Poems to Savor

For my 40th birthday, my beloved friend Anna sent me a pack of letters and cards with notes and poems and quotes, one to open each day –

40 in all, leading up to my big day.

These are too divine to not share.  Here are 3 of my current favorites.

Here’s to life, friendship, poetry and all the good juju that words can bring.

“Advice to Myself” by Louise Erdrich

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don’t answer the telephone

or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in through the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

Otherwise

Jane Kenyon1947 – 1995

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.
At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

Starfish by Eleanor Lerman

This is what life does. It lets you walk up to 
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a 
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have 
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman 
down beside you at the counter who say, Last night, 
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological 
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old 
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it 
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the 
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you 
were born at a good time. Because you were able 
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And 
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland, 
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel, 
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

Student Yoga Poem

oh my heart is exploding with love!

Last night, I had the honor to speak at American University at a session for the TRANSFORMATIONS course sponsored by the LEAP Program which is supported, created and inspired by the fabulous author, Iris Krasnow.  Iris is an engaging, thoughtful, loving supporter of WOMEN and our stories, our voices, our growth and our lives. I adore her spunk, character and authenticity.

I presented an “Intro to Yoga & Meditation”  and think we had a really wonderful conversation exploring these topics and HOW THESE TRADITIONS RELATE TO OUR MODERN, BUSY, WONDERFUL lives.

One of the students, Lynne Foltz,  wrote this poem about our time together.

I could not be more honored that she embraced and integrated the principles into a creative piece to express her self and what she learned.

 

Lessons from Pleasance on LEAP Day

Explore yoga

   in my own way

Choose an image

   to energize the spirit

Find a leader

   and share community

Relax

   and love myself

Touch my chest

   take a deep breath

Fill the diaphragm

   with fresh air

Exhale slowly

   stress will fly away

Relax

   and love myself

Shake one hand

   then one shoulder

A little

   then a lot

Anchor barefeet

   to the ground

Relax

and love myself

Hands down

   to center or

Palms up

   to surrender

Focus in,

   not out

Relax

   and love myself

Tame the

   monkey mind

Consider wisdom

   of Buddha

Send blessings

   to all beings

Relax

   and love myself

Respect

   the life force

Find enlightenment

   and renewal in nature

Let go

   of attachment

I am precious

   in this brief moment of time.

by Lynne Foltz

 

A lil omm poem by Leah Musico.

Ode to Lil’ Omm on its 5 Year Anniversary

The time has come to celebrate

A studio called Lil’ Omm.

Where every person across all ages

Is welcomed to call home.

Male or female, gay or straight,

Big or very small.

All kinds of folks from all generations,

At Lil’ Omm, we want you all!

Sad to say, but it is true,

It’s special and very rare

To find a place where all can be

And truly feel the care.

Five years ago, a seed was planted

(Since, DC hasn’t been the same)

A beautiful community began with one woman

And Pleasance is her name.

With vision, intention, and lots of love,

She opened in Palisades

A place where children, moms and dads

Could connect, inspire, and engage.

Word got out and people came.

They realized what was growing.

Much different than other studios,

A community Pleasance was sowing.

Classes for asana, yes it’s true,

But so much more than that.

Mindfulness, connection, family bonding –

Lil’ Omm is where it’s at!

People came and people stayed

When they found Pleasance’s community.

Parents want a place, you see

Where their kids can learn about unity.

Just a short while later,

A new space we were to have

When the perfect spot in Tenleytown

Became our home on Wisconsin Ave.

Now yoga classes and tons of workshops

Help our community thrive.

Prenatal training, infant massage,

Dance parties – we are alive!

Curvy, yin, playtime, and labs.

Prenatal, itsy bitsy, baby and me.

Mommy meet-ups, stroller fit, gentle, and flow.

And so much more, you see!

So come one, come all, to join in the fun

In this beautiful space Pleasance made.

Bring your family and all your friends

(And remember, we offer financial aid!)

Happy birthday, Lil’ Omm.

We feel your love to our very core.

Thank you, Pleasance, for five wonderful years.

And here’s to many more!

Leah Musico

come out to play

you weren’t invited with such a bold invitation.

today Is not the day you all want to come out and play.

too cold. too wet. too empty. too barren.

perfect. I will come and sit with you. I will lay down with your glory and hold you as you are. 

you dont frighten me. you intrigue. 

i love you bare& naked. 

you heal my heart. you make it real.

i love you whole and sad. 

i am distracted by your presence. 

Its not a day others have come to play in your glory or spot your sparkle- but I see it.  its always there- your rawness yours willingness to accept me just as I am.  when will I do the same? 

   

   

wild & precious life

many times a week I ask myself, ” what is it you plan to do with your one wild &precious life?”

I stop & breathe.

Do I want to increase my commitments?

Do I want to start a new business? Open another studio?

Do I want to write a book?

What will I do NEXT?

Right now, this is what I know to be true.

with this wild & precious life I want to LIVE with joy & laughter.

I want millions of snuggles with my two insanely wonderful children.

I want to pet my dog without feeling like I should be anywhere else.

I want to do GOOD WORK in this world. I want to make a difference, in my community. I want to share my story & here yours.

I want deep connections, meaningful relationships & to not feel alone.

I want love. love, every.damn.day.

I want healthy food, delicious wine & kisses from my husband.

I NEED to stretch & breathe& sweat daily…

I want to inspire freedom in others, to be creative, to hold a hand, to listen.

I want to learn, to ask, to not know, to feel.

And I want to keep asking the question..until my last breath- ” What is it you plan to do with your one wild & precious life?”

A reminder..

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?