Connection

Student

I am a student of the Earth.
I am in awe of her glory
and ever-changing nature.

The Earth provides
Sustenance, life, beauty.
There’s always an opportunity
to tune in and learn.

I watch the outside world
from my window
Warm and cozy indoors.
Protected from the bitter cold
Freezing rain and icy terrain.

I know intuitively 
That the snow will eventually melt
Like the ice caps on the mountains.
This too shall pass.

I am in tune to her nature.
I live and breathe the lessons.
I study her patterns 
and accept what is out of my control.

My hands cup my warm mug of tea.
I take a sip.
The Earth is now in my cup.
In the water, the plants, and herbs.
I internalize her spirit
and continue to be
The ever-faithful pupil.
Connection

“There is Nothing Wrong with You.”

Maybe it was the title of the book
that caught my eye on that fateful day
in the College Hill bookstore.
Or maybe it was all that pent up teenage angst.
The contradictory belief that I was
The quiet and good girl.
I was helpful and nice
But a mental punching bag for bad boys
And my big brother blaming
My very existence for
Ruining his life.

I was an innocent
But carried so much blame and shame.
Too much for my 17-year old self to handle.
That book opened a doorway
And I felt the words jump off the page
Viscerally into my ears, mind, and heart.
And I could finally breathe.

Uninhibited, unrestricted
I was accustomed to hiding the cries
And sharp sips of air from sobbing.
I was trying to intuitively calm myself
But not finding the support or space to calm down.
I was made to feel weird and awkward
For my self-soothing efforts.

I felt at peace for the very first time.
Comfortable with my steadiness of breath and mind.
This was my very first time practicing meditation
with just this book by Cheri Huber as my guide.

Oh, how I craved that feeling.
It was an incredible high,
I was filled with love and acceptance
of who I was on that very day.

Looking back, the framework of a
Mindful practice had come into focus.
I was empowered,
Elated that inner peace was truly possible.

My meditation practice has evolved since then.
I typically listen to guided meditations these days.
I have new teachers that I follow:
Sharon Salzberg, Hunter Clarke-Fields, Kris Carr
to name a few.

But it all started with that one book
that has brought me to new heights.
Clarity, insight, calm and peace 
are always within my grasp
And I am forever grateful.
Connection

I open the window of my heart

I accept the ever changing season.
The pendulum swings
From extreme heat to bitter cold.

I accept that among the cosmos 
The entire planet is smaller than
The dot in the letter i

I matter.  I belong here.
I walk the earth gently.
I smile upon those I greet
On this shared path.

I accept that this moment
is fleeting.
It always is.
And then the next.

I allow myself to fully accept
that which is out of my control.
I cannot make the icy wind chill go away
Nor stop the tide from crashing onto the shore.

And since the earth is but a dot,
My comings and goings hardly go noticed
And I accept that too.

My very existence means the world
To my family and friends
And that I do not take for granted.

When I feel surrounded by love
For myself and others
I open the window of my heart
And let love in.

Inspired by:
“Close your eyes and open the window of your heart.
Only when you have no more need for acceptance
will everything you do be accepted.” RUMI
self-care

To be a lotus when the world wants magnolias

Happiness and confidence 
Lies in true acceptance.
I come alive
and feel at peace,
No longer adhering to
Or following a
Well-worn, grooved path.
The easy way that is
already before me
with clear checkpoints and
crossing the list off as I go.

Is there room for happiness and joy
in a path that is not
authentically mine?

Can I be my true self,
Accepting the
Beautiful and the ugly?
The whole instead of just the
Presentable parts?

I embody confidence
And I don’t waver.
I won’t lose myself
in the struggle to
attain others’ approval
or acceptance.
It is like Dorothy in Oz.
The power to go home
(or accept myself)
was inside me all along.

This path is not always easy:
To be a lotus when the 
world says magnolias
are all the rage right now.

My joy and
My happiness
Cannot be swayed to placate
And follow the ever-changing
Whims of the day. 
shared stories

Each season

Each Season has a reason
A root cause
A call to Mother Earth
An honoring of nature’s rhythms.
I, too, can play a role
in this delicate dance.

A celebration with
Its own unique beauty
Its own story to tell
An expression of emotion
of life itself.
And all the stages
One not better than the other
All necessary and
Interdependent on each other.

Humans throughout time
Have heard the call
and took their rightful place
at the helm
at Mother Nature’s feet
Ruffling her skirts,
Smoothing the sheets
One role not more prestigious
than another.
All needed
in sharing the honor
of her presence.

Greeting her
at each stage
Arms open wide
Accepting the gifts
and the lessons
To make way for
Growth and space
For it all to take place
Together
Side by side
Hand in hand
Guided to her 
Beauty and sorrow
Each day a change to begin anew.
abundance

This house

This house of ours
It is with love
that we share 
the memories,
the appliances and
the furniture.

We invite our hearts
arms open wide.
I am yours
and you are mine.

The furniture may change
through the years,
Along with the appliances
and technology.
The love is constant
like the walls that
shield us from
the storms.

When I am with you,
I know true acceptance.
There is no place 
for shame or blame
of past circumstance.
All are welcome to
embody this place.

The walls may hold
all the memories:
the proposal,
the wedding,
and contain
our growing family
as our hearts swell
in this shared space.

It may feel small at times.
When we feel there’s an
overabundance of toys
and gadgets.
There just doesn’t seem
to be any free space
to just be.

It is a manifestation of
our abundant love and
ability to provide our
children with 
cherished memories,
A foundation of
that security,
A love they can carry
with them 
into their own
future houses.
Connection

All Hallows Eve

Out of the darkness
the dead walk
among the living.
The veil is thin and ripe.
So the line between the two
worlds is easily crossed

It’s a wonder to see
If I open my mind 
and see what lies
before me in the
present moment.

We dress the part
so that the living
may take part
in the sacred dance
to the edges
of the horizon
and to new shores.

Palm in palm we walk
in the dark
exploring with a flashlight.

Will we be surprised
at who crosses our path?

Will we recognize 
the familiar behind
the mask and the costume?

Will we run and
tremble with fear?

Can I hold the line
and be a safe haven
for the lonely and the scared?

For one day we will have to
take the one-way pilgrimage 
to the other side
and follow the well-grooved
path to see where it leads.

Tonight we pretend
that we are walking
among what is unreal
now made real and tangible.

A valley that is easily crossed
for those who open their minds
and their hearts 
and accept what lies before them
Even through a dark and scary night.
self-care

Layers

When I discover my true self revealed 
naked without a mask 
without culturally accepted clothing that clings to my curves 
extenuates my breasts and exposes my arms or legs, 
I am free from what binds me.

Although society will try to make me feel foolish 
embarrassed to even look upon my naked body in the mirror. 
The glass is never a true reflection but a juxtaposition. 
Whoever sees their true reflection except those reflected back in the eyes of another?

My lover’s desire 
My culture’s shame
How do I let it go 
to accept me as he does naked and true to himself?

Why do I have all these layers to shed before my true self has seen the light of day? 
Do I even recognize her? 
What’s in my mind’s eye and reflected back to me in the mirror are two very different things. 
Can I love the ideal me and the real me? 
Can I drop the story to be a certain image at all times regardless of what stage of life I happen to be in?

The man does not let outside influences interrupt his burning desire to meld into one. 
His lust and eyes tell me I’m something more than I see. 
Do I exist as he sees me naked and swaying to incite his excitement? 
Is that the true me? 
Or is it the one who breathes deep sighs 
as the clean sheets spread out neatly tucked around 
my body and mind relaxes and succumbs to the much-needed rest?

To recharge and feel comfort in one’s bed without interruption or distraction. 
To feel my bones and breath 
no one to interpret or criticize. 
It is mine and only mine to claim. 
In beauty, in rest, in wholeness fully alive. 
I can be here for just a moment.

A night under the moon. 
She and I are one and dancing with the stars 
not ashamed of who we are but embodying our true nature. 
When the black birds take flight in that early twilight, 
their beating wings do not make a mark across the darkened sky. 
Their beating hearts in unison as they soar across the moon 
only then illuminated before being swallowed back into the darkness.
self-care

The Blackberries

The blackberries
the quintessential fruit of summer.
On the brink of harvest
in the heat of morning sun.
They sit patiently
an offering.
Do I accept the invitation?

There is nothing like fresh fruit
the burst of flavor on my tongue.
The dark stained hands
from the fleshy bells.
On my chin and darkened my tongue.

The fruit is not forbidden
or only for the chosen few.
Only to those who happen to
look up at the sky
and notice
that there’s more than
meets the ordinary eye.

There is some effort.
I must confess.
Before you can savor the
reward of your labors.

It takes the body to the edge
just beyond reach.
With added vigor and strength,
I can reach what I desire.

It is now in my grasp
and my body relaxes and breathes.
Sighing as I place the dark bell into my mouth.
Yes, I’ll save some for later
and share the bounty.
But right now this is just for me.
This moment.
This effort.
This delicious reverie is mine to savor.
So I do.
Not caught up in agendas, past stories or future thinking.
Just the blackberries
The offering and
Me the willing recipient.

And I am filled with awe and gratitude
for the fresh delectable flesh.
Just mine.
All mine.

I touch the tree’s bark
and look up in the branches.
There is more than enough for everyone. For the birds, the insects, the squirrels and me.
All sharing a Thanksgiving feast.

The tree accepts all and turns away none. 
Is generous and sharing to all who visit her 
and enjoying her gift in her presence is the true gift.
Connection

Shadow v. The Light

The shadow is my constant companion.  We are connected at the “sole.”  We are together on this journey called life.  My shadow warps and changes shape in response to the light.  She may grow as long as a tree or seem to disappear beneath my feet.  But nonetheless we are tethered whether I like it or not.

We all have a shadow side. So why do we collectively try to snuff out the darker parts of ourselves?  My shadow is forever patient and steady.  I may ignore her and go about my day or pretend she’s not there and distract myself from her message.  She is ready even when I am not.

What is the light?  It’s who I project myself to be.  It’s my high points, my bright genius side.  I can wrap the light around me like a blanket or hold it close like a soothing cup of tea.  I am held in its warm embrace.

But sometimes the light is too much.  Blinding even and I fear I will lose my footing on the path.  My shadow will always guide me back, shield my eyes, and give me that necessary reprieve to regroup.  The shadow is my retreat from the spotlight.

We need both the light and the shadow.  We can’t have a shadow side without a lighter one.  And we need not fear one and idealize the other.  They can both peacefully coexist with equanimity.  And we can collectively accept both sides of the same coin, us.