the light of pure knowing

the light of pure knowing
note from self

her heart is called
by the shoreless light
she can’t feel it
or touch it
or see it
but apprehends
it is prior to all she
can know—she
rests in aplomb
notices how light
underpins and supports—
solace in thick times and
her ground of being
she is made of this light
it pours through and
around her—
it does this for all

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.

wail into the abyss

at age thirteen

wail into the abyss

deep in the Colorado
canyon, I let loose a howl
it ricocheted from
wall to wall

kin answered—
six legs between us
coyote sister, reedy
yips declare interest

back and forth
loneliness in
conversation
testing the air

friend? rival?
adversary?
fraud, exposed?
unsure, we took

our solitary paths
but a fragrance
remained between us—
I was outlander, not foe

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.

collateral beauty

collateral beauty

note to self

I look for it everywhere
only way to stay sane
today, it’s apricot aloe vera
the pompous blooms
dot our garden
my friend the squirrel
sleek and springtime fat
keeps me company
dances on the fence
while I write
jasmine! saturating the air
eager children on tiptoe
search books in the
little free library my
husband built
it matches our home
what a playful surprise
it takes daily tending
remove extra books
sometimes it’s stuffed to
overflow
fill empty slots
the neatening grounds me
in collateral beauty
delight erupts
take note
drink it in
let it nourish you

share

thank you Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer for the title

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.

broken and beautiful

broken and beautiful

note to self

oh my God, we are
broken and beautiful
every one of us
admit it or not
“we” includes
bright California poppies
filled with sunshine,
thief in broad daylight,
a knee-shaking kiss,
the rooster shagging
hens in the field,
incessant barking dog

how can it be like this?

how can it not?

our world is
kintsugi, broken—
an earthy bowl
lovingly repaired with
rivers of gold
again
again
and again

thank you Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer for the title.

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.

checking the news

Here’s a form of perseverating–I can’t stop the urge to check the news for fire and air quality updates. Even during retreat meetings I’m aware of the pull, which I resist. My phone is turned off during our gatherings.

Of course, when I do check at meal times, it’s frustrating because there is no new news, only rehashing what we already know, although air quality shifts rapidly when wind direction changes.

My job: remain centered here and now, notice when the mind wants to leap into a nonexistent future. There’s no way to know, and “what might happen” isn’t a healthy place for me to spend time.

I’m grateful to be with 170 like-hearted souls, exploring the margins of human understanding and noticing our direct experience.

 

precious hearts

I am enfolded in the embrace of precious hearts now–some old friends, some I’m meeting for the first time. This is day one of my eleventh week-long retreat. Only once have I met a complaining, shut-down soul in this community. She frowned and fussed about the dinner which had been prepared for us with love and patience–including gluten-free choices for those with special dietary needs. I noticed her dedication to her special brand of misery and silently wished her well. I have not seen her since.

These friends have special qualities: curiosity, inclusive kindness, generosity, and open-heartedness; audacity to voice confusion in front of 135 people; willingness to drop beliefs that no longer serve, courage to sit in a state of not knowing. I would trust my life to any one of these folk. They are not related by blood, but they are my closest kin.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2017
the sunset heart photo can be freely shared

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

 

my memoir has been published!

My book, Bound to Love: a memoir of grit and gratitude has been published! Both the paperback and Kindle versions can be found here, at Amazon. Other digital versions can be found at Smashwords.

Usually my posts here have a different flavor, exploring nondual understanding. The memoir chronicles the pressure cooker journey that drove me toward unwrapping this deeper truth. Perhaps, without my son Thom, I would not have. I am very grateful.

Front cover with white text justifiedThe memoir won first prize in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2005 contest under the name Blood Bond. That was a very bad time to market memoirs, I discovered, because of James Frey’s betrayal of the form in A Million Little Pieces when he exaggerated his personal story, and was exposed.

I let my manuscript molder on my computer for seven years, then pulled it out and walked it through two more critique groups.

Bound to Love is the true story of a single mother who encountered and navigated a complicated nightmare for any parent. My child, the only child I could ever bear, was born with a life-threatening congenital heart defect, and suffered a more brutal health diagnosis soon after. Walk with me as I birth the courage and grit to meet Thom’s compounding challenges.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015