Tuesday, February 28, 2017
As many of you you know, Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of "Eat, Pray, Love," the best selling book which became a famous movie. At the end of the movie, the central character finds her true love (male) on a Pacific Island. Elizabeth has recently "come out" as the loving partner of Rayya, long her best female friend. Of course, we applaud her courage and her honesty. Good for you, Elizabeth. And "welcome to the club."
As for me, I "came out" many years ago, long before being gay got popular. However, I have now lived so long alone that I am afraid my membership has expired. My "significant other" is my Beloved Within, who has become an integral part of who I am.
Side note: A friend of mine (a confirmed heterosexual) once remarked that there is a sequence for many: She said, "First you get married, then you have your children, then you get your divorce, and then you find your woman partner. It's a developmental stage."
Elizabeth Gilbert's Sept 7th Facebook post)
Dear Ones -
There is something I wish to tell you today — something which I hope and trust you will receive with grace.
This spring, I received news that would change my life forever. My best friend Rayya Elias was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer — a disease for which there is no cure.
In the moment I first learned of Rayya's diagnosis, a trap door opened at the bottom of my heart (a trap door I didn't even know was there) and my entire existence fell straight through that door. From that moment forward, everything became about HER. I cancelled everything in my life that could be cancelled, and I went straight to her side, where I have been ever since.
Many of you already know who Rayya Elias is to me. She's my best friend, yes, but it's always been bigger than that. She's my role model, my traveling companion, my most reliable source of light, my fortitude, my most trusted confidante. In short, she is my PERSON. I have spoken about her so many times on this page, and many of you have heard me speak about her in my speeches, too (such as my "Hummingbird" speech, where I sang her praises with all the love I could muster.) Some of you have even come to see the two of us speaking together on stage, over the years. Anyone who has ever seen us together knows that I am devoted to Rayya. I've never made a secret of it. As Ann Patchett said once of our friendship: "Your love for Rayya has always been writ large."
But something happened to my heart and mind in the days and weeks following Rayya's diagnosis. Death — or the prospect of death — has a way of clearing away everything that is not real, and in that space of stark and utter realness, I was faced with this truth: I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya. And I have no more time for denying that truth. The thought of someday sitting in a hospital room with her, holding her hand and watching her slide away, without ever having let her (or myself!) know the extent of my true feelings for her...well, that thought was unthinkable.
Here is the thing about truth: Once you see it, you cannot un-see it. So that truth, once it came to my heart's attention, could not be ignored.
But what to do with this potentially life-shattering truth?
Now let me tell you something I've learned from Rayya, over the fifteen years of our friendship. She is the most brave and honest person I know, and she has taught me more about courage and honesty than anyone I have ever met. Here is her mantra on truth, which I've heard her express so many times over the years, in so many difficult situations:
"The truth has legs; it always stands. When everything else in the room has blown up or dissolved away, the only thing left standing will always be the truth. Since that's where you're gonna end up anyway, you might as well just start there."
So I did what Rayya has taught me to do: I just started there. I spoke my truth aloud.
For those of you who are doing the math here, and who are wondering if this situation is why my marriage came to an end this spring, the simple answer is yes. (Please understand that I cannot say anything more about it than that. I trust you are all sensitive enough to understand how difficult this has been. As David Foster Wallace once wrote: "The truth will set you free — but not until it's had its way with you." Yes, it has been hard. Yes, the truth has had its way with us. And yes, the truth still stands.)
So. Here is where we stand now: Rayya and I are together. I love her, and she loves me. I'm walking through this cancer journey with her, not only as her friend, but as her partner. I am exactly where I need to be — the only place I can be.
The reason I haven't yet spoken publicly about me and Rayya is because we (and our families) have needed this cocoon of privacy over these last few months, as we face all and process all these massive changes and challenges.
So why am I speaking publicly about this now?
Because — for better or worse — I am someone who lives her life in the public eye. This summer has been an essential period of silence, healing, and incubation for us. I have needed that time, and I've been grateful to have it. But summer is over. I have work to do in the world — work that I can't put off anymore. I will be out and about in a very public way again over the next few weeks and months. People will be looking at me again. And when people look at me, they will inevitably see me with Rayya, because — as God is my witness — whenever Rayya is healthy enough to be by my side, she will be by my side. (Trust me: We will not be wasting a moment of our time together, for as much time as we are given.)
For reasons of my own integrity and sanity, I need to be able to walk into any room in the world with Rayya on my arm, feeling relaxed enough to stand comfortably in simple openness about who we actually are to each other. If I can't be my true self (whether at home in privacy, or out there in the world in public) then things will very quickly get messy and weird and stupid in my life. Sure, I could pretend that Rayya is still just my best friend, but that would be…you know... pretending. Pretending is demeaning, and it makes you weak and confused, and it's also a lot of work. I don't do that kind of work anymore.
Here's what it comes down to for me: I need to live my life in truth and transparency, even more than I need privacy, or good publicity, or prudence, or other people's approval or understanding, or just about anything else. Truth and transparency not only make my life more ethical, but also easier. (Why easier? Because untruth is always complicating, and truth — no matter what the consequences — is always strangely simplifying.) So that is why Rayya and I have decided together to speak up publicly now — both about her cancer and about our love for each other. It's for the sake of our own integrity, but it's also intended to make our lives simpler.
As for what I am asking from you, in response to my truth?
Let me begin by saying what I am not asking for. If any of you kind souls out there are tempted right now to send me or Rayya information about treatments or cures for pancreatic or liver cancer...I gently and respectfully beg you to restrain yourselves. (One thing you discover when a loved one has cancer is that EVERYBODY has either a miracle story or a horror story about cancer that they are desperate to tell you. Rayya and I are already drowning in all these stories of special diets, amazing clinics, terrible doctors, new trials, cautionary tales… I understand that people only want to help, but please don't overwhelm us with any more data, ok? Rayya has chosen her path through this illness, and she is strong in her choices. Thank you for caring, though!)
