Meditation Kicks Ass

sit. stay. heal.
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

Year Two Week Six
Cathedral Woods, Monhegan Island, Maine
I think I might 
start calling myself a
COMPASSIONATE ASSHOLE
because even though
I have worked hard
to make changes
and 
even though
I really do
try very hard
to have 
EMPATHY AND SYMPATHY
I find that I still sometimes
TAKE THE BAIT
so that when someone
takes a swing at me
I seem unable to resist
THE URGE TO SWING BACK
and when I do swing back
I like to call it
IRISH BUDDHISM
(or as was suggested recently
JERSEY BUDDHISM)
you know what I mean
"enlightening" someone
with a metaphorical
PUNCH TO THE NOSE
Last week
I received
out of the blue
a most vitriolic
HATE LETTER
the thing about hate mail—
and I really mean this—
is that I’m surprised I don’t 
receive more of it
Because I state my feelings
very often and very clearly
and that means frequently
(though hopefully
less frequently these days)
Calling people out on
what to me seems like
DUMBASS BEHAVIOR
So the letter I got last week
was from a former friend
whom I’ve not seen in
nearly a decade
she ripped me
a few new assholes
told me I need to 
EXAMINE MY ACTIONS
and 
accused me of being a
HYPOCRITE
for writing the blog
Keeping Austin Austin
about all the nice people
I meet here
She also accused me
of being a terrible friend
for having cut her off
which I readily admit I did
Here’s something I wish
I could change about myself
and maybe I can
if I meditate for another
four hundred years:
I wish I could
NOT TAKE THE BAIT
but I do
I take the bait
so I was barely finished reading
this hate spewing pile of venom
when my mind started racing
and I began to
compose a response
which I soon after
put into a note
which yes, of course
I HIT SEND
but here’s the thing
even though I’ll never
ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT
and even though
I worked in more than a few
FUCK YOUS
in my reply
I swear it was probably
the most compassionate
GO FUCK YOURSELF LETTER
I’ve ever written
I’m thinking that 
this counts as 
a triumph of
MEDITATION
you know that whole thing
Thich Nhat Hanh says
about how when we aim for
THE NORTH STAR
we don’t expect to
actually reach it
but we head in the 
RIGHT DIRECTION
and here is what informed 
my version of compassion
in my response
When I read the 
unexpected hate letter
I had an instant insight
into what had prompted it
this ex-friend
who for some reason
was still in my FB community
saw a photo of me
that I think triggered pain in her
I think the picture
made her think that
I was off having fun
with people she was 
supposed to be having fun with
and that this infuriated her
as if I was
where she should be
I’m writing a book now
in which I talk about
my last breakup
which hinged on many things
but a super catalyst
was a picture I saw on FB
of my then-bf with another woman
they were goofing off
he was kissing her cheek
and they were both making
Yeah We Just Fucked
eyes at the camera
Even though I knew
it was staged
and that their poses
were not real
the visceral response I had
was totally shattering
and I knew that when I protested
I just probably sounded
JEALOUS
which was more frustrating still
then after a ten-day meditation camp
during which
I meditated for
around 110 hours
I had something like an
EPIPHANY
I realised that what hurt me
was this thing I came to call
YOU’RE IN MY SPOT SYNDROME
which occurs when we feel
DISPLACED
and/or
LEFT OUT
and/or 
OSTRACIZED
I grew up feeling
all of those things
amidst a sea of siblings
(nine of us total)
It always felt like
there was 
NO SPACE FOR ME
So if my theory is correct
I truly have empathy
for the angry letter writer
and I said as much
But I didn’t stop there
She said I never
APOLOGISED
for dumping her
she said a lot of other things
all of which
when held up to the light
actually described 
HER OWN SHITTY BEHAVIOR
which I couldn’t help
but point out to her
I also explained to her
why I had cut her off
which was quite simple
She deceived me
She lied to me
I know humans have
the capacity to
grow and change
and put such behaviors
behind them
but in the nine years
of not speaking
I had no evidence of
change on her part
I wasn’t sitting around
hating her
I just mostly
LET HER GO
but apparently
she did not just
LET ME GO
I don’t hate her
and I’m not even
mad she sent that letter
because just as I saw
in her accusations of my behavior
her behavior being reflected
I saw in her 
GRUDGE HOLDING
and
BITTER WORD FLINGING
far too much of myself
Oh my
The number of grudges
I have held over the years
is far too high to count
The number of angry letters
I have sent
also too many to count
I understood far too clearly
this ex-friend’s 
actions, motives, emotions
because in the end
I AM HER
and
SHE IS ME
This is something
I get from
MEDITATION
not necessarily
a blissful steady
INNER PEACE
but more an ability to
get real
OVERVIEW
and to
go into the forest
of my many emotions
and to pull shit up
knock over 
MASSIVE TREES OF OLD SHIT
and
GET TO THE ROOT
of whatever is
bugging me
hurting me
aiding me in
hurting others
I feel bad for my ex-friend
holding onto a grudge
for so long
I feel bad for myself
holding onto so many grudges
for so long
you know what they say
about grudges
it’s like letting someone
live rent-free
in your mind
and how hatred is like
taking poison
and hoping it will
make the other guy sick
I know those are
BUMPER STICKER SENTIMENTS
but then
I’ve always been a fan
of bumper stickers
Today I
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and I hope
my ex-friend
finds a way to
drop her grudge
just to free up some space
and I hope that
I can keep working to
diminish my own grudges
Thank you

