The earth reels in diversity and beauty. It teems with, as indigenous cultures would say, four-leggeds (mammals), winged ones (birds), and creepy crawlies (insects). Through many challenges, all of these animals have honed their own instinctive skills to adapt and survive. Yet for the human species to now survive, we must renew our own intuition and remember how we belong, both to each other and to the world at large. To do so cultivates the wisdom inherent in our bodies, minds, spirits, and in our capacity to realize living relationships with all other species. With mindfulness, our spirits guide us in the way of kindness and compassion. Our psyches then shift from depression and anxiety to ease and sentient focus. And the natural world provides renewal from its soothing rhythms. But we have lost so much of this awareness. How do we recover this sense belonging? How can a peaceful spirituality inform an ego-centered psychology? Can divine knowledge shape and direct our mental and psychological choices towards greater health and sanity? And how might we rediscover ancient teachings from the natural world?
These are questions I’ve explored for over 30 years, winding through outer landscapes in the backcountry of Montana and Arizona while traversing the psychology of my own inner landscape. From my own both blessed and troubled childhood to my adult interrupted family and resulting challenging solitude, I have quested to find meaning, solace, and support from the Divine, the human community, and the natural world. This Way to the Kiva chronicles that journey and its attendant discoveries. It is my hope that you will find your own stories related to mine, and your way of healing enhanced by my own.
Included here are two of the over fifty poems you will find in This Way to the Kiva.
Coming Home is the Journey
Sometimes the gift of sudden contrast
between meaning and sheer emptiness
catapults you into your journey.
Attempting to live
in that which dies even as you peer over your shoulder
to the old threshold
allows one last glance,
one more breath,
to assure that nothing here is to be lived any longer.
The calm hands of death wrap themselves around your old life
as you nimbly slip out, just so.
Your heart, newly awakened, unfurls,
opening wide to universal alignment
with all that matters now.
Your freed energy gathers,
for others who will join you
in this unmapped dance,
trembling and sure.
It's Just How We Live
Could we ever rest,
slacken these chains
anchored to our chests?
Who would we be if not straining against something?
Hear how fear wails, frantic that nothing else
hides underneath all that work, incessant and demanding.
Let us go to the quiet gaping mouth together, you and I.
Here, take my hand—
we will slide easily down this shadowed cave
where musty smells sweet
and allow our eyes to grow accustomed to the great dark
Where, illuminated, the old teachers of love
I. The Territory of the Sacred
Into the Night
From Unseen Realms
Could You Be Lost Like This?
Prayer of Peace-Making
The Related Shaman
They Always Surprise Me
Coming Home is the Journey
In The Round
Old Indian Flute Music
This Way to the Kiva
II. The Call of the Psyche
When Psyche Comes Calling
You Know Her
The Wheel Turns
Its Just How We Live
So Long Unsaved
The Stars Still Travel
III. The Benevolence of Nature
The Standing People
Just a Dead Bird
Leaving the Crazies
Arriving, Elkhorn Ranch
How do we find physical help for our spiritual quest? Could the structure of ancient kivas in the American Southwest offer a template for the human interface of that path? And what might nature, embedded in the kiva itself, reveal to us about our own belonging, no matter where or how we live?
These are questions author and transpersonal therapist Robyn Bridges has explored for over thirty years, winding through the Rocky Mountains from Montana to Arizona while discovering the healing power of nature. From her own blessed and challenging life experiences, resulting in years of unplanned solitude, she has quested and found meaning, solace, and support from the divine, the human community, and the natural world. This Way to the Kiva chronicles that journey and its attendant discoveries.
About the Author
Robyn Nygumburo Bridges has lived in Bozeman, Montana for over 30 years, seeking spiritual and psychological sustenance in the Rocky Mountains from Montana to Arizona while exploring the interface between the outer and inner landscape.
After specializing as a body-mind-spirit counselor during 25 years of private practice, Robyn now devotes herself to writing, speaking engagements, and reveling both in the natural world and in her community. She continues to live in Bozeman and travels extensively.
Robyn is the author of three “Medicine” books: Moose Medicine: Healing Wisdom from the Natural World, Two-Legged Medicine: How to be Your Own Brilliant Therapist, and Turtle Medicine: The Art of Swimming Sideways. Now, This Way to the Kiva: Poems for the Journey Home, is her first formally published poetry book, with several others in publication process. Explore www.booksbyrobynbridges.com or robynbridges.com and order through your local bookstore, Balboa Press or www.amazon.com.