There is No Dark Future! Part 2: A poem & photo series.

A poem continued. An offering of hope. Like so many of you I have been on a spiritual journey the past year and a half. New Wisdom has been given to me. Words of truth our souls are aching to know. Thank you so much for reading these frail words which are spoken through me. May you be uplifted. I love you all!

Lightbringers, grow not you weary! 

Break Powers of Impotence! 

Deny Inequities of Intolerance!

Free your Vibration!

Go to places your Soul Sparks!

Emerald Lake, Colorado w/ Violet.

We are here to ask

the questions

no one else is asking!

There is no Judgment!

There is no Dark Future!

There is only LIGHT

and gradients of its absence!

Emerald Lake, Colorado August 2021.

Revolutionaries,

Ascend

the Cosmic pathways!

Transcend

past the

old Revelations.

Rino Arts District, Denver, Colorado. August 2021.

Your love upends

Egoic Ambitions

Your soul

speaks through 

Religious Cacophonies.

We Burn Walls

built by men and

Systemic Oppression!

Rino Arts District- Denver, Colorado.

Demolishing the Walls

We’ve Built

inside and

surrounding Ourselves!

Rino Arts, Denver, Colorado. August 2021.

Denver, Co- Santa Fe Arts District. August 2021.

In each breaking;

Parallel Promises 

Abound in your

Bright Future!

Mount Adams, Washington. August 2021.

Painter, You are broad strokes. 

You are the hero 

of your own life

You have every right 

to be on this planet.

You are the soul of Earth 

in human form.

Now Crack Your Acrylic Open!

The Future is Female, Violet, & Dara in Denver

Cheetah Power! Rino Arts District. Denver, Colorado.

Lana in an art gallery. August 2021. Denver, CO.

Seeker, come forward

walk out from your solitude!

This has been the year of 

Sirens Singing us 

the Subtle Signs.

Synchronicities are

Silent Directions

Guiding you through to

Your Higher Dimensions!

Me at Mount Adams, Washington. July 2021.

Humming, “Om mani padme hum,

shravanam;

amen” and-then

’round again.

Violet meditating at Rocky Mountain N.P.

There is no Judgment!

There is no Dark Future!

We are all just Stars,

Just Colors breathing.

Just Gradients between 

Momentary Absences 

of Light;

Going back ’round 

and to god Again.

Lana, me, Violet, and Dara. Denver, Colorado.

Shoshone Falls, Idaho; June 2021.

All things are

merging together 

into greater

Perfection!

Humming, “Om mani

padme hum
Kwakwhay,

Tao te

and amen”

The whole world’s

Going back ‘rou

D

Jut

Rino Arts District, Denver, August 2021.

Dara and I at Underground Music Festival Denver, CO. August 2021.

Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Me and Emily, Denver, Colorado’s

Dara and I, Underground Music festival. Denver, Colorado.


Mural, Santa Fe Arts District

Thank you for reading!! Have a great day!!!

Sunshine Laundromat

Columbia Gorge has finally reopened. The river itself a glacier’s million-year pet project eroding earth out to the Pacific. Call it Nature’s version of “will they or won’t they?” (Sorry Sam and Diane.)

The Columbia feels ancient and powerful perhaps because this river wasn’t “supposed” to be here. It was carved into the marrow of Earth as it will continue to do for centuries.

The views alone are stunning. I find myself wanting to capture every moment but also being present. It’s damn near impossible to find ourselves living in the moment without also needing to reflect on what we just experienced.

The 30 mph wind gusts made it hard enough to take a decent photo. I didn’t notice there were bees on the flowers until after the snapped image. And how were these tiny insects still holding onto something as delicate as flowers without Mary Poppins-ing their way on out of here? Life is funny that way.

That’s the hardest part about mindfulness or meditation. Being present is a balancing act, an arbiter between the past and future.

We need “the pause” to process and reflect back to relive that time loop or that mind-blowing fuck, or being haunted by things you cannot change.

And with that reflection you begin deciding what you do and don’t want. You become the idea of who you still yourself you are everyday. It’s like dressing for the job you want not the job you have. The negative statements and beliefs we keep reliving or saying to ourselves will only perpetuate that spiral-down pattern.

The best investment in your future is the time you take out now to plan for it to happen. You are worthy of the life, relationships, career, artistic expressions you want to create, have and will become.

Take 1 second to allow yourself to believe it can happen and then take another one, and another until you feel uncomfortable or doubt it. Then ask yourself where is this fear or frustration coming from?

It’s in those tough patches, the windy stretches of your heart where you must journey. So many of the answers for your life are buried where the questions lie dormant.

Give yourself the power of grace, forgiveness, & love while you are in the “pause.” You don’t have to process or heal alone. But you gotta to do the inner work. It will start taking you to where & who you are becoming.

