Inside Out

Willow Seeds
Inside the soft fluff of the black willow blooms lie the seeds, little black dots that might become a whole new tree

Why do we live life on the surface,
reaching for the next shiny thing
forgetting the fruit that lies within?

The juicy sweetness obscured
by the color of our skin
and the place we call home

So, we starve for love
and hope is scarce,
because you are a banana
and I am a pear

The fruits of our thoughts
the kindness of our deeds
can heal the wounds of hate
and fear

If we embrace both many and one
our hearts will grow enough
for all the love we have to share

P1030625Turn down the noise,
go outside – listen
Make neighbors friends
and smile at the old
for many are alone

The world is our teacher
she is the source of every
gift we give and get

So treat her gently and
thank the stars for all we
are and all that we might be

Big Sky Love

I’ll miss you, Texas
You and your giant clouds,
close enough to touch
Blue sky wrapping round
the mighty oaks standing tall,
like broccoli on the horizon

And dragon flies, big as goldfish
skimming waves of grass,
rippling like an ocean
in the golden afternoon light

I can’t say goodbye to cypress trees
and limestone springs, reminding me
that dinosaurs roam these lands
when the seas come and go
You have sunk a taproot deep in my heart
and perfumed the forest of my mind

Krause Springs cypress stand
Krause Springs cypress stand

Indigenous women’s wisdom – healing waters

Opening_PrayerThere is an international indigenous council of 13 Grandmothers who travel the world to bring healing prayers to the earth and her inhabitants. I met Hopi Grandmother Constance Mirabal in 1998, which I’ve written about in my post Magically Real and took part in a wisdom circle that  Grandmother Florademayo led at the gathering.  There were a number of indigenous women leading wisdom circles, which is a testament to the many programs at Ghost Ranch that honor our sacred connection to the earth.   Florademayo_1The opening prayer was led by Florademayo, who prayed and wept as she entered into spirit.  Tears flowed often from our native presenters, sometimes as they felt personal grief and always on behalf of the divine mother.  I’ve been in sweat lodges, sun dances, pow wows and meetings with Native American medicine people.  I have witnessed the ways in which they enter other dimensions when the visions flow.  Some of the dream symbols Florademayo shared with us were the healing power of triangles (shout out to Bucky Fuller) and her vision of the coming renewal of humanity, symbolized by the birth of the golden baby. The baby is a cross-cultural motif seen by people the world over. Florademayo’s passion for collecting seeds is another part of the renewal and the protection of heritage plants.Blue_Corn  The blue corn pictured here is a symbol of the Hopi people. There is a compassion, directness and humor about many of the indigenous people I’ve met.   There is also a reservoir of sorrow, released in tears that often flow in healing ceremonies.  For those of European descent, white guilt is no stranger at these gatherings.  We had moments when it was the elephant in the room and others when it was on full display.  It’s hard to avoid – the collective unconscious is burdened with pain and unspoken apologies for the sins of our fathers, which continue to this day. When she was asked by Hyun Kyung how she dealt with the anguish of her peoples’ genocide, Florademayo said, “You accept the past, move forward and quit looking back.” Dancer Perhaps our only hope for our planet and our humanity is to come together in healing for our past, our present and thus, our future.  The collective shadow is in dire need of integration.  It can no longer be projected onto the other, for we are all other and we are all one.  Our world needs us to become the humane beings we really are.  I shared my poem, these tears of joy with Grandmother Florademayo, affirming our connection to the beauty of the living light.  May we continue to heal in love.

Moved to Tears

I sat in the morning sun watching the garden grow
Light glistening on spider webs
spun in moon’s rays just hours ago
Hummingbird gulped nectar
fueling its dizzy, spiraling flight

The light found me, seeping into my essence,
opening the eye that sees behind the veil
I saw the breath of the earth, rising up in radiating
needles of light, knitting the fabric of life
growing around and through me

So infused was I, witnessing this moment of creation
that tears fell softly down my cheeks
Moving beyond sorrow or joy
Naked in the presence of my Soul

The breath and the light, commingled
In loving recognition that moments
such as these are rare glimpses beneath
the endless parade of dos and don’ts
that occupy our daily lives

In the garden, sipping the wine of early morning’s light
I am moved to see what loving hand molds
This day into being

Alice Walker – the Wisdom of Earth

Alice Walker

Desire

My desire
is always the same; wherever Life
deposits me:
I want to stick my toe
& soon my whole body
into the water.
I want to shake out a fat broom
& sweep dried leaves
bruised blossoms
dead insects
& dust.
I want to grow
something.
It seems impossible that desire
can sometimes transform into devotion;
but this has happened.
And that is how I’ve survived:
how the hole
I carefully tended
in the garden of my heart
grew a heart
to fill it.   Alice Walker

Alice Walker began her talk by giving us permission to be afraid, that in times of danger it was a sane response.  It was not what I expected from the woman whose grace touched the audience with such warmth, simplicity and humor.  She was not patronizing, did not preach – but led us through war, then into peace and eventually, joy. We did not look away from the pain of families crushed by bombs as she reminded us that women and children just want to come home, sit in a cozy chair and pet their dog. We honored the sorrow and the tragedy of the innocent victims of endless war and were advised to “feel everything and want less” in order to come to peace despite the suffering –  to care and to do something for those who need our help.

She acknowledged the struggle of our divided people to get over the feeling that “she might smell nice, but . . ” when breaking bread with those whose skin is different.  She encouraged us to “get to know who stands beside you, to see her as she really is.”

Alice Walker has fought so many good fights, not least being the right for women to freely claim and respect their own bodies, and to ask for the same respect from everyone else. Womanism, a term she coined decades ago, is now the subject of a class at the University of Texas “Beyonce Feminism and Rihanna Womanism“.  She has inspired many scholars, authors and poets, including our moderator for this event, Dr. Melanie Harris, an associate professor of Religion at Texas Christian University.  To Walker, womanists are to feminists as purple is to lavender – they also recognize the struggle for racial and class equality (particularly for black women) as a central tenant of their social activism.  Also noted – wise elders can teach younger women the difference between freedom and stupidity.

Using ones’ imagination: allowing for fluid gender identities in the 11th grade and sophomore years of college are among the many ideas put forth by our wise earth woman.  Joy in non-attachment, allowing it to reside in your heart is the fruit of many years of meditation and the infusion of spirit into all aspects of her life.  I spoke with her briefly, to extend an invitation to come and speak to the students in our graduate program here at UT, and found myself teary eyed.  Her energy was so kind that it allowed a very delicate aspect of myself to engage openly in our conversation.  I will remember that impression and the other funny and poignant moments with gratitude and reverence for the wholly spirit – that which makes us whole.  Many thanks to the noble soul who is Alice Walker.  Our world is better for her caring.

 

Waiting on the Rain

Cloudburst

These clouds, shaking down big fat drops of rain
like prayers fallen back to earth
Globes of water splatting on my windshield, sliding luxuriously down
to wipers then flung back to the torrent
My prayers for the gasping trees, for the withered flowers and straw
that used to be grass, have been answered
Thanks be to that which I cannot see, into whom I empty my heart,
who brings the hummingbirds to drink nectar in my backyard
given new life by the cloudburst that broke the endless summer heat