She Would’ve Been

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Today my grandmother would’ve celebrated her ninety-third birthday
She took her life in the month of June of my twelfth year…
and now, twenty-five years later,
I wish I could’ve related to her as an adult,
asked her to tell me stories of life
growing up in the 20’s and 30’s

I have never judged her for her decision
because, like all of us,
I too have experienced pain and suffering,
and can understand wanting to escape such misery

But I miss her still
and wish to hear her voice,
her laughter.

Being an adult now,
and knowing a little more of the way of sorrow,
I would like to put my hand on her shoulder
and whisper
You are not alone.

I wish I could know
the woman she would’ve been
if we could sing “Happy Birthday” to her, today.

It’s fitting that her birthday falls so near to Halloween,
a time of honoring ancestors and seeking their wisdom
as the veil between the two worlds wears thin.

Wherever you are Gram,
Know that I love you,
and honor the woman you were,
even as I long to know the woman you would’ve been.
Whatever of your being that remains, dear soul,
I hope you know the joy of the dance of existence.

Confessions at a Quarter to Ten

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Yep. 9:45 pm,
and I feel a need to confess.
Bless me, for I have sinned,
and god knows how long it has been
since my last confession.

I lost my temper this morning.
I sat to meditate after settling my son
Into his room with some trains,
and as I was just entering the timeless
field of presence,
I heard him say, “MAMA!”

I paused my meditation to check in on him…
and wasn’t prepared for the sight that met my eye.
Poop in the diaper that he took off and left on the floor,
poop on the carpet where he sat to put his pants back on
after he took off the poopy diaper,
poop on his pants as he labored to pull the waistband up
to where it was supposed to sit on his little body.

I’ve given you enough gory details, I think.
With calm I cleaned him up,
got him a fresh set of clothes to put on,
and everything seemed to be going well…
until it all hit me.

I didn’t get to meditate!  That is horrible!  I am so angry right now!
I yelled, I stomped, I shrieked.
My son watched.
I wasn’t proud.
The energy it took to remain angry zapped me of my energy,
and I spent a good part of the remaining day feeling guilty and depressed.

Now I am so tired, and I know that it is time to wrap  this up,
attempt to meditate for a few minutes,
and then let my body, my mind, my soul rest…

Maybe I’ll get enough rest to be able to forgive myself tomorrow morning
for the mistakes I made today.

Keep Digging

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Ah, there it is again,
the hope that I am seen and heard and understood.
I suppose it is a human predicament,
normal and natural,
this wanting to be recognized and valued.

I log in to my WordPress account tonight
with the same anticipation I have every night–
looking for comments,
responding…
looking at the site traffic,
wondering…

And then the comparing of myself
to other bloggers,
well-established folks with thousands of followers,
wondering if I will ever know such success.

And what is success anyway?
Is it lots of followers,
lots of friends, clients,
lots of money, toys?

Or maybe it is something different.

And why after all this time
do I look for external validation
when the real treasure lies within–
waiting to be claimed?

Maybe I just need to dig a little further.

If you don’t strike gold after the first 
few blows of the pickaxe,
don’t slam your tools down in frustration!

Keep digging,
and eventually the excavation work
will lead you back home to the self
that was always there, 
just waiting for you 
to merge with it,
and to become absorbed in the infinite ocean of being.

Thoughts After the Party

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My husband and I attended a party tonight,
A surprise birthday party for a friend turning 40.
There was a feast laid out for us on the kitchen table
and everyone was well on their way to inebriation
by the time we arrived.

I have been intoxicant free for nearly two years now,
and I haven’t looked back, not one time.
Sure there have been moments where I felt curious,
Would I enjoy the taste of wine, of beer, now?
But nothing so serious that it would drive me to taking a sip.

I stopped drinking out of solidarity
with my husband who wanted to take a break,
and continued to stay 100% sober out of solidarity
with myself
when husband decided to go back to moderate drinking
six months later.
Sometimes I wish he were still intoxicant free,
but that’s just me.

I mean, how many people in our western consumerist society
actually want to give up the booze completely?
Not many.

And I don’t need anyone else to make my choice,
it is my own, and that’s really all I need to know.
To feel clear in the morning,
to stand in front of my students with my whole self,
to sit in meditation and smile in my liver
to go further inwards and see that there are no demons hiding,
this clarity is so completely worth it,
no one needs to convince me or join with me.

I don’t need anyone else to make my choice;
it is my own, and that’s really all I need to know.

I Take My Hat Off

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Taking my hat off
and bowing low
to the single parents out there
who keep it together
day after day.
How do they do it?
How do they get their own needs met?

Today was an exceptional day–
I wasn’t able to find childcare
so that I could teach my evening yoga class
and was longingly thinking of my students
when 6pm rolled around and it was time
to concoct some kind of reasonably healthy meal for the kids.

In addition to not getting my normal time out
for teaching
(and interacting with adults)
my husband had plans to meet a friend
after work…
So not only did I not get to leave the house,
but my back up was not going to arrive in the normal time frame.

Eight hours, just me and the kids.
I watched myself grow more tired as the day wore on
My fuse was shorter
I even felt some resentment creeping in.
I caught myself snapping at my kids
and immediately apologized.

And then I wondered about the single parents.
How do they do it?
How do they keep their cool
and raise healthy, well-adjusted children?

I take off my hat and bow low to you,
and acknowledge that finding balance
in your busy life is no small feat.

After eight hours of tasting single parenthood,
I’m in awe of those whose love
shines more clearly
than the stress, the fatigue, the isolation.

Single parents,
I take my hat off to you.
And I thank you for all that you do.

The Purple Pen

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I’m just going to admit it,
because that is a big part of this project–
to admit to myself when I have acted
obsessively, or out of anxiety,
or resistance, or anger,
or peacefully, or joyfully–
just to be aware of the many facets of myself.

Tonight I delved into my obsessive nature
by becoming fixated on a purple pen.
You see, I am a bit of a stylophile.
Actually, that is inaccurate…
I have had a life-long obsession with pens.
Especially fine pointed, colorful pens,
and especially if they come in a set.
It has been this way my whole life as a writing being,
from childhood on up.
I just love pens.
That is how it is.

Tonight I discovered that the purple pen was missing!
One of my favorite colors out of a set of pens
with ultra fine points–.25 mm–dear God, how beautiful!
It could’ve been the light blue one that has never worked quite right,
or the pink one because, well, pink is okay, but–
DEAR GOD NOT THE PURPLE ONE!

So do you know what I did?
Instead of just shrugging it off,
reassuring myself that it will either turn up
or I can buy myself another,
I LOOKED FOR THE GODDAMNED PEN.
And not just for a few minutes, no…
I was searching in nooks and crannies
where a pen just wouldn’t ever be,
hoping to catch a glimpse of the thing.

Backtracking in my mind,
I tried to pinpoint the exact location
where I saw it last,
as if I had lost a camera,
or a diamond ring,
or a set of car keys,
or my journal.

At any rate, I couldn’t remember when I saw it last,
and I continued to look for it.

I finally caught myself doing this
after searching for it for the
umpty-umpth time…
I slowly sat down, opened my journal,
wrote about the obsessive behavior
and the time wasted as I was enmeshed with it.
I also wrote about all of the things I’m grateful for,
and spent a moment savoring the knowing
that all of my needs are met…in this moment.

And then I wrote,
Breathing in,
I am aware that I am breathing in.
Breathing out,
I am aware that I am breathing out.

I took a deep breath,
and another.
I brought my mind back to this moment,
smiled at myself.
And remembered that this, too, is yoga.