Category Archives: poetry

Brain Training


If it were easy to train your brain
everyone would be doing it.
It is, in fact, one of the most
difficult things to do in the world.
When you install a new habit,
you are actually changing the
physical structure of your brain.
New circuits are created,
old ones are pruned.
While the new is being established
the old seems to redouble its efforts
to keep you the way you’ve always been.
We equate familiarity with safety
even when the familiar is killing us.
If you are trying to replace
an old unhealthy habit
with a new healthy one
I hope you know how strong you are.
I hope you can take moments
to celebrate yourself
for living all the way to this point
and for taking charge
of the way your future will take shape
by attending to this now.
Happy brain training, friends…
my beautiful, strong, courageous friends.

How I Want to Feel


It turns out that the more attention
I give to these positive feeling states
the more my brain creates circuitry
to support the experience of those states
in my body, mind, and life.
My mind has been focused on suffering
and now it is time for a new habit.
God, give me the strength
to focus on how I really want to feel.

NaPoWriMo 2017 Day 15: In the Middle


We are always in the center of our own universe,
the universe as a manifestation of ourselves.
That’s why it’s easy to become self-centered–
what can we know except ourselves,
and how can we know others
except for in relation to ourselves?
In an infinitely large universe
we are always standing in our own perfect center.
If we could relax just a little, we could see it.
And what would happen if we saw our own center?
We might realize that life is good,
we are good,
the people in our lives are good,
it’s all good.
Let yourself get caught in the middle.
Let yourself feel the push and the pull
the up and the down
the night and the day.
We are always in the beginning, the middle
and the end.

NaPoWriMo 2017 Day 9: Nine Lines


It’s 9:09. I could
be dressed to the nines but
will I go out? Nein!
A stitch in time saves nine but
I have fallen apart so many times
I suppose I forgot to sew a strong line
of stitches in this life of mine.
But, don’t worry, I won’t pine–
Luckily a cat has nine lives…

Here is today’s prompt.

NaPoWriMo 2017 Day 3: Elegy


When they talk about you,
they say that you could build anything,
and indeed there was evidence of this
all around the inside and the outside
of the house where you and Mom-Mom lived.
I remember the metal railing you machined yourself
to enclose the back porch and make it safe,
the beautiful corner cabinet you built
to hold Mom-Mom’s fine china.
There is a memory
of you trying to teach me
how to tie my shoe.
Make a triangle with the laces you said,
then bring one through...
I remember trying and trying
and one day getting it,
but by then you were no longer there
to see me, or my shoes,
or this world ever again.

Here is the NaPoWriMo prompt for today. We were encouraged to write an elegy and to center it around an unusual fact about the person, in order to paradoxically “breathe life” into the poem. My last living grandparent, Mom Mom, passed away in January and I wrote some about her then.  My first thought about today’s post was to write some more about Mom Mom, but then I remembered that I haven’t written much about her husband, my Pop Pop, who died when I was only four years old…so…there you go.


All These Questions


I search through the fatigue
for something that means something.
I realize I’ve been looking in the wrong place.
I think everything is not IT,
but in fact, everything IS it.
How could it not be?
This reality is all we have.
Are we awake to it?
We think we know so much,
but when we look deeper,
we realize we know very little.
The best we can do is commit
to staying open to Life,
to humility in the face
of all these questions.

A More Simple Life


Life becomes more simple
when we embrace reality.
Why fight against the
great waves crashing on the shore?
Let yourself be knocked down
and pulled out to sea,
or stand back and observe
the swirling turbulence.
You are not the waves;
you are the observer of the waves.
Look out into the vast ocean,
this endless potential to experience
infinite variations of awareness
and sensation.
Marvel at the possibility.
As a thought emerges,
watch how you react,
and if it is with stress,
then question the story
you are telling yourself.
If you do not like something you see,
question what is being triggered in you.
All of life is a projection of your own mind.
Fighting reality is fighting this mind.
Embrace reality, embrace your mind.
Life will become much more simple.

Good News


The answers are inside.
Close your eyes,
take a breath,
and observe.
You might think the world
makes you angry, sad,
frustrated, disappointed…
but really,
your thoughts shape your life,
and everything you see
is a projection of your own mind.
This is good news!
This means that we can choose
happiness, calm, peace, and fulfillment
at any point,
regardless of what is happening
outside of us.
The answers are inside.
If you do not go within,
you will certainly go without.

To Love This Life


The only way to free myself
from the trancelike state
arising from
with my thoughts
is to shine
the light of awareness on them.
I realize I don’t have to believe my thoughts.
As this realization dawns on me
I catch a glimpse,
a tiny glimmer
of the potential for happiness
we all share, without exception.
Shine the light of awareness,
make inquiry your practice.
You will be free, truly free
to love this life as it is.