Sixteen year old with her second original song, this one written with a friend. Her voice is compelling and the poetry is honest and raw. Love me some Luna.

Mystic’s Prayer

Give me, Oh God,
Deep thoughts
High dreams
Few words

Much silence
The narrow path
The wide outlook
The end in peace

~ Hazrat Inayat Khan


unlocking the softness

Maybe the most important teaching is to lighten up and relax. It’s such a huge help in working with our crazy mixed-up minds to remember that what we’re doing is unlocking a softness that is in us and letting it spread. We’re letting it blur the sharp corners of self-criticism and complaint. ~ Pema Chödrön

I love this quote very much. I needed it about now. I’ve been busy beating myself up for perceived failures and shortcomings for weeks. I’ve assigned to myself responsibility for the pain and crisis my best loved ones have been living through and that isn’t right. I’ve tried to talk myself out of this warped perspective with logic, to little success. But this thought, to lighten up and relax, helped me take a deep breath and feel release. Once again this humble and wise teacher helps me remember what it is I am doing.

art by Joanne Rose
art by Joanne Rose

let us play

For years, my mantra was “Let it go”.  A few months ago, my mantra changed to, “Let it be”. Here are some of my thoughts on  ‘letting it be’ and one way I’ve found to nurture unconditional receptivity to whatever life brings.

“It is by suffering’s presence that we know there is something we need to address.” ~ Jane Hirshfield

Life is impossible to navigate without addressing the way we relate to suffering. Learning to sail on the winds of suffering instead of being tossed and battered yields a happy side effect: it leads us to new life as thirst leads us to water. When suffering comes in it’s many guises – loss, illness, physical or emotional pain, discontentment – there is a choice to make. Run and hide (avoidance, denial, distractions, medicating) or  take a step toward the unwelcome visitor.

Creativity opens the door to this unwanted guest. Utilizing the creative spark is a method for beginning the conversation, an ice breaker to take the edge off suffering. Creativity softens the blow and paves the way for insight. Painting, drawing, writing poetry, making music, journaling…each has her own spark. The chef creates in the kitchen, the gardener in the dirt.

This isn’t a frivolous undertaking. It’s as necessary to our process as food is to the body. Responding to suffering with creativity helps to unpack it, to gain insight and clarity. It helps us learn to let it be, to accept what is. When we stop resisting the valleys and dark places, we can begin mining them for the beauty and transformation they hold.

Suffering is a necessary part of life. To interact with it in an intentional and compassionate way is to say yes to life without being broken by it. The creative process is a step towards accepting  what it means to be fully human. It furthers the conversation in ways that open our eyes and hearts. Change is the happy result, change of perspective and change of heart. We come away renewed in understanding and hope, able to experience more fully the depth and breadth of human existence.

The first noble truth of Buddhist philosophy is that life has suffering, (better translated as dissatisfaction). But without this sense of dissatisfaction, would we ever feel the need for change? Without discomfort, would we exert any effort at all to heal and to grow kinder and braver?

A Box Full of Darkness
Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.
~ Mary Oliver

Planting seeds of transformation ~ maya friedman
planting seeds of transformation by maya freidman