Tidal Basin

Germination Detail Part III, by Leslie Shellow

contemplations about what stays in the net

Monday, August 27, 2012

I love this poem by David Whyte ~ it kind of says it all right now

 Sweet Darkness
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb tonight.
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing:
the world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness
and the sweet confinement
of your aloneness to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

We are held in something large

When I was twenty-two, I lived on the verdant and craggy coast of Oregon and I studied the animals that lived inside the mud of the slough. When the tide went out, the mudflats glistened -- a globular, thickened mass of sulphur-scented habitat.
Each one of my friends was drawn to this dot of a coastal town because we couldn’t be away from the sea’s abiding pull. So, we lived in deference to the power of nature, which entered our houses at will and grew blackberry brambles across our living room floors. In response, we emptied our houses onto nature’s lawn, placing the bathtub on the bluff under the kitchen window and feeding a water hose down the face of the house to fill the claw foot with hot water. When we bathed, and if we were very still, a herd of forty elk emerged through the wooded barrier separating their forest from our meadow. Out they came, munching on grass and snorting at flies while the aged bull stood guard watching over them.
Those days were full of a sparkled innocence though none of us was young enough to be truly innocent. Beyond the tides of human failures and joys lay the immaculate pull of the Universe’s own creation. We came together over hand-picked meals and efforts to catch glimpse of the orcas in the sound, over knitting and car mechanics and weddings and departures. We joined forces in Frisbee and pool. The Oregon coast enchanted me, the way it whispered in my ear when we were alone, making me its daughter. I learned we are held in something large.
When I left and found myself in  New York City, I felt the same way about the wilderness of humanity. I became a part of a body outside my own. When I stepped one way, the person in front of me stepped the other. We were all a weaving tapestry of destinations and deadlines. When I dropped a dollar, a gentleman picked it up and handed it back. When I carried my luggage up the subway steps, the weight disappeared into the helpful gesture of a stranger holding the other end of my bag. When I danced outdoors, the stars reminded me they had always been there for me in a same but different sky.

We are held in something large.

And even in the suburbs, of which I complain of late, I can’t help but feel the urgency of trees and sparrows and squirrels to mark on this earth a hiding place. I see my own heart grow in its yearning, in its separation from wilderness and constant humanity. This place is a necessary space for me to explore. Without the ability to lean on that which inspires me directly, I must dig into the mud. I see divinity every day in the tug of my own heart to reconnect. Longing carves a channel to be filled. The rush of tidal water I await has its own shimmering quality of anticipation. There is nowhere else to go but toward hope and desire and a letting go of expectations. The reluctance I see in people here to reach out reminds me we are held in something large because its opposite exists. There cannot be one without the other.

We are held in something large.

Monday, August 20, 2012


I just returned from a delightful weekend of chanting and contemplation with Stefan Andre Waligur and a slew of amazing pilgrims of spirit and heart.


Wow. The coolest thing was, after years of studying tantric Hindu Kashmir Shaivism, I sat amidst an ecumenical group (I just learned that word) of mystical Christians and the stories of our traditions blended so seamlessly, I forgot about boundaries altogether and discovered myself in the company of the deepest part of myself again.

I've been in a desert of sorts for a handful of years. I've felt judged. I've judged myself. I've judged others. In my isolation, I lost track of how to enter a room and stay for a while. Stefan said one thing that really struck me. He invited us to listen without interpretation to what others said. It sounded simple. This meant we weren't even to paraphrase their ideas in order to understand them better. It was about making a space for someone's expression and allowing it to fill that space completely without being nudged aside or shaped in any way by the listener. I realized I've tried to connect with people by having a response or an answer. I think I want to help so I offer interpretations from my experience of the world. The thing is, I am scared. Scared to not say a word. Scared to be unable to help. Scared I won't be liked if I don't somehow relate to what someone is saying. Scared of silence.

 I've been longing to connect with like-minded souls, a tribe of sorts. I didn't realize how much I missed my grandmothers until two vibrant sisters, as in nuns, took to me as I took to them. It wasn't so hard to understand their devotion to God. For many years, my primary relationship has been with the Divine. But I haven't found the balance they've found for having chosen one path. I love God secretly -- like a forbidden lover -- in the moments of my meditation practice, in the secrecy of the woods, in the presence of animals that appear to me on my path, and in my dreams. The Divine is the biggest part of my life and the part I never talk about, but it shines through me nonetheless. This weekend, I said the name of the Divine. I said God. I said Universe. I said Love. Over and over. Until I had breathed in so much devotion from the room I got drunk on its ubiquity. It was in every corner, every smile, every tear, every note. It was in the space between notes. It was in my own contemplation of what it was like to open to grace, grace-- the word on the stone I chose as my guide. Grace in the way for the first time in many years, I did not judge myself.