A vital aspect of my spiritual practice is retreat: taking to wild places with wise folk to turn inward, like spring cleaning and a growth spurt for my being. I spent last week at the Kripalu Center studying with Lorin Roche, whose translation of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra as The Radiance Sutras I have been contemplating for a decade.

The first day consisted of a 2 hour opening evening gathering. We did a practice to welcome our whole selves to be present, and then another in which we chose something we adore/cherish/long for so deeply that we would feel easily and deeply drawn toward meditation with it. I noticed that my notes from this evening almost made a little poem, and on the second day found myself revising the little handful of words into a more poetic form. I mused that it might be fun to keep transforming it day by day, and sure enough, found my mind gently chewing this in my times of solitude, such as day 3, which is a haiku composed in the sauna, and also simply appearing in my mind fully formed, as in day 6.

I do not think this is one of my finer poems. I share it not as a perfected gem, but as the artifact of an internal process. This process, my spiritual practice, is the primary drivers of all my actions, so here in this place where we have set ourselves to the practice of speaking of getting free, I share this little rough spark with you, in love and humility.

Love Poem for my Metamorphosis

Day 1.
I welcome my whole self.
Softening roses.
Full moon.

Day 2.
I welcome my whole
self: softening
roses, full

Day 3.
I welcome my whole
self. Softening roses falling
open, apart. Full moon.

Day 4.
I welcome my whole
self here: softening roses
falling open, apart
full moon

Day 5.
I am well.
Come here, softening
roses, opening
apart, full.

Day 6.
I am
full: roses, moon.

When the rose blossom falls apart
into petals
the rich suffusion of her scent
is unchanged.

thanks to Loverna Journey for the image via Unsplash
and to my guru Lorin Roche for everything