Inspiration for the Journey

Shake out your qualms. 
Shake up your dreams. 
Deepen your roots. 
Extend your branches. 
Trust deep water 
and head for the open, 
even if your vision 
shipwrecks you. 
Quit your addiction 
to sneer and complain. 
Open a lookout. 
Dance on a brink. 
Run with your wildfire. 
You are closer to glory 
leaping an abyss 
than upholstering a rut. 
Not dawdling. 
Not doubting. 
Intrepid all the way 
Walk toward clarity. 
At every crossroad 
Be prepared 
to bump into wonder. 
Only love prevails. 
En route to disaster 
insist on canticles. 
Lift your ineffable 
out of the mundane. 
Nothing perishes; 
nothing survives; 
everything transforms! 
Honeymoon with Big Joy! 

~ James Broughton ~ 
Sermons of the Big Joy 

Against Hesitation

If you stare at it long enough
the mountain becomes unclimbable.
Tally it up. How much time have you spent
waiting for the soup to cool?
Icicles hang from January gutters
only as long as they can. Fingers pause
above piano keys for the chord
that will not form. Slam them down
I say. Make music of what you can.
Some people stop at the wrong corner
and waste a dozen years hoping
for directions. I can’t be them.
Tell every girl I’ve ever known
I’m coming to break her door down,
that my teeth will clench
the simple flower I only knew
not to give . . . Ah, how long did I stand
beneath the eaves believing the storm
would stop? It never did.
And there is lightning in me still.

 ~ Charles Rafferty ~

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

 ~ Mary Oliver ~

New and Selected Poems, Volume One

   We Have Come to be Danced

 

   We have come to be danced
  Not the pretty dance
  Not the pretty, pretty, pick me, pick me dance
  But the claw our way back into the belly
  Of the sacred, sensual animal dance
  The unhinged, unplugged, cat is out of its box dance
  The holding the precious moment in the palms
  Of our hands and feet dance.

  We have come to be danced
  Not the jiffy booby, shake your booty for him dance
  But the wring the sadness from our skin dance
  The blow the chip off our shoulder dance.
  The slap the apology from our posture dance.

  We have come to be danced
  Not the monkey see, monkey do dance
  One two dance like you
  One two three, dance like me dance
  but the grave robber, tomb stalker
  Tearing scabs and scars open dance
  The rub the rhythm raw against our soul dance.

  We have come to be danced
  Not the nice, invisible, self-conscious shuffle
  But the matted hair flying, voodoo mama
  Shaman shakin’ ancient bones dance
  The strip us from our casings, return our wings
  Sharpen our claws and tongues dance
  The shed dead cells and slip into
  The luminous skin of love dance.

  We have come to be danced
  Not the hold our breath and wallow in the shallow                end of the floor dance
  But the meeting of the trinity, the body breath and                 beat dance
  The shout hallelujah from the top of our thighs dance
  The mother may I?
  Yes, you may take 10 giant leaps dance
  The olly olly oxen free free free dance
  The everyone can come to our heaven dance.

  We have come to be danced
  Where the kingdoms collide
  In the cathedral of flesh
  To burn back into the light
  To unravel, to play, to fly, to pray
  To root in skin sanctuary
  We have come to be danced
  We have come.

 
Jewel Mathieson ~
    From This Dance:  A Poultice of Poems

For A New Beginning

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 grow 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 grey 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 clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is 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.

 John O'Donohue ~

Blessing in the Chaos

To all that is chaotic

in you,

let there come silence.

Let there be

a calming

of the clamoring,

a stilling

of the voices that

have laid their claim

on you,

that have made their

home in you,

that go with you

even to the

holy places

but will not

let you rest,

will not let you

hear your life

with wholeness

or feel the grace

that fashioned you.

Let what distracts you

cease.

Let what divides you

cease.

Let there come an end

to what diminishes

and demeans,

and let depart

all that keeps you

in its cage.

Let there be

an opening

into the quiet

that lies beneath

the chaos,

where you find

the peace

you did not think

possible

and see what shimmers

within the storm.

—Jan Richardson from The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of  Grief

 

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.

I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.

For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Berry

from Collected Poems