A Place to Stand

Wysteria – Catania, Sicily, Italy, 2018

A Place to Stand

I’m looking for a place to stand, a place past

judgement and labeling, past anger and hatred, a place beyond

fear. My feet keep moving, stretching, searching, hungry to find space

where my heart can bloom and my soul can sing. I stay awake and pay attention because

this place is subtle, like the flavor of saffron lingering in my mouth. It’s a nuanced spot

that only speaks when you slow down, when you reach inside and listen deeply

to your body’s wisdom. The location settles you in a contented solitude, a seclusion

that moves you past the duality of good and bad, stability and freedom, attachment and aversion.

When you follow your embodied experience, you find a place to stand where

your being is washed in light, where your heart opens like a flower, where possibility

flows like a river over your feet standing along the stony shore. 

This poem is part of an online collection I call All the Shapes of Joy.

befriending

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befriending

inside my head
the little voice
whispers worldly words
that I want to push away

resistance raises
her arms to fight
then I remember
to take a deep breath
to slowly walk up beside the voice
acknowledging her wisdom
grateful for her good intentions
and to stand calmly in her presence

from this accepting space
the world opens
and I feel free
to write a different story
that moves me
in the direction
that I truly want to go

 

Today’s post is a tribute to Teresa, who led restorative yoga classes at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for breast cancer survivors back in 2012. One day in our practice she invited us to befriend, rather than resist, our natural unpleasant thoughts…to try standing beside them versus pushing them away. I remember the sense of calm that came with her invitation and this fresh relationship.

This post is also dedicated to ‘Coach Christina’ who guided me for 6 months in early 2012 at a time when unwelcome thoughts were abundant following my mastectomy. With her guidance and incredible loving support, I was able to befriend and shift my thoughts in ways that brought welcome catharsis.

I am so grateful for the wise leaders who guide and inspire me.

 

* I took this photo in San Agustinillo, Mexico. These two little guys capture so nicely how I would like to be friends with those sometimes unhelpful voices in my mind. 🙂

receiving

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Receiving

the awakened spirit
bravely leans into
the moment’s softness

the hungry soul
opens and allows
others’ love to flow in

the tender heart
receives
the gift of wholeness

 

This post was inspired by reading Healing is Mutual in Rachel Naomi Remen’s Kitchen Table Wisdom. She writes about a doctor who follows his intuition and breaks with his training to pray in his office with an elderly woman patient in the final stages of cancer. Rachel describes how the women touched the doctor’s cheek in appreciation and how that simple act of grace was a  powerful gift for the physician, giving him strength and recommitting him to his healing work.

I love how Rachel inspires me to listen to the wisdom inside, deep down where my heart beats softly. I like the way she invites me to be vulnerable and courageous in acting on what feels right, even though it may be different from what I would usually do, or what I might think is ‘professional’ or aligned with others’ expectations. I appreciate how she helps me see what’s possible when I show up 100% for what’s happening – and the beauty of others’ gifts flowing into my life.

* I took this photo at Terre di Vendicari in Sicily, Italy this past summer. I chose it because of the way these horses seemed to give and receive from each other.