Category Archives: Poetry

A Prayer for You

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San Augustinillo, Mexico

San Augustinillo, Mexico

On a hazy morning during my holiday in Mexico, my heart opened to the day and I found myself thinking of my friend, Diane – and this little prayer took shape.

A Prayer for You
by Vicki L. Flaherty

I whisper into the wind 
that blows gently off the sea
I speak of peace
into the frosty white haze
My prayer released for you
into the blue-gray sky
My hopes carried by the waves
as they roll back from the shore

May you find strength like the rocks
that anchor along the beach
May you feel grace like the birds
who float through the sky
May you find treasure in today
like colorful shells gathered from the sand

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Filling Petals with Sunshine

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Filling Petals with Sunshine

Today I am thinking about my friend, Diane, who is a very special flower in my life. This one is for you, my friend. May you never feel that you are a burden and hold tight to the belief that you are a beautiful gift.

Filling Petals with Sunshine

By Vicki Flaherty

Everyone you touch – in whatever way – is blessed.

You grace others’ lives in ways we may not see,

Like God’s little secret, the meaning in our lives

Is sometimes hidden below the surface –

Or maybe high above and out of reach, for now.

Each time you ask for help,

Each time you let someone give,

Each time you open yourself to another,

You exercise your power to create meaning.

Each time you lean into your vulnerability,

Your purpose unfolds,

Like a rosebud hungry to fill its petals with sunshine.  

Credit for the beautiful unfolding rose goes to Carol at http://radiatingblossom.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/pink-rose-13/ – Thank you for the beauty you create for us!

Healing Light

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healing light

Yesterday I learned that one of my breast cancer survivor friends was diagnosed with colon cancer. I am so glad she chose to share this news with our yoga group before our practice.  Our sanctuary filled with healing light. We offered our hearts to our friend, and she received.

Her diagnosis is fresh, having had her colonoscopy a week ago yesterday. She’ll be having surgery this coming Wednesday. The good news is they found the cancer early enough that they can remove the cancerous section – no colostomy.

We all dedicated our practice to her. This poem is an attempt to capture the beautiful moment that Theresa, our yoga instructor, helped us create with her guided healing imagery.

We Are Light
By Vicki L. Flaherty

We are light
Pure and healing light
Here to hold you
To give you strength
To offer our love for you

We press our palms together
Rest the edges of our bonded thumbs against our hearts
Our fingers spread like rays of golden sunshine
Releasing healing power from deep within, out into the room
For you

Our energy floats gracefully to the center 
Each of our spirits moving toward the other
Melding into a single source of powerful light 
Encircling you in radiant illuminating light

Take our pure and healing light
Let it hold you
Let it give you strength
Accept our love

I’ve been transported to that place of vulnerability that comes with such a diagnosis, that place where reaching for hope is strength, where the ability to trust is a gift, where the simplest act of love brings incredible contentment.   I’m reminded of what’s important in life – my family, my friends, my health, bringing joy into the world, filling space with beauty and gratitude, embracing all the possibilities that open in front of me.

An alternative way

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Am amazing lily growing in abundance on the scorched point of Sagres, Portugal

Am amazing lily growing in abundance on the scorched point of Sagres, Portugal

I’m here with Rolf Gates and Meditations from the Mat again today. I’m on my fifth trip through this transformative book. For whatever reason, my first time through I decided to date the page when I read it. Today I’m on the reading for Day 66 and it has the following dates at the top:  2/9/2005, 4/2/2007, 11/9/2008, 10/4/2011 and now 5/2/2014. On October 4, 2011 I used a brown pen for the date – and for my underlines and notes. The reading is about Santosa, or contentment, and starts with a Yoga Sutras quote:

contentment

The paragraph below is underlined:

contentment2

My notes grab the things I wanted to take away:

  • Alternative way to move through the world
  • Shift of focus
  • Contentment from the inside out
  • Events as opportunities to grow
  • Encounter our own magnificence
  • Moments in which to shine

I imagine that this reading was a breath of possibility to me back on October 4, 2011 – that was one week after my mastectomy, and I was reeling from my cancer diagnosis and focused on healing. I was practicing leaning into not just the ‘good’ but also the ‘bad’ to find peace. Nearly two and half years later, I find I still have to consciously grab contentment if I want it. So many dark whispers trying to drown out the song.

This passage definitely touched me. A peak into my files shows that I wrote the first iteration of my poem Contentment on October 4, 2011 and it was called Santosa.

contentment3

Spring

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Chives in my garden

Chives in my garden

A deliciously warm day. One of several. Mother nature calling forth her children.

Spring

By Vicki L. Flaherty
The seed,
seeking nourishment
finds richness surrounding it and
takes inspiration from the light above.

The seedling,
breaking free,
stretches toward the sky and
shows its greatness to the world.

The stem,
taking shape,
expands into the openness and
develops powerfully each day.

The blossom,
flowering to magnificence,
touches the world with its vibrancy and
shapes the beauty that is life.

A place for my heart to hang out

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Thanks to my friends Demet, Idil and Lati for providing a sanctuary today – I needed a place where my heart could hang out, where my vulnerability would be greeted with a hug. I treasure your friendship and how we open up and share from our deepest being.

Thank you, Lati, for your impromptu passing along of this beautiful bracelet with tri-colored hearts – it’s symbolic of what I experienced being with you all today – hearts lined up side-by-side creates something truly beautiful. I’m sharing, too, the Rumi poem we discussed – a beautiful gift to help open to personal challenges.

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi (translation by Coleman Barks)

Seeing it

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crradiatingblossomswirlingpetals

Photoa Courtesy of Carol at Radiating Blossom

Last fall I found the job I’d been dreaming about for several years. I moved into IBM’s leadership development organization. Then, in January, I was promoted to a leadership role within the team. Ever since then, I’ve been in a whirlwind, and all sorts of feelings have been swirling around. From moments of confidence to fear, from hope to uncertainty, from calm to chaos, from peace to distraction…and so much more. Frankly, there have been moments of profound overwhelm. And, moments of incredible possibility.

This morning I came across the poem below that I wrote back in the summer of 2012. It’s unfinished but it spoke to me so I thought I’d share it in all it’s imperfection. The words resonated with me and connected me to how scary it is when I glimpse how amazing and powerful I can be. It touched me with its doubt and its hope. I frequently come back to my experience with cancer and the fear I felt then, the hope I grabbed on to. When I go there, I am reminded that there is nothing more important than my finding aliveness and joy in whatever I am doing and that life has a way of moving me with grace when I open to it, flow with it.

Seeing it
By Vicki L. Flaherty

I glimpse it like a crack in a door
where the light comes in
or maybe it’s flowing out.

Mother always said it was there.
Father’s confidence pointed to it too.

Flickers like photographs
strewn across a table
bits of color
sparks of life.

She is beautiful.
A power all her own.
Grace dancing.
Hope shining.

Do you see it?
See it.
Please.

No.
Better if you don’t.

Her strength is overwhelming.
The possibility is frightening.

Cover your eyes.
Glance away from the light.

Peeking, though.
It pulls you.
You have to look.

Gradually appearing less real to me

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courtesy of misifusa.wordpress.com

courtesy of misifusa.wordpress.com

This morning when I read the post on Misifusa’s blog, The Presents of Presents: Why Should I Fear? (http://misifusa.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/why-should-i-fear/) ,  I thought about the grip fear can have on my life, how it limits what’s possible.

I was also inspired by my awesome friend Maureen who faced some of her fears head on. She boldly stepped out on a skinny branch to do something amazing that will shape people’s lives in powerful, positive ways. Check out her Project Butterfly: http://maureenmonte.com/project-butterfly/ to join her strong approach to life.

With such wonderful inspiration, I stretch into hope for a day of fear-less-ness…farewell to fear and all it creates in my life!

Fear
Vicki L. Flaherty

You spoke to me with your tantalizing words
You told me I couldn’t have it all
You shouted at me, vibrating through me:
Who I am is not good enough
What I want doesn’t matter

You laid yourself in front of me
You blocked entry to my soul
You covered the essence of me in noise

I missed opportunities when you showed up
You neutralized my relationships
You took the possibilities from my work
You led me away from discovery

I have lost so much because of you
You stole my sense of wonder
You squelched my curiosity
You made my dreams unimportant

Day by day I find the way
To ease you out of my life
Your false sense of importance
The expectations you create
Gradually appearing less real to me