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

View

Cramped by the glass walls erected by my ego for self-protection

Shut down by fear, hoping no one will notice

Hiding in plain sight

Talking without speaking truth

Old enough to be old school, young enough to still act cool

Panic attack on the piano at the elementary school talent show

Fingers trembling, palms sweating, the music didn’t flow

My body no longer under my control, if it ever was

Prepubertal and desperate to feel loved

Didn’t imagine the amount of dicks that would line up before me, standing at attention without paying attention to my intention I let myself be violated without intervention

Too socially anxious to say that my anxiety created problems for me

I didn’t see that I was the one keeping myself in prison

I left the door to my open mind wide open, I welcomed everyone inside

Disturbed by the sound of my own voice, I avoided looking myself in the face

I am petrified that others will think that I am less than perfect, why am I so defensive?

Every now and then I embrace my stress, thank it for trying to protect me

Maybe I could suffer less if I lean toward more realistic expectations for myself

I am not a robot, I am human- part mammal, part divine

Praying and practicing to be calmer

Too long have I wrongly judged others to be less troubled than I, less deep and dynamic

I held their stable, happy childhoods against them

Citing that early advantage as the reason for their seemingly stable, happy adulthoods

I jump at the first imagined whisper of a whip crack, but I am the one piling pressure on my back

Gathering responsibilities like stones, I bury myself alive

I am swallowed whole by my energy

From the belly of the wale I write my tale

I edit out the inconvenient parts of the story

I simultaneously envy and lust after those who are more attractive, kind and skilled than I.

Life is a series of things not working out but at the same time things are working out

Losing battles, winning wars

My biggest war is within me, I fight against inner peace while at the same time I try to hold space for it

My anxiety has a hell of a hold on me but when I stop struggling the grip loosens just a bit

My train of thought makes a lot of stops

When given a choice, I choose first that which I desire the least

I wonder how I will wash off karmic stains

I had so little faith in my family’s love for me that I was certain they wouldn’t love a baby I had had with the wrong man at the wrong time, according to them

I wake up pillow drunk from my dreams of lost love

I am the woman who comes up in conversation when men’s wives are away at work

I feel the truth bubbling to the surface of my tongue, gnashing behind my teeth

I don’t have to keep moving forward endlessly, I can just be good enough here and now

Lining up my thoughts, words and actions

Some call me an angel for risking my life for others as a physician during the pandemic

Even angels get worn down and hangry when their work prohibits them from eating or sleeping

Stop spreading this virus, all we need is 10 days of staying home, I’ll be the first to volunteer

While we’re at it, stop the gun violence

We are unworthy of the America we inherited, our privileges should be adjusted to match our current reality.

Washington inoculated his revolutionary army with small pox so that he could focus on fighting just one war, at a time when inoculation was deadly and crude, yet patients tell me that they don’t want to get the COVID vaccine because they are afraid- it seems rude. Maybe we don’t know all the potential side effects of the vaccine, but we do know that the potential side effects of the virus include death, so pick your poison. I’m tired of the task of being responsible, brave and thinking of others fall on the overworked shoulders of essential workers only, please give us a hand, this burden is massively heavy.

I echo only myself in this chamber

Instead of my every action being based on the foundation of ‘please don’t hate or hurt me’ I want to start saying ‘I am love’, with those full moon eye.s

My shyness kills the authenticity of my relationships like a silent knife

Sometimes I wonder if I am screaming out loud without noticing because I’ve heard my internal screams for so long

Sometimes I am disgusted by my own emo-ness

If I were to write an autobiography of my life I might title it Wild Oats

I challenge myself to accept that everything is actually OK

This moment is exactly as it is meant to be

I am in the right place at the right time

Maybe that is just a nursery rhyme

But maybe it is true, and I can see it

When I look beyond the thoughts obstructing my view

Artist

I’m an artist without artistic talent

A visionary with no eye-hand coordination

Keeper of vibrant dreams, seen only by my third eye

I’m a wordsmith suffering from silencing anxiety

Collector of hand-me-down ideas

My vocal road rage surprises me

I’m a better driver when I’m alone

I’m a workaholic with a new year’s resolution

To not work next new year’s day, one long year away

I’m a night owl working day shifts

I’m a closet non-binary person missing her gay best friend

One killed himself, the other I dated

Relationships with friends are ill-fated

Not that I recommend dating strangers either

But at least you won’t lose a friend in the end

I’m a newly married polyamorist

I’m currently in the market for amethyst

I fear hurting others so much that I withhold truth

Thank you for letting me share these self-evident truths with you

Whatever your hopes are for the new year, I hope you receive them

Though things often don’t go the way we want them to

Know that you are enough just as you are, and many people are sharing the struggle alongside you

When feeling trapped and overwhelmed, open the door to liberation

Remember that you are not your thoughts

When in doubt, take a breath

Even while standing, sit and pause

Hunted

Do not make me feel afraid in my home, where I pay the bills with the earnings from my skills

Where I clean up the spills and cure the ills

Yet I still cannot prevent melt-downs

Despite my walking on eggshells, I set off landmines of drama from time to time

These very words have potential to cause damage, depending on whose eyes find them

My intolerance of conflict is impractical

The physiologic reaction that my body is under threat with every disagreement is not helpful anymore

I take my herbal sedatives and guide my body through relaxation yoga nidra style, yet the pounding in my chest won’t let me rest, even when I visualize it as a drumbeat of peace, rippling outward and keeping rhythm as I soften muscle away from bone, cell from cell and thought from thought

Still I feel hunted in my own home in my own bed in my own head

This is the time that if I had something stronger I’d take it for brief relief. I am curious to try the medications I prescribe for patients with ailments identical to my own.

Instead I write with a smile of gratitude for the fact that I don’t have a prescription because I’d miss out on the therapeutic bliss of this midnight poem if I did.