Poem – to wander

To wander is to go forth,
eyes and heart open
into the unknown.
It doesn’t have to be in the wilderness.
It can be in the library.
It can be anywhere you have not explored.
To wander is to find yourself
in the middle of nowhere,
not lost
but awake and aware and curious.
To wander is to take the time
to appreciate the journey
instead of just the destination.
To wander is to venture forth
in body or mind
or both
with no goal other than to truly see
what you find
while out there.
There is danger in this
for you might get lost.
There is salvation in this
for you might find yourself.

The Horse, Hunter, and Stag

I was working on an art journal page recently and started digging through my paper collection.  I have some ephemera of my own, but I also have a stack that I’ve bought from a lady who meant to use the items for her own art. She soon realized that she had more ephemera than time for art. It turns out she has a great eye for things that spark creativity.  One of the pieces was a page from a book of fables – stories designed to teach us something.  I think this one is remarkably appropriate for what we are experiencing now.  The entire wording is contained between the lines below.  My comments will follow.

————–

A quarrel had arisen between the Horse and the Stag, so the Horse came to a Hunter to ask his help to take revenge on the Stag. The Hunter agreed, but said: “If you desire to conquer the Stag, you must permit me to place this piece of iron between your jaws, so that I may guide you with these reins, and allow this saddle to be placed upon your back so that I may keep steady upon you as we follow after the enemy.” The Horse agreed to the conditions, and the Hunter soon saddled and bridled him. Then with the aid of the Hunter the Horse soon overcame the Stag, and said to the Hunter: “Now, get off, and remove those things from my mouth and back.”

“Not so fast, friend,” said the Hunter. “I have now got you under bit and spur, and prefer to keep you as you are at present.”

If you allow men to use you for your own purposes, they will use you for theirs.

—————

It is now time to be aware and awake to our divisiveness. Our lack of unity with each other and within ourselves allows us to be led astray by others.  It renders us passive and not active members of life, of community.

It is not time to worry or complain about those who seek to divide us – to put us into “us” and “them” categories, who want to bait us like fighting dogs.

To be against those who seek to use us for their own gain is to further be drawn into the spiral.  It is to become that which we are trying to be aware of.

 

The goal is to be aware of every time you are distracted.

Notice when you are being baited, being told that “they” – whoever “they” are – are the reason that you are down.

“They” aren’t the reason for why you feel the way you do.  “They” are the same as you.  They are struggling too.

It is easy for people to pick on those who are seen as weaker.  It is easy to scapegoat.  Don’t do it.  Rise above. Don’t be drawn into that game.  Turn it upside down.  Notice who you are being told to be afraid of, to hate and instead make friends with them.  Learn everything you can about them.  Join up with them for your common cause of working together.

Remember the old phrase – “United we stand, divided we fall.”

Remember the motto on the back of the US dollar bill – “E pluribus unum”.  It means “Out of many, one.”  It means we are stronger together.

It is time to stop being scattered and divided.  We allow others to use us when we are like that.

Begin again

When we are raised with abusive or neglectful parents, we learn maladaptive coping mechanisms. When we grow up, we often unconsciously continue those habits, reflexively acting, mindlessly being. With the new life that is offered to us through Jesus, we can begin again, with a new Parent in God, who loves us unconditionally and without measure. We can learn how to act in new healthy ways, rather than being stuck in our old mindless habits. Jesus calls us to a new life of being awake and fully alive and present in every moment. This is the promise of new life in Jesus – a slate wiped clean, a chance to start again. No longer are we slaves to our past. No longer are we consigned to repeat our actions, over and over, flinching from blows that no longer come.

Books that open your head

Alexander, Christopher W.  A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction

Anderson, Walter Inglis   The Horn Island Logs of Walter Inglis Anderson
Arndt, Ingo      Animal Architecture

Bantock, Nick   Griffin and Sabine

Barklem, Jill       The Secret Staircase

Becker, Aaron      Journey

Bender, Tom      Silence Song and Shadows: Our Need for the Sacred in Our Surroundings

Berry, Jill K.      Map Art Lab: 52 Exciting Art Explorations in Mapmaking, Imagination, and Travel

Brown, Patricia D.       Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God

Brown, Peter         Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Cameron, Julia    The Complete Artist’s Way : Creativity as a Spiritual Practice

Castaneda, Carlos   The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

Chapin, Ross  Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World

Cloud, Henry      Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

Collins, Ross     Doodleday

Dass, Ram     Be Here Now

Dick, Philip K.        Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Egan, Tim        The Pink Refrigerator

Elgin, Suzette Haden        Star-Anchored, Star-Angered

Ewing, Al     I, Zombie

Foster, Alan Dean      Cyber Way

Gaiman, Neil     The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes

Goldsworthy, Andy    Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature  (anything by him)

Hall, Michael     Red: A Crayon’s Story

Hallendy, Norman     Inuksuit: Silent Messengers of the Arctic

Hoff, Benjamin     The Tao of Pooh

Kalman, Maira        The Principles of Uncertainty

Lawhead, Stephen R.      The Skin Map (Bright Empires, #1)

L’Engle, Madeleine      A Wrinkle in Time

Lerner, Rokelle     Affirmations for the Inner Child

Lehman, Barbara    Museum Trip

MacBeth, Sybil       Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God

Martin, Bruce T.        Look Close, See Far: A Cultural Portrait of the Maya

Miles, Sara       Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion

Neeper, Cary      A Place Beyond Man: The Archives of Varok
Pohl, Frederik      A Plague of Pythons

Pratchett, Terry   Small Gods (Discworld, #13)

Rex, Adam      Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich

Roach, Mary       Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Rumi, Jalaluddin      The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems

Saltz, Ina      Body Type: Intimate Messages Etched in Flesh

Seuss, Dr.      Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

Skloot, Rebecca     The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Smith, Keri      Wreck This Journal

Snodgrass, Melinda M.      The Tears of the Singers

Spangler, Ann       Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith

Swift, Vivian      When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler’s Journal of Staying Put

Tall, Stephen     The People Beyond the Wall

Tan, Shaun      The Arrival

Tolkein, J.R.R.      The Hobbit

Wiesner, David      Tuesday

Willems, Mo      You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When It Monsoons: The World on One Cartoon a Day

Zeff, Ted      The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide: Essential Skills for Living Well in an Overstimulating World

 

 

Many of these authors have other books – you are more than encouraged to explore them as well. Some of these books are fiction for adults, some are nonfiction, some are for children, and some are wordless, while some are just the beginning to a series that is just as interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

Be fierce (poem)

Owning your life
without fear
is a lot of work
for anybody.

It requires
a lot of energy
to get past
the immense gravity of
inertia.

But – the downside
of not living
an authentic life
(meaning the life You
were called to live,
not the one others
think you
should live)

is to slowly sink
into the morass
of an empty and
meaningless
existence.

Docility through culture

We’ve slowly developed a culture that tells women that they deserve to drink – that it is a sign of being a mature woman. This is simply another way of getting us to be submissive and docile. A drunk woman doesn’t stand up when she’s being pushed around. She just goes and refills her glass.

Just because alcohol is legal doesn’t make it safe. It may be culturally acceptable to have a drink but that doesn’t mean that regularly doing so is good for our well-being.

When I finally decided to stop smoking pot, I learned I was a very angry person. I had a lot of learning to do – learning that I stopped doing when I started smoking to “enjoy” life. I had to learn how to stand up for myself and set boundaries and decide how I wanted to live my life on my terms. I’d been covering up my pain with pot all those years.

Now that drinking is something that our culture says adult women do, we need to step back and examine the repercussions. If more women drink, then more women will accept that the way things are is the way things should be. We will become numb to our own pain, rather than working to change it.

Now more than ever is a time to be awake. Being conscious and involved in life isn’t easy, but sleeping through it is wasteful and sad.

One size (poem)

One size does not fit anybody.
Not even most.
We’ve forced ourselves into conformity
into complacency
into a mold that is not
of our own making.

We’ve shoved our feet into shoes
that don’t fit,
hobbling ourselves in the name of
getting along,
of making do,
of giving up our own power,
our own knowledge,
our own ability.

We thought by doing so that we’d have
more time
to be ourselves,
to do our own thing,
to think our own thoughts.
We thought that by giving up
everything
to the authorities,
to the experts,
to the corporations,
to the system,
that we wouldn’t have to worry
about it
about anything
anymore.
The professionals would do it for us.

Perhaps it is better said that they do it
to us.

Bigger isn’t always better.

We gave so much away.
Childbirth, daycare, school, medical care, funerals.
Our whole lives from birth to death.
Who raises our children?
Not us.
Professionals,
strangers.
Who takes care of us when we get sick, or old?
Not our family, not our friends.
Professionals,
strangers.

We stopped making our own clothes,
our own houses,
our own lives.
We gave away our power.
We stopped raising our own food.
We don’t even know what is in it,
thus we don’t even know what is in us.

We become sick,
and our sickness
is from separation
from our own selves.

Deep down,
we want the old ways back,
the community, the village, the self sufficiency.
We want to know
and be known by
the people in our lives.

We don’t have to do it all,
but we don’t have to give it all away
either.