There’s so many things we miss every moment between IG posts, work, sex, and meditation. Or a gaggle of bees pollinating your fave place along the Gorge.

The only time I can fully flesh out my life is when I am alone. It has been engrained in us to believe that if we are alone then there is something wrong with us.

We’ve been scared into being alone with our own thoughts and selves. What kind of life is that?

Along this recent journey of solitude going against the grain doesn’t scrape so bad as it used to. In fact the solitude has led to me boldly live my truest self more than ever.

I used to party almost every single weekend for years. Now I’m just as comfortable planting flowers or getting baked and staying in, or going on a solo weeknight hike. Welcome to mid 30’s, y’all.

In solitude there is freedom to be totally and authentically who you are. You know pants- off dance-off like nobody’s camming and all that Jazz. We all need an inner-sanctuary. A sacred place to release, to chill the f*** out, and be at peace.

In the absence of external validation of others’ input or need to please we become our authentic self. And that self opens up to higher depths. We can use this time to let our truest self guide us forward. Time is actually the one thing most of us actually have an abundance of these days.

The concept of trusting the process is unnerving but exciting. Like how the fuck you gonna “trust Life” when you know they a crazy mofo who gonna drag your ass through the gutter only to shoot you into the stars. If Selena taught us anything it’s to Trust. No. bitch. And ain’t Life the biggest one of them all? 😂

Partial truths and jokes aside, it’s weird how your life opens up & you become more comfortable putting yourself out there.

Think of how far we have come in two months of rationing our daily pub scenes & hobbies. Ain’t been to the barber shop in a minute but we still out here getting it sis!

And when you think you have done enough work you still find depths within yourself and you keep digging. Life will build the canals around you.

I misjudged someone recently, because of a Republican stereotype I’ve seen played out pretty much my entire life. Without details I felt like an asshole because I hypocritically didn’t give someone a chance. #AndIOop

I’ve realized that all sides have positive and negative things about them. And that is how we should look at all things. The shadow self is the other political party, is the other religion, is the other sexes, the other race, whisky preference, and favorite Curb episode.

For we lie with primordial oppressors pressing up and against each other for validation and degradation. The Earth’s plates rubbed against each other and created mountains.

Every action is in effort to achieve a goal. The hardships and evils in this life must push us to new ways of living. Nature can be volatile, unpredictable, dangerous. Those fears lessen as you discover each one of us is part of this grand creation. You become more mindful in the great outdoors because you have to be attentive. You become more appreciative of living things. you see that plants aren’t static. Trees dance in the wind. Flowers turn towards the sun. Vines stretch their creeping limbs among trees and even buildings. Life is blooming and living all around you, but it is also full of perils and unknowns.

In this sunshine laundromat, you’ll find what and who home is. And it’s never ending. It doesn’t stop even when we arrived to our intended destination.

There will always be something more to want. A new project to undertake, a new orgasm, another birthing of inspiration will come to us. In truth the things and states of being you seek are always there waiting for you to become quiet enough to do the inner-work and allow yourself to begin living the life you dreamed of.

One day the weight you carry won’t be so heavy and you’ll be able to hold enough until the next weight is added. One day you may find yourself surrounded by mountains and snow.

A blue sky stretching out and completely enveloping you. It is what eternity must feel like. This world is magic coming from another room.

Reflecktion of Reflections

The reflection of a mountain lake is changed by ripples of kayakers, canoes, fish, and wind. Mirrors cannot be fully trusted, even in nature, for they do not present the subject as it truly exists. What we see is the inverse reflection of an image but not the actual image itself.

In that way we never truly see ourselves as others see us and we do not fully see each other because of the images we are trying to outwardly portray belies the depth within ourselves and to ourselves.

Seeing this lake reflect Mount Adams, “The Forgotten Giant” in choppy patterns made me think again about how much of the world we really don’t know- presented by MTV True Life: True Life and the meaning of existence.

Millenia of human history has gone undocumented or painstakingly reassembled by anthropologists, doctors of paleontology, linguists, people charged with studying the ancients. We are still far from complete understanding of the Universe, of dark matter, dark places of human experience.

In his famous allegory, The Cave, Plato presents several chained prisoners who are forced to look at a fire casting shadows/images reflected on the back of a cave wall. He said, “On the walls of the cave, only shadows are truth.” We see mere reflections of the Forms- beauty, truth, life but do not actually ever see “Truth,” “Love,” “Mercy,” as they exist on their own. Everything is just a reflection of an ideal and we cast our own assumptions, experiences, desires and label it good, love, bad.

Objectivity of the material world becomes more apparent in nature. The riddle of “if a tree falls in a forest” becomes more clear when you’re the only one in the forest to hear its silence.

