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When I Am Wise

I am not sure which Mary Gray wrote this poem. I found it, enjoyed it, and wanted to share it with others.

The poem has a Mary Oliver quality to it. Something speaks to us when we give it time and space. When we listen carefully, the wind blows through the grass giving its a voice we hear when we slow down resting our head on the ground. Humbling ourselves, we are closer to the voices of small things, the dankness of humus (the root word for human and humility), and the friendliness of weeds in our life.

As children, we often forgot our names losing ourselves in precious moments in a world larger than we were. It enveloped us and everything it revealed was wondrous. We recall running with outreached hands into the world, its silence, its disarray, and the inviting of small things in the grass which were more at our level. I remember the ladybugs, spiders, ants, etc. which were smaller than I was, entranced by them and by all that was immense. It was in those moments I was wise as I listened in ways that sometimes escape me as an adult.

When I am wise in the speech of the grass,
I forget the sound of words
and walk into the bottomland
and lie with my head on the ground
and listen to what grass tells me
and small places for wind to sing,
about the labor of insects,
about shadows dank with spice,
and the friendliness of weeds.

When I am wise in the dance of grass,
I forget my name and run
into the rippling bottomland
and lean against the silence which flows
out of the crumpled mountains
and rises through slick blades, pods,
wheat stems, and curly shoots,
and is carried by wind for miles
from my outstretched hands.

my path…

ivonprefontaine:

We each have our own path and need to work on what that means in each present moment. A journey is without actual destination. It is a graceful dance where we move forward and arrive in each particular moment.

Originally posted on Known is a drop, Unknown is an Ocean:

My path...

My path is the path of stopping, the path of enjoying the present moment. It is a path where every step brings me back to my true home. It is a path that leads nowhere. I am on my way home. I arrive at every step…

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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Contagious Disorder: Spread the Love

ivonprefontaine:

Yesterday my car was parked out front and it was run into. The damage is to one door and the car still runs. What was impressive was the fellow who ran into came to the door and told me about it. He took responsibility for what had happened. I thanked him and today, when I spoke to his boss, I shared my appreciation for his gesture. It is in the simple daily acts that we meet each other face-to-face. Ideologies and theologies are set aside. The word journey comes from the French journée meaning the events and activities during the day (jour). These are spaces we see and greet the other as human, being responsible for them. There is no government, no media, no agenda. It is just us in each other’s presence.

Originally posted on SwittersB & Exploring:

Have you noticed of late, the reaching out by others to spread the love? Perhaps it is the chaotic tempo of world affairs. It could be we realize part of us, as a culture, as an individual, is going numb with the overload of depressing events. Couple that with an inner sense that we are being played on many levels and we are reverting toward, digging back down toward basic truths and values.

One of those is reaching out to help those around you. I see a sincere sharing of positive energy. Not the flower child, glassy eyed mantras of the 60’s (yes I was alive then) but rather mature, seasoned, real love. Shared for the betterment of those we touch…for no other purpose than we know, now, at our core that we must do this at a one on one level to stay human, to stay at inner peace…

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Axe Handles

I mentioned in The Wild Rose I am reading Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry. I read this poem several times over the last few months trying to make sense of it. At first, I thought it was a personal and it begins that way. Gary Snyder describes his work teaching his son to throw an axe and shaping the axe handle to fit the work.

As I reflected on the poem, I realized it is about important traditions passed from parents to children. We hone and polish what we wish to retain forming the axe handle. It is a handle for us and our children which provides security as we polish and remove the unwanted.

Most of the time, we are unaware of the work we do without taking time and reflecting. In those moments, we realize what changes, what remains, and what is added knowing each generation makes its own adjustments.

To do it well, we mindfully and attentively approach the work remaining fully present.

One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
“When making an axe handle
the pattern is not far off.”
And I say this to Kai
“Look: We’ll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with-“
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It’s in Lu Ji’s Wen Fu, fourth century
A.D. “Essay on Literature”-in the
Preface: “In making the handle Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand.-
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see: Pound was an axe,
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.

Love Letters to Malaysia Airlines

ivonprefontaine:

When I did my undergrad degree, I took a special education course. The major take away from the class was humans have more that binds them together, more in common than what makes us different. We lose track of this in our rush to hold onto ideologies and belief systems that deny our similarities. When we see the other as a neighbour, we can sustain breaths in an atmosphere without borders.

Originally posted on LUGGAGE Lady:

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I wrote these words some time ago (http://luggagelady.net/2012/12/16/we-are-one/) but reposted the piece on my facebook page after last week’s heartbreaking airline tragedy. What happened from there was magical. A dear high school friend contacted me, asking to embed my poem onto her exquisite jewelry website. I replied with a resounding “YES!” and promptly added her lovely creation to a flight attendant networking site:  https://www.facebook.com/aflyguyslounge under “Love Letters to Malaysia Airlines.” (Please take a peek if you’re able as I believe the gracious sentiments from airlines worldwide will put a smile in your heart.)

Whether united by wings, artistic endeavors, or sheer compassion — we traverse this globe together — hearts overlapping… 💞

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the thingness of things

ivonprefontaine:

The “thingness of things” caught my attention. Despite the language and words we use, there is always something hidden that is unknowable and unspeakable. Ted Aoki referred to it as the “isness” of a particular phenomenon. With humans we might call it their “whoness.” It is what captures our hearts in the work we do when we slow down enough to be in each ensuing moment. We never have the words to describe fully what that thing or person is. Usually, it is the part we love the most.

Originally posted on dhamma footsteps:

photo-8_Harnham

POSTCARD #81: NewcastleFive days in a Buddhist monastery in Northumberland, sitting meditation in the early morning and last thing at night. The photo above was taken at 5.15am. I wanted a picture of the sunrise and didn’t see the sheep in their places next to the wall – slightly startled by a human being leaning over into their enclosure and the click sound of the phone camera. They wait to see if he comes back, forget about it and only the fragrant grass remains… early on a summer’s morning.

After that I’m in the Dhamma Hall, sunlight shining through the roof windows on the Buddha statue, benign and welcoming. Monks with shaven heads sitting on the floor, faded tangerine-brown robes, flowers, incense and candles. Focused on the silence, watching the inbreath/outbreath, seeing the thinking process coming and going. Fragments of a thought pieced together from associated thoughts, memories…

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The Wild Rose

I am reading poetry and prose written by Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder. What links the writers, is a shared belief humans live in the world. This fits with my dissertation about pedagogy. Humans are relational and social. When we live relationally and socially, our senses and heart open up to the world differently than living as passive observers.

Relationships are risky. Sometimes it is tempting to step back at times and be outside relationships. In the analytic mind, there is more risk than we want. Literally and metaphorically there are rewards. Literally, when we are present in the world we see wild roses and other natural manifestations bloom. Metaphorically, we see relationships with spouses, children, friends, students, etc. unfold and blossom like wild roses Wendell Berry mentions.

When we are in relationships, there is pleasure and pain mixed. Thomas Merton said we call it falling in love, because it is hard work. When I think of the most wonderful (wonder-filled) occurrences in my life, it is the ones I worked hard at. I found comfort in the hard work even when it hurt. Being mindful and attentive to the blooming in our lives is an essential part of relationships we enter.

Sometimes hidden from me

in daily custom and in trust,

so that I live by you unaware

as by the beating of my heart,

Suddenly you flare in my sight,

a wild rose blooming at the edge

of thicket, grace and light

where yesterday was only shade,

and once I am blessed, choosing

again what I chose before.

 

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