Within the depths of despair and sorrow, we are also able to find our depth of love and our extent of kindness. When we find ourselves experiencing the loss of someone we are close to, a relative's despair, or the exhilaration of entering a new chapter in life, have you ever noticed that we can often have a more rich and profound response if we read poetry or listen to music that inspires or speaks to us? The music or poetry deepens our connection to our shared humanity, our shared experience. Poetry can give rise to an array of emotions often igniting a shift in perspective or giving us access to a closed off space within the heart. And then like magic, sometimes we find a different way of engaging with the world that allows us to take a step outside our own lives and enter in to a broader stream of human experience. The more we immerse ourselves in this vast stream, the more we understand how the things and people of the world resonate and harmonize with one another. This is my hope and intention with the workshops and classes I offer, whether it is Pangu yoga, a Mini Retreat or some of the new and exciting offerings I'm creating for 2019! I hope you enjoy this poem below. Its one of my favorites.
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the
Indian in a white poncho lies dead
by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone who journeyed through the night
with plans and the simple breath
that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness
as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow
as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness
that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day
to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
- Naomi Shihab Nye
Love for the journey,