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Week of August 13th, 2020

What Do You Love, and How Can You Serve and Enhance What You Love

Good exercise each morning: Ask yourself, "What do I love, and how can I serve and enhance and enrich my relationship with what I love?"

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by David Whyte

HIDING is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. Even hiding the truth from ourselves can be a way to come to what we need in our own necessary time. Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear.

Hiding is underestimated. We are hidden by life in our mother’s womb until we grow and ready ourselves for our first appearance in the lighted world; to appear too early in that world is to find ourselves with the immediate necessity for outside intensive care.

Hiding done properly is the internal faithful promise for a proper future emergence, as embryos, as children or even as emerging adults in retreat from the names that have caught us and imprisoned us, often in ways where we have been too easily seen and too easily named.

We live in a time of the dissected soul, the immediate disclosure; our thoughts, imaginings and longings exposed to the light too much, too early and too often, our best qualities squeezed too soon into a world already awash with too easily articulated ideas that oppress our sense of self and our sense of others.

What is real is almost always to begin with, hidden, and does not want to be understood by the part of our mind that mistakenly thinks it knows what is happening. What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence.

Hiding is an act of freedom from the misunderstanding of others, especially in the enclosing world of oppressive secret government and private entities, attempting to name us, to anticipate us, to leave us with no place to hide and grow in ways unmanaged by a creeping necessity for absolute naming, absolute tracking and absolute control.

Hiding is a bid for independence, from others, from mistaken ideas we have about our selves, from an oppressive and mistaken wish to keep us completely safe, completely ministered to, and therefore completely managed.

Hiding is creative, necessary and beautifully subversive of outside interference and control. Hiding leaves life to itself, to become more of itself. Hiding is the radical independence necessary for our emergence into the light of a proper human future.

Excerpted from David Whyte: "HIDING" in CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

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F. Scott Fitzgerald's test of intelligence: "the capacity to hold conflicting ideas in the mind at the same time and continue to function."

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Essayist Elaine Scarry defines "the basic impulse underlying education" as the "willingness to continually revise one's own location in order to place oneself in the path of beauty."

I'd love that to be your educational strategy. I'd love you to forever be on the lookout for signs that beauty is near. Sound like a fun plan?

If so, do the research to find out where beauty might be hiding or ripening. Learn about what kinds of conditions attract beauty. Hang around beautiful infiuences.

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Listen to my brief meditation on the subject.

Here are excerpts:

Some religious traditions teach the doctrine, "Kill off your longings." In their view, attachment to desire is at the root of human suffering.

But the religion of materialism takes the opposite tack, asserting that the meaning of life is to be found in indulging desires. Its creed is, "Feed your cravings like a French foie gras farmer cramming eight pounds of maize down a goose's gullet every day."

At the Beauty and Truth Lab, we walk a middle path. We believe there are both degrading desires that enslave you and sacred desires that liberate you.


Psychologist Carl Jung believed that all desires have a sacred origin, no matter how odd they may seem. Frustration and ignorance may contort them into distorted caricatures, but it is always possible to locate the divine source from which they arose.

In describing one of his addictive patients, Jung said: "His craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual thirst for wholeness, or as expressed in medieval language: the union with God."


Psychotherapist James Hillman echoes the theme: "Psychology regards all symptoms to be expressing the right thing in the wrong way."

A preoccupation with porn, for instance, may come to dominate a passionate person whose quest for love has degenerated into an obsession with images of love.

"Follow the lead of your symptoms," Hillman suggests, "for there's usually a myth in the mess, and a mess is an expression of soul."


Like all of us, you have desires for things that you don't really need and aren't good for you. But you shouldn't disparage yourself for having them, nor should you conclude that every desire is tainted.

Rather, think of your misguided longings as the bumbling, amateur expressions of a faculty that will one day be far more expert. They're how you practice as you work toward the goal of becoming a master of desire.

It may take a while, but eventually you will get the hang of wanting things that are really good for you, and good for everyone else, too.


"The only way anyone is ever cured of desiring nonsensical things is by getting the nonsensical things and then experiencing the unpleasant but educational consequences."

—Ann Davies


To become a master of desire, keep talking yourself out of being attached to trivial goals and keep talking yourself into being thrilled about the precious few goals that are really important.

Here's another way to say it: Wean yourself from ego-driven desires and pour your libido into a longing for beauty, truth, goodness, justice, integrity, creativity, love, and an intimate relationship with the Wild Divine.

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Some people don't know that I write daily horoscopes, available as text messages sent to your cell or smart phone.

They're shorter than the weekly 'scopes, but on the other hand they're more frequent -- every day of the week.

My weekly horoscopes are free, but the dailies cost about 67 cents a day if you sign up for a subscription.

If you think you might enjoy getting regular bursts of inspiration from me to illuminate your adventures, check them out.

Go to Register or log in. On the new page, click on "Subscribe / Renew" under "Daily Text Message Horoscopes" in the right-hand column.

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I hate to have to contradict and paradox myself again, but I must make it very clear: I am totally opposed to duality. See more.

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“Living without the full feminine for so many centuries, we don’t know what it would be like to live within a society where the feminine voice is not repressed, women’s bodies are not distorted, controlled or sold, and where both men and women live with balanced psyches.

