Are you still suffering?

I was on my 24th consecutive hour of work; sweaty, hungry, dehydrated, and raggedly exhausted when a patient walked into the urgent consult office where I was posted on call, sat down and said:

‘A long time ago, you fell in love with someone who was not as in love with you, and for that, you suffered a lot.’

I was the clinician, yet without asking a single question he arrived at an accurate diagnosis of my neurosis: perpetual heartbreak.

I felt somewhat violated when he proceeded to tell me that I had one birthmark on my upper thigh and another under my breast, and that I should take off my clothing and show him. He wasn’t spot-on about the birthmarks, but he was correct about the heartbreak. Maybe we all have heartbreak in our pasts, but he really got me when he asked, ‘Are you still suffering?’.

If the imprints on my energetic field from that loss of love are obvious enough for some rando creep to read them like a news headline, I want to change the vibe I’m giving off.

I was still suffering, and in trying to escape my suffering I became a physician, hoping that the overwhelming process of medical training would take my attention away my broken heart- a treatment that provided a temporary distraction at best, but not a cure.

Now with spiritual healing on a level even deeper than heart break and reciprocated love in my life, I am still suffering, but less so.

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

Off My Chest

I need to get you off my chest

I’ve never felt relaxed in my life because you raised me in the war zone of your wrath
Bombs of panic explode in my mind all day every day
Choking me with your smoke and mirrors even though you are far away
My ears ring with your shouting
You were the biggest little tyrant
Not even two years my senior
Yet always more needy
Mandating, yet begging
I didn’t realize the power I had over you, and still do
You were the one dependent on me for affirmation, not the other way around
I didn’t have a choice then, but I do now-
To live a life without your storms brewing on my horizon
I’ve never slept well in my life because I thought you were going to murder me in my sleep throughout our childhood and adolescence
I used lie in bed wearing a cross around my neck with a note attached to it asking you to think before acting, waiting for dawn to break, dreading another day with you, feeling trapped and hopeless with no end in sight
I never felt protected, respected, seen or heard by our parents
In moments of desperation, I wish you had killed me
Instead you continue to torture me passive aggressively, and I am passive passive aggressive
Silenced, as if buried alive
I toss and turn, tormented between insomnia and nightmares
I’m trying to think before I act
I am upset that I’m even thinking about you now
I am upset about how you get upset ‘at’ me: you throw your rage at me and have me clean up the mess, time and time again, left to calm your ass down as if your reactions were justifiable or somehow my fault
It was never my fault
I am not responsible for how you feel
Leave me alone you evil bitch
I want to scream at you with the force of 35 years of repressed anger and tears
At the same time, I am trying to let go of the hot coal which burns my palm
I am trying to let the rippling waters of my pond be still
I am trying to not be irritated, for only then will you no longer be irritating
I am trying to take responsibility for my thoughts and feelings
I am tired of trying so damn hard
I am ready for ease
I am ready for peace
I am ready to breathe
Please, get off my chest
I don’t need to ask- I am responsible for how I feel
I’m not sure what to do next
I’ll probably meditate and self-medicate with raw emo poetry
Like the note pinned to my cross-necklace, you will probably never read this
But maybe those who matter will
Those who feel they are suffering alone
May find healing in this onion peel
And breathe just one breath more freely
For this I humbly pray
Namaste

Death Certificate

Another day, another death by COVID.

My COVID patient who died today was relatively healthy and young.
While filling out his death certificate, I paused over the ’cause of death’ section:
 
My patient had multi-organ failure with a subsequent cardiac arrhythmia incompatible with life and viral pneumonia causing respiratory failure, however the failure that lead up to his COVID infection was systemic at a societal level.
 
My patient was a prisoner, infected by COVID-19 because he was denied the ability to socially distance, robbed of the right the protect himself.
 
I didn’t know him, but as I studied his body during his final hours I imagined what his life had been like, and wanted to include on his death certificate:
 
Cause of death:
Complications resulting from loss of human rights due to imprisonment
Secondary to the prison-industrial complex
Secondary to class warfare
Secondary to poverty
Secondary to racism
 
I didn’t know him, but I shared pieces of his struggle:
Adverse childhood experiences, trauma on trauma on trauma
 
His premature death is another stone in my pocket
My path is liberation
Wherever his soul is now, I hope he feels liberated too
Liberated from the brown skin which lead to his incarceration which inevitably did him in.

