3 Poems

Most of the Time

Most of the time, poems come

from a deep broken place;

it’s a conundrum.

I like to write poems but do not like

to be in that place. Good thing

life does not let me choose,

most of the time.

 

Evening Poem II

To wish that others be happy seemed to be

such a good wish to wish, then

I actively wished it and witnessed my happiness whisked

away. Is it my mistake or theirs, that I wish it? Perhaps

the wish is not wrong, but the insistence that

the wish for happiness be what others wish too.

Wish them happiness I will, and to wish–but not insist–that they wish it too

won’t hurt.

 

Less-Than-Human, Worriness Poem

The police in me woke up;

I awoke with depression. Never had I interested myself in

rules or the line one must walk

certainly, with exact step and without stumble. I danced,

then, brought to a thin place, I scrutinized daily motions necessary for life to determine

which I could neglect and still cruise by the state

trooper, with a decent justification, and not get pulled over

for being less-than-human. Yes, depression makes me feel

less-than-human because I cannot fathom closing the fork drawer

much less mustering the energy and will to braid my hair or hold a full

conversation with another who may notice my less-than-human.

A full conversation may awake the police in them to finally incarcerate this restless mind

for being less:

10mg less than human.

30mg less than alive.

If I cannot close the fork drawer, or leave my bed without counting to ten slowly,

am I enough to merit the space I take up? Ask the police

of my mind–she still does not know.

 

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Buried in Books

Buried in books is my natural state, I am hesitant to say it, but without a doubt of the truth. Though extroversion has dominated my personality and habits for the greater part of my young life, it is the navel-gazing, spiritually interested, booky introvert that continually emerges as the prevailing force. Currently I am reading 5 books*, and enjoying them all. I am certain there are droves of introverts out there who have me beat by stacks and piles, but I have weeded through small stacks brought home from the library to come comfortably back to a blend of spiritual and emotionally nourishing titles–radially diverse–that resonate in my Spirit.

All that to say, I need to write about Jesus. As the stresses of mental ill health, a new job, new home, and constant transitions have ebbed, this truer, quieter self has emerged and with it, this question of Jesus. That name, in English or in many other of the worlds’ languages conjures up strong feelings. I do not know exactly what feelings or to what extent, but I do know that people are strongly influenced by it, and thus the name “Jesus” does to the emotional body what food does to a group of hungry creatures: stirs things up.

My mind awoke during my time abroad in unexpected, broadening ways. My heart, however, grew dim & cold–choked out by fear & foreign stimuli. Jesus lived in that heart, the heart that seemed to shrivel & hardly beat for over a year. The idea of Jesus grew distant–has grown distant–as the words I stare at on the well-worn pages of my Bible fail to quench the thirst for intellectual satisfaction that arose in me.

People around me now seem more real than Jesus. I never met Jesus, never even saw him in a vision. He was a powerful historical figure, yes, but not extraordinarily different than any of the other ancient peace-seekers and bringers. My faith was real, the ideas of Jesus had been my Home on Earth for two decades. Was it okay to say “no more”? Was that what I was saying? But I wasn’t saying anything. I was listening to my inner Spirit and seeking to be true to it–as the idea of the Holy Spirit had taught me. And the last, most gut-wrenching question: Don’t I owe Jesus something for the time we spent together? Will Jesus be jealous as I move to a new Guru, to new exploration?

That isn’t Jesus’ nature, dear, my Spirit & Heart harmonize in my Mind. You have read the Bible enough times to know that to exact payment for beauty that springs from Loving Ideals is not of the Divine. Just as Jesus was of the Divine, so is your new Guru. That is why the Spirit within you has led you to these stacks of books in quest for renewed guidance, ready to receive the sharp blade of Truth.

So he is with me, it seems. I do not read the Bible, but there he is, guiding me as a remembrance of the form and nature of Love. Jesus will never not be with me. It is progress, however, to lay prayer and pleas on the altar, to burn them away in the fire of acceptance, of serene surrender to come-what-may.

The idea of Jesus was never meant to bring me guilt. Just as I was never meant to be a social butterfly who reads only magazines on airplanes. Jesus was there, Sri Yukteswar is here, and who knows who, what, or where the future holds?

Sat Nam (Truth is my identity).

 

Lydia Nomad

 

*The Power of Breath, Swami Saradananda

Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda

A Severed Wasp, Madeleine L’Engle (stunning; I will have finished it by this weekend.)

Meister Eckhart’s Book of the Heart

Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas, Campoy & Flor Ada

(I am blessed to have I’m Still Here, by Austin Channing Brown, and A Poetry Handbook, by Mary Oliver, in my possession and up next on the reading list!)

An Orange and Grief, A Poem

I ate an orange

on the way to my parents house

last weekend; I placed the

peel on the rubber mat at my feet.

When I arrived, I asked:

“Where is the compost pile?”

Which is to say, I asked:

“Where does this peel go to be sewn

into the Mother?” (Having served

its nutritive purpose.) Is that what the

tornado asked when it picked her up and carried

her?

Did it know where she would be

sewn back into the Earth? It did so

violently.

I punctured the orange peel, but with

a gentle thumbnail.

Ida & Pingala

Ancient Tantric (Hindu) texts speak of Ida and Pingala, Ida being the left side of the body that represents the moon and feminine energy, while Pingala is the right side of the body and represents the sun and masculine energy. (St. Francis of the Christianity referred to the sun and moon as “Brother Sun”, and “Sister Moon”.) This is a gross simplification of the idea, but simple often does the trick.

Upcoming events in my life are causing me to reflect on some sweet and difficult memories from the past 5 years (give or take), and I like to use this idea of Ida & Pingala– energies of Brother Sun and Sister Moon–as a sift for reflecting on different kinds of moments.

Exhibiting or acting out of masculine energy has nothing to do with the state of being male. Just so, demonstrating moon or feminine qualities or behavior is unrelated to being female. These are energies of the spiritual world, beheld only from a spiritual posture, and the spiritual being knows not the polarities of gender (that we get caught up in physically).

The Ida moments of my life relate to times of rest, rejuvenation, renewal, and cleansing. Most nights over the past 5 years I spent alone, or in a house with people from whom I felt disconnected. Channeling my Ida energy, I often played a worship song, hymn, or lullaby on my phone, as I held it close to my breast and cried myself to sleep. It was Ida energy that brought a smile to my face the first time I held a brand new baby in my arms at the hospital. Ida energy has compelled me to stay in bed or in the back yard when culture’s roar of masculine hurry would have had me run my weekend away in the exhaust of traffic and retail stores. Ida energy is meditating and meditating again when anxiety resurfaces like acid in the throat. Ida energy is unhurried, balanced, and essential to thrive.

In vibrant contrast, Pingala speaks to high energy action, standing ground, pushing through challenges and rising in the face of insurmountable odds. Pingala is our energetic radiance, the wise channeling of muscular, robust energy (in balance with the rest and surrender of Ida). When I put my foot in the dirt and decided that I would take steps to spend my life with the man I love, no matter the wait required, I channeled Pingala. Placing copies of Bible passages to read at the end of each lap I swam in order to strengthen body and mind was fierce utilization of Pingala. This energy led me in discipline (Tapas, in yogic thought) when I started using a timer to create space between bites of food in order to liberate myself from eating to nourish a wounded soul instead of the body that could best tell me what to eat and how to eat it. Pingala energy is strong, creative, and ground-breaking.

The funny thing is, both energies piss people off. And a healthy balance of both? Prepare for boundary conflict, my friend. We often do not find ourselves worthy of one or the other, or we naturally gravitate towards cultivating one and neglecting the other. Unfortunately, when we deprive ourselves of one or the other, we often resent our neighbors for having a healthy balance, or for tipping towards our weaker side. Working with these energies, we may be judged, we may find ourselves sitting in judgment of others. Either way, they are ideas as gorgeous as Brother Sun and Sister Moon in the sky above us, integral parts of our Divine selves.

In remembering, I give thanks. In giving thanks, I remember Who I Am.

Love,

 

Lydia Nomad

 

What Makes a Good Life?

Breathing, sitting, meditating, taking long Saturday naps. These are hazardous exercises, my friends. How so? Well, participate in this rebellion and one finds oneself asking alarming questions such as, Do I Like My Job?, Do The People In My Life Encourage Me?, Am I Working Too Hard?, How Long Has It Been Since I Sat Down to a Good Meal With Friends, or What Makes a Good Life?

The last question is delicious: What Makes a Good Life? What. Makes. A. Good. Life. It is a question that comes from deep in the girdle of ones being. Try and prescribe what the thinking mind calls “good” for life without consulting the body, mind, heart, and spirit, and end up with a schedule bursting at the seams, and yourself in the role of consumer. A prescription is unnecessary. Just listen. The travails and dead ends of every day are speaking into what makes and does not make your life good.

