the house of belonging

The other night I had the pleasure of going to what I think of as worship services with my friend Will. His sacred place of choice is the ecstatic dance community gatherings, which occur twice a week in a comfortable and warmly-lit dance studio on Capitol Hill. This week, being the night before Valentine's Day, the space was anchored by an altar draped in deep red cloth and devoted to images of a gorgeous and fiercely erotic Dakini of Compassionate Bliss in many guises.

After an hour and a half of dancing to world-beat music, moving as you like from dancing with other participants to being with
just yourself to being with the group heart as a whole, there's time for people to share some of their experience. In that ending circle, one woman passionately recited this poem by David Whyte (he is very popular around here!) -- I love the way that so many of his poems concern themselves with faith:


There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours,
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides,
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of baying seals,

who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water,

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant,
yet familiar figure,
far across the water
calling to them,

and how we are all
waiting for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except, it will
not come so grandly,
so Biblically,
but more subtly
and intimately, in the face
of the one you know
you have to love.

So that when
we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and everything confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don't,

because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years,
you don't want to any more,
you've simply had enough
of drowning,
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness,
however fluid and however
dangerous, to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

~The House of Belonging