This is a book of spiritual awakening and unfolding. Each thick glossy page is rich with images of Africa, Hawaii and the natural world. The poetry in the book speaks deeply to me, as in these words from the poem The Entirety and the Particular:
For we are all in this together,
in time and out of time,
blossoming is the birthright of us all.
Or these words from Occupy Your Heart:
Seize your birthright.
Let the occupation begin ...
Occupy your willingness
to never forget
who you really, really are,
Be true to your heart's
But even more than the poetry, it is the story of Gavin Harrison's life that touches me. A journey from South Africa to Hawaii, a journey from chartered accountant to Buddhist monk. A journey that includes living with HIV. In the book, Gavin says: "I will not be defined by this virus. I am greater than the journey I'm about to begin". By sharing his vulnerability with us, the stories in the book show how Gavin has made his life a deeply meaningful one, despite living with HIV since 1982.
Petals and Blood is a legacy of what has meaning for Gavin. He has dedicated the book and donated the proceeds from the sale of the book to Woza Moya Project and the Group of Hope in South Africa. As many of you know, Woza Moya Project is an organization that is close to my heart, and those that purchase the book are helping many of the beautiful young women at Woza Moya seen in this video to fulfill their potential (listen to the words of the song!)
I interviewed Gavin in July, 2013 when he talked to me about what inspired his poetry. He said "Perhaps the poems will raise the bar, opening us to the infinite possibilities we share, in living this very precious and fleeting human life - to live with love, kindness and wakefulness within every corridor of our lives." They certainly inspire me to live each day more fully, and I think you will find the same. I know these words from the poem A New Day certainly make me more mindful of my thoughts and actions.
May your heart release its gift
before thought and self-involvement
the limitless possibilities ahead.
And may this daybreak
unfettered by habit and repetition.
May you follow the thread of Love
winding outward from the silence
of your awakening heart
into the majesty of a world
anticipating your loveliness.
If you want to hear more about Gavin, listen to this November 2013 interview with him by Janet Conner in The Soul-Directed Life.