To understand one’s suffering

To understand one’s suffering

Is to understand our own,

Knowing causes pain—

But still with hope we try

To understand one’s suffering

Is to be on their side, regardless

Of the awful many cuts

Through the tenderness of night—

Their aim is (not) to heal

But still with hope we lie,

To understand one’s suffering(…)

Like fruit picked from a vine.

Possibilities

People need very direct

forms of understanding,

otherwise

the possibilities are endless,

and for most, endless possibilities

aren’t always easy to accept.

Funny card pulled at Stories Bookstore, Silver Lake CA. 2020

(miss)Understanding

At some point you just let go,

and that need to be understood

just drifts by the wayside.

Like a dog is a dog, a cat is a cat—

with or without the mustard.

The time between collision and capsizing

There is something very scary

about imagining a life without flaw,

as if insecurities were a sin

you could merely pray away?

There’s something cynical in that,

something dangerous.

Something I haven’t the heart to feel,

it’s something impervious.

Because with great peril comes

an even greater awakening, an awakening

which floods the veins with frozen certainty

as the waters eating the Titanic.

It’s the time between collision

and capsizing, which we find ourselves

relieved of our blind faith, knowing

with grave admiration, the life

we’re living, is all we have.

July Reflection, 2020

Weird.

Did you know that feeling weird

suggests something supernatural or uncanny

and that feeling this way,

unsettled and mysterious to even yourself

is an extraordinary occasion for

growth and development?

Well it is, and for that, I applaud you

on this ability of estrangement

we so often take for granted, though I

take as a blessing, because you are a blessing.

A message from that time I cut myself off from the world. (circa 2009)

What I lost in my depression

What developed over time

Who grew within my absence

Who called but couldn’t find

The person who they once knew

Who only wished to die

Where deep within my fortress

Of solitude did I

Salute them in their merit

Who tried from time to time

To free me from my burden

Which words could not describe

Though even in my heartache

I never told a lie

But took pride in them knowing

Their strength I too could find

That’s why I keep them with me

Past lovers, friends, and my

Gratitude for suffering

This awfully fragile mind

Grown with understanding

Like fruit picked from a vine

I’m grounded by their blessings

And grateful for this life

A holy moment.

Taking a moment

to examine your palm

is a holy moment.

And those lines, well

they’re the most honest

you’ll ever read.

From the Kindness Rock Project. Topanga, California

I allow the teachings of the past to help guide my future.

After a good, long day of self reliance, sleep, and in depth personal analysis, I am left with this thought.

What you do from here on out is your own cross to bear.

Though like a broken record I’ve continued to circle in place.

But why?

Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Well, though I agree I’m no Einstein, I’m not insane, I’m just a bit of a slow learner.

See, the hardest pattern to break isn’t necessarily the pattern but the mission so to speak.

We’re all on our own personal mission, aren’t we?

And whether or not we choose to accept it, it exists.

It’s taken many years through trial and error, deliberation, and self reliance to understand.

Carole King said, “you’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart…”

Carole also had two children by the time of her divorce and continued to create with love and compassion.

So what’s my personal mission? And what’s yours?

Will we rise tomorrow with faith and gratitude in our hearts or repeat the same patterns that no longer serve us?

Olmec said, “the choices are yours and yours alone.”

But of course we all need a few humorous anecdotes to help us get through.

And I will, as will you.

Tomorrow, reach a little further than you did today. Try something new and show the world the love in your heart. The choices are yours.

And I’ve built my cross, one which I’m willing to bear.

It’s a heavy son of a gun, but I assure you I’ll be walking, hand over foot—that which does not kill us, makes us stronger— like Nietzsche once said.

Be the air of peace we’re all capable of breathing.

I recently came across a post stating, “this is a bad year.”

Though I don’t disagree that bad things have happened this year, I can’t fully commit to such a bold statement as the entire year being bad.

Or perhaps, I’m just looking at it from a more critical standpoint?

A protest for example, is a collaborative effort between cultures standing together for justice.

