitual thoughts, perceptions, and sensations, rather than being carried away by them, their power over us would begin to fade.
– Mingyur Rinpoche

…from the perspective of dialogical ecology, we can identify the crisis of all spiritual life in one basic but profound error: we have drawn an artificial boundary around the within and believe it ends inside our skins, and as a consequence, we believe that the without begins outside of it, on the other side. but the within has no sides to it, it has no beginning or end, nor any manner or form of boundaries limiting it inside the body or the mind. the realm of the within in our lives manifests itself in the realm of our between. in a strictly existential sense, we can affirm that there is no within and no without, there is only the between of the i and the thou. and in order for us to go towards the liberation of the within and achieve peace in the without, we must work towards the awakening of the between…
– hune margulies, a meditation on eternity, infinity and dialogue

Compassion has nothing to do
with achievement at all.
It is spacious and very generous.
When a person develops real compassion,
he is uncertain
whether he is being generous
to others or to himself
because compassion
is environmental generosity, without direction,
without “for me” and without “for them”.
It is filled with joy, spontaneously existing joy,
constant joy in the sense of trust,
in the sense that joy
contains tremendous wealth, richness.

We could say that compassion
is the ultimate attitude of wealth:
an antipoverty attitude, a war on want.
It contains all sorts of heroic, juicy,
positive, visionary, expansive qualities.
And it implies larger-scale thinking,
a freer and more expansive way of relating
to yourself and the world…

It is the attitude that one
has been born fundamentally rich
rather than that one must become rich.
Without this kind of confidence,
meditation cannot be transferred
into action at all.

Compassion automatically
invites you to relate with people,
because you no longer regard people
as a drain on your energy.
They recharge your energy,
because in the process of relating with them
you acknowledge your wealth, your richness.
So, if you have difficult tasks to perform,
such as dealing with people or life situations,
you do not feel
you are running out of resources.
Each time you are faced with a difficult task
it presents itself as a delightful opportunity
to demonstrate your richness,
your wealth.
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

Theme for English B
by Langston Hughes

The instructor said,
Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you—
Then, it will be true.
I wonder if it’s that simple?
I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
I went to school there, then Durham, then here
to this college on the hill above Harlem.
I am the only colored student in my class.
The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem,
through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,
Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,
the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator
up to my room, sit down, and write this page:
It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me
at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I’m what
I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you:
hear you, hear me—we two—you, me, talk on this page.
(I hear New York, too.) Me—who?
Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.
I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
or records—Bessie, bop, or Bach.
I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like
the same things other folks like who are other races.
So will my page be colored that I write?
Being me, it will not be white.
But it will be
a part of you, instructor.
You are white—
yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
That’s American.
Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
But we are, that’s true!
As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me—
although you’re older—and white—
and somewhat more free.
This is my page for English B.

There are over 4,000 kinds of salt in Japan. We got problems on all levels in America.
– Shamar Hill

I have been so cruel
I can now forgive
most all cruelty in you.

I have seen such profound
helplessness and insecurity
inside myself
I can now easily find the humanity
within yours too.

I’ve rent so many veils asunder
suffocated with illusion
as I was
I now have something of x-ray vision–

darling, there is little in you anymore
that can convince me away from your light.

I’ve come to see your shadows
as the poorest salesmen
trying to sell you off
for something so much less
than you so clearly are.

I have touched profound beauty and truth
beneath each false self.
Now there is almost no act
you can perform,
no heckling phantom
that can throw me off
the scent of your beauty.

– Chelan Harkin

Hell is in the here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy, or fight someone we tumble straight into the fires of hell.

A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western. Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.

Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighborhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.

Try not to resist the changes which come your way. Instead, let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?

It is never too late to ask yourself, ‘Am I ready to change the life I am living? Am I ready to change within?’ Even if a single day in your life is the same as the day before, it surely is a pity. At every moment and with each new breath, one should be renewed and renewed again. There is only one way to be born into a new life: to die to live.

Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to look at the end of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.
– Shams Tabrizi

I shall not place you in my heart
For you may get hurt by its wounds.
I won’t keep you in my eyes

For I may belittle you and

expose you to the ridicule of common men.

I will hide you inside my soul,
not in my heart or in my eyes,

so that you may become one with
my breath.

– Shams Tabrizi

To live every day, in our ancestral homelands, under the shadow of the edifice of our conqueror, whom we met on the shore bearing food and gifts, is a pain I can barely stand to feel most days, much less express. To be characterized in the history books as primitive people, subhuman and savage, when our songs speak of beauty, compassion and complex sciences of sustainability, is also a pain I am trying to face. To simply get up to level zero, to simply be seen, to simply be regarded as equal in nature and importance, when we have far more important things to accomplish, is a daunting and dehumanizing reality. For CNN to call us “something else” because they forgot we existed; For immigrants to look to the American government for instructions on how to live here, instead of looking to us, the original stewards and experts of this land; For our people to be the most likely race in the country to be shot by the police; For people to lose interest in our human rights because “there aren’t very many of us anyways”; For people to tell us to “get over it” because it was “a long time ago” when we still can’t drink the water today; For our voices to be the last to be heard when we are the first in this land; For all the social justice causes to get more airtime than our systematically starved and exploited communities; For my people’s median household income to remain at $20,000/year; For our people to have the highest rates of COVID deaths due to the pre-existing condition of oppression, starvation and marginalization; To drive the Diné woman hitchhiking back to her Arizona home made of plywood while the fracking and helium companies reap their profits from beneath her feet; For only 30 Indigenous languages in the US and Canada to still be spoken by the children.

All of it… is just too much to bear most days… if I am honest. Sometimes the only option is to go numb. The only option is to be quiet. The only option some days is to just forget. To smile and pretend like it’s all okay. To indulge in the illusion that America makes any sense. That is is “normal.” To try and make money, get a car that doesn’t break down, and make sure my nieces know I love them. To simply try to stay sober. To settle for just enough to live. To just settle for being able to breathe another day…

But I am not going to settle for just that. I am going to believe we can do better than this. That all us humans who find ourselves on this continent can work together to make things right somehow. I am going to fight another day, not with a weapon, but with an open hand outstretched to the world. I am going to get back up again. I’m going to crack my heart open to the pain and feel. To believe that something can be done. Something must be done. It cannot be true that the languages will go extinct in our lifetimes. It cannot be true that we will remain invisible this decade. We are going to get up and love this hateful world, unconditionally. We are going to remember our true selves and ignore the labels hurled at us with glances and history books. I am going to stay calm and honest in the face of the racist comments of our peers, coworkers, presidents and society. I’m going to keep patiently educating, as the world takes their place here for granted. We are going to keep fighting for our animal and plant relatives who are struggling to hang on. We’re going to keep remembering that even if the world thinks we don’t exist (in our own homeland), that we do exist, en masse, with a strong force of love and wisdom within us. I am going to remain hopeful that we can change the world. I may fail. But one thing is for sure. I will not give up.
– Lyla June

Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.
– Calvino, Invisible Cities

I know the voice of depression
Still calls to you.

I know those habits that can ruin your life
Still send their invitations.

But you are with the Friend now
And look so much stronger.

You can stay that way
And even bloom!

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions’ beautiful laughter.

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From the sacred hands and glance of your Beloved
And, my dear,
From the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins
That may buy you just a moment of pleasure,
But then drag you for days
Like a broken man
Behind a farting camel.

You are with the Friend now.
Learn what actions of yours delight Him,
What actions of yours bring freedom
And Love.

Whenever you say God’s name, dear pilgrim,
My ears wish my head was missing
So they could finally kiss each other
And applaud all your nourishing wisdom!

O keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions’ beautiful laughter

And from the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Now, sweet one,
Be wise.
Cast all your votes for Dancing!

– Hafiz

I remember how it felt to walk beside you / your small frame edging up the path / like a bright flower flowing down a stream.

— Frank LaRue Owen, A Midnight Form of Transport

Night is the true democracy. When day
Like some great monarch with his train has passed,
In regal pomp and splendor to the last,
The stars troop forth along the Milky Way,
A jostling crowd, in radiant disarray,
On heaven’s broad boulevard in pageants vast.
And things of earth, the hunted and outcast,
Come from their haunts and hiding-places; yea,
Even from the nooks and crannies of the mind
Visions uncouth and vagrant fancies start,
And specters of dead joy, that shun the light,
And impotent regrets and terrors blind,
Each one, in form grotesque, playing its part
In the fantastic Mardi Gras of Night.
– Edward J. Wheeler, Happy Mardi Gras!

The role of the artist, in part, is to develop the conversations, the stories, the drawings, the films, the music – the expressions of awe and wonder and mystery – that remind us, especially in our worst times, of what is still possible ..
– Barry Lopez

Lashed to the wheel
Whipping into the storm
Get up, Jonah
It’s your time to be born
– Bruce Cockburn

Trouble is your business, my writer friend. Go make some.
– James Scott Bell

Nothing has any power over me other than that which I give it through my concious thoughts.
– Anthony Robbins

Each and everyone stands alone on the world’s heart
pierced by a ray of sunlight—
and suddenly it is evening.
– Tomas Tranströmer

If you think you can succeed in any sort of high spiritual cultivation without a clean mind, doing lots of good deeds and letting go of attachments, then you don’t understand spiritual cultivation at all.
– Vello Vaartnou

We wanted to be effective. We didn’t need to be heroes.
– John Raines

If we dream of a society where everyone is collectively responsible for one another but our “activism” is driven by wanting to jump out front and be the hero, I think that’s sad and not a great path to be on.
– Eve L. Ewing

It is summer and I am in the middle
of my life…
– Linda Gregg

Dr. Thema:
Even if you hesitated, broke out in a sweat, stumbled over your words, celebrate that you spoke up for yourself. It gets easier.

Don’t get too precious, don’t get too fearful, stay steady.
– Toni Morrison

The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but to set a limit to infinite error.
– Bertolt Brecht

But the Future is only dark
from outside
Leap into it .. and it
Explodes with Light
– Mina Loy

Love yourself so hard that your aura naturally repels any negative vibes coming at you.
– @_Pammy_DS_

Everything we experience is a teaching of reality.
– Reginald A Ray

Came the yellow days of winter filled with boredom.
The rust-colored earth was covered with a thread bare, meager tablecloth of snow full of holes.
There was not enough of it for some of the roofs
– Bruno Schulz

You see, I have some rare and beautiful plants. I offer them the soil. If they like it they can stay here and bloom and grow. If they don’t, well then, nothing can be done.
– CG Jung

If tendencies towards disassociation were not inherent in the human psyche, parts never would have been split off; in other words, neither spirits nor gods would ever have come to exist.
– CG Jung, The Secret of the Golden Flower

You cannot experience the fullness of your life when you live to avoid hurt.
– Iyanla Vanzant

In many ways, I think the past is another country. You do eventually get exiled from all of it. And I think your own archive of relationship is a way back to it. And in some ways it is also irretrievable.
– Eavan Boland

If you would live your life with ease; do what you ought, not what you please.
– Anonymous

It is the business of the very few to be independent; it is a privilege of the strong.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Do not consider painful what is good for you.
– Euripides

People only get lost in thought because it is unfamiliar territory.
– Paul Fix

No one on earth should have to wish away his or her time on it.

May the minutes of our own lives now be revered, unsold and eternally unsellable.

– Anne Boyer

Peter Kalmus:
Not sure who needs to hear this, but billionaires aren’t going to solve climate and ecological breakdown.

This society has rewards for those who demonstrate skills in nimble avoidance of uncomfortable realities that threaten the bogus peace. But no mercy for those who dare penetrate the social garments and speak out on the emperor’s clothes.
– Toni Cade Bambara

The avoidance of suffering one’s own wounds is the surest route to inflicting pain on others, especially those we are closest to.
– John Desteian, Psy.D

by Chistian Wiman

For all
the pain

passed down
the genes

or latent
in the very grain

of being;
for the lordless

the smear

of spirit
words intuit

and inter;
for all

the nightfall

into me

even now,
my prayer

is that a mind

by anxiety
or despair

might find

a trace
of peace.

Modernity didn’t get rid of the sacred. It relocated the sacred by confining it to the coordinates of the human – notably the white male body, its chiefest avatar. Here, within the vortices of the post/modern rejection of an authorial world beyond humans, within the anthropological project, lies a temple dedicated to the worship of categories, progress, mastery and Icarusian flight. In some way or the other, we all – even those of us capable of critiquing this site of worship – are enlisted to serve this arrangement of things, to clean the pews, to pass around the basket, to gape at the priests in the holiest of the holies. But the sacred is not held down for long. Today, if you listen, you might hear the tense grip of the human beginning to soften as our claims to centrality flail against a compelling nonhuman argument. If you listen a bit longer, you might even discern the chaordic footfalls of the sacred migrating from its former abode, whistling as it coddiwomples down the asphalted remains of our failure to arrive.
– Bayo Akomolafe

A Heresy For You

You don’t need to be a rosy-soft new-age angel in order to meditate.

You don’t need to sip liquefied kale, live in an ashram, or be politically correct, in order to tap the infinite Source.

You don’t need to be someone better, someone higher, someone purer, someone ‘else.’ There is no one ‘else’ for you to be.

Here is the heresy of Truth: The fundamental dis-ease that cripples our whole culture is the toxic anxiety of striving to be someone better. It is the very search that divides us from ourselves.

Let’s wake up and find the courage to be incomparable. Call off the search. The beginning and end of spiritual practice is to rest the mind in its own broken heart.

Align with your jagged edges. Tune into the rough, unpolished, yet sparkling joy of your uniqueness.

The symphony of creation would not resonate in the same harmony without your singular piercing lovely note. The world doesn’t need another Gandhi, or Jesus, or ‘spiritual teacher’ – it needs You.

‘Enlightenment’ is more like falling than rising, more like collapsing that getting it all together.

Fall into your own rhythm: this is perfect stillness. Collapse into the Grace at the heart of your own chaos: that is perfect peace.

I did not learn this from the gods. I learned it from the dogs.

– Alfred K. LaMotte

What if we realized the best way to ensure an effective educational system is not by standardizing our curricula and tests but by standardizing the opportunities available to all students?
– Ibram X. Kendi

For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.

Para que las cosas se nos revelen, debemos estar preparados para abandonar nuestras opiniones sobre ellas.
– Thích Nhat Hanh

In Deep Winter

I like a quiet evening
at home
close to a fire
listening to the wind
soft music
the way a body
shifts to find comfort.
Fallow time it may be,
peace dwells
in the empty space
in ideas yet to come
in each wispy tendril
floating skyward
smoke signals
of ordinary grace.
– Heidi Barr

A work of art doesn’t have to be explained. If you do not have any feeling about this, I cannot explain it to you. If this doesn’t touch you, I have failed.
– Louise Bourgeois

Sneak-Through Places

As poetry wears the Greek root
of every Latin proposition,
the truth transcends every description,
the free mysticality
of unlimited sanctity
ain’t even half of it,
since the other three-fourths
is however it feels.

As my love said when channeling Blake:
Throw away your measuring tools!
– George Gorman

into place.
Be the slope
of grace,
the soaring wing
that dances
on gravity.
Rise only
by surrender,
not knowing
how the melody
is made from
listened silences.
Ten thousand
reasons to be
but not one
of them
this cherry blossom.
– Fred LaMotte

I just woke up one
day and I was a still
photo in everyone else’s
home but my own.
– Hanif Abdurraqib

The Buddha-dharma is immeasurable and unlimited. How could it ever have been made to fit into your categories?

No matter what you are grasping for, it’s limited.

In any case, only things for ordinary people can be grasped. Grasping for money, clinging to health, being attached to position and title, grasping for satori – everything you grasp only becomes the property of an ordinary person.

Letting go of ordinary people’s property – that’s what it means to be a Buddha.
– Kodo Sawaki, To You

We think we are a country
and the truth is we are barely a landscape.
– Nicanor Parra (tr. M. Williams)

A person with big desires is easily fooled. Even the greatest conman can’t profit from a person with no desires.
– Kodo Sawaki

Everybody has experienced the defeat of their lives. Nobody has a life that worked out the way they wanted it to work out. We all begin as the hero of our own dramas, in centre stage, and inevitably life moves us out of centre stage, defeats the hero, overturns the plot and the strategy and we are left on the sidelines, wondering why we no longer have a part, or want a part, in the whole damn thing. So everybody’s experienced this. When it’s presented to us sweetly, the feeling goes from heart to heart and we feel less isolated and we feel part of the great human chain, which is really involved with the recognition of defeat.
– Leonard Cohen

All that remains to be asked, then, is whether it should be for the husband or the wife to recast his or her being according to the mould of the other.
– Georges Sand

For Aretha Franklin
by Jerry Pendergast

Walking to Chase Park
Basketball in arm. Splashes
and Shouts from the pool

Cars cross Lawrence, blast
two verses of THEME FROM SHAFT
One spins North, one South.

Feel my shoulders change rhythm
before I think, hearing you
sing SPANISH HARLEM, before

I switch arms; wait for green light.
Pool and court in view.

