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WE HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO LOVE OUR BROKENNESS

JANUARY 11, 2017

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We have to find a way to love our brokenness

No, not loving ourselves in spite of our failings
But loving the brokenness itself

We have to love all the ways we’re late
And all the ways we missed the point

We have to love that we were scared
And that we were ashamed to say it

We have to love that we didn’t get it all done
And love that we imagined it was doable in the first place

We have to love that we’re such a glorious mess
And how we struggle to meet our own standards

We have to learn to love, in short,
all the ways we fall short

Because our grace, courage and capacity to stand
Our care of what’s broken in the world around us

Is strongest when we’re carried
by that which we’ve learned to cherish

And not when we’re mired
in that which we’ve chosen to hate.

Justin is a senior faculty member based in London. More of his writing can be found at justinwise.co.uk

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THE JOY OF DIRECT EXPERIENCE

SEPTEMBER 21, 2016

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I was taking advantage of the long summer days to catch up on some much-needed gardening when I found the book. The Cichlid Aquarium had been in our garage since my husband and I had moved in 13 years ago, weathering all the extremes Michigan could conjure, including two of the worst Midwestern winters on record. Yet, other than a film of dust, the book was unscathed: not a spot of mold, its color pages bright and glossy in the slanting evening sunshine. I’ve never seen cichlids while scuba diving, but the widely varied colors and the beauty of the photography gave me a strong sense of how stunning they are.

I wiped the dust carefully from the cover, edges of the pages, and binding, and finally turned the book over to wipe off the back. There was a photo of the author, Dr. Paul V. Loiselle, and a brief bio of his life and work. Suddenly I felt a cold-hot-trembling melting throughout my core and down to my feet. Tears came to my eyes. I’m not sure what affected me. Perhaps it was the care the author put into this work and the hopes and expectations it would spark in some aquarium aficionado leafing through it in a pet store while deciding which varieties to bring home, or of some budding marine biologist poring through the pages under the solitary glow of an anglepoise lamp. Something about all the love and curiosity and hope and work came together and I felt the most sacred confluence of sadness, joy, tenderness, regret, and … what?  I’m not certain.

In the CD collection The Fearless Heart, Pema Chodron reads the poem “True Heart of Blessing” by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. The poem points to how, in its direct experience, the raw energy of an emotion is unfiltered and pure—one emotion is not different from that of any other. Here is an excerpt:

Fear is fear of fear
Raw fear is in the essence of joy
Raw joy is nothing but raw fear
Inseparability coils in the true heart of openness

In the “normal” world, this is fairly obscure stuff that can be contemplated at best, but understood and lived by few. This is a just a runway our society’s planes don’t land on. But one point might be that in direct experience, we can touch joy, regardless of the circumstances. There’s an essential, core part of each of us that can always be joyful.

That moment in my garage with the cichlids and Dr. Loiselle gave me a tiny understanding of the direct experience of emotion right before our story gets layered on top. There in the fading light, I was blessed to feel the profound, subtle truth of that poem.

Jan Martinez is an Integral Coach in the Detroit area, working with leaders in the automotive industry. Learn more on her website.

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TOUCHING WORLDS

JULY 27, 2016

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I am most delighted,
Your gracious presence
In my garden just now,
Filling this space with me,
Drawing my beating heart to yours,
Connecting our often fragile worlds,
In this hallowed moment.

As you touch my world,
Effervescent with bird-song
And bird-flutter,
The world of connection,
Between you and me,
The world as it should be,
Magically restored.

You are at home, here
Among the trees and grassy green,
Nourished in this solace,
As I am too, together
We draw in common breath,
Held in this moment,
In Creator’s soft embrace.

I would our worlds,
Intertwined remained, touched
For more than just this moment,
Remaining one,
In rhythmic, rapturous grace,
Our songs in unison, together,
Clarion call for Universal peace.

Roger Arendse graduated the PCC in Cape Town, South Africa in 2010. He is an Integral Empowerment coach & facilitator, and director at EagleCoaching. 

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TELL ALL THE TRUTH BUT TELL IT SLANT—POETRY BY EMILY DICKINSON

APRIL 10, 2014

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#1129
Emily Dickinson

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—

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