Everyone is having a hard time. Everyone is insecure. Everyone is hassled. Everyone is tired–we all need more sleep. Everyone wishes he had more courage, more money, and better social skills. Everyone wants more glamour in his life, and we all desperately need more laughter. Few can figure out how they ended up living the life they lead. Don’t be misled by flippant talk; it’s a battle for everyone.
– Joshua Halberstam
the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
and nobody finds the
crawling in and out
the bone and the
for more than
there’s no chance
we are all trapped
by a singular
nobody ever finds
the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill
Alone With Everybody by Charles Bukowski
in the world between worlds
where the shimmering abstract
holds all the secrets within us
words are absent
no scripture exists
there are no definitions
as there is no need for such things
in our eternal knowing
we are ever-being known
the mystic colors of God fill us
unseeable in this earthly realms obscured vision
they hold us there
where we don’t need to be understood
or understand anything
we are simply
all we could ever hope to be
we are the lover and the beloved
You in I
I in you
until the scab scraping
demand of this waking earth
this illusion glazed moment we choose to serve
pulls us completely blinded
into a day in a life
pushes us ass-backward
into the harsh reality
of jaded time
of hard-earned, hard-learned experience
of continually disappointed expectation
of broken hearts, once tender
of broken dreams, once beautiful
broken everything, once whole and healthy
and instead of fighting for our very lives,
we put away our dreaming space,
as if it were somehow the wrong
we decide we’ve learned the truth –
that love hurts –
though what we’ve learned is trickery –
because true love sets us free
and so we surrender to
the soul-sucking zombie apocalypse of our addictions,
our chosen favored forms of slavery
as the children of chattel always do
not knowing our vast worth
our royal bloodline
our supreme destiny
we clothe ourselves in useless, flimsy armor
our only known defense.
we use fools gold
cheap drug store variety,
Madison avenue, false-advertisement protection,
these rabbits feet of proclaimed luck,
these traps of anger, arrogance and pride,
against the barbarian onslaught
of what we have been brainwashed to accept
the carnivorous eating of our flesh
by the demands of our own complex making
focused only on our foolish collecting of silly objects,
overrated treasures and pleasures
as we ignore our need for love
choosing instead to battle
the cannibals salivating at every corner
waiting for us to stumble and weaken
so they can take our place at the top of the illusive list
of whatever sort
we have entered into
as our arena of competition
eventually they will toast to their victories over us
with our own fresh, falling blood
pouring from the golden goblets we ourselves had taken from another
we accept it as normal
as we attend to the business of forgetting
who we are
pretending to be full
as we starve to death
in order to get just a little bit more than those waiting
for what will never satisfy any of us
lusting for salt
even as we faint from dehydration
we live, lonely, in empty mansions
forgetting all that makes a house glow
is the home light burning inside of our other to warm our bones
in order to impress those who will never truly know us, love us, or want our best to be honored
in order to arrive at the end of our hourglass
dragging what we will not be able take with us…
we trade our chance to be truly remarkable
to create singular intimacy
we see our chance to find gardens of happiness,
to build something as mind boggling as the seven wonders,
and we choose to ignore it
as we continue on.
too busy, too consumed,
to stop for a moment,
just one moment,
to take off our shoes,
fall down and worship…
to allow the lover into our heart –
as though love isn’t important enough for the likes of us
why do we go about wasting our opportunity here?
how can we awaken to the highest and best within ourselves?
how can we choose to lay our hearts bare in vulnerability?
how can we empty the deepest motes of fear and isolation?
why do we trade love for ash?
why would we ever do such a thing?
Let us return again to where we began…
the joyous place of our belonging
to the passion and wild danger inside our freedom loving hearts
children on Christmas morning
full of sheer wonder and excitement
at the beauty of who we are
passionately in love with our created uniqueness
the fullest colors of our self unleashed
living worship eternally under vast blue skies
shining from our highest place,
with the extreme audacity,
the sheer wonder and glory
of our calling as love
I in you
You in I
Amy Lloyd (AL)
Many of us seek that which we will flee if we find it. I have seen this time and again, both in myself and in others. We seek, we search, and then we find a calling or a relationship that is a perfect reflection of our yearning and we turn away and go back to seeking, almost as though the light of our true-path was too bright for us, too vulnerable for us, too real for us. This is a pattern that we have to recognize and heal or else we will never stop looking for what is already there. True-path is not always around the next corner. Sometimes it’s right under our feet…
Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.
It took me some years to understand that many of us are more afraid of happiness than misery. Because misery and martyrdom have an inherent safety about them- one is never particularly vulnerable, nor at risk of disappointment. Unhappiness becomes a security blanket, a way to armor ourselves against deep feeling. On the other hand, happiness has an intrinsically risky quality. When we open our hearts to life, we are always vulnerable to loss, to shattering, to having it all fall away. But it can also expand and deepen, joyfully permeating every element of our life. I can often sense when someone has made unhappiness their shield, their perpetual life stance. And it saddens me. Because locking ourselves into only one way of being is a self-fulfilling prophecy: misery begets misery. Because only through risking something can we arrive at a new perspective. And most significantly, because the rhythms and tides of one’s life can shift in the blink of an eye. All it takes is one sunny day and the whole damn thing can come back to light.
Anger is the deepest form of compassion, for another, for the world, for the self, for a life, for the body, for the family and for all our ideals, all vulnerable and all, possibly about to be hurt. Stripped of all physical imprisonment and violent reaction, anger is the purest form of care, the internal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for. What we usually call anger is only what is left of its essence when we are overwhelmed by is accompanying vulnerability, when it reaches the lost surface of our mind or our body’s incapacity to hold it, or when it touches the limits of our understanding. What we name as anger is actually only the incoherent physical incapacity to sustain this deep form of care in our outer daily life; the unwillingness to be large enough and generous enough to hold what we love helplessly in our bodies or mind with the clarity and breadth of our whole being.
What we have named as anger on the surface is the violent outer response to our inner powerlessness, a powerlessness connected to such a profound sense of rawness and care that it can find no proper outer body, or identity, or voice, or way of life to hold it. What we call anger is often simply the unwillingness to live the full measure of our fears or of our not knowing, in the face of our love for a wife, in the depth of caring for a son, in our wanting the best, in the face of simply being alive and loving those with whom we live.
Our anger breaks to the surface most often through our feeling something is profoundly wrong with this powerlessness and vulnerability; anger too often finds its voice strangely, through our incoherence and through our inability to speak, but anger in its pure state is the measure of the way we are implicated in the world and made vulnerable through love in all its specifics: a daughter, a house, a family, an enterprise, a land or a colleague. Anger turns to violence and violent speech when the mind refuses to countenance the vulnerability of the body in its love for these outer things – we are often abused or have been abused by those who love us but have no vehicle to carry its understanding, or who have no outer emblems of their inner care of even their own wanting to be wanted. Lacking any other vehicle for the expression of this inner rawness they are simply overwhelmed by the elemental nature of love’s vulnerability. In their helplessness they turn to violence on the very people who are the outer representation of this inner lack of control.
But anger truly felt at its center is the essential living flame of being fully alive and fully here; it is a quality to be followed to its source, to be prized, to be tended, and an invitation to finding a way to bring that source fully into the world through making the mind clearer and more generous, the heart more compassionate and the body larger and strong enough to hold it. What we call anger on the surface only serves to define its true underlying quality by being a complete but absolute mirror-opposite of its internal source.
– David Whyte
Our experiences color everything. The events of the past can have a profound effect on how we see our lives now and what we choose to believe about our world. Our past experiences can also influence our emotional reactions and responses to present events. Each of us reacts to stimulus based on what we have learned in life. There is no right or wrong to it; it is simply the result of past experience. Later, when our strong feelings have passed, we may be surprised at our reactions. Yet when we face a similar situation, again our reactions may be the same. When we understand those experiences, we can come that much closer to understanding our reactions and consciously change them.
Between stimulus and reaction exists a fleeting moment of thought. Often, that thought is based on something that has happened to you in the past. When presented with a similar situation later on, your natural impulse is to unconsciously regard it in a similar light. For example, if you survived a traumatic automobile accident as a youngster, the first thing you might feel upon witnessing even a minor collision between vehicles may be intense panic. If you harbor unpleasant associations with death from a past experience, you may find yourself unable to think about death as a gentle release or the next step toward a new kind of existence. You can, however, minimize the intensity of your reactions by identifying the momentary thought that inspires your reaction. Then, next time, replace that thought with a more positive one.
Modifying your reaction by modifying your thoughts is difficult, but it can help you to see and experience formerly unpleasant situations in a whole new light. It allows you to stop reacting unconsciously. Learning the reason of your reactions may also help you put aside a negative reaction long enough to respond in more positive and empowered ways. Your reactions and responses then become about what’s happening in the present moment rather than about the past. As time passes, your negative thoughts may lose strength, leaving only your positive thoughts to inform your healthy reactions.
Daily Om by Madisyn Taylor/Reaction to Life Events
Healthy aggression has been given a bad name for far too long. I remember the day when it was acceptable to stand down those who behaved unjustly. Not in a way that was disproportionate to the crime, but in a way that met it right where it lived. This seems to have been lost in the last decades, both because of the softee toffee premature forgiveness movement and because of our growing awareness of the horrifying effects of unhealthy aggression. As a man, I have found this entirely confusing. Often I have stood down injustice with appropriate ferocity and been judged for it, as though I was the unjust one. I have some compassion for this interpretation, as I do recognize that it is difficult for many trauma survivors to not be triggered by aggression of any kind. But something is lost when we don’t make the distinction between the kinds of aggression that rectify wrongs, and those that perpetuate them. It is time to again raise healthy aggression to the rafters of acceptability. Sometimes its the truest path of all.
– Jeff Brown
Change and growth are painful
not because we’re gaining,
but because we’re losing.
We lose old ideas.
Old habits. Old stories.
We shed all that’s become
too heavy to carry onward,
wrapped too tight around skin
that needed to finally breathe.
A body that had to break loose
from the once present chapter.
Blank pages had been begging.
Ink aching to write
a new road and world.
A soul that could no longer deny
the taste of something else.
Something that felt true.
Something not yet seen.
We don’t have to see something
in order to believe.
– an excerpt from Victoria Erickson’s fantastic new book- Edge of Wonder, available on Amazon
It is time to go deeper, to find your rudder
The unswerving truth of who you are
To keep you on track to your destiny.
Some tacking and jibing – yes
But with minor adjustments
On your way once more
Wind at your back to carry you
To ease your way
for a time.
The storms will come, for oceans will be oceans
Fear of being tossed about in the waves
Fear of not surviving rough seas
Fear is to be your teacher
Fear is to be your guide
Fear is to hold your hand as you look beyond the horizon
Of what you have always known
To the truth you can only know
Once you face fear
And see the love in its eyes.