Stay

When asked to do a favor

I interpret it as an order that my life depends on- I must complete the task, no matter how wretched or mammoth an imposition, in order to remain loved/liked/accepted/not rejected/safe/appreciated/valued

I bend over backwards to let others walk all over me

I ache to shake off these shackles

I stay without putting up a fight out of habit

Baby elephants get bigger everyday

Grow stronger than their chain, yet they stay

Energy-vultures rip out my exposed flesh

We are all living beings trying to survive- the difference between us is our intention

How to escape my newfound obligations

Thoughts of getting intimate with my kitchen knife

Seeking out a minor accident or mild poisoning

Aiming for that delicate balance between being injured or sick enough to get out of workhell, yet benign enough to survive without serious complications

I aborted my pregnancy in residency so that my colleagues wouldn’t have to pick up the slack for me

Now I shoulder their burdens while they are on maternity leave

I thought I was doing the thoughtful, responsible thing

Giving up my baby and my freedom especially stings

I draw on my zen training

Tell myself to let go of thoughts, breathe through it, this too shall pass

Lean into sacred lessons, stay calm and strong

Peace is every step- keep moving

What a beautiful challenge to remain enlightened as the shitstorm rages

I do it to myself; pile on crushing pressure without limit

I’m a pushover pushed over the edge

I’m a doormat covering a minefield

My eyes on the heavy boots dripping with desire to smear mud on me

I’m a danger to myself

Nobody is coming to intervene, especially since they are the beneficiaries of my sacrifice and service

Lord, take the wheel

I’m not even supposed to be here today

Yet I stay

I’m beginning to see the blurred lines between effort and non-effort

I’m beginning to trust that hurt can be healed

No pain lasts forever- lean in and breathe in to the sting

Just because I can be there doesn’t mean I have to be there to save the day everyday

The day will pass with or without me anyway

They call me an essential worker, but I am not any more essential than my colleagues, yet more is demanded of me

Ego, why don’t you take the week off? There will be less pain and tears if you do- I’ll book you a flight to someplace nice. If you decide to stay far away for awhile, that’d be ok too.

May my cortex override the stress reaction of my brain stem

May I shine love and forgiveness instead of loathing and fear

May I meet my persecutor with compassion and understanding

Despite all that I deny myself in staying, may I stay anyway, just for today

To strengthen my spirituality, like a pilgrimage to the present moment

May I hang on to the integrity of my soul like my life depends on it

Maybe it does

I settle in to discomfort

Trust my breath to get me through the day

Connection to spirit is just a breath away

My Corner Drug Dealer

My dealer waits for me
On every corner of every town in every state
Their supply never runs out and their drug
temporarily makes me feel great                                                                                               Until withdrawal begins, though I’ve yet to withdraw for long                                                             My drug is everywhere and my dependence is strong

My dealer is every store
My drug is sugar
Sugar finds its way under my skin
Even when I think I’m not going to let it in
It is suddenly in my hands, then melts in my mouth
My gastrointestinal tract welcomes it
My blood carries it around
It causes little fires everywhere in my body through inflammation
It over-taxes my pancreas which struggles to produce enough insulin to handle the copious amounts of sugar I pour into myself
Sugar never stays long on my pantry’s shelf
While vegetables, the true heroes of this story
Wilt in the fridge in unsung glory                                                                                                You are neglected but not forgotten, dear salad greens

Sugar comes in an endless variety of colorful packages
At my corner drug store, it was on sale today
So I easily threw my vague intention to abstain away
It doesn’t take much
For me to justify buying another sugar rush                                                                                                         When it comes disguised with vitamins, fiber, probiotics and protein                                               and covered with velvety dark chocolate                                                                                       It is even organic, for Chrissakes                                                                                                       A wolf in sheep’s clothing

In the throes of my addiction,
I fool myself into believing that my affliction is not so bad                                                         I will stop after I finish what I’ve got
It is already bought, so I better use it
I’m just using it because I have it
Otherwise, it’s a waste of money, right?
A person’s gotta eat, and I need energy for my busy life

I know that in reality
My drug will finish me
It is only a matter of time
Until my body won’t be able to stand the abuse anymore
Sooner or later the drug will crash through my door
Crush me helpless on the floor
It will be too late to un-do what I spent a lifetime doing then
One mouthful of sweet poison at a time

My willpower is weak when I am stressed out and hungry
I wish that my corner drug dealer would stop tempting me so
If sugar was less ubiquitous, not so easily found
How might that boost your wellbeing, help you reach your health goals?
How much would it radically improve the health of our nation, our world?
How sweet would it be to see our epidemics of obesity and diabetes decrease?                Tell morbidity and mortality to go bark up someone else’s tree
We may never see in our American lifetime                                                                               An end to the societal sugar overdose
But I want to plant the idea seed
And see if it grows
Maybe someday I will quit sugar
If only for today                                                                                                                            Today was not the day                                                                                                                      But tomorrow still could be

Pockets of Bliss

Pockets of Bliss

Hard-scrabble
Uphill battle
Stoically strong
All my life long

That was my marching song

Yet if I let myself unwind a bit
I find myself basking in pockets of bliss
Soaking in satisfaction, abundance, gratitude
It feels like the ultimate kiss
As I both receive and radiate
The generous glow of the sun

My mind usually tells myself that I don’t have time
For such indulgent, frivolous nonsense
That I’ve got to push push push
And forever rush rush rush

I fooled myself into believing
That I didn’t deserve the luxury of deep breathing
That rest and relaxation were only for the privileged rich
Such was my justification for prioritizing everything else                                                       Before my own needs

For too long I wrongly bought into the ideology
That my life was not to be enjoyed
That I should run hungry all my days
As if pursued by a ravenous wolf in all kinds of ways

But today I re-realized that I am the wolf
And also the prey
Only I have the power to say,
‘Enough of being tough.
I am ready for ease!’

If only in pockets to start
Because old habits are hard to break,
Just ask my heart

So it is with patience and persistence,
Guided by gentle wisdom
That I fill my pockets to overflowing
With bliss bliss bliss