Kundalini Splendor

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Jay Volusek--Why Poetry? 

With poetry as our “sacred text,” Lectio Poetica is appropriate for people of any worldview. For how it works, visit our web site: Lectio.JayEValusek.com

Why Poetry?
“. . . your own intellect and imagination a kind of sunlight, a far out star illuminating from a great distance the world you read . . .” – David Whyte

Walking along a garden path with his grown children one evening in the final year of his life, Charles Darwin, the great Victorian naturalist and father of modern evolutionary theory, said, with quiet sadness, that if he had his life to live over again, he would “make it a rule to let no day pass without reading a few lines of poetry.”

Why poetry?

As Darwin explained in his autobiography, after decades of rigorous scientific reasoning, “My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts.” Parts of his brain, he feared, had atrophied from lack of use—those parts in particular on which “the higher tastes” for poetry, music and the arts depend—contributing, he admitted, to “a loss of happiness” by “enfeebling the emotional part of [my] nature.”

In 1933, T.S. Eliot noted that poetry can make us “a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.”

The so-called men’s movement of the 1980s and 90s, inspired by Robert Bly and some Jungian colleagues, gave poetry a central role in every gathering of men. Why poetry?

“We live in a poetically underdeveloped nation,” wrote Bly and his fellow editors of The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: Poems for Men, a book I picked up in 1995, while going through divorce. “Without the fanciful delicacy and the powerful truths that poems convey, emotions and imagination flatten out.”

In my own life, plagued as I was with theological, existential, philosophical and interpersonal questions, I often found myself turning to poetry when my brain got weary of trying to “figure it all out.”

Twelve years ago, for example, exhausted after a stint of too much thinking and doing, I opened a book of poems by the obscure 11th century Eastern Orthodox mystic, Symeon the New Theologian. Drawn to his passionate inner experience yet distracted by a clunky, literal academic translation, I found myself spontaneously rendering whole sections of his poems into more congenial, more poetic language, as Coleman Barks had done for Rumi. For five days I was captivated by inspiration, joyfully scribbling in a notebook for hours on end. Later, I published several of those poems, “Songs of Sacred Union,” in Tiferet, a journal of spiritual literature.

Often, as I sit with others in our little circle on a Sunday morning, preparing to read yet another poem out loud, I wonder what the hell we’re doing. Why poetry? Why bother? What’s the point?

Sometimes, honestly, I can’t remember. I can’t figure it out. I listen anyway. I give myself to the poem, to the silence, to my own heart. The brain is welcome, too. But I encourage it to sit still, keep quiet, and see what happens.

Sometimes I do what the mystics of Symeon’s tradition called “descending with the mind into the heart.” I put my intellect on an elevator and send it down to visit the mysterious and creative part of me that Stephen King calls “the boys in the basement.”

In “Summer Reading” (River Flow, 2007), David Whyte describes our “intellect and imagination”—two apparently opposite parts of the psyche—as “a kind of sunlight” illuminating the world.

In poetry, as in music and dance and nature, I find a sort of sacred union between my cognitive capacities and my imaginative sensibilities. By opening to the unpredictable substratum of intuitive, emotional, and non-analytical experience I find the still point, once again, at the center of the turning world, as Eliot so eloquently put it.

It’s not that poetry puts me in touch, as they say, with my so-called “feminine” side. No, it’s more that poetry puts me back in touch with my full humanity—my essential subjectivity as well as my objectivity, my softness as well as my strength, my proximity and interconnectedness as well as my inevitable distance and duality. It makes me whole again. At least for a few, precious moments.

Like sunlight—the miraculous union of quite different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum—intellect and imagination, head and heart, science and poetry can, should, and often do come together to conceive and give birth to something surprising, novel and wonderful: a whole human being.

So. Why poetry? Because, as David Whyte observes elsewhere, “Everything is born from an opposite and miraculous otherness.” And a good poem serves as a marvelously wise and compassionate midwife. Darwin’s intuition was right.

