Just For Me ~ Anon
What if I were audience enough because I am,
Because this person here is alive, is flesh,
Is conscious, has feelings, counts?
What if this one person mattered not just for what
She can do in the world
But because she is part of the world
And has a soft and tender heart?
What if that heart mattered,
if kindness to this one mattered?
What if she were not distinct from all others,
But instead connected to others in her sense of being distinct, of being alone,
Of being uniquely isolated, the one piece removed from the picture—
All the while vulnerable under, deep under, the layers of sedimentary defense.
Oh let me hide
Let me be ultimately great,
Remove me, then I don’t have to…
But I am.
Through all the antics of distinctness from others, or not-really-there-ness, I remain
No matter what my disguise—
Genius, idiot, gloriousness, scum—
Underneath, it’s still just me, still here,
Still warm and breathing and human
With another chance simply to say hi, and recognize my tenderness
And be just a little bit kind to this one as well,
Because she counts, too.
Awareness ~ John Austen
her gaze is so constant,
our every move
with such affection,
a ceaseless vigil
unrelenting in her
There is endless room in
the heart of this lover,
infinite space for whatever
foolishness we may
toss her way.
But she is also
crafty, this one-
a thief who will steal away
everything we ever cherished,
all our beliefs,
all our ideas,
all our philosophies,
until nothing is left
but her shimmering
this simple love
for what is
Relax ~ Ellen Bass
Your tomatoes will grow a fungus
and your cat will get run over.
Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream
melting in the car and throw
your blue cashmere sweater in the drier.
Your husband will sleep
with a girl your daughter’s age, her breasts spilling
out of her blouse. Or your wife
will remember she’s a lesbian
and leave you for the woman next door. The other cat–
the one you never really liked–will contract a disease
that requires you to pry open its feverish mouth
every four hours. Your parents will die.
No matter how many vitamins you take,
how much Pilates, you’ll lose your keys,
your hair and your memory. If your daughter
doesn’t plug her heart
into every live socket she passes,
you’ll come home to find your son has emptied the refrigerator, dragged it to the curb,
and called the used appliance store for a pick up–drug money.
There’s a Buddhist story of a woman chased by a tiger.
When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine
and climbs half way down. But there’s also a tiger below.
And two mice–one white, one black–scurry out
and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point
she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.
She looks up, down, at the mice.
Then she eats the strawberry.
So here’s the view, the breeze, the pulse
in your throat. Your wallet will be stolen, you’ll get fat,
slip on the bathroom tiles of a foreign hotel
and crack your hip. You’ll be lonely.
Oh taste how sweet and tart
the red juice is, how the tiny seeds
crunch between your teeth.
The Thing Is ~ Ellen Bass
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
The Silence ~ Wendell Berry
my head is loud
with the labor of words.
Though the season is rich
with fruit, my tongue
hungers for the sweet of speech.
Though the beech is golden
I cannot stand beside it
mute, but must say
“It is golden,” while the leaves
stir and fall with a sound
that is not a name.
It is in the silence
that my hope is, and my aim.
A song whose lines
I cannot make or sing
sounds men’s silence
like a root. Let me say
and not mourn: the world
lives in the death of speech
and sings there
Speech to the Young. Speech to the Progress-Toward. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks
say to the down-keepers,
“Even if you are not ready for day
it cannot always be night.”
You will be right.
For that is the hard home-run.
Live not for battles won.
Live not for The-End-of-the-Song.
Live in the along.
Beyond the Bend in the Road ~ Albert Caeiro
There might be a well, or possibly a castle,
Or perhaps only the continuation of the road.
I don’t know and I don’t ask.
As long as I walk just as far as that bend
I only look at the road as far as that bend,
Because I can only see the road as far as that bend.
There would be no point to look any further
At something I cannot see.
Let us care solely about the place where we are.
There’s beauty enough in being here and not elsewhere.
If there are other people beyond that bend in the road,
Let them worry about what lies beyond the bend in the road.
