Poem: Surrender 


I surrender 

lay down among the fallen

my own weak and weary comrades 

Those who have marched

with me all along 

The fiercely fighting soldiers 

taking battles to the blood 

I look down on the hillside 

upon the fallen foe

and see such devastation 

discarded  in my moving through 

wondering what I did

It may just be sweeter

to lay it all down 

surrender to the flowing wind

that blows along the hard edged ridges

surrounding my peaceful 

mind

Unintended Consequence


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The law of unintended consequences….

I heard this term used today and it was new to me. It intrigued me. In looking it up, I found that the context that it is often in reference to the human effect on the environment (usually negative). But I wondered about it within my own life. Surely this law has played a role somewhere….

In thinking about it, initially I believed it was my haphazard approach to living that would bring unintended consequences to my life. So many of my previous decisions seemed terribly unplanned; my huge degree of boredom would motivate me into life altering steps with utter abandon. So then, of course, there would always be unintended consequences to these choices. Ones that propelled me forward down a path that allowed no turning back.

Sometimes, others choices set me down these unintended paths–the consequences to be paid then were hefty and to be dragged with me forever. But they defined me too and made me the person I am. Good? Bad? At moments, either/both… The weight of these, had they been changed, could have reset the entire course of my journey. Had they understood the consequences completely, where would I be now? Different consequences I suppose.

But really, even with a direct approach to life, I still face things unintended. Don’t we all? Think about it: what may be the unintended consequence of each action we take? It’s all ripple effect. It can be huge. Or maybe just something simple. The point is that nothing we do is without meaning. We bounce off of something else.

Maybe I am simplifying this concept.

But really, when it comes down to it: many things we do come with great responsibilities.

So now that this is in my head, I will try to be more aware of its presence: in my life and in the greater world. By its very meaning, I won’t be able to change anything I guess, as the outcome will be unintended. But maybe, if on the front end I think more carefully, the consequences can be good.

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Joy Through Sacrifice


Watching an interesting TED talk today about a young Arctic surfer (yes, you heard me right, that was Arctic surfer), he said something that really struck me–not about surfing, but about sacrifice. As you can imagine, someone who surfs in frigid waters does a fair amount of sacrificing.  He does it in part to get away from the normal tropic crowds, but also to take these amazing photographs. To paraphrase very loosely he said something like: most things worth any kind of real joy usually involve some kind of sacrifice.

That gave me pause.

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I began thinking about some of the things that take sacrifice but bring joy:

  • 9 months of carrying a baby: the worrying, the weight gain, the hormone shifts, the vomiting, the swelling, the potential dangers involved…
  • being in a relationship: any kind really. It’s constant ups and downs, bargaining (with the kids, partners, co-workers, family members), tears, give/take, compromises, giving away parts of yourself at times
  • having a dream or goal: these can take huge amounts of time, money, changes in lifestyle and re-evaluating ourselves for the final outcome
  • moving somewhere new: leaving friends and family behind; leaving a career or job, doing something scary, taking a leap of faith
  • starting over (with a job/a person/or alone: leaving your comfort zone, stretching parts of yourself you may not know you had, or totally remaking yourself
  • helping others or someone else: living with less than normal, learning about other cultures (which maybe is uncomfortable), focusing less on “me”
  • giving up something completely: getting used to life “without”, feeling what it’s like when others perceive because we are now “different”
  • changing our point of view for the greater good: getting into arguments (political/family?), battling within ourselves over the old point of view, reconciling what’s right/wrong
  • coming out: about our sexual orientation, addictions, mental health, illness, abuse, political view or anything else we’ve been keeping inside for fear of judgement, shame or condemnation
  • sharing our home with animals: limiting our work day, getting up in the middle of the night, cleaning up hair, poop and vomit off the floor
  • Waiting: for anything you want, it can be excruciating at times because we are a culture of wanting everything now, having patience is like hot iron swirling in our bellies…the loss of precious time while we wait
  • standing up for what you believe when others around you don’t agree: this can be going to rallies or being a vegan, it can bring agitation or arguments from others, confrontations or simply tiresome questions
  • sharing our home with children: never having peace and quiet (or rarely); suddenly realizing you have to sacrifice so much and become a very good teacher when you hardly know yourself (or much else for that matter…)

There are so many more things…what can you add to the list? And it all comes down to mindset like anything else really. We give to get. Nothing comes easily really.  It seems like many things feel like work these days, and trying to pick out the little pieces of joy can be tough. But when you think about the sacrifices we make all adding up to something beautiful–that it’s the wrapping surrounding the gift inside, then it doesn’t feel quite so much like drudgery. 

So when you are climbing that next mountain and it feels like hell: the boots are giving you blisters, the sweating like a banshee and the mosquitoes buzzing around your head: remember that when you get to the top you will see this incredible view of the world below. Every step you took to get there was worth what lies before you as you look out. See it as you breathe the joy and try to remember that you couldn’t have experienced the splendor without a bit of pain.

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Hieroglyphics 


This was not staged but rather I came across it exactly this way. It is special hieroglyphics and happens to have particular meaning in my life at this moment. It’s those synchronous moments that catch us and remind us that there is still magic if we pay attention. 

Even in a place where we may think the spirits have abandoned, they surprise us by leaving some message to say: we still visit if only you look!!

Art: Blazing Hope


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Hope, I am perfectly willing to admit, is one of those things I’ve relied far too much on. My life hasn’t maybe been as tidy as I’ve wanted it to be, but I keep thinking it’s OK because I always have that thing called hope. It can be plastered on anything really and comes in handy for so many situations…

For you see, the discussions for me happen pretty much in my own head: over and over. That looping of thoughts, both of all the stuff that I shouldn’t have done–(it doesn’t last for too long anymore)–and that almost immediate glow of hope trying very hard to wipe out those other stale ruminations of the past.

So I talk with myself constantly (sometimes quite out loud)–trying to set the hope free: that burning hope. I figure if I keep this chatter on long enough, maybe eventually it will set ablaze and blast off into reality.

Poem Art: Elusive


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I had a conversation today with a person who played a prominent role in my past. He said something that triggered a visceral, and for me, odd reaction. It was odd, because it surprised me, that I could feel such a ‘gut’ feeling (like I had been punched in the gut) to a very simple thing this person said in a perfectly normal conversation. It wasn’t like we had delved into the past or were reminiscing… and yet, the comment, in a sense, was about the past, because it referenced a place we had shared together.

This moment touched off many thoughts in me. Like what constitutes relationships and ‘falling in love’ with someone? And is love even the right way to approach a relationship? Should it be more about wanting or needing something–for yourself; in others?

Certainly at my age, love seems a far cry from where I am these days. My relationships with people close to me seem to be based on things much more involved than love. Things that seem even more important and lasting than love if that makes any sense. The things that keep people together–the glue.

Those of you that have lasting relationships of any kind know what I mean here, so I won’t explain what I am talking about. Love can be fleeting and fickle and hard to get a grasp on. But we can still build strong, solid and meaningful bonds even after the love may turn into something strange or convoluted. Or maybe if the ‘love’ was strange from the start.

So can I re-evaluate life and how to live it more openly? To be open to a different way to to be with someone if love isn’t the defining point? It’s another perspective really, but not unfamiliar. It’s a theme that has repeated in my life.

What is the ‘want’ then…or the ‘need’? These become the hard questions to ask. Because simply hoping to exchange love with someone, I feel, is not where I should place my hope.

It seems it should be in far more reliable, tangible and maybe simple things that will help to grow a connection with someone else; things that will ultimately not vanish, just in case the love remains elusive.

 

Poem Art: Community


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Today has been a dreaming sort of day. One of those days where I have looked at the life I have wanted to live and wondered if it will ever be possible and if I will ever follow through–or if it will always just be a dream. It was a day filled with research and videos, thinking and feeling things in my heart–even conversations with friends.

How many of us just have these yearnings that niggle at us? It is easy to let life pull us in other directions and I admire folks who just do what they want. It’s not that they are better or I am worse at living life, it’s just different paths. And it’s not that I didn’t do what I wanted, because obviously I did.

But what about all those ‘big’ things that we think about when we were young? Where do those ideas go?

Funny, but my next poem art sort of reflected my thoughts today without my trying. But the words I came across just floated out…and spoke the things in my head.

What are your dreams?