Year Two Week Six

Cathedral Woods, Monhegan Island, Maine

I think I might 

start calling myself a

COMPASSIONATE ASSHOLE

because even though

I have worked hard

to make changes

and 

even though

I really do

try very hard

to have 

EMPATHY AND SYMPATHY

I find that I still sometimes

TAKE THE BAIT

so that when someone

takes a swing at me

I seem unable to resist

THE URGE TO SWING BACK

and when I do swing back

I like to call it

IRISH BUDDHISM

(or as was suggested recently

JERSEY BUDDHISM)

you know what I mean

"enlightening" someone

with a metaphorical

PUNCH TO THE NOSE

Last week

I received

out of the blue

a most vitriolic

HATE LETTER

the thing about hate mail—

and I really mean this—

is that I’m surprised I don’t 

receive more of it

Because I state my feelings

very often and very clearly

and that means frequently

(though hopefully

less frequently these days)

Calling people out on

what to me seems like

DUMBASS BEHAVIOR

So the letter I got last week

was from a former friend

whom I’ve not seen in

nearly a decade

she ripped me

a few new assholes

told me I need to 

EXAMINE MY ACTIONS

and 

accused me of being a

HYPOCRITE

for writing the blog

Keeping Austin Austin

about all the nice people

I meet here

She also accused me

of being a terrible friend

for having cut her off

which I readily admit I did

Here’s something I wish

I could change about myself

and maybe I can

if I meditate for another

four hundred years:

I wish I could

NOT TAKE THE BAIT

but I do

I take the bait

so I was barely finished reading

this hate spewing pile of venom

when my mind started racing

and I began to

compose a response

which I soon after

put into a note

which yes, of course

I HIT SEND

but here’s the thing

even though I’ll never

ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT

and even though

I worked in more than a few

FUCK YOUS

in my reply

I swear it was probably

the most compassionate

GO FUCK YOURSELF LETTER

I’ve ever written

I’m thinking that 

this counts as 

a triumph of

MEDITATION

you know that whole thing

Thich Nhat Hanh says

about how when we aim for

THE NORTH STAR

we don’t expect to

actually reach it

but we head in the 

RIGHT DIRECTION

and here is what informed 

my version of compassion

in my response

When I read the 

unexpected hate letter

I had an instant insight

into what had prompted it

this ex-friend

who for some reason

was still in my FB community

saw a photo of me

that I think triggered pain in her

I think the picture

made her think that

I was off having fun

with people she was 

supposed to be having fun with

and that this infuriated her

as if I was

where she should be

I’m writing a book now

in which I talk about

my last breakup

which hinged on many things

but a super catalyst

was a picture I saw on FB

of my then-bf with another woman

they were goofing off

he was kissing her cheek

and they were both making

Yeah We Just Fucked

eyes at the camera

Even though I knew

it was staged

and that their poses

were not real

the visceral response I had

was totally shattering

and I knew that when I protested

I just probably sounded

JEALOUS

which was more frustrating still

then after a ten-day meditation camp

during which

I meditated for

around 110 hours

I had something like an

EPIPHANY

I realised that what hurt me

was this thing I came to call

YOU’RE IN MY SPOT SYNDROME

which occurs when we feel

DISPLACED

and/or

LEFT OUT

and/or 

OSTRACIZED

I grew up feeling

all of those things

amidst a sea of siblings

(nine of us total)

It always felt like

there was 

NO SPACE FOR ME

So if my theory is correct

I truly have empathy

for the angry letter writer

and I said as much

But I didn’t stop there

She said I never

APOLOGISED

for dumping her

she said a lot of other things

all of which

when held up to the light

actually described 

HER OWN SHITTY BEHAVIOR

which I couldn’t help

but point out to her

I also explained to her

why I had cut her off

which was quite simple

She deceived me

She lied to me

I know humans have

the capacity to

grow and change

and put such behaviors

behind them

but in the nine years

of not speaking

I had no evidence of

change on her part

I wasn’t sitting around

hating her

I just mostly

LET HER GO

but apparently

she did not just

LET ME GO

I don’t hate her

and I’m not even

mad she sent that letter

because just as I saw

in her accusations of my behavior

her behavior being reflected

I saw in her 

GRUDGE HOLDING

and

BITTER WORD FLINGING

far too much of myself

Oh my

The number of grudges

I have held over the years

is far too high to count

The number of angry letters

I have sent

also too many to count

I understood far too clearly

this ex-friend’s 

actions, motives, emotions

because in the end

I AM HER

and

SHE IS ME

This is something

I get from

MEDITATION

not necessarily

a blissful steady

INNER PEACE

but more an ability to

get real

OVERVIEW

and to

go into the forest

of my many emotions

and to pull shit up

knock over 

MASSIVE TREES OF OLD SHIT

and

GET TO THE ROOT

of whatever is

bugging me

hurting me

aiding me in

hurting others

I feel bad for my ex-friend

holding onto a grudge

for so long

I feel bad for myself

holding onto so many grudges

for so long

you know what they say

about grudges

it’s like letting someone

live rent-free

in your mind

and how hatred is like

taking poison

and hoping it will

make the other guy sick

I know those are

BUMPER STICKER SENTIMENTS

but then

I’ve always been a fan

of bumper stickers

Today I

Breathe In

and I

Breathe Out

and I hope

my ex-friend

finds a way to

drop her grudge

just to free up some space

and I hope that

I can keep working to

diminish my own grudges

Thank you

Year Two Week Five
Backyard Wedding, ATX
This picture was taken
at a wedding in Austin
about twelve hours
before I
hopped a flight
to JFK
where I
hopped another flight
to the Portland, ME Jetport
and then
got in a rental car
and drove three hours to
PORT CLYDE
which is where 
the solid world
gives way to the sea
and it’s where 
twice each year
I get on a little ferry
and cross the Atlantic
for an hour
and then land at
MONHEGAN ISLAND
I’ve written about this place
on a number of occasions
I’m writing about it again
I can see now
on my eighth trip here
how this place is
a good metaphor for
MEDITATION
when I am near salt water
I am much calmer
when I am on this 
particular island
where there are only
a few vehicles
you walk everywhere
and things are
very contained
fewer than a hundred folks
live here year round
you can
hike the entire perimeter
in a day
it’s a long exhausting day
but you can do it
MEDITATION
helps me contain
my thoughts
I can sit for
twenty minutes
and 
BREATHE
and
no matter how stressed
I might feel on the way in
I always feel 
way better on the way out
I get an overview
I can travel all the way
around my mind
I might return
from this jaunt
exhausted but
I also get to see
amazing views
Tonight Kathy and I
took a stroll out to
BURNT HEAD
which is a great place
to see the sunrise
we went in the evening though
still the view was
BREATHTAKING
and she said
It’s beautiful and terrifying
as we looked over 
a mighty cliff
down at the water 
breaking into the rocks
swirling around
so many shades of darkness
topped with blinding white
MERINGUE WAVES
that’s my mind sometimes
deep and dark and swirling
but then too
some frothy something
a realisation
that gets more real
the more I sit and breathe
that 
I AM OKAY
This is the second year
I brought a group of writers here
Last year everyone was
ASTOUNDED
at how happy I was
at how giddy I am
on this island I love
This year I am still happy
but I brought with me
some of last week’s sadness
as I continue to sort through
my best friend moving far far away
I have no doubt
I will settle into this change
I have no doubt
We will see each other again
I even like the part where
Now I get to go to England
on a regular basis
and hey
ENGLAND IS AN ISLAND
so that’s cool
but the separation part
that’s what I’m working through
and yet if I’m going to feel sad
really it’s a great thing
to be sad in your happy place
that sounds contradictory 
but here’s why it’s not
because when I am in my
HAPPY PLACE
I am super aware
of how awesome my life is
in the 
BIG PICTURE
my sadness is less sad
That’s how it is
with the 
MEDITATION
even days that are
TOTALLY SHITTY
are way less shitty 
than the shitty days of old
MEDITATION 
is my anchor
I am a sailor 
on the sea of
IMPERMANENCE
I am a sailor
on the sea of
THE ONLY CONSTANT 
IS CHANGE
I am a sailor
on the sea of
LEARNING TO LET GO
and when I let 
MEDITATION
stabilise the ship of my mind
I am a sailor moving
OUT OF THE SHADOWS
and
INTO THE LIGHT
Today I
Breathe in
and I
Breathe out
and I am
so grateful for
this thing that
calms every storm
thank you

