“Infinite Storm of Beauty”

“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop,
striped and dotted with continents and islands,
flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one,
the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.”
~by John Muir, Travels in Alaska, 1915


I read John Muir with a pang of jealousy. I believe he lived in a time, and chose a life style that allowed him the privilege of thinking and writing words like these.

In this world of today, with its busy-ness, lists of important things to do, lights shining everywhere for safety and hiding the night, noise to keep us entertained, visual pulses everywhere that keep us hyped/amped up, who looks up and realizes the wonder of being here at all?

We are so enclosed in our compartmentalized spaces of home, community, job, identity, country, that we forget we are tiny little specks on a twirling dot of blue in the vastness of an expanding universe.

We are dust particle in a tumultuous whirlwind of beauty.

And we don’t know it.

We are a part of a universe, a part of Nature that we barely understand. We believe ourselves to be something important, and yet….

The universe is just fine with or without us. We are however, arrogant enough to live on a vibrant, living planet and not care about whether we are going to be responsible for destroying this marvelous, unique, irreplaceable planet that is, to our knowledge, the only home of intelligent life in the….universe…….

 We are such a very, very miniscule part of something that is almost inconceivably immense.

Contemplate what our lives, our existence means or doesn’t mean. Question the wars and violence. Question the resources of the planet and the people who control them and give or deny them. Question our choice to be humbled by our smallness or bask in the assumption that our intelligence is somehow permission to take and take and take.

Just beyond the atmosphere that is our bubble of reality, is an infinite storm of beauty that doesn’t care about us at all. Yet, here we are. For what purpose?

To love or hate? To create or destroy? To abide by violence or peace? To rejoice or to fear? To reach out or to hold back? To protect or abuse? To cause harm or to heal? To seek revenge or forgive? To see the good or the bad? To have an open heart or a closed heart? To discover and create for the good of others? To reflect the glory of God? To end the cycle of suffering? To speak of and walk with life-giving intent, or with hate and inhumanity? To live with grace, love, beauty—or ugliness, hate, rage and fear?

 I suppose it is how you look at life in the first place. Either it is a cherished miracle or it doesn’t matter.

“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.”~ Goethe

When you look around, what do you see? Do you see the whole globe as one great dewdrop, flying through space in the middle of an infinite storm of beauty? Do you feel as if you/we are all singing and shining together as one? As one?

What do you carry in your heart?

Love Lights

1128 1 editedWhen the Sun of compassion arises
darkness evaporates
and the singing birds come from nowhere.”
Amit Ray, Nonviolence, The Transforming Power

It’s difficult watching and listening to the news lately. Difficult to sort out fact from fiction. A challenge to balance our personal hopes and dreams with the hopes and dreams of others. A struggle sometimes to balance what we enjoy with the health of the planet.

 In my class of preschoolers we talk about the light that is in each one of us. We call this our “Love Light”. This is the light that illuminates us from within. This same light is in everyone. All of us. The people we love. The people who uplift us and bring us joy. The people we have shared experiences with. The people we do not feel love towards. The people whose experiences we cannot grasp. The people we don’t understand. The people we fear. The people who hurt us.

2015-03-16 one

This is an inner light of love and compassion. It is what illuminates all that is good in us, all that is nurturing in us. All that is humane in us. It is the light that shines in darkness and fear. Our Love Light ignites our love for fellow beings. It lights up tenderness, generosity, empathy and hope. It allows us to wish for the dreams of others come true just as we wish for our own dreams to come true. Like a sun lighting up the dark morning sky, our Love Light is the light of our heart and soul that radiates out with an open hand of love, goodwill, compassion, acceptance, hope and trust.

“See the light in others, 
and treat them as if that is all you see.”
~Wayne Dyer

Somewhere along the way I wonder if we have forgotten how to see that light in each other. If maybe we have come to believe not everyone has a light worth seeing.

The other day in yoga during shavasana, it was very quiet and still. For  a moment I rested in that wonderfully nested place of safety, quiet, stillness, calm, awareness and was what I can only define as being present in the moment. Fears, worries, anxieties, thoughts, hopes, dreams…all those things were shuttered away somewhere and not raising their chattering heads and voicing their distracting opinions.

As my body slowly but surely softened, something in me just stopped. This is important because this is when all the thinking stops. The mind chatter stops. The anxiety ceases. The fears melt. The unknown and the what is not knowable doesn’t matter.

At the end of the class, with my heart, mind and body in this space of stillness, my teacher read:

“There is only one light shining through every person’s eyes.
When you look into that light in others, your mind falls silent.
The two of you share that one light and melt into a profound experience.”

~Swami Nirmalananda

There it was. Light. One, common and shared light. We have to remember to look towards, and at each other, not away from each other. Right in the eyes. To see that Love Light. We have to allow ourselves the trust and space to melt into each other. We have to stop  and look into the eyes of each other. Every “other”. We have to honor the one light that is shining through every person’s eyes. And then maybe we will all hear the same thing; Amit Ray’s singing birds.


Jumping and Leaping

“Love recognizes no barriers.
It jumps hurdles, leaps fences,
penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
~ Maya Angelou

I was reading a poem by Elizabeth Alexander in which she pondered

“…are we not of interest to each other?”

Ars Poetica#100: I Believe

In all the whole wide world, who is of interest to you? Your family? Neighbor? Best friend? Friend with cancer? Refugees from Syria? Those with ALS? Hungry children? The homeless?

Who do you wonder about with curiosity and interest? Who, on the other hand, is not of interest to you?

I love Humans of New York and StoryCorps because they allow me to get to know the stories of people all around the world. People I would otherwise never know about. In learning about others, I learn about myself. In learning about the lives of others my view of the world and all of her beautiful humans is enriched.

In learning about others, people become less of “the other” and more of a real person…just like me. They become of interest to me. If I have a way of hearing the stories of others, few are not of interest to me.

Through the stories people tell of their life, I begin to feel a connection to them, a concern for and a love for them begins to grow. I don’t have to know them, or to touch their hand or hug them to love them. I can love them through shared hopes and dreams, fears, and failings.

“Love recognizes no barriers.
It jumps hurdles, leaps fences,
penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

My destination? For “others” to be of interest to me. For me to reach this destination and jump and leap over barriers to bring forth hope. Hope for respect. Hope for justice. Hope for an end to oppression. Hope for the end of poverty. Hope for acceptance. Hope for there to be no more “others”. Hope for love.

Hope for peace.

“Are we not of interest to each other?”

Who do wonder about? Who is of interest to you? Who is not of interest to you, and why not?

Keeping Quiet, a poem

I am basking in the contentment and deep joy of being with family and friends and offer this poem. Hoping you will stop for a moment and keep still.

Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.


If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

—from Extravagaria