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Walls

October 10, 2019

I feel it in my throat

A voice trapped

A scream stifled

But muscles strangle my soul into silence

I feel it in my bones

A spirit contained

Defined by a deteriorating shell

But the body protects the gift it carries

I feel it in this room

A life that is stuck

A longing to explore

But home is where the heart is, and responsibility

I feel it in this world

Minds that need to open

Hearts that yearn to heal

But traditions and systems maintain the chaos

Projections

October 4, 2019

I see them

Sad eyes

Blank stares

Shallow conversation

Going through the motions

“Is this all there is?”

Cries from their empty insides

I wonder what their stories are and what brought them here, and if they will ever wake up and escape? Do they even know it’s possible?

And then

I wonder

If what I see is real?

Or are they just reflections of

My own longings?

Edge

September 3, 2019

The knot tightens in my core

A cauldron beneath it

Brewing from the past

Fear

Uncertainty

Apathy

I am frozen in this darkness

But I know it will bubble over into nothing

Evaporate when I wake

Sunshine and hope awaits

Don’t fight it

Just breathe and be

Until the dawn of a new day.

Unbound

August 30, 2019

It was safe and secure

With love and limits

An answer for every question

Even if shrouded in the long ago and far away.

A world of legends and miracles

But truth to a child’s open mind.

The universe slowly shifted

Grew

Evolved

The seal to the box was opened

Out flowed grace and peace and wonder, not like Pandora

And God and all the universe was bigger, more vast, mysterious

Powerful beyond measure

Truth is love

Outside the box

Unbound by a distant man’s translation.

Afternoon in paradise

August 23, 2019

The clouds swirled above in multiple layers

Shifting from wind, rain, sunshine

We were in the arc of a rainbow

I wondered if three different days passed.

Twin peaks stood in stark contrast

Conducting the clouds

Casting gold dust and shadow in the valley

I rested in their enduring majesty.

The spruce and the aspen

Branches waving and swirling toward the sky

Symbols of growth and protection

I inhaled their life giving breath.

When the inside is too much

Outside draws me close

My eyes and heart open

And I melt into Nature’s embrace.

Gulf Shores

August 7, 2019

The warm ocean breeze

Was a rhythm in my veins

Singing never forget where you come From.

The sand fell away beneath my toes

But the salty foam tide

Enveloped my feet

Securing me in the Presence.

On the edge of the earth

I met the Center of my soul.

The work

July 17, 2019

Why do I feel so guilty?

This focus on me.

The work to become who I’m meant to be.

Peeling back the scabs and reopening the scars

What isn’t mine?

What is of the stars?

Underneath is an unbroken child

True love and dreams

She was born of the wild

But the world told her no

Her voice became quiet

She defaulted to rules and shame

She did the right thing

And feared when she didn’t

To never dishonor her name

She whispers to me through all of the noise

And debris of stories told

I am.

I am.

I am.

Her voice echos below and I am torn

Between the guilt of trying to break free

Or the guilt of leaving her behind

Anxiety attack

July 11, 2019

Once it had subsided

I tried to explain it

But the words made no sense

Failure

Drowning

Tightness

Suffocating

Tears

Heavy

Frozen

“What triggered it?”

I don’t know.

Maybe that thing…

But that doesn’t seem enough

Maybe everything…

But then I am ungrateful

I have a good life

And should not feel this way.

The anxiety has subsided

And the shame sets in.

Next

July 10, 2019

Remember remember remember.

There’s that

you keep forgetting

There’s this

you keep procrastinating

And that other thing

Why haven’t you taken care of that yet?

And a hundred other things

Some trivial and some more important

Waiting in that long line that continues all the way around the corner

One in

One out

Too many on the dance floor

Tisk

Task

Check the box

But the line outside is growing infinitely

And each new checked box

Requires more effort

Less purpose

Less reward

But the fear of being trampled by it all

Keeps the line moving.

Next.

Humanity

July 2, 2019

It was sunny and a humid 93 degrees as I was driving along Bannister Road and moving slowly through thick traffic. Stopped at a light, I observed the backyard of a townhouse where a middle-aged man was on his knees in the grass with a not-yet-inflates swimming pool spread before him. He was fiddling with the pump to get things going. I don’t know who the pool was for: maybe grandchildren were coming over that evening, maybe he has a dog that needs help cooling off on steamy days, or maybe he just wanted to pull up a lawn chair, soak his feet in the cool water, and relax with a beer. I couldn’t think of a situation with that inflatable swimming pool that didn’t involve some combination of peace and joy, and it made my heart swell with happiness to catch a short glimpse of the good times to come.

I’ve passed her in the halls at work several dozen times. Her bleached short hair, her simple, no-nonsense clothing, earbuds always in place to shut out the world around her. She looks down, no eye contact, expressionless as her mind is lost in whatever she’s listening to, or maybe she’s very unhappy. Everything about her seems closed off from the present moment and I’ve wondered what she does here, if she has friends, and what she’s like outside of the corporate walls. I assume she’s an artist since she’s so independent and I’ve never seen her speak or walk with anyone else. And I laugh at my own stereotype of artists since I am one and know so many that are nothing like my perception of her. I can’t decide if I am worried about her loneliness or jealous of her utter lack of concern with anything going on around her. And then one day it happened. I passed her and saw her light up with a joyful smile, and my heart felt relief. But she wasn’t smiling at me.

The sun had finally come out that mild Saturday morning in May. I had recently finished getting all our garage sale items set back out in the driveway and sat down in my lawn chair. There was the usual mix of random household goods and clothing and toys that our girls no longer needed. A young family walked up, with a two-year-old boy, and he immediately made a beeline for the pink and purple colorful riding toy that Layla got for her first birthday. It was a car with a horn and little piano keys on the front that played different songs. He had barely begun to scoot around on it when his dad grabbed him and said “No son, that’s a girl toy.” And they walked away without purchasing anything.

I was leaving work one evening last Spring, walking through the long halls to get to the parking garage. My head was down, perusing my phone, but in my peripheral vision saw I had to slow to a halt because a man was stopped in the middle of the hallway. When I looked at him I saw him with his phone, pointed at the ceiling, and noticed a skylight there I had never seen before. The sky was blue and bright, with fluffy white clouds slowly passing above. After a long, dreary winter, I too shared his excitement of this unexpected view of the bright blue above. I was happy to slow and give him that moment, and overjoyed to happen upon someone finding beauty in unexpected places.

The concert was several songs into the show, and I observed the young woman slouched on the seat in front of me scrolling through her phone, which continued for much of the show. It was one of my all time favorite bands, and I felt judgmental, almost offended that she would waste a concert ticket to be there on her phone. But later at an interlude, the lead singer addressed the crowd, calling on anyone who’d ever felt different, like an outcast, and struggled to find their place in this world. I saw her take notice for the first time and raise her hand with hundreds of others. He told us all that we mattered, that we were enough, and that we all had something unique and special to offer this world, and then dedicated the next song to the crowd. Her demeanor changed dramatically, from a sullen, apathetic brat to a person who found her tribe. She danced and swayed and hugged those around her, and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the show. I felt a pang if guilt for judging her initially, but was filled with gratitude as I watched her blossom in the dark midst of the crowd.