Saturday, December 31, 2011
The dark cold consumes the city lights as the earth‘s breath slowly rises to the heavens. Lonely bodies stand patiently waiting for permission to enter the gates of the Phoenix Rescue Mission. I am not sure where to go. But, a man, buried in his hooded winter coat, instructs me the way so that I can get out of the cold. My sleeveless arms cannot bare the cold so I walk briskly to the door where men are coatless.
I enter into a hallway filled with men’s sharing stories and laughter. A man asks me to sign-in and then he kindly escorts me to the kitchen and introduces me to an older woman that possesses a familiar face. I can’t remember where I have seen her face before. I didn’t know her personally, but her face was filled with kindness and is the reason her face seems familiar. She greets me with “Good Morning.” Then she politely asks me to empty cups of cottage cheese into a large bowl of fruit cocktail. This is the only cocktail these men will enjoy this morning. I am not passing judgment, but use the moment of grace that these men are to Recover from drugs, alcohol, and the past that hasn’t been so kind with them.
The smell of potatoes and eggs swim through the air and dive into my nose. I fall hungry, but I know I am not here to eat. I am summoned by a determination to give back to the community I once struggled to survive in.
A smile steals my mouth when a stranger’s smile says, “Hello.” It would not be the only smile that warmed my soul. Each man’s smile has a story, their teeth being a chapter of their lives, some missing whole chapeters and some with stained pages, but I am honored to listen. Their stories remind me that I was it not too long ago that I was in their same shoes. But, when I was homeless I did not have the courage to go to a homeless shelter because of the horror stories that crept through the Phoenix streets. I hand each man a tray and each man had a smile and “thank you,” to exchange.
Time passes quickly and I attempt to remember each timeless face. I am curious to know what their trick is to be so happy on such a cold morning. I see people in stores shopping with frowns and never understand why they seem to be so miserable when they have everything. And these men wake up each morning with only their skin and smile not knowing where their next meal may come and were kind enough to give me a sense of belonging. I left, gracious for what these men had given me; a smile that has been painted on my face and soul since I exited the doors of the Phoenix Rescue Mission.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
“When it snows, you have two choices: shovel or make snow angels” - Anonymous
I think Honey and Jazzy would make Doggy Snow Angels if they had snow also.
Choices. Choices…. Choices? We all have them. The other day a good friend enlightened me with a comment, “You choose to be alone on Christmas.” Well yes, I do and I have for the last 8 years. I know it’s sad, but it’s because I don’t remember many Christmas’ before my father passed away in February 2002. To be honest I don’t remember much before my father’s passing. I try to remember his face and it is slowly fading away. But, I remember one thing. I remember the day that I last talked to my father on December 12, 2001. His last words, before I hung up the phone upset, were, “I love you.” I was upset because he and my mother wanted me to come home and celebrate Christmas with the family. And I wanted to spend it with my college girlfriend and her family. Not knowing that those words would be the words that echo through my eternity.
Before I went off to college in 1998, I don’t remember my father saying, “I love you,” to me. He was a man that sacrificed his life to show us that he loved us. I knew he always loved me and he never had to say it. He was a man of action. His voice carried a power that would tear down crack houses, but he also had a voice that embraced your heart with a smile. Most of all, I remember our conversations where our words danced around in complete happiness, gap toothed smiles shining from ear to ear.
Over the years I have allowed guilt to convince and shield away from loving people so that I never have to see another heart stop look at me and fade away. Along with memories of my father a lot of people have come and disappeared. I know that I am the one to blame. Either I, consciously or subconsciously, pushed good people away because I felt, like my father, they too would disappear soon enough. I believed that I was protecting myself from feeling the pain hearing the eerie sound of my father’s body flat line and seeing his spirit climb the stairs to heaven.
For years, I have never wanted anything, but to unwrap a ring and hear my father’s voice and tell him that I love him. But, all I can do is say it and hope he hears me. Instead all I really want for Christmas is a to spend it with the I love and want to build a family giving me the chance to be the father that my father was and more.
It has been a painful journey this holiday season. There has been many lonely nights and truth be told there were a couple tears that settled into my pillow. However, in the end, I found my smile. I found the happiness to have the courage to sit with the demons of my past that instill fear me of success. At times I wonder why my chest hurts. I now know its the demons of the past pressuring my mind to believe that I will never be the father my was. So, I have held myself down so not to feel the same rejection I have in the past. I am scared to fail. Who isn’t? I am also scared that my fathers hard work will be in vain if I don’t succeed.
