If nothing was unforgivable

‘All suffering is created from an illusion’,

someone said,

and before i could wonder if it were true,

i woke and it was dawn 

peeking through the blinds of my room,

haphazardly i wrote it down.

~*~

This is a Buddhist expression. The way I understand it… is that our minds are ferocious creatures. Abraham Hicks says that all subjects are really two subjects. And I feel that Taoism teaches the meaning of duality without actually teaching it. It’s not a philosophy in itself but a path of integration. Ironically, the moment we begin to philosophise on what it is, we’ve lost it. Nothing is more about a way of being in harmony. Alan Watts writes eloquently about duality – how the religions that have shaped western history, are dualistic. It was my first understanding of duality beyond the knowing of something by what it isn’t. But this pithy phrase catches it too. Sometimes, its fun, to go deep… but sometimes we can get tangled in the haywires as well.

Sand

When you said yes

i. 

I love the moments of silence that are here, 

the trebles and the wobbles, 

the tipped toes and the high brows, 

with the skin stretched over bones, 

over years 

like a cathedral – 

one brick at a time. 

ii. 

over there in the temple of flowers,

the leaves whip by in the wind

and soar into the tipped outline of feathered wings – 

they do this every day,

somewhat cheekily as they tickle by your ears

and ask, are you my tree?

iii. 

today your otherness is meeting the dawn,

all the other ness’s too –

your highness, your lowness, your softness, your hardness –

today they’re all awash with skin, fingers, eyes and lips. 

iv. 

the world looks fiery with the light of every human being 

in every way of being

why did you said yes,

to the possibilities and the drama?

v. 

You laugh and say, exactly. 

~*~

Sand

On this ride

This is the smell of mud and sharp air,

the intensity and clarity of knowing you’re alive,

feet thumping madness of being wholly in your skin,

this skin, whatever colour you are,

this shape, whatever form you are,

where are the times we wore crazy grins

up for a wild ride,

we are the troopers in the storms

the sound of a hell fucking yes,

the sound of the sky crackling with thunder

and the earth shuddering with the roars

tearing from our throats,

we have the wild singing in our blood,

the notes dancing onto a page 

cannot contain the love that expresses itself 

in the feeling of being soaked in rain,

that feeling of being near something you cannot name,

that feeling of falling into an abyss,

that feeling of soaring

and that feeling of being on this ride.

~*~

Sand

An Evening of Delights

It is the sound of a warm evening that is dying softly, 

notes that whisper across your skin, 

satin soft and silky. 

It is the evening of the smoothest whisky 

and a dance that kisses the skin alive

along the column of your neck,

it is the dance of half drunken kisses 

and more than real delight,

love, 

be naked for me tonight,

leave your woes

by the door,

for dawn,

she will come…

Sand

Deep appreciation

What does it feel like to let go? 

What does surrender feel like? 

What myth… am I over-riding right now? What strength am I calling upon? What winds… move through my hair, where have they been and what do they see? When the mountains rise from the ashes… and cities fall… and the cycle begins anew. 

What does being seen feel like? 

What does fear feel like? 

Do you know what latent fear feels like? Do you know what overt fear feels like? When is fear… intrusive… and when does fear feel normal? Letting go of so much. Letting go of everything. 

And yet… a part of me is still here… refusing to die. And… I would like death to be sweet. For the part that is afraid, that judges… to appreciate itself. 

Do you know what feeling too much feels like? 

When are you in another reality? 

Where are you? 

Would the world understand? Why should they? 

What parameters are you measuring? Are you still? Do they serve you? IF not… perhaps it’s time to re-orient yourself. To forgive yourself, realising… failure is nothing more than an experiment.

And so… half a year later, you realise, how funny, everything is. How constructed, how real, how sad, how hopeful, how optimistic and how beautiful. Duality is simply the understanding that everything is changeable, movable, shifting and all realities… are within you. 

This part of me is dying. It’s as though she is taking another breath… willing herself to live on… but I am in deep appreciation of her. I love her.

I am in deep appreciation of the places you’ve been, 

the depths you’ve seen and the tears you’ve shed. 

