Stand for Love

“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”

~Fred Rogers

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Image: Artist Unknown

Like the Moon

And if you are to love, 

love like the moon loves. 

It doesn’t steal the night. 

It only unveils the beauty of the dark 

        ~Isra Al-Thibeh

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Moon Photo by Nancy L

Be Gentle

The deer say
be gentle with you
It is a time to be courageous
in gentler ways
People cannot bully their way into creating magic
It is the gentle heart that will find the way forward
It is the gentle hearted who will find strength in the journey
who know that their gentle ways are forged with love
There IS nothing stronger.

~Jude Downes
judedownes.com

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Photo by Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

Natural Love

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.

In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.

This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.

The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.

No lust, no slam of the door –
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.

No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor –
just a twinge every now and then

for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.

But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.

After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,

so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.

~Billy Collins, Aimless Love
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Image by Nancy Lankston

Stay With That Shakiness

“Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about.

…To stay with that shakiness — to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge — that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic — this is the spiritual path. Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior. We catch ourselves one zillion times as once again, whether we like it or not, we harden into resentment, bitterness, righteous indignation — harden in any way, even into a sense of relief, a sense of inspiration.”

~ Pema Chodron,
When Things Fall Apart
Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Grief Work

If you come as softly
As wind within the trees
You may hear what I hear
See what sorrow sees.
If you come as lightly
As threading dew
I will take you gladly
Nor ask more of you.
You may sit beside me
Silent as a breath
Only those who stay dead
Shall remember death.
And if you come I will be silent
Nor speak harsh words to you.
I will not ask you why, now.
Or how, or what you do.
We shall sit here, softly
Beneath two different years
And the rich earth between us
Shall drink our tears.

~Audre Lorde

Kiss Your Demons and Heal

This is a good morning to kiss your demons
and change them into dark angels.
Do not drive them away or they will return.
Lust is not a demon but a dark angel filled
with un-created star nectar.
Anger is not a demon but a dark angel of healing fire
dancing in your amygdala.
Grief is not a demon but a dark angel bearing
seven oceans of love in one jar.
The demon of depression who lives underground
keeps Wisdom hostage, binding
her dark angel bones in delicious mycelia.
The dark angel of addiction brings gifts
under one broken wing, and uses the other
to help you fly, for one of yours is broken too.
If you do not bow to your dark angels, they will
possess you and you will have to act them out.
So breathe them in, let them become your
shouts and sighs, pants of lust and terror
in your lungs. Now exhale and dissolve them
into the clear ocean of awakening.
They don’t possess you, you possess them.
Your dark angels have become the blue sky,
a swirl of hummingbirds, tree frogs
discussing everything. But beware
of enlightened teachers who claim no darkness.
They will lead you into a deeper darkness,
the shadow that hides from itself.
Against your beautiful demons a true teacher
will never set your heart.
A true teacher will empower you to kiss them
with that kiss which the mind gives
to its most terrible thoughts,
so that names, images, teeth marks, hieroglyphs
of veins scrawled on the cave of your liver,
neurons twisted into Sanskrit
etching ancient spells into your hippocampus,
the rippling gristle-flower of sound in your bellybutton,
all disappear into one Body, this Body,
where you taste the starless wine of night itself
and give birth to tomorrow’s sun.

~Fred LaMotte

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Image: Michelangelo