Our journeys reshape us into what the universe needs us to be, more closely resembling our soul image with each pass. We do not have to ‘get it right,’ to have a ‘once-in-a-lifetime vision’ or ‘mend our lives.’ All that is asked is that we simply take the journey, realize that it is no different than the seasons that follow their turning or a forest that surrenders to fire. After each there is re-growth and what emerges is not something new, but something changed, deepened, honed.
Peter Fonken, Animas
From where I stand I cannot see How the river began 
or when it will fall finally into something else.
It is enough to watch leaves float beyond the sound of my voice,
to see fish stay in the deep while waiting for some shiny promise.
This is what I always come back to.
The river doesn’t need to know anything, find anything, or forget anything.
I want to move inside it, feel its song opening around me.
The river can hold each stone to its place, its purpose.
It will go to the lowest ground before it finds the sea 
and there becomes something new.
I listen for its silence and know that I can return to its banks and it, to mine.
Ziggy Rendler-Bregman
When you walk on the waste beds after an extraction from the earth, you can see the hand of destruction, but you can also see hope in the way a seed lands in a tiny crack, puts down a root and begins to build the soil again.  Here on the most barren ground, the wounds that we have inflicted, the plants have not turned their backs on us; instead, they have come–clumps of shrubs and patches of goldenrod, dandelions, ragweed, chicory, and queen anne’s lace, nitrogen-fixing legumes and clovers of all kinds…That struggling field is, to me, a form of peacemaking.
Grain by grain ants are carrying up waste from below and carrying seeds and bits of leaves down into the soil. The grasses feed the ants with seeds and the ants feed the grasses with soil. They hand off life to one another.
Leaf by leaf, root by root, the trees, the berries, the grasses are joining forces.  Birds and deer and bugs have come to join them… and so the world is made.
Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
Morning in Romero Canyon…The bottom may drop out of my life.  What i trusted may fall completely away, leaving me astonished and shaken, but still sticky leaves emerge from bud scales that curl off the tree as the sun crosses the sky.  Darkness pools and drains away and the curve of the new moon points to the place where the sun will rise again. There is a wild comfort in the cycles and intersecting circles, the rotations and revolutions, the growing and ebbing of this beautiful and strangely trustworthy world.  No measure of human grief can stop the earth in its tracks.  Earth rolls into sunlight and rolls away again.  There will come a time when dogged, desperate trust in the world will break open into wonder.  Wonder leads to gratitude.  Gratitude opens into peace. 
Kathleen Dean Moore, Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature 
To Mend a Broken Pot… The mud nests of cliff swallows line up in cracks in the canyon walls.  Last summer each would have been a perfect little clay jar with a narrow-necked opening, but their tops have been broken off by the winter. 
There is a grace that i would aspire to, an open question–how to make something beautiful of the pieces that are left?
“To mend a pot, the Hohokam people sometimes drilled holes along the broken edges and sewed the pieces together,” my son in law Chris said.  He is a conservator of ceramics at the Arizona State Museum. “…but they also used glues–pine pitch, plant gums, tree resins, animal hides boiled to jellies…”
What i want to know is how to take the parts that remain, the empty spaces, the cracks, and fit them into something that is meaningful and whole.
“Can you fix this?” i asked Chris. “Could you mend these cracks so perfectly that no one could tell that the jar had been broken?”
“I could,” he said, “but i would never do that. It is wrong to take away the story that a pot can tell.”  
Clay that holds a story of human creative power holds as well a story of the fragmenting power of time and weather and irretrievable loss. The beauty in a bowl is the truth in that bowl. If part of its truth is the wounds that it has endured, then these wounds are part of its beauty.
Kathleen Dean Moore, Riverwalking
Peace will come where it is sincerely invited.  Love will overflow every sanctuary given to it. Truth will grow where the fertilizer that nourishes it is also truth.  We have the power as Earth’s people to conjure up the healing rain imprinted on Black Elk’s heart. The Universe responds.   
