The Wild Rose

                                                                                                                                      Photo: Online

I’ve had a yellow rose bush in a terra cotta pot for maybe twenty-five years. I’ve dragged it from house to house. Two years ago I planted it near my front porch trimming it back severely. Last year its stems barely grew. I wondered whether the paltriness of its leaves could gather light or store sustaining sugars. I thought I killed it. Nonetheless, in the fall I cut it back but less harshly.

This spring it leafed out fully on long thorny stems—though thinner than those of its past. Returning home after work travel, it was awash with small deeply red roses. The bush had always borne yellow roses. The tiny red ones were gorgeous in a natural way—though quite unlike the corollas of its former domesticated self. I looked across the commons area into my neighbor’s yard: It was bursting with a plethora of large beautiful colorful roses—ones most of us have been taught to appreciate.

​I had killed my rose alright. Well, rather, I killed its domesticated yellow cultivated parts. Those bits long ago grafted onto a wild and natural red rose rootstock—in whose beauty I now reveled. The next morning my roses were gone. Deer got them, and they’ve dined on buds all summer. It’s late summer as I write this and autumn is in the air. As I look out my window, I see a wholly natural rose bearing long thorny stems and lots of leaves. Next year I’ll keep the deer away: I want this rose’s undomesticated beauty.

For years I stewarded my life as I had the rose being equally harsh with myself. I didn’t know this though, and am I’m only now getting it. Domestication is so opaque—so hard to see through.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve longed and worked assiduously to free my incarcerated self from the falsity and folly of domestication—though all the while being my own worst enemy. I’m changed and changing. I’m grateful. Something of wildness is flowering within.

Let’s toast to the growing and developing sufficiently to keep the ego in its proper place—that of serving our Essential rootstock.

Waking the Feminine

                                                           Image: Woman Asleep in an Armchair The Dream 1932 – Picasso

Poet David Whyte said that when he had a son, he felt the need to teach him. His sense was organic—an instinct to continue the species. We know instincts through drives, feelings, emotions and protective urges—those prompting us to care for and train younger ones, and our urges to flinch, freeze, fight or take flight.

When his daughter arrived Whyte said that he sensed a need to apprentice himself to her. His sense of apprenticing to the Feminine of his daughter arose not from animal, ancestral, familial or cultural inheritance—but rather, from the non-ordinary forces of the Mystery. Whether we have daughters or not, all of us—girls, boys, women and men—are constantly being invited, by the Mystery, to apprentice ourselves to the Feminine.  She is Life!

The Mystery’s forces and their invitations routinely go unrecognized/unheard. When heard, routinely unheeded. The forces of the Mystery are of a different order than our instincts. These forces are doing the Mystery’s bidding. They are inorganic. Non-instinctual. They derive from, and remain something other than physical matter, thoughts, or imaginings. Our upbringings teach us to disavow their messages when they penetrate our denial, surfacing in awareness.

Her bidding? Become Her Consort. Her Lover. Her co-creative collaborator—all the while growing into the sovereign forces that we ourselves are. Her bidding? Participate in the Whole of things… going to places beyond what our cultures and its institutions acknowledge.

When I was nine my brothers and I got a sister. I was ecstatic. However these things work, she and I have an uncommon connection. We SEE each other. I didn’t know then that I was unfathomably in love with the Feminine. I still am.

The Cosmos… the Universe… the Mystery… all are feminine. Our world—our planet, and Nature—the natural environment—are feminine. All of it is, save for periodic impulses of the Masculine. The Source… the Divine…  Allness… the central organizing force of the Cosmos… these words point to the same phenomenon, which is feminine.

Unawares, the human race has disenfranchised itself from the vital-peaceful-aliveness, the undomesticated motion and co-creative promise of our existences. We’ve done so by living out millennia upon millennia of patriarchal mores and acting in accord with its insipid best-practices. We, ourselves, today, continue this folly, equally oblivious, though we consider ourselves aware…

…all the while, furthering the diminishment of our intelligence, sensibilities, capacities and creativities. Though patriarchal mores compel our marching in lockstep, we can yet break our stride changing our lives and the future’s trajectory.

Gender essence possess charge. These forces, and their charge, have been wholly and profanely misunderstood and acted on. The charge between the sexes has been corrupted and contaminated culminating in unspeakable violence. The Feminine and the Masculine gender essence forces are something other than what we’ve been brought up to believe or imagine.

I contend that we—all of us—are profoundly, staggeringly, breathlessly and ecstatically in love with the Feminine, though we are wholly unaware of this, and callous in our ignorance. If we want to leverage change, we will be well served to bring this love into our conscious awareness; to say “Yes!” to it, and act in accord with the our love of the Feminine. Doing so will render boon upon boon to ourselves and others.

