Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Spiritual Ancestors

"The earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." 
 -- Kahlil Gibran

Remember Kahlil Gibran?  At Oklahoma University in the early 60s, Gibran was our Rumi, taking our spirits out of the square boxes of our childhood churches and setting them free to find new ways to be in the world.  Born in Lebanon, English was Gibran's acquired language.  His best known work, The Prophet, has never been out of print since its publication in 1923 and he is the third best-selling poet in the world, behind Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu (according to Wikipedia).

I can remember the feeling of strange attraction and fascination with his poetic words just as I often feel when reading or listening to Rumi today.  It was a feeling both of strangeness and familiar connection, the recognition of some piece of me that had lain dormant until his words lit a warming candle that gently awakened it.  

Here are a few of his words and a reminder that we have ancestors in many ways ... those whose DNA we carry, those who have nurtured our skills and talents and those whose words lighten and enlighten our spirits.  Today, on this first day of June in this no-longer new year, I acknowledge and honor all my spiritual ancestors.

"Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity."    

"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.  Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain."  

"Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love."  

"Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror."

"The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply." 

"You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance."   

"Keep me from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children."

"But let there be spaces in your togetherness, let the winds of the heavens dance between you."

"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?"

About this image:  Earth

I am creating a mosaic sculpture piece in my front yard.  Five columns:  Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Spirit surround the birth of Transformation.  I just finished Earth.


  1. I will look forward to seeing a picture of the completed piece. I like "Earth".

    Do you have any process photos to share? I always enjoy seeing how an installation comes together.

  2. This installation looks beautiful -- like Maureen -- I am looking forward to the completed piece.... though process photos would be awesome too!


  3. I loved your list of spiritual ancestors. Your artwork brings a rush to my heart.

    Your prior post on Gibran and your list here has me wondering if you are familiar with the poet Morgan Kalani MacLean - think you might like the Rumi-ishness of it.

  4. LIse ... thank you for your lovely words and the introduction to Kalani ... it has been a joy to discover his work.

  5. I like that last quote ... and I love your mosaic sculptures. Makes me want to try it.