binds of love

My dear girl,
there were a million times
you could have given up
this past year.

You thought it would look
a certain way,
then it didn’t.

But I will tell you a secret
– you were never alone-
and no matter how far
down you felt in that water…
there was always solid
ground inside of you.

Don’t you see?
You have tied your
indomitable heart to the binds
of Love,
and will always find
your way back home.

For whatsoever had been
touched by Love,
no thing will ever tear
asunder.

bindsoflove

The Golden Parachute

Since this is my last summer in Alaska, I have found myself wanting to experience as much of the state as I can before the opportunity is gone, which is how I found myself up in Tok, Alaska this weekend sitting at a restaurant called Fast Eddy’s surrounded by a curious mix of ragged travelers.

The parking lot is full of giant RV’s and dusty cars packed to the brim with camping and fishing gear and plenty of Canadian plates since we are less than 100 miles from the border of Yukon Territory. Over dinner I enjoy curly fries along with the eclectic mix of people as I wonder what their stories might be. It occurs to me as I sit there that with a move to Kauai planned, our time in Alaska is limited, and I may never be back by way of Tok again.

Remember this moment, remember this realized possibility, I keep saying to myself. Cherish it, for time is finite and this may be the only time you ever pass through this place.

It is a strange and curious thing to realize the limitations of time. When we are younger it all seems endless, spanning on towards forever. But as we get older we begin to realize there are some things we will never do again, some places we will not return to, some passages we will not retake.

I turn 39 this week and after losing my brother this past year, life has taken on a precious quality, I try and take little for granted. He never made it past 39 and, Life willing, I will. That means every step forward from here becomes a golden parachute, an unexpected opportunity that some people don’t have. Now I age for both him and myself, remembering that we were never promised tomorrow, just the space of today.

These days it is all a gift. All of it sacred. All of it a privilege to breathe and learn and grow and love and hurt and fail and find the joy. Of course there are the mundane moments: the moments of struggle and being human and having down seasons in life. But I am finding that even in these there is still something sacred to be found. That as long as we are here, there are always opportunities for the up seasons, always opportunities to grow from our experiences.

Losing my brother has taken away the assumptions about how life should look. I make plans as best I can, even as I accept that Life sometimes has its own plans that take us in another direction entirely. Trying to pretend we somehow have control is the equivalent of saying we can hold the sky in our grasp; it is but an illusion.

These days I continue to focus on the only thing I do have control over. My self. My heart. My thoughts. The state of my own internal affairs. I can’t change what has happened, but I can learn to make peace with what has come to pass.

Make peace with the part of myself who has this terrible wisdom that we were never really in charge to begin with. Make peace with the part of myself who has come to learn that death is just another door. Make peace with the part of myself that still rages and screams and howls at the moon over the unfairness of it all. Make peace with all the imperfect parts. Make peace with the parts who just want to find the love that binds it all together.

Make peace with the fact that balance is unobtainable, and the best I can do is learn to sink into and embrace wherever I should find myself on any given day.

Make peace with the fact that I was never promised life would look a certain way. I was only promised this chance to pass through this world at this particular point in time, so I could better learn about love.

These days I shake my head at all the sadness this world has to offer, open my heart to all the beauty there is to find. Make peace with all its parts. Remember we were never really in charge to start. Learn to accept the imperfections. Howl when it’s unfair, smile when it’s golden. Find the love that binds it all together. Learn to sink into and embrace whatever I find on any given day.

And on this weekend’s days I happen to find myself surrounded by acres of pines and rolling ridges and a silty river snaking its way through the cool of up north. Rain patters on our little orange tent as the dogs curl between our sleeping bags, and I fall asleep listening to the sounds of the water. For one night it is golden, and I find myself terribly limited, unable to hold onto all the beauty and love.

So I let it wash through me instead, snake its way through my heart like the cool river streaming nearby; polishing, eroding and changing my shape as water is want to do. Remember this moment, remember this realized possibility, I keep saying to myself. Cherish it, for time is finite and this may be the only time you ever pass through this place.

I want to hang onto the moment, keep it with me for as long as I can, but when the time comes to say goodbye, I let it go. Say goodbye to the space of today so I can move on to tomorrow. And in the end it doesn’t matter if I return this way or not- I’m staring 39 squarely in the eye and, Life willing, I have the golden parachute of moving forward.

It is more than my brother had, so I carry him with me as I go figuring as long as I’m moving forward, I really have all I need. We were never promised life would look a certain way, we were only promised a chance for today.

We are just passing through. Here to learn about Love.

goldenparachute

meant

Despite my protestations,
he told me it was
always supposed
to look this way.

Like the quiet that comes
after the rains fall,
the inevitable light that
chases the break of night,
the melt of a grilled cheese
on the stick of a
hot summer’s day.

Some things are just meant.

Nobody ever promised us
it was going to be a
certain something,
or guaranteed the space
beyond today-
we were just told to learn
to love.

To lose ourselves in the
lapis seam where sea
becomes sky; forget
the illusion of isolation;
shed bittersweet tears
over how achingly
connected it all is.

To realize our humanity
in the same breath
that avers our divine.

To learn to trust the process,
even when it doesn’t go
a thing like we expect.

Like the palmy breeze
offering a respite of hope
when all else has gone still,
the punch of stars that knocks
out the black of winter’s sky,
the incandescent way
you will forever be
a part of me:

Some things are just meant.

meant2

face of change

It is a blink-
and a lifetime…
all at once,

these breaths we
call existence,
these times that
pass our days.

I know it feels
like it’s slipping away,
but my dear girl,
you are just
getting started,

finally stepping
into the space
you came here
to claim.

Don’t forget that
yesterday matters
much less than
tomorrow,
and today is
your chance to
embrace what’s past-

learn to lean
into the face
of change.

breathsofchange

the lavender tree

They said it was the day
all energies shift–
Towards love.

Where dark becomes light,
where fear becomes hope,
and all that we carry
in the graves of our hearts,
continues to be laid to rest
among the feet of new bloom.

You can’t erase the fall
of the lavender tree-
she cut off her limbs, unthinking,
not knowing they had been my friends,
my wishes for better days twined
to each branch with soft pleas,
earnest thoughts and
kind prayers.

Nor can you make the peonies
stand tall once more:
last moon a burst of color,
these days a collapse of fade.
But the fuchsias are afire
draping purple and carmine all over
the earth reminding me
not all the wild things are gone;
they hide in unlooked nooks;
wait for discovery
and magic.

And the sun is still pushing high,
singing a song of triumph ‘ore
the dark, daring me to skirt his
brazen gaze; forcing me to
look up
and bask…
in the certainty that all things
have a time, each moment a place
and us a place among All.

I can’t erase the fall
of the lavender tree-
I still speak to her as if she were there,
tell her  I’ll see her again, in time.
but I can let those gripping graves
relax…
and fall into the balm of season.
And when it’s time for dark to be light,
for fear to be hope, for life to go on,
I can let it all shift–

Towards love.

fuchsia-plants-1

because

Why do we know better and not always do better?

Because life is complicated. Because our attachments to people, patterns and situations can be deeply ingrained and hard to shift. Because it is always easier to sit on the outside and talk about how we would handle things, then to be the one doing the handling. Because mistakes and failure and experiential learning are part of what it is to be human.

Pick your Because– not to justify and excuse away, but to give yourself an amount of grace in the situation. Because being human is a tricky business. Because sometimes it doesn’t look the way we played it in our head. Because the language of the mind and the language of the heart can differ.

Because shame is not the basis for positive change. Compassion is. Forgiveness is. Kindness is. A change of heart is. And that starts inside with our relationship with ourselves. .

The road may be jagged and complex and look very different than we imagined, but each of us, in our own way is striving for better, for wellness, for love– and we will get there when we get there. In the meantime there is always the grace of this moment to be had.

because