Hey, this is still National Poetry Month, so I will share some more poetry. No, not my own, but rather that of wise old, self-aware, spiritually awakened Walt Whitman.
I share the works of others from time to time because they support and illustrate the philosophy I hold, beliefs that affect life every single day. The focus of my Heart-truth, my philosophy, revolves around awakening. It’s tricky for me in a way.
For all of my life, I have cared for, valued, and loved souls more than money or notoriety. I have gone from college (Spanish major) to painting to college (pharmacy major) to chemical engineering lab technician to pastoral work to antique conservation to teaching to writer all because I sought to understand and clarify the voice of Heart. That voice was leading me to know myself, and when I came to more fully know myself, I came to be able to understand the way to care for, value, and love other souls. Until I could do that more fully for me, I was not being wholly authentic. But I wasn’t wrong, and I wasn’t always false, just on a journey.
Many years and much experience provide me with a unique perspective, especially my experience as a teacher. And now, the tricky part is I am full of enthusiasm and love, but I know my journey cannot be anyone else’s. I share what I have experienced, what my Heart-truth is, and what encourages me and makes me content, no matter the response of others. Of course, my sincerest desire is the things I share will encourage, enlighten, and raise awareness in others, things that will lead them to embark on their own Heart-journey.
Many people through their work have encouraged me in that way, and since literature and writing move me deeply, it’s a natural, personal expression to share those works. They specifically — although in some ways I don’t need it but it sure is nice to have it — let me know that many others have seen, understood, and lived the truths that have become so real to me. You know, I don’t write about awakening and coming to know core Self, engaging with eternal Spirit in us that is us because I want a business or to make money or gain fame. I live it every day.
I speak to my Heart and my Heart speaks to me. Yes, we are one, but there is a distinction, and that distinction is my reality. I have practiced and become acutely aware of the energies of life flowing in, through, and around me. In my journey, I have known and grown in these personal truths. I speak to Spirit every morning, too, using the life energies bound in a specific, personal ritual. And it all leads me to value and love who and what I am, which in turn leads me to value who and what others are. And that is magic and blessing.
The tricky part is to not superimpose a formula. I only give examples and a general framework, but I know it really helps to see clear examples and models — a crucial step in education. I will share those, maybe tomorrow and certainly in my upcoming ebook, but tonight, I am going to draw this to a close with the words of Walt Whitman from his epic poem “Song of Myself.”
I have a fantasy that I would read a poem like this in dramatic fashion and millions of people would see and hear it and be moved to awakening to their own Heart. Fantasy. I would settle for one, because in the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, one is better than zero, than none. My hope is those who hear of or read this will awaken to the thought of awakening, of coming to the point of self-awareness, and awareness of all that we are as mortals on this planet, of all the actual, amazing power we have to be content and appreciate the greatness of this Universe.
I will say little tonight of Walt’s words, just ask that you consider them in the light of what I have shared, consider them as a framework for self-love leading to unity that appreciates and loves diversity, that recognizes contraries exist that make life creative and interesting. Walt shows that acceptance triumphs over judgment and that rejection and denial of our unity with all others means judgment, cruelty, denunciation, and hatred are inconsistent with the truth of who we are.
Walt begins “Song of Myself” with these Ego-shattering words. (Many might think they sound egoic, but look where they lead. Remember, Ego isolates either through superiority or inferiority. Heart unites, integrates.): “I celebrate myself, and sing myself, / And what I assume you shall assume, / for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” And there it is: The awakening of knowing how very powerful, wonderful, and unique we are, yet in that realization, the unity we are. We personalize Spirit as Mike DePung, Walt Whitman, or You, but we are all bearers and embodiment of that same eternal Spirit. Beauty. Just beauty.
Blessings for this evening, my friends!
Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. How did that ever happen? I can tell you, directly: it happened because masses of people were not awakened to Heart and, therefore, fell prey to a dictator who blatantly denied his own Heart and embarked on a path of deceit and destruction. Citizens of that nation awakening to and acknowledging the essence of who they were would have stopped such egoic hate. And this applies to many governments, presidencies, and reigns today.
Social, political, and economic issues — racism, party affiliation and government policies, socialism and capitalism and funding for various public programs along with hundreds more — evoke strong responses. They should. We are a social species and all of these things directly affect our relationships and interactions.
Knowing who we are at core Self, what we are, why we are here — these essential elements of identity determine how we respond to all the major issues of life. Let me put it clearly: if you cannot identify who you are and create Purpose consistent with that, then your responses to these issues will be troublesome, sickening, enraging, dangerous, deceived, deadly, or muddled, at best. Once we answer the two big questions of life for ourselves, then we can feel, formulate, act, and react to our social environment with honest, authentic responses.
I have written much about Ego and Heart. We come equipped with both, you know. If we didn’t, we would have no reason for incarnation. Ego attunes us to self-preservation in society, makes us acutely aware of the others, and thereby it shapes us and molds us to live based on their perceptions, to live in a way that maintains the I in the midst of all of Them: Ego isolates. Heart attunes us to our true Self, core Self, itSelf, the greatness of Us in the Universe, of Me being here to love all by showing all who I am, regardless of opinions: Heart integrates. Ego is all about extrinsic rewards, motivations. Heart is intrinsic.
This seems antithetical to Ego logic, because Ego pays attention to everyone and their opinions. With Ego, response to issues is based on the way others feel. However, when I act according to Heart-energy and impulses, I do not care about how others feel. By being genuine, I actually am showing who I am, and that is declaring my love for all. I shine my love on others and throughout this Universe.
Ego protects and hides true Self in order to avoid risks, censure, and what Ego would label as failure. However, it hides it so well that it creates an emptiness, one we seek to fill. That seeking is for true Self-identity, and until we discover Heart, some deep-down itch needs to be scratched. We question and blame others for social ills and issues that we believe, deceived by Ego, cause our unhappiness. If we don’t discover Self, we resign ourselves to live in mediocrity and obscurity, which will require us to keep seeking extrinsic rewards for some sort of validation to maintain sanity.
And this brings me to the ideas I have written concerning social issues like the environment, most recently. If we don’t know core Self, we have little light to shine into problem areas. Only a calm peace and fervent love will beam true light onto those issues. Racial hatred? Immigrants? Taxes? Poverty? Programs for special needs children and families? Embedded and legislated racism? All of those things need light for understanding, the light of eternal Spirit of love we carry.
Light can’t be seen or useful, though, if it’s hidden. When issues come into my realm, I shine on them. Jesus spoke beautifully of this: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13–16 NASB). Salt, light, shining, works, and glorifying — these awesome images illustrate my points.
When we never toggle to the Heart operating system from Ego, we lose our unique identity that seasons life. When we resign ourselves to “that’s the way things are; what are you gonna do?”, then we have lost our saltiness. When we allow Ego to hide core Self, when we with false modesty refuse to shine, we help no one else see; they cannot know our love or light. When we respond to Heart and enter into the fellowship of the Heart, then the work of our life shows our essential connection and composition as Source; we glorify our identity with and as creator.
Perhaps this is a circuitous route to get to the fact that we need to discover Heart, core Self, to actively, positively, and powerfully make that Self known in reference to our society. Ghandi, King, Parks, Angelou, so many thousands upon thousands of others knew this. They had a major impact because they lived their power as creators by walking in their personal truth.
My mind and soul through Heart-energy today have been occupied with how to awaken people to the blessing of spiritual awakening. It is not me saying this is the way to do it, not a religion, not a formula, but it is a necessity for a significant life of love, light, and happiness. We will still be involved in life without awakening, but it will only extend the misery to Self and others when we do not know, live, and shine our Heart-Self.
I started this article with reference to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Yesterday, I visited my father’s and mother’s graves in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. My father was a sergeant in the Army for the last three years of WWII. He was in on the liberation of one of the concentration camps. It was the one aspect of the war he would not discuss, could not discuss. For those who say it didn’t happen or it was misreported or try to minimize what happened to at least six million precious souls, you are either liars or have believed liars. And if this is you, get in front of a mirror and start speaking to your Heart after telling Ego to take a back seat. You do not know your Heart.
Blessings in living life and shining You into your community as a Heart-aware person!
Post-Earth Day could become a reality. It would be a day remembering that there was a planet Earth that once sustained life. Of course, humans wouldn’t be around to remember. That would be aliens, unless we figured out a way to live in space, another planet, or something else that we could destroy, too.
Yes, I’m being sarcastic here; however, after Earth Day yesterday, I can’t help it. The environment and our relationship to it moves me to expose destructive tendencies. The works of the Romantics depended on the relationship of humanity to Nature. We should have a mutually sustainable connection with our creation.
If aliens were to discover us, their assumption would be we hated our environment, that we needed to destroy it for our own survival, that we did it purposefully. We are destroying Earth purposefully.
