Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sonatina by Ruben Dario

The princess is sad . . . from the princess slips
such sighs in her words from the strawberry lips.
Gone from them laughter and the warm light of day.
Pallid she is sat in her golden chair;
unsounded the keys of the harpsichord there,
and a flower, from a vase, has swooned away.

The peacocks in the garden parade their tails.
The duenna's chatter is incessant and stales.
The pirouetting jester is tricked out in red,
yet nothing she cares for and she does not smile
but follows a dragonfly that flits the while
as vague in the east as is her dream-lost head.

Does a prince from China or Golconda approach,
does she think of one stepping from his silver coach,
bedazzled by her beauty in the sky's soft blues,
to court her with islands of fragrant roses,
shower bright diamonds as a sovereign disposes,
or proud owners of pearls do, out of Ormuz?

Ah, the poor princess, with that mouth of roses,
thinks of butterfly and swallow, but supposes
how easily with wings she would soar up under
the bright ladders brought down from the sunlit day.
With lillies she would meet the fresh songs of May,
and be one with the wind in the ocean's thunder.

Listless in the palace spins the spinning wheel;
in the magical falcon and jester no appeal.
The swans are as one in the lake's azure swoon.
From west come the dahlias for the first in court,
from east the sad jasmines, south roses of thought,
from north the waterlillies, weeping from noon.

Her blue eyes see nothing but sad misrule:
into gold she is set and beset by tulle.
Days are poured out as from a heavy flagon,
haughtily they watch now over palace floors;
silent with the halberds are a hundred Moors,
sleepless the greyhound, and a colossal dragon.

Oh, to find freshness of the butterfly's veil:
(The princess is sad. The princess is pale.)
Be silent as ivory, rose-coloured and gold!
Where will he fly to, the prince she had!
The princess is pale. The princess is sad,
more brilliant than the dawn is, a hundred fold.

Be patient, my princess: the horse has wings,
for you he is coming, the fairy godmother sings.
With a sword in the belt he has a hawk above,
and a kiss to ignite you, to vanquish death:
never has he seen you, but joyous the breath
from the prince who awakes you: you will be his love.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

part 1: a choir of angels ~ the invocation (by Udana Power)

I know not why the angels sing
only that they do

Is it my longing that gives them voice?
Or does their eternal music
await the wings of my listening?

O Choir of Angels
jubilant with sounds from the Silence
breathe life into my famished soul
Sigh into my yearning
and meet the hunger only grace can fill.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

" a cloud"

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them dance; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet :
could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

-William Wordsworth

Monday, January 17, 2011

excerpts from a newsletter

The Vibrant Peace Walk

“All good things come from stillness”
–Joseph Bharat Cornell

Feel the joy, serenity, and love that come from being fully aware of the present moment. John Muir said that to know trees (and all of nature) we must be as free of cares and time as the trees themselves. When we quiet our internal dialogue and are no longer self-preoccupied—every leaf, flower and rock will speak to us.

The secret to experiencing nature is to still our thoughts so we can fully receive and merge with the world around us. Li Po, the Chinese poet, beautifully expresses how the mind becomes mirror-like when it becomes still:

“The birds have vanished in the sky, and the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and I, until only the mountain remains.”

The senses become heightened when we live in the present. Every tree, birdsong, and cloud seems vivid and joyous because our attention is totally focused in the here and now.

We see the world as being not separate but unified with us, and we feel great delight as we sail with the clouds and soar with the cranes high across the sky.

Thoreau’s Advice

Henry David Thoreau was serious about his walks in nature and gave the following advice for anyone contemplating taking a walk outdoors:

“We should go forth… in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return. If you are ready to leave father and mother… wife and child and friends, and never see them again, — if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man, then you are ready for a walk.”
“When in the wilds, we must not carry our problems with us or the joy is lost.“
–Sigurd Olson

Calm Yourself

The breath reflects one’s mental state. As the breath becomes calmer, so does the mind, and vice versa. Relax your mind by doing these simple breathing exercises:

Inhale and tense your whole body. As you exhale, relax your body and feel you are energetically casting aside all worries, problems, and thoughts. Do this three times.
Inhale slowly counting one to eight, hold your breath for the same number of counts, then exhale for the same count. This is one round of “even count breathing.” Do five rounds.

The Stillness Meditation
(This is a variation on the Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration taught by Yogananda)

Observe the natural flow of your breath. Do not control the breath in any way. Simply follow it with your attention. Each time you inhale, think “Still.” Each time you exhale, think “Ness.”

Repeating “Still … Ness” with each complete breath helps focus the mind and prevents your attention from wandering from the present moment.

During the pauses between inhalation and exhalation, stay in the present moment, calmly observing whatever is in front of you. If thoughts of the past or future disturb your mind, calmly bring your attention back to what is before you, and continue repeating “Still … Ness” with your breathing.

Become Everything

When your mind wanders, repeat the following poem. It will help bring you back into the present.

“Let my mind become silent,
And my thoughts come to rest.
I want to be
All that is before me.
In self-forgetfulness,
I become everything.”
–Joseph Cornell

Feel Yourself in Every Sound and Movement

It’s wonderful how everything in wild nature is part of us.
“The sun shines not on us, but in us.
The river flows not past, but through us.”
- John Muir

As you walk, feel that everything around you is a part of you. Feel yourself in the trees, standing tall and firm. Feel inside of you the movement of their branches and leaves as they sway and flutter with the slightest breezes.

Become the birds as they flit from branch to branch. Listen to their voices and feel their joyous songs resonating within you.

Follow the wind by the sounds and movements it creates as it flows through, around and over trees, meadows and rocks.

Feel yourself in every sound, movement, and creation of Nature.

Live Expansively

If your mind begins to dwell on the past or to anticipate the future, focus your thoughts with the following practice:

As you walk, Make a smile with your whole body and joyfully repeat the words:

“I am peace… I am joy.
I am… in all things.”

Always live expansively. Enjoy the contrast between being self-absorbed and tiny—and embracing all life around you.

-Nayaswami Bharat

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Rumi

Saturday, December 25, 2010

how it starts

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy; And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields. And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief. Much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity: For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen, And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.”

-Khalil Gibran

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Awakening

A time comes in your life when you finally get it…when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out…ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying and blaming and struggling to hold on. Then, like a child quieting down after a tantrum, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to magically appear over the next horizon.

You realize that in the real world there aren’t always fairy tale endings, and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you…and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are…and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself…and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you – or didn’t do for you – and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.

You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and everything isn’t always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself…and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties…and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with.

You learn that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for you next fix. You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

Then you learn about love. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You learn that alone does not mean lonely. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes.

You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that your body really is your temple.

You begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drinking more water, and take more time to exercise. You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. And, just food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you deserve, and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance.

You learn that no one can do it all alone, and that it’s OK to risk asking for help. You learn the only thing you must truly fear is fear itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms. You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people…and you learn not to always take it personally.

You learn that nobody’s punishing you and everything isn’t always somebody’s fault. It’s just life happening. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Then, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than you heart’s desire.

You make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility. You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. Finally, with courage in you heart, you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

-Sonny Carroll