on meditation: 2 poems

I recently spent 5 nights at the magical Vallecitos Mountain Ranch participating in an intensive silent meditation retreat for teachers. Wow! More on this to come…

But for now I wanted to share two poems inspired by my time there.

“Suspension”

the mind is a child swinging

at birth of motion

legs pump furiously to take flight

lifted by the wind of joy skyward

after the initial peak

legs extend and point to another world

then retract back beneath

falling into gravity’s arms

up and

down, back and

forth, lengthen and

folding, inhale and

exhale, ebb and

flow, rise and

fall, sunlight and

shadow, swelling and

subsiding, expansion and

contraction

a never-ending dance in the air,

within every ark there exists an “and”

a whisper of a moment at the zenith

a magical suspension of being

where the seat floats off the leather bottom

golden braids freeze in sky

time stops to catch its breath

it is the absence of movement

a paradox of weightlessness

breathtakingly beautiful

heartbeatingly alive

achingly brief

overwhelmingly present

Meditation lives in that moment.

*****

“The Fly: Two Sits”

~1~

inhale presence

exhale presence

crap, I hear a fly buzzing

how gross, but stay in the moment

inhale presence

exhale presence

I hope he doesn’t land on me

who knows where he’s been

last night there was one all over the food

whose idea was it to eat outside anyway?

talk about unsanitary

on our last camping trip,

I couldn’t even eat the corn because there were so many bugs floating around

shoot, I forgot to get corn at the store

I’ll have to go there on the way home

let’s see, what else do I need?

sour cream, eggs, bread, cilantro, and one more thing, what is it,

oh yeah, a fly swatter

shoot I’m supposed to be focused

~2~

inhale presence

exhale presence

crap, I hear a fly buzzing

there is room for that,

too

inhale presence

exhale presence

there is room for that,

too

inhale presence

exhale presence

14 years and counting

Today marks 14 years of wedded bliss marriage for Dave and I. In all honesty, there were many times in our relationship I didn’t think we’d make it. But I am grateful that here we are, together. When I think about the “how,” I am drawn to the insights of expectation, communication, adventure, and independence.

  • Expectation. If “comparison is the thief of joy,” then expectation is the nuclear bomb decimating a marital landscape. Early on in our marriage, we spent the majority of our time together trying to fit into some preconceived mold of a godly marriage. Me: domestic goddess, children maker, quiet and humble, meek and submissive, the puppy dog following the master. Dave: manly man, leader extraordinaire and money maker, choice taker and future determiner, calculating and decisive. (I may be exaggerating, but sadly not by much.) It doesn’t work…because it was not who we were. It is not who we are. And living an inauthentic life alone is difficult enough, much less with another person also faking it. We have learned that the minute “should” enters into the conversation (“we should be doing x; we should have y; we should look like z”), trouble breweth.
  • Adventure. We left the midwest for a lifestyle that drew us…a life of adventure. From naps during afternoon thunderstorms to reading lazily in porch swings to traveling near and far to climbing mountains to yoga to petting wolves to brewery tours to nights in a tent to feet in a stream to identifying wildflowers and birds to shared goals of running in all 50 states. We adventure big. We adventure small. We adventure together.
  • Independence. We also adventure independently. I have traveled to Puebla and London. Dave backpacks alone in a wilderness. Dave plays his guitar. I write. Despite the plethora of shared interests between my best friend and I, what keeps us interesting is our individual commitments to our private selves.
  • Communication. Dave and I make a lot of mistakes and have some issues with which we perpetually contend. However, what I am most grateful for is that we talk about them. All of them. All of the time. Nothing is off the conversation table. We openly and freely and deeply talk about politics, sex, finances, fears, regrets, work, what-ifs, frustrations, pet peeves, attractions, dirty jokes and divine mysteries. And above all else, this has saved us. It is the key to identifying and working through expectations. It is the key to fighting fairly. It is the key to moving forward. It is the key to feeling safe and connected. It is the key to adventures together and apart. Communication. Is. Everything.

