Venturing (Hour 14)

The land knows you, even when you are lost.
It speaks for you when you have no voice.
It tastes you in each stride you take upon her,
The sweat of your body returns
to the elements of her realm.

A manifestation, an appendage,
an abomination bore from her most secret recesses.
You are a plague she created for herself,
she knows what path your greed will take, and yet speaks
to your heart to strengthen it, in hopes that it will be what you follow.

Though you may have wandered far from where you intended to tread,
Your coordinates unrecognized by the best of your instruments
The land knows you can never venture farther than where you belong.
For every part of you has come from what is all around you.

Ameliorate (Hour 13)

It started as a feeling,
then birthed into a thought.
Took form within words of the mind
that inspired your tongue to speak.
From your voice, it was shared and became
conversation, expounded upon, others took it and shaped it
and passed it along to those they loved.

You took your spoken words and put them down on paper.
Setting them in print gave some permanence
to your idea, provided an initial draft of the perfection of your will.
And from this printed draft, you bore vision; you applied shape and color,
adorned canvas with the illuminative emotions hidden
within the words you wrote, bequeathed inside the tone of heart
you assigned to each letter.

From the canvas, others saw, and felt, and took pictures
to imitate and create their own version. And from your canvas
you summoned dimension, you pulled each shape into complete form,
molding clay into sculpted life, your idea given body, substance
smoothed by your hands, polishing its complexity with your caressing fingers.
A statuette of imagination, solidified by the drawing passion of your spirit,
the need to create pouring through each talent of your mind and body.
And from this bust, others could lay their hands
upon the blueprints of your creation, could let their own hands glide
along the structural lines you set as a foundation for new art.

And within this new art, a voice came forth from the statue,
a melody that harmonized with the source of your need to make better.
The song of your heart within all that you create, shared with and sung by others.
Reverberating through the creative consciousness of humanity.

Erausre Poem (Hour 12)

Source Text: The Land of Little Rain by Mary Austin

The nature of burned chaos painted
to an intolerable glare of ash and black rains.
The hollows of hard mountains, dark, thin beauty
in the broad wastelands, drifting in between the saline
sculptures of storm scars, edges torn through terrible country.
Residents found maddening, dribbling, thirsting for hot death,
rolling upon the long, heavy breathlessness of the devil’s dance
and whirling up into the pale sky. Here you have a rain that makes
all the world cry in downpours and bursts of violence.
A land of lost love, once visited inevitably,
And if it were not so, there would be little told of it.

Dear Aaron, Age 20, With a Monkey On Your Back (Hour 11)

This is my suicide letter. As I write this, I wonder will the me I am now,
after all the pain I have had to grow through, disappear? If I tell you what I know,
will it change you enough to destroy my current self? Is that what I truly want?
Perhaps I should let you make all the mistakes, lose everything
you had to lose to finally realize your worth. Maybe I should let
the relationships fail, the loved ones die unexpectedly, the horrors of your
own despair carve your character from the sleeping
death wood of your coffin.

Dear Former Self, here are ten things I wish someone would have told me about sooner.

Number One: The Return Phase
Every classic protagonist has to leave home and
complete a journey in which she grows, but it’s the
return phase that makes her a hero. Yes, she leaves home,
the familiar world, all she has ever known. Yes, it is the values and beliefs
of her family and culture that she carries with her, that guides her through
the road of trials and helps her atone with her debilitating fears.
Yes, the hero does what ordinary people can’t, but it is the return
home afterward that makes her a hero. It’s bringing back the wisdom,
experience, and strength she gained from her journey to her village,
her community, her family that helps to raise the quality of life for all,
that grant’s everyone the freedom to live.
It is by giving to others, and in being of service to the
younger and weaker that she becomes a hero.

Number Two: Emotional Reasoning vs. Logical Reasoning
In every moment I have a choice of how to respond.
Depending on whether or not I give myself a moment
before I respond, the results of my reaction can be
beneficial or self-destructive. Typically, when I react to stimuli immediately,
my response is based on Emotional Reasoning, trying to remedy
or enhance a feeling. Emotional Reasoning is inherently selfish
and usually blinded because my first reaction is to serve what I want.
But if I give myself a moment to recognize my emotions,
take a deep breath, consider differing perspectives, and contemplate
potential outcomes, I am using Logical Reasoning. Nine times out of ten,
Logical Reasoning helps me to make better decisions. Logical Reasoning does not
exclude my emotions; it helps me look at other factors beyond what I immediately feel.