Chopping and sliding my feet.
Hearing chain of fools when someone
pump fakes me.
When another
tries to drive past me.

Hearing “for a little respect…”
when I drive for a layup, spin;
I have to because I’m short.

Walk by the same playground
The day I heard you were in the hospital
hoops in the playground torn down.

Singing “for a little respect… “ low and quiet.
Wondering the difference
between hoops torn down from playgrounds
public schools shut down,
Boys’ and Girls’ clubs shut down
Since 1971
And times THEME FROM SHAFT got air play
In the Summer of 1971

Walking past a 3 story
half torn down
next to one half built
the day you died.

With my memory
I superimpose
a rose bush
in a front yard
another in a back yard
over gravel
shattered brick and sand

Wonder if we’d get a negative
or posative answer
if we subtractred
number of homeless people
from vacant units
or from number of buildings
vacated for tear down
in the last 50 years.

See myself dribbling
around concrete cracks
in my teens.
Energized by your piano solo
coming from a window.

Remembering gatherings
on steps
and back yards.
Shade under a tree by the alley

Imagining the looks and sounds
of people I knew from school
gatherings on the block
in different decades
Since I last saw them.
Heard not long ago
some of them
are single parents now.
Are they getting any respect?

True beauty dwells in deep retreats,
Whose veil is unremoved
Till heart with heart in concord beats,
And the lover is beloved.
– William Wordsworth

As a culture we are just now emerging from the emotional dark ages. We are emerging from a time when feelings were to be performed (or suppressed) by rote, without individual attention, style, uniqueness, without the freedom to explore that dimension, that window, as a way of knowing the universe. And the same is true for imagery. The imagery that has been allowed has been a standard imagery, an imagery having to do with the origins of one’s nation or one’s family, and with one’s relationship to the universe, to God. Not a freedom to explore one’s own imagery, as it presents itself, as one discovers it to be, uniquely individual, but an imagery that was standardized and approved, an imagery that was dictated and dominated by thinking and control.

Let us hope that the opening of the windows of imagery and feeling will be as fruitful and as freeing of our natural humanness as opening the window of thinking was for our natural creativity and invention. In fact it will probably be more so, because it will also entail our coming into balance, where our four windows [thinking, sensing, feeling, deep imagery] will all be open, and so our center will be true, and we, for the first time as a living organism, will enter into our true fullness and aliveness.

– Eligio Stephen Gallegos, Animals of the Four Windows: Integrating Thinking, Sensing, Feeling and Imagery

Creativity helps us realize that we don’t have to understand everything. We can enjoy something–feel it and use it–without ever fully comprehending it.
– Faith Ringgold

it’s as if I’ve interrupted something
that was falling in a straight line
from the eye of God
– Alice Oswald

We can mourn the death of evil men not because of how they lived, but because of how they didn’t live: without a moment’s peace, beyond the solace of love, empty of kindness, lacking respect, honor and belonging, and starved for it all.
– Karen Maezen Miller

I accept and am accepted. I am all and all is me. Being the world I am not afraid of the world. Being all, what am I to be afraid of? Water is not afraid of water, nor fire of fire. Also I am not afraid because I am nothing that can experience fear, or can be in danger. I have no shape, nor name. It is attachment to name and shape that breeds fear. I am not attached. I am nothing, and nothing is afraid of no thing.
– Nisargadatta

When the mind is at peace,
the world too is at peace.
Nothing real, nothing absent.
Not holding on to reality,
not getting stuck in the void,
you are neither holy or wise, just
an ordinary fellow who has completed his work.

– Layman Pang-yun

Remember that there are two kinds of lunatics: those who don’t know that they must die, and those who have forgotten that they’re alive.

Recuerda que hay dos tipos de lunáticos: aquellos que no saben que deben morir, y los que han olvidado que están vivos.

– Matthieu Ricard

Real shadow work is being able to see your pain in the moment, acknowledge its reasons, and then not react to it. This is how the committee learns to work together, at long last, as one body.
– Paul Weinfield

Ethan Nichtern:
The idea that shackling someone to a lifetime of debt is the way to teach them responsibility is exactly the punitive worldview we need to overcome.

Cancel Student Debt

Let’s play “think of climate crisis jobs that aren’t “wind turbine and solar panel installer!”
– Dr. Emily Pawley

Is it possible that it is grief that brought us together
Yes it is
It is possible
– Dorothea Lasky

Jung points out that the whole purpose of the awakening of the Kundalini is to separate the gods from the world – where they have slept – so that they become active, and with that we necessarily start a new order of things.
– Barbara Hannah, The Beyond

In setting up his own archives, the subject seizes his own stock of experience as property, so making it something wholly external to himself.
– Theodor Adorno

Her poems? I will never know them,
though they are the ones I most need.
– Jane Hirshfield

…it empowers communities to meet needs like housing, healthcare, food…It is premised on solidarity, not charity. It rejects saviorism, hierarchy, and authoritarianism. Mutual aid exposes the failures of the current system and shows an alternative.
– Mariame Kaba

To seek is to suffer. To seek nothing is bliss.
– Bodhidharma

In its first blush, a new poem is not cold at all—in fact, whatever has troubled that poem into mind has come straight from the warm-blooded, mammalian heart.
– Lucie Brock-Broido

Anything we love can be saved.
– Alice Walker

Ely Kreimendahl:
babe what’s wrong? you’ve hardly embodied my idealized version of you today.

Unless one lives and loves in the trenches, it is difficult to remember that the war against dehumanization is ceaseless.
– Audre Lorde

Adria R. Walker:
y’all’s desire to dunk on southerners, especially when something tragic/potentially tragic happens, is very, very odd.

It’s how words
come apart in a dream.
And then you’re awake.
– Marianne Boruch

Finding Nirvana is like locating silence.

Art hurts. Art urges voyages – and it is easier to stay at home.
– Gwendolyn Brooks

Gregory Mansfield:
A disabled person’s time is as valuable as the time of non-disabled people.

Cody Johnston:
“Once in a generation storm” every year or so.

A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
– Mahatma Gandhi

You are what you believe in. You become that which you believe you can become
– Bhagavad Gita

In the Johannesburg mines
There are 240,000 natives working.

What kind of poem
Would you make out of that?

240,000 natives working
In the Johannesburg mines.

– Langston Hughes

Summer Brennan:
From a distance, America seems like the meanest country in the world.

Think in moderation. Remain on your bed. Contemplate on the wall the daylight vanishing, and the balance of light and shadow pursuing one another insensibly towards the night. Simple time is a great remedy.
– Paul Valéry, Dialogues (trans. W.M. Stewart)

We think we are a country
and the truth is we are barely a landscape.
– Nicanor Parra (tr. M. Williams)

Paul Crenshaw:
If we’re really going to try to define Gen X then we need to talk about how often we were told we would encounter quicksand in our lives.

Ethan Nichtern:

The job of any teacher is to slowly “dissolve” their own necessity.

If a student finds themself growing more dependent on the teacher as time goes on, that’s a big warning sign.

Whence all this hurry to arrive at a state? Are you not already face-to-face with the eternal mystery? Take it easy for a while; just watch the snow falling or the kettle boiling, and not so much hurry.
– Alan Watts

Strong and Soft
All too often our so-called strength comes from fear, not love. Instead of having a strong back, many of us have a defended front, shielding a weak spine. In other words, we walk around brittle and defensive, trying to conceal our lack of confidence. If we strengthen our backs, metaphorically speaking, and develop a spine that’s flexible but sturdy, then we can risk having a front that’s soft and open.

How can we give and accept care with strong back, soft front, compassion, moving past fear to a place of genuine tenderness? I believe it comes when we can be truly transparent, seeing the world clearly and letting the world see into us.

– Joan Halifax

[P]sychological or spiritual development always requires a greater capacity in us for the toleration of anxiety and ambiguity. The capacity to accept this troubled state, abide it, and commit to life, is the moral measure of our maturity.
– James Hollis

For every moment I miss,” he said, “there are unexpected grace moments that I’m not expecting that occur as well.
– Jonathan Foust

Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness.
– John Muir

Why I don’t write about George Floyd
by Toi Derricotte

Because there is too much to say
Because I have nothing to say
Because I don’t know what to say
Because everything has been said
Because it hurts too much to say
What can I say what can I say
Something is stuck in my throat
Something is stuck like an apple
Something is stuck like a knife
Something is stuffed like a foot
Something is stuffed like a body

Corporate environmentalists would like humans to believe that being a “good relative” will require us to disconnect from nature and “live” as avatars in a metaverse they control.

That is NOT right relationship. That is profane.

– Allison Hawver McDowell

One of the saddest lines in the world is, ‘Oh come now – be realistic.’ The best parts of this world were not fashioned by those who were realistic. They were fashioned by those who dared to look hard at their wishes and gave them horses to ride.
– Richard Nelson Bolles

And soon a branch, part of a hidden scene,
the leafy mind, that long was tightly furled,
will turn its private substance into green,
and young shoots spread upon our inner world.
– Theodore Roethke

Patience is gift of faith.
Impatience a symptom of faithlessness.
Every nervous flutter of my heart testifies against me.
– Lee Weissman

I’m trying to create an option for all
these doors in life. You’re inside
or out, outside or in. Of late, doors
have failed us more than the two-party system
or marriages comprising only one person.
We’ve been fooled into thousands of dualisms
which the Buddha says is a bad idea.
Nature has portals rather than doors.
There are two vast cottonwoods near a creek
and when I walk between them I shiver.
Winding through my field of seventy-seven
large white pine stumps from about 1903
I take various paths depending on spirit.
The sky is a door never closed to us.
The sun and moon aren’t doorknobs.
Dersu Uzala slept outside for forty-five years.
When he finally moved inside he died.
– Jim Harrison

Grief Mala #2
cold rain falling —
ice pebbles
hit the window
like a broken strand of prayer beads
I think of all those
without warmth tonight
I wonder, too:
what does it take
to make a world
of wise, beaming faces?
– Frank LaRue Owen, Hawk of the Pines

Alive in the Age of Worry
by Ayokunle Falomo

Easter Sunday, ’19.
Galveston, Texas.

Every poem an elegy,

Each moment of breath is a debt owed the dead.

To live is to die longing to hold and behold the face

Of the mystery that brought us here. O, Holy: what keeps us here.

Holy the sun above us. Holy the watchful eyes of our mothers.

Holy the breeze. Holy what returns to the Earth, which, too, is mother

To everything that will cleave. And if my body is earth, then what, after

It’s been plowed, will flower here? O, Holy that which must spring

Forth out of us to quench another’s thirst, or be the answer to

Another’s hunger. Though blood-stained the soil might be, there is

A man, who with tender hands, picks out of it berries. The red

Stain on his favorite shirt, it is not blood. O Rain, it falls

All the same. For the one who prayed for it and in spite

Of the death of the rain dancer. Somewhere, vultures circle

Above a mother hen as she gathers her brood under her wings.

Holy what makes a home of what is thrown out the Ocean’s guts.

Holy the strings. Holy the shells. Holy the straws. Holy the bottle

Caps. Holy, too, the bodies that won’t return to us. Holy the body,

How it bends under the weight of a log severed. Holy the body

Broken. Holy the cup that holds the spilled blood. Holy

Our hands stained with thick black oil. Holy the shoulders

That carry, in black trash bags, the weight of our sins.

Holy the trail of red harvester ants, how they do not have,

In their language, the word for border. Holy the seeds they carry

Like the reward of a day’s labor. Holy the labor of naming

What will, if not named, be dead. Holy the body. Holy the body

Of the beloved. O, Love! Holy moly, my hand in yours! O Worry,

Wife of my youth, mother of our imminent desolation, what else

Can you birth? As one does a ticket, Lord, I tender my worry. In its stead,

Give me wonder—a ram with horns caught in the thick of the thicket—

So I can learn to say: I wonder about the future, I wonder what I’ll leave

Behind. To say: I am alive, in love, in the age of wonder. To watch

My sister make, for the woman I love, a bracelet. Each letter

Of her name strung on a string with beads of green, a piece

Of a snail’s shell, and a metal crown inside of which is a small

White pearl. To know this too as a poem. Lord, gift me this

Moment as a never-ending loop stitched inside my cornea.

Yes, I want it all, my rage and my joy though both will kill me.

I want the honey inside the carcass and, too, the dislodged jaw

Of the beast. The blood-stained concrete, take that from me but

Let me keep the crack giving way to the budding of a wildflower.

Note: The poem takes its title from the chorus of John Mayer’s The Age of Worry. “Each moment of breath is a debt owed the dead” has in its right ear June Jordan’s “To live means you owe something big to those whose lives are taken away from them” (from the introduction to Some of Us Did Not Die: New and Selected Essays) while “To live is to die . . .” has “What is living, anyway, but dying” (from Sharon Olds’s Known to Be Left) in its left ear. “And if my body is earth, then what . . . will flower here?” expands on a question—“And if my body is earth, then what?”—in Robert Bly’s The Owlets at Nightfall.

You cannot use someone else’s fire. You can only use your own.
– Audre Lorde

Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. . . .
Delve into yourself for a deep answer.
– Ranier Maria Rilke

Dr. Thema:
It’s time to tear up their script. The lines they want you to say and the life they want you to live is too limiting.

Write a new story and live it well.

Lizzie O’Leary:
When ~all of this~ is over, you will find me at the bar of a nice restaurant, eating alone, reading a book.

Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling.
– C.G. Jung

Jen Perelman:

To be fair, Bernie wouldn’t have canceled $50k student debt either.

He would’ve canceled all of it.

#Cancel Student Debt #Economics

Violet Zen:
Not only is it okay to be exactly as you are, it’s the solution to every problem.

Joseph Massey:
99% of poetry is the reason why most people hate poetry. There’s no life in it. No light. No music. And when it gets published, trees weep.

Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The furthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.
– Audre Lorde, Poetry is not a Luxury.

Tara is famous for responding when called, so remember you can call on her when you are in need or afraid of something.
– Lama Tsultrim Allione, Green Tara Commentary

Life will eventually bring you to your knees. Either you’ll be on your knees cursing the universe and begging for a different life, or you’ll be brought to your knees by gratitude and awe, deeply embracing the life that you have, too overwhelmed by the beauty of it all to stand or even speak. Either way, they’re the same knees.
– Jeff Foster, Falling in Love with Where You Are

I can’t see it, can’t move it.

I know it’s black,
a hump on my back …

inimical power.

– Denise Levertov, The Wings

After all, my life has been a slow and mistimed one, but it is good, good, I testify, even at the bottom of my melancholy.
– Barry Hannah

Who can bear those star-river distances?
I’m so lonesome I could die
– Don McKay, Song for the Song of the Sandhill Crane

To break the silence of events, to speak of experience however bitter or lacerating, to put into words, is to discover the hope that these words may be heard, and that when heard, the events will be judged. This hope is, of course, at the origin of prayer, and prayer—as well as labour—was probably at the origin of speech itself. Of all uses of language, it is poetry that preserves most purely the memory of this origin.

Every poem that works as a poem is original. And original has two meanings : it means a return to the origin, the first which has never occurred before. In poetry, and in poetry alone, the two senses are united in such a way that they are no longer contradictory.

Nevertheless poems are not simple prayers. Even a religious poem is not exclusively and uniquely addressed to God. Poetry is addressed to language itself. If that sounds obscure, think of a lamentation—there words lament loss to their language. Poetry is addressed to language in a comparable but wider way.

To put into words is to find the hope that the words will be heard and the events they describe judged. Judged by God or judged by history. Either way the judgement is distant. Yet the language—which is immediate, and which is sometimes wrongly thought of as being only a means—offers, obstinately and mysteriously, its own judgment when it is addressed by poetry. This is distinct from that of any moral code, yet promises, within its acknowledgment of what it has heard, a distinction between good and evil—as though language itself had been created to preserve just that distinction!
– John Berger, The Hour of Poetry

I love you, I love you, is my song
– Pablo Neruda

Friend listen …
– Kabir

My Oldest Friend
You have walked a long way
on the sharp rock of relevance.
Even beside the glorious bushes
you knew the free verses of the shadows
hadn’t wed the equations of the naked light.
Now you are wed to the world.
Shadows revise you.
But untutored things still explode from your ground,
thanks to the well-grooved stones.
Nothing stops the foolhardy weeds
from swallowing wisdom’s graves.
And you are a hardy fool,
tempered by excess.
When we speak
it’s not for print.
The mountains we move
are made of souls,
further reshaping each time
we hear each other whole.
The things to say to move from here
were never preconceived.
Though any form may do,
only that genuine thrust
still wins through.
– George Gorman

If no one is pissed-off with you then you are dead but just haven’t figured it out yet.
– Tom Peters

Each man is a hero and an oracle to somebody.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

An old alchemist gave the following consolation to one of his disciples: No matter how isolated you are and how lonely you feel, if you do your work truly and conscientiously, unknown friends will come and seek you.
– Carl Jung

You cannot control your own population by force, but it can be distracted by consumption.
– Noam Chomsky

Concepts create idols; only wonder comprehends anything.
People kill one another over idols. Wonder makes us fall to our knees.
– Gregory of Nyssa

The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer.
– Harlan Ellison

You are wildly absent, yes, and everywhere.

