Life in the City

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can be unbearable
on days
when I cannot catch my breath

life in the city
can be so vibrant
my heart
exploding
in the dance

I climb a tree in the park
and sleep like a baby

life in the city
can be calm
walking down the railpath
cool breeze and crickets
I am home.

To learn more about my 108 Poetry Challenge or to donate click here.

Last night I landed on my head…

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Last night I landed on my head at a dance class. I can’t quite remember what happened, but my hands weren’t free and I landed with a clunk, on my head.

Drama – the part of me that freaks out. What did I do wrong?? What can I do to make sure this never ever ever ever ever ever happens again? Was I being too bold? Too adventurous? Was I gunning for the spotlight? Too full of myself?

Facts – my neck is slightly sore. My mom, who is in from out of town, and is both a physiotherapist and a body worker, treated me this afternoon. After that I felt better.

Facts – nothing is broken. My body will heal. I have a small pain in my neck.

Drama – “How could you get injured?!” “How could you be so mortal?!” “How could you make such a fucking stupid mistake?!”

Facts – Get over yourself and get over the minor inconvenience of a small pain in the neck.

Landing on my head could have been serious, but luckily, this time, it wasn’t.

And I can see how the DRAMA runs into my life.

Often, if I’ve emailed or texted a friend and haven’t heard a response my immediate reaction is, “She hates me.” Along with a fictitious but believable enough storyline about why.

And finally – I am learning to say – enough with it. Get over your grand and polarizing speeches with the statements of never again shall I get hurt in that stupid way by enacting these thirteen pieces of personal preventative legislation. Enough with your dramatic interpretation of simple situations and the need for epic confrontations with family and friends to “get to the bottom of it.” Enough with it.

Life is simple and life is short. I have the choice of whether to be kind, or not, in each moment. And this kindness can extend to myself, to understanding that I do also make mistakes and that is okay,

Or not.

This is my choice.

grapes and cheese

and wine

he speaks with perfect diction
explaining the state of the climate

there are no solutions, he says
turning away
there’s no going back

a heaviness falls over the room
and so we eat more grapes, cheese and wine

great talk! says rich
striding over
eyes bright
his data is impeccable!

what’s the use of speaking
if there is no hope?
what’s the use of data
that spells doom?

I want data that feeds my soul
excites my mind
into drawing new connections

I want data that stirs me up
drives me forward
acting for a better future

I want data that changes the game
turns things upside down
in ways I’d never imagined possible

so I turn away from the wine, cheese, and grapes
away from the doomful data
and step out
into the night.

To learn more about my 108 Poetry Challenge or to donate click here.

Canoe Trips

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and we’re off!
a pack on my back
a canoe on your head
we are travelling

we are going to nowhere in particular
except for you have a specific campsite in mind and a map

i have my book
you have your headphones
and we’ll lie in the dirt
beneath the trees
blissful

I can only write poetry at the side of a lake
I can only be free in the mountains

my mind is the lake
my body the mountain
and i can find freedom with you

To learn more about my 108 Poetry Challenge or to donate click here.  All proceeds go to the Young Adult Program at Yasodhara Ashram.

Journal Writing

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I race to finish Natalie Goldberg’s Long Quiet Highway – it is so beautiful to read and there are many books on my nightstand to be read.  I devour the memoire and then as I finish suddenly I look around and feel like I’ve lost a friend.

I try to read her first book Writing Down the Bones then decide to simply read Long Quiet Highway again.  I get about a sentence in and realize I can’t read – I need to write.

I head to the beach – backpack packed: books, journal, computer.   An hour and a half until dinner – an hour and a half to write.  I sit down at the patio furniture on the grassy part above the beach.  A part of me wishes I could go to a café in the city to write.  I catch the thought and return to my breath.  Cities… to go to a dance class, to have an easy morning drinking coffee and reading on the sofa. Caught it – breath, waves, wind chimes, back to the present, back to the blank page…

When I was in university I loved to dance and the only place I knew to do it was at the bar.  That’s where everyone seemed to be heading anyways so I’d put on an outfit that I could move in and go dance.  If the music was good and there was space on the floor I’d make sure not to drink too much because I knew it would mess up my moves and as everyone else loved life wasted, I was high on the dance.

Then in Thunder Bay – bands touring across Canada would have to stop there because it’s the only city between Sault Ste Marie and Winnipeg so on Tuesdays or Wednesdays there’d be great shows in town.  The live music was great and the crowd was the same – students, artists – drunk, picking up, rocking out and I’d be the one with the big moves at the side of the stage because that’s where the space was.  Elbows out, knees high. Dance.

And I’ve been thinking about my transition this fall from this small community in the mountains to the city and I’ve been wondering why.  Why am I moving to a new city at the darkest time of the year?  How can this possibly be a good idea? And finally realized it’s to dance.

Since those years of dancing at the bar I’ve found “my people” in the world of dance.   The others who were most likely at some point the crazy dancer in the corner – who love to move and who want to move alcohol free.  Who like to dance on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings and to do the big moves.

Breath, waves, sunshine, mountains.  I return to where I am now.  Where someone has prepared a beautiful meal and all I have to do is show up.  There are beautiful things here and there will be beautiful things in the city.  Wherever I am – all I have to do is show up.

 

Entranced

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I am entranced by a new Master’s degree program and suddenly – like I do at beginning of most of my love affairs – I see the glimmer of beautiful possibility and begin to sprint after it.

This time I find myself on Google trying to find out which key words will identify the best non-profit in the world.   No luck.  I move onto Twitter and ask one of my current internet heros what her favourite non-profit is.  Maybe she will have the key…

This degree can be done while working and you can apply what you are learning to your work.  Therefore – a part of me decides – I must be working at the best place ever so that I can apply my learning to the best place therefore creating the biggest impact ever.

At some point I realize it is ridiculous to find the “best non-profit” and what I really need to find is where the best fit is for me.

And as I slow down to a jog I also realize I like working directly with people more than I like working with organizations so maybe the program’s not the best fit after all.

Efficiency is not always what it seems.  I am beginning to see efficiency as people doing what they love – using their particular skills and talents to create a better world.

And then I realize this is what I actually want to do – I want to help people to find out what their potential is, to do what they love and fully develop the particular set of gifts they were born with.  Each one of us is completely individual and what we have to offer the world is this incredibly unique and beautiful thing.

So what is my gift? What do I have to offer? What could helping people move towards their potential look like?

And as my time living and working in this community that I love (Yasodhara Ashram) begins to draw towards a close, these questions suddenly seem to have an urgency behind them.

And then, at the glimmer of a beautiful possibility, a part of my mind dashes off at full tilt towards what may or may not be a mirage.

The facts are that in this moment I am living my ideal – working with people and plants and developing programming to make this community an even more harmonious place.  And the facts are that I don’t know exactly what is next for me and really, at this stage, I don’t need to know.

The planner in me wants a plan, but really it is time for the worker in me to do the work – to show up, one day at a time, and do what is set before me.

I am learning to trust that I will know what I need to know when I need to know it and in the meantime to be grateful for what I already have and to be grateful for what I already know.

The planner in me wants a plan, but the knower in me knows that the plan will only come when the time is right.