Dear Miracle

Setting free the beautiful truth inside.


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The Way of Angels

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  I am a river sluicing past canyon walls,

  splashing at the bends before 

  settling down again.

  Little whitecaps belie the deep undertow

 of quiet and knowing repose

  rushing through my belly below.

And following a predestined path set before

over a million years and more,

I do not hammer or drive into the stone 

at my side—it is with instinctive ease

that I bend and twist and glide.

I have no need to resist what lies ahead

as I wash on by.

Let the howling winds chip away the stone,

let the rain drive a wider channel—

 I am going the way of angels.

 

© 1997 Shoshana Wolfington

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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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For Luck, Like Salt

imgShe is planting the earth in her body,

to rise again, turning

its soil, fertile and rich, the compost and pith of

ripened,  swallowed skins, fruity flesh,

sweet indulgences  gorged upon.

 

Year after year, tooth marked stones and pits

thrown over her shoulder just to see what comes up,

for luck, like salt.

 

Lucky for her,

 

feeling expectant inside her many wombs, Earth

is in a giving mood.

Expectant where thick blood tracks have lain down,

heart pulsating, inner knowing, new life waiting in its

crimson rivers and streams.

 

All the shining truths, the shriveled essences—

what had been unloved or shunned,

each and every one welcomed now,

the poor, the beleaguered, the scared, coming home,

coalescing all, finding common ground.

 

© 2013  S. 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.


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Bel Canto


bird10bI don’t know why, but the singing of birds

in winter always takes me

quite by surprise.

Not so much the noisy prattle, although wonderful,

of migratory northern geese pushing southward,

but the small throated songbirds that stay

for abbreviated cold winter days.

Trillers in lyrical bel canto

compelling me, quite in the middle of anything,

out my front door to listen.

Shivering from bare limbs,

swaying and fluttering in bleak wind when gray

can be wrung from everything—

even me.

 

Long after earth has gone underground for

her Sabbath rest,

a polyphonic coloratura sings,

ecstatic light emitting from delicate vocal chords.

 

These little warblers in joy-filled descant,

sing in psalms and praises to no one

in particular listening—

but me.


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Dream On

Woman Sits on BeachShe needed dream time. Life had felt like a whip at her back. Death had left its calling card—again and again, more than she cared to recall; and she was tired now, thought she might lie down though there was still a great deal more to do, even with the business of death being cleaned up.

She wasn’t sure if she should wade out into the water where everything was—a sea of possibility, laughter, work and friends. Was she ready to take her dreams and leave the shore of reasons why not? No, she was not, but who is? Sleep called her out quite a bit, and she didn’t know if that was just an excuse to stop or if she merely needed catching up, but giving into dreaming seemed good.

And honestly, who can sleep forever when dreams are burning holes in your head?

Dreams were in order then—a reordering of her days, a visioning, a new place to begin. There was something so right in this, so elemental when you break it down by task: Sleep well, eat whole foods, and walk a lot. Be good to herself, draw it out, breathe, draw it back in, connect with the ground, and write it all down. Say yes when one means yes; and know that saying “no” is not a dangling thread or frayed edge.

Dream on then. There’s time enough for it all in what would come; it was exactly perfect in its imperfection, she thought, while wading in.