Moment Of Grace

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Picture: Albert Square by Steven Scholes

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Fresh is a deep breath,

Encompassing it all.

Here’s the sky, above high towers:

Concrete, metal, and glass;

Old marbles of white,

Red bricks piled-up tight,

Above which, persistent is the grass.

The clouds

And the blue behind them sing to me,

As the solitary maple tree,

Somehow still green.

Afternoon, winter:

Meek python-trams moving softly;

Victorian windows, echoes of Venice;

Medieval memories overshadowing the streets.

Only now, I really see your grace,

Manchester,

The beauty of form beyond form,

Of the dream beyond the dream.

Only now…

 

Is there any other moment anyway?

 

Herons

 

Scotland

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Picture: As The Edinburgh Rain Fell by Jeff Rowland

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Tears of gratitude,

Flow like waves through your cliffs,

Like your fresh torrent streams.

From afar, your songs come to me

In codes and radio waves.

I observe and allow

And let go of my grief.

Homesick of Lothian,

I accept this present moment,

Not the form, labeled by the mind,

But the immortal essence

Where everything mortal takes place.

Wherever the Universe

Leads this vehicle-body,

And its software-mind,

Nothing is ever really lost.

For I am the awareness that lies behind.

This you taught me,

Scotland.

 

Herons

Like A Drop Of Rain

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Picture: Reflections In The Rain by Urbis Manchester

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Like a drop of rain on my lips,

Cold fingertips

Touch the wind, as solid as sand,

Pouring through my hand.

Knowing the unknown

Through unspoken words,

Through unthought ideas,

Impossible to translate.

Give a smile today,

Just because you can.

You’re rich,

You own immeasurable wealth.

Your energy, your love:

The Life flowing through you.

Follow your passion,

Free from the chains of expectation.

You’re rich in freedom,

In the eternal present moment.

 

Herons

The Sun Is Out

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Picture: The Last Sun Beam by Leonid Afremov

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The sun is out,

Water in my mouth.

Everything moves and slides,

As do women in furs and hides.

Soundwaves approach,

Dangling and hissing;

Voices poach

The dead and missing.

Where am I?

Is it true or just experienced?

Who am I?

Is it this body or just the experience?

Container versus content.

I am the awareness, not the content

Of what we call life.

Look how we delude ourselves in strife,

Swept away by the cosmic game.

Let they call you insane,

If that means realization.

Cause You are Them, beyond separation.

The sun is out,

We’re just playing about.

 

Herons

 

Exploring The Vehicle. Guided Meditation

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Picture: Blue Heron by Shannon Holt

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Intro

I’m excited to introduce a brand new project that synthesizes my passions for writing and helping people on a practical level. This series is something almost unprecedented on Sunshower. In fact, here’s an extract of my short story Going To The Big Something Out Of Skye which represents the prototype of this new series:

“Sit back, relax. I want you to feel your body, I want you to feel the vital energy that activates your limbs. The energy in your toes, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, pelvis. In your belly, torso – breasts if you happen to have a couple – shoulders. In your fingers, hands, forearms, arms. In your neck, feel your neck. Ultimately, the head: full of thoughts, worries, desires, fears, ambitions. Get rid of those, please. It’s easy: just be aware of the electromagnetic energy in your head, and in your whole body. Now feel your chest, feel your heart-center and relate to it as the core of your being. Close your eyes for a while. Now that you’re reading again, try to maintain your awareness of that subtle electric sensation in your whole body as long as you can.

Now you’re ready to read this…”

This little intro – kind of unusual for a short story – is meant to set the mood for your reading experience. In this project, I’ll provide similar content, with a small difference. These written meditations are meant to set the mood for your daily life experience. You just need to sit back, relax and let your imagination do its thing. These meditations are a great fit for a bus ride, coffee time or tea time, queueing in the post office, waiting for a train – you get my drift. They’re suitable for all those moments in which you could indulge in unconsciously scrolling your social media feed or reading articles you’re not really interested in. Nothing wrong with these, but you maybe want to devote these lapses of time to your own well-being, which in turn will positively influence other people around you. So, you could see it as an all-time-good tiny practice of self-love. For a deeper practice, though, I advise you to find a relatively quiet spot, cut the blue lights (night mode) of your electronic device, and have your neck supported or straight along the line of your spine. Are you ready to start?

 

Exploring the Vehicle

From 10 to 30 minutes

Let’s start off with some deep breathing. Breath in as much air as you can take. Slowly release it, feeling your body relax deeply. Let’s repeat it once again. Breath in… and out. Let’s do it a third time: slowly breath in; slowly breath out. With each breath, feel more and more relaxed. If you need it or feel like doing it, you can repeat it again to a maximum of five breaths.

Better. Now, you might not be familiar with the next practice, but there’s no hurry, you have all the time to repeat it and feel more comfortable with it. You’re going to focus on your body internally, literally exploring it. We’re going to feel the whole structure of the body bit by bit. As you read through the meditation, stay in each part for as much as you can, then move to the next. However, you can follow my words at the pace you prefer, depending on how long you can practice.

