A prayer poem in the darkness
how are you tending to yourself?
Hi there, hello. Taking some inspiration from a new friend, Cassandra, I’d like to ask how you are doing at this moment before diving into more words. How are your shoulders? Is your jaw clenched? Do you need a glass of water?
As I write this, I’m letting myself take a big sigh, I’m noticing my breath.
I am in a wave of grief and loss, acute and sudden, unspeakable and raw. I have nothing tidy to say, no parable or lessons I’m learning. Just sadness and mystery.
In the northern hemisphere, we are in the season of the shortest days. In my neck of the woods, on the shores of Lake Erie, the sun’s appearance is rare and dearly cherished when she’s shows herself. Some days are sealed with a thick layer of gray clouds, an impenetrable blanket, protective.
Grief accumulates, takes new shapes, fills up containers, spills over and demands more care. I’m learning to feel grief as a practice, a lens through which to see the world - not pessimistic or depressing, but full of depth and compassion.
This morning, I offer to myself and to you, a wide-open prayer poem. For tender hearts, for fire in our bellies, for connection and expansion.
Sweet child, rest It is dark and cold There is nothing you need to do right now You can just be Be here, be with yourself, be with what is Somehow, in some way, it is all okay Somehow, everything keeps changing Breath deeply Feel your flesh expanding and shapeshifting Just by being here, by being you You are a miracle It’s cold, but there’s fire in you Do not ignore this Do not be afraid This fire keeps you warm, yes And this fire will transform you from the inside-out This is to be nurtured, celebrated, shared This fire in you She is fucking powerful Of course it makes you a little nervous This means your listening You can hole up into yourself Cacoon or hibernate This is okay, you are nature Just, and I ask you this with tenderness, Don’t stay here forever Everything is cycling Cells regenerate Dear one, Relationships are life Connection is a balm You know this, even when you forget You know this, even when it feels hard Take baby steps Or, flail your whole body into the pond of interbeing Your invited here, you belong Risk crossing lines Of politeness and protocol There are times when we must spill outside the boundaries Of our own body Of patterns or expected behavior Let yourself spill out Let seeds of love grow wildy Do not try to control or temper them Love is brewing here In the heat of fire In the wetness of tears This is rich soil For expansion For depth and change You are in good company Here, in the ashes of the forest In the moist dark earth beneath your feet It’s my prayer that you Let yourself ride the waves Let yourself be tender Let yourself shake And play And laugh And love So tightly And so expansively That you can’t help but to Surrender to this beautiful mess
I would love to know, how are you tending to yourself right now?