My friend Ruthie Siegel lives in Vermont and has started to sculpt in wool and other natural materials. She told me she has been searching for a circle that would see her and accept her freely. She is tremendously talented and insightful. In choosing to use what was plentiful where she lives and to reflect her inner nature as well as finding a spot where she feels at one with nature, she has attracted a circle of women that see and accept her freely.
I find this significant for once we settle into our true selves, it seems the whole world can come to us. As the Tao says, we can be like water and find our place and within that space is the center of all.
A thirteenth century poet/theologian described God as “…an infinite sphere whose centre is everywhere and circumference is nowhere.”
Black Elk talked of a vision he had in which he saw South Dakota as the center of the world, “But anywhere is the center of the world.”
“I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight, wide as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father.” – Black Elk
Tao Te Ching: Chapter 8
translated by Ursula K. Le Guin (1998)
is like water.
It doesn’t compete.
It goes right
to the low loathsome places, [*]
and so finds the way….”
[*] ELLEN M. CHEN comments:
“To Confucius water was the symbol of intelligent activity. The wise rejoice in water, while the virtuous rejoice in the mountains. TheTao Te Ching speaks of water as nearest Tao for a different reason by dwelling at the lowest places, water receives all the rejects of the world into itself.”
Tao Te Ching Chapter -8- translated by Rory MacKay
There are moments and days in our lives that we recognize as almost perfect. Beautiful heavenly days. While you can not hold onto them, you can draw from them and recall the serenity they provide to bring this moment into sharper focus. Being grateful and recognizing what is sublime in our lives opens the door to more of the same. There are always things within us that we can be grateful for. By being in the state of conscious gratitude, not only do we recognize what is around us but we generate things to be grateful for and illuminate them for those around us.
“In the artistic community, we always talk about the transformative power of theater, music, and art, but I got to witness it first hand on the deepest level this weekend. Last night, a woman rushed down to Kerri Kresinski and me, and said, “That’s it. You did it. I’m going to quit my job. Life is too short to be miserable.” Ira Scott Levin said this show was the most important thing he’d ever done in his life. It seems like every show I’m in, becomes a part of the fabric of my being. What a marvelous piece to weave into my soul.” –
We were on the move again yesterday and today I can finally sit and reflect on what occurred this weekend. We had a full week of rehearsals and only got everyone all in the same room to fully run our production of My Friend Hafiz by Sweet Can Productions with The Levins World Folk Ensemble on Thursday night. On Friday night as we opened, I stood there playing the songs and cried.
Somethings embrace synergy to such a high level that what emerges has always existed and always will. I talk about time being spherical a lot, but it occurred to me that the reason the songs had come through and that we had recorded the album was for this very performance. As the weekend progressed, we honed the show and the circle of musicians and the circle of circus performers overlapped and spiraled up. The thrust of the standing ovations was not just because the performers were so incredibly talented and that the clowns were so funny and that dances were so perfectly matched to bring the music and poetry forward but I believe the essence of what Hafiz achieved in his being somehow spilled over in a lighthearted pageantry of beauty and “benevolent thought, benevolent sound, benevolent movement around and around!”
Joseph Campbell was perhaps the most celebrated and beloved cosmic Pez dispenser of the wisdom and meaning of myths in every culture, religion and philosophy on this little planet of ours. Not only was he the author of a myriad of liberating books such as The Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces, he was George Lucas’s consultant for the original Star Wars Trilogy. His talks with Bill Moyers on PBS are the stuff of legends, (literally).
In Reflections on The Art of Living he talks of leaving the university where he was studying Celtic Romance. He had taken all the classes he needed for a PHD but before he wrote his dissertation, he began wandering through Europe where his real education began. He discovered James Joyce, Picasso, the 1927 crew of writers and artists in Paris . He realized that when getting a degree, you are not learning but doing what you are told to get the paper. He didn’t think he could go back into that bottle, so he walked away from getting his PHD and spent five years in the Depression up in Woodstock reading books. Then he drove out to California and a friend of his drove with him to Carmel and introduced him to John Stienbeck, who got him a place to stay. Joseph became involved with the characters in Steinbeck’s Cannery Row and he was the impetus for the big party in that book. His wanderings led him to his understanding that, “as Schopenhauer says when you look back on your life, it looks as though it were a plot, but when you are into it, it’s a mess: just one surprise after another. Then, later, you see it was perfect. So, I have a theory that if you are on your own path things are going to come to you. Since it’s your own path, and not one has ever been on it before, there’s no precedent, so everything that happens is a surprise and is timely.”
Essentially he advises us to leave the wasteland of our own stagnation and fears, forget what other people think of us and follow our bliss to our true center where the treasure lies and amidst those jewels, peace itself.
Last week I wrote about my friend Jered, who is expanding his pottery business and training and hiring local potters.
He didn’t make his kickstarter goal but because he and his family put it out into the universe that they needed a specific amount of money and were open to receiving it, it came through in a different form. Happily, this week a couple of investors loaned them exactly what they needed and Bon Apetit magazine is going to do something about Jered!
“Funny how that happens,” his wife Sarah Kobrinsky said.
This is an amazing example of how when we come to a place of knowing what we want to manifest and decide it is going to happen and are not shaken by appearances, but remain fully engaged, we can recognize our good when it comes to us and take it up with discernment and gratitude. Julia often reminds me to ask for the best thing to happen for everyone involved.
Sarah also has a project as the Poet Laureate of Emeryville which is Poems on the Emery Go-Round, (the free shuttle bus service in Emeryville.) Their tagline is:
“Put down your phone, pick up a poem!”
The city just approved her Call for Submissions and here is the link:
Our good friend Jered Nelson, who is married to the beloved poet (and poet laureate of Emeryville, CA,) Sarah Kobrinsky, is one of the hardest working honest folks we know. He has been a potter for 25 years and worked for a successful time-honored pottery company but became disillusioned when they were bought out and the new owners started shipping out the bulk of their work overseas and not respecting their workers. He left and started his own pottery company and has single handedly built his reputation in the SF Bay area and beyond. He has recieved so many orders he needs to expand and hire 10 (local) workers to make sure he can keep his business authentically hand-crafted. He has started a model for other artists to expand their business and create more local jobs for their communities. Knowing Jered, he will be successful on all levels but this transition is a difficult one for any independent artist.
He has a kickstarter campaign that will get him over the hump so that he does not have to do the work of ten folks as he has been doing for years, but can create meaningful jobs for others in his community.
Today is my good friend Daniel Angus Cox’s birthday and although he passed away earlier this year, he still is laughing brightly in the hearts of all who knew him. He was a beautiful person who never said anything bad about anyone and really cared for his neighbors, friends and family. Here is a reel of some of his acting jobs: