And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
Painting by Shiloh Sophia from 2008
A soft green leaf
falls into your lap
and you cry and
you don’t know why
The tender veins
on the underside of the leaf
show you a vision:
The murky edge of a relationship
gone awry and suddenly you know:
You have been untrue,
to the primary relationship:
You didn’t know:
Now you do.
Patterns and beliefs
so entrenched they seem true
We just don’t know
where to look at first
Our relationship to truth
has always been complicated
The investigation into the residual
compost of unloyalty to the soul
finally becomes too much:
A muffled scream
begging to be heard
tears through our unrest
This disturbance is
So restless, not sure why:
Perhaps you are getting closer
Though we may have no
language for this anguish,
the scent of freedom opens
a crack in the dark wood of awareness
dense with other people’s ideas
Hey, how did those get in here?
A bit of us begins to awaken from
slumber and is astonished:
Truth is nowhere to be found
Waking up means a re-evaluation
of all we held dear
Each relationship reviewed
with the tenderness of an
for something valuable
Go slow Go outdoors
Be in a space where
leaves of awakening
fall into your lap
If you discover something
new and lovely
come to tell the rest of us
Those of us searching
for new truths
will be having tea
in the great mystery
Please note – I am sharing my view with you – I don’t hold it as a truth for anyone else. I am here to spark inquiry – not to have you believe what I believe. So if you get riled up, that’s a good thing, just take a look. My hope is ultimately to encourage us on our journey – but that might mean being uncomfortable. No hero or shero journey I have ever heard of, is free from encountering challenge.
Do you believe everything happens for a reason?
People say this a lot, often as a way to contextualize how hard things have been – and to make sense of them through providing them their proper place in being on purpose. That said, it is a different thing to make USE of what happens, than to believe we continually call hardship on ourselves to learn a lesson. Therefore there are no mistakes.
What do you think?
I have always been about truth seeking and truth telling. Once I realized how much we lie to ourselves, then I became really focused on how to discover the lies. A huge amount of my teachings in painting with Intentional Creativity are rooted in this self discovery. This looking for where we are being untrue to ourselves. It’s complicated. At first I wanted to grow up to be a judge, now I know I just want to be an Artist when I grow up.
We don’t know what we don’t know. You know this.
Yet looking, can be hazardous to ourselves and upset the apple cart of relationships. It’s worth it. It won’t be easy. But continuing in lack of internal integrity is a recipe for personal crisis, eventually. It happens to all of us, I think, at some point.
Wait, that could be a lie, not sure….so it isn’t a Truth. If something isn’t true all the time, then it is simply not a Truth with a capital T.
We can have an experience of truth that is true for us. This is different than A TRUTH that is universal and applicable to others. The assertion that what we think and believe is true should be true for others (like in religion or politics) is so divisive and contributes hugely to divide and conquer kinds of consciousness.
Can you believe what is true for you without needing anyone to stand there with you? Can you ‘not try’ to turn an idea you hold dear into a truth? Can I? Am I trying, without even knowing it – to get you to believe as I do, that we must each explore our own truths to be free? Is that true? Did I make it up? Do I think this view is superior?
Do I place a higher value on seekers than I do on sleepers?
Asking the questions, gets us started. As a child I had a button that said Question Authority, I wore it on my little jean jacket. I knew it meant, authority as in government etc. but I also made it mean that “I was a question authority” in that I would ask a lot of questions in my life. An authority in inquiry.
The challenge can be that it is difficult to get underneath ideas – to the root of the arising, or the origin of the idea. For example – What do you believe about hardship? About disease? About violence? When you hear of something that has befallen another person – is your first thought following the initial compassion, “I wonder what they did to create that for themselves?” Later you may dive into reasons it might have happened, where they live, access to resources, their beliefs, their karma – connecting the dots on the why, that you are making up. This is a damaging kind of internal gossip I am continually working with – with myself and the circles I am blessed to call.
You may even whisper to another friend – ‘So and so’ has cancer, did you hear? I think it has to do with “fill in the blank.” This is external gossip and really should be re-evaluated in our relationships. This is damaging for all involved. Be brave, if someone tells you ‘why’ something terrible happened to someone else and you get it that they are making up a story of speculation – say so.
Sometimes we create our own disasters, call them on ourselves to learn. BUT SOMETIMES we don’t. Therefore, it is not a Truth. For something to be TRUE it has to be TRUE all the time – doesn’t it? I am now asking myself this – can something that is TRUE at one time, become untrue later? And of course, the answer is yes.
Even if we don’t say it, do we think – that was part of that person’s story and after all – everything happens for a reason. Really? Is that really true? Even for you, is it true?
In another article I will speak to causation, which is the thing that comes before the disaster or hardship or disease – because we can’t really get to the root of it without looking at why we think bad things happen.
Can we each share our own truths without needing them to be true for others?
Does unity preside where there is true freedom to express and stand side by side.
Beginning to tell ourselves the truth is a pre-existing condition for awakening. Hence the reason so many of us are still asleep. It can be hard.
This Red Thread Letter isn’t really about sharing what’s true. Rather, it is about getting us to ask questions together so we can wake up together and create change together.
After all these years I have finally come to know the truth for me:
There is not a knowable truth about how things are or why things happen the way they do. Our making up stories about it, is merely to find reason in an unreasonable world. My truth? I have very few. My experience is:
I don’t need to know the truth to be true to what is important to me.
In my spiritual path I have been a seeker for a long time. I have learned that my faith need not be rooted in something I know to be true. Rather, I offer myself up to what is truly True without even knowing what it is. This is enough, for me. I don’t need to ‘know the truth’ to love.
The poems I share with you are not always from my personal experience, although many people challenge me on that. When you teach, when you work with thousands of people over many years, your access to collective suffering is amplified – the trends in emotion and story and patterns of self imposed cruelty run across communities. That doesn’t mean it happened to me or didn’t. I write often for the collective voice as a service. When I see them and feel a breakthrough coming, and have something to say about it, I might just write a poem or a Red Thread Letter about it. In this case, I have indeed gone through my entire available psyche with a fine tooth paintbrush to explore where the hidden lies are – I never stop. I always find something new. I don’t teach from creating beliefs that I think you should adhere to – no thank you – rather I teach to invite inquiry and yes, some unrest.
What are you hiding from yourself?
Is there a way you are being untrue to you?
And today, this is a prayer:
May all beings awaken, soon.
This image is from the Mendocino coast, for a Color of Woman gathering, we put rose petals in the water and prayed with love.
When I paint – the clouds part and I am connected with what matters and can see what I am not seeing. Hence why I have dedicated my life to this work of Intentional Creativity. As a tool for waking the sleeping soul, I find it so useful and indeed, beautiful.
With heart for you where you are,
Above I am teaching with Dr. Kayleen Asbo and below is the current chaos of my paint station!
These uncertain times having us question everything. This is a good thing. The dismay at which we gaze out closed windows at the news. This, is also a good thing. It is good to be in wonder at it all, at all of if. To not sit by and watch, but instead to wonder at it, to question it, and to take new stands.
For we have had experiences, cycles of time, in relationship or on some soft morning, where we lived without terror or suffering. This is a privilege, but perhaps we didn’t know that it was at the time. We have shared cups of tea filled with promise, or we have had a sense of hope or destiny, a taste of true love or a brush with the sacred.
This memory of what is right and good lives within us. Now is a time to remember goodness and bring it into this day by choice. This goodness of human beings, is right now. A time to summon feelings that comfort and soothe the ache, individual and collective.
A time to invite friends for supper and read poetry over candlelight. A time in which we finally can arrive at a place of awareness of what is. Neither to fight or save, but to be with.
Reality is different than we once thought. This is a time to wake up early and write. A time to stay up late and dance with your lover. A time to search our hearts and discover what it is that is truly precious, and lift that up.
When we have summoned our courage, and reclaimed the interior spaces of our hearts. Then we shall rise up and meet the day with brightly colored banners embroidered with what we love.
As long as we keep showing up and don’t go back to sleep we will be connected to what really matters.
May Love Be At The Center of All Choices