January 2020 (Vol. XXXIII, No. 1)

Dear Friends, We stand on a threshold, peering at a new year, "full of things that have never been" (Teilhard de Chardin); an in-between space, suspended between what we think we know and worlds we cannot see, the ringing now before what comes next. We come to thresholds like these hauling courage with trembling hands. Will we step through to peril? to transformation? Sages say both. Yet we are not bereft. We can catch light for the journey, provisions for the road.

Friends, we the "staff" of this precious Letter stand on a threshold of our own. Linda, who has woven the Letter each month and written the exquisite introductions for more than five years, has reached a pause in this aspect of her work. The rest of us (me [Lindsay], Bob, Joy, and Mary Ann) are stepping in, sharing and rotating the crafting of the Letter. You will "hear" a different voice each month, though we return to the deep well of Nan Merrill's notebooks and vision and her soulful habit of noting the words of wise ones who grace this planet. We are overjoyed that Linda will continue with her beautiful graphic design of the Letter.

We are grateful to you, our faithful readers, for your gracious support. We would be glad, as always, to receive any quotes you may find in your own reading. Let us cross this threshold together.

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Wisdom awaits at the threshold

Resplendent and eternal is Wisdom,
readily perceived by those who listen
in the Silence of the heart.
Wisdom hastens to make Herself known;
She is available to all who love and seek Her,
who awakens Her from within
will not be disappointed;
for Wisdom awaits at the threshold.

~ from WALKING WITH WISDOM by Nan Merrill
Walking with Wisdom
By Nan Merrill

Now the old has already passed away

Now the old has already passed away<
But the new is too new to be born today
So I'm throwing out seeds on the winter snow<
As the cold wind begins to blow
Standing here on a new threshold

I can see a warm dim light in the window...

I pass from mystery to mystery, so I won't lie
I don't know what happens when people die
but I hope that I see you...

In the distance I see a glow

There's a light, there's a light, there's light
In the window.
~ from "A Light in the Window" by Carrie Newcomer

Come slowly to a place

I was beginning to realize that you must come slowly to a place; wait a little before feverishly resorting to guidebooks...Place has a mighty tongue of its own.
~ from ON PILGRIMAGE by J. Lash
On Pilgrimage
By Jennifer Lash

A preexisting pattern

Whether you know it or not, you were born to have a rendezvous with destiny; your journey toward it has already begun. But my people make a distinction between destiny and fate. We don't think we are born with a "fate" that impels us to act out some script composed by a higher hand, but rather that each of us has a destiny, a preexisting pattern, which, in our hearts, we wish one day to fulfill.
~ from THE MAGIC CIRCLE by Katherine Neville
The Magic Circle
By Katherine Neville

Looking in two directions

How do we hold both the magnificence and tragedy of the world, as if we stand at a threshold with Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings, looking in two directions? ...How do we find the way if we can't see around the bend? ...In our time of disturbance and radical change, we are crossing a threshold, a portal, or an unseen bridge from one world to another. It could be said that the bridge is either collapsing beneath us, or being made as we walk together...

~ from WILD FAITH by Geneen Marie Haugen (Garrison Institute blog entry)

Simply to begin

Beginning well or beginning poorly, what is important is simply to begin....Beginning is difficult, and our procrastination is a fine ever-present measure of our reluctance in taking that first close-in, courageous step to reclaiming our happiness...It is always hard to believe that the courageous step is so close to us, that it is closer than we ever could imagine, that in fact, we already know what it is...
~ from CONSOLATIONS by David Whyte

Old Crane Woman

If you creep out down to the river in the light of a full moon, you'll see her there, Old Crane Woman. She'll be standing on one leg, still as can be, and you'll know her by her frayed grey and white dress and her long, thin arms with the sharp, sticking-out elbows. She'll be staring into the river, for Old Crane Woman knows that inspiration comes always at the side of the water, there on the edge, in that troubling threshold place between one element and another.
~ from GREY HERON NIGHTS 2 by Sharon Blackie

This uncontainable night

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change...

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent Earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.
~ from SONNETS TO ORPHEUS, Part Two, XXIX by Rainer Maria Rilke
Sonnets to Orpheus
By Rainer Maria Rilke

Inner light is not hidden

Inner light is not hidden/
Myriad openings lead to it.
In passing from darkness to light,
One moves freely between eternity
and now.

If this be but true,
I have no fear.
Yet myriad seem the hazards
of the journey.
~ Frederick W. Lord

Every Door

Not knowing when the Dawn will come,
I open every Door.
~ Emily Dickinson

A space in which both worlds meet

Anyone who has probed the inner life, who has sat in silence long enough to experience the stillness of the mind behind its apparent noise is faced with a mystery. Apart from all the outer attractions of life in the world, there exists at the center of human consciousness something quite satisfying and beautiful in itself, a beauty without features. The mystery is not so much that these two dimensions exist – an outer world and the mystery of the inner world – but that we are suspended between them, as a space in which both worlds meet ... as if the human being is the meeting point, the threshold between two worlds.
~ from THE KNOWING HEART by Kabir Helminski