Hello and welcome. And Happy New Year! I'm grateful that you have visited this blog and hope that through this blog… well, that something good happens, that you bring something back or are touched in some way. It seemed to me that starting this blog on New Year's Day was somehow the right thing to do. I guess we'll see.
As with all new adventures, neither of us really know where this blog will go. This brings me both excitement and some anxiety as well, those two common friends that walk so often hand in hand when new horizons appear. I feel both the openness and energy and verve of the excitement and the mental and physical constriction and curiously weighted yet jittery dread of the anxiety. It's like this anxiety, and anxiety in general, is really excitement but with the fear that I'm not somehow up to the task. A funny thing since I'm not even really sure what the task is in this case. But there is only one way to find out, and that is to let the excitement speak, and to put one foot in front of the other, or one word after the other, and see what happens.
I hope to string these words together both now and in the future in ways that spring from a place of heart and meaning. Making sure to be with people and do things that have heart and meaning is a constant guide and mentor for me and one that, though not always easy or always at my fingertips, has always brought a lot joy and fulfillment to my life.
And speaking of guides and mentors, an important component of what has heart and meaning for me, and also a very grateful sense of humility and remembering, is to give voice and word to those who have been important guides and mentors to me. I have been blessed, or fortunate, or had the very good karma to have met many amazingly wise and loving people in my life. It is important to me that I honour them, while at the same time feeling a bit sheepish to do so. I think the sheepishness shares similar origin and ground with that of anxiety, somehow a sense of not being worthy. But we are all worthy, all up to the task. The anxiety and sheepishness just add a little contrast or texture. And an opportunity to smile toward ourselves, toward our humanity. Anyway…
I met both Rina Sircar and Angeles Arrien (a teacher who encourages with her words and her life to follow that which has heart and meaning as discussed just a short sentence or two ago) while beginning my education at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA. Through interesting turns of events I attended coursework with them both the first term I was at school and I followed them both around like a little puppy dog until my graduation, and actually to this day. They transformed my life. Rina is a Buddhist nun from Burma or Myanmar, Angeles is an anthropologist and Elder or shaman, I'm never sure quite how to refer to her role, from the Basque tradition. I feel every decent thing I do in this world has been informed in part by Rina and Angie. I am so grateful to and for them - there really are no words to express what they have given me with such impeccably open hands and hearts.
This same gratitude, respect, and love also goes out to the other guides in my life, all teachers with the power to transform peoples' lives not just through their words and spiritual practices but more so though what they inspire from their hearts to the hearts of those who "have an ear to hear." The names of these people are Father Herrlich, Gurumayi Chidvilasanda, Anandi Ma, Marilyn Youngbird, Vi Hilbert, Ben Lo, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, the Reverend George Grant, and Dora Kunz. Like Rina and Angie, they have and continue to touch and inform my life. Some I studied with for extended periods of time, some only briefly, but time is not really a factor when discussing what they offer. It is the quality of their presence and the way something profound and penetrating is expressed simply in the way they walk or smile. They are of light. As such, pretty much everything I write in this blog will in some way or another carry their fingerprint. I really have nothing to offer on my own, only that which has been so generously, wisely, and lovingly offered through them.
I think this is all for now. I just wanted to start! And to start with a warm welcome and some brief introductions. In the future there will be more, hopefully something new every week or two (hey, that rhymes!) By the way, it could be a poem, a story, a video, or… who knows. For now, thank you for reading it, thank you for being here (both here, and HERE). I hope you find the time and inclination to return to this blog again and again. And again, Happy New Year!