Friday, September 28, 2007

I Don’t Know

StoryPeople offers this version of the lesson:

She kept a box of letters & dried flowers & some old chocolate in a dark place & watered it until it started to rot & then she put on her best dress & some bright lipstick & took it around to everybody she knew & said, see, I told you so.

No sooner had I posted my blog on how “Sometimes the day wins,”
than I was knocked flat my own self.
Flat, flat, flat.
But eventually, I sat up,
Well, actually kind of dragged myself over to the side of my bed.
I thought it might be nice to listen to an Adya CD, something from the July Retreat.
(I have the whole thing on 17 CDs.)
Here is the very start of the one that I randomly selected.
(edited just a bit for grammar)

The wiser we become, actually the less we know.
Somehow when we know so little, we know the only thing worth knowing – who we are. And I don’t mean we as forest.
I mean, Who we are.
‘Cause when I realize Who I am, I realize What we are.
And when you realize What you are, you realize What we are.
It’s not a possession.

And when we realize that, it’s a thief in the night.
Then realization dismantles all the ways we thought things should be.
And when it dismantles that and it steals it away from us,
which is what that realization will do – it’s called unconditional love –
then and only then is the human aspect of us ready to be a movement of that Unity, without any idea how it should move.

I have no idea about how it should move.
I have no concept about how it should move.
It just does move.
It’s much more interesting to find out how it’s going to move.

When I come up here to give these talks, fortunately or unfortunately for you,
they may or may not be interesting.
You may want to sit and listen.
You may want to throw yourself out the window some nights.
I don’t know.
But it is what it is.

I don’t know what I’m going to come in here and talk about
anymore than you know what I’m going to come in and talk about.
I sit down.
And I think, “Oh. What am I going to talk about? I don’t know.”
And then from the middle of, I don’t know. Blah. blah, blah, blah.
Until a moment comes, like right about now, when I suddenly know,
“I’m finished.”

So, let’s see if you have any thing to say…

Student: I thought I’d come up and try and get some homework,
cause I know that it’s work, all the time.

Adya: It’s not.
That’s your homework…
Make that the belief system.
It may be work. I’m not denying that.
There’s a time when you’ve really got to roll up your selves and really have to look at something and be active and courageous.

There’s a time for that.
But look right through ANY notion of what it needs to be.
Because remember, if you have an unconscious or conscious idea of what it needs to be to get somewhere,
that will be your experience.
So don’t create your experience out of your hidden beliefs.

Back in “I don’t know.”
“Do I actually know that I need to work hard?”
Hummm. “I’m not sure.” …

And then, when you’re in that place where you’re not so sure,
it will be obvious.
Maybe you do. Maybe you don’t.
But you’re fluid and can feel what’s appropriate.

Well, I found All this very interesting.
First, because Becky discovered this all on her own.
She will be the first to tell you that she doesn’t know a thing.
And still, I value her input as my wisest friend.
And Secondly, she had just been warning me,
“Don’t necessarily expect that things aren’t going to work out.”

What are you expecting? (If you must expect.)
Hope its sunshine and not rain … unless you need the water.

Bluebird of the Name of Joe

hey, lady . . .
Originally uploaded by bvshort

I find I think of this poem by William Dickey so often that I wanted to post the complete version.

(Now let's just see if I can get Blogger to let me format it correctly.)

(It's still fighting me...)


I sent you this bluebird of the name of Joe
with "Happiness" tattooed on his left bicep.
(For a bluebird, he was a damn good size.)
And all you can say is you think your cat has got him?

I tell you the messages aren't getting through.
The Golden Gate Bridge is up past its ass in traffic;
tankers colliding; singing telegrams out on strike.
The machineries of the world are raised in anger.

So I am sending out this snail of the name of Fred
in a small tricolor sash, so the cat will know him.
He will scrawl out "Happiness" in his own slow way.
I won't ever stop until the word gets to you.

And here, I'll just drop that into this cup I'm still holding, less you ever need a sip.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cat’s Meow Makes a Request

Cat Jumps Over the Fence
Originally uploaded by randombit
Who should I bump into the other morning as I came around
the corner way too fast,
but the Cat’s Meow.

I think we both were startled.

And as I looked about for Piggy Bop
(for they are quite fond of one another and frequently
travel in each other’s company)
I noticed that the Cat’s Meow
rather surreptitiously
slipped a can of spray paint
right into her pocket.

Blinking her long lashes at me
(and not fooling me for a second) she said,
“You know, I don’t know where Piggy Bop has got to.”

Then furrowing her brow and sidling closer she says,
“But, I was wondering. Would you have a Coming Out story that you might tell?”
“Only my own. But, they don’t really seem in vogue these days,” I said.
“Well, I’d hardly expect them to ever be in Vogue. But, why don’t you post it anyway?
“I think that That would do.”

“Or not,” I said.
“Or not,” she smiled.

Then suddenly, like That, she cried out,
“Yeow! The Galloping Cat!”
And she sprang right off in That direction,
calling back as she effortlessly cleared a high, high fence,
while simultaneously managing a wink right at me,

“Everyone is Always Coming Out!”

So, per her request,
Here ‘tis.
I’ll just call it “February, 1985.”

It may or may not do.

February, 1985

"la luz inextinguible"
Originally uploaded by Gulliver

So begins an entry in a kind of journal I once kept entitled, Letters To Myself and You:

From love one can only escape at the price of love itself; and no lessening of sorrow is worth the exile from that stream of all things human and divine.
Freya Stark

This I understand: I never really wrote anything except in explanation, to have you understand. It was a constant search to find that perfect phrase that could release your love.
The words were never found.
Perhaps they don’t exist.
But, I am still compelled to try.

That was our problem. My compulsion.
I could never give you anything less than my entire soul.
Now, it is time to stop. It is as simple and difficult as that.
So, let me tell you what has happened.

Today I found a book, Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, by May Sarton. The quote above is from the dedication. Mrs. Stevens explores what it means to be a woman and a writer. Most of all it deals with the sources of a woman’s creativity and the complexities of human love. The heroine, Hilary Stevens, is in her seventies, a poet of some renown, yet not too greatly acclaimed. Through the story, all the loves of Hilary’s life pass by in review. One sees the power of love and also fear’s crippling effect and how the two are intertwined.

Love opens the door to everything, as far as I can see, including and perhaps most of all, the door into one’s own secret, and often terrible and frightening, real self.

So, tonight I was able to come to rest upon the knowledge that has for so long terrified me. And while I’ll still not say its name out, at least I’m in the same room with it, sitting on the couch, looking at it there across the coffee table. And, it’s not all that bad.

It merely means I’m human. I wish that you could know that, know it with your heart and not just intellect, and smile just a bit.

Still, what sacrilege my double sin appears. I am in love with a married woman. How could I have ever let it happen? Married and a woman, even as a child I knew the right and wrong of it.

May Sarton begins her tale with Hilary speaking to a young man, a poet-to-be, who had fled from himself just as I have done.

So you have got yourself into some real feeling, and instead of thanking God that you are not a zombie like most people I see about, you decide you are a monster! …
It’s hard growing up in this climate where sex at its most crude and cold is OK but feeling is somehow indecent. The monsters are those who go rutting around like monkeys, not those who choose to be human whatever the costs, and it costs a great deal.

The cost of anything is the path that is not taken,
a whole world we choose to walk away from.
And in the morning, I set my half drunk tea aside and lay my head down upon the blue and white checked placemats that you gave me, and cried as if my life had ended.

I have seen the truth.
I will pay my dues,
and soon you will be yelling angrily at me demanding,
cutting short my answers with, “I don’t know why you are doing this!”

I find symmetry in my discovery of Sarton’s book.
It began, I thought, with a confrontation of my fear.
I’d planned it for this past Saturday, bright morning in the thaw of February.
I’d decided to go to “Charis, the Book Store and More.” The “More” refers to the fact that it is a feminist center (to put it delicately.)
I'd decided to go and stand right there in the middle of what so sickens me.
I’d let my stomach roll, let my eyes stare only at the floor and books, let my ears listen to the women and their conversations (actually quite caring in their content), and hear their little just too juicy kisses of hello. (How I could feel those kisses.)
I went to see if I could acclimate.

I couldn’t.

Blinking red arrows pointing at me from the ceiling couldn’t have made me feel more obvious, a tourist tangled up amongst the coat hangers of my closet.
I went there just to test survival and to keep on moving.
I also went there on the faith that when I truly need the knowledge,
I can simply walk amongst the stacks, reach in and pull it out.
So there I was, looking at the books,
until I saw May Sarton.

