Born to Soar

We were born to soar.
But from the moment we arrive,
we are anchored by barbels,
held back with chains,
at first,
for our own good,
until we’re old enough to know
right from wrong,
safe from unsafe.
But by the time we’re set free
to roam the big, bad world,
those chains have grown comfortable.
We trust their weight,
feel at home with them,
protected.
The wings we once had
have atrophied from neglect;
it’s not like we could have actually
flown.

This is not the way.
This is us drowning in fear.
These chains are more cruel
than comfortable,
more burden
than blessing.
We walk through fire
to melt them off,
melting ourselves in the process.
Slowly,
oh so slowly,
we emerge,
charred,
broken,
exhausted,
with no structure,
no plan.
But also,
nothing holding us down.

In time,
our wings return to us,
our hope restores us.
We take baby steps forward
and fly.
We fumble at first,
no idea what to do
or where to go.
The draw of the clouds,
the nudge of the breeze,
the cheers of our loved ones
raise us right up.
We flutter,
flap,
then falter,
recover,
reassess,
then rise,
finally airborne,
feeling alive.
If we keep ourselves
light and attentive,
the wind whispers to us
our destination,
helps us flow there with ease
and alignment,
pumping ourselves up
where we must,
letting our Guide do the rest.

But beware of the chains,
ever present in our memories.
Don’t be fooled by their shine
or lured by their lies.
You must remember
and remember,
and keep remembering
who you really are.
Find others who will serve
as reflections,
as reminders,
that, indeed,
you were born
to soar.
You were given wings,
not as adornment
or to feed your pride,
but for a very particular purpose.
Perhaps
to unveil the truth
for others,
to show them the wings
they never knew
they always had.

The Ache

Sometimes
the pain is just too much
an anvil on my heart
something missing at my core.
Was it something I lost
or something I have yet to find?
The ache
to be filled
is unbearable.
I feel deficient,
despite knowing
I was born whole.

I take this life too seriously, I’m told.
Lighten up.
Be grateful.
You’re one of the lucky ones.
Don’t be selfish.
Don’t be greedy.
You have all you need.
Then why this ache?
If this pain, as some say,
is somehow molding me
polishing me
unleashing me
why is it
I don’t feel free?

I fill the void
with nothing
but sorrow
anger
shame.
Where has all the love gone?
Was there ever any to begin with?
Or were there only temporary bandaids
me seeking elsewhere
for what should have existed within
all along?
Fill me! Fill me, please!
Love me but
make me believe it too.

Rocks hurled at me every day –
responsibilities unmet
loved ones displeased
my child overloaded –
I try to keep it together
hold it all in
open the dam gates only
when no one’s in sight.
But sometimes
others’ barbs sear me
cut holes into my facade
allowing the ugliness to burst out.
I’m only human.
But
I’m also a mother
scarred by generations of other mothers
desperately trying not
to repeat the sins of the past.

I know You are here and now
but still I feel so alone.
What am I missing?
Is there something You haven’t told me?
Some message You’ve been sending
that I haven’t been receiving
or never learned how to?

Every love letter you sent
I smeared.
Every bouquet of roses
I razed.
Every box with a bow
I re-gifted.
Why?
Why would I do that?
I’m sorry but
love never felt safe.
Love and hurt
were one and the same.
I built walls
to leave love
out in the cold
and inside
act like I had
all the control.

The ache tore that farce to the ground though.
It may have taken years, decades, but
the ache slowly built up to a quake
that unearthed me.
In the wreckage I find
something is missing.
Something has always been missing.
Please show me where to find it.
Please help me to embrace it
without returning to sender
without ripping it to shreds.

You love me
and that is all that matters.
The rest is just fluff
obscuring my view
of all that is beautiful
and true.

Greatest Show on Earth

Step right up!
Step right up!
Come one, come all,
to the greatest show on Earth.
This world is a magical feat
of engineering,
with its constant
in and out,
push and pull,
rise and fall.
We contract and expand,
exude and absorb,
evolve and dissolve.
The sheer magnitude of movement
could drive anyone mad,
let alone
little, old you.
If only you were able to witness it
all at once.
But you
exist in your own bubble,
coping with what you can,
delighting in what you can.
You take yourself so seriously,
as if you
control the fate of the world,
as if you
weren’t just some speck
on a blue ball
twirling through space,
a puppet in a play.
Allow yourself to let your guard down,
dance instead of dawdle,
sing instead of speak,
revel instead of run away.
You are wholly insignificant,
and yet,
you
are all you have.
It’s time to
write your own rules,
learn to love yourself,
and raise people’s spirits.
Rely
and be relied upon.
Dwell in gratitude
for being created
out of thin air,
from nothing into something,
an illusion,
a mirage.
But best not get too swept up in the show
standing on the sidelines, as you are.
Spring forward,
jump in,
get your hands dirty,
take part in this grand adventure.
Conjure up magical feats,
eloquent engineering,
of your own.
You
are the main event here.
Time’s a-wastin’, though.
This carnival won’t stay open
for long.

I Loved You Simply

Inspired by Pablo Neruda’s One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII

I loved you without knowing how,
or when or from where.
I loved you simply.
I love you still.

Such child-like innocence we had,
such purity of need and emotion.
In truth, we were leechers, not lovers.
One would give, one would take,
one was crumbs to the other man’s cake.

As time marched on,
our splinters began to show,
our poison began to flow,
our hearts turned harder,
our paths veered farther
and farther
apart.

“Love” is the loftiest of illusions.
One glimpse and,
like a drug,
we want more.
But love needs faithful legs to stand on, too.
Without them, the illusion disappears,
and all we have left are fears.

The heart aches,
the mirror breaks,
the shards draw blood,
we drag each other through mud.
It hurts,
it hurts,
it hurts,
the pain a reminder of “love”‘s dictate.
“Breathe,” it cries, “breathe and you will awake”
Learn to discern, what is real, what is fake.

It was True Love’s kiss that broke the curse, however slight,
however gentle.
We had two choices –
reblossom or burn.
I fell to the earth, digging,
even as the fire held firm.

Love is Wise, Love is Patient.
It waits lifetime upon lifetime
for us to find it,
for us to feel it.

I loved you without knowing how,
or when or from where.
I loved you simply.
I love you still.

And that, in truth,
is Love’s will.

Love Letter to the Beloved

You are always there
even when You’re not,
to hold my hand,
to cradle my heart,
to soothe the sting of our separation.
I long for You
like a child eyeing an ice cream cone
on a sweltering summer’s day,
like my first crush,
all beetroot and tongue-tied,
like the lips of my lover
lingering, tingling,
like a mother holding her child
for the first time,
pleading for his protection.
My longing
is torture,
is ecstasy.
Each time we meet,
Your nur pulls me closer.
Impatient for our union,
this waiting is like a fever,
confusing my mind,
mixing dreams with reality,
coursing through my veins,
creating aches in corners of my heart
I never knew existed.
My Love,
do You feel it, too?
You always exude such grace and composure.
Your smile makes me forget myself.
Oh, to be that smile,
to be that soul.
You make me want to be
everything possible.
You show me warmth and hope,
promises of Paradise.
Your absence
casts a despairing shadow.
I am nothing,
if not Yours.
I want nothing,
if not You.

The Future

The future used to play in my mind
like a movie reel.
One month the story would unfold one way,
the next month, another.
The future felt limitless,
exciting,
uncertain,
but always bright.

Now the movie reel’s stopped playing.
I see my future
through a blurry window after a hurricane,
mud-streaked, dust-covered, rain-soaked,
or driving through a dense fog,
not sure which way the road is turning,
or if I’m headed straight into a ditch.

Everything’s uncertain and scary.
All the things I used to want
no longer matter.
I hold on tightly to this roller-coaster ride,
and remind myself to keep breathing.
If I can just breathe,
this fear might turn into exhilaration,
and this ride might be a hell of a lot more fun.

