Thursday, January 11, 2018

Gloria!: A poem from Easing into Druidry

I have dug my toes into earth,
and understood the root-way, the insect tunnel.
I have lengthened against gravity,
tree trunk belly, sunflower heart.
I have thrown my arms open to the sky,
raven wings and star catcher.
I swish the ocean in my mouth,
feel the minerals in my bones-
Breathe in what the trees breathe out,

And Amen.


Saturday, December 30, 2017

May the Wind Carry You Home: A poem from Easing into Druidry

When she passed,
I clipped the obituary from the local paper.
I held it for a time,
recalling sitting next to her in third grade.
How fluent in languages,
how gifted in mathematics
how she could draw tears and sighs from
 the greying piano keys.
I did not want to hear a minister talk about her—
I knew her laughter;
the way her head tipped as she listened;
the warmth of her hand in mine,
walking home from school.
And so,
I wrapped the clipping in a tight tube,
wrote a prayer on a bit of birch bark
strung with wool thread.
In the soft evening rain,
I tied the little bundle to my wishing tree.
May the wind carry you home,
my friend.

May the wind carry you home.


Don't Tell Me What to Believe: A poem from Easing into Druidry

Don’t tell me what to believe—
for I have walked the winter snow
and heard the flakes whisper of clouds
and wild circling sky dances.
I have touched the birch,
reading her black scars like braille.
I have hunkered,
like the Bald Eagle on the tree line,
patiently waiting for the harrying crows
to depart.
I have bent and followed the sun
like a full seed-head in the autumn light.
I have spun and darted with dragonflies,
eyes casting a thousand rainbow sparks.
I have walked, stately and serene
across a newly-lumbered field
echoing the bear who appeared at mid-day
like a vision

like a muse.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Green for the Season: a poem

Come, love,
lay your head on my shoulder,
no, not as wide as yours, but strong enough.

The Christmas tree is lit,
still awaiting it's bling,
and the dog sits, watching us,
head cocked a bit, a worried whine
gurgling in his throat.

Let the great sobs come,
I can hold you--
Christmas past just brushing by,
expectations unwrapped
and naked somehow.

Why is it missing faces we always see in the foil?
Why ghost voices running counterpoint
to the carol?

How I tenderly love the depths you feel.
How I treasure this snot and shake.
No tinsel for you,
but the cut pine smells sweet
and will stay green through the season.


Monday, December 4, 2017

Getting Unstuck--Dealing with Difficult Emotions

We human being simply get stuck sometimes--running painful stories around and around until fear becomes the need to attack, until anger becomes hatred, until the one moment of discomfort becomes that itch that keeps us up all night. Or we slide into the near cousin of anger, a thing called depression. Our behaviors change, and grow more entrenched. We might "fake" the smile and kindness, we might run from the people who "cause us" to feel these moments of emotion, or we might find "gentle" ways to attack by saying things like "I'll pray for you" (and we know perfectly well we did not say it with good intentions). 

It's interesting when we sit with the stories, then let them go. Then keep sitting with the "hot" emotion until, slowly changing as all things do, we find at the root of all that those high-octane emotional states is often something like this: "I don't want to die alone under a bridge."  We come face to face with the tender, childlike, vulnerable part of our hearts--not our heads, mind you.  Our hearts.

Our culture does not teach us how to go from anger to that soft place.  In fact, I would argue that we actively teach the opposite.  We often encourage our children to "hate" the opposing team to gain a kind of energy, we listen avidly as a nation to countless hours of soap operas and TV dramas that trigger all our feeling of betrayal, fear, hatred and the like. We immerse ourselves in news (12 minutes a day of which is actual factual news by the way) or inflammatory "radio talk shows" that sell us painful and divisive messages with the price-tag of fear and artificial moral outrage.

And we grow so blind to the way time is passing.  Our time

When we are locked in the sleepless nights, the grasping at anyone to "share" our juicy anger, the plotting to do harm (and, sadly, when we carry those thoughts out), manipulating others to get on "our side", and other such behaviors that, in the end, keep us from feeling that soft spot, that gentle place, we somehow step out of the way Nature and the Mystery intended us to be.  We stop, we get crusty and brittle, and we begin to resemble inside and out the dry, gray rock instead of the dynamic stream that is our birthright. We lose the ability to not only nurture ourselves with the literally countless miracles around and within us--the soft fur of our animal companions, the cotton-candy sunrise of blues and pinks, the way the wind sings through pines, each tree finding a different note--we separate ourselves from the running living water of healthy community.

So how do we break these cycles?  Here are a couple of free You Tube programs from two of my all-time favorite teachers that just might help.  No, listening to this once and rerunning our habit energy may only give us a breather, a bandage.  Taking the teachings to heart, we may actually learn to not miss this one, precious life we have all been gifted with this holiday season--the one great present that will forever keep on giving. But only if we allow it.

Pema Chodron, a beloved Tibetan Buddhist nun, teaching a seminal work by Shantideva about dealing with difficult mind states:

Adyashanti, the delightful modern meditation teacher, answering a question about difficult emotions and "slipping" from more healthy behaviors:

Loving in the Gray Areas: A Poem

We walked the black and white dog
through sunlight,
through shadow.
brown fluff and pale bone of departed grouse,
hand in hand warm.
I nodded at the twin birch trees,
their bark
white paper, black linear sketches.
Data cards filled our pockets--images
of deer, coyote, raccoon,
captured on game cameras,
coy in the night, eyes gleaming.
Later, in the bedroom dark,
a super-moon's blue light
illumines fog at play in the open field,
ethereal dance of the weather changing.
I snuggle up to his back,
arm draped over him--
we know how to love well
in the gray areas.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Forgiveness--It's the Christian Way and the World's Way

I became curious about what world faiths have to say about Christian forgiveness when a young woman of my acquaintance claimed she could not forgive her father for divorcing her mother because she was "a conservative Christian".  Now there are few things that will raise my eyebrow as much as using religion to justify personal stuck places or to marginalize another.  Did you know the meaning of the word "religion" itself means "to bind back"?  I'm doing continuing research and will add to this list as I find interesting quotes and Bible passages, and then will also add information from all the world faith traditions.  Because religion should never be a reason to stop the divine dance with God, with others, and with ourselves. And the great thinkers and scripture the world over agree.

Forgiveness in Christianity

Colossians 3:13 

13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Matthew 6:14-15
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Ephesians 4:31-32
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Micah 7:18-19
18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Mark 11:25 
25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Matthew 26:28
28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Leviticus 19.18
“You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back—in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”
~Frederick Buechner

“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”
~Thomas à Kempis

“We must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.”
~Reinhold Niebuhr

“It is freeing to become aware that we do not have to be victims of our past and can learn new ways of responding. But there is a step beyond this recognition…It is the step of forgiveness. Forgiveness is love practiced among people who love poorly. It sets us free without wanting anything in return.”
~Henri J.M. Nouwen

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
(Christianity. The Lord’s Prayer)