“….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!

Tanzania 🇹🇿

Irreplaceable
One of a kind
The stars aligned
And our time came to fruition
The apprehensions
Anxieties, dreams and expectations
All surpassed
Even the best author
Could not have written
At first glance
Came a knowing
‘Unfold what may’
As I stood in your hands
And walked as if with a friend
Pockets of people
In towns to villages
Children to men of the Maasai
All smiles and welcomes
Hospitality endearing
Leaving warmth
Down to my core
With spectrum of adventure
Wide, wild and of wonderment
Yet secured by the guides
With rifle, machete and spear!
The call of the wild
From lion to elephants
With splashes and scurries
By hippos and gazelle
Terrain of diversity
With rubbles roads to wild bush
The crunch of dried salt beds
Even great whirls of red sand
Monumental forms
With Kilimanjaro and Meru
To Oldionyo Lengai; mountain of Gods
All footed by plains and lakes
No less than the great Natron
Just a piece of this planet
Yet you’ve left me awe
Stirred me deep
And revived me well
They call you Tanzania
I shall call you the soul
For all you are
Has always been just so
Live long, Tanzania
Be fruitful
Your survival is the legacy
That Mother Nature
This Universe
Is strongest of all

Man of Maasai

 

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Standard 6 foot 3 inches
Draped in colored shuka
Spear and machete unconcealed
No mistaking your identity
Footprint invisible
True to your ancient ways
Treading soft on your red earth
As one with your land
You live side by side
Beast, bush and Man
Boma-home, simplistic
Matted or bricked
Domed or steepled
Housing your family and livestock
Your community ways
Protect the elderly
And teach your young
What men of honor
Trust once gained impeccable
Unity undeniable
Accepting of right and wrong
No law keepers required
Justice served from within your circles
With tolerance to political and western tyranny
You have accommodated ‘globalization’
By being inched out of your land
Of the ‘worldly’ new ways
Not all is needed
For human existence
Nor this great planet
Much we can learn from you
As you sustain yourself
Your families, your communities
My prayers for your survival
I shall never forget
Our precious time
Meeting at rock mountain bed
Guided through adventured lands
Dancing by light of campfire
Thankyou
Nameste
Kwa heri
May we meet again

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

Wild Awakening

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Photograph compliments of Erin Elizabeth Young

Wild Awakening African Safari : Spear headed by abstract artist, Erin Elizabeth Young and founding member of Olasiti Orphanage and community center, Shelly Wolfe.

I am one of 4 excited San Joaquin women embarking on an adventure of yoga, art, Safari and community service.
Hope to bring you back writings from another continent! Leave you with my inner voice as I begin the journey.
Wild Awakening
Blazing sunlight
Thunderous wildebeest
Endless landscapes
Passive or passionate
Absent or present
Believing or knowing
Which is it to be?!
Inhaling deep
Exhale gratuitous delight
Reverberating life
Knowing my time, my existence, my gift
With thumping heart
Pulsating veins
Flushed and vibrant in face
See me alive, engaged and impassioned
Drawing the line
Striving to acknowledge the infinite
Embracing the finite
Do you know of the ‘coming’?
It is here
It is in you, in me!
No waiting
No deliverance
Opening the eyes
For the first time
To see
To look
To understand
No room for the half hearted
No room for the faint hearted
Coming emboldened
Coming impassioned
This day awaits
This life is here
Let’s not miss our time

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