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Month: May 2020



One day I happened to overhear a good friend of mine – one of the most generous and selflessly giving people I know – beating up on herself unmercifully.

She was spazzing about how she had fallen down off her (very high) standards-of-conduct bar because she had not stopped to listen (yet again) to a high-maintenance friend’s continuing saga about how everybody was picking on her and how not-right everything in her life was.

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BEYOND STUFF-LOVE (Part 4): On Wabi-Sabi

BEYOND STUFF-LOVE (Part 4): On Wabi-Sabi

As a Perfectionist in remission, I am here to tell you that wabi-sabi — a Japanese way of seeing the world — works as an antidote to the never-good-enough, shiny-new-thing madness induced by the classical hyper-focus on perfection and the kind of seamless orderliness that arises from the mathematical, mechanical precision that evolved in the super-industrialized Occidental West where more is always better.

I grew up in a pineapple plantation camp on Molokai.  Many of my neighbors were Issei, first-generation immigrants from Japan, who brought it with them from their homeland.  I was marinated in wabi-sabi.

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THE BEAUTY REBELLION (Guerilla Gardening)

THE BEAUTY REBELLION (Guerilla Gardening)

It is heartening for me to see the world-wide burgeoning of another sort of rebellion against the very real effects of the post-modern aftermath of our narcissistic phase of dominion and domination over nature, where we humans felt entitled to willy-nilly pave over the world and dump our stuff all over the place to make yet another ugly.

They call it “guerilla gardening” and it continues to expand all over the globe.

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James Ray is a Google+ poet buddy who came looking for me.  It was grand getting connected with him again.  The demise of Google+ was a sad day for the poets who were having fun playing around with each other in it.

I asked James to share a poem with us.  He sent this heartful free-form poem as well as the back story.

James says, “I have written my whole life, but never as much and never as public. Yet I am still mostly unread. LOL

He invites everyone to check out his poetry blog.  Click on the button below and it’ll take you there.



I was told not long after I was born that upon my first crawling I made my way to my father’s chamber. I stole from his ceremonial headdress six feathers. So that is what they named me Six feathers.

Decades later I grew strong with the other warriors of the tribe. Upon a successful raid of our neighbors one of the captured women was found to be unstable. They treated her badly even among the other survivors of her village. They called her Missing feathers.

Warring between the tribes was natural, it was the way. But I had no will to be cruel. I protected Missing feathers for that is my way. From that day on she seemed to be more focused when ever we we’re together. In time my village took to calling me her missing feathers.

How long has it been now? How many sunsets have we shared together? She sleeps now and even now I can tell the trouble of her mind. I know her. I know her mind. Through the many years now accepted by The village, my mate, my Missing feathers.

She will wake any minute now, as she has done many times before. And the unrest behind her eyes will fade to the background as it always does upon seeing me. And I will once again be for her the feathers that make her whole.

The joke unknown by the villagers is that I didn’t take enough feathers from my father’s headdress years ago. She was the feathers that I needed. The wisdom that I did not have. The strength to unite all the neighboring tribes. To end the ceaseless raiding and taking of prisoners. Now our children boys and girls grow strong in the united tribes! And none know but me to give thanks to my Missing feathers.

But uncertain is our time together. For I have noticed some of the spirits that plague her lead her out away from me. How much longer do we have? How much longer before she wakes without it being her behind her eyes? What will I do then when I am truly missing my feathers?

The Medicine Woman and the Elders of the village make no promises to me. They can do nothing to exercise her demons. They say it is only I who have held them at bay all these years. The great spirits have gifted me. But our time together. I do not seek to waste any moments that I have left.

I am transfixed by her sleeping beauty. I am broken-hearted by her restless slumber. I am guardian to the feathers which I cannot keep. She stirs. So slowly her eyes open. Who shall greet me this day?

Husband? Why do you greet me this way every morning? Why do you look so troubled? Have I done something?

No, my beloved feathers. I just worried that I would have to start my day without you. I have but only the six feathers, I need you for the rest.

Such silliness from one who is Chief. But yes, if you give me your six I will give you all that you are missing.

I hug her and in our embrace I thank the great spirit for giving me one more day with my Missing feathers…

I may never get to tell the story behind this story. Because I know I’ll never finish it. I seem to be missing my feathers….

Despite the final lines of the poem, James did share the back-story for this poem.  He says, “I came across a letter to her brother that my ex-wife had shared with me some time ago. In it she told him of what finding me did for her life, the meaning and sanity it gave her.  As I did then, I told her it meant as much to me.

“Sadly the day came where she did not wake to return to me and the one who woke took her from me.  Now I’m left with only the six feathers….

Header photo credit:  “Feathered Fury” by GollyGForce via Flickr.  [CC BY 2.0]

Beautiful, James!  Thank you.

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.

(And if you would like to share a poem of your making that has meaning and mana for you, please go to the “Guest Poet Portal” in the header menu and submit it.  We will all be happy you did.)

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