Monday, December 12, 2011

A Hundred Winged Praises

 In the Meditation Hut 
Under a Skylight Filled With Starlings.

Waves of starlings
land on the shingled roof.
I sit and present
myself for meditation.
But I cannot keep
from looking up.

The flock lifts
off of the gable.
The birds are
a great roaring engine
of air and will.

The rumbling
wheel of flight
spins through
the morning mist,
only to land
on the peak
again and again.

Is it joy
the starlings know?
Or is it just
what they were
born to do...
circling within
hidden labyrinths,
a shudder of wind
upon God's spine.

I bow to the altar.
My heart flutters,
and opens wide.
I breathe within
my Beloved's breath.
We rise in a hundred
winged praises
across the morning sky.


Check out my new book of poetry available now.

(c) Copyright Rick Sievers, 12/2011 on text and images, All rights reserved.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Presence Beneath the Storm

The Presence Beneath the Storm in the Field

This is a revised version of the blog I posted and then deleted on Halloween. 

We  recently hosted an intimate gathering of friends to read poems in remembrance of our ancestors. We shared a circle of poems while orbiting a candle-lit altar of photographs and mementos of the dead. It was sweet and expanding to take in the voices of my friends. I was inspired to witness people standing bravely at a podium to read their grief and gratitude.  Rumi reflects my feelings about friendship shared in this way in his poem This We Have Now Here’s an excerpt of Rumi’s poem as translated by Coleman Barks *

This we have now  
is not imagination. 
This is not  
grief or joy.  
Not a judging state,  
or an elation,  
or sadness. 
Those come and go. ..
This is the presence  
that doesn’t… 
What else could human beings want?   

When we turned out the lights, and left the studio everyone felt the mystery of deep love come with them into the night. I slept deeply that night, with a smile.

Then I woke up to challenges in my personal life. The world of  neither this nor that, neither good or bad, had faded within my sleep. In the morning I found myself feeling cut off and alone. The reasons why are not so important. It’s just part of the human experience.  Up and down, happy and sad… These are feelings that everyone has. They come and go.

I found myself wondering what difference I made with my writing. I found the shadow within me rising in the ashes the great light of the previous night. Indeed it was a night that I felt reflected holiness, heaven and hope. Isn’t it amazing how the dark feelings also want to flower from the sweet earth of prayer and service?

I  spent the next day planting an orchard in our field.  Fourteen supple apple saplings. These are trees that I hope will outlive me and my concerns. I was digging with a fervor. I had also been spinning down a hole of my supposedly being alone in the world, of other people not caring, of my particular work on earth being pointless.

So I paused and put down the shovel.

Then I asked myself "Why am I falling into a dark place of feeling less than and alone? Where is my self worth as a writer?"  I had been feeling unique in an experience of alienation. Not so.
Is there any place for a poet or artist in our society of put down humor and murderous video games?  What about other wonderists, or dreamers, or conversationalists, or yogis, or prayerful farmers? What if everyone felt alone in the sometime sense of alienation and separation? I just stood and looked into the muddy hole I was digging.

I paused.
A chant from yoga moved through my body:

Chidananda rupa shivoham shivoham  

It's a Sanskrit chant remembering loving consciousness, divinity and even bliss. I felt more solid. I began to sing while the rain began to fall gently. Then I came up here to my cabin, to this flickering screen of many colors and I wrote to you. 

I wonder what thoughts I am planting in my soul?

Is there a place for the dreamer, the sensitive and the even the childlike?  Yes… YES… there is a place! It’s inside the heart. And it was in our little studio on a stormy night last week. Where is the place of Presence for you?

I returned to field. I recalled the joy of being with friends and the presence that never leaves. I went and sliced more sod, laid down more compost and untangled more pot bound roots. I planted gratitude and an honoring of All of my feelings, pretty or not.

Whatever creative endeavors that come to you, no matter how spindly or muddy, plant them. Nourish them. Let no one, not even your inner critic, tear them down. Remember the One that never leaves us and always loves us.


