the power of the mantra

In my wallet and on my desk and in my notebook and around my house you will find words. Words on scraps of paper or typed on the screen of a phone. Tucked away until there’s a moment of need. More than almost anything else I have found comfort in words. Like horoscopes I cling to them with a daring dream that they hold truth in their bones. To my ecstatic joy these words are found everywhere.

Cracking open a fortune cookie, I smooth out the tiny slip between my thumbs and eagerly search for a bit of promise and wisdom.

The rainbow’s treasures will soon belong to you.

Hot pink graffiti on the streets of Atlanta.

Protect your magic.

From the lips of a sweetly smiling yoga teacher.

Less doing, more being.

Lyrics from my speakers.

Take this burden away from me, and bury it before it buries me.

The ever incredible Mary Oliver.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

These words, these mantras are comfort objects well-worn. Soft from having been passed back and forth in my mind, synced with breath. These mantras are prayers of desire, hope, forgiveness, fear, and acceptance. These mantras are conversations from me to myself, from me to God, and back again. They have a music in them. Some words stack up tall like bricks to steady my spine against. Others gently sway under my weight, hammocks in the breeze.

I didn’t know how much I needed other peoples’ words. How I needed others to experience pain equal to and greater than mine just so I can feel better. I’m so sorry, others. But also, thank you.

IMG_8539It can all get a bit little-engine-that-could around here but damn it if it doesn’t work. My rainbowed collection of sticky notes makes me feel lighter and stronger and capable. And there’s power in that.

2 thoughts on “the power of the mantra

  1. I really love this. I am with you 100%. The past 24 hours or so I just keep saying Philippians 4:6 over and over again: Be anxious in nothing…be anxious in nothing…be anxious in nothing… it’s not working yet, but I have faith.

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