“I’m the King of Salem,” the old man had said.
“Why would a king be talking with a shepherd?” the boy asked, awed and embarrassed.
“ For several reasons. But let’s say that the most important is that you have succeeded in discovering your Personal Legend.”
The boy didn’t know what a person’s “Personal Legend” was.
“It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is.
At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible.
They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend.”
None of what the old man was saying made much sense to the boy.
But he wanted to know what the “mysterious force” was; the merchant’s daughter would be impressed when he told her about that!
“It’s a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your Personal Legend. It prepares your spirit and your will, because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.”
“Even when all you want to do is travel?
Or marry the daughter of a textile merchant?”
“Yes, or even search for treasure. The Soul of the World is nourished by people’s happiness. And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy.
To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation. All things are one.
And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Against such cold and mercurial mornings,
watch the wind whirl one leaf
across the landscape,
then, in a breath, let it go.
The color in the opaque sky
seems almost not to exist.
Put on a wool sweater.
Wander in the leaves,
underneath healthy elms.
Hold your child in your arms. After the dishes are washed,
a kiss still warm at your neck,
put down your pen. Turn out the light. I know how difficult it is,
always balancing and weighing,
It takes years and many transformations;
And always another loss to stop for,to send you backwards.
Why do you worry so,
When none of us is spared?
On the day when
The weight deadens on your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance to balance you.
And when your eyes freeze
Behind the grey window
And the ghost of loss gets into you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green and azure blue,
Come to awaken in you a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays in the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean blackens beneath you,
May there come across the wathers
A path of yellow moonlight to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow wind work these words
Of love around you, And invisible cloak
To mind your life.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
And remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak you truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labours and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, 1952
The snow began here this morning
and all day continued, its white rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how, whence such beauty and what the meaning;
such an oracular fever!
Flowing past windows, an energy it seemed would never ebb,
less than lovely!
And only now, deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence is immense,
and the heavens still hold a million candles; nowhere the familiar things:
Stars, the moon, the darkness we expect and nightly turn from.
Trees glitter like castles of ribbons, the broad fields smolder with
light, a passing creekbed lies heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions that have assailed us all day remain – –
not a single answer has been found – –
walking out now into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.
Let your beauty mainfest itself
without talking and calculation.
You are silent. It says for you: I am.
And comes in meaning thousandfold,
comes at long last over everyone.
Not so long ago, in our human history, we were listeners.
We listened to the wind to help us find our direction,
to the water currents to see where we would flow and to the Earth herself, to know when to plant, when to move and how to be. We were in tune. Now, many of us are not. We tune in to our televisions, computers, ipods and iphones ….
And we have become dependent upon hearing our directions come from foreign sources.
Our internal knowing has been diminished by electronic sensory devises that we use and even wear on us at all times. We have forgotten how to really listen. One day long ago, when my son was only five, we went for a walk in the woods. As we walked I started talking to him about the magic of the forest ….
And that if you really listened, She would talk to you.
It had been quite still but then the wind picked up.
All the trees that were around us started to shake, quiver and moan, each delivering a unique and beautiful message.
We both responded with wide eyes and amazement at this encounter.
We simply stood together listening to the forest speak to us.
We still talk about this day,
remembering the sacredness of the moment that we shared.
It takes being present to experience a moment like that.
If you take yourself to nature,
She will always respond.
My mother was a tree hugger.
Nearly every walk that we went on she would stop and throw her arms about some beautiful trunk and press her face lovingly against the rough bark.
My mother, who I thought was a Goddess anyway, made space to listen.
She knew there were many lessons to be had if you did and in return
she was very, very wise.
I have had many of my own listening events in nature but one stands out in my memory. I was having a particularly difficult time in my life, having recently been divorced and raising my three young sons on a very limited income,
the days were just too tough.
One day in total exasperation, I took myself for a run into the woods.
I ran and ran and ran until I was completely exhausted and threw myself in a heap in a stand of pines. I sat for a long time fingering the pine spills and in them I found a very simple root form. I marveled at the simplicity of it, thinking this could be like the very first plant which life was modeled from, wondering of its purposed and what it would become. From the tree that I was leaning against, I felt a charge of energy and these words come ….
“This is you.”
Well, I had never actually heard a tree speak words before …
and was kind of scared at first by the whole experience (and wondering if it was just because I was a bit stressed). But hearing that really crushed my ego: me, a little root. Simple, unadorned, uncomplicated?
I sat and pondered that for a while, working to accept my place. Then the tree spoke again ….
“Look up!” In my frantic state of arriving at the tree I had not noticed that I was sitting under the largest, most magnificent grandmother pine tree that I had ever seen. Branches upon branches were spreading over me, the tree herself towering above all of the other neighboring pines.
The tree spoke again: “And this is your potential.” What a humbling message I received that day. It stayed with me all of my life.
The message from my great friend, was this ….
If I could remember to humble myself to see that I was the little root, whatever situation that I was in, I would put myself in a place of listening, appreciating the wisdom of the moment and emptying myself of ego, I would have the potential of learning, real learning ….
And eventually, someday, could be like the grandmother pine.
I still am working on it. I always will be. I actually love being the little root.
I am so very grateful for that message and the many others that I have had with nature.
I hope that you also can take some time to be with Her and listen to the wonderful things that She has to say. It just takes making the time, opening your heart and learning to listen …
and you will be amazed at what you will learn.
‘This moment humanity is going through can now be seen as a portal and as a hole. The decision to fall into the hole or go through the portal is up to you. If you repent of the problem and consume the news 24 hours a day, with little energy, nervous all the time, with pessimism, you will fall into the hole. But if you take this opportunity to look at yourself, rethink life and death, take care of yourself and others, you will cross the portal. Take care of your homes, take care of your body. Connect with your spiritual House. When you are taking care of yourselves, you are taking care of everything else. Do not lose the spiritual dimension of this crisis; have the eagle aspect from above and see the whole; see more broadly. There is a social demand in this crisis, but there is also a spiritual demand — the two go hand in hand. Without the social dimension, we fall into fanaticism. But without the spiritual dimension, we fall into pessimism and lack of meaning. You were prepared to go through this crisis. Take your toolbox and use all the tools available to you. Learn about resistance of the indigenous and African peoples; we have always been, and continue to be, exterminated. But we still haven’t stopped singing, dancing, lighting a fire, and having fun. Don’t feel guilty about being happy during this difficult time. You do not help at all being sad and without energy. You help if good things emanate from the Universe now. It is through joy that one resists. Also, when the storm passes, each of you will be very important in the reconstruction of this new world. You need to be well and strong. And for that, there is not other way than to maintain a beautiful, happy, and bright vibration. This has nothing to do with alienation. This is a resistance strategy. In shamanism and tribal life, there is a rite of passage called the Quest For Vision. You spend a few days alone in the forest, without water, without food, without protection. When you cross this portal, you get a new vision of the world, because you have faced your fears, your difficulties. This is what is asked of you: Allow yourself to take advantage of this time to perform your visionseeking rituals. What world do you want to build for you? For now, this is what you can do – – serenity in the storm. Calm down, pray every day. Establish a routine to meet the sacred every day. Sing, dance, live, love.
so Mom and I can hug again.Let there be a time
when we look at each other and smile.
Let me fear none of death,
because what lies beyond
Is a gift to be unwrapped.
Let me throw my hands up high in the air
at the sight of Mom coming towards me.
“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.
If you will love what seems to be insignificant and will in an unassuming manner, as a servant, seek to win the confidence of what seems poor, then everything will become easier, more harmonious, and somehow more conciliatory – for your innermost consciousness, your awakeness, and your inner knowing.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
Drove over to Pawlet, Vermont this morning, a tiny little town
southwest of Rutland.
It rained last night and the hills and pastures
are bursting with moist green grass
and leaf-heavy trees.
As I drive the sun breaks through the roiling clouds
for a few seconds and then rain pelts my windshield.
Then briefly the sun breaks through again.
Everything is washed clean:
the road, the houses, the barns,
the damp horses and cows.
Lilacs are three days past their peak
but their faint perfume hangs in the air around every curve.
Perhaps an illusion,
but humans and nature seem to have arrived at a happy truce herewith
nature spilling down from the hills, lapping at the edge of pastures,
pushing up close to houses and little white villages,
threading its clear streams along and under roads.
Europe is ordered and civilized,
Puerto Rico is an Eden,
But Vermont, ah, Vermont in the late spring
is a soft green cradle that pillows your heart.
My father, Denis Bassett