Monday, August 30, 2010


My daughter and I strolled the beach.  The water whispered our names but we couldn't answer the call.  See, there was a sign back at the main path that read, "Do not swim - unsafe bacteria levels can cause illness."  So instead, we sat on a nearby bench to watch the sun set.

Before long, these two ducks waddled by.  My daughter couldn't help herself...she had to tell them hi.  There's something quite beautiful about watching her commune with other sentient beings in nature.  But my mind soon drifted back toward these two ducks, as they hurriedly approached, unbeknownst to them, the same bacteria infested water not safe enough for humans...and my heart sunk.  Imagine if we all loved them as much as we love ourselves.

I often read a poem by Thich Nhat Hanh that always remind me of the inter-connectedness of humankind and all other elements of nature.  Hope you don't mind if I share it with you:

"Please Call Me by My True Names."

Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply:  I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
   to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
   feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and 

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my
and I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to my
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all
   walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

One Love.


Baracka said...

we are all connected, one way or the other we are all connected beings experience the same suffering and longing to be loved..... beautiful picture and beautiful words... one love

Christina said...

how beautiful...
compassion, yes compassion, and all the above.

Teresa O said...

This post was so thought-provoking, Se'Lah. The poem is poignant and lovely. Thank you for sharing.

Cinner said...

I had never read this before Se'lah, it really makes one think. the door of compasion....we are all entwined for sure sweet one. Have a wonderful week, nice for you to be there with your daughter, sometimes through their eyes we can see so clearly...hugs.

ELK said...

oh this is really not only a wonderful photo of this sweet pair but the poem is so full of truth in its richness....

got my card are a gem..on my first day back to did you know ...(((hugs)))

Kass said...

This picture and these words are a bittersweet reminder.

Wanda said...

"Imagine if we all loved them as much as we love ourselves."

Imagine, indeed.

As my friend Carrie says, "There is no 'them.'"

Tracey said...

Beautiful and good food for thought.

Natty said...

It is great when kidz have that close relation with nature. When my uncle was a baby he loooved insects and all kind of cute animals. He ustue pick them up and my grandma always told him that he shouldnt because the mother would be worried. lol many would say "of course that's not like that" but the truth is that animals also have their house and their friends and family, just not the same way we do.
everytime i catch an animal i give it back to the exact same place - even sea slugs that I LOOOVE!

Have a blessed week***

Just Be Real said...

Touching and beautiful. Blessings.

Birdie said...

One love Se'lah. I read Thay's poem just before we left. It brings me peace and hope. You are beautiful. Yes, we are all inter-being and connected! hugs.