All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Art by @gracedchin
Your tiredness has dignity to it! Do not rush to pathologise it, or push it away, for it may contain great intelligence, even medicine.
You have been on a long journey from the stars, friend. Bow before your tiredness now; do not fight it any longer.
There is no shame in admitting that you cannot go on. Even the courageous need to rest.
For a great journey lies ahead. And you will need all of your resources.
Come, sit by the fire of Presence. Let the body unwind; drop into the silence here. Forget about tomorrow, let go of the journey to come, and sink into this evening’s warmth.
Every great adventure is fuelled by rest at its heart.
Your tiredness is noble, friend, and contains healing power… if you would only listen…
– Jeff Foster
is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without, vulnerability is not a choice , vulnerability is the underlying, ever present and abiding under-current of our natural state. To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature, the attempt to be invulnerable is the vain attempt to be something we are not and most especially, to close off our understanding of the grief of others. More seriously, refusing our vulnerability we refuse the help needed at every turn of our existence and immobilize the essential, tidal and conversational foundations of our identity.
To have a temporary, isolated sense of power over all events and circumstances, is one of the privileges and the prime conceits of being human and especially of being youthfully human, but a privilege that must be surrendered with that same youth, with ill health, with accident, with the loss of loved ones who do not share our untouchable powers; powers eventually and most emphatically given up, as we approach our last breath. The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance, our choice is to inhabit vulnerability as generous citizens of loss, robustly and fully, or conversely, as misers and complainers, reluctant, and fearful, always at the gates of existence, but never bravely and completely attempting to enter, never wanting to risk ourselves, never walking fully through the door.
© May 2014 David Whyte
Excerpted from ‘VULNERABILITY’ From the upcoming book of essays CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. http://www.davidwhyte.com/
Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.
~ Isaac Asimov
It must be
we are waiting
for the perfect moment.
It must be
we want to go on.
It must be,
that deep down
we are creatures
we are needed.
It must be that waiting
for the listening ear
or the appreciative word,
for the right
woman or the right man
or the right moment
just to ourselves,
we are getting ready
just to be ready
and nothing else.
Like this moment
the guests arrive
by the window
in the kitchen
sensing a deep
in every blessed thing.
to meet us too.
Just on the other
side of the door
is about to knock
and our life
about to change
after all these
to go on.
From ‘Waiting to Go On’: in ‘River Flow:
New and Selected Poems’
© David Whyte and Many Rivers Press
I know this lifetime is only a wooden structure
— struts and beams of longing and achieving.
I know beyond samsara and economics
there are colours I have never seen
that would send me into euphoria.
And over there, time is something we laugh at.
Like when my son said,
Remember when I thought if I
swallowed watermelon seeds they’d grow in my stomach?
And we laugh.
Ya, time, it never existed to begin with.
I know I’m living on multiple plains,
as a violet light ray, as a mechanic in Tibet,
and a stellar amoeba cleaning doubt from the atmosphere.
I am the Supreme God generating the original and eternal space.
I know that before there was The Word there was (and always will be) Space.
It is the canvas of reality and Light is the ink of our story.
I understand how Venus weaves Love into a generous geometry.
I worship her, so I know.
I get it.
But I’m holding on to here —
to music, and linen, and the white berries that grow by the lake.
I love how gravity holds me when I dance.
And when I decide to burn down this house and all the agreements in it,
I’m going to take rhythm, and the fruit seeds,
and the colour of your eyes with me everywhere I go.
I Know the Colour of Your Eyes by Danielle LaPorte
A long night I spent
thinking that reality was the story
of the human species
the vanquished search for the vanquished
Sounds come by, ruffling my soul
I sense space’s elasticity,
go on reading the books she wrote on the
wars she’s seen
Why do seasons who regularly follow
their appointed time, deny their kind of energy
why is winter followed by a few
more days of winter?
