Through the Forest of Shadows

Our healing, our freedom and our awakening
Are all found when we have journeyed
Through the dark forest of shadows
We must be willing to enter this forest
And place one foot in front of the other
Meeting demons and ghosts, sent from the past
We must face what Buddha faced,
The maras of deception, illusion and temptation
We must meet what we have not met
And, with great stealth and softness
With the steel of a samurai
And the tenderness of an innocent,
Walk on, and on,
Until we even meet our death
Our inevitable departure,
And we must keep on walking
Embracing all, denying nothing,
Until we come to the light at the edge of the forest
This is the cleansing of the mind and emotion
This is our ‘valley of the shadow of death,’
This is the transformation from wounded
To wounded healer
From broken adult to wise elder
This is our inner calling
And all our existential crises point to this.

Photo by Rosie Fraser on Unsplash

Blaze Like a Warm Fire

Be no one
Fantastically
Don’t worry about fame
Or fortune
Just be yourself
Fantastically
Be ordinarily amazing
Don’t diminish yourself
Neither aggrandize yourself
But blaze like a warm fire
Drawing others toward you
For no reason
Other than love’s
Unconditional benevolence.

Photo by Peter John Maridable on Unsplash

The Garden Within

There is a garden within each of us
Left unattended and neglected
It will wither and perish
Over time it will be overrun by weeds
And slowly it will decay and diminish

We fed this garden naturally
When we were children
We were the garden
And the garden was us
There was no separation

And then life happened
And the garden became neglected
It was forgotten or deemed unimportant

But when the garden is neglected
Joy dies, laughter turns serious
And the innocent celebration of life
Has no place

Feed this garden,
Shower it with attention
Love it, offer it beauty,
Clear out the weeds
Let it breathe again
Do whatever it takes
And, with loving patience,
It will spring back to life
And sweet innocent joy
Will return.

Everyone Can Fly

Once your wings start flapping
Their flaps of freedom
Once you leap from the nest
And that initial terrifying moment happens
And the wings open
And you start flying
Don’t stop
Don’t over analyze
Why your wings are flapping
Don’t think too much
Don’t look back
Don’t look down
Don’t panic
Or overflap
Just keeping flying
Until it starts to happen
By itself
And it will

That’s how change happens
It’s not in the mind
No theorizing can do it
But leaping, with enough preparation
So you actually know about flying
But then when it’s time
Leaping, flying, soaring
Trusting, persisting, surfing
Gliding

That’s how birds do it
That’s how I do it
That’s how we do it

I thought I couldn’t fly
Until I actually opened my wings and jumped
Then I realized I was pretty good at it

And I’m no different to you.

Photo by Irina Blok on Unsplash

All Here By Grace

Sometimes I am a surfer
Riding the waves with skill
Enjoying the freedom
Of the ever changing

Sometimes I hang in there
Holding on by a thread
On the razor’s edge
Determined to stay upright

Sometimes I fall
Plunging into the deep
Rolled by the same waves
I surfed last week

Surfer, tightrope walker and drowner
The ever changing nature of living
In the waves of phenomenon

But the wisdom in me knows
There is an underlying intelligence
That informs the whole experience
Ocean, wave and surfer
Tightrope walker and drowner
All here by grace.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

The End of Resistance

Resistance is like a dam
It can only contain a certain amount of stuff
Before it is overwhelmed or breeched
Eventually it’s going to burst

We resist life because we think we cannot bear it
But this means building a dam against it

Our premise is wrong
We can bear it
And to live fully we must bear it

When we yield resistance
At first we may be overwhelmed
And feel as though we are drowning
But that is inevitable and will not last
It will level out
And find a natural balance

Yielding resistance is the way
To our naturalness
The end of inner division
The end of the fight with life

Yielding resistance to our experience
Do not underestimate how powerful it is
We fight daily with ourselves or others
Perceiving the world to be wrong
Or us to be wrong
‘It’s not supposed to be like this,’ we cry
But here it is anyway
So we grapple and struggle to change life
Or change our thoughts or feelings
But here it is anyway

Resistance is like a dam
Eventually it’s going to burst

Let it in, let it all in
Not as a victim or a failure
But as love, as awareness
As consciousness,
As the sky lets the clouds do their thing

Freedom is the end of resistance.

Photo by Lode Lagrainge on Unsplash

Meet the World Empty and Naked

Meet the world empty and naked
Give up your stories, they are prisons,
Meet the world as the silence you truly are

When you do this
Divine intelligence will offer you its gifts
And its grace
It will pour into the silence in you
And fill it with wisdom and beauty
Truth and compassion

You will become empty and full
The holder of life’s paradox
The embodiment of the universe

All you have to do is become naked
And offer that to the world.

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash