Tuesday, August 17, 2010

who are you,little i

who are you,little i

(five or six years old)
peering from some high

window; at the gold

of november sunset

(and feeling:that if day
has to become night

this is a beautiful way)

~e.e. cummings

Eight lines to capture quite possibly the most commonly shared and artfully expressed human experience throughout history---absolutely brilliant.    little i is certain of the night--coming regularly, making everything dark and quiet.  i've learned from experience. Well over 9,000 nights have come and gone in the course of my life. It happens everyday--the sun, doing its thing, making all the little i's stand still and feel that if night must come, what a comfort that we can see beauty in its coming.

 But often little i is just too little to peak over the windowpain, so i hide under the covers--afraid of the night, the darkness.  i don't always see the beauty in impending night. Instead of learning to rest, i wait, anxious for the promised joy of morning.  Here's the trick, though--and we don't even need a stepstool--Sunsets are for stillness, for feeling. sensing. Sunsets are for losing little i in Big I.  Sunsets are for that moment when little i becomes aware of a reality so much bigger--a reality that envelopes and pervades every moment, even the darkest moments. In the stillness, little i remembers what it is like for Big I and the night becomes welcome, even peaceful.  With this feelinging, I can say, "if day has to become night, this is a beautiful way."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Poetry Wednesday

For Whatever it says to Whomever reads it...this one's by me:

Look at the water drops on those leaves
Weighing them down after a shower
Sometimes I feel like those leaves
All drenched and heavy
Longing for an early Fall
To sweep in
And set me loose

Look at the water drops on those leaves
Each a glint of brightness in the sun’s path
Sometimes I feel like those leaves
Lifted by the wind
Loving all these complicated
Bits of light

And it makes me tired—
all this holding on
And letting go—
All this loving and loosing.

R.A. Wittum

Poetry Wednesday

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Poetry Wednesday: Pruning

It won't be long
before a storm will prune
what is ready to let go.
It will be clean and swift

Be your own storm
gunilla norris
A Mystic Garden

Friday, May 14, 2010

Poetry Wednesday: the kindred

Yes, it's Friday, but this poem has been simmering in my heart this week to share for Poetry Wednesday. So, here is my late offering.

 Love is a mystery...something that is difficult to put into words. A connection between two souls...deeper than any temporal appearances, labels or stories we live in this earthly existence.  I've felt this connection in my life...a kinship of souls that is so moving that it's undeniable.  A late night conversation with the Man I Love left me with this sense. I'm thankful to have loved and been loved in this way...My life has been made rich by the presence of kindred souls in whom the Beloved One has pitched his tent.

Thank you Hafiz...

The Woman I Love

Because the Woman I love lives
Inside of you,

I lean as close to your body with my words
As I can--

And I think of you all the time, dear pilgrim.

Because the One I love goes with you
Wherever you go,
Hafiz will always be near.

If you sat before me, wayfarer,
With your aura bright from your many

My lips could resist rushing to you and needing
To befriend your blushed cheek,

But my eyes can no longer hide
The  wonderous fact of who
You Really are.

The Beautiful One whom I adore
Has pitched His royal tent inside of you,

So I will always lean my heart
As close to your soul
As I can.

Translated by Daniel Ladinsky, The Subject Tonight is Love

Enjoy more poetry from Poetry Wednesday

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Poetry Wednesday: Listening...

I've been busy lately; moving, rushing, doing. My mind, too; racing, contemplating, creating. But stillness has been illusive...


Somehow, I must sit to listen.
Standing implies the readiness for action,
for the executing of the will.
To hear You I must sit down and calm down.

The magpie mind chatters.
It doesn't know about stopping.
How helpless I feel in its automatic firing,
its busy babbling. It is impossible to hear You
as long as I am full of sound.
I turn this helpless prayer toward You.
Help me to be quiet, to sit here
...slowly unknowing everything,
becoming dark, becoming yielding...
just sitting.

Here, without will, let me become willing.
Here, without concepts, help me to know.
Here, without doing, turn me toward usefulness.
Let my heart find its ears in You.
Let the countless cells of my body
open in order to listen,
Let my being come into Your presence
and experience the sound of Your light.
~Gunilla Norris~

Poetry Wednesday

Friday, March 26, 2010

Every Luminous Movement

Here's the deal--a few weeks ago, I wrote my last post on A Path to My Woods and tossed it up on Facebook with this poem from Hafiz:

Every Moment

"I rarely let the word 'No' escape
from my mouth

Because it is so plain to my soul

That God has shouted 'Yes!, Yes!, Yes!'
To every luminous movement in Existence.

~Hafiz (trans. by Daniel Ladinsky, I Heard God Laughing)

I hit the submit button with a bit of hesitation because this is such a bold and outlandish statement. The word 'no' escapes my lips daily. I'm the mother of four young children. How in the world could Hafiz be so blind? There are a bijillion things to say 'no' to in the world; a bizillion gut-wrenching injustices to fight against every day. So what was up with Hafiz? Was he blind to the craziness? Did he, as my friend replied in jest, ever have a two year old?

This was my response (more for myself than for her): "I'm certain he did. This poem was most definitely written in a more ecstatic moment when even the exploits of two-year-olds are seen as an opportunity for the growth of humankind. Hmmn. Does that sound crazy? Kind of, but that is Hafiz. There is horrific evil in the world far outweighing 'terrible-twos', and yet, to see a the broader picture is to embrace the hunger and tragedy to be weighed with generosity and compassion. Have we reached a place of wholeness, no. But can I say "yes" to the beautiful process engulfed in Divine presence, Yes! :)"

I've had moments like these, moments when the whole of existence seemed to fill me up with awareness of the Ever-Present. Knock me off my feet if I haven't had that same experience standing by a gushing river, eyes lifted towards the trees, as I have standing at a sink of dirty dishes, hands soaked in sudsy water. God's Spirit is not something for us to 'usher in' with our praises, not something for us to invite. God's Spirit IS. This is what Hafiz recognized.

It's one thing to say "Yes, Yes, Yes" to a sink full of dishes or a pile of dirty laundry. It's an entirely different thing to "shout 'Yes! Yes! Yes!' to every luminous movement in existence." How can the All-Knowing shout 'Yes!' when we can see very clearly so much to say 'no' to? Does this mean we sit back blissfully accepting all that is with no response? Well, no.

I love this quote by former UN secretary-general--and mystic--Dag Hammarskjold: "For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes". Hammarskjold was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize post-humanously. On a life-time scale, his response to 'yes and thank you' was a luminous movement towards peace. On an eternal scale--every ounce of light to every ounce of darkness--we say yes, thank you.

The human experience is plagued with hunger and horror and tears upon tears. And God shouts, 'Yes! Yes! Yes!' to the luminous imperfect longing and 'Yes! Yes! Yes!' to the luminous movement of grace and compassion offered in return. And the angels in heaven whisper, "grow, grow."And we do.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Just-Before-Spring Seasons

February. For the past few years of my life, February has been a month of impending dread. A dark, cold, long month; a month doomed by my psyche as lonely; an end of winter, how-will-I- ever-survive-until-Spring month. February. I could go into a myriad of reasons of how February has deserved this dismal relegation in my eyes, but we all have our seasons and I have grown to believe that even Februaries are sometimes needful and healing to the growing soul. So this quiet, painful Just Before Spring is my February--the one I've embraced.

Gunilla Norris puts it so beautifully in her book, Mystic Garden: "Everything is dormant in the cold. My spirit, too is spilled and scattered. I seem to be at a standstill...Benumbed, we may wonder if perhaps it is in quietude, in seeming deep freeze, that God enters our depth without interference? Below the ever-tracking mind, can we sense, trust, or feel the soul being led? Could we learn to simply accept this, to allow it?"

Now I'm searching for those redeemable moments:

I had an amazing opportunity during February to visit my family in Kansas--my family a thousand miles away. It was a once in a lifetime surprise visit that I will never forget. I came back from that trip haunted by a deliciously heart-rending word--submerged--and picturing a dear one's hands lifted, one slightly more elevated--two uneven plains of existence; to me a sudden sadness, a quick word of correction, of wall-raising. But then a realization that every instance in life has a bit of truth to offer--a lesson to level. And my soul said, 'yes'.

I layed in my bed that night picturing myself perched in the lower hand; my mind bucked at the thought and pushed it away, not wanting to accept this perception. But my soul said 'yes' to the moment; to the element of truth. And when I placed myself in the lifted hand, I realized that I was the one standing at the edge of a cliff, gazing sometimes at the water below, but mostly distracted by the whirlwind around me.

How do we submerge ourselves in Spirit? How do we live in that Divine awareness? I know the truth is simple. The practice can be elusive. This is why I come back to these four lines by Gunilla Norris in her book, Being Home:

First thought--as in 'first light'--

let me be aware that I waken in You

Before I even think that I am in my bed,

let me think that I am in You.

Presence and Awareness--knowing simply that the Divine is not barred from the cliffs we stand on, not confined to the water below, but permeates all. It is my awareness that becomes dull, distracted by life rather than submerged in Life. Recognizing Divine Presence in every moment, every simple daily act--this is the choice to be submerged in a presence we can never escape.