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Posts Tagged ‘practice’


 
 
Every day, many times,
I push down the lever
that opens the door
from the room to the house,
from the house to the world.
Such a simple gesture,
grasping, then pushing,
then letting go.
Sometimes quickly,
as when I am trying
to keep the cat inside.
Sometimes slowly,
as when I am trying
to quietly enter
a room where someone else
is sleeping.
To open a door
is to move from one space
to another, perhaps a space
where dark rye bread is baking
filling the room with its midnight scent,
perhaps a space where a single
bare lightbulb is swinging,
perhaps a space filled with birdsong
or gunfire or stars or a final breath.
My whole life
I’ve been practicing
how to enter a space—
how to meet what is there
on the other side
and still be true to myself.
My whole life I’ve been opening doors,
some I immediately regretted,
though there is no going back.
The room I left is never the same
when I return,
nor am I the same.
My whole life
I’ve been opening inner doors,
always surprised to find
another, always surprised
how big the worlds are
in a space the size of me.
Every door I open
I practice how it is
to move through,
to move into, 
to offer my attention
to what is new,
perhaps a gust of wind,
a lullaby being sung,
a spacious grief or an expansive trust
I never dreamt was there.
 

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Though it’s July, the grass is iced

from last night’s frost, and the heart-shaped leaves

of the pole beans hang limp and dead.

And so the chance to practice letting go.

It’s too bad, of course,

but the stakes are low.

It was only one row,

a handful of seeds,

a hankering for fresh green beans.

Not a livelihood. Not a child.

Not a hope. Not a dream.

Just a small row of leaves

that do what leaves do.

No one to point a finger at.

No one to pick a fight with.

Just this practice of meeting  

the world as it is. This chance to start again—

the work of the living.

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And if I snap at you about the soap

in the wrong place or the toaster

not being put away or how we

are late, it is simply that I have forgotten

the inner spaciousness of everything.

I have forgotten the poem inside everything.

 

And if I mutter and pace and stiffen,

if I prickle and fuss and pout,

it is because I simply do not remember

how essential it is to let myself

be broken, how a sweet alchemy

is happening in me even now.

 

There are days when I lose sight

of how beautiful it is, this chance

to get things wrong, this gift

of making mistakes so that I might learn.

And all that I don’t yet know grows wings—

it will choose when and where it lands.

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I want to be quiet enough

to absorb the shouting,

still enough to subsume

the uproar, silent enough

to diminish the din. I want

to calm not just the air

but the hurt that drives

the shouts, calm the hurt

that drives the hurt.

Like bringing an ocean

to put out a candle—that’s

how bizarrely effective

I want this quiet to be—

the kind of quiet that touches

everything, tenderly,

like Persian perfume, and

invites it to feel how sweet

the communion of silence.

I want to know quiet

like a fine silken blanket

big enough to cover us all. Quiet,

like a bottle of wine that no matter

how much we pour and share

we find it miraculously always full.

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meeting my shadow

every day I practice this—

walking in the dark

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Practice

 

 

To be grateful not only for flower,

but also for mud, grime,

slug, slime, the dingy,

the filthy, the tired,

to be grateful not only for star

but also for what is prickly, thornsome,

tricky, testy, sore,

to be grateful not only for warmth

but also for the cold that holds it,

the chill, the bite, the nip, the freeze,

the breeze that blows always head on.

To not only say thanks, but live it.

To not only know thanks, but give it.

 

 

 

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Arrangement

 

 

 

In my heart, a mandolin

just waiting to be played—

there are music sheets,

ignore them. Doesn’t matter

if you know how to play.

What matters is you try.

What matters is you practice

tuning the strings

until you find the way

to make them sing.

What matters is that

we both know there’s

music in there just waiting

to be found and

your hands are curious,

tender.

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The Lesson

 

 

I asked the world

to teach me of truth

and waited and waited

for a lesson. Anything.

A bird. A rainbow.

A bug. A storm.

But nothing.

And so I went in

and made a cup

coffee—ground

the beans and steamed

the milk and cradled

the cup in my hands.

And I tasted it.

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Remember, says my friend, to look

for beauty every day. And immediately

 

I think of the blue heron I saw this afternoon

as it flew upriver, its elegant neck tucked

 

into its body in flight, its deep, slow wing beats

guiding it through the curves of the wide canyon.

 

In my chest, I felt it, the rising urge to fly,

the pulsing, the thrill of blue heron.

 

In that instant, I did not wonder

if a moment of beauty is enough

 

to sustain us through difficult times.

I knew only that I had to remind my eyes

 

to watch the highway instead of following

the great blue weight as it wove

 

through the empty cottonwood tops,

its silhouette charged with improbable grace,

 

its long legs dangling behind,

a reminder we all must land sometime.

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Last year, I did an interview with poet and writer Eduardo Brummel, and today he’s posted it on his blog … more about practice, on how a poem might save your life, and the dance between inspiration and crafting … thanks, Eduardo! Here’s a link to the interview

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