The Ponds by Mary Oliver


Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them —

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided —
and that one wears an orange blight —
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away —
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.


Embracing Joy

Meditating in Tulum

Although we often long for joy, we seldom make space for it. I would like to share with you 3 questions to reflect upon:

1) How long has it been since you did something that you really love?

2) Do you make space for joy or do you find yourself speeding through the day?

3) Do you often want life to be different? Do you want another person to be different?

Reflection is part of many spiritual paths, I invite you to ask yourself these 3 questions and breathe with them for 5 minutes. Start by creating a space that is quiet and sit comfortably with your back straight. If you wish to you can close your eyes. Just one thing, as you spend time reflecting on the questions, approach your responses with friendliness; judgment can stop us from seeing things with equanimity. Judgment, like a tincture can colour everything we see and it can be very sticky. See if you can suspend judgment for a moment. See if you can suspend beliefs for a moment. I like to think of this as the practice of “suspension of belief”.

We will deepen this inquiry during our workshop Embracing Joy and How to use the Sacral Chakra on Saturday 4 July. We will also practice fun stretches and Yoga postures, pranayama, mudra and meditation on Swadhistana Chakra. Reconnect with your body as a wonder, with your breath as a wonder, with your life as a wonder. Reconnect with joy. I hope you can join us; in the meantime I’d like to also share a poem by Mary Oliver, who I must say has become my favourite poet of the year:

Don’t Hesitate

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.–Mary Oliver