Sunday, December 20, 2009

Poem of the Day

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?
~ Ranier Maria Rilke ~

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Peace On Earth, For Real

I received a beautiful little card yesterday in the mail, in which the image of a dove floats on an imperfect globe, watercolor greens and blues suspended in a violet, star-sprinkled, tie-dye heaven. "Peace" is written in a lovely, curlicue script across the top.

I posted it on the bulletin board next to my desk so that I can look at it every day...or, at least, until I don't have a wall to hang it on (tough year for many).

A most excellent friend reminded me recently that it's easy to write a best-seller--all that's required is to give people something that makes them feel good, in spite of the state of the world or themselves. I thought, "Yeah, hope and distraction in a pretty package." (Tough not to feel outright cynicism, in general.)

I can't offer hope for peace, sanity or any other evidence of connection in the way it is typically held out, as a carrot-on-a-stick reward for patient, long-suffering endurance of living. Neither can I offer you any sexy new technology designed to mainline a fountain of youth, cultural appeal and oblivion into your veins. Hope, in the accepted sense, is about "better things in the future". I'm sorry, but in reality, the future is right now. Postponement and denial of this is...exactly so.

There is only one place to be or to see, whether you sail on calm and enchanted waters, or hungry, stormy seas (especially then!). There is only one location on any map that points to the shining beacon, where packaged hope can be seen for the retail product that it is, complete with planned obsolescence (just nine-ninety-five!). That place, of course and on course, is You. Here. Now.

I am not speaking of the "you" presented to the world, or any role you play. I'm speaking of the eye and heart opened wide, perhaps scared, in pain or seasick, but nevertheless noting the peaks and troughs and how one begets the other. There is no victim or perpetrator of storms, you see--not in the Reality that you actually are! The legendary Safe Harbor is the simple act of dropping all ideas and descriptions about everything, just for a moment, long enough to clear the "education", self-medication, mass-hypnosis from your mind.

I know, easier said than done. We all find ourselves in "coping" mode. We exist in a vast energy network, from the smallest fractal cell to the largest, and everything we do individually both affects and is affected by everything and everyone, whether we are consciously aware or not. With billions of people on this planet and a media-driven, virtual hell in our faces everywhere we turn, it's very easy to succumb to a nightmare. Nothing seems good, easy or right anymore. Nothing seems worthy of faith, too many things hurt, and confusion is the dominant paradigm.


But that world and its belief system, heavy as it may seem, is fleeting and shallow as a shadow.

I am not saying this in denial of poverty, war, and sickness, or to sell an idea. I am saying that the "solutions", the answers we seek on both a personal and global scale, are only found right here, right now, in this moment. Too often, we hide below with our arms covering our heads, waiting for some leader or sign--a savior, a knight, a goddess or a white stag--to tell us that it's alright to come and shelter are over there, love is over here, esteem and direction are down the hall...never mind, it will just be brought to you, so you don't have to get off the couch!

There is some effort involved, alas. The instructions may be in a kind of language unfamiliar to you. If that is the case, then you are hearing a voice not pandering to your ego, for once. You are hearing something calling to your native intelligence, your innate creativity, your responsive beauty. I urge you not to dismiss it or ask some authority figure for a translation. Only you can unwrap this particular gift. In the end, you will wonder how you could have carried it within you all this time in such complete ignorance. You will be astonished at the worthiness of this bit of work, as the world unfolds itself to you in a priceless way that you could literally never imagine.

I ask you to consider your favorite symbol of hope, peace or beauty, and its actual location. Is it really somewhere "out there"? Is it really apart from you, in some other time and place when the world ends, or you lose twenty pounds, find a job, get through the holidays, stop smoking or talking or whatever else you compulsively do? Is it possible to look very clearly at Peace apart from its symbols and face value, to get all the way down to what it means to you, and then just live in it, even part-time? Living in peace and love means simply expressing a natural aspect of yourself. It is already there, before the symbols and the conditions you think must be met. To continue to believe in the "right" conditions for its emergence is to conveniently keep it out of your own range, and to make someone else responsible for its growth or death. In other words, your own growth or death. Now that requires a good deal of energy!

Honestly, the hardest part of this is admitting a fear of "failure" (and fears in general), and standing still in an apparent maelstrom of conflicting feeling. It is difficult to turn the light upon oneself and see, in such crystalline clarity, exactly where and why we withhold our love and vision. And for some reason, it is difficult to admit that we are the source of that light, which thankfully glows like the sweetest candle through even the muddiest glass of self-image.

But the stilling results in a sort of dis-stilling, a purification and unveiling of resources. Oddly enough, those means aren't arrived at with a five-year plan, and the reward isn't at the end of some timeline or packaged in a resolution. We don't have to wait to make peace with our fat, the credit-card company or so-called addictions; neither do we have to wait for various "world powers" to settle their endless differences. There is no condition attached to the availability of unconditional love. There is no shame in expressing it. There is no stigma in falling in love with the fearsome gorgeousness that Earth is always revealing to us--thus falling in love with oneself, without protective coverings and virtual distractions--and even more to the point, falling in love with Love to the extent that we become it.

I think most of us know by now that we don't need one more thing to buy into or to sell ourselves out of; we don't need to be told what is important and valuable. We know exactly what it is that we can't stick a price tag on. It lives even while "coping", and can't be turned into a commodity or a currency. It is writing and reading these words. It is restless with creativity and utterly still in its timelessness. You can hear it, see it and feel it right now because it is asking, right now, your attention.

All peace, all love to you, and the courage to let it live in what you say and do! This is what I wish for you, and what unwraps Itself through all seasons.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Inside-Out Dreams

I have a long history of dreaming about earthquakes, volcanoes and the motion of large bodies of water. This makes perfect sense in light of my "discovery" that I am, indeed, intimately tied to the Earth and her universe.

My son told me this morning that he had a vivid dream of Crater Lake, here in Oregon, which is, as the name implies, a very deep lake in the crater of a sleeping volcano. In the dream, the lake was warming, and he was picking up crystals and geodes which were appearing on the shoreline, while distant people were swinging on a huge rope-swing over the water. "I knew I couldn't swim," he explained, "but I wanted to swing--it looked fun."

He is seventeen years old, and just starting in on all the fun of risking one's life over deep waters.

I told him to make sure he has a flotation device.

There are many ways to look at such dreams and portents. There is no hard-and-fast analysis, no absolutely correct interpretation...the necessity and key lies in the looking and examination itself, in the attention given to the flow of that particular language. Not once have I ever been able to dismiss a dream or vision as "nonsense" or "irrelevant" to life, any more than I can look at a mountain in the distance or listen to the ocean and call it stupid or useless.

Personally, I experience volcanoes and earthquakes as the shifting and turning inside-out of the planetary expression of Self, human psyche and geology perfectly mirroring each other. It can be no other way, as none of this occurs separately from itself. And those crystals lying about on the edge of the volcanic lake are akin to the treasure uncovered when one dares to walk the inner shores.

It's quite obvious that we are collectively entering a cauldron of heated exchanges and transformation, and things are being exposed at an exponential rate, the likes of which we have never seen before in our brief "global communication" history. There are events waiting in the wings which the ultra-sensitive can already feel.

We do love a good drama, and tend to put a fearful spin on just about everything. Violence, poverty and increasing social tension seem to be more "in the face" than ever, and some extra caution or preparedness is justified. But keep in mind that an apocalypse is a revelation, an exposure, an uncovering. It is perhaps the end of a story, but never of the heart of Reality, which beats with an undying intensity and generosity, and has room for birth and beginnings as well as the destruction of outworn paradigms.

Artists, philosophers, dreamers and lovers of all kinds are actually the priests, priestesses and human representatives of the Deep, those that dwell near caves and wells and bottomless lakes, carrying various lights in strong contrast to the scary darkness and obscuring layers of dust, mist or jungle. We know without any doubt that there is a rosy warmth shining through the coldest expression of ice, and a vast peace holding all our turmoil in its cupped hands. We make sure, in the end, that this is not forgotten.

I'll be looking for you, on that distant shore. :)