Qualm Balm

cat hug

When you fret in worry,

Field misgivings,

Try to still the shiver

Of concern

Of doubt

Of qualm.

Take a moment

To get grounded

And remember what you know

In soul, in heart, in mind:

Sooth exists.

It

Lives

Between the breaths

Of Love’s

Eternal

Balm.

 

 

For The Daily Post

Be in the Pink

Storycubes1

If your heart groans

Under worry

And your belly

Plays acid songs,

Don’t despair:

Life’s still there.

If your head spins

With confusion

In realities

Beyond compare,

Don’t give up:

There’s repair.

If your muscles

Clench with anger

And anxiety

Sheds your hair,

Don’t give in

To what’s not fair.

If your color

Lost its luster

And your spirit’s

Pale and bare,

Don’t lose heart:

We’ve hope to spare.

If the dark nights

Press your innards

And your lungs

Beg for calm air,

Don’t forget:

Love’s everywhere.

 

 

For The Daily Post

Possibility

Craggy Garden on Blue Ridge Pkwy NC July04Girl

Blue Ridge Parkway NC; Photo: July04Girl

I don’t know if I can

I don’t know if I can’t

My life flows in the spaces

Between heart and mind

As I wait to unfold

Into what will evolve

Around corners

Behind bumps

Where possibility

Stands.

Find Freedom

freedomdoor
Photo: http://www.countryliving.com/gardening/garden-tours/

 

Find freedom in whatever small measures of peace you can.

It is yours for the freeing, yours for the making, your for the taking:

Freedom from stress, from strain, from hand-wringing worry;

Freedom from old tapes and older boxes;

Freedom from stale words and staler habits;

Freedom from harsh realities;

Freedom from histories repeated;

Freedom from bloated egos, punctured dreams, blame, sorrow;

Freedom from more-to-do-than-possible; unrealistic expectations;

Freedom from judgment–inside and out and in between;

Freedom from hate–it is not of you, never was.

Find freedom

In each breath. Each perfect petal of a flower, each song of bird;

In every new life born; all promise, all potential;

In everything you are, and everything you always had been,

but maybe forgot.

Find freedom in whatever small measures of peace around you.

It will grow.

For freedom expands like light in a mirror; multiplied.

You know.

spacornerapril12no1

Photo Credit: A.Asif

 

Pathways to Hope

path

In times of much uncertainty,

It can be hard to see a path

Worth taking.

A walk unencumbered by darkness or demise

Might seem improbable

Potential tarnished

Possibility destroyed.

For there is so much vitriol. Fear-mongering. Divisiveness. Incitement.

There may seem no way worthy.

No path available; a future bleak with war.

 

There’s hope, however, in paths semi-forgotten

In steps untrodden

In walkways hidden under heaps of misdirection, worry, mirrors, smoke.

There are sturdy lanes to follow.

Not the blathering ones cluttered with false promises or empty bravado

But the ones one forges

With their soul.

These paths, too, are waiting

Ever present, patient, true to form.

 

In a time when paths seem blocked

Futures sold to the highest bidder

The loudest, richest, most shocking

To the very wrong …

There are still avenues

Unmarred,

Open vistas

Brimming with

Clear breath

Kindness

Real growth.

 

So if you find the path a-twisted

If you feel the weight of futures crucial to avoid,

Step yourself away from highways-into-nothing

And take instead a quiet stroll

Into your soul.

Find solitude

Hold empathy

Recall respect for all that is,

The Truths that make life possible:

Compassion, not destruction

An open heart

The step by steps which widens futures

To allow companionship

Acceptance

The brilliance woven into threads of love

For tapestries of hope.

path lit

Make It Work!

I bet you have such days …

When things don’t seem to work as expected, when all your plans fall through and what you thought would take two minutes takes two hours. When that quick phone call to settle some bitty thing becomes forty-five minutes of muzak followed by a hang-up then forty minutes more before you get transferred again, only to be put on hold for speaking to another department … When the quick break for a sandwich becomes condiments that spritz in the wrong direction, an upset can of cookies (complete with crumbs), a shattered glass requiring three broom cycles and a vacuum … Days when one client after the other is either late, cranky, moody, muddy, or all. When the world becomes an exercise in patience, a realigning of time and expectations.

These days sure happen to me all too often. I bet you have them, too.

It used to get my blood-pressure up, to have things unexpected. In general I do not much care for surprises. My friends and family know that I’m not the person to plan dark roomed “Happy Birthday!” parties to. No thanks. I like knowing what to expect and having a bit of opportunity to see how to best manage stuff that happens. Good or bad. So having a kink in my day never was my recipe for happy.

Nowadays, though it does not rank high on my preferred-day way, it mostly makes me chuckle. I figure that it is a pause for learning, something to call my attention to doing too much, too fast, or with too little an awareness. The unexpected grounds me faster than a cup of cold water (sometimes it IS spilled or splashed cold water … in a double-attention-getter …). It stops me into “what just happened?” and “how on earth …?” And that very pausing stirs a breeze of mindfulness into my brain.

So, while I still don’t like to spend my lunch break sweeping shards, cleaning counters, or on the phone with some ‘press-this, press-that’ company; I try to see it as something that helps to pace me or to point to where I have lost touch with the clock that is not of this world. Where I have turned too low the timer within me, the ticking of my body, the breath that should not become fogged by too much thought or busyness.

I still get stunned–surprises do that to me. But I take a breath, as well. And chuckle. Laugh a bit into myself. The ridiculousness of it all helps me find the gratitude that’s tangled with the grunt and sigh. It is a gift, really, when everyday tasks that I’ve done a million times without awareness bring back the reality of how complex they truly are, and how blessed I am to be able to perform them mostly sans a thought or pause or conscious memory. It is even a precious thing to have the things I usually take for granted–a company to call to make things right (or try to), the vocation I love living, the freedom to set my schedule, the miracles of water in my faucet and electric power at my finger tips. So many do not have those and would gladly take a spilled cup for having the water flowing to begin with.

And suddenly the disruption is not so terrible and the wait is not so bad. This realignment of meaning helps shift me, even if the situation stays the same. I get the best ideas, sometimes, when I’m on hold, a captive audience, forced to still and listen. The muzak goes right through me. It is my own thoughts that unfurl, birthing new ideas. I am reminded of the most arcane and unexpected and forgotten things when I am climbing to change yet another light-bulb that went zip a moment before session, or rush to change a stained article of clothing before a client comes. Somehow these unplanned, often unwanted, wrinkles in my planning pause me long enough to bring in an unseen angle or perspective.

Don’t get me wrong: I still do love my little islands of predictability. It is lovely when days go just as I had planned (or at least close to), and when my energy is parsed the way I’d hoped. It doesn’t take much for me to run out, you see. Some hiccups in my autonomic nervous system makes my body ultra-prone to fast exhaustion. Weather changes, temperature shifts, being vertical too long–they can and do seriously tire me. And yet, I am not frail. Just living with a finicky apparatus. All the more reason, one might declare, to not live life too gingerly as if on eggshells (please, oh please only figuratively! I’ve cleaned the kitchen once already, courtesy of spilled coffee grounds this very day …).

For days when patience is a bit harder to come by? “Just make it work” is my mantra of sorts for those. I have not invented it, of course. People all over our blue Earth marble have been saying it in all manner of variations, for longer than my mind can fathom, and while facing far more difficulty than I usually have to endure.

Small hitches in the schedule? Unexpected hiccups? Murphy working overtime to make life inexplicably complicated? I remind myself that it is all workable. Sometimes the solution is immediate, sometimes it takes time (I would sure love to know the schedule, though, Dear Universe, if you are listening!). Sometimes I can resolve it on my own, sometimes only with serious creative collaboration.

Either way, when the Universe throws a wench in my today and threatens to mess up my tomorrows, I try breathing smiles into it. A chuckle, even, if I can. Extra points for finding blessings in the messes … Gold stars for managing cooperation in the least likely ways or with those I do not find it easy to collaborate with.

I’m reminded of a photo of Paris in flood in 1924. People faced the very wet prospect of ruined shoes and clothing given that the only possibility was trudge calf-deep in watery plazas. Or was it really the only way? In ingenuity, someone or some ones, came up with a creative (if rickety) solution … and wrangled up some cafe chairs …

paris flood

Paris flood, 1924, photo by Henri Manuel

 

Find a Way

Today, find a way.

Even hardship, worry, ill-at-ease;

Stir and shift away with breeze.

Today, find a way.

Seize a moment, hold a notion

Breathe in light, glimpse emotion

Grasp a smile.

For a while.

And the way, for today, will stop by.

Pathway

Pathway

Bangladesh Boat Bridge

Bangladesh Boat Bridge

Mulu Caves, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo

Mulu Caves, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo