Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The Miracles of Life

Breathe in the miracles of life
as stardust, snowflakes and raindrops.
Breathe out a wish
for peace in the world.

Breathe in the miracles of life
as green grass, rotting leaves, bare branches.
Breathe out a wish
for contentment and rest in the world.

Breathe in the miracles of life
as hibernating seeds, plants and animals.
Breathe out a wish
for harmony in the world.

Breathe in the miracles of life
as frosty mornings, moonlit nights and skies full of stars.
Breathe out a wish
for recognition of the miracles of life throughout the world.

Breathe in the miracles of life
as a newborn baby, a reluctant teenager, a dying elder.
Breathe out a wish
for all to rest in deep sleep.
Breathe out a wish
for all to know peace.
Breathe out a wish
for all to be at peace.

© 18 Dec 16

Friday, 16 December 2016

What gift can I give myself?

What gift can I give myself?
What will most nourish me now?
I give myself permission to be me
just me, good enough as I am and
doing my best.
I let go of worrying over
what others will think.
I let go of trying to anticipate
the outcome of each situation.
I let go of trying to answer
all the ‘what if’s”
I give myself permission
to dwell in presence
with its uncertainty and unknowing and
be ok with watching life unfold
heading on its own path
without me needing to know
every step of the way.
I give myself the greatest gift
which is called the present moment.

© 23 Nov 16

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Be Calm, Be Happy Mindfulness course

A new 6-session mindfulness course rooted in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Be Calm, Be Happy provides a gradual introduction to mindfulness and meditation and key teachings on positive happy living over six weekly classes.  Each class includes guided mindfulness exercises and meditations, group discussions and practical exercises led by two experienced facilitators in a warm, friendly atmosphere with a maximum of 14 participants.  

I'm very happy to be offering this along with my colleague Clare Belbin-Carlile in 2017.
We offer the course in 2 North Yorkshire venues, York and Kirkbymoorside.


Course content includes
Session 1: Stopping and calming
Session 2: Turning to the positive
Session 3: Loving communication
Session 4: Nourishing happiness
Session 5: Interdependence and community
Session 6: Guidelines for a happier life

Reported benefits of attending this course include:
Increased enjoyment of life
Increased ability to be calm and relaxed
Increased control of emotions such as anger and anxiety
Improved sleep quality
Fewer feelings of anxiety and depression

Who Should Attend 
This course is suitable for beginners, as well as those wishing to refresh their mindfulness practice. It is suitable for those of all faiths and none. Our course participants come from a wide range of backgrounds. Many of our participants are keen to learn new ways to look after their own well being and to identify positive responses to challenging situations. 

York
10th January - 21st February (Tuesday evenings, 6.30 - 9.00pm)
6 consecutive sessions at
Acomb Quaker Meeting House, The Green, Acomb.
York, YO26 5LR.

Kirkbymoorside
Saturdays 11th, 25th February and 11th March (10am - 3.30pm)
3 days (2 sessions per day) at
Kirkbymoorside Natural Health Centre, The Bethel Chapel, Tinley Garth. 
Kirkbymoorside YO62 6AR

 Cost: £95/£60 concessions

Please book via Eventbrite: coimindful.eventbrite.co.uk

For enquiries please email: bcbhmindful@gmail.com


Monday, 12 December 2016

A carpet


I wished to lay a carpet
of beauty and delight
at the feet of my beloved
yet my attempts fell short.
"Let me help," whispered the tree
scattering all her gorgeous leaves
around your form
coating the ground with a
dazzling display of beauty and delight
in pure simplicity.




Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Four lines, five words

In Thich Nhat Hanh's latest book At Home in the World  I read that the gathas - four line verses Thay uses to express the teaching in all aspects of life - in the original Chinese were four lines and only 5 words per line. This delighted my aim for brevity and I have been playing with this as I often find a poem comes as a whole idea or a distinct image rather than particular words.
Here are some I have written so far - enjoy!

Tonight a super moon rises
closer to earth than usual.
Go into the darkness, see
what beauties are lit there.

............

Oneness, birthplace of all movement.
Stars sing moon into beauty
river and pebbles clash harmoniously
leaves chant farewell to trees.

