Brave Wisdom

Yesterday, or so, I happened upon a poem by Jose Alcantara, in the On Being blog/newsletter.
And then today I was handed a copy of the oft quoted Courtney Walsh poem “Dear Human.”
They both, in brilliantly different ways, point to the same wisdom, the wisdom of non-avoidance, and the fact that life is a messy experience, and we can choose to focus our attention more on the experience or the messy.
The world is feeling mighty messy lately, and so as we reach down into our heroic souls for courage and quietude, these poems make a good cheering section.

Dear Human

Dear Human: You’ve got it all wrong.
You didn’t come here to master unconditional love.
That is where you came from and where you’ll return.
You came here to learn personal love.
Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love.
Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love.
Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling.
Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often.
You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are.
You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous.
And then to rise again into remembering.
But unconditional love? Stop telling that story.
Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives.
It doesn’t require modifiers.
It doesn’t require the condition of perfection.
It only asks that you show up. And do your best.
That you stay present and feel fully.
That you shine and fly and laugh and cry
and hurt and heal and fall and get back up
and play and work and live and die as YOU.
It’s enough. It’s Plenty.

Excerpts from A Field Guide to Getting Lost
If you have a compass, smash it.
Nothing can point you to true anything, let alone true north.
Besides — and never forget this — you are trying to get lost.
You may be gone for a long time
so be sure not to pack any food or water.
It is only the hungry who feed, only the thirsty who are quenched.
Before you leave, be sure to write a note
telling everyone exactly where you will not be.
The last thing you need is someone coming to your rescue.
Now, find the best map possible
and tear it up. You will be traveling on a scale
that no one has ever drawn.
Do not leave a string of crumbs behind you.
This would only attract predators.
On second thought, go ahead.
Write postcards telling everyone of your adventures.
Be sure to lie, like a fox leaving false tracks.
Someday they will thank you.
You will not know when you have arrived.
But if you think you have, you haven’t.
If you think haven’t, you probably have.
If you come to a fork in the road
stab yourself in the foot with it. You will
reach your destination much faster if you are limping.
Better yet, use it to pluck out your eyes.
There are many signposts along the way.
Maybe now you will learn to see.
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