Finding Joy

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Joy was there in the early morning,

Hoping we wouldn’t pass her by

In a world that always offers so much

To weary souls and striving minds

Living off the landscapes of our old stories,

Joy, that other most primal of emotions,

Waiting with a fierceness of strength,

Like the trees and mountains that

Fuse with our ancestral lines in evolution,

Yet with a love-laced gentility and grace,

Because she has weathered our histories,

She knows what we think we have needed

And what we can, when we try, come to know,

And she is there, on the other side of knowledge,

Her edges glinting in the new day’s sun,

Her borders diffusing at day’s fiery end,

And her capacity for play is infinite,

And her sparkle and reach will never wane,

And we can find her everywhere,

Everywhere.

 

– TS

I Belong

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Where does
the path begin
and where does it go?
Sometimes I feel
I’ve landed
right in the middle of
an ecosystem
with its very long history
I know nothing of,
and I fear
I’ll never catch up
or be able to
feel my way around,
that I don’t meet
the preconditions
for harmony.
I feel my senses
don’t serve me here,
do not point the way.
It is in the digging deep,
though, the excavating
of my own right
to a history,
that I will lay claim
to what must be
a simple, if profound feeling:
that I belong.
That I am here,
as you are here,
and we are each
finding our way
through the jungle of
our own ancestral histories,
reaching out
with hope and
good intentions,
with one essential,
sacred goal:
to be love.
 
– TS

The Day that Changed the World

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Today, something a little bit different. I wanted to share with you a stream-of-consciousness poem I wrote while waiting for the US election results to come in last November. As emotions surged that I didn’t know what to do with, I turned to the page (to the computer, to be honest!) and poured everything inside of me onto the page (screen). This has not been polished or edited in any way, and it is not pretty and it was not made with an audience in mind. It was a piece of me in that moment, unfettered. That day brought a lot of fear to me; it was not by any means my first time experiencing fear, and it will not be the last, but it was a big day, and this is me, and it is my hope that sharing this messy poem can bring us together in all our our glorious ups-and-downs …

ELECTION DAY
In a grey world, we can only
See colour through a fog.
We don’t know about saturation
So much as remember it,
Hear the vague impressions
That were once shouts: Red! Blue!
Home and ground sunk below
Where gravity never took hold
So we fly down. But we can always
Go the way of flight.
It only takes a single moment,
As an object of fear concretizes
And a lifetime of peace
Sinks into apparent illusion,
As memories have always
Made of our lives.
The world is not ours to claim,
But our hearts are. Our domain.
What better time to remember now,
Or to try to understand?
What will I do next?
I’ll prepare a soup lunch
In a changed world that
Remains as abstract to me
As the former one always was.
I’d rather come together in joy,
As many times as I’ve forgotten how,
But I’ll be happy to come together
In our sadness and shock,
And create a new, blessed warmth
To fuel the world.
Madness reigns only so long
As we feed it and let it in,
As long as we see the actual
For the true.
Still, the heart pounds,
Face flushes swooshes
Through the head causing
Pain and the kind of terror
I had once when I lost
My father’s grip in the ocean
And the universe started
Sucking me in, away from
The only world I’d known.
This never felt like an invitation,
No, it was a violation of my child me.
I want to scream STOP now as then,
Knowing it cannot and that
I am not at the center of this
Chaotic revolution.
People have been screaming stop
My whole existence and
Back to the very beginning and
It never filtered in, not like this.
Here, the selfish can be transformed
Into compassion. This is
Our necessity, the new
Life’s work.
It doesn’t matter what my head knows,
It never did.
The body soldiers on, fingers shaking
Head afire, heart quivering.
The mind is back there, in the grey fog,
With the sinking homes and
Vanishing holdings-on.
We need to grow the heart
From the ground up
Through the muck and the
Night terrors to come,
And go to where it’s green
And where delusions shatter
Into the laughing sky
And our emergent laughing souls.
Where is Jack Kerouac’s America,
That invited him in through the cracks
So that he may keep all our dreams whole,
Where did I go, who fell into his
Journeys of the road, spoke to his hobos
And saluted the sacred in our ruptures?
Where will I go, as I scramble to
Piece together a version of myself
That was for so short of time?
Who will I be as I try to do more
Than just wander through new climes?
It is a sad, mad, frantic time,
Our neighbours are not our friends
We have all become the enemy
Of peace and sensibility.
This has all happened before,
Our woes leap across time
So we can turn them into a circle,
And hold hands around it,
And weep,
And carry on.
And then WHAT?
Because even though the body is not lying
The mind is not believing.
It can’t be happening (to us).
It would never happen.
History teaches us (the right) lessons.
Even more selfish:
I and we must be the exceptions,
Immune from political and natural
Cycles and diseases.
No, it’s time to stop and dive in.
Let’s look at what we’ve made
And where we find ourselves.
Let’s get dirty with the mess of it all
And wash each other clean
Until we are shining with
Brand new memories,
If that is what we continue
To look for.
And still the blue sky is blue
And the red blood is ours
And the trees and children everywhere
And the mothers and fathers
Sisters and brothers
wait for our attention.
And still the wind only sometimes
Changes where it goes.
Love never turned its back on us.
Love cannot do that
Any more than it would.
It is ours to claim.
Yes, it is ours to claim.

  • TS

Perfect Now

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Eyes shut until
you’re up close
and can smell
the musky fragrance
 
Of life that has
been through life,
that has breathed
in the shadows
 
And gasped for air
and also sung
from the tops
of mountains and
 
Remembered to
praise the sun
that washes it all
with fluid joy
 
Eyes open to
find it all, the history
and the smallest bits
full of perfect now. -TS

Song of Body and World

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There are
parts of us
so soft,
so sincere,
so true,
an ache
that comes
and goes
in the night,
an ocean
a lifetime
a legend
for the ages
in the flutter
of a single
heartbeat,
the secrets
carried
on the wings
of our cells
as they
work to
generate
the matter
of our
humble
and glorious
existence.
Listen for
the whisper
carried
in the blood,
lingering
on the skin,
preparing
itself
to come
through us
in song.
This is
the song
of our
one world
and our
one place
in it. – TS

The Forest of Bloom

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The day could be glowing
with smiles full of sunshine
 
Or there could be rain
Falling in torrents, like tears
 
Maybe it has just snowed
Blanketing the earth for rest
 
There could be a soft breeze
That turns to gales in the night
 
Fierce so nothing feels sure
And ground itself has come loose
 
There is always the forest within
So we close our eyes and go
 
Maybe we come to the tree fearful
Or maybe ready for her healing
 
Maybe we look at her with longing
Or maybe we have truly arrived
 
And see: even as day grows dark
even as storms growl and uproot
 
Still the once-ripe leaves will fall,
Still the tree will bloom again. – TS
 
 
 
 

Sutra

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Lately I sew
sometimes with regard
and sometimes less so
for the materials
I have chosen
The thread,
and how we
use this word
in reference to
beautiful connection
The thread between us
the woven tapestries
of our diversity and
our communion
a link unsevered
The Sutras
wisdom passed down
centuries deep to enlighten,
the thread pearls of logic
we hope will keep peace
Sometimes I love
to think that with each
stitch I am also the thread
as my grandmother once was
and how many gorgeous others
And that we
are not only making and creating
but also sharing in a way
of Being, together, pure, so strong
that our unity can never be undone. – TS