But here is what I will ask for: Because I believe in love, I will ask for love.
Whatever extra love you might be carrying around in your hearts right now, could you direct some this way? I would appreciate it so much, and — trust me — it will be felt. And it will help. We will resonate with it, and we will thank you for it. Because truth is the force that guides us to where we need to be in life, but love is the power that heals us once we arrive there.
Peace, blessings, and health to all.
(Image from internet)
Monday, February 27, 2017
A Morning Surprise
This morning, as I stood in my dressing room and prepared to brush my teeth and get ready for the day, I decided to try something different. I took a whiff of my favorite essential oil (frankincense and amber) to see if it would offer a moment of relaxation, as it often does. I immediately felt my shoulders go down in a more relaxed pose, but then I felt something more. To my surprise, I began to feel bliss, here and there, in this area and then that. What started as nearly imperceptible joy (stroked gently by a feather?) grew until I was feeling deep delight everywhere I moved my hands (again, never touching). I continued this sweet practice for about thirty minutes, about the maximum time I can easily stand.
This lovely experience led me to contemplate, once more, the difference between asana yoga as sacred practice and yoga as secular exercise. Of course, the latter has many benefits. It revivifies and tones the body in marvelous ways. It gives you more energy, makes you more loving toward your fellows, and makes you stronger and healthier.
But true yoga has none of these as its purpose. The word "yoga" is generally interpreted to mean "yoke" or "joining." But what is yoked or joined? Done with the right attitude, it is the small self uniting with the large Self, human connecting to the divine. To achieve this state, it is essential to have the Kundalini awake and functioning in harmony with the great life force that creates and inanimates the universe. It is at that point that we know what we truly are––a tiny particle in the Great Bliss that is called God/Goddess, the ultimate reality. The corollary of this is the realization that we, in fact, do not exist as separate beings, for It and we are one, in the way a droplet is part of the ocean wave. Many are angry and deeply disappointed at this idea, for in them the "ego" (sense of separate self) is strong. However, I believe that our energetic body (subtle body) survives mortal death, and so we may reappear in new packaging as humans or other astral beings again.
Does what is called "Kundalini yoga" awaken Kundalini? I have my doubts, but have had others who have practiced it claim otherwise. Is "hot yoga" actually yoga or just a form of exercise? Yoga was created in a very hot climate, where I think it was especially suited for slow movements, held for sufficient time to allow one to feel a spiritual connections to the unknown gods. Remember, in ancient times in India and elsewhere there were ceremonies specifically designed to summon the gods. I suspect that their arrival involved not so much a physical manifestation as deep ecstatic feelings within, such as can be known (to some extent) even today through slow and thoughtful movement.
Alas, some yoga teachers today do not even know the history of yoga, its purpose or intended divine nature. They do good in the world, but not that which was the original intention.
One more thought: I believe that the origins of the actual asanas of yoga, as well as the movements of such practices as chi gong or tai chi, came about because the ancient practitioners found that certain bodily postures awakened bliss, and thus these became the favored forms. Today the emphasis is often on doing the forms correctly, not feeling the energies they were created to arouse. Once the movements were codified, they often lost their original shakti and became rituals empty of inner joy.
I consider experiences such as I had this morning to be a form of yoga, for they reinforce one's sense of connection to that which is most sacred and most mysterious in human experience. Anything (music, nature, art, poetry) that arouses this feeling is also yoga, the ultimate connection to the unseen divine.
February 27, 2017
YOUR TRUE HOME
Each one of us is alone in the world. It takes great courage to meet the full force of your aloneness. Most of the activity in society is subconsciously designed to quell the voice crying in the wilderness within you. Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging, with which you will only become empty and weary. When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen. Gradually, the sense of bleakness changes into a sense of true belonging. This is a slow and open-ended transition but it is utterly vital in order to come into rhythm with your own individuality. It is the endless task of finding your true home within your life. It is not narcissistic, for as soon as you rest in the home of your own heart, doors and windows begin to open outwards to the world. Your connections with others become real and creative. You no longer need to scrape affirmation from others or from projects outside yourself. This is slow work; it takes years to bring your mind home.
from ETERNAL ECHOES
This reflection by John O'donahue points to a truth that many of us try in vain to ignore. Social pressures are always great––to force us to "join the crowd," to be "one of the boys (or girls)." Going against that current carries a heavy price. If we do not conform to the expectations of our society, we are considered odd or strange or even somewhat deluded. As children, we are relegated to the role of outsider. As adults, we are seen as persons who reflect discredit on our families and communities. The result is that we are forced to hide our true natures and act in ways that "do not make other people nervous."
Yet, we persist. As one of Flannery O'Connor's characters comments (a mother observing her eccentric daughter) "Every year she gets more like herself and less like other people."
But it is such non-conformists who contribute what is most valuable in our society. These are the creators, the pioneers, the ones who defy the accepted ideas of the times to formulate new paradigms, produce new forms of art, new ways of being. The others, lagging behind, may resist such novelties for a time, but eventually even they may catch up and seek to learn from their brothers and sisters who moved ahead and now become the invaluable teachers of those who were so slow to change.
Someone said, "Revolutions are never won. The opponents simply die off.
P.S. As the nonconformists mature they will encounter more and more friends and acquaintances who are much like them. They will recognize and support one another. At last, they will have found their tribe.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
(A few years ago, as Nancy Rynes was riding her bike on a Colorado mountain road, she was run over by a truck and dragged. As a result, she experienced a Near Death Experience that she describes in her book "Awakenings from the Light." She entered a beautiful landscape, felt overwhelming love, and heard an indescribable heavenly music, sounds unlike anything heard on earth. The following account is taken from her newsletter. She includes a youtube site that plays music much like what she heard. I find that her story is one of the most fascinating I read about the ND Experience.)
