Free your heart and come with me—to Africa, of course!

When you find yourself suicidal by 9 years of age, and graced by a life that teaches you to thrive—turning the toxic into the beautiful, you also find yourself quickly moved by children in need. I am such a man.

I suggest you grab a cup of tea or coffee if interested, or a glass of wine, and allow yourself to slow down a bit and allow this post into your system.

This post is an invitation to Dare to care! Invite in the personal benefits of  investing your attention, imagination and heart. Consider that the abundance of joy and resources in your life can support the birthing of opportunity and potentiality in the life of another. You might, for example…

Ok, so here’s the deal: I don’t know what I’m doing other than following my heart and I’m inviting you to join me! Yup. I’m inviting you to take a risk with me and send your heart along on this journey into an adventure of human need and vision and hope.

You can make a tax-deductible donation here:

Finding human need is plenty easy for me these days but finding vision and hope for the future, that’s more challenging. I believe one has to literally choose, least ways I do, being the ‘master of our attention’ and withdraw some away from all that threatens our comfort and lives…and place it instead and intentionally on where we find awe and inspiration and beauty.

This choosing to reclaim the attention and focus of one’s heart and spirit and mind from the daily news cycle and social media cyclone is nothing less than the work of claiming one’s soul away from those who would use our attention for ends of their own. So the work is to choose and to claim the dreams, values and behaviors we want to see propagated and cultivated in the world—and to put our energy into their emergence and harvesting.

That’s why I’m inviting you to free your attention and heart and come with me, in spirit anyway, to Africa! I want to look at the stars and moon and sun from under the African sky too, from under the sky that witnessed our human emergence on the planet.

I want to stand on the ground that gave birth to the Mitochondrial Eve, the Mitochondrial Eve Migrationgenetic one rooting to which all of humanity belongs. Yes, as I suggest in the video, we are like the Aspen and as soul medicine for our time, this is how they speak to me, reconnecting me to the memory and knowledge of our common belonging to the tree of life.

I’ve never been to Africa, to the mother root and land, and confess to an anxiety that keeps my excitement company. Nevertheless desperation drives me to investing in making this trip and inviting you to invest as well in caring about this place and the people I want to introduce you to. In return you will receive:

  • The benefits that come to a heart willing to open to the world as it is, willing  to say, “Yes! I care. I will witness;”
  • The benefits to soul and spirit of one choosing action, choosing to be the determiner of one’s attention, purpose and meaning in life;
  • The benefits of investing in a future you choose to nurture into being:

✓ Homeless and impoverished children receiving care and love from within a community grounded in love;
✓ Orphans and at risk children, including young girls, receiving formal educations they otherwise would not;
✓ Children learning the practical arts of self-love and care for others and peace making skills, and the skills of permaculture and organic farming. They are learning that the soil will reciprocally care for and love them if they care for and love the soil;
✓ At-risk children housed in safety and receiving three meals a day…food sustainably grown where they are living;
✓ A community self-sustaining in food, water and energy, revitalizing local forests and the land and sending out ripples of skills and visions for a world living in harmony with the earth and each other.

This is the Magarini Childrens Centre and Organic Demonstration Farm. And these are some of the things moving me too; they are why I am traveling to see again my friend Emmanuel and to visit the Centre.

First meeting with Resilient Emmanuel Karisa Baya

“Creating a natural relationship between the soil and the people.” — Emmanuel Karisa Baya

I first met Emmanuel Karisa Baya in February of 2014, where we were attending a conference in Oregon with Arnie and Amy Mindell, on the inner arts of Peace Making. You can read further of my meeting with Emmanuel here, but suffice to say, I felt his passionate and committed love of the land and of the children in my heart. I felt too the despair and loneliness and empty aching belly of a young boy left alone in the world–working in the fields for food and yet determinedly managing to get an education and to say “Yes!” to life. And I knew his experience within my body and soul as my own. And I felt too his eyes and heart looking across the breakfast table at me and saying, “I need help.”

We might as well have been two

“God Bless My Friends And My Enemy” — Basque Aspen Art (Barker Family)

aspen trees looking at each other because we both knew we shared the same root. And we each felt the other sensing the presence and being of the other as brother through this shared rooting. Sometimes a man’s only job is to show up and listen for what wants to emerge. I listened and began to find myself among a small network of committed friends of Emmanuel’s and the Center’s.

The year 2016 brought in continuation of severe drought and I and an international collection of Magarini’s friends found ourselves repeatedly caught in the urgent need to raise emergency food funds and supplies… rather than focusing on raising funds for a ‘bore hole,’ or well, as we wanted to be doing. Crowdfunding and the heroic generosity of donors ($32,000) brought the drilling of the well into reality this last July, to great celebration.

Subsequent turmoil in Kenya’s national elections and fundraising challenges delayed installation of a solar water pump until now, November 2017. Here is a video of gratitude from the Centre and Emmanuel, testifying to and celebrating the difference this anticipated water supply will make to the Children and community there:

The children’s and Centre’s immediate needs include:

  • $3,250 will complete funding for a solar water pump & panels with a security fence, providing the Centre and local community with a secure local source;
  • $2000 Holiday to Remember funding for food and celebrations for the Season upon us. (This provides traditional celebratory food for the community as well, including protein, something the children rarely receive;)
  • $16,000 to furnish 100 girls with 50 steel bunk beds and bedding and mosquito netting, personal & laundry wash buckets/basins in the recently completed girl’s dormitory, eliminating the risks of predation as they walk to and from the Centre for food and schooling ($160 will provide this for one girl);
  • $240 monthly funding for three staff care takers for the dormitory;
  • $35,000 for the construction of two buildings, a kitchen (cooking currently occurs over open fires) and a dining hall, to facilitate feeding the children once they are living on site.
  • $100 for a professional survey to assess needs and costs for a gravity fed drip irrigation system on 8 of the farm’s 12 bore hole adjacent land;
  • $? yet unknown costs for the drip irrigation system;
  • $? for the construction of walls for the Centre’s open air pole barn type school classroom buildings (Cement floors were a critical addition this last year;)
  • $? to bring internet service to the Centre;
  • $? to establish Centre-wide solar power.

I’d love to see us raise $60,000 by year’s end. And more, since the dream is to create an EcoVillage and teaching centre where you can come, witness the awe of Africa and Kenya and remember our common deep rooting as a path forward into a more beautiful world for all.

If the above needs and dreams look daunting to you… know they can feel that way to me also; and it takes little thinking to realize the meeting of any one of these physical goals will but lead to more. So this cannot be a journey to an end but one as a way of living and being in a world where its needs are invitations to our spirits and creativity.

This is how I would meet my role as a fundraiser here, a role I do not step into naturally by inclination and certainly not by training. I am a man of heart however and I’m sharing mine with you here. It’s unlikely you’ll have time to get any cash to me before I leave (Monday, 11/20), though I’ll happily carry whatever is received.

Tax deductible donations can be made at the Crowdrise campaign page here, and through paypal at the hosting non-profit International Peace Group’s web site.

But I’m asking for something more than your money here, whether you contribute financially or not. I’m inviting your heart and attention to come with me on this journey into human need and dreams. And I believe, into a developing model of care and of a future of reciprocal thrivability for humans and for the soil, for the earth.

I travel in desperation and hope. I invite you to risk this with me. The ripples of small acts of attention and kindness can travel through untold numbers of hearts. That’s part of why I call it wild resiliency; because when the heart opens, who knows where such might lead us?

