Life is not a straight line. It's a downpour of gifts, please – hold out your hand

lovelovelovelove
llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
dldldldlldldlldldl
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Thank you for being here. I'm so glad you're here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

THE QUESTION





Just for today
let's pretend
we don't have these bodies
skin, scars, bones - weathered fence 
that keeps it all in

Instead we would be
here
one heart beating
to the rhythm of everything, everywhere
mountain, tree, rock, wild wind
nothing 
in the way

Do you hear it? 

All of it is asking
and asking
the same ancient
question

What is that thing stamped into 
your bones-that thing that won't stop 
calling your name?

There is a reason

and it's all 
yours 

will you step 
toward
or away?



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Like Trees




Imagine how colorless, how stripped
of flavor life would be if we all 
showed up perfect.  What would perfect 
even look like?  Starched white blouses
pleated black slacks, never a weed
or a tangle, sentences 
written to bland, cleaned up
perfection, on the very first draft  

No - thank you. 

This idea 
of perfection makes me nervous
makes me think it's not 
okay for me to fall. Your willingness
to stand up dripping, deep in the center 
of the storm, gives me permission 
to stand up again
and again - no matter how deep
the puddle. What I want is 

for us to lean into each other 
listening
while our heart bleeds 
for the thousandth time - before 
we have a chance to clean up
or get rid of. I want to know what spilled 
out in that middle of the night draft 
how many times you declared it bad
before you could see the good in it - before 
you could see the God 
in it
  
Please - don't say the right thing 

say what's true - I don't want 
your manners, I want you 
in full, stormy, vibrant, mismatched
wrinkled, alive color. Before
you brush your hair or rub sleep 
from your tired eyes
before you catch 
your breath. I want to know 

what it is you keep hidden
tight in a drawer - what it is you keep almost 
saying
but don't. Come 

let us walk barefoot
through weeds, through 
thick layers of tired

let's show up late and frazzled, let's 
say the wrong thing, let us confess 
that sometimes we have no idea 
where to look or  how 
to find each other or God 
or ourselves
in any of it

let's rest like trees, leaning
and listening into each other 
until the hard
of our bark softens
until 

there is nothing
to find - only everything 
to be


*Photographer unknown


Friday, September 12, 2014

HOLY FREEDOM


\

In the midst of chopping onions 
and digging unnameable parts 
out of the chicken carcass, before
I'm almost late getting them to soccer practice
I scribble words - words that come from nowhere 
or from some mysterious
somewhere. Words that ask, no - demand 
to be written down

they are here in the shower as I reach dripping 
for my notebook, here
in the wanting kitchen when he 
tells me about his day. Here 
when I should be 
focused on driving 
rather than taking dictation 

I am a drunk driver swerving 
not from too much alcohol but from words 
that tumble and spill and ask, no - beg
to be heard. 

Thankyouthankyouthankyou
I say to God
or whatever it is
that sends them

I pull over the first chance I get 
so that I don't become one of 
those people who kills
while intoxicated and write dizzily
urgently - I don't care 
that my hands smell like raw chicken - even this
is a metaphor for something, I'm sure. After
they all come out, I exhale
saying out loud to the wind

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.





*Photo of me in Taos, New Mexico (where my writing journey really began).  Photo taken by Kevin Moul


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Abandon hope


Image found HERE


Abandon hope
that there is such thing
as better.

There is no dustless road
no white picket fence
perfect
does not exist.

You will continue to fold
and refold the same
pile of laundry
the dirty dishes will never
clean themselves, the grime
in the kitchen sink - the cobwebs
will come and go and come
and go. Wrinkles will come
and stay. You will never
finally get it all together.

You will continually have to say goodbye.

The childhood you were handed
however tangled
it looks from your adult eyes -
is yours. Might you spin
the splinters and scars - the hollowed out wounds
into something that shines
in your cleanly scrubbed kitchen sink?

Go outside, forget to put on socks
or shoes - lift
your face to open sky, let the cold
bite you. Let bird song sing
into your open chest. Breathe
it all in as if this is your first
or last
breath.

Assume there won't be a tomorrow
assume no thing is coming
to your rescue - assume the only thing
that can save you is to take this imperfect, hurting
beauty-filled moment by the hand
and fall in deep, deeper
than you ever have

Speak as if it's your last chance

it will feel like you will fall forever
you won't.

it will feel like no one is listening
speak anyway.

