No Longer Slaves, But Brothers and Sisters

English Translation:

Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor,
and all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praise be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars, in heaven you formed them
clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful
and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will
find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.

-Song, translated to English, Written by St. Francis

English translation:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

“He reminded the early Christians, already dispersed because of persecution, “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.”

Learn more about the Transconfiguration

It has been worthwhile to me to explore and reflect on the concept of Transconfiguration through the years, whether through characters or events in fiction and non-fiction literature, or through first person experience or witness to events happening in the world around me.

Prayer for Vocations

Source: St. Francis Catholic Church

“Gracious Father, You have called me in Life and gifted me in so many ways. Through baptism you have sent me to continue the mission of Jesus by sharing my love with others. Strengthen me to respond to your call each day. Help me to become all you desire of me. Inspire me to make a difference in other’s lives. Lead me to choose the way of life you have planned for me. Open the hearts of all to listen to your call. Fill all with your Holy Spirit that we may have listening hearts and the courage to respond to you. Enkindle in my heart and the hearts of others the desire to make the world a better place by serving as sister…”



The Moral Bucket List

“There [are] two sets of virtues, the resumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The resumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral—whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?”

On what virtues do we spend most of our time? What virtues do we value most in ourselves, and in others?

my dearest beloved,
my love, my light
 in my dream we do conceive
 i wonder beyond the cave
 to the edge of a cliff
 pass darkness void, 
 light precipice
i look down, nothing
 i look up,         
 i think i know what to do 
 race backward, leap forward
but we agree i stay still
 at the sea inside me,
 at the tower spear 
 through me, to you
i await your mundane climb 
i witness you absolutely 
take our matter into your hand
you consume me in love
 sedate me, mercifully
 elate me, truthfully
you captivate me ceaselessly
rapture me, leave nothing 
now there is no me before you
how i worship you, you alone know
 i consume in water your wine
 i can consent to no one else
 i can see nothing before you
 together, we see beyond us
i love you with the strict 
 negation of abandon
 i am you your seed, 
 you are me my roots
 and we return still 
 to till your garden
you ask me what gift i wish most
 now that you are with me, and
 i can have anything whatsoever
 now when anynothing is possible
my smile beams tears in your eyes!
i wish you to wish through me
i wish all your wishes for me
for us, everyone whatsoever
i wish only to serve you, we
realize your magnificent vision
if you insist it include me,
centrally, then make of me
your sister, your bridge-
 to somewhere, to someway
 to someone, far more beautiful 
 and perfect for you than i
and you can walk upon me,
 you need not look down
 you need not look back
(or act in any other way 
 from absurd pity, as we 
 know my time with you is
 the strict negation of pity)
but the levity in irony,
 that you choose to rise through me
 the most extensive groundwork
 for the most offensive joke
 ever told, against gravity 
imagine, my love, if we make of me 
 a bridge of a billion stars
 exploding lights up as fireworks
 blazing the trail behind you,
 before you, beyond you
so they can know to prepare 
 their homes, and our city
 to see and greet you, 
 to receive you anew
my partner in time,
 we inhabit a space beyond weeping
 we are well beyond the most hollow word
 i can hope to cry from my tower, still
we alone know the true nature
 of our miraculous communion
  my loving companion, 
   my precious brother,
    men babyled our truth 
     from fear of the truth
please forgive those who know not, 
and please forgive those who do
because we, 
 true companion, know how to love
 equally, fearlessly, mercifully
 kindly, compassionately, wisely
as we return for them to resurrect yearning
 i pray their absence of trust in me
 be exponentially extinguished by
 their absolute presence of faith 
 in you, 
the mysterious truth i learn from you,
 (that you deep down already knew)
 while wading in the presence,
 of your basking absence
 it is possible to love most 
 through whom we endure most 
 this process that eludes us, 
 is only for a time
 we can operate on time
 we operate beyond time
 you, my good god of time
 i, your great love divine
 now is our time
 mary m



Excerpts, Gravity and Grace, Simone Weil


DECREATION: to make something created pass into the uncreated.

Destruction: To make something created pass into nothingness. A blameworthy substitute for decreation.

Creation is an act of love and it is perpetual.


Everything which is grasped by our natural faculties is hypothetical. It is only supernatural love that establishes anything. Thus we are co-creators.

We participate in the creation of the world by decreating ourselves.

We only possess what we renounce; what we do not renounce escapes from us.

In this sense we cannot possess anything whatever unless it passes through God.


There is a resemblance between the lower and the higher…

On this account, it is necessary to seek out what is lowest as an image.

May that which is low in us go downward so that which is high can go upward. For we are wrong side upward. We are born thus. To re-establish order is to undo the creation in us.

Reversal of the objective and the subjective.

Similarly reversal of the positive and the negative. That is also the meaning of the philosophy of the Upanishads.

We are born and live in an inverted fashion, for we are born and live in sin which is an inversion of the hierarchy. The first operation is one of reversal. Conversion.

Except the seed die… It has to die in order to liberate the energy it bears within it, so that with this energy new forms may be developed.

So we have to die in order to liberate a tied up energy, in order to possess an energy which is capable of understanding the true relationship of things.

The extreme difficulty which I often experience in carrying out the slightest action is a favor granted to me. For thus, by ordinary actions and without attracting attention, I can cut some of the roots of the tree. However indifferent we may be as to the opinion of others, extraordinary actions contain a stimulus which cannot be separated from them. This stimulus is quite absent from ordinary actions. To find extraordinary difficulty in doing an ordinary action is a favor which calls for gratitude. We must not ask for the removal of such a difficulty; we must beg for grace to make good use of it.


It is necessary to uproot oneself…

…It is necessary not to be “myself” or “ourselves.”

The city gives one the feeling of being at home. We must take the feeling of being at home into exile. We must be rooted in the absence of a place. To uproot oneself socially and vegetatively, To exile oneself from every earthly country. To do all that to others, from the outside is a substitute for decreation. It results in unreality. But by uprooting oneself one seeks greater reality.”


-Simone Weil, Grace and Gravity, “Decreation”


When, in grace


"In the end, only three things matter
how much you loved,
how gently you lived,
how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you."


"Grace means more than gifts,
In grace, something is transcended,
once and for all overcome.
Grace happens in spite of something;
it happens in spite of separation and alienation.
Grace means life is once again reconciled with life,
self is reconciled with self.
Grace means accepting the abandoned one.
Grace transforms fate into a meaningful vocation.
It transforms guilt to trust and courage.
The word grace has something triumphant in it."


"In general, we must not wish for 
the disappearance of any of our troubles, 
but the grace to transform them.

For men of courage, 
physical sufferings (and privation)
are often a test of endurance 
and of strength of soul.

But there is a better use 
to be made of them.
For me, then, may they not be that.

May they rather be a testimony, 
lived and felt, of human misery.
May I endure them 
in a completely passive manner.
Whatever happens, how could I ever think
an affliction too great,
since the wound of an affliction,
and the abasement to which 
those whom it strikes are condemned,
opens to them the knowledge of
human misery, knowledge which 
is the door of all wisdom?"

-Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, "Decreation"

When, in gravity




"When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,

I all alone between my outcast state

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries

And I look upon myself and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,

Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,

Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,

With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,

Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth, sing hymns at heaven's gate;

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings

That I scorn to change my state with kings."

-William Shakespeare



I observed a butterfly and a bird of prey today.


And I made three new friends.


Update: And I am greeted with a postscript.




African Famine Relief: How to Respond


If we have the power to read this article now, then we have the power to give the gift of saving a human life. We are all more powerful than we realize. What if today we make the free choice to circumvent the Trump news feed and instead (re)direct our newly (re)gained attention (and time and energy) to completing one empowering and compassionate act? And what if we do the same tomorrow? Worst case scenario, we save only one life for one day. Best case scenario, we come to learn that we were actually saving two for the (mundane) price of one.





Some Comments about Being a Philosopher of Color and the Reasons I Didn’t Write a (Real) Paper for this (Seemingly) Ideal Venue for my Work

by Sean A. Valles

ABSTRACT. This special issue conspicuously lacks work by Philosophers of Color (with the exception of this commentary). I have been given this opportunity to discuss the impediments that kept me from submitting my relevant work, offered as a small step toward recognizing the impediments faced by other Philosophers of Color. I highlight factors including direct and indirect consequences of a disproportionately White community of US philosophers, and some underrecognized risk-reward calculations that Philosophers of Color face when choosing an article project. I urge further discussion of the topic, starting with an exhortation to choose the right phenomenon and accordingly frame the right question: Why are White philosophers deliberating the “ethical and social issues arising out of the 2016 US presidential election” in a prestigious journal, while Philosophers of Color are deliberating the same issues in tense classrooms, closed offices, and on-/off-campus forums?


