calling for space [poem]

space to breathe
space to be
space,
lord

om namah shivaya

I ask not of any earthly lover
but of god

take me to a place
amongst sturdy pines
cedar, spruce
to sacred hills
silver boulders

Howling old wind, become

blowing bells, bansuri
water cold, original ice
discipline

Himalayan stream

om namah shivaya

I ask not of any earthly lover
but of god

take me to a place
amongst ochre earth
sienna sand
to the dunes
turquoise, cacti

Howling old wind, become

whistling rattle whips
ancient earth, eternal light
surrender

Desert being

om namah shivaya

I ask not of any earthly lover
but of god

make me space

space to breathe
space to be
space,
lord

If your eyes are still open [poem]

If your eyes are still open
when the birds begin to sing
stay awake
pour the tea
open the book of love songs
and poetry
wrap your shoulders in a shawl
sit outside
on your balcony
watch the sun change
the sky
from muted gray to lavender and peach
to soft faded blue
and notice the fir trees
and mountain paths
and terraces of wheat and rock
and prayer flags fluttering
in the barely moving wind
and hear the dogs beckoning
each other
to join the bell-wearing donkeys
and the day
and sip, sip, sip
it all
in

Sunrise Selfie in Dharamkot April 27 2017
Sunrise selfie at my hOMe in Dharamkot, Himachal Pradesh, Northern India. April 27, 2017

Do not ask for a heart made of different clay [poem]

Moon child, my curly-haired moon child, Lay your self open, bold and full of breath, alive, on that still-warm concrete roof, between the Ganga and the hills, and ask me what it is you long for…

But do not ask, ever again, for a heart made of different clay. For I poured my Divine Self into your being — I wanted you this way.

I wanted you to cry those tears, to surrender then resurface, to dance in most pure ecstacy, despite your person’s fears.

I wanted you to find your comfort in the trees and on the shores, to climb up into mountain meadows when you couldn’t hear me any more.

I wanted you to lose it all, to break and say goodbye, to the life you thought you lived, full of fantasies not made for freedom, that couldn’t help but make you cry.

I wanted you to dive so deep into your darkest blues, and only then get a glimpse of Self, in the will-less space of softened ego, without that name, without that mind, without much of what you thought you knew.

I am pleased that you’re still with me, crawling onward toward the light, but now, accept this grace, embrace pure courage, burn what lingers of fictitious flesh still keeping you afright.

Stop resisting, my dear moon child, trust the flow you feel. Release into this moment, for what is is mystic magic, a story sage and seer know as real.

But you’ll breathe it into life solely when you fall in love, with that not-so-broken human heart made of cosmic clay, that needs you to stop doubting, start freeing, and fully soar above.

You have the power, you carry the light, each moment has prepared you. So take one final surrendering pause, then release, my curly-haired moon child, and with love become the truth.

So do not ask, ever again, for a heart made of different clay. For I poured my Divine Self into your being — I created you this way.

….. Rishikesh, India. April 2017.

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I question the ‘Why?’

Tonight, I feel soft.
Feminine, in my curves and my tears and my whispering voice.
Tender, and a tad alone.

Not lonely.
Alone.

A few close friends have left tonight.
… always the hardest part of being on the road—the goodbyes to your new chosen family members, which are, as heartbreaking as it may sound, often (and for me usually) harder than the sustained goodbyes to your long-established blood family at home (they’re always there, as we’d like to believe at least, and we’ll know it’s “when” I’ll see them again, rather then “if” as it comes to pass with the heart tribe of a backpacking clan…).

The sky has been raining for over 24 hours straight.
And I’m living in a cloud, that I can touch, for once.

I’ve just watched a movie set in my beloved northwest.
… my most recent chosen ‘home’ in the ‘home’land, that was my original ‘home’ in the ‘home’land, that I still feel more amazed by and intrigued with than all the latter ‘homes’ that have found space in my heart. (although, that one resembling a mitten and full of magical creatures with flesh and fur and fallen leaves makes me lose my breath, and pause my beating heart, I know, when I visit her in my mind…)

My face is scabbed from the thorny tree limb that violently ripped flesh while I flattened myself atop Marie, the albino quarter horse mix , who perhaps wanted me off her back just as badly as I wanted to remain on hers. forever.

Messages from a confused friend land in my inbox. One. Another. Another…And I move them to the Keepsakes/Loves Lost folder. For safe keeping. And indefinite ignoring.

And here I am.
Alone.
With the memories.
The motives.
The longing.
The sadness.

Tonight, joy isn’t at my side.
She’s succumbed to an emotion greater and grander, in all its glory-filled richness, which casts depth, dark shadows, on the fantasy feelings I oft choose to cling to.

Joy is resting, soon to return.
…she always does, that rascal, in her own due time, which is always surprising yet expected, and most times welcome. because what child doesn’t like the light?

But what I feel is beautiful.

What I feel is painful.

And what I feel is real.

It’s the emotion under the others.
The emotion that’s silent, and still.
Waiting for my moments to settle.
For my mind to stop, to stay in.
For my heart to welcome her power.

Alone.

At 30 years old, with a warrior for a body and a gypsy for a spirit and a ballerina philosophizing poet for a mind, I question myself: ‘Why?’

Why must I continue onward, down this path of unknown tomorrows?
Why must I make things difficult for the child inside who craves to know who her friends will be the tomorrow ten days from now?
Why must I walk farther and farther away from love, into the arms of impatience?
Why must I chase adventure, adrenaline, and awe, instead of sweet surrender into the soft stillness of a simple home and a simple life?
Why must I open my heart to strangers, shielding my soul from the souls I want to choose?
Why must I insist on a planless plan, without promises, or purchased plane tickets?
Why must I fight the soft girl within who wants to say ‘I really just don’t know…’ to everything, because she doesn’t, with too-cool confidence and capability and sass-filled sarcasm and smarts?
Why must I keep leaving, arriving, leaving, and let those who love me never know how long I’ll be around?

And…

Why must I carry my sword?
For which battle am I fighting?
For whom?

Self-inquiring, I ask, ‘Are you sure you’re not running from something?’ and ‘Are you sure you’re doing the right thing for you?’ and ‘Are you sure you couldn’t be living a life just as full and just as fitting, across the oceans and in the pines, with your dog and your car and your practice and your art and your music and your smoothies and your … home?’

The answer I give others is ‘Yes, I’m sure.’
in not so many words.

But the real answer,
the one that persists if I let myself be honest with myself,
is ‘no.’

No.

‘No, I’m not sure.’

I like to believe I’m living what I’m creating, what I’m designing, from my unmanifest dreams.

But that wouldn’t be entirely truthful.

My dream life is much like this life, but it’s also like that other life I lived once, and the one before that, and before that… And it’s got so many bits included from the lives I’ve yet to live but that I’ve imagined, I’ve prayed for, I’ve called out to God for while lying face down in the dirt, tears inside my eyes, and while lying face up in the grass, eyes locked inside the eyes of a lover.

Do I know what I am doing? No.
Would I say that this life, with all its beautiful blessings, is worth the possibility that the dream life I write romance novels and fairy tales in my mind about, that I tell travelers and soul sisters about, that I cry about, on planes on buses and in burly bear-man arms, won’t ever be, because maybe I won’t ever find myself in one place long enough to establish this vision, or let the Universe meticulously compose the bits, one by one, so that it grows into something greater than I could ever have conceived? No. Could I fathom that this life, my moment to moment now, is evolving and transforming into that dream life? Not really.

But I do know there is no certainty.
And I do know that I trust, deeply, in life.
And I do know that I am living the only life I could really ever live.
And that all the pieces are coming together, or falling apart, exactly as they should, simply because they are… and so it is…

But I am alone.
And I am ok with that
tonight.
And I am ok to still be asking ‘Why?’ after all these years.
And I am ok holding my shield, my weapons, my books.

And I am ok
also
throwing them into the pyre.

When it’s time, take me.
Lift me up and show me what’s next.
For my life. for this life. for…

And I will be ready.

Until then, I rest my head upon a community pillow
used before by believers, businessmen, runners, space-holders, stamp-chasers.
And I’ll eat pancakes in the morning.
With Turkish coffee and turmeric.
And I’ll write a story, on the art of doing nothing,
and the magic that creates.

And I’ll live myself into yet another tomorrow ten days from now
and see who shows up to be friends with the child inside
and see for whom I’ll measure the weight and worth of my shield
and see if the question remains
but I know, I believe,
it will.

…. Odem, Golan Heights, Israel, November 2016.

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“Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given because you would not be able to live them. And that is the point, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

The charm of Florentin

It’s hard to leave a place, a people, you enjoy…

Even if it’s just been a week, I really have fallen for this sliver of life and community in Florentin — super hip neighborhood in Tel Aviv — but now, I head north. …

Goodbyes suck. So much. But they’re also part of the beauty of being human, and being a girl on the go.

I’ll be seeing you again Miss Loca, you beautiful puppy sister soul and soft body to hold, and I’ll be seeing your family again. And your English graffiti-covered fashion boutiques, and full-body pillow stores, and way too bright lighting stores, and furniture construction shops blowing sawdust in my face, and knockoff Havaianas selling for $11 a pair, and street corners blocked by mountains of cardboard boxes, and mini supermarkets filled with food packed in Hebrew-laden plastic that I purchase without knowing what I’m buying because I suppose that’s half the fun, and the Italian restaurant on the corner that served me mozzarella and lemon shrimp, and the coffee kiosk of which I’m a regular already, and the fine AF Mohawked men, and the curly girls who look like me but never say please or thank you, and the electronica in the pharmacy staffed by gay Israelis too-cool to show me where the earplugs are, and the charm… The charm of Florentin.

Mmmmmwah! I’ll be seeing you again.

Sharing: Aliveness and Serenity in the buzz -jerusalem-

Keeping it real. This moment. Sharing: I’m really fucking happy right now. Cheesy pop plugged into my ears, fellow travelers bumping elbows and pint glasses with my own, a jam session about to begin on the stage before me… I sit here with a smile, a sigh, and a head shake of pure ‘what the hell is this beautiful life?!’
 
I’m reflecting and integrating, finally, the glorious mess and hella beautiful madness of the last two weeks… (Goodbye Michigan and Michigan loves, hello and goodbye San Francisco and Emerging Women, Path of Love — whhhhaaatt???!!!, a ‘work’week in Tel Aviv, the weekend of wonderful and sweet what-the-fuck?, and now Jerusalem.)
It’s just beautiful, this thing, this life. The ups, the downs, the what-the-hell-am-i-doing, and the what-the-hell-just-happened… All of it.
 
