Friday, December 28, 2012

Guided Meditation for the Svadhisthana Chakra

Aloha Friends and Readers,

I have just posted the second in a series of meditations for chakra tuning. Writing and recording each meditation has been a truly inspiring experience, and to have them set to the enchanting music of composer and musician Peter Davison is more than I could have hoped for.

This one is on the second chakra, also known as the svadhisthana, chakra. The svadhisthana chakra is about creative freedom and flow, about giving and receiving in abundance. It is about knowing that like water, the element associated with the second chakra, you are free and fluid and worthy of every relationship, every feeling, every passion one can know. 

Thank you to Casey Apps of Vermont for providing this gorgeous photograph suffused with the orange light associated with the second chakra.

The project comes to full fruition at the end of next month with the release of a full-length CD called “Lotus Wheel: Meditations for Chakra Tuning.” In the meantime, enjoy these first couple of meditations online! Namaste.

In Gratitude,


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guided Meditation on the Root Chakra!

Aloha Friends! 

I am just finishing up a project that has been blooming in my mind for several years now. Finally, it is coming to fruition and happily, accomplished composer and musician Peter Davison has agreed to join me in bringing you a series of guided meditations for chakra tuning. Having meditated and done yoga to Peter’s music for more than ten years, I am honored and very grateful that my voice recordings will be set to his beautiful compositions.

The full-length CD will be finished and available near the end of January 2013, but in the meantime, I am offering up the first recording, a meditation on the root chakra, also known as the muladhara chakra, for your enjoyment. The muladhara chakra meditation is to help you relax and ground and is an active way that you can move toward a sense of safety and freedom from fear.

I’d like to also thank Chip Linton for providing the gorgeous image that accompanies this meditation on It is an original photograph that is naturally suffused with red, the color associated with the muladhara chakra.

Find the link below for this unique guided meditation experience. Happy Holidays to all and Namaste…

Muladhara Chakra Meditation

Sunday, December 2, 2012

On Tolerance...

How can one love be perfect and another a sin? How can we limit our sense of human connection with parameters that we impose ourselves?

And what about when one of these loves, these "indistretions" of the heart, is felt by a child? Do we teach him that he is, by his love, made imperfect? That he is dirty? Wrong? And do we then teach the child that not only do we as a society judge him as damaged, broken in some fundamental way, but so does his Creator? The God of his dreams? The God of his innocence?

And where does innocence end? With touch? With taste? With a thought? No, innocence is preserved by these things. It is preserved by the acknowledgment of every kind of love. By the act of love itself, without discrimination, which is ever born of our fear.

Love itself is to be found there, I think: in the absence of fear. Let us be brave.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

No Longer Waiting But Living....

It is true that I am no longer waiting but living. To whatever made that shift possible I owe a debt of gratitude. Things smell sweeter, taste better, are far more beautiful than they were during the days I was torturing myself for not "succeeding" quickly enough. Not "achieving" at a high enough level.

I hold my children in my arms (as much of them as will still fit in my embrace)...I smell their hair and I listen to the beating of their hearts. I know perfection. Stillness. I understand being in the right place at the right time as so much simpler than I could have imagined: It is being here. It is now. That is all.

I allow a tiny jubilation to rise in my ribcage, and though I cannot be sure, I think it's simply happiness for what I have achieved. For where I am right now. True, there is a ship on the horizon, but it is one of many. I will board one, my little family in tow, but for now I will enjoy the vibrant display of their sails against the sky. It's not hope I feel but rather, I think, contentment, which is a different animal all together.

For this, I am flooded with gratitude.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Facing Fear

I try not to be smashed by my fear, though it presses in on my ribcage (I picture Giles Corey in Miller's famous play). Try not to be crushed beneath the weight of this sinister extrapolation of possible life events. She smiles on me and I know she is okay (why should she visit me during my savasana? such an unexpected gift--another confirmation of the way the boundaries of time and space are lifted in the spirit world--how easy it is to move among the living when we are freed of this "mortal coil"), but I can't begin to be at peace with what her passage suggests about my own vulnerability.  About the ways I could possibly lose. OH. I try to be calm. Present. My love breaks me. They are all, these sons of mine. They are all.

The Absurd...

"All I want is the moon upon a stick. Just to see what if. Just to see what is."--Thom Yorke of Radiohead

"I never wanted anything from you, except everything you had and what was left after that too."--Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine

Hyperbole reigns. In life, in language. In all the ways we try to be okay. But it's the irony that sinks the heart (though not before entertaining it).

I love this man's intensity. His guilelessness. His impossibly honest movement that sings the absurdity of being human. Oh--alive. We are alive, and I am grateful. But sometimes I am staggered by what that means and what this life serves up to us. Just so. Just so...

 Thom Yorke...Radiohead's front man on "Lotus Flower" (yes, I'm fixating. it's cool)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Gone to Seed

We sing of dandelions
gone to seed--white
fluff in air, tipping and
sliding on wayward breezes.

Yellow light filters
through star-shaped
filaments--cornflower blue
explodes behind them.
Sky as backdrop. Sky as
safety net. Wild promise
of what remains
when one of us leaves
before we are ready
to have them go.

We chase them, catch
them in our hands,
make wishes only we
can know. Let them
go...the wishes
still ringing in our ears
like the songs we sing
to the dead. Songs we sing
to ourselves in their absence.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fear to Grieve...

My fear envelopes me like a shroud. In darkness I crouch, hiding from the thing that might devour me. How to live with such terror? How to breathe under the weight of this slow-motion implosion? A child dies, and again I am thrust to the center of a too bright light. It is an agonizing paradox because the answer is always yes, and yes, but Oh--how to live with the ways our living breaks us?

*     *     *     *     *

How to drink you and love you up around the fear that stalks me? Tender shoots of my fertile love, you are my gift to the world, but oh, how I want you for myself.

*     *     *     *     *

Begin again, I say, begin again. I will live this stretch a million times over. Let it be my whole experience of life on this earth and in this body. Sixteen short years. They are all. They are all.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Angel Card: "Birth"

I am constantly thinking about this process. Of bringing something out into the world. It's a painful, messy and difficult process that challenges one to her very limits. And its duration, the time it takes to achieve, is really very unpredictable. The greatest factor in determining the duration of a human birth seems to be the extent to which one is able to surrender to the process. The extent to which one can let go of fear, resistance and holding. The extent to which one is able to stop tensing against the pain.

The duration of one's labor (and to a lesser extent the gestation itself) is also determined by one's readiness, I think (not in practical terms, though even this sometimes has an impact, but in the emotional sense) for what arrives as a result of giving birth: something to love and nurture, something whose existence will forever alter our own and whose life will change even the way we see ourselves. Something whose life is inextricably tied to our own happiness and makes us, therefore, vulnerable to a frightening degree.

I feel ready. But not impatient. I want this "baby" to be whole, fully developed. Healthy. I hope that it will be received with love and gentleness by the world but I must ultimately relinquish control of its reception. I must trust what created it: my body, my mind, my soul and whatever creative force entered me, seemed to fertilize the seed of my creativity and then propelled me to give it life with my words. It is perfect because of my perfect intent. Perfect because of my love. I know that typically, every gestation ends with a birth, and so I relax. I trust. I keep nurturing and I know. That is all. That is all.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer Kiss

From my position on the lawn, in the cool shadow cast by a young tree, I look up at the veiny underside of maple leaves. Here and there a scalloped passageway toward sky--moving across that shifting space: white cloud against dazzling blue. Glazing it all with a summer sheen: yellow sunlight. It touches me, too, at intervals. Lacy patterns move along toasted summer skin. Fine powder of salt dries in my eyelashes, in my hair. Summer winds down gently, as August moves through us, kisses us good night.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Eggs and Gratitude: July 24th, 2012

It is the day of my 19th wedding anniversary, and I sit at a picnic table with a pale blue cloth; the heat from the camp stove rises idly, casting a slow and swirling shadow across the print of the fabric. Overhead: the susurrus of green leaves moving against one another in a barely perceptible breeze. Morning light is best, I think. Then sunset light. The sea is very near. I can smell it. But we arrived in the dark last night. When I have finished the French roast I am sipping, and my boys (all three of them) have come back from their 50 cent showers, we will put the dog in the van and go in search of waves.

