An Unfurling

Like depleted moths drawn to a flickering flame –
a flame so faint it is barely visible –
we follow our inner wisdom and find ourselves
in the noisy stillness of nature,
the silent support of the sangha,
the nurturing teachings of the Dharma
and the soft and welcoming comfort of our collective melting hearts.

We sit,
we walk,
we breathe,
we sleep.
We eat,
we listen,
and, in time,
as we allow ourselves to slow down –
our movements, our breath, our thoughts –
our senses start to sparkle and come alive.

We begin to tune into our slow and steady breath,
and as we do so –
slowly, slowly, slowly –
we begin to feel the steady beating of our hearts, held safely but softly inside our reassuringly sturdy rib cage.
We begin to hear the inner voice that is always there to guide us, gently encouraging us to soften and trust.
We begin to see – or even catch a glimpse of – our capacity to heal, to transform, to overcome, to persevere.
We begin to taste the sweet nectar of stillness, silence, and support of this specific moment,
and then, as if by magic, the next.

And as we start to open to the world around us –
maybe pausing to smell a flower,
or to turn our gaze upwards to follow the swooping flight of a joyful bird or butterfly,
or watch the graceful fall of a leaf from a tree as it lets go of one season and softens into the next,
we allow ourselves to open to the possibility that things can shift.
That we always possess the capacity to transform.
To shed what no longer serves us and to stretch and grow into something more open,
more resilient,
more content,
more at ease.

We begin to remember how exquisitely beautiful we were, once, before life happened,
And how exquisitely beautiful we still are.

Like fragile young butterflies emerging from a collective cocoon,
we slowly begin to test the suggestion of our newfound wings,
hesitantly flapping them as we soak up the warmth of the sun, stillness, and sangha,
feeling ourselves fueled by the shared energy of our silent refuge.

We begin to trust this newfound strength,
and as we watch –
with a sense of disbelief, relief, wonder –
we see our own (perhaps familiar, perhaps forgotten) iridescent colours begin to twinkle and shine,
and we gently allow ourselves to explore the possibility of an unfurling…
an opening up and a softening into the magical beings that we have been all along.

As we feel our life force starting to plump up our previously crumpled wings,
we can sense them becoming more robust with each sip of stillness,
and we start becoming more comfortable with the idea of trusting in our wings’ capacity to carry us high and far,
even beyond the retreat setting,
and into our everyday life.

And so, with our bodies, hearts, minds and souls replenished,
We float back into the friendly noise of the world,
but with a pocket of silence tucked deep into our hearts
to tap into every time we tap into our breath.

And that flickering flame that was once so faint
is now burning bright –
as bright as our own radiant colours.
A shining light to trust and to follow anytime we feel our own spark dimming.

Shine on, you crazy diamonds.


Nicci Cloete Annette
Buddhist Retreat Centre, September 2018

© Nicci Cloete Annette