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

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

US: Exceptional but not The Exception

“We may be exceptional, but we are not exceptions.” This above insight was shared with me recently by a friend. At the time I felt I was having an exceptional experience. And it was. Exceptional. But this in no way made me, or others involved exceptions. What does this mean? It means we are not special in a way that sets us apart from others or the natural world. We are all bound by natural (nature’s) laws, and ideally, we are internally directed by ethical boundaries and spiritual principles that remind us of this interconnectedness. Whatever this exceptional experience is—some … Continue reading

Our Secret Lives

“After all, conventional wisdom recommends the divided life as the safe and sane way to go: ‘Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve.’ ‘Don’t make a federal case out of it.’ ‘Don’t show them the whites of your eyes.’ These are all clichéd ways we tell each other to keep personal truth apart from public life, lest we make ourselves vulnerable in the rough-and-tumble realm.” –Parker J Palmer, Let Your Life Speak Writing is a true vocation for me. A benefit of being a writer is that I find clues to my own true nature’s voice in my writing. My … Continue reading

Life follows Our Gaze

When I catch myself struggling in relationships I find that I may be caught up in what I am not getting, what is not working, and focusing in on what I don’t want. In reality, when we meet the “other” we are always meeting our self. To receive the other is to receive our self. And in all our relationships, in which we have chosen to remain in, there will be qualities about the other that rub us the wrong way. So I am pointing to struggles that arise between you and others whom you have chosen to be in … Continue reading

Stolen Words

I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.  –John Lennon Words are being stolen right out from under us. What happens then is we find we are going right when we thought we were going left. We find ourselves believing without reservation that North is up and South is down. We find ourselves being … Continue reading

How Not To Be Discouraged

. . . it is important that awake people be awake, or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep; the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe– should be clear; the darkness around us is deep.   –William Stafford, A Ritual To Read To Each Other For many of us these can be discouraging times. Then again, I doubt any of us get through our lives free of discouragement. Like me, you may be discouraged by the outpour of support for Trump. Or you may be in a job or relationship that undermines you. Or you have experienced a great … Continue reading

The Importance of Being

If “well-being” — [defined as] functioning well as a person, not as an instrument — is the supreme goal of one’s efforts, two specific ways stand out that lead to the attainment of this goal: Breaking through one’s narcissism and breaking through the property structure of one’s existence. –Erik Fromm, The Art of Being What Fromm means by “breaking through the property structure” is for us to focus less on doing and having and more on being. In my view, if we are secure in who we are, strongly rooted from a sense of self, our actions and “property” (stuff) will … Continue reading

Finding What We Already Possess

Truth is within ourselves, it takes no rise from outward things; whate’er you may believe there is an inmost center in us all where truth abides in fullness; and around, wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in, this perfect, clear perception which is Truth. A baffling and perverting carnal mesh Binds it and makes all error; and to know rather consists in opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape than in effecting entry for a light supposed to be without. Robert Browning, from “Paracelsus” I have written in journals since the age of 16, which is … Continue reading

Easier Said Than Done

One reason I enjoy facilitating transformational circles, writing support circles, and teaching creative nonfiction, is it helps me maintain my practices, while I am continually stretched beyond my comfort zone. That being said, I can be (very) resistant to learning and applying new practices. It’s good to have enthusiasm and joy for our writing (and spiritual practices) but we should still find it challenging enough to test our capacities for growth. Difficulties may be welcomed because it’s only by working through challenges and resistance that we develop as writers (and human beings). We can look at where we have resistance to sometimes … Continue reading