In Blackwater Woods
Look, the trees
their own bodies
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
the long tapers
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as bird wings.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.”
Oh this is a tough one….how to convince people that it’s worth it to be vulnerable, to stay vulnerable? Especially when we know, somewhere in the emotional meat of our bones, that it is this very thing that might have caused so much anguish in our tender youth. I guess the easiest thing to say is that we can’t quite grow right without it. We can’t quite love right without it. Frankly, if you ask me, I’m not even sure we quite think right without it. Put it this way: think of it as the oil for our psychic engines. It keeps all the parts and gears working smoothly.
But what is it? How could I possibly convey a way of conceptualizing this in just a few small steps…just a few key words? It’s openness. It’s kindness. It’s accepting that you do not know what you do not know. It’s curiosity’s country cousin; a willingness to look without blinders, to see without needing to “know,” to learn without agendas.
Brené Brown describes it more clearly and more compellingly than any Western thinker I’ve come across. She’s fabulous and worth taking time to listen to.
It’s knowing you are a soft-bodied mammal, and coming to terms with the fact that other humans are at the top of your food chain, and you theirs.
This, at least, is a start.
This Being Human Is A Guest House
This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.