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Poetry

The Holy Grail

How far must we deviate from ourselves?
How long must we abandon ourselves?
Since the moment we first chose to do so
We abandon ourselves in birth.
And if we do not rejoin ourselves over the course of our lives 
We rejoin ourselves in death.
We must die to ourselves In order to be born
And all life is a process 
Of being re-born to ourselves.
And what of emotion?
Emotion is the tether
Emotion is the link that remains when all else is lost
Emotion is the only remnant of the true self 
Which we abandoned in order to be born here
Emotion is what leads you back to you
All things done on this planet 
Are done to escape emotion 
Every cigarette smoked
Every lover gained
Every book read
Every bite eaten
We even find our way to spirituality because we are desperate to escape the way we feel
But then we find that the only way to find joy and to set ourselves free permanently 
Is to walk into the eye of the storm
To be so ready to die as a result of our pain 
That we stop running or escaping
We stop trying to feel better
We stop trying to change the way we feel
And instead, we walk right into the eye of the storm 
Ready for it to swallow us up.

Even daring it to. 
For the first time in our lives 
We do not abandon ourselves 
Because for the first time 
We do not run from the way we feel 
We do not try to use positive focus to move away from ourselves
We do not use alcohol to suppress ourselves
We do not use a lover to protect us from ourselves
Instead, we move towards and into our feelings
We don’t ask them to change
We don’t want them to be different
We are simply in and of and with them
And because of it, we are completely in and of and with ourselves
And something beautiful happens…
After practicing the art of being with ourselves again and again
The universe reveals itself in its entirety 
There is a hole inside all people
A deep emptiness 
Wanting to be filled up
But what is that emptiness?
That emptiness is grief.
Grief is the baseline emotion for all people incarnated on this planet.
But what is it that we are all grieving?
The answer is the loss of self
We lost ourselves in our birth into physical form 
We abandon ourselves when we separate ourselves from that which we truly are 
From source
Like a stone dropped into still water
The ripples from that original transgression
Travel outward
After the original separation from our true selves,
We re-live that separation again and again
Separation from the womb
Separation from the breast
Separation from our parents
Separation from friends
Separation from lovers
Separation from our children
And eventually, separation from life itself upon our death day.
We suffer the original separation throughout the duration of our lives.

We suffer to the degree that the desire within us
To be whole again 
Is strong enough 
To draw us back to ourselves.
To draw us back to source
Because Source and self are one and the same.
Grief is at the core of all of our lives.
All of us abandoned ‘ourself’ to come here
We broke into a billion pieces
We call them by different names
I am Teal
You are John
Or Mary
Or William
Or Emily
All pain and suffering on this planet 
Is a ripple
Cast off from the original stone
Of Separation
All human behavior
Is seen accurately through the stages of grief
The entire emotional scale
Is in essence, the expression of a grief process
When we are separated from other people 
And feel as if we have lost them
As they leave us
As they die
The grief we feel 
Is none but a reflection
Of the original loss of ourselves upon our birth
And we will lose our loved ones 
As long as it takes 
To reunite 
With ourselves again
This grief process that is occurring within all of us 
Is the grief process of having lost a loved one
And we have all lost this loved one 
We have all lost ourselves
We could not be born unless we did
And so, this grief is shared by us all. 
We are united in this grief 
And yet, we are torn apart by it
This grief process now plays itself out upon the world.
It accounts for all of our actions as a species
We are utterly powerless at birth

We deny what has happened to us
We feel utterly isolated
We become angry
Because we are so scared
We start to bargain with our parents
And then we bargain with the world
We fall into depression
Because nothing can make the hole inside of us go away
And one day, we either die because of it 
Or we find acceptance.
To find acceptance for the separation
And to set ourselves free from the prison of it
We must go straight into the eye of the storm of grief. 
To be reunited with ourselves
We must let go
We must let ourselves grieve
We must let ourselves grieve for the loss of ourselves
And in every following thought and word and movement
We must make a vow to never abandon ourselves again
We must make a vow to be completely with ourselves 
In each and every moment of our lives
Without needing ourselves or the way we feel 
To be different

Hell Fire

We are combustive.
Our emotion is 
Trapped
Blocked
Controlled
Denied
Sedated
This resistance to our own emotion 
Causes friction
And friction causes heat.
Hell is depicted as a world of fire
A place where we burn alive and suffering is all we know for eternity
But this is the world that so many of us already live in
We didn’t even have to die first to get there
Or did we?
The heat of the fire of hell is caused by the friction of our resistance
Our resistance to our own emotions
Of Anger
Fear and 
Grief
This hell is not a place somewhere outside of us.
Instead, it is inside each and every one of us.
All of the chaos and ‘evil’ in our world occurs within us.
The living hell
Is the state of running
From the inner fire
Of our unwanted emotions
Looking for escape routes, of which there are plenty
Only to discover that every escape route 
Is in fact a dead end.
The only way to escape the inner fire
Is to walk straight through it.
The only way out…
Is in.

