Wisdom from a Wise Elder

“Opening Your Heart, Intimacy with the Divine,”
an online retreat with Imam Jamal Rahman, “Brother”

Silence is the language of God. Everything else is a poor translation. Be silent so that the Lord who gave you language may speak. – Rumi

Practices for Self Compassion

*Build your schedule around silence.

*Give yourself a “sacred name.” For example, “I am Mary Elyn, the Beloved.” Call yourself by that name to yourself.

*When you’re angry at yourself, be angry at that smaller self, not Who You Are.

*Practice “sacred holding:” embrace your sorrows with gentleness.

*Tell your heart, “I love You.”

*”Would you have the courage to kiss the dragon within you?” – Carl Jung

*Accept your feelings: “Where in my body do I feel this?” Ask the feeling/sensation: “Do you have a message for me?” Ask: “How may I love you?”

*Be aware of when you are living in the past or the future: “Beloved, you are worrying about the future. Go ahead, worry for ten minutes.” “Beloved, spend five minutes in the past.” Give yourself permission.

*”I am my smaller self. But I am also my Larger Self.”

*Switch on the Self-Witnessing at the end of the day. Ask: When was I my small self? Ask: When was I living from my Divine Self?

*”Keep your tongue forever filled with the name of God.” In other words, say your name for God, again and again, and again, as a mantra, in every moment.

*Do good deeds according to your capacity.

*Build a community of Love/Trust/Truth – a Circle of Love.

Mary Elyn Bahlert, Jerusalem, 2007

Clouds and Memories

I drop under the azure sky,

fall onto the grass, fresh in spring,

sniff as if for the first time.

The little cat comes to join me,

picking up each paw to navigate the way.

She drops into the shade traced by my arm.

Then, she crawls away

to her better advantage.

Once I sat under this sky

on a green hill

with a boy.

We laughed at the slow parade of cumulus clouds,

watching the white birds drifting,

an angel,

a circus clown,

a theater of our own.

Mary Elyn Bahlert, 04/2020


Paschal Moon

I step into the dark from the kitchen door
without a sound,
waiting for her to show herself.

There she is – hiding in the branches,
The redwood laughing at her pranks.
I stand, silent, waiting for her to peek through the leaves of the hard maple.
She loves to shine at just the right moment.
– there she is – she darts between the branches,
And again.

I wait.
The trees wait.
In a moment, the trees shimmer,
A breeze running through the silence of their lifted arms:
Praying, dancing,
we sway, shiver,
bend to worship her.

Mary Elyn Bahlert, 4/10/2020


This, this, this

Palm Sunday.

I sit in my small basement study. Rain drops cover the screen across the window. I am warm, I have a warm house. It’s cozy here in my little room, a room of my own. I am grateful.

My husband opens the door at the top of the stairs and calls my name. A few minutes later, my husband opens the door at the top of the stairs and calls my name. He is checking on me. He wants to know I’m here, I’m safe, he’s safe.

“There’s a kind of hush, all over the world…”

There is a kind of hush this morning, Sunday. Today, it’s an eerie hush. In the hush, I check my emails, and I see messages of love from family, from friends. Although I am alone here in this small space, I am not alone. I am surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, the ancestors, I can hear them, crying softly, allowing me to hear their grief for me as I have grief for them.

And this is a blessed time, filled with many things. Like a jar of buttons, shaped and colored, two holes, four holes, all different, this time is filled with many things. “There is a time for every purpose under heaven.” Truly, there is. The time is filled with reading. I water my plants, my companions. Every day, in my mind, I awake with a song, and I hum the tune throughout the day. We eat our simple meals together. We read a few lines of the Psalms, of a poem, of someone who lived long ago who knew this time, as well. From time to time, there is anger, there is fear, and there is laughter, also.

“There is a time for every purpose under heaven.”

I can sit with that thought. I can sit. I can breath. I can be fearful. I can be joyful. I can be grateful. I can be whole.