love is becoming a safe word

is becoming a safe word
one i use
when the risk is greater
than my courage

and i mean
slow down with me
and i mean
take my hand
and i mean
i want time with you
to see you whole

from this miraculous portion
we call a life
i want to give you truth
i want you to see me
off stage
and outside of wonder

love is becoming a safe word

i can taste the near-loves
with discernment
and say
oh that is unparalleled desire
oh that is a broken bowl who senses the gold in me
oh that is a new sibling
oh that is the future

and moving through
fields like curtains
i find what love is:
reflections of my self
that make me uncompromising

i find what love is:
a house where the windows
are gone
and the doors are all open
and i feel contained
and content

i feel what love is:
growing from gut heart
to the edges of my body
an ecstatic yes
to who i have been
and am becoming

saying absolutely no
smiling visceral yes
showing this, not that
a very specific please
and so much thank you
all this love in action
gives me more of my life

and with this
i write more poems
i grieve with my whole memory
i rage from the root
i care with no bitter edges
i accept what is
i surround myself with
sweetness, and excellence
and i create
with each next breath

and it is all delicious
it is all exquisite
it is all opening
it is all

inspiration chain mail abundance

several people recently sent me a chain email that had me send an inspirational quote to a stranger (mostly – i knew some of the people which was also a thrill), and add my name to a list to receive some inspiration. i then passed it on to others who passed it along and as a result have had a gorgeous inbox for the past week or so. i wanted to share here some of the quotes and poems that moved me.


“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi

“Chance favors the prepared mind.”

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

“Leap – and the net will appear.”

‘It is in your self-interest to find a way to be very tender.’ – Jenny Holzer

“This is brain surgery so don’t go in there with an ax”

“I used to have an ego, but now I’m perfect.” – Geologic

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Geothe

“The only person standing in your way is you.”

“Let yourself be silently drawn toward the stronger pull of what you really love.” – Rumi

“Never try, never know.”

“Thrown away where? The world is round.” – Luciente from Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy

“I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do. I’m going to go out like a fucking meteor!” ~ Audre Lorde

“The white fathers told us, I think therefore I am; and the black mothers in each of us-the poet-whispers in our dreams, I feel therefore I can be free. Poetry coins the language to express and charter this revolutionary awareness and demand, the implementation of that freedom. However, experience has taught us that the action in the now is also always necessary. Our children cannot dream unless they live, they cannot live unless they are nourished, and who else will feed them the real food without which their dreams will be no different from ours?” – Audre Lorde

“The process of finding the truth may not be a process by which we feel increasingly better and better. It may be a process by which we look at things honestly, sincerely, truthfully, and that may or may not be an easy thing to do.” – Adyashanti, Bliss is a By-Product

“There are certain emotions in your body that not even your best friend can sympathize with, but you will find the right film or the right book, and it will understand you.” ? Björk

“Today I will experience love of self, love of others, love of planet, and love of God in all of my actions.”

“Pleasure is the ultimate rebellion…”–Lydia Lunch

?”You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” – Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon ?

“You are not crazy. You are just ready to change.” –Nnedi Okorafor

“Compassion is the tender opening of our hearts to pain and suffering. When compassion arises in us, we see and acknowledge what we often push away – the parts of life that cause us sadness, anger, or outrage. The powerful awakening of our own compassion can tune us not just to the nurturing and sustaining forces of the world, but to the oppressive and destructive ones as well. When we open to these directly and become familiar with them, instead of avoiding them as we often do, we are more likely to hear ways to respond with love and support to relieve the suffering.” – Ram Dass

“I’ll not widow the world.
I’ll tell my human
tale, tell it against
the current of that vaster, that
inhuman telling.”
—Li-Young Lee

“I found god in myself and I loved her, I loved her fiercely.” ~ Ntozake Shange



Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

? Naomi Shihab Nye, Words Under the Words: Selected Poems


Bill Knott

The way the world is not
astonished at you
it doesn’t blink a leaf
when we step from the house
leads me to think
that beauty is natural, unremarkable
and not to be spoken of
except in the course of things
the course of singing and worksharing
the course of squeezes and neighbors
the course of you, tying back your raving hair to go out
and the course, of course, of me
astonished at you
the way the world is not.


by Audre Lorde

Is the total black, being spoken
From the earth’s inside.
There are many kinds of open.
How a diamond comes into a knot of flame
How a sound comes into a word, coloured
By who pays what for speaking.

Some words are open
Like a diamond on glass windows
Singing out within the crash of passing sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
In a perforated book—buy and sign and tear apart—
And come whatever wills all chances
The stub remains
An ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
Breeding like adders. Others know sun
Seeking like gypsies over my tongue
To explode through my lips
Like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
Bedevil me.

Love is a word another kind of open—
As a diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am black because I come from the earth’s inside
Take my word for jewel in your open light.

    Phenomenal Woman


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

    On Love

Khalil Gibran
(note, two people sent this one to me)

But if in your fear you would seek only
love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover
your nakedness and pass out of love’s
Into the seasonless world where you
shall laugh, but not all of your laughter,
and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes
naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say,
“God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am
in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course
of love, for love, if it finds you worthy,
directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfil
But if you love and must needs have
desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook
that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding
of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart
and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate
love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the
beloved in your heart and a song of praise
upon your lips.

    On Joy and Sorrow

Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

    Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

it’s a yes

this is just a little one, a request for your prayers/wishes/love/thoughts/having-my-back/futuring. however you call in good for others, call it in for me.

there are some blessings afoot in my life now that are gamechanging. they are of the life i want, longed for, created space for, held boundaries for, practiced and am practicing for. and now it’s all right there, within and without. happening.

so much is changing, i can’t lock my eyes on the future that’s unfolding (and my virgo predictions are mythology i trust y’all) – but i feel to the root of me that it is good, it’s the life i was made for.

so i ask you to say yes with and for me. i want god-as-change to know it’s a yes.

2013: reminders

i resist the resolution thing. it feels like the epitome of trying instead of doing. if nothing else has changed but the number in our random count of time, then why should i expect my way of being to truly change?

and yet there are things that i know increase my quality of life, and that of my loved ones. so instead of resolutions for the year, here are some reminders:

hydration makes my skin look delicious, makes me feel limber, keeps me young, invites my body to function with ease.

yoga gives me capacity to breathe and be present in my life, and feel the longing in my limitations.

spending time with my family grounds me, focuses me on changes i can actually invest in long-term in myself and our relationships, and keeps me humble.

singing is my happy place. writing songs and poetry about my experiences in the world continues to be my primary form of journaling, if im not singing, writing, and otherwise making art, something fundamental in me has gotten too quiet.

love is abundant and healing and i know how to do it and i have so much still to learn and experience. stay open.

i am a practice ground for abundance.

i don’t know how to recreate my own miraculous existence, so i must be celebratory, tender and in awe of this body, these days, this worldview, this moment in which i am living, and these people who love me.

every day, waste less and less.


2012, and scene.

2012 has been such a full and blazing year.

this year i grabbed my life up, got fierce about what my every day looks like. there have been years of great advances in my life, and great setbacks – and most of those have been in pursuit of righteous and grandiose dreams for what i am meant to do in the world.

this year, in many ways, it felt like i woke up.
or began to.

the year had two parts.

the first part, traveling the world on sabbatical, was all about getting quiet enough to have some agency. the further i get away from that international journey, the more clearly i see what i brought home beyond the gorgeous tan – this capacity to take a step back into myself without disconnecting, to find the quiet room of my own reckoning, and determine right action. the quiet room is massive and constant.

i believe myself, which is a relatively new experience. i believe what i feel, and am less inclined to creative beautiful fictions to counter those feelings if they require difficult action. it is hard to be a writer and also live an authentic life, but i am getting there.

the second part of the year was a long series of opportunities for application of this practice of getting quiet within, and taking right action.

i have had so many distinct opportunities to step further and further into living my truth, holding every day of my life, every moment, as the practice ground for being the abundance i have longed for for so long.

i have learned some things about abundance.

it is self-perpetuating. each moment in which i have claimed abundance has simply increased my comfort with claiming abundance, and has made scarcity then more unbearable, as a personal mindset or a worldview.

