What happens IS your path

This is a repost from Jeff Foster (www.lifewithoutacentre.com)
November 17 at 2:54 PM ·

WHY YOUR LIFE CANNOT GO WRONG

In reality, your world is set up so that nothing happens to you, but everything happens for you – for your awakening, for your growth, for your inspiration, for your exploration – even if you forget that, or sometimes cannot see it, or sometimes fall into distraction and despair.

When there is no fixed destination, you cannot ever lose your destination, so you cannot ever lose your path, so nothing that happens in your life can take you off your path. Your path IS what happens, and what happens IS your path. There is no other.

Everything is a gift on this unbreakable path that you call your life – the laughter, the tears, the times of great sorrow, the experiences of profound loss, the pain, the confusion, the times you believe you’ll never make it, even the overwhelming heartbreak of love – even if you forget that sometimes, or cannot see that sometimes, or lose faith absolutely in the entire show sometimes.

But even the loss of faith in the show is part of the show, and even the scene where ‘something goes wrong’ is not indicative of the show going wrong, and so you are always exactly where you need to be, believe it or not, even if you are not.

Life can be trusted absolutely, even when trust seems a million light-years away, and life cannot go wrong, for all is life, and life is all.

Understand this, know it in your heart, and spirituality is profoundly simple, as simple as breathing, as natural as gazing up at the stars at night and falling into silent wonder.

The universe is more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

– Jeff Foster

A few thoughts: Jeff Foster helps me name experiences and feelings that are hard to identify on my own. And when i read his poetry, something is stirred deep within that is beyond thought. His poetry warms me into deep acceptance of the complicated, sometimes messy path of life. I see his poems as pointers to Love.

Unexpected Whispers

Unexpected Whispers

And sometimes I walk
with the sun as my ally,
wondering about this or that.
Freedom to not need answers right now.
Aware

Over there the deer stares,
what does she know of Awareness?
I have a friend who knows it deeply,
we are explorers of experience.
Never alone

Illusions and fantasies with wants of their own,
seem to beckon for my attention.
Seeped in uncertainty,
it’s easy to stumble.
Compassion

And then unexpectedly,
a tall oak, the sun its apparent ally too,
whispers,
truth of our shared reality.
Wonder

The path widens
Seeing things as they are –
intimate, ephemeral, connected.
Once known,
Love can never be unknown

-by melissa jagoe-seidl

Written from a creative spark that was awakened in Consciousness.

I dedicate this to my teacher who helped me grow in unimaginable ways.

Be conscious You are holding Love. We are here to give Love and to be Love.

Homecomings

Homecomings
by Pablo Neruda

Two homecomings sustained my life
and the daily sea, ebbing and rising:
at once I faced the light, the earth,
a certain provisional peace. The moon
was an onion, nourishing
globe of the night, the orange sun
submerged in the sea:
an arrival that
I endured and kept buried until now,
it was my will and here I shall remain:
now my homecoming is the truth. –

I felt it as a blow,
like a crystal nut
shattering on a boulder
and in that way, in a thunderclap, the
light flashed,
the light of the littoral, of the lost sea,
of the sea captured now and forever. –

I am a man of so many homecomings
that form a cluster of betrayals,
and again, I leave on a frightening
voyage
in which I travel and never arrive
anywhere:
my single journey is a homecoming. –

And this time among seductions
I was afraid to touch the sand, the
sparkle
of this wounded and scattered sea,
but accepting of my unjust acts
my decision fell with the sound
of a glass fruit that shatters
and in this resounding blow
I glimpsed life,
the earth wrapped in shadows and sparks
and the cup of the sea below my lips. –

Personal Reflections
In Mahayan Buddhism, Bodhicitta is sometimes referred to as “intelligent heart” in that both wisdom and compassion are equally necessary for spiritual growth to occur. That sounds really enlightened. And it is an aspiration. But what if we don’t feel Buddha like at all? Our poet here has a way of keeping it real- this experience of being human is complex. And it isn’t all warm gratitude and sunny bliss. Am I brave enough to meet the feelings that come from being cracked open? Here is where light meets shadow. As daylight falls, can I trust that the night sky will hold me? Can I be with the fire burning deep within my belly and an intensity of longing and unmet desire. Is there a choice? What would it mean to lean in deeper? What do I need to know here? “Now my homecoming is the truth”. Perhaps I am a “woman of so many homecomings”. We are made of stars. This is true. I may “never arrive anywhere” and that’s quite ok.

Present in Absence

Poetry by John Donne (1573 – 1631)

Absence, hear thou my protestation
Against thy strength,
Distance, and length;
Do what thou canst for alteration:
For hearts of truest mettle
Absence doth join, and Time doth settle.

Who loves a mistress of such quality,
His mind hath found
Affection’s ground
Beyond time, place, and all mortality.
To hearts that cannot vary
Absence is present, Time doth tarry.

My senses want their outward motion
Which now within
Reason doth win,
Redoubled by her secret notion:
Like rich men that take pleasure
In hiding more than handling treasure.

By absence this good means I gain,
That I can catch her,
Where none can watch her,
In some close corner of my brain:
There I embrace and kiss her;
And so enjoy her and none miss her.

(Thoughts on this selection.)

There is a tender power and pain in the absence of being with a beloved. Though our poet wonders as do I, if we ever really separate from authentic Love. For being seen, truly seen, awakens Consciousness and Consciousness recognizes Itself. Feelings of connection that evoke one’s deepest essence remain. I am not alone.

Phenomenal Woman

Last night when I heard this, I had a tear in my eye and for a moment held my breath, as if time stopped. You know when you hear, something, that resonates deeply within yourself. Anyhow, it’s no small thing to hear the truth. (So grateful for my UU Women for sharing this.) Dr. Angelou’s words penetrate through layers of shame. Today, I’ll walk a little straighter, a little taller and hold my shoulders back. I wonder, where did my swagger go? Some deep conditioning, likely from many generations, to cover up and hide my sensual, sexual nature. As the poet who wrote ‘Layers’ said, “I’m not done with my changes.” May we all find courage to embody the divine feminine as best we can today.

Phenomenal Woman
By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/phenomenal-woman-by-maya-angelou

Our Lady. Our Friend.

Repost of poem by Jeff Foster on occasion of Notre Dame cathedral fire

OUR LADY. OUR FRIEND.

We stand on sacred ground today.

Perhaps even more sacred

than yesterday’s ground.

I don’t know.

She outgrew her old form, she did.

She couldn’t be contained by her own form.

She is now bigger than she was

(Don’t trust your eyes completely my love).

See her now, ascended in fire!

Let your heart break, but let her go.

She was ready.

She wanted God

more than she wanted herself.

Our Lady. Our friend.

Returned to sky. Returned to ground.

Look under your feet. There she is.

Look into your heart. There she is.

Look into your memory. There she is.

Look everywhere

except where she once stood.

Even God’s houses must crumble.

Impermanence is the law,

rendering everything sacred

even before the sanctification.

It hurts. It hurts, I know.

But it hurts even more to hold on.

Our Lady. Our friend.

All the prayers you held!

The hopes and dreams of untold millions.

Mothers. Lovers. Fathers. Children.

All the secrets. The tears and the sorrow.

All delivered today in fire.

They say you are just a building,

but aren’t we all.

Destruction. Rebirth.

Water and flame.

The loss and the reconstruction.

The hope and the despair.

And this poor human heart,

trying to make sense of it all.

We stand on sacred ground today.

Perhaps even more sacred

than yesterday’s ground.

I don’t know.

Goodbye, my friend.

– Jeff Foster

This eulogy of sorts moved me deeply. Follow Jeff Foster on Instagram or Facebook for beautiful words that have a way of expressing universal truths about our humanness and Supreme Reality. Yes, we outgrow our form. Destruction. Rebirth. The loss and reconstruction. The glorious and the wretched. Impermanence. What remains is that which is essential and boundless. She’s free.

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken
-from Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, by Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Joanna Macy

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

And now a few crazed ramblings on waking up from the dream of being separate. What I am cannot be remembered; no memory necessary. Am I the dream or dreamer? There’s an awakening which expresses Itself in a simplicity, an ease, a deep, quiet faith in this place-less place. What I think and how I feel, is Love revealing Itself and knowing Itself through my being. This warms me. I believe that God fine tunes our experiences uniquely for each of us, giving hints and glimpses, teachers, adversity, opportunities to experience that which we became incarnate to learn. And as we pay attention and listen to our most authentic self emerging, our life becomes a song of the Eternal, a playground for God. All has already been accepted. The consequences of this have been life changing. What waits within me reveals Itself in the experience of Love.

Recently I asked my spiritual teacher if he will remember me after we no longer see each other here. Will “I” be recognized, even after the physical form of who I am or who he is gone? He said, without hesitation, “I will know you, even after my memory of you has gone.” No greater gift could I have received. I’m learning to listen to my heart. These words crystallized my belief that pure Awareness knows pure Awareness. My immediate experience was the collapse of a me and a you. This, the recognition of our shared being is Love.

I imagine that Rilke had the experience of knowing that all of life, our creativity, compassion, expression of our humanity, this being and becoming, learning, always more to learn here is Consciousness playing, dancing, laughing in all the diversity of our selves. The nature of this reality, can’t really be measured or spoken, because who I am is that already. It’s a knowing without knowing. Rumi writes “In the existence of your Love, ‘I’ become non-existent. What waits within me is continuing to evolve, like new fronds unfolding on a fern, like thousands of miracles occurring every day, knowing Love is here, Love is never not now.

This Morning I Watched the Deer

This Morning I Watched the Deer

By Mary Oliver, from Why I Wake Early (2004)

This morning I watched the deer

with beautiful lips touching the tips

of the cranberries, setting their hooves down

in the dampness carelessly, isn’t it after all

the carpet of their house, their home, whose roof

is the sky?

Why, then, was I suddenly miserable?

Well, this is nothing much.

This is the heaviness of the body watching the swallows

gliding just under that roof.

This is the wish that the deer would not lift their heads

and leap away, leaving me there alone.

This is the wish to touch their faces, their brown wrists—

to sing some sparkling poem into

the folds of their ears,

then walk with them,

over the hills

and over the hills

and into the impossible trees.

________________________________________________

I find myself reminded this morning reading Mary Oliver’s poetic expression of what it’s like to be drawn to beauty in the natural elements and to see the abundance that surrounds us, even as a feeling of separation arises. Over and over again, she captures the essence of something deeply felt within myself. And it’s all Ok. There is a beauty in being alone. A certain kind of poignancy in glimpsing Life as it is, without conditions. Often this brilliance carries me. Still, my experience of longing and desire are felt deeply; both, willing to go out and seek and who find there way home to my heart. My teacher says “Consciousness wants us to be Whole”. Love always has our best interest. Masculine, feminine, earth, air, water, fire – the dance of life at play, never static, and uniquely designed for each and every one. We each have a choice – to dance, play, contemplate, observe, be dull, be brilliant, be heavy or be light, “to walk over the hills and over the hills and into the impossible trees”. Love will not be denied.

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver (Sept 10, 1935 – Jan 17, 2019) has written so many beautiful words that have deeply touched my life. Just learned that she has died. I feel so emotional, like a dear friend, soul mate has departed. She inspired me to blog. Her words helped me during times when I desperately needed inspiration, faith to just get through. Her poems help me feel less afraid, more brave to be authentic, to live with curiosity. There are teachers who come into our lives and help us remember who we are. She has been this for me. Thank you Mary Oliver for sharing your essence, your view of the world with such elegance, simplicity and beauty. Rest in peace.

A few of my favorites:

Poem Of The One World

This morning
the beautiful white heron
was floating along above the water

and then into the sky of this
the one world
we all belong to

where everything
sooner or later
is a part of everything else

which thought made me feel
for a little while
quite beautiful myself.

Praying

“It doesn’t have to be blue iris, it can be weeds in a vacant lot.

Just pay attention, then patch a few words together and don’t try to make them elaborate.

This isn’t a contest but the doorway into thanks. A silence in which another voice may speak.”

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
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?

Wild Geese

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.

The Journey

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.

Heavy

That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying

I went closer,
and I did not die.
Surely God
had his hand in this,

as well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,

was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel,
(brave even among lions),
“It’s not the weight you carry

but how you carry it –
books, bricks, grief –
it’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it

when you cannot, and would not,
put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?

Have you heard
the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?

How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe

also troubled –
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
a love
to which there is no reply?

Hallow this life

A lengthier personal narrative on the meaning for me of the prophetic words below will follow in a future post. 2 greats…Rupert Spira and Martin Buber.
Teachers light the way for others on the journey. I too sense there is a beauty, stirring for expression. Something to write perhaps? It warms me to know that Consciousness Itself moves in and through each of us, wanting only to experience the world in this very way, this moment. Here. Now. This play of energy, its dance. I’m invited to the dance. You’re invited to the dance. No one is forgotten. Say yes. Listen and trust its Reality. “If you hallow this life, you meet the living God.”

“I forget Myself to taste the sweetness
of longing
I divide Myself to know the tenderness
of friendship
I hide Myself for the pleasure
of seeking
I look for Myself for the fulfillment
of finding
I find Myself for the knowledge
of happiness
I know Myself for the joy
of being”

-Rupert Spira

“Creation is not a hurdle on the road to God,
it is the road itself.
We are created along with one another
and directed to a life with one another.
Creatures are placed in my way so that I,
their fellow-creature,
by means of them
and with them find the way to God.
A God reached by their exclusion
would not be the God of all lives,
in Whom all life is fulfilled…
To look away from the world,
or to stare at it,
does not help man to reach God;
but he who see the world in Him,
stands in His presence…
If you hallow this life,
you meet the living God.”

-Martin Buber