Aubade

Where am I?
This looks like bed
And smells like a beginning.
Another zesty day ahead
On which my hopes are pinning;

May the rhythm of the day
Run not too slow or rapid,
And may the breakfast on my tray
Taste not too strong or vapid;

And may I feel a light release
From darkness and constriction
And may my brow not show a crease;
My tongue not speak with friction.

If the climate’s not the best;
Windy, cold and pouring,
May I not join the moaning rest
(such talk is always boring)

And may my hands not grope for things
–  May my head recall
The joy that simple graces bring,
The wonder in the small.

Now be the day a little wave,
Or a swollen billow;
May I thank it what it gave
When I re-meet this pillow.

May to-day be as above
– though should it disagree,
At least I have the one I love
Breathing next to me.

Meditation Friday – Technology

Technology: handle with care

My main laptop takes an average of four minutes. Not to load-up/boot upon starting (I wish). No no, just to load-up anything – even an operation as standard as a right click. Meanwhile, my other laptop is not switching on at all. It’s currently in the guardianship of a Lebanese self-proclaimed tech-whizzo who thinks he can bring it back to life. Despite battling with it for a couple of months, it hasn’t made a single, hopeful wheeze. He’s still not ready to admit defeat and hand it back to me. Mohamed possesses perseverance in unwise levels.  

At some point during one of many excruciatingly long waits for a page to respond, I came to the conclusion that technology is participating in a cruel plot to make me lose my handle. And it’s succeeding.

I used to scoff at people who’d spend their better buck on the latest gadget. You know the kind; those who queue at the break of dawn on a Sunday in January for the new ‘i’ whatever. But now…NOW I understand. Now that I’ve seen how positively life-damaging and evil bad technology can be, I totally one hundred percent get it.

This is all a bit out of place for a Meditation Friday, but you must realise, dear reader, that I am writing from a not-so-peachy place. One day, I will read this back from a peachy place and say to myself: “Drama queen! Nothing is plotting against you! Technology just doesn’t last forever! Buy a new laptop you skobbydoddle and shut up!!”

And so I’ll shut up.

Sister

I thought I knew you, sister
agent of lost touch
though we talk often
we don’t say as much;

a shard of a story
a bullet of news
mystery women
we give what we choose.

The while I grow planted
you tend to wander
with me, the rain
with you, the thunder.

Some nights, a memory
pierces my sleep:
you making me
a promise to keep.

Give me a reason
pass me a line
how did we break
this bridge over time?

Meditation Friday – Grace

Are we sailing gracefully?

I like metaphors. Especially ones that sound beautiful, or ones that hit me in the chest. If they sound beautiful and hit me in the chest, all the better; that’s how I know they reveal a good bit of wisdom. There are many, but one that I particularly lean towards is that of the sailor. In other words, that we are all sailors, navigating ourselves through the sea of life.

I love it. In essence, it conveys that we are in control of how we live (our sails), but not how life treats us (the sea). As sailors, we can (and should) have faith and hope that the sea will not give us anything that we cannot handle, but we should not expect it to be synchronised with our hopes. Because what all sailors learn at one point or another is that the sea can be tumultuous.

Do you know someone who is adept at handling tumults? They are probably sailing with a very important quality: grace. When I experience someone who remains poised, restrained and dignified despite the chaos that swirls around them, a sense of harmony and comfort takes root in me. And from that, I know this is how I want to set my sails, too.

“The breeze of grace is always blowing; set your sails to catch that breeze.”

~ Ramakrishna

Her Name is Oprah

Honey, I don’t climb
I rise

Crown a-fixed towards the skies

Darlin, I don’t catch
I seize

Never find me on my knees

Sugar, I don’t wish
I own

Made myself a cushy throne

Sweetie, I ain’t full
I’m overflowin

Every hour, metres I’m growin

Those who don’t suppose I’m credible
Later learn I’m unforgettable

Baby

I am more than this flash talk

Just stick around and watch me walk.

Meditation Friday

The stories we tell ourselves

We need to talk about Scrappity.
Scrappity is a one-eared stray. A steel-grey cat with bright green eyes. He has two tales (not tails, tales). He can’t keep them both – they’re not compatible with each other. So he must decide which one to believe. Can you help him choose?

Tale 1: I’m angry and confused. My family has rejected me. Clearly, I’m not worthy – an ugly, waste of space, good-for-nothing mouser. My misshapen head is hideous, not to mention my auditory disfiguration – people point and stare in horror. I’m GROTESQUE. No wonder I’m abandoned. I don’t deserve to be happy. Ever. Whatever, I’m just going to loiter around this desperate neighbourhood until someone tells me to shove off.

Tale 2: I’m freeee! I can write my own rules. I was loved by my family at one point, but their own story led them elsewhere. Anyway, that wasn’t about me, and I forgive them now. You know what? I could start my own family if I wanted! I can design any life I desire. I am FIERCE. My uniqueness literally makes people stop and smile. What would this neighbourhood do without me? I’m like their hero! I have peace in my heart. And I’m happy to be alive.

If Scrappity wants to live as an expression of his truest, highest self, which tale do you think he should choose? …

… The stories we tell ourselves have magical Jedi powers. They are quite literally how we make meaning out of the ocean of chaos we call life. What’s your narrative? Notice it. Choose it. Say it. Repeat it.

January

We wake when it’s dark
we wait for the mark
of the fleeting light
to come.

We know it won’t stay
so we dally and play
till the day
runs away
with the sun.

Meditation Friday – Balance

Balance: The Bigger Picture

I came across an old diary the other day. One which I’d kept a few years ago to write lists of aspirations and pages of ponderings. Reading back, I’m struck by how often I refer to the concept of ‘balance’. The wish to lead a balanced life, the components, the foundations (even the origins!) of balance were clearly on my mind a lot. I sensed the person writing was more imbalanced than in balance.

I start one entry with a lengthy list of actions relating to various areas of life (physical, financial, career, environmental, emotional, social, community, creative) and then, as if realising the overwhelming task I’d just unchecked, I end with the sentence: “In fact, no, what I really want is just to find balance.”

No one can say that’s not a worthy goal, but I was naïve in my pursuit. I just wanted to get there, wherever that was. I targeted some kind of grand, overall sense of balance (a nebulous concept, if there ever was one), thinking that, once attained, would stay with me permanently. I guess I didn’t want to acknowledge that those various areas of life are the very roots of balance. That maintaining them is a continuous effort. That when roots are looked after, watered, fed, given space to be and grow, a plant will transform into it’s true nature.   

I always find something to smile about when I look back. This time, I smile because I now see the bigger picture. I’ve learnt that finding the balance that’s right for ME is a matter of choosing the right behaviour day-to-day. It’s a matter of saying yes to some things and no to others — beckoning heart and head into these decisions. It’s not always easy, but it’s worthy.

New Year’s Morning

Smudged colours.
Crisp air.
Inhaling.
Maybe awake?

Chipped silences
downstairs,
too delicate
to break.

Knees bent
towards a sky
hidden by
the ceiling.

Hard to say.
Hard to write.
What it is
I’m feeling.