Sunday, December 23, 2012

an unexpected journey

the hobbit ..
an adventure..
in 48 frames per second..

lots of chat about the format..
saw the early morning show..
will share my staggerment
after saturation..

as bilbo says himself:
don't laugh at live dragons..
we shall see for ourselves..

there is a long road yet..
we won't meet smaug on this one,
sad to say ~

saw the matinee today..
something about the film makes me
want it
to go on
and on
and on...

it's bilbo..
could be his pantry..
definitely gandalf..
probably thorin has alot to do with it..
the dwarves song..
the mountains themselves..
the dwarves themselves..
radagast and his rhosgobel rabbits-
galadriel and elrond..
the ponies, the eagles..
the arkenstone ~
did i mention bilbo's pantry?
the list goes ever on and on..

we will have a long wait for the next one.
how many times will i be enchanted by this one ..
until then?

only gandalf knows ~

Saturday, December 22, 2012

light of sacredness

the inner space inside
that we call the heart
has become many different
living scenes and stories.

a pasture for sleek gazelles,
a monastery for christian monks,
a temple with shiva dancing,
a kaaba for pilgrimage.

the tablets of moses are there,
the qur'an, the vedas,
the sutras, and the gospels.

love is the religion in me.
whichever way love's camel goes,
that way becomes my faith,
the source of beauty, and a light
of sacredness over everything.
                ~ ibn arabi

Monday, December 17, 2012


it is what i want very much to write..
for the dark misgivings of our world..
for the savagery our hearts take up..
a song, a poem, a verse..

that will rather break the spell ~
for instead of putting us to sleep
it must be a lullaby
to wake us up..
to the great sea of lovingkindness..
a lullaby to rouse us from our ruse..

it must be tender..
a song that will embrace the fire of a brutal one..
a hymn that would love a hand away from a trigger ..
an anthem that would draw close the hurt that harms..
a psalm .. benevolent  &  kind..

sweet one, who rocks this boat by night..
dear one, please find your rest in breath
sweet one, who tethers to the might
let me rock you, let me roll you

away, away from any thought
that splits your heart in two
dear one sweet one, find your breath
for i am seeking you..

awaken to the morning bright
that holds your heart at peace
yawn off the dark charms you possess
rest in the breath, be blessed..

Thursday, December 13, 2012

ravi 1920 - 2012

i was fortunate..o so fortunate
to meet ravi shankar when i was living
in los angeles..1979.. per chance..?

one of my yoga students was his agent..
she asked if i would like to meet him..
does the pope dance with bears?
of course, of course..i squealed in delight..
i'll have him call you, she said nonchalantly..
ooo weeeee!

as i was luxuriating in my tub a few nights later
the phone rang - the message box picked up..
it was ravi shankar calling..
would i like to have lunch with him one day that week?
screaming, laughing, splashing ... o my o ...
i did not get to the phone in time..
though that message was saved for months!

after i had calmed down.. days later..
i returned his call & we had a date..

remember those american express ads?
where you are not really familiar with the face
yet when the name is tickered on the card, you go..

we walked to a restaurant in westwood from his hotel..
we spoke of music, gurus, our prayer malas..
we had a fine lunch and spirited conversation
about yoga, ragas and spiritual practice..
enjoying a quiet heart to heart at a tucked-in corner table ..
just a young blondie and a slight indian fella ~
after our meal, we were presented with the bill
& ravi placed his american express on the tray..
when the card went down..and around..
the whole place was a buzzin' and a poppin'..

don't leave home without it!

we planned a possible rendezvous in india sometime
when we were both on the continent..
our timing never matched up for that second meeting..

i remember his hands..
his eyes.. twinkling precious gemstones..
his simplicity and elegance
his laughter, his kindness ~

and life flows on within you and without you...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

o morning star

o morning star, incandescence of pure light,
radiant sun of righteousness:
o come and enlighten
those who sit there in darkness
and in the shadow of death.

o morgenstern -arvo part
the fifth antiphon
from seven magnificent antiphons
liturgy of decembre 21

12 ~ 12 ~ 12
adds up to 9
o my o..
auspicious day this day..
12 daze until christ mas

be kind today
scatter joy
do not be afraid

morning song
the red dawn now is rearranging the earth
thought by thought
beauty by beauty
each sunrise a link on the ladder
thought by thought
beauty by beauty
the ladder the backbone of shimmering deity
thought by thought
beauty by beauty
child stirring in the web of your mother
don't be afraid
old man turning to walk through the door
do not be afraid.
   ~ jo harjo

Monday, December 10, 2012

in the company of strangers the generosity of friends..

who is a stranger to us..?
~ simply an unearned friend ~

astonishing..the kindness of strangers..
astounding..the boundless big-heartedness of friends..
year after year..
they continue to offer noble friendship..
knowing our foibles and faults
they offer a mirror
to polish our sacred-ness..
to dust off our human-ness..

strangers do that too..
hold up a looking-glass..
if we are fully alive to the moment..
the dull dust of past and future settles
every nana - nano second..
bingo! out of the moment..

spurt, sputter, cough, choke..
the joke's on me..

shiver, shake, awake..
no longer host to the ghost
gone byes..yet to comes..

a smile,
a twinkle,
a gaze,
a phrase..
can break this spell..
i, me, mine

all are true companions..
stranger, friend, foe..  o woe!
indeedy ~
those petty tyrants
who scrape every scale of self- importance
off our crusty creature coeur..

lo! light-burst!
 alive in the this very

with no me to build a shrine.. a line to..
just the row, row, row
propelling this dreamjoy of existence..
in the company of strangers..
the fellowship of friends ~

Sunday, December 9, 2012

lighten up..

the candelabrum of light ~

the big awake ~

brrrrr-ight ~

time for serenity, anyone?

i like to live in the sound of water,
in the feel of mountain air.  a sharp
reminder hits me: this world is still alive;
it stretches out there shivering toward its own
creation, and i'm part of it.  even my breathing
enters into this elaborate give - and - take,
this bowing to sun and moon, day and night,
winter, summer, storm, still -- this tranquil
chaos that seems to be going somewhere.
this wilderness with a great peacefulness in it.
this motionless turmoil, this everything dance.
                           ~ william stafford

dance me to the end of the beginning?

to carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion.
that myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening.
                               ~ dogen

Thursday, December 6, 2012


listen and feel the beauty of your separation,
the unsayable absence.

there is a moon inside every human being.
learn to be companions with it.

give more of your life to this listening.

as brightness is to time,
so you are to the one who talks
to the deep ear in your chest.

i should sell my tongue and buy a thousand ears
when that one steps near and begins to speak.
  ~ rumi

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


the journey..the actual..began on sunday..the 18th..
the rains began tenderly that dies solis..
~ no sun that day ~
seattle was in a spit, the drizzle - drazzle..
the gloaming was om-ing into the wet..

