Monthly Archives: September 2016

Autumn, yellow

img_0905End of summer – now,
an early autumn.
Every morning, more yellow leaves
on the birch I watch to
mark the seasons.

Do you feel it, too? I ask, silent,
the silent branches.

With my senses I note passages:
another wrinkle,
calendar pages, turning quickly,
a certain fragrance – summer gone, fall here.

I watch the wind in your branches, longing:
Do you know it, too?

My companion:
together, we are moving quickly,
through time.

—meb 09/2016

How to come back to yourself…

 

img_0899      The present moment…

Everyone needs ways to return home, to oneself. For me, learning to come back to myself, to be present, has been a life long journey. Because it has not been an easy journey for me, I have had to learn and to re-learn, again and again, ways to return to myself.  That doesn’t make me good.  What it does make me is a resource for simple, practical ways to return to oneself.

Sometimes, we don’t want to return!  When we are feeling pain, or anger, or frustration, when our emotions seem to be overwhelming, it is difficult to make the choice to return to ourselves.  The deeper journey of life is not about ignoring or avoiding “negative” or “difficult” feelings.  The deeper journey, the journey to a full, complete life, includes the willingness to enter and to accept all feelings, including those that are uncomfortable, and even frightening.  Embracing, accepting those feelings is part of the journey of coming back to yourself.

How do you return to yourself?  One of the simplest, most powerful ways to return is to be present in the body.  For some of us, this is easier than others!  I pride myself on being a “city girl,” comfortable on the pavement, navigating between soaring buildings, enjoying the lights and the people I pass.  That source of pride is also a weakness for me.  I have had to learn, in later years, to return to myself, my body.

Take a few moments to sniff the air today.  See the colors around you.  Look at the sky.  Watch the movement of the soft wind in the trees.  What color are the trees, now, this moment?  Sit for a moment, and feel yourself sitting in the chair.  Know the pressure of your feet, in your shoes, on the floor.

I love to sit in the grass sometimes, and I am grateful for our luxurious plot of grass in the city.  On the earth, my senses seem to come back to life.  I smell and see and even hear the world in a more present way.  When I am present to my moments in the grass, I am present to the present moment.  And that is all there is.  The masters speak of this, again and again.  Our prayers, our meditations, our sitting, return us to this place – this place of presence, the present moment.

The present moment is the greatest gift, the greatest grounding of all.  When, for a minute or an hour or a day, you are present, you will discover this greatest gift.  You will want more and more of this, this presence, this being-at-one with yourself, in your body, whole, complete, in this moment.

You are deeper, you are more than your anxieties, your fears, for all those things that possess you and keep you trapped – trapped outside yourself.  You are here, now.  Join in the return.  Come back to yourself, now.

 

 

What life brings…

img_0897  Silver Lake, CA, late August, 2016.

In the wisdom years, I am so often grateful for those moments, those rich times that have certainly been part of life all along, but which I was too busy to notice in my busy, important life. What joys I have missed. Now, I witness the changing light of the days, I see the grass bend slightly to mark a passing breeze, I watch our local towhee dance only a few feet from me, watching, and I see the red streak of light over San Francisco Bay as the sun sets, a line of fire across the sky for only a few moments.

Since my beloved and I have returned from a few days in the Eastern Sierra, I have seen a few yellow leaves flying on the branches of my other witness to the changing seasons, the birch tree I love, outside my front window.

Just about 9 PM the other night, the phone rang in the kitchen.  I remarked to my husband, who, along with me, was already in bed, reading, that our phone rings so seldom.  I did not register the number of the caller, but when I answered, the frantic voice of a life long friend spoke to me.  I responded to something in her clear, commanding voice, by asking:  “is something wrong?”

Her husband had spent Labor Day in the hospital, including an MRI that returned with the news that he has a fast-growing cancer, a tumor in his brain.  When the short call was over – what can be said, after all? – I leaned over, bare feet on the kitchen floor, and cried.  Then, I told my husband.  I placed the book I had been reading on the floor next to the bed, turned over, and tried to pray.

How do I  pray at such a time?  What do I ask?  How do I do this?  I ask you, but I expect you do not know the answer, either.  There is nothing to do, nothing to say, nothing except to be a witness to this, also.  How big is God? I thought, my thoughts guarding me from my feelings as I lay in bed.  Thoughts will not guard me forever, though.

My prayers, my most heart felt prayers are with my friends, today.  I don’t know how to pray, so I expect my spirit, our spirit – yours and mine – will know.

Life, after all, brings these true and bliss-filled moments of beauty, and pain.

for Rainier’ and Lia, wedding poem, August 27, 2016

IMG_1411

Suppose this moment is simply going to be –

perfect –

with no prodding, no nurturing from us.

 

Like a small green sprout pushing against the rich, deep earth,

pushing to find sustenance,

to seek the sun, to rise, its tender stem finally breathing the air,

warming,

birthing,

from its longing to be whole.

 

Suppose this moment is like the moon,

the moon that dances across the sky

from nothing to crescent to full –

because that’s all it can do.

It’s the moon.

The moon will not be rushed…

we are only grateful witnesses to its light, and shadows.

 

Suppose this moment is simply going to be –

like a child who grows in spite of prodding,

like a child who grows, at her own pace.

We watch, wait, celebrate the blossoming life.

 

Suppose this day,

this hour,

this moment

was meant to be, in perfect fullness, now!

 

Suppose this blossoming before us,

is a gift –

we, witnesses to this tender, complete love.

 

We are witnesses to this one holy moment.

—Mary Elyn Bahlert, 2016