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Putting your inner critic to work

A few years ago my inner critic was not only speaking to me a lot, but it was also easier than usual for me to “hear.” What I mean is that I was able to notice my critic’s voice in real time and write down what it said. During that time I always kept a few outdated business cards in […]

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Art, spirit, and the old-lady icon

Oak tree in Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve, Oakland, CA

The image on the cover of Shirley du Boulay’s An Extraordinary Life is from an 18th c. painting, and as in all famous images of Teresa of Avila, Teresa is lovely, and maybe 17. So when I read what she looked like when she got to the point in her life where she had real authority, it made me wish there were icons of her looking like this:

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How these things are forgotten

In “The Bowl of Roses” (full text below), the poet Rilke spends eight lines painting an ugly picture. And then: But now you know how these things are forgotten: for here before you stands a bowl full of roses… Thus begin sixty-four exquisite lines of instruction on how these things are forgotten. Eight lines of discarded gazes and pure hate […]

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A rain poem

The Favor (for Cookie the neighbor cat) I said, “May I pet you? What an honor it would be.” You replied with some drawn-out “mmm” syllable of complaint as if it cost you money to arch your back up to meet my hand, as if you were not free to run back out into the rain.

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