Grace and grit

All my life I thought of creativity as principally grace. Descending, and then gone. Brief visitations, ephemeral dew.

Only recently has my part come more to the fore. The work over days, months, years. The stepping toward something felt and half seen.

The willingness to be with imperfection, to fail repeatedly, to feel alone in the wilderness, and to risk being shamed.

It has felt like tuning into to a particular frequency; of gradually recognising my ‘signal’ or signature more readily; and of coming to trust and deepen with that vibration.

I am a slow learner, I still love and wait on Grace. But I am on my feet, doing the daily work, and moving in the unknown towards Her.

Life as oracle

I am writing in a botanical garden in spring. The trees, flowers and birds are oracles, broadcasting their unique essence and message everywhere around. Shakespeare spoke of finding ‘tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.’

It seems to me that we are the same: that being an oracle is our inheritance, and also our gift back to life.

How do we give our essence? I think occasionally it wells up spontaneously, but mostly it comes over time through claiming our joy and meeting sorrow, over and over.

Here and now in the garden the rose-geraniums are floating their perfume in the sun, invisible molecules of essence moving in warm waves.

May we give ourselves too. For our own joy, but also very much for the fulfillment of the world, for it is together that we will form the improvisational orchestra of a new earth song.

For Eliza

My great great grandchildren

ask me in dreams

what did you do while the planet was plundered?

what did you do when the earth was unravelling?

surely you did something

when the seasons started failing?

as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?

what did you do once you knew?

Drew Dellinger wrote this in 2002. The other day Greta Thunberg spoke at the UN, nearly in tears, saying almost exactly this (except that she was speaking now, not in two generations time): ‘what are you doing, now that you know?’ and ‘you have stolen my childhood’.

I feel haunted by the earth’s condition and the future of our children, and by the need to respond. Greta refers a lot to science, and it has an important part to play, but I feel that the deep change needed will come (is already coming) from a different way of knowing. I don’t believe that the mind can fathom the way forward, it has to come from a different organ of perception, the heart.

Like many others I feel helpless and yet charged to play my part. We live in a world of information and we ‘can’t stop talking’. In response, as a wordsmith, I feel drawn to listen with my inner ear, to distill beauty, and to recognise words that come from the heart and carry wisdom (transmission).

Eliza, I see your clear eyes. How do I answer you. Together we nurse the tree you found oozing sap where a branch was cut, we speak with flowers, and greet the moon at the window at night. As much as taking outer action towards a more beautiful world, I hope also to embody inner devotion and listening within the community of all life on earth. Both are needed.

I love you with all my heart’s love.

Rebirth of the written word

The window before my desk is filled with trees, winter dry against deep blue sky. I feel a rebirth within language. A wind blowing, breathing words open on a new octave.

So many words have lost their meaning and become empty. Freedom, grace, trust…. Nor do we have a story big enough to inspire us towards the future. We have an overload of information, and a social media of memes.

In the past, as an academic editor I would have been editing for language, content, style and sequencing. It was a job well done, yet not a love. 

Today I feel called to help bring forth the distillation of your message; the clear soul voice in your writing; simplicity (on the other side of complexity); high-vibration language; coherence and flow.

I am editing for transmission – for what life wants to say through you. And listening for your soul’s story budding and bursting through your words.

Her voice

This piece was written swiftly in a strange moment, when I was feeling both anger and deep love. I think the anger opened the door for Love, for Her.

Silence. For aeons.
Then a voice unfurls

Spiked like a dandelion
Unwelcome, considered a weed.
Dark green with minerals
Shocking yellow flowers.

Pelargonium high on mountainside
forged by wind and sun
Fragrance of the Magdala
A coronation of stars

You are a garden enclosed my sister my bride
a spring enclosed, a fountain sealed

Rose heart of the mother
giving perfume intimately
Red-black galaxy
of courage

This voice is her own.
Unrecognised, in love
The mystery and abandonment
of the garden.

The inside of a rose

I am feeling uninspired.

Yet, in the moment of turning towards the dryness it becomes a small clear spring. My soul says, ‘this is true’.

There is honesty, patience and listening here. But they are not the essential gift.

My soul says, ‘Come closer. I am in what is here, even when it seems dull, barren and closed. Ever in the present is my perfume. Come closer.’

In this moment of remembering I sink into the soul’s presence. She who is complete as the inside of a rose, ordinary as my hands typing, sure as my heart at rest.

I have exhaled perfume like cinnamon and acacia, I have breathed out a scent like choice myrrh. Inheriting me is sweeter than honeycomb. They who eat me will hunger for more. [Sophia Wisdom]

When the heart finally begins to speak

“When you teach a child the word ‘bird’, the child will never see a bird again.” Increasingly she will see a concept, based on thought and memory. Until eventually we as adults are unlikely to see the feathered miracle before our eyes at all.

Eliza is almost two. Every day she comes up with new words that she uses freshly. Her ability to express herself is widening her world daily and it is a joy to play with her in this field, as she mints new words in a twinkle.

And yet over time language closes us in mental constructs that separate, which is what Krishnamurti was pointing to with the bird. We begin to live in thoughts, not in reality.

For days I have not felt moved to write this post (I had committed to writing one each month and March is almost over). When I woke this morning I lay wondering about it, about writing freed from the mind. The notion brought the softness of relief. ‘When the heart finally begins to speak, it organises the words without you having to think about their meaning. The frequency of the heart is what conveys the true meaning.’ [Richard Rudd]

I feel as though I am in a land between these ways: still confined by the mind, and yet attuned to the effortless intimate poetic honest speech of the heart.

I’ve given up on my brain.
I’ve torn the cloth to shreds
and thrown it away.
If you’re not completely naked,
wrap your beautiful robe of words around you,
and sleep.
~ Rumi

Outrageous love letters

There is a long lineage of ecstatic love writing, such as found in the Song of Songs and the poems of Rumi and Mirabai. Yet it can take only a few minutes, as described here:

“While ordinary love is an emotion, a reaction, and even a strategy of the ego, it is Outrageous Love that moves the entire process of evolution.” Write to anyone or anything, and let your heart be blown open. “Write so that through your words the person can find their own infinite beauty, infinite depth, and infinite worth.”

Here are two love letters written in the moment:

To a stranger after a conversation that parted the veil

In the deepening dark your lamp-lit face, energised, potentised, and the alchemy of my silver dreaming and your bright gold rockets a hallelujah into the twilight that is our communion, our ecstasis and joy.

To menopause

Madonna of the Void! You desert bloom in a halo of lightning flashes, you orchid with stripes, you supernova of stars! Where did you come from, where did you go, in your red velvet gown on this summer’s night?

Live words and dead words

We are overloaded with information. Yet another bandwidth of words is available, always present, but coming increasingly ‘online’.

Stephan Bodian, former editor of Yoga Journal, wrote: “When I was a monk, I learned to distinguish between ‘live words’ and ‘dead words’. Most of the words we read and hear are lifeless, in the sense that they’re rooted in concepts and intended to appeal to the mind.” He goes on to say that we also need ‘live words’, like those we find in the teachings of the non-dual masters, and that such words are “heart wisdom, saturated with the perfume of the Source from which they come.”

While Bodian points to spiritual masters for living words, I am drawn also to living words among us all. What makes such words recognisable is that they elicit immediate recognition, an inner yes! and a leap of aliveness. They also have the quality of gift. Arising freshly, such words open the heart-mind, raise the vibration, and lead to connection, creativity and generosity.

How are they accessed? In the living moment, when we are undefended and speak or write from the truth in that instant.

Looking back, two experiences imprinted an awareness of living words in me. The first was as a child over a period of a year with a rare teacher who broke all the rules and created a field of such inspiration and freedom in the classroom that writing leaped off our pages. Not necessarily ‘good writing’, our words carried a charge and we were on creative wings. The other was as an adult, following an experience gifted by Nature on the mountain early one morning, and writing rose spontaneously in the overflow.

Leaving my work as an academic editor has taken several years, but underlying it has been a deep pull towards living words, towards their perfume and freedom, and especially towards the medicine of such words in the world today. Where ‘live words’ may once have come mostly through spiritual masters and poets, I feel this frequency is open to us all, across all fields of life, in ordinary and extraordinary ways.

Julia Casciola ©