I am in deep appreciation of who you were, 

all that you held dear,

that which hurt the most 

once near to your heart, 

I am in deep appreciation… 

of the scars you cut across your skin, 

of the pills you swallowed at sixteen,

shame fit itself snugly then

 into the pockets of your jeans,

til the story wove itself a new beginning, 

I am in deep appreciation… 

for the relationships carving canyons…

for the ones taking the scent of Spring

echoing across the years,

blooming into barren places,

where was your voice?

lost? in the compass of the past?

be free

you kept trying to say,

and choked on the lump

that formed in your throat,

why do you unravel the threads

and discover the meaning of home?

laughter blooming from your heart,

you are,

the stars… wind… trees and birds, 

here,

I am in deep appreciation of the identities you wore,

the hats you cautiously put on,

from beneath

you looked up at the poems in the night sky,

You know?

I am in deep appreciation of your resilience, 

the way you mined rocks out of your sadness

eons deep in the earth,

I am in deep appreciation of the histories you keep

etched into your skin, 

eyes,

fathomless with the universe

twinkling back at me.

I am in deep appreciation of the women

riding on the backs of constellations,

Mothers and sisters,

Brothers and kindred souls,

I am in deep appreciation

of the love you showed me,

In your kindness 

your belief in me

shone the gift of gratitude,

the strength to be gentle

from your torch to mine 

this is a poem

in this world…

for the feminine 

rising.

Sand

Softness in the wilderness of surrender

(I don’t own this image. If you know who it belongs to, I’d love to credit them, or I’d be happy to take it down, otherwise.)

I

What is the magic that you hold to your chest?

In the thrums of your heart, beating its rhythm against your bones?

You are living poetry.

~

I don’t think the past is something you want to go lugging around… I don’t think the past wants to keep being dragged, mercilessly into the present, because I don’t think the dead want to crawl out of their graves to entertain your sorrows. They are only your sorrows because you’ve refused to let them go.

~

please… hold onto them as long as you like… treasure them as meticulously as the cranes you are folding… counting yourself to a thousand.

~

close your eyes and make a wish.

~

because you’ve spent half your life, making space for it, it’s time. time likes to flow as the seasons do – change – observe – mountains with clouds floating by, make good sceneries for zen poems… love poems… and soft kisses.

~

but now it’s time to love this soft human, warm blooded body of yours, because how long are you going to breath in this world through your skin and your magic? the one in your chest, beating its rhythm onto your bones. the thrum, steady thrum of this life of yours.

~

with time, even mountains change.

~*~

II

Sleep chases after me as I try to find words to fit into my heart, my mouth, words slipping out of the pores of my skin. Somehow, I cannot find them, I cannot contain them, I cannot morph them like a smithy cleverly sharpening her tools. I forgot… that because these are words, I cannot make them something else.

~*~

III

Surrender. She is a curious creature with a soft belly, a warm hide, basking in the delight of Summer’s heat and Springtime rain. Surrender… is like a river… flowing to the Sea… this is a metaphor… I love, that the Sea is a body, my body… your body… the Earth’s body… the depth, the deep, murmur of unconscious… wisdom… and also fear… the womb, the place of birth, creation… and the rivers… our veins, carrying our blood, carrying our death, our pollution… our waste… our healing? What do the rivers carry? What do they mean?

She said write… honestly… she said… examine your traumas, fears, wounds… face them… there is a healing…. in this kind of poetry… of letting it be.

~*~

IV

I stare at a blank page and wonder what words I can put across it, to soothe the restless, to invite the softness, now, the softness, of a beating heart, quietly rising chest like the maps of a well traversed terrain, breathing…

~

At what surrender feels like. these moments in time, these lessons in silence, in sound, the breath, is going home… sinking a little deeper. I remember the feeling of the cold stream on my feet, I remember the feeling of burning… and the coolness of the waterfall, soothing this earthly, fleshy carriage… vehicle… sanctuary… temple… I reside in. I remember what it felt like, to lay my heart bare, in whispers, in the heart of stillness, in the embodied invitation, words, inviting you back home.

