Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wisdom Inside

 Waterfall photo by Richard Hayes.  Sometimes we have to live with inner waterfalls, of pain, worries, fear, or love, bounty, good fortune.  Any of these can throw us off track.  The poem below written seven years ago comforts me now, but I don't feel very wise at the moment.  I hope to be like that fishing heron, live with my inner waterfalls and keep my eye out for fish.



September 17, 2006

I used to think of myself as resting on a pivot.
When something disturbed me, I leaned away
from my center; when I made peace, I returned
to resting easily on this inside pivot.  I also
described this experience of inner certainty
and balance as like standing on a shelf of rock.
From that deep place inside me any turmoil in
my inner world settled.  I could see what I felt
and knew what I needed to do.  But I don’t
remember having, until recently, this feeling of
repose, of my whole self being at rest, yes, on
a pivot, but less inclined to motion than what
rests on a pivot is.  Closer may be Plato’s metaphor
for justice in the state.  He compared it to the body
where every part is carrying out its work and is in
harmony with all the other parts.  It’s like that
but quieter.  All that I am–body, soul, feelings, mind–
rests like the natural world outside the window rests.  
I am inside the peace I feel; the harmony of my 
parts is what I’m living.  I do struggle, I have, I will.
This state comes as a reward for the struggle, for
the living out of what I know I need to do.  What
I do each day–and often it is hard for me to do–
makes possible this enjoyment, so quiet I can barely
feel it, so without motion, that it’s hard to say it’s
an emotion.  It is serenity, as in the prayer about
asking for the courage to change what can be
changed, the strength to accept what can’t, and
the wisdom to know the difference.  I am not that
wise yet, but something in me holds this wisdom
in its heart of hearts and sends me moments like
this, when I, as a being, am still, clear, peaceful,
at rest, serene at that level where a fountain rises,
illogical, miraculous, to water every parched place
in my soul, quiet every doubt, calm every worry.
The unrest will return, the striving to change
what can be changed.  I will lean far to one side
on the pivot, and have to take the shelf of rock
for an assumption I can’t prove.  But when an hour
arrives to give me rest like this, I’ll know that I now 
am who I need to be, the person my growing pains 
urged me to become, the full-fledged woman:
human, loving, wise.  

Judy Hogan

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