You gave me her for Christmas, but you did not know.
She’s in the book with all the writer’s homes.
Her place in Maine was one of my favorites, and weeks ago, forgotten until now,
I’d made a note that here was an author to check out,
simply for the architecture and the light.
Neither of us knew and still…

Something of you led me,
and I’ve read the words you wrote then, time and time again:

This book would seem more complete with photos of a certain room, desk overlooking a birdfeeder and facing a tulip tree; the walls covered with ideas and colors that make me smile and feel very happy that I’ve been able to share so many of them with you.

May we always share the beautiful colors that life has blessed us with,
to my Dear Friend… Love.

Three weeks later, you wanted me gone
and we’d never meet again.

How to speak to you now?
Hilary could never create unless she was in love, and though she married and loved her husband, it was the loving of a woman that brought forth her creativity.
And that is what we shared.

I told you once that in loving you, I had found my soul.
I understand the full implication of that now.
There is nothing deeper.
There is nothing Truer.
And that is exactly why we hide.

How could we hope to live such Truth?
It is the call to leave the world behind and become divine.

And too, it is the call into the Silence of such Everydayness:

Now she sat down in the rocker in the kitchen and was dazzled by the beauty of a long slanting slab of sunlight on the white plaster wall. One might, she supposed, sit and take it in for half an hour, but say it? Next to impossible. These moments of vision when quite simple things became extraordinary were what she always meant to “get down,” but the impulse wavered, or got pushed aside. Hilary had always imagined that one of the blessings of old age would be that one might live by and for these essentials… the light on a wall.
May Sarton

…yet another love story,
Telling yet another tale of Coming Out.

And the Cat’s Meow was right,
Everyone is Always Coming Out, or at least receiving an invitation.

Cat’s Meow Opines

Originally uploaded by LunaSol
So, as requested, I post my story online.

And not long after that -
well, actually even before that
cause all this is Actually happening in my head
(which is hardly what you’d call “Real Time” or even Real)
Who should I bump into but the Cat’s Meow.

“Hello, C.M.,” I said.
“I posted That story that you asked for.”
And the Cat’s Meow took a step backwards to get a better
Look at me.

“Yes, Darlin’,” I saw it. Something of a downer, wouldn’t you say?”
“The light slanting on the wall… monkey’s rutting? Please!”

“Well, it was a hard period in my life,” I offered by way of Nothing.
“And I have no editor to speak of.”

“Come here, Dear,” the Cat’s Meow said more kindly.
“I have a little something for you.”
And very carefully, from her pocket she pulled out this small, soft, blue…
I stepped closer.

It was a Bluebird,
Of the name of Joe and he had “Happiness”
tattooed on his left bicep.

“You! You, took him!” I was astonished.
“I should have known!”

The Cat’s Meow, smiled demurely.
“And I am giving him to you.
“Unless, that is,
“You’d prefer a snail, by the name of Fred.
“He’s slower.
“But then, you are a Taurus.
“You might enjoy just plodding for awhile.”

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Point de Repere

BathTub Visions
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao

I received these comments regarding a recent blog entry:

Your words have been my words:
"I am trying to get to know her and I can hardly stand the pain.
The fear.
The belly.
The confusion."
And then the little girl who's been afraid to reveal herself
in fear of not being loved for who she is....ran away.
Let go... when she didn't want to...before she could be left.
Pema said it's when you want to run most...that you stay!
I did my best...but I think I fell short.

"A howling hurt" ... didn't fall short there.


A fellow in a meditation/therapy group I use to attend
one day stunned me when he said,
“Sometimes the day wins.”
This was quite a revelation to me.
Sometimes the day wins – and that’s all right.
That’s all it is – “the day won.”
Now go rest.
And when you feel better,
You can give it another shot.

We always get another shot.
Remember that.

For life to be any other way, would mean the Universe lets us off the hook if we fail to master our lessons the first time round. No. The Universe always gives you a second chance, or third, or fourth, or forty-fifth... how ever many you feel you need (but may not even want.)

So, I think it’s time we cut ourselves a little slack.
(Where’s Piggy Bop when you need her, man?
Slacked off her own self? No!
More likely slipped off somewhere with the Cat’s Meow.
But, let’s not even try to hold ourselves to the Piggy’s standards.)

Let's just see what a bath can do.
Heck, spiritual cultivation is about purification in one form or another anyway,
So, what more appropriate refuge than the bathroom?