The Sunflower that is Always There

What did we possess yesterday?
What will we lose today?
When the world is shattered like a window,
No glass remains between you and the sunflower which was always there.
No illusions, no barriers.
Just the opportunity to turn towards it.
For in the smallest of things, therein lies the greatest of things.
There is a grace to be found in those moments.
A grace that is lost to us when we are in the midst of grief
instead of outside looking in.
When the shock and denial and groundlessness that is grief,
makes the world around us stand still.
The stopping point before life flows down a completely different road.
If we resist the current of where life is now taking us,
 if we try to change what we can not change because it has already been written in time,
We are drowning
We are shutting life out.
Just as we shut out the sunflower with the glass of our lives.
It is only when we let go and surrender to the current,
that we have a chance of taking in air.
Today, in these astringent halls above the city,
These windows keep grief in and hold life out.
With a kind of cold devotion, the machines that keep lungs breathing in and out,
tell of our inability to see death clear enough to not fear it or resist it.
Despair is in the minds and movements of people, holding each others grief tightly,
Trying to survive the unknown together.
Every trivial thing erased by the emptiness of loss and
By the earthquake of a moment of change.
A moment ago, someone was here.
Now it is an empty room.
The bed re-made a new.
The machines no longer pushing air in and out are rolled away.
The silence of death lasts only hours before another story of grief comes to fill its place… For another family nearby.
But not for those the silence leaves behind.  For them, the silence lasts forever.
And life does not go on.
Instead, what is lost to them, is their own lives as well.
They go along with the ones we love you see.
When the world is shattered by grief they leave us.
And we only learn to live again when we let go of their life and our life along with it.
And instead, go towards the sunflower…
That was always, always there.

In The End

In the end
When I look back on life
I think I will laugh myself to death.
Too rich to be broke
Too poor to be wealthy
Of anything at all.
I watched a man today
Drive his brand new pick up truck
That will never take him anywhere
Except to forty and then to forty-five
And I thought to myself…
Life feels dangerous to us all.
Most of us try to avoid that dangerous feeling 
By being as certain as we can
But that there makes us cowards.
And cowards are already dead.
They have committed suicide
And now
They leave empty footprints upon the surface of earth.
So as much as it scares me, 
I’d rather be here now
With all the uncertainty that life is.
And really live
All the certainty that we collect is ornamental anyway.
All is lost upon death.
All fame
All glory
All memory
All power
And all fear;
Will disappear like shadows into light.
And I will smile to see it go.
All but potential
Is a kind of corruption.
That distracts you from the truth of who you are.
An unknown freedom
Impossible to know,
Impossible to predict.
And those who know it… Live
Those who don’t… Only pretend to live.
They grow acres of fruit and only manage to eat the rind.
In the end
When you look back on life
I think you will laugh yourself to death.
Too rich to be broke
Too poor to be wealthy 
Of anything at all.

In My Hand

In your very hand
Is found the power to open or to close.
And every moment is a crossroads
Which offers both an opening and a closing.
It never ceases to amaze me 
How many miles we are willing to walk in someone else’s shoes.
They do not fit us well.
They leave bruises and blisters on our feet 
With them, we cannot greet the world as ourselves.
But I am glad I was not told these things upon my birth.
For I could not know the sweetness
Of greeting the world as myself
If I had not first known the pain 
Of greeting the world 
As someone that I wasn’t
In my very hand
Is found the crossroads.
You see…
Within all beauty
Are the seeds of pain. 
And within all pain 
Are the seeds of beauty.
And it is my choice, which of these seeds to plant.

Initiation

We are initiated.
We are apprenticed by pain.
Our beauty… Our purpose… Our expansion
Is forged in the fire of our difficulties.
Like a blacksmith, our suffering relieves us of our rough and tattered edges
Painfully at first
Until we are broken open.
And our soul pours like water through our every thought and word and action.
It extinguishes the fire of our pain.
It weathers our curses to such a degree that they become blessings.
And so, we are free.

Racer

I knelt down at the edge of the world, 
As the gravity issued warning, 
And counted through the sieve of the flat light…
A dozen of them scraping past me, 
Crushing the white before them into gray wrinkles in the snow.
My ski tips danced upon the hemispherical curve of the mountain, 
And I watched the clouds, watch me.
I tasted of the forefinger of winter, 
In the frozen speed I claimed.
And if the blood red color of life would have left me…. I’d not have cared.
I’ve made a life of shaking open the snowy pleats of fear and
Learning how to use… instead of merely own it.
For fear is like a fire. 
It keeps you warm. 
But it can also burn the house down.
And as I raced, I felt the world, as if for a second time.
On a snow covered mountain, 
At the top of the world, 
Your hands can hold transcendence in their gallery of reachable things.
And if you reach out far enough…
You can feel the season ripen past you.

My Students

My Students,
I meet with you again,
different names and faces but the same desperate spaces,
yearning to be filled.
Your pain has convinced you that you are alone here…
That there is no way out of the well of the wound that has swallowed you.
Again, I hear the words…
“You just don’t understand how hard it is”.
After all, I am a teacher.
I sit on a throne of certainty and ease, as if it were never tested.
Or so it now appears…
Now that I am showing others how to live a life of ease.
But this throne has not been mine forever.
And my place upon it is tested every single day.
There are many gates that one can pass through to reach awakening.
The gate of oneness,
The gate of nothingness,
The gate of the present
Or, the gate that I came through…
The gate of suffering.
I do understand you see.
The smile you see on my lips has been pieced together from the crumbs 
of a shattered life I once led.
I have left myself behind so many times.
Left myself to drown in the acrid blood I spilt –myself-
I have died again and again.
In fact, I often say when I am alone with myself, 
that I have made a hobby of dying in this life.
As if I were an onion, whose layers have been peeled off one by one…
By pain.
In the beginning, like you, I crawled on the ground with only my hands,
groping and gasping in the agony of attachment.
Attachment to everything…
Most especially to myself.
But then, I decided to let go.
It is a decision we get to make and re-make every day.
To stop resisting the way that life strips you clean… 
Of yourself.
Let it take Bone and blood and sinew.
Let it take all that you think you are.
The moment you can’t fight back anymore and you let go,
That very current you were turned against, stops stripping you clean.
And instead, it dresses you.
It dresses you in the image of transcendence.
It cradles you in the support that was there all along.
It carries you to the very thing you desire…
FREEDOM.
And it sits you on a throne in other’s eyes…
As a teacher.
I do understand how hard it is.
And I also understand how much harder it is than letting go.
I do understand how hard it is.
And I also understand how much harder it is to stay where you are,
doing what you’ve been doing all your life.
I understand because I have been there...
In the well of the wound that has swallowed any of us who are inspired to pursue freedom.
When you discover that there are worse things than dying, 
You let yourself die…
Only to find yourself born again in that instant.
I understand how hard it is because I was there.
And because I was there,
I understand that those desperate places inside you, 
will never be filled the way you’re trying to fill them now.
I understand that to love you is to show you a way of certainty and ease,
while wishing you the freedom that is inherent in being stripped clean of yourself like an onion…
Layer by layer.
One by one.
Even if like me, the gate you choose, 
Is the gate of suffering.

When I Come

When change comes, 
I want to step through to possibility 
And think of each skin I’ve shed 
As a birth into curiosity 
And somewhere, 
Find the strength enough to love this world, 
Amidst the awkward grip of it.
AND
When you come, 
I want to reach you in immortality 
And think of each tear I’ve spilt 
As a birth into risibility 
And somewhere, 
Find the want enough to see this world, 
Amidst the discoloration of it.
AND
When life comes, 
I want to watch it with curiosity 
And think of each day I’ve spent 
As a birth into possibility 
And somewhere, 
Find the purity enough to help this world, 
Amidst the cracking structure of it.
AND
When Death comes, 
I want to back track to risibility 
And think of each time I’ve smiled 
As a birth into immortality 
And somewhere, 
Find the way enough to hold this world 
Amidst the disunited-ness of it.
AND
That’s the day that I come.

