Of music and musts and medicine…

The music flowed like medicine,   gently relaxing fingers
where my soul had become a fist closed tight.
Over my senses it came,  like springtime drifting through a window,
this invitation to the whole and small of me.
“Father,  I want you to hold me,”
the slow healing sound offered me words
to wrap around the lonesome inside.
“I want to rest in your arms today,”
sang someone who sounded tired like me.
Tired of hard trying and hiding
and making like I was fine.
Just fine.
There came a hush to my noise as the song ached low
and with it came permission here to be not quite fine at all.

“Hold me,”  I sang to this presence who enfolded me in a way that felt protective.
Here I sensed protection from judgement,  from evaluation,
from every driving, pushing, accusing thing i’d ever run from.
  Here was a love to run to,
and my voice dropped whisper-low as I sang the words,
“I bring all my cares and I lay them at your feet.”

This moved across my tender places so hard that I drew my breath in sharp
and let it go slow,
slow as a lifetime.
Here,  with this benevolent being,  this gently-there presence,
were no musts about another something else to do.
There was nothing here to earn.  No performance allowed.
And I heaved a tearful relief,  exhausted from effort,
from failure,
and from being angry over the notion that I had to try.

And so I began to show up to the music,
to meet with God there,
and so great was the peace of this place that I wondered whether I could ever
be moved to fear again.
Because this Love wasn’t impressed with me.
Nor un-impressed.
This freedom from evaluation felt delicious to me.

“I’m impressed” were words I’d learned to pocket
like tokens of my worth.
This had come with a hefty side of insecurity
because being impressive is such a random spark-of-brilliance kind of thing.
You never know when it will fire
or just leave you standing in the dark.
And I was tired of feeling exposed and having to hustle to cover myself.

Yet here I was,
all splayed out and weepy and unraveled and felt somehow safer still.
This began to heal the all of me
from every little bit of un-love I would ever know.
The relief swelled up inside and ran down my cheeks.
Here was a door only open,
a Love always there.

In those awkward places of pain,
those anxious parts that didn’t seem anywhere to belong,
in every tender, posing,  hard, off-putting,
game-playing,  humiliated place,
God was in the music and rocked me safe
in arms of Love.

“I feel your arms holding me,  I’m not alone.”
– Brian Doerksen

“The real ‘work’ of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice
that says good things about me,
to gently push aside and silence the many voices that question goodness
and trust that I will hear the voice of blessing.”
– Henry Nouwen

Holding space for mystery….

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Sometimes words fall,  scrambled,  at the feet of one you’d hoped would hear,
scattered like tiny stones,
so that instead of understanding and connection,
you hold your story alone.
In reaching out to try and build something real,
to find and clear where wires crossed,
sometimes relationship is restored;
sometimes you must grieve what is lost.

These are hurts we’ve all wrestled and known,
feeling shut out from a place that once felt like home

And it trembles so hard,  the possible loss,
that I’ve often rushed the process and betrayed my own heart.
I want to unlearn those hurried ways
to be sanctuary and shelter and my own safe space.

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Because what if we don’t need to know right now,
what if un-knowing is a safe place to be,
that sometimes mystery is the most honest space we can hold.

Being misunderstood is not fatal to our joy.

Once I accept that my words have not been understood,
that their spirit may never be heard,
I can begin to forgive
and in forgiving,  to heal.

In forgiving  I gain a soft and open space
where my soul clamped down tight with wound before.

When your heart stops thrashing to be heard,
it gets freed to sing more songs.

Sing them fearless,  friend.
Love will always sing along.

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Thanks for coming around,  even in my messy-in-the-middle times.
Right now it’s where I am.
I love that there is beauty even in struggle.  And I want to keep it real.

Been swimming in The Book of Forgiveness by Desmond Tutu.
Healing waters.  A masterpiece.  Every line artful and alive.

“We do not heal in isolation.
When we reach out and connect with one another –
when we tell the story,  name the hurt,  grant forgiveness,
and renew or release the relationship – our suffering begins to transform.”
– Desmond Tutu

Hope sings the wind…..

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I’m loving the wind in the last of the leaves,
how it whispers “let go” to limiting things I’ve believed,
and come awake to fresh mercy rolling in with each day.
to the way healing can fill  cracks in broken things
and nothing ever stays the same
but hope remains,  they drift and sing,
yeah hope,  like an anchor,
it stays.

And in the swirl and changing tide,
there comes flooding in a generous sweep of life,
something like a breeze that sends leaves flying,
and what drifts down from the updraft is unseen
but keenly felt,  like snow on bare skin,
and suddenly it’s snowing down a miracle
and nothing has changed exactly,
except for everything
and it’s always surprise,
always,
no matter how often it happens.

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I love how it comes,
the shift that sets the fracture so that you’re moving again
in the sweet buoyancy of that thing that I think is named “grace,”
scooped up and carried,
all for the price of a simple,  surrendered yes.
No heavy lifting required.
This is wealth.

I often wonder,  when I come back around to reclaim
what I go numb to when fear storms up a fog
and I can’t remember what I forgot to know,
that the heaviest thing we’re asked to do
is to trust and then let go.

It's a generous wind blowing,  stirring long-discarded dreams:)
 Put out your hands and drop down in your belly to that place
 where you open and give your yes
 or close up hard and grit your no.
 Love waits for you there
 with a wealth of grace
 waiting to be
 the breeze you ride
 out beyond the breakers
 and into the song of your deep:)

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These are yes and go moments.
Don’t think them away.

“Wild sings the bird of the heart in the forest of our lives.”
-Mary Oliver

I want to give away a copy of my November zine;  leave a comment and I’ll plunk your name into the hat this week:)
I love it when you share……thanks for joining the conversation.

fountains in bloom…

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I’ve been pruning and planting till my bones whimper at night

but the quiet gets loud enough for me to hear
when I’m down there working busy with my hands
while my heart thumps out an easy healing rhythm
and it lights me up,  the love raining down

 

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and it goes rolling like a river,
rolling through all the crazy-making pain that comes along
with living on this planet,
even the small stuff that squirms ugly

like the strange little worms dropping from the trees
that dangle creepy in my hair
and I can’t shake them off so my glove swipes awkward
and I wear their slime on my face
and it smells broken
and my heart nods how the stink is true

but the song rolls on truer, spilling down balm
until it’s beauty slices right through the muck
like powerful incense

and the sweetest fountain I know
catches my heart up into it’s music
and there is peace like a river
even.
so.
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"Only reckless confidence in a Source greater than ourselves
can empower us to forgive the wounds inflicted by others."

-Brennan Manning

Sending love to Boston,   to each of you,
and releasing a river of peace
come  a’rolling  to wherever you be 🙂

feathers in the sand…

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I left it alone in the corner for awhile,  my guitar.
Well,  for 7 years or so,  maybe a little more.
I just stopped playing after the operation that left my arm gimpy
and a dull  mad settled down inside.
I learned to use scissors again and then paint and doodle
and even dig and prune and row and throw the ball hard
for the dogs
but my guitar gathered dust and silence
and held her tongue about it.

Maybe when I lost the calluses on my fingers
they slid down inside
like a stone bruise to my heart
and when people would ask
I said I just didn’t play anymore
but what I really meant was that I wouldn’t sing those songs
and don’t go there
because the loss is stuck in my throat.

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But I couldn’t shut her away in the closet
or stop rubbing the years from her face
or keep the songs from singing themselves anyway.
Life  kept tugging them out and love gave them wings
and the music rained down still
until the mad cracked and broke apart
and healing washed in the way it does
and just after Christmas I gave her new strings.

And how does she nestle so solid in my arms
and take me into hers as if nothing has passed between us
and unfold her haunting beauty
and that sound that stretches my heart wide open
sending me deeper into wonder,
farther into love
and isn’t that only what I ever always wanted?

And now somehow a door got opened,
the one that slammed shut so hard on my wing
that I had to put her down
and I’m finding the songs again
like feathers in the sand.

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“Blackbird singing in the dead of night,
take these broken wings and learn to fly
all your life,
you were only waiting for this moment to arise.”
-The Beatles