Starting and ending each day in gratitude, in raw gratitude, helps make my moments a bit more powerful. I realize, again, that life really is a game. The one I’m – you’re – living is, is just one option… There’s always another option. And another. And another… Say yes to that fella with the pomegranate juice? Another. Say no to that tour of Tel Aviv? Another. Say yes to your family’s holiday proposition? Another. Say no? Say yes? So not now? Say not ever? All options… You’ll – I’ll – never know what’s ‘best’ and truthfully I don’t want to know. I just want to keep riding the train and seeing what’s around the bend…
Meeting an intimidating artist gypsy from Berlin and a pair of far-too-handsome but far-too-shy Swedish fellas and an aging redheaded Norwegian sister soul help me connect more deeply to my own heart, my own triggers, my own ‘flaws’, my own values, my self…
I am SO honored to be in this human experience right now. I recognize the trip I’m on — the highs, oh the HIGHS (that are so very far from the lows so close I can feel them creeping up on me many a moments…) with their bliss and their enchanted bewilderment. I feel my own energy, the oft-frenzied movement within my mind — ‘Can I lie here a moment longer? Linger, last, just love this second? mmmm No, I cannot… there is a day to seize and a body built to move and a city and sensation to experience. I move… Not sure where to go, but knowing a move must be made. Start with a toe… An ankle… A calf dance… Then, I’m up and asking God for the gift of another day. — and I feel the burning on my tongue seeking a taste of passion and passionfruit and pissed off rage exploding from within… The back and forth and in and out, and the artist inside saying ‘I’m done giving a fuck if I’m crazy, the most crazy, or sane, the most sane in this bunch of crazies’ and the practical/fearful adult inside saying ‘Hey sweet girl… Calm it down, and take a rest, there’s too much here, now, and you’re going to break if you run so far, so fast…’
 
It’s all there. All of it. I feel it all.
 
Yet, this game of life gives us a choice. And, gosh… At this moment, I choose to LIVE in the most YES way I can. There is a fire inside me, that was put there for some reason, OR that lives there without reason at all, but I love it. I do. And I am SO grateful for the moments in my life where I really experience the depth of MY experience. I remember the gray days, I remember the hours spent hiding in fear — so recent, just a handful of months ago — taking a xanax at 8, and another at noon, and another at 3 or 4… just to get the courage to share space with those who have loved me since birth… I remember the terror I felt, the freezing terror that overcame my physical body and hollowed my mind, when I realized I hadn’t eaten anything substantial in days but felt, deep within my core, that I couldn’t attempt to eat a single thing. I remember trying, sitting at a diner with my father, to stomach a soft omelette with my favorite vegetables, and having to spit out the chewed protein into a napkin just so I wouldn’t uncontrollably vomit on the table… (I reflect now, WHO WAS THIS? I realize, THIS WAS ME. This is me when things are out of alignment, when I have denied the power of love and respect of intuition and divine guidance for far too long…)
 
So, I am in a high moment right now. And I am respectful and honoring of life’s flow that, for me, can be just as terribly painful as it is ecstatically beautiful. And for some humans here, I realize that the lows are not worth the highs. But, for me, I suppose I’ll take the gray days that god has for me, knowing it means I get to also experience the psychedelic richness and depth of emotion that I am experiencing now.
And in my body? Tight belly that is riveted with excitement. Arms and fingers full of energy, ready to do work (and put them to work, I am — writing writing writing away). Head that is a little busy and dizzy (mucho movement in this day and lots to do and take care of in the coming days). And a heart that is full (holding space, for others, creating space, for my own). Some loving souls, with truly my best interests at heart, may say ‘feel what you’re feeling, but bring it back to this moment…’ And to that, I say, ‘This moment is all things. Madness. Softness. Serenity in the buzz…’

It’s all good. Fucking a’ man, it’s all good.

God. Thank you.
 

Kichari on the Go! Ghee it, girrrrl… [recipe]

Most of you know how much I love good food — I geek out in produce aisles, I pause my entire day to make huge lunches for me and my family, and I spend most of my paychecks at co-ops and restaurants and never think twice about whether that farm-fresh butter is worth the price or if I’ll be ordering an appetizer at a new restaurant…

But cooking… Cooking! Dreamworld. If I’m living in a space with a kitchen (which, ha!, truth be told is a rarity in the last several months), I destress and delight myself as turmeric-stained fingers hold a chef’s knife and the fridge overfills with kale and beets, parsley and cilantro… I. Love. To. Cook.

One of the things I miss most about being ‘home’ is just that… The chopping, the experimenting, the feeling of sitting down before a meal that my hands helped to create (with the help of the divine of course, for providing the ingredients/the tools/the ideas… all of everything that ever was or ever will be, seriously).

But now? I’m traveling — in Israel — and I’ll be on the road at least another few weeks but most likely longer. So how can I get a cooking fix, nourish my body, and save on my budget while bouncing around hostels? Kitchari.

KITCHARI!!!! 

This is a staple food for yogis — Ayurvedic food for the soul — which is a perfect protein, is easy to make and to digest, and tastes delicious. It’s a warm porridge-like concoction filled with Ayurvedic spices to pacify the doshas (lord knows Vata gets a bit cray cray when you’re on the move like I am) and to create a nourishing healing space within the body and mind. And, let’s be real, it is something I can chow down on without guilt that doesn’t make my body feel disgusting after (because I’ve grown up. Done with that nonsense. I’m almost 30. I’ve had enough bread and nutella on my travels before to know the gut rot that comes from eating just cheap carbs and chocolate nut spread…).

So, here is my quick and easy kitchari recipe that you can make anywhere! If you need to, you could do this with one pot, one spoon, and a hotplate. (I hear Shiva Rae packs her tools in a suitcase so she can always get a kitchari fix.)

Quick and Easy Quinoa Kitchari Recipe

Two servings:
– Begin with equal parts quinoa and split mung beans (could use red lentils of regular lentils or whichever kind if you don’t have split mung beans — they are the easiest to digest however and don’t aggravate vata dosha as all other lentils/beans do). About 2/3 cup each, maybe more 😉

Combine quinoa and beans, and rinse thoroughly 3 times until water drains clear.

Add mixture to pot, add around 4 cups water, bring to boil stirring gently (I added some salt and some dried ginger to water — optional). Once it boils, cover and bring to low simmer and let cook until quinoa is soft (these mung beans will pretty much dissolve into the mixture, but if using other lentils make sure they’re very soft).

– As that cooks, heat 2-3 tbsp (or more) ghee in skillet/frying pan on medium high heat until it melts.
Add 1/2 tsp+ cumin seeds until they sizzle (don’t burn them).
Add 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds.
Add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds.
Add 1+ tsp minced raw ginger.

Cook and blend about 1 minute.

Add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder.
Add 1/2 tsp curry powder.
Add 1/2 tsp coriander powder.
Add 1/4 tsp (or less) ground black pepper.

Stir and heat until thoroughly blended and set aside until quinoa/lentils are complete.

– Drain the quinoa/lentils, leaving some of the water.

Add quinoa/lentils to spice mixture and mix thoroughly.

Add pink salt/sea salt to taste, and add more ginger and black pepper as you like.

All done! Makes two pretty hearty portions.

Yummmmm…. 🙏🙏🙏🙏

Adjust the spice amounts as needed 😘

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Beckons from above: airplane prayers

Yes sweety, push your face into that double-paned plastic glass and see the world out there!

Watch your body fly by the planet at 350 miles per hour and watch the bodies below rest and wait for something to change that never will change.

Let yourself marvel, and wonder, because that’s you baby girl.

Your heart wants to see — always has and always will — so let your eyes feast in the now and never regret a moment of being “that girl” who is almost 30 and laughs like a toddler and wonders like a mystic and dances like a harlot.

Do you — ALWAYS — because the you YOU are is the YOU the universe meant for YOU to be, and the YOU you are has a specific and perfect role to play.

So be you, please, I pray, no matter if you’re met with wide sideways snears and upturned noses, what-the-fucks from friends near or far, or complete disregard from professionals or peers in your field.

I beg you, go to bed with a head upon a heavenly pillow that beckons your rest in a state of ease and contentment, settling in the inner knowing you’ve lived and loved another day for you.

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The buzz the buzz the buzz of life at Midway… [Airport Flowetry Poetry]

I love airports, but more so I love watching people and the whole human experience play out in these buildings built for movement and transition.

I love watching a full-grown man make FaceTime or snapchat faces into his phone to a child or wife or mistress on the side…

I love watching new friends become new friends over a burger and a brew without ever exchanging names.

I love watching the business travels unwind, a woman hanging a stiletto from her toe while the heel bounces and her heart races in the presence of a well-dressed man with two hours to kill in flirtation.

I love watching the littles trail behind their parents who carry pillow pets and mini pink plastic backpacks and creased lines on their foreheads.

I love watching the international first-timers, often paralyzed with fear, as their first experience of Americans startle and shock their more simple knowings, and I wonder if they regret the leap of faith they must have taken to cross the waters and land in this land.

I love watching myself open, gaze, settle, surrender into the flow of movement and momentum and only chances as I ask for what I want and put it all on the line with a one-time encounter with a woman I admire or a man I’m instantly infatuated with.

I love watching life unfold within the glass and steel and marble and plastic and invisible technology waves beaming through the air…

I love watching.

Because I love being watched.

I love being a part of the whole.

As I, so very much, am a necessary part of the whole of this crazy beautiful life on earth right now.

So are you.

Come fly with me?

me-sept-2016

What the fuck… Is this what it feels like?

I’m at work. And I should be working. It’s a deadline day and I’m full of angst and anxiety as I try and imagine how the hell I’ll ever get everything done.

But, I’m feeling something in me that I haven’t felt in a really really long time.

And I’m terrified.

And I feel like I could vomit. And cry. And scream. And run.

And turn to mush.

Tears are coming as I type, and I’ll sacrifice sleep later to finish my work… Because right now, this is my work.

To feel. This.

At the risk of being too open, too vulnerable, and utterly ridiculous in the eyes of anyone who knows me (or doesn’t), here I go.

I don’t want to fall in love.

I don’t want to risk saying goodbye to the fire in my heart, to the dancing queen in my soul, to the get-up-and-go that makes me who I am. I don’t want to leave behind all the things that make me the me I love the most. Free spirit. Artist. Unconventional bohemian babe who teaches yoga and heals with her hands, and also swears like a badass sailor bitch with a shot of Jameson, another of Patrón, and a sweating Busch light on the bar before me. I want to climb those trees in the furry-filled fuzzy Northwest, and those mountain peaks in the sacred Himalayas.

I don’t want to make decisions using my left brain.

I don’t want to say I’m sorry, and really mean it, when I realize I was less than considerate of the man waiting in the truck.

I don’t want to cry when we’re an hour away from our departure point.

I don’t want to have nausea, those fucking butterflies that come, or the weight gain or weight loss that accompanies an emotional experience us humans aren’t blessed to have enough to make sense of within our minds.

I don’t want to fall. Fuck. I don’t want to fall.

I’ve been running and running and running, with fear of falling, and I don’t want to stop.

Because stopping hurts.

Really. Really bad.

Because stopping means staying.

And that’s not my style. Or hasn’t been, on a heart-level, for 6 years since my heart last broke, which broke bigger and bolder than I’d hope any heart could break.

I want to cling to my path, one that has no rules, that believes everything is gray — never black and white, ever — but is a foggy gray filled with regular doses of tye-dye and psychedelic hippies and EDM. A path that sings to Bieber and Johnny Cash. That is full of naked swims at sunrise in the Sawtooth mountains, and naked golden-hour dips amongst canoers and fallen birch trees in the Upper Peninsula. It’s a path that lights my life up bigger and bolder than any path I’ve tried ever could…

But damn it. DAMN IT. Damn it.