Lotus

Let the wanderer and the questioner arrive at a crossroads, 
That offers both rising and descending.
Both opening and closing.
Like a lotus, these crossroads represent the present moment.
Like a lotus, they represent the truth 
That in your very hand is found the power 
To open or to close in every moment.
Let the sweet perfume of the answer tempt you forward 
All the days of your life.
Not for the answer’s sake, but for the road it takes you down.
Let the lotus tell you that the sound of your footsteps 
Is not that of movement forward 
But rather of opening outwards,
To envelop the world.
There is no destination.
There never was.
Not in this world or any world that you could ever hope to come across
Will you ever find a being… enlightened.
Only a moment to moment expression of enlightened thoughts and actions,
That if strung together by time, form a life time of enlightened activity.
And it is this, that we call… enlightenment.
The state that is not an “end state” at all.
Enlightenment is just a different view of the very same crossroads
That we will meet with every moment of our lives…
Forever... 
On this eternal, unfolding road we have been taken down 
By our own questioning.
There is only a vow to awaken each moment.
A vow to keep the seed of awakening alive in the present, 
And with each present moment as it passes,
a vow to open ourselves like the lotus and envelop the world.

Calf Creek Falls

Little by little, their voices fade; As she opens herself to you.
Her sandstone is the heart of the world.
The flow of blood within it is her noisy silence, filling up the empty spaces between the stars.
I walk forward, so that I may forget the human race and instead become a child of the desert…
So that I may become sandstone, wind and burning sky.
Beneath the fabric of that sky, I walk the path of this living gallery
With only the spirit of the earth beneath my feet as my minister.
In the book of the earth, it is written that nothing ever dies.
Because there can be no separation between the earth and those that walk upon her varied scapes.
Every drop of blood has once been rain.
Our bodies continue to be made and un made and re made in and of the earth
As our spirits flow to and from their varied forms forever.
And so I arrive beneath her, Calf Creek Falls.
All day and all night the water runs down the spine of her sandstone.
Her lace legs falling over rocks like ribbons made of snow…
Ribbons of tumbling water without a break or seam, forever.
I lose myself in her silky currents and the darkness gives way to light.
I see that I too am becoming seamless, like the spaces between the stars.
Like a mother, the desert remembers her children. 
She takes you back tenderly.
She reminds you that one day; maybe tomorrow… you will be re born as one of her many datura flowers
Which, as they open, offer the blooming laughter of ineffability.
We are all children of this earth, so we are all children of the desert,
Walking forward with her beneath our feet.
She opens her heart to us one by one so that we may remember, we are not just human.
We are also sandstone and wind and burning sky.

Grief

What did we possess yesterday?
What will we lose today?
When the world is shattered like a window,
No glass remains between you and the sunflower which was always there.
No illusions, no barriers.
Just the opportunity to turn towards it.
For in the smallest of things, therein lies the greatest of things.
There is a grace to be found in those moments.
A grace that is lost to us when we are in the midst of grief
Instead of outside looking in.
When the shock and denial and groundlessness that is grief,
Makes the world around us stand still.
The stopping point before life flows down a completely different road.
If we resist the current of where life is now taking us,
If we try to change what we can not change because it has already been written in time,
We are drowning.
We are shutting life out.
Just as we shut out the sunflower with the glass of our lives.
It is only when we let go and surrender to the current,
That we have a chance of taking in air.
Today, in these astringent halls above the city,
These windows keep grief in and hold life out.
With a kind of cold devotion, the machines that keep lungs breathing in and out,
Tell of our inability to see death clear enough to not fear it or resist it.
Despair is in the minds and movements of people, holding each others grief tightly…
Trying to survive the unknown together.
Every trivial thing erased by the emptiness of loss…
By the earthquake of a moment of change.
A moment ago, someone was here.
Now it is an empty room.
The bed re-made a new.
The machines no longer pushing air in and out are rolled away.
The silence of death lasts only hours before another story of grief comes to fill its place…
For another family nearby.
But not for those the silence leaves behind. For them, the silence lasts forever.
And life does not go on.
Instead, what is lost to them, is their own lives as well.
They go along with the ones we love you see.
When the world is shattered by grief they leave us.
And we only learn to live again when we let go of their life and our life along with it.
And instead, go towards the sunflower…
That was always, always there.
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