Friday, November 27, 2009

Keeping Things Whole

In a field
I am the absence
of field.

This is always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

- Mark Strand

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stepping Westward

Denise Levertov

What is green in me
darkens, muscadine.

If woman is inconstant,
good, I am faithful to

ebb and flow, I fall
in season and now

is a time of ripening.
If her part

is to be true,
a north star,

good, I hold steady
in the black sky

and vanish by day,
yet burn there

in blue or above
quilts of cloud.

There is no savor
more sweet, more salt

than to be glad to be
what, woman,

and who, myself,
I am, a shadow

that grows longer as the sun
moves, drawn out

on a thread of wonder.
If I bear burdens

they begin to be remembered
as gifts, goods, a basket

of bread that hurts
my shoulders but closes me

in fragrance, I can
eat as I go.

To all my women friends, who carry that basket, and bear those gifts.
I learned this poem in a poetry class with Fran Quinn, in New York City several years ago, in which we all learned the value of learning a poem by heart, and making it our own.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Welcome Change of Seasons

in our bodies we feel the wind get colder
in our bodies we see the sun shining in a thousand mirrored flashes of light
on the water
in our bodies we feel the rain grunting into earth
in our bodies we feel the gorgeous colours reeling in the trees
in our bodies we feel the fall
in our bodies we feel the turning over

let it shift you
let it shift your gears
let it shift you into whatever fall brings you
butternut squash soup and mushrooms
zuccini flowers and pumpkins
the end of black eyed susans and impatience
the comfort of blankets and scarves and fireplaces
let it soothe you

that the circle keeps turning

welcome fall

Monday, October 5, 2009

Spring Retreat Collage by Suzy

the collage above was done at our Spring Retreat at H-OM yoga studio in April 2009 by Suzy, one of our participants.
She is a photographer, and she added the words in digitally after the fact.
Gorgeous artistic reminder of our need for self-care and kindness.

October by Mary Oliver

There's this shape, black as the entrance to a cave.
A longing wells up in its throat
like a blossom
as it breathes slowly.

What does the world
mean to you if you can't trust it
to go on shining when you're

not there? and there's
a tree, long-fallen; once
the bees flew to it, like a procession
of messengers, and filled it
with honey.

I said to the chickadee, singing his heart out in the
green pine tree:

little dazzler
little song,
little mouthful.

The shape climbs up out of the curled grass. It
grunts into view. There is no measure
for the confidence at the bottom of its eyes--
there is no telling
the suppleness of its shoulders as it turns
and yawns.
Near the fallen tree
something--a leaf snapped loose
from the branch and fluttering down--tries to pull me
into its trap of attention.

It pulls me
into its trap of attention.

And when I turn again, the bear is gone.

Look, has'nt my body already felt
like the body of a flower?

Look, I want to love this world
as thought it's the last chance I'm ever going to get
to be alive
and know it.

Sometimes in late summer I won't touch anytthing, not
the flowers, not the blackberries
brimming in the thickets; I won't drink
from the pond; I won't name the birds or the trees;
I won't whisper my own name.

One morning
the fox came down the hill, glittering and confident,
and didn't see me--and I thought:

so this is the world.
I'm not in it.
It is beautiful.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Song for Autumn

By Mary Oliver

In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think
of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

found at

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Holy Longing poem

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Tell a wise person, or else keep silent.
Because the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.

In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you
when you see the silent candle burning.

Now you are no longer caught
in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher lovemaking
sweeps you upward.

Distance does no tmake you falter,
now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.

And so long as you haven't experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Healing Retreats that only take a minute

We all need to feel healed, whole. But there are times in our lives when we feel this need more strongly. Here are some Signs that you need a healing retreat, found in the book 20-Minute Retreats by Rachel Harris:

1. You suffer from chronic symptoms such as headache, upset stomach, musculoskeletal aches and pains, with no clear medical diagnosis.
2. You don't feel rested and refreshed upon awakening.
3. Your sleep is disturbed
4. You find you have more cirtical or negative things to say than constructive and positive comments
5. The energy in and around your body feels imbalanced, jagged, edgy.
6. You feel too vulnerable, easily hurt or weak.
7. You're overreacting to daily stress with impatience, frustration, annoyance or irritation.
8. You're at a crisis or major transition in your life and you need to reconsider your life direction, values and calling.
9. It's your fiftieth birthday.
10. You have just suffered a major loss.
11. Your medical doctor has given you a serious helath warning or medical diagnosis.
12. You have some uncomfortable relationships in your past or current life that you would like to heal.

She goes on to outline several 1- 5 minute retreats one can do for healing. Here is one of them:

One-minute retreat-Gathering Bamboo (good for relieving headaches, soothing tiredness, clearing your vision)

Sit with your head hanging forward slightly as if you were looking down at your lap. Place your thumbs in the corners of your eye sockets under the inner point of your eyebrows. You should feel a ledge there where your thumbs seem to fit perfectly. Allow your thumbs to support the weight of your head for a full minute.

This is a polarity therapy technique.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be
your womb tonight.

