Mindful Poetry

Green and Purple Succulents

MARY OLIVER 🔹 Wild Geese


You do not have to be good. 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, no 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.




WENDELL BERRY 🔹 Our Real Work


It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.




ADRIENNE MAREE BROWN 🔹 Radical Gratitude Spell


a spell to cast upon meeting a stranger, comrade or friend working for social and/or environmental justice and liberation: you are a miracle walking
i greet you with wonder
in a world which seeks to own
your joy and your imagination
you have chosen to be free,
every day, as a practice.
i can never know
the struggles you went through to get here,
but i know you have swum upstream
and at times it has been lonely i want you to know
i honor the choices you made in solitude
and i honor the work you have done to belong
i honor your commitment to that which is larger than yourself
and your journey
to love the particular container of life
that is you you are enough
your work is enough
you are needed
your work is sacred
you are here
and i am grateful




DEREK WALCOTT 🔹 Love After Love


The time will come 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 your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you 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.




OCTAVIO PAZ 🔹 Between Going and Staying


Between going and staying the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.
All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can't be touched.
Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.
Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.
The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.
I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.
The moment scatters. Motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause




RUMI 🔹 2 Kinds of Intelligence


There are two kinds of intelligence: One acquired, as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts from books and from what the teacher says, collecting information from the traditional sciences as well as from the new sciences. With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more marks on your preserving tablets. There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness in the center of the chest. This other intelligence does not turn yellow or stagnate. It’s fluid,
and it doesn’t move from outside to inside through the conduits of plumbing-learning. This second knowing is a fountainhead from within you, moving out. The Essential Rumi, Translation by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, Harper, San Francisco, 1995.




RUMI 🔹 There Is A Life-Force Within Your Soul


There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life. There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine. O traveler, if you are in search of That Don't look outside, look inside yourself and seek That. Excerpt from Rumi, 'Thief of Sleep' translated by by Shahram Shiva




NADINE STAIR 🔹 If I Had My Life to Live Over


I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I'd
have fewer imaginary ones. You see, I'm one of those people who live sensibly
and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I've had my moments and if I had it to do over
again, I'd have more of them. In fact,
I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments. One after another, instead of living so many
years ahead of each day. I've been one of those people who never go anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute. If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot
earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. If I had it to do again, I would travel lighter next time.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies. Nadine Stair (Age 85)




JACQUELINE WOODSON 🔹 Absolute


The summer I was ten a teenager
named Kim butterflied my hair. Cornrows
curling into braids
behind each ear.
Everybody’s wearing this style now, Kim said. Who could try to tell me
I wasn’t beautiful. The magic
in something as once ordinary
as hair that for too long
had not been good enough
now winged and amazing
now connected to a long line of crowns. Now connected
to a long line of girls
moving through Brooklyn with our heads
held so high, our necks ached. You must
know this too – that feeling of being so much more than
you once believed yourself to be so much more than your
too-skinny arms
and too-big feet and
too-long fingers and
too-thick and stubborn hair All of us now
suddenly seen
the trick mirror that had us believe
we weren’t truly beautiful
suddenly shifts and there we are and there we are and there we are again and Oh! How could we not have seen
ourselves before? So much more We are so much more.




DANNA FAULDS 🔹 Whatever Doesn’t Serve


What weight can you put down right now, willingly relinquishing the pointed quills of guilt or judgment? What burden of the heart can lift, what dark corner can be lit, the candle flickering at first, then burning bright? With the next breath, let it go, that old story you’ve told yourself a million times. Whatever doesn’t serve you on this path of truth, leave it behind. Offer this one gift: the simple sacrifice that in the giving sets you free to fully live.




MAX EHRMANN 🔹 Desiderata


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.




MARY OLIVER 🔹 Don't Hesitate


If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.




DANNA FAULDS 🔹 Self-Observation Without Judgement


Release the harsh and pointed inner 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.




WENDELL BERRY 🔹 The Peace of Wild Things


When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.




MARY OLIVER 🔹 Snow Geese


Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last! What a task to ask of anything, or anyone, yet it is ours, and not by the century or the year, but by the hours. One fall day I heard above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was a flock of snow geese, winging it faster than the ones we usually see, and, being the color of snow, catching the sun so they were, in part at least, golden. I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us as with a match, which is lit, and bright, but does not hurt in the common way, but delightfully, as if delight were the most serious thing you ever felt. The geese flew on, I have never seen them again. Maybe I will, someday, somewhere. Maybe I won't. It doesn't matter. What matters is that, when I saw them, I saw them as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.




