the sky is my delight & favorite mystery. the wind joins in with a sound track of primal rippling, swirling aeolian music that rushes wildly through my hair in long pale fingers of cool curved air. something deep down within feels the allure of distant space & hears the faint synchronized singing of the blazing stars. they sound like crystal chimes & tiny bells, & they tell me that they would like to roll their song through me like a soft warm translucent sphere of healing mist & sweet blessing. how can i remain separate with all life flirting outrageously with me? i am not so hard & solid any more. the sky comes all the way to the ground & wraps itself around me emphatically. i'm not wanting to get away from it: i know it for a blessing. "you can take me now, sky!" i cry. "roll your holy song through me, bright stars! i fully consent." i can't quite say what happens next, because it is all as nonverbal as it can be. i can say that i am changed now: i'm not fully of this earth any more. i have cosmic family, relatives that can claim me from before planet earth even exists. the sky has done its duty, reuniting me with far family. the sky is just another word for space after it has taken off its shiny jewelry & wrapped it in air & clouds & wind & rain. the sky is domesticated space. just as i have reached up to it & honored it, so it has been called down to me reciprocally. i know that all of this comes about because of Your presence, Shiva. Your hand has been busy in all this earthly & cosmic blending, for Your work is behind the scenes. it is only because i hold Your hand in mine that i am able to come as far as i have. You are my guide & protector, Shiva, & i am as close to You as Your own existence, actually being a part of You. i am truly, assuredly, a cell in Your Body, blue like sky curving above & wrapping around: Your holy arms holding me soft, like love itself.
a magical, mutual transglobal blessing
You sent me upon a mission, Shiva, more than forty far-flung years ago. to begin the calling, You impress me with signs & wonders to get my full attention. in a vision, great portents are placed before me, cosmic symbols: a ring of fire emerges from a total eclipse, soaring to circle orion, then the pleiades, where etheric shapes come forth; a pale golden square that slowly sinks into the receptive earth at my feet; a translucent silvery bell that enters my heart chakra; a glowing angel thrusts his hands into my heart area, smiling. i am stunned speechless. i know this is big! information is now downloaded to my awareness. i am shown that the angel is preparing for birth as a human & that i owe gratitude to him. i am told that i will remember him from this vision & that he will remember none of it. he will appear, through his speech & acts, to be an ordinary young man, yet he has a special destiny, & i am to encourage & mentor him. no details are given & this is all i know. i am alert to find him, to encounter him, & the years pass by. decades elapse: forty years have now passed, yet still i look for that human angel. my circumstances become limited as disability necessitates living in a nursing home. nonetheless, that vivid vision lives urgently within me, still calling, even as the body nears eighty years of living. one day after the removal of a cancer, i seek musical comfort from a new singer sincerely belting out a deeply feeling version of Your Shiva Tandava Stotram, the song that is the most meaningful of all to me. i listen to more than thirty different versions by various singers, Shiva, & his is truly the very best. i feel that this is quite important somehow. though the vision has not yet been remembered, i am so impressed by his version of the Shiva Tandava that i contact him to encourage him. he is but twenty years old at this time, living at home in india, & i live in the usa. it takes me months to recognize him as the angel in my long-ago vision, now here in his human form. i am painting a canvas of Shiva with dark blue skin & hair. in a flash, i see this as a photo negative of that pale angel in the vision. it is my singer! then, when in video chat while we talk, he reaches out with both of his hands towards the phone, which from my angle appears as if his hands are reaching towards my heart center. that's when it really, vividly hits me: this is he! this is the one whom i have been waiting for & looking for all these many years! of course, i naturally love him. my heart has been prepared long ago for this very time. he easily accepts my love & cautious confession about the vision. he is mercifully open to it all. i have shared with him twice a day now for five years & have been his confidant & counselor through many ups & downs. we speak on video chat most days. i have sat with him through his time of dengue fever & typhoid. he has sat with me through my husband's death & my covid episode. we help each other. he is twenty-five now & i am eighty-one, yet age just doesn't matter any more. i don't really know what my task with him is, but this i do know: that i am to be available to help him in whatever way i can. he has certainly helped me! he is a rare young man, open-hearted, tender & kind. he is also an amazing hindustani classical music singer with a master's degree, preparing for his doctorate. it is a path of uncertainty & i am his encourager. he is also my encourager, & the bright light in my life, an expression of You, Shiva! i am deeply touched that You have given me a dear, faithful companion whom i see every day, someone who sings, laughs & blows me kisses & makes silly faces to get me to laugh & be silly too. thank You, Shiva! i have thought that i am the one to be here for him when truly, he is quite equally here for me as well. it is a magical mutual transglobal blessing! both of us, Shiva, in our own ways, are here for You, writing bhajans for You, & carefully weaving Your living presence throughout all our poetry & music. we love You, Shiva, as we love each other, innocently, with a pure, sweet, spiritual love that emanates straight from the hridaya. our deep gratitude flows like a river to You, Shiva, a holy, hallowed river.
dear feet: i owe you
dear feet: i owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude for eight long decades of patient service. you are the farthest distance away from my center of attention, yet you're as faithful & true as the sun & the moon are in their service. you bear the weight of the whole body, so strong & resilient you are; enduring & undemanding. thank you, dear feet for holding me to my path for all these many years. dear hands: i love your skill at fitting objects together & making something useful from them. i appreciate your determination to be practical, yet somehow to create beauty out of simple necessity. thank you for holding tight to the really important core values & blessings. i am equally grateful that you can let go with grace & ease when the time does come around at last for release. thank you, dear hands, for holding on tight to love & for not letting go. dear brain: playground, toolbox & haven of the mind, hammering out the learned synapses of thoughts, habits & proven survival strategies. you wear the crown of responsibility for integrating the parts into a responsive whole. thank you for continuing with your synthesis of varied patterns into a meaningful picture. dear brain/mind: thank you for helping me see the divine at work in my life as it plays happily & innocently with beauty & wonder. dear Shiva: i am humbly grateful to You for making Your presence in my life known. You are the living gateway & channel for deeper awareness of the subtle forces that move in & through me. the brain, hands & feet owe everything to You, for You are their determining master now that i have taken refuge in You & have my home & true identity in You. thank You, Shiva, for reaching out to me in my need when i was sinking under the dense weight of maya. i hold fast to You, Shiva, through the magnetism of the holy heart, the strongest of all the subtle forces, & the most healing by far.
You have made many cameo appearances in my life, Shiva,
brief sightings to reassure my fragile human self of Your presence.
You have given wonders & miracles to wake me up somewhat.
i am grateful. i wish that i could remain awakened, but dullness
& weariness grip the body, & my initiative has slowly
congealed & become stiff, encumbering me & slowing me down more.
i am old & i am not a hero: i simply continue to
endure. sometimes i feel this must surely qualify as heroic:
just to keep on going! oh Shiva! is it time now for another
cameo appearance? or maybe even a small wonder? i will
wait here for You, alert & observant, continuing to endure,
chanting Your mantra day after day & writing these poems to You.
a long game
You play a long game, Shiva, so i'm often looking for signs of You, to get an idea of what You have planned for me this time. You keep me alert, curious, & i feel lively when You are near. Your energies make me tingle & giggle like a shy young schoolgirl. i need more of this for the secret doors of my heart to slowly work themselves open. that is where the overflow of silliness dwells, pacing behind the closed doors. now the doors fly open! & the most arcane silliness of all comes forth, prancing & skipping & dancing through the biggest doorway, laughing & flirting as it comes up to me. i hold out my arms & it leaps gladly up to be cuddled & stroked & tickled on its little soft fuzzy belly, snuggling close. "let's play dress-up," i whisper in its eager ear. "come see all my costumes," i say as i carry this silliness with me. i have some long game costumes like mountain & ocean & tree. my favorites are the stars, & that's also what my rescued silliness wants: to fly swiftly through the sky like a star. it won't believe me when i say that stars don't actually fly. "you just haven't paid enough attention," my silliness snorts. "you watch me now!" it gives a really big, mighty, mammoth jump that totally breaks free of gravity's ties, & it goes up, soaring across the sky with a huge grin shining on its face. it doesn't burn up either, it just puts on a wild dance show that leaves all the other star systems gasping in awe, & with the urgent desire to let their own silliness roam free & wild. all silliness is good at finding the wells of healing. in this way, the silliness got set free to be in our lives. so is this Your long game, Shiva? bringing us more laughter & ridiculousness? loosening us up to free our vision from the hard grip of the tight & narrow patterns that we had become entangled within? what a holy blessing! thank You, Shiva, for holding my world together from the inside out; for filling me with Your presence & touching me with Your love. the rhythm of Your dance echoes in my jubilant heartbeat.
the things that we see & touch in this world are the shiny mirror-blurry reflections of beauty from anotherWhere, so familiar! we know that dear realm from the hot sweet-swift throb of recognition deep within the heart. we yearn for that original purity, & we chase after the things of this world hoping to reclaim it, yet it disappears in the grasping. the music we hear that moves us to the core is a faint intimation of that glorious music of anotherWhere. we hope to follow it back home to our place of original purity, yet we have become heavy, dense & cumbersome in bodies of warm meat & blood. we know somehow that we are so much more than this, & we quest after that which is still beyond our ability to register. yet this journey comes to us all eventually. it is what happens when we can finally struggle & shrug our way out of our protective yet restraining cocoon or chrysalis. Shiva silently oversees this inevitable timely transformation. He gives us the push & the lift to open our wings & soar finally into the purity of that embracing space of endless enfolding love that we can never quite forget. even our new wings are made of shimmering light & music now that we return to our root origin. it is our home, & we are here bearing the gifts of our various wanderings, ending our exile in moist meat & dense bone, as we return again to the living light of the soul's divine abode.
butterflies from a cage
time is not a commodity that we can cook & store in jars for later use. we cannot condense space into a small cube for eventual expansion, neither can we press smiles between the pages of a book to set free at our whim, like butterflies from a cage. we are essentially helpless, yet with sincere intent to live kindly in this peopled world. we feed & cuddle our high aspirations every day, & they snuggle up to us at night. i am awaiting Your instructions, Shiva, holding out my hand to You to guide me inward to the heart & onward to beyond.
now that i know Your name
i came to You late, Shiva, at age seventy five. although You came early to me when i was thirteen, i didn't know who You were, & i drifted elsewhere. i didn't know how to cultivate the connection, & maya simply blew me away. You came again when i was fourteen. the out of body journey that You took me on became a living seed planted deep within my memory to continue informing me as an adult. You showed me the holiness of this existence. You encouraged me with the vision of my true divine potential. You wrapped me in love. but for years i was like a blind person in a strange new room, feeling my way through unknown mysterious obstacles on my way to an equally cryptic & obscure destination. finally, when my old life is dead & gone & i huddle amidst the wreckage & the shards of the remaining scraps, finally, You come. You come in response to the collapse of my beleaguered walls, roof & foundation. You come because at last i am wide open & asking for You, calling out, even though i don't yet know Your name. my heart calls out the loudest of all, for the heart knows far more than the head alone. & behold! events transpire that bring me to You at last, & You send a helper with Your everlasting mantra: Om Namah Shivaya. gradually the blinders fall away as my sadhana deepens, & i take refuge in You via Your mantra: in You, my chosen Deity who also chose me, & did so before i knew Your name. i immerse myself in You, I throw myself off the cliff of the world into the limitless ocean of You. i paint pictures of You, write heartfelt poems to You, sing freely to You & i chant Your mantras. my room looks like a museum honoring You, & even more like a temple in full swing of celebrating Your sweet sacred presence. in fact, Shiva, You genuinely do reside here now with me & in me. You are living through me & i am drawn by You to all that can assist me to come even closer to You. actually, You take me to the consummation of my long journey to You, Shiva. now that i know Your name, we cannot be separated. we are one life & i am Your expression in the human world, as are others. it's a mystery & i only have training wheels for exploring such arcane wonders. it's all Your body anyway, just as i too am Your body. because i don't know what else to do, i throw myself upon You to know myself as one with You, vividly & purely. i won't let go. i won't stop & i won't be sidetracked. You, Shiva, are my swadharma, my destiny & fulfillment. blessed is Your name, given as medicine for all. blessed is Om Namah Shivaya.
the spider trilogy 3: angel, arachnid or alien?
i do not know how tightly i guard the borders of the body until an attentive & curious little spider demonstrates it to me. i am so intently aware of her that i feel like i'm vibrating. the net of the mind is held tight over one alert spider: we study one another for long intense intervals over the day & a half that she is here. she takes periodic rest breaks & retires into the dark havens of shadows & i maintain vigilance about where i place these large human feet when i walk. i examine my whole environment carefully so i won't inadvertently harm her. i am akin to a guitar string pulled really tight for the span of the spider's visit. only after she takes leave & departs do i realize how very powerful & concentrated the energy has been during her stay. i am not at ease with insects or spiders at all, so i had been in emergency alert mode for the entire time my visitor is here. as days pass by & the energies mellow, i realize at last that the little spider who stayed & studied me had left a barren place in my life. it is rather like the silence of an empty house after the beloved guest has gone. i miss the presence that had brought me such focus. she is more to me than merely a spider. she is a visitor who has come through Shiva to teach me. my sadhana is to pay attention. i love how miraculous life is! she had only a walk-on role, yet she made a very deep impression on me & has left me pondering. i know that everything is of value in the divine ecology. Shiva, all of us serve a vital function as part of a vast wholeness. since we all are important, i can't know if a spider is an angel, an arachnid or an alien, so i am grateful for all beings. beyond the surface appearance: we are holy, we are blessed, we are one.
a marker on the path
it is as if i have been granted access to a dimension previously unknown to me. evening enfolds, & the other residents are in bed as the mind's silence now invites peace to embrace. i relax in my recliner, contemplating the soft surrounding space stretching above me & all around. my eyes lose their concrete focus & widen into the shifting shadow & light of the dancing air. it is as if the focus of my eyes has adjusted to a more rarified realm. i can no longer separate the vision of the physical eye from the mind's eye. gradually i become aware of two vague beings on either side of me. i slowly understand that they are benefactors, healers, & that i am one of their charges. we communicate wordlessly as they share their healing energy, which i accept, leaning back in my recliner. i come to understand that this interpenetrating higher dimension is always present, freely offering access to uplifting energies. my own vibratory rate has apparently quickened enough now to allow contact. this information flows into me to comfort with pure intent. all is warmly radiant with the light of truth & the fragrance of cosmic love interpenetrates everything. i relax into the healing blessing of this new frequency. awareness has deepened & expanded to include so much more! even after the passage of time back here in this world of flesh, blood & bone, i can feel the benevolent subtle presence of this more refined vibratory realm, a place of healing indeed! thank you for the warm encouragement, Shiva! i am heartened & energized to continue on, for i have now experienced that which was previously known through the intellect alone. though that is is not my goal, Shiva, it stands as a marker on the path of return to You, who are the focus of my attention. You alone dwell in my heart, which now sings Om Namah Shivaya!
small events & insights
fifty years ago--when studying the spiritual tarot-- i used to contemplate the sun's reflection in glass & metal. at the center of the scintillating bright orb thus revealed, i would see a dark dancing figure in swift moving exultation. i would rejoice that a divine being was graciously present, which my heart would tell me by the warmth of its joyous quickening. now i know that it was You, Shiva, touching my heart yet again, keeping in touch. in this way, small events & insights were building a foundation deep within me, preparing me for You, as the bride is prepared for the auspicious advent of her wedding day. much time, preparation & cultivation has gone by since then. i have honored You in my heart for years now. my wedding dress hangs ready in the closet & i await You, Shiva, every day. the heart is filled with longing & the mind echoes with Your mantra. OM NAMAH SHIVAYA
the nectar of Your name
once i was a convenience & a commodity, addressed by the
title of the social role i fulfilled--but no more! that old yoke was
lifted & i walked away, turned my back on it all & moved deeper
into the vast mystery. it had been calling to me for most of
my life & now i am free to go, for i am done with the world's work.
only the limitations of my own abilities restrain me
now. my actions are no longer shaped to please the expectations
& demands of others. they come spontaneously in natural
response to circumstances & i observe without interference,
seeing that events come & go, rise & fall, cycling repeatedly.
You alone remain constant in this lifetime, Shiva. Your name flows smooth
like pure nectar on the tongue & the heart opens the door wide into
borderless love. sweetness arises warm within. this is the medicine
needed now for the healing of this wounded human world, to soothe the
weary people crying out in wordless supplication for Your grace.
the unseen holy power of the mantra can usher in that grace.
Shiva, Your name repeated over time forms a strong protective field
& the nectar of Your name flows like a slow infusion of Your love.
there is no cure for the pain of the world but there is an anodyne:
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!
this fleeting human form
Shiva, You reach out to me through everything: through the high blue sky & through a sudden breath of ambient air, warmer than the surroundings. You stroke my cheek & my brow with gentle caressing intimacy & thus i know--oh, i do know!--that You are here with me now, tenderly murmuring "I love you" in the sweet subtle language You have taught me. You are the sky pressing softly against me & the wind is Your breath. You whisper to me that the body is a sacred vessel & that the personality is loved just as much as a tiny kitten is loved by mother in spite of its silly antics & accidents. You lift me up in ways i can't describe & You wrap me safe within the sky of You as if i am a gift offered to the storied world. i am a gift: a virgin, holy mother & visionary crone. i am Yours. All the roles & parts we humans play, we ultimately give to You, for the gift & the giver are actually one in fact, just as the deep blue sky is both space & atmosphere. Thank You, Shiva, for respecting who i am inclusive of this fleeting human form.