Sex, Money, Dishes

Tell me you’ve never fought with your partner about sex, money, or dishes.
Sex
I used to fight endlessly about sex, mainly because I didn’t want to have it but my partners did, so we’d fight and fuck, then I’d cry and be blinded by images of destroying my body or their body just to stop the rape and the torture of not feeling safe in my skin. Amazingly, we all survived and now I have a loving partner with whom I have gold-medal sex; you have to experience it to believe it, it’s like I’m cashing in on some sex fund which I invested in long ago. Happily I don’t fight about sex anymore- I’ve got a man I’m attracted to inside and out, and he loves me the way I want to be loved.
Money
I used to exchange sex for money. It seemed like there was always too much sex and not enough money in those transactions, or transgressions. Even those back-alley deals were more straight forward than my relationships in which sex was exchanged for the illusion of not being alone, for food, housing or ‘safety’, though I learned that the cost to my physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing which false relationships exacted was not worth the dinners, drinks, gifts of lingerie, attention or the roof over my head. You might get raped if you travel alone, but if you travel with a man you are guaranteed to get raped. Live within your means because fine dining won’t taste good if you are eating with a strange man, believe me I know. If you have to learn on your own I understand, however if my years of pain can help prevent a moment of your suffering, it will have been worth it.
Dishes
Rare is the man who finishes the dishes. Common are the men who stack the dishes artfully in the sink until there is barely room to turn on the faucet. I have noticed this pattern during my co-habitations with men. I’ve done too many dishes. It especially irks me when men drown sponges in the rinsed yet still not washed dish pile, unperturbed as the sponge decomposes into a musty mess. Men seem deaf to the silent cries of the forgotten dish sponge. Day after day, I rescue the sponge, wringing it out and restoring it to its rightful place safe on dry land, in sight. My man shows his love for me not only through our award-winning sex, but also through money (ie, responsibility for personal  finances to contribute to our future together) and dishes: ladies and gentlemen, my man did the dishes tonight, thus allowing me time to write the words you read. If a man loves you he will want to learn your love language, which you must teach him with patience, positive reinforcement, and more patience.
I grew up doing the dishes, in poverty, and sexually molested by family and friends. My sister would beat me when she got in trouble for not doing the dishes with me after we were told to do them, but the alternative would have been getting beaten by my parents for not doing the dishes, so I was going to get beat no matter what I did. I wished that someone would do the fucking dishes with me. A girl can get lonely amidst the dissolving suds.

Thread

It is you again

Suicidal ideation, my old friend

You are the shadow lurking outside my window

You are always there in my time of greatest need

When my sanity is hanging by a thread

And I am tempted to see if I’d be better off dead

I hang off that thread and gaze over the precipice into the dark abyss

I let go with one finger, only four more, why linger?

My thoughts are a razor blade cutting into the thread like a sharp violin bow

Drawn across the thread of my sanity again and again

Though the depths call me and freedom beckons me to let go

I tie a knot at the end of the thread instead

I recall that nothing lasts forever, not even my shame, not even my pain

I know that I have infinite potential

I set my intention to direct my attention and begin my ascension

I climb, as I have many a time

Suicidality, old friend, thank you for coming to visit but I don’t have to invite you in

Over the years I have transformed, but you remain the same

I know you want only to relieve my suffering, but there are other ways to achieve liberation from suffering which do not involve breaking hearts

