Receiving Without Expectation

 Receiving Without Expectation
 The now dried and flattened pulp of wood rests 
 bare on the table. She lays open, prone like an invitation, 
 a sky to be painted with clouds. Oh, what 
 will they be? Whispers of white or dark weightiness? 
 A word, a phrase, an idea, an inspiration. She feels 
 the ink flowing like a shower rinsing over her body, 
 a slow tickling roll, gliding gently, gracefully until 
 there is no more room for touching. 
 She hears the s-sounds like singing Sufi spirit 
 sober sweet stretching sky, and the c-sounds 
 like calligraphy commingling colors and confusion. 
 The writer opens her heart and the insights arrive through 
 the allowing, because she is letting it come, like a wave 
 or a storm, maybe dewdrops or a floating powder puff. 
 Whatever is needed is invited to speak its truth. 
 She does not have the answers. She simply 
 holds what the pen voices as he wanders 
 where he wants without willpower.  

Click HERE for an audio recording of the poem.

I wrote this poem in response to a prompt in my workbook, How to Write Poetry: A Guided Journal with Prompts by Christopher Salerno and Kelsea Habecker, from the chapter on imitation that suggested finding a favorite poem and writing a sequel to it. This poem was written as a companion piece to Rumi’s Wonder without Willpower.

 Wonder without willpower 
 By Rumi, in Rumi: The Book of Love with translations and commentary by Coleman Barks)
 Love’s way becomes a pen sometimes
 writing g-sounds like gold or r-sounds
 like tomorrow in different calligraphy 
 styles sliding by, darkening the paper.
 Now it’s held upside down, now beside
 the head, now down and on to something
 else, figuring. One sentence saves
 an illustrious man from disaster, but
 fame does not matter to the spirit tongue
 of a pen. Hippocrates knows how the cure
 must go. His pen does not. This one 
 I am calling pen, or sometimes flag, 
 has no mind. You, the pen, are most sanely
 insane. You cannot be spoken of rationally. 
 Opposites are drawn into your presence but
 not to be resolved. You are not whole
 or ever complete. You are the wonder
 Without willpower going where you want.  

the world that awaits you

flowerbud cropped

Last week I shared a poem I wrote about a new beginning. Here is another poem about new beginnings written by John O’Donohue, which I treasure – not only for the beautiful message that resonates deeply within me, but also for the lovely way that it came to me. After finishing an 8-week Mindfulness by Design virtual series with my colleagues Katiuscia Berretta and Annahita Varahrami, and as we were embarking on the new year of 2018, Kat sent this gift to me.

I believe in beginning again, over and over. I see fresh starts in moments throughout the day, each new day awakening, the perspective that a trip can bring, a new  opportunity to make a difference, meeting a new found friend, in flower buds opening to the sun…

I am inspired by the invitation of courage and energy and openness that comes to me through this poem.

For a New Beginning
By John O’Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.


* I took this photo of a peony growing in my backyard. You can see this same flower in full beautiful bloom.