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

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

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

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

A Love Story

LOVE AFTER LOVE   The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on … Continue reading

The Paradox of Uncertainty

The Present   Much has been said about being in the present. It’s the place to be, according to the gurus, like the latest club on the downtown scene, but no one, it seems, is able to give you directions.   It doesn’t seem desirable or even possible to wake up every morning and begin leaping from one second into the next until you fall exhausted back into bed.   Plus, there’d be no past with so many scenes to savor and regret, and no future, the place you will die but not before flying around with a jet-pack.   … Continue reading

Dear Friend,

I had a blog written on uncertainty. But can’t seem to post it. Here is what I have, from my heart to yours: “Life happens on so many levels, simultaneously. It’s very hard at times to hold all of it in a life-giving way… Yesterday, my brother-in-law died. I grieve for my sister and her children who have lost a husband and a father. Yesterday, something that feels like a death to me happened in this country—something contrary to values I hold dear, values at the heart of this country’s unending quest for democracy. Life must go on. The quest for democracy must … Continue reading

When The Soul Calls

“In This Moment” In this moment One foot in front of the other I hear chickadee I see spaciousness of blue above me In this moment One foot in front of the other The road meets my feet, while Above a flock of blue birds migrate In this moment One foot in front of the other I make my daily walk To the broken tree In this moment One foot in front of the other I host the longings in my heart As the friends they are In this moment One foot in front of the other one foot then … 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