my Love is more
than even the wildest wild rose
an unrestrained, and
captivating beauty—the rarest
tumbling up into the sky, and freer
than the swiftest starling
but still, this singular flower is
firmly, deeply, ever inextricably
in this soil
in this rich and moist and black
rooted ever so deeply inside
this deep deep love
Have you felt that too? Not singing, but being sung by the world? Body as sounding board for the swirling elements of air, water, light, and, soft soil? Like mist, song emerging from the slow steps and soft contours of a dance… each and every cell connected to wind and white feathers in flight?
One day, while practicing fue (a kind of traditional Japanese flute) and singing by the Kamo River in Kyoto, I felt that… that sensation of being saturated by the mist and the light. By wind and by love.
The photograph above was taken then, when I felt that. It’s not a particularly striking nor clear picture, but somehow it captured some airborne shimmering light, sparkles, and an egret… Somehow it captures something like being saturated by the light and the mist… something like being a sounding board for the world.
at the end of the day
all i ever want
at the end of the day
is to lose myself entirely
in your arms
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.
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?
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.
perhaps it is at the edge of this world where in one another we find home and together with the wild birds run free
dancing i step into this the stream of forever emerging and of forever vanishing what remains?
Kōan is a type of riddle or story used in Zen Buddhism designed to steer the practitioner out of and beyond the mind into direct realization. A famous example is, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” So I submit for your pleasure, a poem-koan. 🤓🖤
There is no right or wrong answer… What is yours? Mine is, um, hiding in plain sight?