Meditation Kicks Ass

sit. stay. heal.
Year Two, Week Fifteen
Henry Rosenberg Library, Galveston, TX
I spent a couple of weeks
earlier this month in
GALVESTON
by coincidence 
more than design
I happened to be there on
AUGUST FIFTEENTH
aka to catholics
THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION
when it is alleged
the body of 
MOTHER MARY
rose fully intact
into the heavens
and also it is believed that
you must get yourself to
A BIG BODY OF SALT WATER
because on this day
WATER IS BLESSED
and so it was that
as a child
our family trips 
DOWN THE SHORE
were always timed so that
we could be so blessed
(aside: it was also 
HURRICANE SEASON
and so often totally
TERRIFYING
but we’ll save that
stormy story for 
another day)
As with our 
day-to-day 
non-vacation life
things pretty much
SUCKED
when we were 
at the beach
because my dad
who was 
VERY MENTALLY ILL
was at
THE HELM
He even had a 
SEPARATE LIVING ROOM
we were mostly supposed to
stay out of
it was called
THE CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS
and featured a nautical theme
of course we didn’t know
he was mentally ill
and even if we had known
it still would’ve been
more scary than any hurricane
and besides 
it still wasn’t an excuse 
for what he did
but I mention it 
because understanding his illness
even just a little
and at a distance of
nearly a half-century
still helps me to heal
My father often conducted vacation
as follows
he would draw hashmarks 
on the refrigerator on
PERMANENT BLACK MARKER
to show us how many 
hellish days with us kids
had passed and so
how many fewer he had
LEFT TO BEAR
he kept a little
FOR SALE SIGN
in the front room
so that whenever anyone
"acted out"
(which in his book pretty much
was defined by
oh say
BREATHING)
he would start
SCREAMING 
and put the sign in the window
or the yard
and let us know
THAT’S IT
this sheetrock box
that nonetheless is
our paradise
IS GONE
because you all are
UNGRATEFUL SHITS
There were other 
TYRANNICAL TECHNIQUES
but you know enough now
to know why
when I stepped on a rusty nail
when I was around ten
and it was the first day 
of vacation
I DID NOT WANT TO TELL ANYONE
because I had been breaking
RULE #2,758,234
which was
DO NOT GO OUTSIDE BAREFOOT
I did tell
after deciding I guess
that getting busted for not telling
would have worse repercussions
than telling
but I was so very afraid telling
would mean he would
make us all get in the car
and end vacation 
IMMEDIATELY
and my eight siblings would
HATE MY GUTS
this is how it was
most days in my life
trying to decide between
the lesser of
TERRIFYING CHOICES
so I told
and I wound up 
at the hospital
getting a tetanus shot
and I still carry the memory
of that terror with me
It mostly stays quiet
but when I was visiting Galveston
and when I stepped on 
a very sharp
and very rusty
piece of metal
it came back to me
this other time
I did not at first know
what I’d stepped on
so I tugged it out
and I wrapped it in
A CLEAN POOP BAG
and the dogs and I
kept walking for awhile
before heading back to my
friend’s house
where we were staying
she’s a nurse
and she held up the thing
that I wasn’t sure
what it was
and said
IT’S METAL
YOU NEED A TETANUS SHOT
she was very calm and nonchalant
and so was I
she offered to drive me
I declined
I headed over there
not in much pain
but worried now
about how much it would cost
because my 
OBAMACARE
has a big fat deductible
turns out it was only
SIXTY BUCKS
and it only took
ten minutes from 
walking in
to
walking out
and I 
MEDITATED
during the shot
so it didn’t hurt at all
not even much afterwards
the way tetanus shots usually do
And the whole experience was
SO PLEASANT
not just because 
everyone was nice
and
that it was so affordable
but also because
it was like I got to be
REINCARNATED
I got a total
DO OVER
from that day 
on vacation
forty or so summers ago
DOWN THE SHORE
and I got to see
this time around
it’s really 
NOT SUCH A BIG DEAL
to step on something sharp
you just pull it out
and you get it 
TAKEN CARE OF
and you know
IT’S COOL
I could use this
knowledge as an opportunity
to look back and
HEAP MORE HATRED
on my long dead father
that was a hobby of mine
for decades
and I even once
danced on his grave
terribly immature but
that was me
keeping a promise to me
I made
when I was
YOUNG
and
DRUNK
and
HAD BEEN KICKED OUT
FOR THE BAZILLIONTH TIME
I didn’t feel especially mad though
thinking back on
my rage-filled father
berating me for
accidentally stepping on  
a nail
(though at least we
got to still have vacation)
I was mostly just pleased
at how easy my
IN THE MOMENT
experience had been
and if anything
it gave me more evidence
of just how messed up
my old man was
to make 
SUCH SCARY DRAMA
out of something
SO SMALL
and it helps me see
how I came to
REACT SO STRONGLY
to so many things
growing up
and even still until
VERY RECENTLY
It was just
ALL I KNEW
maybe it was
ALL HE KNEW
and you know
ALL I KNOW NOW
is that it’s best to 
try hard to
KNOW NOW
and try hard to
LET GO OF THEN
I can’t say that I
buy into some
traditional belief in
REINCARNATION
as in that I’ll
come back as
a lap dog
or
a cockroach
or
a princess
or
a starving child
Too hard for me to
work that theory around
but I do like to imagine
EVERY MORNING
we are
REINCARNATED
and maybe some folks
further along the path
might say that
EVERY MOMENT
we are
REINCARNATED
every single breath
we have a chance to
as Thich Nhat Hanh puts it
BEGIN ANEW
Today I
Breathe in
and I
Breathe out
and I am so grateful to
that pointy rusty thing
for plunging itself into my foot
and I am so grateful to
MEDITATION
because it helps me
STEER MY SHIP
even and especially
when my mental seas are
STORMY
and I am going to say this
and I am going to mean it
and I hope it helps those of you
who went through
THE ABUSIVE SHIT TOO
This Forgiveness Thing?
Not easy
Not at all
But I think it gets less hard
with time
and
with breathing
Thank you
Note: Dig this blog? If you are able to help support it, please tell others about it and perhaps consider popping over to my Etsy Shop which is: SPIKE STUFF and ordering a calendar or t-shirt. Thank you so much. 

Year Two, Week Fifteen

Henry Rosenberg Library, Galveston, TX

I spent a couple of weeks

earlier this month in

GALVESTON

by coincidence 

more than design

I happened to be there on

AUGUST FIFTEENTH

aka to catholics

THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION

when it is alleged

the body of 

MOTHER MARY

rose fully intact

into the heavens

and also it is believed that

you must get yourself to

A BIG BODY OF SALT WATER

because on this day

WATER IS BLESSED

and so it was that

as a child

our family trips 

DOWN THE SHORE

were always timed so that

we could be so blessed

(aside: it was also 

HURRICANE SEASON

and so often totally

TERRIFYING

but we’ll save that

stormy story for 

another day)

As with our 

day-to-day 

non-vacation life

things pretty much

SUCKED

when we were 

at the beach

because my dad

who was 

VERY MENTALLY ILL

was at

THE HELM

He even had a 

SEPARATE LIVING ROOM

we were mostly supposed to

stay out of

it was called

THE CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS

and featured a nautical theme

of course we didn’t know

he was mentally ill

and even if we had known

it still would’ve been

more scary than any hurricane

and besides 

it still wasn’t an excuse 

for what he did

but I mention it 

because understanding his illness

even just a little

and at a distance of

nearly a half-century

still helps me to heal

My father often conducted vacation

as follows

he would draw hashmarks 

on the refrigerator on

PERMANENT BLACK MARKER

to show us how many 

hellish days with us kids

had passed and so

how many fewer he had

LEFT TO BEAR

he kept a little

FOR SALE SIGN

in the front room

so that whenever anyone

"acted out"

(which in his book pretty much

was defined by

oh say

BREATHING)

he would start

SCREAMING 

and put the sign in the window

or the yard

and let us know

THAT’S IT

this sheetrock box

that nonetheless is

our paradise

IS GONE

because you all are

UNGRATEFUL SHITS

There were other 

TYRANNICAL TECHNIQUES

but you know enough now

to know why

when I stepped on a rusty nail

when I was around ten

and it was the first day 

of vacation

I DID NOT WANT TO TELL ANYONE

because I had been breaking

RULE #2,758,234

which was

DO NOT GO OUTSIDE BAREFOOT

I did tell

after deciding I guess

that getting busted for not telling

would have worse repercussions

than telling

but I was so very afraid telling

would mean he would

make us all get in the car

and end vacation 

IMMEDIATELY

and my eight siblings would

HATE MY GUTS

this is how it was

most days in my life

trying to decide between

the lesser of

TERRIFYING CHOICES

so I told

and I wound up 

at the hospital

getting a tetanus shot

and I still carry the memory

of that terror with me

It mostly stays quiet

but when I was visiting Galveston

and when I stepped on 

a very sharp

and very rusty

piece of metal

it came back to me

this other time

I did not at first know

what I’d stepped on

so I tugged it out

and I wrapped it in

A CLEAN POOP BAG

and the dogs and I

kept walking for awhile

before heading back to my

friend’s house

where we were staying

she’s a nurse

and she held up the thing

that I wasn’t sure

what it was

and said

IT’S METAL

YOU NEED A TETANUS SHOT

she was very calm and nonchalant

and so was I

she offered to drive me

I declined

I headed over there

not in much pain

but worried now

about how much it would cost

because my 

OBAMACARE

has a big fat deductible

turns out it was only

SIXTY BUCKS

and it only took

ten minutes from 

walking in

to

walking out

and I 

MEDITATED

during the shot

so it didn’t hurt at all

not even much afterwards

the way tetanus shots usually do

And the whole experience was

SO PLEASANT

not just because 

everyone was nice

and

that it was so affordable

but also because

it was like I got to be

REINCARNATED

I got a total

DO OVER

from that day 

on vacation

forty or so summers ago

DOWN THE SHORE

and I got to see

this time around

it’s really 

NOT SUCH A BIG DEAL

to step on something sharp

you just pull it out

and you get it 

TAKEN CARE OF

and you know

IT’S COOL

I could use this

knowledge as an opportunity

to look back and

HEAP MORE HATRED

on my long dead father

that was a hobby of mine

for decades

and I even once

danced on his grave

terribly immature but

that was me

keeping a promise to me

I made

when I was

YOUNG

and

DRUNK

and

HAD BEEN KICKED OUT

FOR THE BAZILLIONTH TIME

I didn’t feel especially mad though

thinking back on

my rage-filled father

berating me for

accidentally stepping on  

a nail

(though at least we

got to still have vacation)

I was mostly just pleased

at how easy my

IN THE MOMENT

experience had been

and if anything

it gave me more evidence

of just how messed up

my old man was

to make 

SUCH SCARY DRAMA

out of something

SO SMALL

and it helps me see

how I came to

REACT SO STRONGLY

to so many things

growing up

and even still until

VERY RECENTLY

It was just

ALL I KNEW

maybe it was

ALL HE KNEW

and you know

ALL I KNOW NOW

is that it’s best to 

try hard to

KNOW NOW

and try hard to

LET GO OF THEN

I can’t say that I

buy into some

traditional belief in

REINCARNATION

as in that I’ll

come back as

a lap dog

or

a cockroach

or

a princess

or

a starving child

Too hard for me to

work that theory around

but I do like to imagine

EVERY MORNING

we are

REINCARNATED

and maybe some folks

further along the path

might say that

EVERY MOMENT

we are

REINCARNATED

every single breath

we have a chance to

as Thich Nhat Hanh puts it

BEGIN ANEW

Today I

Breathe in

and I

Breathe out

and I am so grateful to

that pointy rusty thing

for plunging itself into my foot

and I am so grateful to

MEDITATION

because it helps me

STEER MY SHIP

even and especially

when my mental seas are

STORMY

and I am going to say this

and I am going to mean it

and I hope it helps those of you

who went through

THE ABUSIVE SHIT TOO

This Forgiveness Thing?

Not easy

Not at all

But I think it gets less hard

with time

and

with breathing

Thank you

Note: Dig this blog? If you are able to help support it, please tell others about it and perhaps consider popping over to my Etsy Shop which is: SPIKE STUFF and ordering a calendar or t-shirt. Thank you so much. 

Year Two, Week Fourteen
On Holiday, Around TX
Because wherever I go
MY MIND
goes with me
so then
MY MEDITATION
goes with me too
even and sometimes 
ESPECIALLY
when I am
ON HOLIDAY
Because
I use downtime as 
RETREAT TIME
to reflect on things
I wish to work 
on and through
I’ve detailed before how 
I have a very 
VISCERAL MEMORY
which effortlessly 
recounts and feels
memories and pain
suffered not only by self
but others
Well this same memory
comes standard equipped with
A CALENDAR APP
so that even if my mind
is not aware of 
what date it is
my body will nonetheless
sometimes have 
AN INTENSE REACTION 
which I don’t even realize is 
A REACTION
until I look at the calendar
and then
I’ll realise the physical stress
relates to
something that happened
LONG AGO
at the same time of year
the best example
I can give 
relates to a 
MISCARRIAGE
I had 
mid-November 1986
for years afterwards
FOR DECADES
every November
same time
my body would cramp up
it’s the weirdest thing
By the time 
September 1st arrives
I will have passed the
ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY
of the last time
I had sex
MY VISCERAL MEMORY
keeps tapping me on the shoulder
reminding me of this
Like a lot of humans
I have a storied
SEXUAL HISTORY
rife with more fiascos
than movie style 
COPULATION FESTS
beginning with a 
VIRGINITY LOSS
I cannot remember
with any certainty
due to fear and
blackout drunkenness
and including some
really excellent
tender lovin’ moments
along the way
and also plenty of
CONFUSION
and
MANIPULATION
and
JEALOUSY
and
ALL OF IT
I’ve confused
SEX FOR LOVE
plenty of times
and even more so
I have confused
SEX FOR INTIMACY
(though I might argue that
all true intimacy 
romantic or platonic
at its heart is
FULL OF LOVE
so maybe mixing up 
sex and love 
and
sex and intimacy
is really just the
SAME THING)
In the hours after
my last sexual encounter
when I was still groggy
and
sleep deprived
and
FLYING HIGH
I wrote a journal entry
so I could remember
what I was feeling
JUST THEN
and while this passage is 
—-to be honest—
filled with some
GUSHING LANGUAGE
I am delighted
when I revisit it
to see that even then
whilst the glow 
and the scent
of the thing
was still on me 
and in me
I made a clear 
NOTE TO SELF
that went like this:
DAMN THAT WAS EXHAUSTING
and furthermore
Wouldn’t it be 
kind of cool if
I just let that be
THE LAST TIME EVER
so that I could let go of
seeking a partner for 
more of the same
and apply all that energy 
I am always using to find
A MAN
and just use it to
SERVE OTHERS?
(I include myself on that list of others)
It was a neat thought
but real life is 
NOT NEAT
The short version of
what actually went down
is this:
Despite rationally speculating
about a sex-free life 
I could not seem to stop
my mind and heart
(those damn Non-Vulcan organs)
from getting a bit
HUNG UP
on the man I’d slept with
in Buddhism this is known as
ATTACHMENT
Initially I felt okay with this
as the man had been
a very good friend
for a very long time
and had in the weeks
leading up to our
two-backed beasting
spent a lot of time
consoling me over
some other dude who
after seeking my 
CONSTANT ATTENTION
blew me off when 
“someone better”
came along
The consolation included
much talk over the importance of
not allowing myself to be
DISRESPECTED
like that
EVER AGAIN
and it also included
words from his lips
to my ears
about how
WONDERFUL
I was
and how
he loved me
and also
he initiated the whole
hop into bed thing
an idea which had not
ever crossed my mind
but I liked it
once it came up
IT SEEMED SO SAFE
and
IT SEEMED SO FUN
and
IT SEEMED BASED IN LOVE
so yes
naturally
I was confused when
Mr. You Deserve Respect!
morphed into
Mr. No Respect At All
not too long after he’d 
STUCK IT IN
Really?
REALLY?
How utterly confusing
I thought I’d put that sort of thing
BEHIND ME
years before
but apparently not
When I pursued answers 
regarding his
UNARTFUL DODGING
I received an excuse
that actually did seem
relatively legit
but then
MORE SILENCE
MORE SILENCE
MORE SILENCE
and any attempts on my part
to ford chasm with hellos
to wade back to
NORMAL
were met with 
long delayed 
staccatoed and punctuation-poor
mutant haiku of sorts
until at last
tired of this
BULLSHIT
I sent an 
ANGRY NOTE
saying how 
being blown off
left me feeling like 
A PIECE OF MEAT
tricked and used and
CONQUERED
and far far worse
feeling thrown away 
as a friend
over a little fuck
He responded
with more denial
said of course the friendship
was terribly important
and then resumed
SILENCE
Let’s be honest here
INACTION
speaks 
FAR LOUDER THAN WORDS
and the last time
he receded into that silence
up lit the neon sign at last
SCRAM 
it flashed
GO AWAY
Hardly the first time
this has happened
in my life
but this time
IT IS DIFFERENT
Because while
I am 
a bit sad to say
that in the aftermath
I did what I’d often done
those other 
SCRAM OCCASIONS 
when I
wasted time—
inventing narratives
making excuses
being angry
and
stumbling into
dark piles 
of 
sweeping generalisations
about how
FUCKING STUPID MEN ARE—
This time was different
WAY DIFFERENT
Because I also knew
IMMEDIATELY
as the thoughts were coming in 
that none of those lines 
of thinking
are really useful
or
PARTICULARLY TRUE
they just reflect back
accumulated memories 
of an earlier me
a more vulnerable me
a me who
again 
and 
again 
and
FUCKING AGAIN
opened up
HEART
MIND
MOUTH
LEGS
and
wound up
feeling like
SHIT
as a result
I don’t feel like shit
THIS TIME
Sure I have been upset
but I also know
LIFE GOES ON
I sit on my cushion
I breathe longer
I breathe deeper
I see 
MYSELF 
as the
COMMON DENOMINATOR
in a thousand shitty relationships
This is what 
I CONTEMPLATE
as my 
CALENDAR MEMORY
calls up unbidden
a reminder that I’ve just made
ANOTHER
trip around the sun
without 
GETTING LAID
Back in the late ’90s
upon breaking up with
THE CHEATING NARCISSIST
who had used sex as a 
WEAPON
I took a 
SEVEN YEAR BREAK FROM SEX
because being manipulated like that
being cheated on 
and treated so very badly
left me feeling like
I’d rather be alone forever
than ever risk feeling that way
AGAIN
this break at an age when
I was at my alleged
SEXUAL PEAK
In theory 
I could look back
and feel bad that I
"missed out"
but here is the
REALITY:
Those seven years
ROCKED PRETTY HARD
I quit drinking
I quit smoking
I wrote books
and
I FOCUSED ON RAISING MY KID
I had amazing parties
Incredible travels
and 
I started my
MEDITATION PRACTICE
and while it wasn’t all
SUNSHINE AND SPARKLES
It certainly had
more highlights 
than not
So too
this past year without sex
has not been awful
NOT EVEN CLOSE
In his book
FIDELITY
Thich Nhat Hanh 
says that
to refrain from sexual activity altogether
is much easier than to have a healthy
sexual relationship
He also says that celibacy makes
MINDFULNESS 
easier in many ways
Let me put that in
(pardon the pun)
LAY TERMS
When you are not
immersing yourself in 
the attendant suffering 
that invariably comes along with
any fabulous orgasms
and
other perks of
a relationship that includes sex
you are setting aside
A MOUNTAIN OF BULLSHIT
and giving yourself
lots of time
to do other stuff
This choice of
PANTS ON
is not for everyone
and I’m not here to proselytize
I know many many people
who have wonderful relationships
that include sex
HELL
my job
WHICH I LOVE
is to marry a lot of these folks
to each other
But my awareness
lets me see what is
RIGHT FOR ME
IN THIS MOMENT
When I reflect on
what I loved most
about the good sex
I have had 
what made it good 
was a combination of
BEING HELD
and
BEING TRULY IN THE MOMENT
that alchemical part where
for just a few minutes
it seemed that my otherwise
constantly anxious busy mind
EMPTIED
and
FOCUSED
on
RIGHT NOW
which is also
a big reason
I drank for so many years
Because with drinking
every night I would get
if only for a few minutes
RESPITE
from the anxiety
but then the anxiety
would ratchet up
with the hangover
So too has been the 
STORY OF FUCKING
for me
A little relief
followed by
A LOT OF WORRY
Giving up drinking
QUIETED MY MIND
Giving up sex
QUIETS IT MORE
I now find
TRUE RELIEF
in
MEDITATION
and 
any craving I have for
INTIMACY
is handily satisfied
by my incredible friendships
I think of Shakespeare’s
Sonnet 116 
which opens with
Let me not 
to the marriage of true minds
admit impediments
I am happy for my friends
who find in their partners
a steady peace and calm and
ANCHORING
I am familiar with the whole
NEVER SAY NEVER
thing
and I know
THE ONLY CONSTANT
IS CHANGE
and I recognise I could
change my mind one day
but as I sit 
in my little retreat room
ALONE
save for the dogs
(Oh The Dogs!)
and my mind’s calendar
says
LOOK AT THAT! A WHOLE YEAR!
I breathe in
and 
I breathe out
and I see that
in my life
I too often
allowed sex to be
IMPEDIMENT
to wreck the 
marriage of minds
NO MORE
Sometime
between
THE LAST TIME
and this
CURIOUS ANNIVERSARY
a very good friend
asked about this sex thing
if we should consider
giving it a go
just for fun
If not for the
MEDITATION
and
If not for the
shitty loss of friendship
with the last one
I might’ve jumped 
at the chance
But instead
I spoke my mind
I could do this
I said
and I could act nonchalant 
but I promise you
I will get
ATTACHED
And so we chose
not to impede
our married minds
a choice that
as it happened
brought us closer still
Today I
Breathe in
and I
Breathe out
And I am so grateful
for the 
AWARENESS
my practice brings
Thank you

Year Two, Week Fourteen

On Holiday, Around TX

Because wherever I go

MY MIND

goes with me

so then

MY MEDITATION

goes with me too

even and sometimes

ESPECIALLY

when I am

ON HOLIDAY

Because

I use downtime as

RETREAT TIME

to reflect on things

I wish to work

on and through

I’ve detailed before how

I have a very

VISCERAL MEMORY

which effortlessly

recounts and feels

memories and pain

suffered not only by self

but others

Well this same memory

comes standard equipped with

A CALENDAR APP

so that even if my mind

is not aware of

what date it is

my body will nonetheless

sometimes have

AN INTENSE REACTION

which I don’t even realize is

A REACTION

until I look at the calendar

and then

I’ll realise the physical stress

relates to

something that happened

LONG AGO

at the same time of year

the best example

I can give 

relates to a 

MISCARRIAGE

I had

mid-November 1986

for years afterwards

FOR DECADES

every November

same time

my body would cramp up

it’s the weirdest thing

By the time

September 1st arrives

I will have passed the

ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY

of the last time

I had sex

MY VISCERAL MEMORY

keeps tapping me on the shoulder

reminding me of this

Like a lot of humans

I have a storied

SEXUAL HISTORY

rife with more fiascos

than movie style

COPULATION FESTS

beginning with a

VIRGINITY LOSS

I cannot remember

with any certainty

due to fear and

blackout drunkenness

and including some

really excellent

tender lovin’ moments

along the way

and also plenty of

CONFUSION

and

MANIPULATION

and

JEALOUSY

and

ALL OF IT

I’ve confused

SEX FOR LOVE

plenty of times

and even more so

I have confused

SEX FOR INTIMACY

(though I might argue that

all true intimacy 

romantic or platonic

at its heart is

FULL OF LOVE

so maybe mixing up 

sex and love 

and

sex and intimacy

is really just the

SAME THING)

In the hours after

my last sexual encounter

when I was still groggy

and

sleep deprived

and

FLYING HIGH

I wrote a journal entry

so I could remember

what I was feeling

JUST THEN

and while this passage is

—-to be honest—

filled with some

GUSHING LANGUAGE

I am delighted

when I revisit it

to see that even then

whilst the glow

and the scent

of the thing

was still on me 

and in me

I made a clear 

NOTE TO SELF

that went like this:

DAMN THAT WAS EXHAUSTING

and furthermore

Wouldn’t it be 

kind of cool if

I just let that be

THE LAST TIME EVER

so that I could let go of

seeking a partner for

more of the same

and apply all that energy 

I am always using to find

A MAN

and just use it to

SERVE OTHERS?

(I include myself on that list of others)

It was a neat thought

but real life is

NOT NEAT

The short version of

what actually went down

is this:

Despite rationally speculating

about a sex-free life

I could not seem to stop

my mind and heart

(those damn Non-Vulcan organs)

from getting a bit

HUNG UP

on the man I’d slept with

in Buddhism this is known as

ATTACHMENT

Initially I felt okay with this

as the man had been

a very good friend

for a very long time

and had in the weeks

leading up to our

two-backed beasting

spent a lot of time

consoling me over

some other dude who

after seeking my

CONSTANT ATTENTION

blew me off when

“someone better”

came along

The consolation included

much talk over the importance of

not allowing myself to be

DISRESPECTED

like that

EVER AGAIN

and it also included

words from his lips

to my ears

about how

WONDERFUL

I was

and how

he loved me

and also

he initiated the whole

hop into bed thing

an idea which had not

ever crossed my mind

but I liked it

once it came up

IT SEEMED SO SAFE

and

IT SEEMED SO FUN

and

IT SEEMED BASED IN LOVE

so yes

naturally

I was confused when

Mr. You Deserve Respect!

morphed into

Mr. No Respect At All

not too long after he’d

STUCK IT IN

Really?

REALLY?

