will

i prayed
& asked ‘what am i to do’–

She gave me a stone
in my chest firm
& undeniable.

She said

I give you your Will.
your Will is yours
& yours alone--
in Me
you know where to go
for I have taught you
to read maps
I have taught you
navigation.
isn't this why
you are called here, after all?
for no matter where you go
you have your own Will to return to.
it will not waver
in storm or sea
it will not tumble 
to the four winds
it will not be shaken
by the cares of the world.
listen to your truth.
don't you know
the music of its voice by now?
hasn't the world shown you hunger?

haven't you scavenged for morsels
the forests deep and dark--
haven't you slaked your thirst
in the cold waters within?

dear dreamer

the world needs its story-tellers
dreamers
lovers
wordsmiths
artsmiths
quiet helpers
kindness-doers
flower-pickers
letter-senders

creators of all sorts
walks
shapes
& sizes.

If you are one of these
yield to yourself
& the creativity that lives
in you--

do not hold out the world.

for it needs your gifts
it needs your love
it is thirsty for your joy.

two kinds of fear

there are two kinds of fear:

one tells you to turn on your heel, honey, and walk away.

this type of fear whispers you know better.

the other is a big, fat neon arrow pointing toward your dreams.

with this type of fear, you’re petrified, but you sense something delicious in your soul, something that’s begging to be brought into the world.

trust your heart to know the difference.

theater of the imagination

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players
-As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

Maybe when you act, you’re not necessarily putting up a false facade.

Maybe you are exaggerating, for theatrical effect, parts of yourself that already exist.

You are a living, breathing hyperbole.

You don’t have to live a double life. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be simple, a matter of choosing which parts of yourself to emphasize and which to keep tucked behind the curtain, out of sight but still very much present.

Just because parts of yourself—the wild, loud, sensual, scandalous—are hidden, does not mean they don’t play a role. They are the ones working the pulleys, flicking the switches, turning on the lights and cueing the music.

They are the secret behind your radiance, the reason for the light behind your smile.

Your secret: it’s not your work that’s making you happy. It’s your inner world.

It’s so bright it radiates outward and colors all that you touch.

The mask may hide your true face, but it’s a beautiful mask, something you’re fond of wearing.

Like a magician employing distraction to great effect, you engage in emotional slight of hand. A light deception, nothing to be ashamed of—on the contrary, essential to survival.

It is merely a choice of where to train the spotlight.

Your workday then becomes a playful dance. Your uniform, your costume. Each movement a deliberate expression of your newfound awareness.

Give yourself permission to feel beautiful without regard to your reflection in the mirror. Say your lines, take a bow, and then go home.

Remember what happens when you screw up onstage? You improvise. You take that mistake and you run with it. The show must go on.

The trick is to keep your eyes up and out. The second you make eye contact with a member of the audience, boom, your dance, your lines are wiped clean from your memory. In day-to-day life, you can’t avoid making eye contact. But you can keep your chin up and your inner focus up and out. The woman behind the curtain keeps her gaze high and her inner eye trained on the horizon.

one day you will dance.

it is right for the human spirit to have endured something.
this is why we must not shelter ourselves overmuch.
it is something to have been in distress
yet find yourself undeniably alive.
to have fasted
& find yourself still whole.
to have been panic stricken
yet find your legs standing.
but if by chance they give way beneath you
& you don’t get up for an hour
a day
or even a decade
it doesn’t matter
so long as there is a day that comes
that you dance.
my own grandmother
bedridden
danced under the covers.

victory

rejoice
in your heartache’s
resurfacing.
in that moment
long ago
you had not the strength
to bear the pain
meant to be yours alone
so you hid it away
until
today.
accept the confirmation
of your unconscious
for finally
you have passed the test.
feel it throb in every fiber
& know you will not break.
this has always been 
about power—
seize it.
you are the agent
of your own momentum.
the moment you embrace it
& declare “this, i can
abide”—
its hold upon you
will ease.
all this time it has waited
for your surrender.
allow it in every atom
& stand victorious
among the wreckage of what
used to be.

youth

to be young 
is a frightening thing.
it means coming up against 
all the darkest
things of life:
death
loss
grief
loneliness
despair
before you’ve had the chance
to understand what they mean.
it means facing certain facts:
the ones you love most 
you must someday let go;
you will never be the child
you once were;
nor are you likely to become
what you once dreamed of being.
it means staring into your remaining years
as an unfathomable abyss
& fearing what change
what loss of current circumstance
may take place therein.
it means realizing that: 
the words you least want to listen to
are those you most need to hear;
joy and loss
are in fact one and the same;
your tears are the bridge
between your most treasured moments
& the knowledge of their impermanence;
all things of this world will fade
& clinging to them cannot prolong the inevitable;
running away only brings you closer
to the thing from which you run;
& the only way for pain to end
is to feel it as deeply as you can
for as long as it wishes to be felt.

instinct

when birds sing
are they aware of their audience?

or do they simply sing
because they know they must?

be the bird you hear through your window
who doesn’t know you’re listening.

sing
not because someone is listening
but because you know you must.

you never know whose ears your song will reach
& you may never find out.

perhaps it is better that way.