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 Leadfeather.org.  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 .

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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:

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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

What if I were to tell you

What if I were to tell you
everything you learned in church and school
of how to be who you are
is wrong?

You know the truth of this.

But how will you live
allowing this shattering awareness into your life?

How will you navigate and find your way,
you blind man walking by candlelight amidst milky galaxies
within and above and below and all around?

Sometimes it is easier to forget
you ever knew this inner light.
Tempting, not to pick up this ownership of your life.

But then you remember, like a seed awakening
the aliveness of awe and wonder that love to bubble
up-from and down-through
your feet and groin and heart and throat and mind

and you know again
what it is to drink at the spring’s source
the thirst quenching Water of Life

every sip restoring and informing the truth of who you are


Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, Eco/Positive/Depth Psychology, Inspirations & Strategies from Nature, Poetry of Resiliency, Spirituality | Leave a comment

I saw the most wondrous thing today!

I saw the most wondrous thing today
A Tree—an oak actually
her long gangly arms reaching skyward
gnarly roots stretching out all around
together weaving a tapestry of community
fungi and bacteria and other plants and trees too
all in conversation and communion

And me, for a moment belonging tooResilienty Gangly Tree
breathing this tree’s oxygen exhaled and
she inhaling my CO2 gratefully offered back
as though we held hands like lovers
the two of us each alive
sensing and touching and exploring the world around
through our own particular gifts of intelligence and senses

For a moment she had me convinced
and I bathed in a kind of soul medicine
stood in the presence of an awake being
one capable of feeling and knowing and caring
the universe holographically mirroring itself and then

And then I snapped back on myself
like a rubber band stretched too far in the hand
and I remember my proper human superiority in the world

It is after-all, rationally, only a thing you look at
my father and mother and teachers, preachers and politicians of the world say
inanimate, useful for shade and firewood and lumber
yet something strange is happening within as I listen to these inherited truths

The world grows poorer, somehow less
as though all the butterflies and rainbows are being sucked out of it
it’s like a great amnesia is spreading across my vision
and I…I grow foggy as though with Alzheimer’s

I can’t seem to remember who I am
yet something about the light of the moon
glistening like falling jewels off shimmering tree leaves
scratches at the doors of my memory

Like so many of these eco-mytho-poetic reflections that come out of me, I did not see where this one was heading when it started. I only felt this sense of awe and gratitude at the experience of sharing presence with this grand tree and then came a great sense of grief for our cultural loss: co-creatively and reciprocally partaking in the world as full community members.

I see this as a kind of developmental of ‘loss of orientation.’ History suggests it had to be this way for a time. How else might humanity ever discover our true place on the Tree of Life except we forget it for a time? We are now however entering the Age of Consequences for this story of human separation from and dominance over nature.

The consequent great forgetting within the human soul and psyche, of our place in a world of interbeing, of living embedded within a universe of presence—is an unspeakable blow to the collective and personal spirit. It is this wound that leaves us insatiably unsatisfied with substitutions of possessions and power.

The antidote for the wound-of-forgetting is to eat again from the mystical and mythological Tree of Life, the Tree of Oneness. Innate response to nature’s beauty, such as awe and wonder and gratitude, are carriers of this healing available to us but for the opening to them. Their energy is transformational and as practices, they are cultivable.

Nurture yours, for in this is our hope in an age when little boys in men’s bodies would rule the world.

Posted in 2 Our Ground of Being, Cosmology, Eco/Positive/Depth Psychology, Indigenous Science/Wisdom, Mythology, Personal Resiliency, Poetry of Resiliency | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

When Choices are Nightmares

Tell me,Ghost Tree
have you ever walked
into a nightmare twice?
The second time
of your own choosing?

I intend to ask
not what you might think.
What I want to know is

Do you know
the deepest longings of your soul?

Do you walk life’s path
in intimate accord with your spirit?

