Brilliance

Poetry

Awash in golden light,
The world dazzles me with brilliance.

Crystal refractions of falling rain
Form a shimmering mist
And dance on the water.

Ripples and reflections;
Emeralds and buttery bright beams –
The world is bearing down on me
With a beauty that is ecstasy to behold.

Enraptured in the quaking stillness,
Aloft in the roaming behemoth clouds,
The tides are pulling,
The stars are blazing;
My soul follows course:
Within me and without me;
As above so below.

Energy

Poetry

In the stillness of the space between breaths,
I radiate deeply –
Finding the heart of my home.

All this gentle energy
Absorbs and fills me,
Spilling out and up into the universe.

I am the wind and the rain,
I am sunrise and moonshadow,
I am glittering hidden rubies,
And the emerald leaves of tall trees.

I am the fire that surges within;
The explosion of our shared dream.

Fear & Compassion

Memoir

Last week I decided to stop looking at any and all sources of news and current event information.

The result?

Instant relief; sustaining well-being.

The anger, anxiety, frustration, and stress that I would feel in reaction to this content is all gone.

It seemed like everything was bad news. And with this obsessive focus on the negative were storylines that always included blaming, shaming, and polarizing.

The refusal to accept life as it is, and our scarcity culture (with all its finger-pointing, division, hatred, and messaging that we are not enough), come from a place of fear.

Fear of change.
Fear of loss or lack of control.
Fear of uncertainty.
Fear of illness.
Fear of death.

I’m trying to feel compassion for the fear-mongers and the fearful.

This is a challenge – my anger at the injustice and selfishness can get in the way. It’s hard to drop my own pointing finger of judgment that I have aimed at what I think is wrong.

Can I be critical and compassionate at the same time?

I suppose that I believe in my own version of what is “right” and what is “true” as much as other people believe in theirs.

We all handle fear differently.

Fear is not meant to be avoided, denied, conquered, eliminated, repressed, or weaponized.

In doing so, the mind is poisoned and we lose sight of our connection with our integrity, with others, and with our calling to constructively respond to reality.

Fear is biological and natural – like other emotions, it sends us messages and offers an invitation to work kindly with it as we pay attention, learn what’s underneath the feeling and could benefit from our care, and take responsible action.

Not everyone understands this about fear. (I didn’t for most of my life). And even those who do understand may not be able to summon the courage and strength required to work with this challenging emotion. (I certainly can’t all of the time).

Remembering this helps me as I practice extending compassion to everyone… including myself.

Open

Poetry

I have opened myself to you,
Tentative but trusting.
Come inside.
You will find the
Scars,
Stories,
Secrets.
The bruised ruins
Of ages past –
The marks left behind:
A fading, aching tattoo.
In this darkness,
Buried,
Lives of long ago –
Pain and fear
Etched and eroded:
Love me here.

Complaisant & Complicit

Memoir

How often we proclaim “I would have…” and then launch into a fantasy narrative in which we shine as the brave, bold, outspoken hero in a situation that demands action and justice.

The reality is that it’s easy to say; not easy to do – we’re often blanched and quelled in the face of adversity or confrontation.

There was a particular situation years ago in which I was frozen with inaction… I’m still working on forgiving myself for not speaking up; I’m still working on releasing myself from the subsequent shame.

I was in the private banquet room of a restaurant, dropping by for a few minutes to see a young man who was going to be married that weekend. All of the guests were men except for myself, a collegiate woman, and her mother. I didn’t know the groom or anyone else gathered there – I wasn’t even introduced to them. I was the “plus one” of the groom’s cousin, so I only knew him, his parents, and his siblings. I felt awkward and uncomfortable, an outsider stuck within this raucous fray.

When the group of men discovered that one of their friends wasn’t coming to the lunch, they called him on speakerphone and when his voicemail picked up, they all chanted Bitch! Bitch! Bitch! repeatedly before hanging up and laughing proudly at their brazenness.

I was stunned..

Incredulous. Disgusted. Furious.

Silent.

I looked at the young men’s fathers – they were laughing too.

I looked at my date’s parents – they shrugged their shoulders.

I looked at my date’s young siblings – they looked uncomfortable, but said nothing.

I looked at my date – he was composed, as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening.

We left shortly afterwards and I felt sick.

My date told me sharply not to say anything; that I was hypersensitive and overreacting.

So I swallowed my feelings and my words.

The disgust I felt about the behavior I witnessed turned inward, as I berated myself for not speaking up with the group and not speaking up with my date.

I felt so dirty, so disappointed in myself.

I continued to smother my thoughts and feelings in other situations with this man and his family, repressing and burying my truth, dignity, and self until I could no longer bear the weight of the mask and armor of feigned normalcy – the day this man told me he was “a victim of the matriarchy” was the end for me, and I severed all connection and contact.

Though all of this happened years ago, my silence haunts me – I failed to act, and that absence became a gaping hole of shame.

I discussed this recently with my partner, exploring the deep roots of my aversion to feeling passive, submissive, weak.

I’m working to wash myself clean; to forgive myself for being complaisant and complicit in situations when my spirit struggled and my integrity ached to be actualized.

My partner kindly suggested that I “acknowledge the Being within that is doing good now” – and that filled me with tenderness and warmth.

I have learned from this experience, and through reflection and self-compassion I can unshackle myself from the past to focus on the person I am today – strong, steadfast, never again to be silenced.

Negativity & Gratitude

Memoir, Photography

It’s so easy to be swept up by all the negativity; to feel crushed and drowning in the undertow.

Every day there is fresh pain erupting from wounds that have not yet had the chance to scab or heal.

Every day the lines of division and hatred burrow deeper trenches; erect higher barricades.

Every day The Other becomes a more dangerous and loathsome enemy in the ongoing war against anything perceived as different, opposing, threatening.

Every day the justification feverishly escalates to polarize, condemn, attack, conquer, and eliminate.

I recognize that much of my thoughts, moods, and expressions are reflections of my exposure to this negativity, and I’m committed to being responsible about how I project this in my mind, communication, and interactions.

The practice of gratitude keeps me from being completely overwhelmed by the disgust, hopelessness, frustration, and fear that I feel in response to all this madness in the world outside my home.

There are many things for which I am thankful, including that I am healthy and privileged enough to be creating and sharing this message.

I would like to honor the blessings that have been shining a light in the darkness of recent days, filling my heart with happiness and gratitude.

To start this series, I’ll carry on a tradition that I used to enjoy years ago in photography forums – Caturday.

Leto is a constant source of joy, wonder, and love.

I am so thankful to have found him, to be able to provide him with a healthy, safe, and loving home, and to spend each day marveling at his beauty, mischief, tranquility, and sweet affection.

Reality

Poetry

At the moment of conception:
Death.

And yet all will last forever.

Everything slows to a single vibration
Humming through the deepest center.

The wind is crisp and bright;
Rushing like my spirit astir.
And all throughout the eternal stillness,
Reflections shimmer in the quiet pool.

The light of heaven bares all of this to me –
Gentle and illuminating.

And just as it appears,
So it passes:

Such is the true reality.

For Good

Memoir

I am trying to regulate and process thoughts and reactions in the most healthy and helpful way possible.

Some of the emotions feel destructive – I want to channel them into something constructive.

What do I do with this anger, disgust, frustration?

What do I do with this fear, helplessness, hopelessness?

I feel like I’m on an island, looking out at a vast sea of apathy and selfishness.

Pandemic numbers continue to rise, including record-breaking highs here in Florida… and yet rather than choosing restraint, patience, compromise, consideration, and kindness, citizens and politicians continue to defy, deny, distract.

People are sick or dead because of those who choose comfort, ego, and immediate gratification over courage, rationale, safety, and compassion.

Where, when, how does this end?

I can’t let the anger fuel me.

I can’t let the fear consume me.

How can I use these emotions for good?

Courage

Memoir

During our bedtime ritual last night, my daughter asked me to explain courage to her.

I paused, reflected, and said that courage is feeling scared and still choosing to do the right thing.

I offered a couple of practical, universal examples:

Your friends are engaging in hurtful or harmful behavior – you’re afraid that if you don’t go along with them, that they will ridicule or reject you… but you know in your heart that what they’re doing is wrong.

Courage is feeling scared, and choosing to stand up for yourself; for others; for what is right… courage is saying No, I’m not going to be a part of this – even if this means you’re going to make fun of me or not want to be my friend anymore. A true friend wouldn’t act like this anyway.

Apologizing is another form of courage. It feels scary to admit that you’ve done wrong; it feels scary to approach the person that you hurt with your actions. Regardless of their reaction to your heartfelt apology, being brave and saying you’re sorry is the right thing to do… and it will heal and strengthen you.

Courage is connected with our values, and when we act from that place we deepen our sense of self-worth and build confidence and conviction.

Everytime we bravely choose to do the right thing, we feel and see that we are more powerful than our fear.

Courage is love in action.

Longing

Poetry

Restless,
Questing,
Aching for freedom
From the confines of flesh.

The wind rushes and whistles and moans
Through the swaying trees.

The hawks float and dive and soar –
Weightless,
Effortless,
Serene.

How I long to join them…
My chest pulls with the desire.

To be a shadow,
Borne on the breeze,
An inky rippling against
Crisp blue and dazzling white.

To be free.