I began to become convinced that this way of seeing is our most ordinary, normal, human, way of encountering our world; that in the absence of intervening technologies, our animal senses spontaneously animate the sensuous surroundings. We speak of things “catching our gaze,” “calling our attention,” “grabbing our focus,” and those are all quite precise ways of speaking, because as we’re wandering the world, things solicit our attention, draw us into dialog, a kind of conversation without words. A fallen leaf on the ground calls my attention, and so I slow down to stop and gaze at it. And so, in my experience, this leaf is not dead, though it’s been lying on the ground for days. It has its own agency. It has its own power, its potency. And so, it is with everything we experience. This has become a very basic insight to me: that our bodily senses, left to their own devices, are inherently animistic; that sensory perception is participatory; that the senses are gregarious organs that actively participate in the surrounding terrain; and that when we speak of the world around us as a set of objects or objective mechanical processes, we actually frustrate our senses and force our awareness to withdraw from our skin and from our eyes and our ears, and we climb up into our heads and live in a set of verbal abstractions—because the human animal cannot help but experience the world as animate and alive through and through.David Abram, from “The Ecology of Perception”, an interview in Emergence Magazine
Make It Personal
Do you know any nonvoters or undecided voters? Times are tough and there are a lot of disenfranchised and overwhelmed humans out there. What if you told them about your personal stake in this election?Continue reading
Remind yourself that you can’t save democracy.
Sobering, depressing, I know. But let go of that burden (it’s overwhelming you) and just do one small thing. Everyday.
Donate. Mail postcards. Make calls. Make sure your friends are registered to vote. Your small thing inspires others to do their small thing inspiring others and others and others until…
we ALL save democracy.
We have to have a kind of optimism. One way or another I’ve been involved in movements from the time I was very, very young, and I can remember that my mother never failed to emphasize that as bad as things were in our segregated world, change was possible. That the world would change. I learned how to live under those circumstances while also inhabiting an imagined world, recognizing that one day things would be different.Angela Davis, interviewed by Ava Duvernay in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair. Full interview here
USING MAGIC TO MANIFEST THE LIFE OF YOUR DREAMS
I saw a client recently who was struggling with direction in her life. Should she get a new job? Go back to school? Move to a new city? Consistently distracted by petty family dramas, she was feeling powerless, overwhelmed and unable to get any sort of clarity for herself. She needed to find a way to tune out the noise of everyone and everything around her, in order to tune IN to what it was she truly wanted – a near impossible task for many of us, especially with the world noisier than ever.Continue reading
INT. MY LIVING ROOM – DAY
I’m on the couch, mid Zoom call with Ted, a young, hungry producer I used to know, who wanted to see what I’ve been up to.
Like… the cards.
How lucky were we to have John Lewis in this world, showing up for disadvantaged people everywhere, making “good trouble” in the streets and in Congress for the duration of his life.Continue reading
I am writing this in my Santa Monica apartment. Right outside there are sirens blaring, scores of helicopters hovering overhead, two stores across the street that were just looted by roving criminals and a couple of structure fires a few blocks away. About an hour ago, there was a crowd of at least 300 peaceful protestors outside. I watched from my roof, afraid to enter the fray, but when they stopped and knelt in silent vigil for George Floyd, I knelt too, and raised my fist high in solidarity.Continue reading
🌀 R e i m m e r s i o n R i t u a l 🌀
- What shadows did you discover in quarantine?
- Write them a letter of thanks for their guidance.
- Burn the letter.
- Whisper goodbye to the rising smoke.
The rain surrounded the cabin … with a whole world of meaning, of secrecy, of rumor. Think of it: all that speech pouring down, selling nothing, judging nobody, drenching the thick mulch of dead leaves, soaking the trees, filling the gullies and crannies of the wood with water, washing out the places where men have stripped the hillside…. Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants, the rain. As long as it talks, I am going to listen.From “Rain and the Rhinoceros” by Thomas Merton, 1966
*I discovered Merton reading David Abram’s masterpiece, “The Spell of the Sensuous”
**More on Merton in this lovely tribute by Doug Toft
***Photo by Joe Gardner
“Mordor. That name even you hobbits have heard of, like a shadow on the border of old stories. Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.”
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Look to the irony in any story and you’ll find the moral, the gospel, the very reason for that story existing in the first place. We’re all quarantined from one another, but maybe this is happening to remind us just how connected we all are. Maybe this interconnectedness is a really hard moral for us as humans to learn. We elected a president whose entire m.o. is to vilify “the other”. Fox News is built on this. It’s infuriating to learn about all the folks right now ignoring the calls for social distancing, but the harsh reality is that a lot more people are going to have to get sick and a lot more people are going to have to die before we start to learn the moral of this story. We are truly all connected, aren’t we? Even the president’s wall can’t save us.Continue reading
Yes, by all means, breathe in the light. Yes, absolutely, focus on the positive. Pull out the crystals, light up the sage. Keep yourself safe. But don’t bypass what you’re feeling right now. This is the moment. Scary, messy, uncertain, full of potential. You were made for this, remember? You are no stranger to trauma. This is your wheelhouse. A natural healer, you are well equipped to thrive. Trust.Continue reading
Most of us have a recurring dream of some form or other. Some folks dream of flying, of losing their teeth. I dream of waves – giant, menacing, deep-water waves rising up in the night like dark-cloaked mercenaries. On and off throughout my life I have dreamed of waves. In my youth, I would mostly watch them from a distance, a hillside perhaps, or sometimes through the window of a house, the swell rising on the horizon. Lately though, the water seems closer. A few months back, I’m having a picnic as a wave towers over my friend’s shoulder. Just last week, I am on a dock when the water below me expands like a balloon, swallowing the dock entirely right as I wake up.Continue reading
To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
I’ll be performing at Write Club on Monday with the word “obscure” as my jumping off point. This Berry quote along with my recurring dreams of large waves will feature prominently in my piece. Come join the mayhem if you’re in the area! And check out my performance from last year for a tease of what I do. 🙏🏼
The next time you have some quiet time to yourself, try this:Continue reading
Imagination is the missing ingredient most needed to turn things around and truly change the dire conditions that prevail on earth at this time. It is when the power of imagination becomes diminished that people cannot envision ways through the conflicts and dilemmas of life.