When death comes

A predictable but sad post today on hearing of the death of Mary Oliver

When death comes 
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering: 
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything 
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood, 
and I look upon time as no more than an idea, 
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common 
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth, 
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something 
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life 
I was a bride married to amazement. 
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder 
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened, 
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

Mary Oliver, When Death Comes

Drop the knife

Once a young woman said to me, “Hafiz, what
is the sign of someone who knows God?”

I became very quiet, and looked deep into her
eyes, then replied,

“My dear, they have dropped the knife. Someone
who knows God has dropped the cruel knife

that most so often use upon their tender self
and others.”

Hafiz, Persia, 1315 – 1390

A certain lightness

Fame or self: Which matters more?
Self or wealth: Which is more precious?
Gain or loss: Which is more painful?

He who is attached to things will suffer much.
He who saves will suffer heavy loss.

A contented person is never disappointed.
The person who knows when to stop will not find themselves in trouble.
They will stay forever safe.

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching 44

Turning people into trees

This is a lovely idea…

When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees.

And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever.

And you look at the tree and you allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is.

You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

The minute you get near humans, you lose all that.  And you are constantly saying “You’re too this, or I’m too this.”

That judging mind comes in.

And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.

Ram Dass, On Self-Judgment

A complex world

Brexit dominating the news on this side of the Water, with a Shutdown and Border Wall causing discussion on the other….. 

We must find a way to live in the continuing conversation, with all its conflicts and complexities,

while staying in close touch with our own inner teacher. 

Parker Palmer

Four principles for creativity

1)Whoever comes is the right people, which reminds us that getting something done is not a matter of having 100,000 people and the chairman of the board. The fundamental requirement is people who care to do something. And by showing up, that essential care is demonstrated.

2) Whatever happens is the only thing that could have, keeps us focused on the here and now, and eliminates all of the could-have-beens, should-have-beens or might-have-beens. What is is the only thing there is at the moment.

3)Whenever it starts is the right time alerts us to the fact that inspired performance and genuine creativity rarely, if ever, pay attention to the clock. They happen (or not) when they happen.

4) When it’s over it’s over. In a word, don’t waste time. Do what you have to do, and when its done, move on to something more useful.

 The Four Immutable Laws of the Spirit, Harrison Owen