July/August 2023 (Vol. XXXVI, No. 7)

Dear Friends ~ The shaded spot along the creek where water pools between rock slabs revives us in the thick of muggy July. The kids quickly toss their shoes aside; The eleven-year-old picks her way across the stream to check on crayfish who lurk beneath the tiny cascades, and her younger brother returns to his dam-in-progress. They no longer require a steadying hand on the slick rocks or engineering advice like in past summers, so I perch on a nearby boulder with a novel instead.

"Do you think a dinosaur ever drank this water?" my son mused on a recent visit to the creek.

His big sister (our budding geologist) piped in, "Actually, the Appalachian Mountains are older than any dinosaurs. They formed before Pangea even broke apart, which means they're even older than the Atlantic Ocean!"

Like a wide wake, rippling
Infinitely into the distance, everything

That ever was still is, somewhere...

~ Tracy K. Smith from "Everything That Ever Was" in LIFE ON MARS
Tracy K. Smith LIFE ON MARS time
I can hear the sizzle of newborn stars, and know anything of meaning, of the fierce magic emerging here. I am witness to flexible eternity, the evolving past, and I know we will live forever, as dust or breath in the face of stars, in the shifting pattern of winds.
This morning a splendid dawn passed over our house on its way to Kansas. This morning Kansas rolled out of its sleep into a sunlight grandly announced, proclaimed throughout heaven, one more of the very finite number of days that this old prairie has been called Kansas, or Iowa. But it has all been one day, that first day. Light is constant, we just turn over in it. So every day is in fact the selfsame evening and morning.
~ Marilynne Robinson in GILEAD
Marilynne Robinson Gilead time
Time as objective reality has never made much sense to me. It's what happens that matters. How can minutes and years, devices of our own creation, mean the same thing to gnats and to cedars? Two hundred years is young for the trees whose tops this morning are hung with mist. It's an eyeblink of time for the river and nothing at all for the rocks...

If there is meaning in the past and in the imagined future, it is captured in the moment. When you have all the time in the world, you can spend it, not on going somewhere, but on being where you are. So I stretch out, close my eyes, and listen to the rain.
~ Robin Wall Kimmerer in BRAIDING SWEETGRASS
Robin Wall Kimmerer Braiding Sweetgrass time
I want to be born again, in exactly the selfsame life,
aware this time from the inside out, and to stand this time
as a beautiful un-worrying witness, living beyond
the need for this or that...
~ David Whyte from "Born Again" in RIVER FLOW: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
David Whyte RIVER FLOW time
We age while we hope.
~ Padraig O'Tuama
Padraig O'Tuama time
When I was a young man,
grown up at last, how large
I seemed to myself! I was a tree,
tall already, and what I had not
yet reached, I would yet grow
to reach. Now, thirty more years
added on, I have reached much
I did not expect, in a direction
unexpected. I am growing downward,
smaller, one among the grasses.
~ Wendell Berry, "Thirty More Years" in ENTRIES
Wendell Berry Entries time
Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke in LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET
Rainer Maria Rilke Letters To A Young Poet time
When we are young, the words are scattered all around us. As they are assembled by experience, so also are we, sentence by sentence, until the story takes shape.
~ Louise Erdrich in THE PLAGUE OF DOVES
Louise Erdrich THE PLAGUE OF DOVES time
It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning.
~ Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh time
Help us to live in the eternal moment,
awaiting your perfect timing
in all things.
~ Nan Merrill from her interpretation of Psalm 105 in PSALMS FOR PRAYING
Nan Merrill Psalms For Praying time
You work with what you are given —
today I am blessed, today I am given luck.

It takes the shape of a dozen ripening fruit trees,
a curtain of pole beans, a thicket of berries.
It takes the shape of a dozen empty hours.

In them is neither love nor love's muster of losses,
in them there is no chance for harm or for good.
Does even my humanness matter?
A bear would be equally happy, this August day,
fat on the simple sweetness plucked between thorns.