The Music of Heaven
It's the moment after you leave your earthly life and you're about to take your first step in that spiritual realm some call "heaven." Perhaps a loved one is beside you, or maybe an angel, or even God. But you stop for a moment, totally entranced by what seems like a glorious sound. Music, but music unlike anything you've ever heard on earth.
It's as if a billion beautiful and harmonious voices sing an ethereal melody that overlays an orchestra of gentle-sounding instruments that you cannot identify. Each voice in the chorus harmonizes with the rest, yet each is subtly different, too. Each individual, yet each a beautiful part of the whole. You can't make out the words they sing but somehow that doesn't matter. The music carries with it incredible love, peace, and joy that gently enters your spirit-body and cradles every bit of your being in its embrace.
You know without a doubt that you are home.
What IS the music that so many people report hearing during a near-death experience?
We've heard reports of this heavenly music for millennia. It's not just those who died and came back who talk about the "angelic chorus." Hospice workers, physicians, nurses, caregivers of dying family members, those who are terminally ill, and many more report hearing this unearthly music.
I can tell you from my own experience that heaven's music is unforgettable, indescribable, and has spoiled my love for most earthly song that I enjoyed before my time in heaven. But something you might not know is that I also heard heaven's chorus in November of 2000, fourteen years before my own experience of death.
It was early in the morning of November 12, 2000, when I got the call that my father had passed. It wasn't a surprise -- he had been battling cancer for seven years and had slipped into a coma almost a week prior to his passing. I lived five hours away via automobile so by the time I arrived at my parents' home, it was about 10 AM. I opened the front door to enter their home and as the door swung open I heard a tremendous chorus of joyful, loving, ethereal voices. I started crying...I didn't know what I was hearing but nevertheless, it affected me deeply. At first I thought one of my family members had some music playing on the stereo but when I walked inside the home I saw my mother and brother, somber, in shock, and crying. But no music played on any stereo or radio. I felt confused and figured I was making it all up due to my own grief and shock. Remember, it was at this point in my life that I was an atheist so I didn't believe in anything like angels or God.
Many years later I also heard this chorus during my own time in heaven in January of 2014. Many other NDErs come back talking of angelic music, too. It seems to be one of the defining characteristics of near-death experiences.
What is that music, and what does it sound like?
When I asked my heavenly guide what it was, she explained that the "music" wasn't exactly music as we on earth would define it. Heaven's music is beyond physical sound.
Heaven's song is the collective heart-voices of the angels, masters, and other souls sending their love, gratitude, and joy back to Spirit. Heaven's song also contains the underlying "sound" or vibration of Divine love that flows out to all beings, everywhere.
Heaven's song is the vibration of Divine love, gratitude, and joy that suffuses the spiritual realm.
Because our spirit-bodies are not physical and don't have ears like our human bodies do, the senses that we're familiar with on earth don't really apply. Things overlap. We feel emotion almost as a forcefield. We see many layers of energy to all things, and perhaps down to the subatomic level. Feelings have color. Sounds have visuals. And the vibration of love and gratitude gets perceived as music (which is, after all, simply another type of vibration).
Now for the hard part...what does heaven's music actually sound like?
This is the closest I have been able to find...but still, it doesn't have quite the depth or breadth of what I heard:
The other challenge we humans have in trying to recreate this music is that there aren't physical instruments like pianos or violins in heaven. That being said, the above music on YouTube should give you a basic idea of what I heard.
Wishing you heavenly love,
Friday, February 24, 2017
". . .each sound of the Sanskrit alphabet has a corresponding vibration in our body. . . Each sound then triggers an impulse within the body.
Linda Madani (Intuitive FlowI)
Body a sounding board.
Frequencies of bliss
pulsating in joy.
Always, it is as though
I am on the verge
a secret about to be
a code designed
to unlock a key.
lost over centuries,
in the blood,
Always, it is this mystery,
an oboe trying
Who will unravel
Who will whisper
what I long for
now in this
February 22, 2017
(image from internet)
Thursday, February 23, 2017
On Listening to Sanskrit from a Swami on Youtube
in strong deep
I listen intently, understand
are at play
in my body,
shivers of delight.
I am one
February 22, 2017
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
I have never had a spiritual teacher or guide (in terms of energetic awakening experiences.) Nor have I ever found anyone who could explain to me the various states I have encountered along the way, from the intense ecstasy of the beginning to the more subtle states of recent years. Thus I have been, of necessity, a "solitary practitioner," exploring more and more delicate stages of bliss, guided only by the "guru within," the every present consciousness of the higher self, leading me always into higher and higher states of awareness, softer and more tender as the years have passed.
To my surprise, I continue to have "surprise visits" from the goddess, experiences of grace and connection through bliss to the divine reality that is the great mystery.
A few days ago I had another such surprise, in a way still new to me. I was listening to a Youtube recital of Indian music by Ty Burhoe, when my head and its surroundings opened to sweet and tender bliss. I intuitively raised my arms and as they extended upwards, the field of delight continued to expand. Ultimately, I moved my hands down my entire body (never touching), and as I did, the waves of joy entered each area of my being.
Then, a few days later, I was simply standing in my kitchen, contemplating breakfast, when I felt bliss in the lower chakras (unusual for me). I had heard a talk the day before on opening the third eye and wondered if I could send my this first and second energy to my head and to the location of the third eye (pineal gland). And this did happen. I first felt the sweet energies rise and surround my head, then they seemed to enter and locate a place I took for the pineal gland. All was very sensuous, very sweet.
My question is this: What is going on here? Am I stroking my aura when I move my hands in circles near my body or what? To me, all this is still a mystery, one that I am grateful for but cannot explain. I have never heard of anyone having similar experiences.
If anyone has any thoughts on or knowledge of these phenomena, I would like to hear from you. I feel the bliss is a way of entering divine connection, but the rest is mystery.
The Secret Lover
Stroke of feather on flesh, not flesh.
Touch of silk on body, not body.
Light playing over water, not water.
Each movement, breath, ananda.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Shivaratri, the most blessed night for celebrating Shiva, the Auspicious One, is Friday, February 24th this year. I remember saptahs, 7 days and nights of continuously chanting Om Namah Shivaya, with Baba Muktananda in Ganeshpuri, India, culminating in Shivaratri. Thousands of devotees filled the ashram and the divine name permeated all times, all places, including every cell of your body. Such intoxication! Such nectar! Such ecstasy! The rapturous awareness of pure I-Consciousness, the boundless all-embracing Consciousness of the Infinite One - Shiva, dissolves the illusion of any sense of separation from the Divine.
May all who hear the name of Shiva, all who repeat the name of Shiva, know their unbreakable union with the Auspicious One! Om Namah Shivaya!
Shakti, the great Goddess, is inseparable from Shiva. One can't know Shiva without the grace of Shakti. All forms of Shiva, whether mantra, yantra, lingam, Nataraj, icons, or even the entire universe, all are created by Her. Those who dissolve all forms into the formless One come to know the imperturbable union of Shiva and Shakti.
(above from Lawrence Edwards, Kalidasa)
by Jnaneshwar Maharaj
I offer obeisance to [Shiva and Shakti],
The limitless primal parents of the universe.
They are not entirely the same,
Nor are they not the same.
We cannot say exactly what they are.
How sweet is their union!
The whole world is too small to contain them,
Yet they live happily in the smallest particle.
These two are the only ones
Who dwell in this home called the universe.
When the Master of the house sleeps,
The Mistress stays awake,
And performs the functions of both.
When He awakes, the whole house disappears,
And nothing at all is left.
Two lutes: one note.
Two flowers: one fragrance.
Two lamps: one light.
Two lips: one word.
Two eyes: one sight.
These two: one universe.
In unity there is little to behold;
So She, the mother of abundance,
Brought forth the world as play.
He takes the role of Witness
Out of love of watching Her.
But when Her appearance is withdrawn,
The role of Witness is abandoned as well.
He assumes the form of the universe;
He is left naked.
If night and day were to approach the Sun,
Both would disappear.
In the same way, their duality would vanish
If their essential Unity were seen.
In fact, the duality of Shiva and Shakti
Cannot exist in that primal unitive state
From which AUM emanates.
They are like a stream of knowledge
From which a knower cannot drink
Unless he gives up himself.
Is the sound of AUM divided into three
Simply because it contains three letters?
Or is the letter 'N' divided into three
because of the three lines by which it is formed?
So long as Unity is undisturbed,
And a graceful pleasure is thereby derived,
Why should not the water find delight
In the floral fragrance of its own rippled surface?
It is in this manner I bow
To the inseparable Shiva and Shakti.
A man returns to himself
When he awakens from sleep;
Likewise, I have perceived the God and Goddess
By waking from my ego.
When salt dissolves,
It becomes one with the ocean;
When my ego dissolved,
I became one with Shiva and Shakti.
Rendered into English by Sw. Abhayananda
(post received from the Anam Cara Newsletter, Laurence Edwards PHD, also known as Kalidasa. Although I am not an official member of any group or organization, I identify strongly with the lineage of Muktananda, which is, I believe that of Kashmiri Shivaism.)
Note: Jnaneshvari was a poet/sant (saint) in India in the 13th century. He wrote a commentary on The Bhavagad Gita (known as the Dnyaneshwari) when he was extremely young. This work is still highly respected for its profound interpretations. "The content of Dnyaneshwari reflects a detailed knowledge of kundalini, metaphysics and astrology. The commentary lays importance on God as energy. It emphasizes that although there may be many different living forms, they all breathe oxygen (even fishes under water and reptiles deep inside the earth) and have the same life force within them, which is a part of God, who is energy and intelligence. It states that people can use energy and intelligence to connect with the supreme and provides methodologies to achieve the same." (from Wikipedia)
Monday, February 20, 2017
The God Particle
They call it
the God Particle
They found it
by whirling tiny little bits
of things, not matter,
around in a huge,
After years of effort,
they finally trapped it,
named it the God Particle,
the one they were looking for
that holds everything
Finally, the puzzle was solved.
At last, they knew
had caught it
like an animal,
or a bear
in a device.
a little girl
She sighed as
she felt something within,
something she did not really
have a name for,
it was "ecstasy,"
and she announced as
"See, I am feeling
the God within,
like a wee something circulating
in my blood,
like whatever it is
that holds the world together,
I call it Love."
February 19, 2017
Sunday, February 19, 2017
The fascinating thing about your own journey of transformation is that new experiences, new possibilities of knowing, are constantly arriving.
Here is what happened to me yesterday in a workshop with a lovely Swami from India who has taken up residence in our community. He is a very humble man who does not proselytize or seek adulation but imparts information in a very articulate and convincing way. He is full of love.
As he talked, I saw one and then another form appear beside him. The first resembled him but looked like a sadhu, a bit coarser and darker than he. The second was more modern and even had a mustache. My intuition was that they were speaking through him. Although I have often seen the faces of speakers morph into other countenances, this was the first time I have perceived actual figures manifest (as if in the astral plane, thus vague and fuzzy.)
Swami told me that I did not have to do any specific practices, since I was beyond that stage. I was happy to hear this, since that is how I operate anyway. (I sometimes do "practices" such as mantra or standing movement, but I do these spontaneously and not as part of a regular regimen.) He seemed to have read my thoughts since as he was announcing a meditation darshan for those able to meditate for three or more hours, I was thinking that I would not like to do this. But then when he led us on a short practice to shut out the senses, I went into a state of deep serenity and quiet (no energetic component) and loved it and wished for more. I think this may have been the state of pure consciousness, minus the kind of energetic bliss I usually experience, yet a state of sweet delight as if I and it were indeed one, or rather as if I had entered a state I have often heard described and have never experienced.
