Receiving

I can’t remember when when I stopped praying. It was, after all, some time ago. I used to shout for help, to be rescued, waving madly on the way to a panic attack. The storm caught up with me, it was like all these feelings had nowhere to go – fear and smallness bundled up tightly – and the hollering was empty in the rain. I eventually found myself washed up, waking in the morning dawn, the intensity of everything swept out to sea. Now I found another kind of turning inwards on the breathe and on the settling of the heart and mind. The endless transactions over. The object and subject integrated, even a dissolving, leaving behind something – I was not quite sure – and the beginning of the boundlessness of time and space, coming home to my body. I am everything that went before. I am everything that arises. The ranting parent telling me I am useless and not good enough softens. I drop being present. I stop wondering how long is now. It is in the reception of the senses that peace passes all understanding. And then it comes to me: the body was here before the head.

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© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame

The view from the white washed window.

I now know what it was like to drop out of sight, to head south. How quickly you are forgotten. I had been a passing phase of words written in the small hours. No matter. Only the trail of dust as far as the eye could see marked my journey and I could become empty of form. Then suddenly the horizon swallowed me whole. I was happy to flee. To be lost and never found. Every bone in my body had been weary beyond repair. The biology of flight in cruise mode, the scenery flashed distant memories, and the destination of the coast of many colours the siren call. Beach, sand, sky and the seabird cries at the end of the world. From this view, framed by the white washed window, some kind of perspective greedily grasped. I was sure that in this place I could swim in the the sea and snorkel my way back to the beginning of time – gill and fishbone, the colour of coral – and breathe under water.

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© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame

Being

I am currently writing a long piece around the theme of ‘what next’. Here is an extract.

I lay awake at the end of the world. I was surrounded by ocean and there, in the night sky, the moon hung like a lantern. Clouds crossed over. Had there been owls anywhere near they would have called. It was so silent I could hear my breath becoming still as I reached out into the darkness to be anchored into the present. Like finding my sea legs. It had been all so pointless allowing the past to have taken up occupation of the present and even the future. Here was my body, like foam on the waves of the ocean. I touched my skin double checking to feel its living impermanence. The body breathed, skydiving thoughts dissolved into the chime of the midnight hour. It was then the opportunity to put aside the day, dropping into the tingles of my feet that had carried me all these years. My nervous system had chilled on the breath where just for that moment it was sweetly possible to enter into the awareness of being without a thought of what next.

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© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame

Where I am

I thought the wilderness had meant something quite different. A place lonely. A place scary. A place where I had been left to hang out to dry in the cold wind. A place of sorrow. I had forgotten its wildness, its pristine beauty even in what looked ferociously inhospitable, uninhabitable, where rivers raged and there was no where to cross. Of course, it could have another kind of intensity. Of desert. Of sandstorms. Of thirsty heat where sorrow wilted in the parchedness of the soul.

I had lain awake, seized by the fear of this wilderness where my impermanence, our impermanence, your fragility, mine – was existential. I wanted to cup you in the still waters of another wilderness, not ever domesticated, where our fears and sorrows could meet. A place less lonely. A place less scary. Something to embrace. A joy perhaps? A kind of return to the flesh and blood of our ancestors, breathing in their wildness.

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The body standing, finding its balance, its natural intelligence. The body breathing. Feel the hands from within the flesh and blood. Feel the feet on the ground. Feel the skin from the other side. Breathe in how gravity keeps you there. Feel the weight of your body on the cushion, the tingle in the hands, the softening of the brows. Listen to the experience, to the tangles – in the chest, the neck, the head and breathe into them, giving them space to come up for air.

The instruction*: come on in and down deep into the belly. Here is the exquisite present moment. Here is the deep relaxation of no longer doing, or having or rushing ahead or turning back. The page is turned on the list of things to do. The drama drops. The back seat driver of thoughts is silent in this space.

The light dances, the earth moves, the sky falls into the distance. We know we are hearing. We know we are seeing. We know we are speaking. All this merges as we put down the subject and the object. We are time and space. We have travelled the distance from the furthest stars. We come from the earth. We are the fish in the sea, the trees and the breeze as we were millennia before. The body remembers, sensing and settling in while the moon rises, reaching far back into the ancient wilderness, waiting with the the cocked ear for flight or fright, meeting right here where the whole universe arises and where I am is good enough.

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*Martin Aylward was the inspiration for this. His understanding of embodied meditation is quite superb.

© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame

The bones of the artists

Held in a moment of time: the story of the hunt, the ones that got away and the not so lucky; the fire and dinner / dance afterwards. Black ties daubed onto ancient skin, moving to the drum beat and whoops of delight. Fire light faces of children asleep, babies thirstily snuggle into tired mothers before the day is done. In the distance jackals soundtrack the night with their hideous chuckles and lions roar their last hurrah as the light of the moon appears over the thorn tree skyline.

The hunter rock artists explore the nature of their reality under burning torches, remembering the courage of some, the dare devils and the foolish and those with something to prove. From the height of the rocky outcrops the eyes of those yearning to be grown up and join in. They express themselves in ochre colours and their chatter and laughter are the last sounds heard by the fading figures listening from the walls silently down the ages in darkening caves where the bones of these early masters and their students lie buried.

