“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. ” ~Harper Lee’s Atticus Finch, in To Kill a Mockingbird
Can we talk
well, of course we can
said the stranger standing behind me
in the grocery express check-out.
I could not have known that
those thirteen minutes in line
would offer ample time to restore
mindfully breathing, calming & caring.
Why is this line moving so slow?
People don’t have any money to spend
& it took me all afternoon to scrounge
up these few dollars in order to eat today.
Listening to her continued words, admittedly
feeling unpleasant irritation about standing in this non-express lane.
Refreshing my flower to avoid getting selfishly caught,
such that compassion was mostly what I felt for her difficulties.
Breathing in, aware of my feelings
breathing out, calming strong feelings.
When it came time to check out I paid
for my groceries, then offered to pay for hers.
She said, “ya thanks, but no way
am I going to be entangled with you.”
I smiled as we walked out to the parking lot,
me to my bike, wishing her well;
her, into evening’s darkness
with food, at least for tonight.
At home continuing calming & smiling
yet curious about the state of things in the world,
then a brief glance at news on the web;
on the public & peace news venues & blogs.
Before getting to any good news & Yes offerings
my heart & mind confronted details of what
human beings said & did to each other, here
and across the planet, yesterday & today.
Defilement’s to the earth for profit,
suffering to animals, even a baby dolphin
had me snarled in strong, sad,
painful feelings & thoughts about being human.
Breathing in, calming strong feelings,
breathe out, feeling calmer.
Breathing in, gladdening the mind,
breathe out, experiencing kinder thoughts.
Breathing in, concentrating the mind.
Breathing out, sending out loving & healing energy
to those who are in pain, hungry & in need.
May they have adequate safety, satisfaction & connection.
May we all get in touch with conditions of happiness
that are present at this very moment.
Now offering forgiveness to those who are so cruel
as their very hurt permits their minds to hurt others.
Offering perpetrators a bow as they help me better
cultivate my own inner love for the earth
& have strength to speak & act for the protection of all life.
May all beings be free of misperceptions,
that capture them in webs of delusion,
where they’re devoured by hate & greed.
May I better have this courage, myself
so that I may be able to more fully bloom.
As I’m sure it will again happen, I’m asking
to tell me when I am
We have to learn to look at our body and our feelings as rivers. In the river of the body, each drop of water is a cell, always changing; birth and death take place in each moment. The same is true with the river of feelings. Feelings are born, stay for a while, and then die. To practice contemplation of the feelings in the feelings means that we sit on the bank of the river of feelings, observe them, and become those feelings. Sitting mindfully, we do not allow ourselves to drown in our feelings. Mindfulness helps us to embrace and identify our feelings. ~Thich Nhat Hanh, from The Path of Emancipation.