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Posts Tagged ‘path’

The Path of Love


            with gratitude to Jude Janett and Joi Sharp
 
 
And here I thought the path of love
would look like love. Like kindness.
Like generosity. Like gentleness.
 
Instead it looks like me being bothered
by the sound of loud chewing. Me
wanting praise. Me needing to feel
 
loved. Hello me. How elegantly love
has arranged for me to meet
all the parts of me that would stand
 
in love’s way. How easily
it shows me I’ve thought of love
as a destination. But here is love
 
with no expectation. Here is love
with no name, no locus. Here
is love with no face, no shape, no
 
promise, no vow, no hope.
Here is love as itself, surging
and flowing, love as itself insisting
 
on love, love as itself eroding
all those layers of me that still
think they know something about love
 
(and love holds me while I rail
and love throws me back in the stream
and love is what is still here when I am not).
   

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Advice to Self: Get Lost

To move forward, move forward.

But first, get lost.

Really lost. If you have a map,

burn it. Not that there’s

anything wrong with a map.

But you must recalibrate

the one using it. Let her not know

where she is. And if she does know,

perhaps through rote,

perhaps through muscle memory,

then spin her around

with a blindfold on,

the way kids do when pinning

a paper tail on a donkey.

Spin her until she has no idea

which direction to walk with that tail.

Spin her until she falls.

And then let her do as St. Francis taught—

let step in whatever direction

her head is pointing.

Let her trust that any direction she steps

can be the right way forward,

every path can be a path toward love.

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Stubborn

When the brain is separated from the heart, it is capable of doing terrible things to each other and the planet.

—Jane Goodall

And so I try to tend the path each day

between brain and heart.

Whatever smallnesses I trip on,

I try to remember to bow as I remove them.

Whatever weeds try to overrun it—

weeds of should and shame—

I try to yank them out, knowing full well

I never get the whole root.

The more I travel the path,

the easier it is—

though steep sometimes,

and the effort to go on

makes me weep.

And sometimes, it feels unfamiliar,

though I’m sure I’ve travelled this way before.

Frightened, lost, tired, exposed—

yet I try to find and preserve the path.

Because the stakes are too high

when the path is gone.

Because the healing is so great

when I honor the path

step by stubborn step.

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Progress

Perhaps I am more like the earthworm

  than I thought—

    one part of me anchored in place

      while the rest of me moves forward.

    Every time I go, I also stay.

  Every time I reach ahead, part of me holds on.

Over and over, I pull myself along.

  What looks like progress is slow.

    No path except the one I make

      by letting the world move through me.

    In order to proceed, I make of myself a wave.

  In order to proceed, I must let go.

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Who is this woman so concerned with arrivals?

Doesn’t she know we are writing about paths?

What is her rush to get to the meadow?

What does she think she will find there?

She missed the sunflowers in the garden,

a whole row of luscious bright yellow bloom.

She missed the chatter of the chipmunk,

the hot scent of rabbit brush almost like sage,

the mica glistening like crushed starlight beneath her feet.

She is like one of those trucks on the highway,

a blur, a roar, an impersonal thundering.

Oh, see, now that she thinks she’s arrived somewhere,

now she starts noticing the field,

the crunch of dry grass, the dirt, her own short shadow.

Funny, she looks lost, standing there with her pen and paper,

her longing to find something worthwhile to say.

Should we tell her it’s okay,

that the lack of arrival could be her new point A?

And everywhere she looks, a new path.

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for C, A, A, A and J

 

 

I want to share with you a trail with no map

and the clean scent of spruce and a clear Colorado sky.

I want to spend an afternoon above tree line

in a field of corn lilies and alpine buttercups

the pica chirping brightly in the rockfall.

Let’s not find the lake we were looking for.

Let’s stop where our feet say stop.

I want to share a leap and a shimmy,

a chocolate cookie, the mighty salt of love.

I want to slide down snowfields on our raincoats,

to find more paths to take another day,

to wade through the cold rush of change.

I want to take a bolt cutter to any door

that won’t let us in, to let the ears of my heart

attune to your words, to lose our hats to the wind

and find them again. And as the night

fills the room, I want to sing as the guitar

of friendship finds a new tune. I want to hear it

play on long after the day has gone.

 

 

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When Making a Choice

 

 

 

It’s like any new landscape. At first,

You don’t know which direction to look.

Each time you look east, you regret

 

you can’t at the same time look west.

Soon you become a spinning top, unable

to focus anywhere without wanting to turn

 

and see what you’re missing. For a time,

it serves you, this willingness to see every side,

keeps you from making poor choices. But then,

 

spinning and spinning becomes dizzying.

What would it be like, you wonder,

to make a clear choice and then walk

 

that direction and never look back?

And so you try it—at first by forcing yourself

to look only one way. It’s not easy to walk

 

a straight line when you’ve been spinning.

Then you begin to notice how good it feels

to put one foot in front of the other

 

and walk a single course. It is, after all,

all a single person can do. How easy, now

that you’re not always looking away,

 

how easy to notice every detail about this landscape,

to revel in each step, to focus being

here, and now here, and only here.

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Off the Path

 

 

On the path, I am the one

who forgets to look up—

 

the one who doesn’t see the mountain

because I am focused on the path.

 

I am the one who fears the dead end,

who worries and obsesses about it,

 

only to discover it wasn’t an end at all,

just a sharp turn, and the path goes on.

 

I am the one who fears she’s not good enough

for this path, who wonders if there’s another path

 

somewhere that I am supposed to be on.

Everyone else seems to know where they’re going.

 

I can’t even seem to spot the signs.

Confused, I stop, which allows me

 

to notice the weeds gone to seed,

notice their tiny white globes, notice

 

how good it feels to stop

and notice them. I am the one who

 

cares so much about the path and still

fails at staying on it. In fact,

 

the more I pay attention, the more

I am the one who forgets there is a path.

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( … )

 

 

 

She wanders the parenthetical garden,

each curved stem an invitation to step

away from the trail (remember how the Stoic

said to dwell on the beauty of life, to run

with the stars), and soon she is what some

call lost (Any fool can know, said Einstein,

the point is to understand), and there,

lost in the sound of the bird she doesn’t hear

(Heard melodies are sweet, said Keats,

but those unheard are sweeter), she sits

on the swing of her thoughts (what is it

she is so afraid of) (seek those, said Rumi,

who fan your flame)(how comfortable

can she become with her errors)(false start)

and notices how it is the knots that hold up

the swing (what story is she ignoring?).

This garden, my god, it is beautiful.

She was going somewhere, wasn’t she?

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Direction

 

 

lost in this meadow

deep in the grass

so easy to think

there is no path—

 

ask the mice

ask the stars

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