Monday, October 20, 2014

My Farewell

My Farewell

I sat around a fire and thought 
- of you. 

Take your greatest moment of pleasure,
and multiply that by a millionfold,
then you might barely 
conceive what I am talking about. 

Has your life been so restrained 
that you never collaspsed onto the floor
from ecstasy? 

As for me, nothing of me will survive,
so these poems are my farewell. 

To my readers, 

       What does it mean to lead a life in which you take this mantra to heart "nothing of me will survive"? Does it mean to use up every gift you have been given, to pass on every blessing you have received, to burn passionately the full width and breadth of yourself?
       When I graduated high school (June 2010), I asked my close family members and friends to write me letters for a “Time Capsule” that I would open upon my college graduation (May 2013). I asked them to reflect, to offer advice, and to emanate Love. The reason I have chosen to end with this post is because that is the poetry of Life, the hallowed words of the ones you love, the enriching spirits of those who love you. You won’t always feel connected to the words of Hafiz, though I hope within them you find gems and treasures and immeasurable worth. Conversely, you will often draw upon the encouragement of those near and dear to you. Hold close to these jewels, they are such gold to carry.

In closing, I would like to share some of the pertinent advice my father wrote to me in his letter:

“Dear Arden,

      As you start the next chapter of your life (or is it really a new road), it is appropriate to offer advice. As you know, I love poetry and I have often found wisdom to guide me in the short verse of poetry. We have both enjoyed reading the poems of Mary Oliver – “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” What will your answer be to this question? What will be your “credo”? – best translated as, “I have given my heart to”.

      You are an individual, trying to fit into this world. Treasure your achievements, find the joy of learning, and thrill in the discovery of not only new things, but also old things seen in a new way. You will meet many people and this is the best way to grow and change. Try to find something you love and you will never need a job. Try to find someone to love and you will experience all the emotions of joy, hurt, beauty – but it will make you have experiences that will fulfill your dreams.

     It is not important to measure the number of years that you complete in life. More importantly, you should measure the moments that make us human, that connect us to a spiritual place, or that enrich your soul.

So this is what I would like you to take with you into the future:
  • Strength – to persevere against the mountains 
  • Passion – to explore and question 
  • Courage – to continue when hope seems to fail
  • Honesty – to yourself
  • Love – for your family 
You are a great person. You will probably do great things.

           Love always,
                           Dad

P.S. I am also including a diagram for an origami 5-point star. Who knows, one day, it may be all you need.”

       That's just it, who knows what you will need one day? It may be Love, it may be Courage, it may be Laughter, it may be a kind word, a soft touch, a caring smile, or it may be a 5-point origami star. I will leave you all with this final line from Hafiz: "Laughter is when the spirit, like an arrow, takes flight above the hour's concern." 
      Thank you for taking this journey with me, it's been a great year!
      Wishing you all a life full of laughter!

                                        Arden 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Riches Everywhere

Riches Everywhere

Don't envy my talents, 
or seek them.
For few could bear the suffering it took
to mine the jewels I have. 

There are divine riches everywhere.
The most natural way 
for most to find them
is by caring for those around us
as if they were our Beloved. 

       Do you ever consider yourself to be a gardener of life? Extracting the fruit from the root? Mining the gems of this Earth? Do you ever listen to the wind, and draw the Spirit from it? Whirl in ecstasy? Bow down in worship? The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are. The second greatest challenge is being happy with what you find. Are you happy with the riches you have mined? Are you interested in scattering them abudnantly?
       1 John 4:17 (MSG): "God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and matures in us."
      There are two things I would like the share here. One is a fragment from the poem Gardener by Tagore: "Who are you, reader, reading my poems hundred years hence? In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one spring morning, sending its glad voice across the years."
      The second is the lyrical poem, turned folk song, by Woodie Guthrie, This Land Is Your Land.

This Land Is Your Land (1944), Woodie Guthrie

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A River Understands

A River Understands

I think a river understands me,
I used to know my name,
and now I don't. 

