September 2017

"Writer" — Donna Woodka


She withdrew into herself,
First writing just for one,
Then touching thousands,
She incarnated ghosts, hurt, and joy
Into paper-and-ink stories of wonder.

One author said, “I can get rid of anything by writing about it,” meaning that the process of externalization could liberate him from the pain in his soul. That realization produced a delicious dichotomy; to free himself: or to hold on to both joys and tortures by remaining silent about them.

Writers write because they must: They need to express something from deep within themselves. They hear voices that others do not. They listen urgently, and they must communicate what they hear.

People feel Tao in the same way that writers feel something unique. In the process of listening for mysterious voices and expressing the wonder that comes is a magic akin to the perfection of Tao.

“To withdraw myself from myself has ever been my sole, my entire, my sincere motive in scribbling at all.“ — Lord Byron

“I started with all the handicaps, incapabilities and helplessness. I didn’t talk when I was twenty. I taught myself by the act of writing.” –Anais Nin

“Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery. The adventure is a metaphysical one; it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order eventually to become that path himself.” — Henry Miller

Most people are separated from writing about the things they really feel deeply or even sometimes from knowing they feel those things at all. We live in a very shallow sort of society where we are rather actively discouraged from thinking about anything too deeply or expressing our inner thoughts and emotions, and most people come to internalize this and guard their own thoughts from any depth of feeling.


“New Life” by Aeterna Lumen

--”Spring”by Jonah Lisa Land

The images of my past are swiftly being left behind as I travel into a new day. I lived in a “zombie” state for many years, allowing life to beat me down as I watched others live and breathe, my own death closing in on me. Sleep blanketed my thoughts and I hid underneath the covers to escape the sad reality of my truth in this time of struggle and complacency. I believed my days of creativity, growth, and personal joys were over. I gave my time and lifeblood to soothe and strengthen others. Somewhere in the process I forgot what my life was about.

Now, in this time of autumn as the leaves reach full blazing color, and the rain gently washes them away from their branches, I become fully aware of the steps I have so carefully taken to be free. Free of the dogma of ritualistic religion. Free of relationships that seek to harm and use me up. Free of a profession that had no respect for brilliant minds and full-service hearts. These leaves of my life are being swept away by the wind and rain, leaving my branches bare of the burdens inflicted on me by my own poor choices.

Now, I stand at the crossroads of my purpose and my truth. I choose to follow the path of an authentic life. I empty my mind of self-destructive thoughts leaving room for inspiration, confidence, and the voices of strength and light. My present path may look unwise and uncertain to those who live in fear, while others applaud my efforts and look beyond the futile comforts of a material world. Though my branches may look weathered and worn, devoid of life and color, the core of my trunk is solid and true. There is now room for fresh growth and transformation will surely show its source in the coming spring of my life. Underneath blankets of snow this coming winter I will grow, forming new buds and branches, which will flourish with unknown intensity in the coming years. What has died will now produce regenerated life and beauty. As life imitates nature, the tender buds will open displaying genuine color and shine. This new life will be mine. I pray for wisdom as I choose the colors to decorate the branches of my life.

©2013 Aeterna Lumen All Rights Reserved.


"Spaceships & Invitations" — (excerpt) Marianne Williamson

Painting — “Angel”

Sometimes, love arrives as though it were a spaceship landing in the back yard. The captain comes out of the ship and says to us, "Hi, I'm here to beam you up! Come on! We're going!"

Yet so many times we reject him, saying, "Uh, well, I can't just leave here so fast. Actually, I can't even believe you're here.  How long do I have to prepare my things?"

And he says, "You have no time at all. Your entire life been spent preparing. Now, we must go quickly. If you wait, your eyes will adjust and you will no longer see me. I've just  landed for a bit, to pick you up. You have an hour, max.  You can make further plans from the ship."

The captain sees that we are bewildered, but so is he,  "Haven't you been asking for this for years?" he asks.

"Well, yes," we say. "I have. But I guess I didn't think you were coming. ... I sort of made a life for myself here, in the meantime."

"Not that much of one, judging from your prayers at night," he tells us. "Let's go, if you're coming. I can't wait forever."

And then we say, if we say it, what is ultimately the most tragic thing we will ever say, and that is, "No, thank you." No, I don't choose the ride, even though I want it desperately. No, I don't want to beam up now, even though it's a living hell down here. No, I do not choose the path of wild and radical and authentic love, even though I know I am dying without it. I think I'll just settle for "good enough."

And why do we do that? Why do we not receive with open arms the answers to our prayers? Because we ourselves are authoring what will one day look like natural selection. The human race is turning a corner, and those who choose not to make the turn will keep going straight until they fall off the cliff ahead.

Angels are onboard those spaceships, appearing everywhere now, often in the guise of loved ones holding the torch that would light our way through darkness. On the other side of that darkness is the light in which dreams come true. But there are demons in that darkness, to be sure, and we can feel them. They almost paralyze us with fear. All those unloved parts of ourselves are there, ugly and twisted and ready to destroy. They live in the darkness, on the other side of which is paradise itself. Even though the only way to paradise is through the darkness—and even though the fire of the angel's torch will burn the demons up, not us—we do not trust that. We lack faith. We are staunch and calcified in our refusal to choose love, and so we say to the angel, "No, you go ahead. I'll stay here."

The angel looks at us in disbelief; the refusal of ecstasy is unknown in heaven. The space captain can scarcely believe his ears, but noninterference in and respect for the choices of another human being is a must on the enlightened path. Not that you can force anyone onto a spaceship anyway. One only rides on the wings of an angel if one is seriously committed to the experience of heaven. The lure of hell is so very real here.

Still, as the ship takes off, the captain looks at the angel onboard and notices that there are tiny sparkling rivers of water, falling from her eyes.

Back at headquarters, the angel reports to higher-ups.
"He chose not to go."
The superior is silent, witnessing the angel's pain. The angel continues. "I can hardly believe it. He chose not to go.

"Do you think he understands the consequences?" asks the superior.

"I don't know," says the angel. "I think he thinks that staying there is the more responsible thing to do."

"Responsible ... to whom? To what?"

"I don't know. It's strange. He's not ecstatically happy there, but he thinks it's his duty to stay. He feels it's an adult situation, and he lives in fear that he is not one."

"Yes, of course. Well, we've seen this before. They choose psychology over poetry. We keep trying to evacuate that realm before the storm hits, but people refuse evacuation."


"You prayed for him, of course."

"Oh, yes. With all my heart."

"Well. Job well done. Sorry if your heart was a little bruised on this mission. It's one of the risks, you know. It can happen, of course."

"Of course."

"Still, they're touching creatures. Contentious, but touching.


The angel was trained for love, she was disciplined in love, but her tears still flowed.
You're excused. You may go."

As the angel turned around to weep, her superior called her back. "I say, one thing. . . . Do remember—you'll see him again someday."

"Will I really, Master? Will I really?"

"Of course you will. You must cleave to your own faith at times like these. How else can you convince them of theirs, if you don't?"


"Forgotten Wing" by Bei Kuan-tu


A man’s uncompromising soul,
rests in clarity and valor.
Peter's denial was three,
mine many more.
Love conquers
as all souls do know

Yin, a man’s forgotten wing
a gate to grandeur's heart,
whose nature moves skyward,
to embrace its celestial crown,
reducing and expanding —
into the wisdom of Tao,

which is love left free
to do and be.