beginnings

Some poems seem to take on a life of their own. Apropos perhaps, I do not remember when I wrote the first version of the poem below—only that it was a very long time ago—and it seems also to have no end. I’ve come back to it multiple times, tweaked it here and there, but its completion is forever illusive. Like snake tracks in the desert sand, it evades capture. This poem of beginnings and endings, has neither. Maybe we are all like that, without beginning nor ending, in reality… and our essential self too, like snake tracks in the desert sand, evades capture.

beginnings

In every beginning 
there is death 
and in all death, there is rebirth.
Do you remember your beginning? 
 
We are a continuum, of 
eternity & nothingness 
polarity & unity
a quivering consciousness sometimes shackled
by words.
 
Freezing bits of existence 
into b/l_o.c+k-s tumbling 
from our mouths
we trip 
in the rubble of our own expression.
 
Until weary, perhaps
with splintered and twisted feet
we lay down, seeking 
nothing 
other than earth
and sky.
 
Here we find, an infinite desert.
Here our hollowed self, shimmers 
alive
reawakened 
in an instant of eternity.
 
A single drop of rain    falls 
into the soul 
and the membrane of each cell shivers 
shedding itself 
into currents of grace 
flowing and
flowing like blood into 
crevices 
and over rocks and into ancient 
ravines
 
returning devoutly 
inevitably
to firelit waves of a primordial sea.

Do you remember
                                      your beginning?

philocalist

philocalist: a person who loves beauty; one who sees and appreciates beauty in all things.

What is beauty? Like love, beauty is some kind of nameable uncontainable, some kind of innate and immediate and intrinsic nature of our humanness. And like love, beauty eludes definition the way sunlight escapes boxes and the shadows. We cannot live without the light. We cannot live without love and we cannot live without beauty.

Beauty might be a rose, or a stranger who comes to our rescue. It could be that smooth shiny surface of wooden floor boards worn step after step after step after step—a million times over. Or sparkles dancing on water. Dew in the morning light. A friendly smile. Honey. And sweetness.

In one way or the other, beauty is everything that is good. Like a natural point of rest, beauty is the default setting for our most essential selves. The Navajo word for it is Hózhó. Harmony balance reciprocity peace.

So in your moments of darkness, of hurt or of despair, look into the mirror and remember that not only are you beautiful—but that you are beauty itself… beauty reflecting beauty. Say not “I am beautiful”, but declare “I Am Beauty”. And everything else in this tumultuous life shall fall into place—step after step after step after step—you shall Walk in Beauty. Hózhó.

philocalist: a person who knows themself as beauty; one who walks in beauty.

field of dreams

Life is a field
of dreams
growing with the wind
and weather patterns 
of thoughts
feelings 
and voices
Voices from the soil
of memory
past loves and sorrows
past joys and triumphs
and remorse 
They take root
and grow
into our field of dreams
And whether asleep or awake
we all walk our field of dreams
on pathways of hope 
or of despair
to horizons unknown
But surely
on a pathway of love
love itself is the horizon 
and the infinitely wild beautiful blue sky above
 

The Holy Grail

Certain things are a matter of belief. 
Do you believe, for example, that the holy grail is real and that its location has or has not yet been discovered, or do you believe it is a striking creation of medieval European literature? If it is not actually real, why do so many claim to have found it? Why does something of such ambiguity hold such sway, spanning centuries and continents? 

Belief in certain things is a matter of contention. Is there life after death? God? Reincarnation? Telekinesis? Whereas belief in other things is rarely of dispute. Rain falls to the ground from clouds. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Kyoto city was the capital of Japan for over 1,000 years. 

So why is the existence of a god or gods or goddesses or holy people or deities or kami for that matter, at times hotly contested whereas the sun’s emergence in the east generally is not?

We might start by pointing to the tangible-to-the five-senses and thusly physically experiential nature of the sunrise in what we know to be “east”. However it is also true is it not, that many people, when asked where east is, will not be able to answer correctly on the spot without external reference to a map or mechanical compass of some sort. Physical experience alone is insufficient. To understand where east is, we must have somehow learned something about the relationship between the sun and earth, about planetary orbits, the solar system and space. But from the point of view of Pluto, or of a star in Andromeda, how fixed or relevant ultimately is Earth’s east, anyway? Is east to the left or to the right? Your left or my right? 

As for intangible-to-the-five-senses things such as kami, we might point to the ubiquity and continuity of shrines in Japan as evidence of their actual existence. “Believers” may claim to have experienced physically tangible results after praying to kami, such as healed illnesses or passed university entrance examinations. Visions of non-physical beings or other experiences beyond the tangible-to-the-five-senses might also be cited by some as proof that kami are real. Such “intangibles” however, are often disputed as imagination and thusly unacceptable and unverifiable evidence. But what are “visions” after all, if not something seen somehow?    

I am not here to profess what is true or not true. But I am here to question our assumptions about what we believe to be true or not true. And I am here to suggest that the holy grail itself is not necessarily its purported historical and physical reality, and that it is not necessarily a thing of literary legend—but that perhaps the real holy grail is realizing that what we believe to be true is “true”. Truth is a consequence of belief; not necessarily the other way around. What you believe creates what you experience; not necessarily the other way around.
Perhaps, in other words, the real holy grail is that we are all—each and every one of us—kami

landing

~a short meditation on flight, four~

Flight, for all its exhilaration and glory, always comes home. Every bird lands, eventually. And it is this very moment of landing—a touchdown full of sweetness, which gives flight its freedom. For without landing, the sky would be abyss. Without landing, flight would be exile. It is the inevitability of landing which gives wings to dreams… to our wildest, our sweetest, and our most beautiful dreams.

flight 
is an embrace of sky
wings spread wide
caressing wind as it streams by

flight
is a love of the sky song
whispered in tendrils 
of crimson clouds and golden light

and flight
is the heart’s journey home
weaving dawn and dusk 
into luster love and soft landing 
 

we are all angels

~a short meditation on flight, two~

Who does not dream about flying? 
Although our actual physical bodies are essentially tethered to this earth, it seems that flight is somehow intrinsic to our souls. Somehow, I really do know what it is to fly, in this human body… I can feel it in my bones, and on the surface of my skin caressed by wind—my entire being buoyed by its light power. Soaring. 

Do you? Too, like me, know flight?
Does your heart lift, with the first rays of sunrise—taking you out beyond the horizons? When the birds circle overhead, can you meet them up there in the blue sky—seeing eye to eye, and the dancing tree tops below? As the soft pads of your bare feet sink into earth, gently with each step on the path, are you not also drawn upwards and a little closer to those not so distant cloud bottoms? And at night when the stars twinkle so invitingly, do you dance there too among all the glitter? Gloriously?

Maybe we are all angels, after all? 
We’re just walking this earth awhile—for the grand adventure of it all… for dreaming dreams, for the thrill and for the mania, for sleeping and awakening, for creating something beautiful or fantastic and then reveling in it too… But above all, maybe we are here for love—simply, to love and to be loved. Love.

Source

Who can tell me, what is the source of love? 
Not the whos nor whats which we love, not our dreams nor passions. But like rain from the clouds, rivers from the high mountains, song from morning birds, from where does love come?

Like this body made up of trillions of cells, and cells made up of biomolecules, and biomolecules made up of… ah, um, let’s just skip right to the part where matter essentially breaks down into nothingness… where this body is nothing but empty space. 
And what of love? What are its elemental parts and particles? Like the body falling into a microverse of emptiness, into what space does love fall, eventually? Like trying to locate physical origins of consciousness itself, trying to locate the same for love may very well be futile—an endeavor best left to the poets among us. 
(It is apparent, yes, that science is not my forte!) But surely, there are no grand laws of physics, quantum physics, or other physics for that matter, which can tell us how love arises into our hearts and minds, and bursts so brightly, into our souls. 

So let the poet in me humbly suggest a theory. 
Love, like light, comes from the sun. Yes, that’s right. All those millions and gazillions of stars out there? They are actually love-generating furnaces! 
It makes sense does it not? Physical matter breaks down into emptiness, so we are actually bodies of empty space being filled with light. Or is light only a result of a collision of particles and waves between the sun and our vastly empty bodies? I think that light too, like love, cannot truly be contained in the mind. 
These uncontainables, and these apparent immaterials… are like wind which can only be seen in the swirl of desert sand. Or water, in the long and slow curves of canyon walls. Sound, in the reverberation of strings. 
And love, seen in the light of a smile or felt in a remembered birthday, arises in the betweenness of things. In relationship. A mother and child. A butterfly and an irresistible flower. Shimmering rainbows of water and light in the sky. A spider and her web. Love is light. Like how we come to see the sun—in the collision of particles and waves. A reverberation felt in the deep space of the heart. 

In the photo above, do you not see the heart shining out from the sun? I offer you this, my empirical evidence that the source of love is indeed, the sun.
So the next time you gaze up into the starry night sky, perhaps you will feel the overwhelming presence of love shining everywhere there… And your heart, your one precious heart, flooded with light.

in touch with the world

When a poet brainstorms, writing somewhat stream of consciousness for an essay, it turns into an essay-poem or a poem-essay! What genre is this?! It is, a meditation on touch. 

in touch with the world 

touch, is the fundamental sense
the connective tissue between inner and outer worlds
bringing the faraway full moon into spectacular view
and the sweet sound of a loved one singing
straight into the heart
waves and particles crashing and colliding
connecting
childhood memories to the smell
of chocolate chip cookies baking, and 
fourth of July sparklers burning, bright

like the sea to coral reefs, or 
the sky to rainbows 
touch is the universe materialized 
made sensate and knowable, tangible 
to the heart and mind alike
to fingers, toes, and taste buds

the abyss
is touch deprivation
soundless, sightless, without taste or smell
senseless
love itself
an unknowable abstract intangible
void

in touch with the world
we are caressed by the flight of butterfly wings
the dance of sunlight
the soft fragrance of roses
the song of the ocean 
the sugar of honey

in touch with the world
our hearts are moved 
by kind words and thoughtful gestures
by the bravery and boldness
to connect
to other hearts

in touch with the world
with your hand on my heart
mine on yours
together 
we are healed

in touch with the world
together 
with one another
we discover our selves
beautiful
holy
 

Journey

Where are you going, little one? Little home-carrying snail crossing my path? If not home itself, what destination or desire guides your way?

We all journey. Life itself, is movement. Unlike the birds, we don’t necessarily have to fly from here to there, but our inner worlds as much as our outer worlds, are never entirely still. And whether we are literal travelers of the world or content to stay put in one place, we all traverse worlds of imagination and experience. What is the world otherwise, anyway—if not for this ongoing interplay between inner worlds of imagination and outer worlds of experience? For essentially, the imaginary and the experienced, are one dance.

Where do you dance? And what music brings you to your feet? What inner fire guides your way?

In the introduction to my recently published collection of poetry and photography, Twelve Moons & The Sea ~ A Journey Home, I describe the nature of journeying, and how each poem is like one step along the path:

Some journeys embarked on in life begin with very clear and intentional destinations or goals, charts plotted out from the very start. Other journeys reveal themselves seemingly on their own accord, with an agenda unbeknownst to the journeyer. It is precisely these most surreptitious of journeys that awaken the soul, heal the heart, and bring the journeyer into entirely new and magical terrain. Upon arrival, one discovers that each moment of the journey itself had always been destination. Likewise, each poem along the journey's path is both point of arrival and of departure, containing its own particular locus of revelation and longing. 

How do you give expression to your life’s journey? What is your poetry; what is your dance? Indeed, what is the destination in your heart, awaiting discovery and arrival?

If you are interested in my book, Twelve Moons & The Sea ~ A Journey Home, please check the link below or on the publications page of this website.

Twelve Moons And The Sea

Twelve Moons A… A Journey Home By Michiru Adrienne

Photo book

Book Preview

a cloud is a cloud is a cloud

Or not? Like me, do you see a dragon in these clouds? If you don’t, does that mean that my dragon doesn’t exist despite my having seen it? Something in the clouds which you see is indeed seen by you, even if I can’t see it. Your perception is not dependent on my agreement. And likewise, my dragon doesn’t need to exist in your mind for it to exist in mine. So what is the reality of perception?

“Pareidolia” is the perception of recognizable things and/or patterns in random visual data. Seeing a rabbit on the moon (Japan), a face in a few lines and dots :- ) or faces in the clouds, are examples of common shared pareidolia. If it is not shared or collective, does that make it less real? Even the words which you read here are a system of agreed upon meaning imposed upon abstract form, but are not necessarily any more “real” in of themselves, than my dragon in the clouds.

In an article from Psyche digital magazine, a team of neuroscientists investigate the link between pareidolia and creativity, and by extension, the nature of perception and consciousness itself. They ask the questions, “Is all of perception an illusion? … How can we distinguish a complete illusion, or delusion, from a useful creative interpretation?” Does usefulness correlate with the degree to which the pareidolia or said perception is shared? Is meaning a matter of collectiveness and community, whereas delusion is a form of isolation? 

For example, every Japanese person can see a rabbit on the moon pounding mochi (rice cake), and mochi-pounding events are part of traditional autumn festivities related to celebrating the harvest moon. Thus, the collective pareidolia has had significant meaning and usefulness to an entire culture of people for millennia. Furthermore, a Japanese person who claimed to be unable to see a rabbit on the moon pounding mochi, I dare say, would be perceived as delusional in Japan. 

But does that mean there actually are rabbits on the moon—pounding mochi? Does it matter?

Buddhism and the sages of India have long declared that everything is maya, or illusion. A notion similarly and somewhat humorously expressed in “western” terms by British psychologist Richard Gregory: “It seems to be profoundly true that all perceptions are loosely controlled hallucinations.” 

Perhaps reality is not a matter of collective versus individual perception. And if not perception itself nor the thing in of itself, like Gertude Stein’s a rose is a rose is a rose, then what is it? Is it the cloud or the dragon, both or neither? After all, both cloud and dragon do not exist outside the realm of my experiential perception.

Could it be that reality is essentially a matter of belief? And that when it comes to understanding the world in which we live, the heart is a more powerful instrument of perception than the brain? Afterall, if I don’t believe in my dragon in the clouds, how can he bring me gifts of rainbows and messages from the gods? Perhaps reality—the world and our experience of it—is simply a poem in the making… nothing more or less than a beautiful song or a delicate dance… an ongoing creative work of art.

What is your art? and the nature of your craft?