Tax deductible donation

Finally, by way of “Thank You!” for your attention and for the generosity of your heart, wherever it might turn, allow yourself to be moved by this short video of gratitude from the Centre, released in March of 2017:

Magarini Children’s Centre and Organic Demonstration Farm web page and Facebook page

2016 Annual Report Cover photo2016 Annual Report Link: Annual Report 2016-Donors

Magarini Children Centre and Organic Farming Demonstration Farm, Kenya 
Kenyan Charitable Registration #SS/MLD/MAG/446/3/2009 


Related Posts:
Watching this video will move and inspire you
Forbidden Knowledge and the Aspen Body
Loneliness & Presence: What the Aspen Know

Posted in 4 The Ecological Self, Aspen-Body Wisdom, Beyond Sustainability, Events, Indigenous Science/Wisdom, Inspirations & Strategies from Nature, Personal Stories, Resources | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The one question the world asks of you

Fresh Black Bear print in sandWho are you?
The world asked of me
when I was yet too young
to have found my voice
could not escape lips opened
but sound, like breath
was not yet safe or mine to claim

Answering this question
poised by parents first
echoed by God and the world
became my great quest
one in which I discovered
time and again I am not
not who I thought I was
not who they say I am
not who they claim me to be.

I am no small thing
confined to an identity
defined reduced or imprisoned
by the social constructs
of job or economic status
race gender politics or religion
all names pointing toward imaginary
roles of mere human construction
un-referenced by the natural world of tangibility and awe
soil and rock, wind and water, sun and moon

I am rather more like that wind
over still water at times
or like the fresh hind footprint of a black bear in the sand
or like mystery whom we cannot see
coming or going but known
only by the effects
of its movements, like something beyond naming
embodied in flesh

I am surly a lover of this world, too
a lover of people and critters
and learning to be a lover of self
on this grand adventure of finding itself
my answer to the original question
Home at last, in the world as it is

Note: Photo credit goes to my dear friend Tom Rourke; taken on a recent learning journey adventure into Canyon de Chelly. These annual trips are co-hosted with my non-profit partner, Cheryl Slover-Linett of Lead Feather.


I am reminded here of the Carl Sagan quote: “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

Posted in 3 The Power of Arrival, Cosmology, Deep Ecology, Inspirations & Strategies from Nature, Navigating the Narrows, Personal Stories, Poetry of Resiliency, Self-Change, Shamanism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Spinning the Magic of Communion

Aspen Rock Lichen I took a walk today
wandering game trails faintly worn
traveling deep into the forest
where beings of ancient ages live
centuries old, some
others, uncounted thousands

I did pause along the way
for hands to touch presence in an other
allowing arms the longing of embrace
saying “Hello” to those calling my name
or perhaps just flirting with my attention
asking occasional questions of elders as curiosity pricks
offering gratitude and blessings
prayers too from my heart
for their well-being

We live in perilous times after all
a time when men forget
as a great amnesia sweeps the land
and men no longer talk with the trees
or know how to spin the magic of communion
suspending identities of separation long enough
for listening to the stillness within
an intercourse of breath resonating as one life force
tree and man reaching roots deep into soil in partnerships of feeding
grasping there power for stretching and holding arms out-lifted
intelligent in the transforming of energy into nourishment

Oh but if we men too
might learn to receive life’s nourishment
so directly and drop like fall
leaves and branches no longer serving
we might re-member and make whole again
the bodies of our belonging


Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, 4 The Ecological Self, Aspen-Body Wisdom, Deep Ecology, Eco/Positive/Depth Psychology, Indigenous Science/Wisdom, Inspirations & Strategies from Nature, Intelligence in Nature, Poetry of Resiliency, Shamanism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Full Moon Prayer — for Lovers of Darkness Too!

Full Moon in CloudsThe sun is not yet up.
The moon, not yet down.
I come to sit,
my shadow and I,
in radiance of natural fullness.

Teach me, I pray:
That I may let life
so radiate out of me,
wholly at one
with my nature too.

And let me remember always
that but for the darkness within
I could never know the beauty of light
nor be in-formed or inspired
by the stars who love the night too.


I am a lover of the moon. Perhaps because I am a lover of light, and of darkness too.

