A Collective Grief

And if an immense sadness
Approaching grief and overwhelm
Should fall upon you
Do not throw your hand
Or think there is something terribly wrong

For the opposite is true
Something right is happening in you
Albeit painful and difficult
There are two types of sadness and grief
The individual and the collective
And we cannot know which is which

Our emotional body is connected to the whole
But we are unaware of this
And this may cause us great pain
We are more connected to each other than we know
And we try so hard to maintain our separation

But we are in the time of collective suffering
And we are each barometers and holders of that grief
When the collective lie is great
It is the same as the pain of individual denial
Which is great

We cry, we grieve, we endure
We dance, we mourn, we shout
We rage, we pray, we love, we beseech
We laugh, we allow,
But we do not deny
And we are not ashamed of feeling fully.

Image by aaron son from Pixabay

Speak Goodness Into the World

The tears of grief we cry
That come from the depth of us
Are themselves the source
Of the goodness we speak into the world

The spring water that is so fresh to taste
Comes from within the deepest earth

The deeper we are able to go into existence
The richer are the gifts we can offer
And when the world is hurting so much
And most cannot find that spring water

Maybe you and I can say
‘Here, come over here and drink a little
You must be weary on the road.’

All we can really offer is an open heart.

Image by Jaesung An from Pixabay

WHY WE NEED TO GRIEVE

This poem is a call to grief
A call for us to throw off our defenses
To tear off the stony masks
That cover our pain
And to grieve innocently and fully
Wherever we are
Whatever our circumstances

We must grieve
To renew
It is part of the cycle of joy
Which is part of the essence of life
Grief is an acknowledgment
Of our humanity, our vulnerability
And our temporariness

Grief is the balm the ego needs
To soften its aggrandizement

And now we are here, at home,
Confused, angry, anxious, alone
Losing loved ones and strangers alike
We have always been losing loved ones and strangers alike
Death and suffering surround us

But now our fragility and our vulnerability
Are in true focus
The truth of our condition is here to be seen
And to be felt
We are fragile
And the web of life is fragile

We can’t pretend any longer
To pretend is to deny
And to deny
Is what causes us to bury our darkness
Deeper and deeper
Until it becomes a monster

My friend, don’t be afraid of grief
It is the doorway to beauty
And all that is real
Be afraid of falseness and denial
It will make you cold and brittle

We are in extraordinary times
When we are being reminded of the truth
That we cannot turn away from our humanity
Or carry on in our old ways
What an opportunity.

– Image by Richard Mcall from Pixabay

The Mind is The Problem, Not the Solution

The mind is capricious
It is complex and untrustworthy
The mind is a story teller
That feeds on old wounds
And a vivid imagination
It is the carrot dangler
And the harbinger of doom
When left to its own devices
It will rule you, fool you
And overrule you

We are enslaved to mind
As to a narcissist king
Pretending to be
An innocent servant

Without insight, depth and humility
Without reflection and a deeper wisdom
Without empathy, compassion and heart
We are destined to be at war for many a year
Mind and against mind
Self against self
People against people
When we are at war with ourselves
We have no chance of being at peace with others

So I have to declare my call
Make peace with yourself, my friend
Stop fighting with your mind
It doesn’t hold the solution
You must go deeper into the unknown
Like some mythological hero’s tale
You will have to venture into the dark
And conquer demons and dark shadows
There is no other way than within

Only by liberating yourself from mind’s tyranny
Will mind come back into service as exquisite technician

Without this deeper inquiry
Man is but a beast driven mad by his own pain
Unable to be present
He projects his pain outwards onto the world
Telling himself stories he then believes
Without really knowing the truth about anything

Our moment is here,
We live in extraordinary times
When the unravelling of falsehood is possible
But only when we develop our warrior nature.

Image by DarkWorkX from Pixabay

Surrender to the Deep

Where are you my friend
Are you struggling on the surface
Fighting with the waves
Trying to stay afloat
I don’t mean physically
I mean in your mind and heart
In your existential body?

I see everyone pulled to the surface
And on the surface is where
The righteousness happens
Fear does that, it leads to righteousness

Stop trying to understand it all
You will never be able to control it

There is wisdom and natural intelligence
To be discovered
When you let go
Even for a moment
And sink down
Into the deep
Picture the drowning man
Struggling for breath on the surface
Eventually he reaches a point where he lets go
And surrenders to the deep
What relief
What an incredible moment, to give up the fight
(This metaphor is very powerful and not intended to cause distress)

There is only so much that can be discovered
On the surface of life
To gain wisdom and the ability to see clearly
There is no choice but to fall
That falling itself is the journey
Of transformation
It’s not where you arrive that matters
It’s what you meet on the way
And how you face it
That forges you

Keep diving into the inner world
And let the outer world
Be as it is.

