Eternity is in love with the productions of time. William Blake

Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

Suncatcher, December 20-22, 1994


“Running to Stand Still”

“And so she woke up

From where she was lying still

Said we got to do something about where we’re going

Step on a steam train

Step out of the driving rain

Maybe run from the darkness in the night

Singing halalala de day

Singing halalala de day

Sweet the sin

But bitter the taste in my mouth

I see seven towers

But I only see one way out

You go to cry without weeping

Talk without speaking

Scream without raising your voice, you know

I took the poison, from the poison stream,

Then I floated out of  here

Singing halalala de day

Singing halalala de day

She runs through the streets

With her eyes painted red

Under black belly of cloud in the rain

In through a doorway she brings me

White gold and pearls stolen from the sea

She is raging

She is raging and the storm blows up in her eyes

She will suffer the needle chill

She is running to stand still . . .”

U2, from The Joshua Tree album

I called my mom today and she sounded really sick.  I am scared.  I want to drop everything and go and be with her.  Her mortality is too near at times like this.

–I feel better now.  Krissy [stepmom] said it would be all right if I went down for the day.  I know I can’t really do anything to make her feel better, but I need to be around her.  Life gets kind of scary sometimes.


She is much sicker than she wants to admit, and I am worried.  Perhaps I was playing God, but I am glad Molly did not come down today.  I, myself, have had to fight back  the tears many times today.  She has been sick since Saturday and has not eaten.  She looks emaciated–her stomach looks bloated–and I could probably carry her if I wanted to, she is so thin.  I called her doctor, but she is out on lunch break until 1:30.  So, when I get back (I am having a bagel at Bruegger’s right now) I should be able to call again.  If she won’t eat, she most likely needs an IV.  She won’t like that, but I don’t care.  I need to take care of her.

My reality is very acute right now.  It is as if I am totally conscious of everything, and at the same time, not at all.


This is a funny thought, but, healing yourself seems like trying to get from one place to another.  Just like a car can only go down a one way street  one way, but a person on foot can go either, maybe healing is like that.  Maybe everything is like that.  So, if I don’t like the bus, or if it doesn’t go exactly where I want, do I just get off and walk?

I feel like I’m in some movie, sitting here in Cambridge in a bagel shop by the window, writing in my book.  It’s the 1st day of winter, the Winter Solstice, but it’s 50 degrees out.  It is beautiful.  I was going to drive down the street, but it was so gorgeous I had to walk.

The sun is warm on my back.  I remember once, when Mom lived with Rhonda, sitting by the window with the black cat sleeping in my lap, warm from the sunshine and listening to music.  Strange how I remember such a small thing.  I miss Gipper [our daschsund].  He was the best dog.  He always slept at our feet inside our sleeping bags.  What a goof.

Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet

“Long were the days of pain I have spent with its walls, and long were the nights of aloneness; and who can depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret?

Too many fragments of the spirit have I scattered in these streets, and too many are the children of my longing that walk naked among these hills, and I cannot withdraw from them without a burden and an ache.

It is not a garment I cast off this day, but a skin that I tear with my own hands. 

Nor is it a thought I leave behind me, but a heart made sweet with hunger and with thirst.

Yet I cannot tarry longer.

The sea that calls all things unto her calls me, and I must embark.”


It is three days before Christmas, yet it is not near at all.  I am empty; I am full.  Denial is my momentary specialty, yet my mother’s mortality is also quite near to me.  Duality rules my life.

Postscript, 7/15/11

My mother died of colon cancer on August 25, 1996 when I was 19 years old, and my sister Molly was 15.  This journal entry is from when I was 17, when it became clear that her cancer had taken a serious turn for the worse, although she wouldn’t die for another year and half.  That Winter Solstice, after finally speaking with her doctor, I had to take her against her will to the hospital, where she eventually consented to surgery so that she wouldn’t die from her colon exploding in her body.  Although I was quite angry with my mother at the time for resisting help–and I can still access that feeling of rage and helplessness  on my part–I now possess another, more transpersonal perspective.  I believe my mother carried the pain of her fragmented childhood in her pelvis, her abdomen.  I believe that at the time I intervened she probably wanted to die, to end the suffering she had carried for so long.  There isn’t any black and white–I don’t see myself as wrong for my interventions and my wanting her to survive–and at the same time I now have a deeper compassion for her experience, as well.

Cutting Up an Ox, Chuang Tzu, transl. Thomas Merton

Prince Wen Hui’s cook

Was cutting up an ox.

Out went a hand,

Down went a shoulder,

He planted a foot,

He pressed with a knee,

The ox fell apart

With a whisper,

The bright cleaver murmured

Like a gentle wind.

Rhythm!  Timing!

Like a sacred dance,

Like “The Mulberry Grove,”

Like ancient harmonies!

“Good work!” the Prince exclaimed,

“Your method is faultless!”

“Method?” said the cook

Laying aside his cleaver,

“What I follow is Tao

Beyond all methods!”

“When I first began

To cut up an oxen

I would see before me

The whole ox

All in one mass.

“After three years

I no longer saw this mass.

I saw the distinctions.

“But now, I see nothing

With the eye.  My whole being


My senses are idle.  The spirit

Free to work without plan

Follows its own instinct

Guided by natural line,

By the secret opening, the hidden space,

My cleaver finds its own way.

I cut through no joint, chop no bone.

“A good cook needs a new chopper

Once a year–he cuts.

A poor cook needs a new one

Every month–he hacks!

“I have used this same cleaver

Nineteen years.

It has cut up

A thousand oxen.

Its edge is as keen

As if newly sharpened.

“There are spaces in the joints;

The blade is thin and keen:

When this thinness

Finds that space

There is all the room you need!

It goes like a breeze!

Hence I have this cleaver nineteen years

As if newly sharpened!

“True, there are sometimes

Tough joints.  I feel them coming,

I slow down, I watch closely,

Hold back, barely move the blade,

And whump! the part falls away

Landing like a clod of earth.

“Then I withdraw the blade,

I stand still

And let the joy of the work

Sink in.

I clean the blade

And put it away.”

Prince Wan Hui said,

“This is it! My cook has shown me

How I ought to live

My own life!”

Chuang Tzu, The Way of Chuang Tzu, translated by Thomas Merton

from “The Walls Do Not Fall”, H.D.

from The Walls Do Not Fall by H.D.


only just now,

my heart-shell

breaks open,

though long ago, the phoenix,

your bennu bird

dropped a grain,

as of scalding wax;

there was fragrance, burnt incense,

myrtle, aloes cedar;

the kingdom is a Tree

whose roots bind the heart-husk

to earth,

after the ultimate grain,

lodged in the heart-core,

has taken its nourishment.

On Love, Kahlil Gibran

I am not an anxious person, but in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the news that a large earthquake is likely to hit California in the next couple of weeks, I couldn’t sleep.  Fear captured my imagination, fear of loved ones being injured or killed, fear of being in a different place from Kale’a when the quake happened, fear fear fear.  Eventually I fell asleep, and upon waking this morning thought it good to review Gibran’s treatise on love:

Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love.

And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them.  And with a great voice he said:

When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him,

Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.  Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto  himself.

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free you from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,

Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,

Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of  your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;

For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”

And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude;

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

34 and 2 days, Reading Marion Woodman.

Life becomes exponentially more beautiful, and exacts a terrible toll of tenderness on my heart, my womb, my flesh. This modern world–we turn away from this depth of beauty.  It seems to require more feeling than we have the resources for–and perhaps what is called for is to develop these capacities, to burnish the cup and carve the lute.  This feminine face of God, Her shining face calls to us, the siren song to die into a new way of being, of living in the fiercely alive body, unabashed and carved out by the sacred sensuality of the world.

Marion Woodman, from Bone: Dying into Life

November 24, 1993

Without the love, would I bother?  Without Ross [husband], would I care?  More and more, I feel the initiation–the letting go of something that is finished in order to move into new life.  How to let go?  How to be sure at the unconscious level that I am letting go?  . . . I know I am dealing with the Great Mother in her death aspect.  In the past she could hypnotize me, blind me to my unconscious death wish in bingeing and starving.  Now again.  I have to turn her face around and feel myself lokoing into the eyes of the loving Mother.  How to be sure I am moving from the negative face of the archetype to the positive?  That has to happen, but it is hard to recognize the move when the dark face is so locked, so fierce, and so fiercely locked i the unconscious.

I have carried this dark road too long.  I am delivered of a very dark, dead baby.  If I cannot get hold of the positive side of the archetypal dimension of this, I think I will die. And that dimension has to do with the emergence of the Virgin bride at a new height and new depth on the spiral.  Very aware now that the spiral–the movement of the Virgin Gypsy of my initiatory dream–is a double helix.  As above, so below.

Please, God, let me live the Spiritual Warrior, fighting for the new order.  Dear Sophia, let your radiance release me into Virgin/Crone.  Masculine and feminine together, we may make the transition.

Of Joy and Sorrow, Kahlil Gibran

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and  your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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