“What’s the worse thing that could happen?” he asks.

I roll my eyes, and laugh at how silly it sounds, but I tell the truth…

“For me, honestly… fuck… The worst thing that could happen is he could be my forever person and I could change course and get married and have some babies and live in the woods amongst the fawns and fairies…” I laugh. I cry. So does he.

So while I sit here, typing away, and the texts and messages from the other fellas greet my morning, I cringe… Oh but, them… I like them too, don’t I?

But they don’t make me slow my roll and cool my jets.

I’ve feelings to feel, that I’m feeling, that I haven’t felt in a very very long time.

This hurts, so I know it’s not a crush.

This hurts, which tells me if I want to see what this life thing is all about, in a way that may satisfy the dreamer in me, maybe it’s worth looking at a bit longer…

This hurts, because it’s so not me.

I’m not vulnerable. I’m strong. I’m willful. I’m free.

And, if I’m being honest, I know the reason I’m most terrified is because this is truly uncharted territory. So much so, I’ve no clue how to put one foot in front of the other.

How does one do this, really do this? How do you just be, without a heady head spinning and swirling with option and adventure? How do you just let go of any agenda, any roles, and not keep one foot out the door?…

You just be, I suppose.

And let life happen, I suppose.

And feel the feelings, I suppose.

And cry and vomit and let yourself be sick.

In love.

Damnit.


“To know Godliness one has to be defenseless…, one has to drop all armor; one has to be vulnerable. And it is not only the condition to know Godliness; it is the condition to know all that is beautiful, all that is poetic, all that is musical, all that is  contained in the word “love”. ” -Osho

Opening, Closing Gifts [.streamingpoem.]

his eyes
amber green orange-yellow
soft brown

a mouth
that shimmered as he spoke
a grill
behind El Salvadorian teeth

a nose
german, hooked like mine
mole on the right side

along the canyon creek
we spoke, the sun
blazing bright hot dry
on neon leaves above
my head

a stone
rope-tied to a cowboy hat
above his crown, home

gifted with knowing
thoughts, pain
made bewildered by the
unconsciousness of others
this man sought refuge
advice from a sage, how might he
close his heart
of feeling

under a cascade
a waterfall, he said
for 30 days, he said
opened his mind
letting the cool mist build towers
walls of protection
to shield from the blows
the noise

for 30 days he begged
gods for release
remove the unknown
the fire flames burning, bring
peace silence stillness
mundane
freedom
from the power of knowing

16 earth-cycles
passed, powers gone

yet in his sleep
he opens a door to the purple blue
universe, light sky

each eve elders circle the table
of energy, not form
three hundred of them
welcome my friend
at the fire

each day
back in a bed, sunshine, alarms
he opens awakened eyes
to an unknowing world
and walks, moves, with
golden heart oxen hands

I beg him
to explore, more, without fear
stand up in your power
bravery, risk, original wildness
ask to know, I said
once more, I said
and know

I will be back
connected, connecting
and the cerulean sky encouraging
touch

We step back
into spaces
of growth, of darkness lightness growing
breath

One final glisten
his eyes
and mine

I soften, gasp, knowing
this man
this gift
this truth in me
a softness
a mission
responsibility

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Titus Lake, Idaho [poem]

Moments spent in the waking world, alone with nature, are some of my very favorite moments of all. 😊🌀🌎🌿🌞❤️

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Because it’s 8 am and
you’re at a Rocky Mountain lake you’ve
never been to before
with only your golden dog and
a few chipmunks and
deer and dozens of birdsongs
as company
you shrug off your clothes and
bare all to the damp and chilly wind
and tip toe into the crystal turquoise
stillness
reflecting before you

and breathe in….

Then you dive and
open your eyes to taste
the smooth blue and green around you

Then you flip
and float
and your skin tightens from the icy cold and
your breath is high in
your chest and your dog
whines along the shore, afraid
to let you lose yourself
below the surface.

 

Titus Lake

My practice [poem]

❤ new poetry ❤
I read this quote [Our spiritual practice should ” … feel as natural to slip into as our favorite jeans or T-shirt, at ease both with being worn and being worn out.” — Robert Augustus Masters] and I reflected on my favorite spiritual practice. ❤ Yes sir, I’m down with my practice these days.
To me, I think my favorite spiritua practice is my dance at sunset in a dusty dirty Dog Bowl, two blocks from my house, swallowed in a sandy ravine where pups and people and pot gather and sunlight descends over the hills… [ I scribbled this:]
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My practice
I kick off my kicks
dawdle and hesitate for a moment, then
launch, toe-tips and curlicues into this
spinning purging delicate fierce
dance upon the earth.
Sometimes there are people
high atop the rails
looking down on me as the
golden-hour sun lights my face and forearms
then
I’m completely alone.
Entangled in blackberries
and dill weeds
and air that smells like cardamom
I’m watched by a yellow dog
panting in dune grass
and fennel pollen
begging to be picked
Made present by
a broken-bottle cut bleeding
on my heel
I dance
Because I breathe
I dance
Because I believe
in celebration of
this life
my life reflects a practice
for once
for always
there is only one thing there could
ever be
Me.
You.
Movement.
always intertwining always
alone
Wrist flicks toward a setting sun
As the man-bunned boy
With fuzzy scorched blonde frizz
on his calves
approaches. Says hi.
And I continue to dance.
Ear buds in, do I acknowledge this man?
‘Is this the man?’ I think. I wonder.
‘The man’
from the Mayan foretelling
‘Dance and sunrise and change and movement,’ she-shaman said three years ago in Guatemala
as the fire blazed and
the smoke sang upon my beckoning mouth
It wasn’t the man.
Ring-wearer, he was.
They always are.
And I keep dancing twirling stomping swirling
at daybreak
at moonrise
When souls descend into my space,
when I’m blessed to be alone.
I slip into the movement
Of my body
This body
Your body
Our body
And I sweat
I sing
I smile
I scream
I cry
I am
And it happens
around me and within me
and I open my eyes
to you my eyes
you
My my
you
The dance
Of my
Of you
Man bun
And curlicue
….
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Art by Arna Baartz — http://www.artofkundalini.com/

My Story… in sentences…

…written about my life through age 26. Here I am, 3 years later, with chapters more to tell… wishing I would have shared more then, and determined to share more now…

I’ll warn you that the story I’m about to tell often isn’t pretty. It’s not a fairy-tale or romance novel. It’s complicated, confusing, racy, and raw. This story isn’t pretty but it’s the only story I could ever tell, and it’s the only story I could ever live. This story isn’t pretty, but it’s my own.

This is my story.

I traveled the country in a teal, 7-person minivan that could never be large enough for two fighting parents and four competing siblings headed south for family vacations to Civil War sites, presidential palaces, and the occasional amusement park that offered a 2-for-1 deal.

I smoked Marlboro cigarettes with my adolescent friends inside sewer tunnels, behind abandoned buildings, and outside Wednesday night church services.

I dyed my hair white and pink and black and blue in an attempt to rebel and break my farming community’s expectations for well-behaved youth.

I proudly and arrogantly wore the title of Class President, Cheer Captain, and Homecoming Queen candidate.

I was raped in a walk-in closet by a large, terrifying man with skin a color very different from my own. I made futile attempts to push his weight off my weak teenage body, quivering with pain and crying with frustration. I didn’t tell my friends because I felt ashamed and guilty and gross. He told his friends to call him Cane.

I stood in a stainless steel-laden emergency room and gazed at a twinkling diamond adorning the ear of my dead friend who passed away at 17 in a naive yet heroic attempt to save her drug-dealing boyfriend from a life behind bars, only to then inhale a white line up my nose, without remorse, just days later.

I encouraged a young Chinese child to block out the bustling city around us and offer me a sign of peace and comfort in a smog- and construction crane-filled Beijing already prepping for the Olympic games.

I sped through the streets of Switzerland, singing and laughing in a car filled with as many nationalities as there were seats. I then had one-night stands with a Portuguese 20-something named Casper and a teenage Canadian hockey player still holding his v-card until I took it.

I helped run a bakery in the lush hills of Puerto Rico during a hurricane, just moments after a friend and I did shots of Dynamite and danced in a bar packed with a few-too-many dangerous men.

I was robbed by a gangster who caught me catch him dealing drugs in a ghetto, only for his lips to insist I smoke a joint with his friends inside a stone gazebo just minutes later.

I dined with dignitaries and soccer players and European models while caring for a young Senator’s son who was blessed or maybe cursed to be born with an Italian silver spoon in his mouth and a too-busy-and-pretty socialite as a mom.

I befriended a burka-wearing woman in a hotel hot tub on a quaint island coast just east of Madagascar. We discussed religion and the roles of women in our polar opposite worlds and then she used perfect penmanship to craft the script still adorning my wrists. Freedom and life are two things we both longed for, two things we both loved.

I spent a week in Amsterdam cleaning for an exiled-IRA member in exchange for supplies of brushes and speed so I could paint a psychedelic mural on the stone street-facing wall of our shared squat which got running water from a garden hose hooked to the apartment above.

I felt the strange sensation of being dreadfully alone in an endless sea of people as I prayed at the pantheon and listened to Pope Benedict preach to thousands in the Citta del Vaticano.

I waited for a war to subside in an Israeli bomb shelter for a week, wondering if the dozens of young people I shared my summer with would ever make it home to their countries thousands of miles away, to friends and families anxiously watching CNN, in fear another bomb may have fallen in our area.

Fueled at first by my lack of funds and sustained by my insatiable curiosity for Christ, I mingled with the monks and brothers of Taize in a small monastery in the south of France. I cleaned toilets with teens from Lithuania as a tradeoff for living there, and then I unsuccessfully attempted to silence my speech with a Swedish girl adopted from Sri Lanka.

I hurt a kind man very cruelly while he fought for my heart and battled heat and utter brutality while also fighting for my country, thousands of miles away in a Mideast desert city doing damage to its people and to the mind of my very own soldier.

Clothed in a plastic Ghostbusters suit and armed with a toxic chemical concoction and a cheap plastic spatula, I picked and peeled the bloody brains and splattered remains of a man who took his own life in a knotty pine, northern Michigan bedroom.

I flirted and toyed with a pair of cops while I clutched an underage-drinking ticket in my hand, drunk and desperate, upset not that I’d broken the law but that I’d have to ask my parents yet again for rides to work and money for fees and lawyers.

I witnessed the violent suicide attempt of a lover, horrified and helpless as I watched the pulsing blood spray from his neck and splatter on mid-February snow. I felt the weighty power of guilt and regret, somehow managing to carry around a big bag of what-ifs for years afterward.

I lived in a sorority-style party house just blocks from the coolest campus in our state. In two years, I drank and danced more than any human body is designed to handle in a lifetime. I made friends with snobs and junkies and artists paying for their college from trust-funds, drug deals, or, like me, an endless supply of unforgivable debt from our nation’s biggest bank.

