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Archive for January, 2008

I am not talking about being purposefully ambiguous so you leave yourself a small little back door to bail out of last minute.

I am talking about “if” and “maybe” because there is definite certainties and absolutes. Things like- life begins and ends and begins and ends and flows on….things like-there is always love and kindness and greatness… things like- fire burning and water flowing . The rise and fall. Coming and going. Those big, philosophical stuff that I cannot wrap my tiny brain around and impossible for me to articulate in words.

“Maybe”‘s drove me nuts. I wanted (and still want) YES and ABSOLUTELY and DEFINITELY and CERTAINLY and RIGHT NOW.  When you say a sentence to me with a “maybe” in it, it is like slipping a rope around my neck and tightening it. My toes immediately curl and my jaws tighten and I just want to jump right out of my skin. Anything to demand that the “maybe” be erased. Gimme a definite answer, for goodness sake.

Well, I grew up. Changed.

A few years ago I read a book called “The Other Side of  Eden” wherein the author talked about how the Inuits, whom he lived with, would do this “maybe” thing, as surely as the sun will rise each morning. He makes an appointment with an Inuit to go hunting the following morning, confirming the time and place to meet. The Inuit will reply something to the effect of, “Yes, maybe I will be there.” The reason is because the Inuits know that life can end at any moment. Anything can happen between point A and B. One should not be so irresponsible and presumptuous to guarantee that one will definitely be there the next day at the agreed time. Who knows what will happen the very next second?

Ah.

After I read that book, I started to use “plan on” or “plan to be there” much more often. — “We plan on being at the park tomorrow.”; “Me and my girls are planning to be there!”. I plan, I act, but leave the possibility open that, well, perhaps we may not be there afterall.

But of course this attitude did not extend to all areas in my life. Ferdinand was never a “perhaps” or a “maybe”. He was an absolute. The number three child we eagerly and gleefully awaited and anticipated… …who decided to come a different way and who chose to touch us in a radically different manner.

So, now, in this household, we know what are the definites. And when it comes to babies, we use “if” and “maybe” all the time. Including the girls.

If we have a baby next time, and if it is a girl, we can get her this dress!

If we have a live baby… …

If this next baby dies, then… …

If mama has a baby and the baby does not die, then we… …

Mama are we going to have another baby? … … Maybe. We shall see… …

Maybe we will have a baby and Sophia will be x years old when the baby is born.

It is a language I need to get used to. Because, honestly, it hurts to hear the girls use such terms when it comes to “the next baby”. They are also no longer sure. No, I should say, they are certain about certain things these days- babies die. (“Of course babies die! Some babies can die before they are born. Right, mummy?!”)

Stab. Stab. Stab. Slap. Slap. Slap.

Very harsh lessons, these. But ones that needs to be learned, and accepted. Again, the head can understand, but the heart refuses to accept it. That is my problem. At least some of the time.

Strangely, it gives me peace sometimes, because I no longer dwell in the definite. Maybe we will have another baby. Perhaps it will decide to live and stay in this realm with us. Surely there is a reason. Definitely it is for the best. Perhaps it will happen faster than we think. And so on, and so forth.

I sometimes see it this way: when there is no absolute YES and no definite NO, then the possibilities are more. And, possibilities and options are good things. Most of the time. It can be liberating if I let go and stay open. I can see that “maybe”‘s drove me nuts because I limited myself to only two ways- yes way, and no way. Ferdinand knocked down walls and tore open horizons for me. This grieving journey made me realize this big thing: that, though there are absolutes, and some things are for sure; if one learns to live with if’s and open one’s heart to the maybe’s, then there is no boundaries. Everything and anything is possible. It is not an easy thing to do, dancing between possibilities and holding one’s breath so often, but I guess this is now my way.

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Dear Ferdinand,

tomorrow evening we fly. All four of us, packed into the cattle class, half-insane with excitement, bubbling over with glee of seeing family again, twiddling our thumbs as we cross over time zones and oceans. We fly halfway around the world, back to Asia. Back to where mama comes from. Back to where mama and papa met. Back to where your ashes are. Back. But not really. Where is the beginning and where is the end? You did not originate there, or did you? And you do not end there either. I thought of seeing you “again”. But it is not “again” because everyday you are with me. In my head, in my heart, in my breath.

So it is hard for me to frame this journey and make sense of it. You are already here with me. But I want to see your ashes, where they are kept. We’re never apart yet always apart. This kills me totally.

I hope I find some time and space and quiet. Somehow. In between the crazy errands and packing and staying alive and keeping afloat; amidst the queues and taking off shoes and jackets and putting them on again and endless trips to the toilet and telling the flight attendant multiple times, “please, can I have a glass of water? again? Please?”; amidst seeing family again and getting the girls used to a space and culture where they will be in for the next three weeks; amidst new year prayers and ceremony and visits; amidst meeting friends and buying books and eating food. I hope I find time and space and sanity. I need to talk to you. I have been on crazy go-go-go the past weeks, trying to get the visa figured out, trying to hang on to hope, interviewing doctors… I find I had no time and space for myself. I told S yesterday i had a vision of myself finally settling into the seat of the airplane and then breaking down big-time because finally I am still and I have nothing to do but to sit, and all the emotions will finally surge and well up and flood over and drown me all over.

Then maybe finally I get to figure things out a little bit.

It is hard to predict how I will feel, amongst family, when you are absent. No, again, I say, you are with me. But you are still absent. Thousands and millions of time I tell myself you are with me, always have been and always will be, but my stupid head just cannot get that fact in alright. It is still registering a loss, an absence, a “gone”, a “no longer here”, a death that is final. So everyday I stitch together the holes and then I rip it apart all over again. I still have no wisdom to get over this, get through this. Is the timing not right yet?

This is a journey, in so many sense and so many levels, you know what I mean? Such a crazy journey, this life. Hard without a map, itinerary and options to bail. But I will be trying my best. You bet, son. I just gotta, with you next to me, in my heart. I just wish we could hold hands and skip puddles while doing this. I wish.

My heart is always with you, and open for you. No matter where my journey takes me.

Love you tons,

mama

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As a child, I was very scared of the darkness. Those shadows, even if familiar, were eerie and scary. I had to go to bed with the light on. And then, after I had fallen asleep, an adult came and turned off the light. In the middle of the night, when I inevitably have to get up to use the toilet, I would wake up grandma, and everytime, without a word of complaint, she got up and went with me to the toilet, and waited for me, so i would not be scared.

As an adult, I grew to appreciate how wonderful it is to sleep in total darkness. The shadows sometimes still makes me wonder if there is something evil out there, ready to jump out and strangle me anytime. But most times, I have a good conscience and therefore not scared, ha.

I also began to realize, that one sees better in the dark. It may take a little bit, but soon the eyes adjust, and you see better. It’s easier to see in the dark than in the bright.

In the bright, there are too many things. Too cluttered; too colorful; too confusing. I do not always know where to look, and it often gets overwhelming- like when standing in the middle of the house full of stuff everywhere, out of place, and not knowing where to start looking and start cleaning up.

But, in the dark, it is different. Every movement is magnified. Any small flicker of light is immediately apparent. A dancing fire seems to burn brighter, hotter and dance more exuberantly in the dark; fed by the black. In the dark it is easier to see the stars; and the moon is no longer drowned out by the brightness of the sun. In the dark the moon can finally become herself. In the dark, even a small tiny star shines bright.

In this darkness, I see. I see much better. The kindness that surrounds me. The glowing love in people’s hearts. The purity. The grief. The sadness. The pain. The glimmer of hope. The beauty. This is the gift of this darkness.

Many weeks ago I emailed the hospital nearby to ask if they can recommend me some doctors that will be good for women who have suffered a previous loss. I never heard back from them and forgot all about that. Then two weeks ago one morning I received a call from Vicki. She is a nurse there and she told me it is her duty to go through emails and she finally saw mine. Her first question was, “How are you? Are you ok?” And then she started to tell me she is so sorry for my loss and asked if I am getting any support, and gave me the names of a few doctors she felt are really good and compassionate. She asked about Ferdinand, and shared that she also had a loss some years back. She said, she is no counselor or anything, but she wanted to reach out. She told me there is now a special memory garden at the hospital and she is going to write Ferdinand’s name on a butterfly and put that in a tree in the garden. She also wanted to send me a book, she said, written by Sherokee Ilse, about trying again after a loss.

