If I Want a Big Life

If I want a big life

It starts with a smile on my face

Not in that very small place

Where everything I see

Is bigger, better, or more than me

If I want a big life

I can’t wallow in some small slight

What someone said, or what isn’t right

If I want a big life

It’s me who must live 

Worthy of big

Worthy of noble

Worthy of strong

Patchwork People

When I look at people I know well, or at myself, I see a patchwork of weird, dark, light, smart, ridiculous, redemptive, ruined, interesting, disgusting, helpful, harmful, beautiful, and ugly. What keeps me sane and out of rage when the ugly, dark, ruined, disgusting, or harmful side shows is:

  • remembering that not one of us escapes this irregularity
  • focusing on the other side
  • counting people as worthy of mercy

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When You Can’t

When you can’t do it for yourself

Do it for those who never had a chance

Who died before their time

For those who had to push through the pain

Every day

Or trudge through battle fields, cold, and rain

For those who kept going when there was no light

Who kept fighting

After they had lost the fight

 

Do it for them, if you can’t do it for you

Be the ball, take the shot, cop the attitude

You’ve always had enough to master today

Now go and give it away

Whatever it is

You got this.

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If You Were to Take Your Life

If you were to take your life today

You would miss the books you hadn’t read

Holding entire worlds to see;

Transcendental jolts of recognition

From sources yet unknown to thee

 

If you were to take your life today

You would miss the transformation

Of your raw, and often cruel, pain

As it passed through the broken shards

Of fantastic light into the purest Novocain

 

If you were to take your life today

You would be so surprised to find

That you had missed blankets of cool relief

That, although delayed, were closer to you

Than ever your disbelief

The Destroyer

If you want to find out where everything went wrong

If you want to figure out how all the chaos got started

If you want to discover when the loving stopped

Or the joy vanished

And the easy became hard

If you want to track down the villain in the story

And punish him

Then do it quickly

Track down the fear in your own heart and disown it now

Because it is faster than cancer

And more destructive than the impact and shrapnel from a thousand bombs

It has tutored your ego into malice

And baited your intellect into stupidity

It has sucked your blood until you were the real vampire, the real boogie, the scariest zombie

From the most gruesome nightmare ever dreamed

And it was you all along

You! who gave fear the key

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When the First Thought Finds Me

When the first thought finds me

Let it be the weight of light

When consciousness comes

Let it be a tiny whisper of surprise

That I have survived the night

Helpless and adrift in those dark hours

And have somehow landed safely

On the sun-soaked shore of another day

 

When the first thought finds me

Let it not be an anchor of dread

Or a tangled net of worry

Tugging me to the bottom of myself

Away from the light playing purposefully

Above my head

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I wrote this poem for a personal reminder to purposely choose a first thought in the morning: a thought that doesn’t call for a sigh or a groan.

Knowing I Don’t Know

Knowing I don’t know is real knowing

and my best days will always start here

Painful experiences have shown

I don’t ever know what a day might bring

even if I have a good plan

I don’t know what I’ll do that will actually help

or what I will do that will do significant harm

I often don’t know what my friends truly think of me

or how my enemies have helped me

I didn’t really know what I thought I knew yesterday

and that is particularly embarrassing

So, I will fall into the knowledge of my unknowledge,

Abruptly, ungracefully, wounded, and bleeding 

But, a fraction closer to the appointed resting place

In the arms of an omniscient Universe

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(Which, btw, is inexorably tied to “fearing” God)

Today, I Inaugurate Myself

Today, I inaugurate myself

As the commander in chief of my own future

I celebrate my promotion

To the role of the productive leader

Of my life, full of promise and hope

Out off yesterday’s role of

Chicken little, hopeless victim, or discouraged martyr

Today I will usher myself

With a flourish and a solemn promise

Into my new position of power

Supported by the noble and the brave

Who have gone before, and will come after

Those who chose, and will choose

Action over words

Mercy over malice

And resolve over fear

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Very Slowly Letting Go

“We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

When I reached No. 3: Give up Playing Small, in Zdravko Cvijetic’s “13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful,” it reminded me of two things:

  1. The fears (that kept me small) I have already challenged and banished
  2. The fears I am still hanging on to

Conclusion: My progress may not be impressive, but at least I am very slowly…letting go.

 

As I review two thousand and sixteen

I celebrate the fears I no longer claim

And, trembling, plan an attack

On the terrifying ones that remain

Here’s to hoping (for everyone’s sake)

That you will resolutely do the same

 

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https://medium.com/personal-growth/13-things-you-need-to-give-up-if-you-want-to-be-successful-44b5b9b06a26#.jh4eimhwc

I Always Come Back Changed

I cannot read a book, take time to hear another’s story, or let a movie give me its message, without coming back to my regular life changed. Forrest Gander captured this truth in his intro to the new book of Neruda’s lost poems:

The truth is that I disappeared from myself. I was concentrated entirely into the durable moment of translation–which begins in humility, a sublimation of the self so extreme that the music of someone else’s mind might be heard. And for a while, no remnant of me existed outside of that moment.” – Forrest Gander (translator of The Lost Neruda Poems)

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When my friend gave me this book, I wasn’t very excited about reading obscure love poems, yet the book begin to change me in the prologue when the translator mentioned the same skepticism when asked to translate the work.

Today will change me…if I allow it. It will improve me if I listen to the music of someone else’s mind intently enough to receive the gifts they offer and translate them to my own journey home.