“Action is greater than inaction. Perform therefore thy task in life. Even the life of the body could not be if there were no action.” - Bhagavad Gita
Somewhere along the way my self-esteem and confidence evaporated with my tears. Never have I felt as vulnerable as I have this Christmas. But, over the years I have learned that being vulnerable is loving and loving is being vulnerable and open to all the possibilities that presents themselves. I worked so hard to build a wall around my heart for so long and for the last two years I have worked twice as hard to tear down those walls so I can love those enter and exist my life. I received the best present from my father this Christmas Eve. He obviously thought that I was ready to open it. He always knew what was best for me. I opened the present and it was my happiness, love, and the man my father once saw developing.
It may be sad not to spend the Christmas holidays with my family or a loved ONE, but I know it is the best feeling to know I can be happy with myself. And in this happiness that everyone is enjoying this Christmas I am able to dance in the conversation again with my father.
“ Thank you dad for giving me the best Christmas gift you could have ever given me.”
“Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.” - Bhagavad Gita
Years of love knocking
Heart cracked under pressure
More room to love
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Be. Sure to spend time with those you love and let them know you appreciate and love them. Each moment is precious.
at 8:03 PM
Friday, December 23, 2011
I would like to explain the meaning of compassion, which is often misunderstood. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the rights of the other: irrespective of whether another person is a close friend or an enemy, as long as that person wishes for peace and happiness and wishes to overcome suffering, then on that basis we develop genuine concern for his or her problem. This is genuine compassion. Usually when we are concerned about a close friend, we call this compassion. This is not compassion; it is attachment. Even in marriage, those marriages that last only a short time do so because of attachment – although it is generally present – but because there is also compassion. Marriages that last only a short time do so because of a lack of compassion; there is only emotional attachment based on projection and expectation. When the only bond between close friends is attachment, then even a minor issue may cause one’s projections to change. As soon as our projections change, the attachment disappears – because that attachment was based solely on projection and expectation. It is possible to have compassion without attachment – and similarly, to have anger without hatred. Therefore we need to clarify the distinctions between compassion and attachment, and between anger and hatred. Such clarity is useful in our daily life and in our efforts towards world peace. I consider these to be basic spiritual values for the happiness of all human beings, regardless of whether one is a believer or a nonbeliever. - His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Usually, I wake up in the morning and I feel like I am hanging from a closed door. Some would call it a "hangover." I don't drink, but this "hangover" is quite similar. Negativity takes it sharp claws and digs viciously into my mind, body, and spirit. I begin to wonder what door I am going to run into blindly today thinking if I run fast and hard enough that it will somehow breakdown. Instead of the door breaking down my mind and heart find a way to crumble unde the negative pressure. But, this morning it was different. I woke up. Thats it. I woke up and I felt open. I looked around and I was flushed with a sense of love and knowing that everything IS going to just fine IF I want it to BE. I need to believe in myself. I looked up at the ceiling fan in the dark and knew that life was moving and I was going to enjoy each and every step. I looked over at the impression that used to be filled with the woman I love and it was two little fury critters that I love so dearly. I said, "Good morning and I love you Chweetie and Jazzy." I spun off the bed letting my toes grab the carpet first. Then I sat there took a deep breath and slowly pushed my limp body up to standing and walked over to my meditation space.
I sat cross-legged, upright like a Shambhala warrior, and took a deep breath while closing my eyes. Each breath I took I felt myself go deeper within. I invited all my loved ones to walk with me along the path towards the space that exists between my heart and mind. A warmth rose from my toes to my crown. I felt free. I felt open. I am unsure how long I sat in this space, but when I opened my eyes I realized I was Who I Am. I cannot make anyone love me like I love me or how I love them regardless of their small flaws because they are who they are. I realized that every door is open if I want to see them as open. I realized everyone's heart is open if I see them as open. I am open.