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

~David Whyte

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Coming Home to myself


The Self
pushes the neglected forward
for recognition.
Do not disregard it.
it holds energy
of highest value.
it is the gold in the dung.
do not disregard the dung.

Marion Woodman,Jill Mellick

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Poet

James Kirkup

Each instant of his life, a task, he never rests,
And works most when he appears to be doing nothing.
The least of it is putting down in words
What usually remains unwritten and unspoken,
And would so often be much better left
Unsaid, for it is really the unspeakable
That he must try to give an ordinary tongue to.

And if, by art and accident,
He utters the unutterable, then
It must appear as natural as a breath,
Yet be an inspiration. And he must go,
The lonlier for his unwanted miracle
His singular way, a gentle lunatic at large
In the societies of cross and reasonable men.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Words of Peace

Prem Rawat, also known as Maharaji, offers a way to go within and experience peace as it already exists in each human being.

Right under our noses, right under our breath, is a well of peace and serenity, a peace that he describes as being 'the perfume of God'.

see for news and updates on upcoming events around the world, and closer to home for us North Americans.

have a wonderful, sunny summer day (for those of you in my area, where the sun has persisted inspite of rain clouds this morning).


Saturday, July 4, 2009

What to Pray For

"People pray to God for things they want: a son, or money, or a job. People want God’s blessings to fulfil their desires’, he says. ‘Yet God has already blessed you. His hand is on your head, for the greatest blessing is the coming and going of this breath, which keeps you alive so effortlessly’."
taken from website: wordsofpeace global

Monday, June 29, 2009

Self knowledge

Without self-knowledge
you are just wandering.
If you could realize that the pilgrimage
you are making has to happen
on the inside -
the infinite being is inside of you
you don't need to wander and be confused.

paraphrased from Prem Rawat
speaking in Meleka Malaysia, 2009

looking for the pause button....
for poetry, videos, downloads and inspiration

Monday, June 8, 2009

Poem for The Change

"(S)he who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains

A woman drew her long black hair out tight
and fiddles whisper music on those strings
and bats with baby faces in the violet light
whistled and beat their wings"

from The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot

“Desire puts us back in our bodies…mind dissolves and the body focuses like a cat
watching a bird. We need to feel. We need the body back”
Labyrinthe of Desire, Rosemary Sullivan

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mother Famine (in Recognition of Eve Ensler)

You were lost to me before I was born. When the ram’s horn blew and the temple walls came tumbling down over my head, stone by stone, at Jericho. I lost you when I ran into the forest, frightened and longing to see your pale face reflected under leaves, in between rocks, your smile of courage egging me on. I lost you when little girls were made to lie beneath the rude soldiers rescuing them, or the sweaty uncles petting them, or the firm young brothers forcing the soft ones with songs on their tongues. You were lost to me when the first midwife was throttled and drowned, when they began to round up the healer women, looking for the devil’s teats on our bodies, then lit the bonfires.

I lost you before the Peloponesian Wars, lost you again when the Mongolian hordes rode their rough ponies through, lost you when the blue-tiled walls of Mikonos were razed by Greek soldiers. Your body bruised and buried, encased in the bogs, your memory and stories erased by Deuteronomy, by Hammurabai, by Zeus. You reign now only as a faint shadow in the moon, but even there, re-named Old Man, until archeologists unearthed your wide hips and round belly, bringer of rains, harvest, and safe berth.

Give us this day our daily bread, and let us eat, remembering. Instead, our female children starve themselves bone-thin to repudiate your flesh, we slice it out of our bodies, we hide it in our fat, we choke ourselves and vomit, re-enact that first shame under the Tree, when making a human form, the labour it entails and the blood that comes with each moon became a curse.

Oh let me rekindle that fierce mother love– and weep for the mother slayers. Can I shield my daughter from the truth that she is powerful and because of that she may be killed? This is your secret, the power of birth and the real miracle of blood turning into milk (not water into wine). We, who rely on these first stories to understand our place in the world, have had a bone stuck in our throats or should I say an apple core, for a very long time.

Give me back my mother love, my rising star, my Venus, the sun’s circle of life: let the man in the sky stop building missiles and fighter F14 jets for South Korea, Pakistan, Israel and South Africa, let the Old Man in the US Senate hear the voices of the women. Let the African governments hear the voices of their raped and damaged daughters.

Let the Lebanese women rise, let the Pakistani women rise, let the Afghan women, the Chechen women, the Colombian women, the Rwandan women, the Venezuelan women, the Chinese women, the Uzbekistani women, the Congolese women, let the women in the veil, the women in purdah, the women stoned to death, the women doused with kerosene for their dowry, the women thrown down wells for honour, the women sliced open and sewn shut, the women interred, let all the women remember you.

Your light was not always this dim.


**Please read Eve Ensler's speech to Canadian Parliament about the rape of the women in Congo. "Until The Violence Stops: How Canada Can Help End The Use Of Sexual Violence As A Weapon In War."

Read Eve's speech to the Canadian Parliament at:

taken from V-Day Newsletter, May 14, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Poem for Middle Aged Women

Cross Currents
by Noelle Sickels

The moon's choreography
is less reliable now.
Unlike the obedient tides
my body chooses its own tempo,
sways out of rhythm
then drifts in step again
for a measure or two.

