Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

Have you ever been on a tiny airplane?  They ask you for your baggage before you step off the ramp because well, there just isn’t room for the people on board, let alone all of our baggage…

Imagine sitting, cramped up, afraid to move and even if you weren’t afraid, you have the realization (or the fear) that there is just no where to go.

Sometimes we have this feeling when we are on the cushion.

We are in our hearts or in our minds and everything feels dark, small, and cluttered.  We lose sight of the great spaciousness of the sky that dwells within us.

We don’t have to travel to far away lands to be in touch with this openness.  It is right here within us.

So many of the teachers talk about this… they may call it the luminous sky, or…

I can’t say I have spent a lifetime in this place, or even a good chunk of an afternoon, but there are precious glimpses that I have seen.  And they are usually quite ordinary and extraordinary all in one moment.

For me, being present to the weather, to music… evocative things, helps me catch these glimpses.  I remember moments sitting and writing poetry at Radnor Lake in Nashville, TN, not too far from my mentor’s home, when a southern rain would come through, shake the very earth I sat on.  It was always so magical.

And just as soon and swift as the storm had come, it left.  Just like our thoughts when we pay light attention to them.  I try to remember this because there everything in our life comes and goes like these magnificent storms.

We may experience the closed-off-ed-ness and when we can sit with it, we realize that it  may only last a moment.  What keeps us in that cramped, dark space is the storyline we tell ourselves about it. . .

that it won’t ever change.

that it’s the worst feeling in the world.

that it is utterly lonely.

And yet if we can hold our focus, be present, and face what it is that we are experiencing in any moment, we soon discover that there is space between those thoughts.  There is a vastness in between our moment to moment experience, we’ve just been too busy to touch it and to light there for awhile.

But it is in these moments that we find not only the present moment but it is in these moments that we also meet our true freedom from the cramped, dark worlds, the attics filled with cobwebs from our inattention.

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Image by Barnaby via Flickr

I feel recharged again… my words had slipped away and I was unfocused… tripped up in some headiness that need not have been… taken down some roads that were less travelled for reasons…  but I’m away and being out of one’s average everdayness can do so much to shake the cobwebs out.  So can being in the company of incredible souls!  If you don’t have some sort of practice to get ourself out of your daily grind, your habitual world, find one…. create a space that allows for magic, re-creating, and celebrating… For I have learned over the past two weeks how crucial it is so I pass that lesson on to you.

I’ve been scanning a book tonight, Being Mindful, Easing Suffering, by Christopher Johns, a palliative care nurse.  In part one of his book, he talks about the importance of journal writing and really, his book is just that… his journal writing through his experiences…

This is one of the few regrets that I have from the experience of companioning my brother through his living with dying.  I was 25 and had no idea how these events would shape my life, my career, and benefit other people.  Next month it will be 17 yrs… people who were there are no longer here.  Some of the people who had “bear witness” to our tragic blessing can no longer verify timelines, stories, fill in the blanks, etc.  Things don’t still have the same emotional punch.  Little things have lost their meaning in the span of time and healing that has since taken place.

If I had to do anything over again it would be to write and write and write.  Now one thing that I did do was to write my best friend (at the time) at least once a week and I’m sure the letters chronicle that time.  Who knows if she has them after all these years.  I really don’t even have this friendship anymore so in a sense, that’s all lost.  I also wrote poetry, good/bad/indifferent, life seemed to make more sense through poetry than it did through journal writing…  And I have learned that no one is in your life for your whole life.. not family, not best friends, no partners, not children…. why not create some sort of footprint for their presence in your life?

I would encourage you to write and write and write and throw nothing away.  Or take photos.  Or write music.  Or paint.  Or whatever you need to do to have a record of your journey with grieving, with living with an illness, etc.  It is powerful for yourself and if you are brave and can share, our narratives and images of our world in any given moment are extra-ordinarily powerful.

If you were smarter than I was and have things that you’d feel comfortable sharing, please feel free to leave comments, links, etc.  I’d love to hold space here to honor your wisdom.

Peace,  Jennifer

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