Monday, October 26, 2015
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Saturday, October 24, 2015
She appears about this time every Fall.
This is her 7th year.
She has a large clutch here on the Coast of Texas,
Her voice is not gentle dove-like cooing,
She swoops in, gathers us around her, and guides us
And we wait, another year, for Hamsa to return.
Hamsa* is a Sanskrit word for a migratory bird, usually pictured as a swan or a wild goose. An “animal mask” of both the universal creative impulse and the self-realized saint. It “symbolizes the divine essence, which, though embodied in and abiding with the individual, yet remains forever free from, and unconcerned with the events of the individual life.” (Heinrich Zimmer), from The Yoga of Breath, by Richard Rosen.
And Hamsa, in this poem, is our own Richard Osler, flying in from Canada each Fall to lead us through a wonderful weekend filled with grace, a poetry-writing weekend, poetry as prayer.
This weekend we had a pre-writing assignment, and we shared our first poems last night. Here is mine.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
And dear old Fr. Richard Rohr was the first one to tell me, "You can't be born again until you die first." Who knew?
Anyway, I woke up very early this morning remembering a poem (an epic!) I wrote a number of years ago, entitled Born Again. I want to share the poem with you - it's long, but so too is the journey of new birth. As I wrote this poem, I became the baby being born, feeling the difficulty of being born. I don't think I had ever thought about what it felt like to be born. I knew what it felt like to give birth, and believe me, that's not easy, but the morning I wrote this poem, I was experiencing "transition" as the baby in the womb, instead of the mother giving birth, and I think, from the baby's point of view, it has to feel like death.
As I wrote the poem, I think I came to the conclusion, that you and I don't "choose" to be born again. That doesn't fit my old evangelical understanding, but babies don't make the choice to begin the journey from womb to birth. That choice is made for them because they outgrow the space they are in. You've outgrown your old space son. You don't have any choice but to be born again - or to die, because that's what will happen if you stay where you are too long. Now, I don't have a clue how long "too long" is - it's metaphorically speaking, of course.
So, before this letter gets so darn long that even a blog post won't hold it, this is the poem I wrote. I think it must have been about 2010? I think I wrote it before I went to Arizona (2011), which is when I think I "broke through that damn door" and was actually "born again". At any rate, this is MY experience of being "born again". I told Scott McKay MANY years ago that I had been born again and born again and born again, many times...but this new birth was probably the most excruciating new birth of this lifetime. I think maybe it's the only time I truly "died" first. OK, so here's the poem...
Ok, so see, it is long. You only took 4 hours to be born, my quickest delivery, but Joe took 23 hours, so consider this a 23-hour birthing poem.
I have no clue how long this process will take for you. I think mine took about 7 years before I felt the break through. Saints of old called it "the dark night". No matter what you call it, it's a death to an old way and a birth into something new. I am praying for you - for a safe delivery through this "transition" period. I love you. I believe in you, and I believe in God IN you. Transition is the most difficult part of giving birth. And in THIS process, you are both mother and baby, so, no, it's not going to be easy. It will be the most difficult thing you've ever done, but you will be born into a spacious new place, and a spacious new way of living your life. I have no clue what it will look like, or how it will feel for you, except there will be a place inside you that knows you've done it. You've done the work, and you are a new person indeed.