Poem: In Memory Of A Father-In-Law


In the gymnasium

performing the mental exercise of the night

dipping in and out

of sardine-squeezed bystanders

I keep losing you

Cold-shouldered around a corner

like I lost myself when I had you,

why is it all so slippery?

Only pieces–

the catch of fire hair you shed long ago

But now we both have lost

him

And our shared sorrow

brings you

here

as a lamplighter illuminating truth

And even though our bond is broken

a gift is given:

his love for me

uttered from lips I once touched

This sweet small something

settles in

Then you turn from me

and walk back into the crowd

 

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Little Thoughts


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When thoughts start to clutter my mind now, especially ones that take me away from the present, this is my new mantra:

I am here now; I am alive; I am healthy; I am grateful.

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“Extended bliss is boredom of the existential kind.” from the book NutShell  By Ian McEwan.

Hidey Hole


We are all looking for our own paradise:

  • Heaven
  • Money
  • Love
  • Success 
  • Beauty 
  • Fame
  • Security 
  • Happiness 

    Maybe though, it’s really just hidden away in some hidey hole within us. 

    Maybe paradise is very small and very quiet. 

    Maybe we’ve been carrying it the whole time.

    And maybe it’s time to whisper hello to it so it can creep out and whisper back. 

    Poem: Fed


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    Oh cratered heart

    holy like Mother Teresa

    and Swiss cheese

     

    Eaten by disappointment

    from the moment of conception

    birthed into the recycling bin

    to be repurposed into  something more useful

     

    It becomes a hardened pit

    squeezed tight with shuttered angst

    surrounded by a sea of tears

    whose salt will season the pain

     

    And when the tides subside

    and pull away from the gritty sands

    it leaves behind a moist wet world

    fed by a juicy beating heart

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    Poem: Keep On Walking


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    Keep walking on

    into the fretful night

    where strangers surround your empty mind

    maybe they fill that hollow hole

    as your hobo self lurches forward

    Keep walking

    even after you’ve fallen

    with your bruised knees

    from the crawling you’ve done

    to keep you low to the ground

    But keep on walking

    even though the horizon looks flat

    because of the secrets it holds

    it may bend to your will

    as you approach

    Keep on walking

    with those weary old feet

    which have carried you far

    Keep walking

    Keep walking

    it won’t be long now

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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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