Tree's leave, arms's waving, "Goodbye." My eyes speak with the wind in sign language wondering where the seasons go when they disappear into the night. Each blade of grass slide between my toes so not to hurt me. I walk delicately throughher hair. sHe comforts me with her soft earth tone skin. I bend on my knees and place my ears to her heart and each beat speaks to me. sHe moves me close enough that I dissolve into her divine bossom. hEr lips wraps around my consciousness. I begin to Believe no only in hEr, but ME. What sHe said was not secret. I notice hEr message written through the window every morning I wake up. The trees aren't leaving. They are being reborn and waving, "Hello."
Credit(Photographs by): Francesca Woodman
at 9:56 AM
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Have you ever been so in love that that pain you are supposed to feel you convince yourself that it feels good?
The night is day
The morning is night
Lost in love
Leaves you blind in the light
Have you ever got that feeling inside where you just want to paint the world with love?
I got that feeling...
I just want to paint smiles on everyone's faces inside and out!
The night is day
The morning is night
Lost in love
Leaves you blind in the light
Have you ever got that feeling inside where you just want to paint the world with love?
I got that feeling...
I just want to paint smiles on everyone's faces inside and out!
at 7:15 PM
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
(I think I have listened this CD every Christmas since 1993)
Parents are running around to ensure that family gatherings are perfect. Children are creating their “Wanted Lists” for Christmas. Tickets are being bought at high prices so to stand in long lines to bask in crowded modes of public transportation to visit loved ones cross country. The holiday season is a time where families, friends, and co-workers gather in the name of breaking bread and drinking wine. End of the year parties that put smiles on the faces that otherwise would show no expression because their daily overwhelming job tasks. But this is only one side of the spectrum where smiles and hearts are filled with warmth in the cold weather.
For those who exist on the other side of the spectrum their faces expresses frowns and sighs. Loneliness surrounds those who are unable to spend time away from home or split hairs over excessive traveling prices to spend the holiday season with loved ones. I have experienced this myself for the last 7 years. I cower in my home away from the holiday spirit because I feel guilty its not spent with my family who I have not spent the holidays with in 8 years. It begins with the month of Thanksgiving where I feel I only have my life to be thankful for. In December, I remember the pains of the past that stresses loneliness and guilt. I know that I may feel lonely, but I am not alone because I have had a number of discussions with friends who are living the same bleak experience. This years cursed holiday has not been much different from the past. However, my perspective on how to cope with the holiday season has changed.
This year has been a rollercoaster that has reached the heavens and also descended into what I thought at the time was hell. For some reason the heat caused me to sweat profusely and the winter breeze was slightly colder. But, I am determined to make this holiday season different aside from the troubling thoughts my mind conjures. I believe if I know how to help others with loneliness I will be able to understand for myself what it means to live with a healthy loneliness. We all have a desire to be loved. We all desire to have a companion to share life with, may it be a with a friend or through the intimacy of someone you would like to build a family with.
There are six types of loneliness. They are: less desire, contentment, avoiding unnecessary activity, complete discipline, not wandering in the world of desire, and not seeking security from one's discursive thoughts.
Less desire is the willingness to sit with yourself and loneliness without seeking out something to smile and or change our mood so to escape the feeling of being alone. When you are able to sit in silence and explore loneliness without any answers you are able to understand the benefits of not letting the mind wander and invoke negative thoughts or actions.
The second kind of loneliness is contentment. We all seek satisfaction in our daily lives and create plans on how to maintain a certain satisfaction in our relationships, jobs, and other external factors that we may indulge in on a daily basis. Until we sit down and realize that there is no one around and the feeling of loneliness settles in. We figure out how we can dissassociate ourselves from loneliness and begin settle into the idea that this is what we are worth and we have nothing to lose. We give up on the hope of moving away from loneliness that may bring us any lasting happiness or sense of well-being. But, in order to escape this loneliness it is imperative to give up the bond with the nervous dread of doing the same thing because it allows us to be comfortable. As we become comfortable there is a shift that we are unaware of. We must continue to move through contentment with no alternatives and be content with the current mood and occurrences. Most of all do not settle. We must learn to remain moving. Even when you are sitting there is movement that we aspire to be aware of through spiritual work. Spiritual work is not easy. It takes more work than merely escaping what we are not comfortable with. Contentment is rooted in fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of change. Change fear and we change contentment.
The third kind of loneliness is avoiding unnecessary activities. When we are boiling in the loneliness and cannot bear the heat it allows our heart to be brainwashed by our mind. Our heart grows hands reaching out for anything and anyone to save us. We become Closter phobic and the inside of our skin begins to itch trying to find anything that will help us escape through our pores. Is it possible to rely not on activities where we are seeking companionship or a habitual ways of using our same way of escaping the demons that loneliness may conceive? Is it possible to sit with ourselves? Could we stop relying on what we know of the past that assisted us from breaking away from loneliness? Could we calm down and allow ourselves the compassion and respect for ourselves?
The fourth kind of loneliness is complete discipline. Complete discipline means that every moment you get to sit with the loneliness that you are experiencing you are willing to be in the moment. We realize that loneliness does not have to be an enemy. It can also can be an experience that we can cultivate the mind and heart to realize how things really are. We realize there is no certainty in anything. We use loneliness as a discipline to realize the power of the unresolved moment of our lives. We then understand that the only moment that exists is NOW. The past and the future do not exist and the present moment is the moment we must exist in and not escape. The honest truth that hurts is there is no tomorrow and only today therefore we must understand loneliness is discipline that forces us to get to know ourselves. Loneliness is not a problem. Loneliness is not a complex formula to be solved.
The fifth kind of loneliness is wandering in the world of desire. Wandering in the world of desire involves vehemently searching for alternatives, seeking external factors like food, drinking, and people. It has the addiction quality that plagues today’s society. We are all scared to live alone so we are willing to settle, sacrifice, and indulge in things that may not be healthy for us or not necessarily what we enjoy so that we can feel apart of something.
The sixth kind of loneliness is seeking security from one's discursive thoughts. We all have a mind capable to create negative thoughts. But, the issue is not to succumb to those gruesome thoughts that take you on the wild rides that you are unable to keep up with or control. Our conversations with ourselves shouldn’t lead to questions of skepticism, but to questions of being. We must learn how to ask questions without expecting any answers and allowing ourselves to experience what is. Sit in peace attempting to dissolve in the silence and when a thought comes up silently say to yourself “thinking” to bring you back to the moment. We expect security through our internal chatter. But, we must encourage ourselves to acknowledge the chatter and then keep moving, not expecting certainty or uncertainty, but change. There is no need to “self-grasp” because life is forever chaning. Thoughts have no objective reality. But, we have the power to find our true self in the moving thoughts of being.
I no longer feel lonely in this world because I am on this journey of finding what it means to “Be.” For years during the holiday season I have looked around and seen loved ones disappear. When I see families come together I smile because I know one day I will be excited to have my loved ones all under the same roof. But, until then I sit and sift through the tears, and discursive thoughts, touch and go, so that I am able to maintain the softness of my heart. And wish everyone, both alone and not alone, the love and peace I have cultivated within to share with during this year’s holiday season.
at 4:00 PM
Monday, December 19, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
A three year old house walks on one pillar hanging onto hope. The walls are currently cracking at their ankles Blood of pain running from the window pane rain refrains from cleaning its presense. His world shaken by his earths actions.
She didn’t know her movements would cause him to crumble until she left the wind to slam the door unlocked. The stained walls cry so far outward leaving the foundation vulnerable. The broken truths and memories walks in each rooms scaring whoever wants to live here. The stairs to heaven have spilled into the basement where love now cowers under leftover debris. Picture faces burned into the ceiling now die and alone on the floor.
Reflections transformed into dust return to what it came. There is a hole where the first tree once was planted.. Now words will never again nurture the tree into leaves. The three leaves that lived on two branches has left for all four season.
Breath ceases to move through what was sacred space. Love has drowned in its own depth. The dead have not intentions of living here in fear of haunted nightmares that shake the snakes that wrap around slaves necks hanging from the door frame supports the love that once walked in and out this house that now walks alone on one pillar..
at 8:59 PM
Monday, December 5, 2011
i wonder is sHe has forgotten...yet
at 10:53 AM
They sit at the edge of the shores praying in the sunshine as light rains downs on their crowns. Children of the missing warrior cry out to be saved from the world's pain. White sheets flicker hEr hair, signs of hope that the end of sorrow is near. Houseboats in the distance skate on frozen sand. Time has no authority here. Dreams and prayers walk in meditation towards the middle of the ocean's reflection. And soon God will answer. Soon the children will be warriors and end sorrow in the world.
at 8:52 AM
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Tonight the clouds are interceding for me. They know that I try to incarcerate my tears in the cell that’s located just above my heart.. As I look into the darkness it comforts me to know they care enough to shed the pain that I am incapable of doing tonight. I can breathe seeing my tears stream down the windows onto the mirrored pavement. I notice that each tear is filled with clouded judgment and emotions of frustration. They leave a black tar residue that traces a line from the middle of my navel to the windows. I walk along a jagged path from the crown of my head to the window and to my navel. This is where the pearls enrich my body. Each wise pearls squeezes through my tiny pores and soaks into my consciousness.
