Sunday, January 31, 2016

sometimes a man - rilke

sometimes a man stands up during supper
and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
because of a church that stands somewhere
in the east.

and his children say blessings on him
as if he were dead.

and another man, who remains
inside his own house,
dies there, inside the dishes
and the glasses,
so that his children have to go far
out into the world toward that same church,
which he forgot.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

dazzling light - change...

the whole universe is an ocean of dazzling light
on it dance the waves of life and death..
                                    a service for the spirits of the dead

                                              . .

coyote and earth maker whirling about in the world winds
found a meadowlark nest floating and drifting; stretched it
to cover the waters and made us an earth --

                       us critters hanging out together
                       something like three billion years.

                       three hundred something million years
                       the solar system swings around
                       with all the milky way --

                       ice ages come one hundred fifty million years apart
                       last about ten million
                       then warmer days return --

                       a venerable desert woodrat nest of twigs and shreds
                       plastered down with amber urine
                       a family house in use eight thousand years,
                                  & four thousand years of using writing equals
                       the life of a bristlecone pine --

                       a spoken language works
                       for about five centuries,
                       lifespan of a douglas fir;
                       big floods, big fires, every couple hundred years,
                       a human life lasts eighty,
                       a generation twenty.

                       hot summers every eight or ten,
                       four seasons every year
                       twenty-eight days for the moon
                       day / night    the twenty-four hours

                        & a song might last four minutes,

                        a breath is a breath.

                                  ~ gary snyder
                                  old woodrat's stinky house
                                 mountains and rivers without end

Saturday, January 23, 2016

crazy words..

i have long had the desire that my actions
in this world and any problems caused by my crazy words 
and extravagant language will ..  in times to come...
be transformed into a clarification of the dharma..
to be but another way to spread the buddha's teachings..
          t'ang poet -
                        po chu-i 

may it be just so ~

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

the journey of a promise

i've never made promises lightly
and there have been some that i've broken..

one day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘mend my life!’
each voice cried.
but you didn’t stop.
you knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
it was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
but little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
                        the journey - mary oliver

the integrity of a promise
is the journey of a promise..
and that integrity waxes and wanes
as the moon lights and darkens our nights..
in its authentic moment it matures ~
in its letting go, too..

the promises i've made, kept and separated myself from
were very different when i was younger ..
callow, fast-moving, raw...
not untrue yet perhaps unsustainable..
maybe even insubstantial..

as my understanding of living & loving
grew with experience and practice..
so indeed my heartfelt promises
began to carry the weight,
the grace,
the light of integrity..
each one more sincere..
joyful.. really..
profound and equal to the task..

yet along with this ripening,
the willingness to live an untruth
grew boisterous ..bold..
unable to deceive..first of all, myself..
than, of course, another..
a true promise might slip into its own demise..
clinging to the old & moldy..

the genuine moment..the promise.. had retreated.
taken a vacation..a voyage away from its true self..
wise it seems to open the hand .. open the door..
liberate the promise ..
like a kiss whispered on the ring of the palm..
freeing each heart from attachment and grasp..

the veritable promise with its staying power..
an eagerness to re-work, re-word and claim once more
one moment more..
holding none beholden nor bound
fresh, fleeting ~
the odyssey and adventure of yes! again ..

as much as i adore a promise..
i adore the letting go..
'tis the core of spiritual practice..

your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.

expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
if it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

your deepest presence is in every small contracting
and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.
                           ~ rumi

please ..believe me when i tell you..
you can count on me..
moment by moment...
do you feel the big air in this promise?
large enough to hold us - large enough to let us go..

Sunday, January 17, 2016


to break a promise

make a place of prayer, no fuss,
just lean into the white brilliance
and say what you needed to say
all along, nothing too much, words
as simple and as yours and as heard
as the bird song above your head
or the river running gently beside you.

let your words join
one to another
the way the stone nestles on stone,
the way water just leaves
and goes to the sea,
the way your promise
breathes and belongs
with every other promise
the world has ever made.

now, leave them to go on,
let your words
carry their own life
without you, let the promise
go with the river.

have faith. walk away.

                  ~ david whyte
(dw spoke of the title that could easily
be to make a promise..the poem being 
identical for both)

vows, bonds, pledges, promises ~
yikes! we offer so many in any day..
so many broken in as many days..
can we really promise anything?
is it not an expectation & a presumption
to even ask it of ourselves or one another?
every promise, vow and pledge
must be untethered from it's very speak
it's very claim..if it is to be true..
in the only moment we know ..
it must be momentary, yes?
with a subtext of fine print
that states just this now only whoosh!
always walking away -

we promise again..
vow again..

as rumi says:
even if we have broken our vows a hundred times,
come..come..come yet again..come..

whoosh !

