Surrender. A Poem


Duality ©2016 Bo Mackison

Surrender. I know it is time.
Is there a choice?
What would that choice be, if not surrender?

Already I am on the ground
arms splayed on the solid earth that holds me,
a spinning world, this ride I’m on,
riding for life.

High on the mountain
the view is wide,
Head-in-the clouds rapture.
Yet, in a time of blindness
one misstep can prove fatal.

There are times to surrender.
Put your faith in the ground.
From this vantage one can fall repeatedly
and continue to get up,
no harm.

The be of life
for a time such as this
not the do of life.

When taking the first next step requires
the patience of a saint (and there are no saints in sight)
when even that first next step
towards that which is most desired
demands my intellect and will,
and those have been annihilated

This is the “night of non-being”
a phrase wordsmithed by Parker Palmer
who speaks of the black of depression
as only one can
from experience.

The tighter I hold the secret
the deeper the exhaustion,
and the deeper the exhaustion
the more I feed the beast of annihilation

surrender the secret
and speak the truth

speak the truth
and cling to the earth

for to survive
in the clutches of hard places,
where darkness hides all details in shroud
where will loses all sense of direction
where intellect refuses to awaken and
feelings shift-change into nothingness

I search for the life force deep within;
a flicker of light in the depths of dark
and a howl now hushed, though echoes still pervade.

Light of hope.
Echo of recognition.

The soul holds on and
the ground supports

for it is this that allows the dark its full expression.

Palmer asks can you see
not as an enemy determined to destroy
but as a friend,
a friend, sigh–
a friend pressing you to this one small square of ground
where it is safe to land. sprawl. crawl. stand.

For it is in the standing within oneself,
the turning within
that one finds truth
and learns to hear the whispers of saving grace.

Palmer names this familiar
this time as

‘full body immersion’
and I think
full body immersion, a baptism in the darkest of wells

and then as

‘full body expression’
and I think
full body expression, a closing tight and pulling in
so that
an opening is made ready

to the wonder,
to the mystery of the silence,
to the awe.

I stand in the awe,
in the essence of the sacred.

I surrender to the tension of light and dark
until I can bear the duality,
accept the duality,
embrace the duality

of the ongoing journey.



This writing was inspired by this podcast:

On Being with Krista Tippett | Parker Palmer  (On The Soul In Depression)


Through the Shadows, the Light Shines


“…we all go through our own experiences. If we do not push ourselves enough, we do not grow, but if we push ourselves too much, we regress. What is enough will change, depending on where we are and what we are doing. In that sense, the present moment is always some kind of beginning.” ~ Sakuong Mipham

There are times when I feel a bit (or more) broken. I know better. But still, the feeling pops up occasionally. These are old feelings, old habits from long ago when it was the identity I knew and understood best.

I had not yet learned the freeing concept of “I am enough.”

Years ago I became interested in photography. At the time, it was an effort to instill a daily routine in my life, a ritual, to focus on at least one thing each day and look at the world, to deeply look at the mystery in the world in my world.

For the last few months I have been caught in a lingering depression, an illness that dims the beauty of life until everything feels murky and dark. Anxiety turns that murkiness into a roiling monster, a scary space indeed. For me, photography is usually my potent weapon against depression and anxiety, but this time even my camera could not pique my interest.

In the last few weeks the sun has brightened the sky as spring arrives, and hopefully the increasing sunlight will have a positive effect on my mood. And it is also my hope that photography will again provide me with a tangible way to engage in life and add meaning to each day.

“Life is not a maze where you have your eyes on the gaps, life is a beautiful journey, stop looking for the gaps.” ~ Malti Bhojwani

I think of photography as a gift.  When I become engrossed in my photography, it lights my soul and my spirit. I think it not coincidental that the word photography consists of two Greek words. “Photo,”derived from “phos” means “light.” “Graphy,” derived from “graphi” means to write or draw.

Photography – to write or draw ( to create) using light.

When I create, I shine light into my darkness. Murkiness gradually takes on brighter colors. The emotional monster quiets, and I again breathe deeply. I look anew at my surroundings and see beauty everywhere — in the colors of the emerging spring flowers, in the majesty of a century old oak tree weathered and pock-marked,  in the grain of polished wood, even in the angularity of shadow alternating with light.

Sometimes it is the little things that make life so lovely. It is acceptance of oneself that makes life shimmer. It is knowing that one is not broken, that one does not need to be fixed. That one is “enough.” A worthy lesson.

May it be so.