Almost all of us live this way to some extent. Not asking questions which would shake the foundations of our societies, are homes, relationships, and selves. I’ve literally known self-actualized people who said they don’t want to ask the hard questions because they don’t want to know “the answer.“ Often I wish the desire to ask these questions did not burn within my heart because life would be a lot easier to take at face value. It also would be boring and predictable.

As much as I value harmony and living well- I would rather live exultant highs and crushing lows than be bound to a life of tradition never leaving a small town filled with mediocre experiences. And I’ve lived life in both versions. Bipolar, bicurious, but never bi-boring.

A major flaw with theists and atheists is that both camps posit theories of the existence or non-existence of god. They stay firmly planted in their beliefs because it helps them make sense of the world and is an understandable premise because existence is incredibly vast and unknowable.If a creator exists and really wanted humans to know a secret important message that will affect your life for eternity would it not be encoded in our DNA? Would there not be writing on the actual walls, reminders everywhere we turned that we must follow?

The more time one spends in Nature you come to see that the purpose of Life is to live, to continue experiencing the stunning variety of this world, to enjoy life, to reflect on our experiences, and then to evolve based upon what we’ve learned so we can pass the evolved knowledge through art, sciences, thought, the gene pool etc.

It seems to me that the answers to life’s hard questions, (like what is the purpose of life? Is there an after-life? etc.) can never be fully answered and that must be for a reason.

The purpose of life may be that we are to find our purpose and follow where the journey leads. Maybe the point is to Live the best life you can, make life matter for yourself & others while not changing your behavior just to please one another due to outdated modalities of thinking and ways of being.

We think this world is permanent yet it too will burn away billions of years in the future. Life feels like it will last forever and there are many who have contemplated leaving their own- some have succeeded in this arduous endeavor. All of our religions come from some “divinely-inspired” individual who rarely ever wrote down anything they actually said and are disseminated out through thousands of years of translated texts by people with various agendas.

What we think we believe about the world has often been carefully sifted and manipulated through centuries of people gripping to power with the goal of keeping the masses sedated and satisfied. Obviously this isn’t working when so many people throughout various societies are still killing themselves or wanting to die and in America- killing each other with guns on a daily basis.

There is no statistic I know of that measures how people have been aggregately affected because of religious indoctrination and pacification throughout their lives. The millions who are walking a slow-trek to the grave aren’t counted on the census. What about refugees- people who are hoping for a better life and are imprisoned at America’s borders, the children crying out in terror in their own homes, the people who are self-medicating just to get through the day? Rousseau said that humanity became poisoned when the first person claimed the land was their own. We come into this world without and we leave without.

The clamoring for status, possessions, certain relationships is a big Western civilization pissing contest to prove our own worthiness to others, but it’s mostly done in effort to subconsciously prove worthiness to ourselves. How’s that working out for us?

We are born into this world seemingly without knowing anything until consciousness finally appears in early childhood. The way we are programmed to believe about life, god, science is very much dependent upon the geographical space and time of our existence.

Most people who believe that the way we are living is the right way the only way to live have never left their states let alone their country.

How can we look at a refugee or on anyone and pronounce them unworthy. Somehow as less human than us because of an imaginary border we don’t want you to cross? But what if he’s gay and a migrant worker or not a shiny piece of eye and arm candy? We’re human to you because we help you look better and vice-versa. If you actually put into practice what your Bible stories say-you’d be baking that wedding cake with dildos and fireworks galore. Jesus met people where they were at and was not one to fault anyone.

The election of Trump is the last gasping death rattle of a white once-majority blinding their eyes against their own desperate nakedness and clutching gnarled hands onto the threads of an unclothed emperor’s train. A vote against the Future may momentarily deter progress but the Future is coming anyway.

We can be the catalyst of action or churn in the dry rot wood of complacency. My eyes are fully opened to see the Future meet us here while tyrants in various guises will forever eventually fall away exposed, unraveled by their own undoing, and with no subjects left to rule.

What were we thinking during those formative years before the impressions were made upon us the time before memory of which we have no memory? How different would each of us be had we not been collectively fucked over since the beginning of human history?

The ego- the separated consciousness the part of the self that gets scared and insecure is not entirely against us. For in those moments we think life is closing in around us, when our reflections get shattered, we realize how much of life was lived in the wings, in the attempts to prove we have it altogether in the safety of our beautiful homes and children.

Most of us are not used to being loved wholly for who we are with our blessings, personality quirks and imperfections. I finally allowed myself to experience unconditional love during last year’s breakdown. My father, my sister, my mother each came to my rescue even as I was cursing my parents and others with similar vitriol of what I was protesting against.

When I needed love the most my parents and best college friends came to my rescue. We finally let ourselves be loved when we break the walls within us.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to find all the barriers you have built up against it.”- Rumi

We are all contributing ideas, experiences, transmitting messages with our dna without even knowing it. We all have the potential to beam like the sun or devolve into massively powerful black holes. An awakening in the morning is a destruction of the dream life.

Sometimes we get jolted into the reality we wanted we just didn’t expect to wake up to it so quickly. A tearing away of shade and the shock of being flooded by the Light. We never think we deserve the ruby slippers. That only perfect people in fake fairytales and bible stories get to live that life. The belief that myths are fiction is akin to believing that miracles can’t come true. I get driven to great depths of despair and despondent frustration about this.

But That’s still my egoic self sifting through the darkness imbedded in the false sense of safe realities. I’m not kidding when I say im not afraid of anything. I can’t even began to explain that exultation into words and I’ve seen the darkness within that blessed anarchy. Its like the Power of the dark Phoenix being wrapped inside a rage a tempest in a teapot. The capacity for creation will always be greater than our capacity to destruction. Just look at how powerfully we’ve created and destructed through the best and most destructive days of your life.

SOCRATES: Do you think the one who had gotten out of the cave would still envy those within the cave and would want to compete with them who are esteemed and who have power? Or would not he or she much rather wish for the condition that Homer speaks of, namely “to live on the land [above ground] as the paid menial of another destitute peasant”? Wouldn’t he or she prefer to put up with absolutely anything else rather than associate with those opinions that hold in the cave and be that kind of human being?GLAUCON: I think that he would prefer to endure everything rather than be that kind of human being.

I am returning to the light and to living and loving well. My nephew was born three days ago and I couldn’t think of a better time in my sister and brother-in-law’s lives to be parents, my father to be a grandfather, and in my own to be an uncle. May we each be faithful in our charge as we continue to love and guide this precious being to life. Ashes to Ashes we come and go through this world reflecting on our deeds and Reflecting life back to the world. Little nephew, you are highly loved. May you see that example reflected back in our words and actions. May you have the best life has to offer us all.

“Nothin’ But Time” part 2!

A young forest is now growing 39 yrs after Mount St. Helens’ destructive eruption. New ecosystems have begun flourishing. Wetlands now dot the plains and valleys within the blast zone of St. Helens- becoming home to frogs, amphibians, water fowl in species and numbers that did not occupy this area in the past. Some wondered if this region would ever be habitable again. Their valid fears did not come to pass. Volcanoes in the Ring of Fire have also made these same places habitable- creating rich forests, waterfalls, life for millions of species & prime real estate across the planet.

Things fall apart. Nations are rocked by injustice & wars. Couples deal w/ divorces. Families get shattered by tragic deaths. When things don’t work the way you planned- it doesn’t mean you failed. I only began sharing my writing one year ago. It’s become second nature to write, publish blog posts, and hopefully contribute some positivity or challenge w/ words & photos.

It makes sense that you feel despondent and hopeless after a difficult ordeal- especially if you’re still wading through the mire. The more daunting the circumstances the harder it feels you will get to the other side. And though my recent difficulties seemed- most of which were 💯 my own doing (mental health problems or not) there are so many others who have lived decades in pain, abuse, poverty; who have seen horrors & come out on the other side.

Devastation can never be justified and we can’t choose our struggles. Do mountains want to shutdown and die when faced with the aftermath? Do volcanoes feel guilt regarding the molten core burning in their bellies? Are they beyond apologetic about the effect their destruction had upon loved ones, upon holy places in the wilderness?

There’s no way to know this answer except that the mountain is still there. Trees continued to leaf. Animals kept procreating & adjusting to their habitats. Life continued to grow in an inhospitable environment. But all of that growth took time to come about. A year in our perception might as well feel a lifetime. A year to Earth is a less than a nanosecond in its history.

We are quick to judge ourselves & each-other when working towards a goal and results aren’t immediate. Is the new forest any less of a forest because it is young, because it lost everything and had to build again?

Getting up, trying, accepting your current situation, & working towards future goals that’s what counts in the end. This whole process of becoming relies on standing on your own two feet, a willingness to be vulnerable, to admit you’re not at your best, to admit you need help, that you were out of control, that you are trying.

The horizon begs us to sail outwards to the farthest bounds as it follows the curve of Earth. Most of us begin to see dreams as remnants borne from the zealous pursuits of youth. But the adventurous heart never ceases to feel at home within wanderment. To be at home anywhere you must be at home in yourself. After a year of being on the road, brilliant heights of mania, the depths of depression anchored to the sea. I’m no longer held captive by the past.

The caged bird sings because the door to freedom isn’t solely quarantined by latch and bars.

