A Poem Without a Single Bird in It

What can I say to you, darling,
When you ask me for help?
I do not know the future
Or even what poetry
We are going to write.
Commit suicide. Go mad. Better people
Than either of us have tried it.
I loved you once but
I do not know the future.
I only know that I love strength in my friends
And greatness
And hate the way their bodies crack when they die
And are eaten by images.
The fun's over. The picnic's over.
Go mad. Commit suicide. There will be nothing left
After you die or go mad,
But the calmness of poetry.

Jack Spicer

Joseph Massey sent me this yesterday, along with a reminder that it is Jack Spicer's birthday – he would be 83.


Jerusalem under snow this morning.



Yielding isn't getting out of the way of energy that is trying to upset our balance. Thinking this way will get us nowhere (interesting – internal). Yielding is receiving the world – letting every cell soak it up – and thrusting through that receiving, constantly changing with the energy being received. The thrust is in the receiving. This is the thing about energy: as soon as you have one you have both. It is this that is difficult to understand: that spirit (and therefore life) requires both. As soon as you can say one thing with any certainty then the opposite – the other – asks and requires admittance, otherwise you have an unchanging state of affairs. This is what my teacher used to call the humour of the natural process. Every relationship – every thing – if it is truly alive – hangs on a precipice. Life must be precarious. Each time is the first time, and possibly the last. A restless process. This is why work with a partner is so much more valuable than work on your own. Work with another models reality better, especially if it is co-operative rather than competitive – energetic rather than forceful – creative rather than destructive. The trick is to realise that when on your own your singular presence creates another presence, because, energetically at least, there is no one. Rise to the occasion, then it becomes alive with possibility.


Centre as process

There is much mention in spiritual work about finding/developing one's centre. But really there is no such thing. As soon as you decide that this or that is your centre then something will transpire that makes it clear that it is nothing of the sort, unless you are so strong willed and blinkered to force your reality to that result, and I've never seen the value in that, even temporarily. Being centred really just means being part of the natural process, and that means dissolving into each moment. And everything dissolves – everything that is known, labeled, secure – it all falls away to reveal the absolute novelty of now. The centre is you, full of energy, spirit shining, constantly entering (and exiting) the process of becoming you. Like a snake always squeezing out of yesterday's skin.


The thinking mind makes a terrible presumption – that the body belongs to it. It fills the body with a strange anxious tension, inhibiting its proper functioning and preventing anything else from getting in. Yielding, in one sense anyway, means accepting – kabalah – which means not just allowing communication but allowing entry – allowing what we are communicating with to enter and fill the body. And only when we allow the other to enter and fill us will our own energy properly enter – penetrate – and fill it. And it is a filling – as though every cell becomes infected. And it is almost instant, and so spiritual – of the spirit. It is a truly wonderful way to be in and with the world – having it constantly entering and enriching our body. Every step we take is then a letting go – a truly spiritual life.


Finding feet

A frost in Tel Aviv this morning. Teaching in the park with a crunch underfoot.
Softness allows growth – engenders almost. It insinuates and sets the soul afire. An ember of hope.
Wonderful poem here.


Ze ma yesh.
Nice workshop yesterday. This is something I wrote afterwards:
I think the gist or thrust of my teaching is that the body, when relaxed and properly poised (balanced), works energetically first and foremost. But when we then involve the heart – let it open to include what is before us – the other person, the Earth, sky, our past, our future, life, but most importantly God – then we enter realms of mystery and magic which in Tai Chi we call Softness – a melting of all boundaries and a steady compassionate bleed in and out of the heart. This is the place I strive to bring students. It is a place that lasts forever.
Clarity is as much an imposition as it is a clearing.


We never feel alone.

Feeling is evidence of togetherness.
Clarity isn't the same as honesty: it's not what we see that's important – it's what passes between. It's what we make of the togetherness.


feeling—and therefore responsible

Alice Miller



Observing the body's tensions and relaxing them is an approach that will only get us so far. The difficulty is to change the place from which we observe – to see the world from a different point. Then things appear quite different, and seemingly intractable problems dissolve into simplicity. It happens when we stop holding on to the place where we think we are. Almost like letting go of an opinion – all opinions. The best way to practice it is through working sensitively and co-operatively with another person, especially with touch. When you touch another person you are no longer just you and your place of seeing and being loses stability and will tend to shift. Basically when we are alone we tend to reside in the head, and when we are in company we are more likely to let that place drop into the body proper. Even into their body proper, which is generally a far more interesting place to be.


God always says Yes.