Eleven Years

On the sixth day in the month of September of the year 2005:

A cell phone rings.

“It is your father,”

says the somber mother

to the busy daughter.

“He has been taken

to hospital…a stroke.”

 

Eleven years ago,

my Pop transitioned;

he left body

and went to Heaven.

One is never prepared for death-

especially that of a parent.

You know it will come eventually,

makes sense intellectually;

a matter to run from emotionally.

The day before he was to die,

he kept calling my cell line.

Over and over, he tried.

too tired and busy was I.

“I’ll call him tomorrow,”

I thought, fully justified;

not knowing he would not then

be alive.

Did Pop sense

his time had come?

Is there something he needed to tell

his eldest one?

What did I miss in

missing his call?

Did he go

thinking

I cared not at all?

Along with grief,

from guilt I found little relief.

Over and over,

in my mind,

I wrestled with my use of time.

Questioned my responsibilities:

Were they aligned with my priorities?

Eleven years later,

older,

a tad wiser,

I can begin

to myself forgive.

We do our best

in the moments we live.

Perfection, not the final goal.

Missteps, falls –

a part of it all.

Lessons learned

in his life and death-

Thank you Father!

No more regrets.

 

 

 

Blue

 

what you say about Blue

is really a reflection of you.

what you think about her,

a mere child, another’s daughter,

only reveals

your mind’s fodder.

it’s all about you,

Beloved,

never “the other.”

about the lens

through which

you see

your world

and your brother.

look deep within,

my Friend,

see finally

the depths of

your own self-hatred.

bring up to Light,

the memories,

tragedies,

stories

against which

you constantly

struggle and fight.

the ones that state softly

with great malignancy

only that

you’re ugly and unworthy.

beware,

going there.

for, ego will be scared.

it will deny,

try to you from yourself hide,

play with your mind,

saying:

“don’t go within,

too much of a burden;

play always on the outside to win.”

alas,

illusion, so easy,

often trumps reality

for many.

brothers, sisters, family –

we must re-member what we truly are:

Shining Stars,

servant spirits on a human journey

born of Him

to fully manifest

only our highest

and very best

Self.

Nothing else.

 

 

Sun Salutations

Dawn of a new day-

hooray!

Awake!

Give thanks!

Pray!

As within,

so without.

Morning meditations

strengthen thy House.

No perceived stress felt.

Mind, heart, body –

all aligned,

all in exquisite rest.

Work flows smoothly.

Everything moves so easily.

All that is seen is beauty,

even in this, the

big

busy

City.

No cacophony,

just sweet melodies.

No hurry,

only curiosity.

Frowns turned upside down;

smiles abound.

Gratitude, shared and found.

I see you, you see me.

Namaste,

we are a family!

No self-recrimination,

no regrets;

only admission

one did one’s best.

And so,

the stage is set

for when

dusk is met.

Peaceful sleep

will thee meet

with this day complete.

 

Saṃsāra

Where do Souls go

when in flesh no more?

How do they choose

what next body to use?

What memories of the pasts

are let go of-freed-at very last?

What unfinished business

sets the tone for the next visit?

See

I am

determined

to see –

to really see.

This feels like

the whole point

of my unique human journey-

to see me more clearly,

to experience the unity of we,

to grasp the oneness that is our humanity.

So much distraction to Universal Truth.

So much to unearth and uproot

within the mind,

which when ego-blind,

leads to acts violent and words so unkind.

We are in this together,

from the very beginning, each other’s keeper.

One Heart,

One Love,

One Mind,

One Body.

One Shepherd, and we, His sheep.

Now is not the time

to bitterly whine

and then fall sound asleep.

No!

Lest we will continue to reap

that which we

did not consciously

intend to sow.

I am

determined

to see,

to pray

everyday:

Lord, open wide my eyes,

cast off the crusty old lies

and the illusions

that cause hysteria and mass confusion.

Let there be Light,

only True Sight-

no more black or white.

 

mystic bonds

Souls intertwined

no matter the distance and time

elapsed

between the physical and the mind.

Namaste, we say,

each other’s Light clearly see

and then immediately retrieve

where we last left our story.

No beat missed,

no talk of business,

only laughter

born of pure, present bliss!

Effortless

seamless,

we fall back into resonance.

Creating anew

and out of the blue;

recalling the old,

all once joyously told.

This is no stranger,

this familiar unfamiliar face.

Rather a beacon of grace,

a safe space,

a peaceful place

for healing

and life-affirming

embrace.

 

 

dear b.,

first and foremost, I love You.

Your love for Me, in turn, I hold in great and eternal gratitude.

