Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Without tarrying and without hurrying

Here's a Buddhist charm I use when the wild horses come out:

"Without tarrying and without hurrying
did I cross the flood.
For when I tarried, I sank.
And when I hurried I was whirled about.

And so, without tarrying and
without hurrying did I cross the flood."

Comment from December 2005 by Phil.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Cloud-man is clouds and fog and mist.
He takes rain checks.
He walks in clouds, talks about
everything but the clouds, gives out rain checks.

Bittersweet does well next to Cloud-man.
She thrives in the clouds, invades branches, trees, strangles trunks
as she reaches for Cloud-man.
As soon as she gets close, feels the drips of the fog, of the cloud settling on her, he disappears back into the sky, or solidifies into a rain while she watches the Earth soak it all in.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


It's 3 a.m., summer,
I put on pink sweats,
jeans over sweats, socks over socks,
shirt over shirt over shirt,
a winter coat and a wool hat
I bite into a Granny apple
and get in the car.

The Committee is meeting in my mind.
What if there is a crowd out there?
What if I'm not needed?
What if I look like a fool?
Did I bring enough stuff?

I get there, park, and in the yard,
Lillian is murmuring something
about two hours sleep.
The Committee is satisfied.
I am needed.

I sit in a blanket,
I watch the fire.
I picture the faces of the three people on the hill doing
a vision quest.

I go from facing north to facing east, looking for the sun.
A mockingbird drops to the ground then back to the top of the tree.

More birds join the chorus.
The sun shows itself first on the tree trunks,
on leaves and then
the red ball itself peaks through it all.

The sounds of a tent being unzipped
brings Fred to the fire.
He tells stories .

Everyone gets together at the end.
I am given tobacco wrapped in cloth.

It's now 2003, a year later.
Early in the morning, I'm up,
not sure what the fire watch will look like this year.
The person on the hill has decided I'm not to be there.

The spiritual path does not have to be
good, sane, passive
and compassionate.


Working with the Emotions, Myth of Freedom,
Chogyam Trungpa.

Resting in the river.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mom's Day

Back on the road, a bull dozer has levelled a hill, trees have been clear cut around an old chicken farm. There is a house for sale with a fantastic view behind the house. The picture window at the front of the house is facing the highway.

In my own life, I reshape my day to fit the clock, drive to a job where I work in an enclosed small windowless closet space under fluourescent lights for 8 hours in front of a computer monitor, breathing recycled air. In winter, I miss the sun altogether. Complexion turns pasty, skin white. Butt gets lots of sitting time. Pants wear out in the seat, not the knees like little kids who get to play. I have a big picture window in me facing a monitor during day, and a tv screen at night. I miss mother earth.

I stop at a Nature Conservancy property with trails and streams and boulders and walk the trail, feel Earth beneath each step, a belonging.

"The earth is our mother and is always there for us. She has produced us, brought us to life; and she will receive us and bring us back again and again, countless times. So when I call, 'Earth,' I call to my awareness that is the ground of my being."

Taken from be free, where you are by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Resting in the river.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Mirror-man knocked on my door today, the glass in his face is framed with black drapes weighted with two heavy bags of sand, dragging a concrete block chained to his ankle. It is a miracle he gets up the deck stairs. But there he is. Of course, I invite him inside, offer him some brussels sprouts I am cooking.

He doesn't want the brussels sprouts. He wants what he wants, connection with people, so he says. Tells me how people are failing him, not doing what they should be doing; he expounds on their weaknesses. They should be doing what he's doing. This one is coddling that one, not healthy at all, he says. He talks about the shortcomings of others especially of his mother. He talks about the email I sent months ago; it still brings up ire in him. We have no space between us for talk back and forth.

He is a mirror. He comes to my doorstep to show me myself: I see the sand bags and the concrete block attached to the ankle are mine. My head is heavy with who did what when and ways to fix it. I drag the heavy resentments and anger and whodidit whens with little energy left for what's going on now, working myself into a corner.

Thank you Mirror-man.

I see I am Rolling in the river.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Parent

I sit at retreat 9 days.
The woman says, See.
Hear. No, don't wave arms, don't use
labels like tree, See. See the green.
Hear the drum with your body as you walk.
We crawl on the grass to see. We move.

The woman says it is her birthday.
She comments on each part, appreciates everything.
She mentions even the anticipation. She sings,
happy birthday to me, happy birthday to you,
everyday are we born, every day are we free.
Everyone is noticed, everyone is included.

Resting in the River

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Baby

I push the baby carriage down the street
I turn my eyes away from the carriage,
for a minute to look in the store window,
I turn back
The baby is gone.

vulnerable, warm, soft, trusting.

I run, looking for a trace of her. Every second means she's
farther away.
Precious Time is used up as I ask to use
Phones in the shops along the way.

Valuable Time is passing.
I try 3 or 4 phones.
The phones are all dead or busy.

I go up a dark elevator with
clanging triple metal sliding doors.
I come into a room
dark, musty, cold, black windowless room

People are in black robes
huddle in a group
"I need help. The baby..."

I look again and stop and feel me,
alone, outside the group. No one can hear me or see me.
Their backs are to me.

Everything is moving me further from The Baby.

I forget about the Baby. 30 years pass.

One day  I sit and watch my breath, breathing in, breathing out,
A quiet, calm, vulnerable, soft, warm, trusting presence

The Baby is here with me now.
I find the Baby as I sit and breathe.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Community has the power to exclude, to make rules that make it ok to exclude, that make the exclusion necessary. Community has the power to bring people together, to do what we cannot do alone.

Healthy is what waters seeds of kindness, seeds of compassion and caring,
The word community has many connotations, some positive, some negative. Community can make us think of a safe togetherness, shared meals, common goals, and joyful celebrations. It also can call forth images of sectarian exclusivity, in-group language, self-satisfied isolation, and romantic naiveté. However, community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another. Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own (see Philippians 2:4). The question, therefore, is not "How can we make community?" but "How can we develop and nurture giving hearts?"
Henri Nouwen: Bread for the Journey

Monday, May 01, 2006

Booga cat

Booga cat claws his way up my leg on the sofa. I think he's having an aversion to being without a lap. I undo claws one at a time, having an aversion to claws in my leg. Up on the sofa on my lap, he retracts his claws, purrs and sits with what is. Before that we were both pretty intent on getting out of what was.

Is that what we do? Dig our claws into this person, or that job, or this group, so we can be the kitty cat, that gets to purr in a lap? Or maybe we just leap into the lap, skip the claw part. The lap being the job or organization or spiritual group or relationship. Or maybe we're the one with the lap, nurturing this group or this job or a relationship so we can have a kitty cat sit in our lap.

There is a better way.
The second of the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path for the way out of suffering is Right Intention.

We can sit with our desires, retract the claws, just be with desire.
We can sit with our aversions.
We don't have to push the river, force things the way we think they should be.

We don't have to dam the river, or blank out on things we think shouldn't be.

We can work with what is, with pure intention, with peace in every step. -----
Resting in the river.

The lap idea was taken from writings by Chogyam Trungpa.