Archive for the ‘Poems’ Category

Poetry from The Shiatsu Training

Sunday, March 13th, 2016
I feel lucky.  I feel grateful.  I feel.
I struggle with balance.  I struggle with weight. I struggle.
I love my friends. I love my family. I love.
I worry about gaining. I worry about losing. I worry.
I experience joy. I experience grief. I experience.
I encounter fear. I encounter anger. I encounter.
I sense peace. I sense energy. I sense.
I find balance. I lose balance. I rebalance. I continue.


I continue to feel lucky and grateful because I have freedom. Freedom to feel. Freedom to struggle. Freedom to love.
Freedom to worry. Freedom to experience. Freedom to encounter. Freedom to sense. Freedom to find. Freedom to lose.

by Michelle Eastman



Saturday, February 15th, 2014
a poem by erin feldman
Bob Marley sang, “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery/none but ourselves
can free our minds”. This here is another song of freedom:
we’re gathering breaths.
we all lookin’ for redemption:
won’t you help me?
it’s an endless
[now]. [now.] [now.]
there you go. [now.]
train your heart [now] to feel [now] in it’s natural [now] habitat [now]
a different [now] than the one before [now]
now. now.
teach your mind [now] to chant [now] the mantra [now] of breath [now]
breathe [now] breathe [now]
surrender [now]
The anxious doer [now] chief denizen [now] of the mind [now]
gazes out [now] of these eyes [now] and sees [now]
obstacles [now] threats [now] side trails [now] veils [now]
ignorance is [now] confusing the self [now]
with the cargo [now] in your mind [now]
surrender [now]
the only suffering [now] we can do anything [now] about [now]
is the suffering [now] which has yet to come [now]
be [now] the seer [now] be [now] the seer [now]
breathe [now] breathe [now] breathe [now] breathe [now] breathe [now]
feel the breath [now] in your nose [now] emancipation [now] in your heart [now]
be the love [now] you ask for [now] breathe [now] breathe [now]
between each [now] hear the birds [now] the cars [now] the beats [now] of your heart [now]
the trail [now] of your thoughts [now]
the blocks [now] you have to [now] but don’t want [now] to fight [now]
and later [now] a cold rain [now] a hot meal [now] Ommmmm
surrender [now]

erin feldman is a recent graduate from Karuna’s 200 Hour Teacher Training Program. She wrote this poem for the training commencement, it was modeled on Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie’s “Bean Meditation”

Svadhyaya and Motherhood

Friday, September 20th, 2013

On svadhyaya* and motherhood…

I will wear this hood – gratefully –
for a lifetime
…..what i was i still am yet now, somehow, more
born of My womb you were a Tiny Beloved;
…..spark of a deep, abiding, infinite and imperfect Love
……..but Ours you are not
as Gibran eloquently observes
you were (indeed) born of “life’s longing for Itself”
And in your pure reflection, when I choose to witness,
…..i grow and delve into my Self-
………..sometimes darker
recesses of love and fear
… and anger.


I have only begun to touch Source.


You challenge me, you insist – like any good Guru-
……..that i Show Up
…..with complete presence
and find a comfortable seat for the ride
…..for when I don’t (and I often won’t)
you have perfected your effective methods
to call my attention and strengthen my efforts


…….and I will falter
and i will ask your forgiveness,
……….again… and again…
hopeful that the next time not the same missed mark,
…..for perhaps I have learned this time
…..and i will see my own wounds
and i will be given the chance,
…..over and over again
to apply the salve of divine mercy and compassion
…….to my own wounded heart
so that i do not repeat and inflict those deep cuts
…….with anger
……….with words
………….with touch
that have become my sam(scar)as and my (his)stories
for you were born with this One Precious Human Life
with Suffering all your Own,


…..may i ease your load
……..may i add to your joy
…………and may i see the world through your wonder.


* Sutra 2.1

Tapah svadhyayesvara pranidhanani kriya yogah

Accepting pain as help for purification, study of spiritual books, and surrender to the Supreme Being constitute Yoga in practice.

Loren Magruder, 500hr Karuna Advanced Teacher Training Graduate, Mother

I React..

Friday, August 9th, 2013
By Kathi Burke
Here I Am
Alone in the World
An Enigma of Thoughts, Feelings, Elations, Depressions,
Promises, Cravings, Judgments, Reactions.
I Grow, I Strain, I Direct my own Fate, I Love,
I Study, I Learn, I Work, I React…
I Seek…Something Big, Something Sure, Something Connected,
Something Wise, Something Great, Something Beautiful,
Something Changeless, Something Pure, Something Aware,
Something Reaction-less.
I Attend Class… I fear, I love, I react, I flee, I return, I strive, I
hurt, I love, I need, I crave, I react. I learn to return, to practice,
to avoid judgment, to honor the wisdom which emerges at times,
within, or without, or sometimes doesn’t. I react.
One day, a new consciousness arrives, however briefly; she
throbs with light and stillness in silence. This consciousness of
the One, my soul body, causes my yoga body to bleed tears of joy
and awe. I react.
I return to class…chasing the illusory she-flame of light and
beauty and love. I fear, I love, I react, I flea, I strive, I hurt, I love,
I need, I crave, I react, even though I don’t want to.
I continue, all the while hoping that the grip of wanting will relax,
knowing that my effort is in the being, not in the gripping, in full
knowledge that in faithfully restraining attachments to results,
my soul body is certain to return in all her glory, as effort relaxes
into the potential that brings effortlessness and reveals the glory
of HER acceptance of the NOW.

Kathi Burke is a current student in Karuna’s 200hr Teacher Training Program

Like Clouds Passing

Monday, June 10th, 2013

A peaceful mind stems from understanding and experiencing who you are, and who you are not. For me developing this understanding is what life is.

By Willie Crosby

Like clouds passing by a deep blue sky

Or sticks floating down a springtime stream

My life drifts by as if a dream.

An active role or just an observer

Who am I?

Past the mind I must look further

Not body or mind contains my soul

Death of the ego the only toll

On the road to truth.

Come with me

We can discover what it means to be free

Of pain and pleasure and worry and want

Excepting the moment and seeing your not

The silly little person your mind believes

But the vast unknown buried beneath the leaves

WIllie Crosby is a local farmer, current participant in Karuna’s 200hr Teacher Training, and a lovely guy to set up your mat next to.

To This May

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

To This May

They know so much more now about
the heart we are told but the world
still seems to come one at a time
one day one year one season and here
it is spring once more with its birds
nesting in the holes in the walls
its morning finding the first time
its light pretending not to move
always beginning as it goes

W.S. Merwin

Dark Night of the Soul

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Dark Night of the Soul
St. John of the Cross

Once in the dark of night,
Inflamed with love and wanting, I arose
(O coming of delight!)
And went, as no one knows,
When all my house lay long in deep repose

All in the dark went right,
Down secret steps, disguised in other clothes,
(O coming of delight!)
In dark when no one knows,
When all my house lay long in deep repose.

And in the luck of night
In secret places where no other spied
I went without my sight
Without a light to guide
Except the heart that lit me from inside.

It guided me and shone
Surer than noonday sunlight over me,
And lead me to the one
Whom only I could see
Deep in a place where only we could be.

O guiding dark of night!
O dark of night more darling than the dawn!
O night that can unite
A lover and loved one,
Lover and loved one moved in unison.

And on my flowering breast
Which I had kept for him and him alone
He slept as I caressed
And loved him for my own,
Breathing an air from redolent cedars blown.

And from the castle wall
The wind came down to winnow through his hair
Bidding his fingers fall,
Searing my throat with air
And all my senses were suspended there.

I stayed there to forget.
There on my lover, face to face, I lay.
All ended, and I let
My cares all fall away
Forgotten in the lilies on that day.


Friday, December 7th, 2012
This picture was taken by Eileen Muir the other day. Owls have been turning up a lot in her life lately. There is something to be said of the symbolism of different animals. When we get to spend time with them in the wild we often feel blessed.
The experience of communing with a wild animal is often granted to us when we find stillness and silence in the woods. In the context of the practice of Yoga, these chance communions can fill us with sattva and allow us glimpses of purusha. Achieving this stillness often requires an awareness of self. In this sense these moments are opportunities for svadhyaya, or study of the self, a niyama from the second limb of Yoga


By Mary Oliver

When the owl

on her plush and soundless wings


from the black waves

of the oak leaves,

or floats

out of the needles

of the pines

that are moaning,

that are tossing,

I think:

o she is beautiful

with her eyes

like burning moons,

with her feet

like twisted braids

of old gold

flexing and curling-

and I am glad to see her-

some wild loyalty has me

to the root of the heart-

even when she ruffles down

into the feild

and she jabs like a mad thing

and it’s hopeless,

it’s also wonderful,

so I thank whatever made her-

this beast of a bird

with her thick breast

and her shimmering wings-

whose nest, in the dark trees,

is trimmed with screams and bones-

whose beak

is the most terrible cup

I will ever enter.


Owls have held powerful symbolism for many indigenous cultures. The book Animal Speak by Ted Andrews offers this survey on different cultural perspectives of the owl’s significance:

Owls: the mystery of magic, omes, silent wisdom and vision in the night

Symbol of feminine, moon, night- ties to fertility and seduction
worshiped as idol and hated as reincarnation of the devil
Great healing powers- bird of prophecy and wisdom
Greeks- associated w athena- higher wisdom “gaurdian of the acropolis”
Gnostics- associated w lillith- first wife of adam who refused to be submissive
Pawnee- protection
Ojibwa- evil and death
Pueblo- skeleton man- god of death/also fertility
symbolically associated with clairvoyance, astral projection, magic
Ancient rome- beleifs that owls extract secrets- a symbol of the darkness within
***One who works with owl medicine will be able to see and hear what others try to hide. you will hear what is not being said, and you will see what is hidden or in the shadows…this can make others uncomfortable because they will not be able to deceive you about their motives or actions. Owl people have a unique ability to see into the darkness of others souls and life. This is very scary to most people.***
Owls fly silently- those with owl totems should practice silence- keep silent and go about your buisness- this will bring you the greatest success.

Mary Oliver: How I Go to the Woods

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

How I Go to the Woods
by Mary Oliver

Ordinarily I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible, I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.

Photographs by Beth Maciorowski’s Photography


Monday, October 1st, 2012


Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart, Without knowing it, from various
ills- A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.

Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn’t always understand.

–Czeslaw Milosz