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It would take more than both my hands to count how many times my breath has sucked in with recognition and awe at words penned by the soulful poet, Mary Oliver. This week was no exception, as I opened my inbox to find these golden words sent to a group of us from a friend:
There are moments that cry out to be fulfilled.
Like, telling someone you love them.
Or giving your money away, all of it.
Your heart is beating, isn't it?
You're not in chains, are you?
There is nothing more pathetic than caution
When headlong might save a life,
Even, possibly, your own.
- Mary Oliver.
YOU'RE NOT IN CHAINS, ARE YOU?
Oh, Lord, that resonated.
Thanks to complex discussions with corporate accountants, some 'no's I wasn't expecting and the great entrepreneurial mystery of WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING TO COME FROM?, it's been a week full of internal battle where I've felt everything BUT free.
I thankfully now associate any battle of this kind as a barometer of how close I am to some sort of personal change or definitive action. The forces of Ye Olde Thoughts gather in well-practiced formation to set, aim and fire strategically at any intruder (especially if that intruder is a new thought, a different thought, or at all compassionate). Set to a soundtrack that sounds an awful lot like Red & Black from Les Miserables, both sides state their cases with conviction in alternating tenor and baritone.
Yes, my conscience sometimes sounds like Colm Wilkinson as Jean Valjean.
But, what I felt from this poem, and also from listening to the still, small voice within (which is associated with no character of any kind, but one I recognize as the voice of my soul), is the freedom that comes with going for it, whatever 'it' is, no matter what the outcome.
When this 'spiritual warfare' arises (and I will remind both you and I that it is an automatic and naturally human byproduct of any pursuit the heart is involved in), I often find poetry and music to be a place of retreat and alchemical processing.
I enter poems or songs like rooms, close the door, and let them have their way with me.
For anyone struggling with any major upheaval or unsettling unknown, consider entering a poem as your creative prescription. It'll help in mining a possible solution from the soul and not the head, cause, if your head's anything like mine, the lads from either side can sing dramatically at one another for hours.
I am brought back to the poem. To the permission it gives to act with heart-fuelled abandon. If you stay in that poem for any length of time, you can feel how it INSISTS you act. It encourages and empowers you to disregard negative voices, possible reactions and the projected thoughts we allow to come from the mouths of other people whether they say anything or not and GO FOR IT.
There is truly no better feeling on earth than the feeling of being free, and this kind of headlong, life-saving ACTION guarantees it.
Let's count on that guarantee to win the war, over and over again, if need be.
Much love (and thanks, Mary!),
p.s. Another place to enter into like a room and where I invite you to join me is to enter our last Nurture retreat via the photo gallery, which is now online! Check out Sara Monika's beautiful photography - it is an honour to see the weekend through her eyes.