Archive | May, 2014

A Brave and Startling Truth

29 May

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

Maya Angelou
And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

Maya Angelou
1928 – 2014

Shiny Song #26

21 May

Hello from San Francisco!

I find myself back in this super inspiring city and am looking forward to spending a lot more time here.
Last week, I was lucky enough to see the amazing Spencer Day  here and this song brought me to tears.

Come on turn the lights down low
And sit with me in second row
Tonight they’ll show the movie of your life

The heartache and the tragedy
A light romantic comedy
You oughta see the movie of your life

Did you have a happy ever after?
Underneath the technocolor sky
Did it make you sing with joy and laughter?
Did it ever make you want to cry?
And when the final frame was fading
Did it leave you satisfied?
Or was there too much that it lacked
And did you want your money back
How did you like the movie of your life?

Come on let the camera’s roll
You wrote the lines now run the show
It’s yours to own the movie of your life

Strange and cloudy mysteries
Unravel cinematically
The beauty of the movie of your life

Then the plot begins to twist
Around the poor protagonist
And everyone’s a villain in disguise

When you hurt and if you bleed
Remember that it’s make believe
Cause in the movies no one ever dies
It’s just a

Clicker then it’s over
And they never tell you why
But boy I’m really glad I came
I hoping that you feel the same
I really love the movie of your life

Did you have a happy ever after?
Underneath the technocolor sky
Did it make you sing with joy and laughter?
Did it ever make you want to cry?

And when the final frame was fading
Did it leave you satisfied?
Did you cheer and beg for more
Or angrily walk out the door
And think of all you meant to say
Another chance a second take
You did your best, you gave your all
You made the final casting call
To save a little scene for me
And tell me that I’ll always be
A moment in the movie of your life
A moment in the movie of your life

Advice to Myself

20 May

Just breathe
Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.

Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.

Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

– Louise Erdrich, from Original Fire: Selected and New Poems

Life’s Change Agent

17 May

Ill never get out of this world alive

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.

Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life.
It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.

Steve Jobs

Going into Fear

12 May

Whenever there is fear, never try to escape from it. In fact, take hints from fear. Those are the directions in which you need to travel. Fear is simply a challenge. It calls you: “Come!”

Lightbulb Darkness

Whenever something is really good, it is also scary, because it brings you some insights. It forces you towar certain changes. It brings you to a brink from where, if you go back, you will never forgive yourself. You will always remember yourself as a coward. If you go ahead, it is dangerous. That’s what is scary.

Whenever there is some fear, always remember not to go back, because that is not the way to solve it.
Go into it.
If you are afraid of the dark night, go into the dark night – because that is the only way to overcome it. That is the only way to transcend the fear. Go into the night; there is nothing more important than that. Wait, sit there alone, and let the night work. If you fear, tremble. Let the trembling be there, but tell the night, “Do whatever you want to do. I am here.”

After a few minutes you will see that everything has settled. The darkness is no longer dark, it has come to be luminous. You will enjoy it. You can touch it – the velvety silence, the vastness, the music. You will be able to enjoy it, and you will say “How foolish I was to be afraid of such a beautiful experience!”

– Osho

Shiny Song #25

11 May

I’ve just returned from Mexico, where I taught two retreats.

IMG_7372

This track was one of my favourite playlist additions…

Take it back or let me go
It’s better if I tell you so
I’ve hurt you once before and I will do it again

Everyone I know is gone
And I don’t even know myself
I’m saving up
To take a trip to Mexico
I heard it’s the place to go
I want to see the colours of another sky

Carry me home on your shoulders
Lower me on to my bed
Show me the night that I dreamed about before

Lover, you may cause me tears
Drag me through the best of years
You’ll never know any of the songs I wrote
Older than a year or two,
But I love you so

Oh, carry me home on your shoulders
Lower me on to my bed
Show me the night that I dreamed about before

Carry me home on your shoulders
Lower me on to my bed
Show me the night that I dreamed about before

Lover, you may cause me tears
Drag me through the best of years,
But I love you so

Keep Your Head

10 May

IF

Mind Whirlwind Pic

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
– Rudyard Kipling