Recently in a workshop
our teacher, Bruce Tift, invited
us into an experience
of being acutely aware
of our surroundings. We spent
a few silent moments simply being aware
of the room, the people gathered there,
the view of the mountains through the window,
the faces around the circle,
the air stirring,
the feeling of our bodies in chairs…
This chance to stop thinking,
stop analyzing, stop interpreting,
to simply be aware,
was restful, a relief of sorts;
at the same time, it was also
stirring. There was an aliveness
that was wonderful and
by one of the women
in the circle—the teacher’s sister, actually—
who said she wanted to say something. She
then began to berate the teacher (her brother)
accusing him of hypocrisy and arrogance!
There was stunned silence in the room,
every head turned toward our much-respected
and this dramatic moment of—could it be—
At which point the woman
broke into laughter. We had been
set up. After thanking his sister
for colluding with him in his experiment,
the teacher asked for a show of hands:
how many of you stayed in awareness
and how many of you were pulled into
the drama? All hands went up
Along with the gasps of astonishment around the room,
lines from the Indigo Girls song, “Closer to Fine”
filled my head:
Well darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable
And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear
I sat on the porch—
a million things that must be done
taking in the rain
on a September morning.
Raindrops resting precariously on
rose bush leaves.
Clouds changing color
and fragrance of earth.
Wind chiming bells.
How long can I simply
of the lightness
in this moment?
How much beauty
can I stand
before I turn away?