Image by Anja🤗#helpinghands#stayathome #solidarity#stays healthy🙏 from Pixabay

There is Goodness in This

There is goodness in this experience
If we can open to it and find it
There is a teaching, a blessing
Even in these anxious times

But we must dig deep
Down into the verticality
To the existential realm
Within ourselves

We must discover where our fear is
And what it is built on
Yes, we must find the foundations
Of our beliefs and our sense of self
And search in the mud
And in the darkness
And bring our honest inquiry
To what is true

To be trapped at home
Is imprisonment for some
And retreat for others
A suffocation for some
A reflection for others

I don’t know what the goodness is
We each have to find that for ourselves
Maybe it’s just the opportunity
To self reflect

I do know that the wise and the open
Will endeavor to find the blessing
In every experience
Even in the midst of hardship and fear.

Image by kangbch from Pixabay

A Transformational Time

This is the time
That all the spiritual work
All the inquiry
The breathing
The acceptance
The softening
And the opening
Has prepared you for

The effects of undigested,
Unprocessed, unexamined fear
Are highly destructive
Fear can convince us
The imaginary is real
It plays tricks on the brain
It hijacks the nervous system
And destroys our ability
To make informed and considered choices
Make no mistake
Fear wreaks havoc on our health

You have done all this deep work
And it has brought you here, to this
This time in history
This moment of bifurcation
When you are met with two doors
The fear and reactivity door
And the door of discernment and grounded love
It’s the same door you always face
But intensified by fear of survival

Stay present, in your body
In your breath, in your heart
Choose love, choose the love door
No matter what

There is transformational opportunity in this time
Most people might not be able to grasp it
But those who have already peeked through the veil
And seen other ways, other possibilities,
Can use this time to deepen

I am not budging from this openness
I am not going to yield to fear
I am here, staying as presence and truth,
Rooted in the unknown
Even as this reality seems to crumble to dust.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Noble Broken

What I am really saying
Is that if life hasn’t broken you open yet
There is still some way to go
But that brokenness itself is not the end
There is a way of holding it
That has a nobility ingrained in it
A strength of character
Where nothing is denied
And everything is allowed to come home
There is a great transparency
In standing naked with dignity intact
When all attempts to wear a mask
Have come to an end
And only the raw broken beautiful you remains
Let us be the noble broken.

Image by klimkin from Pixabay

The Dance of Light and Dark

Let us meet
When the sun disappears
And darkness covers us
We can voyage into the depths
Search for the ghosts the haunt us
We can make friends with death
And see, with our inner eyes
into the shadows of our lives

And then let us meet
When the sun peeks its head
Above the horizon and brings the light
We can celebrate our joy
And allow the brilliance
To dissolve the shadows of that night
We can meet it all with clarity
And allow the warmth
To hold us in its deep embrace

Yes, we prefer the warmth and the sun
But, my friend, we cannot have one
Without the other
We are part of the dance
Of light and dark
Part of the duality
This constant movement
Between the poles

Know both
Be at home in the movement
And wisdom will be yours
This is harmony.

Image by Johannes Plenio from Pixabay

I Returned From the Darkness – It Wasn’t a Spiritual Journey, It Was a Human One

When most people meet me these days, in our events or even socially, they see someone who is bright, active, grounded and (hopefully) full of love. Many are quite shocked to know how dramatic my transformation has been, and how I haven’t been like this always but have wrestled with many demons and overcome a lot to get to this point.
But it is very true. And not a day goes by I don’t give thanks for the grace that allowed me to catch a glimpse of the light far away down the tunnel, and held me as I took a hundred thousand steps through the darkness to find it.

A hundred thousand steps, one at a time, sometimes falling, stumbling, and failing. Going backwards, defeated and lost. And then getting up, dusting myself down, and carrying on. Pulled by some unseen hand, not knowing what I was really aiming for, but knowing I could not stay where I was or who I was. There was an inner me calling to be freed, and I served that one.

Through addiction, through dysfunctional relating, through ten years of illness, through negativity and fear, through the wounds of childhood carried unconsciously like great sacks of sorrow into each intimate experience.

Through catharsis, body work, ceremony, prayer, through endless therapy, meditation, self inquiry, fasting, detoxification, through exercise, through hopelessness and acceptance of death, through meeting the deepest existential hole at the center of everything, on and on. Oh I have been in the darkness. I never stopped seeking what was true for me, what was deeper, what was real and honest. I never stopped until I arrived at love’s open door.

And then I walked in.

And when I walked in through that door, the door disappeared, the past disappeared, separation disappeared and everything that had been so hard, so divided, so troubled, became just one thing, one immense and beautiful dance of agony and ecstasy, of the appearance of duality and the illusion of the dream. There was this remarkable sense of arriving home, where I had always been, but had been so lost in pain and imagination I had not realized it.

And that did not mean that suddenly there was nothing more to do. No. There was the ongoing living of this remarkable awareness, in humility and truth. The darkness is still there, no longer as the dominant force it was, but as a whisper of a fragrance of a ghost. It comes sometimes, when I am at my most vulnerable or stressed, and it taps me on the shoulder and says,’ Remember me, I am your reminder to stay humble and open, to stay here as love’s tenderness.’

I stay with gratitude to the grace that allowed me to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank you for reading. It is possible, with grit and grace, to walk through the darkness and into the light. It’s not a spiritual journey, it’s a necessary human one. And everyone can do it.