Get to work. Love is not a combination lock. Because in the end, your life is measured by how well you love, not how far you get. Just show up, as you are. Nobody is any of these things. Nobody ever was. You just have to show up, as you are, despite all the objections and insecurities of your mind, despite each and every fear that threatens to hold you back, despite the limitations and criticisms other will place on you. The hell with it all. Just for now , without asking how, let yourself sink into stillness.
Just for now, lay down the weight you so patiently bear upon your shoulders. Feel the earth receive you, and the infinite expanse of the sky grow even wider as your awareness reaches up to meet it. Just for now, allow a wave of breath to enliven your experience. Breathe out whatever blocks you from the truth. Just for now, be boundless, free, with awakened energy tingling in your hands and feet.
Drink in the possibility of being who and what you really are — so fully alive that the world looks different, newly born and vibrant, just for now. Release the harsh and pointed inner voice. Let go of self-judgment, the old, learned ways of beating yourself up for each imagined inadequacy. Allow the dialogue within the mind to grow friendlier, and quiet. Shift out of inner criticism and life suddenly looks very different. I can say this only because I make the choice a hundred times a day to release the voice that refuses to acknowledge the real me. Love, not judgment, sows the seeds of tranquillity and change.
Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold; the holding of plans or dreams or expectations. Let it all go. Save your strength to swim with the tide. The choice to fight what is here before you now will only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts to flee from the very energy you long for. Let go. Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes through your days whether you received it gently or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders. Take this on faith; the mind may never find the explanations that it seeks, but you will move forward nonetheless.
Let it all go and find the place of rest and peace, and certain transformation.
Mindfulness Poetry for Transformation
A door opens. A door opens and I walk through without a backward glance.
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This is it, then, one moment of truth in a lifetime of truth; a choice made, a path taken, the gravitational pull of Spirit too compelling to ignore any longer. I am received by something far too vast to see. It has roots in antiquity but speaks clearly in the present tense. Be so alive that awareness bares itself uncloaked and unadorned. Then go forth to give what you alone can give, awake to love and suffering, unburdened by the weight of expectations.
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Go forth to see and be seen, blossoming, always blossoming into your magnificence. If you choose to see everything as a miracle, then where you are right now is perfect. There is nowhere to run to; there is nothing else to do except be in this moment and allow what is to be. From that place of radical acceptance, major change can happen. The first step in any transformational experience is acceptance and surrender to the present moment, the way that it is. From that place we have the awareness, humility and power to change what is. May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us. In life we think the that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem. They come together for a time, then they fall back apart.
Then they come together and fall apart again. Personal discovery and growth come from letting there be room for all this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. Suffering comes from wishing things were different. Let the hard things in life break you. Let them effect you. Let them change you. Let those hard moments inform you. Let this pain be your teacher. The experiences of your life are trying to tell you something about yourself.
Lean into it. What is the lesson in the wind? What is the storm trying to tell you? What will you learn if you face it with courage? With full honesty and — lean into it. Generally speaking, we regard discomfort in any form as bad news. But for practitioners or spiritual warriors, people who have a certain hunger to know what is true, feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we are holding back.
Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. There are so many ways that have been dreamed up to entertain us away from the moment. Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us.
We feel connected. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes.
Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together. Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.
I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can. Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life.
When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.
We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive. The question is, What is my relationship to it going to be? Am I a total prisoner of my circumstances or my obligations, of my body or my illness, or of my history?
Do I become hostile or defensive or depressed if certain buttons get pushed, happy if other buttons are pushed, and frightened if something else happens? What are my choices? Do I have any options? It is an important point is to grasp the value of bringing the practice of mindfulness into the conduct of our daily lives. Is there any waking moment of your life that would not be richer and more alive for you if you were more fully awake while it was happening? Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now. To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad.
It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them — while they last.
All those things, of course, will still pass away, cycles will come and go, but with dependency gone there is no fear of loss anymore. Life flows with ease. I use so many of these quotes after savanna in my own classes. Great minds I suppose! He is particularly famous for his mastery of metaphysical conceits. Despite his great education and poetic talents, Donne lived in poverty for several years, relying heavily on wealthy friends.
He spent much of the money he inherited during and after his education on womanising, literature, pastimes, and travel. In , Donne secretly married Anne More, with whom he had twelve children. He also served as a member of Parliament in and in Donne was born in London in , into a recusant Roman Catholic family when practice of that religion was illegal in England. However, he avoided unwelcome government attention out of fear of persecution. His father died in , when Donne was four years old, leaving his mother, Elizabeth Heywood, with the responsibility of raising the children alone.