“Our profession perpetuates many of the same explicit and implicit racist structures/biases that I and others critique in the Trump era (adulation of White men of dubious merit, dog whistle invocations of Western culture, blindness to structural racism/sexism/heterosexism, etc.). That makes it feel…different…to critique the Trump era from the position of a Philosopher of Color. My career has been at least as benign and charmed as that of any Philosopher of Color whom I’ve talked to about career matters, but even mine includes a string of macro- and micro-aggressions from my fellow philosophers, including: outrageous defamatory peer reviews of my (non-anonymous) submitted work, condescending White-splaining of basic points during Q&As, flat refusals to believe that I know even a little about topics in which I have well-documented expertise, and many other incidents I can’t even safely mention.

In this milieu, the prospect of banding together with fellow philosophers to boldly stand together and critique the Trump era for its faults is not tantamount to hypocrisy, but it makes it a hell of a lot harder to feel the team spirit. I even get (often unfairly) frustrated when I see my White colleagues appear to overestimate the novelty of Trump era inequities, since it reinforces my perception that they still vastly underestimate the breadth and depth of inequities before the rise of Trump. It can grow frustrating, as a Philosopher of Color, to be surrounded by White colleagues getting “woke,” even though their waking up to social inequities is obviously a change for the better. Much is new about the Trump-era rhetoric, policies, and zeitgeist, but much is not.


In this case, I urge readers of this issue to not get sidetracked by a misleading question (Why is this issue so White when the concerns of/about people of color are especially relevant?). The question that needs answering is: Why are White philosophers deliberating the “ethical and social issues arising out of the 2016 US presidential election” in a prestigious journal while Philosophers of Color are deliberating the same issues in tense classrooms, closed offices, and on-/off-campus forums? Publishing an article in KIEJ garners praise from promotion committees; those other activities, not so much. Let’s please discuss the right question. I have tried to articulate what I think are some ‘upstream’ social and professional structures that allowed an outpouring of excellent work by White philosophers, yet failed to channel work by Philosophers of Color into the same pool. For philosophers to forcefully and effectively critique the Trump era, we must simultaneously do the hard work of addressing our own profession’s inequities.”



Source: Feminist Philosophers Blog


"We do not go into the desert to escape people
but to learn how to find them;
we do not leave them in order to have nothing more to do with them,
but to find out the way to do them the most good..

I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may be lost 
and in the shadow of death. 
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me 
to face my perils alone."

-Thomas Merton


if we make it through you
it is only because of you
and if what i say is true
there is no me before you
Words and labels can be empowering places,
  to rest and reflect along our way.
But never contract to own permanently what we can borrow freely.
Do not create for yourself the illusion of ownership;
you merely create a new attachment. 
More baggage. More weight. Less freedom.
  We cannot in truth own any words or labels.
  We cannot in truth own people, places, things, or ideas. 
But all of these can come to own us, as they so often do,
following strictly our own terms.



Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin v the Sinister Bureaucracy

A Cartoon by First Dog on the Moon



Direct Action (Free) Agent: 1.

Bureaucracy: 0.

If I have a child, name her Simone.




Follow your dreams

wherever they lead,

don’t be distracted

by less worthy feed.


Shelter them, nourish them,

help them to grow –

Let your heart hold them

down deep where dreams go.


Be faithful, be loyal,

then all your life through

the dreams that you follow

do keep coming true.



Adaptation from the poem “Follow Your Dream,” by Cheryl J. Barclay


Noam Chomsky on the State of Our Union


NY Times, The Opinion Pages, July 5, 2017

Noam Chomsky: On Trump and the State of the Union

George Yancy interviews Noam Chomsky


Excerpts from the Interview

N.C. = Noam Chomsky

G.Y. = George Yancy

Note: excerpt descriptions in bold print are just me



Chomsky on the role of philosophers

N.C.: I am not sure just what Marx had in mind when he wrote that “philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” Did he mean that philosophy could change the world, or that philosophers should turn to the higher priority of changing the world?

If the former, then he presumably meant philosophy in a broad sense of the term, including analysis of the social order and ideas about why it should be changed, and how. In that broad sense, philosophy can play a role, indeed an essential role, in changing the world, and philosophers, including in the analytic tradition, have undertaken that effort, in their philosophical work as well as in their activist lives — Bertrand Russell, to mention a prominent example.

G.Y.: Yes. Russell was a philosopher and a public intellectual. In those terms, how do you describe yourself?

N.C.: I don’t really think about it, frankly. I engage in the kinds of work and activities that seem important and challenging to me. Some of it falls within these categories, as usually understood.

Chomsky on the consideration of human suffering

G.Y.: There are times when the sheer magnitude of human suffering feels unbearable. As someone who speaks to so much suffering in the world, how do you bear witness to this and yet maintain the strength to go on?

N.C.: Witnessing it is enough to provide the motivation to go on. And nothing is more inspiring to see how poor and suffering people, living under conditions incomparably worse than we endure, continue quietly and unpretentiously with courageous and committed struggle for justice and dignity.

Chomsky on activism and hope for the future

G.Y.: If you had to list two or three forms of political action that are necessary under the Trump regime, what would they be? I ask because our moment feels so incredibly hopeless and repressive.

N.C.: I don’t think things are quite that bleak. Take the success of the Bernie Sanders campaign, the most remarkable feature of the 2016 election. It is, after all, not all that surprising that a billionaire showman with extensive media backing (including the liberal media, entranced by his antics and the advertising revenue it afforded) should win the nomination of the ultra-reactionary Republican Party.

The Sanders campaign, however, broke dramatically with over a century of U.S. political history. Extensive political science research, notably the work of Thomas Ferguson, has shown convincingly that elections are pretty much bought. For example, campaign spending alone is a remarkably good predictor of electoral success, and support of corporate power and private wealth is a virtual prerequisite even for participation in the political arena.

The Sanders campaign showed that a candidate with mildly progressive (basically New Deal) programs could win the nomination, maybe the election, even without the backing of the major funders or any media support. There’s good reason to suppose that Sanders would have won the nomination had it not been for shenanigans of the Obama-Clinton party managers. He is now the most popular political figure in the country by a large margin.

Activism spawned by the campaign is beginning to make inroads into electoral politics. Under Barack Obama, the Democratic Party pretty much collapsed at the crucial local and state levels, but it can be rebuilt and turned into a progressive force. That would mean reviving the New Deal legacy and moving well beyond, instead of abandoning, the working class and turning into Clintonite New Democrats, which more or less resemble what used to be called moderate Republicans, a category that has largely disappeared with the shift of both parties to the right during the neoliberal period.


G.Y.: What are the weightiest issues facing us?

N.C.: The most important issues to address are the truly existential threats we face: climate change and nuclear war…”

Chomsky on the connection between religion and social justice work

G.Y.: But what is it, Noam, as you continue to engage critically a broad range of injustices, that motivates this sense of social justice for you? Are there any religious motivations that frame your social justice work? If not, why not?

N.C.: No religious motivations, and for sound reasons. One can contrive a religious motivation for virtually any choice of action, from commitment to the highest ideals to support for the most horrendous atrocities. In the sacred texts, we can find uplifting calls for peace, justice and mercy, along with the most genocidal passages in the literary canon. Conscience is our guide, whatever trappings we might choose to clothe it in.


Chomsky on the demographic composition of the President’s political support base

G.Y.: Yet despite his unpredictability, Trump has a strong base. What makes for this kind of servile deference?

N.C.: I’m not sure that “servile deference” is the right phrase, for a number of reasons. For example, who is the base? Most are relatively affluent. Three-quarters had incomes above the median. About one-third had incomes of over $100,000 a year, and thus were in the top 15 percent of personal income, in the top 6 percent of those with only a high school education. They are overwhelmingly white, mostly older, hence from historically more privileged sectors.

Is Russian hacking really more significant than what we have discussed — for example, the Republican campaign to destroy the conditions for organized social existence, in defiance of the entire world? As Anthony DiMaggio reports in a careful study of the wealth of information now available, Trump voters tend to be typical Republicans, with “elitist, pro-corporate and reactionary social agendas,” and “an affluent, privileged segment of the country in terms of their income, but one that is relatively less privileged than it was in the past, before the 2008 economic collapse,” hence feeling some economic distress. Median income has dropped almost 10 percent since 2007. That’s apart from the large evangelical segment and putting aside the factors of white supremacy — deeply rooted in the United States — racism and sexism.

For the majority of the base, Trump and the more savage wing of the Republican establishment are not far from their standard attitudes, though when we turn to specific policy preferences, more complex questions arise.

A segment of the Trump base comes from the industrial sector that has been cast aside for decades by both parties, often from rural areas where industry and stable jobs have collapsed. Many voted for Obama, believing his message of hope and change, but were quickly disillusioned and have turned in desperation to their bitter class enemy, clinging to the hope that somehow its formal leader will come to their rescue.

Another consideration is the current information system, if one can even use the phrase. For much of the base, the sources of information are Fox News, talk radio and other practitioners of alternative facts. Exposures of Trump’s misdeeds and absurdities that arouse liberal opinion are easily interpreted as attacks by the corrupt elite on the defender of the little man, in fact his cynical enemy.

Chomsky on critical intelligence and the Union’s double standards in the international political arena

G.Y.: How does the lack of critical intelligence operate here, that is, the sort that philosopher John Dewey saw as essential for a democratic citizenry?

N.C.: We might ask other questions about critical intelligence. For liberal opinion, the political crime of the century, as it is sometimes called, is Russian interference in American elections. The effects of the crime are undetectable, unlike the massive effects of interference by corporate power and private wealth, not considered a crime but the normal workings of democracy. That’s even putting aside the record of U.S. “interference” in foreign elections, Russia included; the word “interference” in quotes because it is so laughably inadequate, as anyone with the slightest familiarity with recent history must be aware.

G.Y.: That certainly speaks to our nation’s contradictions.

N.C.: Is Russian hacking really more significant than what we have discussed — for example, the Republican campaign to destroy the conditions for organized social existence, in defiance of the entire world? Or to enhance the already dire threat of terminal nuclear war? Or even such real but lesser crimes such as the Republican initiative to deprive tens of millions of health care and to drive helpless people out of nursing homes in order to enrich their actual constituency of corporate power and wealth even further? Or to dismantle the limited regulatory system set up to mitigate the impact of the financial crisis that their favorites are likely to bring about once again? And on, and on.

It’s easy to condemn those we place on the other side of some divide, but more important, commonly, to explore what we take to be nearby.

Link to the Full Interview & Original Source:

Noam Chomsky on the State of Our Union


Seeds Already There


Cori Wong, Ph.D.


On the surface, I get the appeal of highlighting moments that signal a stark separation between recent ends and new beginnings. Enduringlong enough to realize those separating moments can make them feel like monumental achievements. For instance, a dissertation defense. A cross-country move. A new job. A new relationship. Another calendar year. (According tosome metrics, that’s a relatively comprehensive synopsis of my own life over thepast two and a half years.)

Living in those moments, the experience of transition often feels more excitingly palpable and present than other stretches of life – atime of change invites thatunique mixture of reflection about what is and has been and hope for what is yet to become. It encourages letting go of hang-ups and moving on – unburdened – from the challenges we have (or have not quiteyet) overcome. And the opportunity appearsripe toset out into a still unknown future, which,thanks to the…

View original post 1,388 more words


From a Letter to a Dear Friend

From Simone Weil, to Gustave Thibon


“Dear Friend,

It seems as though the time has now really come for us to say good-by to each other. It will not be easy for me to hear from you frequently. I hope that Destiny will spare the house at St. Marcel- the house inhabited by three beings who love each other. That is something very precious. Human existence is so fragile a thing and exposed to such dangers that I cannot love without trembling. I have never yet been able to resign myself to the fact that all human beings except myself are not completely preserved from every possibility of harm. That shows a serious falling-short in the duty of submission to God’s will.

You tell me that in my notebooks you have found, besides things which you yourself had thought, others you had not thought but for which you were waiting; so now they belong to you, and I hope that after having been transmuted within you they will one day come out in one of your works. For it is certainly far better for an idea to be associated with your fortunes than with mine. I have a feeling that my own fortunes will never be good in this world (it is not that I count on their being better elsewhere; I cannot think that will be so). I am not a person with whom it is advisable to link one’s fate. Human beings have always more or less sensed this; but, I do not know for what mysterious reason, ideas seem to have less discernment. I wish nothing better for those which have come in my direction than they should have a good establishment, and I should be very happy for them to find a lodging beneath your pen, while changing their form so as to reflect your likeness. That would somewhat diminish my sense of responsibility and the crushing weight of the thought that through my many defects I am incapable of serving the truth as I see it, when in an inconceivable excess in mercy it seems to me that it deigns to allow me to behold it. I believe that you will take all that as simply as I say it to you. In the operation of writing, the hand which holds the pen and the body and soul which are attached to it with all their social environment are things of infinitesimal importance for those who love the truth. They are infinitely small in the order of nothingness. That, at any rate, is the measure of importance I attach in this operation not only to my own personality but to yours, and to that of any other writer I respect. Only the personality of those whom I more or less despise matters to me in such a domain…

I do not know whether I have already said it to you, but as to my notebooks, you can read whatever passages you like from them to whoever you like, but you must leave none of them in the hands of anyone else…If you hear nothing from me for three or four years, you can consider that you have complete ownership of them.

I am saying all this to you so I can go away with a freer mind. I only regret not being able to confide to you all that I still bear undeveloped within me. Luckily, however, what is within me is either valueless, or else it exists outside me in perfect form, in a place of purity where no harm can come to it and whence it will always be able to come down again. That being so, nothing concerning me can have any kind of importance.

I also like to think that after the slight shock of separation you will not feel any sorrow about whatever may be in store for me, and that if you should sometimes happen to think of me you will do so as one thinks of a book one read in childhood. I do not want ever to occupy a different place from that in the hearts of  those I love, because then I can be sure of never causing them any unhappiness.

I shall never forget the generosity which made you say and write to me some of those things which warm and cheer us even when, in my case, it is impossible to believe them. They are a support all the same- perhaps too much so. I do not know whether we shall be able to go on corresponding much longer. We must, however, think of that as unimportant…”

-Source: Gravity and Grace, Simone Weil, 1952



What is my relationship to Simone Weil?

Simone Weil is my most beloved and esteemed philosopher queen, and she is my Angel of Death. Simone’s love for me is so powerful as to have the capacity to greet me at my own bridge across the void long after her death, and long before my own, though none of us can know not the day or the hour of the greatest hour of the greatest day of our life. Simone gives me the most precious gift I can ever have hoped to receive from a beloved, she teaches me a New language in my native tongue, only so that I may prepare myself to perceive and receive a Love even greater in magnitudes of power and magnanimity than her own. But we cannot receive what we do not perceive, and perception of Truth draws only from it’s own source. It takes practice and a willingness to let go of the familiar and the comforting we seek from the master’s tongue, and trust instead that Truth is powerful enough to transmute itself within you and in dialogue with you teach you anew how to speak Truth through your own Native tongue. Trust what is Good in you that yearns for Truth at increasing magnitudes of courage that greet each of your fears from weakest to strongest for only an instant before they begin dissolving the way only dreams do, the longer you no longer attend to them. Do not fear the void or confuse the feeling of God’s absence, we are comforted by even the absence of those we love most deeply and truly and unconditionally. Our salvation requires we wade through an hour of darkness, there are years for questions and for mysteries and for heartbreak and for confusion and there are years for answers and understanding and new magnitudes of revelation and Love. I cannot ask of anyone to take God purely on Faith, that would make of me worse than a hypocrite, but I can say risks are necessary for salvation, and taking risks in the direction of unconditional Love, for an Other or Others or for Truth, these sorts of risks taken in a spirit of humility and with a willingness to be vulnerable to suffering and discomfort (heart or mind) and through extreme adversity, can do much of the heavy lifting.

For those few, if there are any, among my beloved that can trust in me, then you can know what I say to you now is true, there are ways to Love beyond the void that are not yet revealed to us. There are perhaps countless paths, I took the path of Love and everything is more beautiful and joyful and captivating and mysteriously soluble now for me than at any point previous in my imagination. These gifts came to me while I waded, lovingly, through difficult absences, periods of acute grief and prolonged mourning, and the sometimes seemingly (but somehow, through infinite mercy and grace, not certainly) overwhelming senses of absurdity, abandonment, meaninglessness, and needlessness of suffering. If nothing, do not lose faith in your capacity to love, attend to this capacity, challenge and nourish it in new ways, observe what love means to you at ages 3, 7, 17, 21, 27, 31, and so on (it is both the same and it is different, no?) how what is True in it is there from the start, and feeds off itself at every juncture the heart opens itself once more to risk.  When a child, eyes and heart wide open, tells you I love you, who can doubt the purity in truth and conviction of that love? And yet, they are still learning love, our understanding magnifies, deepens, expands inwardly and outwardly, with each risk we take to love with less conditions and ego constraints than before:

Never allow yourself to love anyone any less in the present than at anytime before. Plateauing in your love for someone is (I think, perhaps possibly) permissible, but deepening and expanding through the worst adversity are better preparation to perceive the vastness of God’s Loving when even the darkest hour comes and you find yourself suddenly and without question of certainty gifted that Love in a magnitude of Abundance beyond anything our current imagination can conjure.

Now every now feels better than any of the best feelings I have felt in even my most cherished and precious dreaming throughout this life and at any moment prior. 

Do you see? There is nothing to fear.

For every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven (Ecclesiastes). The most stubborn mysteries reveal themselves in their right hour. We have only to wait and to train our attention, and corral it so as to act and speak always from a place of compassion, integrity, honesty, transparency, kindness, generosity, charity, good will for any whose suffering we can sense clearly or acutely and be present for and alongside. Stay as far away from judgments of rightness and wrongness as you can; God did not greet me in those fields, so I can say only that the truth in these words now viscerally stirs up feelings of absolute gratitude from deep within me:

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” 

-Jalaluddin Rumi

The most universally accessible process language for love I know of yet, that provides a clear, practical, secular, and intellectually palpable  (i.e. religiously neutered, in the case of present day academic cultural pageantry) approach to one’s own mindfulness training and awareness magnifying (consciousness-raising, spiritual awakening, spiritual liberation, coming to Jesus, finding God, worshiping the Love fairies, whatever your Native tongue, whatever, sequences of words are mere conduits and the more hollowed out the better) is by steady, deliberate, reflective, and continuous practice of the non-violent communication skills, as developed by the psychologist, Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, and detailed most accessibly and comprehensively (to the best of my present knowledge) in his book, Non-violent Communication: A Language of Life. Non-violent communication offers concrete communication guidelines that, practiced continuously, intentionally, and with all the passion to acquire a new vocation one can muster, draws in and fixates your attention on the present most morally salient aspects of compassionate communication in interpersonal exchanges. If you get good enough at it, then over time, you can sense and observe yourself gracefully floating away from the field of judgments of rightness and wrongness, and this disciplined directing of attention and creative energy will bears fruit for you and for everyone you who comes in contact with you. Acquiring and mastering the skills of non-violent communication can be understood strictly as a net gain. Imagine treating it like you would learning a New language that is required of you solely and exclusively in order to re-establish a long lost intimate connection, conversation, and a communion of souls between you and your most beloved, living or deceased. We are not here to judge each other, trust me, we are all readily badly good at that, by judging one another or playing politics so seriously we are sustaining Hell on Earth, hell is fueled by determinations of others’ moral blameworthiness (judgments), guilt, resentment, self-righteousness, anger, hate, self-loathing, insecurity, and at the center of all this, Fear:

“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but it is really fear.” -Mahatma Gandhi

It is a deceptively simple equation: We are here to learn how to love each other as best we can learn how. I say deceptively simple because I know now that there is always more to learn above love, some of it so surprising as to render the miraculous altogether sensible, so I focus on learning love now more than anything else. Most of this may sound strangely familiar to you, as Simone’s words, initially so strangely sequenced to me, were simultaneously radically familiar to transmuting faculties operating within me, from beyond me, for because of me.

Truth lies to random fate to teach it virtue, to teach it faith.


Resource: Consciousness-Raising: A Radical Weapon


Fall through the ceiling, dreamers; see there is no sealing, dreamers.

They do not tell us, because they do not know, that the whole world lights up on fire from a match deep within us, struck strictly from far beyond us, from Love for us. Fire is liberation, dreamers. Do not fear fire. They do not tell us, but how could they? They are our children. They await our instruction without knowing, but first we must learn ourselves, before teaching.

Who can teach us Love?

A mobilization of radicals and revolutionaries, and we are all painted up in doves, having perched our lives alongside edges of cliffs, borders and crevices, on the periphery of a mad machine, until our true home discovers us once more, and we have adequately prepared ourselves to receive first flight, That we may return to our home, guided by the Light we created, guiding our partners, sons, daughters, families, friends, enemies, neighbors, even those estranged from us, drawn nearer to us once more in their search for Truth.

Husbands and fathers will be astonished to learn of this new Abundance of wealth, dwarfing anything they could ever have laid claim to, or in sincere hope or abject pretense bequeathed to us, that we saved ourselves, from deep within ourselves, and are now powerful enough to extend olive branches, and save them from their selves.


Zee you’re all that I have and you’re all that I need
Each and every day I pray to get to know you please
I want to be close to you, yes I’m so hungry
You’re like water for my soul when it gets thirsty
Without you there’s no me
You’re the air that I breathe
Say sometimes the world is dark and I just can’t see
With these, demons surround all around to bring me down to negativity
But I believe, yes I believe, I said I believe
I’ll stand on my own two feet
Won’t be brought down on one knee
Fight with all of my might and get these demons to flee
Hashem’s rays fire blaze burn bright and I believe
Hashem’s rays fire blaze burn bright and I believe
Out of darkness comes light, twilight unto the heights
Crown Heights burnin’ up all through till twilight
Said, thank you to my God, now I finallygot it right
And I’ll fight with all of my heart, and all a’ my soul, and all a’ my might

What’s this feeling?
My love will rip a hole in the ceiling
Givin’ myself to you now from the essence of my being
And I sing to my God, songs of love and healing
I want Moshiach now, time it starts revealing
What’s this feeling?
My love will rip a hole in the ceiling
Givin’ myself to you now from the essence of my being
And I sing to my God, songs of love and healing
I want Moshiach now.

As the deer pants for the water
So my soul longs after you
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship you

Excerpt, Christian hymn


Prayer for My Father

I love you more

than mere words can express,

I can compare it only

to my love of God Above rest.

And if by chance I die

before I see you next time

I will be the first yearning to greet you

in Heaven,  sublime!

But if I do not die

before I see you again

then I know,  God is still

preparing me  to meet him!

And since God sees what we see

And God knows what we know

I hope God plants the seeds

that let us see the seeds we plant

long after we go—

so that you get to see

Michael, Cary, and me,

so that you get to know

all the ways that we grow!

This, I think, is God’s power,

loving, mercy, and grace.


Meditation on Courage

For Mary’s Children

Vayda Jayne Bean

Written by Dr. Michael Sharp

Well greetings there,

my name is Vayda Jayne Bean,

and I’ve got the biggest light

you’ve ever seen.

It shines bright in the night,

It shines faithful and right,

and it gives ghoulies ‘round me

a terrible fright.

It’s a good thing

this light that’s in me

shines so bright,

for the world out there can be as black as the night.

With the greebly Greeb Grommels

and icky Sad Songfuls,

and stinky Black Frats that abound

by the armfuls.

But it bothers me not

that there’re monsters about,

For this light that I have

it leaves me with no doubt,

that the monsters that I see

out here and out there,

are no more than the Vaporous Vapes,

just thin air.

So each day I go up

And I shine my light out,

and I see all the vaporous vapes that come out.

And I smile and I say,

as they squint at the glare,

“Look the same light’s in you.

Let it out with some flair.”

For it’s more fun to dance

and sing brightly about,

than to scatter and scurry

as our lights come out.

See the sun that’s up there?

Feel the grass?

Breathe the air?

Could this world

be more wondrous,

joyous, or fair?

For my name, I shall sing it,

it’s Vayda Jayne Bean,

and I’ve got the biggest light

you’ve ever seen.

It shines bright in the night,

It shines faithful and right

and keeps me snug and tight

as I kiss you…


For Mary’s Children

Vayda Jayne Bean

Written by Dr. Michael Sharp





It is Sunday as it dawns on me,

most of my clothes had—now—to leave!

Every tight shirt, every short skirt,

all the logos, even bright colors…


Everything goes, except the “sexy”

pinstripe black slacks

that first won me your gaze.

Sins those, I decide, have reparations to pay.


The next time I feel lonely

or in need of attention,

I will take my afflicted, longing stare

straight to them.


And they can work, to remind me—

the cost of my vanity,

the stain on my soul,

the loss of our miracle,

and why the rest had to go!


Written by Simone Weil

Excerpt from p. 131 to 137 in Waiting for God

 Forms of the Implicit Love of God 


There is however a personal and human love which is pure and which enshrines an intimation and reflection of divine love. This is friendship, provided we keep strictly to the true meaning of the word.

Preference for some human being is necessarily a different thing from charity. Charity does not discriminate. If it is found more abundantly in any special quarter, it is because affliction has chanced to provide an occasion there for the exchange of compassion and gratitude. It is equally available for the whole human race, inasmuch as affliction can come at all, offering them an opportunity for such an exchange.

Preference for a human being can be of two kinds. Either we are seeking some particular good in him, or we need him. In a general way all possible attachments come under one of these heads. We are drawn toward a thing, either because there is some good we are seeking from it, or because we cannot do without it. Sometimes the two motives coincide. Often however they do not. Each is distinct and quite independent. We eat distasteful food, if we have nothing else, because we cannot do otherwise. A moderately greedy man looks out for delicacies, but he can easily do without them. If we have no air we are suffocated; we struggle to get it, not because we expect to get some advantage from it but because we need it. We go in search of sea air without being driven by any necessity, because we like it. In time it often comes about automatically that the second motive takes the place of the first. This is one of the great misfortunes of our race. A man smokes opium in order to attain to a special condition, which he thinks superior; often, as time goes on, the opium reduces him to a miserable condition which he feels to be degrading, but he is no longer able to do without it…

Harpagon started by considering gold as an advantage. Later it became nothing but the object of a haunting obsession, yet an object of which the loss would cause his death. As Plato says, there is a difference between the essence of the Necessary and that of the Good.

