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May 8, 2019
“To speak of sorrow works upon it. . .
Moves it from its crouched place…” ~Denise Levertov
OK, I’m exposing myself here in more ways than one. After not writing for months, now I’m pulled to write consecutive blogs close together…what’s up with
that?? Will you take the time to read them?
What I feel to be true is that this outflow is, in part, an example of the nature of allowing one’s self to be in the deeps…the abyss…the gallows of dismemberment which I seem to have been in for months now. If we surrender to such a descent and give ourselves over to its rugged ways, one day moments of insight may begin to bubble up from the muck and mire at the bottom of the abyss. It is a sign that there is life down there…biological activity under all that goo creates bubbles of inspiration and they often contain something of wisdom.
I so appreciated those of you who wrote to me in response to my last blog called “Facing Extinction”. The conversation itself is fascinating as I learn how different ones of us are wrestling with their experience of the times we are in, but it is also serving to provoke in me a more tenacious pull into the inquiry. How do we face this time and remain heartful, kind and a viable asset to the world?? Certainly this is not the first time that humans have struggled mightily in response to a certainty that their world would soon “end”. One could argue the facts of what is true around the sense that so many of us have that we are in a dire situation on so many fronts but perhaps what is more important is the fact that so many of us sense something and many are being effected in dramatic ways by this.
Something is going on here.
May 6, 2019
”On the last day of the world, I would want to plant a tree.” ~W.S. Merwin
The owl’s breath moves in my lungs…her strange voice cloaks my throat. A feather lands before me on my path. I feel her near even in daylight.
Things are changing…I sense it everywhere. Do you feel it? What is your way through this time?
Lately I feel myself as a kind of Cassandra; a pariah in a world trying to avoid itself. I can barely speak in any other conversation with this one of our inflamed and dying world beating so strongly in my chest. My resistance invites my suffering. I am reminded of the spiritual teaching that it is in the efforting to be somewhere other than where we are, that we most suffer. Trying to get away from suffering is the biggest cause of suffering.
I have been trying to get away from my own inclination towards depth and darkness that has me dwell here more than is healthy perhaps. There is dirt under my fingernails from trying to claw my way out of this underworld. I ache. I don’t recognize myself. “Things look at me doubly and I must look back and let them happen”, as poet Adrienne Rich points to.
Dissonance rings in me…I cannot find my old tools, or they have rusted and dropped out of sight and into disrepair.
From the Edge of Darkness
February 6, 2019
“There comes a time when the bubble of ego is popped and you can’t get the ground back for an extended period of time. Those times, when you absolutely cannot get it back together, are the most rich and powerful times in our lives.”
~ Pema Chodron
I have lived on this remarkable planet for 60 years and have spent a fair amount of that time guiding others…often in underworld type experiences like quests, journeys into nature, etc. So often I feel hugely grateful after sessions for all that I learned from the courageous people who say yes and dive in to their deeper truth, their terrifying darkness, and their unknowingness.
In the last days and weeks I’ve been dwelling in my own underworld…my spaces of darkness, doubt, disassembly and not knowing. Some days have been dismal, tearful and smothering, and other days I’ve worked diligently to dig around in the ghost stories of my past, trusting that it is in these times, that I learn the most. I accented this process by an embodied process of cleaning out many of the stored boxes from my shed, full of years of old letters, photos and memorabilia.
Even when some aspect of me trusts this kind of a dive, it is never easy. Times came and went when I felt mired in the thick black goo of a bottomless abyss that I feared would last forever and that surely no point of vision, or state of active hope would ever return. Shame and doubt arose when I began to see my life and my old patterns as troubling efforts to be loved, over and over again. Seeing things I’ve claimed and done that seemed so good at times, now appearing from this vantage point as merely an aching attempt to be good and to belong. Though completely understandable and in fact instrumental in change in others, my critic sees this as childish and embarrassing in my own story.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies,
but the silence of our friends.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Opening my mouth to speak in challenging situations has rarely been easy for me. Too many times I’ve gone mute and too often at times when it really mattered. I have worked hard to learn to communicate from the heart and I still can’t say I’m great at it, especially with difficult transmissions. But it feels so utterly crucial to me, that I continue to work at it and I feel the impact when this does not happen….AND when it does.
Recently I had an experience in this arena that shook me. The pain was personal but an even deeper searing burned into my heart for what seems to be an evolutionary trend in the collective….
I was coming to know a new man friend. For several weeks we were in a beautiful collision of heartfelt conversation that was deeply meaningful to me. One snowy Sunday not long ago we shared our gratitude for our meeting one another and our desire to explore further and then, seemingly within hours, he disappeared. Because we had been in such a beautiful responsive ongoing conversation, I was dumbfounded by his silence over several days. It was days later that finally a short response came. Nothing has been heard since then.