I receive the blessings of May • Thundering rainstorms healing the cracks in the dry ground • An unexpected cool spell following unseasonal heat – both reminding me that, thankfully, my sphere of control is limited and the choice to respond is where my heart can find peace • A four-generation picnic, with cascading delight, heart to heart to heart I offer this blessing in response • May this very moment whisper life into your heart as you stop to take a breath – in and out – and find that there is time enough for gratitude, even today [Photo by Ian Sanderson on flickr per cc 2.0]
I am sitting deep within the cave of my heart. It is dark. I glance around myself and see the dim edges of rocks and tunnels. I think I should be scared but I am not. It is so deeply quiet here, so still.
I am sitting on a small ledge that overhangs a pool of still water. It lends a dampness to the cavern that touches my skin and coats the inside of my lungs as I breathe slowly in and out. I stretch my legs and lean back a bit on my arms and listen and wait.
I am waiting for you. For your deep whisper in my heart. For the promise of your own heartbeat within me.
I have forgotten how to seek you, how to wait for you, how to trust your coming. Yet somehow, even after so long away, I trust your coming.
It is not my conjuring or my protocols or rituals that call you forth. It is the shape of how things are, of who you are. It is the very shape of life itself that brings me to you – for that is the truth of it. It is not so much that you must come to me. You are here. Always. At the very center of all that is. How could it be otherwise since you are life itself?
How then can I lose you? How can I live without noticing your heartbeat? How can I let myself be so distracted by the scurry and cries and bustle around me that I forget your unshakable love?
And yet I do forget. And though my own heart blames me for such neglect, your heart surrounds me with welcome. You don’t want our time together to be swallowed by focus on my failures. You simply want to love me and for me to receive and return that love.
After some moments of repentance – which I see as a required penance, but you see as simply clearing space – I let go all the chatter of my soul. I simply breathe, in and out. I count to five, each breath a bit deeper and slower than the last, and I slip into the pool. I float, suspended in the water. Even if I momentarily sink beneath the surface I can still breathe deeply. The pool is liquid grace. I take it in with grateful ease. It fills each cell. I am awash with life, with love … with you.
I receive the blessings of April • The geese in my neighbor’s pond, mother patiently upon the nest, father faithfully patrolling nearby • The joy of children dancing, emersed in the music and the sheer delight of movement • The soft nod of my mother, watching my granddaughters at play • The unconquerable spirit of spring, pushing itself up through the ground and out through each tiny branch I offer this blessing in response • May the spirit of love, which is life itself, rise in your heart and extend itself through your fingers to bless the earth around you
Have you ever noticed That there are some people Who seem to hold a brightness In their spirit? Their eyes are more alive. The day lifts a bit When they come into it. They bring a quiet joy. There is a confidence within them, But it is not focused on themselves. They seem to be held by an assurance That the world is deeply right. What if, perhaps, they caught the holy virus? And what if it is spread by smiles? Even the tiny upturn of a lip, The twinkle in an eye, can bring exposure. And what if I, too, could be a carrier, A vector of life? Ah! That would make me smile! (And did I just see the twinkle in your eye?)
I receive the blessings of March • Whispers of spring in the garden, tender sprigs that somehow defy the frosty fingers of the night • The hopeful, happy call of birds • An unbundled walk among the trees, shedding my coat along the way • The way my soul is nudged awake by the conversations of friends And I offer this blessing in response • May your heart follow the voice of a friend to find wonder, hope, and the tender tenacity of new growth.
I receive the blessings of February • The cold, tight grip of the frozen landscape, too big, too true to deny • The drip of an ice cycle from the eave of my porch • Bright sun on a cold day • The wonders of a cavern hidden deep underground And offer this blessing in response • May you have the courage to explore the depths of wonder in your own soul. May you find the light to take you home. May you release the myth of certainty and control and find, instead, the call of awe.
I receive the blessings of January • Seeds blanketed in the earth, holding quiet promise • Sunrise through dark, empty branches – light through the tangle • The warmth and quiet beauty of a fire • I begin to understand that ‘languishing’ is part of the cycle of letting go And offer this blessing in response • May your heart hold to the promise of winter, that spring will come. May the dawn find its way through the dark and tangled branches of the bare trees, whispering the surprising beauty of dormancy. May your heart stop fidgeting and simply wait.
My job is not to be good But to offer good to the nearby world. Going to seed Might actually be a good thing.
[photo from nature has no boss, used with permission]
Suddenly I realize I am lost in the woods. I have followed one of those disappearing paths The ones that seem, perhaps, to be the way And, yet, lead only into a bramble. I stand there, looking one way and another. The fear begins to prickle at my neck And I know that I am lost Unable to find my way home My panic casts around for guidance I wonder if I can orient myself by finding the sun, By marking a shadow, By listening for the stream. I imagine that I can think the lostness away That I can retrace my steps Or just expand the field of my vision Far enough to find my place. But none of this works. Indeed, it threatens to deepen my panic And lead me further astray. I am helpless … I cannot save myself. I sit down upon a nearby boulder And my soul collapses within me I put my head in my hands and weep. This, this, is the lonely, helpless truth. I must wait And hope For rescue. The stone beneath me is cold. The sky is threatening dark. My heart is screaming so loudly within me That I almost mistake your voice for my own. And yet, my panic is a scream And your assurance is a whisper. It rises from somewhere deep within. Not from within me, but from within reality itself. I try to quiet myself To move myself aside, if that is possible, When it is me that must do the moving. How can I use my power to relinquish that very power? It is an ongoing mystery, This process of un-doing. This gritting of my teeth In order to let go. It is as if the deepest part of me Is not me at all, but part of something larger. As if, in the center of my very essence, There is a subterranean tunnel to the ALL. Can that be? Are you deep within the ALL? Within us all? Me, too? [image by jane cornwell per cc 2.0 from Flickr. The quotation is from Dante's Inferno ]