Saturday, December 10, 2011

Poem: Young Woman

I have changed far too much
For turning back
Like a hermit crab
Who has outgrown her

I must not stagnate
Not let myself forget
Must press onward
Push myself to look

I was once named after The Sky
And I am only just
Beginning to understand
The sky is not something you
Get to keep
Or hold down
The sky belongs to the world
Detached from people and places

The sky is not
One way
For long
Her clouds are always
On the move
The sun is always
Shining from a fresh point

Other times I am the horse
The filly who has finally
Discovered the strength of her legs
Now I stand on this vista
Always wanting to push ahead
Where to I should run next

Loving the wind in my hair
The sun on my cheeks
Casting life back into
My eyes

Let me tell you something,
Young Woman,
I will whisper it into
Your life history:
The possibilities are infinite
And you are a
Strong and free spirit

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Poem: Broken Shoes

These broken shoes
Should probably be replaced
But I
Know they have a

They were present
When she made the
Unexpected decision
To wake up and
Go flying.
They walked her out
And back in
The South African airport
They walked her up
And back down
The trail to the falls.
They were once soaked through
And through
With Zambezi water.

Then they walked
On red soil
Overlooking canyon walls,
Desert varnish,
Purple shadows,
Painted figures and hand prints
Like ghosts on the rocks.

These shoes
They played with children
Ten shades darker.
Walked alongside friends,
The kind met once in a lifetime.
Picked up countless
Burrs and thorns and grass seeds.
Like a sponge
Soaked up all the
Long-awaited rains
And the sunshine, too.

These broken shoes
Should probably be replaced
But I
Will ignore the holes,
Patch them with tape
To keep them alive
Awhile longer.

Broken shoes, you see,
They have a

Monday, December 5, 2011

Poem: A Fire in the Rain

We said that prayer
Didn’t we?
Out in the rain
We prayed for a fire
Of the spirit.
Long enough ago
To feel like a dream.
You musn't forget.

I thought I heard the African Wood Owl
Agree with our pleading hearts
As we asked the Great Spirit for
A better way,
To teach us all the healing,
The great medicine.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Cliffs overlooking Lukachukai, where I spent Thanksgiving with other NABI staff and volunteers, my sisters and brothers in spirit.

Now that this Thanksgiving holiday has passed, I've been reflecting on the true meaning of thanksgiving as a spiritual quality of the soul. Abdu’l-Baha says “Be thou happy and well-pleased and arise to offer thanks to God, in order that thanksgiving may conduce to the increase of bounty.” Bounties are gifts from God, which rain ceaselessly upon us, we have only to open our hearts to receive these gifts. So maybe when we are grateful for the things we have, both spiritual and material, we are opening our lives for even more bounties. And what better way to celebrate this showering of life’s gifts then a reflection of one’s own blessings?

Below is a list of five things I am thankful for. And, dearest reader, I cordially invite you to join in and comment with a few of the things you are thankful for as well. :)

1. Creativity and the Arts--There is nothing more effective in helping to reflect upon my life, to unwind, to feel spiritually connected. When painting especially, I can forget about all the thoughts which burden my heart and delve into a watercolor painting. There is only the smell of wet paint on thick paper and the sound of my concentrated breathing…this is true clarity of mind.

2. Bluebirds in the winter--It’s easy to feel the winter “blues”, but the raspy calls of Mountain and Western Bluebirds as they fly in flocks of twenty or more lighten my heart a little. They remind me that splashes of vibrant color can be found in even the coldest and dreariest of times.

3. Spiritual Tests--When a soul is given heart-wrenching tests, it grows like a flourishing jungle plant. It’s this maturation of the soul and intense growth that leads to true happiness.

4. The Human Soul--We are loaded with potential, especially when we choose to live with a spiritual conscience. There are so many spiritual qualities to be developed. I imagine it’s like walking into a rainforest and being overwhelmed by the number of birds and animals. It awakens a sense of adventure, I would want to find every creature and sketch it. And with the soul, I want to find every spiritual quality and develop it.

5. A World Family-- I once listened to a CD of a talk by William Sears* in which he explained that the many individuals in our lives are like letters from the Creator. Every human brings with them messages and lessons for others. There are those in our lives whom we feel are tests, and those whom we feel immediately at ease with. Both are teaching us priceless life lessons. We are all beautiful letters to each other from God, no matter what the envelope or outer form.

*For those not familiar, William Sears (1911-1922) was a Hand of the Cause of God. He wrote many books and gave many talks on Baha’i subjects. The Hands of the Cause of God were appointed as sources of wisdom in the Baha’i community. We now have Counsellors who fulfill a similar function.