When deforestation occurs at the current rates, when major dead zones exist in the oceans, when we obliterate species for convenience and pollute water without which we will have no life, then how can we say it’s accidental? How can we have the data and direct observations and doubt the effects of our lifestyles on global warming, air and water pollution, and other negative environmental actions and we do nothing about it?
We are inextricably linked to the environment, ecosystems, species, rain, and every other element of Nature, yet we act as if we are not. Know why? The economy and our lifestyle require certain things. But they don’t. It’s a lie, a big fat greedy, voracious, self-centered lie.
Let me share a personal example. In my neighborhood, a couple years ago on the morning walk with my puppies, I was shocked — as were they in their sniffing — to find that one of a pair of majestic pine trees had been chopped down and the roots ground out, leaving a massive circle of sawdust. Why? A neighbor told me the oil pipeline running beneath that tree was endangered. There was a better solution: the pipeline should have been shut down, dug up, and rerouted.
Oh, that would be stupid and inefficient to most people, business minds, or others who do not know the value of Nature to our life, our sanity, our survival. But it’s the truth. Just like the Dakota Access Pipeline could have been rerouted or discontinued. People argue about our needs, and there’s the rub.
I am not going to make this a treatise, so I will make a few direct statements. We, in general, are not willing to rethink anything that would change our lives, that would be what many consider an inconvenience, that would affect our bank accounts. The whole concept of capitalism and economy need to be rethought and retooled, beginning with giving primary consideration to Nature and equality of all persons. We would see change. Wealthy, powerful, control-freak oligarchs don’t care about the general populace except for how to deceive and maintain control. If the rest of us would focus on the things we live for like Nature, love, light, equality, the value of life and respect for others, things would change. Focus on those positive things.
Seems simple, but it’s not because we are afraid of costs and doubt those who aren’t rich and powerful. Why wouldn’t we prevent the United States government from negating EPA regulations or allowing private corporate takeover and development of national parks? Or from furthering destroying Native American lands and cultures? Because we believe the lies, lies that proclaim we need to make America great, that jobs can’t be sacrificed for such trivial concerns as water or air pollution. We would find a way, but we have to focus on those larger concerns and then all else will follow, no matter what the liars say. We need to make this planet great again, and we need to each awaken to Heart and create our own employment opportunities and not leave our fate in the hands of, well, liars.
I want to leave this evening with words from a Native American who lived from 1868–1939, knew the Native American ways as an Oglala Lakota Sioux, the tribe of current Water Protectors, as well as living among and learning the White culture. (I take the following quotes from goodreads.com). Chief Luther Standing Bear communicated these words:
“Wherever forests have not been mowed down, wherever the animal is recessed in their quiet protection, wherever the earth is not bereft of four-footed life — that to the white man is an ‘unbroken wilderness.’
“But for us there was no wilderness, nature was not dangerous but hospitable, not forbidding but friendly. Our faith sought the harmony of man with his surroundings; the other sought the dominance of surroundings.
“But we were wise. We knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard.
“Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept us safe among them… The animals had rights — the right of man’s protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man’s indebtedness. This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living; it gave us reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.”
Our inextricable link with Nature could inform us about our lives. It’s the way the Romantics dealt with Nature in their works, and the way many of us relate to it today. If the majority, though, does not adopt the attitude and and practices that Luther Standing Bear references above, then someone may very well be soon keeping Post-Earth Day, and the aliens will wonder how we so quickly destroyed such an amazing planet and failed to heed those who shared their Heart, linked so intimately with creation.
We, ourselves, are part of that great creator Spirit. To this fact, we each need to awaken. The light and love must first shine within and from us. Then, we will live in respect, equality, and acceptance for one another and all creation.
I feel it’s appropriate tonight to share this article I wrote a couple years ago. It’s an encouragement to see the value of poetry, and even if we don’t write it, we can live in the spirit of poetry.
I rejoice in some aspect of life every day, even if many other things are not progressing as planned. Quite often, a simple element of life brings me to a grounded center — a simple element looked at in a fresh, different, or introspective way.
