The self you leave behind
is only a skin you have outgrown.
Don’t grieve for it.
Look to the wet, raw, unfinished
self, the one you are becoming.
The world, too, sheds its skin:
politicians, cataclysms, ordinary days.
It’s easy to lose this tenderly
unfolding moment. Look for it
as if it were the first green blade
after a long winter. Listen for it
as if it were the first clear tone
in a place where dawn is heralded by bells.
And if all that fails,
wash your own dishes.
Stand in your kitchen at your sink.
Let cold water run between your fingers.
I’ve admired Pat Schneider for awhile now and was saddened to learn of her recent death so I want to share one of her poems with you.
All poems of life instructions are naturally unique and I appreciate the simplicity of this one. Don’t grieve for the skin you have outgrown, left behind The way the world, too, sheds its skin. Though at times it feels like nothing changes, in truth, each day the world is new. There is a self you are becoming, wet, raw, unfinished, that is always waiting for you as you move forward in your life. Trust it, she is telling us.
It is easy to lose this tenderly / unfolding moment she warns us, this gentle or perhaps sudden transformation to our becoming. Look for it, listen for it, pay attention: the first green blade / after a long winter… the first clear tone / in a place where dawn is heralded by bells. These are the moments we can notice, the moments we can feel our own unfolding.
And then, if all that fails, you can stand at your kitchen sink washing your dishes – as Thich Nhat Hanh tells us ” wash the dishes to wash the dishes”, just that. Let cold water run between your fingers. Feel it. Try it – leave that outgrown skin behind. Be where you are.