Warriors for Peace

It may seem odd to some to consider the Warrior archetype in conjunction with an orientation towards peace, however, I see the 2 things as not only linked but necessary to each other.  One symbolic way of looking at the connection would be through the lens of Taoist beliefs that opposites create each other, as shown visually in the Yin Yang symbol – the black half contains the seed of the white half, and the white the seed of the black.  In a slightly more concrete illustration, when I say yes to one thing I am simultaneously saying no to many other potential options.  Yes and No are opposites but are interdependent upon one another.

To deal more specifically with the matter of the Warrior and Peace, a perfect example can be seen in The Samurai Game®.  George Leonard who created The Samurai Game® was a senior grade Aikido practitioner and former World War II fighter pilot.  This was a man who had seen war and had deep experience of martial arts.  He originally created the Game after he had met with a bunch of his old war buddies.  They had all been reminiscing about their time together during the War and most of them had been saying that life had seemed dull by comparison since.  This was not George's experience but it did set him to thinking about a question he had pondered often before:  Why, when we know the consequences, do we continue to make war?  There are many possible answers to this question ranging from the surface of any political considerations which are specific to each conflict but can be categorised as essentially being questions of power and control; right through to much deeper considerations of fundamental aspects of human nature.  After many years of sitting with and experimenting with this question, one of the possible answers George came up with was:

Maybe it's just the Juiciest game in town!

This could seem light or even crass, but pause for a minute.  There is a part of the human psyche which craves vivid experience and as we have become increasingly 'developed' and 'civilised' this has become less and less nourished as time has gone on.  When aspects of us which need expression are suppressed or ignored they will find ways to leak and burst out on their own.  This is the nature of the human shadow.  Maybe part of what keeps human beings making war is a basic craving for vivid experience.  I think this is part of what George Leonard learned from running The Samurai Game® for many years, with all different kinds of groups.  Certainly, part of what I see people coming into contact with through the Game is not only a deep connection with their own Warrior selves, but an experiential understanding of the consequences of war.  This runs the range of very positive in that they have lived brightly, vividly, profoundly and completely connected to a higher purpose; right through to the truly terrible consequences of massive loss of life and ultimate futility.  Here we have a fascinating dichotomy: a game about War where we learn profound and lasting lessons about Peace.  In the modern world this is a rare, example of the beautiful balance of being a Warrior for Peace.  Some martial arts dojo’s manage to embrace and explore this but even there it is not as common as you might think.

In ancient times and indigenous cultures I think this marriage of Warriors working for Peace was more common. In many indigenous, tribal societies in recent history there were ritual ways of doing combat that limited the danger of loss of life.  These were used to settle inter-tribal disputes but were often invoked and enacted at certain times of the year whether there was a conflict to settle or not.  I see The Samurai Game® as being similar to this, and part of George Leonard's work to create a more vivid peace in the hope that we can one day relinquish war-making.  When your community is smaller you notice the loss of one of you much more keenly – this is clear in The Samurai Game®, as I think it would be in smaller tribal village communities.  I suspect death was in some ways a weightier matter in these communities than it is today in a world where we have such phrases as ‘collateral damage’ and ‘acceptable losses.’  In the arena of mass war, leaders have to numb themselves to the casualties or they will be overwhelmed. 

Examples of the old ritualised combat forms are still visible today whether we draw a parallel between the mass bonding and vivid experience of war-time and sports events like football games, or we look to extant tribal communities and practices closely derived from them.  Lacrosse began as a warrior game amongst first nation American’s and was very much an arena for the young bucks of the tribe to let off steam and work out their aggressive urges in a contained environment.  Many rites of passage and initiatory experiences were designed with a similar intention.  As the saying goes “If the young men are not initiated they will burn down the village for warmth.”  I think this can be particularly true of young men but I think it is true for all of us that we need places where we can let our wild sides out of the box for a while.  If we can find safe, contained ways of exercising our wilder nature, and aggressive tendencies then that is far preferable than risking hurting ourselves and others on a regular basis.  This then becomes a conversation not just addressing external peace-making, but being at peace in ourselves – an issue which to look at the statistics about drug abuse, alcohol abuse, overeating, compulsive shopping and street violence is clearly a pressing issue for us to address both individually and culturally if we are to create a genuinely healthy society.  To see some other examples of ritualised combat we can look at the Dundunbar rituals of West Africa (please forgive me if I have spelled this incorrectly, I have only heard it verbally described).  Young men come together to do ritual combat with sticks.  A great deal of pride and social recognition is at stake and while injury’s can be serious it is nothing like the damage they would do if they were left to create real combat with heavier weapons.  Capoeira is a martial art from Brazil that may have it’s roots at least partially in the ‘Zebra Dance’ of Africa and is generally practised to avoid physical contact with a strong emphasis on ritual and an exercising of aggressive and competitive tendencies without doing harm.  Part of the tradition of Capoeira is a dance called the ‘Maculele’ which is a ritualised dance-combat with sticks.  One story I have heard about it is that originally it was a ritual created by 2 tribes who lived on either side of a valley.  Once a year the 2 tribes would meet at the bottom of the valley and ‘do battle’ through the Maculele.  Whether this story is historically correct or not, it is another example of ritual combat being used to alleviate the Warrior’s call for real combat.  

Whether we are looking at promoting inner peace or creating outer peace, it is clear to me that a healthy embrace and inclusion of the Warrior archetype in all of us is not only preferable but necessary.

For people who are seeking to be peace-workers themselves, I would see it as particularly important that they have not only studied peace but have learnt about and embraced their warrior selves.  Otherwise, the potential that they will repress their aggressive tendencies is much greater.  Aspects of ourselves which are repressed or ‘left in shadow’ in my experience not only leak out unconsciously in many small ways but also have a tendency to explode out at the most unfortunate moments.  Imagine if you are working on a mediation case and one of the emotional dynamics pushes your buttons… It would be the worst possible moment for you as mediator to have an emotional explosion yourself!  However, when our warrior tendencies, our need for healthy expression of anger, our need for vivid experience, and our need to be able to say “No” and draw hard boundaries when necessary have not been listened to, exercised and understood for long periods of time an emotional explosion is exactly what we are likely to get.

Even without the potential for unfortunate emotional outbursts or subtle emotional leakage, I think the Warrior has a fundamental role to play in creating Peace.  To truly choose Peace we must be coming from a position of strength, other wise it is not something we are choosing, it is our last remaining option for survival.  This idea is beautifully articulated by Paul Linden in his book 'Embodied Peacemaking' and by Daniele Bolelli in his book 'On the Warrior's Path.'

 

“If Attila the Hun comes riding over the hill all set to pillage your village, the first, civilized step is to say, “Excuse me, Mr. Hun, but I’d really rather you not pillage my village.” Of course, we know what he’d likely say. So the next step would be to make a clear statement of the negative consequences for him of his trying. And of course, we know what he would be likely to do. So the necessary last step would be physical self-defense. Without the capability of bottom-line, practical self-protection skills, other conflict resolution skills rest on a foundation of sand.”

                                                -Paul Linden

 

“You can only renounce what you are able to do. Peace is a choice only for those who are able to do battle. Otherwise, it’s the desperate pleading of someone who has no alternatives. Unless you are a mean, violent bastard with murderous tendencies to begin with, renouncing violence probably is not to the main thing on your mind when you pick up martial arts. Renouncing violence, anger, and aggression is a by-product of growing as a human being, of becoming more confident and secure in yourself. Once you are confident enough, you can afford to be sweet and open up emotionally to others because you are no longer afraid. Ultimately, mastering combat is a path to face one’s fears and, at least partially, overcome them. Abandoning violent tendencies is only one of many transformations that take place when fear lessens its hold on us.”               

