Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Luke & Allison are engaged... over the wild Pacific on a sheer blue day so glorious, it hurts. I took photos afterwards, warmed at their joy and obvious soul mate connection; a sweet week spent with them celebrating, exploring Napa or relaxing at our home...

Ben here for a weekend where we just delighted in each other's company whether over perfect island drinks at Forbidden Island, dancing through another time period at the "Pride and Prejudice" picnic, taking photos in "Choopie" or watching ridiculous birds.

Sonoma with Justine & Jason for another vibrant day tasting & seeing that IT IS GOOD...

Serving and eating dinner in the Tenderloin with raw, honest people who are dying to share their stories, keeping me there long after everyone else has left...

Long talks with Kristy in Oz, about the passion to DO & make the world different, which eats us up inside...

Long epistles written between my Anita & I, redolent with our lifetime of memories, current trials & joys, tied into our girlhood hopes...

Dan & I atop the stunning Saratoga mount where Mountain Winery resides, savoring wine & BBQ as good as any in the South (thanks, Uncle Frank's), bundled up for rowdy & smooth blues under the stars, staring out into a sea of lights so shimmering, it blinds us...

This month has been full but so very sweet. And I am grateful for each lingering moment.

"All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: act as if it were impossible to fail. That is the talisman, the formula, the command of right-about-face that turns us from failure to success." - Dorothea Brande

Currently watching : Notes on a Scandal (2006)

Monday, August 20, 2007


"Moses led his people in circles for forty years so they could get ready for the Promised Land, because they had too many ideas and preconceptions about what a Promised Land should like." - Anne Lamott, "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith"

I realize that growing up, if allowed to happen, is a journey of deconstruction. Dreams and ideals are built in the tender soil of youth... the most accurate intuition of our whole life... which we spend our adulthood trying to get back to. The pure joy of youth signals our innermost matter: WHO we were meant to be from day one. The traces are there, all the way back, in the simplest, most surprising places.

But to return to that pure essence - the joy of what we were created to do, without need for approval or acclaim, simply out of love for it... as it is WHO we are - takes a lifetime of deconstruction. Periods of wandering the wilderness (40 years if necessary), to dismantle all our preconceptions about what that promised land was going to look like.

Once we finally let go of this most agonizing struggle of all - the ideal of what we heard and thought it was going to be - can we see what the Promised Land actually IS.

And it overwhelms us with vast open spaces and wild beauty. We need only come... and run free.
Currently listening : 20th Century Masters - The Best of The Ink Spots

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Richard Rohr

Quotes from "Enneagram II":
p. 12-13
"Predestination and deism are two extremes: predestination puts excessive reliance on so-called grace and deism puts excessive reliance on self-responsibility... locate divine providence right in the middle of the two...
Can you imagine... that every moment God is trying to expand your freedom? ... and God is even using your mistakes and sins to bring about good? ... I believe this is what the providence of God is all about. God is working for our wholeness, our liberation, our truth, and our freedom...
Co-creation spirituality, which enjoys a longstanding tradition among the Judaeo-Christian people, provides a way of looking... at God & we as a team... The most surprising, perhaps scandalizing point, is that God uses our passions and our compulsions in our favor!"
p. 15
"The truth is that you have to go through the dark night, you have to endure a period in which your feelings don't make a bit of sense... they are leading you into a place of meaninglessness. It is important to pass through these places on your journey.
We desperately need spiritual direction that teaches us to walk through that kind of terrain... hold it, observe it, and trust... it. Those who can help us through the dark night are great teachers. Those who say the dark night must be avoided or that it is always the result of sin or some problem are not good teachers at all."
p. 24
"What do you think is the most dangerous path? I think it is the path of religion... the path of law and duty and religion has detoured the erotic, creative, life-giving paths toward God and has pulled many people into a misdirected path of self-serving salvation. Consequently, these people must deal with a self-image that is constantly protecting itself instead of surrendering itself."
p. 28
"Perhaps in a spiritual sense it was not good to separate either heaven and earth or light and darkness, because the fundamental task in the spiritual life is precisely to try to rejoin the unity that got separated... to be at home at that place of our initial, original creation, that center where God from the beginning said it was good. Most of us spend our lives trying to get back to that place."
p. 31
"Jesus doesn't walk around saying, 'believe this' or 'believe that'. Instead he says 'follow me' through passion, death, and hopeful resurrection."
p. 149
"There's no point in blaming your parents... don't hate [them] for giving you your woundedness. They have to give it. They can't avoid giving it... You're going to pass on to your children some of your unlived life, some of your mistakenness, some of your compulsiveness... That's your finitude. Courage is to accept that we are finite."
p. 166-167
"We stay here fighting it out & killing one another... pretending we love God when it's obvious to everybody else that we don't.
Helen Keller ...wrote, 'Sometimes I fear that religion is, in fact, man's despair at not finding God'. We practice our religious rituals to placate this angry, distant God. We just keep offering the incense and going to the services, reading the Bible and getting self-justification, precisely because we haven't experienced that radical other-justification: that I am hidden with Christ in God, that I came forth from God and I will return to God, and in between I learn how to dance.
... God doesn't demand that we dance perfectly, just that we dance: that we stay in the process, stay on the journey, stay on the path all the way through. During every faith crisis, one or other of our images falls apart. It's either the self-image that we hold on to feverishly, or the God image that we hang on to tightly. That's the unfortunate conservatism of religion. It says, 'Don't question my God image. If you do, it means you're a disbeliever.' And further, let's use this toxic image of God as a validation for a static and often sick image of myself. What we lose out on is what we were created for: love.
People who really believe are people who know how to doubt. Healthy doubt is the other half of faith, and if you tell me you don't doubt, I don't believe your faith. What you have is religion, not faith.
Real faith struggles, like Jacob & the angel, wrestling with the mystery of God...
The Jewish people were wise. They wouldn't give a name to God. They understood the first commandment... when you give a name to God, you think you understand God and you stop the journey. You stay on first base..."
p. 171
"You can trust your gut, your heart, and your head. For most people, that's too much freedom... St. Augustine put it clearly: 'Love God and do whatever you want.'
... Just stay on the path, the path toward love. It's the only path. What God's trying to do is bring us by our free choice into the love God is.
Each decision, each moment, each faith crisis is a chance for another 'yes'. God is expanding your freedom so your yesses can be more free. Usually pain is the only way to do that."
p. 174
"... the Eucharist is a representation and an integration of all that is, not just a way to get holy... [it says] that all things are holy, even the bread and wine. Even dangerous things like intoxicating wine. Jung makes a great deal of the symbol of wine. He says he finds it interesting that in so many languages, the word 'spirit' is used for liquor... Sin & potential sin are also potential grace. And that place where you can be most wounded is also the place where you can be most gifted... the poison itself is the antidote." (Numbers 21:8-9)
p. 175
"... we have a strong example of our unwillingness to let God be free. Many people insist on a masculine image of God... if you're not ready to let go of God as a purely masculine image, you're not going to be ready to go to second or third base where God is just as much woman as man. Whatever maleness means, whatever femaleness means, that's who God is in God's totality. A lot of people are afraid of a female God. What does that say - especially when a woman is afraid of a female God? What does that say about her attitude towards her own body? Toward her own soul?"
p. 182
"To move forward in faith, your God image must periodically fall apart. Your self-image must periodically fall apart as well. If you are willing to let go of both of them, you will really grow. But it really takes faith when they both fall apart at the same time... at this point, you better learn how to pray. Those are the dark nights of the soul, when you must pray, 'Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil'.
When the spiritual darkness begins, most people will jump back into past securities. But if you're willing to hang in there with the hidden God, if you're willing to trust and wait in hope, I promise you a new faith will be revealed and a new self will be revealed. And these two new realities will know how to live together... when your self image changes, your God image will soon have to change. If it doesn't, you're in major dissonance."

"The act of faith that it takes to accept the infinite mystery that you are to yourself and the act of faith that it takes to accept the infinite mystery of who God really is are finally the same act of faith." - Karl Rahner
Currently watching : Half Nelson (2006)