For Little Mama, On Vacation

I think your heart is called by canyons,
you find them, or…do they find you?
But all across creation’s face
the creases, clefts give you their Grace.

You have left labors to themselves
and sweat and tears behind.
You put your nose into the wind
and cleared your clever mind

And headed west, west, west of West
to canyons once again…
but these are running, bloody, wet
with nature’s life blood pure

So sit…it’s called a river out here
but you know its bone-truths
It’s really still a canyon dear
So be renewed…be clear

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We Lords of Tuscany, We Ladies Of The Meadow

At last we finally
have come down to it,
perched here on this edge
of sun-bleached splintery white planks
and darkly stained with shadows and blood.
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I hear the wind winding
thru the distant trees wistful,
insistent and full of desire for
golden times long past and golden
songs sung oh so long ago.
It saws its way, the wind, it saws.
Forth and back, across again
that one long thin strand fixed just so
to that grey ancient, heavy beam
that I can barely see because

history’s speck embedded
in my eyes and clawing,
scratching them
and clouding my ocular
true blue vision.
tumblr_oah0y9yL2P1trdezwo1_1280But as I stand here, on the edge
of gone for good at last, and I
behold the hushed and held tense breath
of the gawking crowd…I remember
Tuscany and us
when we were young and ageless
and we ran the fields like wild-fire
in joy and wreck-less free abandon…
we ran…and ran…and
free we ran…
I recall vineyard embrace, green
in the cool night sprawled beneath
the glitter-glare of celestial songs
taken form and sight in night
and flying, shooting, never landing

never ending, never…
except in our hearts,
our ageless hearts,
we Lords of Tuscany,
we Ladies of the Meadow

And time it stood still while we swirled
and then somehow twas we stood still
and everything turned round about us
til somehow…now…
here at the end

in the hangman’s
clutching final
noose as the reaper
plays along upon
his shimmer-scythey harp

and the rope
relentless quivers
and croons and
begs me to
forget…
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But I remember
Gold and Fire
and glowing embers
in you…
and in me…

We Ladies of the Meadow
We Lords of Tuscany

The Measure of Your Worth

“Humility invites us to let go of our hold on productivity as the measure of our worth and discover the deeper value of who we are.”

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD Creative Flourishing in the Heart of the Desert: A Self-Study Online Retreat with Hildegard of Bingen

Who might you become if you stopped defining yourself in terms of what you do, and how productive you are?
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13 past 13


the cuckoo clock so pasty white,  so dull
ticktocks its hands to point at the orange cull
and jumps out crazy, chiming, shrieking shrill
the wall is trembling in its echoes still
CUCKOO CUCKOO CUCKOO CUCKOO
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(9 more it does intone)

and reason is a stranger, quite alone
*trumped* by gibbering stupid wallowing fear,
as the clock strikes 13 past 13, I hear
the slouching shambling hungry beast come near…
and something, something, something, something, something
is very very very very wrong
in this world
so off kilter
going
gone
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The Essential Re-beginning

“Sometimes when we return to our practice after having left it for several days (or weeks, months, years) we often have a deeper appreciation for what we have lost than if we had not strayed. Beginning again is essential. We fall away, we lose our will to persevere for so many reasons.

“The problem is not with the waning of our inner fire and perseverance, but with not returning again at all.”
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Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Class ~ Pilgrimage of the Soul: An Online Art Retreat

The next time you fall away from your practice whatever it is,
can you remember to remain open and compassionate to yourself
and simply begin again, without criticism or judgement?
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The Core

“When we remember the sacred dimension of the world, we are freed from a life lived primarily from a materialistic perspective, where consumption becomes the primary goal. We no longer need to dominate and acquire more and more.”

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Class ~ Earth as Soul Care Matrix: The Wild Heart of Ministry

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The Best Gifts In The World

I find this quote significant for me on this day.  Thanks to the best gifts in the world:  the soul friends who have joined my journey…Gifts of Healing Presence from God to cleanse and heal the horrors of abandonment by unfaithful and fearful humans who even after 3 decades did not have the wherewithal to go the distance.

There are several significant people who walk with me, both in person and online…both groups are not large but wow are they substantive…thank you for walking me into me.  ❤

July 13, 2016
“The tradition of soul friend reinforces the communal and corporate nature of Celtic spirituality and the dangers of traveling the spiritual path alone. A soul friend helps to offer us the courage needed to say yes to the big dreams being birthed in us. They help us to gain clarity over places of self-deception and denial.”

