might as well believe

comments 2
poetry / Rumi / spirituality

So, you all come to see me blather on about this or that because you know how perfect I am and that I’ve always got it together, right? What? Wait…no? That’s not it?

The whole notion is laughable of course. I have it no more together than anyone else. The good news is that I have it no less together than anyone else either. I choose to be encouraged by that.

People often ask me what my religion is or what I believe. I don’t mind the asking as long as they don’t mind the answer. The truth is I have a religion of one and for one. I have a strict no-conversion policy so you don’t have to worry about me accosting you on the street, knocking on your door, or sending you spam (either the mystery meat or emails).

I have many beliefs and they change a lot, which to some is the essence of non-belief but I disagree. One of my main beliefs is that we must ever be open to new insights and new information which can lead to new revelations. Our beliefs and our spirits are better served by our presence in and response to the world as it is now rather than hunkered down in a bomb shelter of “faith” where it’s still 1955. Or worse, 70 AD. (a very bad year for most. look it up.)

All that said, I’m not actually here to get into the nuts and bolts of what I believe or what any of us should or shouldn’t believe. That’s part of how a strict no-conversion policy works.

Anyway, the point is not what we believe so much as that we believe in something. Are we correct in thinking there is a higher power of some sort?  Are we correct in thinking there is not?  In truth, our accuracy matters not at all.  We don’t have to believe in God or the devil or the Flying Spaghetti Monster (a thing. look it up.).  We don’t have to believe in anything remotely metaphysical.  (free will is beautiful, isn’t it?)  It can be science that we believe in. It can be a system of values that we believe in. And yes, it can be God. Or Goddess as she is sometimes known.  🙂

In fact, there is a study that shows that the more you believe in a higher power of some sort, the less susceptible you are to depression. That makes a lot of sense to me.

I’ve spent a lot of time throughout my life thinking about what it is that I believe. I have believed many things I no longer believe. I fully expect there will be things I believe in the future that I do not believe today, and vice versa. However, I will say that I was never closer to depression and general bad-attitudeness than when I felt disconnected from my spirit, my soul. I went to an ugly place after my mom died. I don’t say that to beat up on myself. I’m just telling the truth. It was not pretty but it had to be done. I had to go there. For it was in the depths of that place that I figured out what fit and what didn’t. It was from that valley that I learned which mountain I wanted to climb. Most importantly, it was in that dark place that I learned who it was that would bring a candle to lead me out. Or sit with me until I was ready to lead myself out. Gratefully, there was more than one of these angels.

They reconnected me to my spirit and helped me to find meaning and purpose in my new reality.  If I had tried to scrap and claw my way out of there with nothing but pure “well, I guess this is my life now,” I’d still be there.  Instead, they invited me to look for something deeper…”since this is my life now, what am I going to do with it?”  Am I living in a way that lifts me and others up or am I just going through the motions?  Back then, it was the latter.

Now, I’m writing perhaps not from the mountain top, but I am on that mountain and at least half way up that mutha! It feels great when this is where I find myself.  I am grateful that today is one of those days. They’re not all like this though.

It reminds me of a story that Rumi tells in his poem, The Visions of Daquqi. (it is entirely too long to include the whole thing, but click on the poem title if you want to read it all.) He tells a story about thousands of people milling about looking for food and shade from the sun. They are unable to see a grove of fruit-bearing trees all around them. They try anything and everything to get their needs met all the while ignoring these trees. Daquqi, an onlooker in their midst, cannot fathom why they are still searching surrounded by such abundance. He begins to question if perhaps he is seeing things. Maybe he’s dreaming. Maybe he’s the crazy one. He walks up to a tree and picks a ripe fruit. He eats it. With the taste still on his tongue and the feel of fruit in his hand, he drops this bomb:

“I might as well believe.”

I might as well believe.

Wow. So simple. So elegant.

It matters not what the others are doing. It matters not what they see or don’t see. It matters only that Daquqi is being met literally with the fruits of his belief. He believes and so there is fruit. There is fruit and so he believes. It is hard to say which came first. In some situations the fruit will produce the belief, in others the belief will produce the fruit. Both paths are holy.