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

kachina light saber blessing taitiriya upanishad

the primary theme of the kachina 
(zuni, hopi & more)
is the recognition of the presence of life
in all objects - all beings  -
that make up the universe..
everything has this essence and life force ~

the kachina dances the light northward
at the end of the year..
bringing with it..
respect, clarity, lovingkindness
for new beginnings..
continued windfalls for the first half of the year..
moon kachinas, sun kachinas
thunderstorm, rain and earth kachinas ~

the one who is here in a man/woman
and the one who is up in the sun -
they are one and the same..

after the man/woman departs this world..
- as one who knows this sameness -
first reaches the self that consists of food,
then the self that consists of prana,
then the self that consists of mind,
then the self that consists of perception,
finally the self that consists of bliss....
(these are the 5 koshas!)
eating whatever ..assuming whatever appearance...
sings this song across all the worlds..

o wonderful! o wonderful! o wonderful!
i am food! i am food! i am food!
my name never dies, never dies, never dies!
i was born first in the first of worlds,
earlier than the gods, in the belly of what has no death!
whoever gives me away has helped me the most!
i, who am food, am the eater of food!
i have overcome!
he or she who knows this shines like the sun.
such are the laws of the mystery!
                             - taitiriya upanishad

my crown is in my heart,
not on my head,
nor decked with diamonds
and indian stone,
nor to be seen:
my crown is called content ~
a crown it is, that seldom kings enjoy.
                         - will shakespeare

whatever..whatever arises..
it is a blessing..
be it of karma ripening
or nectar dripping
of living until the dying begins..
we are life itself!
what could be more miraculous?
(whoever gives me away helps me the most)

(did you hear the president of these united states
actually say these words?)
o my o
may it be just so!

Friday, January 8, 2016

meeting the new year..

one of the seven great dogs.
at any one time, you know, there are only seven.
                 horatio fisk - dean spanley

the crows were bountiful..cawing such a ruckus..
complaining and harshly speaking their minds
at a snestled dog wound around itself on the asilomar shore..
i dug my eyes deep into the hideaway grasses to see the furry one..
tucked into itself..a circle within a circle of long-haired velvet  pelt..
there was a fragile fence to keep
the likes of me off the protected landscape..
yet without a moment's hesitation i crawled under the keep out! barricade
and found myself eye to eye with a nose of such brown..
eyes of such depth..a wee smile that never left the tender muzzle..
a presence like the  angel of mercy..

it is said that crows proclaim auspicious moments of a lifetime..
like the 3 crows that announced the dalai lama's birth in tibet..
this was one of those moments..
what were the crows so antsy about?
what made the crows broadcast this presence to me?
was this dog injured?

i saw a bright red collar though i did not look at the tags..stupid!
it was a pup..with paws that would grow thrice as big..
i had my 'always with me' dog treats..
and was able to serve up an offering to this divine enchantment..
very well received ..with much extra licking and loving my fingertips..
we sat side by side paw on paw on paw
looking out at the great ocean..wave upon wave..
coming in..coming out..
we were eternal..timeless..

still not sure if this pup was hurt..
there was no movement except for munching and licking..
i decided to go get my car..and my phone..stupid!
it was not easy to take my leave..
to walk away from this..this.. phantasm..
for it seemed to me that only i could see and touch this being..
this dog angel of essence..

as i made my way away
from this visible/invisible energy
of fur and divine generosity ..
i peeked back to see the illusory 4-legged..
sitting up..facing me..!!
why o why did i not return at once?
i did not  ~
when i arrived w/ the phone..
the crows had scattered along the shoreline..
the grass held holy the shape of my messenger ..
and i was alone and empty ..
charmed by a grace indescribable ..

from that day to this..i am beguiled..

all beings arise in time,
time continually consumes them all...
                     ~ from the vimalaprabha

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


for us who seek the truth,
may the winds blow sweetly.
may the rivers flow sweetly.
may the herbs yield us sweetness.
sweet be the night and the break of day.
sweet be the very dust of the earth.
may the heavens pour down sweetness upon us.
may the trees, lords of the forest, bear us sweetness.
may the sun shed its sweetness upon us.
may all the directions pour forth sweetness.
om! sweetness! sweetness! sweetness!
                               ~  rig veda 1:90:6-8

Monday, January 4, 2016


the year 2016, like these winter days,
will bring unknown gifts and challenges.
we will need to be adaptable and flexible as we face a society and world
that is growing ever more stubborn, opinionated, and inflexible.
for this reason I want to suggest that the only resolution we make
is to abandon new year’s resolutions.
they cause more angst and misery than accomplishment and happiness.
they narrow our focus and give rise to unnecessary resistance.
instead of resolving to be someone different
or accomplish something special,
let’s go into each new day of the coming year expecting to be surprised.
let’s keep our balance, our flexibility, and our natural adaptability.
let’s dance when the music plays;
work when the tasks arise;
laugh and cry with ease;
hold no stubborn opinions;
and accept whatever comes as being the raw material
of something new we never dreamed that we could do.
this is all the world asks or needs of us.      
                                                     ~ bill martin

all that said..
and i do agree wholeheartedly..
there are two revolutions i would 
very much like to intend and cultivate..

gossip no gossip
listen deep listening

reb anderson.. a past abbott of the sf zen center
said that whenever anyone came to him with a
problem about another person..
his immediate question was:
have you spoken with them about this?
if you have not, you have no business coming to me -
if you have, i will be a witness..a listener..a mediator ..
per chance to give you both the opportunity to be heard..

i like the sound of this so much 
and ..  am shocked at how much i 
may speak divisively about another ..
gossip no gossip  # 1

listening is a life skill..
deep listening is communion..
hearing what is in out around and about
what is actually being said..
being silent enough in my own mind
to listen, to hear..
rather than gearing up to spin out my pat answer,
advice, a story of my own..

guilty as charged and then some..
listen deep listening #2

this is about all i can  muster and plenty
to stay in keeping with bill's suggestions..

~ dancing when the music plays ~
now that is the easy part..

brilliance, delight, mirth and grace for these days ahead !