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Archive for June, 2008

THE BUDDHA’S LAST INSTRUCTION

“Make of yourself a light”
said the Buddha,
before he died.
I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal-a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.
An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire-
clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.

– MARY OLIVER –

Tonight at Yoga School, my friend Barbara (who is a faithful reader of MY INNER EDGE) said “I’m feeling blog deprived.” I rolled out my mat and thought, “Me, too.”

My posts have become sporadic; my camera hasn’t had much use and my life has gone on. Dad had his 85th birthday yesterday; my younger daughter has decided to take a trip to Burma (Myanmar); I’m meditating for 45 minutes most days; I went to a two day conference titled, Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There with Ron Siegel; the lilies are blooming in my overgrown garden; I’ve taken the HATHA YELLOW exam yet again; I do iChats with my grandson Dashiell at every opportunity; I’ve been cooking more, spending more time with friends; reading more and working a lot.

This poem came to mind tonight after I gave a short talk to my fellow yogis about my experience of taking the Hatha Yellow exam four times.

I love the opening…”Make of yourself a light.” I vividly remember the first time I read it. The line, “clearly I’m not needed, yet I feel myself turning into something of inexplicable value…” made my hair stand on end…I feel that, sense that…deeply know and celebrate that.

And so, I’m baaaaaaack. Blogging…at least for today.

A bow to Barbara. It’s a matter of wholeness!

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Yesterday, at 4:34 pm. Diana died at home. As her husband put it, “There are no more indignities to be suffered, there are no more appointments, blood tests, CAT scans, chemo’s. There is only peace.”

Those who knew Diana even casually, will surely miss her. Her humor, her courage, her tendency to first give the “bad news” always followed by a qualifier…BUUUUUTTTTTTT…then she would inevitably put her own positive spin on it. Ever hopeful, she set her sights on her children’s graduations. And she made it. Ever determined, she met each new round of treatment with vigor.

Now, our process of re-membering Diana begins. How will each of us carry her in our hearts? How will we keep her alive in our individual and shared memory? Although she is no longer with us in physical form, she can remain with us in spirit as we unravel the secret of death.

“…You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot
unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death,
open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires
lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow, your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity…

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides,
that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance…”

– KAHLIL GIBRAN –

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This morning the news comes. My friend, Diana, is now on pain management and hospice has been called. I see her in my mind’s eye the last time that we were together…her eyes shining with excitement as she tells me about visiting the Grand Canyon and how her “numbers” are going down. When I think of Diana, I think of her enthusiasm for life–her grace, her grit, her courage, her determination, her deep and abiding faith, her sense of humor, her prayers for miracles…and the miracles that have occurred.

Perhaps this is her time. It has been her time for so long. Here is a prayer for Diana, for her family and for all of us. Please add your blessings.

ST. THERESE’S PRAYER

May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received. May you pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones. Allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.

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We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams…
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world forever it seems,
We, in the ages lying,
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our signing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying or one that is coming to birth.

– ARTHUR WILLIAM EDGAR O’SHAUGHNESSY –

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WHAT WE WANT

What we want

is never simple.

We move among the things

we thought we wanted:

a face, a room, an open book

and these things bear our names—

now they want us.

But what we want appears

in dreams, wearing disguises.

We fall past,

holding out our arms

and in the morning

our arms ache.

We don’t remember the dream,

but the dream remembers us.

It is there all day

as an animal is there

under the table,

as the stars are there

– LINDA PASTAN –

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