Dear Miracle

Setting free the beautiful truth inside.

Everything is Connected to Everything

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Everything to Everything

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What Fundamentalists Need for Their Salvation

 

Falling SkyI wish the following excerpt were written by me, but it’s not. It comes from David James Duncan, “What Fundamentalists Need for Their Salvation”, Orion Magazine. He, like me, cut his teeth on fundamentalism, so we both know a bit about it. I want to share a brief excerpt with you as it strikes a deep chord within me that I, myself, aspire to, but don’t always live up to.

The article was written during the era of President G.W. Bush, however, the author makes numerous salient points that could be applied to any extremist belief system. There is a middle path between the far left or the far right points of view. A middle path that would unite rather than divide, that would find the commonality in us all rather than the differences. Extremism, hate driven zealotry whether coming from Christian, Muslim or Jew or any other religious or political ideology, seldom comes to any good end.

“True evangelism based on the example of Jesus (whether you believe in him or not–my words) does not suggest the ‘missionary zeal’ of self-righteous proselytizers. It implies, on the contrary, the kind of all-embracing universality evident in Mother  Teresa’s prayer: May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.” Not just fellow nuns, Catholics, Calcuttans, Indians. The whole world. It gives me pause to realize that, were such a prayer said by me and answered by God, I would afterward possess a heart so open that even hate-driven zealots would fall inside. There is a self-righteous knot in me that finds zealotry so repugnant, it wants to sit on the sidelines with the like-minded, plaster our cars with bumper stickers that say, ‘Mean People Suck’ and ‘No Billionaire Left Behind’ and ‘Who Would Jesus Bomb?’,  and leave it at that. But my sense of the world as a gift, my sense of a grace operative in this world despite its terrors, propels me to allow the world to open my heart still wider, if the openness comes by breaking–for I have seen the whole world fall into a few hearts, and nothing has struck me as more beautiful.”


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Enough

Hubble01

There is space for everything.

Indeed.

For this unmade bed, for dishes in the sink,

for the need to sit here and gather dust

against unfinished chores.

Space enough for not knowing or why

after you’ve counted it out, things transform.

There is space enough, in abundance, in spades,

in dark and light and intense pain, in doubling-over laughter,

or the beggar on the corner, in the taking of a life

or the birthing of a child, in unending grief.

 

In the giving of compassion, in the restoration of

what wounds or is wounded, between any equation,

there is space enough.

 

Inside the life of everything,

on this lesser planet spinning on a wheel of stars,

in the unfathomable blackness of matter or hearts,

in galaxies that collide to craft a larger whole or

exploding supernovas in the shape of a womb,

there’s space for dying so that something might be born.

 

Messy, glorious life—it’s enough.

 

The whole of everything—a luscious trailing vine, keeps on

into blackened holes, over walls, snaking along

impenitent ground, finding its way in the order of things,

becoming and dying all at once.

No matter what in any mind, it’s enough.

 

 

© 2014 Shoshana Wolfington


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Play and the Language of Monsters

signs2

“There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency.

–Bertrand Russell

 I.

IT”S ALL OUT THERE. I am ten years old, flying out the door to play with my friend across the street. My chores are complete; the dinner dishes have been scrubbed clean and are neatly stacked in the drainer, a clean dish towel covering them while they dry.

School’s out, summer is in full bloom. Jasmine’s in the air, and I am intoxicated with it. My cherry red Schwinn bike waits at the door, my portal to the world. The heat of the long day is cooling with the advent of the evening’s breeze. I step up, one foot on one pedal at the same time I deftly swing my other leg over the bike’s other side, and without even sitting down, begin pumping down the drive and across the street, wind against my sweaty ten-year old face. Breathless, I arrive at Charlene’s door.

Charlene and I are making our big plans for the remains of the evening—should we play with our dolls or race down the street on our bikes? I am not there twenty minutes when there is a firm, heavy knock at the door. I hear my father’s voice calling for me. He is ordering me home. By his tone, I know I am in trouble, and I don’t know why. So does Charlene’s mother who stands awkwardly at the door. I feel embarrassed, my face flushes. My head begins to buzz a little bit. Feeling disappointed, I’m slightly sick to my stomach. There’s a storm coming.

My father grasps me firmly by the shoulder and marches me back across the street, my bike left propped at the neighbor’s porch. He leads me to the kitchen where I am horrified to see that he has removed every single dish, pot and pan, every knife and fork and everything in between from their appointed resting place in the cupboards. They are piled on the countertops, in the sink, and on the washing machine, and he is yelling at me how he found a spot on one of the “clean” dishes I had washed, and because of that, I must now wash every dish in the kitchen. I will not be playing until this is done.

