What Is the Passion That Keeps You Alive?

This is a vote against the void: the yawning pit of utter nihilism and despair, the excruciating comfort of submerging in terror, uncertainty, grief and outrage at the headlines of the day; against allowing hope to be swept away in the tsunami of corruption, sadism, and malevolent destruction of the People and the Planet.

This is a vote for the possibility of facing, recognizing, and consciously deflecting the force(s) that would destroy us, choosing instead to live. Not once, but again and again, because the predator never stops following, inwardly or outwardly. And today, with the prowling danger of COVID-19 forcing us into fearful isolation, awaiting something as simple as our unconscious hand raised to our face, that choice is a moment-to-moment decision for every one of us.

Findhorn Bound: Women’s Wisdom in Nairn

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Leaving Edinburgh was not easy – in one day I’d seen enough to fall in love with the city’s glorious stone buildings, urban mountain, royal and postage-stamp gardens, and friendly people – but I took a great and shamelessly touristy thrill in riding a real British double-decker bus to the train station.

I’d been hoping to find a congenial – and informed – seatmate for the four-hour ScotRail ride to the North….and glory be, next to me settled a delightfully acerbic elder lady from Inverness, who’d been taking the North/South ride throughout her life. IMG_20160415_075758329 Together we entertained a young mother’s active toddler, while my companion shared her memories, gave history lessons about landmarks, clued me in to differences between British and American English, and dished gossip about the royal family and their Balmoral Castle, far over the snow-clad peaks of the Cairngorms to the east.

To Stop Feeling Alone, Stop Being Alone

In a long-ago job, a manager once told our team – “I don’t want to hear about a problem unless you have a solution to offer.”

I’ve tried to take that as a guideline for blog posts: not to kvetch about an issue unless I can work my way through it to an answer…or at least a new perspective.

Taking the Risk of Sharing Our Stories

Four years ago, in the midst of studies towards my Master’s degree, I birthed the precursor of this blog on the free WordPress platform. What a journey has taken place between that time and this!

At the beginning, I had no idea of where the journey would take me. I only knew that I was waking up to the reality – not just the single, catechism-shattering experience that I’d had in childhood,  but the everyday, sublime-and-mundane Reality —  that we exist in a conscious cosmos.

And along with that awakening came the calling to, somehow, integrate and share both that experience and that Reality.

Edgewalk

These images are part of an evolving series honoring the Standing People (trees) as their fallen forms return to the soil.

I’d gone to the woods seeking peace and guidance, with too many personal paths beckoning, too much spinning in my mind. Almost immediately I found myself drawn off the pathway by the forms of felled trees and boughs in a massive brush pile. As I clambered about, witnessing the wood meshing with fallen leaves and returning to mulch, totemic shapes, faces, portals began to emerge in the dance of light and dark, pattern and texture….

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Our Responsibility, Our Power

I shut down another conversation the other day on Facebook. Didn’t intend to do it…but my comment was one of those that are met with embarrassed averted eyes and even more embarrassed silences.

No, I wasn’t sharing the intimate details of my health,  sex life, or bathroom habits. I wasn’t evangelizing or objecting to the exclusive holiday greeting “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter” or what have you (though I do object to such exclusivity, early and often).

So what taboo did I break in this supposedly taboo-free society? I responded to a friend’s posting of Elaine Boosler’s comment: “When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It’s a whole different way of thinking.”

Beatitudes for the Weird

Click the image to learn about the work of http://blessedaretheweird.com in affirming those of us who obstinately refuse to fit the cookie-cutter.

As my husband’s teacher used to say – Give thanks that you’re weird. Look at the alternative – normality, a.k.a. death. 

Dancing with Spirit

I was deeply saddened to hear today of the passing of Gabrielle Roth, meditative dancer/artist/musician/shaman/healer. Although I never had an opportunity to participate in one of her classes, I’ve been awed by her videos and her philosophy of retrieving our souls, our humanity through the metaphor of dance.

When I was a child, I used to dance. Not the usual little-girl structured dance experience, though my parents did send me to ballet and tap classes in response to my kindergarten dreams of being a ballerina. Like poorly fitting toe-slippers, between chronic respiratory issues and two (apparent) left feet the lessons didn’t get far…but somewhere, somehow, some vestiges of the dreams and the lessons did remain.

Muse

how
do i know
what i mean
till i see
what i say
quoth
the quixotic
artist provocateur

catch
an image
a word
a dream
thumbprinted
with truth
to ride
like a pegasus
like a dragon
like a phoenix
(like a fish)
to revelation
absorbing
the essence
of
life
death
sex
birth

shamanically
dis-integrating
to  zero
point
(like a 10-foot mackerel
surrounded by cats
in a feeding frenzy
on the living room floor)

chaotic
shapeshifter
truth
emerging
remorselessly
from wreckage
like a beachball
rocketing out
from
downthrusting
child hands
plunging naked
as a cliff-diver
from a despairing
precipice
to scrape
bacteria
from abyssal stones
probing
vents
to the planetary
core

Grandmother Tree

These photographs memorialize a grandmother tree, a tulip poplar that stood near the chapel of All Saints Convent in Catonsville, MD. She was taken down in January 2012 due to advanced decay; most of her wood has gone to warm the disadvantaged in Baltimore. The more spectacular pieces – I believe – were taken by a local artist to serve as playground props (yes, they were that big).

Her colors, patterns, and energy – days after the cutting – were still passionate…vibrant…fiercely present. I can envision that spirit bringing warmth and beauty to the places and people who benefit by her bequest.

  • All content (barring Quotes and reblogs) is (c) Phila Hoopes, 2010 -