Sometimes I am Daquqi sitting in the middle of the orchard, blissed-out on fruit, and I have an unshakable faith! Sometimes I am the thousands milling about, wandering the desert mirage to mirage.

All of this is okay. We are not meant to stay stuck in any one place or be any one thing. Daquqi comes to see clearly through his own bewildered wandering. The more questioning we do, and the less answering we do, the more that is revealed to us. From where? By who? What for? I have no idea. I just know that the quieter I become, the more I listen, the more I comprehend.  I also sense there is so much more that we can not comprehend.  It does not frighten me. It exhilarates me. It ignites my curiosity and sets my soul ablaze with love for the journey. Pardon the dramatic language, but it’s kinda like that.  (cue Chariots of Fire music)

So how do we get to be more like Daquqi and less like the thousands? We don’t. We’re all already both of them. There is nothing that we have to do. We might as well believe but even if we don’t, then that’s going to be okay too.

Rumi explains it best with a line from another poem, “For sixty years I have been forgetful, every minute, but not for a second has this flowing toward me stopped or slowed.”

So I might as well believe.


Love and light,

Photo Credit:  Joan Egert/Dreamstime (just a note about this photo:  it’s a picture of a laughing falcon.  quite fitting, methinks.)


The Visions of Daquqi, full poem:  http://devotionlovers.blogspot.com/2010/10/rumi-visions-of-daquqi.html

Belief as an anti-depressant:  http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/belief-higher-power-may-improve-depression-outcomes

let the sea be you

comments 4
poetry / Rumi / spirituality

For some while now I keep seeing quotes about the ocean. It’s coming at me from all directions. When that happens I try to look at whatever it is, a feather, a certain animal, or a word and see what I can learn from it. So for now the ocean is my teacher.

Which ocean quality, among so many, is it that I’m meant to learn from? It is at times calm and at times stormy. It is both trapped and free, frightening and calming. It is the giver of life and the bringer of death…

Well, I’m pretty sure I’m not intended to get more in touch with my “bringer of death” side, so we’ll keep going.

I made a long list of terms I could use to describe the ocean. I might add the list to the comments section so that you can see how obsessive I am. Uh…what I meant was, so you can see what you might be able to add to the list. (yeah.  totally.)  Truly we could probably sit here all decade thinking of words to describe the ocean and only cover the tip of the iceberg. 🙂

I thought perhaps I should pick a quality that especially speaks to me and see what I can learn from that. I kept looking over the list and nothing really jumped out at me.  What slowly did dawn on me is not just that the ocean is so changeable but that it is full of opposite qualities and states.  It is all that it is and also the counterpart of all that it is.

The ocean dwells (and swells) in duality!

This is not new territory that I am exploring here. However, what if it’s even more than duality? Perhaps it’s something more akin to multiplicity. The ocean is many things, known and unknown, alike and opposite.

With the ocean so varied, why should we be any different? After all, we’re mostly salt water too.

Often we put pressure on ourselves and others to always be this and never be that. Does anyone actually know anyone this perfectly boring? Gratefully, I do not.

Before you think I’ve left Rumi out of it this time, do not despair! (because that’s what you were doing, right?)  I had a hard time choosing which Rumi words to pick. You could read almost any of his poems and there will likely be a line about the ocean in there somewhere. He often uses the sea as a metaphor for the soul or Spirit (capital S). It was clearly one of his favorite metaphors. He even has a line where he proclaims, “I know I am drunk when I start with this ocean talk!”  I love that. Own it. Most people get super-lovey when drunk but there’s always that one guy that won’t shut-up about the ocean… If you can’t think of one then chances are, it’s you.

I decided that the best choice for this whole idea of ocean diversity mirrored in a single human being is the following line:

“You are not a drop in the ocean…you are the entire ocean in a drop.”

This very quote was posted to my wall by a friend as I was working out all of this “ocean is my teacher” business. She did not have any idea I was meditating on this. I love synchronicity.

