Around the Elephant

I don’t read instructions but I keep them around for future reference

I start sacrilegiously but tend to end with reverence

I don’t have a plan as often as I have a man: that’s a poor combination depending on the situation

When I illuminate my dusky corners, I see the sparkles that were there all along

Though I awake with amnesia, I dream in song

I’ve learned to love doing nothing, to look forward to stillness and inactivity, to settle into peace with humor and curiosity

Why so serious? Asked the fly to the spider

Drawing close, the fly offered hot cider

Take, eat, remember me, or not

The gift was unconditional anyway

It is enough for me to have a cosy corner and a cup of tea tonight

Listening to the rain, old friend and fellow traveler, land with gentle impact outside my caravan of dreams

I am warmed by the glow of light within and without

Perhaps the deafening din of my own carryings on will simmer down enough for me to listen to the voices of others

Sacred silence is my favorite meeting place, in that field beyond words where kindred spirits melt into bliss

Then I return here, to my life of toils and troubles

I live with one foot in each world, walking the line between Earth and the Divine

Anxiety, Again

It happened again.

Anxiety wrapped me up so tightly I must untangle myself with scribbles that you are kind enough to read.

Socializing leaves me aching with regret for the words I said wrong and the words I didn’t say.

I feel like a failure, even though I know that is a harsh conclusion, I feel it still.

I feel inept, like no matter what I do I won’t ever feel comfortable in social situations.

Even though I have undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder, as is more common in females. Even though I have worked painfully hard to hide my differentness, my social awkwardness rarely stays below ground for long.

In the game of whac-a-mole, the moles keep popping up no matter how many I whack.

Self-love, self-compassion, forgiveness, humor, perspective, reassurance that I belong in this human family, in this world, that I am enough, that I am worthy of love, as we all are: these are the treasures I have gathered along my journey.

These are the treasures I hope you find and cherish as well. They must be carefully cultivated, nourished and loved.

May you feel nourished and loved.

May you rest on the shores of peace.

Inhale what you need. Exhale what is no longer serving you.

All is well, even when we are under cloud cover, the clear sky remains above all.

For the duration of my whole life, the sun has never stopped shining- there were only times that I couldn’t see it.

The moon is a reminder of what I don’t see.

Maybe everybody feels this way sometimes, and it is normal and ok.

May I remember that I am blessed beyond measure even during the uncomfortable moments of this human journey.

Storms will rise, then pass.

May my breath be my anchor to weather me through until I see the sky of blue again.

Clouds and Sky

Your thoughts are like clouds in the sky

Coming, going, passing by

Do not mistake one thought for the whole sky

For the sky is much bigger than any one cloud

The sky is bigger than all the clouds

The sky is vast, deep and many colored

Yet it clings to nothing

It holds the sun, moon, rain and rainbows

Sometimes it is calm, sometimes it is stormy

Beyond what you see, the stars are always shining

The sound of the rain needs no translation

You can observe the clouds while keeping your feet on the ground, without being pulled by them, without your vision being clouded

We are only responsible for our own feelings

Our spirit receives a breath a life, we exhale back into spirit

Life and death are one big moon bounce

Light Reading

Quotes worth sharing, found along the journey, I bow in gratitude to the sages:

If you want to be enlightened, you’ve got to lighten up

You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the ocean in a drop

Do not wait for the last judgement, it takes place every day

Joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are

Listen to your life. All moments are key moments

There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way

Who cares if you’re enlightened forever? Can you just get it in this moment, now?

I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Make a gift of your life and lift all mankind by being considerate, forgiving and compassionate at all times, in all places, and under all conditions with everyone as well as yourself. This is the greatest gift anyone can give.

When you judge another, your do not define them, you define yourself.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

The care you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek

Eternity is not the hereafter, this is it. If you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere.

If you want to find God, hang out in the space between your thoughts.

There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.

Why are we born? Why do we die? Life has no meaning except for the meaning that we give it.

First do no harm to yourself

Live well

You can’t hurry love…or speed it up

Don’t work or study every day

Relinquish your need to be right. This is the single greatest cause of difficulties and deterioration in relations. The spiritual partnership is a relationship of equals. No one needs to be proved wrong.

You can’t hate a fire for burning you

Even after all this time, the sun never says to the moon ‘You owe me’. You see what happens with a love like that? It lights up the sky.

I am only responsible for my own heart. You offered yours up for the smashing. Only a fool would offer up such a vital organ. May we all earn wisdom in this life.

Oh God of dust and rainbows let us see that without the dust the rainbows would not be.

Simplify

To simplify thoughts and emotional responses to things, label experiences as:

a) Pleasurable

b) Unpleasurable

c) Neutral

When the body is free of tension, and the mind is free of fear, peace can fill your heart to overflowing, pour forth from your spirit’s center

Breathe in and release the tension from your body

Can you feel it now?

Babysitter

Babysit my attention

I don’t want to be left alone with my thoughts

I babysat young children when I was still a child myself

When I was a sex worker at age 20, I told my friends and family that I was a babysitter;

Both jobs require you to work late hours and pay cash

It was for less than a year, but the PTSD lasts a lifetime

I fell down a rabbit hole of sexual trauma

I was perfectly trained to be a professional rape victim from my real life experiences

There is no protection for sex workers

Clients violate any semblance of boundaries

I tried to shout ‘No!’ but only a soft ‘yes’ came out

Customer satisfaction was prioritized above protecting my body from harm

Every time I took an HIV test I was sure it would come back positive

Maybe if I had said ‘yes’ to the screening questions of ‘have you ever exchanged sex for money?’ some resources may have been offered from the public health worker- why was that the only question I said ‘no’ to?

The truth shall set you free

But I was trained by my family to rely on no one and nothing, to survive on sheer grit and ingenuity

Babysit my attention, inform and entertain me

Here and now, I sit in stillness and embrace the present in deep gratitude

Swallow

Some poems get swallowed whole by sleep

Like dreams that only my mind’s eye keeps

Some men want to know if I am a virgin

What version of virgin would you like to explore

I tend not to count the non-consensual or the bisexual encounters

I don’t count quantity, I feel out quality

If you feel me, you know

I say yes with silence and with my own lips and with the parting of my hips like the red sea

Amidst it all I hope you see me

I performed ancestral energy healing ceremonies on stage in a dream last night

I blew fluffy airborne dandelion seeds with my mind

A soft breeze blew one seed down my own throat

All the magic in the world is not as powerful as heartfelt truth

Perhaps this is where the next phase of my spiritual growth starts

A continuum of all that has come before

I spent most of my life swallowed by severe anxiety and depression, flung from one extreme of bipolar to the other without ever letting on about my inner experiences to anyone.

I am damn hopeful that I will crack this seed open and blossom because I feel growing pains and I feel the Earth below and the Sky above.

Though I sometimes forget it, I am made of Love

Coping

If I ever have children (if my body can forgive me for a lifetime of multifaceted abuse), I hope to give them a more robust and diverse repertoire of coping skills than the ones my parents left me

Instead of beginning and ending with cheap alcoholism and angst, I hope that my children draw from a complete rainbow of abilities

Mindfulness and movement; may they know the sweet depths of meditation, may they return to the present moment through gentle awareness again and again, and may they bathe in the ecstasy of a daily movement practice such as yoga, qi gong, tai chi, or wild freestyle dance, may they know that peace is always a breath away.

Contact with nature: may they be blessed with the sight of many sunrises and sunsets, may the sky fill their eyes and their lungs; may they have nature in their hearts and in their homes and may they submerge themselves in forests for sanctuary.

Interconnectedness: may my children know that they are loved unconditionally; may they connect with loved ones regularly, may they feel safe and supported in this world. May they draw on ancient wisdom and allow space for new realizations. May they feel both one in a million and a million in one.

Humility: may my children not overburden themselves with pressure; with realistic expectations may they wander more easily through life, may they balance unhelpful thoughts with helpful thoughts, may they rise up for an eagle’s eye view from time to time, especially during trying times.

We are all children at our core. May we know all of these blessings and more.

Now

I used to run with the boys

I was determined to prove that I had the biggest balls, that I could withstand it all

Until I couldn’t stand how near death my own ego brought me

When men bought me

I thought I was clawing my way out of poverty

But no amount of money can undo the trauma I endured

All I can do is rewire my brain

Write my story to have a happy ending

Starting with a happy now

I outran the boys and became a rich man so that I didn’t have to marry a rich man

Now I am happily married to the man of my dreams

I don’t ruffle my feathers over the penis-size competition at work- the self-stroking of egos which is habitual amongst my male colleagues

Though I am attracted to women, I’ve never had a penis

I’m ok with that- at least I’ve never raped anyone, never left anyone stressed about what they couldn’t see- STIs and pregnancy

I am happy now, as happy as can be after one has endured the smattering of battering my childhood gave me

I continued the chain of abuse on myself into adulthood, not realizing my own role in the game, not seeing how I invited abusers into my life

I’m getting off this trauma-train; I jump off the caboose, let it ride away without me

Next to the tracks, nestled in the woods, I am happy now

Self Love

I love me, even if I say it sheepishly

I love me, so you’ve got to let me be

Even if in your mind I am still a caged animal

What matters is that in my mind I am a soaring and roaring and free from your attempts to limit my potential and happiness

I love myself, though it took me a lifetime to learn

Frozen in fear, chained to a sense of obligation

I believed I was responsible for everybody else’s feelings; those around me felt awful, so I felt worse

I am only responsible for myself, and I am learning to care for myself with a fraction of what I’ve given to others

Standing at the crossroads of the future and the past

Searching for a way to make this moment last

The future came and passed

All we have is the eternal now

The sun blinds my gaze

I bow my head, lower my eyes in humility

Bask in all that is illuminated

This is for us

Even when we are persecuted and oppressed

This world is for all of us

Let the haters hate themselves

I stand strong in love

I am rooted in love, overflowing with love

Love nourishes and protects me, uplifts me and sustains me

May I remember this moment when I feel weak and defeated

May I refill my cup before I am completely depleted

I cultivate my spirit, pull out the weeds from the garden of my heart

What I used to perceive as my weakness was my strength all along