To Dream

399350FA-0A88-4CFC-8FC9-8460EEC58FB9“We don’t learn the word ‘dream’ by being shown a dream, the way we learn the word ‘apple’ by being shown an apple. — Anonymous

I sit up startled, curious,
wondering how I arrived
in that world from this one,
and back into here from there.
The transition was so easy.
like falling asleep, requiring
no secret key or sacred word.
In my dream, the ocean
dreams of being the sky and
I dream I am everything.
In the morning, The ocean awakens

into her dream, and I into mine.

When You Get To The Mountain Top…Jump

399350FA-0A88-4CFC-8FC9-8460EEC58FB9My dreams have been and continue to be a major directive and translator in my life. They guide me into and out of places my imagination can not imagine. Dreams, like the one told here, have shaped my philosophy as much as any book I have read or person I have known.

I saw in a dream…

I am playing soccer on a lush green field with a backdrop of the Santa Monica mountains and the Pacific ocean. During the game large rock formations start jutting from the earth forcing us to run for our lives. So not to be crushed by the rocks, we start climbing.

When I reach the top of the tallest mountain, I look back for my companions but they have all disappeared. The sky is clear and blue above, a blanket of cotton like clouds covers the view to the ground. Everything is perfectly still. There was no wind, no sounds, or movement of any kind. As I make my way to the edge, of the peak, I notice a tall man looking out over the clouds. He is dressed in a monastic robe and holds a tall walking staff. His eyes are the color of the sky and he has a Fu Manchu mustache. He is ancient. Wisdom lights his face.

“What do I do now?” I ask the stranger.

“Jump — some make it, some don’t, “ he says in a quiet, direct voice.

The dream ends with me flying through the clouds. The wind is in my face and my eyes water. I wake up to a cold, wet pillow. As a result of this dream, I no longer have any fear of my journey ending, for there is always another mountain to climb.

🌹Martin L. King (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) In Memoriam🌹

Listen to a segment from MLK’s last speech, “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” the night before his assination here.

Layers Of Memory

399350FA-0A88-4CFC-8FC9-8460EEC58FB9You unfold in layers like the sheet, blanket,
and comforter wrapped around me.
You are a memory, alive from not long ago.
Why now do you rise up from your nothingness
to awaken in my mind. This body asleep?
I would have remembered you in
a time more suited to your grandeur.
You, the pinnacle, the reference point,
the northern most star in a constellation of stars,
now come to me in our bed where touch,
sex and love were so selflessly given and received.
You, are verification of my life…
One now besieged by the familiar, the commonplace.
One now left with extraordinary amounts of time
to contemplate you, still only a memory,
in this dream of what might have been.

Meditation

399350FA-0A88-4CFC-8FC9-8460EEC58FB9I have returned to the practice of meditating each day since my move to Loja. It has been a part of my life for many years but never part of a routine until now. It is the second thing I do in the morning after relieving myself. Before I put the kettle on for tea, before I brush my teeth, I sit to clear my mind of dreams from the night before or lingering thoughts so that I might be more present in the day ahead.

My dear friend Sofia recently shared an experience she had with the chief of the of Sáparas nation from the Pastaza province, in the jungle of Ecuador. His name is Manari Ushinga. He is one of the elder leaders of the community who is trying to keep the oil companies from destroying his land and culture. His community numbers roughly three hundred people. He told the group a story about how his people live each day. Their life and culture is centered around dreams, similar I imagine to the aboriginals of Australia.

In his village, the elders use their minds “think” until about 5pm every day. Around 5pm, they gather together, discuss what they will do the next day, and start to clean their minds from all thoughts. This enables them to relax until night comes, and they can go to sleep and dream. They make decision individually and collectively based on their dreams. How great is that? They tap into their collective unconsciousness to formulate policy for their conscious existence.

As a result of hearing this story, I started to meditate in the evenings to clear my mind of thoughts in order to be more present in my dreamworld. I could see the change immediately. My dreams, the last few nights, have been more vivid and more in tune with my life. For now, I should say my past life for most my dreams have been about events from my past. I plan to continue this practice until my dreams catch up. I am positive they will.

Dreams Of A Kiss

399350FA-0A88-4CFC-8FC9-8460EEC58FB9A Kiss is still…an osculatory apposition of the orbicularis oris and levator labii muscles with posterior involvement of the sternocleidomastoids, commonly in a dexterous orientation.
Onur Gunturkun of Ruhr

I saw in two dreams…

The first kiss, like that of friends,
merely a meeting of lips.
Even an accident, maybe..?
A gentle touching, nothing more.

