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“It’s not happiness that makes us grateful but gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Br. David Steindl Rast

Even in the Struggle…

Here in Salt Lake City, we are enjoying impossibly gorgeous days, replete with the scent of blossoms on the air, and everything seems to be bursting into life in full color. Ahhh. I love spring.

I have 2 poems for you this morning. First this one, as the trees have been giving such gifts to me on my walks this week. I would love to spend a day just basking under this weeping cherry tree, humming with bees, rich with the smell of new life…. as songwriter Greg Brown sings and let “a spring wind blow my list of things to do away.” :)

When I Am Among the Trees
by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

“When I Am Among the Trees” by Mary Oliver, from Thirst. © Beacon Press, 2006.

Ahhh….how I know this feeling:

“I am so distant from the hope of myself, in which I have goodness, and discernment, and never hurry through the world but walk slowly, and bow often.”

I surely have that hope for myself….

Today, may it be so. Never hurry, walk slowly, bow often. Yes.

I want to share one more poem with you today.

If you’re April is turning out like many people I’ve talked to, or anything like the astrologers are predicting, well… you might appreciate this poem from Tara Mohr which came to mind this morning.

Even in the Struggle
by Tara Sophia Mohr

Even in the struggle, you are loved.
You are being loved not in spite of the hardship, but through it.
The thing you see as wrenching, intolerable, life’s attack on you,
is an expression of love.

There is the part of us that fears and protects and defends and expects,
and has a story of the way it’s supposed to turn out.
That part clenches in fear, feels abandoned and cursed.

There is another part, resting at the floor of the well within, that understands:
this is how I am being graced, called, refined, by fire.
The secret is, it’s all love.
It’s all doorways to truth.
It’s all opportunity to merge with what is.

Most of us don’t step through the doorframe.
We stay on the known side.
We fight the door, we fight the frame, we scream and hang on.
On the other side, you are one with the earth, like the mountain.
You hum with life, like the moss.
On the other side, you are more beautiful:
wholeness in your bones, wisdom in your gaze,
the sage-self and the surrendered heart alive.

I love her phrase “There is another part, at the floor of the well within.”

And when we’re there, we are “one with the earth, like the mountain. You hum with life, like the moss…. wholeness in your bones, wisdom in your gaze….”

I know that state, and I’d love to spend more time there.

I’ve been so profoundly moved by Philip Shepherd’s pointing that our heads can be considered the “center of doing” and our belly/pelvis/center can be considered the “center of being.” As I’ve explored this, it’s very true to my experience.

Both are important, and integrating them can become a worthy journey.

Somehow when I drop down into my center, feeling my breath, the support of the earth, I sense “I’m at the floor of the well within,” and at least for a moment can glimpse that oneness, wholeness, wisdom. And then, of course, I forget.

I do this at least a hundred times a day, as most everything in our “headist” culture seems designed to draw me out of this inner connection.

But I can always return.

Even in the struggle.

May it be so for you as well.

with warmth and blossoms,

Erin

P.S. More info will be coming soon about our upcoming summer offerings and next year’s Begin Again Retreat in Costa Rica….. and a few other exciting projects we’re working on this month, including a first e-course coming in May!

We hope to connect with you soon!!!!

Thanks for reading. :)

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