Thursday, November 26, 2009

Suspended Wren - Suspended Life



weekend I was walking along a small lake in Orlando Florida and came upon a
dead wren suspended by it’s beak from a cattail reed.  It was somewhat bloated and desiccated, its feathers disshelved
making identification of it difficult – perhaps a sedge or marsh wren.  What was more perplexing was how the bird
came to be in this position.  Did it get
its beak jammed in the reed, unable to free itself?  Did a shrike do its impaling thing by stuffing the bird by its
beak into the small crevice?  Or did a
human come by and find a dead bird or even an injured one, and hang it by it’s
beak as a unbidden, subconscious ritual harkening from million years of primate
evolution?  I walked away from the bird
with more questions than answers, for the life of the wren and for my own life.


do we get to be in the positions we find ourselves?  How do we live in the unknown, mysterious liminal world where we
hang between birth and death and knowing and not knowing, unable to affect the
outcome or know what the outcome will be? 
There are moments in our lives where we are suspended from our daily
concerns, often in times of confusion and pain, and we can but swing in the
wind like the wren, beauty caught in some mysterious pattern with decay and
death all around.  Will your end come
from bad luck or unfortunate accident, a force or natural process of nature, or
from intentional mal intent from our own species? 


matter where we find ourselves I wonder then if in the unbidden tragedies or
our life, we can let go to the mystery, so deeper connections of beauty and
compassion can emerge. 


wren on a reed

we all have a need

to be freed


Cowritten with my sister Linda Joyner

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The 99 Most Beautiful Names of God and 100 Names of Birds


(From Album "A Hundred Birds" by Sylvi Alli)

The Sufis, which I also consider myself, recite names or
divine attributes of God as part of their spiritual practice.   These
names are archetypical qualities that exist in our species and with work, each
of can manifest these attributes in our self, which is a reflection of the
entire realm of Existence and possibility. 
If we can "see reality" in all its beauty and tragedy, we will
be able to reflect that beauty that exists within All, and that gives every
being a chance for healing with just our very existence.


This past week Dr. Caleb Gordon, a member of my Unitarian
Universalist congregation led the regular Sunday morning birding group to
sighting it's 100th bird species.  In
seeing the list of bird names they seemed to me to be the most beautiful names
I've had the gratitude to recite.  These
flying birds are divine attributes of our world and in holding them in mind and
heart, they enable me to reflect more of the beauty that connects us all. 

What helps you see the best in yourself, others, and the
What do you do to reflect this knowing outward for healing?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Coyote Sparing and Sparring



Growing up I saw a lot of Wiley Coyote cartoons.  The coyote was sparring with the road runner and always ended up harmed in some way, and never caught the bird.  These days in the news we are hearing that coyotes are proving more successful, catching more and more prey. Around Gainesville, Florida where I live there are reports that they are killing outdoor cats, and while visiting Canada, the newspapers told of how two coyotes attacked and killed singer Taylor Luciow.  She had been hiking alone in a National Park when the two came upon her.  The singer’s mother today asks that the coyotes be spared, saying “We take a calculated risk when spending time in nature’s fold – it’s the wildlife’s terrain.” 


Coyotes, birds, cats, and humans all end up harmed in some way no matter how we live or die and this earth is all our terrain.  How then do we negotiate this complex arrangement we call life?  For me I see an example in the pain of this daughter and this mother.  We risk to be in beauty and keep our hearts open to one another, no matter the loss.  In this way we may dare to care.