Pain as Portal
A piercing word
A stab of betrayal
The boundary crossed,
A trust broken.
In this lacerating moment
Faith is all you know
Life is tattooing scripture on your flesh,
Scriving incandescence in your nerves.
In this single searing point
Of intolerable concentration
Wound becomes portal
Brokenness surrenders to
Crystalline brilliance of Being
~ Lorin Roche. The Radiance Sutras
I am not a mechanism
an assemblage of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism
is working wrongly that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the Soul,
to the deep emotional self
And wounds to the Soul take a long time, a long Long time to heal. Only time can help,
and patience, and a certain difficult repentance;
A long difficult repentance,
Realization of life’s mistake and freeing oneself
from the endless repetition of the mistake
that mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.
~ DH Lawrence
The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost.
Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes.
Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still.
The forest knows Where you are.
You must let it find you.
~ David Wagoner
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 are a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house empty of its
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 whatever comes.
Because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
~ Jellaludin Rumi
Awakening To The Trauma of the Past
For everything under the sun there is a time.
This is the season of your awkward harvesting,
When the pain takes you where you would rather not go,
Through the white curtain of yesterdays to a place
You had forgotten you knew from the inside out;
And a time when that bitter tree was planted
That has grown always invisibly beside you
And whose branches your awakened hands
Now long to disentangle from your heart.
You are coming to see how your looking often darkened
When you should have felt safe enough to fall toward love,
How deep down your eyes were always owned by something
That faced them through a dark fester of thorns
Converting whoever came into a further figure of the wrong;
You could only see what touched you as already torn. Now the act of seeing begins your work of mourning. And your memory is ready to show you everything, Having waited all these years for you to return and know.
Only you know where the casket of pain is interred.
You will have to scrape through all the layers of covering
And according to your readiness, everything will open.
May you be blessed with a wise and compassionate guide
Who can accompany you through the fear and grief
Until your heart has wept its way to your true self.
As your tears fall over that wounded place,
May they wash away your hurt and free your heart. May your forgiveness still the hunger of the wound So that for the first time you can walk away from that place,
Reunited with your banished heart, now healed and freed,
And feel the clear, free air bless your new face.
This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes. Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with new beginning.
~ John O’Donoghue
Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.
As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity by lightened by grace.
Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.
As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.
As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said, May your sense of irony bring perspective.
As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.
May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the depths the laughter of god.
~ John O’Donoghue
Blessed be the mind that dreamed the day
the blueprint of your life would begin to glow on earth,
illuminating all the faces and voices that would arrive
to invite your soul to growth.
Praised be your father and mother,
who loved you before you were,
and trusted to call you here with no idea who you would be. Blessed be
those who have loved you into becoming who you were meant to be,
blessed be those who have crossed your life with dark gifts of hurt and loss
that have helped to school your mind in the art of disappointment.
When desolation surrounded you,
blessed be those who looked for you and found you, their kind hands urgent to open a blue window
in the gray wall formed around you.
Blessed be the gifts you never notice,
your health, eyes to behold the world,
thoughts to countenance the unknown,
memory to harvest vanished days,
your heart to feel the world’s waves,
your breath to breathe the nourishment of distance
made intimate by earth.
On this echoing-day of your birth,
may you open to the gift of solitude
in order to receive your soul;
enter the generosity of silence to hear your hidden heart;
know the serenity of stillness to be enfolded anew
by the miracle of your being.
~ John O’Donoghue
Blessed be the longing that brought you here
And quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.
May the forms of your belonging, in love, creativity, and friendship,
Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.
May the one you long for long for you.
May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.
May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.
May your mind inhabit life with the sureness with which your body inhabits the world.
May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.
May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.
~ John O’Donoghue
May you be blessed in the holy names of those
Who, without you knowing it,
Help to carry and lighten your pain.
May you know serenity
When you are called
To enter the house of suffering.
May a window of light always surprise you.
May you be granted the wisdom
To avoid false resistance;
When suffering knocks on the door of your life,
May you glimpse its eventual gifts.
May you be able to receive the fruits of suffering.
May memory bless and protect you
With the hard-earned light of past travail;
To remind you that you have survived before
And though the darkness now is deep,
You will soon see approaching light.
May the grace of time heal your wounds.
May you know that though the storm might rage,
Not a hair of your head will be harmed.
There is no check list to get through,
ticking off each task as we complete it
at the end of which we are all better.
It is a life long dance,
a constant opportunity
to open and grow
The trick is to approach our grief
with as much awareness and compassion
as we can muster.
~ Mirabai Starr
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.
And when the work of grieving is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.
The Healing Time
Finally on my way to yes
I bump into all the places where I said no to my life
All the untended wounds the red and purple scars
Those hieroglyphs of pain carved into my skin, my bones,
Those coded messages that send me down the wrong street
Again and again where I find them
The old wounds, the old mis-directions
And I lift them one by one close to my heart
And I say holy holy, holy.
~ Pesha Joyce Gertler
Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.
Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game;
To play it is purest delight;
To honor its form — true devotion.
~ Jennifer Welwood
To Come Home to Yourself
May all that is unforgiven in you be released.
May your fears yield their deepest tranquillities.
May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future
Graced with love.
~ John O’Donoghue