The police force has made efforts, though not always headline news, to reinforce their code of conduct: to protect and serve.

Most citizens are respecting the rights of others, choosing to wear masks, in the fight against COVID-19.

The government is making attempts to sustain our American way of life through relief programs and continued unemployment benefits—even though at times it may feel like not enough—granting enough security to survive.

I’ve seen a number of portable facilities spring up in mainly homeless areas of Los Angeles, which does not solve the issue, but certainly shows hope.

What I am getting at is even in our darkest times, there are signs of hope.

Hope which we can and should not disregard as a complete and utter bad year.

If anything, I’d say, there is an awakening taking place.

What I see from an observers eye is an awakening of people who, regardless of the hardships, struggle, and inability to make concrete sense of all the senseless acts that have been occurring, realize a need for change and progression forward as a human race.

We are all struggling, regardless of another’s grass, I repeat,

we are all struggling.

But with struggle comes realizations. And with realization comes understanding. And with understanding comes progress.

Through common ground and communication I know there is hope, for you, and I, and the suffering on all sides.

It struck me odd today when a friend told me they envy my ability to travel where in turn I assured them, not everything is as it may seem, and that I too am struggling, only I choose a different point in which to view my current state of awareness.

You don’t have to travel far to climb a mountain or swim in a lake, or wake to see the most beautiful sunrise, or even lend a hand to someone less fortunate, because these are natural and always there waiting for you to take action.

Rather than saying, “this year is a bad year,” I suggest taking a deeper look and the time to realize that progress is happening.

And though progress may seem difficult, remain hopeful, my friends.

Be honest with yourself and your loved ones.

Greet a stranger as he were your family, with arms stretched wide in abundance.

Be the light at the end of the tunnel, the light which shines even in our darkest of times.

Be the air of peace in which we’re all capable of breathing.

Be courageous. Be kind. And be hopeful.

Boat at

The ability to discover is a gift in itself and it’s that same gift of discovery that makes our individual perception unique.

Have you ever noticed that the thing you are most excited to share with another person, be it a new book, movie, podcast, idea, or what you think happens to be something to be considered “the greatest,” that their excitement never quite matches your own?

Of course you have. We’re all human.

And have you ever noticed that upon showcasing this thought or idea to another that when you do, their reaction never quite lives up to your expectation, which leaves you feeling either hurt or discouraged?

I will not take it upon myself to assume that you have though I will tell you this: I have.

And it’s a very tough thing to understand.

In the moment of realization that your appreciation for something you deem extraordinary hasn’t been deeply felt in the same way by another can often cause conflict, misunderstanding, and judgement—that is reactionary rather than honest.

Instead of expressing our pain for what seems a lack of appreciation in the moment, we often turn to criticism, which is in itself a form of false pride.

Rather than saying, “I’m confused as to why you don’t feel the way I do about what I’m showing you,” one says, “well, of course you don’t get it,” or more often than not, we say nothing, letting our emotions fester to distress and shame.

In the Alchemist, Paulo Coelho writes: “It’s not what enters men’s mouths that’s evil, it’s what comes out of their mouths that is.”

Well if that’s not the boldest yet truest statement to have ever been penned than I implore you to enlighten me as I’ve found myself in this predicament more times than I am willing to admit.

My point is, we can’t expect another’s reaction to mirror our own.

We shouldn’t expect them to for the simple fact that they are their own person, with their own background, beliefs, and experiences that before judgement deserve appreciation and due time to process and articulate what is being presented.

What took the time to find, understand, and appreciate should also be granted—the time—to another.

It’s like telling someone rather than suggesting someone read a book.

Your willingness to share does not determine one’s willingness to receive.

It’s like giving someone the answer without allowing them to solve the equation.

The ability to discover is a gift in itself and it’s that same gift of discovery that makes our individual perception unique.

So the next time you offer someone a gift, regardless of their reaction, remember who you’re sharing it with and why you chose them to share it with you all over again.

I think then you will find an even deeper appreciation for yourself and another.

Santa Monica. September 6, 2020