There is peace here, where the river
widens to meet the sea. The rapids
are past; the boulders and the rocky
places at last give way to a broad
and sweeping current, flowing
slowly into vastness. The river
moves silently, tastes the salty tide
that marks its demise, and slips
without a backward glance, into
the ocean's infinite embrace.
- Danna Faulds
in memory of Amy Carroll
What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If prayer, our words.
What if the temple was the earth
If forests were our church
If holy water - the rivers, lakes, and oceans
What if meditation was our relationships
If the Teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the center of our being
~ Ganga White
This -- I said to Percy when I had left
our bed and gone
out into the living room couch where
he found me apparently doing nothing -- this
is called thinking.
It's something people do,
not being entirely children of the earth,
like a dog or a tree or a flower.
His eyes questioned such an activity.
"Well, okay," he said. "If you say so. Whatever
it is. Actually
I like kissing better."
And next to me,
tucked down his curly head
and, sweet as a flower, slept.
Percy (2002-2009) from Mary Oliver's "Dog Songs"
You are quite sure that tomorrow will come, that the most sacred breath will be there, that grace will take shape as the sun falling into the ocean, the moon in the sky, the birds singing, the sacred life all around you, the colors of this astonishing world, and another opportunity to give and receive love.
But another part of you knows it is really so fragile here, so precarious, so extraordinary – that something is happening here that is so very precious, and that it will not be here for much longer.
You have taken birth in a star where love is alive, and you are willing to give your heart to others and to this world. You do not know for sure, but you sense that it is very very rare to be here. You are willing for your heart to be broken, to feel sadness, to burn for love, to stay raw, to remain unbearably tender, and to never apologize for your sensitivity and vulnerability.
At the end of this life – which is sure to come much, much sooner than you’d like – it is quite unlikely you’ll be asking if you accomplished enough, if you perfected yourself, if you've remained safe, or if you achieved all of your goals. Inside your heart there may be only one burning question: how well did I love?
Did I pause each day to behold the movement of grace as it is appearing in each and every moment? Did I look up into the sunset and the glory of the moon and give my heart to this world? Did I risk everything to know the preciousness of this experience here? Was I willing to feel more, care so deeply, let everyone matter, and be utterly devastated at even the possibility of one more sunrise? Was I willing to fall in love, to truly fall in love?
Did I spend my time here in this star of love wisely, with my heart open, knowing it could be broken in any moment? Did I dance with the beloved around the moon, wander with her into the desert and the darkness, play with her in the depths of the oceans, and give everything for just one glimpse of the mysteries of separation and union?
I hope I make it all the way through this sweetest of ever thanksgiving days, but if for some reason I do not, this would have been enough. I have been given so much more than enough.
...In the forest of your heart, cracks have appeared, so that a new light can pour through. It has come to illuminate the trees and the sweet ones who have taken up residence there. For a moment, you thought your brokenness was working against you, but then you realized that it, too, is a pathway of wisdom inside you.
Your longing is taking you deeper into the forest, where love is at work, opening pathways inside you and revealing how whole you really are. There is no other dimension of experience that is as precious as this one, for it is an environment created of particles of love. They are hiding in the old rotten logs, dancing in the branches, and emerging up through the messy soil.
You are a yogini of the forest, practicing your yoga of a broken open heart, and offering your wholeness to the world....
- Matt Licata
Once upon a time,
When women were birds,
There was the simple understanding
That to sing at dawn
And to sing at dusk
Was to heal the world through joy.
The birds still remember what we have forgotten,
That the world is meant to be celebrated.
- Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds
Anandalila is a tantric hatha yoga teacher and moksha magick practitioner. When she is not on the mat, she enjoys reading, writing, music, birdwatching, and, of course, chocolate.