winter

Last night as I was sleeping

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.
~ Antonio Machado in TIMES ALONE: SELECTED POEMS OF ANTONIO MACHADO (translated by Robert Bly)

Create a clearing

Do not try to save the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create a clearing
in the dense forest of your life
and wait there, patiently
until the song that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know how
to give yourself to this world
so worthy of rescue.

~ Martha Postlethwaite in ADDICTION AND RECOVERY

The light that sees

When you turn within you think you see a light. What you think is the light that you see in the inner world is the light that sees, not the light that can be seen. This is a different kind of light, not the kind of light that can be radiated from a source. This is the all-pervading light. Think of yourself as that light, then your aura will burn more brightly.
~ Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan; read more in AWAKENING: A SUFI EXPERIENCE

Lighting the Darkness

At the mystical heart of each of the Abrahamic faiths lie teachings about the transformational power of fire and the identification of the Holy One with light. In Judaism, the Shekinah—the indwelling feminine presence of God—took the form of a pillar of fire at night to lead the Israelites through the desert. In the Christian tradition, God revealed Himself (sometimes as Herself) to the 12th century visionary, Hildegard of Bingen, as The Living Light. In the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas, Christ says that he is "the light that is above them all." In Sufi teaching the highest spiritual state is fana, the annihilation of the separate self in the fire of Divine Love, so that lover and Beloved become One Love.... May we let ourselves down into the arms of fire and allow it to melt the armor of our hearts. The excruciating fire of our loneliness and our fear of intimacy. The sweet fire of our longing for union with the Beloved.
~ Mirabai Starr from the essay "Lighting the Darkness" on THE INTERFAITH OBSERVER (digital publication)

The gift of utter clarity

But, for me, winter has an even greater gift to give. It comes when the sky is clear, the sun brilliant, the trees bare, and the first snow yet to come. It is the gift of utter clarity. In winter, one can walk into woods that had been opaque with summer growth only a few months earlier and see the trees clearly singly and together, and see the ground that they are rooted in.
~ Parker Palmer in SEASONS

The girl who was no longer blind

When her doctor took her bandages off and led her into the garden, the girl who was no longer blind saw "the tree with the lights in it." It was for this tree I searched through the peach orchards of summer, in the forests of fall and down winter and spring for years. Then one day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame. I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance. The flood of fire abated, but I'm still spending that power. Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells un-flamed and disappeared. I was still ringing. I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.
~ Annie Dillard in PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK

A worthy expression of leaning into the light

There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.
~ Barry Lopez in ARCTIC DREAMS

Annunciation

Even if I don't see it again — nor ever feel it
I know it is — and that if once it hailed me
it ever does—

And so it is myself I want to turn in that direction
not as toward a place, but it was a tilting
within myself,

as one turns a mirror to flash the light to where
it isn't — I was blinded like that — and swam
in what shone at me

only able to endure it by being no one and so
specifically myself I thought I'd die
from being loved like that.
~ Marie Howe, "Annunciation" in THE KINGDOM OF ORDINARY TIME

Cascading Light

The canyon bleeds, then deepens
and darkens ...
A sliver of white moon in the east.
Thin Light spills into the gorge
and the river sings an ancient song.
At the edge of shadow, night:
dark stone, pine scent, water,
cascading Light.
~ David Lee in SO QUIETLY THE EARTH

Blessed are you who bear the light

Blessed are you
who bear the light
in unbearable times,
who testify
to its endurance
amid the unendurable,
who bear witness
to its persistence
when everything seems
in shadow
and grief.
Blessed are you
in whom
the light lives,
in whom
the brightness blazes—
your heart
a chapel,
an altar where
in the deepest night
can be seen
the fire that
shines forth in you
in unaccountable faith
in stubborn hope
in love that illumines
every broken thing
it finds.
~ Jan Richardson in CIRCLE OF GRACE
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