Riehlife Poem-of-the-Day: “Autobiography in Fourteen Lines,” by Susan Ollar
I met Susan Ollar eons ago it seems, at a Rigpa Tibetan Buddhist retreat. We spent the summer together at Lerab Ling in France. Since then we have become Sangha Sisters. Susan marked her 60th birthday this April. Pondering what to do about it, she decided to celebrate.
Susan recalled a conversation of ours. I'd said that in Ghana, West Africa, "Women of a certain age are considered wise, and given respect. These older women become everyone's mother."
Susan wrote a poem that burst from her heart, written in an incredibly short time. She says, "It speaks to me about my journeys and gives me reasons to laugh, sigh, cry, rest, celebrate." I feel that it's a bit of heart advice from a dedicated practitioner of Buddhist teachings given by her precious teacher, Sogyal Rinpoche.
Susan's poem takes my mind to Autobiography in five short chapters by Portia Nelson which Sogyal Rinpoche quotes in "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying."
Autobiography in Fourteen Lines
by Susan Ollar
I went searching everywhere, trying to make sense of things
I went searching high and low trying to make sense of things
I tripped on acid, smoked dope, rode the mescaline high, trying to make sense of things
I became a vegetarian, wore white, chanted mantras and thought I’d made sense of things
It didn’t last
I went to empowerments, sat on a cushion in the mountains for a month, trying to make sense of things
I got bored, watched the stories of my mind, tried to create more stories to destroy the boredom and it seemed to work. It all made sense.
It didn’t last
I dropped the search, left it on a shelf, went off to the world, searching for success
I found success, it was a hard trip and when I got to the summit, I fell down a hole and nothing made sense
I started the search again, tired, feeling feeble, this time knowing I needed a guide, someone who had made sense of things
I found him, oh my, hard to believe, I’ve gotta believe, he’s been my everything, year after year after year
Nothing makes sense, I sit on my cushion, it’s all right!
I look within, the stories go on, who cares?
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