I Bow to You

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I gather false strength
and stand upright,
me versus the world.
I throw my shoulders back,
throw my gaze long,
discerning and proud,
as though surveying
something that belongs to me,
and not to you,
or to you, and not to me,
and this is where desire dwells,
and a terrible need grows,
and I am in my perch,
and you are in yours,
and no proximity
can bring us together.
 
I bend down,
close my eyes, and bow,
and immediately,
the separation has disappeared.
We are not yet one,
this might be the work
of a lifetime.
But we are so much closer,
I feel so much closer here,
where I can smell
the earth below, that tethers us
to the same source,
where I can kiss your feet
in acknowledgement
of my devotion to you,
who have so much to teach me.
 
– Tammy Takahashi
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The Pathway of Life

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There is a road
That winds all the way
from lands before your birth,
along the pathways of your life,
until times as yet unseen.
It is beautiful on all sides,
and dark, and terrible too,
where we stand, forgetting,
on the other side of the light.
From the earth’s vital force
coursing up your limbs
from the soles of your feet,
the road travels up
to your sacred center of gravity,
into the sinewy trails of muscle
holding stories of your life
along the solid, stoic spine
that, as you walk, will not bend,
stoop or fall, despite the ache,
knowing how far there is to go,
and how much there is to carry.
The road travels up, lies ahead,
but we must not get caught
in the game of directions.
It is enough to see that the map
we have set for ourselves to follow
has its mirror in our selves,
and that hold love for one
while forsaking the other
is to remove the dimensions,
and forego our possible destinations.
May we aim to infuse all the pathways
with the love that will ignite them.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

Light of our Evolution

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I look at something so close,
amazed by what is impenetrable,
what seems to lie, perfect,
just on the other side of my grasp,
this desire for understanding
that threatens to overtake me.
There are all the ways in which
we cannot see, so that the world
can seem construed of the hidden,
what is invisible, our blindness.
And then, slowly, as if emerging
from the depths of the ocean
to gleam into the new day’s sky,
the world bathed in chimera,
a beauty no longer impossible.
For a brief moment, only this:
the veils lifted, throes of rapture.
Rest here, before questions arise.
Pause here, before running
to chase what cannot remain.
Close your eyes, and trust
that what you need does not seek
to be anywhere but with you.
Even one moment of rupture
in the ways of the thinking mind
can, like a lone ray of sun,
light the way of our evolution.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

Love Waits

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We are all learning to love.
We come into the world
under love’s warm embrace,
and unlearn what we know,
but what we know is strong,
patient, sincere and wise,
and it could not disappear
with our grieved forgetting.
Love waits for us to wake up
one morning, acutely aware
of a loss so great it hurts.
The play of our heart extensions,
the limbs of our sacred bodies,
moving, reaching, grasping,
a restlessness and yearning
that defies love’s true nature,
and so we finally come to see:
it is not working for me anymore.
All that we beg for with our love,
and demand from love in turn,
so sure of what we are owed.
Love waits. Will always wait.
When our pushing and grabbing,
our fears and our doubts
fly into orbits, only to expand
the sphere of our suffering,
when we lie in a heap, exhausted,
love comes. A whisper in the ear.
A warmth filling the body whole,
just enough for us to accept it,
to feel the umbrella of protection,
and through the primal shock,
love infusing every part of us,
so that we can fill the world,
with the entirety of who we are.
 
– Tammy Takahashi
 

Dance of Love

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What if it is all you?
The uncanny beauty
of this world it seems impossible
to imagine we have the fortune of visiting
and making a home, and a life
of days and years, here.
It gives you all of your impressions,
and you give it everything you have,
the breath flows naturally between you,
as the sacred art and being of nature.
What if nature’s way is your way,
her tumults and great gentility, yours?
Her angry sputtering, great waves heaving,
tiniest buds sprouting, old rocks waiting,
what if you can find yourself here?
And then, when you don’t know
what to do, how to again begin
the motions of starting over,
what if you allow yourself to pause
in Time, which goes nowhere without you,
and bring your feet to the earth,
which is here to hold you,
and enter the rhythms that have never
stopped calling out to meet you,
until you know that there is nothing,
at all, that you need to do,
because it is life’s way to keep living,
and nature’s way to keep creating,
and our way to keep allowing,
freely, wildly, until the struggle against,
becomes a flow with our dance of great love.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

To Grieve, To Love, To Leave, To Stay

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The feeling that comes with a loss,
that this hole, this gaping absence
swallows, too, all that still remains,
so that the fragile balance whispers
its soulful last, before trailing away …
and what then, is the work of recovery,
when you feel now, between worlds,
pieces of you bound to the departed,
where in the moment you’d rather be,
with its borders dissolved in the dark,
like you have entered your own dreams,
which no longer end, which relieves you.
But then, you sigh, or gasp, or choke,
and you are brought back to your body,
battered and fragile, broken in places,
but here, where you’ve always breathed,
where love first came to dance with you.
Here, from where the glory feelings arise,
here, from where all that you love leaves.
Bound to yourself, to your shaky breath
where all the promises can be fulfilled,
where, one staggered breath at at a time,
you can fill your body with everything
that exists around you, you can choose
what and how to be here, while you are.
To hold the departed in dear embrace
rather than to take a too-early flight.
To feel it all, here, now, in this, our life.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

We Are All One

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We are all earthbound,
our birthright
in the sprouting buds of spring,
in the moss and stone
of our living days.
We are all creatures of water,
learning to sink to the depths
so that we may emerge,
drenched with the wisdom
of centuries, of the ages
we will now carry with us,
all the days of our lives.
We are all airborne,
Mastering the art
of taking flight
because our wisdom tells us
that there are no bounds,
that we can connect
beyond the borders
of our bodies and lands,
with all that lies ahead,
above, through, and eternal,
carried only, always by love.

– Tammy Takahashi