Using an anvil of felt-covered speakers, I regretfully broke the nose and spirit of a girl who defended a guy who pompously attempted to display his dominance over me in a crowded, techno-filled basement bar. My friends rushed me into hiding and handed me a shot as I watched her get whisked away by bouncers.

I devoted my nights and weekends to a chaotic newsroom, learning the process and payoff of passionate work with a few dozen underpaid but dedicated journalism students, some of who would publish in the New York Times and Washington Post just a few years later.

I felt piercing pain and awe-struck disbelief as the man I planned to spend my life with cheated and lied, and then created human life with another while the two of us fruitlessly clung to our crumbling life together. I continued to work the reel of my romantic film, frame by frame, before it unraveled, tragically, as some blonde bimbo with little teeth squeezed me from my starring role.

I embellished my body with glitter and gold as I made a weekly appearance at the gay bar next door and the blackout ballroom in my mind, stopping at the eyepatch-wearing neighbor’s house on more than one occasion, who would hit on me then pass me blunts with a black, pistol-holding hand.

I ingested the poison and madness of monotony as I pushed open heavy metal doors and walked past security guards at a safe, secure, government job for five soul-sucking years. I befriended the Indian data geeks, using them as my sole method for cross-cultural immersion in a building strategically set for mice in a cage.

I twirled barefooted to the sounds of squealing guitars and dynamic drum beats in summer’s sweltering Tennessee heat, high on life and hallucinogens with my very best friends. I let go of my corporate composure after re-finding freedom and center in a field of hula-hoops and fire dancers.

I helped take away the only positive things remaining in my best friend’s life, two young, beautiful children, after hearing her reveal that she’d given her life to heroin and meth. What I perceived as a call for help may very well have been her last attempt to open up.

I defensively explained to judgmental ears why I felt called and compelled to sell half my belongings and pack away my life and relationships in an attempt to finally find purpose and peace in the jungle, and then relocate without prospect to the best west coast city there is, Portland.

I learned the connection of mind, body, and spirit as I woke at 5 a.m. each morning, committed to letting the sun drive my days that were filled with communal cob building, rainy afternoon yoga, and waterfall revelations.

I felt the gnawing teeth of a parasitic worm living in my leg, feeding on my muscles for nourishment and strength, somehow convincing my psyche to let him stay a bit longer… Others told me that if this child of mine were to die while still inside my body, I very well may die, too. I spent a week drinking, developing the courage required to bear the pain of his death…

I made love to a bohemian gypsy musician whose birth name I didn’t know, on a beach lit by a bright white Nicaraguan full-moon. He led me to a spiral in the sand where we handed me hash and asked to join me on my adventures northward. I kissed him goodbye, telling him I’d see him someday, a day that has yet to come.

I sat in lotus beside a stone totem for wisdom as I listened to my future unfold from a Mayan shaman. She told me I’m destined for partnered creation but that I must keep dance and change in my life… We looked across the magical, mystical lake at a plume of smoke rising from the Vulcan de Fuego.

I forced myself to move back home, still my steps, and intentionally create space, making my mind endure the pains of my past and reflect on the lessons learned through years of avoidance and attempts to escape whatever uneasy situation I found myself in at 15, 20, or 25.

I submerged my soul into ice-cold uncomfort, day after day, week after week, willing a release that would finally free my mind from the torturous, unfulfilling cycle of my own social butterfly life… of the butterfly who never grew wings but instead chose to fight nature and continually rebuild a warm cocoon of relationships or substance-filled anonymity, time and time again, and never truly fly toward her fate.

Then somehow, for some reason, I stopped…

I let go. Of plans. Of will. Of regret.

I shattered my walls of control already cracking with the pressure of freedom’s roots, fighting to grow through crevices created by flashes of vulnerability and softness.

I surrendered my life to the artist in the sky who’s been prepping the paints and palette for my life’s work, who has been giving my hands necessary practice with each pitfall and each triumph, giving my heart inspiration from each traveler I encountered who was either adventuring in the physical world or in the endless Universe of the mind…

I took a breath… Then another… And another…

And suddenly, I saw my life as it truly was.

I saw my dreams coming to fruition in my mind’s all-knowing eye and I saw my talents propelling me forward toward beauty and grace and wisdom…

I knew then all I needed to know.

I realized I’ve always had all the tools I’ll ever need inside my head and inside my heart.

I understood truth, and what it means to be free.

I decided to cocoon for one final time, but instead of creating a chrysalis for protection, I created a chrysalis for lasting, genuine change that would create the butterfly I was always meant to be.

I rested inside the cocoon for a while, just enough to catch my breath and let wings form beautifully around my body…

Then, I emerged. Materialized. Manifested.

I became willing and ready to work toward wisdom, impassioned to find and share truths, and inspired to paint my life in such a way that my canvas may inspire others to do the same.

Now I am here, grateful and honest and always open…

Reflection of the Mayan fire ceremony

written after spending time in San Marcos, Guatemala, on the incredibly magical Lago Atitlan… ~spring 2013.

I just came across this hurried set of notes I wrote in San Marcos (on Lake Atitlan) in Guatemala. This was just days after participating in the Mayan fire ceremony with Bri (my soul sister from New Jersey I met on a bus from Managua to Guatemala City). I wasn’t going to go to this ceremony, opting to let Bri experience it herself, but I am so grateful I did. I feel my life will never be the same after hearing some insights into the Mayan astrological sign for my life…

I need to take time to edit this into a readable story, but for now, the notes must suffice.