Most likely Rumi is referring to the idea that everything is connected to everything else.  Everything and everyone is made up of the same stuff.  Carl Sagan called it “star stuff.”  I am you, you are me, we are those people over there.  Yes, even those people.  (gasp!)

I chose to work this quote from a different angle while hopefully keeping true to the spirit (little s) of it.

Recently I found myself answering difficult questions among mostly strangers. Many of you know how uncomfortable and unnerving this can be no matter how well you know what you’re talking about. As I was listening to myself, it struck me that sometimes I hear what must sound like over-confidence. (arrogance?) At other times I hear humility.

My first reaction, thanks to my old friend, Ego, was to push away the arrogant label and embrace humility. I didn’t want to look at anything that might be construed as arrogance. It even smarts a little to admit it here. We have such an aversion to anything akin to arrogance in this society that most of us would rather be forced to listen to William Shatner (speaking of arrogant) shout Nickelback songs at us while we’re being water-boarded than admit that perhaps, sometimes, maybe we can be slightly arrogant. On Tuesdays. In May.

It was while thinking about my ocean teacher with its multiple-personality disorder that I had a bit of an a-ha moment. The truth is I am both of these things. I am arrogant. I am humble. Sometimes both about the very same thing.  Weird truth.

Surely I must strive to eliminate all arrogance, yes? No? Well, if I am the entire ocean in a drop, then I must be both the sea during and after a storm. I must be both the frigid north and the warm tropics. I must be shallow and deep.

And why the hell shouldn’t I be? Everyone else is. Why are we all striving so hard to eliminate these less desirable aspects of ourselves? It is particularly daft when you consider that our faults and our strengths are usually the very same things.

We’re chasing this illusion that So-n-so is always acting in only pleasant, appropriate, and honorable ways. Horsepucky! I assure you So-n-so is as deeply flawed as the rest of us. I don’t mean they’re better at hiding their flaws either. The only thing they might actually be is better at accepting them. Have you ever noticed that when another accepts their own flaws, the rest of us not only accept them too but find them quite endearing? Yeah.  Noodle on that for a minute.

So I am the entire ocean in a drop. You are too. Same ocean, same drop. At times dark, at times light. At times ugly, at times beautiful.  At times salty, at times…uh, briny?  Okay forget that last one.

I am not saying it’s time to turn our inner jackass loose on the world, but let’s be real, our jackass only ever comes out to defend our insecurities or to deal with someone else’s. Maybe if we embrace the jackass, he or she will be less likely to crash the party. We can choose when to let it out to play.  For there will be times when we need our jackass. There will. Maybe it’s not when our coworker took the last donut though or when somebody cut us off in traffic. Maybe we can save it for when we really do need the mightier roar.

Whatever we believe about nature whether it is designed or just came to be, we generally accept it as is. We do not judge the ocean good or bad for its moods and changes. We love its many faces.  Perhaps we could extend this same loving eye to ourselves. Maybe we can learn to love our shortcomings in order to be better able to love all the pieces of others. We really can leave this life of judging to find a new way to live, love, and be. We can be more like the sea, as nature intended… dynamic…vast…flawed. Magnificent.

I’ll end with one final quote from Rumi, one of my early favorites.

“Don’t wait any longer.
Dive in the ocean,
leave, and let the sea be you.”

It already is anyway.


Love and light,

Photo credit:  Shutterstock/Rich Carey

blessed bewilderment

comments 2
Rumi / spirituality / yoga

“Sell your cleverness, and buy bewilderment.”

I am not ashamed to tell you that the first time I read these words many years ago, I was completely bewildered. And I didn’t even have to pay for it!

I couldn’t comprehend why on earth anyone would want to be bewildered. What could possibly be gained other than an undesirable reputation for airheadedness? The worst thing ever! (not really) I admit that to be thought of as less than pretty darn smart was like the worst possible thing to me at the time. Boy was that airheaded.

Those who know me, and a few who really don’t, would agree that I have had a reputation for cleverness in its varied forms. I can be a nerd of the first order about some things and often still am. I sure hope they never revoke my nerd card! In fact, my pet word is “actually.” Yes, I’m that girl. When you call it a monkey, I’m the one who’s going to point out that “actually, it’s an ape.” Go ahead, throw your rotten fruit. Preferably bananas, if you don’t mind. 😉

As I’ve mentioned before I went through a period where I was unrecognizable to myself. I spent many years in a job that did not fill me up but drained me. Authenticity was less valued at that organization than “doing it So N. So’s way.”  It scares me a bit now to think how skilled I got at thinking like someone else. This is not always a bad thing to do. It can certainly help to be able to step into another’s shoes and see things from their perspective. That’s healthy. This was something else. I completely lost myself in the process.  I felt like a phony.

However, I was never not clever. Sure, I ruffled some feathers. Sure, I made mistakes. But it was not for a lack of being clever. I learned how to play the game. Too well. I sometimes chose not to play it but frankly, not often enough, in hindsight.

Yoga and meditation have served to bring me back to myself from that long, strange trip. The words of my chosen gurus have played a big role as well. I am emerging anew, but also a-old. (wait…that sounds wrong…) I’m getting back in touch with myself while developing new strengths and insights.

Recently, much to the dismay of my trivia team, I have a severe case of yoga brain some days. Yoga brain? What? Yes. Yoga brain. It’s a thing. It’s like “pregnant brain” but without the nausea. More granola, less pickles and ice cream.

There is a lot of evidence out there for how yoga and meditation affect the brain. Essentially, as you spend more and more time in present-moment awareness, aka mindfulness, the brain starts to create new pathways and trim old pathways. The brain can get a little ruthless, cutting away the branches that it feels no longer serve. It’s probably not necessarily wrong. I mean do I really need to remember the Latin word for queen? (regina) Okay, so it doesn’t get rid of everything, but you get the idea.

The other side of it is not just the trimming but also this new feeling of just not caring that it’s been trimmed. Don’t worry, yoga is not going to cause me not to remember how to drive a car or to forget anything I actually care about. However, it does do a mighty fine job of cutting loose the BS, enabling me to see what I can afford to lose.

It is beautiful.

I am less attached to my cleverness and no longer averse to bewilderment. I delight now in saying, “Ya know, I just don’t know.” Other people seem to delight in hearing this sentence come out of my mouth, if their Cheshire-like grins are any indication.

I am also particularly observant of my own attachment to pleasure and aversion to pain. It’s normal. I’m not special in this way as we all have this. It’s hard-wired into us. We’ve all heard the many lectures against attachment to pleasure but we rarely think about how aversion to pain is also a block. It was while reading Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates that I really started to explore this idea further in my own life. Where am I attached and what am I avoiding?

Some of you may remember from my last post about non-hoarding that I was getting ready to re-home one of my dogs. It’s really a lovely arc that the very same experience has led me to a deep exploration of attachment and aversion. Now that I am acutely aware of my dog’s absence, I realize that I have kept him with me for many years out of pure attachment. His new life is further testimony to this fact.  I do miss him but I know down to my toes that it’s just my attachment to his presence in my life and my aversion to his absence. I acknowledge that I wanted desperately to be a better leader for him but I didn’t want it enough.

If you’ve been here before you will remember that my quest is to settle into my authentic self, not to impose more “shoulds” on myself or anyone else for that matter. “Shoulda, woulda, coulda.”  Shouldn’t. Wouldn’t. Couldn’t. And that’s okay.

Truthfully, in the days before he left I had many second thoughts. Am I doing the right thing? Should I just try harder? Am I being selfish? What would Lassie do? (I figured since this didn’t involve Timmy or a well, she might not have any expertise in this area so I let that one go.)

Where the other questions were concerned, I stopped myself each time and remembered that I was just experiencing aversion to pain. I wanted to turn around and run from it. I wanted to just pull my dog close and swear that I would keep him until the end of time no matter how miserable we both might be! After all, adopting a pet is not anything I go into lightly.

It was while grappling with this dilemma that a friend unwittingly said the perfect thing: “make great commitments *and* be open to change.”  *And*  That’s powerful stuff. One small word and the whole tone changes. Not “but”… And. We really can dwell in duality without compromising our sense of self. I can be both someone who commits *and* someone who can change her mind.

We can make the best of plans. We can be sure of so many things. We can have it all together and follow the map. We can heed the omens. We can keep our promises. But maybe there is a sublime quality to change… Maybe there is a lovely madness in not knowing what comes next or why or from where.

I can honestly say that I do not suffer more for not knowing. I have suffered far more in the trying to know. I still occasionally try to control outcomes without intentionally doing so. It is rarely my intention but rather my lack of intention that gets me into trouble. When I catch myself doing this, I try to take a step back and assess “am I being attached here or am I trying to swerve away from pain?” Once I know what my motivation is I can get clearer on how to let go.

I’m not advocating that we all become blathering idiots. There’s already plenty of that going on!  Perhaps we do have a little room for the occasional madness though. I can only speak for myself but the glimpse that I’ve been provided thus far leads me to believe that genius and madness are closer than we think. Furthermore, when the two link arms there’s a certain quality of godliness that joins the dance.

If this resonates with you and you find yourself exhausted from all the striving and trying, then perhaps you too can explore the advice of our friend from long ago, Rumi.

Sell your cleverness, and buy bewilderment. Hell, give it away.


Love and light,

Photo Credit:  Michael Ninger/ShutterStock

Additional Links:

Scientific American:  How Yoga Changes the Brain

release… expand… grow…

comments 3
Rumi / spirituality / yamas / yoga
Embed from Getty Images

“It’s good to leave each day behind,
like flowing water, free of sadness.
Yesterday is gone and its tale told.
Today, new seeds are growing.”

This month’s “work” has been releasing and letting go, illustrated so beautifully by the above quatrain from Rumi, our favorite genius.  Well, my favorite anyway.

As mentioned before, I’m currently undergoing a yoga teacher training program. Those of you who are familiar with yoga know that it is a lot more than just stretching and being all bendy-bendy.

We’ve been working on “non-hoarding” or aparigrahaNo, it’s not about how not to become an unintended reality TV star. Yes, literal hoarding would certainly apply but there are many ways to interpret aparigraha: letting go, non-greed, non-grasping, non-attachment, simplicity, taking only what you need, and so on.  For our purposes here today, we’ll start simple with your basic not-quite-diagnosable hoarding.  This is an important distinction.  For my ego.  🙂

I noticed all the ridiculous things that I keep around “just in case.” I have a large box devoted to Halloween costumes. My friends know to come to me if they need a costume. (crap. I have a reputation!) Feather boa? I got you covered. Cowgirl hat? Yup. Fairy wings, platform heels, black capes, crushed velvet dresses in case Stevie Nicks drops by for a spell. (get it…? if you’re not from the South, you actually might not get it.)

Too. Much. Stuff. What on earth for?! Worst case scenario, I have to buy these things again if I really need them. (not terribly likely)

That part of letting go was not so hard. The next phase cut a little deeper.

I’ve lost a lot of loved ones, some too soon. Most of the adults from my childhood are gone, including my mother. In the absence of these people I assigned deeper and deeper importance to their belongings or things they had given to me. All normal, but where the loss of my mother was concerned I took it too far. I built an unintentional shrine to the past. I developed an emotional attachment to everything that was hers or that she had given me or that she looked at once on a Tuesday in 1989. Out of control.

Furthermore, it was a deep dishonoring of this woman. She could not stand to keep things around that were no longer of any use. She got rid of things. Doesn’t fit? Get rid of it. Doesn’t work? Get rid of it. Doesn’t speak to your soul? Get rid of it! I have mostly been the opposite. I remember being 5 years old when my mother disposed of a worn out pair of my socks. I was despondent. Tears, pulling of hair, wringing of clothes, wailing. There was a look of utter confusion (or was it disgust?) on her face as though she was beholding me for the first time. “Whose child is this and what is this all about?”

Clearly, our souls were well matched. Retain and release.

I have long retained. But I never saw myself as a hoarder. Until now.  So many ways to hoard…so little space…

These people I love are not in belongings. They’re not in things at all or even places. They exist where they can never be taken from me: my heart, my soul. I hear them when I speak, when I laugh, when I pray, when I meditate, when I dream.

I can now honor my mother in a way that she could get behind. Each time I throw something away or put it in the donate pile I can almost feel her glee. It even becomes my glee. I delight in finding something else to banish from my kingdom!

It also enabled me to appreciate more the items that really do have meaning. Every day I wear the simple, elegant necklace that my mom often wore. I remember playing with it as a child while she held me in her arms.  I was wearing it as I held her in mine the moment she left this world. Her spirit is in this item. But so is mine. I will never willingly part with this.

Then came the third (final?…?) phase: relinquishing something I still love but it no longer fits my life. The last cut is the deepest. Apologies to Rod Stewart, but you were wrong.  I am really dating myself with these 70s rockstar references.

I love my dog, Romeo. I’ve had him for six years.  He’s a very sweet dog.  He needs a lot more from life than I can give him at this time.

It is not a lack of love. We are just not a good or natural fit. We really never were. It is completely my fault for not having admitted it sooner. So…I finally sent it out into the cosmos (and onto Facebook) that I was ready to give him a better life, with someone else. There were many tears and much guilt and lots of doubt. All me. Romeo remained his usual aloof self.

The Universe responded quickly with a resounding “Yes! We’ve been waiting for this!” Shortly thereafter I had two great options for him. The family I went with are good friends who frequently go hiking, camping, snowshoeing, you name it. Romeo loves snow!  They already love my dog and he loves them, especially their son. He will be so much happier and I’ll still get to see him. Proof that when we’re real, things have a way of working out for the best. The Universe supports our authentic choices.

Not the least of all, I can now be free of the guilt for not being who he needs me to be, who he deserves.

Letting go is not for the faint of heart. It hurts. However, once you get through the tough part, the breath comes easier. I’m certainly not “cured” but I can already feel new energy surging into my life. Every day my home feels less like a museum. I am more free, physically and spiritually.

Through release we can expand in all the right ways. Expand our breath. Expand our love. Expand our freedom. Expand our soul.

Yesterday is gone. Its tale has been told. I have created the space for new seeds to grow.


Love and light,


Three Trees Yoga Teacher Training Program

Further reading on Aparigraha from Centered Yoga

the sweet balance of in between

comments 2
poetry / Rumi / spirituality

I’ve been on this spiritual path, whatever that is, for some time now and it has largely been a consistently gradual upward and forward movement. Within the past year I had the pleasure of experiencing quite a burst of spiritual energy and connectedness. I can’t say exactly what accounts for it. I do have a few ideas but that’s another topic for another day.

After this intense period of increasing spiritual awareness, I began to feel a disconnect of sorts a few months ago. Again, not entirely sure why but I also have a few ideas about that. But then, I have a few ideas about a lot of things. Or a lot of ideas about a few things. Whatever, you get the point. I’ve got a lot of mind chatter!

The truth is, I found this disconnect profoundly disturbing. I did not like it one bit. It was a little like the color draining from my world, but not quite so dramatic. Maybe more like the color draining from my favorite pair of shoes. Tragic but not a tragedy.

It just felt like something was missing. Yet, I knew it was there, intellectually speaking, which really one should never do where Spirit is concerned. But I digress.

At no point did I question my connectedness. I knew that no matter what we do, we are always worthy and always connected. To Spirit. To each other. To the universe. To ourselves. To the mosquito we just swatted. (chew on that! not really. mosquitoes are gross.)

However, I did not feel connected. I felt completely alone some days, even in rooms full of people. I would say the words, speaking of connectedness as though I was actively experiencing it at the time. It was just words. It was me dancing the steps but completely without any heart. I don’t dance without heart! It was a foreign feeling. Prior to experiencing that period of higher sensitivity, I didn’t know there was a whole other level to this thing. This time I knew exactly what I was missing and its disappearance took the wind right out of my sails. (Is anyone keeping track of all these metaphors?)

I was deflated. (and another one!) Everything became harder. I found meditating almost as difficult as when I first attempted it many years ago. I continued to “act as if” but it didn’t feel authentic.

Then I ran across the Rumi poem, “Birdwings”:

“Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.”

It took my breath away. This poem served to show that I was too attached to the flow and was fighting the ebb of life. The tide cannot be locked in a high state any more than it can be locked in a low state. But low tide sure does stink, literally and figuratively! So it’s no great mystery why we do not prefer it. Why we turn away.

After considering the sweet balance that can be found “in between”, I began to see other quotes and images that served to remind me of this ever more. I even started to apply what I know about birds.

I swear this really is not a blog about birds, but it’s starting to look that way…

As we all know, it is the downward thrust of the wings, coupled with a pushing down of the legs that lifts the bird to fly.

Our soaring will happen, but we must push down to lift up. Pushing down feels like work. Because it is. We think of expanded wings as the position of power, but really that is a position of rest and trust. The real power is in the push. Ground then soar.

Even mid-flight birds will push down on air currents…so here is the ultimate trick: staying grounded while soaring! If that’s too much for now, appreciating the two as separate moments and separate momentums is enough. Give the push all that you have and then rest in the soaring. Savor each action or inaction for what it is. Soon enough you will have the other again.

I cannot say that everything has completely turned around for me. Rather I would say that it is still shifting but it is shifting. I am finding a returning ease in meditation and other such things. I find I am no longer “acting as if” but am genuinely lighthearted. Slowly but most assuredly, here’s the joyful face I’ve been wanting to see.


Love and Light,

Links and Credits:

Photo credit
Steve Oehlenschlager/ShutterStock

“Birdwings” from The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barkes with John Moyne

the reason for a falcon

comments 5
poetry / Rumi / spirituality

Yes, there is a reason… I’ll get to that soon enough.

I thought it might be worthwhile to explain the purpose of this blog since this is the first post after all. Please bear with me as I’ve got much ground to cover so this launch is gonna go a bit long.

Presumably like some of you, I’m obsessed with the poetry of Rumi. Utterly, shamelessly obsessed. At any given moment I can relate almost anything to either a Rumi quote or an episode of Frasier. It’s a toss-up. But, this is not about Frasier. (Mental note: explore idea of blog about the meaning of life as seen thru Frasier episodes…)

Back to Rumi!

For those of you who do not know, Rumi was a Sufi mystic who wrote poetry in 13th century Persia. So…I didn’t know him.

I first encountered Rumi years ago when I was looking for the perfect birthday gift for a friend. He was having a crisis of faith even though I’m not sure he was completely aware that it had a name at the time. I stumbled across this gem and thought of him:

“I tried to find Him on the Christian Cross, but He was not there.
I went to the Temple of the Hindus and to the old pagodas but could not find a trace of Him anywhere.
I went to the Kaaba in Mecca, but He was not there either.
I questioned the scholars and philosophers but He was beyond their understanding.
I then looked into my heart and it was there that He dwelled that I saw Him…”

I would run across another poem or quote here or there, generally in random ways and places. It felt like he was reaching across the years to me.

On a trip to Seattle in 2009, I felt compelled to finally buy a book of his poetry. It was The Essential Rumi, translated by Colman Barks with John Moyne. I devoured every page.

I would like to paint a picture for you that it was always in a serene setting by a babbling brook under a tree with birds chirping overhead or even a comfy chair by a fire with a cup of hot tea. But that would all be bullshit.  It was pretty much always sitting on the toilet. I like to think that Rumi would laugh at that and say it was the perfect place.

As I said, I devoured the book. My head was spinning. Epiphanies abounded. I was greeted every day by new insights and old truths.

There was also a lot of “what the hell does that mean?!” “Go home, Rumi, you’re drunk!” I’m not being irreverant. He would admit as much.

Some phrases would catch and lodge so beautifully in my mind yet I was frequently undeniably stumped. Still I wouldn’t be able to forget the line. Or the imagery it invoked. Or how it made me feel. The latter was an unshakable, usually joyous, feeling with no explanation. It would leave me haunted.

