I spent the day in deep listening,
laid heart and soul bare
before daring wayfarers
who walk this path with me.
I danced with the trees,
looked up to the sun
reached out to the water
felt down to the earth
breathed in the wind
and out my fears.
I transformed from closed and scared
to fluid and light body
loving song through the forest
at top of lungs fearlessly.
To whomever says heaven
isn’t on earth:
I have something to share…
Today I came close.
What causes the autumn wind
to rush through the forest
stirring the leaves,
breaking their fragile connection
to the spent moments of yesterday,
that they might flutter down to the earth
and experience new life in their death and decay?
It is in their letting go of the past
that they receive the promise of this new moment.
They cannot hold their form in death;
it melts away and feeds new life,
and this is the way of all things.
In the autumn of your life,
can you turn to look
at how you’ve been nourished by the Tree of Life?
Can you gracefully surrender the diversions of youth,
breaking free of your bonds, fluttering down,
allowing your form to be used by the earth,
making way for the promise of what will come?
Thinking about expanding my offerings,
wanting to reach out, help out more,
Whom do I feel called to serve?
The answer is…Everyone.
Moms who are hard on themselves.
People who long to express themselves creatively
but who feel too scared..
People who want to escape the daily grind
but don’t know how…
Those who are suicidal
Those who are self-critical
Those who long to be free
of the constraints that were handed to them.
I feel called to serve everyone.
So now I ask
God, how do I navigate this?
How do I answer this calling?
And God says
Just keep breathing.
It will all be clear soon enough.
For now, do your practices;
breathe deeply. Trust. Have faith.
You are on the right track.
Let the wind blow through you,
Let the earth support you,
Let the water flow through you,
Let the fire warm you,
Let the ethers inspire you.
You, descendant of the stars,
you, who have inherited
the vast inner landscape of consciousness—
what will you do with this one precious life?
Today’s prompt asked us to write a kenning poem–a poem made up of metaphorical descriptions of something without calling the actual thing by its name. I have to tell you, I’ve been stumped all day. Can I write a kenning poem about the forest? The moon? A flower? The sky?
The All Mother holds us and watches us.
Wears her robes of blue and green magnificence,
never holds her breath
but lets it move us as it moves the sky ocean.
All her children are beautiful to her
but some of her children are ignorant,
in particular the biped children–
they squabble a lot,
fighting over their many toys.
Their squabbling hurts the All Mother.
Watching her greedy biped children
burning her silent, wooden green children
to clear more space for their greediness.
And those of her children who swim in her womb
and who fly through her lungs
and who run over her fertile body–
these are the ones who suffer loss of their homes
to the greedy biped children who
cannot sate the insatiable.
And still the All Mother holds us all and watches us,
never holding her breath,
but letting it move us as it moves the sky ocean.
Today I publish a post to Yoga Mom for the 100th consecutive day. One hundred posts down and only 265 left to go before I can cross “Published a blog post every day for a year” off my list of things I think I should accomplish at some point in my life. After this year is done, I’m guessing that I’ll be so much in the habit of posting daily that it’ll feel strange to not continue, so who knows? Maybe I’ll just have to publish a blog post every day for the rest of my life. Stranger things have happened.
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt suggested that we take five songs from a playlist (iPod, Pandora, Spotify, etc.) and construct a poem from the titles. I’m too tired (lazy?) to fetch my iPod from downstairs, so I’ll take just one song title and construct a poem from there. The song is “Tall Trees” by the artist Rashani on the album Songs of Interbeing. Living in the city, I often find my heart is longing, wishing to be surrounded by nature. Rashani’s song resonates on a deep level, evoking images of nature at its most elemental. It’s a simple song, short and sweet, with the lyrics sung twice. There is some nice drum, guitar, and harmonization in a kind of canon with another singer.
Here are the lyrics:
I feel you in my body
I feel you in my soul.
And now here I go:
An Ode to the Forest Sentinels
Tall trees, where are you?
I look up and see power lines
I cannot see you when I look with my body’s eyes
so I close the doors to the outer world
and look within.
Ahh yes. There you are.
Tall trees, you are in my heart!
And growing beside you, ferns
and at your feet, moss
And flowing close by, a broad and swiftly moving stream
Making my most favorite music,
the sound of clear water tumbling over smooth stones.
The forest cathedral is a most sacred place
Nowhere else have I felt so connected to Source.
In the quiet, sweet and melodious cacophony of insects, birds, scampering squirrels–
In the wind that stirs the leaves–
In the bass vibration of darkest fertile earth,
mysterious, smelling of life and the potential for life
smelling of death and the inevitability of death–
I witness the absolute interconnectedness and perfection
of all things living on this our most precious treasure,
our most precious and irreplaceable treasure–
our earth mother.
I dream of living near you, ancient sentinels of the untouched forest expanses
That I may visit you daily and pay homage to the strength
that took you through many seasons,
standing tall in every kind of weather.
I dream of sitting beside you,
looking up at you in wordless awe.
I imagine bowing humbly at your feet like a graceful fern,
Abiding alongside you for millennia
that I may learn from your example,
and G R O W into the light.
For any of y’all out there who have been following my blog since the bitter beginning, you may have gathered that I’m participating in NaPoWriMo…and hence the conspicuous absence of my daily doses of obscenely loquacious, self-absorbed ramblings. Those have been replaced by more terse, self-absorbed ramblings, mostly in the form of free-verse poems. The NaPoWriMo prompt for today appealed to me, so I decided to plunge ahead and give it a go. Mary Oliver’s work has been dear to me since the very first moments I heard her poems read aloud by my favorite yoga teacher during savasana. Something in her words cuts straight to the most vulnerable, sensitive part of me; I stand in awe of the power of an artist capable of evoking such feeling in generations of people she has never met. For today’s post I took her poem “Wild Geese”–seen in full below–and put my own spin on it. The perfectionist in me wanted it to be a little closer to Mary’s syntax…but the artist in me said, “Eff it, I do what I want, I do what I want…”
Lonely Satellites (after Mary Oliver)
You do not have to be happy
You do not have to smile and pretend it’s all good
As you sit in your car, trapped in rush hour gridlock, idling.
You only have to let your personal bundle of flesh and bone and muscle and blood
do what it does.
Confess to me your delusions–all of them–and I will confess to you all of mine.
Meanwhile the universe keeps expanding.
Meanwhile the city and the cooing pigeons
are roosting in ever widening circles,
spilling into the green spaces, rendering the clear waters murky,
mountains bending under the urging of acid rain.
Meanwhile the lonely satellites, high in the polluted atmosphere,
are orbiting our once pristine planet in a suffocating dance of metallic ambivalence.
However you are, no matter how awake or asleep,
this universe is as you think it is,
orbiting you like the satellites, circling an infinite trajectory–
again and again affirming the reflection of your consciousness
in the mirror of existence.
And now, for the original:
Wild Geese by 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 your 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.