Poetry

I've always loved to write but never took it seriously. Then in February 2020, I had the opportunity to go on a Sufi writer's retreat in Costa Rica. I wanted to go so much because the retreat was led by one of my favorite Sufi teachers, Kabir Helminski, but impostor syndrome was rearing its ugly head. Who was I to call myself a writer? So I decided to leave it up to fate. I would apply and if I got in, it was meant to be. And much to my relief and joy, it was...

I was so blessed to be accepted into this intimate gathering for more reasons than one. Some of the lovely people I met on this retreat have become among my dearest friends. I have learned so much from them and their life stories. They have been immersed in Sufism a lot longer than I have and it is apparent in the way they show up in life.

 

I felt such a deep connection to the Divine/Beloved/God/Allah while there. I think it was a combination of beautiful teachers, lovely fellow spiritual seekers, and a pristine unspoiled land. I hadn't thought I was a poet but suddenly I was! It felt as if I was a vessel for the words that flowed out of me. I wrote pages of poems and still write now though the flow isn't "turned on" all the time as it was then. I humbly offer some of my writings below. 

 

Finally, Shaikh Kabir and his wife, Shaikha Camille had such a lovely peaceful and wise energy around them. To be near them was to feel this feeling of coming home in your soul. I embraced the beauty of their teachings and presence, which led to such a deep spiritual shift on this trip. I have never been quite the same and will soon take initiation into their order, Threshold Society. 🧡
 

We are all poets. Poems are the language of our experience.

~Shaikh Kabir Helminski

A Mother's Love

Within the refuge of her warm embrace,

I seek forgiveness for all my sins.

It’s to her I turn in times of need

and in her ineffable grace, I find my own strength.

Her lips kiss me with a love

unsurpassed by all others,

for it is born of strength, resilience, and devotion.

I could drown in the ocean of tears

she has shed,

weeping in worry for her children,

forever caring about their well-being,

illnesses, anxieties, and pains.

And in her arms I find the comfort

of a thousand sorrows,

made bearable

as she consumes my pain as her own

and gives back her love a hundred-fold,

as only a mother can.

And within my mother’s eyes,

I see the beauty of all I am

reflected back at me…

If Only

Oh Dear One,

Why do you hold onto your anger?

And why hold grudges for imagined slights?

Why foster dislike for those you don’t know?

All the “others,” different from you.

 

For there are no others, if you could only see.

 

Like the ever-turning tides of the ocean,

anger can learn to wash away, leaving behind the foam of compassion.

For there is no peace in a grudge, and no kindness in resentment.

 

The cup of bitterness cannot quench your thirst

and a plate of loathing cannot sate your hunger.

There is naught to be gained from wishing ill on others,

except your own demise.

 

For there are no others, if you could only see.

 

Take off your blinders, Dear One.

Open your eyes and your heart to humanity.

We are all in this together, never alone, never apart.

All suffering in pain. All longing for the same love.

 

For there are no others, if you could only see.

 

We are all love.

Packaged in different shapes, sizes, and colors.

Created from the same source of Divine Love

and going back to the same, when our job here is done.

 

But we have forgotten, have we not?

That we were once One and will be again.

 

For there are no others, if you could only see.


What if we could remember? 

Who would we be? 

If we could just remember, that we were once Love

and could be again if we so chose.

 

If only.

On My Way

On my way to myself,

I hit a few roadblocks.

 

First, I ran into my ego,

which begged me to stay.

“But I need to go,” I said.

“Stay a while,” said my ego.

“Stay here where it’s warm and cozy.”

“I will give you all you need, 

if you just stay a bit longer.”

“You take more than you give,” I said,

“I must be on my way.”

And I left.

 

Then I met a charismatic man.

“Stay with me and be my love,” he said.

“No,” I said, “I’m on my way to find myself”

“You can do that with me,” he vowed.

“I will protect and take care of you.”

“I don’t need another to take care of me,” I replied.

“And I cannot find myself if I am lost in another,”  

so he let me be. 

 

Next I met a spiritual teacher, a wise old lady.

“Stay with me and I will teach you things you’ve only dreamt of;

secrets about the heavens and the stars;

wonders beyond your wildest dreams.”

“I can’t,” I said. “I have learned all I can from others.”

“Now it’s my turn, I must go out on my own” 

and I left.

 

Finally, I met a little girl:

My younger me, it seemed.

“Stay,” she implored.

“We can play and have fun;

Swim in ocean waves and

Frolic among flowers;

And dance in the rain.”

 

“I am long past that stage,” I protested,

And I think I’ve forgotten.”

 

Amidst the hustle, bustle, and stress of life,

I had indeed forgotten.

 

“You are never too old and it’s never too late,”

she said with a serene smile on her face.

“If you don’t play, you’ve lost at life.”

“Feed your joy.”

“And starve your fear.”

“Dance away your pain.”

“And love, dear one.” 

“Choose to live in Divine love,

and you will never be alone or afraid.”

 

And so I stayed and played and loved,

And so I found myself. 

I Was Not

I was not a poet

Yet you gave me words to share my soul

I was not a singer

Yet you brought forth naats from my lips

I was not a dancer

Yet I danced in ecstasy as I lost myself in you

I was not listening

Until my ears heard the harmonious sounds of voices chanting zikr 

I was not looking 

Until I beheld your brilliance reflected in the silver hues of moonlight

I was not sure about love 

Yet now I am drowning in the fathomless depths of your love, my God!

I was not 

Until I was.

Reaching

Do not be afraid, my dear,

to reach for the sky

for only then can you soar unchained

from the tethers of this harsh world

holding you back. 

 

Do not be afraid, my dear,

to drink of life

in all its dark beauty.

For as Rumi says,

“the wound is the place 

where the light enters you.”

In suffering lies our pain

but also our growth.

 

Do not be afraid, my dear,

to become what you are meant to be

An unfettered soul, 

flying on wings of love

and exquisitely luminescent.  

Do not be afraid, my dear,

to set yourself free.

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ALL OF ME

Walking on the beach
I had an epiphany

In every direction
North, south, east or west

Wheresoever I turned
There was only me!

I was the sun shining down
And the waves crashing in the sea

I was the dolphin playing in the water
And the salty air I breathed

I was the jellyfish stranded on the sand
And the hand nudging it to sea

I was the pelican scooping out a fish
And the fish caught in his beak

I was the mollusks giving up the fight
And their shells creating the beach

I was the wind blowing through my hair
And all the plants and trees

I was the humans lying on the sand
And the sand swept out to sea

I was all the animals
And all the humans
And all the elements
And everything I could see

I was One
I was All
I was Me

I was all of them
And they were all me.