View Cart


Browse these quotes and familiarize yourself with our publications . . .

December 8, 2021

from Skipping Church, by Suzanne Kelsey

The Buddha taught that attachment to anyone or anything or any place is futile because nothing ever stays the same. Change is the only constant. All is impermanent. 

For many years I witnessed this law of impermanence during my daily walks with Ginger in the woods near the Coralville Reservoir, then the postage stamp prairie on the edge of Ames, and the prairie in Scott County Park, north of DeWitt. Bloodroot pushes out of the ground in April like old, gnarled palms that turn youthful and flat as they rise, then old and leathery as spring progresses. Sweet Williams release their aromatic lilac scent for a few days in May, and then the smells turn musky and fade. Purple coneflowers bloom in June like they are forever, then pass the baton to their yellow cousins. In the fall a deer carcass gets picked over by hungry, cawing ravens; a hawk flies over with a screaming mouse in its talons. Canadian geese honk southward and then north again, leaving the old and sick behind.

All of this without a single complaint on anyone’s part.

Before her last days in DeWitt, even dear Ginger silently accepted her own impermanence as her eyes turned milky and her joints turned stiff. Toward the end, she chased squirrels only in her dreams, with yips and twitching paws.

If you let go a little, you’ll have a little peace, the Buddhists say. If you let go a lot you’ll have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you’ll have complete peace. Mahusukha, the Great Happiness, the great release. Nature knows it and Ginger knew it.

—Suzanne Kelsey, Skipping Church: Notes from an Accidental Minister's Wife

July 1, 2021

from Walking Hadrian’s Wall, by Bob Royalty

Religion, many have argued, . . . [is] the “sacred canopy” placed over our social world to provide meaning and prevent chaos. We build religions to build connections with each other, to make our societies function, to connect our lives to the vast universe. 

Hadrian’s Wall is fake in that sense, a reconstruction of the Roman wall that is a tourist destination rather than a border; there is England on both sides of the wall wherever it crops up. I was participating in a ritual of sorts, a faux ritual, perhaps, walking the wall from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway. . . Ritual is part of the many social constructions of religion, just as Clayton’s Wall is part of the many constructions of Hadrian’s Wall, since all of it has been rebuilt at one point, either by emperors after Hadrian or by archaeologists. None of these different functions, for the wall or for religion, are bad. They just are. As a scholar of religion, I try to peel back the layers of meaning to see the different ways religion is formed and how it functions over time and within a society. In many ways I work as an archaeologist works on the wall, looking for layers, dating objects and repairs, describing the function in different times and places, trying to decide what was and what might have been, peeling back the appearances and the practices for the origins. Since I work on living religions, in particular Christianity, this often bothers people. Religion as a rule has not wanted this story told or its origins revealed. . . Religion wants the past as a beautiful image, not a messy reality.

—Bob Royalty, Walking Hadrian’s Wall

June 24, 2021

from “The Art of Isolation: Amsterdam in Corona Times,” SPAQ, by Kimmen Sj√∂lander

But is there a silver lining for the world in this Covid pandemic? Or, to put it differently, in the language of logotherapy, what is the meaning of this time?

At any moment in time, all sorts of futures are possible—an uncountably infinite number of possible futures. Which future happens is only partly outside our control. To a great extent, it’s up to us.

And just as in research, when certain ideas are so ripe that multiple groups can simultaneously invent a novel approach (often leading to battles over patents and Nobel Prizes), the meaning of certain points in history is not only what ends up happening, but what could have happened. It’s the choice, the branch-point, the fork in the road, and the decision made. It’s not just the inn you find by accident after many hours on the road and the person you meet there who becomes the mother or the father of your children, and the stories you tell for years later about how lucky you were that you didn’t turn left instead of right; or the person next to you at the bar who puts something in your drink when your back is turned so that you wake up hours later in a room, alone, with your wallet and your dignity gone, and the stories you will tell then. When all of that is in the future, the meaning of a moment is in all the possible paths forward. Some lead to justice and a healthier planet, but some do not.

The meaning of this moment in time, of these Corona times, is in what path we choose to take. That is the meaning of this time . . .

Wisdom and the will to change: this would be the greatest silver lining.

—Kimmen Sj√∂lander, “The Art of Isolation: Amsterdam in Corona Times,” Still Point Arts Quarterly, Summer 2021

May 20, 2021

from Old Stones Understand, by Stacey Murphy

   Leaves Let Go

It is not the way of leaves

to care about how they fall.

It doesn’t matter

whether there are heavy, thunder-filled

clouds overhead

or miles of bright blue and sunshine.

A leaf doesn’t

cry out in pain if a harsh wind

tugs it from its twig

nor does it giggle with mischief if it

manages to break free on its own.

A leaf doesn’t

fret over which is better

to swoop down in a wild, swirling canopy,

a rustling riot of yellow magic with hundreds of others,

or to flutter demurely to the ground

in a quiet, private moment.

No leaf even considers holding on,

resisting its destiny,

its part in the inevitable pattern.

For the leaf, simply letting go

is the thing.

—Stacey Murphy, Old Stones Understand

May 4, 2021

from About Franz: Remembering C. G. Jung—A Son's Story, by Mary Dian Molton

In retrospect, Franz carried in his presence a commitment to a very singular, very specific mode of hospitality that respects the history and tradition of the family and indeed something of the spiritual essence of his father and his place in the world order. But in no way was Franz Jung a mere tour guide of his father’s intimate surroundings. He was, instead, a man who managed to be cordially apart from the world of psychological inquiry while still maintaining a healthy respect for his father’s work and a lively interest in the people who associate themselves with the Jungian world. Something of his own poise in this effort seemed to have been a rather remarkable achievement of selfhood. He was both engrossed in his father’s story and somehow also quite free of it, a man involved, yet quite comfortably apart. 

April 13, 2021

from About Franz: Remembering C. G. Jung—A Son's Story, by Mary Dian Molton

As I turned toward the stairs, I was met with a great surprise. I was faced by an enormous, stunning, blue-and-white star. It was painted on an inside corner wall, close to the stairway. I stood stricken, almost dumbfounded, by the star’s majesty and incredible power. I had neither read nor heard of this wall painting! Franz later said he thought it had never been photographed as the light is poor, and the distance from wall to camera would not be enough to get a good picture and do it justice. This was the only moment when I was completely alone during this trip to Bollingen, and it was also the moment in which I felt closest to the singular spirit of Carl Jung. Such glory in such a small and private corner. I remained there for a time, imagined Carl Jung standing just there, painting an image of such incredible symmetry and mystery in this silent, narrow space and thought of how he must have needed, for himself, to paint this glorious star on this particular wall. It seemed to me an act of highly personal spiritual intensity. Even now, I think of it as my own special surprise, maybe a symbol for me of the hidden power of Bollingen. I have never forgotten it. A truly wondrous star, so close. In succeeding years, when I’d again hear Carl Jung’s response to the question of whether he believed in God—“I don’t need to believe; I know”—I think of this star.

—Mary Dian Molton, About Franz: Remembering C. G. Jung—A Son's Story

March 25, 2021

from “In the Waters,” by Jeri Ann Griffith, Still Point Arts Quarterly, Spring 2021: My Deep Love of Place

I was no longer a child when I began to dream I could play the violin without having had any study or training. In the dream, I pick up the instrument and bow my way through a classical passage or a waltz. In the dream world, this is as easy as opening my mouth to sing. I can’t play the violin, and I don’t know what the dream means. Maybe that’s the point. It’s not necessary to understand the dream in any literal way. It’s only important to feel the mystery of its potential.

—Jeri Ann Griffith, “In the Waters,” Still Point Arts Quarterly, Spring 2021: My Deep Love of Place

March 16, 2021

from “Red Dust Suspended,” Still Point Arts Quarterly, Spring 2021

The first time I saw New Mexico, before I owned a cell phone or computer, I wrote a story about a woman who walked through the desert as the wind peeled the flesh from her bones. Her bones turned to dust and blew away. I meant it as a story of transmutation, dust returning to dust. That story foretold my own, how once in my lifetime a place grabbed hold of my soul. But it was never my land to own. I could only borrow it for an infinitesimal speck of time.

—Suzanne Finney, “Red Dust Suspended,” Still Point Arts Quarterly, Num. 41, Spring 2021

March 11, 2021

Now, in our own global pandemic, I consider how easily our familiar institutions can be disrupted and our sense of continuity shaken to the core. Yet everything on the Outer Cape is in a state of perpetual and reassuring impermanence; nothing ever stays quite the same. All you can do is be vividly awake to the living continuum.

—William Bless, “Outer Shores,” Still Point Arts Quarterly, Num. 41, Spring 2021

image credit: m01229, Cape Cod National Seashore, 2014. Wikimedia Commons 

March 4, 2021

from “The Power of Belief,” Fires of Heaven, by James B. Nicola

You know beliefs are “myths more true than fact,”
but some believe that what they believe’s exactly
true, and even murder is no sin
but their responsibility when in 
the presence of the devil, which is you,
no matter that you know it isn't true.

In any time zone, any latitude
where people have endured, the attitude 
endures. The ecumenical is not
welcomed, nor an elucidating thought
allowed. In my experience the danger
is most acute wherever you're the stranger.

—James B. Nicola, from “The Power of Belief,” Fires of Heaven