Leaves

Young Adults – Radioactive (Live At GuitarBank Moscow)

We have each of us known the sorrow
Of experiencing a sense beauty in the world
That is particular and tragically unique
To ourselves.
What could we ever say about such things
When it hurts too much to speak?
It is that moment when we are stirred by a sad song
Or a walk alone in the woods

In a way that we know only we could feel.
It is a place where we long endlessly
Only to share such an impossibility
This longing of an ecstasy
Known only in the heart of Divinity
Wherein we are all of us one in such things.
When it opens in me
And obliterates me
When I surrender myself to it
I feel the beauty of your own singularity
Moving within you, unique to you,
Alone in the world, within me.

But how do I tell you
That you are not alone in this?
Forget yourself
And I will forget myself
So that we may be,
There but for a moment

Two flames quenched
In the ocean of God
And surrender

Our being into the Divine
Passing through the everything of this
And for each our singular beauty in this life
Find the union
Of leaves tumbling down through the wind
Dropped from the same Tree of Life
Returning to the same Sacred ground.

Ringing the Bell

20170505_124256

Let us take leave of our desire
To fill our minds
With the entire history of thought
With words and teachings that at best
Can only talk about it
In someone else’s voice
May we take this day to look within
The Sacredness of Life
Look to the indwelling of Divinity
Already sitting at the right hand of our heart.
Let us Love the person or pet
Whose simple act of being here,
Of being here with us
Every day removes
Something from our mind
And drops it into the silent well of our being

Together.
Let us Love the ones who move through us
Like a comb through hair
Loosening the windings
Of tangled thoughts
Until they fall like seeds
Straight to the fertile ground

Free from the circuitous weaving of chaos
The cinching up and tightening of knots
Into the constricting aftermath of analysis.
Our words are a mere echo, after the experience

Afterthoughts we mistake for truth
Thudding around in our books
Like cracked bells that have lost their resonance
As we work so diligently to riddle the Sacred tension of experience
With yet one more explanation
With yet one more demand for resolution
From our gurus and prophets

The experience of which
Might break the fragile shell of our soul
That holds within, the burning flame of the Divine
And the breath in which it burns.
Resolution is an elusive spirit
It is the lightest and thinnest
Oil of the olives
Floating on water
Our journey through it leaves in our wake
Only the trailing absence of it
Filled back in later when we are no longer there.
But if we slowly lift ourselves slightly
In our silence
From the swirling waters of chaos

It will cover us almost invisibly
In a clear garment made
Of every color
Bending and breaking the spectrum of light
Into the continuously infinite hues of meaning
Reflecting off the skin of our being.
It is the boundary beneath which
We long to be touched
In a moment, parted and passed through
In the next, flowing into the withdrawal
Clothing the body, of the one we love most
Who has just moved through us

Singular and alone in her own journey
In a way that hurts us with bliss
In the beauty of it
But our words can’t speak of it
Because it is too near
A shadow made of light moving
Where she has just walked
Leaving in her wake
Ourselves closing inward back around her absence
Like the lightest and thinnest oil of the olives
Floating on the water
Knowing only that she has stirred within us
And for a moment wore
The longing in our heart for her

Like a raiment of all colors
In the garment of Life


Copyright: My writing and photography are my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share them under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  

 

 

The Divinity of Absence

Pinnacle

Divinity
Is in the absence of all things
Even Divinity
And at this our minds rebel
For it is in our lives of doing and thinking that we stray
In the perceiving that we are enchanted
In the judging that we misunderstand
It is in our definitions and delineations
In our errant derivations
That Divinity slips away
The closer we come to grasping it.
It is in the dialogues of the mind
That we are distracted and tempted away
From the stillness that is the emanation all things
From which all things emanate
Where Divinity at play
Is Divinity at rest 
Where there is nothing to be done
More than the Sacred Work of Being
And not being.
When you hear the words
“Be still and know that I am God”
Be still
It is there that we find the opening
In the absence and presence of all things
Both, in accord with Divinity
Leading us away from, yet into and through
Our current point
Spiraling around, intertwined in the infinite N-Sphere
Simultaneously approaching and receding
Originating, departing and returning
The circumscribed void within and without
All in the one breath
Of the Divine
Breathing in and breathing out
In the stasis of the breathless eternal moment
You ask me to explain
So I give you my words
All the while knowing
They are a stepping away from the truth
For in the instant that I speak
I reduce the infinitely varied continuum
To a discrete mythology that misleads us
We are misled by our own minds
You say “Show me God”
So I hand you a stone
And I wonder if you see Divinity there
In the same ways I do
And we both wonder what the other sees
And ache with the unknowableness of such things
For in each of us is that part
Known only to ourselves and the Divine
Known only to the unity and singularity of all
Our presence and absence
It is there that I long to find you
Where we are borne in the water between the worlds
In our journey through being each other
Where we shed the chrysalides of ourselves
These divinely inscrutable things
Known only in Divinity

But as soon as we try to speak of it
We offer up
A bucket full of starlight
Such an absurdly impossible thing
This illuminated emptiness
Such a beautiful thing
This recursive emanation


Copyright: My writing and photography are my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share them under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  

Humility

flowers

 

This is a transcript of a public talk given 2018-03-25


I’d like to begin by admitting that I have a fear of public speaking.  So right now there is this little voice in the back of my mind telling me that I’m going to be horrible at this and that I’m going to humiliate myself up here today and I’ll be so bad that I’ll just never be able to come back to this church ever again.  And of course that fear is ridiculous, certainly not because I’m a great public speaker or anything, but because I know you guys. I know that even if I’m not any good at this, you’re not going to ridicule me or make fun of me. I know that you’ll have empathy for me. I know that you’ll be here for me, you’ll comfort me and you’ll reassure me.  Rationally I know this because I know you guys, and yet this fear I’m feeling remains.

So what can we do about this kind of irrational fear in our lives? How can we help each other begin to live our lives with less fear.  For me, I believe that fear remains until we stop hiding from it, until we acknowledge it, until we decide to turn and face into it and walk right through the middle of it.  But the problem is, that’s not an easy thing to do, especially when we try to do it alone, and by ourselves. Personally, I’m not that brave. I don’t want to face my fear alone whenever I don’t absolutely have to.  And luckily today I don’t have to because you are here with me and with your help I’m not alone. I feel very humble and grateful in this experience and I’d like to talk about that and the role that humility plays in the ways that we help each other.

First I would like to read something about feeling alone in the world.  It’s about wanting to make some kind of peace with that experience, to find some purpose in it yet at the same time wanting to learn how to step out of it, move beyond it and genuinely connect with others, and maybe in that connection find the courage to face our fears together.  It’s called Sacred Fire;


Read  Sacred Fire


I would like to propose that there is healing power for all of us when we embrace the opportunity to share our loneliness, our fears, our failures and our grief with each other.  But this can be so difficult because as a society we do tend to treat these things like they are shameful in some way. We are a society that puts tremendous value on rugged independence, self-sufficiency, and the kind of bold, loner, fearlessness that our ancestors used to tame the wild west of our history.  We are taught to keep our doubts, our fears and our pain private, and that to do otherwise is to show some kind of weakness. So… much of the time we may be afraid to share these things.

On the surface it might seem that being raised in such a society would create people who are tough and can withstand any hardship.  But even if it does do that… maybe we should ask “at what price?” Doesn’t it also greatly damage our ability to share our humanity with each other, because what is more human than fear, failure and grief?  When do we need people more than when we are afraid or when we have failed at something or when we have been hurt? And yet we learn to hide, to deny and to internalize all of these things in order to not appear weak.  We learn to suffer these things alone and that is very tragic.

Because recent studies have shown that the word alone is used in the social media posts of people with depression more frequently than any other word when they describe themselves and their experiences.  While we used to view social isolation as a side effect of depression, newer research is starting to assert that it may also be one of the major contributing causes of depression as well. The number of people who report being alone and feeling lonely in our society is increasing and so is depression.  

Unfortunately in our society we tend to stigmatize it and consequently tend not to talk about it especially when it happens to us.  Society teaches us that it is the social norm, maybe even our own moral obligation to always be that strong, and independent person.  We are made to feel as though nobody wants to hear our problems. We are taught to keep that messiness of our own most painful yet poignant human experiences neatly hidden away from public view.  This is one of the most limiting and even destructive things we can do to ourselves. I believe that I can speak for all of us here today when I say that when you feel alone, afraid, hurt, or humiliated in some way, it matters to the rest of us here, it’s important and it’s not something you need to hide or pretend like it isn’t there.  If you’re hurting, we will hurt with you, if you are grieving, we will grieve with you. Please do not suffer these things alone.

And maybe this is where we might find humility.  Maybe we find it when we see someone who is alone in their suffering, whatever it is, and we feel the desire to help them.  Because they don’t need us to be perfect. They don’t need us to be successful or important or powerful. What they need is for us to just show up and sit with them.  They need us to listen and to just be there with them as openly, honestly and as authentically as we can be. We only have to show up with our love for them, our humility and our willingness to be of service in helping them.  Maybe that is the moment when we finally find the humility to admit to our own failures and fears and admit that some of the time maybe we don’t feel perfect. Maybe we even feel so grievously damaged by the events of our lives that we think that we are irrevocably broken in some ways.  Maybe we have each of us failed at so many things in utterly spectacular fashion that we couldn’t even begin to count them all. I know I have. And I’ll gladly stand up here today and flat out admit that I know that I’m broken in some ways. I am. And I grieve the things that I’ve lost, the things I’ve let pass me by and most especially I grieve the harm that I’ve recklessly caused in the world and that I am personally responsible for.  But ultimately, we can also be broken open by these experiences in a way that helps us feel compassion for those who are going through the same kind of experiences. When we see someone who is alone in their suffering, we can be absolutely nothing and nobody in the world and it doesn’t matter to them.

In that moment when they need us, in that moment together with them, we can help them and help ourselves experience the most powerful, beautiful and Sacred experience this life has to offer;  It is the experience of genuine, honest, vulnerable connection with someone else. That moment… asks that we accept the gift of the humility that we might feel in the presence of such an opportunity and responsibility.  It is the visitation of grace and providence in our lives. It is the gift of humility that can make us feel so utterly small yet somehow incomprehensibly vast and alive in the communion of our connection with each other.

This is the gift that you have given to me by being with me and helping me.  You didn’t ask me to do anything to earn it or deserve it. I simply arrived and you gave me your compassion and your empathy and in so doing taught me that I am not alone.  You are the visitation of grace and providence in my life and because of this, because of you, I feel a deep sense of humility and gratitude.


Copyright: My writing and photography is my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share them under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  

Beginning

TheVeil

Thank you for giving me a place
Where never to begin
Without in the same breath knowing
The acceptance of ending.

Effortless joy
Delivered in an empty tin can

Rolling up against your foot
In the wind
Tumbling rain-soaked scraps
Of crumpled rice paper
Three dimensional kaleidoscopes of folding color
Under the light of the neon night
A place where not to begin
A place where not to end
The translucent veil between the two
Forever folding in what we discard
Unknowing.
We don’t begin
And neither do we end
Because we are beyond
And we wonder
What could we want tomorrow

So much more than this day brings
Such rain on tin cans and crumpled rice paper veils
Rolling through the back alleys of our times together

Quick
Take my hand
As we dart into the day
I’ve come to bring you your own words
That you grow in my soul with every breath


Copyright: My writing and photography are my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share them under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  

