Sunday, October 18, 2009

i am

i am four chews and a swallow
i am the words and huddled whispers passed across a shared table
i am the nods, the smiles, the anticipation of what's next
i am the darkness, the silence, the match and the dancing flame
i am the chorus of song
i am the drip, slightly off center
i am the wish, the promise, the breath aimed precisely
i am the sweet finger of buttercream,
i am the knife dipped in water, the slow peal of tape, the fast rip of paper
i am surprise, joy, disappointment
i am celebration braced against wax,
dripping year after year
lengthening trail, shortening wick
i am 47 years, carrying multitudes in my cells
i am the drop of a stone in a pond
i am tree rings, ripples
counting on something better to come from my having been here

Saturday, May 9, 2009

to momma, on mother's day

I know your hands better than my own. The way you’d press into the small of my back and rock me to the comforting rhythm of “mm mm mm mm bay ay be” over and again until I calmed into ocean, cradled into womb. Amazed now at how instantly this works 46 years on, as I lay on my side, knees pulled waist high, rocking myself to sleep, your soothing voice repeating in my head like a meditation, “mm mm mm mm bay ay be.”

I know your hands. The way you brush my hair from my face with two fingers.

And there, parked at the wall, I’d trace the rivulets on the back your hand. There was no drive-thru then, but we would eat in the station wagon anyway, burgers balanced on our laps, carefully unwrapped. This was our special time, in the days when only tens of thousands had been served.

Between bites, I’d trace the veins of your right hand with my finger tip, suppressing the current which would pop back up after my passing. Pausing at each fork to choose which path to take as if the decision mattered. My own rivers ran deep beneath the surface then, faintly blue. How many times later, I would grip my other wrist with the fingers of my right hand and squeeze, pumping my fingers until the veins in my left hand would pop high. I would search for patterns and compare them to yours. Were my hands like yours? No, I have Dad’s hands. Ellie has yours.

In the car, we’d dig into the bag, fishing for french fries stranded at the bottom and dip them into dots of sweet ketchup. You slurp chocolate. I, strawberry. We hold hands and talk about everything and nothing.

Now the currents of my own river carry me forward, mindful that the choices rest in my own hands. And still frequently, I come upon familiar places, like there, at the turning of a corner, and I realize that the path I travel is not accidental. You have carved it out for me -- shaped the banks and laid the stepping stones. And the sound of your voice in my head remains an anchor so that I can rest, rocking in stillness.

Happy Mother’s Day, Momma. I love you.

early morning meditation

My feet flat against the mat, belly rising and falling with my breath. The weight of my legs pressing down. There is heat and a rawness on the soles of my feet, almost as if a layer of skin is peeled away. Not painful but raw. I feel my feet as I breath, layering on the other things I can add to my awareness. The chatter of birds. How many conversations can they have in the span of my one breath? Feet? Yes. Are my toes pressing to the mat? Is there a seam between parts of my sole and the earth where there is only light or shadow? I hold all three - breath, feet, the sounds of birds. Did I lock the car? Would someone notice and steal Marcia's purse if I didn't lock the car? Birds nesting, carrying twigs in their beaks or talons. How is that decided? Is it sorted by size? My feet are still hot. So many songs in one breath. Deep listening. The bird feeds her young. Imagine if we fed each other mouth to mouth. The distance we add by using a spoon to feed our young. Would it be more intimate to use our fingers? Breath full and easy. In and out. How large are the creases and spaces of no contact and how do we bridge them? Feet, breath, bird song. Are they filled with light or shadow?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

be happy

There's something off about rushing to get to meditation class. What's the point of pressing and stressing in order to enter a state of oneness? So I arrive to class 20minutes late this morning, only to sit on my mat for 3 minutes, feeling the disappointment of entering in the middle deepen when I realize that meditation is actually over. And get this -- I actually start to cry. My pendulum swings between self pity and blame until I let it go when the yoga teacher reminds me that always needing to be right makes it hard to be happy.