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

murmuration

my heart     
like a murmuration of starlings     
races, swooping and soaring     
all throughout these rosé wine skies     
aglow and glimmering twilight     

like a murmuration of starlings     
i'm flying     
here in the light and over there in the shadows     

somewhere, i know there is a pathway or a secret door     
somewhere here in the open wild of these fields, windswept and pink     
or here somewhere, in this enclave of elms, shifting and shady     
i am sure, i am sure...     
here is the pathway or the secret door     

like a murmuration of starlings     
i long for home     
to feel forever     
somewhere here or there or somewhere anywhere     
this skin soft landing     
in your arms     
your arms holding     
holding     
my heart     

skin

the river's soft skin   
slows wild rapids of my heart                    
running to the sea                                                                      

beauty

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

Ikigai, raison d’être, purpose, legacy… What is it, ultimately, that propels you forward in life? That keeps your fires burning at night and wakens you from your morning slumber? That enables you to rise again and once again, after each and every stumble or fall? That heals your grieving heart after loss? That brings you to your feet when life has brought you to your knees? That causes you to smile, once again?

Now and then life brings these questions to me, and inevitably, in one way or the other, I always come back to hózhó. Hózhó is the Navajo word for “beauty,” however, it is not limited to notions of aesthetic beauty but encapsulates a profound paradigmatic lens of beauty as composite expression of harmony, peace, balance, and reciprocity. Hózhó is my north star and my raison d’être.

And what is yours?

They say that each of us has come here for a reason, to fulfill some particular longing of the soul. Perhaps it is to experience joy, or love. Perhaps it is to be joy, or love, or beauty. Perhaps it is to learn how to rise again and smile, against all odds. Perhaps it is to acquire a soft heart after hardship. Or to discover light at the end of the tunnel, or to become that light. And it could simply be to discover whatever it actually is—that, that seemingly eternal chimera.

Whatever yours is, may it propel you ever forward on your path. May you walk in beauty. May you journey well. May your dreams be fulfilled.

belong

you and i belong
like flowers and warm sunshine
always together

heartbeat

i can feel it
somewhere in middle night
somewhere in the endless ink of sky
pounding
this heartbeat of the sun
alive
inside the soft rose-colored walls of my own
heart
inside my love and my longing
for the light
for this night to bleed red onto that far away horizon
distant, and invisible to the naked eye

i can hear it
warm and soft and close
like an oversized cashmere sweater wrapped around my body
my body drifting
my body dreaming
my body deepening
somewhere in middle night
somewhere in the endless ink of sky
this heartbeat of the sun

here now
inside the soft rose-colored walls of my own 
heart
this heartbeat of the sun
is pounding
alive
and is engraving my own pathway
of love
and of light
somewhere
somewhere among the stars

Nagoshi no Harai* On the Beach

   
   into these salty cold
   yet saline warm waves
   i plunge
   i meet the full weight of these giant sea swells
   with my one body
   my body that tastes this world through skin bare
   skin exposed to light and to winds
   through soft bone marrow
   steeped in the red soil of this earth
   my body that loves
   with its small fist-sized heart
   pounding ceaselessly still—like these deep ocean currents
   inside this unfathomable depth
   inside this unnameable mystery
   inside this place of darkness where light cannot reach nor enter

   i meet the full weight of these giant sea swells
   i plunge
   i surrender my one body
   to life

*Nagoshi no harai 夏越の祓い is the name of a mid-summer purification ritual conducted at shrines in the end of June in Japan. We walk through a large circle constructed of grass and make a pattern in the shape of the number eight, or the infinity symbol.

Viennese Waltz 88

in the arms of the sun
i lose myself to this world
spinning around and around and
     around
inside this open sky blue
and here
here in these arms of the sun
time alone    
                          stands still

diamonds

bewitched by the light
on this long road of diamond dust
i dream endlessly

rainbows

warm sunlight kisses
all my tears and hurt away
levitating rainbows

rain

my heart 
today 
has no words 
only rain

The above photo is of a short poem titled “rain” from a collection of poems I published last year. It’s designed to reflect both the way Japanese language is traditionally written—right to left and top to bottom—as well as the way rain itself falls.

After hearing of the recent tragic mass shooting of children at an elementary school in Texas, I’ve been searching for something to offer this world with its incomprehensible sorrows. Surely there could be even just a few words to lighten the burden, ease the pain, to bring some kind of solace… After all, my poetic raison d’être of sorts is: crafting stories for a more beautiful and gentle world. I intentionally seek to illuminate beauty, love and light, even in the midst of our suffering… particularly in light of suffering, in light of the shadows. Words are my gift to this world, the flower of my heart I offer upon the alter.

But in these past days of searching, words firmly elude me. The strength to pick up scattered shards of my heart, eludes me. My body breaks down when thoughts are senseless and prayers echo, empty—again. In this paralysis of humanity, the little children are dying. What words can possibly carry meaning now? And so I, empty-handed, crave the rain.

I crave the rain. Let it fall, in torrents. Tears for all the little children. May it flood, a river over embankments of ammunition…. ammunition forged in outdated weapon-making factories, and in the defenses of ideological identity and warfare. May it rain for seven days and seven nights straight so that even the most guarded among us will finally seek refuge in the arms of another. May the relentless downpour drown out delusions of grandeur and bring all the mighty gods to their knees. And in the very end, may all the little children delight in the puddles—splashing about and dancing—carefree. Rainbows overhead. In the very very end, may all the little children simply be—children.