Most everyone deals with worthiness issues on some level. The need for validation is within us all. Especially those who were brought up in religious households, or in homes where abuse and neglect occur. How about the ones who are noiseless and never voice the issues they find themselves struggling with? We are taught that humans are wretched beings needing to be saved from an archaic god used to separate & divide human kind.

If Jesus, Buddha, Socrates, etc. were guiding us to anything perhaps it was to believe in ourselves- to believe in the beauty of every person & being.

To believe that we are each able to lift our own latches so that we may lift the latch of another. To know that we are bridges to one another. That we are to live unshackled from the constraints social tyranny have enchained us.

Each of us carry struggles that can’t be shared and secret burdens that can’t be buried. We can only shoulder our own weight and lean on those when it becomes too much. Still there is important work we must do alone. It’s interesting that destruction occurs in the sky, in neighborhoods, out where we discuss and tweet and go to battle over. Healing so often happens alone, in secret, among rivers and pine trees, in CPS offices, in hospitals, in homes.

I’ve been mostly solitary for a year. First time I’ve been on my own so long- even the year in China. I see the beauty of solo living and standing on your own validation. Being alone is not a worthiness issue yet our culture tends to make us think we are damaged or obscene if we’re not in romance, without going on vacay w/ gaggles of gays, to celebrate victories in secret.

Aloneness became a sacred ritual when I discovered the power in private excavations of the soul.

The art of non-attachment is rooted in acceptance of self. Acceptance is a by-product created by unconditional love. When we consistently remember that everything is connected and every being is a reflection of god, the Cosmos, as belonging to the Whole- we become more gracious to other people, our blessings, we finally feel home in ourselves.

We call them mountains when they are beautiful & quiet. We call them volcanos when they misbehave & fuck things up. But are they not one in the same?

Kamcatchka, Russia (not my photo)

We call it love when relationships are good and hate when love can no longer cover the faults any longer. We operate in so many dualities. We must see the shadow within ourselves. Of believing there is more to come. That you are enough. I want to become a person who does not live or love others conditionally. Who does not castigate myself for blunders. Poetic words are pale ghosts- reminders of beautiful moments & people who truly lived. Love must be lived and tangibly expressed.

You can see far stretches of the mountain since it exploded 1/3 of itself out hurtling into the valley. Perspective lies in the eye of the beholder. There are 5 mountains you can see from various vantage’s in the Portland/Vancouver area. The only way to see them all at once is when you’ve climbed to the top of another mountain.

The discipline of love is etched within our hearts & found within our forests.

Nothin’ But Time part 1

It’s almost been one year since embarking on the eloquent adventure/disaster that changed the landscape of my life. I keep coming back to Mount St. Helens- a mountain who is no stranger to spewing new effigies upon the land.

It’s the geographically closest and most accessible of the great 5 mountain peaks of I now live by. The gem of the PNW mountain range has now been reduced to 2/3 of its original height and glory. Magma began filling the mountain increasing its mass for a year and eventually reaching 400 yards a day prior to the explosion. How oddly relatable.

Mt. Saint Helens Before & after 1980 eruption

The pressure rose in St. Helens’ until that fateful day in 1980 when this sleeping giant hurled lava, pulverized rock, a side of the mountain outwards, killing 57 people, melting several glaciers and created the largest mudslide ever recorded.  Calamities millions of years in the making only took seconds to raze foundations entire ecosystems and collapse empires.

Yet 40 years later this mountain is now replenishing itself. Life is returning with hundreds of new habitats, ponds, and waterways in this ancient place.  

Which version of Mt. Saint Helens is the real mountain?  A gem reduced to ashes. An antagonistic foe looming in the distance biding time until its next eruption? A ticking-time bomb drowsing until the pressure builds to a crescendo and Saint Helens wildly flings destruction to all in its vicinity? A haven for life, a peak which glacier water flows down providing the source of many rivers? A mother, a place of beauty, a liability a home?

Are you the you who had it all together or are you now the person that is left after blasting your life into fragments? Are you something else altogether?Each perspective is valid but binary conclusions fail us so much of the time. The mountain, the aftermath, the you before and after are all of those things the good, the ugly, and the authentic self.

The volcano where I was unknowingly rapid cycling through a manic-depressive breakdown is also the mountain that has brought me back to life. A cataclysm of eroding glaciers within oneself.

Just as this mountain has done countless times over the centuries. Re-shaping and forging the land through destruction and setting the stage for new creations. Sometimes caused by brutal natural calamities, at the hands of others, at the hands of yourself.

Nature vs. nature is an antiquated paradigm. For It is within nature we find nourishment and true being as we have since time began.

The more we connect to the Earth the more we begin to connect to our truest selves. The false self begins to peel away the false self the egoic nature craving and never at peace.

You realize aspects of your personal identity – the job, the relationships, the home, coping mechanisms, habits, and patterns of self were aspects of the false-self. How many of us cling to externalities to validate and explain who we are?

