When death comes

 

daisy

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world
– Mary Oliver

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A Blessing for Equilibrium

bellLike the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the music of laughter break through your soul.

As the wind wants to make everything dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the freedom of the monastery bell,
May clarity of mind make your eyes smile.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May a sense of irony give you perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May fear or worry never put you in chains.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the distance the laughter of God.

John O’Donohue

Letting go

dandelionblow

Letting go, in order to let in
releasing, in order to receive
nature’s coded messages become clearer
the less we try to see.

Trying hard, trying harder and harder
trying so very hard
is not the way.

We need commitment, yes
and focus
and hope and faith and trust
but most of all we need ease
a discipline of ease
not trying too hard at all.

You see “trying hard” has a cell-mate
called “giving up”, admitting defeat
like black and white
like pushing and pulling
no peace there.

“Not yet”, you say
“I’m not ready yet
to take the step beyond.”
I know
I’ve stepped so slow myself,
still do
but love sweet sister,
like death
comes in a moment’s heartbeat
then goes.

There are no ways to hold
except by letting go, and
letting it be a part of you
and you of it.

Stewart Mercer

For a New Beginning

saplingIn out of the way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander
This beginning has been quietly forming
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you
Noticing how you willed yourself on
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

– John O’Donohue

Awakening now

spiral
The moment your eyes are open, seize the day.
Would you hold back when the Beloved beckons?
Would you deliver your litany of sins like a child’s collection of sea shells, prized and labeled?
“No, I can’t step across the threshold,” you say, eyes downcast.
“I’m not worthy, I’m afraid, and my motives aren’t pure.
I’m not perfect, and surely I haven’t practised nearly enough.
My meditation isn’t deep, and my prayers are sometimes insincere.
I still chew my fingernails, and the refrigerator isn’t clean.”
Do you value your reasons for staying small more than the light shining through the open door?
Forgive yourself.
Now is the only time you have to be whole.
Now is the sole moment that exists to live in the light of your true Self.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Please, oh please, don’t continue to believe in your disbelief.
This is the day of your awakening.

– Danna Faulds

House of Belonging

gold-light

I awoke this morning
in the gold light
turning this way
and that
thinking for a moment
it was one day
like any other.

But the veil had gone
from my darkened heart
and I thought
it must have been the quiet
candlelight that filled my room,
it must have been the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed
myself to sleep,

it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.

And I thought
this is the good day
you could meet your love,
this is the black day
someone close to you
could die.

This is the day you realize
how easily the thread is broken
between this world and the next

and I found myself
sitting up in the quiet pathway
of light, the tawny
close grained cedar
burning round me like fire
and all the angels of this housely heaven
ascending through the first roof of light
the sun has made.

This is the bright home
in which I live, this is where
I ask my friends to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.

David Whyte

Eyes so soft

lonely

Photo by Wanda D’Onofrio

Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice so tender,

My need of God
Absolutely
Clear.

Hafiz, trans. Daniel Ladinsky

Forget about enlightenment

andy-goldsworthy-book-ephemeral-works02

Photo and artwork by Andy Goldsworthy

Forget about enlightenment.
Sit down wherever you are
And listen to the wind singing in your veins.
Feel the love, the longing, the fear in your bones.
Open your heart to who you are, right now,
Not who you would like to be,
Not the saint you are striving to become,
But the being right here before you, inside you, around you.
All of you is holy.
You are already more and less
Than whatever you can know.
Breathe out,
Touch in,
Let go.

John Welwood

I go among trees

tree

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.

Wendell Berry

 

For freedom

white_bird_soaring.jpg

Photo by zolthan5

As a bird soars high
In the free holding of the wind,
Clear of the certainty of ground,
Opening the imagination of wings
Into the grace of emptiness
To fulfill new voyagings,
May your life awaken
To the call of its freedom.

As the ocean absolves itself
Of the expectation of land,
Approaching only
In the form of waves
That fill and pleat and fall
With such gradual elegance
As to make of the limit
A sonorous threshold
Whose music echoes back among
The give and strain of memory,
Thus may your heart know the patience
That can draw infinity from limitation.

As the embrace of the earth
Welcomes all we call death,
Taking deep into itself
The right solitude of a seed,
Allowing it time
To shed the grip of former form
And give way to a deeper generosity
That will one day send it forth,
A tree into springtime,
May all that holds you
Fall from its hungry ledge
Into the fecund surge of your heart.

John O’Donohue