One such phrase really stands out. It’s the closing lines from his poem The Seed Market:

“…a perfect falcon,
for no reason,
has landed on your shoulder
and become yours.”

I’m no scholar and my approach is not a scholarly one. I leave that to the experts. I believe that all things say what they are meant to say at the perfect time to whom they are meant to say them. Our interpretation can never be wrong for us. But what was my interpretation exactly? I wasn’t sure.

For years (years!) I read and re-read this poem sighing long breaths, my eyes locked on those last lines. A perfect falcon. On my shoulder. Become mine. I knew I loved it. The image evoked something in me. Something unnamable and unknowable at the time, maybe for always. I just couldn’t pin it down.

For a long time I thought it must be that it included a falcon. Let me just nerd-out on birds here for minute… I love raptors. “What are raptors?” you say? Well,…they are the “sexies” of the bird world, the eagles, the hawks, the owls and yes, the falcons. Raptors are now considerd to be the modern day descendents of some dinosaurs. So, the next time you see a raptor, salute! Because you just saw a T-Rex my friend. Well, maybe not exactly that but as close as any of us will ever get.

Back to the poem.

It evoked such a breathtaking, if somewhat painful image to think of a falcon perched on my shoulder. (talons are sharp!) But, this falcon that has supposedly become mine kept its mysery to itself.

Why a falcon? What makes it perfect? Why is it on my shoulder of all places? After all, that’s not even traditional falconry. How and why exactly has it become mine? What did I do to deserve that?

It wasn’t until I decided to do a 21-day yoga challenge at Source Yoga (mad props to Melissa Paz!) that these three lines would again occupy space in my mind. One day in yoga class something happened. I wasn’t thinking of the poem or the image at all. It was simply a pure, unadulterated “aha” moment when the Universe lifted the veil for a brief moment.

Sitting on my yoga mat, something bubbled up through the cosmos and landed in my brain…

For those of you who have experienced this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. All of this consistent yoga unlocked something and gave me access.

The meaning of it all landed…

For. No. Reason.

Just like it says. (duh)

All this time the truth was staring me in the face. The mystery that solves itself.

For no reason.

It’s not the falcon, even though it has come to symbolize so much for me. It wasn’t about my shoulder. It wasn’t the “perfect” state of the falcon. It wasn’t even that it had become mine because it is yours too. It was only and unalterably all for no reason.  I don’t need to do or be anything or anyone to make it true. It could have just as easly been a scruffy chickadee that landed on my nose. Admittedly a more humorous image than the falcon but you get the point.

The falcon is perfect because it is perfect. It landed on my shoulder because it landed on my shoulder. It became mine because it became mine. All for no reason.

The falcon is perfect. The falcon is us.

Your tomorrows start today. Believe in yourself as you are now. You don’t have anything you have to do or to earn first. You don’t need to lose weight. You don’t need to work more or harder or smarter. You don’t need to move past your traumas. Accept yourself and your traumas will move out of the way. And you will finally let them too.

You don’t need approval or permission or guidance.

You don’t have to fix anything or find love. Love will find you.

You are the perfect falcon on your own shoulder. Today. Now. Always.

Land, my friend.
Settle. Rest.
Become your own.

For no reason.  Namaste.

And I didn’t forget! I promised to get to the purpose of the blog as whole and so I shall.

I intend to use this forum to explore the evolution of my own soul through the poetry of Rumi. If you like what you read in this post and it resonates with you then please come back for musings on more Rumi poems and who knows?! Maybe occasionally I’ll get a little crazy and switch it up with a different mad genius…perhaps a little Hafiz or a little Rilke. Stay tuned!

Love and light to you all.

photo credit: Koshyk via photopin cc


Rumi Wiki:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumi

“The Essential Rumi”:  http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Rumi/dp/0965064875/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425156981&sr=1-3&keywords=the+essential+rumi

“The Seed Market” full poem:  http://www.seasons-of-peace.net/rumi/seed.htm

Source Yoga Studio:  http://sourceyogaonline.com/