Category Archives: thoughts

the weight of impotence

the weight of impotence

note to self

stopped watching
TV world news
clicked off NPR
but on the iPad
catch myself roving
through BBC, CNN
and The Guardian
impelled to know

crushed by agony
in our world, I ponder
my own actions,
minuscule movements
of love, one in 7.9 billion
7.9 billion!
impotence weighs me down

and yet,
the eye of the heart flames—
see, over there,
the mare licks her foal
still amniotic wet
long, slow strokes to
ground him into life

with tender fierceness
watch the red-tailed hawk
feed snake to
squawking fluff balls
or the hospice nurse plump
pillows for the failing elder,
offering gentle words

oh please! dear self
faced with global turmoil
even though you
lie awake and quail,
remember—
thought is ineffectual
it holds no other sway

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

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Filed under Awakening, Daily reminders, feelings, Kashmiri Shaivism, Love, memoir, mind, Musings, Non-duality, nonduality, notes to self, Poetry, spirituality, suffering, thoughts, Truth

dust and divinity

dust and divinity

note to self

I am both
dust and divinity
made of exploding stars
and light, bright
consciousness
paradox at best

I’m shaped to
live this earthly
mucky messy life—
given a circumstance
not of my choosing
taken who knows when

divinity births dust
forges a form
breathes life
planets and star clusters
amoebas and bacteria
centipedes and spiders
maples and passionflowers
hawks and songbirds
four-leggeds and us

we live in form awhile
taste blessings
bear grief
smell jasmine
and kiss soft lips
all holy
all part of that mire

remember, dear one—
muck nourishes lotuses

thank you to Rebecca Evert for two prompts that birthed this poem

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Filed under Awakening, feelings, Kashmiri Shaivism, Love, memoir, Musings, Non-duality, nonduality, Poetry, spirituality, thoughts

home!

My family is home, with power on in both locations. Perhaps the worst is over–for us. It’s clear others are still at risk, and I pray for their safety and their animals as well. I am deeply thankful to the firefighters who risk their lives protecting ours and our property.

Remaining wholly in the present made it possible to move through this time without debilitating anxiety. I only suffered those first minutes after the evacuation order came, waking me from uneasy sleep. Then I pulled out my metaphorical toolbox and put it to use.

Concern, of course. Planning, of course. We need the mind to navigate life. Distress is different–it takes an already difficult situation and makes it unbearable. Anxiety of that kind haunted me for decades until this understanding took root: emotional suffering is optional. It is not necessary when we embody where to take our stand, as the pure awareness that we are.

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wildfire

4 a.m. I stand in our home, quivering, awakened from restless sleep. Nixle text: mandatory evacuation order. Power has been off for six hours. Our go-bags wait by the door, including the one for our dog, Bodhi.

Time to go. If we lose our home, what can I bring that fits in the car to help a new place feel familiar? I grab ten pieces of art from the walls–the gorgeous color-pencil drawings our friend Suzette did of our dogs, and two others. My laptop, so I can write. Coats. I check for device chargers.

This is the new reality. Brain adjusts, body resists, then gets in gear. Destination: friends in Petaluma, seventeen miles away. We take both vehicles and enter the parking lot of evacuees. An hour later, we’ve gone two miles.

Drivers are remarkably generous, letting others into the creeping auto stream from side roads. I see no road rage and am grateful. The updated Nixle notice comes in–my son, who doesn’t drive, must evacuate as well. My husband peels off to Santa Rosa to snag him and his go-bag.

It only takes me three hours to travel the seventeen miles. Charge the iPhone on the way. I’m welcomed with a sweet hug from our dear friend. Power has been cut to Petaluma as well, but the gas stove works. Warm tea! Five hours later, husband, son, and dog finally make it.

There is no complaining, only attention to what must be done–keep devices charged, eat food before it spoils, send love and best wishes for the well-being of people and creatures closer to the fire than we. Await Nixle updates. Breathe. Count blessings. Be present.

 

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Filed under Advaita, Daily reminders, memoir, Musings, thoughts

one small thing – unedited free write

[We were given the prompt, “one small thing.”]

one small thing
just look slantwise
for a moment
it can happen that fast–
without warning,
the apparent world turns inside out
a Mobius strip
and no thing remains the same

one small shift
a spiral in fate
unforeseen and blindsiding
yet asked for, too
all known falls away
concepts, beliefs, assurity,
all gone,
never to return

one small twist
and, what now? how shall you live?
can you welcome no meaning
and love what comes?
wild paradox lacks any frame
when you think about it, too vast to hold
so don’t. don’t think about it,
you’ve gone down that torturous trail ten thousand times

one small turn
invited, yet unexpected
sought after, yet surprised
and the world erupts as a one-song-uni-verse

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2016

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mind game – update

Ripple-EffectLast evening, Caverly Morgan and I talked about anxiety and self-love. She is an introspective, thoughtful woman with a Zen monastic background, and works with teens in the Portland, Oregon schools. Check out her website onehouseofpeace.org. She had some suggestions about working with the overactive nighttime mind which I decided to try out, along with the self-reminders I posted yesterday.

