by David Whyte
Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
We have refused
Again and again,
THE BREEZE AT DAWN
The breeze at dawn
Has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask
for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth
Across the doorsill
Where the two worlds touch.
The door is wide and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.
YOUR HISTORY IS HERE INSIDE YOUR BODY
Your history is here, inside your body
Your body is a storehouse
Of learnings, of feelings, thoughts, and experiences
Only waiting to be invited to
Reveal your treasures to yourself.
As you let the learning emerge
And take shape, you can
Appreciate the wisdom of the body
Each cell alive with spirit, emotion and intelligence.
Ready to help you at any moment,
Always with you and for you.
BEYOND RIGHTDOING AND WRONGDOING
Out beyond Ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing,
There is a field.
I will meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
The world is too full to talk about
Ideas, language, even the idea each other
Doesn’t make any sense
There is a community of the spirit
Join it, and feel the delight
Of walking in the noisy street
And being the noise.
Drink all your passion
And be a disgrace.
Close both eyes to see with the other eye.
THE PEACE OF WILD THOUGHT (excerpt from)
by Wendell Barry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For the time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
LOVE AFTER LOVE
by Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door,
in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
by Roger Keyes
Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing .
He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing, you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself as long as it is interesting.
He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.
He says every one of us is a child,
every one of us is ancient , every one of us
has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find a way to live with fear.
He says everything is alive –
shells, buildings, people, fish, mountains, trees,
wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.
He says it doesn’t matter if you draw, or write books.
It doesn’t matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.
Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength is life living through you.
He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.
Look, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.
Let The Beauty We Love Be What We Do
Today like every other day
We wake up empty and scared.
Don’t open the door of your study
And begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do
There are a hundred ways to kneel
And kiss the ground.
THE GUEST HOUSE
This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you
out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
by Mary Oliver
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
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
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.
I see or hear
that more or less
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack of light.
It was what I was born for –
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant –
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these –
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?
The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-the one who the one who has flung
herself out of the grass, the
one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
Poem by Lama Gendun Rimpoche
Happiness is not to be found with many efforts or will, but is here, nearby, in your relaxing and surrendering.
Don’t worry, there is nothing to be done.
Everything that comes up to your mind has no importance because it has no reality.
Don’t conceive any attachment for it.
Don’t judge yourself.
Let it be.
Let it come up and down without changing a thing.
It all vanishes and begins again, endlessly.
Nothing but the quest for happiness prevents us from seeing it.
It is like a rainbow that one is always chasing without ever reaching it.
It is because it has no existence. It has always been here and goes with you all the time.
Don’t believe in the reality of experiences, good or bad.
They are like rainbows.
Because we want to grasp what is not to be grasped,
We exhaust our strength in vain.
As soon as we relinquish our hold, space is here, open, welcoming & comfortable.
So, do enjoy it.
Everything is yours already.
Don’t go into the jungle to look for the elephant that is quietly waiting for you at home.
There is nothing to do.
There is nothing to force.
There is nothing to desire.
And all comes by itself.
Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere.
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior within
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe.
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.
Each condition I flee from pursues me.
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.