A few days later came a big envelope with the book by Ilse as promised. And a card from Vicki telling me that Ferdinand is remembered in the memory garden; she included her namecard and said I should call her anytime I need to. I saw that she was the Infant Bereavement Coordinator. That is an important job. I know, because when I tell fellow bereaved mums about this, they tell me they wish their hospital has someone with that important job of holding a mother’s grief space after her loss. She also included this beautiful bookmark that just touched my heart so deeply, and left the engraving of my baby’s feet on there forever:

Then two nights ago I was at a Goddess Moon Circle. I had exchanged my basket with L. and at the end of the circle we get back our baskets, with a gift in it. And perhaps the basket is adorned or transformed; all these based on our past month of getting to know each other deeper. L. had wrapped the basket handle in beautiful silver ribbon to represent the Moon goddess. Then she weaved some blue fabric around the perimeter of the basket. She said, “I wanted to symbolize and honor the year you have had.” And then she started to cry. And my nose started to experience that sensation you have after somebody has punched it. The forerunner of tears. And my throat started to tighten. L. continued, in tears, “I just wanted to honor Ferdinand.”

   That was such a wonderful, beautiful gesture! I thanked her deeply. Yes, I wanted Ferdinand honored. And it was so appropriate too… with the moon and her transformation; my transformation, and Ferdinand being part of the transformation. I had recently thought back on how 2007 was such a crazy year for us, especially the second half, and L. had symbolized that so beautifully and appropriately on my basket. Blue has always been my favorite color. I love it.  It is the blue of being down and blue; but it is also the blue of the sky, the forever expanse; it is where Ferdinand resides. L. understands how a bereaved mum does not want to forget, even if it is painful. This pain is a part of the transformation. It is going to become something else. Hopefully something else beautiful.

And so, I am not out of the darkness yet. But it is ok. It is fine. Fireworks look better in the dark. Stars twinkle brighter. I can be quiet and still and listen, and see. Everything.

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> I can’t believe… that the tears can still come so easy… six months after…

~ You are surprised?

> Yeah. and then surprised that I should be surprised. Six months seem so long, and yet feels like yesterday only. And inside I know the healing takes forever; is an ongoing process. But still…

~ Don’t you wish there could be clear stages and indications?

> Yes. And also how Sophia has changed in her grieving process. She lately is so deeply aware of Ferdinand’s absence and often cries and says she misses him; or is sad because he is dead…

~ That really kills me.

> Yes, really stabs at my heart. And I am still trying to figure out this “grief” over the not-having-a-homebirth “thing”…

~ those alternating feelings?

> Those, yes. One minute I feel it is definitely a right decision to go with an OB and a hospital birth; the other I feel I am a sick coward and question why I do not dare to have faith; then the fear that comes with the “what-if” questions. I am driving myself insane!

~ Do you still think it is an ego thing?

> Yes, I still think it is an ego thing. I totally feel it is my big, selfish ego that wants a homebirth. That a birth-of-my-dreams is more important than a healthy, living baby. Although, no OB or hospital can guarantee you a healthy, living baby…

~ So you gotta make peace with your decision somehow…

> Yes, I need to make peace, and accept. Really flow into it. And not second-guess and doubt and plummet myself all the time!

~ It’s going to be an ongoing process.

> I guess so… and that makes me tired. Like, when is this ever going to stop?!

~ That is life, isn’t it?

> Blah.

~ But I am sure, with time, patience and faith, it will all come together beautifully.

> I can only hope.

~ Sigh*

> sigh*

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Dear Ferdinand,

lately mama has been cursing a lot. Yes, cursing. Not loudly, but in my head. Especially when I am driving, and I look up and see the clouds, and I think of you, and sometimes I get mad, and I swear. Curse. Sometimes the words flash across like those on a digital message board, and keeps repeating.
T said the six-month-mark can be very tough. Maybe that is the reason why I am feeling unsettled of late. Like ants crawling in my pants. I cannot sit still and just be. I keep mentally pulling my hair out. Sleep badly and just could not get myself out of bed most mornings.

I miss you.

I still miss you, so terribly. Wish you are here. And sometimes I then mentally slap myself and say, “Come on, keep moving already!” But you understand, that, even as I keep walking, I carry you, this sweet bundle, in my bosom. This sweet bundle that I cannot kiss and hold.

