confessions of things said in my head

confession of yesterday morning’s conversation in my head:
i don’t have time for this.
for what? what other more important thing do you have going on right this second than cleaning up protein powder you just spilled on the counter? c’mon now, slow down, clean the mess, and get enlightened already. what else is your time for if not to practice toward your singular goal? use this minute, use this mess, use this tiny aggravation to lighten up. enlighten thyself, mess-maker and mess-cleaner-upper.

confession of this morning’s conversation when i woke and looked at the clock:
fuck! i overslept! i’m late!
late for what? beginning later this morning working for yourself, little miss bosslady? late for writing and editing and exercising? you’re not late for anything. you’ll get done whatever you get done and the rest won’t get done today and that’s okay. chillax, sweetheart. you aren’t late. you are right on time to practice slowing down and breathing and getting in the flow.
i still feel late, like i don’t have enough time, like i won’t get it all done.
feelings lie, time is an illusion, and it won’t all get done. take a breath, slow down, and enjoy it more, darlin’. the objective is to love more, send more love out and let more love in, love this moment, love your feeling-late low grade anxiety and have more fun with everything, okay?

confession of my last thought before i get out of bed every morning:
what are the three most important things i want to do today?

confession about the question listed above:
about two-thirds of my days i answer the three-most-important-things question with three distinct tasks or qualities or missions. about half of those days i accomplish those tasks, qualities, or missions and half of those days i accomplish only one or two or none of the three. one-third of days i don’t bother to answer the three-most-important-things question because i can already tell i have a bad attitude and that day is gonna run together with all the other days that feel meaninglessly the same and i don’t feel good enough to make a difference in the world because i’m too tired or too sad or too hopeless or too discouraged before i even get out of bed.

confession of what i’d like for us all today:
let’s ease into appreciating this moment, this warm beverage, these perfect little toes that can wiggle inside socks and shoes, these eyes that can look at the trees. let’s play the appreciation game by focusing on what is best about each person, place, thing, circumstance we encounter today. would you like to play the appreciation game with me for the rest of the day? i’ll begin with whisper-yelling in all caps but with hushed excited voice, “I APPRECIATE YOU SHOWING UP HERE WITH ME!” also, in lower case and still whispering, “thank you for considering playing the appreciation game with me today. it’ll be more fun if we’re playing together.” and an additional boost of appreciation for three bonus points, “i appreciate your heart opening in this next breath as we remember today’s privilege to be awake, alive, and able to love each other.”

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my love-filled confessions

confession: i have always prayed. during early adolescence when my agnosticism appeared, i continued to pray without addressing my prayers to anyone outside myself. repeating mantras during meditation came easily to me and began in conjunction with my nascent agnosticism. mantra meditations were newly familiar in their prayerful form. throughout decades i’ve often wondered to whom or what i am praying. i’ve always understood why i pray. praying centers and soothes me. this morning i realized for the first or the thousandth time that my prayers are addressed to my own heart. each prayer is a conversation. my mind speaks. my heart listens and responds with the calming comfort of its slowing heartbeat.

confession: reading another person’s poem or fiction or memoir feels like listening to that person’s prayer, a prayer secretive and quiet lying in wait underneath the story, waiting to be recognized.

confession: currently i am reading a book that is shifting the sand dunes upon which i’ve set my life. because of its page-by-page impact pacing through the maze of my psyche, i want to give a copy of this book to everyone i know who has ever contemplated suicide. i want anyone who has spiraled inside the mystery of one’s own self to read her story, listening for the prayers underneath. i found this book in the free box outside my favorite thrift store a few weeks ago. i tore off its cover because someone had stuck blue chewing gum to it. this 25-year-old yellowed coverless paperback copy is the most important book in my possession at this time…and the thing most meaningful to me that i could give to you if you asked me for what matters. alice koller wrote an unknown woman in 1968 about months spent living alone on nantucket during the winter of 1962. she didn’t kill herself. she’s still alive. more than any author i’ve read, i want her friendship, but in her desire for privacy and solitude, i understand that she wouldn’t want mine. i love that about her. the truths she wrote and published in this memoir before i was born support me as much as any friend can. reading her book, i affirm my own intention for writing. i write because i want to love-in-action everyone i encounter inside, outside, and through my writing. i want to love them with my words, my stories, my heart on the page. i want every reader to know she and he is loved. we give out of our greatest need. i give from my quenchless need to be the love that i long to share, feel, extend, and multiply.

request: however you feel about the holiday this week, please sit with me for one breath. breathe love with me for one full inhalation and exhalation. ahhh…i love you. thank you for letting the love in.

