Monday, October 27, 2014

This is Why...

           I rejoice at living in a place where natural beauty is so present. I took this photo this morning at a place that I frequently walk to, not because of the way the sun is beaming down on everything, though lovely, or because of the water that surrounds us here on Cape Cod like God. No. I took the picture because of the chairs. Right? What would this photograph be, without the chairs?

          I've been walking here from my house for sixteen years, but it was only a few months ago that these two chairs appeared one day. This is a remote little neighborhood spot with a small dock just big enough for one or two dingys, a hose to rinse off a boat, and now, these two chairs. 

         Over the years in various places that I've had the good fortune to live, I've observed that, people who live in naturally splendid places often choose not just to treasure, but to add to that beauty. I know that this isn't always true, that humans frequently fail to respect, understand and take good care of this Earth, and I know that we don't all have the same ideas about what adding to nature might look like. But isn't it wonderful when someone offers something so simple, two plastic chairs, giving us a place to pause, and be grateful?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Life as Art

                                                                               photo - Jenna Bauer

Here is a statement I love from a painter I know. It was written as the statement for a show she had in 2013. You can visit her website at

"Life must be a form of art,
and neither life nor art is ever at rest.

Even in the greatest stillness there is  molecular hum
that completes life. The gesture of the arc in my work 
is representative of this fact.

Every second of each moment is an important instance of 
expression whether or not it may eventually manifest
in a physical or non-physical form.

Consider every moment along the path of physical or non-
physical manifestation as the work of art. What happens 
while a work of art is approaching conception, creation
and completion is inherently part of the work.

I acknowledge the connections between my work and myself
and myself and the world as a singular being's effort of
expression and purpose.

My practice depend on close attention  to these details and 
the totality of work I do and make. Every effort is vital. 
No moment is inconsequential."

Doesn't that just say it all? Thanks Jenna.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sustainable Truths

I recently heard someone use a phrase that I'd first heard years ago in a course that I took through Landmark Education. The phrase, "Life is a Conversation,"  made a lot of sense to me at the time. The concept, that all of our sensorial perceptions and experiences are translated into words that we use to describe, evaluate and make sense of things, creating internal stories that we carry around as our experience of reality, was pretty flashy -- something glittering, easy to reach for.

When I heard it again though, I realized that I don't actually believe that anymore. Today I believe that a more accurate statement is that life appears to us as the conversations we're carrying around in our heads, but that isn't what life actually is. There's an important distinction between an insight, a momentary flash of understanding of a concept like life is a conversation, and a deeper, ongoing engagement, practice and contemplation of something, beyond the weekend workshop into daily living.

Thankfully over the years I've had the grace to have had teachers and teachings that have given me tools, like meditation, that have enabled me to practice being present in my body and the moment. The result has been a continual skin shedding -- peeling away layers of dead stuff to the raw new life beneath. I've also been blessed with various communities  for ongoing and intimate observation, feedback, and company on the path of self-inquiry.

So, what then, do I believe life is? I think it's an important question to ask from time to time. Exactly what the hell is going on here? Not that any of has the keys to the palace on that one, but it seems important to at least wonder, deeply. One thing I know for starters, is that life is not limited to my own or anyone else's personal experience of it. Another thing that seems true to me about life is that there is no such thing as "my" life. I exist within life, life is having me, expressing itself through me as a part of itself.

So the big question for me then is, if Life is generous enough to give me all this, then what am I offering back to Life? That's the one that life lets me consider, every day.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Each morning as I begin to write, the first moments are like my first steps into water. Whether it's the ocean,  a swimming pool, even a shower,  hot or cold, quickly or slowly, sooner or later, it's going to lead to a full body immersion and it's going to change me.

It is a rare day when I don't get into water somehow, but on those days, I feel different all day, not fully clean or awake. There are other things -- meditating, chanting, hatha yoga, painting, walking,  that can wake me up to life. The important thing isn't how, it's that. That I do.

Close eyes. Focus on sound, sensation, breath. Observe thinking, go behind, to awareness of awareness. 

Ah. There you are. Hello.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Poetic Slam

In the early hours before dawn the unconscious comes through unpatterned, unwalled pathways like a speeding bullet.

You can speak through the dog's mouth, listen to the child's breath, know the rustle of a mountain tick, a hare's hide. Healthy is the appetite of the unfettered mind.

The poetic slam is not the closing of a door, but the sound of the mind banging loudly against formerly held assumptions, lies, deceptions and those who wield power, while searching new territory.

"The clearest way into the Universe, is through a forest wilderness." John Muir

Raven #7      Artist: Lynne Huras