Encountering Change at a coffee shop

How awkward to run into you like this.

Wait,
Let me say something:
I miss your chaos.
You see, I can’t settle down
-can’t be settled.
I need you in my life.
I have been routinely and sure,
but also profoundly unhappy.
I owe everything to you.
So can I buy you a cup of coffee,
maybe a danish,
and we can talk about us.

Yes, us.
Even when I am convinced I don’t like you,
I think I’m actually in love with you.
I feel most myself when I’m with you,
So what do you say?
Can you abandon the leaves this Autumn?
Let them stay green and half golden!
Maybe let the wind blow only in one direction?
I want all of your attention.

Hear me out, I love you.
We make a great team.
Remember when we moved after college?
Driving across the country together,
watching mountains go by,
with Jenny in the passenger seat.
It was good.
We were good.

Yeah, you’re right.
Life has also been hard,
there have been a lot of challenges.
I am not a fan of last winter,
parts of the summer,
a couple days last week,
and this morning pretty awful,
but I believe in us,
don’t you?

Oh, you don’t.
You think I should just move on.
Funny you say that,
I have met someone new,
named Growth.
He resembles you,
but to be honest, he is kinder.

I won’t ever forget you, Change.
See you next season,
maybe when the winter wanders in,
I’ll wave at you from the window near my desk.

*To see the corresponding video to this poem, click here

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Girl

I discovered
I was “just a girl”
while growing up with brothers
in football country.

Years passed before any woman showed me
that girls are extraordinary
and “just a girl” is cruel fiction.

The girls I have admired lately
are real characters,
she-ros who loom large.

Like bell hooks
who told me that
I should not be diminished.

Or Julia Hill
a butterfly woman
who saved ancient trees
by making them her home.

Or Devon Yanko,
who can run one hundred miles
-mighty and determined-
but cries on camera
because her real strength is tenderness.

Or my friend Jenny
who understands
the immense courage it takes
to be an excellent listener.

Or me, a woman
who is also a girl
that raced a white horse on her bike
across a Texas dustbowl;
a girl who has burned up and begun again.

Or you,
girl,
with powerful magic in your mind,
immeasurable strength in your body,
and a rose garden in your heart
-what incredible things are to come:

the highest peaks,
the fastest speeds,
the kindest actions,
and journeys to desolate places
where just girls are imperative.

*Short video to accompany poem can be found here

Coffee Ritual

I approached the Altar
like everyone else does
at this early hour.

Pressing the tonic
I prepared stoically
and with eyes half-closed.

Rain crept into my windows
while Miles Davis
washed away sunrise sorrows.

I said thanks for my cup
and concluded the ritual
with milky white potion,
a dash of dust.

The magic meets  me
in the morning
and always gives me
what I need.

To see the video accompanying this poem, click here

 

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Ironically, I did not do yoga on day 30 of this project. Yesterday was spent mostly indoors and quietly observing my feelings fall down a little. And that’s all well and good.

I started September with the intention of using yoga to find God, to somehow awaken a new fervor for a religion that I had previously abandoned, and to restore my sense of identity in spiritual terms.
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What actually happened:

The third week of this journey I crashed a little. I skipped a day and then was faced with an enormous sadness. I wrote in my journal, “I think part of this journey is letting go of a previous identity that just isn’t my own anymore. It’s a grieving process as well as an awakening. It’s deeply comforting and completely unsettling. I have work to do. I am learning so much.”

This past week has been equally as blue. I have not felt the closure that I told myself I would feel. Alas, yoga has not fixed it all. But it has made me ask more dynamic questions about my spirituality. Like, “What does God look like?”, “Who am I?” “Who is he/she?”, and “Does that matter?” And those questions rarely have answers. Yoga has not been magic, but it has helped me deal with the unknowing.

Being a seeker is not easy work. Today, I feel a little drained. Not practicing yesterday makes me also feel like a fraud. But I think yoga is in everything, kind of like God. So maybe the time spent in my dark room listening to rain “counted” for something. Who knows? I certainly don’t.

I will absolutely keep frequently practicing yoga. Moving forward, I want to be more willing to look deeper into my questions and my present instead of being so fearful of letting go of the answers I thought I knew and the past.

Thank you all for following along.
The light in me acknowledges the light in you.
Keep shining.

Namaste.

The night I began sewing, you asked to wait.

Blush-colored silk crepe
from the wedding gown
I never made
swayed on the line
as it slowly dried in November.

After, pink seemed to follow me.
Even in the woods,
stones and toes
blushed with sympathy.

What an exhausting Winter
spent crying in my car,
trying to remember
the perfection of new love
and reasons for leaving.

Not knowing what I wanted,
I hiked through Laurel Snow,
and watched water smooth
over silky black boulders.

Home again, but not quite

Home again, but not quite-
Quietly driving past Sellwood,
Watching fog roll over the Willamette-

I am home again, but not quite-
I am a stranger
my feet feel heavy
as I pass large redwoods in the Arboretum

It wasn’t until listening
to “Paradise Stars”
-the full moonlight causing
Mt. Hood to glow white
-that my heart twisted.

If  you cut me,
I will bleed Tennessee
but Oregon fills my head.

I am still a stranger
walking through the Arboretum.
These trees 
are only vaguely known to me:
Douglas Fir, Spruce, White Pines
Others still whisper, closer:
Magnolia, Dogwood, Tulip Poplar

I would run 400 miles

And I would run 400 more, just to be the girl who ran 800 miles just to make an introduction work.

Last weekend, I checked my mileage ran for this year on an app on my phone. It read 404.9 miles. I was surprised to see that number so early in the year because, believe it or not, that was my new year’s resolution: run 400 miles. That isn’t that many miles to a lot of people, but when I set that goal, it seemed like an immensely challenging number.

To mark this achievement, I want to share what running has brought me thus far:

Health as a lifestyle-at my best, I am moving towards health instead of skinny and that is liberating. When I started running in January, my body was beautiful. 400 miles later, my muscles are more defined, my legs can take me farther, and my body is beautiful.

Release-I cannot number how many times I cried during runs this year. Anxiety and sadness way heavy in me, but when I run, I fly. I am forever grateful for that.

Challenge-Amazingly, trails that seemed impossible at the beginning of this year I can now run with my eyes closed. I mean, not closed the whole time, but there are stretches of Forest Park that I can map out vividly in my mind.

Wow. 400 miles. All spent laughing, waking, limping, sprinting, crying, falling, chatting, singing, breathing, dancing, jogging, yelling, and running.

I am only thankful. As strange as it is for me to write these words, running has absolutely enhanced my life 100 times over.

P.s. I have taken a lot of unflattering and hilarious running selfies. Here’s one from my race last weekend.