Everything is Changing

img_1757Oh Pema…you always know exactly what to say and when to say it.

“Come back to square one, just the minimum bare bones. Relaxing with the present moment, relaxing with hopelessness, relaxing with death, not resisting the fact that things end, that things pass, that things have no lasting substance, that everything is changing all the time—that is the basic message.”

– Pema Chodron

When Things Fall Apart – Heart Advice for Difficult Times, 1997 Shambhala Publications

Coming Home Again

img_1723Just when I think the last wave has receded and maybe there won’t be another

When it seems I’ve regained my balance and am once again standing on solid ground

Another one comes crashing in

Bringing with it more tears

Of anguish, loss and regret

An ache, a longing deep in my heart

For something that was here

But is now gone.

And questions, so many questions!

Who am I without this thing

Do I still have value

Do I still matter

What will I do

How will I know

Will someone tell me

Please tell me!

Worn out by the frenzied search for answers

Left with no choice but to feel what is here in this body

There comes a tender, gentle knowing

That this is where I belong

I am home

I am this tender, gentle, soft, aching, loving heart.

Seeing with my heart

The heaviness of sleep lingers in my head and my limbs

Making it feel impossible to move even as far as my meditation cushion much less beyond the front door

The uplifting rhythm of morning chants proves irresistible

The words of proclamation, intention and celebration

As lifegiving as my own breath

Before I know it my attention is being drawn to the damp chill of February air against my face

And the crunching sound my boots make with each step in the still falling wet snow

The tender knot in my neck and shoulder a reminder that I am still carrying the burden of weeks old hurt and anger

My throat tightens around sounds that I realize are coming from images flashing on a screen

That  only I can see

Images that dissolve when I  am distracted from the script of I, Me and Mine

By the snowflake that flutters softly against my eyelash before falling to my cheek

Where it melts and mixes with tears

Just as the hard ache in my chest begins to soften and yield

Under the caring gentle warmth of my gaze

And I am once again able to see with my heart

The soft beauty of a pine cone nestled beaneath a blanket of snowflakes that seem to come alive with color as they reflect the sun’s rays

A leaf delicate with age yet no less beautiful

A rock upon which the snow has arranged itself into the shape of a dog

And your heart, as open and tender and easily broken as my own.

What If…

img_1454What if what I see is not what is really there?

What if there is more to it, or less?

What if the label I put on something says more about me than what I am labelling?

What if I didn’t label it at all?

What if I just let it be as it is?

What if knowing is born in that space?

The Ache

tree-heart-snowIt’s back.

Tight. Squeezing. Dark.

Burning.

A thundering reverberation

Of emotions

That threatens to overwhelm

Perhaps annihilate

As it crashes against every cell

Wave after suffocating wave.

Staying.

Wordlessly.

Until, bereft of energy,

It and I begin to recede.

Then a quivering softness

A tender broken openness

Arising and gently embracing

Inner and outer

Self and other.

 

 

Heart and Now

ice-sculptureDissatisfied, restless and unsettled

Lost in what used to be

Grasping at what should have been

Forgetting that contentment is always right here

Relaxing into what is

Trusting in the aliveness of each breath

Feeling the ache

Touching the possibility

Remembering that nothing needs to be fixed

In this heart

In this now.

Remembering

empty-branches-sunrise

I go to this spot every morning to sit and to walk
It’s the one place and the one time that I am able to remember everything that I have forgotten since the last time.
Today’s fiery orange, pearly blue-grey
Is yesterday’s wet cotton candy and military-steel.
The trees that seem burdened this morning
Yesterday stood tall and strong.
The cold dampness underfoot, soaking through my shoes and biting at my knuckles this morning
Where just a few hours ago my moss-covered rock was dry, leaves dancing around it in a warmer gentler breeze.
The same. But different.
In ways that these eyes and ears cannot see or hear.
So too the collection of concepts and preferences That I call me
Tender, gentle, precise, intuitive, delightful
Scared, confused, unkind and demanding
That which seems so solid begins to shift, and shimmer, slipping through my fingers, even as I try to grasp it and name it.
I laugh as I lean close enough to learn it all again.