Alice Walker
Fatigue.  Please listen to its call. Now is not the time for trying to jump back into life and forget that this ever happened.  But the time for deep healing, to be the most loving, kind and gentle with your body, mind and heart that you have ever been.  Now is the time for the most subtle of care.  Let the quiet shivering strands of the trauma that you have been through slowly rise and melt, release… tears, prayers, gratitude and memories coming little by little to be freed by the Light of day, melted in the warmth of sunshine and deep rest.  
Murshida Sara Morgan, shared by Emma Avalos
From where I stand, I cannot see how the river began or when it will fall finally into something else. 
It is enough to watch leaves float beyond the sound of my voice, to see fish stay in the deep while waiting for some shiny promise.
This is what I always come back to: the river doesn’t need to know anything, find anything, or forget anything. 
I want to move inside it, feel its song opening around me.  
The river can hold each stone to its place, its purpose.
It will go to the lowest ground before it finds the sea 
and there becomes something new.
I listen for its silence, know I can return to its banks 
and it, to mine.
Ziggy Rendler-Bregman
Under the earth’s worn coat is a garden, as magnificent as the day it was created.
The land has the hospitality of the true host.
The seeds of the Earth, its creatures, the stars overhead,
we ourselves are the guests of the field.
The seeds of new life will find no place on which to rest, if the land is already full.
The field must be empty, un-sown.
It must have been sent through a fire that has turned it in another direction.
Life renews itself no matter how many times it is stabbed, hurled to the ground
and stripped to the bone;
no matter how many times it is ridiculed, scorned, ignored, tortured,
and made helpless.
The new seed goes to the open places–
the grieving heart,
the tortured mind,
the devastated spirit.
There is a faithful force that is born in us.
It is this force, in its insistence, in its loyalty to us, in its love of us
that calls the new seed to the battered and barren places in us, 
the places that have gone through fire.
The life force gathers momentum and breaks through the ground.
We grow up through the ashes, through the empty fields of ourselves.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Faithful Gardener
It is dawn.  The sun is conquering the sky and my grandmother and I
are heaving prayers at the horizon.
This morning she is teaching me the meaning of HOZHO.
“Show me something unbeautiful,” she says,
“and I will show you the veil over your eyes and take it away.
And you will see hozho all around you, inside of you.”
There is no direct translation from Diné Bizaad,
the Navajo language, into English
but every living being knows what hozho means.
HOZHO is every drop of rain, every eyelash, every leaf on every tree,
every feather on the bluebird’s wing.  HOZHO is undeniable beauty.
HOZHO is in every breath that we give to the trees.
And in every breath they give to us in return.
My grandmother knows the meaning of hozho well.
For she speaks a language that grew out of the desert floor like the red sandstone monoliths that rise like arms out of the earth,
praising creation for all its brilliance.
HOZHO is remembering that you are a part of this brilliance… 
a sacred song that brings the gods to their knees in unbearable ecstasy.
HOZHO is re-membering your own beauty.
My grandmother knows hozho well for she speaks the language of a Lukachukai snowstorm, the sound of hooves hitting the earth on birthdays.
For my grandmother is a midwife and she is fluent in the language of suffering mothers, of joyful mothers, of handing glowing newborns to their creator.
Hozho is not something you can experience on your own, the eagles tell us as they lock talons in the stratosphere and fall to the earth as one.
HOZHO is interbeauty.
My grandmother knows hozho well for she speaks the language of the male rain that shoots lightning boys through the sky, pummels the green corn children, and huddles the horses against cliff sides in the afternoon.
And of the female rain that sends the scent of dust and sage into our homes and shoots rainbows out of and into the earth.
You know what HOZHO means!  And deep down you know what HOZHO is not.
Like the days that you live for money.  The days that you live for fame.
The days that you live for tomorrow.
Like the day the spaniards climbed down from their horses and asked us if they could buy the mountains.
We knew this was not HOZHO, but we knew that we could make it HOZHO once again.
So we took their swords and their silver coins, melted them with fire and buffalo hide bellows, reshaped them into squash blossom jewelry pieces
and strung them around their necks.
We took the helmets off of their heads and turned them into fearless beauty.  HOZHO is the healing of broken bones.
HOZHO is the prayer that carried us through genocide and disease and it is the prayer that will carry us through global warming and through this global fear that has set our hearts on fire.
This morning my grandmother is teaching me that the easiest and most elegant way to defeat an army of hatred is to sing it beautiful songs
until it falls to its knees and surrenders…
because it has finally found a sweeter fire than revenge.  
It has found heaven.  It has found HOZHO.
This morning my grandmother is saying to the colors of the sky at dawn:
beauty is restored again…
It is dawn, my friends. Wake up.  The night is over.
Lyla June Johnston, HOZHO (abridged by Beth Garrigus)
We all walk with a cane in this life. We all have a problem that has hurt the heart. The cane teaches us that on the other side of pain and suffering is compassion and understanding.  
Grandmother Bernadette Rebienot, Grandmothers Counsel the World
The butterfly reveals a path of transformation.  Only by going into the darkness and breaking down our old ways can we move from the myopic view of the caterpillar to the expanded view of the butterfly. With every new experience we have the power to redefine ourselves.  No matter what our past mistakes, may have been, the ways in which we have wandered and become lost to ourselves, we can change. The past is a scaffold which has brought us to this day.  
With this understanding, we are free to be who we are.  
Grandmother Mona Polacca, Grandmothers Councel the World
There is something in us which is not broken, something lucid and whole that knows what is true. This is the spirit of who we are.  
Listening deeply for what is whole and strong and wise within us, for the healing that is already embedded in this moment, we come to rely more securely on the fundamental resilience of our natural wisdom.  When we surrender to our true nature, we make room for genuine, rich, merciful growth and change.  Obstructions fall away when they are ready.   
Wayne Muller, How Then Shall We Live?
Each of us comes into the world with a bowl of light that nourishes and sustains us as we pass through this life.  Every time that we judge our experience as bad, become fearful, resentful or ashamed… every time that we hide from others or ourselves, side-step or suppress the truth, take what isn’t ours, injure others with our thoughts, actions or words, we drop a stone into the bowl and some of the light goes out. As our bowl fills with stones, our light is diminished until it is nearly gone.
Our experiences are part of who we are. It is not possible to eliminate or deny them, but when we turn the bowl over, empty it and restore its light, the memories of our wounds no longer affect us negatively and we are able to walk the path of a spiritual warrior:
to love all that we see with humility; 
to live all that we feel with reverence and  active respect for every being and situation that we encounter in life; 
to know who as well as where we are–what we possess as well as what possesses us. 
Without this knowing, we cannot progress.
Hank Wesselman and Alaya Denoyelles, The Bowl of Light and The Sovereignty of Love
We are reeds that have been separated from the reed bed.  Longing to be reunited with the original stem, the reed begins to cry.  The human heart is a flute.  The pain and the suffering that we experience are the holes in the flute.  God speaks to the ears of every heart, but the heart hears God only when it has become hollow; when the obstacles which we have created of self have been removed.
Shems Friedlander
The storm hit. Massive amounts of rain, sleet and hail mixed together and the wind blew so hard that I might have been ripped off of a branch. Gusts flipped the platform up into the air. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to be strong for Luna, for the forest, for the movement, but I couldn’t even be strong for myself. It took all of my will to stay alive. Had I remained tense for the sixteen hours that the storm raged, I would have snapped. Instead, I grabbed ahold of one of Luna’s branches, prayed to her, and she spoke back. Trees in a storm don’t try to stand upright and erect. They allow themselves to bend and be blown with the wind. They understand the power of letting go.
Julia Butterfly Hill, The Legacy of Luna