The Devil’s Mill

There was a time when the world moved slow
with the rounded loveliness of hiccupping days
that dripped gently into the deep, reflective pool of life

When rushing into the future was a sign of ill intent
not the industrious, enviable attitude of an elite individual
only a madman would pass up the daily spectacle of the setting sun

The wind through the reeds served its own ends
and it was an honor just to be a witness to this earth
as she twirled and unfurled a routine of majestic mysteries

Time is the tyrant that has torn us from true living
a construct of man that manifests in ceaseless obligations
a slight of hand that has convinced us it is objective and concrete

A clock will not tell you that this moment is eternal
the liquid nature of the kaleidoscope of now
if forever transforming and becoming something new

The radio static of the collective mind has gotten so loud
it's all but drown out the music of the present moment for us all
life has become the distant background noise of greater misery

But the shackles of time can still be cast off
it's not too late to emerge again into snow white infinity
the devil's mill that man has set in motion can also be stopped
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I have to remind myself how grateful I once was
for everything I now take for granted
when I first got this job I thought it was
better than anything I could have imagined

I can't forget a higher salary doesn't replace
the rare human decency I've been given
the days I used to long for community
have been gathered dust in distant memory

How elated I was at first, to have my own home
with a leafy green yard on a lonely street
to be able to walk to the waters
that have always carried me

Somehow it seems like finding ways to suffer now
will spare me a future filled with pain but
present pleasures cannot be postponed
and stashed away for another day

I won't allow fear to rob me of the moments
already filled with soft comforts and simple joy
the days ahead cannot diminish the delight
of where I am right now

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

Tips If You Struggle with Staying Present

I’ve noticed that a lot of people, including myself, that have tried breathing exercises or mindfulness practices come away from them feeling as though they don’t work. For a while it was a mystery to me why some yoga classes or meditations felt so much more healing than others. I realized that the practices that weren’t able to recenter me were more like going through the motions rather than truly being present. I may have been meditating but my mind was wandering and/or my breath was short and shallow the entire time. Sometimes the internal experience does not mirror the outward manifestation of mindfulness practices.

Some days you’ll find you are just not able to focus as easily as other days. However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t try breath work or yoga or that these practices don’t provide any benefit. One thing I’ve found that helps me stay in the moment if I find myself struggling is imagining I’m writing a story. When the mind is very busy, stopping all together can feel impossible. Instead, try to describe the tiny sensations, sights, sounds, feelings that are happening around you that you normally wouldn’t pay attention to.

For example, say you are taking a quiet moment to connect with the earth. Rather than merely trying to force your mind into focusing on the breath, start writing a mental story as if you are trying to explain everything you are experiencing in that moment to someone else. Are your feet in the grass? What does that feel like? Where is the sun in the sky? Is there a breeze blowing? What sounds are there around you? Be as descriptive as possible. If you find it hard to keep your mind on this task as well, you can even bring a notebook and physically write it out on a sheet of paper.

When you start to put seemingly bland or uneventful moments into words, you realize just how much is actually going on even in stillness that you might not have noticed before. I always find this practice very soothing and pleasurable. Even if it feels like you have no time or your mind couldn’t possibly stop racing, set a timer for just 1-5 minutes. It doesn’t take long for your to settle the mind and body. You may even find you enjoy it so much that you make a little more time than you thought you’d be able to devote to this little mental, emotional, spiritual break. And if not, be grateful that you at least gave yourself one minute to rest. You deserve it.

Where Am I Trying To Go?

It’s hard to find a moment where I’m not rushing blindly into the next. As if there is some final destination that I’m frantic to reach. Without even realize it, I’ve spent half my life in fast forward. It just feels like the past and the future are somehow more tangible and quantifiable than the present moment ever can be. I’m afraid to rest here precisely because it is so fragile and fleeting. Fearful that if I live in this moment, I won’t have anything to show for it a few years from now. But focusing on an imaginary future can never serve me. The happiness I say I desire above all else, can only be found right here.

For someone who is so caught up in mental machinations, it’s extremely hard to settle into the simplicity of bodily sensation and experience. Language and logic cannot hold onto the slippery, ineffable value of being just as I am. The effort to try to make sense of everything pulls me out of every moment and places me in an artificial bubble of self-awareness, severed from the here and now unfolding before me. It feels foreign to forget myself in the soft feeling of fabric against sensitive skin. My mind has become so powerful and proficient at wrestling my other senses into stale submission. Finding myself suddenly surprised to scan my body and realize, once again, I’ve bitten my finger until its stinging and bleeding. How can I continuously be so cut off from the physical manifestation of me?