Number Three: You Are Your Dominant Thought Patterns
The thoughts you hold in your mind are reflected
in the world around you. This is why mindfulness is so important.
Consciously directing your thoughts towards your goals
and dreams will increase the likelihood of them becoming a reality.
Be careful, because the opposite is also true.
Worry, negativity, jealousy, envy will consume you,
and by giving negativity an open door in your mind, you invite it into your life,
to wither your ambition and potential each time you entertain them.
By simply learning to notice when your thoughts have strayed
or become negative, then willfully changing them back to your goals,
or reframing the negatives into inspiration for action, you generate positive change.

Number Four: Don’t Be Afraid of Your Emotions
Emotions tell us how we relate to the world around us; our relationships,
our environments, our choices, ourselves. We should welcome each feeling
in its due time, and know that we don’t have to react immediately.
We don’t have to run away from them nor give chase. We can listen to them
and appreciate how they inspire us as members of the human race,
for they are the bittersweet evidence that we are alive.
From them, we discover our deepest desires,
and we can share them with those we trust. Read The Guest House by Rumi.
Read lots of Rumi.

Number Five: Scarcity is an Illusion
Scarcity implies that there is not enough of something
for everyone to have. It divides people, putting us in competition with one another
rather than working together. It promotes a fear that says “I have to get mine
before everyone else takes it from me.” Be aware that societal systems
can create scarcity intentionally. It keeps people dependent on the system to provide
instead of looking to ourselves and one another. Don’t envy or pity
your neighbor’s lot in life. The only time you should consider what they have
is to make sure that they have enough. Scarcity only applies to the material world.
Look inwards, to the spirit; there is only abundance
and endless self- discovery to be found.

Number 6: Energy is the Greatest Gift
Energy is the greatest gift you can give and receive.
It comes in many forms: love, inspiration, music, art, feelings, thoughts, ideas…
Energy causes growth, creates change, perpetuates existence.
Energy is the vitality that sustains all life.
When you recognize the potential of those around you,
help energize their efforts to create. When others are hopeless,
share your strength. Revitalize. When you are exhausted,
look for sources of inspiration to replenish you.

Number Seven: Labels Limit
Avoid labels. People love to categorize and classify.
It makes us feel safe when we have a place for every
unfamiliar unknown to belong. Remember the outliers.
Question the labels put upon you. The ones you chose
and the ones others chose for you. Perfect fits are rare.
The entire range of human experience, thought, and feelings
are vast and conflicting. As soon as you take on a label,
you divide yourself from the rest of society. People are more complex
and ambiguous then societal labels. There will always be more reasons
to stand together rather than war over our differences. Look for them.

Number Eight: Objective vs. Subjective Truth
What is true versus the nature of truth can be tricky things.
Objective truth can be found through deductive reasoning.
By testing the verifiability of a claim and ruling out
all other possibilities until the remaining factor can finally be called “true.”
Subjective truths are innumerable. For this kind of truth, there are as many possibilities
as there are perspectives to experience a moment.
In both forms, the nature of truth must be observed from multiple angles.

Number Nine: Change You, And In Doing So Change the World.
You cannot change other people; you can only change yourself.
Many people have fixed ideas about what they believe
and what they want from life. No amount of pleading or arguing
is going to change another person’s perspective. It’s about living your truth
rather than telling others about how great it is. People are more impacted
by how another person conducts themselves versus what they say.
If you want others to agree with your opinions, model what you believe
in your lifestyle, those who like what you do will imitate it and make it their own.
This is far more effective than knocking door to door
and sharing your beliefs with others.

Number Ten: Practice Humility in Everything You Do
You will go on to do great things.
You will be fortunate enough to rise in wealth, status, and even power.
When you find yourself moving towards the top, always remember
what it was like when you started. Remember when you didn’t have as much,
and you relied on the help of family, friends, community, government.
When you rise in status, fame, and power, think of how you can use your prestige
to help the less fortunate rather than cementing your own personal gain.
That is the true nature of a leader. Life is hard, full of challenges, and suffering.
Life is also unpredictable. We are all susceptible to twists of fate; nothing is guaranteed.
Practice humility and gratitude.

Because you should always try to go above and beyond what is asked of you, here is
Number Eleven: Be Present
The moment is all there is. The past can be alluring.
Nostalgia fills us full of memories of fonder, simpler times,
sometimes tinged with sadness, regret, and loss. Regardless the past is unreachable,
unchangeable; it only serves as a reference point to continue growing from.
The future is unwritten, unknown, and comes with no guarantee
that it will include everyone, including you. The future is something we hope to see;                                                                                                      we hope to meet with the best of ourselves that we can offer, but we should be careful
with our apprehension towards it, and with our full embrace of it.
The future should be taken on faith with a grain of realism.
The moment is all there truly is. It is at each exact moment when everything
has happened, and anything that could happen happens.
The mind transcends momentary existence, but in reality
all that is possible is bound to the steady reappearance of opportunity.

I hope this finds you well, even though I know you are not.

That’s the purpose of this letter.

Your self-obsession will eventually lead to spiritual growth.

The worst part is yet to be revealed.





The Resignation of Your Future Self

Coffee Hushed Moonbeams (Hour 10)

I dance in an unseen fog,
desperate for the canteen I left behind on the trail,
this damn concrete takes its toll on my knees with every step.
In the shadow of the Douglas fir,
I find a shelf to dock the book of my adventure
where no one will ever see it.

The Ingredients of Us (Hour 9)

The ingredients of us are never
exact measurements. Just thrown together at will
and upon necessity, combined with hopeful efforts
that something worthy will become of our mixing.

A dash of words chosen for us, to define us,
to spend our young adult lives trying to unshackle
from whom we had grown into.
A splash of distant mother, a shake of detached father,
a pinch of childhood ending too soon.
A handful of home that felt unsafe,
and a generous amount of life’s imperfections.

The ingredients of us are the most delicious parts,
each tantalizing on its own, spoon-licking trauma
nurtured by an unrelenting hand. Swirled together
in an heirloom bowl, passed down from one generation
to the next, wherein each was created the meal of their own making,
every part a distinguishing feature of a repeating recipe.

And in our time we took the bowl, added to it
the secrets of our families’ history,
mixed equal portions of good and bad
until our story became a creation of both.
And now we eat this bread we inherited.
This bread we contributed to, changed slightly,
and will pass on to our children,
in the same mixing bowl, still holding all the cracks of the past,
and some new, as evidence of our use.

The Lie that Defines (Hour 8)

She had always waited for her father to come home,
her mother to acknowledge her scars,
herself to find the courage she needed to get clean.
The lies always came in threes: the car was never stolen,
the pills are all accounted for,
this would be the last time.
And her last time came too soon, without a chance to make amends.

For All Of Our Lonely Patterns (Hour 7)

Following the roads that lead along the river,
the turns and washed out crevices that only we know.
Under the shadows of moving clouds in the vast Kansas sky
I kissed you in a ring of watching oak trees,
the first witnesses of my heart presented on bleeding paper.

In the wildflower dance of that neverending afternoon,
I blanketed your body with the wounds I learned to heal
before my hand could hold steady enough to untie the ribbon in your hair.
So I swallowed all of yesteryear’s memories
to try and give you a real word,
a purity from my lips untasted by any others but you.

The trust in your crying eyes,
as if you had seen all of this happen before,
somewhere not too different than here,
in a dream you use to dream when you were a little girl.
And the disappointment of reality became
the tripping step of mad love, falling hard for the imperfections
of all our failed promises.

I never wanted to be what hurt you the most,
or a painful chapter in the story you wrote
with your skin and hair and lips and love.
Is there no other way to exist as close to someone as we have been?
Our pain preserved like rusting metal left in the fields,
where I saw the red tail resting on the fence,
his face turned to the sky,
so that his eyes may better watch
the movements upon the ground.

Nostalgic Claustrophobia (Hour 6)

A moment is all there is.
A time long enough to choose,
a word said, a face turning away.
Trapped, in the air between your teeth,
clenched breath unable to release
all that was lost when the words
were said, when those other words
were unsaid. Trapped in the failed past,
locked out forever from a future which
promised to be brighter than
the hour I currently believe.

Such a small sliver of life, of time,
justifying ages of pain that proceed.
All for reasons that never amounted
to the weight they bore. Still unable to
unload them, imprisoned to that fatal minute,
when all the world changed
without changing anything.

Vanishing Point (Hour 5)

A whisper over the shoulder,
the glancing wave of your hair just
out of sight as I turn to chase
summer shadows across the asphalt.
A memory lingering
in some resonating ache, a hollowness
I felt through the wholeness of my body.
Your face, freckled and smiling,
as if nothing in the last 15 years ever happened.
We are right back in that place,
those first months when everything
was new, the money was steady, our chosen
delicacies in ready supply, love and
wild adventure burning, my words
finding their place, the anticipation of
something thrilling just ahead.

I choose to forget what I know of reality.
I choose to ignore the restless worry
unsettling itself in my stomach, I suppress the notion
that this isn’t real, that this is not how it happened.
I would rather stay here
in this illusion, to see what happens next,
but by the time I can rationalize
my choice, my mind has become aware
of its enchantment.