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.

Each Moment is Longing

Each moment is longing,
quivering impatience,
holding my breath to see,
what You have in store for me.

Each moment is pure desire,
hope bubbling up like dew,
discontent clouding the air,
tears like weapons of despair.

Each moment is full
of my ignorance,
my owned yet disowned arrogance
that I must control the narrative.

In truth, each moment is a gift,
a delicious unwrapping, unravelling
of sign after sign after sign,
all perfectly sensual and divine.

The universe erupted
from Your desire to be known,
our lives a series of cycles
of longing to return.

This being waits with quivering impatience,
avoiding hurdle after hurdle to see,
what exactly it is
You have in store for me.

When will she stop resisting
the floods of love meant to break her,
and surrender to the stillness and storms,
seeing only the light that will take her?

A Claim I Will Never Make

It is a claim I will never make,
an accusation I will never deny,
the power I possess scares me,
leaves me too terrified to even try

to make a choice, to take that step,
to find a way to ascend,
releasing all my crutches,
no longer having to pretend.

You are my One,
You are my Only,
How could I think
choosing You’d make me lonely?

The closer I get,
the warmer Your embrace,
the heartbreak I always feared,
suddenly so much easier to face.

My ‘I’ has driven me to torment.
Allow me to fully unpeel and dissolve.
Let my ‘I’ die before dying.
Oh Beloved, please help me evolve.

This pain is a most torturous ally,
a disguise for ecstasy, most sly.
It is a claim I will never make,
an accusation I will never deny.

The Beginning of the End

The beginning of the end for me
was the day I finally saw You for You.
Before that, you were just a name to bandy about,
a pacifier for those who had no clue.

You were to be more feared than loved,
that was simply the order of the day.
At least, that’s what I had been told,
and I wasn’t one to disobey.

Ironically, the moment
I felt You close by,
was when breaking the rules,
this I cannot deny.

Yet still, You revealed to me
a deep truth from within,
hidden under layers
of worldly din.

I believed at the center
of my lonely, lonely heart
that You didn’t love me,
I was somehow apart.

That belief shaped my actions,
my relationships, my core.
How could I flip this thought
so deeply stitched into my lore?

The answer is slowly and gently,
bouyed by the strength of Your love.
Could there be a stronger force
in this earthly world or above?

Now that I know You are on my side,
anything and everything seems possible.
An entire lifetime has been examined,
motivations analyzed and found tossable.

Frameworks have been readjusted,
future plans left open for guidance to come.
Some things are ending, others just beginning.
It feels like I’m mourning, my heartstrings a’strum.

As I bury my former self in the ground,
I wonder how long this grief will last.
I beg You, please, don’t give up on me,
as I overcome my treacherous past.

What will the other side look like,
I ask every day.
You present me with options
to choose from, but nay!

This time,
we’ll chose together,
You and I.

We’ll rebuild this life from love, not fear.
Even when I’m alone, I’ll know You’re near.

And this I can say
one hundred percent,
my heart has grown porous,
there’s no more cement.

I live only for You
and whatever good I can do,

till the end of time,
till the end of mine.

Dream Garden

Follow the dirt path bordered by translucent stones.
It will lead you to the garden of the heavenly Unknown.
To enter, move aside the large, rustling palm leaves,
then adjust your sight to a scene you won’t believe.
Meandering pathways crisscrossing in every direction,
trees of all shapes and sizes, shading lovers and their affections,
creating the perfect nooks for all seekers to rest,
to feel peaceful and content, abundantly blessed.
Some gather in groups, others in pairs,
some grasp books that appear out of thin air.
The sycamores, weeping willows and magnolia trees
provide respite for reading, for finding life’s keys –
be it the story of the very first woman and man,
epic tales of adventure, redemption, failed plans,
sprawling sagas of families, united, divided,
journeys to unknown lands, however misguided,
or fables of greed, revenge and downfall.
Here, you will find just the right book to heal all.
When you do, be sure to sit by the old banyan tree,
dip your feet in the cool waters of a stream running free.
As you lift the weighty cover of your truth-telling tome,
be sure to read the inscription before the rest of the poem:

“This is the story of an awakened lover,
whose pain led her far away from her mother,
led her astray and yet ever nearer
to the One who reflected her soul like a mirror.
Her heart was unveiled to the One and Only Task.
Her eyes glimpsed this garden in which you bask.”