The egoic nature craves and screeches to satiate desires- to fulfill the idealized version of yourself. Buddha said, suffering is caused by desire. Suffering is also caused by looking for things outside of us to determine our self-worth.

The dizzying thrill of an unrealized manic high was exhilarating. I felt like a rockstar. Everything all my dreams were within reach and anything was possible. Nothing and no one could stop me. Mania is the closest thing to being a superhero and a supervillian at the same time.

Mania mirrors some narcissistic qualities. Writing a book that partially included my life was misinterpreted by some as overly ambitious or egotistical. Those who judged my first book as a vanity affair didn’t even crack the cover.

Yet my personal worth began to be increasingly tied to social media, gaining followers to build a writing platform, and with each gain I began validating myself and experiences with things outside of myself. But mania causes a sort of inner Stockholm Syndrome daring you into climbing stratosphere’s into mountain peaks you would not dare to travel in your right mind.

And when it all stops and you’re left to confront the emptiness and then to build your life the way you really want it. With the first step, the first trickles of snowmelt you begin again. If you’re still alive you still have time to forge the life you want.

When you’ve reached bottom the only way is up from there. We finally start seeking out the people, places, activities & thoughts that are good for us the more we believe in our own worth.

Sometimes it takes losing everything to find who and what is really worth fighting for. And eventually time will reveal the things, the people, the mountains left standing after the dust has settled. You’ll be surprised about how much remains and how much space you have to gain.

Running Up That Hill

She spoke out of the side of her mouth on a sunny Seattle morning,  “I lost 4 kids to the state. I was the one who wasn’t supposed to make it, but I did. It took two decades and finally my fifth child to get it all together, and now I help parents who are in the exact place I was in. I went to rehab and all the classes. I did everything it took to get my son back. I was clean and sober but still toxic inside for a long while.” #relatable

A room full of social workers sat quiet and stunned by this woman’s incredibly powerful story. Her vulnerability was buoyed by the steely strength reflected in the angular ridges of her sharp cheek bones. She was made of true grit, borne with cards stacked against her, and full of personal tragedies scattered throughout her life.

She didn’t talk about many generations of societal oppression, decades of prejudice, inequality, poverty, denial of rights, betrayed promises, lack of resources that are disgustingly common to so many Americans & people around the world.

And If she only could, would she make a deal with god? Would she want to shout profanities to the mountains too? How many of us have done the same only to hear the resounding shrill of well-meaning Christians but not the voice of god. The void of silence is deafening. At least it is quantifiable. As much as it sucks at least silence is real.

The hardest part about social work is that there are just too many underlying factors that have brought families to their lowest points. There is often a lack of knowledge of the resources available not to mention the Manila and brown folder bureaucracies sidestepping the way to freedom.

Parents and caregivers are often depicted and treated as villains– when in truth they are often using substances to self-medicate, to just get through the day, to function in a world that sees their disabilities and mistakes as another reason they are unsafe, unfit, worthless, unsalvageable. There are those who have committed unspeakable acts against vulnerable children and who should have no access to their children.

Washington has a ton of resources available to aid parents and children- related to housing, mental health, medical care, counseling, dietary needs, summer camps, and programs that work to strengthen parental skills and personal development. The strengthening of our most vulnerable populations should never be seen as a handout. There are millions of people who have not been afforded opportunities that so many of us have taken for granted because we lived in two-parent households and graduated from school districts that reflected a certain tax bracket- or those of us who barely made that echelon and have been trying to keep up with the Joneses and the Richers, who often live a very guarded and gilded lifestyle- putting the blinders on to the plights of people living across town and sometimes just across the street.

But now I have felt the harsh judgement from people who used to be closer than family. The darkness enclosed like a coffin, like an abusive lover holding you down along with your shame. And then I held myself in the lair of guilt and self-recriminations. I will make sure my clients don’t go it totally alone.

I’m the one who made concessions and apologies but have not gotten any in return. I didn’t hold certain people accountable for being there for me when I needed them. I let them off the hook now. This bitterness does not serve me. The reminiscing over the wounding only infuriates the healing. It takes a while to get your life back on track. Especially when you’re the one responsible for the fuck up.

Part 2: A deal with God

Not gonna lie, this transition has been amazing, but quite solitary; it’s not terrible it’s just different than I imagined. It’s also just the beginning.

I had been living in patterns of devolution for months. A persona unrecognizable to others who knew me well. I hit upon a rage that had never been expressed and a volatility of shockwaves that rippled beyond the bounds or intentions of my person. It all had to burn away before I would have accepted a bipolar diagnosis and that I needed help- that I needed to change some ways of living.

Moving is an inherently solo journey- one I’m so fortunate to be complaining about. Things could be seriously so much worse. I’m very thankful they are not. I’ve been lucky to have a lot of amazing people & friends physically present in daily life.

I wish could take back and redo a lot of last summer. I wish I was over it all. Most days I am. For awhile it was all I could think about. Now I’ve accepted that it’s all part of the ebb & flow of healing.

Sometimes you wonder if you’re alone because you want to be or b/c you’re the problem. Maybe it’s your time to “work on things,” but when does the working cease? When is someone finally worthy enough?

The annoyingly spot-on answer- You’re the only 1 who can determine that for yourself. And in case you want to argue spoiler alert- the fact that humans and this Earth even exists is a 1 in a quadrillion chance miracle. *don’t @ me on that math. 😂

A client told me if he had known what would have happened he’d have done it differently. Wouldn’t we all? He strangely didn’t seem completely remorseful couldn’t figure out why at the time. Then it hit me- he’s accepted the reality of awful circumstances that led him here and apart from his family. I’m grateful the stakes have never been that high for me.

This current journey into social work is much different than it was in Texas for many reasons. I now know what it’s like to feel out of control, embarrassed, regretful, alone, sober, forgiven, in treatment, and finally becoming the best version of oneself.

The ones who have seen the error and changed course- those are the ones who are worth fighting for, and deserve the resources to get their life on track, to get their children back.

How many times have you regretted an action and let it play out over and over in your mind? You remember the events that led up to certain actions and thoughts. Your body revs with anxiety as you relive the event in your mind. When recounting or thinking about a trauma the human body cannot qualify whether that action occurred in the past or present.

Whatever you focus upon will also reflect in your body as your neck tenses, heartbeat increases, etc. In essence we are reliving that past trauma every time we talk about it which often causes involuntary physical reactions. It feels like a haunting at first but distance from a problem or a helps one to see things w/ perspective. Never underestimate the power of your breath in a chaotic situation & therapy to address everything else.

It’s true you can’t win every time. You can’t save everyone and there are some relationships not worth saving (which is tough b/c I’m a life long friender.) My sister gave me the gift of being present while I confronted the personal beasts raging in my head and heart. She gave me the gift of family. My dad gave the gift being there without me even knowing it. So many friends have done the same.

All we really need is someone who will stand with us between the raucous & silent phase of darkness. Western skies are filled to the brim with nights made of stranger diamonds.

There is a beauty in new beginnings- wildflowers blooming in wind. Fragile miracles embedded in the tomb of dirt and earth. We are plants bursting through soil. That initial thrust must have been initially painful, but so worth it now that everything has bloomed. Trust the process for if you are trying- the harvest will eventually bring its bounty.

 

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

Waterfalls offer a perfect metaphor for the continual impermanence of existing. Still they perpetuate the illusion that this beauty, this earth, that life will last forever.

The technological achievements of the modern era have allowed humans to live in inhospitable regions in deserts, remote space, Antarctica, inner-city neighborhoods and rural get-aways. A flipped switch sends electricity coursing through miles of cables enabling us to conquer darkness, boredom, reheated meals.

Yet there are consequences to our immediately gratifying lifestyles and Amazon Prime conveniences. We don’t want to wait or work through things. Swiping right and on to the next one is so much easier. I do it too.

The facades are compounded by the small deceptions of perfectly manicured social media presences. It’s easy to get caught up in the wrapping and maintain the illusion of prosperity and of having it all. Making it seem like you have it all together when you don’t takes an exorbitant effort of its own. In the end you realize you’re only competing against and with yourself.

In a weird way I’m more free since I’ve dropped the trappings and need to seem like I got my shit together. It’s created a space of honesty, even more authenticity, and a willingness to face the shadow than I’ve ever expressed before.

We forget it’s okay to wait. That there is a beauty within silence and not getting your way. We don’t mean to get caught up in the material excesses; which have become so ubiquitous we view some privileges as inherent rights. Yet human rights are still negotiable because humans are a commodity to be sold as a commodity and mined for votes.

Follow Nature’s lead and embrace the silence. Move past the pain and you will come to acceptance.

You will eventually begin thriving in your secluded forests for resiliency is the building block of Nature.

How many things I’ve taken for granted because I got used to having all of my needs met and more for most of my life. Within the stripping of people, of material goods, of social statuses, of broken dreams you can find yourself broken as well. But in that desolation is a calling to go farther inside of yourself to find the source of your struggle and to find out who you really are.

Truthfully, nothing stays the same. These temporal trappings are not forever. No matter how good, bad, ugly your present is- it is not forever. All we have is the current moments which began building your future. We are taught to look away from suffering, ignoring the houseless human beings scraping just to get by.