Of course, it takes me to bedtime to complete. The tears run hot down my face as I work, steaming soapy water to my elbows—not daring to shirk my assigned task or there will be worse punishment meted out in the form of a hand-picked switch across the back of my legs and bare buttocks, or days spent confined to my room. I know my dad will be back to inspect my work for perfection. I am angry—it seems so unfair, but I’m just a kid.

A seminal moment. There were more than a few of these teaching watersheds in my house or my church. That beautiful, bright star racing to earth to be born into her amazing life just crashed to the ground. And stayed there.

I know how to play. In leaves or long walks, heady laughter, in beads and baubles, shaky bicycles at sixty, blackberries plucked from barbed vines on a sweltering August day and swallowed whole past purple stained lips and tongue. Arising in an instant from my seat and out the door because it is the time of Robins and Jays and Juncos and they are putting on a show just for me. In swirling yellow leaves, in piles of things, in midnight skies life is calling to me to come out and play.

But not until I’ve done the damn proverbial dishes!  There is hell to pay inside my head for that. I have been torn apart with it for over fifty years.

You think you’d outgrow these things. There have been years of therapy and hundreds of healing modalities. You’ve yoga-ed to death, stood on your head, breathed, meditated years and hours on end, ad nauseum, and it yes, where has it has brought you but right here, right now, facing it down all over again. There are layers of this stuff.  It’s those pesky monsters lurking in those darkened closets who stalk your days, insinuating themselves into your knee-jerk reactions and thoughts, like some kind of mad puppet-master pulling on your strings. Monsters of overwork, self-doubt and not good enough. Monsters of rape or stalking and bad men. Monsters of abuse and punishment for not being or doing what they expected. Monsters of horrible things. Some are unnamable, and some are just looking for names.

II.

My parents are gone now. Finally, I am coming up for air. Contracting waves push me forward into the bright light.

Cords cut, blinking back the light, I see my monsters, crawling, too, out of their darkened wombs. Breathe.

Together we will learn a new language.

III.

There is something indescribable shaping inside of my heart. I am falling in love–all those distorted faces inside the cosmos of me, softening. That ten year old, that girl of the many ages I’ve been with the broken parts just needs love. And I am surprised. Why did I wait so long—not knowing  this would happen on those long days spent in the land of nothing where dishes wait for swirling blue skies and stars, where phones don’t ring and I can say anything without fear of reprisal or a backhand across the face.

With wrenching compassion and forgiveness, tears of sweetness run down my face. I understand, and I vow to keep her safe.

For all the children hiding in closets growing up to wound or be wounded, to become captors or victim, willing or not, imaginary or real, the shape of forgiveness morphs my heart, heals me bit by bit.  So many wounded children in desperate need of love or a bit of wrenching compassion—the angry, haters, the wife-beaters, the earth destroyers, the less than lovely.

Here is the funny part:  All those monsters? They are merely pointing to the places needing  love or understanding a spot of kindness.  I am listening. Still, there are moments when I fall through the cracks. There is nothing to forgive in that.

Furthermore, it is time now. The season is ripe for healing, and as a friend recently said to me, “What you got to do besides that?” She was right. No dishes, no mother, and no place I have to be—mostly. Nowhere else to go but here, loving me, without shame or self-recrimination, forgiving those that wounded me; forgiving me for wounding others, and finding infinite compassion in all of it.  And…

I could go on.

But summer’s out there waiting for me, rising in full, fragrant bloom, and the jasmine is calling.


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The Ocean in a Drop of Water

Ocean in a Drop3I am but a string, upon which all my memories

are strung,

upon which all my existences run.

Jeweled beads one by one rest on me,

though I am not the beads.

Memory to memory, life to life and all that lies between,

I am the string, the ocean in a drop of water—

not separate from.

The same string that runs through you and me,

the thread of being that knits the seams of everything.

Woven of light, the exhalation of God weaving through

me and you, the stars, a child’s laughter, a grieving mother,

the deepest sea.

There is no other but the breath of God.

 

I’ve been here forever, so have you.

 

© 2014 Shoshana Wolfington


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Looking Nothing Like That

Letting go & Falling off cliffLove has a way of entering the back door

of your life

when you least expect it.

When you had your life precisely charted out,

your keys in hand, your perfect plans,

while walking out the front door,

when suddenly, BAM!

 

the back door slams against the wall,

like a hurricane coming in.

I was just leaving, you said.

You had to lay down your keys

and your map—because what just came in looked nothing

like that,

but what came in had its own plans for you.

 

While standing there, you’d never guess, looking at the mess,

it was only love come

to save you.

