Wednesday, June 25, 2014


My nervous system hurts.
Everything is painful, but the pain isn't sharp or precise.
Every thought feels like an emotion.

There was no quiet time today,
or meditative movement,
or time to sit for a moment with my coffee or my dog.
Many events are transpiring at once, in the lives of so many who physically
touched me today, or I touched them, or sat near them.
If I sit next to someone and I am not centered in myself,
I can't decipher the trail of what I feel and I can get lost.
In those moments I need to go somewhere by myself for a little bit,
but I usually can't.

It can feel overwhelming.
My heart will sometimes hurt or race or all of a
sudden I feel like banging my head against a wall
or sobbing
and I don't know why.
Anything I try to think about is clouded by intense emotion,
like my mind is being washed away by an immense tidal wave.
By this time it is too late.

I know it is a storm and will pass
and it is better after sleep,
but whatever needs accomplished before bedtime
is excruciatingly difficult.
I sometimes have to say to my spouse,
"I am sorry. I am not functional right now."
Yoga, running, walking in nature, meditation...
these are not hobbies for me.
I need these things to function.
My life depends on these outlets.
How grateful I am when these days end,
and the aching confusion with them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Faux pearls

Like Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar,
What if we had to tell the truth,
every time we wrote,
instead of every time we spoke? 

Too many boasts 
in our Facebook posts,
flipped on their head,
just might make us turn red.

Trying some honesty on for size,
rather than flattering little white lies,

would look a little like this,
for me.

What happened:
Made myself run three miles without walking,
dried my sweat with a kitchen towel,
then ate a plate of seven-layer dip.

What I wrote:
Feeling awesome after my five mile run! 

What happened:
Woke up at 4:00 a.m. and tossed and turned for three hours,
mulling over inanities.

What I wrote:
Woke up to meditate during the amrit vela. Set a beautiful tone for the day! 

What happened:
Sat in church and tried to ignore the crayons my kids kept dropping under the pews,
holding my breath as they punched each other,
looking at the floor or bowing my head in false piety when congregants stared.
Studied everyone's slumped shoulders during the sermon, picking up about half of the message.

What I wrote:
So inspired after service today! Feeling bolstered by spiritual community! 

We need to embellish and rework our experience,
pulling the pearls from the oyster shells of the mundane,
holding our stories up to the light and clearing off the smudge.
It's up to us to create our own narratives, and tell them to ourselves.
How true they are isn't all that important,
unless it's a medical emergency. 
Then it should be factual. 
Brutal honesty with ourselves and others is often neither pleasant nor all that useful. 

Monday, June 23, 2014


As the eyes close,
and the breath slows,
tick, tick, tick,
goes the sound of the watch
on the wrist,
as the hand
props up the head.

Sit up straight.
Rest the hands
in the lap.
Legs are crossed,
feet tucked under,
snug and safe.

Breathing in, 
the chest lifts,
breathing out,
the shoulders drop. 

Fingertips moving up,
touching the shoulders,
fingernails graze the skin. 

Breathing in,
drop the hands,
breathing out,

Across the eyelids,
flashes of green,
speckles of yellow,
a black cube 
with a white outline. 

Breathing in,
white light,
breathing out,
black smoke. 

Sounds from the house,
sounds from outside,
engines humming in the distance,
as the washer spins.


warmth in the chest,
itchy eyes,
slight tension in the lips.

Breathing in,
breathing out,


Breathing in,
time passes,
Breathing out,
someone else knows,
maybe the watch.

Breathing in,
Breathing out,


Heels and ankles,
hips and thighs. 

Breathing in,
breathing out,

Please just stay here. 

A beeping sound.
The breath deepens.
Eyes open.
Feet lower,
touching the floor,
arms stretch overhead.
Stand up,
and walk. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Soft, graceful, radiant mother,
returning to us with abundant light.
Firm, warm and moist earth,
yielding glittering gems of flowers.
Your children delight even in the humblest of weeds,
clover, and bright golden buttercups,
wild strawberries and honeysuckle.
Intoxicating scents float on the air,
your breath, 
reviving us from our
melancholy torpor. 

Walking in the morning,
I sense your presence around me,
my feet against the ground,
my eyes to the horizon,
my ears attuned to the songs
of the cardinal, goldfinch,
and mockingbird, 
to the rhythm of the woodpeckers
rapping against the pines.

I feel I can tell you anything,
like a close sister, an indulgent,
sweet mother, you are.
The warmth of the golden sun
is your embrace,
the breeze,
your hair, brushing my cheek.

Lest I forget you,
the many creatures who greet me
come to remind me,
of your delicate, vibrant splendor. 
Shimmery green spiders 
with silver backs and orange bellies,
butterflies of every color,
snails and tiny grasshoppers.
and preying mantises,
will make their entrance soon,
when we will sit outside at dusk 
and watch the bats fly in circles. 

The rocks and feathers 
my family collects,
reminders of you to put inside,
but outside is where we greet you,
learning from you as you teach us
death and rebirth,
growth and renewal,
opening to the sun
and rising up with the moon,
our Mother.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Time in a Bottle

From a furnished apartment,
in a dreary London neighborhood,
completely solitary at 29,
3 days after 9/11,
longing for some kind of purpose,
I could not imagine
a day with feathery
and watercolor clouds,
dotting a bright blue sky,
the Olympics theme song
playing in the background,
surrounded by a group 
of 20 children,
their parents and guardians,
some people who guard me 
and some people I guard,
and an ensuing 180 minutes
of facilitating glee,
and thinking,
If I could stop time now,
would I do it? 

This is what I truly dreamed of
when I was a kid,
more so than the things I dreamed about
when I was 22, or 25, and wanted to be

When you feel like this,
then you know,
it's now, not earlier, not later,
not a goal, or an end.
You don't know about
or nirvana,
or samadhi,
or anything so lofty. 
You know about happiness,
and realize it's momentary. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

How Much

How much do we really need
to say,
to do,
to have,
to be? 

How many words does it take
to convey a pure emotion,
to describe a vivid picture,
to convince a neutral witness?
I love to hear you talk, 
mostly just for the sound. 
It's enough to say only a few words,
or none,
if you talk to me some other way. 

How many actions does it take
to serve and preserve this world
and its people, plants and animals?
How many actions are unneeded,
and even harmful?
But no action is wasted. 
Everything goes into the soup.

How many things do we need
to fill us up,
to help us work,
to help us play,
to exchange with each other?
Sometimes I want to hold a thing in my hand,
or wear it, 
or use it,
just to feel it, 
or for how it makes me feel. 
But I want to move about unencumbered.

How many roles do we need to play
to make the plot work,
to form a full cast,
to feel like 
we really exist,
and people see us,
and we belong?
What are we doing,
when we are being,
and is it enough? 
If yes, then yes.
If no, then keep doing what you're doing.
If yes and no,
keep asking yourself,
and see for yourself 
how much is enough.

We can say and do and have and be so much 
to one another
that it's always enough.
It feels like enough, now. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Now is the time,
this is the moment,
when the commitment continues.
The feeling is relief, gratitude,

The flow of life moves around,
over and through me,
and everything.
From the first waking moment,
to the time I can sit here,
saying to myself,
now is the time,
I am carried along by rapids,
bumping up against rocks,
yielding with soft limbs of trees.

There is always a hope within me,
a belief that I can come back here,
and reenter this consistency.
This place within me sits and waits,
until I fall back in again,
but there is no impatience,
no struggle,
no agitation.


When we put the test out there,
on the table,
reality comes in to complete the whole paper,
inviting us to see and know,
why we commit,
how much we need
consistent, constant,
free and flowing,
soft and yielding,
unbreakable refuge.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We're Related

Our house is long and open and flowing,
with lots of windows and doors,
and most of the shades are up.
You don't have to look outside,
on purpose.
The trees and sky are always in your peripheral vision. 

I like it when people come in and out,
out and in,
leaving doors open sometimes,
even though we're not trying to heat the outside,
and we weren't born in a barn.

Having guests sleep over,
having a lot of people in our house,
telling neighbors to please drop by anytime,
is so much nicer than phone calls,
and formal invitations. 
Especially since we're related. 

Well, we're really all related. 
Father Abraham, had many sons,
and many sons had Father Abraham,
and I am one of them, and so are you...
There's that idea, 
and there's also the immensity of
the Universe,
which we can't understand,
none of us can,
but among all of the millions of stars,
and life forms, from invisible to visible,
from under the oceans to under our nails,
there's us, and we're just like this, 
the way we are,
so then we're related. 

Someone said to me yesterday,
"I talked to a frog when I was alone,
in the mountains." 
I said, "I talk to spiders, to all bugs,
to all creatures, all of the time."
He said, "I talk to everything. Tell my wife,
I'm not the only one."
So he's related to me, 
and also,
we're all related to the frog, 
and to the spiders. 

I know, because I can see myself in them,
in him, in her, in you. 
Sometimes I can feel what you feel,
and hear your thoughts,
if I'm quiet enough. 
When I really look at you,
I can see just how,
we're really related. 

We're not the same.
But we're not separate.
What's yours is yours,
and what's mine is mine,
but sometimes it's yours, too,
if not today, then it used to be yours,
or it will be tomorrow. 
What we share is immensely larger,
like the immensity of the Universe,
that much larger,
than all that is different about us,
if you can see the grand scale.

How does that make you feel?
It makes me feel really, really
close to you,
and close to something,
I will never lose,
and no one had to give it to me,
and no one can take it away,
or lay exclusive claim to it,
because it belongs to all of us,
and I am thankful,
we're related. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


If it's Mind over Matter, what is over the Mind?

Where's the terminus on this line,
or is there one?
Are we going in circles?

So many obstacles line the route,
on any given day,
not to mention one lifetime. 

The Mind seems to create more derailments than it fixes,
we manage to harness it. 

The Mind is powerful. 
Memory, Concentration,
Deduction, Calculation,
Suggestion, Illusion,
Imagination and Dreams.
How do we put all of these in our service?

When we're ill, when we're stuck,
discouraged, flummoxed,
the Mind can seem like an enemy,
rather than a friend. 

What restrains the Mind,
eases the Body,
resets almost any situation?

Spiritus Vitae,

When we master the Breath,
the Mind must follow.
When the Mind is dis-eased,
the Breath must follow.

Where do we grab the reins and pull?
Are thoughts the reins?
Or could it be simpler?

over Mind,
over Matter,
is the direct route 
out of the circle. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rappin Fo My Man

Quick, to the point, to the point no fakin',
Cookin' other poets like a pound of bacon,
Today I'm playin' don't feel much like thinkin',
But some of these fools make me think about drinkin',
Outta my way cuz I'm tryna be happy,
Diggin' on my man ' cuz he calls my boys Slappy,
He always makes me laugh with his wicked fly puns,
He switches out the kegs and he slaps my buns,
We never like to front, always keepin' it real,
We be laughin' at the sycophants hidin' how they feel,
Tryna wag their jaws tellin' us to be better,
My man always says I'm gonna write an angry letter,
Set a brother straight sayin' betta back up off me,
You can't compete with this, dude we grind our own coffee,
Yo my man is such a chef he wears a Darth Vader apron,
He's got those emerald eyes but his ass is Taken!
Don't even try to be us cuz you wouldn't understand,
How a brother makes these pickles with his very own hand,
His kitchen is bespoke and our life is all planned,
Lay off me with the sunscreen cuz he likes my arms tanned!
We don't like your rules and the way you spend your time,
Your broom handle's up your ass while we be drinkin' our wine.
We only come around once so learn to say it, "WHO CARES?"
Like he told me from the start, "respect the Man Upstairs!"
I knew we'd stay together cuz fun guys are hard to find,
Tight-ass losers make me sick, but my baby blows my mind!

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Where can we go that you are not?
What can we think that you haven't thought?
Who can we be that you've never been?
You have breathed through our lungs, lived in our skin,
To the point where we don't know where we begin,
When we're quiet we can hear you and each other,
Instead of a lover, sister or brother,
We were formed in you, and we also contain you,
We build altars to you and we can't explain you,
Some find you inside and some find you out there,
Some say you're not real or they simply don't care,
Weighty concepts of you,
Which we bleed to make true,
Buildings erected,
To house the protected,
Rituals, rites, traditions and leaders,
Some are the sages and others the breeders,
To camouflage emptiness, alleviate fears,
Giving purpose to pain, and bloodshed and tears,
Making everything fit into neat little boxes,

That become our coffins.

What would happen to us if we all forgot?
What would be our fate, who'd decide our lot?
Is it possible to really forget you?
Though we started in you, could we now beget you?

Do we need to?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Fathers

Another perfectly imperfect day begins,
The feeling upon awakening of here I am,
here we are, feeling something like love,
something like warmth, and then a kind of tension,
what needs to be done? What thoughts need thinking,
what questions need answered, what tasks demand completion
before a certain time.
A tightening.
And then the thought,
Here and now,
I can intend,
I can direct.
My littlest one wrestles with the dog next to me,
And I pray, at first to myself,
then I talk to him,
as he jumps on my stomach and the dog chews my hand.
Ouch. It's my ribs this time. Now it's my leg.
"I say hi to God in the morning. Let's say hi to God.
We're glad to be here, God. Thanks. Help us work with You today.
Our Father, who art in Heaven..."
His father, at the door, wondering who will walk the dog,
announcing that all the fields are open,
and I remember we're out of eggs.
Making the bed and tidying the bedroom,
letting all the light in.
Remembering in the kitchen,
flashbacks from a time before marriage,
a time before children,
what was love then?
How did all this begin,
in 8th grade with a first love,
who rowed me in a canoe,
and told me I was beautiful with braces?
In high school with my boyfriend and his brother,
who brought me a snow white kitten at Christmas?
In a college fraternity house at 4 in the morning,
listening to Simon and Garfunkel,
only to return in shame the next week,
searching for a sapphire earring?
The choreographed waltz for a first wedding.
Young love must not be bottled and corked,
drink it within five years.
The menorah I bought and carried to London,
so I could learn to pray, Barukh atah Adonai,
Eloheinu, melekh ha'loam.
"We should be friends when we're old."
Always knowing I need that mirror,
I think of love all day long,
I go to sleep after being embraced,
I think of love as I sink under,
and come up again with my thoughts still there,
I am never alone,
there is God,
there are men, there are boys, there is a man,
the Divine masculine,
because I am female,
I AM the mother,
I join with the Fathers.
My husband,
The fertile ground of my life,
who gave me a place to grow,
to blossom, to nurture big and little men,
and myself,
and to honor our differences,
a mirror and a closed door,
open arms and a distant heart,
that grows nearer and falls away again,
cycling with the seasons.
Our family tree,
the seed that formed it traveled a long and sinuous route.
My father gave that seed to me.
Our Father gave that seed to him.

Friday, June 13, 2014


A fountain of life-giving blood and water,
sits in the place where the soul resides.

Primal, seminal, passionate, fierce,
Quivering, electric, magnetic, hypnotic,
The heart transcends intellect and reason,
and speaks a different language.

The mind deduces,
but the heart knows.

The smile that radiates from an open heart
will melt all your defenses.
The song that erupts from a pure heart
will break the chains that bind your own.



Thursday, June 12, 2014


Dial in.
Check in.
Tune in. 


Check. Check again. 
Keep looking. 




I miss you.
I forget you.
I search in vain for you.


You know me. 
I knew you. 
I have felt you.


Open all the blinds.
Turn everything off.
Put everything down.


Feel your heartbeat.
Study your hands.


Go outside. 
Look at everything.
Listen to everything. 


Sit next to someone.
Think only of someone.
Study someone's eyes. 


Close your eyes.
Think of me.
Know that I am here. 


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tidal Dream

Turquoise tidal waters massaging the sand,
Rolling into my room in soothing syncopation,
Streaming under and around all my belongings,
Enveloping the bottom of my mattress,
As I lie in my bed, half awake, aware of the sounds,
Aware of the colors.
The water, a mesmerizing blue, flowing beneath me and extending to all sides,
I see my headboard against a backdrop of aquamarine.
And then,
I am somewhere else, watching people having breakfast,
Wandering outside, the beach in my periphery,
My husband calls to me for a moment.
The arriving storm, thick darkness in the air and sky,
We all take shelter in a more defined structure,
Settling into some kind of work, we follow one another,
From room to room.
Suddenly I am so tired.
You and I, we meet on someone's couch,
Side by side,
Each aware of the other person,
Engaged in our own conventions.
I lie down again,
Breathing in time with the tidal waters,
Deep and slow,
Barely audible,
Drifting in and out of sleep,
With my head in your lap,
As you talk on the phone,
Soothed by the sound of your voice,
Whispering to myself,
"I should go."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sacred Shelter

If all of life is sacred,
If our bodies are temples,
Then our homes are holy cities,
Our living rooms like chapels,
Each bedroom a sanctuary. 

The photos of my grandparents,
The small album by my bedside,
Relics from a time I now revere.
My grandmother's locket with my photo inside,
A protective charm next to my pillow.
The milagros crosses above my bed,
Altar pieces.
Books on the nightstand,
Sacred texts.

The childrens' art work covering our walls,
Cathedral paintings transmitting meaning.
Smells from the kitchen and smoke from extinguished candles,
Incense, smudge.

Our every action,
A ritual offering.
Our every exchange,
Praise and blessing.

On our chosen altars,
The likeness of an ancestor,
The depiction of a deity,
The gifts we take from nature, only to return them,
A rock, a pebble, a flower and a leaf,
Fruit from the trees and vegetables from the garden,
Tears we shed for all we have lost, 
Gratitude for what we have gained,
Joys that spill over and cannot be contained,
And burdens we can no longer carry.
Leaving all this on the altar cloth,
Receiving in turn a benediction, an absolution, renewal of our strength. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Distracted Devotion

He asked,
Do you always think of me when I'm gone?
He said,
It's OK if you don't, because I don't think of you.
He hesitated,
I get too distracted.
I said,
I do think of you throughout the day, so often.
And then I forget and am distracted by a million things,
but some of them remind of me of you.

I do think of him,
of his smile,
of his laughter,
of time we spend together,
when someone says,
Imagine the face of a person you love.
Recall a moment of lightheartedness.
Think of something that makes you smile.
Lying there on the floor,
with ten other barefoot people,
I think of him.

Devotion is this,
bringing the mind back to where the heart rests,
bringing the heart up to the mind,
and the mind down to the heart.
Finding that person, that ideal, that experience,
which brings us to that place we'd rather be,
but instead we get too distracted.
To me, it feels like love.
And the thought of different people takes me there.
And thinking of God.
Thinking of the face of God,
Who is faceless with so many faces,
nameless with so many names.
But I know when my mind is resting in God's heart,
where my heart rests,
even when I am too distracted.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Two Must-Have Yoga Accessories

Forget your mat, your water bottle, your Lululemon pants and your Prana headbands. Eye pillow? Not really necessary. Toe sox? Please. Yoga accessories can add up to a small fortune if you don't get the teacher discounts! 

There are two things you really can't do without in a yoga practice, and no one manufactures them. Without these two things, yoga's many benefits will elude you. What are they? Support and Space. To practice yoga, your body needs a support to rest on and a space to move through; not just externally, but especially internally. Your body can't move if your mind won't support it and if there isn't enough mental space to add the practice of yoga to your life. 

Two of the most quoted Yoga Sutras are abhyāsa-vairāgya-ābhyāṁ tan-nirodhaḥ ||Samadhi Pada, 12||, and sthira-sukham-āsanam ||Sadhana Pada 46||. These sutras teach us to balance effort with detachment and strength with ease. This is why we aim for the perfect balance of movement and rest in our classes, and why yoga both strengthens and de-stresses us. I have heard this concept described by teachers as "hang on, let go," know when to relax and when to try harder, when to grip and when to release, when to contract and when to expand. All work and no play makes Jack a dull yogi. 

Thinking back to the last yoga retreat I attended in February, I pulled out my notes from Judith Lasater's lectures and on the very first evening with us, she said, "When the body feels supported, the whole being feels supported. When we are supported we can let go. We can abide with ease." She likes to translate sthira-sukham-āsanam as "abiding with ease." Support within and without allows us to let go and be healed, soothed and restored by our practice. We consciously connect to our support, feeling the floor holding us up, releasing our shoulders over a block, resting our backs on a bolster or even releasing the weight of our heads into the teacher's hands as she comes to assist us. As we do this, our whole being feels supported, internally and externally. We learn to let go in the mind and the body. 

In our classes we move through a space specifically designed for yoga. If we have a home practice, we carve out a space where we can execute our postures and sit in meditation. But yoga can be practiced anywhere when we can open up some internal space. One woman who comes to my classes likes to practice on planes; she travels frequently for work and for pleasure. She has discovered the value of internal space, so her practice goes everywhere with her. If our minds are overcrowded and constrained, our breath and bodies will follow. When we can slow down our thoughts and our breath, we can consciously relax the body enough to do simple yoga postures and breathing, even on an airplane. 

When we begin our practice, at home, at the gym or in a yoga studio, we can always start by connecting to our space and support, internally and externally. We can find our comfortable seat, feel rooted into the floor, a block, blanket or bolster. Finding that support, we begin to release. As we close our eyes and focus on the breath, we open up space in the chest, in the abdomen, and in the mind. As the breath slows down, the thoughts slow down. We tap into the naturally occurring space and support in our minds and bodies, two things we can't ever lose if we want to practice yoga. 

In our culture of materialism, it helps to come back to the basics. What's essential? What do we really need? In yoga, and in all of life, we require support and space. In our home, in our relationships, in our work, when we travel...whatever it is we are doing, without these two essentials we fall down, we are neglected, trapped and uncomfortable. 

Set an intention to cultivate support and space in yoga and in all areas of your life; balancing these essentials, you cannot fail. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


I see in you,
Allah, the Buddha, the living Christ,
The snow on the mountains,
The sand in the depths of the oceans,
The feather of the eagle and the eyes of a fawn,
The moon in the darkness and the first light of dawn,
The tears of an infant and the sighs of a lover,
The hands of a father and the soul of a brother,
The never ending love in the heart of a mother,
The peace in the still and quiet abyss , the embrace of the Infinite, the texture of bliss,
There and beyond, in all spaces We are, no beginning, no end, no near and no far. Hallelujah.