December 28, 2008
- May Sarton
Journal of a Solitude
This past year I have not produced many posts, as my friends who frequent here have undoubtedly noticed. I think that I just needed a rest, I needed days of not pushing. My mind has wandered, and rested, as I lived in the changing light of my rooms. I emerge refreshed, and peaceful. I am especially hopeful for the new year even though there are so many difficult realities.
December 26, 2008
One winter evening, when the innovative engineer R. Buckminster Fuller was drinking tea by the fireplace of Professor Hugh Kenner, three-year-old Lisa Kenner prolonged her bedtime farewell with the question: "Bucky, why is the fire hot?" Kenner writes: Some instinct told Lisa that he was the man to ask. His answer, as he took her on his lap, began, like most of his answers, some distance away from the question. "You remember, darling, when the tree was growing in the sunlight?" On arms like upgroping branches, his hands became clusters of leaves as he described their collecting the sunlight, processing its energies into sugars, drawing them down into a stocky trunk. "Then the men cut it down, and sawed it into logs. And what you see now" ---he pointed to the crackling hearth---"is the sunlight, unwinding from the log."
December 23, 2008
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(I do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)...
Tell me more, poet. Tell me about the power of intense fragility. Tell me about the textures that compel, and the color of countries. Tell me how death is rendered with breathing, and tell me about opening and closing; show me eyes that are deeper than roses. Show me...
December 22, 2008
This clumsy living that moves lumbering
as if in ropes through what is not done,
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.
of the ground we stand on and cling to every day,
is like the swan, when he nervously lets himself down
into the water, which receives him gaily
and which flows joyfully under
and after him, wave after wave,
while the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm,
is pleased to be carried, each moment more fully grown,
more like a king, further and further on.
Translated by Robert Bly
I realized it was much simpler, much simpler even than dying and living. All the swan does to effect its transformation from awkwardness to grace and belonging is move toward the element where it belongs. That's all it does. I thought it was an astonishing key, an extraordinary key to transformation: all you have to know in your life are the things you love, the things you hold in your affection. You only have to know the frontiers, where simply by being at that frontier, you come alive. Take an inventory of your life. What is the work that brings you alive? What are the places that bring you alive? What are the conversations that vitalize you? In whose presence, simply by being in their presence, do you find yourself making the best of yourself, do you find yourself coming to the fore? Will you have faith in those frontiers, those extraordinary places that effect extraordinary transformations, and will you arrange your life, so you can spend more time at those frontiers?
December 7, 2008
That all that you do is sacred.
Now, why not consider
A lasting truce with yourself and Spirit.
Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child's training wheels
To be laid aside
When you can finally live
What is it in that sweet voice inside
That incites you to fear?
Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred.
This is the time
For you to deeply understand the impossibility
That there is anything
Now is the season to know
That everything you do
November 5, 2008
November 5, 2008
H.E. Barack Obama
President-elect of the United States of America
Dear President-elect Obama,
Congratulations on your election as the President of the United States of America.
I am encouraged that the American people have chosen a President who reflects America’s diversity and her fundamental ideal that any person can rise up to the highest office in the land. This is a proud moment for America and one that will be celebrated by many peoples around the world.
The American Presidential elections are always a great source of encouragement to people throughout the world who believe in democracy, freedom and equality of opportunities.
May I also commend the determination and moral courage that you have demonstrated throughout the long campaign, as well as the kind heart and steady hand that you often showed when challenged. I recall our own telephone conversation this spring and these same essential qualities came through in your concern for the situation in Tibet.
As the President of the United States, you will certainly have great and difficult tasks before you, but also many opportunities to create change in the lives of those millions who continue to struggle for basic human
needs. You must also remember and work for these people, wherever they may be.
With my prayers and good wishes,
THE DALAI LAMA
October 13, 2008
I bump into
all the places
where I said no
to my life
all the untended wounds
the red and purple scars
those hieroglyphs of pain
carved into my skin, my bones
those coded messages
that send me down
the wrong street
again and again
where I find them
the old wounds
the old misdirections
and I lift them
one by one
close to my heart
and I say
July 22, 2008
... the tears I feel... come from the presence I feel all around me - its flaming emptiness, its freedom....I beheld the shapes of things, their colors and textures. I saw how they all fit together, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle once they find their place. Everywhere I looked I saw contours meeting, greeting, full of happy secrets, one about the other... Now plays of light, color, scent brought starts of recognition and pleasure - as if my beloved were continually adorning himself for my delight.... Sometimes I seemed to sense my body from the outside, how its form and skin must feel to air, light, cotton dress. I thought, maybe it doesn't matter where you draw the line between in and out, self and other, even weakness and strength. These differences are but touch points in the dance of complementarity; like epidermal surfaces, they allow encounter and caress...A light rain spattered as I bathed in the well... In and out, above, below - how odd and intricate this dance. I remembered what the poet M. C. Richards had said once about solitude: "Learn to move in the world as if it were your lover."
But by the very plans I had devised with John, I wasn't allowed to stay sitting there as a human, marooned in human culpability. As the others had I moved back from the center to the periphery, to see and speak from that wider context. From here we could see more clearly the isolation in which the humans imagine themselves to exist, and the fear that seizes them - a fear that generates greed and panic. For our own survival we - all beings - must help them. Could we help these twentieth century humans, the way we helped Arther pull the sword form the stone?
It is such a luxury to reflect at length on those who have graced our lives. Soon our concerns and intentions for them give way to thanksgiving for their existence; to see their qualities afresh is like opening a present on Christmas morning....Soon they seem to be walking beside us in the bright, green morning. I pretend they can see through my eyes the emerald parakeets swooping by the red hibiscus blossoms and feel through my soles how the marble cools in the shade.