“A Willow Bends” by Christina Knowles

windinthewillows

“A Willow Bends”

A willow bends to the wind.

In approbation, she attends,

pledging fealty to the goddess.

The goddess waxing great, her promise.

An accomplice, sacrosanct yet equal,

she presides. Congenial,

she pulls the tide.

Bursting wide,

streams spill,

worshipping still

with their liquid hands,

sculpting stones

and building thrones

and shaping earth,

growing shallow for rebirth.

Cracked and dried beauty,

the brittle earth, ripe to be

encompassed in fire.

The elements conspire,

bringing the seedling forth anew.

Draped in the morning dew,

the seedling willow weeps

in joy, breathing deep

the ether of the stars,

and growing aging scars,

the willow reaches to her goddess,

the promise of her solace.

Then slowly the willow bends

in acquiescence to the wind.

–Christina Knowles

“Country” by Christina Knowles

stones on riverCascading watercolor gravel

Winds and descends

‘round shady bends

Decaying pastel stones

Trip precariously over hills

The breeze

kisses the scented pines

Whispering clouds

Tell secrets

As the wind awakens

Russet leaves

Swoop and swirl in a mock tornado

While the maddening

Ticking

Of the insect population

Fades to silence

A dazzling autumn

Day in the country

Peaceful

and

Chaotic

–Christina Knowles

Photo snagged from wallpaperstock.net

Breathe

mediateJust breathe

Sinking deeper, I turn inward

Searching for me

Just rest here awhile

Letting the thoughts drift

Along the outer edges of my mind

Immersed in my inner sanctuary

I don’t need anything

Safe and alone

Peace settles over me like a soft blanket

Drift

Just breathe

The air filling my lungs

Satisfies me

I am content with nothing more than breath

Assuaged and serene

I rest

No expectations

With every exhalation

Taking me down

Further into me

A soft breeze kisses my skin

The wings of a bird flutter overhead

In a nearby tree

These images drift slowly in my mind

Before dissipating like fog in the sun

Just breathe

–Christina Knowles (2015)

Photo snagged from lifescapesolutions.com

Failing at Meditation? No, You’re Not by Christina Knowles

Hippie girl in nature Recently I’ve returned to practicing meditation. I only stopped because I thought I was a failure at it. I thought I had to empty my mind and think of absolutely nothing, and I never could accomplish this. I thought I had to feel nothing but calm, and if I could not think of nothing, then I had to focus on just one image. Well, after succumbing to a stress-related heart attack, I decided I needed to give meditation another shot. This time I joined a meditation group that meets on weekends at one of our many beautiful and natural parks in Colorado Springs. The one where we met the first time I attended, was in a large mountainous park, full of rocky cliffs and pine trees, dirt trails, and wildflowers. We sat in an open pavilion in the shade and let the cool breeze flow over us. We wrote down our worries on pieces of scrap paper and ceremonially put them in the Universe Box to symbolically let the universe take on these problems for us. Then we went inside ourselves, eyes shut, quiet, breathing smoothly, and let our thoughts float in and out. I felt the breeze, I listened with gratitude at the birds chirping, and I went deeper into me. It was like my unconscious mind woke to put her arms around me. Occasionally I’d hear a dog bark or a siren in the distance, but it would gently float in one ear and out the other, not even disturbing the serenity I felt. It was like I was one with everything, a part of each thing happening around me, yet above being affected by it.

What happened next was somewhat unexpected. My mind gently drifted to images that I call my “happy place.” Usually my favorite happy place image is a wintry Christmas scene in a room only lit by the softly blinking lights of a small Christmas tree and the warm, crackling of a fire. Looking through the window into the night sky, I see big fat snowflakes falling slowly and gently, no wind to divert them from their path. The light from the moon illuminates them just enough to be clearly seen through the glass. My hand rests on my dog’s back. She is lying next to me with her head resting on my lap. I look down at her, and it’s my beagle, Mulder, who passed away several years ago. She looks up at me with love in her soft brown eyes. I notice that the gifts piled haphazardly under the tree, the tree with homemade and personalized ornaments from my childhood, are all wrapped in old-fashioned Christmas paper, reds and greens with pictures of kids dressed in snow gear that look like they’re from the 1950s. All around me I feel love, not just any love, but the love and wonder of my childhood. I felt like I was me back then. I just sat and let the love and memories wash over me until tears streamed down my face, happy, poignant tears; the coolest thing was I felt such love for me—that little girl. I thought, Is this what they mean by visiting your inner child? At that moment I had an epiphany, that child, her feelings, her hopes, her fears, her personality, they are still me. This was profound to me because I usually feel like such an adult, not in touch with what I always considered my old self. Just realizing that this was still me, that I am still she, gave me a strange kind of understanding of how to take care of myself, how to live a life that I need to live for my good. It was so beautiful. I went home feeling lighter and filled with pure joy.

When I told my meditation group leader about the experience, he told me that what I did was meditation, and it was just fine. I hadn’t failed. I didn’t need to blank out my mind. I can just let my mind drift, go deep, and let my unconscious tell me what I need to know. This was so freeing, and now I am excited each day to visit myself, which ever part of me that decides to show up, and relax, be comforted, and learn whatever I need to learn or let go of. It has been so much easier to make time for my meditation each day. It has never been just like this first experience again, but it is always good. It centers me and I let my mind drift to anything positive it wants to, gently pushing away any other distractions. Sometimes it is just sweet images, sometimes it’s only the sound of nature, or the feeling of a fan blowing on me, but every once in a while, the little girl me, will make a small appearance just to remind me she is still there, we need each other, we love each other.