Or as Keeper of the Lips would say,
“By the By”…

I have had an urge for sometime to spend a day in my bathtub
taking pictures from that vantage point as the light and shadows shifted.
But, gosh, at my age I can’t afford the pruning or the chilling lukewarm water
such a task would probably involve.
So, it’s just another of those ideas better left lying in my head.

But I do have one painting from a much briefer stint there in the tub.
I call it “Bathtub Visions” with the subtitle, “what every child knows.”

Which brings to mind a passage that I read back in 1980,
regarding bathroom reverie that I want to share,
Less we get too far away from the natural wisdom we all started with.

The toilets were separate from the bathrooms, and the oldest among them was a rather sumptuous but gloomy affair with some fine panelwork and a tassled rope of red velvet which when pulled, produced a beautifully modulated, discreetly muffled gurgle and gulp… As a small child, I was assigned a more modest arrangement, rather casually situated in a narrow recess between a wicker hamper and the door leading to the nursery bathroom. This door I liked to keep ajar; through it I dreamily looked at the shimmer of steam above the mahogany bath, at the flotilla of swans and skiffs, at myself with a harp in one of the boats, at a furry moth pinging against the reflector of the kerosene lamp, at the stained glass window beyond… Bending from my warm seat, I liked to press the middle of my brow, its ophryon to be precise, against the smooth comfortable edge of the door and roll my head a little, so that the door would move to and fro while its edge remained all the time in soothing contact with my forehead. A dreamy rhythm would permeate my body. The recent “step, step, step” would be taken up by the dripping faucet. And fruitfully I would unravel the labyrinthian frets on the linoleum, and find faces where a crack or shadow afforded a point de repere for the eye. I appeal to parents: never, never, say “Hurry up,” to a child.

V. Nabokov, Speak, Memory.

Friday, September 21, 2007

What Our Lips are Thirsting For

Originally uploaded by akiruna

The Keeper of the Lips allowed as how
I might be
The Holder of the Cup.

I’d call it something of a compromise.
Something concocted to put skittish minds at ease.
You do this and I’ll do that, not unlike dividing up the kitchen tasks.
Not to imply at all, at all, at all
any other housekeeping arrangement.
No. Not That at all.

But still,
Be still,
I am now, officially,
Holder of the Cup.

These words of Czeslaw Milosz immediately came to mind:

You asked me what is the good of reading the Gospel in Greek.
I answer that it is proper that we move our finger
Along letters more enduring than those carved in stone,
And that, slowly pronouncing each syllable,
We discover the true dignity of speech.

I love these words and have absolutely no idea
why they are germane to this moment.

Perhaps Keeper of the Lips
will whisper a hint or two. (She is one most clever bird.)
Meanwhile, I inscribe them upon a piece of mental parchment
And drop it into the Cup; safe keeping.

Of course there is the Cup itself
And the words of Jeanette Winterson that originally defined it:

The best work is a cup that holds the liquid that you are…
We learn about ourselves through someone not ourselves – it is like falling in love – the stranger brings the gift.

I scribble this down too
And in it goes.

And now we’re really talking.
‘Cause love has entered in the conversation.

Yet another “devoted reader” (not her words, but mine)
sent me a Rumi poem today.
It inspired me to collect more snippets of his poetry
creating quite the love fest.

No apology intended,
simply more treasures for the Cup.

Because we need to know, What it's Going to Take.

Last year I wrote,
“Falling in love is how we practice falling into Love.”
Love (with that large-case letter) being just another word for Being.
Falling in love and Awakening: seems to me the first is simply rehearsal for the second.

Rumi’s poetry offers perhaps the best defense of this proposition.

And the Cup will be here too, less there be any doubts
Regarding what our lips are really thirsting for.

Someone who does not run
toward the allure of love walks
a road where nothing lives.

But this dove here senses
the love-hawk floating above
and waits and will not be driven
or scared to safety.

Flying toward thankfulness, you become
the rare bird with one wing made of fear,
and one of hope. In autumn,
a rose crawling along the ground in the cold wind.
Rain on the roof runs down and out by the spout
as fast as it can.

Talking is pain. Lie down and rest,
now that you've found a friend to be with.

The way of love is not
a subtle argument.

The door there
is devastation.

Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.

How do they learn that?
They fall, and falling,
they’re given wings.

A thousand half-lives
must be forsaken to take
one whole heart home.

Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy,
absentminded. Someone sober
will worry about things going badly.
Let the love be.

Lovers don’t finally
meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Originally uploaded by
De Seven

I can see in your eyes a fear and confusion.
All this talk of endings brings a tremble to your bones.
But fear not, for I do not speak of death or chaos except to point out that you have already fallen prey to both.
No, I talk of awakening from the death of sleepwalking in dreams and veiled imagination. …

Have you not been told how grand you are, how uncontained, how limitless?
I for one maintain that you are as unseen and eternal as the space that spans beyond the myriad universes.
I praise the immortal self—not one self among many, but the self within all selves.
For everywhere I go, and in each and everyone I meet, I greet my secret and unseen self.
For I know each man and each woman as I know myself,
none greater or lesser in essence or worth.
Adyashanti, Everlasting Inheritance.

I happened to catch Angelina Jolie as “Laura Croft, Tomb Raider” the other night on TV. Wow!
She’s some kind of buff chick: good with knives, machine guns, capes, and somersaults punctuated with these kicks aimed right at opponents’ throats.

Wish I had some of her moves. Huh?
The moves of a Super-Chick, Super-Hero… wouldn’t life be easier?
If only I were Really brave and Really beautiful!

Have you ever thought this way?

So, I was looking at my biceps, just this morning.
Not bad for 57 and my little skivy fitting tight.
Makes me almost overlook the liver spots beginning to appear on the back of my hands.
In all honesty, they are not freckles. I know that now.

Ohhh, Laura.
Ohhhh, Angelina.

I am trying to get to know Her
and I can
Hardly stand the pain.
The fear.
The Belly.
The confusion.

I wish I could be like Einstein,
a little bird too early dropped out of his nest.
A pigeon I think, with a naked bottom
bulging out above these legs that were way too big.
I carefully bundled him into a warm box and set him in a quiet corner.
But he wouldn’t stay there.
He insisted upon standing dead center in the middle of the room
these naked chicken wings held out akimbo
and the feathery fuzz of Einstein’s head sticking out at all angles framing
Such ferocious eyes.

The smallest living creature in the room
was ready for whatever Life might bring.

And his courage split my heart wide open.

Try to live with the spirit of one little bird!
That’s what I learned in that moment.
And I find it such a challenge.

So let’s go back to Rumi.
back to the classics of love and consciousness…

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

Light Breeze

As regards feeling pain, like a hand cut in battle,
consider the body a robe

you wear. When you meet someone you love, do you kiss their clothes? Search out

who's inside. Union with God is sweeter than body comforts.
We have hands and feet

different from these. Sometimes in dream we see them.
That is not

illusion. It's seeing truly. You do have a spirit body;
don't dread leaving the

physical one. Sometimes someone feels this truth so strongly
that he or she can live in

mountain solitude totally refreshed. The worried, heroic
doings of men and women seem weary

and futile to dervishes enjoying the light breeze of spirit

Not Here

There's courage involved if you want
to become truth. There is a broken-

open place in a lover. Where are
those qualities of bravery and sharp

compassion in this group? What's the
use of old and frozen thought? I want

a howling hurt. This is not a treasury
where gold is stored; this is for copper.

We alchemists look for talent that
can heat up and change. Lukewarm

won't do. Halfhearted holding back,
well-enough getting by? Not here.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Rainy Day Wings
Originally uploaded by Bluepeony

This Rumi poem was sent by a "devoted" reader - yes, I think that was the word she used. Namaste.


Your grief for what you've lost lifts a mirror
up to where you're bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here's the joyful face you've been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Love is Patient, Love is Kind.

Age of Beauty
Originally uploaded by [wilson_fotography]

I am far too exhausted to do any commentary on this entry,
though something my mom use to tell us did cross my mind,
“Use the sense God gave you and you’ll find it.”
She was usually referring to shoes. I am referring to a commentary.

I recalled these words earlier today as I was waiting to hear from my brother.
My sibs and I weren't sure where my 81 year old mother had gotten too.
An initial alarm raised by my sister up in Wisconsin, led to me calling my brother here in town.
No phone contact (land line or cell), no email, no neighbor to check with, and worst of all no house key to go and look in her garage. Where was the car?
Finally dawned on me, “Go look through the windows, you could see a body.”
So obvious (after all, that’s how they'd found her mother)
and yet it took us way too long to come up with the idea.