Year Two Week Five

Backyard Wedding, ATX

This picture was taken

at a wedding in Austin

about twelve hours

before I

hopped a flight

to JFK

where I

hopped another flight

to the Portland, ME Jetport

and then

got in a rental car

and drove three hours to

PORT CLYDE

which is where 

the solid world

gives way to the sea

and it’s where 

twice each year

I get on a little ferry

and cross the Atlantic

for an hour

and then land at

MONHEGAN ISLAND

I’ve written about this place

on a number of occasions

I’m writing about it again

I can see now

on my eighth trip here

how this place is

a good metaphor for

MEDITATION

when I am near salt water

I am much calmer

when I am on this 

particular island

where there are only

a few vehicles

you walk everywhere

and things are

very contained

fewer than a hundred folks

live here year round

you can

hike the entire perimeter

in a day

it’s a long exhausting day

but you can do it

MEDITATION

helps me contain

my thoughts

I can sit for

twenty minutes

and 

BREATHE

and

no matter how stressed

I might feel on the way in

I always feel 

way better on the way out

I get an overview

I can travel all the way

around my mind

I might return

from this jaunt

exhausted but

I also get to see

amazing views

Tonight Kathy and I

took a stroll out to

BURNT HEAD

which is a great place

to see the sunrise

we went in the evening though

still the view was

BREATHTAKING

and she said

It’s beautiful and terrifying

as we looked over 

a mighty cliff

down at the water 

breaking into the rocks

swirling around

so many shades of darkness

topped with blinding white

MERINGUE WAVES

that’s my mind sometimes

deep and dark and swirling

but then too

some frothy something

a realisation

that gets more real

the more I sit and breathe

that 

I AM OKAY

This is the second year

I brought a group of writers here

Last year everyone was

ASTOUNDED

at how happy I was

at how giddy I am

on this island I love

This year I am still happy

but I brought with me

some of last week’s sadness

as I continue to sort through

my best friend moving far far away

I have no doubt

I will settle into this change

I have no doubt

We will see each other again

I even like the part where

Now I get to go to England

on a regular basis

and hey

ENGLAND IS AN ISLAND

so that’s cool

but the separation part

that’s what I’m working through

and yet if I’m going to feel sad

really it’s a great thing

to be sad in your happy place

that sounds contradictory 

but here’s why it’s not

because when I am in my

HAPPY PLACE

I am super aware

of how awesome my life is

in the 

BIG PICTURE

my sadness is less sad

That’s how it is

with the 

MEDITATION

even days that are

TOTALLY SHITTY

are way less shitty 

than the shitty days of old

MEDITATION 

is my anchor

I am a sailor 

on the sea of

IMPERMANENCE

I am a sailor

on the sea of

THE ONLY CONSTANT 

IS CHANGE

I am a sailor

on the sea of

LEARNING TO LET GO

and when I let 

MEDITATION

stabilise the ship of my mind

I am a sailor moving

OUT OF THE SHADOWS

and

INTO THE LIGHT

Today I

Breathe in

and I

Breathe out

and I am

so grateful for

this thing that

calms every storm

thank you

Year Two Week Four
Circuit of the Americas
This week is feeling 
PRETTY SHITTY
I am feeling very
AGITATED
at every turn
my time management skills
which I have honed
over the years
thanks in large part to
MEDITATION
seem to have gone 
out the window
I wake up anxious
I go to sleep anxious
The main thing bugging me
at least on the surface
is that this week I have not
had a chance to 
work on writing my book
this prompts something like
RAGE
inside of me
anger that I am not
meeting my self-imposed
DEADLINES
and my
DAILY WRITING GOALS
When I step back a few paces
which is proving tricky but
I’M TRYING
I can see
using the awareness
that also comes from
MEDITATION
that there are 
other things going on
that are getting me riled up
TOMORROW
my friend and spiritual advisor
JIMINY CRICKET
about whom
I have written much here
is moving to England
and I am trying to keep my
SHIT TOGETHER
and I am fortunate enough
that I can fly over and visit him
BUT GODDAMMIT
I hate when people go away
and along those lines
Henry left Sunday
back to New York
after a weeklong surprise visit
and other friends have
gone away this week
some on vacation
others moving permanently
and this rattles me
even though I know
CHANGE HAPPENS