Words and images copyright (c) of Rick Sievers, 2011

* An excerpt from the Book: The Essential Rumi, a Translation by Coleman Barks, Harper Publishers, 1995

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Book Under the Book

First view of my island land in the San Juan Islands in 2001
photo (c) Rick Sievers 2001

After thousands of words writing my new book I put my tired hands down. Why am I here? What do I really want with the writing of this particular story? I was grateful to get a glimmering of this as lay on yoga mat in my lovely circle of friends.* Thank you circle for opening space for me to be still and begin to remember who I am. These are the first raw words of my new book:

The Book Under the Book:

Most nights The Spirits come. In dreams, floating up and around me, watching me, touching me tenderly. Some nights They take me to the place that is no place at all. Some nights They take me into Their houses in fields of star-lights that sing and moan with wordless wonder of the original song of the universe. Some nights I rest in Their arms, or play with Their words like putty, or swim in Their oceans with shining cities beneath me.

I awaken in the morning, sometimes drugged, because holding the joy and the sadness is so painful in a world that seems to be mutilating itself. Most mornings I awaken and for moments my body is not afraid of dying or of living. For moments my body is eager to express the wonder of that place of “wows”. But this experience on sacred wounded Earth is a place of vows and loss. And I forget.

I promised my soul that I would really be here in my life and circumstances this time around. But it’s so hard when waking in the morning means that my heart  begins to afraid again. Sometimes I see why my Grandmother chose to die at age 50.  The tangled world of consensuality can be so challenging to the soul, so challenging to remain awake in, so challenging to not take the lessons we dance with personally.

One sweet spring night seven years ago I lay my body down in a room with 30 people intent on spiritual journeys a compassionate magic. I lay my body down. And my spirit rose up and out… but now away. I touched something so wonderful and beautiful it hurt to recall. Almost terrible in it’s beauty. A red star pulsed in the crown of Orion. I went into the burning and I sat in a field as solid as what we call real. A single blade of grass bent low beside me and quivered in the breeze. Al the magic, all the miracles, all the posturing language, all the yearning for things and acceptance and understanding fell away in a moment. I swear I was there for eternity. I swear, I have never left that place.

Yet my consciousness came back here to this world, back to the room with arguments and hurts and love affairs that seemed so important at the time. Back to this reflection of the Great Beauty from the Song of the Universe. Back to forgetting again. There are moments that are so poignant or painful or lovely that I must go into that small seed on the swaying grass head and remember. The universe is joy incarnate.  And here it is also pain.

When I arrived back in the circle of friends after that journey I cried…. no, I wept loudly for several hours. I stumbled outside into the mid California night fragrances and fell into the dirt. Over and over I cried out to the Benevolent Spirits: “Why did you have to show me that?? It’s so beautiful. It’s so wonderful. Why? Why?” I wondered how I could remain here in corporeal form and be away from that full knowing. I sensed that reintegrating into my everyday life after this would be hard. I didn't know how the yearning and remembering would tear my sense world apart. It was a profound mystery to me.

Today, after losing the touch of so many of those friends and the kiss of my once upon a time Anam Cara, I have a hunch about the “why”. Somehow I need to tell about the nature of the wonder that we are all destined for, the wonder of true love that is everywhere and nowhere at all. Poetry seemed like a good place to start, and then surrender to my life and to the griefs that have been carried by all my ancestors, and perhaps all of our ancestors.

I don’t know how to start explaining that single blade of grass that was singing. For me, it was God Universal cloaked in a form that I could touch for a moment… just a glimmering of what really is true.

This book could be a story about fostering spiritual power, searching for healing, becoming a man and then being torn from limb to limb… so that somehow I might give you, beloved reader, a glimpse of wonder. Or it may be to tell you we are not alone, we the beginning of the new age, we the opened and destroyed, we the merely human. You are not alone. And I am writing this to remind myself to cling to the voice whispering in my sleep: “Soon my love we will be as one. Soon.”

