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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For Sri Lanka

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Sometimes I imagine
that if i try hard enough,
I can bring myself
to every place of suffering,
be in all the places at once
where unfathomable
pain and confusion dwell,
where growth has ceded
to the tides of destruction
and love is smothered
by dark fear and rage,
and do everything
that is within my power,
and in my imagination,
my power is great,
to take all this misery
upon myself, so that,
for just long enough,
there will be a clearing,
and in this open space
we will see so clearly
that this sheen of splendor,
it is for all of us,
and that if we can’t share
in the ready abundance,
and bow before the other
as we cling steadfast to ourselves,
we will lose all of it, together,
and that to choose wisely,
would be to go the other way,
and share, and love,
and mourn and grieve together,
and rebuild slowly, as one.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

The Wonders

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I do not want to rest in my confusion,
where I am most weary, and ready to pause.
Instead, I want to wait for the moment
when the confusion diffuses, as all things do,
for even just a moment, and remember
that forever resides in moments just like this,
because forever does not discriminate,
or err on the side of expanding our suffering.
Forever hides behind, above and between
the weighted world of our mind’s making,
and forever may lie outside of our grasp
for now, but knows how to be our clearing,
and sends us one small invitation at a time,
just large enough for our weary souls
to rest our gaze on, and gasp in wonder,
and marvel at how quick we were to forget,
and remember: this is what I am working for.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

Life and Death

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We die and are born
a thousand times a day
without our noticing.
Every conscious breath
brings us back to our self
the only way it can,
quietly, patiently, persistently,
knowing the time will come
when life’s games have ceased
to have their hold on us,
and, not knowing what else to,
we will turn to the heaven inside us,
to assure ourselves
of our own survival in the face
of everything we’ve come to believe,
to bring Life into closer view
as the world crumbles around us.
We will be soothed, rocked gently
in our own bodies on wailing seas
of our times, now in great despair.
Our breath will remind us
that the great drama of living
is both short and endless,
that there can be no limit
to the good we can invite within,
to the unwanted we can expel.
The two moments of the day
when the sun arrives and departs
are startling, awe-filled reminders
of the possibility of starting in endings,
of what departs in each beginning,
of our need to allow each moment
to be the rebirth of us all.
 
– Tammy Takahashi

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

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