Saturday, August 12, 2023

How to Create a Masterpiece

The Shakespeare way…

Know little Latin and less Greek. Remove your ego to the extent that you can fully inhabit a saint, a murderer, a queen, a beast, a clown, and everything in between. Be myriad-minded. Cut down on the history reading. Be a passionate lover who distrusts power.  

The Dickinson way…

Make vast imaginative cognitive leaps while wearing white. Listen to a fly or look at gazing grain while contemplating the journey from infinity to eternity. Reject church. Talk regularly with your sister-in-law, God, and Shakespeare. Make your greatest outing the distance between your bedroom and the kitchen. Tell it slant. Much madness is divinest sense.

The Van Gogh way…

Transition from depicting your family eating potatoes to communing with the divine in a drinking hole. Be sorrowful but always rejoicing. Practice bhakti yoga, approaching everything with awe and devotion. Be on good terms with a relative who makes money. Paint that which is dark, yet color. 

The Yeats way…

Be silly but know your trade. Obsess over a girl who’s completely wrong for you. Dive into the occult. Don’t be content.  

The Stevens way…

Maintain a stable job and the outward appearance of normality. Take long walks. Spend hours and hours in contemplation and concentration. Resist the intelligence almost successfully. 

The Kafka way…

Be obsessive. Become literature itself. When Germany declares war on Russia, go swimming in the afternoon.

The Rothko way…

Spend long hours staring at a blank canvas. Have a well-worn copy of Fear and Trembling by your bedside. Contemplate inner feeling states and express them in haunting and ecstatic ways.  

The Beckett way…

Completely digest and integrate the Bible, Dante, Shakespeare, Proust, Joyce, western philosophy, and art. Contemplate qualities such as waiting and ending. Express fundamental sounds. Write a play in which nothing happens twice. 

The Guston way…

Spend years telling stories, then years in abstraction, then years telling stories again. Constantly question everything, especially your own motives. Completely strip yourself down and start over again so that each new form is genuinely fresh. Mingle comics and politics with the masters and eternity. Love all things Italian. Cut down on the smokes. 

The O’Hara way…

Enjoy lunch, talk a lot on the telephone, be a fast runner and wear tight jeans. 

Friday, July 21, 2023

On the Heart of Creativity

I think the imagination is committed to the justice of wholesomeness. It's not interested in one dimensional stuff, or reductionism, or one side over against another side. It's interested in where the sides meet, and what they can bring to birth when they cross-fertilize with each other.

And I think that brightness in a poem, in a painting or a piece of music, usually has to sweat its way through underlayers and undercaverns of darkness to come to the top. And when it comes to the top, and when you see it, you can see in it the beautifully sculpted shadow of the darkness of the journey it has made.

And I think that's the heart of creativity. Creativity is listening in to the places where opposites are already dancing with each other.

- John O'Donohue

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Poem "Ancestry" by Fred LaMotte

 My DNA results came in.

Just as I suspected,

my great great grandfather

was a monarch butterfly.

Much of who I am is still

wriggling under a stone.

I am part larva, but

part hummingbird too.

There is dinosaur tar in

my bone marrow.

My golden hair sprang out

of a meadow in Palestine.

Genghis Khan is my fourth cousin,

but I didn't get his dimples.

My loins are loaded with

banyan seeds from Sri Lanka,

but I descended from Ravanna,

not Ram.

My uncle is a mastodon.

There are traces of white people

in my saliva.

3.7 billion years ago I swirled

in hydrogen dust,

dreaming of a planet overgrown

with lingams and yonis.

More recently, say 60,000 B.C.

I walked on hairy paws

across a land bridge

joining Sweden to Botswana.

I am the bastard of the sun and moon.

I can no longer hide my heritage of

raindrops and cougar scat.

My mud was molded with your grandmother's tears.

I was the brother

who marched you to the sea

and sold you.

I was the merchant from Savannah

and the cargo of blackness.

I was the chain.

Admit it, you have wings,

vast and crystal,

like mine, like mine.

You have sweat, dark and salty,

like mine, like mine.

You have secrets silently

singing in your blood,

like mine, like mine.

Don't pretend that earth

is not one family.

Don't pretend we never hung

from the same branch.

Don't pretend we do not ripen

on each other's breath.

Don't pretend we didn't

come here to forgive.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Reporting Back to Queen Isabella

When Don Cristobal returned to a hero’s welcome,

his caravels corked with treasures of the New World,

he presented his findings; told of his great adventures

to Queen Isabella, whose speech set the gold standard

for her nation’s language. When he came to Xamaica

he described it so: ‘The fairest isle that eyes ever beheld.’

Then he balled up a big sheet of parchment, unclenched,

and let it fall off a flat surface before it landed at her feet.

There we were, massifs, high mountain ranges, expansive

plains, deep valleys, one he’d christened for the Queen

of Spain. Overabundance of wood, over one hundred

rivers, food, and fat pastures for Spanish horses, men,

and cattle; and yes, your majesty, there were some people.

- Lorna Goodison

Sunday, April 2, 2023

On Education - Rousseau & Strike

On the "provide-and-prepare" model:

What, then, must be thought of that barbarous education which sacrifices the present to an uncertain future, which burdens a child with chains of every sort and begins by making him miserable in order to prepare him from afar for I know not what pretended happiness[?] … I hear from afar the clamors of that false wisdom which incessantly projects us outside of ourselves, which always counts the present for nothing, and which, pursuing without respite a future that retreats in proportion as we advance, by dint of transporting us where we are not, transports us where we shall never be.

- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

On the "aspirational" model: 

Mrs Smith was my ninth grade algebra teacher. To enter Mrs Smith’s class was to enter the Temple of Mathematics. Equations were objects of reverence. There were no attempts to make math fun or ‘relevant’. There was no discussion of how math helped one get a good job. Rather, Mrs Smith was able to point to the goods that made math intrinsically valuable. … I do not recall that Mrs Smith used terms like elegance, simplicity, paradox or power to describe mathematics, but I do know that she showed us that these things were what motivated her about mathematics. … In effect, her message to us was this. ‘Here is what I see in math. There are goods internal to its practice. There are virtues required to realize these goods. Let me help you see them’.

- Kenneth Strike


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

An Antidote to Speed

Japanese haiku, the simple three-line form of poetry, is now the world’s most popular poetic form. Since it first became known in the West one hundred years ago, it has been seen from various perspectives. As a way to convey an aesthetic image, as a way to appreciate nature and as a way to record the Zen ah! moment. Perhaps it could also be seen as a means to appreciate “transience” — a way (or perhaps a practice) to enabling us understand and accept death in our ourselves and everything around us.

Haiku brings us the birth and death of each moment. Everything is stripped away to its naked state. No high tech speed, but slowly and naturally we discover what is simply here, as in meditation: our aging bodies, the afternoon light on the bed sheets, the sound of a siren in the distance. Whatever is contained in this very moment, without adornment. The Tibetan Book of the Dead talks about these momentary bardo states, states of transition from one realm to another, from life to death to re-birth. These states of transition also exist in each moment of our life when we are alive on this earth, each moment containing a mini-birth and mini-death. One result of the shock of September 11, 2001 is a greater recognition of this transience, on an individual, national and world level of consciousness.

Usually it takes a personal crisis such as a death or separation from a loved one to awaken this realization of our true human condition. It is really our inability to accept this impermanence that causes us to appreciate less and suffer more. As Pema Chödron, a Tibetan meditation teacher says, “… happiness lies in being able to relax with our true condition which is basically fleeting, dynamic, fluid, not in any way solid, not in any way permanent. It’s transient by nature…”

violets, grow here and there

in the ruins

of my burned house

— Shokyu-ni 1713-1781

However, in the midst of the speed of post-modern culture, we somehow miss this point. The effect of speed is that it ignores, denies or negates the natural process of life. For things take time to grow: a garden, a baby’s steps, the trust of a friend, the study of a map or the stars, even a good cup of coffee or tea. This was recently illustrated in a Japanese comic strip showing the making of a cup of Japanese tea: a hundred years ago, one hour to make and serve tea in tea-ceremony style; fifty years ago, fifteen to thirty minutes to boil water in a kettle and serve tea in a ceramic cup; twenty years ago, five minutes to steep a tea-bag from a hot-pot into a paper cup; ten years ago, five seconds to get a hot can of tea from a vending machine (See KJ 47, P. 91). Modern civilization’s evolution or ‘de-evolution’?

A speedy culture ignores natural laws. For through this unconscious addiction to speed and hyper-living, even in the simple act of drinking a cup of tea, the natural process of birth, growth, old age and death is given little attention. No part of this is escaped, but the process is missed. Any transformation emerging from reflection is bypassed. And without self-reflection, especially reflection of our mortality, we cannot really see ourselves or our world clearly. This is where haiku awareness can possibly bridge the gap — as a practice to be more conscious of these momentary states in our lives.

plucking my gray hairs —

beside my pillow

a cricket sounds

— Basho (1644-1694)

Haiku can be an antidote to the speed of post-modern culture — allowing one to step off the spinning wheel, to stop and breathe deeply and slowly. To note the birth and death of each moment. Whether we write it down, recording it in words, isn’t of ultimate importance, although it may be enjoyable for some. But rather, seeing things around us with ‘haiku eyes’ is of importance.

Haiku awareness can be a vehicle to help bring our attention back to the moment. Reading good traditional or modern haiku can give us a hint as to how to be more present. Haiku’s shortness, too, fits the short attention span of a speedy world. In fact, the process of tracing the rising and falling of this moment’s birth and death is built into this three line Japanese poetic form, which makes it one of the easiest art forms to use, in expanding this kind of awareness.

rising steam from the bath —

spring begins

on this moon-lit night

— Issa (1762-1826)

Expanding awareness means noticing what is already here in this time and space. Noticing for a few moments, perhaps only for as long as the count of 1, 2 or 3 breaths… Letting the thoughts and sensations of the moment’s sounds and images fade and new sensations arise. Perhaps noting the fading sunlight on the curtain… That moment dies and another is born; no need to catch it but just note its passing, as a thought in meditation, as in a last breath, as in the loss of something which becomes dearer because it’s fleeting.

This traditional Japanese life view, an acceptance of mujo or transience, is naturally embedded in haiku. This aesthetic in Japanese is known as mono no aware, which roughly translates as “the beauty of dying things” or “the beauty of transient things.” Rather than a traditional Western poetry of denial in ‘rage, rage against the dying of the light’ (Dylan Thomas) or ‘Death, thou shalt die.’ (John Donne), Japanese traditional poetry shows an acceptance and awe of the natural stages of becoming and disappearing in each thing. As in these haiku:

summer grasses —

the only remains

of warriors’ dreams

— Basho


I pass like all things

dew on the grass

— Banzan 1661-1730

the dead body —

autumn wind blows

through its nostrils

— Iida Dakotsu 1885-1962

And although it’s possible to find the opposite view in each tradition, nonetheless, these two views of acceptance and denial still pervade the cultures of the ‘East and West.’

Whether we ultimately deny or accept transience, the main thing is to note the passing of things. That in itself is transformative, for it forces us to slow down. For in the speed of modern culture, instead of using ‘saved time’ to be quiet, sit still and just be, as in slower less ‘high tech’ cultures, we instead do another thing — go to another appointment, travel a further distance, and wonder why we have ‘less time.’ Our modern litany is, ‘I don’t have enough time.’ Speed accelerates, draws us into the vortex, so instead of doing less we are doing more.

The speed of Western-style globalized culture has a dehumanizing effect. It ironically defeats our original purpose, to have more time to relax and enjoy the moment. Haiku may be a way to step out of this vortex, if only for a few moments a day. To write it down, or just stop and note the moment’s passing will inevitably force us to slow our pace, so that we can participate in the moment’s birth and death. It is essential for our survival, for even our health & sanity, but above all for our humanness.

I kill an ant

realize my children

have been watching

— Hekigodo

As I look up from writing down these thoughts about ‘haiku and transience’ in Zenpukuji park near my house in Tokyo, the autumn day turns to dusk. I note the pale gray light descending and shimmering in waves across the surface of the pond; the wild ducks floating in the dimming light. I note the stillness and the passing of the light in the ending of the day; the shouts of nearby children squealing with delight. The scene makes me wonder… the ducks or clouds don’t seem to be moving any faster than they did when I was a kid, or I imagine even a hundred years ago, but it is us human beings who are moving faster than is natural.

We are losing something vital, and we know it; we can feel it, an unbearable emptiness from loss. Empty because we are disconnecting from the slower rhythm of life around us, away from the slower pace of each moment’s passing. This disconnection seems to create a deep, unspeakable loneliness within us. And as we connect more and more to the instant-electronic net, we seem further and further disconnected from the natural net, the web of life. Ironically, in other eras when human beings were more connected to natural rhythms, they wrote haiku but didn’t need to use it, in the way we do today.

To relax with our true human condition which is itself transient, we must slow down enough to be aware, to feel the gap, the crack in the universe’s egg. For without seeing what is here, we are just speeding past and seeing very little. It reminds me of taking the shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Kyoto — it saves time, about three hours, but you see a blur instead of relaxing scenery; and in fact, one gets a headache if one stares out the window to see a view at all. We need to slow down, even for a few minutes, with whatever is in our sphere.

Breathing in and out with the ducks across the pond, breathing in and out with the rising and falling of the red maple branches, breathing in and out with the sick spouse or child sleeping next to us, just noting that… This is our heritage as a human being with all the other sentient beings on our planet. And haiku awareness in this post-modern era, can be a vehicle leading us, not back to another slower time which is virtually impossible, but back to this very moment, if just for a moment.

the first mists —

one mountain after another


— Chiyo-ni

— Patricia Donegan

Thursday, August 18, 2022

I was heading for another state of feeling not known to me.

NOW it is a different sort of contest - not what you saw - not what you - we - talked about. Now the contest is between knowing and not knowing. Since you were here - a week ago? - I've painted three pictures - the first - a brick wall, me & Musa behind it. In front of the wall, a sort of scrimmage is taking place - arms, discs, etc., the abstract forces are trying to pile themselves up into a permanent mound - BUT - a hammer looming in from the top-side is definitely hitting this structure, making it seem as if it is crumbling, collapsing. Added to all of this, and below my profile and Musa's frontal view, is a fluttering, a merry mix-up of buzzing insects - bugs - demon bugs - a happy commotion. They, too, seem to be adding (I know they are) to the general dismantling of the piled-up structure. It is a painting of crumbling - of dissolution. As I look at it now - today - I was heading for another state of feeling not known to me.

The second picture is of me talking and smoking in a vast blue-gray but dense atmosphere. I am talking feverishly - there is a big pileup of cigarette butts plastered right smack on my cheek - and they form - God knows what - some sort of thick cluster of stuff, which moves in a sort of radial-like movement - in - out - and across (BUT THEY ARE STUCK!). I started to shake when I painted this picture, God, there is no picture plane! It is just real, that's all there is - just real - no plane at all - What nonsense - this idea of a plane - No - all there finally is left is just the moment - the second - of life's gesture - fixed forever - in an image - there - to be seen. (You could put your hand right into the image!)

Everything else is only a notion - a cluster of notions about art, just programming you might say. Well, this smoking talking man set me on my ear - I couldn't wait to start on the next. I decided to do a large one - on the wall this time. It is Thursday - the day you were here a week ago - and I have painted a large - large - cluster of people - beings, in a flood of closeness - there is no picture plane now whatsoever - There is now instead every mood - from anger - to sorrow - to peace - to resignation - to awe - to stillness - no movement, no diagram at all of held ideas - it is a mound of flesh, of eyes, cheeks, ears, bones, craniums - you could run your hand over it all, go into the narrow spaces between the heads, but there wouldn't be much room at all. A feather might barely get in. There is no order especially - if there is an order to it at all, I don't know it - don't comprehend it - it is like nothing I've done before - not one area in this mound stops to let you look at it. Ah, so that's what "art" is - lets you stop - isolate it - lets us "see" it - but here in this new picture there is "nothing" to see - except multitudes of masses, that go on forever - in the mind. There is no plane - at all. You could mingle with this crowd, move into it - submerge yourself in it - be part of it. You would hear voices, murmurs, weeping -

- Philip Guston

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Quietly demolishing conventionality and myths of heroic pomposity

The overwhelming impression conveyed in Dickinson’s letters to Susan Dickinson and to her other correspondents is of someone who couldn’t stand - who had a visceral shudder in the presence of - the flatulent rhetoric of church and state around her. I don’t believe that her feelings toward Susan were modified by Susan’s “availability” after her marriage to Austin. I think they cooled when Dickinson discovered that Susan was conventional in her language and in her religious views, and that Susan tolerated her and enjoyed her poems as one might enjoy the quirky writings of a child.

