The Heart Song

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Sometimes, the heart
will guide the eyes to deceive us,
because we can grow
too accustomed to the view;
what is pretty, what alarms us,
what we find distasteful,
what makes us sing.
We want to sing, always,
the song elevates us
in all of its incarnations,
but we must allow it
to transmute, to migrate
from each of our emotions
as it greets the world
gone by, as it has led us
to this very moment.
To bring the song to life,
maybe, for now,
close the eyes, feel the chest
expand to become the whole body,
allow room for the heart
to swell, rattle, cry out,
encompass the battle
that must be fought
before it can be won.
Allow the battle to play out,
and it is of course not a battle,
but the voices that have been trying
for so long, to be heard,
and hear them, and open your eyes
to a brand new space of your making.
Allow it to look different, and strange,
and even a little scary;
allow yourself to attune
to this brave new day
you have created for yourself;
fall in love with new colour combinations,
sounds and textures; they are
where your transformation begins.

– Tammy Takahashi

Fight For Your Freedom

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Don’t ever let anyone tell you
There is only one path to freedom.
You know, as you look within,
That your stories are wholly yours,
The way they circulate with your blood,
And form the very mass of your bones.
If as they say you are stardust,
Then you know from looking up,
Through the cloud of your doubts
Into the clearest sky at midnight,
That the stars are infinite,
That each one has something
Different to tell you, from near or far,
That one is winking, while another cries.
We don’t have to be told
That we are made of our ancestors,
Each a snowflake, a grain of sand
Gleaming on the landscape of time,
An entire universe crystallized
Just like this, in one exact moment
That can and will never be repeated.
The beauty of the thread of love
That unites us and allows us our love
Honours each of our differences,
Without which a hole the size of the world
And our profound losses could never be filled.
But we are here – we are all here,
Arrived with a special capacity to grow,
And find ever new ways of growing,
That will always start with who you are,
And how much you are willing
To love yourself enough to begin,
No matter what the forces saying no,
In the light of all the love saying yes.

– Tammy Takahashi

Open eyes, Open heart

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There is always more
we can strip away,
we have accumulated
so much. For so long.
We’ve buried ourselves
in the things that remove
from us the way of
right seeing, the seen.
We have inherited
and then we’ve created
stories that adorn,
tantalize, haunt us,
give us the false impression
that this is who we are,
that bare their claws
like tentacles around
our well-meaning hearts
just as they catch a
glimpse of a free world,
and an unencumbered way
of being at one with it.
We know that the way
back to this, our world
is the way into ourselves,
but we don’t know
where to rest our gaze
among a dizzying array
of options, and directions.
Hearts beating fast, we rest.
Close our eyes. Breathe.
Allow what haunts to haunt.
Enter the fear like warriors.
Quiet the stories ricocheting
in our bodies’ chambers,
as if to honor their passing.
Open our eyes. Begin.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

To Breathe is to Create is to Live

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As long as we create,
We have the capacity
To be free
(I know how far
we need to come
before we can create
a world in which
everyone can choose
their freedoms,
before the songs we create
are not only our chains,
our suffering, released).
It cannot stop here,
In calamity.
We must examine
The tools we have.
We live. We breathe.
As long as we have breath,
We have the capacity
To create.
How many breaths
Have we missed
With our inattention?
Take a deep inhale.
Is your breath not like
a growing tree
rooted in the very depths
of you, grounding you
to this plane,
as it arcs upwards and out,
filling every part of you,
from spine to limbs
to fingertips, and the top
of your head, and beyond?
Are you not making yourself
anew each time you fill
Your body with the force of life,
With whatever you’ll allow in?
And the outbreath,
A psalm of celebration
Of what you have made,
Of allowing it to set,
Of releasing what no longer serves,
In the name of beginning
Again, and again, and again,
And each time, don’t you know,
Can change everything.
 
– Tammy Takahahshi

How to Grow

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I want to start again,
Be conditioned by trees,
As though I am
In a position to come awake
For the first time.
I want to find myself
Crawling on forest growth,
And I want to use a rock
To steady myself
As I take these first steps.
I want my first friends
To be grasshoppers
And butterflies
And owls of the night,
And I want to learn early on,
That death is life’s way,
And that this is not
Something to be scared of.
I want to come alive again
to the sound of wind
Carrying everything
To the place needs to go,
And to invite everyone
To arrive with me there.

– Tammy Takahashi

Remembering and Forgetting

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The art of remembering, and forgetting … like all binaries, it has to be all about balance. We don’t want to remember so much that our entire world becomes a recreation of a past that doesn’t exist anymore, so that we become incapable of living in the present moment. But we don’t want to forget so much that we lose the context for our being, the heart and bones of our ancestry that fills our vessel with so much of what makes us who we are. We don’t want to cling to what has caused us pain and give this too much potency, nor to an overwhelming nostalgia for a time we will never have back and that never quite existed. But we don’t have or want to condemn ourselves to being completely unmoored, either. We can allow ourselves to be rooted in the nurturing ground that gave rise to us without being indebted to every detail of our history. We can work toward finding freedom within the form or shell that is the life we came in to. We can work toward honouring the past and finding it it the many valuable and necessary lessons for a more hopeful future while working our hearts out to cultivate, forge, pioneer, and create the unimaginable gift of an open life for ourselves.