Poems & Quotes

Without my Story

A poem from my dear friend and mate in the work of life, Tim Merry. Written on a napkin on our back porch – after a week of good work in friendship, music, forest walks and talks, delicious food and a touch of apricot wine.



What would I be without my story?
Of the whispering mind
Cop in the head
Put to Bed
Not even snoring
Just Breath

Who would I be without my stories?
Like a tree
Without the rustle of the leaves
Winter mind
To the Inside
Inside the inside
A space so wide
It has no centre
Because it is centre

Thanks Tim!

Peace, power and warrior of the heart

Can’t You See the Mighty Warrior?

How often you ask,

What is my path?

What is my cure?

He has made you a seeker of Unity,

isn’t that enough?

All your sorrow exists for one reason -

that you may end sorrow forever.

The desire to know your own soul

will end all other desires.

The smell of bread has reached you -

if that aroma fills you with delight

what need is there for bread?

If you have fallen in love,

that love is proof enough;

If you have not fallen in love,

what good is all your proof?

Can’t you see? -

If you are not the King

what meaning is there

in a kingly entourage?

If the beautiful one is not inside you

what is that light

hidden under your cloak?

From a distance you tremble with fear -

Can’t you see the mighty warrior

standing ready in your heart?

The fire of his eyes

has burned away every veil,

So why do you remain behind the curtain,

scared of what you cannot see? -

Open your eyes! The Beloved

is staring you right in the face!

If a master has not placed

His light in your heart,

What joy can you find in this world? -

every flower is lifeless,

and sweet wine has no taste.

~ Rumi ~

Reflections on the Warrior without War

I am very moved in my life and practice by this sense of the Warrior and what that can mean for me in my journey of peace. There is an energy in the concept of Warrior that intrigues me, that I experience and touch deep inside myself in times of deep presence and clarity. It is something that appears to serve me in my work with myself and others in such a loving and powerful way. That supports me in looking fearlessly and directly at life and experience, and taking in the beauty of whatever shows up. It seems to be a thread in that energy that moves me swiftly when I just seem to know what to do.

What is this ‘warrior’ that is not fighting and has no violence in it? That holds me in possibility of a deeper kind of peace that has both a gentleness and a fierceness to it. And yet there is power and a kind of sharpness there. It can have both weight and lightness to it.

I became very aware of this place in myself a few years ago when I began Tae Kwon Do martial arts training. It surprised me how I was drawn to the energy of ’Warrior’. As a person with a strong value of non-violence I had to sit with it for awhile to find what was true for me in what I was experiencing. I could easily have named it aggression and turned away from it, but when I sat with it, I could tell that’s not what it is for me. Not when it is clear. It seems like aggression, fear and competition can attach itself to that source, but they are not the source itself. There was something else there that I recognized as part of me, and that was clear and strong and loving. What I am naming Warrior, and hear as Warrior in Rumi, lives beneath the thoughts and beliefs that distort it and enlist it for war. And ignoring or suppressing or simplifying that to ’bad’ felt like killing off a beautiful and important (though mysterious) part of myself that I sensed I would need for this journey I was taking with myself and out into life.

When I am still with this energy it in its pure form, I remember it well – as a child stepping out into the world – speaking something true for me; as a young woman heading off to the university of my choice. I remember it from falling in love, giving birth to my children, holding my father's hand when he was dying and looking straight into his beautiful blue eyes. I feel it when I say ‘no’ from an honest place and when I say ‘yes’ from an honest place. I feel it when I open to a powerful question, get still and really take a close look.

I have many amazing teachers in this ongoing practice of connecting to my own honest, peaceful warrior. Bryon Katie shows up for me in this learning so powerfully with the clarity of the Work she offers in inquiry, and the fierce and gentle love as she holds space for others to find their own peace and power – willing to travel anywhere for the love of truth (www.thework.com).
I also continue to be in rich learning with my Warrior of the Heart Senei’s and mates Bob Wing and Toke Moller (www.warrioroftheheart.org)
And with the work these mentors of mine offer in the world, I can find the wise teacher in myself, and work with whatever ‘war’ is left inside me that would keep me from engaging with my own ‘warrior’ energy in the world in a peaceful, wise and loving way.
I can often feel it when it gets mixed up, and I am so grateful to have these tools to open to that, look directly, learn and shift. The journey continues…

The Winter of Listening by David Whyte (The House of Belonging)

No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,

what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with the summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.

All those years
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.

All those years
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.

And the slow
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous
Silence and winter
has led me to that

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own. 

The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

This poem resonates for me with all the amazing and courageous people that I have the honour of travelling with in my hosting of the Work. A deep bow to all of us in this mysterious journey to knowing ourselves.