Well, Mom turned up four hours later.
Singing in her email to grandson Augie, “Oh where oh where has your Grandmother gone? Oh where oh where can she be?”
And quite pleased with a $25 gift certificate she’d won at some party she’d left the house early, early this morning to attend. (Which is why my sister had missed her.)

So, I am passing on this Bible passage.
It came to me in a very different context yesterday.
But it fits so well with today’s events.

I am amazed at the depth of emotion those Four Hours of Not Knowing generated.
I am left emptied and exhausted.
And I find these words quite comforting.

1 If I speak in human or angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body [to hardship] that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians

Sunday, September 09, 2007

“Piggy Bop! Why do you fight crime in your pajamas?”

I have had a report: at least one person has been vacuuming in her beret and pajamas.
I took this to be an instance of “fighting grime in ones pajamas.”
This in turn brought to mind that existential Crime Fighter, Piggy Bop,
who sprang into this World a few years ago, while, I am sorry to say,
I was under the influence of a nasal spray containing corticosteroids.

But at least I got to hang with Piggy Bop for a few days, trying to record her feats of erudition. Just thought I’d share a few tonight.
(Sandy, you might not follow it all – don’t worry. Doesn’t matter.)

Piggy Bop does not require anyone to actually follow her.
She simply invites us to enjoy.
Enjoy Your Glorious.

“Piggy Bop, why do you fight crime in your pajamas?” a curious observer once asked.

“Because, Dear,” said Piggy Bop, “crime has no business in my pajamas!”
“No, I mean to say,” said said observer, “why do you fight crime in that seemingly unsuitable suit of pajamas.”
“Why, they fit me seamlessly and thus could not possibly be unsuited,” a rather astonished Piggy Bop explained.

“No, I mean to say…”
But, Piggy Pop was quicker than her companion and had already taken up this whole notion of an unsuitable suit.
Technically of course, suits are always worn on the outside,
that is of course unless the suit is actually a court suit and is thus actually “in court.” Then, you’d have to say it was on the inside rather than the outside if you follow.
But, since Piggy Bop was always inside of her pajamas, and the pajamas were never in court, it was thus impossible for a suit to ever be inside of her pajamas, and thus she’d have to agree, her pajamas were probably indeed “unsuitable.”

How very disappointing.

And since Piggy Bop hoped to spare the curious observer anymore pain than he had already found in life, Piggy Bop reframed her response.

“It all started one morning in the park as The Cat's Meow and I were practicing our Tai Chi, facing the sun rising from behind the tree tops.

“Piggy Bop, why do you dance in your pajamas?” asked a rather unfeeling observer.

“Dear, I dance whenever I touch My Glorious!” replied Piggy Bop wiggling all her eight fingers and eight toes with simply the proximity.
“What is your glorious?’” asked the now somewhat embarrassed observer.
“Dear, it is ‘My Glorious’ even as it’s Yours.” Piggy Bop went bop, bop, bop for emphasis.
“Well, then what is My Glorious?” The rather unfeeling, somewhat embarrassed observer was, if anything, persistent.

“My Glorious? Dear, you will have to know that for yourself. My word and even all my words, could never do It, He, She justice. I can only show you mine.”
And with that Piggy Bop danced and danced and could be questioned no further on the subject.
So, the unfeeling and somewhat embarrassed simply watched for awhile and then began to smile and then became
a better observer.

“Piggy Bop, why do you eat ice cream in your pajamas?” asked a downright hungry observer.

“Dear, that was sorbet and how else am I to ever clear my palette, given the time restraints placed upon me by my painting, dancing, poetry and percussive instrument practice.
So much Art and so little time. So much Creation and so little space.
I find synesthesia a necessity.
And as for space, The Cat’s Meow’s been telling me it is Finite yet Unbounded.
But, I’m not sure I followed all of her mathematics.
You can thank My Glorious that Art is not nearly such an intellectual pursuit.
Art is much more sensible, totally sensible, involving all the senses that I find it effortless to dally in them all.
But Dear, Dilly Bars are just ice cream on a stick. I much prefer sorbet. Don’t you?”

“Well, Piggy Bop, in all honesty it’s been said that you yourself are simply ‘a pig on a stick,’ for Gods sake,” and the hungry observer smile in a not totally trustworthy manner.

“How skillfully observant of you and I hope it is for God’s sake.” said Piggy Bop smoothing her hands and eight fingers down along her pajama legs. “Could you really swallow that?”

The downright hungry observer observed a momentary loss of appetite, until he and Piggy Bop were settled upon ice cream parlor chairs, sipping the most delicious chocolate sodas through paper straws that possessed these accordion-like folds near the top, so that you could bend the straw without breaking it (kind of like your mind).

The hungry observer sipped deeply, staring across the table at Piggy Bop, who stared back at him with sparkling blue eyes that smiled, even as her lips pursed round the straw.

****** ****** *******
And I discontinued use of all prescription nasal sprays.
And Piggy Bop, loosing her focus, returned to sitting quietly in the living room.

… but Jeeze, a Living room…???
Don’t get me started! ( a Living room, rooooommmm) ...too late. she started....

Friday, September 07, 2007

Only in Silence

Soft Breast Sharpe Talons
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao

At the beginning of A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin wrote an epigraph:

Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying life:
bright the hawk’s flight
on the empty sky.

The juxtaposition of opposites, along with the image of the hawk, brought to mind a painting of mine, Soft Breast Sharpe Talons, and a friend who I have been … what have we been doing? Exploring, adventuring, dying, awakening? I wouldn’t call it a relationship, but she said, we were relating.

Well, anyway.
She and it have come to mind and have been joined by these two writers, Le Guin and Jeanette Winterson. I check Winterson's website regularly for her monthly column. She usually brings a respite from my world while offering encouragement to continue.

So here, I pass on an abbreviated version of her thoughts for September. (You can read the full text here.)

This is the first time in my working life as a writer that I have felt compelled to work directly with the material in front of me – by that I mean the state of the world.

I haven’t made a polemic or a documentary, but The Stone Gods is a response to where we are now, and where this now might be taking us.

I believe that the role of the artist changes, according to the time that he or she must inhabit.
I have felt strongly that in our time, the inner life, the imaginative life, the life of the mind, needed strengthening and protection, because we live so much on the outside, pretending that all our needs can be met by a bit more shopping and better technology.
I have never been much interested in naturalistic writing – a kind of printed version of TV dramas, and I have tried to use the exactness of a heightened poetic language to prompt thought and to make new connections – not surface connections, but deeper joints.

I am as uninterested in fantasy writing as I am in naturalism – both feel like escapes from a real world that is rich and strange enough.

There are miracles – but these are not fantasies.
There are mysteries, but these are not supernatural inventions.
The creatures of myth – the minotaur, the winged lion, the blind god, the hanged man, are still with us, in new disguises.
The metaphors of swallowed hearts and genies in jars remain true.
We can put anything in what we write, provided that it belongs to our own fully realized central vision.

I wouldn’t call His Dark Materials, or Wizard of Earthsea, or Lord of the Rings, or The Weirdstone of Brisingamen fantasy writing;
each was written from a powerful place in the writer, and each uses mythology unravelled from our own DNA.
This kind of work has nothing to do with special effects Hollywood versions of dragons and heroes,
or the souped-up half-baked warlords/monsters books and games that come out of and feed into a regressive undeveloped imagination that shoots up on violence and comic-book storylines. ...

The best work is a cup that holds the liquid that you are.
The miracle is that someone else, very different to you, will also feel it …
This is achieved not because we are reading a slice of life – no slice of life can do more than fit in a few of us, but because a particular set of circumstances suddenly becomes universally relevant.
This happens when a book can go deeper than the top layer of life and into the subterranean place where emotion and imagination chemically react into self-revelation.

We learn about ourselves through someone not ourselves – it is like falling in love – the stranger brings the gift.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Awakening Loving-Kindness

Fall Magnolia
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
Packing up to go home after a rather hard day here at work, I noticed tucked in the side of my briefcase a small book by Pema Chondron entitled, “Awakening Loving-Kindness.”

It struck me as a rather curious little thing to come across. I am not her student. I must have been carrying it around for months, unnoticed under the file “automotive repair records.” But, I felt such immediate quietness just in looking at the title.

So, I pulled it out.

Opened it to the first pages (I who usually read from the back forwards) and there I found these words highlighted in bright yellow:

There’s a common misunderstanding among all the human beings who have ever been born on the earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable…

A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet.

To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and …how the whole thing just is.

If we are committed to comfort at any cost, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we’re going to run; we’ll never know what’s beyond that particular barrier or wall or fearful thing…

Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.

Thank you, Pema. I needed to remember this.
Today was a hard day.
And that’s OK.
It's Ok.