Poetry/Prose

From Now On

Photo credit: Mine

Photo credit: Mine “Red Woman” (Salvador Dali’s house in Figueres, Spain, holds this, one of his works)

(This is from a writing prompt, issued through the Write Yourself Alive workshop I am participating in this month–today we were instructed to write a poem without punctuation, then take the words and punctuate them–I have always found the enter key a statement in itself.)

Just give me a chance

to feel you might

lose myself

in your voice

and the workings

of that windmill

channeling air

into water

that drips

into shadowy cracks

of dry bread soils

my soylent green

it’s made out of people

Charlton Heston said

to a wave of high-minded

stoned

seventies fans … of cinema?

back in time

when it wasn’t so good

but now we see

what it was worth

and the sublime

curls its fingers

around now

as I turn again to you

ask if you are ready

for an adventure

of such proportion

that nobody would believe it

if we told them

and we mayn’t even believe

when it starts

so hold onto your hat, they say

if you are, indeed

ready

or not

here I can’t turn away

not just yet

because we need time

to taste this, don’t we

feel it suck away the past

and blow it out the other end

as a field

of frosting-colored flowers

that taste to the eyes

like the childhood sweets

that drove our obsessions

yet nourish our soul

like that last bite of food

our mother murmured

a wish for us to finish

this could be

an endless stream of reasons

that cools every passion

washing life’s driftwood to shore

to start fires that burn

in sequence

forever

this is not an invitation from me

it springs from life itself

and I just can’t hold it back

this advertisement

because we may have always known

every day of disappointment

or a triumph

in those moments

when we would be walking

pause

and scream in silence

“where are you for gods’ sake!”

and whisper

“where are you”

and whimper

sometimes through tears

“where are you”

the one who seeded this desire in us

and made us crazy with a hunger

and rarely panic

that we may not find us

in this lifetime

before peace

in knowing

we would be worth waiting for

a million lifetimes to find

and if this life is just a spec

let us polish our journeys

to recognize each other

someday

so you, here, now

just let me know if …

and maybe

just give me a chance to lose myself

if you did

in fact

I would have to say

next to nothing

from now on

next to nothing

from now on

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Poetry/Prose

The Friendship Game

Image courtesy: animecourtyard.com

Image courtesy: animecourtyard.com

Level one

I tell you a secret truth

Your inner judge stays asleep

We go to the next level 

Drilling down to deeper truth

Rising up to greater comfort

When the judge wakes up

Turns its blind eyes

Perks up its blocked ears

Swings its leaden tentacles

The game will end

Many people will play

And few people will capture the princess!

Bonus! Friendship game soundtrack:

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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

You Would Have Been Lions

photo credit: mine

photo credit: mine


Cubs

What can I say?

When I can’t lick you

I know

You would have been lions

My mind is part of nature herself

All twisted and dressed

In cement

And male ambition

My mind is part of that nature too

And it got made up

Still, I want to lick you

Cubs

Both of you

You are still here

You would have been here

You will be here

And yet

You would have been lions

Cubs

Everywhere

Every moment

Every chance

I think of you

You are still here

You would have been here

You will be here

And when you are

I will never let you out of my life

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Poetry/Prose

Lucid Dreams of Liberty

Tycho Dive Album Art

Tycho Dive Album Art

This might sound weird to some people, but I like going through things–all kinds of things.

Every day I say thank you for this life and EVERYTHING; every, little, thing, feeling, neurosis, worry, joy, happy memory, exciting upcoming event, strand of love extending over oceans, unresolved regret, etc., etc., infinity.

It’s all invited, it’s all at the table.

And I cherish all of it for a few minutes a day, because it’s my process, all of it.

Yes, I like going through things–not around them, not avoiding them, not locking them away.

And I like when my friends, life coach, healers and family call me out to help me do this … to help me see what’s what, what is a load of crap worth no attention whatsoever and what is worth concentrating on.

This process is like turning the light on in the attic of life.

Taking time; sifting, sifting, really looking at stuff.

Deciding what is useless and throwing it away.

Keeping what is useful and integrating it into my person.

