Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit. ~Peter Ustinov
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in Continue reading
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
During the 2008 presidential election, a pundit speculated about why Barack Obama’s autobiography was titled Dreams of My Father. The article implied that, in so titling his book, he wasn’t showing proper respect or sufficient appreciation for his mother, the parent who had raised him mostly on her own. I remember thinking at the time that the person who wrote the article must have been raised in a two-parent household.
Light will someday split you open
Even if your life is now a cage.
Little by little, You will turn into stars.
Little by little, Continue reading
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire, Continue reading
When one thing dies all things
die together, and must live again
in a different way,
when one thing
is missing everything is missing,
and must be found again
in a new whole…
~ excerpt from What I Must Tell Myself by David Whyte
I suffered a loss this weekend, a loss that, to some, might not seem terribly important or tragic, but it hit me hard just the same, and I am grieving.
Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?
Would you think it odd if Hafiz said,
“I am in love with every church
And any kind of shrine
Because I know it is there
That people say the different names
Of the One God.”
Would you tell your friends
I was a bit strange if I admitted Continue reading
pathwriter’s note: I’ve had the last two lines of this poem on the wall beside my bed for a couple of years now. It was quoted in a Martha Beck book, and I knew it was from one of Oliver’s poems, but I never bothered to go looking for which one. Found it this morning online. I have it right at the head of my bed, next to my bedside lamp, so that I’ll see daily, so that it will remind me to be true to myself and live a full life…to not play it safe, to not wait “until…” before I really start living. Not always easy, but I’m working on it.
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean– the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
~Mary Oliver, The House Light Beacon Press, Boston, 1990.
The practice of violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is a more violent world.