Let’s start by bringing your awareness in your left foot without looking at it. Feel the muscles, the bones, the nerves, the blood flowing in your veins. Now, let’s focus on the toes of your left foot. In the same fashion, feel the sole, the heel, the instep. Move up to the left ankle, and linger there for a moment. Let’s focus on the left shin, gently, without judging the sensations you feel there. Anytime you feel pain or other unpleasant sensations during this meditation, just be aware of them – there’s no need to change them. From the shin, let’s move to the knee. Up to the thigh, and give yourself the chance to feel its big muscles and the skin enveloping them. Now you can feel the whole leg relaxed, alive, previous tensions disappearing. Therefore, we can move to the right foot. Feel your toes, sole, and instep. Up to the right ankle. Focus, now, on the right shin, deeply. Right knee. Then, right thigh. Deepen your perception there. In the end, feel the aliveness in both legs.

Now, we can move to the upper body. Starting with your left hand. Feel the electromagnetic energy of your nerves. If you cannot perceive it very clearly at the beginning, it doesn’t matter, in time you’ll deepen your sensitivity. Bring your awareness on your left fingertips and scan the length of your fingers to the palm. Feel the left palm. You can move to the left wrist. Your left forearm. Your elbow. Your bicep and tricep. And up to the left shoulder. Feel the entire arm relax. Imagine the energy you feel expands out of the limits of your physical arm. In the same fashion, move to the right fingertips, through your fingers and right palm. Feel your right wrist. Right forearm. Right elbow; bicep and tricep. In the end, feel your right shoulder. Now both your arms and legs are relaxed. You can feel the field of energy inside them and beyond. Let your awareness rest on your limbs for a while.

Thus, we’ll mentally scan your torso. Starting off from both glutei. Moving on the front, we feel the sexual area, relaxing it. We move up to the lower intestine and abdomen. Let’s feel the whole belly, including the internal organs. Move up to the ribcage muscles, pectoral muscles, and breasts for women. Let’s go back down to the lower back area. Relax deeply, and move your awareness up through your middle and upper back. Feel the whole torso relax, expand.

Now, it’s the neck’s turn. Bring your attention to your neck. Scan it, starting from the base, up to the junction with your cranium. Slowly, repeat this process a couple of times. Then, imagine the field of energy in your neck expanding outside the limits of the skin like a cloud. Gently release any tension in the area.

We can now move our conscious perception to the head. Feel your jaw release – without letting it fall. Your chin; your cheeks. Feel your tongue relax. Your mouth, your teeth, and gums. Feel your nose, eyes, and sockets. Your ears. Eyebrows and forehead, from the bottom to the top. Be aware of your physical brain and relax it. Feel the scalp. The whole head is now energized and relaxed.

Now that you’re aware of your entire body you can direct your focus on the parts that need it the most. If you feel any pain or tension, be aware of it and kindly observe it as it is. If you can, maintain your focus on the relaxed parts as well.

Take a deep breath in. And out.

Close your eyes for a moment.

 

Herons

Let Yourself Go, Let Go Of Yourself

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Picture by Mark Berger

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Let yourself go,

You’re a speckle of cosmic dust.

Don’t buy the scam of your mind:

Big deals for sale,

Cheap tailored drama series,

Ancient tales of separation.

Let me tell you,

What the mind says is not a big deal after all.

Give Universal intelligence permission

To overthrow

The small, limited you.

Let go of yourself,

Let go of who you think you are.

Silence:

Amidst the traffic horns,

The city wandering crowd,

The rolling of the cars,

The ambulance crying out loud.

Silence underneath all sounds,

That is who You really are.

 

Herons

A Pirate Named Gianni Cobalto • Part 1

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Picture by unknown

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The sharp saltiness of the ocean flutters in the lazy afternoon breeze. A clavichord is giggling from the inside, beyond the wooden porch. It’s a tune from Scarlatti, the Neapolitan. Gianni is carried away by the melody. His memories at sea are intertwined with his future projections – very likely at sea. The Old World looks so precious now that it’s kept in the gilded casket of the past. But the pirate knows about the illusory nature of such coffer. “Memories are tricks of the little you, designed to hold you back from experiencing the wonders of the larger You,” said the bearded Indian guy in Pulau Ujong. “The little you likes to be right. Rigid in its beliefs, it likes to provide you with a sense of identity.” All these esoteric ideas strangely resonated with Gianni. His Christian upbringing taught him that God was up there, ready to judge you after your final breath. The Indian guy, instead, told him that God is within and is free of judgment.

“What do you like?” asked the man in orange robes.

“I like… What do I like…”

“Yes, is there any form of beauty you can appreciate fully?”

“I like music. In Italy, we have great music. Corelli, Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Pietro Boni, Albinoni… Poi ci sono i Tedeschi,” he inadvertently switched to Italian, his eyes shining, “Bach, Telemann…”

“So. The next time you listen to a beautiful sonata, let it become one with you.”

“How do I do that?”

