18 January 2012

Takin' it slow

I saw this comic in The Philadelphia Inquirer the other day, &, like many other things I read & interpret, it struck a chord:

I've started reading the comics, along with many other local newspaper articles, because I'm trying to slow down in my everyday routines, be more conscious of everything I do, & live my life exactly the way I think a life should be lived. I've been talking about "leading by example" for a long time now, but I'm working on bettering every day.

It's easy to assume that most people also live their lives exactly the way they think everyone else should live. Why would you live believing that other people's lives are better? However, I think there's a lot of that. Many people get stuck & don't realize that all it takes is your mind & a push.

So what's my push? I have many. The first, a la Grandpa Pickles, is to sloooooow down.

What do I mean by slow down? If you know anything about me, it's that I run ahead with ideas that I'm passionate about. Everything seems urgent. And a lot of times it is. But let's be honest, if you don't have time for yourself, what do you have?

So many people get caught up in the little things of every day that they become reactionary. It's possible to live fast & take in values that slow down your reactions. When you make conscious decisions about core things that make us human, things come into perspective much more readily.

Like what?

Wake up slowly. Roll over, hug the person in bed next to you for longer than necessary. Run your fingers through their hair. Remember what their skin feels like after being asleep for 8 hours. Talk about your dreams. Write them down. Make the bed. Clean up the room. Put on the coffee or tea. Read the paper. Talk about your plans for the day. Make breakfast. Which leads to the next...

Cook & eat slowly. Use ingredients that you know will help your body get through the day with the most balance & energy. Put the food on a plate in a way that's appealing to your eyes. Take every bite with intention. Think about what it took to get that food to you & how it's going to nourish you. Drink slowly. Coffee is a real drug, & so is tea (of the tea leaf or herbal variety). Everything does something different to your body. Learn what works, & in what quantity it works.

Take time to stretch in the morning, & at night. Your body will thank you, & you'll learn a lot more about how it works.

Make sure you have time to be outside in the daylight & after dark. Listen to the birds. Watch the squirrels. Play with neighborhood dogs. Listen to the wind in the trees. Admire the color of the sky. Pay attention to the number of stars above your head. Close your eyes & breathe.

If you have children, pay attention to their actions & words/mumbles. Squat over & over again so that you can see them eye to eye. Learn to see what they're showing you. Kids know things that we forgot, but we can still get there if we take the time to remember what it's like to be a child. The world's hustle & bustle pushes that away from us.

Similarly, if you have elderly people around, listen to them. Beneath their hardened exteriors, breaking-down bodies, & weakening memories, they have a lot to say that will make your aging easier. There's a reason why the very young & the very old are so revered in most traditional societies. The growing up in-between stages are full of millions of things that can break you away from what's real.

Be very conscious of every decision your making. This is hardest. Think about the need to drive versus walk or bike or take public transportation. Plan your days so that you're able to do a lot in one shot rather than come & go, repeating paths. Think about the long-term effects on your health & the planet's health when you reach for the keys or the soda or the pre-packaged microwaveable meal.

Think about how interactions & information cause you to feel. In actuality, you're the one causing yourself to feel any which way. No one makes you do or feel anything but yourself. It's possible not to get into situations that will be harmful for you, & it's very possible that most situations which could be harmful can be dealt with in completely beneficial ways. Even start new relationships.

Do this before, during, & after all of your other daily activities.

Slow down. I have to slow down. I have to remind myself every day, multiple times each day. And still, most of the time, I forget. We live in a fast-paced world. In Philadelphia, one of the most bustling of the Northeast's bustling cities, it feels like the world will end if you're not just as fast as everyone else. But therein lies the rub. The faster we are, the faster we're going to collapse. Individually, as families, as communities, as cities, as nations, as a planet.

The things I see going on around me as a young person seem urgent. If I don't do this today, someone else is going to do it & mess it up, or no one's going to do it & it's going to be even worse. When taken into perspective, people have been thinking this for a long time, probably in every generation, at least since the beginning of capitalist competition.

So sit back, relax, do what needs to be done to survive, reevaluate your every day reactions, & be conscious of when you're getting ahead of yourself.

At least that's what I'm up to.

17 January 2012


We live in a society
that thrives on man's insanity.
The faces all around me
show no faith in humanity.

It's alright to smile.
Don't forget to breathe.
Laughter is the medicine--
fuck your Tums & Vicodin.
The answer is in questioning
the horseshit they've been shoveling.

"Who's They?" we say.
It's us-- the we--
supplying all the energy
to fuel the fire burnin'
since the world's been turnin'.

Look yourself straight in the eyes.
Surprise! You're still there deep inside.
Dig through indoctrination's trials.
Your roots are where you'll find the ties
that bind you to the I & I.

Maybe we're all aliens
placed here on this rock for sins
committed long before this age.
To me, that's neither here nor there.
We're here now, humans
living lives that aren't fair.

29 December 2011

Fulah It

We've been here before
repeating times & scores of days & weeks & months & years into eternity

Bodhisattva backslides
earthquakes, floods, & mudslides--
The Earth demanding change or tremor 'till we find release

From the cycles
webs we're spinning
spiders, cobwebs in our eyes grant the cleansing tears to wash out all our fears
to make the history we see

We're bored of boards that mask the splinters fracturing or hearts in seven billion tongues & need to be as one before the timewave reaches zero specks of sand

March hand in hand
barefoot across the land to sing our message loud & clear
the beauty everywhere surrounds us so long as clods & wind can hear us coming from the ground

I found my ewe you
the sheep to guide me through no matter what we say we understand the way to love & touch & see

Eternity is real, & we are just two of its creatures.

Evolve with me
& all will be
unity & peace
& two to one

The world is ours.
And ours.
And ours.

21 December 2009

Natural Health.

This is what I do all day when I'm free at my new job. It's pretty nice:

To be in a place of belonging
with stories in head of
alternate universes and
scattered stars and
snowdrift valleys and
cocoa fields of eccentricity

To feel stuck in a rut
when the stories around are
lifegiving forces and
shattered dreams and
starry eyes and
taxi cab crashes of memory

To feel lost in an open air void
out of the stories heard of
breathless adventures and
primal screams and
velveteen scars and
overworked schedules of fantasy

To feel trapped in a realm of liberty
with nothing but stories to write of
swashbuckling lives and
distancing wormholes and
lamenting planets and
omnipotent goddesses of yesteryear

Is like running in place with a dog at your heels
calling for help when there's no dial tone
praying for sun in a windowless room
telling a secret to a deaf and dumb priest
buying a gun to protect against fear
loving a man who loves only himself
no escaping acceptance today.

The wordsmith carves languages
from faraway forges
delving into categories of -ations and -isms
so long forgotten had all others let them

of course there's no meaning
in letters we're stringing
acrimonious poses of grand eloquations
magnanimous spoutings for mind segregation

the way of the future
is telepathy dreaming
pass away to a -verse with no communication

bending waves in personal space
the lone intervention
no "man", no "woman",
only feeling; emotion

can't hide if it's quiet
or in the death knell of the streets
can't keep hidden if there's nothing
no separation of mind
between waking, dreaming, and speech

Identity seeking
when there's no such thing
in a world keeps on turning without you
out of touch
out of class
out of sight
out of mind
out of style
for a while?

Stop, look, and listen
to what has been missing
from the world that was built up around you
running free
running blind
running scared
running circles
running home
but home's alone
don't you see?

14 December 2009

Finding your Center Street:

This is the space where magic happens
people supporting our spouting on napkins
the have-nothings & want-lesses
the pouring hearts & spit up messes.

We're all built to make, create, & change
to go through it all & rearrange
There are lessons in every web we weave
all the forget-me-nots & tricks up sleeves.

The holes in our cores don't mend themselves
when we write our thoughts & keep them on shelves
of nights when sleeping men won't die
& families won't steal every tear in our eyes.

No horseshoe or rabbit foot will beat out time
you'll find your own rhythm, I'll make my own rhyme
we'll fill up the holes with moonlight & quicksand
remembering always: our life, our hands.

And someday, somebody will come this way
look at these scars & this smile & say,
"I've been running & running to find this place,
the curves of your body, & the look on your face."


To dragging down
pacing aside
the sake of love
the cards we hide

Here's keeping on
it's time to learn
when mind's made up
moon's tides have turned

Will find the place
work out this smile
turn off one heart
mend this awhile

Tears stain & blood spoils
life drains & minds recoil
backs bend & ashes blind
love ends & time unwinds

Hope freedom is a test
that keeps you warm at night.
Dear, wishing all the best
in doing what feels right.

15 November 2009

The name game.

I've been periodically wracking my brain to think up the right name for this kitten since I brought her home last Sunday. The woman who gave her to me called her Pepper--the opposite of creative. I called her Bean when we were in Rittenhouse Square. I thought I'd call her Spectra because she's white and black--the opposite ends of all visible color and none. Then I considered Yin, and Yang, and Yin-Yang. I moved on to Pinto because she's painted like a pinto bean or horse, and she flies around like a Mexican jumping bean (when she's awake). Someone else told me she looks like a Sprout, which was my favorite yet. Then I started spouting things in word vomit to see if anything fit: Daffodil, Maisy, Cupcake, Jaundice, Slapstick. Hopeless. I think so much that I can't even settle on a name for a cat.

Tonight, as I was writing and absorbing more of the Internet, she wouldn't leave my space. She climbed on the keyboard while I typed, attacked my camera when I turned it on, licked at my water bottle when I tried to drink, and then promptly fell asleep on my journal when she noticed I was writing in it. I looked in her eyes, and the name Isis popped into my head. I didn't even really know who Isis is, so I looked it up. Isis is the Egyptian goddess of earth, motherhood, and magic. Perfect fit for me, right? Turns out, Catwoman's cat was Isis, too. And Google showed me pictures proving that tons of other people have already named their cats Isis.

Once again, I'm left realizing that nothing I think is ever original. So I thought some more, and I've finally reached a conclusion:

What is a name, anyway? This cat is entirely awesome. I was worried at first that I made the wrong decision, what with her jumping all over the place and waking me up at 6am and being a cause now for me to have to come home every day to check on her wellbeing, but it seems to me that she has a pretty incredible little kitty personality. She loves my attention and everyone else's. She'd much rather sleep directly on or near me than anywhere else in the apartment. She's self-disciplining. When I pour a ton of food in her bowl, it lasts up to 2 or 3 days, and I don't have to worry about malnourishing her for proper growth. She purrs like a jet engine, licks my nose, and presses her paws to my cheeks to get my attention.

Regardless of whether she lives in my apartment and I feed her, she's still an independent creature. I don't want her to be just another domesticated pet. Why nott have a non-traditional cat for a non-traditional life. Who am I to name her, to pin her down to a label and steal away her ambiguity? This cat will not have a name, and she could be addressed by any name that fits her on any particular day. Mostly, I don't think I'll call her anything. If you come over and a name strikes you, I say go for it.

Did you ever notice that the people you care about most are the people you address by name the least? You may call them nicknames, or pet names, but rarely their given name. When you meet a new person and they have the same name as another person you know, memories, emotions, and judgments often flow forth assuming the two must share the same qualities.

A lot of people don't like their names, and a lot of people legally change them. To many, a name is everything. To others, it's nothing--just another way for humans to capture something they sense and provide it a meaning that everyone else is supposed to understand. No one human's understanding of another's meaning is ever the same, so why bring animals into it, too?

That leads me to another thought: How can anyone think it's a good idea to name a baby before giving birth to it? Doesn't that seem a bit overzealous? Presumptive? Ominous? Let the baby breathe and exist by itself before bestowing such linguistic weight upon it.

Another reason to have a midwife: I'll name and "certify" my baby when I damn well feel like it. And I won't name animals that live in my home.

11 November 2009

Another thought-provoking poem by me.

I quit my job
and got a free kitty.
Life's not bad
when you keep it unshitty.