Aug 5 2010


How Does It Feel to Be a Heart?

Once a young woman asked me,

“How does it feel to be a man?”
And I replied,

“My dear,
I am not so sure.”

Then she said,
“Well, aren’t you a man?”

And this time I replied,

“I view gender
As a beautiful animal
That people often take for a walk on a leash
And might enter in some odd contest
To try to win strange prizes.

My dear,
A better question for Hafiz
Would have been,

‘How does it feel to be a heart?’

For all I know is Love,
And I find my heart Infinite
And Everywhere!”

by Hafiz, I Heard God Laughing

Mar 21 2010

Derek Walcott

Love after Love

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, who you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your Life.

poem by Derek Walcott

Mar 7 2010

Martha Graham

“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”

- Martha Graham

Jan 10 2010

Pablo Neruda


Yo tal vez yo no seré, tal vez no pude,
no fui, no vi, no estoy:
qué es esto? Y en qué Junio, en qué madera
crecí hasta ahora, continué naciendo?

No crecí, no crecí, seguzí muriendo?

Yo repetí en las puertas
el sonido del mar,
de las campanas:
yo pregunté por mí, con embeleso
(con ansiedad más tarde),
Ya estaba lejos mi anterioridad,
ya no me respondía yo a mí mismo,
me había ido muchas veces yo.

Y fui a la próxima casa,
a la próxima mujer,
a todos partes
a preguntar por mí, por ti, por todos:
y donde yo no estaba ya no estaban,
todo estaba vacío
porque sencillamente no era hoy,
era manana.

Por qué buscar en vano
en cada puerta en que no existiremos
porque no hemos llegado todavía?

Así fue como supe
que yo era exactamente como tú
y como todo el mundo.


I, perhaps I never will be, perhaps I was not able,
never was, never saw, don’t exist:
what is all this? In which June, in what wood
did I grow until now, being born and born again?

I didn’t grow, never grew, just went on dying?

In doorways I repeated
the sound of the sea,
of the bells:
I asked for myself, with wonder,
(and later with trembling hands),
with little bells, with water,
with sweetness:
I was always arriving late.
I had traveled far from who I was,
I could not answer any questions about myself,
I had too often left who I am.

I went to the next house,
to the next woman,
I traveled everywhere
asking for myself, for you, for everybody:
and where I was not there was no one,
everywhere it was empty
because it wasn’t today,
it was tomorrow.

Why search in vain
in every door in which we will not exist
because we have not arrived yet?

That is how I found out
that I was exactly like you
and like everybody.

by Pablo Neruda from The Sea and The Bells, translated by William O’Daly

Dec 20 2009

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“The integrated cells and organs that make up the human organism are an instrument that allows us to get in touch with the rest of the universe. The body is like a probe full of sensitive devices that tries to obtain what information it can from the awesome reaches of space. It is through the body that we are related to one another and to the rest of the world.”

- from FLOW by Mihaly Csikzsentmihalyi

Dec 11 2009


“Often in spirituality, there are teachings that assert the need to focus atention on given objects of perception. You may have been taught to focus your attention on a goal, a mantra, your breath, the third eye, the hara, or on sensation, but it is the very assertion of focus and the assertion of the focuser, the “me,” that keeps you forever at a seeming distance from the root of attention: your Self as pure Awareness.

In your natural state as Oneness, there is no need to focus in order to discover yourself – any more than point A can know itself by focusing on point B. Point A can only know itself by letting all focus, attention, and searching subside back to its origin.

This is an open invitation for a simple resting, a return to the ground of being you have always know.

- Mukti“Don’t miss the Stop Sign”

Nov 8 2009

From You

ImagingSelf-RoseMessage by N. Teddy Goldsworthy-hanner (c)

Imagining Self: Rose Message
By N. Teddy Goldsworthy-hanner

How do you imagine Self? Life’s history is like a feather being blown along in the wind where one is not merely defining but creating meaning, inventing a record of distinctions – the myth of freedom and escape – imagining Self.

The world, a mimicry of assumptions where one wishes to be valued, wishes to be cherished. The world, a place where one can barely find the history of meanings, where one’s self-perceptions are hardly valid. Is all there is material inscriptions where no one looks beyond to the written?

Art is an activity crucial to self identity and liberal humanist belief, a barrier against those who would deny validity of Self.

Oct 6 2009

From You

(c) Photograph by Deborah Cottrell

Self poem by Deborah CottrellPoem & Photograph by Deborah Cottrell

Sep 12 2009

Gunilla Norris

Within each of us there is a silence,
a silence as vast as the universe…

When we experience that silence,
we remember who we are,
creatures of the stars,
created from time and space, created from silence…

Silence is our deepest nature, our home, our common ground, our peace.

Sep 8 2009

Jewish Saying

“When I call on the light of my soul I come home.”

Sep 1 2009

Numi Tea

Within each of us is a loving,
magical, powerful being…
a Real Self.

Music, friend that it is,
cocoons us from our worries,
enabling that hidden self to emerge.

- from Numi Tea’s iRelax CD

Aug 22 2009

Hadewijch II

All things
are too small
to hold me,
I am so vast

In the Infinite
I reach
for the Uncreated

I have
touched it,
it undoes me
wider than wide

Everything else
is too narrow

You know this well,
you who are also there

Aug 1 2009

From You

Art by Gary Turchin

anti-self by Gary Turchin

The idea of self has evolved in my mind over the years. Where once I saw self as our highest nature, beyond ego, I now think of it as a shell containing that which cannot be contained. Our role as artists, as human beings, is to crack the shell and offer glimpses, to ourselves and others, of the uncontainable.

infinite-best by Gary Turchin

self-abasement by Gary Turchin

self-amusement by Gary Turchin


self-made by Gary Turchin

Gary Turchin has been exploring self as an artist, writer, performer and silly-poet-for-kids (aka Gary T. & his PoetTree) for 35 years. His cosmic t-shirt designs were renowned in art festivals throughout the state for many years and were sold in major national catalogues.

As a kids’ poet, he has performed original verse in more than 250 schools and libraries, and produced two recordings and two chapbooks of verse. He also wrote a newspaper column about Oakland that ran in the Montclarion Newspaper for 5 years.

Jul 31 2009

From You

What is self?

A question often asked; especially at the annual convention of Existentialists in South Bend, Indiana.

Often, the speaker will announce into the microphone “What  is Salt” – misreading the teleprompter.

After an awkward silence their aunts and cousins from Des Moine will applaud in a friendly ritual of ackowledgment that suggests the statement is quite insightful.

Unfortunately for the speaker there is usually some random quasi-intellectual in the back who shouts, “What is Salt? Sodium Chloride, you idiot! What in the world does that have to do with self?”

Causing the speaker to rush down the aisle in a blind rage; security gets involved and we still have not figured out “What is Self.”

Typical human behavior.

Returning to the podium, the speaker will restart with “My apologies for the interruption. Where was I at?”

“What is Salt,” he posits, trying not to admit his earlier mistake.

“Salt is … a spice in various cooking traditions. It is often used to flavor … a baked potato … or a dish of vegetables. It tastes good and I personally love salt on just about anything.”

“Although my wife claims I should cut back because of my high blood pressure.”

“But that brings me to my point. My high blood pressure, my salt intake.”

“That is about myself. Not my wife’s … self.”

“So what is self if not a damn good baked potato with sour cream and chives and bacon pieces and maybe some grated cheddar cheese.”

“Preferably Tillamook.”

“So, in conclusion, if I … my … self … had that baked potato ready to go, I would add a generous smattering of salt to it – wife be damned – and retire to the TV den to enjoy myself.”

“Oh. On a historical note. Long ago there was a story by The Bible about a woman; a ruthless woman who turned herself into a pile of salt. Or so the story goes.”

“There are various versions of that myth. All show that ‘self’, throughout history, has been linked to salt.”

“Thus, I posit, what is ‘self’?”

“Salt is ‘self’”

“Thank you, good night, and I shall make myself available for autographs of my new book at the signing table in the lobby.”

“Please remember that every day you should question ‘what is salt?’ … or even ‘what is self’!

(from Aaron Voorhees)

Jul 29 2009

From You

I am…
Gracefully stepping…
one foot before the other…
trusting with each step I will find a new sense of strength, balance, insight…
slowly, confidently, I place one foot before the other…
I choose to trust the loving voice within…
one foot before the other…
I surrender…
I am…

(from Emily Paul)

Jul 8 2009

Derrick Jensen

“The blurring of boundaries between self and other in high jumping probably provides a key to my early love for the sport, a bridge between the walls I erected to protect me from emotions raised by my father’s abuse and the dismantling of those walls years later. In both cases – abuse and high jumping – those boundaries disappeared.

As a child, they disappeared because I was of necessity hyperaware, always alert to sounds, sudden movements, the slightest change in musculature or vibes that might indicate the possibility of an attack, that might give me an additional half-second to prepare for my father’s violence by physically absenting myself. Instead of remaining present to my own experience, I was present to my anticipation of his experience. My own self – whatever that means – was silent and submerged.

When I jumped, those boundaries between self and other once again became obscure. This time, though, the blurring was accomplished not by hiding the self, but expanding it.

On the best jumps, those where I approached that ragged edge of control where instinct and euphoria set me free from time and consciousness, the self grew and dissolved until there was no meaningful separation between me and the rest of the world. The bar and the standards, the pit, the slight breeze in the late April afternoon, the sun, the grass, me, we all worked together.”

- from A Language Older Than Words (p. 59)

Jun 20 2009

Devara Dasimayya

If they see
breasts and long hair coming
they call it woman,

if beard and whiskers
they call it man:

but, look, the self that hovers
in between
is neither man
nor woman

O Ramanatha

Jun 11 2009


I have visited in my wanderings shrines and other places of pilgrimage. But I have not seen another shrine blissful like my own body.

Jun 10 2009

Nisargadatta Majaraj

When I see that I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see that I am everything, that is love. And between these two my life moves.

Jun 9 2009

Kyle and Catherine Fisher

It is awesome and often extremely embarrassing to have your life play out in such a public manner. But you learn that you must strive to be bold in attempting to be true to your realest self. For better or for worse this has been an expression of our essence and people will judge us as they choose. Hey – whatever. We are at the same time amazing and flawed. Life is a great teacher. Rejoice.

Kyle and Catherine Fisher, Owners of Speakeasy Theaters

May 19 2009

I Am

I am a girl who is 6 years old.
I wonder what the sun is made of.
I hear fun in my house.
I see kids working at school.
I want to be a actress when I grow up.
I am a girl who is 6 years old.

I pretend I am a singer at my house.
I feel happy when I am on vacation.
I touch animals when I am at the zoo.
I worry in the dark.
I am a girl who is 6 years old.

I understand when someone falls down.
I say sorry when I get in a fight.
I dream I am in a jungle.
I try to play nicely with other people.
I hope I can have fun as long as I live.
I am a girl who is 6 years old.

by Laila

(Laila participated in the What is Self? Art & Writing Exhibition @ Frisbie St. in Oakland, CA – May 2009)

May 19 2009

Self-Portrait at 5 years

Self Portrait 5 years

by Marisa

(Marisa participated in the What is Self? Art & Writing Exhibition @ Frisbie St. in Oakland, CA – May 2009)

May 19 2009

From You

susanapiecechairs Interactive mutli media piece by Susana Aragonparticipantssusanaragon


(Susana participated in the What is Self? Art & Writing Exhibition @ Frisbie St. in Oakland, CA – May 2009)


Artist Bio: I’m a visual artist born in Lima, Peru. I’ve been working in the fields of arts and education since 1982. My art work goes from video installations, multimedia shows, public space interventions, performance, to book objects, ceramic, photography, poetry, costume design and painting.

My work emerges from daily experience, transforming it, experimenting, playing. I’m interested in the way objects can change their meaning according to the way they are put together, whether in a picture, real space or in video installations becoming presences that can lead people to different personal worlds.

Artist Website:

May 19 2009

From You

Remember Sane - graffiti art by L. Berkley“Remember Sane”


What is Self?

Friendship – the connections we have with people.

L. Berkely – graffiti artist

(L. Berkely participated in the What is Self? Art & Writing Exhibition @ Frisbie St. in Oakland, CA – May 2009)


There are more photos of the making of this piece on the Frisbie St. website. Click here to view.

May 19 2009

From You

carrelcrawford1“Two Inner Senses”

(watercolor, charcoal, crayon, pastel on paper)

This piece is a collaboration between Yosi, a 3 year old, and her mom.

As a non producing artist, I constantly struggle with being able to produce art, as if I can’t dig deep enough, or let go long enough to put something down.

Watching Yosi draw, I am inspired by her expressive strokes, fearless choice of color and care-free motivation.

This piece illustrates my personal inner struggle between holding on and letting go, being fearful and fearless and making nothing or something.


(Carrel participated in the What is Self? Art & Writing Exhibition @ Frisbie St. in Oakland, CA – May 2009)


May 19 2009

From You

The Door by Breathe One Love artist Lanell Dike

What is Self?
beyond the thin skin of identity created by our thoughts

what moves this transient shadow form?

step through The Door
shed all that you think you are
discover your self



LANELL DIKE – Breathe One Love artist

(Lanell participated in the What is Self? Art & Writing Exhibition @ Frisbie St. in Oakland, CA – May 2009)

Artist Bio: Lanell Dike is enjoying the daily miracle of breath.

Artist Website:

May 19 2009

From You


What is self?
Inwardly imagined
Outwardly projected
Recipient interpretation
Known and unknown
We remain our ‘self’
To be discovered again
And, again

SUE GRAUE – Visual artist

inspired by patterns and beauty
Photography is my passion
Capturing a moment in time, to share with others
Self-taught and professionally coached
My identity is not as a mother, sister or friend
But, an artist
This has been my transformation
I am grateful
To find my ‘self’

(Sue participated in the What is Self? Art & Writing Exhibition @ Frisbie St. in Oakland, CA – May 2009)

May 19 2009

From You



A Papercut Book

C.J. GROSSMAN – Art, Jazz, Books

(C.J. participated in the What is Self? Art & Writing Exhibition @ Frisbie St. in Oakland, CA – May 2009)

Artist Website:

May 19 2009

From You



(Melissa participated in the What is Self? Art & Writing Exhibition @ Frisbie St. in Oakland, CA – May 2009)


May 19 2009

From You

Alison Kellom

ALISON KELLOM – multi media artist

(Alison participated in the What is Self? Art & Writing Exhibition @ Frisbie St. in Oakland, CA – May 2009)


Artist Website: