Poetry

The Invitation

meditation

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes.'

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

~ Oriah "Mountain Dreamer"

On Joy & Sorrow

beautiful shala
Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the reassure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
~ Kahlil Gibran

...Let's remember...

What are you For?

You have been telling people that this is the eleventh hour.
Now you must go back and tell people that this is the hour!
And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your Garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
Create your community.
Be good to yourself.
And not look outside of yourself for a leader.
This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing very fast. It is so great and fast that there are those who will be afraid.

They will hold on to the shore.
They will feel that they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.

Know that the river has its destination.
The elders say that we must let go of the shore,
push off into the middle of the river,
keep our eyes open,
and our heads above the water.
See who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time we are to take nothing personally,
least of all, ourselves.
For the moment that we do,
our spiritual growth comes to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Gather yourselves!
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred
manner and in celebration.
We are the ones that we have been waiting for.

~ The Elders, Oraibi, Arizona Hopi Nation

Unfold Your Own Myth

Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

door into shala

Who gets up early to discover the moment light begins?
Who finds us here circling, bewildered, like atoms?
Who comes to a spring thirsty and sees the moon reflected in it?
Who, like Jacob blind with grief and age, smells the shirt of his lost son and can see again?
Who lets a bucket down and brings up a flowing prophet?
Or like Moses goes for fire and finds what burns inside the sunrise?

Jesus slips into a house to escape enemies, and opens a door to the other world.
Soloman cuts open a fish, and there's a gold ring.
Omar storms in to kill the prophet and leaves with blessings.
Chase a deer and end up everywhere!
An oyster opens his mouth to swallow on drop - now there's a pearl.
A vagrant wanders empty ruins; suddenly he is wealthy.

But don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others.
Unfold your own myth, without complicated explanation,
so everyone will understand the passage, we have opened you.

Start walking toward Shams. Your legs will get heavy and tired.
Then comes a moment of feeling the wings you've grown, lifting.

Miracles

Walt Whitman

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

miracles

Let me Walk in Beauty

Sioux Prayer

sunset

Oh, Great Spirit,
whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world,
Hear me.
I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty
and let my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
And my ears grow sharp to hear your voice.

Make me wise so that I may understand the things
You have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be greater than brother or sister,
but to fight my greatest enemy, myself.
Make me always ready
to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes,
so when my life fades, as the fading sunset,
My Spirit may come to you without shame.

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Tao de Ching, 78th Passage

Translated by Dorien Israel

butterfly

The Tao turns the tides
and changes caterpillars into butterflies.
Do you truly believe that it has less magic,
mystery or meaning in store for you?

Pay attention to what within you
is beginning to awaken.
The caterpillar can feel the essence of the butterfly
even before it begins to emerge.

Remember, butterflies are never born on the ground.
This type of total transformation occurs only after
an arduous climb up the trunk of the tree
and a perilous trip out onto the barest branch.
Risk is the cost of attaining anything of real value.

Create your own chrysalis of consciousness;
a protective cocoon in which
you realize yourself more wholly.
Dawning as a radiant light,
awakening others in the same way.

The Guest House

Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

tree - new leaves

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 are 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 whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.