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Windows to Our Soul

I wrote this poem “Eyelids” back in 2000. Life is a journey. Wisdom reveals itself through our eyes, our hearts, our minds and our souls. I feel so different now compared to 20 years ago, and yet I am the same person, still exploring, questioning and learning. I feel compassion for my path and choose to pass no judgment on who I was then. Being human is hard with all our lessons, losses, successes and failures. I do the best I can in any given moment, and I know it takes but a second for my world view to change.


By Shirley Riga

Flaps of skin

Window covers

Closes so we don’t see

Closes so we deny truth

Closes to rejuvenate

Closes windows to our soul

Open light

Opens courage to see

Opens our windows to the world

Bears our soul

Respite with slow blink

Temptation to close

Determination to open

Eyelids protect our soul

Controls our vulnerability

Rejuvenates our hope

Tired, rest, sleep, closed eyes,

Opens heart

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Showing a lack of compassion tor ourselves for all our past mistakes and shortcomings is like trying to walk on a long journey with rock in our shoe.

  • What I saw in my meditation was like a dream. When I closed my eyes, I saw light, and then shadows. Then a figure throwing light out, then another and another. Then more. Then they had masks on. It felt pleasant, and I felt more alert.

  • Sounds like you had hyper awareness. I suggest writing down these images.

  • I’ve been aware of how I deal with stress. I hold tension in my pelvis. I’ve learned to practice saying “thank you for keeping us safe. Now you can rest.” I’ve repeated that to the point where I’ve done it regularly without noticing I’m doing it. Yesterday, I realized I said “now ‘we’ can rest.” Which was a new message to me. This practice is helping me get there to a calmer place.

  • Compassion for self is a key. Turning things over to a power greater than ourselves. Not having compassion for our previous self is like a rock in a shoe. We work through it, you all are my higher power today. I let go of things of the past, otherwise, I’d be hobbling around.

  • We do the best we can with what we know at the time. Compassion for ourselves is so important

  • Your readings are so touching and beautiful and authentic. I gave myself permission to go to a peaceful place. I don’t always have to think.

  • It’s our egos trying to figure it out. We our building trust in ourselves. And doing the best we can.

  • We never know what the future will be. In 2000, I was in a dead-end relationship and thought I’d always be in it. When I live in expectancy versus my expectations, I am open to change and possibilities. Like being in this pandemic. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We get to trust, and turn my will and life over to the care of my higher power.

  • It is up to us to be compassionate with ourselves. We can pound on ourselves or accept ourselves and situations. When I wrote that poem, my eyes were so exhausted from crying after my divorce. It was before my daughter’s death. The poem seems appropriate today.

  • At some point in the past after the pandemic started, I became aware of thinking of other people’s breathing. We take breath for granted. For weeks, I took five minutes every day to breathe for other people. Then I forgot about it. Today, this practice came back to me and I got teary remembering. In today’s meditation, I began the practice again.

  • I tell myself it is okay not to think. My mother tends to worry a lot. She gets upset when I tell her to stop worrying so much. She replies, “Someone has to worry.” “It doesn't have to be you,” I tell her. What's it going to change if we worry about something? If we have faith, we’ll be okay.

  • Worry is not being in the now. In my book, I share a story about how I learned to touch my nose when I started worrying. The gesture reminded me that this is what I can control right now. Be in the now.

  • My friend is going off the deep end. I suggested we take a calculated risk. Weigh Covid vs dying of alcoholism. I took him to the hospital to get a covid test, and it was negative. So then, I took him to detox. We can worry or move on. Get the treatment you need. I wish I could detox my emotional situation. It’s good to weigh differences and risks

  • This is compassion

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