Untethered

I was standing in the tower

In the place of the mountain

City by the beautiful bay

Looking out into the darkness

I was so untethered there

That all I could do was think of you

And dream you into my life.

The next day I ran

I ran and ran along the sea

Through the fog

And up to the crest of the 1000 foot mountain

Overlooking the churning deep blue sea.

I was afraid to go closer

Closer to the edge, because part of me was there already

Sitting on the edge of that high seaside mountain

Thinking of flying off, and not flying off.

To fly and really feel how untethered to this world I was

Or to sit back down on the earth

And go back to dreaming of a weight, weight to hold me here.

The depth of emptiness, loneliness at that time

Is hard, and yet not hard at all, to recall and I am not quite sure

What pulled me through, why I did not fly those days on the mountain

There must have been the dreams I still had

Of one day, a family, one day a tethering to this world.

For me it did come, the bracing to life, but it was a long journey back

One I still walk each day, as I examine the fragile tethering that holds me

And if you are felling untethered, I would like to say hold on

Healing is possible, reach out for this line

That I am tossing to you now

I will be your tether whenever, however I can

I’ll hold you in this space on earth.

 

 

Attachment

I know you

My addiction, my attachment

Even though I left you behind

Now some years ago

You emerge in my dreams.

Sometimes I startle back to consciousness

And I think

No, I can’t go back to that.

And some waking days I think of you

Or long for what you did for me

And I can smell you and see you there

I can feel the craving so deep

I want you.

I want to drink you, eat you, consume you, purge you.

But I did not work this hard

Come this far

To find myself sitting down there

With you, miserable after the pleasure and pain.

My attachment, though I have left you behind

Not to worry, you are still here

Reminding me, again and again

Every day a new opportunity to release you anew.

 

 

I should be

I should be writing, I think

Instead I am just sitting here

Stumbling, grumbling, grasping

Fighting with the words

That keep getting stuck

in the nooks and crannies of my head.

@&*%^

I should be singing

With a full heart and voice

Sending it out

Across the Universe

For you to sing too

Instead I sit quietly

A burning lump in my throat

@$%^@

I should be running

Faster and stronger

Moving from here to there and back

Again, repeat, again

Meanwhile I lay perfectly still

staring at the icicles

Dripping and losing themselves

+@#$%

Something in me wiggles and writhes about

This is not right to do just nothing

To be bored and restless

Find a focus, something urges

Do something, get busy

Grade these papers, edit that paper

Write this poem

@+&*(

Or go somehwere

Get in your car and go somewhere

Shopping, movie, food, coffee, clothes, shoes

Yoga, gym, hiking, skiing, therapy, bodywork, library

Anything, just get out and go

Here or there or wherever

*&%^$

Or meditate, yes that is it!

Go deep and feel it

Oh yes, that came from here and this from there

And I can feel it there, and here, and over there

What a crazy little monkey mind you have there

And oh yes, write about it

Journal it all up and tie it with a bow

+(*&^

Just do something

The mind propels, compels, active and wild,

Bored and restless and angry

You can’t just sit there

Curled up on the couch like that

Under how many cuddly blankets

Napping like some middle aged loser baby

@*&$

Don’t just be

Don’t just rest

Don’t just sit there

This is it, just today

Remember all of those other days you just sat there?

+_$%^

I should be….

 

 

 

 

 

This Mountain: A story of and lesson in ease

It is cold out; it is June and we are at 8,000 feet in the sky. I do not believe it is only 43 degrees at 7 in the morning

So I check several sources and yes it is 43

But I am from Maine, so I can wear shorts and layers

I head out toward the mountain and pass a lady along the way

She wears a hat, a jacket, sweat pants, and gloves

She is not from Maine, I gather

As I say good morning

~

I begin to jog, it feels good and easy

Until I get to the slopes

And the lactic acid kicks in

Heart pounding

Legs aching

Lungs crying

I walk

and I stop

I almost crawl up some of the steep slope

But I stop again

and I look around me

Taking the time to find the ease and beauty

in the moment

~

At any moment we can find this

We can stop our uphill battle

be present

and see the beauty of the mountain

of melting snow

of rushing water

At any moment we can breath

And honor our human condition

as we step into the here and now

at any moment we can let go and simply be

~

I re-evaluate my route on this morning walk/ hike. I  jog

Starting and stopping

jogging and hiking

Sliding down the mountain

Breathing and noticing

Finding the ease for myself

as I look for the way back

Back and back and back

~

I stop and breathe and notice God’s creation

all around me

within me

this journey goes on

I change paths and go further, further, further then I had planned

and all that I must do is notice, seek ease, trust that I am guided toward

exactly where I need to be.

~

May all beings be able to stop and let go of the struggle

May all being know peace, joy and ease

May all beings uncover the truth

of that which is the only permanence

the alpha, the omega, the mother-father God within

And find a way to create ease from the heart.

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.

 

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.

Finally a yoga teacher

I am completing my 200 hour yoga teacher training this weekend. I remain humbled and excited to see where this dharma might lead me. The changes have been subtle and meaningful. I am amazed that my capacity to grow and evolve remains in place, though sometimes I feel stuck, stuck, stuck in the attachments, cravings, and aversions of this material world. Yes it is normal but i see it more clearly every day, feel it more dearly, this need to let it go and let it go and let it go.

The major change from undertaking this journey that I feel confident in mentioning is that my “anger” seems to have dampened. I still suffer from anxiety, but I am better able to observe and let go, strive for peace regardless of the situation. Let go, let go, let go, let go. I do not have to do it all, I do not have to be responsible for failure, I can learn and move and grow.  I also see yoga more clearly each day as the path to a peaceful death, as well as a way to meet the stress of life, by taking the philosophy from the mat and applying it off the mat. Like it or not, death looms large before all of us, and I recall the hours I have spent as a hospice nurse, sitting at the bedside, holding a hand, watching the breath of others on their slow or fast movement toward death. And we all march on, every breath closer to the end, every breath an opportunity for growth, every breath a chance to be here now before the inevitable arrives.

The other day I was laying on the mat in my favorite little yoga studio. I lay staring up at the plain white ceiling and the long bright mid-day light came streaming through the windows. I had a flash of laying in bed, waiting to die, recalling the San Francisco Hospital, with its “Nightingale floors”, where I used to take nursing students for their first clinical experience. Some of the wards housed 20-30 patients, beds lined up on either side of the open room, with only a thin curtain to provide a chance at privacy. This was a city funded hospital, where many truly indigent patients would come to live and die, and the style of care often seemed as ancient as the 100 year old buildings.

But laying on the mat, I thought of the tall ceilings of this hospital, of the people who resided there, living and dying,  and how if I had my yoga practice, or even  the capacity to simply focus on my breath for some time, I could do this death thing, or anything, peacefully. I could breathe, and breathe, and breathe my way out of this suffering world when my time was right.

From the Mat

I look up and stare into the white light, the warmth, the all and nothing blending together

And I breathe

I notice the knots on the white washed wood. I realize how old this building is

Brick and mortar and wood and wires that will surely someday collapse in and down and around, back toward the earth

I wonder if anybody died in this place where I am now, feeling certain they have

And I breathe

The warm sun light streams into the room, basking me, floating me on its rays

And for just this moment I find it, that spaciousness, that opening to life

The peace, the letting go, the thing I have been craving

And I breathe

It floats away as new thoughts enter. I continue rearranging my thoughts

Thoughts flowing through predictably, continually, like the stars marching across the night sky

Which is okay for now, because I can at some point remember

To let go, let go, let go and watch the thoughts march by

Because I breathe.

Here on the mat.

With the white washed walls, the sun shining through, and my heart opening to peace, to the all and nothing.

And then we sit together. We chant aum and we say namaste to one another in a meaningful way.

I can feel that connection before it dissolves; yes I do see the light and beauty in you and me, in this room, with the light streaming in through the tall windows and reflecting of the white walls.

Because I breathe, and breathe, and breathe….