What Is Woven

I’ve built a frame and called it God.

I hammered nails into planks borrowed

from cleverer souls than I,

bored holes with years of looking closely,

and twisted joists within.

I’ve strung the contraption tight as a harp,

one string for every breath taken in silence,

in time set apart to honour That.

The threads I’m handed hold clashing colours,

and I’m not told the pattern in advance,

but I’ve chosen the Beloved as a loom

for my task, and in invisible structure

I allow this work to take shape,

this net to catch my despair, or hopelessness,

and spin something beautiful out of it.

From the Healers

I am a bucket in the well,

holding links of twisted hemp

between me and the source,

bathed in darkness, the fall too far –

I know you’re frightened.

You don’t know you’re held

because the grip is so gentle.

Till you can trust the lengths of rope

you’re wrapped in so safely,

the rigging of this ship,

let me fall into black for you.

Let me strengthen my arms

so I can pull myself back

to the surface,

filled with all you need.

More than enough to share.

Until you learn the way,

may I fetch all I can carry,

so we can begin to quench our thirst.

In the Depths of Despair

In the depths of despair,

as the dagger twists,

I pause to say thank you.

Thank you because a look into another’s eyes

now reveals the moment the fire seared their skin,

and there is no separation between us.

Thank you because each new familiar hurt

feels less like my pain

and more like the pain that unites,

that sends us running to the arms of strangers

who are our mothers.

Thank you because always, inevitably,

the ice melts, the buds of spring return,

and the soil of my being is made

soft and fertile from the harsh cold months.

To the Love I Haven’t Met

My darling,

you deserve to bloom without the clouds

of my shapeless needs looming over you.

You deserve to feel proud

of every choice you made

to become the person you are now.

You deserve to love and be loved

as much as you are able

in this split-second wrenching stay.

And I’m sorry for all the ways

my empty spaces have made that difficult.

I, too, deserve to unfurl

without becoming lost in greed

for things not meant to be mine,

or hiding from who

I was created to be.

I deserve to spread the light

this massive heart is capable of

over the whole world,

not chain it in bed

with a desperate green monster,

convinced his are the only eyes

in which connection lives.

I deserve to feel whole,

to know jealousy is an admiration

for who I am one day meant to be.

Or at worst, a fear that only

in being other than myself

could I be enough.

The path to healing is steep

and the cobblestones make it tricky

to walk alone.

Will you hold and be held

as we forgive ourselves and rebuild?

Will you walk beside me through this life?

as we teach each other

what love requires

and the bliss of being held.

The Purpose of my Spiritual Life

coexist

I’ve been fascinated with all forms of spirituality since I was fourteen, which is helpful when I don’t really feel like taking the time to meditate or get out of bed and pray first thing in the morning. Something keeps me coming back, even when I try to skip for a few days. It has been the true, constant love of my life for ten years, and I seem only to get more curious about all the ways people connect with the Divine as time goes by.

But when I’m surrounded by people who don’t feel the way I do about this quest for self-growth and radical surrender, when people look at me like I’m crazy or just laugh at my efforts, I like to take a moment to reflect on exactly why I’m doing all this. Why all the study? Why the exposure to so many teachings? Why all the meditations and prayers and affirmations? Why the Pinterest board with almost 2000 quotes from spiritual teachers?

Well, first, it’s my passion. I do it because I don’t know how not to do it. Because I feel compelled to do it. It’s the thread that has run through the last decade of my life.

Second, I want to be the best person I can be in this life. I want to learn how to minimize my flaws and enhance my virtues so I can do as little harm as possible, and perhaps even put some light into the world. Spirituality is the method I’ve chosen to hone myself and become a kinder, more considerate and wise human being. And it works for me. I can see every day where my practice helps me to admit where I’m wrong in an argument, or be more present when I’m just hanging out with my brothers, or watch my inner speech when I’m dwelling in guilt or self-pity. I find it so much easier to relate to all kinds of people and situations. I’ve grown so much from the practices I’ve undertaken.

Third, it makes me happy. Praying helps me clarify exactly what I want and need or focus good intentions. Reading about so many teachers from so many traditions gives a variety of perspectives for me to draw on, while also showing me the common themes that connect them all. Meditating helps me pause, to recognize the still voice under all the noise of the ego.

Fourth, I can connect with people who are on a similar journey. Admitting who I really am, what I’m truly dedicated to, I find myself suddenly surrounded by people who feel the same way. At Yasodhara Ashram, I expressed concern about bringing what I was learning back home. I worried about being criticized or misunderstood as I had been in the past, especially because I didn’t feel I could keep my practice hidden anymore. It was too much a part of me.

One of my friends pulled me aside on her last day and told me specifically not to let anyone take me off my path. She saw how important being a spiritual seeker is to me, and in a few words completely supported and validated everything I’d been doing on my own for ten years. She may not realize it, but she started a shift in me that day. I started to feel stronger and braver in my practice, outgrowing the need to conceal or change myself for others. It created a desire to become unapologetic about being a seeker.

And why shouldn’t I be? I’m passionate about it, it makes me a better and happier person, and it helps me connect with people. I don’t need to tell everyone, but I don’t need to hide who I am. I don’t need to explain myself to anyone if I don’t want to.

Because I’m addicted to my practice. And I’m fucking proud of it.

Shiva is my Boyfriend

I’ve been thinking with longing about my last couple of years of university; the frequent bliss, joy and peace I felt then. While it was due in large part to meditation, I think it was also to do with my deep, secret belief that one day I would find my “soulmate”, a human figure kept comfortably in the future. And when I found them I would know true intimacy and happiness. I loved to believe that my soulmate and I had never truly been separated, and we were together in spirit always. The thought made me feel connected, protected, loved.

I cherished this fantasy for a long time and it ignited a deep well of love in me whenever I thought of it. And while of course I was misguided in placing all that expectation on a human being, I’m now aware that eternal, unconditional connection and acceptance is available to me in the Divine. I’ve been longing for the joy I used to feel, but I can feel it now, just by being aware of how madly, deeply, and unendingly God loves me. And how much I love God. Because we long for each other, because I am God and God is me. Because we are Love.

Surrendering to that embrace, believing myself worthy of it, is my spiritual path. That’s where the joy lives, the childlike wonder, the ecstatic rush of bliss we taste when we fall in love, that’s how it feels when we can admit how much Spirit loves us. And then, finally, I find the strength to be fully myself, to reach out to others, to serve, to do good things and hard things in my own tiny human way. Because the universe loves me. And it’s been waiting all my life for me to remember that.

 

I am a dog tied to a pole

running and running

and all the while winding down, down, into the centre,

back to stillness.

Why do You accept my fickle, wandering heart and

lavish it with a love that slices right through my bones,

splits me wide open until the whole world fits inside?

Is it because You know every new infatuation, hypnosis, distraction,

it’s really all You in disguise?

Do You watch me like a child, as I’m

chasing butterflies and watching them fly,

picking flowers and seeing them wilt,

building in sand and finding it crumbles?

Do You watch me with that love in Your eyes

that peels me naked and wraps me around You

till my body becomes Your ornament,

and smile as You think to Yourself,

“One day she’ll realize. And she’ll come home at last.”

And my Darling, within this frail mortal heart I know it’s true.