~*~

V

Reading Rumi felt like my heart had been thirsty and I didn’t even know. Hearing the truth, seeing it in its squiggles, particular squiggles that my mind had been taught to coalesce into meaning… felt like the subtle hand of something else, beyond these walls, beyond the rationalism I mistook for over-thinking and judgement. I didn’t think I could believe in god… I don’t think I do, not God, layered with dogmatism and concepts too narrow and constrictive, to breath properly. But whatever this feeling is, whatever this feeling is, softness, surrender, movement, flow… joy, ecstasy… I could believe.

~*~

VI

You know, you are here. in this moment. take a look around… at all the beauty in your life… even the cracks… are blooming now, with sunlight and wild surrender. Wild, wild power. You know, when you follow those winding paths into the woods of your unconscious, you’re learning to take responsibility for the healing of your wounds… you think… but when you get deeper into the shadows, when they engulf you, swallow you whole, what do you realise? the joy of being. the truth of your experiences. the (w)hole of nothingness. the deep, deep pool of reflections, revealing your sharp teeth, dishevelled hair and sharp claws. the primality of that creature you see.

~*~

VII

feel her.

~*~

Sand

Human condition: Wild

“… the maiden represents the heartfelt and formerly sleepy psyche. But a warrior-heroine lies beneath her soft exterior. She has the endurance of the lone wolf. She is able to bear the dirt, grime, betrayal, hurt, loneliness, and exile of the initiate.” (pg.452)

“In the underworld birth, a woman learns that anything that brushes by her is a part of her. Sometimes this differentiation of all aspects of the psyche is hard to do, especially with the tendencies and urges we find repulsive. The challenge of loving unappealing aspects of ourselves is as much of an endeavour as any heroine has ever undertaken. … For the majority of women, mothering and raising the internal selves is a creative work, a way of knowledge, not a reason for becoming unnerved.” (pg.467)

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Women Who Run with the Wolves

I hope you come into this life chasing fire,

opening your eyes and your hearts,

your selves to the deep inner wisdom

and the universe within,

dear sister,

your sacredness belongs to you –

your body;

let me say that you need not share it to feel worthy,

nor share it to belong,

nor share it to conform,

you need not share it because someone looked at you

and said a thousand things you didn’t know you could say to yourself,

you need not share it because you fear not being enough,

you cannot measure how worthy you are

as a goal or a place to get to,

it is not some distance on the horizon,

an arbitrary shape or a number on the scale,

you cannot step onto it in the morning 

or in the evening 

or at any point during your day,

your worth, dear sister,

is you as every self conceivable;

the you in the mirror

and the you screaming at the sky,

the you drowning in the sea of your emotions

and the you laughing as the wind tickles your skin,

the you running a marathon

or the you sleeping til past noon,

the you showing up

and the escape artist in you,

how many selves are layered into the body that you wear?

take the kindness to know them,

every existence in the fire,

burning and untamed,

every existence in the waters,

flowing and alive,

every existence in the winds,

idealistic and poetic,

every existence in the earth,

erotic and sensual,

every existence in the shadow,

dying and liberated

in the darkness of the womb,

new beginnings

in the light of the dawn,

flesh, blood and bone,

an incantation to the wild;

sister,

wisdom is knowing your worth from inside out,

wisdom is knowing you have the power to know yourself,

wisdom is the work of a lifetime,

your birthright to being human,

look in the mirror and see,

you are the mystery

and the key,

the story 

and the teller…

the myth and the living,

embodied wisdom, 

truth and life.

This poem was inspired by a conversation, mostly one-sided, that I overheard between two guys a few days ago whilst waiting for the train. I remember thinking that I was glad the person sitting next to me wasn’t the person standing and asking questions, and right on the heels of that thought, I heard, “So how old is the slut you’re fucking?”

Shock ricocheted through me before the train came and I was gone. To me this feels like a conversation worth unpacking… not also because I felt a visceral repulsion or the coincidental timing of it… but because being a human being makes us part of this conversation.

Where were the women that shaped the experiences and life of a boy barely a man, posing this question? The question reveals more about him than his friend, who mumbled a reply that suggested he’d rather drop it… yet wasn’t quite willing enough to push the point across or defend his partner between the sheets.

It occurred to me later that the girl in question was, fucking his friend and not him. Was his remark, then, a defence mechanism for his own buried insecurity? Was he ever loved by his mother? Where did he learn to denigrate women with this double standard? Did women exist in his life or did his perspective come from men who simply passed on misogyny? Was everything just left to porn?

What immediately occupied my thoughts as I left, was my hope that she’d drop them both… and that for her to do that, what would have to shift?

The asking reflected back to me my own experience with self-worth. This particular moment, this conversation… I discovered, was one way to see the wound and feel into what is needed, what I needed.

I found myself pulling this classic Women Who Run with the Wolves, off the shelf to look for a quote and though I know I fell in love with Dr. Este’s writing… it still felt like a jolt – how much power lies in her work and how deeply rooted it is. If a hypothetical apocalypse came… and I had a time capsule to save three books, this would be one of them. Her wisdom is timeless.

“The ways and means of living with the instinctive nature are many, and the answers to your deepest questions change as you change, and as the world changes, so it cannot be said, “Do this, and this, in this particular order, and all will be well.” But, over my lifetime as I’ve met wolves, I have tried to puzzle out how they live, for the most part, in such harmony. So, for peaceable purposes, I would suggest you begin right now with any point on this list. For those who are struggling, it may help greatly to begin with number ten. (pg. 498)

General wolf rules for life:

1. Eat

2. Rest

3. Rove in between

4. Render loyalty

5. Love the children

6. Cavil in moonlight

7. Tune your ears

8. Attend to the bones

9. Make love

10. Howl often

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Women Who Run with the Wolves

Sand

Hope

Some say hope is for the fainthearted 

a four letter word with little bone to its back

not a ladder you climb as though you could aspire

to climb into heaven on its rungs…

only to have the winds rattle your nerve

and you slip and fall

deep down into the abyss 

like an angel without wings,

with only a heart that beats 

and skin that tears

and eyes that can see

the wastelands 

and all the harbingers of death,

and yet hope was never a thing

but the light of your presence

and everything you are

rippling through this world

like gossamer silk,

duality is the world 

painted in colour 

and you a character

in this rich tapestry,

toying with the notions,

half truths and desperate lies

between the sands and the sea

the mountains and the valleys

deep with thirst

and pulsing with love,

life and destruction.

Sand

Spirituality – you are, and beauty

There is this curious worldview that you’ll come across the moment you begin to explore spirituality… that is… that we have souls… that we are spirit first before we are matter… material and flesh… and that… we chose what we wanted to explore in this particular lifetime. Perhaps not from the perspective we hold as these conscious beings. 

It’s the morning after an evening of conscious dancing. And… as I’m dropping into my yoga mat more fully today… I’m realising… going through my Brahmihavara practice… and all that I am grateful for… I realised this funny, funny, thought. Last night as the session came to a close and I sat down to meditate through the ending… I practiced gratitude for everyone I met on the dance floor, for what they brought, what they triggered… and all that made them the way they are, as what made me the way I am… and this thought shifted something in me: I am grateful that you chose to come here. I am grateful that you chose to be here. I am grateful that you came to experience this human world with its chaotic messiness. 

It moved something in me.

Even if there were times that I pulled away, that I struggled to connect… that I didn’t want to… or that our energy connected us in the dance with no eye contact… that our energy spoke volumes, or our energies smiled before we did… by the end of that session, I was grateful. None of it happened in linear order.

On my mat, moving through my Vinyasa flow… I could feel this internal dilemma, processing last night, this internal dilemma about how I was going to respond… react… and whether I still wanted to respond and react that way, and why? I couldn’t put quite put my finger on it, but the feeling of this shifting quality was vaguely palpable to my mind and my being. 

And then as I leaned into it… a variation of this thought cropped up again, on a deeper level… that everything that happens… that could possibly happen… operating with this worldview of spirituality… was something, everyone that is experiencing life including myself… as spirit, knew… and came anyway. 

Without a doubt, I cannot know that for sure… but the moment this worldview envelops me… I want to cry. Last night after I came home, I found myself going through the tags on this blogging platform… and I come across so many people writing sad poetry, writing angsty poetry, writing about their lives, about their traumas… about all that is painful. And I see that in me too. I see that in me and I feel tired now, I feel tired, adding my voice to that. I wanted to see something else. I went and read a YA novel. 