The second, a dance of tongues,
sucking and thrusting in the bold
undulations of passions only
known in dreams—

Then decelerating into a
slow,
moist
samba.

Each dream, so much more than a kiss.
Each kiss, I pray, more than a dream.

Stand Undiminished—The Essay

399350FA-0A88-4CFC-8FC9-8460EEC58FB9It has been twenty years since I wrote the poem Stand Undiminished. It started out as a dream, was shared with the community where I lived, and is a poem I learn from every day of my life. Its words are powerful and its intention felt. The poem blames no one but some feel blame when I read it. The poem speaks truth yet some deny its words are fact. I merely wrote down what came to me.

I was living at Esalen, a small community and retreat center on the Big Sur coast of California. It was late fall, 1998. A friend, Diana, pulled me aside in the dinning hall and began to tell me a dream she had in which an angel came to her side. Diana was standing upon a bluff overlooking the ocean and the angel told her to “stand undiminished”.

“What do you think that means?” she asked.

“I do not know,” I replied, “but it would be a great title for a poem.”

That night I wrote the words “stand undiminished” on a post-it note and stuck in on my computer. Those words greeted me each morning as I sat at my desk but no words or thoughts for a poem ever came to me. I drew a blank every time I thought about the words “stand undiminished”.

In desperation for some insight I turned to my dictionary and looked up undiminished. The word was not in my dictionary. So I looked up diminished and it read, “to lessen, reduce; to make smaller.”

No wonder I couldn’t write a poem about standing undiminished. I never had. For much of my life I made myself smaller. I reduced my brightness so that others would feel safe or comfortable around me. I played whatever role I was expected to play. I had not allowed me to be me. This insight was a gift from which I set about to learn.

Marianne Williamson said,

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.

I started to be the light I am, without fear. A friend remarked that I looked as if I were walking three inches off the ground. Were the affects of this insight so visible?

A short time latter I sat down at my desk and the poem flowed through me. I didn’t think it. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t make notes. It just came. It is what poets call an ancestral poem because the poem embraces the primal me but the experiences are not directly my own. It is a historical experience of my race but it is not a poem about race. It is a poem about finding wholeness using the example of race.

I looked up at the calendar. It was January 15, 1999. More than three months from the day I placed the post-it note on the computer. It was Martin Luther King’s birthday. Maybe the poem is about him. He certainly did “stand undiminished”. So I typed out a banner that said “Happy Birthday Martin,” attached the poem, and posted it on the bulletin board outside the dining hall before breakfast. At dinner that evening a coworker came by my table.

“Hey, nice poem. I’ve been wondering why everyone’s wishing me ‘Happy Birthday.’ It’s not my birthday for another three months.”

His name was Martin.

Although the poem could have been written for Martin or for Martin Luther King, it was written also for me and for you. It is not about black or white. It is written for everyone. It is one of my best poems but I’m really just its messenger. The poem speaks for itself.

“What do you think “stand undiminished” means?” Diana would ask today.

“It means every element of your being has the power, the permission, the blessings of the blessed, to seek and befriend on every path, road, mountain passage, or astral plane the limitless aspects of you. It means to be and to accept all that you are and are not with grace not shame, with love, and not distain. It means to overcome the power of your own fear, to be the light you are, and to stand in full sail to the wind at every juncture of your life. It means not to be contained by any system, especially your own. It means to live knowing this life is a gift to you, to me, and to all kind.” I would answer.

“How long do you think this will take?” she might also ask.

“How long? Not long.”

🎂 Happy Birthday Martin L King (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

Dream of Dying

399350FA-0A88-4CFC-8FC9-8460EEC58FB9I saw in a dream…

It is difficult to distinguish reality in a dream.
Last night I fell into a sub-zero chemical vat.
I fought my way to the side and pulled myself out
as the freezing death worked its way up my body.
Colleagues froze in fear, as the outcome was certain.
She cried, as I gasped for breath
each one shorter than the one before.

I watched his steadfastness and her tears knowing
they could not touch me or death would take them too.
I tried to tell them to tell someone that I loved her
but no words came as I counted my last moments.
I tried to hold on to my last breath, to this life I love.
I woke up frozen in night, unable to move or call for help,
certain that Death had entered my small room
to take me from this existence, this dream I had lived.