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD
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A Spoonful Of Sugar

Can
you swallow
the bitter pill?
The pill that’s come
to dull our conscience,
cushion comfort, corners
nipped just so, sides longer
than tops and bottoms,
that exquisite little
emerald coffin-
shaped bitter
little
pill?

Life’s
fragility, life’s
impermanence,
life’s intertwinement
with imperfection and
disappointment—bitter
medicines (or are they drugs)

a realization of dread and
despair.  I wonder if those
crooning songs seduce,
induce indulgence
in an orgy of
escape into
the haze
of
narcissism…

or if they masquerade as friends to draw close,
sidling up so near to shove those pills dry
down our throats in rough and rooting
thrusting fingers ripping without a
drink to help them go down and
we, our own spoonful of sugar…
until we lie in thrall to
those fell jailers…no


enthralled to
no one but
ourself

that bitter
little
pill

It’s The Blood Of Stars

and now it all melts
under falling skies
skies weeping
bleeding

it’s the shining blood of stars
dropping and everything
spinning and melting
down under just
one touch

one

touch of that stricken star’s
living draining dying
diamond
blood
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and I wait
in mourning
hoping against
hope for morning

but know it in my bones
that everything’s sadly
melting, falling so fast
in slow motion away
swirling down to
that tragic
running
ruin
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The Wild Heart Of Longing

“For the desert mothers and fathers, the monastic cell was a vitally important place.
It was both literal reality, a place where the monks retreated to experience a deep stillness.
Yet it is also the symbolic place within us where we welcome in the fullness of our experience.
Consider holding this image of an inner cell during this journey – the place within where you can
retreat and be present to the fullness of your experience.”

— Christine Valters Painter, PhD The Self-Study Online Retreat ~ Women on the Threshold: The Wild Heart of Longing
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Hidden From Our Eyes

“…now it is hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42)

Can you feel it
bouncing off steel beams
ricocheting off raw stone,

the sound of gunfire
off in the distance
grim and getting closer
in cold grey shuffling
grave-steps clotted
and rotted
and ruined
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it’s the sound
of relationships
already shattered
broken relationships bloody
gutted in the streets
and played out
before our eyes
horrified and haunted

we weep tears of disbelief
to the cold deaf earth
we sweep bodies like trash
into the yearning yawning earth
and yet we still will not
turn or
turn or
turn

in this season
in this time
and Byrds sing
desperately praying
it’s not too late
but we have chosen
rankly, rottedly

we have sung the zombie songs
and joined the charnel choirs
of the living dead because
we lacked the simple courage
to be the dead living…dead living!
we have chosen fear
we are drunk on distrust
we rave raw in revenge
we are sickened because
we ate only anger
and anger
and anger

and no one leads
no one guides
to whom shall we go?
who shall save us
from ourselves?

We shed another’s blood
when we run out of answers.
They shed Their own pure blood
as Their one and only answer.

We kill, buried in despair.
They rise, giving us hope…

but will we open up our hearts
and see Them shining in our brother,
hear Them singing in our sister
irregardless of skin color
or religion, creed, or dolor?
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Or will we just sink away
and slink away and dwell behind
those naked fig leaves and all truth

hidden from our eyes?

 

Under Her Mantle

“Brigid sees the face of Christ in all persons and creatures, and overcomes the division between rich and poor.

“Our practice of inner hospitality as monks in the world is essentially about healing all of the places we feel fragmented, scattered, and shamed. One of her symbols is her cloak which becomes a symbol of unity.

“All can dwell under her mantle.”

— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Class ~ Sacred Seasons: A Yearlong Journey through the Celtic Wheel of the Year

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Daily Conversion: From & To

“In monastic tradition, there is great value placed on both conversion and stability. I think of conversion as always being willing to be surprised by God. Conversion calls us to remember that we are always on a journey, that we are always growing, that we have never fully arrived. It calls us to great humility, and the more we grow in wisdom, the more we realize how little we actually know.”

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Retreat ~ Practicing Resurrection through Creativity and Archetypes

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Paradox

“As human beings seeking to live meaningful lives, we hunger for some kind of structure, a set of practices that challenge us and help us to grow. Yet, if our rule is too rigorous, we can become suffocated by legalism.