For what does a river call itself
when it starts emptying into the sea?

Opening itself wider, until it is one 
with the ocean? 

I am like that with the world,
and in my union with all
you were there,
because you read this page. 

        Poetry often provides us with the words that voice our innermost feelings. From The Ballad of Ladies of the Past by Francois Villon: "Where is Echo, beheld of no man,/Only heart on river and mere, -/She whose beauty was more than human?/But where are the snows of yester-year?"
         Poetry implores us to question ourselves and in doing so, to understand ourselves. To know ourselves deeper than we might have, but entirely, like we should. Today I came across the poem Poetry, by Pablo Neruda, for the first time. It is beautiful and it illuminates the gift that poetry is to the soul.
       
Poetry by Pablo Neruda 
And it was at that age ... Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind. 


Poetry


Friday, October 17, 2014

Out Of The Mouths Of A Thousand Birds

Out Of The Mouths Of A Thousand Birds

Listen, listen more carefully to what is around you

listen for the chorus of the Beloved's name
for the Prayer Call rising up like the sun
out of the mouths of a thousand birds. 

There is an astonishing vastness of movement 
and life emanating sound and light
from my folded hands, 
and even quieter simple being and heart.

Quite your mind about the hundreds of things
that do not matter,
draw close to the thousands of things that do.

Post coming soon! :) 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Open The Door or Die

Open The Door or Die

There is an invisible sun we long to see.
The closer you get to the present, 
the brighter and more real it will become,
even at midnight. 

Now take your wings,
wings filled with spirit,
and head into that stratosphere 
of the sun.

"Open the door or die," 
my master would say to me
when I was young. 

          I'm not going to blog about what this poem actually means, instead, I'll mention that this poem reminds me of Halloween because of the Teal Pumpkin Project - a initiative for kids with food allergies (like myself) that encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies by providing non-food treats for trick-or-treaters and painting a pumpkin teal - the color of food allergy awareness - to place in front of their house.
          I'm planning on doing it this year, as are many other people with food allergies, but one of the posts that really struck me is by a mom whose child does not have food allergies, she just wants her daughter to grow up concerned about the welfare of others. You can read their story here.

The Teal Pumpkin Project

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fiddling With The Idiot

Fiddling With The Idiot

Once when I was fussing with my hair 
in front of a mirror, 
my master walked by and said: 

"Why are you always fiddling 
with the idiot? 
You should starve him a day or two
now and then."

Once a week I started abstaining 
then it turned into twice a week
then four times
then not at all
and I left each morning looking 
hopeful. 

                I love this poem, it brings up an extremely relevant point in life, which is what are you worshipping? Is it the mirror and how you look? Things that are obviously out of your control? Do you judge yourself by its standards? By its beauty, or lack thereof? Read again Hafiz's closing line...he abstained from the mirror and felt hopeful. Likely because he no longer thought of age stealing youth, of health conditions stealing complexion, of comparison to others, of comparison to his former self. Yes, avoiding the mirror can make one feel hopeful. 

We Wear the Mask
by Paul Laurence Dunbar 


We wear the mask that grins and lies, 
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— 
This debt we pay to human guile; 
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, 
And mouth with myriad subtleties. 

Why should the world be over-wise, 
In counting all our tears and sighs? 
Nay, let them only see us, while 
We wear the mask. 

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries 
To thee from tortured souls arise. 
We sing, but oh the clay is vile 
Beneath our feet, and long the mile; 
But let the world dream otherwise, 
We wear the mask!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What You Really Want

What You Really Want

There is not a waking moment that you are
not trying to savior what you have,
or get closer to what will bring you pleasure. 

Being so preoccupied as we are with needing to be
satisfied, it seems we would be better at it by now: 

that happiness would be our norm, not a rare event. 

No heart can make love to its source
and then can turn its back on the Truth of your destiny
which is -

someday you will never know pain
you will never know loneliness
you will never know sorrow 

instead, you will be the very fountainhead
of all dance, all laughter,
all Light. 

