Purpose & Calling

This is what you're here for (it's brave and bright)

The daffodils are in full bloom. Everywhere you look there's yellow. It's like the sun's shining up from the ground as well as down from the sky.

But just a few short weeks ago there were only a handful of solitary daffodils who'd opened their eyes to the world, the rest still closed up tight. I imagined those daffodils as the first brave and curious explorers, eager to see the world and somehow sensing something good was waiting. I imagined the way they'd wake up, see the wonder and turn to their sleeping brothers and sisters and whisper, 'Come on, you have no idea how beautiful it is out here!'.

The perilous business of true art

Are you ready?
Strip off then.
Go on, everything.
Yes, that too.
Right down to your wiggly bits.
Feel exposed?
Yes, yes, ok.
Now, see those stairs?
Go ahead, climb up, stage left.
Walk through the black curtain and make your way to front centre.
There's a white cross taped to the floor there.
You can't miss it.
Stand right on the cross and
don't move.
Ready? It's about to start.
Lights are going up.
What's that? You want to know how this will go?
Sorry, that's not a part of this deal.
None us knows what happens next.
You signed up for this.
Now, go!
.
.
.

There, there, all finished.
Breathe.
How did it go?
Oh God, they didn't like it?
Really, they rejected everything?
Said it was ridiculous?
That you were out of your mind?
That you had no chance of making it?
That they didn't get it?
That it wouldn't work?
Couldn't work?
That you weren't...good enough?
Shit, that sucks, I know.
.
.
.
Here, rest on my shoulder a while.
I don't mind the snotty tears, honestly; we all need that,
sometimes.
All done? Good, good.
Now,
ready to go again?
Excellent, my friend, excellent.
Welcome to the life of the true artist.
You have officially
come
alive.

[To artists and creators everywhere. To those who risk the new. Those who stand naked over and over again with their heart in their hands saying, 'I made this. What do you think?' To the ones who know they'll suffer rejection, and create anyway. To those with the unpopular messages which need to be heard and dare to speak. To those who choose what feels honest and true over what is sure to work. To all of you, you have my highest fucking respect.]

Love and courage,

Leah

The man who rolled the lemons. A poem about alchemy and significance

Ordinarily, the people at the supermarket checkout
take the items that roll easily - lemons, apples and such
and guide them with a careful hand
down that slight incline that leads towards your waiting bags.
But he was different.
He scanned my three lemons
before giving them a playful shove
sending them roly-poly-ing toward me.
I laughed and he shot me a mischievous smile saying,
”It’s the best part of my day.”
Two bulbs of garlic were next in line
but they would not roll on account of their nobbles
and our eyes met in a conspiratorial giggle.
Before I left, I wished for him that many people would come in search of loose lemons this day.
Joy followed me like a light shadow
until the sun slept and then still when it woke again
and I prayed for all people to know
that an insignificant action and, therefore,
an insignificant life
are not things that exist.
He rolled three lemons and made joy and poetry;
a master alchemist in disguise.
We will likely never know all the ways our lives reach beyond ourselves
but we can be sure in our hearts that they do.

Love and courage,

Leah

Your differences are not defects

I was nineteen and in my first year at university.
This was the end of just another night.
The door of my little single room closed behind me and,
locked in the safety of its walls
I slumped, slowly
to the floor
and sobbed.
When there was nothing left 
but a dry crust of salt around my eyes
I slept, exhausted 
from another day confused by life
and my place within it I couldn’t seem to find.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I’d gone along, as I always did
to the club where ‘everyone went’.
Awkward, I stood
with a drink in my hand I didn’t want
but too afraid to be without the comfort of something 
anything 
to hold on to.
As if that glass might somehow save me from the night.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Too much noise.
Too many people.
I didn’t dare dance.
But still,
I stood
and smiled
and nodded in false understanding when someone screamed something in my ear.
Ears that would later ring into the empty night.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
My tears were ones of confusion, self-loathing 
and anger at life.
I had never been told
I had never learned
that my differences weren’t defects 
but divine gifts
that
when properly understood 
could be used for unimaginable good.
Indeed,
I had never even known my differences as differences 
only this pervasive sadness
and feeling of being
wrong.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
A decade more would need to pass before,
finally,
I would begin to understand 
and I would learn
slowly slowly 
to give myself the permission others hadn’t known to offer
that it was ok
and also desirable
to be myself.
To love the quiet
and the solitude
and the hours of reflection and seeking
always wanting to go deeper into this mystery of life.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I have only ever longed
to be myself
and to share the world as I see and feel it
extending a hand as I travel to all those who are yet to know 
that their differences are not defects
but divine gifts 
that 
when properly understood 
can be used for unimaginable good.

