Poetry/Prose

Great Glass Walls

Image credit: Mine, Beijing 2010

Image credit: Mine, Beijing 2010

Dear Anonymous,

I tried to write a note to you today but when I was about to send it, I thought of all the synapses that would fire in your brain and cause you to respond in the way that you would, because you think the things that you naturally do.

And I wondered in that moment, how many people I have loved had wanted to write to me but couldn’t because they knew the same …

… that some strange volition within me would take the purity of their words and feed an ego that just couldn’t know better at that time.

How many?

I wanted to tell you so many details. Things that would get lost on the way to your deeper wisdom. I have tried this before. I know. They will.

So now I will send you nothing at all–something more pure than the ego can touch. Something so subtle it overwhelms the world. Something that will never be said but somehow be known until the moment before we die or almost do–what is real, what is true.

There is no me. And there is no you.

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Poetry/Prose

Now, Decide

photo credit: mine

photo credit: mine

Right now is a live wire.

You may think only something (maybe boring, maybe not, but limited by what you are exposed to) is happening.

When really everything is, now.

From the outside to sit still may seem pointless–but it is in doing this that we boil ourselves down to nothing and feel everything at once.

A massive speck, sitting there.

You might be in a little room with just yourself yet you know a whale is traversing the sea, a baby is being born, someone is digging through garbage, a businessman is clinking a glass over a million-dollar deal and you sit there and just know.

And on and on and on.

It’s electric, and you have so many options, how to perceive, right now.

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Poetry/Prose

Heart + Soul

Me, giving myself a hug, like I do every day.

People practice yoga for many reasons. I am starting to think that mine was so I could give myself a really strong hug, every day.

A draft/scrapped stream of consciousness submission to a love book, which runs from grounded factual almost-narrative to ethereal, philosophical mumbo-jambalaya (I submitted another piece so just share this one in case anyone likes it–it’s a “true” story).

I guess if I were to sum up what I have learned in one sentence, I’d say this: love—I mean really loving—is inherently risky when you think of yourself as separate from its bounds (but my point with this piece is to argue with great gusto that you are NOT). There are so many other things you can say like “yeah, but there’s always another chance at love,” etc. But I want to focus on the perception of risk.

I want to drill deeply into the idea of risk, because it is by doing this that I feel I have learned to love more deeply than I ever thought possible. I have learned to move–or rather dig, like one would try to dig a tunnel through the Earth herself and emerge on the other side to, surrender, lie down and look up at the stars–through the risky stage into the more mature stage of embodying love more fully than ever.

These days, love, to me is not even a contract. It is a purpose and an impulse that is a highest birthright, a deepest refuge and an unlimited source of courage and power.

(One quick aside: meditation has been the key to me discovering and focusing on the concept of risk as a critical key to loving more freely and deeply. Sitting still on a regular basis kinda makes you brave like that.)

My story is grounded in the fact that about 12 years ago I left the comforts of my own culture to date, marry, divorce and again continuously date and have relationships with men from countries and customs quite different than my own. People ask why I have trouble going back to American men and I will say this: once a man from another culture stretches your perception of the way love can be, you have trouble going back to a more predictable pattern.

After my first breakup with a Turkish man, I was completely devastated. The idea of finding something like that seemed preposterous. So I lost hope. I met another Turkish man after that who showed a tendency to commit so, in one unconscious, default, fearful-foul swoop, I married him when he asked.

I loved him, but not in a way that was risky.

Not in a way where I felt I had something really to lose. He’d never leave me. Not because I was me, but because he was dogmatically locked in somehow. Marriage was more important as a container than as an experience and a daily stream of choices toward intimacy, organic behavior and interpersonal evolution vs. guarantees and automatic behavior.

I have not married since.

There was something so settling yet uninspiring about that marriage. We were together three years—two of which were minus any sense of physical passion given that there was only a modicum to begin with.

When I began practicing more yoga and moved us to another country, as a leading spouse with an overseas job, the shifts within me were too great. I realized I was stronger than I ever knew before and gained a sense of the fact that I could survive alone. I broke out of the marriage and into an international scene of men, many of whom were Arabs.

My first experience after divorce was with a Pakistani man, then an Egyptian, then a South African, then an Indian and then, for a year and a half, I settled down with an Iranian professor who specialized in artificial intelligence and natural language processing. We seemingly had a very nice run, but then one day, out of the blue, an expert at studying and testing the real vs. the artificial, he said he couldn’t be with me because I wasn’t Iranian. So many messages we humans make up to say a simple thing: my soul doesn’t run in parallel with yours anymore.

Needless to say the last five years of my life, post marriage and in the thick of dating, have been a character-building exercise. The breakup with the Iranian was especially disillusioning and yet profoundly sobering because he was a) the first person to ever break off a relationship with me and b) he retracted his love–confirming several times that he never meant the words he said every day until that point. The words “I love you,” suddenly became somewhat obsolete in their subjectivity.

Someone could get really jaded by all this–but I found it an opportunity. A chance. To get real.

When I look back, this was a massive turning point in my process to learn how to love more closely to what my ideals of the feeling truly are. The key word being: feeling. Countless memes, books and self-help guides circle back around the concept of loving yourself. But to really get down to this at the experiential level, for some of us, takes going through pain and loss.

These are the only types of experiences that we engage in to understand ever more deeply our ability to survive them. Some people may not engage so fully as try to medicate these sentiments. But when you engage them, when you burrow deeper and deeper into the pitch-black caverns of pain and loss, you start to notice a pattern that the more deeply you loved, the greater the depth inside you reached when these sentiments call you with them.

This is where risk comes in. When it’s real, when it’s deep, you know it can—and will, by death, breakup, circumstance, eventually—be taken from you yet you must proceed. Through the pain, this fact becomes matter, and the experience of your deepest levels come in so handy as anchor points for you moving forward.

Because you know, it’s going to get really dark sometimes, but you also know something more important—you will and do survive. This is the other side of the coin of loving. It’s a coin that is constantly rotating in the air if you can only keep your heart open.

Closing the heart–by either nailing down a relationship that may not be based in love or by avoiding the pain that love promises–will freeze that coin in mid-air. A dullness will take over your life. You will be an observer of love rather than a subject to its whims.

By nature, when you are separate from it, love is totally risky. Deep, true, honest, passionate and vulnerable love carries risk. Yet the fear of losing it is far greater a risk in the end. And even fighting that risk and defeating that fear cannot protect you from the pain of someone leaving your life. Still, what if you could see these situations from a different kind of dimension. A dimension where you are all one in the same and just moving in and out of these mirrored rooms and experiencing all these experiences and losing but gaining before losing again but one is related to the other?

In the end, diving in, pushing against all of your fears, against all the perception of what is gambled, means diving deep. And the deeper you go the closer you are to the wellspring’s source inside–yourself.

Once you get a load of that, it’s like you see this massive light on the ocean bed. Nobody else can see it. Nobody else can reach it. You know it’s your secret. You know it’s inside you. This light. And you just kind of shift.

Voila! Risk no longer applies.

Instead of tightly fisting the good and loving times, obsessing and over-analyzing how you can make them last, you open your hand and let them come and go. You are enough. You are love itself. As is everything else that makes that inspires that love to grow and expand. And as it expands you realize something—that everyone that ever loved you, every love you ever shared, EVERY EXPERIENCE WAS AND IS FROM THE SAME SOURCE. YOU.

This drops your shoulders if you let it. It introduces fear to its dead end, when you remember. If you return to this thought, really let it sink in, you begin to feel the futility of being anything but fear’s opposite: loving.

You are not threatened. You are suddenly operating from a center instead of reacting to external realities. You are highly mobile, never stuck, never trapped, never abandoned. YOU ARE LOVE. And you know how and where to move when you admit this–flow away from what is pain and toward what is joy.

If nobody is around to share it with, you are bathing in it–you find you have so much of it inside. You just do.

It’s time to stop getting so confused and distracted about the source of love–right behind, under, above your nose, 24 hours a day, every day of your life.

Acknowledge and fuse love as it is: the gift of life itself, coursing through you, offering you constantly a breath, a view, a sound, a taste of it. Poised and held surely at the very breast of life itself, you are life’s baby: alive, tended to, and if you should be open to it, loved.

Sometimes I drink my smoothie in the morning and imagine I am at the breast of the universe. Isn’t that weird? Well. It’s true and it makes me happy.

You woke up, you can read this, you have food to eat, you can interpret this with electric intelligence–when did you forget this meant that you are always, always, so, well, loved!

And from this place, the love you extend from yourself is like honey from a bee of your mind, flying flower to flower, processing experiences, self assured in its flight, landing, natural, purposeful. Being alive is a calling, and it’s enough.

Stop struggling against it by creating things you want that you don’t have. Just be … just buzz. Love is its own reward, a luxury, a risk, a gain, a loss, until you realize it is actually you. And the fibers of your being begin to insist on this. You start to realize you are gold.

You are pure gold and you deserve to be protected, cared for, respected, alive. Boundaries start forming around this, naturally and cognitively. You start to study, how to care for this love that is yours. You discover things that cause you to move toward or away from others, effortlessly, without a second thought … it doesn’t matter because you are and have enough: love.

And you don’t need to be around people who promise to be the source of that love and can’t. In fact, you just won’t.

Again, risk starts to reduce as a consideration, in a practical sense this time.

Finally, I will say it hurts sometimes. It does. Because, as the adage proclaims, change is the only constant in life. But that feeling you keep trying to avoid happens whether you engage in loving or not. You suffer less to understand how it works–that it is you at its source, that it is inspired and mirrored by others in a magical mix of ways, but to begin with, it’s YOURS.

Today, I have a lot going on in my private life and nothing at all. Depends on the day. Bottom line: I love myself, I integrate everything every lover, every friend, every family member, every ONE gives me that is good for me and throw the rest in the burning garbage can labeled “past tense.”

Risk is an invention of the mind. Love is natural, organic, resourceful–nothing experienced could ever be a net loss.

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

Can You Taste It, Yet?

the_moment_before__by_Pretty_As_A_PicturePeople can complain about it being the cause of all problems.

But frankly, the most annoying thing about ego is that it’s predictable.

Because it uses the moment instead of being in it, it’s really not so super creative.

It’s got a plan, it’s hungry, it wants to feed itself. Period.

If you watch it a while, you will think “why am I watching something not quite as exciting as CSPAN?”

And yet it gets really high ratings and people sacrifice a lot of time for it.

This numbing, predictable affair–with ego.

Watch it long enough and its pattern is clear; you’ll know what happens next.

You think you are doing a different dance, in a different place, at a different time, but when you dance with ego, it’s always the same, predictable gig.

Inside a closed bubble of ambition.

Some needless drama, as pattern overtakes innovation .., inspiring just a touch of insanity, assuaged by activity, producing more of the same.

So how do you get out?

You ask, and even demand to know!

If I’m such a smarty pants, what’s the solution?!

I guess I’m like anyone else, always inclined to engage in this predictable pattern, but awakening to the fact that if I stand away from it a bit, I can turn away from it.

This constant, superficial identity crisis that reinforces itself.

But what do any of us turn toward?

You ask me and I’ll say this:

The moment.

And if you ask me in five minutes, I’ll say the same thing.

Put all your senses on it.

Close your eyes, can you see it?

Close your hands, can you feel it?

Close your mouth, can you taste it, yet?

 

 

 

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Poetry/Prose

Secrets from the Projector Room

Image credit: the-guided-meditation-site.com

Image credit: the-guided-meditation-site.com

If you have read my previous two posts, you may know I invented two souls based on observing perfect strangers in Barcelona (as part of a creativity workshop there).

The final related assignment was to imagine what secrets they would tell each other,* as follows:

From the Tattooed “Tough Guy” to the Servant

“What you are doing is fine, so much as you are 100 percent sure that it’s your destiny. If there is any doubt inside you, listen to it.

“Respond to it, and let life into your experience. If a life this way is deeply satisfying and enough, stay in your way, in your occupation … upon that line of railroad tracks.

“Enjoy life–enjoy leading your life. Take pride in yourself, and remember you have nothing to prove.

“Finally, whoever he or she is, makes sure that they love you, I mean really love you.”

From the Servant to the Tattooed Man

“Sir, if I may suggest, find contentment inside your every action. Find reassurance in the path you are upon. Explore the possibility of life being a vast, wide, deep stream.

“Understand that whatever you do is as essential as the Sun is to the Solar System and at the same time as insignificant as the stranger I have never met.

“Embrace this paradox.”

 

*I can see through this exercise the power of projection. Not knowing these people, I have imagined their souls based on my own perspective. Therefore, I could only be projecting things inside myself onto them. All of these thoughts are therefore from my own closet–past lives, imaginations, dreams, impressions, my own unconscious attic!

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Poetry/Prose

Older Than Time (another workshop soul sketch)

spanish-restaurant-waiter-small-80469

Image credit: coloribus.com “waiter”/light editing: me

Here is another soul sketch, of a perfect stranger I chose in Barcelona during a recent creativity workshop. He was a busboy/waiter at our hotel.

I am of service, and so I am invisible.

I am of service, and so I can fly.

I am of service, and so I am private.

Few people see me beyond what I do.

Anyone is invited.

No one is expected.

Continuous presence.

Checked self importance.

A dance among the collective.

I am a monk in common disguise.

*His age so young (maybe 16), his soul so old and his energy so selfless, I dared not take a picture and degrade the honor of such a rare human! Thus, the photo is not mine but it seems my subject would age into someone like the man pictured–and bullfighting is now banned in Catalunya (yaaay!) so this is how that graceful DNA might be channeled.

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Poetry/Prose

Inventing a Stranger (two assignments)

During a creativity workshop I recently attended, we were instructed to study a stranger at a cafe or restaurant. Here is mine:

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Image/editing credit: mine; subject at a favorite spot in Barcelona

Exercise 1: We were to look at our subject and imagine their body telling us a brief story about itself, as follows:

There was a time when I was very naive. The world was soft, and not much penetrated my skin. But then it all started. A fall down the stairs here, a trip along the sidewalk there … a food allergy, a motorcycle accident, a half-dozen surgeries.

There was a time when I didn’t understand the importance of all of my parts. Now, I do.

Exercise 2: We then were to invent a soul for this person, and give it a voice, as follows:

I’m a tender, open guy. But as you can imagine, life isn’t always so keen on my type. Even of women, it demands toughness–a ‘get over it’ kind of mentality.

I was a loner at school … luckily, I was not really hankering to integrate with other boys. Girls, on the other hand, always seemed to want to integrate with me.

Indeed, in many cases, what many men begged to have, for me came very easily.

Still, as I aged, I wanted to know what this tough guy gig was all about. I wanted to test myself, my masculine side. So I bought a motorcycle. It was love at first ride … a love that lasted, as many stories go, until I found myself flying 10 feet in the air, landing on my head.

Six surgeries and unspeakable bouts of pain later, I understood why cyclers were considered tough–the types who fought many battles in past lives.

I also knew I wasn’t one of them.

I must have been a scribe or horse tender. But I was hardly–at least in recent past incarnations–a man on a sword-based mission.

Nevertheless, I still needed to feel protected and strong inside myself, so I got into tattoos–designs with a bit of simple class and enough weight to say “keep out unless invited,” i.e., “no trespassing.”

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