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Archive for January, 2008

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The clear bead at the center changes everything.
There are no edges to my loving now.

I’ve heard it said there’s a window that opens
from one mind to another,

but if there’s no wall, there’s no need
for fitting the window or the latch.

– RUMI –

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SWEET DARKNESS

When you eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize it own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb
tonight.

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

– DAVID WHYTE –

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This is my friend Maria musing. We have a conversation about prayer…and about how we love to make up our own…

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.

– MARY OLIVER –

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Tonight we do a rigorous Hatha practice…designed to strengthen HARA. Our hour of Hatha practice is followed by an hour of Raja yoga…walking meditation, pranayama and sitting meditation.

I sit blissfully on my cushion, momentarily thought-less; empty; following the instruction to “be nobody and do nothing,” Suddenly, there are tears streaming down my cheeks.

Two images of my father float to the surface. Yesterday when I arrived, his curtains were drawn. The television was on; he was slumped over in his wheelchair. I put my hand on his hand and it felt cold and waxy. When he didn’t respond, I had the momentary thought that he was gone.

When I was leaving, we hugged several times. I reached the door and blew him a kiss and said, “I’ll see you soon.” He waved and said what he has been saying for a long time now, “I hope so.”

Tonight, on my cushion, I touch the raw edge of the inevitable.

“Each day, we’re given many opportunities to open up or shut down. The most precious opportunity presents itself when we come to the place where we think we can’t handle whatever is happening.”

– PEMA CHODRON –

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Cold. Beautiful. Winter. We start the day with a hike at Nature Center. The Yellow Trail goes straight to the top of a ridge. Sun begins to break through the winter clouds. We stand on a rock outcropping and watch a lone coyote lope along the ridge below us.

Later, I drive across the county to visit with my Dad. Things are better between us. I’ve been calling him during the day, just after lunch if possible. It’s a time when he’s alert and seems capable of connecting the dots. On the way home, the sun is at my back…illuminating; painting the landscape.

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THE BORDERLAND—9

I saw, in the twilight of flagging
consciousness,
My body floating down and ink-black
stream
With its mass of feeling, with its
varied emotion,
With its many coloured lifelong store
of memories
With its flutesong. And as it drifted on
and on
Its outlines dimmed; and among familiar
tree-shaded
Villages on the banks, the sounds of
evening
Worship grew faint, doors were closed
lamps
Were covered, boats were moored to the
ghat. Crossings
From either side of the stream stopped;
night thickened;
From the forest branches fading
birdsong offered
Self-sacrifice to a huge silence.
Dark formlessness settled over all
diversity
Of land and water. As shadow, as particles,
my body
Fused with endless night. I came to rest
At the altar of the stars. Alone, amazed,
I stared
Upwards with hands clasped and said:
“Sun, you have removed
your rays: show now your loveliest,
kindliest form
That I may see the Person who dwells in
Me as in you.”

RABINDRANATH TAGORE

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The other night, I was at my wit’s end. After deleting three morose messages from my voice mail, left by my father…and after having a very difficult conversation with him, I called my brother for a little moral support. I played one of the two remaining messages for him and let loose with a summary of my complaints.

“Dave, he calls me and leaves these terrible guilt-provoking messages…the messages always begin with, ‘I never see you anymore; I wish I could get in touch with you’…last night he told me he was relieved to hear my voice because he thought I was dead…tonight he kept saying things that he would only say to a lover and I kept telling him–I am your daughter, not your wife–suddenly he was very quiet…then he asked, ‘Who is my wife?’ No amount of visiting or calling is ever enough…I can’t take it anymore!”

Dave was empathetic and helped me put it all into perspective. We had some good laughs as we always do…and I thought to myself when I hung up how lucky I am to have a brother with a compassionate sense of humor.

These are challenging times…for all of us. Dad’s short-term memory is sketchy at best and I miss the sharper version of him. Conversations are often very repetitive and I think the content doesn’t really matter to him anymore. He is just interested in the contact and some sense that we are in communion. I am learning, slowly, to surrender and drop my defenses…hoping, that while he is still here, we can connect.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

– REINHOLD NIEBUHR –

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