if i sense i don't belong somewhere,
suddenly it's as though i don't belong anywhere.
i must learn to trust my place in this book,
without craving a spot on every page.
today i walked down the sidewalk,
the road messy with an earlier rain.
i felt the vastness of the universe.
i said aloud the word space.
i come from planets. stars. air and time.
whenever i begin to imagine all that's carried me here,
and all the ways it might have been otherwise,
i can hardly believe i've been given this chance.
i've always cared what people think of me.
at times more than others.
with certain groups more than others.
this game has gone on long enough.
this hunger for respect and admiration.
fine. i seek approval. belonging. acceptance.
i'm sure we all do.
but i must begin to take the journey inward.
it is only there i will discover i was loved all along.
my life seem to exist on the rim of discovery.
each day brings a new petal with fresh color and design and dew.
sometimes i can't take it.
i want to live with the flower i found yesterday.
yet what is wisdom if not gratitude for growth in the garden.
i am still unable to authentically connect.
if i live and speak and love from my truest self,
i fear people will reject what i treasure most dearly.
so i keep it sealed off, hidden, protected.
but in hiding my heart from others,
i too lose track of where it is.
i can accept my flaws, my imperfections, my failures.
but only if i accept my talents and gifts and accomplishments
as equally irrelevant to the amount of worthiness
i must experience at any given moment.
a slow jog this evening,
i move through quiet streets
under a dark and thickening sky.
and as though i had stepped on a hidden switch,
the street lamps--antique, european--suddenly pulse awake.
the block now a landing strip,
a necklace of light guiding me in.
down a different street,
a group of kids at the skirt of a driveway.
a football moving among them.
i open my arms, flash my palms.
the boy with the ball sends it my way.
yet another gift.
when i strive toward being my best,
i only seem to notice flaws and shortcomings.
this doesn't mean, however, i am moving in the wrong direction.
what to make of those days when everything seems out of alignment?
--when i feel cut off from who i am, from the world?
i must shed the garments i use as protection.
true, this shield doesn't let pain in,
but it also doesn't let love out.
today, i will let myself get lost.
only through this losing can i remember
what already is found.
how much longer will i help my image and ego find the food they crave?
let me dine on a different meal today.
or rather, let bloom what patiently waits inside me.
let bloom what is already there.
it doesn't need a thing to flourish.
it only asks i open the door.
the past few days, i've let discouragement back in my life.
i didn't know i'd offered an invitation, but here it is just the same.
my job now is to tend to my other guests
--the one's that flow from my soul--
and trust they'll crowd this feeling out.
or perhaps i can summon the courage to remember
that discouragement can take any room in this house, but still
i am worthy of everything that makes this heart whole.
i have to remember to avoid the fantasy of becoming something i am not already.
yes, i want to experience greater peace, deeper joy, broader connection.
but these shifts will not come through inhabiting a new costume, a new me.
let me follow the path in, not out.
transformation begins there.
let me implode so i can start with whatever remains.
that which can't be destroyed is who i truly am.
i've spent my life in uncertainty and doubt.
the promise of an answer, of a solution always seemed possible.
yet, here i am. carrying the same set of questions.
it is time to begin a second journey.
but for a different reason.
this time i am not looking for safety.
this time i am not looking for confirmation, for glory, for acceptance.
this time i am not looking for envy.
i only ask to give up control of my story, to release and surrender.
how else can i walk toward mystery, chance, spontaneity.
how else can i head from the uncertain to the unknown.