Friday, April 28, 2017

Michael Meade: When Death Finds You, May It Find You Alive

There's an African proverb: 
"When death finds you, may it find you alive." 
Alive means living your own damned life, 
not the life that your parents wanted, or the life 
some cultural group or political party wanted, 
but the life that your own soul wants to live.
- Michael Meade

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Geneen Marie Haugen: The Return

Gratitude to my soulful sisters Carolyn and Lynn for 
this amazing poem and art. Gratitude for the thunderous
and wild journeys that life offers us to awaken and
remember what we have forgotten! 
Bless us all - Molly

The Return 
Some day, if you are lucky,
you’ll return from a thunderous journey
trailing snake scales, wing fragments
and the musk of Earth and moon.
Eyes will examine you for signs
of damage, or change
and you, too, will wonder
if your skin shows traces
of fur, or leaves,
if thrushes have built a nest
of your hair, if Andromeda
burns from your eyes.
Do not be surprised by prickly questions
from those who barely inhabit
their own fleeting lives, who barely taste
their own possibility, who barely dream.
If your hands are empty, treasureless,
if your toes have not grown claws,
if your obedient voice has not
become a wild cry, a howl,
you will reassure them. We warned you,
they might declare, there is nothing else,
no point, no meaning, no mystery at all,
just this frantic waiting to die.
And yet, they tremble, mute,
afraid you’ve returned without sweet
elixir for unspeakable thirst, without
a fluent dance or holy language
to teach them, without a compass
bearing to a forgotten border where
no one crosses without weeping
for the terrible beauty of galaxies
and granite and bone. They tremble,
hoping your lips hold a secret,
that the song your body now sings
will redeem them, yet they fear
your secret is dangerous, shattering,
and once it flies from your astonished
mouth, they-like you-must disintegrate
before unfolding tremulous wings.
-  Geneen Marie Haugen
Painting by Charles Frizzell

Rachel Naomi Remen: Our Purpose In Life Is To Grow In Wisdom and In Love

 Quotes by Rachel Naomi Remen

Our purpose in life is to grow in wisdom and in love.

Those who don’t love themselves as they are rarely love life either.

There are only two kinds of people in the world. Those who are alive and those who are afraid.

Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are. 

Wounding and healing are not opposites. They’re part of the same thing. It is our wounds that enable us to be compassionate with the wounds of others. It is our limitations that make us kind to the limitations of other people. It is our loneliness that helps us to to find other people or to even know they’re alone with an illness. I think I have served people perfectly with parts of myself I used to be ashamed of. 

Every great loss demands that we choose life again. We need to grieve in order to do this. The pain we have not grieved over will always stand between us and life. When we don’t grieve, a part of us becomes caught in the past like Lot’s wife who, because she looked back, was turned into a pillar of salt. 

Many times when we help we do not really serve. . . . Serving is also different from fixing. One of the pioneers of the Human Potential Movement, Abraham Maslow, said, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’ Seeing yourself as a fixer may cause you to see brokenness everywhere, to sit in judgment of life itself. When we fix others, we may not see their hidden wholeness or trust the integrity of the life in them. Fixers trust their own expertise. When we serve, we see the unborn wholeness in others; we collaborate with it and strengthen it. Others may then be able to see their wholeness for themselves for the first time.

Belief traps or frees us.

It has been said that sometimes we need a story more than food in order to live. 

When we know ourselves to be connected to all others, acting compassionately is simply the natural thing to do. 

Helping, fixing, and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. when you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.

Suffering shapes the life force, sometimes into anger, sometimes into blame and self-pity. Eventually it may show us the wisdom of embracing and loving life.

The willingness to consider possibility requires a tolerance of uncertainty. 

Life offers its wisdom generously. Everything teaches. Not everyone learns.

It is not that we have a soul, but that we are a soul.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

David Richo: Opening To Life's Lessons

I have found these teachings to be profound and deeply transformative. The path we choose has the potential to lead us into an ever expansive experience of who we are and of healing and wholeness, tenderness and compassion, mindfulness and humility, courage and wisdom, love and life, purpose and meaning, joy and peace, and of our Sacred connection with all beings. The great force which determines whether we are growing more expansive with each year we are alive or more contracted is rooted in whether we are bringing consciousness into our choices or not. Are we doing the work of opening our hearts and learning from life's joys and its sorrows? May we all choose wisely. Everything we experience has the potential to be among our great teachers, cultivating within us an ever deepening capacity to love.
Bless us all ~ Molly

 We Are Fields of Potential, 
Some Now Actualized, Most Not Yet 

A wound does not destroy us. It activates our self-healing powers. The point is not to "put it behind you" but to keep benefiting from the strength it has awakened.

In the hero stories, the call to go on a journey takes the form of a loss, an error, a wound, an unexplainable longing, or a sense of a mission. When any of these happens to us, we are being summoned to make a transition. It will always mean leaving something behind,...The paradox here is that loss is a path to gain.

A healthy person is not perfect but perfectible, not a done deal but a work in progress. Staying healthy takes discipline, work, and patience, which is why our life is a journey and perforce a heroic one.

Just as our fingerprints are one-of-a-kind, so is our identity. Each of us is a once-only articulation of what humans can be. We are rare, unmatched, mysterious. This is why the quality of openness is so crucial to our self-discovery. We cannot know ourselves by who we think we are, who others take us to be, or what our driver's license may say. We are fields of potential, some now actualized, most not yet.

- David Richo

Books by David Richo:

David Richo: The Gifts Held Within Our Wounds

Our wounds are often the openings 
into the best and most beautiful part of us.
- David Richo

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mary Oliver: Black Oaks

Okay, not one can write a symphony, or a dictionary,
or even a letter to an old friend, full of remembrance
and comfort.
Not one can manage a single sound though the blue jays
carp and whistle all day in the branches, without
the push of the wind.
But to tell the truth after a while I’m pale with longing
for their thick bodies ruckled with lichen
and you can’t keep me from the woods, from the tonnage
of their shoulders, and their shining green hair.
Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a 
little sunshine, a little rain.
Listen, says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from
one boot to another — why don’t you get going?
For there I am, in the mossy shadows, under the trees.
And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists
of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money,
I don’t even want to come in out of the rain.
- Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver: Sleeping In The Forest

 Sleeping In the Forest
I thought the earth remembered me, she 
took me back so tenderly, arranging 
her dark skirts, her pockets 
full of lichens and seeds. I slept 
as never before, a stone 
on the riverbed, nothing 
between me and the white fire of the stars 
but my thoughts, and they floated 
light as moths among the branches 
of the perfect trees. All night 
I heard the small kingdoms breathing 
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night 
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling 
with a luminous doom. By morning 
I had vanished at least a dozen times 
into something better.
- Mary Oliver

Monday, April 24, 2017

Jack Kornfield: Awakening to the Tenderness Beyond Our Own Personal Injuries

This is incredibly beautiful, loving, powerful, and wise.
Bless us all on our journeys. ~ Molly

As we let go and still see others suffer, the heart fills with compassion. So much suffering is human caused. We awaken to a poignancy and tenderness beyond our own personal injuries. One Zen master calls this caring "the tears of the way." Our personal suffering diminishes, but our awareness of the sorrow and pain in the world grows stronger. Our heart is open and we feel connected to all things.

Resting in the peaceful heart, we weep at the folly of so many who live in the suffering of greed, hatred, and delusion, who have lost their way. And, all unbidden, we act. When a child falls into the street, everyone rushes to pull him from danger. When we see suffering, we respond. Barbara Wiedner, who founded Grandmothers for Peace, describes it this way: "I began to question, what kind of a world am I leaving for my grandchildren? So I got a sign, 'A Grandmother for Peace,' and stood on a corner. Then I joined others kneeling as a human barrier at a munitions factory. I was taken to prison, strip-searched, thrown into a cell. Something happened to me! I realized they couldn't do anything more to me. I was free." Now Barbara and her organization, Grandmothers for Peace, work in countries around the world.

The Tao Te Ching explains," Because she has let go, she can care for the welfare of all as a mother cares for her child." When we let go of being the one who suffers, we are free to bring blessings wherever we go.

- Jack Kornfield
Excerpted from The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal
Teachings of Buddhist Psychology

Jack Kornfield: To Be Wise

To be wise, we have to examine our intention to ensure that it is free from delusion. The ends do not justify the means. If our actions will bring harm to others, even in the service of some "good," they are almost certainly deluded. If our actions do not come from a kind heart, from loving courage and compassion, they are deluded. If they are based on a distinction between "us" and "them," they stem from delusion. Only to the extent that we act from the wisdom of no separation, understanding how we are woven together, will our intention bring benefit...

As Oriah Mountain Dreamer describes, we are all in this together. As we undertake this journey, first we need to set our compass on a course of compassion. When we dedicate our actions with positive intentions for all, we begin to transform the situation. Our dedication gives us the authority and freedom to act out of love no matter what. We start with the results of our past karma. But the canvas is incomplete. Now we can add to it. We can step out of unconscious habit, connect with our wise heart, and freely choose a new response.

One practitioner described this discovery with tears in her eyes. "I'm so grateful. I want you to know how freeing these teachings have been. I've been in psychotherapy forever, and I've been sober for twenty-two years. For all these years I was still caught by the pain of the past. I healed in some ways, but I never believed I could change. Meditation taught me to begin again. It gave me a window I could fly out of. I'm not that suffering person anymore." No matter what the situation, we are offered the freedom to choose our highest intention, we are given the opportunity to set the compass of our heart and dedicate ourselves to our highest intention. This is what will transform the world.

- Jack Kornfield
Excerpted from The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal
Teachings of Buddhist Psychology

Noam Chomsky: US Is the "Most Dangerous Country in the World"

World-renouned intellectual Noam Chomsky. (Photo: Andrew Rusk)
By Dan Falcone, Truthout | Interview
Nuclear proliferation and climate change are subjects of acute concern in the current moment, driven into an all-out state of emergency by the new Trump administration. In this exclusive interview for Truthout, world-renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky discusses the media coverage of these two major issues, highlighting US tensions with Russia, Iran and North Korea, as well as discussing the recent US airstrike on Syria's Air Force base.
Daniel Falcone: What do you make of the distressing lack of discussion on climate change and nuclear proliferation in the mainstream media?
Noam Chomsky: If you want to learn something about nuclear weapons and why these issues are not being reported, take a look at the March 1 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, where there is an absolutely spectacular article by two real experts -- Hans M. Kristensen and Ted Postol from MIT. They discuss the new targeting systems that have been invented under the Obama Modernization Program that's now being escalated by Trump, and it's extremely dangerous. What they claim based on disclosed information is that the US missile systems have been improved by such a huge factor that they are now capable of instantly wiping out the Russian deterrent.
This is massive overkill and nuclear stability is gone, and of course, the Russians know this. What that implies is that if they ever feel a threat, they're just going to be compelled to launch a preemptive strike because otherwise they're dead, you know? And that means we're all dead. This is the most important news that's come out in I don't know how long.
The New York Times and other mainstream outlets followed through on their conventional habits of praising the US and Trump's latest strike of Syria but went on to lament that his foreign policy doctrine is improvisational. And, in some ways, based on the Cabinet appointments, it reminds me of Bush 43, where they select defenseless targets. Meanwhile they claim they're trying to fight terrorism and nuclear proliferation, but it seems like they're just enhancing it.
They certainly are not fighting nuclear proliferation. Well, if they want to fight nuclear proliferation, there are things they can do. Iran, which was never really an issue, could have been settled years ago. There's an interesting book by the former Brazilian ambassador Celso Amorim. In 2010, he initiated an effort along with Turkey to settle the whole Iran issue. Nobody outside of the United States takes it to be much of an issue.
Here, it's the worst threat in human history, but they made a deal with Iran for Iran to essentially give away its low enriched uranium to Turkey for storage, and in return, the Western powers (meaning the US) would provide them with ice tubs for their medical reactors. That basically would have ended it. It was immediately scratched by Obama and Clinton. And the main reason was they didn't want anybody else to be involved in it. We were supposed to run things, but we didn't say that. The ostensible reason was that Clinton was just on the verge of pressing for additional sanctions against Iran at the Security Council and didn't want it undermined, so that shows the attitude toward proliferation. And the same is happening with North Korea. [Recently] they announced more offensive actions against North Korea.
Naval missiles are going to raise the level of [danger], [but] is there a diplomatic option? Yes, there is. North Korea and China have proposed what sounds like a pretty sensible option that North Korea should end its development of nuclear weapons -- just no more, just keep it the way it is -- and in return, the US should stop carrying out hostile military maneuvers on the North Korean border -- nuclear capable B-52s and so on. The US immediately rejected it. And the press and everyone else said [little]….
This modernization program is a very clear example of how security doesn't matter. There is no gain in security but massive overkill of the adversary's deterrent capacity. The only consequence of it is to elicit the likelihood of a preemptive attack. And a preemptive attack leads to a nuclear winter world.