Cutting Loose by William Stafford
Sometimes, from sorrow, for no reason,
you sing. For no reason, you accept
the way of being lost, cutting loose from
all else and electing a world
where you go where you want to.
Arbitrary, sound comes. A reminder
that a steady center is holding
all else. If you listen, that sound
will tell you where it is and you
can slide your way past trouble.
Certain twisted monsters
always bar the path—but that’s when
you get going best, glad to be
lost, learning how real it is
here on earth again and again.
Thanks to my Full Voice Coach Training last year, I’ve started reviewing the poems I’ve learned by heart over the years. (Poetry is a wonderful way to practice exploring different parts of your voice.)
I almost always start my day with poetry—a bit of beauty, of inspiration, of deeper meaning to open my heart and mind first thing.
This poem by William Stafford jumped out of my stash of poems, asking to be brought back into my bodysoul, so I’ve been reciting it every morning, waking up the poem within me again—or should I say, allowing it to wake up me?
The reminder that from sorrow—in fact, from anything—anger, joy, even fear—we can sing…
Singing is another practice I do every morning. Usually I sing to greet the morning. Sometimes I hear melodies that become songs through me. And often I sing along to a song I’m learning.
For no reason, except that singing wakes me up, too—lights me up, and connects me with a deeper heartful and devotional contact with life (myself included).
Singing has been a lifesaver in this transition of settling into a new home and community, a tether, a grounding cord to Being. Even though I feel lost—and often even “accept the way of being lost”—singing/sounding provides a constant “reminder that a steady center is holding all else.”
And that “all else” includes me.
I also listen to the new sounds here—the shooshing of the wind in the fir, spruce, and hemlock, the west-coast birds greeting the day, the bark and talk of our new dog Sammy to get our attention, the crackle of the fire in the woodstove, the rain on the metal roof, the voices of my parents…
Sound/song/singing does help me “slide [my] way past trouble” because it unsticks me, “cutting loose from all else” that might be running in my mind, landing me here, now, in the moment, with this particular beauty.
The “twisted monsters” barring my path are very familiar and include fear of loss, fear of newness, fear of not-knowing, frustration at the time it is taking to settle, overwhelm at how much there is still to do…
And these are familiar stories—they crop up wherever I am because I always bring myself with me… Remembering this helps me “get going best, glad to be lost, learning how real it is here on earth, again and again.”
This being human is no joke!
We get lost over and over, and we re-find our hold on that steady center over and over, again, too. This is reality here in Eairth.
We sorrow, we sing, we cut loose, we find our steady center, we get lost, and we do it all over again…
How do you hold fast to your steady center when you feel lost?
It’s good to remember these teachings now as we move more deeply into Fall in the northern hemisphere. With the waning light and cooling temperatures, this seasonal transition of completion and letting go as we move toward Winter heightens the sense of loss even as we harvest and celebrate.
It’s a time to deepen our practice of welcoming everything, to add more stillness and cozy time amidst the Fall chores.
And if you’re near Port Townsend, consider joining me
for a Fall Women’s Practice Mini-Retreat!