"Live as if you were already dead." - Zen admonition
"Hard times require furious dancing." - Alice Walker
From Eve Ensler, In the Body of the World, in which she reflects on her battle with cancer and her engagement with women in the Congo. In this section, she places a picture of the Indian Goddess Kali next to the (Buddhist/Hindu) Goddess Tara:
"Burn it away. Kali. burn it away. make it new. take me to the core of holy destruction and death and let me survive your excruciating heat. Let me throw what isn't useful into your flame. Dissolve it there and make me new, make me whole. Burn off the cells that are compulsively dividing and subdividng. Burn off all the parts of me that create separation and division. Burn off the stories. Burn off my contempt and my self-pity. Burn off all the ways I get ahead of myself and try to get ahead of others. And Tara, open my heart. Make me one wiht all sufferers. Mainly, take my fear. And please, make it funny..... I need you to take it now. Let me prostrate myself at the altar of your insight and mercy. Tara, Kali.... prayer hands pressed on crown, throat, heart, standing, kneeling, lying flat. Flat flat pressed pressed down as far as I get get into the floor."
From me on a hot morning in the midst of a furiously busy week:
Mama Kali, you who bring me roses and knives and conch shells, this morning I pray to you. Amidst the changing climate, the heat baking these streets, I pray to you. Amidst the police sirens outside my window, the cries of the ambulance that amplifies the cries of those are sick and dying and beaten and shot, I pray to you. Burn away th
at which is no longer needed. May my knife be sharp and my hand be deft and guided by wisdom. Grow sweet orchids and greens and figs and melons to feed the hungry children on a warming planet. Gracious one, grow kindness. Let those whose souls seek one another find one another and join together in grace. May there be openness and ease of connectivity for all efforts towards clean air and free flowing water and healthy soil. Beat the drum of celebration and of sorrow; turn great wheel, turn; turn us towards a deeper joy, a simpler life. Dance on the roof tops and in the gardens, dance amongst the blooming red roses and the cawing of the crow. Dance in the prisons and dance in the church halls and dissolve the walls with the fury of your dancing.