January 13, 2020

Living with an open heart, all is real. And we become briefly all that we meet.   I touch your sadness and I become sad. I brush against your wonder and I am restored.   But under all the sadness and wonder, I remain who I am.   This is integrity, the want to feel everything and become nothing.   The orchid in the sun stretches but remains an orchid.   The wave that swallows a diving gull remains a… Read more

January 7, 2020

You know someone loves you when they put the moon in your tea to calm your worry. You know someone is honest when they put what they’ve broken before you, not out of anger, but softly on a pillow in the middle of the house. You know you’ve found your family when they come over, no questions asked, and listen carefully, even when you have nothing to say. And to dream of birds circling ahead of you as you wander… Read more

December 23, 2019

Each of us is called to listen our way into the underlying truth that connects us all, though we experience this calling as a very personal journey, the way plants and flowers grow and blossom differently, though they all root in the same soil. This rooting and breaking ground until we flower is the necessary art of coming alive. As Rainer Maria Rilke offered in his legendary Letters to a Young Poet: “Go into yourself and test the deeps in… Read more

December 16, 2019

In 1514, a young Michelangelo worked hard to sculpt his version of Christ the Redeemer. When close to finished, the statue was ruined when he discovered a dark vein running throughout the marble. I think if he had sculpted this later in life, he might have seen the dark vein as an unexpected dimension adding to the statue, not ruining it. When first learning woodblock carving, I spent weeks carving the reflection of moonlight in a lake. When close to… Read more

December 9, 2019

I was stranded in Washington D.C. due to a storm in Chicago. It was sunny and cold and I wandered into the National Gallery of Art just beyond the Capitol. On the ground floor in the west building in two small rooms was an exhibit called In the Dark Room, which mounted examples of the early process by which photographs were developed in the 1800s. We don’t see many darkrooms any more, given the ease of digital cameras. But darkrooms… Read more

December 2, 2019

In our modern age, the noble art of reading has been truncated and compromised. Today, a skilled reader is judged as someone who reads rapidly, who can scan the skeleton of any piece of writing and abstract its silhouette of meaning. Yet this is like taking an x-ray of a person and thinking you now have met the whole person. The word “read” comes from the German raten which originally meant “to guess.” So reading is always a guess at… Read more

November 25, 2019

I believe that teaching, reading, and writing all have to do with searching. Each involves searching for Wholeness through dialogue and experience. When that search involves other living things, we find ourselves in the province of learning and teaching. When that search involves other living things that are not present or of our time, the dialogue takes the form of reading. And when that search involves things that are present and living but not yet visible or known, we have… Read more

November 18, 2019

To see takes time like to have a friend takes time. —Georgia O’Keeffe   I was born a seer. Early on, words became the brushes with which I tried to paint what I saw. In time, I learned that while art is movement through space and music is movement through time, poetry is both. And each of us is born with an inclination toward seeing or hearing. I was born a painter and sculptor in a poet’s body. Over the… Read more

November 12, 2019

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. —Rumi   Because all young people are taught to be ambitious, I began as all young artists do—working toward some imagined greatness that might reveal itself in time if I could stay devoted enough to my craft. But along the way, I was humbled to be more uplifted by what was true rather than what was great, by what was… Read more

November 4, 2019

I suddenly knew I was looking at it from the wrong angle and I gave the cloth in my hand a quarter turn. Immediately I saw a beautiful and coherent golden pattern . . . In wonder, the pattern had emerged, to be seen in all its beauty by those who could learn to make the quarter turn. —Helen Luke   The above quote is from Helen’s inner autobiography, Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On. She begins the book… Read more

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