Fulfillment

Given the push from childhood
Fulfillment has become
Such a loaded word
Grand standards to reach for
Implicates wondrous achievements

Is it any surprise
How the masses strive and search
Yet end up feeling
So terrible unfulfilled!

If the above quote is to be heeded
The formula quite simple
Combine ‘today’ and the ‘heart’
And readily available
Is the sum of fulfillment!

‘Today’ so simply
Appears and ticks away
Yet dreaded and labeled
As work day, stressful day
Difficult, long
The list goes on

With a little adjustment
Switching the frequencies
Tuning into the heart
Alas, a little kindness
A little gratitude
Even joy, laughter and light
Again the list goes on

This heart
Not the pumping organ
But the one with no boundaries
At times exposed
All over your sleeve

When allowed to surface
Radiates to share smiles
Gives comfort and spreads wellbeing
It’s power
Infectiously contagious

This is true existence
Acknowledgement of the given time
Your ‘today’
And feeling that ‘heart’ replenish

What great wonder is felt
When ‘today’
Your tool appears
And the heart
Is fulfilled!

“….weather the uncertainties of love….”

I feel compelled to share a write up by Maria Popova from her Brainpickings publication, on one of my most favorite artists, Gibran, about his understanding of love…

The following gives me a window into how the depth of unfettered love can be allowed to unfold as we learn to love, not just a person but all parts of creation.

“Kahlil Gibran on the Courage to Weather the Uncertainties of Love

“Love is the quality of attention we pay to things,” poet J.D. McClatchy wrote in his beautiful meditation on the contrast and complementarity of love and desire. And what we choose to attend to — our fear or our faith, our woundedness or our devotion to healing — determines the quality of our love. How we navigate our oscillation between these inescapable polarities is governed by the degree of courage, openness, and vulnerability with which we are willing to show up for and to our own hearts. “The alternations between love and its denial,” philosopher Martha Nussbaum observed in contemplating the difficulty of knowing ourselves, “constitute the most essential and ubiquitous structural feature of the human heart.”

That is what the great Lebanese-American poet, painter, and philosopher Kahlil Gibran(January 6, 1883–April 10, 1931) explores in one of the most stirring passages from The Prophet (public library) — the 1923 classic that also gave us what may be the finest advice ever offered on the balance of intimacy and independence in healthy relationships.

Kahlil Gibran, self-portrait

Speaking to the paradoxical human impulse to cower before the largeness of love — to run from its vulnerable-making uncertainties and necessary frustrations at the cost of its deepest rewards — Gibran offers an incantation of courage:

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

Illustration from An ABZ of Love, Kurt Vonnegut’s favorite vintage Danish guide to sexuality

In a sentiment John Steinbeck would come to echo a generation later in his beautiful letter of advice on love to his teenage son, Gibran adds:

Think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

The Prophet remains a timeless trove of wisdom and a mighty clarifying force for the turbidity of the heart. Complement it with Gibran on why we make art and his stunning love letters, then revisit Adrienne Rich on how honorable relationships refine our truths, Erich Fromm on the art of loving and what is keeping us from mastering it, Leo Tolstoy on love and its paradoxical demands, and this wondrous illustrated meditation on the many meanings and manifestations of love.”

Quinceanera

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Arriving today
With each milestone attained
You’ve been a bundle of joy
So perfectly precious
With each year unfolding
Petals you have adorned
Claiming your beauty
The most demure and timeless
With Latino roots
From maternal Mexicano
To paternal Nicaraguan
You stand so very unique
Young lady
Your quiet mild ways
Serve well to disguise
What a force you really are!
With strengths unseen
You choose the challenges
Most would never entertain
And find too rigorous and leave
You’re a boundary breaker
Setting records and heights
Leaving proud parents in a daze
“We have claim to this wonder?!”
Today, as you celebrate
Your Quinceanera
Your gentle morphia
From sweet girl
To young lady
Hold onto all
That makes you so you
Then tend and grow
To complement
What an amazing being you already are!

The Baobab Tree

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You may not tower
But stand you do
Strong and grounded
With reassuring girth
Your vertical ripples
And segmental trunking
Branch up symmetrically
Dispersed across the plains
You lend life to many
Hosting beehives
Nesting Superb starlings
With dried out river beds
Elephants gnaw deep into your trunk
Sucking your rich sap
Parasitic plant life
Twine around and into your branches
No harm done
As your longevity is into the hundreds
Oh mighty tree
Humble and kind
In this arid bush land
You stand giant-like
Sharing all you are
Giving house and nutrients
Denying not even the termites
In awe of your qualities
Humbled by your lessons
You teach it is possible
To live with all who share your space

Yogis in Africa

Yoga was a repeated practice and component on my recent adventure, lead by the instruction of Erin Elizabeth Young

 

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Bandstand cabana
Kindly made available
Yogis international come together
On rainbow colored mats
Circular goddesses rise
Then dive to savasana
Egyptian salutations
Welcome almighty Sun
Seeding love, joy and life
Atop the A1 Hotel
Daring to face Mount Meru
We reach for the clouds
And dive to forward fold
Happy as clams
We clasp our hands
Then spread to warrior woman
Our strength never too far
Chirping birds surround
We perch on terrace edge
Stretching out in free dance
To reach the Tarangire plains
Above the Ngorongoro Crater
Amidst the thick foiled ridge
Sheltered by Acacias and more
Joined by creatures big and small
The sunset claims the backdrop
Making backbends a must
And finally a full circle
With morning, noon and night
Glory be to this kingdom
This gifted abode my body
And this divine privilege of existence
May I remember always
My breath
And strive to dance in its rhythm

Bird of Paradise

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Distinctly present

With colors unadulterated

Definition unquestionable

With geometrical challenge

What creative precision

With beauty spectacular

As adorned with grand stature

Claiming humbled respect

Bird of Paradise

You inspire a freedom

Exotic and rich

Yet sprout amongst us

Feeding from shared sun and waters

What wise lesson you teach

That wherever you are

With whatever colors and form

We too can unfold

Majestic and magical

Tapestry

Moment by moment

The scroll lengthens

The weave thickens

History in the making 

Each day an event

When comes the pivotal point

No one ever knows

Arrivals departures 

The stream goes on

Yet the accumulative effect

Undeniably shapes

The future to come

No reality ever

Quite as the dreamer intended 

So dive below the turmoil

Surface above the mundane 

And soar with the stars

To a place so sublime

Where never touched by the grime 

Unavoidably part of this here time