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Not Unworthy

If I could wash the blood stripes

 

from your toddler days

 

I would wipe them away.

 

If I could purge “fat kid”

 

from your memory

 

I would make it so.

 

And the demons? 

 

I’d banish them

 

to desolation.

 

If I had the power

 

I would free your mother

 

from bondage to neediness

 

and your father from slavery,

 

but all I can do now is say,

 

I believe you are

 

a Phoenix.

 

 

 

 

A lot of people comment on my energy, on how much I have. They ask me things like, “What do you eat?” “What vitamins do you take?” They look at me and they see this boundless ball of energy who goes about doing, and doing and doing. What they don’t see is how crammed my schedule always is or the social events that I shy away from. The things I do are all connected to the things that hold eternal importance to me. If I discover that what I’m doing isn’t, in some way, a part of the bigger picture, I’ll quit doing it. 

Still, it’s easy for me to overcommit, to forget that I’m only one person with only so many hours in the day. So, I’ve been doing some thinking and I’ve come up with twelve rules that I live by, for the most part. Some of them, I’m still working on.

Maybe you’re an over committer, too. If so, maybe my ponderings will help you as well.

 

  1. If something can be done in less than a minute, do it. For example, go ahead; put the sweater in the closet. Go ahead; put your shoes on the rack. Go ahead, file that paper right now. That way the “little” things won’t pile up on you. I’ve been bad about letting the little things pile up on me and now I have a lot of piles.

  2. If you don’t REALLY need it, don’t buy it. It will just be one more thing to keep up with and have to take precious time cleaning. And if you haven’t worn it or used it in a year, just get rid of it.

  3. Prepare your week’s wardrobe on Sunday afternoon or at least lay the outfit you plan to wear to work out the night before.

  4. Go for a short walk every day, even if it’s only five or ten minutes. It will clear your head and help you get back on track.

  5. A ringing phone doesn’t have to be answered every time. If it’s an emergency, somebody will come get you. If I’m in the middle of a parent teacher conference and my phone is ringing, I probably won’t answer it. If I’m teaching reading group and my phone is ringing, I probably won’t answer it. Just leave a message and when I have a break, I’ll return the call. IT’S OKAY TO IGNORE RINGING PHONES!

  6. Make a list of things to do and prioritize them. Don’t confuse the immediate for the important. Put things in quadrants based on their immediacy.

  7. Don’t neglect your health. Make it a priority EVERYDAY to turn off the phones, ignore the computer and do something healthy like practice Tai Chi or Yoga or go for a walk (in my case, it’s Bagua). You only have one body while you’re on this planet. Make it last as long as you can.

  8. Make time for spiritual growth.

  9. Make a weekly trip to Goodwill or some other charity and drop off the excess that you accumulate.

  10. Don’t worry so much about being “perfect” when “good enough” will do. 99% of the things we “fuss” about don’t matter to a hill of beans anyway and 99% of the people won’t notice and the 1% who do, well more power to them. Maybe they just have a lot more “free” time and if it’s something that really bothers them, just volunteer them to head up the effort to fix it.

  11. Turn OFF the phone sometimes. Turn OFF the computer sometimes. A lot of people around me have smart phones and they are constantly in contact with EVERYBODY about EVERYTHING, but my brain can’t handle that overload. So, sometimes, for the sake of my sanity, I turn the phone off so I can hear the sound of my own thoughts. But then again, I’m an introvert by nature (regardless of WHAT you may think you know about me). The truth is that there are times when I just want absolute silence so that I can renew my bearings, find my center. Gandhi withdrew every evening, away from the crowds, to sit quietly at a spinning wheel and “center” himself. Mother Teresa found her quiet times by waking before dawn and Jesus is recorded numerous times as escaping the crowds so he could hear his Father’s voice.

12. Realize that no matter what you say, what you do or where your heart is, that somebody, somewhere won’t agree, but they don’t have to live your life. You do. Not every decision is going to make everybody happy. Their happiness is their responsibility, not yours.

Nature touches us the same

but you are blind in my world,

and I am a misfit in your circle

 

of circles, of circles, of circles.

You perceive me as complicated

and deep, but I am as simple as

red earth and blue sky.

 

You self-proclaimed wise child,

look, I wear too many clothes to fit

in among bare-breast middle-agers

and wide-bottom moon gods.

 

My vehicle is too “narrow”

for a wide, multi-lane highway

to deathbed look-backs and women

who wish they had danced.

