Poetry/Prose

We Always Find Out

girlwithblackgoggleswithtesttube

I am

Amused

Beyond a PhD in

This thing

Boys

Wishing to be men

Do

Even as

I prepare to retire

I still research

Now and then

Behind goggles

Sometimes surprised

Always amused

And it’s funny

The chemical

Physical

Biological

Types

That we draw

To this lab

To watch

A few words

Some body language

A hypothesis

You think

That we think

It’s real

That we’ll cry

We think different

And we prefer to laugh

We are scientists

We always find out

Read up on things

Exchange research

We all study

We all share

We all talk

We. all. talk.

Observe

Divide

Mimics from real

The tapestry

The venoms

Potent

Impotent

Of wildest dreams

Woven

Specimen after specimen

Slide after slide

Microscopes

Beakers

Bell jars

Tattered radios

In corners of labs

Play music

Sometimes our favorite songs

As we spank our hands together

Wink at each other

Slough off our lab coats

Call it a day

Go out for a drink

Celebrate results

We are scientists

We always find out

Standard
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.

Standard
Poetry/Prose

Breaking Up is a Holy Shit Storm–Invest in Umbrellas!

Image

I’m in the wake of a nasty breakup. Was dumped actually, for the second time in my life … so the ego impact was shatteringly profound–in a much-needed way!

But let me not act too jolly about it. In fact, I was thinking quite black thoughts for long stretches (with much, much easier to die than live kind of themes) and, literally, forcing myself to chew food after two weeks of not eating solids. Slept a whole night through by a month on.

A couple tricks have helped me get back on my feet to the point where thoughts of him are pretty ‘meh’ and my life is now a rediscovered gem. And don’t fool yourself people, when we go through these shit storms, we need tricks! We are going through them because something in our life needs to change, yes. And in order for us to level up from them (like Super Mario does, right?) we need to learn from them; otherwise, when the next shit storm hits, it will be just like this one, and that’s not cool. It should be different! Here are some clues to where those magical red ‘points and extra lives’ mushrooms are along the way, so you can save the Prince/Princess!

•Cut it off, clean. Don’t mess around in ‘did they really mean it?’ ‘is it really over?’ ‘maybe this is a phase’ land … if you have dumped or been dumped, cut it off. Quit messing around with yourself or the other person. Block them on facebook, set a filter on your e-mail so their messages go to trash and delete their number from your cell phone. Do it, trust me. Give yourself a chance to relocate your self, your own life, your values, your rhythms, your goals and what you will and won’t put up with. You’ll be shocked at the diamonds you find, the long lost best friend who is YOU, just waiting for the chance to reconnect. Do it for at least three months, depending on the length of the relationship. Sounds like cold turkey? It is, but just DO IT so it isn’t more messy than the moment already was.

Friends, talk to all of them, all the time, but make sure to vigilantly cut down the drama as the weeks pass AND filter what is coming back to you so it feeds your highest self. You have to talk this bitch of a situation out with people. Talk to anyone who will listen but be sensitive and don’t overtax them. Once you have told the story, listen like a surgeon. Here’s what I mean: If you have been cultivating good friendships until the breakup, you should be in the clear and the people around you will reflect information to you that truly helps you see the big picture. But if you find that even your wisest friends want to help you go to the black-and-white zone about what happened, filter those thoughts carefully. Don’t protest what they are saying. Listen to all of it. But in your mind, start filing that stuff out right instead of eating it whole hog! Most importantly, don’t go into a cave. Get out with friends, straight away and all the time at first. Make sure to talk this out, to as many people as you can. Even people you don’t know well, trust all that much. There are hidden gems in what anyone can say to you, listen up. Filter the crappy ideas from the gemstones though, okay? Filter based on what resonates with the highest version of yourself, the person you want to be next. Because right now, you are broken, and this is a delicate time as version You 2.0 comes together.

•Listen to music that helps you purge the feelings, not deny them. The longer you deny, the longer it will take to come clean from all of this. People think drinking is the only thing toxic in these situations. Well, no. Anything that fosters a sense of denial is toxic because it prevents you from going through the situation. You become like Super Mario but when he is against a wall, jumping up and down, up and down, raising his hand, jumping nowhere. Listen, think, reflect, look at yourself because you are alone and you are all you’ve got at the end of the day. (Yes, talk to friends but you know you are in your bed alone, it’s a fertile time, time to get in good with yourself, come clean, be honest, rebuild.) Seems like it’s taking forever? It will take less time if you go through and not around it!

Here’s a playlist (some super-talented musicians and) I put together, just for you!

•Watch cathartic and funny movies, in rotation. As with all media, moderation is key. This stuff is like drugs, people! Would you sit and watch Kramer vs. Kramer 10 times with your fiance? Okay! Don’t sit and watch confusion and sadness over and over. If you’re going to watch sad ones, make sure there’s a message and some kind of resolution. And then mix funny ones in there, too. This is important–don’t go so high-octane with the media!  Here are a few suggestions:

Swingers: Seems like a big-budget, superficial nightmare, right? It’s not. It’s funny and amazingly poignant!

High Fidelity: Ditto.

Talk to Her: Makes you cry and yet takes you into a bigger picture about life and is an extremely beautiful movie that is far enough removed to help you have an emotional release without worry or new thoughts of doubt.

Puffy Chair: Funny and meaningful.

Bridesmaids: Big budget, but redeemingly so! Hilarious and meaningful.

Painted Veil: Gorgeous, impeccable soundtrack and more meaning with every watch–inspires integrity.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Complicated, dark and very 60s … read between the lines on it, it’s a fast-track to getting over your preconceived notion of what a partner should be and returning to what’s important, being true and standards.

•Read your living ass off while you are still single! Get into the program so you get a PhD in relationships before a rebound strikes and turns into something ugly and longer than it needs to be! Here are a few gems:

Anything on Tricycle.com: The link is to the search results for relationships; however, any Buddhist thinking helps.

Anything on Elephant Journal: If you are not subscribed, it’s cheap and worth it. If you can write, contribute a piece about how you survived, with their help, linking to all the gold nuggets you found!

The Four Agreements: This one is a given. It’s a practical guide to what you’ve been doing so far and how to make straightforward changes in life.

Tao Te Ching: Stephen Mitchell translation is the only one I will ever recommend.

He’s Just Not That Into You: Read the ‘look inside this book’ excerpts and you’ll get a good start. These two are geniuses.

It’s Just a Date!: Ditto. This one is a test of your sobriety and kind of like the magic whistle in Mario Brothers 3, the one that takes you from level 2 to level 8. You didn’t know about that one? Ups … well, now you do!

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: Ideal for ladies, good for either sex; filter this one though, use your judgement … it’s a bit of a rough roadmap but there are gems in it.

•Fall in Love with Yourself! This is your chance. You are broken in a million pieces and this is the chance to reconstruct. Some days you’ll need to take a break from it and just slump around but see this situation for what it is, the zero point. It does suck, yes, every minute at first. But trust me, you will live. You will get through it. Try as soon as you can, though, to commit to the process. Try not to rush the healing after the scab has formed. Instead, take pleasure putting the vitamin E and creams on it, in caring for it and watching it heal and fade with each passing day. Every day, feed yourself good stuff. Read those books. Listen to those songs. Watch those movies. Not necessarily the ones I’ve recommended, but make sure that they are ones that help you build the latest, greatest and leveled-up version of yourself!

Participate in Karma. In the end, part of this process is a karmic one. When you go through this, the most rewarding part is sharing what you have learned. This turbo-charges the healing process and knits you firmly into the fabric of people who are living full lives, lives dotted by shit storms! Make sure to be there for friends when they are going through this. If you read this and are not going through this, send it to someone who is!

Love lives. It is always yours, even if you think your ex invented it or that you will never feel it again. It’s up to you to reclaim that love, reinvest in yourself. Be patient–deal with it now and get sober so you can level up!

Standard