monday..the windshield wipers hit their max..
they never looked back;
looking forward was squint from the get-go..

re-reading the hobbit -
it seemed as though we were on the Edge of the Wild..
the days held no light, the sky hit the ground running..
mila and i were goblined up into the storm's wet mouth..
the breath, the wind was musty fusty ..
the only way 'round was through..

we scaled great heights over passes,
descending deep, deep into valleys below..
the roadways were soaked, sopping..
we skim-boarded slickery, fish-tailing swish slosh froth
the waters crashed into our windshield..
there was no seeing..

my eyes were popping..much like gollum's ~
fingers gripping the steering wheel white
the scene was grim, the light was dim..
singing every inch of the hiway

roads go ever on and on,
over rock and under tree,
by caves where never sun has shone,
by streams that never find the sea;
over snow by winter sown,
and through the merry flowers of june,
over grass and over stone,
and under mountains in the moon.

roads go ever on and on
under cloud and under sea,
yet feet that wandering have gone
turn at last to home afar.
eyes that fire and sword have seen
and horror in the halls of stone
look at last on meadows green
and trees and hills they long have known.
          ~bilbo baggins

at arbuckle, the wipers were still..
blue..what is that? does it shine? that true?


Sunday, November 18, 2012

feet to tappin'

“When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age.  
In middle age I was assured greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked. Four hoarse blasts of a ships's whistle still raise the hair on my neck 
and set my feet to tapping. The sound of a jet, an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up under the rib cage. In other words, once a bum always a bum. 
I fear this disease incurable. I set this matter down not to instruct others but to inform myself....A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we not take a trip; a trip takes us.” 
 John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

'tis been a wee while since i've had a road trip
with my faithful and trusty mila rubie..
(see post june 25 2011 mila rubie)
emaho! has it been that long?
the prius of the century and a divine traveling companion..
even tho' she is a car ~

her tires are rotated..she loves that!
kinda like new shoes for imelda -
oil changed..all fluids topped off..
freshly washed..well, she will be..
loaded with traveling cookies, maps and toothpicks..

we are heading south to california..
saying ciao! to a life lived in seattle for a year,
long loved students of yoga, new loved practicing ones,
family, friends..the snowy mountains..
the rain will follow us, i wager..
& we be a' wandering into new adventures..
some skylarking, no doubt..
another chapter, another escapade..

a journey keeps the palm open..
and of course, the heart..
offers a new presence to emerge..
there is a pristine freshness to the each and every..
this certainly can happen while one stays happily at home..
if we be awake, 
whole- hearted, 
engaged...(marry me?) 

ah! there is nothing like staying at home for real comfort..
                 ~ jane austen

there it is, that must be it..
that the edges are strectched ..
the comfort moves into 
tighter spaces...
vaster places..
(whichever gives comfort a run for her money)

recently i've been dubbed a cliff-dweller..
when i tilted my head quizzically..
it was explained to me that i live on the edge..
ha! all this time i thought i was practicing 
the middle way..
perhaps they come down to the same thing..
the middle way of centering into the present..
the middle of not knowing..the edge..
(does anybody really know?)
a journey sends one down the road of insecurity..
the wisdom of insecurity..a.watts

when a great ship is in the harbor and moored, 
it is safe -
but that is not what great ships are built for ~
          clarissa pinkola estes

a cliff dwelling big ship ..
okay - i'll take it..
setting sail..
light a candle for me?

Friday, November 16, 2012

fall in love

fall in love in such a way
that it frees you from any connecting ~

someone who goes with half a loaf of bread
to a small place that fits like a nest around them,
someone who wants no more,
who is not longed for
by anyone else.
they are a letter to everyone.
you open it.
it says, live.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

dance me to the end of love

leonard was in towne..
the man with the golden voice..

he was one of my main squeezes in the sixties..
southern california..sunset strip..
whiskey a-go-go ~

we painted houses..interiors.. for a living -
when i was in theatre school..
my boyfriend and i..

we listened to leonard constantly..
we always did the trim first..
don't ask me why..
we waited a day while that dried
and before we left each house
we would paint a quote or two or six
of leonard's on the walls..

love is the only engine of survival..

there is a crack in everything ~
that's how the light gets in..

i have tried in my way to be free..


i love your solitude; i love your pride..

i shall abide until
i am spoken for ~

the clients loved us..
begged us to fill their walls with more leonard..
they'd wait for the paint..please and thanks..
for a week.. or two..

the concert was a love-fest
the oldies and the goodies..
we were the oldies...the music - the goodies..

here's the review:

Leonard Cohen, the gloomy Canadian troubadour 
who so masterfully conflates the sacred and the profane, 
performed more than three-and-a-half hours 
to a packed house at Seattle's KeyArena Friday, Nov. 9.

there are children in the morning 
they are leaning out for love 
and they will lean that way forever  ~

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

shall we vote?

o yes, let's!

vote. vote. vote.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

a year to live

a year to live in seattle..
it's a wrap....
from autumn to autumn

the long walk to myrtle edwards park
in the early, dawn hours..
the homeless who shared their morning light with me..
dogs, runners, cyclists..

volunteering at real change,
teaching at neighborcare health clinics,
the prison...

free concerts all year long..
inside and out..
the seattle art museum,
the seattle public library..
subbing for yoga studios,
practicing w/ marquerite and phen
at the foster white gallery..

shopping at uwajimaya,
goodwill and value village..
riding the bus..the ride free zone..
my orca card ~
walking the labyrinth..
first thursdays @ nord alley..

riding my bike all the way to elliott bay marina
past strong boy totem
past the railroad yard
past the graffitti - not worried
past baby raccoons
past osprey nests
past blackberries galore

flirting with the general public
on a very regular basis -
olde men, young kids,
tender grannies, tourists, locals,
babes in bassinets,
handsome fellas, funkie chicks,
wooing, cooing, sweet talking ~

carrying the john t. williams totem pole
rest in peace.. john t.
after almost dying in india
being alive back in seattle
being alive period

alive under the steady
sometimes cloud-hidden gaze
of rainier

traveling to anacortes every week
for saturday morning yoga class
being fed by the grace and kindness of the students..
gas prices..

abiding nowhere
early morning zazen
matcha tea

walking everywhere always
standing for peace on tuesdays

the cherry, the jewel, the crown..
walking to safeco field..
all season long ~
standing behind home plate
serving the fans..
watching the game..
i love baseball
go mariners!