Susan was not equipped to understand that Dickinson’s genius lay in her brittleness of language, and her refusal to indulge in the dead metaphors and sentimental nature worship that studded Susan’s prose. Dickinson was out to purge her own language of deadness. This is what she meant when she asked Higginson whether her verse was “alive.” This is what she was trying to explain when she told him that she shunned men and women “because they talk of Hallowed things, aloud - and embarrass my Dog.” This is why people constantly disappointed her, including Higginson, who remarked after an intense visit with Dickinson in 1870 that “she often thought me tired.” With Higginson, with Susan, and others, infatuation yielded to a friendly formality, as Dickinson increasingly preferred the company of children, animals, and people of her father’s more restrained generation.

Already in her teenage year at Mount Holyoke Dickinson had shown her intellectual honesty in her refusal to count herself among the “saved.” Hollow religious language disgusted her: “He preached upon ‘Breadth’ till it argued him narrow . . . The Truth never flaunted a Sign— / Simplicity fled from his counterfeit presence / As Gold the Pyrites would shun.” Dickinson was immune to the war fever around her as well. Scholars have combed her verse and prose for mention of the Civil War, which coincided with her greatest outpouring of verse. But her inspiration during those years seems to have been resistance to high rhetoric. A reference to bells tolling here and to bullets there have been adduced to show her awareness of the war. (As though she could have been oblivious to it!) But Edmund Wilson may well be right in claiming that she never referred to the Civil War in her poetry. Her father’s commitment to the Whig values of compromise - he had served a term in Congress and campaigned for Zachary Taylor and Henry Clay - may have tempered her response. While Julia Ward Howe was writing her saber-rattling “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and Whitman his “Drum-Taps,” Dickinson was quietly demolishing myths of heroic pomposity:

Finding is the first Act

The second, loss,

Third, Expedition for the “Golden Fleece”

Fourth, no Discovery—

Fifth, no Crew—

Finally, no Golden Fleece—

Jason, sham, too—

- Christopher Benfey

Monday, June 6, 2022

“I Am Not I”

 I am not I.

                   I am this one

walking beside me whom I do not see,

whom at times I manage to visit,

and whom at other times I forget;

who remains calm and silent while I talk,

and forgives, gently, when I hate,

who walks where I am not,

who will remain standing when I die.

- Juan Ramón Jiménez

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Our intimacy with works of art

Objects of art not merely interest and absorb, they move us; we are not merely involved with them, but concerned with them, and care about them; we treat them in special ways, invest them with a value which normal people otherwise reserve only for other people - and with the same kind of scorn and outrage. They mean something to us, not just the way statements do, but the way people do.

- Stanley Cavell

Friday, April 22, 2022

On writers - madmen, recluses, heretics, dreamers, rebels, skeptics...

True literature can thrive only in places where literature is created not by obedient and reliable bureaucrats but by madmen, recluses, heretics, dreamers, rebels, and skeptics. Where a writer must be reasonable, faithful like a Catholic, useful in the present moment, where he cannot flail at everyone as Jonathan Swift did or smile at everything as Anatole France does, there can be no literature that is cast in bronze - there can only be the sort printed on paper, the newsprint sort that’s read today and used to wrap bars of soap tomorrow. 

- Yevgeny Zamyatin

Friday, March 11, 2022

On toxic masculinity

Toxic, aggressive masculine energy is the result of society treating boys and men in a certain way.

