Engulfed by grief I am driven to my knees, until back bent I am little more than a sapling in a hurricane.
Raging, fists to the sky with hunger for death in my heart I pace the hours certain of Divine betrayal. I am Shiva, Goddess of death. Blindly I plot tales of woe poor sirens must be calling to me from the deep. What wretchedness creeps into my soul as I tediously survey my faults, mistakes and missteps; no less a miser at his ledgers. There is no light. I am crawling in gravel up a mountain with no visible peak, but miles of trails that lead no where. I am confused. I am deluded. I am lost.
Still. Still. Time moves grief as a plowman’s mule. Bloodied knees always heal.
All wisps of smoke curling up into the ether now. Formless fog fading down the river of my life. The moment the last breath left my lungs it was already dead and gone, buried as my ancestors in dirt holes. Air fills the vacuum of my fading past, sweet and new.
When did I leave the bridge? What was the step that took me to the other side?
Kneeling to my sorrow now I dance to my joy. Swirling round and round free as the leaf floating on the current. The sorrow has ripped out my moorings it would seem. I drift with the river and worry not where it goes. I have already been where I could not go. With the hunger and vigor I gave freely to my rage I embrace the beauty of my life. I run with pounding heart captured by the power of my body no longer weighed by death and dark shadows. The mountain has gained no peak, but a fool’s laughter is heard along the trails.
Life, anyone’s life, is an endless sea of choices. Sing my hardy voice of love or hear it crack in the silence to a whisper.
Spit and shine, tarnish be gone. I am liquid silver, glinting in the sunlight.
This is a new segment I’m adding called photo poems. As the saying goes, “A picture can say a thousand things…” I am captivated by what is old and broken, rusted and decayed. Such pieces again and again confirm for me that beauty erupts out of even decayed objects and destroyed lives.
Off Cushion Study in Mindfulness Better Known as Inviting A Monkey to Tea
My mind wants to wander to that house problem.
I feel it pulling.
Did I start the dishwasher?
No, I don’t need to wander off.
Leaves are moving on the tree in my peripheral vision.
The cat yawns a lion’s roar.
What will I do with that carpet stain?
Ugh, that is not what is happening now.
Feet are cozy in socks.
Light falls across the windowpane.
Breakfast is warm in my belly.
Anticipation in my heart for art exhibit.
Muscles stretched in yoga.
What will I do about that house…
Ahhh, you wander, it’s okay that breakfast is still warm in your belly, go there.
Painting on wall is still my favorite.
Lines of room are soothing and peaceful.
House is quiet…
House… house… muscles are warm from yoga.
Air moves across my arm.
Mind is open to spirit.
Begins with an H
“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t. We are afraid.”
“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t. We will fall!”
“Come to the edge.”
And they came.
And He pushed them.
And They flew.
–French poet-philosopher Guillaume Apollinaire
The apartment is quiet. I breath in slowly, holding it a moment before letting it out. I breath in again and close my eyes.
What separates me from the great explorers? Are we not all voyagers? Am I any different in substance and character then the captains of old? Crusty souls, masters on open seas, with nothing but gulls to mock their misadventures and palms to hail their gold. They hungered deep within their hearts for other treasures, too. Love, beauty, freedom
I breath in and the sound of my heart beats in the distance.
I stand, eyes closed and breath in again. The clock ticks in the kitchen. I hear the rattle of the blinds as the wind slips in. This time comes the scent of the sea. I wait, breathing silently, until the ocean spray touches my face. It heightens my awareness of the flapping sails. I stand ever so still. Breath in, breath out. Tack lines move across my feet as they feed out. This helm holds the trails of so many hours in my pacing.
The wood of the wheel has a warmth to it beneath my palm. Worn, warped, mine. I stroke it fondly for it is my companion, as much as, the means to find my way. Tidal currents move at angles on the water ahead, but I hold the wheel steady. The ocean moves beneath me and I’m terrified by what I cannot know or see and exhilarated with equal passion.
The sextant, too, feels substantial and weighty in my hand. I bring it up to my eye and hold it steady on my future. It is distant, but objects within are clearer to me now. I can set my mark. Breath in. I am not as far off course as I thought. Breath out. A few calculations in my sea journal and I move the wheel slightly to starboard. The spray rises and the wind fills the sails. That distinct flapping comes to my ear, as a switch of an ignition somewhere in my mind. I hold my breath and listen. The rhythm of the hull rising on the sea surf, then dipping below the horizon with a soft flop.
My heart beats in the distance.
The salt and the sea now envelope me. I run my hand lovingly across my map. A map built in sweat and love, tears and anger, missteps, wrong turns, high flying freefalls and laughter. Yes, a rich laughter, indeed. My map. My life is lines of longitude and latitude and strange sea monsters with lolling tongues. Or are they guardian angels? I’ve forgotten or can’t remember. I have been adrift many times. Always, at some point, I catch a wind and find land to regroup and set out again.
Breath in. Breath out.
The sound passing my lips is the only sign the ship is in motion. I look up. Orion is on the horizon. I am a star gazer and my ship has many ports still to see. Master of my destiny, I am. I breath deeply one last time of the saline sweet air. I lay the sextant down, loneliness settling where it filled my hand. The clock ticking in the kitchen persists. Blinds rattle in the dirty apartment windows. My heart beats steadily in the distance. The map folds close as eyes open.
Breath in, breath out.
“Your task is not to seek for love, merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself you have built against it.” Rumi
“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
— Haim Ginott
I play with tornadoes in my head. I don’t have a good explanation for this. It’s been going on for about three years. When I say play with them, I mean, I imagine riding them or collapsing them down around me or even dancing around them. I think it started when someone told me our energy body could expand the length of one to two football fields. That’s one big energy field. It intrigued that part of my brain that is Xena Warrior Princess, the part of me that likes the idea of being powerful. Clearly, because who plays with tornadoes in their head?
It happens most often when I’m working out or dancing in my home. Something about all that physical energy triggers all this awesome mental energy and I’m whipping those bad boy tornadoes into my command in no time. A few days ago, I had such a session dancing in my house and afterwards went to run some errands. As is often the case, my mind was churning on all sorts of things I need to deal with or figure out. I was beating myself up about something when it dawned on me I play with tornadoes in my head. That seems the most natural thing in the world to do, but curtailing my critical, judgmental, whining mind seems daunting. Something about the incongruity of that caught my attention. I can play with tornadoes and wield them to my will, but stopping myself from being angry about the guy who cut me off on the interstate is challenging?
Einstein said if you want to be brilliant use your imagination. If you want to be really brilliant, really, really use your imagination. What if dealing with all this weirdness we’ve got rocking in our brains is no more than playing with tornadoes? If in our imaginary mind we can do anything, than why can’t we apply that same focus, sense of play and energy toward wrangling in our real mental storms? What if it’s all an illusion? Tornadoes, ideas of being unloveable, Roger Rabbit, I’m lazy, my spouse lied, I’m spiderman. Really, they are all just thoughts running around inside our skull. What would happen if we treated all our thoughts the same way? Imaginary characters we can play with or not. The choice is ours.
Chips of concrete
Rock falling and plumes of dust
I look, an old fresco
Rich colors, now fading, cracks and missing pieces
Empty spots appear and within them – light
Iridescent, pulsating, alive
Pick in hand I hack
Tear at the image
Trails of rubble
I am not Gretel
I will not
Be following this
Trail back to anything
I once was
How I’ve hungered for her
Glowing like the midnight sun