– Sue Goyette, This Fear of Being Forgotten

Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
– Roald Dahl

To sit. Sweet people. To listen. A same sweet song.
– @tarfiaaa

Eve Remembering

I tore from a limb fruit that had lost its green.
My hands were warmed by the heat of an apple
Fire red and humming.
I bit sweet power to the core.
How can I say what it was like?
The taste! The taste undid my eyes
And led me far from the gardens planted for a child
To wildernesses deeper than any master’s call.


Now these cool hands guide what they once caressed;
Lips forget what they have kissed.
My eyes now pool their light
Better the summit to see.


I would do it all over again:
Be the harbor and set the sail,
Loose the breeze and harness the gale,
Cherish the harvest of what I have been.
Better the summit to scale.
Better the summit to be.
– Toni Morrison

Make up a story… For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.
– Toni Morrison

No one escapes who he or she is. Inside we have heaven and hell and that unrelenting yearning to become all that we can be–dwelling places for love and possibility.
– Gunilla Norris

The primary aspiration of all history is a genuine community of human beings.
– Martin Buber


Speak only the speech
that neither torments self
nor does harm to others.
That speech is truly well spoken.

Speak only endearing speech,
speech that is welcomed.
Speech when it brings no evil
to others
is pleasant.

Truth, indeed, is deathless speech:
This is an ancient principle.
The goal and the Dharma
— so say the calm —
are firmly established on truth.

The speech the Awakened One speaks,
for attaining Unbinding,
for making an end
to the mass of stress:
That is the speech unexcelled.
– Subhasitta Sutta

If Poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.
– John Keats

Blue evenings in Berlin, the corner chestnut in flower, light-headed ness, poverty, love, the tangerine tinge of premature stoplights, and an animal aching yearn for the still fresh reek of Russia.
– Nabokov

My father loved first light.
He would sit alone
at the yellow Formica table
in the kitchen with his coffee cup
and sip and look out
over the strait. I too
am addicted to slow sweet beginnings.
First bird call. Wings
in silhouette. How the steeples
of the evergreens make a selvage
for the gaunt emerging sky.

My three loves are far away
in other countries,
and one is even under
this dew-bright ground
where the little herds
of jittery quail peck
and scurry for their lives.

My father picks up his
cup. Light is sifting in
like a gloam of certainty
over the water. He knows
something there in the half-light
he can’t know any other way.

And now I know it with him: so much
is joining us in the dawn
that no one can ever be parted.
It steals over us because we left
the warm beds of our dreams
to sit beside what rises.
I think he wants to stay there
forever, my captain, gazing but not
expecting, while the world
begins, and, in a stark silent calling,
won’t tell anyone what it’s for.
– Tess Gallagher

Automatically, if you disown the path, then the path is you. If you stop making money, then you’re rich enough not to make any more money. You are really ultimately rich, because you don’t have to try and make money anymore at all. That is the real mentality of richness;whereas if you are trying to maintain & make money;that is still the mentality of poverty.You are still maintaining your mentality of being poor.
– Chögyam Trungpa, Transcending Madness

While in the grip of trauma, our sense of self begins to fragment and split, with a surging of survival-level experiences of terror, panic, self-hatred, and annihilation.

The deep call from within, wild and fierce and flaming with the fires of integrity, “Never again!”

For those who start to find a way out and back into the safety of the body, step over a threshold where the next layer will often emerge.

While the survival-level feelings can always return, at times they will yield to a profound grief. A full-spectrum sorrow for what was taken from them and from the entirety of what was unlived as a result.

It can be tempting to want to quickly “move through” this and get on with things. This is understandable and so very human, and need not be shamed or made wrong. For we live in a collective which has lost touch with the purifying waters of grieving and conscious lamentation.

But there is something holy in the grief, something pure and available only in listening to it, weeping with it, holding it, even arguing with it… something not accessible in a state of completion or contentment.

To pathologize the experience of grief is a work against nature. We can see and feel the natural world in grief: a tree as it loses its leaves in the fall, the earth by way of her weather and seasons, a star that dies and falls out of the sky.

Even in a rain drop, if we look carefully as the veil is parted.

The journey of grief may not have an endpoint in some final resolution, where we “finish” and arrive in some untouchable and invulnerable place. Soul is endless and grief may be a companion for the duration of a life.

Not so much a process as a non-linear, unfolding partner. It moves not by way of straight line, but by that of circle and spiral.
– Matt Licata

It was tied up with the newspapers
I saw secret arrangements in high offices
I saw men who loved their worldliness
even though they had looked through
big electric telescopes
they still thought their worldliness was serious
not just a hobby a taste a harmless affectation
they thought the cosmos listened
I was suddenly fearful
one of their obscure regulations
could separate us
I was ready to beg for mercy
Now I’m getting into humiliation
– Leonard Cohen

John Flynn:
This line leapt out in my reading today, especially in light of the shameful way so many who claim themselves followers have so completely turned away from the teachings of Jesus regarding the treatment of our society’s conveniently disposable and easily despised- the poor, the sick, the prisoner, the immigrant and all those we thoughtlessly marginalize. “The devout Christian of the future will either be a ‘mystic’… or he will cease to be anything at all.
– Karl Rahner

Do not for a moment think you cannot change what exists.
This world is a social construction. It can be reconstructed. This world was built. It can be rebuilt. Use everything that you accrue to reimagine the world.
– Clint Smith

Never blame the external environment for your laziness and lack of practice. The only thing that makes the Buddhist path impossible is you.

That is why a Buddhist practitioner is called a nangpa in Tibetan, which means an inner being. They search for happiness and the ultimate truth inside their mind, by going for refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and by practicing the Dharma. A nangpa is the opposite of a worldly outer being, who searches for happiness outside.

So ask yourself, which one are you, an inner or an outer being? If you consider yourself an inner being, a true Buddhist practitioner, when you are faced with challenging situations, remember that they are just that – they are challenging, not impossible.

The biggest challenges of your life can become the greatest opportunities to practice what you have learnt. It is during these times that you can make incredible progress on the Buddhist path.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

No man that has ever lived has done a thing to please God–primarily. It was done to please himself, then God next.
– Mark Twain, a Biography

each morning,
the sun reminds us:
with the darkest
moment comes
a restoration
of the light.
– Heidi Barr, Cold Spring Hallelujah

There is no process to become silent. To disturb your mind you need process, but to stay silent there is no process. Stay in satsang, stay quiet, always have love with your own Self. You are not to win it by any attempt or effort. Simply stay quiet. If any thought rises, simply find out where it came from.
– Papaji

We will not underestimate
our power any longer—
we know that together, we are strong.
Like drops of water shape the rocks
as they rush down the falls,
we know that together,
we are strong.

שִׁירָה חֲדָשָׁה שִׁבְּ֒חוּ גְאוּלִים לְשִׁמְךָ עַל־שְׂפַת הַיָּם יַֽחַד כֻּלָּם הוֹדוּ
Shira chadasha shibchu ge’ulim l’shimcha al sfat hayam,
yachad kulam hodu

With newborn song, liberated people praised Your name on the lip of the sea. All were one in thanks.
– Jewish Liturgy

May it be so.

– Rena Branson

If your spirit is not healed, the cause of your problems will not go away.
– Uri Geller

Turn to what truly lives,
reject what seems ….
Which matters are more,
the body or the soul?
Be whole:
desire and journey
…. to the Whole.
– Fahrid ud- Din Attar

True teachers who do not deceive on the supreme path, are like great ships that rescue beings from the ocean of existence. They are like rain of nectar that covers the flames of karma and defilements. And they are like the sun and moon that dispels the darkness of ignorance.
– Jigme Lingpa

what if
you allow abundance
and love to be a foundation
out of which all your actions
and words arise?
what if you allow
the light in your
heart to be your
everyday guidance?
you are too busy
learning how to
survive –
what if you stop
in your way
and allow life
to take care
of you?
– Guthema Roba


Speak only when
beauty opens you lips.
Otherwise dissolve
into silence –
Silence is a shift
from personhood
to being.
Speech belongs to society.
Silence is the aroma of life.
It belongs to mystery.
– Guthema Roba

Zen has no business with ideas.
– D.T. Suzuki

The thing that makes
your heart sing
might be quirky as hell

it might not do anything for capitalism
no one might buy it.

You’ve probably written this thing off
countless times
for those reasons
and because you probably “should”
do the dishes or something more practical
like that instead.

But this thing that makes your heart sing
is the thing inside of you that most wants
to topple your kingdom of shoulds
that wants deeply and burningly
to be prioritized
and for no particular reason
but that it brings so much light.

It wants to look you straight in the eye
and say, “let’s do this, baby!”
even if it’s drilling holes in seashells and stringing them to
fishing line,
even if it’s drawing anatomical pictures of a flower
with great care that is never meant
to be hung in an art gallery
but to be pressed
into the precious pages of your heart,
even if it’s making a new kind of cookie
each week
and devouring them with relish on your couch
by yourself
a sweet secret just meant to share
with your taste buds.

This thing that makes your heart sing
is the thing that will resurrect parts of your life
that will restore a sacred nutrient
to your days

It can be muted
but never silenced
if you’re not sure what it is
just listen for the reoccurring whispers
in your chest
of that flame that will not die.

The paradox is this:
while the thing itself might seem simple

this thing that makes
your heart sing
will create a luminosity
so bright
you’ll be the envy
of all the stars
and they’ll want to jump into
your body
to feel it.

– Chelan Harkin

We don’t dust the blinds or power wash the driveway, but you might ask a ninja to mince the onions and garlic for a stir fry.
– Duncan Mack, adapted

Having entered and smashed heaven’s gate of hope,
I no longer burn in a hell-fire of thought.
Who can understand this life
sitting upright, chin tucked in?
Neither a priest nor ordinary man —
just a wandering corpse
confusing those
…who think they’re alive.
– Shinzen

Only yesterday I was no different than them, yet I was saved. I am explaining to you the way of life of a people who say every sort of wicked thing about me because I sacrificed their friendship to gain my own soul. I left the dark paths of their duplicity and turned my eyes toward the light where there is salvation, truth, and justice. They have exiled me now from their society, yet I am content. Mankind only exiles the one whose large spirit rebels against injustice and tyranny. He who does not prefer exile to servility is not free in the true and necessary sense of freedom.
– Kahlil Gibran

New Frost Medalist, N. Scott Momaday.

Prayer for Words
by N. Scott Momaday

My voice restore for me.

Here is the wind bending the reeds 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 camas root and chokecherries.

And, God, if my mute heart expresses me,
I am the rolling thunder and the bursts
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.

I cried in Washington Square Park the other night
thinking about healthcare
and how I quit my job to write poetry,
and how even a job in poetry
prevents you from writing it.
– Alex Dimitrov, New York

Laughter and loving are omni-radiant, omni-embracing, topologically coordinate phenomena. Love synergetically integrates metaphysical radiation and metaphysical gravity, whose interpulsative, intercomplementry oppositeness regenerates life.
– R. Buckminster Fuller, Cosmography

The truth dazzles gradually, or else the world would be blind.
– Emily Dickinson

In a solitary space in which the soul can breathe
And where the heart can stay – not by discovering it,
But by creating it, by giving it a self-sustaining
Atmosphere of depth, both in the architecture,
And in the unconstructed life that it contains.
In a late and very brief remark, Freud speculates
That space is the projection of a “psychic apparatus”
Which remains almost entirely oblivious to itself;
And Wright extols “that primitive sense of shelter”
Which can turn a house into a refuge from despair.
I wish that time could bring the future back again
And let me see things as they used to seem to me
Before I found myself alone, in an emancipated state –
Alone and free and filled with cares about tomorrow.
There used to be a logic in the way time passed
That made it flow directly towards an underlying space
Where all the minor, individual lives converged.
– John Koethe, Falling Water

We will never discover new worlds unless we pay heed to the tricksters — whose seemingly innocuous acts of deception are powerful invitations to us to leave the perceptual comfort of our visions; whose verbal train of abracadabras are portals out of our reality-tunnels. They teach us that nothing is what it is, that what we see is actually ‘how’ we see, and that new worlds are woven intimately into the fabric of the normal.
– Bayo Akomolafe

One very important pattern in the Trickster is that he crosses a forbidden line to bring light to humankind.
– Pia Skogemann, Where the Shadows Lie

I’m the one into whose arms you fall when you fall through all of space. The one who tells you infinity is another hoax. I’m the being who has no manners, or mannerisms. I have no style. I settle on nothing; I decide nothing. This is not a final place. There is no such place. I am the being who whistles to you and distracts you from self-absorption. I am the mosquito in your ear, an iridescent fly, a lightning bug. This clearing is full of false lights, flickers that stop when you look. I’m the being that’s tricky because you try to make me conform to your senses. You have no senses here. You have nothing.
– Alice Notley, Certain Magical Acts

[A]ll she felt was that she did not want to do anything or prevent anything, and her thoughts slowly wandered into the snow outside, without a backward glance, further and further, as when one is too tired to turn back and walks on and on.
– Robert Musil, The Perfecting of a Love

The seeing and hearing of the eyes and ears all penetrate inward to the mind, but if I have no mind within to receive it, then although I allow all that the eyes and ears see and hear to enter without obstruction, it actually remains outside the mind and its understanding. What does it mean to be beyond the mind’s understanding? just that if the mind is unmoving, external things cannot get inside. Although you hear what you hear and see what you see, you remain unmindful, free of deliberate intentions, about what is seen and heard.
– Zhuangzi


There is a well-known saying which declares, “It is difficult for one who is clever and learned in worldly wisdom to encounter the Buddha dharma”

This is a problem for many people who are practicing Zen nowadays. Such persons try to come to an understanding through conceptual thinking alone. They insist that reality accord to the way they think it should exist.

However, such worldly wisdom only screens the Truth. Through scheming and speculating, it just gives rise to mere cleverness. Without being able to free yourself from such intellectual thinking, it will be extremely hard to encounter the true Buddha dharma.

For this reason, those who only practice intellectual Zen are unable to make any progress. Even when sitting in meditation, they are still burdened with all their concepts. They project all of their clever ideas in front of them and only succeed in obstructing themselves.

You must reject all concepts at once! Only then can smoothly enter into and progress with your practice. Just as clouds in the sky obscure the brightness of the sun, so do conceptions prevent the bright light of your original nature from shining forth.

– Zen Master Kusan Sunim, The Way of Korean Zen

I used to measure the heavens, now i measure the shadows of earth. although my mind was heaven-bound, the shadow of my body lies here.
– johannes kepler (a good thought for spiritual seekers – hune)

This is one more piece of advice I have for you: don’t get impatient. Even if things are so tangled up you can’t do anything. You have to realize it’s going to be a long process and that you’ll work on things slowly, one at a time.
– Haruki Murakami

As [Jung] says: Consciousness is continually widened through the confrontation with previously unconscious contents, or—to be more accurate—could be widened if it took the trouble to integrate them.
– Robin Robertson, The Shadow’s Gift

We have come dangerously close to the collapse of the entire system and the public seems to be completely unaware of that, including Congress and the regulators.
– Thomas Peterffy, February 17
Hearings on Wall Street Bets, Citadel, etc.

kye! The playful expression of the unchanging primordial knowing‘s hundred moods.
– t.k.

Research—and my own experience—suggests that the less we indulge in something, the less we want it. When we believe that a craving will remain unsatisfied, it may diminish; cravings are more provoked by possibility than by denial.
– Gretchen Rubin, Better Than Before

Bruce Cockburn:
If we can sing with the wind song
Chant with thunder
Play upon the lightning
Melodies of wonder
Into wonder life will open

Dr. Thema:
When you’re used to dealing with difficult people, being in the presence of peaceful people requires an adjustment.

Adjust. Breathe. You deserve it.

God can see your intentions even when others can’t.

Life is a second-by-second miracle.
– Joko Beck

Robert Reich:
Just a reminder: We can’t pass a Green New Deal until Dems end the filibuster.

Get it done.

Perhaps, somewhere, some day, at a less miserable time, we may see each other again.
– Vladimir Nabokov

The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.
– Anais Nin

The Buddha:
Passion-obsession is to be abandoned with regard to pleasant feeling; resistance-obsession is to be abandoned with regard to painful ones.

With love and patience, nothing is impossible.
– Daisaku Ideda

I am just another dot in the world.
– Yayoi Kusama

For to wish to forget how much you loved someone—and then, to actually forget—can feel, at times, like the slaughter of a beautiful bird who chose, by nothing short of grace, to make a habitat of your heart.
– Maggie Nelson, Bluets

Wholeness is not achieved by cutting off a portion of one’s being, but by integration of the contraries.
– Carl Gustav Jung

Unexpressed creativity…is poison to the human psyche. The malady that our species is collectively suffering from is, in essence, the fact that we are not connecting with, mobilizing & expressing our creative nature, which turns against us in self-&-other-destruction.
– Paul Levy

Blunted Buddha:
We are more space than matter. More vibration than space.