I am aware of myself as being among the luckiest people on the planet. Not only because I am not suffering today--I am not weathering a natural disaster, not trying to shield my children from gunfire, not fending off hunger or fear--but also because I know myself as such, and this, I realize, is a vital part of the equation of happiness. Gratitude. I am grateful for the health of my family and my self. I am grateful for a job that provides housing and an unmatchable educational experience for my children. I am grateful for my husband, who is kind, capable, strong and steadfast. I am grateful for three women friends in particular, the four of us scattered over the earth like seeds, who will ever hold space for my spiritual journey. I am grateful that today I will be in the sea and play by riding waves. I am grateful for time to play--with my family--this summer.

I am grateful for the egg I carry in the hollow of my throat, perfect gift of remembering that I nurture something utterly divine which in its time will hatch, and I will be the steward of it, as I am now. In my mind's eye, I wrap my pareau across my body, twist and tie it behind my neck so that it secures the stone and drapes to my knee. I pull the excess fabric up, toward my body, and begin to climb. I have chosen the difficult way. I scale the Valley wall with ease, caprine agility. The waterfall drenches my skin and hair as I go, but the egg pulses at my throat, where it is safe and saturated with my own heart rhythms.

The strength of my limbs as I rise is unrivaled and I know it as the collective energy of a life lived well and with purpose. I am yet young, only now entering the period of fruitfulness and, oh yes, harvest. I am grateful for all of these things. For the new novel stirring in my ribcage, only 50 pages as yet but tumbling through me like a rush of autumn leaves. Of monarch butterflies. Gold-feathered birds. And I am still. I thank the spirit world for speaking so clearly to me, though at times I could not hear. I thank the divine. God indeed.
*     *     *     *     *

So...without having heard about my meditation, without having read this blog entry, this: independently of one another, my boys each bring me an egg-shaped stone from the sea. It is exactly the stuff I saw in my meditation--something between a crystal and granite--white and shaped like an egg...that fits in the hollow of my throat. I realize that this is our pre-hatch trip, during our pre-hatch summer, during which I learn that my life is perfect, exactly as it is. During which my love for my family and my husband is perfected. It is the summer in which I learn to be truly present. To let go, let come. In gratitude. In gratitude. Om.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cultivating Patience...

"I'm afraid," I say to L., who is also a chaperone on this overnight excursion to the Boston Museum of Science, "that this is my life lesson: patience." Two kids run past us toward the next exhibit and I continue. "I mean, if I'm lucky, what do I have, maybe 50 more years in this lifetime? Like if I'm really lucky, right?" L. nods in agreement and opens her palm to receive a hit-and-run half a muffin someone abandons on their way to the Live Animals show. "I don't think that's enough time," I say in all seriousness, and the statement alone is worth a little stomach ache that blooms in my belly. "I mean, I'm infinitely patient with other people--it's not that."

"Yes," she adds seamlessly, "just not with yourself. Not with the process." She is exactly right.

"Right!' I intone and brighten slightly at this new evidence of our solidarity. "Like I can't trust the things I want to have happen to come about, of their own accord and as a result of my earnest effort. And God forbid it's something I can't control." L. nods sagaciously--seems calm about my predicament of being in danger of not learning my big 'life lesson' of patience fast enough (yes, I do acknowledge the irony but can do nothing to counter it).  For me, on the other hand, a buzzing little current of fear rises along my spine; it is a familiar sensation. "Like I can't let go," I add.

And with a gesture toward her own body, palms upward, fingers spread and scooping the air in the direction of her heart, L. revises: "Or rather, like you can't let them come." And that is the truth of it, I realize in a mild epiphany. One punctuated by the loud cracks of man-made lightning coming from inside the "Theatre of Electricity". I can't seem to let them come to me, these things that I would attract. It is as if all my buzzing and fearful and controlling energy creates a kind of shield that deflects these things that I would otherwise attract to me, and here is my truth pulsing softly, coming alive under the dim light of my infant attention. Beginning of a journey, I acknowledge, mark of a new phase. Thank goodness. Phase of gradual lightening, in all senses of the word, that follows the heaviness and struggle of a growth period. O gratitude. O relief and wash of hope!

The entire conversation is spawned by visiting the Bonsai Room of the museum, where we witness the 75 year progression in photos of a bonsai tree that sits before us now, all abloom with bougainvillea. A tiny tree that someone has groomed for 75 years. I look at the eleven-year photo. In it, the tree looks dead--I would doubtless have abandoned it then, or in the 20-year photo, where it looks small and stunted, but at 40, the tree begins to show its beauty again, and now, before is a wonder. I get the fleeting idea to take up bonsai, and of course, let it go as quickly as it arrived to me, watch it gallop past on its way back to the land of ridiculous and desperate ideas. No, I think. I'll just be still.Open myself to this new knowing, cognizant that there is no time-lapse photography here. Only slow-moving time and my tacit agreement. Yes, I say. And please.

"Stillness is the altar of the spirit," said Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda, and while it is true that I nearly got in an altercation with a girl scout leader first thing this morning over bathroom priveleges, I have coffee now and I feel relatively relaxed. The kids are all lined up in a row for the planetarium show, and the celestial expanse over Boston lights itself in a dome overhead, while the rest of the lights soften until all is dark save the stars and planets and the green glow over the announcer's face. I begin to practice patience by being still. I begin it now, here, accompanied by a jocular and friendly voice narrating a journey through space. I breathe and I nurture the tree of my desire where it grows, in fits and starts, here--in my earthly body. In this, my heart.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mermaid Song

I begin to swim upward. I let the kelp of self-denial, self-abnegation, untangle itself from my ankles as I rise toward the proverbial surface. I move through liquid, cool and tourmaline blue, bubbles sailing skyward, clouds lilting beyond the cellophane skin of this sea. I make my way upward and know finally that it is the act of swimming that must go on. Sans goal, sans direction--just the naked act of striving--propelling oneself through this vast expanse of iridescence. It is comprised of all things: human drama, hope, desire, suffering, love, fear. All of it combined at a molecular level, so much more complex than two hydrogens and an oxygen, but yielding yet the substance of our milieu. Ocean of us. If my head breaks the surface and sunlight spills over my face and hair, I know that it will be only for a moment, to take in more air: sustenance for another deep dive. So profound is the epiphany that my heart beat slows and I stop struggling against the fear of drowning. Mermaid-like I glide through the blue, soft heart, soft brow, dreaming and sleeping the peace of yes.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I can only be the thing that I am. As I grow older, I become more generous. I become less impulsive, less easily agitated, but by no means less flawed. My greatest frustration is always with myself, and while I try to contain it, not let it spill itself onto the clothes and shoes of others, I don't always succeed. I can only appreciate my own intention, which is innocent, and try to live in a way  that translates into self-respect. I can try to express, as often and as profusely as I can, gratitude for all the ways my life is blessed. And I can embrace my humanity, which has in it as many spidery veins and fleshy bits as it does muscle and bone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Heart of a Boy...

          ...for F.

What can be done for the heart of a boy? How to convince him that leaving does not mean un-love? How to explain the kind of sadness that rings in the body like a bell? How deepest love, mother love, can be sealed silently in the heart where it cannot speak to the head swirling with illusion and fear. How distortion becomes less than comfort. How one can reside in the most violent part of the darkest storm
and know that she does not know how to step into the shelter of arms or dreams. How she might know that she cannot love the sun as her own because its brightness shames her. No. The boy breaks under the weight of the inconceivability of it all. Moist eyes soften from sardonic to why? And we, for all our love, have no answer to offer but the whisper of our own shaken faith.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ride...for Rakai and Taiaroa

            for Rakai and Taiaroa, my skateboarding boys

You see life as landscape:
features through which to maneuver,
slide, launch. Tensile body softens in air,
melts into its borders to express ease, a kind of
yes and please, eyes trained on ostensible landing.

Wood and wheels beneath feet, your choices are
art: each lift, glide, hurl of body and board
through air thick with concrete dust and
promise is a glimpse of your perfect intent.
You are this thing pressing—

hand against edge, foot against  wall—
a flourish rather than an aggression.
A fist, but beautiful: flesh and bone, moving
sculpture, acrobatic initiation into
full-color life. How we bloom outward into

a million star-shaped patterns, explosions
of organic light—to land, finally, roll into the
next exertion, perfect line of creative
expression. Animal blaze of self unraveling,
opening, revealing itself to the sky.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

After Saeglopur...

