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.

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.

公案 kōan

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?

pockets

hell in one pocket
and heaven in the other
the choice is all mine
i claim love and golden light
This here today is heaven!

(tanka 5-7-5-7-7)

A wise, old, loincloth-donning and cave-dwelling yogi in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, India once told a little girl a secret. “Heaven and hell” he explained, “are in my pockets!” Perhaps the eleven-year-old girl didn’t quite understand. I imagine she must have looked at him with a quizzical expression on her face. “Here!” he exclaimed. He had a very dynamic way of speaking and of being. Occasionally while walking on a hiking trail, he’d suddenly jump up in the air and yell, “Boom! Life is great!” and resume along the path light-footed and seemingly as light-hearted as can be.
Looking seriously at the little girl, her sister and her parents, Yogi continued. “Look, I want heaven? I take it out of my left pocket. I want hell? I take it out of my right pocket. I can have both! Anytime, I just take heaven or I just take hell out of my pockets!”

My eleven-year-old self did not understand Yogi’s story back then. But like a lucky charm or talisman in my pocket, it has given my life depth and texture—a sense of nuanced calm and komorebi*.
What do you carry in your pockets?

*komorebi: a Japanese word for sunlight shining through the trees; scattered or dappled sunlight; light filtering through the trees

ONE

we are one
one love
one light & one shadow
one dance
                                 It is said that the illusion 
                 of separation 
                                                         leads to suffering, 
                           and that the realization 
                                                                        of oneness 
                                                                                                    leads to          peace. 

世界人類が平和でありますように May peace prevail on earth Nahasdzáán Bikáági Táá axtsogóó Hózhǫ́ǫ́ dooleex برقرار باد صلح در سراسر جهان 세계인류의 평화가 이룩되도록 Go raibh síocháin ar domhain Хай буде мир людству у всьому світі Que la Paz Prevalezca En La Tierra Εύχομαι να Επικρατήσει η Ειρήνη στον Κόσμο உலகில் அமைதி நிலவட்டும்  Gum buadhaich sìth anns gach ceàrn dhe ‘n t-saoghal 我們祈禱世界人類的和平 Puisse la paix régner dans le monde ഭൂമിയിൽ സമാധാനം നിലനിൽക്കട്ടെ Да будет мир человечеству во всём мире Vallitkoon rauha maailmassa Àyǝʼǝtɨ anɨ mǝ tá mbɔɔnǝ kwɛrɨ nsɨe ntsɨm Che la pace regni sulla terra Megi friður ríkja á jörð पृथिव्यां शांति अस्तु Dünyada barış daim olsun රී ලංකාවේ සාමය පවතීවා Niech ludzkość świata żyje w pokoju Che la pace regni sulla terra Даян дэлхий энх амгалан байг Tiqsimuyupi allin kawsay kachun Wo’ wa’hwa la ma’ka a’kan u’num’we Nguyện xin hòa bình đến với toàn thể nhân loại trên thế giới Tangnefedd ar y ddaear Alàáfíà fún gbogbo àgbáyé السلام للعالم أجمع Sana’y Manatili ang Kapayapáan sa Mundo ᎡᎶᎯᏃ ᏙᎯᏱ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ Ať mír vždy vládne na Zemi Няхай будзе мір чалавецтву ва ўсім свеце Måtte det være fred på jorden 🌏🌍🌎💟

magic

“You don’t need to believe in magic.
You are magic.
Believe in yourself.”

Emmanuel Dagher

The above quote crossed my path the other day, like an unexpected butterfly or rainbow in the sky. Riveted, I stopped. “Yes!” I thought. “We are indeed magic, and if we just believed in ourselves… no—if we truly knew that we are magic, why anything wonderful, miraculous, and beautiful could be possible!” It is true, don’t you think? That if we arrive, if we show up each day simply as we are—unadorned, messy but real… unafraid to be whatever particular expression of life that we just so happen to be—then our days cannot be anything other than magic and magical. So I was inspired to step out of my personal comfort zone and share this quickly snapped, unfiltered, messy-haired selfie-on-a-whim… to say hello to the world and to you, whoever you may be. We are all, after all, one light and one love.

But, what precisely is magic?

magic

         maybe magic is, 
     a heart cracked open
   to the tender beauty of the world
                    to be
     raw    open     and real
   and tumbled like broken pieces of sea glass
    worn smooth with the grain of tides
   high and low
    of time
                           to be
               to just be
     in this one world 
   both wounded and wondrous
 allowing the soft edges of shadows
   to dance
          into the light
   like sparkles and glitter of rain
     in the sun
   and finally
             finally and at last
                            to stand on the shore
                                      with arms outstretched to the  wide  open  sea
                                                           and declare
                                              here i am my love
                                              here i am
 

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.