Posts Tagged ‘meditation’




“Focus on your breathing,” Susie says.

“Imagine this next breath is your first.”

And for a while, it works. I feel the inhale move

from nose to throat to lungs, feel the new air travel

through my legs and arms. Then breathe it out.

I’m curious. I follow as the breath becomes my

daughter, and I wonder how her first day

of climbing went yesterday. And that was so weird

how she was in my dream last night when

I swallowed a spider. Oh yeah. Exhale. Inhale.

The breath. My chest is rising, my hands are still,

and wouldn’t it be nice to go walk in the redwoods?

How long has it been since we were there? ’97?

’98? And inhale. There it is again, the invitation

to take the first breath, and wow, feel all that air

as it rushes in and fills the body like

the balloons at Finn’s birthday party last weekend.

That was so fun, the boys in the waning sun

playing out on the lawn. I can’t believe how sweet

they were to each other and breathe. Right. Here.

Paying attention to the places where my body

meets the ground. Butt. Knees. Shins. And isn’t

it wild how the hum of the cars on the highway outside

at first sound just like a gong. Wrong. Wrong. Think breath.

Or not wrong. Just an other invitation to embrace the process,

each thought like wind, and I, I’m rowing a small canoe.

Is silence always this loud? Someone across the circle

is snoring, and from the kitchen it smells like, mmm,

Thai curry. And Susie says, “Return to the breath,”

and for another moment, I breathe in, breathe out.

And I thank you, mind, for all this practice. You’re

so good at what you do. It matters, this dance,

this chance to be present, to show up and meet

the all that is. I so want to know what is true.

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One Walking





learning to rhyme my thoughts

with the air

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sitting with flowers in the garden

until I am

flower in the garden

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All afternoon, each time

I think I should hurry,

I pull out a comma,

such humble punctuation,

and invite it into the moment—

and the comma does

what it always does, which

is to invite a pause, a small pause,

of course, but a pause long enough

to breathe, to notice what else

is happening, a slight

suggestion that right here

is a perfect place to rest,

yes, how funny I never noticed

before that the comma itself

looks as if it’s bowing, nodding

its small dark head to what is,

encouraging us to find

a brief silence and then,

thus refreshed, to go on.


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Consider the generosity of silence,

how it holds the space between icicle drips,

how it meets squawk and howl

and laugh and sob with the same acceptance,

the same respect. How it asks nothing of the world

and yet is always there waiting

beneath the passing car, the passing thought.


I don’t want to live my life without knowing you,

silence, you the great loom on which all life is woven,

you the wisdom with nothing to say.


I want to invite you into all the rooms of my heart,

want to know the ways you permeate me,

how you inform every cell.


I want to find you inside every word, to know

in all my speech the silence that supports it.


I want to know you, silence, you who was here

before the big bang and you who continue to grow.

You who touch the seas and the barren rock,

the snow covered mountain, the meadow of mud,

who touched the first leaf and met the first cry,

who will touch the last leaf, who will meet

the last song. And go on.


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Nothing happened today

as I sat for five minutes in the dark,

but all day I could feel the everywhere of it,


even as the car was sliding sideways down the hill,

even as my daughter wept, even as my singing group

laughed until we cried, I could feel it still there,


the silence that holds up all sound, the stillness

that cradles all motion, the peace that supports

every disaster, the blue sky behind the clouds.

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And do nothing, she says.

I think about that as

I shuffle the kids and

make doctor appointments

and edit the pages and


drop off the gifts and reply

to emails and shovel the drive

and read to my daughter

and peel the carrots

and hang up the coats


and all that time, I imagine

sitting for five minutes.

Doing nothing.

Yeah, I should add that

to my list, I think,


as I open the cat food

and stack the bowls.

And there, on the shelf,

between the bowls

and the salad plates,


I feel the nothing

waiting for me, feel

its infinite patience,

feel how it is always here

supporting all this everything.


How generous it is,

I think, suddenly unable

to feel anything

but a longing for nothing,

a longing that lasts at least


fourteen seconds

before I remember

that call I am supposed

to make, that plant desperate

for a drink.

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Suddenly everything is bell.

The bright clang of the spoon

stirring in the metal pot.

The scraping black note of crow.

Creak in the porch board

as I step into shadow.

Horn of a passing car.

What isn’t a call to attention?

Horse whinny. Airplane hum.

Dishwasher whirr. What

isn’t a bell to wake us up,

remind us to bring our attention

here. Whisper of leaves.

Squeak of the door hinge.

The small sigh escaping our lips.

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If you watch the heron as it stalks

amongst the tall green reeds, then pauses,

and in its pausing disappears, then you understand

something of the power of stillness.


And if you, yourself, are still long enough

to see the head of the snapping turtle

rise between the lily pads,

then you glean something of the rewards

that come with sitting still.


But if you sit expecting such rewards,

then perhaps sit longer and watch the cattails

as they waver and still, sway and still and still,

and feel how the urge in you to say something rises

and softens and softens until there is nothing to say,


until that kind of stillness becomes

the greatest reward, until you feel

stillness hold you the way the lake

holds the lily pad, the way

the silence holds a song.



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Darkness lands in my lap

on all fours, curls up and purrs—

I learn to miss

its weightless weight

when it leaves,

learn to be more still

so it will stay,

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