We don't know and we don't know and we don't know. That is the thing. In our arms we carry him and we wait, hold our own breath in expectation of that same breath taking hold of his fragile frame, water sliding gently from his hair, light glistening on his sun-brushed skin. He has been lifted from the depths, where (at least it seemed) he was pursued by every manner of aquatic assailant. We begin to hope that he was not afraid, that the water felt good as it enveloped his bird-boned body, slipped around his limbs as he moved through it in those last moments--innocence sublime. But we push these thoughts away, for they appear to us as the thoughts of the hopeless. The resigned. They are not. They are the thoughts of the eternally present. The serene. This grounded mother of all in her perfect peace. We hold in our arms the whole of our love, and it is the holding--the holding--that crushes us.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Today I read aloud to my sophomore students from the manuscript of my new novel Bend the Blue Sky.They are quiet, still, impenetrable as far as I can see. They do not stir as I read but seem to absorb my words in a way I would not have thought possible (except the one boy who softly snores near me, for I have invited them to put their heads down, close their eyes for "story time," as it were).

It is impossible to intuit what my story can mean to them, as it is impossible to anticipate how that same story will be received by the world, but what I understand as I hear myself offer it up is this: it is real, it is the song of my self, and sans "hook" or gimmick, it is simply the long poem that has lived in me all these years and which I have breathed into a story. Even if it is never heard or read by another soul in this lifetime, it is a thing of beauty.

Monday, March 12, 2012

For the Love of How

How. Why do I love this word? Perhaps it is the way I must open my mouth, flatten the back of my tongue, make space in my throat to utter it. There is a gentling below my ears in the soft flesh of my neck when I wrap my voice around this word and deliver it into the air.

It is the word of our dreams, the way in or out, the answer to a million questions. It is the million questions. How we love, how we move, how we lift ourselves up into our above-ground visions of ourselves and our lives. It is the open circle we must pass through, into a blue sky, into a vast space that means the absence of limitation, the dissolution of borders, the countries of our selves spilling across their jet streams, the places where those borders existed once, before they were decimated by our faith. Oh!

How is an exuberance, a yellow sun, a deep open vowel, portal between words and the real and what they both contain. How is a fleshy kiss, a promise, a ring around my love. It comes to my lips every time I feel this exultation--so what if all my poems begin the same way? If it reflects my sensation in all the moments of their geneses, then I accept a lifetime tome of poems that begin with How!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Not Waiting but Living

I try not to "wait" in the interim. Try to live instead of pause for something to happen. Something has happened, after all. I wrote a book. My second. It is completely different from the first and accordingly it will enter the world in a different way.

It knows it must be invited to be read, knows it must put on its best dress, snap a "photo" and send that ahead of itself. But when someone says, "Yes, I'd like to see what's beneath that fabulous garment, I'd like to read you" (and two people have), then is when it gets interesting. Then the book will open itself and all its language, all its characters, will whisper into the ears of these individuals...but sweetly, sweetly, to the one who chooses it. The one who falls in love with its voice.

Until then I teach, I cheer my sons at their snowboarding competitions, I train for a half-marathon. I love my husband, I walk my dog, meditate, write letters, sing along with songs on the radio. This is the business I am in today: living. "No Voodoo stuff," says George, and I know what he means.

I set this thing in motion. I raised the sail and pushed it out into salty water, pointed the prow toward the horizon and let go. I let go. It will reach the opposite shore in its time. No need to monitor the weather. The wind is favorable, the water calm. I checked these things before I sent it out, to the extent that I was able. It moves across the water in the rhythm I gave it.   

Om, I say to myself, and Mmmmmm.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Holocene, a response

The wildness of wide open space: skies so vast that anything is possible. A boy with no where to be, no time to keep. He vaguely follows a bird and finds a million distractions along the way, Icelandic landscape as canvas to the artistic way he plays. This is what is needed in our lives--room and time to play.

How the world closes in on us as we grow and our obligations attach themselves like fishing sinkers tied to our appendages, knotted into our hair, until we are no longer buoyant, no longer weightless in our wonder but burdened, dragged to the depths of our seriousness, by a gravity that is incongruous with our nature, our intent.

