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a daily blessing

The work of the late anthropologist Angeles Arrien helped me to see a deeper, more personal layer of significance in natural cycles. Most mornings, I love to greet the four directions – the rising sun in the east, the north where (in our hemisphere) the sun will be at its strongest, the place of the setting sun in the west, and the south, which is the place of shadow. It comforts me to be reminded each day of our inner qualities that are mirrored in this enduring cycle.

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A daily blessing

May the rising sun
renew your hope,
May the midday flame
rekindle your courage,
May the setting sun
confirm your heart’s wisdom,
And as you step
into the dark,
may you rest in love,
Knowing that you are one
with heaven, earth
And all our relations.

 

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the sweet spot

One of the great gifts of being alive is the experience of care. To care deeply about a person, a community, a creature, the Earth, or an issue in society is to glimpse the possibility of oneness. However, when care becomes attached to a particular outcome, we may find ourselves in the territory of ‘overcare’. And there be dragons! Investing too much significance in the outcome of the caring impulse makes us susceptible to disappointment. We may even experience disillusionment and burn-out, feeling that ‘all our efforts were in vain’. Fixing our gaze on a particular result can blind us to the unintended – and often magical – outcomes that did in fact unfold. Entrusting the outcome to grace beyond our control allows us to savour each opportunity to connect with care.

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The Sweet Spot

Between unconsciousness
and exhaustion
stretches a continuum of care
from don’t-care disregard
to can’t-care burnout.

Find the sweet spot
where care meets grace
and ego is disarmed.

Immersed in trust
significance softens
fixed ideas flex
love reaches out its arms
to life.

 

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come to your senses

This poem came to me during a solo hike this past weekend. A tiny orchid in the grass alongside the path attracted my attention, reminding me of the gifts that are waiting for us to open our senses to the world.

 

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Come to your senses:
Feel the breath breathing you,
Witness all that is.
Heed the call of your heart,
Savour your soul’s wisdom,
Sniff out good company,
And as you journey on
Inhabit every step.

I dedicate this poem to the amazing teenagers I’ve been privileged to work with in the Calming Exam Anxiety course. In her course evaluation, one client wrote: ‘You have opened my eyes to what my heart and soul are telling me, not just what my brain and others are telling me.’ I am humbled by the unexpected changes that follow a ‘return to heart’.