Friday, August 27, 2010


What follows is from John O'Donohue from his book BEAUTY The Invisible Embrace

CREATION IS IMBUED WITH EROS. EACH LANDSCAPE, EACH SEASON has it's own quiet Eros. In contrast to the glory of autumnal colour which is like the flaming of a final twilight, winter is a chaste season. Nothing flourishes. Every field and tree is cleaned back to the bleak grey whatever muted colour endures seems ghost-like. But as ever, the circle travels on to it's own beginning. And just when amnesia seems absolute, the first tones of spring commence their flaming.

Within a short while the exiled Eros of nature stages a magnificent return. From dark under-life of cold fields, infinite tribes of grass ascend. Skeleton trees allow themselves a shimmering of leaves. Flowers arrive as if this were the place they had always dreamed. Having travelled through thousands of miles of sky and ocean, swallows return to there favorite holiday nests in outdoor sheds. Local birds become passionate architects high up in the network of trees. The terse silence of winter has given way to the whole symphony of spring.

Eros has awakened. The shadow-dream of winter is coming to life in every corner. Birth is the inner and outer song of spring. If winter is the oldest song, then spring is the youngest season. The Eros of the earth calls forth the beauty of spring.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Beauty is ever present and at work to interrupt the familiar we hang onto, and that interruption can transform the most mundane tasks/days and leave you feeling even better than can the best vacation away. And than if you still take a vacation away...that will also feel much different than it ever did before.

Beauty will free you from the tyranny of expectations....expectations that rarely ever materialize anyway, and even when they do they've been so manipulated to make happen you rarely ever can accept them as GIFT. They can't ever compare to that which is already here waiting to be discovered/uncovered by the eyes that have been awakened by Beauty.


"Understanding and Love are not two separate things, but just one. To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion. When you understand, you cannot help but love. And when you love, you naturally act in a way that can relieve the suffering of people."
Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I just love this photo taken by my friend Karen. It speaks volumes.

I love the idea of apprenticeship. Nature tells us without ceasing that this is the natural way.

We are teaching and creating whether we are aware of it or not. I get the sense that the world is dragging most humans around at a pace that makes artful living and teaching impossible and that same pace keeps us from recognising the importance of knowing the difference.


This has never been about getting back to following's about getting back to simply being who we are. And humans are the only ones in the created world messed up when it comes to understanding this. And from that confusion created for themselves an unworkable world that only serves to deepen the confusion and resulting pain for themselves and the rest of Creation.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Sometimes immense beauty, and a peaceful setting, juxtaposed to the challenges we face everyday in regards to relating to others and the demands of efficiency and productivity in the realm of necessity, can produce some agitation. Hopefully it's just enough to keep us awake and free of the insanity and hate perpetuated by politics...religion...and the hunger for control/power and rampant greed. It's a toxic cocktail. Standing in between the two, where we live, just leaves you more aware of all that is possible and what yet remains unrealized by most.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


As I try to keep this blog real when it comes to living in this world with other human beings by sharing the struggles right along side the joys...I must also keep it real in regards to the story of the garden I share on this blog. This summer (extremely hot and humid) has been a reality check when it comes to gardening. We humans aren't as bright as we think we are. We can cheat by taking plants out of their native landscapes and with a little knowledge try to duplicate that a point. But it's never the same and it causes extra work for both plant and gardener and the beauty never quite matches the natural even on the best of days.

There's a lesson in there for us humans as well in regards to the harsh unnatural environments we have created for ourselves and then are left attempting to live in

This Japanese Maple always shows some leaf scorch towards the end of the season but this year it is showing a lot. This will severely diminish the normal beautiful color change this tree usually produces each fall.

This is another Japanese White Pine (to the left)that has not survived the stress of the summer onslaught and this empty space below is created due to the loss of another beautiful Japanese White Pine specimen

The Colorado Spruces are taking a beating also.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


"Indeed, the beauty of nature is often the wisest balm for it gently relieves and releases the caged mind."

"In our everyday experience the quality of presence is generally limited and broken. Much of the time we are distracted; we might manage to be externally present, but often our minds are secretly elsewhere."

Those are some observations from Irish poet John O'Donohue. And how true and vibrantly expressive words they are. Life is full of paradox. The caged mind, even though it is locked up, is a mind that is defined by it's nature to wander and rarely ever able to remain present. And it's a schizophrenic wandering, full of angst, fear, unsettledness...often devoid of hope and at the same time equally full of despair. The imaginations that fill the caged mind are most often grizzly in content. This beast is very skilled at hunting down and devouring any other imaginations that are capable of inspiring and setting the mind free.

Imagination is a common function of the mind. But the mind that has been set free and is in the ongoing process of being set free, is a very different creature than is the one that is caged. Grace and freedom and rest define the mind that has been captured by Beauty. And the imagination that emerges from that mind sets in motion ever deepening liberation for itself and opens up the possibility of freedom for the others it touches. The caged mind has no eyes to see this Beauty and so finds itself floundering around in darkness pacing the cage.

I ran across this quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes recently, "I would not give a fig for simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity."

My mind could relate to this thought and concurs with the reality of it. But to get there, one must face the complexity and refuse to settle for some manifestation of simplicity that the caged mind conjures up. Example: All fundamentalisms and fascisms are a product of the mind that is not free. This is the space of law, rule following, conformity and attempts to live by "superior" ideas and principles. It's a landscape that brutalizes Beauty and holds captive every mind that succumbs to it's curriculum.

To face the complexity, one must first break free of this crude simplicity so that the malforming effects of living in this environment can be overturned. It's a painful scary process but one that cannot be avoided if it is freedom we long for and Beauty we desire. Beauty will lead anyone who desires to be set free, out. Beauty is the only thing that can accomplish this. But Beauty forces nothing on us but instead invites us to come out of the mess and head home.

Beauty has never looked so wonderful in simplicity as it does I continue to cross over to the other side of the complexity.

Since beauty issues from depth, this order has emerged from intense engagement with chaos, confusion and contradiction. It is a beauty that the soul has won from the heart of darkness. Such beauty cannot simply be siphoned off from chaos. Neither can it be fabricated or slipped over chaos as a benign, concealing mask. Such beauty engages in the labour and the grace of the imagination. Beauty is ultimately a gift.--------John O'Donohue


‎"Beauty tends to avoid the siren call of the obvious. Away from the blatant centre, it prefers the neglected margin. Beyond the traffic of voyeuristic seeing, beauty waits until the patience and depth of gaze are refined enough to engage and discover it." John O'Donohue

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Love is never far from danger and love seems to not be in a hurry to move away from that fragile existence as if it longs for some more secure place to reside. Love has nothing to lose and rarely, if ever, even thinks about it. It's caught up instead in giving.

It's all upside down. What most have come to see as safe, has never been safe. It's all fragile. The only thing that makes a difference is whether love is at the center of it.

This beautiful monkshood flower carries within it's leaves, stems, and roots some of the most healing botanical/medicinal properties as well as some of the most deadly toxins found in the plant world.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


"Each person is the sole inhabitant of their own inner world; no-one else can get in there to configure how things are seen. Each of us is responsible for how we see, and how we see determines what we see. Seeing is not merely a physical act: the heart of vision is shaped by the state of the soul. When the soul is alive to beauty, we begin to see life in a fresh and vital way." John O'Donohue

Monday, August 02, 2010


"It's like the fierceness of a good friend who is able to confront you and help you see your blind spots when you can't trust your own vision. And then the shelter of it that exists. And I think the tragedy of the consumerist culture is that we have clocked up all these acquaintances with our Palm Pilots and other stuff now...that people have so many contacts and details about each other but we have become post graduates in the art of acquaintance and paupers in the art of friendship.

There's a natural hunger in the spirit, in every one's spirit to be seen. To be understood as you are. And to be received in the space of friendship and love, which is like I always think of friendship and love....ideally as safe spaces where you can be as you are without being judged or without being battered by the force of expectations to be a certain way. And I think that we offer each other these spaces less and less puts us into more pressure zones. And then we choose other things to fill the emptiness because of what we don't have. If we realize how vital to our whole spirit and being and character and mind and health, friendship actually is, we will take time for it. What's so sad though is that for most of us we have to be in trouble before we remember what's essential. And sometimes one of the lonelinesses of humans is that you hold on desperately to things that make you miserable, and that sometimes you only realize what you have when you're almost about to lose it.

So I think it would be great to step back from one's life and see around one...who are those that hold me dear, that truly see me and those that I need, and to be able to go to them in different ways. The amazing thing about humans is, regardless of the morass of falsity that surrounds them, if they can be approached in a way where the true word of address to the soul is sounded, they are helpless but to react back with authenticity and integrity. And I think we have immense capacity to reawaken in each other the profound ability to be with each other and to be intimate. That's one of the things I've always thought about America...that there is a loneliness here that is covered over by this fake language of intimacy that you meet everywhere."

That once again is some of the conversation that took place between John O'Donohue and Krista Tippet on the podcast SPEAKING OF FAITH.