Nose

It is easy to get swept away

On the magic carpet ride of my imagination

To keep myself unavailable to all but the mythical prince on a white horse

In keeping my gaze on the distant horizon

I miss what is right in front of my nose, what is here and now, what is real

Flame

Your rage strikes my heart like a lightning bolt

Cracking it open and setting it afire
I am at a loss for what to do, so I warm my hands over the embers and wait
To transform, part of me must die
I cannot rush, only trust
How many times can one heart break?
As many times as it takes
To learn the sacred lessons
To consciously unite with the divine
Time and time again
Pain is pain, sensation is sensation
No matter the form or formal education
Lucid dreaming just before waking
I see a sea of broken hearts glowing in the dark
Each a floating lantern offered up
Burning with the same flame

Let Every Moment be a Song

Let every moment be a song from your heart

This is a song without an end, without a start
Let every moment be a song from your heart,
Boom badoomboom boom badoomboom boom
With each beat of your heart may you feel loved
With each beat may you shine out that love
With each beat may you share it up above
and below and out and in
and out
Let every moment be a song from your heart
It doesn’t have to loud or smart
Let every moment be an expression of peace
Peace in your heart is where peace always starts
How far your peace will go, nobody knows
I hope your peace comes back to you
I hope you can feel my peace too
With each breath may you feel blessed
Each moment may you feel loved, at peace, and blessed
One day we’ll pass away
Where we’ll go nobody knows
When that time comes, may we rest
Until then, may you feel your heart overflow with love and peace
May you share it with those you know
and those you haven’t met
When we die, we will leave our bodies behind
Perhaps we will be able to bring peace and love with us, though we will have no pockets or hands
I practice love and peace in my life
Though I forget sometimes that I am love, I remember again
My life is more sacred than I know, made more precious by inevitable death
May every moment be a song of love from my heart
May my inner peace be a light in the dark
May your song fill you with joy
If it doesn’t, change your song
We all sing along on the one and only stage of life

When the High Wears Off

You can drink and smoke and swallow

Sniff and huff and wallow
Burn it up, inject it in
But no amount of noise will silence the din
I hear the roar of your pain
I see the fire in your brain
Anxiety and depression rage
Fueling the words on this page
I’ve tried it all
I’ve had a ball
I’ve lived through hell
Just to tell
What I have learned
What I have earned
Highs are temporary
Where will I be
When my next high wears off
Highs always wear off…
After chasing many a transient high
Which only left me feeling low
I’m building upward toward the sky
Growing that inner glow
I’m creating a sense of safe space to come home to
After another long day of battling anxiety monsters and depression demons
My mental sanctuary is invisible, yet indispensable
It is my daily practice, my intention, my breath
My practice is to remind myself that I belong here
Even if I don’t believe it at first
I am worthy
Even if I don’t allow myself to receive at first
I am a person
Even though I’ve spent a lifetime of feeling lesser-than
Of feeling like I owed my life to strangers
I’ve survived so many dangers
I’m lucky
I’m ready
To start living
To feel beyond high
Cultivating a sustainable solution without bodily pollution
Emotional storms are best weathered while wearing a life vest
So I envelope my chest with positive visualizations
Letting my heart garden blossom and thrive
With this breath, I am alive
I am beyond high

Emergency Room

Emerging from the emergency room, gasping to find my breath, I weep.

I finished my last shift in that hell-hole, and I thought I would cry tears of joy, but instead I am crying tears of raw emotional release.
My patients called me an angel, but many of them were also angels to me- holding my spirit buoyantly with their sparkling eyes, a much-needed balance to my co-workers who seemed mostly dead inside.
Crushed inside the machine
Their eyes see only the screen
Their skin knows no fresh air or sunlight
As they toil day and night
In a crowded, chaotic space filled with alarms
Long ago, they replaced their charms
With rigid motions, mechanical minds
Without windows, they don’t notice the passage of time
When did they become so cold and bitter?
It must have been little by little
The fire in their hearts was starved of oxygen, their spirits wore away
I hope I keep my heartspirit intact, at the end of the day
Flashback to a line of gurneys in the ambulance bay
My attending grilling me, I didn’t know what to say
Broken bones and chronic pain
STAT CT to look for a bleed in the brain
Patients sustained on turkey sandwiches and diet ginger-ale
We wait on them, they wait for us, but we are all stuck in this jail
Trapped in a health care system which is systematically inhumane
No wonder so many of us don’t feel quite sane
My vision is blurred by tears
I’ve finished one more day in the middle of many hard years
Of sacrificing my life, enduring unfathomable strife
Just to help others survive another night
I want to get off this roller coaster, but I’m strapped in
Though I am sick to my stomach and deafened by the din
I return to my breath, breathe in new air
I have the rest of my life to move on towards
Tomorrow night, I’ll be back in the wards
With renewed gratitude, I leave this emergency beast
I walk past patients waiting to suckle the mechanical teat
Finally allowing room for my own emergency
My meltdown of tears isn’t enough to drown out the blaze
Which burnt me out long before today
I struggle to justify
Why I put myself in situations that make me cry

Zen and the Art of Driving

I tend to drive vehicles the way I live my life- reckless when I was a young sex worker (professional rape victim), and responsibly now as a woman with a career, committed to a life-partner with long-term goals.

When I was a child I felt nauseous during car rides. I vomited into faded plastic containers which always traveled with me.
As a teen I drove illegally, borrowing my classmate’s broke-down rust bucket of a car. In exchange he took much more from me.
On the brink of adulthood I got ticketed by a cop for not stopping at a stop sign ‘long enough’. I was driving because a friend asked me to take them to the corner store, and I said yes. I always say fucking yes, even when it puts my life in danger. I was rushing on the drive because I was freshly heartbroken, and wanted to hurry back to the party to be near the guy I love even now, even though I’d already lost him.
Every time I’ve gotten pulled over or in an accident, it was with other people in the car. My extreme empath tendencies left me lost in their desires- to drive faster, longer, drive when I felt exhausted or didn’t want to, ignoring my needs over their wants.
What I failed to realize was that I was the one who was driving, not my ragtag friends edging me on. Like a puppet, I felt pushed and pulled, never free to be me, always somebody else’s words coming out of my mouth. Far too many yes’s. Everyday, the struggle continues.
I am grateful for the accident, because it made me a safer driver, though I could do without the PTSD dreams of not having control on the road. Perhaps post-traumatic stress is not a disorder, but a natural reaction to trauma.
I still feel nervous around others: my social anxiety is always ready to rev its engine, and makes me a more skittish driver when I have others in the car with me, but everyday I practice presence, breathing, and empath empowerment.
I am in better control of my life now than I have ever been before, and I am a safer driver on the road.
Driving through patches of panic, I find my breath, and arrive safely home to the present.

Practicing Presence

I have good reason
To feel over-worked and under-paid
Burnt out, with a need to get laid
But good loving is hard to come by

I also have many reasons
To feel hopeful, joyful, grateful
Even satisfied

I’m not gonna lie
I’ve got a flame of desire between my thighs
That you light up with your eyes

Every time I see you, I re-realize
That life is only right here, right now
All we ever have is the present
For the divine gift of your presence, I thank you

Who could ever win the tug-of-war
Between past regrets and future worries?

It is hard to shake off the trauma that clings to me
I try to slip under it, but trauma’s tentacles are tenacious and latch onto me
But I know a secret trick
Without my ego, trauma has nothing to latch onto
I have acquired immunity
I shrink my ego enough to escape trauma’s grasp, float downstream and buoyantly resurface, safely out of reach

When I return from my latest circumnavigation of space-time
And redirect my awareness back to
where I am in this moment
what is happening in this moment
how I feel in this moment
I feel victorious!

Practicing presence is the only way
To be happy, healthy, and free

I wish such peace to thee

Rain Dance

I see gray sky outside my window
Heavy on my eyes and in my heart
I want to stay hidden away
Don’t want to get rained on today
Stubbornly, the world outside waits for me

I can’t stay inside forever
I can’t avoid the ever-changing weather
After futile resistance, I accept that I will get wet
As I have countless times before, even when I felt like I was drowning, I will have nothing else to do but breathe through it
Until I breathe myself dry

There are tears yet to cry
I will get wet again
And it is ok to get wet
It is ok to remind myself that it is ok to get wet
Water is life

Every day I am thrown into the river
Swirled and tumbled against rocks
Yet I survive
And come out of it better yet

Afraid as I am of getting wet, I’ve gotten wet many times before,
Downright drenched
Soaked to the bone and far from home
Yet I was all right
I’ve made it through even the stormiest of nights
Inside me burns an eternal light
I have nothing to fear
The rain of life only brings personal transformation near
I am grateful for inner growth, painful as it can be
I am grateful for the rich soil beneath me
Formed from the detritus of my life’s trauma
From which I burst forth, a green herb
Holding infinite potential
I am earth and rain and sunlight transformed
I am young and sweet and nourishing
I am life

