Sunday, January 18, 2015

Singing Your Version of the Moment

Today I want to tell you
about my life, this life,
our life here and now.
I want to tell you
about the storm last night,
how the friction of rain on the roof
sang in a throaty steady moan.
I want to tell you
about the tinkling of rivulets
coursing in the downspouts.
I want to tell you how the sky
succumbs to the gurgle of gravity.
I want to sing the back beat of cool clear
water coursing in the gutters.

Today I want to tell you
about the tree frog
with his song like a
bamboo ratchet.
He sits beneath the eve
watching what I watch,
dressed in his jacket
of fluorescing meadow green.
May I point out the ocher-brown
wedge around his eyes?
He's like a prince
at a masquerade ball.

But he's not like anything,
not really,
he is
just himself, sufficient.

Have you ever felt the pin
prickles of spitting rain upon your face?
What about the fresh waft of clay
and field grass after a storm?
Or the song of wind chimes
dancing like twirling dervishes,
the fairy tinkle,
the clack of wire against the house,
the rise and fall of so many bells
that even the frog must sing along?
That was this morning.

And if the frog must sing, so must I.
If the sky must share her bounty, then so must I.
If the morning reveals secrets, then I will revel with you in the mystery.

The magic of writing is that it can transport one to the image of what another experiences. But it rarely really totally takes you into the place of another. Words are reflections and reverberations of the suchness of things. Still, a writer, or an artist or anyone alive must sing along with the chorus of life, even if just to get the hint, the flavor of beauty or truth.

If you don't sing your song you lose somethings precious: like being present with what is and sharing that with your own particular voice. Perhaps you could lose even your hope and trust in this one precious life.

All the words we say and colors we paint are attempts to recreate what is. Imperfect attempts perhaps, but worth the effort. Worth the sharing. Whatever your day is like, take this moment and be present. Take a snapshot of the moment into your body. Transmute it. Share it. We all need more reality of beauty in this world.

Will you join me in the mystery of what is, now, here?

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?
Rainer Maria Rilke
Book of Hours, I2


(c) Copyright January 2015, Words and Images, Rick Sievers

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Today I Allow Myself to Experience All My Feelings

To the subscribers who only got code in their notice of my last blog, 
here's a better link to the musings on machismo:   
Machismo and the Spiritual-Creative Life
Mandala of Perth

This is a mandala I painted of the rune Perth.
This is the rune of true identity and initiation.
It's a living symbol of cosmic energies which 
give birth to that which was once hidden.



I allow myself to experience 
 all my feelings.
No good. 
No bad. 
Only the truth as it appears in the moment.
Only the moment as it slips away.

With Love,

(c) Copyright, Words and Image, Richard Sievers, January 2015, All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 5, 2015

Machismo in the Spiritual-Creative Life

Let There be a Place For Everyone Here

The machismo-ego is alive and well in the spiritual lives of many people who have claimed higher ground. Men, women, contrite, spiritual... we're all susceptible . This realization had led to the hallmarks of machismo-ego I've witnessed in my life. Perhaps there is a similar list for you. I call this the machismo-ego triangle:

I thought I'd pretty much tied up or eliminated machismo from creative-spiritual life. After all, I pride myself on trying to be amenable, flexible, resilient, multidisciplinary, loyal to a daily practice, of service.

OK, I'll stop right there with the listing. You get the idea. One should be suspicious when they see the words "pride myself" at the beginning of a sentence. Pride/Arrogance is a sign for me that I am off kilter in my life.

Which leads me to another road I've gone down in my spiritual life: "Shoulds". I should live more reckless, should live carefully and patient, should be more open to the muse, should be less distracted, meditate more, work more... blah blah.

This leads to the third leg of the triangle: Work, in the forms of "If I'd only...".

If I'd only: just made the book happen, been able to all day and then write at night, made myself stronger-sterner-slicker, schmoozed with the fancy people, related to the poor, had a perfect farm-family-future.

You get the idea.  
Pride, shame, control, all in a shiny package of goodness. 
What's on your lists?

These are but the shadows of the much needed companions in a conscious reflective life:
 Gratitude, Integrity and Will. 
 I call this the Creative-Love Triad.


How easily self-soothing compassionate talk can morph into insidious defeating inner diatribes. From a reflection like: "I missed my writing this morning and I intend to show up at the writing desk tomorrow." to "Why the h--- didn't I just go and write. Even if it's slop, just do it."

That latter diatribe is Not helpful based on several  

Signs of Machismo Spirituality:
  • Black and white thinking. Like statements implying  This is bad
  • All or nothing statements. Like using the words ever and always
  • Put down, cynical language. Eg. Why the h--- or the word slop.
  • Immature "solutions". Just do it.

In my life, machismo has been based on fear and an inaccurate view of just what wonderful creations we all are. There is also a profound lack of empathy in machismo. 

How about for you?

When I shame my way into doing my work or my art, then soulless pablum is often the result

When I begin with gratitude and presence, then no matter what occurs, the process is healing.

An antidote to machismo is compassion.

Yet even in writing this, my ego raises its hairy unkempt head and says: "What a trite thing to say. Compassion. hmmpf."

Here's some antidotes to that cynical hmmpf...

Shame often comes forward during the richest times of discovery. 

First, just notice what is occurring within you.

Then Respond if Necessary.

A response to the hairy ego might be: "There, there, shadow self.  Thank you for trying to keep me safe. However, we have compassionate guides to help us. So please be Quiet and then we'll listen for Love."

Which leads to another antidote for the striving ego: 

If the word prayer is a loaded term for you try using meditation, creativity, intention or dialogue instead. For me, prayer is usually the very thing I forget in the process of a creative day. And it's the thing I most often need.
The machismo ego says we're in control. There's a seductive half-truth in what the ego says. 

Instead of controlling sort of statements perhaps I can say:

"I have a will to be open to the sacred, a will to be available and present to what may show up on this page, on this canvas and in my family. I have a will to respond with kindness."

When I begin with prayer, simple and real solutions appear.

This morning I began my day unproductively, a little sad and somewhat beset all I had to do. Yet here I am connecting with you (hopefully). The words come haltingly and then they flow.  They have a ring of truth to my heart. But what the heart really wants to say is this:  

No matter who you are or what you've done, there is a valued living place set at the table for you. May we sit down together and pray before we partake in this feast of living in the strength of kindness."

Peace to you today.
May you find the compassion within integrity, will and gratitude.
May you know the real heart beneath the illusion of striving to be something else.


(c) Words and Images, Richard Sievers, January 2015, All Rights Reserved.