What will you do? How will you be? as you awaken to the actuality that you cannot not love the Feminine? That you cannot actually hate life and the living…That you are instead wholly and completely and ecstatically in love with Life, the Cosmos, others, yourself—the Feminine?


                                                                                                        Photo: Digital art from the internet

“…systems break because they are rigid and unbending. If we spend our lives trying to adjust to something broken we break ourselves in the process…” ~ Shane Koyczan

There is something to the Buddhists’ worldview regarding the immeasurable privilege of being incarnated human. The breathtaking number of life forms on the planet alone—options in which we could be playing out our lives—render the odds of being human infinitesimal. This says nothing of sperm ovum failures nor the myriad other existences we could inhabit in other worlds.

Privilege does not mean human life is more important or more valuable or more significant than other life forms—but rather—different: The Beings we are, are privileged to access a greater range and type of motion than others…privileged to join and connect and move with one another with greater nuance, and to engage more complimentarily… privileged to experience and express endless possibilities of creativity…privileged, too, in our particular form of sentience and capacities for experience, and all that this renders…

Whether we believe or not, to presuppose privilege garners us boon upon boon. Assuming privilege now, irrespective of circumstance, revises the overarching stories of our lives by providing non-ordinary color, syntax and meter which changes us and our lives lending greater ease in an uneasy world.

Whether done with Grace or done inelegantly, people are staggeringly adaptive. Adapting is required to navigate the day to day. Yet, we are no more open, agile, flexible or creative in our adaptations than our personal and cultural stories allow.

Inasmuch, there is yet another privilege: That of being autonomous, sovereign, unique. Though our individual and cultural stories eschew our sovereignty… Nonetheless, and paradoxically, we cannot genuinely join others without claiming and inhabiting our autonomy—being our own selves. And this, we can’t do until we acknowledge the privilege of our humanity, itself… Hmm?

But wait there is more: The sovereign ones that we are are being urged by the Mystery to creatively express what is uniquely ours to render… This, too, requires acknowledgement of human privilege…of sovereignty…of the necessity to connect with others and forces beyond ourselves…

What’s really going on is a, a recursive process requiring new iterations from us in each spiraling arc…

And you thought it was easy being a person…

For me personally, my practice is graciousness without being polite. Gracious in saying Yes! to the promise of the privileges of being human. For me, it involves disciplining myself to be here and now in my body. Keeping my attention on what I love, and connecting with the Intents of the Mystery.

A Goodbye to Patriarchy 

                      “…bent on building an ennobled world of dignity for all…”– Maria Popova

In 2010 the Dalia Lama proclaimed “The world will be saved by [the] Western woman.”

Recently the Pope declared 22 June as Mary Magdalene Feast Day.

The International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers gave the world this message:

“As you move through these changing times… be easy on yourself and be easy on one another. You are at the beginning of something new. You are learning a new way of being. You will find that you are working less in the yang modes that you are used to. You will stop working so hard at getting from point A to point B the way you have in the past, but instead, will spend more time experiencing yourself in the whole, and your place in it. Instead of traveling to a goal out there, you will voyage deeper into yourself. Your mother’s grandmother knew how to do this. Your ancestors from long ago knew how to do this. They knew the power of the feminine principle… and because you carry their DNA in your body, this wisdom and this way of being is within you. Call on it. Call it up. Invite your ancestors in. As the yang based habits and the decaying institutions on our planet begin to crumble, look up. A breeze is stirring. Feel the sun on your wings.”

In 1988, though not original to her, the former USA State of Texas Governor Ann W. Richards said “If you give us the chance, we can perform. After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.” 

Irrespective of how the subordination of girls and women and the disparaging of all that is feminine became the norm… No matter that our doing so is inexcusable and unjustifiable… No matter that all of us—girls and women and boys and men—are conditioned to debase more than half of the people on the planet because of their sex… In the name of human decency… In the name of dignity…. In the name of Love…

Personally, as an activist of the human heart… of decency, with a bent toward that which is just… We must now direct our attentions and resources to counterbalance the forces diminishing the Feminine. We must do so with our unequivocal action in support of women’s power, place, standing, voice and contribution—to feminine wisdom and process. We must do so while maintaining the dignity of boys and men and the Masculine. We must take a stand within ourselves to think and act differently within ourselves… With one another.

We are in the midst of a transition of epochs: we are leaving the patriarchal and moving into an honoring of the Feminine… an honoring of girls and women… Though the path ahead is arduous, we must now construct the circumstances for furthering—for enabling—cooperative and collaborative partnerships of Feminine and Masculine… of women and men. This will take generations to realize of course, yet we must do our part now to enable succeeding generations to do theirs.