Car tires and slippery soles splash through my leftover tears breaking up the puddles of pain. They mindlessly step through an invaluable treasure in search for their own happiness in the rain. However, the rain that descends from the clouds begins to warm me. And the symphony of splashes are music to my ears because I don’t want to see my tears any longer. Midnight showers bring morning power to stand strong in the reality. I am merely a naked man who exists between heaven and hell given the only gift I need. The gift of choice. I may cry, but I choose if I cry tears of joy or pain. I may dance, but I have the choice to not dance or dance in the rain.
The clouds move along and the moon sachets through the clouds who try to stay as long as they can to see our union. I look in her eyes and I notice that my tears were prayers. My prayers were her summons to join me during this last dance. Our eyes embrace and our lights dissolve into each other. Heaven is our choice and heaven is where we both exist. We cherish the day together in presence of our sun. Illumination.
at 8:20 AM
Saturday, December 3, 2011
The man in the mirror hasn't slept in a years
The bags under is eyes are growing heavy
And weighing down his cheeks
So his eye lids have no space for release
And his face always reflects a frown
hE realized that he was not his reflection
and began to look within
He packed light
and closed his eyes
Love took over
and a smile provided space to sleep
For the last few months waking up has been difficult as I open my eyes and realize my sunshine is no longer half covered by the sheets waking up next to me. Usually, when I open my eyes the sun is slowly waking up and pulling the night clouds off of her. Then I look over and gently rub over the indentation that used to caress each curve of hEr. My fingers send a lonely sensation throughout my body backstroking the hairs on my arms where they stand at attention and salute to the spirits of the missing.
I ask myself, “Why?” And another question follows in line asking, “Who Am I?” I have come to realize for approximately the last 1,050 days I defined myself as a man in love and not just a man who is in love. I expressed myself to the world solely on the fact that I was a man enmeshed by not only my feelings, thoughts, and actions, but hers also. When she hurt, I hurt. When she smiled, I smiled. But, I didn’t know that sHe wasn’t smiling at me but for the fact she was thinking of another man. My best advice to anyone in a similar situation keep your eyes on Jesus because he might steal your woman too. The truth hurts, but in hEr absence I know the sun still shines even when the sky is overwhelmed with clouds.
As I lie in bed I force myself not to think and let my body take over. My feet escort me to the bathroom to begin my morning routine. I walk to throne to relieve myself of my manly duties and out the corner of my eye I feel someone watching me. A sense of embarrassment showers over me before I even jump in the shower. I feel dirty and my embarrassment begins to entice my curiosity. I turn quickly so to see who is watching me perform my private and sacred birth rite. I am baffled its “me.” It is me watching me watching me. This is an ongoing revolution of observation I tend to indulge myself in. But, I have been trying to avoid excessive self-conceit. I don’t like being selfish. And being lonely is the most extreme case of selfishness. I outsmart myself and I freeze like a not so smooth criminal caught by red and blue lights. I know he can see me. I look deeply into his hypnotic eyes. I lose myself for a moment, but his frozen reflection blew a cold chill up my spine and I woke up.
His eyes are like mine. We have a lot of similarities. But, I am not sure who he is. As I look into his eyes all I can see is yesterday. A yesterday diluted by watered down happiness. No wonder I feel parched most of the time. Thoughts overcome my emotions and I am moved slightly. He does not seem to be bothered that I am staring at him in confusion. I ask him if we know each other. he answers in silence, which echoes from the depths of my existence off the mirror back through my windows soul. I begin to feel somewhat nauseous and I lose focus of myself. Then all of a sudden I see hEr. sHe returned for the moment. The moment I realized I lost myself. Where did sHe come from? sHe disappears. Where did she go? Where did I go? My reflection returns and has no answers for me. I am lost. SHe is lost. He left, but I am going to find him and get to know who he IS.
at 7:55 PM