There is No Neutral

This morning a woman who seemingly had nothing asked me for some money for a sandwich. I did not have any money on me, since I was on my way to the gym. Everyday someone asks me for some money for food and I can’t help see some routine response (both inner and outer) occurring from me. I am reminded of Elie Wiesel or Howard Zinn, and that there is no such thing as neutrality. Apathy or numbness just doesn’t cut it. I will be reflecting on my relationship to suffering in front of me, and spreading some kindness this week.

“We must always take sides,” Elie Wiesel urged in his spectacular Nobel Prize acceptance speech. “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” And yet part of the human tragedy is that despite our best intentions and our most ardent ideals, we often lull ourselves into neutrality in the face of injustice — be it out of fear for our own stability, or lack of confidence in our ability to make a difference, or that most poisonous foible of the soul, the two-headed snake of cynicism and apathy.


Myth and Storytelling with Martin Shaw

My notes from the weekend with Martin Shaw.

May 19, 2018


  • Rain movement is masculine; rain essence is feminine (Guatemala)
  • The time between dog and wolf is the time between dusk and night
  • Tatterhood is born the moment before the time you are born
  • We each have a Tatterhood; and, our adult journey is to find our Tatterhood (wild twin)
  • When Tatterhood was born she was relentless shamelessness
  • My says “earn your name” — find what you stand for and earn it
  • FOLLOW-UP: “lament of the dead” by Carl Jung
  • In Fairytales, the one who is not named is usually “you”
  • When beholding a fairytale, ask “Where is this working on my bones?”
    • Cthonic = Belly of you
  • Wear your shadow as your cloak
  • “Pin pricks of the eternal” —> Rilke
  • “Find the right kind of trouble” – Irish saying
  • “Giving others a chance to wonder”
  • “Confusion is a ritual device” in myth
  • “matter” and sense of the story
    • Matter is what happened
    • Sense is your experience and the details you put into it
  • Age 10 to 14 boys = 50x the testosterone
  • Cinderbiter
  • Brooding spots: Sit in the presence and see what it says to you
  • Locker — write in with green ink so you don’t scare away the spirits

Goose Girl:

  • Seeing the horse but not the rider
  • “Joyful participation in the sorrows of the world” — Hindu saying
  • Without chaos there is no eros
  • The dead horse’s head says to Goose Girl, “Your mother would have weeped a hundred years to see what has has happened” … “What you are going through is not okay” and it is important to know that; for your pain to be witnessed
  • Don’t show the gold too early
  • Treating goose gathering as the holiest of vocations
  • “Gathering my geese” – gathering my thoughts in the morning
  • “My heartbreak is not my children’s business”
  • Before two people get married, he tells them to go look at a magpie — the blue chemical makes the feather look blue from different angles
  • “Live in the tension of the leap”
  • Shaw decided to be a bridge rather than to leap
  • “The loneliest thing is a debt free society” – Martin Shaw

May 20, 2018


  • Alisa shared about her husband dying of ALS
  • The commonality of ALS patients was an overriding sense of duty and responsibility
  • They all had the black seed of “I am not enough” planted in them.
  • “Find a way to tell your story but cut out all the lies” – Robert Bly
  • As we get older we send our personal energy away
    • Bit by bit we give up what we love
    • How do we get out of exile? Those parts of us that we have seen away
  • “If you haven’t been fed, become bread” – Robert Bly
  • “Cultivate the details, and take courage” – Martin Shaw referring to the writing of his first book, which made no sense at the time. He was playing in a wedding band, working in fast food, etc.

Finn mac Cumhail pronounced Finn McCool

  • Life preserving vs. life giving
    • Live like a mighty river
  • “If you are around a young man, and you don’t figure out a way to praise them, you are hurting them.” – Martin Shaw
  • Rumi’s “Greedy soul”
    • Coleman Barks “I was on television to 90m people, it was almost enough”
  • Where is your longing?
  • Longing will not be met but desire has a possibility
  • “Holding longing well is dancing well on the tip of a spear” – Irish Saying
  • “Let the souls meet” is the courtship
  • The women was part fairie, woman and deer
  • “What good is a feast without you?” — say that to one and other 😉
  • Remember you have an audience in the other world” — make yours worth watching/telling tales about
    • What are you doing to get their attention?
  • “The wilder Finn got, the calmer he became.”
  • If the rivers flowed with silver, and all the leaves were gold, Finn would give them all away” Try to be as generous as Finn.
  • These stories will mentor you
  • What has your longing given you that you have?
  • “Myth is the only thing to hold what has happened”
  • “proceed as if the world is alive”
    • Give life to the world — e.g., the tree or the wood is your grandfather
  • Depth, humor and humility — all the men
  • Storycarryer — can we find a way of telling the truth?
  • “Be as magnificent as the mountain, and as giving as a river” – Vijay
  • Regarding saving the world, “Victory is not a priority for me.” – Martin Shaw
  • “I need to write at the edge of my understanding” – Jung
  • “Your incompleteness is your authenticity. You are enough…you have more than enough what you need. Take courage.” – Martin Shaw
  • “Who has God blessed more than you?” – Martin Shaw
  • We see thistle; William Blake would see a little grey man waving at him.
  • “Don’t wait for an audience” — Martin Shaw
  • Exercise: Make a timeline of when you gave away exiled parts of you away…

The Lindworm

  • “We all have a dark serpent”
  • Needle and thread the life you make
  • “No fear, no meanness, no evil” – Grandfather
  • “Soul of a man is feminine”
  • “Sometimes a man stands up during super” – Rilke
  • “We want a to be defeated by greater beings” – Rilke
  • “I knew to be a half descent father, I would need to give some excitement and I was willing to do that” – Martin Shaw
  • “How many times do you need to be consumed by an experience, before you know how to enter it” – Martin Shaw
  • What serpent did you exile?
  • Accountability vs consequence

Relevant Links:

A Short Video about Martin Shaw:


Martin Shaw on Soundcloud:

Martin Shaw’s recent book:

Martin Shaw’s Website: