I am a herd animal

The restless herd animal inside me is always seeking the next pasture. The next mountain range. The next spring.

I tell my hurried brain to soften: there is nothing but now. Nothing but rocks and worms and clouds and sun.

But my nerves buzz incessantly: what else- what else- what else. The answers come only in the form of soil shifting, of gravel and pebbles, of worms and rot.

November clouds. February sun. The seasons keep cycling no matter what.

Calm feels like a crime, but the busy days devastate me.

I kind did the wide sky stretching out ahead. I yearn for water, for rolling hills, for tree lines opening into unexpected meadows.

What could I be, if I spent my days doing nothing but living? I would watch the trees. Dig my fingers into dirt. Cook my food. Clean my pan. See the wind moving. Feel the temperature shift over the day.

There is nothing more I want. There is nothing more I need. But my mind always turns to something else. The next thing. Tomorrow.

So again I pull myself back. To the rocks. To the worms. To the clouds. To the procession of bees in summer and the dark birds in winter.

Alone

Alone sitting in the cafe- high on a steep trail- swept along in a crowd.

It’s like everyone else has become just a little more. Distant. Than they were before.

The world has gone quiet. The edges have softened.

I am lonely. But I am peaceful.

I watch people move around me like I’m seeing a movie from the back row. Not sure if I even still belong here. But knowing there is no where else to go.

There are the signs of it everywhere: they all point to how I did it: how I broke the cycle of my old lives.

And I have emerged enlightened. But lost.

My soul walks unfamiliar ground.

I’m teaching myself again how to be human. How to find my place here again.

I’m teaching myself how to bow low, how to stand tall, how to be humble, how to be proud, how to reach out, how to clasp close, how to love another.

Relearning it all again.

But I feel no distress at my ignorance. I have no doubts.

Each piece of my time here unfolds into the next in a way that takes no work but a deep discipline.

And the lessons come flowing into me like big gulps of water.

Diligence

I am tired of everything the universe asks of me

I am tired of patience, or diligence, of seeing the higher purpose

Of opening my arms to catch the bricks of every falling tower

Only to have them crumble in my hands and return to the earth, covering my toes in dust

I am spread across the ground like this leftover rubble

Dirty with regret

My best years are gone

And my future is hidden behind giant clouds and lightning

Yet the universe asks for more patience. More gratitude. More discipline.

I have nothing left and there is another leap to take. So I must tumble myself into the next phase.

I am told: this is greater than the individual course of your fate. But there is so much I don’t understand.

How do I know what to do next if I have never lived this before?

And over and over the answer comes:

Patience. Diligence. You must wait. You must continue.

The last brick falls. The earth swallows every last crumbling stone.

I stand in a bare field, and the universe asks me for faith. She asks me for trust.

I am as angry as a bare root. I am as hardy as a seedling. I am as grieved as a stump. I am as small as a twig.

But in the emptiness I plant my feet

And root

My New Life

This is how it feels to come back to myself

Finally

A valley away from where I started out

And I have found home within myself

At last

My soul flickered tenuously, life time to life time

Uncomfortable in my body, carrying a deep knowing of what was to come

Living was like walking a terrible tightrope

But when I finally fell

Somehow I landed on my hands and feet

Hips square to the ground, my nose to the dirt

And I found my place in it all

No more circling

No more agonizing

No more waiting to hear the terrible ending

The only way out of this cycle was through

How in this lifetime did I finally learn discipline and surrender?

How did all the lessons line up this way?

The way my feet press down into the ground is different now

The pattern has ended

I can return to myself

It is over

At last

The Distance

You love me from a distance

Like there are whole fields and twisting roads between us

Like we set out to meet, but walked right by going opposite ways.

We missed each other by minutes.

I waited alone in the dark.

You sat patiently under the trees.

I orbit wide. I carried asteroids on my shoulders.

And when I finally made it back to earth

You turn away from me like you don’t know who I am, or where I’ve been.

We reach for each other, grasping in syncopated rhythm;

And once in a lifetime the tips of our fingers brush and lock together.

There is something we cannot forget:

The potential that we lost-

That slipped away as we turned apart-

Interrupted by our own journeys.

There is a way it could have been different:

In another world, on another timeline,

When maybe we did not sever or snap with the fierceness of bone.

When Gods Speak

There are things we do that make gods speak

You guide me into it

My back pressed into the ground, skin smeared with sand and ash

And in my eyes only sky, only stars

But you are close by: the tightness in my stomach tells me

What I desire is wrong: the sacrifice. The horror. The frenzy.

But when we do it together it is right.

The primal need for my blood fulfilled.

So we do the things that make gods speak:

I cover my face with dirt, and feel my rib cage collapse under the pressure of your feet

Each bone snaps in ecstatic chorus

A shock wave of ache and fear as my spine folds in on itself

This is how I am opened

This is how I am transmuted back and forth

Through lifetimes

These rituals unfold again and again:

The torment. The bliss. The blood. The skin.

You are my healer. You are my savior. You are my destroyer. You are my life ender.

And only the gods can hear my desire: the strange craving for the pain you inflict.

But we have done this many times before

Lifetime after lifetime

It is the only way we can make the gods speak to us

I go as far as I must to hear their voices

And I do

So this is what I asked for

So this is what I suffered to find

So we stand still and listen.

Broken

These are the years that broke me

Broke me with black eyes- black tongue- throat gaping

These are the years I survived

Survived with bones of grey and nerves of white

My fingers prying open what had closed

The ash of each tragedy poured like thick dust from my mouth

There was hardness where there should have been softness

There were leaks of bile and blood where there should have been strength

Dampness eroded my core. Dryness peeled apart my skin.

These are the years that broke me. Years of skeletons, years of gravestones.

Worms grew out from under my nails.

I was muffled by my own corpse. Waiting for early death.

These are the years that broke me. These are the years I pieced myself back together.

Pulling apart each thread in my own fate.

I broke open. Rebuilding cell by cell. Fusing back what fell apart.

These are the years that broke me. That tore me open.

Weighed down by own death. Weighed down by fate.

But I am alive now, and my soul drifts untethered.

The rebuilding

Now I begin to rebuild

Slowly

Starting from the bones

Starting from the roots

New tendrils spreading out under rocks

Veins curling around organs delicate and white, like lace

The winding spirals of mitochondria

My circulatory system pulsing outward through networks of fungus and soil

Intimately mingling with the moistening tissues

To recharge my life, starting from the deepest places

It will take eternity to heal

It will encompass my entire soul

Now it begins with the smallest budding stems

And a handful of moist earth

Growing upwards, pushing outwards,

Tendril after tendril unfolding, reaching for the sky

Escaping My Life

Is it possible to escape your own life? To slip out of it like a bad habit or peel it away like a sunburn?

My life piles on itself and grates like bone stacked on bone. And I am stuck between the teeth of earth and sky. I am gazing up into the jaws of the universe. I am riding on the tongue of my own manifestation.

I long for a space I will not create for myself. I am caught in a loop. I am spit out and tumbled back suddenly. But I always know what is coming.

And I always know what it means. The clouds tell me. I cannot hide from the whispers in the air. Each sign piles on top of the other like compost mulching together.

And I am caught underneath it all, as quiet and small as a worm.

Frozen

I stumbled on an invisible wall and fell to my knees.

I wail against it with hard fists. But the wall digs deeper into the ground with stony heels- with callous soles- and refuses to budge.

Here in the deep layers of me there is a mountain as course as concrete. My nerves are wrapped in cold resistance.

I can feel along the edges of it, but I cannot pull it down or break it apart. My hands are left covered in flakes of concrete and clay.

Some days I find the smallest crack, and I can peer down into the underbelly of myself- but the path descends down into the dark forever.

Still: I breathe, and I grow into the space.