All day long, I see things a painter would paint. What is there to complain about? Even my own pain has been endured by thousands before me, and depicted by master sculptors.
Pilgrimage, penance, failure, learning to hold one’s self tenderly, in friendship – all these have relevance to my experience of life. Honoring the earth, or a Saint, or a God, a parent, a personal hero, the wind, rain dripping from trees.
Turning to look into one’s own heart, seeing what’s there. It is a brave thing to search your own soul. You will endure accusations of selfishness from others, and from your own mind.
We all just want a door to open and let the light in, but what if we are the door? What if we are the light?
To the world, I say I’m sorry for so many things. To the world, I also say thank you, thank you, thank you.
On the jade-colored plate, yellow fruit.
Between the window and folding screen, a bed, some clothing.
In the stillness of the forest, water flowing.
On the mountainside, plum blossoms.
In the rain and mud, wild horses.
From a bowl in the hermit’s shelter, steam rising.
In the iron stove, embers glowing.
At the edge of August, all that I am.
The list in my pocket is where I keep track of all the things I need to remember in order to be responsible.
I rewrite it every few days, so that my mind may freely go about the highly important activity of daydreaming, contemplating, blurring the line between where I end and the world begins.
Because how can I make conversation with the cosmos otherwise? You don’t have to confine yourself to being just the artist – you can be the paint and the canvas as well.
A whale spouted by and I dreamt of the story my life could tell. I remembered many loved and lost, I received the world, had a conversation with the cosmos.
A whale spouted by, the vastness deepened. I sat, hands in lap, left over right, palms up, thumbs touching.
A whale spouted by, I smelled sagebrush. I watched the buckwheat sway along the sea cliffs, became hungry.
A whale spouted by and I contemplated the fallen. Standing among fallen acorns, I too am a fallen one.
A whale spouted by and I stopped searching for things. I vowed to stop searching for a horse while riding a horse.
A whale spouted by and my fingertip touched itself. The blade of my sword cut itself, I ate two bowls of soup.
A whale spouted by, it came and it went. Sounds come and go. Wind, rain, pebbles in a pool. Time to chop onions, prepare soup again.
While drinking cold tea from a glass jar and dividing your thoughts between Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Neruda, you cut a kiwi in half the long way and consider the oval ring of black seeds at its heart. You always see Our Lady Of Guadalupe there, proving that eating a piece of fruit can be a private ritual, an example of eco-psychology, a rite of passage, an odyssey.
It occurs to you how disposable – though indeed miraculous – your body is. To your mind it is sacred, almost holy, containing all the memories of your life, your ancestry. You sit there, sipping your tea, and contemplate how not-sacred your body actually is. How it is an idea that exists only inside a human mind.
You shed the illusion, leave it behind like a shipwreck you swam ashore from, like a prince giving up all worldly pleasures to go be a hermit. You decide to relax into Being until the time comes for you to pass into Non-being.
Finishing the kiwi fruit, it occurs to you that when life becomes too fixed – too rigid – the Trickster god comes in some form and rattles you to the bone.
Wiping your mouth on your shirt sleeve, you remember that in Hong Kong there are architects who build skyscrapers with huge holes in them “for the dragons to go through“.
The Dream Before ~
She said, What is history?
And he said, History is an angel
Into the future
He said: History is a pile of debris
And the angel wants to go back and fix things
To repair the things that have been broken
But there is a storm blowing from Paradise
And the storm keeps blowing the angel
Into the future
And this storm, this storm
Say You Are Lonely ~ William Stafford
More still than a star, one thought shies
by: what if the sky loved you?
But nobody knew? But that magnet in space
pulled hard? But you acted like nothing at all
was reaching or calling for you? More still
than a star going by, that thought stays.
A day at a time pieces of it glow.
Nobody notices: quiet days.