Once upon a
time there was beautiful bird – his feathers shimmering in the sunlight in a
fluorescent and mother-of-pearl glow. He came from the realms where there is
eternal light and a lightness of being.
One day he
decided to enter the realms of planet earth and went on his journey through the
universe. He was full of excitement about this adventure. At the same time he
knew that this would be a time of meeting many old, old friends to embark on a
new era of exploration and experimentation.
He also was
aware that entering the realms of planet earth would mean an adjustment to
different levels of light, energy and gravity. He knew that he would join a
long line of generations, re-living all range of emotions that human beings are
capable of. His wish was to bridge the worlds, to make a connection from the
place he came from, to planet earth and its inhabitants.
So he flew
towards the blue planet, and the closer he came he marveled at its incredible
beauty, surrounded it a few times whilst singing a song that spoke of
gratitude, joy and Love.
The moment he
permeated the ozone layer of earth, an incredible heaviness and fogginess came
over the bird – an intense force pulled him towards the ground and he needed
all his strength to not crash immediately. At first he could not comprehend how
this could have happened. He flapped with his wings trying to gain height again, but the more he tried the more he lost
strength and with this further altitude. For a long time he felt trapped,
helpless, and a big sadness came over him. He missed the freedom to soar high
in the sky to fly in the sunlight that so reminded him of the place he came
After a long
time the panic and emotional waves became less, the bird’s depression shifted
into a wish to know more about this heaviness that pulled him down. In this
moment he looked down and noticed that there was something attached to his
legs. It was a piece of string with a box dangling at the other end. It dawned
on him that this box, hanging in the air, was the source of his heaviness as it
was continuously pulling on his leg.
He then had
the insight that it might help to lower his altitude even more and to come
closer to the ground of planet earth. He did so and at some point noticed that
the box touched the soil. In this instant the pull on his leg was gone. He took
a deep breath, relieved that he now didn’t have to try so hard any more to stay
up in the air. With the box on the ground he could at least move effortlessly
back and forth or in circles as far as the string was allowing him to. Compared
to his struggle before, this seemed a pleasurable solution and he was content
with this configuration for a quite a while.
the sun arose and went up, higher and higher in the sky, he felt his longing to
join the sun’s movement. For him the sun was the light and the box down on the
ground was the darkness. His inclination was to face the sun, his beloved
light, and at the same time the tug of the string, whenever he went a bit too
far up, reminded him of the attached box.
Tired of this
struggle, he finally decided, not without reluctance, to descend even further
and to land on the box to have a closer look. He had a sense that getting in
touch with the box could give him possible insights as to how it came to this
The moment he
got in touch with the box something interesting happened, the surface of the
object ever so slightly shifted from being hard and edgy into something more
soft. When he looked closer, he realized that the surface resembled a woven
texture from which the string arose which was attached to his leg. In this process
of inspection he felt a growing connection to this box, strangely it seemed to
him as if this entity was actually part of himself. What a revelation!
Now, what to
do with this new insight, he wondered. He got more and more curious and that
sense of adventure, which compelled him in the first place to undertake this
journey to planet earth, seemed to return to him. With this arising energy in
him, he decided to take off again. Yet, this time he started very gently and
carefully, always with the attached box in his awareness. With this approach he
wanted to avoid the experience of another confrontation with the hard pull down
when the string has reached its limit of expansion.
So he ascended
gradually, gaining height, step by step, and to his surprise he noticed that
the feared pull down or stop of his movement didn’t happen. Instead he felt a
little tug at some point which then lost force and instead he realized that he
could fly even a bit higher until there was another slight tugging, only to
disappear again and giving space for more ascension.
interesting – the bird looked down to get a sense what was happening with his
attached box. He was amazed to see the scenario that presented itself. It
appeared that the box more and more lost its edgy shape, it looked like the
string was getting longer and longer through an unraveling or undoing of the
box-structure. With each tug another layer of string was freeing itself from
the woven texture and the bird could soar higher.
By now the bird was very, very high up in the sky. He then became aware that the box had come undone completely and there was only the string, following the bird wherever he went, like soft tail or a flag, dancing in the wind.
And at this point the bird decided to venture out into the universe again. He flew through the ozone layer and to his joy the string still remained attached to his leg. He would have been sad to let go of the string, also because it now became clear to the bird that everything that confronted him with the heaviness upon entering earth, the box and the string, was nothing else but his own parcel of human history with all its experiences on earth, all its emotions, its pain and its joy that he had planned to find and to unpack.
He only had forgotten the moment he went through the ozone layers of this beautiful blue planet.
It was also in this moment that he remembered his initial wish to build a bridge between the place he came from and planet earth. So there he was, with his nearly endless string; and the further he flew into the universe towards his ‘home’, the place of eternal light, the string was winding like a rainbow-coloured, silver and golden line through space and at the same time swirling through the sky of planet earth, meandering along the ground and from time to time winding around beings, touching hearts and weaving more and more souls into a net that was birthing a new, breathing structure in the realm of all life.
is the title of a new exhibition and book, the second collaboration between Naomi Ojima and me. My poetry and Naomi’s visual art are of contemporary nature and beautifully complementary in their simplicity and subtleness.
Our artwork is a conversation between word – form and colour. It aims to describe the experience of the present moment – what arises and wants to be expressed when awareness and stillness meets creativity.
We believe that the source of all movements is Love. It is what inspired us both to collaborate and create a collection of present moment-expressions, inviting our readers to pause and to enter the multidimensionality of Now, to feel Love at its core.
The exhibition is currently on display at the Bakehouse in Findhorn and can be seen until 29th of October.
Our book with the same title is on sale there as well and can be ordered online via the following link:
There is a preview into the book where you can see some of Naomi’s artwork and read some of my poems.
On Culture Day (29 September) during the Findhorn Bay Festival I was giving two poetry readings in the Pop Up Cafe in Forres Town-Hall. Thank you to everyone who came to listen and to see me. It was a beautiful experience, speaking to a friendly and open audience and noticing how words can touch and leave an imprint.
… feeling a bit like a celebrity whilst signing our books, thank you David Janes for having been the bookseller!
Here is one more excerpt from the book – as a taster:
Strong emotions can be scary, yet we have them. Often we try to avoid them and distract ourselves to not feel. It can be a powerful and integrative experience to have an emotion moving through your body, ideally in a safely held place and with a trusted person that can be your compassionate witness. You may experience that you ‘come out on the other end’, still alive and possibly ‘more here’ than before.
Feelings are valuable allies on our life’s path, we can learn to be with them – they can actually make us feeling more alive… This poem is an observation of the rising and moving of a feeling through the body. I can recommend practicing it
I’ve been collecting shells on the beach. Usually I like the pristine ones, I marvel at the mother of pearl shine on the inside, the varied patterns or the bright white washed surface on some species.
But today I found myself looking out for something different. There are those shells called Buccinum undatum which often don’t make it to the beach in one shape. Yet there are many broken ones and those are the ones I felt drawn to. My search – it was not really a search as there are many lying around – presented me a collection of very different shapes and stages of brokenness, and to me each one of them revealed an exquisite beauty. Back at home I felt like a treasure hunter, emptying my sandy bag with a sense of joy and curiosity, looking forward to inspect each finding even closer.
Quite a while ago I found one of those white washed, broken shells and took it home. It was sitting on my desk for a long time. The shell represented a phase of life I’ve been in. Something was about to break, not usually something to look forward to. Yet, the shell helped me to be with this process in communicating something new to me. As I inspected this piece of nature I could see the beautiful spiral inside, perfectly shaped, and it seemed as if the spiral had no beginning and no end. It felt like there is movement in the brokenness and I realized that I would not have been able to see this winding beauty at the core if the outer shell were not broken away.
This is where I connected brokenness with openness. The shell on first glance looked broken, vulnerable. Looking closer I could see the intricacy, beauty and perfection still inside. It didn’t appear destroyed, on the contrary. I actually had the sense that what had broken off were the parts that made space for the essential to be revealed. The spiral – the backbone of the shell, so to say. So this became my metaphor and support when times got tricky and parts in my life, parts of me, seemed to fall away or apart.
Now after some years I am back to collecting the broken shells again. This time my focus is on the variety of brokenness and the array of beauty that gets revealed. Some still have the mother of pearl shine, others are white washed or beautifully patterned, and all of them, no matter how broken they are, display their spiral backbone, the winding movement that seems undisturbed and keeps moving.
My collection seems to reflect Life itself – and that being pristine and/or being broken are phases in the big circle. It is not about being whole or broken – either – or – it is rather both – and.
So it is not that I am completely and always at peace with being broken – I have, however, this beautiful exhibition of brokenness on my windowsill which reminds me every day of the beauty of vulnerability – the diversity and even strength that comes to life when something else seems to fall away.
On some days I wake up with a heavy heart for no apparent reason. Despite of a blue sky and bright sunshine something can’t participate fully in the beauty of life. Everything seems to be a bit subdued.
My remedy is to go for a walk. I am blessed to have the beach and the sea at my doorstep so it doesn’t take long to immerse myself with the stunning landscape of the Scottish coastline. The fresh air, the movement of my body and myriads of small and bigger elements around me helps me to connect with myself and my surrounding.
Whilst I am walking I also feel my heart, still heavy. The gentle rolling in of the waves is soothing. I am walking on wet sand, the sea beside me, the sun warming my face. Something asks me to stop and to sit down.
I am pondering on my heart, or better, sense that place in my chest that seems to feel more contracted today than on other days. I am breathing and just sit there. As I look down on the ground I see a pair of clams, open but still connected, and there is another one, and another one. Suddenly there seems to be a gathering of clams, open and still connected.
This sight touches me and a poem comes to mind that I have written a while ago. It is one of my favorites and whenever I re-visit the words I feel a settling, a ‘yes, this is how it is’. Sitting with this poem seems to make a difference, something has moved, in me.
And for today this is what helps me to be with the feelings in my heart. There doesn’t have to be a solution. Often what is needed is just a sitting down, a being with that what I can’t put my finger on. Tears may come, sadness may come and something starts to soften whilst it is embraced with presence and tenderness.
So, here my poem, which still hasn’t lost it’s magic: