One evening, near the end of the 2018 Movement Monastery retreat, we did Witnessed Self-witness. It yielded for me what our minds might consider a surrealistic episode, yet for the body this is a normal perceptual way.
The exercise: Witnessed Self-witness. Couples sat cross-legged, facing one another murmuring. One person spoke with eyes closed, tracking sensation in the body and speaking out loud these self-witnessings while the partner listened. In this retreat, we have explored listening, or visually witnessing, in a new way. We moved beyond responsibility for and guardianship of our partner, and opened to being influenced. In the Old French and Old English, the meaning of ‘influence’ was “the flowing in of ethereal fluid affecting human destiny.” Read more
After a week at Ravenrock, safely sequestered in off-grid wilds away from discord and furor, I have quieted down internally enough to experience stillness. The natural world has pushed aside the ephemera lurking on my phone. Here, Stillness is enormous. Stillness is an Entity, like a great Greek god-head of wind. It carts my buzz into the clouds, scatters it over the canyon. Finally, I am touched by Stillness, wrapped in Stillness. My change begins. 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
Art in the Sky
One reason I love the southwest is that I like good art. The sky here is good art. One has to like the predominance of blues and whites as well as the pinto pony patches sliding over the land’s crags and bumps. The magician plays the light, revealing and hiding, scuttling along the eternal, unmoving rockface. These variations change more swiftly than the languid seasonal flow of light. My surrounding in not a reliable sundial of elastic shades reaching and shrinking readably as a clock. Read more
The Yellow House
I woke with a strong sense of Dad in the Yellow House descending the creaking stair in his white button-down shirt and khaki shorts, holding the sturdy rails. I miss him, gone now for a year and three months. I miss the world that orbited him like moons and rings. Polished mahogany, candlesticks, boats, dressing for dinner, music and conversation, winding a ticking clock. Bits of his being-ness linger in those details. I follow that trail, groping my way into our love—that quiet, secret garden.
Worlds orbit the people we love. It is the magnetism drawing the table, the light of the afternoon, the movement, words, sounds, and smells into a whole. A museum never has this feeling. It is never enlivened, no matter how beautifully arranged. Read more
Ravenrock is named Ravenrock because it has ravens and rocks. That’s my elevator speech—or I guess now my tweet. But of course there is more to the story. What’s in a name? Hope. Intention. A way to disguise or heighten the truth of the named entity. The Sufis chant the ‘names’ of the Divine. The chanting is called remembrance. Saying the names—which are generally attribute, like ‘contentment’, or ‘compassion’—means remembering the Source by aligning with and embodying the attribute. Read more
I opened the lid on my huge water tank and dipped a little pitcher in to get hot hot sun-heated water. Then I sat naked in a green plastic chair in the late afternoon heat-of-the-day on the Barn’s south side shaving my legs. I fully groom my body in sections–shaving pits one day, legs another, washing hair periodically. Read more
While I wiled away my hours on the East Coast this winter, Si Avila and Will Martinez have been steadily working up at Ravenrock. It was a fantastic surprise to arrive and see all the progress. A dance floor!!! A fantastic dance floor. And more. Here are a few pictures ~ Read more
I look out at Hermits Peak in New Mexico glowing fantastically in early day light. I let my eyes relax. My natural gaze, not reaching or glazing, just my eyes relaxing on this vision, leaning my visual capacity against the beauty. The wind swirls around me, sweet with the rain that tamped down the dust yesterday. Having the morning quiet to feel my eyes look and see, because so often they scan what is there and trigger it into what isn’t there, or take a shard of something– a table edge or a pine tree, for instance — and turn it into another tree from another time, mixing the two trees into one tree rather than just seeing what is right there Read more
Late September on Apache Mesa
A towhee rustles in the scrub oak. For this I love the oak.
Sun dimples two bright dots on rounded haunches of the blue ceramic Japanese tea cup Kathy gave me. Its delicate craquelure beneath shiny lacquer is a map to unknown lands. My heart wanders along these, digressing languidly. All the inner maps in my life. Read more