Coming to You

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The path is clear
at time, and others,
more obscured,
the sky reaching back
so that the clouds
are harder to talk to,
the trails filled with
the thistles and brambles
of years of wild living,
and before long,
I stop thinking
about how I landed here,
because my hands
know how to protect me
and my feet
know where to go,
and my heart knows
how to be quiet,
and even how
I got here,
and I now that
all this time,
no matter how long
it takes,
I have been coming
to you.
 
– Tammy Takahashi
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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

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

As You Are

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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.

On a Morning Almost Spring

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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

 

Day and Night

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It looks like emergence,
a movement from dark to light,
from a midnight moon’s lush wiles
to the redemptive break of day,
and you are sitting on soft sand,
not having slept at all,
and the salt brought in
by each sonorous, soothing wave
has cleansed you so that
you are no longer haunted,
and the sun has appeared,
a revelation each time,
to penetrate you with promise,
glee, anticipation for this life.
And so it is – life after death
every single morning,
an emergence, but not a line.
For we live in cycles,
and the darkness will come again,
to be, always, followed by light.
Do not run screaming
against the doors of night,
or fear the end of day.
The lessons of each are harrowing,
but the cycles are also moving,
round and round, in the direction
of our greatest making.

A Prayer, A Soft Place to Land

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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