It surprises my attention.
I had forgotten this last bend
in the yawing currents;
Did not expect as much drama
as at the beginning,
when childhood washed away
like an unguarded doll
at the water's edge;
Or in the middle,
when all of me swelled
with the briny broth
of a stranger's life.
Now again, I search the mirror,
hunt for how my face reveals
the changing course within.

People say I do not look my age,
as if I'd won a prize.
They say I am too young
to parenthesize the moon.
I can not always say I do not like
what people say;
Do not, some days want
to conjour back the blood,
rejoin the familiar round.
Do not, like a lone sailor
in a cloud-thick night,
long to drop anchor
and forget the creaking tiller
the unknown destination
the shape of undreamt shores.

found in Claiming the Spirit Within
a sourcebook of women's poetry
ed by Marilyn Sewell

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Julien somersaults onto my lap, Caitlin drums
in the dark basement. I fear for
their lithe bodies
that jump & fall, bounce back,
and blithely go,
while lightning strikes the ground
around them.

Today I feel like a motherless child.
My hips are creaky as an old door.
Where do you go, when you're only lonely,
curled up on your bed
with an ancient urge
to suck your thumb?

I was mothered, and also abandoned.
Now I mother me,
and God mothers me
& I am not alone.

(I wish my children faith in that kind of power,
in the face of winds that devour.)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mother Love

“If it is in a woman’s nature to nurture then she must nourish herself.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oneness within

You who want knowledge,
seek the Oneness within

There you will find
the clear mirror already waiting.

Hadewijch II of Antwerp 13th ct

From Women in Praise of the Sacred
ed Jane Hirshfield

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Words of Peace

An ageless message, a timeless quest
something old, something new

what you are looking for is inside of you

check out


for heart-opening news for the current century :)


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Poem for Spring

Listen to the birds

The prodigious wind doth blow and heartily.

Something is about to happen.
Listen, it calls you…
bright from within the shining …
glistens, whispers, wet, alive.

Speak, but from the wordless place.

This wind outspeaks the loud roadways
outvoices birds, bells,
the ubiquitious
chrome chimes.

The open sky above the field
echoes dump trucks’ rattle.
high clouds line up,
booming by.

Dark over the lake, coming fast,
see the red-winged black-bird
hear the willow breathe –

all that roaring wind
punching branches up and down.
This is the week, the day
it may happen,
the first leaves.

Listen to the birds, robins, crows
They speak from the wordless place.
Something is about to…

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No Place Like Home

Yoga, breathing, relaxation and meditation are all ways of coming home to the place where the true you resides.

1. Come into proper sitting alignment with eyes closed. allow your spine to be long and naturally erect.

2. Take several full, deep, long breaths.

3. Inhale through your nose and exhale with an audible sigh, singing or saying 'Hoooh" on a single note until you are comfortably out of air. Repeat this several times. Allow yourself to become absorbed in the sound as you feel it resonate in your belly and vibrate in your heart.

4. Now inhale, then exhale, sighing, "Mmmmm" on the same note, mouth closed., Repeat several timmes. Allow this vibration to resonate in your heard.

5.Next, inhale through the nose. Combine the two sounds on the next exhalation with an open mouth, saying "Hooooh" and then "Mmmm" with a closed mouth. Feel your spine vibrate with this healing and soothing sound.

6. Practice this combination several times. Then simply sit in silence and listen to the sound of 'home' as if it were an echo singing back to you. Feel the effects of sound vibration on your body and mind.

Welcome home,

excerpted from Yoga for Your Spiritual Muscles, Rachel Schaeffer

Monday, February 16, 2009

How might your life have been different?

from I sit Listening to the wind:

"How might your life have been different, once, long ago, when you had worked very hard to know what you knew inside, and were ready to bring it forth....but were suddenly filled with fear and guilt and unable to express yourself...and you felt utterly alone?

If there had been a circle of women waiting to receive you, eager to listen to your understanding of life.

If the women had known, from their own lives, that whenever a woman dares to bring forth the deepest meaning from within, she will be attacked by an old force inside, whose only purpose is to keep things as they are

...and the fact that those women existed made you feel less lonely. And if the women had helped you, supported you with their warmth...and by the wisdom and daring of their lives, given you the courage to speak,

how might your life be different?

by Judith Duerk

Monday, February 9, 2009

On Grief

There are some griefs so loud
They could bring down the sky,
And there are griefs so still
None knows how deep they lie,
Endured, never expended.
There are old griefs so proud
They never speak a word;
They never can be mended.
And these nourish the will
And keep it iron-hard.

May Sarton, "On Grief"
Selected Poems of May Sarton

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sunrise by Mary Oliver

You can
die for it --
an idea,
or the world. People

have done so,
their small bodies be bound

to the stake,
an unforgettable
fury of light. But

this morning,
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought

of China,
and India

and Europe, and I thought
how the sun

for everyone just
so joyfully
as it rises

under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?

What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it

whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter