Imagine the Possibilities



Imagine the Possibilities (from Brainstorms & Artwise Poetry Roulette Cards)

What a gift that we can begin again.

Imagine the possibilities!

I sit on the deck

and listen to the birds

sing their morning song,

slightly different

from the day before.

The sun peeks its head

above the tops of trees

as the wind rattles their leaves.

And I wonder how many new cells

there are in my body today,

and how many have been shed.


Imagine the possibility

of a few hundred new days,

almost the same,

yet slightly different

than the one before.


 

I wrote this poem on Rosh Hashanah years ago, at a time when I was emerging on the other side of a major life transition. I remember feeling both relief to be done with an intense few years and also nervous anticipation about the mystery of how the next chapter would unfold. The holiday, which this year coincides with the fall equinox, marks a season of turning and reflection. It’s the time of year when I look back to notice what has changed and how I’ve grown, and to recognize the ways of being I might have outgrown. Where do I need to let go?


This past year has brought personal challenges that have stretched me in ways I never would have imagined. And far from the relief and anticipation of newness I felt when I wrote this poem, it feels like I’m still in the thick of whatever "it" this is.


Recently, I’ve been exploring a contemplative practice called Ally Work with my friend and Garrison Institute Fellow, Barnaby Willett. The practice is an invitation explore our relationship with our divine ally, a sort of personal counterpart in the beyond visible world. I would describe it as a practice that combines active imagination and journaling, which are two of the ways I most love to play.


Long before I was introduced to the concept of the ally, I often had the sense that there was a dialogue happening in my journaling. There was one voice that I recognized clearly as the “me” of my lived experience, which I named “Human Jennifer.” I also had the sense that there was another voice present in my writing (and more and more often, in my daily life), a voice that sifts through the mental drama and is grounded in deeper wisdom than my thinking mind had access to. I didn’t have a name for that other voice, but the ally practice has given me a concept to put around it.


The journaling practice is a stream of consciousness. Sometimes I use a series of prompts. Sometimes, I sit in meditation first and imagine myself connected to each and every particle in the universe. Sometimes I simply close my eyes, take three slow breaths down to my belly and start writing. When I remember (and when I'm disciplined), I take a small journal with me so I can journal when I'm waiting somewhere instead of immersing myself in my phone (whose pull is hard to resist, I admit). At the end of the practice, I take a few more slow breaths of gratitude before moving onto whatever is next in my day. My intention is to write whatever comes to mind, whether or not it "makes sense" to me in the moment. A few weeks ago, I wrote down these words:


The second hand of the clock

is the moment to be aware of.

The presence of nothing

but here now is all that is.

All that is is here now.


As Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown tonight, I wish you and me and all peace in whatever present moment we find ourselves in. May sweetness seep into every now.


With love,

Jennifer