Do you have intercourse with your spirit and soul?
When did you last converse and confess
make love with their fathomless yearnings
the ones that frighten you most?

Tell me
Do your roots know the moist fiery intimacy
of Life’s spiraling whirlwinds
life birthing death and death midwifing life
two entwined lovers, spark and flame

And who are you
and what was your question?

Have you been born again?
I mean, really!
And how many times might that be?

Have you yet learned to let go
of all that no longer serves you?

Do you still cling to your wounds
as though they define you?
Who might you be without them, anyway?

Have you not learned to fly,
to stretch your wings like arms opening to Life
exposing the nakedness of your chest and heart
vulnerability for all to see and know?

You care and love
beyond knowing how.

And yet you do not know
will this nightmare of surgery
repeated yet again
will this ride through the dark
painful hallways of fog and recovery
serve those last remaining hungers for
for a story worth living

or might it be time
to let such aspirations go
like blue birds on the wind
an azul fire of dancing wings
with nowhere else to go
embracing what-is at last

an endless invitation from Life
to own this dream in a partnership of co-creation
seeding it with lucidity and presence and awareness
as a life worth living
A resounding Yes to Life
choices be damned

because the question remains the same
Where is the flow
what calls forth
how is the Life Force within
awakened, nourished and vitaized?


“Your rotator cuff is completely ruptured, again. It’s like you never had the surgery,” the doctor announced over the phone to me. This news came just over four months into an incredibly painful recovery period; my heart and gut hit the floor.

“F**K!” I screamed aloud into the phone. “Yeah. It really sucks,” the Dr. said.

This nightmare of a torn rotator cuff began on a wilderness journey and after another three nights in, the surgery was an outcome following shortly upon access to skilled medical care.. Six weeks and twenty-four hours a day in a sling-and-pillow was but the start of a long and painful road to recovery. And now it is all in vain.

Worse than in vain! Repeat surgeries of this type have a lower success rate and a more prolonged and difficult recovery than the first time around. “You could also do nothing,” the doc says, “and live with it. Or you could get a shoulder replacement….” None of this was what I anticipated hearing, but the new MRI results do explain the continuing intensity of pain I experience.

The opening eco-poetic reflection of this post also followed an unexpected course of exploration and questioning. It surprises me yet with its ending, both in tone and statement: “Choices be damned.”

The satisfaction of such exploratory writing for me is in getting to watch where and how my mind and system are traveling. And in this case, a kind of deep earthy wisdom reveals itself.

Regardless of whether I choose to have a retry on a once failed surgery, starting from the beginning again on recovery, or to leave it alone or to go for a shoulder replacement (an easier recovery, apparently), there are deeper life-orienting questions my soul wants to point me toward.

No matter which difficult challenging path I choose, no matter the level of pain chosen to endure, no matter the anesthesia or narcotics applied to my living, my unconscious is suggesting Life’s fulfillment is something of its own to be attended to. No matter what.

Regardless of the game trails we follow in search of nourishment or comfort, regardless of the events we encounter along the way, our souls and spirits desire something from us.

A TED Radio Hour program on decision making, Decisions Decisions Decisions, provides an interesting reference here. The crux of difficult decision making, according to Ruth Chang, is to ‘commit’ to a choice. Let go of thinking there is a right or wrong choice. Seek instead for some hitching post of meaning you can tie your choice to and give it your all.

So yes, “choices be damned,” because it is too easy to become lost in the mundane and hypothesized differences a choice might make. Instead, focus on the creation and nourishment of meaning making. Focus on leaving a trail of beauty in whatever life story you choose to write.

Therein is the wild resiliency, this choice to be a conscious creator of meaning.


Posted in 1 The River of Life — The Art of Living, 3 The Power of Arrival, Dimensions of Resilience, Navigating the Narrows, Personal Resiliency, Personal Stories, Poetry of Resiliency, Self-Change | Tagged , | 1 Comment