I am grateful that such novelty continues to arise, for, among other things, it keeps life interesting and tells us that we are continuing to progress on the path.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
He thinks he is
a king or an old time Russian czar.
He claims he won
when he lost
He says he had a big
at his inauguration,
but the pictures tell
a different story.
He tells us
that he won the most
electoral votes since R. R.,
the facts show otherwise.
He insists that millions
cast illegal ballots,
though no one can
find any evidence.
He describes non existent busses
bringing invisible voters
into a New England state.
No one saw them.
He accuses the press
of hiding many
and gives no proof
or reason why.
He bans millions of
of another religion
in order to keep us safe.
Thus are created untold numbers
of new militants,
now radicalized and intent on revenge.
Gasoline on fire.
He plans to build a wall
that will bankrupt
says another country will pay.
They do not agree.
He tears mothers from families
sending them home
because they are rapists
The children weep.
in charge of mental classifications
he is not mad and says
we should deal with
"by political means."
How do you pass laws
against such notions?
do we embrace?
Alice is back in Wonderland
February 17, 2017
Friday, February 17, 2017
A Handbook to God
This is not something
you have ever imagined.
Don't think of white beards
perched on thrones,
Do not ponder it
or look it up in the dictionary
for precise definitions.
It will be hiding,
maybe in a cottonwood tree
or a budding rose,
a jungle cat
with taut muscles
ready to spring.
It will be speaking
in the cry of the pines
Perhaps at a concert.
Mozart or Bach.
Brahms' German Requiem.
Maybe as you
are brushing your teeth,
doing the laundry.
You will not get
an advance announcement,
no calling card will arrive.
It will be a surprise.
Be still. Let it happen.
Welcome it when it comes,
dance in your cells.
Leave your camera
February 16, 2017
Kindle Book Now Available
Dear Amazon.com Customer,
We're happy to let you know that a Kindle book you previously expressed interest in, "Some Kiss We Want: New and Selected Poems," is now available.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
You thought that you
would be treated like a person.
You thought that you would
as a human being.
someone with needs
Just because you had
for 20 years,
no major transgressions,
no record of
Even though you had worked
for years as a seamstress,
or sometimes at
helping out in the kitchen.
Even though your
now works in a bank
while she finishes her degree,
and the young ones
do well in school.
you might be
a rapist, or
ready to harm
the place where their ancestors settled
so many years ago.
Once your ancestors
owned this land,
they took it away
and now it is theirs.
Now they are building
one very, very high,
to keep us out.
They say it will be
I wonder if there
are walls in heaven.
February 14, 2017
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Hank Wesselman––Becoming a Navigator of Light
I have just listened to a free one hour introduction to Hank Wesselman's upcoming webinar on Shift called "Becoming a Navigator of Light." Hank is himself an experienced shamanic guide. He is extremely articulate and quite familiar with many spiritual traditions, including Zen Buddhism, Tibetan Buddism, Hawaiin kahuna beliefs, as well as shamanism old and new,
Much of what he presented was, to be honest, familiar to me, since I have been involved in spiritual work of various kinds for many years. However, I am always interested in the formulations of such "perennial wisdom" from the perspective of various sources. I like to review the parallels between the many traditions and discover how they are alike or differ.
However, I did learn some things that were new and gave me materials to reflect on. He explained that shamans now living believe that a new form of shamanism is appearing in our world as more and more people are "awakened" to their true nature and thus connect with traditional truths in a new way. This is an essential process for each generation as it formulates its own belief systems in a way appropriate for the times.
I was intersted in his discussion of the various levels of spiritual consciousness, from the lower realms through the bardos and on to the subtle/astral levels (I have always had difficult in distinguishing these.) He described the role of our spirit guides and the councils of the highest level, who consult with us as we forge our soul contracts for each incarnation. He explained our "soul pods," those we meet many times in our various incarnations in differing guises, always learning from these experiences.
All of these and other topics are to be explored in detail in his upcoming webinar. You can read fuller descriptions of the different modules at
Navigators of Light with Hank Wesselman - The Shift Network ...
To listen to the free introduction to the webinar, google his name and that of the webinar, and then sign up to register for this replay of his earlier presentation on Shift Network.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
I can access this through Google Chrome, not through Safari.
Monday, February 13, 2017
For my Friend Who Was Once a Prostitute
We listened in fascination,
wide eyed and gaping, to
How you were the most able of all,
the girl with the strongest parts,
sometimes you could accommodate
several customers in
a single night.
The building where someone of means
once installed you in a deluxe
The time you stayed too long
in a hotel room
until your johns broke in through
to make sure you were
Then you discovered
"Modern Man in Search
of a Soul"
and it changed your life.
You went back to school,
got a student loan
and planned to pay it back
by setting up as an astrologer.
We four met
in a class about the
You read Joseph Campbell,
Jung, William Thompson.
We had a lot in common,
for serious discussion,
I moved to another state
and we all went our separate ways,
You went nearly blind
and got hard to deal with.
Wouldn't move out of your
third floor efficiency
even though you fell a lot
on the street
and kept breaking your bones.
You began to scream at those
who wanted to help you,
called them names until you
drove them away.
Once you were a dance teacher
at the Arthur Murray
Now you live alone,
only a paid social worker
to look in.
You never did get your
off the ground.
you can't even remember
February 11, 2017
A True Confession
by Dorothy Walters
I have a confession to make. It is a secret that I have kept hidden for many years, but I feel that the time has come to be honest with myself and the world and so I am coming clean at last.
I am an addict!
It is true that I am not addicted to such things as alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, caffein, soft drinks, or even food in general. No, it is none of these.
I am addicted to potato chips!
