The nimbleness of intelligence



How many times

will I shed raw and return?

Or is it a stronger current

amorphously assembling and deconstructing

in circuitous layers of attendance

as I unwittingly rally

behind the porosity of thought

the seduction of knowledge


I am a small planet

a symbiotic microbial world

my mind’s peripheral orbit

has flung so far out

in its trajectory that now

my axis seems nearly invisible

but I can still feel it…

this bright nucleus of love

teeming with life


Tepid fleshed, soft and juicy

I navigate through

this microbial stew

with winged thoughts

a heart that prisms lightning

and opposable dancing thumbs

exploring this finely tuned internal edge

tingling with the emotive tracings

of “new” frontiers


While underground

the nimbleness of intelligence

arises in quietude

fervent, listening

patiently listening

for openings of emergent steam

clear signs of the heat of engagement


I look “out there” from inside the swarming warmth

positioning myself in the spaces in between

practiced in resistance to the consistent hum of patterns and static

The quietude continues to rise from its circuitous path

this time through the soles of my feet

rising to the opening in my sky when I hear

“Out here! Out here! Not out there! We’re right here, Alice.

We’re all right here… playing in the fields of wild light”



Picture source: Teach the Microbiome

Mamma clock



You were never adventurous

insisting on sticking to interaction

proscribed a sure thing

trying to be a “good girl” but always told

you were never good enough…

I was the one thrown into the air by each season

intoxicated by a flower’s breath

building new homes out of cardboard or snow

exhuming pets I was curious about death and bones and teeth

climbing trees listening to their heart sap

nipping change from Norman’s penny jar just for the sneak of it

not caring much about showing my girl parts to the neighbor boys

my anatomy a fire fly in a jar

And there you were pushing me off

unsteady on two bicycle wheels

as if your moods weren’t the day’s bad weather

and me always approaching you with the caution

of the kid held flat out in high winds

and now you were casting me off like a baby bird

as if you yourself knew how to fly

Well…little did I know your strange insistence

was giving me more than wings

your internal Mamma clock was saying

it was time I learned to fly

sending me on my way

with all you had learned of trust 

and the red apple of your love

watching me

as I took off and kept rolling



Artist: Terry Turrell

Verde Corazon



my sleeping fingers hear night rain

they sweep wide 

opening a window

my waking skin is dampened

smelling wakened soil


my blood is pulsing

melting runoff


breathing it all in

deep as my lungs will take it

  tender buds

unfurl in my brain

without thought


full to bursting



photo: nezartdesign

Finger prints



You were imprinted on my fingertips

written as dim memory

in line and skin


I kept your image at arms length

or balled it into a fist

A turning away

from the violence

As if there is no real death in ascending?


As a child

it is true

I was taught to expect some relationship

while being impressed into the feverish tribe

of Jesus watching


Before me

pale lipped men

created tension

bells ringing


with a tiny chaste taste


Who clothed me

in this rag tag skin of living words?

Held hostage



I fall pummeled and wading

in the waves of this unexpected birthing

Free now to love you simply as a man


A man of flesh and bread and wine

who once lived to turn the world.



Artist: Caravaggio

Their cadence syncopated by raindrops and bird calls


Max Ernst


Softening their intelligence

transparent as water and air

they meander through the maps of their minds

unraveling the edges of illusion


Circumnavigating the solid grid of references

they walk deftly under the ladders of hierarchy

The flight of their passions

entertaining the complexities of insight


Their cadence syncopated

by raindrops and bird calls

they resonate as bells ringing

weathering the storms of vulnerability


Each of their words

the flesh of their hearts

their ageless spirits

carry loss as kites in the wind


While planting bright seeds

in fecund dust

where some may grow

under the radar



Artist: Max Ernst


He sang my pulse a metronome



I once took a lover

Substantial as the undertow

He sang…

He sang my pulse a metronome

As mermaids surfaced mesmerized


He showed me between his strong legs

Thick hairs, long soaked in the moon

Permeated with his strength and compassion


To love and be loved is evermore

His words becoming the flesh of dreams

I moved like seaweed in his tides

Undulate and grounded

Melding with the cello of his landing


Compelled, the spirits

Shufflling wistfully in dust

Remembered their names

Became eager for color

Incanted lullabies

Spellbound by our heat

As it rose to claim them


Proud, my body animal

Went to ground bearing seed

I became witness and thunder

Rounded and swelling in storms

Unfolding broad wings bearing rain

A haloed tunnel of bone and cusp


All forgotten in the first cry of birthing

As in this moment my world split in two

And continued to divide into ocean and land

Both realms indigenous to the lost souls of Man.


Artist:  “Whispers” Monique Passicot

Loosely Binding


The making of Hanji paper ….


Mulberry bark


skin, boil, wash, pound

In winter

cover with the root mucus … of hibiscus manihot.

Blended together … artfully form.

In a warm room … dry slowly … covered with stones.

I am durable … unpreserved I outlast civilizations

Enter my door … I am cool in summer, warm in winter

Impenetrable … the rain that falls can not dim my light


Accompanied by cricket sound in a field of stars

I sit in the soft glow of papered lamp light

it’s ancient tradition a beckoning

all my loved ones resting deep in sleep,

and tonight a great nest of grandchildren

dreaming of mountain tadpoles

and the wild strawberries they picked

as their own sun kissed bodies ripened in the sun

In this moment

I wonder at the naturalness of this great love that binds us

I am dazed by this spiraling life my heart forever flies towards

while still maintaining my own self … full, nurturing, self providing

I sit here like an open field arms held wide for it all

Tonight looking out at the shadows cast in response to our light

the dreaming of this family and the vast silence of living surrounds me

I wrap myself round with the wonder of it all

At the strength and resilience this steady cadence our hearts beat

Seemingly fragile

But oh, so strong


Hanji paper is a traditional paper made in Korea from the inner bark of the paper mulberry. It is durable with archival properties and can be openly displayed in museums without protection. It is a good ventilator but can also keep a room warm so it is used to cover their wooden framed doors. It is also waterproof. It’s translucent qualities lend well to the artistry of shading lamps.

Hanji Paper Artist: Kitty Jun-Im




Ahingas at dawn

poised between the viscous and the thinning

drying their wings


Algae blooming

convoluted and impatient

now remembering their place


A  young man  with dark eyes

continually filling his truck bed

with damaged and forest overgrowth


Muscling new piers with humor

immersed in sea water

they’re building the new bridge


The many Gods speaking as the roots of Origin

actively assemble

the thaw


 I sat on the dock overlooking the fresh water lake each day watching the ahingas. They are cousins to the cormorant and pelican, sometimes called “snakebird” as they swim submerged except for their heads above the water. Their feathers aren’t waterproof like ducks, so they open and dry their wings off before being able to take flight. There’s a lot of silent standing, occasional diving, gliding and wing drying….but mostly just standing there facing the light.


Photo…”Ahingas” Meher Baba Center, North Myrtle Beach, SC

The Poetics of Light #19





The beginning of this series starts here


       After weeks of carefully picking our way through tangled brush and strenuously rising from the valley below, we have reached the summit of the high mountain. In this altitude the air is thin and crisp and all movement is considered. It’s been a rough climb breaking new trail. Looking down the mountain from this height, we now have a clear view. We can see that there are many other pathways through the brush etched like the carved rivulets of spring runoff… the trails of sure footed mountain goats.

           While on the mountain we have been engaging in the deep personal work of extricating ourselves from the gravity, the weight of empathy and the patterns of cause and effect that influence our lives. Through our relationships, our spiritual practices, our creative work, our silent listening, we have been gaining insight into our own healing path as we climb.

           We have been gaining self knowledge and have experienced that seeing a pattern reoccurring in our lives in one instance isn’t necessarily enough. Over and over insight informs us from various vantage points as we engage in our relationships and make our choices. Each time we have been acquiring new strengths to heal and resolve the suffering we have endured, for we have all suffered much. As we climb the mountain we prepare ourselves to be better able to compassionately embrace the suffering of all beings, even though our hearts are heavy with it. There is respite here at the summit, but we are needed, and our lives await us in the valley below.

           Before our return we gather together. We have broken new ground on this climb and we are being asked to acknowledge this in whatever way has meaning for us. In this conscious act of acknowledgement though, it is made known that forgiving and asking for forgiveness initiates us consciously into the healing we seek.

          We come from many spiritual disciplines. This healing path however, is deeply personal and a matter of consciousness, not necessarily of form. To forgive simply takes the desire and the understanding of the necessity to forgive. The spiritual assistance to actualize this and integrate it into our lives follows. But we ask… who are we forgiving?

           Over lifetimes we acquire many layers of unresolved suffering… many layers upon layers. We know that in life there are genuine reasons for sadness or fear. However, when we fall prey to a blinding resistance or anxiety, to negating thoughts or emotions, to extended depression, to continued confusion of fear for small things, to prolonged existential sadness, when we become numb or indifferent under the burden of circumstance, or when we find ourselves empathically reacting to another person’s suffering and making it our own, we can be alerted that there is a possible layer of unresolved trauma lending empathic weight to what is actually happening. It is in this understanding that we can find the strength to respond to present life circumstances with more clarity, more perspective. In more trying situations, we can look here for grounding and courage.

