Breaking Silence

 

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At the peak of Mount Batur (pictured above), an active volcano in the heart of Bali, I watched the sun rise over the distant mountains of Lombok.  After a grueling hike in the darkest of nights, with only the stars and tiny little flashlights to guide our way, the burst of golden red on the horizon was like a gift from the angels.  The volcano, in all of her glory, ignited in me a fire that doesn't seem to be going out any time soon. <3

So for the past month, I have been living (and I mean L I V I N G) in the mountainous jungles of Bali, near a tiny village called Lawak.  Alongside 13 of my Shakti sisters, I delved deep... deep into the jungle, deep into the ocean, deep into my heart, and deep into the divine.  Sitting here now, trying to put my experience into words, feels like a futile endeavor.  So I'll press pause on the wordiness and simply say HOLY SHIT WHAT A MONTH!  :)  

~

The past few days, I've been debating whether I wanted to start up the blog again...  I went back and forth quite a bit, but in the end, the decision was surprisingly easy to make.  Sunday morning rolled around, I woke up and immediately felt ready to open the blessings back up again and finish what I started.   

So here I am, sitting in a magical cafe in Ubud called Soma, writing my first post in a month.  

Its hot.  SO HOT.  The air is heavy and close.  I have sweat pouring down my legs just sitting still.  I just finished a magnificent lunch of a banana, raw cacao and spirulina smoothie and a plateful of greens, steamed pumpkin with sesame, tempe and peanut sauce.  My insides are perfectly primed to fuel my return to the bloggy train!

 

  The Goddess Durga ~ The Source of the Starlight

The Goddess Durga ~ The Source of the Starlight

  An exploration of mudras

An exploration of mudras

I re-read the blessing just a moment ago, and yet again I am in awe of the synchronicity of it all... A Meditation on Endings... I am certainly at an ending.   

"Often what alarms us as an ending, can in fact be the opening of a new journey"

I am certainly at the opening of a new journey. 

But it also feels like the same journey... I'm walking the same path I've always walked: my path.  So I wonder, can an ending be an ending and a beginning and nothing all at the same time?  In my present moment, the answer is yes. 

 ~

One of the many and major blessings from this past month was the gift of alternative education.  I was given free reign to learn, grow, integrate and express myself with true authenticity.  I didn't have to scour textbooks if I didn't want to, or cram for tests, or stress about a presentation.  Instead I got to celebrate ME and the unique way that I learn.  

  Vishudha

Vishudha

So basically, that just means that I got to draw, and sing and dance. I got to talk, and cry and be perfectly still.  I got to be sleepy, and grumpy and ferociously sexy.  I read and didn't read.  I wrote and didn't write.  I philosophized and made dirty jokes.  I snuggled and sought out complete solitude.  But above all I learned, and I grew, I integrated and I expressed.  

The photos smattered across this post are some of the (photographable) pieces of art that came out of me during the training. 

 ~

  Ajna

Ajna

Golly, I'm really struggling with what to write here.  I've written probably three completely different paragraphs and then promptly deleted all of them, haha.  I'm totally out of practice!  Part of me wants to write about every incredible little detail of the training: what we studied, how we experienced it, the projects we did, the gifts we shared... but that task is far too daunting.  Plus, my words would definitely not do any of it justice.  

Then there's part of me that wants to write all about the adventures we went on: the water palace, the ceremonies, the blessings, the scuba diving, the volcano, the dolphins, the burning... but again, that task is way too huge to take on.  And let me tell you, this heat makes my brain lazy :)

  Sahashrara

Sahashrara

So here's the deal... if you want to know about the month I've had, send me an email, join me for a meal or a drink, come have a cup of tea in my apartment... we'll talk :) It'll be way more fun that way. I'll not only have my words, but I'll also be able to gesticulate, move my face around, play with the volume of my voice and the length of my vowels... way more options than what I have beneath my fingertips here! 

  The Symphony of my Chakras

The Symphony of my Chakras

~

I kept up with my daily doodles all the way up until we had a 3-day silent meditation retreat - no talking, writing, reading, singing... We gave up all of our habitual forms of self-expression and processing to see what emerged out of the stillness. 