For that’s what the road is for them.
If we ever have to go there, we’ll know when we arrive.
For now, we know only that we’re not there.
Here there’s only the road before the bend, and before that bend
Lies the road with no bend at all.
Excerpt….Anthem ~ Leonard Cohen
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
Self-Observation Without Judgment ~ Danna Faulds
voice. it’s just a throwback to the past,
and holds no truth about this moment.
Let go of self-judgment, the old,
learned ways of beating yourself up
for each imagined inadequacy.
Allow the dialogue within the mind
to grow friendlier, and quiet. Shift
out of inner criticism and life
suddenly looks very different.
I can say this only because I make
the choice a hundred times a day to release the voice that refuses to
acknowledge the real me.
What’s needed here isn’t more prodding toward perfection, but
intimacy – seeing clearly, and
embracing what I see.
Love, not judgment, sows the
seeds of tranquility and change.
Allow ~ Danna Faulds
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.
Just for Now ~ Danna Faulds
Without asking how, let yourself sink into stillness.
Just for now, lay down the weight
You so patiently bear upon your shoulders.
Feel the earth receive you,
And the infinite expanse of the sky grow even wider,
as your awareness reaches up to meet it.
Just for now,
Allow a wave of breath to enliven your experience.
Breathe out whatever blocks you from the truth.
Just for now,
Be boundless, free,
with awakened energy tingling in your hands and feet.
Drink in the possibility
Of being who and what you really are —
So fully alive that the world looks different,
Newly born and vibrant, just for now.
Rebar ~ Sharon Fehr
supporting this liminal space
invisible strands – like iron – that hold our experience
this is the power of community
subtly changing over nanoseconds or eons
existing outside of us and within us
How to Open Your Heart ~ Jeff Foster
Do not try to open your heart.
That would be a subtle movement of aggression toward your immediate embodied experience. Never tell a closed heart to open; it will shut more tightly to protect itself, feeling your resistance and disapproval. A heart unfurls only when conditions are right; your demand for openness invites closure. This is the supreme intelligence of the heart.
Instead, bow to the heart in its current state. If it’s closed, let it be closed; sanctify the closure. Make it safe; safe even to feel unsafe.
Trust that when the heart is ready, and not a moment before, it will open, like a flower in the warmth of the sun. There is no rush for the heart.
Trust the opening and the closing, too, the expansion and contraction; this is the heart’s way of breathing: safe, unsafe, safe, unsafe; the beautiful fragility of being human, and all held in the most perfect love.
Instructions ~ Rudy Francisco
rinse them with
honesty and self
let dry until you
can see every choice
and the regret
remind yourself that
you are human
and this too
is a gift
Yes ~ Rudy Francisco
it all arrives at once.
The anxiety, the fear,
the voices that scratch
your confidence like
a chalkboard and somehow
all the oxygen in the room
suddenly becomes water
and you begin to wonder if
you have what it takes
to grow gills. You wonder
if you can blend in with the fish.
You wonder if you
will ever breathe again.
And the answer is
not every building that shakes
The answer is
not everything that chips
The answer is
this is temporary,
and yes, you will.
With That Moon Language ~ Hafiz (translated by Daniel Ladinsky)
Everyone you see, you say to them,
Of course you do not do this out loud;
otherwise, someone would call the cops.
Still though, think about this,
this great pull in us
Why not become the one
who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in this world
is dying to hear?
Eagle Poem ~ Joy Harjo
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
We pray that it will be done
A Cedary Fragrance ~ Jane Hirshfield
I wash my face with cold water—
Not for discipline,
nor the icy, awakening slap,
but to practice
to make the unwanted wanted.
Tasting Mindfulness ~ John Kabat-Zinn
of being in your body so completely,
of being in your life so completely
that you knew and what you didn’t know
that what had been and what was yet to come,
and the way things are right now
no longer held even the slightest hint of anxiety or discord?
It would be a moment of complete presence, beyond striving,
beyond mere acceptance,
beyond the desire to escape or fix anything or plunge ahead,
a moment of pure seeing, pure feeling,
a moment in which life simply is,
and that “is-ness” grabs you by all your senses,
all your memories, by all your very genes,
by your loves, and
welcomes you home.
Trust ~ Jan Surrey ~ Adapted from Jack Kornfeld
We can put down our bags
We can relax our grip
And trust in the unfolding of life.
Do not worry.
There is a web of life
Into which we are born
From which we can never fall.
Within each of us there is a door
To a silence as vast as the Universe.
We long for it.
We can return to it.
We can return together.
Autobiography in 5 Chapters ~ Portia Nelson
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
Mindful Eating ~ Roberval Oliveira
Again, I put too much food in my bowl
May I not do the same with this body
I close my eyes
I feel the food gently moving down
I slow down
I slow down like creatures gently moving at dawn
I slow down like the orange sunlight calmly appearing on the horizon at dawn
I slow down like this planet gradually turning towards the sun
I slow down like white clouds floating in the sky on a sunny day;
I feel the food gently moving down and I slow down
The Summer Day ~ Mary Oliver
I do know how to pay attention,
how to fall down
into the grass,
how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last,
and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Wild Geese ~ Mary Oliver
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 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, not 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.
The Journey ~ Mary Oliver
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
Excerpt from…..Prelude To the Dance ~ Oriah
No need to transform yourself
Into someone who is more compassionate, more present, more loving, or wise?
How would this affect all the places in your life where you are endlessly trying to be better, or different?
What if the task is simply to unfold
To become who you are already are in your essential nature –
and capable of living fully and passionately present?
What if the question is not,
Why am I so infrequently the person i really want to be?
But ‘why do i so infrequently want to be the person i really am?’
How would this change what you think you have to learn?
What if becoming who and what we truly are happens not through striving and trying
But by recognising and receiving the people and places and practices
That are for us the warmth of encouragement we need to unfold?
How would this shape the choices you make about how to spend today?
What if you know that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty in the world
Will arise form deep within
And guide you every time you simply pay attention
How would this shape your stillness, your movement,
Your willingness to follow this impulse
To just let go
The Clearing ~ Martha Postlewaite
Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worthy of rescue.
Excerpt…..Go Beyond the Limits of Your Longing ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final.
Free and Easy - A Spontaneous Vajra Song ~ Gendun Rinpoche
through great effort and willpower,
but is already present,
in open relaxation and letting go.
Don’t strain yourself,
there is nothing to do or undo.
Whatever momentarily arises
in the body-mind
has no real importance at all,
has little reality whatsoever.
Why identify with,
and become attached to it,
passing judgment upon it and ourselves?
Far better to simply
let the entire game happen on its own,
springing up and falling back like waves
without changing or manipulating anything
and notice how everything vanishes and reappears, magically,
again and again, time without end.
Only our searching for happiness
prevents us from seeing it.
It’s like a vivid rainbow which you pursue
without ever catching,
or a dog chasing its own tail.
Although peace and happiness
do not exist as an actual thing or place,
it is always available
and accompanies you every instant.
Don’t believe in the reality of good and bad experiences;
they are like today’s ephemeral weather,
like rainbows in the sky.
Wanting to grasp the ungraspable,
you exhaust yourself in vain.
As soon as you open and relax
this tight fist of grasping,
infinite space is there –
open, inviting and comfortable.
Make use of this spaciousness,
this freedom and natural ease.
Don’t search any further
looking for the great awakened elephant,
who is already resting quietly at home
in front of your own hearth.
Nothing to do or undo,
nothing to force,
nothing to want,
and nothing missing –
Everything happens by itself.
She Let Go ~ Safire Rose
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear.
She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort.
There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…
The Guest House ~ Jaluddin Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Kindness ~ Naomi Shihab Nye
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes any sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
The Way It Is ~ William Stafford
It goes among things that change.