Our relationship has grown beyond that of friends…

no, more like Kindred Souls to this particular end.

hence why the current page in our long and storied sojourn,

feels decidedly like a deep and painful burn.

we’ve always rooted for the other,

always encouraged one another to dream bigger and fly ever higher.

You, perhaps better than any other, know of My wanderlust and constant restlessness.

You have been privy to how My Spirit lifts, is renewed and healed by following My bliss.

So, why now this time, after an extraordinary adventure granted unto Me,

You, seething with anger born of internal frustration and pain, lash out so emotionally violently?

first and foremost, I love You; and from love, great compassion and recognition flows.

I see into You, Beloved B.

I can see the great challenge of living within a body of such fragility,

a body, once so strong (as mine, you may perceive), one designed to walk, to travel, to live independently.

with an extraordinary mind, Spirit and imagination like Yours, you were not meant for bed confinement, relegated to one small room in deafening silence.

we, the “able-bodied” go out and play; you have no choice but to stay.

I see into You, Beloved B.

what would you have me do and say when it is the benevolent Universe that wills all this way?

shall I, in fear of losing you, keep My joy from You, hide, shrink before You, so that You do not continue to resent and dismiss “me” in the depths of your pain?

is that the way forward for us? no, just prideful and inane.

We are better than that, both know better, and have the capacity to do and to be better.

The only question: together, will we?

I see You and it takes Two.

 

 

 

 

 

Grandma’s Last Gifts: Two Guiding Lights

On this day, thirteen days ago – just five days after 9/11 – my beloved Grandmother Julie left the Earth. Her passing was the first significant loss I had experienced, and it changed me – forever. It changed what I thought I knew about death and dying. I have come to see now that her passing was yet another invaluable gift she bestowed upon me. I am forever grateful.

Mummie Julie, as we her grandchildren lovingly referred to her, was always gifting me. Whenever I saw her, she would sneak me a twenty dollar bill or more. “Do not tell your mother,” she whispered with a mischievous glint in her eye. “This is between you and me.” If it wasn’t money, it would be her glorious food (how I miss her cooking) served abundantly and with much love.

A few days before she was to be rushed to a hospital emergency room, at a birthday party she hosted for the latest addition to the family – her great-grandson, she gave me a most unusual gift. It was a large laminated picture of me taken at my college graduation. In it, I am chubby checked and smiling. As I looked at the picture, I recalled the deep pain and darkness that lurked underneath that smile. Sensing my heavy heart, my grandmother had me turn the picture over. The first words I read, written in delicate cursive:

A smile never makes an enemy, but often wins a friend.”

I chuckled. My grandmother was not one for a lot of words. Still, she knew her granddaughter very well. I was always smiling no matter what was happening inside of me. She wanted me to keep smiling, to see it as a gift rather than a weakness and a burden, and to then use this gift for good.

Just to make certain that I received this message (again, this grandmother knew her granddaughter’s stubborn heart – I could not hide from her), there was a poem written clearly in print. The poem, You Tell On Yourself resonated deeply in that moment and continues to every time I read it to this day – thirteen years later.

LOL! Grandma was prescient – no wonder she laminated her last gift to me. If she had not, it would have been worn down by now! I read that poem, savoring every beautiful word every year at least three times a year – sometimes more. I cling to it whenever I forget or dislike who I am. It has saved me from delving into The Abyss almost as many times as has chocolate!

Truly I tell you, this poem has become my guiding light – it reminds me to foster integrity, it reminds me that we are indeed each other’s keeper, that we are connected, that we influence each other and that we, indeed, are always telling on ourselves – there’s really no hiding who we really are no matter how heavy and elaborate that mask we so carefully craft. The poem also reminds me to pay close attention.

I still do not know who authored You Tell On Yourself . I send countless thanks to that creative Soul!

Until today, I have never shared this story of my grandmother’s last gifts to me – the picture, the saying, and the poem. They were mine – between my grandmother and me, our last little secret. It just dawned on me that grandma did not ask me to keep this gift between the two of us. I think this was deliberate. Again, this grandmother knew her granddaughter’s heart. She knew I would share her last words – her precious lessons to me – when I was ready.

And so I share:

You Tell On Yourself

You tell on yourself

By the words you speak, by the friends you seek,

By the way you employ your leisure time,

By the use you make of your dollar and dime.

You tell what you are by the things you wear,

By the spirit you, your burdens you bear,

By the kinds of things at which you laugh,

By songs you sing, just a paragraph.

You tell what you are by the way you walk,

By the things of which you delight to talk,

By the manner in which you bear defeat,

By so simple a thing as how you eat.

By the books you choose from a well-filled shelf–

In these things and more – you tell on yourself.