                                                                                    -Daniele Bolelli

 

The Warrior and the Peacemaker may be apparent opposites, but like the Yin Yang symbol they are completely necessary to each other if we are to be whole people and if we are to create a more peaceful and loving world.  They are not enemies, they are brothers.  I think this is why so many great teachers through the ages have embraced the Warrior archetype while essentially teaching us to be more peaceful and loving: Chogyam Trungpa, Gichin Funakoshi, Morihei Ueshiba, George Leonard, Paul Linden, Richard Strozzi-Heckler, Paulo Coelho and many others.  This too is why I do the work that I do.

 

If you’d like to know more about The Samurai Game® and Warriors of the Heart workshops, or would like to work with Warrior Leadership in your organisation, please do check our calendar for upcoming events, or get in touch.  Thanks for reading.



The Right Costume

"It is good to carry some powdered rouge in one's sleeve.  It may happen that when one is sobering up or waking from sleep, his complexion may be poor.  At such a time it is good to take out and apply some powdered rouge."  -  Hagakure, 2nd Chapter.  (Translation by William Scott Wilson)

                         There are many ways this passage could be interpreted.  It could be seen as an admonition not to let your enemies see you looking anything other than entirely healthy - even if that means a little artifice - although that strikes me as rather a paranoid and fearful stance to take. 

In the film "Ghost Dog," by Jim Jarmusch the lead character has to go and tackle his enemies and in order to fake his way in, he steals a posh car and a rich mans suit.  In this way he finds the appearance that best suits his purposes so that he can achieve his ends.  This is perhaps a little closer to what I see in this teaching. 

A very dear friend of mine was with me once when I was giving myself a particularly hard time about wanting to have more money.  At the time (young fool I was) I saw this as a deeply un-spiritual desire!  In this particular instance I had been pretty broke for a while and wanted to have some spare cash to buy a new pair of jeans - something "superficial" and therefore even less spiritually necessary.  My friend listened while I tied myself in knots simultaneously wanting and not wanting more money and then simply said:  "You know, sometimes when you're trying to be the person you dream of being, it just helps to have the right costume."  I think she's right. 

It is not uncommon in spiritual development to forget that while the body may not be the entirety of our being it is a part of it.  Even for those of us who incorporate the body in our practice and care for it as a part of caring for ourselves, how many of us take as much care over our clothes?  I am not just talking about being "smart" here, or wearing nice things - although both of these things are totally valid - I am talking about the essential way we express ourselves in the world.  Our clothes are a fundamental part of that.  What divine expression of being do you wish to offer up when God looks your way?  I like to take it a step further. 

It is common knowledge in the theatre that costume can sometimes be an excellent method to help you getting into character.  When you are working on period pieces (set in a particular era), wearing the right shoes makes a huge difference to how you create the world of the play.  It substantially changes the way you move and therefore, the physical expression of the character.  Other items of clothing can prove vital in forming and understanding the character and not just because of the way they may affect your posture.  When you see yourself in the mirror wearing the right hat or wig or jacket it can go a really long way to helping realise the existence of the character in you.  So who or what in life do you want to be?  I'm not suggesting you pretend to be something you're not, but then it is a common misunderstanding that actors 'become someone else.'  One of my teachers at drama school used to like to remind us "You've got nothing but yourself" and as a film director (who's identity I'm afraid I do not know) once said:  "Acting is not about being someone else, it is about being yourself under imaginary circumstances."  So I ask you again, who or what in life do you want to be?  We are always wearing some kind of mask so we may as well choose which one we want to wear.  What do you aspire to? 