~ just when i am handing back the key to the emerald city ~

circumambulating whistle lake

the circle of whistle lake is a pilgrimage..
it is the northwest - lake - manasarovar..
(created first in the mind of brahma)
the lake that purifies, clarifies, refines..
sees what needs seeing..
tells the truth..
holds the center..
i am hooped into the mind of the high holies..
the ancients, the ancestors ~

orbiting it sunwise..deiseal..
keeping the lake on my right..
~ the prosperous course ~

widdershins..being contrary to the sun..
almost never a wise choice..

pradakshina... the yoginis call it..
with the sun..with the light..holy on the right..

even driving to the parking spot
the mind finds hush..
as if the intention begins by the getting there..
the long road walk to the lake herself..

i open the space with the two grande trees..
rather, the two grande trees open the space..
thank you very much..
the seal.. the cloaking device kicks in..
i stop at grandmother tree..
receive her blessing, ask for teachings,
offer her my heart mind for the ring 'round..

heading sunwise along the path..
this time of year the maples have dropped their finery
over the road, the lane, the trail..
bits of rusty gold weathered leathered
leaves and jewels.. shimmer and shake..
catch in the empty branches ..
held for just one moment more..

the light is flecked..
thru dew
thru moist
that hoists the wind
that shifts
the light back to itself
brighter, kinder..

i have hidden small buddhas and bodhisattvas
in the trees..
the nooks,
the cranny of bark that harks the holy moly
 ~ see here!
some are where i left them..
some have had hands own them for their own -
which is right and good..

they herald themselves to me;
if i walk past without a pranam..
i am stopped in my tracks..
it's true..
i catch up with myself
and turn..
turn to see the very tree where
i have planted ganesha or yoda or  buddha ..
astonishing ~

the forest surrounding, abounding the lake
is lush and flush with every green..
fronds and bract and branch bush about..
creep the crawl to make dense the woodland..
it is wet. it is fresh. it is mushroom.
steamy, damp, dank with thick..
i like it.. i like it ALOT ..
~ it likes me back ~

the throne room, the serpent path, monet lane..
ganesha's ottoman, the stump of raven-kachina,
tara's yoni, handstand hill, sutra cliff,
mala dip cove, heartwish rock...
just to name a few of the roadside attractions
encircling the loch..

when i sit still  ~  perched on sutra cliff,
high, high up above the dazzling diamond waters of whistle -
when i begin reciting the heart sutra aloud -
small birds..a few always..flit to edge of a branch..
tilt their wee heads to the seems.. and listen up..
form is emptiness, emptiness is form
always, most often, almost every time,
eagle soars heart level chanting skyward..
believe it!
emptiness is no other than form, 
form is no other than emptiness
without fail, inevitably, each time,
raven attempts to bamboozle me out of my mantra..
hoodwinking me out of my practice ..
om gate gate
para gate 
parasamgate bodhi svaha

fragrance is loud,
sound has aroma,
touch listens deep,
sight is tangible,
taste sees..
the senses bequeath themselves
one to the other..
the whole lake goes transparent..
the i goes translucent...
and the day..

a nimbus surrounds the entire universe
winged..grounded on the brunch-crunch-road
back to the car ~

what's for breakfast?

Friday, November 2, 2012

dias de los muertos

it is the day of the dead..
samhain..celtic new year..
the veil is thin,
space is filled with our ancestors..
we lean into the other leans back..

the moon lights up hidden faces  ~
leaves rustle up the long past, trailing..
the threads, golden, luminous, dark..
weave the now into then and back again..

we carry our corpse with us 24/7
bowing to the bone,
the crack and cranny~
who lives?
who dies?

tell me - tell me..
then take my hand
and dance with me, baby!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


duck is dead..
my dear pal from the long ago..
we were the 60's in the 60's..
he and B and me..
and a cast of thousands ..

he was diagnosed w/ parkinson's some 12 years ago..
o my o
6 years later he created a CD of his music..
16 pieces of song that sampled his life
to the very depth, to the pain, to the love..
6 years later
listening to it brought his life into view..
his heart and art of expression..
what a treasure..
duck lives!

i am moved to do the same..
gather and glean and offer
16 songs that tell the tale of a life lived ..
no easy task..
an exercise in tenderness .. in  economy..
how does one put a life in 16 songs or less?

quite enlightening to see
what  arises..
what falls away..

dave's  CD ended w/ taps..
mine will  close with...

row, row row, your boat
gently down the stream
merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
life is but a dream

and yours?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

108 BB series..

to a close..
ah! sigh ~ i can write again..
without  concern that i'll spill
the beans about safeco,
or the mariners,
or the inner dynamics of local baseball..

and now all hallow's eve..
all saints
all souls

we begin again..
the celtic new year..
auspicious timing..
for the harvest is in..
(the giants in 4)

the long wait for spring training
soup on the stovetop
wet noses and toes

flame apples

little hot apples of fire,
burst out of the flaming stem
of my heart,
i do not understand how you quickened and grew,
and you amaze me
while i gather you.

i lay you, one by one,
upon a table.
and now you seem beautiful and strange to me,
and i stand before you,
- amy lowell

Friday, April 13, 2012


take me out
to the ball game -
take me out
to the crowd..
buy me some peanuts
and crackerjack -
i don't care if
I never get back
let's root, root, root
for the home team..
if they don't win
it's a shame ~
for it's
strikes you're out
at the olde ball game!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


i think i'm done..
writing for public consumption..
true confessions on the net..
dribbles of this and that
that amount to not a whole heckava lot.. least for here and now....

and then..
walking down 1st avenue..
a fella with a tee-shirt that says:
i love my mommy
makes me want to start all over again..

and now..
'tis time to pray in another way..
more still, more solitary..
greatful to all who have read the lines
and the in-between-ness too..

you must go through the way in which you are not.
and what you do not know is the only thing you know
and what you own is what you do not own
and where you are is where you are not.

love is most nearly itself
when here and now cease to matter.

~ t. s. eliot

w/o a trace

Saturday, April 7, 2012

no history

in the age when life on earth was full,
no one paid attention to worthy men,
nor did they single out the man of ability.

rulers were simply the highest branches on the tree,
and the people were like deer in the woods.

they were honest and righteous without realizing
that they were doing their duty.
they loved each other and did not know
that this was love of neighbor.
they deceived no one yet they did not know
that they were people to be trusted.
they were reliable and did not know
that this was good faith.
they lived freely together - giving and taking,
and did not know that they were generous.
for these reasons their deeds have not been narrated.
they made no history.
~ chuang tzu

holydaze ~
a time of reflection..
moon in water
re-dux/re-view our actions..
simply behaving simply
re-fining our humane-ness
polishing our sacred-ness
holymoly ~

w/o a trace

Thursday, April 5, 2012

this day

today, now, this is when
we can meet the friend,
now, as the sun comes up.

~ rumi

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


fool's day and gone..
moon fulling or is it?
has it?
will it?

fooling around..
in the shower ~
cherry blossoms under foot
churning blushing buttermilk froth
the moon laps it up..

it all happens exactly as it is

rise and fall
breath bellied up to the bar
a tall cool one

may i never know enough to consider myself wise...

~ gandalf

Friday, March 30, 2012

love me do

o my o
the beatles..
listening to them
twist and shout
my heart goes pop!
and ..
i want to hold your hand..
realizing of course,
that you can't buy me love..
tho' i feel fine
it's been a hard day's night
and help!
eight days a week..i'm thinking..
am i ready for a boyfriend?
~ all you need is love ~
or do i want to be a paperback writer?
hey jude
with a ticket to ride
we can work it out
and come together..
yesterday, i would have said let it be
and today in my life,
something in the way you move..
not as lonely as eleanor rigby on penny lane
not ready for a day tripper ~
it's the long and winding road
riding the yellow submarine with
lady madonna into the sea of love
all i have to say..
hello, goodbye

listen up..from me to you
get back and be present..
the beatles..
she loves you !!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

opening day

baseball is quintessentially american
in that it tells us that as much as you travel
and as far as you go,
out to the green frontier,
the purpose is to get home,
back to where others are,
the pioneer ever striving to come back
to the common place.
a nation of migrants always, for all their wanderings,
remembers what every immigrant never forgets:
that you may leave home
but if you forget where home is,
you are truly lost......

~ a. bartlett giamatti

seattle mariners / oakland a's
3:10 am
tokyo japan


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

kool-aid orange bandit

that's what i named the seagull flying overhead
with a round orange orange in his beak ~

walking the myrtle edwards trail yesterday..
the jodphurs of mt. rainier showing..
the air fresh and warming, warming
as the sun kept on coming, coming
a homeless person had snuggled up under a tree..
all cozy and wrapped in a bright blue sleeping bag..
three oranges lay in waiting for the wake-up call..
snestled nearby..

on my return route..
the above said seagull flew heavy..
above me with a full fledged orange
encircled by his too small beak..
he dropped it atop the stopped train ..
and commenced ice-picking his way
into the deep, juicy center of citrus..

i wondered..
does the sleepy head
still have three spheres
parked nearby?

no way, jose..
the stealth wing-ed thief
got away with it..

this much i do remember

it was after dinner.
you were talking to me across the table
about something or other,
a greyhound you had seen that day
or a song you liked,

and i was looking past you
over your bare shoulder
at the three oranges lying
on the kitchen counter
next to the small electric bean grinder,
which was also orange,
and the orange and white cruets for vinegar and oil.

all of which converged
into a random still life,
so fastened together by the hasp of color,
and so fixed behind the animated
foreground of your
talking and smiling,
gesturing and pouring wine,
and the camber of you shoulders

that i could feel it being painted within me,
brushed on the wall of my skull,
while the tone of your voice
lifted and fell in its flight,
and the three oranges
remained fixed on the counter
the way that stars are said
to be fixed in the universe.

then all of the moments of the past
began to line up behind that moment
and all of the moments to come
assembled in front of it in a long row,
giving me reason to believe
that this was a moment i had rescued
from millions that rush out of sight
into a darkness behind the eyes.

even after i have forgotten what year it is,
my middle name,
and the meaning of money,
i will still carry in my pocket
the small coin of that moment,
minted in the kingdom
that we pace through every day.

- billy collins

Sunday, March 25, 2012

lunula moon..
fingering her way into the night sky
keeping good company
with stars, with planets..

with that moon language

admit something:

everyone you see, say to them, "love me."

of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise
someone would call the cops.

still, though, think about this, this great pull to connect.
why not become the one who lives with a
full moon in each eye that is always saying

with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in
this world is dying to hear?

love me.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

raise your hand

we were asked last night
by a musician..
who's in love?
raise your hand..

i didn't..

that's not true..

though i don't have a sweet heart,
lover, s. o., main squeeze, boyfirend,
husband, partner, beau, paramour...
in the flesh and bone~
i am in love..
not only that..
i am love..

beam me up!

a spirit that lives in this world
and does not wear the shirt of love,
such an existence is a deep disgrace.

be foolishly in love,
because love is all there is.

there is no way into presence
except the love exchange.

~ rumi

Thursday, March 22, 2012

spring king

everyone knows
that spring is the king
of all the seasons..
in the gita, lord krishna
tells us so...

i am the soul in the body,
the eagle among birds,
the lion among animals..
among all the trees,
i am the sacred bodhi tree
and of the seasons,
i am spring..

no praise, no blame
what have the clouds been up to today? you can't
blame them, you know. their edges just
happen, and where they go is the fault of the wind.
i'd like my arrival to be like that, alone and
quiet, really present but never to blame.

and i'd never presume or apologize, and if anyone
pressed me i'd be gone, and come back there
only some harmless, irresistible presence
all around you, like the truth, something you need,
like the air.
~william stafford

where one flower blooms, it is spring everywhere ~

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


pop goes the easel
all the artists in heaven and earth
have been sprung from the
winter of their discontent
into the vast
where there is no content
but contentment ~
the daffs have gone daffy
with the yellow unknown to the gods of colour
maybe van gogh had an inkling
a twitch in his ear about
the sound that yellow bellows..
the cloud sky of rain one instant
bursts of sunrays the very next
the chill moving down the railway line
cold now bolder
the breeze of boisterious bliss
the warmth, where did that come from?
shopping for shoes that have no toes
for chicks and bunnies that coo
to our childish hearts
the starts of fresh buds
that pop
goes the easel
into spring begin

Monday, March 19, 2012

tao sutra diamond light

you have heard of flying with wings,
but can you fly without wings?
you have heard of the knowledge that knows,
but can you practice
the knowledge that doesn't know?

consider a window: it is just
a hole in the wall, but because of it
the whole room is filled with light.
thus, when the mind is open
and free of its own thought,
life unfolds effortlessly,
and the whole world is filled with light.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

robin's evensong

and matins outburst..

last eve..the sun.. setting
jet pink across the island silhouettes..
strewn with northwest cloud familiarity
i heard the emphatic call of the robin..
she was invisible to eye yet to ear
she was presence incarnate..
slowly i snuck to the edge of the rock wall..
there she be..
claiming the evening as her own..
bowing and praising the glory day

the lyrics of her prayer-song
all agog
with love
and wonder
and giddy
intoxicated with the high holies of the hour,
the colour,
the grace glow that the very moment
was pulsing down upon us all..
she .. our witness..
i see this
i know this
i love this
i am this..

morning cold and still grey from the night trail..
she or her soulmate sister or brother..
wooing the good kind morning
to show a tender face..
again the call to prayer..
to quiver us up and at it..
she sings..
we are brimful of wonder for the brilliance of new day..
we are awake each in the magnitude of dawn
dawning us fresh and wholesome and free from heartache and loss..
though those are carved on us..etched..
they fray not the edges of our astonishment ~
not this day,
not this morning,
not this

Saturday, March 17, 2012

an irish prayer

may those who love us, love us.
and those who don't love us,
may god turn their hearts.
and if he doesn't turn their hearts,
may he turn their ankles,
so we may know them by their limping.

and of course, may the wind be at ye back....