Of course I love the sun as well, but its blazing light is too fierce to stare into. Its fierceness  drives darkness into shadows as though into hiding. While the moon itself might seem to be a lover of the light and of darkness too, holding each in a kind of mutual regenerative balance.

I seek that balance. I am tired of fighting against myself and the world. I am tired of fighting the shadows of my own anger and rage, of my fears and insecurities, of my hunger for fame and attention and for the peace of anonymity too. I am tired of fighting against the Janus faces of evil and of swearing allegiance to the god of self-serving goodness. I am tired of looking outside myself for affirmation of the potency of the life living within.

I grow tired of strengthening the very things I dislike in myself and in others by fighting against them. One would think our worship of antibiotics might have taught us by now that we cannot destroy our inner terrorists, our shames and addictions, or those in the world by provoking their immune systems. But we are too self-absorbed with the magic of our technological prowess to look beyond the mirror we stare into.

Possessing the technological capacity to unleash “fire and furry unlike anything the world has ever seen before,” possessing the harnessed powers of the sun to unleash “shock and awe” upon our enemies, to strike them with drone like lightning from the avenging hand of Zeus, we forget that such unleashed righteous blindness kills innocents; makes terrorists of us and propagates seeds of hatred throughout the world.

We fail to see how we see the world through the selective placement of our attention, how light and darkness are partners in a cosmic dance of creation. And in failing to notice the creative powers of our perception, we fail to own responsibility for our part in the dance.

I want to know how to hold this dance in a cauldron of love and compassion, for myself and for others. I want to know how to be at one with life, to drink from that spring’s source so deeply I leave nothing within untouched by the transformational power of this potion.

These lines from Rainer Maria Rilke come to mind:

“If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.”

This poem and post were originally drafted in the nights preceding a full moon visit into Canyon de Chelly, co-hosting a learning journey adventure with Cheryl Slover-Linett of the non-profit  We were blessed with clear skies and a dance of light and shadow in the steep walled canyon, day and night. Until we can see this same dance within our own psyche and soul, we will be ruled by the darkness of shame and denial, by the archetypes ruling self-destruction.

The ruling darkness of our times makes it seem unlikely we might make this transformational journey collectively. But then, that is not our responsibility. What belong to you and I is to make this journey—personally; this is our greatest possible contribution to the collective. And it is in this journey of return, from head to our hearts, somatically coming home to our senses, that we can come to claim the birthrights of belonging, of innate worthiness, of wholeness, as our natural lineage.

This journey requires nothing less than a surrender and embrace of a deep, ancient and living intelligence in which the trees and canyons, the stars and the moon again become our teachers and lovers. And what a joy they are to know!Full Moon Set in Canyon de ChellyFull Moon setting in Canyon de Chelly, from base of Spider Rock, 10/2017

Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, Indigenous Science/Wisdom, Inspirations & Strategies from Nature, Personal Resiliency, Poetry of Resiliency | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

One in love with forest folks

Resilient Mule DeerCarelessly I spooked them
startled them into running
maybe 40 yards before stopping
turning in curiosity to see
or smell if possible who or what
walked in among them so unannounced
as to almost be one of them.

But no, he’s a two-legged one
moving slowly and singing something
a lover’s melody about awe and beauty
dark doe eyes and tan fur and long ears
slender legs of grace and lips for choosing
and a white rump as tails lift in flight…

I shall dress more carefully next time
being sure to wear my antlers
and wrap in my tan blanket of fur
remembering to walk alertly
as I sniff the air for odors
left by the women kind for such as I
one in love with forest folks
whether they be wearers of fur or bark
scales or feathers or fins matter not
for I am no discriminator
against this deep self of origin and nourishment
my family of my belonging.

Posted in 4 The Ecological Self, Community Resilience, Deep Ecology, Eco/Positive/Depth Psychology, Ecology, Indigenous Science/Wisdom, Inspirations & Strategies from Nature, Poetry of Resiliency, Shamanism, Wild Joy | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Choose Your Teachers Well!

Butterfly on handThere are many teachers in this world
who desire your loyalty
or perhaps you prefer claiming
one of them for your own but either way
choose your teachers well.
Preachers and Politicians too

for you do indeed become like unto them.
Or maybe you prefer choosing one
affirming who you already are?
That too is a menu option.

Take some folks claiming Jesus, for example.
If their idea of him is racist and homophobic and sexist
so shall they be or become.

If one’s idea of God
is of good in cosmic struggle and warfare against evil
then one will create enemies
and allies to play the roles.
Muslims, Christians, Jews, gays, Blacks, gun  lovers…will do.

The point is
have someone to hate and be against
someone to blame
the evils of the world on
someone to be better than.
Welfare recipients, drug addicts, criminals, Mexicans,
immigrants, Israelis, Iranians, Republicans or Democrats…
any will do.

Resilient Aspen & Lichen on RockMe, for teachers I choose rather butterflies and flowers, the trees and rocks
Fire and Air and Water
I choose Earth and Stars
Moon and Sun and this body I wear.

I choose to listen to what is within
mirroring what is above and what is below
the two as one converging—
here. In me.


“I think I’m finally ready for a teacher,” I heard a friend say the other day. And living in Santa Fe, NM, it is not uncommon for one here to hear advice or declarations prefaced by, “My teacher….”

On the other hand, with roots in the plains of West Texas, I know the second sentence of personal introductions in Amarillo might consist of an exchange something like:
“What church do you go to?”
This question is answered with the name of a local brick and mortar human construction.
“Oh, isn’t … the preacher there?”

Not so distant, I suppose, is the friend who said later, of another friend of his whom he’d just introduced me to:
“We went to school together.”
“Oh. Remind me where that was?, I asked.”
“Browns.” he continues, laughing, “Funny, that’s the first thing everyone asks back there: ‘Where did you go to school?'”

Identity, and the underlying questions of, “Who am I?”, “Who are you?”, are the uniting themes here. And the search for politicians or teachers or preachers or schools, or cars or clothes, that reflect back to us something of what we want to see or affirm in ourselves is usually a primary criteria; we humans seem to innately categorize ourselves and the world around as means of orienting.

We seem to hate feeling lost, enough so that, rather than confront the insecurities of disorientation or of ‘not knowing,’ we pretend our categorizations of the world and each other are real. Take a corollary of the identity questions above. For example: Who am I not? With a Fundamentalist preacher as a father, whose self-declared expertise was reality, I learned as a child: I am not… Baptist, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Republican, Black, Mexican, female, gay, homophobic, animal or angry….

We didn’t get angry in my family, cause that was a sin. And when dad “blistered” my child-white butt with his leather belt, till it bled, it wasn’t cause he was angry. He was simply trying to save my soul from the Devil. From sin. From eternal damnation and suffering in Hell fire and brimstone. He later said, also, “I thought you had too much pride.”

Now pride is a sin. So is being a Catholic or Baptist or Methodist or… being of any tribe but our particular varietal Christian flavor of God’s only one true Church and the only people possessing the Truth. That was us; God’s people. We were the only few humans on the planet not lost.

Now I spent many decades lost and in recovery from that God and father and childhood. The days and years have now blessed me with many moons spent exploring the wilds of deserts, forests and rivers and have revealed this interesting thing about being lost:

Only those lost can be found.
And only those who know themselves lost,
care to be found.

In today’s world of increasing economic and social and religious and political insecurities, it is natural people reach and grasp for the surety of knowing, for confidence in the realities of our naming. It requires a certain spiritual maturity to stand in the presence of a burning bush in the desert, in  the presence of an un-consuming fire, and to not shrink the encountered mystery by naming it.

We ourselves are that mystery. Life is both the consuming and the un-consuming fire, feeding off itself like the great Ouroboros. Choose your teachers of this territory well, I suggest, lest they shrink-wrap your life and identity into a worldview of separation that is less than the wonder and awe of the wholeness you are.

In this great unknown is the ground of our innate belonging, to each other and to ourselves, for there is not one without the other. The human, and the other than human—we two are woven of the same fabric.

These wild ones, the other than human, they too are who we are. We deny them respect and relationship at our peril. So my teachers anyway, Wind in the Trees, whisper into my heart .

Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, 3 The Power of Arrival, Eco/Positive/Depth Psychology, Indigenous Science/Wisdom, Personal Stories, Poetry of Resiliency, Politics, Shamanism | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Healing of the World Depends on this Courage

The Healing of the World
Depends on this Courage

Woke into a thick 2AM
darkness swirling around me.
I withdrew, inside, I confess
until at last I found the comfort
and safety of stillness and silence

“Your job, today, is to love yourself
fully and wholly,” I heard
a voice whispering into my heart
“as if the healing of the world
depends on this courage
turned loose upon itself”

This reflection emerged as my 2017 equinox prayer, in the thick darkness of my night. “I wish I knew what to do,” someone said to me the day before, as we spoke of the tumultuous state of the world.

“We all do,” I said in resonance. Sitting in meditation, haunted by my expressed desire, I listened for a response to my hunger. I am not disappointed. Bringing love to the wholeness of who we are, to our own anger rage stuffed feelings addictions hurts and loneliness…, is an act of deep personal transformation.

Sometimes it is easier to try changing the world than addressing the violence we do to ourselves. Yet we will forever perpetuate violence until we turn this courage loose upon our own heart. And then we shall come to know the world as self, too.


Posted in 3 The Power of Arrival, Eco/Positive/Depth Psychology, Emotional Intelligence, Navigating the Narrows, Personal Resiliency, Poetry of Resiliency, Wild Wisdom | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Standing at the Creative Center

Resilient Circle at the Center of lifeStanding at the Creative Center

What would it be like
allowing the world to be as it is
and you as you are

To see deeply into the nature of each
as reflections of the other

What is above mirroring
what is below
as within so without

And thus stand in stillness at the center
as one who knows

All things come home to here
when seen through eyes of wonder and curiosity
as medicine for the soul


I have long been taken by the question of, What is it to say “Yes!” to life? And by this I intend to include the whole of life, it’s sorrows and griefs and it’s joys and delights. I intend to include the judgmental harshness I can feel for myself or others and the tender love that moves in me too.

An early model for me, in an ironic sort of way, is Christ on the Cross in his expression of, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” It was this humanized Christ that interested me as a youth far more than the glossy image of a divine being who never questioned life or God.

And so by my own statement above that,
All things come home to here
when seen through eyes of wonder and curiosity
as medicine for the soul,
I do not intend an implication of some divine force out there sending medicine for my soul in the form of two rotator cuff surgeries on the right shoulder in a 5 month period; or surgery for pancreatic cancer for my friend who did not have pancreatic cancer; or Lyme disease to my friend who struggles with that; or the loss of a 3 month old  baby to another friend…. Such life challenges are endless assaults on our proclamations of loyalty to our gods .

Nor do I intend the new age spittle or true believer surrender of, “That’s the way it’s supposed to be,” as I confront my own loyalties of identity. I desire a sharper edge capable of cutting more finely and deeper into my soul.

I intend rather a proclamation of intended willingness to be moved and changed by life, to feel deeply, to allow in and be informed by the mass human migrations occurring in places like Syria and Somalia; to open my heart to the plight of countless species rushing into extinction on our planet—due to a human unwillingness of accepting responsibility for the impact of our modern life on others; to feel the struggle of third world farmers in places like Kenya who can no longer count on the once reliable monsoon rains for their crops.

I intend to take as medicine for my soul the racial discrimination expressed by my ancestors who purchased ‘one young buck’, and my own unconscious racial biases yet living. I intend the courage to feel the pain of what it is to be discriminated against, to be feared, for being gay or transgender or…Muslim or Christian or….

I intend to take as medicine my own fears of not being enough in the world, good enough or strong enough. I intend to make medicine for my soul out of all these human conditions and out of the deep hunger within for the love of life, for the unique expression of what it is to be me, for the gentle compassionate way I would hold my weaknesses and my strengths.

I intend to make beauty out of life’s miseries and poisons and conundrums by generating and embodying the very energies I would see more of in the world. From this still point of alchemical transformation, one pointed to by all the mystery traditions in their own way, I crave the capacity to say, “Yes!”, to life, to our world, and to my existence.

This is the power alluded to when Victor Frankel wrote of his awakening in the Nazi concentration camp:

“The experiences of camp life show that we do have choice of action … “Everything can be taken from us, but one thing: The last of the human freedoms – To choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, To choose one’s own way … Fundamentally, therefore, any of us can, even under such circumstances decide what shall become of us — mentally and spiritually.”

This is the perceptual power alluded to by Christ, in The Gospel of Thomas, The Nag Hammadi Manuscript, when he said, “The kingdom of heaven is spread upon the earth and men do not see it.”

Then there are the Hermetic texts from The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, which state: “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.” (Gnostic Warrior)

We live in times of great disruption and such times invite from within us the creation of great medicine. Nature is one I turn to daily; and silence and stillness and reflection; simple presence to the breath that moves me. And I turn to the medicines of awe and wonder to aid me in the daily alchemical transformations required for me to say Yes! to life. Here is Neil deGrasse Tyson inviting us in:

Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, 3 The Power of Arrival, Personal Resiliency, Poetry of Resiliency, Quotes, Science | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wiping Love Off the Mirror

Woke in the night
to the ancient voices
of denigration and unworthiness
to never-can and never-will
be enough for the self-love
of relaxing into “just as I am.”

Caught the vocal little bugger
in the act of repeating his mantras
as though he owns my ears and heart
“You are not enough…
man enough or good enough
Look at what you didn’t complete
yesterday or in your life
Look at all the projects…
You never finish what you start!”

That’s when I saw Perfectionism
clearly enough to grab hold of the parasitic sucker
and so I held tight despite
resilient sinewy winding convolutions
of justifications and accusations
of truths and partials until I saw

How even my truth-telling to self
so easily becomes yet more self-critiquing
through humiliation and belittlement
just more strategies for flagellation
for improving and making worthy
what is already whole.

It is a hard thing
to see such about one’s self
this tendency for self-destruction
for stealing success from your own heart
for wiping love off the mirror of one’s soul.

Wow. That was an intense unleashing of much I would rather not look at.

How many decades have I been on this journey of self-improvement anyway? And to then recognize the squirrel-wheel that self-improvement so easily is; and always is when there is no foundational grounding in innate worthiness and belonging.

I’m reminded here of the Rumi quote: “It is not about seeking for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself you have built against it.”

The same might be said of our sense of worthiness and belonging, of aliveness itself. Achievement and productivity easily become a short lived narcotic on a cultural path of false promises.

And what a journey this is, to restore into our hearts and souls and spirits that which is antithetical to a consumerist culture. Would it not collapse in some way, might it discover a path into transformation were we each to know the freedom arising out of recognizing and owning the beauty of who we already are?

The spirals of our breakthroughs into greater freedom always come in stages of revelations or recognitions, releasing yet a bit more of what does not serve while embracing or saying “Yes!” to a just bit more of life, and to who we are too.

Let the journey continue for each of us, this learning to see the violence of where and how we diminish ourselves and each other. And let us say “Yes!” once again to the innate wholeness and worthiness of who we already are. This is the wild resiliency within… awakening.

Note: Interesting that the phrase from my youth, “Just as I am,” shows up here. It’s the title and a refrain from gospel song beloved in fundamentalist and Evangelical circles. And it’s a song I grew to despise as I saw into the manipulative messaging of innate unworthiness embedded within such worldviews.

We are each on a long spiraling journey. Self-compassion is as valuable an ally as one can find.

Granite Swirls from Grand Canyon


Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, 7 The Shadow Realms, Eco/Positive/Depth Psychology, Emotional Intelligence, Personal Resiliency, Personal Stories, Poetry of Resiliency, Self-Change | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Getting Naked to Self and the World

“There is nothing you can see that is not a flower;
there is nothing you can think that is not the moon.”

— Bashō Matsuo, Zen poet 1644-1694

Allowing one’s self a wander into the wild is to invite a slowing down into your life. Even as the mind opens with curiosity as to patterns previously unnoticed, a stillness descends.

The feet find their way along first one game trail and then another, going nowhere but where ever they feel led in the moment. So it was I found myself walking into the middle of a near dozen mule deer on an exquisite June evening in the Sangre de Cristos, as the southern terminus of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and New Mexico are called.

The evening still carried the heat of a near Solstice day though we were on a shaded east facing slope in an area of mixed pine and aspens. The air carried musky scents of deer now too, as well as that of summer soil and heated tree needles and leaves.

I cannot say who was the more surprised to discover this human amidst the lanky four legged ones. They were women all, so far as I could see; mostly adults but with a few yearlings among them.

Despite our mutual surprise there was no startle reaction. They stared a bit before returning to grazing, though a couple thought to slowly begin a kind of high step sneak-away walk; just in case. I left my gaze in a soft focus while continuing a rhythm of observing, walking a bit, stopping and observing more, intentional steps and breaths.

Finding myself in their presence, their beauty and grace enlivened the experiences of awe and humility and of belonging within me. I eventually walked out of their company, and a few of them out of mine, with the same I-am-forest consciousness I first entered among them with.

It was from the presence of this experience still vibrating within that an hour or so later I sat down and shot this video, curious to see what might reveal itself to me. My reflections do not actually start until about 49 seconds in. I recommend giving yourself the gift of slowing down enough to let the stillness of the forest in as you wait. That means taking a few intentional breaths.

And if this presents too much tension in your system, notice it, take a breath… and then click ahead to that time in the video. A transcription follows.

I have come to realize, that every now and then, a man should crawl out of the skin he puts on to be human. And become naked again to himself and the world.

And alow the realization that he is man, or woman if you will, only because he is also tree, and grass, and leaf, and pine needle, and deer, and antler, and serpent, and robin, grouse, hawk, rabbit, cricket, lizard. Name what you will. He, you, I are all these things too. They live within me, as they live within you.

That butterfly that becomes the chrysalis, that crawls out of its own skin eventually, after a molecular regeneration into another being, that transformative capacity lives within us too. And in that is hope for ourselves personally, and for the world.


Note: “That butterfly that becomes the chrysalis,” is a phrase that will undoubtedly catch the attention if not hackle the scientifically informed or literal minded among us. And rightly so.

More ‘accurately’ of course, it is the caterpillar that spins the cocoon, becoming chrysalis becoming butterfly. The phrase is just what came out of my mouth at the time so I allow it poetic license and find myself a bit intrigued by what my unconscious was pointing toward.

From this mythopoetic perspective, the phrase is perfect and is a reinforcement of the the preceding message: “Every now and then a man should crawl out of the skin he puts on to be human….” The caterpillar and butterfly and chrysalis are of course one being even as is a man and a butterfly, whether the man possesses the gift of sight or wisdom to see and know this or not.

“Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, a veritable butterfly, enjoying itself to the full of its bent, and not knowing it was Chuang Chou. Suddenly I awoke, and came to myself, the veritable Chuang Chou. Now I do not know whether it was then I dreamt I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.”

Butterfly on hand

Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, 4 The Ecological Self, Indigenous Science/Wisdom, Inspirations & Strategies from Nature, Personal Stories, Poetry of Resiliency | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment