Walk Slowly (Danna Faulds)

It only takes a reminder to breathe,

a moment to be still, and just like that,

something in me settles, softens, makes

space for imperfection. The harsh voice

of judgment drops to a whisper and I

remember again that life isn’t a relay

race; that we will all cross the finish

line; that waking up to life is what we

were born for. As many times as I

forget, catch myself charging forward

without even knowing where I’m going,

that many times I can make the choice

to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk

slowly into the mystery.

………………

Allow (Danna Faulds)

There is no controlling life.

Try corralling a lightning bolt,

containing a tornado. Dam a

stream and it will create a new

channel. Resist, and the tide

will sweep you off your feet.

Allow, and grace will carry

you to higher ground. The only

safety lies in letting it all in –

the wild and the weak; fear,

fantasies, failures and success.

When loss rips off the doors of

the heart, or sadness veils your

vision with despair, practice

becomes simply bearing the truth.

In the choice to let go of your

known way of being, the whole

world is revealed to your new eyes.

From “Go In and In: Poems from the Heart of Yoga”

……………..

The Journey (Mary Oliver)

One day you finally knewwhat you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice-

though the whole house began to tremble

and you felt the old tug at your ankles.

“Mend my life!” each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers at the very foundations,

though their melancholy was terrible.

It was already late enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen branches and stones.

But little by little, as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice which you slowly

recognized as your own, that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper into the world,

determined to do the only thing you could do-

determined to save the only life you could save.


Lingering in Happiness (Mary Oliver)

After rain after many days without rain,

it stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees,

and the dampness there, married now to gravity,

falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground

where it will disappear — but not, of course, vanish

except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share,

and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss;

a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole’s tunnel;

and soon so many small stones, buried for a thousand years,

will feel themselves being touched.

……………………….

The Summer Day (Mary Oliver)

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-the one who the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

………………………….

Wild Geese (Mary Oliver)

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

…………………………..

What Do We Know (Mary Oliver)

The sky cleared

I was standing

under a tree.

and there were stars in the sky

that were also themselves

at the moment

at which moment

my right hand

was holding my left hand

which was holding the tree

which was filled with stars

and the soft rain —

imagine! Imagine!

the long and wondrous journeys

still to be ours.

………………………….

The Peace of Wild Things (Wendell Berry)

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For the time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

——————————————–

Grace (Wendell Berry)

The Wood is shining this morning.

Red. Gold and green. The leaves

Lie on the ground, or fall,

Or hang full of light in the air still.

Perfect in its rise and in its fall, it takes

The place it has been coming to forever.

It has not hastened here, or lagged.

See how surely it has sought itself,

Its roots passing lordly through the earth.

See how without confusion it is

All that it is, and how flawless

Its grace is. Running or walking, the way

Is the same. Be still. Be still.


Love after Love (Derek Walcott)

The time will come

When with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you have ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

………………

You Reading This, Be Ready (William Stafford)

Starting here, what do you want to remember?

How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?

What scent of old wood hovers, what softened

sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world

than the breathing respect that you carry

wherever you go right now? Are you waiting

for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this

new glimpse that you found; carry into evening

all that you want from this day. This interval you spent

reading or hearing this, keep it for life–

What can anyone give you greater than now,

starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

—————————————-


Enough (David Whyte)

Enough. These few words are enough.

If not these words, this breath.

If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life we have refused

again and again until now.

Until now

……………

Well of Grief (David Whyte)

Those who will not slip beneath

the still surface on the well of grief

turning downward through its black water

to the place we cannot breathe

will never know the source

from which we drink

the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering

the small round coins

thrown by those who wished for

something else

…………

(Rumi)

People are distracted by objects of desire, and afterwards repent of the lust they’ve indulged, because they have indulged with a phantom and are left even farther from Reality than before. Your desire for the illusory is a wing, by means of which a seeker might ascend to Reality. When you have indulged a lust, your wing drops off; you become lame and that fantasy flees. Preserve the wing and don’t indulge such lust, so that the wing of desire may bear you to Paradise. People fancy they are enjoying themselves, but they are really tearing out their wings for the sake of an illusion.

————————————–

Two Kinds of Intelligence (Rumi)

There are two kinds of intelligence: One acquired,

as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts

from books and from what the teacher says,

collecting information from the traditional sciences

as well as from the new sciences.

With such intelligence you rise in the world.

You get ranked ahead or behind others

in regard to your competence in retaining

information. You stroll with this intelligence

in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more

marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of tablet, one

already completed and preserved inside you.

A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness

in the center of the chest. This other intelligence

does not turn yellow or stagnate. It’s fluid,

and it doesn’t move from outside to inside

through the conduits of plumbing-learning.

This second knowing is a fountainhead

from within you, moving out.

………..

(Rumi)

Something opens our wings. Something makes boredom and hurt disappear. Someone fills the cup in front of us: We taste only sacredness.

………

(Rumi)

Today like every other day

We wake up empty and scared.

Don’t open the door of your study

And begin reading.

Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do

There are hundreds of way to kneel

And kiss the earth.

………..

(Rumi)

Everyone is overridden by thoughts;

that’s why they have so much heartache and sorrow.

At times I give myself up to thought purposefully;

but when I choose,

I spring up from those under its sway.

I am like a high-flying bird,

and thought is a gnat:

how should a gnat overpower me?

……….

The Guest House (Rumi)

This being human is a guest-house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

Who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture.

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you

out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.


(Rainer Maria Rilke)

How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning

of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into

princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses, who are only

waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in

its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.

So you must not be frightened, dear Mr. Kappus, if a sadness rises up before

you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloud-shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. . . .

——————————————–

(Rabindranath Tagore)

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day

runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy

through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass

and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked

in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life

and my joy is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

——————————–

Unconditional (Jennifer Paine Welwood)

Willing to experience aloneness,

I discover connection everywhere;

Turning to face my fear,

I meet the warrior who lives within;

Opening to my loss,

I gain the embrace of the universe;

Surrendering into emptiness,

I find fullness without end.

Each condition I flee from pursues me,

Each condition I welcome transforms me

And becomes itself transformed

Into its radiant jewel-like essence.

I bow to the one who has made it so,

Who has crafted this Master Game;

To play it is purest delight –

To honor its form, true devotion.

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