In these actions we will heal ourselves, one another—and avail ourselves to see into and work hand in hand with the otherwise ‘unseen’ Universal forces of Wisdom—we will see into the forces of the Mystery beyond mind/imagination, body and matter.

Were we to look into the eyes of the 13 Grandmothers we’d see there is no New Age dribble expressed here, but rather, ancient Wisdom from our future…


A couple years ago I discovered YouTube’s Britain’s Got Talent. When I have time I watch and listen while making breakfast or coffee. In sharing their talent, those auditioning reveal their beauty and at times, I cry. The poet John O’Donohue said the human heart cannot live without beauty.

Before YouTube, I read Nobel Laureate acceptance speeches looking for beauty. I also read things like the inaugural speech of the Czech Republic’s first president, Vaclav Havel. His honesty revealed his beauty. Though I sometimes grouse about the stupid things people do, I know of and see humanity’s staggering beauty. I always find it. For me, it’s important to direct my attention to beauty as doing so makes it easier to maintain clarity and resourcefulness—particularly in difficult times.

For the past two or three years I’ve been reading interviews of writers and writers writing about writing. The Fragrance of Guava: Conversations with Gabriel Garcia Marquez is lovely. Garcia Marquez said “I know my wife so well that I don’t know her at all.” In seeing his wife, he saw the Mystery in her. Now that’s beauty!

Not knowing how to love is what prevents us from seeing one another. What was it Thich Nhat Hahn said? “To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love.” This has been my experience—from both sides—the one ostensibly being loved and the one ostensibly doing the loving.

Its taken me so long to learn to love. So long to leave a child’s way of loving. I could lament this but don’t. Rather, I’m gratefully and utterly gobsmacked with my new capacity and experience of loving in a mature way, of experiencing the heart-touching and arresting force, or whatever it is, in and beyond my wife—that ever present ineffable something that I’d been oblivious to, yet, so desperately seeking. Phew!

This ineffable force is, of course, its own thing—yet, too, it infuses everything. To know this now is beyond my ability to express. Though books and film opened me, it is through another that the Mystery bequeathed me this boon.

Even so, I yet have impediments to the freedom that will ensue from loving myself more fully—from uttering my unequivocal “Yes” to the Mystery. It seems that I’ve had aspects bent on defining myself by others’ and my own ill-fitting invectives…

…rather than by the best of me. Hmm?

As for tears in my appreciation of others’ creative expression… Well, yes, there is an honesty in those tears; yet, too, my story and tears have also been a ruse. One that fooled me a long time. Recently, my story shattered: I now see that my tears were me feeling sorry for myself—for not yet having creatively expressed what I long to.

I either get my, now-shattered, limiting story… or I can do what it takes to do the things I say I want to do…

I bow to beauty of the forces rendering impermanence to my story…

Being Bold

                                                                                                                                          Jackson Pollock

“Change in society is of secondary importance; that will come about naturally, inevitably, when you as a human being bring about change in yourself.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Some scientists say the universe is expanding. Others say it’s contracting. Mystics see the universe as a dance of opposites. Easterners speak of Yin and Yang.

Concerned about global chaos? Be calm. Concerned about greed? Be generous. Concerned about hate? Be unafraid. Concerned about an insensitive world? Be gracious.

Concerned that governments and business are uncaring? Care for another and experience the love that ensues. Concerned about the world’s ill-will? Be kind. Concerned about evil? Do good.

​You lonely? Connect with another. Unhappy? Do things you love doing. Is the world moving too fast? Slow down. Complexity got you by the throat? Simplify. Too much in your head? Come to your senses.

Want to live boldly? Counterbalance things!

Wanna really be bold? Value, understand, honor, respect, care for, love, and support the self-confidence of girls and women. See them. Support gender equality at every opportunity.

Losing Our Minds and Coming to Our Senses

​Biologists tell us there are seven signs of life: moving, respiration, sensitivity, growth, reproduction, excretion and nutrition. Mystic Paul Richards suggests differently. Life is creativity, he says. No creativity—no life. There are gradations of life: more creativity—more life. He’s onto something more significant than we are wont to appreciate.

I’m not suggesting everyone sculpt, cook gourmet foods or write poetry but rather that we open ourselves to relationships with the Mystery’s muse forces beyond mind, body and imagination. In doing so our lives open to the Mystery’s Enchantment and our actions—from the nuanced to the overt—radiate something transcendent.

Life itself is Enchantment. It can’t be measured or sussed out rationally. It is instead experienced directly. Most of us deny Enchantment’s existence as we rarely allow ourselves to fully and directly experience our lives via our senses. Enchantment is not eschewing us nor does She limit Her visitations. Rather, it is our own unwitting bent on over-thinking our lives that precludes Her touch. Our penchant for thought is a form of collateral damage. A consequence of our personal histories. This can be changed. We can come to our senses.

I’m no one to talk. I jumped from the ship of my body as a child and roamed the ethers. Seemed more pleasant than consigning myself to feeling. My curiosity and interest in learning and understanding drew me to the refuge of my thinking mind and imagination. I can tell you that living at distance and living conceptually don’t render a good life.

I am only now beginning to know the lightness of Being which ensues from directly experiencing my sentience—the ups and the downs. I am only now knowing the life giving beauty of creativity. Only now perceiving Enchantment’s delight. Only now being disciplined enough to let go of dispiriting and disheartening habits of thought and action. Only now disciplining myself to creative ends.

How do we do this?

It’s giving ourselves over to magnificent music or getting lost in the myriad flavors and warmth of a meal, coffee or a glass of wine… It’s feeling the wind tousling our hair; basking in a lover’s touch, or feeling heartened in seeing the light in another’s eyes… It’s watching the way happy people move as they go about their day…, and seeing the angle of falling rain, and becoming entranced by the concentric circles forming in puddles…

Get out of the city. Go to the park. Nature is so compelling, so solicitous of our what’s real in us…

Reading is no substitute for direct sensory experience. At their best, words inspire and rouse us to come to our senses. Here are a few such words by poet William Stafford:
Got up on a cool morning. Leaned out a window.
No cloud, no wind. Air that flowers held
for awhile. Some dove somewhere.

Don’t believe me. Experience life for yourself.

2016–Just Sayin’

​Many cars have GPS. You know how they work: they chart a course from our current locations to our destinations. They continuously calculate the relationship between our here and now and our desired there and then—and re-choreograph our movement when we veer off. We do this in our lives too. I’m curious whether the places we seem bent on going are actually the places we imagine them to be? I’m curious too about being goal directed by things out there versus meeting our deeper needs. Just wondering…

​GPS records our starting points. It remembers. No matter our present situations or seemingly similar destinations—because each of us have differing points of origin—we can never compare our experience, positions nor degrees of progress with others. What do we need in order to let go such comparisons? I wonder…

…The safest and easiest way to drive at speed through sharp or broadly sweeping curves requires fixing our sight on a moving point. Where we place this moving point depends on:

1) which side of the road’s centerline we drive on,
2) whether we’re on a multi-lane road,
3) whether the curve in front of us bends to our right or left.

In North America we drive to the right of the road’s centerline. Here on a road having one lane in each direction approaching a right bending curve, we need look to the painted line near the right edge of the road in front of us. We must fix our sight on a point on this painted line as far into the curve as we can see—and continue moving this point into and around and through the curve—and beyond as the road straightens.

Were we to look elsewhere instead, our systems would take us there. If we become aware of this change in course we would need to exert additional force to again move in our desired direction. Sometimes we right ourselves. Sometimes no.

As we coordinate our systems of attention and intent (navigating curves elegantly in our own ways) by seeing that moving point in front of us—and connect these with our mind, body and environment, we more graciously approach the contours our journeys bring—whose changing conditions we only discover by approaching and moving into and through them. In our connecting we join larger forces informing our motion, applications of effort and creativity.

—In this flow—we are the Mystery’s graceful escorts.

How and where will you look this year?

Boxing Day

                                                                                                                             Photo: Vivian Maier

​Boxing Day is celebrated the day after Christmas in nine countries and recognized in seventeen others. The story goes that Boxing Day originated in England in the Middle Ages. Masters gave Christmas Boxes to their servants the day after Christmas for they, the servants, had worked on Christmas. The servants then went on holiday taking their Boxes to their families. So too, at some point, alms Boxes turned up in local parishes where monies were collected and given to the poor on the day following Christmas. This practice became part of Boxing Day. In our times this day is celebrated by giving gifts to tradesmen, mail carriers, doormen, porters and others in service.

Though my country doesn’t celebrate Boxing Day the gesture and sentiments touch me deeply: An echo of my British ancestry perhaps. In my own life the gifts I give those working in the laundry, in the shoe repair, to the receptionist at the medical office, the checker at the market, and so on always gives me the greatest pleasure and joy—more so than other giving.

In our world those with advantage are borne on the backs of the less advantaged: Those having less expend their energies laboring for and enabling those with more. Lower class youth fight and die in wars benefitting the higher classes. In nature greater trees crowd out lesser ones. And so it goes ad infinitum in all kingdoms: animal, mineral, vegetable and fungi.

Life lives on Life! This is an integral design element of our Cosmos. Experiencing pressures and conflicts are inescapable artifacts of our Being—of living. Our Cosmos is annihilation and creation-based: it expands and contracts: Forces and countervailing forces form our basic Cosmic architecture. We experience the high and low pressures of these forces in a myriad forms constantly: Stress and pressure are inherent in living. Angst and suffering are not.

Angst and suffering issue from us elevating the status and value of one Life form above another—from elevating aspects of ourselves above others. We ourselves create angst and suffering. They are after-market add-ons. They are distinct from Cosmic design. They are a consequence of us failing to see into the Mystery’s realities. Yet nothing is hidden from us. Nothing.

My point is not about out there though. Rather, we’ve judged parts of our own selves as less worthy, less beautiful, less correct or relevant than other parts. We’ve given them the cold shoulder—we’ve tried to annihilate them. Yet we fancy others bits. Judging them better. Worthy. We like these things about ourselves. We expand them all the while forgetting they are borne by the disliked parts doing the heavy lifting.

Some say hierarchy is the problem. To me, hierarchy is structural. Its isn’t the problem. Rather, the rub lies in our failure to Love Life—the Whole of it—within ourselves—and the entirety of it out there. We love only the forces of the lovely. To remove angst and suffering we need also to express the love of kindness, compassion, generosity and graciousness within ourselves, and with others. We need to do so while in the throes of the forces of difficulty.

Our failing to Love comes from our failing to see into the Mystery. Our failing to see comes from failing to Love. A cyclic thing.

Let’s go on! Let’s arrange a belated Boxing Day Christmas Gift Box of Love for those inservice inside ourselves. Let’s interrupt the vicious cycle.

Joy Irrespective

                                                                                                            Photo: Vivian Maier
“I’m happiest when I’m happy.” — Shane Koyczan

As Bert Hellinger ended one of his classes saying “May you know joy irrespective of circumstance.” I wondered how the hell ya do that. Now nearly twenty years later I’m getting purchase on these abilities. There are people who’ve finished their lives—completed their ‘karma’. I’m not one of them: I do my work. I bring what comes. Thus my blogging arc on Happiness and joy.

In this series I’ve riffed on with inherently unstable writings—not for me, but for some there’s dissonance in what I write: I don’t mean not agreeing politically for I don’t give a rip about politics. We know that a state’s policies are insulated from its politics: policies continue on irrespective of who’s in office. We know too that political rhetoric is discordant and distracts us from doing what’s necessary. From seeking contexts from which change arises. Solutions are not in found political action.

The necessary changes we seek are those within ourselves—those urging us to think, feel and act differently. To be aware. Clear. To be relaxed and powerfully resolute while flexing and letting go of what we need leave behind. To go where we must to go. To do what we need to do. To be ourselves irrespective.

Dr. Milton H. Erickson said something to the effect that we need to attend to joy for life brings the other things. Our systems require the buoyancy of joy and happiness. We need to really want this buoyancy. This joy. We’ve become inured to pedestrian existences: We have forgotten to remember that we are the chefs at the French Laundry–yet living out macaroni and cheese lives.

We need to believe Happiness is possible for ourselves. We need to know what to do to capture joy and Happinesses’s attention. We need to understand how to do these things. Experiencing Happiness in our bodies reifies its value, its necessity. Though we have active imaginations susceptible to suggestion, direct sensory experience is called for—of necessity for we are sentient beings.

The cacophony of the world is intensifying, growing louder—becoming more discordant. More than ever we need mental and emotional composure—harmony. Internal consonance. We must sit fully and easily in our bodies while feeling vital, relaxed, peaceful, clear—powerful.

For this we need the leverage of Happiness. We need flirtations of joy and encounters with humor–for in their resonance, they and we, form formable partnerships of equanimity. This is an ‘on the ground’ thing inside ourselves. This is the difference that makes the difference. Nothing changes out there until things change on the inside. This requires disciplined doing. We can’t think our way through and into the leverage necessary to carry us onward in these times.

Want to change the—your—world? There are things to do immediately. Of course we will fail. Failure is but feedback. Discovery lies in here. Make these discoveries. Then do things differently. As these things become practiced pieces of our repertoire Happiness expands enabling us to do more out there—if that’s your bent.

1) Say what you mean.
2) Mean what you say.
3) Do what you say you will do.
4) Say what is so for you, when it is so, without blame or judgement.
5) Do the things you love to do.

“May you know joy irrespective of circumstances.” — Bert Hellinger