Self First, Unselfishly: A Study in Grace

Tree of Life — Gustav Klimt


“Poems are rough notations for the music we are.” — Rumi (Coleman Barks translation)


Rumi’s acumen in perceiving people as music is not such a stretch given that science describes reality


in terms of frequencies—waves of matt

er, sound, light, electromagnetism and so on. So our suspicions of not being who or what we’ve thought ourselves to be may be spot on. No wonder when left to their own devices children dance—do they still hear and feel their music?

Rumi also said there is an Awareness present in everyone that existed before the Universe itself existed; and it, and ourselves, came out of that Awareness. Not the other way round. Hmm? What if this Awareness is but a single notation? and what if this single notation is an original score? and what if this original score is a love song? and what if this love song—when audible and palpable in our lives counterbalances the juggernaut of disharmony in our world?

Musing further, I love the French concept of étude. It means a study in an instrumental musical composition, which is usually short, of considerable difficulty, and the étude is designed to provide practice material for perfecting a particular musical skill. Are we not composing our lives? Do we not by late mid-life appreciate life’s short duration? Do we not experience considerable difficulty in effecting our desires to help others? to be genuine in ourselves? and in our expression and movement?

So what specifically is our study?—our étude? What is the particular skill we’re here to perfect? It is to live in ways in which our thought and action reveal the luminosity and numinous beauty of the single notation of the extant Awareness within us? This Awareness, the one Rumi reminds us of—the one seemingly oblivious to us—the one that is The original score, it is—I contend, a love song.

Isn’t it odd though that such a love song—our love song—the what and who that we essentially are—is largely obscured and drowned out by our upbringing and the cacophonies of our time? I submit to you that it need not.

Let the beauty of the love song that we are move and resound and refract through the instrumentality of our thought and action. What practice need we undertake to develop this skill? Placing the self first in our lives and do so unselfishly. Honoring the integrity and dignity of the original score and the love song that we are. Doing this by placing ourselves at the front of queue. The top of the list. Making ourselves and meeting our needs priority one without entitlement or arrogance. Without injuring or shorting others. Without cruelty or diminishment.

What blasphemy am I suggesting? Is your psyche rebelling? If so, consider the resistance a measure of the mettle of our indoctrination, the rigor and strength of pressures to conform and domesticate and diminish ourselves—even though doing so occurs at our expense.

Placing ourselves first in our life is The prerequisite to fulfilling the promises of our life. It is:
1) Recognizing the imperative to graciously live interdependently in cooperative and creative collaboration.
2) Loving, valuing, supporting and making place for the feminine and her voice, standing, methods and motion.
3) To genuinely be ourselves living in our own way—which means:
a) actually and genuinely helping others while caring for ourselves equivalently;
b) opening to and participating in the Mystery Herself, the realities suffusing us all—not through belief or contemplation—but rather, through movement in Her realms, and being changed by these experiences; and by
c) making our lives themselves—and our unique creative expression—impeccable works of art.

We will not and cannot fulfill the promise of our lives without placing ourselves first! We will not be first among equals. Remember: No one is equal to another. There are always those more powerful and those less. We can, however, be equally gracious in our differences. We can live and work interdependently. And cooperatively. And collaboratively. But can only do so by placing ourselves first in our lives and doing so unselfishly. Putting oneself first is The Study in Grace—Our étude.

Look around: independent selfish agency and agenda prevail in the world. It is increasing at an increasing rate.

Bringing our love song to the fore can counterbalance the selfishness that is imperiling us all. The more of us doing so, the sooner the tipping point. The sooner global change. Whether we do this timely enough I don’t know. It’s worth doing so nonetheless.

Lastly, remember please that the now canonized never-take-no-for-an-answer Mother Teresa did everything she did for herself. She knew the power of placing herself first. She knew the benefits to self and others of doing so.

Happy New Year!

Grace Report

Mahatma Gandhi: “Whatever you do in life will be insignificant but it’s very important that you do it.”

A year ago this month my elderly father took his life ostensibly without letting others know what’s up. Yet, the morning my brother told me, I realized that my dad had been telling me as much for the last two months during our frequent phone calls. He told me not in words of course, but in the spaces in between. In his non-ordinary messages—those things communicated without words or para-verbals or physical analogue. He told me in energy. Women know about such communications more often than men. Nonetheless he’d been telling me and I remained oblivious.

He’d taken as much as he could stand. His death, and its cause, prompted (as soon as I hung up the phone) an immediate and involuntary response where my body dropped to the couch in loud explosive paroxysms of sobbing that were all too brief. Regrettably, my expression was interrupted and I couldn’t recapture it for six months. In the interim, my body expressed its sadness and grief and anger with four months of bronchitis. What needs moving finds its way irrespective.

The thing is, when grief rises, it all comes. All of them. The ones I’d long forgotten, and the existential ones—those I didn’t know I had. Along with these were angers and rages issuing from early childhood development breaches and ouches lying unexpressed beneath the compost of familial and cultural mores and other restrictions on my nature. This year I had the good fortune of having a good guide and workable maps to navigate the terrain of moving my emotions. To say the year has been difficult is an understatement. Though I talked about my dad with one of my brothers, and my sister and mom a day or two before the anniversary of Dad’s death, the anniversary itself passed unnoticed. I’m not yet through my many griefs and angers but this year, for the first time it seems, the gift my dad gave me in his death has enabled me to get to the bottom of things I’ve wanted to remedy for a long time. He hadn’t seen or met me in his life. He never knew me. He saw instead what he projected. A pandemic circumstance I think. One worthy of our healing efforts.

I was prompted by a dream in July to go to the Alvord Desert in Eastern Oregon. I went there by myself for four days in August. People who know me know that I’ve a mystical thing going on and have non-ordinary experiences, and use non-ordinary forces in my work. Suffice it to say that in the desert I had a significant intellectually indefensible experience culminating in an integration and a reorganization of whatever I am, for which I am wholly grateful. I’ve been utterly changed, and so too has my work.

Before leaving to work in Taiwan this fall I felt I needed to go to Kaohsiung in the south of the country, a port-of-call during the Vietnam War. Though the city’s skyline was unrecognizable, the mountain scape was. Attempting to put words to my experience this time round seems something I’m incapable of doing: all I think I know is that something moved and began finding its way back to me. Equally unexpected, the next day I had lunch with a Vietnamese woman and we talked of the war. I had no awareness that I had felt so betrayed in my involvement in that “Police action” as history euphemistically regards it. My dad had been in WW11. My grandfather in WW1. Something moved for each of us this autumn and I am grateful for the changes.

As to the healing power of illness, well, my wife’s recent foray into chemo infusions remains quite a teacher. Lesson one: don’t carry what is not mine. Two: stay centered and grounded here and now. Three: sensibly manage where I put my focus and attention. Four: Keep love in the foreground.

What sheltering Grace this life gives us. What Grace!

Patriarchy: I Wonder…

Patriarchy: I Wonder

“Whether all is really lost or not depends entirely on whether or not I am lost.”  — Vaclav Havel

I wonder:
Is the USA’s president hell-bent on acting out racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynistic, elitist and supremacy beliefs?
Is there an intent and design to his pattern of derision, divisiveness and exclusionary rhetoric?
Do we possess the means to deflect the echo of his skillful usage of disinformation?
Do his actions epitomize the worst aspects of patriarchy? of humanity?
Are his actions the problem or symptomatic of those things each of us have yet to reconcile within ourselves?

The tyranny of patriarchy is the long standing distinctive patten of humanity. Patriarchy is our dominant social operating system. Racism, sexism, homophobia, elitism, derision, divisiveness, exclusion and supremacy are—regrettably—humanity’s signature. Its dominant articulation and expression.

I wonder:
Are not the tenets of patriarchy our own un- and witting individual expressions? Mine? Yours?
Do we flinch at this thought—yet pretend it is not?
Is our pretense an obstacle? One perpetuating our denial?
Does our pretending continue our individual indecency? …that of others?
Does pretending prevent us from opening to and developing our capacities to Love?

I wonder:​
Do we not conform to patterns of we and they—us and them?
Are we each not patriarchy’s signatories?
Do we not speak of patriarchy when referring to those out there to distance ourselves from our own equivalent actions?
Do we really think the monsters are only out there?

Humanity has long traversed a course antithetical to Love. Is it so that no one advances spiritually until the whole advances?

I wonder:
Since we as individuals each live out The Hero’s Journey—the story where we must survive or die from a significant ordeal—be utterly tested and changed by it—must we, collectively, do the same?
Are we?
Has the USA now entered this ordeal?
What will be the impact on our world?

Though our ancestors reside in other precincts, were they to tell us things—they’d commend that we Choose Love in our lifetime. They’d acknowledge that they themselves had not. They’d acknowledge their witting and unwitting complicity in the plight of humanity. They’d say that were we to act with graciousness, generosity, kindness and compassion—were we to act inclusively without capitulation—particularly with those whose thinking opposes our own—we would experience more ease and beauty and joy—irrespective of the degree of our difficulty in our lives. They’d say humanity’s distinctive pattern would shift away from patriarchy—from our unloving routines. This is Choosing Love, they’d say.

I wonder:
Though unaware, do we not each deny our capacities to Choose Love?
Do we realize that our failing to Choose Love has rendered us lost?
Though unaware, do we each refuse Love?
Do we not say “No” to Life? to Love daily? Albeit unawares…

I wonder:
Do epochs of thought and action cycle in and out of favor?
Have we not transitioned into a different one now?
What type of epoch will we make it?

My next post will address pushback: resistance and counterbalancing forces, and other such imperatives.

Good Girls Revolt: Dignity Trumps Patriarchy 

                                                                                                               Photo credit Monika Nataraj

I just watched Good Girls Revolt, a fictionalized TV account of the discriminatory practices that prompted women employees to sue Newsweek in 1970. Women were denied opportunities to write, or if they wrote a piece for the man they provided research for, the women did not get the byline. They were paid one-third the salaries of men while being expected to enthusiastically and submissively support the functions held by men—whether they themselves were more highly educated or capable. The series revealed the many ways in which women were—and remain—treated less well well than men.

On March 22, 1972, the US Senate passed the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution banning discrimination based on sex. The States had seven years to ratify. Subsequently they were given a three-year extension. The Amendment was never ratified leaving half of us bereft of anti-discriminatory constitutional support. How ironic that constitutionally unprotected US women soldiers now serve in combat.

Nation states have their own security as their primary objective—not that of their population. State security is paramount as their charge is the interests of a particular minority—nothing more. States must remain capable to that end. As with traversing any course, there are degrees of deviation en route an objective. The 1960s and early 70s were a period of deviation—expanding benefits for the population. We exhaled a bit.

Since then though, The particular minority has been gradually taking back what they gave—and more—leaving many of us to hold our breath. A cycle of still tighter contraction is returning. Although an over simplification, high pressure always flows into low pressure. We live in a force/countervailing force Cosmos.

Irrespective of the degree of insolent or violent thought and action perpetrated on women—regardless of what’s being denied them—despite prevailing circumstances of oblique and undisguised systemic cavalier, dismissive and reckless disregard for girls and women—and the Feminine—the dignity, innocence and beauty of girls and women can never be sullied, impeached, abridged or expunged. I see this being true for boys and men too. I won’t go there now as we’re not at that point in our conversation.

Human decency—love and compassion, graciousness and generosity, kindness and respect, dignity, innocence and beauty—and the granting of standing, voice, and power to women—are not the province of the state, religion, politics or the law. This purview is ours alone! This responsibility is our individual sovereign duty! Quoting the comedian Amy Schumer “You will not define my story. I will!”

No one is a victim here. Patriarchy is equally dangerous to men albeit less obvious. Patriarchy has crippled humanity, retarded our growth, and is killing off possibilities to sustain life on our planet. By each of us having internalized patriarchal ethics we’ve created unnecessary divisions within ourselves, and between one another. Whether aware or not, we each are conflicted inside as societal ethics collide with our deeper Wisdom. It is within our capacities to wholly transform ourselves and change—for our betterment—from the seemingly perilous circumstances of our times—the larger system’s actions notwithstanding.

It’s not about “them” out there! Nor about what “they” are doing! It’s about us—ourselves. It’s about our own self-reckoning. Our accountability to our own sovereignty. It is our own responsibility to heal, grow, change and become the Beings and Forces that we genuinely are. Not to be at odds with “them”. But rather, to leave behind the invectives of others. To define our own stories. To celebrate and support our self-confidence and that of those around us. To identify and develop the capacities to give what we are here to give—then to give them. Not only for ourselves, but for those generations in the future.

