stop

 

you should stop

consistent worry

constant seeking

your endless excuses

you should just stop

to breathe in

this moment

now

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clatter

my fingers fly to find the keys

to unlock why I even care

about the words that come

in flurries and rests

like a song I thought I knew

until the bridge comes

and I loose my place

stumbling over the lyrics

my knees are bruised

from all the times I’ve tripped

over words that burst

from my breasts

and fall at your feet

with a clatter

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far from perfect

And then – just like that –  there are the days I don’t struggle with me at all… Because I remember that we are all flawed. Because I know we are all struggling in some way to find acceptance. Love. Hope. Joy.

Nothing is harder or easier for any of us. It just is.

We put on our faces, go to work, go to school, pick up the kids, make the dinner, do the dishes…

Some days we just fall apart inside while the outside looks perfect.

Some days the outside fights back against the internal dialogue that is striving for perfection.

Have a massive breakout. Trip and skin your knees raw and ugly. Wear yourself down so far that your body begins to collapse, keeping you from the ability to hide how hard life is behind a plastic smile.

But real is beautiful. Because it’s real.

You are beautiful… in all your mess and disaster.

Own it.

Today, I do.

I don’t have to go in to work today. Good thing.

I slept fitfully. I woke up at 5:30am. Then went back to sleep. It’s nearly 11 and I’m still in flannel pajama pants with polar bears on them. I haven’t even brushed my teeth. I’m on my second cup of coffee. I’ve already wasted an hour on Facebook. I’ve done nothing of value today. Wait. I fed the dogs because otherwise they wouldn’t have left me alone. There is a list of things that need doing as long as my arm. Literally. I have half finished projects everywhere. There is a large pile of painting supplies (and other various home improvement tools) in my kitchen. It’s been there a month. I have things I should be doing from home for work. But I will work about 25 hours in two days this weekend, so I’m avoiding anything to do with it…

And I need a shower.

But this is life. I’m breathing.

Are you breathing?

Good.

That is enough.

Take another deep breath.

Show me your real face… the one that’s afraid.

Let’s be real with each other, my friend.

I don’t expect you to embody perfection.

Just breathe. Just let yourself be. Just be.

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to look

Somewhere along the line

I got the idea of what I am

supposed to be for everyone

else. But not what I am

supposed to be for me.

So I sweat my way through

feelings. Fearful and flailing

as I try to keep my face turned

in the direction I’ve been taught

to look. Like a woman of valor

like a pretty thing that smiles

like someone who’s got her shit

together when I’m falling apart

as though my worth comes

from how someone else sees

the lines in my skin

and the curves of flesh that roll

away from my bones in a way

that I’ve been taught is too much

and somehow this makes me

not enough. So I diminish my voice

because I can’t shrink my hips

or my thighs enough to please

someone. I don’t know who.

Maybe its me. Maybe its you.

Maybe I just want to be

wanted for what I already am

and anything I might become.

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an easter hymn

do not be troubled for me

for I know the ways of my heart

fickle and faithful at once

unsure and unable to settle

all the while digging in

for I know what eternity feels like

the birds sing her song

and I will build an alter 

where I find the stones

old trees will tell me stories

of how to love again

light

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” – Rumi

We are all flawed and fallible

We are all broken and breaking still

But in those broken places the light can enter in and cause us to grow…

I’m not an easy person. I say only half of what I think. I cry often. I am silent even more. I look for my value in things I shouldn’t, and often come up empty handed.

But I aim to do it all in love and light… and if my cracks are the places I can let the light shine through me to others, so be it.

boxes

oh sweet mary

you penned the words

that made me smile

once again

yet here I stand

shaking

heart in hands

with all theses boxes

I know you say

they are a gift

but just once

I’d like for one

to not be so empty

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returns

once again I think

I’ve said too much

pushed too hard

as I am wont to do

and I feel the twinge

twisting and growing

a bitter taste in my mouth

it’s such a small thing

to simply want

to be known

for who I am

but it always seems

to be too much

and the asking

feels like a prayer

when it goes out

and like a curse

when silence

returns

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the climb

stop fighting

settling won’t hurt

that much

you won’t win anyway

don’t you remember

the last time

when you fell so hard

and bruised your knee

you wouldn’t want to do that

not again – not now

you just need to accept

that this is all there is

just keep your feet

firmly on the ground

know your place

accept things

as they are handed to you

but I am a girl who’s never listened to the rules that didn’t make sense

so I clambered up the rocky hillside

and my legs were scared and bruised

my hands scratched and bloodied

but I can see the sky opening up

something else told me to leap 

that’s when I realized I could fly

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breathing lessons

I write a lot about breath.

Probably because I pay such close attention to my own.

I practice yoga, where we learn to move with our breath, be mindful of it, and control it.

But I mostly I pay attention because it keeps me alive.

Not just literally. But in my head. When anxiety shows up, and claws at the back of my skull with her irritating thoughts… and makes my neck flush… and makes me feel like I just can’t get any air into my lungs…

I happens less often these days.

4 or 5 years ago it was almost daily.

The past two years have been, quite literally, like a breath of fresh air.

But anxiety still shows up… making me doubt who I am, and what I doing, and why I’m doing it.

And even if I can do it.

It says I am too much, and not enough.

Anxiety tells me not to trust, not to hope, not to dream.

It makes my chest grow heavy with fear and sorrow.

It dulls the brightest sun, and makes me cry in my car on the way home from work so my kids don’t have to see my sadness.

And this is when my breath is so very important.

Like the ocean waves I love so much…

I listen for the soft sound as I inhale and exhale.

I feel the rise and fall of my chest.

The way the air escapes from between my lips.

And if I can just connect with it for a few minutes… the rising and falling… the cool and the warmth… if I can let it fill me… and leave me… and come back again… and leave…

Then my own breath can remind me that I am still alive.

That whatever it is that’s weighting on my soul isn’t in charge.

I am.

Because as long as I let it, the breath will keep coming for as long as it is supposed to.

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This picture was taken by my younger daughter, on the day after election day 2016.

My girls and I were visiting conservative family, and feeling quite shocked and overwhelmed by the results, so we went to the beach to breathe…