the spider trilogy 1: the spider who taught me

i am sitting on the toilet when i see the spider watching me
from the corner of the room. she is not large, yet has my attention.
i am carefully tracking her since i can't go to her at this time.
she moves to sit in front of the door & now my attention wanders.
when next i look, she is gone. when i rise from the toilet, i check out
the corners & crannies of the room: i don't see her. i carefully,
slowly, alertly return to my room, searching for her. here she is!
sitting in front of my recliner! we examine each other from
across the room. i talk to her, explaining that i would like to take
her carefully outside where i am fully convinced that she would be
happier. i speak in a sweetly soothing voice & go to get my
spider-catcher, a clear plastic drinking glass with poster-board lid to
slide over the opening. i return to see her yet sitting by
my recliner. i move slowly toward her, still speaking soothingly.

when she sees the glass in my nearing hand, she quickly scurries away,
out of sight. i sit in my chair, transferring the glass to the little
table in front, still talking to the spider. she slowly emerges
from hiding & returns to sit in front of my chair. i simply talk
companionably to her & slowly reach for the spider-catcher,
calmly rising with it in my hand. again, upon seeing the glass,
she scuttles rapidly away, disappearing from my sight once more.
i apologize to her for causing fear & explain that outside
truly is better than in here, but she does not show herself again to me.
hours later she returns to sit by me, seemingly still curious.
i am determined to safely remove her, but she won't permit it:
whenever she sees me with the glass in hand, she speedily departs.

the next day i ponder this wonder-filled visiting spider event.
she seems as intent on watching me as i am on watching her. she
does seem to make certain that i see her, so it seems that perhaps she
is giving me a message. an exchange of energy does take place:
i can feel the connective charge between us, the mutual regard.
slowly, like the sun rising over the far horizon, i begin
to understand more of this event. Shiva, You teach me by coming
as a spider to awaken me to the great holy realm of small
earthly life. oh! didn't i just write a poem about maya's web?
that's a spider-friendly image, & the lesson is to do what one
must with conscious awareness & with kind & full intent to bless, while
safely navigating maya's alluring situation set-ups.
there is no judgement involved. it is all too vast & mysterious
for heavy-handed words or confining concepts to seize & capture.

i set my pen & paper down as i prepare to rise from the chair.
wait! what is this? again my gaze lights upon the intrepid spider
who taught me so very much, sitting here once more at my feet right now!
a flood of wonder rushes all through me. the spider moves aside to sit
nearby & i grab my smartphone to take her picture. she poses calmly.
i move to get the spider-catcher & she moves too, swiftly gone now.
this is no ordinary spider, accepting the smartphone held in
my hand, yet fearing a glass held in that same hand! does she know my thoughts?

i can't help but laugh in amazement at this glorious, outrageous
display of divine playfulness! what else is there to do in the face
of such events? anything is possible: Shiva can play the role
of a spider. all life is holy & blessed in the midst of this pure
sacred rising toward the endless glory of the light of being.
all life is included in this abiding divine downpour of love.

the sky

the sky -- with its winds, clouds, sun, moon & stars & its fiery streaming
mysteries that pull us like a sacred magnet -- lifts us out of
ourselves, calls us to that which expands us & inspires us to awe.
the sky -- with its storms of rain, snow & light -- freely sparks
endless wonder as it plays with our earthly forms & creations.
it touches us with its airy hands, both gentle & sometimes fierce.
the sky holds us in its arms like a mother, guides us on our way
like a father, always there, always here: our holy family.

throughout this life i have taken more true comfort from the sky than
from anything else. the vastness of the curved blue dome stretches
as far as i can see. it is changing, always changing, shifting
in clarity from misty grey to a sea of brilliant azure
with immense rounded clouds like whales making their great mysterious
migrations, called by unseen energies. i too am called by the
unseen: Shiva, Your boundless power & love has convinced me to
cast off into the vastness of the shimmering unknown. the heart
is like a sail, catching the wind of spirit & filling full with
the gratitude that carries me onward in Your companionship.
You are my sky, holding my atoms in place. You are everywhere,
like space, wrapping me in Your indigo sky-blanket with the stars.
hold me close & hold me tight for i am but a child in Your arms.

when the sky splits open

when the sky splits open & sunshine pours
through the broken clouds, i see You, Shiva.
You have no form, yet Your presence is strong.

may the heart be touched & blessings kindled.
may sweetness be released to permeate
all who dwell in deep appreciation
of the sheer wonder of sky overhead
& breath in the warm animal body.
may we bow to Your fragrant presence here,
Shiva. You make beauty from brokenness
& angels from the most humble among us.

when the sky splits open & sunshine pours
golden honey through the clouds, i see You
turning toward this fierce realm. i mirror
You, shining light out freely to the world.
this light is Your own, recycled through me,
giving form to the formless, love to all.

Lord of my heart

when i threw myself headlong & heartshort into the rowdy suffering of the world,
You gave that to me, You allowed me the vividly intense experience i sought.
thank You, Shiva. i learned to endure & to value the kindnesses that kindled my heart.

when i wrapped myself deeply in my personal sorrows, You gave that to me as well.
Your permissions were generous. my greed was strong & omnivorous & relentless.
thank You, Shiva, for allowing me the deepening darkness that urged me to seek the light.

when i called out to You in love & longing, You came to me & held me to Your heart.
You remained with me as i meandered the obscure paths & the hard brightly paved ways.
You turned my life around when You transported me in my car to a different road
than the one i had set out upon. You wonder-bombed me, awed me silent, stunned & still.

You got my attention, enraptured me, woke me up & laid a new path before me.
on this new path we walk together & You teach me, remind me of what i forgot.
You comfort me in the midst of discomfort. You instruct me as guide & companion.

Shiva, for the time of intimacy to come i had to be stripped of my armor,
my shiny conclusions & competence, & brought to the knees of my humility.
it is here that i surrender my love to You & open to Your love beyond words.

so it is that You place me here in Your service within the crucible of Your love.
thank You, Shiva. without You all is hollow, yet dense enough to leave bruises behind.
with You Life is rich & promising like an april sunrise on a sentinel hill
in the pure realm of the devoted heart. i am Yours, Shiva. You are Lord of my heart.

wonder

You took me at the peak of my glad celebration,
negating laws of physics, erasing everything.
You removed the concept "impossible" from my mind,
threw me in a multidimensional miracle
& shocked my mind silent, leaving me in stunned wonder.

that wonder still clothes me like an invisible cloak,
something too amazing to share, yet it changed my life.
speaking of it is like catching fish with hands only,
or caging wind in the hands to bring home for others.

You shine light on my daily rebuilding of structure
through my careful words like bricks in a tall wall, Shiva!
yet i still want to say "look! see! there is such wonder!"
so i string garlands of words that i offer to You
because i overflow with rejoicing that you're here.
i am blazing with Your presence & the light leaks out,
cascading in these limited words i can't curtail.