Grieving 

Grief never really ever goes away.
It simply changes shape from day to day.

It lives there in the center of your chest 
And waits to be expelled with every breath
A cloud of mist that hangs over your head
A heavy log that pins you to your bed
A friend who holds your hand all through the town
A Mac truck with no brakes that runs you down
A drone that finds you wherever you try to hide
A .38 that’s holstered to your side
A slice of pie, a piece of cake, a treat
A pack of wild dogs running down the street 
A wave of loss that drowns you in despair 
The sweet, sweet smell of lilacs in the air 
A song, a lyric, a chord, a melody 
The face of each sad stranger that you see
A nagging itch at the center of your back
The first tingle of your next panic attack
A sunset, a storm cloud, a butterfly, a tree
Every awesome, horrible, beautiful thing you see
The thing that lives in the center of your chest
Floating up and down on every single breath. 

It shifts its shape each moment of every day.
It never really ever goes away. 

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Annihilate Me

Just before my double mastectomy, a friend and I were texting, and she said ‘This is the yoga you’ve been preparing for all these years.’ To which I replied, ‘Well, that’s frickin’ bullshit.’

But we both knew she was right. All I really had to do, was let go. My practice has always been about letting go of unnecessary things. I focused on the simple process of breathing in and breathing out, taking on and letting go. 
For years now I’ve been working on exhaling longer than I inhale, letting go of more than I take on. 

If you’ve followed my journey at all, then you already know… a lot of things have fallen away. Bad habits, old ideas, judgment, over-indulgence, impulsivity; all slowly falling away.

As each next thing starts to fall away, I hold tightly for a while. (Like I held onto my beer!) Grasping and clinging. But eventually I loosen my grip. And soon, it slips away.

It’s a practice of softening and releasing. Softening my heart, my grasp, my stubborn head. Releasing my ego, my expectations, my judgment. Inhaling and exhaling, taking on and releasing. A practice of creation and destruction, preservation and annihilation.    

Pema Chodron says: 
‘Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.’

I have been annihilated. And I have found that which is indestructible in me.

I can see it. Hear its whisper. And even summon it up on occasion. As long as I keep myself vulnerable and open to annihilation, I will continue to visit this indestructible place.

I am there right now. Breathing deeply. Inhale, count to 4. Exhale, count to 8.

Indestructible. 

……………….

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Healing Dream

Last night I dreamed I was moving freely,
Inhaling my arms up over head,
Diving over and folding forward, 
Straight-legged with my hands on the earth.
Sun breaths, outdoors, in an open field. 
Then I began to create my own poses.
I got myself into an awesome bind. 
Fingers clasped. Chest wide open. 
Face to the sky.

I awoke, 
In my own bed,
propped up on pillows, 
wrapped tightly in gauze. 
The sun rising behind the rain clouds.
Another chance to live, to heal.
I am breathing. 
And I am bound. 

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Keep Feeling Vacillation

People keep asking me how I am? I keep saying ‘I’m good, right now’.
Someone recently asked me if I was just putting on a brave face?

No. This is not a brave face. This is my face. This is my right-now face. Does it look brave? You should’ve seen it an hour ago. 

The truth is, I vacillate. It’s not all sunshine and light. It’s not all inspirational quotes and half-full glasses of magic yoga potions. 

I’m always vacillating. Every breath is a pendulum, swinging between absolute acceptance and absolute anxiety. The acceptance comes from past experience and analysis. The anxiety comes from concern for the future. At the center of the pendulum, there is the present moment, and the present moment is good-right-now. As long as I stay in the present moment, I’m good.

I’m good right now. 

