July 4, 2016

Living our Unknown Dharma. {Poems}

Zé Zorzan/Unsplash

I recently completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training. To say that it was life-changing is both hyperbolic and true.

Everything it brought out of me was in me all along. It was simply a tool—a spade or a fine brush—to firmly excavate and gently tease out what was deep and unknown, to shine light on that which was ready to blossom under favorable conditions.

I’m a writer of sorts, but not a poet. Still, yoga teacher training provided the fodder and inspiration of Dharma, the Hindu concept that is the subject of the 5,000-year old Bhagavad Gita, for poetry to be written through me.

Dharma can be defined as our life’s duty, path, or purpose. Much has been written and said about Dharma, and I’ve scraped only the surface of these ideas much deeper and thoughtful than my own. I don’t know what my Dharma is. But I will keep considering it and remain open to it so that I am ready when I find it or when it finds me. I fervently trust that we can and do contribute to the world in infinite positive ways even if we aren’t sure what our Dharma is or if we’re really living it. And I believe our Dharma can change throughout our lives. For now, I will live with love and courageously remain in my center.

What follows are two poems from a small collection of poetry I wrote about Dharma as part of my yoga teacher training project.


I know not of my Dharma or of yours.
It’s a foreign language, and speaking it makes me confused and tired,
And hopeful and skeptical,
And certain and unsure.
I have heard that it is a duty, a purpose, a path, a spark, a seed;
That it bursts forth, unexpected, radiant;
Or that it blossoms only when conditions are right;
That you find it or that it finds you;
That you live it or are destroyed by not.
Am I living mine in this moment?
Has it changed, or will it?

I hope that I can use this life as my worthwhile practice.
I hope that I am an expression of love;
That I can embody kindness and grace and compassion.
I hope that my life serves a tender and meaningful purpose for someone or something.
I hope that this spirit will find use for this body and this mind,
And all of their imperfections.

One day much of me will be snuffed out by the natural course of all mortal beings.
Will my Dharma follow;
Or will it remain steadfast alongside my compass, my star, my Divine light,
which is firm and cares not of time and space;
to meet me again with the nourishment of another chance?

In This Life

In this life, I was given a life.
And it rushed toward me
and it swept under me
and it washed over me
and it flowed through me.
It worked between my toes,
all of those crevices and pits;
And it filled me up.
It called to me, and I responded.
It held my hand, and I held it in my hand.
It showed me beauty, and I opened my eyes.
It showed me pain, and I opened my heart.
It questioned me, and I answered from my center.
It offered its essence, and I offered mine in return.

In this life, I was given a life.
It brought nourishment, and I ate.
It challenged me, and I struggled.
It let me get lost, and it showed me the way.
It provided a foundation, and I built
and crumbled
and built again.
It took, and I gave and grieved.
It whispered the truth, and I listened and shouted mine.

In this life, I was given a life.
And I lived.


Author: Jill Lovato

Image: Zé Zorzan/Unsplash

Editors: Emily Bartran; Catherine Monkman

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