Drawing in the Desert

BlueLakeSmall

Draw the curving paths down
Around us
Draw the divine celestial mechanics
In the desert sands
Constellations swirling in the vortex currents
In the wake of your fingers’ trailing touch
Opening the ground like parting a veil
Bringing forth the waters
From the spring of Oasis
The womb of the world
The water of life
Welling up from deep within
When the air is an arid breath of wild thyme and
Passing goat herds
Rich and fecund
With life moving
In and through
Draw the curving paths down
Here in the desert
Arcing at the end of the clock pendulum
Trust the momentum of creation
The universe won’t let you go
Until you let it
Realizing that was never you all along
So do or don’t you must decide
Whether to add your full measure to the sway of the universe
Dangling there in the careening, sweeping arc of your travel
Inscribing, erasing, rescribing and forgetting
The expanding perimeter of Divinity
Experiencing the dream
In the blowing sands of Life
Put the weight of your soul into it
Swing the bob back ever higher
Toward the unity and annihilation of its origin
When it was held motionless and unformed
In the hand of God
Beyond time
Fear not the following
Heddy weightlessness of freefall
Of being dropped back into the world of dreaming
As you plumet down through the ticking cycles of life
Surrender, wait and remember
That in the fall
You are effortlessly accelerating into the momentum
Of your next upward swing
Surrender to it
Know the divine purpose
Put the weight of your soul into it
To the full measure of your will
Grow stronger with each pulse
In this beating heart of time
Come draw lines in the desert sand with me
Draw down and up the curving paths around us
Of the divine celestial mechanics
And surrender to the murmur of creation’s furnace
Feel the warmth underneath
Of being together
Drawing in the sand the lines and shapes of mind
Of our life’s creation
Waiting for the breath of Divinity
It is the coming of the wind to sweep the sand clean of our memories
Save for in the book of life
Where every moment, every shape we create
Is still happening and not happening
Come draw lines in the desert sand with me
Draw down and up the curving paths around us
Of the divine celestial mechanics
In the place where we are happening and not happening
In this one eternal moment


Copyright: My writing and photography are my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share them under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  

Liberation

river

We are the liberation
The transcending joy
Of ego annihilation
The whispered song of breathing
Weaving through the leaves
Of trees left weeping
Drops of seeping summer rains left dropping
A breath forever rustling in my soul
Gliding wings of dragonflies 
Dislodging down and dodging leaves
Spinning spirals crashing down upon me
Like a thousand colors of paint
Longing to be
So absently
Brushed into the language
Of our being

Guard yourself gently
As we approach the holiest of holies
Lest we stir from slumber
The soft mumbles of summer lovers
Of rummage sales and clutter
Fumbling loosely over buttons
In their sleeping lives
So are the seeds of our souls
Such small and fumbling things
Tiny tumbling orbit rings
Each a spec of dust dispersed
Across a universe
So vast

Let it awaken
Be what is meant to be
Until you are unable to watch the trek of an ant slipping over your wrist
And not wonder at the sheer enormity and complexity of creation
An infinite stack of layers of beauty and design

We are the vaguest of shadows dancing in the light of our Love
We are the tambourine and steel drum playing preachers in the streets
Delirious with the sway of street corner performances
In the middle of a sultry, drizzling rain-soaked New Orleans night
Can you hear the loneful wail of the trumpet call
Will you stop to wonder
“How did she know the song of my breathing?”


Copyright: My writing and photography are my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share them under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  

Sacred Fire

SacredFire

Perhaps you feel unloved
but if you wait patiently
every day with your routine
putting your shoes on every morning
one day after another
marching out into the world
left, right, left,
day, after, day…
you will soon forget that you are waiting
Until one day
many years from now
the rhythm of your safety skips a beat
and there, then suddenly
you are…
alone
again
How did it happen?
How did you forget?
It’s the surprise of it that gets you
Let me tell you
It’s going to hurt
and you better let it
There’s no way around it
only through it if you hope to proceed
A journey survived in youth
proves perilous with age
so you best go now
You have to step into
that unknowable darkness.
In time we spin
these eternal threads
alone
eventually
.
.
.
until finally there is peace and understanding
in the sudden realization
of our presence in absolute solitude
with this slumbering Divinity
who is genuinely alone
in the most absolute sense
floating beyond the vast expanse of formless space
before time
before creation
Floating there, dreaming of and longing for
our arrival,
alone in a way we can only begin to know
Whether you consider this Divinity to be
the all-knowing, Loving mind of God
or if instead you see
the emergent, self-aware soul of life itself,
or if you consider this Divinity
To be simply a creation of your own psyche,
a manifestation of your own longing
It nevertheless still sings
the true song of the soul
in its transcendent nature,
the song of Love for all life
Whatever you consider it to be
in this I hope we can agree
that we are all,
in part,
of this Divinity
.
.
.
Then Divinity blinks
and you glimpse the real pain
as it bursts forth in a brilliant shockwave
of light and heat spreading out across the cosmos
leaving in its wake such indescribable longing
for the weaving of creation,
our creation
And you think…
Thank God
that I can still suffer like this
once again
and long so much
to be part of this fabric
of unfathomable complexity, beauty,
and suffering
Reach out
from a place beyond fear
a place beyond time
a place where the Love of humanity and all life
is the illumination cast
by this Sacred Fire we carry
born beyond the beginning of the universe
Realize that now is the time to connect
to fight the isolation of our amnesia
born from our fear and imagined impotence
fueled by the demons of our own scrutiny,
Now is the time to fight against the loneliness, we feel in this world
that we believe is somehow wrong and unique to ourselves
forgetting its divine source

Instead let us realize our loneliness
as the Sacred longing of creation
that drives us to take action
to connect with the company of others
to care for the plight of all souls
Don’t let your loneliness maim you
let it liberate you
don’t ignore it, embrace it
quite defending yourself against it
quite trying to bury it
under your entertainment
and your technology
and a thousand other distractions
let it hurt you
the way that it is meant to
the way that it should
in its divine function
Then when it hurts enough
begin your search
Begin to finally proclaim to the world
all that you believe
all that you are
Proclaim it now
that part of yourself
you truly long to find in others

My proclamation to the world is this;
“I am making my stand!
Will you stand with me
by my side if you have this same
bittersweet gratitude for creation?
Will you also proclaim
these things we stand for;

We stand for Love
in this Sacred Divinity of Experience
We stand for Peace
by our Love made manifest
We stand for Life
because it is our choice
it is our will
and our Love will prevail

Can you say these things?
Can you believe these things?
These are the people I long for,
the people who will stand with me
in these things.

After you have had you own such thoughts
and spoken them aloud
I hope you find how false it was
to have ever thought that you were unloved
The words offered here
and the words and actions
of countless others throughout time
are a testament to you
that you are loved
by all of us who have come before
and all of us who are awaiting your arrival
even now
at this moment
Make your presence known
that we may find you,
but you must speak loudly
and bravely
In your longing for that connection
Make your stand
Do it now!
Speak out!
Because the words offered here
can’t save you
Only your own words,
only your own actions
can do that
when you dare offer them to the world
and discover Divinity’s seed
still sleeping dormant in the souls
of those around you
who feel alone and unloved.


Copyright: My writing and photography are my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share them under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  

“What I have to offer is me. What you have to offer is you.”

This video by Eliot Rausch based on a speech by Charlie Kaufman is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

What I have to Offer from Eliot Rausch on Vimeo.

I especially like these sections:

“What I’m trying to express – what I’d like to express – is the notion that, by being honest, thoughtful and aware of the existence of other living beings, a change can begin to happen in how we think of ourselves and the world, and ourselves in the world.  We are not the passive audience for this big, messed up power play.  We don’t have to be.  We can say who we are, we can assert our right to existence, we can say to the bullies and the conmen, the people who try to shame us, embarrass us, flatter us, to the people who have no compunction about lying to us to get our money and our allegiance, that we are thinking – really thinking – about who we are, and we’ll express ourselves and with this other people won’t feel so alone.”

“I want to tell you that I have a hope that there’s another way to be in this world, and that I believe with courage, vulnerability and honesty that the stuff we put into the  world can serve a better purpose.”

“What I have to offer is me.  What you have to offer is you, and if you offer yourself with authenticity and generosity I will be moved.”