It has been a while since I’ve been able to write a post, but I found this scrap in my journal and it opened something about chaotic, uncertain inner periods.
“In creative process, there is the inland sea and there is the book or dance or symphony—masterpieces, competencies, mediocrities—that litter the beach to be seen, to be turned over, to be heard. Art is the jetsam of the great submergence.” Read more
Thoughts on meditating—an oxymoron.
I recently came across the term ‘constructed self’ and felt how well it catches the sense of personal identity we all more or less consciously cobble together. Ego, persona, astrological sign, enneagram type, and any other system of human definition can be tossed right in there. We maneuver through the world using constructed self to deal, choosing shoes, jackets, apples or pasta, homes, partners, jobs, hobbies, pets. Are you a dog person or a cat person? Read more
Finding an Evensong
I have a well-established morning tea time—some call this a ritual, though I prefer the term Morning Tea. I have a lovely tea set—a pot to steep actual loose tea leaves, a beautiful china cup, a silver spoon to stir in the milk and stevia. I sip and write in my journal. I write whatever I need to write; drafts of blog pieces, screeds, notations of what I accomplished yesterday, notes on what I need to do today. Morning Tea is precious to me and I allow very little, save for an early air flight, to disrupt it. Read more
Ravenrock is a ranch property in New Mexico where I teach retreat but also spend time in solitude. It is quiet, pristine canyon and rock rim land where I’ve put up a barn to work and be.
September slips away unmarked by achievements or conversation. I’ve been at Ravenrock in solitude for ten days, growing more and more silent. The beginning was difficult. Now, suddenly, it isn’t. I do the projects I had set up to protect myself, to soothe my fears and solace my grief, but more and more pass through the activity as if it was soft and edgeless as fog. The activities protect but also, like fog, have hidden Earth and its high blue canopy. It isn’t the action of the activity––the lifting and putting and schlepping—which has been troubling me. It is the hooks inside that are bustling, driving, gibbering promises of reward and merit. Read more
The few days following an intensive retreat—this writing follows my annual Summer Movement Monastery at Ravenrock—is an especially potent passage. Day to day consciousness is returning since I am not longer practicing 6 hours a day with the community. Yet all that has happened inside me during the previous two weeks is unfolding. I remember these periods following Sufi Camp as well.
Aftermath at Ravenrock
I sit on the Porch watching the thronging hummingbirds and, in the far distance, Hermit’s Peak. 7:30 my phone tells me. I could wear my watch as I did during retreat, but it now sits roundly on a high shelf serving as a tiny, barely visible clock while I begin to once again forget time. It is only a few days since everyone left. The sessions are suspended until we next meet. The Barn is empty of bodies yet full of the grace we all spun. In the aftermath, I read Rumi who makes graceful sense. I sit in the field of the One, the Most Subtle Read more
Outside the march of wide-eyed windows hovered a soft, gray dove of a day. People swathed in loose garb pooled on clumps of blankets. I knew them well. Seekers. Those with a faint curiosity rarely curve into my orbit. Seekers, often not understanding why they have driven or flown exhausting distances, come to struggle with frustrations that have been brewing for months or years. They settle on the pale wood floor which is harder and less reassuring than their comfortable couch at home, a home which may not feel like home anymore because obligations have filled every corner and pushed their souls out onto the back porch. Read more
A dervish turns in white garb. A beautiful performance, beautiful costume. The tall hat, special leather shoes, a long circular skirt hemmed with rope to pull the fabric into a disc is crafted to be seen. But for most turning hours, dervishes whirl in soft, old clothing, in the shadows, feet bare and hair ragged. It is not the look of it, but the true heart heating… Read more
I ruminate loosely on illness and art because I burst with creativity after months of stillness, immobility, compression. For me there is no difference between art and mysticism; they are the faces of one another.
Last night, at dinner, my cousin told me I am profound. A great compliment. I didn’t feel bashful, however. No, I relaxed. I think this is true and it helped to hear it. This is who I am. Relax and be profound. Read more
Many of us write journals, diaries, confessions. These are each different in tone and in self-relationship, yet each is personal–we speak to ourself. I write daily in my journal, so it could be a diary (the word ‘diary’ being a daily record of events and experiences, coming from the Latin ‘dies’ for ‘day’) but I am including the notion of confession not for its connotation of sin but rather of disclosure. I write to know what I think and feel, to hear myself, sometimes to reveal myself to myself. Here are excerpts. Read more
Returning from April at Ravenrock
A month at Ravenrock focused on Barn construction has meant standing in the swirl of plaster dust, in piles of construction detritus, mousetraps, clutter, looking out the newly installed glass doors. My body expanding, growing into the ground. The Barn is no longer a farm building; it is a temple. A presence enveloping me. A grandeur, and a large timeless purpose. Path. Read more