and also
that this is what is best
for the folks moving
So I step back some more
and I try to wrap my head around it
I also have had
a crazy number of appointments
lots of visitors
and other stuff 
getting in between
me and my manuscript
So what I’m trying to do here
is remember to
BREATHE
and know that
I will get this book done
and be glad for all 
the good company
and 
the abundant work
that helps me
do things like
travel to visit
my friends and family
who move away
Sunday I went to
THE X GAMES
at Circuit of the Americas
it was 
HOT AS FUCK
though there were some
BLESSED CLOUDS
and we found some 
SHADY SPOTS
we also found this
GINORMOUS PICTURE FRAME
and I know a great metaphor
when I see one
So here I am
and as  you can see
my meditation form is
PRETTY TERRIBLE
but you know what?
That was a narrow ledge
and in order to
MAINTAIN BALANCE
I had to sit in a way
that was different than usual
but it did keep me from
falling backwards and 
cracking my skull open
which would’ve kept me
from seeing
THE FLAMING LIPS
and that would’ve sucked because
I LOVE WAYNE COYNE
and not just because of his music
but his attitude
When he was working
as a short order cook at
Long John Silver’s
a long time ago
an armed robber came in
made everyone lay down
and told them they were dead
but then he didn’t kill them
Wayne kept working there
for many years
and he has said something 
to the effect that
you know
one day you can be
making french fries
and the next day
you can be dead
which is of course
another reminder about
appreciating what you have
Thanks for helping me
REFRAME 
Mr. Coyne
I am so grateful to you
I’m gonna turn my 
SHITTY ATTITUDE 
around this week
I am
I am going to
really truly make myself
SEE AND APPRECIATE
that these people and things
keeping me from
book writing
are actually an incredible
EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES
and that even if I never get my book done
(which I actually know I will)
SO WHAT?
And if I have to 
assume some awkward poses
in the name of 
STAYING BALANCED
in the moment
then that’s what I’ll do
I am living my life
and my life is 
SO FULL
Today I
Breathe In
and I
Breathe Out
and I am grateful 
for these dark clouds
that sometimes float in
because they make me stop
and evaluate
and for as cornball
as it sounds
this helps me
see the
ABUNDANT SUNSHINE
all around me
Thank you

Year Two Week Four

Circuit of the Americas

This week is feeling 

PRETTY SHITTY

I am feeling very

AGITATED

at every turn

my time management skills

which I have honed

over the years

thanks in large part to

MEDITATION

seem to have gone 

out the window

I wake up anxious

I go to sleep anxious

The main thing bugging me

at least on the surface

is that this week I have not

had a chance to 

work on writing my book

this prompts something like

RAGE

inside of me

anger that I am not

meeting my self-imposed

DEADLINES

and my

DAILY WRITING GOALS

When I step back a few paces

which is proving tricky but

I’M TRYING

I can see

using the awareness

that also comes from

MEDITATION

that there are 

other things going on

that are getting me riled up

TOMORROW

my friend and spiritual advisor

JIMINY CRICKET

about whom

I have written much here

is moving to England

and I am trying to keep my

SHIT TOGETHER

and I am fortunate enough

that I can fly over and visit him

BUT GODDAMMIT

I hate when people go away

and along those lines

Henry left Sunday

back to New York

after a weeklong surprise visit

and other friends have

gone away this week

some on vacation

others moving permanently

and this rattles me

even though I know

CHANGE HAPPENS

and also

that this is what is best

for the folks moving

So I step back some more

and I try to wrap my head around it

I also have had

a crazy number of appointments

lots of visitors

and other stuff 

getting in between

me and my manuscript

So what I’m trying to do here

is remember to

BREATHE

and know that

I will get this book done

and be glad for all 

the good company

and 

the abundant work

that helps me

do things like

travel to visit

my friends and family

who move away

Sunday I went to

THE X GAMES

at Circuit of the Americas

it was 

HOT AS FUCK

though there were some

BLESSED CLOUDS

and we found some 

SHADY SPOTS

we also found this

GINORMOUS PICTURE FRAME

and I know a great metaphor

when I see one

So here I am

and as  you can see

my meditation form is

PRETTY TERRIBLE

but you know what?