Resistance is futile, it said, surrender best.

 

But of course, it might take a while to learn that.

And when you finally get it

while it’s got you, this thing of your undoing,

this decimator of plans,

it becomes sweetness in your hands,

and the whole splendored universe moves

inside of you.

You wonder how it is you never saw such an endless

midnight sky blinking back at you.

 

Love is a shape-shifting trickster in ways you’d never conceive,

can take you to dizzying vistas you’ve never seen

on some crazy and crooked paths.

 

Love says,

It’s not about what you think it is. It’s more than that.

Love comes to bust down your doors and walls,

shake possibility loose in your mind,

get you to move beyond your self-imposed boundaries

as a citizen of the stars

into your own feral nature.

 

Out beyond the dictates of decorum or certain civilities

waits your aching passion,

but first you must learn to surrender

whatever safety

you think you have, then leap

from the precipice of that life.

 

© 2014 Shoshana Wolfington


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Talking to the Rocks in My Head

Curmudgeon Rock

Some years back, I attended a “Shamanism 101” weekend workshop. Among several things I learned was how to read a rock.  Crazy, huh?  That’s what I thought, too.  Not having tried it since, I was curious to find out if it’s just the rocks talking in my head or if it’s for real, and so I have decided to have another go at sharpening my rock reading skills. From my garden, I’ve selected a quite ordinary, nondescript looking rock. (It’s the one in the center of the picture with the burnt-out eye sockets.) Sitting it on the table, I begin to examine its rugged exterior.  Going so far as to get my magnifying glass out, squinty-eyed, I peer studiously at this triangular shaped rock.  Hmm…what is this?   Shapes start to form upon the rock.  Am I seeing things?  Have I officially lost it entirely?  I laugh at what my family would think if they could see me now.

It’s as if there is a kind of alchemical force at work in this rock as it begins to shape shift right in front of me.  Here buried into its craggy, triangular shaped face is a burnt out looking eye—could this be a kind of scorched All Seeing Eye from too much light pouring through?   Now aligning in a place next to the first eye is another eye forming.   Between there’s a hump nose, and below an inverted V shaped mouth.  I can see there’s no easily winning over the affections of this rock as it seemingly studies me in return.  Could there be some semblance of personality in this little craggy curmudgeon?

Ah, now redeeming itself, I see “two” cat heads with whiskers, no less, on the one side of its head; a tree on the top side; a kind of earth on the underside.  Feminine wisdom, it says to me; there’s the masculine, too, yin and yang balancing in the number two.  Could it be there is a need for more balance in my life?  This unassuming and down-to-earth rock certainly has quite a bit to say.

Feeling silly, but after a bit, I think I’m forming a relationship with this rock—this rock that is born of great struggle from the Mother Earth herself. Disconcertingly, I also begin to feel as if I’m being scrutinized by the All Seeing Eye looking back at me.  I look again—it’s been a long journey from where it began.  There are gouges and scrapes dug deep in its skin; there is the complementary feminine and masculine energy and the tree of life as it reaches toward its divinity.  There are roots and rocks, death and rebirth, and flecks of crystal like tiny stars that hint brightly of heaven buried inside.

Fitting so neatly in the palm of my hand, this crazy little rock must have a great many stories to tell.  It’s weighty and in a moment, grounds me, ties me to the earth, then floats me to the stars.  What has it seen?  What does it know in its density?  In geologic time, how old might it be? Born from erupting, spewing volcanoes from earth below, their red hot magma in long rivers cooling into wide corridors of land, shaped and shifted by ferocious winds, massive floods and so many cataclysmic things over millions of years?  Full of gouges and scrapes, it’s been a long journey here to my hand.

In some crazy metaphorical sense, I see it kind of like my life.  What wisdom or healing would surface while I in stillness sit?  At what point would the primal soup of remembering my own divinity come forth?  Gazing in gratitude at the miracle of my own midnight stars, might I find my heart giving up secrets of its own?  Traveling past soil and skin, what discovery would I make about myself that is surprising or beautiful?

What privilege this life, this body and soul born of earth and stars, rooted deep in rock, infinite ray of light traveling far to be here now; this holy moment looking deep into this rock, looking into me, both so full of mystery, revealing the truth of my heart.  Mystical and mysterious, question and answer, a cosmos of unfathomable nebulae of many colors, the DNA of the universe imprinted upon every particle that we are.  A body formed, spit out from volcanoes, storm tossed on to many shores, the sun’s light encased in our cells.  In time, I’m as old as this rock.  Outside of time, I’ve no beginning or end.   Amazing, this being-ness without end and what rock can teach you…when you listen.