I write to channel the sadness of sleeping through my own life into a gift to the world and especially to my grandmother who felt so alone when she died. I write to remember who I am before the end, before the Great Song rises through my body and takes me to a crimson star.

Copyright (c) on image and words Rick Sievers, 2011 
* My Yoga Community:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Being The Fire

 The Fallen, 2004 (c) Rick Sievers

I woke this morning feeling very sad, like there's no place in our world for a man poet dreamer idealist...too sensitive, too nice, too unskillful. I sat at my window for a time and then went out on the crystal strewn grasses of the frosty field. This world is so luminous when you really experience it. It can be so painful too. I came back to my desk and opened up an old journal from a decade past. A Compassionate Spirit had given me loving words to sustain me:

“Be the fire you seek to warm yourself by.
Be the flame and others will come.
A flame never burns alone.”

Then I opened another journal and right there the last poem I ever wrote for my beloved friend on Whidbey Island:

We walk

into the fire .

We live

in the burning.

We fly

within the smoke.

Finally I opened a journal to a prayer I heard in my heart when I was walking in the New Mexico desert four years ago.:

"God, consume me with a story 
that will spark healing in our world. 
Let me be ashes in Your hearth. 
Let me be a memory of a deep cold night 
spent in the light and heat of Your love."

Sometimes the spirit that can save you from despair is your own historical self, coming forward in time to remind you
of the praises in this world.

Am I willing to be a fool for my longings? 
Am I open to being saved by remembering 
the Compassionate One's voice? 

It's hard to remain present in this world 
that seems to be so full of self-inflicted fear. 
I cling to the love I know is real... 
that's the only thing that seems to last. 

Today, what do you cling to? 
What is worthy of your one beautiful blazing heart?


Copyright Words and Images (c) Rick Sievers 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Early Autumn Morning on Redfish Lake, Idaho
What if this one journal entry was the only writing left of mine at the end of my life? 
What if this was the very last thing you ever read? 
I'm reminded of a poem by Wendell Berry:
The Wish To Be Generous
All that I serve will die, all my delights,
the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field,
the silent lilies standing in the woods,
the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all
will burn in man's evil, or dwindle
in its own age. Let the world bring on me
the sleep of darkness without stars, so I may know
my little light taken from me into the seed
of the beginning and the end, so I may bow
to mystery, and take my stand on the earth
like a tree in a field, passing without haste
or regret toward what will be, my life
a patient willing descent into the grass.

All that I serve in this world will die sooner or later. What essence of me will last through my brief flash on earth... Earth, Holy Earth, cradle of me and trillions of beings like me? What a luminous cradle this place is! An amazing refuge for small little lives that that will be something more and yet nothing at all.
Did I love well in service and self evolution?
Was I present and willing to be here?
Did I primarily give or take from the earth and my fellow beings?

Each moment is the last moment of your history. Soon enough the moment will be the last of your particular life. The endeavor to love truly, simply and wholly is urgent... URGENT. This is not a practice run. We have such a finite span of moments to be together in this form, in this shining wounded wonder of places.

I remember Ram Das saying something like this: The meaning of life is to really experience life (paraphrase). 
What do you need to experience today, in this moment, in this life? 
What/who will you release to make room for the yearnings of your soul? 
What dangerous and loving words must you utter to step into joy in your life?
Copyright Richard Sievers 2011

* Poem The Wish To Be Generous was quoted from Wendell Berry's book The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, page 70, published in 1998 by Counterpoint, Washington, D.C.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Between Before and After

On the Morning of 
Our Last Farmer's Market of the Season

Before beginning anything else this morning,
before the plans, the lists, the worries...
Yet after making the kid's breakfast,
sending my spouse off to work,
after coddling the cat,
feeding the chickens and
emptying the bucket
from last night's rain riffling and rifling
through our shingles....
between the need tos and the to dos...

I will praise the world that is
rising from the sunrise mist.

