Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When We Win, It’s With Small Things
   By Rainier Maria Rilke

I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can't bear without a friend,
I can't love without a sister.

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.

When we win it's with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestler's sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Things to Think, by Robert Bly

Think in ways you've never thought before
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you've ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.

Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged: or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he's carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you've never seen.

When someone knocks on the door, think that he's about
To give you something large: tell you you're forgiven,
Or that it's not necessary to work all the time, or that it's
Been decided that if you lie down no one will die.

Questions for reflection:
What are some habitual thoughts that roll around your mind without your control?
What would you rather be thinking?  Practice those thoughts.
What is the most outrageous idea you could make up?
Ponder a metaphorical child you've never seen, perhaps something/someone small that needs your attention or nurturing?  What part of your inner child needs attention and nurturing?
**If someone knocks on your door, or rings your phone, what really LARGE message would heal a wound in your emotional soul?  What do you need to hear?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome To Your New/Old Life 2012

Hello, New Friends and Old (meaning long term, not as in aging),
As a new year begins, I am setting aside some things that are not longer useful, or that not longer hold passion for me.   My old blog was about trying to connect with my family far away so they would get to know their Grandma.   I see now, that was an artificial premise, since the only way to really know someone is to live inside their skin with their memories, emotions,  and life experiences.  I also see that there was some ego need that made the blog inauthentic.  So I'm bidding farewell to Grandma's Dyeing Pursuits.   I think I will delete it from the blog-o-sphere by Spring.
        I've spent my life trying on different characters and personalities, always coming up with "That's Not Me."   So now I have 65 years of knowing what is "not me", and I'm running out of time trying to find what IS.  (That is a loaded term in so many ways.)  The ONE THING (think Jack Palance in City Slickers), that I do know is I AM a teacher, and so are you.  I remain passionate about teaching.....anything and everything.   It brings me joy to understand something well enough to be able to teach it to someone else.
     I stand on the shoulders of greatness:   everything I know, I learned from someone else who has touched my life, either in the flesh or in a historical context, through books or music, through blogs, essays, biographies, classes, friendships both personal and online.   I know I have been touched by strangers in elevators or grocery lines who gave only a smile when I needed it.   I have overheard conversations which held answers I've been seeking.
     I have learned  tremendously painful lessons through terribly painful choices I've made, or words I said that inadvertently hurt others.  I've tried to learn the underlying lessons when others' words have cut me to the bone.   Trying to keep an open heart through all of that pain is one of the most difficult lessons I'm trying to learn these days;   how do I remain open-hearted and compassionate when I'm the one who is hurting?   It's a lifelong practice, and I don't know how long my life is going to be, so I don't know when that lesson will be complete.
     Here is the premise of the new blog.   I love quotes and poetry.  I love to collect, compile, and share them.   I want to combine that idea with my passion for teaching, and have this be a blog for self-reflection.   I want to embody as well as encourage and inspire others to follow the dictate to KNOW THYSELF.  

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

I will add some of my favorite poems, with questions for self-inquiry and introspection.
The "teaching" will be only about self-discovery, since we're all on that journey through this life.   The comment section will be for you to add some insight you've gained on your own personal path to conscious awareness.   My hope is that we will all have new insights for each other, not continue to think the same things we've already thought a million times, but to remain open-hearted, open-minded, compassionate, and most of all SELF-ACCEPTING. 

"New Year's Day is every man's birthday."   Charles Lamb

  This is the Day 

This is the year for making changes
This is the year for moving on
This is the year of overcoming
This is the year for growing strong.

This is the year for a new way of thinking
This is the year for making plans
This is the year for reaching out and
This is the year for joining hands.

Gone are the lonely nights of yearning
Gone all the dark and cloudy skies
All the unsteady bridges burning
All the doubt and all the lies

This is the chance to recapture the power
This is the time to abandon the fear
This is the moment, the finest hour
This is the year, this is the year.

This is the year that I put into action
All my desires and all of my means
This is the year I follow my passion
This is the year of my dreams.

This is the year I'm letting go of
Trying to change the ones that I love
This is the year I turn it over
This is the year I look above

This is the year I take my intention
Turn it away from distraction and talk
This is the year I take the step and
     This is the year I walk the walk.


This is the year I make it happen
This is the year I follow through
This is the year I move ahead on
All of the things I want to do.

This is the chance to renew my commitment
This is the time to be conscious and clear
This is the moment for living fully
This is the year, this is the year. 

So, you can use this song for journaling, or discussion with your partner, or meditation, and the best part is, it is for your personal use....or not.
Main question:  What is this the year for in your life?   Shoot for the stars.  
Happy New Life to all of my teachers "out there."   You live inside my heart.

This poem/song is from David Roth, one of my favorite teachers.
It can be found on his Nights at the Chez CD, and is downloadable.  Please respect his copyright and give him credit if you use this.  We're all standing on each other's shoulders to reach greater heights.
And if you're so inclined, leave a comment.