Monday, January 30, 2006


Chogyam Trungpa in Cutting through Material Spiritualism, says, imagine reading a letter with no punctuation. Sometimes we talk like that. I sat at dinner and talked with no punctuation except maybe lots of exclamation points and somewhere towards the end, my friend got up, was at the computer. I had not finished talking, was in the middle of things, didn't know why he left. What a letdown that space was. I was tired, had just gotten out of work. Much later, he said he wasn't feeling connected to what I was saying. I imagine he was overwhelmed with words and ideas and no punctuation, like a letter with no periods or commas. I imagine the angst and hurry to get all this "highly valuable information" out to someone, meant for him that he had to leave the table to create space for himself. Talk, space, gap, words, space, words. That's better. Pausing, not rushing, not pushing. Beauty in communication. Not needing to push the river. Resting in the river. Pause, space, gap. Comma, comma, period. Much, much later he says, "I got up to put an address in the computer that you wanted so I wouldn't forget." I remember now. He did say that. I remember how tired I was, unable to move. Another giant log breaks free of the dam in my head.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Grace for dinner

The meal is on the table

Her fist
Settles in his
soft warm
open palm.

Her fist
Feels the hand
Pull away in disgust
Not wanting a tight fist

In quiet she offers her open palm,
To receive his hand.
She returns her palm
warmed by his, quietly to her lap

Her eyes open
Her mouth smiles.
Exotic beans, bright broccoli
Are on her plate.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Joseph Campbell's bliss

How do we let go of everything we've been taught, jobs, benefits, pension.
How does one find his or her bliss
after eight hours of work
after meditation, resistance exercise,
after fresh air walking. After connecting with others.

"If you have the guts to follow your own myth,
life opens up.
I am not superstitious, but
I do believe in spiritual magic,
you might say.
I believe that if one follows what I call
one's 'bliss' ---the thing
that really gets you deep in the gut
and that you feel is your life - doors will
open up." Joseph Campbell

The Journey by Mary Oliver

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --determined to save
the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver ~

(Dream Work)

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

Walking mindfully on the earth,
One step, breathing in
Next step, breathing out
We find a sense of

"WILD GEESE"by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

We can't go back.

We can't go back. What does that mean? Of course, we can't go back. Who would want to go back? Is it fear that makes us say that? We would need a time machine to go back.

“…the beautiful path is patient, always waiting for you to come back, that path that is so familiar to you, and so faithful. It knows you will come back one day, And it will welcome you back. The path will be as fresh and as beautiful as the first time. Love never says that this is the last time.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Waking up

Running water this morning, how amazing it is to just turn a piece of shaped steel and get this wonderful hot water. Water that flows down from mountains. The sun pours in through these large windows facing south, warming the house. For breakfast, the instant heat from the electric stove warms amaranth grain and water, amaranth the grain of the Aztecs. The bed has delicious sheets that have the sun, wind, sky in them from being washed then dried outdoors. With a plastic piece shaped like a rectangle and put to my ear, I talk to my brother 50 miles away and listen to him as if he were here in this room. My father talks to me afterwards through this same device, thanking me for calling him. I drive down the road and spot a State Trooper, parked; I slow down and feel grateful, breathe, be present in this moment. I stop at the mall and pick up winter boots for 20.00. I think about the hard work that went into creating these boots, the people who live on so little so that I might have these boots. The clerk too says she double checked with the company on the price before getting them. I decide to stop at my naturopath's office, just in case he is in. I see a package in front of the locked door. Curious, I pick it up and there is my name on the package. Eight days ago I had asked him to leave me vitamins and then promptly forgot to pick them up. It's nice to have them here still waiting for me.

A couple hours later, a haircut appointment gets missed by 15 minutes, appreciation is gone.
Now it's resistance, non-acceptance, frustration, anger. Being with things as they are doesn't mean choosing what to be with. One moment it's appreciation, another moment it's resistance to what is, now it's anger. Breathing in, I calm myself. Breathing out, I smile. Resting in the river.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Oil company as guru

Chogyam Trungpa says we can use our life experience as guru. I had to rush off to a monastery for four days. Was anxious about driving and getting there on time and put off calling the oil company about their letter of unpaid bills. Got home New Year's Day to no oil. Called their emergency service which deposited 10 gallons of oil in my oil tank for a little over three hundred dollars. (Weeks later this charge is removed.) Two days later when I could reach someone in the office, there I was, Victim Little. I didn't get a letter you would suspend automatic delivery, I say. I study the bills, looks like I owe about 100.00. But they want the budget money paid, 170.00. It's not what I actually owe, I say. No delivery till this 270.00 is paid. Tears come to my eyes. I write a two page letter to the company that never gets mailed.

The next day I sit for an hour, then do walking meditation an hour. I sense the icebergs within me resisting what is. I look at what is. I am someone wanting approval, feeling aversion to this uncomfortable situation. I did see the oil level in the tank was rock bottom before I left for four days. A few hunks of ice fall off the bergs in my head. There is a little melting. I go back in the house. I call other oil companies. I look at the checkbook. With my son's contribution, I can do the payment they want. Their request now seems reasonable. The oil company is my guru disappointing me so I can find space to be with what is, rather than my stoney hard image of Good Self Chooses How She Will Pay. Resting in the river.