The Sweet Wisdom of Getting There from Here

I met Angeline a few years back when she attended my class at Write-By-The-Lake. She was working on a collection of her poems and essays, which are now a book, titled Sweet Wisdoms. She is sweet, strong, and full of wisdom. Angeline is today’s guest blogger, enjoy. You Can Get There from Here     by Angeline Haen On life’s map, my point of beginning as a writer wasn’t exactly a red dot with an arrow pointed at it and the words “YOU ARE A WRITER”. It was more like a red wild scribble with the words “FOLLOW ME”. Growing up, cathartic … Continue reading

How To Let the Light In

“I never saw a discontented tree.”  –John Muir There is no solo journey that leads to awakening. Maybe a few thousand years ago sitting solo under the Bodhi Tree was the way to enlightenment. Now, if we want to fulfill our greatest capacity as human beings, here on planet earth, we cannot do it alone. The trek to the mountain’s summit, the scientific discoveries, personal and global awakenings will all take place in conversation, in circles, in gathering together with others. It will happen only as we participate in the collective dance of life. “The Buddha, Shakyamuni, our teacher, predicted that the … Continue reading

Here, Take This Gift

For life to happen we have to receive the first breath. For life to continue we have to receive the abundance of light, nourishment, love and care offered us. If we don’t know how to receive, we will starve. When we are not receptive, we become like Hungry Ghosts. These are the creatures from a Bardo state, where ghosts have small mouths, so little nourishment gets in and the food just falls through their phantom bodies. As a result they are always hungry. Parker J. Palmer refers to this state of chronic hunger as the “Empty Self Syndrome.” We may even win the presidency … Continue reading

How To Explore the Sacred Language of the Universe

How Blue Bear Held On:  An Adapted Myth Borrowed from Various Indigenous Creation Stories When the world was born, it began to fly out into space due to the whirling winds. There wasn’t anything to hold it in place. To prevent the Earth from whirling out of control, the Creator put a Sacred Bear in each direction to help hold it in place. The whirling wind continued, but the Earth stayed put, kept its seat, so to speak, while the Bear in each direction held on to it. And this was good. In the North, the Creator placed the Great … Continue reading

Our Blind Spots

“You Still Have A Few Blind Spots.” “Julie, you still have a few blind spots,” a spiritual teacher reminded me on our last time together. I was leaving Minneapolis to move down to Spring Green, Wisconsin. She didn’t, of course, tell me what these blind spots were; it was just a gentle reminder that I did still have them. I had done a lot of inner work up until that time. So it’s safe to assume that I may have gotten a bit arrogant around my efforts and growth. I could have become like Theseus after his successes with the Minotaur: he thought of himself … Continue reading

The Awakening Writer

“Nature is incapable of producing two identical creations, and she calls us to discover and bring forth our uniqueness. The great mystery is that life, too, colludes to find us.” —Parker J. Palmer, Leading from Within Over my lifetime (I can say that now at 60), I have identified Cornerstones of Awakening. Awakening to our true nature. Awakening to our creativity. Awakening to community and compassion. We all witness the power of words. Our stories, the ones we tell ourselves and others, are the narratives we live. Even the vibration of words are known to influence our psychophysical and spiritual systems. Inherent in … Continue reading

The Last Unicorn: Rare Opportunity meets up with Rare Species

  “A SPECIES OF HOPE resides in the possibility of seeing one thing, one phenomenon or essence, so clearly and fully that the light of its understanding illuminates the rest of life. Almost any object of contemplation can be the vehicle for such discovery. When I study the surface of the pine desk where I am writing and admire the faint green tint of the stain that penetrates the wood and the lines of darker grain that resist the stain, it takes no leap of imagination to reflect that each line of grain marks a year of growth and to … Continue reading

Don’t Spare Yourself

Okay, so… I’m still taking violin lessons. Along with my violin lessons I discovered another life lesson, as well as a good lesson for writers. If I want to learn how to play the violin, I have to be willing to play poorly. Like I remind my writing students all the time — be willing to write several shitty drafts before the story works, before you “sound” pleasing.  The enjoyment found in writing several shitty drafts, as well as playing crude on the violin, is indispensable to progress in both. I delight in holding an idea and seeing how it comes out on the page. I enjoy holding the violin and … Continue reading

Two Fundamentals

I encourage writers to include two fundamental habits in our life: secure that place and time to write (everyday); gather with other writers. Today I am sharing some places to come write, gather, learn, and make contact with your Muse (and the page). Let me start with the FREE WRITERS’ Retreat: Spring Green, WI. On SATURDAY MARCH 4th we are offering my first 2017 (free) WRITERS’ RETREAT at a friend’s home southwest of Spring Green in Clyde Township in her spacious, lovely home. Begins at 10:00 am and goes till 4:00. Write, enjoy a sunny spot on a window bench (she has a large home with plenty of writing … Continue reading

Violin Lessons for the Writer

I am taking violin lessons because (well, I confess I don’t know all my reasons). Someone recently asked me why I have a few strands of red hair. A story comes to mind: the gist of this story is that we must seek enlightenment like a woman with her hair on fire seeks the pond. But as I got my hair cut a month ago I simply felt like getting a strand of red added. Call it a nudge. Same with violin lessons really: I felt this internal nudge. I trusted these nudges enough to explore them. So here I am taking lessons from … Continue reading