We came to transmit the shimmering
from which we came; to name it
we deal with a permanent voyage,
the becoming of that which itself had
from ‘Surge’ by Etel Adnan
I met a man, a warrior
a man both strong and mean
I met a man, a soldier
a man with cunning keen
I asked where he was going
I asked where he had been
I asked when he would get there
I asked when he’d come home
I asked when war was over
I asked if he really cared
With a slow, dark smile and steel in his eye
he looked across the way
With a few short words and a long drawn sigh
he turned and walked away
The road to hell is never done
you’re always on the way
the bloody road to Empire
is never ever won
its a road not leading homeward
its a road without a soul
its a road made all of thunder
its a road that leaves a hole
and as he left he sang a song
he’d sang for a million miles
and as he walked he looked so sad
like he’d never known a smile
How do you love?
Who do you kill?
Where will this hard road lead?
What do you leave?
What do you steal?
When will you fill this need?
and I stood and I prayed as I heard him sing
that life would somehow bring
love and light and a chance to know
someone who loves him so
Yes, love and light and a chance to know
this one who loves him so
How do you love?
Who do you kill?
Where will this long road lead?
What do you leave?
What do you steal?
Will you ever fill this need?
Well on your way
to getting lost
now is the time
You are born
in the tidal caress
of yearning and grace,
here in the sweet
of your missing rib.
Love is not a secret.
The glow from the deep
kiss of prayer and
emptiness inside you
is my face.
Your gaze is this
same light in me.
in our season of dust,
let us risk
Surely we will burst
Wilder Than We Ever
The one who pours is wilder than we
ever become drinking, wilder than
wine, the one who fills to the rim
and leaves to live in absence with
a toast: go home. There’s nothing for you here. A pearl in the shell
does not touch the ocean. Be a pearl
without a shell, a mindful flooding,
Candle turned moth,head become empty
jar, bird settling nest, love lived.
tho some are not as fun as others
until you see the flat line
until the holiness shows up
every breath you take
every little thing
be easily impressed
let every ordinary miracle
Rejoice in this mystery
that in love God chooses to be close to us,
to be with us even our deepest darkness.
God is present for us.
Let this be your light.
May wonder and gratitude
be Christ’s gift to you
this holy day.
Hold your soul open for my welcoming.
Let the quiet of your spirit bathe me
With its clear and rippled coolness,
That, loose-limbed and weary, I find rest,
Outstretched upon your peace, as on a bed of ivory.
Let the flickering flame of your soul play all about me,
That into my limbs may come the keenness of fire,
The life and joy of tongues of flame,
And, going out from you, tightly strung and in tune,
I may rouse the blear-eyed world,
And pour into it the beauty which you have begotten
The Giver of Stars by Amy Lowell
All that glitters
wallpaper of another age
when puttin’ on the Ritz
meant holy nights complete with chandeliers
were just a little bit more glam
than a stable song can offer
release your fears
being stuck in a former era
can feel like shackles
to a girl wild and free
the undergrounded underbelly is never as shiny
as it looks to the spectators
waving and clapping outside of the painted glass
how much is that doggie in the window?
doesn’t really matter one little bit…
all good things are wild and free
come to heaven’s gate and be awe struck with this true wonder
of what is living right beyond your singular vision
the music plays on underneath your feet
nothing oh nothing is impossible
if you’re ready to believe
Come Winter Solstice
An old world on the threshold
Of new beginnings
Year’s darkest of nights
Renewal comes after death
Birthing a new shift
In the light of a new day
Comes out of shadow
Silence of the Holy Place
WHAT DEADENS US most to God’s presence within us, I think, is the inner dialogue that we are continuously engaged in with ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought. I suspect that there is nothing more crucial to true spiritual comfort, as the huge monk in cloth of gold put it, than being able from time to time to stop that chatter including the chatter of spoken prayer. If we choose to seek the silence of the holy place, or to open ourselves to its seeking, I think there is no surer way than by keeping silent.
God knows I am no good at it, but I keep trying, and once or twice I have been lucky, graced. I have been conscious but not conscious of anything, not even of myself. I have been surrounded by the whiteness of snow. I have heard a stillness that encloses all sounds stilled the way whiteness encloses all colors stilled, the way wordlessness encloses all words stilled. I have sensed the presence of a presence. I have felt a promise promised.
I like to believe that once or twice, at times like those, I have bumbled my way into at least the outermost suburbs of the Truth that can never be told but only come upon, that can never be proved but only lived for and loved.
– Frederick Buechner, Originally published in Telling Secrets
I am offering this poem to you,
since I have nothing else to give.
Keep it like a warm coat
when winter comes to cover you,
or like a pair of thick socks
the cold cannot bite through,
I love you,
I have nothing else to give you,
so it is a pot full of yellow corn
to warm your belly in winter,
it is a scarf for your head, to wear
over your hair, to tie up around your face,
I love you,
Keep it, treasure this as you would
if you were lost, needing direction,
in the wilderness life becomes when mature;
and in the corner of your drawer,
tucked away like a cabin or hogan
in dense trees, come knocking,
and I will answer, give you directions,
and let you warm yourself by this fire,
rest by this fire, and make you feel safe
I love you,
It’s all I have to give,
and all anyone needs to live,
and to go on living inside,
when the world outside
no longer cares if you live or die;
I love you.
Jimmy Santiago Baca, “I Am Offering this Poem”
Variations of a photo by Miguel Escobar (me)
Other photos/memes sourced at pinterest.com
Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.
– Nora Roberts
God starts with a musical idea,
and then sings it.
The song shines in the darkness.
Everything in this universe is God’s song.
It’s a love song.
In Jesus we can hear the singing,
clear, sweet and strong,
like a mother’s lullaby, holding her troubled child,
a strange melody, in a new key,
but one that resonates deep in our souls,
because we too are God’s singing.
Listen for God singing the world into being.
Look for the light shining in the music.
Notice this cosmic song, this act of Creation,
rising in you, unfolding, radiating,
shining in the darkness.
The true light that enlightens everyone
is coming into the world.
Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Holy One,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior….
For God has shown strength with her arm;
she has scattered the proud in their illusions.
She has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
she has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.”
—Luke 1.46-47, 51-53
These are dark times.
Mary has no reason to rejoice in the present tense,
as if God has already accomplished this turnover.
The mighty are still in power, reveling in debauchery,
robbing the poor, looting instead of leading,
crushing the wanderer, destroying the temple.
The Emperor has not yet even begun to buckle.
Why does Mary sing God “has” shown strength?
Is her faith just wishful thinking? Abject delusion?
Is hope just crazy fantasy?
Today is the solstice: in this hemisphere
winter is about to set in; the cold is yet to come.
But the earth has already turned.
The season is already doomed.
From the beginning God has established the power
not of death but of resurrection,
given love all the power
and hollowed out the might of the oppressors.
It’s too late already for the Emperor and his rage.
The true power in this universe
is not in the fearful hands of the mighty,
but the humble hearts of the loving.
Mary has already said Yes. Her sisters have said Yes.
The earth has turned.
A million peasant girls are out there,
ten million, a hundred million,
bearing the Divine, resisting, persisting, rising
like the dawn on the solstice.
The Emperor cannot stop this.
People of love and truth, people of humble courage,
bear the Holy Spirit into this world,
the Word made flesh, the Body of Christ, eternal,
crucified and risen, and coming again.
The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness can’t overcome it.
Hope is not deluded. Hope is knowing
what the despairing Emperor cannot even imagine.
By the tender mercy of our God
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
I decline all offers to live in a house of reasons and proofs
I refuse to live a moment without the faith of doubt
I reject staying in a box of absolute truths
I deny my own dogged-dogma of black and white knowledge
I challenge myself continually to keep letting go of what I know for sure
I intentionally say no to my own sense of pride and privilege
I humbly confess my own lack of humble speech
I gratefully open myself to the vast newness of each day
I necessarily choose to rely on God rather than myself
I stand on the foundational stone of believing life is always for me even when I can’t see it
I embrace change, understanding its value, even when it’s a struggle and feels difficult for me
I bow on the shores of the ocean of goodness and pain as find my place among all the grains of sand
I sit in the most comfy seat of miraculous realization:
I am a drop of the ocean – I am the ocean in a drop
I stand on the circle of the earth and speak to the wind and the fire, the stars and the dirt
I am water – I flow
I am earth – I grow
I am that I am that I am that I am
abundance in every breath
ashes to ashes
dust to dust
I follow the light
I follow the light