I meditate on that, to start

I feel my feet on solid ground again

I bow in deep gratitude to you, my friend

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

Vanish

You struggle to breathe

Your lungs groan under the weight of a million cigarettes
Your body will not heal, nor will you allow it to
You prefer to smoke tobacco than to breathe, you tell me
Your liver is hardened
Fluid builds up in your legs, abdomen and lungs
You bleed into your GI tract
Again and again
Requiring dozens of blood transfusions
Until when?
You prefer to drink than to live, you tell me
Your blood harbors viruses and bacteria
Years of IV drug abuse riddle your veins
My eyes draw lines between the scars on your skin
And spell out your pain
Your body is massively obese
You’ve had just desserts
Your blood is dangerously sweet
The food on the menu is not nourishing
With vibrant foods, we could all be flourishing
Instead we are toxic
Now you’re turning hypoxic
Your own body gets in the way of breathing
Rather than a vehicle, your body is your handicap
Too much mass to move
Stumbling, you tumble into my view
Bullet wounds have torn right through you
Senseless violence, what kind of freedom is this?
We reserve the right to die at the hands of another at any time
I want to take all the suffering I see
Concentrate that energy inside me
And use it to wipe away cigarettes and liquor stores,
Smash opioids off the face of the planet, and while I’m at it
Take my magic wand and with a swish banish sugar from our lips
Eliminate weapons with one wish
I’ll water that seed of hope with the tears of those who know, so it will grow
And we shall be sheltered in our old age by the tree planted in our youth
We’ve suffered enough to learn how to thrive in our world- at least we’ve discovered what not to do.
I have a dream that tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, processed foods, and guns will vanish.
I realize that this is unlikely to happen for a while, as there are profits to be made and suffering to be had.
Taking into account the billions of healthcare dollars it costs to deal with lung disease, liver disease, drug addiction, diabetes and gun violence, let alone the immeasurable cost of lost lives and poor health, how can we afford to carry on the way we have been?
If a substance is harmful, let it vanish.
Why hold on to that which is no longer serving us?
We can do anything with our infinite human potential.
We alone can change our lives and leave the world better than we found it.
Let’s do what we can before we vanish
Do something today
There is no guide book
Vote with your dollars, your actions, your thoughts
Breathing in gratitude, I thank you

Samurai

Before I knew how to love,

I freely offered up my heart

Blind shot in the dark
I was the one who dropped my heart on the floor
From my open hands
Not knowing that I had smashed through a door
Not knowing what I would gain
Not knowing what I could never lose
No one seemed to notice, no one intervened
As I set out on my own
Lifting the veil, stepping through the screen
It wasn’t easy
I made every possible mistake
Burning my fire to fulfill other people’s desires
I was able to do everything and anything,
Because I already felt dead
From the heartbreak which split and throbbed in my head
I flipped circus tricks in the strangest of beds
Unscripted, I drifted
I met so many people
I worshipped under unconventional steeples
Life is my book, my science, my art
It all started when I sacrificed my heart
Everyday I learn how to love more
Love myself, my life, my family
Love even the dregs of humanity
Those who have yet to wander away from themselves
Those who have yet to realize who they really are
Because they cling so tightly to their identity
I’m privileged to live like a Samurai; at once warrior, servant, and free

Anxiety

Anxiety, my oldest companion, always by my side

Anxiety
Ball of wirey grey string inside me
Buzzing like an agitated hornet’s nest, threatened and angry
Tangling, strangling, suffocating
Drowning me under dark metal walls rising
Closing in under the pressure of the shadow mountains of never enough
This shifting, terrifying scenery is my home
My neurobiological foundation was not built on safety or security
My mind was melded in the hellfire of anxiety
Flames of self-doubt licking at my heels
Constantly threatening to burn me to the bone
Venomous teeth bared,
My serpent of self-doubt is poised
Ready to strike
That’s how I get through the night
Jaw clenched tight, insomnia punctuated by nightmares
In a lucid dream I fly
In my many travels, I learn a thing or two
I understand now
That my anxiety is my servant,
Trying to protect me
From the many and varied perceived threats
Of my childhood and my adulthood
I breathe in deep
Let my tea steep
Beyond the dragoness serpent, the ring of fire, the charred walls, the mountains holding the howling winds of loneliness,
I see beyond all these horrors
With each breath
A bit of sunshine blue shines through
That bright and buoyant sight
That glimpse of the outside, of a new approach to life
Is all I need
To find peace
To hold hope
To savor the long years of hard suffering, mucking through mud
only to realize that my heart is a lotus blossom of healing
I am kneeling in humble gratitude
With each breath,
My serpent uncoils and I see her beauty
My flames simmer down
The earth beneath me settles and breathes with me
My walls fall, overcome by vines
Even my massive mountains of worry breathe,
Lush with Spring
Thank you for your service, anxiety
You can take a break from protecting me
This moment does not have to be a struggle
In an instant, ease breaks through
I breathe and bow to you, anxiety