For the Future

Hear me read this post.

Today I had lunch with my friend, Karen Sela of Lumi­na Coach­ing. As we dis­cussed the dilem­mas of writ­ing and voice and Pres­ence, she remind­ed me that we can either get stuck in the present, what is hap­pen­ing now, and what seems to be the answer today, or we can choose to look far­ther out and write and teach for the future, for the evo­lu­tion of con­scious­ness and for the unknown but latent pos­si­bil­i­ties each of us holds.

What a beau­ti­ful thought, that it is the future we are giv­ing life to through our words; it is the future we are learn­ing to sing.

In that moment, I felt a lit­tle breath of encour­age­ment and inspi­ra­tion, and when I real­ly allowed that thought to be tak­en in, an even larg­er breath began to come out of me, a larg­er breath and a song, just like the howl of a coyote.

Have you ever been lucky enough to hear, real­ly hear that sound? Not in the movies. Not in imag­i­na­tion, but for real? The last time for me was in Wyoming, look­ing out across an emp­ty, impos­si­bly dark night from a perch on a high ridge, feel­ing the sharp­en­ing wind and behind it a silence so pro­found it made my ears ring and my spir­it vibrate like a tat­tered rag. Then, sud­den­ly, and with all-con­sum­ing mag­ic, that music came up out of the val­ley, so famil­iar, ancient, and vital. All I could do was lis­ten, smile and be drawn into its shad­ows until I, too, became that old/young canine that I must once have been, still am, and let­ting it all out, I howled, too.


There are mil­lions of us now, howl­ing in our ways, writ­ing and speak­ing and teach­ing for the future. Can you feel that? And yes, the wind is sharp­en­ing and the night seems so impos­si­bly dark we can trust lit­tle but our own noses to guide us forward.

But when, in truth, has it ever real­ly been dif­fer­ent? Has­n’t the world always favored us, its admirable trick­sters, stir­ring up the poten­tials, dis­lo­cat­ing the present?

Sup­pose you were try­ing to make a dif­fer­ence in a vil­lage fraught with avoid­ance, ten­sion, and dis­hon­esty? Oh yes, my friend, you’d be a coy­ote, too!

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  • Chris

    Thanks for this sto­ry and its sug­ges­tion of a link to Open Space that might be root­ed in our bones: 

    There are nat­ur­al ways to nav­i­gate with­in space. By hon­our­ing them, the real sto­ry emerges, and the liv­ing places reveal them­selves to us.”

    Best to you…

  • Mmm­m­mm… thanks for this…

    Did you know that coy­otes often hunt coop­er­a­tive­ly in relays? One hunts while the oth­er rests, switch­ing off as needed…they’ve even been known to hunt with bad­gers, adapt­ing to their envi­ron­ments to ensure sus­te­nance… they go forth from their dens into the world and hunt and howl, adapt­ing to the sur­round­ings in which they find themselves… 

    Keep howl­ing, my Friend, singing, coax­ing, caress­ing our future into being…of course, the future already IS, we just have to trans­late it into a lan­guage that we all under­stand… lis­ten to the howl that tran­scends time and moves all who hears it…

  • You are wel­come, Karen, and of course this dia­logue reminds me of a poem by William Stafford:


    My left hind-
    in the track of my right
    and my hind-right
    in the track of my
    and so on, for miles ~

    Me pay­ing no atten­tion, while
    my nose rides along letting
    the full report, the
    whole blast of the countryside
    come along toward me
    on rollers of scent, and ~

    I come home with a chick­en or
    a rab­bit and sit up
    singing all night with my friends.
    It’s baroque, my life, and
    I tell it on the mountain.

    I would­n’t trade it for yours.

  • One of my first ever posts from what even­tu­al­ly became my blog:

  • First, a poten­tial­ly minor obser­va­tion: you refer to being “stuck” in the present. I find this very provoca­tive, as I usu­al­ly think of stuck­ness as it relates to the past (at least that’s where I usu­al­ly get stuck), and my own strug­gle is near­ly always one of attend­ing to the present rather than turn­ing my atten­tion away from the present. I also reguar­ly get stuck in the future, envi­sion­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties and some­times (often?) attach­ing to future out­comes (this lat­ter ten­den­cy is a habit I want to break). I view find­ing the right bal­ance among acknowl­edg­ing and [ide­al­ly] under­stand­ing my past, aspir­ing toward a more pos­i­tive future, and yet liv­ing in the moment, to be one of the most impor­tant chal­lenges I face on a dai­ly — or moment-to-moment — basis.

    I also feel inspired to com­ment on your coy­ote ref­er­ences: Boing­Bo­ing just had a post this week about Urban Coy­otes, and we’ve had a few coy­otes in our yard … more exam­ples of their abil­i­ty to adapt to their surroundings.

    The coy­ote ener­gy is one I invite on a dai­ly basis, part of a set of prac­tices I adopt­ed dur­ing an inspir­ing work­shop called War­rior Monk (one of the first blog entries that forged our ini­tial con­nec­tion). I hope you and your read­ers will for­bear my report of this dai­ly prac­tice here:

    From the East, the direc­tion of the Lover, Play­er, Coy­ote, and the ele­ment of Water: I invite the sacred ener­gies of mature Love and Plea­sure; may they flow through me this day.

    From the South, the direc­tion of the War­rior, Pro­tec­tor, Provider, and the ele­ment of Fire: I invite the sacred ener­gies of healthy Pow­er and Con­trol; may they flow through me this day.

    From the West, the direc­tion of the King, Queen, Leader, and the ele­ment of Earth: I invite the sacred ener­gies of Order and Virtue; may they flow through me this day.

    From the North, the direc­tion of the Elder, Sage, Shaman, and the ele­ment of Air: I invite the sacred ener­gies of Wis­dom, Joy and Release; may they flow through me this day.

  • Joe

    Get­ting stuck in the present and get­ting stuck in the past can be pret­ty close. It’s about the sta­tus quo and allow­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties that go beyond the rules that define the sta­tus quo…I also like your line about get­ting stuck in the future. I think the point is we can all lose bal­ance, over-empha­siz­ing one aspect of time. If I can learn from the past, live in the present, and write for the future, that might not be a bad deal…

    And feel free to invite as much ener­gy here at you like, Joe. The four direc­tions you offer, like the dimen­sions of time, rep­re­sent anoth­er way to see the bal­ance and appre­ci­ate the inter­pen­e­tra­tion of many worlds.

  • Thanks every­one for these ideas.

    I’ve been think­ing about how the present is infi­nite, how it could be some­one elses future.… the con­cept of writ­ing for the future is hard­er to prac­tice.… but I’ve thought in the present as being now what I want to become in the future– that is as close to the future as I now get.

    I keep my cats inside now cause the coy­otes are eat­ing them in my neigh­bor­hood. The sound of the kill is not as pleas­ing this close.

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