We often ignore and repress our own inner turmoils and often we can survive even thrive without ever having to do any deep self-work. The unexamined life begins to feel hollow for everyone whether they know it or not.

There is nothing wrong with having or wanting to have nice things. But when we assign our worth and identity to the acquisition of Name-brand bags, shoes, relationships, anything outside of ourselves it is then we are doomed.

How beautifully strange and confounding that all of the things which truly matter- connection, laughter, bonding, boning, love are things you can’t see, can’t like on IG, can’t hold tangibly. I am striving to be the best version of myself daily. I think that most of us desire and are making progress to do exactly the same.

Each drop of water seems paltry and insignificant on their own. A waterfall is just another cliff without a collection of trillions of water molecules coming together in cascading torrents. Each step on our journeys add up.

We have to stop judging ourselves for not being immediately radically successful and enjoy each embrace, each pound lost, each morning we awake to begin another day until the next one comes. Cause baby, “It Ain’t Over ‘Til it’s Over.”

Avalanche Gardener or The Slow Migration of Change

The slow migration of change sometimes begin within waves which look like endings. Or in this case snow tracks on a northern slope that suddenly descend into hardy dirt paths- overlooked & abhorred for their non-eloquence.

But sometimes the dirt is where you find yourself standing. There’s nothing particularly pretty about soil on its own. Wonder if the first gardener decided to plant flowers and shrubbery because they got tired of seeing a bunch of brown earth and manure everywhere.

Sometimes the dirt and the shit is the only way to intentionally plant blackberries, ferns, a life that will give back and grow.

I got tired of putting up with other people’s collective shit so I left them and left a state that I had never really felt home in. Yet in the barrenness I found piles of my own bullshit and self-serving actions.

One good thing about breaking down in private is that left alone for long enough you start to really see your own toxic behaviors and ways of thinking that led you to act in ways you didn’t think you could. Sometimes you find the reason for your behaviors are linked to a specific abuse or unaddressed mental and emotional health issues. No matter how you got there your issues and setbacks, your faults and your traumas are your responsibility.

You find out who you really are when you finally accept exactly where you’re at. Real change comes when you accept the shit heap garbage person you can be without hating yourself for it. You must love yourself enough to fight for the good parts about your self and life.

It’s even easier still to track the cessation of a habit with apps that count the seconds, weeks, and years since that last sip, smoke, or snack. What about the last beating, the last puff, who measures the distance between god and the last time you stepped in church? The last time you saw your parent, your lover, your ex best friend?

I was the most stable I’d ever been at the onset of last summer- or so it seemed. You can travel the ends of the Earth and still not know wholly who you are until you’re too broken to keep running. Until you finally ask for help. Maybe that’s what this amazing fucked-up year; all these breakdowns and breakthroughs were about.

The heart and mind are each our greatest evolutionary inheritances. Without which we would be relegated to live like our first ancestors in tightly bound clans around caves and bands of forested rivers. But there is a wild peace in the barrenness. You learn who you really are when stripped from luxuries, designer brands, designer boyfriends, and endless cars & credit. I never really employed any of those for my own.

Travel and the search for authentic people, the wild experiences, raw expanses of landscape and personal truths are what set me & my finances constantly forward then back. Hopefully I’m richer for the wear rather than the other way around.

Your people are your modern-day tribe. Instagram stories are postmodern oral histories passing through 24 hours of dedicated finite screen time. We used to spend those days together. Why do our callings and wanderings leave us spread out so far apart from the people we most want to be with?

The college nights raged with best friends in glorious abandon? Those nights out on southern sun scorched patios filled with drunken laughter and chain smoked conversations? We often don’t realize how lucky we were when our best friends, our family, our lives were nearby.

The constant irony is that we’re hardly ever present for our lives as they’re being lived until the friendship, the love affair, until the blissful time is over. We lament because it feels like things will never be right again. So easy to forget when you’re living it that the Earth is supposed to go dormant in winter.

“A soil, exhausted by the long culture of Pagan empires, was to lie fallow for a still longer period.”

The fallow period of the soul lasts not forever. This ending is just a different knot inside beginnings.

Feet stomped through snow lead closer to new lands with every aching step. It felt like I’d never be happy again. I am almost back to my usual self, trimmed up and a bit more quiet around the edges.

Behind the Sun

Behind the Sun-

I wasn’t ready for things I once wanted. It’s a weird sigh of freedom An aloof relief comes after losing.

Drink alone from your inner gourd. Reach out; Stretch past the belly of your breaking.

Shove your nude emperors out into the forests Out of your front doors. Holographic victories Fall hollow & not at all.

We want the life that sticks together. You found life in the back pair of wings.

Silence gave me room to give. Love is mana we must breathe.

I saw the world in golden ringlets. Will you grasp things behind the sun each & every one,

with me?