Coda: Our Breath

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As a culture we have become disembodied and lost our connection to our most basic nature and to our basic connection to the natural world. The impact is profound on so many different levels. Re-establishing those connections makes it simpler and immediate to fight for our planet: each moment we take care of the earth, since the earth is us. It hurts to not care.

The Sads and the heart

Nine days ago I woke up happy. I was hitting a level of self acceptance that made my living simple and joyful. Later I walked on Bernal Hill with my puppy Molly and looked far out to sea. Followed my nose through the day. Went to bed and slept well.

I woke up the next day to dark clouds outside. I was sad. I was actually depressed. Didn’t want to move. Didn’t want to meditate. Started and couldn’t finish. (It was only to be for 15 minutes.) Finally ate and dragged myself with Molly up the hill. Hardly looked at the view. Then this voice inside me said, “Open your heart to THIS day.” Yes. The whole upper right side of my chest opened up and I felt free and could look out to ranges of landscape and ocean.

Soon the sad came back. On and on it was and I kept fighting it. Trying to figure out why I was sad.  Feeling I couldn’t hold on to “open heart”. Finally I let myself DO NOTHING. Just simply began reading a romance novel. Getting nothing done. Afraid I was wasting my time and I was avoiding.  Towards bedtime a voice said,  “Feeling sad is part of open heart.” I realized: feeling sad is part of who you are. Heart includes it all. Heart includes all of you.

I kept reading my novel and started letting myself feel this big sad lump inside of me. I began trusting myself to follow the needs of down times: needing to be alone, reading lighter novels, giving more room to simply feel:  I felt lighter.

Today I woke up with a lot more space to be me.

The spiraling journey continues…

Night Light: Exchange

 

wooden chair
glass door
porcelain sink—
their outlines disappear
in the soft light
of my softening eyes—
their physicality holds me

drenched in sensate
the is-ness of objects
appear
emanate—haloed
by night light’s
silvery sliver of moon

low and behold:
space is not empty
like sonar
objects
ripple back
my palpable essence—
my body understands

I am an object too

 

YOU MUST WALK THAT LONESOME VALLEY

 

Parts of the poem are sung to the song of the title. And the whole poem is based on the song's rhythm.
If you sing the small singing parts it is more fun and more will come to you.



(Sing) You must walk that lonesome valley
You have to walk it by yourself
(Speak) The valley of longing
The valley of regret
The valley of despair
The valley of broken childhood
But you can be held.
(Sing) You have to walk it by yourself
(Speak)The valley of broken dreams
The valley of broken love
The valley of gratitude
The valley of patience
The valley of waiting
The valley of opportunity
(Sing) For nobody else
(Speak)
Can walk it for you
But you can be held
The valley of darkness
The valley of silence
The valley of light.
The valley of forgotten love.
The valley of plenitude.
The valley of perpetual longing...
(sing)
For nobody else can walk it for you...
(speak)
And you walk on your hands and knees
You walk running all the while
You walk whistling through your mouth
You walk slipping through the cracks
You walk crashing about
slogging, stumbling, breezing through...
(sing)
You walk it by yourself.
(speak)
And you shall be filled.
You shall be filled.
(sing)
Because we...
(speak)
We walk it
hand in hand
step by step
and when we walk it
Step by step,
we go
hand in hand
in the darkness
and in the light
and if we glance
when we glance
to the side
to the front
to the back
we will find
we are not alone.
Two by two
we are not alone.
Three by three
we are not alone.
to the side,
on and on,
we'll see
we actually walk
together
we walk
together.
though often it
doesn't seem
like together
we gotta see
through our heart--
which is never direct
which is never straightforward
which is never as it seems,
but then it is.

But you gotta
(sing)walk it
by yourself,
For nobody else
Can walk it for you...
(speak)
The walk adds
The walk contributes
Our knees get skinned
Our heads get bumped
Our sides split
Our throats get lumped
Our feet get tickled
Our skin gets parched
Our lips get kissed.
Our stomachs get filled
and then emptied
again
Our thirst gets slacked
Our fingers reach and grab
Our minds get bored
Our patience gets sore, split, excited, worn out, ramshackeled, evanescent,
rewarded, discouraged, enervated, redundant.

And we shall be filled
(sing)
But we must walk
it by ourself
(speak)
and together
we walk
together
we walk
to find ourselves out
to fill ourselves out
to find the spring in our step
the love behind the door
the footloose and fancy free
the mooring for our heart--
around the bend
beneath the waters
on top of the highest peak
we walk it by ourself
(sing)
for nobody else
can walk it for you...
that lonesome valley
(speak)
we walk in the same step
the same moment, at the same time
we just can't see it
but we are held
we are held
(sing)
you have to walk it by yourself.
(speak)
we build ourself in that valley
we find our sisterhood in that valley
our brotherhood
our familyhood
our nationhood
our worldhood
our neighborhood
we find peace
in that valley
our hearts are healed
in that valley
we continue there
in that valley
(sing)no where else.
(speak)
to walk is to lay down
the tread of our life.
(sing)
in that valley
we must walk
we must walk
(speak)
we walk,
in the valley of our heart
the valley of our pain
the valley of our love
the valley of life.




I realized this poem could be a "participatory" poem. You could easily add your own lines depending on what you are wrestling with at a given moment. That's what the poem is inviting you to do. And it's easy because the rhythms in this song are very forgiving.

 

An Invitation into Seeing

 

See, you have to
go beyond
The Flower Gate
for that is where love blooms.

Are you four petaled or five?
See, I know you are part
of The Garden.

Your stem
goes
into the ground —
that’s where
your roots
intermingle
with others.

  See, that’s where love
is found and
that’s where you
discover love
is part
  of death
and life.
Flowers tell you that
by their beauty.

I don’t know
more
than this.

I am just beginning
but beginning
is living.
(I do know this.)  

Do you see?
Tell me.
I want to know
the next step.

We can do this
together.

I know each one of us must find
our own way.

But the more of us there are
the clearer and easier the path.

Meet you in The Garden
we create.

 

To the Flower Garden

 

blush pinks, duckling yellows, forget-me-not blues, raspberry reds…

there is something about the softness
of a single petal
the way it curves around your finger
scent descending
lingering fresh
with the delicateness on the brink of life
with the fragility on the brink of death

this is the petal way

it beckons you beyond the flower gate

(I believe some words on the first line were inspired by a poem I read awhile back. It was beautiful. I cannot remember the title or who wrote it. So here is a shout out to the author who unfortunately shall remain anonymous.)


This poem has echoes of The Garden found in biblical yore, in literature, in song (Woodstock), and in echoes of spring. But, it also has it’s own true path, highly steeped in the feminine. May it open up or speak to a longing in you. For ecstatic traditions, the longing is the path.



Breakthrough

 

Breaking out of one is the hardest
break of all
the breaking of the toes
which feel too cripple
to walk

the breaking of the thumb
the pointer finger
when will it stop?

I look at myself, wonder
is there more to myself
than I

I turn my head, my
neck breaks, cracks
circles to include
a bit more,
a bit of a break,
for breaking
into myself
breaking my fear
of being alone
in this long life

I feel a terror, tremor of
being me
my knees break
bend
to come up
again
bend
up

I become shorter and taller than myself

And then,
my heart breaks
I shatter:
dislocation
dysfunction
dysmorphia
dystopia
“no foot loose and fancy free”

But, a falling, falling
fall    ing       fall     ing
fall    ing       fall/I am falling
falling fall/  

                into
 ALL

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving

 

I have so much life around my house
Coyotes howl
Owls in their pas de deux calling
Fox, red and grey, weasels, raccoons
Bushy tailed squirrels, chipmunks, and quail
Slithering snakes—garter, gopher, and king
Blind moles, burrowing badgers
Turkeys gobbling, deer prancing, skunky stinks
Feral cats, bobcats, roof rats, bats
Cougars in the valley, a peacock on the roof
Waddling possums ’cross my path
Horses of course
And multiple wings—
Blue birds, black birds, red wing
Hummingbirds thrumming
Sparrows fighting, swallows swooping, wrens’ chirrup
Cedar wax wings, thrush, orioles
Cowbirds, grackles, chickadees, crows
Red tailed and red shouldered hawks
The great blue heron
Dark shadowed vultures
Seeking their prey
Crawling creatures with bellies so low
Lizards leaping, frogs a hopping, crickets whirring
Daddy-long-legs dancing up the door
I have so much in life to be grateful for.

.

.

.

.

.

What are you grateful for?

 

In Memoriam: For Kathleen and Rosemary

 

On Bernal hilltop
looking up
a strong wind hits my face
but only a hint of cold.

Fog rolls in big clumps
passes towards the horizon
and then…
downing sun lights up the sky
highlights the tiniest finger of
gathered air.
It gathers there.
And then…a
tendril of wispy cloud
sails right towards me
longer it grows
longer longer still
right o’er my head.

I felt like it could touch me.
Awe I am…and then…
touched am I
by the feathered wing of an angel.

Note:  They both liked clouds.

 

A Fly

 

When you’ve been alone all day—
even though you’ve talked to a neighbor
a mail man, a homeless man, a friend on
the phone:

There’s this fly. It started
the morning with a buzz.

Is it     inside?     out?     It’s in.
Damn, should I kill it dead?
Damn it dead, should I kill it, but with what?

Upstairs I go to the computer.
Back down again.
In the living room I sit on a big
leather chair.

Around it goes, passes me
By. Dives straight behind the clothes
on the rack
by the front door.

Jump up I, and run slinging open it
To whoosh IT out—but no luck for me
                                   no luck for it.
Hidden, no FLY zone.     Gone.    Done.

Out I go to buy food for dinner
Cook and chop. Chop to cook.
Saffron and basil. Chicken in chunks.

Down I sit at the dining room table
look up to see…
                                     my     friend     fly—  

Emily Dickinson and I.

 

 

LIVES

 

I.

I hear the seagull
crying across the waters
late at night.
Black crosses the moon.

II.

This is the time of my life.
I wake up, go back to sleep
Wake up
Go back
Wake, back
Up, up I/
/What form
Will I wake in
Next?

III.

My hooves hit the floor
A deer, a sheep
Centipede feet
Webbed toes,  feathered wings
A duck, an angel…

IV.

The nascent steps
Of a little one
Are hard
To hear
But they are there.

V.

The moon the moon the moon
Is the face of the child.

VI.

I cry across the waters.