A coyote cuts across the foggy highway a life held inside indecision, a moment's hesitation could be a violent end of everything all at once Sulfurous air that once shrouded out the sun a sudden impact that swallowed the earth in many decades of dark, lifeless winter Time has a way of emphasizing the absurdity of right and wrong when final outcomes are impossible to predict Half the suffering I've known has been an inner upheaval of moral outrage resistance to the evils of this world My stormy turmoil subsides if only I can learn to surrender all judgement and accept my place as a humble passenger Who am I to hold dominion over the way life is supposed to unfold? I prefer the role of patient witness anyway To watch with curious eyes and an open heart ready to embrace all of life with equanimity a grateful submission to existence beyond understanding To play my small part with a soft hand extending a gentle, hopeful intention of pure love prepared to let go of any and all expectations Tender feet along the balustrade, balancing between engagement and surrender too often falling into indignation and anger The perpetual repetition of life can be tedious but it offers endless chances to keep trying precious lessons linger behind a door that is always open Every failure is an opportunity to find grace there is no permanence, perfection, or wasted effort everything is as it should be, everything is as it should be
Waking to the sound of rain a song of rest outside my window sanctuary of subdued sunshine a signal to soften and slow down Dewey refuge from frantic movement rejuvenation released from the sky deflating this bloated baggage of worry replaced with soothing streams of surrender Tender tones of grey and blue wrapping me in sacred stillness permission to let go and listen the soft drumbeat of water on leaves Muffled birdsongs through the mist relentless ethereal cadence of crickets full bodied accompaniment to life's chorus syncopated splashes contributed by clouds Damp doves drying in tree branches the whole world holding it's breath absorbing this gift of liquid life relinquished awe-inspiring cycle of earth's abundance Savoring the simple gifts of nature the last few decades of clean water overcome with sheer gratitude for deep exhales punctuated by raindrops
Raincloud of relief the sky opening like my heart to soak in the cool tranquil, feeling of overwhelming gratitude I am exactly where I need to be I don't need to change my surroundings to bloom into my highest self the fertile soil of love surrounds me Utter bliss, staring out past the rolling fields and softly drifting cloud formations of home there is no future to fear, there is only right now and I am so happy and filled with peace and purpose Nothing can strip me of this joy the essence of my soul revealed no longer burdened by the looming pressure to sacrifice what I hold so dear Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for this perfect, though impermanent gift all fear has fled from the recesses of my heart I've made the right decision
I turn away from the world to savor the last few moments of peace
The warm, thick water at the edge of the river guides me along the texture of the rocky shore the soft rhythm of the waves against my bare legs and feet sand sticks to me as I reemerge through the trees along the road the humid air clings to my lungs in an oppressive cloud of heat storms slowly accumulating above the distant horizon ripe black raspberries beckon from the wild hillside bramble the heat is dissolved by cool droplets as I begin to collect my bounty enjoying my palmful of sweet fruit letting the rain soak my hair and paint dewy beads against my skin the swell of sweet music in my ears I laugh at the sheer delight of being alive overcome by gratitude for all my senses overwhelmed with love for this world savoring the childlike joy of simplicity each present moment can be populated with precious miracles like these may my mind remain still to witness my heart always open, ready to receive
Yesterday I felt abundant because I was handed a ball of unexpected money. How blessed I felt by the universe for the arrival of a few marked bills. My heart rejoiced at my well-deserved reward. Then the same day, my refrigerator broke. I saw my small surprise fortune plummet back into the red. $300 is not enough to buy a new fridge. What a cruel joke! What had I done wrong in the time between this radiant morning and this evening so thick with humidity? I felt all the safety and abundance stripped away from me in an instant. I had not even gotten to enjoy it for a full day. I was frantic, frightened, confused.
I called my mother in a hysterical state, as I had done many times in my short life. She was calm and walked me through the options I had. She waited with me as we tried to unplug it and plug it back in. No luck. She advised me to call my grandmother who lives just minutes away and see what I could bring to her house and to try to freeze or forfeit everything else. At first I was inconsolable. I apologized to her for always putting her in the position to fix things for me when I knew she couldn’t truly do anything. I thanked her, told her I loved her, called my grandma, and started my unfortunate late-night work.