Mama has been interviewing doctors. It is really not so much fun, you know? #1 was like a businessman, but I appreciate his honesty. He keeps referring to “my college”- the American College of Obsterics and Gynaecology. I don’t know, I feel he needs to stand up straight and tall, with all those years of experiences behind him, and say, “After delivering so many babies; after witnessing so many births, this is what I think…” But he kept saying, “My college blah-blah-blah” and I felt quite annoyed. #2 was pretty straight-forward. She was ok. I do wish she showed me more compassion.

Today we interviewed #3. He is a “maybe”. At least he asked, “What is his name?” and he looked really sad when he heard that you decided to leave at 40 weeks. I said your name really loudly, “Ferdinand. His name is Ferdinand.” Because when I speak loudly, it sometimes chases away the tears. But this time it did not work, and he passed me a box of tissues. He seems like a pretty decent guy, don’t you think?

Driving to the library after that, I started to curse again. I know, mama needs to stop this. It’s just that I am not able to accept that the next pregnancy will be different. We’ll start monitoring, they say. You will be at the hospital twice a week. We’ll observe the heartbeat, the breathing pattern… all that stuff. Starting from when? I asked. One said 36 weeks, the other said, “Oh, probably from 32 weeks on.” Twice a week. Suspending my heart. Waiting around. Waiting. Why do doctors always make you wait? You even have to wait for them to come catch the baby.

I curse, Ferdinand, because I am a three-time-mom, but to them I am mom-with-previous-stillbirth. And I don’t like that label. I understand, of course, that they want, and will, do all they can to ensure that everything will be ok. Do I dare to reject these observation visits at the hospital, twice a week; waiting to make sure we hear a heartbeat and that everything looks “normal”? No, I dare not. Having lost you was way too intense. It is still very, very intense. Today the doctor said, “It still feels so fresh, is it?” Yes, it is still very fresh, Ferdi.

So when I thought of the label thing, I wondered what would be better ones? Survivor? Fighter? Optimist? Warrior? Then I thought of you, and the meaning of your name, and I think I am just a traveler. Yes, a traveler- walking through, and passing by. Walking. Looking. Observing. Experiencing. Changing. Learning. Growing. Aging. Moving. Going. Coming. Arriving. Leaving. Loitering. Here. There.

We are both travelers, my son. Different, yet same.

Miss you much,

mama

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It is not infrequent that I get in my own way. Physically, emotionally, egoistically. By doubting, nay-saying, judging-myself-first. By being afraid, or arrogant, or something else.

Yes, I often trip myself; I am often tripping myself over.

Same with this.

This. This whatever-thing-I-am-supposed-to-call-it. Mourning, grieving, healing, finding hope, trying again, waiting for the light, etc.

I am not familiar with it. It is totally uncharted territory for me. New terrain. Unfamiliar geography. Foreign language.

But, unknown is scary. I try to take the reins. I try to become my own doctor. I self-diagnose and I attempt to self-cure. Maybe because I am a by-product of the era of self-help books. I am used to the rattle, chant and drone of “do this”; “don’t do that”; “things to avoid”; “the X steps to LMNOP”; “how you can blah-blah-blah”; “Why you should blah-blah-blah”; “Z reasons why you should not yada-yada-yada”, and the cacophony of tunes go on.

Every journey is different. The road i am on now, I am unfamiliar. And scared, I try to write a book (an instruction manual) for myself as I go along. Just sitting is too hard. Just experiencing the pain is too overwhelming. Just be is asking too much of me.

I read. I tear into books. I learn about stages of grieving. I order books; I demand that my library get those books right away. I spend time in-front of the computer, tube-feeding information off the internet. How to talk to my children… how to recognize signs of depression. I searched answers to questions… why did he die? Why. Why? Why!? I start to assess myself, like how R endeavored to do for me, the last two weeks of the pregnancy, and after Ferdinand died. He took my temperature and he took my pulse. He listened with the stethoscope; he felt around my belly. At least he knew what to look out for. I don’t.

So I pretend to know. I put my finger on my grieving pulse. Too fast? Too slow? Can’t find it? Is this it?! I try to determine my temperature of well-being. Not-so-good. Looks optimistic! Looks like it’s back-to-square-one. Not sure what is going on… … I grope around, not knowing where exactly I need to be going. Is this a straight terrain, but with dips in elevations? Or are there forks where I need to choose between left or right? Is that a mountain I need to scale? Or, God forbid, please do not tell me that is shark-infested waters ahead. How much farther? Do I charge now, or conserve energy for the long march? Or, is this a labyrinth? Why do I keep bumping into walls? Where is that GPS? How many more curves? I am not sure of how time moves in this new, strange place. I am not sure of its seasons. Do they change? How many seasons?

I have no idea and I am freaking out. I refuse to surrender and so I grab the stethoscope and the white lab coat and I pretend to know. Every so often my diagnosis change and I am juggling between (self)medications and experimenting with myself.

Then I realize: how could I do this to myself? I do not even know what it is supposed to be like. Not yet. Not fully yet. A good doctor- those you read about- he injects himself with that venom or virus of whatever needs to be done, and he lay and he records and he experiments with things to do, or not do, or do nothing, and see how it all plays out. Then, he injects again. One more time. And again, watches what happen. See what unfolds. He waits. He listens. And if need be, he injects again. One more time. Because a doctor cannot always rely on the patient for an accurate description, the best thing is to become that patient. Then you know for sure the symptoms; how it feels like. And if you try the cure for yourself, you can say for certain it works, or not.

Well, I need the spirit of that doctor. I think I try, except I chicken out too fast. No! Too painful. Get me out of here. Right now. It must be the wrong medication. Try something else! This hurts too much to be good! When do I discharge?! I want out now!

I am the worst patient ever. And also the worst doctor. No ethics. No. Not at all.

So I watch myself as I spiral and writhe and bump and fall and skin and shake my fists. I sit; I meditate; I breathe. Then it takes too long and I fidget and wring my hands and start to curse. I try to peep around the corner and immediately that door slams shut. I watch as I gasp for air and grab at empty space. Fall again. Bump. Bang. Try again. Just get me out of this strange, scary place.

But I know, the more I try to rush at that imaginary exit, the farther it is going to run away from me. But if I steadily, patiently, compassionately stay with myself; and with even breath and firm steps, walk and look around, I will get there. I feel I ought to stop evaluating myself because in the first place, I do not even know what I should be looking out for. Except perhaps, one day, my heart will skip and sing to me, and I will know: I have arrived. This leg has ended. And a new leg begins. When I am ready it will all come together.

I just need to stop tripping myself over by pretending that I am the veteran traveler. I can be intrepid, but I should never feign experience, expertise and knowledge. I will try to breathe evenly and provide myself with constant fuel. I will keep my eyes on the stars and not forget to look where I step. From time to time I will even look backwards and check the view from a different perspective. But right now, I gotta stop bumping and rushing and walking the rut over myself. I will stand aside from myself. I will trust and keep walking. Darkness has a boundary. It is the edge where light seeps in. I await.

The Guest House

The being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness.
Some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
For some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing,
And invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.
~ Rumi

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I have had this book, edited by M.J. Ryan, for a couple of years. From time to time I flip through it and find inspiration, and smiles. And I have found, when you have nothing else to hold on to; when the ground beneath you is slipping rapidly, and you fear you are hopelessly falling into the quick-sand of darkness and hopelessness (again), it always, always helps to count your blessings. It makes you suddenly awake and alive again.

Be grateful. Everyday I wake up and breathe and walk down the stairs, I know I have another chance to try again. To be joyful again. To find hope again. And it is really nothing by virtue of my own efforts only. There are beautiful forces outside of me that helps me stay afloat. When I gasp for breath; when I stumble and reach out desperately, there is always a hand there. When I grit my teeth and think to myself, “I give up. I cannot muster another inch.” I find arms that lift and carry me. A loving heart. Compassionate ears. I have much, much to be grateful for. For everything, indeed.

Below are some passages that called to me recently as I went through the book again:

I will light candles this Christmas
candles of joy, despite all sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.
Candles of courage where fear is ever present,
candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens.
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all the year long.
~ Howard Thurman
 
We thank you now for love, the great, the miraculous gift. For love in the body that comforts, for love in the emotional body that delights and frustrates and instructs, for the love of our sacred circle of friends, for love in the spirit beyond all walls and wounds, bounds and ends.
Love, we thank you for love, love that stirs and soothes us, love that gathers us into all joy and delivers us from all brokenness. Love that hears the soundless language, love that imagines and dreams, that can conquer all and willingly surrenders everything. Love that brought us into our lives and love that will carry us home.
~ Daphne Rose Kingma
 
Hold on to what is good
even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe
even if it is a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do
even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life
even when it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand
even when I have gone away from you.
~ Pueblo verse
 
