'Cusp' Martina Hoffman
For Strong Women
A strong woman is a woman who is straining
A strong woman is a woman
on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
while trying to sing "Boris
A strong woman is a woman at work
cleaning out the cesspool of
and while she shovels, she talks about
how she doesn't mind
crying, it opens
the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
stomach muscles, and
she goes on shoveling with tears in her nose.
strong woman is a woman in whose head
a voice is repeating, I told you
ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
ballbuster, nobody will
ever love you back,
why aren't you feminine, why aren't
you soft, why
aren't you quiet, why aren't you dead?
A strong woman is a woman
to do something others are determined
not be done. She is
pushing up on the bottom
of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
manhole cover with her head, she is trying
to butt her way through a steel
Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
to be made say, hurry,
you're so strong.
A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong
woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to
say, and now
every battle a scar. A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and
memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.
woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but
as a wolf
suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as
the wind fills a sail.
What comforts her is others loving
her equally for
the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a
Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
Only water of
flowing through us. Strong is what we make
Until we are all strong together,
a strong woman is a woman strongly
This is from
'Sounds of Valley Streams - Enlightenment in Dogen's Zen' Francis H.
If Buddha nature is itself impermanent or impermanence,
then it is
futile to hope for permanence in enlightenment; worse, the
only intensifies feelings of anxiety and sadness. For Dogen, the
solution to the problem of impermanence is to realize its
reality, and in the realization, to accept it unequivocally as one's
life. This realization is at once both the acceptance of the reality of
in its broader scope and the acceptance of oneself as a truly time-bound
and perishable being. This means that realization is in part a matter of
progressively grasping the reality of all things and in part a matter of
accepting oneself as being that same reality, without regret, fear, resentment,
or antipathy. Dogen's message seems to be that in this profound self-acceptance
and self-understanding, one becomes free from impermanence even while remaining
impermanent in a thoroughly impermanent world. Liberation, consequently, is not
transcendence in the sense that one passes beyond, or literally escapes
conditions, but rather consists in an absolute affirmation of the condition and
in an unqualified acceptance of oneself as subject to the condition. As Martin
Heidegger, the existentialist philosopher, said, authentic selfhood is not
possible without radically confronting one's essential mortality. For Heidegger,
as with Dogen, true selfhood comes from understanding what one is.
Recently nds was hit
by spam. This led me to reflect on how my ego is spamming me all day long and I
am letting it. Sometimes it sends me
multiple messages concerning my body.
"You're fat....you're fat....you're fat....you used to be thin...you're
fat......" And then the antispam starts
piping up...."you're not really
fat...it's the pants...you're not really
fat...it's the pants."
Who is monitoring this message board? Apparently I let just
join. Some of the me's that have registered are downright insane
some are decidedly silly. One keeps singing the words to American Pie as
I ponder the meaning of life. Bye, bye, Miss American Pie...Bye, bye, Miss
American Pie, Bye, bye, Miss American Pie.
One of the most ingenuous ways
it slips past me is to pretend to be my friend. It wants to "help me" and in
this way manages to fill my
inner board with redundancies such as, "You're
not so bad, you're not so bad, you're not so bad." Of course, before long the
flood has changed to posts of "so and so is worse than you, so and so is worse
than you, so and so is worse than you." At times I vow to quit reading these
posts made to my heart by my brain. The brain spam is a brain scam. Tom
foolery. High jinks. And some is downright dangerous. Crucify him. Crucify him.
Actually, all spam is bad because it is coming from the
depths of the
machine. Way, way down below is what we don't know. And what we
don'tknow does hurt us...does hurt us...does hurt us.
There will never be
a really good solution to the problem of
spamming. It can be seen for what it
is, though. It is a monstrous attempt to modify reality, but reality has the
final say....the final understanding.
The message board has a vital
purpose and it should be taken care of
with an urge to understand how easy it
is to get spammed and not even know it. Once you know it, you know a way to get
rid of it.
Phoenix Martina Hoffman
This is from
an article 'Women & Sufism'
by Camille Adams Helminski. The whole article
can be read at:
We need to stand together in the light. The
way is opening in our own
time for greater recognition of equal partnership.
We have much to learn from each other, and male and female need to recognize
each other so that we can come to balance within ourselves as well as creating
balance outwardly in the world. The male attributes of strength and
determination also belong to women; the feminine attributes of receptivity and
beauty also belong to men. As we look to the divine in each other, encouraging
each other to rise to the fullness of his or her own divine nature, we push
against our limitations until they dissolve and a gift unfolds. As we learn to
witness the miracle of creation, a time comes when "wheresoever you look, there
is the Face of God; everything is perishing except the One
the muse of
A Zen parable:
had spread across the countryside about a wise and holy man who
lived in a
small house atop the mountain. A man from the village had
a very serious
problem, so he decided to make the long and difficult
journey to visit him.