Love and courage,

Leah

The world is a beggar and it longs for your song

It was spring and I was standing on a path in the cemetery, mesmerised by a robin perched atop a gravestone, singing his song at full throttle.

I was close enough to see his little throat dance as the sweet notes left his beak and swirled out into the wild tangle of this place.

How unapologetically he sings his song, I thought. Such confidence. Such power. I'm certain it has never crossed his mind to be insecure about his song. I'm certain he has never tried to sing more like the blackbird in some strange confusion that his song is better. I'm certain he does not chant twenty positive affirmations about his worth each morning before he sings.

He is 'just' a robin and he 'just' sings and we are all blessed by its beauty.

By contrast, so many of us sit atop our perches, too afraid to open our mouths. Too many strange ideas have entered our minds.

We want to know if there is a right way to sing. We want to know if there is a right time to sing. We want validation that our song is a 'good' one, that we won't be laughed out of the cemetery. In some cases, we've even lost sight of the fact that we have a song at all.

If the world were a beggar, he is waiting for you to drop only one thing into his cap as you pass him on the street - your song - and as you do so it's as if you dropped all the golden coins of the universe into his cap and he immediately ceases to beg and sits back in a state of full content, smiling, for your unique and unapologetic song was everything he longed for.

We exist in a remarkable mystery. We are both life and the experiencers of life. We are one consciousness cast into millions of beautiful songs, each and every one a gloriously unique expression of the whole. We are a playlist with no beginning and no end.

The beauty of life is that there is no right song, there is no right time to sing, and there's no one with any authority to judge your song as 'good' or 'bad', although some may try. Your song is always perfect by very virtue of the fact that it is yours and yours alone.

The world longs for you to know this deeply in your heart and to sing.

Sing.

Sing.

Love and courage,

Leah

Life's generous hand

Somehow...

there is this air to breathe.
the leaves turn and the season shifts.
our eyes close and the body's energy restores.
this heart beats.
blood flows.
and organs function.

Somehow...

the birds make their nests.
chicks appear.
the seed, loved and watered grows food to feed hungry mouths.
planet Earth exists!

Somehow...

the broken bone heals.
day turns to night
and night to day.
the stars shine.
the sun shines.
rain falls.
wind blows.

Somehow...

the bees make honey.
the man and woman merge and new life begins.
Grace, everywhere.

And yet, somehow, this is not proof enough for us. We who seem to believe life is against us and that we must fight to make it through.

What difference it would be to know that this is not so. That life is for us in every way. Not even for us, but is us and we it.

What difference it would be to wake with the feeling of life's generous hand beneath our cheek, lifting us gently, gently.

What difference it would be to know our pain as a gift wrapped in unlikely paper, every experience lovingly tailor made for the evolution of our own soul.

What difference it would be to trust so wholeheartedly that we would fall deeply in love with all that is, however it is, for as long as it is so.

I knew this trust only when I came to know my true Self, the one that is here beyond body and mind and all things external. The one that is the empty stillness existing before all things of form. The one without story, identity or belief. The one that knows no labels. The one that is always here observing quietly, quietly, the dance of life. 

I tell you it is safe, with hand on my heart, it is safe to trust this life. Wake with the feeling of its generous hand beneath your cheek. Grace, everywhere.

Love and courage,

Leah

The kind of love: a poem to affirm your part in this world

These words arrived in me after a meeting with a friend. These words are for you or anyone you know who might feel that they are not 'achieving' anything of great importance in this world. I hope they reach you.

Eyes full of sadness and longing
you looked at me and said,
"I do not feel I have achieved
anything in this life
of which I can be proud."


And yet
just minutes before
I had been witness to your attempts to rescue
a bumble bee
from a flight of stairs

Motionless
we both concluded he was most surely passed away
But still
you placed him by some water
A little pool full of hope
that maybe he would surprise us still

What more
could you possibly want to achieve in life
than having a heart filled with the kind of love
that takes a bumble bee, dead, to water
and makes a wish that somehow
he will live?

God doesn't ask you to be anything
He simply asks you to be
And friend
you already do that so beautifully.

Love and courage,
Leah