To Dave, the one I get to live this glorious life with, happy anniversary. I love you.

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on energy: weapons of mass destruction

I recognize that the minute the word energy enters a conversation, visceral reactions will rise: images of granola-eating-gurus, feelings of heebie jeebies, and slippery concepts like “consciousness” and “law of attraction” and “universe.”

I used to be that person.

Maybe I still I am that person.

But…as I find myself changing the way I view myself and the world around me and the God above (?) me, I cannot help but come back to that word: energy.

I have always believed in the power of language, but that confidence is grounded in the inadequacies of language to fully capture that which matters. When I say I love Dave, that word doesn’t capture the beautiful complexity inherent in our 14 years of marriage. When I used the term Daddy, that did not fully capture all my dad was as a man, husband, and father. And this disconnect between term and essence is all over our current headlines: how can tiny little pronouns like he or she really capture all that is in a full person?

And how much more so with God. How can God be bound by gender? How can God be bound by place? How can God be bound by belief? How can God be neatly wrapped up in letters and bow-tied with punctuation?

He can’t. She can’t. It can’t. I Am can’t.

I Am won’t.

And this is why I come back to energy. In science I learn it. In yoga I feel it. I life I live it.

God is the Epicenter and Origin and Destination of Energy.

And this profound thought intensifies with the knowledge that I am created likewise. There is a weight to what energy I put into the world. There is gravity to what energy we put into the world.

Which brings me to Orlando.

Reflected in the mirrored pieces of our shattered humanity, I recognize that Orlando did not occur because of guns or ISIS or insanity.

Rather the energy of hate compounded into senseless tragedy.  At Pulse nightclub, it was catastrophic. 49 lives lost on the bloody altar of hate. Ripples of mourning and loss and sorrow extend infinitely beyond that number.

But the energy of hate that led to that wasn’t singular. The hate between political parties. The hate among forms of Christianity. The hate between genders. The hate among sexual preferences. From gun owners to gun shunners, Southern “bless their hearts” to pulpit declarations of “for the Lord.”

Body-shaming. Mother-shaming. Zoo-shaming. Teacher-shaming. Sex-shaming.

Hate is rampant in our culture. And the worst part of it is that so many of us are self-justified in our hate.

I think about the little seeds of hate in my heart:

  • Lack of grace and patience for people not like me.
  • Bitterness and anger against those that have hurt me this year.
  • The refusal to boldly declare “I forgive you” to Dave’s apologies.
  • My acute anti-Trump, anti-Republican position.
  • My snap judgments of people, criticisms drenched in arrogance.
  • Internal eye-rolling at parents who let their kids out of their sight or annoying tourists on their phones.

Would I ever take a gun into a nightclub and decimate lives worthy of love?

No.

But aren’t my little seeds of hate invisible bullets of energy that slowly corrode peace?

Yes.

When I heard about Orlando, we were enjoying all the sunny delights of Cancun. But even there, I could not stop thinking about the short book of 1 John:

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light…Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer…love is from God…God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him…If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen…

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer.

Not literally. At least not for everyone. But hate is an energy that threatens life and light and peace and hope and unity.

Hate turns “my brother” into “the other.” And living in a world of “the other” frees up warrant to hurt with weapons of mass destruction: energy. And as with the law of inertia, once energy is moving towards negativity, it will continue to do so.

Right into a nightclub of innocent victims.

And so I come back to this idea of making peace, not just praying for peace. What I do in the privacy of my own heart and home affects not only those nearest to me, but also the world. With what energy am I engaging? How do I close down my own mind’s gun shop, stacked with invisible bullets of hate?

Hate stops with me and my energy adjustments.

Love starts with me and my energy contributions.

Can you imagine a world full of individuals who did not just tweet condolences, but changed mindsets? A world bound by conversation instead of criticism? A world networked by threads of questions rather than accusations? A world rooted in common ground rather than straddling fault lines? A world of “and” instead of “versus”?

Hate stops with you and your energy adjustments.

Love starts with you and your energy contributions.


 

 

 

 

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