This is a beautiful morning of fists uncurled
and wild hair and drowsy garden.
This morning holds the song of
the organic produce of dung
and clay and sweat and dreams.
The crops are bent in their final days,
offering their lights of glory
to my singing knife and shovel.
They end up on our tables,
the bounty being consumed by so many,
becoming one with
my customers, children and friends.

Living seeds and leaves are offering themselves
to the boiling pot and sweat lodge oven,
becoming more than themselves.

These fruits, herbs and vegetables are the sun stored
and then released in veins and breaths.

This morning I praise the verdant field
which offers it's life for all
who care enough to breathe.
This morning I choose
the the side of life that is filled
with the heat of a once upon a time Summer,
with thirst slaked by the rain,
with feet cooled in the loam and buried stone.

Thank you Spirits of the Land for such bounty
in-between all the doings and undoings,
in-between the season's growth and resting fallow,
in-between inspiration and expiration.

Peace of the Field Be Yours on this Autumn Day.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Two incidents in the same day:

The young man was covered with sawdust and sweat. He leaned into the fender of his truck after a hard day of cutting diseased trees. His eyes were steady as he looked down at his girlfriend sitting on the fender. One by one he spit cherry pits at her. She winced and then smiled like it was no big deal. Then he said to her while chewing: "You're expendable." Her face blanched white as the bark on the fallen cottonwood. I said "You should treat your girlfriend better." The boy-man turned his face to the ground, spit and then just walked away.

A graying man stood clutching his smart phone. His face was down turned. His hands in his pleated pockets, with a hint of a gold watch gleaming just above the fine twill. He was telling his woes about the nasty business cycle, how he has to ride on commercial planes now, how he has to work a sixty hour week.

He was bemoaning a failed venture of firing his American employees and moving his factory to Mexico. "The labor costs were killing me. So I got rid of all of them. I was set for an easier life and lower overhead. But that didn't work out."

"What happened?" I asked. "The product (from Mexico) just wasn't the same. So I let all of those (people) go too and came back."

Two men, one virile and young. One older and soft in body. Both were hard in the heart.

What ties these two opposite men together?
What makes them think that human beings are expendable or created as cogs in a money machine?
How did huMANity get to this place where civility and kindness are demeaned along with women, minorities and other men?

In these two conversations I was struck with the continuum of dehumanization and domination of the other. I found both men's attitude repulsive. And I also found myself participating in their attitudes. Toward the first man my first thought was "Well, you're the one that is expendable." Toward the second I made an instant judgment about those with unrestrained privilege and wealth.

I wonder how to live without separating myself from the humanity of others?
What part do I continue to play in looking down at people instead of listening to what's beneath their pain and bad choices?
What brought this disempowerment and societal sadness into bloom?
Are men just like this?
What role do family and women play in this system of soul usury?

Many questions. No sturdy, steady answers.
All I can do is be free and stand up for the freedom and basic rights of other beings.

Yet I am sometimes left with a lingering fear of the disregard and hateful order these men represent. One, a working man. One, a corporate boss. Both, disempowering others even as they diminish the integrity their own heart. Both are human beings. And both are worthy of basic rights and love too.

I'm left with more questions about how to navigate the difficult middle path of fierce love and strong boundaries.


(c) Copyright, Rick Sievers, July 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fitting In

I heard a quote concerning the rewards of livelihood that went something like this: "I'd rather that my child became a taxidermist or a tax collector than a poet."

Lately, I've been trying to become someone who fits into the world a little neater, with more clear edges, in sync with my false expectations of what a man should be. And the consequences are eroding my happiness.

My business card reads out my occupations, including farmer, builder, counselor and minister. Lately, I've been applying my precious time to an angled hopscotch of vocational pursuits that would actually pay the mortgage. What makes my soul become alive and free are not necessarily on this peg board of squares and numbers. Poetry, writing, art are not high on the list of what the world rewards with money or stability.

