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
To see before
Before seeing again,
A look back
Through the storied
Remains, sifting through
Everything that has brought
Us here, to this moment,
Holding ourselves captive
With the walls of everything
We have always believed.
And what if we choose
To believe nothing but this:
The fact of our breath
Climbing and descending
The temple, our body,
Feeding the places that hurt,
Without needing to know
Why we are hurting so,
Loving all of us, anyway.
The work of our hands,
As they reach for the heart,
To hear the sound
Of it beating, to know
That this is also the sound
Of the world’s oceans
Ebbing and flowing,
And that nothing is more
Powerful than her roars,
Her swells, her motions.
To stand under the moon
And on a bed of earth,
And find that they meet,
From above, from below,
Right where you are,
And find their source
In the very center of you,
Not as you’ve been,
Not as you will be,
But as you are now.
It is all for you,
That sweet smell
The rain-soaked cedar
Living out its last moments
Close to home,
The breathing earth-fire
Of the sacred mountain,
The new leaves budding,
The insects always
Finding their way,
Knowing where to rest,
And how to carry out
The meaning of their lives.
For you, that I drop
To my knees, to be close,
Too, to all that splendor
We forget to call home.
I bring hands to heart,
And the cave within
Becomes the whole horizon,
The sun, hidden before rain,
Still finds its way
Into the space between
Blood and bone,
Heart and mind,
And I don’t have to wait
Anymore, no, I find
That I am already here.
- Tammy Takahashi
Our prayers are not for we and they;
We pray because we want to know,
Finally, that the soft and loving places
Where prayers land know no division.
There are places all over the world,
Across the entirety of the map of one heart,
Where we can travel to, wayward at first,
But with increasing sense of purpose,
That will greet us like the loved ones
We now, after ages, know that we are.
They are shrines large and small
Decorating the most modest of habitats,
Honouring the dead and reminding us
That we have never walked alone;
They are the colours, sounds and textures
We can finally recognize for what they are,
Unique as the moon to our stargazing hearts
To our experience of being human,
So that we will never overlook them again.
We close our eyes, join hands together,
We stand where we are, in silent tears,
And know the prayer has brought us here,
The prayer is all around us, ancient, wise,
That it created the conditions of our lives.
– Tammy Takahashi