Paraphrasing a master teacher of mine …a woman would be better off alone and starving in the desert than to remain in abusive circumstances… He is referring to the damage done primarily to the soul of a woman—the energetic aspects of her, distinct and beyond her psychologically, physically. This is equally true for men.

​I know and feel the heartbreak with every woman I coach. I see consequences of patriarchy in the men I work with too. I see its adverse effects in my mother, sister and the women I know or meet. And, I know this most intimately in my wife who survived my processes of awakening and maturation.

Here is a verse from William Stafford’s “A Ritual to Read to Each Other” //For it is important that awake people be awake/or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep/ the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe—/should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

Protecting your Radiance

“Who are the people, ideas, and books that magnify your spirit? Find them, hold on to them, and visit them often. Use them not only as a remedy once spiritual malaise has already infected your vitality but as a vaccine administered while you are healthy to protect your radiance.”
– Maria Popova —

Maria’s words “…protecting your radiance” means standing strong in your pursuit of answering the two most fundamental questions of our lives:
• Who am I really?
• What do I have to give the world?

These two questions lead us toward our promise: The promise of genuinely being ourselves; and the promise of utterly and completely expressing ourselves—in our existence, and in the giving of our unique talent—that, by its very nature—benefits self, others and the whole. Our desire to help, to contribute, is hardwired.

Caveat emptor! Pursuing these questions adds levels of complexity to our lives. Our cultures support and expect conformity not individuality. Our cultures shunt our energies to others’ ends and not to our uniqueness nor its attendant and awaiting expression. Whether seeking, finding and expressing our gifts, or in living lives of conformity, we encounter unpredictable pressure waves in our daily lives. Yet, I offer another spoiler alert: The alternative to pursuing our own life has costs too: we live lives fraught with the vicissitudes of confounding feelings of being unexpressed accompanied by an incessant and illusive sense of emptiness.

In the greater scheme of Life, one way of living is no better than another. Yet, each path renders consequences. One is a path of Wisdom. One is not. One is expansive. One contracts. Looking at our wold today through these lenses, we see the effects of the paths of the majority.

Being genuinely ourselves and expressing our unique talent fills us. Makes us more. We become whole. In this we are changed. In expressing the radiance of being ourselves expressing our gifts, others are changed. Yet too, we do not find ourselves nor give our gifts to change others. Rather, we become and express of out of the necessity of our soul. Anything less lends toward folly.

The word pentimento is, in part, a lovely word. It means a visible trace of earlier painting beneath a layer or layers of paint on a canvas. There are traces of earlier painting on the canvas of each of us. These traces are our ineffable Self. Our radiance. And, they are the paintings of our attendant and unique gift or talent–these brushstrokes issue from the Mystery’s palette. This is what we are to find with our questions of Who am I really? and What do I have to give the world?

Our pentimento is almost entirely concealed beneath the pigments of our ancestry, families of origin, and the cultural mores of our upbringing, education and training—the forces of our conformity. Culture renders our lives less vivid and less vital. Culture moves us away from ourselves and our great gifts. This is paradoxically necessary while simultaneously perilous. It is from this precarious layer we begin our search.

The not so lovely aspects of the word pentimento lie in its root: repentant. Little wonder so many of us apologize for who or how we are. Little wonder we often find it impractical to roll the rock of our becoming up the steep hills of our culture. Conforming seems easier.

Yet the Mystery orchestrates the placement of people and ideas and books on our path that, by virtue of their presence, rouse our awakening. Our remembering. They stir our self-discovery and becoming. Their visitations are vitally important. So too, there are people in our lives who see the loveliness of our pentimento when we ourselves have yet to find them. These people remind us apologies are devices of the culture and are ill-suited for us. They invite us to seek out who we are and our gift to give.

Yet, this discovery is, of necessity, our own undertaking. At times we require the assistance of others and we need ask for it. Help clearing impediments to our path. Too, they expand our awareness. Once we’ve sensed our gift, many of us must develop its expression through self-disciplinary arts that change us yet again in its process.

And you? Who are those people? those ideas? those books that rouse your radiance? Is it time to revisit them? Are you asking the fundamental questions of Who am I really? What am I here to give the world?

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…