Welcome to Daily SPARC – each weekday our chaplains, friends from the Penn Religious Communities Council and other voices from campus will be posting messages of support and encouragement.
Today’s message is by Penn Alum, Serena Bian:
My name is Serena Bian and I’m writing to you as an alumni of Penn, class of 2018. First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are taking care during this upheaval. Sending warm wishes your way from Santa Cruz, where I am sheltering-in-place .
I wanted to share with you 3 poems that I’ve loved this past week, in hopes that it can nourish and ground you.
Summer Day by Mary Oliver (recording)
When the light around lessens
And your thoughts darken until
Your body feels fear turn
Cold as a stone inside,
When you find yourself bereft
Of any belief in yourself
And all you unknowingly
Leaned on has fallen,
When one voice commands
Your whole heart,
And it is raven dark,
Steady yourself and see
That it is your own thinking
That darkens your world.
Search and you will find
A diamond-thought of light,
Know that you are not alone,
And that this darkness has purpose;
Gradually it will school your eyes,
To find the one gift your life requires
Hidden within this night-corner.
Invoke the learning
Of every suffering
You have suffered.
Close your eyes.
Gather all the kindling
About your heart
To create one spark
That is all you need
To nourish the flame
That will cleanse the dark
Of its weight of festered fear.
A new confidence will come alive
To urge you towards higher ground
Where your imagination
will learn to engage difficulty
As its most rewarding threshold!
Written by Swami Kripalvanandaji (Bapuji)
My beloved child, break your heart no longer.
Each time you judge yourself, you break your own heart.
You stop feeding on the love which is the wellspring of your vitality.
The time has come.
And to see the goodness that you are.
You, my child, are divine.
You are pure.
You are sublimely free.
Let no one, no thing, no idea or ideal obstruct you.
If one comes, even in the name of ‘Truth’, forgive it for its unknowing.
Do not fight.
You are God in disguise and you are always perfectly safe.
Do not fight the dark. Just turn on the light.
Let go and breathe into the goodness that you are.