MARY OLIVER 🔹 When Death Comes


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 🔹 The Fist


There are days when the sun goes down like a fist, though of course if you see anything in the heavens in this way you had better get your eyes checked or, better, still your diminished spirit. The heavens have no fist, or wouldn't they have been shaking it for a thousand years now, and even longer than that, at the dull, brutish ways of mankind— heaven's own creation? Instead: such patience! Such willingness to let us continue! To hear, little by little, the voices— only, so far, in pockets of the world— suggesting the possibilities of peace? Keep looking. Behold, how the fist opens with invitation.




PABLO NERUDA 🔹 Keeping Quiet


Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let's not speak in any language,
let's stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves
with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead in winter
and later proves to be alive.
Now I'll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.




LEONARD COHEN 🔹 Ring The Bells


Ring the bells that can still ring.

Forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack in everything.

That’s how the light gets in.




DANNA FAULDS 🔹 Walk Slowly


It only takes a reminder to breathe, a moment to be still, and just like that, something in me settles, softens, makes space for imperfection. The harsh voice of judgment drops to a whisper and I remember again that life isn't a relay race; that we will all cross the finish line; that waking up to life is what we were born for. As many times as I forget, catch myself charging forward without even knowing where I'm going, that many times I can make the choice to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk slowly into the mystery.




RANIER MARIE RILKE 🔹 Be Patient


I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.




MARIANNE WILLIAMSON 🔹 Our Deepest Fear


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.




MARY OLIVER 🔹 The Journey


One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting 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 was terrible. 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.




RUMI 🔹 The Waterwheel


Stay together, friends. Don’t scatter and sleep. Our friendship is made of being awake. The waterwheel accepts water and turns and gives it away, weeping. That way it stays in the garden, whereas another roundness rolls through a dry riverbed looking for what it thinks it wants. Stay here, quivering with each moment like a drop of mercury.




LYNN UNGAR 🔹 Pandemic


What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.




MARTHA POSTLEWAITE 🔹 Clearing


Do not try to save the whole world or do anything grandiose. Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life and wait there patiently, 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 worth of rescue.




MARY OLIVER 🔹 Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me


Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped, smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself, and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment,
at which moment my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars and the soft rain—
imagine! imagine!
the wild and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.




HAFIZ 🔹 Curfews


Noise
Is a cruel ruler Who is always imposing
Curfews. While
Stillness and quiet
Break open the vintage
Bottles, Awake the real
Band.




DAVID KOHN 🔹 Pandemic


I feel like getting on my rooftop and yelling through a megaphone that can be beamed into every annoyed, irritated, weary, stressed, scared, struggling person’s heartspace: “WHAT WE HUMANS ARE DOING IS BREATHTAKING AND SO PROFOUNDLY BEAUTIFUL!" We are taking extreme measures to protect the vulnerable. In the process, We are sacrificing routine, comfort, predictability. We are often losing planned vacations and trips, income, entire businesses, significant savings. We are homeschooling our kids without backgrounds in education. Weddings and many other significant milestone celebrations are being postponed, canceled or happening hastily and not as desired and planned. We are tolerating boredom. Anxiety. Stress. Frustration. Pain. Fear. And across the planet, humans everywhere, are doing this. To protect the vulnerable. So remember this! Tell this to yourself each morning. Tell your children this (age appropriately!). This beautiful, tender, universally collective act of care, consideration, kindness and generosity. And – Perhaps the vulnerable are actually the ones protecting us. May we all be healthy and safe.




DAVID WAGONER 🔹 Lost


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.




RUMI 🔹 The Beauty We Love


Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. From The Essential Rumi, translations by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, 1995.




WILLIAM HUTCHINSON MURRAY 🔹 On Commitment


Until one is committed there is always hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness, concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
raising to one’s favor all manner of unforeseen accidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed
would come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goeth’s (Gerta) couplets: Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.




DANNA FAULDS 🔹 Allow


There is no controlling life.
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




CAVERLY MORGAN 🔹 Your Doorway In


Dear one I see the pain in your heart — the gaping wound that’s been covered with your good intention to move on, to be strong, to let go. Now in the stillness of the moment you are safe to move into it, to be with it, to turn toward rather than away. Trust that this pain will not break you. Trust that this pain is made of the same love that you’ve most longed for. The wound is your doorway in.




JUDY BROWN 🔹 The Fire


What makes a fire burn is space between the logs, a breathing space. Too much of a good thing, too many logs packed in too tight can douse the flames almost as surely as a pail of water would. So building fires requires attention to the spaces in between, as much as to the wood. When we are able to build open spaces in the same way we have learned to pile on the logs, then we can come to see how it is fuel, and absence of the fuel together, that make fire possible We only need to lay a log lightly from time to time. A fire grows simply because the space is there, with openings in which the flame that knows just how it wants to burn can find its way.




RUMI 🔹 The Breeze At Dawn


The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep. People are moving back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.




MARY OLIVER 🔹 Mindful


Every day
I see or I hear
something
that more or less kills me
with delight, that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light. It is what I was born for— to look, to listen, to lose myself
inside this soft world— to instruct myself over and over in joy,
and acclamation. Nor am I talking
about the exceptional, the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant— but of the ordinary. the common, the very drab, the daily presentations. Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help but grow wise
with such teachings as these—
the untrimmable light of the world
the ocean’s shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?




ROGER KEYS 🔹 Hokusai Says


Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.
He says look forward to getting old
He says keep changing, you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself as long as it’s interesting.
He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.
He says every one of us is a child, every one of us is ancient, every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find a way to live with fear.
He says everything is alive –shells, buildings, people, fish, mountains, trees.
Wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.
He says it doesn’t matter if you draw, or write books.
It doesn’t matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home and stare at the ants on your verandah
or the shadows of the trees and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.
Contentment is life living though you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength is life living through you.
Peace is life living through you.
He says don’t be afraid,
Don’t be afraid.
Look, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.




RUMI 🔹 Birdwings


Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror Up to where you’re bravely working. Expecting the worst, you look, and instead, Here’s the joyful face you been waiting to see. Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, You would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small Contracting and expanding,
The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated As birdwings.




WENDELL BERRY 🔹 To Go Into the Dark


To go into the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark,
go without sight.
And find
that the dark too
blooms and sings
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.




RANIER MARIE RILKE 🔹 Must Not Be Frightened


We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors. If it has abysses, these abysses belong to us. If there are dangers, we must try to love them, and only if we could arrange our lives in accordance with the principle that tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us to be alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races- -the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses. Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are only princesses waiting for us to act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love. So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises before you larger than any you’ve ever seen, if an anxiety like light and cloud shadows moves over your hands and everything that you do. You must realize that something has happened to you. Life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hands and will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.




MARK NEPO 🔹 Unglove


We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time. When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy. It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.




NATIVE AMERICAN ELDER STORY 🔹 Stand Still


Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows Where you are. You must let it find you. An old Native American elder story rendered into modern English by David Wagoner




MARY OLIVER 🔹 The Summer Day


Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-- the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
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?




JENNIFER PAINE WELWOOD 🔹 Unconditional


Willing to experience aloneness, 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.




WENDELL BERRY 🔹 What We Need Is Here


Horseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer's end. In time's maze
over fall fields, we name names
that rest on graves. We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed's marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.




JOHN AUSTIN 🔹 Awareness


Awareness-

her gaze is so constant,

our every move

watched

with such affection,

a ceaseless vigil

without condition

or agenda,

silent,

patient,

unrelenting in her

embrace.

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

wakefulness,

this simple love

for what is.




JEFF FOSTER 🔹 Victory


You don't have to be the best.
You only have to be yourself.
You only have to be real.
And speak from the heart.
And know that you have the right
to see how you see,
and think how you think,
and feel what you feel,
and desire what you desire.
You don't have to be a success
in the eyes of the world
and you don't have to be an expert.
You only have to offer what you offer,
breathe how you breathe,
make mistakes and fuck up and
learn to love your stumbling and
say the wrong thing and stop
worrying so much about
impressing anyone,
because in the end you
only have to live with yourself,
and joy is not given but found
in the deepest recesses of your being,
so there can be joy in falling
and joy in making mistakes
and joy in making a fool of yourself
and joy in forgetting joy
and then holding yourself as you crumble
to the ground and weep out
the old dreams.
Joy is closeness
with the one you love:
You.
You don't have to be the best.
You don't have to win.
You only have to remember
this intimacy with
the sky, the nearness of the
mountains and feel the warmth
of the sun on your face
and know that you are alive,
and that you are a success,
and victorious,
without having to prove
a damn
thing.




WILLIAM STAFFORD 🔹 Yes


It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.
It could, you know. That’s why we wake
and look out — no guarantees
in this life. But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
like evening.




JOHN O'DONOHUE 🔹 On Waking


I give thanks for arriving
Safely in a new dawn,
For the gift of eyes
To see the world,
The gift of mind
To feel at home
In my life.
The waves of possibility
Breaking on the shore of dawn,
The harvest of the past
That awaits my hunger,
And all the furtherings
This new day will bring.




KABIR 🔹 The Guest


The Guest is inside you, and also inside me;
you know the sprout is hidden inside the seed.

The blue sky opens out farther and farther.

a million suns come forward with light,
when I sit firmly in that world.
Excerpt from the The Kabir Book




JOHN O'DONOHUE 🔹 For A New Beginning


In 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 growing 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 gray 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 yet clear You can trust the promise of this opening; Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning That is at 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.




JANE KENYON 🔹 Otherwise


I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.
At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.




MARY OLIVER 🔹 Why I Wake Early


Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning. Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.




MARK NEPO 🔹 Live Slow Enough


Live slow enough and there is only the beginning of time. Follow anything in its act of being – a snowflake falling, ice melting, a loved one waking – and we are ushered into the ongoing moment of the beginning, the quiet instant from which each breath starts. What makes this moment so crucial is that it continually releases the freshness of living. The key to finding this moment and all its freshness, again and again, is in slowing down. Often, when we are inconvenienced, we are being asked to slow down. When we are delayed in our travel or waiting for a check in a restaurant, we are being asked to open up and look around. When we find ourselves stalled in our very serious and ambitious plans, we are often being asked to re-find the beginning of time. Unfortunately, we are all so high-paced, running so fast to where we want to be, that many of us are forced to slow down through illness or breakage. In this, we are such funny creatures. If we could see ourselves from far enough away, we would seem like a colony of insects running into things repeatedly: thousands of little determined beings butting into obstacles, shaking our little heads and bodies, and running into things again. Like the Earth that carries us, the ground of our being moves so slowly we take it for granted. But if you should feel stalled, numb or exhausted from the trials of your life, simply slow your thoughts to the pace of tracks widening, slow your heart to the pace of the earth soaking up rain, and wait for the freshness of the beginning to greet you.




NAOMI SHIHAB NYE 🔹 Shoulders


A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.

This man carries the world’s most sensitive cargo
but he’s not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
HANDLE WITH CARE.

His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy’s dream
deep inside him.

We’re not going to be able
to live in this world
if we’re not willing to do what he’s doing
with one another.

The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.




JOHN DANIEL 🔹 A Prayer Among Friends


Among other wonders of our lives, we are alive
with one another, we walk here
in the light of this unlikely world
that isn't ours for long.
May we spend generously
the time we are given.
May we enact our responsibilities
as thoroughly as we enjoy
our pleasures. May we see with clarity,
may we seek a vision
that serves all beings, may we honor
the mystery surpassing our sight,
and may we hold in our hands
the gift of good work
and bear it forth whole, as we
were borne forth by a power we praise
to this one Earth, this homeland of all we love.




JOHN WELWOOD 🔹 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.




HELEN M. LUKE 🔹 "Important"


We hurry through the so-called boring things in order to attend to that which we deem more important, interesting. Perhaps the final freedom will be a recognition that everything in every moment is "essential" and that nothing at all is "important."




MARY OLIVER 🔹 In Blackwater Woods


Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment, the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.




MARY OLIVER 🔹 Mornings at Blackwater


For years, every morning, I drank

from Blackwater Pond.

It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,

the feet of ducks.

And always it assuaged me

from the dry bowl of the very far past.

What I want to say is

that the past is the past,

and the present is what your life is,

and you are capable

of choosing what will be, darling citizen.

So come to the pond,

or the river of your imagination,

or the harbor of your longing,

and put your lips to the world.

And live

your life.




LINDA FRANCE 🔹 Dreaming the Real


I’m lying down looking at the colour of sky falling through trees, dreaming the real, tasting what it feels like to love it. Why did it take me so long to let go, simply exhale, so the day could breathe itself in and open without me standing in the way? How could I forget the grace of my own body strong as this blue, tender as the white of the wild blossom, warm as midday light? Let me practice a patience bold enough to hold every weather, trusting the elements, the beauty of rain, all it shades of grey. I want whatever’s real to be enough. At least it’s a place to begin. And to master the art of loving it; feel it love me back under my skin




MARY OLIVER 🔹 When I Am Among the Trees


When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”




WU MEN 🔹 Best Season of Your Life


Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,

a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,

this is the best season of your life.




MARY OLIVER 🔹 I Worried


I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers

flow in the right direction, will the earth turn

as it was taught, and if not how shally

I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,

can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows

can do it and I am, well,

hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,

am I going to get rheumatism,

lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.

And gave it up. And took my old body

and went out into the morning,

and sang.




HAFIZ 🔹 Admit Something


Everyone you see, you say to them,
Love me.
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
To connect.
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.




DANNA FAULDS 🔹 Limitless


Sun says, “Be your own illumination”.
Wren says, “Sing your heart out, all day long”.
Stream says, “Do not stop for any obstacle”.
Oak says, “When the wind blows, bend easily, and trust your roots to hold”.
Stars say, “What you see is one small slice of a single modest galaxy. Remember that vastness cannot be grasped by mind”.
Ant says, “Small does not mean powerless”.
Silence says nothing.
In the quiet, everything comes clear.
I say, “Limitless”.
I say, “Yes”.




ORIAH MOUNTAIN DREAMER 🔹 Prelude


What if there is no need to change, no need to try 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? What if the task is simply to unfold, to become who you already are in your essential nature—gentle, compassionate, 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 recognizing and receiving the people and places and practices that offer 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 knew that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty in the world will arise from deep within and guide you every time you simply pay attention and wait? How would this shape your stillness, your movement, your willingness to follow this impulse, to just let go and dance?




VICTORIA SAFFORD 🔹 The Gates of Hope


Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope— Not the prudent gates of Optimism, Which are somewhat narrower. Not the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; Nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness, Which creak on shrill and angry hinges (People cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through) Nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of
“Everything is gonna’ be all right.” But a different, sometimes lonely place, The place of truth-telling, About your own soul first of all and its condition. The place of resistance and defiance, The piece of ground from which you see the world Both as it is and as it could be As it will be; The place from which you glimpse not only struggle, But the joy of the struggle. And we stand there, beckoning and calling, Telling people what we are seeing Asking people what they see.




JUAN RAMON JIMENEZ 🔹 I Am Not I


I am not I.
I am this one
Walking beside me whom I do not see,
Whom at times I manage to visit,
And at other times I forget.
The one who remains silent when I talk,
The one who forgives, sweet, when I hate,
The one who takes a walk when I am indoors,
The one who will remain standing when I die.




RUMI 🔹 I'll Meet You There


Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing
there is a field. I will meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.




NAOMI SHIHAB NYE 🔹 Kindness


Before you know what kindness really is 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 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.




PORTIA NELSON 🔹 Autobiography In Five Short Chapters


Chapter I I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out. Chapter II 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 this same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out. Chapter III I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in… it’s a habit… but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately. Chapter IV I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it. Chapter V I walk down another street.




MARY OLIVER 🔹 Lingering in Happiness


After rain after many days without rain,
it stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees,
and the dampness there, married now to gravity,
falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground
where it will disappear - but not, of course, vanish
except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share,
and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss;
a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole's tunnel;
and soon so many small stones, buried for a thousand years,
will feel themselves being touched.




MARY OLIVER 🔹 Today


Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth. But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance. Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.




DAVID WHYTE 🔹 Enough


Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to life
we have refused
again and again
until now. Until now.




JUAN RAMON JIMENEZ 🔹 Oceans


I have a feeling that my boat
Has struck, down there in the depths,
Against a great thing.
And nothing happens!
Nothing.Silence.Waves.
--Nothing happens?
Or has everything Happened,
And are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?




DAVID WHYTE 🔹 The Well of Grief


Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface of the well of grief
turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe
will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear, nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown away by those who wished for something else.




CHEROKEE PARABLE 🔹 Two Wolves


An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life... "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. "One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego. "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. "This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?" The old chief simply replied, "The one you feed."




HAFIZ 🔹 This Sky


This sky this sky where we live is no place to lose your wings so love, love love.




WILLIAM STAFFORD 🔹 You Reading This, Be Ready


Starting here, what do you want to remember?
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?




ROSS GAY 🔹 A Small Needful Fact


Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.




KAVERI PATEL 🔹 Dear You


Dear you,
You who always have
so many things to do
so many places to be
your mind spinning like
fan blades at high speed
each moment always a blur
because you’re never still.
I know you’re tired.
I also know it’s not your fault.
The constant brain-buzz is like
a swarm of bees threatening
to sting if you close your eyes.
You’ve forgotten something again.
You need to prepare for that or else.
You should have done that differently.
What if you closed your eyes?
Would the world fall
apart without you?
Or would your mind
become the open sky,
a flock of thoughts
flying across the sunrise
as you just watched and smiled.




RUMI 🔹 Link Your Spirit to Love


Link your spirit to Love itself
open your heart to existence,
choose Love as your spiritual journey
and you will never be disappointed in humans.
Excerpt from "The Path of Love"




JOHN O'DONOHUE 🔹 For One Who Is Exhausted, A Blessing


When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.
The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will. Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone. The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life. You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days. At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you. You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through. Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free. Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day. Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself. Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world. Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.




ANNIE LIGHTHART 🔹 The Second Music


Now I understand that there are two melodies playing, one below the other, one easier to hear, the other lower, steady, perhaps more faithful for being less heard yet always present. When all other things seem lively and real, this one fades. Yet the notes of it touch as gently as fingertips, as the sound of the names laid over each child at birth. I want to stay in that music without striving or cover. If the truth of our lives is what it is playing, the telling is so soft that this mortal time, this irrevocable change, becomes beautiful. I stop and stop again to hear the second music. I hear the children in the yard, a train, then birds. All this is in it and will be gone. I set my ear to it as I would to a heart.




DANUSHA LAMÉRIS 🔹 Small Kindnesses


I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”




ED KLEIN 🔹 Go There Now


Somewhere in our
train of thought
there always is
a quiet car
mostly unused
waiting




MARY OLIVER 🔹 The World I Live In


I have refused to live
locked in the orderly house of
reasons and proofs.
The world I live in and believe in
is wider than that. And anyway,
what’s wrong with Maybe?
You wouldn’t believe what once or
twice I have seen. I’ll just
tell you this:
only if there are angels in your head will you
ever, possibly, see one.




RUMI 🔹 The Guest House


This being human is a guest house.
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. Translation by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)




MARY OLIVER 🔹 Prayer


It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.




ANTONIO MACHADO 🔹 Is My Soul Asleep?


Is my soul asleep?
Have those beehives that work
in the night stopped. And the water-
wheel of thought, is it
going around now, cups
empty, carrying only shadows?
No, my soul is not asleep
It is awake, wide awake.
It neither sleeps nor dreams, but watches,
its eyes wide open,
far-off things, and listens
at the shores of the great silence.




ANTONIO MACHADO 🔹 Last Night As I Was Sleeping


Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.
Excerpt from full poem "Last Night As I Was Sleeping"




MAY SARTON 🔹 The Work of Happiness


I thought of happiness, how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted by this inward work
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.

So happiness is woven out of the peace of hours
And strikes its roots deep in the house alone:
The old chest in the corner, cool waxed floors,
White curtains softly and continually blown
As the free air moves quietly about the room;
A shelf of books, a table, and the white-washed wall––
These are the dear familiar gods of home,
And here the work of faith can best be done,
The growing tree is green and musical

For what is happiness but growth in peace,
The timeless sense of time when furniture
Has stood a life's span in a single place,
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness?
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind,
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charged with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.




ED KLEIN 🔹 Time


we think ))))))))) itrushesby or moves oh . . . so . . . slow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ly we say we must be careful with it so we don’t lose it and then must go find some more We think Time can be measured by ticks and tocks of counting clocks or saved like money in a bank so we’ll have it to spend later But, I ask, is the ticking and the tocking the important part? Consider all the empty spaces in between Tick Tick Tick Isn’t that a beautiful canvas on which to paint a nourishing life?




ED KLEIN 🔹 Pockets of Silence


In our emotional life we have many pockets where we store our countless feelings There’s one for joy and one for sorrow one for pride and one for shame there's one for fear and one for peace one for love, one for hate In these pockets you know what’s there even before you reach in But what could be found in a pocket of of silence? Its very muteness may cause you to think: Nothing But go calmly, and it's here where you’ll find your true self.




ANNE MEREWOOD 🔹 Dropping the Banana


All I have to do is let it go – like a falcon releasing a rabbit; like an athlete relinquishing a golden dream; like a hungry child tossing a ripe mango into the sun. All I have to do I dread. What happens if I can’t let go? What happens if I can? Surely it is safer not to experiment – for – see here – I am not alone! I recognize you, fellow monkeys, clinging to the thresholds of normality. Rattling imprisoned limbs, You dare me to desert. All I have to do, I do. Finger by finger I loosen my grip. I let it go. There was no banana. Only a fist contorted by fear, choking the innocent air.





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PICO IYER
It’s really one of our greatest luxuries - the empty space.
Space for what matters most.

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