Burghild Nina Holzer inspires us to write and discover who we are and what we have to say

August 20, 2014

When it comes to writing and creativity, one book I highly recommend is A Walk Between Heaven and Earth: A Personal Journal on Writing and the Creative Process by Burghild Nina Holzer. It’s all about finding your own voice, your own truth, that’s been building up inside you, waiting to be revealed, to yourself, to others.

I found it in a Women in Print bookshop in Vancouver, BC, Canada. This author and writing facilitator turns her book on the creative process into a journal thereby demonstrating what she is teaching. She shares personal observations about her life, the world around her, and how she encourages her students to write.

Read this book and you’ll be inspired to express yourself in writing. There is a beautiful excerpt on the back cover, edited down from the original, that reads:

Talking to paper is talking to the divine. Paper is infinitely patient. Each time you scratch on it, you trace part of yourself, and thus part of the world, and thus part of the grammar of the universe. It is a huge language, but each of us tracks his or her particular understanding of it.

Here is the full description under the journal entry 4:30 P.M. on page 55.

Talking to paper is like talking to the divine. It is talking to an ear that will understand even the most difficult things. Paper is infinitely patient. It will receive small fragment after fragment of a large network you are working on, without you yourself knowing it. It will wait out decades for you to put together the first faint traces of your own code, a code you might have understood as a small child but which you are now gathering on a new level of understanding. The white paper is waiting. Each time you scratch on it, you trace part of yourself, and thus part of the world, and thus part of the grammar of the universe. It is a huge language, but each of us tracks his or her particular understanding of it.

I’ve posted earlier entries on writing you may also find worthwhile: Writing—a poem on the writing process; INSPIRATION, a poem by Nathanael Chawkin; Elizabeth Gilbert—Some Thoughts On Writing; Writers on Writing–What Writing Means To Writers; and Words of Wisdom on Writing from Literary Lights.

Charles Bukowski sings the life victorious

August 17, 2014

a song with no end

when Whitman wrote, “I sing the body electric”

I know what he
meant
I know what he
wanted:

to be completely alive every moment
in spite of the inevitable.

we can’t cheat death but we can make it
work so hard
that when it does take
us

it will have known a victory just as
perfect as
ours.

“a song with no end” by Charles Bukowski, from The Night Torn with Mad Footsteps. © Black Sparrow Press, 2001.

Emily Dickinson’s Solitude is Vedic Nivartatwam

August 17, 2014

Emily Dickinson beautifully, concisely describes the transcendental self-referral value of true inner solitude by realizing her unbounded Self. 

There is a solitude of space
A solitude of sea
A solitude of death, these
Society shall be
Compared with that profounder site
That polar privacy
A soul admitted to itself —
Finite infinity.

When Emily admits the self to the Self, she reiterates the Vedic injunction to transcend, retire, Nivartatwam, into that infinitely silent, Shivam, infinitely peaceful, Shantam, undivided, Advaitam, fourth, Chaturtham, state of consciousness, Atma, the Self.

Derek Walcott had his own way of describing this return to love, to one’s Self, in Love after Love.

Two famous quotes on courage and commitment by Marianne Williamson and William H. Murray

August 14, 2014

Here are two famous quotes I’ve admired that have to do with overcoming our fears, believing in ourselves, and having the courage to commit to our dreams, which then moves Nature to support us in ways we never would have imagined. They seem to be related in an important way — having the confidence and courage to commit to ourselves and fulfill our life’s purpose.

The first quote, having the courage to overcome our fears to become our true self, is from Marianne Williamson’s book, A Return To Love. It’s often been mistakenly attributed to Nelson Mandela, who used it in his 1994 Inaugural Speech.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?” Actually who are you not to be?

YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory that is within us. And as we let our light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

This second quote, on commitment, was thought to have been written by Goethe, but it is from William H. Murray, author of The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1951).

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.

W. H. Murray’s book details the first Scottish expedition in 1950 to the Kumaon range in the Himalayas, between Tibet and western Nepal. The expedition, led by Murray, attempted nine mountains and climbed five, in over 450 miles of mountainous travel. You can read more about this on About.com: German Myth 12: The Famous “Goethe” Quotation.

I just came across a similar post by Joseph Ranseth: 3 of the Greatest Quotes – W.H. Murray, Henry David Thoreau & Marianne Williamson. Ranseth cites the more complete Murray quote in context, where he describes the initial steps he and his party were taking before they actually started the mountain-climbing part of the expedition. Their commitment and follow-through precipitated Providence moving in their favor, which explains how he came to write about the power of commitment and its results. Murray also acknowledged and paraphrased a translation of Goethe’s couplet at the end of his quote.

The article also includes a selection from Thoreau’s Walden, Chapter 18. He also went in the direction of fulfilling his dreams when he chose to live self-sufficiently at Walden Pond. He described his opening up to deeper more universal laws of nature during his two-year seclusion and how that impacted his life. The quote ends with these famous lines: “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” But what proceeds them is quite profound. I recommend you read that section of the blog post.

Marianne Williamson’s quote reminds me of Jim Carrey’s Commencement Speech he gave at MUM this year where he told students they will only have two choices in life — love or fear. He said, “Choose love, and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.”

Watch Videos of MUM 2014 Graduation with Jim Carrey and see Some Reports on @JimCarrey’s Commencement Speech at MUM @MaharishiU #mumgraduation.

Wendell Berry’s “No going back” is about the generosity of the evolving self through time

July 29, 2014

No Going Back
(Wendell Berry)

No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And so you have become a sort of tree
standing over a grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.

Here is a National Endowment For The Humanities interview with Wendell E. Berry, Awards & Honors: 2012 Jefferson Lecturer. These poems by Walcott, O’Donohue, and Hafiz complement Berry’s theme: Love after Love, by Derek Walcott, A Blessing of Solitude by John O’Donohue, and The Root of The Rose by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

For Hafiz the role of an enlightened poet is to connect humanity with the joy of the divine

July 16, 2014

A CRYSTAL RIM
by Hafiz

The
Earth
Lifts its glass to the sun
And light — light
Is poured.

A bird
Comes and sits on a crystal rim
And from my forest cave I
Hear singing.

So I run to the edge of existence
And join my soul in love.

I lift my heart to Beloved
And grace is poured.

An emerald bird rises from inside me
And now sits
Upon the Beloved’s
Glass.

I have left that dark cave forever.
My body has blended with His.

I lay my wing
As a bridge to you

So that you can join us
Singing.

(“The Gift” – versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

Canadian poet P.K. Page describes a phantom bird in This Heavy Craft.

A mysterious bird in this Wallace Stevens poem teaches us the wonder of just being our self.

Love after Love, by Derek Walcott, resonates deeply when you first acknowledge yourself.

Another poem by Hafiz via Ladinsky describes the spiritual transformation of loving deeply within himself.

Found this lovely YouTube channel by Enea B, which combines poetry with visuals and music.

A mysterious bird in this Wallace Stevens poem teaches us the wonder of just being our self

July 16, 2014

Of Mere Being

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze distance.

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

Wallace Stevens

The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a Play

William Stafford in his poem, Just Thinking, also appreciates the value “of just being there.”

Canadian poet P.K. Page describes a phantom bird in This Heavy Craft.

Hafiz via Ladinsky describes the spiritual transformation of loving deeply within himself

July 16, 2014

Another wonderful poem by Hafiz translated by Daniel Ladinsky in “A Year With Hafiz” is The Root of the Rose. It’s a testament to the transformational power of loving from deep within the Self.

The Root of The Rose

In this cup I am drinking from, I can see the Face
behind every face
.

A well now, where creation has been drawn, I am.
How can a jug being carried on the top of my head
contain everything?