I once got a rejection from a magazine for a story they had already accepted and published.
– Maureen O’Leary

The freedom of conversation is being lost. If it was earlier a matter of course in conversation to take interest in one’s partner, this is now replaced by inquiry into the price of his shoes or his umbrella.
– Walter Benjamin

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

I write on water

from a few sentences
from a few verses
I build an ark

to save something
from the flood
which catches us by surprise

– Tadeusz Rozewicz

I’m stuck struggling in the cold water, and all I can do is grieve…

Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.
– A.A. Milne

As human beings we are all born with not only the wherewithal to be creative, but also the need. We must express ourselves. The only decisions to make are what it is we want to say and through which medium we want to say it.
– Will Gompertz

Béa Gonzalez:
[The Red Book] is Jung in his own voice. It’s not Jung as people have pretended he is. It’s not the man of fiction, of the biographers. It’s not a counterfeit. We’re going to the source.~James Hillman and Sonu Shamdasani, Lament of the Dead

Ethan Nichtern:
We really need to abandon Left/Right framing in our political narrative. It’s a conceptual structure that turns the very act of helping people into an extremist position. It’s designed to promote and normalize conservative and even fascist views.

Bruce Cockburn:
North wind changes all the fields
To dazzling glass in winter
Come near to me
Hear this song I sing to you
Are you singing, too?

Forge of Man:
Want to get better?




Keats said Shakespeare was the sea.
– Susan Howe

We live in secret cities
& we travel unmapped roads.

We speak words between us that we recognize
But which cannot be looked up.

They are our words.
They come from very far inside our mouths.

You and I, we are the secret citizens of the city
Inside us…

– Alberto Ríos

Heather Christle:
Etymologically, “aftermath” is rooted in agriculture, meaning “a second-growth crop,” or more literally, “after mowing.” I did not know this until this morning.

So now I am thinking about how and what to sow.

when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive.

– Audre Lorde

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
– Audre Lorde

I dream of lost vocabularies that might express some of what we no longer can.
– Jack Gilbert

Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower.
– Shigenori Kameoka

And soon a branch, part of a hidden scene,
the leafy mind, that long was tightly furled,
will turn its private substance into green,
and young shoots spread upon our inner world.
– Theodore Roethke

Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. . . .
Delve into yourself for a deep answer.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Dr. Thema:
It’s time to tear up their script. The lines they want you to say and the life they want you to live is too limiting.

Write a new story and live it well.

Lizzie O’Leary:
When ~all of this~ is over, you will find me at the bar of a nice restaurant, eating alone, reading a book.

Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling.
– C.G. Jung

To be fair, Bernie wouldn’t have canceled $50k student debt either.

He would’ve canceled all of it.
– Jen Perelman

Violet Zen:
Not only is it okay to be exactly as you are, it’s the solution to every problem.

It is your attachment that creates hell.
– Rajneesh

Joseph Massey:
99% of poetry is the reason why most people hate poetry. There’s no life in it. No light. No music. And when it gets published, trees weep.

Real shadow work is being able to see your pain in the moment, acknowledge its reasons, and then not react to it. This is how the committee learns to work together, at long last, as one body.
– Paul Weinfield

When it hurts – observe. Life is trying to teach you something.
– Anita Krizzan

For a man who no longer has a homeland, writing becomes a place to live.
– Theodor Adorno

I no longer pray—
now I drink dark chocolate
and let the moon sing to me.
I no longer pray—
I let my ancestors dance
through my hips
at the slightest provocation.
I no longer pray—
I go to the river
and howl my ancient pain
into the current.
I no longer pray—
I ache, I desire,
I say “yes” to my longing.
I no longer pray as I was taught
but as the stars crawl
onto my lap like soft animals at nighttime
and God tucks my hair behind my ears
with the gentle fingers of her wind
and a new intimacy is uncovered in everything,
perhaps it’s that I’m finally learning
how to pray.
– Chelan Harkin

Looking for who I am is who I am.
– Tom Spanbauer, The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon

Vibe so high that any toxic people naturally remove themselves from your life because they no longer know how to approach your energy.
– @_Pammy_DS_

On Archetype & Architecture
By Tad Hargrave
When important cultural roles vanish from the architecture, they appear as archetypes. When they vanish from the outside, this culture encourages us to find them on the inside.
In a culture without chiefs and leaders we can trust, we are told to find our inner Kings and Queens. In a culture with no real warriors, we are exhorted to cultivate the warrior inside ourselves. In a culture with too few beauty makers, we are told to find out inner Lover. In a culture with too few elders, shamans, and medicine people, we are told to find the Magician within.
This interiorization of the world, the promise of some internal self-sufficiency (and the assurance that this is a worthy goal), is one of the central poverties of our time, masquerading as psychology and spirituality. We are told that these are all inherent parts of ourselves and that the point of our spiritual lives is to get in touch with those, already fully developed archetypes, inside of ourselves. We are told that they are just waiting for us to show up.
And it may be that there is truth in all of that.
But perhaps what is needed is a rebuilding of culture, not imagining that we can vanish our need for it. What is needed is that we learn to need each other once more. What is needed are fewer voices urging us to become the entire village and more voices imploring us to step into some real and meaningful role in what might, one day, become a village.
Fewer archetypes. More architecture.

The yearning to be connected, to be in awe and participation is so full of ache and beauty, of satiety, impermanence and loss that it must be the mystery of joy.
– Gunilla Norris

To Winter
by Claude McKay
Stay, season of calm love and soulful snows!
There is a subtle sweetness in the sun,
The ripples on the stream’s breast gaily run,
The wind more boisterously by me blows,
And each succeeding day now longer grows.
The birds a gladder music have begun,
The squirrel, full of mischief and of fun,
From maple’s topmost branch the brown twig throws.
I read these pregnant signs, know what they mean:
I know that thou art making ready to go.
Oh stay! I fled a land where fields are green
Always, and palms wave gently to and fro,
And winds are balmy, blue brooks ever sheen,
To ease my heart of its impassioned woe.

Go deeper than love, for the soul has greater depths,
love is like the grass, but the heart is deep wild rock
molten, yet dense and permanent.
Go down to your deep old heart, and lose sight of yourself.
And lose sight of me, the me whom you turbulently loved.
Let us lose sight of ourselves, and break the mirrors.
For the fierce curve of our lives is moving again to the depths
out of sight, in the deep living heart.
– D.H. Lawrence, Know Thyself, Know Thyself More Deeply

You must be able to balance yourself and to go forward and you may have to readjust. I think it’s all to do with going forward. It’s all to do with being prepared to change.
– Yusuf / Cat Steven

The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot/
– Werner Herzog

There are many things in your heart you can never tell to another person. They are you, your private joys and sorrows, and you can never tell them. You cheapen yourself, the inside of yourself, when you tell them.
– Greta Garbo

One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.
– Haruki Murakami

Never allow anyone to be humiliated in your presence.
– Elie Wiesel

No snowflake
ever falls
in the wrong place.
– Zen Proverb

Bruce Cockburn:
If we can sing with the wind song
Chant with thunder
Play upon the lightning
Melodies of wonder
Into wonder life will open

tamara k. nopper:
We need better approaches to rigor that desire good work while, as Kiese Laymon suggests, encouraging abundance instead of excellence. Cuz the latter, as Laymon notes, treated as “pure,” and imho is unhealthy demand. As Toni Morrison said, “The misery does not validate the work.”

Don’t become a spiritual zombie, devoid of passion and deep human feeling. Let spirituality become a celebration of your uniqueness rather than a repression of it. Never lose your quirkiness, your strangeness, your weirdness – your unique and irreplaceable flavor. Don’t try or pretend to be ‘no-one’ or ‘nothing’ or some transcendent and impersonal non-entity with ‘no self’ or ‘no ego’, ‘beyond the human’ – that’s just another conceptual fixation and nobody’s buying it any more. Be a celebration of what your unique expression is and stop apologizing. Fall in love with this perfectly divine, very human mess that you are. There is no authority here, and no way to get life wrong. So get it all wrong. Fail, gloriously.
– Jeff Foster

I see you as more than feast.
I see you as more than temple
or structure. I see you as magic.
I see you as Black girl magic.
I see you as me too.
– Natasha T. Miller

To rise, first
we must knock ourselves down
from our pedestals.
To come out of poverty
we must dethrone
our excessive riches.
To emerge from depravity
we must be willing to release ourselves
from our imaginings of divinity.
Our polarities must make the great compromise
with themselves–
to meet in the middle
as human.
– Chelan Harkin


when english became
the lingua franca
and the language
of the oppressor,
that writers began
to bend the language
to reshape it
as joyce did
or to seek
as tolkien did,
to find it
only if
bent to
the imaginer’s will.
perhaps the presence
of ceaseless wars
to this
universal effort
to free english
from its actual
even as some
sought to document
every word
and created
an amazing,
the effort
to contain time
within the pages
of a book.
I too participated
in this effort.
I dream
of the deep sea
and all the creatures
in it
held in the opening
of my human hands.
– Jack Foley


whether a plotting thief
a rich, plodding magnate
or a Lord of Materialism
parading as a “great Sakyong”

the ego
runs out of corners
to hide in
and must sit…
sit, sit, sit
in the prison cell
fashioned by
Shadow’s dreaming.

though the husk of the self
is weather-tough,
the armored version of things
gets peeled away.

though the
epic pain-body of years
still itches with the
doubts of exile,
the waxing moon declares:
Life is only heavy
part of the year.”

For a year now,
a group of far-flung travelers
have been paring everything down.

Burdensome beliefs.
Ear-worm messages of low-worth.
Scars of heart-mind
made by “teachers”
who lost the Way.

Golden baubles were melted down, or given back to earth.

Pictures of “gurus”
and “earth protectors”
were burned in goma fires.

Names were given back,
and robes too.

And the only presences
that these travelers bowed to
were mountains
cedars and waterfalls
each other
and Mother Sun at dawn.

The peach-ripe moon
slipped past
dark dogwood branches tonight

and for the first time
since all of this began
the hidden sun within this chest
discerned the subtle fragrance
of the “inner-incense”
in the heart of the world.
– Frank LaRue Owen, Hawk of the Pines

This Morning

Oh, this life,
the now,
this morning,

which I
can turn
into forever

by simply
what is here,

is gone
by noon.

– David Budbill, From Happy Life

Artists: What are some of the wild ways y’all fantasize that people would engage with y’all’s books (or other art)? For example, I’ve taken some of my fantasies and did them for other folks, like I took Fred Moten’s book to a jazz band and asked them to translate it into a few original songs. I sent someone else’s book to two different graffiti artists in two different cities and said “make some shit from this book and send me the photos”. These were my “book reviews” that never went anywhere (yet). But that’s not the point, the point is I wanna keep doing stuff like this for a big protect I’m doing, and I’m curious about other people’s wild fantasies, if you care to share. If you do share, it’s possible that I might use some of these idea fantasies (with your permission and crediting of course). But don’t share if you don’t want the possibility of your idea to be used.
– Steven Dunn

Ecologically speaking, ‘erosion’ has double significance: it conjures human degradation, especially of soil that underpins our food and natural systems; and, on a broader time scale, it evokes the collective work of winds, water, and the Earth’s moving surface that sculpts the planet’s varied settings and regulates its chemistry. In her book Erosion: Essays of Undoing, celebrated conservationist and writer Terry Tempest Williams looks straight at this ecological wearing away and adds to her purview the erosion of self and community, which similarly has a two-fold possibility: existential erasure or an unfolding that occasions recasting and renewal.
– Richard Blaustein

To be reborn hourly and daily in this life, we need to die — to give of ourselves wholly to the demands of the moment, so that we utterly “disappear.” Thoughts of past, present, or future, of life and death, of this world and the next, are transcended in the superabundance of the now. Time and timelessness coalesce: this is the moment of eternity.
– Philip Kapleau

“You have changed, yazi,” they said, all because I have started treating them the same way they have been treating me.
– Promise Magagula


cutting shadows razor sharp

through every wave of giving light ∙

forged by torture · honed by spite,

my hearts fling daggers at the night –

if I could find the wound, I would,

and suture all the vessels cut,

but none was ever blind as I ·

a mind heals not by taking thought –

from then to now, approaching death ·

malice bred of pain repressed,

has left a wound in every breast ·

pierced every heart I meant to bless –

are any free of trauma’s seed –

of heartcrimes born thereof?

free enough to teach me

of this mystery called love?

– Elijah Morton

If you can maintain awareness in the states of agitation and meditative equipoise, the pollution of disturbing thoughts will clear automatically, just like a pond that is left undisturbed. Do not consider certain mental experiences as good and worth cultivating and other experiences as hindrances that need to be abandoned. If you can develop this attitude, your mind will gradually be emptied of its unconscious contents: The karmic traces and dispositions and all the obscurations.
– Tilopa

Anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.
But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.
A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.
We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.

To think too long about doing a thing
often becomes its undoing.
– Eva Young

Balance: Don’t think without doing
or do without thinking.
– DM

Dispelling the darkness of wrong views

Listen here my dear friend,
These conceptual thoughts
distorting reality are misleading,
They blind everybody – high and low.
Not seeing one’s own faults,
looking for faults in others,
One creates suffering
in spite of longing for happiness.
Such is the poisonous drink of sentient beings,
And its root is ignorance.
Under the sway of innate ignorance,
They only circle in samsara always.
Because karma and aspirations are valid, the six realms of migrating beings arise;
There is no happiness
in such an unwholesome place.
Even the experience of pleasant results itself
Is impermanent, the cause of suffering.
From the highest peak of existence
To the lowest hell without respite,
There is no genuine happiness.
However wonderful
the pleasures of samsara might be,
They are for sure impermanent and painful.
However beautiful
the touch of your youthful body might be,
In the end, impermanent,
it’s a corpse in the cemetery,
No doubt, nauseating is the mere sight of it!
Being attached to one’s youthful body
is deceiving indeed,
But a precious human life is
more rare than gold,
Heroic is the one [using it to] accomplish the great purpose [of enlightenment]
Now please do not waste this human life!
Please distinguish what to uphold and what to discard, virtue and wrongdoing!
Virtue and wrongdoing
are determined as view and conduct.
In the sphere of the view
of dependent origination,
Grasping at self and grasping at inherent existence are reduced to dust.
Please observe the nature free of obscurations!
In the sphere of the non-violent conduct,
Discard selfishness and strive for altruism!
Purify your mind stream with the four immeasurable thoughts
And follow the footsteps of the bodhisattvas!
All the negative circumstances – outer and inner suffering –
Are destroyed by the six paramitas.
Your main impediment to generate bodhichitta
Is competitiveness, jealousy, pride and so forth;
Clinging to self indeed obscures selflessness.
Worldly wisdom of “good” and “bad”
And all the compassion and collections of virtue of ordinary sentient beings
Cannot become causes for liberation.
If you fail to give rise
to non-observing compassion,
Omniscience remains a joke.
The mind clinging to the identity
of me and mine
Might abandon negativity
and accomplish virtue,
But will only bear the fruit of the happiness
of the pleasures of samsara,
Never giving rise to the qualities of abandonment and realisation.
If you do not know the non-observation of samsara and nirvana,
You haven’t entered
the Buddhist path of liberation.
Exert yourself
in the non-observation of the mind!
“Good” and “bad” are all interdependent;
Since they are interdependent they are definitely unobserved.
Interdependence and concordance of causes [and results] are ascertained to be true;
And since they are true, we experience pleasure and pain.
The six realms sentient beings are our parents,
Our parents who have cared for us lovingly,
Do not repay their kindness with ungratefulness!
Food, clothing and reputation stem from our parents’ kindness;
Bodhichitta and compassion stem from our parents’ kindness;
All that we ever wish for
stem from our parents’ kindness;
Exert yourself in love and compassion!
Taking your own body as an example,
Ascertain that all mother beings
are exactly like you!
If you wish to reach the safe shore of happiness,
Strive at cultivating the essence: exchanging oneself with others!
All compounded phenomena are impermanent.
All contaminated phenomena are suffering.
The nature of all phenomena is empty.
Emptiness should trigger [the understanding of] dependent origination.
You need to be capable of analysing dependent origination as emptiness.
Blame it all on just this!
If you are able to realise dependant origination beyond words,
Undoubtedly, compassion will arise,
Undoubtedly, you will offer your body and all your roots of virtue
To all sentient beings;
And as long as sentient beings are not liberated in nirvana,
You will offer yourself
as a servant to sentient beings.
“May I ripen as [a jewel]
fulfilling all their wishes!”
For sure, you will accomplish
the meaning of such prayers.
Of all the services offered to the Guru-Buddha,
Is there any that surpasses this one?
May we please Vajradhara,
refuge of the three times,
And merge our minds with his holy mind!
The equality of samsara and nirvana, the vast expanse of dharmakaya,
The clear light void
of rigpa-awareness is the Lama himself,
From the vast expanse of enlightened compassion, the vast expanse of the great equality of wisdom [- the Buddha nature of sentient beings and enlightened beings -] arise,
The all-pervasive Lama is no other.
May the welfare of others be accomplished spontaneously without effort!
Lama, essence of emptiness,
I have no refuge or hope other than in you!
I have no trust or reliance other than in you!
May my prayer,
the prayer of a beggar*, be fulfilled!
Lama of the White Lotus, Vajradhara,
May I accomplish all your advice!
May your holy mind and my mind unite as one!
The act of praying, the one praying,
the prayer itself and so forth,
[Dissolve] into the non-observation
free from elaborations: A!
May the auspiciousness of the bliss and voidness of the clear light arise!
May all be auspicious for all migrating beings!
May the auspiciousness of our minds filled with love and compassion arise!
May all be auspicious temporarily and ultimately!
– Khandro Namdron Rinpoche

Oh, gentle heart
Oh, simple soul
You have come so far
On your own

Do not turn back
Do not lose hope
Who can say how far is left to go?

