Words of WonderThe-thing-is-Ellen-Bass

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

by Ellen Bass


A bit of a heavy poem perhaps, this one. But then, life offers full size challenges sometimes and in those moments words like these can hit just the right note of recognition and encouragement to lean in, open up, say yes. And I find that in those times, practice comes into its own like never before. While ordinarily it can at times feel a bit boring, or uneventful, or even a bit on the pointless side, this sitting-and-doing-nothing suddenly reveals its true colours when difficulty arises and you just know that without practice, it would have been way worse. And in moments like those, there is the possibility to accept and say yes to life in a way that is perhaps more rich and meaningful than when it’s all roses and moonshine. And that is a very precious thing, in my opinion.


Photo by olga safronova on Unsplash