How utterly confusing

I thought I’d put that sort of thing

BEHIND ME

years before

but apparently not

When I pursued answers

regarding his

UNARTFUL DODGING

I received an excuse

that actually did seem

relatively legit

but then

MORE SILENCE

MORE SILENCE

MORE SILENCE

and any attempts on my part

to ford chasm with hellos

to wade back to

NORMAL

were met with

long delayed

staccatoed and punctuation-poor

mutant haiku of sorts

until at last

tired of this

BULLSHIT

I sent an

ANGRY NOTE

saying how

being blown off

left me feeling like

A PIECE OF MEAT

tricked and used and

CONQUERED

and far far worse

feeling thrown away

as a friend

over a little fuck

He responded

with more denial

said of course the friendship

was terribly important

and then resumed

SILENCE

Let’s be honest here

INACTION

speaks

FAR LOUDER THAN WORDS

and the last time

he receded into that silence

up lit the neon sign at last

SCRAM

it flashed

GO AWAY

Hardly the first time

this has happened

in my life

but this time

IT IS DIFFERENT

Because while

I am

a bit sad to say

that in the aftermath

I did what I’d often done

those other

SCRAM OCCASIONS

when I

wasted time—

inventing narratives

making excuses

being angry

and

stumbling into

dark piles

of

sweeping generalisations

about how

FUCKING STUPID MEN ARE—

This time was different

WAY DIFFERENT

Because I also knew

IMMEDIATELY

as the thoughts were coming in

that none of those lines

of thinking

are really useful

or

PARTICULARLY TRUE

they just reflect back

accumulated memories

of an earlier me

a more vulnerable me

a me who

again

and

again

and

FUCKING AGAIN

opened up

HEART

MIND

MOUTH

LEGS

and

wound up

feeling like

SHIT

as a result

I don’t feel like shit

THIS TIME

Sure I have been upset

but I also know

LIFE GOES ON

I sit on my cushion

I breathe longer

I breathe deeper

I see

MYSELF

as the

COMMON DENOMINATOR

in a thousand shitty relationships

This is what

I CONTEMPLATE

as my

CALENDAR MEMORY

calls up unbidden

a reminder that I’ve just made

ANOTHER

trip around the sun

without

GETTING LAID

Back in the late ’90s

upon breaking up with

THE CHEATING NARCISSIST

who had used sex as a

WEAPON

I took a

SEVEN YEAR BREAK FROM SEX

because being manipulated like that

being cheated on

and treated so very badly

left me feeling like

I’d rather be alone forever

than ever risk feeling that way

AGAIN

this break at an age when

I was at my alleged

SEXUAL PEAK

In theory 

I could look back

and feel bad that I

"missed out"

but here is the

REALITY:

Those seven years

ROCKED PRETTY HARD

I quit drinking

I quit smoking

I wrote books

and

I FOCUSED ON RAISING MY KID

I had amazing parties

Incredible travels

and

I started my

MEDITATION PRACTICE

and while it wasn’t all

SUNSHINE AND SPARKLES

It certainly had

more highlights

than not

So too

this past year without sex

has not been awful

NOT EVEN CLOSE

In his book

FIDELITY

Thich Nhat Hanh 

says that

to refrain from sexual activity altogether

is much easier than to have a healthy

sexual relationship

He also says that celibacy makes

MINDFULNESS 

easier in many ways

Let me put that in

(pardon the pun)

LAY TERMS

When you are not

immersing yourself in 

the attendant suffering

that invariably comes along with

any fabulous orgasms

and

other perks of

a relationship that includes sex

you are setting aside

A MOUNTAIN OF BULLSHIT

and giving yourself

lots of time

to do other stuff

This choice of

PANTS ON

is not for everyone

and I’m not here to proselytize

I know many many people

who have wonderful relationships

that include sex

HELL

my job

WHICH I LOVE

is to marry a lot of these folks

to each other

But my awareness

lets me see what is

RIGHT FOR ME

IN THIS MOMENT

When I reflect on

what I loved most

about the good sex

I have had

what made it good

was a combination of

BEING HELD

and

BEING TRULY IN THE MOMENT

that alchemical part where

for just a few minutes

it seemed that my otherwise

constantly anxious busy mind

EMPTIED

and

FOCUSED

on

RIGHT NOW

which is also

a big reason

I drank for so many years

Because with drinking

every night I would get

if only for a few minutes

RESPITE

from the anxiety

but then the anxiety

would ratchet up

with the hangover

So too has been the

STORY OF FUCKING

for me

A little relief

followed by

A LOT OF WORRY

Giving up drinking

QUIETED MY MIND

Giving up sex

QUIETS IT MORE

I now find

TRUE RELIEF

in

MEDITATION

and

any craving I have for

INTIMACY

is handily satisfied

by my incredible friendships

I think of Shakespeare’s

Sonnet 116 

which opens with

Let me not

to the marriage of true minds

admit impediments

I am happy for my friends

who find in their partners

a steady peace and calm and

ANCHORING

I am familiar with the whole

NEVER SAY NEVER

thing

and I know

THE ONLY CONSTANT

IS CHANGE

and I recognise I could

change my mind one day

but as I sit

in my little retreat room

ALONE

save for the dogs

(Oh The Dogs!)

and my mind’s calendar

says

LOOK AT THAT! A WHOLE YEAR!

I breathe in

and

I breathe out

and I see that

in my life

I too often

allowed sex to be

IMPEDIMENT

to wreck the

marriage of minds

NO MORE

Sometime

between

THE LAST TIME

and this

CURIOUS ANNIVERSARY

a very good friend

asked about this sex thing

if we should consider

giving it a go

just for fun

If not for the

MEDITATION

and

If not for the

shitty loss of friendship

with the last one

I might’ve jumped

at the chance

But instead

I spoke my mind

I could do this

I said

and I could act nonchalant

but I promise you

I will get

ATTACHED

And so we chose

not to impede

our married minds

a choice that

as it happened

brought us closer still

Today I

Breathe in

and I

Breathe out

And I am so grateful

for the

AWARENESS

my practice brings

Thank you

Year Two, Week Thirteen
The Writing Garrett, Galveston, TX
There is a bend in the road
along Lamar Blvd
The very first time 
I came upon it
was not long after
moving to Austin 
Fall 1991
I remember it because
I didn’t know it was there
and I nearly drove straight
and that would’ve put me
in the path of 
ONCOMING TRAFFIC
though it’s been
nearly twenty-five years
I cannot drive that bend
without remembering that time
THIS IS HOW MY MIND WORKS
And I don’t just remember
my own scares and fears and pains
I remember others’ too
This week I am 
at the beach
in a little space my friends have
which we call
THE WRITING GARRETT
I come here to practice
SLOWING DOWN
something which I will
practice for the rest of my life
and I am absolutely certain
will never get the hang of
But I’ll keep trying
and all things being relative
I am slowing down 
at least compared to
THE AUSTIN ME
but I’ve brought with me
a half-dozen books
a quilt project
a couple of knitting projects
and a list of historical research topics
I’d like to explore whilst I’m here
BECAUSE I AM CURIOUS
and
BECAUSE I LIKE TO GET SHIT DONE
but I still take time to
MEDITATE
every day
and my mind is
I realise
much like the room
in which I am staying
Physically speaking
it is a rather small space
but there’s an
EXPANSIVE POTENTIAL 
Just as I’ve got all these
books and projects
scattered about the room
I’ve got all these 
ideas and demons
scattered about my mind
and if I may
take the metaphor another step
in this room
the dogs 
(and to be fair, I also)
have brought in seemingly
INFINITE GRAINS OF SAND
now I know really it’s not infinite
but still if I swept for 
eight hours a day
every day
THERE WOULD STILL BE SAND
this is how I feel about
NEGATIVE THINKING
when I sit on the cushion every day
and when I
BREATHE IN
and when I
BREATHE OUT
I am doing this to 
CALM MY ANXIETY 
and also to 
CHANGE MY BRAIN CHEMISTRY
I started meditating a long time ago
before it became trendy for the
scientists to start digging around
and proving that you can alter
neural pathways using 
MEDITATION
my life is proof
it can be done
I am so much better now
than I used to be before
MEDITATION
but I still I sometimes
SUFFER
I come to a bend in
the boulevard of my mind
and I am reminded
of earlier times at that bend
when I didn’t know about it
didn’t know how to navigate it
and even though I do know now
how to turn the wheel
STILL I REMEMBER WHEN I DIDN’T
and I get that same
QUEASY FEELING
Some examples:
Even though when I am
here tucked away in
MY WRITING GARRETT
I hardly see anyone at all
except the friends who host me
and the dogs
(who are utterly faultless zen beings)
I still sometimes allow in the
IDEA OF PEOPLE
and usually in the form of
PEOPLE WHO DRIVE ME FUCKING NUTS
I’ve let this happen 
THREE TIMES
so far on this trip
I’m going to save 
the biggest example 
for next week
but for now
THE OTHER TWO
Firstly there is a young woman
who works for a friend of mine
my friend owns a shop
I used to work for her too
the young employee
has in the past
treated me like shit 
and seemingly sabotaged 
some of my work
though let’s allow for the possibility of
a little paranoia on my part
I wrote to my friend
sent a note to her personal email
and the young employee replied
and dismissed me out of hand
and I’ve been sort of 
LIVID 
about this which
honestly doesn’t make
a whole lot of sense to me
I mean who cares right?
The other instance
came in the form of
an unsolicited email
from another officiant
an LA slickster
who lives here now
and said she is starting
a web site 
"to serve the LGBTQ community"
and that I can
be part of this wonderful service
if I’ll just give her
ninety-nine dollars
and instead of just ignoring her
I foolishly engaged
and suggested she was just trying
to bilk me out of money
I’ve continued to be irritated
with these two women
for days now
which in turn leaves me
IRRITATED WITH MYSELF
but I am using my irritation
in combination with my
MEDITATION
to try to figure this out
of course there’s the usual suspect
that when we are annoyed by others
possibly (probably) they are reflecting back
qualities we ourselves possess
and are not pleased with
So I took that route
and I saw that what I think
the two women have
most in common is what I call
BULLSHIT
so I rooted around and
while I’m not sure if their bullshit
bugs me because it reminds me of 
my own bullshit
 I absolutely must cop to the fact
that I have at times been
THE BULLSHIT QUEEN
There’s another thing I’m thinking
I’m thinking the irritation I feel
is kind of like a referral pain
sort of how that bend in
Lamar Blvd
refers me back again and again
to the time I almost crashed
something about
these other women
is recalling for me
ancient memories
that I don’t even need to bother
to dial up specifically
(in fact I’d rather not)
I do know I was raised on
BULLSHIT MOUNTAIN
told endless lies about myself and others
and that despite my ongoing efforts
to be otherwise
I still often greet
the world around me
with suspicion and disdain
which you might not know
to watch me work a room
but trust me
(If you are able to trust)
just below the surface
more often than not
I’m wondering 
who is out to get me
and how they will hurt me
Now this is not
PURE PARANOIA
because law of attraction
or 
FATE
or
just bad luck
or
just the human condition
I have often enough
wound up in the company
of either flat out dickheads 
or else
otherwise semi-decent people
suffering from a case of
TEMPORARY DICKHEAD
which they happen to
take out on me
so I have some reinforcement
for the crap I fear
but then
I also have tons of
PROOF TO THE CONTRARY
I have
SO MUCH LOVE
and
SO MUCH SUPPORT
and
SO MUCH KINDNESS
and so I just
keep sitting 
and I just keep
BREATHING
which is like
sweeping the sand
and
sweeping the sand
and
sweeping the sand
I am not going to
get rid of all
of the sand
or the negativity
but there is
something about
THE SWEEPING
and
THE BREATHING
something in
THE ACTS THEMSELVES
that help me
shift the prism
as oh so slowly
I descend
BULLSHIT MOUNTAIN
Today I 
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and I say
ON BELAY BABY
I’m coming down
Thank you
Note: Dig this blog? You might want to check out Keeping Austin Austin. Also, I’d appreciate it if you’d pop over to Spike Yourself and see how you can support my projects. You needn’t spend a dime. Thanks. 

Year Two, Week Thirteen

The Writing Garrett, Galveston, TX

There is a bend in the road

along Lamar Blvd

The very first time 

I came upon it

was not long after

moving to Austin 

Fall 1991

I remember it because

I didn’t know it was there

and I nearly drove straight

and that would’ve put me

in the path of 

ONCOMING TRAFFIC

though it’s been

nearly twenty-five years

I cannot drive that bend

without remembering that time

THIS IS HOW MY MIND WORKS

And I don’t just remember

my own scares and fears and pains

I remember others’ too

This week I am 

at the beach

in a little space my friends have

which we call

THE WRITING GARRETT

I come here to practice

SLOWING DOWN

something which I will

practice for the rest of my life

and I am absolutely certain

will never get the hang of

But I’ll keep trying

and all things being relative

I am slowing down 

at least compared to

THE AUSTIN ME

but I’ve brought with me

a half-dozen books

a quilt project

a couple of knitting projects

and a list of historical research topics

I’d like to explore whilst I’m here

BECAUSE I AM CURIOUS

and

BECAUSE I LIKE TO GET SHIT DONE

but I still take time to

MEDITATE

every day

and my mind is

I realise

much like the room

in which I am staying

Physically speaking

it is a rather small space

but there’s an

EXPANSIVE POTENTIAL 

Just as I’ve got all these

books and projects

scattered about the room

I’ve got all these 

ideas and demons

scattered about my mind

and if I may

take the metaphor another step

in this room

the dogs 

(and to be fair, I also)

have brought in seemingly

INFINITE GRAINS OF SAND

now I know really it’s not infinite

but still if I swept for 

eight hours a day

every day

THERE WOULD STILL BE SAND

this is how I feel about

NEGATIVE THINKING

when I sit on the cushion every day

and when I

BREATHE IN

and when I

BREATHE OUT

I am doing this to 

CALM MY ANXIETY 

and also to 

CHANGE MY BRAIN CHEMISTRY

I started meditating a long time ago

before it became trendy for the

scientists to start digging around

and proving that you can alter

neural pathways using 

MEDITATION

my life is proof

it can be done

I am so much better now

than I used to be before

MEDITATION

but I still I sometimes

SUFFER

I come to a bend in

the boulevard of my mind

and I am reminded

of earlier times at that bend

when I didn’t know about it

didn’t know how to navigate it

and even though I do know now

how to turn the wheel

STILL I REMEMBER WHEN I DIDN’T

and I get that same

QUEASY FEELING

Some examples:

Even though when I am

here tucked away in

MY WRITING GARRETT

I hardly see anyone at all

except the friends who host me

and the dogs

(who are utterly faultless zen beings)

I still sometimes allow in the

IDEA OF PEOPLE

and usually in the form of

PEOPLE WHO DRIVE ME FUCKING NUTS

I’ve let this happen 

THREE TIMES

so far on this trip

I’m going to save 

the biggest example 

for next week

but for now

THE OTHER TWO

Firstly there is a young woman

who works for a friend of mine

my friend owns a shop

I used to work for her too

the young employee

has in the past

treated me like shit 

and seemingly sabotaged 

some of my work

though let’s allow for the possibility of

a little paranoia on my part

I wrote to my friend

sent a note to her personal email

and the young employee replied

and dismissed me out of hand

and I’ve been sort of 

LIVID 

about this which

honestly doesn’t make

a whole lot of sense to me

I mean who cares right?

The other instance

came in the form of

an unsolicited email

from another officiant

an LA slickster

who lives here now

and said she is starting

a web site 

"to serve the LGBTQ community"

and that I can

be part of this wonderful service

if I’ll just give her

ninety-nine dollars

and instead of just ignoring her

I foolishly engaged

and suggested she was just trying

to bilk me out of money

I’ve continued to be irritated

with these two women

for days now

which in turn leaves me

IRRITATED WITH MYSELF

but I am using my irritation

in combination with my

MEDITATION

to try to figure this out

of course there’s the usual suspect

that when we are annoyed by others

possibly (probably) they are reflecting back

qualities we ourselves possess

and are not pleased with

So I took that route

and I saw that what I think

the two women have

most in common is what I call

BULLSHIT

so I rooted around and

while I’m not sure if their bullshit

bugs me because it reminds me of 

my own bullshit

 I absolutely must cop to the fact

that I have at times been

THE BULLSHIT QUEEN

There’s another thing I’m thinking

I’m thinking the irritation I feel

is kind of like a referral pain

sort of how that bend in

Lamar Blvd

refers me back again and again

to the time I almost crashed

something about

these other women

is recalling for me

ancient memories

that I don’t even need to bother

to dial up specifically

(in fact I’d rather not)

I do know I was raised on

BULLSHIT MOUNTAIN

told endless lies about myself and others

and that despite my ongoing efforts

to be otherwise

I still often greet

the world around me

with suspicion and disdain

which you might not know

to watch me work a room

but trust me

(If you are able to trust)

just below the surface

more often than not

I’m wondering 

who is out to get me

and how they will hurt me

Now this is not

PURE PARANOIA

because law of attraction

or 

FATE

or

just bad luck

or

just the human condition

I have often enough

wound up in the company

of either flat out dickheads 

or else

otherwise semi-decent people

suffering from a case of

TEMPORARY DICKHEAD

which they happen to

take out on me

so I have some reinforcement

for the crap I fear

but then

I also have tons of

PROOF TO THE CONTRARY

I have

SO MUCH LOVE

and

SO MUCH SUPPORT

and

SO MUCH KINDNESS

and so I just

keep sitting 

and I just keep

BREATHING

which is like

sweeping the sand

and

sweeping the sand

and

sweeping the sand

I am not going to

get rid of all

of the sand

or the negativity

but there is

something about

THE SWEEPING

and

THE BREATHING

something in

THE ACTS THEMSELVES

that help me

shift the prism

as oh so slowly

I descend

BULLSHIT MOUNTAIN

Today I 

Breathe In

and I

Breathe Out

and I say

ON BELAY BABY

I’m coming down

Thank you

Note: Dig this blog? You might want to check out Keeping Austin Austin. Also, I’d appreciate it if you’d pop over to Spike Yourself and see how you can support my projects. You needn’t spend a dime. Thanks. 

Year Two, Week Twelve
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY
I am a control freak
MEDITATION
gives me increasingly clear
AWARENESS
of my control freakishness
and I like to think
and I like to hope
that also
MEDITATION
is helping me to 
LET GO
at least a little
Part of my awareness
includes understanding
where my 
NEED FOR CONTROL
comes from
not surprisingly
not at all
it comes from
FEAR
and one of my
biggest fears
is the 
FEAR OF BEING BEHOLDEN
this is because 
at the root of my fear
is the memory of being told
over and over and over and
fucking over again
as a child
that because I had a
ROOF OVER MY HEAD
and because I had
FOOD ON THE TABLE
then I had to comply
even if complying meant
being constantly bullied
so I grew up with what I now see
thanks to the awareness of
MEDITATION
was a super stubborn determination
to completely and totally
TAKE CARE OF MYSELF
now don’t get me wrong
being responsible and accountable
are important skills to have
to survive and to contribute
and to not be a burden
but you can
trust me
TAKE IT TOO FAR
in Faulkner’s 
AS I LAY DYING
at least as I recall it
the root of that 
fucked up family’s
FUCKED UPEDNESS
was that the dad was
a total dumbass who
in insisting on not taking help
just made things worse and worse
(apologies to you Faulker fans
if I got that wrong
but it is the impression 
I took with me)
My awareness also allows me
THE CLARITY
of seeing how so many
kind and loving and
INCREDIBLY PATIENT FRIENDS
circumvented my control freak shit
over the decades
by forcing help upon me
often in covert ways
sometimes through
persuasive speech
all this until I learned how to
RECEIVE
which I have thankfully
gotten better and better at
though sometimes I still
BACKSLIDE
Last week
I did a tiny backslide
it was really hardly anything at all
unless you consider how
big the lesson
that came along with it was
I was staying a couple of days
at the spa
a place I am fortunate 
to get to spend time at
thanks to some work I do there
The day came for me to leave
and so I grabbed all of my bags
and I am forever 
to the amusement of my friends
carrying way too many bags
(symbolic perhaps of all my
METAPHORICAL BAGGAGE)
and I am very very good
at carrying a bunch of bags at once
I call this
SINGLE MOTHER EFFICIENCY
and it dates back to
when I would hustle in from the car
maybe ten bags of groceries
at once
because I just had to 
keep moving
keep hustling
didn’t feel like I had
the luxury of multiple trips
to the car and back
always the hustle
always the control
never able to 
RELEASE
So anyway
there I was
carrying my bags to the car
when the
FRENCH CHEF
who creates the most
incredible meals at the spa
spotted me
he strolled across the parking lot
and he offered to help
and I did that control thing I do
and I said
Oh no thanks, I’m fine, 
I DON’T NEED HELP
And he cheerfully and decidedly
overruled me and
took some of my bags
and here is what he told me
a lesson he said he learned
from some friends
YOU MUST SAY YES TO HELP
OR ELSE YOU WILL 
BREAK THE CHAIN OF POSITIVITY
Such a great reminder
one enrobed in a
beautiful French accent
Oh I had so much 
GRATITUDE
for him
for saying that
for taking my bags
for showing me
I still have gratitude
So I pass along the message
similar to the one I saw
scrawled on a van in Brooklyn
RELEASE
ALLOW LOVE
TO FIND YOU
Today I breathe in
and I breathe out
and I say
MERCI UNIVERSE
for continuing to help me
figure out all this stuff
and for helping me to
oh so slowly
UNCLENCH
MERCI BEAUCOUP!
Note: Dig this blog? You might also like Keeping Austin Austin. And please check out Spike Yourself to see how you can support these posts. You don’t need to spend a dime. Thanks. 

Year Two, Week Twelve

Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY

I am a control freak

MEDITATION

gives me increasingly clear

AWARENESS

of my control freakishness

and I like to think

and I like to hope

that also

MEDITATION

is helping me to 

LET GO

at least a little

Part of my awareness

includes understanding

where my 

NEED FOR CONTROL

comes from

not surprisingly

not at all

it comes from

FEAR

and one of my

biggest fears

is the 

FEAR OF BEING BEHOLDEN

this is because 

at the root of my fear

is the memory of being told

over and over and over and

fucking over again

as a child

that because I had a

ROOF OVER MY HEAD

and because I had

FOOD ON THE TABLE

then I had to comply

even if complying meant

being constantly bullied

so I grew up with what I now see

thanks to the awareness of

MEDITATION

was a super stubborn determination

to completely and totally

TAKE CARE OF MYSELF

now don’t get me wrong

being responsible and accountable

are important skills to have

to survive and to contribute

and to not be a burden

but you can

trust me

TAKE IT TOO FAR

in Faulkner’s 

AS I LAY DYING

at least as I recall it

the root of that 

fucked up family’s

FUCKED UPEDNESS

was that the dad was

a total dumbass who

in insisting on not taking help

just made things worse and worse

(apologies to you Faulker fans

if I got that wrong

but it is the impression 

I took with me)

My awareness also allows me

THE CLARITY

of seeing how so many

kind and loving and

INCREDIBLY PATIENT FRIENDS

circumvented my control freak shit

over the decades

by forcing help upon me

often in covert ways

sometimes through

persuasive speech

all this until I learned how to

RECEIVE

which I have thankfully

gotten better and better at

though sometimes I still

BACKSLIDE

Last week

I did a tiny backslide

it was really hardly anything at all

unless you consider how

big the lesson

that came along with it was

I was staying a couple of days

at the spa

a place I am fortunate 

to get to spend time at

thanks to some work I do there

The day came for me to leave

and so I grabbed all of my bags

and I am forever 

to the amusement of my friends

carrying way too many bags

(symbolic perhaps of all my

METAPHORICAL BAGGAGE)

and I am very very good

at carrying a bunch of bags at once

I call this

SINGLE MOTHER EFFICIENCY

and it dates back to

when I would hustle in from the car

maybe ten bags of groceries

at once

because I just had to 

keep moving

keep hustling

didn’t feel like I had

the luxury of multiple trips

to the car and back

always the hustle

always the control

never able to 

RELEASE

So anyway

there I was

carrying my bags to the car

when the

FRENCH CHEF

who creates the most

incredible meals at the spa

spotted me

he strolled across the parking lot

and he offered to help

and I did that control thing I do

and I said

Oh no thanks, I’m fine, 

I DON’T NEED HELP

And he cheerfully and decidedly

overruled me and

took some of my bags

and here is what he told me

a lesson he said he learned

from some friends

YOU MUST SAY YES TO HELP

OR ELSE YOU WILL 

BREAK THE CHAIN OF POSITIVITY

Such a great reminder

one enrobed in a

beautiful French accent

Oh I had so much 

GRATITUDE

for him

for saying that

for taking my bags

for showing me

I still have gratitude

So I pass along the message

similar to the one I saw

scrawled on a van in Brooklyn

RELEASE

ALLOW LOVE

TO FIND YOU

Today I breathe in

and I breathe out

and I say

MERCI UNIVERSE

for continuing to help me

figure out all this stuff

and for helping me to

oh so slowly

UNCLENCH

MERCI BEAUCOUP!

Note: Dig this blog? You might also like Keeping Austin Austin. And please check out Spike Yourself to see how you can support these posts. You don’t need to spend a dime. Thanks. 

Year Two, Week Eleven
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY
When I was growing up
my father told me 
that if I ever
left our small town
and went to a 
BIG CITY
I would be
raped & tortured & killed by
A MAN OF COLOR
This was hardly the only
tool he had
in his
MASSIVE TOOLKIT OF FEAR
There was also the
daily promise of an
ETERNITY IN HELL
and
more in the moment
the threat of
PERMANENT GROUNDING
(not the good kind of grounding)
I have spent
a good deal of my life
accidentally trying to 
OVERCOMPENSATE
for my father’s racism
by striving to demonstrate
HOW RACIST I AM NOT
which of course itself can be
a form of 
RACISM
even if intent was the opposite
so hard so often to
NAVIGATE ADULTHOOD
and
find roads away from the
LIES OF CHILDHOOD
When I was raising my son
I took him regularly 
to big cities
I always 
HATED NEW YORK
but back before
the internet was commonplace
it was in my best interest
to visit Manhattan
and meet with editors
my trips dwindled as
email changed everything
and then in 2010
after more than a quarter century
LIVING THE NIGHTMARE
I finally 
QUIT FREELANCING
so really I could
skip NY altogether forever
if I wanted after that
except for
OH IRONY
not long after
my son moved to
BROOKLYN
so now I keep going up
I go to see him
he could live in
a box of cat shit in
SIBERIA
and I would go see him
Last week
on a trip up
something amazing happened
I HAD A GREAT TIME
I did not
HATE NEW YORK
I imagined living there
(don’t worry son
it was just a fantasy)
I chalk up this
BIG CHANGE
to a few key factors
Firstly
Now I get to see the place
through the 
CURIOUS & APPRECIATIVE & NON-FEARFUL
eyes of my son
who loves the city
his calm way of
easing all around
calms me
Secondly
I always stay with
Melissa & Damon
part of my
GLOBAL CHOSEN FAMILY
and they are so kind
and they are so easygoing
I feel utterly relaxed
This is so different
I used to always get
so nervous in the city
not because of my father’s
terrified prophecy
but simply because
I could sense the energy of
TOO MANY PEOPLE
because if you made everyone
come out of all the buildings
and stand on the ground
THEY WOULDN’T ALL FIT
and that kind of collective energy
FREAKS ME OUT
so the way I used to handle it
was I drank 
COPIOUSLY
more so than on a normal
alcoholic day
I still cannot visit Manhattan
without remembering 
the night I can’t actually remember
the night of
SO MUCH VODKA I COULD’VE DIED
But that nervousness
was absent on this trip
which brings me to 
reason number three:
MEDITATION
This breathing stuff
has calmed me down so much
the day I took this selfie
on M & D’s balcony
I had
ONE OF THE BEST MEDITATION SESSIONS EVER
The monkeys shut up
The breathing commenced
There was no suffering
JUST BLISS
I knew the bliss wouldn’t last
I didn’t care
I stayed in the moment
It was amazing
This happens so rarely
and that it happened in
the place I am usually
MOST ANXIOUS
was extra awesome
New York is pretty much
Still the same old New York
Just as
the facts of my life
are still the same
facts of my life
But the meditation
helps me to 
SHIFT THE PRISM
I can’t change the facts
of my life
but with meditation
I can change how I react
and with meditation
my fear dissipates
my mind on meditation
is like my son’s mind
in his adopted city
it is 
FEARLESS
in the best sense of that word
it is
CALM
it is
CURIOUS
it is
AMAZED
it is
SO HAPPY TO BE HERE
Today I
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and I am
so grateful
that I have had
another profound
CHANGE OF MIND
thanks to
MEDITATION
Thank you

Year Two, Week Eleven
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY
When I was growing up
my father told me
that if I ever
left our small town
and went to a
BIG CITY
I would be
raped & tortured & killed by
A MAN OF COLOR
This was hardly the only
tool he had
in his
MASSIVE TOOLKIT OF FEAR
There was also the
daily promise of an
ETERNITY IN HELL
and
more in the moment
the threat of
PERMANENT GROUNDING
(not the good kind of grounding)
I have spent
a good deal of my life
accidentally trying to
OVERCOMPENSATE
for my father’s racism
by striving to demonstrate
HOW RACIST I AM NOT
which of course itself can be
a form of
RACISM
even if intent was the opposite
so hard so often to
NAVIGATE ADULTHOOD
and
find roads away from the
LIES OF CHILDHOOD
When I was raising my son
I took him regularly
to big cities
I always
HATED NEW YORK
but back before
the internet was commonplace
it was in my best interest
to visit Manhattan
and meet with editors
my trips dwindled as
email changed everything
and then in 2010
after more than a quarter century
LIVING THE NIGHTMARE
I finally
QUIT FREELANCING
so really I could
skip NY altogether forever
if I wanted after that
except for
OH IRONY
not long after
my son moved to
BROOKLYN
so now I keep going up
I go to see him
he could live in
a box of cat shit in
SIBERIA
and I would go see him
Last week
on a trip up
something amazing happened
I HAD A GREAT TIME
I did not
HATE NEW YORK
I imagined living there
(don’t worry son
it was just a fantasy)
I chalk up this
BIG CHANGE
to a few key factors
Firstly
Now I get to see the place
through the
CURIOUS & APPRECIATIVE & NON-FEARFUL
eyes of my son
who loves the city
his calm way of
easing all around
calms me
Secondly
I always stay with
Melissa & Damon
part of my
GLOBAL CHOSEN FAMILY
and they are so kind
and they are so easygoing
I feel utterly relaxed
This is so different
I used to always get
so nervous in the city
not because of my father’s
terrified prophecy
but simply because
I could sense the energy of
TOO MANY PEOPLE
because if you made everyone
come out of all the buildings
and stand on the ground
THEY WOULDN’T ALL FIT
and that kind of collective energy
FREAKS ME OUT
so the way I used to handle it
was I drank
COPIOUSLY
more so than on a normal
alcoholic day
I still cannot visit Manhattan
without remembering
the night I can’t actually remember
the night of
SO MUCH VODKA I COULD’VE DIED
But that nervousness
was absent on this trip
which brings me to
reason number three:
MEDITATION
This breathing stuff
has calmed me down so much
the day I took this selfie
on M & D’s balcony
I had
ONE OF THE BEST MEDITATION SESSIONS EVER
The monkeys shut up
The breathing commenced
There was no suffering
JUST BLISS
I knew the bliss wouldn’t last
I didn’t care
I stayed in the moment
It was amazing
This happens so rarely
and that it happened in
the place I am usually
MOST ANXIOUS
was extra awesome
New York is pretty much
Still the same old New York
Just as
the facts of my life
are still the same
facts of my life
But the meditation
helps me to
SHIFT THE PRISM
I can’t change the facts
of my life
but with meditation
I can change how I react
and with meditation
my fear dissipates
my mind on meditation
is like my son’s mind
in his adopted city
it is
FEARLESS
in the best sense of that word
it is
CALM
it is
CURIOUS
it is
AMAZED
it is
SO HAPPY TO BE HERE
Today I
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and I am
so grateful
that I have had
another profound
CHANGE OF MIND
thanks to
MEDITATION
Thank you

Year Two, Week Ten
Upper East Side, ATX
I am still
trying to learn
how to
RISE ABOVE IT
and by 
IT
I mean
every little thing
and
every big thing
that
PULLS MY TRIGGERS
and
PUSHES MY BUTTONS
for all the work I’ve done
and 
I’ve done a lot
some days I 
look at myself
and I see a big
PUSH ME PULL YOU
in the mirror of my soul
I’m either being
PUSHED OR PULLED
and/or
I react by
PUSHING AND PULLING
Last Saturday was
what I consider to have been
a damn near perfect day
Noska and I created
A MARATHON OF FABULOUS
which included
good coffee and tacos
LINKLATER’S BOYHOOD
dinner and La Condesa
with my friend Katherine
a trip to Toy Joy
also with K
and then
Nick Cave at ACL
I dare you to
try to top that
But then something happened
and
for a few moments
fucked it all up
We were in the 
ACL Theater
waiting for the show
when a woman approached
and she knew my name
which happens to me 
somewhat regularly 
only she called me
MISS GILLESPIE
and her tone was not
suggesting she actually
knew me
She wasn’t being 
especially clear
kept saying something about
a bag at the front
a bag at the front
but my bag was at my feet
then I understood
I’d left my Toy Joy bag at will call
luckily it had a receipt in it
with my name on it
see all this stuff about
too much of our info
being out there 
isn’t so bad because
otherwise how would I
ever get back my 
SPIDERMAN PEZ DISPENSER
I thanked the woman profusely
then headed back into the show
a guy at the door stopped me
TICKET
he barked
It’s inside 
I said
He turned his head
HAUGHTILY
as if to say
You’re Dead to Me
I tried again
he ignored me
I tried again
YOU CAN’T GET IN
he said
now I already have hindsight
on all this
I know I should’ve 
stayed calm
thought it through
called my friend inside
asked him to step out
with my ticket
or asked the lady at the desk
to vouch for me
but something in this guy’s
tone and attitude
FLIPPED THE WRONG SWITCH
I felt disoriented
I took a breath
went to the desk
asked for help
and the nice woman
told the guy to let me in
at which point
he yelled at my
YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR TICKET ON YOU
this freaked me out
that he would yell at me
I recoiled
I should’ve kept moving
Instead I said
DON’T YELL AT ME
he followed me a few steps in
and then he yelled
I’M NOT YELLING AT YOU
YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR TICKET ON YOU
I again told him to not yell at me
he yelled at me again
we were in a loop
I finally broke away
My adrenaline was pumping
when I am yelled at
especially by men
I have to fight like hell
to stay steady
I hardly ever do
I don’t think it’s my imagination
I think there’s gender stuff here
I don’t think he would’ve yelled like that
if I were a dude
so that makes me mad
also there’s the same old
thing as ever
my PTSD
and when men yell
I flashback to
THE ORIGINAL YELLING MAN
(yes, sometimes it is
exhausting to be me)
But here’s the good news
here’s the part where
MEDITATION 
has helped so much
even though I didn’t stay calm
in the moment
when I got back in
I knew what I needed to do
I said to my friend
I need your help
I need you to listen
I started to tell him
He said, gently
about the guy
He was doing his job
I said, also gently
I know that
but he yelled
and besides
right now
I need you to 
totally be on my side
I said that not because 
I always need to be right
but because I just
needed to be heard
right then
not questioned
I needed to calm down
my friend checked my pulse
Adrenaline’s pretty high
he noted
I continued my story
I was so rattled
I started to cry
I knew the crying was 
mostly a chemical reaction
I knew I’d waited
eight months for this concert
I knew the guy at the door
should not have the power
to wreck it for me
Noska listened some more
then he gave me
a much needed lesson in
REFRAMING
You know how people
jump out of planes
to get an adrenaline rush
he asked
I nodded
wiped away some tears
He continued
And do you know how much
They pay for that?
I gave a shadow of a smile
You just got that
FOR FREE
I knew he was being silly
I appreciated it
I listened
I closed my eyes
I breathed
pushed away some more tears
He checked my pulse again
BETTER
he said
later he went for a drink
and was gone awhile
much later
I learned
he’d actually gone to
have a word with the dude
who yes
was doing his job
but who was doing it
shittily
and later still
the next day
I still was processing
which sounds ridiculous
but 
PTSD will do that
the fallout can be
such a pain in the ass
I really wish that guy
hadn’t yelled at me
I tried t think about
his perspective
with so many people 
coming at him
and protocol he has to follow
and how he probably hears
all kinds of excuses
offered by no ticket people
and as I thought about this
I came to three conclusions
The First:
He sure was an asshole to me
The Second:
Some people with limited power
puff up and abuse the little power they have
The Third:
Those first two points
are moot in the scheme of things
because I’ll never
control him
or
other yelling jerks
I never could
so back around I come
to my own behavior
and my own
need for awareness
I MUST NOT FORGET
the next time
because there will be
a next time
that when some
douchebag is hollering
and getting in my face
I need to 
NOT ENGAGE
I need to
STEP AWAY FROM THE ASSHOLE
I need to say to myself
Self go breathe and
think calmly about this
and figure out a resolution
Ah yes,
still more lessons learned
Today I
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and I am
so grateful for
my thoughtful friend
and I am also
so grateful
that Nick Cave
is so fucking hot
and charismatic
that he really did
take my mind off of
THE YELLING MAN
Thank you

Year Two, Week Ten
Upper East Side, ATX
I am still
trying to learn
how to
RISE ABOVE IT
and by
IT
I mean
every little thing
and
every big thing
that
PULLS MY TRIGGERS
and
PUSHES MY BUTTONS
for all the work I’ve done
and
I’ve done a lot
some days I
look at myself
and I see a big
PUSH ME PULL YOU
in the mirror of my soul
I’m either being
PUSHED OR PULLED
and/or
I react by
PUSHING AND PULLING
Last Saturday was
what I consider to have been
a damn near perfect day
Noska and I created
A MARATHON OF FABULOUS
which included
good coffee and tacos
LINKLATER’S BOYHOOD
dinner and La Condesa
with my friend Katherine
a trip to Toy Joy
also with K
and then
Nick Cave at ACL
I dare you to
try to top that
But then something happened
and
for a few moments
fucked it all up
We were in the
ACL Theater
waiting for the show
when a woman approached
and she knew my name
which happens to me
somewhat regularly
only she called me
MISS GILLESPIE
and her tone was not
suggesting she actually
knew me
She wasn’t being
especially clear
kept saying something about
a bag at the front
a bag at the front
but my bag was at my feet
then I understood
I’d left my Toy Joy bag at will call
luckily it had a receipt in it
with my name on it
see all this stuff about
too much of our info
being out there
isn’t so bad because
otherwise how would I
ever get back my
SPIDERMAN PEZ DISPENSER
I thanked the woman profusely
then headed back into the show
a guy at the door stopped me
TICKET
he barked
It’s inside
I said
He turned his head
HAUGHTILY
as if to say
You’re Dead to Me
I tried again
he ignored me
I tried again
YOU CAN’T GET IN
he said
now I already have hindsight
on all this
I know I should’ve
stayed calm
thought it through
called my friend inside
asked him to step out
with my ticket
or asked the lady at the desk
to vouch for me
but something in this guy’s
tone and attitude
FLIPPED THE WRONG SWITCH
I felt disoriented
I took a breath
went to the desk
asked for help
and the nice woman
told the guy to let me in
at which point
he yelled at my
YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR TICKET ON YOU
this freaked me out
that he would yell at me
I recoiled
I should’ve kept moving
Instead I said
DON’T YELL AT ME
he followed me a few steps in
and then he yelled
I’M NOT YELLING AT YOU
YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR TICKET ON YOU
I again told him to not yell at me
he yelled at me again
we were in a loop
I finally broke away
My adrenaline was pumping
when I am yelled at
especially by men
I have to fight like hell
to stay steady
I hardly ever do
I don’t think it’s my imagination
I think there’s gender stuff here
I don’t think he would’ve yelled like that
if I were a dude
so that makes me mad
also there’s the same old
thing as ever
my PTSD
and when men yell
I flashback to
THE ORIGINAL YELLING MAN
(yes, sometimes it is
exhausting to be me)
But here’s the good news
here’s the part where
MEDITATION
has helped so much
even though I didn’t stay calm
in the moment
when I got back in
I knew what I needed to do
I said to my friend
I need your help
I need you to listen
I started to tell him
He said, gently
about the guy
He was doing his job
I said, also gently
I know that
but he yelled
and besides
right now
I need you to
totally be on my side
I said that not because
I always need to be right
but because I just
needed to be heard
right then
not questioned
I needed to calm down
my friend checked my pulse
Adrenaline’s pretty high
he noted
I continued my story
I was so rattled
I started to cry
I knew the crying was
mostly a chemical reaction
I knew I’d waited
eight months for this concert
I knew the guy at the door
should not have the power
to wreck it for me
Noska listened some more
then he gave me
a much needed lesson in
REFRAMING
You know how people
jump out of planes
to get an adrenaline rush
he asked
I nodded
wiped away some tears
He continued
And do you know how much
They pay for that?
I gave a shadow of a smile
You just got that
FOR FREE
I knew he was being silly
I appreciated it
I listened
I closed my eyes
I breathed
pushed away some more tears
He checked my pulse again
BETTER
he said
later he went for a drink
and was gone awhile
much later
I learned
he’d actually gone to
have a word with the dude
who yes
was doing his job
but who was doing it
shittily
and later still
the next day
I still was processing
which sounds ridiculous
but
PTSD will do that
the fallout can be
such a pain in the ass
I really wish that guy
hadn’t yelled at me
I tried t think about
his perspective
with so many people
coming at him
and protocol he has to follow
and how he probably hears
all kinds of excuses
offered by no ticket people
and as I thought about this
I came to three conclusions
The First:
He sure was an asshole to me
The Second:
Some people with limited power
puff up and abuse the little power they have
The Third:
Those first two points
are moot in the scheme of things
because I’ll never
control him
or
other yelling jerks
I never could
so back around I come
to my own behavior
and my own
need for awareness
I MUST NOT FORGET
the next time
because there will be
a next time
that when some
douchebag is hollering
and getting in my face
I need to
NOT ENGAGE
I need to
STEP AWAY FROM THE ASSHOLE
I need to say to myself
Self go breathe and
think calmly about this
and figure out a resolution
Ah yes,
still more lessons learned
Today I
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and I am
so grateful for
my thoughtful friend
and I am also
so grateful
that Nick Cave
is so fucking hot
and charismatic
that he really did
take my mind off of
THE YELLING MAN
Thank you

Year Two, Week Nine
Casa Marianella, The Hood, ATX
SPECIAL EDITION
I usually only post
once a week
but this week
an extra post
because it is very
NECESSARY
There is currently
at the 
Texas Border
a 
MASSIVE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
it is very complicated
I cannot comprehensively 
explain nor even understand
the whole of it
but I would like to tell you about
CASA MARIANELLA
an Austin organization
that has been serving
immigrants and refugees
fleeing horrors in their homelands
and seeking asylum here
since the ’80s
In particular
I want to tell the story
of one young man
(not pictured above)
let’s call him Farooq
he is the same age
as my son Henry
who is twenty-three
I met Farooq a few years ago
He’s from Pakistan
He is gay
He had a boyfriend
I will call Tahir
The boys’ parents
put a hit out 
on their respective sons
Tahir was killed
Farooq escaped
He had never been on a plane before
when he flew to Dubai
where he got on another plane
and flew to Brasil
and then using any means he could
including buses 
and his own
TWO FEET
he made it to the border
between Mexico and Texas
and he was kidnapped
he escaped that ordeal
and found his way to
Casa Marianella
those are of course
the barest bones of his story
which I heard myself firsthand
as I got to know him
because friends of mine
sponsored him
while he waited for asylum
which thankfully he was granted
I know I preach to the choir here
but let me say it anyway
these young people
and
LITTLE CHILDREN
coming to the border
are not thinking to themselves
Gee, Hey, Fucking PAR-TAY in the USA
They are scared
They are hungry
They come from
ABJECT POVERTY
INCREDIBLE VIOLENCE
and
CONSTANT TERROR
Not that it’s a contest
but before I say what I say next
let me first acknowledge that
relatively speaking
my childhood was a fucking
walk in the ding dang park
and yet still
I GREW UP IN POVERTY
I GREW UP IN VIOLENCE
I GREW UP IN TERROR
and let me go ahead
and put a fine point on it
in case you don’t know 
what it’s like
to live that way
IT FUCKING SUCKS
so while I would
under any circumstances
be horrified and outraged
at the people who are
screaming at these children
that they are 
UNWANTED
my personal experience
makes me want to
PUNCH THESE ASSHOLES IN THE FACE
and I want to scream
Look unless you can 
prove you are a direct descendent 
of the Indigenous People of this Continent
then guess what? 
Your people were immigrants too
You stupid jackasses
But I’m trying to be
not like that anymore
I’m trying to not match
HATE WITH HATE
I want to be part of some
sort of solution
So I went over to
CASA MARIANELLA
to ask about some
positive things we can all do
to help ease the suffering
of immigrants and refugees
Today I am going to be part of a
COUNTER PROTEST
we are gathering to show
we do not agree with
protestors staging a
HATE RALLY
at the Mexican Consulate
here in Austin
which is part of an effort
across the country
to spread venom
I am going to go
and do my best to just
sit and meditate quietly
You are welcome to join me
But I know not everyone can make it
and I know not everyone can deal with
being around so much 
HATE
in which case I urge you
if you are in Austin
to do something for the folks
at Casa Marianella
or if you are somewhere else
find an immigration assistance organization
near you
Here in Austin
Casa M clients
can always use
bedding and toiletries
which you can just drop off
at their physical location
of course you can always
DONATE MONEY TO THE LEGAL CLINIC
and you can also
VOLUNTEER TO HELP OUT
I’ve done that before
Brought knitting supplies
and once thanks to
a very generous financial donation
to my organization
THE OFFICE OF GOOD DEEDS
I was able to buy a pretty rocking
badminton setup for the house
I’m thinking I’ll volunteer to start cooking
Care to join me?
Today I 
Breathe In
and I 
Breathe Out
and I am 
SO GRATEFUL
for the 
RIDICULOUS ABUNDANCE I HAVE
and I am 
SO GRATEFUL
I was able to raise my son
in a place where even
when times were tough
we always had
food
and
shelter
and
a love-filled community
and we never had to
stay in some crowded 
detention facility
hoping beyond hope
just for a little
HOPE
Please help
Thank you

Year Two, Week Nine

Casa Marianella, The Hood, ATX

SPECIAL EDITION

I usually only post

once a week

but this week

an extra post

because it is very

NECESSARY

There is currently

at the 

Texas Border

MASSIVE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

it is very complicated

I cannot comprehensively 

explain nor even understand

the whole of it

but I would like to tell you about

CASA MARIANELLA

an Austin organization

that has been serving

immigrants and refugees

fleeing horrors in their homelands

and seeking asylum here

since the ’80s

In particular

I want to tell the story

of one young man

(not pictured above)

let’s call him Farooq

he is the same age

as my son Henry

who is twenty-three

I met Farooq a few years ago

He’s from Pakistan

He is gay

He had a boyfriend

I will call Tahir

The boys’ parents

put a hit out 

on their respective sons

Tahir was killed

Farooq escaped

He had never been on a plane before

when he flew to Dubai

where he got on another plane

and flew to Brasil

and then using any means he could

including buses 

and his own

TWO FEET

he made it to the border

between Mexico and Texas

and he was kidnapped

he escaped that ordeal

and found his way to

Casa Marianella

those are of course

the barest bones of his story

which I heard myself firsthand

as I got to know him

because friends of mine

sponsored him

while he waited for asylum

which thankfully he was granted

I know I preach to the choir here

but let me say it anyway

these young people

and

LITTLE CHILDREN

coming to the border

are not thinking to themselves

Gee, Hey, Fucking PAR-TAY in the USA

They are scared

They are hungry

They come from

ABJECT POVERTY

INCREDIBLE VIOLENCE

and

CONSTANT TERROR

Not that it’s a contest

but before I say what I say next

let me first acknowledge that

relatively speaking

my childhood was a fucking

walk in the ding dang park

and yet still

I GREW UP IN POVERTY

I GREW UP IN VIOLENCE

I GREW UP IN TERROR

and let me go ahead

and put a fine point on it

in case you don’t know 

what it’s like

to live that way

IT FUCKING SUCKS

so while I would

under any circumstances

be horrified and outraged

at the people who are

screaming at these children

that they are 

UNWANTED

my personal experience

makes me want to

PUNCH THESE ASSHOLES IN THE FACE

and I want to scream

Look unless you can 

prove you are a direct descendent 

of the Indigenous People of this Continent

then guess what?

Your people were immigrants too

You stupid jackasses

But I’m trying to be

not like that anymore

I’m trying to not match

HATE WITH HATE

I want to be part of some

sort of solution

So I went over to

CASA MARIANELLA

to ask about some

positive things we can all do

to help ease the suffering

of immigrants and refugees

Today I am going to be part of a

COUNTER PROTEST

we are gathering to show

we do not agree with

protestors staging a

HATE RALLY

at the Mexican Consulate

here in Austin

which is part of an effort

across the country

to spread venom

I am going to go

and do my best to just

sit and meditate quietly

You are welcome to join me

But I know not everyone can make it

and I know not everyone can deal with

being around so much 

HATE

in which case I urge you

if you are in Austin

to do something for the folks

at Casa Marianella

or if you are somewhere else

find an immigration assistance organization

near you

Here in Austin

Casa M clients

can always use

bedding and toiletries

which you can just drop off

at their physical location

of course you can always

DONATE MONEY TO THE LEGAL CLINIC

and you can also

VOLUNTEER TO HELP OUT

I’ve done that before

Brought knitting supplies

and once thanks to

a very generous financial donation

to my organization

THE OFFICE OF GOOD DEEDS

I was able to buy a pretty rocking

badminton setup for the house

I’m thinking I’ll volunteer to start cooking

Care to join me?

Today I 

Breathe In

and I 

Breathe Out

and I am 

SO GRATEFUL

for the 

RIDICULOUS ABUNDANCE I HAVE

and I am 

SO GRATEFUL

I was able to raise my son

in a place where even

when times were tough

we always had

food

and

shelter

and

a love-filled community

and we never had to

stay in some crowded 

detention facility

hoping beyond hope

just for a little

HOPE

Please help

Thank you

Year Two Week Nine
My Crib, Cherrywood, ATX
Go ahead
call me
HOMOPHONIC
I just love words
that sound alike
but have different meanings
and 
I love homophones 
even more when
you can take these words
and mash them up
to arrive at something
EVEN GREATER
probably my favorite 
homophone combo
is
META/METTA
so we know that
META
is taking it to
some next level
often in a funny way
as for
METTA
in Buddhism 
this is the practice of
LOVING-KINDNESS
and it involves learning to
love without clinging
which is a constant battle for me
METTA MEDITATION
involves sitting and breathing
and
CULTIVATING LOVE
for
ALL SENTIENT BEINGS
that’s a really tall order
so you take it
one step at a time
breathing in and out
first love for yourself
then for people you know and love
then for people you know and hate
then for all sentient beings
That was over-simplification
but you get the idea
I have found that 
one can achieve
META SUPER POWERS
with a daily and dedicated
MEDITATION PRACTICE
when you commit to sit
your mind expands
and you see things
DIFFERENTLY
sort of an 
OUT OF MIND 
experience
not as in you are
out of your mind
but more like a
bird’s eye view
of how stuff works
which in turn
allows you to
STOP CLINGING
and then you can
get down to the business of
TRUE METTA
see isn’t that funny
in a goofy
BUDDHIST NERD
kind of way?
So i got a nice
META METTA LESSON
when I was looking out
my kitchen window
and saw a physical manifestation
of the 
ART OF LETTING GO
a couple of years ago
I had raised beds installed
I went all out
I also got drip irrigation
I had a beautiful chicken coop too
and a small flock
and my backyard 
was a wee little farm
that gave me much pleasure
but then
THE FUCKING SQUIRRELS
kept ruining everything
and 
THE GODDAMNED DROUGHT
meant hardly any tomatoes
which even when some grew
see above:
THE FUCKING SQUIRRELS
ate them
Then last fall
the chickens got into
the raised beds
and the
LITTLE BITCHES
ate
FORTY KALE PLANTS
And then last December
THE GREAT CHICKEN MASSACRE of 2013
went down
when a
MOFO RACCOON
decided my chicken yard
was his own personal
POPEYE’S DRIVE-THRU
and eviscerated 
a couple of my gals
I got really tired of all this nonsense
and I had to evaluate my life
I travel pretty constantly
I cannot be vigilant every day
in the backyard
and I was wasting a
hell of a lot of water
to harvest a few veggies
So this spring
at planting time
I just 
LET GO
I said fuck it
put in a few cacti
I had already re-homed
the remaining chickens
I just gave up the urban farmer dream
And then
came the day when
looking out the window
I saw what had happened
WILD SUNFLOWERS
were everywhere
the hard-headed 
PASSION FLOWER VINE
was blooming
THE ROSEMARY
was out of control
and there were
a billion butterflies
and
so many sparrows
and 
some beautiful cardinals
all this just happening
of nature’s own accord
all of this happening 
because I stopped 
trying to control the situation
it’s an easy metaphor, right?
I know that life isn’t always
so simple 
and that giving up on
work or love or friends
doesn’t guarantee 
sunshine and rainbows
will pop up to fill the void
but sometimes
good things do happen
when you let go
which brings me back
to 
META/METTA
I realise that often 
I am attached to the idea of
NON-ATTACHMENT
and this means I cannot always
LET GO
of
WANTING TO LET GO
which is a trap
If you bust ass every day
to let go
here’s a hint
you aren’t letting go
In my book
PISSED OFF
I recount a conversation
I once had with a 
Buddhist Nun
named
Thubten Chodron
whom I met in Missouri
many years ago
and who first turned me onto
Buddhism and Meditation
I told her about my anger 
towards my abusive
and very mentally ill father
how the fallout of his
terrible words and deeds
still haunted me
well into adulthood
she asked me how I felt
about him
in that moment 
that we were speaking
and I told her that
I’d come to feel like
Wile E. Coyote
who after clinging to
a branch sticking out of
the side of a cliff
for so long
finally just lets go
not out of a
DESIRE TO LET GO
but due to
SHEER EXHAUSTION
I told her that
some days I felt just like that
that my anger was 
SO FUCKING EXHAUSTING
I finally just
LOST MY GRIP
and 
Thubten Chodron
suggested to me
that this letting go
even if it wasn’t intentional
still counted as
FORGIVENESS
because who cares 
how I let go
that wasn’t important
just the fact that 
I LET GO
was what mattered
in truth
I haven’t totally let go
of all of that abuse
but the
MEDITATION
helps me loosen up
my grip on the branch
and when that happens
it is so very
META METTA
and 
in flutter
THE BUTTERFLIES
and
CRAZY WILDFLOWERS BLOOM
and
LITTLE BIRDS SING
I mean
it is just
the kookiest thing
Today I
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and I hope that 
all of us can
let go of
working so hard
to let go
and
instead
you know
JUST LET GO
Thank you
Note: If you like this blog, will you please take a minute to visit the page Spike Yourself and see how you can help keep my projects going. Won’t cost you a cent. Thank you.

Year Two Week Nine

My Crib, Cherrywood, ATX

Go ahead

call me

HOMOPHONIC

I just love words

that sound alike

but have different meanings

and 

I love homophones 

even more when

you can take these words

and mash them up

to arrive at something

EVEN GREATER

probably my favorite 

homophone combo

is

META/METTA

so we know that

META

is taking it to

some next level

often in a funny way

as for

METTA

in Buddhism 

this is the practice of

LOVING-KINDNESS

and it involves learning to

love without clinging

which is a constant battle for me

METTA MEDITATION

involves sitting and breathing

and

CULTIVATING LOVE

for

ALL SENTIENT BEINGS

that’s a really tall order

so you take it

one step at a time

breathing in and out

first love for yourself

then for people you know and love

then for people you know and hate

then for all sentient beings

That was over-simplification

but you get the idea

I have found that 

one can achieve

META SUPER POWERS

with a daily and dedicated

MEDITATION PRACTICE

when you commit to sit

your mind expands

and you see things

DIFFERENTLY

sort of an 

OUT OF MIND 

experience

not as in you are

out of your mind

but more like a

bird’s eye view

of how stuff works

which in turn

allows you to

STOP CLINGING

and then you can

get down to the business of

TRUE METTA

see isn’t that funny

in a goofy

BUDDHIST NERD

kind of way?

So i got a nice

META METTA LESSON

when I was looking out

my kitchen window

and saw a physical manifestation

of the 

ART OF LETTING GO

a couple of years ago

I had raised beds installed

I went all out

I also got drip irrigation

I had a beautiful chicken coop too

and a small flock

and my backyard 

was a wee little farm

that gave me much pleasure

but then

THE FUCKING SQUIRRELS

kept ruining everything

and 

THE GODDAMNED DROUGHT

meant hardly any tomatoes

which even when some grew

see above:

THE FUCKING SQUIRRELS

ate them

Then last fall

the chickens got into

the raised beds

and the

LITTLE BITCHES

ate

FORTY KALE PLANTS

And then last December

THE GREAT CHICKEN MASSACRE of 2013

went down

when a

MOFO RACCOON

decided my chicken yard

was his own personal

POPEYE’S DRIVE-THRU

and eviscerated 

a couple of my gals

I got really tired of all this nonsense

and I had to evaluate my life

I travel pretty constantly

I cannot be vigilant every day

in the backyard

and I was wasting a

hell of a lot of water

to harvest a few veggies

So this spring

at planting time

I just 

LET GO

I said fuck it

put in a few cacti

I had already re-homed

the remaining chickens

I just gave up the urban farmer dream

And then

came the day when

looking out the window

I saw what had happened

WILD SUNFLOWERS

were everywhere

the hard-headed 

PASSION FLOWER VINE

was blooming

THE ROSEMARY

was out of control

and there were

a billion butterflies

and

so many sparrows

and 

some beautiful cardinals

all this just happening

of nature’s own accord

all of this happening 

because I stopped 

trying to control the situation

it’s an easy metaphor, right?

I know that life isn’t always

so simple 

and that giving up on

work or love or friends

doesn’t guarantee 

sunshine and rainbows

will pop up to fill the void

but sometimes

good things do happen

when you let go

which brings me back

to 

META/METTA

I realise that often 

I am attached to the idea of

NON-ATTACHMENT

and this means I cannot always

LET GO

of

WANTING TO LET GO

which is a trap

If you bust ass every day

to let go

here’s a hint

you aren’t letting go

In my book

PISSED OFF

I recount a conversation

I once had with a 

Buddhist Nun

named

Thubten Chodron

whom I met in Missouri

many years ago

and who first turned me onto

Buddhism and Meditation

I told her about my anger 

towards my abusive

and very mentally ill father

how the fallout of his

terrible words and deeds

still haunted me

well into adulthood

she asked me how I felt

about him

in that moment 

that we were speaking

and I told her that

I’d come to feel like

Wile E. Coyote

who after clinging to

a branch sticking out of

the side of a cliff

for so long

finally just lets go

not out of a

DESIRE TO LET GO

but due to

SHEER EXHAUSTION

I told her that

some days I felt just like that

that my anger was 

SO FUCKING EXHAUSTING

I finally just

LOST MY GRIP

and 

Thubten Chodron

suggested to me

that this letting go

even if it wasn’t intentional

still counted as

FORGIVENESS

because who cares 

how I let go

that wasn’t important

just the fact that 

I LET GO

was what mattered

in truth

I haven’t totally let go

of all of that abuse

but the

MEDITATION

helps me loosen up

my grip on the branch

and when that happens

it is so very

META METTA

and 

in flutter

THE BUTTERFLIES

and

CRAZY WILDFLOWERS BLOOM

and

LITTLE BIRDS SING

I mean

it is just

the kookiest thing

Today I

Breathe In

and I

Breathe Out

and I hope that 

all of us can

let go of

working so hard

to let go

and

instead

you know

JUST LET GO

Thank you

Note: If you like this blog, will you please take a minute to visit the page Spike Yourself and see how you can help keep my projects going. Won’t cost you a cent. Thank you.

Year Two Week Eight
Thinkery, Upper East Side, ATX
In Meditation Camp
last summer
where I went to
MEDITATE
for 110 hours 
in silence for
TEN DAYS
we’d watch video lectures
every night
and learn about 
NEGATIVE REACTION
and how to 
tame it
I kinda forgot
a lot of that stuff
but this past week 
brought some reminders
about the importance of
learning how to 
calm it down in there
First you need to be
AWARE
and that is where
MEDITATION
comes in
not just the awareness
you have when
MONKEY MIND
starts flinging 
memory poo
all around your mind
but also this
STEADILY GROWING AWARENESS
that kind of just
creeps up on you
the more you meditate
and pops up
in everyday situations
not just when your
ass is on the cushion
Okay hold that thought
In therapy
I learned about how
you don’t ever get
CURED
from whatever it is
you thought needed
CURING
because the
main affliction
we all share is called
THE HUMAN CONDITION
so there’s not really a cure
the idea is that
you get the lag time down
maybe you don’t stop reacting
but
you react less often
you react less voluminously
you react less furiously
Okay now it’s
MASH UP TIME!
A couple of things happened
last week
that brought almost instant
AWARENESS
Thing one:
Rebound was outside
goofing off under a bush
I was ready to go back in
immerse myself in the a/c
usually I stand and just call her
and she eventually brings her
adorable dumb butt in
but this day she was 
dragging ass
so I did something 
I don’t usually do
I squatted down near the bush
and my leg bumped up against
a sharp branch
and I had
A MEMORY
of the time my brother
forty something years ago
crashed a bike
into a bush
and seriously injured himself
Yes that’s right
I had a
MEMORY
of someone else’s pain
from decades ago
Because my practice
is bringing me more awareness
I thought about how
even though I’ve known
for a very long time
that I have a really
FREAKY MEMORY
that sometimes shocks people
the way I can call up
bizarre details they’d long forgotten
this incident with the branch
inspired some deep
SELF-COMPASSION
It can be so frustrating
navigating the world being told
YOU’RE TOO MUCH
YOU’RE TOO SENSITIVE
it can make you want to
shout back
NO ASSHOLE
ACTUALLY 
YOU’RE NOT ENOUGH
YOU’RE TOO INSENSITIVE
but maybe the thing is
both of those things are right
maybe so many people
didn’t get me
because they just couldn’t
they are the kind of people
who can bump into a branch
and think
Oh I bumped into a branch
not
Oh I am having someone else’s traumatic flashback
It’s not their fault
they aren’t tuned in the way I am
It’s not my fault
I’m not thicker skinned
WE JUST ARE WHO WE ARE
My hyper memory
My hyper sensitivity
sometimes come in handy
and certainly have bred
an awful lot of
EMPATHY
and
COMPASSION
even if the tradeoff has been
a shit ton of hurt at times
Here’s the other thing that happened
Thing Two
Actually ThingS Two
At the tattoo shop
something fell
and it scared me
and I had my 
EXAGGERATED STARTLE RESPONSE
I screamed really really really really
REALLY LOUD
which is not good
then on the Fourth of July
a firecracker went off near me
and if you think I screamed loud
at the shop
well that was
NOTHING
I’m surprised a neighbor
didn’t call the cops
I have been having these
startle responses
for as long as I can remember
they got worse after each divorce
after I’d endured extreme trauma
in two marriages
both of which included
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
At the shop
The guys and Leila 
help me with this
I’ve mentioned it before—
with my permission
they take turns
coming up behind me
and gently scaring me
then when I scream
someone will look at me
and say
YOU’RE SAFE
and I look around
and I see that I am
and the lag time goes
WAY DOWN
Screaming twice so loud
in just a few days
didn’t feel very good
but once I settled down
I shifted the prism
and framed things differently
I put the screams in the
AWARENESS FILE
I thought to myself
SELF I DON’T WANT THIS
STARTLE RESPONSE RULING MY LIFE
with my awareness
I started researching
I couldn’t find much information
other than startle response
likely stems to infancy
which didn’t surprise me
I also asked a couple of therapists
if
EXPOSURE THERAPY
can work
and great news
IT CAN
and not only that
exposure therapy is actually what
the guys and Leila
do when they scare me
What did surprise me
and I was surprised even more
that I was surprised
is that
MEDITATION
also helps
So with my 
latest awareness
I am fashioning a plan
I am going to meditate longer
and
I am going to ask to be
LOVINGLY SCARED 
more often
until I am desensitized
until I really realize
I AM SAFE
until I learn to
NOT REACT
Here we go
taking it to the next level
going deeper
in order to 
go higher
Today I 
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and
Even though I am 
not the boss of you
I would like to
gently encourage you to
look at the branches
and 
listen to the firecrackers
and
watch your reaction
and
see what you think
Thank you
NOTE: If you dig this blog, you might also like my other ongoing blogs Keeping Austin Austin and Good Girl Rebound. If you’d like to help me out (there are free ways to do this) please visit Spike Yourself and find out how. Thanks. 

Year Two Week Eight

Thinkery, Upper East Side, ATX

In Meditation Camp

last summer

where I went to

MEDITATE

for 110 hours 

in silence for

TEN DAYS

we’d watch video lectures

every night

and learn about 

NEGATIVE REACTION

and how to 

tame it

I kinda forgot

a lot of that stuff

but this past week 

brought some reminders

about the importance of

learning how to 

calm it down in there

First you need to be

AWARE

and that is where

MEDITATION

comes in

not just the awareness

you have when

MONKEY MIND

starts flinging 

memory poo

all around your mind

but also this

STEADILY GROWING AWARENESS

that kind of just

creeps up on you

the more you meditate

and pops up

in everyday situations

not just when your

ass is on the cushion

Okay hold that thought

In therapy

I learned about how

you don’t ever get

CURED

from whatever it is

you thought needed

CURING

because the

main affliction

we all share is called

THE HUMAN CONDITION

so there’s not really a cure

the idea is that

you get the lag time down

maybe you don’t stop reacting

but

you react less often

you react less voluminously

you react less furiously

Okay now it’s

MASH UP TIME!

A couple of things happened

last week

that brought almost instant

AWARENESS

Thing one:

Rebound was outside

goofing off under a bush

I was ready to go back in

immerse myself in the a/c

usually I stand and just call her

and she eventually brings her

adorable dumb butt in

but this day she was 

dragging ass

so I did something 

I don’t usually do

I squatted down near the bush

and my leg bumped up against

a sharp branch

and I had

A MEMORY

of the time my brother

forty something years ago

crashed a bike

into a bush

and seriously injured himself

Yes that’s right

I had a

MEMORY

of someone else’s pain

from decades ago

Because my practice

is bringing me more awareness

I thought about how

even though I’ve known

for a very long time

that I have a really

FREAKY MEMORY

that sometimes shocks people

the way I can call up

bizarre details they’d long forgotten

this incident with the branch

inspired some deep

SELF-COMPASSION

It can be so frustrating

navigating the world being told

YOU’RE TOO MUCH

YOU’RE TOO SENSITIVE

it can make you want to

shout back

NO ASSHOLE

ACTUALLY 

YOU’RE NOT ENOUGH

YOU’RE TOO INSENSITIVE

but maybe the thing is

both of those things are right

maybe so many people

didn’t get me

because they just couldn’t

they are the kind of people

who can bump into a branch

and think

Oh I bumped into a branch

not

Oh I am having someone else’s traumatic flashback

It’s not their fault

they aren’t tuned in the way I am

It’s not my fault

I’m not thicker skinned

WE JUST ARE WHO WE ARE

My hyper memory

My hyper sensitivity

sometimes come in handy

and certainly have bred

an awful lot of

EMPATHY

and

COMPASSION

even if the tradeoff has been

a shit ton of hurt at times

Here’s the other thing that happened

Thing Two

Actually ThingS Two

At the tattoo shop

something fell

and it scared me

and I had my 

EXAGGERATED STARTLE RESPONSE

I screamed really really really really

REALLY LOUD

which is not good

then on the Fourth of July

a firecracker went off near me

and if you think I screamed loud

at the shop

well that was

NOTHING

I’m surprised a neighbor

didn’t call the cops

I have been having these

startle responses

for as long as I can remember

they got worse after each divorce

after I’d endured extreme trauma

in two marriages

both of which included

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

At the shop

The guys and Leila 

help me with this

I’ve mentioned it before—

with my permission

they take turns

coming up behind me

and gently scaring me

then when I scream

someone will look at me

and say

YOU’RE SAFE

and I look around

and I see that I am

and the lag time goes

WAY DOWN

Screaming twice so loud

in just a few days

didn’t feel very good

but once I settled down

I shifted the prism

and framed things differently

I put the screams in the

AWARENESS FILE

I thought to myself

SELF I DON’T WANT THIS

STARTLE RESPONSE RULING MY LIFE

with my awareness

I started researching

I couldn’t find much information

other than startle response

likely stems to infancy

which didn’t surprise me

I also asked a couple of therapists

if

EXPOSURE THERAPY

can work

and great news

IT CAN

and not only that

exposure therapy is actually what

the guys and Leila

do when they scare me

What did surprise me

and I was surprised even more

that I was surprised

is that

MEDITATION

also helps

So with my 

latest awareness

I am fashioning a plan

I am going to meditate longer

and

I am going to ask to be

LOVINGLY SCARED 

more often

until I am desensitized

until I really realize

I AM SAFE

until I learn to

NOT REACT

Here we go

taking it to the next level

going deeper

in order to 

go higher

Today I 

Breathe In

and I

Breathe Out

and

Even though I am 

not the boss of you

I would like to

gently encourage you to

look at the branches

and 

listen to the firecrackers

and

watch your reaction

and

see what you think

Thank you

NOTE: If you dig this blog, you might also like my other ongoing blogs Keeping Austin Austin and Good Girl Rebound. If you’d like to help me out (there are free ways to do this) please visit Spike Yourself and find out how. Thanks. 

Year Two Week Seven
Amidst the Cranes, Driftwood, TX
I’ve talked about my 
OCD STUFF BEFORE
maybe because it’s OCD
I feel unable to
not talk about it
AGAIN
(haha that was a joke)
Really though I have
certain compulsions
I think we all do
I think it’s getting more intense
for everyone
in this 
AGE OF DEVICES
as we hit
SEND AND RECEIVE
SEND AND RECEIVE
SEND AND RECEIVE
The good news is
I can use my OCD
to get good habits going
and to get a 
SHIT TON
of work done
I mean I am a 
DAMN MACHINE
I started my book
six weeks ago
and I’m already
80,000 words in
and that’s with 
a lot of days taken off
because the days I am writing
I AM WRITING
I have some compulsions
that I just allow myself to have
I check the front and back door locks
several times at night
I have morning routines which
yes involve coffee
and also the dogs
and teeth brushing
and it’s better for
EVERYONE 
if I am allowed to
do everything 
IN THE RIGHT ORDER
and
THE SAME WAY
every day
I cut myself slack
because these routines
hurt no one
and are a far sight better
than former compulsions
I had 
like
getting married fast
to mentally ill men
like there one was
and
then there was another
and I just 
COULD NOT STOP MYSELF
and also my compulsion to
drink every night
for the better part of 
TWENTY YEARS
that’s behind me now
and so you can see why
I’m cool with
retying my shoes fourteen times
it’s just
so much safer than
living with those men
and
frying my brain
Sometimes I invent 
a new routine
and I can get it to stick
pretty good pretty fast
for example a few weeks ago
I started hitting my heavy bag
every night 500-600 times
and also doing up/down dogs
and also hooping 30 - 60 minutes
I FELT GREAT
but then I went away to Maine
and I didn’t have my hoop
and I didn’t have my heavy bag
and I didn’t have
the same kind of
CONTROL
I have at my house
and at first that felt 
kind of fun 
and 
EXCITING
but then I wanted my routine
only when I got back
I was really really really
REALLY FUCKING SAD
because my friend moved away
and so I used that
as an excuse
to resume another habit
that I first really got into
back after I had major surgery
and had to stay in bed
for a long time
I watched 
A LOT
of bad TV
and I ate
A LOT 
of ice cream
and let me tell you
it is way easier
to eat
Blue Bell
and to watch
TRUE DETECTIVE
than it is to 
work out
Anyway so I’ve been
thinking a lot about
HABITS
one daily habit I have
that I have stuck with
and never ever miss
and haven’t missed once
since January 2013
is of course
MEDITATION
even when everything else
GOES TO SHIT
(and June really felt a lot
like a GO TO SHIT month)
I just do not stop meditating
because it’s awesome 
just for what it is
but the practice is also
a real reminder that
I can start and keep
GOOD HABITS
and also the
MEDITATION
fosters 
AWARENESS
and being awake
is what helped me to 
quickly catch that
hanging out in bed
with creamy sugar
and
Matthew McCounaughey 
night after night after night
might sound really delicious
on the page 
but really 
you know 
you just feel like
FUCK
binge watching
murder mysteries
and
subsisting on 
Rocky Road
Great Divide
and
Mint Chocolate Chip
I was able to realize
much more quickly than
THE OLD DAYS
what I was feeling
and 
what I was feeling
was 
GRIEF
which once I 
identified it
I knew what 
I needed to do
which was
be very gentle with myself
and 
be very gentle with my grief
and also to
stop isolating
and tell some friends
UM? Y’ALL?
I So Do Not Want Company
I So Need Company
and because I asked
because now I know
asking is not only okay
but absolutely 
NECESSARY
well of course
THEY SHOWED UP
I feel better
not one hundred percent
but I am
GETTING THERE
The paper cranes
which I did not make
though that might be 
a cool place to apply
MY OCD
remind me of 
HABITS
I used to do origami 
as a kid
it’s pretty fun
it takes patience
but you practice
you do the same thing
over and over and over
and you wind up
getting good at it
and you wind up
with a thousand cranes
and the individual crane
is not to be sneezed at
or dismissed
but the cumulative effect
of so many pretty little birds
so many patient folds
really is
MAGNIFICENT
Today I 
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and I’m just going to
keep chipping away
at the crap habits
and nurturing the good ones
folding my cranes
folding my cranes
folding my cranes
Thank you

Year Two Week Seven

Amidst the Cranes, Driftwood, TX

I’ve talked about my 

OCD STUFF BEFORE

maybe because it’s OCD

I feel unable to

not talk about it

AGAIN

(haha that was a joke)

Really though I have

certain compulsions

I think we all do

I think it’s getting more intense

for everyone

in this 

AGE OF DEVICES

as we hit

SEND AND RECEIVE

SEND AND RECEIVE

SEND AND RECEIVE

The good news is

I can use my OCD

to get good habits going

and to get a 

SHIT TON

of work done

I mean I am a 

DAMN MACHINE

I started my book

six weeks ago

and I’m already

80,000 words in

and that’s with 

a lot of days taken off

because the days I am writing

I AM WRITING

I have some compulsions

that I just allow myself to have

I check the front and back door locks

several times at night

I have morning routines which

yes involve coffee

and also the dogs

and teeth brushing

and it’s better for

EVERYONE 

if I am allowed to

do everything 

IN THE RIGHT ORDER

and

THE SAME WAY

every day

I cut myself slack

because these routines

hurt no one

and are a far sight better

than former compulsions

I had 

like

getting married fast

to mentally ill men

like there one was

and

then there was another

and I just 

COULD NOT STOP MYSELF

and also my compulsion to

drink every night

for the better part of 

TWENTY YEARS

that’s behind me now

and so you can see why

I’m cool with

retying my shoes fourteen times

it’s just

so much safer than

living with those men

and

frying my brain

Sometimes I invent 

a new routine

and I can get it to stick

pretty good pretty fast

for example a few weeks ago

I started hitting my heavy bag

every night 500-600 times

and also doing up/down dogs

and also hooping 30 - 60 minutes

I FELT GREAT

but then I went away to Maine

and I didn’t have my hoop

and I didn’t have my heavy bag

and I didn’t have

the same kind of

CONTROL

I have at my house

and at first that felt 

kind of fun 

and 

EXCITING

but then I wanted my routine

only when I got back

I was really really really

REALLY FUCKING SAD

because my friend moved away

and so I used that

as an excuse

to resume another habit

that I first really got into

back after I had major surgery

and had to stay in bed

for a long time

I watched 

A LOT

of bad TV

and I ate

A LOT 

of ice cream

and let me tell you

it is way easier

to eat

Blue Bell

and to watch

TRUE DETECTIVE

than it is to 

work out

Anyway so I’ve been

thinking a lot about

HABITS

one daily habit I have

that I have stuck with

and never ever miss

and haven’t missed once

since January 2013

is of course

MEDITATION

even when everything else

GOES TO SHIT

(and June really felt a lot

like a GO TO SHIT month)

I just do not stop meditating

because it’s awesome 

just for what it is

but the practice is also

a real reminder that

I can start and keep

GOOD HABITS

and also the

MEDITATION

fosters 

AWARENESS

and being awake

is what helped me to 

quickly catch that

hanging out in bed

with creamy sugar

and

Matthew McCounaughey 

night after night after night

might sound really delicious

on the page 

but really 

you know 

you just feel like

FUCK

binge watching

murder mysteries

and

subsisting on 

Rocky Road

Great Divide

and

Mint Chocolate Chip

I was able to realize

much more quickly than

THE OLD DAYS

what I was feeling

and 

what I was feeling

was 

GRIEF

which once I 

identified it

I knew what 

I needed to do

which was

be very gentle with myself

and 

be very gentle with my grief

and also to

stop isolating

and tell some friends

UM? Y’ALL?

I So Do Not Want Company

I So Need Company

and because I asked

because now I know

asking is not only okay

but absolutely 

NECESSARY

well of course

THEY SHOWED UP

I feel better

not one hundred percent

but I am

GETTING THERE

The paper cranes

which I did not make

though that might be 

a cool place to apply

MY OCD

remind me of 

HABITS

I used to do origami 

as a kid

it’s pretty fun

it takes patience

but you practice

you do the same thing

over and over and over

and you wind up

getting good at it

and you wind up

with a thousand cranes

and the individual crane

is not to be sneezed at

or dismissed

but the cumulative effect

of so many pretty little birds

so many patient folds

really is

MAGNIFICENT

Today I 

Breathe In

and I

Breathe Out

and I’m just going to

keep chipping away

at the crap habits

and nurturing the good ones

folding my cranes

folding my cranes

folding my cranes

Thank you