Holi converges with International Women's Day
Today is simultaneously International Women's Day, and Holi! Holi is the fabulously colorful and creative holiday celebrated around Asia to mark the beginning of Spring, as well as love, friendship, and, at a deeper level, the triumph of dharma and faith over narcissism and delusion. Spring is the time when the earth tends to the new; sprouts forth new sprigs of green life despite and perhaps because of the crushing deprivation of winter. What a powerful reminder of resilience, and the thrust towards embracing life that endures in the creativity of the human spirit.
Last night I spent the evening musing over the resilience and creative spirit of all the women who have inspired me. It was a powerful full moon evening, in that I got to wander through the memories of childhood and especially adolescence. Adolescence was a time of tumult for me, and I recall vividly how voices from true artists and writers and mystics and thought leaders converged with voices from within that called me through both true suffering and egoic neurosis, and towards a life of waking up. The first woman I want to pay homage to in this writing is my mother. My mother has always followed the clarion call within her spirit, and modeled the deep potential in the human heart to live a life devoted to justice, actualization, authenticity, and joy. Love you to infinity, Sally Blaser. I've compiled a collection of quotes from some of the other powerful women whose writings and musings have guided me along the path. For their willingness to question, to grow, to live beautifully expansive lives, and to tell truth in the face of risk, I am so grateful.
Paying attention is a form of reciprocity with the living world. – Robin Wall Kimmerer We are caught in the contradiction of finding life a rather perplexing puzzle which causes us a lot of misery, and at the same time being dimly aware of the boundless, limitless nature of life. So we begin looking for an answer to the puzzle. – Joko Beck The body of the earth and the body of the people are worth fighting for. In this time, we have an opportunity to become instruments within that battle. And the fitness of our instrument will depend on how deeply we have healed ourselves and how committed we are to beginning each day in prayer, loving ourselves, and ceasing the cycles perpetuated through us. – Lyla June When we focus on the song of our soul and heart, then others will be touched similarly. Sometimes people wonder or worry whether people will like or approve of their creative expression. It's none of your business. It's your business to stay present and focused for the work of your deepest dreams. It might look crooked or strange, or be very odd-but if it delights you, then it is yours, and will find it's way into other hearts. ― SARK I consider writing practice a true Zen practice because it all comes back at you. You can't fool anyone because it's on the page. – Natalie Goldberg Remember you are water. Of course you leave salt trails. Of course you are crying. Flow. P.S. If there happens to be a multitude of griefs upon you, individual and collective, or fast and slow, or small and large, add equal parts of these considerations: that the broken heart can cover more territory. that perhaps love can only be as large as grief demands. that grief is the growing up of the heart that bursts boundaries like an old skin or a finished life. that grief is gratitude. that water seeks scale, that even your tears seek the recognition of community. that the heart is a front line and the fight is to feel in a world of distraction. that death might be the only freedom. that your grief is a worthwhile use of your time. that your body will feel only as much as it is able to. that the ones you grieve may be grieving you. that the sacred comes from the limitations. that you are excellent at loving. ― adrienne maree brown After suffering and resistance, the only thing left is contemplation of life and after contemplation, stillness, and after stillness, peace. Peace is a presence that is difficult to define. Perhaps for this reason, I feel poetry has been a path through which peace has made itself known to me. ― Zenju Earthlyn Manuel Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable. – Helen Keller For creative beings (and we are all creative beings) experience is only half of an experience. We experience life and then digest it by making something out of the experience. Creativity makes life useful to us. It also makes us useful to life. – Julia Cameron The desire of monks and mystics is not unlike that of artists: to perceive the extraordinary within the ordinary by changing not the world but the eyes that look… To form the intention of new awareness is already to transform and be transformed. ― Jane Hirshfield What can we do but keep on breathing in and out, modest and willing and in our places? ― Mary Oliver
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ― Gwendolyn Brooks
No black woman writer in this culture can write 'too much.' Indeed, no woman writer can write 'too much' … No woman has ever written enough. ― bell hooks I do have reasons for hope: our clever brains, the resilience of nature, the indomitable human spirit, and above all, the commitment of young people when they’re empowered to take action. — Jane Goodall
It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live. – Nina Simone I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. — Audre Lorde
It takes some training to equate complete letting go with comfort. But in fact, ‘nothing to hold on to’ is the root of happiness. There’s a sense of freedom when we access that we’re not in control. — Pema Chödrön Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away. — Frida Kahlo
I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass. — Maya Angelou The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them. Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing. ― Arundhati Roy, War Talk Facing suffering, embracing suffering, becoming the conscious, compassionate awareness that can bring an end to suffering, is not painful. Trying to hide from suffering is extremely painful and will rob you of your life. ― Cheri Huber Beware: / Ignorance / Protects itself. / Ignorance / Promotes suspicion. / Suspicion / Engenders fear. / Fear quails / Irrational and blind / Or fear looms / Defiant and closed. / Blind, closed, / Suspicious, afraid, / Ignorance / Protects itself, / And protected, / Ignorance grows. ― Octavia Butler