Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Sky Gave Me Its Heart

(This poem was written by Rabia of Basra, b. 717-801, a Persian Sufi poet)

The sky gave me its heart
because it knew mine was not large enough to care
for the earth the way
it did.

Why is it we think of God so much?
Why is there so much talk
about love?

When an animal is wounded
no one has to tell it, "You need to heal";
so naturally it will nurse itself the best it can.

My eye kept telling me,
"Something is missing from all I see."
So it went in search of the cure.

The cure for me was His Beauty,
the remedy-- for me
was to love.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Produce, Produce, Produce....


There's something I've been meditating upon for many years, but feel I have deeper perspective on now. Even so, I know I have light years to travel before getting a true handle on it. It has to do with being productive vs. being. I think many people can agree that today's day and age is at war with "being". We run here, we run there, we have these massive long lists of To Do's and tons of people to stay in communication with and we think that what we're doing is important. Maybe rattling off a crazy list of To Do's to the latest person inquiring as to how we're doing, somehow validates us. Or maybe we're just trying to blow off steam, because we don't quite have a handle on how to say "No" (at this house, we tend to fall in this category) and really do think we can do everything. 

But whatever happened to being still? Being silent? Listening to that small, still voice? Is there a balance to going back and forth between the productivity and stillness or are we stuck in one gear or the other? 

When I was growing up, I tended to fall together with the surfers and the hippies. They seemed more my speed and in the same mindset as myself, which was... what's the point of all the busy-ness if you can't take time to be with the ones you love, the ones you like... AND whenever you wanted.  We all came from high octane families where "success" was everything. Making a name for yourself was everything. And when I say "name" I mean the kinds of names you see on the front pages of grocery store magazines, or Variety or the New York Times type names. Our parents all went for it. Their whole lives were about impressing themselves and one another with what they did, who they knew and how much money they could make (even at somebody's else's expense).  In reaction to this pure unmitigated ambition, as well as subsequent absence from our lives because of it, there was a group of us kids who thought the highest value was in NOT doing anything. Being at peace with who you were and not expecting perfection from each other was the goal. We got enough of high expectations from our families and community, why feed it? We saw the not so pretty side of fame, notoriety and wealth and weren't impressed. We were the "enlightened" ones. The "ennobled" ones. Beauty isn't everything. Money isn't everything. Who you know isn't everything. The goal was to avoid every instance of name dropping that one encountered. We were embarrassed to be related to and close to your friendly neighborhood Superman. 1st world, 1% problems, right? 

It engendered this false sense of superiority. Without realizing it, we were being just as ambitious in our own way for anonymity. To prove that we didn't have to do anything to be worth something. We could be complete slackers and that was GOOD. It was an elevated thing. We drove in our VW's (Jetta's, Buses and Bugs) and our Audi's and Saab's and thought we were cool for not driving a Mercedes or a Beamer. Only stuffed shirts did that. We had our 4-wheel drive trucks to tear up the Santa Monica Mountains and we were what's up, because we actually knew how to have fun. We even sought out ways to "slum it". I personally, left the LA area and purposely set up shop right smack dab in the middle of fly-over country just to make a point. I gave up the 9 to 5 and sought out retails jobs just to prove that I didn't need a lot of money to be happy. I sought out the middle of an urban area just to see what it was like and then set out to survive on the barest minimum just so I could prove to myself that I didn't need what everyone was telling me I needed. I got rid of EVERYTHING and then periodically every 6 months, purged again. I spent lots of time in prayer and meditation and even considered joining a religious order as a nun. I convent hopped and studied theology, philosophy and spirituality for hours every day and sat in an adoration chapel for at least an hour a day. I know... I know... typical bourgeois attitudes. Run from materialism and embrace poverty and spirituality and Oh, aren't I special? (This is all tongue in cheek, mind you)

Needless to say, people thought I was nuts. Whenever I would go back to LA, I'd hear about all kinds of wild theories that had circulated amongst old family and friends on what had happened to me. I won't repeat them as some of them were completely off the wall and downright hurtful. Thankfully, I was born with super thick skin and a pit-bull focus that's great at blocking out anything that doesn't serve my purpose. I survived 8 years "in the wild" before calling it quits and moving back to my roots in LA.