The forgiveness necessary is simply in our own hands…

“We must forgive ourselves

for carrying the weight

of our suffering

for so long”

           Recognizing the intimate closeness of it. The soft spot in the middle of our gut we protect and know so well. The addictions that numb us. The inability to allow ourselves real intimacy with another. Forgiving ourselves we can better understand the difference between bearing witness to suffering with compassion, and carrying suffering as a personal empathic weight.

          We also often carry our unresolved suffering from collective archetypal trauma through many life times, adding layers and complexity to our initial trauma. It is for this reason it is important to understand the necessity of forgiving ourselves for adding to the collective human separation by carrying this suffering through all these lifetimes.

And to whom are we asking forgiveness?

           We are asking forgiveness to life itself and any way that we have diminished life. As we bend low, we ask forgiveness from all beings, from everything in existence, for perceiving of ourselves apart. This asking for forgiveness is a mending. As we heal this also contributes to the healing of the whole and the imbalance caused by this separate human empathic velocity.

         In this conscious act we commit our selves to becoming more present in our bodies, feeling everything, resonant and trusting… and assisting in healing this separation. As we heal the grief and loss of separation we have carried for lifetimes, we find our place in this beautiful world. This world which eternally finds balance in each moment and which simply asks us to open our hearts and to listen…


© Jana H. White

Artist: Hieronymus Bosch “The Garden of Earthly Delights”


The Poetics of Light #18


Empathic Resonance


The beginning of this series starts here


       What does it mean when a collective traumatic situation becomes archetypal? Can we even imagine the magnitude of collective human suffering that created the anomaly of an energetic velocity separate from the whole of life? Considering world events simply during my own life…Yes, I think we can.

           Even if we have lived a relatively unscathed life without experiencing trauma, we’ve all endured profound trauma at some point, and perhaps repeatedly, in our soul’s history. We carry the scars… but we don’t have to go that far in memory. We simply need to be conscious that this is so in order to remain vulnerable, respond to life’s prompts and heal by deepening our self understanding. It is absolutely essential in order to love, to forgive, or to have compassion.

           If we are not responding to life the alternative is that we are ruminating over and preoccupied with some internal wound, ignoring a vulnerability we need to gain the strengths to heal from, or we are using our intelligence to maintain and manipulate the patterns of cause and effect to manage our lives. Our thinking is informed by the collective perception of a progressive time continuum and our behavior by the personally damaging patterns of cause and effect promoted by this perception.

          In any of these activities we are resonating with the archetypes. It’s that simple. We waver on a see-saw between resonance with the archetypes and response to life. However, this does not have to define us. There is an alchemy active in conscious acknowledgement. It is our emerging collective Path of Healing.

          Alice down the rabbit hole…. Beam me up Scotty … Right here. Right now.


          Empathic resonance with the archetypes is an intense, well worn groove eroding the human psyche. Relative to the experience of archetypal trauma itself, this resonance is pervasive enough that when a person experiences an archetypal trauma, it elicits an immediate empathic reaction. The symptomology of possible human reaction has actually remained consistent over centuries and reads as an understandably human reaction to each situational trauma. Feelings of abandonment, despair of recovery and salvation, grief and anxiety, for example, all express the human condition under these circumstances.

           It is how a person moves through their lives under these constraints however, that determines whether their reaction remains empathic or shifts to a spiritually and physically integrating personal response. In a world that teeters violently out of balance, how much more important it is to know ourselves by continually and consciously maintaining a balance of our thoughts and emotions, grounding and centering these aspects of self hood in our bodies. We are literally physical and spiritual tuning forks. Considering all the cultural influences that promote empathy, this balancing in itself assists us in maintaining our connection with life.

           Because of the infinite diversity of human beings, in every traumatic situation it is impossible to determine just when a shift from reaction to response occurs. A general guideline is a person’s response, or lack of response, to both psychological and physical healing. However, as we’ve learned, healing is spiritual and a person’s response in their Path of Healing is not progressive. A person may waver back and forth from reaction to response at any time in their Path of Healing, which leads us to a second reaction category.


           The second category of empathic resonance manifests as a spiritual Crisis as a person fluctuates between empathic reaction and response to life. Due to the uniqueness of human response this is a widely varying state. A Crisis reaction may directly follow Trauma or it may be a delayed reaction. A person may also have a Crisis reaction periodically until healed. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an example when relative to an archetypal trauma. Trauma and Crisis both have there own symptomology for each of the archetypal traumas.

          A Crisis empathic reaction may also precede or follow the next two psychological empathic reaction categories.

          There are two psychological categories of empathic resonance. They are Masking and Indifference. They are both broad categories and apply generally to all of the archetypal traumas. Masking and Indifference each have their own separate mental and emotional symptomology.


           Here we decidedly see the influence of culture in the promotion of the “separate self” and the adherence to a progressive psychological attitude. A Masking empathic reaction concerns an individual who has experienced an archetypal trauma, or who carries the weight of their unconscious previous life suffering, but who has been unable to heal from their vulnerabilities in this regard.

           It is relevant to note that this is reflective of age and experience. A child in similar circumstances, having experienced an archetypal trauma and having difficulty healing psychologically, would most likely have a Crisis empathic reaction.

           In a Masking empathic reaction a person having difficulty dealing with their vulnerabilities regarding their experience of an archetypal trauma chooses to sublimate them. Instead of acknowledging and working with their vulnerabilities, which would afford them the opportunity of gaining the personal strengths needed to heal psychologically, they choose instead to adopt an alternate persona.

           In doing so, their outward personality generally reflects the alternate persona which they diligently work to protect. Their mental and emotional symptomology is in general kept in the private realm of their lives and follows the patterns of a Masking empathic reaction. There is a broader range of mental and emotional symptomology represented, variable and most often contradictory, to encompass this.

           This masking or sublimating reaction to vulnerabilities, in effect, perpetuates the perception of a separate self. This in turn creates difficulty in effectively balancing thoughts and emotions into an integrated physicality. This condition, if prolonged, tends to obscure the opportunities necessary to resolve and integrate a response to the initial trauma or the inherent vulnerabilities engendered by the soul memory of trauma. It is more possible for there to be a history of chronic illness and, without resolution, the individual tends to be more subject to disease.


           In an Indifference empathic reaction the symptomology can be the most aberrant. In this empathic reaction the person openly rejects opportunities that would lead to an integrated physicality, refusing to heal psychologically, and often choosing to perpetuate situations inimical to life. There is often a history of chronic illness and without the mental and emotional balance afforded by an integrated physicality, the person is more subject to chronic ill health, disease and mental illness.

           Because we are dealing with the relatively fixed symptomology of the patterns of cause and effect, between these two psychological reactions we can see an arc of empathy. One side tips towards the “victims”, whether expressing themselves or remaining silently wounded. Each is a preoccupation. The other side of the arc tips towards the indifferent and the manipulations of the sociopathic, psychopathic personality types, or anyone for that matter who uses their understanding of these patterns for their own purposes, for their own gain. Our expression of empathy is complicated. However it is the psychological empathic arc itself which is static… not the individual. We are not separate from life and the healing inherent in our participation.

           There are also marked differences between Masking and Indifference. In a Masking empathic reaction the individual’s reaction to an archetypal situation is self-contained and may become self-abusive. Whereas in an Indifference empathic reaction the individual’s reaction to life in general is in acting out with violent and aberrant behavior towards themselves and others.

           In these psychologically more complicated empathic states, a Crisis empathic reaction may precede or follow. The combinations are individual and unique and are often confusing in diagnoses. A person in a Masking or Indifference empathic reaction may switch mentally and emotionally to a Crisis state when challenged with deteriorating health and/or disease.

           Since both psychological reactions broadly cover all of the archetypes, when in a Crisis reaction, their mental and emotional symptomology may be indicative of the relevant trauma situation, since Trauma and Crisis share the same archetypal situation. However, it is unfortunately common for an individual to be reacting to more than one archetypal trauma further complicating diagnosis.

           There is a fifth empathic resonance reaction symptomology specifically for those experiencing Autism. It includes both a separate Trauma and Crisis empathic reaction for each archetypal trauma and a psychological Indifference reaction. It does not include a psychological Masking reaction. Also, it should be noted that great care be taken in attempting to define an unknown trauma through the symptomology of Crisis. The person’s Crisis symptomology may simply reflect inherent vulnerabilities rather than current life trauma.

           Understanding empathic resonance takes a dexterous approach. Other than the initial trauma itself, it is possible for a person to waver back and forth between reaction and response and it is impossible to judge when this is actually occurring.

           The clearest route to understanding our relationship with archetypal traumatic experience appears to be simply in acknowledgement and in compassionate practices and therapies that return a person to a fuller presence in their bodies. We can not know what the path of another is. We are all unique, our experiences empathically layered over life times and complicated by the influence of the gravity inherent in the patterns of cause and effect.

           I realize that this is a great deal to absorb, let alone integrate. Dealing with collective consciousness within ourselves is daunting. However, spiritually we have been responding to the emergence of a collective healing path and creating the tools to not only realize, but to actualize culturally collective and even global awareness, which is a powerful initiative for change. Personally, we can participate most effectively by simply doing our own deep work. We are a part of the whole organism of life. Every effort we make towards self-balancing contributes to the whole… 


For as we heal ourselves,

we remove our own traumatic imprint,

thus assisting in healing the collective and

lessening the gravity of empathy



© Jana H. White

Photo: Iceberg … Google Images