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
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Surrender, Love

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The day comes
for our surrender,
which is never defeat;
would we ever call
the sun’s glorious drop
from our hope-filled view
a loss, a giving up, a forfeit?
Is the moon defeated
as she drapes the sky
with her incandescence,
emblazons passing clouds,
transgresses the borders
of the known and unknown,
taking us there with her
before ceding, with grace,
to the light of the coming day?
May I one day understand
that stillness is not death,
but the cessation of a mind
feeding itself on my burdens,
running me dry, tossing me out,
burning me to crumbling ash.
May I one day fall to earth,
feel the nourishment so deeply,
let the thoughts come
let the thoughts go,
and know, and trust
that in the silence
of the innermost part
of my being,
everything I need remains,
that in stillness, nothing is lost,
and there is room for this,
this love, to consume me.
– Tammy Takahashi

Breath of Life

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Every breath can carry us

Around the world and back,

If that’s where we want to go.

The slow, languid inhale,

What possibilities! Filling space –

Moving light and hope

Through angular joints

And the softer folds

Of this universe our body.

Inviting friends to join us –

Anticipation, awe, curiosity.

Move with the breath,

Explore what you are made of.

At the very top of the breath,

A summit, a hovering cloud,

The full moon at midnight,

Floating, still nestled among us.

Allow for circulation;

Every part of you tethered

To the heart of your intention.

Breathe out, slow, sure,

Controlled by not controlling,

The breath does what it does,

It finds its way out.

It is a different world now,

That you are surrendering to,

That you are left with

Inside your sacred being.

You have let it all go.

You have given everything.

You’ve loved in. You’ve love out.

You’ve seen how love carries you.

 

The Healing Body

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Follow the story

My body is telling me

About my heart

And my oldest

Sources of pain

All the way from

Each jagged breath

To the crevices

Between each bone,

To find out the secrets

I still harbor, from me,

From you, from a world

That knows how

To take everything

I need to release,

Because it knows,

Where I do not,

That we are wedded,

That in all sorrow

Lies the doorway

To soft healing.

It is hard, now,

Not to see the wind

As arriving just for us,

So that we can whisper

The unimaginable,

Through our tears,

For it to take away,

On the wings

Of birds, our messengers

Between the universe

In our bodies,

And that body

Of all that is.

It is time: to know

What does not need

To be contained,

What can go,

And how to move

This sacred vessel

Until what remains

Are the secrets

That have been waiting

For us to be ready,

We can serve the world.

Why Do We Dream of Home?

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Why do we dream of home?

Why do we long to return,

Somewhere both near and far,

Somewhere on the path ahead,

Leading us from behind,

Where the images have

Faded to wisps, to dark?

Why do we dream of home

Like we are in need of saving,

Like there is a nest, a shelter,

Loving arms to harbor us

When we’ve become strangers

To the deepest parts of self?

Where can home possibly be,

After we have searched

The corners of the world

Looking for a place to rest,

Having combed every part

Of the recesses of mind,

To discover what is true,

And what can be good?

When we will know, finally,

That home is the deep breath

Of all the oceans heaving,

A breathing in and breathing out

That allays the fear

Of having lost ourselves,

Because there is no way,

Any longer, to deny

The four walls, floor and roof

Of the home we have lived in

From the moment of our birth,

And that will carry us,

And let us live and pray,

Lose and find, come and go

As many times as we need to,

And will welcome us back

To ourselves without hesitation:

This body, our aspirations,

The joy of our embodied now.

– Tammy Takahashi

 

The We of a Tree: A Story

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Often, when I do yoga here, at home, on the seventh floor of our building, I wish I was closer to the ground, so that I could feel the earth below me, rather than sort of hovering over it – grounding is so important for everyone, especially “airy, in-the-head” people like me! But today, after a particularly intense practice, I was lying on my back at the end, and suddenly a vivid image came to me, of the six “layers” of people below me, and we were sort of forming the trunk of a tree, so that the nourishment of the ground was coming straight up though this “tree of people”, supporting me, my life, my journey, and I was also receiving, from the sky, and this was flowing right back down through everyone back to the ground. We were a tree, the spine of a human body, connected, working together. I was such a beautiful lesson.

Easter Spring Light

 

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The plenitude
of ways of seeing,
from the ground up,
and then,
slowly,
like a door opening
to a flood of light
that would
be contained,
like the first chords
of a song
breaking the silence
to fill and make
a world,
from the outside
and inside
at once,
and movement
stops being movement,
but presence,
and striving
stops being striving,
but grace.