“The paradox of the spiritual life is that it needs a healthy balance of structure and freedom to thrive. This is the paradox of the creative process as well.”

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD  The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom

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Until All Can Breathe

It is not pretty
It is not comforting
Brace yourself…
for I rub our noses in it,
the hypocrisy

is too much for me
and horror, hate is
all I see this day
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Go ahead…
after reading,
go to the parades,
the barbeques, the picnics…
go to family and friends
and fireworks and fun…

but go
with these words
stuck in your craw and
mashed down in your marrow,
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and know that this is
the truth of where we are come,
where we have been led because
we will not lead and now we stand
on precipices and drunk upon our past
and deluded in our dreams of futures
that are just not real.
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I am glad for our constitution
one of the major leaps
towards true liberty
in world history…

but omg just baby steps
and not a signal that we have
arrived and can stop walking…
we must see how insidious
we have been taught
to play the fiddle
to scenes of horror
that would warm
the cold dead bones
of Nero his ownself.
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Extract yourselves
from the trappings
and tentacles that croon
to your swooning soul and seek
to pull you down into an addict’s
wet-dreamy tragic death

and make good your escape
while there is still a crack of time,
a sliver of hope milky moony white
and weakly glowing still
in this crashing night…
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for it will break indeed
in tsunamis of terror
not brought here
from foreign lands
but homegrown in
these places we did not
attend to carefully
and mercifully
and compassionately…

and then…
there, tonight
upon your bed,
in trembling,
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whisper a prayer
and ask that you be
just delivered of a sliver
of that silver privilege,
slippery that squirms away
and wriggles fierce to live like that
insatiable chest burster of Alien…

oh God
PLEASE DELIVER US TO TRUE LIBERTY
and do not rest until
all can breathe until
all can breathe
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Danse Macabre (July 4th, 2016)

We are waltzing in this Danse Macabre,
spinning thru the fogs of night
while day is faltering in light
and our feet cannot stop or halt
but bloodytapping tripping faults
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See the fog dense, packed with fear
the terrifying new terrain is here
and each one drinking bloody cups
raised heedlessly and lifted up
against the screaming skies…
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We are now there.
You must not
look away…
Dixie Land
is our Promised
Land…alas!
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What is happening here at home?
In “America the Great”?  We roam
the “Homeland” in this late
hour dolorous and dangerous
we have been washed away by hate.

What has happened to
“The American Soul”
What the fuck is that, anyway?
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Dancing maniac-ally
at the cliff’s precipitous edge
and the fall is long deadly
but we have no recourse.
We have no recourse

because the only cure
has at long last become a curse
disparaged in our danse macabre
and mocked by all our ringing words
writ long ago as cover for

the drinking cup, the bloody cup
we lifted up in “Freedom”‘s name
and filled with slaveblood’s cursed stain
and now here in this hour dark?

Reason bleeds to death before our eyes.
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midst the fiddling of the powerful
and bodies littering the floors
of offices and restaurants
airports, clubs and nursery schools
and still we dance the Danse of Fools

How many families will be shattered
and offered up unholy terrors
on the altars of our dark god
foolishness?  And how we lecture

constantly wrapped in our privilege
disguised as Amendment Number Two
(it’s number two alright)
and truth dies screaming in the night
morality and reason run
in terrified time and treason comes
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to exterminate the drunken dancers
dead on feet dead to the horror
of the screaming suffering beings
that they dance upon and call it
streets of gold…welcome to hell.

Welcome to Hell.
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That Perfect Nothing

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the mountain
swimming in clouds
wreathing grey sheer granite
face, wedding veil lace
shimmering in the distance

and the river
sinewy twisty arrow
shot from austere heights
cataract-ing down
slim and yet so fierce

so present
yet framing that
place distant
that perfect

nothing

that defines all

Lured By What Shimmers

“Richard Rohr tells us that when we move through life in a driven way we are being propelled by the ego.
When we allow ourselves to be drawn forward, lured ahead by what shimmers, we are moved by the soul’s desires.”

— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD The Self-Study Online Class ~ Earth as Soul Care Matrix: The Wild Heart of Ministrytumblr_o88c2iVRrW1qat5pio1_500