Thursday, June 30, 2022

"The Guest House"

I've turned my property, and my house,  into an "Enclave", now for 11 years.  I guess it could be said, economic benefits aside, that I've turned my home into an Art Project, one that continues to evolve.  It's even become a bit of a mini "eco system",  as the gardens have attracted birds, a bee hive, and a few abandoned cats as well, who have become permanent residents.  And I should mention Ambrose the desert turtle as well.

Mostly it's been rented through AIRBNB, although I have also hosted people who came for workshops, friends, students and teachers and nurses and "snow birds",  and soon, if approved, I will host also some Ukrainian refugees.**   I've built 4 tiny houses, created patios and gardens, renovated the old house, and had a lot of fun furnishing everything thanks to Goodwill, the Habistore, and a lot of paint and "elbow grease".  It's been challenging, and I've done my share of complaining, but also very rewarding. Being an empath, I have had to learn to create emotional boundaries.  And being an artist, which is fundamentally an introspective, introverted life, I have grown a great deal by having to learn to deal with many kinds of people.  Sometimes communities, however transient, have coalesced, which pleases me.  Certainly some remarkable friends have been made.  I am grateful, for all of it.  

Rumi is right.

The Guest-House

This being human is a guest-house.

Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you
out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.




** here is one of many FB groups dedicated to helping Ukrainians fleeing the invasion of Ukraine by Putin.  Any reading this Blog who may wish to be a sponsor/host,  please visit.  

Sunday, June 19, 2022


With gratitude and many good wishes to all on this High Holy Day!


We live our lives of human passions,
cruelties, dreams, concepts,
crimes and the exercise of virtue
in and beside a world devoid
of our preoccupations, free
from apprehension—though affected,
certainly, by our actions.

 A world parallel to our own though overlapping.
We call it “Nature”; only reluctantly
admitting ourselves to be “Nature” too.

Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,
our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,
an hour even, of pure (almost pure)
response to that insouciant life:

cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing
pilgrimage of water, vast stillness
of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,
animal voices, mineral hum, 
wind conversing with rain, 
ocean with rock, stuttering of fire to coal

—then something tethered in us, 
hobbled like a donkey on its patch
of gnawed grass and thistles, breaks free.

No one discovers
just where we’ve been, 
when we’re caught up again 
into our own sphere 
(where we must return, indeed,
 to evolve our destinies)

—but we have changed, a little.

Denise Levertov

I woke early, on this longest day:
the light rose among
 the green conversation 
of  trees, a fading star, exultant starlings,
  two grey squirrels 
performing their morning ritual
greeting the only God 
they know, 

the Sun

Lauren Raine

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

A "Spider Woman" Synchronicity and a Poem

Petroglyph in New Mexico

When I began this Blog I was on the "trail" of  Spider Woman as an artist, and more importantly,  as a spiritual quest.  I began recording synchronicities along the way, and I often  think of them as "Spider Woman's threads".   Because the farther I explored that liminal zone of wondering and wandering, the more synchronicities seemed to occur.  So many that I imagined I was occasionally getting a glimpse of  the bigger pattern.  Sometimes they seemed like touchstones, sometimes like road signs.  Synchronicities are very personal,  and if one pays attention, they can inform, guide, and often confuse on many levels. I believe this is because they exist on many levels or dimensions of being. ** 

So this beautiful Synchronicity.......

I have felt out of touch with my spirituality, out of touch certainly with Spider Woman and the work I used to do.  All the daily demands of our lives, the "temporal density" of contemporary life that leaves one grasping, between items on the laundry list, little crumbs of soul here and there.  I used to have a ritual I did every day that was dedicated to Spider Woman - I would watch the sun rise, and make offerings of my morning coffee to the 4 directions, East, South, West and North.  Then I would pour some coffee in the Center, to symbolize the underlying unity of all things,  the ineffable center of the wheel.  

I remembered that ritual, and remembering, greeted the rising sun with it once again.  Afterwards I reflected rather sadly that I had pehaps  lost contact with the faith, and sense of divine purpose, that I used to have when I was on the trail of Spider Woman.

I support myself with an AIRBNB, tiny houses and rooms.  A guest had just left and I went in to clean.  She had left a poem on the desk - one of those poems  from the ubiquitous "take a poem" piles found at coffee shops in Tucson.  It was perfect.   Here it is:

on the rock overlooking the huddled rock-gorge

on the rock planted on rock for a wall

on the rock rusted with a rosy haze on it

on the rock children scrawl with chalk

         as though that were a way of making it talk

you can see circling about with a crazy velocity

as if the grain of the rock were reassembling

         for some unforeseeable purpose

red specks that are the tiniest spiders

                       if you look real close

                                          --------Cid Corman 


 **I began this Blog in 2007 as I prepared for a summer long Aldon B. Dow Fellowship at Northwood University in Midland, Michigan.  My intention was to pursue my Visions of the Spider Woman, and in particular, I wanted to create a Community Arts Project that engaged others in that Vision of the Great Web.  Spider Woman is an ubiquitous Native American Goddess/Creatrix found throughout the Americas,  in particular, She has profound meaning for me as I learned about Her in the myths of the Pueblo Peoples, and the Navajo (Dine`).  I was very influenced by a book by anthropologist Carol Patterson-Rudolph (1997) called On the Trail of Spider Woman: Petroglyphs, Pictographs, and Myths of the Southwest   

I have also come to believe (no, perhaps sense or "see" is a better way of putting it) that synchronicities are all ultimately related,  they are flashes of the hologram, the weaving.....Spider Woman's Web.  

***And who is Spider Woman to me?  She is a guide and mentor, with a great sense of humor, and a whole lot of patience.  She is also my name for the Divine.

Exhibit of "Spider Woman's Hands" at Midland Art Center 2007

I did complete a Community Arts Project that summer of 2007 called "Hands of Spider Woman" at the Midland Arts Center, and then in 2008 the Project was renewed by artist Kathy Space at the Creative Spirit Center, also in Midland.  And in 2009 I went to Henry Luce Center for Arts and Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., where I again continued my "Hands of the Spider Woman" theme with a community Project and sculpture I called "Weavers".

details from "Weavers" at Wesley Theological Seminary 2009

Other manifestations include a number of spoken word performances, a book called "Spider Woman's Hands", and a few other shared "web weavings".  

"Spider Woman" from "Restoring the Balance" 2004

Sunday, June 12, 2022

The Lord's Prayer: Translated from the Original Aramaic

The Lord's Prayer...translated from Aramaic directly into English. Rather than from Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English. How much more beautiful the original translations are, and how narrow the version we now have is in comparison. Author SUZETTE MARTINEZ STANDRING (see website below) comments:

"The best accepted translation is by Neil Douglas-Klotz, Ph.D., a world-renowned scholar in spirituality, religious studies and psychology  In 2005 he was awarded the Kessler Keener Foundation Peacemaker of the Year Award. His translation opened my mind to a fresher love and healing paradigm taught by Jesus.  For example, The Lord’s prayer begins with “Our Father,” a translation of the word, “abba.”  But the actual Aramaic transliteration is “Abwoon” which is a blending of “abba (father)” and “woon” (womb), Jesus’s recognition of the masculine and feminine source of creation."

O cosmic Birther of all radiance and vibration,
soften the ground of our being and carve out a space within us
where your Presence can abide.

Fill us with your creativity so that we may be empowered to bear the fruit of your mission.

Let each of our actions bear fruit in accordance with our desire.

Endow us with the wisdom to produce and share
what each being needs to grow and flourish.

Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind us,
as we release others from the entanglement of past mistakes.

Do not let us be seduced by that which would divert us from our true purpose,
but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.

For you are the ground and the fruitful vision, the birth, power, and fulfillment,
as all is gathered and made whole once again.


For more information:

Thursday, June 9, 2022

"Are We Living in Sensory Overload or Sensory Poverty?"


 "The further we distance ourselves from the spell of the present, explored by our senses, the harder it will be to understand and protect nature’s precarious balance, let alone the balance of our own human nature."
Lately I've been thinking a great deal about Sensory Overload,  and Temporal Density.  In fact I have an article I've been struggling to write about the subject, and hopefully it will follow soon this Blog article.

A side note here,  I find myself continually pulling forward and re-reading old posts.  Sometimes, in fact, I feel like I've already said in this Blog everything I have to say.  But review is still valuable.  So here is a Post from almost exactly 10 years ago about the confusion I, as an older person who came of age before PC's or the Internet, feel.  The world has changed since those little boxes appeared, and although, here I am enjoying one of the great benefits of the Internet Age, still, sometimes I worry.....I think Diane Ackerman said it well.


 A few weeks ago I went with friends from out of town  to a rather pricey Indian restaurant.  We were enjoying the wine and the ambience.........exotic hanging lamps and sitar music in the background.  At a nearby table a young, well-dressed couple sat with  wine and a candle between them as well. Each had a  little box in his and her hand, and with heads bowed, they were each tapping away.  We wondered if they were discussing what to order with each other.......maybe they were having a conversation?  Oblivious to us as they peered into their crystal boxes,  we wondered if this was a new version of the dating/mating ritual?

What will happen,  as the time of computer implants looms in our evolutionary future........will people talk and tweet to each other in some kind of informational/vibrational code, freed of such unhygienic nuances as facial expressions, vocalizations, physical gestures, smells, auras?  What about empathy, not just for the human world, but the sensory world of nature?  

I ran across a great article by DIANE ACKERMAN,   thanks to my good friend Joyce, that expressed these thoughts so well.........I can't resist excerpting from it here.

Are We Living in Sensory Overload or Sensory Poverty?

 IT was a spring morning in upstate New York, one so cold the ground squeaked loudly underfoot as sharp-finned ice crystals rubbed together. The trees looked like gloved hands, fingers frozen open. A crow veered overhead, then landed. As snow flurries began, it leapt into the air, wings aslant, catching the flakes to drink. Or maybe just for fun, since crows can be mighty playful.

Another life form curved into sight down the street: a girl laughing down at her gloveless fingers which were texting on some hand-held device. This sight is so common that it no longer surprises me, though strolling in a large park one day I was startled by how many people were walking without looking up, or walking in a myopic daze while talking on their “cells,” as we say in shorthand, as if spoken words were paddling through the body from one saltwater lagoon to another.

As a species, we’ve somehow survived large and small ice ages, genetic bottlenecks, plagues, world wars and all manner of natural disasters, but I sometimes wonder if we’ll survive our own ingenuity. At first glance, it seems as if we may be living in sensory overload. The new technology, for all its boons, also bedevils us with alluring distractors, cyberbullies, thought-nabbers, calm-frayers, and a spiky wad of miscellaneous news. Some days it feels like we’re drowning in a twittering bog of information.

But, at exactly the same time, we’re living in sensory poverty, learning about the world without experiencing it up close, right here, right now, in all its messy, majestic, riotous detail. The further we distance ourselves from the spell of the present, explored by our senses, the harder it will be to understand and protect nature’s precarious balance, let alone the balance of our own human nature.

Strip the brain of too much feedback from the senses and life not only feels poorer, but learning grows less reliable. I’m certainly not opposed to digital technology, whose graces I daily enjoy and rely on in so many ways. But I worry about our virtual blinders. We’re losing track of our senses, and spending less and less time experiencing the world firsthand. At some medical schools, it’s even possible for future doctors to attend virtual anatomy classes, in which they can dissect a body by computer — minus that whole smelly, fleshy, disturbing human element.

When all is said and done, we exist only in relation to the world, and our senses evolved as scouts who bridge that divide and provide volumes of information, warnings and rewards. But they don’t report everything. Or even most things. We’d collapse from sheer exhaustion. They filter experience, so that the brain isn’t swamped by so many stimuli that it can’t focus on what may be lifesaving. Some of their expertise comes with the genetic suit, but most of it must be learned, updated and refined, through the fine art of focusing deeply, in the present, through the senses. Once you’ve held a ball, turning it in your hands, you need only see another ball to remember the feel of roundness. Strip the brain of too much feedback from the senses and life not only feels poorer, but learning grows less reliable. Subtract the subtle physical sensations, and you lose a wealth of problem-solving and lifesaving details.

As an antidote I wish schools would teach the value of cultivating presence. As people complain more and more these days, attention spans are growing shorter, and we’ve begun living in attention blinks. More social than ever before, we’re spending less time alone with our thoughts, and even less relating to other animals and nature. Too often we’re missing in action, brain busy, working or playing indoors, while completely unaware of the world around us.

One solution is to spend a few minutes every day just paying close attention to some facet of nature. A bonus is that the process will be refreshing. When a sense of presence steals up the bones, one enters a mental state where needling worries soften, careers slow their cantering, and the imaginary line between us and the rest of nature dissolves. Then for whole moments one may see nothing but the flaky trunk of a paper-birch tree with its papyrus-like bark. Or, indoors, watch how a vase full of tulips, whose genes have traveled eons and silk roads, arch their spumoni-colored ruffles and nod gently by an open window.

On the periodic table of the heart, somewhere between wonderon and unattainium, lies presence, which one doesn’t so much take as engage in, like a romance, and without which one can live just fine, but not thrive.

Monday, June 6, 2022

The Pull of "Realism"......Arlene Goldbard and Unacceptable Resignation


An  article by Arlene Goldbard from 2914 worth considering.  And of course (above)  one of my favorite quotes by Ursula K. Leguin.  I reflect that, not only in our continuing dismissal of the arts and creativity is a terrible kind of resignation to be found, but also, currently very noticeably, is this to be found in our Ameican acceptance of one gun massacre after another.  As each almost daily mass shooting happens, there is a bevy of articles, "thoughts and prayers", and then the "realism" that nothing every changes, and we continue to normalize the obscenely gruesome and terrifying.  The the inner virus in so many of us that Goldbard calls the “internalization of the oppressor”.  

Along the lines of the significant questions that Goldbard asks,  I remember an article I wrote back in 2004, when the thriving  Muse Community Arts Center,  a city block wide former YMCA building that had become a beloved focus for the arts in Tucson, was purchased by "developers" to be turned into profitable condominiums.  The Muse was destroyed, and never re-created, especially now with gentrification effectively having eliminated the former Tucson Arts District.  What shocked me was how this engine of community creative wealth was allowed to die with scarcely a peep.  No one seemed to question the loss as a terrible loss, except for a few artists or arts groups such as I.  It was not that people would not, and have not, missed it - it was just the resignation that "that's the way it is.".   Is it?  Is the continuing impoverishment of "corporate nation" and "profit over soul"  really inevitable abnd unstoppable, as "that's just the way it is"? 

I further reflect that the "virus of 'realism'" is rampant in the most horrific, surreal loss of all:  the acceptance of Global Warming and Climate Change.  In 2014 I was standing in line in a Safeway (ironic) buying some groceries.  On the magazine display in front of me I saw the magazine below, right up there with the cookbooks, the latest weight loss magazines, and a retrospective magazine about the Beatles.  Yeah.  Think about that kind of "realism".

“Realism” and Its Discontents

 "I focused especially on the way Corporation Nation has consigned artists to a trivial and undernourished social role, instead of understanding artists as an indicator species for social well-being......................What does it mean that in many places cultural allocations are less than a hundredth of a percent of prison budgets? Who are we as a people? What do we stand for? What do we want to be known for: our stupendous ability to punish, or our vast creativity?"

This has been a strange time in my little world: I’ve been traveling for work while my computer stayed home and lost its mind.  I’m glad to say that sanity (i.e., memory, software, and general order) has been restored, and while I still have the sort of compulsive desire to tell the tale that afflicts survivors of accidents, I will spare you most of the saga.  
What both journeys—mine and the computer’s—have given me is the opportunity to reflect on the workings of human minds, including my own. In particular, I’ve had a close-up look at the desire to believe, especially to believe the reassuring drone of those in authority.

Earlier this month, I gave a talk at Harvard that focused on some of the key ideas in  "The Culture of Possibility: Art, Artists & The Future"

I focused especially on the way Corporation Nation has consigned artists to a trivial and undernourished social role, instead of understanding artists as an indicator species for social well-being akin to the role oysters play as bio-monitors for marine environments. I pointed out how arts advocacy has steadily failed (e.g., President Obama asked Congress for $146 million for the National Endowment for Arts [NEA] in the next budget, $8 million less than this year, when he should have requested $440 million just to equal the spending power the agency had 35 years ago). Yet advocates keep making the same weak arguments and pretending that losing a little less than anticipated constitutes victory. 

There’s an Emperor’s New Clothes flavor to the whole enterprise, a tacit agreement to adjust to absurdity and go along with the charade.

After my talk, a student asked me what arguments should be made instead. I pointed out that what we are actually spending our commonwealth on seldom gets engaged in this conversation. 

What does it mean that we spend more than two annual NEA budgets a day, seven days a week, on war? What does it mean that in many places cultural allocations are less than a hundredth of a percent of prison budgets? ***

I posed the questions that ought to guide this debate:  Who are we as a people? What do we stand for? What do we want to be known for: our stupendous ability to punish, or our vast creativity?

The student nodded vigorously as I answered. I could see that she was with me: that the curtains of default reality had parted, affording a glimpse of the truths beneath the charade. And then something happened, something I’d seen before: some students’ excited expressions began to fade, shoulders slumped a little, breathing returned to normal. “Realism” had set in. What I mean by “realism” is the self-ratifying notion broadcast by every power elite: the message that the existing order of things is so firmly entrenched, so well-funded, and so effectively guarded that it is pointless to resist. Be realistic: surrender!

This is the real obstacle we’re up against. The pull of “realism” is felt in nearly every mind, even the minds of those whose lives are devoted to righting injustice and expanding liberty. Paulo Freire called it “internalization of the oppressor,” pointing out that when we hear often and insistently enough that we are weak, that we should cede our power to others who know better, we start to mistake that voice for our own.

There is one skill that every power elite possesses, and that is the ability to persuasively assert its own mighty rightness. But there is one power that each of us possesses, and that is to cultivate the ability to recognize and reject this propaganda. It takes awareness, commitment, and choice to hack through false consciousness and begin to see clearly. It takes all those capacities to recognize that the voice of “realism” is generally propaganda for the existing order of power (and powerlessness).

*** Remember that 59% of the national budget goes to the military, and the corporate interests that profit.  The NEA, along with the Food Stamps administration, is not even 1%.  Not much sustenance for inspiration, or hunger, with those  priorities.  Just DEATH.