       Today I turned 22, it was great! I love this poem because it is sooooo positive and so hopeful. It transports you to another world, and that's exactly what good poetry, art, and literature should do. Poetry (and life for that matter) is about creating words (moments) that touch you, that challenge you, and that encourage you. I am so grateful for another year!
       I chose to go to Eastern State Penitentiary for my birthday and it was great! I highly recommend the "3D Experiment" section of the haunted house. It was fairly sunny out today, no rain, and I thought as we drove into Philadelphia of the e.e. cummings line: "peering from some high window; at the gold of November sunset (and feeling: that if day has to become night this is a beautiful way)".

Celebrating at Hickory Lane Bistro

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Theater of Freedom

The Theater of Freedom

In my divine studio
I have been working on this: 

Painting the Truth,
Revealing a picture of God,

Tearing down cruel walls
so you can enter 
the marvelous theater 
of Freedom.


       Hafiz told his followers many things, but two that recently stood out to me where: 1) "We all have liquid ruby-light that we can lift in a cup." 2) "Where do you think you will be when God reveals Himself inside of you?"
       So my question would be, what frees you in life? Is it Truth? Is it your own understanding of Truth? It it Love? God? Hope? Promise?
       Tomorrow I turn 22! To close from another wonderful poem (She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron): "She walks in beauty, like the night/of cloudless climes and starry skies..." 

The Night Is Still Young (1985), Billy Joel

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Be Not Grieved

Be Not Grieved

Although you have not 
received Love's true guerdon
one day your dessert will become a garden,
so be not grieved.

Do not turn your heart away,
nor speak against your Beloved,
but bear your present state,
and be not grieved. 

Let your tender body 
and troubled mind be stilled,
one day desire will be fulfilled,
so be not grieved. 

Behind the curtain, 
a secret wonder is happening,
a plan that you do not know of,
is unfolding,
so be not grieved. 

Suffer gladly 
Love's paradox, rules, 
trials and conditions.
You will reach 
a safe harbor,
so be not grieved.  

       I love learning new words through poetry. If you look at the second line, you will see the word "guerdon", which means "a reward or recompense".
       The last stanza of this poem is so powerful, "Suffer gladly Love's paradox, rules, trials, and conditions. You will reach a safe harbor, so be not grieved." Do you think there is any truth in believing that you have to endure pain or disappointment on the road to finding your safe harbor, aka your forever love? Sometimes I think it is necessary that we let Love do something to us, whatever that something is. It should cause us to have a "before and after picture", it should cause us to see the world differently - not because we have been asked to change, but because our outlook is that much better, that much brighter, that much more optimistically hopeful and radiant.
       A wonderful example of Love's paradox if the book (and now movie), If I Stay by Gayle Forman.  Take a listen to the amazing song featured in the film.

I Never Wanted to Go, Willamette Stone

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Passing Of A Body

The Passing Of A Body

What will the burial of my body be? 
The pouring of a sacred cup of wine 
into the Earth's tender mouth

and making my dear sweet lover
laugh one more time. 

What is the passing of a body? 
The glorious lifting of the spirit 
into the sacred arms of the Sky,
and making Existence smile,
one more, one more time. 

           Have you ever contemplated what the passing of a body would be like? Would it actually be a glorious unfolding or do we simply strive to romanticize what we do not understand? Do we try to make an unknown (and scary) event appeal to us? I'm not sure, but I like the idea of making people laugh one last time. If your life was filled with joy, with fun, with enthusiasm for the little things, I would think, when the time became appropriate, people would say "Remember when..." and giggle.

Glorious Unfolding, Steven Curtis Chapman

Friday, October 10, 2014

There Is A Wonderful Game

There Is A Wonderful Game

There is a wonderful game we should play,
and it goes like this: 

We hold hands and look into each other's eyes
and scan each other's face. 

Then I say, "Tell me a difference 
you see between us. "

And you might respond, "Hafiz, your nose 
is ten times bigger than mine!"

Then I would say, "Yes, my dear, almost 
ten times!" 

