i still struggle.
i convince myself that love is an outcome.
i forget who i am,
what i will always be,
is a lantern.
a soft hum of light.
traveling easily wherever it is taken.
yet even on those days, those times,
where i seek my self-worth
in achievements and externals,
the truth is,
i am just happy to be here.
i do not take this for granted.
and i just want to say,
what do i want to learn today?
better to ask,
what will i allow to count as a lesson.
i only know how rich i am
when i begin to give.
what i own,
what i hoard,
if it impoverishes my soul.
whenever i feel truly poor,
it's always some worry over losing this or that.
conversely, i never feel as rich
as when i'm able to give all of who i am.
how can this be?
how can giving show me
how little i actually need?
perhaps i am learning
that to give is to discover
one's own infinite abundance.
the question, "why am i worthy of my own unconditional love?
is the same as, "what is the meaning of life?"
neither has a fixed answer that already exists.
in giving myself unconditional love,
in trusting that there is some sacred meaning to life,
i create my answer through pursuing the question.
my poems are right where they should be.
as my path become more clear, so will these lines.
sometimes my poems
lack the language of poetry.
i can't get the lift just right.
a word stumbles out water-logged, a wingless bird.
and that is okay.
i don't write in this or that voice.
i just pour myself into life,
and then pour that life into words.
my syntax, my diction
can't miss a target for which i have not aimed.
whatever and wherever these poems are,
that's where they belong.
as my path deepens and clarifies and sings,
so will this art.
i will never become someone else.
i will only become that which reveals
who i already am.
i always catch myself
creating a game out of all this.
if i sense i can win,
i try and grab as much attention as possible.
if i see i am beat,
i try and conform with the herd
and hope to blend in.
my life shuttles between narcissism and anonymity.
ostentation and obscurity.
i spend my days searching for some ultimate victory,
while hoping to hide out amongst the crowd.
i'll do anything to avoid letting my loss be public.
anything except opting out of the game.
i am trying to loosen
my image, my ego, my identification with form.
i want to move beyond what i may or may not signify,
what i may or may not mean.
my true identity is not given greater reason
to exist from winning the respect of others.
nor is my true self suddenly worthless
when i seem to come in last.
my self-worth is not my job.
it is not my thoughts.
nor is it my power.
nor my influence.
all of these are just stories.
and they may even be my identity.
but my identity is a persona, a mask.
something that hides and conceals,
rather than heralds.
it seems some people can live with masks,
without mistaking them for anything beyond
a playful and perhaps even useful fiction.
they don't mistake the mask for their true self.
where did i get the idea that my mask and my soul were the same?
and now that i know they are not, what next?
for now, trust what's true.
the heat of my heart.
the more masks i throw into its fire,
the larger the flame will grow.
everyday, i face disappointment.
something happens--big or small--that hurts.
it hurts to feel anger.
it hurts to feel pain.
it hurts to feel envy.
they all hurt.
not getting what i want.
things not going as planned.
when i face disappointment,
i need to ask myself what's going on,
what is really happening.
and can i handle it without getting angry?
if not, can i simply witness it from a higher place?
can i be aware of my anger without being
the emotion, the feeling, the thought?
or maybe i can use anger
as a lesson in opposites.
when i feel pain,
when i feel envy,
when i feel loss,
when i feel grief,
when i feel fear,
or maybe i will breathe,
deep as i can.
first drawing the universe against my back.
then inhaling all this pain through my heart
and into this infinite space.
which welcomes the hurt.
which takes whatever i bring.
that only asks i slowly exhale.
the thing i thought i couldn't take.
the thing i thought i couldn't give.
a candle, lit and alive,
burns within me
night and day,
rain or shine.
this flame may flare and flicker.
yet something tells me i can't be sure.
perhaps it's only when
i seek warmth someplace else
that my candle seems to fade.
when i trust my light,
this love catches fire.
as i move through the world,
as my mind swings through,
i seem to rise and fall
and live and die.
i want to live with more light.
i want to open when fear says close.
the dark has its place, too.
i cry at the sight of stars.