Walk In Beauty

Many years ago I was on a road trip through the American southwest and in a bookstore somewhere, stumbled across a small square book titled: Navajo, Walking in Beauty. It was then that I was first introduced to the Navajo word hózhó. Roughly translated into English as “beauty”, hózhó encompasses the concepts of harmony, balance, and reciprocal relations. Instantly, I fell in love. I was deeply moved by the possibility that beauty is an expression of harmony and profound spiritual realization—a perception that understands beauty to be both embodied aesthetic expression, as well as ineffable and transcendent sensibility.

Hózhó is realized by aligning one’s self with the forces of nature. It is a dynamic and ongoing process of harmonizing the self with the world and the entirety of the universe and existence. To “walk in beauty” is in essence, to live a life of harmony and peace.  

Following is the concluding refrain from a Navajo ceremonial song:

Beauty before me, I walk with.
Beauty behind me, I walk with.
Beauty above me, I walk with.
Beauty below me, I walk with.
Beauty all around me, I walk with.
In old age, the beautiful trail, I walk with.
It is I, I walk with.

Not only is one blessed to walk in a world of beauty, but in the end one becomes beauty itself. Hózhó. It is with this understanding of beauty by which I am most inspired to express myself in the world. Through my writing, photography, dance and poetry, I hope to invoke this world of hózhó. Whether on this website and blog, my social media pages or publications, I hope you will find inspiration and hózhó for your own journey through life. May you walk in beauty.

if today i die
may beauty be my only 
footprints in the sand

epilogue two

i dance to breathe
      and 
breathe to dance
             to fly
             to fly
to my sun
i dance
              in the light, and
on the light feather of the hawk
so swift   so soft   and so
f i e r c e 
  i fly
             to my sun burning
on fire
burning brightly
and,     oh so lightly
on these skins, these mountain skins
          and i breathe 
     i breathe
i breathe to dance 
                    dance to breathe
                                            here 
   between heaven and 
here
between heaven and this 
                                                                       earth

Flower Power

Beauty is Love’s Flower

Preamble: This is the first time to upload a video to my blog post, and it is entirely the work of my iPhone which voluntarily made it for me! 🤣 But fortuitously and synchronistically so. I’d been wondering what one photo could capture the rich abundance of flowers and my phone spontaneously offered me this little photo montage. Thank you, iPhone! 😁

What makes you flower?
Like the stunningly vast array of flowers, what makes each one of us flower or thrive may indeed be very distinct. The needs of a pink water lily are not the same as those of golden gazanias. Where one would flourish, the other would simply wither away. But all flowers need the same elementals: some particular mixture of sun and sky, water, soil and minerals.
What is yours? Your optimal mix of elementals? The personal ecology that brings out your soul to shine? Are you flowering? What do you need to flower and to flower more?
What is your Flower Power?

embodied

have you ever felt that?
Earth—in your body,
breathing...
a sweet sigh, and then a swift intake
what song does she sing
passing through your skin
your surface 
soft, light, and open 
dancing here
under this boundless sky?
to whom
or to what absolute and singular love
does she serenade? 

The above “photo-poem” was made when I was still placing print on top of photos and unfortunately, I don’t have the original photo now. I also haven’t been able to recapture the same feeling—the same ineffable sensation of breathing—in another photo. But perhaps on some mysterious, sweet, and softly lit day, I will again find the perfect set of trees and sky, breathing.

Have you experienced something similar? A discovery of the world breathing through your body? Or your body breathing through the extended world around you? In this physically embodied realization of connection, we discover that we ourselves are love. Love itself. Nothing other than love. We discover oneness and totality, beauty and grace. Hózhó. An absolute and singular love.

The Quest

"In your light I learn how to love. 
In your beauty, how to make poems. 
You dance inside my chest where no one can see you, 
but sometimes I do, 
and that sight becomes this art. 
~Rumi~

What is it that awakens your love, kindles your desire to create, and
like the water’s sparkling surface—reflects back to you the artistry of your own soul?
If you know the answer to this question, you have found all that you will forever need.
If not, then rest assured that the light once sought, always find its seeker.
Reunion is the inevitable resolution of quest.

The Light & The Shadow

~a short meditation on healing~

Each person sheds her own light on the same landscape, allowing us to experience shifting perspectives as the cycles of day and night circle one another. Who among us would stop day at high noon, saying truth is only revealed through full exposure to sunlight, at the expense of never again feeling the gold of sunrise or peering into purple shadows at dusk? Indeed, the nature of a rock is not just in its exact proportions, mineral content, etc., but also in its relationship to sun and moon light, hot and cold, wind and rain. In its fullest capacity, truth is known in the continuous spectrum of light and dark, changing continually through the seasons and expanses of vast time. 
~excerpt from my master's thesis chapter discussing research methodology

There is a tendency in western culture and/or in the English language, to equate light with truth and revelation, and shadow with obscurity and dishonesty. To “shed light on” means to reveal something previously hidden or unknown; to “descend into darkness” communicates an anguished journey into mental/emotional confusion or ignorance. In this dualistic and dichotomous worldview, truth is reduced into a series of either/ors incompatible with a holistic realization of experience. In the fanaticism of either/ors, of light versus shadow, we may experience blinding whiteouts and loss of vision in violent flashes of light, or, we may fall into states of alienation and estrangement and depression in the pitch dark of blackouts. 

When we suffer, we are counseled to seek the light, to lift ourselves out of gloom and doom, to step into the light, to come out of the shadows… What if, on the other hand, we were encouraged to embrace both the light and the shadow, to befriend our monsters, to live with our angels and our demons—both? Perhaps we would then see that there is a special glow in the between spaces that connect rather than separate… In these spaces shared and cohabited by the light and the shadow. We would see that it is a dance—a beautiful and an intimate partner dance. A warm embrace. A love, unconditional and eternal. 

Poesía

~purple dreams~

flickering in clouds
gold dust settles over these
hills
yawning and round 
and drifts into the shadows, all purple

the dreams are sweet
like plums heavy on their branches bowing
ripe and full
with love
with honey
with the scent of your name
with your whispers
all tangled in my wind-tousled hair

and with this heart
with this body
     my soul
like streams swollen after the storms in spring
rushes out into the open
into these unkept fields of golden dusk
and erupts into a riot of wildflowers, all purple
all yellow, white, pink, and
g o l d

京のコーヒー

Kyoto Coffee                                                                            

flowers startle white
in the black night
caffeine-steeped 
 and camouflaged in
e   l e  g a n c  e    
 i awaken 
all  enchanted
the wild blossoms are singing 
light          
into         new   day .  

I wrote the original version of this poem about three years ago, after enjoying coffee in an elegant cup at a café in Kyoto. After a long talk with a good friend, the night was late and I cycled back to my small, secluded-away in a quiet and dimly-lit neighborhood near ancient temple grounds in Higashiyama, house. Along the way, I was startled to encounter these white flowers glowing out of the darkness—similar to the white flower on my black coffee cup just a short while earlier. What magic potion had I just consumed, I pondered, in the guise of an elegant Kyoto cup of coffee? Little did I know then, just how truly magical and extraordinary our worlds can be. And I was entirely guileless as to the adventure I’d unknowingly embarked upon. But here I am now, three years later, still traversing these caffeine-steeped nights of enchantment. And what has emerged? Worlds of poetry, beauty, magic, and a precious love—like no other.

So what it the moral of the story?
Surrender to the irrational demands of your heart and of beauty, to this wild world far too vast to be contained within the narrow confines of our minds. And something more magical than you could have ever dreamed of will welcome you, on the other side of night.

smile

your smile just for me
more precious than all the stars
in darkest of nights 

さくらさくら sakura sakura

singing in pink light
this crown of floating petals
carries my heart home

What is it for you, which carries your heart back to your faraway home? Be it geographical or temporal distance? Have you ever felt that? That twinge? That pang in your heart when the great distance announces itself abruptly, with such eloquence? Suddenly, in a moment, you are both here and there. Or rather, simultaneously there and not there.

For me, it is sakura*—the cherry blossoms. Their delicate lightness acquiring a new sense of gravity in a home away from home. Bittersweetness, in full bloom. And so still, i dance under the trees of pink reverie; drunk with beauty. Here and There. Everywhere.

*While the chrysanthemum may be the national flower of Japan and the seal of the imperial family, sakura—the cherry blossom—is without doubt, the national “people’s flower” of Japan. When sakura blossom in spring, many people enjoy walks or picnics and parties under the soft canopies of pink petals. Many years ago (before the date which it was published), I wrote another blog post which illuminates the significance of sakura in Japan: https://michiruadrienne.com/2021/06/02/grace/

airspace

i dream skies clear blue
an airspace of love and peace
encircling one world

“You may say I’m a dreamer”, but in fact, what comes first: the dream or the day? Imagination or reality? Perhaps the difference between the two (dream and day, imagination and reality) is not so distinct after all—one bleeding into the other as our dreaming and waking worlds are nothing more than a continuum of one consciousness, of one stream in time and space navigating terrains all at once sublime, spellbinding, and atrocious.

“You may say I’m a dreamer”, but is it not the dream that gives rise to words articulated and actions initiated? And ultimately to that concept which we call “reality”—which is indeed precisely that, a concept, a conceptualization of the mind. It is the mind which dreams and thinks and creates. It is the mind, consciousness itself, which is the ultimate “reality”. We all dream; we are all dreamers—inevitably. So direct your dreams and your desires beyond what you have been taught is possible, beyond the visible horizon and into skies of clear blue.

“I see no conflict between reality and imagination. They are not in fact separate. Our real lives hold within them our royal lives; the inspiration to be more than we are, to find new solutions, to live beyond the moment. Art helps us to do this because it fuses together temporal and perpetual realities.”

~Jeanette Winterson