Wednesday, March 23, 2016


I dreamt I was co-facilitating a group workshop for artists with Ellie. We had prepared carefully, each for our respective contribution. I had brought a yellow pad filled with notes but I realized, as we started, that I had not the first idea what to do. Everything I had prepared seemed meaningless. And the group began to get rowdy. There was a lot of distracting traffic noise outside the door. People kept coming and going...

So I called everyone into a circle and asked us all to join hands. Left hand under, right hand over. I reminded them that both hands over feels like control; both hands under feels like submission. Right hand over, left hand under feels like connection. I asked everyone to get silent, quiet down inside, go deep. I asked each one of us to ask a single question: "What did I come here for?" And to listen to the first answer that came up. And then to go deeper still into the heart and ask the same question: "What did I come here for?" And to listen to the still deeper, still more honest answer.

My own first answer was: control. And I felt some shame as it came up. But my second answer rang completely true. It was: renewal. That felt right.

So I woke with this thought in mind. And then I found myself remembering, without apparent reason, this anonymous poem from the 16th century:
O Western wind when will thou blow,
The small rain down can rain?
Christ! that my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!
Do you know this one? I remembered this morning having read somewhere, long ago, that this little poem was the very essence, the distillation of all lyric poetry. I love that it begins with a breath of simple longing; that it moves, in the next line, to the need for the quiet refreshment of "small rain"; that, with its sudden, noisy, monosyllabic, wonderfully blasphemous "Christ!" it shifts into a different, utterly urgent gear and opens our eyes to what this is really all about; and that it comes down to the earthy eroticism of its last line. It's about, well, of course, the desire for renewal...

And then I took George out for his pee-and-poop walk before dawn, and there was a full moon shining brilliantly out over the Pacific Ocean...

"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well"

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