A galaxy can appear in the reflection of a small
clear pool.

Right where the moon may appear smiling at you
from a body of still water . . . a fish might leap out

and swallow that orb whole, and who is to say,
maybe even lay it at your feet?

Within an arm’s reach is all I desire, so I am never
in want.

The root of the Rose I have become, from loving
the way I did.

A Year With Hafiz: Daily Contemplations
Daniel Ladinsky, July 13, page 215

The image of the fish swallowing the moon reminds me of a poem by Rolf Erickson called Mirror Lake.

Also see Leave something in the marketplace by Hafiz. Related: Poems by Rumi and Octavio Paz open our minds to a more cosmic perspective. My poem, As Above, So Below, shares the same cosmic sentiment.

Love after Love, by Derek Walcott, resonates deeply when you first acknowledge yourself. Only then can you truly love. A Blessing of Solitude by John O’Donohue complements Derek Walcott’s Love after Love.

Fairfield, Iowa continues to be the place to visit, named BuzzFeed’s coolest small town in America

July 1, 2014

Fairfield, Iowa, home of Maharishi University of Management, was named one of the coolest small towns in America to visit. Check out America’s awesome hidden gems on BuzzFeed’s 11 Coolest Small Cities It’s Time To Road Trip To. This nationwide list is published just in time for family summer road trips. Fairfield makes the list at number 2, right after Asheville, North Carolina.

The article notes Fairfield is “an unassuming town, surrounded by rolling farmland, that has gained fame for both its abundance of startup companies and its abundance of Transcendental Meditation practicers. It’s also full of amazing architecture, notably by George Franklin Barber and Barry Byrne. Don’t forget to stop by the American Gothic House while you’re there — just a mere 20-minute drive away.”

Here’s the full list, but visit BuzzFeed to see the photos and descriptions: www.buzzfeed.com/fuze/coolest-small-cities-its-time-to-roadtrip-to.

1. Asheville, North Carolina
2. Fairfield, Iowa
3. Sedona, Arizona
4. Mystic, Connecticut
5. Estes Park, Colorado
6. Portland, Maine
7. Marfa, Texas
8. Portsmouth, New Hampshire
9. Park City, Utah
10. Athens, Georgia
11. Santa Cruz, California

Some related stories about Fairfield, Iowa:

The Smithsonian’s 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013. Fairfield, Iowa is in the Top 10 (No. 7)

“Moving America Forward,” a national TV show hosted by William Shatner, to feature Fairfield

@DMRegister’s Rox Laird Features Fairfield, Iowa’s Civic Collaboration and @MaharishiU’s Sustainable Living Center

Fairfield, Iowa, The Spiritual Sister City, published in Lawrence, Kansas Magazine

Video segments of Oprah’s Next Chapter on OWN: Oprah Visits Fairfield, Iowa—”TM Town”—America’s Most Unusual Town

The Iowan: Sizing Up Small Towns: Rethinking Success in Rural Iowa: Fairfield Thinks Inclusively

The Cultural Oasis of The Midwest: Fairfield, Iowa

A Blessing of Solitude by John O’Donohue complements Derek Walcott’s Love after Love

June 27, 2014

A Blessing of Solitude by John O’Donohue

May you recognize in your life, the presence, power and light of your soul.
May you realize that you are never alone,
That your soul in its brightness and belonging
connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe.
May you have respect for your own individuality and difference.
May you realize that the shape of your soul is unique,
that you have a special destiny here,
That behind the facade of your life
there is something beautiful, good, and eternal happening.
May you learn to see yourself with the same delight, pride,
and expectation with which God sees you in every moment.

John O’Donohue (from Anam Cara)

See Love after Love, by Derek Walcott, resonates deeply when you first acknowledge yourself.

Other poems For a New Beginning by John O’Donohue and The Inner History of a Day by John O’Donohue.

Listen to Krista Tippett interview John O’Donohue On Being: The Inner Landscape of Beauty.


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