As I opened the door to see my grandma’s smiling face, we laughed as I handed her half a watermelon and a huge container of freshly made soup. She made space for me. Both she and my mother made space for my overblown emotion just as they always had. They provided me a safe place to land with level-headedness and love. I gave my grandma a hug and felt better. I stayed and talked for an hour or so before leaving to let her get to bed. I told them both I would let them know how things were in the morning.
I returned home to my lovely house, my darling fur children, and my soft pillow. I read a little bit of Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Peace is Every Step. I realized that I had been so wrong. The abundance of the morning had not been taken away. It had been redoubled. My true wealth was revealed in the night. Abundance is not a stack of bills given to us by a generous student. Abundance is a broken fridge. Abundance is the outstretched hands of those we love, offering us refuge in hard times. Abundance is family, community, and compassion. It is these things that are my true gift. I am so grateful.
Stepping back taking a moment to savor and celebrate the seemingly small but utterly transformative changes I have made Silencing the voice in my head that says not good enough long enough to recognize that at least now I can hear it I cannot ask for more in this very moment than the subtle awareness I've taken years to cultivate the bliss that breaks over me as I reflect on my progress The first step has been achieved I've made the space to witness chain reactions that were once overwhelmingly automatic I watch them with interest and deep curiosity I cannot always stop myself but just to see is a greater gift than I've ever expected to receive knowing what I need to do visualizing the path to peace is more than I had before I cannot expect to rush this process of compassion, patience, and healing I have a lifetime to play with, ponder, and polish this gentle, loving practice as it continues to unravel and reveal new complexities and insights each day I am so excited to see where this ancient knowledge of spiritual wellness will lead me as I stumble faithfully forward into my own mysterious future my heart overflows with gratitude for the lessons I have gathered So thankful for the wisdom passed down from strangers in foreign lands and long forgotten times for the outstretched hands of spirits guiding me from beyond the grave I will not squander their selfless generosity I will make my ancestors proud as I continue onward through the unknown with a recklessly radiant open heart and the fervent intention to heal not only myself, but the wounds left open by those who came before
The sky opens up and so does my aching heart letting peace pour in
I used to feel my peace plucked away by random passersby pulled through my fingers like sand toward the irresistible call of earth's gravity Wind knocked from my lungs helpless and gasping on the ground a tender sapling in the torrent of a storm the vulnerable victim of a violent world crying out for some control I'm still learning to accept that although sudden sparks of suffering will inevitable steal a moment's joy I often choose to surrender much more than a moment The initial burn cannot be helped but touching the wound is my choice I'm the one who must decide to heal to move on rather than ruminate to avoid the formation of scars I hold myself over the flame of injustice for days, for months, for years a martyr of my own misunderstanding holding on to my suffering like a hot coal My peace cannot be taken from me it is a seedling inside my heart I must choose to turn forever towards the sun to learn to find it behind overcast skies constantly clearing away the weeds Control isn't something to be captured or to exert over the rest of the world a container to hide ourselves away from hurt control is a slow, subtle cultivation of comfort inside uncertainty
My heart sings for small towns not for the crumbling, faded houses or the hollow eyes that inhabit them but for the spaces in between humanity the thick undergrowth of untouched hillsides the silence that surrounds you as you emerge at the street's abrupt end winding roads turning to dust as they weave through valleys and stitch the mountains together no turns in sight as you faithfully follow for miles to a singular destination in the distant country, past oceans made of tall grasses and grazing cattle where the open sky is unhindered by smog and skyscrapers and you can feel yourself shrinking beneath the infinity of distant stars or cradled by the buoyant brushstrokes of soft clouds in an endless canvas of blue swallowed up, dissolved, and made whole again all at once I've always found safety in the subtle symphony of places far away from people the silent prayer of bare feet against the warm earth sunlight filtered through gently rustling leaves the tender cadence of countless other lives swelling and saturating every cell of my being bowing down in reverence to this ancient rhythm Separation from source is the truest form of suffering caged inside the arrogant design of human kind cut off from the wind and light set aside to sit in sterile cells tangled up in selfish isolation eating ourselves alive No, I'd rather wade into the cool embrace the filthy, glistening grandeur of the river memorize the ever changing melody of chirping birds and tiny insects the healing buzz of their constant vibration lapping at the shores of my truest self reminding me of my part in the song