Traditionally, the playful boy inside a man is gradually suppressed and disciplined by his parents and by society. The demands placed upon him to ‘become a man’ often mean that a boy has to push away his sensitivity, as well as his adventurous, provocative part, in order to become a responsible adult. The responsibility asked of him is often understood in terms of serving his country, religion and family.

The adventurous boy, keen on exploring the new and unknown, gets subdued and this causes deep pain, because the boy essentially holds the key to the man’s soul, his individuality. Being disconnected from your true inspiration causes sadness, anger, and eventually depression and aggression.

Toxic masculinity arises when masculinity is forced into boxes and roles that kill the boy and force a man to enslave himself: by serving the nation, the family, the community, he is forced to deny his individual freedom, and sadly, his ability to express his unique soul’s gifts in this world.

Eventually, the man may start to glorify the very boxes that imprison him. He may become fanatically nationalist, racist, religious or sexist. His behavior may then become explicitly aggressive and destructive, as we see happening now in the war in Ukraine.

- Jeshua and Pamela Kribbe

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

A humble and endearing account of blunders and livelihood

As I look back over the past years, reflecting on the blunders committed by my awkward self, I remember that at one time it was my ambition to become a high official with a large fief, and at another I intended to enter a Buddhist monastery and lead a life of meditation. But all the while I have lived a life of painful wanderings with wind and cloud, racking my brains over poems about flowers and birds. Since this has become my livelihood, though I am ungifted by nature and without skill, nevertheless, I have now devoted myself to this art alone. 

- Matsuo Bashō 

Friday, January 21, 2022

Jeshua on Body and Soul

Dear friends, I am Jeshua. I greet you all from my heart. It gives me deep joy to connect with each of you in the here and now. Feel how space and time fall away, how we meet each other, soul to soul, in a dimension beyond the material, beyond the definitions of space and time. We meet on the inner level and I invite you to be here with me.

You are infinitely precious, each one of you: the way you are here and now, with the particular qualities you have, the body in which you dwell, the personality that belongs to you. But within that “you-ness” is contained something else, something which transcends all that: it is your soul. Feel your soul, which is also participating in other realities, whose consciousness extends far beyond the earthly, yet still wants to be here on Earth through you. Feel your soul, for a moment, as a field around you and become aware of that field.

Between the earthly and the heavenly are all kinds of layers – levels of materiality – some very rarefied and ethereal, and others very visible and tangible. Feel your body from within. Your body is built from material elements of the Earth, so feel how solid and tangible it is; feel its immediate physical presence.

It is important to experience your body as a haven, as something in which your soul can live and in which you are safe. Receive your body joyfully and without judging it in terms of health or illness, beauty or self-image; receive it purely as the haven through which your soul’s energy flows and is grounded. See your body as part of your soul, and not simply as a thing separate from you, but as illuminated and quickened by your soul. When you experience your body consciously, you feel lighter and you seem to become more fluid. You are not only your body, but it is a part of you.

By accepting, from a stance of gentleness and admiration, what your body brings about, and by appreciating everything your body does for you by way of sensations and energies, you raise your body from simply the material to a more ethereal level. And the body becomes happy because of that! Matter wants to be illuminated by consciousness, by love. Imagine that you become aware of all the cells of your body, and you greet them with warmth.

Then become aware of who is doing this, who it is that regards the body and receives it with warmth and appreciation. Feel that consciousness – it is your soul. Become aware that your soul is much greater than your body. Do you see a color or sense an energy when you do this? Direct your attention from your body – although still hold it in an embrace of love – and become your soul. Sense those other dimensions that you are, those that vibrate on a different level of existence than the physical. Maybe you can see yourself appear as a sphere of light or as an angel. Allow a form to appear that suits you, one that represents your soul, that great field rich in experiences from many lives, the wisdom you carry within you, the depth of your feeling. Call that up and let your soul figure appear before you, and enjoy it.

Remember who you are, the grandeur of that. Recognize that figure and allow it energetically into the here and now, and let that energy flow through to your heart. The heart is energetically the gateway between the soul and the body, and if you allow your soul energy to enter your aura or energy field, notice that you become more expanded and take up more space. Let that happen, but do not be concerned for you are not limiting anyone else by your doing that.  On the contrary, when your energy field – your body and being – is filled with the light of your soul, you become a delight and inspiration to others. It is not a competitive energy, but rather one that desires to inspire and awaken, an energy that takes pleasure if others do it, too.

