Listen to the following three poems on the Audio page, and then allow yourself some time to reflect and write in your journal about whatever comes up for you.
When you are finished, put your journal down and let your lesson “rise.” Good writing is like homemade bread and takes time to rise. Resist the urge to read it over, criticize, cross out, or share too soon. Let it alone. Give it time.
Give yourself time, too. You are writing for the person you are becoming.
Then, at least a week—or better, a month—later, return to what you have written and read it now that the writing—and you—have had the time to rise.
From this perspective of the self you are rising into and becoming (what some people call the “higher self” and I call the deep, inner voice of wisdom), you will be able to reflect back upon your earlier writing and have the wisdom to understand what your deep, inner voice was saying.
Fire rises when all else falls away.
So light is loss, so simple burn.
Smoke rises, too, the sign of what is
going, the promise of return.
The sky is the place our minds go to look
for nothingness, but even then great clouds come in.
I have learned to greet absence as an opportunity.
To see the violence of constant win.
Still I dream of one thing I cannot lose.
An end to hardness, and nothing more to choose.
You ask me to join you in your cave, and I do.
I sit down on the damp floor and we watch the dark walls
dripping with yellow light from the candle.
You are like that light,
I tell you.
See how you affect everything around you.
You do not believe me.
It takes time.
I breathe out. I let go of my impatience,
even though I know candles do eventually burn out.
I must let you take your time.
This is what we have forgotten:
the way the water collects
at the bottom of each leaf
overnight. And in that drop
is a tear. And in that tear
is a spider. And when the drop
falls, you can hear the spider
singing as she throws silk
back onto the leaf. In this
falling and singing and
coming back up is a circle
of motion that can save us,
if only we would hear it.