We stare out at the view from the cave mouth across dusty plains, the thorn tree skyline, and towards darkening clouds as far as the eye can see. The ground we stand on, this Mother Earth, we are the hunters, the hunted even, the babies, the mothers, the faces that reveal the yearning, the fear of missing out, and the bones of the artists that brought us here.

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© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame

An interruption

I have been thinking of what it means to move away from the inevitable horizontal tread of life and consider for a while an intervention – to plunge vertically into this moment. It’s what happens when you are held spellbound by something. I never really got Keates’ Ode on a Grecian Urn. I studied it at school, thought it foolish – pictures, the passion unfulfilled, frozen almost in a forever – ‘What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?’ The experience never fulfilled in the pre-consummation.

Now I see differently. Like the way La Fornarina looks out. How she saw Raphael with those eyes. What was she thinking? In that moment we somehow get what he was feeling and being as he lovingly drew and painted her: captured and held in vertical time. She will not grow old even as we may well do if we are lucky.

A step into the vertical line is a momentary immortalisation of this time and place – this breath, this here and now in the merging of me the painter, she the model, – I can wish! – an interruption, a pause – where there is no subject or object. Where there is the absence of separation. In vertical time, everything is transcendent and imminent, a portal through which we glimpse eternity where we are neither the observer nor the knower.

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© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame

Dropping out of the horizontal headlong line of movement

It was the day the sun bathed us golden and the bees hardly hesitated above the nectar, drawn to the porch with the new flowering. Was it the purples that lured them or something in them that knew that here there were rich pickings? I wanted to call out to them, ‘Wait until May!’ when there would be so much more, like last summer when the place was heavily scented. The tree in the window has broken out in buds just like they had been switched on, almost exactly as they had been the years before. One or two have galloped ahead and have become blossom. It’s as if they are saying. ‘Giddy up, get along then.’ In the glory of the sun it is still quite cold. It’s like fool’s gold this sun, all the sparkle but the the warmth is still hard to get.

Here, I will become the bee humming the tune of this new season. Be the butterflies that dance like the sugar plum fairy above the daisies – what a sight! Be the wind and sky and the vapour trail of the silver bird heading to faraway places. Feel my feet on this ground, pausing to hear the stillness within and discovering something quite exquisite: an absence of separation from it all and feel the oneness of the pure intimacy that it reveals as I plunge into this very moment, dropping out of the horizontal headlong line of movement, catching my breath on the glimpse that something else is possible.

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© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame

In this breath

In this breath there is no past and no future, only now. We journey to this point. We feel the body sitting as we settle into the bones and flesh. We feel the cooling warmth of the day, the silence of other lives. Beyond the skin boundary, the breath moves, the only changes with the turn towards the interior, filling the focus towards the valleys and the crevices of the nervous system. The tension from within has an altogether different feel. It opens up possibilities and space where we surrender the thinking – where the pain is seen for what it is – an object. It smooths and softens on the wind of breath, recycled thoughts dissolved into the rising freedom of living this one and only life. Here it does not matter who you are or what you have achieved. There is no striving, no regrets or squeezing your ego through a turnstyle. In this place there is the profound peace of listening, hearing what is being said: the mystery of being you no longer terrified.

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© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame

Game viewing

I am drawn to the idea of the natural state where we are in nature – and then I remembered some encounters with rhinoceros.

The dry heat threw up dust on the road to Maleme. Slowly, we drove down into the valley of the body of water, and crossed the little bridge. In the distance, day trippers were cooking over fires and children ran and played, sun-drenched squeals of laughter. We were headed for the thick bush on the far side – in pursuit of rhinoceros. The light green Zephyr slowed over the cattle grid and our voices hushed in the shudder of the wheels crossing. Amazingly, we quickly came across a pair of rhino browsing. We were in luck. The wind was with us so we could gawk for ages, fascinated with these big, burly animals minding their own business. There was an innocence then. I am reminded of another time walking in the bush and coming across rhino. Although quite some distance, they could tell we were close by, their nervous systems on high alert. As were ours, our ancestors there before us, but without the safety of a game viewing truck nearby. Sitting here now in the cold English sun I am imagining what would have happened had the rhino actually charged us, a threat constantly made by our obnoxious game keeper, clearly enjoying the power of herding our party by prodding us with fear.

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© 2022 Copyright Rick Frame

Full moon

This is a piece that I submitted for a poetry competition that has now been rejected. I have changed the form for this publication.


You could easily see his shape against the skyline moonlight. The waves strolled onto the beach as they had done since before the first foot print. A light breeze caught the fisherman’s face as he cast the rod, the dark line against the full moon crouching on the ocean. Peace that passes all understanding, a stillness against the roar of the ocean, the sea mist descending, the gift he brings. Give yourself permission: be just as you are in the moment; find beauty in places that you had lost in grief. You will not understand until you trust your heaviness. Like birds do.

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© 2021 Copyright Rick Frame