Grok

Where are you, Beloved?

Do not strip her naked
Piece by piece
In weights and measures.
The magic of her pulse is not found in your instrument.

Put a flower in her hair, and petals at her feet.
Sing to her. Serenade her.
Close your eyes and she will dance for you, in all her goodness.

Only then will you know her curves and angles
Quite outside the hungry intellect and impulses,
You will know her softness.

For her fullness is found not in the answer
But in the Question.

“Try to love the questions themselves… Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them…Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day in the answer.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke

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Harvest

What is this beauty in the world? This violence?
This longing of my own flaming heart, the diamond desires of my lucent bones?
The breath in my lungs whispers to me. Up and down, in and out. Secrets.
Listen too hard, grasp and grope, and She is gone.
For her strength is a mighty and shy exhalation.

Can we explain the blooming of a rose?
The swirling flight of a million bats?
The depths of a dripping cavern?
The jagged mountains soothed by swollen rivers?

Let down your shoulders, your hair, your guard, your answers.
Surrender to the sweet tortures inside you, to the blossoming tenderness,
To the congealing of movements gathered along the way.

Like flowers in a basket, weave them into your essence.
A braid of daisies, a crown of lilies, a necklace of jeweled honeysuckle.
Fall into her soft, sweet grasses
And cry and sing softly in her seduction.

 

“Try to love the questions themselves… Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them…Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day in the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

Flash Point

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There is a television show that my children adore, called The Flash, about a super-speedy-super-hero named…drumroll please… The Flash. I like to call it a super hero soap opera, with implied violence and romance. It’s quite entertaining. We’ve watched every episode. Several times.

In this show, there is a phenomenon called Flash Point. It occurs when our hero, The Flash, runs so fast that he literally runs backward in time, and is then able to tweak events. Change things. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse; he grows in wisdom and prudence as he makes a few mistakes and tries to correct them. However, the original timeline, whether he intervenes in a moment of his own inner strength or weakness, is forever changed. He may return to the present timeline and find someone who had been alive is now dead, or find that a couple who’d had a baby boy now have a baby girl, all sorts of changes. He evens saves the earth once, through the use of Flash Point.

The Flash Point intrigued me. I realized, our lives are full of such Flash Points, chock full to the brim with them actually. Moments where little things; seemingly unimportant, superfluous, or even risky enter our minds. Or, on the other hand, our minds are so cluttered with worry and brooding and desire that we miss these sweet whisperings altogether. But even if we miss it, the Flash Point is there.

We non-meta-humans, unable to race back in time and change past events, are limited to the present moment; to notice and act upon these Flash Points in front of us. Right here, right now.

So, what is a Flash Point? Ah. The better question is, what is your Flash Point? A very personal question, unique to you and the life you’ve created around yourself.

I had one today that I, regrettably, missed. I was grocery shopping, perusing aisle 3 for marinara sauce, when I passed a relatively old woman, who was clearly overwhelmed by the blinding variety of rice in front of her. Zatarains and Knorr and Rice-A-Roni, and then onto the fancier and pricier containers of Texamati and Jasmine and even wild rice-quinoa mixtures, just to throw her over the edge. She was clearly baffled; she even looked a bit nervous. I mused, as I walked slowly past her, that probably, for most of her life, rice had been brown or white, with maybe a flavor or two involved, and then suddenly one day she went to the grocery store and got bombarded by brand differentiation and became utterly confused on the rice aisle, and where the hell was the Uncle Ben’s anyways.

But I kept walking. I was afraid to ask her if she would like some help in her selection, afraid she would feel insulted or bothered or more confused. So I never found out. And I got home, and unpacked my groceries, and thought about her, and realized that I would have much preferred an awkward moment of her rejecting my help than the now soft sadness of not taking that tiny risk of an uncomfortable moment, with the the equally viable possibility that I could have grabbed the box of rice for her, and shared a smile and a laugh. Perhaps. Perhaps.

Most of our Flash Point opportunities come from those around us every day; family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, local store clerks, pets. You know, the lady walking her dog, the child tugging at your jeans, the mentally disabled man who grins and mumbles to you in giggles as he bags your groceries, the fat wiener dog that spins in circles to greet you at the door. Your wife. Your husband. Your children. Your friends. Your boss. Your clients. The ingredients of your life.

There are Flash Points of courage, of newly discovered strength and depth. There are Flash Points of kindness, of patience, of openness, of vulnerability. Moments where we allow ourselves the big guffaw, the off-beat dancing; where we let the tears and the questions and the quiet love flow. Flash Point yourself. I am finally, finally, finally, getting good at this. Moments of saying, My god, I love you, you beautiful, magical creature! to myself. Yea. You read that right.

Flash Points are honest, simple, profound gestures towards connection, with ourselves and with others. And these gestures change the timeline completely.  New trajectories of adventure, connection, wisdom, and  understanding unfold before us.  The sharp angles of the old timeline begin to bend and blossom into lovely deepening spirals of felt experience.

Some gestures you may deem successful connections, and some maybe not. But in noticing and acting upon these Flash Points, you will find you are much more than you ever knew you were before. And I suspect you will find that those around you are much more than you ever knew they were before.

We are each of us, beautiful magical creatures; if we can own it, if we can embody it, if we can shine it. Illuminate my friends, all parts of yourselves. And flash!

