What if… the courage of attention and acceptance change everything?

Abandoned Well

Abandoned Well

Oh my!
Do you suppose it even possible
to become curious and intimate
affectionate even about the wisdom and intelligence contained
in these parts of self I hold fearfully out of sight
these elements and fragments of me
embarrassments and shames too I confess
I’d rather deny ever lived within
possessed any residence or presence in this body or soul
and that I learned dangerous to bring attention
let alone love or compassion or inquiry into

these shadowy aspects facets expressions and energies
I came to despise denigrate and judge in others but…

Oh my!
What if…
the courage of attention and acceptance change everything?
What organic wild joys of heart and soul might yet lie within?
What abandoned wells might again flow freely with the Waters of Life?

“I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.” — Byron Katie

This piece is a living invitation to my own soul, and yours, into wholeness, into claiming and owning the deep soil of discomforts and aspirations that gives rise to the creations of our daily lived experiences, the sorrows and the joys. It is an invitation into a relational and respectful way of being with the wounds and the wholeness of our selves, the desirable and the uncomfortable feelings and sensations and experiences of our living.
The poem arises as an affirmation and recognition in my own life that there is a kind of intelligence and wisdom at play in everything, an ecological ‘reason for being.’ Coming to life with this kind of respectful listening, and trust, is a shift out of meeting myself and the world from a toxic masculinity of seeking of power, dominion and control over whatever I am presented with, even within my own being. It requires what we might call the relational eyes of the feminine.
I think of this as a softer and more peripheral vision that can see into the shadows and crannies to perceive what might be hiding there, and why. These are often shy or fearful energies-creatures-spirits or beings within us, and if they are to be coaxed into the light of the world, if we are to hear the messages they might speak to our spirits and souls, then we must learn to come to them with love, acceptance and compassion rather than denial or demands for change.
This is an inner alchemy of body, soul, mind and spirit. This is a releasing of life force committed to patterns of servitude and a story of separation now given freedom to fly into more courageous and joyous creative expressions.
You know how it feels when someone judges you? How responsive are you to changing something under the eyes of condemnation? Why should it be any different when you are judging yourself? It’s an ineffective strategy for joyful living… but one commonly learned and applied to ourselves and others. It’s not pretty, is it.
To live in a more beautiful world we must learn to see, create and be that beauty we desire and seek. Among the dynamics and dimension of this play, we are invited to own and withdraw the fears and judgments we cast or project onto others. I am not speaking of dismissing discernment but of a courageous willingness to inquire into my/your personal prejudices as we meet the rising energetics of racism and religious bigotry and fascism in the world.
The forces feeding off the fears of our souls through exciting experiences of separation and alienation and loneliness and overwhelm and division and bullying and violence and greed and scarcity… are now growing in their visibility and strength. We live in tumultuous times and we can best meet them through an integration into the integrity of our wholeness.
Indeed, this is the invitation of our times to all of humanity. We are far grander and wondrous of beings than many of our religious or political traditions would have us believe or behave. And yet:

Oh my!
What if…
the courage of attention and acceptance change everything?
What organic wild joys of heart and soul might yet lie within?
What abandoned wells might again flow freely with the Waters of Life?

Language Notes: By the word ‘attention,’ in this piece, I intend to reference a quality of  presence, as in the willingness to be with some feeling or sensation. And in concert with the word ‘acceptance,’ I intend to reference not some kind of passivity at all but an active recognition or allowing that something ‘is exactly as it is;’ And please, as you are present with this poem, consider the distinction between ‘love’ and ‘like’ an invitation into discernment.
Questions for Reflection:

  • What are the discomforts or dissatisfaction in your life you’d rather not give attention to?
  • What shame and guilt hides amidst my sense of unworthiness?
  • What and where inside are the places I hide from truth?
  • What are the fears or feelings that drive my attention away?
  • Where might attention demand change in or of me in some way?
  • Do I fear or believe, “There’s nothing I can do anyway so…why pay attention to it?”
  • Might I feel, “I’ve failed before and it’s too painful to try again?”
  • Do I believe or hope, “Maybe they’ll go away if I don’t feed them?”
  • Does my system confuse rumination for attention?
  • Where am I afraid of living my deep and true powers?
  • Am I afraid of fully receiving the Gift of Life? How does this show up in my living?
“Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” — Pema Chödrön

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