In keeping with the synchronicity of everything, I completed my doodle journal the night before our silent retreat began.  It felt so right to put the finished journal aside for three days, come to my meditation stripped down and simple - just me.  No doodles, no words, no art to get tangled up in the purity of my Self.  And then to start a fresh, new, clean journal after we broke silence was just perfect. 

"...a new beginning that we could never have anticipated and one that engages forgotten parts of the heart." 

So here's the finished product... 51 days worth of words and doodles... a strange, swoopy memoir of the first half of my 2014 adventure in Southeast Asia...  

 

 

  Front Cover

Front Cover

  Inside Front Cover

Inside Front Cover

  Back Cover

Back Cover

  Inside Back Cover

Inside Back Cover

So there you have it!  The doodle journal in its entirety.  Wow.  <3  

I'm planning to continue posting normally from here on out.  I will be in Indonesia for a bit longer though, so it all depends on wifi and such!  But I'll do my best to stay consistent :) Thanks for coming back and reading after a long hiatus <3  

Stay tuned for a new blessing tomorrow! 

Blessing #43: Meditation on Ending

"Experience has its own secret structuring.  Endings are natural.  Often what alarms us as an ending, can in fact be the opening of a new journey - a new beginning that we could never have anticipated and one that engates forgotten parts of the heart.  Due to the current overlay of therapy terminology in our language, everyone now seems to wish for "closure."  This word is unfortunate; it is not faithful to the open-ended rhythm of experience.  Creatures made of clay with porous skin and porous minds are quite incapable of the hermetic sealing that the strategy of "closure" seems to imply.  The word completion is a truer word.

Each experience has within it a dynamic of unfolding and a narrative of emergence.  Oscar Wilde once said, "The supreme vice is shallowness.  Whatever is realized is right."  When a person manages to trust experience and be open to it, the experience finds its own way to realization.  Though such an ending may be awkward and painful, there is a sense of wholesomeness and authenticity about it.  Then the heart will gradually find that this stage has run its course and the ending is substantial and true.  Eventually the person emerges with a deeper sense of freedom, certainty, and integration." 

COLORS WORDS AND WORLDS

So I have got to be honest here... I read the blessing for this week... posted it... and did not internalize one single word of it.  In fact, as I read the post, the words went in my right ear, did a very frantic dance in my brain, and then happily retreated out through my left ear.  

A few days later, thinking my brain would be unfuzzled enough to handle it, I re-read the blessing.  And again it was all just a jumble of words to me.  Blah blah blah blah blah.  I just had zero interest in it.   

And I haven't gone back to it since.  

And ya know what?  I don't feel bad about it, haha.

 ~

The colors of nature

My week in Singapore has been absolutely amazing.  Meg and Mike are the most incredible hosts pretty much ever.  We've been spending lots of time eating, drinking, biking, chatting, bumboat riding (yup, there's a thing called a bumboat), scheming, hookah-ing, meandering, watching movies, laughing, and we even got some work done in between all that!   

Meg and Mike are the owners of an incredible documentary film company that they founded together, called Persistent Productions.  Their work takes them on fascinating shoots all over the world, from Vancouver to Bhutan - and everywhere in between and beyond and above and below.  It has been a real joy to watch them work this week.  They have been on fire... preparing for upcoming projects, planning, hashing out website design, negotiating different time zones, jet-setting clients, and meeting after meeting after meeting.  And somehow, through all of the insanity, they still love each other!!  From their perspective, they probably think I'm a bit crazy for enjoying being a fly on the wall of their world this week... but for me, it has been nothing short of amazing!  

These two are pretty remarkable human beings - I'm so glad to have been able to reconnect with them! <3

But back to the blessing... the one teensy element of the blessing that stuck with me this week was the word "intention."   

Intention is a word I like to throw around quite a bit.  The word feels good in my mouth.  It sounds good when said articulately.  Its just an all-around, pretty great word, and I enjoy  having in my vocabulary.   