—Jay E. Valusek

(For more reflections on the poems we have used for Lectio Poetica, visit my blog at http://lectio.jayevalusek.com/reflections-blog.html).
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© 2014 Rocky Mountain Psychomaieutics, LLC

(The above photo was taken from my front window this morning.  We are currently experiencing a major snow storm, but nothing like the Eastern seaboard.  Boulder was predicted to receive about 10 inches of snow, but so far the total looks to be more like 5-6.)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer--"So Far it's the Physical World" (poem) 

So far it’s the physical world that we speak of:
the red Frisbee, the sweet blackberry, the small pink ball.
She points to a tree. This, she says. Tree. I say. Well,

lilac bush. Already the world slips from its chain of syllables.
I want to speak with her about this filtered honey light
of a late April afternoon, and I do, but she brings me

a rock and says, This. And I say, Rock. Gray rock.
And even more, I want to speak of what comes next,
of the longing that this light begets—how it rouses in me

a deep wish to lose the physical world and be current,
be wave, be invisible flourish, to be warmth that drives flowers
to bloom. I want to tell her how sometimes the body

interferes, so material, so fleshsome, so brute in its hungers.
How beyond the red Frisbee there’s a pulse, a rhythm,
a tide that no words can touch, and it gathers us and connects

us to this all that is: one cosmos, one bloodstream, one river,
one art. How sometimes we get it—whatever it is—and all
that is concrete dissolves in the breath. How we’re twined

to this moment, and the next, and the next. Nest, I say,
as she brings me the small wreath of grass. Bird, I say,
as the small body wings past. She smiles and tries to fly—

half jump, half fall, all innocence. Yes, I say. That’s what
love is like. Oh golden light. Oh luminous task of losing
whatever we think we know: Tree. Rock. Nest.

--Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Andrew Harvey--tour to Ladakh 

from Andrew Harvey

Dear Friends,

I am returning to Ladakh for the first time in thirty years and, also for the first time, taking a group with me. The magnificence of Ladakh’s landscape, spiritual world, and loving, wise people changed me forever, as those of you who read “A Journey in Ladakh” may know. It gives me tremendous joy to invite you on what I deeply believe will be a life-altering and unforgettable experience for you. As you will see from the enclosed, Jeremy Ball and I have worked hard and long to set up the richest, deepest possible trip. Please join us. The trip is already three quarters full, so book soon if you want to be sure of a place.  I am looking forward to being with you.

Love Always,


Join Andrew on his Ladakah Tour September 1-15, 2014

Find more information and updates from Andrew & the Institute for Sacred Activism
Andrew Invites You To Attend:
The Sacred Dance of Relationships - Personal & Global
Led By Andrew Harvey & Chris Saade

March 12-18, 2014

A 4 Day Retreat in Charlotte, NC
More Info


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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Spiritual "Pods"--Barbara Marx Hubbard 

When I had my intense awakening experience, now some thirty years ago, one of the insights that was give to me was that the next phase of human evolution would involve what I called "group souls."  These would be collectives of like minded individuals who would come together on the next (after life) plane to form an aggregate that would be "greater than the sum of its parts."  No one would be required to surrender their personal identity to become a member of the group soul.  Each would retain his/her own subjective self, but would nonetheless function as part of the group activities.

Barbara Hubbard is now calling for the creation of similar groups, called "pods,' on this earth.   What follows is a summary of her thoughts on this subject.  Personally, I wonder if such "collectives" are not already formed and forming at this crucial time, when "like is drawn to like" and kindred souls seen each other out for support and as aids to their mutual advancement.

Here is the notice I received recently from The Shift Network about Barbara's thoughts on this subject:

Barbara Marx Hubbard shared with us recently the concept of evolving from Me, to We, to The New Whole.  This is really the simplest way to describe the evolutionary journey that she is articulating and guiding in such a profound way. 
Consciousness is evolving into a new level of wholeness through us--first as individuals, then as a collective, and finally as ONE with the larger fabric of Being itself. 

But to experience this New Whole, we must first cocreate the necessary conditions.  As Barbara and many others are now actively discovering, the next phase of evolution can be supported to emerge through the power of communal ‘pods’ - transformational groups that form something like an energetic chrysalis to support our transformation. 

By joining together in a larger field of cocreative intelligence, members of the pod can tap into higher wisdom and shift more rapidly into expanded states.   

We then become capable of scripting a new story of our future, where we literally fuse ourselves with the same field of light and WHOLENESS that mystics throughout history have accessed.  In this process, we activate our non-local light bodies that accelerate our collective healing and evolution.   

The creation of these pods is an integral aspect of the Sacred Journey of the Conscious Evolutionary, the six-month journey Barbara will be leading with Patricia Ellsberg, beginning February 4th.   

We’d love to hear your thoughts about these pods and your own vision of what they might offer in this brief survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NLCBY89 

(image from internet)   

Monday, January 27, 2014

"How It Is"--Poem by Dorothy 

How It Is

Don’t tell me that when the angels
listen to Beethovan (say his Concert for clavier,
violin, and viola) –that they don’t dance around
in heavenly spirals,
become their ultimate selves.
Or when Brahms’ German Requiem begins to play,
that they don’t move in procession
around the throne,
ranks and files
in proper order.

How else account for that sweet honey
that flows down to us
when the music
begins to play?

How explain
what it is
that then enters
and claims us?

For a moment
we too float above
as if we were
angels alongside
the others.
And then for a brief time
we are more
than we are.

Dorothy Walters
January 25-27. 2014

(Picture: How it looked from my window this morning.  It snowed all last night and
all day today--but of course, still not as much as other parts of the country are experiencing.)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Deep Inquiry by Gangaji 

Deep Inquiry: Not for the Faint of Heart
by Gangaji

Authentic spiritual inquiry reveals the joy of fresh insights and revelation, just as artistic or scientific inquiry does, but if we cling to the latest insight as a thing we know, that thing grows stale.

To be of real spiritual value, inquiry must be alive and fresh. Regardless of what we remember or have discovered from the past, each time we truly inquire, we return to not knowing what the outcome will or should be. No doctrine is needed for discovery. No concepts of multiplicity, duality, or non-duality are needed. In fact, we must put aside all of our doctrines and concepts for our inquiry. All that is needed is the willingness to be unattached to the outcome, conscious, and truthful.
Deep inquiry is not for the fainthearted or weak-minded. It is for those who are ready and willing, regardless of fears and discomforts. It is the challenge and invitation to mature. It is the invitation to give up past reliance on others' discoveries while allowing those discoveries to encourage and even push us into our own inquiry.

Inquiry is not a coping mechanism. It is not present in human consciousness to provide certainty or comfort, except the sublime certainty that one has the capacity to discover truth for oneself. It is a stretching mechanism. It calls on the mind to stretch beyond its known frontiers, and in this way inquiry is support for maturing and evolving the soul. It frees us from the need to define ourselves to experience being ourselves. It is both humbling and a source of profound joy, but it does not provide a neat package of new definitions and stories.

The challenge in inquiry is to be willing to directly discover what exists with no reference points. Inquiry is no small challenge, for it requires facing the death of the inner and outer worlds as they have been constructed with no knowledge of what will take their place. We have the experience of releasing our constructed world when we fall into sleep, and we cherish and need this experience for our well-being on all levels.

The challenge of inquiry appears in releasing the constructed world while remaining conscious.
- Gangaji

(picture found on internet)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"When Death Comes"--Mary Oliver 

(This is one of my all time favorite poems and, though I have printed it earlier, I could not resist publishing it again.)

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

~ Mary Oliver ~

(New and Selected Poems, Volume I)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Cave Fire," poem by Birrell Walsh 

Cave Fire

In the bottom
of the cave
of the heart,
build a little fire
keep a little fire,
that it might
give you joy.
And alloy
with darkness the light,
that from the tending of it
any ending, any start
can be lit
by the light
from the fire
at the bottom
of the cave
of your heart.

(image via Birrell Walsh)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Indra's Net 

"The Net of Indra is a profound and subtle metaphor for the structure of reality. Imagine a vast net; at each crossing point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly clear and reflects all the other jewels in the net, the way two mirrors placed opposite each other will reflect an image ad infinitum. The jewel in this metaphor stands for an individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a cell or an atom. Every jewel is intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight, in every other jewel."
Stephen Mitchell--"The Enlightened Mind"

Alan Watts expressed this notion as follows:
"Imagine a multidimensional spider's web in the early morning covered with dew drops. And every dew drop contains the reflection of all the other dew drops. And, in each reflected dew drop, the reflections of all the other dew drops in that reflection. And so ad infinitum. That is the Buddhist conception of the universe in an image." –Alan Watts

Many in modern science agree with this view.  Today, these scientists often use the
term hologram to refer to the phenomenon by which the part can replicate
the whole, no matter how small the sample.

