A Manifesto: Treat the Shen, by Amy Lofting

So, it seems that 

A Long Time Ago

Some people understood

The human body, emotions,

Mind, and Spirit.

They went about their lives

Carefully, eating

Warm wet food,

Wrapping up

Against cold wind.

They expressed feelings

As they arose.

They watched, listened,

Smelled, and tasted, sensing

Their environment 

Directly without

The complications of 

Second-guessing, judgment,

And constant fear.

They could tell when someone

Was lying.

Today we are wrapped in webs of lies

And confusion spun by people who want

Power and money,

Want to dominate Life,

From people to animals

To whole oceans. The harvest of

This socially acceptable behavior is 

A garbage dump of toxins, a heating

Blue marble, an echoing

Emptiness, where thousands

Of species used to chatter,

Sing, thump, burrow, swim…

Change can be hard.

The People from a Long Time Ago

Understood this

And made some central precepts:

Accept What Is. 

Change Will Come.


Stand up for yourself,

Your family,

Your land,

Your health.

Your inheritance

Includes the right

To these understandings.

Your life is meant to be


Be led by Heavenly impulses.

Consume wholesome thoughts

And food so your Blood is

Full, bright, and rich.

Remember and believe that your

Unique gifts and talents

Are folded neatly, lying in wait

To unfurl, spoken into the 

Receptive ear of your Heart.

Transmission, reception, feedback.

Transmission, reception, feedback.

Learning. Growth.


This is how It Is Supposed to Work.

Not defeat, poverty,

Uselessness, abuse, 

Bondage, sterility…

There will always be some destruction

Of form, because there will always be 

Change. Don’t hold on to stuff.

Let it go; creation follows, and

Something better is coming.

Believe this: Some People

Know How Things Really Work.

Find those people.

Ask for their help.

They are waiting for you.

As I have been sitting,

Absorbing, reflecting,

It seems to me 

It all comes down

To Shen:

Spirit, that sparkle in the eyes,

The outward shining of inner light

That signals alertness, engagement,

Fullness of being.

I look around and see 

Shen missing in action:

Cagey eyes, guarded, snowed in,

Fogged out, smothered…

And it happened choice by choice.

No one is born that way.

I am calling for a mass migration:

Stirrups under the soles of our feet,

We can gallop towards destiny

While standing up straight in one place:

Come home

To your own light,

Vitality, radiant well-being.

Let’s unpack the instructions.

Let’s enjoy this,

One day at a time.

Let’s treat the Shen

In the ways of ancient Daoist shamans,

Embracing ourselves

In the clear view of health’s

Energy constituents.

Streams of pure water

Clear fetid ponds.

Open roadways replace rubble-strewn

Chokepoints, and deficiencies

Resolve. Fertile,

Well-drained soil effortlessly absorbs

Material, and excesses disappear.

Pathologies release.

Rabbits run over the hills

While piccolos play sprightly tunes

And in the distance, bassoons

Reverberate harmony.

Our bodies are our land.

Every person was given 

40 acres and a mule

By God to tend.

We can flourish here.

Let’s leave behind the wasteland.

Leukemia sent into remission, 

Liver cancer fourth stage

Vomited into the gutter,

Insanity banished in one hour:

Story after story.

These are real people

Of today’s age, not myths.

They were suffering,

Then their lives changed,

Led by Shen.

They met living sages 

Guided by some pure intentions:

Study The Way Things Are;

Preserve and protect this knowledge;

Express these truths in service.

You might say, this 

High falutin philosophy

Means nothing to me.

I would say, what does

Matter to you? 

What do you need?

Let me know and let’s

Find the Way together.

March 9, 2023

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