I like to dance 5 Rhythms (which is personal development movement practice).  For a while a few years back I decided that I wanted to wear clothes with words or images that I wished to invoke in me instead of just my baggy sweaty clothes.  I had a t-shirt with the horned God on, and made t-shirts with hearts on and phrases like "Passionate Creature," and "Radiant, but easy on the eyes."  What is the costume of the character you wish to embody?  Maybe start by looking at the costumes of people you admire in films - not the ones you identify with, the ones you admire and aspire to be like.  This all becomes particularly relevant when we are not feeling at our best.  When we are low we tend to collapse and sag physically. If you adjust your posture to a more positive, aligned and self supportive shape this can have a knock-on effect on your emotional state.  It works the same way with clothes.  It can be great to snuggle up in a comfy jumper when I am low and this kind of comfort is really necessary sometimes.  However, when I need to get out there and face the world -  even though I might not feel at my best - sometimes the right costume can really help me shift my consciousness and state of being. 

One native American tribe used to wear their special ceremonial clothes every day, helping them to bring a heightened, ritual awareness to every moment of their lives.  In many cultures a warrior would traditionally always carry his sword even in times of peace.  I think this is a ritual reminder to keep ones senses sharp and maintain a constant state of readiness.  I have found certain clothes and items which, when I have them, help me to feel ready to face the world.  I am not dependant on them, but they are useful tools and wonderful allies.  In this way I can "apply some powdered rouge" when I need to, supporting myself in growing into the person I dream of being.  On good days, rouge or no rouge, I look in the mirror and he's already there looking back at me.  I hope that’s true for all of you too.

First Chapter: Finding your Way

I wanted to share with you all the intro and the first chapter of my forthcoming book "A little book on finding your Way: Zen and the Art of Doing stuff."  I've been really enjoying writing it for the last 6 months or so.  It is going to be a short book (hence the title) but I think it 'has legs'.  So short book, but a long journey ahead of it!  I hope you enjoy this except and perhaps it will whet your appetite for the whole thing when it's ready (should be in print by December this year).  Thanks for reading this and joining me on the journey...

 

Introduction: The Way

 

          We all want to be good at something.  Let's face it, most of us who haven't had all the passion squeezed out of us want to be really good at something. It almost doesn't matter what the thing is – just to be that good, to be able to say “I'm World-class.”  But how do we envision this goal?  I'd say that in the western world we have a pretty limited idea of what achievement really means.  It mostly seems to mean Bigger, Faster, Stronger, Taller, just plain MORE!  I think there's another way...

          It's a way that has been around in the West forever but has only been applied to certain disciplines (primarily the arts).  It has been suggested by certain modern and progressive psychologies.  But I think it has been best explored and expressed in the Far East where it has been inherent in some of their oldest philosophical approaches.  What is that way?  Good question.

          It is The Way.  It has it's roots in Taoism (an ancient Chinese religion and spiritual path) and found further expression in Japanese Zen Buddhism.  'Tao' (sometimes Dao) in Chinese or 'Do' in Japanese translates as 'Way.'  So when I say it's The Way, that's what I mean.  And this book is not just about doing stuff it's about Do-ing stuff: taking something you do and making it a Do (see how beautifully I've set up that pun?  That's part of my Way, I learnt it from my Dad).

          The Way is not about Bigger, Faster, Stronger, Taller or More.  It is about someone expressing their essential nature.  It is about blossoming into the fullness of your being – and not in an 'I'm the most beautiful blossom ever' kinda way – in a finding out who you are and living that kinda way.  When you really do that, as the song says, nobody does it better.

          This is not about converting you to some religion, making you shave your head, selling you a line of 'The Way'TM T-shirts, or selling your Soul to Santa.  It could be described as a spiritual path but only in so much as it is a path and if you want to you can involve your spiritual self in the journey.  That's all up to you.  My personal experience is that by taking certain activities and bringing a special mindset to them I have learned about myself and found a deeper sense of who I really am.  It's not any kind of objective truth (if such a thing exists) but it has brought me joy in the good times and peace in the tough times and that's good enough for me.

          The Way is not really about the activities that help to cultivate it. The Way is your unique path in the world.  When that's really written in your heart then you can experience all kinds of Ways and all kinds of people and they all help to feed you in your own Way.  In the words of the Hagakure[1]:

 

 “It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything else in the Way of the Samurai. It is the same for anything that is called a Way. Therefore it is inconsistent to hear something of the Way of Confucius or the Way of the Buddha, and say that this is the Way of the Samurai. If one understands things in this manner, he should be able to hear about all Ways and be more and more in accord with his own.”

  


Chapter 1: All Zen Masters are Geeks and Anoraks!

 

          I think one of the reasons why we view mastery as we do in the West is because of school.  In school it's not cool to be good at stuff unless it's mainstream.  This will probably depend on the school but at my school, being good at football was cool.  Sports were generally a cool thing to be good at but Football was top of the pile.  Music could be cool to be good at... guitar was cool, oboe was not.  As we got towards driving age, knowing a lot about cars was cool.  Being academically strong was not cool, but particularly maths, the sciences and history were not cool.  Religious Studies didn't even get on the radar.  These are mostly examples from the boys side of the fence and from my school in particular but most of us develop a sixth sense about what's cool and what's not when we are at school and I'm sure you can fill in your own examples. 

          In this environment where only certain activities are safe to be enthusiastic about, is it any wonder that many of us loose our way?  In the rarefied social environment of the playground or the sports field or the canteen you just didn't say “You know what?  I love renaissance poetry!”  If you did you were a geek.  Likewise, it would have been a special kind of social suicide to say “This algebra stuff is brilliant, I could just play with numbers and letters like this all day!”  If you did you were an anorak.

          Most of us will have had relatively little safe space growing up to explore what really excited us.  We have been socially educated to hide away any passions which don't fit the mould.

          I think that to find our Way we have to love something.  It's not always the case but I've often found that the things I fall in love with are things I have some natural talent for.  That doesn't mean I find them easy – the challenge is part of what gets me really hooked long term – but when I first try it there's a zing of recognition like I've done it before and the process of learning is more like a remembering.

          I never really learnt to love football, but it wouldn't surprise me if many of my school friends did.  They learnt to love it but I suspect only a handful loved it straight off.  In my heart there were other things I loved straight away, and some of them have taken years to discover.  Most of the things I love would have definitely placed me in the Geek camp at school.  Karate for instance, but not the high kicking kind of cool 'Karate Kid' Karate, no.... A rare form of old Okinawan Karate that is compact and probably not that impressive to watch.  Another example would be a love of world religions and philosophies.  Definitely not cool.  My most recent discovery is 'Card Scaling'.  “What?!” I hear you cry.  It is the skill of throwing playing cards with enough power to stick in a water-melon or fly for hundreds of feet.  Throwing playing cards like a ninja!  Sound kinda geeky?  Fair enough, but I love it.

          Where in the East people who obsessively train in obscure disciplines are given titles of respect, in the West they are called Geeks and Anoraks.  Take a Zen master as an example.  He (or she) spends years sitting still.  Their other key activity is contemplating ancient pieces of short and confusing poetry.  It sounds like a geek and smells like a geek, it's a geek!  Ancient poetry that doesn't have any immediate or obvious meaning?!  What an anorak!

          If you want to master something, if you want to find a Way that will nourish you and help you grow it's got to be something that lives in your heart; and that means that by the world's standards it might not be cool. 

          There are Ways already defined and laid out for you to pick up: the martial arts; zen flower arranging; calligraphy; brush painting; pottery; carving; the Japanese tea ceremony.  That's not what this book is about.  What I'm looking to do here is set out some principles so that you can take any activity and turn it into a Way.  Hell, if the Samurai and monks of ancient Japan could turn making the tea into a Zen art then why shouldn't we do the same with anything?  Cake baking, accountancy, wine tasting is virtually there already, the application of make-up, dog walking, throwing stones into the sea – anything!

          If you're going to undertake this task and find a Way for yourself you'd better get in touch with your inner geek.  Revere the anorak in your heart.  These are the parts of you that are capable of completely investing themselves in the deep deep detail of their activities no matter what anyone else thinks.  And remember that all Zen masters are Geeks and Anoraks.

 

          Some of you who have an altruistic outlook and want to take care of others or even change the world may be wondering if this isn't all a bit self serving.  Isn't it a bit selfish to dig deep into myself and find what I like to do and really invest time in it regardless of whether it is an activity which serves others?  I would say no.  If you don't take care of the vessel doing the work (that's you) then the work won't get done.  One of my favourite quotes at the moment is this one from Howard Thurman:

 

“Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

 


[1]     Hagakure, The Book of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Translated by William Scott Wilson



The Nature of Justice

Karate stands on the side of Justice

 

This is the third principle of Gichin Funakoshi's 20 principles of Karate.  I'm going to continue to unfold my reading of these principles for martial artists and hopefully anyone with an interest too.  If you'd like to read the first two then click on '20 Principles' in the tag cloud on the right.  So, Justice:

If you look up the word justice in the dictionary much of what is talked about is 'being fair,' and also 'doing yourself justice' as in giving a good account of yourself.  How I choose to interpret this principle is about taking a balanced view.  Let's first look at this idea of fairness.  A child's idea of fairness will usually be different to that of the parent.  This is because they have different perspectives.  How much chocolate a child is allowed to eat is determined in the child's head mostly by a measure of enjoyment:  more chocolate = more enjoyment.  The same scenario will involve many other factors for the parent: health; behaviour – both now and when bed-time comes; having some left as a treat for tomorrow; teaching the child to have self-control etc.  Generally speaking it is my experience that most people choose to do what they think is the best thing in the moment.  What counts as the 'best thing' for that person may be governed by a different set of rules to you or I, it may, like a child be governed more by pleasure than any sense of 'the greater good,' or more by taking care of themselves than taking care of others.  None of these perspectives are inherently 'good' or 'bad,' they are just different.  I know what choices I want to make, and even with the best intentions I will sometimes be more governed by my patterns, habits, or neediness than by my conscious judgement.  That's life, that's what it is to be a human being!  I do my best to do what I think is 'right' but that is just a choice, one of many.  With this in mind I try always to look at someone's behaviour and not judge them for it but look at what has motivated that behaviour.  I may make judgements about the behaviour – on the basis that from my perspective it was not the choice I think would have been best in those circumstances – but where I can I try and balance my sense and experience of the behaviour the person exhibits, with a desire to understand why they have done what they have done.  This is how I see justice:  the balancing of what people do with why they have done it.  If the behaviour is essentially destructive then through understanding what has motivated the behaviour we may be able to introduce them to a different perspective.  It is generally my experience that if people understand why something works better, that they will feel happy to do it that way even if it takes a bit of practice.  In relationship, if my partner understands why something doesn't work for me, and I can understand why it does work for her, then we can usually find  a way of being with each other that truly works for both of us.  This is not a compromise of 2 choices, it is a genuine 'third' choice that will be better for both of us.  This is justice.

          Now to mention the other version of justice: doing yourself justice.  Previously to this I have mentioned humility as something to be cultivated, and I think particularly in English society, it is a quality that many will have been brought up to have.  However, if we are truly to embody humility we must also always give a good account of ourselves.  False humility is when we have arrogance about something we can do but we pretend that it's nothing special.  Just thinking that everything we do is worthless is not humility, it's low self-worth.  So true humility is actually when we acknowledge our abilities and talents, but don't show off about them.  It means putting our skills on the line when it is appropriate and saying “Yes, I can do that, I have something to contribute,” without making a grand show of what we are offering or demanding huge recognition for our contribution.  In this way it is similar to meekness.  The original meaning of being 'meek' was to be like a powerful horse that is under control.  It is this kind of wise power that I think justice, and specifically doing ourselves justice, is all about.

