Thursday, April 20, 2006

delight, delectability, fellowship, love, kiss and sweetness: strange fire

From two weeks ago, Rabbi Shefa Gold's words on Parashat Tzav:
Our practice for the week of Tzav is to journey to the fire on the altar of your heart and listen to its voice.

Tzav asks us to enter within and inspect the condition of the innermost fire upon the altar of the heart. We are challenged to look at our lives and ask the serious and probing questions about what supports that fire as well as what puts it out.
This week, Parashat Shimini:
--Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and offered strange fire before G-d, which He commanded them not. And a fire went out from G-d, and consumed them, and they died before G-d. (Leviticus 10:1-2)

They approached the Supernal Light out of their great love of the Holy, and thereby died. Thus they died by "divine kiss" such as experienced by the perfectly righteous; it is only that the righteous die when the divine kiss approaches them, while they died by their approaching it... Although they sensed their own demise, this did not prevent them from drawing near to G-d in attachment, delight, delectability, fellowship, love, kiss and sweetness, to the point that their souls ceased from them. (Ohr HaChaim)(via

A Solar Prominence, Astronomy Picture of the Day

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

little mirrors

My dear colleague Karen, who is the psychotherapist and resident artist in our practice, gave me this question yesterday evening, like one of the gifts--long strings of little mirrors, colored glass beads, a piece of an exotic pastry a client baked for her, pretty finds from the thrift store--that she leaves on my desk sometimes:
If someone could see into your heart, the deepest part of you, and really see what it is that you've been trying to do all this time, what is it that they would thank you for?
I am thanked for for that, I think. For being willing to look in the heart-part of people, and to appreciate and bless their particularness (which is their own genius) and for being a warm and kind and not-sticky place where people can glide and blow through and sidle up as themselves without any guilt or shame. I don't manage to do it all the time, but I am practicing.

Because of this practice, and by being both lucky and picky, I have surrounded myself with friends and relations who are good heart-seers too (which brings to mind jack/zen's Ecology of Friends post), and I do get to have reflected back to me in a way that feels just right, what it is that I think I'm doing. How healing, and therefore how on-goingly necessary, it is to be perceived as true by other people. And how hard it is sometimes to acknowledge that the loving reflection is true.

What would you be thanked for? Who is already thanking you, and are you able to breathe it all the way in?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

energy with the delight to weave itself into this

From an essay by John Seed, founder of the Rainforest Information Centre in Australia and co-author of Thinking Like a Mountain-- Towards a Council of All Beings:
"The Council of All Beings is the ceremonies and rituals that bring our deep ecology to life. Here we have a practice where we approach a leaf as though approaching our revered zen master. We breathe to this leaf the oxidized carbon of our body. We do so with the gratitude and the generosity that is the signature, the clue to the Nature of which we are a fragment.

As we add consciousness to the ancient processes of sharing respiration, we savor the leaf in our imagination. Now we must notice and then lay aside our prejudice that humans are the only ones capable of consciousness in this transaction, this holy communion that accompanies our every breath. We consciously nourish a leaf and invite the leaf to nourish us, not just with the oxygen it creates, but with futher communications.


Plants! Herbs!
Of course they feed us! Of course they heal us! Of course they get us high! We've been co-operating together for eons before arrogance and amnesia set in, they are the manner in which we are rooted in biology, they mediate between us and the sun.

...Ahhh, photosynthesis! Back to the ultimate miracle of sunlight itself, energy with the propensity, the delight, to weave itself into all this."

baby fronds of Japanese Painted Fern Athyrium niponicum "Pictum"
spilling out of the ground in the spring

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

synchrony shuffle

One of the books I have been reading lately is a long, fascinating and rigorous exploration of synchronicity as demonstrated by the correlations between the world soul and the human soul: between the movements and alignments of the planets, and human cultural, political, historical events.

It would take a little too much thinking to write about it right now, though.

Simpler is to look around and see the little things around me that are currently, for just this moment, synchronous. Kind of an i-Pod shuffle way of looking at things. Sometimes random juxtapositions, like, which friends' names are in my email inbox next to each other, or how the themes of my patients on today's schedule mesh or match. Other times the moment is filled with the results of my own stream of not-so-consciousness. Like, looking at what tabs I have opened in my browser during the course of the day, following my impulsive sparks of wondering. Now they are sitting next to each other, related like lilypads in a pond. Right now there are these:

The "Events" page of Mosaic: Voices of Youth, Voice of Community. Mesmerizing, street-wise, funny storyteller and mythologist Michael Meade will be doing a presentation in his series "Peace and Poetics", called "Faith and Destiny: The Two Agreements in Life" on Friday 4/14 at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.

The next two tabs are Gmail and Bloglines.

Then, an article by Stephen Harrod Buhner of the Foundation for Gaian Studies, on Depth Diagnosis. A little snippet:
"During this part of the depth diagnosis process it is no longer necessary to actually be in the presence of the phenomenon being studied. It is carried daily within you in the imagination. This is also why the first moment of contact is so important. That initial perceiving and the moods that it generated remain with a sparkling clarity within the participatory heart. The emergence of the demanded mode of representation takes time. Depth diagnosis, for me, can take from fifteen minutes to a month or more, depending on the person and the problem. (The average is about two weeks.)"
The next tab is the BerkanaExchange, on the first of three pages containing A Smorgasbord of Art of Hosting
Resources, inspired by a rich few hours the Imagine Cascadia host team got to spend with the Art of Hosting's Toke Moller, last week. From Toke's paper "What Gifts Could Learning and Courage Bring Our Societies?":
"Here are some of my assumptions about creating learning space and starting conversations that matter…
  • In this time, the ways in which we are together have become very speedy, uninspired and often unconscious of what is really meaningful to us - this gives us little space to be present in the Now – to be present to ourselves and each other.
  • When we open space and time to each other around our own meaning, inspiration and consciousness is already there to greet us.
  • We need to be fully present, connected to ourselves and each other, to have the inspiration and courage to know and decide what to create and do at this time, that will benefit all and not just me…..
  • I cannot give if I do not have the surplus of love, challenge and freedom in human community with others.
  • Life wants to give its best to what is alive and let die what is no more needed.
  • When I let myself become the dialogue, the process and the learning I am in, that experience gives birth to conscious action ……..that will make a difference."
Next tab: the commencement address from last June's Harvard Divinity School graduation, by Dr. Kimberly Potter (that one's been open for a few days now!):
"The study of religion has never been a "field" for me as much as it has been a labyrinth. Having entered this maze, like many other scholars, I have never truly emerged, lost in a world well beyond my comprehension or "control," but whose twists and turns I continue to follow because I must, sensing that there is somewhere, hidden deep down, a chamber I probably should avoid but cannot. To study religion is to encounter a fire—a funeral pyre at times, the burning nest of a phoenix at others; a river of ashes into which I wade at dawn straining to hear the Gayatri mantra; an alchemical crucible; a Pentecostal shout; a frog's splash, awakening Basho. It is the majesty of the Kol Nidre or the Ethiopian Orthodox liturgy; the first steps of the hajj; a Maori war outrigger flying across the surf, the realm of the sea god Tangaroa..."
Then, the website of Dottore Massimo Mangialavore, brilliant Italian surgeon and homeopath. You will have to go over there to read his articles and interviews, since all his material is copyrighted.

The last open tab is the Blogger tab
~~but not for long...good night!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

the integrator blog

Welcome to my friend John Weeks, blogging about integrative medicine at John has been in the rough and tumble thick of things in the field of CAM ("complementary and alternative medicine"), and Integrative Medicine, for more than 20 years as a consultant, journalist, relationship-builder and policy influencer. And just as importantly, as the supportive spouse of one of the leaders of the naturopathic profession, Dr. Jeana Kimball.

The Integrator Blog's mission is: " Shaping an Industry, Creating Health" and its vision is based on the one that John helped shape as the executive director of The National Education Dialogue to Advance Integrated Health Care: Creating Common Ground (good work with a very long name!)
"We envision a healthcare system that is multidisciplinary and enhances competence, mutual respect and collaboration across all healthcare disciplines. This system will deliver effective care that is patient-centered, focused on health creation and healing and readily accessible to all populations."
He's only been blogging for a few weeks and there is already a ton of information there. Important reading for anyone interested in the history, business and public policy aspects of integrative and collaborative medicine and the creation of a healthy health-care system.