I have come to terms with the situation just as it is.
————I’m good, right now.
I’m feeling intense anxiety about the outcome.
——————I’m good, right now.
I am still and strong, breathing and typing.
—————————I’m good, right now.
I’m feeling terrified and I might vomit.
————————————-I’m good, right now.
I am amazed and amazing.
————-I’m good, right now.
I’m feeling helpless and clueless.
———————-I’m good, right now.
I move through this ever changing world gracefully, joyously.
———-I’m good, right now.
I have no idea how I’m going to get through this in one piece.
———————–I’m good, right now.
I am safe from harm.
——————————-I’m good, right now.
I am scared shitless.
   —————–I’m good, right now.
I trust in the universe completely
——–I’m good, right now.
I’m drowning in a violent whirlpool of random chaos.
————————–I’m good, right now.
I am filled with gratitude.
————————————-I’m good right now.
This whole situation is absolute bullshit.
—–I’m good right now.
I am peaceful and calm.
—————————-I’m good, right now.
I want to run down the middle of the street screaming Fuuuuuck!
——–I’m good right now.
I accept what is, just as it is.
—————————I’m good right now.

And so I breathe. My breath brings me back to the center of the pendulum. It brings me back to this moment. Back to right now. And right now, I’m good. 

I’m good, right now. 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Keep feeling fascination…  here’s my earworm

————————

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Meditation is Bullshit 

I don’t want to be still. Stillness is bullshit.  Clearing my head? Emptying my mind? Being present in the moment? 

Total bullshit.

To be present in this moment, in the nowness of this very moment, I would have to be present in the first place. Present and aware.

I don’t want to be present and aware right now. It’s uncomfortable. It’s hard work being mindful. I don’t want to be mindful. 

Mindfulness is bullshit.

Sure, if I am truly mindful, present, and aware I can take myself to that amazing open space where there is absolutely nothing. It’s a beautiful place to be. 

But as soon as I get there I also find myself face to face with absolutely everything. Absolutely everything. That, is absolute enlightenment. 

Enlightenment is absolute bullshit.

Who needs it anyway? It’s so much easier to dim that light. Crawl back into the dark places. It’s so much easier to tune in to something else. To deflect. To avoid. To deny. Who wants to risk coming face to face with everything in order to get to that beautiful open space? 

Not me. 

It’s so much easier to read a book. Listen to music. Take a walk. Scroll and swipe through endless screens. 

It’s so much easier to fill my time with sights and sounds, scents and sensations. Give me some sugar. A cigarette. A painkiller. A pregnant giraffe. Anything. 

Gimme a political debate. Gimme a philosophical discussion. Gimme internet porn. Gimme a fuckin beer already, for chrissake! It would be so very easy for me to go back to drinking beer and eating junk food. I want to go back to easy. 

This isn’t easy. No. This is bullshit.

Potato chips! Gimme some potato chips. Gimme Netflix. That’ll do it. 

I will sit still. But I won’t be still.

Stillness is bullshit.

———–

Bull. Shit.
————
Total, complete, bullshit.

…….

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Giant Birds

Last night I slept with the windows open
And dreamed of giant birds.
I understood each sound they made
Like you understand these words.

The rhythmic song of springtime
was floating through my head
This morning, as I woke up 
and rolled over in my bed.

The tweet-a-tweet, the caw-caw screech, 
the whoopawill, the whirrr,
They blended all together 
as my body began to stir.

The vitvit-vee, the honk-hoowonk, 
The tinktinktink, the twoo,
The quer-wer-wer, they all made sense.
They were all words that I knew.

The chickadee, the robins,
the blue birds and the crow, 
The mourning dove, the starlings 
and a few that I don’t know,

Their tweets tapped out a timeless tale,
Spinning secrets they’ve been keeping.
Deet-a-deet, deet-a-deet, deet-a-deet-dee,
Like a Morse Code for the sleeping.

Their sounds became a symphony
the moment that I woke.
But just a second before I stirred,
they were stories someone spoke.

All of the sounds of all of their songs
were words inside my head,
‘Til the very moment that I awoke
and rolled over in my bed.

I understood each sound they made 
Like you understand these words. 
Last night I slept with the windows open,
And dreamed of giant birds.

………

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A Day with the Trees

One of my favorite places in the world, Branch Brook Park.


(I remember the tree, though.)


Change is all around us. Every moment. Every breath.  

****

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