Yoga and Poetry


You keep waiting for something to happen
the thing that lifts you out of yourself,

catapults you into doing all the things you’ve put off.
the great things you’re meant to do in your life,

but somehow never quite get to.
You keep waiting for the planets to shift

the new moon to bring news,
the universe to align, something to give.

Meanwhile, the piles of papers, the laundry, the dishes,
the job-
it all stacks up while you keep hoping

for some miracle to blast down upon you,
scattering the piles to the winds.

Sometimes you lie in bed, terrified of your life.
Sometimes you laugh at the privilege of waking.

But all the while, life goes on in its messy way.
And then you turn forty.  Or fifty.  Or sixty…

and some part of you realizes you are not alone
and you find signs of this in the animal kingdom-

when a snake sheds its skin, its eyes glaze over,
it slinks under a rock, not wanting to be touched,

and when a caterpillar turns to a butterfly
if the pupa is brushed, it will die-

and when the bird taps its beak hungrily against
the egg
it’s because the thing is too small, too small,

and it needs to break out.
And midlife walks you into that wisdom

that this is what transformation looks like-
the mess of it, the tapping at the walls of your life,

the yearning and writhing and pushing,
until one day, one day

you emerge from the wreck
embracing both the immense dawn

and the dusk of the body,
glistening, beautiful

just as you are. 

This poem is from “Yoga Heart  Lines on the Six Perfections”, by Leza Lowitz.  The book caught my eye when I was looking through the poetry section at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago.  There is a B & N in each of two shopping centers that I frequent, so I often go in to peruse the bookshelves to see if anything calls to me.  I happened to be in the poetry section that day looking for work by another poet and this little red book caught my eye and then my heart after reading a few poems.   This is what I would call a synchronisitic experience.  I discovered this book because the poet whose work I was looking for was Ted Kooser and the books were arranged alphabetically by author.  If my friend Laura hadn’t told me about Ted Kooser I wouldn’t have been looking in the K’s and most likely would not have stumbled upon this beautiful, little red book that has the ability to deepen my yoga practice – for that I’m grateful.

Moral of the story:  stay open because there is a teacher around every corner waiting to help you live your life fully.

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5 Responses to Yoga and Poetry

  1. Barbara Beale says:

    Thanks to Laura for sharing with you so you can share with us – love this poem. So visceral – the mess of it!

    • suellen1234 says:

      It’s so interesting how we find inspiration – thank you Laura for leading me to that book shelf. I’m pleased you like the poem. I will be sharing more from the book and looking for more of her poetry. Have you ever thought of writing poetry?

  2. You never seem to amaze me! Your writing is as provocative as the poets and writers you quote. This last poem i would have guessed to be written by Mary Oliver…it had that feel to me. It is so beautiful. thanks for such a gift.
    talk Tues??? welcome home!

    • suellen1234 says:

      I love this poet and love the way I found her work. I have been reading one of her poems before I get on my yoga mat and it’s a beautiful thing! Yes, let’s definitely talk on Tuesday. Love you.

  3. Seraphina says:

    Yes!!!!! When I converted to Judaism, my Jewish “dad” told me: Keep your eyes open and pay attention. My spiritual mentor teaches me to keep my heart open and live from a place of unconditional love which protects me from hurt. I am forever grateful to these two wise souls for enriching my life thusly.

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