My Virginia Beach: A Bike Ride (Poem)

This is my response to the shooting that happened last week in my hometown of Virginia Beach last week. You can listen to my read of it here on SoundCloud or through the link below. 

My Virginia Beach: A Bike Ride (Poem)

The soothing summer sound of cicadas
Blends in a sweet symphony with the croaks of the bullfrogs
As the warm bay breeze wraps around my body
Comforting my silent cries
A smooth snake slithers across the shady patches of the sandy trail

As my bike picks up speed
My heart racing
My heart pounding
My quads burning

Om?

Images of implied violence abound
A man stalks around corners
Taking aim and firing
At unsuspecting co-workers
Hunting his prey
The sounds of gunfire muffled
And more like a soda being popped open
Giving his next victims the false sense of security of silence

Om gam gan …

A 3-story office building
The scene of a most horrific crime
Officers quickly swarmed on scene
In a gun battle that was extensive and long-standing
He mouth uttered nothing
His .45s said everything he wouldn’t
Even they were silenced

Om gam gan-ganapatye…

The ripple effect is widening its arc:
From the ex-lover who had left the building just 30 minute prior
From the OR friends who were on the Alpha Trauma Team
From the friends who lost friends
From the home hospital on lock-down
From one of the early officers on scene
To seeing the initial Emergency Vehicles Responding

Om gam gan-ganapatye ganapatye …

The coldness I felt on this 31st of May
Today on my bike ride is being washed away
The humidity failing to stop me,
Yet gives me rise as I crest another dune
With my burning thighs
Soft flesh pressed into the saddle of the seat
As I rise onto my feet
The wind rushing past my ears
The wind wiping away my tears
Deeply sensing how this will affect us all for many years

Om gam gan-ganapatye ganapatye namo namah

On the drive home, topless
Water droplets fell like tears from the sky
Within minutes the sky turned ashen
And roads turned into rivers as
Rains poured down and ozone washed in
A new sense of clarity set in
This…this is where we begin to breathe, love and live again

Om gam gan-ganapatye ganapatye namo namah ganapatye ganapatye namo namah… ganapatye ganapatye namo namah

Namaste

 

 

Sacred Union

A love so fierce it melts down barriers before resistance is born

Passion so great those near and far can it palpate

With laser focus, it cuts to the quick revealing truths within

Dross is evaporated again and again

Within this embrace, helpless in all transformations

Transmutations

Experiencing again Heaven on Earth

Knowing again one’s own worth; infinite

Melded individuals become the base of all sacred geometry

Mandorlas are lenses formed

A new way through which to view the world

The Vesica Piscis

A Divine Intersection of stars

The quintessential formation of all life

As two equals on common ground form

Sacred (re)union

As with-in, so with-out

Hand holding hand

Walking together

Opened, blossomed, unfettered

Life: Conjoined in Seed, Flower, Tree

A vehicle for movement

This, this is how galaxies are formed

Namaste

Celebrating Life as a New Dawn Rises

Today is my birthday and for the first time I am seeing my life as something to celebrate more than to mourn. Instead of fearing life, myself, my gifts and my relationship with myself and my God, I am seeing my life as a gift for myself, from God, for the world.

Yet, from early on I had believed that life was hard; love was hard or if anything was too easy that it was unfulfilling. To feel worthy I believed that I must endure, that I must sweat, labor and toil. I had lost faith in the paths that were high or too easy. I had lost faith in God to provide for me, because I repeatedly choose to see and experience life through the lenses of suffering.

Well, sometimes we have to hit rock bottom to be able to rise up. For it is at the bottom that we can see the roots of our suffering from their point of origin. We can then choose to pluck from our lives the falsehoods; the beliefs that keep us from being reborn. By reborn I mean that each moment and each day is a new opportunity to be and live life differently.

For these reasons, the struggle had been my focus. Believing that the struggle was what gave me strength, I found myself climbing and climbing to no end. Well, that was, until the bottom would drop out and I’d find myself at a new rock bottom, over and over again. Meanwhile, what I’m rediscovering today is that there is no need to struggle. That the struggle is only as real as I make it; as real as I allow it to be. Compassion is the key to release.

  • The top 5 tools that I’ve found helpful in developing more compassion for myself and others, thus “flipping this switch” are:
    • Daily meditation: guided and unguided (the Insight Timer app is amazing)
      Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything by Iyanla Vanzant has been such an amazing release!
      Self-Care: time off of work, massages, ionic foot detoxes, acupressure, journaling, salt baths, Naturopathy
      Mindfulness: being aware of what emotions are rising up to be acknowledged and then breathing into/being with the emotions in this present moment
      EFT & Constellation Therapy: both help to get to and clear the root causes of the beliefs that suffering is necessary

    Yes, there are still beliefs that I’m sorting through and changing, releasing. There are still pangs of fear and insecurity. However, their power over me is lost. They may roll me down the hill, yet I’m quicker to respond to myself with compassion sooner, instead of questioning, resisting or cowering as my faith is stronger than ever that I will survive it.

    May each one of us find within ourselves the space to believe in ourselves again. May we find the root causes of our suffering, so that we can respond to ourselves with the compassion that we deserve. May we all be free of anything that prevents our greatest selves from shining upon the world, thus helping to bringing a new dawn to this amazing world.

    With each person’s candle that is lit,
    we each begin to see more clearly.
    ~Tiffany C.

    Namaste

    Ganesha The remover of obstacles

    Sowing Love (a poem)

    Flickering light in golden hues

    Casts shadows over me,

    Over you.

    Threading the needle,

    Sometimes in this darkness

    Feels impossible.

    Slows breath,

    Furrows brow,

    Eye squints,

    Focus on passing through.

    Pulling together fabric

    With golden threads

    What once was separate

    Returns to one.

    A finger prick

    Fabric from white to red

    A broken heart

    A weary head

    Warp and weft

    Infused with love

    For you,

    For me.

    Forgiveness

    Blessings

    Sown with seeds

    Planted between the seams

    Golden threads bring together

    What was torn asunder

    By pain, by fear

    By endless Constraints

    Brokenness.

    By love felt anew

    An open heart

    No longer fears reprisal

    An open vessel

    Ready to receive

    Wrapped in a blanket

    Sewn for you,

    For me.

    Namaste

    Navigating The Spaces Between (NatPoWriMo)

    How confusing it can be

    When nothing is as it seems

    Traveling along seams

    Between what was, what could be,

    & what is yet to be…

    Navigating the spaces between.

    ~~

    Betwixt

    One may feel tricked

    Yet it is here

    We can choose differently.

    Seeds in spring sprout

    Some seedlings become great trees

    While others give in to rot

    ~~

    Navigating the spaces between

    New seeds planted and sprout

    What are we watering?

    Navigating the spaces between.

    Fading into Infinity

    Under rocks

    Hidden well

    Sheltered from storms

    Isolated in a shell

    Finite existence

    Personal hell.

    ~~

    Budding desires

    Something new

    Building fires

    Clearing out

    Impaling spires

    Dying to live.

    ~~

    Breaching boundaries

    Branching out

    Building strength

    Confidence renewed

    Retreats bidden

    From which she grew.

    ~~

    Accepting it all;

    What she had to do

    Crescendo of momentum

    Then blowback from changes made

    Old remains laying decayed

    Fuel the internal fires

    No longer contained

    External expression

    No longer implosion

    Touching upon golden threads

    Waking up the living dead.

    ~~

    Merging with The Myriad

    The All

    Imbued with bliss

    Nothing can touch this

    An open vessel

    No longer lidded

    Feels the infinite

    Within it

    A simple treasure

    After clearing

    Is given

    Welcome it says,

    You’re part of the

    Infinite

    ~~

    Namaste

    In the Openness We Create

    I have recently been experiencing a writer’s block. In keeping myself filled with “to do” lists and increasing my self-care regimen – mostly filling my time and space with “good things,” I have not felt the same call to write for some time.

    I really could make excuses all day. There are mornings and nights where I have had the time, yet when the time was available it seemed writing was the last thing on my mind.

    Recently, in a Life Coaching Session with Sam at Peacock Poetry, she helped me to see where I had built a shell around myself. Being walled-in was protective and helped me feel secure in the ever changing landscape of my life, yet it was also shielding me from my writing process.

    Part of my post-session assignment was to write about my experience from the closed shell to the open, majestic meadow, the place where I found my balance through a visualization Sam led me through.

    Here is the poem that I wrote in response to my experience:

    “From Turtle Shell to Majestic Meadow”

    Claws gripping soil in futility,

    the dizzying spin continuing,

    Infinitely.

    ~~

    Drawing back into her domed shell,

    Escaping what felt like pure

    hell.

    ~~

    Protective pod of security

    After a while gets

    Lonely.

    ~~

    Thoughts warp and take

    Away the breath,

    Each deficient of oxygen and

    truth.

    ~~

    Weary of her isolation,

    Cautiously peering outwards

    Into the world,

    Eyes beseeching anything harmful.

    ~~

    A sigh releases

    Vulnerability reveals then

    Creativity expresses

    A smaller shell

    ~~

    Sliding into a babbling brook

    Gliding along the pebbles,

    Pushing off.

    ~~

    She’s glad she came out

    From under her own rock.

    ~~

    Riding the flume

    Until seeing a new view

    Through the meadow,

    To see what she can do.

    ~~

    Standing on hind legs

    She peeks over rocks.

    At the majestic mountains

    Ahead, she looks.

    ~~

    Too many steps ahead,

    She knows, back to the

    Present she goes.

    ~~

    Wind like soft

    Velvet on her cheeks

    Brings her attention

    To tall reeds

    ~~

    Of grass growing

    In deep hues of green

    yellow at the tips turned

    Translucent from sun shining

    ~~

    Closing her eyes,

    Her face to the sun

    Oh, she feels, it’s time for

    A good run!

    ~~

    Legs growing longer,

    Her determination stronger,

    She presses forward

    ~~

    Grasses part as a trail

    She blazes,

    Energy raised then drained.

    ~~

    Time to return to the shell

    From whence she came?

    No, it was time to reframe.

    ~~

    Resting, instead, in a fresh

    Laid bed of orange pine needles,

    She kept her shell small

    And her thoughts on the big

    Image of the majesty of this moment

    That went beyond her head.

    ~~

    To dance such a fine dance

    Of security and vulnerability,

    Yes, there were even better

    Days ahead

    Now just to keep the balance

    Between heart and head!

    Namaste

    drawings to the theme:

    High Ropes & Facing Fears


    My heart raced, skipping beats as sweat beads lined my brow. White-knuckled, I grasped the line and kept my balance steady as I looked at the ground 80 feet below me. In the treetops, I was crossing rope bridges, zipping down lines, and mostly facing my fears. All was carefully balanced on the thin wire that I walked with more confidence than I’d ever crossed a solid hardwood floor. Today, I was conquering my fear of heights sitting in a chair and visualizing myself on a challenging high ropes course. 

    I did this mental exercise for 2 weeks before the actual climb. In reality, I perspired less than I imagined and my footing was more steady-than-not while I completed two challenging high ropes courses. Along the high, thin paths, I learned some things about myself that would have taken longer to learn on solid ground. “Change rarely happens when we’re comfortable,” says “D,” the man I’m dating. He was my companion on the ropes and his words ring true as I reflect on the many lessons that were highlighted with this adventure.

    My fear of heights and falling seem to trace back to witnessing a friend fall while tree-climbing. I was then forbidden to climb. Period. It seems that I then lost my confidence and soon thereafter the fear set in. 

    Then, while working with my life coach on expanding my confidence and taking leaps of faith, she and I decided it was time to couple this with a physical challenge. I felt the high ropes course was just what I needed to turn over a new leaf.

    “D” was immediately supportive of the challenge. He also helped me in overcoming my fears, at times in unexpected ways. On the way to the course, he taunted me about being scared and knowingly activated my I’ll-prove-you-wrong-stubbornness. It was also helpful that he has had lots of high ropes experience, so his strategic support came in handy several times. He also didn’t let it show when his confidence in me wavered. It was great to have him along as he knew when to push, coach and when to joke or even just let me go.

    Beforehand I feared the zips, yet it turns out that the 50- & 80-foot vertical drops and swinging from a rope 80-feet up were my biggest hesitations. “D” was particularly helpful during these more challenging aspects, encouraging me to jump more and hesitate less. Each time I left the ledge with the drops I screamed like a little girl. I had to completely trust the equipment. That was a true challenge for me! 

    The adventure also proved to be a lesson in philosophy. During one swinging ropes challenge, “D” said to me as I stepped forward, “Don’t hold onto the things behind you, they can’t help. Reach for things in front of you.” I chuckled and replied that there was a life philosophy in his statement. He agreed. 

    In reality, I was not always as graceful as I’d like to have been, at one point relying on my harness to catch me when I became impatient and frustrated with myself. There was some fear during that particular element as there were too many moving parts. I noticed later that I allowed my fear to push me faster. By rushing the process, I set myself up for more errors. I was also afraid to let go of control; to trust the process and my own skills. These high ropes were showing me how I’d been approaching challenges in my own life!

    Again, “D” was very helpful in seeing that I was rushing and he would remind me to slow down, to breathe, to take my time, and that there was not any rush. It took me several times to allow his advice to fully sink in, having had such a strong habit of bulldozing my fears and just pushing through to get to the other side. I see now in writing this that I often look to the completion of a task more than the journey. It’s not always about the goal nor the destination…a tough lesson I keep relearning. 

    Through and through, it was a really great experience and it was more fun (and only a few times tougher) than I had imagined. I can also see where I could trust more and control less. My impatience with the process got the best of me at times. It’s interesting that I was originally on these high ropes to face my fears of heights and I found other awarenesses, and mostly a greater sense of empowerment; my fear of heights now significantly diminished.

    It’s interesting how I’ve learned each of these lessons before. Now I’m learning to apply then to my life in new ways, all by allowing my feet to leave the ground and learning to trust; on oh so many levels.

    Namaste

    Why “Letting it Go” Can be so Tough

    We hear it everywhere, “just let it go.” Yet no one really tells us how to do that. We hold onto our pain and our suffering as if it were a life raft keeping us afloat. We do this mainly because we were never taught how to “let it go.” I mean, if something is causing us pain and we could drop it as easily as “let it go” sounds, don’t you think we’d have done that already?

    The irony is that to let something go, we don’t get there by pushing it away or cutting it off. If letting it go is hard it’s because this emotion, this thought, this feeling that we cannot escape is part of us. Lobbing it off is like removing one of our appendages. To understand the pain, we must learn to listen instead of running away or trying to amputate it. Instead, letting it go is about leaning into it. Feeling it. Allowing it. Accepting it.

    These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them. ~Rumi

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