Seeking to be other than I am

Seeking to be other than I am

Ponderosa Pine Bark Scale

I have sought, longed desired and craved
to be many things
other than I am

Heroic champion
of the suppressed and suffering
World changer
of narrow tribal religious and political identities
Embodied man
capable of renown achievement in sensitivity to nature’s ways
Speaker and teacher
drawing crowds seeking peace and enlightenment
Lover to sensual women
where and whomever I choose
Esteemed spiritual man
of humble attitude
Acclaimed poet and writer
saving the waters of the world
Shaman and healer
of personal and world ills and traumas
Soul unencumbered
by my proclivities for excess and need
Self-contained and assured
unbound by this hunger for significance

Thinking to do like Jesus of old
or Moses plucked and chosen from among river reeds
or Mohamed smelling of goats yet of sacred cave fame
I both fear and hope
to be special—

you know
the One

In all this and more
I fail

Confuse doing for being and becoming
and it is perhaps through this accumulation of
disappointments and failures and humblings
that my greatest achievement
reveals itself

Slowly… step by stumbling step
the way one walks the faintest of forest game trails
under a new moon birthing growing wholeness
the way bare soles of soil-loving-feet
open and unfold upon naked Earth
with reception acceptance and gratitude
for what is
of who one is
just as I am

becomes who I am
this oneness—at last

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
— Carl Jung

It is difficult to know what to say of this piece. It scares me. As does another I’ll post shortly, written almost without pause between them.
The level of self-care and acceptance implied in this piece is transformational. I fear it requires a willingness to say ‘Yes!’, with love, to all that I find inside. This is a path, I am coming to see, and not a destination. And that, I wonder in this moment, is this the distinction between doing and being? Are we not unfoldings or blossomings rather than concretions? Potentially anyway!
Yet the cultural drive to create human centric identities out of our ‘doing’ blinds us to the grandeur and wonder and potency of our being. Yet who we are, in the depths of this emergent nature, would leave us falling on our knees in awe and humility should the curtains of conditioning be drawn from our eyes.

If the doors of perception were cleansed
every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.
For man has closed himself up,
till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.

— William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Photo Note: the photo at the top is a ‘scale’ of bark off a ponderosa pine tree that recently captured my attention and imagination and curiosity.


  1. Cheryl Slover-Linett

    06/11/2018 at 6:33 pm

    So beautiful…and you may embody more of that than you see at the moment.

  2. Robin Easton

    06/12/2018 at 1:56 pm

    Dear Larry, this is one of the most beautiful expressions I’ve read. I feel it deeply, understand and relate to it. It all is wholesomely human and revealing. Honesty making it exquisitely beautiful. I love it all, but particularly love this part: “and it is perhaps through this accumulation disappointments and failures and humblings that my greatest achievement is revealing itself” Yes, dear friend, this is SO true, and you have allowed yourself to be so delightfully human. Thank you SO much, Larry. PS: I agree with Cheryl, you embody more of this than you probably see. But it is your humble obliviousness to this fact that makes you so beautiful, healthy, and so in your “right place”. Rarely do innocent children see all the beautiful ways that they ARE. They are too engrossed in living….too busy just being.

  3. Robin Easton

    06/12/2018 at 2:00 pm

    PS: The photo of bark is stunning and looks like a piece of indigenous art. I too have seen these smooth molded bark chips often piled at the base of ponderosas. This piece of yours is particularly beautiful due to it’s black, red, and tan flow of colors. A real treasure, for certain. Love how you see and experience this unforgettable planet.

  4. Phil Newman

    06/25/2018 at 2:35 pm

    This is a wonderful post…I am in fact, posting it on the wall of my “office”. Scouting a rapid is such a fine metaphor for finding the line you mention between being and doing, about how terrifying it is to accept oneself completely, and resolving the dilemma of life’s impossible choices. It’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of your “in person” company but I wanted you to know that I still treasure your insights. Thanks

  5. Larry Glover

    06/29/2018 at 2:21 pm

    Oh Phil! Such a delight in my heat to hear from you and to read your insightful comment, grounded in the experience of feeling & sensing and reading a rapid. We share in that appreciation of learning from the River of Life with intentionality and application. I treasure your comment, Phil, your letting me sense your presence and reading of the blog post. I often feel like I write simply because I have too but the rare comments like yours really help keep me doing it! Dotty are I were on our way for a Rio Chama run when your comment came through on my cell phone. So in a real way Phil, I got to treasure being on the river with you again. A big hug to you.

  6. Phil Newman

    07/02/2018 at 2:52 pm

    Oh, please give Dotty a hug for me. I’ve been reading your posts and think of it as a long continuing conversation. Do you and Dotty ever get out to Oregon (which is just a short hop from Chama)?
    Phoebe and I are in the Northern Willamette valley which feels to us a fine place for a last stand. Oregon is full of grand ideas, lots to photograph. Do come. Meantime, keep posting, I treasure the company as well.

  7. Larry Glover

    07/18/2018 at 8:54 pm

    Gosh, Phil, it’s a blessing to think of myself as being in a long conversation with you. It helps make the writing worthwhile! And I love OR and would love too a good long in person conversation again as well. And we’ve been talking of a Clarno to Cottonwood run on the John Day. Maybe next spring… and maybe you could join us!? We all need a good place to ‘make a last stand,’ Phil, and I’m glad you’ve found yours. Namaste, dear friend.

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