Thursday, January 24, 2013

Who is she?

She started out her. A babe. Without much consciousness.

Then the world's gift to her — parents, family, church, home town, teachers, books, music, art, friends, TV, all that she encountered — shaped her.

But was that really her?

It's like the real her, the naked babe, was given scales to put on one by one, year by year. Each scale was a piece of armor, for protection and for control. Society is the armor manufacturer.

If a person is fortunate, over time, consciousness grows and she begins to discover the real her under the armor. If she's very fortunate and determined, she begins to pick off the scales like scabs. One by one they come off, sometimes bleeding when done too quickly. No longer does the armor define her. Now she begins to live in society aware, wanting to be clothed only in the minimal self-accoutrements necessary for survival, enjoyment, authentic identity.

Is there a different light from such a person? Daily she picks at the little scales covering her still, which could be untruths, not who she is, not what she really believes if she lets her heart and mind know and understand what lies beneath "facts" and "right" and "wrong."

This can be exhausting work. But over time, with simple awareness (it doesn't have to be complete), she can sense a scale forming in its early stages. Then she examines it by picking at it, asking questions about it, meditating on it, and either tearing it off or seeing that it really is hers.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration Day

All over the country citizens wake up
angry, happy or indifferent.

It is snowing, or it is not snowing.
It is a holiday, or they have to go to work

where some will wear a suit and tie
and some will pull Carhartt overalls

over long underwear, climb power
poles and restore heat broken in reckless wind

and televisions that will or will not be tuned in
to witness a black president sworn in

a second time, of a nation that may lead the world
or not, in what is best and worst in everyone

so painfully apparent all in one place
that is or is not somehow even one place.

What this citizen longs for most
when I watch the ceremony on television

is just a good poem that will make my mind forget
for a few moments what my heart does not understand.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Happy New Year to my dear friends in this little room!

This feels like Thoreau's cabin in the woods by Walden Pond: one simple door, a window on each side, a shelter out back for firewood. The truth is, this year I want to do more than sit on that doorstep and look out all morning. I have some serious work to do, because I don't much like the shape of my life. The essentials are good, and strong. But I need discipline. I feel it deeply.

I am going to start with simplifying. I bet you're thinking, But haven't you already started that, in this quieter writing space? Perhaps, yes! Maybe this was the first step, and important in the past year.

Now, I want to live. Simply live. Live simply. I want to do what needs doing when it needs doing, and in the small, steady doing be who I want to be. Simple living does not mean being inactive, and I have not attended to the stuff of my life as well as I'd wish.

So off with that weight! First thing: finish folding the laundry on the couch. And guess what. Our couch is the color of a washed stone!

Again, Happy New Year! May we live it as fully as we can. Much love.