Tag Archives: buddhism

Eyes Like Mine

They come running to the fence

Feathers fluffy in the wind

Eager, excited, and laughing

Jackie O with her pearl necklace

Bossy Pants dressed in red velvet

Peaches with her nude stockings 

Dorothy in a glamorous black evening gown.

And I remember the ones that are no longer here

Coco in her best brown pants suit

Sparkles with her golden egg

Silvia who shined bright like a shooting star

Aristotle with her badge of honor.

And I have asked myself

How many times can a heart break?

How can I live with my skin on inside out

And still walk through this world?

How does my heart stay open

to the depth in her eyes

knowing that her light will go out?

They sqwualk and sqwualk and I smile

I kneel down so that our eyes can meet

Their heads tilt with curiosity

their eyes focus on mine

And we are the same.

We both put ourselves to bed

and rest with the moon 

We both wake with the sunrise

and celebrate the new day

We both eat and drink and shit and bathe.

Our hearts race

Our skin itches

Our tempers flare

Our feathers ruffle.

And 

When the world gets quiet

and the temperature cools

When the light goes down

and the nocturnal beings begin to roam

We both very carefully

sweetly and gently

Step closer and closer and lean against one another.

For warmth

For safety

For comfort

For peace

For love.

We both love.

LLM

Dedicated to the rescued Hens at Elephant Belly Sanctuary.

Dear Mr. Thrush

Dear Mr. Thrush,

Good morning, dear one.  How are you doing today? How are you feeling? I was so concerned about you yesterday. I hope that you are doing well and that you are free from harm.

I am up early again today. Monroe, our little dog, has me up between 5:30 and 6am on most mornings these days. I am grateful to her for getting me out of bed. Every morning I get to watch the sunrise and hear the  world wake up. What a gift. I don’t know if I would do it otherwise. 

That is how I met you. Yesterday. I was sitting in my room, writing a poem, and you came flying into my window! Oh , what a bang! that was. So horribly scary. I peeked out my window and I saw you on the ground. Your olive wing spread out awkwardly and unnaturally. Birds like you weren’t meant to lay down. I rushed into my bedroom- where I knew that we kept a rescue box for moments just like these. Funny, I was just cleaning out the area under the sink in my bedroom a couple of mornings ago and found it. Not sure I would have known it was there. 

So I ran and got the box and woke up A*. We rushed out and there you were. Sweet man. Your yellow beak open. Eyes open. Stunned. I knelt down and scooped you up with both hands and placed you on the towel in the box. You are so handsome! I hope that is not an inappropriate this to say in a time like this, but geez…you are gorgeous. Olive back and wings, black speckled underbelly, beautiful circular deep black eyes. I gently put the top over you and took you to the porch. I wanted to be sure that you could breathe- so I removed the cardboard top and there you were. Oh, dear one, you did not look so good. Your eyes were closing, your beak was open and I feared that this was goodbye. 

Could you hear what I said? I said a prayer for you. I put my hand on my heart, and closed my eyes and I whispered “ I am right here for you, sweet one. I am right here. Everything is ok. I am right here. You are not alone. Sweet little one.” Your eyes blinked slowly shut. I covered you with a towel to keep you warm and we let you rest. 

Minutes later, we decided to check on you. I wanted to be sure that you could breathe under the towel…but it was a very chilly morning and I knew you were in shock. I went out to draw back the towel and you were lying there, resting. That is when I got an even better look at you. Your peach feet. The many shades of your wings. How can a being be so strong and so vulnerable at the same moment? I covered you to give you a bit more time. 

A few more moments passed and I returned. This time, I could see some movement under the towel. I lifted it up to see and you flew away! Right up to a tree branch above my room. Yay! I was so happy that you flew away. You must have been feeling much better. Oh what joy I felt in my heart. After that, you disappeared into the leaves and I could no longer see you. I pray that you were able to find your way home and get a good night’s rest. 

I will listen for your song this morning. I will watch for you as I do my daily chores and I will send you love and good wishes.

Yours always,

LLM

Finding Solace

Finding solace

surrounded by the tapping rain

following each drop

from cloud to leaf to soil



the rivers inside

running dry and desperate

for some relief

I stand mouth open to the universe


“the entire path

and all you will ever need

to walk it

you will find inside”




Fill me

sweet drops of cosmic love

so that I may walk in peace

and be on my way.

-LLM

Bestiary- by Joanna Macy

Short-tailed albatross

Whooping crane

Gray wolf

Woodland caribou

Hawksbill sea turtle

Rhinoceros

The list of endangered species keeps growing longer every year.  With too many names to hold in our mind, how do we honor the passing of life?  What funerals or farewells are appropriate?

Reed warbler

Swallowtail butterfly

Bighorn sheep

Indian python

Howler monkey

Sperm whale

Blue whale

Dive me deep, brother whale, in this time we have left. Deep in our mother ocean where I once swam, gilled and finned. The salt from those early seas still runs in my tears. Tears aren’t enough anymore. Give me a song, a song for a sadness too vast for my heart, for a rage too wild for my throat.

Giant sable antelope

Wyoming toad

Grizzly bear

Brown bear

Bactrian camel

Nile crocodile

Chinese alligator

Ooze me, alligator, in the mud whence I came. Belly me slow in the rich primordial soup, cradle of our molecules. Let me wallow again, before we drain your swamp and pave it over.

Gray bat

Ocelot

Pocket mouse

Sockeye salmon

Tasmanian kangaroo

Hawaiian goose

Audouin’s seagull

Quick, lift off. Sweep me high over the coast and out, farther out.  Don’t land here. Oilspills coat the beach, rocks, sea. I cannot spread my wings glued with tar.  Fly me from what we have done, fly me far.

Golden parakeet

West African ostrich

Florida panther

Galapagos penguin

Imperial pheasant

Snow leopard

Mexican prairie dog

Hide me in a hedgerow, badger. Can’t you find one? Dig me a tunnel through leaf-mold and roots, under the trees that once defined our fields. My heart is bulldozed and plowed over.  Burrow me a labyrinth deeper than longing.

Thick-billed parrot

San Francisco garter snake

Desert bandicoot

Molokai thrush

California condor

Lotus blue butterfly

Crawl me out of here, caterpillar. Spin me a cocoon. Wind me to sleep in a shroud of silk, where in patience my bones will dissolve. I’ll wait as long as all creation if only it will come again — and I take wing.

Atlantic ridley turtle

Coho salmon

Helmeted hornbill

Marine otter

Humpback whale

Steller sea-lion

Monk seal

Swim me out beyond the ice floes, mama. Where are you? Boots squeeze my ribs, clubs drum my fur, the white world goes black with the taste of my blood.

Gibbon

Sand gazelle

Swamp deer

Musk deer

Cheetah

Chinchilla

Asian elephant

African elephant

Sway me slowly through the jungle. There still must be jungle somewhere, my heart drips with green secrets. Hose me down by the waterhole; there is buckshot in my hide. Tell me old stories while you can remember.

Desert tortoise

Crested ibis

Hook-billed kite

Mountain zebra

Mexican bobcat

Andrew’s frigatebird

In the time when his world, like ours, was ending, Noah had a list of the animals, too. We picture him standing by the gangplank, calling their names, checking them off on his scroll. Now we also are checking them off.

Ivory-billed woodpecker

Indus river dolphin

West Indian manatee

Wood stork

We reenact Noah’s ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting.

Ferret

Gorilla

Jaguar

Wolf

Your tracks are growing fainter. Wait. Wait. This is a hard time.  Don’t leave us alone in a world we have wrecked.

-Joanna Macy

Where is Your Voice?

Nakalele Blowhole, Maui

Photo: Kent Buckingham.

Are you brave enough to speak your truth in this world? Are you able to ask for what you need? Defend the rights of others? Be the voice for the voiceless?

At 43, I am still learning how to use this instrument. At times, I can feel the fear gathering in my throat- getting stuck in the muck of self doubt, the fear of being perceived as selfish, or worse- the fear of being judged. This fear silences me and it takes away my freedom, my happiness, and my power.

Thich Nhat Hahn tells us that every answer can be found in nature. By going out into the fresh air, breathing deeply, stepping mindfully, and listening carefully we can receive the wisdom from all of the living beings that surround us- the trees as they sway and creak, the waves as they gather and crash, and the wind as it rages and roars. These voices have spoken for millions of years and exemplify the confidence and courage- steadfastness and simplicity- that I long to manifest.

It is through my practice of observing nature, that I have been able to connect with my deepest truth and my unique voice. Whether I am on the trails of Mt Rainier, at the cliffs of Nakalele in Maui, or in the starlit desert of Chaco Canyon, if I sit still- and listen- I am able experience the interconnectedness of all things and tap into the current of the world. In these moments of quietude, I sense that my body is made from dirt and wood, water and salt, space and air. Sinking into this knowing, I can realize that:

Their voice is My voice. 

And although it may last for just one moment, in that moment, I am a bird set free. With that awareness, I am given permission to be brazen, to open my compassionate heart, and to glide into the universe unapologetically. With that awareness, I am released from fear and able to express myself and flourish.

On this day:

May all beings hear the wisdom of the trees, the ocean, and the wind.

May all beings have the ability to be their true selves.

May all beings be free.

LLM

 

 

 

 

Interbeing- Thich Nhat Hahn

mountain-3079611_1280

“Interbeing: If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. “Interbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter-” with the verb “to be,” we have a new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are.

If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.

Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in it too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. You cannot point out one thing that is not here-time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper. That is why I think the word inter-be should be in the dictionary. “To be” is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is.

Suppose we try to return one of the elements to its source. Suppose we return the sunshine to the sun. Do you think that this sheet of paper will be possible? No, without sunshine nothing can be. And if we return the logger to his mother, then we have no sheet of paper either. The fact is that this sheet of paper is made up only of “non-paper elements.” And if we return these non-paper elements to their sources, then there can be no paper at all. Without “non-paper elements,” like mind, logger, sunshine and so on, there will be no paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.”

― Thích Nhất Hạnh

Kindness Begins With Being Kind to Yourself

my-religion-is-kindness

Kindness begins with being kind to yourself.

For those of us that my struggle with an unkind mind, here is a daily metta (loving kindness practice) to start your day.

Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit. Take a minute to settle in and begin to notice your breath. Breathing in, I am aware that I am breathing in.  Breathing out, I am aware that I am breathing out.

Repeat the following phrases to yourself.

May I be filled with lovingkindness.

May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.

May I be well in body and mind.

May I be at ease and happy.

Metta by Jack Kornfield

Morning Poem by Mary Oliver

red water flowers flower
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


Morning Poem

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange
 
sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again
 
and fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails
 
for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it
 
the thorn
that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging —
 
there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted —

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly,
every morning,
 
whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.


from Dream Work (1986) by Mary Oliver 
© Mary Oliver