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Bearing Witness

November 21, 2019

*for Malidoma Some

view of elephant in water

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sometimes we are asked to stop and bear witness:
this,the elephants say to me in dreams
as they thunder through the passageways
of my heart, disappearing
into a blaze of stars. On the edge
of the 6th mass extinction, with species
vanishing before our eyes, we’d be a people
gone mad, if we did not grieve.
*
This unmet grief,
an elder tells me, is the root
of the root of the collective illness
that got us here. His people
stay current with their grief—
they see their tears as medicine—
and grief a kind of generous willingness
to simply see, to look loss in the eye,
to hold tenderly what is precious,
to let the rains of the heart fall.
*
In this way, they do not pass this weight on
in invisible mailbags for the next generation
to carry. In this way, the grief doesn’t build
and build like sets of waves, until,
at some point down the line—
it simply becomes an unbearable ocean.
*
We are so hungry when we are fleeing
our grief, when we are doing all
we can to distract ourselves
from the crushing heft of the unread
letters of our ancestors.
Hear us, they call. Hear us.
*
In my dreams, the elephants stampede
in herds, trumpeting, shaking the earth.
It is a kind of grand finale, a last parade
of their exquisite beauty. See us, they say.
We may not pass this way again.
*
What if our grief, given as a sacred offering,
is a blessing not a curse?
What if our grief, not hidden away in corners,
becomes a kind of communion where we shine?
What if our grief becomes a liberation song
that returns us to our innocence?
*
What if our fierce hearts
could simply bear witness?

©LauraWeaver
LauraWeaver.org
luminouspoetry.com
OR subscribe to my blog at:
soulpassages.wordpress.com
***You can find and purchase a copy of LUMINOUS on amazon, my website, Boulder Bookstore, or locally from me

Pilgrimage to Blue Lake

August 22, 2019

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For so many years, you have built elaborate cairns

along the trail to the house of your self.

 

You have found just the right rocks for balancing,

just the point along the path where you might get lost—

 

so that in every season, in the deepest snow,

you can find your way back. Each time you come,

 

you lay a fire on the shoreline with the kindling

of your grief and delight—watch the flames burn slowly

 

at first—then fast and high as they quicken,

bringing light to dark spaces.  And so it is this day,

 

as you arrive on the shores of Blue Lake, you hear

a different cadence pulsing from the land—

 

and you wonder if it is time to build a stronger nest

for this next round of seasons, or if it is time to fledge

 

all together. You stand shaky, barely balanced on the edge

of this and that—while below stretches the great horizon

 

you long for, though you never believed you could walk

beyond these cairns you have so carefully tended.

 

And this sacred valley is filled with mist—for the light

has been drinking snow all day long. And in a devastating flash,

 

you see you must leave this place that has given you all it has.

You have been filled by such beauty—you can no longer stay—

 

for what is yours to give can no longer be given from here.

And so you take the stones from the cairns,

 

offer them to the lake and walk off

the edge of all you have ever known.

©LauraWeaver
LauraWeaver.org
luminouspoetry.com
OR subscribe to my blog at:
soulpassages.wordpress.com
***You can find and purchase a copy of LUMINOUS on amazon, my website, Boulder Bookstore, or locally from me!

First Flight

June 11, 2019

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There were edges to my loving—
places where countries clashed along borders
where lovers were not admitted,
where the thicket grew thickly, impenetrably—
designed to keep out the savage creatures
that ambled about in the night, smelling of musk.

There were edges to my loving—
places to guard, gardens to endlessly tend—
the project of myself that took such devotion,
voices in my head I did not want heard
by another who might lean over in the night
and kiss away such tender uncertainties.

There were edges to my loving—
there was the wild one of me
who did not want taming,
the one who thought someone else held
the keys to my freedom, the primal roar
of the lioness who said: I will belong to no one
but myself, so I cannot belong to you.

There were edges to my loving.
But then came the tearing wind,
and the sheets of rain, the storms
on the high seas, the sunlight on bare skin,
and the eyes of god blazing through my heart
at dawn. Then came the beasts crashing
through the thickets, despite my best laid plans.
Yes, then came life softening
the edges again and again.

And one night I woke up from a dream
to my own laughter, to a knowing of my love
rippling out in endless circles—untethered, infinite.
And in my bones I felt what has always been free—
this sovereignty that does not require
guarding or liberating. And from here,
belonging to everything, I walked out of the cage
of my own making, unfurled these gossamer wings
and tasted true flight for the first time.

 

 

©LauraWeaver
LauraWeaver.org
luminouspoetry.com
OR subscribe to my blog at:
soulpassages.wordpress.com
***You can find and purchase a copy of LUMINOUS on amazon, my website, Boulder Bookstore, or locally from me!

Canyonlands

May 30, 2019

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A love song to Earth
**
Today I come to the well of an ancient desert—
a place yes, but more of a reunion,
the way you feel when meeting an elder
who has been whispering to you all of your life.
*
Here, the rock is awash with spiral
and wave, with curve and spire.
Here, inland seas have come and gone,
leaving us this library of Beauty.
Here, the silence is so deep
it reminds us of our first mother—
the one whose arms we have never left.
*
And rounding the bend to yet another canyon
amongst canyons, we see this reflection
of our own mystery—the impossibility o
f this moment
how we have come to stand here, in this particular eon~
as the thunder clouds rumble on the horizon,
as the lightning flickers over spines of juniper.
*
And we so small and full of earnest prayer,
we bow down and ask to enter.
For there are guardians here—ones who weave
the mythos of the ages, ones who hear us
when all seems lost. And when a song wells up
from my heart, I offer it like a flower
to this place—and the mountain says, oh yes,
I remember you. And the storm clouds
scatter and the gates open and we arrive.
*
I know I have played hide and seek here before,
in these canyons of time –in this endless
labyrinth of being, in these cathedrals
of swallows and wind.
For this is the holy of holies—
where moonflowers bloom from red soil
where hummingbirds whir through golden grottos
where rainbows arc over honeycombs of stone.
*
If all of humanity stood under this sky
for just one breath, we would know
in an instant what we belong to.
If all of humanity stood under a starfield like this
we couldn’t help but love each other–

to mend what has been torn,
to surrender to what we truly are.


©LauraWeaver
LauraWeaver.org
luminouspoetry.com
OR subscribe to my blog at:
soulpassages.wordpress.com
***You can find and purchase a copy of LUMINOUS on amazon, my website, Boulder Bookstore, or locally from me!

MEETING EROS

May 16, 2019

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Because after the snow and the rain
the redwing blackbird trills in the cattails
and the song of the inner life is revealed again.
And from out of our dark caves
we stumble and call to each other
wondering what has been transformed
in the winter months and who will now emerge.
We, like bears bounding
out of the mountain, slightly bewildered
blinking in the bright new light,
ravenous for the world.
*
This is eros unleashed—
the seduction of apple blossoms –
petals raining on wet fertile earth,
hummingbirds unzipping the cerulean sky,
the glint of streamflow and bare skin.
How the full moon pours Maylight
upon our upturned faces,
and the wind carries the scent of desire
and melancholy and the spice
of all that is greening.
*
We have died a thousand times
and been reborn for this.
To lie back, even for a moment,
into the arms of the world—
to meet eros in every turn –
to be courted by you who stirs
the inner waters and tears apart
the old husks. Yes, you
who makes us want to eat fire
and lay down in every meadow.
*
We have been waiting for your arrival
and now you are here,
no longer a Stranger, but a Storm~
you, who strikes the bell of awakening
so the whole body rings.

©LauraWeaver

animal avian beak bird

BEAUTY

April 3, 2019

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There is nowhere to hide in the desert
under the full moon, in the blue light

that pours through the body like water.
It as if we are born again in the open air,

to feel our bare skin against the world
for the first time. And from here, eyes untethered,

we see a different kind of beauty that lives
beneath the surface—that quivers in the thorns

and breaks out of the volcanic rock like a song
you hear when your mind has gone quiet.

To meet this kind of beauty, make a slow approach,
a spiral walk to the center. Leave offerings. Show up

in the odd hours of the night—then she may
let you see her fur, her sharp teeth, the flash

of her pale underbelly. For this kind of beauty moves
in the spaces—in the interior of things, in the rivulets

of a dry land that rarely sees rain, in the seeds
that bloom once in a hundred years, in the sap

of a Joshua tree lifting its arms—heavy with blooms—
to the piercing stars. This beauty leaves you weeping

in the blue of the moonlight
with nowhere to hide.

©LauraWeaver
“Beauty”–from the collection LUMINOUS:Poems & Inquiry for the Soul’s Journey
LauraWeaver.org
luminouspoetry.com

****You can find and purchase a copy of LUMINOUS on amazon, my website, Boulder Bookstore, or locally from me!

 

The Medicine of Loneliness

March 14, 2019

canal journey sepia

*photo by Pam Trachta

The Medicine of Loneliness: A Mythos for our Time

Over this last year of my healing journey, I’ve been opening the door to loneliness when she comes knocking. Yes, I’ve been inviting loneliness in to have a seat at my table, to tell me her stories, to share her searing truths with me.

At times loneliness comes as an ache in the heart that will not let up.  Or, as a feeling of otherness that might strike, out of the blue, in the middle of a gathering with people I love and who love me. Or as a kind of existential burning that rains down when I am standing under the moon, showered by starlight.  Or as a broken open tenderness in my bones as I walk down the supermarket aisles, looking at everyone’s faces—everyone with somewhere to go, things to do, people to be. I too have places to go too, people to be. But it is just in those moments, when the quiet rushes into the field of noise, that loneliness throws her fishing line out and hooks me from behind.  She has a song for me.  She has medicine for me.  She wants to dance.  But this is a bitterroot medicine I want to turn away from, spit out, cast off.  After all, who would want to tango with loneliness?