Notes below:

I know now that I’m meant to write and I’m meant to share and I’m meant to travel and I’m meant to create bonds and relationships between people and communities. I’m meant to share knowledge of what I know is truth (what this is I’m still unsure). I’m meant to be bonded with another and my full energy and spirit can only shine when I am making time for dance and play and creativity, and when I’m able to find change and sunrises. I also need to keep in balance the giving and receiving.

My energy nawal is No’j, which is the Mayan symbol for wisdom and turning intelligence into action.

I’m rooted in Toj, which is a symbol of balance.

My destiny is ruled by Kan, which is the creation nawal and full of sexual energy and relationships.

I have Akabal and Batz on my sides, signifying change and creativity.

The fire ceremony I experienced a few days ago was magic. Words will not be able to adequately describe what I felt during the 5 hours Bri and I spent with Jennifer and Sondri. We were told the ancient Mayan creation story about the two sacred snakes creating the human race four times, and it wasn’t until the fourth time that the human race was able to give gratitude to the creators. There were four races of people — red, black, yellow, and white, each having a correlation with an element. Red were the fire people, white were the winds, black was the water, and yellow was the earth (the corn).

Jennifer also told us about the tale of the two brothers who became the sun and moon after defeating the lords of the underworld and being brought from the underworld by faith from their grandmother.

She also told us that true paradise can only be found within, and it comes when we genuinely feel respect for all things. Everything deserves respect, she said.

We sat around the alter of No’j, my nawal, which just coincidentally happened to be on the land at which they were staying. Sondri prepared a fire circle while we’d been speaking, and we all lit it and took care of the fire together. We gave items to the fire (candles, leaves, broken sticks) as needed.

We called in the energies from each of the 20 nawals, some of which Bri and I did (I called in No’J for example) and the others were done by Jennifer and Sondri.

We sometimes used playful ways to call in the energies, like when we called in B’atz (which is symbolized by the monkey) we all made monkey sounds to show we were playful and respecting the energy we wanted.

There were sometimes we called out our names because our names have power and deserve energy.

There were times we held hands and used our elements – mine was/is Earth and the west (my actual nawal direction is east).

Sondri explained that everything is teaching us something. When the fire goes out, that means we were either proceeding too slow or that we needed to pay it more attention.

This event was quite moving for me, and for Bri. Bri ended up staying in the little magical lake town for a couple months after I left actually.

Untitled girl and a stream of consciousness.

Written November 2014, during a low moment…

Today is a new day, a fresh start, as is each and every morn’ that we wake and see the sky and salute the sun within. Today is a new day, a fresh start…

I don’t know exactly what happened or when, again, but I got off track. I let myself yet become overwhelmed with life and everything I thought I ought to do, including who I should be and where I should go and what I should do to make money and what that big ol’ purpose is for my life.

Guess what? That’s a terrible thing to do. Of course it happens to everyone from time to time, but when this happens to me, and if I let it continue to happen (which, of course, I’ve been known to do…), I lose myself.

When this happens, I’m scared me into a state of paralysis in which I don’t want to try. Anything. Yet, I’ll do just about anything to mask the paralyzing pain and numb myself while I wait it out. I find a way to almost constantly distract and busy myself… I don’t think that’s the best thing to do, but it’s what I do. (did. am doing. now.) I retreat into a safe zone of comfort. (family. foods. movies. beds. arms.)

I don’t want this for my life, but yet, when I am in that state, I lose my ability to really want for my life. I lose the ability to really feel or know pleasure. I lose the ability to even want to feel or know pleasure. It’s like I stop wanting to exist. Not die, just not “live” in the sense I know is possible. (my life is a roller coaster ride… up, WAY WAY WAY up, and then down. And sometimes, down really fucking fast… in my head at least…) I don’t know who this person is, because she surely isn’t the best me…

But I do know that she (me) is a side of Robin (me) that comes around from time to time and really messes up my flow. I sometimes hate her… And I don’t hate anything. (that’s a stretch, because those factory farms are seriously fucked up… and even then, I like ice cream… hypocrit, but I gotta keep it real.)

She’s here now and I don’t want her to hang around. So how do I let her go… How do I push her aside… She’s a shadow side that I probably (apparently. obviously.) haven’t addressed fully yet. I should probably learn to embrace her. Let the free lady bird gal give her a hug sometimes… Let myself soften and see and feel without hating. Stop picking at my cuticles and eating too many cookies and waiting until too late to prepare for my day and procrastinating with my work and dreaming of being everywhere except where I am. I should probably just let myself be. here. now. and love this. place. right here.

Is it possible to create an alter ego for myself? For the me I want to be. Maybe a fake name. Iris. (no one would believe that was my real name, unless I moved to Portland, which considering one of my Chrome tabs currently open is roommates wanted in the ‘city of my dreams’, isn’t too far fetched. but no. not Iris.) Maybe something new, reinventing the Robin I am. The one with debt and mistakes and regret and trust issues and walls that even she doesn’t know how to scale any more… The one who thought she had it (all aforementioned things and more) figured out, and who very publicly stood on a soap box (per blog. social media. ego-feeding tools.) and told you how, and told you what you didn’t know you needed to know. Who felt great and attributed it to the wisdom she gained in her quarter-life crisis. Who reconnected with the earth, with her body, with her heart… Who opened up too damn much. (maybe.) Who really wasn’t ready to leave (who really ever is?) but took off instead, heading overseas for a few-month adventure, letting herself learn and study and feel, deep deep deep down, for a little while. And even then, she was trying to be needed. Trying to find a way to assert her role. Trying to let others in, and trying to find that damn purpose again. (you can’t find it. seriously. we all know this, and I’ve learned it many times. but damn it, I want to know!)