i rise free

when i see the cool wind whirling leaves from the trees in the brisk autumn
noontime, i don't say, "oh, how tragic! what a sad destiny!" instead,
i delight in the bright colors of the crisp leaves & love to see them
dancing in the wind as they pirouette & play in the warm sunshine.

everything is coming & going, moving & changing, being born
& dying. it is the nature of things. beyond the domain of the
physical plane, other frequencies are calling me, for i do not
want to live as if this realm alone is it, as if there is no Source.

i see the sun reflected in a glass of water, but when the glass
tips over & the sun in the water is gone, i don't cry out, "how
tragic! what a sad destiny!" this would be like looking at one square
inch of a huge mural. i don't see the whole picture & i don't know
the whole story: it's being continually refreshed & renewed.

in this world of duality, every blessing holds its challenge &
every challenge also holds its blessing. thus i am simply grateful
for all my experience, regardless of its outer form. gifts are
delivered in various wrappings & i don't know what is inside.
i do know that somehow, somewhere, a gift from my divine Beloved
is contained within it, & i am grateful for the unknown blessing.

this is what You teach me, Shiva. You open up my vision to the
pure celestial shining within the terrestrial. You show me
the lotus rising from the mud & water, reaching upwards to the
sun. my heart is now doing just this as i chant Your mantra, Shiva.
i rise free from the thick cold dark into the radiant light of You.

the woods in the deep of the night

the woods at deep twilight smell sweet & moist, immersed in the subtle
allure of the night's hidden magic. the roosting crows in repose
mutter good night to one another in soft clicks & croaks. shadows
settle over the trees, descending from the hands of the sky like
a shawl to wrap the woods in featureless & faceless protection.

sharp details belong to the day, are necessary to see for
the accomplishments & unveilings that take place under the sun.
deeds are done & tasks await: gathering & dispersing happens.
order is valued & scripts are offered for all the roles & their
requirements. survival is the bottom line. i hold myself in
to fit within the narrow slot allotted for those such as me.

but at night, in the mysterious woods, none of that bright world rules.
here in the darkness, the unknown & irrational prevail, & the
shadows may be doorways opening into other realms. You come
to me through those shadows, Shiva, & tell me of wonders beyond.
You touch my heart & unlock it, & i will forever thank You
for this, for coming to me. i will forever thank You, Shiva.

the woods in full nightfall smell sweet & moist, an invitation to
deeper magic. Shiva, soon the moon will rise high & the darkling
playmates emerge from hiding. there's a song in my heart that escapes
through my lips & it stands as a motto for this entire life. "i
mean no harm; i am passing through. i celebrate all existence."

thank You, Shiva, for urging me out to befriend the darkness &
the unfamiliar. You hold me in Your hands & in Your heart
& i hold on to You forever. You take away my concern &
You leave me with Your grace, here in the woods in the deep of the night.

dancing shadow shapes

the wind is playing with the newly-leafed tresses of the nearby trees
today, tossing them about as if they were the long curls of intense
& passionate spanish dancers. i only see their shadows on my
curtains, but oh, how joyous they seem to be, flinging & swinging their
new spring leaves in dramatic sweeping curves of visual gratitude!

deep within, Shiva, there is springtime in the soul as well, reaching out
eagerly to You in Your guise as the solar winds to dance in grand
cosmic revelry. although i cannot see it directly, i do
notice the evidence of light & freely given exuberant
wonder & joyousness. i am stretching full out to catch it in the
fingers of subtle new awareness & discerning observation.

in this world, only the form is seen, & it too is beautiful in
the way that graceful moving shadows are when cast upon a curtain.
they draw us to open wide the curtain that we may see truly with
direct perception rather than partially & obliquely only.

yes, Shiva, everywhere i look i see Your messages & teachings.
the dancing shadow shapes of the leafing trees are Your fleeting greetings,
giving rise to a broad smile on my face & melting warmth in the heart.

the unity that dwells beneath the surface

trees are family, dear ones who scent the air with their cool fragrant breath,
who comfort & console. we even share much of the same DNA,
for we both express through water-based bodies made from the minerals
of the earth & its living organisms that swim free in our fluids.

trees, when known through the wisdom of the heart, are also honored as
the universal donors of sacrificial saviors, offering
their bodies as food, shelter, medicine & calming companionship.

with the subtle vision that You bestow, Shiva, i can see trees as
a group consciousness having an individualized expression too,
a gentle pervasive presence. under the umbrella of the high
leafy canopy reaching overhead, the thirsty lips of the roots
plunge down into the dark moist earth, drinking deep from hidden nutriment.

the roots partner in synergy with a widespread fungal network which
joins the forest of trees into a single entity, consisting
of individuals sharing & blending consciousness & nurture,
into one united urge of loving protection & sustenance.

only superficially do trees appear as individuals.
beneath the earth's surface they are actually linked in a widespread
ecology of sharing, networked with their nearby forest neighbors.

ah Shiva! it comes to this again! the unity that dwells beneath
the surface reminds us once more of divine wholeness & endlessly
flirts with us, winking & flashing its alluring fullness & blessing.

it reaches out to us ceaselessly in beauty & connection, in
subtle soft dreamlike pulses of kinship & alliance. thus do You
continually extend Yourself to all who come to You in love.

Shiva, Your warm presence kindles light in the depths of the open heart.
You invite me to sit by Your side, when i would but kneel at Your feet.

there is a forest

there is a forest where each tree will greet us like a dear old friend
who delights in seeing us again. we know we are home here.
we know that the body has come from this moist, rich soil & has brought
hidden greetings from ancient veiled beings. we know that home is here.

there is a forest where the boulders speak of the time when they were
temples. they now innocently confess that they are still temples,
sheltered by the forest for the sincere seeker of the sacred.
we will feel peace here, wholeness & the tingle of awakening
deep inside, invisible to the loud crowd of pressing people
pacing to the measured steps of the socially required motions.

there is a forest that bathes us in cool deep green serenity.
when we touch the tender new ferns & vines with our bare fingertips
they tell us that we are welcome here, now & forever at home
in this quietly breathing forest graced by slow shifting sunbeams.
"you were born here before," the trees tell us, "& we remember you."
we know this is true because the body responds eagerly to
the dim cellular memory. we have never felt more at home
than when we are communing with trees, stones & plants in the depths of the
leafy living forest where the birds can be heard rejoicing in
their wings & songs. "sing freely," cry the birds, "that's what voices are for!"

so we dare to sing & we know that goodness is at the root of
everything & that the forest is made of the same stuff as the
human body & we are close kin, sharing genes & molecules,
breathing together to sustain life. "we are holy through & through,
every atom holy & blessed," say the trees, "nothing is left out."

Shiva, You made them thus to be our teachers. we are all blessed from
the very beginning, for every atom is made of blessings.
the trees know this & they have been teaching us for millennia.
when we go into the forest we can hear them murmuring truth
into the wind. Shiva, You urge us to listen, for You are their
Lord & Protector. they tell us to live in deeply respectful
harmony & devotion: Shiva, help us to be more like trees!

You urged me

You sent me out into the woods at twilight to sing
to devas in the blue ridge mountains of my dreamtime.
i consecrated leafy temples to the divine
as You urged me deeper into the green-fingered trees.

You led me on intense quest after quest. i trusted
You to guide me on my way & You have blessed me, made
a thing of beauty of my long stumbling life-journey.
You urged me close so that i could take refuge in You.
You are my true reality in this comedy
of posturing, this rowdy parade of cosmic clowns.

You have ordered this woman's life to sacred song
which is imprinted deeply in my heart's memory:
"i mean no harm. i am passing through. i celebrate
all existence." & i do, regularly, daily.
truly, seeking refuge in You takes me to the heart
where all experience is rendered luminous, pure,
with sacred secret messages of Your loving care,
that holy trust that has me singing of You, Shiva!