Unfolding like a fern

Samye Ling is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in SW Scotland founded in 1967 by Trungpa and Akong Rinpoches.

There is a palpable atmosphere of peace as you walk around the grounds, as if the energy of a million meditations permeates the air.

I spent 3 days there recently, attending a yoga retreat, staying in a small room, with bed, desk and sink, eating meals with monks and nuns and other visitors.I was struck by the simplicity of life and noticed my thoughts slow down as I entrained to those around me.

It was easy to be present to what was arising in the moment, without the usual distractions of internet, TV and mobile phone.
I noticed I had no desire to speak to or interact with others, while also being open to being spoken to. I noticed that my usual impulse to make friends, to make a good impression on others was absent.

The retreat I attended was called “Unfolding from the inside”. The teaching, led by Hanna Casement, was focussed on coming into the body, as it is today. Rather than trying to force ourselves into a yoga posture we have seen in a book, we were encouraged to allow the practice to flow from a central place within us, like a fern unfolding.

I was reminded of the Anais Nin quote :

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”.

The tight bud is the prison of my own thoughts and perceptions of reality. All the opinions I had about the way I should be/you should be/the world should be.

I am seeing more and more clearly how painful this is. In the sanctuary of Samye Ling, supported by the yoga practices, it was clearer to me how I keep myself stuck. Easier there to notice that everything I need is given to me, moment by moment.

Like the fern, I began to unfurl, everything arising from the still, silent awareness that is at the centre of all things.

No pushing or striving, no preconceived ideas of how it should be. A falling away of trying to be anything other than who I am, in this moment, with a gentle and deep compassion for everything that has led me here, to this body, to this breath, to this life.
Coming home again, my promise to myself is to embrace this gentle, compassionate unfolding of my body, mind and soul.


Song of the Mother


Go slowly

Nestle under my wings

Breathe my breath

And sing my song

Love what is arising

All pain and sorrow

Are your lost children


To be loved at last

You are the one

They waited for

To love them

Embrace those discarded children

Whose behaviour you didn’t like

The lonely one

The angry one

The misunderstood one

The isolated one

The rejected one

The girl with the light in her eyes

Who hid herself away

Each one steps forward at last

Brave enough now

To offer themselves

To your loving embrace

Greet them all

Your beloved children

Braid their hair

Sing them songs of love

Oh my darlings

You are home

Welcome at last

Just as you are.

Fierce Grace 1


I swept into your life

Destroying all your carefully made plans.

I know you loved your achievements.

I know your intentions were pure.

But I heard your prayers to bring love to the world.

I took your offering at its word.

How could you hear the cries of a broken world

If you had not been broken?

How could you stand with the lonely

If you had never felt alone?

How could you speak with the powerless

If you had never known what it was to lose your own power?

Let go, my love, into the abyss of exhaustion.

Let go into the realm of everything gone wrong

Let go of who you thought you were

And become who you are

Deep in that abyss, I will meet you.

Swirling around you with my fierce, love-soaked grace.

Whisper my words

There is nothing wrong, there is nothing wrong, there is nothing wrong.

Soothe your mind as it barks its objections

Soothe your weary heart

Cradle yourself as your own beloved child.





Nothing to do, nowhere to go

Nothing to be.

Except who you are


My fierce grace is emptying you

Of all your striving

This fierce grace

Manifested in you, as you

Will illuminate a suffering world.

Fierce grace 2 – a villanelle


Do not be afraid of the fierceness of Grace

As she razes your house to the ground

She comes to reveal your original face.


As you blink back tears in this strange, new place

She will not leave you where you were found

Do not be afraid of the fierceness of Grace


She comes to teach life is not a race

No winners or losers on this holy ground

She comes to reveal your original face.


She breaks you down, she slows your pace

Frees you where you were bound

Do not be afraid of the fierceness of Grace


And in Her silence, you will find the space

Where peace and joy abound

She comes to reveal your original face.


Until, at last, there is no trace

No you, no Her, newfound

Do not be afraid of the fierceness of Grace

She came to reveal your original face.

There is nothing wrong

Can you see it, my love?

I know you are beginning to wake up.

Can you see what we have done together?

You are ready to trust.

Can you see the perfection of all the things you fought so hard against?

The pain of losing it all, the loneliness of chronic illness, the stripping away of all you thought defined you. You are beyond definitions.

The joy when the mind agreed that it was right, the pain from thinking things have gone wrong.

There is nothing wrong.

Nothing can ever go wrong in this perfection.

You are standing, now, on the threshold, knowing that your arrival here is inevitable.

In the quietness of your mind, in this vast still place, where you belong, from which you came and to which you return, you know the truth.

There is nothing wrong.

I will whisper it, in songs of love.

I will shout it , through screams of pain.

There is nothing wrong.

The heart slows, the mind stills, the eyes (our eyes) open, blinking in this new reality, as old as time.

Trust all that comes, love everything that arises as though you chose it.

You did.

Oh my sweet girl, there is nothing wrong.

You are free.

Down among the broken ones




Come down among the broken ones

Who gave their hearts away

Who tried to help, who tried to love

All those who came their way.


Come down among the lost ones

Whose way of being died

Who gave their all, till all was gone

And darkness lit their way.


Come down among the lonely ones

Who tried so hard to please

Who noticed when in need themselves

That all had gone away.


Come down, my love, and don’t be scared

For nothing is as it seems

Here in the depths of loneliness

Is the medicine you need.


Come down and feel your beating heart

The breath between your thoughts

Cradle your fragile, tender soul

And notice where you are.


The life you knew is over

Shed tears for all that seems lost

But notice too the birds and trees

You were once too blind to see


You had to lose the life you had

It hurts, I know, but soon

You will find yourself standing in the light

Of who you really are