somewhere over the rainbow

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the word

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“Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is as beautiful, it touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent you from some place distant
as this morning — to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing,

that also needs accomplishing
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue

but today you get a telegram,
from the heart in exile
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

– to any one among them
who can find the time,
to sit out in the sun and listen.”

— Tony Hoagland

Fish and Fowl

The Stories of Trees

In search of a new identity.

IMG_1104.2 Abo, Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument

Fourteen fragments of truth—puzzle pieces, potsherds:

1. Northwest from Albuquerque, beyond the box stores of exurbia, up through scrub desert where piñon and juniper grow, past sandstone mesas, Dust Bowl ruins and faded Trading Post signs, amid mile after mile of sagebrush, is the corner of the Navajo nation where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado meet. Their borders touch at 90° angles—square dancers reaching a hand into the center of the dance.

If you’re not from one of the four states, you might not notice much difference between them; sagebrush all looks alike. You might regard the Four Corners as an oddity—its arbitrary lines are a thing to see, and so you have seen them. Bucket list item, check.

If you live in the Navajo nation, your experience of the Four Corners may include inconvenience, as you…

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lightly

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“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.
I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig.
Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me.
When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic.
No rhetoric, no tremolos,
no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell.
And of course, no theology, no metaphysics.
Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light.

So throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
That’s why you must walk so lightly.
Lightly my darling,
on tiptoes and no luggage,
not even a sponge bag,
completely unencumbered.”

~ Aldous Huxley

“… to be present & to be willing to love.”

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“Whatever your difficulties – a devastated heart, financial loss, feeling assaulted by the conflicts around you, or a seemingly hopeless illness – you can always remember that you are free in every moment to set the compass of your heart to your highest intentions. In fact, the two things that you are always free to do – despite your circumstances – are to be present and to be willing to love.”
– jack kornfield

connecting with joy

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“The more we connect with a bigger perspective, the more we connect with energetic joy. Exertion is connecting with our appetite for enlightenment. It allows us to act, to give, to work appreciatively with whatever comes our way. If we really knew how unhappy it was making this whole planet that we all try to avoid pain and seek pleasure—how that is making us so miserable and cutting us off from our basic goodness—then we would practice as if our hair were on fire. There wouldn’t be any question of thinking we have a lot of time and we can do this later.

Yet when we begin to practice exertion, we see that sometimes we can do it and sometimes we can’t. The question becomes: How do we connect with inspiration? How do we connect with the spark and joy that’s available in every moment?’
-Pema Chodron

Suffering

Michelle's Heart Songs

There is a tendency in us to find suffering aversive, so we want to distance ourselves from it. Like if you have a toothache, it becomes that toothache. It’s not us anymore. It’s that tooth. And so if there are people suffering, you want to look at them on television or meet them but then keep a distance from them, because you are afraid you will drown in it. You are afraid you will drown in a pain that will be unbearable – and the fact of the matter is you have to. You finally have to, because if you close your heart down to anything in the universe, it’s got you. You are then at the mercy of suffering.

And then having finally dealt with suffering, you have to consume it into yourself. Which means you have to – with eyes open – be able to keep your heart…

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the thing that breaks you open

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“Here’s what’s really worth knowing right now – maybe the most important thing – this will not last. The breaking apart, the shattering does end and then you rise again. You rebuild. Yes, a different self, but in a weird way, a more, truer you. If that makes any sense. Illness is a monster that comes raging into your life. It strips you of so many things. Things you feel you can’t possibly live without, until you do. You do live without them, and you realize it takes away everything inconsequential leaving only the most essential part of who you are. That’s the gift of it. I know you can’t see that right now, but even this terrible, heartbreaking shattering experience brings a gift.
Mark Nepo says. ‘The thing that breaks you open is not as important as what it breaks open.’ ”
~ michelle ihm