............

Desire for succinctness and brevity
yet words spill onto page
in an uncontained, chaotic joyfulness
that somehow makes perfect sense.

..........

Light shines brightest in darkness
right, left cannot be separated.
You in me in you
a divided world made whole.

...........

Sufi artists embrace imperfection, knowing
God alone as perfect, pure.
I also adopt this knowledge
letting go of never complete.

..........

It only needed a seed
the whole tree was there
you and I in shade
enjoying an unsought for peace.

..........

Red sky glinting in river
water reflecting colour of trees.
Which is more real, more
true? Mind enraptured by both.

..........

I saw a single leaf
suspended between heaven and earth
caught on invisible spider's web
delightfully unmoving despite autumn flurries.

..........

Misty morning on the river
snow dripping off the trees
light diffused through soft filters
winter not quite yet arrived.

© 16 Nov 16


Monday, 14 November 2016

Space to notice

Space to notice
what I am caught up with
where the mind has gone
what paths or daydreams
the thoughts have wandered into.
Space to notice
the reality I create for myself and
the far greater, infinite reality
dwelling just outside the door.
Space to notice
the limits I impose upon myself and
the unending freedom available
if I allow myself.
Space to notice
and care for the body’s needs but
not to be over-cautious or fearful.
Space to notice
all movements originate here
including those in the mind.
Space to notice
space
here is all knowledge, all joy, all wonder.
Stay with the space.

© 14 Nov16

Friday, 11 November 2016

The ebook is free this weekend!

This weekend Amazon are offering a promotion where the ebook of In the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh: Mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism is FREE.
The idea is you tell all your family and friends how amazing it is and they all buy it! :)
Just a word of warning if you take up this option - viewing it on a phone the text is very small and needs zooming in, which means you have to scroll across for the end of each sentence.
This doesn't apply to kindles and larger devices.
If you do get it please leave a review when you have read it, preferably on all of them if you can!
You can also get it on Wordery and Lulu.com
Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Today when I woke up

Today when I woke up
it had snowed and
from my warm, soft cocoon
I could see an unexpected
world of beauty and delight.
The beauty of the snow and the
light in the sky
often surprises me.
Each time I forget how
lovely it is, how joyous
to see the flakes softly falling
its gentleness and quiet.
A blanket of ice nourishing the earth
and my soul.

Then I heard the news and
my heart broke!
I wallowed with others in grief
despair, hopelessness and anger.
But that little voice inside me
that I trust said
“this is not the way”.

I turned off the news and turned
away from social media until
I could find the words that
weren’t fuelled by hate and divisiveness.
Someone I trust said
“be the change you want to see
in the world”.
Of a sudden I knew what this meant.
Practise generosity, kindness, love.
Send out good wishes to all beings
known and unknown.
Turn away from news designed
to inflame the emotions.
Embrace the beauty and love
right at the end of your fingertips.

With each looking and noticing
my broken heart began to mend
forming a new whole
born from understanding and
the need to openly express
our love for the good and the true and
for one another.

If the world ends today
I will know with every fibre
of my being
it has been a good day
because it snowed
and I noticed!

© 9 Nov 16

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Why ride the boat?

Why ride the boat and risk
being tossed out in any
turbulent storms
when you can swim
in the ocean of bliss and
bathe in your own oneness?

Why ride the boat that requires
sails, oars and all kinds of
accoutrements
when you can swim
in the ocean of bliss
free and free and free?

Why ride the boat that needs
much upkeep and maintenance
when you can swim
in the ocean of bliss and
be with your own essence?

© 26 Oct 16

Monday, 31 October 2016

The heart knows

The heart knows
The mind vacillates
between this and that
“shall I stay here?”
“shall I go there?”
Doubt conjures up
a fog of illusion.
No more clarity.
Fortunately
we have been given a gift
of meditation.
Cleansing
quieting
clearing.
Piece by piece
disentangling mind from heart.
Piece by piece
relaxing mind’s vice-like grip.
Piece by piece
reducing mind’s volume control.
Peace by peace
allowing heart to know
what it knows and
space enough
to hear it.

© 24Oct 16

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

What remains?

What remains?
When the senses rest and
are no longer pulled out by
every interesting article.
When I am no longer affected
by time or age.
When I am freed from the
limiting or incorrect perceptions
of the mind.
When ‘I’ is no longer bound in a body
no longer subject to birth and death.
What remains?
When light and dark
are no longer differentiated.
When old and new,
me and you lose their meaning.

What remains?
I remain
free to dance with the wind
soar with the stars
roll with the waves on the ocean
as free as the autumn leaf
to let go of all limiting concepts.
I remain
an indescribable being
light and bright as
a raindrop bathed in sunlight.
I remain
a boundless heart
with wings to fly and circle the moon.
I remain.

© 25 Oct 16

Sunday, 23 October 2016

In the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh

I'm delighted to say that, at last, my Ph.D. thesis is published as a book and available on Wordery, Lulu.com or Amazon, or you can get the paperback version from me directly.
In the Tradition of TNH

You can get it as paperback or ebook. 
It's been a long journey since I started my Ph.D. in December 2008 and one that has deepened my practice of mindfulness as well. It's been a very enriching and joyful journey (for the most part!) and I feel this is just another stepping stone on the way, rather than the final destination. I can hardly believe I have got to this point!

The blurb!
Explore the relationship between two aspects of Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings, Mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism. Mindfulness is a key Buddhist teaching, and involves paying attention on purpose to what is taking place in mind and body by bringing the awareness to focus on the present moment. Engaged Buddhism is a global phenomenon associated with Thich Nhat Hanh as its originator and brings Buddhism out of the meditation hall to engage deeply with social, political and environmental issues. The book follows Thich Nhat Hanh's journey from a monk in Vietnam, deeply protesting about the War, through exile and displacement, to becoming a world-renowned Mindfulness teacher living in France at Plum Village Monastery. Thich Nhat Hanh's unique teaching of Mindfulness has nonviolence and compassion at its heart. Although he has written many books himself none offer such detail as this on the biographical elements of his life.


Monday, 17 October 2016

Look deeply

Light shifts through the day
colours change as summer
proceeds to autumn
growth becomes decay as
the busyness of spring
becomes the rest and hibernation
of winter.
We are bound to an
ever-moving cycle of change
so where is the stillness?

If you look deeply
into each moment
any moment
there is stillness
there is oneness
there is all knowledge and truth.

Life is an ever-changing dance of
coming and going
transformation and impermanence
moving, interacting
flowing round the rim of a wheel.
The hub of the wheel is still.

If a bird stays still
it gets ensnared in the cat’s teeth.
If I do not rest in stillness
I get ensnared in the changing dance
of life
believing each moment to be real
forgetting it is but a shadow cast
by one steady light that shines
from within.

Look deeply into each moment
any moment
there is stillness
there is life
pulsing as one great heartbeat
throughout the universe.

© 16 Oct 16

Friday, 14 October 2016

The train of thought

A single engine moving
sedately along the track
taking in the landscape
sliding by.

Suddenly
a whole collection of carriages
attach themselves
magnetically
like my son’s toy train set.

The journey becomes
effortful and laboured
pulling along so many
unwanted extras
keeping in line the carriages
that bump and jostle for position.

The landscape is blurred and forgotten
all effort goes into
maintaining order
with the clamouring carriages.

The track becomes circular
- how did that happen? –
The engine chugging round and round
no means to break out.
Round and round
getting nowhere
the noise from the carriages
louder and louder
a familiar track
I didn’t choose to be on.

Stop at the station.
Really stop!
No matter how much
noise and bluster
the carriages create.

Stop and wait
till the carriages quieten down
lost their magnetic grip
slowly disappear back into the ether.

Stop and wait.
A single engine moving
sedately along the track
taking in the landscape
sliding by.

© 13 Oct 16

Monday, 10 October 2016

The sweet and silent drops of meditation

The mind can roar
louder than a lion
yet it has no power against
the sweet and silent drops of meditation.

The mind can move
faster than lightning
yet it cannot outrun
the unmoving stillness in
the sweet and silent drops of meditation.

The moving mind seeks novelty and newness
yet it finds no rest, no solace
until it welcomes stillness
which is beyond mind.

That which we call the
familiar friend or home
recognises only itself.

The mind appears so powerful
so convincing
yet it has no resistance to
the sweet and silent drops of meditation.

© 22 May 16

Saturday, 8 October 2016

The hidden treasure in the heart

What is the hidden treasure in the heart that is unspoken?
Fear says, ‘don’t even go there!
You don’t want to unpack that hornets’ nest!’
Doubt says, ‘there is nothing!
Don’t fool yourself that anything deep or meaningful resides there!’
And there I could stay
not looking
not exploring
not daring.
The heart itself knows better.
Heart says, ‘welcome! Come on in!
Take a look around
browse, take your time!’

And here I find love.
Love that is not sentimental or
gushing but life sustaining.
Love is the call to awaken each morning
to get out of bed
to greet the day.
Love is the call to action
of a different kind
to be present for each moment
to notice the wind, the rain
the essence of life pulsing all around.
Love is the impulse to acknowledge life
in all beings, great and small
to say ‘I love you’ with words
or with a smile or
a greeting of acknowledgement.

Love is the rest when all cares
are laid down
all troubles set aside
all anxieties forgotten.
Love rests in the heart
waiting to be acknowledged
a hidden treasure with a great longing
to be heard, to be known.
Love is the lullaby that
gently rocks you to sleep at night.

© 29 Sep 16

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Where have all the poems gone?

What to do when you appear to have writer's block and the poems aren't flowing any more? Write a poem about it, of course! :)

Where have all the poems gone?
These pages are empty
not because there are no words but
I haven't taken the time to invite them in.
A shift in priorities has squeezed out
the time for writing and
now it is easing itself back in.

These pages have lain empty and blank
for weeks
as I pursued other creativities.
Lately, I have been writing
on the computer
which is not the same as
pencil in hand.

I am a conduit
a channel
a conductor
guiding the ever-dancing
ever-moving words
onto the page
in some recognisable formation.
Sometimes it is different
to what I expect.
I am only the channel
the conductor.
I cannot dictate
how they will turn out or
what patterns they will create.
I am only the conduit.

© 18 Sep 16

Sunday, 25 September 2016

I discover

I discover
I prefer the sound of
crashing water descending down rocks
to the chatter of humans
one to another.
I prefer
the conversation of leaves
rustling with the breeze
to the noise of humans
which becomes a distraction.

Mind makes a judgement and
sets up a preference.
I want to hear natural sounds.
I want to hear water
as it beats down incessantly
on the rocks below
rather than the stream of humans
come to visit this glorious sight.

And is there a point they can merge?
Can the mind stop deciding
there is a difference
seeing this one as natural
and therefore the other as unnatural?

Here on this busy bank holiday
many families with young children
friends and relations have all descended
on this beauty spot, as have we.
Do I really want to wish them away and
selfishly enjoy this by myself?
Where would I rather the humans were?
Sat in front of a TV screen?
Or just not here?

The mind that makes preferences
does not follow through
these logical conclusions
it makes a snap decision
“I would prefer things not to be like this”.
I decide to rejoice
that so many parents
have made the decision
to bring their children out into nature.

I decide to rejoice
that the chatter of human life
is equally enjoyable
to sounds of nature.
I decide
to enjoy things as they are
instead of how little ‘me’
would like them to be!

© 2 Sep 16

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The wind of life

The wind of life
gusts round the house
strongly, forcibly
saying,
Do not forget me!
Do not let your sorrows
pull you into believing in death.
I am here! I am here!
Calling to you
smiling to you
from every leaf and every petal.

I am the origin
lending life to all that moves.
I am the song
lending voice to all that speaks.
I am the fire
lending light to all that sees.
Know my presence
hear my voice.
I am the sound of silence
the knowledge that remains
when all searching ceases.

© 7 Aug 16

Monday, 8 August 2016

This Buddha smiles beatifically

This Buddha smiles beatifically
all understanding
all knowledge is hers.
Her friends doze in a
fog of forgetfulness
not seeing what she sees
not knowing what she knows
lost in a sea of emotions
we are sad, angry, regretful.

This Buddha smiles beatifically
all understanding
all knowledge is hers.
We are blessed to be in her presence
to bask in her light
soaking in a second-hand
understanding.

This Buddha smiles beatifically
all understanding
all knowledge is hers.
She sees the simplicity
of everything.
She knows the glory
of everything.
She knows
all one has to do is
breathe
smile and
let go.

* Buddha = Awakened One

© 7 Aug 16

Monday, 1 August 2016

I am essence undressed


I am essence undressed
with no impurities or defilements
pure and free.

I am clean, fresh water
unpolluted and untainted 
coming directly from the source
the well-spring.

I am unadulterated light
with no shadows
bright, penetrating
coming directly from the sun
womb of all fire.

I am clean, fresh, pure air
the wind that blows through
brushing aside all uncertainty.

I am the song that sings itself
tune and words utterly recognisable.

I am the heartbeat of the cosmos
steady, regular
pulsing in every being
essence of vitality.

I am space
all-containing space.
I am essence undressed
with no impurities or defilements.
I am free.

© 31 Jul 16

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Love so deep

Love so deep is painful
in the letting go
yet better to love and
have a heart shattered
like broken glass
than to live a half-life
of mediocrity.
Better to feel the intensity
of great beauty and great loss
than to live life
only in the shadows.

A shattered heart
can be mended
yet a life half-lived
cannot be undone.

Now is the moment
the only moment.
Dance and dwell and
revel in this moment.
Be with who you are with and
be who you were born to be
now, in this moment.

© 27 Jul 16

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Last night I dreamt

Last night I dreamt a strange and wonderful dream. I dreamt I was born a baby, innocent and helpless. I was born into a family who kept trying to tell me I was theirs, but in my heart of hearts I knew I didn't belong; this was not my home. I waited with eager anticipation for the day they would reveal the contents of this secret to me. Yet the day never came! They never unfolded the secret that I knew. As days and weeks, months and seasons turned I began to believe what they told me, that I belonged here, here was my family, my home. And as I believed, I lived with them through the hopes and fears, dreams and disappointments that seemed to be part of the package. Together we celebrated new life and mourned the passing of life into death, which seemed strange and contrary to me. I lived this life with them but I never fully believed the stories that they spun. As weeks and months, seasons and years turned their insistent voices that we were a family grew louder and the secret voice inside my heart grew faint.
One day I met someone who confirmed everything I knew in my heart. They spoke with a voice I understood and recognised. They told me, this so-called life is a dream, a play in which we are called to play our part extremely well, make it so believable yet never forget to remove the costume, wig and make-up backstage. This play is full of dramas, comedies, histories and tragedies, yet none of it is real, none of it is true.
And my heart was satisfied until one day a question came to mind - if this life is not real, not true, what is? I fervently searched for an answer. I looked in books, I enquired with everyone I met, but often they responded with a look of puzzled confusion. I scoured buildings and towns trying to find an answer that would satisfy the yearning in my heart.
Finally I met someone who said - you will never find the answer by searching in this way. Be still! Stop looking! Be silent! Let the answer find you! So I sat and listened. I heard the wind whisper in the trees, I heard the stars sparkle in the night-time sky, I heard the snowflakes as they fell, I heard the birds singing freely in the open sky, I heard families and friends calling jovially to one another. Through it all I heard a sound of oneness. I knew this silence in my heart, when all external activity ceases, was where I belonged, was what I could truly call home. And now I was completely satisfied and I woke up with a smile on my face and a deep contentment in my heart, utterly free.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

I'm grateful

Feel like going home
hibernating under the duvet and
not coming out.
Feel like hiding and
whispering gently
‘make it all go away!
Make it all stop!’

Feeling like pushing
the rewind button
take me back to a time
I felt happy and joyful
instead of sad and disheartened.

Yet this was not so long ago
it’s just this descending grey blanket
dulls everything.
Yesterday, I was happy!
Today I was happy!

This I forget
in the midst of the gloom.
I sit in my car and cry
and write and reflect
what this feels like
while the dripping rain outside
reflects my inner turmoil.

I sit in my car and listen
to the heavy raindrops
beating on metal and I’m
warm and dry inside.
And I’m grateful
I’m grateful!

I’m grateful to know
these emotions will pass
will blow over
like a strong gust
sweeping rainclouds away.

I’m grateful to know
I don’t have to believe
the inner words of
doom and gloom
anger and frustration.

I’m grateful to know
I don’t mind getting wet
because I have a home to go to
people who love me and
people to love.

I’m grateful to know
I can let the storms rage
and clouds pass over the sun
because they are all moving
all changing
not static.
And soon they will be gone.

© 4 Jul 16

Friday, 22 July 2016

To a world full of chaos

A new dawn, a new day
all is quiet within
the soft shuffle of a
quiet Sunday morning
yet in this moment
in a world full of turbulence
anger, hate, despair, disbelief
there is much need of
mindfulness and steadiness
within and without.

To a world full of chaos
I offer
my whole-hearted presence
not choosing who or what
is more or less worthy
not choosing to be
limited or partial
I choose to be full
fully present
fully aware
fully loving.

© 17 Jul 16

Monday, 18 July 2016

The only word

Nothing.
I have written many words
all of them saying nothing.
I cannot find the words
to express what is present
what is now.
The beauty of this moment
cannot be described
with mundane words.
I search for new ones
unused ones
to describe the indescribable.
I do not need words to know
the beauty of the sunset
only eyes that see.
I do not need words to depict
the glory of this sun-filled morning
only senses that feel.

The only word
is yes!

© 12 Jul 16

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

I listen to the wind

I listen to the wind
it has no sound.
I listen to the silence
it has no end
uncontained.
Only the objects the wind meets
butts up against
contain the sound.
Only the senses
organs of perception
restrict what we know.
I listen to the wind
it has no sound.
What am I hearing?
The containers within which
the uncontained rests
fills
dwells.
I listen to the silence
it has no end.

© 11 Jul 16

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

We stand as a forest

I stand as a tree
we stand as a forest
our feet taking root
taking nourishment from the earth.
We stand together
yet not too close
not blocking out
each other’s light.
The earth holds us
cradles and supports us
as a bountiful mother.

I kneel on the earth
face and forearms close to the soil
breathing out my pain and anxiety
let the earth melt away
my sadness.
I stay like a stone
until I feel steady
until I feel strength
from the supporting earth.

I lift my head up
towards the light
feeling warmth
being fed
feeling cared for by the
strong, shining sun.

The earth holds us
cradles and supports us
as a bountiful mother.
I stand as a tree
we stand as a forest
finding strength in each other.

© 4 Jul 16

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

White birds flying

The ball has been dropped.
As millions of shards
crash to the ground
spinning in all directions
a lone white bird rises
from the chaos and debris
to soar above
the billowing dust cloud.

Up in calm stillness
it calls for its mate and
hears a welcome reply.
Two white birds soar
dance together
over the wreckage below.

Out of the chaos
more white birds rise
one, two, many
recognising and answering the call
flying, swooping together
they become a wave
a cloud, an ocean.

From above
the vastness of this
murmuration blots out
the debris below
envelopes the dust cloud
in a sea of white.

Descending, the white birds
pick through the shards
of brokenness
carefully
moving aside each piece
searching for fresh green shoots
that inevitably lie beneath
building a new home
a safe home
together.

© 5 Jul 16

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Peel away!

There are layers to peel away
to unlock the kernel hidden beneath.
Let hand connect directly
with heart without
interference from the mind.
Peel away, peel away!
Only when the dross has been discarded
will the jewel beneath be revealed.
Patience my friend!
Remove the heavy-handedness
of eager hurry
so as not to blemish the hidden jewel.
Only heart knows
when all layers are removed.
The sculptor chips away
at the block of stone to discover
the sculpture that already lies
at its heart.
Peel away, peel away!
Only when the dross has been discarded
will the jewel beneath be revealed.

© 18 Jun 16

Friday, 17 June 2016

It has to be me

The weather may not be balmy
yet there is a sense of
midsummer madness in the air
high pressure causing people
to behave in crazy ways
even killing, shooting
those who disagree with their opinion.

The only certainty is uncertainty
yet does this need to be agitated
by disturbances?
Is the only way forward
throwing all the balls into the air and
seeing where they will land?
Is it necessary to stir up trouble
in order to bring about change?
Is it frightening or exhilarating?
It depends upon your perspective.

Where is the voice of reason
in all this furore?
What do I know?
I know big decisions
should not be made in an agitative state.
I know calm is needed
within myself
to see the reasonable way forward.
I know love is necessary in all circumstances
and especially now
when there seems to be so much hate.
I know a wave of hate
will be met with a stronger wave
of love
that people can and will help
one another when push comes to shove.
And can we also show love without
the push and the shove?

Where is the voice of reason
in all this?
It has to be me.
It has to be me keeping calm
whatever winds of change are blowing
knowing it will pass and
things will settle.
It has to be me
not feeding the seeds of anger, of hate
within myself.
It has to be me
showing compassion towards those
who disagree with me.
It has to be me
saying no to the rising tide
of aversion and frustration.
It has to be me
saying I will not be overcome by despair.
It has to be me
saying yes to love, in all its forms.
It has to be me.

© 17 Jun 16

Saturday, 11 June 2016

I don’t have another way of walking

Walking into the present moment
no need to carry the to do list
as a burden on my shoulders
no need to think, worry, or even remember.
As each footstep deepens
becomes more joyful
I discover
I don’t have another way of walking.

I could choose to be busy
walk in a hurry
rushing from place to place
to get things done
frantically tick items off my to do list.
I choose to slow down
mindful of each footstep
moving yet not moving.
I let go of the usual energy
associated with thinking
I have things to do.

Walking into the present moment
moving yet not moving
I discover a freshness
a lightness
the joy of just walking
I discover
I don’t have another way of walking*.

* This is a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh when asked about walking meditation.
Wherever he goes, whatever he has to do, he always walks in a mindful way.

© 6 Jun 16

Thursday, 9 June 2016

We are many, we are one

I am a droplet of water
joining, merging with yours
meeting, appreciating
many droplets coming together.

We are a stream of water
joining, merging with others
meeting, appreciating
many streams coming together.

We are one great ocean
having joined and merged
having met and appreciated
oneness in its fullness.
We are many, we are one.

© 1 Jun 16

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Polish it!

Thoughts in the head of
what clothes to wear and
what they will think of
my wardrobe.
Oh dear foolish one!
Look in the mirror and see
the state of your heart
not your external attire.
Look in the mirror and see
if the heart is
shabby or shining
and worry not about
the outward show of things.
Look in the mirror and see
the state of your heart
and if it is not shining
polish it, polish it, polish it!

© 7 May 16

Sunday, 22 May 2016

How much?

How much of your life is safe?
How much of your life is known?
How much of your life stays neatly
in the boundaries of your comfort zone?

How much of your life is risky?
How much of your life is small?
How much of your life stretches you
allows you to be tall?

How much of your life is dangerous?
How much of your life is ‘me’?
How much of your life allows you
to be unfettered, boundless, free?

How much of your life is fluid?
How much of your life is set?
How much do you let yourself
dance in that which is unknown yet?

© 19 May 16

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Love is the locked door

Love is the locked door
the searching for a way through
the key
the turning handle
the hesitancy
the stepping over the threshold
the meeting
the immersion in oneness
the realisation
there is no door.

© 9 May 16

Monday, 16 May 2016

I do not long for sorrow

I do not long for sorrow
but now I see
it intertwines with joy
growing together to create
one beautiful plant whose flowers
cannot be separated.

I do not long for sorrow
but now I see
the lurking shadows I try to avoid
also hold my greatest joys.
To admit only the joys
would be to live a half-life
that is partial.

I do not long for sorrow
but now I see
the cyclical turning of the earth
encompasses all facets of life.
In the depths of winter hibernation
the seed of spring is stored and nurtured
already present, already growing.

I do not long for sorrow
but now I see
the magnificence of the sunset
is only evident because of the clouds.
They are the canvas on which
its beauty is revealed.

I do not long for sorrow
but now I see
the deep well of tears
is the spring that nourishes my joy.
I would not dismiss one
to only claim the other.

I do not long for sorrow
but now I see
birth and death are natural functions
of this turning earth
of this universe
yet they are not its all.
Beyond the cyclical turning
is stillness
the true centre of all.

© 16 May 16