Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Courage is associated with bravery and valor. We think it most often applies to the military, to firefighters, to police officers. We think courage is about saving people from burning buildings, rising up in defense against hostiles during war and facing the gunman in a dark alley. Courage is most certainly present in all these acts of high heroism. But courage can be applicable, as well, to getting out of bed, laying down the past and following the urges of the heart.
Ordinary living takes a certain amount of fortitude. Extraordinary living takes courage. Audacity. Mettle. Extraordinary living requires us to step boldly into our ring of fears and allow the monsters of our minds to have their say. Courage is what keeps us in that ring, facing the horrors of our imagination and our past experiences. Courage is what keeps us breathing and conscious until the monsters and the horrors and the demons of our past begin to sputter and lose their life energy. Whether we are moving to a different location, changing careers or confronting great love, in the face of courage, in the face of great determination, all fears are revealed as false. Powerless. Impotent.
More than any other scenario, to follow the drum beat and the pull of passion from the hardest working muscle in the body takes courage. For love, as lead by the wisdom of the heart, is the final frontier. The passage to the great unknown. The consuming fire that burns the chains of the past to ash. Courage, my friend, is the only thing that will allow us to approach the fire. The only thing that will enable us to throw our whole selves into it. The only thing that will sustain us in the searing ecstasy of fears consumed.
Courage is the bridge that delivers us to the final frontier. To everyday high heroism. To love unleashed. Without it, we are chained to the false, the powerful, and the potent. Our lives remain ordinary.
Rise up, my friend. Rise up with me to meet the dawning force of love. We'll bring our courage. We'll cross the bridge. We'll burn. We'll love. We'll fly.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Today, I am no one. I am not an artist. I am not a designer. I am not a child of nature. I am not your friend. I am nothing I was or thought I was 2 days ago.

Today, the mask is gone. Veils have become prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. Doors are hanging on hinges. Teapots are teetering off shelves.

Today, the light is blinding. The comforting shadows are gone. The tarot deck reveals The Fool.

I don't know who this person is, this person looking out through silver glass. This person who now dreams of Arabian horses and sheds hot tears while peeling onions to their core.

Today, I am no one. No one I recognize. No one I know. I have no map. I have no voice. Thoughts are swallowed by silence.

Today, in this blinding void of the present, I have no past. Faith is my only companion. Love is my only guide. I am no one. I am everyone. I am.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Go To The Door Laughing

This being human is a guesthouse.
Every morning is 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~
Go to the door laughing
And invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes.
For each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.

Jelaluddin Rumi {1207~1273}

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Honorable Mention

There is very little talk of honor these days. It barely rates a mention in most conversations. It is seldom demostrated in daily life. It seems to be an out-moded concept in today's fast-paced world. Honor means respect. High regard. Integrity. Honor is the acknowledgement of greatness and worthiness as seen and demostrated in others. It is the reason for genuflection. It is the reason for sincere gifting. It is the reason hands are kissed. Honor is lacking in today's world because we allow very little time to know one another, understand one another and peer into each other's souls. To feel genuine honor for another person, we must have witnessed the God-energy that resides within them. And we must have witnessed it first in ourselves.

Honor begins at home. The bodily home our souls reside in. If honor is scarce and turmoil is rife, collectively, we are dishonoring ourselves. We are willfully ignoring the needs of our bodies, minds, emotions and spirits. We are willfully caught in the web of illusion that permeates this planet. The illusion that encourages us to abuse our bodies with unhealthy food and drink. The illusion that encourages us to separate from each other instead of joining together. The illusion that washes our brains with visual bombardment to keep us numb and dumb. We are encouraged, from one society to the next, to hold ourselves in low regard and serve the financial titanism of the few.

Honor of the self is a choice. It requires action and perseverance. It requires healthier food and drink to flood the organs and tissues of our soul's home. It requires less visual stimulation and more reflection. It requires loving kindness directed at ourselves. Daily. Hourly. Moment by moment.

We have no honor to give if we think very little of ourselves. If we cannot feel our greatness and worthiness. If we cannot see our own God-energy through the societal haze. Honor, like love, is something we cannot give if it is something we do not possess.

{Winged lions, as seen on North Street in downtown Buffalo, NY.}
All words and images Copyright(c)2007 Graciel

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Your Hands

Poetry by, Pablo Neruda

All the years of my life

I walked around looking for them.

I went up the stairs,

I crossed the roads,

trains carried me,

waters brought me

and in the skin of the grapes,

I thought I touched you.

The wood suddenly brought me your touch,

the almond announced to me your secret softness,

until your hands closed on my chest

and there like two wings

they ended their journey.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Great Shift

For thousands of years, men have needed to dominate women. In the 21st century, that need is still being met. Dominance of one aspect of God over another is found in every corner of the globe. In every country, every state, every city, every neighborhood. In one form or another. Both overt and subtle. The need for dominance of men over women has shaped all existing societies. That need is in the process of destroying the planet we live on. If humanity wants to save itself, if global warming can be slowed to a crawl, there must be a shift in the balance between men and women. There must be a great shift.

The need for dominance over anyone or anything is based, at its core, on fear. Fear of being overtaken, lost and crushed like a bug. Fear that the other is actually more powerful and more wise. In the case of the feminine, the masculine is correct in its fearful suspicions. Women are more powerul than men. In certain aspects. In needful aspects. In aspects that hold the keys to saving our species, saving our planet and saving our souls.

Women hold the keys to compassion, fairness, healing and love. Women are the embodiment of love. But the powers inherent in the feminine aspect of God only flower when conditions are ripe to support those powers. Those conditions and that support are the responsibility of the masculine to create and hold the space for the feminine to work its magic. It is the responsibility of the masculine to use its needful warrior energy to ensure the feminine is honored and revered. To ensure God's womb of creation is safe.

With that responsibility, with that devotional level of support comes everything the masculine could possibly need: freedom. True freedom to be whomever God made them to be. True freedom that only comes when untold levels of nurturing and healing and love are unleashed on every country and state and city and neighborhood.

It is the responsibility of the feminine to receive that honor. To use the warrior energy as a platform to launch a campaign of healing around the globe. It is the responsibility of the feminine to first and foremost believe it is equal in importance to that of the masculine. To believe its own power exists, to embrace that power and share it with those in need. It is the responsibility of the feminine to steadily wean itself of the lesser role, the dominated role, the helpless role.

The key to everyone's betterment, the key to respecting and saving our planetary home lies in the hearts and minds of men and women. We must agree that balance, not dominance, is the foundation of lasting freedom for all. We must agree to dedicate ourselves to accomplishing a great shift, a do-or-die shift in the relations of men and women. We must honor ourselves and honor each other. We will then automatically honor our planet. We will not be overtaken. We will not be lost. We will instead be loved.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Death Mask

In the depths of winter, a quiet form of despair can seep into our minds. A weighted apathy can slow our pace. A disinterest in the world can shut us away. We wonder where our enthusiasm went. We wonder where our passion went. Friends don't satisfy us. Books don't satisfy us. Food is always on our minds. We feel stuck. Bloated. Impatient. We worry this will not pass.

In the depths of winter, we put on the death mask. The mask is an opportunity to turn away from the world and look within. It is an opportunity to embrace stillness. In that stillness of the death-mask experience, we are invited to look at our true selves. We are invited to relinquish our false and fearful selves. We are invited to die to all that holds us back from realizing our full potential.

The death mask, with its accompanying despair and apathy and disinterest, is a divine tool of transformation. The only way to transform and move towards greater levels of happiness, is to see ourselves clearly as we are~ beings deserving of joy and goodness and loving kindness. We must turn away from the world and its distractions to see and hear the truth of ourselves. We must turn away for a time, to uncover new worlds within. To know ourselves more intimately. To attend to the rage and the shame that holds us back. To feel how beautiful we are.

We must die to the false beliefs we have stubbornly held about ourselves. We must die to the idea we are less than others because of our life circumstances. We must die to the notion our every life-affirming wish cannot come true.

The death mask is ours to embrace. We are not stuck. We are transforming. Through the gifts of despair and apathy, we can choose to turn inwards. We can choose to use winter's opportunity to heal our darkness and reveal our light.

{Egyptian death masks, from the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, Germany, discovered during my glorious light-revealing trip in the spring of 2006.}