ambivalent

I am both

heartbroken yet

mending

yearning to belong

to someone and something

yet wanting to also

stand alone

I am both

hopeful yet

acutely doubtful

I scream and whisper

yes and no

depending when you ask me

I am both hateful and

loving on the nature

of what justice is not present

duality is our sin

can we even talk about

what we feel on the continuum

between two opposites?

(only my therapist knows

how to untangle that)

what makes us human

in each thought

breath, choice

regret and blessing

may we reconcile

all of it

gently in both hands

as if soft stones

against lined skin

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uninvited visitor

hello again depression

and crippling negative thoughts

you are not unfamiliar

and but you are not invited

please

don’t make yourself welcome

in my body, leave as soon as you can

you just make me tired

listless and unmotivated

aspects that

it takes me days to make up

for the damage your

unplanned visits wreck on

my body

I manage my schedule around you

and I wait

for the moment you leave

because no one deserves

the harsh shades; undertones

you bring to any room I bring you in

you cling to the air

permeating and draining all

my energy

sense of empty

what adequately fills

holes in a soul?

is it time?

achievements?

is it a moving of our meat sacks, to point A to point B?

does food dull biting edges of this

emptiness?

tell me

how do you remedy it?

is it a hobby?

if you know the answer, I am

listening and open to it

May my faith lead me

from this distinct Hell

in my mind and spirit

into a fuller sense of being

gun violence, why, and what can we do?

Is it violent video games? Mental illness? Access to guns? Or is it a deeper issue? This reoccuring event is becoming normalized, and it shouldn’t be. We need to get to the root and start understanding WHY this happens before this happens again. Isn’t this a multi-faceted issue? Maybe this person felt compelled to engage in this ceremonial violence because it is what our society deemed permissible. This wouldn’t happen if we already found a way to do something about how we approach this. There are numerous parts of what makes a person who they are; shouldn’t we approach this in a variety of different ways?

Sure, let’s put stricter gun laws in place, let’s put money into mental services and understanding trauma. Let’s find a way for people NOT to make the idea that hurting others for some goal/gain/pursuit is OK. Let’s put money into research that delves into understanding why this happens. We aren’t doing enough if we sit by and let this happen again. It’s happened in elementary schools, high schools, night clubs, movie theatres, and now where we buy our groceries? Shouldn’t we have done something when it reached our youngest and most vulnerable?

emptiness filling each

individual hole

with sweet things rotting

and emptier achievements

softening elusive meaning like

mist through my fingers

Hell has numerous rooms

catered to each resident’s

own suffering.

how does a soul

crawl up from its descent?

as each nail breaks off

bleeding

dirt walls reaching up

endless and stinking

climbing, muscles sore

joints weakened

any resolve I can muster

on a good day

vanishing

hope a stupid word

as passerby

look down

without a word

only to throw their trash

and shit, care a mirage

as each hungry, tired, and desolate

spirit looks up in vain

clouds promising some kind of

salvation

standards

when we look at people, someone we’ve known for awhile, or someone we’ve just met, how do we hold them in our minds? Do we automatically compare them to standards we set for ourselves? Do we not even acknowledge the person before us and look only at their achievements?

I’m tired of being around this kind of energy and mentality. Let’s not determine if someone is worthwhile based on what they “do” to measure up. Success is a subjective aspect of a person’s life. Their job, their assets, their prestige, money, privilege…all aspects of themselves that are 1/16th of the person that they are.

Let’s focus on a person’s integrity. Honesty. Regard for human life. Transparency, strength, love, the space they hold, what they put into their minds, and how they interact with the world around them. Let’s look past the surface, and try to be mindful that a person lives in that body.

Trust: a mantra for 2019

Last year in November, we experienced an earthquake that literally shook our foundations. Physically+mentally+spiritually, something about having random objects literally fall, clang, and crash down around you, wondering in the seconds if your ceiling would crush you, forced me to take stock of what the hell I was doing in my life.

Aftershocks continued through the weeks, reminding us to be alert, stirring up a little unwanted PTSD and angst. Knowing that Mother Nature had more reins over our direct reality, was not to be taken lightly. Hysterical, emotions wired, broken glass on the floor, cracks in the walls…random objects in disarray on the floor, where they clearly didn’t belong. It anguished the neat freak in me, and control was NOT in my immediate power. I was a complete mess, and scrambling for something to hold onto.

But it put reality in perspective. Did I really care about the things that I held so dear before the earthquake? What could I throw away that I hadn’t thought about getting rid of before? Were other HUMANS ok? What can I do right now to be helpful?

There weren’t any casualties that day. Some of the roads and businesses were damaged, but lasting impressions imprinted more so on our minds. Would there be another one, just as bad, or even worse to come? Had there been a tsunami, could we withstand it? I know worse disasters have occurred in the history of the world. We’d gone through hurricanes before, years ago in another part of the country, so we were not oblivious to how Mother Nature takes her wrath on the earth.

But I remember distinctly how scared we were. Sense of control lost, regained through the clean up, sifting, stacking of things that had fallen. What happens now? Life CAN’T possibly go back to normal after something like this.

But it does.

Over time, the angst would subside. In bits and pieces.

I didn’t know what else I could do, in the mess of it all, so I prayed. I had no strength left, in my spirit, body, mind, heart…I just didn’t have any energy left after that. I’d been pretending, even before the earthquake, that I could handle my life on my own, with no need of anyone else. It was emotionally and physically draining to live like this. And God literally shook me awake.

As the months crawled after that natural phenomenon, I started trying new things. Around that time, I had given up. I had resigned myself to some fate, that I wasn’t capable of doing anything in my life.

But somehow, God gets our attention. I prayed, and tried to listen more. I read His word, and tried to open my mind and heart to what direction to go. To be more patient, about what I wasn’t able to discern on my own. I don’t know what it is about trauma, but it literally took me to be shaken for me to try to rebuild a relationship with Him again.

And than somehow, he sent me home. To spend time with my family, who lived far away. I realized again how much I had closed myself off to love, joy, and connection by choosing fear over God’s guidance.

I don’t know how, why, or what did it, but I felt closer to God there than any time I’d convinced myself was better by being alone. With my family, I remembered what care felt like. To have a cup full again, and to offer it to those around me. I don’t understand it, but something clicked again. Or cracked open, a little bit in the darkness my mind had been going to.

I’m still learning about where God wants me to go, but I now know that doing it alone, the healing, the growing, is too hard to do by oneself. There are sometimes moments we need to be alone; and it’s ok to give ourselves permission to do that. But I now know that if I am going to manage my state of mind, my mental health, and wellness, I have to delineate some of the burden and pain, and to let others in. That I am capable of connecting, of offering something good and worthwhile to others. To let people help me, so I can offer a full(er) cup to people I want to help.

And to do that takes trust. And it’s a characteristic unlike hope, or discipline, or positivity. It’s making an active choice that something will guide, support, and take care of you, and some other things I don’t quite understand yet. But it’s something that isn’t easy sometimes. It’s like stepping into the dark, knowing that when the light is turned on, that what lies there isn’t harmful. That what leads you there, will have your back if it is.

My pursuit this year is to listen and be more aware of God’s message for my life, and to trust that God knows best what I need to be better.