it is a natural state. there is a period in each of our lives before we start participating in the routines of shared time (school, work, etc) where we are just present. how long we get to be in that place depends on a number of factors, but it is worth protecting. for a long time i couldn’t figure out just why i adored children so much, but it is this capacity to be present that is so delicious. and in that present state, to be able to easily say what is interesting and focus on that, that is a skill worth reclaiming as adults. so much scarcity comes from wasting time on things that neither interest nor excite us at the foundational level.

and abundance is immediate. its not something you have to plant and wait for spring. that too of course, it grows now and in all your potential futures. but if you truly call it in, you must be ready for it, because it shows up right away, and you will want to have room for it.

i love what i have learned so far. i am grateful for all of my teachers. for next year, i have no new resolutions, i just want to deepen my practice of abundance, which deepens my incredible life.

blowing you kisses!

all 12 everything

i love when there is something very cool in our relatively arbitrary shared systems.

like a magic moment in time – the way we measure time. at various moments, various humans have said Here is where we begin to count. we will measure our memories, mark our present in some grand arc, and from here we will vision and prophesy about that time which is not now and not behind us, but ahead.

12 has emerged as a dominant way to measure time, which makes it one of the most powerful numbers for us, and today is sort of magical. and no one else in the universe may know this moment is magical, because no one else may have even decided to count time.

but we did.

and we noticed that 12 is central to our cycles, and so this a uniquely earthling magic day.

humans live our global shared lives in cycles of 12. its how we track how old we are, every 12 months we have gained another measure of experience, we look back and we celebrate our births and the labor of our mothers. we look forward and make ludicrous commitments for the next 12 months, and then settle back into the rhythms of our days.

there are no less than 21 calendar systems in the world, and the vast majority of them have 12 months. why?

it takes about 12 months for the seasons to run through their great turning in the miraculous dance with sunlight that processes it into all life on earth.

that is, over the course of four seasons, the earth generates abundance from that steady light, absorbing it, filling up with it in the form of plants and trees and fruit, making light edible, harvestable, storing it in the soil and plants and in us, sparking the circle of life. within those seasons, 12 moons move through the night sky, or rather we move across the face of the moon 12 times, the effect of our own shadow creating one of our first maps and calendars.

our orbital cycle around the sun gives us on average 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness a day. the north pole of our clock is 12, the north star of our compass, the indicator that a new day comes, rising til high noon when the sun sits directly above us.

i’d say 12 is the romantic number in our love story with the sun, the day when she puts our love on top – as far as we know, no other planets in this solar system or anywhere else do quite what we do with sunlight…it’s a deeply unique relationship.

and 12 is the last year of childhood, supposedly we are about 12 when the cycle of life becomes active within us in the forms of blood and desire.

we even spend 12 years in our schooling programs in many parts of the world. that is what we generally agree it takes to prepare a human to be in the world on it’s own.

at what point does a number become sacred? even in our somewhat arbitrary timeline, only true because we all commit to practicing time in this way together, there seems to be something lunar and solar and grander at work.

in geeking out about 12 i saw that apparently the repetition of 12 means love in some cultures, a wholeness.

“On Twitter, @Jin_Campbell wrote: ‘Tomorrow At 12 mins, 12 secs after 12 o’ clock on Dec 12th, the time will be 12:12:12,12/12/12.'”

i think days moments and seconds like this remind us of the remarkable nature of our existence. we not not only evolved from cells to bodies, we not only miraculously reproduce life in a variety of species all over the planet, we not only process sun into all life here…but we learned to count, and in our counting we have patterns.

those patterns indicate that outside of our creating there is rhythm to the universe that is a 12 bar musical score, a 12 tone bell, a vibration of 12 heartbeats.

yesterday was a painful day where i live – long story short we are not a represented people here in michigan and yesterday we got reminded of that on a few levels.

so i want to claim that capacity to create something massive like time, claim the cycle of time to honor the gift of life, claim whatever wholeness exists in this particular day – to remember that we are not whole because someone else says so.

we are whole, we make magic, we made all 12 everything.