Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

A Deeper Love

blue-labradoriteYesterday, a colleague asked me:

“How did you come to love yourself?”

I sat for a second and then said something almost exactly like this:

Well, that’s something that I’m still working on, but it’s an interesting question and forces me to think.

I guess what I know for certain is that I didn’t start loving myself or even know how until a couple of years ago when somebody I loved dumped me.

And I stopped eating. And I stopped sleeping. And I was completely lost.

And then one day–as bizarre as this might sound–I was in Yoga practice, and I was on my stomach, with my forehead on my mat. And I was getting ready to do a pose in a series, and I closed my eyes, and I knew at that point in time that I was at the lowest point in the deepest part of the ocean.

This was a place that I didn’t know how to get to in my imagination previously–didn’t even know I could go there. So the pain forced me into that place, and I saw a light there.

I saw a really, beautiful, white, opalescent light. Something soft–not glaring or beating you over the head–just inviting and bright.

And I knew that was me. That light.

This light.

And I knew two practical things as well in that moment. I knew that from that point I could only go up. And I also knew that I was, I am, I always will be fundamentally alone.

So those two things really catalyzed me loving myself, because I started to work my way back up, alone. Rebuilding, gradually, my emotional life, from almost a scratch-point, but a deep point.

Because that deep place was mine and mine alone, I realized that it doesn’t matter if someone despises me, says mean things or nice things; it doesn’t matter if anyone praises me.

While those things do affect me somewhat, they’re never going to be deeply hurtful or satisfying because they can’t touch that deep point–i.e., I tend to operate out of that point now, so those things don’t really have as much of an impact.

So I started building out from that point, what I have come to define love as.

Love is a matter of staying.

In times of big stress, and even in the smallest instances, I have learned to stay with myself. This is instead of how I used to operate: every time I was ashamed, embarrassed, anything, I’d just assume myself unworthy of even my own support and love. I would beat myself up and abandon myself in a way.

Now, I’ve worked my way up to staying with myself about 85 percent of the time, and that number is growing. I have a new self talk, and through being awake in a bunch of situations, my system is improving–the holes in it, that used to let my love out to people I put above me for whatever imaginary reasons–mostly repaired.

Sure, I listen to people, because that’s good for me, and I can make my own decisions about what they say.

The point is, I come first. It starts with me. Everything, since that day two years ago, became more and more for me. And it’s not as if I’m acting selfishly at all. I love to serve people and do things for people because delighting others makes me feel happy and joyful and connected and satisfied. But honestly, I don’t do those things for them as much as for me–because if I did these things for them, I’d always be disappointed and misappropriating expectations.

Everything over the last two years has been part of a construction project, resulting in increasingly loving myself.




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!

Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

Have I Grown Up Yet? (this is not a poem!)

Image credit: mine

Image credit: mine

I would be lying to say that the past couple weeks were not a washing machine of “didn’t I already pass this test?!” and “are you f&^%$ kidding me, universe?!” moments.

And yet, I prayed–through the shadows cast continuously by this series of personal retrogrades–that there was indeed a reason for all of it. Strangely, situations that were familiar and disturbing at the outset saw unfamiliar resolutions based on a new level of clarity. Something I played a lot of life, hard, to win. And as the days have passed since a lot of the storm settled, I am starting to get it. There’s always a delay–always!

In plain English: I went through a bunch of shit that I had been through a long time ago, in very abbreviated ways, so that I could ensure that the situations ended totally differently based on the level of maturity I have attained.

Like most westerners I know, I need some kind of definition or reason–as dumb as that sounds considering my size and life’s importance in the grand scheme of things–and so if I must have this I would preliminarily say that all this bullshit lately is to show me that indeed I have grown up.

I mean “the proof,” the universe seems to say, verbatim, “is in the fact that you are going through the same scenarios but the endings are better: more about a long-term solution and a win-win scenario.”

Me: Am I growing up? Am I? Have I changed? Why do you want me to go through these dumb things?

Universe: How the heck would you know without a repeat of stuff you went through 20 years ago, in extreme fast-forward motion, with a completely different resolution and very little reaction on your part while it all went down?!

Me: Ooooh … yeah; I guess you’re right. (laughing)


Sheet Music (stream of consciousness)

In the West, all notes must resolve by the end of the piece—what goes up must come down and must be justified by a partner note that balances it, somewhere, even miles ahead, in the movement. Perhaps this is the case in Eastern music as well, but the way of achieving this for both ‘ends’ of the Earth is radically different.

In the end, our life is but a single symphony, among many. Reborn into different initial notes, we must resolve, again and again, what we embody different recognizable shapes of flesh, bone and nerve to do.

When the last note is played, the book is set down, and another is lifted to the pedestal. We will do it all again, starting on a different note, in a different hall, in a different city, with a different crowd. Again.

I don’t care anymore who says we are living just one life and going to heaven or hell—it is clear to me that we create these things on Earth anyway. And we must soon all take responsibility for our part in their manifestation!

You are in the midst of this particular life. Your eyeballs reading this screen here in this patch of time, before you see it on glasses, and then contact lenses, and then through a chip in your brain and then not at all because you just know it because you are a cave person in an unsettled land on a newborn habitable planet, and on and on the future unfolds and unwraps beyond our imaginations.

You see anyway, when you realize this life is but one of yours, that the smaller few-day spans of time, that used to cause us such agony in unknowing and anxiety in the unforeseeable, become way more bearable, even laughable. Detaching just enough, we see how life rolls. Yet this will never preclude the stark reality that we must get in there–lest we be thrown in– to role around with it too … we are part of the orchestra after all. We cannot escape, or we will be politely yet firmly invited to face, again, those parts of the music.

When we loosen our bow ties or exchange our heals for soft soles–walk swiftly to the parking lot with instruments slung over our shoulders–what do we feel following behind us? What is our legacy? Even through perfect execution of notes, we created some drama—and we are left with the residual. It accompanies many of us to bed. It greets just as many first thing in the morning. This symphony. This melodrama.

And in the end, who the heck cares what any of it means so much as how you behaved?! Were you giving props to the guy on the tuba? Did you work with the first-seat violinist? Did you see your role within all of it? Try to expand it? Max out your power to add value? Or did you fight and yearn to break out of it? Did you play your part, let others play theirs? Did you feel the applause deeply and take it on as yours? Did you let the glory live in your heart and the modesty sit in your mind—the knowledge always that you were just practicing, like any other day … that you are always just practicing?

Did you see the times you want to repeat again, make just a bit better, just a bit sweeter, just a bit more true to the moment, and eventually more … heavenly?

Because without your decisions, it’s only sheet music.

Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

You Know You Never Know but I Know You Do

Krishna_ArjunaSo many people like to say “you never know”

Really? Never?

Somebody must know something–I mean how the hell else did we get here?

Today I realized that there is this massive matrix

People of all different shapes, sizes, colors, inclinations, histories, karmas

When I notice myself, I realize something

I realize that I am exactly the way I am supposed to be for my soul to accomplish its purpose




•Hair color



•Achilles heals












•Clown-around smile


•Whispering to the light when I am not crying out loud

Humans, we have this ability to think about ourselves

To doubt ourselves

To compare ourselves, perpetuate suffering

To fight the flow of what we were born into

Think about it

Think about yourself

This is your outfit, right here

These are your surroundings, right now

These are the thoughts you think

For the reasons you do

For the chance to drop or embrace them

Feeding on feelings, right or wrong

We were all born into a bed

We all sleep once in a while

Everyone does

Everyone dreams against their will now and then, if not more often

When we wake up, we start thinking

Inspired by doubt, we wonder: are we somehow not the way we are supposed to be to get where we are supposed to go?

Are we late for a big party where we finally accept ourselves?

Many of our actions spring from this doubt as well

But really, come on, there are so many ways to be and yet we are truly, exactly how we are supposed to be!

We didn’t invent ourselves, now did we?

What’s all this perverse behavior about?

“You never know,” you say?

Well somebody must, somebody must … and sometimes I really do, and so do you


Yoga & Spiritual

Your Guru, Your Gita~transcript excerpt from Krishna Das workshop, April 25, 2014

Krishna revealing his infinite power to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita

Krishna revealing his infinite power to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita

Krishna Das [KD]: All we do is think about ourselves, all the time.

If we thought about other people one millionth of the time, we’d probably …

… if we could treat other people, the way we want to be treated, we wouldn’t have a problem in the world.

So love is the Guru, real love is the Guru.

When we are not thinking about ourselves all of the time, we might notice that we can feel that love. But if we are only thinking about ourselves all day long, there’s no space for love to shine in. So somehow we have to calm those thoughts.

So what we do when we practice [mindfulness/kirtan/meditation], you know, we’re trying to catch raindrops. You can’t catch raindrops like this [turns palms down]. You catch raindrops like this [presses sides of palms together with them facing up], you can like this.

So after a while, you get some water here.

Audience Member: I guess I ask the question because I’ve heard it said that you have many teachers, but in the physical form you have one Guru … and not two, and that’s why I’m asking your specific take on that. Just curious.

KD: Well, I’ve met Babas who have consciously taken new bodies. One Baba I knew left the body when he was 250 years old. Didn’t mean that his physical body was 250 years old–that was his third body. He consciously went into … he was born, reached a certain stage, wanted to finish his work so he needed a new body, did it again, three times. He died in ’89 …

So if they can do that they can do anything. They can take a body right in front of you right now if that’s what you need. Do you understand? A real Guru has one motive only: connection. They don’t need anything. They don’t want anything. They’re only available for us when that’s what we need, when that’s going to be the best thing for us. And it’s not about physical time.

… For a being like that there is no physical. But for us there’s physical. And the idea is you have one Guru, that’s the idea. But the physical part is a misunderstanding. That Guru can come to you in every form, every shape. A bird. A dog. All these …