When I went to bed and relaxed my body, as usual, the mind fired up. I worked with sensing the feelings that underlie and precipitate thought, and while doing this, noticed just how strident the mind was. With curiosity, I queried, “Why are you so loud?” The answer: “I don’t feel heard.”

One of my companions over the last nine years has been a volume of daily readings called The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. In one entry, he describes how Aboriginal Australian people pay their respects when they come upon each other in the bush. Their greeting is, “I see you.” In this vein of deep love, understanding, and union, I responded to the mind by saying, “I hear you.” I repeated this, with love, a number of times. The mind chatter volume immediately dropped. Now I could rest in being, aware of, but not engaged with, the ongoing commentary.

I went on to sense the feelings beneath the chatter, and then, prior even to feelings, bodily sensations, which I invited to soften, and permeated with knowing presence. At some point, filled with gratitude, I dropped off to sleep.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
image credit

 

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Filed under Daily reminders, insomnia, mind, Musings, thoughts

mind game reminder

funny-crazy-mind-bunnies-clipartToday, surrounded by loving, awake friends, I was reminded of other ways to address the nattering nighttime mind.

The thoughts are precipitated by feelings. Sink into those. Welcome them, even if they are uncomfortable. Most likely, they are familiar friends who have been with me most of my life.

The feelings, when I place my attention on them, reveal themselves as simple bodily sensations. Notice these.

Allow pure awareness to seep into them, expanding and dissolving the remnants. Or invite them to soften and gradually disperse.

Rest in beingness.

Repeat again, again, again. Again.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
image credit

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mind game

untamed mindLife is busy. I take moments during the day and rest in the truth of what I am. But the most available time is when I go to bed, and don’t go to sleep–aging insomnia—so I hang out simply being.

For a few blessed moments, quiet.

Then the mind starts rambling, babbling, screaming. The thoughts are annoying, repetitive, and without meaning. Obnoxious. At first I was sure the mind was getting louder. It dawned on me it has always been this loud, but as my appreciation and attraction to being grows, the noisy mind becomes more obvious.

The teaching says, “Leave thoughts alone. Don’t touch them.” Supposedly, if one leaves them alone enough, they lose strength. This is not my experience. They natter, natter, natter on. I do my best not to fiddle with them.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
image credit

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Filed under Daily reminders, mind, Musings, Non-duality, thoughts

hot tub epiphany

hot tub surround 5050 Fox Hollow croppedI’ve waited to write about this hot tub epiphany for a few weeks–I wanted to make sure that what I saw held up under life’s pressures.

One of my main patterns has been tormenting thoughts–the creation of nightmare scenarios that might possibly come to pass. Best to be prepared, thought says, in a confident, insinuating tone.

Rather than follow thought-trains, I’ve learned to inquire into them. This particular evening–as I soaked and stared at the stars, and as usual, worried about this and that–the question arose, why would thought torture a body-mind? The answer came immediately, like a typewriter print out: so the imaginary sense of separation can perpetuate itself. This thought had never occurred to me before, and I knew it spoke the truth. The implications are immense–once seen, truth like this cannot be un-seen.

The next nightmare thought that arose was met with NO! I will not bolster your fictitious self-importance by believing, or even following, this train. Instead, I returned light attention to the current sensations of hot water and cool evening air, and the thought died its own natural death.

This is the new pattern: I can’t control thoughts arising, but I can welcome and immediately discredit them. And come back home to right now, the safest place of all.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
(my photo)

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I have a plan

planHow many times have we said, “I have a plan” over our lifetime?

When we approach life with a plan, there is always some part of us to improve, to correct, to change.

I remember that I always had an idea of what events, relationships, or even my hair styles would look like, but they never turned out the way the mind envisioned. I had self-improvement schemes, too. For example, if I were kind enough, other people would be kind in return. Not necessarily so…

I no longer live with a plan. However it is, is how it is. This makes this wild experience we call life much simpler and easier. Much less stress, resistance, and drama.

Not having a plan makes life interesting right now, because I’m taking a year-long real estate course where I’m required to make a business plan. Which, of course, I will–because I’ve committed to completing this course. I will put close attention to what they ask of us, and attend to the details. But do I “believe” in it? Do I really believe I have individual control over my life? No longer–because this is so obviously not “my” life. I’ve spent hundreds of hours noticing, and I cannot find a “doer.” And yet doing happens, and life continues to unfold. Occasionally events even turn out in a pleasing way. Just as often, they do not.

I soaked in the hot tub tonight. Abruptly, the body-mind stood, and stepping out of the tub, wrapped up in a towel. There was no plan–or even the premonition of a thought–of leaving the warmth of the tub at that moment. And yet it occurred. I slipped into bed, looking forward to deep rest before an apparently very busy day tomorrow. Forty-five minutes later, I found myself sliding my feet into slippers, wrapping up in a hoodie, and returning to the computer.

Do I have any sense of when writing will stop, and I’ll return to bed? No idea at all. Perhaps writing will go on all night. Perhaps, a couple of minutes from now, the body will put itself back in bed. Whichever occurs, or something else completely unforeseen–I’m sure to be surprised by whatever shows up. That’s part of the delight of living now–it’s all so surprising.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
image credit

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Filed under Advaita, Dzogchen, Musings, Non-duality, simple pleasures, spirituality, Surrender, thoughts, Truth, writing