But let's keep playing.
Let's go deeper, go deeper. 

For if we do, our spirits will embrace
and interweave,

our union will be so glorious 
that even God will not be able to tell us apart. 

This would be a wonderful game to play. 

        Wow, what a wonderful poem, with such depth. It really speaks to the spirit and the union that we can have with others if we pursue it. 
        1 Peter 4:10 (NIV): "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms." 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What We Have Felt

What We Have Felt

They touch us, don't they? 
So many things in different ways. 
And then those feelings can last for years
in varying degrees. 

Are not our days and hours 
our response to what we have felt? 
To what move us? 

We circle inside what we love,
what we fear, what we hate,
what we hope. 

                         
Wow, this is such an amazing poem. Aren't we an amalgam of every thought, every feeling, every action, every hardship, every desire, every joy, and every triumph that we have ever faced, fought, conquered, won, endured, experienced? Indeed, these things make up the ingredients of life -  in various portions and amounts - and our response to these things encompasses (and ultimately, defines) our days and hours on this Earth. This is a deeply powerful poem.

Digital Art, Nebula Night Sky 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Shape of Color

The Shape of Color

The shape of the night,
the shape of the day,
the shape of color, 
the shape os us.
What holds all this? 

Who made this miraculous mold
and then too, cast everything? 

Imagine the form that poured all forms,
that whittles from a single thought 
that took over the Inconceivable. 

What can entwine all this in his arms? 
The one some call God. 

          I love the song "Indescribable" by Chris Tomlin so much! It's just an incredibly energizing song about how great God is, but also how we should really marvel at creation, and that includes ourselves. As Rumi said, “Study me as much as you like, you will never know me, for I differ a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes, and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see.”
         The song is below, but some of my favorite lyrics are:

"From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings..,

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name...

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light..."

Indescribable, Chris Tomlin

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pure Divine Love

Pure Divine Love

What does pure divine love do?
It keeps you from the mud
frees you from living behind tormentors

lifts your heart on a rising,
making your soul hunger to reach
the roof of creation.

It offers what the whole world wants:
real knowledge and power. 

It offers what the wise crave: 
the priceless treasure of freedom. 

It will allow you to befriend Life 
and Light,
reveal the excitement of the present 
offer clarity and beauty

and finally all the heart can do 
is burst open and greet love back. 

       Gibran wrote on September 20, 1920: "The Prophet will come out early in October. It is a good month for books. I always feel that October is the beginning of something." Three years ago, today, October marked the beginning of my relationship with the guy I love and my best friend. We do not have a clear starting point (that's a long story), but we have a point at which we said, hey let's do something we're unlikely to do with anyone else. Ever. I had come home from college that weekend, being a bit disappointed that I had missed NYU's Naked Street run, because com'on, how many times do you have the opportunity to run a race naked?! Anyway, he told me his dad owned a Christmas tree farm and I could feel free to run naked through that instead. It was definitely a weird offer, but since I was very intent on having this experience (and because I LOVE Christmas...and anything to do with it) I said yes. So we ran naked through a Christmas tree farm with a German shepherd chasing us, and it was pure freedom and abandonment. The purpose? Literally to have a "once in a lifetime experience" together. And that's why the day serves as our celebration. And you know what? There probably aren't any other couples celebrating quite this way. We call it "our holiday" and named it 48 (the temperature out). We might be the only ones in the world celebrating this way and that makes it crazy cool. And now he describes our relationship as that once in a lifetime experience, so it all makes perfect sense. Mary Haskell (Gibran's love interest for over twenty years) wrote of him  in her journal entry of April 10, 1915: "We rode the bus to the museum. Every moment was joy." Three years later, every moment is joy.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dropping Keys

Dropping Keys

The small man builds cages
for everyone he knows. 

The sage keeps 
dropping his keys
for Beauty to find. 

          Cute and clever, this poem has a point to it. Why not drop your keys across the universe and leave a way for Beauty to come find you and knock at your door? Here is a clever digital art illustration called "Pouring The Universe".

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Laughter

Laughter

What is laughter? What is laughter? 
This tender and magic song 
It is the glorious sound of a soul waking up. 

It is the sun poking its sweet head out from
behind a cloud
you've been carrying too long 
veiling your eyes and heart

It is light breaking ground for a great structure
that is you real body - called Truth. 

It is happiness applauding itself and 
then taking flight 
to embrace everyone and everything
in this world. 

Laughter is God,
who eternally says,
"My dear ones come this way,
toward Me and Love!" 

Joy, Newsboys 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Angels In The Marketplace

Angels In The Marketplace

Sometimes I see angels standing 
in the marketplace.

And sometimes I see you
and someone 
is trying to convince you to build 
a house here, on Earth,
but you are not really meant for that. 

This other world hopes for your delight 
and contains all the ingredients for it. 

            Interesting thought by Hafiz, that "the other world contains all your ingredients for delight". For many I have heard that this notion is exactly what provides them with great hope and comfort about the trials of this imperfect world. Two bible verses recommended in church today to deal with suffering were:

James 1:2-4 (NIV): "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Romans 5:3-5 (NIV): "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." 


God is God, Steven Curtis Chapman

Friday, October 3, 2014

I Have Come Into This World To See

I Have Come Into This World To See

I have come into this world to see:

the sword drop from men's hands
even at the height of their arc of anger

all creatures holding hands 
as we pass through this miraculous existence
we share 

every song the Earth has sung 
since it was conceived in His womb 
and began spinning from His wish 

every song of hill and tree
and woman and child
and stream and rock 
and tool and lyre 
and flute and fire 
and gold and emerald,

every song of every heart.

I have come into this world to see: 
women and men so true to love 
they would rather die before 
speaking an unkind word,

women and men so true to love
their lives are His covenant -
the promise of hope. 

              It's so beautiful that Hafiz would think to define Love as "never speaking an unkind word" and holding on to the "promise of hope". What wondrous echoes we would hear in this world, if those Truths were the "song of every heart".

Turn Around, Matt Maher

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Because Of Our Wisdom

Because Of Our Wisdom

Because of our wisdom 
we will travel far for love. 

All movement is a sign of thirst,

Most speaking really says, 
"I am hungry to know you."

Every desire of your body is holy;
every desire of your body is holy. 

Dear one, why wait until you are dying
to discover that divine truth? 


                I think in this poem Hafiz is trying to say any passion of your body, any thing that makes you stir, that puts your spirit into seeking mode is worth purusing. All action in our life is chasing what we love, and that's a good thing, as Hafiz puts it, because it is a "divine truth". 

Let it Be Love, Family Force 5

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Prayer Upon My Lips

The Prayer Upon My Lips

It is the Beloved who is revealed
in every face,
sought in every sign,

gazed upon by every eye,
worshipped in every object
that is adored,
pursued in the visibe
and in the unseen.

Every single one of His creatures
will someday find the divine
the primordial and glorious,
the forever and the Infinite.

To be united with that
is the prayer upon my lips. 


          I love how Hafiz always speaks of being united with the Ultimate Truth, how he seeks to understand that we are all one, that we are all interconnected, that we are all divinely and perfectly made! And it's so cool to think about what happens if you go beyond your own little world, if you're willing to pursue the invisible. The song "My Own Little World" by Matthew West challenges us to think about the question, "What if there's a bigger picture?"

My Own Little World, Matthew West

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Out of Great Need, We Are Holding Hands

As we climb the mountain of life, out of great need, we are holding hands. Loving is never letting go.

        I think this is such a beautiful sentiment, "out of great need". Sure, love and loving, are elective gestures in our life, but they are so necessary. We need someone to walk through the raging waters of life with, just as we need someone to celebrate with on the mountaintop. We need someone through the valleys and the peaks, we need someone. And it is this simple truth that is so universal, the act of holding hands. The act of claiming someone as your own. Culturally, we will not grasp the hand of a stranger. We will not reach out and say "come walk with me". But to those we love, our hands are there, never letting go.
         Tim Keller spoke about this need well: "To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Is Each Creature

A holy infant, taken from God's womb, is each creature.

            There you have it, in God's eyes, everyone is worthy. Everyone is a King or Queen.


Kings and Queens, Audio Adrenaline

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Contemplate For A Lifetime

There's enough here to contemplate for a lifetime. 

         Maybe you should repeat these words to yourself if you are ever feeling bored. In fact, can you think of a question you may spend your entire life contemplating?

Listen to the song lyrics of "Overwhelmed" by Big Daddy Weave.

I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God...

Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

Overwhelmed, Big Daddy Weave

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Sight of Choice

The mind is like a falcon, ever ready with its sight on its choice prey - beauty. 

          What does the phrase "sight of choice" mean to you? If you could feast your eyes upon one thing, what would it be? Family, children, lover, friends, mountaintops, sunsets, puppies, decadent meals, fancy cars, etc.? Hafiz goes with "beauty", which is really anything that, according to the Google definition means: "a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the sight". There's no talk of perfect figures, perfect qualities, perfect weights...but "a combination of qualities" and in this definition, we can only conclude that every single person, being a multitude of many things, is beautiful.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Rising Up Like a Thousand Suns

In my world all that remains is the wondrous call to dance and prayer, rising up like a thousand suns, out of the mouth of a single bird. 

      Wouldn't it be interesting if everyone lived with God as the focal point of their lives? And all that remained was this joy, this triumph...and all of it, every last drop, from the mouth of a single bird, since that's what loving God first gives you - everything. Yet, we acknowledge, and quite regularly, how difficult that is to do. How difficult it is to completely surrender our human concerns, our annoyances, our grievances, and just dance and praise. For most it is impossible, but I am convinced for the certain souls capable of achieving this, it is probably like receiving the light of a thousand suns.

A Thousand Suns, Crooty on DeviantArt

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Heart Holds Within It

My heart holds within it a pasture for gazelles and children, a meadow for music, dance, and dreams. 

         Rumi said, "Let yourself become living poetry" and Whitman said, "Let your very flesh become a great poem". But how many do you know who make this their credo, who give their heart to this message? How many people do you pass in the street and on the way to work whose hearts hold pastures, meadows, sunshine, dancing, music, and dreams? And moreover, can you honestly say your own heart holds these things?
         One person who seems to have left that kind of legacy is Walt Disney. "When You Wish Upon a Star" has, over time, become the iconic anthem for the Walt Disney Company. It’s used in the opening logo sequence of all Disney films and during parades and shows at Disney’s theme parks and cruises. It's message? Dreams are for everyone, no matter who you are. Now that's something to keep in your heart!

When You Wish Upon a Star (1940), Pinocchio

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Really Hear

When she began to sing, there was no one who really heard her who was not then glad to be alive. 

        Does the "really" Hafiz wrote in matter? As in, those who "really" heard her, being those who took the time to listen? Those who paused? As in when we "really" hear people, we usually see goodness, quality traits, and talent? But if we don't "really" hear someone, it is all too easy to discard their words, and even worse, their lives.
       In our community, another life was lost too soon to teenage suicide. More awareness needs to be raised about depression, bullying, and most of all, hope and a place to reach out to. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 for "hope".

Kahlil Gibran On Self-Knowledge (from the Prophet)

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.

People Loving People (2014), Garth Brooks

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Name of God Upon Your Tongue

Sit down with the name of God upon your tongue, and fear will go somewhere else for easier pickings. 

          John 10:27 (KJV): My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

          It does seem like a powerful way to live, with the name of God upon your tongue, His mercy and goodness a part of your every word and action.

My Savior, My God, Aaron Shust

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Most Magnificient Season

The most magnificient season is existence. 

          Some would say that the most magnificient season is Fall, or Spring, or Winter, or Summer. Take your pick, but Hafiz says the most magnificient season is today. How powerful is that?!
          In theme with "seasons" (and thus the environment) and the power of one, I encourage everyone to watch The Lorax, especially 22:49 until the end of the film.


