August 2010

(I once had a supervisor who, by one day simply asking
how I was in a caring way, prevented me from quitting.)

One who embraces Tao embraces humility,
vulnerability, wisdom. She is a blessing as a leader.

Calling others around her, she is not afraid to say
“teach me.”

She is kind to those who have been kind to her.
She is kind to those who have been unkind to her.

She listens attentively in meetings to the office ‘star’.
She also does the same to the coffee-stained-shirt ‘always late’ guy.

She sees the office as a family of peers.
She is a leader among leaders.

(I made less than minimum wage at that job
and she treated me with dignity and respect.)


The student learns.
But where is the teacher?
She is aside the student, learning.

Education is the name given to imagination and inquiry.
The simple teacher is available to everyone.
Teaching from all, learning from all. She is an adventurer.

She is content with the burning love of learning being lit.
She instructs not which road to take but gives many old
unfinished treasure maps.

You live with any, all, or no gender as you like
from day to day.
All that has been called male and female
and everywhere between is available to you.
Like a child you are free.

When you became like a great river see how many
tributaries of human joy came flowing into you!
Like the Ganges
you contain all human experience
so you are holy.

You see categories come and go–
‘gender’, ‘race’, ‘sex’, ‘good’, ‘bad’,
you honor all though arbitrary.
Without judgment without condemnation
you embrace your humanity.

The names and categories you have for yourself
you celebrate though they are not your essence.
You sing a song of yourself in celebration of humanity.
Like Terence you say, “I am human: I consider nothing
that is human to be alien to me.”

Want a plan to ‘fix’ the world?
Ask a despot.
How to create a Utopia?
Study under the totalitarian.

Stop fighting.
There is a way.

When you are with the poor bring peace.
When you are with the rich bring peace.
Weep with those who are weeping.
Toast with those who are merrymaking.

The simple practitioner does not deal in ‘issues’.
She has friends, fellow civilians, neighbors.
She shares life, time, and meals.

You put down your textbook for a minute and like the crank gears of the movable book stacks
you open yourself to yourself.
As you crack into your seventh beer, you step onto the porch and pause
to watch your own inner fire like the pulsing cigarette cherries.

Whether you pass your exam or not–you will continue.
You have achieved great monetary debt in continuing.
You are not dissuaded.

Your roomies are cheering games.
They have giant TVs showing competitors at competing volumes.

They must think you’re silly,
falling asleep on the couch in the middle of so many important games!

Standing in the driveway wearing a welding mask
staring at the sun.
Eating a pound of Peanut M&Ms between Oakland and Los Angeles.
Thinking about that time I ran over a young woman’s foot.

Seeing the beauty of a person’s earnestness as they comfort me crying in a bathroom.
Savoring the quiet of an afternoon reading beside a loved one.
Forgiving myself and feeling with her.

All these things happen.
There’s plenty of room for all this and more in an open heart.

She awoke the day after her promotion and she was anxious. 
The afternoon she spent at the food stamps office was just as bad.
Nikos Kazantzakis has written on his grave: “I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”
When her unemployment check was late in arriving she thought of this grave.
For dinner she had microwave popcorn and then checked in on her elderly neighbor.

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