There are some who may think, "How pitiful, how lonely."
Other must murmur, "How lazy."

I agree with them all: pitiful, lonely, lazy.
Lost to the earth and to heaven,
thoroughly drunk on its whiskeys, I wander my kingdom.
~ Jane Hirshfield, "August Day" in GIVEN SUGAR, GIVEN SALT: 1951-1967
Jane Hirshfield GIVEN SUGAR, GIVEN SALT time
Wake up, my soul.
I don't know where you are,
where you're hiding,
but wake up, please,
we're still together,
the road is still before us,
a bright strip of dawn
will be our star.
~ Adam Zagajewski, "Wake Up" in ASYMMETRY
Adam Zagajewski ASYMMETRY time

There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we'll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.

Pema Chodron the wisdom of no escape time

The secret heart of time is change and growth.

~ John O'Donohue
John O'Donohue time

December 2022 (Vol. XXXV, No. 11)

Dear Friends ~ Darkness gets a bad rap. In our collective imagination, nighttime brings shadows and obscures our vision. Against the vast dark, we feel our smallness, and possibly even our aloneness. So we light candles and gather around flames to keep the night at bay.

But just like the rest of us, Darkness has a complex personality. If you'll allow a metaphor inspired by my own childhood: sometimes Darkness is a Ford Country Squire station wagon conveying a family westward on a December highway well past bedtime. Oncoming headlights—like the infinite eyes of a never-ending caterpillar—shoot piercing gazes through the blackness. Pinprick stars gleam even brighter for the crisp winter night. But inside the wood-paneled vessel, all is warmth and breath: six voices belting out Christmas carols, six noses thawing while the heater kicks in, six spines tingling as cold's discomfort meets the holiday's electric anticipation.

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
~ Wendell Berry, "To Know the Dark" in THE SELECTED POEMS OF WENDELL BERRY
Wendell Berry The Selected Poems Of Wendell Berry darkness
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.
~ Sarah Williams, from "The Old Astronomer to His Pupil" in BEST LOVED POEMS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
Sarah Williams Best Loved Poems Of The American People darkness
We walked on. I could feel the cold, as if someone's icy hand was palm-down on my back. And my nose and the tops of my cheeks felt cold and hot at the same time... When you go owling you don't need words or warm or anything but hope. That's what Pa says. The kind of hope that flies on silent wings under a shining Owl Moon.
~ Jane Yolen in OWL MOON
Jane Yolen Owl Moon darkness

On the first night God said: 'Let there be darkness.' And God separated light from dark; and in the dark, the land rested, the people slept, and the plants breathed, the world retreated. The first night.
And God said that it was Good.

On the second night God said: 'There will be conversations that happen in the dark that can't happen in the day.' The second night.
And God said that it was Good.

On the third night God said: 'Let there be things that can only be seen by night.' And God created stars and insects and luminescence. The third night.
And God said that it was Good.

On the fourth night God said: 'Some things that happen in the harsh light of day will be troubled. Let there be a time of rest to escape the raw light.' The fourth night.
And God said that it was Good.

On the fifth night, God said: "There will be people who will work by night, whose light will be silver, whose sleep will be by day and whose labour will be late.' And God put a softness at the heart of the darkness. The fifth night.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the sixth night God listened. And there were people working, and people crying, and people seeking shadow, and people telling secrets, and people aching for company. There were people aching for space and people aching for solace. And God hoped that they'd survive. And God made twilight, and shafts of green to hang from the dark skies, small comforts to accompany the lonely, the joyous, the needy and the needed. The sixth night.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the last night, God rested. And the rest was good. The rest was very good.
And God said that it was very Good.

~ Padraig O'Tuama, "A liturgy for the night" in DAILY PRAYER WITH THE CORRYMEELA COMMUNITY
Padraig O'Tuama Daily Prayer With The Corrymeela Community darkness
Put your thoughts to sleep,
do not let them cast a shadow
over the moon of your heart.
Let go of thinking.
~ Rumi
Rumi darkness
But now and then comes an hour when the silence is all but absolute, and listening to it one slips out of time. Such a silence is not a mere negation of sound. It is like a new element, and the world is suspended there, and I in it...
Nan Shepherd The Living Mountain darkness
Our disenchantment of the night through artificial lighting may appear, if it is noticed at all, as a regrettable but eventually trivial side effect of contemporary life. That winter hour, though, up on the summit ridge with the stars falling plainly far above, it seemed to me that our estrangement from the dark was a great and serious loss. We are, as a species, finding it increasingly hard to imagine that we are part of something which is larger than our own capacity. We have come to accept a heresy of aloofness, a humanist belief in human difference, and we suppress wherever possible the checks and balances on us – the reminders that the world is greater than us or that we are contained within it.
~ Robert Macfarlane in THE WILD PLACES
Robert Macfarlane The Wild Places darkness
Dwarfed by the sky at night
These fearless mountains are nearly lost from sight
Track the hill with a harvest moon
Moving, shifting on across a winter sky

My thoughts drift away
An Illusion of light
Feel the rain in the air
Where the thin mist is hiding, shrouded
[I'm] there
~ Jenny Sturgeon, from the song "Air and Light"
Jenny Sturgeon darkness

You, darkness, of whom I am born–
I love you more that the flame
that limits the world
to the circle it illuminates
and excludes all the rest.
But the dark embraces everything:
shapes and shadows, creatures and me,
people, nations–just as they are.
It lets me imagine
a great presence stirring beside me.
I believe in the night.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, "Du Dunkelheit, aus der ich stamme" in RILKE'S BOOK OF HOURS: LOVE POEMS TO GOD
Rainer Maria Rilke Rilke's Book Of Hours: Love Poems To God darkness
Two hundred years ago Issa heard the morning birds
singing sutras to this suffering world.
I heard them too, this morning, which must mean,
since we will always have a suffering world,
we must also always have a song.
~ David Budbill, "What Issa Heard" in MOMENT TO MOMENT
David Budbill Moment To Moment darkness
To understand light you need first to have been buried in the deep-down dark.
~ Robert Macfarlane in UNDERLAND
Robert Macfarlane Underland darkness

If I say, "Let only darkness cover me,
And the light about me be night,"
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
The night dazzles as with the sun;
The darkness is a light to You.

~ Nan Merrill, from her interpretation of "Psalm 139" in PSALMS FOR PRAYING
Nan Merrill Psalms For Praying darkness

July/August 2022 (Vol. XXXV, No. 7)

Dear Friends ~ I can still remember the sensations—the reverberations—as a young child cradled in my mom's lap listening to one Berenstain Bears book after another. There was the way her breath tickled across my ear, and the vibration of her voice moving from her chest, against my back. The first summer I joined my in-laws on their lake vacation, I observed an aunt, huddled with her 8-year-old beneath a blanket on the couch, where she read a Tolkien novel to him. I wonder if her now-grown son remembers how she did all the voices and stopped to answer each of his questions as the story unfolded.

