Work for Pleasure

(Day 2: a pilgrimage of the spirit) Auguste Rodin said: True artists are almost the only men who do their work for pleasure. My first thought was that this is because historically only men of a certain social standing could do their work for pleasure. The rest of us have had to earn a living….

Pilgrimage of the Spirit

Another pilgrimage from home – again, with the guide Amy Gigi AlexanderAnd again, with differing time zones and schedules among the group, I begin a day and a half late. But it seems appropriate this time. We were scheduled to set off from Canterbury to Rome with the turning of the sun – on the…

The Front Line

Last year I kept cutting off my co-teacher when he talked about the “Greeks”. I kept qualifying: free, land-owning men in Greece.
I am still learning about the necessary qualifying when it comes to the facts of my own country of origin: “…The Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.”
Today I hear this as the truth: The Free and The Brave are and have been two separate populations.
Ah, Democracy.

The Person We Have Never Been

When you can’t go far, you go deep. – BR. DAVID STEINDL-RAST Oh, Di, you wrote: “…you don’t presume to know me. A gift beyond rubies!” Isn’t that true? Writing today, when across the ocean from me there are events taking place that I don’t know how to think about – much less talk about….

Clearing the Way for Summer

A few days later someone got the idea that we all had to do it again so we could take a picture from space. I remember this because I wrote about it in a poem about 9/11. The aspect of the (meta-) performativity of our “Humanity”.

Without Filters

Finally having returned to morning practice, I’ve moved back into my body – with the nudging aches and unexpected pains. With the roundness and the wrinkles. I’m making the required effort of moving with ease now. I’ve settled into my fears and found them – tolerable. I mean: what’s the alternative? The world keeps turning,…

What We Do for a Living

I’m beginning to wonder if teaching isn’t really the oldest – and most indispensable – profession any way?  

Here is how you slip a stick into a termite hole, little one: you need protein.
This is how you fold a palm leaf to make a safe bed: sleep well.
Watch me dance, hear me sing. Let’s run: this feels good.

Tending New Growth

considering grace: a word that means so many things it’s more like an ambiance than a word. The mouth opens and closes like an embrace. There is a kind of taking in, in the pronunciation itself. Exhale. Receive – while you give. You can’t help it.

In Depth

When I began I had considered myself as being in a liminal state. But what I’ve come to realize is that there is no other state of being. There is no good reason to think of life as a series of stasis points with periods of growth – or with periods of decay – between them. 

Walking Away from It All

I’ve hiked for days once before. And I stopped caring whether my socks matched. I stopped looking at every hill as something to be gauged and conquered. I put one foot in front of the other and kept an eye out for grouse in heather. 

What we leave behind us after a long journey is one thing, what we take with us is also important.

A Practice of Kindness

Shel, what were you thinking? Every pregnant woman should read this as a lesson in the difference between indulgence and kindness. And how no matter what she does she’ll get the blame for her children’s egoism and wind up an old stump – and be expected to be happy.

Show me a #%&!! happy stump.

But I digress.

Talismans and Scapegoats

Maybe the first step to taking responsibility is actually externalizing the problem: why am I using this person (or rooster) to punish myself?

Today I’m appreciating the synchronicity. “My students are driving me crazy,” I think. Like they have the time to bother with that. The energy to spare.

Keeping it Simple and Strange

The local charities are overrun with secondhand fast-fashion right now.  So I will stick the boxes in the attic. And if after a year or so,  I have not missed them, I’ll try to find a simple solution for my excess – one that doesn’t make someone else my sin-eater. 

Searching for the Sacred

The following year, another production with Gregorian chanting and candles. I fainted again. No wonder I connected the theater with the sacred long before I had read about Artaud or Grotowski and the other people looking for the sacred in the storytelling space. 

If I Compare a Summer’s Day

If comparison is a fundamental human – in fact, primate – activity, then how do I want to employ it? If I have learned anything from E.’s overflowing toolboxes, there is an appropriate tool for every job, but not every tool is appropriate for the job. What’s to compare?

Following the Desire

And just as creating a good novel is as much a matter of prudent editing as is it good writing, perhaps cultivating joy is as much about removing judgement and criticism as it nurturing beauty. 

Healing as Praxis

The 26th leg av the Camino. Today our lovely guide asks us to put our intention on “healing” today. And I meet with another point of internal resistance. One which takes me completely by surprise. I was listening to a podcast the other day about trauma. The interviewee’s position was that people who have insecurities…

At the Edge of the Woods

All this while, away from the woods, I’ve been planning a garden. Planning. While sitting in this little room. It makes sense really. What is a garden but an attempt to tame nature? To stave off death – or at least create an illusion of control over it.