Tuesday, April 28, 2015

what you see

what you see is what you get
when you look at me
what do you see?
tell me
what part fascinates you
or are you thoroughly bored?
i wish you would look into my eyes
so i could also see into yours
we might be captivated, remade
in a mere glance of the eternal
you keep looking at something
a place on my skin
a muscle or joint
what angle enchants you?
i tried to show you my heart
but you were more taken
by my dressed up for the world
shiny facade
the me that is object
deteriorating, fading
can't you see that?
flesh doesn't hold up
it fails
i wish i could shine up my heart
as good as a gold dress
beautiful and tempting
i want to win you with
a mind that intrigues
a soul that speaks to your soul
what you see is what you get
do you get me?
all i really want is
to get gotten

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Flower to Seed


flower becomes fruit
fruit an offering to earth
seed a promise held

don't give up

I know as a creator, a writer, I have varied things I want and need to express, that come from different aspects of myself , my life, my experiences. Sometimes I sit down to write with an idea of what I want to say or create, but a voice rises and wants to be heard, and the words, like a current, move in that direction. I find that the creative energy is not entirely interested in what I thought I was going to do or say, and sometimes something needs to be let out, a part of me needs to speak and be heard. That voice from within can be like a most unexpected and sometimes challenging visitor. Sometimes that is uncomfortable or even extremely painful for me. Sometimes I want to slam the door in her face. But when I receive her, it is a birthing, a birthing towards healing and freedom. When I allow what comes forward to come out, especially the painful parts, the wounded parts, I free them. Each time I open and welcome what wants to be spoken I arrive into a little more freedom.

I also notice that the poems that come from my more shadowy side are scary for me to share. I wonder if that says more about me or the culture I am living in. I think we live in a culture where it is taboo to share openly about your struggles, your pains, your grief, and please don't even mention aging, illness or death. We live in a culture that shuns vulnerability and favors numbness over feeling. I sense this intense pressure to put on a smiley face and get with the program. The program is about success, status, achievement, and that can get dressed up in all kinds of ways, but don't let them see you sweat, or hurt, or break down, or for God's sake give up. We are never allowed to give up. I am not saying I am an expert on any of this, and maybe I am off base, but this is what I feel.

So when I write a poem like the one below I take a long pause, to consider if I want to share it, out here in the open. I wonder if it really is better to keep these things behind closed doors, hidden away from the people around me and maybe even hidden from myself. Would that be better? Kinder?

The voice that gave me this poem would have published this without hesitation. My young adult self, so rebellious and defiant. She didn't care very much about what anyone thought of her, but because she was lost and in pain. I want to receive her and hear her now, and give her what she so truly thirsts for and deserves, which is not a truckload of expectations and demands, but love, and permission to rest in the perfection of her beingness.

That is what this poem is about.

don't give up

those words have been driven
deep into the veins of me
saturating every space
filling every gap
i overflow with it

too much of a good thing

when i was standing on a ledge
one foot dangling
those words were my savior
divine messenger
angel wings

they are heavy now
boulders tied to my delicate ankles
a fine line between medicine and poison
somewhere it crossed over

i didn't give up

i got better and nicer
learned the rules
showered off
dressed it up
they say i clean up real good

went and got a heap of hopes and dreams
things to strive for
so much to prove and an ego to feed

fuck is it hungry
never satisfied

i heard about hungry ghost
from a medicine woman
a spiritual infirmity
that's what she called it

i'd say i got it bad

i wonder when they told me
don't give up
if this is what they had in mind

i was a death star then
a starving phantom now
still hoping to get with the cool kids
feeling in my bones
i belong to the outcasts

how to give up on not giving up
without giving up

how to die while living
how to die while living

that is what i seek

Monday, April 13, 2015

Rebel Mama, Midlife Crisis

I am 43 years old. I have been a rebel my whole life.

Just ask my parents, who were all but evicted from their apartment in my first months, because I just wouldn't stop screaming. Colic? Maybe. I think I was just raring to go right from the start.

Now I have kids of my own. My kids have only ever known me as mom, and that word, that title, is rife with ideas and images so evocative and compelling that I barely know what hit me. My kids never knew me as the out of control, in your face, rebellious, non conforming, punk girl I once was, and thank goodness for that! They have seen some photos; big hair, shaved hair, nose ring, combat boots, crazy makeup, outrageous clothes, but the details are too sketchy and well...maybe I will share at a much later date, like when they are, hopefully, established firmly in their own adulthood, or maybe never.

The point is I have changed. I am still a rebel, but I have moved from anger and fear to compassion and love. I channel my powerful warrior energy into creation instead of raging destruction. I have done some hardcore healing work, faced my wicked demons and dug into the deepest darkest pits of myself to excavate the light, and that is some fierce and truly epic rebel shit.

I still like edgy music, I like to dance as wild and unleashed as ever, I still think the system sucks and art rules. I have gone from no faith, no spirituality, to a total immersion in a spiritually rooted life, but per my style, I have gone unconventional. I have parted ways from my culture and upbringing. I believe in magic and miracles, I follow a yogic lineage and study shamanic practices as well. These are the realms I am drawn to and I follow my heart. I always have stood up boldly. I have always been a fighter for myself and what speaks to my soul.

My kids are pretty clued in to the fact that their parents are into some interesting stuff and aren't marching to the same drum as most of their friend's parents. We talk to them about our beliefs. We have raised them to have very strong moral compasses and to treat others always with respect and compassion, but we have not insisted they believe in what we believe in either. That has had an interesting result, but that is a whole other post.

My daughter Avery has recently had a bit of backlash around my "weirdness". She has started calling some of my practices "mumbo jumbo". She will say, "You know mom, you are into so much mumbo jumbo. You really believe in that stuff??". Avery is fourteen and so I know better than to try to convince her that I might not be totally wrong here. I have taken the let it go option.

My style has also retained a bit of its former funkiness and I don't much care about dressing to fit current trends and I certainly do not care one iota about dressing my age. I am in yoga clothes most of the time, but I still rock my combat boots and play dress up sometimes. I also like to do different things with my hair and I am currently in a shorter and shorter hair trend. I keep my color fun and add blasts of bright and bold hues. I like it, I have always liked to keep it off the beaten path, my style is no exception.

I recently told my daughter, Avery, I was thinking of getting a faux-hawk type haircut and she completely freaked. She told me that I am just having a midlife crisis. She said if I get my hair cut like that she won't go anywhere with me, she would just die of embarrassment. She said no one her age should have to have a mom who is walking around trying to look like a teenager, and why would I do something to look like Miley Cyrus, she is so "ewwww", and not a good role model anyway. And then she cried.

My younger pre-motherhood self would have told her to shove off or worse and gone running to the nearest hair salon to show her what's what and that no one tells me what to do. Actually, I would probably still do the second part if anyone else challenged my choice, but this is my child. My kids are the only people for whom I am willing to tone myself down in order to please or make them more comfortable. I am the fierce rebel protectress , the mama lion of these cubs, and I see that I must make space for Avery to be front and center now as the teenage girl coming of age in this house. I will roar for her and cheer her on as she finds herself and even as she breaks away. This is her rebel age and I will respect that and take the back seat a bit. I don't need that new hairstyle as much as I need her to feel that I am on her side. I love watching her find herself inside and out, she is beautiful and capable, so very different from me and yet so much like me. She dyed half her hair purple last year and she likes to paint, play music and dance. She also does lots of sports, is disciplined and well behaved, oh and definitlely popular, which is the antithesis of me at that age, and I love that about her. Most of all she stands up for the underdog and courageously promotes kindness amongst her peers. She is a rocking rebel in her own perfect amazing way. I honor her. I am honored to make way for her.

I can wait out her discomfort and continue our conversations about all things in life and heart, share our unique outlooks and our connected souls. I remain a rebel, but I am mother first. I clear a path for my kids and I do it with fierce love. Anyway, hair is one thing. I might get a new tattoo instead.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mind Storm

some days come heavy
thick with storm
wrapping around me
a straight jacket
a vice grip
crushing weight
life sits
on my chest

breathless being
i crawl through moments
among the living
cracked edge of a smile
over my coffee

a master of disguise
i cloak my complete unhinging
in a friendly hello
hope you are well
oh let's do
give me a call

i am a wounded animal
itching to retreat
clamoring to
claw my way out or
tunnel into the deep hole
of my heart
dissolved into dark

 i wait trembling
choked and heaving
riding out the storm
of who i am
until by grace
the world leaves me to
the sweet night

i retire
curling in
my body a question mark
asking into the days end

what will become of me?

i recall a prayer

do not fight the dark
just turn on the light

i know one thing about light
it returns

This poem is an attempt to articulate what a day of high anxiety and depression feels like for me.

I have written and shared before about my decades of struggle as a person living with mental illness.
I have done so much work and have made great strides, but I will never be "cured", at least not given where we stand now in the treatment of mental disorders. I survive, and I do thrive. I have periods of ease and cycles of suffering. My anxiety and depression can flare up on any given day and stay for an indeterminate amount of time. I have learned how to cope, how to function, and how to care for myself. Unfortunately, I have also found it necessary to learn how to mask and hide so I can be in and participate in "normal" society.

I know there are many people like me. I can almost guarantee you know at least one person who suffers from some form of mental health issue or brain difference, and you very well might have no idea. Many of us smile through our agonizing mind storms, because we know we won't be understood, and judgment on top of the already heavy burden we carry is just too much to risk. It hurts too much.

I count myself a million times blessed, because I have had key helpers show up for me at the right times. I have been fortunate to find a spiritual practice and community that embraces me exactly as I am. I have had good therapists, coaches, teachers, friends and family. I have also had the courage to say yes to these helpers. Saying yes to the help is scary in a way, because what if it doesn't work? Then what? I said yes, and it has helped. I still have bad days like the one described in the poem, but I have resources and tools to help me get through. Things can get really dark and hopeless when the storm is moving through, but I know now that I can ride out the storm, and I have people who will hold my hand and wait with me. It didn't always feel that way. There were years when the darkness seemed endless and all consuming. A ray of light was, at times, a fiction to me.

There are people around us who feel that way right now. What we can do for each other is simple, be there. Show the people around us that we do care, and we aren't going anywhere. We can be good friends and neighbors. We can live from our hearts and be that ray of light for those around us. We can pay attention and learn how to really listen. If we learn to really listen to people, we are more likely to notice when they might be feeling down or not quite themselves, and then we can offer to help. If we don't feel equipped to help , we can offer to assist in getting our friends to the help they need.

You don't need to understand what mental health issues feel like exactly. Unless you are suffering yourself, it can't totally be known, but you can have open ears, an open mind, an open heart, and often, what we need most is a pair of open arms.

If you are reading this and you feel in the dark and all alone, you are not alone. Reach out, and keep reaching until you find a hand, there will be one.

I know one thing about light, it returns.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

temple goddess


      i think of how many years
      you have been here
      holding this prayer
      of the hands that crafted you
      so long ago
      what did those hands
      long for
      what devotions and pleadings
      infuse your form
      and here you have stayed
      ever present and watchful
      a mother's station
      you do not waver
      souls yearning
      rivers of prayers
      given to your kind face and countenance
      the imprint of accumulated askings
      in the weathered strength
      of one who shines divine
      birthed by human hands
      the infinite mother is called
      to manifest form
      that you might give us
      once again
      to ourselves