Forgetting myself

For just one moment,
I forgot myself–
Who I am,
Who I think I am, and
Who I think others think I am.

It was a relief–
To be free of myself, and
All the things associated
With who I think I am.

For one moment, I had the chance
To be something thoughts escape,
Something time doesn’t own,
Something with no need to die.

Note: Honoring the teachings of Jack Kornfield.

Equanimity

Are we so special
that the day should bow down to us,
and that we should look down upon
all that surrounds us?

Just for today,
I will honor all I encounter,
and I will try my best
to see the divine running through everything.

I will remind myself that life,
in all forms is special,
and that no form
is more special than any other.

Though blinded by my own eyes,
I will do my best today
to see myself in others,
and others in me.

Asking for Help

Why do we wait so long
to pray for the help we need?
Rest assured there are no perfect prayers
that must be memorized and said perfectly.
“Dear God, help me” is the perfect prayer,
with the right intention behind it.

Admitting there is a Higher Power–
One larger and more powerful than us,
is the perfect beginning point.
Knowing that we need help,
coupled with the willingness to ask for help,
is the perfect start to receiving help.

Being able to recognize help when it arrives,
is requisite to the help helping us.
Allowing the help we receive to incubate,
and fill our healing cocoon is vital
to our help taking hold and transforming us.
Let’s not wait so long to ask for help next time.

Cancer’s No Joke, but It’s Okay to Laugh

Laughter won’t kill me, so why not bust a gut?
No harm in a chortled snicker or a devious snort
at the prissy old lady in the room next door
who punctuated the air with a loud squeaky fart.

Sitting with my bags in the northwest corner chemo suite,
I heard a nurse exclaim: Dunkin’ Donuts can’t be beat.
Then, in unison I heard everyone sigh:
the donuts are gone, so sad we could cry.

Almost peed my pants, laughing so hard,
when a senior oncologist let down his guard—
sharing advice with a young resident doctor;
straight from Mother Goose, my what a shocker:

“For every evil under the sun,
There is a remedy, or there is none.
If there be one, seek till you find it;
And when you find it, get thee behind it.”

A ride in the elevator, so very telling about life,
Shall I smoke a joint before chemo, a man asks his wife,
A punch in his chest she landed with might,
I feared at that moment there could a fight.

I urge you to give humor a chance,
Let jokes and laughter through your life dance,
Some craziness at times all of us need,
Laugh at yourself, start a healing stampede.

On Cancer and Poetry

When we have cancer,
we are willing to try anything,
including poetry,
to stay alive.

Poetry helps us step delicately
into the vast river of life,
wash off our assumptions, and
flow with the river’s healing currents.

Cancer is
the stretch of challenging rapids ahead.
Let’s brace ourselves, and
ride them with courage and grace.

Did you know poetry sometimes
can be more dangerous than cancer,
by bringing out things inside us
that we never knew were there?

When we have cancer,
let’s give poetry a try—
It’s alchemical brews
can turn our lead into gold.

A New Path with Heart Ahead

A new plan ahead for my life–
I feel it brewing in my soul.
Longings first in the mist,
then faint singing voices from afar.
Memories rise, then they fall,
‘cross roaming fields of yesterday.

At times, it takes a wake-up call–
Things both strange and familiar–
A sudden brush with death, or even
a child’s first sweet whispered words.
Each a sign, a new path ahead–
One filled with heart and soul.

A place I’ve been before, very long ago.
A partial clearing now in view, and then
a sprawling patch of cheerful wildflowers along the edge
of the narrow winding path, up the hill it goes.
There I stop, in silence listen–
The mournful wail of bagpipes, echoing across the glen.

A new beginning, all this says–
An unknown path with heart calling out to me:
Walk this way in your life,
just beyond what you know.
Fear not, for I will walk with you,
till new feet on this path you grow.

Prayer #3

God give us the vision to see reality,
and to know the truth in a living way.
Grant us the wisdom
to know ourselves and others
in a loving and kind way.

Help us transcend our pain and suffering
by using them to grow stronger
in compassion and empathy.
Help us see the world in all its beauty
without judgment and attachment.

Help us replace our pride with humility,
and live in a fully human way.
Protect us from our own self-doubt,
ignorance of higher purpose,
and for underestimating our own true potential.

Prayer #2

God help us to see past our blind spots,
including our limited view of You, others, and ourselves.
Forgive us when we didn’t sacrifice enough for others,
when our compassion fell short,
and when we could only love conditionally.

Forgive us when we didn’t thank You
for the precious gift of life
You have given us.
Help us use our gifts to honor You
and bring about goodness in the world.

Ruminations on Suffering

I keep thinking–
someday we won’t suffer so much.
I keep thinking–
someday we’ll stop pretending
our suffering can save us.
I keep thinking–
there is life after death,
and life after our suffering.
In each case, we start over,
like the sun rises each morning,
and tears and the rain are reminders
to let go and allow ourselves to flow.

Watching a Hummingbird Snare a Spider

The hummingbird snared and ate the spider–
straight out of the spider’s dangling web.
Not something you’d expect
on this early July evening.
But then again,
how much do we really know
about the workings of nature,
let alone the appetite of the hummingbird,
who graces our presence
with his beating wings
and unmistakeable humming song?

Cosmic Wisdom for Those with Cancer

We are not separate
from the whole of life,
despite how we may feel at times.

Like the stars making up the Milky Way,
we give life back to the universe
that gave birth to us.

Because we have life, we have purpose.
We must trust our cosmic instincts
that echo wisdom throughout our beings.

We must trust our Divine purpose.
That is our North Star.
Where there is purpose, there is life.

When we pray or meditate,
we should allow our North Star
to fill our eyes with stardust.

When we speak,
we should allow our hearts to move our lips.
Then our words are real.

When we listen,
we should receive the universe’s quantum vibrations.
Then we hear the truth.

And when we lie down to sleep,
let us dream of cosmic wholeness.
For then, we can heal.

Thoughts While Watering the Grass and Flowers This Morning

Cancer calls our attention to the small things in life,
like the simple beauty of watering the grass and flowers.
It reminds us of all the small things comprising our lives,
and why and how they are important to us.

It reminds us of the intricate details of life,
including the multitude of cells in our body,
and how misguided cells can grow and multiply,
creating malignant tumors in our body.

Cancer teaches us to constantly nourish ourselves,
like we weed and water the grass and flowers,
to bring about personal health and vitality,
and help the right things to flourish in our lives.

And when we are ready,
cancer can connect us to our inner wisdom–
those lessons our souls want us to learn
so they can reach their destinies.

Our Inner Wisdom Voices

Find your inner wisdom voice–
There lies your personal truth.
Listen past your fears–
They drown out what is true for you.
Look beyond your anger–
Which often is buried under your fear.
Set aside your desires and wants, and
listen to what your inner wisdom voice says
about what you need to become whole and heal.

What Shores Us Up

What shores us up isn’t always pretty
Like the mass of broken and jagged concrete,
the rusted orange and brown iron reinforcing rods,
and the bunches of faded red paving bricks
that struggle daily to keep the lake at bay
Securing the land on which we live

We need infrastructure in life to stay strong:
retaining walls, friends, values, kitchen sinks,
police departments, militaries, yoga studios,
meditation cushions, and roads and highways
Yes, even sewers to carry away the waste in our lives–
the parts of us we shed to stay alive

Without these things, we’d surely fall apart
and wash away like the yellow and brown leaves
the creek dumps into the lake on this November day
Like a mother’s love that helps us trust
Even a father’s presence that gives us courage
So we may someday shore up our friends

Life and Death Become One

Life
Death
Bigger than us, perhaps
At the same time
Exactly what we are
What we face
Who we are

Struggle, we do
To live, and yes…
To die
But facing these things
We step
Into the abyss
We call home

I think of my father, mother
You think of yours
They were the intersection
From whence we came
They move on
We move on
And, we are left…

Not behind
But to ourselves, with God
To move from where we are
To where we end up
To where we end
And to a new beginning overtaking us
And there, life and death become one