Rogue school

i got to reconnect with my friend nick palermo at the pie throwing party the other night... please read this truly inspirational dream of his. one theme in his dream sums up my aims at easily amazed pretty succintly, "just examining the sometimes ugly, sometimes beautiful world, looking for truth and lessons."
my dreams last night were filled with pie-throwing messiness. Then we kind of paraded through the streets all messy. It was weird (it *was* a dream) and fun. Then there was this really strange part of the dream, and I thought it was so brilliant from the moment I saw it...

So as we paraded down the street in some unknown dream-neighborhood, I witnessed some thug using a blade to jimmy open the door at, of all places, a public school. Not sure what kind of school it was, elementary, middle, or high. I thought, "what a rat, would break into a school." A couple of us approached the door to see what was going on in there. Instead of cleaning the place out, people (children, teenagers, adults) were gathered around in an auditorium kind of room, LEARNING! Some of the teenage kids were giving a very nicely designed and really high-tech presentation, complete with one of those fancy projectors hooked to a computer. So I asked someone what was going on. The person explained to me that this movement had formed where people would hold this kind of rogue class in public schools on weekends and vacation days. They all broke into the school, used the resources (like the projector and what not), and taught the kids how to teach each other using technology that they'd have to use later in life but that maybe wouldn't be part of a normal class.

Furthermore, and here's the kicker, the stuff they were teaching/learning/studying was *totally* out of the mainstream. Like the presentation that was going on when I walked in was some kind of behind the scenes of the civil rights movement - stuff they'd never teach in a regular class. You know, the public school version is just a couple "heros," Rosa Parks and MLK, and they led everyone to equality. Well this version was more in depth, complete with militants on both sides of the issue, extensive controversy and disagreement, etc., way too complex and two-sided (not just a good guys/bad guys story) for public school kids. So while there's no civil rights movement in the part I've read so far, I think this idea comes from a book I have and have partially read called "Lies My Teacher Told Me." But at the rogue school, they were just examining the sometimes ugly, sometimes beautiful world, looking for truth and lessons. It was like a school where Noam Chomsky is principal. It was an interesting end to a night full of crazy dreams.
so nick, when do you start teaching? or at least keep feeding us with such great ideas as this one!
posted by ashley


thank you

thank you
thank you
thank you

to each and every one of you that reads these easily amazed journeys... to each and every one of you that reaches out and touches my heart (and the hearts of others) in the most sincere and honest ways... to each and every one of you that shares your love... do you know the power that your love has on this earth?

i'm home, and it feels great to be here. phisically i'm back in texas, and in a larger sense, i feel so at home inside myself, in my surroundings, and in my relationships... on august 27th, i celebrated my golden birthday (turning the age of the day one is born, i.e. 27). i've really embraced the golden aspect of this birthday and i feel incredibly blessed for all of the loved ones that have shared with me in this celebration of my birth. thank you to my friends and family who gathered in atlanta (a special thanks to the ones who joined in the pie throwing and water balloon festivities), to the
denton folks who surprised me when i returned to town, to all of the loved ones that called, emailed, wrote, and commented to honor our connection, and to all of the people that forgot... i hope that you all know that your love means the world to me.
Albert Einstein says: "A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as i have received and am still receiving." This is the reciprocal sharing of the Golden Rule and of the golden section. ~from the power of limits
it's this reciprocal sharing, the genuine giving and receiving that nourishes my soul so deeply and that inspires this flow of gratitude that rushes through me. i echo martine castonguay's words from an integral naked post

You are so, so, so so necessary to my life.
To have you in my life is necessary to evolve.
You are my blood spiritually speaking. The energy flowing in my body.

i like you (click on the red plug)... and am soooooo thankful for your presence (yes, i'm talking to YOU!) .

with love,


dear Ashley, wow wow wow! happy special birthday! I join the vast chorus of gladness for you being born, and for being so lucky to wind the thread of my life round with you and yours. to feel entirely at home, all the way inside, your own life is infinitely precious and radiant. you create such a palpable electricity, a delicious fragrance, a delight whirring in space, by being your own celebratory presence, that you awaken and amaze and inspire us all. wheee!

