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


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

My Innocent Friends

With animals it's so easy
I never have to say a word
they don't ask for explanations
for the parts of me that are broken

they don't hold me up to the image
of who I was yesterday, last week, last year
we are here together now, and I am loved
for whoever I have to be today

Their innocent, trusting, glossy eyes
tap the glass of my most tender places
they are the mirror of the best parts of me
gleaming emblems of unconditional positive regard

They are the guiding light to perfect peace
humble teachers of how to be grateful
reminders of the way life was supposed to be
with the simple joy of full-bodied presence

I stay far away from anyone who says
they don't like animals
god only knows what goes on beneath
the skin of someone like that

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

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

Right Now

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.