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olajuwan / Blog

THE MOTH AND THE BUTTERFLY

Every day begins with a sunrise.

The sun rises over a clear blue river, which flows through an open field of grass.

The field is full of flowers that grow to the edge of the riverbank.

And in the early morning light, a moth and a butterfly play among the flowers.

They are completely different from each other, but they are still the best of friends.

The butterfly has very pretty wings, with blue and purple patches that reflect the sunlight. She likes to think that being happy makes them glow from inside.

She loves the sunlight, and will spend all day playing among the flowers with her butterfly friends. They have beautiful wings too: some red, some gold, some with spots and some with shiny stripes.

She loves to play among the flowers, admiring how the flowers’ happy colours blend with hers. She also loves to fly by the river, where the sunlight sparkles on the water and the ripples shine like little suns.

She plays with her butterfly friends all day, and when the sun goes down, she goes to sleep in the distant trees.

The moth doesn’t play with the butterflies. He loves the moonlight, and once the moon rises over the trees, he awakes, unfolds his wings and flutters into the silver light.

His wings are dull and grey, but he doesn’t mind. He likes the secrecy of the shadows. He likes to fly among the flowers, guided by the fragrant scents they make.

Sometimes he finds a friend, and sometimes they fly together. Mostly, though, he likes to fly alone, led by his trusty sense of smell and his faithful guide, the moon.

So the moth loves the night, and the butterfly loves the day. But when the sun rises, the butterfly awakes, and the moth comes by to say hello.

Together they play in the dawn, each finding their own delight in the halfway world around them. The butterfly loves the yellows and reds in the sky above. The moth loves how the moon grows round and large as it sinks below the trees.

And as they play, the moth and the butterfly think of what they like about each other. The butterfly likes the moth’s happiness to blend into the shadows, because it makes her feel even prettier than usual. The moth likes the butterfly’s bravery and daring, admiring her as she flies proudly in the light.

Every day begins with a sunrise.

The sun rises over a clear blue river, which flows through an open field of grass.

The field is full of flowers that grow to the edge of the riverbank.

And in the early morning light, a moth and a butterfly play among the flowers on the riverbank.

They are completely different from each other, but they are still the best of friends.

TRANSIT OF VENUS

On the day of the Transit, I was at work. I saw it standing from the office window: I felt my coffee mug grow cold. I had no shades with which to shield my eyes, No mirrors to safely redirect the sun; So I stole the shortest glance I could, And as I blinked the image reappeared: The silhouette of Venus like a fly Crawling on the surface of the Sun, Black against the blaze, but unhurried by the heat, Slowly making measured passage to the other side. I couldn’t look a second time, For fear of going blind, But just a single second was enough: A sight glimpsed once, never to return. A sight forever seen. Such is the nature of beauty in its purest form. The beauty of the infinite, the limitless, Is far too sweet for anyone to drink Except in tiny sips, watered down. The scent alone can cause intoxication, A single taste could overwhelm the senses, To swallow whole of beauty’s heady wine Would surely cause insanity: So drunk are they who consume pure beauty That they would never dream of being sober; To be engrossed in such magnificence Compels renunciation of all else. What man could stare an angel down With eyes that keep their sight? What mortal hears the voice of God With ears that do not ring? As Venus, with its patient pace, Carefully crawls its way across the Sun, Only fools and dreamers dare To stare directly when they see the Light: See it once, now turn away. Remember it forever.

MYNAHS

Hazy sun, a hot blue sky.

Passing clouds like afterthoughts.

A row of scarecrows in a field of corn

Hang limp and lifeless from their poles.

A mynah – trim beak, beady eyes –

Stands on the shoulder of the tallest giant,

Pulls strings of straw from the scarecrow’s neck,

And flies away to the distant trees.

Mynahs know no fear. They know

The value of audacity;

If they see a larger bird,

They will unhesitatingly attack.

Crows and magpies have no answer.

Though they’re large enough to fight,

The mynah’s onslaught leaves them stunned:

Shocked, they choose they fly away.

Dogs that bark and bare their teeth

Will scamper when their bluff is called.

A field of lifeless sentinels

May scare a crow, but not a mynah.

Occasionally the powerful

Are no more mighty than a mirage:

An ocean in the summer sun

That vanishes when you approach.

Those that once were strong are weak,

Their authority, illusory:

The magician’s art of misdirection,

A spectacle of awe and fear;

And all it takes is a daring act

To break the spell, trade fear for fact,

The impact of a single stone

Will crack the insecure façade.

And when it falls, it falls so fast

That even its assailants gasp;

The light that shines in the ruin’s wake

Causes them to rub their eyes.

So when the mynah shrills its call,

No bird dares to stand its ground.

Looking strong is not enough,

For the mynah knows to take its chance.

But though the scarecrow is abased,

The mynah lets it stay intact:

Glad to pick the scarecrow’s straw,

Collecting it to tend its nest.

When old power vanishes

Sometimes the façade remains,

Its symbolism still of use

To those who dared to take its place.

The ancient spectacles of might

Are merely used to entertain:

Though they are no good for fear,

They’re great for pomp and circumstance.

Royals had the right to rule

And held the power of a God,

Now they thrill and entertain

Like their jesters used to do.

We’re not afraid of kings and queens,

Like mynahs, we have caught them out,

And from their lives we pick the straw

To tend our nest of fantasies.

AWAKE

I saw you in a flash; then you were gone.

I tried to catch the light, but I was slow.

I vainly chased the setting of your sun,

Drawn into the valley down below.

Blinded still, although your sun had set,

Your afterimage printed on my eyes:

The radiating pulse of distant stars

Rippling like waves in ocean skies.

Then I heard the echo of your voice –

Soft to hear, but warm and clear in tone,

Comforting and rich like mother’s milk –

Saying you would help me make it home.

But I was in the canyon of a dream,

With disorienting echoes everywhere –

Your voice was bouncing madly off the walls,

I could not be sure that you were there.

You can search for something that you’ve lost

And only find you’ve also lost yourself.

So I climbed, not looking back or down,

Straining to escape the canyon’s shelf.

Eventually I reached the final ledge,

And when I made it onto solid ground,

Shooting stars and comets streaked the sky

And I could take in everything around.

Then I looked around, and you were there.

Was I still asleep? I was confused.

While I’d been deluded in my dream,

You’d been waiting, quietly amused,

Willing me awake with patient eyes,

And now I was awake, you smiled at me

And slowly said: “It’s time. I am the sign.

I will guide you. I will set you free.”

TRAVELLER OR PORTER?

Are you a traveller, or a porter?

Are you leading your own journey?

Or carrying the baggage of someone else’s?

There are too few travellers, and too many porters:

Too many people carrying someone else’s load,

Along someone else’s path,

To someone else’s destination.

Like the oxen’s yoke, the horses’ harness,

They wear other people’s brands on their shirts,

Serve other people’s plans in their work,

Hold other people’s cares in their hearts –

Live other people’s lives with every breath.

If you carry someone else’s identity

With greater might and pride than you carry your own,

Then you will always belong to others, not yourself,

And nobody can help you – they won’t know how.

Well-meaning people might attempt to lead you

Further down the path they see you tread,

But their support will only worsen your servitude

As they lead you even further away

From where you’d rather be.

Be a traveller, not a porter.

Throw down every load that is not yours.

Nobody was built to bear

The weight of everybody else,

And you cannot bear the load of others

If your load is wanting for support.

Wear your own brand on your shirt,

With your own heart on your sleeve,

See how light your footsteps are

When no other load but yours can weigh them down,

Nothing travels faster than light,

So those who travel light travel fastest –

And the traveller with the lightest load

Travels like an eruption from the sun.

TURN OFF THE WORLD, TURN ON YOUR MIND

Turn off the world, turn on your mind.

Watch the fireworks:

The colourful kaleidoscope

Of thought inside your head,

Partnered in an endless dance

With secret symphonies inside your soul.

You can only see the colours

When you close your eyes,

And only when you free yourself

Of all external noise

Can you clearly hear the music play:

Let it reach you with its ardent song.

Recognise the melody?

The melody is you.

The rhythms and the harmonies

Are yours and yours alone.

Your soul is singing every note

In a voice that only you possess.

Rest your body: cultivate

The muscles in your soul.

Through flexing the awoken mind

In time the soul grows strong,

And toning it with every thought

Makes the dreaming muscles stronger still –

And soon they will be strong enough

To bear the load of life.

The burden of reality

With all its hindrances,

Distractions, setbacks and regrets?

As light as dust, a spot to brush away.

Turn off the world, turn on your mind.

Let the colours blaze.

Let the song inside you play

With strong and strident force.

No force is stronger than a thought:

The more we think, the more we think we are.

WE ARE OUR INNER FANTASIES, MADE REAL

We are our inner fantasies made real. We are the demonstration of our dreams – They speak through us, awakened in our actions, Advertised like logos on our clothes.

If we hide them, nobody will hear them, And like a song that fails to find an ear, They will fade, a memory forgotten, Fading, failing, lost: forever gone. But if we’re brave enough to show our dreams, To cast our call into the open air, Our dreams can be received, then amplified By those who resonate in sympathy;

And to know that we are heard and seen Provides the stage on which our dreams perform They provide the script; we learn it well, Gain confidence from its consistency.

We are our inner fantasies made real, The prism through which our desires shine, And the view that others have of us Is coloured by our dreams’ refracted light. To wish is not enough. Dreams must be strong And great enough to guide you all your life, For fickle whims that die before you pass Will leave you stranded like a changing wind.

Be kind to those whose dreams no longer fit, Who may have found their path was wrong for them Or have outgrown their capability To live a younger dream in older life. To start a seeker’s journey may be brave; To change the journey’s path is braver still: To throw away the script and start again Renounces the assumptions of your peers, To shift the prism’s angle to the light And try to change the colours we display Will make us indefinable to those Who thought they knew the colours of our soul.

Indecision is the dreamer’s curse, For dreaming comes from creativity And creative people dreaming tirelessly Will dream of many things, and have to choose. Trying out each fantasy in turn Is like an actor playing all the parts – Trying every costume on for size, Speaking every line to find your voice.

Be patient with the ones who try and fail, Applaud the ones who fail, but try again. We may fall to earth a million times, But one strong dream is all we need to fly.

We are our inner fantasies made real, And when at last we find our destiny, We become the beacon of its brightness: Shining, rising high, forever strong.

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ENDLESS MOTION

ENDLESS MOTION

Then river flows wherever it is dry In any good direction it can find, An endless motion wearing down the rocks And carving out its passage to the sea. And when its every path is blocked or closed It evaporates and forms into the clouds – Flowing upward when it can’t move on: Nothing on the earth could stop it dead.

Endless motion is the way of life: In nature, nothing stays forever still That which never moves, disintegrates, As riverbanks are swallowed by the stream. Endless motion is how life survives: For that which can’t evolve will soon be gone As other forces, vital and anew, Flow upward from the earth and take its place.

To live in endless motion, endless flow: This is how to truly be alive. If we stop, the world will break us down, We’ll be swept away like flotsam in the flow. Keep waking when the world would have us sleep, Keep moving when the world would make us tired, Keep thinking when the world would dull our minds, Keep dreaming when the world would drain our hope.

For even when our journey has been blocked By obstacles too great to flow around, Our souls will rise like vapour in our dreams And flow to our intended destiny. Beyond the earth they drift into the air, They will find our destination there And wait until our bodies, minds and hearts Can join them in the clouds amid the sky.

A WEDNESDAY MORNING

A WEDNESDAY MORNING

A Wednesday morning: Cloudy, bright, with white steel skies. The sun is a rinse that dyes the sky, Drenching it in painful white. Burning light glows everywhere. The clouds are high and lingering, They never part, nor do they rain. Floating heavily, panting densely, Expectant guillotines await the word. The clouds neither fall nor fly. They weigh upon the stifled sky Threatening to burst at once, But holding back the fatal blow Like silent hanging swords. Somewhere thunder signals rain, But that somewhere is not here. The lack of rain dries up the flow of time Into a stagnant lake, where nothing moves, Where life is frozen, in a single moment. The platypus hides underground, within its nest, Dry above the static waterline, The wombat hibernates, in frozen dream, Even the ants have nested – they can wait. Unable to run its normal course downstream Time rises into fetid pregnant air. And so the heat within the soil grows It wants to burst its chain within the ground, Waiting for the moment to break free. Somewhere the soil smells like sodden clay But that somewhere is not here. This is a day for hiding from the sky. Turn off all the lights and draw the blinds, And as the world outside is slumbering, Pull the blanket round your head and sleep. This is a day for hiding from the day. Let it take its own distorted time In deciding when it wishes to begin. Turn off your eyes, You know the light will blind them; Turn off your thoughts, You know they’ll only wander; Turn off your senses, You won’t miss a thing. Today is a day best lived indoors, A day of neither joy nor pain, A day for toast and coffee cups, A day for bills and tax returns. Somewhere a destiny is being won, But that somewhere is not here. Not today. Wait for Thursday.

ADVICE TO A FRIEND (PART 2)

And finally: Be. To be, to exist – to live – is all you have to do. Feel no shame for what you are, For there is no need to be what you are not. Though it is natural and fair To seek answers in a higher place, The salvation that you seek is not so distant: The meaning of your life is life itself. Don’t trouble your mind with impossible riddles: Does every question really need an answer? Be prepared to love yourself instead. As you can only take what load your hands can hold, You can only feel what love your heart can bear – Don’t let it break itself. Show yourself you care. Allow yourself to receive love, For love in its intensity Can barely even touch a raw wound, And can only cure a healing one. Be prepared to dance, For the music playing wildly in your soul Is calling to the dancer in your heart. Be patient with yourself – forgive – Be prepared to let yourself down. Don’t wage war upon yourself, For even if you won the battle You would still be left defeated. Call a ceasefire on your soul instead. Give up all your losing battles; they will only wear you out. Gladly bear the inevitable defeat: to rest is its own reward. When you withdraw your standard from the battle, You will gain the peace and repose To find a better way to fight And thus refreshed, you will be rearmed, And someday, you will win.

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