Otherwise, all that crap we don’t look at, sort through, really attend to, sits in unlabelled boxes, lives up there, mixed, acting out, through us, unconsciously.

I want to know all the things in all the boxes, where they are.

I want to clean them.

Sort them.

Find the gold that the experiences left me, throw away the load of crap ego-bate it was buried in.

If I really want to help others in the future, I have to look through this stuff closely, consciously decide I don’t need the ego-drama ride, consciously throw it away.

With every box unpacked, I come out in a more meaningful place, with more people to relate to, more deeply.

People I can look at and say “hey, I see you there, I know where you are.”

This way, I can meet more people, feel more life, experience more connection, less judgement, more clean, motive-free Love, less fear, anywhere, anytime, with anyone.

This way, I am truly free.

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Poetry/Prose

Never Hide, Except

Pasha

Pasha

This morning, in my quite-minimal apartment, Pasha found a new hiding place. I looked everywhere, walked around calmly, calling his name.

Have grown too old to panic when I lose connections, or beings in my life, or things anymore, but a numbness takes over as I search and search in vain. Indeed, I looked (seemingly) EVERYWHERE for him.

I knelt on the carpet, thinking of him, all he means to me. Wondering if somehow he had flown away–or if this was when aliens would finally be discovered!

Knowing he was somewhere but where? Left there alone only to be quiet and think.

Space and time have a reason: I thought of his essence, the highlight/lowlight times we had shared in silence, completely merged in the moment, resting in satisfaction. His playfulness. All his good qualities. A person and a cat–boiling life down to what matters.

Then I walked past the bathroom and remembered one, last possible (and of course weird) place. And he was there. It wasn’t like in the movies–no music to herald our reunion or sappy “Oh my God I thought I lost you!”s

Nah. I just looked at him, touched his offered, and slightly portly belly and my whole body relaxed. It doesn’t have to be dramatic to be real.

And there were a couple insights I thought worth sharing: Cats (to those who love them) are master teachers.

I.e., Everyone needs to hide away at times, to go where nobody could possibly find them, at least for a little bit of time, to go inside themselves to a treasure chest of pure energy, life force (prana/breath) that is theirs alone, so they can slo-mo set foot on their birthright trampoline bounce … and this helps those around them, too, to recognize them, make sense of them, because the fastest way I have experienced to be deeply recognized (if there was anything for someone to recognize at all) is to vanish.

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Poetry/Prose

Fists are for Fighting

hand-tattoo-tnKeep your hands open!

It comes

That thing you want so bad

And all you want to do is curl your fist around it

But then it changes

Gets crushed

Resents the journey it took

To reach you

And all it wants

All anything wants

Is to be free

When it escapes

It has memorized that terror

It will not return

So keep your hands open

Through everything

Keep them open

When it comes

Whatever it is

Whoever it is

Whenever it is

Keep ‘em open

Observe

Don’t shoot it

Don’t trap it

Don’t catch it

Become one with it

Appreciate it

Support it

Wish it well

When it goes

Keep OPEN

Because that’s the only way

Anything good

Will ever get in

And anything past its use

For your living soul

Will escape

The end

Is the beginning

Make it end good

Like Seinfeld

Most of all remember:

The fist begins in the mind

Train the mind

When the bird of love lands

To keep open

Smile so deeply inside

Without disturbing the winged one’s nature

As you support it

In your open wide hand

One day, the bird will land that wants to call your hand home

Before you realize it

Your open hand will be covered in straw

Baby birds warming themselves atop it, chirping

And on that day, you will feel

You never had to make a fist

You never had to do anything

To enjoy the natural splendor

Of love’s most natural flight

And necessary landing

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Art, Music/Book Reviews, Poetry/Prose

Start Again

Whatever it is. Whatever it was. It’s gone.

No pact or promise can hold it in place.

Not because you don’t deserve it, but because it’s always changing.

Appreciate it and let it go.

It will surely fly back to you if it wants to do–or into the sky, carrying a part of you to timeless heaven.

Eternally impressed–its memory will shift around your actions and change their meaning every day.

The minds-eye mirrorball–shifting light of reason as the hours, days, years, lifetimes pass.

We live in so many dimensions.

Let go and see it.

Let go and live into your next one.

Every day.

Look in the mirror first.

Say it to yourself first.

Start again.

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

2014 (I Have Learned)

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 9.45.10 PM

And if you did not care deeply for me

In moments when I needed you most

Indeed you helped me find

The deepest place within

From where these calls for care rose

From here

I see now

I needed you

To help me find it

And when I saw it

The anchor dropped

The sand settled

Softly, perfectly

Around and around

My own limitations

And those of others

Now all I have to do

Is feel the current rock me

For I am always tied

To myself, most deeply

This sea is mine

And the sky is now the limit

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Poetry/Prose

Because Sugar is Sweet

Image courtesy: rarityguide.com

Image courtesy: rarityguide.com

We all have to let go

Of our religion

Someday

 

The candyland that bred us

Birthed and licked us

With its sugary tongue

Must melt

 

The way we thought we dreamed

Must succumb

To a bigger fantasy

 

When I say I’m happy to see you

I tell the truth

 

When you ask me if I love you

I go silent

Not because I don’t know

But because I know

And so do you

 

It’s so much bigger than that

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Poetry/Prose

Atticus

The matter–what’s … the matter?

Can’t you see?

 

The light

Holds a candle

Deep

Deep

Where bottom-feeding

Fish gaze down

But cannot see

 

Even in the waves

I will escape

Tie a weight to my ankle

And wave to anyone

See you later

 

What you think is light

Happiness

A smile

A declaration

 

What you think

Is true

Is truly

Truly

Only ever

An act

 

A surfer

Depending on waves

Designed to end

And begin

And end

 

The sunshine

A light

Designed to set

And rise

And set

 

But down here

Way down here

There is a light

That holds a candle

Deep

Deep

Where bottom-feeding

Fish gaze down

But cannot see

 

And that dot

Shrinking swiftly

As you rest on that board

Soak in the day

Push away its inevitable end

Is me

 

 

 

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Poetry/Prose, Yoga & Spiritual

Is it … Desire?

My cat, Pasha--image and editing: mine

My cat, Pasha–image and editing: mine

Was looking at my cat’s fur, as I do often

How perfectly it grows

Most people think about how annoying its shedding is

I guess I like to think of how it grows

Where it comes from

 

There’s something so elegant about cats

Inspiring if you watch them

The way they move

Their very structure

Springy joints

Powerful, understated muscles

This fur

The way it lines his face

The tiny, short hairs growing along his nose

 

And I wonder and wonder

What makes this fur grow?

What holds all of the cells of his fur together?

What commands the molecules that join to make the cells?

What?

 

Those molecules, those atoms, they can do whatever they want

But something commands them, to become, his fur

 

And then I start to think, about everything, this way

What holds anything together?

Is it …

 

What if it was, desire

What if I sit here and type

Because of desire?

 

The two cells that started what I am

They were held together by something

Their molecules

 

The molecules, the atoms

That could be doing whatever they want

Somehow, they come together

To do something very specific

 

Scientists will laugh at me now

DNA child, it’s DNA

But with this mind of a child

I will continue ceaselessly

As if it were a matter of my favorite toy

On the shelf

 

The answers

Like that toy

Will never satisfy

As much as inspire

More and more

Questions

More and more looking

At more and more toys

More and more answers

That never complete

This … desire?

 

I’m going to keep on asking

Like the scientists do, too

Because maybe I’m not just a child

Maybe I am one of them

Maybe we all can be

 

What brings that DNA together?

What commands those molecules?

What is it?

 

Look at anything around you

Ask yourself–what is it?

 

Whatever it is, you are a product of it

So am I

 

And if it’s desire, shouldn’t we tune into it?

I mean, if you do something you don’t desire

Aren’t you going against it?