The Lorax, 1972
Dr. Seuss 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Anything But Grace

Now is the time for the world to know that every thought and action is sacred. The time for you to deeply compute the impossibility that there is anything but grace. 






Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Thousand Shapes, Colors, and Forms

The divine manna of Love is disguised in a thousand shapes, colors, and forms. 

        I really love this quote...the fulfilment and nourishment that comes from Love can be disguised in a thousand shapes, colors, forms, sizes, professions, education levels, genders, sexualities, countries, languages, religions, etc. Wed your heart to anything that calls only to your own. 
        Another wonderful poem by Pablo Neruda is "Tie Your Heart At Night To Mine, Love": 

Tie Your Heart At Night To Mine, Love 

Tie your heart at night to mine, love,
and both will defeat the darkness
like twin drums beating in the forest
against the heavy wall of wet leaves.

Night crossing: black coal of dream
that cuts the thread of earthly orbs
with the punctuality of a headlong train
that pulls cold stone and shadow endlessly.

Love, because of it, tie me to a purer movement,
to the grip on life that beats in your breast,
with the wings of a submerged swan,

So that our dream might reply
to the sky's questioning stars
with one key, one door closed to shadow.

           I've Always Loved You, Third Day 

Friday, September 19, 2014

All Acts Enrich Us

All acts enrich us, though be careful in this realm of thought, of freedom. 


       I would argue that all acts do not necessarily enrich us, but they do define us, transform us, create us, etc. Anything we do becomes who we are and in this "realm of thought" there is a certain degree of freedom and truth, but also of steadfast responsibility.
       If you had to consider the amalgam of actions that you have become, what would you look like?


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Heart Lifted Into the Sky's Oasis

You can invent galaxies if you allow your heart to be lifted into the sky's oasis. 


            What causes the heart to swell, to strive towards some unnamed calling? Or said more romantically by Hafiz, lifted into the sky's oasis, such that you can invent galaxies!

            Another poet, Pablo Neruda, talked about the heart flying in his beautiful poem, "Your Hands":

Your Hands

When your hands leap
towards mine, love,
what do they bring me in flight?
Why did they stop
at my lips, so suddenly,
why do I know them,
as if once before,
I have touched them,
as if, before being,
they travelled
my forehead, my waist?
Their smoothness came
winging through time,
over the sea and the smoke,
over the Spring,
and when you laid
your hands on my chest
I knew those wings
of the gold doves,
I knew that clay,
and that colour of grain.
The years of my life
have been roadways of searching,
a climbing of stairs,
a crossing of reefs.
Trains hurled me onwards
waters recalled me,
on the surface of grapes
it seemed that I touched you.
Wood, of a sudden,
made contact with you,
the almond-tree summoned
your hidden smoothness,
until both your hands
closed on my chest,
and there like two wings
ended their journey.

Tus manos, Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

So Romantically

I had not ever spoken so romantically before, as that moment when I called a squash an angel. 

Post coming soon!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Life Went On

Weeks went by, then months, and life went on, admist the ten thousand other wonders. 


            Have you ever given thought to how life always goes on? The day you die the mail will still come, others will celebrate birthdays, and life will continue, "admist the ten thousand other wonders". It makes me sad at times to contemplate this, but I rejoice in knowing that the legacy you leave with the ones you love is legacy enough.

Linwood Bike Path at Dusk
Photograph: Arden Gewirtz
September 2014                

Monday, September 15, 2014

His Gratitude Was Speechless

His gratitude was speechless, his eyes shone like two planets making love.

         Have you ever had a moment in which your gratitude towards another person really could not find the words? Have you ever felt the need to fall on your knees in thanks?

On The Road To Jericho, Keith Green 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

What God Can Do

What God can do is only a surprise to the novice on the path, of course things can happen like that!

