The Journey by: Mary Oliver

Just wanted to share one of my favorite poems =)

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began, 

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice-

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen 

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do-

determined to save

the only life you could save.

The Silence

Here’s a little something I was inspired to write while I was in my first month-long silent retreat. Please take it with a grain of salt and allow yourselves to be humored by this person’s attempt at lyrical writing. Lol.

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The silence helps me

be more aware of the quality of my thoughts.

The silence helps me

be more aware of the workings of the ego.

The silence helps me

in training the mind towards the stillpoint.

The silence helps me

cultivate emptiness.

The silence helps me

see AS IS.

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-CHANGES

In my years of practice, so many changes have occurred. I am no longer the same person I was when I first started on this path. The unfolding continue to happen at different levels – physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically, instinctually, intuitively. There are good days and there are bad days, and all I can say is, IT’S ALL GOOD.

As David Bowie wrote…

I still don’t know what I was waiting for

And my time was running wild

A million dead-end streets

And every time I thought I’d got it made

It seemed the taste was not so sweet

So I turned myself to face me

But I’ve never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see this faker

I’m much too fast to take that test

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange)

Ch-ch-Changes

Don’t want to be a richer man

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange)

Ch-ch-Changes

Just gonna have to be a better man

Time may change me

But I can’t trace time

I watch the ripples change their size

But never leave the stream

Of warm impermanence and

So the days float through my eyes

But still the days seem the same

And these children that you spit on

As they try to change their worlds

Are immune to your consultations

They’re quite aware of what they’re going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange)

Ch-ch-Changes

Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange)

Ch-ch-Changes

Where’s your shame

You’ve left us up to our necks in it

Time may change me

But you can’t trace time

Strange fascination, fascinating me

Changes are taking the pace

I’m going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange)

Ch-ch-Changes

Oh, look out you rock ‘n rollers

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange)

Ch-ch-Changes

Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older

Time may change me

But I can’t trace time

I said that time may change me

But I can’t trace time

Isn’t he the coolest? Let’s sing it. =)

Renunciation

I would like to share this poem that resonated deeply when I first heard it (while in savasana) at the Being Dharma retreat. It’s written by Jennifer Welwood, a psychotherapist and spiritual practitioner who I look forward to learning from one of these days.

RENUNCIATION

There will always be voices that promise you greatness and glory:

They call out from the worldly marketplace;

They call out from the spiritual marketplace;

They call out from the fill-your-holes-marketplace;

They call out from the bigger-better-more marketplace.

Do not buy their false promises, or purchase their ephemeral wares;

What fulfills for a moment is not worth the price of your soul.

There are heights that will lift you, but not when you try to ascend them;

There are powers that will fill you, but not when you make them your own.

There are treasures, and there are imitations of treasures.

If you have lost your true gold, at least turn away from the glitter.

Want only what is true.

This will lead you to the well of your deepest sorrows.

Follow that passageway, all the way down;

Become the dark emptiness of your absent core.

Be still. Don’t measure the waiting.

Be still. Let the waiting become a fire.

Be still. Let the fire show you its secret heart:

A strand of clear light running through you.

Gather yourself there, and the luminous universe opens.

In that vast expanse, fathomless, infinite ocean of light,

Lose yourself, and find yourself, and become what you already are.

© Jennifer Welwood