A poet sees magic — the invisible-to-the-naked-eye substructure of life that carries with it the very vibrations of life, vibrations that put us in tune with our world, with nature, with the Universe.That’s how viewing life as a poet day in and day out can help us. It is the same way that Maya Angelou or Vincent or DaVinci or Tchaikovsky or Chihuly or Georgia O’Keefe or Nikki Giovanni or Toni Morrison or …well, who knows how many could be named here, not only famous but also unknown poets in their own fields — mechanics, accountants, teachers, etc — those sorts of people who put others at ease because others know that these people are passionate and in flow with what they do. These types of “greats” produce effects that stand out to others because of the way they look at life; life is poetry to them. No, they do not all write poetry, but they do all look at life through the eyes of a poet, eyes that see what most of us miss, eyes that see the uncommon in the common, eyes that detect untapped ways of thinking in the everyday, eyes that delight in the promising possibilities that exist all around us — if we look at life through the eyes of a poet.
Most of the time, simply being sensitized to looking for surprises and revelations in the everyday allows for discovery. However, devotion to a few moments might help, especially in those times of stress, disorientation, despondency, or maybe you just need to get your creativity and innovation energy flowing.
Count it as sacred time and pause, look around, and ask, What lesson, reflection or truth do I see about life in this scene around me right now? What elements of Nature or creativity of humanity do I see? Of what does it remind me? Where does it transport me mentally and/or emotionally? To when, what time in life, does it take me back to or lead forward to? How does it help me in understanding myself or others? Why did I choose this object of focus?
Any or several of these brief reflections can bring you to a place of peace, passion, gratitude, action, or resolution — some discovery — just in a matter of a few minutes, sometimes.
Poets look at a bird or a blade of grass or some dilapidated barn or a crumbling bridge or soaring skyscraper or a wheelbarrow and think of how that reflects something about life and that something often reveals what is occurring in the heart and soul of the individual or in the mass vibrational frequency of a community, nation, or world at large. The poet then quite often, at least the great Romantic ones, consider the lesson and consider their relationship with the lesson and then set themselves in relationship to that, which can catapult anyone into a state of gratitude.
Now, it’s true that not all poets or artists in any field always come out with polished published messages, but the ultimate experience must be positive and/or fulfilling for themselves if their creations would make a mark on the world. However, our concern should be to make a mark on our own soul for gratitude and positivity in the daily observations of life, observations which we can look into more deeply, in a matter of seconds, really, and feel the vibes, get the sense, understand how they are reflecting the Universe, and, then, we can get the best from that magical observation and begin enjoying new moments of success, gratitude, and positive energy.
Now, it is not incumbent on us to commit our reflections to rhyme scheme, meter, and verse, but hopefully it will be such to our souls. Here’s to looking at life through the eyes of a poet!
I enjoy poetry, read it, think about it, allow it into my life. I know many do not, but that’s because they never had me for an English teacher, especially when learning about the literary period of Romanticism.
Both British and American Romantic poets’ dovetail with my philosophy in many ways, especially the spiritual nature of life, the link of our inner emotional composition and how that relates to our cognition. We cannot divorce our inner creative being from the external world, from society and all the corollaries of that — politics and government, religion, culture, economy. We come into this world as spiritual beings and we seek until we reconnect with that core Self. Nature helps us do that, reflects to us our inner emotional state because the life energies of Spirit move through everything.
Therefore, many times when I write poetry, I open myself to elements of Nature, observe, reflect, and connect with them. Then, I seek to share the truth of what I have gleaned. If you ever wish to see how an inspired, master poet does this, read William Wordsworth or Wm. Blake or Keats or Shelley or Coleridge or Whitman for poetry. In fact, for years I had Coleridge’s definition of poetry on a poster hanging in my classroom: “Poetry is the best words in the best order.”
Indeed, the economy of words that splotch color and form in precise sensory images on a page to induce distinct emotional states requires craft. Lyric poetry is like an emotional snapshot. Vacation photographs remind me of poems in the sense that one picture can evoke a whole day’s worth of memories. One short poem can perform a similar feat, sometimes life-changing.
Because it is National Poetry Month, I thought I could at least write and share one poem before looking at others’ works — maybe before the end of the month. Tonight, I will share the poem I actually penned two days ago right after the morning walk with my puppies. A very simple observation as we crossed a nearby grassy ball field led to this. (By the way, I have no title for it.)
The sun blesses crystal droplets perching on the tippy-top blades of grass.
They lose their balance and leap onto the mesh of my sneakers for safety,
Quickly soaking through to my socks.
The abandoned blades mark darkened trails,
The illuminating dew drops now hugging my shoes.
Others have passed by
Earlier; their tracks reveal
A journey, embark, disembark,
But all walking here with me,
Their energies beside me, around me,
Left to feel, to trace, to sense, to connect.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!