What a coincidence, to have met at all, you and I.
What a coincidence that we even exist, that the world welcomed us so generously,
and displayed its beauty and abundance so gloriously for us to fall in love with.
It’s so rich here.
So many scents filled with meaning,
so many tastes which nourish us and bring us back to life.
So many ways to inhabit peace, beauty and belonging,
listening to the birds chirp, feeling the wind touch your skin,
the snugness of curling up with a hot cup of coffee
when peddles of rain hit the window and the sky turns dark.
Or anything else,
anything else that gives you joy and relief, it’s all here, waiting for us.
Is this really a coincidence, or are we,
maybe just maybe,
really wanted here?
Made for this life, this world, this splash of mortality,
pushed upward like a mighty wave
only momentarily from the sea.
The only sound I have ever found truly sacred
is silence and all the delicious richness underneath.
When I sit back and allow my breath to deepen
until I’m firmly grounded in Nature’s embrace
That’s when I feel like I am infinite, that inside
my small body, vulnerable, ageing, transient
there is a groundless whirlwind of colour, warmth,
sadness and laughter
making love to my heart –
until I weep from the intensity.
Most of all, when I linger there,
when that precious whirlwind is tired of its play
I feel Your presence, patient, smiling, loving
but holding back out of fear of being intrusive.
You are shy, my Beloved, but I have come
to sit with you once more.
I have come
to lose myself completely in Your love.
The fresh morning air rushes in from the window
beckons us, entices us:
Today is not the day for stagnation!
Look around you, everything is born anew
anointed by the coolness of the night
the mystery that opens and spreads out
over all the streets
sweeping away all memories of suffering,
cleansing and blessing it like an old lady would
who knows a thing or two about death
No, the sun does not rise
before this lady’s work is done
Sweeping, cleansing, expertly folding
away all your anguish and broken dreams.
She sings an ancient song which brings
life to shattered bones while cats linger
to be near her and hear her silvery rhymes.
Then she mutters to herself something
about another job well done and
let’s have a cup of tea and see if Martha’s home.
At last she recalls the heavy silence, the birds impatiently
waiting for her cue. She shakes her head and laughs at the erupting
ruckus, her antediluvian voice ringing and jolting the sun awake.
Only the animals know of her existence,
only they are staunch enough to help her with her work.
Yet the sun rises for all of us,
the sheer unapologetic triumph
packed into the sweet scent of the morning air
leaves none of humanity’s hearts unshaken,
leaves none of us without a seed of roaring hunger for life.
Creativity is hard, it is build out of our pain, out of all the feelings we don’t want to face. We cannot be truly creative until we pay heed to the suffering we have been through. Maybe Hemingway was right when he said that writing is like bleeding, you try to avoid it until there is no other option but to sit down and surrender to whatever comes out. It’s not always pretty, the words aren’t always well-chosen or as elegant as you’d like. But it’s real and it’s necessary. We have to do the work or risk suffocating in the monotony of a life that somebody else picked for us. Don’t pick that life.
I’ve never felt that a book actually changed my life. Oh, I have had high hopes in that regard, don’t get me wrong. The marketing plot of “This book will change your life” worked well on me and my decision making process. But it never happened in the spectacular way that the publisher promised. It might have to do with the fact that my mind finds reading easy and appealing enough, but doing the gritty work of sitting with myself and diving into my psyche not so much.
Maybe it’s little tidbits of text that do it – ideas that spark my interest, sentences which are often repeated because I look for them elsewhere – which gradually become ingrained in my soul and as such become the foundation of a new life. Well, not new exactly. As Rilke says: ‘The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.’ If we look closely, interesting ideas which transform us are not alien to us but are part of the weaving of our cells, of the very core of who we are becoming.
Can an author transform my way of thinking before I am ready? I don’t think so. Maybe that’s why some books stay unread on the shelf so long – we are not ready, not quite yet, to do the ideas justice. Some books get read without any noticeable change in my way of thinking, but later I discover that a chair has been moved and a new breeze nudges me resolutely into action.
Ideas take time to ripen, to mature in us. There is no doubt that when they are fully grown they belong to us in a profound way. We can no longer separate ourselves from them. Our future self, our new life which isn’t so new at all, has become a reality.
Is there anything more delightful than waking up in the midst of cold, sturdy winter to find the birds chirping and the sun warming the frozen earth? An unexpected break, a short glimpse into the renewal of your heart. You suddenly remember how happy spring makes you, how it washes away all the cobwebs and little hurts that were hiding in the dark closets of your chest. You suddenly see a way out of this dark dream, if only for a moment, and you rejoice in the beauty this earthly life freely gives you, almost deliberately, to draw out a response.
There is nothing quite like the heartbeat of nature, its quiet tale that endures while people are busy talking of silly nothings. You remember it from time to time, when you stand in the doorway, caught in the rollercoaster of your thoughts. The wind tugs at you, gently, inviting you to listen, to pause, to be silent for a moment. That’s all that is needed for you to regain balance, if you put your whole heart into it and affirm the truth. ‘I know you, sweet nature. I have come here to admire your transient, ever-renewing beauty intensely. I am part of you. I am beautiful too.’
The wind runs on, satisfied, and the birds chirp a little more playfully. ‘You are part of this!’ They shout. ‘This careless playfulness is your inheritance too! Do you remember how we once danced together? Remembrance, my friend, is everything!’ They jump from tree to tree, basking in the sun. They, too, are happy and have found a little sustenance against the bleak dark months. They, too, know pain, loneliness and suffering.
You quietly stand there, the smoke of your solitary tea filling the crisp air. For a moment a smile plays across your lips. Then, that urgent errant comes to mind and you rush inside. But you were there, for a moment, standing in the doorway, knowing yourself completely by forgetting who you were.