Meeting

If you look deeply enough into anything, you will see everything

The motion in the stillness, the health within the illness

The simplicity in complexity, the you within the me

We are cut from the same cloth, woven by threads of love

Love that ushers us into and out of this world

Love which flows in all places and all moments, caressing us tenderly even as we weep with unbearable pain and unspeakable shame

All of life breathes and moves and flows and transforms

In this moment, may we practice breathing, and thus, transforming

What are we ready to let go of, what is no longer serving our highest selves?

There is always something to surrender and something new to take in, even if only space for future growth

Simplify

To simplify thoughts and emotional responses to things, label experiences as:

a) Pleasurable

b) Unpleasurable

c) Neutral

When the body is free of tension, and the mind is free of fear, peace can fill your heart to overflowing, pour forth from your spirit’s center

Breathe in and release the tension from your body

Can you feel it now?

New Mantra

I’ve had many mantras during my life

I am

Om shanti

So hum

In, out

Breathe, relax

Be Peace

Gentle flow

Here and now

I am safe

I am loved

Let go

Just be

Enough

Unclench

Amor y paz

Etc etc

The latest, born of caregiver burnout:

Stop giving me things to do

I want to take care of me and not you

Though I still stack up requests like a pile of dirty dishes

And wash each one because I grant wishes

I’m beginning to learn that my deepest magic

Lies in my ability to fulfill my own dreams

Replenishing myself with source

Giving to sustain and nurture myself

My outward giving grows infinitely

Rock

When struggling through life

I met the waves head-on

Gasping and nearly drowning as adversity slapped me in the face

Dragging down my body and my morale

Slowly, painfully, my ego was chipped away

Now a smoother stone, when the forces come at me

I bunker down in the stream bed

And let them pass over me with intentional non-effort

Challenges will always be a part of life

I used to be a leaf tossed by the wind

Now I embody the ever-present rock within

This is a practice, not a perfect

My ego still protests in victimized shame

I send a softening breath to my hard-headed brain

And soothe myself

You are OK

This is hard

You are doing your best

You are more than perfect: you are human

Humans get to live the beauty of learning from their experiences

Just breathe

Vanish

You struggle to breathe

Your lungs groan under the weight of a million cigarettes
Your body will not heal, nor will you allow it to
You prefer to smoke tobacco than to breathe, you tell me
Your liver is hardened
Fluid builds up in your legs, abdomen and lungs
You bleed into your GI tract
Again and again
Requiring dozens of blood transfusions
Until when?
You prefer to drink than to live, you tell me
Your blood harbors viruses and bacteria
Years of IV drug abuse riddle your veins
My eyes draw lines between the scars on your skin
And spell out your pain
Your body is massively obese
You’ve had just desserts
Your blood is dangerously sweet
The food on the menu is not nourishing
With vibrant foods, we could all be flourishing
Instead we are toxic
Now you’re turning hypoxic
Your own body gets in the way of breathing
Rather than a vehicle, your body is your handicap
Too much mass to move
Stumbling, you tumble into my view
Bullet wounds have torn right through you
Senseless violence, what kind of freedom is this?
We reserve the right to die at the hands of another at any time
I want to take all the suffering I see
Concentrate that energy inside me
And use it to wipe away cigarettes and liquor stores,
Smash opioids off the face of the planet, and while I’m at it
Take my magic wand and with a swish banish sugar from our lips
Eliminate weapons with one wish
I’ll water that seed of hope with the tears of those who know, so it will grow
And we shall be sheltered in our old age by the tree planted in our youth
We’ve suffered enough to learn how to thrive in our world- at least we’ve discovered what not to do.
I have a dream that tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, processed foods, and guns will vanish.
I realize that this is unlikely to happen for a while, as there are profits to be made and suffering to be had.
Taking into account the billions of healthcare dollars it costs to deal with lung disease, liver disease, drug addiction, diabetes and gun violence, let alone the immeasurable cost of lost lives and poor health, how can we afford to carry on the way we have been?
If a substance is harmful, let it vanish.
Why hold on to that which is no longer serving us?
We can do anything with our infinite human potential.
We alone can change our lives and leave the world better than we found it.
Let’s do what we can before we vanish
Do something today
There is no guide book
Vote with your dollars, your actions, your thoughts
Breathing in gratitude, I thank you

Anxiety

Anxiety, my oldest companion, always by my side

Anxiety
Ball of wirey grey string inside me
Buzzing like an agitated hornet’s nest, threatened and angry
Tangling, strangling, suffocating
Drowning me under dark metal walls rising
Closing in under the pressure of the shadow mountains of never enough
This shifting, terrifying scenery is my home
My neurobiological foundation was not built on safety or security
My mind was melded in the hellfire of anxiety
Flames of self-doubt licking at my heels
Constantly threatening to burn me to the bone
Venomous teeth bared,
My serpent of self-doubt is poised
Ready to strike
That’s how I get through the night
Jaw clenched tight, insomnia punctuated by nightmares
In a lucid dream I fly
In my many travels, I learn a thing or two
I understand now
That my anxiety is my servant,
Trying to protect me
From the many and varied perceived threats
Of my childhood and my adulthood
I breathe in deep
Let my tea steep
Beyond the dragoness serpent, the ring of fire, the charred walls, the mountains holding the howling winds of loneliness,
I see beyond all these horrors
With each breath
A bit of sunshine blue shines through
That bright and buoyant sight
That glimpse of the outside, of a new approach to life
Is all I need
To find peace
To hold hope
To savor the long years of hard suffering, mucking through mud
only to realize that my heart is a lotus blossom of healing
I am kneeling in humble gratitude
With each breath,
My serpent uncoils and I see her beauty
My flames simmer down
The earth beneath me settles and breathes with me
My walls fall, overcome by vines
Even my massive mountains of worry breathe,
Lush with Spring
Thank you for your service, anxiety
You can take a break from protecting me
This moment does not have to be a struggle
In an instant, ease breaks through
I breathe and bow to you, anxiety

The Mirror Box

All my life
I feel like I’ve been trapped inside a mirror box:
A glass box made of one-way mirrors
This is cheap trick

When people look at me
They see only what they want to see
They see themselves in me
They see their desires come alive before their eyes
They can’t imagine that I’m locked inside

I can look out and see them
I try to scream
They don’t even hear a peep
Alas, this glass is sound proof

How can I break it
How can I smash it
How can I make it to the other side

Will I be able to breathe outside the safety of this mirror box, this cube-shaped solitary confinement that I call home?
It is all I have ever known
My voice does not obey me
It says what others want it to say
What cruel trick is this
That my voice is not my own?
Only through writing, ladies and gentlemen, can I let my true self roam

I want to break free from the mirror box
I want to feel the sun and fresh air on my hair
I want to feel safe in my skin
I want to feel like a person without fear

Rain Dance

I see gray sky outside my window
Heavy on my eyes and in my heart
I want to stay hidden away
Don’t want to get rained on today
Stubbornly, the world outside waits for me

I can’t stay inside forever
I can’t avoid the ever-changing weather
After futile resistance, I accept that I will get wet
As I have countless times before, even when I felt like I was drowning, I will have nothing else to do but breathe through it
Until I breathe myself dry

There are tears yet to cry
I will get wet again
And it is ok to get wet
It is ok to remind myself that it is ok to get wet
Water is life

Every day I am thrown into the river
Swirled and tumbled against rocks
Yet I survive
And come out of it better yet

Afraid as I am of getting wet, I’ve gotten wet many times before,
Downright drenched
Soaked to the bone and far from home
Yet I was all right
I’ve made it through even the stormiest of nights
Inside me burns an eternal light
I have nothing to fear
The rain of life only brings personal transformation near
I am grateful for inner growth, painful as it can be
I am grateful for the rich soil beneath me
Formed from the detritus of my life’s trauma
From which I burst forth, a green herb
Holding infinite potential
I am earth and rain and sunlight transformed
I am young and sweet and nourishing
I am life

I see the gray clouds outside my window
And know that beyond them, the sun is shining through the brilliant blue
I see the gray day
And rise to meet it
Welcoming all that comes my way
So go ahead, rain down on me
I can handle even hail, snow and sleet
I’m keeping the faith
For my mind is learning all the time
That I can dance anywhere
Today my dance beckons the heavy clouds
Let it rain

Lullaby

I wink my third eye to passers-by
I delight when I see a shimmer or a glimmer in their eyes

Below this gentle twinkling
My heart beams compassion without blinking                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Like the sun, my compassion beam
Gets periodically blocked by obstacles
Moving around me like clockwork
If the universe stood still it would cease to exist

Playing the game, I lean in to the twist
When my enlightenment gets temporarily eclipsed,
You can still see my unconditional love for you
In the moonshine of these rhymes

I nod in utmost respect to you
Shining for anyone who cares to see
By starlight, I wink, blink and nod
May this lullaby soothe you, for we are all god

The only heaven I know                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Is that which grows
So take a deep breath
And expand all the way down to your toes
How relaxed can you feel?
Only you will know