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: Peaceful World 


It seems a peaceful world 

with rabbit clouds gazing

and mockingbirds singing

crisp hymnals

It seems a peaceful world 

as the lime green 

endorfin drenched runner

appears happy to be done 

And the leaves

blow harmony 

to the gentle fingers of wind

It seems a peaceful world 

as the golden melt

of the pouring sun

slips down on

waiting waters

glazing it with riches

Yes

It seems a peaceful world 

as it wakes

again 

ready to start 

anew

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.

earlier 2

 

Poem: Stillness


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In stillness

times when I sat

hushed under ancient pines

back brushed up against wizened skin

small

yet safe

cradled silently

beneath an immobile mammoth

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In stillness

near a whispering brook

whose words spoke sense

when nothing else could

they drifted past

in bubbles of music

floating by

in ripples of spray

to be caught in moments

of calm

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And in stillness

sitting upon the hill

with warmth from above

creatures close by

and sharing the peace

near by voices are small

and my belly is round

while the world is spinning beyond

In stillness

In stillness

It lies

 

 

 

Awakening


Much of life can be spent in a dream like state–or sleep walking through it, appearing awake, but really unconscious. In looking back on my life, it feels as though I’ve lived it like this: half here, half somewhere else. Maybe my eyes were open , but I wasn’t really seeing what was around me.

Then I try to look back on this life, I have very few memories that I can latch onto. Friends of mine will often recall great details from the past. It amazes me when they pull minute details of a situation, place or conversation, and I have giant gaps from these times. It’s as though I wasn’t there: a dark figure, lurking in the background. Maybe I was really just a statue, a wax figure of the person that was me. Or I was dozing in another world, perched in a land where no-one could really reach me.

Or maybe I just have a bad memory?

It makes me sad sometimes that I can only grab glimpses from my past or put few pictures together of good times to weave the mosaic of my life. Here and there I see some if I think really, really hard, but they are distant and blurry.

But now I am waking up. I’ve begun to pour cold water in the recesses of my mind and slap myself the way doctors did years ago to get babies to take a first breath. I want to breathe. It’s time to breathe now the fresh desire of creation. To take footsteps forward in the land of the living, where one looks around and everything pulses with energy. That stone figure crouched in a corner has metamorphosed into a spirit. It has taken on life. Looking around it sees the beauty of the world, hears the humming of the planet and tastes the nectar of nature. It absorbs at a deeper level, tucking these senses within.

Aroused by the pulsating beat of the earth, my life is beginning to finally happen. The start was slow and messy, taking the circuitous route, but is coming back on itself to the now. It can take flight and the quickening of it all leaves me light. The weight falls away, and now I flutter open….

Yes, I am awake. I am awake.


Drifting


Today struck me as a day to reach back and reach forward. So I sent out some emails to folks I have lost along the way: partly on purpose, partly because life just happens. Feeling disconnected might do that to us I suppose…make us want to see who is still out there; those that were a part of our lives in the past. It’s interesting to see if they still care at all, how they are and what they are up to and if the connection still lingers. Sometimes the world can seem an insulated place.

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And one email was sent for future connections: to put a feeler out to see about a Friend’s Meeting at a Quaker Meeting house not far from where I live. I’ve attended them before and would like to check it out. Who knows if it still exists–they are often small gatherings in out-of-the-way places. So rather than go, I figured I would see if I could find anything out first.

Moving into my second year in this new place, I still feel alienated in many ways. While many things are good in my life (like the wonderful relationship with my Mother), there are other things that feel hollow. I’ve heard repeatedly from folks that this area is a hard place to feel a sense of community or to make friends, but I don’t completely blame the area. It’s my mental space too.

The older I get, the more introspective I become and the harder it is for me to find my tribe. Even one friend can be a challenge. Sometimes the confines of my four walls are a space that give me a comfort that can be hard to replace with other kinds of satisfactions. Being home is sacred, comforting, safe and peaceful. But I know the danger in being lulled into never venturing out.

So, I push myself to reach out: to the past (although it took dropping some walls on my part) and to the future which means letting go of some fear of not fitting in, to see if this sense of drifting I feel at times can settle down.