I know a man
Whose wife has moved
Into the stars.
She lives in the constellations
And wraps herself in
Shawls of nebulae.
I know a man
Whose wife lives in
Music. Old songs,
Rock and Roll.
She is found in color,
Audacious, bold and
Mine has taken new residence
As their Goddess.
And who would kick a woman
From her home? She is in
The waters too, in rocks,
Our wives are
Love has made it so,
The heart has built
A new pantheon of
The Goddesses of our Everyday Lives.
What shall we now do
With our worshiping hearts?
Perhaps there is still
One goddess on Earth
Who does not know
She is divine,
And we are here to love.
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I know a man
She walks along the weaving foam,
waves bright under the full moon,
picking up shells,
leaving footprints to
fill with glistening sea.
She wants them all.
Each shell, every shell.
Then, when her hand, her arm, are full,
one by one,
in splendid moonlit arcs,
again to the sea,
walking away with one,
the first one.
Today, I want to be a superhero. Truthfully, I want to be a superhero every day. I hold myself to superhero standards, changing whatever power I should have depending on the circumstances. I always fall short.
I hold myself to those standards anyway. Superhuman standards, a friend called them. Standards I’d never old anyone else to. That would be unreasonable. Standards I’d tell anyone else they’d need to relax. Cut themselves some slack. Give themselves a break. But not me. And if anyone tells me that, they just don’t understand – I have standards.
My friend Hayda once told me this:
Adam’s superpower is to eloquently, precisely and ruthlessly dissect his
adversaries’ logical fallacies and intellectual shortcomings in such a manner
that not only does he annihilate his opponent’s arguments, he leaves his enemy
in such a state that he is utterly unaware he has been defeated. He is a
I have held on to that. Isn’t it funny what affects us?
My wife once told me I was like a pit bull when I had a problem to solve and, in all things, “No one tries harder.” How long ago was that? Was that nearly four decades ago now? No one tries harder. That somehow became my goal. To try the hardest. To never try less hard than I could. To never give less effort than I could. To be that superhero.
Just try your best. That’s all anyone can ask. I have been told this. But I know people don’t mean it. They wouldn’t want their surgeon to feel that way. Or a fireman. If the house burns down, if someone dies, standing among the ruins, the newly homeless don’t pat the fireman on the back and say, “You tied your best.” Sometimes one’s best isn’t good enough. There has to be more.
Taoists tell us to never use more than 70% of our resources. There must be at least 30% left to attract and build new energy, so you can do ti again. So you can continue getting the job done, fighting that good fight, helping those in need, walking the walk. But why give 70% to just fail? Why just throw 70% out the window?
I know 110%, “I’ll give it 110%.” is a stupid thing to say. It isn’t possible. But I know I can dig deep and find more.
But how long can one mine that energy? Without anything else present, if it is all spent, what is there around which new energy can accrete? But if one doesn’t, there is the higher possibility of failure. Better to burn out and get the job done, right?
Try the hardest. Even when a problem doesn’t have a solution. Even when the problem is a paradox. Even when there is no problem, but just life. Even when the solution is to stop trying and let go. Especially when it is to let go.
Thus, I am the world’s most unsuccessful superhero. The world’s largest superhero failure. Even worse than The Blue Raja. A bigger flop than The Invisible Boy.
And the more I fail, the harder I try. How’s that working out for me? Not so well.
I’d better try harder.
It is possible there is a perfect time to die. A time when the stories told of you would be of kind compassion and rambunctious joy. Those are the times. When you are filled with love.
Not when you are alone. Not when you are filled with despair. A time when people think of you and smile, not shake their heads and ask why. Not too late when you have been lingering. But when you are active and happy. Die dancing. Die walking the beach. Not in front of a TV.
But most people don’t get to pick their time, it seems to me. And those who do often pick the time of despair and loneliness, leaving more despair behind them.
The perfect time would not have been the time that I picked. And, realizing it in time, pulled back. No, that was two weeks too early. The prefect time…
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We open our mouths to proclaim how beautiful the world is, how sweet life is and how dear to us you are, Lady, Mother of All Living.
We stand here today to remind ourselves that we are all part of this web of creation. We are all linked, so that what any of us does affects all of us, that we are all responsible for the Earth. That we are all responsible for each other. We have chosen to be here today as a symbol of our commitment, our awareness of this connection.
Even so, we forget our promises and our duties.
We gossip, we mock, we jeer.
We quarrel, we are unkind, we lie.
We neglect, we abuse, we betray.
We are cruel, we hate, we destroy.
We are careless, we are violent, we steal.
We are jealous, we oppress, we are xenophobic.
We are racist, we are sexist…
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It is Yom Kippur. A Monday. I have taken the day off work to walk, meditate, think. I have taken the day of work so I could go to temple the night before and not worry about the time, the hour, how late it was getting, when I would need to get up.
We asked our friends to go with us. In our back yard, playing with clay, our conversation set on cognates and religion. I mentioned the Buddha of compassion, Amitabha, and the other name for him, Amida. How the Amidah is the name of a prayer of compassion during Yom Kippur. How it relates to the fruit, almonds, as the ancient Hebrews saw the almond as a symbol for watchfulness, promises and redemption. How the part of the brain which we know to be the seat of our ability to see things in a global, compassionate way…
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