River of Time

Yesterday and tomorrow bleed into today
and everything that matters is washed away
the present moment is diluted and drowned
the heavy veil of time always in the foreground

Today could stand alone or float with frosted wings
above the swell of swinging hands, searching for tiny somethings
eventually all levees break and all that's left is to let go
trust the flood of forward motion to take care of everything on its own

Flowing water can't be contained, the cool caress feels nice
stand in the stream of experience, knowing it won't happen twice
preventing storms is not your place, they have their purpose too
the heavy rains feed the soil and someday so will you

Enjoy It

It's time to stop and rest
by the hushed rustling rhythm of
blades of grass alongside the stream

To let this soft cascade of breath
carry away all the sharp edges of this life
and tickle the small hairs on my bare neck

There will be plenty of time to worry and plan
but right now it is spring and I am in love
these are the moments I've prayed for

So hush this racing heart and mind
surrender to the sensation of warm water
slowly submerging supple limbs in thick bliss

There is no where else I have to be
this is it, stop holding your breath
pause beneath the open sky of affection

These tender moments can take away the pain
let yourself have this mindful medicine
that future you've been hurrying to is here 

It's okay to enjoy it

Staying Present While Moving Forward

Preoccupied, I grasp at air
trying to halt the passage of time
the sickening, consistent tick, tick, tick
that makes my heartbeat quicken
tearing me away from where I am now

I want to be so fully present that
I can use these moments as patches
to protect me in that future I fear
collecting up all my small treasures
to remind me this life has been a blessing

There is no avoiding human suffering
and I haven't yet had my fair share
I have to learn to carry this cringing resistance
while still enjoying the sticky leaves of spring
while still soaking up love and sunlight

The best preparation is practicing peace
and expanding my capacity for gratitude
with every sip of precious cool water
resting in the sweet stirrings among the trees
and observing the cyclical life of the hillsides


How fantastic it is to witness
with half envious, hungry eyes
what it means to be fully present
the magnetism it provides

What a lilting, cashmere comfort
to stand beneath a sturdy bough
the safety provided by selfless shade
the power of wielding the here and now

The natural night that lifts the tide
a confidence that winks at fear
soothing weight of flower scented air
a place to rest and lean against good cheer

The overwhelming gravity of those rare auras
that envelope all others in energizing light
an encouraging warmth that opens up blossoms
offering a certainty everything will be alright

Here With You

The fruit is ripe upon the vine
pulling downward toward the earth
heavy with sweet juice and soft flesh

It's time to taste the warm embrace
of mother nature in every mouthful
eternity contained within each moment

Hesitation has not yet found you
consumed by the blessing of here and now
savoring the feeling of heavenly fullness

Innocent acceptance of all that is
unbothered by the clock's steady cadence
the perfect gift of pulsating presence

The Gift of Giving In

Sore fingertips, small red stains
smeared across the fabric of my psyche
thousands of tiny, pin-prick punctures
trying to stitch gentleness in between
the sudden trembling of a quick temper

Shh, shh, shushing a sweltering soul
don't waste these final moments with fury
violent shouts for justice and change have
dwindled into whispers for self surrender
the somber effort of retreating inward

Giving up is a final gift for myself
now it's time to just sit down and learn
to savor these last glimpses of blue sky
to let myself have a few more brief moments
to enjoy, to smile, to simply breathe

Momentous effort of wrestling my willfulness
to stay focused on this unfamiliar intention
of unclenching my jaw, relaxing my face
softening my muscles, as I practice letting go
teaching myself to be present with this fleeting peace

Soon enough I will have no choice
but to fight and scream and suffer
for now I will work on collecting
all the small joys that are left for me here
creating memory tonics for what's to come

Warm Thunder

The crashing calm of thunderstorms
shouting down the voices inside my head
the violent contrast of safety indoors
simple gratitude for physical shelter

There is no need to rush around when
the electric atmosphere hisses overhead
the deep, rumbling growls of dark clouds
vibrate at a strangely soothing frequency

The forced introspection of sunless days
feels less daunting when it rains
there is plenty of time for me to decide
all the important things that press upon me

Today I have the chance to listen
and breathe in the moist, cool air
claps of thunder like mindful bells
guide me back to this small moment


I often find myself at conflict with a lot of the messaging in the spiritual wellness or yoga communities. I don’t know if people have been on their own personal journey’s so long they’ve forgotten what it was like in the beginning, or if people simply aren’t suffering from mental illness the way I and many others are. Either way, these communities, despite perhaps having the best intentions, tend to overlook how hard it can truly be to move into a better headspace.

Constantly hearing things like, “just choose to be happy” or “do these practices and you’ll inevitably feel better” can be a little dismissive and hurtful. Especially when you really believe it’s that easy. Not talking about what hard work yoga and mindfulness truly are is a dis-service to so many people. It leads to toxic positivity, imposter syndrome, spiritual bypassing, and/or giving up on yourself all together.

It’s so important that we all remember that everyone’s journey will be different and take a different amount of time. After having a personal practice for over 12 years, I find myself wondering why I’m not “better” yet. I ask myself what is wrong with me when I notice myself perpetually backsliding into old familiar habits of negative self-talk and mindless action. It becomes a cycle of perceiving that I’m not kind or compassionate enough to myself, then beating myself up for not being where I want to be. It’s unbelievably frustrating. I keep asking myself, if we can all choose happiness in moments of anger or despair, why can’t I? Why am I still struggling?

Only recently have I come to realize that it’s much more complex than just choosing another way of being. We do all have choices, but those choices look very different for all of us. Someone who has been practicing self-hatred or even self-harm for years cannot just go to yoga everyday and decide to be happy and love themselves. It may take them the rest of their life to even come close to that goal, despite diligent, consistent effort. And that’s okay.

When you are confronted with a situation that generally makes your angry, the choice to simply let it go and be happy may truly not be available to you in that moment. Maybe your choice today is just noticing your anger, or your grief, or your nervous energy, or whatever is coming up. Maybe you can choose to sit with those feelings and allow them to be there. And maybe you will spend years practicing that noticing and allowing, without feeling able to choose a different feeling state. And that is okay. Healing is not a race, and the more your try to rush yourself, the less you will actually be able to heal.

Today I invite you to take a look at your own practice, especially if you’re someone who has tried and given it up as a lost cause. Are you putting yourself on a timeline? Are you criticizing yourself for not making progress as quickly and easily as others may seem to be? Are you losing faith in yourself after falling back into harmful habits time and time again? Have you given up on yourself? Take a moment to forgive yourself for having a different path than everyone else. Take a moment to acknowledge how hard it can be to try to heal, and thank yourself for making any effort at all. You’re doing just fine. Give yourself as much time as you need. You’re exactly where you need to be.

If trying harder doesn’t work, try softer

Range of Motion

Everyone keeps telling me
that I get to make the choice
that happiness and peace
are only one option away

It's frustrating to then find myself
in moments that don't seem to offer
the possibility of different ways of being
and I'm hopelessly overcome with old patterns

I've been asking myself
why I'm not strong enough
to make the right decisions
instead I just keep stumbling

But I think I finally realized
when people say we all have a choice
that doesn't mean the choices are limitless
or that we all have the same options

Sometimes at first your scope is small
I still can't choose unconditional compassion
when my heart is sealed closed with anger
but I can make the decision to be mindful

I can witness myself from a few steps off
in a way I never was able to before
I can get curious about my intention
and question my automatic reactions

Sometimes I can stay silent and still
or even smile as I watch these impulses
swiftly rise, then subside and pass by
right now the changes I make are subtle

Mindfulness is a muscle that with effort
will provide a wider range of motion
new choices will arise naturally
if I am patient and keep practicing

Time to Stop Moving

All the big picture ideas get
bogged down by tiny details
nothing ever seems worth the trouble
of teasing out the tangled minutia

Ambition without aim is an oxymoron
although something inside me still aches
an unreachable itch for a project worth pursuing
a tangible goal to give life meaning again

Maybe every direction is just a distraction
a mirage in the distance to keep us moving
through a desert that is identical wherever we stop
would it all be the same if I simply sat down here?

It feels shameful to keep existing without a purpose
the unsightly sin of complacency is a heavy shroud
the urge to prove myself through accomplishment
is a set of iron shackles around my trembling soul

Motivation is meaningless and amorphous to me now
there has never been satisfaction at the end of my striving
the soft voice inside just says that its time to rest indefinitely
in the end, all I want is to want nothing