Monday, March 1, 2021

Delicate strong


Delicate. We are as delicate as this bud. I forget that sometimes as I warrior on, that my body is what is actually advancing me through on a very literal level. No matter what my emotions or intentions, my body does the work.

A few evenings ago, it was raining softly, the pavement sleek and glistening. My foot slid across a steel manhole cover. I lost my balance and slapped to the ground, hard. A tiny woman, bound in black, dropped her groceries and came to me at a run. I stared at her, incomprehensibly. "You must get up now," she stammered. "Let me help you up." She offered her hands. They seemed detached from her body but willing. I gave my head one long shake, gasped a breath and took her fingers in mine. 

She offered to walk me to where I was going but thankfully the shock was fading, my wits were returning, albeit surreptitiously. I declined, thanking this stranger profusely for the kindness of connection. Of one human being looking out for the other. And then she was gone, disappeared into the veil of rain.

Again a breath, stronger this time, one that allowed me to take stock. My right knee was burning but my jeans weren't ripped, my right wrist was throbbing and there was a cut on my left palm...but that was it. No real damage. It was just a fall, finally. I fished for a tissue in my pocket and patted at the blood. 

My favourite security guard at the grocery store greeted me with his usual elbow bump and reassuring smile. I don't know his name, nor he mine but over this past year we have grown to having a quick check-in upon seeing each other. In the worst of the first lockdown, to ward off fear, we would build up each other's confidence by saying, "We are still alive!" And yes we are, still. What grace, what gratitude lies within that now. Sometimes he will wink when he says it. Somehow there is an understanding between us. We both sense that we are, for different reasons, lucky. 

Coffee, wine and cheese...the French necessities. I could not leave without them and began to limp slightly as I made my way home. It was not until the next morning, pausing on the steps up to my mezzanine, that a deep twinge made me rethink what it is to have health and how incredibly challenging it must be to live with physical pain on a regular basis. 

"Thank you, my body." 

It was a sort of prayer. Thank you for all that you have seen me through. When I have fallen to the floor from heartbreak, my heart/our heart did not stop to beat. I got up again. So while we may be delicate and capable of bruises, how too we can sing, readily with the sweet sap of spring. Arriving. 



Hello my friends. My apologies for those of you who come here for the photography...there is more coming! I just have not dealt with it yet but it has felt really wonderful to start taking photos again. For now there are words and well-wishes within them.

I am sending much Love and Gratitude.
May we stay strong and loving and kind.

xo
Heather

Friday, January 22, 2021

Hunger for light



I want light. I am hungry for it.

Just a pure shot without doubt or fear.

Run through me, run through me, pulsing fast my

dear, how I need to know you (are) here.

Can you this, more than all stand right after a fall

beyond question of grace but something

like a loving squall

holding back but letting in slowly?

That old question, dusty, of trust worn, rusting but searching.

And so we are born.

A coin sent turning, a debt on our table, direct to the fall. Gold and yet not at all.

It feels like something of a stir, a wind, one clear note, singing in its spinning.

And with that face up landing, how you rise to rise.

This is light.

What you knew all along, ray braying through.

Grateful for this nearly lost possibility. 

Grateful amidst the godness of you.



You can hear a voice recording of this poem: here.



It's a new day my friends.
The undertow is still as such but we in our beautiful hearts can start to heal as much.
Ok! Sorry for all the rhymes! 
I will get back to my regular posting style soon.
Somehow, with the enormity of everything that has been going on...I haven't been able to attack it otherwise than through the gesture of a wider written word. 
Hope that makes sense.
Love to you.


With seriously an ENORMOUS amount of love and gratitude from Provence,
Heather
xoxo



Friday, January 15, 2021

Blackened gold

 
 

The gates were open, then brutally, closed.

My burnished heart had sung to you; longing despite the heavy weight of memory.

There was a willingness to risk even while uncertain that nothing can last beyond what is inherently broken. 

I tried. Freedom, I tried to not say "Good" nor "Evil." To have empathy, to live compassion.

"Don't point the finger. Do not lay the blame."

But my eyes cannot take back the violence that I have witnessed, one incited under a vile guise. I replay the tapes incessantly.

Beating, laughing, beating.

This is also who we are. But not who we have to be.

The ultimate division is not moral, finally but a chasm within our collective humanity warmed and waiting.

"Love" is no liar but now I remember "Hatred" - that fire-breather, roiling, so quick to claim.

How many tears I cry in the shadow of the gallows.

My soul is blackened gold. 

Bitter yet bright shards remain.


You may find a spoken version of this post here.

And please do see below.











Thank you for reading this far.
I was deeply inspired to write this after the attempted coup of January 6th not only after finding one burnt out window in the streets of Avignon but more by one of my favourite stories by a great teacher, Tara Brach:

"The Golden Buddha: Remembering Our True Nature
One of the stories I’ve always loved took place in Asia. There’s a huge statue of the Buddha. It was a plaster and clay statue, not a handsome statue, but people loved it for its staying power. About 13 years ago, there was a long dry period and a crack appeared in the statue. So the monks brought their little pen flashlights to look inside the crack — just thought they might find out something about the infrastructure. When they shined the light in, what shined out was a flash of gold — and every crack they looked into, they saw that same shining. So they dismantled the plaster and clay, which turned out to be just a covering, and found that it was the largest pure solid gold statue of the Buddha in all of southeast Asia.
The monks believed that the statue had been covered with plaster and clay to protect it through difficult years, much in the same way that we put on that space suit to protect ourselves from injury and hurt. What’s sad is that we forget the gold and we start believing we’re the covering — the egoic, defensive, managing self. We forget who is here. So you might think of the essence of the spiritual path as a remembering — reconnecting with the gold . . . the essential mystery of awareness."






We may feel burnt (I have honestly been very down and I am worried about the days to come) but we still have light within us. 

I am holding on to it tightly. And will try to share it forth.

With great Love and Gratitude,

Be well. Stay safe. Be kind.

xo Heather






Sunday, January 3, 2021

Swans

 


I stepped onto the bridge. The sky was grey, the air cold but humid. My hair was sticking to my scalp under my wool bonnet. I folded into myself, boney arms dangling and walked out midway to gaze. 

This New Year's Eve, I was longing for a view. 

How it felt to breathe in openness after having been so constricted. These months which passed without passage. But the summit of the Mount Ventoux in the distance was shrouded in fog or perhaps falling snow. So I inhaled and let my eyes go soft with lack of focus. It was definitely not the first time I had found myself here. A kind of cure. Or a cure of kindness, much needed.

This past year, 2020, was my year of Solitude. The Great Battle of Isolation, one could say.

How do I dare to make a comment of it when so many have lost so much more than I? 

And yet, there were times, in all honesty, when I felt that the pillars of the necessity of my existence had crumbled. I stayed for community, for my beautiful family foremost and the tiny gleams of searching that let me believe deeply that I was not done yet. 

Everything is relative. We choose to forget, or to remember, all the time.

What is astonishing is the part of our hearts - my heart - that signals the beauty of life no matter what. How it keeps our blood pulsing on. If we are so lucky as to be able to pay attention to its call.

So that particular afternoon, I lifted my gaze and focused. 

And there, just beyond, floating underneath the last arches of the broken Pont d'Avignon, I saw two white sparks. My eyesight, which had always been impeccable until this year, made me question but yes, there they were. Two white swans. A pair for life. 

There are never, ever, swans upon this stretch of the Rhône.

And this, finally, was the recognition of what I had been listening to since the Solstice. Initial whispers to be heard of a shift and yet of something, finally, moving as strongly as the current of the river rushing below. Light like hope amidst all uncertainty. All inhumanity. Such a contrast against the shadows love brings.

Will those swans, with their exaggerated elegance but also biting, occasional mindless meanness...will they get us through?

I took them as a beacon, quelconque...perhaps, you shall too.


If you would like to hear my recording of this post, you may find it: here.








Well, my loves. We are still in this and yet I am so hopeful.
Let's keep looking for the moon amongst the clouds.

Every day, if we choose, we can be grateful for whatever little bit of good there is in our day.

With Love and Gratitude, always...always, always.

Be safe, be kind, be hopeful just because you can.

Love,

Heather.