lots of love to/from you

Gravatarpalpable electricity
delicious fragrance
delight whirring in space

in dense fog
deep in the woods
a spring fills a basin
built of stone by ancient
of light
(and overflows)

there's no finding this place
my feet require this
palpable delicious whirring
to spin my heart true north

everyone is a gift
& maybe ashley you're
the Netmender's daughter
she sits in the warmth
of the longhouse, rain
on the shingles, her knees
& hands draped
in pulsing radiant light

& you go dancing & spinning
out the door on all her errands
her warrior
sunlight splashing obediently
around you like a white dog
at your heels
like music
from nowhere

so don't be surprised
at how you are received
the touch of the hands
of the one who sent you
is unmistakable

Gravatarchristy and chris,

you know you've both left me speachless... like i said, i feel incredibly blessed. thank you.

all my love,

Gravatarhappy birthday...not much to say in the wake of the weaver man. consider my treasure hunt your present.

Gravatarwell, if corrigan takes a pass on making words, i certainly am not going to dare! big warm hug from chicago, ashley. happy year! m

Gravatarthanks chris and michael for more warm wishes... and i always thrive from the hugs the treasure hunt is still enticing me with curiosity and wonder... hunting season hasn't begun yet!!


posted by ashley


fierce emotions and frozen words

on the oslist, karen gorrin writes about the rewards that come from acknowledging and honoring intense emotions that we feel:

I find that the "gasp-lack of oxygen" feeling can be a fear response that arises when powerful, unfamiliar, or uncomfortable emotions catch people by surprise. Often, just the act of naming the emotion, and normalizing it's existence, makes room (and makes it "okay") for people to relax their defensives, own their experience, and return to their breath and the present moment.

as the individuals in the group "own" their experience, there will be less "un-owned stuff" swirling about the group and causing havoc on others. Through the acts of noticing and naming, we allow ourselves to be present with what's happening, while also remaining non-attached.

don’t you find it fascinating how many ways of distracting ourselves we find, how often we’d rather just run away from or ignore a very real and alive experience that is swirling around inside of us (screaming for attention), instead of just noticing and naming it... “maybe if I don’t look at it, it will go away!”

this morning I noticed myself running in circles around anxious feelings. spinning thoughts inside my head were overwhelming and annoying me as they looped over and over again upon themselves. in such places i find it difficult to relax and focus, my whole being feels heavy and detached, tight masses contract within me. I’m distracted from the open place of flowing... of just being and accepting what is.

being in this place this morning, however, gave me the opportunity to reflect upon the specialness of the gift of frozen words, in the form of a letter, email, voicemail, quote, internet posting, etc. Such expressions have a burning accountability quality to them. There is nowhere to run and hide from sweet grounded words that are shared with love and genuineness. They bring me spinning into alignment. They help me find my center. They embrace me with warmth and support. i feel so blessed and grateful for opportunities to share such attention with others... it's such powerful medicine for me when i receive it and it's such joy to give it.
posted by ashley


angel kisses

one friend and mentor close to my heart taught me about angel kisses. for me, an angel kiss usually lands ever-so-gently upon my forehead, just between my eye brows. it's a tingly feeling of peace, ease, love, joy, bliss and it sprinkles throughout my being. i feel the spirit of the kiss glide through my body, loving and caressing every part of me, creating more space inside of me, making more room inside body. i feel freer, lighter, like i must be glowing a little bit, like surely others around me can see this kiss sliding through me and healing me. angel kisses are definitely among my favorite types of medicine.

one of the delightful things about an angel kiss is that sometimes we give them without knowing. a few kind words shared with another can unintentionally or intentionally be graced with perfect timing. oh... there are so many ways to share an angel kiss with another... can you think of times in which you've received an angel kiss? can you think of ways that you share angel kisses?