Sit back, my friend, and enjoy the tale,
as a light breeze tickles your toes without fail,
and the fragrance of lavender lulls you to sleep,
dreaming of travellers who will urge you to creep,
who will lead you down rugged pathways, oh so steep,
bring you to your knees, and force you to weep.
They will tell you it’s time and that you must reap
whatever you’ve sown, like a powerless sheep.
But ignore their words, you must, so cheap!
Open your mind, let the Divine light seep,
into your soul, into your heart, so deep.
Know there’s only one way back to this garden keep,
and that is once you have learned how to make the leap,
yes,
once you have learned to how make the leap.

Mixed Messages

You say You gave us ample warning.
You say You made it clear.
You say we’ll find our way back to You,
even if it takes a hundred thousand years.

And so it is.
And so You did.

Yet still, we lie here in confusion,
so many choices weighing us down,
each one leading to countless others
like tree roots burrowed deep into the ground.

For each choice we make,
we beg for guidance,
but often all we get
are mixed messages.

Perhaps every choice is the wrong one
if not made solely to seek Your pleasure.
Or perhaps our choices
are actually chances,
portals to the Divine,
like the waves of the ocean
flowing gently, to and fro,
clinging doggedly to the promise
one day they’ll meet the vast horizon.

Do we choose education for our benefit or Yours?
Do we choose to work for our profit or Yours?
Do we marry, have children, treat others well,
for our legacy or Yours?

Only You know the landscape of our hearts.

Will choosing You mean everything becomes easier,
our choices less difficult,
our decisions less painful?
Maybe or maybe not.
It’s hard reading Your mixed messages
with this damned veil upon my heart.

I beg of you
to lift the veil,
to clarify my path,
and coax me along it,
because this limited mind,
this constricted heart,
this darkened soul
is blind.

I am nothing without Your light.

You say You gave us ample warning.
You say You made it clear.
You say we will find our way back to You,
even if it takes a hundred thousand years.

And so it is.
And so You did.

And I will hold You to that promise.

Your Compassion

Bathing in a glistening pool of Your compassion,
I stretch my body taut,
floating on a current of utter bliss,
happy to let go of all control,
relieved to hand over the reins,
skimming around rocks,
being led by waves and wind,
falling over a precipice,
only to have You catch me.
I’d been living like a blind man
struggling behind a steering wheel,
when all I really desired
was to let go,
submit,
to You.
My control was an illusion,
unhappiness, an illusion,
separation from You, an illusion.
Lift up the curtain between our worlds
so that we may finally be One.
And if you must make me wait then
turn me into a mad and gushing sea,
or the spiraling winds of a tornado,
a terrifying eruption of sizzling lava,
or a quaking deep within Mother Earth.
Let me wreak my havoc on this world,
with uncontrolled abandon.
Or else,
bathe me in the glistening pools of Your Compassion,
where time will not stalk me,
pain is a figment of the imagination,
and pleasure awaits at every turn,
the pleasure that I am on my way,
hungry for a taste of,
aching to reunite with,
finally ready to give in to,
You.

The Why Behind the Why Behind the Why

Inspired by Rumi’s “The Root of the Root of Your Self”

When I tune the whole world out
in order to look in,
I look for the why behind the why behind the why.

Why…do I feel so alone?
When I know that You are with me
everywhere I go.

Why…do I forget Your presence?
When I can see Your signs all around me –
water curled up in the clouds,
the freshest air atop the tallest peaks,
Your grand design woven through the very chrysalis of creation,
as mankind grows and evolves,
sinks and dissolves,
paints the world in ugly colors,
turns its mess into a masterpiece.

Why…do I not see Your signs,
even when my eyes are wide open?
Is it You who placed this veil on my heart,
or my inner demons who blinded me
by lulling me into soulless slumber?

Why…do I still then feel pain,
despite every attempt to be numb?
Is this a punishment for my many transgressions,
or a merciful reminder,
more bitter than sweet,
of the ache,
the longing,
to be whole again?

If you look for the why behind the why behind the why,
the answer to every question is You,
Your infinite love,
Your magnificent mercy,
Your enigmatic plan.

When I tune the whole world out
in order to look in
what I’m really doing
is meeting You at our favorite rendezvous,
dancing around You like a giggly school girl,
trying to get as close as I can.
What I’m really doing
is looking for the One
Who never gives up on me,
brings me gifts wrapped in pain,
wrapped in pleasure,
sends me love notes in every song I hear,
writes me poems in every word I read,
breaks my heart
only to put it back together again,
reminding me every second of every day
how dearly I am loved.

When the weight of the world overwhelms me,
I just look for the why behind the why behind the why
because that’ s our special spot,
and it’s a date for which You’re never late.

Your Gift

My every breath is for you,

but also,

from you –

a gift that often feels like a curse.

You gave me life,

when all I really want is to be with you.

The irony, though, 

is that when we re-unite,

I’ll be too far gone to know it.

You’ve given me this gift of the human experience,

that I may be aware of pain and pleasure,

that I may chart my own path,

creating heaven or hell on earth.

You’ve given me distractions, too,

responsibilities and relationships,

agonies and enchantments.

You insist upon this gulf between us,

making sure that when I get embroiled in this earthly existence,

I will forget you.

But, here, too, your penchant for irony abounds,

because if I don’t forget you,

then how will I ever know the ecstasy that comes 

with awakening to your memory,

of realizing I’m not alone,

and never have been?

Like a child in her mother’s warm embrace,

a lover in her partner’s adoring gaze,

I will feel the relief that comes with surrender.

No matter how far you send me, 

I will find my way back.

Being apart from you is excruciating 

but exquisite, too.

You are the only thing 

that fills the void within.

I see you everywhere –

in the people I love,

and the people I try not to hate.

I see you in the movies I watch

and the books I read,

in mankind’s evolving knowledge of science and space,

their growing wisdom of the mind, body and spirit.

I see you everywhere

and nowhere,

and all I have to keep for myself,

as undeniable proof of your love,

is your gift.

This breath.

I will honor this breath as best as I can.

I will honor this breath as best as I can,

but even when I can’t,

when I mix up my realities

and mess up my priorities,

your gift will still be with me,

never judging,

only loving.

I’ll know that as long as I follow the trail of that breath,

and remember you in my every step,

I will never be lost.

In this moment,

with this breath,

I am yours.

I am yours.

I am yours.

Have You Lost Your Sense of Wonder?

As a child, I remember being fascinated by the idea of the circus, hot air balloons, and anything else that fit into my idea of a whimsical world. I was delighted by stories and the playful ways words could be rearranged to elicit different reactions from different people. On the contrary, as an adult, sometimes language seems like such a chore, so limiting, almost like it does more harm than good, and can lead to a myriad of misunderstandings. When did I become such a bore? How did I lose that special sense of wonder that used to get sparked by the most basic of things?

Wonder comes from a simple, child-like place. But as you get older, it gets harder and harder to access. It gets drowned out by all the clutter in your mind, all the worldly distractions, psychological fears and insecurities. Only when you make a concerted effort to remove all that noise, will you be left with an empty space inside of you, a space ready and waiting to be transformed by your sense of wonder.

Wonder comes from your search to understand the world around you. It comes from your intense yearning for connection with something or someone greater than yourself. Sometimes you feel wonder at the genius of a new contraption, at the logic behind the chaos that is life, at the beauty of this world and humanity, even at the devastation that plays out on such a grand scale around us. Wonder is what leads us to the questions, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?”

I was blessed to be born into a loving family with comfortable means. Yet, at times, I felt like no one understood me. Like, perhaps, I was a child who’d been taken away from her real mother to be raised by some other family. My real mother would know all the answers to my questions, and solutions to my problems. I realize now, of course, that perfect mother I imagined is God, who has always been with me, whether I knew it or not.  I think, like a foster child or someone who was adopted, you never stop wanting to know the truth about where you really came from.

This desire to learn about our origins and, indeed, our eventual destination, is what drives so many of us. This is why people enjoy reading stories and watching films about characters who go on journeys and endure hardships, to find some meaning in their lives. These stories help people to create a lens through which to understand our world. Perhaps listening to stories is one way for us to re-claim our child-like wonder, and be reminded to keep looking at the world with fresh eyes and an open heart.

When you learn something new as a result of wonder – be it a mathematical concept, a better understanding of your partner, or an epiphany about your own life – you feel triumphant, like you’ve solved an important riddle. But all you’ve really done is unlocked your access to the next riddle. As people, we keep evolving, and with each new riddle, or trauma, or trial in life, the way we solve it or get through it determines how much we grow, spiritually.

Some people want to dig deeper and gain self-awareness in order to heal or grow. Others don’t want to dig deep. They’re perfectly happy not facing their demons. Perhaps they’re afraid of opening a Pandora’s box of problems they can’t face. And that’s okay. Each person is at a different level of self-awareness in life. Each person needs to move at his own pace. But if this describes your partner or parent or friend, make sure you don’t let him/her discourage you from doing what you have to do to find your own truth. Don’t dilute your sense of wonder for anyone else. Let it build and grow, and maybe even engulf those around you.

If we live from a place of wonder – not of certainty and control – navigating life’s challenges might become a little more bearable.