Freed, Certainly

comments 24

Each of my wounds,
every pain,
was a withholding.
Never mind
the reasons.
You don’t need
ten plagues
to make the point
if you have
the miracle
of uncertainty
in your life.

It teaches
without relent.

I realized
the other evening
in the car:
the only fear
I’ve ever had
is a question
about what I might
be asked to give.

knows this question
well—has explored
its every angle—
but no one
can give your answer
for you.  So we rode
for miles in silence,
parallel to the fall.

The sky was cloudy.
The light, dim.

The answer,
when you give it finally,
comes as trembling relief,
because what is true
can never be changed.
The admission of your need
changes everything.

Stake me to the sky.
Let me watch the fire tonight.
Tear me open
and pass me around.
Whatever’s needed, take it.
Hollow me out.
I can’t hold this secret
any longer.

Trying to keep
what’s yours
is killing me.


  1. sweet surrender, Michael.
    with this one sweet life
    how wonderfully
    fearlessness is conveyed
    to generously give
    nothing less
    than all 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    • That’s it, David. It is an interesting realization for me: that fearlessness is equal to giving oneself away entirely. With the willingness to give oneself to whatever arises, there can be nothing that arises which would ask for something we are not prepared to give…


      Liked by 2 people

  2. One day one day one day I know this will be asked of ‘me’
    one day all will be taken, all will be given.
    The last sentence says it all but I’m not dead yet 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, one day, the question of what a day is for will be gone entirely. When our days are freed up enough to be what they will, I think they’ll each be like opening flowers. What peace I have, I give to you.


      Liked by 1 person

  3. “the only fear
    I’ve ever had
    is a question
    about what I might
    be asked to give.”
    I can relate to that. Are we asked to give up control? Ownership, authorship? Free will? Seems so scary.

    Bernadette Roberts wrote something like that the loss of the self was like being pushed out of an airplane without parachute and then discovering that she was able to walk on air.
    So, it seems that what we give up is not really needed and maybe was an illusion in the first place.

    Do you know what happened to Satyam Nadeen when he made a similar request? He describes in From Onions to Pearls that he went from his fine Zen garden straight to jail with many dangerous inmates. That was the answer of the universe to his request to be hollowed out.

    I hope you will experience the requested hollowing out as benign treatment.


    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Karin,

      I like that quote about being pushed out of the airplane. I’ve felt that way before at different times. This sensation of giving I was writing from was not so much about giving up illusion, but realizing what is left when the illusion has faded is a meaning, a sustenance, that only exists in the giving. And I realize fear places limits on this outpouring of what is alive within us.

      Every treatment is ultimately benign, don’t you think? I cannot say what will come next, but it seems clear that fearing what it will ask of me is the next nearest obstacle to my heart’s expression that I would release. Thankfully, my mind is quiet enough this morning to tell me, good thinking, mate… We’re not asking what it’s like to take out the obstacle. And for this moment, it’s enough… 🙂

      Peace to you also,

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for clarifying what you meant by giving.

        Yes, all treatments are benign, we just might not see that in the beginning.

        No, my last paragraph was not referring to your former post of the Good Treatment. But I remember this post.


        Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! And if your closing paragraph was referencing my post of a few months ago called “A Good Treatment”, I missed that, but am touched by your recollection. And if it just came out unintended, the synchronicity is beautiful, too. We are flowing along the same river… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very powerful Michael, controlled yet liberating. Uncertainty is one of those psychological qualities that seems to keep standing in the face of all the evidence, for what is there that is certain in this worldly, body-bound life? Intellectually, we all accept that nothing lasts, all states and things are transient, that everything rests dependently upon other uncontrollable things, and yet very often it is uncertainty that plagues the mind which forever seeks security in immutable certainty.

    May I ask, are the italicised words a reference to something else, some song lyrics perhaps?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Hariod. So true what you say about the lack of certainty in this world. The willingness to allow certainty to come on the wings of the invisible is an interesting line to walk. It’s not the decision to be certain, which breeds uncertainty. Rather I experience it as the letting go of the reference points– of the mental constructs around what is arising, of a discreteness to the self even– that certainty might arise of its own volition to take the place of all the constants we try to impose on the world around us. It’s a certainty, when it comes, great enough to accept all change…

      The italicized words were simply a shift from an explanatory mode to a feeling mode in the writing– towards a more urgent expression of the need that was being discussed, the nature of which in closing is finally comprehended by the non-italicized voice in much the same way that realization dawns upon one that the last underground of the night has left the station, and we’ve missed it… If it is a reference to song lyrics or other words, it was unintended.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Andrea says

        You know that scene in the movies where the beautiful woman saunters past the construction site and all the workers hoot and holler and “damn baby!”? That’s what happened to me as this poem sauntered across my mind. Shake it shake it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I know that one! I was with you on the one word version, too… Thank you… Our hearts just love those moments that come walking by from time to time, that shatter the parameters of the little world the mind had taken for granted, and leave the mind flat-footed with hunger for the beauty it had once written off…



  5. Lovely, Michael. Just letting you know you won’t see me in the blogging world for a while, or perhaps permanently. For the present, my creative inspirations will be funneled into my music. May you continue to inspire and challenge people with your incredible imagination. Peace! ~Dennis

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dennis! I wish you many happy inspirations in your musical endeavors. I am sure they will be brilliant. I will miss you here, but know where to find you! I have read the first three or four chapters of the The Unbearable Wholeness of Being and am enjoying them very much. I look forward to hearing about these next journeys through the fields of surrender…


      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Michael! Thanks for the kind words. BTW, if you end that book on a positive note, another good book of hers is THE EMERGENT CHRIST. Integrating these views and insights into one’s life can be a game changer. Keep on keeping on, brilliantly creative one. ~Dennis

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh yes “trying to keep what is yours is killing me” yes to this freedom that none of “this” or “that” was ever “mine”…amazing for the words to resonate so deeply my friend Thank you! Robyn

    Liked by 1 person

    • My pleasure, Robyn. It’s been interesting to discover the only way to be fully here is to be at least a little bit audacious about giving it away. Whatever it is… 🙂



  7. Very very very beautifully written dear Michael … I got behind in following and now in reading your poetry all at once I hear something strangely deep that makes me tremble …like being in the presence of something so majestic I struggle to simply breath … I am enriched too by reading others comments and I feel so grateful for a community sharing light and art …with intense gratefulness….always , love , megxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Meg. You’ve touched upon the most enjoyable part of this experience for me– the repeat encounters that foster mutual recognition, and the sense of community you describe. A creative community of wholehearted contribution is nurturing and so helpful to me also. We’re both hearing something that makes us tremble… The 8 count chime bell where our hearts intersect, where giving unfolds, causes the whole earth to tremble… Creation comes into being through these struck tones of relationship…


      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.