The colors of nature and man

Over the past month and a half of traveling, I have created a whole slew of intentions... intentions for the rest of my trip, intentions for when I get back to the states, intentions for 2014, intentions for LIFE!  Haha, well maybe not that epic.  But you get the idea.  For me, these intentions are more like mindsets... sure many of them are rooted in some kind of concrete thing or action... but I guess I think of them more as layers of goodness that I would like to include in my life... layers of goodness that would make me even more ME.   

I suppose they're a little bit like resolutions.  But for some reason, they feel more important, more real than a New Years resolution.  Whatever they are, I like them.  They invigorate me and get me excited about life - whether its my intention to get up on a surf board in Bali (preferably with a devastatingly sexy surf instructor close by), or my intention to use coconut oil in my cooking more often once I'm back home - these intentions really pump me up.  

The Smith family?

I started writing this blog last spring with the intention of reawakening my awareness of blessings... I wanted to open my eyes and remind myself that life really is amazing, even when the skies are murky and grey.  In addition, I wanted to see what crazy art projects my body, heart and spirit could come up with when my eyes were so wide open.  

Okay, so I just went back to the blessing mid blog-writing session.  I didn't re-read it per se... but I did skim it... and out popped the following words...   

"...the intention of blessing corresponds with the deepest desire of reality for creativity, healing, and wholesomeness."

I don't know if my real intention with this blog was to heal... I certainly hoped that it would help the process along... Does hope count as an intention?  I'm not sure.  But I can remember feeling a deep desire (to use O'Donahue's words) for creative expression... it was a desire that didn't even feel like my own.  It felt like it was born somewhere else and then set fire in my chest.  I mean, clearly it was *my* desire... but maybe just because it was so foreign to me, thats what why it didn't feel like it belonged to me.  But whatever it was, wherever it came from, there was no denying its strength.  So this blog definitely is rooted in an intention for creativity.

On that note, the daily doodles are still going strong...  

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This week, I also did a fun project in preparation for my yoga teacher training program that starts this Thursday.  The assignment was to make four Valentines: one to my childhood self, one to the formative moments of my life, one to my future self, and finally one to the entire world.  I had such a blast putting the Valentines together - it felt so good to dive into an art project again!  For one whole day, I plopped myself in a spare room in Meg and Mike's office and just went for it... full on crazy creative Mally-mode!! Glue all over my hands, and of course all over my hair (somehow I always end up with something in my hair!), little pieces of paper all over the place, destroyed magazines strewn around my little work space.  It was really fun :)

I think I'll keep the first three Valentines for my eyes only - but here is my Valentine for world...

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image.jpg

On Thursday I'm off to Bali for one month of yoga with my Shakti sisters!  I am beyond excited.  And beyond ready.  

I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the blog during this next month... I am sort of feeling the need to completely unplug for the month.  But I also may end up feeling super creative and ready to share.  I'm just not sure yet.   

So my plan is not to plan :) but to just let it happen as it happens!  So you may hear from me next Sunday, or you may have to wait until mid-March!  <3

Blessing #42: Meditation on Intention

"The power of intention to bless is not some utopian fantasy; it can be shown factually to effect concrete and transformative action.  There is a famous experiment in mediation - for a certain number of days, some years ago, a group of people made a circle around the city of Washington DC, and meditated continually.  Gathered unknown to itself within this circle of loving kindness, Washington changed.  The statistics for that period in the city showed a remarkable and unprecedented decrease in violence and crime. 

We have no idea the effect we actually have on one another.  This is where blessing can acheive so much.  Blessing as powerful and positive intention can transform situations and people.  The force of blessing must be even more powerful when we consider how the intention of blessing corresponds with the deepest desire of reality for creativity, healing, and wholesomeness.  Blessing has pure agency because it animates on the deepest threshold between being and becoming; it mines the territories of memory to awaken and draw forth possibilities we cannot even begin to imagine!" 

Blushed with Beginning

Well, I reluctantly said goodbye to Thailand yesterday, and now I am shacked up in Singapore!  The city is incredible - a huge shift from where I've been the past month, but also a welcome change.  I'll be here for nearly two weeks, so I'll be sure to post some pictures of my wanderings around here over the next few posts!

My amazing friend Meg, who lives and works here with her fiancé, is graciously allowing me to stay in their apartment!  In fact, they're actually traveling right now and wont be home until tomorrow - but they finagled this amazing plan to get me a key so that I could settle in to their place even though they aren't even back yet! 

So yesterday, I got to take a *real* shower!  I also bought a few little groceries so that I could make breakfast for myself in a proper kitchen!  And today, I did my laundry!  **grateful for the luxuries**

~

So I've been trying really hard since I started this blog last spring to not peak ahead at the next blessing coming up.  Sometimes it happens inadvertently though... I just accidentally see the title. Or maybe its not really an accident, haha.  Maybe my subconscious takes over or something. 

  Breakfast in paradise

Breakfast in paradise

Anyways, that is precisely what happened with this past week's blessing.  I saw the title a few days before I was supposed to, and I have to admit... it scared me a bit.  A Blessing for the Breakup of a Relationship.  Sigh.  There it was, staring me in the face.  

  Sunset fishing

Sunset fishing

So after my last blog post, instead of reading and posting the next blessing as I usually do, I completely avoided it.  I was on an island paradise!  I had absolutely no desire to read something that was going to bring me back to reality.  So I spent the first half of my week basking in the warm light of denial :) trying to simply forget the fact that the blessing coming up was probably going to be a bit of a doozy for me. 

  My new friend Mei Mei

My new friend Mei Mei

And let me tell ya, it wasn't too hard to distract myself!  I had an amazing week exploring the magical island of Koh Lanta.  I kept going back and forth between imagining that I was in the show Lost or the movie Jurassic Park.  At one point, when a big group of ginormous lizards crept up on me, I was pretty sure I was in Jurassic Park.  But then, I peeled a mango with a knife and ate it while sitting on a deserted beach... which is so totally Lost.

  Koh Lanta National Park (I finally found the beach!)

Koh Lanta National Park (I finally found the beach!)

I woke up early every morning to meditate and do yoga on the beach, followed by a giant coconut mango fruit shake and a heaping plate full of fresh local fruit.  And then it was on to the beach, or the jungle, or snorkeling, or reading in the hammock, or a massage by the water.  And then I would end the day by watching the sunset, taking one last swim in the turquoise sea, and then before heading to bed, I would watch the stars come out while eating a tasty local dish, drinking a tantalizing cocktail, and perhaps chatting with a new friend or two.

I mean come on... how amazing is that?

There were a few moments, though, when I was faced with the harsh (and also slightly humorous... at least in hindsight) reality of traveling alone.  Like when a fist-sized spider climbed on to my bed the first night.  Yup, fist-sized.  Or when I got lost in the jungle of the National Park.  It was clearly not a good choice to wander off the path, haha.  I watched a gecko scale the walls of my room and then disappear behind a curtain as I was trying to fall asleep, and of course my imagination flies to an image of me, fast asleep the middle of the night, with a gecko crawling into my ear.  *shudder*  And then, to top it all off, there was the time I was chased down a dirt road by a very *very* angry monkey.  I'm not sure what I did to offend him, but he was definitely not happy with me.  

  My coral sculpture on the tiny island of Koh Rok

My coral sculpture on the tiny island of Koh Rok

But I have to say, all those incidents that, in the moment, were actually quite scary, now, looking back, are pretty hilarious.  I wish I had a video of my facial expressions as I ran from the screaming monkey.  

~

I have always dreamed about buying a little motorbike and scootering my way around Camberville.  Gah, that just sounds like heaven!  And this past week, one thing that I was determined to do was learn how to drive a motorbike.  Like I said, its something I've always fantasized about, and I figured there's no better (or more romantic!) place to learn than on a tropical Island.  So earlier this week, a new friend of mine offered to teach me.  The only trouble was, he didn't speak the best english.  Plus, I think maybe my confidence level was at a bit of a inappropriate high... Bad combination.  

First moment on the bike, I gunned the engine, lurched forward and nearly hit another biker, yelped, freaked out, and jumped off.  Thankfully no animals, humans or motorbikes were hurt during this whole ordeal, haha.  The poor guy who owned the bike clearly realized that I had no idea what I was doing, and swooped in, grabbed the bike, and drove a defeated me back to the guesthouse... where I retreated to my bungalow and promptly burst into tears.  

I don't think it was actually the motorbike incident that brought the onslaught of tears, but rather just simple reality catching up to me.  

~

One of the tricky things about being alone in paradise is, that for the most part, you're surrounded by people in love.  Honeymooners, folks soon-to-be-married, retired couples who've been together 40+ years who are now exploring the world together, families taking their first big trip together... In many ways, I loved watching these people this week. So much love, so much trust, so much respect, and above all so much tenderness and heart.  It was a beautiful thing to witness.  

But there was also something quite lonely about being the witness.  And I think my tears after the motorbike catastrophe were actually about that - they were about being lonely.  

"Unknown to themselves, certain small things touch nerve-lines to the heart and bring back with color and force all that is utterly lost."

So after I had a good cry, it was time to face reality.  I took out the new blessing and read it a few times.

Wowee.  Yup, it was a doozy.  But also beautiful.  And so right on.  As he's done a number of times, O'Donahue was able to put words to the confusing and powerful emotional rollercoaster I was (am) on.  

The words were hard to read, but I think they were important for me to take in at that moment... I have to accept the fact that this is still an ongoing process.  I am still healing.  And in many ways, I am still grieving... though its a different kind of grief now, I think.  This whole experience is - and always will be - a part of who I am now.  Of course, that part of me will change and grow and morph as I do.  But the truth is that there is no fantasy cure - I can't simply erase the hurt by traveling halfway around the world.  But what traveling has given me is a chance to step outside of my normal life, my normal routine, and look at things from a different perspective.

I don't know what all these different perspectives will teach me... Ya know, I may not be able to articulate that until after I return... or maybe I'll never be able to.  But I don't think that really even matters, in the end.  It just matters that I experience it - experience life. 

"If you remain generous... you will find your feet again on fresh pastures of promise, where the air will be kind and blushed with beginning." 

  Daily doodles...&nbsp;

Daily doodles... 

  The doodles have started to occupy the inside cover as well...&nbsp;

The doodles have started to occupy the inside cover as well... 

I remember back in the late spring... or maybe it was summertime... I was hanging out with my dear friend Alle, and I was feeling very sad.  I was also feeling very sorry - she was my rock during those first few months when I was such a mess.  She was the one who saw me at my lowest low.  And I was feeling sad that thats all she was seeing of me.  I remember saying to her "Yesterday I was feeling stronger and I was excited to show you that I was getting better, but today I'm feeling sad again and you have to be the witness for that."  

Here's what she said to me..  

"Just because you're feeling sad today, doesn't negate the strength you felt yesterday.  Every day is another day forward, whatever that means, no matter what." 

Thanks Alle <3 Your words have been with me a lot this week :) 

Happy Chinese New Year everyone -- its the year of the wood horse. 

Giddyap, bitches. 

 

 

Blessing #41: A Blessing for the Breakup of a Relationship

"Now you endeavor
To gather yourself
And withdraw in slow
Animal woundedness
From love turned sour and ungentle.

When we love, the depth in us
Trusts itself forward until
The empty space between
Becomes gradually woven
Into an embrace where longing
Can close its weary eyes. 

Love can seldom end clean; 
For all the tissue is torn
And each lover turned stranger
Is dropped into a ruin of distance
Where emptiness is young and fierce.

Time becomes strange and slipshod;
It mixes memories that felt
The kiss of the eternal
WIth the blistering hurt of now. 

Unknown to themselves,
Certain small things
Touch nerve-lines to the heart
And bring back with color and force
All that is utterly lost. 
This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not ot let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesistant light. 

If you remain generous,
Time will come good: 
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning."

Blessing #40: A Blessing for Love in a Time of Conflict

 "When the gentleness 
between you hardens
And you fall out of your
belonging with each other,
May the depths you have reached
hold you still.

When no true word
can be said, or heard, 
And you mirror each other
in the script of hurt,
When even the silence
has become raw and torn,
May you hear again
an echo of your first music. 

