There is a vitality

The first time I heard this letter read aloud was in a Soundstrue podcast by Rick Jarrow that is no longer available. I hear these words, in his voice, echoing in my head regularly when I see a beloved struggling to let themselves out, to be seen. I would love to have a recording of this again in a beautiful voice. Any volunteers?

 

A Letter to Agnes De Mille from Martha Graham
There is a vitality,
a life force,
a quickening
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.

And If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.
The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine
how good it is
nor how valuable it is
nor how it compares with other expressions.

It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly
to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU.

Keep the channel open…
No artist is pleased…

There is no satisfaction whatever at anytime
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes “us” MORE alive than the others.

Martha Graham
( – a letter to Agnes De Mille-

 

sunset

Something happened. It’s called Undefended Love.

Something happened.

It was just a thought, really, when you look deeply enough. So some thought happened, and everyone involved had really big ideas about what that meant. Big ideas. Thoughts about a thought, as if that is what matters. But this time, we did something different – we tried letting this thing completely BE rather than trying to make something else happen.

We let the thing be and we paid attention, and that lead us to the thoughts and then the thoughts to unveil the feelings, and we let those into the light as well. And those all just turn out to be either desire or aversion, and we let that be, and under that, we could see the deeper truth, and I’ll tell it to you now:

It isn’t about the thing. It isn’t about the thought. It isn’t about the desire or the aversion, or about what happened or who you think you are. It’s about where this all comes from, and what is below that. That’s the lesson. The thing, the decision, the outcome of that decision, these are nearly irrelevant.

Letting myself be fully seen, to see with undefended love, has changed me. I think I just shed half a person and am now bare, light, released from a lifetime of story. That thought experiment brought so much into focus for me. Life is short. I want my time to matter. I want to live in love and nothing else matters. In love with art, in love with myself, in love with my people, in touch with whatever those people call God. I want each moment, the love making ones, the ones where I am a wretched puddle on the floor, the ones where I’m preparing a meal for myself and my family, to be fully experienced, unburdened by what I think should happen or how I feel about what happened before.

Today, the absurdity of e-mail and washing dishes and that there are practical things like bills to pay and train schedules is making me laugh. I used to think it was about these things. Sometimes, I used to even cry about these things. Ha!

So I say to myself: Give the people attached to these things a bare look. Such sweet small souls, each carrying these giant heaping piles of armor and baggage, making these Herculean and inherently flawed attempts to connect through all that. Look at yourself doing the same. Isn’t it amazing how much energy we have to keep trying this experiment in belonging, in knowing ourselves?

And then I say: I love you.

And that is all that matters.

http://undefendedlove.com/

Awareness (rewrite)

My mind invites me to collect the data of this moment,
My mind would pretend to name it’s truth,
My mind is present in this moment, but it is not this moment.
There is no data, no analysis.
There is only this moment.

My body invites me to be industrious.
My body would have me pushing or pulling or leaving.
My body is present to know pleasure and suffering.
There is nothing to do right.
There is only this moment and the ability to sense.

My ego invites me to predict and control.
My ego would have me regret, anticipate, manipulate.
My ego is present to provide awareness of my Self.
There is no good enough or not good enough.
There is only this moment, sensing, and awareness of self.

My heart invites me to feel this love.
My Heart would have me lean in or lean out,
My heart is present to feel this love, but it is not this love.
There is no sadness, no joy.
There is only this moment, sensing, awareness, and love.

This moment, love, awareness, sensing,
These are the gifts that invite me to connect.
They guide me to gather with others
To connect minds, hearts, egos and bodies
Into a collective awareness.
To become One.

Here Now

https://soundcloud.com/rayellen/here-now

There is an instant
after the big hand clicks into place
but before the chiming begins.

This is the 4:45 rooster
puffing his feathers and blinking
before he remembers who he is
and starts all– that– racket.

It is precisely the moment
between making eye contact with your lover
and knowing how her day was.

Pause here with me in this space.

Suspend our Ego wants
and our Id demands
and Pay Attention.

There is infinity in this place
between going and coming
before becoming
after the ending
where Truth awaits us.

Original- 11/30/2010

The River

There is a river in Nova Scotia that waxes and wanes.
The water flows West when the tide is coming in,
and East when the tide is going out.
It is a river that breathes with the ocean, with the moon.

We find a clarity in going, in coming,
in being “on our way.”
When the river is flowing,
it knows what it is, it knows how.

But during the shift, the in-between,
the precise moment when it is not flowing West
and it is not flowing East —
Is it still a river?
It is not still.

It is nothing, everything, chaos.
The water molecules churn about in unison,
together in their indirection.
The energy of the river is not this way or that,
it is simply not,
as it longs to remember how again.

We live in that moment,
in the stillness, in the chaos,
not who we were this last moment,
not yet who we are to become.

Here, in this singularity of
nothing, everything, one.

becoming

for years i longed
for the peace and solitude
that meditation and yoga
and loving completely evokes

but I didn’t meditate
because i wasn’t ready
to hear what truths
would become apparent
in the silence

and I didn’t practice yoga
because i didn’t yet believe
i was capable
of embodying
that kind of strength

and i refrained
from loving with all my heart
because that is only possible
when you know the truth
and are strong enough
to embrace it