(It was my first re-experience of YA… now that I am no longer a teenager and haven’t been for quite some time… there were moments that I couldn’t stay in the plot, in the simplicity of it, in the unlikely characterisation and dialogue. No longer ensconced in the world of that audience… I recognised the escapism for what it was… for the underlying desires the author was catering to and catered to successfully… hope, determination… friendship, bonds.)

In the world outside of imagination and books, our emotions and our experiences are valid too… they are more than valid, they are real and powerful, I just wish… we were better at loving ourselves… that we will take our experiences and bring something beautiful to our lives for having experienced them. 

And a poet said, Speak to us of Beauty.

And he answered: 

Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide? 

And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech? 

The aggrieved and the injured say, ‘Beauty is kind and gentle. ‘Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us.’

And the passionate say, ‘Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.

Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us.’

The tired and the weary say, ‘Beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.

Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow.’

But the restless say, ‘We have heard her shouting among the mountains,

And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions.’

At night the watchmen of the city say, ‘Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east.’

And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say, ‘We have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset.’

In winter say the snow-bound, ’She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills.

And in the summer heat the reapers says, ‘We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair.’

All these things have you said of beauty,

Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,

And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy,

It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,

But rather a heart inflamed and a soul enchanted,

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear, 

But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.

It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,

But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight. 

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.

But you are life and you are the veil.

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.

But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

Khalil Gibran

Sand

Judgement: a compass with the needle pointing at love

i.

You… toy with this expression, and make it yours, and learn what you can do with it, what you can do with youth. And even as you whisper, it is going, it is gone, and I am old, I am a wizened old man who has little teeth left, what do I remember? The wars this world fought? How I was young once?

ii.

As the old.

The youth, bloomed and withered, and you are old. Old and sentient. And wondering what you lived for. Everything in you is soft, pulsating, waiting, and you said, you lived for the truth, for the art, beauty, God, woman. In her soft feminine curves. You found her. You found her. Imperfect… and not who she was in the shower, or on the floor, or picking herself up… but the one who actually did… who sat down, gently, allowed her to grow old. Compassionately, asked, what she wanted from life. 

And yet you… resist. You are not lured. 

The artist in you rails. Flails. His limbs. His mouth. His bottom. You are god playing human. 

God playing human

December, 2017?

Everything here is disjointed and confusing but there is a rawness about it that I like, the jagged edges that aren’t smoothed out but insist on being there, perspectives running into each other without any demarcation.

And so… I think there is something curious to the notion that how we view our gods, has a relationship to how we treat others. Is our god our Beloved? Is our god cruel? Is our god the pillars of modern day science or commerce and capitalism or both? What is it that we worship? What is it that we believe? What worldview… presides over the days of our lives?

My young self

made god out of the clay

and asked,

would you like to be a metaphor for cruelty?

he smiled and said okay

and came to play.

God as metaphor

October, 2019

To enter into the midst of life and discover that paradox lies at the heart of it. 2016 was the first time I discovered that I had been atheist/agnostic, yet at the same time, I had a worldview that god was cruel, yet it was buried in my psyche and when the line between my conscious experience and my sub-conscious blurred and faded… this was what I found. Upon reading Jung, I realised this wasn’t strange. Pulling apart my experience of religion, my childhood, my adolescent years and my relationships, how could I be surprised to discover this worldview existed and operated in me? It’s the remnants of what I might consider my early experience with patriarchy.

I acknowledge that… and I don’t judge that anymore. I don’t want to judge all the people that are operating and living their lives with this worldview… or that they’re trying to grapple with it. It’s admirable. I’m drawn, because there are two parts of me that still resonate to it… perhaps for that reason, when judgement comes to play in any form, I have been both the trigger and the person surreptitiously looked to for a fleeting feeling of being understood, of being heard and acknowledged. The discomfort grows intense for me… or the irony grows hilarious. In both regards… we are the person we most need our acknowledgement from… and that when we fear judgement from others… we are really being judgemental of ourselves… that some kind of pain is narrowing the perspective – a rusty story, a mental loop inside our head… and the other person has absolutely nothing to do with it… except be the trigger… or we are the ones judging others for being judgemental. Now… having been in both shoes… I find that quite funny.

Isn’t judgement a compass with the needle pointing at love?

xx

Sand