Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Befriending Restlessness

I am learning to befriend restlessness
To spend fewer moments sleep walking
Or giving into continuous movement
Disguised as productive activity
Learning not to resist by collapsing
Into endless distraction and dissatisfaction
(So many shiny objects disappoint)

I am learning to ground in the scent of here
The taste of what is
The soft sound of my breathing
The colour and texture
Of landscapes- inner and outer

After all these years of longing
I am learning to be


~Oriah Mountain Dreamer (Photo from Karen Davis at

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Moonlit Kindness

Full moon today. Where do I need to focus the reflected light of this silver sister in the night sky? I meditate. . . .find an inner quiet. . . . and what arises is , “On kindness.” I balk: too mushy and non-specific; too obvious and simplistic. But is it? Am I able to discern kindness, beyond platitudes and assumptions? With others it feels more obvious (although may not be,) but what about kindness to the self?
It occurs to me that genuine kindness is never a means to an end- not done to gain favour or even to create harmony. What would it look like to be kind (to ourselves and others) without hoping for any influence, without attachment to outcomes, even much-needed and valuable outcomes like healing and peace?
Oh these may arise in part because of kindness, but what if genuine kindness is without motive? What if we allow ourselves to choose kindness (to self and others) simple because we are following the heart’s impulse to be kind? What if kindness is the direction in which our hearts want to run, just for the joy of it?
For reasons I do not fully understand, this thought makes my throat tighten around unshed tears both happy and sad for kindnesses offered and withheld.
I feel a hardness within myself toward myself begin to soften.
Kindness can do that. ~Oriah Mountain Dreamer
(Rumi poster from Slim Chandra-Shekar on Facebook- thank you Slim.)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Slipping Away

She slips away
Following the path of lunar light
Into the unknown
Because once in a blue moon 
She needs to break routines
Create empty space 
And welcome what comes in the stillness

Wise grandmothers and shining figures of slender light
Come to her in night dreams
Moving along the dark forest floor like mist 
They ask her to step through the door
Into magic and mystery
They tell her to write 
They tell her to trust the story

So she slips away by the light of the full moon

~Oriah Mountain Dreamer

I will be off line for most of August, turning my attention to writing. Many blessings, Oriah

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Asking Permission

We do not need permission
To live our life guided by that which lives within us.
And yet, too often, some part of our heart
Waits for someone else to give the go-ahead
Before we fully embody our wisdom and our silliness,
Our joy and our sorrow.

This is what it means to give our power away:
To court the approval of others
To silently ask for permission that is not another's to give
To spend our lives waiting
For that which was within us all along.

~Oriah House "Permission" (c) 2015 (Gratitude for the photo from Karen Davis Open Door Dreaming​)

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Burning

I am thinking about burning
About letting a passion for life-
Not my life or your life- but Life itself
Burn away my hesitation to taste this breath
Filled with the sweet greening of summer
This breath, laden with longing and confusion.

I am thinking about burning
About the flame of desire
That insists that how I move through this day
Be more about love-making
Than about the achievement of things
Too thin to nourish my soul.

I am thinking about burning.
I am lighting a match.
I am making of myself
Kindling for the fires
Of living awake to this moment
Of letting Love have its way with me.

~Oriah House (c) 2015

(Photo from Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming)

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Is there anything sweeter
than that moment when pain stops?
Like a ladle of clear, cold water
soothing the parched throat;
or the moment of infinite spaciousness
when my neighbour's leaf-blower is silenced.

And. . . .this too shall pass.

That thought makes me laugh out loud,
helps me check the impulse
to hold on to the sweetness,
knowing there is nothing
that needs to be grabbed
nothing that can be gripped by wanting,
only that which can be received.

~Oriah Mountain Dreamer (c) 2015

Deep gratitude to Paul Bardis for this photo.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Learning To Trust Grief

Tears do not come easily to me. I'd shed very few since my father died two months ago. He was in such anguish for so long and so wanted to go, I think it felt disloyal to grieve his passing. Or maybe I just wasn’t ready.

Last Sunday I went walking with a friend through the tree covered ravines of Toronto. We were both thinking of our fathers- hers had passed ten years ago on Father's Day. We took tobacco to offer to the earth with our prayers.

I want to tell you that magnificently eloquent words uncovering deep spiritual insights and offering solace for all our losses spilled effortlessly from my lips.

But that's not what happened.

As I held some tobacco and sat on the grass by a towering a balsam fir tree (my father taught me the names of different evergreens) the only words that came over and over like a mantra were, "I hate that you're gone."

And I began to weep.

A breeze rippled through the tops of the trees. . . .and I heard a voice within that said, "I’m here."

And through my tears I murmured, "I know. But I still hate that you're gone."

"Hate" is  not a word I use very often,but it's the word that came. I could feel it in my gut, a knot silently insisting, "No, no, no, no. . . ." Denial and anger all wrapped up in each other over the soft core of a long low wail, an ache that anchored me in the beauty and limitations of being human.

Later I spoke with my eldest son, Brendan. Telling him the words that had come, feeling embarrassed, I said, "It feels so. . . young. . . to hate that he's gone. I'm glad he's free from the suffering, and I know that there is no life without death,and I don't fear what comes next . . . but still I hate that he's not here. It makes no sense."

And Brendan said quietly, "It makes sense to me, mom."

And again I started to cry. Brendan's response allowed me to get that grief is just what it is, and all our ideas and beliefs, all our experience of something larger holding us, and all our understanding of the inevitable cycle of death and birth . . . .well, they may give us some comfort, but they do not dull the sharp edge of the pain that comes when we lose someone we love.

I'm learning to trust the grief, to trust it will come at the right time, in the form that will keep me connected to what is true within me. As Anne Lamott once wrote, "The only way through grief is by grieving."

I am so deeply grateful for all of the people who shared their stories of loss on last Friday's Facebook post, all those who sent me cards and gifts (to my surprise) after my father died. The soft hand-knit shawl was like getting a hug in the mail. This is one of the many aspects of what it means to be part of the human family- we all suffer loss, and move through grief in our own way. How grateful I am to feel held on so many levels, to be able to feel the loss, to be able to let the tears come.

~Oriah Mountain Dreamer (c) 2015 (Photo from Karen Davis at I love the mix of darkness and light in this one.)