The tears have turned
From the deluge that flows
After I stop holding it in
And give myself permission
To unlock the levee
Of all that I don’t want to feel
And the tears have lightened to a trickle
Like the last few drops of a summer thunderstorm
Signaling the eventual fresh smell,
Gentle return of light-
Maybe, just maybe, a color spectrum in the sky—-
Sometime after you-
The images of you-
Circling my head on repeat
Fade to slow shots
That come back on random Tuesdays
In the grocery aisle
Where we once filled our arms with chocolate and fruit and wine
And our hands interlaced
Not in glee.
I smile slowly at the corners.
Fuzzies still warm the blood around my heart.
And I say “thank you.”
Thank you for you.
Thank you for heartbreak.
For teaching me.
For shaping me.
For changing me.
Thank you for the taste of your mouth.
For walks in parks
Under clear night starry skies.
For that text that made me laugh.
For the way you pointed at the moon and slid your arm behind my back.
For opening my palms. Heart. Mind.
Because I will do this again.
I will love–love in all the hues of the original Greek.
Better each time.
With a little more wisdom.
A little more bravery.
A little more assertion.
A little more listening to what I really I want.
A little more asking of what you really want.
A little more silliness.
Being naked in water and forest.
Tousling your hair.
They are not just ghosts of our pasts.
Old loves change us.
Every man I’ve ever cared for- had a woman who integrally cared for him.
Maybe they’re still friends.
Maybe it’s too painful for me to know more.
Maybe it’s none of my damn business.
But as long as there are healthy boundaries in place,
I am not jealous of her. Nor bitter of her.
In fact, I’m immensely thankful for her work.
If you come to me,
There are men who have shaped me.
Who showed me how to show up better.
Who helped me to understand the ways gender messaging hurts men too,
and how I can be a mutual ally, forever in progress,
and in need of ongoing constructive feedback.
Who helped me navigate conflict.
Who taught me lessons that I hope I don’t need to re-learn.
We are humans. Wired for connection.
Who are loved into our becoming.
We continually evolve.
I am not afraid of your past.
Your old loves.
I am partly who I am, but only in part, from my old loves.
You are partly who you are, but only in part, from yours.
So may we love each other well
Into the people of our becoming.
Ever being shaped by love–and its chief conduit: lovers–
past and present, into the dot dot dot ellipses
of love into our beyond.
[Post script: This is about no single love in particular. Yes each of these things are real experiences. I have found a true awakening to being naked and free in the outdoors. I believe life, creation, that thing that connects us all, shapes us infinitely, not just lovers. Not just people. Nature. The world itself. Lately, though, as I get older, I think about how my list of old loves grows longer, and naturally, future partners’ do, too. And the best thing I can think to do is to be grateful. Wholly grateful. While seeking to find a long-term partner to craft co-authored narratives, that have separate entries some days to tap into the parts of all ourselves that make us who we are, but mostly, chapters together, in many places, in many seasons, in every hue of the Greek words for love.]
First, we try things because we are curious.
Eager to learn.
Eager to touch.
Each to feel.
Since our eyes first opened from the womb.
I loved to walk in snowy stillness in the woods.
To look into specks of light shining from dark sky without speaking.
To lie in grassy meadows.
Surely, meditation was like that, right?
Only a stirring pot of edginess swirled around my veins and entered my head.
I wanted to run.
Or at least push it off until tomorrow
When what I really need to do was s t a y .
When did planned stillness become the alarm bell for
every pushed away thought, desire to squirm,
to return to my old task-oriented habits?
Perhaps to evade change.
Or because I wasn’t ready to open up my insides,
because I knew there was stuff inside that I already thought I was working through well enough in my daily life.
It appeared that the silence of meditation wore a cloak,
bearing a name tag that I couldn’t quite make out.
I leaned into the beats coming from my chest
and slowly discovered that its presence was not as foreboding
as I once thought.
This presence had a moniker,
and I likened the ring of its name to Uncertainty.
Uncertainty was uncomfortable to be around.
Uncertainty made me want to grip my hands into a fist,
to stand my ground, to prove myself.
But Uncertainty didn’t speak; it just sat beside me
and made sure the candles stayed lit,
befriending my heart.
Over the years, I desired more than two minutes
a night of this quiet silence,
this curious being that whispered of another way of being alive.
So I dared to spend more time with it.
It guided me through changing life seasons,
in cities familiar,
in countries whose languages I cannot speak,
in times of grief,
in times of immense joy for the very breath rising and falling,
rising, and falling.
And so I learned that dances in the dark with Uncertainty’s shadows will forever be a part of my evolution.
That what can start out as a loud cacophony can turn into the last reverberating string as quiet enters in.
But more than anything, this thing started to whisper to me.
“Open your palms. Soften your countenance.
Breathe in. Breathe out.”
Life—and therefore, change— persisted.
My palms slowly uncurled
as my heart rate slowed.
And slowly I could look out the window,
or from my tent,
or from the black of my closed eyelids and return to being.
B e i n g.
With an open palm.
The quintessential aspect of my practice.
In the beginning, I said I could live with my heart on my sleeve.
But I didn’t live firm and authentic, day in and day out, in tune with my values, a deep internalized knowing that I could be accepted as loved in my truths and curiosities.
Not good enough?
I didn’t think I actually believed that.
But when I peeled back the layers, that’s the negative thought that explains the people pleasing, my avoidance of conflict, the imposed limits of my fullest freedom.
Because when you believe wholeheartedly that you- that everyone- is worthy of love, belonging, connection, and enough, you don’t need to self protect- the most fragile form of “protection” that robs us of growth.
To open your palms to the cognizance that a better way might be possible
than the thoughts, actions, and behaviors in which you currently exhibit—
that our fixed ideas will need fine tuning periodically, or drastically at first—
that my circumstances and the people around me all need freedom and grace,
even if that means I will experience loss or heartbreak, yes, especially then—
that is open palmed vulnerability.
But when I rest these open palms,
I am resting them on rooted sitbones.
A rooted core.
A heart and mind whose intention is to live life curious,
A pilgrim walking into the long arc of Uncertainty
Because I choose to set my gaze on love, justice, connection, that essence that I think holds us all together, though we all know it by many names, so I just go back to love.
When I go awry, those around me, and that gentle spirit which kept me coming back, show me where I can love better,
own up to my shit,
and that makes life much deeper.
So I sit here,
with open palms and a rooted core,
trying to be completely open
to this precarious existence.
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