Here is a poem from earlier this year, which expresses some of the ways in which our inner work and the work of healing extended to those around us connect.
I would love to hear how you connect these two in your life, and what practices sustain you.
Your progressive redneck preacher,
I see her, needle and thread in hand,
knitting away her fear and sorrow
for the little one laying before her,
knitting away the losses that lie
at the root of each fear
with more precision than I,
knees and hands caked in dirt,
ever can pull up my weeds by their roots
in my own garden,
yet also knitting hopes and dreams,
as if each new strand
creates a brighter future
for this child of love.
And perhaps it does.
They say our intention, when deeply held
has some quantum power
to shape our world.
The story is that water,
placed under microscope,
When people speak in anger
tightly held in focus over it,
the lens shows such water
will have a chaos, a fury, a lack of order
which water under the same lens
frozen instead as words of peace, joy, and compassion
are spoken over as the heart’s true focus.
I am no quantum mechanic.
I lack the toolkit to tinker with fate,
let alone determine if such claims are true.
Or do I?
For this young woman seems certain,
her eyes tightening and hands furious at work,
certain that the only tools she needs
to shape the web of life,
these quantum threads of fate,
for this littlest of ones, are
her needles, her thread, and her heart afire with love.
Who can say she is wrong?
I have upon my mantle
a worn yet welcome scarf
woven by such a woman,
a weaver not young but threadworn,
battered by her years.
When I touch it, my fingers come alive.
I can almost feel some unseen flame dance,
setting my whole soul to tingling.
Is this not why mother
baked cakes with care
to give to the mourning we knew,
that they may be nourished
not just by some crumb of bread
but by the taste of human kindness?
Is this not why the preacher raises bread and cup,
muttering ancient words,
why each sacred eve words of kaddish are spoken
by chosen people before meal,
why Sufis spin,
and some pilgrims bow five times
toward the East upon their mats?
In truth, is this not also why,
taking pen in hand,
I too weave my strands of stories,
each word a gem,
hoping to craft my own worry beads
upon which I can join
my muttered prayers
or, better yet, weave
some ornate blanket
to warm not just myself
but others against life’s winter chill?