A poem about impermanence.

Photo: CocoaParisienne on Pixabay

Everything is impermanent —
each body
life
thought,
like shifting
sands
in wind
reaching
only to find
each thing
already changed.

This too shall pass.
In this fleeting truth:
find presence,
be in love
with what unfolds
now,
even when difficult.
There is no staying
same.

Integrate
all sides
remembering
life is light
and shadow,
diving into both
understand each
as essential
for other to exist.
Here,
in this ever-changing place
beyond
and between
uncover
the brightest jewels.


A poem in the wake of tragedy.

Photo: Deborah McNamara (Boulder, Colorado; Site of the 3/22/21 mass shooting)

In grief:
Take as long
a road
as you need,
mingling with
heartbreaking
holy darkness
giving space
to each chasm
calling for tending.

When emerging,
coming up for breath
hold firm in keeping
light
alive and well,
find ways to live brightness
and love
in wake
of unimaginable heartlessness.

Do not succumb to pressure
to let go too soon,
but rather integrate:
a broken heart
held fast
in present moment,
shored up
on inner resources
to weather these storms.

Enter these hearts of darkness,
move through.
Travel with homage
through this portal,
still recognizing
abundant beauty
being offered up
in countless ways.
This seeing: a lifeboat
on which to cross the world.


A poem on following our internal boundaries, and considering what lies beyond.

Photo: JPlenio, Pixabay

What does it mean to drink
from a deeper well?
Travel downwards in place
while also reaching
toward each horizon.
Listen with careful attention
to what calls
beyond the familiar,
the parts knocking
to travel beyond.

When considering
range of vision
in oneself
(and out)
follow the boundary
just to the edge.
Come to know those places
calling to go farther
and encompass more.

Pause now,
in this wideness
receiving each moment
like elixir.
Here, drink deep
and go deeper still
for there is always more.


A poem on traveling beyond the gate of intellect to the realm of heart.

Image: JPlenio on Pixabay

Love:
Quiet, wordless
showing us how to dance
even among shadows
letting words dissolve,
like wisps of cloud
at dusk’s perfect moment
of disappearance into night.

Love beckons us
to know
(full bodily)
the infinite wonder
beyond the gate of intellect,
calling us to travel farther
to the realm of the Heart
and find out what it means to be in Love,
not in conviction,
but wonder —
heart and body open and breathless,
like the orgasm just passed,
still lingering
in breath and fingertips,
giving birth
to the next great understanding


When confronting the need for discipline with our kids, we can look to spiritual traditions and teachings for inspiration.

Photo: Ben Kerckx on Pixabay

“You can’t teach anyone anything without love, and without being happy with them.” ~ Adi Da Samraj, Spiritual Teacher, Writer, and Artist

As our children get older, the challenges of parenting morph beyond coping with sleep deprivation or figuring out how to navigate the 24-hour needs cycle. We are thrown into a world of questions such as what to do when one of the kids is acting out, or how to deal with conflicts on the playground. And what about when rules are broken? …


A poem on being present to receive life’s gifts, as well as let them go.

Photo: Inspired Images on Pixabay

Sometimes life bestows a gift,
emerging mysteriously
from unknown origins.
Some are brief,
fleeting,
unexpected —
like wisps of song
through crack of open window.
Others:
made for the long road
to carry for a lifetime.

Whatever is true,
be there to receive
what is offered.
Participate.
Don’t ask why or how
or wonder about an end.

When this offering returns
to the source
from where it came,
let it go
gracefully.
No grasping.
Only cup your hands
in a gesture
of receiving
then letting go:
a gentle setting sail
back into the ether
of all things
beautiful.


A poem on being wide awake to witness life’s unfolding, now.

Image: JPlenio on Pixabay

Be a witness
to each unfolding
wonder of present moment
now
and
now.

Participate in bliss:
being in body
and sound mind,
delighting in play
of light and darkness —
just present, here
uncluttered
shining
bright
awareness
(wide awake)
into each instant
and task.

How?
Practice.
Over and over,
practice.
Pause.
Breathe.
Smile.
Notice.

Seat yourself
as the witness
perspective
like eye of universe
from which to gaze.
We are at the center.

In this place,
respond by dissolving
into the present
moment.
Notice this,
then that.
Then, be what you notice.
Not separate
but rather loved to pieces:
where anywhere you are
is one with light
and open in all directions.


As parents, the pandemic has served up immense juggling obstacles, but also opportunities for fewer distractions and new habits.

Image: Pixabay

“In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive resolves itself into crystal clearness.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

As parents, the pandemic has served up a variety of challenges to overcome, while also gifting us with more time at home, and opportunities to reinvent how we spend our days. Pre-pandemic, I often mused on how to cut through the vast cultural noise in order to distill what is important. I wanted to create space for the things that mattered most. Could I find these things if I slowed down, lived a simpler…


A poem on what lies at the center after peeling away the layers.

Photo: Ralu Michael from Pixabay

Sometimes, it takes a very long time
to peel the layers of an onion.
For some, a lifetime.
For others, years.
And still for others, each moment
is like living in the center:
a sweet and pungent core to make the eyes tear.

The truth here sears -
you cannot pretend you are anywhere else.
This center is like an exclamation point
serving up the most aromatic dish.

What you say here reaches
the deepest parts,
striking to the tongue
and unmistakable in its effect.


A poem on the quiet places of origin and germination inside ourselves.

Photo: Pixabay

Deep in the belly,
you will find
origins of pain and joy
and the roots of all things
desiring germination.

Something curls around itself there
wrapped in immutable silence,
stripped bare under stars,
wishing to be one of those bright lights.

Here, wind —
or is it an ocean? —
is at the center,
the seed moment of the entire universe
always there,
not to be reached or found
only uncovered
by listening
to a quiet,
still sound.

Deborah McNamara

Sustainability & Climate Activist. Yoga Teacher. Author, Invitation of Motherhood: Uncovering the Spiritual Lessons of Parenting. More: www.debmcnamara.com

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