When he arrived at the house, he saw an old
servant inside who greeted him
at the door. "I would like to see the
wise holy man," he said to the
The servant smiled and led him inside. As they walked through
house, the man from the village looked eagerly around the house,
anticipating his encounter with the holy man. Yet before he knew it,
had been led to the back door and escorted outside. He stopped and turned to the
servant, "But I want to see the holy man. I've come a
long way and I have a
very important question to ask him."
"You already have," said the old
man. "Everyone you meet in life,
even if they appear plain and
insignificant-- see each of them as a
wise and holy man. If you will do
this, then whatever problem you
brought here today will be solved."
Thomas Merton added:
more one seeks 'the good' outside oneself as something to be
more one is faced with the necessity of discussing,
analyzing the nature of the good. The more,
therefore, one becomes involved
in abstractions and in the confusion
of divergent opinions. The more the
'good' is objectively analyzed,
the more it is treated as something to be
attained by special
virtuous techniques, the less real it becomes. As it
real, it recedes further into the distance of abstraction,
unattainability. The more, therefore, one concentrates on the
to be used to attain it. And as the end becomes more and more
diffcult, the means become more elaborate and complex, until finally
study of the means becomes so demanding that all one's effort
concentrated on this, and the end is forgotten... a devotion
systematic uselessness of practicing means which lead nowhere.
This is, in
fact, nothing but organized despair: 'the good' that is
preached and exacted
by the moralist thus finally becomes an evil,
and all the more so since the
hopeless pursuit of it distracts one
from the real good which one already
possesses and which one now
"The Way of Chuang Tzu" by Thomas
Merton, New Directions Books 1965,
Jerry the nondual guy
Mind Over Matter is a Sunday
section of the Times of India which, like this list, features a selection of
interesting spiritual articles. Check it out:
There is no domination, and no submission, in
mind of no parts.
Domination and submission are acted out on the
of life, by characters playing roles.
This mind of no parts has
no role to play, and so
manifests all roles simultaneously.
In the death of any attempt, is peace.
have been the attempt to know something.
With the death of that attempt,
is known, or to be known.
Mother Earth And Her
The beauty of the feminine is flowering in our consciousness, an
awakening to a whole other way of being. We are beginning to understand the
importance of nurturing, connection, love, in deeper and deeper ways.
is the softening of both genders as we begin the spiritual journey to
reclaim the balance that was lost in a forgotten past. It is the earth and
the sun in harmony, energies flowing together creating rain and growth, day
and night, birth and death.
The snow was coming down a few days ago, a
beautiful blanket, a settling of the feminine, her beauty calming, covering,
There was male energy sweeping off a car and driving away. It
was a woman.
There was female energy sitting in the window, looking out
peacefully, deeply appreciating the snow. Me.
and female energy are not necessarily gender related. There are women who need
to find their feminine energy center as well as men.
But the dominance of
male energy right now is appalling and it is mostly men doing it, no
We all need the balance that spiritual energy can give.
the doorway to my meditation, as I begin to let go, I pray for peace, pray
for the nurturing feminine energy to come into me, fill me with loving attitudes
and responses to people and situations in the world.
It is so hard now
not to erupt with anger at what is going on, but we need now, more than ever, to
find the softness within, the love to guide us through these very difficult
And I am talking about us. We need to work for peace in the world,
and peace comes through healing energy, not killing.
Let it begin inside
me, my own male energy, yielding to the nurturing
feminine energy that we
all, men and women, need so desperately to find within
Copyright © 2002 by John
1/25/2003, St. Louis, MO
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From: 'The Inner Voice of Love' by Henri J. M. Nouwen
Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply. You might be afraid of
the pain that deep love can cause. When those you love deeply
reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that
should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes
from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful. It is like a plough
that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root and grow into
a strong plant Every time you experience the pain of rejection,
absence, or death, you are faced with a choice. You can become
bitter and decide not to love again, or you can stand straight in your
pain and let the soil on which you stand become richer and more able
to give life to new seeds.
The more you have loved and have allowed yourself to suffer because
of your love, the more you will be able to let your heart grow wider and
deeper. When your love is truly giving and receiving, those whom you
love will not leave your heart even when they depart from you. They will become
part of yourself and thus gradually build a community within you.
Those you have deeply loved become part of you. The longer you live,
there will always be more people to be loved by you and to become
part of your inner community~ The wider your inner community becomes,
the more easily you will recognise your own brothers and sisters in the
strangers around you. Those who are alive within you will recognise those
who are alive around you. The wider the community of your heart, the
wider the community around you. Thus the pain of rejection, absence,
and death can become fruitful. Yes, as you love deeply the ground of
your heart will be broken more and more, but you will rejoice in the
abundance of the fruit it will bear.
Eric Ashford truevision
Untitled (Sun Behind
Saturday, January 25,
Edited by John