A Special Poem

West Coast Year Long Mindful Schools Closing Retreat
Earthrise Retreat Center, Petaluma, California June 2016
by Marion Lyman-Mersereau

We have returned to this place
where turkey vultures soar
they embrace space
as they search for prey
wanting to eat
not wanting to be hungry
their response when they sight prey
is skillful not dull
effortless in free flight
their movement evident though slight
they make subtle shifts
to gain lift as they ride unseen air currents
that transform
redirect and connect them to their prey
they practice every day.

We have returned to this place
where we witness protective doe
and spotted fawn
and Megan and Ana.

We have returned to this place
where bushy tailed gray squirrels
are so twitchy in trees
they climb up, then down, up, then down
then leap to another tree
some of us find our minds can be
like squirrels.

We have returned to this place
and are in reunion
complete communion
no longer virtually present
but here in the flesh and blood
we feel grief, we feel giddy,
and everything in between
as we expand and contract
in the sheer density
in the tremendous immensity
in the extreme intensity
of The Practice
where we experience a constellation of sensations
as our tongues savor galaxies of taste
there’s little waste after each amazing meal
each one makes us feel lovingly cared for.

We sit
we plan
we remember
we remember to plan
we plan to remember
and come September
just a few months hence
we’ll continue to be Present without pretense
which makes logical sense
we long to lessen ours and others suffering
yet our clinging complicates everything
bells ring and call us to sit, to walk
to talk, to be, to do – do be do be do.

The divine power of our hands
knead tension in the bands
of our contracted muscles as we expand
and loosen with lomilomi
we help heal and soothe our battle wounds
like Hawaiian warriors of old
on the islands – back there
somewhere over the rainbow

Our work is before us
like all these bees we see
in the lavender
we too are hunters and gatherers
collecting pollen and nectar
to make honey for our hives
we’ll affect many more lives
when we go home
but first our own
as we are soaked in the mist
or drenched in the storm
we’ll change, rearrange, transform
we’ll catch the waves out where it’s deep
and ride them til we meet sandy shore
we’ll paddle out again to catch many more
and the green thread that first connected us as one
has fallen by the wayside yet a new thread has begun
from our collective perspectives
we’ve learned a key to clarity is sincerity
and our hearts have softened with Presence
we seek brief moments of awareness,
repeated many times
whenever a bell chimes
our full hearts will melt
each into each others
for we are now and will always be
mindful sisters and brothers.