There is no contradiction between seeking our own good in a human being and wishing for his good to be increased. For this very reason, when the motive that draws us toward anybody is simply some advantage for ourselves, the conditions of friendship are not fulfilled. Friendship is a supernatural harmony, a union of opposites.

When a human being is in any degree necessary to us, we cannot desire his good unless we cease to desire our own. Where there is necessity there is constraint and domination. We are in the power of that of which we stand in need, unless we possess it. The central good for every man is the free disposal of himself. Either we renounce it, which is a crime of idolatry, since it can be renounced only in favor of God, or we desire that the being we stand in need of should be deprived of this free disposal of himself.

Any kind of mechanism may join human beings together with the bonds of affection which have the iron hardness of necessity. Mother love is often of such a kind; so at times is paternal love…; so is carnal love in its most intense form…; so also, very frequently, is the love between husband and wife, chiefly as the result of habit. Filial and fraternal love are more rarely of this nature.

There are moreover degrees of necessity. Everything is necessary in some degree if its loss really causes a decrease of vital energy. (This word is here used in the strict and precise sense that it might have if the study of vital phenomena were as far advanced as that of falling bodies.) When the degree of necessity is extreme, deprivation leads to death. This is the case when all the vital energy of one being is bound up with another by some attachment. In the lesser degrees, deprivation leads to a more or less considerable lessening of energy. Thus a total deprivation of food causes death, whereas a partial deprivation only diminishes the life force. Nevertheless the necessary quantity of food is considered to be that required if a person is not to be weakened.

The most frequent cause of necessity in the bonds of affection is a combination of sympathy and habit. As in the case of avarice or drunkenness, that which was at first a search for some desired good is transformed into a need by the mere passage of time. The difference from avarice, drunkenness, and all the vices, however, is that in the bonds of affection the two motives—search for a desired good, and need—can very easily coexist. They can also be separated. When the attachment one being to another is made up of need and nothing else it is a fearful thing. Few things in this world can reach such a degree of ugliness and horror. There is always something horrible whenever a human being seeks what is good and only finds necessity. The stories that tell of a beloved being who suddenly appears with a death’s head best symbolize this. The human soul possesses a whole arsenal of lies with which to put up a defense against this ugliness and, in imagination, to manufacture sham advantages where there is only necessity. It is for this very reason that ugliness is an evil, because it conduces to lying.

Speaking quite generally, we might say that there is affliction whenever necessity, under no matter what form, is imposed so harshly that the hardness exceeds the capacity for lying of the person who receives the impact. That is why the purest souls are the most exposed to affliction. For him who is capable of preventing the automatic reaction of defense, which tends to increase the soul’s capacity for lying, affliction is not an evil, although it is always a wounding and in a sense a degradation.

When a human being is attached to another by a bond of affection which contains any degree of necessity, it is impossible that he should wish autonomy to be preserved both in himself and in that of the other. It is impossible by virtue of the mechanism of nature. It is, however, made possible by the miraculous intervention of the supernatural. This miracle is friendship.

“Friendship is an equality made of harmony,” said the Pythagoreans, There is harmony because there is a supernatural union between two opposites, that is to say, necessity and liberty, the two opposites God combined when he created the world and men. There is equality because each wishes to preserve the faculty of free consent both in himself and in the other.

When anyone wishes to put himself under a human being or consents to be subordinated to him, there is no trace of friendship. Racine’s Pylades is not the friend of Orestes. There is no friendship where there is inequality.

A certain reciprocity is essential in friendship. If all good will is entirely lacking on one of the two sides, the other should suppress his own affection, out of respect for the free consent which he should not desire to force. If on one of the two sides there is not any respect for the autonomy of the other, this other must cut the bond uniting them out of respect for himself. In the same way, he who consents to be enslaved cannot gain friendship. But the necessity contained in the bond of affection can exist on one side only, and in this case there is only friendship on one side, if we keep the strict and exact meaning of the word.

A friendship is tarnished as soon as necessity triumphs, if only for a moment, over the desire to preserve the faculty of free consent on both sides. In all human beings, necessity is the principle of impurity. All friendship is impure if even a trace of the wish to please or the contrary desire to dominate is found in it. In a perfect friendship these two desires are completely absent. The two friends have fully consented to be two and not one, they respect the distance which the fact of being two distinct creatures places between them. Man has the right to desire direct union with God alone.

Friendship is a miracle by which a person consents to view from a certain distance, and without coming any nearer, the very being who is necessary to him as food. It requires the strength of the soul that Eve did not have; and yet she had no need of the fruit. If she had been hungry at the moment she looked at the fruit, and if in spite of the she had remained looking at it indefinitely without taking one step toward it, she would have performed a miracle analogous to that of perfect friendship.

Through this supernatural miracle of respect for human autonomy, friendship is very like the pure forms of compassion and gratitude called forth by affliction. In both cases the contraries which are the terms of the harmony are necessity and liberty, or in other words subordination and equality. These two pairs of opposites are equivalent.

From the fact that the desire to please and the desire to command are not found in pure friendship, it has in it, at the same time as affection, something not unlike a complete indifference. Although it is a bond between two people it is in a sense impersonal. It leaves impartiality intact. It in no way prevents us from imitating the perfection of our Father in heaven who freely distributes sunlight and rain in every place. On the contrary, friendship and this distribution are the mutual conditions one of the other, in most cases at any rate. For, as practically every human being is bound to others by bonds of affection that have in them some degree of necessity, he cannot go toward perfection except by transforming this affection into friendship. Friendship has something universal about it. It consists in loving a human being as we should like to be able to love each soul in particular of all those who go to make up the human race. As a geometrician looks at a particular figure in order to deduce the universal properties of the triangle, so he who knows how to love directs upon a particular human being a universal love. The consent to preserve an autonomy within ourselves and within others is essentially of a universal order. As soon as we wish for this autonomy to be respected in more than just one single being we desire it for everyone, for we cease to rearrange the order of the world in a circle whose center is here below. We transport the center of the circle beyond the heavens.

Friendship does not have this power if the two beings who love each other, through an unlawful use of affection, think they form only one. But then there is not friendship in the true sense of the word. That is what might be called an adulterous union, even though it comes about between husband and wife. There is not friendship where distance is not kept and respected.

The simple fact of having pleasure in thinking the same way as the beloved being, or in any case the fact of desiring such an agreement of opinion, attacks the purity of the friendship at the same time as its intellectual integrity. It is very frequent. But at the same time pure friendship is rare.

When the bonds of affection and necessity between human beings are not supernaturally transformed into friendship, not only is the affection of an impure and low order, but it is also combined with hatred and repulsion…The mechanism is the same in affections other than carnal love. It is easy to understand this. We hate what we are dependent upon. We become disgusted by what depends on us. Sometimes affection does not only become mixed with hatred and revulsion; it is entirely changed into it. The transformation may sometimes even be almost immediate, so that hardly any affection has had time to show; this is the case when necessity is laid bare almost at once. When the necessity that brings people together has nothing to do with the emotions, when it is simply due to circumstances, hostility often makes its appearance from the start.

When Christ said to his disciples, “Love one another,” it was not attachment he was laying down as their rule. As it was a fact that there were bonds between them due to the thoughts, the life, and the habits they shared, he commanded them to transform these habits into friendship, so that they should not be allowed to turn into impure attachment or hatred.

Since, shortly before his death, Christ gave this as a new commandment to be added to the two great commandments of the love of our neighbor and the love of God, we can think that pure friendship, like the love of our neighbor, has in it something of a sacrament. Christ perhaps wished to suggest this with reference to Christian friendship when he said: “Where there are two or three gathered in my name there I am in the midst of them.” Pure friendship is an image of the original and perfect friendship that belongs to the trinity and is the very essence of God. It is impossible for two human beings to be one while scrupulously respecting the distance that separates them, unless God is present in each of them. The point at which parallels meet is infinity.

Written by Simone Weil

Excerpt from p. 131 to 137 in Waiting for God

 Forms of the Implicit Love of God






– “Flea Market of the Gods,” made from 100% recycled images, by Abberant Art Co.




Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

–  W. S. Merwin


“Those of us committed to social justice activism, liberation, and collective love rarely, if ever, talk about our mistakes, the harms we cause, and how those harms impact people — especially people in our intimate sphere and families — publicly. That sort of radical transparency, self-reflection, and accountability, in my opinion, is what’s missing from the public arena and discourse of social and transformative justice.” -Vanessa Lewis

Reflections on the practice of loving and nurturing ourselves and living transparently:



“I am living for at least two now,” she mused.

A series of serendipitous but timely stimuli had once again greased the hamster wheels lodged deep between her Eye. First, there had been her reverent analogy to one famous philosopher’s Theory of Forms, then to a comedian’s commentary, a poet’s melody, and a screenwriter’s vision.

Artists’ paths had reignited her own attention back at/to the Source.

She rediscovered herself retelling the parable of her Perfect Cottage Home, and silently reliving the grandiose blueprints of the Paradisa Club. In fact, it was only a week prior that her brother had playfully (and perhaps prophetically) capitalized on a comparison between the latter and her most recent “Pyramid Scheme.” So it was also partly as a result of his ingenuity that she had restarted scanning her past, prying for new patterns. Acutely aware at what moment precisely she had made her first aberrant choice that day, she felt the well of confidence inside her rise continuously thereafter.

Her blood was swelling and spilling over and her neural paths were tingling and twinkling (as stars do) at the prospect of reconsidering direction:

Now is no-time to re-new adventure, they rethought themselves.


We overworked, underpaid, and we underprivileged
They love us, they love us (why?)
Because we feed the village
You really made it or just became a prisoner of privilege?
You willing to share that information that you’ve been given?
Like who really run this?
Like who really run that man that say he run this?
Who who really run that man that say he run this, run run run run this?
Like who really fund this?
Like who really fund who say he fund this?
Like who in the world gon’ tell Donald Sterl who to put on the “you can’t come” list?
Now don’t be silly
Who the fuck gon’ bully me if I got a billi?
If I got a billi and the bitch recording me I’m like who cares
What I wouldn’t be is on TV stutterin’ ta-ta-talkin’ scared
So the question is when Don’s at home with that traitor ass bitch alone
Who’s that voice on the side of the phone that shakes and rattles his bones?
Could it be the man behind the man behind the man behind the throne?

Lyrics, Run the Jewels




if they challenge you
show them here
my love for you
perched on my sleeve
take my mother's ring 
your mother's necklace
the mastery of love
the four agreements 
anything with eight legs
everything you wrote me
and most importantly
the sequoia trees
take care please
to remember me 



                                do you wonder how i am 
                                i miss loving a friend
                                spell broken otherwise
                                to your searching soul
                                i fail you as a healer
                                also as your friend if
                                i try to come back now
                                harder pill but i will 
                                give the gift of space

where my father tried to master me 
as my husband and so with most men
when sold i did not possess myself
i chose to master love in my stead
nothing scares the masters more or
eludes their possession better she
lone is master the gods of masters


and where is home in all this?
it's not where i was born (or to whom)
and it's not where i have laid 
tell me, is it when i am with you?
or was it always only in my mind?
in this pain kill mad machine test
i came to you to escape the rest 





‘Bien con muchas armas fundo
que lidia vuestra arrogancia,
pues en promesa e instancia
juntáis diablo, carne y mundo’

-Juana de la Cruz, excerpt from a poem

My six month battle playing the ghost had finally come to an end.

Playing my ghost meant I got to break and take ball in hand. And though I had been running racks since September, my success felt anything but.

You see, my ghost was legendary. Beautiful and familiar, her reputation preceded her, and overshadowed me.

With every rack and every shot the pressure only mounted. And I was suffocating under the weight of it. She had beat me before, and she would beat me again. Or so I was told over and over again. My mastery of the game, far from rewarding, had become a source of increasing fatigue.

That night, above the usual noisy crowd (I never knew whether they were jeering or cheering), I listened in for Don. He had wagered quite heavily in my favor, and had exclusively reaped the considerable return from my unprecedented winning streak. It was easy for me to tune into his voice beyond the noise.

“Miserable. Miserable. I should never have done this,”

I heard him whisper under his breath, his fists clenching.

“I wish I was anywhere…..this was a mistake.”

The streak had taken a toll on him as well. But he hated her even more than he hated losing. I felt my eyes water as I took in a deep breath. I straightened my back and gingerly raised my head above the exquisitely set rack. I looked absently at the wooden triangle I was expected to have lifted in that moment, then I looked up at my ghost, who was peering back at me with a perplexed look in place of her usual mischievous and playful grin.

“I don’t want to play anymore,” I announced to a stunned and silenced room. “I am done now.”

I’ll never forget what happened next.

My ghost began to cry. I watched as her confused look turned into her knowing look turned into her true look of melancholy and understanding.

Then, I saw a gentleman break through from a crowd that was otherwise fading fast from the pool hall. He appeared to be comforting my ghost. I scrunched my eyes to make out the strangely familiar figure.

It was my dad!

But how could that be?

I scrunched my eyes again in disbelief. The scene was now utterly fantastical. My father (who had been paralyzed in a hospital bed and unable to attend a single match over the past six months) had run up to comfort my ghost.

“Fuck these guys, you don’t need any of these people. You are better than all of these people. You are the best. You’re the only one I can never beat. You are perfect.”

I witnessed myself floating toward them in disbelief, initially determined to touch the hologram in an effort to return me to reality. I also wanted to hug and comfort my sobbing ghost.

Instead I occupied her space, in my father’s embrace.




egg shells on egg shells
when every one is trying






                                          unravel my arm
                                          wind up doll i
                                          set aside time
                                          to paint flesh

“When we choose to believe in illusion over the truth, we lose sight of our authentic self. The illusion acts as a filter on all the information we perceive, and the decisions we make in the moment and the actions we take may not necessarily be true to us. On the other hand, if we are aware of and honor our truth, our choice will reflect that truth. At that instant, if we are willing to accept the truth, we have the opportunity for unconditional love…The choice between illusion and truth is the same as choosing between conditional love and unconditional love.”

-Don Miguel Ruiz, Daily Meditations on the Toltec Path



  1. Feel the room I am in; do not Fear it.

  2. Remind myself of the Truth;

  3. I am the most powerful thing in this room, and I am Good.

  4. Therefore, everything in the room is good too.








in my New Dream

You and I return to the Ocean

to Play together, to make Love

to destroy, in order to Create

to give birth, to Rebirth


Toltec wisdom


consciousness:     our awareness, our attention

&  free will:           our intent, our ability to choose what to think & how to interact

create our reality:    allow us to collaboratively construct, or passively participate, in our social world

life is but a dream:    the social world we experience is the product of many minds, an illusion, contingent, & it passes (that is, we pass through it)

We can choose to dream otherwise

We can choose a New Dream

We are God,

God is Life,

God is Love,

God alone is Real

The rest of it is what God passes through,

in order to play, & in search of Truth


There is an old story from India about God, Brahma, who was all alone. Nothing existed but Brahma, and he was completely bored. Brahma decided to play a game, but there was no one to play the game with. So he created a beautiful goddess, Maya, just for the purpose of having fun. Once Maya existed and Brahma told her the purpose of her existence, she said, “Okay, let’s play the most wonderful game, but you have to do what I tell you to do.” Brahma agreed, and following Maya’s instructions, he created the whole universe. Brahma created the sun and the stars, the moon and the planets. Then he created life on earth: the animals, the ocean, the atmosphere, everything.

Maya said, “How beautiful is the world of illusion you created. Now I want you to create a kind of animal that is so intelligent and aware that it can appreciate your creation.” Finally Brahma created humans, and after he finished the creation, he asked Maya when the game was going to start.

“We will start right now,” she said. She took Brahma and cut him into a thousand teeny, tiny pieces. She put a piece inside every human and said, “Now the game begins! I am going to make you forget what you are, and you are going to try and find yourself!”

Maya created the dream, and still, even today, Brahma is trying to remember who he is. Brahma is there inside you, and Maya is stopping you from remembering who you are. When you awake from the Dream, you become Brahma again, and reclaim your divinity. Then if Brahma inside you says, “Okay, I am awake; what about the rest of me?” you know the trick of Maya, and you can share the truth with others who are going to wake up too.

-Excerpt from The Mastery of Love by don Miguel Ruiz, p. 191-192.


where I learn love




Only our first night together, but I suspect that the beautiful worry doll Georgia Rae brought back for me from Mexico already has her work cut out for her. “We’re closing in on our one year anniversary,” I whispered to her as I rubbed her gently, “and my biggest worry is that I’ve permanently lost the most meaningful human connection I’ve made to date.” She looks cool, confident, and capable. I kiss her head and tuck her under my pillow.


what are you afraid of?

i don't know.

what are you afraid of?

it will hurt him or make him mad.

what else?

he won't respond or his response will hurt me. 

what else?

he doesn't love me like i love him. 

anything else?

he never really loved me.

what are you afraid of?

                              you say if he is worth
                              the spaces he occupies
                              he will come home soon



When only half your face looked up to greet the whole of my voice as I pleaded with you to hold tight until the paramedics arrived, I thought I knew. While we waited like dogs desperate in the E.R. and you feverishly grasped at Cary and I to hug us for the last time, I thought you knew. I never felt as heartbroken, helpless, or hopeless in all my life as I did in that room. And now, I can’t even think about it and breathe at the same time, so I don’t. I can’t hold to the thought of you suffering in that hospital bed. I love you more than I have ever loved anyone, but it feels like that precious fact is utterly useless to us now. Even worse, it may prove a liability. I feel a part of me leaving with you, but I am unsure how much of us, or what will remain, or what will take its place. I am sad, I feel uncertain. I hide under our green blanket, I cry alone in the shower. I feel beatable, though I am not allowed to, I still worship you. I adore you.



