I am a student of the Earth. I am in awe of her glory and ever-changing nature. The Earth provides Sustenance, life, beauty. There’s always an opportunity to tune in and learn. I watch the outside world from my window Warm and cozy indoors. Protected from the bitter cold Freezing rain and icy terrain. I know intuitively That the snow will eventually melt Like the ice caps on the mountains. This too shall pass. I am in tune to her nature. I live and breathe the lessons. I study her patterns and accept what is out of my control. My hands cup my warm mug of tea. I take a sip. The Earth is now in my cup. In the water, the plants, and herbs. I internalize her spirit and continue to be The ever-faithful pupil.
Maybe it was the title of the book that caught my eye on that fateful day in the College Hill bookstore. Or maybe it was all that pent up teenage angst. The contradictory belief that I was The quiet and good girl. I was helpful and nice But a mental punching bag for bad boys And my big brother blaming My very existence for Ruining his life. I was an innocent But carried so much blame and shame. Too much for my 17-year old self to handle. That book opened a doorway And I felt the words jump off the page Viscerally into my ears, mind, and heart. And I could finally breathe. Uninhibited, unrestricted I was accustomed to hiding the cries And sharp sips of air from sobbing. I was trying to intuitively calm myself But not finding the support or space to calm down. I was made to feel weird and awkward For my self-soothing efforts. I felt at peace for the very first time. Comfortable with my steadiness of breath and mind. This was my very first time practicing meditation with just this book by Cheri Huber as my guide. Oh, how I craved that feeling. It was an incredible high, I was filled with love and acceptance of who I was on that very day. Looking back, the framework of a Mindful practice had come into focus. I was empowered, Elated that inner peace was truly possible. My meditation practice has evolved since then. I typically listen to guided meditations these days. I have new teachers that I follow: Sharon Salzberg, Hunter Clarke-Fields, Kris Carr to name a few. But it all started with that one book that has brought me to new heights. Clarity, insight, calm and peace are always within my grasp And I am forever grateful.
I accept the ever changing season. The pendulum swings From extreme heat to bitter cold. I accept that among the cosmos The entire planet is smaller than The dot in the letter i I matter. I belong here. I walk the earth gently. I smile upon those I greet On this shared path. I accept that this moment is fleeting. It always is. And then the next. I allow myself to fully accept that which is out of my control. I cannot make the icy wind chill go away Nor stop the tide from crashing onto the shore. And since the earth is but a dot, My comings and goings hardly go noticed And I accept that too. My very existence means the world To my family and friends And that I do not take for granted. When I feel surrounded by love For myself and others I open the window of my heart And let love in. Inspired by: “Close your eyes and open the window of your heart. Only when you have no more need for acceptance will everything you do be accepted.” RUMI
Happiness and confidence Lies in true acceptance. I come alive and feel at peace, No longer adhering to Or following a Well-worn, grooved path. The easy way that is already before me with clear checkpoints and crossing the list off as I go. Is there room for happiness and joy in a path that is not authentically mine? Can I be my true self, Accepting the Beautiful and the ugly? The whole instead of just the Presentable parts? I embody confidence And I don’t waver. I won’t lose myself in the struggle to attain others’ approval or acceptance. It is like Dorothy in Oz. The power to go home (or accept myself) was inside me all along. This path is not always easy: To be a lotus when the world says magnolias are all the rage right now. My joy and My happiness Cannot be swayed to placate And follow the ever-changing Whims of the day.
Each Season has a reason A root cause A call to Mother Earth An honoring of nature’s rhythms. I, too, can play a role in this delicate dance. A celebration with Its own unique beauty Its own story to tell An expression of emotion of life itself. And all the stages One not better than the other All necessary and Interdependent on each other. Humans throughout time Have heard the call and took their rightful place at the helm at Mother Nature’s feet Ruffling her skirts, Smoothing the sheets One role not more prestigious than another. All needed in sharing the honor of her presence. Greeting her at each stage Arms open wide Accepting the gifts and the lessons To make way for Growth and space For it all to take place Together Side by side Hand in hand Guided to her Beauty and sorrow Each day a change to begin anew.
This house of ours It is with love that we share the memories, the appliances and the furniture. We invite our hearts arms open wide. I am yours and you are mine. The furniture may change through the years, Along with the appliances and technology. The love is constant like the walls that shield us from the storms. When I am with you, I know true acceptance. There is no place for shame or blame of past circumstance. All are welcome to embody this place. The walls may hold all the memories: the proposal, the wedding, and contain our growing family as our hearts swell in this shared space. It may feel small at times. When we feel there’s an overabundance of toys and gadgets. There just doesn’t seem to be any free space to just be. It is a manifestation of our abundant love and ability to provide our children with cherished memories, A foundation of that security, A love they can carry with them into their own future houses.
Out of the darkness the dead walk among the living. The veil is thin and ripe. So the line between the two worlds is easily crossed It’s a wonder to see If I open my mind and see what lies before me in the present moment. We dress the part so that the living may take part in the sacred dance to the edges of the horizon and to new shores. Palm in palm we walk in the dark exploring with a flashlight. Will we be surprised at who crosses our path? Will we recognize the familiar behind the mask and the costume? Will we run and tremble with fear? Can I hold the line and be a safe haven for the lonely and the scared? For one day we will have to take the one-way pilgrimage to the other side and follow the well-grooved path to see where it leads. Tonight we pretend that we are walking among what is unreal now made real and tangible. A valley that is easily crossed for those who open their minds and their hearts and accept what lies before them Even through a dark and scary night.
When I discover my true self revealed naked without a mask without culturally accepted clothing that clings to my curves extenuates my breasts and exposes my arms or legs, I am free from what binds me. Although society will try to make me feel foolish embarrassed to even look upon my naked body in the mirror. The glass is never a true reflection but a juxtaposition. Whoever sees their true reflection except those reflected back in the eyes of another? My lover’s desire My culture’s shame How do I let it go to accept me as he does naked and true to himself? Why do I have all these layers to shed before my true self has seen the light of day? Do I even recognize her? What’s in my mind’s eye and reflected back to me in the mirror are two very different things. Can I love the ideal me and the real me? Can I drop the story to be a certain image at all times regardless of what stage of life I happen to be in? The man does not let outside influences interrupt his burning desire to meld into one. His lust and eyes tell me I’m something more than I see. Do I exist as he sees me naked and swaying to incite his excitement? Is that the true me? Or is it the one who breathes deep sighs as the clean sheets spread out neatly tucked around my body and mind relaxes and succumbs to the much-needed rest? To recharge and feel comfort in one’s bed without interruption or distraction. To feel my bones and breath no one to interpret or criticize. It is mine and only mine to claim. In beauty, in rest, in wholeness fully alive. I can be here for just a moment. A night under the moon. She and I are one and dancing with the stars not ashamed of who we are but embodying our true nature. When the black birds take flight in that early twilight, their beating wings do not make a mark across the darkened sky. Their beating hearts in unison as they soar across the moon only then illuminated before being swallowed back into the darkness.
The blackberries the quintessential fruit of summer. On the brink of harvest in the heat of morning sun. They sit patiently an offering. Do I accept the invitation? There is nothing like fresh fruit the burst of flavor on my tongue. The dark stained hands from the fleshy bells. On my chin and darkened my tongue. The fruit is not forbidden or only for the chosen few. Only to those who happen to look up at the sky and notice that there’s more than meets the ordinary eye. There is some effort. I must confess. Before you can savor the reward of your labors. It takes the body to the edge just beyond reach. With added vigor and strength, I can reach what I desire. It is now in my grasp and my body relaxes and breathes. Sighing as I place the dark bell into my mouth. Yes, I’ll save some for later and share the bounty. But right now this is just for me. This moment. This effort. This delicious reverie is mine to savor. So I do. Not caught up in agendas, past stories or future thinking. Just the blackberries The offering and Me the willing recipient. And I am filled with awe and gratitude for the fresh delectable flesh. Just mine. All mine. I touch the tree’s bark and look up in the branches. There is more than enough for everyone. For the birds, the insects, the squirrels and me. All sharing a Thanksgiving feast. The tree accepts all and turns away none. Is generous and sharing to all who visit her and enjoying her gift in her presence is the true gift.
The shadow is my constant companion. We are connected at the “sole.” We are together on this journey called life. My shadow warps and changes shape in response to the light. She may grow as long as a tree or seem to disappear beneath my feet. But nonetheless we are tethered whether I like it or not.
We all have a shadow side. So why do we collectively try to snuff out the darker parts of ourselves? My shadow is forever patient and steady. I may ignore her and go about my day or pretend she’s not there and distract myself from her message. She is ready even when I am not.
What is the light? It’s who I project myself to be. It’s my high points, my bright genius side. I can wrap the light around me like a blanket or hold it close like a soothing cup of tea. I am held in its warm embrace.
But sometimes the light is too much. Blinding even and I fear I will lose my footing on the path. My shadow will always guide me back, shield my eyes, and give me that necessary reprieve to regroup. The shadow is my retreat from the spotlight.
We need both the light and the shadow. We can’t have a shadow side without a lighter one. And we need not fear one and idealize the other. They can both peacefully coexist with equanimity. And we can collectively accept both sides of the same coin, us.