One way of Knowing

Grace, Copyright© by Maureen Shaughnessy

Sometimes our flame goes out but is blown again into instant flame by encounter with another being. --Dr. Albert Schweitzer

Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky. -- Rainier Maria Rilke

I made a slight change to both quotes above. I removed just one word from each: human. To me, the insights Schweitzer and Rilke present are more true when seen in this inclusive way: accepting that all beings are capable of loving, of being intimate, of kindling the flame of life in the heart of another being -- even one of a different species.


Coming Home ...the still point of a turning world

My friend, Pam, is living with ALS. She lives her life with humor, courage and perseverance. She does not make ALS the center of her life. I find great inspiration in her optimistic philosophy. I made this piece to honor the love-of-life Pam models for me.

Pam seems to live in that place the poet, TS Elliott called the still point of the turning world ... where past and future are gathered ... the point that, like the center of a turning wheel, remains quiet, meditatively motionless, yet is really the origin of the dance, the beginning of movement. Though she cannot leap up and dance, or go rock climbing, or run a marathon, Pam (aka Batman) truly embodies the still point of a turning world .... she is the origin of the dance.

That still point of a turning world ... that place at the very center of being, is also a home, a sanctuary, a place in our hearts we can find solace and clarity when life stops making sense. It is a touchstone; the center of a flower; the burning point in the middle of the sun; the beating pulse of light and air, flame and sea, turning in circles around us.

One can be far from the physical geographic place we call home, yet still be home in that still point. Or one can be confined to the physical home yet find comfort and sanctuary in a more expansive place -- in one's imagination, in expression, in compassion, in reaching out to others, in friendship. Inside the heart. Where physical abilities are irrelevant. I can only hope to create this kind of place for myself someday. Pam lives in both places: the home she shares with her husband, family and friend Barb ... and the home she shares with the rest of us, through her friendship, artistic expressions and poetry.

Pam, may you live long and may your heart prosper.



We start from a dark place before we are born,
reach for the ambiguous lightness
as if we could see through the window
into lighter places,
through a cloudy film.
It's always there in winter, for some.

A tiny glass basket pulls me back to
childhood: its' candy colors, stacks of rings
like playground sing-songs
memories carried as a burden or
a teaching
carried in starts and stops
like drops of water
or shards of crystal glass.

I drink it up.

-- Maureen Shaughnessy

Thanks to Sandy (Inez Indigo) for the use of her photo

Photo Friday: Mountain: Monida Spring

Monida Spring, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.