Wednesday 26 March 2014

Deep listening and loving speech

Providing the space to hear
what is being said.
It matters not if I am
speaker or listener
deep listening is required on both sides.

And in that space I hear
my ungracious words,
my wounding gossip,
my harmful tittle-tattle,
my meanness and unkindness.
I hear it all
and I don’t want to be so small.

I hear it all
and hear another way of speaking
that raises up instead of knocking down,
that is generous, non-judgmental and kind,
that sees the best in others and
praises instead of defeating,
that is patient instead of rushing
to hasty conclusions.

Deep listening and loving speech
always together
providing the space to hear
what is being said.

© 24 Mar 2014

Sunday 23 March 2014

A path through the woods

I found a path through the woods
I have not noticed before and
intrigue and imagination led me
on to its firm but muddied floor.
The trees closed in
trying to cut out the sunshine.
The path meandered,
stealing away any sense of direction.
It broke out into a clearing ,
a faery ring where magic danced
off every leaf
and potential for the unusual
echoed and bounced off bark.
I joined a dance of
dappled sunlight, gleaming ivy and fresh spring leaves.
I was led by smells of
earthy mustiness, unfurling spring and flowering wild garlic.
I was entranced and enlivened
by my own Narnia
still within reach of the road
and normality.
I found a heaven of delight
because I chose to walk  down
a path through the woods
unnoticed before.

© 20 Mar 2014

Saturday 22 March 2014

I am elemental

I am earth, water, fire, air, space.
I free myself from a bodily form.
I am elemental,
in touch with everything around me.
The tree breathes life into me,
the sun gives me energy,
earth supports my footsteps,
water nourishes my heart,
fire gives me speech,
air allows me to move,
space reminds me I am free.

I am the chatter of the dawn chorus,
and the silence of the moon
riding a midnight sky.
I am fleeting beauty,
reminding us to notice and be aware. 
I am the vibrant sunset,
and the perfect snowflake 
just before returning to a water droplet.
I have the taste of the ocean
in my salt tears
and its ebb and flow
in my breathing.
I am the dance of the cycles
and the rest at their conclusion.
With each out-breath
I let go of thoughts and ideas
that bind me to a human form.
I am non-human,
I am elemental.

© 22 Mar 2014

Thursday 20 March 2014

A love letter to myself

Dear Friend,
What can I tell you that you don't already know?
Remember to trust your instincts and
pay particular attention to what the heart is singing.
Only there will you find peace and stability,
the foundation of your true knowledge.

Remember to be like the mountain,
a majestic and unmoving presence.
The mountain graciously watches
the cyclical rolling of the year and
gently receives the driving rain,
raging winds, baking sun and cooling breeze
without turning its face away
or longing for more.

Our journey together of infinite, important and shining moments
is a deepening of our understanding of mindfulness,
experiencing each breath as it rises, lingers and falls
as an impermanent and ever-changing dance.
Only with this knowledge can we accept
'the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune'
and bend with the winds of change
instead of snapping beneath its push.

Remember you are a beautiful, amazing and unique being
and everyone you meet
can also be accepted as beautiful, amazing and unique.

People have a lot to teach you about yourself so
remember to let them in,
let them touch you and
don't be afraid of what that does to your heart
or the tears that may fall.
It is all nurturing seeds of wisdom and understanding.

Be patient with other people's learning and
appreciate they stand in a different place to you,
come from a different background and
have taken a different path yet
we also stand together
in the same portion of earth,
sharing the same light and
have much to offer each other
because we all seek the same happiness and wisdom.

© 20 Mar 2014 

Monday 10 March 2014

We are all starlight

We are all starlight
playing at being human
we are all moonlight
dancing in a human form
we are all starlight
sharing our smiles
lighting each other’s dreams
with compassion and love
we are all moonlight
not allowing ourselves
to be dulled in the daytime
the light shines through our
generosity and caring for strangers
who turn out to be friends
we are all starlight
playing at being human
not forgetting who we truly are
and not dimming our light
for the sake of fitting in
we are all moonlight
dancing in the shadows
brightening all dark and dusty recesses
we are all starlight.