 

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confessions of writing

confession: after falling away from my writing group a few years ago, i sat in a circle of gifted writers today. if, according to  annie dillard, “how we spend our hours is, of course, how we spend our lives,” then i am doing life correctly and spending my hours well, at least during 11am to 1pm on wednesdays in austin.

confession: when i returned home after writing group, the apartment reeked of bleach because i am de-mildewing the shower and i was hungry and the laundry in the dryer was still wet and suddenly i felt less sure of my capacity to rock this life, but i lit candles and incense, opened a window, set more time on the dryer, and grabbed a spoon plus a jar of peanut butter, so all is right and well and good again. i have no real problems and very few imaginary ones.

confession: i have real fears, though mostly unlikely or leftover and inapplicable.

confession: i learned this morning that relative to other writers’ journal entries, i journal like an angry semi-literate teenager. luckily, i’ve always been a journal burner, so no one besides you and me need ever know.

confession: wait…pause…i just had to take a deep breath before writing this next confession…so let’s take a collective deep breath and consider the next big scary truth we might speak. if you actually pause…you’ll probably know right away which big scary truth you’d confess if you could, if you were ready, if you were brave. what is that truth?

confession: i need to write what i know so that others may know themselves better, may recognize their own desires, may make connections to their own insights and wisdom. the specific things i know come through a bisexual filter…and those truths are the same as any other universal truths…because sex is only a small part of what informs the whole and sex is often untrue.

confession: months ago i set an intention for sexual awakening and as my awakening wakes up, sex is the smallest part.

confession: i rendezvous with the ex-wife tomorrow night, our second meeting in the past three months, which is also only our second meeting in nearly eight and a half years. i’m going to apologize for the way i left, not for leaving, but for my silence that required her to imagine the reasons since i offered none. i won’t offer the reasons for my leaving unless she asks for them, because she might be content with the ones she constructed. in order to finish my unfinished business with her, i need to apologize for what i most regret, for everything i would do differently if do-overs were possible in divorces.

confession: my favorite thing about revising my writing is that i can do-over anything.

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confessions of cheap thrills

confession: instead of buying chocolate, cookies, cheese puffs or other binge foods at trader joe’s each week, i treat myself to a two-inch blooming potted plant exported from canada. i love canada and i love small stuff and i love blooming living things which means canadian two-inch  blooming living exports for $1.99 at my favorite grocery store chain make my heart happy.

confession: my household lives according to the paradigm that the best things in life are free, the second best things cost scads of wads, and the third best things cost so little they’re almost free (meaning $2 or less). best free things—hugs, naps, laughter, library books. best scads of wads expensive things—luxury sportscars, international travel, personal chef/masseuse. best almost free things–$1 red bean bun from chinatown, $1 any size coffee from wawa (which means the biggest 24 ounce size), a colored ink pen (especially pink, purple, or green).  what are your best free and almost free picks? please get you some today.

confession: writing a letter yesterday to a newish friend, i wrote old stories i’ve told many times but was telling for the first time to this person. every time we pull up a memory file for review and retelling, we modify the file—that’s how memory and the mind work. therefore, the old stories that have been pulled up many times for review and retelling are the most modified and least reliable. knowing this, i gave myself permission to write the best feeling story about painful events since my memories of them have already been many times modified.

confession: i have two more weeks of braces. i have the rest of my life to appreciate better-fitting-together teeth and bite and jaws that hopefully mean less grinding and tooth chipping and jaw pain. i have every night for the rest of my life to wear a retainer. fair trade.

confession: i can’t decide if the song on repeat this week in my world (hannah miller’s “we can always come back to this”) is sad or uplifting or both and that’s why i keep listening. the music feels sad, the words sound uplifting, and i love the contrast. i love contrast in most things—salty and sweet in food, salty and sweet in humor, salty and sweet in ocean sunrises and sunsets. i almost drove to the ocean last weekend but knew the cold winds would whip my face. april isn’t far away…and ocean city, new jersey will still have an empty shore nine weeks from now.

confession: it snowed all day in philadelphia yesterday, as it often does during the winter. people ask me on snowy days if i miss texas. every time i give the same response, “three months of winter is a thousand times preferable to five months of summer for me.”

confession: i wrote a piece of flash fiction to submit to a magazine this week until i read the fine print and if my piece were chosen for publication i wouldn’t be paid and i’d still have to buy the magazine. the piece i wrote was alright but not stellar by my standards, so i wasn’t disappointed about not submitting it. today i’ll write something better. i love the attitude that today i’ll write something better and if i can maintain that attitude every day for the rest of my life then i’m becoming the writer i strive to be.

