Mindfulness Poems: “We Are a River”

For me, reading a poem is a way for my thinking brain to pause and to shift to being in this moment.  Present moment awareness gets hi-jacked in trauma and stress. And yet we reclaim our inherent capacity to be present by practicing. A project called “A Year of being Here. daily mindfulness poetry by wordsmiths of the here & now” publishes beautiful  poems everyday that help us shift our awareness. Check out  and subscribe to the collection which is curated by Phyllis Cole-dai at mindfulness poems.


Cataract Falls on Mount Tamalpais

Our life has not been an ascent
up one side of a mountain and down the other.
We did not reach a peak,
only to decline and die.
We have been as drops of water,
born in the ocean and sprinkled on the earth
in a gentle rain.
We became a spring,
and then a stream,
and finally a river flowing deeper and stronger,
nourishing all it touches
as it nears its home once again.


Don’t accept the modern myths of aging.
You are not declining.
You are not fading away into uselessness.
You are a sage,
a river at its deepest
and most nourishing.
Sit by a river bank some time
and watch attentively as the river
tells you of your life.

“We Are a River,” from The Sage’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for the Second Half of Life, William Martin’s free-verse interpretation of the classic work by Lao Tzu (The Experiment, 2010).