I’m still working on giving things to the universe, but I’m getting better and better. It’s not like I’ve become a spiritual person though. Well, I guess it’s how you define spirituality. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a spirit—I mean the kind of thing that survives death and somehow contains my personality and essence of who I am. I believe these things, things that make me me, live in the brain, and the brain does not survive the death of the body because it is part of the body. But if you want to call the essence of who I am, the sum total of my experiences, feelings, and personality, maybe even the unconscious or subconscious mind, spirit, then okay. I can deal with that. Meditation for me is getting to the heart of who I am and visiting this calm place where I can be with the inner me in a totally intimate way, a way that I can’t be in touch with myself during the busyness and chaos of the day.

Being exactly who I am on every level and loving that person despite my flaws through meditation has been a freeing experience that I never imagined. I’ve never had a problem with self-esteem, but it’s a different thing to really feel love for who you are, fully acknowledging every flaw. I’m not talking egocentricism, but just really loving and accepting yourself despite not being perfect and not caring if you are perfect to anyone else. Through meditation I understand who I am and can completely accept myself without the pressure of any performance. During those 15 minutes, the world disappears, and I am just a being, worthy of love and tenderness, with no expectations at all. So when I return to the world of constant demands, the responsibilities seem lighter. I am refreshed, rested, and ready to set boundaries to protect the value of myself as a being on this earth, a being with an expiration date. I won’t let that time be used to harm me anymore. So if you think you are failing at meditation because it doesn’t fit some description in a book, don’t listen. If it helps you, if it calms you, or benefits you in any way, you’re doing it right. Do it however you need to do it. Your subconscious you knows what you need. Peace—Christina Knowles

Photo snagged from aquarian.es

“Transcend” by Christina Knowles

mother and baby elephantDid you ever wonder

About the trees, the flowers, and the seas?

Not just to use and plunder

Thinking we are so much more than these?

Did you ever wander

Through the forest of many creatures rife?

Did you stop to ponder

In the night, what animal builds his life?

Did you ever ponder

The living, the breathing of everything around,

The flutter of feathered wings, the sacred honor

Of crunching leaves of scarlet scattered on the ground?

Do you ever wonder

What the sleeping dog dreams?

Is he chasing squirrels in a field over yonder?

Or romping through crystal clear streams?

Does the elephant love her child

Stolen from her care?

Chained and defiled

She mourns her loss with a tear.

Did you ever wonder

Why humans feel superior?

Stripping lands and torturing under

The belief that all else is inferior.

Do you feel the need to plunder?

Destroying forests to supply

The cities of man; we tear asunder,

Building skyscrapers to pierce the sky?

Do we worship the ability to destroy?

We speak of intelligence;

It’s just a clever ploy

To justify our negligence and squander Earth’s inheritance.

Why do we build a pedestal, and climb into the seat,

Claiming we have a soul, and other beasts do not?

Privy to the secrets of an afterlife replete

In rewards for destruction with their blood we bought?

Do we ever wonder

Why we’re comfortable with our thoughts

Of eternal days unnumbered

While they turn to dust in their plots?

Did we ever consider

We are one and the same?

Energy reconfigured

Just another creature’s frame?

Born of the earth,

Siblings of the land

With no separate worth;

No destiny is planned.

Did you ever wonder

If it’s time to transcend?

Wake up from this slumber

And begin to comprehend?

We are all a part of another

So end the devastation, and instead defend

Those at our hands who suffer

And begin to make amends.

—Christina Knowles (2015)

“Music Lives Here” by Christina Knowles

Snagged from hqwallbase.com
Snagged from hqwallbase.com

A special kind of music lives here

Amidst the mountain mist

Its benevolence is strangely clear

The circling of a breeze so crisp

Carries its message softly to my ear

The oneness of the universe insists

On fracturing my frail veneer

Lost in this musical tryst

A twig breaks—a deer

Meeting, our gaze lingers—we coexist

In this moment, we disappear

Through millennia, we drift

Lifted beyond the stratosphere

Soaring above the swift

Spirits who insouciantly appear

Dipping down into the midst

Of crested mountains sheer

Eagles we enlist

To retrieve a souvenir

Of this infinite moment where we exist

When the music living here

Brushed us with its fragrant kiss

And disappeared

—Christina Knowles (2015)

“Autumn” by Christina Knowles

IMG_1303

“Autumn”

Nature’s one demand is change.

Our years like seasons we cannot hold

For Fates align and rearrange.

From green to gold and red, the range

Features a wondrous story told

Of Nature’s one demand of change.

A painted impression from the artistic Mage,

A fractal of the life we hold

While Fates align and rearrange.

Beautiful dying, lovely and strange

The agéd Wisdom, mysteries unfold

For Nature’s one demand is change.

In leafless branches, we seek a sage

To nurture and guide us into our gold

As Fates align and rearrange.

Measuring our days, we alone gauge

Our years like seasons, a sweet story told

Of Nature’s only demand of change

As Fates align and rearrange.—Christina Knowles

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