The Temple

She stood, proud and defiant in the centre of her sacred chamber.

Her eyes burning wildly, jaw set firm even as she spoke,

“You do not get to speak to me of vulgarity. You who count your wives among your possessions, guarding jealously, pushing your daughters into modesty and shame.

You do not get to tell me what the holy wants from me. Your temples reek of hypocrisy and greed.

You who spit at me and shout your shame into my face. You know nothing of the work I do. You know nothing of the sacred and profane.”

The intruders steeled themselves against their fear of self realization, not willing to back down and lay their fragile egos on the line.

But still, she spoke, with a strangely gentle conviction,

“I will not bow meekly down into the service of your King. I surrender my body to a higher calling. This is a place of sanctuary, and your forcefulness is not welcome here.”

This had been her home, her oasis. She had touched the tendrils of many weary spirits there. She had enlivened, emboldened, healed and revealed with the energy that ran through her flesh.

But one man just would not open himself up to the source, and had become fixated on her as a means to such radiant energy that he could not get for himself.

Now he was angry. He had not expected to be spurned. He was not about to allow anyone to deny him his claim.

She had never known danger like this before. Her skills were disarming, her diplomacy was extraordinary, but this was a new territory.

Now her very way of life was seen as an insult by a very sour man who exerted a great deal of control over her people.

She had watched them feeding off each others fear, lashing out, wasting away ever more since his rise into power.

Now he was getting desperate, and she was not sure how she should stand her ground.

 

The Story

“I’m not waiting,”

She turned away to face the skyline, the summer sunset gave her silhouette a warm glow.

“I can’t just sit and hold my breath anymore. I’ve had such colossal dreams…and I could never figure out how to take the first steps…”

Her eyes cast down to the ground.

“I wanted your help. I wanted all of you with me. I felt like I couldn’t do it by myself. I felt like I could not do anything…”

She lifted her head and turned to face you again, her eyes shooting sparks into the shadows of your heart.

“But you were never the answer for me. No one was. Every person I have ever met was just as lost as I was, in their own dark forest of the heart. And the more I tried to lean on you, on anyone, the more I got let down. I lost so much trust. I started to believe I wasn’t worthy, wasn’t wanted. I felt like no one could help me…”

Her trembling lip cracked into a grin and as her smile reached up to lift the corners of her eyes a single tear rolled down one cheek.

“…and that was the best thing that ever could have happened. It’s the truth. And as much as I feared coming upon such a truth, once I recognized it as it was, I stopped resisting it. There was nothing left to fight…”

She glanced over her shoulder again, as the Sun slipped behind the trees.

“I stopped my frantic searching. I knew what I was looking for was not anywhere out there. It hurt, it hurt a lot, but….I just stopped. Everything stopped. I had to really sit with myself and take a good look at what was going on, and…”

Her voice broke just for a moment, with a breathy whimper and a sigh.

“…I saw it all. I saw my insecurity, the human frailty I had pushed so far back. All the pain I had hidden myself away from. The guilt. The shame. I didn’t know there would be so much shame…”

A bird sang a lonely song in the distance.

“It was such an avalanche of stories and sensations. It kept me knocked back and kneeled before my broken pieces for such a long time. I felt like I was reliving all of it. I thought I was in over my head, I tried to stuff some of it back down, but then….I don’t know….something just snapped.”

She smiled at you again, radiating a warmth from deep inside that seemed to cast aside the chill of the approaching night.

“I guess I hit the bottom of the pile, and underneath that mess of monsters and nightmares I found myself.”

Her cheeks flushed ever so slightly.

“That’s the only way I can think to describe it. That is all it was. I spent so much time waiting for some magical person or some moment of epiphany to lift me out of my inadequacy, it didn’t even occur to me that my longing, my sense of something missing came from something so simple.”

She leaned back, letting her weight rest on her arms outstretched behind her.

“And then I knew, I really knew that it was going to be okay. That I would be just fine. And there are still problems, life is a series of challenges, right? But…I don’t feel afraid anymore. I am not afraid to see where I am really at. To take my own steps, even if I stumble….”

The sky darkened, and the frogs in the pond could be heard in the quiet of the twilight.

“So I have not been waiting anymore. I know that I don’t need to. I know that I don’t need anyone….but I am glad that you are here, now.”

She leaned in a little closer, spoke a bit more softly.

“It is nice to be remembered. And I want you to know that I understand…”

And she took your hand.

 

Spring Fevered Dreams

You catch a glimpse of her bare heel as she darts behind the tree

And you are close, but not close enough

And you are quite sure that you can hear

Her heavy breathed laughter

Drifting through the woods

Amongst the ecstatic chirping

Of spring-fevered aviaries

Feathers dropping all around you

Like angels fallen

Into Earthly pleasure.

Your blood runs hot

And your legs pump with abandon

Naked feet falling into each step

Without needing to be told

Where to go.

You were made for this,

I told you so.

Once you were tired and timid

And holding back

But you felt the calling even then

And it drove you to madness.

Drawing curtains over the sadness

Pacing circles into the floorboards

Wearing them down

Until you fell right into the ground.

Well, here you are now.

You’ve done the hard work

Of pushing through the constraints

Of your old shell

And bursting open,

Now, give ’em Hell.

Give them fire and desire

Spread your petals open

And receive the Sun.

Dance with devas and dragons

And run.

Pounding steps along the forest floor

Chasing the reflection of your own desire

And finally catching up

And finding more.

Show us what you came here for.

Go out and play

The ancient woman, the dusty crone
Gathered up your broken bones
And sang a song around them ’til
They took new shape, spaces filled
And so you rose and took new breath
Refreshed from your cold, winter rest
With the seeds deep in the Earth
You celebrate your own rebirth
The ice melts with each passing day
You are still a child, go out and play.

Antlers Curled

Hooved prints deep in the snow
The antlers twist and curl and spread
The creature looks you in the eye
With heavy crown upon it’s head.
His gaze is piercing, cutting deep
It opens you from mind to heart.
You feel the world, and so you weep
Your tears cast sparkles in the dark.
Your exiled home within the deep
Your frozen refuge, forest home
Has kept you well, but now you creep
Out into a great unknown.
You have his solemn, sturdy grace
You stand so tall and turn around
Your stride leaves footprints much like his
Treasure glowing in the ground.
Your throat wells up with songs to sing
Your voice is carried on ahead
You follow your own echoes ’til
You lead yourself back home again.
From seen above, your prints and his
Swirl and reach around the world
And if you were to trace the path
It would look like antlers curled.

 

The Cage

The incessant din of muffled voices grated against her agitated nerves. She retreated deeper into the cave, into the safe silence and dark. It did not welcome her like before. The silence was deafening, mocking, echoing the distant shouts and laughter etched deep into her memory.

Once there was something more than this. A deep, radiating warmth. Excitement. Pounding rhythms and bodies twirling in ecstasy. Open hands on outstretched arms. Voices in unison. Scattered images and flashes of emotion flitted around in her mind.

Her trepidation faded into the background where it remained as nothing but a distant whisper lost behind the quickened pounding of her heart. She looked down at the still, lonely pool of water and saw no reflection for lack of light.

She tried to remember Before, tugging at threads of memories asking herself what the danger had been. What had she barricaded herself away from, and why?

A flash of fire, words spoken in anger, fists raised in fury…so distant. She could no longer find the scars upon her heart and her hands.

The pain of hiding overcame the fear of exposure. She put all of her weight into the boulder at the opening, pushing it aside. Squinting at the bright unknown, she stepped out into the light.

 

The Shelter

The forest around her was engulfed in flames. The thick smoke was noxious and suffocating. With the tears in  her eyes flowing so quickly she could no longer see the ruined, dying landscape about her, she reached instinctively for the pouch tied around her neck.

Time was forgotten as she pulled the cord and the pouch slid open. She reached inside for the first time. She found nothing but a quaint blue stone which glistened intensely as reflections of the surrounding flames danced on it’s fractured surface.

She felt a glimmer of apprehension as she closed her hand around the stone, a shadow of worry that perhaps it was worthless, and all was lost. But in her desperation, second guesses and doubt held no weight, all there was to do was believe. So she did.

She closed her eyes and focused all of her attention on the little stone in her palm. Thick tendrils of cold wrapped around her fingers, then up her wrist, and her arm. Soon they had spiralled all around her. All was forgotten – the forest, the fire, the ruin, the pain. Absolute silence. Frozen in a welcome embrace. Now she could rest.

For Air

Upon breaking the surface
of the dark, choppy water
she found herself gasping for air
and felt everything so clearly
after the time spent muffled
in the dark

She was a bit frightened
of this new sense of exposure
to be linked directly
to everything around her
after that comforting prison
in the dark

Trying to remember
where she was going before,
she could not quite capture
the same feeling
that old direction

Something was different
inside of her
from being locked
in an intimate embrace
with her own shadow
and nothing else
for so very long

Disorientated, yet enlivened
the vast expanse
of potential
which she had gained
began to dawn on her
and she laughed

Breathing deeply now
the wind blew cold
on her skin
and she did not tremble
or pull away from it

After years of watching
birds pass by
from the ground
feeling stuck and resentful,
she unfurled her wings
and she flew.