Call and Answer

I heard the sacred sound again.

It could be the air flowing through my house.

Maybe it is the hum of the refrigerator.

Perhaps my tinnitus intensified.

Yet something in me knows it is the sound of my spiritual ancestors cheering me on as I lean in to listen to all that is.

I am encouraged and uplifted by their dancing, and I feel like I’m returning home after a long and harrowing journey as my heart beat recognizes the rhythm of their drum.

Zen Mamas

The world is filled with Zen masters who live outside monastery walls.

We color mandalas with sidewalk chalk.

We ring meditation bells of rainbow-colored xylophones.

Our mantras are the stories we read with ego-melting repetition.

We hold asanas with babies in and on our bodies, going about our day as if our muscles are not on fire, not letting on how our bones beg for rest.

After enlightenment, we cook dinner and fold the laundry.

We pull energy from the depths of our fatigue.

Our life is one continuous act of service.

We practice breath work by blowing bubbles, exhaling with artful control to get the most out of each dip of the wand.

Our ascetic practices include eating the food scraps offered by our toddlers and what our babies throw on the ground, making meals out of bread crusts and apple peels.

We nourish young lives with our bodies.

With discernment, we are creators, preservers, and destroyers.

Embodying eternal love, we are One with the universal life force.

Though we may not wear saffron robes or have the luxury of sitting in quiet contemplation, we are here, humbly filling the world with Zen Master Mamas.


W are each held in an unseen net, cradled and tenderly swayed

Supported by the Earth, we are provided with air, water and nourishment our whole lives

Likewise our physical bodies serve us day and night, in ways both known and unknown: heart beating, lungs breathing, mind dreaming

Below this embodied net is another, soft and comforting, woven of love, that universal energy, the language we all speak as our eyes meet

Under the net of love lies another, made of pure spirit: eternal light, unbreakable

May you feel held by the net, feel physically uplifted, know that you are love and loved, and remember that you are made of everlasting light.


I’ve never known silence.

The ringing in my ears has persisted throughout all the years of my life.

As a child I thought it was the sound of snow falling, or fairies’ voices.

Perhaps I am a tuning fork for high vibrations.

Maybe my brain is a conduction space for the universal Om.

Maybe this sound is my lifeline, the string to guide me out of the cave.


How delicate, how fragile, a relationship can be.

We may be one unkind word away from never speaking to each other again.

One misunderstanding could unravel our union for good.

We may appear rock-solid from the outside with legally binding papers to boot, but we are fragile, we are delicate.

We’ve endured far more than we signed up for.

The minor irritations grew into gaping wounds with time.

I stay with you for some pretty shitty reasons: wanting to portray happiness in order to stick it to an ex.

In doing so, do I not bind myself to my ex all the more by acting with him in mind, no matter how bitter the intent?

I seal myself to you with the molten anger I feel toward the haters who doubted us due to their racism and classism.

I cling to you because I don’t want to put out the energy required to date or make love to someone new.

Yet in my dreams, I caress former lovers who are old friends and know in my heart that I cannot let my lifetime pass without holding them tenderly again.

Real Housewives

It made sense that women got married in the past when being a wife/mother was one of the only jobs open to women. We were told we were the weak ones even as we embodied unparalleled strength and endurance, what else could carry us through such incessant oppression?

We were told we were dependent, however who was really dependent on who?

In our modern day of education and careers, after realizing that the fairy tale of marriage is a lie, after taking stock of the bill of goods we’ve been sold, what makes women stay?

I find that question harder and harder to answer regarding my own marriage each day.

Constantly working in service to my family, there is no time left in the day to take care of my own needs, including the bare necessities like sleep.

I fantasize of uniting my tribe of women. We will steal away to an island, pound the sand with our feet, dance naked around the fire and howl at the moon. We will not care what we look like, we will not cook or clean, we will feast on fresh kill by tearing meat off the bone with our sharpened teeth. There will be no dishes or laundry. Wearing only warpaint, we’ll feel at peace at last. We’ll let out the energy we’ve kept bottled away from our husbands, the unspoken rage at the injustice towards us incurred by daily domestic life. The primordial screams will be felt to the depths of the ocean.