Once a week I go grocery shopping, and when the chips enter my house, I cannot wait to open and devour them. Sometimes I start nibbling even before I have unpacked the other groceries. This uncontrolled behavior lasts until they are all gone (even with the medium size pack I usually buy.) Next day, when I find the bag is empty, I begin to get nervous, pace about the room, "bewail my outcast state" (Shakespeare), turn on the local weather reports as well as the latest tweets from you know who, check my mail, see what the latest appointment disaster is to come out of Washington, and then watch John Colbert on the late night T. V. I have, however, not succumbed to day time programs with their obsession with sex and violence. You must draw the line somewhere.
I have attempted to find substitutes for my obsession. I have tried nuts, celery sticks, organic cream on top yogurt, and guaranteed gluten free chocolate cookies. All to no avail. My inner glutton wants potato chips, preferably kettle fried and seasoned with sea salt.
Actually, my addiction began with a medical prescription. Once when my blood profile revealed that my electrolytes were low, my doctor told me to go home and eat potato chips and drink gatorade. I never got around to the gatorade, but I began eating massive amounts of potato chips. In this way, I got hooked and as years passed, I ate more and more. Clearly, I am not to blame for what the medical profession did to me. I may sue.
That is all I can write for now. I have a new bag of chips in the kitchen, and must go.
February 10, 2017
(Note: I believe that if we can't laugh at ourselves, we are indeed lost. I am pretty sure I was a clown in at least one of my past lives, and thus feel it is necessary to let that aspect of who I am find a voice today.)
Sunday, February 12, 2017
(for all who find they have outlived the rest)
The lovers who left,
flesh on flesh,
And the others,
the fellow who rode
and wore British military
shorts and carried a
What was he trying
to prove, to be?
The commanding presence,
art as religion,
everyone wanted to
died too young.
The gourmet cook,
wore handsome clothes,
vast classical collection,
he never realized he was gay.
The polymath genius who
grew up on a farm,
had lived abroad,
knew owners of
sent note over at Antoine's
(brandy aflame on the table)
surprised the haughty waiter,
tasted and said "not as good as I
expected, but will do,"
talked for hours––history, politics,
literature, art, Dr. Johnson back again––we were spellbound
by his flow, never stopped,
first words likely "and furthermore."
The teacher who had
by the gracious
hand of good,
poetry as sacred practice,
all is infinite mind.
at the outdoor party,
too much wine,
into the stream, naked,
The long time partner,
everyone's big sister,
"I shall be sad
and say nothing."
False true love.
Now, no more amazements,
no heady discourses,
no more tumbling
everyone taller and
no way to tell.
Last one left at the party,
why I am writing these words.
February 12, 2017
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Look to this day
for it is life
the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all
the realities and truths of existence
the joy of growth
the splendor of action
the glory of power.
For yesterday is but a memory
And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived
makes every yesterday a memory
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day....
~ ancient Sanskrit poem
Thursday, February 09, 2017
Dreamers Beneath the Quilts
I can't think, really,
how far we have come
on this road.
Maybe we have travelled
maybe we are still in the same
from which we started,
dreamers beneath the quilts,
imagining they are on a journey.
Yet, how beautiful it has been,
snow quieting the hills,
stunning silences of midnight joy,
yourself awake and yawning,
what an astonishing dream
we have had,
who sent it down,
how it was conceived,
addressing thanks now
"to whom it may concern."
February 9, 2017
Andrew Harvey Offers free Q and A session today for his upcoming course on Shift:
"Turning Anguish into Opportunity"
Thursday, February 9 at 5:00pm Pacific
You can connect by telephone or web phone:
Pin code 498503#
for local connections, go to instantteleseminar.com
Dial in, then enter phone number above followed by pin code
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Men in overalls,
women in sunbonnets,
in the rented fields,
even when the price
of cotton went down.
The night that the mule
even before the neighbor
who had bought it
could come by and retrieve
Sad day for everyone,
especially the mule.
The one from Connecticut
who fought for the colonies
in the very first war.
The one who soldiered
for the South in the war between
the states––moved with a limp
the rest of his days, proof of valor. Walked all
the way home from the final battle,
the family sitting quietly at evening heard
the dogs barking in the yard
and knew he was
alive and come back.
How did they feel?
(Tears for me, memory of return.)
The child who was beaten
and then dropped dead
in the yard soon after,
long ago, before the war,
days of spare the rod.
The grandfather who
went to trial
for murder of opponent
in a fight (acquitted)
white man vs. black,
mean spirited curmudgeon,
lawyer, itinerant Methodist preacher,
heart as hard
as a rock,
turned the pleading
Betty the grandmother,
five young children,
both husbands early dead,
no one knew why,
she pregnant each time,
survival itself now a goal
in the Indian territory,
not yet a state.
Lived in two room
in tiny town,
boys slept on the floor,
chicken every Sunday,
cow for milk,
"the Widow Jones,"
good church going woman
who kept them alive.
Old before her time.
Almost no evidence
of who any were,
penciled list of
petticoat and undies
she made herself,
brought from Ireland.
Coal oil lamps
and outdoor privies,
water from wells,
families in wagons
from miles around,
women aflame with the spirit on fire,
swinging their bonnets
over their heads,
sound of tom toms
a few miles away,
Town celebration Christmas eve,
each child one present,
maybe an apple
or an orange,
rare winter fruit,
if well off
a doll or a toy.
Sunday walks to the river,
young people welcoming the train,
chickens and milk cows,
gardens with sun ripe tomatoes,
unicorn darting across her path,
small white creature, one horn on its head,
what was its name?
Mother was only a child.
The picture of the other
like Wyatt Earp,
style of the times,
image long lost,
wooed the widow with
"Do not mourn for the pearl
that is lost in the sea"
brought over his trunk
from the station
and they were wed,
in the buggy
on their way
to the preacher
he tried to hold her hand
but she withdrew,
left him with her glove,
died when mother
was two years old,
he rocked her
and called her "Doll,"
Who were they, really,
these folks each a necessary link,
random sperm and egg uniting
in the long chain––
so little seeming resemblance
to who I am––
how can I think of them
when the evidence is mostly gone?
