In the desert,
Turn toward emptiness,
Fleeing the self.
Ask no one’s help,
And your being will quiet,
Free from the bondage of things.
Those who cling to the world,
Endeavor to free them;
Those who are free, praise.
Care for the sick,
But live alone,
Happy to drink from the waters of sorrow,
To kindle Love’s fire
With the twigs of a simple life.
Thus you will live in the desert
– Mechthild of Magdeburg
Translated by: Jane Hirshfield:
From: Women in Praise of the Sacred