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

burn


can i burn ?
candleflame—like in the dark
when these wounds are much
too much
and the horizon
has all but disappeared
can i burn , please ?
softly
candelflame—like
in the dark

at the end of the day

all i ever want
at the end of the day
is to lose myself entirely
in your arms

Our Goddess of the Night

do not forget
the moon
is not a faraway and solitary light
no
she is Goddess of the Night
she is the longing that you hear in the howl
of wolves
and she is the swell of ocean waves
climbing higher and higher
ashore
she is the soul of the moonflower
glowing soft silk and white
and
she is the alchemy of the womb
in our bodies
of desire

into her round glowing body
shadowy and soft
she draws the entire inkblack sky
and births anew
light

Our Goddess of the Night

An Invitation

Let Us Fall In Love Again, by Rumi 

Let us fall in love again
and scatter gold dust all over the world. 
Let us become a new spring
And feel the breeze drift in the heavens’ scent
Let us dress the earth in green, 
And like the sap of a young tree
let the grace from within sustain us. 
Let us carve gems out of our stony hearts 
And let them light our path to Love. 
The glance of Love is crystal clear
And we are blessed by its light. 

So here we are, at the beginning of another new year. And how are you? Are you excited about all the new experiences and accomplishments to come, splendid resolutions in tow? Or do you carry into 2023 a burden of unrelinquished loss and things unresolved? Most of us probably walk with some combination of these, seeing opportunities for growth while moving forward feeling less than whole perhaps. We may have lost loved ones or precious dreams, last year. We may have fallen and found ourselves sustaining injury and no longer the same person we used to be. A scary accident may have taken from us the reassurance that tomorrow will indeed be another day. At times life itself can feel riskier than dying. But in the end, we do come to realize that it is all one dance.

I invite you to fall in love, again.
With your loved one after an argument; with family members after estrangement; with your body after injury or illness; with your precious heart after it’s been broken; with the world after it falls apart; with peace after bombs wreak havoc; with the tenderness of remembrance after losing someone dear; with your own beauty after abandonment… Fall in love with your self and with life itself, again and again and again. And when you make this falling-in-love-again a relentless practice, no matter how hard it gets, you will one day wake up and truly realize that you yourself are in essence, pure love.

Yes, in the words of the great mystic poet, Rumi:
Let us fall in love again
and scatter gold dust all over the world.

Happy Holidays

in this Tree of Life
each of us a twinkling light
for one another

Dear Reader,

From my heart to yours, thank you for reading my blog or wherever it is that you find these weekly ramblings of mine. I truly appreciate every comment, like, or follow because it makes me feel like my voice has meaning and value to others—even if it’s just one other person in our galaxy of spinning stars. It is connection and community. This inspires me to write. This inspires me to give, to share, to love, and to continue no matter how hard things can be at times. I hope I can be a twinkling light in your tree of life.
🎄😁😇

As this year comes to a close, I will be taking a winter break and going mostly offline to rest and reset, and will resume my weekly posts in the first week of January. I wish everyone wonderful winter holidays! Thanks again, and see you next year!

Yours truly,
Michiru Adrienne

sequel

when we dance
the mountains sing inside us
and we bloom
a riot of wild flowers

When writing the above several years ago, I was inspired by a specific experience of dancing outdoors in the countryside with a view of the mountains in the distance. It was an attempt to put into a few words, the sensation and experiential totality of dancing that encompasses body, music and song, place, culture, and heritage. We do in fact, give birth to worlds through the dancing body.

Last night I was thinking about what to share for this week’s blog post, and this passage came to me as apropos sequel to last week’s, “shall we dance?” What happens when we do dance? Particularly, when we dance together? Maybe we do indeed bring new and gentle worlds into being… we bloom, like wild flowers, a beautiful riot all over the sacred mountains.

shall we dance

An angel picked me off the floor
and whispered, 
softly into my ears:
Here is the flower of gratitude, my love, 
it is the most potent medicine
for healing
the body—with its particular heart and mind—
no matter how truly weary. 
Never mind fighting battles because
—there are no enemies—
healing is not a call to arms
healing is an embrace
with the light
with love
a dance beyond duality
into oneness 
where heaven is earth and earth is heaven

Opening my eyes
i saw 
this light
singing
And gave thanks
with love in my heart
and healing in my hands
I looked my angel in the eyes
and made a vow 
right then and right there
Arigato, Angel
i replied.
Shall we dance? 
 

金継ぎ kintsugi

       
       This heart 
       longing for you,
       breaks
       into a thousand pieces—
       I wouldn't lose one. 

       ~Izumi Shikibu (974-1034)

Recently, the traditional Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with a mixture of lacquer and powdered gold has become quite well known in the internetosphere. We can even buy inexpensive kintsugi-kits online, making what was once rarefied, readily accessible to anyone. Of course authentic Japanese kintsugi with the use of real lacquer and gold does remain quite a rarefied art, but the spirit of kintsugi can be applied broadly through the use of other materials. So when my cat’s bowl—which I bought at a small shop on Kawaramachi street in Kyoto—was broken, I was grateful to have instant access to inexpensive kintsugi-kits!

But why kintsugi? Why not throw away the broken? What is the merit of holding onto broken pieces when there are plenty of new and beautiful replacements? Why fuss with the inconvenience of sticky glue and uncontrollable gold powder, and waiting 24 hours for it all to dry? The well known answer is the aesthetic quality and value which emerges when the totality of loss, brokenness, and healing is embraced fully. An object, rather than defective, is seen to deepen in qualitative beauty. The fractured lines are not faulty nor hidden—they emerge as new elements of design and expressiveness.

Perhaps that is why Izumi Shikibu’s poetry written some one thousand years ago remains with us still. She treasures every single one of the one thousand pieces of her broken heart, conveying the depth of her love and longing. In a few lines, Shikibu invokes the timeless and transcendent spirit of kintsugi.

If we likewise treasure one another and our relationships, indeed, if we truly cherish our own hearts, we may find within ourselves the rarefied and priceless beauty of kintsugi. We may discover that in the end, we are the gold.

Matriarch

four generations, and counting
they come and they go
but they always return, home
to this place of beauty

a door to the east opens with dawn
and she feeds all the hungry children
the cats and dogs, the sheep, cows, horses and chickens
and on the stove, boiling tea and fry bread
for the strays who visit
hungry for stories, ritual, medicine, and ceremony

she laughs easily and cries easily
sharing her heartful with tenderness and pain
the stories of the people
the land and the ancient ones
her memories strong in the bright arch of blue day

and into the quiet glow of dusk
all the busy sandpink footprints are swept
and the table cleared
while her shy, slightly awkward, and more or less vegetarian daughter
prepares salad, fried vegetables, and rice
her daughter
from that small floating island country far to the west
smiles softly for shimá

in the dark nighttime of dreams
and in the firelight of a winter ceremony
her daughter was called home
to heal and be healed, together
long centuries of a battered land
scarred and broken under the crushing weight of greed
and the submerged continent of the massacred

but she stands firmly
on the ground of her mothers
and her mothers' mothers
with offerings of pollen and song
a door to the east opens with dawn
and she feeds all the hungry children

who like me
return
again and time again
to shimá


In trying to write about the background and inspiration for the poem above, I found that it cannot really be done. It would be to contain the ocean in a tea cup, or to capture the sky in a butterfly net. There is no encyclopedic text which could adequately describe or explain the entirety of what shimá, a Navajo word translated as “my mother” means… and what shimá means to me. But I can tell you that I am eternally grateful to the woman who I am standing next to in the photo above, who is shimá. And although shimá “walked on” a couple years ago, she guides me still—in my heart and in all that I have become. It is for her and because of her, that I wrote Matriarch.

As I was struggling to write about Matriarch, however, another poetic passage emerged. Apropos, Matriarch birthed a new poem! I wonder how this one, like a little child, will still grow?

On this land, we walk the path of beauty. 
The sacred breathes through our bodies, and breathes throughout all that there is.
We are beings of fire and coral sand, of summer rain storms and the unfurling green...
we fly on the wings of song and through endless skies of blue light.
We dance.
We are diamonds in the night.
And together with the land, we are hózhó.
We are home.

wild

                     
                          the beautiful roses in my garden
                                                                                 will always be
                                                                                                                    wild .
 

When you stop and smell the roses, what do you hear?