Spending time in solitude is one thing—it is a wellspring I must drink from for sanity. Yes, solitude—in balance—nourishes.  But loneliness?  Well, that might happen anywhere, at any time. She might slip into the back door of the heart and pummel you with invitations you don’t want to accept. And besides, shame often accompanies loneliness. And all the voices say—whatever you do, just don’t open that pandora’s box. Just… don’t. Quickly, fill it with stimulus or substance or distraction or….something.

Perhaps, we wonder, if we spoke the truth of loneliness, people might misunderstand— they might not see that we also experience a thousand other things—like bliss, connection, communion, beauty, and joy. They might not understand that there is a sweetness to loneliness, like the wind sheer on a lone falcon’s wings. They might think we want them to fix us, save us, feed us, or empty the loneliness from our souls. That’s the catch 22 of loneliness.  We often stay quiet about its presence in the same we stay quiet about grief or fear or death— because the mere acknowledgement reminds us of our fragility and of the elemental forces that change us and act in and upon our lives.

The other day, I sat with a friend on the bank of a river that had been completely shape-shifted by a massive flood a few years ago. Trees uprooted, thousands of tons of rock shifted, the flow re-routed—the river’s story had been entirely rewritten in one night. I could relate. I have had many such floods in my life—the most recent moved through just this last year.  And it has humbled, softened and re-membered me into a never before seen expression of my self.

In the witness of that river and this friend, I spoke to my loneliness—to the shape and color of it, to the taste of it in my mouth, to its scent on my skin. I shared this not from a place of looking back on it from afar, or from the perspective of having figured anything out, or from needing anything, but simply from the place of speaking the truth—that today, in that moment, loneliness was perched on my shoulder.

Whatever I thought might happen, didn’t. The river kept flowing and singing its cadence of high and low notes. The myriad currents flowed together into one single beautiful offering. Nothing was excluded or othered here. I was received with compassion, witnessing, open hands—by my friend and by the land itself. Sometimes we are the ones to offer ourselves this open hand, but in that moment, I felt the relief of being met in this place by anotherwho has also felt loneliness. I felt the possibility and grace this risk opens.

The UK has now established a Ministry of Loneliness[1]—because loneliness has become an epidemic and national health crisis. This could be seen as a kind of mythic meme for our times. In so-called modern western culture, we are collectively wracked with a core loneliness we rarely admit to or address. At the center of our “modern” consumer way of life is a devouring hunger.  More and more “content”, more and more speed, more and more noise and high drama, more and more technology. Such a desperation this loneliness evokes when not met, addressed, tended to.  Our culture of addiction, celebrity rise and fall, consumerism, pornography, and closeted hungers will continue to devour what is most sacred if we are not willing to look into the shadows, to see what we find, to befriend our own discomfort and vulnerability. For it is the adherence to the illusion of extreme autonomy and self-reliance that is part and parcel of the spin towards personal, communal and planetary demise.

Perhaps it is by turning into the medicine of our loneliness that we receive essential aspects of ourselves back—whole chapters in the book of our wild, untamable heart. What if the acknowledgement of our loneliness brings us face to face with the untruths we have been telling ourselves—that we must be invincible, fearless, entirely self-sufficient, without need, and “put together” to be whole or loveable or useful?

We are quite literally wired for connection, relationship, and interrelatedness. We have a mammalian heart. Belonging is our birthright and call.  And the crisis of “loneliness” offers us a chance to turn to each other and say—I am whole, I am sovereign…. and I need youmy community, my beloveds, my planet. I belong to you and you to me. Perhaps from this place of compassionate meeting—we might understand more about the ways we nourish and are nourished. And from a place of deeper resource, we can let some of the hungry ghosts that are creating so much chaos in our world simply….rest.

There is no doubt that part of the ferocity of these intense times invites us to remember that we are on this earth ship together and that our very survival (much less our thriving) is dependent on connecting with and working with and turning to—the apparent other—within and without.

Loneliness knocked on my door and I let her in.  She stayed for a while.  She drank her fill, and I offered her a second cup.  We settled in together and shared a laugh or two. We drank starlight and mused on the mystery of eternity.  And then we got quiet—very quiet. In that stillness I met her gaze, and there, right there, I saw how loneliness and connection are two wings of the same bird called grace.

***

“Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you as few
human or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
has made my eyes so soft,

my voice so tender, my need of God
absolutely clear.”

–Hafiz

Ministry of Loneliness:

http://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/world/europe/uk-britain-loneliness.html

[1]http://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/world/europe/uk-britain-loneliness.html

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