Since moving back to LA, I've been the most "productive" I've ever been. I've worked harder then I've ever worked and have been able to put my name to a few things that I'm rather proud of. I've also started and developed the most meaningful relationships I've ever had, as well as deepening the relationships I already possessed. 

During all this time, I was contemplating what was important. What did God put me on this earth to do? To be? Do I even know how "to be"? Can I surrender the hyper-perfectionistic tendencies culled in me to the great unknown and actually develop a relationship with a God that my family doesn't even believe in as the concept of God is sooooo unintellectual and weak-willed? Only simple people do that. Smart, ambitious people avoid Christianity like the plague. Christianity is for the poor and undisciplined. Although it's okay to dabble in the occult, Hinduism, Buddhist, paganism and so on... that's different and perfectly acceptable. Ouija board, anyone? Can I tell you how many wealthy, hyper influential people carry one in their home office or bedroom? How many of these same people have their own personal psychic? But then I digress. Maybe I'll cover that in a different post. 

Getting back to the topic, I've learned a few things along the way. I've learned that productivity can be a good and worthy thing if your focus is in the right direction. It's not the enemy. If you put God, self, family, and others in the right order... everything else falls in line. You work to the best of your ability and then you rest. Pray and be still first thing in the morning, then schedule the rest of your day with God and everything will find a place in your day. Enjoy every moment no matter what it contains… “bad” or “good”. Self discipline is a good thing. Being a good steward of our money and time is a good thing. Being wealthy or poor is meaningless in and off themselves. Being notorious is meaningless in and off itself. What’s more important is WHY we do what we do and WHY we believe what we believe. 

Everything can flow from a clear and God oriented mentality, which lets go of all previous biases and is willing to learn things from scratch… like a kid. If you’re a student, get an A because you’re capable of it, not because somebody else wants you to do so. Don’t seek to “excel”, seek to pour out the best of yourself to a degree that you are challenged and formed to your highest level, because you are made (in the Body of Christ) to be full and satisfied so it’s super easy to let all the extra great stuff pour out of you to whoever God places across your path. God put us on this earth to give our best, to give our all. To not short change a situation even though we’re not "feeling" it. Poverty can be an excuse to play victim and to be lazy.  The “Noble Savage” is a myth and real holy poverty involves true poverty of spirit, which recognizes that we own nothing and are nothing without the grace of God. If however He makes me a steward of a lot of wealth, then I better darn well learn everything I can about finances, taxes, amortization, depreciation, fiscal responsibility and have a strong sense of ethics while I conduct my business. In the end all the money is his anyway, so I should know what I’m doing. Use the brain He gave me and not make excuses. Be wise with the materials he gave, treat employees and peers with respect and dignity. Don't live your life in reaction to your experiences, Live your life in response to an invitation. BE RESPONSIBLE. EDUCATE OURSELVES. 

I’ve seen so many people take pride in having little, while putting the burden of responsibility on somebody else. I’ve not only seen families do this to others, but have had families do this to me and mine. While claiming they trust in God, they’ve lied and taken money from other people to pay for their mistakes. Then they would turn around and claim victimization, even though they laid the beds they found themselves upon. I’m all for mercy, but not false mercy. Not mercy that gives people the chance to treat everyone around them as if they are there to serve them, because they are “poor”. It is possible to make yourself poor by making horrible decisions, not paying bills and spending money on fluff that has nothing to do with caring for your family or yourself. And praying your way out of it and claiming that it’s God’s will that you take mercy on them, is a bad tactic to attempt to take. Sooner or later, God will hold you accountable. There is such a thing as delusion.

It’s not good to be deluded. I’ve come to understand that Christianity is based in tried and true reality. Yes, the supernatural is there to show us that reality can be transcended and should be, but grace builds UPON nature not instead of it. We are given work to do on this earth. It’s not to laze around. It’s to be solid citizens that contribute to the world around us. Never fear… being responsible has a funny way of opening up lots of time. From my experience, being organized and responsible allows me a multitude of daily opportunities to just look in the eyes of the ones I love and just love them (especially God). Being productive and "successful", as well as "being still" don’t have to be exclusive. You can be BOTH. God can show the way. Just be willing to let it all go. He’ll take care of you. It is possible.



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Bubbles

Laughing, Dancing, Sweeping, Soothing
Flowing down a Mountainside

Breaking, Frothing, Meandering, Tossing
Erupting past the Breaktide

Mirth it cries
"Will you marry me?"
Birth it flies
"Will you carry me?"

And life, it circles
Like a bird in the sky
Catching the wind in its sails
Like A ship flying home
Breaking through mists towards the sun
Home beckoning from the shore

Sweeping, Cleansing, Twirling, Bending
Washing through the Creek's bed

Chattering, Cackling, Leaping, Bouncing
Bubbling joy through cracks in Time....



Monday, April 11, 2016

Roots

Roots are a mystery
One day lost and another all found
one moment floating above the sky
and the next plunging into an abyss of history
walking the streets of memory
soaring in clouds of imagination
touching hands from the past
seeing one's face in the words of another
fitting one's feet in the prints of that other
the blood of ancestors pulsing
pushing Towards the Future
Known and yet Unknown
Our eyes staring back at us
Narcissus unfurling
....or was it a dream?

My imagination was captured by the image of my grandchildren
a sly little vision found on the steps to my past
my fingers sank into oblivion 
and came out with dandelions 
blowing in the direction of the sun

Laughter danced towards me
and the smells of my sustenance
enveloped me like a blanket
and lulled me to awe
breath stole from my body 
beckoning me to eternity
on the rocks hewn from fire and pain.

And in the dawn of my youth
came a promise
and a light
and a hope
and a vision
my hands impressed upon a rock
time not stopping
ever flowing
towards them...









Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sunflower

















Turn to the sun

Drink a glass of light

a rain of petals

dance around your feet



Turn to the Sun

pour of glass of stars

a mist of gold

immerse you in its heap



Turn to the sun

catch a gem of blood

a pulse of light

cause your heart to breathe



Turn to the sun

cross the path at night

a voice of stars

Finds flowers that sing



Turn to the sun

Drink a drop of vision

darkness' awakening

receives angels that speak



Turn to the sun

Hold its flashing smiles

As transparent as glass

is your soul to me

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Into the Night

Into the Night
Down fast she falls
When her eyes dream
so dark in the pall
In winter's care, she lies

When heaven cries
weeping is found
her cheeks glisten wet
in the depths of evenstar
and make a waterfall
into caverns below the surface
carving rivers in the rocks
that lay in the foundations of her soul.

Laid waste by time
softened by spring rains
falling in the dead of night
slivers of pale green
push through to the sky
stretching towards a mystery

Into the night
it falls away towards day
and becomes a glistening of light ... from the horizon.








Ave Maris Stella

AVE maris stella,
Dei Mater alma,
atque semper Virgo,
felix caeli porta. 
HAIL, Thou Star of the ocean,
portal of the sky
ever Virgin Mother
Of the Lord Most High
Sumens illud Ave
Gabrielis ore,
funda nos in pace,
mutans Hevae nomen. 
O by Gabriel's Ave,
Uttered long ago
Eva's name reversing
established peace below.
Solve vincula reis,
profer lumen caecis
mala nostra pelle,
bona cuncta posce. 
Break the captives fetters,
light on blindness pour,
All our ills expelling
every bliss implore
Monstra te esse matrem:
sumat per te preces,
qui pro nobis natus,
tulit esse tuus. 
Show thyself a Mother,
offer Him our sighs
Who for us Incarnate
did not Thee despise
Virgo singularis,
inter omnes mites,
nos culpis solutos,
mites fac et castos. 
Virgin of all virgins
to Thy shelter take us
gentlest of the gentle
chaste and gentle make us
Vitam praesta puram,
iter para tutum:
ut videntes Iesum
semper collaetemur. 
Still as on we journey
Help our weak endeavor
Till with Thee and Jesus
We rejoice forever
Sit laus Deo Patri,
summo Christo decus,
Spiritui Sancto,
tribus honor unus. Amen. 
Through the highest heaven
To the Almighty Three
Father, Son and Spirit
One same Glory Be. Amen. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Scala Santa


I saw you
I wondered
I felt
and became silent

warmth spread through my fingers
and time stopped
then it fell behind
then it flew forward

and all along, a beginning was outlined
of a future I couldn't dream of
a precipice I would come to know
a dream I'd become a part of
and a mission I'd step into, but never own

why me?
or why not me?
it matters not
in the end
but I do thank you
and I grasp the reins I might hold
for even a moment
I'll breathe into the present and the past and the future
and be still in the presence of being.