Zen and the Art of Web Spinning

These last few months I have receded from the world to my backyard deck spending hours each day meditating, journaling and then working the outline of my memoir. I have been here so much, I am now embedded and a part of my garden's ecosystem. My niche in this system is to be the amazed witness to the buzz and hubbub of it all - a young pair of Phoebes nesting and raising their fledglings, the daily feedings of hummingbirds, bumble bees and various shaped and colored butterflies, and the juvenile crows hanging out on my trees like bored teenagers at the mall.

And then this week I noticed, with excitement, the garden spiders are back - the spinners of the most magnificent webs.

Every day I watch as her (her because of Charlotte, because she is me? I do not know) perfect web gets battered by the wind and destroyed by insects too strong to be held by its delicate threads. And every evening I watch as she begins her delicate and beautiful spinning again, as if she did not face this herculean task only 24 hours before. She does not mourn. She only knows that she must spin if she is to hope of catching a meal to sustain her. But sustain her for what, a perfection, or stasis? No, there is none of that here or anywhere. There is only spinning so that she may spin again and again until all her days of spinning are gone.

Every day I too face the ways life breaks down my body, my mind, my carefully crafted stasis. But unlike her, I pout, whine (really, I have to wash my hair again?) and often mourn how life does this endless dance of creation and destruction. And at times I feel it dismantle my own resolve to push forward. I ask, "what is the point?", and ponder what could be so wrong with just lying on my bed watching reruns of Law and Order until my death.

And yet, like it or not, every day, like the spider, I am also caught up in an urge to move forward, make order and fix what has been undone by time. I am inexplicably given invisible marching orders to spin more tales and unfold more of my delicate webbing into the world, so that I may catch a morsel of something that will sustain me for another interval, another turning of the earth across the day and into the night.

There is no preserving this web of hers. There is no way to create it to withstand the ravages of time and preserve the precious and precarious nature that brings us its beauty. I, with my conscious mind, fight with myself daily over the need to have things last forever, and the need to face the reality that it all passes away, some slowly, some in the blink of an eye, but in the end it all goes.

I suppose that is how the beauty of life emerges - in the chambers of my melancholy heart where a constant sadness for what was is felt, and in the unknown territories of my hopeful soul where a constant joy of what might be is born again and again.

And then there are those moments in between the creation and the destruction of it all, when it is all just as it is to be. Here I see that no matter what, there is something that lives beyond death and birth: The very urge to push, participate, spin, eat, kill, create and survive. It becomes crystal clear in those in between moments that my personal participation in this urge will die one day, but not the urge itself. That was here long before me and will be here still long after I have gone.

And then I see all the beauty, the joy and the melancholy. I am the spider. I am the web. I am the wind destroying the web. I am that which has been caught in the web. And I am the urge to spin and spin and spin until I am all spun out.


Friday October 17, 2008

I was just reading the Huffington Post this morning about how Palin is depressed by the media coverage, so her staff was telling her not to watch it. While at a rally, she said,

"that while she doesn't always appreciate the way reporters portray the GOP ticket, she's been bolstered by the prayers of many of the campaign's backers.

"But yeah, sometimes you do get depressed watching what it is that they're reporting and the spin and some of the distortion of what our message is and what we stand for. Sometimes that, that gets draining," she continued. "But it's at events like these and our rallies that we are so energized and inspired and we know that we are not alone. We feel your strength and we feel the power of prayer, so many of you tell us that you are praying for us and praying for our country and that's why we so appreciate you being here."

So my question is: How will they handle this new episode of cognitive dissonance? With so many Christians praying for her, and their ticket doing so poorly, and most likely losing the election, does this mean that the Blue Meme Traditional Jesus they worship might not exist? Will any of them see that their particular brand of Christianity is ready to be put on the shelf? Is this nation ready to move back to the more respectful, quiet type of choice of personal relationship with a Higher Power that doesn't come shreiking out every election cycle? Or are these lost children just going to pray harder for the Apcalypse now?


Wednesday September 24, 2008

Well, it has been three months since my father's death, and it seems that the strange world of mourning moves through my life more today than it did the first two months. Since having gone through deep mourning transformation 11 years ago when my mom died, I know better than to expect this process to be linear.

The realm of death, the underworld the ancients liked to call it, is anything but straight forward, regular or every day. That is why it is the underworld. It is the realm where all that needs to be put upside down will be, and all that needs to be dismembered will be, and all that needs to be put into its proper place will be too.

I have many sayings and mantras that are helping me right now - I call my life The Magical Mystery Tour because magical and beautiful things are happening to me and it feels like only the Mystery of Life could be bringing them to me. Another is Shock and Awe - the shock of death can lead one to see life in a whole other way that can only lead to awe. And the last is All of this is just part of the Web of Love and Light that holds me. Living in this liminal space is challenging.

A part of me wants to just be done with it, be back in the groove, and feel normal. But I know that I am being pulled through the eye of a needle right now, and well it can feel a bit strange in here. But because the Greek Goddess Persephone got to eventually leave the underworld to return to the world of the living transformed into her true nature, a Queen, I trust the process, and wait patiently as my True Nature awakens within me too.


Wednesday June 25, 2008

Dear Friends and Fans of my dad,

I am so completely touched by all your love and support for my father and for me right now. It is a strange thing sharing this with the world, and yet, this is what I have always done.

He was a kind man, a great father, and a deep and thoughtful voice for the world.

Now it is our turn to tell the truth and never tolerate mediocrity. Some saw him as a man who had given up on the world, I know that he was always trying to wake us up and make us take back our power.

Dad, I love you, miss you, and will carry on the torch.

Please donate to
The American Heart Association
The Thomas Jefferson Center


Tuesday December 11, 2007

There is something about the days getting shorter that thrills me. The thought of darkness, stillness, and hibernation ruling our psyches and lives gives me full permission to dive deeply into the realm of soul.

Being still enough to hear the small voice that connects us to Source, the infinite, is, for me, the profoundest honor of being a conscious being. We get to stop, listen and commune with God/The Universe/The Cosmos. What a privilege. What a miracle. What a true gift.

Musing on the symbols and ideas of this time of year - miracles, light emerging out of the darkness, giving presents - we are given many opportunities to go within and meet up with the miracle that WE are. The GIFT that we embody. The LIGHT that can only be known because of the darkness.

In the Greek myth of Persephone and Demeter, this time of year is when Demeter is still wandering the earth unsure about where her daughter Persephone has gone. All she knows is that she has lost contact with her, and her heart breaks for it. This can be seen as part of our own journeys - that time when we may have lost contact with our own innocence, full potential and possibility, and all we can see is darkness and confusion. But what Demeter, and our own ego selves don't know is that Persephone is indeed in the Underworld - a place of death, stillness, stasis - and yet in this place she is separating from all of her past ways of being, and being enthroned as a Queen. She has become sovereign over her destiny. Her ability to live with, and stay with Hades (death, stasis, stilness) allows her to remake herself with more power, grace and a new destiny.

As the Level 3 of the human psyche, the wolves and the planet moves into this deepest time of hibernation (Winter Solstice is the 21/22), I want to leave you with an appreciation of the hibernation that we are all living on some level, and with a poem that I wrote last year at this time.

Winter Solstice.

Here comes the light.
Here comes the sun.
Gather your wisdom, your selves, your deepest parts,
Turn toward where you are headed
and know that you have everything you need
to make the journey home.

Spring calls you like a whisper.
Persephone rustles underneath us.
Demeter mournfully wanders still in search of her potential.

Take a moment today, that very same moment that the earth takes to be still,
and ask...
What call still whispers in me?
What rustles underneath my consciousness?
What search is unfinished?

Bury your answers like a bulb in the soil.
Light a candle to show you the way.
Something indeed has been born today.