          If we don't find this quality, this humility in ourselves we can end up convincing ourselves we are much less talented or valuable than we really are and thereby not only generate a lack of self-worth which is very destructive, but also deny the world of our talents.  If you are the best in the world at something there is nothing wrong with saying that you are!  It is not then arrogance, it is just a fact.  If you are good at something, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging it.  When we play small we only encourage others to do the same or to dominate us; when we acknowledge our strengths we encourage others to share theirs too; when we act arrogantly we only encourage others to compete negatively with us, or to play small around us.  Both self aggrandizement and self denial are lose-lose behaviours.  

          “Karate stands on the side of justice” to me means that as Karate practitioners we must always seek to take a truly balanced view of life, other people, and also ourselves.



The Incomparable Jim Dodge

I have long been a fan of Jim Dodge.  He is a simply wonderful writer if not the most prolific.  I first came across his writing when I picked up his book 'Stone Junction' in a 2nd hand bookshop.  I loved it - it is an awesome tale of one young man's existence and the existence of the universe at the same time.  It includes some wonderful characters and is one long, very grand adventure.

The next step in my love affair with his writing came when I found his little book FUP.  It's about a duck, a man and his grandaddyy.  It is the most perfect book I have ever read (and I've read a lot!).  I get the sense that it is short because Jim Dodge knew exactly when to stop writing.

I read an interview with Jim Dodge and he called himself a Taoist-Dirt-Pagan.  I like that.

I have now just acquired his book of poetry 'Rain on the River.'  It is, once again, beautiful.  Mr. Dodge has not previously published his poems in a full book, having kept to the old format of publishing shorter 'chap-books' and releasing them locally as part of his modest goal to become "famous for a hundred miles."  In this age of global media coverage it strikes me that it might even be harder to be famous only for that hundred miles!  I guess I'm not doing him any favours spreading word of him in the UK!

Anyway, I thought I'd share with you my favourite poem so far, in the hopes you will feel inspired to investigate this man's gorgeous writing.  Fup is probably the best place to start, but you can't go far wrong.

Love Find - By Jim Dodge

 

After the Oklahoma City bombing

search-and-rescue dogs

were flown in with their handlers

from all over the U.S.

 

But when the dogs couldn't find

any survivors

they became disconsolate,

 

and after another day of nothing

but dead bodies,

if they'd even search

it was desultory at best.

 

So the handlers began taking turns

hiding in the rubble,

letting the dogs find them alive.

First post: What does this Soul long for?

I have prevarricated.  Some of you may know what that is like.  I have been busy - that's true, but more than anything I have been wrestling with what my first post should be on this blog of mine, this new venture in internet communication: What is sufficiently substantial and representative of my intended writing to come to take this pride of place as the first thing I write here?

I don't have an answer to that.  While soul and spirit and heart-focused living are all definitely part of it; and 'human business' as my friend Mark Walsh describes it is also connected to what I want to write here; and Warrior living is at the heart of what I am offering in many of my workshops; it is all of these things and none of these things and something else as well.

So, it will be what it is and perhaps others will define it for me as it forms.

For now, instead of only offering you my prevarrication, I offer you a poem.  It is a wish, for my own soul and perhaps it will resonate with yours as well. 

 

 

What does this soul long for?

 

Love

Love

Love, Love, Love

And Loving

And Loving

And Loving

And longing's end

With space to grow,

And flow

And support

And manifest safe reality

Held

In the hands of Mother Earth

And in the hearth of my own home

And own work

And knowledge of integrated expansion

And magic

And continued learning

In enjoyment and immersion and pleasure and recognition

And tactile, rolling, tumbling fun

And walk, walk, walk

The sea

Hills

Shore

Rising

Woodland waves

Hand-in-hand

Heart-in-heart

Sharing

Wonder-eye-sparkle connection

Without and within

And everything done

And everything yet to do

And

Adventure, adventure, adventure!