poetry

Mindful Poetry: 3 Poems for Yoga

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Let’s go back to our roots on this page.

While there might not be a lot of poems which feature yoga specifically, there are quite a few good ones that are reminiscent of yoga and go through some poses.

John O’Donohue was an Irish poet who is known for bringing Celtic spirituality into the world of poetry.

The excerpt of his poem, “A Morning Offering,” I included can be said before beginning a yoga flow, or as a mantra in the morning to remind you to take on the day.

I included another American Poet Laureate in the blogs, this time Robert Hall, whose poem, “Within the Body You are Wearing,” reminds us of our lifelong mates… ourselves.

Who we are at our centers is who we will be with for the rest of our lives, it’s time to calmly face them and take them in.

Finally, Corinne Titus is a particularly exciting poet to include, as she is one of my students!

Her poem, “Morning Ballet” combines both her lifelong knowledge of ballet and classical dance with yoga, which she has just begun to learn.


A Morning Offering (Excerpts)

John O’Donohue

 

All that is eternal in me

Welcomes the wonder of this day.

 

May my mind come alive today

To the invisible geography

That invites me to new frontiers,

To break the dead shell of yesterdays,

To risk being disturbed and changed.

 

May I have the courage today

To live the life that I would love,

To postpone my dream no longer

But do at last what I came here for

And waste my heart on fear no more.

 

May I live this day

 

Compassionate of heart,

Clear in work,

Gracious in awareness,

Courageous in thought,

Generous in love.


Within the Body You are Wearing

Robert Hall

Within the body you are wearing, now

inside the bones and beating in the heart,

lives the one you have been searching for so long.

But you must stop running away and shake hands,

the meeting doesn’t happen without your

presence . . . your participation.

The same one waiting for you there

is moving in the trees, glistening on the water,

growing in the grasses and lurking in the shadows you create.

You have nowhere to go.

The marriage happened long ago.

Behold your mate.


Morning Ballet

Corinne Titus

 

The sunlight pas de chat’s through my window on soft,

grey, clawed kitten paws to knead my eyelids.

I have always been a fitful sleeper.

 

Joints mumble their complaints to the morning,

their occasional curse word the loud pops

that disturb my mother. She thinks I will fall to pieces.

 

The dance is yoga, but the foundation holds.

My arms content themselves to find fifth position

over my head, then dive towards the floor, a downward dog. 

 

The balls of feet rise in an eleve, the shoulders strain, the body slants,

my hamstrings scream at me. Pressure pools

in my wrists and ankles, smaller versions of past breaks.


Let me know which of the poems spoke to you most! Are there any phrases that stood out to you, or things you didn’t understand?

Let me know in the comments!


If you’re interested in bringing a little bit of yoga or mindfulness meditation into your life, check out the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

Mindful Poetry: "Discontinuous Poems" by Fernando Pessoa

Like I’ve said, I’M IN PORTUGAL!!

It’s absolutely beautiful here and I’m loving it, so in honor of that, I found a rather famous Portuguese poet to unveil as this weeks mindful poet.

Fernando Pessoa lived between 1888 and 1935 and was one of the most significant literary figures of his time.

While I was reading through his poems, “Discontinuous Poems” stuck out to me because of the interesting parallels the language has to the principles of mindful meditation.

Pay close attention and you might see them too!


Discontinuous Poems

The frightful reality of things

Is my everyday discovery.

Each thing is what it is.

How can I explain to anyone how much

I rejoice over this, and find it enough?

 

To be whole, it is enough to exist.

 

I have written quite a number of poems

And may write many more, of course.

Each poem of mine explains it,

Though all my poems are different,

Because each thing that exists is always proclaiming it.

 

Sometimes I busy myself with watching a stone,

I don't begin thinking whether it feels.

I don't force myself to call it my sister,

 

But I enjoy it because of its being a stone,

I enjoy it because it feels nothing,

I enjoy it because it is not at all related to me.

 

At times I also hear the wind blow by

And find that merely to hear the wind blow makes

it worth having been born.

 

I don't know what others will think who read this;

But I find it must be good because I think it

without effort,

And without the idea of others hearing me think,

Because I think it without thoughts,

Because I say it as my words say it.

 

Once they called me a materialist poet

And I admired myself because I never thought

That I might be called by any name at all.

I am not even a poet: I see.

If what I write has any value, it is not I who am

valuable.

The value is there, in my verses.

All this has nothing whatever to do with any will

of mine.


Do you want help learning how it is enough just to exist? Check out some of the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

Mindful Poetry: Florida and Nature

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I didn’t think I would… but I love Florida!!!!

The beaches, the people. the businesses, the nature… THE BEACHES!! I think Florida has some of the prettiest natural areas in the U.S., maybe even the world.

That being said, I found some really wonderful poems this week that explore a few poet’s reactions to Florida environments, focusing on what emotions were triggered by the natural landscape.


Sandpiper

The roaring alongside he takes for granted,

and that every so often the world is bound to shake.

He runs, he runs to the south, finical, awkward,

in a state of controlled panic, a student of Blake.

The beach hisses like fat, On his left, a sheet

of interrupting water comes and goes

and glazes over his dark and brittle feet.

He runs, he runs straight through it, watching his toes.

—Watching, rather, the spaces of sand between them,

where (no detail too small) the Atlantic drains

rapidly backwards and downwards. As he runs,

he stares at the dragging grains.

The world is a mist. And then the world is

minute and vast and clear. The tide

is higher or lower. He couldn't tell you which.

His beak is focused; he is preoccupied,

looking for something, something, something.

Poor bird, he is obsessed!

The millions of grains are black, white, tan, and gray,

mixed with quartz grains, rose and amethyst.

-Elizabeth Bishop


Memory of a Porch

Miami, 1942

What I remember

Is how the wind chime

Commenced to stir

As she spoke of her childhood,

As though the simple

Death of a pet cat,

Buried with flowers,

Had brought to the porch

A rumor of storms

Dying out over

Some dark Atlantic.

At least I heard

The thing begin—

A thin, skeletal music—

And in the deep silence

Below all memory

The sighing of ferns

Half asleep in their boxes.

-Donald Justice


Fabliau of Florida

Barque of phosphor

On the palmy beach,

Move outward into heaven,

Into the alabasters

And night blues.

Foam and cloud are one.

Sultry moon-monsters

Are dissolving.

Fill your black hull

With white moonlight.

There will never be an end

To this droning of the surf.

-Wallace Stevens


If you’re interested in learning more about the practice of mindfulness, meditation, or yoga, check out the services I provide!

From my home studio in Tampa Bay I offer yoga and meditation classes (both personal and corporate), as well as workshops for MBSR.

If you’re not in the Tampa Bay area I have several online classes available through Zoom Meeting.

Be sure to follow me @lotusheartmindfulness on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more mindfulness inspiration!

Mindful Poetry: "Kindness" by Naomi Shihab Nye

before you know what kindness really is, you must lose things

Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

– Naomi Shihab Nye 
*Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (A Far Corner Book) Paperback – October 1, 1994

*affiliate link

Mindful Poetry: "Forget About Enlightenment" by John Welwood

john welwood

Forget About Enlightenment

Sit down wherever you are
And listen to the wind singing in your veins. 
Feel the love, the longing, the fear in your bones. 
Open your heart to who you are, right now, 
Not who you would like to be, 
Not the saint you are striving to become, 
But the being right here before you, inside you, around you. 
All of you is holy. 
You are already more and less 
Than whatever you can know. 
Breathe out, 
Touch in, 
Let go.

By: John Welwood

Mindful Poetry: "The Law that Marries All Things" by Wendell Berry

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The Law that Marries all Things

1.

The cloud is free only

to go with the wind.

The rain is free

only in falling.

The water is free only

in its gathering together,

in its downward courses,

in its rising into air.

2.

In law is rest

if you love the law,

if you enter, singing, into it

as water in its descent.

3.

Or song is truest law,

and you must enter singing;

it has no other entrance.

It is the great chorus

of parts. The only outlawry

is in division

4.

Whatever is singing

is found, awaiting the return

of whatever is lost.

5.

Meet us in the air

over the water,

sing the swallows.

Meet me, meet me,

the redbird sings,

here here here here.

--Wendell Berry * New Collected Poems 2013

*affiliate link

Mindful Poetry: "Caretake This Moment" by Epictetus

caretake this moment, by Epictetus 50 -135 CE

Caretake This Moment 

Caretake this moment.
Immerse yourself in its particulars.
Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed.

Quit the evasions.
Stop giving yourself needless trouble.
It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.
You are not some disinterested bystander.
Exert yourself.

When your doors are shut and your room is dark you are not alone.
The will of nature is within you as your natural genius is within.
Listen to its importunings.
Follow its directives.

As concerns the art of living, the material is your own life.
No great thing is created suddenly.
There must be time.

Give your best and always be kind.

by Epictetus  50 -135 CE

Mindful Poetry: "Birdwings" by Rumi

rumi birdwings

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes, and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated 
as birdwings.

– Rumi

Mindful Poetry: "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver Summer Day poem

The Summer Day

Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean-- the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-- who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Mary Oliver, The House of Light, Beacon Press, Boston, 1990.

Mindful Poetry: "Two Kinds of Intelligence" by Rumi

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Two Kinds of Intelligence

There are two kinds of intelligence: One acquired,

as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts

from books and from what the teacher says,

collecting information from the traditional sciences

as well as from the new sciences.

With such intelligence you rise in the world.

You get ranked ahead or behind others

in regard to your competence in retaining

information. You stroll with this intelligence

in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more

marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of tablet, one

already completed and preserved inside you.

A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness

in the center of the chest. This other intelligence

does not turn yellow or stagnate. It’s fluid,

and it doesn’t move from outside to inside

through the conduits of plumbing-learning.

This second knowing is a fountainhead

from within you, moving out.

The Essesential Rumi, Translation by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, Harper,

San Francisco, 1995.



Mindful Poetry: "Walk slowly..." by Danna Faulds

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Walk Slowly by Danna Faulds

It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still, and just like that,
something in me settles, softens, makes
space for imperfection. The harsh voice
of judgment drops to a whisper and I
remember again that life isn't a relay
race; that we will all cross the finish
line; that waking up to life is what we
were born for. As many times as I
forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I'm going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk
slowly into the mystery.

Mindful Poetry: You Must Ask for What You Really Want

You must ask for what you really want

Live in this moment…right now you have the opportunity to be awake. Each morning we can wake up to new ways of doing things…of letting go of our usual habitual responses to things. I think that’s what Rumi means in his poem:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the door sill

Where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

Rumi

Mindful Poetry: "Let it Go" by Danna Faulds

let it go

LET IT GO

Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold:

the holding of plans or dreams or expectations – Let it all go.

Save your strength to swim with the tide.

The choice to fight what is here before you now will

only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts

to flee from the very energy you long for. Let go.

Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes

through your days whether you received it gently

or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders.

Take this on faith; the mind may never find the

explanations that it seeks, but you will move forward

nonetheless. Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry

you to unknown shores, beyond your wildest dreams

or destinations. Let it all go and find the place of

rest and peace, and certain transformation.

Danna Faulds

Published in her book Go In and In: Poems from the Heart of Yoga