And all the nights
You’ve walked alone
You’ve followed lights
To guide you home

Should the dawn refuse to rise
Should the darkness close outside
Oh, may you find your heart
Next to mine

For we found hope
In a hopeless time
– Joshua Hyslop

be kind in your remembering
be here when you are present
be gentle with your expectations…
– Kate Mullane Robertson

One cannot be an ’Arif (knower of God) until he has become like the Earth, which is trampled upon by both the righteous and the sinners, or like the cloud which casts its shadow on everything, or like the rain that quenches the thirst of those it loves and those it does not love.
– Junayd al-Baghdadi

I was in darkness, but I took three steps and found myself in paradise. The first step was a good thought, the second, a good word; and the third, a good deed.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Sitting, gazing nowhere
personal history and legacy fades into the void
fame and fortune abandoned to the winds —
with nothing left to protect
just gray smoke
…blue skies.
– Shinzen

Well, I never became a Buddhist, to tell you the truth.
– Leonard Cohen

The man smiled at him a sly smile. As if they knew a secret between them, these two. Something of age and youth and their claims and the justice of those claims. And of their claims upon them. The world past, the world to come. Their common transciencies. Above all a knowing deep in the bone that beauty and loss are one.
– Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain

Modern Declaration
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I, having loved ever since I was a child a few things, never having wavered
In these affections; never through shyness in the houses of the rich or in the presence of clergymen having denied these loves;
Never when worked upon by cynics like chiropractors having grunted or clicked a vertebra to the discredit of these loves;
Never when anxious to land a job having diminished them by a conniving smile; or when befuddled by drink
Jeered at them through heartache or lazily fondled the fingers of their alert enemies; declare

That I shall love you always.
No matter what party is in power;
No matter what temporarily expedient combination of allied interests wins the war;
Shall love you always.

Protohumans almost certainly picked their noses. They farted, snored, tripped, and sprained their ankles. They got bruises, annoyed by insects, worried by cuts, and pained by infection. They laughed, cried, panicked, and raged; made friends, raised children, mourned their losses, and feared for their safety. And presumably, they felt slighted, sought revenge, strove for power, bucked authority, insisted on justice, and demanded democracy—yes, they demanded democracy.

Of this we can be confident because it is inherent to our biology and can be observed in similar species deep down the trunk of the evolutionary tree—except the last. Democracy, we have been taught, is rare in human societies. We are taught that it is present among hunter-gatherers but vanished until the reappearance of representative institutions with the American Revolution. Representative democracy requires complex institutions developed through reason, and this took a measure of economic development coupled with the right ideas to take off.

And that may be true enough, but it does not explain the presence of early democracy.

Of course, the Athenians and Romans practiced a limited form of democracy. And still-more limited representative institutions appeared in the city-states of the Italian Renaissance, later to be followed by those of England and Belgium in the Northern Renaissance. But what we are seldom if ever told—and what the experts all too often overlook—is the vast extent of early democracy. As it turns out, numerous Greek city-states were democratic, as were the self-governing villages in the foothills of the Himalayas at the time of the Buddha, whose own clan was likely self-governing. The Vikings practiced an extensive form of it with vast representative assemblies while the Iroquois Confederacy brought together representatives of several tribes stretching over the greater part of what is now New York State.

David Stasavage elaborates on the full extent of early democracy in his recent masterpiece, The Decline and Rise of Democracy. As it turns out, representative institutions and voting occurred in every major region of the world prior to the modern era, where democracies existed side-by-side with autocratic polities. Many peoples rotated back and forth between early democracy and autocracy, as can be observed in the Greek city-states of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. But many formed their identities through their freedom.

Early democracy was extensive because humans need to cooperate in order to survive, and cooperation without consent is often difficult to achieve. Coming to an agreement over a hunt, a battle, or a village site was often necessary to assure unity. But early democracy was also extensive because the demand for justice is innate. Countless studies have affirmed that mammals exhibit signs of distress when not treated fairly and that they will often sacrifice their own interests to stand in solidarity with another member of their species that has been treated unfairly. These laboratory studies have been echoed by field studies of chimpanzees and other mammals, which often band together with others against abusive leaders.

Peter Kropotkin demonstrated so many instances of cooperation among animals as to make it appear the norm in his nineteenth-century classic, Mutual Aid. Meanwhile, Charles Darwin pointed out the biological basis of a rich array of emotions experienced by both humans and other animals in his most ignored work, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. But to the best of my knowledge, no one has written the book forming the missing link between a now well-established mammalian proto-morality and the emergence of an early form of democracy that anthropologists have established to be quite common.

And yet, philosophical treatises on democracy are rife with discussions on the democratic sentiments. We are told about the demand for dignity, respect, moral equality, and basic fairness. The primal insistence on respect can be witnessed in protest movements the world over. Yet, empathy, tolerance, forgiveness, and temperance are needed if democracies are to last. And it is this rare combination of the assertive demand for justice and the temperant acceptance of difference that makes lasting democracy so difficult to achieve.

These democratic sentiments lie at the heart of democratic institutions, for without them the institutions would quickly collapse. Martha Nussbaum has now written several works on emotional intelligence in the public sphere, but democratic sentiments are mostly ignored by political philosophers and pragmatic politicians alike. And yet, it is precisely these emotions that great democratic leaders evoke in their followers. Nelson Mandela was arguably recognized as such precisely for his ability to galvanize the full panoply of these sentiments. Meanwhile, Gandhi was honored for his ability to bring them into harmony.

What all too many discussions about democratic institutions overlook is the need to temper these sentiments. It is not simply that sustaining them requires both tolerance and the demand for dignity. So also does the effort to establish a democracy wherein protest movements all too often spin out of control. We should inquire into the sentimental affections animating democracy movements in places like Burma, where democratization culminated in a genocide that was justified to the world by their leader, and in Sudan, where nonviolent demonstrators first stood down a genocidal dictator and then the generals who took over after his fall.

But we should also reflect on how the everyday practice of democracy requires emotional intelligence. Internet debate will fail if it culminates in rage. Elections will be lost if they forsake hope. And electorates will fracture if the demand for dignity is not met with some measure of economic equality. This emotional wisdom could be said to constitute the essence and spirit of democracy. If we fail to reflect on it—and to develop ourselves through the process of our participation—we will fail to grasp its beauty, and we should prepare for our institutions to fail.

Understanding the link between the primal emotions, early democracy, and the spirit of democracy today may not be necessary, but it is stimulating, enriching, evocative, and grounding. It helps frame the insistence upon democracy in something more lasting than enlightenment reason, which has been endlessly deconstructed and undermined. It reminds us that possessing the right ideas is not enough for democracy to work. And it places the onus on us as individuals, who have the power to transform our emotions at any given moment.

In this sense, it harkens back to Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, which emphasizes the optimal balance among emotions, as well as his Politics, which tells us that humanity is a social animal that reasons together toward shared ends. Perhaps most importantly, it links the wisdom of democracy to some of the most cutting-edge research into early humanity, and in so doing, it retells the story of democracy for a whole new generation.

And what we need now more than ever is to retell the story of democracy in compelling new ways.

– Theo Horesh, The Fascism This Time: and the Global Future of Democracy

Memoir isn’t for reminiscence; it’s for exploration.
– Patricia Hampl

From Now On, Bliss

I’ve brought you this far through intellect and art;
but from now on, let bliss be your guide;
you’re past the steep and narrow path.

Look at the sun that shines upon your brow;
look at the grasses, flowers and shrubs
born here, spontaneously, of the earth.

Among them you can rest or walk
until the coming of the glad and lovely eyes,
those eyes that, weeping, sent me to your side.

– Virgil to Dante, Purgatorio, Canto 27, at the moment when the Elder poet turns the guidance of Dante over to Beatrice, the Feminine Power, for the rest of the journey to paradise.

Love is my religion–I could die for it.
– John Keats

Don’t slip on the banana peel
of nihilism, even while listening
to the roar of Nothingness.
– Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I hold my honey and I store my bread
In little jars and cabinets of my will.
I label clearly, and each latch and lid
I bid, Be firm till I return from hell.
I am very hungry. I am incomplete.
And none can tell when I may dine again.
No man can give me any word but Wait,
The puny light. I keep eyes pointed in;
Hoping that, when the devil days of my hurt
Drag out to their last dregs and I resume
On such legs as are left me, in such heart
As I can manage, remember to go home,
My taste will not have turned insensitive
To honey and bread old purity could love.

– Gwendolyn Brooks

My grandmother once gave me a tip:
In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by little.
Don’t think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.
Wash the dishes.
Remove the dust.
Write a letter.
Make a soup.
You see?
You are advancing step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Rest a little.
Praise yourself.
Take another step.
Then another.
You won’t notice, but your steps will grow more and more.
And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.

– Elena Mikhalkova

The soul, like the moon,
is now, and always new again.

And I have seen the ocean
continuously creating.

Since I scoured my mind
and my body, I too, Lalla,
am new, each moment new.

My teacher told me one thing,
live in the soul.

When that was so,
I began to go naked,
and dance.
– Lalla

There are some people who could hear you speak a thousand words, and still not understand you. And there are others who will understand — without you even speaking a word.
– Yasmin Mogahed

humans are good at sitting around and criticizing one another. Don’t ya’ll have something better to do than talk shit? What if we all just sat around and admired each others good qualities. Man things would shift very quickly.
– Aric Parker

“Moments of understanding pass. Joy dissolves in the dishpan. Our inner lights are dim again. Yet something remains. It is a growing trust that we can somehow know without knowing.” And now keep on growing. This, of course, takes soul-guts and practice.
– Gunilla Norris

I Carry Your Heart With Me
by E. E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me
i carry it in my heart
i am never without it
anywhere i go you go, my dear;
and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling
i fear no fate
for you are my fate, my sweet
i want no world
for beautiful you are my world, my true
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
here is the root of the root
and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart
i carry it in my heart

Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.
– James Joyce

Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.
– John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

When the time is right to dispel the disciple’s defects and obstacles, the guru may appear to be constantly angry and scolding. But actually he is like a kind parent who, by scolding his children, corrects their defects and thus helps them progress.

When a mother roughly grabs her child to prevent him from hurting himself, her intention is to benefit him in the long run.

– Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

north beach is crowded
with ghosts
this blue February evening

standing vigil for the man
who hosted many vigils,
the buoyant mayor
of our bookshelf mecca

this hajj goes on forever
and always will,
as long as there are poets,
as long as there are words
still to write

tonight there will be
an open reading in paradise,
the feature poet
a bearded man in a large hat

and look!
there’s Diane
and Jack K. and Jack M.
and Allen and Gregory and…

oh so many poets!
so many lovely ghosts
crowding Columbus Ave!

fortunately the wine being passed around
is an eternal vintage
in a bottomless jug

wine that we the living,
having drunk,

cannot undrink,

wine whose hangover
is light as helium and
bright as the moon

on a clear north beach night

– A.O. Dugas

What are the signs of progress in our practice?
What can we expect?
Should we wait for a signal from the guru —
or an award?
According to Karma Chagme Rinpoche,
we will have no experiences,
no special dreams, no pure visions.
The “king of all signs,”
also known as the “sign of no-sign,”
which was highly prized
by the Kagyupa masters of the past,
is when renunciation mind,
sadness and devotion blaze in your mind.

The signs to be cherished most include
an escalating appetite for dharma practice;
noticing the futility of everything you do;
ever-increasing conflicts
as a result of old habits;
and while you may still have the urge
to party with your friends,
to be plagued by the unwelcome sense
that the whole thing is a useless waste of time. Therefore do not constantly aim
to finish the practice.

Instead, try to accept
that your spiritual journey will never end.
Your journey began with the wish
that you, personally,
bring all sentient beings to enlightenment,
so until that wish is fulfilled,
your activities as a bodhisattva
will never cease.

– Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, Not for Happiness: A Guide to the So-Called Preliminary Practices


When peace of mind only means your personal satisfaction, then it’s got nothing to do with the buddha-dharma.

The buddha-dharma teaches limitlessness. That which is measureless has to be accepted without complaint.

You lack peace of mind because you’re running after an idea of total peace of mind. That’s backwards. Be attentive to your mind in each moment, no matter how unpeaceful it might seem to be.

Great peace of mind is realized only in the practice within this unpeaceful mind. It arises out of the interplay between peaceful and unpeaceful mind.

– Kodo Sawaki, To You

There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with people. Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, they will live in accord with the world. But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, as yours does, they will live at odds with the world. Given a story to enact in which they are the lords of the world, they will act as the lords of the world. And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now.
– Daniel Quinn

Everything that casts a shadow has a spirit. Everything that has a spirit deserves respect. Every step we take, is sacred.
– Clifford Paul, Running Grizzly Bear Man, Mi’kmaq First Nation, Nova Scotia

Bird With Two Right Wings
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

And now our government
a bird with two right wings
flies on from zone to zone
while we go on having our little fun & games
at each election
as if it really mattered who the pilot is
of Air Force One
(They’re interchangeable, stupid!)
While this bird with two right wings
flies right on with its corporate flight crew
And this year its the Great Movie Cowboy in the cockpit
And next year its the great Bush pilot
And now its the Chameleon Kid
and he keeps changing the logo on his captains cap
and now its a donkey and now an elephant
and now some kind of donkephant
And now we recognize two of the crew
who took out a contract on America
and one is a certain gringo wretch
who’s busy monkeywrenching
crucial parts of the engine
and its life-support systems
and they got a big fat hose
to siphon off the fuel to privatized tanks
And all the while we just sit there
in the passenger seats
without parachutes
listening to all the news that’s fit to air
over the one-way PA system
about how the contract on America
is really good for us etcetera
As all the while the plane lumbers on
into its postmodern
manifest destiny

Vinegar and Oil
by Jane Hirshfield

Wrong solitude vinegars the soul,
right solitude oils it.

How fragile we are, between the few good moments.

Coming and going unfinished,
puzzled by fate,

like the half-carved relief
of a fallen donkey, above a church door in Finland.


I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for, in such an age?
What is the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.

If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic.

You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini, you are an American or a non-American, you can conquer the conquerors with words….
– Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poetry as Insurgent Art

It’s where you are in your imagination
That’s important, for the life of simply staying where you are
Is a shadow’s life, that leaves you by yourself, alone and scared.
Why can’t we just move on? The light up ahead is soft
And seems to beckon us, glowing with a promise of beginning
Once again, as if there were still time.
– John Koethe, Walking Backwards

a gray day is putting forth
hail and rain dappled on the
cloud ridden skies
and erato has visited me suddenly
stealing my attention and intention
dripping multi-colored paint
whilst Euterpe takes hold of my
rhythmic pen dancing to the music
of ‘visions’…
the mountain top is draped
with a fresh gossamer of snow
enlivening the drab of the day
and my muse writes to me
sharing an unposted poem
mingled with raw and tender
and we discuss our plight of perception
similar and acute sensitive and wrathful
having a push and pull effect on others
so we live in our aloneness separate and together
displaced by time and place
writing our dissatisfactions with aplomb
– Stephen Futral

D. A. Powell:
I am waiting
for the San Francisco Mayor’s office
to issue a proclamation
renaming the street
in front of City Lights Books
Lawrence Ferlinghetti Avenue
instead of Columbus
and to erect a sign
with these lines:
“and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America”

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche:
At night, it is good to examine
what you have thought and done
during the day, and to confess your faults
and unconsidered actions and repair them.
Tell yourself that, having encountered a teacher
and received his instructions,
you know better than to behave in that way.
As for your positive actions,
dedicate the merit to all beings
and vow to improve on them the following day.

Bravery is the courage to be—to live in the world without any deception and with tremendous kindness… true magic is the magic of reality, as it is: the earth of earth, the water of water—communicating with the elements so that, in some sense, they become one with you.
– Chogyam Trungpa

When your mind
stops jumping
around like
a starving squirrel
and rests
inside your heart,
the distinction between
you and happiness,
the distance between
you and life, the wall
between you and peace
collapses by itself.
– Guthema Roba

I write personal essays to find out what I didn’t know I knew.
– Sydney Lea

Counting, This New Year’s Morning, What Powers Yet Remain To Me
by Jane Hirshfield

The world asks, as it asks daily:
And what can you make, can you do, to change my deep-broken, fractured?

I count, this first day of another year, what remains.
I have a mountain, a kitchen, two hands.

Can admire with two eyes the mountain,
actual, recalcitrant, shuffling its pebbles, sheltering foxes and beetles.

Can make black-eyed peas and collards.
Can make, from last year’s late-ripening persimmons, a pudding.

Can climb a stepladder, change the bulb in a track light.

For four years, I woke each day first to the mountain,
then to the question.

The feet of the new sufferings followed the feet of the old,
and still they surprised.

I brought salt, brought oil, to the question. Brought sweet tea,
brought postcards and stamps. For four years, each day, something.

Stone did not become apple. War did not become peace.
Yet joy still stays joy. Sequins stay sequins. Words still bespangle, bewilder.

Today, I woke without answer.

The day answers, unpockets a thought from a friend

don’t despair of this falling world, not yet

didn’t it give you the asking

History is not the past.It is the present.
We carry our history with us. We are our history.
I attest to this: The world is not white. It never was white, cannot be white.
White is a metaphor for power,
and that is just another way of describing Chase Manhattan Bank.
– James Baldwin

It is possible to stop the endless efforts at self-improvement and turn towards self-acceptance instead. It is possible to stop constant hedging and planning. It is possible to trust that we each are necessary parts of the whole.
– Gunilla Norris


Can we bisect the trap
Azoid, tri angle
quad ria lateral,
or some kind of gon
with open space?

A phrase a bar a verse
Sections of a melody?
Split a note
with silence?

Sharp squeaks
Abrupt phrases
Become more rythmic
with each bar

Blowing against the axiom
that Jazz must swing
but coming closer
in late notes of a tune.

Chalk raised
Explaing a point
of a theorom to students
Fingers raised from valves

before drawing a curve
or line seg ment
on a bord

Before blowing
a composition together
that is clas I cal
by composer’s definition

Are these the notes you imagined
During the silence?

People these days use whatever little dharma they know to augment afflictive emotion, and then engender tremendous pride and conceit over it.

They teach the Dharma without taming their own minds.
But as with a river rock , not even a hair’s tip of benefit penetrates the other people.

Even worse, incorrigible people [are attracted] to this dharma that increases conflict. When individuals who could be tamed by the Dharma encounter such incorrigible, their desire for the sacred Dharma is lost.

It is not the fault of the Dharma; it is the fault of individuals.
– Machig Labdrönma

Almost everybody seems to think that success comes from choosing a goal and persisting at it. I think that’s wildly wrong.

I think success, to the extent that it is in your control, comes from running experiments and learning from them in an adaptive feedback loop.

That feedback loop includes BOTH changing tactics AND goals (pivoting).

Since success is partially a matter of luck, you increase your chances of getting lucky if you throw a bunch of shit out there and see what comes back.

This implies that goal optimism (“I’m going to be successful at goal X!”) is destructive to success, whereas a learning mindset (“Either I win or I learn!”) is conducive to success.

This also implies that “choosing a niche” without data is absurd, whereas “running a number of business experiments with a minimum viable product in several niches simultaneously“ makes a LOT more sense.

”When should I pivot?” is still a question I don’t know how to answer though, and maybe there isn’t an answer.

– Andrew Duff McDuffey

Forgive them Lord
Those that feel they can’t afford you
– George Harrison

Her words

Love a girl who writes, and live her many lives;
You have yet to find her, beneath her words of guise.

Kiss her blue inked fingers, forgive the pens they marked.
The stain of your lips upon her, the one she can’t discard.

Forget her tattered memories, or the pages others took;
You are her ever-after, the hero of her book.

– Lang Leav

Everyone should have themselves regularly
overwhelmed by Nature.
– George Harrison

Did you ever wonder what dogs talk about when they sit so quietly on the couch together all morning, waiting for their walk?
“Non violence is the way to true anarchy.” – Finn
“Anarchy is the way to true non violence.” – Emerson
“Let us eat from our own bowls.” – Finn
“Let us eat from each other’s bowls.” – Emerson
“Will humans be different after the revolution?” – Finn
“Nah.” ~Emerson

Stepping Westward
What is green in me
darkens, muscadine.
If woman is inconstant,
good, I am faithful to
ebb and flow, I fall
in season and now
is a time of ripening.
If her part
is to be true,
a north star,
good, I hold steady
in the black sky
and vanish by day,
yet burn there
in blue or above
quilts of cloud.
There is no savor
more sweet, more salt
than to be glad to be
what, woman,
and who, myself,
I am, a shadow
that grows longer as the sun
moves, drawn out
on a thread of wonder.
If I bear burdens
they begin to be remembered
as gifts, goods, a basket
of bread that hurts
my shoulders but closes me
in fragrance. I can
eat as I go.
– Denise Levertov

I think we get our directions from a shamanic-type journey into the world of mystery, into… the ‘other world.
– Thomas Berry, Assisi

There was neither a hero nor a poet on Odysseus’ ship. A hero would withstand without being tied, without wax in the ears. A poet would jump overboard even when tied, a poet would hear even with wax in the ears.
– Marina Tsvetaeva

Your poem effectively begins at the first moment you’ve startled yourself.
– Stephen Dunn

You never know what may cause tears. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you’ve never seen before. A pair of somebody’s old shoes can do it. Almost any movie made before the great sadness that came over the world after the Second World War, a horse cantering across a meadow, the high-school basketball team running out onto the gym floor at the start of a game. You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure. Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.

They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go to next.
– Frederick Buechner

The fools in their ignorance said to Majnun
The beauty of Layla is not so very great, it is of slight account.
There are thousands of moon-like sweethearts
fairer than she in our city.”He replied, “The form is a pot, and beauty is the wine:
God is giving me wine from her form.
He gave you vinegar from her pot,
lest love of her should pull you by the ears.
The hand of God, the Almighty and Glorious, gives poison or honey to everyone from the same pot. You see the pot, but the wine does not show itself to the wrong eye.
– Rumi

Love is a discipline… and a steeping.
– LaRayia Gaston

Maybe some women are made of flowers. Maybe some women are wild. Maybe some women are owls. No wonder things go crazy in little houses on the edge of town. Some big part of them, some original part of them, is wedded to something else entirely.
– Martin Shaw

Consider the sunlight. You may say that it is near, yet if you pursue it from world to world you will never catch it. You may say it is far, yet it is right before your eyes. Chase it and it always eludes you; run from it and it is always there. From this example you can understand how it is with the true nature of things.
– Huangbo

Don’t shrink from me. Miserable dog that I am, selfish hound that has dragged you to this misery. You and all that loved him… think only of my torments, think only of my penitence, don’t shrink from me.
– Robert Louis Stevenson, Deacon Brodie

No ecosystem would flourish if its inhabitants didn’t care about where they are and what they’re pursuing, since the modern human world shows that this doesn’t work well. We see what happens in human slums and other uncared for areas where people have learned not to care. The whole planet is getting more bummed out like that with the ever-decreasing emotional enjoyment of coercive paradigms. But our immediate living environments – our ecosystems – are still the first and most relevant associative commons of living trackers of value. So let’s look at how the associative commons of particular environments are functioning well when thrivingly enduring. We can build on that, building hope as well as trust, since the boon of the living is to successfully track your choicest values in your favored environments of mostly mutually beneficial coexistence.
– George Gorman

As they say ‘to be in the world, but not of the world.’ You can go to the Himalayas and miss it completely, and you can be stuck in the middle of New York and be very spiritual. I mean, I noticed in certain places, like New York, it brings out a certain thing in myself. If I go to some place like Switzerland, I find a lot of uptight people because they’re living amongst so much beauty there’s no urgency in trying to find the beauty within themselves. If you’re stuck in New York you have to somehow look within yourself – otherwise you’d go crackers. So, in a way, it’s good to be able to go in and out of both situations. Most people think when the world gets itself together we’ll all be okay. I don’t see that situation arriving. I think one by one, we all free ourselves from the chains we have chained ourselves to. But I don’t think that suddenly some magic happens and the whole lot of us will all be liberated in one throw.
– George Harrison

I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude […], and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books.
– C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

Men have had every advantage over us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.
– Jane Austen, Persuasion

In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning. Words like romantic, plastic, values, human, dead, sentimental, natural, vitality, as used in art criticism, are strictly meaningless, in the sense that they not only do not point to any discoverable object, but are hardly ever expected to do so by the reader. When one critic writes, ‘The outstanding feature of Mr. X’s work is its living quality’, while another writes, ‘The immediately striking thing about Mr. X’s work is its peculiar deadness’, the reader accepts this as a simple difference of opinion. If words like black and white were involved, instead of the jargon words dead and living, he would see at once that language was being used in an improper way

Many political words are similarly abused. The word fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’. The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. […] Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different.
– George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

spirit colossal
(& daunted by always
nothing)you darling
diminutive person

jovial ego(&
mischievous tenderly
phoebeing alter)
clown of an angel

everywhere welcome
(but chiefly at home in
snowily nowheres
of winter his silence)

give me a trillionth
part of inquisitive
merrily humble
your livingest courage

– e. e. cummings

This Inwardness, This Ice

This inwardness, this ice,
this wide boreal whiteness

into which he’s come
with a crawling sort of care

for the sky’s severer blue,
the edge on the air,

trusting his own lightness
and the feel as feeling goes;

this discipline, this glaze,
this cold opacity of days

begins to crack.
No marks, not one scar,

no sign of where they are,
these weaknesses rumoring through,

growing loud if he stays,
louder if he turns back.

Nothing to do but move.
Nowhere to go but on,

to creep, and breathe, and learn
a blue beyond belief,

an air too sharp to pause,
this distance, this burn,

this element of flaws
that winces as it gives.

Nothing to do but live.
Nowhere to be but gone.

– Christian Wiman

North, night, late, and the branches fraught
with ice as they are now;
first one owl
like an oboe in the upper dark,
low, stark,
then farther off another;
and how,
as the time between their cries grew wide,
they never moved,
as if what each one sought
was not the other
but the distance that the other was,
and cried
but to align their silences.
– Christian Wiman, The Ice Storm

and you grew distant as the Milky Way visible only at night sleepless from the cold
– Halina Poświatowska

All afternoon in the afterlife /
of little things that love, /
or pain, or need could not let go of /
I hunt for the will /
that will let me let you go.
– Christian Wiman

If you have taken this rubble for my past
raking through it for fragments you could sell
know that I long ago moved on
deeper into the heart of the matter

If you think you can grasp me, think again:
my story flows in more than one direction
a delta springing from the riverbed
with its five fingers spread
– Adrienne Rich

A person’s life isn’t orderly … it runs about all over the place, in and out through time. The present’s hardly there; the future doesn’t exist. Only love matters in the bits and pieces of a person’s life.
– William Trevor, Two Lives

Memories can be everything if we choose to make them so. But you are right: you mustn’t do that. That is for me, and I shall do it.
– William Trevor

Summer was like your house: you knew
where each thing stood.
Now you must go out into your heart
as onto a vast plain. Now
the immense loneliness begins.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

So now my prayer is this:

You, my own deep soul,
trust me. I will not betray you.
My blood is alive with many voices
telling me I am made of longing.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

His heart missed a beat and never regretted the lovely loss.
– Vladimir Nabokov

We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.
– Hunter S. Thompson

Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.
– C. S. Lewis

Somewhere between ‘I love you’ and ‘but’
is mankind, a giant loneliness strolling
through an even greater loneliness.
– Negar Emrani

A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he [or she] is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he [or she] would not have thought of it if he [or she] had not started to say them.
– William Stafford, A Way of Writing

It feels as though I make my way
through massive rock
like a vein of ore
alone, encased.

I am so deep inside it
I can’t see the path or any distance:
everything is close
and everything closing in on me
has turned to stone.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

That’s the real truth. What we told each other
to help us through the day
– Ada Limón, The Great Blue Heron of Dunbar Road

Do one thing well today. (Repeat again tomorrow, but don’t worry about that for now…)
“Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the battles of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down.”
– Alastair Humphreys

Erin L Thompson:
Does anyone else have something a teacher said burned into their brain? Mine is when I answered a question in a seminar my first semester of grad school and the professor responded, “Ah, Thompson. Quick but wrong, as usual.”

The pain of not knowing. The pain of seeing the truth of it.
– Cheryl Strayed

At the feast of fools
Outlaws can all come home
You can wear any disguise you want
But you’ll be naked past the bone
At the feast of fools
People’s hands weave light
There is a diamond wind
Flowering in the darkest night
– Bruce Cockburn

“From the masses to the masses” the most
Revolutionary consciousness is to be found
Among the most ruthlessly exploited classes:
Animals, trees, water, air, grasses
– Gary Snyder

Since I thought I’d be dead
by now everything
I do is fucking perfect
– Morgan Parker

Bruce Cockburn:
Young men see visions and old men dream dreams
See them pluck bright pebbles out of circles in the stream
Life’s not always like they tell you in the fashion magazines
When I set eyes on wonders, I’ve got to wonder what they mean

What you are afraid to do is a clear indication of the next thing you need to do.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


Nimbly dashing here and there, he’s lighting up the autumn leaves with the little torch of his tail.

– Jules Renard tr. Paramee

You know that famous Auden line about poetry makes nothing happen? For years and years I’ve thought: it’s like a sabbath thing. It’s not that it doesn’t do anything. A poem interrupts time as we imagine it. A poem interrupts productivity as we imagine it. It stops time.
– Ross Gay

So, I say, life is too sweet to waste on self propaganda…
– @DailyKerouac

Gary Snyder:
where the sword is kept sharp
the VOID
gnashes its teeth

Bruce Cockburn:
Can’t trace this conversation
Words fragment and fall
Into blue shadows by a white-baked wall
Through shimmering spaces a single thrush calls
A song when it’s over is no song at all

Struck by the confusion, by the scatter, in which the things of the world are found, the collector takes up the struggle against dispersion.
– Walter Benjamin

Be careful when you are not at one with yourself, in your moments of dissociation.
– CG Jung

Ancient Measures
As much as someone could plow in one day
They called an acre;
As much as a person could die in one instant
A lifetime—
– Bill Knott

Yes, the wee creatures that inhabit the bodies of us germs, and feed upon us, and rot us with disease. Ah, what could they have been created for? they give us pain, they make our lives miserable, they murder us–and where is the use of it all, where the wisdom?
– Mark Twain, Three Thousand Years Among the Microbes

Creative powers can just as easily turn out to be destructive. It rests solely with the moral personality.
– Jung

In a world of infinite choices, choosing one thing is the revolutionary act.
– Pryia Parker

Reputation as Food
by Tad Hargrave

“Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful — be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency.” – William S. Burroughs

I think reputation may be one of the least understood realities of the modern world.

Not the reputation is unique to the modern world.

Reputation, this way we constantly reconsider the meaning of other people’s lives and our understanding of who they are, may be one of the most important functions of human culture. In fact, without it, culture, in any achieved sense, might not be possible.

In the modern world, there are two approaches to reputation.

The first seems to be a mad lunge towards a narcissistic sort of fame and notoriety.

The second is an aversion of ‘being known’ that plays as a kind of modesty, “I don’t care about that stuff. I don’t need to be well known. Whatever. I do what I want. People can think of me what they will.”

Perhaps both of these responses to this old, and deeply human culture-maker are not opposites, but opposames. Seemingly opposing answers that both, in the end, testify to the same thing: our modern obsession with and deep poverty of individualism and the sense that the only purpose reputation might have is to aggrandize ourselves; to fill some deep empty hole inside of ourselves.

But, what might reputation look like in a culture more rooted in some collectively held understanding of the world and their place in it?

I believe that, in a more tribal or clan based culture, it would be understood that, wherever you travelled, like it or not, aware of it or not, you were representing your people. If you behaved well, it reflected well on your people. If you behaved poorly, it did not.

And so, reputation might be better understood not as a way we feed ourselves but as a way we feed our people.

Perhaps a good reputation is a way we feed the past, the present and the future.

Perhaps a good reputation is a way that we feed our ancestors; that they look up and swell with pride and say, “They’re one of mine!”

Perhaps a good reputation is a way that we feed our people in the present. It’s a way that we make their lives easier, inspire the generosity and kinship of neighbouring peoples and warm up the hearth fires of good reception they might get the next time they follow your footsteps to the neighbouring county.

Perhaps a good reputation is a way we feed those to come by giving them ancestors worthy of claiming; worthy of being from. That they could swell with pride and say, “I come from those ones.”

I recall a storyteller from England speaking of the legendary Irish hero Fionn MacCumhaill as, “My man Fionn.” An ancestor he was proud to claim and be from.

In a world rife with self-loathing and all of the consequences to our physical, emotional and social health, developing a good and honourable reputation and allowing ourselves to be claimed by others, may be one of the most potent medicines we can give.

A good name is a currency, but it’s not there to be spent on yourself.

Reputation can also animate or de-animate our entire community; it can feed or starve those connected to us.