This moment is your better
your white picket fence - your knight
in shining armor

it will save you if
you stop reaching
for more or better. It will save you
if you let it

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Recipe for Falling in Love




The truth is 
if we slowed down 
and got close enough
we wouldn't be able to handle 
the beauty

on this summer evening, everywhere 
my eyes fall
another miracle 
stares back

giant oaks spread out like gods
big-eared bunnies munching under open sky
blackberries plump on the vine 
invite me to taste their almost sweet 
insides.  As I round the corner 
I lock eyes with three deer - all of us still 
and staring. With our eyes 
we say - I love you. Winged ones 
I cannot see sing 
their end-of-the-day lullaby

each step
lifts me higher 
until at last, breathing more deeply 
than I have in a long time
I see 

the whole wide sweeping
tree-filled valley. And then - I weep
for, truly I cannot handle the beauty 
even from this distance.  Then -
I would not make this up
a whole family of wild turkeys 
cross the trail in front of me - each one pausing
to wait for the next.  All of this

my heart 
gets to see, to feel - to memorize. With light
now fading 
I begin my long slow
walk home

slow enough to notice 
golden grass bent in prayer
slow enough 
to bend too - praying
that I will never stop 
seeing

praying that I will walk
slow enough to fall in love
again and again
and again 

even if it makes me weep 
even it feels too much to handle 

praying 
that each step draws me close
and closer still





*Photo found HERE

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Your Very Own Flavor of Poetry



Photo found HERE


I keep forgetting that I'm more
more than this aging skin - these hips
these thighs, this belly growing thicker. More than these calloused feet
that always, always insist I walk faster, farther
in some other
direction. I keep forgetting that I'm more
than these scars
made by my own punishing hands - the ones you can see
the others that run invisible through veins and tired, bleeding inner parts
I keep forgetting that I'm more than the voices
that scream can't and never - right
and wrong
more than this mind that oozes indecision, this chest that squeezes
tight - that drops me hard in the shallow
and hollow of -
I don't know

I keep forgetting that I'm only a single breath
away from breaking free
from these bars I keep finding myself pressed beneath
a quiet prayer away from remembering again
that I was put here to spit it all out
as prettily or un-prettily as it was and
is

On this dark airless night
the strong rock inside begs to be
remembered
invites me to repeat this verse until moon
smiles her pretty half smile, until the winged one wakes me
with her new day kiss

You came here to hum the truth 
that comes in only your 
color
to sit inside the arms of a moment
to find breath in each drop of dark, to skip and sip and frolic 
with every fleeting firefly
of light

You came here to give oxygen to words
to spin every stain 
and splash 
into your very own flavor
of poetry

You came here to look into your own eyes and  whisper -   Beloved

You did not come here to please, to perform, to protect 
to be better or to be 
"liked"

You came here to feel 
the quake, the shake, the thirst - the love 
deep in your rooted center.  And, head bowed
arms spread in surrendered  hallelujah! - crawl 
skip 
fly 
tiptoe forward anyway
and no matter what

Yes
for this you came




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Brand New Soul Talk


"When I accept myself I am freed from the burden of needing you to accept me."  Dr. Steve Maraboli



Those of you who have been reading me for a while, know that my dear friend, Alia, and I used to do something called "Soul Talks." These were uncensored, real conversations Alia and I happily had, recorded and shared. Originally, because Alia lived 8,300 miles away in Bali, Indonesia, these talks were done over Skype and we just shared the audio. Well, guess what? By some series of mysterious, grace-filled events, Alia now lives twenty minutes from my house. So, last week, with an owl hooting in the background, with the summertime breeze and trees and singing birds, we recorded our very first Soul Talk sitting side by side. Our very first Soul Talk where we are sharing the video form. Yikes. Though this is definitely a bit out of the comfort zone, I am stepping more and more in to this freedom space where I care more about sharing my voice than I fear criticism.

Hallelujah!


In this episode of Soul Talks, we discuss the crippling effects of self-judgment, fear of criticism, and how we're overcoming these obstacles to freedom.


P.S:  Alia and I are in the midst of creating a brand new something else that is going to be extra magically special. Stay tuned for the big sharing. Coming very soon.  :)





Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Crawling Out of Small Boxes

 
Photo found HERE


When asked what I do or how I'm doing
I have fewer and fewer words. I mean, how do I explain
between bites of corn on the cob and requests to pass the butter
that I've been shedding layers of stuff that never
fit, that I spend hours and days crawling out of the tight
of their tiny boxes, tossing breathless stories
written in handwriting I never recognized. How
do I explain that sometimes on a Tuesday afternoon, I sit still
and listen to trees, wind, rain - to that tender voice
that doesn't use words - until I join hands
with the scared one in my head
and ink trickles or spills. How do I explain that I care less
about getting things done and what I might look like from their
eyes and more about clearing a path
that finds the God in all of it. How do I
explain what I've been up to when what I've been up to is spinning
these shadows into something you and I can rest
inside, something that will help us remember 
our own astonishing light. So, rather than answering with an I'm fine
or listing off what I've accomplished lately, which seems
a lot more like nothing than something
I breathe a holy breath, look into your waiting eyes
and, with a smile that holds 
a heart full of something I'm just starting to recognize
I pass the butter.



 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

And Then I Could Breathe Again


Image by Serena Joyce
Here Comes The Sun


Instead of picking up a pen or a paintbrush
and getting down the ten thousand words/images
that were flooding my head, my heart, my lungs – my breath
I wiped coffee stains off the old kitchen table, fed 
the dog, the cat, the children
brushed the tangles out of my nine-year-old's hair while she screamed 
that I was hurting her,yelled at my twelve-year-old to hurry or 
we would be late – again, got entirely too pissed off 
at the slow driver in front of me, forgot to remember
to breathe.   Instead of emptying the overflowing 
pile of tangled shit that has been scratching and screaming
and gnawing and howling inside of me for days, weeks – decades
I scrubbed dried quinoa from the rice cooker, scoured 
the internet for the perfect paint color 
for my newly remodeled living room, folded two loads
of other people's clothes, unloaded the dishwasher, made coffee,
checked email ten times in ten minutes, called my sister, my mom, my friend
scanned Facebook update after Facebook update for some sort of –
inspiration? Instead of giving voice
to the thing inside me I was born to give voice to – I stared at the tiny freckle on my right foot and thought about how Hitler, before he murdered
millions, wanted to be an artist.  And then I thought 
of the quote about how - what you don't bring forth will kill you
and I wondered if I would ever, ever make anything of my life. Instead of 
making the ten millionth fucking excuse I sat my ass down 
on the soft swiveling chair in the room I created so I could create
and breathed a breath that reached all the way down to that tiny freckle
and wrote these words. 
Then I stepped outside into the sun's big arms
and danced



Monday, May 12, 2014

Who Fucking Cares?


JUST RIGHT, print available HERE


It's been over three weeks since I've written in this space but it kind of feels like forever. It seems the longer I go without writing/painting/sharing, the harder it is to sit down and begin.  The more time that goes by, the more the paralyzing mind resistance kicks in.  The more time that goes by, the bigger deal my mind makes of it all.

In Steven Pressfield's book, The War of Art, he writes...

What does Resistance feel like?

First, unhappiness.  We feel like hell.  A low-grade misery pervades everything. We're bored, we're restless.  We can't get no satisfaction.  There's guilt but we can't put our finger on the source.  We want to go back to bed; we want to get up and party.  We feel unloved and unlovable.  We're disgusted.  We hate our lives.  We hate ourselves.  

This morning I really didn't feel like getting out of bed.  I didn't feel like making lunches for my girls for the three millionth time.  I didn't feel like tackling the overflowing basket of clean clothes that's been sitting in the back room for three days.  I didn't feel like cleaning up the kitchen - again.  I didn't feel like going to the grocery store or thinking about what to have for dinner or taking a shower or searching through my closet for the one pair of pants that still fits.  I didn't feel like taking out my paints and making another mess on canvas. I didn't feel like going for a run even though I signed up to run a 5K with my nine-year-old, and that run is coming up in less than two weeks (and I'm in the worst shape of my entire life).  I didn't feel like thinking about what it is that I might do to make myself useful in this lifetime.  I didn't feel like thinking about what color (out of 10 million different choices of colors) to paint our newly remodeled dining room/living room. I didn't feel like thinking about the team mom (a single mother to three girls) for my daughter's soccer team who just found out she has bone cancer.

In a text message to a dear friend, I wrote:  

It's such a gorgeous day but I feel so dull inside.  

Despite a tremendous amount of resistance from my mind, I somehow managed to get myself in the car and drove to my favorite, pine-needled, mossy, fern growing, delicious smelling, wooded running trail. The sun was shining.  The birds were singing madly. While I ran (otherwise known as a barely-moving slow jog), I thought of all the things inside of me that are dying to get out. I thought about how lucky I am to be healthy and moving on this bright, beautiful morning. I silently scolded myself for having so much but (at times) appreciating so little.  I thought about how lucky the trees and creek and birds are to be blessed without a mind. I thought about how filled with joy painting used to be until my mind got involved. I thought about how, more than anything, I want to make myself useful in this world.  I thought about how, running on that trail, moving my body - even though it felt somewhat painful - it wasn't nearly as painful as the shit my mind throws at me every day. I thought about how sad it is that I often hold back my truth, my life force, my art and creativity, out of fear. Fear of saying too much or too little.  Fear of appearing dull or crass or stupid. Fear of what others may or may not think.

I thought about how critical/necessary - crucial - it is to show up for the sake of my own health and sanity.  

Just a few minutes ago, I came across the following words, written by the incredibly brave, honest writer, Anne Lamott...

Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you're 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn't go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It's going to break your heart. Don't let this happen.

A reviewer may hate your style, or newspapers may neglect you, or 500 people may tell you that you are bitter, delusional and boring.

Let me ask you this: in the big juicy Zorba scheme of things, who fucking cares?

There was something about this who fucking cares part that really got my attention and reminded me (I seem to need CONSTANT reminders) that the release I get from expressing the truth, the release I get from showing up as ME, is worth far more than getting good reviews (or likes or comments or followers or sales, or whatever).  

So today, once again I remind myself that life is way, way too short (and precious) to hold back what's dying to get out - to hold back my ME-ness. Life is way too short to worry anymore about these damn jiggly thighs and too big tummy.  Life is way too short to care if they will think I'm too this or not enough of that - because, really (and I say this with lots of love, with hope of release)...

Who fucking Cares?