He is gone

He is dying

I am not sure he knows he is dying

She denies he is dying

But I am a hospice nurse

And I know: he is dying

~

He cannot move much

He has pain when he moves and she pulls hard on his legs

She acts shocked he has pain

He is dying

And hospice is coming

to get him started.

~

He is dying and it won’t be long

He will be gone in 2 weeks time

Right now he can smile, eat, and laugh

He has dementia

So maybe he really does not know

That he is dying

She should know

He is dying, but she makes plans for who will take care of him

3 months from now

It is not needed

He is dying now

~

He is dying and she leaves the room

He is dying and yet he talks about money

With a glint in his eyes

and I remember

He has dementia, but somethings never change

I tell him I will worry about my own money

You worry about yours

Okay?

~

He is dying

And I tell him about his grandchildren; he says they are lucky to have me

That may be the nicest thing he ever said to me

And I pass some light to him

I attune him to Reiki

He loves it and he wants her to have the light too

I tell him someday, maybe someday

~

He is dying and I am exhausted

They invite me to stay or come back for dinner

I have to leave

I barely got here, flying and driving for hours, I stay just 36 hours

I stay in a hotel room most of the time

I skype my girls and I cry and I eat

~

He is dying indeed and in two weeks he is gone

She emails and asks me to call her

And I know he is gone

I am relieved

I am sad

I wonder why

I never felt loved by him

AM I really unloveable; or is that the human condition?

~

He is dead but somehow he lives on

In my projections

In my grief

In my pain

And in my love

~

He lives on in my joy of having experienced

Nature

In my love of spicy food and ice cream

In my thin body

My poor eyesight

My reactions to life.

~

He is gone, and I am grateful.

 

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I am 3

I am 3 years old and I am tiny

Many trips to the doctor will be made in the forthcoming years

To confirm and hope that I won’t be a “little person”

He calls me big girl in hopes that I will be a big girl someday

But for now I am 3 and I am tiny

~

I am 3 years old and I am angry

I do not like preschool, but I am made to go anyway

I am 3, and I do not like preschool, being forced to go,

I want to be home with mommy

Mommy works

I am 3 years old and I am angry

~

I am 3 and he forgets to pick me up from preschool

He is drunk and not reliable

I am often the last one left at school

Me and the teacher, the teacher who wants to leave too

I am 3, I am forgotten, I am lonely

~

I am 3 and I am alone

Cars buzz by on the busy street

An owl stares down at me from a palm tree

I am alone in the world and I wait

I am 3, I am alone, and I am angry

~

I am 3, I am tiny, I am angry, I am alone

I am so angry that I wish him dead

I turn around and I stare at him

He is asleep in my bed

and with all of my 3 year old might

I wish him dead.

I am 3, I am tiny, I am alone, I am angry

~

I am 3 and I am worried

I am alone and I don’t know how or why they forgot me

I think they must be dead, hurt, injured

I watch each car pull in,

Hoping, praying, knowing the next car will be for me

The cars are never there for me

I am 3, I am alone, and I am worried

~

I am 3 , I am tiny, and it is dark

In my bedroom shadows from the street lamp

cast creepy people into my room

The door is left open and the light in the bathroom is on

Just for me

I stare at it, the light as my last hope

It is not enough, I do not sleep

I feel scared and lonely

I am 3, I am tiny, it is dark and I am scared.

~

I am 3, I am tiny, I am worried

Why have they forgotten me at the preschool

The preschool I hate

Where they try and make me drink milk

I do not drink milk, I do not eat yucky preschool food

I am 3, I am tiny,  I am forgotten.

~

I am 3 years old and I am tiny

Someday I will grow up to be a normal size

Someday I will grow up and I will chase after

Peace, Joy, Love, and Ease

I will comfort that tiny, lonely 3 year old

And whisper in her ear

That she is not alone.

She is not tiny.

She is not forgotten.

National Poem in Your Pocket Day

There is a poem in my heart

Protected by the jail cell of my ribs

Oxygenated by the breath of my soul

Softened by the thoughts that move through

And the knowledge of the light deep within

~

There is a song to be sung

From that chained in heart

Just what needs to be done to

Break my heart wide open

And let the poetry fly free

~

Then I’ll reach for those words

Close my hand gently around them

Fold them into a ball

Softly placed in my right front pocket.

It’s late

It’s too late, she says

Staring out to the sea

Wind swirling around

Causing goosebumps on her bare her arms

Which she hugs inward toward her body

Her white linen dress blowing against her bare legs

~

No, it’s not too late the next one replies

A cigarette hanging from her mouth

A martini in her hand

She sits at the beachside bar or by the pool or at the concert

Not a care in the world

No real sense of time

~

Hmm, it might be too late

Answers the anxious pajama clad girl

Chewing on her nails

Tears sliding down from her big eyes

Leaving trails across her small face

As she buries herself deeply into the pillows

~

I am ambivalent about the late hour

Writes the writer

With her pen in hand and a large yellow pad before her

Dark clothing and a jaunty beret

A smirk on her face she sips her latte or her tea or her soda water

~

It’s never too late

Whispers the motherly figure, so soft and warm

With strong arms for hugging

Cookies for baking

And a heart as large as can be

She smiles sweetly at all around her

~

It’s neither too late nor too early

It is right now

Thinks the observer

Sitting cross legged on the mat

Eyes shut

Letting the thoughts go and go and go

Breathing the moment in and out

So they sit

She sits there

Ever day I look for her

Sitting there

She is majestic

She is beautiful

Patient

She sits.

Sometimes she sits on her platform

Overlooking the Sasanoa River

Sometimes she prefers another spot

To sit.

She sits.

She is patient.

I imagine her to be both kind and fearsome.

She sits.

Sometimes on the branches of an old tree.

She sits.

And watches.

Appearing patient, but she is hunting, seeking, sitting, observing.

Her partner also sits.

He sits and watches with her.

Sometimes in the nest on the platform.

Sometimes on the branch.

Usually nearby.

He sits.

And watches.

They practice patience.

They have to sit quietly, eyes open, seeing the world.

They have to sit quietly and focus, or they will die.

They have to sit in order to hunt, in order to fill themselves up.

They have to seek.

They sit.

Then they make the dive, into the depths.

Hopeful of returning with something more.

Something to fill them up.

And they call.

They tell the other, I found it.

I sat, I was patient, I found it.

Here it is.

Just what I need.

They eat.

And then they sit.

Suffering

On the black warm pavement

Lay mother and child

Porcupines

Run over by a truck

Suffering

15 million children

Every year

Around the globe

Die of starvation

Suffering

Attachment and clinging

To how things

Ought

To Be

Suffering

925 million people

Right Now

Are hungry

Suffering

I am

Here

You are

There

Suffering

One child

Every 5 seconds

Dies from

Malnutrition

Suffering

Fear and Loathing

Anxiety

Pain

Missing the Connection

Suffering

In 2010

3.4 million children

Living

With Aids

Suffering

A Gap

A distance

A projection

A leap

Suffering

Ninety Percent

of Children

Living with AIDS

are in Sub-Saharan Africa

Suffering

Is the origin

Attachment

Is cessation of suffering

Possible

Suffering

Enlightnement

Not in the blessing

But always in the

Breaking

Suffering

Is yoga alone enough for transformation?

Last year I had multiple losses; in a seven week time period my mother-in-law, my father, and my dog passed away. This was a very trying time, as we had also relocated from the West Coast to the East Coast and I had started a new teaching position.

I found myself last Spring wishing to spend all of my time on the yoga mat. I yearned for the yoga mat and it was the only place I felt really at home. I could mourn their, I could release there. Me, the mat, my classmates. Sometimes I would feel self-conscious leaving the class teary eyed and with my nose running. I noticed though that unless the instructor was clued in, most people seemed to be “clued out” to my suffering or maybe they just were accepting that people show up to yoga and cry. And they leave still teary eyed.

My friend encouraged me to go to yoga everyday or as much as possible during this time, but I found it difficult to make the time between the kids and the demands of the job I was working. Meanwhile, I couldn’t really do my job to my fullest ability if I wasn’t taking the time to heal and process the grief.

Then I found myself in a yoga teacher training course that I chose mostly because I was looking for a course that would work with my schedule; I did not want to be away from 3 and 5 year old daughters for more then a day at a time.  I was really sold when I found that the founder of the program had received his PhD from the same school I attended for my PhD ( http://www.ciis.edu) and when I read his works, this philosophy of classical yoga seemed to align with my own.

This form of classical yoga was developed to support one reaching higher levels of consciousness by practicing yoga as a preparation for sitting in meditation. I have been reading a book about yoga and meditation which addresses the question: “Will yoga and meditation change my life?” (Stephen Cope, 2003). Many of the contributors in this text agree that yoga is really the path to meditation, which is what will set you free. One yogi mentions that no matter how great the yoga session today, tomorrow he will need more yoga again. One way beyond and through this need is to also include meditation within the yoga practice. I also noticed¬† in this text that as as many of the yogis and yoginis aged, there was a movement toward more stillness in practice and more use of meditation as yogic practice versus asanas (poses) being the emphasis of a yogic practice.

For myself, I know that I have found more freedom in moving toward gentle and classical yoga poses. The idea is that yoga is not about the perfect pose, but rather your expression of the pose “is what is”- and that expression is your own perfect expression of the pose. (LOL). The focus is on the breath and being aware. The focus is on coming into relaxation so that meditation can be a reality, even for those of us who “can’t meditate”. The focus in practicing is finding ease in the moment, presence with what is.

And then there are options for healing beyond yoga; massage, acupuncture, diet issues, hormone balancing, therapy, and so on. I think this points to what I have found: that for most of us there may not be one mod that is adequate to support healing.

Lately I have also been struggling with this idea that after we are “enlightened” , we then come back to reality; the dishes and laundry still need to be done, we will still feel grief and sadness, we will still have to deal with the mundane, our attachments, our suffering in this world.

Honestly, I really started wondering about my own existential issues as I sit with, “what is the point of all of this suffering”? The children dying of AIDS and malnutrition around the world, the pain of those suffering from addiction, our own suffering and emptiness that we try to fill with our attachments to food, material goods, abuse and domination, and so on….

Even if I have an adopted philosophy or two to apply, like the yogic principles, Christianity, Buddhism, the Yin-Yang, paradoxes of life, or what have you, I am finding myself struggling a bit with what is the point? Are these tools and skills really the only known ways to alleviate suffering? Do we have to experience pain, suffering, chaos, bifurcation points to evolve (include and transcend) on the consciousness or integral level? Does it even matter anyway? what is the point of happiness, peace, joy, love, when we cycle back down again on the wheel of life? Why do I have to keep wondering about this? What am I supposed to learn here? How did I create all of these projections of myself? Why do I keep repeating the same patterns? How can I just let it go, let it go. let it go….?