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“The situation is hopeless but not serious.”
Paul Watzlawick

Oh, the things I’ve done to secure love and happiness outside myself.  Waking to the folly of it all, I can’t help but to laugh out loud.  In moments of mirth, something relaxes.  So let us not take ourselves too seriously, lest we lose the thread of wonder and laughter.  May you find inspiration in these musings on identity, love – of both the clumsy and gracious varieties, peace and heart-wisdom, which never fails us if we only pause long enough to listen.

Image: Marc Chagall

July 2018 ~ A Refreshing Wash For The Mind

A mind untethered from the “gotta-do” list and “need ta have” mentality vibrates with clarity and aliveness.  Actor Jeremy Irons speaks to this perennial wisdom in a very short video, a mere 2:18 minutes (link below).  If we want to free ourselves from the ravages of uber-manic modern living, daily quietude is vital.

As W. B. Yeats wisely said:  “When one gets quiet, then something wakes up inside one, something happy and quiet like the stars.”  – from The Hour-Glass, 1916.

In a direct, down-to-earth manner, Mr. Irons talks about giving ourselves this gift.  When we do, we can “return to daily life not only refreshed, but with a different perspective,” the kind of perspective that asks:  do we really need all the stuff we think we do?  Do you?  I leave you now to enjoy Mr. Irons and with these soothing images as well.

 


Gaze on green…an antidote to the effects of too-much stimulation.

 

 


So true:  even looking at images of blue can ease the mind.

 

 


Shades of gray evoke a long “aahhhhh” for the mind. 

 

Jeremy Irons: Passing A Better Time
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM7qXaJIAwQ&feature=youtu.be&utm_source=Stillness+Speaks+Newsletter&utm_campaign=71fcd6cf8d-NL_2018_6_07_RTW_JI-CH&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f5958d3327-71fcd6cf8d-215532385

Enjoy the chill vibe La Femme d’Argent by Airwhich is relaxing and energizing.  Who says a quiet mind and a moving body can’t play together?
http://www.beautifulsongoftheweek.com/la-femme-dargent-by-air/

By |July 1st, 2018|

Silence: The Poetics of Space


Sanctuaries of Silence, 7:19:
Gotps://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000005811102/sanctuaries-of-silence.html

Sanctuaries of Silence, an award-winning documentary, is an “immersive listening journey into one of the quietest places in North America,” the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park.  Acoustic geologist Gordon Hempton refers to silence as the absence of noise from modern life.  This silence, he says, “…isn’t the absence of something but the presence of everything.”  And such silence is  becoming extinct.

True listening to the natural acoustics of place means “taking things in with equal value.”  No judgement, expectation or bias.  Something happens when we take things in this way – like the slight creaking of a tree, the quiet trickle of a stream, bird calls from within foliage of rustling leaves.  Have you experienced the wonders of silence?  I have, and what I feel is an intimacy with the land, receptivity to sounds I’ve take for granted.  Including the sound of my very own heartbeat.

Which takes me to how Hempton’s observations of silence can extend to the inward journey.   Silence, one of the most essential thresholds of life, reveals Presence.  Listening without any goal or bias is rare, yet it is from silence which true words arise and return.  In the relaxation of effort to do or make something, to be someone, self-consciousness drops away.   Or as Hempton says, “When I listen I have to become quiet….and ‘I’ disappear.”  This disappearance, ironically, gives birth to true love.  Self-consciousness and love have an in inverse relationship: more of one means less of the other.

Listening to natural acoustics or to the inner depths have equal power to usher us to that imperturbable placeless place, where peaceful abidance is possible.  “Silence is the presence of time, undisturbed.”  There is nothing more effortless, real or luminous.

Are you listening?

By |June 3rd, 2018|

Bathing Grief In Love

On April 20th, a friend and I helped put our beloved friend, Roxy, to rest.  Five years of joy, a few months of decline.  Not too bad.

Roxy was a good girl, a goofball, a gentle 75 pound being.  So many people responded with compassion, adding they were sorry for my loss.  I bless them all for their warmth and care.  In the days since, I’ve sincerely asked myself: Did I lose something, and if so, what?   Certainly, I’m adjusting to the fact that Roxy no longer appears to me.  I miss the way we’d gaze into one another’s eyes.  And she isn’t on her lead, walking beside me. I don’t hear the sound of her foxy tail thumping when I enter the room.  I cried off and on for three days.  Had to put cucumbers on my eyeballs, they were so swollen.  Sometimes Love shows up in wet form.

But I cannot say I’ve lost anything.  Strange?  Maybe.  What I experience around her “disappearance” is a depth of gratitude that’s palpable this very instant.  It struck me that wanting more time with her means overlooking the abundant gifts we offered one another.  There is no “more” to be gotten.  It’s already given.  I may miss the physicality of her, though the gratitude predominates.

Once again, I see that Love is more precious than the body, which I honor.  Though what appears cannot remain; it’s the natural law.  Love, however, remains.  It does not reside in the body.  See for yourself:  bring to mind a beloved whose body is no longer present.  Do you still feel the love you shared?  Are the gifts you gave one another gone?  Love has not disappeared; the body, yes, but not the Love.  There is no true parting; a transition, for sure, but separation is illusory.  I think of Roxy and my entire being fills with the presence of Love, with or without her physical presence.  It’s the same Love.  That’s what matters.  I can’t ask for more.

Go deeply enough into it and you’ll find that all grief, at it’s core, is Love.  I talked about Roxy once at a retreat with Rupert Spira when something about her came up for me.  He asked: Do you love Roxy?  I said: Yes, I do, deeply.  Then he asked: Can you let that same love bathe the pain you feel now?  The answer then, as now, is a resounding yes.  I bow to this teaching, the re-orientation it initiated and the way it continues to unfold.  May it be so for us all.

During this dying process, I texted a friend, who wrote back about Roxy’s passage through the “bug gateway.”  She meant “big gateway.” A poem that honors these words and my dear friend came of the exchange:

Fortunate Error

I like bug gateway
better than big gateway.
I can see it clearly:

hoards of soft-bodied insects
practically fall over themselves,
while antennae, those sensitive
sensory wands, vibrate in
wild anticipation.

Suddenly, she arrives!
In unison, they buzz, click,
whir and strum, surround her
in insect-love. As she floats
through the shimmery gate,
their wings oscillate, washing her clean,
and their song, too sweet for us to hear,
envelopes her in joy.

Her spirit-body wags.
She bounds into an open field, leaves
scent of orange blossoms
in her wake.

That night, a dream:
I sip an ocean of nectar
from my cupped palms.
When I wake, teary love
envelopes me.

Krayna Castelbaum

Thank you, Roxy, for being my beloved friend.  For bringing so much joy to my life.  So much Love.  oxxo

By |May 3rd, 2018|

Lucky’s Lair

Each month,
the Luckster shares
his own deep thoughts.
Then,
he goes back to sleep.

“The river that flows in you
also flows in me.”

Kabir

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