Fall 2014, I participated in the 108 Poetry Challenge to raise funds for the Young Adult Program at Yasodhara Ashram. The Young Adult Program supports young adults to explore their ideals and bring them forward in their lives. It had an incredible impact on my life and hundreds of other participants who have moved through the program.
My goal was to write 108 poems in 6 weeks and raise $1000 for this amazing program, both of which I completed. You can scroll down or click here to read my poetry!
And if you still want to donate – you can even though the official fundraiser is over – click here :)!!
the pen touches the paper
and I can’t stop.
I forget all responsibility
I forget to breathe,
getting it down.
love letters to my soul
in the night
and I’m not afraid of God now
because I know there is truth in my heart
and that the sun rises and falls to show us our shadows
and the tide is to sweep away our sorrows
pulling them from us violently
in the hidden place
on the moon.
To learn more about my 108 Poetry Challenge or to donate click here.
The mountains across the lake are softened by haze.
The pebbles dig into my back and bum as I lie down,
I sit up.
A cool breeze sweeps over my skin,
the waves of a boat wake lap against the shore.
I smell diesel.
It feels like I’m at the cottage but it’s the end of my work day and I live here.
It’s been incredibly hot the past few weeks – I feel I’ve moved to the desert. The grass is dying. The apple trees cry for water. Desert doesn’t work for me. After 2 days in Nevada and Utah my whole body softened as we drove into the mountains of Colorado – trees, humidity, I can breath again.
And as the coolness of the evening sweeps in I can feel my body softening once more and memories flood in. Diving off the dock at Rangers, hiking Cape Spear alone, running up the freshly cut road in Bhutan, searching for banana slugs with my cousins in the redwoods. Pieces of my life. Pieces of what brought me here.
The small birds flit in and out of the young poplar trees beside the water and I thought that I had to use post-it notes and logic to remember my life. Chronological order. Seriousness.
I simply sit on the beach and the memories flood in.
Washing over me until I become whole.
It’s typical for me – when a transition is coming up – to live in the future. I remember my last 5 months working in the non-profit sector was a bit of a struggle. I knew I was leaving and a part of me left early.
Now hilariously – in the exact inverse situation – going back to the non-profit sector, and again the transition is 5 months away – and a part of me has already left.
How do I stay here? How can I be grateful for what I have now? Why do I glamorize the next step instead of seeing what the present has to offer?
Intellectually – I know that there are many components that I will miss – moving away from Yasodhara Ashram to a city. I will miss living in nature. I will miss the community here, the support that I have, the beautiful people. I will miss the way I am able to contribute to this place. The way I am able to dream and plan and innovate, to try to do things differently, to try to do things better. I will miss the feeling of being a contributor to a community I deeply care for.
I am reminded of this today as I sit with someone who is leaving soon and listen to all that she’s learned being here, listening to all that the community has given her. This is my work, to be a part of that, to help people enter in and find their own way in.
It’s only when day dreaming happens and the part of me that sees the limitations here comes out to play. Then I feel lost like a leaf in the storm – subject to limitation with no choice.
But really I am more like a fish in a storm – there are some undeniable currents but as I encounter each one I have choice. Will I swim against the current or go with it? Or will I ferry across in search of the next stream? My energy is limited but in every moment there is a choice.
So where do I want my energy to go? And how can I direct the currents of my thoughts?
I know that I am where I need to be – that my work here is not yet finished. Some of my projects are at the exciting beginning stage and need the 5 months to be played out.
And although there are challenges here there is also support. And it is my job to ask for that support instead of day dreaming about an ideal future that is somehow free from challenge.
Be here now – three simple words and yet an incredibly challenging task. But as I learn to ask for help and embrace what I am faced with today – my world can open up and become beautiful now.
Easter Sunday and I eat a delicious brunch, chat with some old friends and some new ones and then spend some time alone on the porch with a couple of books and my journal. I go to the garden blessing but skip out on the Easter hike.
I love holidays at Yasodhara Ashram and I’m beginning to realize it’s because there’s this beautiful coming together as a community but there’s also space for me to do my own thing. There’s space for balance and I’m invited to create a balance that works for me.
This year at Christmas I started my morning with a walk on the beach alone and then made my way to the main building for an incredible brunch. It was my first Christmas away from my family and it was really beautiful. I spent most of the day with the community but the morning and the evening alone. And it was exactly what I needed, by 7 pm all I wanted to do was cuddle up and read my book and there was no social pressure to do otherwise.
A lot of what we work on here is supporting each other to move towards emotional independence, and so when I told a friend I was skipping out on the Easter hike she smiled and told me to have a good time. I felt supported to do what I needed to do and so I did. And there’s a beautiful calmness and a feeling of great power that comes from being able to give myself what I need.
Slowly, I am learning to bring balance to my life, and with this balance I am beginning to become whole.