April 26th, 2014

Book Cover

Nature -

At the Georgia O'Keefe exhibit, I was made even more aware of how influenced she was by nature.  This exhibit is her early period, the Lake George years.  She gardened and pruned, and painted what she saw from different perspectives.  I was reminded of the poetry and life of Stanley Kunitz, as described and given in the wonderful book, The Wild Braid.  Can we create without putting our hands in dirt, touching silky petals, lifting snails up to our face?

As I've written here, I was deeply touched by the landscape of Japan.  When I returned, my niece shared a book with me she is reading for a freshman course she is taking in college. The book is Body and Emotion (Contemporary Ethnography) by Robert R. Desjarlais.  He shares his experience as an apprentice healer among the Yolmo Sherpa, a Tibetan Buddhism people in Nepal.

Of course the sherpas are very much in our minds right now because of the avalanche disaster on Everest.  What is the price of pride?  What is adventure, renewal and discovery, and what is arrogance and disregard for natural forces?

I saw Wade Davis speak at the Bioneers Conference many years ago, and that led me to his books then, and now this week I re-connect to him through his book The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World.  Reading this book, I was reminded of the movie, "Rabbit-Proof Fence". If you haven't seen it, I recommend it as a way to celebrate new perspectives on how we plant our feet on this earth.

The question is how do we find balance with this nature we need, this nature we are, and with the technology that allows us to connect across distances and lifestyles and here on Live Journal?

I have no answers, only a growing awareness of how much I need to feel earth under my feet, and hear the singing of birds.

I offer Stanley Kunitz's wonderful poem, "The Snakes of September".


I love the whole poem, and twine gratitude and appreciation in these words at the end.

After all,
we are partners in this land,
co-signers of a covenant.
At my touch the wild
braid of creation
Book Cover

Light -

Years ago I read Jacques Lusseyran's wonderful book, And There Was Light: Autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran:Blind Hero of the French Resistance.  I come across it again today in Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor.  She writes:

"Since becoming blind, I have paid more attention to a thousand things," Lusseyran wrote. One of his greatest discoveries was how the light he saw changed with his inner condition. When he was sad or afraid, the light decreased at once. Sometimes it went out altogether, leaving him deeply and truly blind. When he was joyful and attentive, it returned as strong as ever. He learned very quickly that the best way to see the inner light and remain in its presence was to love."

Jacques became blind through an accident when he was seven.  Ten days later, he writes of discovering a new world.  His words:

"I had completely lost the sight of my eyes; I could not see the light of the world anymore.  Yet the light was still there.  Its source was not obliterated. I felt it gushing forth every moment and brimming over; I felt how it wanted to spread out over the world. I had only to receive it. It was unavoidably there. It was all there, and I found again its movements and shades, that is, its colors, which I had loved so passionately a few  weeks before.

This was something entirely new, you understand, all the more so since it contradicted everything that those who have eyes believe. The source of light is not in the outer world. We believe that it is only because of common delusion.  The light dwells where life also dwells: within ourselves."

Right now the sun is shining brightly.  It is easy to be lulled and stroked by outer light.

How, then, do I gush and fountain forth my inner light?

It seems the answer is to call myself to attention, to the mindful land of reception,  and bask in the continuing cultivation of love.