I want to share with you a poem called “Tenderness of Heart”, written by Patricia Brown. She and her husband host the silent retreats that I have attended for the last 3 years. Having just returned from this year’s retreat, I am reminded of how pushed and pulled we can feel in our daily lives. Feeling controlled by schedules, heartache, to-do lists, worries, causes we hold dear, mistakes we’ve made, and the list goes on – we are constantly on the move – constantly reviewing, planning, and analyzing. But inside each of us is a quality that connects us to one another, even in this world that seems so divided into us and them. This quality, our quiet stillness, is always there – regardless of how rushed we are – waiting for us to listen, to connect us to what matters most. When I find this stillness and let my “knots” unwind, there is a peace I cannot aptly describe with words, so I’ll leave it to Patricia.
Tenderness of Heart
I am not afraid of stepping
across the threshold
into the fire of the unknown
of sitting while the body pulsates
with undigested particles of this life
of staying while the knot unwinds.
It is the quality of attending I bring to
these moments, I know less about.
The way of the heart
that knows only
of openness and infinite, silent gentleness.
around and in everything
just as it is.