“Listen to it with your whole body, not with your brain. Don’t listen to your parrot mind, let it fly away. Listen to the music!” he lifted and shook his palms with intensity. “Imagine yourself as a biscuit, soaking in milk.”

The voice of the swami fades away. Gianni is now in the New World, a land of great uncertainty and even greater opportunity. He promptly applies the method suggested by the guru to the playful sonata coming from inside the house. The clavichord melody, note after note, flows through the banks of his awareness like a river. The course of this river is initially twisty and restless. Then he expands his focus on the harmony: left and right hand, white and delicate, dance on the keyboard in the dimly lit room. The river is finally approaching the sea. It surrenders into the infinite waters of the ocean. The pirate has never experienced such a sense of peace. Of fullness and emptiness at the same time.

“Cobalto!” a male voice pops in the background. “Cobalto!” It sounds farther than it really is. He does not react to the desperate vibration of those shouts. The music stops. A gentle drumming of steps follows, out of the porch. A fresh hand touches his neck: he feels the love of a lifetime piercing his skin-shell through those fingers. “Jean…” The female voice chimes in like a timid violin: “The Spaniards…” He lifts up his gaze and her features astound him. She radiates a soft golden light. Her dark hair balances with the pale blue eyes and face. “You have to go, Jean…” He caresses her tender cheek. Thus, he calmly gets up from the creaking chair and inhales the last puff of smoke from his pipe. Gianni turns to the girl and smiles confidently. The green, tall palms behind her idly wave in the maritime breeze throughout the bay. The sun is hiding behind the clouds. The pirate doesn’t know what to do, but he doesn’t mind, as if he were guided by something smarter than himself. Jacmel Bay is as gorgeous as a dream, including the small Spanish frigate at the horizon. He turns to the French angel who had accidentally fallen on his lap. One kiss. He’s swiftly off to the stable, where Troussard and Cantley have been shouting his name. “Hurry up, Venetian!” said his English comrade. They gallop away at once. They cross the forest and villages and face a dilemma.

“Port-au-Prince lies a day away,” says Troussard in his strong french accent.

“Too late to join any ship…” answers Gianni.

“But the filibusters will protect us for the night.” suggested the Briton.

“Of course, Jack, they would, the Spaniards wouldn’t dare lift a finger there.”

“Why you’re so doubtful then?”

“Cause it’s what the Spaniards expect from us. They’re not only coming after us. They’re surely ahead of us.”

“We need an alternative plan, vénitien.” Agrees with him the French pirate.

They’re heading north, towards the coast. Gianni listens to the sound of hoofs knocking on bare soil; the air gets fresher and fresher as they climb up the road through the mountains. The forest is alive. He closes his eyes for an apparently infinite moment. No parrot is chatting in his head. His mind is clear like the water of the Caribbean. He’s listening to everything with his body like the Indian man suggested. He’s a soaked savoiardi biscuit. Suddenly he knows. He knows what? He just knows.

“Are we fucked up, Venetian?” genuinely asks Cantley.

“We could be. But we’re not. The Spanish head-hunters are probably waiting for us at Carrefour. We go straight to Gonâve Island. And leave tomorrow on the first filibuster ship stopping for supplies.”

“How do we reach l’Île de la Gonâve?” asks Troussard.

“Even if we steal or buy a boat on the coast, what makes you think we’ll cross the Canal du Sud alive? That is the most dangerous place in the whole New World for a pirate, now that the French want to kick the filibusters out of Port-au-Prince. Dutch, English, French and Spanish ships swarm in the area – untouched by the retreating pirates.” Cantley emphasizes his words opening his arms wide.

“God will bring us there.”

Gianni’s companions are both silent, in shock, for a minute. “Cobalto, do you suddenly miss catholic school? What the hell. We’re bloody pirates. Murderers and thieves! What makes you think that God would help us?”

Gianni bursts into laughter and the horse responds neighing as if it could get the irony of Cantley’s reaction. Troussard, renowned atheist, does not speak. “You, silly Briton. I’m not talking about the God of the Bible. I was just using a word you could understand. The Divine is not an old bearded man chilling on a cloud. The Divine is all around you and inside of you!”

“You’ve gone insane, Venetian…”

Je lui crois. I trust his plan.” Asserts the French man. “Even though I’m still quite skeptical about the mystical stuff,” he grins through his sharp mustache.

Jack Cantley is stunned on the back of his black horse.

Perfetto.” Gianni turns to the English man. “At worse, we’ll die with the saber in one had the bottle in the other,” he winks, “I have a bottle of cognac from Maxine.”

“Right…” he mumbles, totally spaced out. So he thinks about the half-empty bottle of smoky scotch whisky he’s jealously keeping in his bag for special occasions – to die fighting looks like a special occasion indeed.

The sun suddenly escapes the clouds and the forest radiates all its gorgeous colours. None of them was expecting such a sight on the mountain causeway to Leogâne: a kid, brown like syrup, appears in the middle of the road. Nine years old or something, he holds a weird carved stick on his shoulders; he stoically gazes at the three riders as they approach him on their horses.

 

Herons