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Outside Forces

Updated: Oct 11, 2020

Yesterday I stood in the presence

Of a man that laughed at masks

And sneered at the conspiracy


I did my job and was cordial

And impartial on the outside.

Iron walls surrounding my heart

Ten-foot poles guarding my smile.

Three hours later I stood in the presence

Of a woman with guitar in hand

Singing me her new song and sharing

From her heart the light she sees.

A day can be like a pendulum

Swinging from one extreme to another

And I am the tender of my garden


The world is full of dichotomies

Pulling me in one direction and then another

Pushing boundaries and clanging loudly

Enticing with bling and subtle newness.

It’s exhausting living in this new world

With the fear and hate

hanging on people’s outsides

for all to see and hear

It feels like a hot summer day

with oppressive heat blowing in my face

pushing me and intruding

on my inner home

And then there are times

I find myself in a garden of

Beautiful flowers surrounded by

Real people doing good, sharing love.

I am clear on where I want to spend my time

I am clear on what I believe

I am clear on my boundaries

Of these outside forces.

My home is within

I’ve built it from bricks of experience

And truth with mortar of love and light

The doorway is the moment of now.

Living in our neighborhood are

Homing pigeons who have safe harbor

And are freed certain times of the day

To explore and fly with abandon

Always heading home when they are called

Back to their safe, secure nest.

I hear my call when it’s time to circle back

I find my comfort when I’m ready to

Feel the safety of my home within

Holding the doorway of now and

The presence of heart to

Circle back into my garden.

We are living in extremes

And extremes call for measures of

Force that align us with our truth.

Align us with our convictions

And sometimes using anger to

Blow the debris off our path to clarity

So we can settle back into ourselves

And find our home again.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • I remember your instruction months ago using the image of breathing out through a straw helps focusing. (see April 10, Listening In and Out) I find it very effective.

  • When I was growing up, I thought a garden grew flowers. Not the fields of vegetables my father grew. During the meditation, I thought about gardens, and my mind went back to my childhood of planting sweet potatoes: digging the holes, planting the slips, and then watering them. Months later, we’d dig the sweet potatoes. Miraculous how many there were all around. Many were hidden and I could always find another one. Our lives are like that. When we plant our slip, we let them grow in the fertile soil of our meditation groups. A lot of new sweet potatoes can come from that. Sweet potatoes for our soul.

  • I thought about this a while ago, the huge contrasts we have in our lives aren’t usually so huge. Almost feeling guilty about the joy I get in the yard weeding, I call it studying root systems. During the meditation, I thought about how everyone is affected by this pandemic: teachers, nurses, workers. We have to be kind to everyone.

  • I liked the idea of my home is within. You said to circle back. We access our home, our essential selves when coming to this meditation. That’s our home. We always have ourselves to come home to. That feels good.

  • Today is the pagan holiday Lammas. I am doing ritual today and I am in knots wanting to do it perfectly, which is all in my mind. Coming home to myself is important when doing this work. It’s a huge pagan holiday, a liminal time. Having self as anchor. Creating threshold for women doing this work. (see July 30, Liminal Space)

  • I did art classes this week. It was a meditative class and I made 7 art pieces. The work flowed. I am aware of the pendulum in my life, that's what's happening. I was tired last night and worried this negative feeling was going to stay, but I feel good today. Art is centering.

  • There is richness in the experiences we have in our lives, and in the sharing.

  • The image of being angry and clearing debris away in my path was powerful.

  • I loved the line “I am the tender of my garden within.” So beautiful. I was able to meditate this morning. In the last few weeks, I’ve been all over the place, but today felt good.

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