Dark Odyssey

When I cannot see stars
I dive headlong
into the dark.

The Ancients,
who know what binds us
what will help,
welcome me.

They hold me
until I feel safe
and sobs
trapped from lifetimes
burst free.

The Ancestors
whisper wisdom
and reveal gifts
of the Sacred Dark –
deep mothering
deep feeling
the ability to feel
the sorrow and grief of others
and the anguish of our Earth Mother
growing our hearts
guiding us
to the cries for Love
from our world
and from our own wounds,
in caves,
still longing
for our tender care.

I remember
the ways and treasures
of the Shadow.
I also remember the Light –
always present, if not seen.

I feel blessed into Wholeness
on this dark, Sacred day.

Questions for Contemplation

How do you relate to the words Sacred Dark?Do you resonate with the idea that grief and sorrow, for example, in addition to being painful and often difficult to navigate, may also contain ‘gifts’ such as those mentioned in the fourth stanza of the poem.

If you’d like to explore this further, bring to mind a time when you experienced grief or sorrow for a short or long period. Reflect on any ‘gifts,’ meaningful learnings or positive qualities that came forward in you as a result of this experience. If you’re drawn to do so, write about the ‘gift(s)’ of this dark passage.

Cups That Will Always Break

When I am true to the Sacred
that we are
not only does the
‘hungry for approval,
‘need to be special’ me,
slink away
from her self-made throne,
but she considers leaving
for a long while
because, really,
she is very tired.

When I am true to the Vastness
that we are,
the haunted beast of fear
I thought I was
becomes a gentle creature
who was always just looking
for Love.

The thoughts
I believed were real
relax their stiff postures,
lies and masks fall
into open space –
open space
that I was taught
always had to be filled.

The money
I thought I couldn’t survive without
the people I was certain
I couldn’t live without –
all started talking at once,
reminded me
that they began and will always end,
that they change and change –
to remember this
to stop pouring myself into cups
that will always break.

When I am faithful to the Divine
that we are
and everything that began, ends,
I might cry or wail,
struggle with saying good-bye.
Yet a deep Peace
will also be breathing
inside the tears
I’ll be able to say good-bye,
as I rest in the knowing
that it was time.

Questions for Contemplation

Which stanza in this poem speaks to you the most right now? Reflect on the lines for awhile and notice what is evoked in you.

Reflect on a time that you were being true to your deepest Essence. How was that valuable to you? What were the benefits of being faithful to your Sacred nature?

Ask the Children

Take dictation
from the flat stones
in the river bed.
They speak truth.

Attend a gathering of trees.
Feel them in communion
with the wind.

Fall into
Earth’s belly
where you can hear Her cries.

Ask Her what She needs.
Find the children
who brought Light, Love
and pieces of heaven
with them.
Ask them
how we can heal
the world pain.

Make your way through the shadowy
of the city.
Meet the eyes
and touch the souls
of our forgotten brothers and sisters.
Welcome their stories.
If you listen
with your whole being,
they will feel deeply held.

Converse with
the underworld
and the Infinite.

Sink into long, quiet times.
Turn towards the scars and stars
in your heart.
Explore your heart
from the inside.

Then, when you feel the call,
you can help our world
with your stories.

Questions for Contemplation

If you would like to further explore this poem, select a stanza that stands out to you. Is there a particular word, phrase, image, or feeling that speaks to you? If so, take a few minutes to settle in, relax and become quiet. Bring the word or image, for example, to mind and reflect on this for awhile. What does it evoke in you? Take as much time as you’d like to contemplate and/or write whatever comes to you.

Referring to the list in the sixth stanza that begins, “Converse with…”, choose one of the options that you’d like to invite to be in conversation with you. What questions do you have? What would you like to express? Take as much time as you need and, if you’d like, write the conversation down.

Not Knowing

The world pain
is pounding
on my Soul.

Head on fire
with ‘what-to-do’s’
fueled by fear and urgency.

Can I sit for awhile
in spacious not knowing,
let Love cradle me
until the fire
is ashes
I can hear the wise counsel
of Boundless Wisdom
guiding me
towards right action.

Questions for Contemplation

Do you find your mind spinning these days in the face of personal difficulties or in response to the many challenges in our world right now? The thinking mind ‘needs to know,’ wants reasons, strategies, explanations. Uncertainty is not comfortable for the linear mind.

An invitation in this poem is to ‘sit for awhile in spacious not knowing.’ When you quiet your mind, you can access the Love and Boundless Wisdom that is ever-present within you. When it feels like the right time to turn to your intuitive knowing for guidance, here is an imagery exercise.

Find a place to sit comfortably. When you are ready, close your eyes and take a few minutes to settle in and relax. Imagine that you are in a beautiful place in nature. Explore this environment for awhile and find a place to sit.  A figure, as a symbol of your inner wisdom, such as an eagle, dolphin, ray of light or a wise sage, will join you. You can ask any questions that are important to you and your wisdom figure will respond in a way that you will understand. Be in a dialogue as you would with a dear friend until you feel complete. You may want to write down the messages you received.

Love Will Show Us

In spite of us
Love will continue
to bless
and shine
into every opening,
and onto asphalt,
and steel.

Love will blanket
tight fists
stiff bodies
clamped jaws
clenched minds,
all the barbs and thorns.

Love’s Light
will illumine
the pain
in our world,
show us
the wounds that need us.

Questions for Contemplation

In addition to personal wounds, what world wounds may be calling out to you for your love and attention?

If you’d like to explore this question, a suggestion is to take some time to free write about it.

Take a few minutes to settle in, relax, become quiet, and bring attention to your heart. Express your concerns and let your heart wisdom respond in writing. Take as long as you need, and write whatever comes to you.

If you feel drawn to consider a next step with regard to bringing love and attention to this wound, you can turn to your heart again and ask for guidance about this question.

In Remembrance – Mary Oliver


She died today.

It is winter.
I feel her in the barren trees
reminding us
to let ourselves be winter
let ourselves trust death,
become intimate
with leavings
and the cold.

She died today.

She has merged
with the Silence
that she painted
in her poems,
that she inhaled
from the roots
and exhaled
into us.

We will
feel her
on the wet earth
see her
in the holy moon
when we awaken
at night,
hear her
in the mothering sea.

When the season turns
we will flower again
into the world
with the whisper
of her wisdom.
“…I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never
close again…”

Questions for Contemplation

Is there a poet, artist, musician or any other creative person whose work and being have inspired you?

What qualities does this person embody and express? What teachings or messages have impacted you?

If you were to write a tribute to this person, what would you say?


When I am quiet
as frogs
who stop croaking
when we trespass
their sacred marsh,

when I am quiet
as a child
who is sad
in every cell,

when I am quiet
as the moment
carried Mom away,

I become the Here of my life,
time just another thought.

Questions for Contemplation

What is your relationship to Quiet? What place does Quiet have in your life? What is the connection for you between Presence, the Here of your life, and Quiet?

How do you relate to the phrase “time just another thought.”?

The Way of Pain

Today the Sacred
is taking the shape of pain.
My body, a fist,
as if the tightness,
the ‘No,’
will command it away.

No. The ‘No’ intensifies everything,
tears with claws
that dig in.

“I don’t want this.
I can make it go away.
I can’t make it go away.
What if it doesn’t?
I hate this.
What if it gets worse?
What if something more serious is going on?”

Catastrophic thoughts
and the big ‘No’
stacked like heavy books
in my head – spinning.

I was whimpering,
now moaning.

Pause.      Oh.

I remember.
I forgot the wisdom curriculum –
pain      illness      aging
stretch us to our limits
and –
how they
teach surrender
reveal portals into
the dark
the quiet
the slow
awaken us to what life here, simply, is
teach that suffering arises
when we resist
what is natural, inevitable, true.

Brings me to my knees
and I remember
the Infinite
the Unchanging
the Divine.

In this moment, I’m ok.
Breath sinks from chest to belly.
The body, with its limits and losses,
it’s life and destiny,
is alright now, as is.
Crying, moaning, being afraid
is alright, too
and –
I will rest easier
when I remember that
Love and the Infinite
are also here,
always Here.

Questions for Contemplation

Has illness or physical pain been a part of your life? How have you been impacted emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually? What challenges have you encountered?

In addition to the difficulties, what have you learned about yourself and about life? Has the experience changed you in any meaningful ways? Would you consider pain to be a teacher in your life?

Can We Be Love?

In these troubled times
are we closer to the roots
as we witness a shattering of the old,
as vaults of dark secrets
are being cracked open?

Are we, at times, relieved
that scabs are being
ripped off,
that wounds and injustices
can be seen
and breathe now?

Is our buried grief
being unearthed?
Do we feel the unspoken laments
of our ancestors
as we let in the heartbreak
of our abandoned sisters and brothers
who’ve been cast out for millennia?

Is the inhumanity
firing us up
to love more?

Can we show our tails?
Growl. Howl. Roar.
Let our hearts bleed openly?
Come out of hiding?
Get real?

What about Mother Earth?
Can we see our greed and selfishness
with raw eyes?
See what we have stolen,
what we have destroyed?
Cry for Her?
Help Her?

Are we able
to see our Oneness
and commit to foster healing?
Can we be Love?

Are we inspired
to gather in the streets,
at altars,
in temples,
at the sea,
to become humble
before the Divine?
Serve our sorrowing world?

Questions for Contemplation

What are your considerations and feelings about the times we are living in? How do you think about the challenges facing our planet and so many communities, groups and individuals?

Are there particular stanzas in this poem that speak to you?

If you would like to explore the heart of these concerns for yourself, contemplation and/or free writing can be helpful practices. Reflect on what is being evoked in you with regard to a particular concern or numerous matters. If you are drawn to doing so, you can also explore ways that you might help to foster healing in our world.

Safe Invitation

Sit at her feet
silent   still.
Be a safe invitation.
Open receive her open
so she can soften,
then whisper kindness
to her edges.
Watch with the eyes of your Soul.
She may find her story,
ask you to understand
and guide her
to a welcoming nest
for her pain,
to a welcoming nest
where she can heal.

Questions for Contemplation

There is an invitation in this poem to open to resistance when you experience it. When we open to obstacles rather than ‘resist’ them there is an opportunity to see deeper into them and discover what might be underlying the difficult state. Obstacles can be messengers from the psyche pointing us to something that may need our attention.

Sentence completion is a simple writing exercise to explore resistance, or blocks and stuckness of any kind.

Complete the sentences, taking 5 minutes for each one. Relax, let go and keep your hand moving without thinking about the responses as you write. Here are some examples, but you can create your own.

1. The feelings (or issues) behind my resistance to working on the project are __________________

2. When I ask my resistance what it wants to convey to me, it says __________________

3. What I can do to work with what is beneath the resistance is __________________