Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Getting The Picture

Our Deepest Well-Being

Our society provides no curriculum or schooling on how to notice love or to recognize the many people who have transmitted its life-giving power. Most of us haven't been taught that to receive love deeply and transmit it wholeheartedly is a real human possibility, that it can be learned, and that to do so is the key to our deepest well-being, our spiritual life, and our capacity to bring more goodness into this world.

-John Makransky, 'Love Is All Around' tricycle, [Fall 2007]

The theme of the poem below, written on my mother’s birthday last year (may you rest easy, Hypatia, in that far land to which you have gone) corresponds well with the complaint in the small piece above I came across today in my emailbox. I did not write the poem to describe my inner state but to complain in my way as Makransky does in his. I am these days fundamentally at peace even though I am aware that my life may soon become far more difficult. I sit here right now, writing this post as if it is the most important thing. I feel just like that, that I am doing what I should.

There are secrets, powers, pathways to pursue. There are truths that shine with inner light. When the world turns, very little of today’s demand will remain significant. I am happy my stinky old cat was alive again this morning, that I could get out of bed with only a modicum of difficulty, that there is enough to eat, that as I am told the Oregon rain will keep things green and blossoming all around. I just saw the house finches in my feeder. If I needed to I could go to California or Vermont, starting in less than an hour. I am confident of my power, my place in amongst the real things. I ask again of this day,

May I perceive the love I know exists and set aside the rest.

Getting The Picture

Corner spillage piles
slow us down, narrow alleys
turn and clog like this
in forgotten lives,
lost lives overfed in place
of love, fatty lives
aching, short of breath,
seeking for the one true cure
as if arteries
held open with stents
would allow a recovery,
let me see my God.

May 14, 2009 1:00 PM


  1. That's a powerful metaphor, Christopher. Especially interesting to contemplate as Mother's Day approaches.

  2. Good Morning, Karen. I am not sure that my poem is great early morning reading but I think Makransky's quote is. If you had seen the angiogram image of my heart before the stent was placed, paired with the image taken after, you would have seen the "narrow alleys" and "fatty lives", the "clogged corner spillage" to which I was referring.

  3. "May I perceive the love I know exists and set aside the rest." I needed that today Christopher. Sometimes you give me the most extraordinary gifts!

  4. You are welcome to them, Annie. They are the words offered in a book Marianne Williamson wrote, part of a prayer of release.

    I took that prayer and one other in that book and created a prayer posture of my own, modifying my marriage of the two prayers over time into what I call the Set Aside Prayer. This passage is verbatim from Marianne and stayed that way through all the prayer's iterations.

    I use it daily when I am working. I use it in a defensive posture, as armor against the stresses of corporate life.

  5. Isn't it frustrating? It is all a matter of perspective (and perhaps that tricky thing of belief, once again), that we all have the capacity for happiness and fulfillment. Huh. We all have it. It is within each of us. Certainly some of us have a harder negotiation than others, have a bigger burden to bear (not me). And so now, I am seeing in writing this, that love and acceptance go hand in hand with happiness and fulfillment. I like this.

    And too, I worry just that bit for myself, that I might lose this perspective, as there have been times in my life when I was on the other side of the fence. I do not want to be closed again. I do not want to lose the ability to love and accept. Nothing needs to be perfect. I need to just remain open.



  6. The capacity to love can be ruined apparently beyond redemption by living badly and by victimization. The planet teaches this. It may be that some of us are born without sufficient capacity as well. I wish it were not so.

    I have difficulty with the history of man otherwise because this truth of love and its power has been known for millenia now. It is not a secret, but every generation has had to relearn it and has not done that very well.

    To master love is no easy thing. It is a life work. To be martyred for it is not only possible but it has happened many times.

    The difficulties of the arena do not change the truth of love and its power. The truth of love does not change the appalling nature of the arena. The joy of love is real. So is love's grief and pain.

    Thus loving is immensely courageous.

  7. I know it isn't true I know it isn't true
    Love is just a lie made to make you blue

  8. Ghost!! A very long time, decades on decades. I am very happy you manifested on this plane again.

    Tina sang

    "What's Love Got To Do With It"

    You must understand
    That the touch of your hand
    Makes my pulse react
    That it's only the thrill
    Of boy meeting girl
    Opposites attract

    It's physical
    Only logical
    You must try to ignore
    That it means more than that

    Oh whats love got to do, got to do with it
    What's love but a second hand emotion
    What's love got to do, got to do with it
    Who needs a heart
    When a heart can be broken

    It may seem to you
    That I'm acting confused
    When you're close to me
    If i tend to look dazed
    I've read it someplace
    I've got cause to be

    There's a name for it
    There's a phrase that fits
    But whatever the reason
    You do it for me


    I've been taking on a new direction
    But I have to say
    I've been thinking about my own protection
    It scares me to feel this way

    What's love got to do, got to do with it
    What's love but a sweet old fashioned notion
    What's love got to do, got to do with it
    Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken

  9. loving is immensely courageous

    I wish it weren't the case. I wish it weren't the case that people were hurt by love and by the faltering of love. I wish it weren't the case that I have hurt people because of love. I wish I could tame my heart, my stomp. I wish I could love better, with permanence, be like an insurance policy. But I am a wilder sprig than even I know and so I have hurt others even in my growth.

    I am no insurance policy. It takes great courage to love me - to love at all, I suppose, as you say.


  10. Thinking of you as an unusually dangerous woman seems so out of kilter to me that I want to reach through the comment window and correct you firmly for asserting such a thing. I have been reading you and receiving your passion for over a year and I assure you that I find little to fear in my feelings for you.

    I find you warm and generous. I find you perceptive and open. Even from this distance the smell of you awakens me. I remember why I want a woman in my life, this from knowing you (not only you but definitely you).

    There is no doubt that you are dangerous just as you describe except for the way you have seemed to single yourself out in it. You are no more dangerous than most, and perhaps less. What has happened to your lovers at your hand is no more unusual than what has happened to those of us in other arenas.

    I used to hear of your children more. Those young beings as I know them would rise to your defense should someone darken your name. I suspect your past lovers might also. Perhaps I am painting a picture of my perception more than I paint you, but I don't think so. I am pretty sure you might be more skilled already than many of us. Why else would so many follow you? I don't believe you are so skillful at dissembly that you have fooled us all.

    Stop exaggerating. Let me love you without climbing over this sort of wall.

  11. It's definitely time to clean house.

    When I invite you out

    When I invite you out,
    you shake your head, overwhelmed
    by the dusty piles
    in the corner of every room,
    the heaps of laundry
    strung without malice
    over hapless random furniture.

    The cat stalks through
    in his element here
    leaving mysterious urine stains,
    an abstract sensory design
    among the cast-off sheets.

    When I invite you out, I hope
    to break the cobweb nest
    that binds perniciously, corners
    rough to navigate, the toilet
    drowning a slow SOS
    lost in its own heady stink.
    You shake your head,
    overwhelmed, quite simply
    unable to clear the fog.

  12. Jesus! You followed me home!!

    Actually that's the inside of my head you're talking about.

    It's tough to get the cat out.


  13. The inside of my house and the inside of my head are usually in the same state as one another. I need to clean the house so I can think properly. Right now, my bedroom is full of guinea pigs (as is my head).

  14. Rachel, I hope they do not gnaw overmuch on your wiring. I hate it when that happens.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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