The boy moves over grass, over stone, along water both still and moving, and his freedom is as lovely as the land that gives rise to it, sprawling, as the vocalist says, for miles, miles, miles. Being oneself less than magnificent is the gift of being a thread in the magnificent fabric of such a universe. Let us play in it. This beautifully, this magnificently.

Holocene, the official Bon Iver music video

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Book Club Discussion Questions for Inertia

If you're reading Inertia in your book club, here are some questions for sparking discussion around the book, its themes and its characters. Enjoy!

  1. Tait makes reference early on to “the first question” and returns to the concept in the final pages of the novel. What is “the first question,” and what, ultimately, is her character’s answer to that question?
  2. Is Inertia a novel about reincarnation? Angels? Spirit guides? Try to encapsulate what Tait suggests about the young female characters in her novel (Kenya, Sam, Athena, and Mia, Grace, Lydia).
  3. Are Mia, Grace and Lydia aware of their unique roles in Jake’s life? What is Phyllis’ take on this subject?
  4. Tait clearly chooses the title Inertia for its relevance to the story on multiple levels. Name some of those levels and discuss the symbolic and actual meanings of the title with regard to each.
  5. Through the lens of what is ultimately a love story, and from two different perspectives, Tait explores the experience of losing loved ones, specifically young loved ones. What are the end results of this exploration? Does she offer any answers? Any reasoning for such life experiences?
  6. Why does Tait choose to open her novel with the poem “Maybe There is Nothing Special Going On” by Victoria Redel?  What is its relevance to Inertia’s story and characters? To its overarching themes?
  7. Revisit Jake’s poem to Athena, presented in the end of Chapter 4, and consider its meaning in light of Jake’s suggestion that “in a way it is [a love poem]. It’s like I wrote it for myself. For today.”
  8. What is the effect of having two different first person narrators? The choice is stylistic and has been employed by many writers (Faulkner, Woolf and, more recently, Kingsolver, to name a few). Why do you think Tait makes this choice for Inertia?
  9. Revisit Adrienne Rich’s poem “Diving Into the Wreck,” which Tait’s character Angela references heavily in Chapter 16. In what ways is Angela’s trip to Hawaii the enactment of “diving into [her] own wreck”? What are the symbolic implications of the poem and, specifically, of seeing Jake’s face “peering back at [her] from within”?
  10. What are the questions that Inertia raises for you? Have you had experiences in your life where you felt like the super-real and the real were intertwined in some way?  Moments when you paused and wondered if you hadn’t just felt the “ethereal traces of one who [had] gone from [you]”?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

After Lucille Clifton, Take 2

the poem at the end of the world
is the one that dangles the truth
like a bacon-flavored treat above a dog
it is a poem that salivates our long
desire for clarity     for redemption     for
a reward     finally     for the things
we have done right     it is the language
of our undoing     the faint syllables
of our despair     and it is the hidden
music of our secret suffering while
we wait for what might never come
or     worse     has already been

Friday, February 10, 2012

In Celebration of the Body...

"If you live the sacred and despise the ordinary, 
you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion."
                                     --Zen Master Lin-Chi

It has been my effort, at times, to transcend the body, to transcend the Earth, dismiss it all as Maya, or illusion. I now see that this effort was a necessary practice in that it allowed me to enter the Mystery, to know it and to discern it in the extraordinary, only so that upon returning to the ordinary, to the 'real' body and Earth, I might know the Divine as pervading every aspect of what is.

The Divine does not only reside in the transcendent, the spiritual, but also in a stone. In a touch. In the mottled iris of a child. The Divine, I must concede, resides even in the pile of laundry at the foot of my bed.

The Divine pervades Om, but this does not mean that Om transcends or excludes what is not Divine.Rather, form, indeed phenomena, are a vital, if ephemeral, aspect of Om. Om contains and includes all things, physical and spiritual. It is the single syllable that spills into the universe as the acknowledgment of the oneness that our language, and even our practices, often fail to articulate.

In denying the body, we may for a moment gain a greater sense of what transcends it, but always, always one returns to the body, for it contains the whole of us. It is our vessel and it is our vehicle. It, too, is pervaded by the Divine. Though we must shed it when this lifetime comes to a close, though we believe in our essence as continuing on, after it ceases to be, the body, the Earth upon which it moves...these are to be embraced and ultimately celebrated..

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not Magnificent Indeed...

"And at once I knew, I was not magnificent." It is the chorus to a Bon Iver song that plays in my head again and again. It is the anthem of my miniature mid-life crisis. How I knew, suddenly at 40, that my life, my accomplishments, amount to nothing special, except if you count the lives I have begotten, the little lights that are my two sons but for whom I can hardly take credit.

But at 40 and a half, I find that it is also a promise. Not being magnificent, that is. It is a promise that is sustaining and which creates peace in the heart, in the mind. It means that though my life represents an individual wave that swells in the sea, drags itself along the ocean floor to take its unique shape against an offshore wind, though I arc and curl around the barrel of my own hollowness, crush it with the weight of my watery mass, I am ultimately, undeniably, a part of the sea, indistinguishable from the vast expanse of saltwater that encompasses all else under the sun. Undeniably not separate and alone, as I might at times believe (or even desire to assert).

I find now that it is a comfort that I have the expanse of the entire sea to fall back into when the peak of my life folds into whitewater, then foam, then the receding calm that it was always becoming. Indeed, has always been.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Word on Words...

"Words are inert," she says, and inadequate to convey human experience. I ponder this and think, yes, to the extent that they are symbols, perhaps this is true. But in their representation as such, they stand for things that are alive, myriad, complex. Words therefore have value, not because they are perfect in their symbolization, but because they are the basis for our linguistic expression of these valuable things.

Beyond that, they are the building blocks, the raw medium, of literary art, as clay or bronze might be to a sculptor. What grows from them is completely dependent and contingent on the artist and her intention. Does the question of the reception of that art, how one sees or experiences it as perhaps different from that seminal intent, diminish its value? Only if we think that the only value of language, and therefore of literary art forms, is in the communication of something very specific.

When we broaden our sense of the value of words and thus the story, for example, to encompass a communion of sorts, then we see that their value is infinite. It is, as the woman in the film says, "what we live for."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Landlocked Blues

January sun dresses trees in light.
I am the thing I have always been
though tethered now to snow and ice
and an image of myself
neither aquatic nor buoyant.
Heavy. Ice is heavy after all,
though translucent,
and I move my body
over it cautiously and
with care. There is a kind
of captivity here, a kind of
restraint that I must observe:
the world through leafless branches.
Trying to remember a time
when I felt strong and water
received me in its freest form,
salty ablution as counterpoint
to my life on land.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2012...Bring it.

"Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world." --German philosopher Arthur Shopenhauer.

Perhaps this is our charge for the new year: first, not to project and therefore impose our own limitations on others (our lovers, our children, the institutions of which we are a part) and second, to be ever pushing, striving to expand the field of our vision.

We must break down barriers, namely the misguided beliefs about things and people, that limit us. Though they be constructed in earnest, beliefs that are circumscribed by lack of experience or knowledge, indeed by ignorance, are infinitely limiting and must be dismantled. Only in doing so can we re-emerge with clarity and understanding of the 'other,' rather than fear and limitation, and begin to achieve the peace that is ultimately dependent upon such conditions.

But how do we begin this dismantling? I struggle with this daily, but this I know: we can start by identifying those beliefs that put up artificial boundaries, that create mental barriers against achieving our highest potential. Only by identifying those beliefs can we begin to chip away at them. Maybe we have to start again every morning, from the beginning. So we must. Eventually, we can succeed in this, and what we are left with is a vast, open plain, an expanded "field of vision" in which anything is possible and into which our wildest dreams may amble and spill.

With every individual manifesting his or her most pure, essential and transcendent self, how can we fail to achieve peace on this earth? First in our relationships and in our families, then in our communities, then in our countries and ultimately the world.

Yes, I have a good feeling about 2012. Let the transformation begin!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vermont Education

There is nothing, I learn when I move to Vermont, like the beauty of a leafless tree on snow, blue sky spreading itself as backdrop. Ancient calligraphic expression of life and the industry of growing. Absence of sound and sensation--just the visible substance of what lifts itself into the air of its own fortitude. It ravels itself out as the arboreal architecture of a sugar maple or a tamarack and teaches us how to be still. How to be lovely in our nakedness. Even in this wild and whispering cold.