Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Loving Jane...

When I think of Jane Kenyon and why I love her so much, though I have only discovered this since she has been gone from the Earth, I am not entirely sure. It seems it would have to do with her language, with the utter purity of her images and the sweet, hymnal intonations of her verse. Of course I first loved her language. What else have I to go on?

I never met her and have only ever corresponded with her husband, who forgives me the fact that his poetry is not my favorite because he knows that the poet whose work holds that position of favor is his late wife. Jane died at 44 when her husband was 66. Now, at 85, he writes back to me in all graciousness, though he is weary and must receive a great deal of mail from people such as myself, wondering about his great art, his great success and, like me, his fabulous wife of 23 years.

Today I read A Hundred White Daffodils and even while I try to read slowly, savor each delectable syllable, I am aware of the dwindling number of Jane's works that remain to be read by me. I will have to start again, from the top, when that happens. For now, I am at a church fair or in a garden. I climb Mount Washington and take the train down--or not.

I am with Jane and it is as if the two years that remain between this moment and the moment I turn 44, her age at her death, are all I have of her. It is a bit eerie to think like this, and I try to understand the source of such a sense, but it is lost in some notion of time and poetry and in an image of wild geese against blue sky.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

From Fear to Affirmation...

"If you do not come too close,
If you do not come too close..." --T.S. Eliot

There is fear here. I am reminded that fear is perhaps the polar opposite of all things edifying. It is crippling. It obscures and hinders. I will not move with fear directing my course.

I still believe in karma. I still believe that if my intention is perfect, good will come of what I do. Good will come of what I create and what I share--and I will reap the rewards of seeds sown in love and beneficence.

Abundance is mine. I open my hands to receive it, while at the same time opening my heart to my purpose. To giving what I can give. To being the thing I was born on this planet to be. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

All I Ever Wanted

I look around me, and I realize that I have everything I have ever wanted. It's not at all in the shape I might have imagined (how could I have conceived of this exact thing?), but it's all here. I can always find something to complain about--it's the special propensity of humans, I think--but why? If I look too far forward, there is fear, I must admit. But again--why?

All is provided for today, in this moment, by our perfect intention and our efforts to manifest them in the world and in our lives. By the Divine in us, if you will--what is perfect and light in our imperfect selves. By God, quite simply, though that particular name had begun to feel foreign on my tongue.

In my heart I know that I cannot agree with Confucius when he says that nothing exists until it is named. As a poet, of course, I like the idea, but as a human, a spiritual seeker, I have to admit that my knowing speaks to me of the most profound truth: that which I have called God, Spirit, the Divine, Creator, Source--it (she?) existed long before I spoke the syllables, pushed them around, swapped them out for one another.

Furthermore, that entity, that Perfection, is constant and unaffected by my choice of nomenclature. I live inside of the Divine, and the Divine inside of me. In my best moments, I move according to her voice. Thank you. Thank you. God. Source. Brahma. I am whole. Life is good. In that light I grow, full of gratitude.

When I get impatient to see the fruits of my labor, when I fear that my belief in "good karma" is rather a misguided kind of idealism, I remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence." And so I continue to do what I do. I love up my sons, share in their nurturing with my husband. I keep writing. I keep teaching. Keep sharing what I can with those who want what I have to give. Keep looking for the light in every person, believing it's there no matter how deeply buried. Keep hoping to learn, because I know that every single individual I encounter has something to teach me. What else can we do but keep on doing these things?

"So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up." --Galations 6:9. Indeed. No 'misguided idealism' here. Just truth. And a reminder to be patient. A reminder to have faith in what I am up to in this life.

Thank you Daily Word for pairing this MLK quote with this verse from the Old Testament Bible. Perfect wisdom for me today. Namaste.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

To the Woman Who Abused Me on the Phone the Other Night...

Thank you. You opened the door a hair, a crack, and you let the light in. You showed me that I am stronger than I thought. It matters not at all that I cried for some time afterward. It was not for the insults that I cried. Not for believing there was any truth in what you said. Those tears were for cruelty in general--the way people try to hurt one another sometimes. The way it's from hurt itself that such hurting usually issues. Perhaps next time my tears will even be for you, dear woman, tears born purely of my compassion. For now, I let them be nonspecific.

You showed me that, to a greater extent than I thought possible, my ego has dissolved. I know this because no desire for retaliation grew in my heart as you abused me, made convoluted accusations and denied me. I only recognized the fruitlessness of my efforts to communicate and to understand, and I was calm enough to end it. Though you seemed to hold out to me a vehicle for manifesting something I deeply wanted, I ended it. Somehow there was clarity and peacefulness in saying no. And goodbye. I even said "thank you"--twice--hardly knowing the source of my gratitude.

Now I can see clearly the liberation of it all--the moral victory contained in not responding to your attack. But more importantly I see that I have become more powerful than I was before. I was full of grace in that moment. Full of light. Mary would be proud of me. I am proud of me. That I chose not to grasp. That what I heard, I did not receive with my ego and interpret as a reflection of myself. I heard it for what it was: a reflection of someone with whom, for whatever reason, I was not going to be able to connect. Someone who, in spite of my best efforts, was not going to see me.

"Thank you," I said again, voice soft, gentle. And, "Goodbye."

Thursday, January 2, 2014

What I Have to Say to Me

"How do I know what I think until I see what I say?" --E.M. Forster

I decide to "see what I say." I sit down to write. My dog sits, too. I settle into an easy, meditative breath and be still. I know my gypsy heart resists even this moment of stillness. Even this level of stasis. 

In life I commit, at intervals, to putting down roots. I believe it is what my children need. What they want. I believe it is "should." There are times my heart feels it will implode, times that tears surge from somewhere deep within and unknown but unbelievably powerful.

"Eight years is not so long," I say with an out-breath. "I have created this way of learning, this way to grow into a more content, less restless version of myself." Even as I say them, I know these are labels I have learned and which represent societal expectations. But they also represent a belief I hold, or else why would I say them? And then it happens. I speak to me:

This impulse--it doesn't arrive out of discontent. It ends up getting expressed like that sometimes, but that is not its source. The source is a wildness that is utterly pure. A wildness that drives me toward the new, the vibrant, the alive. 

This routine thing--I cannot love it. I will do it. I will do it well. In order to sustain a life I have offered to my sons. But I will not be ashamed of the impulse to go. To fly. To see and know things other.

I don't expect to pass this way again--or if I do, I don't think I will remember this time around. I want to see and know every beautiful thing--every real thing. And I want to do it all with this family I have made with the man I love.

**Inertia for Kindle is FREE TODAY ONLY on Amazon. Click here to get your copy in an instant! HAPPY 2014!