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This Poem Encourages You to Show Up—Courageously and Imperfectly

Poet Andrea Gibson's "Shine" reminds us that we are all connected.

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Shine

by Andrea Gibson

…Yes you are small
We are all as small
As a single breath
But tied to the rest
We are all the life of the world
The pulse that turns rocks to pearls
Inside the darkness
Of their shells
So become the well
Where wishes are born
Become the bell
That rings when even
The birds refuse to sing
Become the wings that fly
And every time you’re full of sorrow
Every time you wake up crying
Know that that day
Is a perfect day
To shine.

I respect poetry that holds space for the fertile complexity of nonduality; for the conundrum of being both purusha (spirit) and prakriti (matter) interwoven. It’s so easy to split these aspects into a binary or make them opposites, but this poem holds space for wholeness. It encourages the sacred act of continuing to show up, courageously and imperfectly. It names that we can simultaneously be present for both heaviness and hope, for both struggle and spiritual joy. I especially love the lines: “We are all as small / As a single breath / But tied to the rest.” We may feel insignificant or isolated at times, but we are connected—to each other and to entire ecosystems, lineages across time and space. That single breath is breathing all beings. Individuality as we know it is an illusion. We are all the life of the world.

Avery Kalapa, community weaver, queer and trans wellness advocate, and Iyengar Yoga teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They are passionate about deep, affirming, embodied healing spaces rooted in collective liberation.