Teach me your mood, O patient stars!
Who climb each night the ancient sky,
Leaving on space no shade, no scars,
No trace of age, no fear to die.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
Mighty God, Father of all,
Compassionate God, Mother of all,
bless every person I have met,
every face I have seen,
every voice I have heard,
especially those most dear;
bless every city, town, and
every street that I have known,
bless every sight I have seen,
every sound I have heard,
every object I have touched.
In some mysterious way these
have all fashioned my life;
all that I am,
I have received.
Great God, bless the world.
~ John J Morris, SJ
 
Let today embrace the past with rememberance and the future with longing.
~ Kahlil Gibran
 
From joy I came.
For joy I live.
And in sacred joy
I shall melt again.
~ Yogananda
 
Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, bless you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all in the world, your return.
~ Mary Jean Iron
 
Kali, be with us.
Violence, destruction, receive our homage.
Hep us bring darkness into the light,
To lift out the pain, the anger,
Where it can be seen for what it is–
The balance-wheel for our vulnerable, aching love.
Within the act of creation,
Crude power that forges a balance
Between hate and love.
Help us to be always hopeful
Gardeners of the spirit
Who know that without darkness
Nothing comes to birth
As without light
Nothing flowers.
Bear the roots in mind,
You, the dark one, Kali,
Awesome power.
~ May Sarton
 
Think of all the years passed by in which you said
to yourself, “I’ll do it tomorrow,”
and how the gods have again and again granted
you periods of grace
of which you have not availed yourself.
It is time to realize that you are a member
of the Universe,
that you are born of Nature itself,
and to know that a limit has been set to your time. Use
every moment wisely, to perceive
your inner refulgence,
or ’twill be gone and nevermore within your reach.
~ Marcus Aurelius, translated by Jonathan Star
 
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
~ Dawna Markova
 
Earth brings us into life
and nourishes us.
Earth takes us back again.
Birth and death are present in every moment.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
 
On this day, we pray for tender compassion on all the little ones, whose new souls, so fresh from the light, shine in our midst with a darling adorable brightness.
May we honor them deeply, learn from them truly, respecting the deep wisdom they carry. Make us wise in our nurturing of them, generous in our loving, unending in our compassion, expansive in our wisdom, kind with our intelligence, and graceful with our hearts. Let us give to them and receive from them, and let it be known among us that they are neither our projects nor our possessions, but messengers of light, illuminations of love.
~ Daphne Rose Kingma
 
Earth mother, star mother,
You who are called by
a thousand names,
May all remember
we are cells in your body
and dance together.
You are the grain
and the loaf
That sustains us each day.
And as you are patient
with our struggles to learn
So shall we be patient
with ourselves and each other.
We are radiant light
and sacred dark
–the balance–
You are the embrace that heartens
And the freedom beyond fear.
Within you we are born
we grow, live, and die–
You bring us around the circle
to rebirth,
Within us you dance
Forever.
~Starhawk, “The Spiral Dance”
 
To be joyful in the universe is a brave and reckless act.
The courage for joy springs not from the certainty of human experience, but the surprise. Our astonishment at being loved, our bold willingness to love in return- these wonders promise the possibility of joyfulness, no matter how often and how harshly love seems to be lost.
Therefore, despite the world’s sorrows, we give thanks for our loves, for our joys and for the continued courage to be happily surprised.
~ Molly Fumia
 
Each day of human life contains joy and anger, pain and pleasure, darkness and light, growth and decay. Each moment is etched with nature’s great design- do not try to deny or oppose the cosmic order of things. Always try to be in communion with heaven and earth; then the world will appear in its true light.
~ Morihei Ueshiba
 
Every particle of the world is a mirror,
In each atom lies the blazing light
of a thousand suns.
Cleave the heart of a rain-drop,
a hundred pure oceans will flow forth.
Look closely at a grain of sand,
the seed of a thousand beings can be seen.
The foot of an ant is larger than an elephant;
In essence, a drop of water
is no different than the Nile.
In the heart of a barley-corn
lies the fruit of a hundred harvests;
Within the pulp of a millet seed
an entire universe can be found.
In the wing of a fly,
an ocean of wonder;
In the pupil of the eye, an endless heaven.
Though the inner chamber of the heart is small,
the Lord of both worlds
gladly makes His home there.
~ Mahmud Shabistari, translated by Jonathan Star

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