 

Blessings of Benches

http://pollyhazelhall.blogspot.com

Photo found at:  http://pollyhazelhall.blogspot.com

My daughter and I recently started a little tradition of walking together through our neighborhood. It is a neighborhood made for walking;  a sprawling collection of nestled neighborhood villages; each with its own fantastic name, like Esmerelda or Faberge’ or Landora.

I struggle to keep pace with her. At 13 years, she is taller and stronger than me, and those long legs command me to almost jog, until I remind her to slow down a bit. We talk of nothing and everything. We comment upon the crows and ibis and mockingbirds, the antics of feisty miniature dogs yelping and yanking on leashes, the piercing, predatory eyes of cats slinking under cracked garage doors. It is good, this time we share; in conversation, laughter, or silence. We are being, together.

She has explored every nook and cranny of this conglomeration of glamorously-named suburbia. She shows me places that my mom-mode-driving-in-the-van eyes have often overlooked. So many hidden gems; little ponds, favorite trees, deserted houses, noted houses that always decorate for the holidays, noted lawns smelly with mounds of ignored dog poo. Brilliant.

Recently she took me down a new street. The moment I stepped upon the first slab of sidewalk, I could feel it. It. What was It? Something. And I could just feel it. We both could. This was a good street, a great discovery. Now, it looked much like every other street. It was short, ending in a cul de sac. Really, in this masterpiece of housing development, just a simple handful of homes. The cul de sac held a little island, with a few old trees, and a bench. She insisted we sit on this bench for a while, and we did. Just a lovely space, a lovely walk.

A few days later, we returned to this special spot. A gang of little boys, maybe aged 10 or 11, were playing basketball in a driveway; shouting, laughing, and occasionally running between lawns and in and out of front doors. As my daughter and I neared the special bench, we noticed the boys grew quiet and vigilant, sometimes shooting us sober glances. Perhaps they think we are creepy strangers, I ventured. One boy approached us, and with a shaking voice, yelled out that we were sitting on his friend’s bench, and to please get up and leave. This was odd behavior, but was likely caused, I thought, by a whispered dare from a conspiring, mischievous friend. So, we held our ground, or should I say, our bench, and continued on with girl talk.

Some minutes passed, and again, the boy approached us, this time with his friend in tow. In a stronger voice, he repeated his earlier demand. The friend behind him seemed to take this whole debacle quite seriously; and in his large, brown eyes, there was pain, and sadness. Thus, a bit befuddled and uncomfortable, my daughter and I relented. We stood, and the boys shot off down the street. I offered to my daughter to speak to the boys, but I got the infamous Mom no! Gawd your so embarrassing! eye roll, so again I relented, and we were off, to try to find another street of gold.

When we’d nearly reached the end of the street, a woman came out of one of the front doors. She was beautiful, in a bright colorful dress, with these large, captivating brown eyes. The same brown eyes I had seen moments before. This was momma. She approached us with a smile.

“I just want to tell you, to please sit on that bench whenever you want. Please. That’s what it’s there for.” She almost sang it. Maybe she did sing it. It was like Amazing Grace, really.

Something in her voice caused me to confess everything. The feeling that embraced me every time my foot met her sidewalk, the sweet air of this little street, the magical space of that bench. Her eyes glistened a bit more than they had before. There were tears in them.

That bench was her husband’s bench, her late husband. The little street’s homeowners had purchased it and dedicated it to him when he died, and placed it in the cul de sac. No one ever sat there, she said, except for her family, but it was meant for everyone, meant for sitting, it was meant for being together. Every morning she prayed, every morning she blessed her little street and the bench upon it. Sometimes, she said, it felt like going through the motions…but not really. No, it was just her routine. And now someone could feel it.

She held me with that voice, that low, sweet singing voice. And there we were, blubbering on together, celebrating together, laughing and tears together; two souls communing, marking a special time when two strangers became sisters somehow.

On our walk home, my daughter and I were giddy, surprised, enlivened.

That was a good walk mom! Yes, sweet girl, that was a good walk.

So much magic all around us; in all the ordinary, hidden spaces. So much magic within us; in the ancient, forgotten places.

There are benches of the heart, waiting for us to come and sit and visit a while. Just waiting, patiently, for us to come and be with ourselves. There is wisdom in these spaces, overgrown perhaps with the dense ivy of checklists and goals and worries and achievements. But that quiet wisdom is awaiting your sweet warm body; waiting for you to settle into it without expectation; waiting for you to listen to the thumps of its old wooden heart. You will find, the wooden slabs sing to you, songs of the little pieces of you, if you are quiet. A hum, a chant, a lullabye, a whisper of how very precious you are.

But there is ever a guardian at the gate, a child perhaps, with soulful eyes, who’ll brook no disrespect. You may enter only with love, and love every last inch, every knot in the grains of your glorious wood. The knots hold the magic that is You, if only you give them a little caress.

Communion

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Deer form
From out of the night
Silence holds the soft angles of their bodies.

 
Totem trunks
Of three sister palms
Gaze at me with shadowed, magus faces,
Savage fronds of hair erupting
In electric, chanting silence.

 
Silence holds the secrets of all sound
No words can surpass her power.
Darkness holds such possibility
Stars given voice
Only in her deep graces.

 
In silence I come to you.
In darkness I hold you.
In this hidden womb of all things,
I see you and love you.