The intricate patterns of the world cushion you, and fall away from you like fields under a rising hawk, as you close your eyes and head for another plane. The door is shut, and the ornate and frivolous are lost to you. Instead now the simplicity of semi-darkness will reveal its shapes and colours, as you sense the heaviness of draped eyelids and the feel the curve of world-weariness settling around the base of your inner eye.
Here is a dark purple iris place, now that your light is filtered by flesh and blood. Veins feed your imagination in a guided meditation and you are able to flush away the stress of life’s burdens into glands and ducts. To replace them comes a flow of peace, in soft magenta.
If you stay here long enough, cross-legged and calm, every breath aching with gratitude, you may beat away the butterfly distractions with gentle returns to centre, and start to grow roots into the good and quiet earth, humming softly with life. You may become so captivated by the velvet darkness that you will be ever more attracted to gravity, and yet lighter than the elements.
What soft light breaks into your stillness of mind and the awareness of every cell? And can you now, in the ruby pink melon-fleshed atmosphere, smile without using your lips, and sing of the unity you sense above, below and all around, without making a sound?
Above you, outside of you, a new focus forms, and rings clarity like a soft silver bell, echoing out.
Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt Composite art by R R Wyatt © used with permission.
Happy is a word that rarely belongs here in the roar of the storm, in the eye of the hurricane. Can we, then, be content? With all that racket and all that spume? The salt water constantly crashing up into our eyes and ears? Perhaps not. But neither can we sit here on this surface and be bobbed about so furiously and hold onto anything, not faith, and certainly not our breakfast. So what may be done, and what peace may be found? The temptation is surely to dive into the water and drown our sorrows, falling into the deep sleep of silent waters. And yet you say, we may sleep here in the stern, curled up in cushions and coats, oblivious, and let you take the rudder. The answer then, is not peace, but trust.
Art and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2018 (“Wake,” in pastels, using a reference photo by Cindy Frendt with kind permission)
I’m rather a hippie myself up to point. I am a socialist, a pacifist and I feel a strong connection with nature. As a Christian, love is my watchword. But I am also fairly pragmatic, and try to follow a moral code which involves being faithful to my partner, and not taking drugs. So my kind of free love is a little different. But like many stereotypes, the hippy is so much more than the obvious things that spring to mind.
I truly want to be one with the earth and the trees. I express that in my paganism and my tree-hugging, my protesting against roads and my love of greenery of all kinds. Yes, I tie die my own tee shirts made from organic cotton. You may laugh at how well I fit the hippy mould, but for me it is a no brainer. Marijuana relaxes me and my friends, it is better than being uptight and obsessed with property markets and dress codes. Really for me, being a hippy is about community, and it is about wanting world peace. And that both these things start right where we are. That’s a better beginning than in a lot of churches I’ve seen.
text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017
Oasis filled with the lain down palm branches of hosanna honking geese and Victorian trees, how thankful we are that you stand rooted here in the middle of town. An island in the traffic, a soft green place in the midst of all the busy-ness, throwing down the gauntlet of stillness, challenging the furore of that must-ing, to do list, A to B and back again that rules our frantic lives. Benches to ponder on. Lakes to cry into. Bracing winds to close our eyes to and then face. Trees to trace with tender fingers, the bark reflecting our creased and cracking skin, telling us we are okay, that we are meant to have folds, and that yes, the ducks are laughing at us and at life, and we can join them if we can still remember how.
© Photo and text Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2016
The light of love streams in from the left and the living water bubbles through on the right, and the twain meet over my bare earthed toes. And here I am Lord, listening for your voice, waiting for your tap on the shoulder, the peace in my heart, to tell me which is the best direction. And all I hear is a third way. Why choose a path? Why not stand here and grow? The world says hurry, the world says pick one, the world says keep moving, the world says go.
Why not stay? Why not stand? Why not look about you? Why not grow deep down roots and tall swaying branches and reach for more sunlight and brooks of lapping light? Where is it you have to rush off to? Where are you journeying, except towards death, who will find you sure enough here on the forest floor when the time comes? Why not meet her here on your own territory, on your own terms and turf? When she sidles up, you will feel her footsteps in the soil, and the weariness in your sap, and you will be ready, after a life wisely lived, not spent searching out the inevitable.
Stand in my love-light-life and be a tree. Grow and spread, dive and delve. Be the marker of meeting, the embodiment of encounter, the tree of my trysting. All is here.
©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2016
Despite being closed off from the world, this garden is a site of the deepest sharing, soul to soul in silence. A place for the holy holding of hands, of mutual smiles and locked gazes. Romance and contemplation find a home here, senses drifting through the spears of lavender and lost in the hypnotic trickle of the fountain, a lion’s mouth dribbling into a stone basin.
It may be sheltered from the worst winds, but if you sit on this bench, shift your haunches back into the wood and close your eyes, you can still smell the ozone as it breezes in from the ocean a half mile away. Sea spray finds its way here, up a long and sandy track edged by waving grasses, settling on the face of any still stranger like the softest sting of snowflakes or an unexpected barrage of kisses.
A haven then, a sanctuary, a cloistered place out of the world’s way, where you are held firmly by oaken hands and your feet touch ground made sacred by the removal of sandals, beach grains shaken in a pile to one side, soles communing with cool earth.
©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2016
Your deep peace is found in still waters, where rolling waves and whirling pools have ceased, paused momentarily, and the roar of your waterfalls is staying its breath, just for a short while. For this centre cannot hold for long, and is only part of the dance of flowing water, which is Spirit. So we stop, at the height of a pirouette, a slow-mo jeté jetty on the river of life, and see you, and smile. That loving gaze returned and all is set to rights, the wave unfrozen, the breakers roll on.
©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2016
At last I find some calm. A strange peace moves between the trees, like the rustling of being which does not need to announce itself. An undercurrent of claiming rises beside the prostrate trunk. This place, it says, is mine, has always been mine, will always be mine. And the running roots of it take hold of my feet, gently, with blessing, so that I am connected, stilled, known. The acorns patter down from above and the blackberries swell in their ripeness. Here I may breathe.
Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2015
Here is a forest, our forest. Dreaming beneath green pine spires and rusting oaks, the coolness of shade-bathed feet as they stand on the leaf-spattered, needle carpet ground; bare toes sheltered under tiny toadstool parasols. Leaf siblings, higher up, haloed in sunshine as it winds and bends through arboreal barriers. Here we open and close our eyes with each breathed breeze, and find our calm delight.
Words and art © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2015