When the weave of affection starts to unravel
And anger begins to sear the ground between you,
Before this weather of grief invites
The black seed of bitterness to find root, 
May your souls come to kiss.

Now is the time for one of you to be gracious,
To allow a kindness beyond thought and hurt,
Reach out with sure hands
To take teh chalice of your love,
And carry it carefully through this echoless waste
Until this winter pilgrimage leads you
Toward the gateway to spring." 

 

May This Change You

Well, there's nothing like an epic bout of food poisoning to cut you down to size.  There I was, romping around Northern Thailand like I owned it.  No cares, no worries, no troubles in sight.  Then BAM.  

Okay universe, I get it - I don't have it all figured out. 

  A quiet cup of crysanthemum tea at Aum

A quiet cup of crysanthemum tea at Aum

But let's not get caught up in the brutal reality that has been the past 36hrs of my life, because, really, this week has been amazing.  I love Chiang Mai.  I love Northern Thailand.  This week, I fell in love with color over and over and over again.  I made friends with the most magnificent creature I have ever known.  I trekked through the jungle with a hilarious bunch of Thai gentlemen.  I rode along the Ping river on the back of a motorbike.  I spent a day with Embee, a beautiful Thai farmer and cook who taught me how to make some of her favorite dishes and also happened to have the most amazing laugh ever.  

I ate.  I drank.  I sang.  I meditated.  I walked and walked and walked and walked.  I found a lovely little whole in the wall restaurant called 'Aum' where they had an old guitar lying around... oh man did it feel good to get my fingers on those strings again.  

It's been a good week :) 

  Playing in the river with my new best friend, Tong Jai

Playing in the river with my new best friend, Tong Jai

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The highlight of the week for me was undoubtedly getting to frolick with Tong Jai, a rescue elephant living in a sanctuary near Chiang Mai.  The sheer size of her was mindblowing.  At first it was quite frightening being near her - her trunk was so strong... it was clear to me that she could've easily crushed me.  In fact, it probably wouldn't have taken much effort on her part at all.  But as we got to know each other, and I proved I was a friend by feeding her plenty of bananas and sugar cane, we both warmed up to each other.  I even got a little kiss on the cheek!  It was an elephant bloo-bah!! (For those of you who don't know what a bloo-bah is, just ask my siblings!)

I'm planning another trip back to the sanctuary this week to visit more with Tong Jai and the other elephants there.  I can't wait... there's something about those creatures... I don't know if I've ever been  more blissed out than when I was playing in the water with her... sigh <3

And then there's the blessing... Sheesh, talk about hitting the spot.  

"... Learn to be a good friend to yourself, journeying to that place in your soul where there is love, warmth, and feeling."

  Embee got very excited about curry paste :)

Embee got very excited about curry paste :)

I did that this week - I was my own best friend.  I held my own hand and journeyed into the depths of my own soul... and in doing so, I felt more connected than ever to the world around me, to my new surroundings, and all the new faces in my life on this adventure.  

But for the first time, I felt completely disconnected from my life back in the states.  Logically I knew that my life there was a good one, full of friendship and love and family and music... but physically, emotionally, subconsciously... I couldn't feel it anymore.  It was so strange.  It was as if someone had just flipped a switch and turned that part of my life off.  The few times I connected with friends back home over the internet, I would say "I miss you" and though I knew the words to be true, I couldn't find the real meaning behind them.  It was honestly so bizarre.  I started to wonder if maybe I should move to Chiang Mai - maybe I was living my life in the wrong place.  Maybe the universe was trying to tell me something. 

And then I puked for 36hrs straight (ha!) and my heart immediately sought comfort in the hearts of friends back home. 

  A post meditation drawing

A post meditation drawing

At the end of the blessing this week, O'Donahue writes... "May you never be isolated, but know the embrace of your Anam Cara."  The words Anam Cara are Celtic for "friend of my soul" and represent rare friendships that transcend time and distance. <3

Maybe the universe does want me to live in Chiang Mai... I don't know yet.  But what I *do* know is that I am blessed with true Anam Cara in my life.  

Blessed.  Blessed.  Blessed.   

  Week two of journal drawing

Week two of journal drawing

I have one question before I sign off... for those of you who made it to the end... if you met someone who could see into your future, and they told you that you could ask them three questions... what would you ask? 

Blessing #39: A Blessing for Friendship

"May you be blessed with good friends
And learn to be a good friend
to yourself,
Journeying to that place
in your soul where
There is love, warmth, and feeling.
May this change you.

May it trasfigure
what is negative, distant, 
Or cold within your heart.

May you be brought
to real passion, kindness,
And belonging. 

May you treasure your friends,
May you be good to them,
be there for them,
And receiving all the challenges,
truth, and light you need. 

May you never be isolated
but know the embrace
Of your Anam Cara."

Blessing #38: A Blessing for Love

 "When you love,
May you feel the joy 
Of your heart coming alive
As your lover's gaze
Lands on your eyes,
Holding them,
Like the weight of a kiss,
Deepening.

May the words of love
Reach you and fluster
Your held self,
The way a silhouette of breeze
Excites a meadow. 

When you are touched,
May it be the gentleness you desire,
Your lover's hands sending
Each caress deep into your skin
Like a discovering glance. 

May slow sequences
Of kisses discover
Your secret echoes. 

May your desire flow free
And never be fettered
By the thorn-chains
Of old guilt or crippled touch. 

May you feel
How your soul loves
When your skin glows,
And your eyes darken
When promise ripens

May you be able to listen
To your lover's heartbeat
And think only of the joy
You can awaken. 

May you be able
To let yourself fall
Into the ocean rhythm,
Unfolding ever more
Until you become
One crest of wave,
Rising into wild form
Whose beauty will show
In the graceful sweep
Of its home-breaking."

Blessing #37: Meditation on Relationships

"There is great beauty in the notion of desire.  Each of us is a child of the desire of our parents for each other.  We are creatures of desire because we are creations of desire.  The human heart discovers its most touching music when desire and love inform each other.  When we love, we leave our separate solitudes and come toward union, where we complement each other.  It is this ancient desire in every heart to discover and come how to its lost other half that awakens and activates its capacity for love and belonging. 

There are certain things that can happen to us only in solitude; and every life needs a rhythm of solitude in order to experience this.  However, the experience of self-discovery, psychological integration, and spiritual growth can only happen to us when our desire draws us out of our shells and toward the precarious and life-giving sanctuary of another heart."

Blessing #36: A Blessing for Solitude

"May you recognize
in your life the presence, 
Power, and light of your soul.

May you realize
that you are never alone,
That your soul in its brightness
and belonging
Connects you intimately
with the rhythm of the universe.

May you have respect for your
individuality and difference.

May you realize
that the shape of your soul is unique,
That you have a special destiny here,
That behind the facade of your life
there is something beautiful
and eternal happening.

May you learn to see your self
With the same delight,
Pride, and expectation
With which God sees you in every moment."

 

Blessing #35: A Blessing for Lonliness

"When the light lessens,
Causing colors to lose their courage,
And your eyes fix on the empty distance
That can open on either side
Of the surest line
To make all that is
Familiar and near
Seem suddenly foreign,

When the music of talk
Breaks apart into noise
And you hear your heart louden
While the voices around you
Slow down to leaden echoes
Turning the silence into something stony and cold,

When the old ghosts come back
To feed on everywhere you felt sure,
Do not strengthen their hunger
By choosing to fear;
Rather, decide to call on your heart
That it may grow clear and free
To welcome home your emptiness
That it may cleanse you
Like the clearest air
You could ever breathe.

Allow your loneliness time
To dissolve the shell of dross
That had closed around you;
Choose in this severe silence
To hear the one true voice
Your rushed life fears;
Cradle yourself like a child
Learning to trust what emerges,
So that gradually
You may come to know

That deep in that black hole
You will find the blue flower
That holds the mystical light
Which will illuminate in you
The glimmer of springtime."

Blessing #34: A Blessing for Grief

"When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you gets fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence.

Your heart has grown heavy with loss;
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.

Flickers of guilt kindle regret
For all that was left unsaid or undone.

There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss

~

Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.

It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.

More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hills of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.

Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time."