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Tag Archives: eloquent questions

The Guest House

I know I have posted this poem before, but it has a beautiful message. Rumi reminds me I cannot accept only the good that comes into my life. When the darker emotions show themselves at the door of my life, I should welcome them and accept them as a guide from beyond.

Like my delightful emotions, the darker ones are fleeting and temporary. While they are with me, the metaphor of a guesthouse allows me to experience them more fully and be mindful to what they mean at that point in my life.

In those moments, those closest to me help me understand what each arrival may mean. We can ask questions without presuming the answers in advance.

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

How Poetry Comes to Me

Much like poetry, living comes to each of us and it blunders along just out of view from us. It is like sitting around a campfire and knowing there is something outside the ring of light the fire casts.

Within the ring of light, there is a warmth, perhaps a certainty. We think we know what is happening next. In truth, the living happens just outside our reach. Wendell Berry describes it as happening, but, once it happens, we cannot be fully describe it.

Gary Snyder wrote about his poetry writing as having to go meet the poetry just outside the range of his campfire. When we are attentive and mindful of each moment and what is just beyond our reach and vision, life dances at the edge of the light, like poetry.

Instead of certain answers, we encounter questions that cannot be fully answered, but help form the conversation and poetry that is our living.

It comes blundering over the

 Boulders at night, it stays

 Frightened outside the

 Range of my campfire

 I go to meet it at the

 Edge of the light

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

Solitude has soft, silky hands, but with strong fingers it grasps the heart and makes it ache with sorrow. /Kahlil Gibran/ Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

Source: Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

This is a short and powerful quote by Khalil Gibran accompanied by a glowing flame. It is in those moments of true solitude we find ourselves and who we are lights the path ahead.

Solitude embraces us in its questions without pre-known answers. We we engage the deepest parts of our self in conversation. Engage means to pledge and in solitude we can pledge to make a difference in the world.

The Poet Dreams of the Mountain

Kathy and I were in Cuba for a week. I think I am back on track with the blog. As well, I submitted a draft of my dissertation to the committee and am waiting to hear back from them.

It was nice to go and just be for a few days. Sometimes, we need to just look back and contemplate, without anything other than being present and in the moment. I think that is what Mary Oliver is getting at in this poem. I found that reading, writing, re-reading, and re-writing consumed my days.

For few days, I found there was no urgency. It was peaceful to walk on the beach, watching pelicans dive bomb into the surf. It was inspiring to look up at night and see the heavens filled with stars, only occasionally disrupted by a distant light house beacon. It was enjoyable to be behind an ox and plow for a few minutes. When I rode a horse, I remembered days past. We need to unsmother those moments, those days and experiences so our dreams come back to us and breathe life into our souls.

Sometimes I grow weary of the days, with all their fits and starts.
I want to climb some old gray mountains, slowly, taking
The rest of my lifetime to do it, resting often, sleeping
Under the pines or, above them, on the unclothed rocks.
I want to see how many stars are still in the sky
That we have smothered for years now, a century at least.
I want to look back at everything, forgiving it all,
And peaceful, knowing the last thing there is to know.
All that urgency! Not what the earth is about!
How silent the trees, their poetry being of themselves only.
I want to take slow steps, and think appropriate thoughts.
In ten thousand years, maybe, a piece of the mountain will fall.

Merry Christmas Everyone

You already possess everything necessary to become great. source: Crow image: Eddie’s Image Collection editor’s note: this is a repost from ETH December 2015 “Happy Holiday Everyo…

Source: Merry Christmas Everyone

When I saw the picture and quote in this post, they reminded me how much we have in common with each other. Instead of a politics of fear and division, can we can live in peace and harmony as stewards who care for each other, the world, and the future generations we live that world to?

“The Good Samaritan” by French artist Maximilien Luce (1858-1941)

Photo post by @georgebost.

Source: “The Good Samaritan” by French artist Maximilien Luce (1858-1941)

I enjoy this parable. It should raise questions about what I do for others and how, when I do right , my life is enriched. It is a spiritual richeness that can make each day Christmas, rather than one day a year.

Several years ago, I heard a sermon that explained how the first two people who passed by may have felt they had to do so based on their understanding of certain laws. The Samaritan did not feel he was and stopped to care for someone in need.

The Angels and the Furies

May Sarton used the questions about the light and dark sides we each possess, but often go unnoticed. They inhabit our souls, which she calls premier danseur–first dancer. The angels and furies of our personalities are always with us, dancing with each other to gain our attention.

When I read this poem some time ago, I jotted down that to notice the furies sometimes they have to dance furiously to gain our attention. We prefer not to acknowledge their presence, but they are there and real along with our angels.

It is the mindful inner work that helps us understand the paradox of living in a world with both our angels and furies. It is not a choice between them. They exist with each other and both need our time and attention.

Have you not wounded yourself
And battered those you love
By sudden motions of evil,
Black rage in the blood
When the soul, premier danseur,
Springs toward a murderous fall?
The furies possess you.

2

Have you not surprised yourself
Sometimes by sudden motions
Or intimations of goodness,
When the soul, premier danseur,
Perfectly poised,
Could shower blessings
With a graceful turn of the head?
The angels are there.

3

The angels, the furies
Are never far away
While we dance, we dance,
Trying to keep a balance
To be perfectly human
(Not perfect, never perfect,
Never an end to growth and peril),
Able to bless and forgive
Ourselves.
This is what is asked of us.

4

It is light that matters,
The light of understanding.
Who has ever reached it
Who has not met the furies again and again?
Who has reached it without
Those sudden acts of grace?

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