Moving forward


Those who are eager to face truth reflect on the difference between attachment and love:

In reflection, they see that attachment always comes with demands or conditions. Those who know how to stand back can notice it. Using their insight, they ask themselves, “Is what I am calling love really attachment thriving under the shelter of beautiful words? Do I have any demands on the person whom I love? Is it a kind of bargain? Is it a business?”

When we put love in the category of business, it is not love. In business, we see where we get profit. There is no feeling of giving, offering, accepting, only seeing who gets more. Both parties are watching out for themselves. If this is the case in a relationship, then are we not deluding ourselves?

So when you understand this truth, you understand your relationships. Your awareness becomes different. Your perception changes. You know how to give space, how to give room. Relationships become sweeter, more meaningful. The other party starts to learn from you. Love is vast. When you encompass that vastness, then you love all. When you love all, then you really love the one whom you love.

Twelve Facets of Reality: The Jain Path to Freedom, Gurudev Shree Chitrabhanu




Dad, I am feeling excited and looking forward to traveling so much now especially all of us together, it has really lifted my mood and given me something to get excited about, thank you sincerely for getting tickets and making this happen! p.s. Help mom out I don’t think her passport is up to date and I am not sure how familiar she is with the process, especially if she is going to have to expedite it. I’m worried because it might be too late. If I remember right the fastest you could expedite was 30 days. I could be remembering wrong, but I am pretty sure. And she emailed me saying hers expires tomorrow.

I can get mom passport in one day. I got one last week for Atef Magda same day from Miami.

Haha. Are you serious? Same day! Jesus, cutting it close..

With me everything is same day.

I guess nothing is impossible.

The only one that can beat me in this country is you.

Pshhh, if I’m your biggest challenge then you’ll go undefeated.

I don’t know how to defeat you for the last 25 years.

I’m 30. You’re saying you could control me until I turned 5..

Yes, yes. The only one really.

What about Cary? No force on Earth or in heaven will control her. 🙂

I give up on Cary the day she born.  I am not sure she is even mine.

Liar! I am quoting you! Oh give it a rest. We both know good and well mom is 100% faithful.

Yes she is. Always I win in any situation not involving you. Once you are in it I lose lose loser. It is not okay. You just remind me when I was your age!!! Unbeatable. That is you, unbeatable girl.

Really? That might be the nicest thing you have ever said to me..

I swear to you, you are. I mean it.




May 23rd, 2016


Hey dad, how are you feeling

Miss you so much look to see you soon I feel good waiting for the results

Okay dad hang in there I am going to try and come home early

Come back soon to save me from Cary


There is a story of a woman whose husband was constantly gambling and getting drunk. He used to come home late at night, knock on the door, and wait for his wife to open it. She would do so at whatever hour he came home. Always she remained peaceful, patient.

Eventually, he grew tired of his own vices and ran away. After five years, with spoiled health, he returned home. His wife had known that one day he would. Meanwhile, during the five years in which he had been absent, she had not lost her peace nor had she turned to vices herself. She had used her time to build her inner muscles.

She was so strong that the evening he returned and stood at the door, she only said, “Come in, please!” He could not believe that after five years, after having run away, he could be hearing these gentle words. Then she said, “You must be hungry. Have some dinner.”

Hearing these sweetly spoken words, he began to melt inside. He started to cry. The tears kept on rolling down his cheeks. Gently his wife said, “Have I not told you- you are not bad. It was the company you kept. And don’t these tears show that the core of your heart is good and soft?” He felt like bowing at her feet. “I have heard about saints, ” he said, “but if I had not seen you, I would never have believed. Now I know that I have no need to go away again.”

He then began moving forward into a purposeful life.

Twelve Facets of Reality: The Jain Path to Freedom, Gurudev Shree Chitrabhanu



In meditating on this bhavana, we observe our whole cycle:

We say, “When I was born, my mother was in pain, crying. Then she saw my face and was happy. The pain was gone.” What the mother suffered for nine months was gone in one minute.

At the same time, we look at those close to us in our lives- a brother, sister, parent, or partner- and see that some have gone and some are still here. The dearest people whom we love and who love us come and go. They don’t remain permanently. The people who hate and are hated also come and go.

This is the Ferris wheel; this is the process.

Twelve Facets of Reality: The Jain Path to Freedom, Gurudev Shree Chitrabhanu


                        they asked for you and i smile softly
                        slowly build big beautiful teary eyes
                        i gently shrug my shrinking shoulders 
                        i think dad is the only one who knows
                        irony he is the only one who feels me
                        never too soon for the lesson on loss
                        never too late for the lesson on love

to you, my mane


                                   a bald man for a mane
                                   held on to our center  
                                   she opened up to your
                                   trapped in his circle
                                   you never under stood 
                                   and could not protect   
                                   we never had a chance





a p p l e s
l i b e r t y  
c i g a r  
l a k e  e l l a
p o l y a m o r o u s
v e g e t a r i a n
p a s t a  d i n n e r
m a n g o s
m u s i c  f e s t i v a l
f l a t  l a n d
t h e  b e t t y ' s
s i l e n t  d i s c o
u n l o c k e d  c h a p e l
r i v e r  r o m a n c e
g r a s s l a n d s
e m o t i o n  w o r d  l i s t
t h e  p r i n c e
f a l a f e l  w a f f l e s
t r a n s i t i o n
t h e  p l a n t
l a  s e i n e / 
f r e n c h  g r a s s h o p p e r  m o n s t e r
c a n d l e  l i t  h a m p e r / l o v e
k a l a m a t a  o l i v e s
n o n v i o l e n t  c o m m u n i c a t i o n
f r i e n d s h i p 
f l a g l e r
s h e l l s / s u r f /
u n d e r  t h e  s t a r s





l i b e r a t e
o n e 
a n o t h e r
n o t h i n g
n e w
i s
s u r e
i s
n e w
n o t h i n g
a n o t h e r
o n e
l i b e r a t e



                      fair weather whose need to know let
                      me down for the last time with your
                      silence as violence had lesson plan 




Sundays, nowadays


The Olympic style of
Sundays are new days
i read to you and we
watch T.V. with ease
we made a compromise
tennis match for you
and i get to watch a
stunning Serena slay
but you glared at me 
so skeptically as if
to say this daughter 
is too obviously gay 
but not to worry you
love unconditionally
now and are so sorry
about that pain kill 
past and in fact our
love was your saving 
grace and everything 
nowadays he is proud





                        i wake up to the down
                        and so not to drown i
                        lift my rust from the
                        sink to study my face
                        through your eyes see
                        myself how you saw me
                        my attention drawn to
                        the task of carefully 
                        mapping out of all my
                        imperfections and you
                        tell me where to draw
                        blood and drain pores
                        and when it hurts too
                        much i feel you close
                        behind my apple eye i
                        devastate the process
                        i must make a morning
                        last this time i will
                        though this warmth of 
                        over has taken over i
                        once more implore you
                        take out my apple eye
                        see what i see when i
                        say i love you though
                        i am not allowed to i
                        worship your disciple
                        ship so anchor to her
                        your search for truth



1. End the war on black people.

2. Reparations for past and continuing harms.

3. Divestment from the institutions that criminalize, cage and harm black people;

and investment in the education, health and safety of black people.

4. Economic justice for all and a reconstruction of the economy

to ensure our communities have collective ownership, not merely access.

5. Community control of the laws, institutions and policies that most impact us.

6. Independent black political power and black self-determination

in all areas of society.




on my summer of death
our dream dissolution
the resurrection fern

aim anew forward move
how Bodhisattvas swim
inside the Suwannee i

looked up at the rain
drops sun-kissed this
lemonade stand set up

promise to go where i 
am needed most and to 
leave this life after
better, without cries
out for mad attention
in peace with purpose 

the opposite of how i 
arrived: tranquil and 
not the cause of pain

to you, my ocean


like the ocean,

i mistook your turbulence for depth
and my vulnerability for trust

like the ocean,

i was captivated by you
i felt elation in you

like the ocean,

you would consume me, with indifference
drown me, with impunity

like the ocean,

our power asymmetry tranforms
the moment i walk away from you

and just like the ocean,

when you see me again
you will not recognize me


                                         down to the ground 

                                         lay flat on cement
                                         look up at the sky
                                         say i will be okay


as you spoke of our "failure"

my eyes fell flat on the painting
and i noticed, for the first time

that the roof was lopsided,
and the trees were rushed.

and, in fact, the whole beautiful scene lacked sense.

i realized that my mother was not perfect,
that my father was not invincible,
that i was not a child,

and that you were not a savior.




                                                 locked in the i
                                                 held hostage by
                                                 the capacity to
                                                 live on through 
                                                 events the body
                                                 not designed to




                  in what ways are children not their mother's equal
                  that is the sense in which they have not been ours
                  though we put their want and interests before ours
                  and though we placed their hope and ambition above
                  all else: the sober truth is we are the alchemists
                  we turned the water into wine, suffering into love

                  we absorb the pains and misery of their false gods
                  but why do we reconcile ourselves to a mad machine



                                 what a devastating defect
                                    to not have it in me
                                      to stay angry to
                                       be consumed by


hiding in the bath of tears
trying not to drown in loss
trying her best not to lose
her faith in you to grow up

why are you doing this love
to us and our what could be
and to one of my dearest is
everything you throw out so
casual with your casualties

i do not know how to cope i
did not think you were able
to stoop this low so who is
this monster what lesson am
i supposed to learn besides
i am still a fool for faith


what is this
un relenting 
pain in side
what will it
say your act
against love
what will it
take to wake 
me up stream


so for her
'if i was a snake,
you were my skin,' sake 

take solace, love 

          that in moving through you
          she moved closer too

her distraction from
the destructive ways 

of her ungodly sons

her protection from
the wiry rays of an

unruly sun 



“Awakened to life out of unconsciousness, the will finds itself as an individual in an endless and boundless world, among innumerable individuals, all striving, suffering, and erring; and, as if through a troubled dream, it hurries back to the old unconsciousness. Yet till then its desires are unlimited, its claims inexhaustible, and every satisfied desire gives birth to a new one. No possible satisfaction in the world could suffice to still its craving, set a final goal to its demands, and fill the bottomless pit of its heart. In this connexion, let us now consider what as a rule comes to man in satisfactions of any kind; it is often nothing more than the bare maintenance of this very existence, extorted daily with unremitting effort and constant care in conflict with misery and want, and with death in prospect. Everything in life proclaims that earthly happiness is destined to be frustrated, or recognized as an illusion. The grounds for this lie deep in the very nature of things.”-Arthur Schopenhauer






Despite a near decade of philosophical training, I confess that my observation of ducks throughout this same period has probably provided at least as much fodder for thinking through existential concerns.

Yesterday was no exception.

Georgia Rae, Sara, and I went to some length to unite a baby duck that had strayed a good distance from its family (a momma duck and nine siblings) at Lake Ella. After a good fifteen minutes or so of bread-crumb-trail-making (in conjunction with some fallen-branch-based prodding), we sat back ready to witness what we presumed would be a super-magical-super-cute reunion between a momma duck and her long lost baby duck (i.e. the inevitable culmination of our good deed for the day). We preemptively, collectively aww-d aloud as the momma duck raced ahead of her nine baby ducks to reach the stray baby duck first. But when she finally got up close enough to it she snapped at its head, and kept snapping at its head as it tried repeatedly to embed (camouflage?) itself back among its siblings. Upon closer examination it seemed to be the case that the formally stray baby duck was in fact the runt of its mother’s offspring. And it was not at all clear that momma duck wanted it anywhere near her or its siblings.

Nature: awe-inspiring, life-promulgating, life-alienating, brutish, beautiful, red, tooth and claw, etc.



words they use 
amused you too
where once was
were no longer


                         those mindless spineless meaningless 
                         cowards you remember making me laugh
                         all i see are sheep now and i cannot 
                         i need to hear that we can leave now 



                              they mined
                              hands tied
                              i chose to
                              to believe    
                              his memory
                              had failed
                              him and he
                              severity i  
                              listen too
                              you know i
                              am careful
                              forgive me
                              sister for
                              my lack of
                              it is just
                              my loss of
                              i loved so



“Properly speaking, there are in the world no such men as self-made men. That term implies an individual independence of the past and present which can never exist…No possible native force of character, and no depth of wealth and originality, can lift a man into absolute independence of his fellow men, and no generation of men can be independent of the preceding generation.”


-Frederick Douglass, “Self-Made Men”





all but done





                           the tears are dried on my face
                           i don't taste the meals and in
                           fact have not showered in days


                                         even after they
                                         sat me down too

                                         how you had let
                                         me down even so

                                         still cannot in
                                         good faith hear

                                         the truth hurts
                                         even more today

                                         you made a fool
                                         of me and of us



But, once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings

 infinite distances

continue to exist,


a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them


which makes it possible for each to see the other whole and against a wide sky!




–Rainer Maria Rilke




Meet Bernie Sanders

cary poem for mary





                                                    pretty isolation chamber
                                                    maiden from this octagon
                                                    writes free at last free


not until the hour matters do i learn that i do not to you



                         to love human beings 
                in so far as they are nothing
             that is to love them as God does

-Simone Weil




“In this world, only those people who have fallen to the lowest degree of humiliation, far below beggary, who are not just without any social consideration but are regarded by all as being deprived of that foremost human dignity, reason itself – only those people, in fact, are capable of telling the truth. All the others lie.”

                                                                        -Simone Weil



Where God is Woman



in this wise:

“Let us change about. You be man, and I will be God. For only one second.”

God smiled gently and asked him, “Aren’t you afraid?”

“No. And you?”

“Yes, I am,” God said.

Nevertheless he granted man’s desire. He became a man, and the man took his place and immediately availed himself of his omnipotence: he refused to revert to his previous state. So neither God nor man was ever again what he seemed to be.

Years passed, centuries, perhaps eternities. And suddenly the drama quickened. The past for one, and the present for the other, were too heavy to be borne.

As the liberation of the one was bound to the liberation of the other, they renewed the ancient dialogue whose echoes come to us in the night, charged with hatred, with remorse, and most of all, with infinite yearning.”

-Elie Wiesel, The Town Beyond the Wall, p. 179.






                          his glorious pin me up bright blue days
                          were also my out of his sight blue days












                                         you admonish me to
                          do better than the
          glorious pin me up















                                    be a dreamer
                                    in wholesale 
                                    be alone and
                                    she is still
                                    there you go
                                    at it all on 
                                    your own win
                                    i still grin
                                    nudge gently
                                    you are mean
                                    sometimes so
                                    let me be if
                                    sometimes we
                                    grow best in
                                    spite of our
                                    egos bruised



         despite this hard phase
         hope we find our way to
         the trees you planted i
         still see you beside me




The advice is to write every day, whatever comes to me, for at least an hour to start.
I have this nagging feeling that, if I do not do something about it soon, I will amount to little more than a predictable obsession with individual freedom.
I miss the "spoon-fed lies," and I admit I have placed on a pedestal the dormitory dream of our white-fenced-off freedom.
The substitutes have proved cheap fuel, and have come at a high cost to my self-worth.
However, I am too convinced I do not deserve you in my current state, since you deserve the absolute best.
You make homo sapiens sapiens worth rooting for, despite your general disdain for the home team.
Thank you for exposing me to the possibilities.


are not we
the same 


             lion prints
                the same

we have always been


Ceaselessly loving souls, wandering, lost though they may seem,
will eventually, by necessity, travel light. 



Dear Students,
I wrote you a poem that doubles as a pep talk to get you through the rest of finals week. Last time I wrote a class a poem, it was based on a song from the movie The Lion King (and it was for a bunch of kindergarteners, so needless to say, it was a real crowd pleaser). For our class, I decided to go with the song “Remember Me This Way.” It’s from the 1995 classic Casper (for those of you who don’t know because you lived in a womb, or under a rock, for most of the 90’s). Anyway, I personalized the lyrics and even tried to step up my rhyme game for you nerds (you’re welcome).
Thank you again for being the highlight of my semester.
Ms. Marcous
Dedicated to my students in PHM2121-01 (Fall 2015):
Every now and then
You find a special class
(With record-high levels of sass)
That never lets you down
Who understand systems of oppression
And how income inequality relates to economic recession
You’re the best class that I’ve found
And I don’t need eyes to see
My favorite days were when you were in front of me
No matter where life goes
I know our class can’t stay (in HWC 3100)
But a part of you will never, ever go away
Your student activity reports will stay
I’ll make a wish for you
And hope it will come true
That finals week will just be kind
To such brilliant, beautiful minds
But if you lose your cool
Just remember, there is more to life than school
Like pugs, and Dolly Parton (pipes of an angel), and football
Not to mention, you are always welcome to visit me in 106 Dodd Hall
Remember me this way
P.S. It’s still not too late for us to move up to D.C.
(And make midterms together that are way too easy)









Grace means more than gifts.
In grace, something is transcended, once and for all overcome.
Grace happens in spite of something; it happens in spite of separation
and alienation.
Grace means life is once again reconciled with life, self is reconciled
with self.
Grace means accepting the abandoned one.
Grace transforms fate into a meaningful vocation.
It transforms guilt to trust and courage.
The word grace has something triumphant in it.

–Yrjo Kallinen


                            a bitter, sweet
                            tasteless stain 
                            were the little 
                            girl there whom 
                            we screwed into 
                            death day dream 
                            breeds yearning