"It’s as if humanity has lived with one side of its body atrophied. The return of the feminine may be the most significant development of the new millennium. Although there have been steps to begin this process it would naive to think the reintegration is by any means complete.”

~ Lama Tsultrim Allione

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In the US, here is a record number of Black women running for Congress in 2020. Black women have historically won majority-Black districts, but many now are running in mostly white or mixed districts.

Read more.

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Michael Meade's "Genius Project": "Much has been said and written about having a vocation or calling in life; but often overlooked is the idea that a true calling is aimed at the genius qualities already set within each person.

"Most know that the call to awaken to a genuine path in life begins in youth; but fewer know that the calling keeps calling even in later life. Not only that, but in mythic terms, the Fountain of Youth that people have roamed the earth seeking waits to be found within oneself."

Read more.

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You have the keys to promising doors that don't exist yet; save those keys.

You know the titles of rousing stories that haven't happened yet; write those titles down.

You've caught glimpses of your best future, but they're confusing because you can't yet imagine how you'll get to that future; imprint those glimpses on your memory.

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"Find your home in the haunts of every living creature. Make yourself higher than all heights and lower than all depths. Bring together in yourself all opposites of quality: heat and cold, dryness and fluidity.

"Think that you are everywhere at once, on land, at sea, in heaven. Think that you are not yet begotten, that you are in the womb, that you are young, that you are old, that you have died, that you are in the world beyond the grave.

"Grasp in your thought all this at once, all times and places, all substances and qualities and magnitudes together. Then you can apprehend God."

—Hermes Trismegistus

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I'm often embarrassed in front of myself because I act so kind! Not only that, I think many, many kind thoughts when I'm all by myself! What a boring, uncool person I am!

I wish I had a knack for being a smooth ironically cynical edgy guy perpetually oozing satire and sarcasm! Sadly, Goddess didn't make me that way.

Oh, well. I accept myself as I am.

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David Abram writes: "While this plague enforces a temporary distance from other humans, there is no reason not to lean in close to other beings, gazing and learning—for instance—the distinguishing patterns of the bark worn by each of the local tree species where you live.

"No reason not to step outside and pry open your ears, listening and learning by heart the characteristic songs and calls of the various local birds; no reason not to apprentice yourself to a spider as it weaves its intricate web in front of the porchlight.

"Or to practice recognizing and naming—as I have been—the different types of clouds that are conjured out of the blue by the scattered mountains in this region, the wispy brushstrokes and phantom ridges and clumped clusters that congregate and dissipate in the high desert sky.


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A reader who calls herself Sally Skeptic wrote me the following email:

"Dear Rob: I sure don't like so much God stuff mixed into your various writings. Can you cut it out, please? I understand it's common for the desperate masses to believe in an Ultra Being, but you? Pul-lease. You're smarter than that. I just can't abide all the 'Divine Wow' and 'Cackling Goddess' nonsense that you dispense; it doesn't jibe with the practical, sensible, unsuperstitious, non-mushy world that I hold dear -- and that I see represented mostly accurately in your work. -Sally Skeptic."

Read my response to Sally Skeptic.

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by Oscar Baez Bendorf

Moon river, swollen river, river of starhole
and bright, harness river, lichen river,
river we velvet with our filth.

River of butter and river of witches, river
cracked open careful like egg, or burst
apart, unleashing its violet load.

River mouths, river beds, every back
forty creek, every crick, made of
trickles, made of synth, river of sound
as vibration, river where we all get free.

River that curve down a backbone,
river through which I particle heat,
feathery and wet, lemony and loud,
river that still smell skin, browned
around a neck, softened with sweat,
river you wear tight on your hips,
given in private, or out in the open.

River I dream about.

River from the inside.

River where we shouts the feeling.

Septum river, bundle river, river of mercy,
sometimes edging so far into night
the moon goes (…) dark.

Yes, all night river, burnt sugar river.

We pull the river into our bellies, we
go out walking. We river in darkness
as entire paw prints of color and light.

Everything rivers in motion. River
of holy, river of freaks, river where
my fur belong to me. Softer than
it seem river. Honey and Vaseline river.

Brown river, black river, off the map river.

I will be there, printing textures of rock
on the skin of me, belly down, face down,
my god, it is good to be home.

by Oscar Baez Bendorf

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Some Americans seem to believe that "freedom" means having no responsibility to other people and creatures

—even in the face of the fact that thousands of people have responsibly cooperated to build their roads, grow their food, make their medicine, sew their clothes, provide them with water, electricity, and garbage service, give them jobs, create their entertainment, and sustain their internet.

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Many people assume that Charles Darwin was talking about physical strength when referring to "survival of the fittest," meaning that a tougher, more resilient species always will win out over its weaker counterparts.

But a new book says something else has been at work among species that have thrived throughout history, successfully reproducing to sustain themselves, and it has nothing to do with beating up the competition.

In fact, friendly partnerships among species and shared humanity have worked throughout centuries to ensure successful evolution. Species endure — humans, other animals and plants — based on friendliness, partnership, and communication.


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UNCONDITIONAL, by Jennifer Welwood

Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;

Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.

Each condition I flee from pursues me.
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-­like essence.

I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game;
To play it is pure delight,
To honor its form -- true devotion.

—by psychotherapist Jennifer Welwood

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