Never would I have imagined that one of my life’s greatest challenges could be participating in it. I’m much better at meticulous planning and pushing and pulling myself than planting my feet mindfully in front of me with every step. How bizarre it is to attempt to do nothing, and fail so reliably. Sitting on the bank of a river, utterly unable to keep myself from casting a line again and again. Not even noticing that I’ve been fishing, then suddenly coming back to reel my over eager hook back in for the thousandth time. Not even finishing setting my intention to be silent and settle into the stillness before realizing that damn bobber is already back on the surface of the water. The stamina of my persistence and patience needs to be built up, and that will take time. I’ve been strengthening my practice of falling into frustration these past 28 years. I must allow myself to surrender to the possibility it may take 28 years to rectify that habit.

It seemed simple and exciting when I first stumbled upon the ancient knowledge of yoga, mindfulness, and meditation and learned all that I truly desired was already mine. Little did I know that getting to a point where I was capable of granting myself permission to enjoy it would be a tremendously tedious and time-consuming trial. I must constantly remind myself that my repeatedly frustrated efforts, my failures, my relapses, my misdirections are all worth it. I want life to be easy, but I need it to be challenging so that I may learn and grow and develop into a being I can be proud of.

Every moment can be a celebration, a chance to be grateful, when I remember that I’ve already reached the destination I’ve been striving for. Every time I take a deep breath and notice the world around me is a victory. I won’t be discouraged by my many mistakes and missteps. They cannot spoil the joy contained within the rare moments where I manage to be fully present. Small successes still count. Whether I feel like I’m moving forward or backward, in the end I will always be right here. And right here is the only place I need to be.

Let It Be

Shedding the crackling layers of thought
the busy hum inside that separates us
from the splendid simplicity of the moment
embracing boredom as a sacred rest

Letting go of the desperate clinging
the endless search for answers and meaning
this life doesn't have to be anything besides
exactly what it is as we breathe here now

You're doing enough, you are enough
whether or not you've made a masterpiece
out of every second of your day
sip in inner stillness with the stale air

All tension comes from the stories we tell
our insistence that we should be somewhere else
when did it become so scary to nestle into silence
to spend hours watching the rain come and go

When did I begin to rely on the things outside myself
to be a signal for if I'm doing okay, if I'm allowed to be happy
hushing my internal guide to subscribe to other influences
surrendering my deep knowing for doubt

Even my sad days have their own worth
it's the struggle to escape them that becomes suffering
sitting with myself in the darkness is okay
being a friend to this form instead of abandoning her

I still don't know if unconditional love can be taught
or if it's already there beneath all the noise
but if this life is just spent searching and learning
what a beautiful experience it will be regardless
Hitomi Mochizuki – One of my favorite high-vibe YouTubers

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

The Art of Being

The need to understand
becomes the thief of sensation
how many moments have been
thrown away through analysis?

The inability to understand
certain forms of suffering
intensifies and elongates
time spent in those spaces

Questioning simple joys
steals the innocence of happiness
do I really need a reason
to feel buoyant and free?

The intellect I've so prided myself with
has been revealed to be a burden
intelligence can sever the tether
between body and spirit

Simple animal satisfactions
evaporated under a microscope
intuition silenced from years
of skepticism and scrutiny

Allowing myself to merely exist
has been the greatest challenge
the most beautiful form of art
is a life well-versed in letting go

Black Raspberry Rain

The warm, thick water
at the edge of the river
guides me along the 
texture of the rocky shore

the soft rhythm of the waves
against my bare legs and feet
sand sticks to me as I reemerge
through the trees along the road

the humid air clings to my lungs
in an oppressive cloud of heat
storms slowly accumulating
above the distant horizon

ripe black raspberries beckon
from the wild hillside bramble
the heat is dissolved by cool droplets
as I begin to collect my bounty

enjoying my palmful of sweet fruit
letting the rain soak my hair
and paint dewy beads against my skin
the swell of sweet music in my ears

I laugh at the sheer delight of being alive
overcome by gratitude for all my senses
overwhelmed with love for this world
savoring the childlike joy of simplicity

each present moment can be populated
with precious miracles like these
may my mind remain still to witness
my heart always open, ready to receive

Sit With It

Telling the difference
between fear and danger
is a difficult decision to make
the subtle instinct of the body
muddied water of the mind

There is an urgency
behind my thoughts
that push me with such force
pleading for immediate action
assuring stillness means death

The overwhelming power
of internal pressure
requires patience and tender attention
the feral fear of the inner self
takes time to trust and be subdued

The illusion that a solution
lies in the realm of thought
another distraction designed
to disconnect me further
from the body's wisdom

Avoiding my feelings is a full-time job
so easy to forget that stopping signals
soap bubble tensions to burst
a glistening rainbow release
right before my eyes

Anxiety is a suitor that loves the chase
ceasing to run is the only sure way to escape
his harmful, hounding advances
demonstrate your bravery by squeezing his hand
say, "I'm afraid, but I won't look away"