I see the gray clouds outside my window
And know that beyond them, the sun is shining through the brilliant blue
I see the gray day
And rise to meet it
Welcoming all that comes my way
So go ahead, rain down on me
I can handle even hail, snow and sleet
I’m keeping the faith
For my mind is learning all the time
That I can dance anywhere
Today my dance beckons the heavy clouds
Let it rain

Absinthe and Abstinence

Instead of drinking absinthe

I wish I’d practiced abstinence

Absinthe passed through my lips

You followed suit, more than just the tip

I was butter and you were the knife

Wish I could take back that night

Spread out like jam on toast

On a Manhattan mattress, we did the most

It got so hot, we were the roast

But I was the one who got burned

Absinthe, you brought on sweat, blood and tears

Abstinence, you would have spared me much fear

Absinthe, why’d you help me undress?

Abstinence, you would have prevented stress

Absinthe, you never delivered that green fairy

Abstinence, your fruit is sweeter than the ripest berry

Absinthe, under your tutelage I’ve grown wary

Now I practice abstinence

From every Tom, Dick and Harry

and all the other men who didn’t have my best interest at heart-

You protested loudly when I told you we had to part.

You don’t have to understand

You just have to know that you’re not my man.

Finding Sukha

Sometimes I feel angry
I could blame my parents for the anger they passed down to me through their nature and their nurture
But they are only survivors of abuse and neglect themselves, victims of inter-generational psychological torture
I like to think that they were doing the best they knew how
With limited resources at the time
It was a different world back then;
There was little awareness and poor preparedness,
Less information and more isolation

Sometimes I feel sloppy
My movements get choppy
I crash, splash and make a mess
I only hope that I don’t take anyone down with me
When I slip and fall
Reminding me that in my haste, I don’t save time at all

Sometimes I feel on edge
I am irritable and my mind carves a ledge
Off of which I can easily slip
Into a hellish well
Of memories echoing back at me
Little things that seem big disproportionately when viewed at close range

Like the time an ex gave me condescending lip
When he proudly pronounced the word ‘dukkha’
Then judged me on how the Sanskrit word (not the concept, mind you) was unfamiliar to my vocabulary at the time

Dukkha is commonly translated as ‘suffering’, which is an important concept in Buddhism because the Buddhist path was designed to liberate people from suffering by helping them first overcome their desires/selfish cravings

I am all for liberation, but his elitist attitude was not resonating with me
That fool tried to school me on suffering like I’d never suffered a day in my life, when I’ve suffered every damn blessed day of my life

So I gave him a lesson in letting go of attachment by leaving him

I thought he could stand to benefit from the lesson and

I don’t need to take shit from a privileged prick about fancy words that I was too busy earning a living through sex work to have the time to learn from a text book

Books are hella expensive anyway

That’s why I gladly share my writing freely

Cuz I want it to reach people like me

People who were born into economic or emotional poverty

Through these simple words I string together

I humbly hope to help alleviate suffering in others

Perhaps it only helps alleviate my own suffering, but even that would be enough

I am a person, too

Also, writing feels like free therapy to me

I’ve still never been to actual therapy

I hear the prices are crazy

But I digress…I don’t have the energy to deal with fits of vanity

from spoiled boys who get off on looking down on me and the rest of the world

I think that instead of judging anyone who hasn’t heard the word ‘dukkha’
It would’ve served him better to find sukha
Sukha means ‘ease’

My point is this:
Everybody experiences dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness or stress) and hopefully sukha (happiness, ease, pleasure or bliss) in their lives
Everyone around the world attends the school of life; we are born, live and die in that classroom
But not everybody has access to the luxury of learning outside of their immediate human interactions
However that makes them no less educated than those who have the resources for recreational reading
At least in my book

So I’d tell that ex (if I could stomach the thought of communicating with him, which I presently don’t)
That if he thinks he is superior to others
Because he’s so well-read
Then maybe he should know
How to fit his ego back inside his head

With compassion, I recognize that fear of inadequacy lies at the root of his speaking boastfully

Here are some lessons that I’ve learned, and they aren’t in Sanskrit:
The ego inflates easily but deflates again eventually, and when the ego balloon gets stabbed by a needle it can be a long, hard fall down to the ground                                                                                                    Liberation from our egos and freedom from our desires is the ultimate gift
Money can buy a book but it can’t buy wisdom
Material wealth will get you inside the ivory tower but it won’t shelter you from suffering

Just look at my ex; he was rich in his wallet but impoverished in his heart-mind
Leaving him so that I could be poor but happy
Was a decision that put me at ease,
At ease like sukha

Sometimes I need a lesson in letting go too

Sometimes I find sukha