I don’t read a lot of fictional writing, but I make an exception for Paulo Coehlo and have several of his books. I enjoy the way he deals with life through his fictional work and sees life as a spiritual journey. There is a deep mystical quality in his writing, both the prose and poetry which meld together.
Monthly Archives: April 2014
Rumi wrote poetry 900 years ago and it still resonates in the 21st Century. We see the world change and live in its busyness trying to keep pace with the change. It is hard to turn inwards, see the beauty that exists within, and acknowledging its importance in helping us keep pace.
Regardless of faith and even when we do not have it, there still exists a source deep within each of us that when we touch it and let it speak to us is able to guide us in wonderful and amazing ways. I found the peaceful drive today in the lee of the Rocky Mountains inspirational and something that I share with the world and with each person in the world.
What was said to the rose that made it open was said
to me here in my chest.
What was told the cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was
whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever
was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them
so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is
being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that’s happening here.
The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane,
in love with the one to whom every that belongs!
I shared this with my students on a regular basis in an effort to help them understand the world and our self as always changing phenomena. It is hard for adults to come to grips with Heraclitus’ thinking, let alone junior high students.
I finished the first leg of my journey and have a 5-6 hour drive tomorrow. I plan on missing Calgary and going up right in the shadow of the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies. We drove that way several years ago and it is beautiful driving in the foothills with mountains right there.
Driving provides a break and I spend time meditating differently. Today, I thought about how important my work is to me and how it should serve a greater good. During my time in Spokane, I discovered teaching is in who I am. It makes me complete.
John O’Donohue wrote this beautiful poem about the sacredness of work. I love the line about not becoming lost in bland absences. I retired when pressures from outside the classroom took away from what I was doing in the classroom. I became concerned those “bland absences” would become real and teaching would become a formulaic, technocratic, bureaucratic process.
Whatever we each do in life, should make our lives richer and the world a better place. Several years ago, Kathy and I went to a fast-food restaurant outside Portland, Oregon and staff greeted us in a way that indicated they were happy to work there. When that happens, work is sacred, heals, make itself light, and reveals beauty.
May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work
You do with the secret love and warmth of your heart.
May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light and renewal to those
Who work with you and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement.
May you be present in what you do.
May you never become lost in the bland absences.
May the day never burden you.
May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams,
Possibilities and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.
I head home in few minutes and Mary Oliver’s wonderful quote makes sense. It is not a certainty, but by being present we can see into the dim light more easily and accept what we encounter.
Blessed be the longing that brought you here
and that quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses each day.
May your days bring you quiet miracles that seek no attention.
If difficulties arise, and they will, may you be consoled
in the secret sympathy of your soul.
May you experience all your days as a sacred gift
woven around the heart of God.
May you live always in the neighborhood of love
and in awe of the mystery of being here.
May the frames of your belonging
be large enough for the dreams of your soul.
May you arise each day with a voice of blessing
whispering in your heart that something good is going to happen.
May you know today and always that you are ever embraced
in the kind circle of God.
~Text is a borrowed, altered, and/or…
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I finished my course work last night and head home Monday where I will continue the dissertation process. What is ahead is as uncertain as what I faced when I arrived at Gonzaga in June 2008. At the time, I envisioned me in a classroom, teaching and finishing this work during summer months.
I cannot predict what lies ahead and even the most immediate step tests new ground. When I look back, there is no going back. I see memories, frail and wispy, more distant in each ensuing moment.
Antonio Machado reminds me the journey is not planned with absolutism. It emerges anew in each step which is never re-traceable. I used the line “walking you make the road” in my last course paper describing teaching not as planned, mandated work, but as in-between spaces, ecotones, Teachers and student live those plans out in their real lives.
I look forward to going home, but know this place and these people, after 10 months living here, leave imprints. They offer spaces ‘regular’ life does not always. There is no going back on what I learned, knowing it shapes my path.
Walker, your footsteps
are the road, and nothing more.
Walker, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
Walking you make the road,
and turning to look behind
you see the path you never
again will step upon.
Walker, there is no road,
only foam trails on the sea.
I mentioned yesterday how much I enjoy Rumi and I have the good fortune to have come across a second Rumi quote recently posted. When we turn inwards, we find much of what we seek.
Rumi is a great way to begin the day, albeit a late start with errand running. It is a beautiful image cast in the picture and words shared.
I did not realize Ursula LeGuin wrote poetry I knew she wrote prose and the poetry was a pleasant surprise.
Besides the last line about always coming home, two other lines stood out. The first was letting my fingertips be my maps. This suggested being in touch with the world I live in; feeling it in a visceral way. When I close my eyes, the world reaches into me through my body. In there, the world lives in my soul which is house which is not a house. That feels Zen-like.
Ted Aoki wrote about bridges which were not bridges. Teachers invite students into learning. In those spaces, anything happens and teachers intuit their way around.
Please bring strange things.
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
and the ways you go be the lines on your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing
and your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well-loved one,
walk mindfully, well-loved one,
walk fearlessly, well-loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
be always coming home.