“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” — Pema Chodron
These are awake times, as Pema Chodron describes it. Fear, uncertainty, loss and grief are throwing so many of us out of the nest. So much is at stake.
I want to share with you a line from Wallace Stevens’ poem A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts that I’ve been reciting like a kind of mantra for the past 25 years.
Fat cat, red tongue, green mind, white milk
Why this line? Because it keeps me grounded in the opportunities of observation. It rocks me in iambic rhythm. It’s a kind of poetry blankie.
A lifetime of writing poems has taught me there may be only one thing in life we have complete control over, and that is our attention. When I manage to remember this, I can choose whether to focus on what I lost or what I learned from it. I can choose to rest in the beauty of the world by devoting myself to the unfurling of each next, right word.
White dog, red boy, green field, fat mind
One observation at a time, I write myself into alignment with sound, image, sun, and sky. Each word can hold me as long as a breath before letting go.
This doesn’t change the fact that I’ll be thrown out of the nest today, and again tomorrow. Words can’t spare me the fall. Yet paradoxically, when I give my attention to the blank page of groundlessness, writing becomes more like sails. Or wings. I discover how to move with life’s currents and find my place among its agonies.
How does writing help you navigate uncertainty? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
Wishing you soft landings!
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Gorgeous Post! Your sensuous writing helps me to “discover how to move with life’s currents and find my place among its agonies.” – for sure!
Thanks so much, dear Allegra!
Sage, I love the way you take the lostness, the weightlessness of being thrown out of the nest and making our words wings or sails. Maybe they are even a parachute or a cloud.
My writing helps ground me. It’s something I can control, a world of my own making. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much, Tiffany! Yes, a parachute or a cloud! Here’s to writing our way to solid ground…I appreciate your insights.
writing is a way spirit can lend understanding to something im getting ready to accept. using words (symbols of symbols) in a particular language (so many to choose from).
these days i am looking into “eternal gentleness”. listening/reading/journal-arting/ -long hours of abstract formless unattached mindfullness. eternal gentleness are only words that try to describe the indescribable…it is to be remembered and experienced.
even just the word “eternal” is way hard to imagine next to our time addicted body ways. gotta do all this shit before we die…. a minute remembering our eternalness feels like hours..so full and so empty at the same time. peace of mind is not a teeny gift. eternal gentleness is an idea that lives in the mind of our source. our true life source is without a bother. without opposite. no legs. no arms. no mouth. no language. no attack. these dream items are not a part of eternal gentleness. eternal gentleness is unencumbered. it remains as it always was in the mind of eternal gentleness-an idea never taking form as an identity. it loves being itself. free. unlimited.
i like to lean into lovely phrases like that -that open and blossom the more i am ready to accept. gently……always gently…..
not one was killed in the writing of this.
eternal really is forever. eternal gentleness is full of itself, no interest in dying things. no interest in threats or changes. never has it even dimmed a little. it remains the same forever. its quite a lovely companion for the mind. ha!
Eternal gentleness–a lovely invitation, Vickie. Thank you for leading the way to greater spaciousness.