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Posts Tagged ‘William Stafford’

autumn_leaves

Pods of summer crowd around the door;
I take them in the autumn of my hands.

Last night I heard the first cold wind outside;
the wind blew soft, and yet I shiver twice:

Once for thin walls, once for the sound of time.

~William Stafford~
The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems

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sunrise-rays-over-indian-basin

The ordinary miracles begin. Somewhere
a signal arrives: “Now,” and the rays
come down. A tomorrow has come. Open
your hands, lift them: morning rings
all the doorbells; porches are cells for prayer.
Religion has touched your throat. Not the same now,
you could close your eyes and go on full of light.

And it is already begun, the chord
that will shiver glass, the song full of time
bending above us. Outside, a sign:
a bird intervenes; the wings tell the air,
“Be warm.” No one is out there, but a giant
has passed through town, widening streets, touching
the ground, shouldering away the stars.

~William Stafford~
William Tell: Poems by William Stafford

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Image by Rassouli

As events unfolded through the latter part of last month, I found myself blowing into my little God Whistle asking for strength.  It was a February of change and challenges that shook me more than anything had for quite some time.  The strength did come and right beside it flowed wisdom and comfort.

I dubbed this last month a period of “Bethie finding her religion”.   There is nothing like situations that metaphorically or literally bring me to my knees to remind me I’m not in charge here and frankly, there’s very little I’m in charge of around here.  And isn’t that a relief?  If I had to rely on myself to spin the planets, orchestrate thousands of different processes in my body, raise the sun, set the tides, we’d be having a lot of chaos in the world.

Often I don’t post about the particulars of the sh*t hitting the fan in my life.  It is found in between the lines of my poems and posts.   What I do tend to write about is the place I finally land, a little stronger, a little wiser and ultimately returning to what remains when all else falls away — that all consuming Love that’s back of Everything.

I’ve not yet reached the point where I’m grateful for all the contrast and challenges when I’m in the thick of it but I know enough now to see that I’m always grateful for the delicious expansion that comes just as soon as I’m willing to take my own hands off the levers of control.  As Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote “in the difficult, are the hands that work on us”.  Yes … the hands … not my hands.  Once again I am reminded of the humility and surrender in a simple prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.  Surrender is so much a part of the fabric of this Universe.  As surely as the day must surrender to the night, so must I give right of way to the “hands that work on us”.

I’m going to post some quotes from A Course in Miracles which played a big part in “Bethie finding her religion” again.  In the ensuing weeks I’ll post some lessons from the workbook.  There is much in ACIM I don’t understand but I’m comprehending more of it than I have in the past and I find the lessons to be so liberating that I believe they actually could be life-changing.

“There will come a time when images have all gone by and you will see you know not what you are.  It is to this unsealed and open mind that truth returns, unhindered and unbound.  Where concepts of the self have been laid by is truth revealed exactly as it is.  When every concept has been raised to doubt and question, and been recognized as made on no assumptions that would stand the light, then is the truth left free to enter in its sanctuary, clean and free of guilt.  There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this.

I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not
know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look
upon the world or on myself.

Yet in this learning is salvation born.  And What you are will tell you of Itself.”

Chapter 31, V:17

“The truth in you remains as radiant as a star, as pure as light, as innocent as love itself.”

Chapter 31, VI:7

This is the final passage in the text:

“And now we say “Amen.”  For Christ has come to dwell in the abode You set for Him before time was, in calm eternity.  The journey closes, ending at the place where it began.  No trace of it remains.  Not one illusion is accorded faith, and not one spot of darkness still remains to hide the face of Christ from anyone.  Thy Will is done, complete and perfectly and all creation recognizes You, and knows You as the only Source it has.  Clear in Your likeness does the Light shine forth from everything that lives and moves in You.  For we have reached where all of us are one, and we are home, where You would have us be.”

Chapter 31, VIII:12

And finally I leave you with a passage from the poem entitled Today, by one of my favorite poets: William Stafford.

“Religion has touched your throat. Not the same now, You could close your eyes and go on full of light.”

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Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want for this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life —

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room when you turn around?

~William Stafford~
The Way It Is

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