Today’s prompt asks us to write a concrete poem, which is a poem where the lines of words are placed in such a way to form a shape that is in some way connected to the theme of the poem. I wish I knew what uncertainty was shaped like. I’d write a poem in that shape…
The Shape of Uncertainty
It must be kind of wave like,
the shape of uncertainty, because
my uncertainty comes in waves.
Sometimes a little ripple,
sometimes a crashing, roaring tsunami,
whatever the size, the waves keep coming.
I haven’t drowned yet,
because I’ve learned to keep breathing,
catching my breath between the waves,
finding a way to draw the air into my lungs.
Someday when I look back on this
I’ll see that I stayed afloat somehow on this vast ocean.
And though my vessel is tiny, it’s sound.
Come to think of it,
aren’t all emotions shaped like waves?
Love, anger, joy…don’t they all come and go,
uncontrollable, unplanned, vast like the ocean?
I’ll just keep breathing.
The ground is shifting constantly,
never the same,
so how can I build anything right now?
Maybe it’s time to let things fall apart,
and see what’s left
after the winds of change blow through.
I’d like to have some kind of plan,
a goal, a vision,
something that helps me feel like there’s a future
and I have some control over the outcome…
But this is a war humans have been fighting
since they knew they could fight
and where has it gotten us?
Maybe I’m better off simply breathing
and allowing myself to be right here, right now.
Breathing and being.
Yeah. That has a nice ring to it.
Don’t worry about getting it right
because you can’t get it wrong…
Just make it through this.
You don’t have to try to be good,
because you can’t be bad,
you are a human being…
Just make it through this.
Throw out all goals except this one:
To breathe slowly and deeply
as many times as I can remember,
through all the days of my life.
The outcome is assured.
You’ll make it through this.
C’mon, admit it to me—
You weren’t in love with the routine anyway!
You ritualistically grumbled
At the dawn of each new day
And resented the tasks asked of you.
C’mon, be honest, admit it—
You didn’t have much to lose!
Only your attachment to control,
Your belief in an uncaring universe,
Your inability to recognize how blessed you were.
Let’s be frank with one another.
This whole global pandemic is a gift!
It’s an opportunity to slow down and see
The lies you were telling to you
The lies I was telling to me.
Listen closely to me.
THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY.
An opportunity to be free.
To slow down and see what really matters to you.
What really matters to me.
Slow down, beloved. Breathe.
It’s all good, you see?
When I believe my thoughts I am anxious.
When I connect with reality, I am at peace.
I have known this for a long time,
and now more than ever it holds true.
It is so humbling to admit that all of my training
couldn’t prepare me for this reality.
Yoga is fun and neat when you’re sitting in a room
with 30 people, learning how to teach people yoga
in a thriving studio on a normal day.
No one prepared me for a Pandemic.
No one told me how it would feel
when I couldn’t see my students anymore.
No one explained what it would be like
to go into a store and find empty shelves.
No one described the despair I’d feel
contemplating bringing my children up
during a widespread economic collapse.
After so many years of encouraging my students to breathe,
I find myself holding my breath.
After teaching my students how to stay present,
I find myself feeling anxious about the future.
After guiding my students into deep relaxation,
I feel anxiety alive in my body.
I remember that this will one day be a memory.
When this is all over,
I’d like to be able to tell the story about how I realized
I could just fully relax,
how I spent my time creating wonderful things
and then the Pandemic was over,
and I could look back on the quarantine
feeling proud that I stayed strong…
I guess I better start breathing
and staying present,
just like I’ve been teaching all these years.
More insight rather than foresight,
and I can feel what needs to be done
rather than rendering myself crazed
trying to strategize the rest of my life.
Breathe. Feel the home you live in,
this body, this heart beating.
There is so much wisdom here now.
The struggle is over; you are free.
You can slow down, breathe, relax
and enjoy now.
All your needs are met instantly,
before you even ask.
There is more love
than you’d ever know what to do with.
You are seen and heard and celebrated endlessly
for the gifts you bring.
You are truly wonderful; a miracle of existence.
Don’t worry, your mind doesn’t have to agree
in order for it to be true.
I’d like to get to the point
where the average experience
of being alive feels safe and pleasant,
rather than anxiety provoking and heavy.
Breathing, looking around,
really seeing and feeling the truth
that all is well,
my peaceful life isn’t as far
as my mind would have me believe.
I won’t apologize for doing my best
to create a life I’m glad to be living.
I won’t apologize for sometimes failing,
being human and everything.
I won’t apologize for breathing
as deeply and as slowly as I can.
I won’t apologize for choosing to live
in a different (much improved) paradigm.
And I won’t apologize for needing help
when I’m not sure how to proceed.
It’s ok for me to feel sleepy
and too tired
to get up
from the couch
It’s ok for me to dream
and feel uplifted
about what’s next.
Somewhere between the couch
and infinite possibility
there is my divine purpose,
my ultimate destiny.
There is some work to be done.
May I do it cheerfully.
When the tethers of the predefined
rendition of everyday, 3-D existence
are momentarily loosened and my
vision is freed,
I can see that
the ordinary everyday consciousness that we have
leaves out more than it takes in.*
And my prayer is:
Reveal to me the truth
that I may embody
for the highest good of all beings.
And I remember
breathing is enough.
So I breathe
and my consciousness returns
to the place I love to be,
the reason I practice…
the vast universe within.