another little disclosure about myself. sometimes people i know dance and play with one another in the parties inside of my head! another friend and mentor close to my heart sent me these words in an email which immediately made me think about angel kisses. i love the life that flourishes through the mixing of these two inspiring people... the gifts and inspiration that are shared with the world.
with regards to your request about what to watch at the Olympics...watch the obscure events, the ones you've never heard of. Then when you see someone do well, Google them with "email" in the search term and send them a note saying how much you enjoyed watching them live their dream of performing trampoline, or synchronized diving or handball in front of the world.
posted by ashley



i'm currently reading The Power of Limits: Proportional Harmonies in Nature, Art, and Architecture by Gyorgy Doczi
when we look deeply into the patterns of an apple blossom, a seashell, or a swinging pendulum, however, we discover a perfection, an incredible order, that awakens in us a sense of awe that we knew as children. something reveals itself that is infinitely greater than we are and yet part of us; the limitless emerges from the limits.
most of the reading so far has been about recognizing patterns, such as the golden section, that are common and recurrent throughout nature, in flowers, leaves, music, spider webs, ancient baskets, woven tapestries, pottery, rock carvings, body tattoos, the double helix of the dna, etc. it is most definitely awe-inspiring to feel the dependability of order and consistency as this golden section appears everywhere!

seeing the hidden and harmonious order built into body and mind, as it is built into every flower and leaf, mirrored by the crafts and echoed by music, one wonders at the origin of the disharmony and disorder that mars our civilization...

...the power of the golden section to create harmony arises from its unique capacity to unite the different parts of a whole so that each preserves its own identity, and yet blends into the greater pattern of a single whole.
how often in life do we face the challenges of preserving our own identity while also uniting with different parts to blend together as a whole? in our families, at work, with peer groups, in society...


ah, the sacred order of infinite compression, nesting as ratio's delight. sustain and embrace in five golden curves awakening shareable waves of goodness, beauty and truth. gravity will never be the same. ~~~:o)

thank you for your gifts, dear ashley.

living presence furls her golden wings in a luminous embrace of frozen light folded into the contraction of a standing wave repeating yesterday's intelligence. she melts the solidified form, releasing time's lock, guiding alignment with gravity's gift, shaping the superfluidity of being's inner light.

braided in folds of five
ratio's dream
accelerates a spin path
into god's curling smile.


shareable waves
of goodness, beauty and truth.

live in presence
into god's curling smile.

p.s. infinite compression... would you say more about that one?
p.s.s. you're welcome!

Gravatarash, yer intuitive brilliance shines through, as yer question about infinite compression holds the answer. . .

the formless absolute is ever-ready to manifest as a swimming grin beginning again.


Gravatar"living presence furls her golden wings in a luminous embrace of frozen light folded into the contraction of a standing wave repeating yesterday's intelligence. she melts the solidified form, releasing time's lock, guiding alignment with gravity's gift, shaping the superfluidity of being's inner light. "

today's post is a bit of a remix on this post. thanks thomas.

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posted by ashley


what to watch for?

i'm looking for suggestions of what to watch for in the olympics. i'm not a t.v. watcher so the thought to turn on the television requires a bit of planning for me. last night my brother was watching some of the olympics and i saw a clip about synchronized diving. i had no idea that such a competition existed... and i was amazed at how aligned the divers were with one another. so, i'd love any suggestions for "must sees" in these summer games.

many thanks,
posted by ashley


reflections and feedback

do you know how much i thrive off of feedback? i love it! i love giving it and i love receiving it. the images that come to my mind are the lakes and ponds that i enjoyed in new york last weekend. at the metropolitan museum, the reflection of the windows created these playfull squiggly lines, with the blue of the sky and white puffy clouds glowing through. in central park it was the lines of the trees and blooming flowers, the reflections of the buildings, the juxtaposition of the natural and man-made world... in general, it's the reflection of life that moves me.

feedback is one way to reflect for one another that which we see in each other. i've written much about compliments (check out the february and march archives) as a means of reflecting. another source of feedback is the place of witness that is within each of us. sometimes we witness ourselves, notice our own processes, actions, reactions, emotions, etc. sometimes we invite others to play the role of 'witness' for us, valuing the place of being seen by another.

my lessons lately have been in witnessing my own insecurities, uncertainties, and yearnings. when i feel doubt and yearn for something that is not present, i give away my power and i lose touch with the genuine expression of life that is occuring around me. for instance, in the park, as i was becoming intoxicated with the beauty and bliss rising through me, i felt a desire to share this with another. in that desire, i slipped away from my own joy and gave more attention to my yearning. in witnessing this process (and sharing my observations with friends), i notice that these places of doubt, uncertainty, and yearning outline my current growing edge. when i feel such feelings, it's a little invitation for me to step into the classroom of becoming more fully me! somewhere in the moment i've slipped out of being present and my awkward, contracting feelings of doubt or desire are reflections of the places in which i am growing... these same feelings also serve as a ringing bell, inviting me to return to presence.

jeff sararas gave me some feedback about easily amazed... he said he'd like to see me sharing more from the core of my heart (how am i doing?). how about if i share a little bit from his heart (in a recent email)!

right now i do feel a little out of presence with that all-pervading love ... as i'm typing, i realize it has just snapped back-funny, it's so much about simply remembering.

currently i'm seeing feedback and reflection as a way of simply reminding and inviting ourselves and others into the joy of remembering...
posted by ashley

tool for remembering:

here's a little story i use as a tool to help me remember to remember!

I was hoola hooping with a 5-year-old one day. She picked up the hoola hoop and began playing with it, without asking me for assistance or guidance. We took turns watching one another and playing. She was catching on to the rhythm of hoola hooping pretty quickly. After about 30 minutes she turned to me and asked, "how do you make it stay?" I thought for a moment and responded, "you know how when you've got it, you know you've got it?" She nodded in understanding. "Well, when you start to feel like you don't have it any more, go back to feeling like you've got it." Certain that my words were complete babble, and uncertain of what she would get out of them, I went back to watching and she returned to hoola hooping. To both of our amazement, from then on, she had a new level of mastery for keeping the hoola hoop rotating her hips.

When we feel like we've fallen out of the flow, it is just a matter of returning
to what we know.
posted by ashley



in a few hours i board another plane to head to new york city to celebrate the marriage of my friends rona and craig. next weekend i travel to los angeles to celebrate the 90th birthday of my great aunt sally. the following two weeks i'll be in atlanta, spending precious time with friends and family and celebrating the 1st birthday of my godson, ethan. i feel so blessed to have this month of traveling the four corners of the country, connecting with others, sharing joy and love. i'll be sure to blog some of that joy and love as time permits!

this morning i was asked some wonderful questions by a new correspondent, walter stewart:
"What pulls you into life"? "And what holds you back" Which do you choose, at this moment?
i'd love to read your answers to these questions... get to know more about what moves you... learn more about how we can support each other from being held back... and journey together in this blessing of life.


what pulls me in: passion, intensity, connection with other life (many types of life -- trees, people, the innards of flowers), Spirit, looking in the eyes of a child, dancing, music, being seen, being heard, seeing others, hearing others, playing, laughing, sharing joy, recognizing radiance, hoola hooping, walking, appreciating, gentle loving touch, giving thanks, experiencing newness, growing, beauty ...

what holds me back: fear, not trusting myself (doubt), inclinations towards perfection, placing another person's well being as more important than my own, control, habits

i'm certainly choosing to be pulled in at this moment... and what a delicious pulling upon my heart it is!!

Gravatarinteresting questions.

pulls me in: learning, teaching, building (hmm... maybe not building, i don't build, so whatever word describes taking in what other people build), exploring. music. relaxing.

holds me back: jealousy (my least favorite emotion), anger, lack of trust (in myself and others), laziness.

also, republicans. haha. just kidding. well, not really.

fun question. enjoy your travels.

GravatarThe connection between the personal and the social is a strong pull for me. More on my blog tonight:http://tedernst.blogspot.com/ 200...onalsocial.html

Enjoy your travels!

Gravatarmusic pulls me in.
i have one song in my heart & one on my mind this late night, both of which i heard for the first time on wncw as i drove this morning from swannanoa to raleigh:
sam bush, on the peaks of telluride cd, singing the old van morrison tune over the mandolin: "I've / got such a lot of love / i'm gonna give it to ya..."
& the second one was from the new michael frante (sp?) acoustic album. yowza, how about that guy!!!!!!!!!!

Gravatareric (welcome), ted, and chris... thanks so much for sharing... i love getting to know these sorts of 'things' about one another!

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posted by ashley


perfect presence

perfect presence. what is perfect presence? the dictionary guides a definition like this:
presence is the state or fact of being present, being aware of what is existing or happening now. presence is also the area immediately surrounding someone... and the quality of self assurance and effectiveness.
the word perfect used to be hard for me to use. it's a total no-no in the child-friendly world. we're taught to be exceptionally careful about labeling things as perfect because it sets children up to feel like they have to aspire to "that". and yet,
perfection is simply being... perfection is living an existence so full-y ourselves...
it's amazing to me how foreign this concept of simply being 100% authentic really is. i just returned from an incredible weekend of sharing with my dear friend thomas in seattle. prior to heading out there, i was inspired by the freedom and excitement that i felt about getting to be totally present with another person. thomas had invited me to spend a playful weekend guided by

- undivided attention -
no hidden fears, no grasping hands
all opening, all accepting, all inviting, all tingly

i was deeply moved by the divine gift that accompanies no hidden fears, no need to grasp, total acceptance, total invitation, total peace and ease, open and simply purring. and now, after returning home i reflect on the perfect presence that we shared with one another. the whole weekend was one spontaneous fluid movement of each of us deeply connected to our centers and sharing that space with one another. complete undivided attention and presence... following joy and sharing whatever comes up... lots of smiles, grins, laughing, crying, cradling, caring, supporting, expanding, moving, mentoring, sharing, enjoying, giving, receiving, loving, loving, loving... on the doing side of our weekend, it was all about following attention.

following attention -- allowing one's moments to be guided by pure attention, following the flow of awareness. "if you stay grounded in awareness (this present moment) then you can freely examine ways of bringing the wisdom of the past and the potentials of the future so that the wave of now is ever-expanding." ~thomas
one of my favorite things to do in this world is to simply follow my own or another person's attention. i learned this from being with children. children give the greatest gift of presence, total presence in each moment that surrounds their life. they are experts at staying focused on exactly what they find interesting in a moment. they are my teachers. children also give the gift of curiosity, wonder, and awe. i have found that the most natural way to enter into a child's world is to do just that, enter into their world rather than trying to bring them into my world. when i go into their world, life seems to be filled with new colors, new details, unlimited wonder. this is the medicine that youth feed me with that has kept me passionate about being at their side. and this is the journey through life that i cherish sharing with others.

so as gassho reminds us
The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention. ~Richard Moss
what do the some of these colorful words evoke within you?
posted by ashley


Butterflies and Open Space, Any Form

thank you, christy, for this beautiful post to the oslist.

Butterflies and Open Space, Any Form

our original thought wanders into chaos,
and dissolves
into a liquid body suspended weightless
at the wild and quivering edge,
ripening with the passion fruit of silence: yes *and* no

we re-mind
we re-member
the pattern of Our Body re-forms, and
the radiant chrysalis Opens
at just
the right


this is living in truth, and beauty,
in conflict, confusion, and love
these wings whisper into unexpected being
the fierce light-net that cradles the grief

this is the World to Come:

Seattle (finally cooler!)


Hi Ashley,

I'm so glad you enjoyed this--as you can tell, almost all of the words and images come right from here, from you and Chris and Chris and others of the easily amazed ones, and Practice of Peace and the voices of the OSList.

On another note, we went to hear/see Ram Dass and Krishna Das the other night--sweetly extraordinary Ram Dass is as twinkly as ever. He gets around in a wheelchair now, and his pauses can be very very long as he listens for the words to come--but with no sense of strain, no whiff of wishing that life were otherwise.

One of the things he mentioned was the equivalence of "soul" and "imagination"--that made me think of you, dear A.

love, Christy

Gravataroh christy, you so frequently leave me blushing... thank you. i would love to hear more about what he said regarding the equivalence of those two words... or what his words meant for you (you know how much i love to fine tune my use of words and 'soul' and 'imagination' are two powerful ones to which i haven't given much Conscious Thought.)

and as it is, i just heard krishna das for the first time this weekend... deeply moved.

much love and gratitude to you and your radiance here at easily amazed and elsewhere in the world in which you roam and inspire!


posted by ashley

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