Verse

Verse

“If we fail now, it will be a failure of imagination.” 
-Storypeople
Unknown

Science is the humility of replacing one error with a better error.  
Gestalt Prayer/Fritz Perls

I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.
If not, it can’t be helped.
Martha Graham/The great dance choreographer

"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open."
Howard Thurman

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
The Bud/Galway Kinnell

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;   
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;   
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch   
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow   
began remembering all down her thick length,   
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,   
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine   
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering   
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.
Kindness/Naomi Shihab Nye 

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho 
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans 
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, 
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.  
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth. 

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
“There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery”
/Portia Nelson 

Chapter 1.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…
I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I cant believe I am in this same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in… its a habit.
But, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5.
I walk down another street.
Will Durant

“Grow strong my comrade, 
that you may stand unshaken when I fall,
That I may know the shattered fragments of my song
Will come at last to a finer melody in you
That I may tell my heart that you begin
Where passing I leave off
And fathom more”
My Sweet, Crushed Angel
/From ‘I Heard God Laughing': Renderings of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky

My Sweet, Crushed Angel
You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to hold hands with the Beautiful One.
You have waltzed with great style,
My sweet, crushed angel,
To have ever neared God’s Heart at all.
Our Partner is notoriously difficult to follow,
And even His best musicians are not always easy
To hear.
So what if the music has stopped for a while.
So what
If the price of admission to the Divine
Is out of reach tonight.
So what, my dear,
If you do not have the ante to gamble for Real Love.
The mind and body are famous
For holding the heart ransom,
But Hafiz knows the Beloved’s eternal habits.
Have patience,
For He will not be able to resist your longing
For long.
You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to kiss the Beautiful One.
You have actually waltzed with tremendous style,
O my sweet,
Oh my sweet, crushed angel.
Could Have/Wislawa Szymborska

It could have happened.
It had to happen.
It happened earlier. Later.
Nearer. Farther off.
It happened, but not to you.
You were saved because you were the first.
You were saved because you were the last.
Alone. With others.
On the right. The left.
Because it was raining. Because of the shade.
Because the day was sunny.
You were in luck -- there was a forest.
You were in luck -- there were no trees.
You were in luck -- a rake, a hook, a beam, a brake,
A jamb, a turn, a quarter-inch, an instant . . .
So you're here? Still dizzy from
another dodge, close shave, reprieve?
One hole in the net and you slipped through?
I couldn't be more shocked or
speechless.
Listen,
how your heart pounds inside me.
Elizabeth Gilbert

"There's no such thing as one-way liberation."
I Am Willing/Elizabeth Gilbert 

Dear Ones:
This picture of me and Rayya was taken one year ago today. 
This picture was taken on the morning of our commitment ceremony — a day on which we bound our hearts to each other forever, in front of a small circle of friends. 
What does “forever” mean, when one of the lovers has terminal cancer?
That’s simple: It means FOREVER.
Six months ago this week, Rayya died. 
People keep asking me how I’m doing, and I’m not always sure how to answer that. It depends on the day. It depends on the minute. Right this moment, I’m OK. Yesterday, not so good. Tomorrow, we’ll see. 
Here is what I have learned about Grief, though.
I have learned that Grief is a force of energy that cannot be controlled or predicted. It comes and goes on its own schedule. Grief does not obey your plans, or your wishes. Grief will do whatever it wants to you, whenever it wants to. In that regard, Grief has a lot in common with Love. 
The only way that I can “handle” Grief, then, is the same way that I “handle” Love — by not “handling” it. By bowing down before its power, in complete humility.
When Grief comes to visit me, it’s like being visited by a tsunami. I am given just enough warning to say, “Oh my god, this is happening RIGHT NOW,” and then I drop to the floor on my knees and let it rock me. It’s a full-body experience. To resist it is to be brutalized by it. You just bow down — that’s all you CAN do — and you let this thing roll through your heart and body and mind, in all its vehemence. 
How do you survive the tsunami of Grief?
By being willing to experience it, without resistance. By being willing to feel everything. By being willing to accept the unacceptable.
The conversation of Grief, then, is one of prayer-and-response.
Grief says to me: “You will never love anyone the way you loved Rayya.”
And I reply: “I am willing for that to be true.”
Grief says: “She’s gone, and she’s never coming back.”
I reply: “I am willing for that to be true.”
Grief says: “You will never see her walk in the door again.”
I say: “I am willing.”
Grief says: “You will never have access to her wisdom again.”
I say: “I am willing.”
Grief says: “You will never hear that laugh again.”
I say: “I am willing.”
Grief says, “You will never smell her skin again.”
I get down on the floor on my fucking knees, and — and through my sheets of tears — I say, “I AM WILLING.”
I am beginning to understand that Grief is not the same thing as Depression. Depression is unwilling. Grief is a MOVEMENT — catastrophic and mighty — that you ALLOW to rock you and spin you. Depression is refusal to feel. Depression is a refusal to move, or to be moved. Depression is resistance, and resistance is futile. 
I am not depressed, in the wake of Rayya’s death. I am DESTROYED, but I am not depressed — but that’s only because I am willing to be destroyed. 
I will live on, because I am WILLING. I am willing to take this life on God’s terms, not mine. 
Love’s terms, not mine. 
Grief’s terms, not mine. 
I am willing to surrender to the reality that I will never understand any of this. I am even willing to accept that I may not ever fully heal from the loss of Rayya.
Grief says: “You may never recover from this”
And I say: “I am willing.”
This is the job of the living — to be willing to bow down before EVERYTHING that is bigger than you. And nearly everything in this world is bigger than you. Let your willingness be the only big thing about you.
My friend Martha Beck officiated the commitment ceremony last year for me and Rayya. I will never forget what she said on that day: “True love always liberates the beloved.” 
Six months ago, I had to let Rayya go. It wasn’t up to me. It was brutal, and I was willing. I bowed down and wept. God’s will, not mine. But Rayya belonged to God before she belonged to me. She NEVER belonged to me, actually; I just loved her. And true love always liberates the beloved. 
I am willing. 
Two days ago — on the six month anniversary of Rayya’s death — Martha wrote me a letter. She said, “The spark of absolutely unique, inimitable energy that showed up as Rayya is no longer in form. I can’t wrap my head around it. What is she doing now? What is she BEING now? Death is every bit as common as life, and both utterly baffle me.”
Me, too. I am completely fucking baffled. I don’t understand Life any more than I understand Love or Death or Grief.
But I am willing to be here for the duration of the mystery. I am willing to be rocked by every last tsunami. 
I don’t know what Rayya is doing or being now. That is not for me to know. I only know that I will love her forever. And I know what I am doing and what I am being: 
I am willing.
Onward,
LG