The Worst Thing We Ever Did — Chelan Harkin

The worst thing we ever did

The worst thing we ever did
was put God in the sky
out of reach
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍
pulling the divinity
from the leaf,
sifting out the holy from our bones,
insisting God isn’t bursting dazzlement
through everything we’ve made
a hard commitment to see as ordinary,
stripping the sacred from everywhere
to put in a cloud man elsewhere,
prying closeness from your heart.
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍
The worst thing we ever did
was take the dance and the song
out of prayer
made it sit up straight
and cross its legs
removed it of rejoicing
wiped clean its hip sway,
its questions,
its ecstatic yowl,
its tears.
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍
The worst thing we ever did is pretend
God isn’t the easiest thing
in this Universe
available to every soul
in every breath.
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍
~ Chelan Harkin, in poetry book ‘Susceptible to Light

Big thanks to my friend Rhona for sharing this with me.

Forgiveness — Molly Peacock

Forgiveness is not an abstraction for
it needs a body to feel its relief.
Knees, shoulders, spine are required to adore
the lightness of a burden removed. Grief,
like a journey over water completed,
slides its keel in the packed sand reef.
Forgiveness is contact with the belief
that your only life must now be lived.
Molly Peacock, b. 1947
quote source: First Light Meditation
For more on Molly Peacock, visit the Bookshelf.

Every Culture’s Dilemma — Barry Lopez

No culture has yet solved the dilemma each has faced with the growth of the conscious mind: how to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in all life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s own culture but within oneself. If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts the responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction because if all contradictions were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of a leaning into the light.                                 
Barry Lopez, 1945 – 2020 
quote source: First Light Meditation

 

 

No One Is An Island — Frederick Buechner

Humanity is like an enormous spider web, so that if you touch it anywhere, you set the whole thing trembling… As we move around this world and as we act with kindness, perhaps, or with indifference, or with hostility, toward the people we meet, we too are setting the great spider web a-tremble. The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time my touch will be felt. Our lives are linked together. No one is an island.

Frederick Buechner, b. 1926

 

I don’t usually include a photo, but this spiderweb heart was too fun not to share.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              photo courtesy of Debra Darvick

Rumi — A Small Green Island

A Small Green Island

There is a small green island
where one white cow lives alone, a meadow of an island.

The cow grazes till nightfull, full and fat,
but during the night she panics
and grows thin as a single hair.
What shall I eat tomorrow? There is nothing left.
By dawn the grass has grown up again, waist-high.
The cow starts eating and by dark
the meadow is clipped short.

She is full of strength and energy, but she panics
in the dark as before and grows abnormally thin overnight.
The cow does this over and over,
and this is all she does.

She never thinks, This meadow has never failed
to grow back. Why should I be afraid every night
that it won’t. The cow is the bodily soul.
The island field is this world where that grows
lean with fear and fat with blessing, lean and fat.

White cow, don’t make yourself miserable
with what’s to come, or not to come.

 

Rumi, (Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī) 1207 — 1273