 

You belong among temple dwellers

and incense drinkers, among searchers

and seekers of the “hidden” while I

am a sparrow’s sister.

 

My mind has traveled with you,

with others. I have tasted eastern fruit

and desert laws, but find my solace

 

in holding hands.

Harmonious Parasites

*an older poem [from around 2006-2007) about exploitation.

 

Eternal melodies
swell from spirit places,
future and far away places
where no blood turns
to stone.

Singing does not belong only
to those conceived on stage
with applause filled lungs,
neon lights dying
them green.

Bastard performances
given by star makers
unleash two-headed rabbits,
which hop over life,

diverting aim,

painting
with muted colors
that miss targets
and abort genius,
giving birth to gray men

and hollow women.

It’s 5a.m.

I’ve been up an hour already…just thinking.

I do that sometimes, just wake up with a head full of noisy thoughts that scream so loudly that I can no longer sleep.

Thoughts of family, and friends, and of eternal things.

Lately, I’ve been feeling kind of invisible and to some, I suppose I am. But in the long run, we all become invisible to the frivolous nature of this present world system which places value only on the external things. However, I am not, nor shall I ever be invisible to those who truly see through spirit eyes, who do not look at the house but at the being inside it.

My daddy used to tell me that it doesn’t matter what people say about us, it only matters what God says. I think he’s right except I would add one thing. It also matters what I think about me, what you think about you. In Proverbs, Solomon said that as man thinks in his heart, so is he. That, of course, is referring to a human being of either gender. I hate it when people ask me how old I am or how much I weigh or how tall I am or what size clothes I wear, because none of those things have anything at all to do with ME! They are just devises to color another’s perception of me. I love it when people ask me things like, “What are you passionate about?” About poetry and writing, about music and martial arts, about teaching. I love these questions because then I feel that someone actually cares about seeing me, instead of basing my value on some frivolous and temporal concept.

I have news for those who haven’t discovered it yet. Age is nothing more than the amount of years you’ve been on this earth. Whether you are 19 or 99, you’re still the same spirit you’ve always been. Height, weight, and genetics are equivalent to wether you live in a brick house or a mobile home as far as spirit things go. Meaning they don’t matter. Spirits know spirits by kinship, not temporal illusions. I have met people of various physical descriptions, both in real life and online with whom I had an immediate connection that defied all the physical factors. When I look at another person I don’t know them so much by how they appear but by their “nature” or “turn” as my dad would say. My mom used to say, “pretty is as pretty does.” She meant that physical beauty had no value to her in a person, but rather character. So, I could much more easily be with a person this world has deemed “ugly” yet is compassionate than be with one the world labels beautiful who is shallow, self-centered and vain.

Having said all those things, I will say, however, that the more time I spend in this Shadow Land, the less value I place on what others think of me. We each have our own journey and while those who have been here longer may have  picked up some valuable advice, I believe it’s important to remember that we each must walk our own road. Perhaps, it is a great tragedy that so many spend so much of their lives looking for that person who “completes” them. I don’t believe there “is” a perfect person for each of us, because I believe that the only person who can make me happy, is me, and no matter how close I become to another person, when that day comes for me to leave this mortal house, I will go out of this world taking with me nothing but the love I gave away and the lessons I’ve learned.

So, as Solomon said once again, everything that is of this world is vanity. It is passing away. And, as Jesus once advised, I want to lay my treasures up in eternity. These treasures are stored up by being compassionate, forgiving, merciful, full of integrity, by treating others with the same respect we long to receive ourselves.

Non-judgement

Bamboo clatters.

Wind shoves at windows

already assaulted by old rain

drops still clinging

refusing to be blown away.

Fifteen after midnight,

tomorrow out here,

a humble farmer once

told me and my Daddy said,

“Unless you’ve made no mistakes,

be careful of the stones you throw.”

Dirt diggers like me

have no business,

hurling

rocks in the night.

??????????

I find my strength in quietness,

in waiting, observing, listening

to the voice of the One Great Spirit

as He speaks through wind in grass,

through cicadas in locust trees,

through falling yellow leaves of walnut trees

who find ending of summer too hot

and decide to shed their clothing.

He speaks to me through the salamander

black and yellow spotted, darting under mud

through algae floating in tiny green triads

and pears lying beneath their mother

through apples crashing branches, flaunting their scent.

When I am invisible to men, inaudible to women

HE still speaks to me and something leaps within…

there is no greater sound.

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