 

 

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confessions of great-grandmothers

confession: if it is true that addicts will do anything to avoid feeling the specific emotion they absolutely refuse to feel, that feeling for me used to be grief. now it is anxiety. the first few times i went to counseling in my teens and early twenties, every therapist had to give me a clinical diagnosis for insurance purposes. each of them diagnosed me with “anxiety not otherwise specified,” a generic umbrella term to explain what doesn’t fit into prescribed categories but allows a practitioner to input a code on a form so that the insurance company will pay the claim. i’ve never thought of myself as an anxious person, in spite of all obvious signs and evidence, until now, until i observe my desire to either eat or starve the anxiety away.

confession: not entirely sure what anxiety is since i do everything in my power to block the feeling, i google it. the results give definitions that use the word to define itself which doesn’t clarify a damn thing but ironically feels like anxiety–a running-laps-inside-my-head, heart-racing, fuzzy blurriness.

confession: what if anxiety, like nihilistic meaninglessness, is just part of the being-alive package for me? i suspect with my trauma-formed brain-wiring that it is…and therefore, as with everything, my task is to practice acceptance, presence, surrender, letting go. yup, that’s about the only process that has ever helped me deal with anything.

confession: last weekend i vision quested with the grandmothers who claimed me as one of their own years ago when they found me broken-open by grief and crying silently in the back row of a sunlit meditation hall. the grandmothers are all great-grandmothers now, except for the ones with gay unmarried childless children. for a decade, they expected me to one day give them another grandchild, one they loved for years before its conception, but i never conceived that child, always side-stepping conception of any child with birth control pills. this year was the first year they quit asking me about a child and decided to love me the way they love the gay childless children some of them gave birth to. i let all their love in and hug them gently, often, a little too long because i’m afraid each year that this year will be their last vision quest with me.

confession: during a burning ceremony with the great-grandmothers, each one admitted that the only thing she has left to release in this life is fear. i haven’t cried about their fear yet because i can’t hold that much pain. the tears will come when my heart has grown wide enough to hold the fears of these women in their 70’s and 80’s who are still afraid. i was hoping there’d come a time i could look forward to when i would no longer be afraid. maybe there is. maybe there isn’t. maybe i’ll find a path beyond fear before the great-grandmothers do. (i know that is their wish for me.) my heart breaks again and again, always more open for these women who have survived every grief and are still afraid. until then (whichever then that might be, death or the release of fear), we are creating circle ceremonies around fires…and then roasting marshmallows, because these women are irreverently sacred with sugar.

 

 

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confessions of fear, strength, and vulnerability

confession: if our vulnerability is our strength, then i want to tell you the most vulnerable thing because i want to be strong, stronger, always stronger. but telling you the most vulnerable thing may not equal being the strongest, because healthy boundaries in a public forum are also, strong, wise, smart. if i have to choose between being strong and being smart, i pick smart, but that might be a smarty-pants finagle from the risk of revealing what frightens me about myself.

confession: if my sock drawer is a reflection of my inner life, it overflows with color and softness and too much goodness that i barely skim the top and repeat. i return clean socks to front of the drawer, continually wearing the same dozen pairs, even though there are more and more and more other colorful soft socks farther back that would be fun to wear without repeating the recently worn ones.

confession: i celebrate new thoughts because they are rare. most of our daily thoughts are repeated thoughts. i relax into new thoughts, new connections, new ideas…usually after a nap. naps are alchemical–turning our lethargic brains into bright new-thought-thinking machines. a perfect day in my world includes two naps, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon. i don’t say these things to piss off moms who have other jobs and never nap–i tell you because a six-minute nap is magical, too…and kids can learn how to play the “shhhh…mommy’s resting to help her brain feel happy” game.

confession: i won’t tell you the thing that frightens me most about myself but i’ll tell you the thing that frightens me most about hiking is being stalked by a mountain lion. it’s never happened to me, but it has happened to people i know and it freaks me out when i’m hiking in texas, new mexico, colorado, arizona, california, oregon, and washington. i’m relieved when i hike each day along the trails behind my house that mountain lions don’t live in pennslyvania.

confession: okay, fine, i’ll tell you what frightens me most about myself–my conscious choices to engage in unhealthy behaviors in spite of all evidence, experience, and knowledge i have about undeniable negative and dangerous consequences.

confession: i witness you doing the same.

confession: my witnessing of you and myself engaging in unhealthy behaviors is an observation, not a judgment. i’m fascinated by the human tendency to self-destruct.

confession: we’re addicted to distraction. we’re addicted to anything that numbs our discomfort. some of these distractions are praised or rewarded, like “hard work” that belies workaholism or “helping others” that functions as a way to avoid dealing with our own issues. my distraction is a textbook classic eating disorder. yours might be alcohol, pills, porn, shopping, or codependent relationships. or maybe yours is a simple addiction to the smart phone making our society dumb. our avoidance of discomfort is making us more isolated, unhealthy, and unable to intimately connect.

confession: it is easier for me to connect with you here, to write to you what i see and feel and think from this screen than if i were standing in front of you. i started blogging 14 years ago as an exercise in revealing myself. blogging was uncomfortable when i began because it was new to me. blogging has been easy for years because it is familiar to me. poetry is my challenge, but i don’t dare let you read it for fear that my poems are too dark and twisted, like most of my artistic expressions, like me when i’m not intentionally deciding to shine brightly.

 

 

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confessions alternating with quotations

confession: in a dream last night, i peeled layers and layers of skin from my back, face, arms, hands, and feet…trying to show you what’s underneath, trying to expose what’s inside me, trying to release what has been hidden. writing is my waking way of peeling layers away, of presenting to you what can’t be seen.

“hi. it’s me again–regret for all the things i did and didn’t do that unintentionally (and sometimes intentionally) caused you pain. i’m sorry and i know damn well “i’m sorry” is some lameass bullshit that doesn’t change jackshit because the hurt still hurts and i can’t undo it (or do it right the first time) and the damage done to our relationship might be irreparable and i know i fucked up. i’m sorry. i regret it.”

confession: the above thoughts are ones i’ve thought repeatedly, not recently, but lots of times. this morning i woke to a text message from my pixie sister (together we rave magic in the forest and by forest i mean anywhere near a tree which includes everywhere) who was having these kinds of thoughts last night. regret. regret. regret. people who say they have no regrets are people who either haven’t made the kinds of mistakes i’ve made or aren’t wise enough to wish they could have learned their lessons more gently and less painfully.

“The moon does not trouble itself about the howling of dogs.”
–Italian proverb
(via my friend scott who i identify by name because i only think and feel and say good stuff about him and his facebook posts often inadvertently add mindful meaning to my nihilism. this post was re-posted from jonathan carroll.)
after that love-gush to scott (hi scott!), let’s revisit the Italian proverb again:
“The moon does not trouble itself about the howling of dogs.”

confession: if i more often likened myself to the moon, i’d more gracefully accept and traverse my shifts, phases, and moods. if i more often followed the moon’s example, i’d embody the peaceful and persistent quality of ever-changing and ever-cycling eternity. if i looked to the moon as my guide, i’d shine and shine and shine in slivers and half and fullness, as per my natural cycles. for the next month (and hopefully for the rest of the year), the moon is my role model.

“When we finally know we are dying, and all other sentient beings are dying with us, we start to have a burning, almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousness of each moment and each being, and from this can grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all beings.”
–sogyal rinpoche

confession: eight days into 2018 two bright stars in my world had already died. both knew they were dying, one from cancer and the other from age. both hoped for more time. in my thoughts that approximate prayers i send you the wish and intention for moment-by-moment awareness that each moment is precious. i continually practice my remembering.

“My heart recognized you from the very beginning and i knew it was only a matter of time before you stopped and recognized mine, too.”
–brian andreas

confession: no one i loved came to me by surprise. i have love prescience. my heart recognized yours, too. thank you for stopping and recognizing mine.

 

 

 

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