It is easy to forget how mysterious and mighty stories are. They do their work in silence, invisibly. They work with all the internal materials of the mind and self. They become part of you while changing you.
Ben Okri Birds Of Heaven story
All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.
~ E.B. White
E.B. White story
Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.
~ Madeleine L'Engle in A RING OF ENDLESS LIGHT
Madeleine L'Engle A Ring Of Endless Light story
Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
~ Neil Gaiman in CORALINE
Neil Gaiman Coraline story
There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you... until the day you begin to share your stories. And all at once, in the room where no one else is quite like you, the world opens itself up a little wider to make some space for you.
~ Jacqueline Woodson in THE DAY YOU BEGIN
Jacqueline Woodson The Day You Begin story
There ain't no way you can hold onto something that wants to go, you understand? You can only love what you got while you got it.
Kate DiCamillo Because Of Winn-dixie story
It is very risky. But each time a child opens a book, he pushes open the gate that separates him from Elsewhere.
~ Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry story
The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.
~ Lois Lowry in THE GIVER
Lois Lowry The Giver story
There are things you can't back down on, things you gotta take a stand on. But it's up to you to decide what them things are.
~ Mildred D. Taylor in ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY
Mildred D. Taylor Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry story
You never know ahead of time what something's really going to be like.
~ Katherine Paterson in BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA
Katherine Paterson Bridge To Terabithia story
Read the books they don't want you to. That's where the good stuff is.
~ LeVar Burton
LeVar Burton story
Your imagination will create many friends.
Grace Lin Fortune Cookie Fortunes story
You must do something to make the world more beautiful.
~ Barbara Cooney in MISS RUMPHIUS
Barbara Cooney Miss Rumphius story

As children we did not grow up steadily, one day at a time. Occasionally, we would leap forward. Getting separated from our mother in the supermarket and—holding panic at bay—finding her on our own could make us instantly feel a year older. It is the same way we felt when we rode off alone on a bicycle for the first time.

While most of these experiences left me exhilarated, there was one leap forward that produced less welcome emotions. When I was eight years old I began to consider the possibility that Santa Claus was not real. Embracing this suspicion made me feel grown up, very suddenly and also very unhappily. Leaving behind a belief in Santa meant I would never again experience the enchantment that accompanied the days leading up to Christmas. The exquisite, almost unbearable anticipation of a fairy tale coming to life, a fairy tale that included me, would be gone forever.

This didn't feel like growing up. This felt like losing something—like being thrown out of the land of miracles and hearing the gates close behind me.

I wanted back in. Fortunately, the Polar Express pulled up to my house that Christmas, taking me on a trip that did lead me back. There is a seat on the train for you.

~ Chris Van Allsburg
Chris Van Allsburg story

Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today!

~ Mark Twain
Mark Twain story

Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle.

~ Lewis Carroll in ALICE IN WONDERLAND
Lewis Carroll Alice In Wonderland story

A good story gives shape to the human experience and touches us in our innermost places. It picks us up right where we are and leaves us somewhere else — changed, transformed, more awake and alive and aware.

~ Sarah Mackenzie in THE READ-ALOUD FAMILY
Sarah Mackenzie The Read-aloud Family story

No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.

C.S. Lewis Of Other Worlds story

March 2022 (Vol. XXXV, No. 3)

Dear Friends ~ This story begins sitting around a campfire one spring night, with a friend and her friend whom I only just met. "You know what’s funny?" she laughed when she introduced us. "This guy lives in your old apartment! He gets all your junk mail now." What a great coincidence! we mused.

Our chatter meandered into the night—the way fireside conversations tend to go. When we veered toward childhood memories, our new visitor and I realized that we also grew up in the exact same town as one another! At precisely the same time! Attended the very same school!

He told me he moved when he was in late elementary school, to a house about a block away from the school. I had walked a block to that school every day, too. But...my family had moved away from that neighborhood in late elementary school.

"We lived in the brick house, next to the one with the swimming pool," he went on.

Survival is the second law of life.
The first is that we are all one.
Joseph Campbell A Joseph Campbell Companion connection
In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Conversations Of Goethe With Johann Peter Eckermann connection
What seems to be happening at the moment is never the full story of what is really going on. For the honey bee, it is the honey that is important. But the bee is at the same time nature's vehicle for carrying out cross-pollination of the flowers. Interconnectedness is a fundamental principle of nature. Nothing is isolated. Each event connects with others. Things are constantly unfolding on different levels. It's for us to perceive the warp and woof of the Oneness of All as best we can and learn to follow our own threads through the tapestry of life with authenticity and resolve.
Jon Kabat-Zinn Wherever You Go, There You Are connection
Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills.
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend
~ Czeslaw Milosz from "Love" in NEW AND COLLECTED POEMS 1931-2001
Czeslaw Milosz New And Collected Poems 1931-2001 connection
We are knee deep in a river, searching for water. We are part of an invisible river, but we are so distracted by outer things and what we imagine they could mean to us that we lose contact with the source of our own Being. When we are caught in desire, in form, in externals, we are pulled out of ourselves into a fantasy world, a desire world. We lose touch with the invisible river, the waters of life, through our identification with unconscious inner processes and with outer demands.
~ Kabir Helminski in LIVING PRESENCE
Kabir Helminski Living Presence connection
The earth is leaning sideways
And a song is emerging from the floods
And fires. Urgent tendrils lift toward the sun.
You must be friends with silence to hear.
The songs of the guardians of silence are the most powerful-
They are the most rare.
~ Joy Harjo from "Singing Everything" in AN AMERICAN SUNRISE
Joy Harjo An American Sunrise connection
Lord, most of what I love
Mistakes itself for nothing.
Molly McCully Brown The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics And Feebleminded connection

What draws Friends together
Does not conform to Laws of Nature.
Form doesn’t know about spiritual closeness.
If a grain of barley approaches a grain of wheat,
An ant must be carrying it. A black ant on black felt.
You can’t see it, but if grains go toward each other,
It’s there.

A hand shifts our birdcages around.
Some are brought closer. Some move apart.
Do not try to reason it out. Be conscious
Of who draws you and who not.

~ Rumi from "The Force of Friendship" in THIS LONGING
Rumi This Longing connection
We think that by protecting ourselves from suffering, we are being kind to ourselves. The truth is we only become more fearful, more hardened and more alienated. We experience ourselves as being separate from the whole. This separateness becomes like a prison for us—a prison that restricts us to our personal hopes and fears, and to caring only for the people nearest to us. Curiously enough, if we primarily try to shield ourselves from discomfort, we suffer. Yet, when we don't close off, when we let our hearts break, we discover our kinship with all beings.
Pema Chodron When Things Fall Apart connection
If the world is a temple, then our enemies are sacred, too. The ability to respect the outsider is probably the litmus test of true seeing. It doesn't even stop with human beings and enemies of the least of the brothers and sisters. It moves to frogs and pansies and weeds. EVERYTHING becomes enchanting with true sight...All we can do is to participate.
~ Richard Rohr from EVERYTHING BELONGS
Richard Rohr Everything Belongs connection
To acknowledge our ancestors means we are aware that we did not make ourselves, that the line stretches all the way back, perhaps to God; or to Gods. We remember them because it is an easy thing to forget: that we are not the first to suffer, rebel, fight, love and die.
Alice Walker Her Blue Body Everything We Know connection

When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?

~ Thich Nhat Hanh in NO DEATH, NO FEAR
Thich Nhat Hanh No Fear, No Death connection

July/August 2021 (Vol. XXXIV, No. 7)

Dear Friends ~ To create, no matter the artform, is a tender and vulnerable calling. When my partner, Luke, makes a basket, he starts in the woods, at the edge of a field, or by a roadside where he quietly notices. He looks for the specific plants he'll use, observing whether they are abundant or few, and whether they are at the ideal point in their growing cycle. Eventually, after he has respectfully harvested vines or taken a young tree, he carries the plants home, now responsible to whittle them down carefully and prepare them to be woven or joined together. This is the part of the creative process that recalls Michelangelo's famous quote: "Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it". Like a writer staring at a blank page, or a potter holding a lump of clay, there is a necessary courage inherent to opening oneself to a practice that has no guaranteed outcome.

Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.
~ Alice Walker
Alice Walker create
Unless we are creators, we are not fully alive... Remember, the root word of humble and human is the same: humus: earth. We are dust. We are created; it is God who made us and not we ourselves. But we were made to be co-creators with our maker.
~ Madeleine L'Engle in WALKING ON WATER
Madeleine L'Engle Walking On Water create
I rarely think of poetry as something I make happen; it is more accurate to say that it happens to me. Like a summer storm, a house afire, or the coincidence of both on the same day. Like a car wreck, only with more illuminating results. I've overheard poems, virtually complete, in elevators or restaurants where I was minding my own business... When a poem does arrive, I gasp as if an apple had fallen into my hand, and give thanks for the luck involved. Poems are everywhere, but easy to miss. I know I might very well stand under that tree all day, whistling, looking off to the side, waiting for a red delicious poem to fall so I could own it forever. But like as not, it wouldn't. Instead it will fall right while I'm in the middle of changing the baby, or breaking up a rodeo event involving my children and the dog, or wiping my teary eyes while I'm chopping onions and listening to the news; then that apple will land with a thud and roll under the bed with the dust bunnies and lie there forgotten and lost for all time. There are dusty, lost poems all over my house, I assure you. In yours, too, I'd be willing to bet... I've lost so many I can't count them. I do understand that they fall when I'm least able to pay attention because poems fall not from a tree, really, but from the richly pollinated boughs of an ordinary life, buzzing, as lives do, with clamor and glory.
~ Barbara Kingsolver from "Stealing Apples" in SMALL WONDER
Barbara Kingsolver Small Wonder create

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can't see, can't hear;
Can't know except in moments...
...we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

~ Joy Harjo in "Eagle Poem" from IN MAD LOVE AND WAR
Joy Harjo In Mad Love And War create
We sleep, but the loom of life never stops, and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down is weaving when it comes up in the morning.
~ Henry Ward Beecher
Henry Ward Beecher create

Because in trying to articulate what, perhaps, joy is, it has occurred to me that among other things—the trees and the mushrooms have shown me this—joy is the mostly invisible, the underground union between us, you and me, which is, among other things, the great fact of our life and the lives of everyone and thing we love going away. If we sink a spoon into that fact, into the duff between us, we will find it teeming. It will look like all the books ever written. It will look like all the nerves in a body. We might call it sorrow, but we might call it a union, one that, once we notice it, once we bring it into the light, might become flower and food. Might be joy.

Ross Gay The Book Of Delights create
In order to create, I must be still.
~ Jan Kendy-Fragas
Jan Kendy-Fragas create
For most of us, knowledge of our world comes largely through sight, yet we look about with such unseeing eyes that we are partially blind. One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?'
~ Rachel Carson from THE SENSE OF WONDER
Rachel Carson The Sense Of Wonder create
Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do.
~ Toni Morrison in THE BLUEST EYE
Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye create
I was taught that I had to 'master' subjects. But who can 'master' beauty, or peace, or joy?
Kathleen Norris The Psalms With Commentary create

Boredom is — yes, the runway of creativity. That's the way I tell my youngest, if she ever says it. I'm like, "Great! You're bored! That means you're a little uncomfortable. And you know what? This incredible, creative world is right at the edge of that uncomfortableness," because it inevitably happens that you'll have to create your own sense of creativity...

...Your mind is in its most supple, creative state when it's off leash...we need to create more space off leash. And even now, when I step in the shower, I think, don't turn on the news, don't turn on anything, and just take a shower, because that's why you have your best ideas when you're in the shower or doing dishes or taking a walk. And we've just filled every waking moment with stimulation and input, and you need time to digest and create new thoughts...and figure out how you think about it and how it integrates to your larger narrative and — it's just such a great thing, to create that space to think.