John Syminges, a wealthy widower with three children of his own. Donne thus acquired a stepfather. Donne was educated privately; however, there is no evidence to support the popular claim that he was taught by Jesuits. After three years of studies there, Donne was admitted to the University of Cambridge , where he studied for another three years.
In , five years after the defeat of the Spanish Armada and during the intermittent Anglo-Spanish War — , Queen Elizabeth issued the first English statute against sectarian dissent from the Church of England, titled "An Act for restraining Popish recusants". It defined "Popish recusants" as those "convicted for not repairing to some Church, Chapel, or usual place of Common Prayer to hear Divine Service there, but forbearing the same contrary to the tenor of the laws and statutes heretofore made and provided in that behalf". Donne's brother Henry was also a university student prior to his arrest in for harbouring a Catholic priest, William Harrington , and died in Newgate Prison of bubonic plague , leading Donne to begin questioning his Catholic faith.
During and after his education, Donne spent much of his considerable inheritance on women, literature, pastimes and travel. By the age of 25 he was well prepared for the diplomatic career he appeared to be seeking.
During the next four years Donne fell in love with Egerton's niece Anne More, and they were secretly married just before Christmas  in , against the wishes of both Egerton and George More , who was Lieutenant of the Tower and Anne's father. Upon discovery, this wedding ruined Donne's career, getting him dismissed and put in Fleet Prison , along with the Church of England priest Samuel Brooke , who married them,  and the man who acted as a witness to the wedding. Donne was released shortly thereafter when the marriage was proved to be valid, and he soon secured the release of the other two.
Walton tells us that when Donne wrote to his wife to tell her about losing his post, he wrote after his name: John Donne, Anne Donne, Un-done. It was not until that Donne was reconciled with his father-in-law and received his wife's dowry. After his release, Donne had to accept a retired country life in a small house in Pyrford , Surrey, owned by Anne's cousin, Sir Francis Wooley , where they resided until the end of Though he also worked as an assistant pamphleteer to Thomas Morton writing anti-Catholic pamphlets, Donne was in a constant state of financial insecurity.
Anne gave birth to 12 children in 16 years of marriage, including two stillbirths —their eighth and then, in , their last child ; indeed, she spent most of her married life either pregnant or nursing. Three Francis, Nicholas, and Mary died before they were ten. In a state of despair that almost drove him to kill himself, Donne noted that the death of a child would mean one mouth fewer to feed, but he could not afford the burial expenses. During this time, Donne wrote but did not publish Biathanatos , his defence of suicide.
The fashion for coterie poetry of the period gave Donne a means to seek patronage, and many of his poems were written for wealthy friends or patrons, especially MP Sir Robert Drury of Hawsted — , whom he met in and became Donne's chief patron, furnishing him and his family an apartment in his large house in Drury Lane. Donne sat as an MP again, for Taunton , in the Addled Parliament of but though he attracted five appointments within its business he made no recorded speech.
In Donne was awarded an honorary doctorate in divinity from Cambridge University , and became a Royal Chaplain in the same year, and a Reader of Divinity at Lincoln's Inn in ,  where he served in the chapel as minister until Donne did not return to England until At the same time he became Rector of a number of parishes, including Blunham, in Bedfordshire.
Blunham Parish Church has an imposing stained glass window commemorating Donne, designed by Derek Hunt. During his period as dean his daughter Lucy died, aged eighteen. In late November and early December he suffered a nearly fatal illness, thought to be either typhus or a combination of a cold followed by a period of fever.
During his convalescence he wrote a series of meditations and prayers on health, pain, and sickness that were published as a book in under the title of Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. Donne died on 31 March and was buried in old St Paul's Cathedral , where a memorial statue of him by Nicholas Stone was erected with a Latin epigraph probably composed by himself. The statue was claimed by Izaac Walton in his biography to have been modelled from the life by Donne in order to suggest his appearance at the resurrection; it was to start a vogue in such monuments during the course of the 17th century.
Donne's earliest poems showed a developed knowledge of English society coupled with sharp criticism of its problems. His satires dealt with common Elizabethan topics, such as corruption in the legal system, mediocre poets, and pompous courtiers. His images of sickness, vomit, manure, and plague reflected his strongly satiric view of a society populated by fools and knaves. His third satire, however, deals with the problem of true religion, a matter of great importance to Donne.
He argued that it was better to examine carefully one's religious convictions than blindly to follow any established tradition, for none would be saved at the Final Judgment , by claiming "A Harry, or a Martin taught [them] this. Donne's early career was also notable for his erotic poetry, especially his elegies , in which he employed unconventional metaphors , such as a flea biting two lovers being compared to sex.
Some have speculated that Donne's numerous illnesses, financial strain, and the deaths of his friends all contributed to the development of a more somber and pious tone in his later poems. This poem treats Elizabeth's demise with extreme gloominess, using it as a symbol for the Fall of Man and the destruction of the universe. The increasing gloominess of Donne's tone may also be observed in the religious works that he began writing during the same period.
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Having converted to the Anglican Church , Donne quickly became noted for his sermons and religious poems. Towards the end of his life Donne wrote works that challenged death, and the fear that it inspired in many men, on the grounds of his belief that those who die are sent to Heaven to live eternally. Even as he lay dying during Lent in , he rose from his sickbed and delivered the Death's Duel sermon , which was later described as his own funeral sermon. Death's Duel portrays life as a steady descent to suffering and death; death becomes merely another process of life, in which the 'winding sheet' of the womb is the same as that of the grave.
Hope is seen in salvation and immortality through an embrace of God, Christ and the Resurrection. His work has received much criticism over the years, especially concerning his metaphysical form. Donne is generally considered the most prominent member of the metaphysical poets , a phrase coined in by Samuel Johnson , following a comment on Donne by John Dryden. Dryden had written of Donne in "He affects the metaphysics, not only in his satires, but in his amorous verses, where nature only should reign; and perplexes the minds of the fair sex with nice speculations of philosophy, when he should engage their hearts, and entertain them with the softnesses of love.
Donne's immediate successors in poetry therefore tended to regard his works with ambivalence, with the Neoclassical poets regarding his conceits as abuse of the metaphor. However he was revived by Romantic poets such as Coleridge and Browning , though his more recent revival in the early twentieth century by poets such as T. Eliot and critics like F R Leavis tended to portray him, with approval, as an anti-Romantic. Donne is considered a master of the metaphysical conceit , an extended metaphor that combines two vastly different ideas into a single idea, often using imagery.
One of the most famous of Donne's conceits is found in " A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning " where he compares the apartness of two separated lovers to the working of the legs of a compass. Donne's works are also witty, employing paradoxes , puns , and subtle yet remarkable analogies.
His pieces are often ironic and cynical, especially regarding love and human motives. Common subjects of Donne's poems are love especially in his early life , death especially after his wife's death , and religion. John Donne's poetry represented a shift from classical forms to more personal poetry. Donne is noted for his poetic metre , which was structured with changing and jagged rhythms that closely resemble casual speech it was for this that the more classical-minded Ben Jonson commented that "Donne, for not keeping of accent, deserved hanging".
Some scholars believe that Donne's literary works reflect the changing trends of his life, with love poetry and satires from his youth and religious sermons during his later years. Other scholars, such as Helen Gardner , question the validity of this dating—most of his poems were published posthumously The exception to these is his Anniversaries , which were published in and Devotions upon Emergent Occasions published in His sermons are also dated, sometimes specifically by date and year.
Donne is commemorated as a priest in the calendar of the Church of England  and in the Calendar of Saints of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on 31 March. During his lifetime several likenesses were made of the poet. The earliest was the anonymous portrait of now in the National Portrait Gallery, London which has been recently restored. The portrait was described in Donne's will as "that picture of myne wych is taken in the shaddowes", and bequeathed by him to Robert Kerr, 1st Earl of Ancram. After Donne's death, a number of poetical tributes were paid to him, of which one of the principal and most difficult to follow was his friend Lord Herbert of Cherbury 's "Elegy for Doctor Donne".
Beginning in the 20th century, several historical novels appeared taking as their subject various episodes in Donne's life. There were musical settings of Donne's lyrics even during his lifetime and in the century following his death. In —18, the composer Hubert Parry set Donne's "Holy Sonnet 7" "At the round earth's imagined corners" to music in his choral work, Songs of Farewell. There have been settings in popular music as well.
One is the version of the song "Go and Catch a Falling Star" on John Renbourn 's debut album John Renbourn , in which the last line is altered to "False, ere I count one, two, three". In , Priaulx Rainier set some in her Cycle for Declamation for solo voice. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For other people named John Donne, see John Donne disambiguation. The Very Reverend. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online ed. Oxford University Press. Subscription or UK public library membership required. Retrieved 27 October Johnston, Bernard ed. Donne, John. Collier's Encyclopedia. Vol 8.
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New York: P. A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. Dictionary of National Biography. Soylent Communications. Poetry Foundation. St Paul's Cathedral. The Guardian. Retrieved 3 December Church of England. Augsburg Fortress Press.
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