Something, Anything, Nothing

When my cielo came back from a retreat/class with Rev. Jane Vennard, she talked about how Jane had told them to be sure to “do something, anything, and nothing” while on the retreat. She encouraged me to do the same when I went on retreat last month. I wrote this poem on the next-to-last day, reflecting on that instruction.

Something, Anything, Nothing: A Note to Jane Vennard
– “When on retreat, take time to do something, anything, and nothing…”

Something
is the work.
That much I
understand.

Anything
I think
is doing anything
that pops into your head
without
“I should” “I must” “I ought”
attached.
What you do when
you are not doing the work,
what contents you,
fills your belly
rests you,
pleasures you.
What begins with
I want
I need
I feel.

But
Do Nothing.
Ah.
I confess,
that
puzzles me.

Is to do nothing
to rest here in
this welcoming chair
watching the weather
move east
crawl over the peaks
leaving brilliant blue
that makes you squint?
The eye cannot cease
from beholding.

Is to do nothing
to sit here
on this welcoming stool
gasping as the bluebirds
surprise on a bank of wind
turning a branch just so?
The breath cannot cease
from inspiring.

Is to do nothing
to lean here
against this welcoming wall
flicking my head to follow
the chwit-chwitting of
(yes even more) bluebirds
as they tease past?
The ear cannot cease
from hearing.

Is to do nothing
to stop here
with this welcoming wind
and be assailed by
the juniper scent weeping
joy into my pores?
The nose cannot cease
from sensing.

Is to do nothing
to recline here
after a welcoming walk,
my feet up, my eyes closed,
my tongue
savoring the salty sweat
on my upper lip?
The tongue cannot cease
from tasting.

Is to do nothing
to lie here
in this welcoming bed
and consider my toes
and how my beloved
kisses them when they’re clean?
The heart cannot cease
from loving.

How does one be present
in this amazingly,
stupefyingly
overwhelmingly
incredibly
welcoming world
and do
nothing?
The body cannot cease
from praising.


Written 4/21/09 on retreat at Nada Hermitage, Crestone, CO. Edited 5/14/09.

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