My gaze is drawn to the compass lying on my desk. It’s needle pointing unwaveringly due north. It is lying in the midst of other objects thrown carelessly on the wooden surface.
It stops me in the tracks of my mind, just like a young eagle did the other day while driving home from work. I saw him sitting there on a rather unusual perch: a utility pole right on the side of the road. I kept driving, till I finally answered the inner call to turn around. I knew he would still be there.
I got out of the car after fumbling with my phone hoping for a picture only to find that the battery was dead. The young eagle watched me carefully. His gaze was as unwavering as the needle in the compass. I held his gaze, wondering…
Then I suddenly remembered that for some strange reason I actually had put my camera in my backpack that morning, which I never usually do. The eagle watched me patiently return to the car and get my camera out. I snapped a few pictures, but something didn’t feel right.
A bunch of cars drove by and I was sure the eagle would fly off with all this commotion. He turned his head looking this way and that way, but mostly his eyes were on me. I finally lowered the camera sensing the importance to be fully present. The camera had in some way shielded me from experiencing the power of the gaze of this eagle. As I allowed myself to be fully seen, I felt strangely naked standing there before him as if he could see every part of me, even the parts still hidden even from myself.
Suddenly he lifted off gliding gracefully over the quiet lake. I stood there long after he was gone, feeling a different kind of fullness and aliveness and wonder.
I had several different encounters with young eagles since then and none of them surprised me, yet each of them made me pay attention, listen, be fully present, learning to let go of what I want, and instead opening to what life is offering me.
Then yesterday morning, as I was reading and writing in bed, something else stopped me in my tracks. This time it was a poem. I was looking at my 2017 We’Moon calendar curious about the next full moon, when I came across the poem called “Cracked” by Nell Aurelia. It spoke to me in such a deep way, putting into words what I experience night after night. Most nights I feel like I am in a cauldron over a hot fire, resisting, surrendering, resisting, surrendering…What I am slowly learning as the fire is burning away my resistance and what this poem made so beautifully clear to me that this journey is about me fully committing to life and this human experience, even in this very intense time both in my own little world and the greater world.
I knew immediately that I wanted to share this poem with you here on my blog and contacted Nell. She has graciously allowed me to share her poem with you.
by Nell Aurelia
I’m cracked. Completely.
I fell into the furnace long enough
To decide to find my own fire and light,
And when I went all to pieces
Some surrendered to the heat
And those that were left were me
But purer: there is something of a diamond
Rushing through my core,
A full madness of restructuring.
There is no ruin here.
Unless that is your fearful name for transformation,
Which I can understand,
But when you fall flying into your own,
Falling apart is full of its own reward,
However much it feels like dying, like failure
Full of the unbearable sensitivity
Of committing to this human experience.
Go deep in this fire.
There’s a point where all explodes and converges,
And you find you are yourself,
Only stronger, clearer, finer.
The messiest refinement of all: Choosing to live well.
Alive to pain, to suffering, to inequality,
To joy, to birth, to creation, to love – To all,
Because when you get right down in it
Acknowledging pain only opens you more to joy.
The brilliant imperfections of love, of loving,
Can only make the world shine brighter;
It’s fear that will give you half a life and convince you
You never wanted the other half anyway.
I highly recommend checking out Nell’s blog for more of her powerful poetic offerings: