Archive for the ‘poem’ Category

Who is Piloting You Now?

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

flyLast night I presented on the Flying Lessons system for navigating challenges, discussing this with a women’s consultants group in Tucson. As usual these days, we began our discussion by agreeing that these are complex and turbulent times, and that we’re piloting into uncharted territory. This makes the Flying Lessons principles all the more compelling, I think!

As serendipity would have it, I had been thumbing through one of my favorite resources, Love Poems from God, full of offerings from ancient mystics. I discovered that somehow I had forgotten about Kabir, a 15th century east Indian poet, religious reformer, artist and musician–as well as (translator/editor, Daniel Ladinsky reminded me) humorist.

Ladinisky points out that many sacred texts–including the Bible–were heavily edited. His goal in this book is to “un-edit” some poetry that is (in the case of Teresa of Avila, for example) sometimes bawdy, down to earth, and therefore practical spirituality. For then, I suspect, and certainly for now.

And wouldn’t you know that one of Kabir’s poems seemed to fit exactly the issue of piloting into uncharted territory without either crashing, falling asleep at the controls, or getting very lost.

You are sitting in a wagon being

drawn by a horse whose

reins you


Thee are two inside of you

who can steer.

Though most never hand the reins to Me

so they go from place to place the

best they can, though

rarely happy.

And rarely does their whole body laugh

feeling God’s poke

in the


If you feel tired, dear,

my shoulder is soft.

I’d be glad to

steer a


Reminds me of Flying Lesson #3, Take the Pilot’s Seat. The questions around this lesson include, “Assuming you are in the pilot’s seat, which part of you is in charge? The Big you, or the little one, the scared one?”

These are times that call for the biggest pilot we can summon, so I say we need all the help we can get. The “your pilot is God” image gets a little tricky, but it is true that our job now is to call on and embody all that is divine within us. Old strategies, old power structures, old flight plans…just aren’t working now.

So let’s take Kabir’s 600-year-old bet. What would happen if we decided to “Give Way to the Winds’ (lesson #7) and surrender the old fear-based tactics? When we hand over the reins, I’ll bet we’ll get there. Just maybe not in the way that old ego expected.


Friday, April 2nd, 2010


Being is wide-hipped

and wide-lipped.

She is like honey spilled

all over myself

spreading, oozing, sticky, adhering

to all my persistent doing.

Gumming up the works,

widening my cells, opening my heart, expanding to connect with all.

Being is curious.

She follows each feeling, each perception

without having to do anything at all.

She listens and sees

by moving under the thought or feeling

and simply holding it,

being it. Knowing it.

And then the most curious thing something happens

without will.

Something occurs, just appears

and then there’s a bit of doing to be done.

Not out of effort, just out of responsiveness.

And Being says that’s all we have to do. Really.

Just fully be and see what occurs

and respond to that.

That’s all.

Good bye to the hard case of doing,

to the constricted determination,

to the marching and the gritting of teeth,

to the stridency, to the striving, to the pushing up hills.

Hello to the honey, my honey, who is Being.

To the Mother who holds the seed,

the womb of the stars,

to the One within me who has already done it all

who knows it

and who simply


Winter Remembers the Spring

Sunday, February 28th, 2010


I walk out into the desert’s winter, watching for signs.

The blonde brittle grasses part, giving me a glimpse of apple green beneath.

The hard ground softens for ants wakening to build spring mounds.

Black broken trees play dead, but tell me the sap is rising like warm honey in their limbs.

The mountains’ sprinkling of sugar pours down into liquid in the washes.

Wildflowers are plotting from deep within their seeds, imagining their riot.

And I thrill to the feel of my heart widening into the sweet flow of breath within.

The land is remembering me into new life.

Tea with Henry and Ella

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Henry and EllaWhenever I go to visit my grandchildren in South Pasadena, CA, I stay at a sweet B&B called the Artists’ Inn, where every room is decorated to honor a different artist. I’m especially fond of the Georgia O’Keefe room, but really the best part of my stay is afternoon tea. Ella and Henry, the eldest of the grandchildren, come and have tea with me. They each choose a china cup, and every day a different treat has been freshly baked. I flavor the tea (you can guess that sugar is a major ingredient) and set us up in the dining room. Their mom gets a little break, and I have the pleasure of giving them a ritual they only do with me. I also have the pleasure of giving myself a ritual I only do with them.

Ella and Henry look like little European children to me in their black hats, seated in front of lace curtains. And, there’s something about them having tea that suggests another country. We don’t pause for tea in America; in fact it’s hard to pause at all. Maybe that’s why Starbucks has become such a phenomenon.

I wonder what would happen if I treated the child inside me to a sweet pause in the middle of every afternoon.  A china cup with sweetened tea, a conversation with a friend or a poem to read and consider. I might be healthier and stronger for it, and perhaps more peaceful.

Our pace of living today is frightening. And my only choices seem to be to 1. complain about what the world’s coming to or 2. take control of my own pace and regulate it.

How do you regulate your pace? Do you pause every day? Do you give yourself something sweet–sweet tastes or sweet music or sweet musings? I invite you to share your thoughts–they might help preserve life seen through an artist’s lens–or through a child’s.

Solstice images

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Desert Solstice

Golden grasses,
brittle branches breaking underfoot,
hidden water,
last leaves gripping black mesquites.
In this desert
things are dying.

Quail bedded down
burst forth as I pass.
Surprising red plants flow along the wash.
The thrill of my own breath moves faster,
echoing the rising wind.
In this desert
something new is coming.

Cells fall away in me,
brittle old ideas breaking apart.
Old juices lay hidden away, reserved for drought.
I change every day, now faster and
in the dry, arid places of me
things are dying.

An explosion of wings breaks through my soul.
Colors appear, flowing through my center.
My life force quickens
as a storm gathers within me, promising flow.
In this desert within,
dark with winter,
light is coming.
                          Pamela Hale, 2009

Desert solstice_opt

And you?  How do you experience winter and solstice time in your outer landscape?  How about your inner one?  Does nature act as a mirror for you?