When your soul unites with your body, and that very subtle, ethereal level connects with the earthly, sense how that connection can translate into practical ways. Know that it is very important in daily life to keep in touch with this reality, this vibration, this higher part of yourself, and to allow that energy to literally come down and merge with your body and the physical, earthly level.

The next step is to allow that inspiration, that connection with your higher self, to flow into your actions and out into the world in practical ways. But for many of you, when you attempt to do that, the following then happens. Parts of you want to connect with your soul, those parts that are highly developed and want to go along with the vibration of the celestial spheres, but other parts of you become frightened when it comes to setting down that energy on to Earth and among people. You see in the world around you that there is seldom much acceptance for that stunning and unique soul energy.

Look at the fields of work, education, and medicine on Earth, and you will see that the concepts which still reign here are concerned with planned structures and theories based on the mental and the rational. Often, the only thing that comes into consideration is the material level, a bleak and barren idea of what it is to be human. Everything is about how dangerous life is, about survival, struggle, and dividing resources such as money, power, and abundance. Diseases are considered dangerous and therefore need to be restrained, and even life itself is a flow that must be tamed – so at that level, there is struggle. Strong emotions and feelings, deep inspirations and visions, are often dismissed as strange, weird, or hysterical.

In your society, from the bottom up, there is a huge need for inspiration from unique individuals who live from an inner fire and who can no longer adapt to the existing order, because that order no longer fits their needs. More and more individuals feel suffocated, literally, by the existing framework; they can no longer stand it. You see that especially in the generations of children who are now appearing on Earth. They can no longer tolerate that kind of suffocating existence, even on the physical level. They cannot be forced into a straitjacket, which the older generations were able to do.

In this way, change occurs on Earth where it becomes ever more necessary to integrate the soul’s energy into life. It is no longer a luxury to deepen that energy through meditation and leading a spiritual life. No, it is the mission and vocation of every human being to connect with their soul and to start living from inner truth, because the alternative is no longer viable. On an individual level, people become burned out or frustrated, discontent or depressed, and on a general, societal level, the result is profound problems in dealing with nature and with the resources of Mother Earth. On all fronts, it is now clear that it is necessary to start living differently, from a source that can not be defined by the purely material.

Matter and the material have an important value: it is the form in which the soul wants to express itself. But if life becomes fixated only on the forms – the external – then the forms become impoverished and life is a struggle in which no one will experience sense or meaning. That is why welcoming the soul into your life can not be an extraordinary act, but has to become an ordinary act: an everyday, normal part of education and life. Then the soul becomes the source of endless creativity and abundance that more and more people at all levels now crave.

You become a lightworker when you feel the urge to act and live from your soul, your heart, and from what really inspires you. You become a lightworker when you live from what lifts you above the banality of having to struggle and survive, instead of by fear and by having to pretend to be someone you are not. You can call it being a lightworker, or any other name you prefer, but what matters is that, as a human being, you feel called so strongly to respond to the voice of your soul that you can no longer not do it – you know you can no longer adapt to the old way of being. That means you transition to a heart-based consciousness; that you take a decisive step forward to where you can not turn back.

This being propelled by a heart borne consciousness is accompanied by peaks and valleys in your life, because there are times when you face deep fears of letting go of the old. The old can be extremely upsetting, yet there can still be a huge fear of the new, the undefined, that which is uncertain. The inspiration, thoughts, and ideas you receive from the essence of your soul sometimes seem to get crushed under that old way of seeing and reasoning that is still prevalent in many parts of society.

How do you give form to the voice of your soul and remain true to it in everyday life? By feeling the power of your soul; by literally feeling it flow through you. Feel how the Earth and life on Earth craves for inspiration. The moment you choose that inner path of making the connection with your soul, you are really being true to yourself and you dare to be different in an environment where the voice of the soul is not yet heard. When you feel you have heard the voice of your soul, that does not mean you are better than other people. You simply know you are on a path that is, for you, your deepest vocation, a path from which you can not stray. It is a path you have to keep believing in, even when you are judged and rejected by external factors, or from within by voices you have absorbed from your parents or your surroundings.

I call on you to feel the power of your soul and to see the weakness of a life based on fear and struggle, and on hiding yourself. If you hide from the brilliance, the power, and the creativity of your soul, you become unhappy. But you can no longer go back to the old, because you no longer fit in, so you can only move forward. Remember that voice, time and time again, and dare to allow your light to shine. And you do that in the simplest ways: by what you say, by who you are, by what you emanate.

Everything has a vibration. A body in which regular contact is made with the soul, with the origin that enlivens and animates the body, has a different vibration than a body that is plagued by fear or negative feelings. If you are comfortable with yourself, and you appreciate yourself for who you are – your source, your uniqueness – this emanates toward others even though you say nothing to them. Who you are and what you transmit with your eyes and energy field will be seen anyway, wherever you are. Actually, you can never be really invisible, your energy is there, it can not be undone.

The more you dare to touch your earthly being with your soul, the more will it have an outward impact, and you will live your life differently, no longer attached to things that do not nurture you or agree with you. You become more powerful both in what you want and in what you do not want. Your soul becomes more visible to the outside world, and because of that, your light shines more strongly. Always be aware that this light invites other people to believe in themselves and to also begin to radiate their uniqueness. The light of your soul is not competitive or combative.

Finally, look at a situation in your daily life in which you feel you withhold your inner light, in which you keep yourself back and do not allow yourself to be seen. What would happen if you allowed your light to be seen? If you were completely relaxed in the situation and did not hold back your light? If you did not contain yourself, but would allow yourself to be more spontaneous? What would you say and do? Realize that if you allow your soul’s energy to enter into your humanity, you are going to express your feelings in plain, honest language, and that is not always what is called “politically correct”.

You can sometimes feel it very spontaneously: “No, I don’t feel like it; no, I don’t want to do this”. It is also important to express these feelings in relation to others and to be very clear where your boundaries are. The soul’s energy works by its true nature, as does the child in you who has clear feelings about what it does and does not want. It is when you allow that higher vibration, that rarefied energy, to manifest that you become very human, that you make use of the language of your emotions, of your inner child.

Do you trust it? That energy comes from within, it is real! Then you become spontaneous in the purest sense of the word, because you are then listening to your feelings and giving expression to them. And when you do that, you give the other person space in which to express their feelings, while you stay true to yourself. You do not accept being fitted into a mold that does not suit you.

It is the deepest desire of your soul to be here and now through your earthly body, and to be expressed and visible through everything that is earthly. Your soul wants to embrace the earthly life, to make of it something pleasurable and new, and to give off sparks of consciousness on Earth. This can be a source of joy, and although you also go through fears that hinder you, always take a step forward – dare to do it. In fact, you can not go back. When you experience the power of your soul in your daily life, you essentially feel that you are being carried forward. The light wants to express itself and knows how, if you dare say “yes” to it.

Thank you for your presence and for this being together that I feel deeply within my heart.

via Pamela Kribbe

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Half-Light By Frank Bidart

That crazy drunken night I

maneuvered you out into a field outside of

Coachella - I’d never seen a sky

so full of stars, as if the dirt of our lives

still were sprinkled with glistening

white shells from the ancient seabed

beneath us that receded long ago.

Parallel. We lay in parallel furrows.

- That suffocated, fearful

look on your face.

Jim, yesterday I heard your wife on the phone

tell me you died almost nine months ago.

Jim, now we cannot ever. Bitter

that we cannot ever have

the conversation that in

nature and alive we never had. Now not ever.

We have not spoken in years. I thought

perhaps at ninety or a hundred, two

broken-down old men, we wouldn’t

give a damn, and find speech.

When I tell you that all the years we were

undergraduates I was madly in love with you

you say you

knew. I say I knew you

knew. You say

There was no place in nature we could meet.

You say this as if you need me to

admit something. No place

in nature, given our natures. Or is this

warning? I say what is happening now is

happening only because one of us is

dead. You laugh and say, Or both of us!

Our words

will be weirdly jolly.

That light I now envy

exists only on this page.