Letter to My Son

When I look at your beautiful face, son,
I see an ocean of ancestors.
I see my eyes,
the eyes of my father
and his father before him.
I see your dad’s expressions,
his inner child.
I see history and the future
all rolled into one.
I see God’s love and mercy
to have placed your care
into my hands.
When I see you smile and your eyes
twinkle,
it’s like seeing the world through you,
full of wonder and impossible joy.
When you look pensive,
my mind automatically goes
to all the ways I’m failing you.
You see, my son,
I’m a glass half empty kind of person,
and I know, despite my best efforts,
I’ve passed that worldview onto you.
I want to be the one to rise above it,
to show you that it can be done.
As I see you growing older,
your curiosity being leached from within,
your twinkle getting tarnished,
I think of all the ways this world is failing you.
Let’s be part of the solution,
you and I.
Let’s flip the system.
Let’s turn the mirror right way round.
Let’s fill that glass to the very top,
heck, let it overflow.
There’s never any lack of love here,
that is the biggest myth of all.
We just need to stop blocking love’s flow.
It won’t always take the shape we imagined.
It will sometimes be more hardship than hearts,
more resilience than roses,
more patience than passion,
but remember, dear,
tears are Divine kisses, too.
Don’t hold on too tightly to anything,
not even the identity you’ve so carefully constructed.
Let it all flow,
let it all go,
let love be your strength,
not your weakness.
If you’re going to hold on tightly to anything, my son,
let it be the One,
let it be His Rope,
and let it take you where it will.

Stolen Summer

A stolen day at the beach
in exchange for a stolen summer.
I watch from a distance –
always a safe distance –
as families frolic in the sun,
trying to forget for a while
how the world has so irrevocably
changed.
I sweat out all the pain of our separation,
but revel in the joy of it, too,
the relief of not having to try so hard
to be heard,
the peace of mind, the lack of pressure,
using this time to reconnect to myself,
indeed, to the very source of myself,
building emotional resilience,
strengthening my boundaries,
not to keep you out,
but to let you know how close
it’s okay to come.
As the ocean waves pummel my delighted child,
I pray he faces all his future challenges
with similar glee,
not the way I have,
with trepidation at every turn.
I wish I knew how to swim,
that I could promise us all safe passage through life.
But the high tide is coming in now,
and it’s every man for himself.

God is Dead

God is dead, they say with certainty.
Shhh! Don’t anyone disclose,
I’m hiding Him here in the cup of my hands.
He’s lying in gentle repose.

I’m pouring Him into my crystal ball,
watching Him swivel and swirl,
bewitched by the magnificent tales,
woven into His colors and curls.

I want Him all to myself, you see.
Every day, I watch His beauty unfold,
I taste the sweetness of His very existence,
I bathe in His bitter and bold.

Slowly, this solo exchange grows lonely.
After all, what’s the point of my knowing
bliss that cannot be openly shared,
union that is felt and free-flowing.

So I release Him
from my crystal ball,
and wait for what will
most surely enthrall.

He flies into people’s eyes,
He veers into people’s ears,
He kisses their lips,
brings to life their gifts.

He’s here! He’s here!
they exclaim,
their hearts suddenly
bursting aflame.

He’s the unchecked joy in children’s laughter,
He’s the love in every parent’s heart,
He’s the contentment of souls in solitude,
the thrill of reunion when we part.

He’s the sting of rejection,
He’s the bottomlessness of loss,
He’s our dancing partner through life,
He’s our grit, but He’s also our gloss.

He is truth and pain and anger and shame
all rolled into One.

God is dead, they say with certainty.
Sure He is.

He’s dead the way that love is dead,
the way that dreams are dead,
the way that dead is dead.

But even things that die
eventually return to life,
and when they finally do,
His presence is divinely rife.

God is dead, they say, with certainty.
That’s just because they’re scared.
‘cause if God were alive, what does that say
‘bout how their faith and fealty have fared.

Their folly is thinking God is only wrath,
not realizing He is kindness, too,
forgiveness, compassion and mercy,
a balm for any bedlam they’ve brewed.

God is more alive than life itself,
He is deader than infinite shrouds,
He is heavier than our collective sorrow,
He is lighter than diaphonous clouds.

He is.
He is.
He is.

And if you know only this,
you know all that matters.
God is not dead,
it’s their faith that’s shattered.

Let us love them and hug them and hold them tight,
let us soothe their wounded hearts,
let us guide them away from God’s gravestone,
t’wards the ease that our oneness imparts.