POETRY

For Friday, I offer some poetry.

AWARENESS

Blood

on your. . .

on many hands

Ring the bell, sister

Ring it over

mountains

waterfalls

blue sky nights

no moon shines

on too many

Ring the bell, brother

gateless gate

open wide

make the sign:  hold the lotus

she blooms in mud

dense

dark

elements of all our lives

frog

on a lily pad

shares your skin

Ethiopian, silken, dark face

an empty bowl land

get out of your

mercedes,  the congo. . .

Agni’s coming, a hot wind blows

Ring the bell, my mother

my father

hold out your hands

cooperation is riches

compassion made an ocean,

deep and wide,

every drop – none lost

every living thing has eyes

Ring the bell, Thay

We are listening

Lilie Allen

Aug 29, 2013

MASTERY

Some time ago, I went to my meditation teacher for some advice.  I believed I was having some difficulty with a person in my life and just didn’t think I knew what to do.  So, I began my tale.  He interrupted me, not rudely, just asked me, “You have practiced taekwondo, haven’t you?”  Yes, I said.   “And, you have studied and practiced yoga for many years, right?  Vinyasa yoga, even, true?”   Yes.  I have.  “What are your practices like, describe them – taekwondo first.”  I did, in detail.  He said, “The same every time?  Taekwondo and vinyasa, the same every time?”   Yes.   “Are your masters good teachers?”   Yes, very much so, both of them.  “Why are your practices repetitive?”  To master our bodies, our brains with our minds.  To improve our reflexes, focus and concentration.  To improve speed and conditioning.  “Uh huh.  Yes.  So, when you repeat your tale of woe, what does that do for you?  What does it improve for you, what do you master?  Can you recall these wrongs with more speed, and conditioning?”   Hmmm. . .

“Perhaps, when these thoughts come to you, you could mentally practice your taekwondo, or your vinyasa – meditate upon those.  You might quicken something.  You might gain insight and mastery.  When you speak of taekwondo, of yoga, your face is pure joy, and your voice changes like love for a child, do you know this?  I’ve enjoyed the time we have spent.”

Yeah, got it.   Hope it helps you, too.  It took practice, it takes practice, but WOW it works.  Train your mind.  Peace to you, and thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

ANGER


When you feel anger, don’t dismiss it or shame it. Acknowledge anger as the message it is. Emotions send messages, information that we need. Anger can tell us something needs to change; anger warns of injustice. Anger spurred such changes as important as the civil rights movement. Anger in the mind of someone skilled at its interpretation: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So, we can practice being skilled, as well. When you feel it, realize it is a feeling, and that its message is that something needs to change, or to be addressed. Now, use your skillful mind to discern: what is your skillful, contributory approach? Practice, practice.

 

THE ZEN KOAN: GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS

Many of us have heard some version of the Zen koan dealing with what constitutes good or bad news.  That has been a delight and a stronghold for me.   To me, news is news – the good and the bad, you must sort – and you will.
So, the news.  Since September, when I took the first of two serious falls, I have had trouble with my legs – extremely painful and limited in walking.  Normally, I have pain in my left leg and some trouble walking due to post-herpetic neuralgia of the L5-S1 nerve roots.  In March, I fell and broke my right leg.  It healed well.  When it healed, they wanted to take another look at my spine (I’ve also had two spinal surgeries – for a different problem), to make sure my fusion, and no other structures, had been damaged.  Then, we would form a plan as to how to deal with this increased pain and limitation.  It is good to know, no damage to structure.  It is a challenge to know that this is the result of the virus attacking another nerve root – this is now L4.   And, nothing can reverse this, at this time.
Among the choices, I have chosen to accept using a wheelchair at this time.  This way, I can still go on ‘walks’ and ‘hikes’ and camp-outs and all the things I love to do, without worrying about keeping up, and it’s such a good feeling to get out and not be isolated.  That’s the killer – the isolation.   I’m opting for a wheelchair, crutches and a scooter.  I am thankful that my insurance will help with some of this.  I am also thankful for incredibly gifted and compassionate healthcare workers and for those friends who stuck with me.  I know they have busy lives with challenges of all kinds of their own.  The visits, the calls, and the concern, keep you going – we all know that.  Not being excluded because you aren’t ‘the same’ anymore, keeps hope alive.
And in respect for honesty, that has happened to me and I’m being honest with myself about the grief and hurt it did cause and getting past it to the wonderful things that await.  It hurts to be rejected.  It hurts to find out those you thought friends, were otherwise.   Tell the truth, grieve it and realize what’s right in front of you.
I will have stronger arms, good thing – my orthopod once called me “Olive Oyl” lol!   I can’t be anything but happy.  It’s a door opening, a way around, a new chapter.  Zen koan:  Good or bad news?  Honey, it’s always going to be what you make it.
Again, thank you so much for all those who continue to visit though my posting is very erratic.  I enjoy your posts, your words and wisdom, as well – so keep up with that.  May you be present in every moment, may your challenges open to you new ways, new friends – new life.  Be there for each other.  Community can be present where you are.   Lilie

MOON IS MOON

Moon

is

moon

 

in the not yet blackened

southeastern

clouded sky

 

this night breeze

faintly moves

branches

illumined by

porch light

near midnight

 

coffee cup

in two hands

as darkness

brings

hot day’s relief

 

all this

moving and still

moon

is

moon

in night’s

same place

the one before

and before

 

breathing in

coffee’s pleasant vapor

and

thoughts of kindnesses known

 

breathe out

kindness

to all those names

known and not

 

may there always be kindness

 

raindrops spatter

one by one

their sound gathering

more density

in the plip-plop patter

on  aluminum awning

 

knitting and book

tucked beneath arm

coffee cup in hand

heading for dry house

 

pull back the curtain

turn

for one more look

 

for all this

moving and still

moon

is

moon

 

who

am

I?

A LITTLE RAMBLING

We have certainly had news at our house this week.  I’ll bet there are others who have also had their challenges.

My husband is doing well.  It is nice to be able to talk openly about his MS now.  It is good for him, as well.  The heat is very hard on him and, as a carpenter, that wasn’t going to make it anymore.  So, he’s looking forward.  My husband has always been quite an inspiration to me.  He doesn’t think negatively.  It isn’t that he thinks positively (and here I’m laughing a bit).  Skip just doesn’t think negatively.  His positivity isn’t a reorientation of his thinking, it is the way he has always looked at life.

In 30 years, we have had joys and sorrows.  Skip seems to look at all the same way – with hope.  It’s what is of the moment; and he knows that moment changes.  He’s been a person courageous and willing to change, willing to adapt.  A hard worker and appreciative of his woodworking skill, he has used that well.

I believe the most important thing I have learned (and continue learning) from Skip is forgiveness.  Again, not a reorientation of his thinking; it wouldn’t occur to him to hang onto something about someone.    A well-grounded understanding of human nature, and not much ruffles feathers.  I had to learn that, practice it.

‘Lightening up’ in our thinking, being that mindful observer – taking a step back, assessing before making the decision how, or if, to act, that’s what makes the difference.  The old adage, “sleep on it”, very good advice when possible.  Thinking, contemplating, patience.  Taking oneself out of that reactive, defensive posture, so that you may see clearly your opportunities and choices, and not be so invested in what someone else has done or said, but in the person you have decided (daily) to be.  Then, your thoughts and actions become habitually directed toward that goal.  This is what I see in my husband.  The ability to maintain his center, and from that forgiveness just follows.

Each day I’m thinking of those who thoughtfully visit, and hoping that your needs are met, that your present moments are those of  hope.  Thank you for stopping by.  Lilie

WHEN IT’S TIME TO GO

Today, my husband retired.  He’s a few years short of retirement, but he has MS.  I haven’t been able to tell anyone outside of family and some very close friends because he would have lost his job.  He is in good health, has been on MS meds now for about five years, (has been diagnosed for 20) but he worked in construction and doesn’t need to be doing that any longer.  So, it’s a time of transition at our house.  Fortunately, we have each other and some good tools we’ve both learned.

It’s a time of excitement; it’s scary and there is some sadness.  We think of all others in similar situations and we send our intentions for all to have their needs met.  And, it is our intention that we may always be ready to meet the needs of others in whatever way we can.

We are very grateful for all we have:  friendship, love and support – particularly.

May you be well.   Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie