Wednesday, April 20, 2016

life after death

You used to complain about your weight, then eat ice cream before bed.
You wouldn’t open up when you were upset for days, then a trigger would send you at me suddenly, howling in terrifying rage that made no sense to me.
You didn’t trust your body since it seemed to betray you so often, and had no tolerance for pain, resisting it and distracting yourself instead of taking better care.
You were so afraid of me being hurt that any small thing would send you into a panic over me, instilling a deeply etched pattern I keep trying to shake off.
Your black and white thinking alienated so many people, and your certainty kept you closed off and ashamed of your own choices, your misplaced guilt a shark-filled moat around you.
You wanted to connect so badly that your intensity backfired, leaving you mostly alone.
Your own brother barely knew you…
Your father blamed himself for so much, not because he did treat you badly when you were young, but because of his choices in women…
Your mother lied to you about why she was so depressed and angry, and after she died you wished you could speak with her.

And I realize, all at once, that all these things, so directed at you, so angry at you, so judgmental of you, voices repeated by my mind over the years, can also be said at many points, completely, truly, about me.

And also.

Your sense of humor was excellent, and we would make each other laugh until we couldn’t breathe.
You tried hard to exercise, to eat healthier food, and enjoyed small adventures.
You loved philosophy, archaeology, old movies, music, science fiction, and poetry.
You thought you had a good answer for how to make the world a better place.
You loved to sing in other languages.
Music moved you, could make you cry, or motivate you to dance awkwardly around the living room.
You had a gift for seeing into me, understanding what really motivated me, who I was, solidly, reliably, predictably, underneath the roiling emotions that constantly disturb my surface, and your advice and love were deep.
Your relationship with grampa got much better over time.
You understood your mother so much better after she died, and although that was painful, it was helpful too.

All these things are also true for me.

No suffering is ever unconnected.
No connection is ever without effect.
Letting go of certainty and blame,

the innocence of interdependent arising 
can begin to be seen to illuminate existence.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


it seems to you I do nothing
sitting, walking, reading, writing, thinking
and in a sense I agree
there are days when doing nothing
means I stay here-
it is a meditation,
incredible restraint, non-doing-
when the pressure to escape
is a fault line ready to slip
when each imagined new path
is met with screams of ‘impossible’
when memories of children and fathers
explain that I will always be irrelevant
when I have exhausted my grip
sleep is less adventurous than death...
and so, this evening, 
when you ask what I did today,
I can extend my arms to you,
and smile,

and say, ‘nothing’