If you look at the word ‘indigenous’, you will see that root word gen that also appears in genitals, genealogy, generic, genetics, genre, genus and more. Gen seems to relate to a certain kind of belonging to a group, to a people. It seems to speak of lineage but also of shared understanding and deeply fashioned kinship.

Gen also appears in the word ‘generous’. And, perhaps this whispers that our capacity to be generous is not self-generated, but comes from our belonging to a people who have our back; and from the depth of the cultural patrimony entrusted to us.

Traditionally, the foundation of your personal self-esteem was not a self-generated enterprise at all but something of which you were on the receiving end.

So, from whence did it come?

From your pride about the people from whom you come and your noble heredity.

An elder I study with spoke of how the tall-walking, swagger one develops when one belongs to a people of good repute might come across as a bit arrogant. He shared how someone who was proud of where they came from might say, “Well, you know… I’d prefer to be a nobody. I mean, if it were up to me, I’d play it small, but look at who I come from and who I am representing here. Look who’s behind me!”

Most traditional people’s I know have an immense pride in the lineages from which they come.

Consider these words about the Irish during the times of the Potato Famine, as described by John Kelly in The Graves Are Walking:

“Irish peasant culture, though medieval in character, was good at a few things; one was affording a deeply impoverished people with a sense of dignity and worth. Every Irish townland had its wise man, its storyteller, its keeners; every district its schoolmaster, its traveling poets, and its songsters. Under the sheltering umbrella of peasant culture, even the most humble could be esteemed. Of course the peasant knew he was very poor, but that was the result of being outmatched by life, and where was the shame in that? Many a man – many a fine man – had been outmatched by life. Besides, the peasant’s language, Irish, was such a glory, the saints in heaven spoke it.”

Or consider the Scottish Highlander as Michael Newton writes about in Warriors of the Word:

“John Mair wrote in 1521 about the pride taken by his countrymen in their pretensions to noble birth, ‘…they take inordinate pleasure in noble birth and (though of ignoble origin themselves) delight in hearing themselves spoken of as come of noble blood’. Visitors from other nations often remarked at the self-regard of common Highlanders, in contrast to the cringing peasants of their own societies, as when as anonymous eighteenth-century English visitor noted, “The poorest and most despicable Creature of the name of MacDonald looks upon himself as a Gentleman of far Superior Quality than a man of England of £1000 a year.’ Regardless of their economic dearth or the swings of fortune, their cultural self-confidence gave them buoyancy as Edmund Burt noted in the 1720’s: ‘The Highlanders walk nimbly and upright, so that you will never see, among the meanest of them, in the most remote parts, the clumsy, stopping gait of the French paisans, or own own country fellows but, on the contrary, a kind of stateliness in the midst of their poverty.’ The Rev. Donald MacQueen, minister in eighteenth-century Skye, stated that even the lowest classes aspired to the highest ideals of noble behaviour, as elucidated and celebrated in Gaelic song and story: ‘…Every one of the superior clans thought himself a gentleman, as deriving from his pedigree from an honourable stock, and proposed to do nothing unworthy of his descent or connections.”

The whole thing is there in that last sentence: “…and proposed to do nothing unworthy of his descent or connections.”

Our reputation has immense consequences for our people.

Our reputation is not primarily about us.

Our reputation has immense consequences for our people. As does their reputation for us. This is the reciprocal nature of it.

If we behave badly, it reflects poorly on all of them. If they behave badly, it reflects poorly on us. If this shared culture is the source, the well-spring of one’s self-esteem, then if we act in such a way that poisons this well, everyone is affected. There is less to be proud of. And, of course, this isn’t just for those alive now. Our reputation will also have an effect on those who follow us. Ask any MacDonald in Scotland who knows their history if they don’t still hold some grudge against the Campbells for the Massacre at Glencoe that happened in 1692, over three hundred years ago.

In traditional communities, if you were the child of one with a bad reputation, you might carry that too and be starved by it but, if your parents were renowned for their kindness and generosity, that reputation would feed you.

If you are a salesperson and you behave badly towards a potential client, it reflects on all salespeople.

If you are an holistic practitioner and you behave badly towards a client, it reflects on all holistic practitioners.

If you are a life-coach and you behave badly towards a client, it reflects on all life-coaches.

If you are a man and you behave badly towards women, it reflects on all men.

If you are a white person and you behave badly towards people of colour, it reflects on all white people. And thus, the growing self-hatred amongst white people and the increase in cultural appropriation that flows from it. Of course, the challenge here is that white people tend not to see themselves as a group and so, can’t imagine why their conduct would have any consequence for other white people.

How we behave, and the honourable reputation we cultivate becomes food for all those around us and those to come and ennobles them as well.

A good reputation is food. But that food is not primarily for us. Cultivating a good reputation is our way of feeding the deep, cultural well-being of our community, it is the hard-wood we bring to the collective hearth fire that keeps us all warm, it is water flowing to the common cistern; the deep, spring-watered well of our collective self-esteem which feeds the fruiting trees of beauty-making, affection and pride that grow around it.

Our conduct can bring a good name to our people and give our community something beautiful to testify to that ennobles them in the testifying.

And so what does this mean for all of us? What does knowing this ask of us?

Perhaps it asks us to consider that our insistence on being an inconsequential nobody is starving people.

Perhaps it asks us to see that an honourable reputation is one of the ways that village-mindedness finds its way back into our world as people say, “Yes. I will claim this one as one of mine.”

Perhaps it might ask of us, that we proceed in such a way that we become an ancestor worth claiming; the we carry ourselves in the world with such beauty and style as we feed the world that has been feeding us all along that those who come after us might say, “I come from the same community as that one there. I’m one of their people. I’m proud to be in the same group as them.”

Perhaps it asks of us to see reputation as being a scent we can leave on the wind, a rumour that could be spread that, in these dangerous and endangered times, there were those who strove to live differently, who tried for something finer, who worked to learn the poverty of their times and make beauty from it, who woke up to the crater into which they were borne, and, instead of trying to escape it, made something marvellous, ornate and staggeringly wonderful of it from the poverty that was entrusted to them.

No doubt, life will get the best of us, but we can leave something that lingers behind us, a rumour, a small testimony, some carefully preserved sack of seeds, the remnants of the fruiting of all our best intentions, a reason to keep breathing and going on, a life-giving wind carrying a story of those who came before them.

Reputation is not a trophy to win. It’s an obligation. It’s a responsibility.

Reputation is not our greatest way of becoming a unique individual. It’s a deep manner of tethering one’s self to those you come from and allowing others to tether themselves to you.

Reputation is not a reward. It’s a manner of feeding. It is not about self-sufficiency but about bringing your contribution to that old clay pot at the centre of the village so that others might eat.

When there is no village, humans are consistently overwhelmed and lonely and, from this place, behave badly. This has consequences for other humans, the non-human world and the unseen world.

When there are no people worthy of claiming as your kin, there is no possibility of village.

And so, perhaps, more than anything, it asks us to consider how our insistence on being an inconsequential, invisible, individual nobody might be starving something invaluable.

For the bodhisattva, the practitioner who puts others before him or herself, working with others is a natural process, an absolutely spontaneous process. You are working along with situations as things happen. You don’t force things because you want to achieve something. It is like the natural growth of plants, If there’s enough rain and sunshine, the plants will grow; if there isn’t, the plants won’t grow. It’s as natural a process as that.
– Chogyam Trungpa

I fear that we seem to be telling the world we are not merciful so much as we are mighty. The American moral high ground can’t possibly be an isolated mountaintop from which we refuse to learn anything at all, to protect ourselves from monstrous losses.

It is critical to distinguish here between innocence and naivete: the innocent do not deserve to be violated, but only the naive refuse to think about the origins of violence. A nation that seems to believe so powerfully in retaliation cannot flatly refuse to look at the world in terms of cause and effect.

The rage and fury of this world have not notably lashed out at Canada (the nation that takes the best care of its citizens), or Finland (the most literate), or Brazil or Costa Rica (among the most biodiverse). Neither have they tried to strike down our redwood forests or our fields of waving grain. Striving to cut us most deeply, they felled the towers that seemed to claim we buy and sell the world.

We don’t own the world, as it turns out.

– Barbara Kingsolver, Small Wonder

If life remains, I shall go back
to the tavern and do
no other work than serve
the revelers.
Happy day when with streaming eyes,
I shall go again to sprinkle
…. the tavern floor.
– Hafez

For the Love of Life
It is difficult for many to believe that a fern branch or a slime mold could be loving its whole neighborhood as much as some humans actually do. Yet to all biological beings their home environments are the immediately perceivable Faces of the Great Unity of All that is the source of the love that bathes us in the sweet rewards of feeling alive. The rest of the living don’t have to put this into words, since every infant sentiently know that pervasive love is supporting us all (even when some human parents aren’t getting the drift).

You don’t have to believe in a personal God to experience this generalized love of the belongingness that’s “within us all,” as the the old songs say. To feel it you just have to believe in the wondrous sweetness of the life within us. This is not a religious command but the natural condition of a fulfilling existence. But too many of us have been flagellating ourselves by removing this essential “love of life” from our experiential grasp for too many generations. But as long as the rest of the biosphere hasn’t given up on life, there is no reason that we should.
– George Gorman

No amount of learning
can improve your original
nature. It only covers it up.
it deepens your conditioning.
the more educated you are,
the more conditioned
You will become.
there is a space between
who you are and what
you’ve accumulated.
Notice that space.
you will find it
very liberating.
– Guthema Roba

by Derek Sheffield

There’s Father at the kitchen counter,
and there he is at the stovetop
where a steel pot’s beginning to bubble.
Now he’s picking up and putting away,
now rinsing plates, for tomorrow
it begins again. It never stops.
Your whole life with him, and now
when you visit, he’s standing at the sink, face
clouded in steam, hands carefully drying
each glass as you sit in the family room
sharing your life with your sisters.
It keeps going, this hiding behind
the sweeping and wiping, this acting
as if the crumbs you might scatter
or the dirt on your shoes is what matters,
this pretending not to see you
rolling around on the floor with your toddler daughters,
one after the other over the years
plopped on that same red rug, shaking her hands
and crying as you crooned, “Use your words.”
It never stops, this reserve of doing what needs doing,
and his father before, always going or gone
to harrow or hammer. And what about you,
alone in the dark of morning as you like,
here in your house on a side street
while your family sleeps on. How much longer
will it be before you stop doing
and start saying exactly what needs saying?

Poems signaled what was ahead before I knew it.
– Spencer Reece, The Secret Gospel of Mark

Value time with yourself more than with anybody else.
– Thibaut

Heaviness and Tenderness–they’re sisters
the same way bees and wasps will ply
the same sweet languid rose.
Sands cool. People die.
Yesterday’s sun is borne away in a hearse.

– Reginald Gibbons

If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.
– Michelangelo

If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.
– Martin Luther

Dr. Watson:

Morning Thoughts.

I am over anti-racist education.

I want to talk about loving Black children.

Pleasure and pain, like everything instinctual, tend to muteness, and while they may well produce sound, they do not produce speech and certainly not dialogue.
– Hannah Arendt

Fear is monarchical, and democratic reciprocity a hard-won achievement.
– Martha C. Nussbaum

O the waves, the sky-devouring waves, glistening with light, dancing with life, the waves of eddying joy, rushing for ever.

The stars rock upon them, thoughts of every tint are cast up out of the deep and scattered on the beach of life.

Birth and death rise and fall with their rhythm, and the sea-gull of my heart spreads its wings crying in delight.
– Rabindranath Tagore

Bernard Ferguson:

this is the coda i hope endures in me until i die:

my main charge as a teacher is not to teach. my charge as a teacher is to do what is in my power to remove the obstacles in the way learning. my job is to ensure, in ways that i am able, that my students are able to learn.

The way out is in.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

I really do believe that a novel has to be a feast of the senses, a delightful thing.
– John Gardner

The Vagaries of Her Plot
by Melissa Ostrom

Will the child know what to watch for
When she leaves her tame home
Of rosebud cup, glass ballerina
And broaches the forest
With her mission? Or did her father not
Warn her, for fear of inciting her fear?

Will your wolf exercise his duplicity
With flattery, an elegance
That invites the girl’s vanity
To defeat her, or will he act
On his starvation in a canine way,
With the growl and snapping jaw?

Will you impart some dignity
To our girl, give her intelligence
To tell foe from familiar, give her
The salt of endurance (to hack brush,
By choice, for her grandmother’s sake)
Or will you curse her with obedience?

Will you allow a huntsman’s ax
To mitigate the child’s discomforts
(Cut of teeth, swallowing
Throat)? Will she, released
From the wolf’s ribbed prison,
Return to the moldering path?

Will you let her devise, by cunning,
Her own escape, plant a knife
In her basket, show her
The jugular and permit her
To attack in swift defense?
Will you teach her to make sure?

Or will you have her wait, twinned
With the old mother in the belly,
For the huntsman to save
Them both? Or—think now—

Leave her in the roiling stomach
Until the gut finishes her,
Until she learns her lesson,
Whatever that is

I left for a long time. I came back to leave.
– Rene Char

How is it that man could come to find supreme satisfaction in the knowledge that misfortune is rational and that God could not create things otherwise than He did create them?
– Lev Shestov

Two of the greatest gods in the western world —
ease and convenience.
The best teachers provide neither.
– Shinzen speak of change in the absence of vision is to court chaos forever.
– Audre Lorde

…stillness can appear to be passivity or dumbfoundedness. But sometimes it is prayer. Sometimes it is meditation. Sometimes it is art.
– Toni Morrison

I speak Chinese to the mirror
A park has its own winter
I put on music
Winter has no flies
I leisurely make coffee
Flies don’t know what is a homeland
I add a bit of sugar
A homeland is a native accent
I am on the other end of a phone line
And I hear my fear
– Bei Dao

Joy is never tomorrow; it is always now.
– Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

I am much inclined to live from my rucksack, and let my trousers fray as they like.
– Herman Hesse

If my happiness at this moment consists largely in reviewing happy memories and expectations, I am but dimly aware of this present. I shall still be dimly aware of the present when the good things that I have been expecting come to pass. For I shall have formed a habit of looking behind and ahead, making it difficult for me to attend to the here and now. If, then, my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.
– Alan Watts

Religion really means to rejoin that which seems to be separate.
– Joko Beck

After the break with Freud,
all my friends and acquaintances
dropped away.
My book was declared to be rubbish;
I was a mystic, and that settled the matter.
Riklin and Maeder alone stuck by me.
But I had foreseen my isolation
and harbored no illusion
about the reactions of my so-called friends.
That was a point
I had thoroughly considered beforehand.
I had known that everything was at stake,
and that I had to take a stand
for my convictions.
I realized that the chapter, “The Sacrifice,” meant my own sacrifice.
Having reached this insight,
I was able to write again, even though I knew that my ideas would go uncomprehended.
– Carl Gustav Jung

The ancients are right: the dear old human experience is a singular, difficult, shadowed, brilliant experience that does not resolve into being comfortable in the world. The valley of the shadow is part of that, and you are depriving yourself if you do not experience what humankind has experienced, including doubt and sorrow.

We experience pain and difficulty as failure instead of saying, I will pass through this, everyone I have ever admired has passed through this, music has come out of this, literature has come out of it. We should think of our humanity as a privilege.

– Marilynne Robinson

But because being here means so much, and because all
that’s here, vanishing so quickly, seems to need us
and strangely concerns us. Us, the first to vanish.
Once each, only once. Once and no more. And us too,
once. Never again. But to have been
once, even if only once,
to have been on earth just once – that’s irrevocable.

And so we keep on going and try to realize it,
try to hold it in our simple hands, in
our overcrowded eyes, and in our speechless heart.
– Ranier Maria Rilke

I don’t wanta hear all your word descriptions of words words words you made up all winter, man I wanta be enlightened by actions.
– Jack Kerouac

If you ever got an actual physical mix tape from someone who was in love with you, you’re Gen X.
– Summer Brennan

Do you ever think about what the world would be like after just one generation where every human child was treated well?
– Dr. Elizabeth Sawin

We are a living breathing process – a verb not a noun.
That means we are in flux and flow and what is helpful and healing at one moment, or for one person, may not be the next moment or person.
For example, at times we need to let go and other times we need to hold on tighter
At times we need to learn to love ourselves and at other times we need to seek the love of another
At times it is imperative to detach from the opinions of others and at other times we need to be open to feedback and change based on the mirror others hold up to us
At times we do our best to “not take things personally,” and at other times it’s right to stand for our personal feelings
At times it is wise to seek the light, and other times it’s wise to get into the mud and shit of life.
Dear friends, please be careful with the answers you once found when advising others or that may no longer be useful even for you.
– David Bedrick

Where there is shouting, there is no true knowledge.
– Leonardo da Vinci

Water offers me a way of looking at looking. It is never the same as itself. Rivers can only exist as similarities.
– Alice Oswald

Water always comes with an ego and an alter-ego.
– Leo Tolstoy

Gabriella Ponzini:
If a therapist tells you how to “cure” your anxiety in 5 steps on TikTok, please for the love of God don’t take their advice.

Gregory Mansfield:

Ableism is not a lesser form of discrimination.

It is at the core of all discrimination.

A smooth forehead betokens a hard heart, said Bertolt Brecht.

Julia Cohen:
Aspiration = live the rest of my life so that no more songs become “break up songs”

Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice?
– Virigina Woolf, Orlando

How you do life is your real and final truth, not what ideas you believe.
– Richard Rohr

Shannon Mattern:
Sometimes I feel less “scholarly” or “theoretical” than my colleagues because I teach through things and practices and places – but then I remember that these sites are where theory is materialized, activated, tested. Things are so good to think with.

The Pillow of this daring Head
Is pungent Evergreens –
His Larder – terse and Militant –
Unknown – refreshing things –
His Character – a Tonic –
His Future – a Dispute –
Unfair an Immortality
That leaves this Neighbor out –

– Emily Dickinson, 1596, 1883

Don’t believe our outlines, forget them
and begin from your own words.
As if you are the first to write poetry
or the last poet.
– Mahmoud Darwish, To a Young Poet

Don’t let anyone steal your dream. It’s your dream, not theirs.
– Dan Zadra

Jean Cocteau said he preferred cats to dogs because no one has ever seen a police cat.
– Michel Tournier

All life stinks and you must embrace that with compassion.
– Joseph Campbell

That freedom that Picasso afforded himself, to be an artist in a huge number of ways, seems to be a huge psychological liberation.
– Anish Kapoor

Unless it grows out of yourself no knowledge is really yours, it is only borrowed plumage.
– D.T. Suzuki

You will never be the person you can be if pressure, tension and discipline are taken out of ur life.
– Dr. James G. Bikey

like the hyacinth in the mountains that shepherd men
with their feet trample down and on the ground the purple flower
– @sapphobot

Here’s one thing about using travel to escape: your feelings come with you. They sew themselves into the nooks and crannies of your backpack and hang there like dead weight as you carry them from place to place. Travel doesn’t solve your problems. It just moves them overseas.
– Nomadic Matt

You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.
– Charles Bukowski

You have to surrender to a book.
– Robert Gottlieb

The future is simple.

On one side is a very small group of very powerful individuals who seek to create a world that none of us wants.
They are stronger than any country or group as it currently exists.
Our power lies in our numbers. Ready for action?

The clock is ticking.

– Caitlin Johnstone

Whether or not you will make the right decision in a given moment has a lot less to do with what’s happening in that moment than with how consciously you have lived each moment leading up to it.
– Caitlin Johnstone

I cannot cure obesity and diabetes in my office. It is cured on the farm, in the grocery store, in the restaurant, in our kitchens, schools, workplaces, and faith based communities.
– Mark Hyman, M.D.

People wonder about Black names: why the names aren’t shorter, why the runaway syllables aren’t easier to catch, why our names chime like music when they traverse between lobes.
– Porsha Olayiwola

The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.
– Paul Cezanne

The whole mystery of Christianity… is that form does not stand in opposition to infinite light.
– Hans Urs von Balthasar

The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.
– Lao Tzu

Zen meditation is easy. People, not so much.
– James Ford

I still feel that poetry is not medicine — it’s an X-ray. It helps you see the wound and understand it.
– Dunya Mikhail, Revisiting Iraq Through The Eyes Of An Exiled Poet

Perhaps the best conversationalist in the world is the man who helps others to talk.
– John Steinbeck

Education’s purpose is to
replace an empty mind
with an open one.
– Malcolm Forbes

To think too long about doing a thing
often becomes its undoing.
– Eva Young

Balance: Don’t think without doing
or do without thinking.
– DM

So much there is to see, but our morning eyes describe a different world than do our afternoon eyes, and surely our wearied evening eyes can report only a weary evening world.
– John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

Correction does much,
but encouragement does more.
– Goethe

A text for the moon would be unprintable.
Would be full one moment, empty the next.
Men become fearful, invent a religion by its irregular tick.
Women sew by its shimmer,
dresses whose folds ensnare the quick sluice of thoughts
lost down the drain, scrubbed off dishes, swept from the hearth.

A text for the moon would be found in the children’s books
my mother wrote,
on my old Smith Corona, years after her death.
Seeing it I wanted it back. Badly.
Envy for her huge body of posthumous work.
Wanting the tiny boxed set of skeleton Mariachis
pasted on the small Olivetti, with a poem,
warning that if fish is what you want,
Fish Now.

A text for the moon would fly past,
like the ribbon feathered cranes.
Overhead, perhaps thousands, going continually South,
in a dream where one plunged, afire, to earth.
I didn’t know it then, how I would long to go back
to those mountains with a different love.

Quixotic text. Chocolate moon, violet moon,
re-writing itself by night
many-petalled, many flavoured light.
At once, shy among new greens, and dark,
a blare on the tongue seeking sweet.

A text for the Moon is recipes for cocktails, mysteriously
currant colored, sprigged with mint,
Head tossed back, a shooter, gulped down.
Drunk on the letters, the double vowelling,
the soft swoony consonants.

A text for the moon would be perfumed,
Would read as hunger, and the smell,
sunwarmed hay, the last in the quiet barn.
– Judyth Hill

Today I understand the peace there is in quiet.
Sometimes my children just want to gaze and take the world in. They absorb it in a way that I rarely do anymore.
My memories from my childhood are so active and sensual — the wind on my face, the smell of spring, the sensory experiences of opening my front door, the feel of the house.
My ability to take in was so strong, I was so absorbent.
My child is building his storehouse of memories each day that we are together. This is his childhood; what he looks around and sees, this home that surrounds him, the feeling in the atmosphere, will all be stored away in his mind and used to fuel his life.
I observe my child taking in his world.

“The harvest of a quiet eye.”
– William Wordsworth

– Tian Dayton

I don’t look like most of
my family, I look like the
people who hurt my family.
– @JessRiz

notes on the seasons
by Raquel Salas Rivera

in spanish, we don’t naturally occur. the seasons differentiate us from natural people. when there are no seasons, let’s say, when we are a caribbean country, better yet, when we are a territory, we aren’t allowed to use the x, except for the word xylophone, because who uses a xylophone? and who wants us? every time you think these questions aren’t the same, you recognize that you never met me, despite the i’ve seen you before and somewhere.

if i’m going to explore my nationality, i have to be recognizable. this is what everyone knows. in fact, if i’m not recognizable, it’s as if i had no nation.

i wrote the following in a letter to the lions of the mayagüez zoo:

i know that right now you are lions, and you’ve spent a lot of time in the heat, but when you become snakes, no fence will be able to contain you. they’ll have to put you in a glass cage. they call this cage a fish tank. they’ll decorate the cage with rocks. you’ll no longer be able to roar. but don’t worry, when you become spiders, you’ll be able to leave the fish tank. you’ll climb up to the roof. maybe it’ll take you many weeks to find a window, but in the interim, you’ll eat mosquitos, since these are abundant, despite the aromatic candles.

i wrote them this letter because i know what it’s like to wait for transmogrification.

i wrote them this letter because i know what it’s like to wait for transmogrification in captivity.

outside of the fish tank, there is a room. outside of the room, there is a zoo. outside of the zoo, there is a hometown. outside of the hometown, there is a colony. outside of the colony, there is an empire. outside of the empire, there is the king of seasons. if you kill the king, you kill the game.

And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
– Aeschylus

Everyone is identical
in their secret unspoken belief
that way deep down they are different
from everyone else.
– David Foster Wallace

by Jeff Foster
If there is sadness here, let it be.
If there is joy here, let it be.
If there is numbness here, let it be.
If there is uncertainty here, let it be.
If there is some unspeakable emptiness here, let it be.
Consider the possibility
that there is no mistake here.
No thought or feeling unwanted.
No appearance in the moment which is ‘against’ you.
Be what you are.
Be the vast Field, the limitless Space,
in which all thoughts and feelings
come and go,
effortlessly, naturally.
Stop trying to get ‘there’.
Stop trying to ‘feel better’.
Stop rushing to FUTURE.
Bow to the PRESENT, exactly as it is.
Know its sacredness. Feel its warmth.
You may not feel ‘better’ right away,
but you will feel alive, grounded.
You may not get ‘there’,
but you will fall in love with HERE.
Which is all there is.

Forgive me lord
Please, those years when I ignored you, hmm
Forgive them lord
Those that feel they can’t afford you, hmm
Help me lord, please
To rise above this dealing, hmm
Help me lord, please
To love you with more feeling, hmm
At both ends of the road
To the left and the right
Above and below us
Out and in, there’s no place that you’re not in
Oh, won’t you hear me lord
Help me lord, please
To rise a little higher, hmm
Help me lord, please
To burn out this desire, hmm
Hear me lord, please[X2]
Oh, won’t you please, please
Hear me lord
Oh, hear me lord
Hear me lord
– George Harrison

The whole world needs a massive dose of humility.
– @iamkamyabuch

Earth you know is round but seems flat.

You can’t trust
your senses.

– Frank Bidart

but here you are for two bucks and in great shape for your age
glowing like a renaissance of wonder
like the absurd,
arcane belief I came here for a reason.
— Judith Sornberger

Scratch on, my pen: let’s mark the white the way it marks us.
– Joseph Brodsky

remembering, yet again, how a friend’s coworker once pronounced “Malcolm X” as “Malcolm Ten”
– rp

Why is there no name for the birth poem when we have ‘elegy’ for death?
– Rachel Zucker

I will keep constant watch over myself and—most usefully—will put each day up for review.
– Seneca

When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve.
– Ernest Hemingway

No one sees trees. We see fruit, we see nuts, we see wood, we see shade. We see ornaments or pretty fall foliage. Obstacles blocking the road or wrecking the ski slope. Dark, threatening places that must be cleared. We see branches about to crush our roof. We see a cash crop. But trees – trees are invisible.
– Richard Powers, The Overstory

by Naomi Shihab Nye

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.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one that was clearly marked bc I try to be considerate of trail erosion and limiting the impact of human recreation on sensitive plants and wildlife.
– Mikko Jimenez

Fear kills everything, Your mind, your heart, your imagination.
– Cornelia Funke

This one question-‘What do I know for certain?’-is tremendously powerful. When you look deeply into this question, it actually destroys your world. It destroys your whole sense of self, and it’s meant to. You come to see that everything you think you know about yourself, everything you think you know about the world, is based on assumptions, beliefs, and opinions — things that you believe because you were taught or told they were true. Until we start to see these false perceptions for what they really are, consciousness will be imprisoned within the dream state.
– Adyashanti

Orpheus teaches us that, if the poet turns away from the song, to verify that love is, in fact, at hand, listening, then both love and the song disappear.
– Christian Bok

My hometown
wherever I look
mountains laugh with verdure.
– Shiki Masaoka

Man has become addicted
to the drug named “intellect”
and under its influence
compulsively analyzes everything,
cogitating, speculating
and making all simple things complicated.
This addiction can only be gotten rid of
by unconventional surrender
to the process of pure receptivity.
– Ramesh S. Balsekar

It is probably more scientifically constructive to acknowledge our larger agenda than to pretend it doesn’t exist.

– Barbara Kingsolver

And war wooed god
And america was born
– Nikki Giovanni

You might imagine the tamer your mind,
the more likely you are to see
the wildness of others,
but quite the opposite happens.
A mature practitioner will usually have
a far purer perception of others
than a beginner.
The more enlightened qualities
a practitioner acquires,
the humbler he will become;
the more time he spends with his guru,
the greater his devotion;
and the more he hears
and contemplates the dharma,
the quicker his pride
and arrogance will diminish.

The supreme sign of a great practitioner
is not that he sprouts a halo,
has extraordinarily auspicious dreams,
experiences bliss continuously,
or can foresee our miserable futures.
The supreme sign is that he no longer has
any interest in material gain, fame,
the respect of others,
or being the centre of attention.

– Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, Not for Happiness

Study has been for me the sovereign remedy against all the disappointments of life. I have never known any trouble that an hour’s reading would not dissipate.
– Montesquieu

I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out…
– Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

I recognize no dichotomy between art and protest. If social protest is antithetical to art, what then shall we make of Goya, Dickens, and Twain?
– Ralph Ellison

He: so how would you define poetry, mom?

Me: it is the dark, lonely-ass midnight… and every transubstantiation where puppies eat buttercups and become orphans. But also bells. Poetry is bells.
– Alina Stefanescu

There are days where I wonder how America would feel if there was some sort of scientific proof that our universe was a Black boy.
– Mia S. Willis

No matter which vehicle you choose to travel in, whether it is a train, aeroplane, or car, you will not reach your destination without fuel. Likewise, no matter which practice that you engage in, whether it is sutra, tantra, or dzogchen, you will not reach buddhahood without bodhicitta.
– Chamtrul Rinpoche

All beings have buddhanature.
Nothing can improve upon it;
nothing can destabilize it.
Stainless from the beginning,
its radiance cannot be corrupted.

Though we all have the essence of buddha,
the wrapping of emotions, habitual patterns, inhibitions and the like temporarily obscures it. To use an analogy, think of soiled cloth:
the dirt is not inherent in the cloth,
but until we wash the fabric,
its true nature is disguised.
Everyone accepts that clothes are washable, that the dirt is impermanent.
We know the clothes were clean
when we bought them; the bill didn’t say
‘shirt $425, tax $5, dirt $10.”
The very reason we spend money
on things like soap and washing machines
is that we trust the dirt is temporary
and can be washed away.
And furthermore, we have the motivation
to put the clothes in the washing machine,
add the soap, and wash them.

All the seeming negativity
and troubles in your life are a result
of cause and condition.
They are not “God given”;
they are not in your true nature.
Nor do they occur by chance.
It is not like you smell dog shit
from across the street
and out of the blue
some appears on your shoe.
You have to really step in it.
Do you understand what I’m saying?
This is actually good news
because it means you have the power
to manipulate the very causes and conditions that have created your problems.
When you eliminate
negative causes and conditions,
what is left behind
is what we call buddhanature.

The inhibitions that obscure our buddhanature develop because we use
external points of reference
to define and confirm our own self-identity.
The problem with this is that
reference points continually change.
As we try to keep up
with these varying references,
inhibitions build upon themselves and multiply. Our self-consciousness increases,
and we experience fear and vulnerability. Reference points are the cause of our hope, fear and inhibitions,
and they take us farther
and farther from our buddhanature.

So you might as well cut inhibitions
and go back to what is true –
your own basic goodness,
your buddhanature.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

I have graduated from the university of oblivion and am as empty-handed as the shirt on the clothesline.

– Tomas Tranströmer, “Madrigal” (trans. by robin fulton)

i just don’t think universities should be allowed to use the word “wellbeing” anymore.
– Chen Chen

Art isn’t a popularity contest;
it’s a solitary practice,
a conversation between self and self. L
You play with ideas and patterns
and try to find a complexity of structure
and nuance missing from everyday life.
– Douglas Glover

Do not do any harmful act, even the most insignificant. Just as a tiny spark fanned by the wind can rapidly burn a mountain of dry grass, a single bout of violent anger can destroy a mountain of merit. Avoid any harmful conduct like poison, understanding that it is the cause of all your suffering, and also transform neutral actions into positive ones.
– Jetsun Mingyur Paldron

What we need are people
who are prepared to be unpopular.
Who are prepared to put themselves in danger.
Who are prepared to tell the truth.
Brave journalists can do that, and they have.
Brave lawyers can do that, and they have.
And artists—beautiful, brilliant, brave writers,
poets, musicians, painters and filmmakers
can do that.
That beauty is on our side. All of it.
We have work to do. And a world to win.
– Arundhati Roy

No clean way to say:
‘I’ve had it. Take it all
back. I wish none of
this were ever mine.’
‘It’ will always be yours,
wherever you go.
– Adam Falkner

Those with faith can take refuge.
Those with compassion can have bodhicitta.
Those with wisdom can gain realisation.
Those with devotion can experience blessings.
– Dudjom Rinpoche

Common sense means living in the world
as it is today;
but creative people are people who don’t want
the world as it is today
but want to make another world.
– Abraham Maslow

If we’re not too confused or hard on ourselves, we will discover the sanity beyond habitual reactions. Identifying less with habits and more with our basic nature lightens things up. With more space in our mind, we take our reactions less seriously. We can watch them the way we would watch children at play—knowing they will quickly wear themselves out.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

To sew is to pray. Men don’t understand this. They see the whole but they don’t see the stitches. They don’t see the speech of the creator in the work of the needle. We mend. We women turn things inside out and set things right. We salvage what we can of human garments and piece the rest into blankets. Sometimes our stitches stutter and slow. Only a woman’s eyes can tell. Other times, the tension in the stitches might be too tight because of tears, but only we know what emotion went into the making. Only women can hear the prayer.
– Louise Erdrich, Four Souls

But the tendency is universal; ‘all of us are struggling to be here’ ultimately.

One of the great theological questions is around incarnation, which simply means being here in y