Yesterday one of my poems, "Savasana: Corpse Pose," was selected as the poem of the day on the new website "A Year of Being Here," that publishes "daily mindfulness poetry by wordsmiths of the here and now." Phyllis Cole-Dai, the project curator, started this site at the beginning of the year, and it's clearly a labor of love based on all the work she's done selecting poems as well as stunning images to complement them. I enjoy subscribing to the site for free and receiving a daily poem in my email inbox that I read every morning as part of my yoga and morning meditation. I encourage you to subscribe, to read through the archives and to submit any of your own poems that might seem fitting.
Brilliant spring day in Marshall--sunny, 50-ish, bright blue sky with wisps of cirrus high above, the smell of the earth waking up. First, I attended a great anusara yoga class taught by Kristin Knight at Prairie Yoga, then later took a long walk with my husband Jim on the bike trail with our dog Maya. The Redwood River beside us, high, fast-moving. No wind today, no mosquitoes yet. A hawk hovering above, circling lazily.
We didn't see any geese overhead today, but just as I was walking into work one morning last week I stared up at a spectacular set of interlocking V-formations, the honking calls described in one of my favorite Mary Oliver poems, "Wild Geese."
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
"The more completely we inhabit our own bodies with both their strengths and their flaws, the more compassionate we become towards all of life." -Krista Tippett on Being, the weekly public radio program
This week Tippett focuses her show on yoga as a spiritual practice with an interview of Seane Corn, a renowned yoga teacher and founder of "Off the Mat, Into the World."
Over the years, I've found that practicing yoga supports and energizes my writing practice. On my green mat, I move into poses that open my chest (camel or ustrasana), make me feel vulnerable and call for courage (handstands and backbends), root me deep (tree and warrior pose), and remind me to play (front lying boat pose, supta navasana--my yoga teacher calls this the "supergirl" pose). Seated at my writing desk, I take all of that with me--open heartedness, courage, rootedness, and playfulness--as I face the blank page.
"All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love." - Leo Tolstoy
This "quote of the day" from my planner says it all. And simply.
Need a lift at the end of your week? Every Friday from 5:30-6:30 p.m., Kristin Knight, owner of Prairie Yoga in Marshall, hosts "Happy Hour" Yoga--60 minutes of relaxing anusara yoga poses to help you wind down from your week, laugh a little, be silly, and let go of stress. A delicious way to start your weekend.
I love to play with words. To capture moments on the page. To explore the physical and spiritual geography of what I call "fly-over country." I write from imagination, observation and my own experience of wandering in fly-over country--the literal, physical spaces of my life on the Minnesota prairie and the inner territory of the soul.