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.

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choice

I no longer tolerate poison inside myself.

I no longer tolerate hatred

anxiety

shame

self pity.

This doesn’t mean they won’t overwhelm or attack me.

It means in the middle of the storm, I will hold fast to the Eye that says:

you can do better.

I no longer have patience

for soul-poison.

I am human; it may fool me for a moment.

But it will not claim me.

I will be tested. Again & again.

I don’t know how I will make it.

That’s okay. I’ll start there.

I’ll start with “I don’t know”

& give the rest up to Spirit

so that when something comes along that is not of my Divine nature,

I will recognize it.

People may not understand.

That’s the hardest part.

Keeping my Spirit under lock & key

helps me feel safe around others.

I seek to release the fear

of what they will think–

of my refusal

to settle for less

than the glory we were made for.

Now, instead of approval

I will seek soul-fire.

reconsider

your prison
is your
wilderness
your cage
an open sky
for why would you 
create if not
escape
from space confined
wise women know
the caged bird's song
wise men
the battle cry
of soul unleashed
from genie's lamp
of hands from
rope untied.
curse not your chains nor weights of stone
for without them art would be unknown.

again & again

it seems to me that all these books
contain again & again
a single truth
each breath
each page
an iteration never-ending
we seek it
in each new
book
taste
lover
until one day
if we're lucky
we see we've held it
in our hands all along.
even the wisest among us
so long as they draw breath
are fated to repeat
the lesson over and over.
the only difference
between the enlightened & you & I
is that the masters do not read doom
in each new trial.
instead they welcome with open arms 
the certainty of loss & the uncertainty
of what is yet to come.
where we see a curse they see a blessing
& even in their weeping
they smile with all the radiance of youth.

dissonance

healing
requires humility.
it’s not about finding
the right friend
lover
or therapist
who perfectly validates
your story of suffering—
it’s about finding people
who challenge you
& tell you things you
don’t want to hear because
they love you.
love sometimes requires
going against the grain
of comfort.
cognitive dissonance
is a prerequisite.
have the utmost respect
& compassion for yourself
yet
refuse to cast yourself
in a tragedy
in which you are a victim
alone
unique
& misunderstood.
above all 
know that no matter how much it hurts
you have a choice.
your life
is in your
own hands.
there will always be things 
beyond your control.
your mind will always be
tempted to cast itself
in the perfect drama.
stay rooted in the belief
that you can be well
even if
(especially if)
you don’t feel like it now.
you must face your greatest fear: 
accepting your power to become
who you truly are.

bridges

I've always liked railroad tracks
they're like a bridge
between worlds
romantic
anachronistic
hardly in use
anymore
like rainbows that stretch
from here to the sky
but you almost never see
where they begin
& end
in this place I call home
I see trees everywhere
except four places:
ocean
powerlines
highway
&
railroad tracks
all a means
of getting somewhere
all disappear
into a sort of vertigo
these are the only places
I see the horizon.

Images and words © Jenna Pope 2018