       For a while I had difficulty accepting that God should be loved first, before children, spouses, family, etc. Then I realized (after help from a friend) that God has to be first because any of the other things can be taken away too soon, but faith in God means you will see those other things again! In other words, you cannot love the gift more than the giver.
       “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” - Jim Elliot


Soften Your Heart (1982), Keith Green

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Everything God Says Can Happen

From the unseen and the immaculate, we came for a visit to form, knowing everything God says can happen. 

           I find this verse comforting. God can do anything. So believe in miracles, they happen!

Pushing Back The Dark, Josh Wilson

Friday, September 12, 2014

This Sweet World

Have much desire to play in this sweet world. 

        There is probably no better poem than "Ode to Life" (Neruda) to illustrate the idea that this life is about taking chances, about recognizing the sweetness of this one opportunity, about loving every gift (because every day is one), and about soaking in as many treasured blessings as you can.

Ode To Life by Pablo Neruda


Slowly dies he who becomes a slave to habit, 
repeating the same journey every day, 
he who doesn't change his march, he who doesn't risk 
and change the color of his clothes, he who doesn't speak to he whom he doesn't know. 

Slowly dies he who makes of the television his guru, 
he who avoids a passion dies, he who prefers 
black on white and dots on i's rather than a togetherness of emotions 
exactly those that make the eyes shine, 
those that make the heart beat 
before error and feeling. 

Slowly dies he who doesn't overturn the table, 
he who is unhappy in his work, 
he who doesn't risk certainty for uncertainty 
to follow a dream, 
he who doesn't permit himself at least one time in his life 
to flee sensible counsels. 

Slowly dies he who doesn't travel, he who doesn't read, 
he who doesn't listen to music, 
he who doesn't find grace in himself. 
he who destroys his own love dies, 
he who doesn't allow himself to be helped. 

He who passes his days lamenting 
about his own misfortune or the incessant rain dies. 
Slowly dies he who abandons a project 
before beginning it, 
he who doesn't ask questions about topics he doesn't know, 
he who doesn't answer when he is asked something that he knows. 

Let's avoid death by small doses, 
remembering always that being alive requires a much larger effort 
than the simple act of breathing. 
Only burning patience will bring within reach a splendid happiness...

The Girl In The Sunset, Rani Bajaj

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Invisible Thoughts

How is it that invisible thoughts can lift heavy matter and build cities and armies and altars? 


      Contemplate this today, the day we remember the lives taken too soon in the World Trade Center attack of September 11, 2001. Extend kindness to others, do "good works" before you're asked, and live with gratitude.

Annual memorial lights of the Twin Tours 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Heart Has Held

My heart has held that which can never be touched. 


       Today I became a Christian, and though it took prayerful meditation and some reading of all the religions of the world (just to be sure), I would attribute the catalyst of my conversion to music. The Christian music I hear is so uplifting and so encouraging, it makes me want to go to the mountaintop. Below is a song I find near to my heart now, "Come Let's Go Up The Mountain/Fly Me Like The Wind" by MorningStar Ministries.
       I read on Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry something that changed my heart as well. It was more of the logical convincing that I needed. After reading it, I realized I often appealed my worth based on my own "goodness": "You must trust in what Jesus did on the cross to forgive you of your sins and not trust anything else, not even your own sincerity. That's right, sincerity isn't good enough. Why? Because sincerity is an appeal to God based on the goodness of your own heart. If you're appealing to God based on the goodness of your own heart, then you're being prideful. Sorry, salvation is either based on Christ alone, or it is not."



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Beauty You Carry Inside

Look in the clear mountain mirror and see the beautiful elements you always carry inside. 

                What is your light? Where does your inner immanence come from? Does it come from faith in God? From the people you love? From the stories you share in? From the lives you touch? Rilke suggest that we can carry beauty within us simply from the books we've had the pleasure of reading.

             
"Live for awhile in the books you love. Learn from them what is worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be returned to you a thousand times over. Whatever your life may become, these books—of this I am certain—will weave through the web of your unfolding. They will be among the strongest of all threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys." - Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, Viareggio, April 5, 1903

I Have A Light, Don Potter