That was a narrow ledge

and in order to

MAINTAIN BALANCE

I had to sit in a way

that was different than usual

but it did keep me from

falling backwards and 

cracking my skull open

which would’ve kept me

from seeing

THE FLAMING LIPS

and that would’ve sucked because

I LOVE WAYNE COYNE

and not just because of his music

but his attitude

When he was working

as a short order cook at

Long John Silver’s

a long time ago

an armed robber came in

made everyone lay down

and told them they were dead

but then he didn’t kill them

Wayne kept working there

for many years

and he has said something 

to the effect that

you know

one day you can be

making french fries

and the next day

you can be dead

which is of course

another reminder about

appreciating what you have

Thanks for helping me

REFRAME 

Mr. Coyne

I am so grateful to you

I’m gonna turn my 

SHITTY ATTITUDE 

around this week

I am

I am going to

really truly make myself

SEE AND APPRECIATE

that these people and things

keeping me from

book writing

are actually an incredible

EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES

and that even if I never get my book done

(which I actually know I will)

SO WHAT?

And if I have to 

assume some awkward poses

in the name of 

STAYING BALANCED

in the moment

then that’s what I’ll do

I am living my life

and my life is 

SO FULL

Today I

Breathe In

and I

Breathe Out

and I am grateful 

for these dark clouds

that sometimes float in

because they make me stop

and evaluate

and for as cornball

as it sounds

this helps me

see the

ABUNDANT SUNSHINE

all around me

Thank you

Year Two Week Three
Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, ATX
I’ve been practicing 
MEDITATION
for around fifteen years
but there were many times
I forgot
or 
took a break
or
did it in kind of a 
HURRIED WAY
In January 2013
I made a promise to myself
that I would
MEDITATE
with deep intention
and that I would not 
skip days
Even in years
prior to this commitment
when I was meditating
without such intent
meditation helped a lot
but now that I am
TRULY DEDICATED
I can tell you 
my life is 
EXPONENTIALLY BETTER
the biggest changes
I have observed in myself
include these:
The volume of my anxiety
both in quantity and loudness
has been turned 
WAY WAY WAY DOWN
Also I am really grateful
in a conscious way
of the many amazing
people and things 
in my life
Also I cannot recall
the last time I truly
FLIPPED OUT
on someone
Yes I still get
CRANKY
Yes I still occasionally
send emails telling people to
FUCK THEMSELVES
yes of course I sometimes
get totally
EXASPERATED
at the post office
but even that is changing
I don’t think I’ll ever 
TOTALLY SILENCE
the judgment running
through my mind
but I have gotten better
at keeping it to myself
and also I have gotten better
at walking away
at not taking shit personally
or when I do take it personally
being aware that’s what’s happening
and counting to 
TEN
or
ONE HUNDRED
or
TEN GAZILLION
whatever it takes
to not blast people
even if I think they are being
TOTAL DUMB FUCKS
I still meditate every day
Mostly I just do
twenty-one minutes
That’s plenty
it keeps me going
MEDITATION
is my own personal
COMPASSION OASIS
I sit
I breathe
I slurp up
AWARENESS
and
CALM
and
KINDNESS
I store all this stuff
in my 
COMPASSION HUMPS
(by the way
if you’re wondering if
my compassion humps
are real
I’m here to tell you
THEY CERTAINLY ARE!)
So when I get up off my ass
and walk away from my cushion
and wander off into the
DESERT OF LIFE
where things can get hairy
and my soul can start feeling
PARCHED
from the heat of stupidity
that often blasts us
from all sides
I just dip into my
COMPASSION HUMPS
and I replenish myself
and then I am
GOOD TO GO
to wander many more miles
to not be an asshole
and to really
LOVE MY LIFE
Today I
Breathe in
and I
Breathe out
and I am so grateful
for all the silly metaphors
that leap out at me
like camels
wandering across
urban lawns
Thank you

Year Two Week Three

Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, ATX

I’ve been practicing 

MEDITATION

for around fifteen years

but there were many times

I forgot

or 

took a break

or

did it in kind of a 

HURRIED WAY

In January 2013

I made a promise to myself

that I would

MEDITATE

with deep intention

and that I would not 

skip days

Even in years

prior to this commitment

when I was meditating

without such intent

meditation helped a lot

but now that I am

TRULY DEDICATED

I can tell you 

my life is 

EXPONENTIALLY BETTER

the biggest changes

I have observed in myself

include these:

The volume of my anxiety

both in quantity and loudness

has been turned 

WAY WAY WAY DOWN

Also I am really grateful

in a conscious way

of the many amazing

people and things 

in my life

Also I cannot recall

the last time I truly

FLIPPED OUT

on someone

Yes I still get

CRANKY

Yes I still occasionally

send emails telling people to

FUCK THEMSELVES

yes of course I sometimes

get totally

EXASPERATED

at the post office

but even that is changing

I don’t think I’ll ever 

TOTALLY SILENCE

the judgment running

through my mind

but I have gotten better

at keeping it to myself

and also I have gotten better

at walking away

at not taking shit personally

or when I do take it personally

being aware that’s what’s happening

and counting to 

TEN

or

ONE HUNDRED

or

TEN GAZILLION

whatever it takes

to not blast people

even if I think they are being

TOTAL DUMB FUCKS

I still meditate every day

Mostly I just do

twenty-one minutes

That’s plenty

it keeps me going

MEDITATION

is my own personal

COMPASSION OASIS

I sit

I breathe

I slurp up

AWARENESS

and

CALM

and

KINDNESS

I store all this stuff

in my 

COMPASSION HUMPS

(by the way

if you’re wondering if

my compassion humps

are real

I’m here to tell you

THEY CERTAINLY ARE!)

So when I get up off my ass

and walk away from my cushion

and wander off into the

DESERT OF LIFE

where things can get hairy

and my soul can start feeling

PARCHED

from the heat of stupidity

that often blasts us

from all sides

I just dip into my

COMPASSION HUMPS

and I replenish myself

and then I am

GOOD TO GO

to wander many more miles

to not be an asshole

and to really

LOVE MY LIFE

Today I

Breathe in

and I

Breathe out

and I am so grateful

for all the silly metaphors

that leap out at me

like camels

wandering across

urban lawns

Thank you

Year Two Week Two
Attayac St., The Hood, ATX
My inner critic 
still isn’t terribly pretty
but thanks to
MEDITATION
I have taught him
to say
I LOVE YOU
yes yes
he still tries to
get out the
old recordings
once in awhile
but when he starts
singing those tunes
DOUBT
WORRY
DISBELIEF
I just breathe in
and breathe out
and he catches on
pretty quickly
and follows my lead
it’s not just the
MEDITATION
that has tamed him
it’s also that
I’m getting older now
and friends are dying
which is a sad way
to truly understand
IMPERMANENCE
and a reminder to
DIG THE MOMENTS
we have left
especially
THIS MOMENT
I’ve been meaning 
for some time now
to tell y’all
about my friend
MACDUFF EVERTON
he is this world renowned 
PHOTOGRAPHER
I cannot believe I got to
cross paths with him
but I did
It was 1997
I was a total mess
I was waiting for my
FIRST DIVORCE
to go through
I was living in hiding in
KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE
in a fancy old hotel
with my son
who was six
I was being stalked
by my estranged husband
and the protective order
would not deter him
MY PTSD
was in full swing
I got a call from
my first post-college boss
who was at that point
the editor of
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER
he sent Henry and me
on the trip of a lifetime
a drive down 
PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY
from
Monterey to San Simeon
Macduff was the photographer
and he brought along his wife
another great artist
and the four of us
had a crazy adventure
including getting to watch
SEA ELEPHANTS
getting it on
Macduff is a fearless
world traveler
and
thoughtful life observer
and
big time prism shifter
once
after that trip
I asked him his thoughts on
PROFESSIONAL JEALOUSY
because I hate to admit it
but I was having some
as I noted some of my
writing peers were
achieving praise 
and
amassing cash
in ways that 
eluded me
You see
back then I still thought
success could be gauged 
by things like
BESTSELLER LISTS
and
FAT BANK ACCOUNTS
and
MEDIA FAWNING
MacDuff told me then
something I’ve carried with me
ever since
He said
he didn’t waste time
looking to see 
what was up with
his professional peers
he focused on
his own work
He said:
Don’t think about them
Just keep doing your thing
It’s not like that was it
POOF
my jealousy went away
but I have just kept
doing my thing
and the older I get
the more I really just
DO MY THING
and the more I appreciate
what a privilege it is
to live where I do
and when I do
and that I have found
so many opportunities
and managed to carve out
HAPPINESS
that has absolutely
NOTHING TO DO
with bestseller lists
of piles of gold
or media froth
Any competition I felt
with other writers
finally just
WENT AWAY
that is so cool
Still though
long after my external
so-called competitors
faded away
I had to contend with
that voice inside
PUTTING ME DOWN
saying whatever it was
that I was trying to do
just wasn’t going to cut it
An echo of that
tries to work it’s way in now
as once again
I spend hours at the keyboard
banging out another book
I start to think
WHO WANTS TO READ THIS SHIT?
and not even in a
really mean way
just more like
you know
there are already 
so many books out there
but then I remember 
MACDUFF
and he’s telling me
to just keep doing
what I do
and so I do
because it makes me happy
because I can
because what a luxury
to have the time
to sit around
arguing with the
INNER CRITIC
I haven’t totally converted
Mr. Negative
into 
Mr. Lovebug
but we’re moving 
in that direction
Today I
Breathe in
and I
Breathe out
and I am thankful
for a memory that
could carry sage advice
along this path
til I was ready to
unpack it
and
LISTEN
Thank you

Year Two Week Two

Attayac St., The Hood, ATX

My inner critic 

still isn’t terribly pretty

but thanks to

MEDITATION

I have taught him

to say

I LOVE YOU

yes yes

he still tries to

get out the

old recordings

once in awhile

but when he starts

singing those tunes

DOUBT

WORRY

DISBELIEF

I just breathe in

and breathe out

and he catches on

pretty quickly

and follows my lead

it’s not just the

MEDITATION

that has tamed him

it’s also that

I’m getting older now

and friends are dying

which is a sad way

to truly understand

IMPERMANENCE

and a reminder to

DIG THE MOMENTS

we have left

especially

THIS MOMENT

I’ve been meaning 

for some time now

to tell y’all

about my friend

MACDUFF EVERTON

he is this world renowned 

PHOTOGRAPHER

I cannot believe I got to

cross paths with him

but I did

It was 1997

I was a total mess

I was waiting for my

FIRST DIVORCE

to go through

I was living in hiding in

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE

in a fancy old hotel

with my son

who was six

I was being stalked

by my estranged husband

and the protective order

would not deter him

MY PTSD

was in full swing

I got a call from

my first post-college boss

who was at that point

the editor of

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER

he sent Henry and me

on the trip of a lifetime

a drive down 

PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY

from

Monterey to San Simeon

Macduff was the photographer

and he brought along his wife

another great artist

and the four of us

had a crazy adventure

including getting to watch

SEA ELEPHANTS

getting it on

Macduff is a fearless

world traveler

and

thoughtful life observer

and

big time prism shifter

once

after that trip

I asked him his thoughts on

PROFESSIONAL JEALOUSY

because I hate to admit it

but I was having some

as I noted some of my

writing peers were

achieving praise 

and

amassing cash

in ways that 

eluded me

You see

back then I still thought

success could be gauged 

by things like

BESTSELLER LISTS

and

FAT BANK ACCOUNTS

and

MEDIA FAWNING

MacDuff told me then

something I’ve carried with me

ever since

He said

he didn’t waste time

looking to see 

what was up with

his professional peers

he focused on

his own work

He said:

Don’t think about them

Just keep doing your thing

It’s not like that was it

POOF

my jealousy went away

but I have just kept

doing my thing

and the older I get

the more I really just

DO MY THING

and the more I appreciate

what a privilege it is

to live where I do

and when I do

and that I have found

so many opportunities

and managed to carve out

HAPPINESS

that has absolutely

NOTHING TO DO

with bestseller lists

of piles of gold

or media froth

Any competition I felt

with other writers

finally just

WENT AWAY

that is so cool

Still though

long after my external

so-called competitors

faded away

I had to contend with

that voice inside

PUTTING ME DOWN

saying whatever it was

that I was trying to do

just wasn’t going to cut it

An echo of that

tries to work it’s way in now

as once again

I spend hours at the keyboard

banging out another book

I start to think

WHO WANTS TO READ THIS SHIT?

and not even in a

really mean way

just more like

you know

there are already 

so many books out there

but then I remember 

MACDUFF

and he’s telling me

to just keep doing

what I do

and so I do

because it makes me happy

because I can

because what a luxury

to have the time

to sit around

arguing with the

INNER CRITIC

I haven’t totally converted

Mr. Negative

into 

Mr. Lovebug

but we’re moving 

in that direction

Today I

Breathe in

and I

Breathe out

and I am thankful

for a memory that

could carry sage advice

along this path

til I was ready to

unpack it

and

LISTEN

Thank you