“I raise the pipe of my being to the rising sun in openness and humility.”Richard Wagamese in Embers
About a month ago, I participated in a book study about Richard Wagamese’s beautiful book Embers. That night the leader asked us to pick a line at random and answer a series of questions. The line at the top of the page was my line.
What words does it bring to mind?
The sacred pipe in Wagamese’s First Nation context is the pipe shared in a circle as part of community. It brought to mind blessing, cleansing, centering, sharing and accepting each other in community.
What does it remind you of?
It reminded me of the Hafiz quote from my last post and the poem I wrote for Jessie. “I am the hole in a flute that God’s breath moves through.”
What does it call you to do?
It calls me to be an instrument for co-creating using what nature provides. Using matter–the science–to create a beautiful story.
If I am a sacred pipe, I am blessing, cleansing, centering, sharing and accepting others in community. Passed from person to person in a circle, never-ending, with respect and with intention.
That was my line, brought to my attention just weeks before Jessie died. I send you out into the day to find your line. Choose a book you love, pick a line at random.
What words does it bring to mind? What does it remind you of? What does it call you to do?
Last week we travelled to the funeral of a friend who lived for 99 dynamic, gratitude-filled years.
During the service, the leader spoke about how Jessie made notes in her Bible beside meaningful passages.
“This is the day that God has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”Psalm 118:24
Beside that psalm, she had written, “I do! I do! I do!”
And she did.
Jessie had learned to persevere and find gratitude through the hardest times, including the loss of a spouse when she was a young mother of four children and, later, the death of one of those children.
Almost ten years ago when she turned 90, I wrote this poem to rejoice and be glad in a friend. It was inspired by this Hafiz quote.
“I am the hole in a flute that God’s breath moves through.”Hafiz
The wind blows, tentative at first
Gentle lullabies for new life
“I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”
Inkwells in school desks
Hopscotch and hide-and-seek.
The breath wafts, bright youthful notes
Transcending the Great Depression
“We Sure Got Hard Times Now”
Sweets a treasured treat.
The wind gusts, stronger and unbending
Rising above war years all too real
“Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye”
Silk stockings painted on
Evenings by the radio.
The breath carries, steady and assured
Young wife and mother in her home
“Teach Your Children”
Hands on feverish foreheads
Love disguised as irritation.
The wind slows, a sombre requiem
The loss of those far too young
“Paint It Black”
I heard the news
Hugs shared through hurt.
The breath renews, harmonious and healing
The first laugh after the pain
“A Brand New Day”
Looking to the future.
The breath moves, celebrating and dancing
Life not defined by age
“Never Grow Old”
The breath of God.
“This Sane Idea”
by Hafiz, The Great Sufi Master, as translated by Daniel Ladinsky
Intelligence begin to rule
Whenever you sit with others
Using this sane idea:
Leave all your cocked guns in the field
Far from us,
One of those damn things
“The yogi weeps because the world is profoundly sad, they say, and someone has to always be weeping for its sorrows, so that you can be joyful. Hand-carved in Bali, these yogis take your pain so that you can enjoy life. Known for their gentle, joyful spirit, the Balinese believe that sharing your sorrows lessens the load and sharing your joys helps you grow: so share your sadness with the yogi and share your joys with those you love. Holding his head in his hands, the yogi seems to be saying, ‘If it’s too much for you, please share it with me. It’s why I’m here. It’s what I do.’ Some feel that the yogi has either just moved into his pose of sadness and sorrow, or is about to stand up in happiness and joy.”
As we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada, may everyone in the world move slowly over the lines on God’s palm with hearts full of wonder and kindness, as Hafiz would have wanted.
Want to step so quickly
Over a beautiful line on God’s palm
As I move through the earth’s
I do not want to touch any object in this world
Without my eyes testifying to the truth
That everything is
Something has happened
To my understanding of existence
That now makes my heart always full of wonder
I do not
Want to step so quickly
Over this sacred place on God’s body
That is right beneath our
At this time of year, many people for many different reasons contemplate God or the God-ness in our world. These two poems by Hafiz, as translated by Daniel Ladinsky in The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master, reminded my that, more than anything, for whatever reason, this time of year is good for dancing. And better dancing than fussing about details or interpretations.
The God Who Only Knows Four Words
Has known God.
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does
But the God who only knows four words
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come dance with Me.”
What Should We Do About That Moon?
A wine bottle fell from a wagon
And broke open in a field.
That night one hundred beetles and all their cousins
And did some serious binge drinking.
They even found some seed husks nearby
And began to play them like drums and whirl.
This made God very happy.
Then the “night candle” rose into the sky
And one drunk creature, laying down his instrument,
Said to his friend—for no apparent
“What should we do about that moon?”
Seems to Hafiz
Most everyone has laid aside the music
Tackling such profoundly useless
from The Gift: Poems by Hafiz
December has begun. Outside the darkness grows.
Open someone’s heart with your light today.