If we carry our thoughts on this further, we might conclude that each of
us carries the interior pattern of all the rest, including both the human and
"material" sphere.  This notion, in turn, reinforces the idea of the "field" in
which all of us and everything in our universe is contained.  Thus the "I am you" experience becomes real in a literal sense.  And we might even add that each of us, in this view, is merely a small portion of a larger reality which, perhaps, expands into infinity.

(picture from internet)

Our unique nature is that we are--as far as we know know--the only element
of the totality which is aware of itself as a member of the larger unit, and
conscious of the vast cosmos (or at least portions of it) in which we are contained.

Kundalini, as cosmic energy, runs through all of these individual parts, but
we alone (again as far as we know) are the only members of the "net" who
can possess awareness of the role it plays.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Rilke--from Ninth Duino Elegy (excerpt) 

Ninth Duino Elegy

Praise the world to the angel: leave the unsayable aside.
Your exalted feelings do not move him.
In the universe, where he feels feelings, you are a beginner.
Therefore show him what is ordinary, what has been
shaped from generation to generation, shaped by hand and eye.
Tell him of things.  He will stand still in astonishment,
the way you stood by the ropemaker in Rome
or beside the potter on the Nile.
Show him how happy a thing can be, how innocent and ours,
how even a lament takes pure form,
serves as a thing, dies as a thing,
while the violin, blessing it, fades.

Rainer Rilke

(image from internet)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Barbara Marx Hubbard presentation on internet 

(from the Shift Network):

Barbara Marx Hubbard--presentation

Call-in phone number:
+1 (425) 440-5100 or any of the numbers listed here
Your access code (PIN):
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
5:30pm US Pacific / 8:30pm US Eastern
(click here to find your local time)

What lies beyond our current stage of human evolution?

How does this connect to what Jesus, Buddha and other great avatars and mystics have revealed about our higher potential?

And how do we begin to translate the truth of Oneness into new forms of wholeness, in community and social organization?

If you are curious about these questions and what they reveal about your own evolutionary journey, we have an important call event for you with Barbara Marx Hubbard.

Barbara is not only one of the most beloved visionaries of our day, she is also deeply committed to taking the next evolutionary leap and sharing all that she is learning as she finds herself “birthing” herself anew at the age of 84.

Barbara has publicly committed to go “all the way” in this lifetime, which has resulted in remarkable revelations about our further evolution as a human species as new truths emerge through her experience and those around her.

In this special call event, Barbara will share the leading edge of what she’s beginning to understand about our further evolution as humans, which requires integration of all levels of our being, including the universal, non-local “light body.”

She has started to experience this integration through the practice of an evolutionary “pod” formation with a small group of committed allies. This pod formation is deeper than she has ever experienced, where she feels that each individual’s essence and soul’s purpose connect and cocreate on the inner plane with such brilliance and revelation that it feels as though the “pod” is forming a new membrane of intelligence, like a multi-human whole, far greater than the sum of its parts. She wants to share this experience as widely as she can.

Whereas many mystical teachers emphasize the individual seeker’s felt sense of union with God, Barbara has been learning at a deeper level what happens in a field of communion where two or more are gathered in a state of resonance, integrating the Impulse of Evolution, or Spirit-in-action. within themselves and together as a micro-whole being or system.

This state creates a field in which we can incarnate higher aspects of ourselves.

When Jesus’ disciples experienced the Pentecost and began speaking in tongues with each other, Barbara believes that they entered en masse into such a state of holy resonance that then resulted in remarkable transformations of their being, inspiring the rest of their teaching mission.

She believes this was not a singular historical event but a foreshadowing of what has happened in small ways throughout history, and can eventually become a more wide scale phenomenon, where we open to a field of grace as a community.

This state of heightened potential gives us glimpses of where we are going next on our evolutionary journey, where we literally activate a new level of embodiment – something that has been chronicled in detail with many Eastern teachers and masters as well. Sometimes called the Rainbow Body, this is an elevated form of the human body, where we start to incarnate higher frequencies of light.