Like trying to remember the separate leaves
on a tree long dead.
What would they think
of me now, if they knew?
February 8, 2017
Tuesday, February 07, 2017
To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
The inquisition yet would serve the law,
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare, must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle. Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills;
May criticize oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and childbearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires.
Therefore I do protest against the boast
Of independence in this mighty land.
Call no chain strong, which holds one rusted link.
Call no land free, that holds one fettered slave.
Until the manacled slim wrists of babes
Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
Until the mother bears no burden, save
The precious one beneath her heart, until
God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
And given back to labor, let no man
Call this the land of freedom.
- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Monday, February 06, 2017
Please can I have a God
(after Selima Hill)
not fossilized, hardened, stiff, unshaken,
not contained in creeds and testimonies,
judgments and stone tablets,
but in the wound breaking open.
Please can I have a God
who asks me to worship at the altar of mystery,
to lay aside certainty, and curl up
in the hollow of a great stone down by the river,
to hear the force of it rushing past.
Please can I have a God
with questions rather than answers,
who is not Rock or Fortress or Father,
but sashays, swerves, ripens, rages
at the rape of the earth.
Please can I have a God
whose voice is the sound of a girl, long silent from abuse,
now speaking her first word,
who is not sweetness or light, but the fierce utterance of
“no” in all the places where love has been extinguished.
Please can I have a God
the color of doubt, the shape of uncertainty,
who sees that within me dwells a multitude,
grief and joy, envy and generosity, rage and raucousness,
and anoints every last part.
Please can I have a God
who rolls her eyes with me at platitudes and pronouncements
and walks by my side in the early morning
across the wet field, together bare-footed and broken-hearted,
who is both mud and dew.
Please can I have a God
who is the vast indifference of forest and night sky,
who is both eclipse and radiance, silence and scream,
who is everything slow and dark and moist,
who is not measured, controlled, but ecstatic and dancing.
Please can I have a God
who is not the flame, but the flickering,
not bread, but the chewing and swallowing,
not Lover and Beloved, but the making love,
not the dog, but the joyful exuberance when I come home.
--- Christine Valters Paintner
Sunday, February 05, 2017
Toss aside your map of the world,
All your beliefs and constructs.
Dare the wild unknown.
Here in this terrifying freedom,
Naked before the universe,
Commune with the One
Who knows everything from the inside:
Invisible power pervading everywhere.
Divine Presence permeating everything.
Breathe tenderly as
The lover of all beings.
– Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra
The Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra (sometimes spelled in a Hindicised way as Vigyan Bhairav Tantra) is a key text of the Trika school of Kashmir Shaivism in Sanskrit language. Cast as a discourse between the god Shiva and his consort Devi or Shakti, it briefly presents 112 meditation methods or centering techniques (dharana). These include several variants of breath awareness, concentration on various centers in the body, non-dual awareness, chanting, imagination and visualization and contemplation through each of the senses. A prerequisite to success in any of the 112 practices is a clear understanding of which method is most suitable to the practitioner. (from Wikipedia)
Note: There are many translations of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra but that by Lorin Roches is the most captivating. Called "The Radiance Sutras," it is a gorgeous poem capturing the divine essence of our existence. It is available on Amazon in book form and also (in an early version) available free on his website. It is something to be read and delighted in again and again. Here is the concluding section:
The Radiance Sutras
Beloved power-permeated one,
When the elements of your being –
the creative mind,
the one who divides things up,
the identification with your limited self –
When all these dissolve into essence,
and are experienced as delightful
manifestations of the true Self,
then that Self is known.
Being established in even one
of these hundred and twelve practices,
you can know from inside
the one who permeates all.
You will have the power to say a word, and
it will be done, the power to bless and unbless.
The one who goes deeply into any of these,
becomes friends with the life-force itself.
The goddess then asked,
If this is the nature of the universal self,
then who is to be worshipped?
To whom do I offer oblations,
To whom do I sacrifice?
If everything is divine,
and consciousness merges with that divine essence,
then what happens to the distinction between worshipper and worshipped?
Oh goddess, the practices you are speaking of
refer only to the externals.
When you enter into the great Self,
then all prayers go on inside you spontaneously
In reality all songs of gratitude
and ecstatic lovemaking are resonating in
every particle of creation at every moment.
When you are established in mindfulness
you are listening, and you hear them.
Plunging without reservation
into the ocean of being is meditation.
No image, no thoughts, no prop.
Concentrating on the image of a god
with a body, eyes, and a mouth,
is not meditation.
Worship does not mean offering flowers.
It means offering your heart to the vast mystery
of the universe. It means to let your heart pulse with the life
of the universe, without thought and without reservation.
It means being so in love that you are
willing to dissolve and be recreated in every moment.
Being transformed by even one of these practices,
fullness of experience develops day by day.
One day the desire of the self for the great Self
is consummated. Come ready for that day!
To dissolve in the fire of the great void,
senses dissolve, mind dissolves,
the objects of sense dissolve,
even the void is dissolved -
that is worship.
Sacrifice is to let your sins be destroyed
by the vast power of the universe;
It is to live in radiant bliss,
having sacrificed your shame before infinity.
The real purification with water
is to bathe in the essence of eternity.
Stunning autonomy, radiant bliss,
invisible consciousness permeating you
always and in every direction.
The flowers, the candles, the honey
that are offered in worship are
made out of the same divine stuff as you.
Who then is worshipped?
As the breath flows in, and as it flows out,
it travels always the curving path of the goddess.
Breath flows in and out spontaneously of its own will,
thus all breathing beings continually worship the goddess.
Be conscious of this unconscious prayer,
for she is the most holy place of pilgrimage.
The breath flows out with the sound sa,
The breath flows in with the sound ha.
Thus thousands of times a day,
Everyone who breathes is adoring the goddess.
Know this, and be in great joy.
Listen to the ongoing prayer that is breath.
Life shall dance in you
a dance of ever-renewing delight.
I am suffused with satisfaction.
My questions have led to fullness.
You have sung to me of the ways of union
of the god and the goddess,
space and time, personal and impersonal,
energy and form, infinite and finite.
You have sung the song of being at home in the universe.
Having said that, the goddess,
radiant with delight, embraced her lover.
According to the great Vedanta philosopher Śankara, vijñāna is a deep understanding or knowing that cannot come about merely through outer knowledge, that we receive through a teacher, or a spiritual textual tradition. Rather it is an inner clarity that is revealed through personal experience.
Saturday, February 04, 2017
Each time it happens
I think how can this be?
huddling by the sidewalk,
this pine swaying
as if to a secret rhythm,
that sturdy oak
with its round haven
for the new squirrel
How can they send
these tiny shivers of delight
through my veins?
How can they pluck my senses
as if I were some kind of harp
hung from a willow
near a stream?
Some sort of sounding board
ready to echo
whatever is coming my way?
Does the spirit have loose borders,
always breaking through to merge
with that which is beyond?
February 4, 2017
Friday, February 03, 2017
Eagles at Rest
electricity of motion
here they sit
arrayed like a child's stuffed playtoys,
waiting to unleash
their implacable intensity
on an unsuspecting world
February 1, 2017
This is an important event. It is essential that we understand the essential connection between these two commitments. Note that you can view it live stream as well as in person,
Our friend, Marianne Williamson, is hosting an event in Washington DC in February that I feel can be a significant turning point for our community, and for our country. The times in which we live call for a critical re-evaluation of our relationship to life around us - to our fellow citizens, to our country and to our world. The search for authenticity, for our deep humanity, should not stop at the door to politics. If anything, it should extend deeply into realms that affect so powerfully the existence of earth's billions of inhabitants.
SISTER GIANT DC will be highlighting the intersection of spirituality and politics - never before has this theme been so urgent. SISTER GIANT will be an important gathering of progressive spiritual and political voices. We'll come together to forge a deep conversation about the state of our country and ways in which each of us, particularly now, can help move it in a more enlightened direction. I plan to attend and I hope you'll join me, either live in Washington, or by Live Stream.
During this time of national tumult, SISTER GIANT will provide us the opportunity to rethink our country, together. The question on many of our hearts at the moment is, "Where do we go now?" At SISTER GIANT we will discuss our options.
Additional details and registration information may be found here: www.sistergiant.com .
Again, I hope to see you there.
Thursday, February 02, 2017
from Patricia Lay Dorsey
An Open Letter to Spiritual Seekers ~
Many of us would like to think that what is happening with Donald Trump in the White House is a political issue, one that is causing divisions in our people based on those who support him and those who do not. We might see it as differences in partisan politics, in ideology, in how the government should work or not work, in our views on abortion, immigration, oil pipelines, affordable health care, walling out Mexicans and such. We may not like what is happening, but in many cases, we cannot see how this affects us personally. So we remain silent.
In my opinion, this is no longer a political issue but a spiritual one. It is all about how we see ourselves as humans. in relationship to the Divine. How do we pray? Do we pray in mosques, churches, synagogues, ashrams or at home with our children before they go to sleep? Do we seek Divinity in a special book, ritual, meditation or mystical experience? Are we looking for enlightenment that will remove us from this world and set us on a higher plane?
I have a spiritual friend who died in 2010; her name is Nan Merrill. Perhaps you have heard of her or have even read her book, "Psalms For Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness." I remember during the first and second U.S. wars against Iraq Nan told me she "prayed" the news on TV every night. That was where she found God. At that time, I thought I knew what she meant. But I didn't. Not then. It is only now that I am beginning to understand.
If I don't find the Divine in every person in the world, I will never find Her/His enlightenment. And in my 74 years I have never before experienced such a worldwide spiritual crisis as the one that is swirling around Donald Trump. I do not call him evil, but I do see him appealing to our worst human impulses. Probably through no fault of his own. I would imagine this is how he was raised as a child.
Now is the time for action, and I don't just mean marching in the streets. I mean digging deep into our souls to find both the best and the worst of who we are. This worldwide crisis is reflected inside each of us. But the global healing that is required to save our planet and its people is more than personal; it is communal. We must break out of our shells, extend our hands and hearts to our sisters and brothers around the world, and find a way to transcend the fear and hatred that keeps us apart.
Yes, we are in the midst of a spiritual crisis not a political one. And it will take all of our energy and fortitude to find our way to the place of Oneness that brings healing and wholeness. This is the moment for which we were created. Let us move forward with fearless intensity and unbridled hope. We are already halfway there.
Note: Patricia Lay-Dorsey is one of my dearest and oldest friends. She herself has been a staunch advocate for democratic and human values for many years, someone willing to engage in action as well as rhetoric. She is a gifted photographer and her work is recognized now by a very wide audience. She also is the person who first set up this blog as a gift to me several years ago. Here she expresses in eloquent and insightful language the nature of the crisis we all face today. You can see more of her work and comments on Instagram.
Wednesday, February 01, 2017
This Swift Stream
Now that I am caught
in this swift stream,
ever rushing closer
to its unseeable end,
I am not sure what to wish for.
Should I convey
to that other that ever hovers
a list of accomplishments
to be completed,
an array of gifts
before those last
Should I catalogue
all those things I
meant to do
the Ganges and the Himalayas,
one more visit
to Tara and the holy wells
of Ireland where
the sacred energies
pour from earth,
a final rendering
of Mozart and Bach
to my pulsating heart,
more Rumi, yes, again
even another walk
on Bobolink Trail
with its stream
its radiant trees and grasses)––
ah, there is so much
not yet achieved,
but time ever shrinks,
and things not done
will remain undone.
gifts have come.
Presents from an
And I too,
now the final waiter.
February 1, 2017