lightly

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“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.
I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig.
Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me.
When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic.
No rhetoric, no tremolos,
no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell.
And of course, no theology, no metaphysics.
Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light.

So throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
That’s why you must walk so lightly.
Lightly my darling,
on tiptoes and no luggage,

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The still time

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Galway Kinnell, “The Still Time”

I know there is still time –
time for the hands
to open, for the bones of them
to be filled
by those failed harvests of want,
the bread imagined of the days of not having.

Now that the fear
has been rummaged down to its husk,
and the wind blowing
the flesh away translates itself
into flesh and the flesh
gives itself in its reveries to the wind.

I remember those summer nights
when I was young and empty,
when I lay through the darkness
wanting, wanting,
knowing
I would have nothing of anything I wanted –
that total craving
that hollows the heart out irreversibly.

So it surprises me now to hear
the steps of my life following me –
so much of it gone
it returns, everything that drove me crazy
comes back, blessing the misery
of each step it took me…

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“we are here for each other”

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essay by the brilliant sarah-louise jordan

I used to never be able to turn the light out. When I did, all that was left was the fire and the pain, and it was too terrifying to endure. The light at least was a reminder that regardless of what was happening to me, there was something left to reach for. There was a world beyond the blacksmith’s forge of my bones, waiting for me to be able to rejoin it. Even if I could only do so in the smallest of ways, like opening my eyes for long enough to see that the room was remarkably unchanged by the chaos. I had no energy to think about anything more than navigating the moments. Leaping from one to the next like they were stepping stones I must not fall off. I was so weak that the existence of the light felt like…

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Polishing the Heart

The Sufis speak of polishing the heart into a mirror, so that through our love we can reflect the heart of everything. This is one practice that in time can help us make the necessary agreement between our being and our humanness. By its very nature, living in the world creates a film over our heart, while our thoroughness of being and our gestures of love remove that film. There is no arrival in this process. The goal isn’t to stay clean or get dirty, but to stay engaged in the unending transformative cycle of life. And when we can’t summon the effort or courage to clean the film from our heart, there is always the necessary rain by which life will clean and refresh itself. In this way, the work of being and the inevitable friction of becoming are inextricably knit together.

We all film the heart and we all polish the heart. We all move between these points of wakefulness and weariness. All the while, the resources of life wait like a great sea to cleanse us. This is why we polish the heart into a mirror—to open and touch the place within us where all life lives, where all hearts feel, where all things resound through the inlet of our soul. The endless practice here is to live out a constant commitment to aliveness, to stay engaged in the ongoing journey of being filmed over, only to be scoured into a clear vessel, again and again.
~Mark Nepo