Marianne Elliott is the author of the book Zen Under Fire: Finding Peace in the Midst of War (from Penguin NZ, coming in US June 2013), creator of the online programs 30 Days of Yoga and 30 Days of Courage and has been called "A powerful, soulful teacher of courage." A change-maker, story-teller, yoga teacher, former UN peacekeeper and human rights lawyer, Marianne is the leader of Off the Mat, Into the World in New Zealand and Australia. Her popular website is Marianne-Elliott.com. You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter @zenpeacekeeper.
WHO GAVE YOU PERMISSION?
Who gave you permission to write?
Who told you it was okay to put these things down?
Who told you you could tell these stories?
Was it your blood pumping
boom, boom, boom
when you read a story that catches you, pulls you in?
Was it the hairs on your arms
when you hear something so true,
so close to the flesh and bone,
that your skin contracts and your hairs stand up straight?
Was it your breath,
fast and shallow when you read what has been hidden,
showing you are not the only one to think these thoughts,
to feel these desires,
to ask these questions?
Was it your hands,
restless for pen and paper,
twitching and itching until you give in?
Was it the wind that comes down off the mountain?
A whisper from the land you belong to and all its stories?
Was it the sun, stroking your hair with warm fingers
and telling you it remembers the days in the high mountain desert,
the dry, cracked earth,
and the stories you were told there.
Who gave you permission to tell these stories?
Was it the stories themselves,
tucked into the folds of your flesh,
carved into the lines on the back of your hands,
curled tightly into the corners of your heart?
Was it the stories?
Did they come whispering to you, asking:
“Do you remember us too?”