~ Tiffany Shlain from "Living the Questions" podcast interview with Krista Tippett
Tiffany Shlain create
Creation is lifework, creation is how...you spend your life, you cannot divide life and the creation, it's impossible.
~ Yohji Yamamoto
Yohji Yamamoto create
"Scrape the willow until it sings..."
~ Julia Parker, Coast Miwok-Kashaya Pomo basket weaver
Julia Parker create
Sometimes I wish I could photosynthesize so that just by being, just by shimmering at the meadow's edge or floating lazily on a pond, I could be doing the work of the world while standing silent in the sun.
~ Robin Wall Kimmerer in BRAIDING SWEETGRASS
Robin Wall Kimmerer Braiding Sweetgrass create
Serious art is born from serious play.
~ Julia Cameron in THE ARTIST'S WAY
Julia Cameron The Artist's Way create
To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
~ Joseph Chilton Pearce
Joseph Chilton Pearce create

March 2021 (Vol. XXXIV, No. 3)

Dear Friends ~ As a person who carries a lot of anxiety, I often find comfort in the amorphous, gray, quiet moments at dawn. Passing out of sleep's depths and just before rejoining the clamor of everyday life, my senses are clear and heightened. At the threshold of the day, I feel more courage to notice the world around me and more ready to engage in the present moment.

I've come to appreciate how our inner lives tend to mirror the physical cycle of morning into day into night and back into morning; when the soul emerges from periods of rest and dormancy to revel in those threshold moments that usher us into new energy and vibrancy: Awakening.

... God said, 'There will be dreams from the night that will need the light of the morning.’ And so God put wisdom in the early hours.

... God said: 'Let there be a certain kind of light that can only be seen in the morning.’ And God created gold, and dew, and horizons, and hills in the distance, and faces that look different in the light of the morning, and things that look different in the light of the morning...
And God said that it was Good.

~ Padraig O’Tuama from "A Liturgy of the Morning" in DAILY PRAYERS WITH THE CORRYMEELA COMMUNITY
Padraig O’Tuama Daily Prayers With The Corrymeela Community awakening Buy on Amazon

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

~ Lucille Clifton from "Blessing the Boats (at St. Mary's)" in QUILTING
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I’m going to be sorry when I retire, because I enjoy — if it’s one thing that I definitely enjoy, it’s my 8:00 class. My 8:00 class, they come to me, 8:00 a.m., they come to me from their dreams, and I come to them from mine... I like the freshness that they bring. And the other word would be, I like the love that we have for each other as we come into that class.

~ Nikki Giovanni from "We Go Forward with a Sanity and Love" On Being podcast. Read more in THE COLLECTED POETRY OF NIKKI GIOVANNI
Nikki Giovanni awakening Buy on Amazon

The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don't go back to sleep!

~ Rumi from "A Great Wagon" in THE ESSENTIAL RUMI, translated by Coleman Barks
Rumi The Essential Rumi awakening Buy on Amazon

Uphold the Light that your inner light
may illumine fear-filled hearts...
Light comes with each new dawn.
yield to the Light within;
become a chalice of light
for the world!

Nan Merrill Lumen Christi...holy Wisdom awakening Buy on Amazon

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.

~ Rachel Carson from SILENT SPRING
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Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers.

~ May Sarton. Read more in SELECTED POEMS OF MAY SARTON
May Sarton awakening Buy on Amazon

Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom, available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary, everyday lives.

~ Pema Chodron from WHEN THINGS FALL APART
Pema Chodron When Things Fall Apart awakening Buy on Amazon

freedom always came nibbling my thought,
just as— often, in light, on the open hills—
you can pass an antelope and not know
and look back, and then— even before you see—
there is something wrong about the grass.
And then you see.

That's the way everything in the world is waiting.

~ William E. Stafford from "A Message from the Wanderer" in THE WAY IT IS
William E. Stafford The Way It Is awakening Buy on Amazon

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

~ Eleanor Farjeon from MORNING HAS BROKEN
Eleanor Farjeon awakening Buy on Amazon

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

~ Mary Oliver from "Why I Wake Early" in WHY I WAKE EARLY
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Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.

~ Anne Sexton
Anne Sexton awakening Buy on Amazon