Nearly everyone I've spoken with as a counselor has said that they do not feel like they fit in with the world, including familial expectations and popular views. This separateness and alienation seem endemic in our society. Sometimes people on the fringe can have a double dose of this splitting. In my own family I've heard that reading poetry in public is akin to being effeminate (as if that's a bad or good thing). Neighbors have given a nervous skirting smile when I tell them that I have time allotted every morning write and create. So be it.

I wonder if the sense of alienation comes not from outside of the self but from deep within. I wonder if the split could be healed if one would accept and even celebrate their God given gifts? What people think in judgment is only a reflection of how they treat themselves privately. Everyone is "special" and everyone is "only a part of the whole". As the popular song goes: "To be yourself is all that you can be...."

I go through spasms of pretending to be someone I am not. It takes the form of working really hard at something to supposedly please someone in a sacrificial manner. i.e. I will give part of my life energy to be accepted. The result is fatigue and depression.

This month I've made a commitment just to notice what brings happiness and life force flowing through me into my world. And I notice what and who depletes my joy as I give away precious small parts of myself. It may be different for you. But I feel my body and soul smile as I absorb myself into writing, art and acts kindness and service. Am I willingly offering my services or am I giving from a place of lack?

I also made a vow that I will be less "nice" and more Kind in my interactions with people. Kindness includes the giver as well as the receiver. Kindness being real and true to oneself, in the way you are put together.

I hope that you find joy in your particular art, no matter how it looks, no matter how it evolves, no matter how it pays, no matter what people say. I hope that we, as human beings, can learn how to be free to create in alignment with love and pay the mortgage.


(c) Rick Sievers, June 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ordinary Acts

"There is no enlightenment outside daily life."
Thich Nhat Hanh

Once upon a time I lived with a simple joy of writing and painting and walking along the shoreline collecting shining stones. I lived in a quaint cottage on the corner of a friendly village. I stewarded an island in the green Salish Sea. My only drive was to be with the muse and write praises in poetry while healing my own human pain.

That is how I remembered my life yesterday as I wheeled the skill saw across a complaining sheet of plywood, as I hammered and measured and sweat in the dust of good hard work. I came home from a day of building and weeding for other people and I bent my will toward the woodpile. I swung and cut. We needed heat for our home. We needed to pay the stacked cord of bills.

By four pm I was spent. Yet there was a group at the YWCA that I was scheduled to co-facilitate. And a friend had left a phone message that he was in trouble. The radio was telling me how human beings are becoming selfish in their fear, while the world is sliding into chaos. I held my head and then my heart. I sat on my bed. I sat and remembered the once upon a time life I had... insulated, hidden and uncomplicated.

In an unguarded moment I whispered to myself: "I don't want to be here."

I was shocked at how easily the thought rose up; how life was asking so much of me; how responsibilities were sucking the bliss right out of me. Where were the days when I could not wait to get to the writing desk? Where were the times of wandering in cobbles and sea wrack between the singing tides?

I was carrying the traumas of other people and the sadness of suffering barking across the airwaves. For a moment being in this world felt like too much. It was just a moment of being human, like everyone else.

Then I remembered: I asked for this. I wanted to be an elder in the last days of this world system. I wanted the complications of friendships. I wanted to make a difference in other people's lives simply by listening.

Yet I was surprised at how being of service looked. It looked dirty and dusty and messy. Service is fraught with unsure outcomes, a family with no answers, a broken axe and a long drive into the city simply to sit with amazing wounded people.

Then I recalled that my once upon a time life was not so ideal. I was remembering like a child remembers the joy of summer vacation. But I am not a child anymore. The poems do not flow in such care free happiness any more. They rarely flow at all, at least on paper.

The poems and singing of tides are living in the acts of simply showing up... being with the one crying, swinging the maul, getting the mud under the fingernails. The impact and outcomes are really not up to me. What I realized about my once upon a time life is that even there challenges and pain and calls for discipline swirled around me. One cannot hide from the world.

There is little place for sentimentality in service and adult life. But there is infinite room for infinite love.

And what does "love" look like? It's different for everybody. I have a feeling it comes down to ordinary acts and simple hopes and thoughts. I have a feeling it comes down to compassion, even for the small part of us that does not want to be here.

May you find the compassion and gratitude for yourself as you drive to work and make your family's meals, as you scan the monitor and hoe the weeds. We may never know the healing impact of our actions. But something mysterious and loving is growing here on earth.

May you find the Beloved Loving power of this One Sacred Life in your ordinary acts of being human.


(c) Rick Sievers, April 2011. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Robins in the Field

Reflecting the Sun
Becoming the Moon
Loving the Earth

Last night I was beset by a wave of nightmares, waking up feeling afraid for our world and for my family. Events feel heavy and I don't feel comfortable anywhere. I hear this same tale from other friends too. It's clear that we cannot live like we lived before.

Last night I was hounded by the loving severe pursuit of the muse. Heavy hands were upon me, pushing me into the bed. I woke screaming "Let me out. Let out." I lay in a sweat from tidal wave dreams. So I breathed deeply.

One cannot deny the morning.
I listened. The robins were singing, bringing my childhood back to me for moments. But then the ache of reservation began tapping on my shoulder again.

Who am I, now that the prophecies are coming to pass? Who are you?

I'm being called out into the world that I've resisted for so long... the world of people... the world of connections and divisions... the world of suffering and shopping malls of bewildered consumption. It's the world of beauty and love too. Which dream will I choose to be awake in today?

It's time to be our practice full time, with all our heart, even if the will is challenged.

Our society is in a tilt from the weight of worldly power, consumerist need and political lust. What can one person possibly do to counter balance the scale?

And the Spirit answers:

Lift your arms out and fly.
Be the robin in the field.
Sing your spring song...
That is all.
Spread your wings and
let the wind carry you.

It is time to go deeper into the wide horizons of Our Spiritual Practice. It's time to be what we're called to be. It's time to sing the Song of the Heart.

As I write this sentence, fifty robins have descended upon the field outside my cabin window. They step lithely in the green hopes of Spring, hunting for sustenance, being in the moment. Some are cocking their head and listening to the secrets hidden just below the surface of the dreaming earth.

Like many of our generation, I am a "sensitive". My comfort is being with the Compassionate Spirits, and the The Word that wants to fall onto the page. The conflicts of society and family can invade a sensitive so easily. It's becoming harder to feel solid. This is a moment for me to either step out into the field or hold back in fear. With the help of The One, I choose the field.

For all of us with a singing vulnerable heart, it is time to deepen our practice, becoming saturated with prayer, praise and perseverance based on Love.

How do we do the work of healing, now that the world as we understood it is ending?

And the Spirit answers:

We do it together... Together.

Even the gods weep over the once shining earth and innocent beings suffering. Can we do less? Let us band together, the infinite and the flesh, bowing to The One, The Holy, The Beloved.

Let us all (not just the awakened) be free in field,
nurturing the earth with our songs,
washing the earth with our tears,
healing the earth with our love for one another.

We're in this together.

With Love for you dear reader.


(c) Rick Sievers, March 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Coming Into Fifty

"What the heart gives away is never gone ...
It is kept in the hearts of others."
- Robin St. John

Life is changing.
The Earth moves beneath my feet,
teaching me to walk.
The wind is blowing in my ear,
creating deep listening.
The sun is burning upon my head,
teaching me the stories of the stars.
The ocean takes me in her body of waves,
allowing me to sink deeper
into the source of who I am.


When I was young I wondered what my elder self would say about my life. Now that fifty years is upon me, I have a small glimpse what is elemental to my life:

This is certainly not how I thought it would be.

Allowing sorrow
deepens the mind in the roots of joy.
Singing to the moon and sun,
opens the wings of the beloved.
Diving into the dirt and the sea,
brings me closer to my friends and family.
And love given
is Never wasted.

Dear reader, you are why I write and sing in the winter sun today. I am glad to be here with you, on the sacred earth, in the sanctity of silent space. Today, I pray that your heart deepens in its essential wisdom and the joy of creation.

May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You,
All Love Surround You,
And the Pure Light Within You,
Guide Your Way On

From an Old Irish Blessing


(c) Rick Sievers, 2011. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Free Speech

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Our family has been discussing the idea of free speech. Asking questions like: "What are the effects of our words? Are they injurious or muddled or untrue to our being? Is there a core of fierce compassion in our conversations?"

Recently, I discovered a blog I'd written in 2009 offended a distant family member. When I heard about this I went back to the words I'd written. At first I tried to find a defense for the post and my feelings at the time. I reasoned: "How could they find fault when I mentioned no name or heaped no blame?" Isn't our country built on the idea that I can say whatever I want as long as it is not slander or libel?

I worked myself up for moments and began to dig in my heels by claiming my words as My Right and My Property! Indignant. For moments.

Then I felt the distress of the young person who relayed this information to me. I saw her concern and caring for the benefits of family peace. I recalled my own history where words of perceived praise or blame became stuck in my hardening heart. I recalled how love and progress are so easily torn down on the back of words. And how difficult and skillful it is to be constructive and nourishing with our speech.

This morning I spent time with my wife in meditation. I listened to my own heart. I tried to imagine the feelings in the heart of the receiver of my words. How important was it that I spoke of another person, even if veiled, in a public manner?

It is sometimes correct to stand up and cause friction to let one's voice be heard. It is important to witness truth! Important to speak for the disenfranchised and unheard. Was this one of those times? Really?

Whose truth do I supposedly know?
Is that "truth" flexible and open to the grace?

Is free speech really free?
Or is there responsibility implicit with freedom?

While meditating, I remembered a Buddhist reflection that goes something like this:

Before you speak ask yourself these things
about your reactions and words:

Is it true?

Is it kind?

Is it necessary?

Does this improve upon silence?

These questions are especially vital in this age of easy, push button mass communication. The universe was created by the word. Now we flood our space with words, many haphazard and even cruel.

How many words are based on truth and justice and love?

When pondering my old blog I wonder which side my words fall on? It's not clear to me. But in this case I will lean into the benefit of the doubt, and the benefit of peace.

The truth is a moving target. It is a target, not a weapon of war.

I deleted the section of the '09 blog in honor of my young friend, not from fear or being pleasing. I am more aware that people's feelings and lives are important, even the people we have called "other" and "shadow". We are all bound together in the heart of this world.

Being fierce for love is different from being aggressive. I apologize if I was the latter. Being human is sometimes heavy with discernment.


(c) Richard Sievers, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Field of Stars

Letter to a reader in the future:

A hundred starlings, in their fine winter plumage of stars, move as one being out in the field. One bird stands alone on a strand of barbed wire. A sentry perhaps? Two robins hop along the periphery of the cloud of stars. The rye and vetch are bent with a rolling season of ice and thaw. I talk out loud, as if you can hear me: See the wanderers out amongst the grasses, grazing, gazing and galloping with claw and wing?

What's the point of describing this scene to you, my future friend? To remind you of holiness that breathes just outside of your little stories and dramas. To tell you of our world now.

We've experienced paradise without recognizing its divinity. Like flying animals in waves of one mind. And a field's open face of green, spread beneath the cerulean sky.
A view enfolded by hushed sigh of a dark woodland.

How many generations neglected to see the singing verdant earth for who She is? Then told stories about "the good old days" of their childhood, when the world was purer, safer and happier. These are the good old days! Will a cloud of winged stars be-held by your gaze in the future? Or will the innocence be lost to you? Will this era on earth be only a wonder portrayed in the lines on your flickering screen... a place you cannot touch, cannot know?

What will we love while looking back into our sacred life?
Are we observing on the fence or from a window?

What is truly known is loved and protected.

Does the sky arc in blue white song for you dear reader?
Are the stars moving as if with one mind?


(c) Copyright Richard Sievers 2011