This state requires releasing the resistance, judgment and fear that prevent its natural unfolding...the shift from ego to essence. It also seems to require a full balancing of masculine and feminine energies and a loving integration of all levels of our being.

Barbara’s experiences and insights into what is beginning to birth in her are quite remarkable and illuminate our own journey into the next level of expressing our divinity.

Some see the process of integration as incarnating Christ consciousness, some call it becoming the Divine Human, but perhaps it is most accurate to think of it as a “new normal” for those of us who want to be pioneers and begin to live in a new way, fully connected with our divine potential.

What is clear is that integrating aspects of this higher octave of our being HAS been demonstrated by historical mystics and that we are getting closer to being able to replicate this in a wider way.

Barbara’s detailed chronicling of her own process of metamorphosis – which has led her to feel “newborn” in her mid-eighties – offers us a remarkable window into the evolutionary journey for all of us, as well as powerful new ways to open to spiritual illumination.

Join us for Barbara’s latest insights into the human evolutionary frontier, which can inspire new possibilities for your own evolution.


Receive our Shift Catalyst e-zine, program & event notices.

About Barbara Marx Hubbard

Deepak Chopra refers to her as “the voice for conscious evolution ...” She is the subject of Neale Donald Walsch’s book, The Mother of Invention. And many would agree she is the global ambassador for conscious change.

At her heart, Barbara Marx Hubbard is a visionary, a social innovator. She is an evolutionary thinker who believes that global change happens when we work collectively and selflessly for the greater good. She realizes that the lessons of evolution teach us that problems are evolutionary drivers, and crises precede transformation, giving a new way of seeing and responding to our global situation.

As a prolific author and educator, Barbara has written seven books on social and planetary evolution. She has produced, hosted, and contributed to countless documentaries seen by millions of people around the world. In conjunction with the Shift Network, Barbara co-produced the worldwide “Birth 2012” multi-media event that was seen as a historic turning point in exposing the social, spiritual, scientific, and technological potential in humanity.

In 1984 her name was placed in nomination for the Vice Presidency of the United States on the Democratic ticket, calling for a “Peace Room” to scan for, map, connect and communicate what is working in America and the world. She also co-chaired a number of Soviet-American Citizen Summits, introducing a new concept called “SYNCON” to foster synergistic convergence with opposing groups. In addition she co-founded the World Future Society, and the Association for Global New Thought.

Barbara Marx Hubbard is not an idealist, nor does she believe that social and planetary change is simple. But she does believe that humanity has the tools, fortitude, and resolve to take the leap towards conscious evolution.

(picture from internet)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Billy Collins--Shoveling Snow with Buddha 

Shoveling Snow With Buddha

In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over a mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot,
a model of concentration.

Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word
for what he does, or does not do.

Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm or slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?

But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.
And with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.

This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.

He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.

All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside his generous pocket of silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.

After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?

Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck.
and our boots stand dripping by the door.

Aaah, says the Buddha, lifting his eyes
and leaning for a moment on his shovel
before he drives the thin blade again
deep into the glittering white snow.

~ Billy Collins ~

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Jay Ramsay--"Places of Truth" 

(Here is a note from Jay Ramsay):

dear friends,
this (Places of Truth) is now available direct from Amazon on the link below; updated from the original 2009 edition, now including the sequence in the Sinai Desert commissioned by the Makhad Trust and Danny Schmulevitch, our desert guide, in support of the Bedouin people there who were our hosts.

The previous sequences which culminate in 'Sinai' are: 'Twyn Meditations', 'By the Shores of Loch Awe','The Oak', 'The Sacred Way' (written for Martin Palmer's Sacred Britain), 'Culbone', and 'The Mountain'. I do hope you enjoy it—

warm wishes


(Note: this book is a series of poems dedicated to sacred places in England and elsewhere.)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Delightful Odors 

One experience that many report after Kundalini awakening, is smelling wondrous odors during meditation.  I have had such an experience only once before, when visiting a sacred spiritual center (Yogananda's ashram) in southern California.  This center, poised on the top of a cliff, includes a beautiful garden located to one side.  The garden contains wondrous odors, and that in itself was not surprising.  But when I left the site and descended into the town below, the lovely scent followed me and then continued for some half hour or so as I wandered through the village.

That experience occurred years ago and I have not experienced it since--until Friday.
Our presenter at the group devoted to exploration of "peripheral" topics explained that he had had a Kundalini awakening many years ago.  Convinced that over 99% of the universe is made up of energy, he has devoted his life to researching energy itself and crafting items that utilize the effects of sacred geometry in jewelry that one can hold or wear. When he passed around some of his creations, I held one--two tiny interlocked rings that were infused with sacred vibrations.  As I cradled them between my palms, I sensed one of the most delightful odors I have ever experienced.  It is, of course, impossible to describe such olfactory sensations, but what I smelled seemed to be a blend of some unknown spice with some other equally unknown perfume.  I could have sat there and enjoyed my sensory "fix" all afternoon but I knew that others awaited their turn.

Friday, January 10, 2014

"The Return," poem by Geneen Marie Haugen 


Someday, if you are lucky,
you’ll return from a thunderous journey
trailing snake scales, wing fragments
and the musk of Earth and moon.
Eyes will examine you for signs
of damage, or change
and you, too, will wonder
if your skin shows traces of fur, or leaves,
if thrushes have built a nest
of your hair, if Andromeda
burns from your eyes.
Do not be surprised by prickly questions
from those who barely inhabit
their own fleeting lives, who barely taste
their own possibility, who barely dream.
If your hands are empty, treasureless,
if your toes have not grown claws,
if your obedient voice has not
become a wild cry, a howl,
you will reassure them. We warned you,
they might declare, there is nothing else,
no point, no meaning, no mystery at all,
just this frantic waiting to die.
And yet, they tremble, mute,
afraid you’ve returned without sweet
elixir for unspeakable thirst, without a fluent dance or holy language
to teach them, without a compass
bearing to a forgotten border where
no one crosses without weeping
for the terrible beauty of galaxies
and granite and bone. They tremble,
hoping your lips hold a secret,
that the song your body now sings
will redeem them, yet they fear
your secret is dangerous, shattering,
and once it flies from your astonished
mouth, they–like you–must disintegrate
before unfolding tremulous wings.

Geneen Marie Haugen

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Pain and the Journey 

Your Particular Pain

One of the major insights in Evelyn Underhill's great work "Mysticism" (an essential guide for anyone on a deep spiritual path) is that there are times of despair as well as joy on the journey.  These "dark nights" can occur even after the period of initial awakening and exultation.  Sometimes these "dry spells" are even more painful than the original dark night which precedes awakening, for they occur after the soul has "tasted" God.  The aspirant feels that somehow she has failed a critical test, and has been found to be unworthy as a candidate for Divine Love.
These periods of pain and separation are apparently inevitable and occur even in the lives of the saints themselves.  Often they occur following a time of "highs."  (Spiritual hangover?)  However, they are generally temporary, and the familiar state of oneness will likely return before too long.

Hold on to your particular pain.
That too can take you to God.

Only a moment ago
I was floating beneath
in their flower scent.

Now I am standing
in a desert,
where nothing blooms
and no sound is heard.

I do not know
how I got here,
when I may leave.

Now all I really want to do
is to try to remember
all that has passed between us,
and kneel and weep.

Dorothy Walters
January 9, 2024

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Passing of Chloe 

                                 (photo of Young Chloe, by Stephanie Marohn)

My dear friend Stephanie Marohn has recently moved to the "Gold Country" in eastern California (the Sierras).  She now lives with her beloved animals there in a well fenced acreage where all can relax and roam and be happy.  I visited her in her new home while I was in California over Christmas, and was able to see Chloe, her beloved sheep of many years, as the later entered her final days.  While I was there, Chloe (who had been unable to get up alone or even eat) suddenly seemed reinvigorated--she got up and walked around her pen, and even ate hay.  But she seemed distracted, moving often in circles.  She died a few days later.
It seems that this behavior is consistent with that of many humans as they near death.  They suddenly acquire new energy, as if they are infused with renewed strength and will to live.  There is actually a name for this phenomenon (I ran across it once in the writings of Kathryn Anne Porter) but I have never been able to locate it since.  If anyone happens to know what it is, I would appreciate being informed.

Here is Stephanie's account of what happened--to her, Chloe was like a beloved child.

