Monday, January 31, 2011

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

(Derek Walcott)

This poem...reminds me to be mindfully aware; aware of being right here in this very moment. Reminds me to let go completely, at least for as long as I can, of thinking and simply be with the authentic person that I am at my very core.

Thinking is a wondrous thing, don't get me wrong. I do an awful lot of thinking. Taking time to simply "be" though, to wrap my heart around my heart is often and quite easily forgotten. Life gets busy, brain gets moving, and I forget myself as I'm swept away from my core by my thoughts and doings. I heard a man once say that we people should be called "Human Doings" rather than "Human Beings". In my own case, I spend much more time doing than being.

As a child I read quite a lot of Philosophy. I was much too young for the physical whims of the 70's but instead I attempted to indulged myself in the literature of Eastern and Russian philosophers in particular. Yes, I was an odd child as you might have already suspected, but I was on a search for meaning, a search for answers in that tumultuous time. I should perhaps write more about that but later.

In my wanders through old pages of text and books I came upon the writings P.D. Ouspensky. While I don't attest to many of his ideas, he did have an excersise that has stayed with me these many years. He called it self-remembering. A way to hold ones own awareness of self. In short, it is a practice of holding and being aware of the "you" that is peering out ones own eye-balls. Being aware of occupying ones own body and head space for a period of time. He expounds on the idea that humans are asleep for the most part, simply doing the next thing in a somnambulist state. Sounds trite but I began the practice of looking out of my own eyes, holding that attention of occupying my physical form for as long as I could. Sounds easy, right? For me it was a struggle to remain wakeful. Even 5 minutes was a great feat before I slipped back into a "sleeping" state, back to simply doing the next thing.

Similarly, I learned to "breath" as taught by Charles Bates, a Raja Yogi I had the pleasure of spending time with when I was 15. For me, the teachings and practice of breathing from Charles seemed to arrive at the same place of awareness and self-remembering. It was simply another approach to arrive at the same destination. So when I remember, I breath :o)

I'm not saying at all that I'm self-aware in the fullest sense. I'm still woefully lacking for the most part. I've quit judging myself harshly in my struggle for wakefulness though. The poem "Love After Love" by Derek Walcott is a reminder to me to embrace my being. Reminds me to "remember" myself. Reminds me to peel off the thoughts and attachments to my outer world, even if just for a moment as they are a distraction from wakefulness like a familiar woolly blanket pulling me back into sleep. Reminds me to not struggle and simply be with the being who has been with me from the very start.


  1. That poem resonates for me on a number of levels, especially these days. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Beautiful words, Kit. And a timely reminder. I struggle with mindfulness quite a bit, but am determined that it become a more sticky process for me. :)

  3. Aha, Kit Lane has come out for her (semi)annual blog-post; but did she see her shadow? ;-)


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