Stop Searching

The healing hum that reverberates
through all the small, silent moments
can become buried beneath the louder
frequencies of frustration and forward motion

The panicked pace of ungrounded grasping
the breath that's stolen while being swept off your feet
it can feel like dying to slow down, to surrender momentum
in favor of savoring the soft rustling outside your window

Finding peace can be counterintuitive
stop flipping over rocks and just pause
to feel the cool stone against your skin
and hear the whispering stream gurgle past

It's hard to accept that happiness is here
when we've wasted so much time searching
learning to laugh at ourselves like when we've been
seeking the object that's been in our hand the whole time

It's the simple things that will save us
if we can sit with the fear that they
won't be enough in the end
they will
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Lessons in Letting Go

Marble mountains of morning mist
rising like phantoms from the warm river water
blue grey mirrors of the colorful hillsides behind
hanging motionless in the much cooler air

Another period of miraculous transition
lingering warmth of summer days
meeting the icy nights of autumn
manifesting monuments of change

Gentle nudges from mother nature
reminders that letting go is something beautiful
reassurance that life's long winters
are making new space for another spring

Each dark night of the soul threatens
that the sun will never rise again
but new happiness will find you
as surely as the earth will keep spinning

Fall is a yearly ritual in finding faith
bravely embracing a season of snow
instilling a confidence that striding through darkness
will always lead you back into the light

You Deserve It

Holding back the happiness
has become a form of self-defense
a suit of armor inlaid with spikes
stripping the soul of all color

A perversion of pleasure
believed to be undeserved
the conviction that hardships
will hurt worse with contrast

Let your heart lift with the certainty
that there are no prerequisites for celebration
the spirit is free to sing at its leisure
relinquish the reigns of self-affliction

Wrap your heart in layers of joy
so when the rain comes, as it must
you will have a safe harbor of happiness
to sustain you from within

Don't ever feel you must deny yourself
life's most simple, innocent delights
don't leave your soul to starve
without its natural nourishment

I promise you've already earned
your small share of sunshine
don't waste your life wondering
if you are worthy

You've won the lottery of merely living
each automatic breath is a reminder
that you deserve to be here
and thoroughly enjoy it whenever you can 

Soft Escape

There is a stillness in the night
that stops all thought
I often wonder if it is supposed
to feel so sweet as I slip
underneath existence

Each morning is an agony
of renewed responsibility and expectation
awaking to find myself again confined
behind the same searching eyes
within a cumbersome prison of flesh and bone

Where is it exactly that we spend half our lives?
why does my soul seem more suited
to the ethereal landscapes of the unconscious?
why has the waking world never seemed
to hold me fully in its solid hand?

I've always looked forward to the night
to the moment I am swallowed up by
the soft oblivion behind my eyelids
even a dreamless inky darkness
to me seems simply scrumptious

I've rarely known the torment of
an agitated, incomplete night's sleep
I am equally a stranger to even a moment
of conscious rest and repose
I'm accustomed to black and white

My soul is perpetually sleepy
exhausted by the constant fires
lit within the waking world
It wants to dissipate under deep slumber
to be scattered into stardust

I can only hope that I'll be greeted
by this same strange pleasure
as I let go once more into my ultimate end
and sink beneath those familiar, dark waters
for one sublime and final time

Forgive

Fall is a reminder
to forgive ourselves
for our failures

The inevitable plunge
after a season of fiery energy
the slow decent into old age

We cannot always hold ourselves
to the standard of our best days
the winter will come again

And it's okay to rest
it's okay to stumble
and go backwards

There is no shame
in still loving yourself
after your worst mistakes

Don't be afraid to offer yourself
the sacred medicine of self-love
it's not reserved for perfection alone

You won't be spoiled by
your own positive regard
during the dark night of the soul

There is strength to be found in forgiveness
there is grace that blooms from the rich soil
of having faith in yourself

Severity will not serve you
rigidity will leave you broken
let your inner gaze be soft

Gather up the lessons learned
and save them for future opportunities
life is abundant with second chances

Passenger

A coyote cuts across the foggy highway
a life held inside indecision, a moment's hesitation
could be a violent end of everything all at once

Sulfurous air that once shrouded out the sun
a sudden impact that swallowed the earth
in many decades of dark, lifeless winter

Time has a way of emphasizing
the absurdity of right and wrong when
final outcomes are impossible to predict

Half the suffering I've known has been
an inner upheaval of moral outrage
resistance to the evils of this world

My stormy turmoil subsides if only
I can learn to surrender all judgement
and accept my place as a humble passenger

Who am I to hold dominion over
the way life is supposed to unfold?
I prefer the role of patient witness anyway

To watch with curious eyes and an open heart
ready to embrace all of life with equanimity
a grateful submission to existence beyond understanding

To play my small part with a soft hand
extending a gentle, hopeful intention of pure love
prepared to let go of any and all expectations

Tender feet along the balustrade, balancing
between engagement and surrender
too often falling into indignation and anger

The perpetual repetition of life can be tedious
but it offers endless chances to keep trying
precious lessons linger behind a door that is always open

Every failure is an opportunity to find grace
there is no permanence, perfection, or wasted effort
everything is as it should be, everything is as it should be

Fear is Futile, the Future May Never Come

The future is always uncertain
fear cannot solve anything
instead it keeps you small
trembling in your lowest frequency

A protective shield repelling
all positive energy from entering
there is no way to escape pain
avoidance only amplifies it

How many things have I agonized over
that never even came to pass?
I've aged myself tenfold expending energy
on the ugliest ideas of things that would never happen

The art of living is learning to be present
no future safety and comfort will matter
if we can't even enjoy the peace we have now
so let your mind be still, just exist

All we can do is savor the moment
everything else is only theoretical
there is no use struggling with demons
that we may never meet along our path

Build resiliency for whatever may arrive
by cultivating a garden of delicious experience
that will satiate you as the future floods in
you are alive, you are safe, just breathe

Beyond the Intellect

They gather like wolves on the boardwalk below. They’re howling for answers no wolf can know.

Mewithoutyou – Fox’s Dream of the Log Flume

I’ve been reading War & Peace these last few weeks. Pretty ironic considering the state of affairs in the world right now. Nonetheless, the passages I read last night were very insightful. One of my favorite characters, Pierre, is talking about God, religion, and spirituality with an old freemason. The conversation goes as follows:

He is attained not through reason, but through living.”

“I don’t understand,” said Pierre, dismayed at the doubts surging up inside of him. Put off by the vagueness and weakness of the freemason’s arguments, he felt the dread of unbelief. “I don’t understand,” he said, “why human reason cannot attain the knowledge you speak of.”

“The highest wisdom and truth is like unto the purest liquid which we try to absorb into ourselves,” he said. “Can I receive that pure liquid into an impure vessel and judge of its purity? Only through the inner purification of myself can I bring the liquid received within me to some degree of purity.”

While I still don’t believe in the Christian God or the Bible, and have a general distaste for this particular expression of spirituality, I do think these words have a certain truth to them. I may not be religious, but in recent years I have come to consider myself a spiritual person. Hidden inside the horrors of the churches that have cropped up around the world in various forms, is a poignant, important truth. I don’t think it’s merely a coincidence that all forms of religion seem to share very similar threads. There is wisdom to be obtained there. I once held logic and intellect above all else, scoffing at the idea of faith. Now I think there is a place for both.

I used to believe that everything could be understood through science and reason. My experiences with psychedelics, more than anything else, have opened my mind to the idea that there are things our minds are just not capable of grasping. There are states and perspectives we cannot even conceive of. I’ve always been a curious person. As a child I had so many questions that seemed beyond answers. I contented myself on the idea that after I died, I could ask God. Then I would finally know everything and nothing would be a mystery to me. When I lost my faith, I also lost that comforting thought of finding answers one day. Now part of me thinks that far away hope might not be entirely off.

“You’ll die and all will end. You’ll die and know all, or cease asking.”

Will the new view I tentatively hold of death, I think it’s possible I may still have all the answers some day. When this fragmented consciousness disconnects from my mortal form, it will be submerged once again in the larger ocean of all that is. I want to believe that there is peace in that dissolution. That I will once again understand and remember all that I have forgotten in order to take part in this earthly existence. Yet, even this explanation isn’t exactly right. Part of me feels sure that whatever the real answers are, the full truth of reality is something that we simply cannot comprehend or conceptualize in the brains we are currently working with as humans. That is why no answer appears sufficient or correct, testable, or provable. There are no satisfactory answers that we can obtain in this life regarding those large existential questions of who am I, what is this, why am I here.

These questions and our endless, futile search for definitive answers to them have caused suffering throughout all of human history. We wrestle constantly with the gnawing ache to know things that cannot be known. This is were I believe that faith becomes a valuable asset to us. Faith can be twisted and used to manipulate the masses to bow to corrupt authorities, and for most of my life, this seemed like its sole purpose, to trick and take advantage of people. Now I find myself longing for a more abstract and vague faith. Not a faith in some supreme, all-knowing being. Not faith in the institutions of mankind. But a faith in the idea that there are things at work in the universe that I cannot comprehend.

This form of faith is a great comfort. It is a surrender. It is the acknowledgement that I do not understand, that I can never understand, and that that’s okay. I don’t have to keep struggling and suffering for these important answers. I won’t find them. I may not even be asking the right questions. There is such peace in trusting that everything is as it should be. That everything is going to be alright, even if you can’t fathom how. There is a reason, an explanation for all of this seemingly random chaos out there somewhere. We must accept that we are only working off of very limited, myopic understanding. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s all we’ve got to go by and we have to keep going despite not having the full picture.

In this way, faith is a necessary part of life for all of us, it is a constant practice, whether you consider yourself religious/spiritual or not. Faith is that energy inside of us, that yearning, that momentum that keeps us going despite all the pain, the suffering, the confusion, the doubt. It’s scary to relinquish control in favor of faith, but it is what we all must do sooner or later. Logic, reason, knowledge, and intellect can only take us so far. Certainly use them and value them. They are essential, important, wonderful tools. But also know that it’s okay to let go and surrender to the unknown, the unknowable too. It’s going to be okay, even if we can’t understand how. Everything is as it should be.