Friday, October 18, 2013

Be dumbfounded

For the "in charge" people in my life:

At times we are hidden, at times revealed;

We are Muslims, Christians, Jews; of any race.

Our hearts are shaped like any human heart,

But every day we wear a different face.

#1325, from Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi
Edited by Badiozzaman Forouzanfar (Tehran, Amir Kabir, 1988).

Translated by Zara Houshmand

Recently, one of the most important people in my life wept for a second time when I read the poem below to him. "Zero Circle" is found several places and this version I posted was not attributed to any one "translator". (I'd love to find it in the Persian and English by a Persian translator of Rumi if anyone has that?) Some who work with Rumi, The Enneagram (see below) and with the Socio-Psychology growth and harmony of groups have assigned this poem to the number EIGHT of the Enneagram. Yet, I suppose this state of being dumbfounded and not knowing where to turn is likely to most of us some of the time.

Zero Circle

Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
To gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Besides ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.

NOTE: I have found The Enneagram to be highly useful for transparency, peace, cooperation and understanding in various types of communities, relationships and even for the individual seeking maturity by self.

Below are a few book suggestions:

The Spirituality of the Enneagram by Rizo (a whole package with self-testing)

Anything on the Enneagram by Richard Rohr

The Enneagram in Love and Work by Helen Palmer

( The photo collection above is from: The Nature Conservancy and at )

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Poem for Writers and Readers

Readers & writers alike could be helped by reading this poem when assessing the value and benefit of a work of art:

The world stands out on either side.
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky
No higher than the soul is high.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

So often readers are missing almost anything of value...

The writing is often skilled yet only helpful as an example of a narcissistic voice. In context this could be useful indeed...yet only in the whole of an author's work.

While I appreciated the honing in on the human and the fallible aspects of everyone there often seems to be no room for any sort of mystery, miracle or wonder as a final conclusion to many pieces I read due to as assignment or what's offered by a group.

If we as readers are incentivized by the first of a larger body of an author's work we often must needs find that mystery, wonder is also included. Problem is I am not inspired to spend precious time exploring more if this is the first view I get of a writer's work.


Elvin Daniel


From Elvin: Last October, my sister Zina was shot and killed by her abusive estranged husband, even though she had a restraining order against him.

A criminal background check would have stopped her murderer from buying a weapon, but he simply avoided one by going on the internet and finding a private seller at

Domestic abusers like my sister's murderer tend to become more dangerous after a victim leaves or seeks a protective order against them -- which is why federal law prohibits them from buying guns. But loopholes in our laws make it too easy for them to get their hands on guns -- it's time for Congress to take action to prevent this from ever happening again.

Read the letter to Congress in full and then HELP ask CONGRESS to pass common-sense gun laws that will save women's lives