I write these words because My Life and I have been discussing this Good Life topic lately. Now in a full time position, but still working out part time commitments, and cultivating ethical habits at home (gardening/composting/recycling/actually cleaning stuff), I say to you, LIFE IS REAL BRUH. It is taxing, exhausting, and calling me to live from that girdle of being, and not settle for anything short of my Sat Nam (true self). Settling or compromising part of myself leads–as yet without fail–to frustration, internal conflict, and eventual disconnection from one or more of my core values (for help to identify your core values, click here). Those frustrations are redemption disguised for they catalyze this holy question: What Makes a Good Life?

 

 

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Raw & Real, Earth redeems us by calling our muchness to surface.

Friends, I say. Friends faces around a bonfire or dinner table, simultaneously remembering and creating. Hours on the couch with a kitten or cat, I declare, make a life gooooood. Legs curled under me and a soft blanket with a Madeleine L’Engle novel in hand. The smell of incense and the sensation of fingertips pressed into a sticky mat, hips rising in Adho Muka Svanasana. Meditation makes a Good Life, and the practice of Pranayama (channeling the inherent inner Life Force via breathing exercises). Vegan food, bought from ethical sources. Long conversations or silent walks around a lake. Toes on dirt, shovel playing with the layered compost pile. Throwing dry leaves into the air and watching them fall like glitter. Travel travel travel. Live music or listening to a song on Spotify that makes me weep as I hold my phone against my chest before I fall asleep. Exploration of the natural world is undoubtedly a pillar of a Good Life. Taking time to greet my own wide smile in the mirror before and after the day. Talking to young people about their authentic feelings and perceptions. Touching the skin of people who are old enough to wear it like soft cloth. Looking at baby hands and feet as they kick and learn to grab.

 

 

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You, Little One, make this a Good Life.

 

Sometimes not doing an activity, not making a commitment, or even cancelling one that is already made, is the path to a Good Life. Turning off the television or current video playing on your phone ALWAYS leads to better life. These practices and experiences, sacred and most often simple, in addition to removal of that which lowers the quality of my life’s essence (TV, videos, too much work, “obligatory” social events), I have found to make A Good Life.

Ask and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. ~Jesus, our precious Jesus

Amen. Shanti.

Lydia Nomad

Where is Love in My Life?

This Valentine’s Day mornin’ I awoke with a headache and sore throat–the very reason I was still in bed at 9:45 AM, rather than at work. I felt this settled longing in me to talk about LOVE. About Gabriel, the Chilean boy who captured my heart in Coyhaique. About 3 girls whose elementary school uniforms hung over bony shoulders while we fell in Love, at the park, at McDonald’s, at the library, in my car. About a small black kitten who crawled into my little brother John’s arms the morning after my friend Meghan gave me a medallion that read “Harmony”. About the story of Black Liberation in my country, the leaders who have lived and fought, inspiring me to love more fervently every season of life. About the four strange white people with whom I spent the first 20 years of my life; my redeemed ones, my family that will never give up on itself. About my Spirit, the mysterious animating force that keeps saying “no” to what stifles me, regardless of the cost, and leads me toward growth, more every day.

Since I felt that inclination to write about Love, I decided to do it. One Insta photo just wouldn’t be enough, so I decided to write a love letter here, a grocery list of all that I love. These are the parts of life that give me yummy sensations, that tell my heart, “it is well,” despite the anxiety and depression that plagues my days, and haunts my nights.

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3 beams of light. 1 soft-hearted little boy. 1 ridiculously happy white girl.

Gabriel Rebolledo Castro is pictured above with that sheepish smile I’m not sure I have ever seen on him before. I fell in Love with him when I heard him speak of, long for, and tell stories of his faithful love for a place called, Coyhaique. I thought I was the only one who loved like that. Nope, he is my match, mi luna, my home, the telegram from Heaven telling me: YOU BELONG HERE. Happy Valentine’s Day, mi amor. I know you are reading this, because you check my blog even when I haven’t posted in months. (TE AMO!)

(From Left) Kiyah, Aaliyah, Demetria….I always say their names in a row as if they could ever be put into one category. The differences between them: personalities, preferences, perspectives, are broad, yet they share this aura, this divine essence, that I inhale every time I smooth back the hair from their foreheads. I am in love with their laughter and their insecurities, their jokes, and the way they perceive the world. Sometimes I get caught up in my hopes for them that I forget to breath them in. May the next 7 years of our lives together be as beautiful as the last 7. I love you with every breathe I breath. On days when I feel inadequate and out of motivation, I think of you three, and stay on my well-trod path of creating a better world.

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The kitty named Harmony.

For the first time, this Lydia Nomad has a home. A house I rent, a back yard where I am building a compost pile in hopes of having a successful garden this Spring. I bought furniture (yay used furniture!), hung art pieces, conjured up a nest for myself. In a way, I am settling down for a season, and my tired, tired heart, is ‘CITED ‘BOUT IT. I sleep in the same place every night and IMO, that place needs a cuddle buddy. BOOM. Just as I was considering pet adoption, a flea-infested little black kitty-boy came to the front stoop and I knew he would never leave me. Harmony. I am in Love with the way he curls up by my neck when I am resting. I am in Love with his stubby nose and how his hair feels when I rub it the wrong way. I am in Love with his presence in my life, always prioritizing comfort and connection. Thanks for helping me evolve, baby boy.

yogimadness

Life’s difficulty is its’ richness.

I am in Love anew with reading. Books. Books. Books. I love the way they feel in my hands. I love the rustling of pages and what happens in my mind as I fly through chapter after chapter of adventure and wisdom. I love imagining these authors, melted into a blanket with a warm cup of tea while they write, just like me, while I read their words. I adore sharing ideas. It delights me to make connections between philosophies, regions, people groups. The world in my mind is more alive right now than the world around me, and I hope it stays that way for a long time. I am in Love with the materials I am consuming as a part of my Sage Yoga School training. Crafting a class unique to my experience reminds me continually of the constellation-shape this life really takes, despite the way Western intellect seeks to slice it up, to neatly categorize each decade. Thank you, lovers of literature, who dared to write without knowing if anyone would read. Thank you for saying what my heart did not have words to express. I am enamored with you all.

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NyNy, our patron saint of Hope & New Life.

Finally, I love this tiny lady. She is our ray of Hope and Light. When I had nothing to give to my girls, she showed up, and crying, tottering, smiling, laughing, she provided what they needed. She reminds me of how brief & sacred the times we have together are. One day I will tell her about her childhood. I will tell her about what she gave us, about how utterly good she is, about her laughter, and about how she inspired me to live whole-heartedly, though it cost me much suffering. You remind me how very worth-living this life is. NyNy, I am here to tell you of your belovedness.

 

I am here to discover Love.

Amen.

Happy Valentine’s Day, beautiful world. I love you.

Lydia Nomad Bush

 

Ahimsa & My Ego

Heart ablaze again, guide me. You I consult in times of humility. You I live by, you my internal North Star. The Jesus before and after they spoke to me of him. You, preservation of my relationships, hope of my days. 

This week I said the most powerful and dreaded word in the English language. Never expected that from myself, consciously or by accident. As a believer (believer in Spirit, that is, the world inside our world, always conspiring to make itself known to the physical beings), a mistake of this kind leads to deep introspection. In fact, since getting suspended from my job, I have passed days almost entirely alone and in deep reflection. How did I get so out of touch with my heart that a word contrary to who I have worked to become, slipped, like any other word, across my lips? That is Spirit. That is Spirit asking for attention. True sign of my need to pay attention. To get woke anew already.

You see, waking up to the pain of those around us isn’t a one time thing. It is an evolutionary (gradual; see Everything is Spiritual for a deeper explanation of this idea) process. I cannot one day decide that I will abide by the revolutionary ideals of Jesus and stand against the system of domination and expect myself to….abide there from that day forward. That is uncomfortable territory. That is asking the ego to bow. That is tough shit.

Violence happens to humans everyday in the form of unkind or careless words and actions: all the grub and grime of a groaning and restless world. Our fears are the first application process, so to speak, through which that daily violent input must pass. Fear we encounter on the daily  is a disruption which can become either ego fodder or transformation fuel. Author Deborah Adele says that there are two kinds of fear: instinctual fear, for the sake of survival, and fear of the unfamiliar (The Yamas and Niyamas, 2009). Those of us who exist on the more posh side of life (a place to live, some food to eat, very few–if any–daily threats to security, health, and freedom) are prone to over-entertainment of the second kind of fear. (It goes all the way back to the Old Testament IMO, when they scaped those poor goats all the way to the wilderness with everybody’s adultery and disrespect and masturbation tied on its’ back; A live metaphor for the weight of human sin.) When humans have time and/or security, they seem to begin to react to fears (real or unreal, rational or irrational–ego food all the same), and inevitably accumulate guilt. Well….who is around to interrupt this fear and guilt cycle? Who trips us up when we walk in the pride caused by this treacherous consumption of fear? Them. People (especially those at or near the top of the food chain) like to pin guilt on them. The ones without fear. The ones who face fear number one and still have the nerve to stand on street corners asking for money. The ones who do the-thing-I-never-would and dare to continue living instead of melting into the dehumanizing guilt-puddle we expect. It’s yuck, but it’s human. Or, tragically, entire people groups scapegoat other entire people groups because of the truth they tell about history (see: Black Experience in America). Humans do this, and then the ego, if unaddressed by empathy (or equal parts suffering), laps that stuff up like a thirsty puppy, and, like a puppy, it grows. Then, perhaps, it bites.

The same day I am dismissed from work, I reach up to grab a book or two off the Black History Month shelf at Terry library, and for the first time, insecurity chases my hand back into my pocket. Racist, I hear the voice of accusation inside my head. What are you trying to cover up? 

The ego growls and I snarl to myself: the injustice of it! That my innocent action should be inhibited by a single misunderstanding. One accusation.

One accusation, not even voiced outright had me suspended in inaction and egoism.

Violence to fear. Violence reaps fear. If I refuse to scapegoat this insecurity grounded in fear, where does it go?

Transformation fuel. To quote Gary Zukav (The Seat of the Soul.), “…we are held responsible for our every action, thought and feeling, which is to say, for our every intention.” Pay by what you outsource to others, or pay by running your own transformation race. The choice is always ours.

I have found that my ego’s kryptonite is understanding. When I take the time to understand, I overcome violence in myself, and in my interactions with others by the power of peace and by lofty aspirations of Love. Understanding often leads me to tears; this time I can’t help reflect on how hurtful this me-centered attitude must have been over the course of these callous months, culminating in my utterance of that unfit word, to my minority friends, or friends living on the corner of gender and racial discrimination* in this often hateful society. I acted contrary to the magnificent Eastern value of Ahimsa; nonviolence, and thus, contrary to my deepest self. I can do better. We can do better.

One accusation, result of my mistake, shaved ounces off my ego. No wonder the African American community has offered the world countless humble artists, truth-tellers, and thundering prophets. How many accusations do they hear in a day, my brothers and sisters next door, yet so far away from me? Drunk. Lazy. Racist. Dumb. Inadequate. Inferior. The list goes on, for them and for our Native American kindred. May my white ego stop short, as those of my friends are forced to every time they leave their homes.

So much to learn, so much loving left to do.

Gratitude & Hope for Ahimsa,

Lydia Nomad

 

*For more on this idea of Intersectionality visit The Liturgists

 

Depression, Side of Belovedness

I pushed snooze twice today. I never push snooze.

Meditation did not go so well once I did drag myself out of the bed that seemed to have placed a magic suction spell over me and was actively pulling me deeper into it. As I began my days work I felt myself moving with uneasiness, operating from a mentally and physically tense being; all the moments seemed the same.

What is going on? I wondered, doing the internal scan I do to figure out where I am on the scale of health. What could be triggering me ? Did I eat something? Am I blocking out my emotions? Am I present to my own activity in the moment or am I distracted thinking about other people and other moments?

It was not until the early afternoon when I realized what it was assailing me: a wave of depression. It had been several days since a wave; I was feeling in the clear again. I was a young pilot garbed in a brown scarf with goggles on my forehead posing for ritzy photos before I took an amateur flight. Yes, I had flown before, but last night when I laid my head down there seemed to be no sign of enemy aircraft. I was grateful, I was cocky. Then I woke up.

Every moment the same. Surrounded by artillery at every corner of the mind. There was no clear anymore–the conflict had broken out inside of me. There was physical pain in my head and my limbs, there were emotional knee jerk reactions in my spirit and dull nothingness in my heart, there were birds falling from the sky around me.

There I was: the yoke of the plane to my right, ready for any manipulation of my altitude that I may find appropriate, and the wheel in my hands. I wondered why I had so young been given control of myself, my sacred aircraft. Those wonderings were useless so I set to work re-vamping the body scan, eliminating anything weighing me down (the wonderings had to go). I threw overboard my self-victimization. I threw out my denial of the situation. I threw out woe is me and all the ways I was tempted to waste the day in hopes that it would improve itself (when truly I–not the day–bled for improvement).  Over the blue sky I clutched the deep, unnatural urge to throw up my hands and throw myself down on the couch glued to a screen until the day passed (hopefully the pain with it); abandonment for a short time, to pretend the problems–enemy fighters, thunderous clouds, utter meaninglessness–were not there.

And Wendell Berry spoke to me:

…Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.*

The bulky urge to surrender slipped from my grip as I hesitantly loosened my hold.

In letting it go, crashing down through the atmosphere in order to empower my upward mobility, I began the climb back up. The wave of darkness did not overcome me.

This morning I may have been smiling too brightly. Oh well, I am wiser now, as I lay my head down on the cool pillow, than I was last night when I did the same.

Still alive, still beloved.

Always, life.

Life, always.

 

*https://onbeing.org/blog/how-to-be-a-poet-to-remind-myself-wendell-berry/

I Was Big, Because I was Scared

When they finally call. When after various nerve-wracking interviews that left me twisted up inside with things I said, did not say, and wish I had said, I did get a call back. I am wanted here, to work. My services are invited here.

That is when I wish I had not been so glum. Why did I worry? Why did I let those ancient demons reside (even temporarily) in the temple of my mind and soul?

Each of the interviews and every page of applications has taught me, they have been professors who do their job thoroughly but refuse to allude to grade averages or end results before the time of their posting.

Hindsight is 20 20. The moments in-between are made for rest, rejuvenation, for reading lots of books. But without trust, they can be existential torture.

I was always wanted. I was always provided for. It never depended on me. I just got scared in the waiting.

Now, as doors open, as poems are received for publishing, and tax documents are filed, and I pack my things up to go to a world where I feel secure, I must take my wild heart in my hands. In the moments of waiting my heart turned itself into an inflated puffer-fish. Out of shape. Too big. Too sharp. I did it for survival; the moment scared me into defending my true little self with a bigger, more intimidating one.

It is okay to go back to what you know. It is okay to humbly start over. It is okay to want to do easy things.

It is not okay to be big when you are no longer scared. Bigness is for scary times, but when things settle down, and the sailing is smoother, it is time to take that bigness into careful hands and smooth it down. It is the moment for immediately turning around and helping those who are big, get to a place they can be small again.

It is a time to remember my privilege, that helps open doors for me, especially in the place where things are familiar.  It is a time to give thanks for friends who cushion the changes, financially and emotionally. It is a time to put hands up and praise and cover my self with the ashy truth–I am dust, I am given a moment here, I better put all that I receive to damn good use.

When it finally happens, I bow, and shift my desires from this world, to the next.

Amen.

 

L. Nomad

The Grey Room

I used to fear writing “publicly” about my mystical practices and experiences. I shrouded them in vaguery when I did make any reference. I guess I just do not give a shit anymore. The power I grew up thinking people had over me is waning and waning. I will dance in all the space that is afforded me as those bonds shrink smaller than the slightest sliver of silver moonlight.

Truly, though, the space is not afforded me. I must breath into it. I must practice it like a tap dance practices the sharp smacks of her metal tap shoe against the studio floor. I must develop it the way a potter squeezes shapes into being. Instead of being squeezed, I must be the potter of my life and make it a jolly good vessel–shaped from within rather than from without.

Por eso (that is why), there is the Grey Room. It is smaller than I would like it to be, but the walls are nicely painted in a flawless soft grey. Bright white scaffolding threatened to appear but I banished it in the name of simplicity (escape from distraction). There is a closet, I know not why but cannot seem to do away with it. Perhaps it does or shall serve some purpose.

That is my grey room and from there I press out all the voices. Voices of my few dearest friends, of bills and oil changes, of religion or politics, of old friends and new acquaintances. From within that room I press back fervently against the pressures of ego. The raging what next and the persistent who gave you permission to do that. In that cool, dry place I channel my energy outward, for a short time, and do my best to create something a bit more spacious inside myself.

Really, instead of a potter with large hands pressing down from outside of the clay, I am a miniature person who woke up there inside of a red lump. Rather dry. Rather unassuming. But there I am, stuck, by some understandings. Full of potential, by others.

I am that little form going to work from within myself, with little hands squeezing, squishing, and caressing that clay into some sort of mug or vase or plate, even. From within my grey room, I create space for myself. The space I made today is nothing impressive in size or quality, but it is slightly more than yesterday.  I am breathing, and the work continues.