by Michelle Eastman
May the information that shapes our ever evolving practice integrate into every aspect of our waking life
by Michelle Eastman
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-
…recesses of love and fear
…..joy 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
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.
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
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
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.
By Mary Oliver
When the owl
on her plush and soundless wings
from the black waves
of the oak leaves,
out of the needles
of the pines
that are moaning,
that are tossing,
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-
is the most terrible cup
I will ever enter.
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
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.
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.
Photographs by Beth Maciorowski’s Photography
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.
Karuna is a scent-free, toxic-free environment.