Friday, March 16, 2012


soul flies in empty space,
a single candle in the huge palace.

bird-shadows cross whatever they happen to cross,
lovers pay attention only to the ecstasy of their love.

i jumped off a cliff to find out the true nature of soul.
do not sit inside the sadness of powerful, self-absorbed people.
become the ground under your own feet.

the soul's joy enters a guest house
where shams tabriz is host.
no one is there.


i have let go of everything that clings to me..
everything i cling to ~
what is left ..
if anything
could be, might be,
yet even that is empty of arms that grasp and sticky things..
if i try to pick something up..
a practice, a belief, a talisman to adore..
it weeps away from me..

leaving me generous..on the brim..
to jump again..
no one will catch me..

i am my own net

Thursday, March 15, 2012

ides of march - idus martii

it comes around again..
the half of march..
celebrated in rome long ago
as a war festival..for mars..the god of war..
then a death day for caesar

and how do we play it today..?
it is laundry day..
ghee making day
windy day
half of march
scouring the horizon for daffodils..
urging the sun to peek bright
with dozens of sun salutes..

a day like any other day..
or is it?

to a robin in lent
you were the first one back,
the first one back.

you clung to a bare black branch,
your habit to choose sundays in march,
wind whirling around you,
sky grey as a shroud, and wet,
to sing to the flowers, not there yet.

you were not loud.
no, not at all.
but you knew what you were doing.

~elizabeth spires

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


how may plate fulls of greens did i eat today?
kale, chard, spinach..?

what is happening in japan right now?
what can i do?

how many woman are in leading roles
such as lawyers, scientists, inventors and physicists?
are they wearing pink?

when will the dalai lama get to go back home?
how many more nuns and monks will set
themselves on fire before he does?

did i light a candle for someone other than myself today?

what are the things i am most greatful for today?
the gas attendant smiling, the snow on the hillsides,
the clothes dryer circumambulating, coconut white chocolate,
my fingers, tea from far away places, a call from my pal...
and on and on...

what is the secret of the pulse?

how many angels do dance on the head of a pin?

when will all the wars be over?
why do we train young men/women to kill?
what the farbang is going on in afghanistan?

why do my cross stitches come out so uneven?
will i ever finish this project?

does standing on my head make me taller?
make my hair thicker?
my intelligence spring forth?

a question by robert frost
a voice said,
look me in the stars
and tell me truly,
men of earth,
if all the soul-and-body scars
were not too much to pay for birth.

Monday, March 12, 2012


ORIGIN late Middle English (denoting a deputy or delegate):
from Latin substitutus ‘put in place of,
past participle of substituere, based on statuereset up.

USAGE Traditionally, the verb substitute is followed by for
and means ‘put (someone or something) in place of another,’ as in :
she substituted the fake vase for the real one.
From the late 17th century substitute has also been used
with with or by to mean ‘replace (something) with something else,’ as in :
she substituted the real vase with the fake one.
This can be confusing,
since the two sentences shown above mean the same thing,
yet the object of the verb and the object of the preposition
have swapped positions.
Despite the potential confusion,
the second, newer use is well established and,
although still disapproved of by traditionalists,
is now generally regarded as part of normal standard English. in in replacing..
as in to set up..hummmmmmmm?
it is not an easy task to go into a classroom
where one is expected to be who one is not..
not the teacher one was planning on stretching with..
in a yoga class ..
i find i become all wibbly-wobblity
losing every ounce of know-it-all-ness..
this is a good thing..
i embody shoshin
beginner's mind..even as i ask..
whether verbally or non-verbally..
the students to let go of any expectation..
pre-stored know-how..
let's begin again...
set ourselves up for surprize..
to be awed or hoodwinked..
to replace what we know with what we don't know....

in a beginner's mind there are many possiblilities,
in an expert's mind there are few.

shunryu suzuki

Sunday, March 11, 2012

does anybody really know..

what time it is...?

we met at nine.
we met at eight.
i was on time.
no, you were late.
ah yes! I remember it well..
~alan lerner

i wasted time; now doth time waste me.
~ shakespere

always bit of a ruff transition
this springing into spring....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

mistake-in identity

you want to cry aloud for your
mistakes. but to tell the truth the world
doesn't need any more of that sound.

so if you're going to do it and can't
stop yourself, if your pretty mouth can't
hold it in, at least go by yourself across

the forty fields and the forty dark inclines
of rocks and water to the place where
the falls are flinging out their white sheets

like crazy, and there is a cave behind all that
jubulation and water-fun and you can
stand there, under it, and roar all you

want and nothing will be disturbed; you can
drip with despair all afternoon and still,
on a green branch, its wings just lightly touched

by the passing foil of the water, the thrush,
puffing out its spotted breast, will sing
of the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything.

the poet with his face in his hands
~ mary oliver

Friday, March 9, 2012

bedside manners

i spent most of my time in india in bed..
there was the first bed in delhi..
cold and cuddled under wool blankets..
between indian bedspread designs..

the bed at the guesthouse with the smiling lama
who made my every wish come true..
i should have known something was up..
~ fever ~
when i kept adding blanket upon blanket,
when all i could imagine was the bed
whenever i was out and about..
in the crowd, in the midst of study, at dinner..
that bed was like some mirage afloat before me..
shimmering and warm and solitary..

the bed at chitti's home..
the best bed, the best room in the house..
the hospitality of this culture is never outdone..
peach sheets ..
the bed so much larger
..where the morning tea aroma arrived
just as the sun came calling..

the hotel bed in the 5 star palace
the hotel offered a great rate because it was NEW..
while my friends went to their government meeting,
i stayed put..with sweat and wet and cashews from the mini bar..

the bed in the mountains..
the first night..
moisture in the room from leaky toiletries..
the sheets were as soaked as the floor when i awoke..
heavy, heavy blankets to keep me from ascending to heaven's gate..
the second night sharing a room w/ chitti..
dryer and warmer when a friend is near to comfort..
the fever came a' calling and we finally named it..

the hospital bed..
in a room with four other beds..
and three other patients and their companions..
and their family members to share the disease -
the bed was in a corner with a window for look-out..
they moved someone to put me there..
though they did not change the sheets that night,
the sisters..the nurses.. did the next day..
the hospital bed with IV tubes
of saline and elephant antibiotics..
every hour, sisters coming to call..
pills, temperature takings..
a loud apparatus to suck out my lungs..
a hospital bed of no rest..
yet no fever when it was time to get up
thank you very, very much ~

the airplane bed..the seat bed..on the aisle ..
with the two middle seats open
the other aisle seat occupied with a high turbaned sikh..
we took turns lying inward..
sharing blankets and pillows and coats..
while the other watched movies or slept sitting upright..

the bed at the royal seoul hotel..
an interlude between flights...
crispy white sheets..
plump perfect pillows..
a korean toilet that offered
the great mysteries of the universe..

the bed at my auntie's house
where i nest when i am home..
it is a high lair where i burrow in..
to rest the best..
the bed at home..

Thursday, March 8, 2012

international woman’s day (2012)

this day has been observed and celebrated
since the early 1900's..though it barely
gets a bat of an eyelash..

there is much work to do
for women to rest in the equality
that our counterpart gender gents receive..

there's usual..
women in leadership roles are low..
wonder why?
most of all..
violence against the feminine
has reached epic proportions..

shall we invoke shekinah this day..?
i sing in hymns
to enter the gates
of the field
of holy apples...
a new table
we prepare for her,
a lovely candelabrum
sheds its light upon us...
between right and left
the bride approaches,
in holy jewels
and festive garments...

~ rabbi isaac luria

shall we call in the holy mother?
our dear and fragrant mystical rose..
we touch your gown of grace with our presence..
we kiss the edge of your holy robe..
our lips turn to light..
our hearts are unbounded ..
we are infused with your precious gift ~
the love for all.. the all and every..

today in the tibetan tradition..
is the first day (of fifteen days)
of the display of miracles offered by the buddha..
he really wanted to keep a low profile..
he was challenged to a contest of miraculous powers
and got swept up in the provocation..
thus inspiring many beings to follow the path of dharma..
it is said..
on this day the effects of positive (or negative)
actions are multiplied ten million times..

holy moly! let's get cuttin'..
into the realm of the light and bright...
do what you can.....

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

there is no where an angel is not

all was taken away from you: white dresses,
wings, even existence.
yet i believe you,

there, where the world is turned inside out,
a heavy fabric embroidered with stars and beasts,
you stroll, inspecting the trustworthy seams.

short is your stay here:
now and then at a matinal hour, if the sky is clear,
in a melody repeated by a bird,
or in the smell of apples at the close of day
when the light makes orchards magic.

they say somebody has invented you
but to me this does not sound convincing
for humans invented themselves as well.

the voice - no doubt it is a valid proof,
as it can belong only to radiant creatures,
weightless and winged (after all, why not?),
girdled with the lightning.

i have heard that voice many a time when asleep
and, what is strange, i understood more or less
an order or an appeal in an unearthly tongue:

day draws near
another one
do what you can.

on angels
~ czeslaw milosz

a friend of mine has a plumber..
no.. an electrician..whose name..
who is an angel..

i met a woman whose youngest child is angel..

there's angel food cake ~
my mama had a recipe for angel biscuits..
there are angel cards and the LA angels ..

i found a card recently
it was a christmas card - card
with an inscription from my mama..
happy birthday, to my little angel..
i was 55 that year..

day draws near
another one
do what you can

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

moon shine

at least once a year..
when the moon is fulling..
i pull out ryokan..and read..
the rabbit and the moon ~

it took place in a world
long long ago
they say :
a monkey, a rabbit
and a fox
struck up a friendship.
they frolicked field and hill -
they came home to the forest -
living thus.....
the years went by
when indra,
sovereign of the skies,
heard of this,
and curious to know
if it was true,
turned himself
into an old man,
tottering along,
making his way
to where they lived.
"you three,"
he said
"are so different,
yet i'm told,
you live & play together
with a single heart.
if what i have heard
is true,
pray save an old man
who's hungry..
bring me a meal!"
he set his staff aside
and sat down to rest.
simple enough, they said,
and presently
the monkey appeared
from the grove
bearing nuts
he'd gathered there;
the fox returned
from the rivulet
with a fish he'd caught
clamped in his jaws;
the rabbit,
though he hopped
and hopped
couldn't find anything at all.
the others cursed him because
his heart was not like theirs.
miserable me !
he thought
"ah!" he said,
"monkey, go
cut some firewood!
fox, build a fire!"
when they had done
what he asked
he flung his body
into the flames,
making of himself
an offering
to the unknown old man.
when indra saw this
his heart withered.
he looked up to the sky,
cried aloud,
then sank to the ground.
in a while,
he said to the others,
"each of you three friends
have done your best..
yet what the rabbit
has done
touches me the most!"
he made the rabbit whole again
and gathering the dead body
up in his arms,
took the rabbit
and laid it to rest
in the palace of the moon.

the story comes from the jataka tales..
tales of the buddha in his earlier incarnations..
the japanese see a rabbit in the moon..
just as we see a man in the moon..

full moon..march 8th..1:41 AM
full worm moon
named by the algonquin tribes
from new england to lake superior...
at the time of the march spring moon,
the ground begins to soften,
earthworm casts reappear,
inviting the return of robins.
also known as the sap moon,
it marks the time when maple sap
begins to flow and the annual tapping
of maple trees begins.....
pancake we come!

Monday, March 5, 2012


the third yama..
of the first limb
of the eight limbs
offered by the sage patanjali..
in the yoga sutras ~
ethical discipline..
asteya = non - stealing..
refraining from taking what is not freely given..

it happened on saturday in the hallway..
during a yoga class..
a pair of jeans, a pocket and a wallet..
not mindful of the dangers..
(could there possibly a yoga class?)
in any case, the jeans and the pocket remained together..
the wallet went a' missing..
later found w/ all the cards intact..
all the money taken..not freely given..

lesson learned..
mindfulness for next time..

i am a rustler myself..
you may remember
- the post -
1/7/ 2012
where i openly confess to my rustling ways..
cutting in line..
not once but twice..

let me tell you how this came to be...
arriving in bodhgaya with fever..
(no excuse for bad behavior)
shivering and shaking all night long,
i rise late to collect my pass
for the ten-day teachings..
i arrive at the grounds where hundreds of people
are waiting..have been waiting... in line..
to sign up, give over their paperwork and receive their ten-day pass..
where was my metal continuum ?
nowhere near my samaya..
my pure vows..the ten virtuous actions..

i walked into the grounds,
past all the sentient beings
waiting in cold and dust and wind..
up the stairs, around a table,
through the yellow tape..
to stand at the front of the line..

i was not unkind,
i was not unruly,
i was not mean-spirited..
i was brusque and stalwart..
i was rustling for a pass..
i was intruding on someone's place in line..
i had stolen someone's spot..
i had taken what was not freely given...
this was not usual behavior for me..i might add..
~ all new territory ~
or was it?

i stood at the front of the line..steadfast..
and was told that was going to have to go get in line..
i am in line..i am the front of the line
you must go stand in line, i was told again..
i am in line, i am here, standing before you
please, go get in line..
i am in line the front of the line, here i am..
one of the monks..a monk, mind you..
(shameless, was i)
spoke to me kindly..
seeing something..
some rustler quality that required tenderness..
i'll take care of this..
and he did..
in less than ten minutes..
i had my pass..
was it freely given?
not quite..
when i held it in my hand and looked out
over the sea of faces.. the sentient beings..
my brothers and sisters in dharma..waiting..
my stomach ached heart hurt...
i went back to my room and went to bed....

....and the second time, you ask?
it was early morning..
we were asked to come early, very early for security checks..
waiting in line to get in and take our seat..
i rustled myself out of bed..
and found myself at the tail of a long snake of humanoids..
patiently waiting to get in for the teachings..
the holy teachings of the 32nd kalachakra..
in bodhgaya..the holiest of holy cities..
in the great mother india..
at the beginning of the new year..
the year of the water dragon ~

i cannot begin to tell you why -
i started walking..
walking along side
all these beings who had risen early
to take their place in line and wait
to be moved
s l o w l y
up to the gate....
i stopped about one-third of the way back
from the front lines..
stood still, so still.. beside a young woman..
she said..
you must go back to the end of the line..
i am invisible, i said quietly..
i see you, she must go to the end of the line..
i am invisible
i see you, she said..
i am invisible..
and i was..
i took a place invisibly..
i took what was not freely given..
i had rustled up a place in the queue..

just then another women rustled in behind me..
more admonishments from those in line..
until she too was accepted in..
as time passed and the snake inched forward,
three women abducted three spots just ahead of me..
the woman behind me spoke loudly..
those mongolians..they are always cutting in line..
i turned to her full on and said..
i am mongolian

from that day forward i did not rustle a spot again..
many "mongolians" found their places ahead of me..daily..
i went with friends who keep me in tow..
who kept me in vow...

many ask if i think that my illness
in india is from this..
this rustling, this stealing ..
hard to say..
tho' i imagine it is the eons of lifetimes of rustling;
of taking what was not freely given..
eons of lifetimes of wanting what was not mine..
perhaps coming to fruition..
coming back to balance..

to those who don't believe in karma..
and i may be one of them..
i will say this...
what goes up, must come down...

Saturday, March 3, 2012


mondays are meshed with tuesdays
and the week with the whole year.
time cannot be cut
with your exhausted scissors,
and all the names of the day
are washed out in the waters of night.

~ pablo neruda - too many names

it has been 5 weeks since i returned from mother india..
it has been 6 weeks since i was discharged
from the hospital in bangalore..
after a 103 fever, a collapsed lung and pneumonia..
it has been 1 year since i was on the island of patmos, greece
and 2 years since the death of my mama..
it has been 7 days since i carried a totem pole through the seattle streets
and 2 days since i received my job as the mariners seating host
for the 2012 baseball season...

who's counting?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

emptying out

once we have tasted far streams, touched the gold,
found some limit beyond the waterfall,
a season changes, and we come back, changed
but safe, quiet, grateful

~ william stafford

i have been studying and practicing
the kalachakra tantra for a dozen years at least..
kalachakra ~ the wheel of time.. the cycles of time..
kalachakra is both the tantric deity in vajrayana buddhism
as well as the philosophies and meditation practices.
it is often said that kalachakra is the most advanced form
of vajrayana practice: it certainly is one of the most complex ..
i can attest to that!
kalachakra revolves around the concept
of time (kāla) and cycles (chakra):
from the cycles of the planets
to the cycles of the breath...
it is the practice of working with the most subtle energies
within one's body on the path of enlightenment..
it is considered the highest yoga tantra...

when i traveled to india this trip,
i was going, in part, to study and receive,
yet again, the initiation of kalachakra..
from my dear spiritual friend and teacher,
the 14th dalai lama of tibet.
this would be his 32nd offering of
the kalachakra and it was taking
place in the holy city of bodhgaya..
this would be my 7th ..
hundreds of thousands of people were
in attendance to receive the teachings
as blessings, as initiates, as students
and lovers of the dharma..

i had been to baseball games, rock concerts
yet i had never been in the presence
of hundreds and hundreds
of thousands of human beings..
most like - minded for the kalachakra is
always offered as a practice of world peace..

there can be no union without separation,
no return without parting.
no belonging is permanent.
to live a creative and truthful life,
it is vital to learn the art of being separate
and the generosity of uniting.

~ john o' donohue

it is a mystery as to how it came about..
how all the teachings flowed through me and out again..
how i was no longer tied to the teachings, the teacher..
how i floated above the crowd with wings of clarity and heat..
how i emptied myself of all concepts and commitments..
how i gave all my vows back to the dust of the world..
how i severed the ropes of discipline and drank liberation..

during those ten days of teachings
i was courting a high fever..
burning up the stale practices that had turned to untruths..
burning up false pretenses and wayward loyalties..
burning up the oaths that were no longer mine to honor..

and so ..
i dropped the ball of kalachakra on a crowd
that i knew would pick it up and run with it..
to the finish line..
the wheel of time is roll - roll - rolling along...
without me...

there comes a time -
when we have to take ourselves seriously and die;
when we have to pull back from the incantations,
rhythms we've moved to thoughtlessly,
disenthrall ourselves,
cleanse ourselves of oratory,
static crowding of the wires...

to bestow on ourselves a silence,
a still and holy listening...
in truth we are always like this:
knowing it makes the difference

~ a. g.
edit. djl

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

sunday february 26 2012

i didn't see them at first..

the crowd of first nations; all walks of life nations ..
readying themselves to carry the mighty totem,
carved by rick williams and others,
to terra firma at the seattle center..
the totem pole was carved in memory
of john t. williams..a native carver...

this sunday... a wintry cold morning..
no rain...a morning that seattle likes to boast..
a no mountains grey to the bone morning
that could go either way..and it did..
sun shards through cloud covers open windows

sweet grass and sage offered..
smoke and fragrance to purify intentions..
sound of drum and rattle to call in the ancients..
purr of electric drill securing the long boards
to center the pole on the forerams of its bearers -

native tongue, prayer and song..
getting to know you conversation..
born in sitka, all the way from spokane,
my grandmother is married to your great uncle..

all carriers bedecked with a necklace of turtle or feather..
colourful beads of gratitude and strength...
to get us down (or up) the road..

lift off..the 3,500 pound cedar pole is light..
buoyed up with prayers,
yelps and hollers..
the grace of the elders..

maneuvering the pole up the ramp at pier 57..
that's when i see the motorcycle police..
making a safe passage for our journey..
along alaskan way to western..
up wall (was it?) to 2nd then broad
to 5th and into the center grounds..
where the totem stands resplendent, noble, sovereign ~

when i left my spot on the pole..
i thanked a cop for his help..
he thanked me back ~
we all get to be guilty
we all get to be free

john t. williams was killed by a policeman
as he was crossing a street with his carving knife and cedar block.

rest in peace ~ john t. williams

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

little bo peep

where is this i that i offer up
to all my friends, to strangers..
to loved ones.. to family?

lost like sheep..
no where to find it..
never was there a place
where i stood still long enough
to be pinned down as a known identity..
though didn't i try to hold the i
in some perfect static cling persona
who could answer all the questions..
and would look a certain way..
and held its unique i-ness separate and aloof..
heavens to betsy..what a spoof!

to no avail ~ when the dust settles..
there is no i, no sheep of sleep
that wakes up found in the apron of bo..

abandon the i
goes the cry
and baa! baa!
black sheep..
finds her way home..
no where to stand -
the aire goes poof!
no where to land -
aye! there 's the proof !

yet home am i
as big as the sky..
as vast as the middle
of infinity..
there is no limit to this eye of mine..
i see, i see..
says the sightless shine
of the heart the pounds the rounds around
home am i....

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

time for serenity, anyone?

i like to live in the sound of water,
in the feel of mountain air. a sharp
reminder hits me: this world still is alive;
it stretches out there shivering towards its own
creation, and i am a part of it. even my breathing
enters into this elaborate give-and-take,
this bowing to sun amd moon, day or night,
winter, summer, storm, still ---this tranquil
chaos that seems to be going somewhere.
this wilderness with a great peacefulness in it.
this motionless turmoil. this everything dance.

~ william stafford

Monday, February 20, 2012

tale feathers.....

since my first trip to india..
my first the early '70's -
i wanted to make my home in mother india...
at first for ever and always..
then, realistically.. six months of every year..
every pilgrimage the desire grew stronger..

the longing kept feeding itself..
occupying much of my daydreams..
occupying my present with future..

then, now..
when i reached delhi..
in one blink of an eyelash..
as my feet touched the earth..
it was

though i kept it alive
when i spoke with friends
while traveling this time..
i knew, i knew ..from the depths..
this would not ever be..

the hawk of insight
with one broad arc and swoop of tail feathers
dashed the trance in a heart beat..
in a breath..
this spell lay broken at my feet..

all the craziness,
all the empty plots,
all the ghosts and fears
have now passed -
i must have inhaled
a strange
that finally

~ hafiz

Saturday, February 18, 2012


even from the simplest,
the most realistic point of view,
the countries which we long for
occupy, at any given moment,
a far larger place in our actual life
than the country in which we happen to be..

~marcel proust
swann's way

Friday, February 17, 2012

saturday night fever

let me see...
where was i?

ah, yes..india..delhi..
the end of 2011..
o so the north..
thick with fog
though dry dusty mud hung like dew
on the green shrubs and trees..
i was dusty too...
in a mist..

having told a friend or two before i left
that i just might die on this journey
to the mother india..
one was anxious by my premonition;
the other laughed and said:
you always think you're going to die..
which is true and i will..

due to fog, the flight to bodhgaya
was cancelled on decembre 30th..
so i landed under the bodhi tree on new year's eve..
along with a fever that seemed to be trailing me
since i left the u. s. of a....who knew?

i went out to the hazel wood
because a fire was in my head...

~ yeats

india has always been..will always be..
a place of great sea change for me..
a place of odyssey..a hajj...
indeedy, it was no different this time..

india is a place that one cannot quite prepare for..
one can ready oneself to the ends of the earth..
and in india the gods will have moved the ends
for lila, for grief, for wisdom, for svadyaya...

i spent the new year's evening in bed..
shaking and shivering like john travolta..
dancing his heart out..
as i too would do ~

day after day after day...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

the face of glory

to enjoy the world requires something more
than mere good health and good spirits;
for this world, as we all now surely know, is horrendous.
"all life, " said the Buddha, "is sorrowful";
and so, indeed, it is.
life consuming life: that is the essence of its being,
which is forever a becoming.
"the world," said the Buddha, "is an ever burning fire."
and so it is.
that is what one has to affirm, with a yea! a dance!
a knowing, solemn, stately dance of the mystic bliss
beyond pain that is at the heart of every mythic rite.

let me recount a marvelous Hindu legend
from the infinitely rich mythology of the god Shiva
and his glorious world-goddess Parvati.
the occasion was of a time when
there came before this great divinity
an audacious demon who had just overthrown
the ruling gods of the world
and now came to confront the highest of all
with a non-negotiable demand, namely,
that the god should hand over his goddess to the demon.
well, what Shiva did in reply was simply
to open that mystic third eye in the middle of his forehead,
and paff! a lightning bolt hit the earth ~
there was suddenly a second demon, even larger than the first.
he was a great lean thing with a lion like head,
hair waving to the quarters of the world,
and his nature was sheer hunger.
he had been brought into being to eat up the first,
and was clearly fit to do so.
the first thought: "so what do i do now?"
and with a very fortunate decision
threw himself upon Shiva's mercy.

it is a well-known theological rule
that when you throw yourself on a god's mercy
the god cannot refuse to protect you;
so Shiva now had to guard and protect
the first demon from the second.
which left the second, however,
without meat to quell his hunger and in anguish he asked Shiva,
"whom, then, do i eat?" to which the god replied,
"well, let's see: why not eat yourself?"

with that, no sooner said, did he begin..
commencing with his feet, teeth chopping away,
that grim phenomenon came right on up the line,
through his own belly, on up through his chest and neck,
until all that remained was a face.
and the god, thereupon, was enchanted.
for here at last was a perfect image
of the monstrous thing that is life, which lives on itself.
to that sunlike mask, which was now all that was left
of that lion like vision of hunger, Shiva said, exulting:
"i shall call you 'Face of Glory', Kirtimukha,
and you shall shine above the doors of all my temples.
any one who refuses to honor and worship you
will never come to know me."

the obvious lesson of all of this
is that the first step to the knowledge
of the highest divine symbol of the wonder and mystery of life
is the recognition of the monstrous nature of life
and its glory in that character:
the realization that this is just how it is;
that it cannot and will not be changed.
those who think -- and their name is legion --
that they know how the universe could have been better than it is,
how it would have been had they created it,
without pain, without sorrow, without time, without life,
are unfit for illumination.
or those who think -- as do many --
"let me first correct society, then get around to myself"
are barred from even the outer gate of the mansion of God's peace.

all societies are evil, sorrowful, inequitable;
and so they will always be.
if you really want to help this world,
what you will have to teach is how to live in it.
that no one can do who has not himself learned
how to live in it - in the joyful sorrow and the sorrowful joy -
the knowledge of life as it is.
that is the meaning of the monstrous Kirtimukha, 'Face of Glory',
over the entrances of the sanctuaries to the god of yoga,
whose bride is the goddess of life.
no one can know this god and goddess who will not bow
to the mask in reverence and pass humbly through.
~joseph campbell

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

come this way

come this way ~
as a pilgrim...
it is a blessing
when the door slides open

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

re-calling bodhicitta

remembering bodhicitta..
the awakened heart..
the awakened mind..
the heartmind..awake

defined simply ~

the arising of spontaneous
and limitless compassion
for all sentient beings
the falling away of attachment
to the illusion
of an inherently existent self....