But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
You Reading This, Be Ready ~ William Stafford
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life –
What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?
Ancient Language ~ Hannah Stephenson
and stare into it
every tree at the edge will blow a little extra
oxygen toward you
It has been proven
Leaves have admitted it
The pines I have known
have been especially candid
that all breath in this world
is roped together
that breathing is
the most ancient language
From Out of the Cave ~ Joyce Sutphen
at war with yourself
for so many years that
you have forgotten why,
when you have been driving
for hours and only
gradually begin to realize
that you have lost the way,
when you have cut
hastily into the fabric,
when you have signed
papers in distraction,
when it has been centuries
since you watched the sun set
or the rain fall, and the clouds,
drifting overhead, pass as flat
as anything on a postcard;
when, in the midst of these
everyday nightmares, you
understand that you could
you could turn
and go back
to the last thing you
with your whole heart:
that passionate kiss,
the brilliant drop of love
rolling along the tongue of a green leaf,
then you wake,
you stumble from your cave,
blinking in the sun,
naming every shadow
as it slips.
Six Words of Advice ~ Tilopa
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.
The Way It Is ~ Lynn Ungar
to realize that the knot in your stomach
had loosened itself and slipped away,
and that the pit of unfilled longing in your heart
had gradually, and without your really noticing,
been filled in – patched like a pothole, not quite
the same as it was, but good enough.
And in that moment it might occur to you
that your life, though not the way
you planned it, and maybe not even entirely
the way you wanted it, is nonetheless –
persistently, abundantly, miraculously –
exactly what it is.
Love after Love ~ Derek Walcott
When, with elation,
You will greet yourself arriving
At your own door, in your own mirror
And each will smile at the other’s welcome
And say sit here. Eat
You will love again the stranger who was yourself
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
To itself, to the stranger who has loved you
All you life, whom you have ignored for another
Who knows you by heart
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf
The photographs, the desperate notes,
Peel your own image from the mirror
Sit. Feast on your life
Forget About Enlightenment ~ John Welwood
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 before you,
Inside you, around you.
All of you is holy.
You are already more and less
Than whatever you can know.
The Dakini Speaks ~ Joyce Wellwood
Let’s stop pretending we don’t know the deal here.
Or if we truly haven’t noticed, let’s wake up and notice.
Look: Everything that can be lost, will be lost.
It’s simple – how could we have missed it for so long?
Let’s grieve our losses fully, like human ripe beings.
But please, let’s not be so shocked by them.
Let’s not act so betrayed,
As though life had broken her secret promise to us.
Impermanence is life’s only promise to us,
And she keeps it with ruthless impeccability.
To a child, she seems cruel, but she is only wild,
And her compassion exquisitely precise.
Brilliantly penetrating, luminous with truth,
She strips away the unreal to show us the real.
This is the true ride – let’s give ourselves to it!
Let’s stop making deals for a safe passage –
There isn’t one anyway, and the cost is too high.
We are not children anymore.
The true human adult gives everything for what cannot be lost.
Let’s dance the wild dance of no hope.
Unconditional ~ Jennifer Welwood
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.
Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game.
To play it is purest delight;To honor its form–true devotion.
What If? ~ Ganga White
If our practice was our life?
If prayer was our words?
What if the Temple was the Earth?
If forests were our church?
If holy water—the rivers, lakes and oceans?
What if meditation was our relationships?
If the Teacher was life?
If wisdom was self-knowledge?
If love was the center of our being.
Start Close In ~ David Whyte
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
you don’t want to take.
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
way of starting
Start with your own
give up on other
don’t let them
your own voice,
Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
heroics, be humble
start close in,
for your own.
Start close in,
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
you don’t want to take.
Everything is Waiting for You ~ David Whyte
as if you were alone.
As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to
the tiny hidden
To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings.
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice
You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch
grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last.
All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
Everything is waiting for you.