Thursday, July 11, 2013


Faith is a funny thing. Faith is something that has added inestimable value to my life - faith has provided me with the strength to keep moving forward when there was no evidence outside of me that life was going to get easier anytime soon.

That's what faith is... it's something that exists within us that does not seem to be supported, upheld, or verified outside of us.

The miraculous thing about faith, I believe, is that it tends to prove itself. Keep moving forward, keep trying, keep on believing in whatever it is you believe in, and eventually you will find you have transformed yourself into someone who is capable of birthing into the world a communicable expression of the faith which began it's life within you.

We feel the threads of love,
and they pull us,
and sometimes we become so entangled
as to lose the feel of what we're weaving

But there is promise in their tension,
promise in the sensation of resistance we feel
between life as-it-is
and the murmured hummings
our love-threads tremble into our skin
as they wrap around our body.

That tension is potentiality,
transmuted into kinetic becoming
everytime we take a step
in love's direction.

As we dance with our threads -
as their hum is ignored and invited,
their insistence rejected or responded to -
let us become conscious of our choosings
and trust,
if we have chosen love,
in the time it takes
for tension to play itself out.

Perhaps we don't move at all
but simply grow into master-weavers,
incorporating love's every suggestion
into a new component of our cardigan,
turtleneck, leg warmer or nana blanket...
for the movements of the heart,
as grand as we may try to make them sound,
are everyday ordinary
and require no dramatic upheaval of self.

Unless they do.

As always it's 'yes-and,'
and it's about what's happening right now.

Right now,
faith is happening.
Right now I choose to believe that through dawning self-acceptance
and patient application of truth,
what lives within me will find expression
in our shared reality.

Right now
there is a stillness of perception
which has invited the otherwise fleeting moments
of this work-seeking Wednesday
to fully arrive and meet me here
and the majesty of simple, inconsequential things
quite takes my breath away.

Right now,
it cannot be otherwise
and any moment,
allowed deeply enough,
must also throb with the same selfless love of this moment -
which brings tears to my eyes,
and silence to my pen.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Excerpt from a letter to a friend, pt. 2

...How deeply do the circumstances of our childhood condition us, I wonder? And, as we've been reflecting on, how much of our chosen pursuits are initially motivated by a negative: 

"I'm doing this because I'm afraid that if I don't, I'll end up like that."

That fear has been with me for so much of my life, and to outgrow that fear feels, to me, like the first step towards living a life unburdened by rules that make no sense. These 'rules' only effect us to the extent that they are present within us, and I believe that if we are willing to do the difficult work of excavating our own inner landscape than we can re-establish a foundation of identity which is founded upon a positive affirmation of self-worth and creative possibility. No one besides us has access to our interiority, so no one else can do this work for us... and yet we can't do it alone, either. We need each other to do this, we need the support and companionship of friends along the way. 

It seems to me that some of us are born into lives that demand such inner excavation - some people do seem more innately inclined towards it than others, but nevertheless people who are born into challenging circumstances (of any variety) either have to dig deep and find a source of strength within themselves, or do their best to go numb to the pain.

Something I've been sitting with lately is the possibility that once you embark on a path of 

a) simultaneously doing your best to stay present to life (as painful as it may be) 

and b) working to overcome your situation and break whatever cycle of suffering you find yourself in

...once you set foot on that path, you've committed yourself to a lifelong journey. I don't know that it ever gets 'easier,' but it seems that we get stronger, more skillful, and more aware - more discerning about what is truly worth going into and what isn't, more able to maintain a balanced perspective even in the midst of very emotionally intense circumstances. 

For myself, I've recently had to learn how to parent myself... in other words, how to love myself. There is a facet of my own personal psychological profile which I have only recently become consciously aware of - a facet which may be the point of origin for a belief system which has prevented me from stepping into an empowered role in my own life for as long as I can remember. This facet is a little boy, maybe 5 or 6 years old, feeling scared, vulnerable, and very much in need of love. A little 'Ryan' who needs someone to protect him, someone to care for him, someone to comfort him, because he is unable to do those things for himself. 

It seems likely that this unhelpful aspect of my psychology is the result of the psycho-sexual abuse I experienced at the hands of my grandfather, although there could be other contributing factors. Whatever the case, as long as this scared little boy remained unaddressed and didn't receive the love he so desperately needed, he was looking outside of himself for care and protection. Translation: as long as I was not aware of and was not actively caring for this part of myself, I was unconsciously looking to other people in my life to take care of me. This little boy didn't believe he could protect himself or give himself what he needed, and so on some level I never believed I could achieve my goals or provide for myself. As an added twist, when this little boy didn't receive the love that he needed he came to the erroneous conclusion that he was unworthy of love, and so began seeking out (and actively creating) evidence to support that theory. Every minor transgression or deviation from the path of what I knew I 'should' do became an opportunity for negative self-talk. For so long this little boy, his need of love, his belief system, and his negative self-talk lived in my unconscious - only recently has light begun to shine into that dark internal space of mine.

Sometimes what we need doesn't make any sense: I've been talking to myself a lot lately, because I'm consciously creating a new facet of my (potentially schizophrenic) psychological profile: an inner parent, who steps in with an abundance of reassurance and comfort whenever little Ryan needs love. Yesterday morning I was sobbing with fear and pain and simultaneously speaking to myself out loud, saying: 

"It's ok, I'm going to take care of you... every day is a fresh start, and every day we're going to wake up and do our best. We're going to say nice things about ourself, not mean things... and if we forget, that's ok." 

...etc. Point being: you got this, because there's only one outcome for anyone who has gone as far as you have on the path of self-awareness and commitment to remaining open to the current of your heart's true desire. That outcome is wholeness, and that outcome is a quality of strength which means that no matter what you do, you will bring the full presence of yourself to your chosen activity and light up that space.

I think that many people who shine in that way, many people who the rest of us experience as profoundly inspirational... I think such people probably experience all the same feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, distrust (and all the rest) that we do. It seems to me that difference lies in not turning away from those feelings, but rather embracing and allowing them, and knowing that those feelings, as well as their opposites, (feelings of superiority, self-worship, etc) are just stories: stories which are founded upon a dualistic winner/loser, better/worse paradigm. That paradigm simply is not true, and when we begin to outgrow it we can then begin to receive all those little voices with love, allowing them to be but not identifying with them. More importantly, we can step into the performance of our chosen work in a story-less way, unburdened by any ideas of either sucking at it or being awesome at it... which means that we are then free to be more present to the work itself as well as to everyone else involved, with the result that we are in fact much more effective.