SCENIC ALTERNATIVE

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It’s time to die.

You know it’s time to die because that weight
you’ve been carrying around
in your chest

is no longer a treasure.

Because the sacred stories have all become tall tales.

Because the egg that cracked
in you
brought that bright golden bird
but hasn’t built its new nest yet.

Because the debris
has accumulated

and there’s not enough space
for the Big Grin—
the shape your heart makes
when all the sunspots
are cleared.

Don’t worry, death is not
what it used to be.

Just ask the spring
and its relentless pinking
and purple petaling.

Its gregarious greening
is nearly unbearable

and just like it, who you are
keeps surfacing

whether you want it to
or not.

But not first without
the exquisite requisite—
the slow sloughing off
of stale skin of seasons past.

Nothing’s meant to last.

Not youth or bloodless truths
or all the yous
no longer you.

So honor the hour
and die well with wow
making a ceremony of it

with a bow towards your corpse
and a bow towards the clearing
where your new season
is arriving.

#ryanvanlenning

THAT HOLE ON THE HORIZON

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Every evening I dig a hole
in the horizon

and place what I love
and what I want to love
into it

Though if I want to love it, doesn’t that mean I already do?

Is meant to be a real question,
not an answer.

I’ve thrown lawless songs
and dances
into that hole

and too many queries to count
should have filled it up by now

fists and furies
wounds and whys
and all my favorite fears

resistances and clingings slough into it
with scarcely a word

and each day
I cover it up
with the dregs of the day
while water rushes in

as the sun takes them all
to where all things woven
from foraged lives go

And a truce gently crawls
into every crevice of me.

Sometimes, on champion days
I ask the sun,
what can I do for you?

If it answers, there’s no riddle—it’s so much more
down-to-earth
than you’d think

for being a star.

But good thing there’s no end
to the hole
because there’s no end
to my digging

WHAT CEREMONY

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Letting bees buzz across every last inch
of your landscape—
that was the ritual.

To weigh your heart against a feather, even though you’ve been eating rocks.

We didn’t count the stars that night
to go to sleep.

We didn’t sleep at all.

The stars strained their necks in curiosity at what we were up to.

Though they should know,
having bursted into their own destiny
over and over.

Step one, die.

Slough off the dead tissue
from your living flesh.

Step two, cross the threshold of desire into your unfathomable.

Step three, return.

Your face will look different. Your eyes seem to know something new.

Whatever your heart weighs now,
only you and the wind know.

Annihilation and humility will be added to your vocabulary.

You may pronounce love with a different accent.

The ceremony is discrete.

The ceremony is discreet and messy.

The ceremony will birth a thousand stories
each new one holding
all the previous ones.

The ceremony will never end.
#ryanvanlenning.

THE TREASURE AT THE BOTTOM OF EACH BREATH

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The old way of holding things
sank into the sea
with the diving god

and sprouted dawnwings
as an owl flying out of one hand

gentle dawnfingers
caressing the earth with the other

with my mycelium strung between
finding nutrients in every thing
for the Fruiting Body of the HeartKing

I barely had a chance to say goodbye
to the old way

Before the way to say goodbye
became the treasure
at the bottom of each breath and day
the bottom of each moment’s play

Which was also how to pray hello
and mean it

like one of the great lovers
of the world

Without fists or fortresses
and only a cosmos to call home

—Ryan Van Lenning

Letting Go of Limiting Beliefs

4B0F37C3-A42C-481F-BD30-71C67019E8D6Yesterday I was called to do a spontaneous letting go ritual on the land with a friend.
It came to me suddenly at dawn when I was taking some questions out for a walk and I found myself drawn to a particular eucalyptus tree.

It reminded me of an experience a had last year with another eucalyptus. It was on the first weekend of my ecotherapy certification with Ariana Candell of the Earthbody Institute, & we were doing a south shield somatic exercise.

At that time, I had particular hang-ups around body & movement; it was one reason I chose to study with her. I had particular stories and beliefs around, such as “I’m not a mover or a dancer” or “my body is ____” “my sexuality is ____”.

As a result, I was having difficulty dropping into the experience, then I saw all these strips of eucalyptus bark at my feet, then looked up & saw them falling off the trunk, while the upper branches danced in the wind and the new flowers were emerging.

I was just moved viscerally and it was one of my first real conscious experiences of nature as mirror, nature and psyche as co-partners in expression.

Everything alive sheds the old to make room for growth and the new.

I knew I had to strip away beliefs and attitudes that I’d carried for too long and were no longer serving. It resulted in me being much more comfortable in my body, and in the poem ‘Peel Away the Bark Of Yesterday’.

But back to the present: I knew I wanted to do an intentional ceremony and my friend was up for it, so we created a circle with bark and limbs, then wrote out limiting beliefs on madrone leaves, read them one by one aloud to each other, crumbled them, and then threw them behind us.

BYE-BYE!

This time the limiting ideas I stripped away had to with my relationship to money, family, that love meant I had to abandon myself, that I’m not good with kids, & and ideas about how I have to live my relationship with lover nature.

How liberating!!

We both felt energized by the experience by making room for expansion. This is a type of activity we use in Wild Nature Heart programs. But you can do them yourself—I highly recommend these sort of spontaneous self-ceremonies done with intention. Listen to your intuition, get out of your own way, and honor your soul by trusting it knows what it needs.