I know this is a pipe dream. We would never leave our obligations to our children or husbands, right? We’ll stay in our fishbowls, trying to justify why we stunt our own growth. Still, I long to smash the glass.


On a sunny Saturday afternoon in a nature center, I happen upon a Bird Blind.

I reverently step into the quiet structure and sit on the simple wooden bench.

An opening in the wall at eye level allows me to gaze out, unseen by the birds due to the dark interior of the Blind.

The other observers and I speak in hushed voices out of respect for the peaceful environment, and to not disturb the birds.

I watch a cardinal and a mourning dove splash in a small pond fed by a stream which tumbles over mossy rocks.

The water dances in the sunlight as the birds sing.

At the same time, I have the knowing feeling that a much larger being is watching the bird watchers, unable to be seen in the darkness of their vast Blind.

A is for Abortion

A is for Abortion. Abortion is the end of pregnancy by induced or spontaneous expulsion of a nonviable fetus from the uterus. Induced abortions are safely performed by medical professionals using medications or minor surgery, and are lifesaving and life-restoring for many patients.

B is for Body. My Body, My Choice!

C is for Crime. When abortion is banned, the Crime rate increases one generation later.

D is for Danger. Pregnancy and childbirth are much more Dangerous to a pregnant person’s health than induced abortion. Please don’t dictate other people’s health decisions, because we all deserve to make decisions about our own bodies.

E is for Exhausting and Economic. Pregnancy, childbirth and childrearing are all extremely Exhausting. Induced abortions are far more affordable than giving birth, and abortion bans negatively impact the Economic stability of individuals and families.

F is for Fight and Freedom. Those who care about Freedom will never stop Fighting for autonomy for all pregnant people.

G is for Girls. Girls who give birth before adulthood experience devastating impacts to their education and livelihoods.

H is for Health. Access to safe, legal abortion is good for Health. When abortion care is inaccessible to those who need it, pregnant people can become gravely ill and even die as a result.

I is for Irate and Incest. Advocates of reproductive health feel Irate when girls who suffer Incest are denied access to the healthcare they need because it is a grave injustice.

J is for Just. Women in the US enjoyed nationwide legal abortion for Just under 50 years, from 1973-2022.

K is for Kegel. Women perform countless Kegel exercises after giving birth to regain control of their bladders, because incontinence is one of the enduring impacts that childbirth can have on women’s bodies.

L is for Love. Those who Love women can help them by advocating for a woman’s right to choose.

M is for Mother. Most women who get abortions are already Mothers. Mothers have plenty to worry about, and taking away their rights only adds to their stress and harms their mental health.

N is for Nausea. Some women experience Nausea and vomiting so severe during pregnancy that their life is put at risk.

O is for Oppression. Abortion bans are a form of Oppression against women.

P is for Poverty. When women are forced to have a child at a time in their life that is not right for them or when they are impregnated by an abusive partner, it increases the woman’s risk of staying trapped in Poverty.

Q is for Quality. Quality of life decreases when women are forced to keep unwanted pregnancies against their will.

R is for Rights. Women’s Rights are Human Rights.

S is for Sex. Sex is sometimes sadly nonconsensual. Whether or not pregnancy results from rape, all pregnant people should have the freedom to choose whether or not they remain pregnant.

T is for Time to Fight! Now is the Time for us to do everything we can to improve the lives of women and girls by ensuring that anyone who is able to become pregnant can access abortion care if they want to.

U is for Uterus and Unjust. Taking away a woman’s right to receive health care for her Uterus is Unjust, no matter who makes the decision.

V is for Violence, Vulnerable, and Voice. Pregnant women are at increased risk of experiencing domestic Violence. Forcing a woman to remain pregnant against her will is a form of physical and mental Violence against her. Those most Vulnerable to be harmed by abortion bans are also the least likely to have their Voices heard by those in power.

W is for Women. Women are amazing. We have overcome many injustices, and we will continue to rise up against abortion bans and other adversities imposed upon us to create a better future for our daughters.

X is for anXiety. Pregnancy, childbirth and raising kids are all long lasting sources of anXiety. Loss of control over one’s body is another significant cause of anXiety, like when women are forced to remain pregnant against their will.

Y is for You. You deserve to make the best decisions You can for Your body, Your future and Your life.

Z is for Zip it. If you struggle to accept the health decisions made between patients and physicians, kindly respect patient privacy and Zip it.

She Said, She Said

Hurrying up to slow down, I try to accept the fact that I will arrive late to yoga class. ‘Center yourself, set your intention for practice’ I think as I swear under my breath at the slow-moving truck that nearly causes me to miss the green light.  

More than simply feeling stressed from wanting to move faster than I currently am, I feel angry, and not at the truck driver, but towards my older sister.  

‘Maybe I should write about this for the writer’s group’ I think as I unfurl my yoga mat and hastily join the class in downward facing dog. 

Bending and twisting into a yoga pose, I read the words ‘That’s a bad idea’ on the shirt of a fellow yogi over my left shoulder. 

‘That shirt is probably right’ I think, and silently thank the shirt for the message that I will doubtless ignore. I prefer my wisdom to be hard-won instead of hand-delivered to me. 

I had initially planned to select a well-polished poem to share at the writer’s group, however I suspect that something more raw and recent will better serve me, especially if my goal is to help myself process a difficult experience. I try to resist biting the bait of my sister’s jabs even as I feel how deeply the hook has already plunged into my mouth.

The yoga teacher’s voice breaks through my inner dialogue long enough for me to hear her mention that our emotions tend to pool in our sacral area. As we move through a vinyasa flow of warrior poses, my body feels like a volcano of rage. The back story is going to sound like the petty fighting of cats. I wish it didn’t bother me so much, but it does.

What happened is that my sister took a cheap shot by throwing up smoke and mirrors while arguing with our mutual friend when my sister told our friend that I had agreed with my sister’s assessment that our friend had acted bitchy during a trip we took across Europe more than five years ago. In an instant, I was dragged into the hell hole of my sister’s drama. My sister placed her boots on my neck without my consent to make herself an inch taller within the sinkhole of her insecurity: she lit me on fire for her own warmth.

From my perspective, my sister and our friend had both gone through a challenging experience during our trip because their needs at the time were opposed. Our friend needed a modicum of alone time each day while my sister pushed an itinerary packed with incessant socializing. My sister was quite vocal about her opinions to me during the trip, so I listened to her at the time. 

When our friend recounted to me what my sister had said about my purported concurring of my sister’s opinion when our friend discussed the ordeal some time afterwards with my sister, again I listened.

Now it is I who feel the sting of the wound in the relationship between my sister and I, and between our mutual friend and I. I check my body for tread marks from my sister throwing me under the bus with complete disregard for truth, justice, honor, or kindness. 

During yoga class however, I finally have a chance to listen to my own feelings, and I feel irate. My mind is aflame with anger which translates to a minefield of tensions in my body. What my sister had told our friend was a lie, inspired by my sister’s desperation. I know this because I would not have agreed with my sister if she had described our friend’s behavior as ‘acting bitchy’ because long ago I made the decision not to condone any form of the word ‘bitch’ to describe women, on principle. Furthermore, by nature I seek to understand and not to judge, to connect instead of dismiss, and to build bridges instead of walls…except when I feel unsafe, in which case I retreat into myself, as I am by writing this reflection now. What I remember from our time traveling together was assuring my sister that the moment would pass, that the friendship would heal in the future. I wasn’t wrong about that: their friendship is closer and more harmonious than ever now. 

I’m not sure how to move forward, because I don’t want to discuss the matter with my sister, lest she strike like a venomous snake at me as she has countless times before. I already feel poisoned enough by the toxicity incurred by hearing just a few of her words second-hand. I’d have more success trying to behead Hydra than trying to have a conversation with my sister that wouldn’t further widen the Grand Canyon-size chasm between us, chiseled by her innumerable cruel words and actions towards me over the course of my lifetime. To broach the topic with my sister would result in more hurt feelings on my part, and I’ve had more than enough of those, so to protect myself I choose to lay low. My sister’s tendency to turn each conversation into a fight, and one argument into several more with dizzying speed and disorienting tangentiality is what pulled me into the misunderstanding between her and our friend in the first place. A bucket of shit water does not do well to clean up shit.

Then there is the pool of difficult feelings that sprung up between my friend and I due to my sister’s aligning my reported thoughts with her own. ‘What a mess’ I think as I gaze upon the hurt, disappointment, betrayal, and loss of trust I feel this has caused. I hesitate to try to clean up this mess because I am damn tired of cleaning up messes I didn’t make, and addressing the matter risks making it worse. To understand this, you must know that my sister is eager for any reason to fight, and is ever ready to harshly criticize both my actions and inactions, so I perpetually feel backed into a corner by her. As usual I play dead, hoping that she won’t see me if I don’t move, that my own silence will shut her up, that she will get bored and move on to other prey.

Yoga class finishes with savasana, during which time I take stock of the benefits of practice while resting on the mat. Previously pent up energy now flows more easily through my body, ready to come out as written words. 

On the drive home, traffic seems to be flowing more smoothly too. I realize that this is likely due to my perception of the situation, as I am not rushing to get home. The part of my mind which catches occasional glimpses of enlightenment and taps into the unity of all things muses that since we are all parts of the same whole, and our egos will dissolve once we are liberated from the weight of our bodies, then who is there to describe anyone as bitchy anyway?

At the same time, the human in me, the fighting cat, the angry younger sister who has long been fed up with a lifetime of mistreatment by my older sister (though I would like to pause to give credit my sister’s contribution to my spiritual development due to her abundance of abusive behavior towards me in this lifetime) thinks, ‘my sister harmed me for her own benefit by trying to make herself appear more justified in her maltreatment of our friend all while using the offensive and derogatory term towards women ‘bitchy‘…what a bitchy thing to do’ with a wry smile reserved for the times I feel like a Buddhist monk revealing a zen koan.  

With the rose of my heart blooming open with compassion, I am able to see that the same insecurities which drive my sister away from others stem from her need to feel close, safe and connected to others. I understand those needs, because I have the same ones, as we all do. I do not condone my sister’s actions, however I feel less angry towards her with this insight. I’m glad I bit the bait of letting myself become as upset as I needed to, because I chewed it over and spit out what I hope are some words of wisdom, with all due respect to the ‘that’s a bad idea’ T-shirt I saw in yoga class. The transformation I feel inside is palpable, like a pebble I place before me, perhaps one of many I will use to build a bridge between my sister and I. I remind myself that the only constant is change, that my sister is on a healing path just like me, like all of us, and we are all walking each other home.

No longer hurrying up to slow down, I arrive.

All the Single Ladies and Gentlemen

There is no one more attractive to a married person than a single person.

This is because a married person lives with the reality of the shortcomings of their spouse, with the unique intimacy that comes from being close enough to each other to justifiably loathe one another.

Meanwhile, single people appear saintly in comparison.

‘Surely anyone else would be a better spouse than the one I have’ is an easy conclusion to reach after yet another night of having the same fight.

Single people, if you only knew how much you are valued and idealized, if you had a sense of the pedestal upon which you are stand in eyes of the married!

Please do not feel unloved or unsexy because you are single. To the contrary, you hold the potential of near perfection.

Your company would no doubt be a better time, and our cohabitation would unquestionably result in a more fair partnership than the one I am currently suffering through without an end in sight.

Even my exes, perhaps especially my exes, would be more giving and appreciative of my efforts than my husband.

Our love would be warmed by creativity and joy, as we worked steadfastly towards our shared goals all while dedicating time for adventure.

My dear, misunderstood exes who are single now, how easy you are to romanticize from a distance when it is not your messes I need to clean up, your cocks I need to suck, or your insecurities I need to assuage.

A girl can dream…