 

If two people don’t share a desire

It is incomplete

Nothing will hold together

It will break apart

 

If someone stalks you

You will ask the police to come

You will tell the person to fuck off

A million times

Even if their molecules

Construct an ego

That won’t listen

 

You are part of this desire matrix

Telling molecules what to do

Your molecules

Someone else’s

 

The configuration we are discussing now

My fingers and your mind

As you read this

There is a command of molecules, atoms

 

The electric attention of your mind

If a video can travel over invisible space and time

To reach your phone

Why can’t desire bring this message to your mind?

And your mind to draw its own conclusions?

 

I’m not convinced

Never convinced

And if you read my stuff you know

I don’t believe anything

So that I can study everything

 

And today, I wonder

 

What is it?

Is it … desire?

 

 

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Poetry/Prose, Sugar Free, Yoga & Spiritual

Please Don’t Forget

There will be people in your life who love you in a way that sends you on a quest to find your very self.

Because they’ve found you worth so much of their time and all their customized attention.

And you wondered why, you wanted to know why … so you began to dig.

And then you started to discover why, why you were worth the time and have always been worth the time.

Sometimes we forget, until we remember those people.

Even if they are not around us.

Even if quite the opposite sentiments may sometimes surround us and fill us.

It is our duty to remember.

What they took us by the hand, led us to the doorway to ourselves, to find.

They would never want us to forget.

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Poetry/Prose

What’s the Matter, Superstar?

Oh little-big boys

I finally get it

That’s what draws me

More than anything

Your effect

On my imagination

You make me see

It’s good

Not to matter

To someone who matters

Once in a while

Your indifference

Pushes me down

And the question rises

So we meet in the middle

Egg and sperm

The sweet supernova

Before the zygote

It breakdances in front of me

Grabs me by the collar

Pulls my hair

Aw come on

Give me a break!

Aren’t I down enough?

It gets pissed off

Slaps me across the face

For the love of my life

I open my eyes

Look around

So what!

I don’t matter to you

But do I matter to myself

Thanks for the reminder

Zeus and Co.

Another star in the sky

Somehow it just grows louder

And louder

Like my cries must have

On the first days of my life

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Poetry/Prose

I Don’t Want Anymore

Image credit: Panoramio "a moment of perfect contentment"

Image credit: Panoramio “a moment of perfect contentment”

It’s just that …

What I always thought I wanted

Still wants me to want it

And I don’t

I just don’t anymore

 

One day

Sometime after I was born

I caught a glimpse of it

Started following it around

 

It took me to many places

Showed me stuff

What I was studying

Was something that never ends

 

But not in a poetic way

More like a dull, repeating way

Not even like waves

Because waves are interesting

 

No

Wanting is more like a factory line

Like a big hamster wheel

Based on past constructions

That strangle the future

Time’s ticking hand, stuck

 

It’s the fragmented offshoot

Of desire

A bug in a program

A cranky robot baby

 

Wanting

 

In that space

Where want was

I grip the moments

And they feel me up

 

Penetrate

So I know where I am

Not where I was

Not where I’m going

 

Where I am

Time moves

It’s a river

 

At nights, after nights

I do drive home alone

But I don’t flinch at the cars

Even the big ones

No matter what they do

Even when they nip my mirror

In this silly town

Anymore

 

Free from all this want

Free from all the weight

Of that silly, silly want

That still wants me to want it

 

You may ask:

What to do if not to want?

 

Pardon me if I offend your wants, but how about let’s just live to the max and see what happens?!

 

Because

I don’t want

I just don’t want anymore

 

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Poetry/Prose, Sugar Free

Happy Endings

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Usually I need music to write

But I sit in silence tonight

Because something has been pulling me

Like thread

Finally, through the eye of a needle

Just noticed now

After 30-odd years

 

Like an eight year-old girl

Tugging on the hand of a woman almost 40

Tugging her through scenarios

She thought the gods wanted

Tugging and tugging

 

Year after year

And she thought she was older

Past all that

Just living like people do

With ups and downs

And downs and downs

And stories and fodder

For blogs and books

 

Tonight she discovered

This tugging child

Some weird flinch

In her hand

That words in a book

Drew her eyes finally

To look down

In one breathtaking moment

To see

That little fist

Strangling her fingers

 

Yes, tonight was the night

After a particular series of events

That seemed loving

Could have been more loving

Found me in the bathtub

Looking up from a book

Weaving words

Through my mind’s voice

Running films of the past

‘Or my mind’s eyes

 

Dumbfounded

Aware

The girl was right there

Always has been

Tugging at me

Only now

Looking at me

 

Like thousands of yesterdays ago

Playing out

That kermit the frog sweatshirt

Anemic face

Blue, penetrating eyes

Nerves like a rabbit

Distracted, wild

Lost, somehow

Yet stunningly lucid

 

Her hunger for love palpable

Her attention

A warm breeze of empathy

With survival-grade hooks

Save me

She could have said

 

Instead, she smiled

Looking down at an angle

Nowhere

 

Her fist squeezing tighter

Around my hand

 

I wiped my eyes

Collected myself

Asked her some questions

Began to weep some more

 

Oh, you only have two pairs of pants?

She looked down regretting her penchant for truth

 

Who are your friends here?

Well why don’t they talk to you?

What do your parents do?

Oh.

 

All I want to do is adopt her

Tell her I have nice clothes for her

That we can talk every day

When she gets home from school

 

I will make her snacks

She doesn’t have to wait until dinner

Fight over fish sticks

Tuck her importance deeper

Every night

Into her pajama pockets

 

Everybody did their best

It’s not about them, anymore

It’s about us

Now it’s our turn

 

Lucky for her

She has no choice

And neither do I

 

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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.

 

 

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Poetry/Prose

The New Dementia (SOC reflections on time with grandma)

Grandma finishing a puzzle of my sister and I on an iPad (Image/editing credit: mine)

Grandma finishing a puzzle of my sister and I on an iPad (Image/editing credit: mine)

Last night

We sliced through darkness

*

Turned on hairpins

Of winding roads

*

Where headlights end

Imagination begins

*

A lone car on the highway

Gliding over bluffs

Between two tiny towns

*

It’s 55–she announced

Bundled in a blanket

Sitting soft, still

A mother hen

*

How dare I argue

With 93 years

Of grandma

*

How dare I do anything

But dance

With her dementia

*

“Where is Jennifer?”

With Connie

“Where are you staying?”

Cedarberry

“Have you seen your dad yet?”

We just had dinner with him–remember?

“Where are you staying?”

Cedarberry

“Oh … that’s nice.”

*

*Smile,* repeat
Not exactly

*

“Where’s Jennifer?!”

 With Connie

*

Meantimes

Watching emotions

Chasing tornadoes

Forgetting

Remembering

*

Over and over

Those days

Her council

Gone

*

Who am I?

Without her

*

Anyway

*

Transcendent spirit

We are one

*

Your Soul

The Wizard of Oz

*

The silent mind

Your yellow-brick road

*
The brain

Data processor

Emotional processor

Memory processor

Word processor

*
Fathom?

If there were no words

Could you think about it?

*

Other languages

You’ll never know

And those people

With those tongues

They think about it

*
Not enough sleep

Not enough will

Not enough understanding

Systems crash

Get old

Couldn’t think

Even if one wanted to

*
The soul rises

Shining through logic’s cracks

*
The demented mind

Ever as bright

Just, somehow, now

Diffuse

Like the feathers of a dove

Flown away

Left behind

*

We know they were there

*
We hold hands

She tells me what to do

Forgets

Asks

Surrenders

*
To everyone else’s words

*
I remove her shoes and socks

Rub her feet

Help her into her nighty

Assist her with her dentures

See a part of her

*
Vulnerable

Agitated

Reaching constantly

Again and again

For the slipping veil

Grace

*
Through her

I find a part of myself

The selfless part

*
“Emily,” she says

“You are such a big help”

*
But I can’t take all that

I’d be nothing

Without her

*
She sits on bed’s edge

Swings her legs up

Rolls to her side

*

Grandma, are you comfortable?

“No.”

*

Let’s get you comfortable.

*
She turns to me

Her blue-green eyes

Targeting

As they always have

My very soul

*
She smiles

Shakes her head softly

As if I missed the point

*

“No, hehe—it’s okay; I won’t be comfortable.”

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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)

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