© 7 Mar 2014

Saturday 8 March 2014

The last note of the octave

The last note of the octave
the last stepping stone before completion
with a yawning chasm in between,
impenetrable, unfathomable.
How to cross this seemingly widening gap?
Fear says, ‘stay here’
‘it is enough to have got this far’.
Doubt says, ‘thus far is sufficient’
‘the distance is unreachable, undoable’.
Mindfulness says, ‘give it a go’
‘it would be folly to give up now’.

The last note of the octave
the last stepping stone before completion
staying here would be to drown in an ocean of confusion,
uncertainty and hesitation.
Staying here would be to never know
if the potential was possible.
Fear says, ‘I’m petrified to try’
‘I feel frozen’.
Doubt says, ‘I can’t do it’
‘I don’t think it’s attainable’.
Mindfulness says, ‘give it a go’
‘what if you succeed?’

© 7 Mar 2014

Friday 7 March 2014

Mindfulness and Creativity 
I'm delighted to see the links here between creativity and mindfulness. It is something that I have been very aware of since researching and teaching mindfulness as I have found that practising mindfulness has increased my own creativity hugely. Certainly the poetry I have been posting here is a result of practising mindfulness.
Now I'm offering Mindfulness and ... retreats, combining it with poetry, drawing, movement and writing. Have a look at 2 websites for more details, 
and Binley Farm

Monday 3 March 2014

Easedale Tarn

Easedale Tarn

The path has become a stream
and every descent a river
as the ground cannot cope with excess water.
We are not prevented from climbing, however,
only my thoughts of inadequacy and
incapability will do that.
The morning is unusually warm.
The ascent is peppered with many breaks
to revel in outstanding views
and catch the breath.

The hillside appears to be rusting
from an overlay of dying bracken.
The tarn is gentle, quiet,
reflecting welcome sunshine and minimal clouds.

The force of the waterfall excludes all other sounds,
even the wind cannot penetrate
the power of rushing water.
We meditate here
and lose ourselves to its power and force.

The stone pathway is a delight of colours
slate grey, burnished red, cold blue, warmer cream.
Each stone speaks of history,
each footstep a sense of humility
as we contemplate the formation
of this mountain,
its immense lifespan.

The water finds its way down any descent,
the mountain is undisturbed
by its passage,
by our footfall,
by anything nature hurls down on it.
We are touched by this gentle giant,
accepting all and rejecting none,
offering beauty, solace, rest and
its own poetry
to the joyful traveller.

© 27 Feb 2014

The ultimate dimension

The Buddha teaches of two dimensions, the historical and the ultimate. The historical is where we live 'subject to being and nonbeing' but we also connect with the ultimate dimension that of reality, in which there is no being and nonbeing. It is 'not subject to notions of space and time, birth and death, coming and going'. The lovely example of this is that in being a wave the wave also knows it is water - 'while living a life of a wave in the historical dimension, we realise that we are also water and live the life of water. This is the essence of the practice. Because if you know your true nature of no coming, no going, no being, no nonbeing, no birth, no death, then you will have no fear and can dwell in the ultimate dimension, nirvana, right here and now. You don't have to die in order to reach nirvana. When you dwell in your true nature, you are already dwelling in nirvana'. (Thich Nhat Hanh, Peaceful Action, Open Heart: 31-33).

For me this means that the ordinary day-to-day life can become sacred the more we are in touch with the ultimate dimension. This is getting in touch with what lies behind the forms and names of everyday life.

Seeing myself

Seeing myself in new spring shoots,
brown and dried seed-husks
leftover from  autumn,
purple croci resiliently shining
on slender stems,
mud and stone
aeons in forming
remaining long
after this body has gone,
budding cherry tree
reminding of another cycle
of growth and decay
and the approach of my daughter's birthday.
The historical and the ultimate intertwining,
weaving through one another until
they cannot be unpicked.
Growth and decay in the historical,
does not exist in the ultimate.
I am the shoot
the bud
the flower
the seed
the husk
the earth bed nurturing and feeding
the rain
the sunshine
the decay
the compost.
Seeing myself.

© 3 Mar 2014