Featured

Happiness

Happiness
Is here and now
I have dropped my worries 
Nowhere to go, nothing to do 
I don’t need to hurry

Happiness 
Is here and now
I have dropped my worries
Somewhere to go, something to do
No longer in a hurry

How wonderful! That by the time we come to the end of the second verse in this simple song, it is such a real possibility!

We live in a time in the world where the footprints of hurry are causing pain to the earth, and to our collective consciousness. Hurry is such a contagious energy; and whilst there is a gentle movement growing to decline the invitation to be ever busy and in a hurry, it can still feel like it takes more discipline to do less than to say yes to all the opportunities that come to us.

When this song was new to me, I distinctly recall thinking “nowhere to go, nothing to do!!?! – what an absurd luxury!”. But really, what is absurd is that such a concept should seem like a luxury, not to mention an absurd one!

I love the Plum Village practice of having a “lazy day” each week; a day where we have a chance to catch up with ourselves in our bodies. At first unspiralling from the habit of having a very full diary was difficult, even uncomfortable for me. Life is so full of so many exciting opportunities to do, learn, see, talk, listen, meet, play… so many verbs, such limited time! 

But what is the quality of our experience when we are so preoccupied with cleverly slotting it all into the schedule, planning our route to the next thing whilst we are at the current thing? How available are we for the people we are with, for ourselves, when we are busily trying to manipulate time? Are we fully present at our appointment with life? Are we able to see that here, now, in the present moment, is the very pureland we are conditioned to be chasing?

I am really seeing a difference, thanks to this song, and the permission I needed to consider a lazy day as a valid thing to schedule; in how I parent a toddler with my youngest child now, compared to her older sister, 13 years ago. What a radical thing, to allow enough space in our day, that we can walk a block at toddler pace, enjoying instead of feeling frustrated and anxious about looking at tiny leaves, patterns in the pavement, shapes in the clouds. There is even enough time to be aware that my tea is there! 

How long does it take a toddler to walk a block? As long as possible!

Right now, my parenting is my teacher, my toddler is my bell of mindfulness. And I feel so grateful that her natural way of doing life waters the seeds of mindfulness that are planted in me from times when I could study the dharma more fully.

I remember standing in a very long queue in a busy Paris train station the day after a delicious week in Plum Village, and humming this song to myself as the queue slowly moved. For me, the songs of practice can act as short cuts to some of the essence of the teachings, and I really appreciate this!

I wonder how it is for you?

Featured

Breathing In

Breathing in
I go back to the island within my heart
There are beautiful trees
Upon the island
There are clear streams of water
There are birds, sunshine, and fresh air
Breathing out I feel safe
I enjoy going back to my island.

This beautiful song is one of my favourites from Plum Village. 

I sing it, and other songs of practice, to my toddler each night at bedtime. Some days, this is the extent of my “formal dharma practice”!

A lecture I heard around the idea of our island, talked about the need to nourish and maintain our island, so that when we really need it, it is a beautiful sanctuary for us.

That we can choose what trees to plant and nourish there. We wouldn’t expect a mango tree to grow from the seed of a lemon, and similarly, if we want our island to be calm, we can mindfully practise feeling calm; so that if there is a tempest in our external world, those trees we have planted on our island are there to shelter us.

In my own life, I really notice the difference between the times that I look after my island, and when I let it slide, and weeds of fear, and anger spring up there. Then, if I am shaken by circumstances, it is harder to find the peace I need within me when I haven’t been looking after my island.

In the same way that we can’t wait til we need our car to learn how to drive it, we cannot expect our island to feel like a safe place without our careful maintenance.

Last night as I sang this song to my 19 month old daughter, she cuddled me and said “Mummy I like this song”. And it was a wonderful motivation for me to do what I can to nurture my island within.

I hope you can find time to plant some lovely trees on your island this week.

We fell

The states were closed to one another
As our hearts lit up

A tiny window opened for us
To sip from true love’s cup

We yearn and strive to feel close
With new laws holding us apart

We both stay home so far away
When home is in each other’s heart

I long for you my darling one,
To feel your arms around me

To hear you whisper to my hair
Of all the things that should be

Hold on my love, and I will too
To the truth of our sweet story

This pain we know is compost
For a garden full of glory

(C) Zoë Xanadu 2021

Delivery

Hanging preschooler sized pants on the line
On a sunshiney lockdown day

Brrrrmmmmm
The postie bike stops at my gate

Through he comes with two big packages
“I’ll just put these here”

They sit by the door
As I continue my dance with the endless laundry cycle

I pick them up on my way inside
One, a bundle of online fast fashion for the teen

The other addressed to me
Flat, registered, with stiff cardboard inside

My graduation certificate and testamur
Just like that

Ten years of isolated online toil
Solo parenting, working so many jobs

My Masters degree has been conferred in hi-vis
From the other side of the laundry basket

Not a mortarboard in sight
But what beautiful weather for Graduation Day!


Comirnaty

Hello spike protein
Welcome to my systems
I see the genetic code in you,
And invite you to show my body
How to make copies

Good morning dear body
This is an invited guest
Please make them welcome
Drop down into accommodation mode
If you will, and help them do their work

A biscuit dear guest? A cup of tea?
Let me show you to our lovely bath
Soak in here awhile with your kind host
And get to know each other
Find your harmony like new lovers

Befriending the reality of our times
Supporting our communal wellness
With a perfect fusion of love and science
Dear body, you and the virus share Mother Earth now
May you do so safely and gently
It’s ok
Keep
Breathing

I love you

Cloak

I was looking for my cloak 
But it wasn’t outside of me
I am the cloak

Housing my nervous system
Containing my blood
Protecting my heart


I was wary of the wolf
But it wasn’t outside of me either
I’m the only wolf now

Stalking my own vulnerability
Ready to trick me
Eyes glinting from the shadows


I wanted to show love to my Grandmother
But she wasn’t outside of me either
I am my grandmother

She is in me
And the reverence I show myself
Honours all of the grandmothers
Whose stories I breathe


So I filled my basket with goodness
And I carry that treasure within me
Self-nourishing
So that I may stride
Upright and belonging
Into the forest


And in the clearing
I seek my healing
And my healing happens
Through relationship
Through connection
Through safety

I am here in the clearing
And I see that you are here too


Copyright 2021

https://youtu.be/29Tl6EZjtis written to honour the release of this single by majestic creatrix Jex Lopez ♥️

Falling

Keep up your routines 
They say
When at risk of falling hard and fast

Ok

She tries

But this pesky pandemic
Has got her all locked down

And the enforced extended distance builds a tension even greater

Morning texts that go til lunchtime

Nap time fantasies abound

Phone calls filled with longing
So much longing
They could only wish
for a shortcut to the next tryst

Lips whisper through the ether
Of desires yet unmet

Something showstoppingly stunning
grows as Spring approaches

But what it is feels jostled
By this other
Discomfort


This insistent presence
of an isolating threat

delaying
delaying
delaying

How delicious can torture really be?