Stephanie Marohn - Sanctuary News

Hi Dorothy

Sad news. Chloe passed on Friday, January 3 at noon. Her body just couldn't carry her any farther, though her will to live was strong. I take comfort in the happiness of her life.

One of the founding members of the sanctuary, she was only a month old when she arrived with her beloved mother, Queenmere, and another relative, Charlotte. Her cousin Wonder was born 2 months later and the family lived in loving togetherness. Chloe was the last of that original Columbian flock. Like her mother, she lived to be 14 years old, which is an advanced age for a sheep. With the arrival of the new young flock, Chloe stepped into the queenly leadership her mother modeled so well. The flock looked to Chloe as the leader to the very end, despite her increasing frailty.

On Friday, when the other sheep came back from their grazing to where Chloe had been lying in her final days and found her gone, they all set up a baaing, and Fleur-de-Lys, her adopted daughter, went all around the barn looking for her. Since then, they and the donkeys have been standing on Chloe's grave often.

I am thankful that Chloe made it to our new home, got to enjoy it for nearly 4 months, and be buried here so we can visit her grave.

Queen Chloe, we all miss you, but you will be in our hearts forever.

Stephanie and the animals
For more about my sanctuary: Animal Messenger Sanctuary

  Check out my book,
What the Animals Taught Me:
Stories of Love and Healing
from a Farm Animal Sanctuary

Stephanie Marohn | PO Box 752 | Mountain Ranch | CA | 95246-0752

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

poem by John O'Donohue 

For a New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

~ John O'Donohue ~

(To Bless the Space Between Us)

Monday, January 06, 2014

San Francisco and a beautiful poem by Rafael Jesus Gonzalez  

I just returned from a delightful holiday visit to San Francisco.  The trip was packed with wondrous adventures, including, among others, the Smuin Ballet (terrific), the "Her Church" (where I read a poem), Matisse and David Hockney at the museums, a visit to Stephanie Marohn's animal sanctuary in the Gold Country, a constant round of Asian and other cuisine, and, of course, time spent with my closest friends who live there.
The trip was also marked with various interesting synchronicities.   Here is one:  My friend Karen and I were scheduled to meet Stephanie for dinner after the afternoon ballet performance, but she had to cancel.  We decided instead to drop by the near at hand tea shop for a bite to eat.  The tea restaurant was quite full, but we were offered places at the counter, and we took these.  While we sat there, I began to chat with the woman next to me, and after about three minutes she said, "Are you Dorothy?"  I was quite startled by this, since I did not recognize her and I know only a handful of people in San Francisco. Then she explained that I had done a poetry reading a few years ago at a spiritual center where she was co-director.  Furthermore, she was a close friend of Michael Black, beloved friend who was killed by a hit and run driver a few months ago. She was a lovely woman and we were delighted to reconnect in this way.  We agreed that Michael (in spirit form) must have arranged for us to meet in this way and was probably grinning somewhere in the wings.
If any one of the factors mentioned above had been different, our meeting would not have happened.
Here is another synchronicity, not so big, but lots of fun:  As we were driving back from the Gold Country (in eastern California) my friend Karen commented that she was hungry and wished for some Mexican food.  Within three minutes a Mexican restaurant showed up in some little town neither of us had heard of and we had one of the best Mexican dinners you could imagine.
When I flew home, the day was sunny and warm in Colorado.  Next morning the ground was covered in snow (part of the great cold wave that has struck much of the country) and this extreme cold is predicted to remain with us for many, many days.  Fortunately,
I was "stocked up" with canned food and frozen food to last out the storm.

Here is a wonderful poem that I found on my computer when I checked the e-mails:

To My Students

You who can read,
       do not take it for granted;
you who cannot,
       there are worlds, there are gods                                                                                      
       yet to be quickened in your dreams.
The worlds await to form on your tongue,
the gods to tremble in your ears.

These little marks, black as fly-droppings
on the page, and as small,
speak to you - you do not hear.
I cannot tell you the beginning of naming,
only how it changes and magic
sparks and sputters at the base of the skull.
I do not know if there is answer;
perhaps our speaking is enough.
         Men have died always alone;
these small blemishes on the page
their final legacy.
         Do not lose them,
these the enchanted cinders
of our stars.

            - Rafael Jesus Gonzalez

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